Leadership and mining tax remain top issues


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26-06-2010 08:04 AM


ABC Canberra 666

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ABC Canberra 666


26-06-2010 08:04 AM



26-06-2010 08:40 AM

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2010-06-26 08:04:53

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JACKSON, Elizabeth


HALL, Ashley

SMITH, Stephen, MP


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Leadership and mining tax remain top issues -

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The Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is making the most of painting the Labor leadership change as a
bloody execution, potentially souring any positive attention Julia Gillard might garner as a new
Prime Minister. The Government's problems remain, with plenty of pressure on ministers to sort out
the debate about the resource super profits tax.

ELIZABETH JACKSON: Australia's new Prime Minister Julia Gillard now faces three big policy hurdles
- the mining tax, climate change and border protection. And daunting though that task appears there
is some encouragement for the new Prime Minister this morning with a number of newspaper opinion
polls putting Julia Gillard and the Labor Party well ahead of Tony Abbott and the Coalition.

But in many ways a remarkable week in federal politics ended in much the same way that it began;
with a focus on leadership and the resources super profits tax. With talks scheduled for early next
week, the controversial mining tax has taken top priority on Julia Gillard's to do list.

Ashley Hall reports from Canberra.

ASHLEY HALL: If web polls and internet chatter are any guide, many Australians remain bewildered by
the speed at which the Labor Party dumped Kevin Rudd from the leadership. Indeed, the Foreign
Minister Stephen Smith only found out the challenge was on as it was underway.

STEPHEN SMITH: A very difficult judgement to make about whether the overall interests - party,
government and national - were served by a change of leadership or by boxing on. In the end, the
judgement of the now Prime Minister Julia Gillard was that the issue had to be seized.

ASHLEY HALL: Mr Smith told the 7:30 Report it remains unclear if voters will punish Labor for
dumping its leader with such callous efficiency.

STEPHEN SMITH: Well the ultimate judgement for that by the Australian people will be at the
election, which will be sometime this year. But these things are always difficult, both
politically, but also personally; they're bruising... lots of emotion.

ASHLEY HALL: The Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is doing his best to capitalise on that emotion. In
doing so, he's rejected Kerry O'Brien's suggestion that the Liberal Party is no stranger to bloody
leadership battles.

TONY ABBOTT: There is no equivalent on our side of politics of the Sussex Street death squads,
which are now stalking the Labor Party...

KERRY O'BRIEN: Death squads? Execution... death squads start on as knocks at the door.

TONY ABBOTT: Kerry... Kerry, they execute leaders who they don't like.

ASHLEY HALL: Earlier this week Mr Abbott went to great lengths to reject reports he'd told his
party colleagues that they were in reach of a famous victory, but he's no longer denying it.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But when it was pointed

TONY ABBOTT: That wasn't all I said...

KERRY O'BRIEN: So you did say that?

TONY ABBOTT: But that wasn't all I said.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But you did say that. So you're confirming that you did say those words 'victory is
within our grasp, we are within reach of a famous victory'?

TONY ABBOTT: There is no doubt. We must have been within reach of a famous victory; otherwise the
Labor Party would not have dumped their leader in a fit of panic about its prospects.

ASHLEY HALL: Mr Abbott insists it's not the leader it should have dumped, but its resources super
profits tax. The Government insists it won't be doing that.

MARTIN FERGUSON: The tax is on the table. Industry accepts it's on the table. Those in the industry
who have a regards for the responsibilities to Australia understand that there is a requirement to
pay more tax because they've actually done well, especially in commodities such as iron ore and
coal and petroleum over the last seven or eight years.

ASHLEY HALL: The Resources Minister Martin Ferguson says negotiations with individual mining
companies are progressing well.

MARTIN FERGUSON: I think we've actually made good progress, and even on Friday I was engaged in
discussions in Canberra with another company or two who'd been down to Treasury for Wayne Swan and

As to to going through some of the detailed analysis of their investment profiles, which is
enabling us to, I think, move to a position by which we've got some understanding of very important
principles for the purposes of putting in place generous transitional arrangements.

ASHLEY HALL: The change in leader has bought the Government some time to settle the debate over the
mining tax, with the miners suspending their anti-tax advertising campaigns, for now. But there's
still pressure to resolve it quickly; at least one group is warning the ads will start again if
there's no significant progress made within the next two weeks.

ELIZABETH JACKSON: Ashley Hall reporting from Canberra.