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Transcript 18257

Transcript of doorstop interview, Melbourne

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: 09/11/2011

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 18257

PM: Overnight we've seen another highly distressing incident in Afghanistan, three Australian soldiers have been wounded as a result of the actions of a rogue Afghan National Army soldier who using an automatic weapon and a grenade launcher fired upon our troops wounding three.

The three wounded soldiers have been medically evacuated to Kandahar, their condition is serious but they are receiving the best of possible care. This incident following the dreadful, dreadful circumstances of the 29th of October when three Australians were killed and seven were wounded by an Afghan National Army soldier will cause a lot of Australians today to question our mission in Afghanistan and to feel a real sense of distress. These attacks corrode trust, and I am very conscious that this attack, coming so soon after the dreadful killings of the 29th of October, will work to cause Australians to question our mission in Afghanistan and the trust we should have in Afghan National Army soldiers.

To the people of Australia on this difficult day I do want to say the following: I have just been in Afghanistan meeting with our troops and with our commanding officers. Progress is being made in Uruzgan Province, progress is being made to expand security there. Training the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police is pivotal to our mission, our purpose there is to train Afghan people so that they can provide security for their own nation and so we can transition to Afghan led security and ultimately bring our troops back from Afghanistan.

There are around 300,000 Afghan National Army soldiers and so our training mission is Uruzgan is on track to train Afghan National Army soldiers at the pace we had determined to do that training and work is happening across Afghanistan to train Afghan National Army soldiers.

As distressing as these incidents are, as dreadful as these incidents are, our mission in Afghanistan does need to continue, training is pivotal to that mission and our purpose is Afghanistan is to deny Afghanistan as a country in which terrorists can train to reap violence around the world.

I'm very conscious that today three Australian families have received to the news that their loved ones have been wounded in such dreadful circumstances. To those Australian families I say my thoughts and the thoughts of the Australian nation are with them as they deal with this dreadful news today.

I'll take questions on Afghanistan before we turn to any other issues for today.

JOURNALIST: (Inaudible)

PM: These incidents do corrode trust, I think that's obvious, we don't know yet the motivations of this Afghan National Army soldier, he has escaped and obviously has been pursued in Afghanistan right now, we don't know the motivations, but I also know from meeting with our troops in my visit there earlier this week that our troops are highly motivated to see the mission through and to get the job done.

JOURNALIST: (Inaudible) working alongside (inaudible).

PM: That is the purpose of their mission, the purpose of their mission is to push back the insurgency, to make the area of Uruzgan province secure and to train Afghan National Army soldiers and we also have police training Afghan National Police so that the people of Afghanistan can provide the long term security for their nation.

JOURNALIST: How do we avoid this going forward?

PM: After the 29th of October incident I tasked the Minister for Defence with fully investigating that incident and making any recommendations necessary to better assist our troops. Some measures have already been taken and if there's anything more we can learn from this incident which will also be investigated by the Minister for Defence then we will take whatever measures are necessary. As the Chief of the Defence Force has made clear earlier today, it's too early to make assumptions about what has happened here, it does need a full investigation and I had the opportunity to be briefed by the Chief of Defence earlier today. The Minister for Defence is on his way to Perth and will be in a position to make a public statement later today.

JOURNALIST: What's your message to their families?

PM: My message to their families is this is the most shocking of news to know that your loved one is wounded and so far away from home but they are receiving the best of medical care and the mission that they are on is an important one for Australia and the safety of Australians. Having met with the troops not that long ago, having shared a barbeque lunch with them, even in all the difficulties and dangers that they face they are highly motivated, highly focussed and determined to see the mission through.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister you said this erodes trust, when does trust run out and if this continues to happen will you remove troops from this kind of training duty?

PM: We've got to remember why the troops are there, the troops are there to ensure that we engage in strategic denial in Afghanistan, that is we deny terrorists the ability to use Afghanistan as a place to train and we know that terrorists trained in Afghanistan have taken Australian lives and so we are there in our national interest denying terrorists a safe haven for training so that we prevent them from getting the training that they need to come and take Australian lives. The mission needs to be accomplished by training Afghan National Army soldiers, this is not an extra to the mission we are on, this is the mission we are on. Training Afghans so they can provide the long term security for their nation and deny it as an operating base for terrorism.

JOURNALIST: (Inaudible)

PM: Ok, as is clearly obvious from the backdrop and surroundings I'm here at the carbon expo meeting with people who will be part of leading us to a clean energy future and I'm happy to take questions on that or other questions of the day.

JOURNALIST: (Inaudible) Australian companies to pay a global price, yet your scheme sets a floor and cap to prevent that happening.

PM: Well we have set a floor and cap so that there can be stability in pricing but by internationally linking the scheme we will see the Australian price linked to the global price when we move to the emissions trading scheme in three years time, but we did think it was appropriate, because people are making very long term investments, to have a band in which the price will move so that we've got the benefits of linking with the international price but also the benefits of stability.

JOURNALIST: You said opposition to these kinds of great reforms such as Medicare always fail, would you extend that to Labor's opposition to the GST in 1998?

PM: The GST was introduced against trenchant Labor opposition and by the time of the next election it was apparent to us as a political party that there was no taking it back. We made some promises at the following election for limited changes to the GST but we knew that you couldn't go back and the reality is Tony Abbott knows you can't go back.

This is a great Labor reform in the tradition of Medicare and superannuation, all opposed by the Liberal Party at the time with lots of huffing and puffing but the truth is they didn't roll them back, they didn't take them back and now no Australian would walk out their door and say they want to see the abolition of Medicare or superannuation taken away.

This is a great Labor reform and for all of the theatre now, Tony Abbott has absolutely no intention of repealing this legislation.

JOURNALIST: Do you expect the Mining Council (inaudible) scare campaign to end now. There are companies that are still worried about the detail and the regulations, so -

PM: With carbon pricing?

JOURNALIST: Yes, related to carbon pricing and secondly when will we see the energy white paper and what else is there to say?

PM: Well what people say about carbon pricing is a matter for them but it is done. The legislation is through the Parliament, the price will start on 1 July next year, people will see the tax cuts in their pocket, everybody earning less than $80,000 will see a tax cut, for most of them that will be at least $300 a year. People will see pension increases, family payment increases, they'll see the tax free threshold tripled so people will better see the rewards of working. It's done. It's happening. It's starting. What people say about it is a matter for them.

JOURNALIST: Ms Gillard, you gave an answer then that the job is done (inaudible) good job now convincing not so much the various interests groups that people (inaudible) established position but rather telling voters that this is the right thing to do, that it won't hurt them?

PM: Australians will be able to judge carbon pricing through their own experience. After 1 July next year they will be able to see what carbon pricing means for them. They will hear what businesses are doing to cut carbon pollution, they'll be able to see that happening and understand how carbon pollution is being reduced and it be reduced by the equivalent of taking 45 million cars off the road in 2020. They'll see tax cuts, they'll see family payment increases, they'll see pension increases and they'll be able to assess what carbon pricing, with our biggest polluters paying the price, means for them and their family.

And they'll be able to think about their kids' future and their kids' future in an Australia that is generating less carbon pollution. So Australians will ultimately judge, with the best possible information available to them, that is their own day to day, lived experience of carbon pricing.

We'll go here and then come back, yes.

JOURNALIST: Do you think that it's going to be politically difficult for you if the difference between the Australian and the international carbon price continues to remain large and are there any circumstances such as an extended and deeper recession in Europe for instance where the Australian Government would reconsider the fixed price?

PM: Carbon pricing is done, it's finished and it'll start on 1 July next year so the scheme that's gone through the Parliament will be the scheme. On volatility in carbon markets in Europe, let's be very clear, markets are volatile in Europe - all markets are volatile in Europe as a result of the sovereign debt crisis we're seeing in the Eurozone. Where the international pricing matters in our scheme is after the three year fixed period when we move to a floating price and there is international linking. So people looking at today's volatility need to just think forward three years, we are talking about long term trends and long term pricing here.

JOURNALIST: (Inaudible) one of the transitions here (inaudible) was natural gas. The Greens seem to be talking in very absolute terms about the value of coal seam gas, does that concern you at all?

PM: We believe coal seam gas will be part of the energy mix of the future. There will be a diverse range of energy sources for the future. We are very focused on clean energy sources and on renewable energy. Coal seam gas will be part of the mix. There is a set of issues about coal seam gas including land use issues and planning issues which are overwhelmingly within the domain of state governments.

As a Federal Government, what we can do on coal seam gas is continue to provide scientific information, our CSIRO for example does provide scientific information, we can continue with coordinating work in the states, obviously we play a role in bringing ministerial councils together where these questions are discussed. And when projects are of a particular significance and scale and environmental importance then they come under our federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act and Minister Burke has been very rigorous on conditions on coal seam gas projects.

JOURNALIST: (Inaudible)

PM: Sorry?

JOURNALIST: Do you have a problem with the rhetoric?

PM: Look the position of the Government is the position I've just put to you.

JOURNALIST: (Inaudible)

PM: We will push at the forthcoming climate change talks and we will continue over time to keep pushing for a comprehensive global agreement, but let's not make the mistake of assuming that action isn't happening in current circumstances. Action is happening around the world. China, moving to trialling emissions trading in a number of its provinces. A number of American states moving to emissions trading and putting a price on carbon. A comprehensive scheme in Europe which has been there for a number of years now. Emerging powers like India, taxing coal so that they can fund clean energy. New Zealand with an emissions trading scheme, President Obama with ambitious clean energy targets, Prime Minister Cameron in the United Kingdom with very ambitious clean energy targets. So action is happening around the world. The risk for Australia without our carbon pricing legislation would be that we fell behind the standards of the world and didn't get a fair share of the clean energy jobs of the future. I'm here at a carbon expo where people who innovate, people who provide services for a low carbon future are poised and ready to do business, I want to see that happen because I want those jobs here in Australia and carbon pricing will enable that.

Thank you very much.

JOURNALIST: One last question Prime Minister - just on Mark Butler's (inaudible) in the Sydney Morning Herald about the importance of the Labor Party actually taking (inaudible) position on same sex marriage. Are you now convinced that a conscience vote is the better way to go to resolve that issue?PM: Look we'll deal with that as a Labor Party at National Conference.

Thanks very much.

Transcript 18257