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Transcript of intervieww with Jonesy and Amanda: WSFM: 27 June 2011: carbon price

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Subjects: Carbon price

HOST: The Prime Minister Julia Gillard is here. Is that true Prime Minister, do you like car chases in a movie?

PM: I don’t mind a car chase, but sometimes they go on too long. There’s a right length for a car chase.

HOST: What did you think of the one in the Blues Brothers?

PM: Blues Brothers I’m a fan of.

HOST: See?

PM: I’m sorry Amanda, I’ve let you down, but I am a fan of the Blues Brothers.

HOST: You’ve just ruined the sisterhood here Julia, forget climate change and asylum seekers, this is where you’ve lost a vote.

HOST: Well, let’s talk, if we may, Prime Minister about climate change. I’m a believer in the fact we do have to do something about this and I’m just so disappointed in the way this is being handled, and the way Australians feel that they have the right to dictate policy. I think a politician has to be like a good parent and say ‘look I’m doing something for the future’.

75 percent of us though, this morning I’m seeing a poll, think that it’s been badly handled. In your heart of hearts, where do you go from here, what can you do?

PM: What you do Amanda is keep pushing through because it’s the right thing to do, so it’s the equivalent of saying ‘eat your vegetables’, I suppose. We are going to say that we have to price carbon, it’s the right thing to do to tackle climate change and I understand people are anxious, I understand that people are worried about cost of living pressures, but overwhelmingly Australians do believe that climate change is real and the best way of dealing with it is by pricing carbon, asking our big polluters to pay a price. They’re sensible business people, if something that used to be for free now costs them money, they’ll go ‘Gee, how can I reduce that expenditure? How can I reduce the carbon pollution I’m putting in the atmosphere?’ and that’s what we want them to do.

And whilst people are worried about cost of living pressures, we will be using the money we get from polluters to assist families, so nine out of ten households will get tax cuts, or an increase in payments, that means the vast majority of them won’t lose a cent and for our lower income households around three million of them, we will be providing a safety net, an extra 20 per cent above the impact of the carbon price on them, because we know that they’re the ones with the tightest budgets.

HOST: Do you ever thing to you yourself ‘we should have just snuck this through’?

PM: I think having the national debate is a good thing and making sure people understand what we’re trying to achieve is a good thing. We’re at a difficult stage in this debate, we will have all of the details available for people soon, we’re working on that very hard.

Now that is a few weeks away, but we will be able to explain to people exactly what it means for them, for their family, for their household budget. Every detail, so they will be able to sit around at the household table with the calculator and work out what their tax cuts means, what their increase in family payments means, what their pension increase means for them.

HOST: Do you wish you’d waited til then before announcing this? It’s given everyone in the media a free kick at you, because you haven’t had the figures at your fingertips?

PM: The best way of doing it was to announce the framework and then consult, particularly with business, to make sure we get all of the details right and protect Australian jobs as we do this. So, if you want to just put the political lens on it and say ‘is this a really period for me, and for the Government’, yes it’s a difficult period. But we’re doing the right thing and so we will work through difficulties to deliver the right policy for this country’s


HOST: Because I think about you, I think about you a lot Julia, I think-

PM:-Thank you.

HOST: Well I do. Remember the time you brought the cheesecake in here and you are a nice lady. But then I think about you, you must have so much pressure on you at work. I can imagine, like say when you see, Kev, Kevin Rudd, have you spent time in a room alone with him, because that would be awkward.

PM: Certainly we have and talked through foreign policy questions, we work together professionally and well. Kevin Rudd is very focused on the work he is doing as Foreign Minister. He’s incredibly good at it, it’s his life’s passion, that diplomatic and foreign affairs work and he’s pursuing it in the interests of Australia. Takes him around the world, very stressful, tiring work, but he

enjoys doing it, because he wants to see our country have a strong voice on the world stage.

HOST: It’d be interesting the small chat though, how does it start when you’re in the office then, you sort of say ‘Hey Kev, how are you?’, ‘Julia, what’s been going on, how’s the Bulldogs going?’.

PM: We’re all adults and of course this is, I’m not going to underestimate the hurt and difficulties that Kevin’s had to work through and they’ve been on display, people have seen that in the press conference he gave, for example, on the day I became Prime Minister. So, of course this was a big blow for Kevin Rudd, but he’s also a very resilient person and very focused on doing the right thing by the country, and that’s using his talents around the world, so Australia - we’re a middle power, we always like to use the terminology ‘we punch above our weight’ on the world stage.

Well, if we are going to punch above our weight it requires us to have the power of the best advocacy and Kevin Rudd is well placed to do that for the nation.

HOST: When you’re talking about hurt and disappointment, do you take it personally that your personal ratings are so low?

PM: I don’t because I’m absolutely convinced that the decisions I’m making are the right decisions for the nation. Now I could have taken another course, I could have said “Gee, I can sit at the Prime Minister’s desk and I can make

the most popular decisions, the easy decisions, how can I work out a scheme for free money for all, or something like that’. I could just do all the easy popular stuff, it’s not who I am and not what I wanted to do in this job, what I wanted to do in this job was make the right decisions for the nation’s future.

Now, they may be decisions that the community finds tough now, and that may show in a whole series of ways, but if they’re the right decisions then I’m determined to see them through.

HOST: Well said Julia and as an offer to you, if you do get married, Amanda and I are happy to MCs at your wedding, free of charge and Amanda will not read any inappropriate telegrams. I’m just saying there, so if you do get married and really we would cost a fair bit for a wedding.

HOST: But for you, OK, for free.

PM: Well, I’m very chuffed by that very generous invitation. In the modern age I’m not sure we really do telegrams at weddings, do we? Maybe we do naughty emails as an alternative.

HOST: All right, I’ll read those.

HOST: Don’t give her any ammunition, Prime Minister.

PM: Any more ideas.

HOST: Please. Julia Gillard, thank you for joining us.

PM: Thank you very much.

HOST: Thank you, bye bye.