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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Abbott, Tony

Address to the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes Annual Dinner, Parliament House, Canberra

Photo of Abbott, Tony

Abbott, Tony

Period of Service: 18/09/2013 to 15/09/2015

More information about Abbott, Tony on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 27/10/2014

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 31842


It’s an absolute thrill to be here with the leaders of the medical research sector here in Australia and because you are the leaders of the medical research sector here in Australia, you are amongst the leaders of medical research globally.

So, my duty – and it’s a very happy duty – is to say congratulations to all of you on behalf of our nation and, if I may be presumptuous, to say on behalf of people everywhere thank you for everything that you do for our country and for our world.

We are world champions when it comes to medical research. We’re not the only world champions, and it would be fair to say that we don’t win gold medals every year, but there are very few years when we are not amongst the top performers and, consistently, Australia does much better than we should on a per capita basis as a home and as a source of medical research.

We have less than one per cent of the world’s population, but we’re responsible for close to five per cent of refereed medical research. Eight of our fifteen Nobel Prize winners have been in the field of medical research. Four of the last ten Australians of the Year have been medical researchers and I’m delighted we’ve got two of them here tonight – Pat McGorry and Ian Frazer – and of course Simon McKeon is not a medical researcher himself, but he’s had a lot to do with encouraging medical research over the years.

Howard Florey was probably the man who has saved more lives than any other person in history – an Australian medical researcher.

Donald Metcalf, the father of modern haematology, is estimated to have saved some 20 million lives.

Australians invented the bionic ear, the cervical cancer vaccine, the first treatment for influenza.

So, wherever you look in the field of research, in the field of treatments and cures, Australians are there making a difference and may that always be the case.

I was looking before I came along this evening at some recent work which our medical research institutes have done. The Children’s Cancer Institute in New South Wales has doubled the survival rate from 35 per cent to 70 per cent for high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. What a marvellous way of helping humanity.

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute has recently developed a world first technique doubling the time a donor heart can exist outside the recipient.

The Hunter Medical Research Institute, a new clot busting drug therapy for stroke victims which has demonstrated major neurological improvement within 24 hours for two thirds of patients and 72 per cent have experienced excellent or good recovery after three months.

The Baker Institute, a world first breakthrough in the treatment of high blood pressure – a paradigm shift in fact – using catheters. This new procedure has been approved for use in Europe and here in Australia and is now being practiced in more than 10 of our hospitals.

Every day, every week, every month, every year our researchers are making a difference.

Brendan Crabb has already pointed out that thanks in large measure to medical research, someone born today can expect to live 25 years longer than his or her great-grandparents. That’s not just 25 years, that’s good years – good, healthy years – that we can expect which our great-grandparents couldn’t, largely because of the sustained work of medical researchers over the last hundred years or so.

Our life expectancy has gone from under 60 to over 80 in large measure because of the people in this room and your intellectual forebears over the last several decades.

So, that is my first job tonight: to say thank you to all of you for what you do for all of us.

I’m also here to talk about what the Government would like to do to make it easier for you in the future.

As some of you might know, when I was the Health Minister some years ago I regarded myself as the Health Minister for medical research and now I’d like to regard myself as the Prime Minister for medical research.

Pre-election we promised that we would make it easier for medical researchers through streamlining and simplifying NHMRC grant applications. My Department tells me that all this has been done. I’m always a little cautious when my Department tells me that all this has been done; I’d like to confirm with you that all this has been done! But, I am told that the application forms are very considerably shorter and I’m told that the percentage of five year grants has gone up from about six per cent to at least 20 per cent. So, that sounds to me like proof positive that at least some of our ambitions to make you researchers rather than form fillers are actually coming true.

Of course, post-election in the Budget we announced, really, a world first; a $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund that will more than double our annual spend on medical research.

This is precisely what the 23,000 or so medical researchers in our country need if they are to continue to do their world leading work.

So, I’m here to thank you, I’m here to tell you what the Government is hoping to do for you in the months and years ahead, but I also would like to put in a request.

To Brendan Crabb and to Andrew Cuthbertson, thank you so much for your words earlier tonight about the Medical Research Future Fund.

Governments propose, in some respects parliaments dispose, and you can’t have a Medical Research Future Fund without funding.

Yes, the funding mechanism is controversial; we are asking for a modest co-payment from people who are visiting their general practitioner. No one likes to pay more for anything, but it seems to me that if it’s fair and reasonable for people to make a modest contribution when they get their PBS drugs – the drugs that so many of you have made such a contribution towards – why isn’t it also fair and reasonable for this modest contribution when you visit the doctor, particularly when for quite a few years all of the proceeds are going to be invested in what will be a world changing fund, in what will help people’s lives, not just here, but right around the world?

This is history making, this is culture shifting, this is life changing.

So, my request to all of you in this room tonight: please don’t leave tomorrow without knocking on the door of a crossbench Senator and saying, “For our country’s sake – for our country’s sake, for the world’s sake – have a look at this fund”.

Thank you so much.



Transcript - 31842

Delivering more to make your life easier

Photo of Abbott, Tony

Abbott, Tony

Period of Service: 18/09/2013 to 15/09/2015

More information about Abbott, Tony on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 26/10/2014

Release Type: Message

Transcript ID: 31841

This past week we have seen very good news for Australian families flowing from the Government’s decision to scrap the carbon tax.


The Bureau of Statistics has reported that households and businesses are benefiting from the largest fall in power prices since records began.


And, in coming months, there will be further flow-ons – with less cost pressures on other goods and services.


For the businesses that export and employ; and for the families who are saving for Christmas – lower electricity prices are very good news.


But they’re just the start.


The Government is implementing an Economic Action Strategy to build a strong and prosperous economy for a safe and secure Australia.


This week, the second-ever Red Tape Repeal Day will remove almost 1,000 unnecessary pieces of legislation and regulation. 


So far, the Government has moved to cut over $2 billion a year in red tape costs – that’s actually double the $1 billion a year cut that we promised before the election.


Households are seeing the benefits – with the new MyTax service helping you with your tax return and the MyGov system making it easier to access government services like Medicare and Centrelink.


And this week, I will be making an infrastructure statement to the Parliament on building the roads of the 21st century.


The Government has a record $50 billion infrastructure programme underway that will improve traffic, reduce transport costs and make our country more efficient:  through big progress on major projects such as WestConnex, the East West Link, the Midland Highway, the North-South Road Corridor, the Swan Bypass, the Gateway upgrade and major works on the Pacific and Bruce Highways.


These roads and projects like Sydney’s Second Airport are vital to our nation.


The Government is delivering – scrapping bad taxes, cutting red tape, stopping the boats and building the infrastructure of the 21st century.


This is just the start and every day we are delivering more – to make your life easier and our economy stronger.


26 October 2014

Transcript - 31841

Remarks at morning tea in honour of AFP and ADF personnel, Parliament House,

Photo of Abbott, Tony

Abbott, Tony

Period of Service: 18/09/2013 to 15/09/2015

More information about Abbott, Tony on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 26/10/2014

Release Type: Remarks

Transcript ID: 31840


Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a real honour for me to have so many members of our Australian Defence Force, our Australian Federal Police, our colleagues from overseas, our colleagues from interstate here in Parliament House this morning. And most of all, to have their families – your families – with us today.

I am very conscious of the fact that the last few weeks have been difficult and stressful times for our uniformed personnel, our ADF personnel, our police personnel, right around Australia, and indeed in brother and sister countries right around the world.

I’m very conscious of the fact that two Australian police officers have suffered because they have worn our uniform and they’ve been keeping our country safe.

I’m also very conscious of the fact that when our personnel in uniform are more in the line of fire than usual, they’re families are under more stress than usual. That’s why I thought it was important to have as many as I could here in Parliament House today; that’s why I thought it was important to bring as many families as I could here to Parliament House today to assure all of you that you have the full backing of your country, that you have the full backing of your Government.

You bask in the support and affection of the entire Australian people. So this is my opportunity as a representative of our country and of our people to say that I salute you, I admire you, I really appreciate the work that you do. Not just the work that you do, but the work that your families do, the support and love that your families give you because none of us can do anything important without the support of our families.

So, thank you so much for being here, I acknowledge Air Chief Marshal Binskin – the CDF. I acknowledge Andrew Colvin of the AFP. My friend – the Assistant Minister for Defence Stuart Robert, who’s also here today. But most of all this is my chance to say a very big thank you on behalf of the Australian people to you and to your families.

We will never forget you and we will do everything we humanly can never to let you down.


Transcript - 31840

Interview with Neil Mitchell, Radio 3AW, Melbourne

Photo of Abbott, Tony

Abbott, Tony

Period of Service: 18/09/2013 to 15/09/2015

More information about Abbott, Tony on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 24/10/2014

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 31838

Subject(s): Conversation with Prime Minister Harper; Ottawa terror attack.




Tony Abbott, good morning.


Neil, good morning.


What emerged from your discussion with Stephen Harper this morning?


We obviously expressed a degree of commiserations at the terror threat that both our countries are facing and, obviously, I had the chance to express my particular shock and horror at the events in the Canadian Parliament yesterday.

I’ve known Stephen quite well now for several years. He made contact with me when I was Opposition Leader. Back in 2006 before he became Prime Minister I met with him in Canada when he was Opposition Leader not expected to win an election and I was Health Minister in the Howard Government. So, we go back a fair way and he’s done great things for Canada, but obviously, Canada and Canadians and their polity was on its mettle yesterday, but I think Stephen, as usual, has risen to the challenge of leadership.


What are the lessons out of this for Australia, because we’re similar in so many ways, even our involvement against ISIS is similar, what are the lessons for us?


The lessons are that we must be constantly vigilant, because it only takes a very small number of fanatical extremists who are reckless as to their own life and prepared to kill without mercy or pity to cause mayhem. That’s the difficulty that we all face today. Because of the death cult ideology of ISIL, there are people amongst us who think they are called by God to kill. Now, no God does this, but they’ve persuaded themselves that it’s so and it’s difficult to be constantly on top of this. That’s why we’ve increased funding for our security services, that’s why we’re strengthening our laws so that we can be as on top of it as possible, but it is very difficult to be constantly on guard against extremist fanatics.


Some of the experts I’ve spoken to say that what happened in Canada runs the risk of motivating people in other countries like Australia. Do you agree? Does it increase our security risk?


This is the problem: the problem is that there is a copycat tendency amongst these people. But, we were warned a couple of months back that there was chatter amongst would-be terrorist networks of an attack on Parliament and that’s why we strengthened our security a few weeks back. Some people were wondering whether it was worth it, but I don’t think anyone is questioning it today. Plainly, we did need to boost our security and we have.


But does this incident in Canada further increase the security risk in Australia?


I’m not sure that it further increases the risk, Neil, but it certainly is a reminder that the risks are real and that the terror threat is something that we have to be constantly vigilant against.


I was surprised to see the Serjeant-at-Arms was arms was armed in Canada, or had access to firearms. Would you look at extending the availability of fire arms within the Australian Parliament?


We have armed police in the building at all times now, Neil. We didn’t have armed police in the building a couple of months ago, but we do have armed police in the building at all times now and we do have a much greater tactical response capacity now than we did before.

So, we think we’re well placed to deal with the sort of attack that we saw in Canada yesterday. I guess the important thing is not just to be vigilant against what Tony Blair has called ‘the fringe’, but also to be constantly doing what we can to tackle what Tony Blair has called ‘the spectrum’, that’s to say the frame of reference, the way of thinking which can justify these sorts of actions. That’s why it’s so important for all of us to constantly say, as indeed Prime Minister Najib of Malaysia – a pious Muslim – keeps saying that the sort of attacks that we see from the ISIL death cult are against God, against Islam and against our common humanity.


Until this happened it hadn’t crossed my mind that our War Memorial could possibly be involved, could be a target. Is it viewed that way do you think? Or do we view it that way and need to protect it?


Look, we hadn’t really thought of that as a target prior to yesterday. Obviously, it is very much a symbol of our nation and what we stand for and I suppose to extremist fanatics it could therefore be a target. There’s the Last Post at our War Memorial every day and I guess if someone wanted to do something gruesome, that’s the kind of thing that could be looked at. That’s why it is important that we are constantly reviewing our security, and we are. 


The two incidents in Canada, one of them involved a man who was stopped from leaving the country and he drove into two police and killed one. There is speculation the man yesterday was either planning to go to Syria or had, in fact, even been to Syria some report. We’ve got, what, 100 people in this country who we believe have already been fighting in the area? Does that mean we’ve got 100 potential risks like this?


We’ve got 60-odd who we know are in Syria and Iraq. We’ve got 100-odd who we know are supporting those in Syria and Iraq and we’ve got some tens who have been in Syria or Iraq and have come back. Then there’s another 70 or so who wanted to go but we’ve cancelled their passports. So, these are significant numbers and…


But we can’t watch them all, can we?


We can’t watch all of them all the time, but we can maintain a high level of vigilance and that’s what we’re doing. We’re doing our best to keep as close tabs on people as we can and as we think we need. And look, to give the security services in Australia their due, we haven’t had an actual terrorist incident other than the event a few weeks back when someone whose passport had been cancelled tried to kill two policemen in Victoria and that was a horrible, horrible incident, but this was someone who was known to us and he was being monitored and he was being monitored with good reason as it turned out.


Is it time to review whether you put a minister in overarching control, a sort of minister for homeland security, a minister for Australian security? Is it time for that?


We have very close coordination between all of our ministers with responsibility for security agencies. I mean, that’s what the National Security Committee is; it’s a coordinating committee and all of the ministers who have responsibility for security agencies – the Minister with responsibility for the AFP, the Minister with the responsibility for ASIO, the Minister with responsibility for ASIS, the Minister with responsibility for Customs and Border Protection, the Minister with the responsibility for the Defence forces – they’re all around the table along with the heads of those agencies and I chair it. So, I guess in a sense the Prime Minister is the Minister responsible for national security and it’s a responsibility that I take incredibly seriously and…


But you do have a few other things on your plate. Would you consider putting a single minister, perhaps reporting to you, but in charge of security?


As I said, national security is fundamentally my responsibility, Neil. National security is the fundamental and first responsibility of government. This is ultimately why we have a government – to protect our people from threats and that’s what this Government is doing. We are protecting our people from threats at home and abroad and I am discharging that responsibility to the best of my ability.


Prime Minister, a lot of people are asking the question why not just let people who want to go to Syria or go and fight and don’t let them back in, or maybe even see that they’re killed over there. Why not just let them go?


I understand that feeling, Neil. I really do understand that feeling and if someone is driven through by hatred and fanaticism and feels a calling to martyrdom, why not indeed let them go and be martyred in a foreign land? The difficulty with that approach is that if they’re Australian citizens they have a right to come back and we can’t stop them from coming back and sometimes it’s difficult to detain them and keep them detained if they come back because it’s not always easy to convict them of offences that were committed with terrorist groups abroad. What we don’t want, Neil, is people coming back more capable of doing us harm than they were before they left and going overseas brutalises them, it militarises them, it gives them far more capacity to do us harm than they had before they left.


Prime Minister, thank you for your time. Do you think we are now in the most heightened security risk we have been ever?


Our current threat level is the highest it’s been since the existing system was put in place. We face a range of threats, there’s no doubt about it, but the important thing is for people to live their lives normally. It would be a tragedy if anyone were to change his or her life out of fear, because that is precisely what the terrorist want and we can’t give them that victory.


Thank you so much for your time.


Thanks, Neil.


Transcript - 31838

Remarks at Federal Executive Meeting, Menzies House, Canberra

Photo of Abbott, Tony

Abbott, Tony

Period of Service: 18/09/2013 to 15/09/2015

More information about Abbott, Tony on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 24/10/2014

Release Type: Remarks

Transcript ID: 31837


It’s great to be here with you.

I should report that I have recently been speaking with Stephen Harper just to let him know how the Australian Parliament stands in solidarity with the Canadian Parliament at this time.

It was a shocking attack but it demonstrates that the threat to free peoples and free institutions is real and it is worldwide.

I should also note that this is the 70th anniversary of our great Party and for seven decades our Party has promoted economic security and national security – these are the things we have stood for.

I said constantly before the election, and I have said frequently since the election, that our plan was to build a strong and prosperous economy for a safe and secure Australia.

I have done more on a safe and secure Australia over the last few months but it is important that we never neglect that strong and prosperous economy which is the foundation of a secure country that we want and need.

I also said before the election that we would scrap the carbon tax, stop the boats, build the roads of the 21st century and get the Budget back under control. The carbon tax is gone, the boats have largely stopped, the roads are starting and, compromise by painful compromise, the Budget is coming back under control.

This is delivering benefits for the Australian people.

We discovered this week that power prices have fallen.

The biggest fall in history.

The biggest fall in power prices since records were kept.

So, this shows that if you get the economic fundamentals right there are benefits from the Australian people and we can deliver a strong and prosperous economy for a safe and secure Australia. That’s what we all want. That’s what we all deserve. That is what the Liberal Party has always been best at delivering.

Finally, I should say what an honour it is to be sitting next to my friend and colleague Richard Alston. We have had some great presidents. Richard has big shoes to fill, but I know he is ready, willing and able.


Transcript - 31837

State Memorial Service for the Honourable Edward Gough Whitlam AC QC

Photo of Abbott, Tony

Abbott, Tony

Period of Service: 18/09/2013 to 15/09/2015

More information about Abbott, Tony on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 24/10/2014

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 31836

A State Memorial Service will be held to honour the life and achievements of the Honourable Edward Gough Whitlam AC QC.

The Service will be held on Wednesday 5 November at 11.00am at the Sydney Town Hall to commemorate Mr Whitlam and his lifetime of service to our country: in the Royal Australian Air Force, as a parliamentarian, as Prime Minister, and as an ambassador.

A condolence book is available to sign at Parliament House, Canberra, during business hours until 5 November 2014.

There will also be a condolence book at the Sydney Town Hall.

Notices with the arrangements for the State Memorial Service will appear in major newspapers on Saturday.

Media arrangements for the Service are being finalised. 

Those wishing to attend the State Memorial Service should register by phoning 1800 146 713 between 7.00am and 7.00pm from Saturday 25 October until Friday 31 October 2014 or by email.

Again, on behalf of the Australian people, I extend my condolences to the Whitlam family on their loss.

24 October 2014

Transcript - 31836

Ministerial Statement on Deregulation, House of Representatives, Parliament House

Photo of Abbott, Tony

Abbott, Tony

Period of Service: 18/09/2013 to 15/09/2015

More information about Abbott, Tony on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 22/10/2014

Release Type:

Transcript ID: 31836



Today, bills are introduced for the second Red Tape Repeal Day.

It is the second of many to come.

Every day, this Government is working to build a strong, prosperous economy for a safe, secure Australia.

Every day, we are seeking to identify ways to make life easier for individuals, community groups, charities – and businesses large and small.

Our Economic Action Strategy aims to remove the burdens from business, make our country more competitive, and drive more jobs and higher living standards for all Australians.

But today, this day Deputy Speaker, I am pleased to report that since the election, this Government has reduced annual red tape costs by over $2 billion.

And this more than doubles our original commitment of a $1 billion a year cut in red tape costs.

While some regulation is necessary and nearly all regulations originally had some point, we are now suffering from regulatory over-kill.

Between 2010 and last year an Act of Parliament was passed every two days.  Under the former government, some 21,000 new regulations became part of our national life.

And that does not include the regulations, laws and by-laws that were added at state, territory and local levels.

While it is easy to point to bizarre examples, like the ACT Government’s attempt to require safety supervisors at sausage sizzles, the purpose of this Government is to look beyond the absurd. 

It is to identify the raft of red tape that adds costs without a commensurate public benefit.

Talk to any butcher, newsagent, dry cleaner or café owner and he or she will tell you that it is the accumulation of regulation that damages initiative, productivity and the willingness of people to ‘have a go’.

If red tape can grow incrementally, then it can be cut in the same way. That is what the Government is doing today.

When it comes to regulation, we are changing the culture of government.

Deregulation units are now in place across government.

Ministerial Advisory Councils have been established so that the people impacted by decisions can have a say on them.

Portfolio regulation audits are underway.

The performance pay of senior public servants now includes deregulation as a key performance indicator.

The site – – has been established, allowing every Australian to make a contribution to the Government’s deliberations on cutting red tape.

Regulatory Impact Statements are required for cabinet submissions because assessing the cost of any regulation is as important as knowing its benefits.

Soon, a regulatory performance framework will drive cultural change within regulators and help to ensure that regulations are administered effectively and efficiently.

In March, we held the first ever Red Tape Repeal Day.

On that day, nearly 10,000 unnecessary or counter-productive regulations and 1,000 redundant acts of Parliament were removed.

That day we relegated some 50,000 pages of redundant regulation from the law books to the history books.

And since the first Red Tape Repeal Day, we’ve scrapped the Carbon Tax and the Mining Tax.

Scrapping the Carbon Tax not only saves the typical household $550 a year, not only has it removed a $9 billion a year handbrake from our economy and provided a direct red tape saving to business of $85 million a year.

Each Repeal Day is an opportunity to reduce or eliminate regulation and legislation that has outlived its usefulness or does more harm than good.

And today, we add to this, with almost 1,000 acts and regulations to be scrapped – more than 7,200 pages.

These changes, large and small, are about making people’s lives easier.

We are a government freeing up businesses so that they focus on the people they are meant to serve.

We will make it easier for bricks and mortar shops to compete with online stores by reducing their compliance costs – because, all too often, the retail sector has to interact with multiple agencies from local, state and national government.

We’re making it easier for Australian Apprenticeship Support Network providers, who will no longer have to maintain some 3 million paper files and waste money every quarter doing so.

By reducing administrative costs, these service providers can better focus on assisting apprentices and employers in meeting the skills Australia needs.

We are also making life simpler for users of managed investment schemes, who will no longer have to undertake two separate ‘know your customer’ checks before they can complete their applications because one check should be enough.

Every year, there are over 500,000 new applicants for these schemes.  Every duplicate check costs a managed fund around $40, as well as the time the customer spends providing the same information twice.

In healthcare, we are reducing the time taken to list medicines on the PBS, to improve access to vital, life-saving medicines.

And we’re delivering a one-stop shop for environmental approvals.

Reducing these approval delays is expected to result in regulatory savings to business of over $426 million a year.

Our Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda is promoting lower costs, better skills, and the ‘have a go’ ethos that is so much a part of the Australian character.

By reinvigorating Australian businesses, we’ve reinvigorated the economy. 

Deregulation is an essential part of that agenda because ‘bubble wrapping’ our creative minds in red tape stifles innovation and flexibility.

Importantly, the Competitiveness Agenda included proposals to reduce duplication of our regulatory arrangements where trusted international standards have already been met or trusted international assessments have been made.

Our guiding principle is that if a system, service or product has been approved under a trusted international standard or risk assessment, then Australian regulators should not impose any additional requirement, without a demonstrable reason to do so.

We are already seeing the benefits of this. 

For instance, the Therapeutic Goods Administration has just advised Cochlear – who make the bionic ear – that all its products are eligible to use European Union certification to streamline TGA certification, and that implementation will begin from next month.

This change, according to Cochlear, will mean thousands of people in Australia and overseas will have access to the very latest devices, sometimes up to a year earlier than may otherwise have been the case.

We’re making it easier for small to medium exporters to finance their export activity, now that the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation has the flexibility to lend directly for all types of exports – not just capital goods – reducing business costs and processing time.

As well, EFIC’s adoption of accelerated execution processes for some transactions could shorten processing time by 40 per cent and this could save an average of $5,000 per export contract.

These measures will make it easier for entrepreneurs to transform ideas into reality, and create an environment where small businesses can do more.

And with changes to the Corporations Act governing the administration of general meetings, the management of Australia’s largest companies can spend more time focussed on managing their company than managing their shareholders by making it harder for activists to make vexatious requests for shareholder meetings.

We’re making these changes Mr Deputy Speaker because people don’t work for government, government should work for people.

It is government’s job to serve the people; not people’s job to serve the government. 

We are a country of people who work hard, pay their taxes, volunteer in their local community and save for their retirement.

And where we can make it easier for people to spend their time as they choose, rather than waste it filling out forms, we should.

A working mother, for example, who doesn’t want to be contacted by telemarketers during her spare time, will be able to register both her home and her mobile phone numbers on the Do Not Call Register.

We’re now also making sure she doesn’t have to remember to re-register every eight years by keeping her numbers on the list indefinitely.

This same mother could also benefit from the rollout of the myTax online portal, that pre-fills individuals’ returns, so they don’t have to spend hours flipping through the pages of a paper tax return.

For over 250,000 people, this programme should reduce the time taken to submit a tax return. 

And the broader myGov system means that Medicare, Centrelink, and Child Support customers can obtain information, make claims, and access services, without having to visit a service centre in person, or spend time on hold on the phone.

Mr Deputy Speaker cutting red tape is about making life easier.

It means anything from less time in airports waiting in queues because of SmartGate, to more forms of identification that marriage celebrants may accept.

Cutting red tape should mean less time in queues, less time filling out forms and less time searching for information.

These changes, and other changes since September 2013, have removed over $2 billion in annual red tape cost.  But this Mr Deputy Speaker is the start, not the end.

We are not only cutting red tape, but changing the culture that fosters and encouraging it.

Regulation should not and must not be the default option for policy makers because more regulation is not the answer to every corporate, community or personal failing.

We are a country with highly skilled, highly capable people running our businesses, helping community groups and making our country better.

We are putting more trust in them, more trust in them to make the right choices, and we know that our people are up to the task.

I am proud of the progress that we have made so far, and I pledge there is more to come. 


Transcript - 31836

Joint Doorstop Interview, Canberra

Photo of Abbott, Tony

Abbott, Tony

Period of Service: 18/09/2013 to 15/09/2015

More information about Abbott, Tony on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 29/08/2014

Release Type: Doorstop

Transcript ID: Transcript - 31835

Subject(s): Launch of ‘Defining Moment in Australian History Project’; Indigenous constitutional recognition; Iraq; Syria; Ukraine; Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17; Operation Sovereign Borders; Renewable Energy Target.


PRIME MINISTER: It’s good to be here at the National Museum with George Brandis the Minster for the Arts.

It was an honour to help to launch the Defining Moments series, but in particular to celebrate and honour the life and works of Governor Arthur Phillip. Governor Arthur Phillip is really the founder of modern Australia. We don't know enough about him. We don't acknowledge his contribution sufficiently. He really is to modern Australia what George Washington is to the modern United States and it's good that in a small but important way he has been honoured as part of this Defining Moments series.

Obviously, we have just finished up another week in the Parliament. I just want to stress that every week in the Parliament, this is a Government which is honouring its fundamental election pledge to build a strong and prosperous economy for a safe and secure Australia. These are uncertain times. This is a difficult and dangerous world, but there is no country with more fundamental strengths and decency than this country of ours and the Government that I lead is absolutely pledged to economic strength and national security, our objective is to build a strong Australia and a safer world.

It is good to be here with George Brandis and I might ask him to say a few words.

ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Thank you indeed, PM. This morning the Prime Minister has launched the Defining Moments project. It's a very important project which over the next two years will see some 100 defining moments in Australian history recognised and memorialised.

It will, among other things, start a national conversation about what the 100 defining moments in Australian history are. That is a contestable issue and I think it's a good thing indeed that this project will kick off that national conversation.

As the Prime Minister said in his remarks, what he hopes, what all of us in the Government hope, is that in the near future another defining moment will be marked and that is the recognition of Australia's indigenous people in the Australian Constitution, something that I and others in the Government are working over the next years to achieve.

PRIME MINISTER:Do we have any questions?

QUESTION: On this safer world, it doesn't look that safe this morning in the Ukraine or Syria or Iraq. The images of the latest apparent massacre in Syria, doesn't that mean that if ISIS is pushed back from Iraq, they will just go within the borders of Syria and we have a more concentrated problem and one that will be more difficult to deal with within those borders?

PRIME MINISTER:Well, let's acknowledge that there is a very, very serious problem here. It's a humanitarian catastrophe and it's a security nightmare. While what's happening in Syria and Iraq in one sense is a long way away, these conflicts reach out to us because there are at least 60 Australians who are known to be involved with these terrorist groups. We have seen what they can do. We have seen the beheadings, the crucifixions, the mass executions.

This is pure evil and it does need to be dealt with as best we can. Australia has been assisting with humanitarian efforts, including the air drop on to Mount Sinjar. I applaud what President Obama has done. American air strikes did raise the siege of Mount Sinjar, they did prevent the further advance of the murderous hoards of ISIL into the Kurdish areas of Iraq and we are continuing to talk to the United States about what we might do in partnership with our allies.

The point I make is that any action by Australia would have to be part of action that had a clear and achievable overall purposes. We would have to have a clear role within it. All of the safety risks would have to be, and the overall risks would have to be, carefully assessed and there would need to be an overall humanitarian purpose. I suppose the most humanitarian purpose of all would be to prevent the slaughter of innocents because the slaughter of innocents is what we have seen on a gargantuan scale in Syria and northern Iraq in the last few months.

QUESTION:There has been extensive debate in the United States about a doctrine whereby the United States has a moral responsibility and a national security interest in preventing mass atrocities and genocide. Is that a doctrine that you would embrace on behalf of the Australian Government or the nation as a whole?

PRIME MINISTER:I'm very reluctant to embrace doctrine because doctrine can easily become doctrinaire behaviour and I don't believe that any Australian Government should ever find itself caught up in doctrinaire behaviour. But it is important to do what we can to help, where there is something useful that we can do and that is what we are talking to the United States and to our other allies and partners about.

QUESTION: Prime Minister, President Obama said they don't have a strategy yet, they are still working on it. What is your reaction to that, that he doesn't have a strategy yet? Would we completely rule out combat troops on the ground if they decide the only way to protect people is to move?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, both President Obama and everyone else who has been asked to discuss this issue have said from the beginning that no-one is talking about combat troops on the ground and no-one is talking about what might be described as trying to bring Liberal pluralist democracy to a part of the world which hasn't experienced very much of that. We have to accept that the Middle East is a witch’s brew of complexity and danger but where there are clear evils that can be averted through international action, well then I think the international community does have a responsibility to consider that action.

QUESTION: Is the best option still using our Air Force and involving our Super Hornets?

PRIME MINISTER:I'm just not going to go into detail about what is being discussed, suffice to say that Australia is a significant member of the international community, we are not the most powerful country on earth, but we are not the least powerful country either.  

We have a long history of doing what we can for international peace, order and good governance. We have a long history of doing our fair share when it comes to the burdens that are required to be lifted in this difficult and dangerous world.

QUESTION: Can you give us a timeframe, Prime Minister? There seems to be daily massacres. The death that you talked about, that is so appalling to the international community, is happening every day. So, is there some sort of timeframe for a decision to be made about what action will be taken?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, clearly there are two fundamental considerations here. One is the position of the United States, which inevitably will be the leader in any international action. And the other is the position of the Iraqi Government because whatever is done needs to be done in accordance with law. It needs to be done with the consent of the Iraqi Government. It needs to be done to help the people of Iraq and other countries in the region. These are the sorts of things which obviously are being worked through at the moment.

QUESTION: Prime Minister, would you characterise the Russian activity in Ukraine as an invasion and, if so, is there a role for the international community in that place?

PRIME MINISTER: Clearly, if, as seems to have been the case, Russian armed forces have simply moved across the border, that is an invasion and it is utterly reprehensible. It is an absolutely clear-cut case of a larger country bullying a smaller country, and this should have no place in our world.

You cannot have an international order if might is right. You cannot have a safe and secure world if powerful countries are able to take what they want. Plainly, what we have seen in Ukraine over the last six months or so, is an increasingly aggressive role by Russia and it seems that Russia is now stepping out of the shadows and overtly trying to achieve its objects of domination in Ukraine and it is completely, absolutely and utterly unacceptable.

QUESTION: Does Australia have forensic evidence that Russia was involved in the shooting down of MH17?

PRIME MINISTER: It's almost indubitable that the weapon used to commit this atrocity was Russian supplied. So, it was a weapon that was fired by Russian-backed rebels from what was effectively Russian controlled territory – a Russian supplied weapon, Russian-backed rebels, Russian-controlled territory. Obviously, Russia has a very heavy share of responsibility. 

QUESTION:That said, is it reasonable to still have Vladimir Putin in Australia?

PRIME MINISTER: This is a very important question. Because he would be coming for a critical international gathering, it's not a decision which Australia really has a right to make unilaterally. Nevertheless, it is an important question and it's one that I'll be weighing and I suspect a number of other countries will be weighing in the weeks ahead.

QUESTION: Is it one you’d discuss with their leaders?


QUESTION: Prime Minister, there is currently a man being detained – an asylum seeker being detained – on Christmas Island. He has written requesting that the Labor Party and The Greens accept Temporary Protection Visa policy, but he arrived after July 19 last year. Would you be willing to allow people that arrived after July 19 to access Temporary Protection Visas?

PRIME MINISTER:  We want to see our policy implemented, because our policy is the most humanitarian policy of all. It's a policy which is proving to be successful in stopping the boats. If you want to advance human welfare, if you want to preserve human life, the best thing you can do is stop the boats and I'm really pleased that that's been the practical effect of our policies. I'm not aware of this gentleman's particular circumstances, but what I want to see is good, strong policy implemented and I want to see the obstacles to that policy removed, because the more effectively its implemented, the more fully it's implemented, the more surely the boats won't just be stopping; they'll be stopped.

QUESTION: Prime Minister, do you agree with Dick Warburton that the clean energy industry's reaction to the RET review is an extreme exaggeration of the situation?

PRIME MINISTER: I'm not really familiar with all the details of reactions to the RET review. The Renewable Energy Target review was something that we promised prior to the election. We said until we were blue in the face, prior to the election, that there would be a review of the Renewable Energy Target, that we support renewable energy, but we also want to try to ensure that we use renewable energy in ways that don't lift the price of power, don't result in unnecessary costs to the Australian people and we'll be carefully studying the review. There are a number of courses of action that the review puts forward, some it recommends, some it doesn't. We'll be carefully studying it. There will obviously be a debate in the community about it and we'll be responding in coming weeks.

QUESTION: Prime Minister, do you regret your explanation to the Party Room for your trip to Melbourne saying that you had to justify it?

PRIME MINISTER: That's not even yesterday's issue, that's the day before yesterday's issue.



Transcript - 31835

Interview with Chris Smith - Radio 2GB, Sydney

Photo of Abbott, Tony

Abbott, Tony

Period of Service: 18/09/2013 to 15/09/2015

More information about Abbott, Tony on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 11/07/2014

Release Type:

Transcript ID: 31834

Subject(s): Carbon tax, mining tax.







Prime Minister, good morning.




Chris, it’s good to talk to you.




Good to have you on. How angry and frustrated are you at what happened yesterday?




Well I’m disappointed obviously but it is really not about me. It is about the public who have got to live with this insidious carbon tax for a little bit longer than would otherwise have been the case and look, let’s not forget that this is ultimately about a better deal for consumers. It is about taking a nine per cent hit off power prices, it is about taking a $9 billion handbrake off our economy, and it is about lowering household costs by $550 a year on average. That’s what getting rid of the carbon tax is all about and I am disappointed that it didn’t happen yesterday, given the commitment that had been made to us.


We will work patiently and carefully and methodically over the weekend and we’re confident that we can make suitable changes in the House on Monday which avoid the constitutional issue which came up yesterday and let’s try to ensure that the Parliament deals with this next week and the carbon tax is gone once and for all.




Well I wonder whether getting rid of the carbon dioxide tax is actually worth it now and I frown when I say that sentence because you know personally how much I hate the carbon dioxide tax and how it was brought in. But if you’re going to lose $50 billion in the trade off to make that happen, is it worth it?




All of the budget savings which various Senators are saying they won’t support are really a separate issue from the repeal of the carbon tax. Now getting rid of the carbon tax is unambiguously a good thing and that is why we are determined to get rid of the carbon tax - as we promised at the election.


As for the savings, well they’re also important and necessary, but it’s possible to first get rid of a carbon tax and then pursue all these other issues to ensure that we aren’t continuing to borrow $1 billion a month, every single month. That’s $1 billion in dead money because thanks to the Labor Party’s extravagance -government spending is out of control.




But Prime Minister they’re not separate issues; they are inextricably linked now to agreeing to repeal the carbon tax.




Well, some of them are but most of them aren’t, Chris. I mean there’s a whole lot of issues that are linked to the mining tax. I think there’s about $12 billion that are linked to the mining tax. Then there’s $30 billion worth of budget savings which are separate from the carbon tax and the mining tax. So I think it is possible for us to get rid of the carbon tax next week. That is absolutely critical that we get rid of the carbon tax next week and then once we’ve got rid of the carbon tax we can start to address all these other issues.




Joe Hockey must be having conniptions now – there’s hardly anything left of his Budget.




Well let’s face it, Chris, very little of the budget legislation has got to the Senate yet. In fact, I think the only stuff that has got to the Senate is the deficit levy on high income earners. That’s the only stuff that’s got to the Senate yet. I would be very surprised if Senators first word turns out to be their last word and it’s not unusual for budget measures to take quite some time to pass the Senate – not unusual at all. In fact, there were various measures that the former government announced in different budgets which took a couple of years ultimately to get through and certainly the Howard government sometimes took six months or more to get various budget measures through the Senate.




Yeah, but none of those situations involved a loose cannon and a clown like Clive Palmer.




Well Chris, look, every government has to face the parliament that it finds and let’s never forget that Mr Palmer and his Senators were elected on a clear platform of abolishing the carbon tax, abolishing the mining tax. Essentially they have the same centre-right platform that the Government took to the election.


I’m confident that for all of the sound and fury, for all the colour and movement in the Senate, we will get the bulk of our budget savings through and I’m certainly confident that once everyone has huffed and puffed we’ll get the carbon tax repeal and the mining tax repealed.




Well I like to hear that sort of confidence, but I wonder whether this time next week Clive Palmer doesn’t find another excuse to through a spanner in the works. And look, Australians - and I’ve copped a few calls after six o’clock this morning about this – Australians are now looking down the barrel of being taken for a ride by a crazy miner who’s obsessed by revenge and wants to have a dig at the Liberal Party at every opportunity. You said prior to the last election that you would be happy to call a double dissolution election if need be. If he stands in the way next week, is that not the time to have the guts to stop the circus before we become an even greater basket case?




Well I think it’s far too soon to start talking about that kind of thing, Chris, because let’s face it, the new Senate’s only been in place for a week and look, if we had had six months or 12 months of difficulty like you suggest well then maybe it would be time to start thinking along those lines.




So if the circus continues for 12 months you’d seriously consider it?




Well I don’t believe that it will because I’ve met most of the crossbenchers now. I think by and large they’re decent people who want to do the right thing by our country. So I’m confident that once things settle down that it will be more than possible for the Government to get the vast majority of its measures through in some reasonable shape or form. So, look, one or two days of argy-bargy certainly doesn’t make a political stalemate and I think it is a mistake to see the whole of the life of this new Senate being like the last couple of days.




Extraordinary diplomacy. What is your relationship with Clive Palmer at the moment? Are you on speaking terms? Can you pick up the telephone or can he pick up the telephone and chat with you? And when was the last time you chatted with him one to one?




Well as you probably remember, Chris, I did have a sit down meeting with him about a week ago. It was a very genial meeting, quite a warm meeting in fact. In the end the nuts and bolts of negotiations on the floor of the Parliament will be handled by the individual Senators and Members and by the Leader of the House and the Leader of the Government in the Senate. But look, I’m open to talking to any of the crossbench Senators. I’m open to talking to Bill Shorten for that matter because in the end Mr Palmer has got three Senators, Mr Shorten has got 25 Senators. It was the Labor Party and the Greens who have been in denial since the election who have insisted on the carbon tax staying up till now.




Well I wish you all the best and we want to see this carbon tax gone, but the more Clive Palmer and his Senators find reasons to stand in the way the more I think the electorate tends to think they’re being held to ransom by one person and we had enough of that in the previous government.




And Chris look, I can understand your frustration and the frustration that many of your listeners would have, but let’s be fair dinkum about who is really to blame for all of this and as I said, Clive Palmer’s got three Senators, Bill Shorten and the Labor Party have got 25 Senators, the Greens have got 10 Senators. The reason why we still have the carbon tax is not Clive Palmer – it is Bill Shorten and the Labor Party.




Ok, I appreciate your time this morning. Have a good weekend.




Thank you so much, Chris.



Transcript - 31834

Prime Minister's Literary Awards Judges

Photo of Abbott, Tony

Abbott, Tony

Period of Service: 18/09/2013 to 15/09/2015

More information about Abbott, Tony on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 23/05/2014

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 31833

The Prime Minister’s Literary Awards are Australia’s richest literary prize. The awards highlight the depth and diversity of Australia’s literary talent in prose, poetry, scholarship, imagination and illustration.


They illustrate the continuing commitment of the Commonwealth Government to the promotion and celebration of the best in Australian writing, as well as ongoing support for the Australian publishing industry.


When entries for the 2014 awards closed, there were more than 480 entrants across six categories – fiction, non-fiction, poetry, history, children’s and young adult.


We are pleased to announce that the judges for the 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards are:


Fiction and poetry

Ms Louise Adler AM (Chair)

Ms Margie Bryant

Mr Jamie Grant

Mr Robert Gray

Mr Les Murray AO


Non-fiction and History

Mr Gerard Henderson (Chair)

Mr Peter Coleman

Professor Ross Fitzgerald

Dr Ida Lichter

Dr Ann Moyal AM


Children and Young adults

Mr Mike Shuttleworth (Chair)

Emeritus Professor Belle Alderman AM (Emeritus Professor)

Ms Kate Colley

Dr Mark MacLeod

Dr Irini Savvides


The 15 members of this year’s three judging panels have experience, expertise and commitment to Australian literature across a wide range of genres. The announcement of the winners is expected to be made in November. A total of $600,000 in prize money is awarded: $80,000 tax-free for each of the six category winners, plus $5,000 tax-free to each of the four shortlisted books in each category.


For more information about the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards visit



23 May 2014

Transcript - 31833