Transcript of Interview with David Koch - Sunrise
Period of Service: 24/06/2010 to 27/06/2013
Release Date: 18/02/2013
Release Type: Video Transcript
Transcript ID: 19073
HOST: The Prime Minister Julia Gillard joins us now. Good morning to you. Are you devastated by this poll out today?
PM: Good morning, Kochie. I see a lot of polls come and go and so I just don't focus on them.
We launched a major jobs plan yesterday, and that's my focus.
HOST: Okay, we'll talk about that in a moment. But these figures, the swing has been quite remarkable. What's going wrong do you think?
PM: Oh Kochie, I just don't commentate on opinion polls and there is a reason for that. We see a lot of opinion polls; we get them at least fortnightly, often we get them more frequently than that.
If I spent my time worrying about and commentating on opinion polls, then I wouldn't have time to get my job done, and the job is more important.
So each and every day I just let that wash through and I focus on what I need to do as Prime Minister so that we've got a strong economy today and everything we need for families today, and we're building a better future.
HOST: Your colleagues get worried though. For a lot of them their jobs are on the line if polls don't improve. Have they given you a deadline to turn things around, to turn the polls around?
PM: Certainly not Kochie and the Labor team is a team of people who came into politics because they believed in things. They believed in Labor values and putting them into operation.
That means we focus on things like jobs, we focus on education, getting every child a chance. We focus on healthcare.
People would have come into Labor politics because of lifetime experiences that told them how important a good Labor government is to making a difference to life's chances.
So that's what motivates people, it's what motivates me. It's not the reading of opinion polls.
HOST: One of that team is Kevin Rudd. He has been very aggressive over the weekend saying you have his total support. He is completely behind you, that he has no intention of launching a leadership challenge. So is that comforting, is that part of the unity of the team?
PM: All of these issues were resolved by the Labor team February last year. So none of that is what I focus on.
I was out yesterday, $1 billion plan for jobs because we are in such a changing time in our economy.
Kochie, you can ask these questions a million different ways and you are going to get the same answer.
If you want to know what I do minute-by-minute, what I worry about at night, it's the nation's future. It's not what tomorrow's opinion polls are going to read.
HOST: I am getting that message loud and clear now but it's on the front page of every paper today. Everyone is talking about it.
But let's talk about this jobs package, $1 billion to help manufacturing. Unemployment is low at 5.4 per cent. Why do you think we need to spend $1 billion on helping manufacturing and create new jobs?
PM: We need to be supporting new jobs because our economy is in a real time of change. Our world has been shaped by the global financial crisis and we are still feeling its aftershocks.
For us, we stayed strong and that's fantastic. We have got a big resources boom and we haven't seen the investment peak of that boom yet.
But the investment peak will come. Less people will be involved in resources at that point. And we need to have many sources of strength in in our economy. Not just have all our eggs in the resources basket.
Now people might think we have got a strong economy in lots of places so that should be pretty easy, but the difficulty is that the dollar is high and likely to stay high. So something that we used to manufacture and sell to Europeans for €500, now costs them €750.
We are not going to be able to compete on cost. But we can compete on quality and innovation and that's what the $1 billion package is all about.
HOST: And I suppose it's the issue too while the Australian dollar is high, you don't want manufacturing to be decimated because when the dollar falls, and we become more competitive, we actually want a manufacturing sector still there to take advantage of that.
PM: Kochie, that's absolutely right except what worries me, is that the dollar isn't going to fall.
Now, reason will tell you, economic orthodoxy will tell you, that when we move from the peak of the investment phase of the resources boom into the production phase, and we've got less capital flowing into the country, that at that time we would see our dollar fall.
But our dollar has been persistently high despite things that traditionally would have taken its value down like commodity prices coming off and interest rates going lower.
So we have to prepare ourselves for a future where we still want to be making things, manufacturing things, exporting them whilst the dollar is high.
So that really puts the weight on us to step up, compete, quality, innovation and that's why we needed yesterday's jobs plan to chart that course for that kind of future.
HOST: Okay, I wish you the best with it. Prime Minister, thanks for joining us.