Labor hits the lead in primary vote


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19-07-2010 08:00 AM


ABC Canberra 666

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ABC Canberra 666


19-07-2010 08:00 AM



19-07-2010 08:35 AM

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2010-07-19 08:00:36

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LANE, Sabra



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Labor hits the lead in primary vote -

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Labor hits the lead in primary vote

Sabra Lane reported this story on Monday, July 19, 2010 08:00:00

TONY EASTLEY: The Federal Government has been at pains to say how tough and close the August 21st
election will be. But according to today's Newspoll, Labor has hit the front at the start of the
campaign, with its primary vote overtaking the Coalition's for the first time in months. And Julia
Gillard has opened up a big lead over Tony Abbott as preferred prime minister.

With the Greens polling a healthy 12 percent, both major parties will be keenly vying for a big
share of Greens' preferences. The Prime Minister says voters will decide who governs Australia
based on what policies best suit them and their families

Julia Gillard is speaking here with Sabra Lane.

JULIA GILLARD: Well, there will be many, many polls between now and election day but I am not
looking at the polls. What I know is that this election is genuinely on a knife edge. This will be
a tough, close contest between now and election day and Australians have a decision to make about
who they want their prime minister to be, who they want the government to be.

I am obviously in this campaign saying to Australians that this is an important moment to go
forward, not back and by that I mean endorsing my vision for a sustainable Australia, for
first-class services in health and education and also, of course, making sure we keep a fair system
of workplace laws, not a return to WorkChoices.

SABRA LANE: Polls also continue to show that particularly in marginal seats that voters are very
uncomfortable with the way that Kevin Rudd was rolled. How are you going to convince those people
not to punish you and not to take a bat to you?

JULIA GILLARD: I think people will vote on the policies and the plans that will impact on them and
their families.

SABRA LANE: So you don't think they will be angry at you?

JULIA GILLARD: I think people will judge on what matters for them and their families.

SABRA LANE: There aren't really a lot of differences between what you are now pushing and what
Kevin Rudd was pushing for. He was negotiating a deal with the miners on the mining tax. There are
suggestions that he was also pushing for a regional processing centre. He said to you that he
wanted to take new policies on climate change to the election. Is it a case that you are just a new
face on the same old Labor policies that Kevin Rudd had?

JULIA GILLARD: I have brought my own perspective to the policies and announced my own vision for
this country. A vision about a sustainable Australia, that is what I have been talking in
Queensland about and will continue to discuss in Queensland today - making sure we don't hurtle
down the track to a big Australia. That we put at the forefront of our thinking sustainability,
including getting our regional cities and towns that want growth, to grow and take some pressure
off our bigger cities.

Of course I've put my own stamp on the breakthrough agreement that we had with the mining companies
giving mining communities, the mining industry certainty and also enabling us to give some great
benefits like increased superannuation for working people and a cut in the company tax rate and tax
breaks for small businesses and of course, I have also brought my own perspectives to the asylum
seeker question and moved to strengthen border protection with a real plan.

SABRA LANE: You talk about not wanting a bigger Australia. You can't stop people from having kids
and at the moment Australia does have a skill shortage and that is only going to get worse. You
need to keep up the levels of skilled migration. What are you going to do?

JULIA GILLARD: Well, I think in this country we actually have communities in very different
circumstances. In some parts of the country we have got literally more people than jobs and
congestion. In other parts of the country we have got cities and regions that are crying out for
more skilled workers. They want more people.

I believe we can work our way through to a set of policies that help us deal sustainably with these
questions. That is what I have asked Tony Burke to do as our Minister for Sustainable Population
but the measure I announced yesterday is a modest measure to take us forward, to help those
regional centres and towns that want to grow and to develop some affordable housing in those

SABRA LANE: You can't make people live in regional centres though?

JULIA GILLARD: But you can implement policies that will make a difference and the policy I
announced yesterday is one that will make a difference. We'll enable up to 15 communities around
the country to have access to funds that will help them develop affordable housing to get more
people to places that want growth and have the jobs available.

SABRA LANE: On some major policies that you have been involved in, the Building the Education
Revolution and the home insulation program, there are investigations into both. You have setup a
taskforce into the Building the Education Revolution. An auditor-general is looking at the home
insulation program.

The findings of these investigations won't be out before the election. Voters have deep concerns
about both these programs. There is a perception here that you have called an early poll too to
potentially avoid some embarrassing findings.

JULIA GILLARD: Frankly, I think that is complete nonsense. We have had an auditor-general report
into the Building the Education Revolution program. It was called for by my then-opposition
counterpart Christopher Pyne. Obviously I have moved from direct control of the education portfolio

SABRA LANE: So cost blowouts that people have been hearing about are nonsense?

JULIA GILLARD: No, no, no. I am specifically not saying that but I am just correcting the
impression you are giving that somehow a report is not going to be available before election day.
The auditor-general's report into Building the Education Revolution asked for by the Opposition
actually found that broadly, the program was meeting the aims we had set for it.

I believed we did need to focus on value for money. I wanted to do more and I set up the Building
the Education Revolution taskforce, led by a leading Australian business person, to do just that.
The first report of that taskforce will come down in August and I have guaranteed it will be
available before the election.

On the home insulation program, obviously that was run by our minister, Peter Garrett. That program
is the subject of an auditor-general's report. The auditor-general is an independent watchdog. He
makes the decisions about timing. Nothing to do with me, nothing to do with the Government but I
have acknowledged publicly, as Prime Minister, that the home insulation program became a mess,
absolutely became a mess.

I very much pass on my condolences and are very sorry for the loss that four families sustained
where we saw dreadful incidents and accidents involving four young Australians who died installing

This program was a mess. I will keenly await the auditor-general's report to see what lessons can
be learned but that report and its timing is a matter for the auditor-general and cannot be
influenced by me.

SABRA LANE: When you took over as Prime Minister three weeks ago you said you had to get on with
the business of governing yet on Saturday, two days after some serious allegations were raised too
about you allegedly welching on a deal with Kevin Rudd, again there is a perception here that you
were pretty hasty to see the Governor-General about triggering an election to try and end that

JULIA GILLARD: I just don't accept the premise of any of these questions. When I became Prime
Minister on the 24th of June I said frankly to the Australian people, I know I haven't been elected
and I want to make sure that Australians get the opportunity to exercise their vote, their
birthright, pick their prime minister, pick their government.

I gave them a pledge that we would be moving towards the polls. We are holding the polls, ordinary
general election, in the timeframe in which it is due - an ordinary election could be held any time
after the 1st of the July. We are obviously having an ordinary election on the 21st of August.

SABRA LANE: There was widespread belief that the decision to delay the emissions trading scheme
started the rot for Labor and for Kevin Rudd. You have said that the scheme will still be delayed.
Why should Australians think that you are going to do anything differently? I mean you are the
Prime Minister for still not yet.

JULIA GILLARD: I will be having something more to say about climate change during the course of the
campaign and when I say it of course, it will be a statement coming from someone who believes
climate change is real, who believes it is caused by human activity, who accepts the science.

My opponent, Tony Abbott dismisses the science basically out of hand. He has called it absolute

SABRA LANE: Do you believe if you are re-elected, will you put a price on carbon during the next

JULIA GILLARD: What I have said is that the decisions that the Government has already announced
about the carbon pollution reduction scheme stand so there is no change there but I will be having
something more to say on climate change during the course of the campaign.

SABRA LANE: Green preferences look like they are going to be pretty important in this election. Do
you concede that?

JULIA GILLARD: Oh look, I think every vote is important and obviously people will choose to
exercise their vote and choose where they want to put their preferences.

SABRA LANE: You'll need to announce something substantial if you are going to win those votes.

JULIA GILLARD: I'll be announcing policies on climate change that I think are in the nation's
interest and then it will be a question for Australians to judge whether or not they believe that
they are good policies. Anything I announce will be because I believe it is the right way forward
for this country.

SABRA LANE: Julia Gillard, thanks for your time.

JULIA GILLARD: Thank you very much.

TONY EASTLEY: Julia Gillard speaking there with Sabra Lane.