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Transcript of interview : 6PR: 27 June 2011: WA ALP conference; Eric Ripper; Afghanistan; CHOGM; Western Bulldogs

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Subjects: WA ALP conference; Eric Ripper; Afghanistan; CHOGM; Western Bulldogs

HOST: Good morning.

PM: Good morning.

HOST: Did he impress you?

PM: I think Eric Ripper’s doing a courageous job leading Labor in Western Australia, I also think he was a great Treasurer of your state-

HOST: Yes he was-

PM: Left the economy in good shape.

HOST: Courageous is an interesting word to use.

PM: Well look it’s tough days for Labor in Western Australia, there’s no point glossing over that, and I think Eric’s showing a great deal of fighting spirit.

HOST: So you think he’s got the job in front of him to win?

PM: From opposition you’ve always got the job in front of you to win and Eric’s out there arguing the cause of Labor every day and doing a great job at it.

HOST: What was the feeling like, you were at the State Labor Party conference, how were you received?

PM: I thought the mood was upbeat and determined, is how I would have summarised it, people very focussed, very serious, very determined but also with an upbeat mood, a sense of enthusiasm.

HOST: If Eric felt that he wasn’t penetrating the market place with the voters, would you support someone else and who would that be?

PM: Certainly Eric has my support and I can see him taking Labor to the next election in Western Australia.

HOST: Will you be part of that, was that discussed, that you would be part of the key element in attracting votes?

PM: Eric will be there doing the work for the state, when people elect their state Premier they’ll be making a decision between Colin Barnett and Eric Ripper, that’s the choice in front of them for state government and state parliament. The choice in front of them for the nation obviously involves me as Prime Minister so I’ll be carrying the case as to why we’re making the right decisions for the nation’s future and for the future of Western Australia and I carried that case into the Western Australian Labor Party conference when I was there on the weekend.

HOST: Speaking of carrying cases it appears that Eric Ripper, I don’t think there’s too many voters in Western Australia that really believe that he could be elected as the Premier, do you believe he could?

PM: I certainly do.

HOST: Why?

PM: I think he’s shown in government the capacities to deal with complex policy, to make the right decisions, certainly to make the right decisions on the economy as Treasurer and as Opposition Leader he is putting before the people of Western Australia policies and plans for their future. Now ultimately the people of Western Australia will determine that in the 2013 election.

HOST: Prime Minister you said that Labor’s on the nose here in Western Australia, is that because of what has been done at a Federal level?

PM: Well they’re your words not mine, but what I certainly said at the Western Australian state conference is I can understand that looking at the past the people of Western Australia would have thought to themselves there were times when they and Federal Labor were talking past each other rather than to each other. As Prime Minister I’ve been determined to change that which is why as Prime Minister I settled the disputation about the Resources Super Profits Tax with the new Minerals Resource Rent Tax.

It’s why I also settled the dispute about the health agreement, I did want to make sure that Western Australia benefited too from out plans for more doctors and more nurses, more resources, more local control, less red tape, make sure all of that rolls out in Western Australia and I’ve done that. And I’ve

also well and truly heard the voice of Western Australia about the Goods and Services Tax share and that’s why we’ve got the high level review which got such a good welcome in WA.

HOST: So you’re on the nose though, to be honest, you know you’re on the nose, the Party knows they’re on the nose, you’ve even acknowledged at the start of this interview you said that you were doing it tough in this state?

PM: Yes I did say that and I believe that.

HOST: But why not just come out and say ok-

PM: Well I’ll use my own words not yours thanks very much, and I did say that we are doing it tough - absolutely. Tough because I think there’s been a set of issues where Western Australia’s looked at Federal Labor and said ‘are they really listening to us?’, and I came to Western Australia on the weekend with the message: yes I am, and that’s why I acted on the Resources Super Profits Tax, on health and on the GST.

Clearly in terms of the broad national debate at the moment with carbon pricing, these are difficult days in which I’m taking the right decisions for the nation’s future. They’re not necessary easy decisions but they are right and we are working to get carbon priced so big polluters pay the price and we use some of that money to protect Australian jobs, to tackle climate change, but overwhelmingly it will be used so that 9 out of 10 households in Australia get a

tax cut or an increase in their payments.

HOST: Do you believe what Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston believes and that we’re winning the war in Afghanistan, do you really believe that?

PM: Yes I do.

HOST: How are we winning it?

PM: We’ve broken to momentum of the insurgency, more ground is stabilised and controlled, we’re training the Afghan National Army, we’ve shown great success at that, we’re training Afghan police as well, and the aim is to transition to Afghan security leadership so that’s why the training is so important.

I always judge this not only through the reports I get in Canberra from the Defence Force but I judge it through the eyes of our soldiers when I speak to them, the people who have been to Afghanistan and a great Western Australian, Ben Roberts- Smith, your VC winner, would tell you if he was on the radio now, having been to Afghanistan on a number of occasions, that progress is being made, that we are winning.

HOST: CHOGM is coming to this state, what role will you have and have you spoke to Colin Barnett about what role we’ll take as far as the world’s stage is concerned?

PM: Well CHOGM of course is a meeting for heads of government so I will be chairing the meeting as the Prime Minister of the host nation, Australia. So I will be there in the lead up to CHOGM governing the country from Western Australia, and then I will be there as the chair of the meeting showcasing Perth and Western Australia to the world. I’ve talked to Premier Barnett about what a fantastic opportunity this is to showcase Perth and Western Australia to the world and we will be working on that together.

The Leader’s Retreat that is being constructed right now is a beautiful venue and that is going to show Perth in its best light, and then we will have literally thousands of visitors from around the world, so it’s not just the heads of government, CHOGM will involve thousands of visitors from the around the world participating in the business event, in the associated youth and women’s events, in the cultural events, there’ll be sporting events. So this is going to be a huge festival-

HOST: I’m exhausted just listening to that.

PM: There will be lots for the people of WA to participate in, but that means there will also be lots of ways of showing WA to the world on the world’s stage so it is tremendously exciting.

HOST: Prime Minister did you seek Nic Naitanui’s mark on the weekend?

PM: No I didn’t, I had a pretty busy weekend so not too much appreciation of any of the sporting contests on the weekend for me.

HOST: What about the Bulldog’s, they’ve been away, can they still win the flag?

PM: Well I’ve spoken to you about tough days, I’m going to have to say tough days too, but we know what it’s like at the Bulldogs to see our way through tough days, we’re full of fighting spirit.

HOST: Who’s got a bigger job, Rodney Eade or yourself?

PM: I think I’ve got the bigger job, but Rodney’s got a very, very important job.

HOST: He has, on occasions.

PM: Certainly important to me.

HOST: Well it’s good to see you over in the west, let’s hope you spend a bit more time before CHOGM.

PM: I’ll certainly be there on a number of occasions and I will literally by governing the country from Western Australia in the lead up to CHOGM which is going to be a fantastic set of events.

HOST: Alright, thanks for your time.

PM: Thank you.