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Transcript 19255

Transcript of Interview with Tom Elliott, 3AW

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: 16/04/2013

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 19255

HOST: We're now joined as I promised before the news by the Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard. Ms Gillard, good afternoon.

PM: Good afternoon.

HOST: A very sad day for Boston, which is of course the sister city to Melbourne.

PM: It is a very sad day for Boston, and I agree with you about some of the shocking images we're seeing.

Just the distress on people's faces, the physically injury, you can really imagine being there in that moment and kind of, everything's fine and it's the Boston Marathon, and the next moment it's all turned to hell. It's just awful.

HOST: Ms Gillard, have you actually spoke to anybody in the US administration yet about the bombing?

PM: I haven't personally. Our officials have been in contact with their US counterparts and I received a briefing from them in Canberra, from our National Security Advisor and head of ASIO.

HOST: Does the attack there have any ramifications for our security status here in Australia?

PM: I've taken advice on that and we are keeping our terrorist alert level at the same level; that is there is no reason for us to upgrade it.

HOST: As far as we know yet, were any Australians hurt in the bombing?

PM: To the best of our knowledge, we are not aware of any Australian being hurt. So we don't know of anybody at this stage.

We do know though that there would still be people who are anxious, they know that they've got family or friends in Boston, who either were going in the marathon or going to watch the marathon, so we're saying please firstly try and contact your loved one and if you're not able to do that, then we do have a consular support line and we've got people working to ascertain everybody's safety.

But we do not have any information before us at the moment which would lead us to believe that an Australian has been hurt.

HOST: That's good news and the advice about travelling to the United States, that hasn't changed for Australians planning on making a trip there?

PM: No it hasn't. The travel advisory is at the same level that it is normally at.

Obviously, it has been updated to specifically refer to these events in Boston so people, obviously people would know from other sources but just as an absolute failsafe if the only source of information people were getting was the travel advisory, it would tell them what's happened in Boston and say obviously in Boston that people need to pay due regard, absolute regard, to the instructions of local authorities about what to do next.

HOST: Prime Minister, thank you for that. If I could just ask you to cast your mind into a different subject matter, that of education, there's all sorts of things happening at the moment, particularly from some of the proposals that you and Dr Craig Emerson have announced.

Firstly, all the state premiers have been offered what you've termed as a two-for-one deal. Dennis Napthine here in Victoria says he's considering it. Why should he accept it?

PM: He should accept it because it will put schools in Victoria on a proper resource standard, not only for current students in schools but for generations and generations to come.

What we've had in Australian education up until this time has been a situation where schools have not had in them the resources they need to get their kids a great education.

Where we've had pushing and pulling between the school sectors - Catholic schools, independent schools, state schools - we want to end all of that, we want to end it for all time.

So every school in Victoria, no matter what suburb or country centre you lived in, whatever school you chose, state school, Catholic school, independent school, you would know your child was in a school that has the resources necessary to give your child a great education.

And all of that new resourcing would come with an improvement approach, so we're not only getting in more money, but we're getting better and better outcomes for the money we spend because I don't want our kids falling behind the standards of the world.

HOST: That's a very noble sentiment, but there must be some sort of a catch. I mean are the state governments worried about ceding too much control over education, which used to be primarily a state matter, to the federal government?

PM: I think for state premiers it's obviously a decision about what you put priority on, about what you put value on.

Budgets are tight, our budget's tight, and so we've needed to make savings decisions to make this two-for-one offer possible for us, and we're asking premiers with constrained state budgets to make important priority decisions too and to put kids first.

HOST: And speaking of priority decisions, I mentioned Dr Emerson before, I spoke with him yesterday.

Many university chancellors have come out and criticised your government's decision to reduce university funding by $2.3 billion approximately to help fund primary and secondary schools.

What would you say to those chancellors?

PM: What I would say to those chancellors is we as a government have increased funding to universities by more than 50 per cent.

We've not only increased funding globally by more than 50 per cent, we've also been increasing funding per student place, so the number of places has grown, but funding has also gone up per student place.

Money to universities is still going to grow. We've got universities on a growth path.

What we are asking them to do is for one year to accept a two per cent efficiency dividend, and in the second year a 1.25 per cent efficiency dividend.

That means their money would still grow, it just wouldn't grow as fast as they'd obviously wanted and seen in the figures.

We think that's not too much to ask to get our kids a great education, and I've made the point whilst I've been talking to people and let me make the point again, universities certainly need money, but they also need great quality students and they have a strong interest in making sure that schools are offering the best quality education.

HOST: And finally Prime Minister, an academic at the University of Melbourne, one Sally Young, she's the associate professor of political science there, has written in The Age today that the Australian media is guilty of sexism in reporting on the career of you and other female leaders. Do you think that's true?

PM: I must admit I didn't see that piece, I'm a busy woman every day and I've particularly had things to attend to today.

I didn't see the piece and I don't think you can make sweeping generalisations. I think people will judge media pieces as they read them.

HOST: Indeed. We'll leave it there Julia Gillard, Prime Minister, thank you so much for joining us.

PM: Thank you.

Transcript 19255