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Transcript 17945

Transcript of interview, ABC Darwin

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: 30/06/2011

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 17945

HOST: Prime Minister Julia Gillard, welcome to the studio.

PM: Thank you very much.

HOST: Nice to see you here so bright and early. Well, this late for you, isn't it?

PM: I've been up for a while already.

HOST: Am I introducing you to Busby Marou? Have you ever heard those Rockhampton boys before?

PM: No, I haven't, so you are introducing me and it sounded fantastic.

HOST: You had a Community Cabinet meeting last night. There was a great deal of media around it, of course. How did it go for you? What did it prove to you about the Northern Territory and its Territorians?

PM: I thought it was a great exchange of views. Of course, there was a big focus on what's happening now with the live cattle trade, and I think that's a good thing. This is a big issue for the Northern Territory and for me to be here face to face with my Ministerial team, listen to questions, respond, give answers, have a really deep exchange with people I think is a great thing.

HOST: Obviously in this program in the last few days we've had Joe Ludwig on a couple of times and we've also had Nick Xenophon on and we've heard the heat coming out of the cattle industry. One of the big ones is about this $5 million in assistance. Cattlemen still were saying to us it's not enough. Is there any more compensation likely to be announced today?

PM: One of the reasons I'm up here is to talk again with industry about their needs. I came here a few weeks ago to talk to industry directly about the suspension. I thought if we were going to announce the suspension that I should be here talking to people face to face, not having them hear it second hand or through the media, but hear it direct from me. And when I had that first meeting with industry they said to me ‘look, we do not want to see our cattle treated with the kind of cruelty we saw on Four Corners' but they also said a suspension would be a lot of pressure on them.

HOST: Financially it's difficult for them, they're looking for compensation, you've offered some and there's small amounts around, we're still waiting for others to come. Are we going to see an extension of that $5 million?

PM: Well, one of the reasons I've been here is to talk about further assistance and I will have something to say about that just a little bit later today, responding to the dialogue that I've had with industry yesterday. So, to date we've had the income subsidy package, the $5 million that's been made available through industry, through the Cattle Council, for animal welfare needs. I've had discussions directly about what else may be able to assist in the short term while there are these days of hardship as we work as quickly as possible to resume the trade and get it flowing again, and I'll have something to say about that just a little bit later today.

HOST: How much heat was in the meeting last night. I obviously wasn't there, you had to get a ticket to go, you had to announce that you were going to be there. Did you feel that there was still anger at the way in which you'd dealt with the suspension of trade?

PM: I felt real concern and I felt real concern in my various other meetings with industry up here in the Northern Territory, so I'm under no illusions here. I know that the suspension has created tough days for the industry. My message to the industry I hope has been one of reassurance in this sense, but I see a strong, sustained future for the live cattle industry. To get to that strong sustained future we need to resolve the animal welfare issues. We are doing that as quickly as possible, and I want the trade with Indonesia resumed as soon as possible. We won't let an extra day go by. As soon as we can satisfy ourselves on the animal welfare issues, the trade will be resumed.

HOST: Let's talk about immigration because obviously here we are one of the major landing points, we're very close to what most of the country in the south is talking about and that is the arrival of people on our shores. Obviously, yesterday the Minister announced, well, I wouldn't say the closure of the Asti Motel, but certainly the withdrawing of detainees from the Asti Motel. Yesterday, also, we've seen protests, we've seen breakouts, we've seen semi-riots, we've seen suicide attempts, and that's all in Darwin's regional area, I mean we're talking about in our suburbs. Is that why that is tied to the notion of an immigration centres being put out at Wickham Point with 1,500 beds and it's away from the centre of Darwin?

PM: No, that's not what's driving the selection of Wickham Point. Clearly, there are only so many places in the country that are appropriate for detention centre facilities, that is where we can make arrangements and get access and Wickham Point is one of them. On disturbances in detention centres, as long as there's been mandatory detention in this country, which is more than 30 years now, there have periodically been problems in detention centres, so that is true now just as it was true 10 years ago and 10 years before that. My message, of course, is always that people don't get anything out of behaving badly; they don't get their claims processed more quickly; they don't get their claims processed more sympathetically; you don't get any advantage by behaving badly; and people need to conduct themselves properly.

HOST: Is there any chance we'd see children detained in Wickham Point?

PM: We're moving to get children out of heavily secured detention facilities and Minister Bowen, who is with me in the Northern Territory, was able to announce yesterday that we have acquitted our promise to get the majority of children out by 30 June this year.

HOST: 1300 057 222, we've a short time with the Prime Minister this morning so we'll try and take what calls they are taking in, but also I've got a gift here for you Prime Minister-

PM: -Oh, thank you very much.

HOST: I'll give you this halfway through. There's a lot of discussion of course about the intervention and about the things that have gone on and there's obviously a lot of discussion about the bad or the difficult processes that are going on. This was sent to us by the company who represent Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu -

PM: -Thank you very much.

HOST: There we are, there's both his first album, you can get it on vinyl, probably suit your age range-

PM: -Am I getting called old on the ABC? Heavens.

HOST: It's of an era, and there's Rrakala there, so that came to us, so that's Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu and a great representative of the Northern Territory and really that's sent to say there are good things happening in Indigenous communities in the Top End.

PM: There are some great things happening in Indigenous communities in the Top End, I absolutely know that and I've seen some of that with my own eyes. Progress has been made through the days of the Northern Territory Emergency Response: kids are getting food in schools; there being fresher food in community stores; more money being spent through income management on the welfare of kids; better approaches to policing and community order, some moves on alcohol, but more needs to be done and we're going to shape that in discussion with Indigenous people in the Northern Territory.

HOST: It's a huge discussion and obviously it's very difficult to squeeze it into a small amount of time, but there has been some criticism from some people who were involved in the original Little Children Are Sacred report, who say that the current consultations that you're doing and the announcements that you're making about what you're going to do in the second part of your intervention is same-same. We've seen it all before, we've said it all before, and there's nothing new in the way that your Government are approaching Indigenous issues.

PM: Well, I sat down with Indigenous leaders myself yesterday, with Jenny Macklin, as part of the consultations that we're having on our Stronger Futures discussion paper to shape the next phase, and that wasn't the response at all. The response was that this was a good opportunity to directly engage at the highest levels of government, with me, with the Minister responsible, Jenny Macklin, and have a say and people in that meeting seem to me to be hungry to have that say.

HOST: Julia Gillard, I know that you're minders are waiting for you to be taken away; busy, busy, busy the whole time you're here. I do have to ask one question, though, because myself, personally, I put out on my social media of choice I said I'll be interviewing the Prime Minister tomorrow morning, what questions should I ask the Prime Minister? And this is a very important question because it came from my nephew, and the question is for the Prime Minister ‘how do magnets work?'

PM: How do magnets work? Oh gee, it's going to have something to do with the line up of electrons isn't it?

HOST: You're the PM. This is why you get the big gigs.

PM: Well I'll check my high school science, or was it my primary school science, because you've pointed out that I'm from the vinyl era. When I did science in school, that was quite a long time ago.

HOST: There's a magnet in the piece that you play the record with, (inaudible) has a magnet in it.

PM: I doubt that the science of magnets has changed since I was in school. What's changed is my ability to remember that science. I'll go and refresh myself.

HOST: Julia Gillard I'll let the hard edge of communications in the ABC talk the hard stories, at the moment we thank you for coming in this morning and we wish you well for the next few hours that you're in town before you move on to your duties.

PM: Thank you very much.

HOST: Question before you go - we were trying to find a song that you wanted to play, anything Australian. I pulled out the Skyhooks Living in the Kevinties which was the one I pulled out, but you want to hear a bit of Midnight Oil, you're going with your Minister?

PM: I'm going with my Minister, Peter Garrett's up here with me doing a great job on school education, and the song I've picked is Blue Sky Mining. I was, before this life, as lawyer at Slater & Gordon and whilst I wasn't directly involved in the case, Slater & Gordon did the Wittenoom asbestos cases and got some justice for the families who lost loved ones because of asbestos and mesothelioma, and Peter Garrett was singing about it as we were doing those cases, so that's a nice connection from the past and we're still here together now.

HOST: And you've still got that social conscience?

PM: Absolutely.

HOST: This is Midnight Oil. Julia Gillard, thank you.

PM: Thank you.

Transcript 17945