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Transcript of doorstop interview with Craig Huth: 107.3 Max FM, Taree: April 04, 2013: The Government's raid on superannuation; Julia Gillard's carbon tax; coal seam gas



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Interview with Craig Huth, 107.3 Max FM, Taree April 04, 2013

Subjects: The Government's raid on superannuation; Julia Gillard's carbon tax; coal seam gas.

EO&E...........................................................................................................................................

CRAIG HUTH:

Good morning Mr Abbott how are you?

TONY ABBOTT:

I am fine Craig, nice to talk to you.

CRAIG HUTH:

Now, this is a very contentious issue at the moment, superannuation, the Government are saying that they are only going to hit the top one to two per cent of money earners in the country. Now, I wouldn’t think that is a bad thing for people who are earning

$50,000. They would be saying at the moment, well we’re not really concerned about that, but should they be?

TONY ABBOTT:

Of course they should because a government that is prepared to raid your neighbour’s superannuation today will raid your superannuation tomorrow. That’s the problem with this, it is the thin end of the wedge and if Labor gets away with this and they

get another three years just think who they are coming for next.

CRAIG HUTH:

Now, they’re only targeting that top one to two per cent and I see that the Government are saying that, you know, if you got into power that you would be taking the super or looking at super from the lower income earners and they’re putting that sort of scare

campaign out there. Is that true? Are they true at what they are saying, would you be looking at that?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, we said back in 2010 that we were not going to fund programmes associated with the mining tax and one of the programmes associated with the mining tax is a top-up scheme for low income earner’s super. I should point out two things Craig,

first of all there was the low income super co-contribution of $1500 a year which the Howard Government put in place which the current Government has cut to just $500. That has cost low income earners almost $4 billion over the period. The second point I

make Craig is that there is no money from the mining tax. So, the low income superannuation offset which the government is making a lot of now that will go because they haven’t got the money to pay for it. So, you just can’t trust this Government. You

absolutely can’t trust them and the really disgraceful thing as decent Labor people like Simon Crean are pointing out is that this is a Government that is raiding your super to fund its spending. It is just, it should be unthinkable but really it’s hard to know what

has happened to the Labor Party. It’s not really a Labor Party anymore, it is the Gillard Party which is why people like Simon Crean are so dismayed.

CRAIG HUTH:

Look, I’m really intrigued to know if you get into government on September 14 how easy is it to wind back what the Government

has already done with their carbon tax and if they got five of the seven crossbenchers to agree with this and it got through, how easy is it mechanically to pull this back and get rid of it?

TONY ABBOTT:

Tony Abbott Federal Member for Warringah | Leader of the Opposition

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Well, what is being done by legislation can be undone by legislation. What one Parliament legislates, another Parliament can repeal. No doubt about that and that’s why I say that the first act of an incoming Coalition government will be to tell the public

servants to prepare the carbon tax repeal legislation and the first legislation dealt with by a new Parliament would be the carbon tax repeal bill. So it’s all very doable. Some people say, oh but the Labor Party and the Greens will combine to oppose it in the

Senate. Well, look Labor wouldn’t be so stupid in my opinion to commit political suicide twice if I may put it that way. If they’ve just lost an election which is a referendum on the carbon tax, they’re hardly going to defy the people twice on this. So, I think the

chances of them supporting a carbon tax which has been the cause of their political demise are low, but look, the point I keep making is that when I say there’ll be no carbon tax under the government I lead, I’m fair dinkum Craig and if against all judgment

and expectation, the Labor Party is utterly recalcitrant on this, well we’ll take the options available to us under the constitution to resolve the deadlock between the House and the Senate.

CRAIG HUTH:

Now, while I’ve got the opportunity, I’ve got to ask this question, because it is so controversial at the moment and that’s coal seam

gas mining in the area. Should we show more vigilance on this and if you got into government, would you put a bit of a hold on this until we had the right information, the right science to go forward or not to go forward with this, because there’s a lot of

nervous people out there. They’re worried about the water table, they’re worried about farm lands and it’s an issue that’s not going to go away. What do you think about this and what would your government do?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, I think there are three principles that we’ve got to follow here. First of all, prime agricultural land has got to be protected.

Second, the water table has got to be protected and third, farmers and other land holders have got to get a fair go. Now, I think that under the right conditions, coal seam gas extraction is doable. It’s been happening in significant parts of Queensland for

about 20 years now and there doesn’t appear to have been any damage to the water table or any significant environmental damage. But we do have to be vigilant and what’s safely done in one part of the country may not necessarily be safely done in

another part of the country. The actual regulation of these things is largely in the hands of the states and I want to congratulate Campbell Newman and Barry O’Farrell for the changes they’ve made to tighten up on all of this. There was virtual open slather in

Queensland and New South Wales under the former Labor governments. Incoming Coalition governments have been much more cautious here but at the end of the day I think that we should try to find a situation where environmentally sensible mining and

agriculture can co-exist. They’ve co-existed in this country for a couple of hundred years now and I’d like to see that continue.

CRAIG HUTH:

Now not letting you get away without a couple of questions from the kids. Are you ready for this?

TONY ABBOTT:

I’ll do my best.

CRAIG HUTH:

Alright. What world leader would you like to meet and who do you admire in a world leader? That’s a good question.

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, it’s a very good question and look, I guess the historical world leader that I most admired and I think so many millions of people around the globe admired was Winston Churchill. I guess of currently living world leaders, Margaret Thatcher, I know she’s

not very well, I did have the opportunity to actually meet her a couple of years ago. But her health, alas, is not what it was and look, apart from that I think the important thing is not so much to be a glorified tourist swanning around the world meeting world

leaders but to get on with being a good leader here in Australia.

CRAIG HUTH:

And that’s a good answer. That’s a good answer and here’s another one from Kristen. She says, “Mr Abbott what did you used to take for school lunch?” I think this is fantastic, “and who was your favourite teacher at school?”

TONY ABBOTT:

Well thank you Craig. Funnily enough, Dave Gillespie, the candidate for Lyne and myself were both at St Ignatius in Sydney

together. Dave was a boarder, I was not. One of the really charismatic and inspirational teachers that we both had back then was a fellow called Father Emmett Costello, now quite old and frail but he’s been an inspiration, a counsellor, a friend to me for, gee,

40 years now and I’m incredibly lucky to have had him and so are thousands of other people who were lucky enough to study

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under him over many, many years. As for my school lunch, well look, a ham sandwich, a biscuit and a banana. That was my normal school lunch.

CRAIG HUTH:

I can see the mums and dads packing it this morning and I’d just like to say, after the last time we chatted, I’ve never seen so

many Red Valiants suddenly appear in this area.

TONY ABBOTT:

Well we used to call my Red Valiant General Belgrano because you know, it was big and it didn’t always get to its destination.

CRAIG HUTH:

Good memories, good memories. Mr Abbott, you’re always very kind with your time and thank you very much for your time this morning. Good luck leading up to the election. I’m sure we’ll have a chat, more times as we get a bit closer.

TONY ABBOTT:

Thank you so much Craig.

CRAIG HUTH:

Good on you.

[ends]

© Tony Abbott MHR 2010 | Authorised by Tony Abbott MHR, Level 2, 17 Sydney Rd, Manly NSW 2095

www.tonyabbott.com.au

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