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Transcript of doorstop: Swanbank Power Station, Brisbane: 12 March 2007: clean coal; polls; PM's Japan visit.

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Subjects: Clean Coal; Polls; PM’s Japan Visit

RUDD: It’s good to be here with Shayne Neumann today, Labor’s candidate for Blair, and out here at the CS Energy, our good friends. We’re here today to talk about the future of coal, coal-fired electricity, and clean coal technology in particular. And today I’m launching this New Directions paper on the future of clean coal technologies in Australia.

If we’re going to be serious about clean coal technology in the future, the Australian Government must roll up its sleeves and invest in the future of clean coal. That goes to a future Labor Government, it goes to a future Liberal Government because this is critical for Australia’s economic environmental future.

Coal and coal-fired electricity is critical for our economy. Queensland’s the coal capital of Australia. Australia is the largest coal exporting country in the world. In the last year alone, $24 billion worth of coal exports went to the rest of the world. That makes coal our single largest export.

Coal-fired electricity is critical to our economy. It’s critical to our industry. Our nation has a national challenge which is to introduce commercially, viable clean coal generate electricity into the grid. And that’s why it’s important that we work in partnership with businesses like CS and businesses like Stanwell as well, where I was the other day in Central Queensland.

This fund proposes a half billion dollars worth of Federal Government money on a one dollar for two dollar basis with industry. Our objective is to bring about commercially viable clean coal electricity into the grid by 2020. That’s our objective. We believe we can probably do better than that, but we need to set a national objective and provide the funding which will bring that about.

If we’re serious about climate change, we’ve got to be serious about clean coal. And if we’re serious about clean coal, we’ve got to put half billion dollars to make it serious, to make it worthwhile and that’s what this proposal is all about.

Here at CS Energy, of course they are already working on some elements of clean coal technology. That’s good. (inaudible) we’ve just been talking about it. It’s important. Also up at the station we visited the other day which saw at Stanwell the future of the zerogen project as well where we have carbon-sequestration now being planned. These are very important technologies in terms of making clean coal a commercial reality of getting clean coal generate electricity into our national electricity grid.

I say this in conclusion. Australia has a huge national opportunity and challenge. We can be the world’s leaders when it comes to clean coal technology. And if we get to the stage as our objective says of introducing clean coal generated electricity into the national electricity grid, we can sell that technology to the rest of the world and create a whole new business for Australia, a huge new export business for Australia. Not only do we generate jobs that way, but equally critically, we do the single most critical thing worldwide when it comes to dealing with greenhouse gases. I’ll take your questions.

JOURNALIST: Isn’t this just matching the Federal Government on their clean coal campaign?

RUDD: No, the Federal Government up until now has dedicated a total of $175 million nationally across a whole range of smaller clean coal projects. We are dedicating on top of that a half billion dollars. I can’t be clearer about the priority we attach to it. In other words, we’re providing three times as much money that the Federal Government has up until now allocated and that’s on top of what the Federal Government’s already allocated. This is a national priority. If we can do something like the Snowy Mountains Scheme, we can do something like bringing about clean coal technology for Australia’s future and for the world’s greenhouse future as well.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

RUDD: Look, I don’t take any store by polls. But my challenge to Mr Howard is: let’s have this next election about what he stands for and what I stand for on the economy, on an Education Revolution, on climate change and water, and ending the blame game between Canberra and the States. That’s what the Australian people want.

JOURNALIST Do you think (inaudible) muckraking (inaudible)?

RUDD: Well, the challenge from today’s poll is that Mr Howard and myself contest this next election on our alternative policy visions on the economy, climate change, education and water. That’s what the Australian people want to hear from us. That’s what I intend to deliver them.

JOURNALIST: Do you think Mr Howard will bring on an early poll?

RUDD: That’s a matter for Mr Howard.

JOURNALIST: Is that your preference, though?

RUDD: That’s a matter for Mr Howard.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

RUDD: It’s important for the Australian people that I put forward positive plans on education, on climate change and on how to build long term prosperity once the mining boom is over, and for Mr Howard to do the same, and

for the Australian people to make their judgement based on my plans and his plans. I look forward to that challenge.

JOURNALIST: There are the reports in the media over the weekend that you embellished aspects of your past (inaudible) being kicked off the farm at 11. What is (inaudible)?

RUDD: Well, I stand by what I remember as an 11 year old child just after my father died. The descendents of the other family - and they have different recollections - but my family’s recollection is very clear.

JOURNALIST: Mr Howard’s in Japan. Should he be bringing up comfort women with them?

RUDD: This is a very sensitive matter. The truth is hundreds of thousands of women were subjected to Japanese atrocities, including rape, and Japan is responsible.

JOURNALIST: What about the matter of security issues. Do you think that (inaudible) should support Japanese troops (inaudible) and the security treaty should go ahead?

RUDD: I support closer security cooperation between Australia and Japan in terrorism in dealing with narcotics and in training, but when it comes to any broader defence pact, I’ll be putting that through the fine tooth comb before making a formal statement.

JOURNALIST: The Australian Defence Forces seem to hold a lot of (inaudible) in the region in terms of the Solomons and East Timor. Do you think that Japan should shoulder more of that burden in the region?

RUDD: Look, I do support a closer security relationship with Japan, including in counterterrorism, in narcotics, as well as in training but on the detail of the proposed defence pact that Mr Howard’s proposing with the Japanese, I’ll be subjecting that to very close analysis before making a full statement.

JOURNALIST: Why is Mr Howard avoiding the issue of comfort women?

RUDD: That’s a matter for Mr Howard and I don’t seek to dictate to Mr Howard as to how he should conduct his discussions with his Japanese counterpart. I believe that hundreds of thousands of women were subjected to Japanese atrocities, including rape, for which Japan’s responsible. That is an inescapable fact, an inescapable fact.

JOURNALIST: Is out relationship strong enough to (inaudible)?

RUDD: It’s a matter for Mr Howard. I don’t seek, when he’s in Japan, to dictate to him how he should conduct his negotiations with the Japanese. We’re all Australians and he’s representing our country in Japan at present. But I would say this. It is a clear cut fact that hundreds of thousands of women were subjected to Japanese atrocities, including rape, and it is clear as day that Japan was and remains responsible.