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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 17674

Transcript of joint press conference with Prime Minister John Key, Auckland

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: 15/02/2011

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 17674

JOURNALIST: Could I start by asking you about why you chose this school and its relevance to national standards, and were you acknowledging that there are teething problems in the system?

PRIME MINISTER KEY: Well, firstly I chose this school because this is where we launched national standards. That's the flagship policy for the Government. We believe it will make a substantial difference to lifting literacy and numeracy standards in New Zealand, and I thought it was a great place to take Julia to show her how (inaudible) highly successful because it's really been implementing national standards now for a long time, for the eight years that (inaudible) been principal.

In terms of teething issues, yes, look there are one or two issues. We've acknowledge those to the teachers in the last few months. They're really minor issues around moderation between schools and that's part of why we've got the significant number of feedback loops. We're working on those with the schools. It's one of the reasons why particularly the first year was for all intents and purposes a trial because that data wasn't released publically, but like any system, (inaudible) it will take some time to bed down, but we think the long-term gains we be that all New Zealanders will have a greater opportunity to enjoy a good education.

JOURNALIST: And are you looking at Ms Gillard's My Schools website, perhaps, as the next step?

KEY: Yeah, well, look we noted the fact that when that was launched in Australia there was huge participation from parents right across Australia wanting to know how their children are going. I think every parent wants to know if their child is succeeding at school and what they can do to help them and (inaudible) those ideas.

JOURNALIST: What's the main thing you want to achieve at the end of this visit? What do you want to be able to tell the New Zealand people at the end of this visit?

KEY: Well, firstly, the fact that Prime Minister Gillard has come to New Zealand is very significant. It's important that she's here. This is our strongest relationship. We work together across many aspects of life and we are great mates, I think, as two countries and we're there to support one another, but also long term, I mean, a single economic market with Australia has real economic benefits to, I think, the citizens of both countries and this is just further example that we continue to work together, and I think it sends a strong message to our ministers that-

JOURNALIST: -You're politically opposed, though, are you not?

KEY: Look, I can't speak for Julia but we parked our politics up at the door when it comes to international relations. We deal with leaders right across the world and we do so in the best interests of New Zealand and we don't let politics get in the way of that.

JOURNALIST: One more question, a lot of Kiwis asking about border control, about getting over to Australia quickly and easily.

KEY: Well, I think the moves we made some years ago to introduce SmartGate were very important. They've certainly been well received by New Zealanders. Awful lot of Kiwis now using SmartGate and good technology to get across the Tasman. We want to make that as easy as possible. Last year about 1.1 million Australians came and visited New Zealand, a lot of New Zealanders went across the other side of the Tasman, so that's really important.

Now, I can't say whether one day we would go to a borderless or effectively passport-free zone. It's possible but it's also possible that we would just continue to enjoy and employ modern technical advancements to alleviate that issue, but it's certainly a lot easier than it was years ago.

PM: And can I say, just in terms of being here, I've really come for the following purposes.

First and foremost I've come to say thank you for everything that New Zealand has done for Australia during this summer of hardship. It's been a great example of the friendship between us that one of the first people to ring me was your Prime Minister offering assistance, offering people, and I've had the opportunity today to thank three of those people on behalf of so many others who came and helped flooded communities in Queensland, so thank you for that.

Second, we're here so we can talk as leaders about the shared strategic challenges we have in this region. We have, with politics aside, a very shared perspective of our place in the world, of what it means to make our way in this region, and we will be discussing that shared perspective and the strategic challenges our region faces.

We also, of course, are continuing to talk about the economy, about the world economy after the global financial crisis and as we talk about our economies I think we've already well and truly decided that as we face the world economy we are always strengthened by working closer and closer together and that's what our economic partnership over almost 30 years has been about, and we will be looking to take the next stage in that economic partnership.

And then of course it's good to share information .We've been sharing things across all of our history, a shared defence heritage, and also sharing public policy. Education, very close to my heart, and the Prime Minister's brought me to a school that's got significance to him, because it's been engaged in such a program of change. I share that passion for making sure kids get great life chances and it's always a good opportunity to come and learn from each other on the big public policy questions of our age.

JOURNALIST: You share the same perspectives on a single economic market, so what's standing in the way?

PM: Well, we're making progress. We stand, obviously, on a 30 year track record, almost 30-year track record, of closer and closer economic partnership and integration. Each and every step of the way there's been more progress made and we are looking forward to making more progress during this visit, particularly formalising new and more liberal investment arrangements.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, can I ask you about defence? The Defence Minister has confirmed today that HMAS Tobruk will be out of action for longer than expected. It follows the Kanimbla and the Manoora. You've already floated the idea of perhaps sharing a ship with New Zealand. Is this going to be discussed, and Prime Minister, what's your attitude to that?

PM: Well, on the comments of the Defence Minister I'll leave them to him given he's made them in Australia and it's appropriate for him to do that

On our defence cooperation, this is part of our heritage with the Anzac tradition, it's part of our present as we work alongside each other in Afghanistan, and we'll of course be open to talking about how that partnership should work in the future.

KEY: In terms of sharing assets we're open to that concept, and Stephen Smith was here in New Zealand last week. I think it makes that New Zealand and Australia share assets where it makes sense. You have long-range large aircraft like C-17s, we don't. The Canterbury is a good ship that might be useful for Australia. So, look, from time to time we will share assets and I think that's part of the sort of shared arrangements that we have. We work alongside each other in countries like Afghanistan, we have obviously in Timor and the like.

PM: Now, we better take a question from the back. I was explaining to the Prime Minister Dennis Shanahan from our press gallery and for a reason I can't quite understand there's been an outbreak of beard growing in our press gallery over summer.

KEY: I nearly didn't recognise you Dennis.

PM: Phil Hudson is another example, but Dennis is here with us. I do think he looks a bit Barry Gibb-like but we can talk about that later.

JOURNALIST: On that theme of holidays and beachside, what sort of discussions are you going to be having about climate change, and are you going to discuss the possibility of Australia setting a $20 a tonne price on carbon?

PM: Well, Australia is working through pricing carbon. The next meeting of the Multi Party Climate Change Committee is on Friday and following that meeting, obviously, I or Minister Combet will be making some statements about progress made.

So, I am determined to price carbon. I'm not going to endorse a dollar figure or make reference to any recent reports. We are continuing to work through, through our Cabinet processes and through the Multi Party Climate Change Committee.

As we work through we learn from experiences in other countries, including, of course, the experience in New Zealand, where they do have a carbon pricing regime, where it is being reviewed, so New Zealand itself is looking at how it can further deal with carbon pricing, but we will learn from that experience as we learn from experiences around the world.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, can I ask you about the NBN? Telstra is saying that its wireless next generation, Prime Minister Gillard, that is, sorry, to be clear. Telstra is saying that its next generation will rival the speed, download speeds of the NBN. Why, then, should be proceed with the NBN?

PM: NBN Co. is of course dealing with the fibre rollout and it's dealing with wireless technology as an appropriate solution for Australians, the limited number of Australians who will live beyond the reach of the fibre.

Can I just these are complementary technologies, and I believe people can understand that from their own daily lives. There are times when we want to be on the move and have the technology with us. There are times when we're in our own homes where the quality and speed of downloads is pivotal. Things like using the NBN for service delivery including the health services that we've promised, depend on that quality and that download speed.

And the other difference, of course, between the fibre and wireless is wireless speeds go down depending on how many users jump on the technology at the same time. There'd be many people who have been to a sporting event, they've been to a crowed MCG on grand final day and they can't use their BlackBerrys, can't send a text, can't send an email because everybody's jumped on at the same time. Fibre does not have those limitations.

JOURNALIST: Can I ask on another issue, on asylum seekers, Scott Morrison's come out today and said that the federal taxpayer shouldn't be footing the bill to bring asylum seekers over to Sydney for the funerals today?

PM: Well, I would endorse the comments that have been made in Australia today by the Minister for Immigration. People died, a large number of people died very tragically at Christmas Island, and it's appropriate to allow people to bury their dead and to grieve and to show them some respect as they do it.

JOURNALIST: Are you disturbed by those comments?

PM: Well I think Ministers dealt with that direct response, but for me I'd say as a nation we understand what it is for human beings to lose someone they love and I think as a nation we would extend to everyone the respect they need as they grieve for someone they've lost.

JOURNALIST: Ms Gillard, in your absence a number of the States have raised concerns about the costs associated with your health reforms. Barry O'Farrell's the latest. What are you going to (inaudible) they won't face any additional costs?

PM: Well, can I say Mr O'Farrell of course will fight an election in the weeks to come. If he is elected as Premier of New South Wales then I will be happy to speak to him about the billions of dollars of growth money that the Federal Government wants to put into the hospitals of New South Wales, and I'll say to him, as said to every Premier and Chief Minister at the Council of Australian Governments meeting, there's no money without reform. This is the right set of reforms. Mr O'Farrell, if he is elected, may want to consult with Premiers Baillieu and Barnett on that question.

Transcript 17674