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Transcript 15928

Interview with Mike Carlton and Sandy Aloisi, 2UE Radio, Sydney

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: 15928

CARLTON: Prime Minister Kevin Rudd joins us on the line from Canberra, good morning.

PM: Good morning Mike, good morning Sandy, and I am in Sydney.

CARLTON: Oh are you? Even better.

PM: That's right.

CARLTON: I am surprised that a Queensland politician, would dare show his face here after (inaudible) State of Origin.

PM: Don't rub it in. Don't rub it in.

ALOISI: Good morning Prime Minister, look I just wanted to say that petrol seems to be on everyone's mind at the moment, certainly with our listeners who have called in this morning. One of them, a man called Pablo, is a truck driver and he called in to say that his fuel bill has climbed to an extra $200 a week. He does deliveries. And he says he is in the terrible position of not being able to pass this to his customers.

What can you say to him?

PM: Well it's really tough, whether you are in small business or whether you are motorist struggling to find their way to work this morning. It's has gone through the roof as we all know.

Firstly, these prices as you know are driven by global oil prices and there is a limit to what national governments can do. What we have done domestically is the things we said before the election, we would do. Establish a petrol price commissioner to make sure there is enough competition within the industry domestically in Australia.

Secondly, ensure that they have got a formal monitoring powers under the Trade Practices Act, which they didn't have before.

And thirdly, from November - December this year, introduce a national Fuel Watch scheme like they have had in WA, going back several years now, so that motorists the night before know what prices will be offered where for the next 24 hours and those prices cant shift.

CARLTON: Pablo the truckie, wants to know why that is going to help him though?

PM: Oh sure, sure. I was about to say to you Mike, these things at best help at the margin. I am not pretending they literally have a more fundamental effect than that. That would be simply misleading. They help at the margins. It is what we said we would do before. And it is what we are doing.

Beyond that, in terms of family budgets, you have seen what we have tried to do through the Budget process, which is acting on tax, acting on childcare tax rebate, acting on the education tax refund, to try and put more dollars into the family budget while they are being eaten up at the same time. I fully understand the rising petrol prices, food prices, rents and mortgages.

ALOISI: (Inaudible) what Brendan Nelson has pledged to do, and that is cut fuel excise by 5 cents a litre?

PM: Well, it is very difficult to know what the Liberal policy is at the moment. Mr Nelson says that's their policy and Mr Turnbull says it is not. And the person designing the Liberals tax policy for the future Mr Ergas, says that the excise level is perfectly fine where it is.

ALOISI: But is it feasible?

CARLTON: Why can't you? Why can't you take the tax off petrol to make life easier for truckies (inaudible)?

PM: Well the proposal for example put forward by the Liberals of five cents, a litre, if you look at the movements in the last several days, which has been something in the order of ten to fifteen cents a litre. There is many people, including the automobile associations across the country by and large have said this would not have a substantial impact.

But we remain always vigilant as a Government in terms of how you can look at, into the future, other measures to assist with the balancing of the overall family budget. Whether that has been effected by rising fuel prices, rising food prices, rates, or mortgage, at the end of the day, it's the dollars that we have in Australian families pockets that counts. We need to try our best for future measures as well to ensure that we can deliver as much support to those families as possible.

ALOISI: Prime Minister, what about the cost of diesel, that is currently climbing up to $1.80 or more a litre. And there was some suggestion yesterday perhaps service stations are putting up the price of diesel to compensate for the amount of money they don't make on unleaded petrol. Do you think there is any (Inaudible) to that?

PM: Well, it will be interesting to see what the petrol commissioner that we have appointed has to report on that, remember, we have not had a petrol commissioner before. This person has just been appointed as of March this year. One of the powers that we've given them is what is called (inaudible) monitoring powers under the Trade Practices Act to look at the LPG and Diesel.

We will be very interested to see whether there has been any untoward movement in those prices which could be explained by normal competition practices in the economy or what is happening with the global price of oil.

CARLTON: Alright. Can we switch to another topic, there is a bit of a storm here in Sydney this morning. An exhibition of photography was to be shown at a gallery in Paddington last night. Images of kids as young as 12 and 13, apparently naked. Do you have a view on that?

PM: Well I have just done the Channel 9 Today Program and for the first time I saw these images. I will say on your program what I said when I saw these images only half an hour ago.

I think they are revolting. That's the first point and the second is, I don't understand why we cant allow kids just to have their childhood and to be able to enjoy their childhood. I really have a problem with this.

But I notice that these matters are currently with the NSW Police, so I'm sure the police will make their own determination through the law about what should happen next.

CARLTON: (Inaudible) about police officers marching into art gallery's and shutting things down?

PM: They are required to act within the definitions of the law. I presume what their policing here in NSW will be the equivalent of the obscenity provisions of the code. Because that's what would apply in these circumstances. That's why I'm reluctant to comment on the police process. They are independent and they are required to enforce the law (inaudible).

For the first time I saw the images on television, as I said, about half an hour ago. Frankly I think they are revolting and I just don't understand why we can't allow kids to enjoy something of the innocence of childhood.

ALOISI: Prime Minister can I go to another topic and this is Homelessness. Around I think 100,000 Australians are still sleeping rough every night of the week. What can you do to help them?

PM: Well what I was in Adelaide doing yesterday was together with Tanya Plibersek the Housing Minister, was launch the first national green paper on homelessness entitled Which Way Home. What we're trying to do is deal with these very uncomfortable facts which you've just referred to Sandy - 100,000 plus quoted by the census data as homeless now.

Some 40,000 plus as I understand, who are young people, you have some 6,000 people over the age of 65 who are homeless and I think from memory some 16,000 plus who are Indigenous Australians.

These figures are unacceptable, we have to start bringing them down. By years end this green paper will result in a white paper where we will bring about a national political response, a national policy response to acting in this area. In the conference yesterday we talked about how you best intervene early when families first enter into financial stress and how you act then so they don't go from one level of crisis accommodation to the next. But the Government can intervene with better forms of early intervention so that people don't end up with even worse problems.

But we're up for consultation with the community now and we will have a response through Australia's first ever white paper on Homelessness by the end of the year.

CARLTON: I notice your old friend of nemesis if you like Lord Downer is about to bring peace to the Middle East or something with the UN. But seriously are you in favour of that, him taking a UN job in Cyprus actually?

PM: Well as you know, I think Mike, having observed these things over the years Mr Downer and I have occasionally had a different point of view...

CARLTON: (Inaudible)

PM: Well yes three or four hundred, but look the facts are these. The Deputy Secretary of the United Nations approached us a few days ago to ask the Governments views about whether (inaudible) Mr Downer as a special envoy, on the Cyprus question and Cyprus as you know has been a place where we have had Australian Federal police in going back from memory to probably 60's - I stand to be corrected on the exact date.

They've asked what the Governments view to such appointment of Mr Downer. We said that because we support the UN framework and that's the view of the United Nations Deputy Secretary General, then we would not stand in the way of it. We would fully support it.

ALOISI: On another topic (inaudible) Prime Minister, this row that's developed over the Defence department and Tanya Zaetta over her alleged behaviour in Afghanistan. Has the Defence Department gone too far here?

PM: Well Defence as I understand it have apologised for their handling over this document which seems to have done the rounds within Defence concerning this matter in Afghanistan and I say this matter not what actually this matter is.

And then getting to the substance of it, the Defence Department also has an investigation underway about the events in Afghanistan themselves plus the actual handling of this document. So I'd much rather wait until Defence conclude their internal investigation before you know proclaiming guilt or innocence in relation to anybody.

CARLTON: Just one more thing, Ricky Ponting has just hit up 150 in the first test in Jamaica. Would you like to be the first to congratulate him?

PM: Fantastic, can I just say you know it just makes your heart beat proud. It's truly good. It's fantastic. Good on him and truly fantastic watching as it unfolds over there. I've got to say it's always a challenge watching the series in the West Indies (inaudible) the time of day.

CARLTON: Your predecessor's is actually over there in the stand believe it or not.

PM: Is that right. Good on him and half his luck.

CARLTON: (inaudible) good to talk to you.

PM: Thanks very much.

Transcript 15928