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Transcript 15927

Interview with Karl Stefanovic, Today Program, Nine Network

Photo of Rudd, Kevin

Rudd, Kevin

Period of Service: 03/12/2007 to 24/06/2010

More information about Rudd, Kevin on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 23/05/2008

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 15927

STEFANOVIC: Good morning to you Prime Minister.

PM: Good morning Karl

STEFANOVIC: Thank you for your time and we'll get to that in just a second but if you don't mind starting with fuel. Some disturbing predictions this morning that it will go to $2 a litre. That is going to be incredibly tough placing a lot of pressure on motorists and a lot of pressure on working families budgets?

PM: Well it will be a huge impact on family budgets, on working Australians, people doing it tough out there. It's just been going up and up and up now for a long, long time. There's no silver bullet on petrol prices. If there was I'm sure we'd have done something about it earlier on. What we can do and what we said we'd do prior to the election is make sure that we have firstly a cop on the beat, a petrol price commissioner to make sure there is no exploitation of motorists at the bowser. Secondly, to ensure that the petrol price commissioner has full monitoring powers for the petroleum industry, and thirdly from December of this year, we'll apply nationally what we've had in Western Australia now for some time a national FuelWatch scheme.

STEFANOVIC: Do you think realistically that those methods are going to work though here when you consider that the price of oil and crude oil is going up so dramatically? Is it going have any impact?

PM: Karl I've always said this will help at the margins. I can't control the global price of oil that's been fuelled by a whole range of factors, the rise of China, the rise of India, the fact that the Iraq war has impeded for some time the global supply of oil. These are factors way beyond the control of a National Government such as ours. What I'm doing is honouring what we said we'd do prior to the election in each of those three measures, but I concede at best they help at the margin.

What you can also do through the Budget process is provide some assistance to working Australians, working families on the question of tax, on the question of your child-care tax rebate, education tax refund, to try and put more dollars back into the family Budget but I fully concede this is a very pressured and difficult time for families trying to make ends meet.

STEFANOVIC: Cutting the Fuel tax would help at the margins?

PM: Well let's put all that into context. If you've got tax cuts which bring in $20 plus per week, depending on the size of family - number of kids etc; if the education tax refund which will cost Government about $4 or $5 billion puts more dollars on the table; and thirdly if we could increase as we've done in this budget the child-care tax rebate from 30% to 50%, these are extra dollars on the table. I fully concede they get eaten up by petrol prices and rents and mortgages and food but rather than taking a one-off measure here and a one off measure there, in relation to those costs which are going up, because they are so much controlled by global factors. The things we can control are the direct tax impost or tax returns to individuals. That's where we sought to act and honour our pre-election commitments

STEFANOVIC: So you're not going to support a cut to the fuel tax?

PM: I'm not sure the Liberal does either - because Mr Nelson does and Mr Turnbull doesn't. Well I mean you try and make sense of it, I can't. But the bottom line is you take this movement in the last week or two of 15 cents.

I mean, Mr Turnbull has spoken about five cents on excise. Well that's been consumed it would seem in a couple of weeks of movements in the global price. The key thing is, what can you do to make sure that people aren't being ripped off? On the national FuelWatch scheme, in WA they tell us that over several years they've basically helped with a couple of cents per litre, so that motorists can choose on a given day where to go to buy their fuel because in a given day as you know that petrol price at the bowser can vary between 10 and 20 cents across a metro area, sometimes larger. So if the night before you know what the price is going to the next day and where, which is how the system works in WA, that gives greater power to the consumer.

STEFANOVIC: As you mentioned before, only helping with the margins. So it's going to be more pain certainly in the hip pocket for Australian families. Lets move on now, I want to show you some photos this is an art exhibition in Sydney that is causing quite a stir. These are images from Bill Henson, now one critic says that he is an artist of ferocious integrity who depicts androgenous girls and boys adrift in the nocturnal turmoil of adolescence? What we say is, is that, that is crossing the line. What do you say?

PM: That's the first time I've seen them. I think they're revolting.

STEFANOVIC: Should the Government step in here with some sort of or some level of control here?

PM: Well, the NSW authorities through the police are already examining this matter which is why I'm not going to comment on a legal process.

STEFANOVIC: As a Dad how do they make you feel, those photos?

PM: I've just said, it's the first time I've seen them, I find them absolutely revolting. Kids deserve to have the innocence of their childhood protected. I have a very deep view of this. For god sake, let's just allow kids to be kids. Whatever the artistic view or the merits of that sort of stuff, frankly I don't think there are any. Just allow kids to be kids you know.

STEFANOVIC: Agree with you on that one. The Defence department has apologised to Tania Zaetta as you know over the sex scandal leak. She looks like she's going to sue. You worried about that at all?

PM: She's of course entitled to her legal rights and she should prosecute those based on the advice that she receives. I won't comment on that. Defence as you said has apologised in terms of their handling of this particular document. But there's a full defence investigation under way in relation to two matters, what transpired there, and secondly, on the question of the actual handling of this document. There's an investigation under way, I've been in this business for a long time, let's wait till all the facts are on the table.

STEFANOVIC: Alright, some good news to report this morning hopefully, we'll hear from you in a second, but we've been running a campaign on the Today show as you at home know only too well. We've been asking you to support our campaign to have Villers-Bretonneux Anzac Day services continue. We have had 11,000 signatures for this. They think it is incredibly important, will you support the campaign?

PM: Well Alan Griffin the Minister for Veterans Affairs - I think you have been talking to Alan about this, has been in my ear about this now for some time. And his recommendation to me is that we proceed and that is that there will be an annual dawn service at Villers-Bretonneux from next year on.

That's a response to what you guys have been doing, but I've got to say it's also a recognition, the fact that on the western front, nearly 300,000 Australians, nearly 50,000 of whom lost their lives, in an exceptionally bloody campaign and I think this provides an additional opportunity for Australians to honour our war dead. Gallipoli, important for the reasons we're familiar with, but the carnage of the western front and the fact that you said you had 11,000 signatures in - there are about 10 or 11,000 Australians who currently occupy unmarked graves. That's just a stunning figure in itself, so well done to your viewers for their reaction and their response. And the Government through Alan Griffin, the Veterans Affairs Minister will be organising this in consultation with the City Government, or the town administration of Villers-Bretonneux to make sure that it all works for them as well, it is their town.

STEFANOVIC: This is incredibly important and historic and I congratulate you and your Government on this, Alan Griffin's done a terrific job. I hope to see you next year at Villers-Bretonneux. Can you commit to that this far out?

PM: Well I want to go to Villers-Bretonneux. I was sort of shaping it a bit to go this time, because I've read a fair bit of the history of the campaign. And the question of whether you will go next year or not will depend on whether you're mad enough to jump in the ring with Wendell Sailor again. That is just seriously insane. Why did you do that for?

STEFANOVIC: Well, well for a good cause PM. Breast Cancer......

PM: So the reason you got to win that, was cause you actually received the greatest number of punches. What sort of rules are they?

STEFANOVIC: See this is what I do for a living, I get up and I get chastised by the Prime Minister of this country. It's good to see you PM.

PM: Stay out of the Ring

STEFANOVIC: I will, I'll take that advice.

Transcript 15927