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Transcript 17991

Transcript of interview with John Stanley, 2UE

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: 12/07/2011

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 17991

HOST: Julia Gillard, good afternoon to you.

PM: Good afternoon.

HOST: Now, the Newspoll today shows primary support for Labor down to 27 per cent, that's a fall of something like 12 per cent on the last election. How are you going to convince, you've got to convince at least 12 per cent of the population, who have deserted you since the last election, to come back, how are you going to do that?

PM: Long after opinion polls are forgotten, our nation will be pricing carbon. So, what I've got my eyes on is delivering this big reform that our nation needs. We will get the biggest polluters to pay a price for putting carbon pollution in the air from the first of July next year.

And that will mean that we have a clean energy future, a better environment and a stronger economy. So, that's what I'm focussed on.

HOST: Yeah, I'm sure you've got the numbers in the Parliament to do it and the legislation will go through, but do you accept you're doing it against the will of the vast majority of the Australian populous?

PM: Big reforms are always hard and they're always controversial. If you look at the big reforms that explain today's prosperity for us, the opening up of our economy to the world that happened in the 1980s and into the 1990s, all of that was controversial; not liked at the time. But we wouldn't be a prosperous country today if we hadn't done those things. So, this is the reform, this time, which will make us a stronger economy and a better environment for the future. So, I am determined to get it done.

HOST: See I covered a lot of those, and in most cases what was being planned was flagged at an election. We had the flagging of tax summits; we had, of course, the flagging of the GST and yet for a lot of people, I would suspect the majority of the audience here, they can't get past you having said before the election you wouldn't do something and then after the election you did it.

PM: Well, we've been talking about pricing carbon in this country for the best part of a decade. Prime Minister Howard went to the 2007 election determined to create an emissions trading scheme, a price on carbon.

I went to the 2010 election determined to create an emissions trading scheme, a price on carbon, and we will get to that emissions trading scheme three years after the start of pricing carbon on 1 July next year.

Yes, we'll get there via a three year fixed price - effectively a tax, a carbon tax - I didn't foresee that during the last election campaign but it will get us where we need to go. Putting a price on pollution that big polluters will pay and then we will reach a full emissions trading scheme which puts a cap on the amount of pollution our economy can generate.

HOST: See, I've got your quote from the last election, and I know you keep hearing the quote, the television quote ‘I will have no carbon tax under a government I lead.' But the quote which headlined The Australian newspaper on election day was ‘Julia's carbon price promise' and the headline and the front page story was you said you would ‘view victory in the election as a mandate for a carbon price provided the community was ready for this step'.

You don't rule out the possibility of legislating a carbon pollution reduction scheme in the next parliament but then you said ‘I rule out a carbon tax'. There is a pretty clear distinction there, where you have said I will do this, but if the public is with me, and plainly the public isn't with you.

PM: Well, we've worked to explain what we are trying to achieve and it has been a long and bitter debate, I am aware of that.

HOST: But you said in the election you wouldn't do it unless there was a deep community consensus. There plainly isn't, is there?

PM: Look, what we've had is, I think, a difficult and at times very confusing debate and I said frankly to the nation in my address to the nation on Sunday night, this is a debate that's been characterised by some missteps and false starts and I take my fair share of responsibility for how the debate has gone so far-

HOST: -You have framed your language very badly all the way along haven't you?

PM: Let's get our eyes on the outcome here; do we want to live in a country with less carbon pollution? That is a yes/no question. Well, I can achieve for us a nation with less carbon pollution, with the economy still growing strongly, with there being more jobs for people to have, and of course with nine out of ten households receiving some assistance for the price impacts that will flow through from the biggest polluters starting to pay a price on carbon.

Yes, it won't be an immediate emissions trading scheme, we will have three years fixed price for carbon tax but we'll get to that emissions trading scheme I spoke about in the last election. And I believe the best way to demonstrate to the community, after what has been a very long debate in our nation, and at times a very difficult debate, is to show people how the scheme will work and when we start it on 1 July next year people will be able to see exactly what it means for big polluters and how they'd change the way they do their business because they are paying a price for their pollution and they will be able to see exactly what it means for their families with tax cuts, family payments and pension increases.

HOST: What do you say to people who have looked and seen that there is very little in it for them, and in fact they might be worse off.

I have got an email here from George, he says, married person with one income, earning $85,000 has an impact $463 and government assistance was just $3 but a married couple with the same income but there is two of them working, they get a lot more assistance, significantly more government assistance. Isn't that skewing things away from the single income family where the wife generally stays at home?

PM: Well I would suggest he checks again on our household estimator on the website, because from what you have told me there, and obviously it's hard-

HOST: -It is just an email that has just come in.

PM: Sure, sure and obviously it's hard talking through people's incomes on the radio but from what you've said there it seems to me he has only looked at the tax cut and he also needs to consider family payments, if he's got a child in the family.

So, the best way of doing that is on the household estimator on the website, but the broader response to your question John is, we are all better off if our nation has a clean energy future. This is about cutting carbon pollution, we will all be better off as a country if we reduce the amount of pollution we create and what we will do through the scheme I announced on Sunday is reduce carbon pollution by at least 160 million tonnes in 2020.

That is the equivalent of taking 45 million cars off the road, we will be better off for that in terms of our great Australian environment, as well as getting our fair share of the clean energy jobs of the future.

HOST: Some of the questions people have asked, how is that measured? Who actually does the measuring of the emissions?

PM: The emissions, we already have a system where companies track on their carbon pollution, that's been part of dealing with the challenge of climate change and starting to-

HOST: -So, they self report, is that right?

PM: There will be appropriate systems, and there are already systems applying now. So, getting companies to look at their carbon pollution will not newly start on 1July next year.

HOST: Isn't there a possibility of people trying to rort it by saying they're under report what they're doing so they won't pay as much?”

PM: There will be proper monitoring, the way there is for every system that government operates. We have proper monitoring for our tax system, proper monitoring for our welfare system, to make sure that people do the right thing.

HOST: You know I can hear the listeners screaming, saying well hang on there are supposedly property monitoring of the insulation scheme and that's immediately what you get back.

PM: John, that is a complete apples to oranges comparison-

HOST: -But, you understand don't you, that's how people feel?

PM: And I'm very happy to answer that, but I do think we have got to do the apples to apples comparison. We run a very big tax system with people paying tax, millions of Australians and businesses right around the country.

Do some people try and do the wrong thing? Yes, they do. When we have proper monitoring people get caught, and they get busted for tax fraud. We've got a very big social security system with millions of people eligible for all different sorts of payments. Do some people try and do the wrong thing and engage in a bit of welfare fraud? Yes, they do and we've got a system that busts people and they get charged and some of them go to gaol.

Now we will take the same rigour to, obviously, making sure that the biggest polluters in this country, 500 of them, properly monitor and report and pay for the carbon pollution that they generate.

So, the right comparison is with the other systems that we operate to get people to pay the right amounts or to receive the right amounts. Now, on home insulation, that was urgent economic stimulus to keep Australians in work during the biggest financial crisis the globe had seen since the Great Depression, in the late 1920s into the early 1930s when the world economy turned on its head.

Now, yes, there were some very big problems in the delivery of the scheme, absolutely I have acknowledged before, it became a mess and we have learned from that, but you can't draw a comparison between the provision of urgent economic stimulus with a Great Depression style economic event engulfing the globe, and setting up for a long term system like big polluters paying for carbon pollution.

HOST: But they do draw the comparison, which is one of the reasons why the opinion polls are so bad for you.

PM: Well, John where's the logical conclusion of all of this? As a government-

HOST:-There isn't necessarily logic in it, it is just that this is the way it is-

PM: -Yes, but as Prime Minister, I have got to make the decisions for the right, for the nation's future.

So, I could say ‘gee, this is all pretty hard, let's put it in the too hard basket forever, let's have climate change spiral out of control, let's have endless amounts of carbon pollution in our atmosphere;' or I could say as Prime Minister: ‘gee this is pretty hard but we better get this done and we better use the best of our efforts and the best of our intelligence, having learned some of the lessons of the past.'

Some of the things that you have pointed to that haven't gone well, having learned from that and taken those learnings into better designing government programs for the future; let's actually get this done the very best way we possibly can. Well, I am determined to do that.

HOST: I know you're pressed for time but Tony Abbot's talking about debating you, I think you're doing a people's forum; he's doing a people's forum. Is there any prospect of getting the two of you together so you can debate the issues?

PM: Look, there will be any number of debates over the legislation in the Parliament.

HOST: So, you won't do a debate?

PM: Well look, and what? Hear Tony Abbot say ‘no no no,'? Hear Tony Abbot falsely claim that petrol is going up by 6.5 cents? Hear him falsely claim that Whyalla is going to be wiped off the map? Something he has backed down from today.

HOST: Well, if he's got no arguments, isn't that a no brainer for you that you can win the argument quite easily.

PM: Isn't it better for me to get on with the job of creating a clean energy future for this country. We've had a long debate in this nation, 10 years debating pricing carbon. 2007 election, then Prime Minister Howard and Kevin Rudd, both went to the election promising to price carbon. I went to the last election saying we needed an emissions trading scheme to address climate change.

HOST: But you also said no carbon tax.

PM: Yes, and we've just been through that John. But as Prime Minister, my job, and it's not always easy, but my job is to do what is right for the nation's future. What's right for this nation's future is to address climate change by cutting carbon pollution.

I will get legislation through the Parliament to do that. I will start it on 1 July next year. People can vote in 2013 with actual experience of the new system. We will have the Parliamentary debates along the way, but we have got to get this done for our future.

HOST: Are you concerned - I have got my little four year old here because I have no one else to look after him and he's freaking out, I don't know if you can hear it through the studio door, because he's just seen a vacuum cleaner which frightens him, so I am sorry about that.

PM: I can understand that, scary noises. John, it's about your four year old and it's about-

HOST: -I am aware of that. We do need to do something. I actually accept the science, it's just that I look at the language you have used and I look at the opinion polls and I take the calls here and I wonder if anyone is listening to you.

PM: And John, when you look at your son, having thought about all of that, and having listened to your listeners and you've read the newspapers today with opinion polls and you've listened to the debate over the last 12 months and further into the past. When you have got your son there, do you want him to grow up in a nation with less carbon pollution or more carbon pollution? I say less, let's get it done.

HOST: I've got to ask you final quick one if I can? The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has said that too many politicians got too close to Rupert Murdoch and were scared and were kowtowing to Rupert Murdoch and his media organisation. It's no secret that your government has been the subject of a campaign by a number of News Limited newspapers. Do you see a change, a sea change, that perhaps your government may be emboldened in dealing with News Limited and some of the criticisms they have made?

PM: Every day I feel emboldened to go and make the hard decisions-

HOST: -No but I am asking specifically about News Limited and Rupert Murdoch.

PM: And, I am saying to you, the only thing I ever expect of media outlets, whoever they're owned by is that they report accurately, and they report in a balanced way. I think we will-

HOST: -Is that what they're doing? Are they doing that?

PM: I think we will, as a result of what's happened in the United Kingdom, probably have a debate in this country about media. I am sure that debate will flow through as a result of some of the events in Britain.

We've tended to start debates on comparable subjects to our British friends in the past. I will let others engage in that debate. I have got a very big job, being Prime Minister of the country, is not about looking to see how I am reported in the newspapers; it's about getting things done.

HOST: But have they treated you unfairly, the News Limited newspapers?

PM: John, I am not interested in getting into a debate about it.

HOST: Certainly Stephen Conroy thinks they haven't-

PM: -Well, I will let others deal with all of that. My job is to get things done, not to worry about how it's reported the next day.

HOST: OK, Prime Minister, we have taken a lot of your time, I thank you.

PM: Thank you.

Transcript 17991