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Transcript 18182

Transcript of interview with Sabra Lane, ABC AM

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: 12/10/2011

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 18182

HOST: Good morning Prime Minister. Welcome to AM.

PM: Good morning.

HOST: You will usher through this package today. Polls show that it's deeply unpopular. Voters seemingly can't wait to vote you out. Has it been worth it?

PM: It's not about the polls, Sabra. It's about our nation seizing a clean energy future.

This is a significant day for the Australian nation, not only for Australians today but for the generations of children to come who will live in a cleaner environment as a result of today's legislation. And we will also see thousands of people getting clean energy jobs.

That's what this package is about, as well as providing tax cuts and increasing pensions.

HOST: This has cost two opposition leaders their job, it cost Kevin Rudd his. What makes you think that voters, or even your own caucus, will spare you?

PM: Sabra, this legislation is going through today. The House of Representatives will vote today and the legislation will go through. The nation has been debating this for years.

And, yes, it's been a difficult debate. This is a major reform. And when we look at the opposition to the reform today - at the Leader of the Opposition for example - he's on the record in the past as having supported a price on carbon.

So, yes, it's been a difficult debate but the debate is now concluded. We need to act to seize a clean energy future, to make sure that our biggest polluters are paying the price of their carbon pollution, and that we see the reduction of carbon pollution by 160 million tonnes in 2020 - the equivalent of taking 45 million cars off the road.

HOST: If the polls are correct, you'll be turfed out of office in two years. What makes you think that you can turn those voters around?

PM: Sabra, you're obviously focused on the politics of this. I'm focused on the nation's future.

You know, you might be asking me questions about how many green jobs will we see, clean jobs? How many billions of dollars will see invested in clean energy and renewable energy? The figure there is $100 billion.

What will we see in terms of the conduct of the biggest polluters in our nation? Well, we will see them reduce their carbon pollution.

What will we see in tax cuts? Well, we'll see people earning less than $80,000 getting a tax cut most of them a tax cut of $300. We'll see pensioners, on average, $210 better off for pensioner households.

So that's the magnitude of this reform.

Let's not get distracted by the political chatter. Let's actually focus on what this means for the Australian economy and the Australian nation and our environment for the future.

HOST: Well Tony Abbott is promising to repeal this if the Coalition does win the next election and he says this promise to repeal the tax is a pledge written in blood.

PM: Well, heavens above, Sabra. I remember the 2004 election campaign where Tony Abbott then gave a pledge - rock solid, iron clad guarantee - that he wouldn't change the Medicare safety net.

And guess what, immediately after being elected he changed the Medicare safety net.

HOST: What about your own promise just before the last election that there would be no carbon tax under a government you led? You can' talk about promises-

PM: -Very happy to explain that, Sabra. And when I said those words I meant every one of them.

And then the Australian people voted for this Parliament, for the House of Representatives that will vote today. And in this House of Representatives I had a choice between acting or not acting to get us to the emissions trading scheme that I talked to the Australian people about during the last election campaign.

HOST: Do you regret-

PM: -I chose to act and we are acting today.

And on Tony Abbott and repeal - let's be very clear about this. Half of the Liberal Party members who walk into Parliament today to vote against this legislation believe in putting a price on carbon.

Every living Liberal leader except for Tony Abbott believes in putting a price on carbon. Tony Abbott, in earlier days, has said he believed in putting a price on carbon.

For Tony Abbott, this is all about the politics and political theatre. People should not take his assertions about repeal seriously. They don't deserve to be believed.

HOST: Do you regret using those form of words now, though, given how much trouble it's caused you?

PM: Oh Sabra, what's done is done. My focus is on the future. We will ensure through this legislation that we cut carbon pollution. We'll give people tax cuts.

I'm very proud of the fact that associated with this package we will be using money paid by our biggest polluters to increase the tax free threshold to better reward people for working. That will mean a million people won't be in the tax system.

It means women coming back to work after having kids will see more money in their pocket.

It will be easier and more rewarding to make a journey from welfare to work.

These are reforms that the Australian nation will benefit from, and that's my focus.

HOST: How many years will it actually take, though, before we know that emissions are actually decreasing under this scheme?

PM: Well, you will see carbon pollution reduced by at least 160 million tonnes in 2020.

HOST: When will we see it start to work?

PM: Well, already, Sabra, I can talk to you about businesses that are factoring in the carbon price and changing their plans about how they'll do business.

HOST: But when we will see those emissions drop?

PM: Well, Sabra you will be able to go out with your television cameras and equipment over the next few years and see things like landfill - where we put our rubbish - instead of just having carbon pollution and methane going into the sky, capturing it to make electricity.

You'll be able to go to coal mines that are doing the same thing - capturing fugitive gases, carbon pollution methane, to make electricity.

You'll be able to see our biggest polluters changing their conduct and behaviour.

You'll see more solar, you'll see more wind and you'll be able to report on it to Australians.

HOST: What about being able to see a graph and emissions dropping?

PM: Well, Sabra, all of the numbers are in the Treasury modelling and other information that we have given out with the carbon pricing package.

And what that shows is in 2020 there will be at least 160 million tonnes less of carbon pollution - the equivalent of taking 45 million cars off the road.

Of course we're on a journey to that, year by year, step by step.

HOST: Given the Opposition's Sophie Mirabella's been thrown out of Parliament for 24 hours, are you tempted now to bring forward the debate on the migration changes to allow your Malaysia swap deal?

PM: Look, I anticipate that the migration legislation will be dealt with tomorrow.

The focus today will be on putting a price on carbon, a big reform for our country. If you care about the economy. If you care about the environment, this is an important day for our nation.

HOST: Sure it's an important day. But also this is an important piece of legislation. Are you tempted to bring it forward?

PM: Well, Sabra I've just answered your question. I anticipate that the migration legislation will be debated tomorrow.

HOST: If you can't get the numbers to support this bill through the Lower House, will you pull this bill from being voted on on the floor?

PM: Well, Sabra let's deal with the important reform before the Parliament today, and we'll deal with the migration bill in due course.

Yes, they are both important pieces of legislation. They're both pieces of legislation where Tony Abbott is entirely motivated by saying no and by the politics rather than by the national interest.

But the focus today will be on putting a price on carbon pollution, having our biggest polluters pay for something that they now do for nothing, and consequently there is no incentive to change.

With a price on carbon pollution we will see less carbon pollution. We'll be able to cut taxes, we'll be able to increase pensions. That's the work of today.

HOST: Just on the 14-year-old Australian boy in custody in Bali. You've been criticised by former diplomats for speaking to the 14-year-old. Do you regret doing that?

PM: I think, Sabra, it's important that people understand the circumstances here.

I've been staying in touch with our ambassador, as people would expect me to do. This is obviously a distressing situation for this boy and his family.

When I rang our ambassador he was with the father of the boy. He said to me “Do you want me to hand the phone over to the father? He's just here.” And it seemed to me a very natural thing to do to say yes.

The father in turn then said “Would you like to speak to my son?” And of course I said yes.

HOST: Prime Minister, thanks for your time this morning.

PM: Thank you.

Transcript 18182