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Transcript of doorstop interview: Brisbane: 9 April 2011: Action on climate change; workplace relations; gambling measures

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THE HON WAYNE SWAN MP Acting Prime Minister Treasurer

Doorstop Brisbane

9 April 2011


SUBJECTS: Action on climate change; workplace relations; gambling measures

JOURNALIST: It must be nice to come to something like this where everyone is on your side.

TREASURER: Well, I think the time has come for dramatic action on dangerous climate change and the breadth of support here today shows there’s a strong community view that we should have action on dangerous climate change.

JOURNALIST: But the same is not happening in other capital cities. (Inaudible)

TREASURER: I think there is a ground swell of support. People understand that our future prosperity and our future environmental sustainability depends upon putting a price on carbon. We’ve got to do it for the future of our economy. We’ve got to do it for the future of our society and our environment. This is a moral and economic question which

can’t be put in the too hard basket. We can't just stick our heads in the sand. We’ve got to deal with it, we’ve got to deal with it so we’ve got a prosperous economy in the future and we’ve got to deal with it because we’ve got to have an environment in which people can live.

JOURNALIST: Do you think you’re selling that message successfully though?

TREASURER: Well, we’re out there all the time. This is a really tough debate. The big reforms in Australia are always hard fought, but they’re the right reforms, and when they’re the right reforms you do it for the future of the country. They may not be popular in the short term but you do it because it’s right and this reform is right for Australia and it’s right for the future of the planet.

JOURNALIST: Are you happy with how the Government is going with its agenda?

TREASURER: Well, the Government is putting forward an ambitious reform agenda to put a price on carbon. This is a very big reform for our economy. I’m not surprised that there is entrenched opposition in the community from the conservative parties who don't believe in the science of climate change. I’m not surprised there’s entrenched opposition from vested interests. This will put a price on carbon for the 1000 largest polluters in the country. I understand that’s not popular. I also understand that we’ve got to get the balance right so we have a prosperous economy which creates job, and the key to this is to get the investment in renewable energy. We get the investment in renewable energy and we can have a clean energy future and a prosperous economy and a better environment for the future. That’s what this is about today.

JOURNALIST: A lot of people we’ve spoken today say yes you’re trying but you’re not trying hard enough.

TREASURER: Well, we’ll keep trying. You never give up when it’s right. That’s why we’re out there fighting for this reform. It’s right for the future of the country. It’s right for the future of our economy. It’s right for our kids and our grandkids.

JOURNALIST: You’re also reforming work place relations. There’s been criticism today that they’re too complex, that there’s too many. Are businesses going to cope?

TREASURER: Well, we’ve put in place reforms to workplace relations which got rid of the Coalition’s Workchoices which set out to abolish basic standards and to slash wages for people on the lowest incomes. We’re proud of our industrial relations reforms. The same conservatives who oppose doing anything on climate change are the same conservatives that want to go out there and slash the wages of the lowest paid in our community.

JOURNALIST: Do you disregard business concerns that they are too complex though? Do you think small business can cope?

TREASURER: Look, we’re always up for a discussion about lifting productivity, about making sure that regulation is fair and works properly, but we’re not out there for the conservative agenda which is to slash wages and to treat workers badly.

JOURNALIST: (Inaudible)

TREASURER: I say that this Government has got the guts to deal with dangerous climate change, it’s got the guts to face up to the big reforms that are required in our economy. We’ve got to make the investments in infrastructure. We’ve got to put a price on carbon. We’ve got to do all of those things for a prosperous economy and sometimes people disagree with that. Sometimes big business doesn't agree. We’ll do what’s right, we’ll do what is right for the future of this country and that’s why we’re here today. People here today are people of goodwill. We won’t agree on every single issue. There won’t always be agreement, but what is really important for the future of Australia is we face up to these long term challenges. Putting a price on carbon is part of that. We’ve also got to deal with the challenges of the mining boom, making sure that our economy is prosperous well

into the future by making investments in the skills and education of our people and also in the critical infrastructure which makes our society and economy workable.

JOURNALIST: (Inaudible) Clubs Australia - their new campaign against gambling limits.

TREASURER: Look I think we all share the objective of making sure that gaming is safe and making sure that we don't make problems with problem gambling even worse. So we’ll work our way through all of these issues with the clubs industry.

JOURNALIST: You’re still sticking to the reform (inaudible)?

TREASURER: Well, we’re working our way through those reforms. We’re consulting with the gaming industry. We’re consulting more broadly; we’ll continue to do that.