PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Abbott, Tony

Address at Recognition Ceremony, Tarin Kot, Afghanistan

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: 28/10/2013

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 23059

Minister, Governor, Ambassador, Generals, warriors, peacemakers, ladies and gentlemen. Australia’s longest war is ending, not with victory, not with defeat, but with we hope an Afghanistan that’s better for our presence here.

For a year in 2001, and again since 2005, Australian soldiers have been in Afghanistan. Since 2005 a special operations task group, and subsequently a reconstruction taskforce have been deployed here in Uruzgan in support of the Provincial Reconstruction Team. Some 20,000 Australian men and women of our armed forces have served here in Afghanistan. Forty have died, 260 have been wounded, many more carry mental scars that may never heal. We salute their service. We mourn their losses and we honour their achievement. All Australians do, as this the first ever bipartisan visit to Afghanistan shows, and I thank the Australian Leader of the Opposition for his presence here today.

Thanks to Australia’s presence here and that of our American, Dutch, Singaporean and Slovakian allies, there are now 26 girls’ schools out of 200 schools in Uruzgan – that’s a twentyfold increase since 2001. Up to 80 per cent of expectant mothers receive at least some prenatal care, care that was almost non-existent a decade ago and 200 kilometres of roads and bridges have been upgraded.

This is still a poor and a difficult province – even by Afghan standards – but it is richer and better governed than it was thanks to Australia and thanks to our allies. Afghanistan is a better place for our presence here. Australia is better too. The threat of global terrorism is reduced. Our reliability as an ally is confirmed and our commitment to the universal decencies of humanity that we fought for here is made obvious.

Australians have re-found a martial tradition that might have faded away with our parents and grandparents. We have discovered new heroes in Mark Donaldson, Ben Roberts-Smith, Dan Keighran and others whose names will emerge in time, more than worthy to stand with the original Anzacs and we have learnt that all the fierce and indomitable people of this beautiful but forbidding land, are worthy of respect.

Australians don’t fight wars of conquest. We fight wars of freedom. We fight for peoples’ right to live their own lives and to worship in their own way and for their duty to respect others’ right to do likewise. That fight goes on, even though our fight here in Uruzgan is ending.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, Australians will continue to train the Afghan Army. We will continue to fund Afghan development and we hope that the education of women and the growth of a freer society will go on, not because we’re pushing it, but because Afghans have concluded that it’s what’s best for them, that it’s an element of their best selves.

Still, this is a bittersweet moment for Australia; sweet because hundreds of soldiers will be home by Christmas; bitter because not all Australian families have had their sons, fathers and partners returned; sweet because our soldiers have given a magnificent account of themselves; bitter because Afghanistan remains a dangerous place despite all that has been done.

Our armed forces and our officials have done their duty. That duty never ends, although our duty here has. Now, the future of Uruzgan is in the hands of its own people. We hope they will remember us with pride as we remember our work here with pride.

Lest We Forget.

[ends]

Transcript - 23059

Remarks to Troops, Tarin Kot, Afghanistan

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: 28/10/2013

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 23061

Colonel, soldiers, civilians who are supporting our effort here in Uruzgan, Australians, Americans, friends and allies, it is a tremendous honour for me to be here along with the Leader of the Opposition and the Minister for Defence to salute you and to thank you for the extraordinary work you and your colleagues have done over close to a decade here in this country.

This is my fourth trip to Tarin Kot. I came here three times as Opposition Leader. I’m delighted to be here now as Prime Minister and it seemed to me that it would be wrong to go too far into a Prime Ministership and not pay my respects to the men and women in uniform and out of uniform who have done so much for our country, have done so much for the people of Afghanistan and so much for the wider world.

I want to make just three simple points. First point, you have done good work here in Uruzgan. As the Interior Minister and the Governor pointed out, there is education, there is health; and it’s not just education and health for some people, as far as it can be in a rugged and difficult country, it’s education and health for everyone including the women of Uruzgan province.

So you have done good work. You have done your work remarkably well with an extraordinary degree of professionalism  and whether it’s the different elements of the army, whether it’s the police, the civilians, ASIS, all of the various Australian units that have come together to make this work, you have done it with extraordinary professionalism.

We heard the Minister for the Interior say before the representatives of America, Holland, Britain, Singapore and others, that we were the best. That was a big call! Those of you who have worked with our American and British colleagues know that they are very good. Those of you who worked with the Dutch know that they did incredibly good work and whenever I ask about the Singaporean forces training in Australia, I am told we don’t want to get them unhappy because they pack a punch. So it’s great to know that the work that we have done here is respected and admired by our peers right around the world.

Finally, I want to say that it has been worth it. This has been a very difficult commitment. People have paid a high price. We’ve lost 40 of our best. We mourn them. We remember them. We honour them. We want to work with their families. We will never forget them. Some 260 have been wounded, many, very seriously. Then there are all of those who will carry mental and physical scars with them for the rest of their lives.

Still, to be able to help our allies, to defend our interests and uphold our values is just about the best thing that any Australian can do and as I look around at all of you in uniform and out of uniform I am tremendously honoured to be in your presence. I am in awe of your professionalism. I respect what you have done and along with every other Australian, I honour you. I honour you and I pay tribute to you and I am confident that you will never be forgotten here in this part of Uruzgan.

I would now ask the Leader of the Opposition to join me in these remarks.

[ends]

Transcript - 23061

Remarks at Presentation of Artefacts to the Afghanistan Exhibit, Australian War Memorial, 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: 30/10/2013

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 23062

It is indeed an honour to be here at the War Memorial. It’s always an honour to be at the War Memorial. As you know, our work at Tarin Kot and Uruzgan province is now passing into history. This War Memorial is the custodian of our military history and it’s appropriate that I bring back from our soldiers in Tarin Kot, from our mission to Uruzgan, these artefacts.

This particular one has been with our troops throughout their time in Uruzgan province. This symbol is something that has been with them all the way in their successes, in their difficulties and it’s very apt that it’s now here at the Memorial to be preserved for posterity.

So, thank you so much for the work that you do. Thank you Brendan for the work you do. Thank you for the way the Memorial has so successfully kept the spirit of Anzac alive from the 1920s to today.

This bell which was given to Bill Shorten and myself about 36 hours ago, this was fashioned out of a shell casing that was recovered from the battlefield and it hung close to the chapel in Tarin Kot and was used to summons people for important events, including church services – so I think this is again a very apt thing for the Memorial to have.

[ends]

Transcript - 23062

Doorstop Interview

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: 30/10/2013

Release Type: Transcript

Transcript ID: 23063

Subject(s): Visit to Afghanistan

Location: Australian War Memorial, Canberra

QUESTION:

Prime Minister, how was your trip to Afghanistan?

PRIME MINISTER:

Look, I was very honoured to be there. It is likely to be the last prime ministerial visit to Tarin Kot – certainly the last prime ministerial visit while our forces are there in substantial numbers – and the point I make is that we were leaving not with victory, not with defeat, but with hope that Afghanistan will be a better place for our presence there.

QUESTION:

These symbols that you have returned or brought back to the War Memorial, can you take us through those? What is the significance of them?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, they were presented to myself and to Bill Shorten when we were there on Monday. The kangaroo and the boomerang was the symbol that was adopted by our reconstruction task force back in 2006 and that has been the symbol that the Australian forces in Uruzgan province have taken as theirs in the eight years that they have been there. The bell was fashioned from a shell that was found on the battlefield. It was hung near the chapel and it was used to summon the troops to important gatherings.

So, they are both highly symbolic and it is quite appropriate that these artefacts will now be in the War Memorial forever, because the War Memorial has been a magnificent custodian of our martial tradition; it has been a magnificent custodian of the ANZAC spirit from those times to these and for the hundreds of thousands of Australians who visit every year – particularly veterans and their families – it is a tribute to the service, the sacrifice, the sense of duty which has driven them on and sustained them.

QUESTION:

Do you support the decision not to change one of the inscriptions on the tomb of the unknown soldier?

PRIME MINISTER:

I understand that there has been some public commentary on this over the last few days. I think that the matter has been very satisfactorily resolved and I want to thank Brendan Nelson and Ken Doolan and the Council of the Memorial for coming to such a sound position.

Thank you.

[ends]

Transcript - 23063

Prime Minister's prizes for science announced

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: 30/10/2013

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 23064

Our lives today are testimony to the links between scientific research and the industrial applications that have shaped the modern world.

It will be the research of our scientists today that will change the lives of millions of people around the world tomorrow.

The humidicrib; the black box recorder; the bionic ear; multi-focal glasses and WiFi are just some of the many Australian innovations that are used all around the world. They are testimony to the role scientific research plays in improving living standards and strengthen our economy.

The Prime Minister’s Prizes recognise and celebrate the accomplishments of Australian science and Australian scientists.

Australia has a proud history in science. Sir Robert Menzies once said that in terms of world well-being, Howard Florey, whose work led to the invention of penicillin, was ‘the most important man ever born in Australia’.

Australia’s most recent Nobel Laureate, astronomer Professor Brian Schmidt, helped to change our understanding of the universe. Prof Schmidt was jointly awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize for Physics, to acknowledge his role in the ground breaking discovery that the expansion of the universe was accelerating.

Our challenge is to inspire the next generation of scientists who will stand on the shoulders of those high achievers who came before them.

Australia has a wealth of scientific talent. Our people are full of great ideas. The Federal Government will continue to provide the strong support our scientific community needs so it can get on with finding the next innovation or treatment for disease.

The Federal Government congratulates this year’s recipients of the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science.

Recipients of the 2013 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science are:

  • Professor Terry Speed – Prime Minister’s Prize for Science
  • Associate Professor Angela Moles – Frank Fenner Prize, Life Scientist of the Year
  • Associate Professor Andrea Morello – McIntosh Prize, Physical Scientist of the Year
  • Richard Johnson – Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching (Primary Schools)
  • Sarah Chapman – Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching (Secondary Schools)

Professor Terry Speed receives the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science. Professor Speed’s work with statistics and mathematics has helped farmers, miners and criminologists.  Today, Professor Speed is using statistics to determine which cancers can be terminal and which may not need surgery. Professor Speed is based at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne and the University of California, Berkeley.

Associate Professor Angela Moles from UNSW receives the $50,000 Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year. Associate Professor Moles is transforming our understanding of the plant world including where plant defence will be most aggressive, why plant seeds range from a speck of dust to a coconut and how ecosystems will adapt to a changing climate.

Associate Professor Andrea Morello from UNSW receives the $50,000 Malcolm McIntosh (McIntosh) Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year. Associate Professor Morello’s work to make quantum computing a reality could transform searching, modelling and cryptography.

Mr Richard Johnson from Rostrata Primary School in Perth receives the Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools. Mr Johnson has been a teacher for thirty years. His work to create a model science laboratory that makes science fun for students and for teachers has been adopted by more than 40 schools.

Ms Sarah Chapman from Townsville State High School receives the Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools.  Ms Chapman’s work to provide a learning experience where students can see and touch the science they are studying has led to big improvements in year 12 science results.

30 October 2013

Transcript - 23064

Address To Prime Minister's Prizes for Science Dinner, 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: 31/10/2013

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 23065

Location: Canberra

It is a real honour to be here this evening to be amongst some of the greatest researchers, thinkers and teachers in our country and to bask in your reflected glory.

None of us, whether we are scientific experts or scientific layman should ever underestimate the power of science and the impact of science on the modern world. The modern world is absolutely unimaginable without the work of our scientists, our innovators, our technicians, the people who make use of science to give us everything that we take for granted and which distinguishes the modern way of life from that of our forebears, several thousands of years ago.

The difference between us and our ancestors dwelling in caves is that we understand science and do our best to apply the fruits of that understanding to the way we live.

So science is absolutely critical to progress and scientists are the explorers and the adventurers of the modern age; and we’re lucky here in Australia that our scientists are amongst the very best in the world.

It’s always difficult to single any out but I do want to name a few of the Australian scientists who have made such a difference to our world.

There’s Professor Brian Schmidt, here with us tonight, helping to unlock the secrets of the universe.

There’s Professor Terry Speed, also here with us tonight, helping to unlock the secrets of the human body.

There’s Howard Florey, perhaps the Australian who has had more impact on our world than any other with his discoveries that lead to the first drug, penicillin, the first antibiotic which has done so much to save tens of millions of lives right around the world from that day to this.

There’s John O’Sullivan, a previous winner of the Prime Minister’s Science Award, whose work made WiFi possible.

There’s Frank Fenner, whose daughter is with us tonight, whose work helped in the eradication of small pox.

In the last decade this country has produced three Nobel prize winners and three Australians of the Year who are research scientists. So, we are very good at science here in this country and our challenge is to build on those strengths and to be even better in the years ahead.

And that’s where great teachers come into their own. As one of the greatest scientist of all time, Issac Newton is reported to have said, ‘if I see far, it is because I stand on the shoulders of giants’. We have giants in this land and it is the responsibility of the teachers of science to ensure that those giants are known to this generation and the future generations and to communicate the spark of enthusiasm which moved them to successive generations of Australians.

We need great teachers, we’ve got great teachers, as these awards tonight will help to demonstrate, but we also need government at every level to be supporting their work.

I’m pleased to pledge the incoming Government to continue to support science to the fullest extent possible.

We are spending an extra $200 million on health and medical research, particularly on dementia research.

We’re continuing the Primary Connections science education programme which is so important in unlocking youngsters’ enthusiasm for the study of science.

We are determined to drive the research dollar further by lengthening the tenure of NHMRC and ARC grants so that our best minds have more time to devote to research and spend less time filling out forms.

Yes, these are difficult fiscal times but this is a Government which is committing to do whatever it reasonably can to boost our brain power, to acknowledge the genius of the Australian scientific and research community.

While at this stage the new government is inevitably more promise than performance, I would ask all of you to look at the record of the previous Coalition government in which I served. As some of you would know, for four years I was the Health Minister and in that time our NHMRC funding almost doubled and over the life of the former Coalition government, total spending on health and medical research went from just over $100 million a year to just under $1 billion a year.

This is what we want to do. This is the kind of thing that we are determined to do once our fiscal circumstances give us the ability to do this kind of thing for the people of Australia and the people of the wider world who stand to benefit so much from the work of the Australian scientific community.

It’s been remarked upon, ladies and gentlemen, that we don’t have a minister for science as such in the new government. I know there are some in this room who might have been momentarily dismayed by that, but let me tell you, neither does the United States have a Secretary for Science, and no nation on earth has been as successful at innovating as the United States and I’d say to all of you, please, judge us by our performance, not by our titles; judge us by our performance, not by our titles.

This night doesn’t belong to the politicians, it certainly doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to those who are honoured tonight, who are rightly honoured tonight and who hopefully, through events like tonight, will be honoured by the entire Australian community.

I want to personally congratulate everyone being honoured and recognised tonight and I want to pledge myself and the incoming government to work closely with you for the benefit of our nation and the wider world.

Thank you so much.

Transcript - 23065

Joint Doorstop Interview, 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: 31/10/2013

Release Type: Transcript

Transcript ID: 23066

Subject(s): the Federal Government’s commitment to grow small business

PRIME MINISTER:

It’s good to be here at Croydon shops. It’s good to be at Ronald King. Ronald King is a local business that’s been operating for almost 50 years. It’s a third generation local business and we want to see more businesses like this. We want to see these businesses flourish and we want to create the economic condition that make it easier for small business to start, to grow, to expand, to employ, to invest because small business is not just at the heart of our economy, it's also at the heart of communities.

Places like this shopping centre are not just places for people to provide for themselves, they're places for people to meet, to recreate. They really are at the heart of so many Australian towns and suburbs and that's why it's so important that we do what we can to create the right conditions for small business to flourish.

Every small business is providing a service. Most small business are employing people and small business is at the heart of the creativity which our economy needs.

The average small business person has put his or her life on the line in a way that big business people don't. The average small business person has a mortgage over his or her house to keep the business going and that's why small business is a section of our community which deserves particular respect from government and from officialdom.

The new Government took some very strong policies to the election which we are in the process of implementing to boost small business. We will abolish the carbon tax, we will reduce company tax, we will cut red tape costs by at least a billion dollars every year and as Minister Billson announced yesterday, there will be a root and branch review of competition policy, so that small business and big business are competing on a genuinely level playing field where small business gets a fair go.

I'm going to ask Bruce to say a few words now about some of those initiatives, but I'm particularly pleased to be here with Michael Sukkar, the new Member for Deakin.

Michael is an outstanding local Member. He was a fine local candidate. He was born in Deakin. He went to school in Deakin. He got his first job in Deakin. He lives in Deakin and I know over the last 7 or 8 weeks he has been embedding himself in this electorate and that's exactly what a local Member should do. A local Member should be listening, learning and fighting for the people of his area and that's exactly what Michael Sukkar’s doing and I know he's going to have a long and successful tenure as the member for Deakin, but Bruce, over to you and then we might hear a bit from Michael.

MINISTER BILLSON:

Thank you, Prime Minister. As you have seen, Prime Minister Abbott is the Prime Minister for Small Business. We know and understand how crucial small business is to the economy and to so many livelihoods. Almost half of every person with a private sector job is employed in a small business. That's why today we are here celebrating the launch of Shop Small. Very important initiative; the month of November we're encouraging consumers if they are like the Prime Minister, like myself, like Michael, very keen to see small business flourish, to continue to employ, to invest and to innovate. We need to put some of our hard earns behind that belief.

We're encouraging people to consider spending some money in a small business to show that this is something that's valued in our community. That just as we see Michael Sukkar, having the Deakin community running through his veins, small business runs through the veins of our economy and this community and we need to show our support by thinking about making our purchases at a small business.

Shop Small will run for the month of November. It's an initiative that began in the United States. I want to acknowledge American Express, also the National Australia Bank, MYOB, Virgin Australia – they've all got behind this campaign. They work alongside small business and they want to see small business success.

We as a government also want to see small business success. Under the previous government, 412,000 jobs were lost in small businesses across the country. The share of the private sector workforce provided by small business shrunk from 53 per cent to 43 per cent. We need to stop that decline, turn it around and put the business back into small business. One of those initiatives is our root and branch review of the competition law.  We want to see big and small businesses compete to earn customers, to innovate, to succeed, but we want to see that on a level playing field.  Competition should be on the basis of merit, not on muscle. We want to see small businesses able to flourish because what they do, they do well, and not be impeded by big businesses misusing their mass, their market power or some mischief to stand in the road of efficient small businesses. That's why this root and branch review is so important – hasn't been done for a generation. We need to make sure the competition tool kit is fit for today's economy and gives all of our enterprising Australians a chance to succeed and prosper. But Michael, this place runs through your veins. Welcome us to the electorate of Deakin and congratulations on your election.

MICHAEL SUKKAR:

Thank you, Minister Billson and can I also thank the Prime Minister for visiting Deakin today. Small business is such an integral part of the Deakin electorate. I grew up in the Deakin electorate as Tony said and in fact grew up in a small business family. So, I have a certain perspective on the challenges, the rewards and the opportunities that small business provide and in the last two months that I've been further embedding myself in the electorate and speaking to small businesses and residents, there's certainly great confidence now that we are open for business. A change of government has certainly begun a new phase for confidence with small business, but what is also coming through very clearly to me in that two-month period is small businesses want the Labor Party to accept the mandate and to ensure that the carbon tax is repealed. That is something that is mentioned to me on an ongoing basis so I would encourage them to do so and can I thank again Minister Billson and the Prime Minister for visiting the Deakin electorate. It's very valued. Thank you.

PRIME MINISTER:

Ok, do we have any questions?

QUESTION:

Prime Minister, the South Australian Premier's just given a press conference expressing concern about the impact on small to medium businesses in the automotive supply chain if Holden and Toyota stops manufacturing. Where do you stand on that?

PRIME MINISTER:

Obviously I want Holden and Toyota to continue in Australia and the incoming Government almost in its first act freed the motor industry generally from the $1.8 billion fringe benefits tax that it was subject to under the former government and I'm just a little disappointed that the Premier of South Australia was not as vocal as he should have been about that dagger aimed at the heart of every motor business in this country. So, we saved the motor industry from that $1.8 billion tax hit which the former Labor government had in store for it and if the Premier wishes to further help the motor industry he should be saying to his federal colleagues, ‘Get rid of the carbon tax’ because the carbon tax adds about $400 to the cost of every car produced in Australia. That's an unnecessary burden on the competitiveness and the prospects of the motor industry. Get rid of the carbon tax if you're serious about helping the motor industry to survive and prosper in this country.

QUESTION:

Is the federal government prepared for the car-making industry to shut in Australia if the price is too high in terms of industry assistance?

PRIME MINISTER:

The last thing we want to do is to lose jobs. We want to create jobs. We certainly want to create more jobs. We want to preserve the jobs we’ve got and we are committed to the policies that we took to the election which include very significant ongoing assistance for the motor industry.

QUESTION:

Prime Minister, Industry Ministry Ian Macfarlane was quoted in The Australian today saying that there’s a chance that Australian car manufacturing can’t be saved. Is he wrong?

PRIME MINISTER:

There’s no doubt that a dynamic economy such as ours is going to evolve over time. Absolutely no doubt about that, but the important point is that we create jobs and preserve jobs. I want to see jobs in the motor industry preserved and if possible created. I certainly want to create jobs overall in the economy and again, that’s why we’ve got to get taxes down, we’ve got to get regulation down, we’ve got to get productivity up and this is why everyone who is fair dinkum about an ongoing, viable motor industry in this country should be saying to the Labor Party in Canberra, the best Christmas Present that you can give to the motor industry is allow the carbon tax to be repealed. You said before the election that the carbon tax had been exterminated. Well, be true to your word and allow the carbon tax repeal legislation to go through the Parliament.

QUESTION:

But the crucial and outstanding point though is industry assistance which you have charge of.

PRIME MINISTER:

There are a whole range of things that need to happen if jobs are to be created and if our economy is to flourish and getting rid of the carbon tax is a very good start. Getting red tape down, getting productivity up, getting exports up, all necessary if jobs are to be created at the rate they should be in our economy. And again, just look at the state of the motor industry in this country under the former government compared to where it is now; under the former Coalition government compared to where the Labor government put it. Under the Coalition government, production was higher, employment was higher, exports were higher because we had in place policies that worked. Unfortunately what we’ve seen from the Labor government is higher taxes, more regulation, more burdens in the way of business and that’s been bad for the car industry.

QUESTION:

Australia’s electronic spy agency is being reported to be spying on South East Asian neighbours. What’s your thoughts on this?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well the thing about every Australian governmental agency is that we all operate in accordance with the law. Every Australian governmental agency, every Australian official at home and abroad operates in accordance with the law and that’s the assurance that I can give people at home and abroad. Our people operate in accordance with law. Now, as for the precise workings of our intelligence organisations, it’s been a longstanding practice not to comment on that.

QUESTION:

I’ve got another follow up question, Prime Minister, on the car industry. Is there a split within Cabinet though? The economic ministers like the Finance Minister, the Treasurer, seem to be running much harder lines than say for example Mr Macfarlane in the industry portfolio. Is there a Cabinet split on this?

PRIME MINISTER:

No, I think there’s a tendency, if I may say so – and I’m speaking now as a former journalist – I love the media and I respect the profession in which I used to work, but inevitably there is a tendency on the part of the media to ask the same question or a slightly different question of different people and if there aren’t robotic answers, to say, ‘aha, so and so is at odds with such and such’. Well, I just want to assure you that the Government is absolutely at one in its commitment to give the car industry every chance of success. It’s been a very important part of our economy for a long time. As I’ve said repeatedly, I want us to be a country with a car industry. I certainly believe that we have a very strong manufacturing future and the best way to help the car industry and the best way to ensure that we continue to be a manufacturing nation far, far into the future is to get taxes down, get regulation down, get productivity up. Unshackle the creativity of the Australian people. Allow the Australian worker to produce at his or her best and I have no doubt that all of our industries, including the motor industry, can survive and flourish.

QUESTION:

Mr Abbott, is your government in talks with Iran over the repatriation of asylum seekers?

PRIME MINISTER:

We are doing everything we humanly can to stop the boats and we are doing everything we can to work with other countries to ensure that that’s happened and while there’s still a long way to go I’m pleased to say that the boats are stopping. They’re coming at about 10 per cent the rate that was happening under the former government in July. Under the former government, in July, arrivals were at the rate of 50,000 a year. The trickle had become a flow, had become a flood. Well, I’m pleased to say that the flood gates are closed. The boats are stopping. There is still a long way to go but rest assured they will be stopped under this government. They will be stopped.

QUESTION:

Has there been contact made with Iran?

PRIME MINISTER:

I’m not going to comment on the details of discussions and which particular country we’re talking about on which particular issue, but you’ll understand that we are talking to everyone that we need to talk to in order to ensure that the message goes out to the people smugglers and their customers that the game is up. Don’t try it because if you try it you will never come to Australia. You will never, never come to Australia if you seek to get here illegally by boat.

QUESTION:

Prime Minister, there’s been horrific video of treatment of sheep in Jordan released overnight. Barnaby Joyce has rejected the need for any further regulation or oversight here. Does this kind of vision make you reconsider your thoughts on the live export trade?

PRIME MINISTER:

I caught some of the vision this morning and yes, it was disturbing but it’s a very foolish government that makes policy on the run on the basis of one or two media reports. Now, we support the live export industry. I want to make that absolutely crystal clear. The Government supports the live export industry. It is a good industry for our country, it’s a good industry for our farmers and it is a good industry for our partners around the world and we want to do the right thing by the countries of the world and many of them are well served by a live export industry and we’re not going to play games with our customers. We’re not going to play games with the food security of other countries. That said, it’s important that the industry proceed on a sound footing. We believe that appropriate precautions have already been put in place. This footage certainly is being investigated and if the rules are being broken, well, we will ensure that that ends and that the rules are enforced.

QUESTION:

At what point do you think our responsibility for these animals ends when they're exported to another country?

PRIME MINISTER:

I just want to say that I think the existing system is a good system. The existing system is designed to ensure that animals are not mistreated. We're investigating this matter and if someone has done the wrong thing suitable action will be taken.

QUESTION:

On expenses, Don Randall paid back the money that he spent going to Cairns, but you seem to have differing accounts of why he went. Why do you say he went?

PRIME MINISTER:

I think this matter has just been fully dealt with.

QUESTION:

Nick Minchin says MPs should be required to give more information about their reasons for expenses claims as well as three-monthly reports. Are they proposals you'll consider?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, again, we've been up hill and down dale on this matter and I accept that the public are absolutely entitled to expect politicians and every member of the community to act with integrity and with honour. I'm confident that that is in fact the case and the fact that Mr Randall has repaid the money is to his credit. The difficulty is that there is no system that won't, from time to time, produce arguments at the margins. The important thing is that where there is doubt it is resolved in favour of the taxpayer and that's exactly what's happened in this particular case.

QUESTION:

On the NBN, have you broken your word by cancelling the NBN roll-out to the homes promised it within the year?

PRIME MINISTER:

No, we haven't broken our word. It was always misleading of the NBN to claim that the roll-out was taking place when all that had actually happened was that planning had begun for a roll-out to take place sometime in the far distant future. The whole NBN was based on misleading assertions and promises that were constantly being made and constantly being broken. The NBN, under Labor, was way over budget, it was way behind schedule. For the first time in its existence there is now honesty about the NBN. For the first time since it began, people are being honest and fair dinkum and straight about the national broadband network because the NBN is going to operate on a very different basis under the Coalition. Because we're going to put fibre to distribution points and then use, in most cases, existing technology, we can deliver much faster broadband, much more affordably and much sooner than under the former government's plans.

Our guarantee is that in three years' time every household in Australia will have access to download speeds of 25 megabits. Now, this is five times the current average maximum download. This is going to be a massive improvement on the current situation. This is going to be an achievement that would simply have been impossible under the Labor government because the Labor government was determined to dig up virtually every street in Australia. It wasn't a broadband project, it was an infrastructure project. We are going to bring it back to core business and that's why it's going to be far more successful under the Coalition than it ever would have been under the former government.

Thank you.

[ends]

Transcript - 23066

One-stop shop for environmental approvals one step closer with NSW Government support

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: 05/11/2013

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 23067

The Federal Government has signed the second Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to create a one-stop shop for environmental approvals, this time with the NSW Government.

Following the endorsement of the Queensland Government last month, the Federal Government is on track to sign-on all states and territories within 12 months and fast-track the eradication of red and green tape for environmental approvals.

A one-stop shop will eliminate duplication, deliver more timely approvals and enable Australian businesses to expedite their work. It will mean only one approval is needed, not two.

The NSW and Federal Governments today demonstrated a collective commitment to helping strengthen the NSW economy, reduce costs, boost productivity and create jobs.

The Productivity Commission has found that green tape could delay major projects – such as major oil or gas projects – for up to a year costing business and the economy hundreds of millions of dollars.

The same strict environmental standards will continue to apply but the one-stop shop for environmental approvals will ensure swifter decisions and more certainty, whilst increasing jobs and investment in NSW.

Within 12 months a bilateral agreement will be reached between the Federal and NSW Governments. The work to achieve this will be undertaken by Environment Ministers.

5 November 2013

Transcript - 23067

Address to 'Soldier On' Farewell Event

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: 06/11/2013

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 23068

Location: Sydney

Thanks very much, Peter Leahy. Thanks very much, ladies and gentlemen.

It’s terrific to be here with the Chief of Army, General David Morrison, and also with two remarkable Australians, Seamus Donaghue and Heath Jamieson, who are about to set off on their extraordinary journey to the South Pole.

We are doing two things today. We are honouring the service and the sacrifice of our Australian military personnel in Afghanistan. Forty have died, 261 have been seriously wounded and many, many more will bear the unseen scars of war for the rest of their lives. We honour everything that they have done: for us, for the people of Afghanistan, and for the wider world.

But while we honour the service and the sacrifice, we also celebrate the extraordinary spirit of these young men and women, which is so magnificently epitomised by Heath and Seamus, both of whom were seriously wounded in combat operations in Afghanistan; either of whom could have decided to lick their wounds, as it were, and simply to limp along. But neither have taken that choice. Both have decided that they are keen to participate in this epic journey to the South Pole, in their case, alongside two Canadian comrades, in competition with our British and American comrades.

I know it will be a fierce but friendly competition. Prince Harry has boasted that he will be boiling the billy for Heath and for Seamus. I suspect, in fact, they will be boiling the billy for Prince Harry when the British team staggers in having no doubt gone round and round in ever decreasing circles because, as you guys said, they’re officers and you’re men and you’ll get straight to the point! So, well done, Heath and Seamus. Well done to everyone who has served our country in uniform, and a particular tribute to all who have served our country in and out of uniform in the conflict in Afghanistan – now drawing to a close, but very important for our country, for Afghanistan and for the wider world.

Politicians like to arrive to events like this bearing something other than mere words. So, today I come armed with this cricket bat, which has been signed by the Australian team. It was presented by me on behalf of the Australian team to our military personnel in Tarin Kot in Afghanistan just a few days ago. They gave it to me to bring back to present to you, Heath and Seamus. I understand that you’re not expected to carry it to the South Pole, but you will in turn give it to Soldier On and I gather that it’s going to be raffled to raise funds for this extraordinary cause.

So, ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for being here. Thank you so much for the support you give to our military personnel.

To Heath and to Seamus – well done. You go with our blessings, our prayers, our best wishes and I know you will carry the honour of our soldiers and the honour of our country to good effect to the southern-most point on our planet.

Transcript - 23068

Remarks at the Carbon Tax Roundtable Discussion, Meloburne

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: 08/11/2013

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 23069

I want to thank everyone for being here today.

This is an opportunity for Greg Hunt and myself to brief you on where the Government is going with the carbon tax repeal legislation.

It’s also an opportunity for you to brief us on just what impact the carbon tax is having on your operations and just how the carbon tax repeal will help your businesses and help consumers.

I am utterly determined – and the new government is absolutely committed – to the repeal of the carbon tax.

If there is one issue that was front and centre in the recent election, it was the carbon tax.

By any standards, the recent election was a referendum on the carbon tax and the Australian people unequivocally said let’s get rid of this thing.

The carbon tax is costing jobs.

It’s raising households’ cost of living.

It’s making business less secure.

It’s damaging our competitiveness.

That’s why it’s got to go and as far as I’m concerned, it will go as quickly as possible.

The first item of legislation that will be considered by the new Parliament will be the carbon tax repeal bill.

We don’t have the numbers in the Senate. Unfortunately, at least until the 1st of July, the numbers in the Senate remain with the Labor Party and the Greens.

My understanding and the understanding around Parliament House is that the Leader of the Labor Party, Mr Shorten, never supported the carbon tax. I hope he has the ability to impress upon his colleagues the need to allow the repeal legislation to go through for the good of working Australians, for the good of Australian households, for the good of Australian businesses, but whether that will be the case remains to be seen.

What I want to indicate to you, though, is that the Government is absolutely committed – completely, utterly, unshakeably committed – to the repeal of the carbon tax.

It’s a toxic tax. It should never have been introduced and the quicker we can get rid of it, the better for everyone.

[ends]

Transcript - 23069

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