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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 17542

Transcript of Joint Press Conference, Canberra

Photo of Gillard, Julia

Gillard, Julia

Period of Service: 24/06/2010 to 27/06/2013

More information about Gillard, Julia on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 16/09/2010

Release Type: Press Conference

Transcript ID: 17542

PM: Today we are obviously in the Federal electorate of Fraser, and we're joined by the incoming Member Andrew Leigh, who of course is one of our new Labor Members in the House of Representatives. I'm also joined by Tony Burke, who has the responsibility of developing our strategy for a sustainable Australia, and in doing that his responsibilities include: responsibilities for environment; for water; for population policy; for communities, and also for housing policy.

In the last few minutes we've been looking around this sustainable community. It's had a focus on sustainability when it comes to the use of energy. It's got a focus on sustainability as it uses water. It's also got a focus on sustainability about the community itself - who lives here, how they mix, how they integrate and form an identity as a community.

I'm pleased that we have been able to support this development, been able to support it through our National Rental Affordability Scheme, and of course we've also provided support in the ACT for social housing and right around the country.

We've come today to look at this community because it's obviously from examples like this that we can learn as we develop a strategy for a sustainable Australia. A key focus of how I've reshaped the Ministry is to put a focus on a sustainable Australia. That's why within the portfolio that Tony Burke will lead I've brought together the big issues that concern Australians when we talk about population.

Australians obviously ask themselves when they think about a growing population, what impact will it have on our environment? Is there enough water? What will it mean for housing? Are there enough houses around the country?

Now, each of these big areas of policy - environment, water and housing policy - are within Tony Burke's portfolio because they are areas of key concern and areas we need to address and think through as we deal with our sustainable population strategy.

It will also be Tony Burke's responsibility to roll out our election commitments, most particularly our commitment to regional cities that want to grow; that we would work with them to bring affordable, new housing to those cities.

So, with those words I'll turn to Tony Burke for some comments and then we'll be happy to take questions.

MINISTER BURKE: Thanks, Prime Minister.

Today at Crace we see a local community bringing together the same principles that at a Government level we're trying to bring together in my new Department, and that is when we talk about sustainability and a sustainable population we look at making sure that you've got the water supply; that your energy is efficient; that your environmental footprint is being taken account of in every way.

The exact work that we're doing at a Government level, today we see on the ground at a community level: smart use of water; smart design in housing for energy efficiency and the Government policy factoring in to make sure that they're communities where you do have social inclusion and where the housing itself is affordable.

PM: Thank you. Thanks. Samantha?

JOURNALIST: Marius Kloppers (inaudible) today to look at a carbon tax ahead of an international agreement. Is there a risk that Labor's policy is now looking too timid for business?

PM: Look, I welcome the statements today from Mr Kloppers. Obviously, many members of the business community, Mr Kloppers included, have made statements and have called over quite a long period of time now for Government to deal with the question of pricing carbon. It's absolutely no secret, after particularly the election campaign that was, that the Government believes we need to work towards a price on carbon. The Government has consistently said that we want to work towards a price on carbon.

We obviously have indicated we think a market-based mechanism can provide that price, but we have also agreed with the Greens, and more broadly, that we will have an inclusive climate change committee to work towards a better way of addressing climate change in Australia.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, are you ruling out a carbon tax? Is that something you will look at?

PM: Look, we've said we would work through options in good faith at the committee that I have formed involving, of course, the Greens, and it's my understanding that Mr Windsor will also seek to participate in that committee. We want to work through options, have the discussions at that committee in good faith.

JOURNALIST: So you're not ruling it out then?

PM: Well, look, you know, I just think the rule-in, rule-out games are a little bit silly. These are complex questions of public policy.

Obviously, I believe climate change is real. I believe we've got to take steps to address climate change.

The Government is doing that through our focus on a renewable energy target; we're doing it through our focus on energy efficiency, on each of us and all of us living in a more efficient way so we use less energy; and of course we've always said to Australians that if we are going to tackle climate change, if we are going to reduce our carbon emissions, then we need to put a price on carbon.

I've agreed that we will have this multi-party committee, and obviously involving independents as well, to work through options. So, let's take it a step at a time. I genuinely believe complex public policy questions are never assisted by simple rule-in, rule-out games.

JOURNALIST: When would you like the committee to report, because Marius Kloppers indicated that he would like this price on carbon as soon as possible?

PM: Look we'll work through and I'm under no illusion about the complexities, so we'll take the time it needs.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, Marius Kloppers did say, though, that he believes that we should act before the rest of the world, but until the rest of the world acts that any price on carbon, that the affected companies should receive a rebate from the Government. Is that something that should be looked at as well, or should you rule that out?

PM: Well, look we've obviously indicated as a Government that we are aiming for targets in 2020. Aiming for those targets in 2020 means we've got to work through a range of issues.

We have provided record support for renewable energy. We are working on energy efficiency for individual homes and businesses. We made some key election commitments in this area which we will deliver, like investing a billion dollars to bring, through new energy lines, the energy of the future into the national electricity grid.

So, each of these things needs to be worked through in turn.

JOURNALIST: But should a business be given a rebate-

PM: -Well, look, you know, let's just be a little bit sensible here. I've just said we will have the committee to work through options.

The Government's policy was outlined at the election. We've always said we would need to have a price on carbon. We've always said that we would take a very clear view about the impact on our economy and we would work through - we would work through to build community consensus, we would work through to make sure our economy was ready.

They're our commitments.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible) someone from business, particularly someone with, you know, a big interest in coal, to push this case as far as Marius Kloppers has, rather than the Government, (inaudible) you that is saying this sort of thing?

PM: I didn't understand you were overseas and out of contact for the last three years. I must have missed that. I would have sent you a postcard.

But, obviously, over the last three years, the Government has been working through to address questions of climate change, and it's not been easy. It's not been easy in circumstances where Tony Abbott deliberately wrecked a consensus in Parliament house about the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, but, undeterred, we have made record investments in renewable energy. We are acting on energy efficiency. In the election campaign I talked frequently and at length about the strategies we needed to tackle climate change, about the need to price carbon, about the need to develop a community consensus, about the need to work through with Australian businesses.

Since the election, I've obviously agreed we would have this inclusive committee to work through options, and we will.

JOURNALIST: Mr Kloppers also suggested that you shouldn't change the pre-election mining tax deal; that, you know, you've reached an agreement with the companies. How flexible are you going to have to be, because you are going to have to make some changes, presumably, to get it through the House of Reps and the Senate? What's your parameters there?

PM: Look I've said consistently that I will deliver on the agreement that I entered into with Australia's biggest miners, including Mr Kloppers.

JOURNALIST: Have you received any advice yet on the Constitutional grounds for Rob Oakeshott to become Speaker?

PM: Look, we are still getting some legal advice. There are just some very practical matters her about the operation of the House of Representatives, so I viewed, and obviously as Leader of Government Business, Mr Albanese viewed it, as appropriate to get some advice, and we will.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, do you agree with the idea that Mr Oakeshott does not have enough experience to be Speaker?

PM: No. I've said, obviously, Mr Albanese has said on behalf of the Government, and I'm very happy to say, I think Mr Oakeshott obviously has the skills and attributes necessary, but there are some matters about the practical functioning of the House that we want to work through, and we're getting some legal advice on.

JOURNALIST: But are you still backing Harry Jenkins to be speaker?

PM: Look, we're taking this, again, a step at a time. Mr Oakeshott obviously has the skills and capacities. There are some practical matters.

I note that Mr Pyne was interviewed this morning, and in that Mr Pyne appeared to be saying that despite discussions leading to the agreement on changed Standing Orders it wasn't the intention of the Opposition to honour the agreement about providing the Speaker with a pair. So, there is that matter, there are matters about the practical functioning of the House and we'll get some legal advice on those questions.

JOURNALIST: What about poor old Harry Jenkins? I mean, he was a decent Speaker too, wasn't he?

PM: Well, there's an assumption in your question and what I've said is what I mean. Mr Oakeshott obviously does have the skills and capacities to be speaker. We are getting some legal advice. We'll consider that legal advice when we get it and it just goes to the practical functioning of the House.

JOURNALIST: Ms Gillard, how would you describe your meeting with Kevin Rudd on Monday? Did you discuss with him what he would speak to the United Nations about and you know, what's your view on the situation in Pakistan? Do you think, like him, that the world needs to do more?

PM: Well, obviously, the Government's agreed to have its aid efforts there increased. Mr Rudd, as Foreign Minister, is there in Pakistan; as he announced yesterday at his press conference, going to Pakistan for precisely those purposes.

JOURNALIST: And how would you describe your meeting with him on Monday?

PM: Well, look I'm not going to have a running commentary about meetings with my Ministers.

JOURNALIST: Will you give him an open brief Prime Minister, in terms of considering his experience and considering his foreign policy experience? Will he-

PM: -The policy that we will take into the various decision-making bodies of the world will be the policy of the Government. I will play my proper role, Mr Rudd will play his proper role, and the Cabinet will play its proper role.

JOURNALIST: Ms Gillard, just taking your mind back to your years in the law, there's a story in The Australian today where someone from the Queensland lawyers ethics board is complaining about the fact that law firms have got paralegals, secretaries, that are payed $20 an hour whose work is being charged out at $300 an hour. Do you think that's just business or do you think that that's profiteering?

PM: Look, I'm not going to engage in running commentary on legal fees. These things are dealt with by law associations and other bodies.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, when - you're going to get asked this all the time till it happens - when are you moving into the Lodge?

PM: Look, there are some minor repairs happening there. Obviously, it's easier for people to do the work when it's empty and so, look, I'm in no rush. At the appropriate point I'll move in.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister Mr Abbott said of radio this morning that BHP shouldn't push an idea that would ruin the mining industry (inaudible) that's helpful?

PM: Well, look I just think Australians seeking to determine expertise on mining between Mr Kloppers, the head of BHP, and Mr Abbott, pretty likely to pick Mr Kloppers.

Thanks very much.

Transcript 17542