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Transcript - 24341

Interview with Ray Hadley, Radio 2GB

Photo of Abbott, Tony

Abbott, Tony

Period of Service: 18/09/2013 to 15/09/2015

More information about Abbott, Tony on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 08/04/2015

Release Type: Transcript

Transcript ID: 24341

Subject(s): National Ice Taskforce

RAY HADLEY:

Prime Minister, good morning.

PRIME MINISTER:

Ray, it’s good to be with you and, yes, this is a crisis and it is creating havoc and it’s important that we do an urgent national stocktake of what’s working and what’s not working and get cracking with what is working, because more and more Australians are succumbing to the scourge of ice. This is the most addictive drug, it’s the most dangerous drug, it’s predisposing people to extreme violence, it’s predisposing people to very serious mental illness. If you’re a regular user it can horribly disfigure you. So, we’ve got to do more, we’ve got to do it quickly, and that’s what today’s announcement is designed to galvanise.

RAY HADLEY:

Because I broadcast throughout many rural communities, I get a lot of feedback from cops in those rural communities in Queensland and New South Wales. They tell me that, you know, bikies, people who sell this material are targeting these rural communities, getting kids hooked on it, adults hooked on it and then they’ve got them through the top lip.

PRIME MINISTER:

Exactly – and unlike some other illegal drugs, it doesn’t seem to be something that is happening in our inner cities or amongst the urban chic, this is something which is very much happening in regional communities right around our country – even in remote communities right around our country – but wherever it’s happening it’s killing people and it’s predisposing people to violence. So, it’s ruining lives, it’s destroying families and it’s devastating communities and that’s why it’s so important that it’s not just business as usual where ice is concerned.

RAY HADLEY:

I wanted to bring this to your attention, as well. I mean, I’ve got an ‘in’ with the New South Wales Police Force in that my son’s an officer and I talk to many of his mates about what they confront on a Saturday night or a Friday night, early in the morning, with these people with ice and then I’ve got emails – and this has been raised not just by police, but by health workers – when these people are sectioned and have to be put away somewhere other than a jail cell, they’re taken to health facilities. I’ve got one here from rural New South Wales and these are people without tasers, people without handcuffs; these are nurses in mental facilities, in public hospitals, who are simply dumping grounds for these people until they come down from where they are. They’re asking for help as well, Prime Minister. They’re saying, yes, the police have got a problem but we’ve got a problem as well in mental health facilities.

PRIME MINISTER:

And I absolutely understand that, Ray, because if you are having an ice-fuelled episode you are potentially very, very violent indeed and potentially stronger than normal. I mean, this is the thing about someone who is on ice: the kind of thing that would normally be sufficient to subdue such a person is insufficient. I mean, you can taser people, if you’ve got one, and it doesn’t seem to work if they’re under the influence of ice.

So, this is a very serious problem and it’s far worse than any previous illicit drug: it’s worse than heroin, it’s worse than cocaine, it’s worse than LSD, it’s worse than ecstasy, and that’s why we’ve got to take this so much more seriously. I’m not saying that we haven’t taken earlier epidemics of illicit drugs seriously, but we’ve got to take this one even more seriously.

RAY HADLEY:

How quickly do you expect the very capable former commissioner of Victoria Police, Ken Lay, to come back to governments and say, well, this is what we need to do?

PRIME MINISTER:

I have asked him to come back by the middle of the year, so that’s the 30th of June. We also need urgently a new public information campaign – a public awareness campaign – because this is a law enforcement issue but, in the end, it’s a social issue, it’s a demand issue, and if young people in particular were more aware of just how your life and your body could be ravaged and destroyed by this drug, I think a lot more of them would think twice before taking it. So, there is a new public awareness campaign that we want to get cracking with very quickly, too.

RAY HADLEY:

Ok, well done, Prime Minister. Your colleague, Scott Morrison, appears with me most Mondays but because of the public holiday he was with me yesterday. He’s caused a bit of a furore with the business community. Look, I make this very simple point and I’ve made it a dozen times, this story’s not a new one. The business community jump up and down and it appears they don’t want to tread on eggshells. Look, they’re too scared to say: the Labor Party, the Greens and the crossbenchers need to pull their heads in and support the Government in reining in spending. It’s as simple as that. It’s no good saying, “Look, all you politicians out there, you need to be more responsible, we’re in all sorts of strife,” if the business groups the nine major business groups – who called this week and five others who called last week had the intestinal fortitude to call Mr Shorten for what he is and call the Labor Party for what they did during their time in office, we might get a quicker solution.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, that is a fair point, Ray, and certainly Mr Shorten and the Labor Party are to blame. They created the problem and now they are sabotaging the solution. I think there was a marvellous line of Winston Churchill’s back in the 1926 general strike in Britain when he said, “I refuse to be impartial between the fire brigade and the fire.” The Labor Party are the fire here and the Coalition are the fire brigade. We are the ones who are trying to solve the problem and the Labor Party are the ones who created the problem and who are now trying to stop the solution and I think people are starting to become more aware of this and for the first time there does seem to be a bit of pressure on Mr Shorten to say exactly what he would do – and the answer is absolutely nothing.

RAY HADLEY:

They said yesterday, they said, nation’s leaders risk taking the country down, quote, “a road of economic despair” and they need long-term reform. Well, I would have thought that is what you were trying to achieve.

PRIME MINISTER:

That’s exactly right and, look, lest anyone get too gloomy or doomy, even this Parliament, largely thanks to the crossbench in the Senate, has passed some very significant legislation which means that the debt and deficit that we inherited from Labor has been halved going forward. Now, it is still not good enough. There is still a lot more to be done but already a great deal has been done and that gives us a much stronger foundation on which to work in this year’s Budget than we had last year.

RAY HADLEY:

Prime Minister, thanks for your time.

PRIME MINISTER:

Thanks so much. Thanks, Ray.

[ends]

Transcript - 24341