Title Transcript of doorstop interview: Melbourne: 11 April 2008: Visit to Frankston; Olympics; Defence; tour.
Database Press Releases
Date 11-04-2008
Source LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
Author NELSON, Brendan, (former MP)
Citation Id VD8R6
Cover date Friday, 11 April 2008
Format Online Text
In Government no
Item Online Text: 1730868
Key item No
MP no
Pages 4p.
Party LPA
Speech No
System Id media/pressrel/VD8R6


Transcript of doorstop interview: Melbourne: 11 April 2008: Visit to Frankston; Olympics; Defence; tour.

Fri, 11th April 2008

NELSON DOORSTOP - MELBOURNE - VISIT TO FRANKSTON, OLYMPICS, DEFENCE, TOUR ... The Hon Dr Brendan Nelson MP Leader of the Opposition

E&OE

DR NELSON :

We’re here in Frankston today to meet and listen to a range of families who have children with Type 1 diabetes. Today in Australia we’re living in a country where a single mother with two children who have insulin dependent diabetes can’t afford to buy an insulin pump for her two children. We should not after this Budget that Mr Rudd should be putting together, live in Australia where any parent feels that they are not able to do the very best for their child because they don’t have the money to get an insulin pump.

5,000 Australian children who are suffering with diabetes who have to have two or three injections a day should not have to suffer in that way. Our country is going well thanks to the strong economy that’s been given to Mr Rudd and Mr Swan over the last 10 years and it will cost around $35 million to make sure that 5,000 Australian children get access to an insulin pump.

We should not live in an Australia where if you’ve got the money, or you can afford to borrow the money, that you can get an insulin pump for your child, but if you’re a sole parent with not one but two children suffering from diabetes that you’re not able to do it. The insulin pumps are essential, not only to make sure that kids with diabetes can live normal lives in Australia but that they can also live long and healthy lives.

QUESTION:

Dr Nelson you just mentioned the $35 million is the equivalent to a seat on the UN Security Council, do you think that providing these is more important than getting Australia at that forum?

DR NELSON :

Well look the ideal or the aspiration of Australia getting into the United Nations Security Council is something that has some merit. But I suspect the parents of children who have diabetes, parents who have one or two or even three jobs between them who still can’t afford to get a insulin pump for their child, would think that getting their child an insulin pump and having normal life expectancy and living a normal life like any other kid would actually be a higher priority.

Without lifting a finger the Australian economy, because of what Peter Costello and John Howard did over the last ten years will deliver about a $20 billion surplus this year. We should make sure that we live in an Australia where we make sure that our kids, their health, their wellbeing is our highest priority. The health and integrity of human life, to make sure that kids with diabetes in modern Australia are able to get an insulin pump to see that they are able to live normal lives and long lives.

QUESTION:

It seems that the situation now has arisen because of the two tier system of private health versus Medicare. Which is something that your government introduced. What would you say about that?

DR NELSON :

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Rudd is yet to make such a commitment. Private health insurance, families with private health insurance get a 30 per cent rebate for their private health insurance. The Government needs to guarantee that that rebate will continue. But importantly the most important thing is, that it shouldn’t matter how much money you’ve got, it shouldn’t matter where you live in Australia , if you have a child that has insulin dependent diabetes the Australian Government needs to make the money available. The $8,000 available to you so your child can get an insulin pump.

I mean we still today live in an Australia, unfortunately, where a single mother trying to raise two children, both with diabetes, cannot afford to give her children the very best that they need and they deserve.

QUESTION:

With regard to the foiled terror plot in China , what impact should that have on Australia ’s involvement in the Olympics?

DR NELSON :

Australia naturally should continue to go to the Olympic Games. All of the preparations that are put in place should continue and under no circumstances should we do anything than other compete and compete at our very best.

QUESTION:

Does it concern you, the safety, given that, if these allegations are true the lengths that these people were going to, to injure athletes and spectators?

DR NELSON :

Well we’ve got to remember that we’re living in a world, unfortunately, that’s characterised by a resurgent totalitarianism. We’ve got Islamic and other extremists throughout the world that will use any key international event to try to press home their violent message. We’re Australians, we stand up for key values including freedom and it’s very important that we participate in the Games. The key here of course is the plot was foiled.

QUESTION:

How should we handle the baton relay in Australia ?

DR NELSON :

It’s a matter for the IOC as to whether the torch relay will come to Australia . If it does come to Australia , as Australians we’ve got to show the rest of the world, that if we do have concerns about it and we support the right of Australians to protest that they do so peacefully and lawfully.

QUESTION:

Dr Nelson were you aware that in 2007 the Australian Defence Department hired mercenaries to work for it?

DR NELSON :

No I’m not.

QUESTION:

It’s your department, surely you’d, you would have been across it?

DR NELSON :

Well I won’t comment on it.

QUESTION:

So were you aware of anything?

DR NELSON :

Well as I say I won’t comment on it and I’m not aware of it.

QUESTION:

Why won’t you comment?

DR NELSON :

Well I don’t have to. So I don’t need to.

QUESTION:

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Surely as minister at the time though you bear some responsibility?

DR NELSON :

Well in terms of mercenaries what are you talking about?

QUESTION:

Just, links that we’ve made, payments to companies who were performing tasks in various danger zones.

DR NELSON :

I’m not going to comment on what defence was doing as a part of its operational matters, now or any time in the recent past.

QUESTION:

Do you support the use of mercenaries?

DR NELSON :

I won’t comment on it.

QUESTION:

How do you think your listening tour’s going at the moment?

DR NELSON :

It’s going pretty well. We’ve been to almost, in fact we’ve been to almost all parts of Australia . We’ve still got a week or more to go and throughout the country it’s obvious that Australians are concerned about the cost of living and home loans and feeding and clothing and housing their children. Water is a key issue as is infrastructure. Access to housing and increasingly kids getting into the rental market amongst other things. A lot of Australians are concerned that over the next year this is going to be a pretty tough year for our country. And we’ve still got, even though we’ve got strong economies in Western Australia and Queensland , in those states there are still people that are struggling to put petrol in their car and are worried about keeping their homes.

QUESTION:

There are some moves that one of Kevin Rudd ’s wife’s companies hasn’t actually been disclosed. He’s been pretty particular about saying they have all been disclosed, what’s your position on that?

DR NELSON :

I’ve seen these reports in the Australian newspaper today and it concerns me that Mr Rudd has failed to fully disclose the business interests of his wife. He managed to disclose a pen but apparently has not been able to disclose a company that his wife has that earned $160,000 in taxpayers’ money over the last four years. We need to know if there are other things which Mr Rudd has not disclosed and if so what are they.

QUESTION:

How serious is this?

DR NELSON :

It’s very important that every Member of Parliament fully disclose according to the laws and guidelines all of their business interests and Mr Rudd has failed to, apparently, to disclose the company and interests that are held by his wife. I don’t accept the statement made by his office that in some way it’s a dormant company therefore it doesn’t need to be disclosed. I think he needs to answer the questions that have been put by this disclosure now that there is a company

that his wife has that has not been disclosed and indeed he needs to be asked if there’s anything else that he’s failed to disclose.

QUESTION:

Are you loathe to make a big issue out of it after the backlash that came onto your own party last year in your attempts to mark him over things like the Brian Burke affair and other stock and chair issues?

DR NELSON :

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Well that’s nonsense, of course not. We read these reports today that he’s failed to disclose a company that his wife continues to have that has been paid $160,000 in public monies over the last four years. And you ask yourself why is it that Mr Rudd is diligent enough to disclose the fact he’s received a pen, or a bottle of Grange Hermitage wine, but for some reason he’s forgotten the fact that his wife still has a company that earned $160,000 over the last four years. They’re the questions that he needs to answer.

QUESTION:

Are you expecting any further resignations over the next few weeks?

DR NELSON :

No.

Fri, 25th July 2008

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Authorised by Brian Loughnane, Liberal Party of Australia, Cnr Blackall & Macquarie Sts, Barton ACT 2600

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