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Transcript 18011

Transcript of doorstop interview, Sydney

Photo of Gillard, Julia

Gillard, Julia

Period of Service: 24/06/2010 to 27/06/2013

More information about Gillard, Julia on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 18/07/2011

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 18011

PM: Thank you. I'm here today with Tanya Plibersek, in her electorate of Sydney and we are visiting together this amazing building, 1 Bligh Street, Sydney. This is the future for Australian office buildings, this is Australia's most sustainable office tower, making the best possible use of the clean energy technologies that are available today, making the best use of the sunshine for generating power, making the best use of design so that the building minimises its energy costs, making the best use of water recycling too. This is a building that has been put together with energy efficiency, sustainability and clean energy at the forefront of everybody's thinking.

And it's a building that has used great Australian technology, so for example the solar technology we were just looking at on the roof, is great Australian technology.

Putting a price on carbon will mean that this increasingly becomes the norm - people will look for a clean energy future, they will look to reduce their energy costs, so they'll look for the best ways of using the sun's power, they'll look for the best ways of using clean energy sources, they'll look for the smartest design to cut their energy needs. It's been a great privilege to be here today and to see some of this fantastic technology on display.

As Tanya and I walked out here, Tanya said it's looking very space age, as the door went up and yes it is looking very space age, but it's here today, working in Sydney as an office tower, where people go about their daily business and we will see more of this in the future as a result of putting a price on carbon.

We're putting a price on carbon so we can do the right thing by our environment and have the clean energy jobs of the future, like the Australian jobs that are in making the technology that this business uses. We are aiming to cut carbon pollution by at least five per cent by 2020.

Now, I do note today that Mr Abbott is also in Sydney and he's been talking to a group of older Australians and he's been criticising the target of cutting carbon pollution by minus five per cent. Well, I'm fairly amazed to hear that from Mr Abbott, because until today he has said to the Australian people that he shares the target of cutting carbon pollution by at least five per cent by 2020. So, if today Mr Abbott has changed his policy and he no longer believes in cutting carbon pollution, then he should say that very directly to the Australian people.

If he still supports cutting carbon pollution by at least five per cent, then he should explain why he's sitting with a group of older Australians and criticising that target.

The government has made the decisions that are necessary to cut carbon pollution. We've got a very clear plan for the nation's future - a plan to put a price on carbon from 1 July next year, that around 500 of our biggest polluters will pay, a plan to reduce carbon pollution by at least 160 million tonnes by 2020, a plan to secure the clean energy jobs of the future, like the jobs that have been in making the technology for this building, and a plan to assist nine out of ten households.

For example, the senior Australians Mr Abbott was talking to today are the kind of the people who will see an increase of $338 in their pension, $510 if they're a couple, and on average pensioner households will come out $210 in front of the amount of money they need to assist them with the flow through impacts of pricing carbon.

So, I hope Mr Abbott said to them today too, that he wants to take all of that money away from them.

I'm very happy to take any questions.

JOURNALIST: PM, in today's poll and also compensation measure that you have announced, why do you think the carbon tax policy is struggling (inaudible)?

PM: As I've said before, democracy isn't one long opinion poll and as I've said before I always expected this to be tough and to get tougher. We are explaining a big reform that our nation needs for its future. A big reform, which means we will have a better environment and we will have a stronger economy.

Yes, there's been a lot of fear around and that's why I've been out around the country explaining our plans to put a price on carbon, create a stronger economy, get the clean energy jobs of the future and do the right thing by the environment.

I am determined that we can look in the eyes the children of Australia and the generations to come and say we made the right decisions for their future. And I'll continue to be out explaining this to the Australian people.

Now, the Australian people will get their opportunity to decide in two years time, at the election in 2013, and I'll be very happy to fight that election on who's got a vision for this nation's future - a vision for a stronger economy, a vision for opportunity for all, a vision for tackling carbon pollution, continuing to improve schools, ensuring we're got better hospitals, making sure people have got the technology of the future, the National Broadband Network, and making sure people are secure with fairness and decency at work.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, as Deputy Prime Minister, you wanted to shelve the emissions trading scheme because it wasn't politically popular. Have you suddenly become more politically principled or less pragmatic, as you're Prime Minister now?

PM: The assumption in your question isn't an assumption I share.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, there's a suggestion in today's Herald, in the opinion pieces, there's a piece by Phil Coorey, he's saying that the Coalition has traded a policy for various lobby groups. What do you make of that, number one and number two, would you guarantee that Labor wouldn't have done anything similar if this story by Phil is correct?

PM: As Prime Minister, I can absolutely say I'll always make the decisions that are right for this nation's future. I have seen these reports and what I'd say about these reports is if this report is true then Mr Abbott has some very important questions to answer. If this report is true, then it just reinforces that Mr Abbott is all about the politics, not about making the right decisions for this country's future.

JOURNALIST: Are you feeling safe in your position? Much of the political climate, was much the same when Kevin Rudd was axed as Prime Minister, given the opinion polling, are you not the slightest bit worried about you own standing with the Australian public?

PM: I'm very determined and my colleagues are very determined to make sure that we deliver the policies and plans which will give us a stronger economy, give better opportunity to Australians and tackle climate change. We always expected it to be tough. I've said in the past it would be tough and get tougher, so we'll be out there making sure that people have got the facts that they need to decide for themselves.

JOURNALIST: Can you guarantee that you'll be leading Labor to the next election?

PM: I'll very much look forward to the 2013 campaign, where I will be there as Prime Minister, continuing to outline a vision for this country's future, a vision for a stronger economy and better opportunity for all. I'll be very happy to fight the next election as Prime Minister, on that vision for the nation's future.

JOURNALIST: John Howard has just described today's (inaudible) polls as ‘absolutely appalling', he said (inaudible) the carbon tax, but Australians are (inaudible) about the way the Greens have been described as extremists, (inaudible). How does that sit with you (inaudible)

PM: You'd expect Prime Minister Howard, former Prime Minister Howard, to be doing the things he's done all of his political life, which is advocating for the Liberal Party. Of course, Prime Minister Howard, when he was actually in this job, said to the Australian people, that we should put a price on carbon, that we should have an emissions trading scheme, that there was an advantage in being one of the first to move.

Now, here we are in 2011, we're not talking about being one of the first to move, we're talking about the risk of being left behind if we don't act and put a price on carbon to secure our clean energy future.

JOURNALIST: Didn't he say on Insiders, though, that was pre-GFC (inaudible) pre-Copenhagen?

PM: Well, I think his quotes from the time speak for themselves, where he talked about if he was going to continue as Prime Minister after the 2007 election, introducing an emissions trading scheme, and where he very proudly talked about the benefits he saw for being a first mover.

JOURNALIST: In your speech today, you said the economic instability should be no excuse not to move, so why are you being so stubborn, why shouldn't economic circumstances be taken into account?

PM: What I said in my speech this morning and what I'm very happy to repeat here, because it's an important message about our economy - yes, we have seen continuing signs of unease in Europe, and yes, we've seen unease in America too. There are European nations still struggling with big debts and high unemployment and there's some nervousness in the American economy as well. But when we look at Australia's economy we are in the part of the world that is continuing to grow strongly. Our underlying economy is strong; we're got a huge pipeline of investment coming down the track at us in resources, $430 billion in the resources sector alone. We've got low unemployment, we've got a strong budget position, so the underlying fundamentals of the Australian economy are strong.

And we have those strong underlying fundamentals today, because governments in the past have had the courage to step up to the big reforms that the nation needed. They haven't always been popular - floating the dollar, reducing tariffs, introducing superannuation, some of the big changes that were made in the past, bitterly contested at the time. But we're standing here in a strong and resilient economy because of those earlier waves of reform. Well, the responsible thing for me to do as Prime Minister, and I'm determined to do it, is to deliver the big reform our economy needs now, which is putting a price on carbon pollution, so we've still got a strong economy in the future.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, do you think that your Labor colleagues are nervous about where the party is heading and are nervous with your leadership (inaudible)?

PM: I think everybody's determined to be out there explaining our policy to the community and we'll continue to do just that.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, emotionally how do you handle being unpopular?

PM: I'm very determined to get this job done for the nation's future. I'm very determined to continue to have the courage of my convictions. This is absolutely what the nation needs for a stronger economy, a clean energy future, and to do the right thing by the environment for future generations of Australians.

Thank you very much.

Transcript 18011