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Transcript 16410

Interview with Eddie McGuire 'Australia Unites' Victorian Bushfire Appeal Nine Network Telethon

Photo of Rudd, Kevin

Rudd, Kevin

Period of Service: 03/12/2007 to 24/06/2010

More information about Rudd, Kevin on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 12/02/2009

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 16410

MCGUIRE: Now, ladies and gentlemen, it's time to cross to Canberra and the office of the Prime Minister and it gives me the greatest pleasure to welcome the Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd. Welcome Aboard, Prime Minister.

PM: Thanks to you and all the other guys are doing down there for this fantastic telethon, it's good to see Australians are digging deep when our fellow Australians need it. And it makes me proud as the country's Prime Minister just to see such huge generosity.

MCGUIRE: Prime Minister, far North Queensland has its own problems with the flood, Victoria has been devastated by the fires, we have got the world financial crisis still happening all around us, yet the people of Australia have responded as we always would hope for, but they have done it exactly the way that we could only pray for?

PM: That's right Eddie. I mean, back on Australia Day, I was saying a few things about what this spirit of Australianness is all about. I think it's about three things. It's about courage, it's about resilience, and it's about compassion. You know, looking after your mates and looking after your neighbours and people you haven't actually even met before.

And what I see across the response to floods in the north and these terrible fires in the south, are all those great Australian values and virtues on display in a very practical Australian way. It just makes me feel proud to be an Australian.

MCGUIRE: Prime Minister, you announced today there will be a national day of mourning. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?

PM: It's important, Eddie, that the nation has a formal opportunity to grieve. I mean, first and foremost for the families who have been directly affected, but for their communities but also for the country at large.

I mean, we have all been assaulted by this in our deepest emotions. That's why the Premier of Victoria and I have agreed, and together with the Leader of the Opposition here in Canberra, on a national day of mourning and on a national memorial service.

The details will be announced very soon, and they are being worked out at the moment with the Council of Churches.

MCGUIRE: Prime Minister, there are stories in the paper today and in the media about the implementation of an early warning system, is that on the agenda now? It seems a lot of people are frustrated that had been parked for a number of years. Is that something that will be implemented?

PM: Well you are right Eddie. This has been bouncing between governments since about 2003. I am determined to see this thing implemented across the nation in a nationally consistent way as rapidly as possible in the year ahead. We have just got to make this happen. If it means cracking heads to make sure it happens for the future, then we will do that.

MCGUIRE: Prime Minister, touching scenes in Parliament during the week. It uplifted the whole of Australia I think to see our leaders from both sides, just not only standing for the minute's silence as we are seeing in the House of Representatives but to hear such moving and touching speeches from both sides of the House, in fact from everyone who spoke.

That must be something that makes you proud when you see our leaders, certainly for us, to see our leaders stand up and stand for something?

PM: I think what has been really good about the Parliament and the way in which it has responded to this week is politics all pushed to one side, the normal sort of stoush as people have concentrated on what's really important.

I think one of the best speeches this week in parliament was delivered by one of the Liberals, Russell Broadbent, who actually spoke with real passion and his experience of Ash Wednesday personally, about what it's like to be in the middle of hell.

But you know, the real heroes aren't the bunch of politicians. It's every CFA volunteer out there who has been a hero in the front line, and to each and every one of them watching tonight, can I just say as Prime Minister of the country, how proud I am of each one of you. Each one of you is a living Australian hero.

MCGUIRE: Prime Minister, finally in wrapping up, a moment for you now to speak to the whole of Australia, particularly those people who have been affected the most by this disaster?

PM: Thanks Eddie. You know, what we must do as a nation is rally around. That's what all of you are doing tonight by tuning in to this telethon and digging deep. But you know, here's the trick: it's not just what we do today and this week and next week when it's all fresh in the news, it's what we do throughout the year and next year and the year beyond.

And what I say to all Victorians and all Australians is, we are committed to rebuilding each of these communities, brick by brick, school by school, house by house, until the job is done. And with the support of the Australian people, digging deep like they are tonight, we are going to get the job done.

MCGUIRE: Thank you very much Prime Minister.

Transcript 16410