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Transcript 16849

Transcript of interview ABC 936

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: 13/10/2009

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 16849

HOST: Kevin Rudd, are you there?

PM: Your optimism was misplaced Tim, I got cut off.

HOST: I apologise for that and a very good morning to you it's great to have you with us.

PM: Are you in an echo chamber or something mate?

HOST: I'm in a planetarium if you don't mind, where are you?

PM: Well that's what you do of a Tuesday morning, you go to a planetarium. I'm in downtown Hobart. It's great to be back in Hobart.

HOST: Now let's get down to a couple of issues that are certainly going to be prominent today. First is this suggestion that Nielsen poll in the Age today says that Australians are warming to the idea or perhaps just less opposed to the idea of nuclear power as a way out of a climate change difficulty in the future 49% now support the use of nuclear power in Australia. Where does your government stand on that?

PM: Well we believe that whereas some counties around the world have no alternative but to use nuclear power, that is not the case in Australia. We do not support nuclear power plants in Australia and I would be interested to hear where the liberals now stand on that. In the past they left open the possibility of nuclear power plants around Australia. We have a rich range of energy options in Australia, we are working on those, clean coal initiatives, renewable energy initiatives, solar initiatives, large scale solar initiatives. We believe we've got a rich array of energy options for the future that's what we are working on, that doesn't include nuclear power plants scattered around Australia.

HOST: Do you not think that there's any place for nuclear in Australia? Almost 50% of Australians now according to this poll think it might, you know, be a useful adjunct.

PM: My job as Prime Minister is to act in the national interest. The national interest for Australia lies in, first of all, acting on greenhouse gas emissions, passing a carbon pollution reduction scheme through the Australian Parliament and secondly, participating constructively and qualitatively in a global outcome on greenhouse gas emissions at Copenhagen at the end of this year. That's what's important now.

For Australia what we also need to be doing is investing in renewable energy which is why the government put through the parliament an increase in the renewable energy target to 20% by 2020. That's 20% of Australia's electricity generation coming from renewable energy by then. That's what we're doing. That's where our policy priorities lie. That's what we believe is in the national interest.

HOST: The Lowy Institute poll says that climate change and global warming are slipping down the list of security concerns for Australia, is the government perhaps out of step then with the concerns of everyday Australians? The sort of Australians that you're talking about?

PM: Well again Tim our responsibility is to the long term national interest. We live on the hottest and driest continent on earth. We have a responsibility for our kids, for our grandkids, for the future of our environment, and for the future of our economy. That means acting on climate change whether it's popular or not. Therefore that's why the government has brought in the renewable energy target and increased to 20%. That's why we have sought now already on one occasion to have the parliament passed but the liberals have opposed it, the carbon pollution reduction scheme.

That's why Mr Turnbull seems to be using every device known to man to avoid a substantive debate and a substantive vote on the future of the carbon pollution reduction scheme before Copenhagen. And on top of that Copenhagen at the end of the year brings together all the economies around the world; what we need is a global outcome on climate change as well, with Australia playing its part, otherwise we put at risk this continent which is already the hottest and the driest on earth.

HOST: Ross Garnaut was pretty critical about the way in which Australia is stepping up to the plate on climate change and global warming though, and in relation of course to that, the ETS etcetera. How do you respond to what Ross Garnaut said last night on 7:30?

PM: Well the carbon pollution reduction scheme, if you're seeking to put something as complex as that through, first of all a community consultation, secondly through a consultation with all the arms of Australian industry and their peak bodies and then thirdly try and herd into a single room all the factions which currently make up the divided rabble otherwise called the Federal coalition and the Federal Liberal party.

Let me tell you it's a very un-pretty process to watch. Had we had instead, I've got to say, a liberal party which can have a unified position on climate change over the last six to nine months, the period of time that the government's legislation has been out there, we would have had a better debate in the national interest, to work in the national interest.

HOST: It's a complicated matter Prime Minister, perhaps that's why it's taking this many months to get though. We're almost out of time and I appreciate yours of course. I must ask about a story in the West Australian today about the Indonesian navy swooping on a boatload of asylum seekers headed for Australia, 260 of them, and a conversation you have with President Yudhoyono from Indonesia. What did you talk to President Yudhoyono about and what role did the Australian and Indonesian navies play in the fate of these asylum seekers?

PM: Well first of all the Australian Government makes no apology whatsoever for deploying the most hardline measures necessary to deal with the problems of illegal immigration into Australia. No apology whatsoever. Secondly I'm in regular contact with President Yudhoyono. When we spoke over the weekend we spoke about two sets of matters.

One of course dealt with the most recent and tragic earthquake in Sumatra and HMAS Kanimbla has been dispatched to offer assistance there and secondly of course we talked about our continued cooperation on people smuggling - as we've discussed in the past and as I'll continue to discuss with him in the future.

Working with our friends in the region it's important to deal with this because of the huge push factors coming from political disturbances in Sri Lanka and Afghanistan and the wider Middle East. This is a problem for all countries in the region - that's why we work closely with our friends in Jakarta.

HOST: Sorry Prime Minster we're out of time - I would have like to have pursed that with you a little further. But I thank you indeed for your time this morning.

PM: Good to be back in Hobart. Thanks.

Transcript 16849