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Transcript 18384

Transcript of doorstop interview, Canberra

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: 14/02/2012

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 18384

PM: Great to see so many of you here to celebrate the launch of the National Year of Reading. I'm here today with ministerial colleagues Simon Crean and Peter Garrett.

This is the launch of this Year of Reading. It's a way that we want Australians around the country to get involved in reading books. So whether you're a parent reading to a child or a grandparent reading to a grandchild, whether you're reading for yourself, whether you're someone who wants to upgrade your literacy skills and unlock a love of reading, this is the year for you.

Right around the nation libraries will be throwing their doors open and there will be all sorts of celebrations and activity for the National Year of Reading. We will be investing resources into adult literacy because we're disturbed that too many adult Australians don't have the literacy skills that they need for work and for pleasure in modern Australia.

So it's important to get involved, to show your love of reading and I very much enjoyed the launch this morning.

I'm happy to take any questions. Yes, Matthew.

JOURNALIST: On the issue of the Four Corners program last night, you made clear on the program, although they didn't broadcast it all, and in your views this morning that the key issue, the germane issue for you, is that you didn't make up your mind to challenge until the 23 June.

Given that we are aware, and I don't think your disputing, there was polling (inaudible) and that there was someone writing a speech for you. Can I just ask you - when did either somebody in your office or the faction people who were behind the change of leadership first canvas with you the idea that you should be the leader?

PM: Can I say firstly, these events are in the past and my focus is on what we need to do today for our nation's future which is why my focus is on things like reading, because that's important not only to people's sense of independence and self, it's also important to our national economy because people need those skills and abilities in the modern age.

But I'm happy to answer your questions and I will. I made my decision to ask Kevin Rudd for a leadership ballot on the day that I spoke to him and asked him for that leadership ballot. I was canvassed in the short days before, very close in to me making that decision.

When people had sought to raise the matter with me earlier I had declined to have the conversation with them and no amount of speculation here or media interest will change that simple fact that I made up my mind on the day that I asked Kevin Rudd for a ballot.

Yes?

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

PM: Well let's be very clear - we were asked by Four Corners to appear last night. I was told, my office was told, that this program would be about Labor in government since 2007 and the future of Labor. So I chose to appear and you've seen on TV some aspects of that interview and we've obviously released aspects of that interview as well.

Mark.

JOURNALIST: What's your message today to those members of your Caucus who fear your prime ministership is beyond repair?

PM: Well Mark, you'll have to put a more specific question than a broad suite like that.

Yes, over here.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

Well, we'll just take a question here.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, who did canvas you? Just going on the back of Matthew's question and also who was writing the speech in the lead up to the (inaudible)?

PM: Look I'm not going to go into individual conversations. The important thing here in relation to what was on Four Corners last night is: number one - I didn't direct anybody to write a speech for me, and number two - I made up my mind on the day.

Yes.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, the Closing the Gap report is due tomorrow.

PM: Yes it is.

JOURNALIST: Indigenous Australians are sort of quizzing why around Valentine's Day you continue to break their hearts by tabling the report always late, for the fourth year in a row. Is this a serious relationship you have with Indigenous Australia or a political fling?

PM: Well, with respect, it's in the right week and we had the anniversary of the Apology on Monday and we thought it was important that there be the set of events to mark the delivery by Kevin Rudd of the Apology to the Stolen Generations. I will deliver the Closing the Gap report in Parliament tomorrow.

Yes, Karen.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, how could it be somebody in your office could be preparing a speech to mark the overthrow of the Prime Minister and you not be aware of it two weeks (inaudible)?

PM: Well Karen, first and foremost let me repeat: I didn't direct anybody to write a speech in my office. Let me also say this, and I'll answer your question but let me also say this before I do.

People would be aware that political staff prepare for contingencies, that they work on things that they are concerned about and believe might happen, political staff, particularly experienced political staff do that.

On my knowledge of the speech, that was a tense period of time and I don't have a clear recollection of when the speech was first brought to my attention, whether that was on the Wednesday night in question or whether it was shortly before.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

But the important thing here is I didn't direct the speech to be written. I made my decision on the day that I asked Kevin Rudd for a ballot.

Yes Kieran.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

PM: I've seen polling undertaken by the ALP over a long period of time, I particularly saw polling in my capacity as Deputy Opposition Leader and then Deputy Prime Minister. But the important point here is my decision was not motivated by the polling.

Thank you very much.

Transcript 18384