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					                            PRIME MINISTER
                                   TRANSCRIPT OF Q & A
                                  NATIONAL PRESS CLUB
                                     19 AUGUST 2010

JOURNALIST: Chris Johnson from the Canberra Times, Prime Minister. When Labor
settled on a five per cent emissions reduction target, Kevin Rudd said repeatedly then it
was actually far more ambitious than it looked because of Australia’s expected high
population growth. You have since said repeatedly that you don’t want a big Australia.
So if we’re not going to have a big population, what excuse have you left for not pushing
ahead for a bigger emissions reduction target?

PM: Well we’ve got the same targets, obviously with a five per cent unconditional target.
What I’ve said for the future of population and for immigration is I believe in a
sustainable Australia, not a big Australia and we’ll get the policies right. Now obviously
every year this nation considers what its immigration intake should be against a set of
economic criteria. For the future I want to see us do that against the sustainable
population policy we will develop. Yes the target remains the same, the target is an
ambitious target. The difference between me and Mr Abbott essentially in this campaign
is I believe in climate change, he does not. I believe we need to cap carbon pollution
and we need a market mechanism to do that. I will lead the national debate, he does not
believe in either of those things. We will address emissions through the policies I’ve
outlined. Record investments in solar and renewable, new transmission lines to get that
energy into the national electricity grid, no more dirty coal fired power stations, greener
buildings to work from, greener cars to drive. Mr Abbott will endlessly take money out of
your wallet, the purses and wallets of Australians, shove it in the hands of big polluters
as pollution continues to rise.

JOURNALIST: Michelle Grattan from The Age. Ms Gillard you repeatedly say you think
this will be a cliff hanger and that raises the possibility of a hung parliament. What would
be your approach if there was a hung parliament to the cross bench members? For
example, if it involved the possibility of a deal with a Green member what would you be
willing to do? And secondly, Mr Abbott the other day committed himself to supporting a
Debates Commission for the next election. Given the farce over debates this election,
are you willing to give a similar commitment?

PM: Well what I’d say to you, Michelle, is I’m not going to speculate on what might
happen on Saturday. My job, my drive, my passion is to be campaigning and fighting for
the decision that Australians, I believe, should make on Saturday. Contrast between a
positive plan for this nation’s future and a campaign of relentless negativity asking for
protest votes. So the decision is in the balance. It’s tough, it’s close, it’s tight, it’s a cliff
hanger but I am going to use my time remaining between now and Saturday
campaigning not speculating on the result. On a Debates Commisson, can I say to you
quite frankly I think politicians in election campaigns will obviously always pursue
questions about debates. They’ll vary from time to time in each election campaign. I
formed the view we should have had a debate about the economy. I was ready for it last
night, Mr Abbott was not.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, Malcolm Farr from the Daily Telegraph. You’ve twice
referred today to record investment in solar energy, yet during the campaign in your
pursuit of offsets you’ve taken some $220 million out of the Solar Flagships program
and some $50 million out of the Renewable Energy Bonus scheme. Can you
understand how all those people who’ve gone to the Greens, many of them young
voters, are cynical about this Government’s approach to climate change?

PM: Right, what we’ve done of course is we’ve looked at the likely expenditure draws on
those programs and we’ve made some decisions about what needs to be in the forward
estimates and allocated as a result. I can understand that following the events in
Parliament House about the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme that there’s a sense of
frustration amongst many Australians, some of them younger Australians, some of them
older Australians, but a sense of frustration among many Australians about not having a
Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. I share that sense of frustration. I was there in
Parliament House when you could hear the consensus to get the Carbon Pollution
Reduction Scheme through the Parliament shattering around you and it shattered
because of Mr Abbott. Now obviously in this election campaign people are making a
decision whether they will have a prime minister who believes in climate change, who is
committed to leading a national debate to get a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme
and the market mechanism we need to price carbon whilst delivering on the policies I’ve
outlined. Or they will elect a man who doesn’t believe in climate change, will never price
carbon, will never have a market mechanism and will endlessly take money from them
and give it to big polluters as pollution rises.

JOURNALIST: Lyndal Curtis from ABC radio current affairs. Both you and Tony Abbott
are haring around bits of the country at a rate of knots in the last week or so of the
campaign. If you’re a voter in a safe seat though you’ve got almost no, you’ve got no
chance really of meeting either of the candidates for Prime Minister, let alone having
any taxpayer funds for local projects like roads and sporting stadiums rain down on your
head. It may be a smart way to run a political campaign, focusing just on marginal
seats, but is it really any way to run a democracy?

PM: Well Lyndal excusing me for not sharing your cynicism. I’m very happy to meet
voters in all parts of the country and when you look where I’ve travelled and where I’ve
gone since the 2007 election, I’ve been right around all parts of the country. I’ve been to
many, many places talking to many people. We’ve had community cabinets to go out
there and meet people. When we make decisions about where investments go let’s go
scoreboard, track record, very happy to. Regional rorts? Mr Abbott’s track record,
remember what the Auditor General said about that? Well it wasn’t a very nice form of
words and I think the word corrupt or corruption figured in it somewhere. Look at what
we’ve done, Building the Education Revolution, economic stimulus. We could have put
that in places we thought were politically sensitive. We didn’t do that. We said let’s
benefit every school in the country, every school and that’s what we’ve done. When we
look at things like GP Super Clinics, I know it’s fashionable to be cynical about where
these things are placed. We use a set of criteria about doctor shortage and about need.
When we look at other investments, Trades Training Centres, I want to make sure they
go into every school in the country, whether mum and dad vote Liberal or whether mum
and dad vote Labor or whether they equivocate between, but the children in that school
get the benefit of a Trades Training Centre. Mr Abbott wants to stop that. I want to
make sure that children in secondary school get computers, every school, every seat,
every electorate, every suburb, every town. Mr Abbott will stop that. I want to make
sure that people can ring a GP hotline after hours and use the power of the National
Broadband to get health assistance in the middle of the night, doesn’t matter where you
are, Mr Abbott wants to stop that and so the list goes on. This is a campaign of
importance to every Australian in every part of the country. And can I say on local
commitments, the difference between me and Mr Abbott is the local commitments I
have committed to, we will keep. The local commitments Mr Abbott has committed to
have got a huge big funding hole. He’s committed to $900 million worth of local
promises and he has accounted in his budget from yesterday for only $350 million
worth. So, if Mr Abbott has made your community a promise, odds are, it’ll never
happen if he’s elected Prime Minister.

JOURNALIST: G’day Prime Minister, Matthew Franklin from the Australian —

PM: And the campaign trail.

JOURNALIST: Indeed. Well I've been talking to people on the campaign trail, just like
you. And I talk to them about promises. If you and I had time right now we could go
somewhere and sit down and look at the list of promises that the Labor Party made in
2007 and we would have no trouble at all in finding quite a few broken promises. And
when you talk to people out on the street, and you say well, what do you think about
that? They say, I don’t believe either of them. I don’t think politicians will keep their
promises. I would like to ask you, what you have to say to voters who are undecided
and going to the box and they’re wavering and they’re think, why should I trust this
woman to be any different from any of the others?

PM: Okay, and I'm happy to say to voters, judge me on who I am and what I've done. I
been Deputy Prime Minister, I've been Minister for Education of this country. I carried
the Government’s education revolution agenda. I carried our agenda for getting rid of
WorkChoices and introducing the Fair Work Act. I'm happy for everybody to get out the
tick sheet and say promises made, promises delivered. And there’ll be one, there will be
one out of many, many promises, one that we didn’t deliver and that was the child care
centres because ABC Learning collapsed – the biggest private child care provider in this
country. I didn’t know this was going to happen in 2007 when we made that promise.
But I'm happy to go through the rest of the list, you know, promises made, promises
delivered. National curriculum, Fair Work Act, improving schools, Trades Training
Centres, computers in schools, HECS relief for kids studying maths and science, a
better way forward for universities, universal pre-school, child care quality standards
and the list goes on and on. Happy any of day of the week to sit down with you and go
through that tick sheet, happy to stand by it in front of Australians.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, Andrew Probyn, from the West Australian newspaper.
What happens, and this is assuming you win on Saturday, what happens if the Minerals
Resource Rent Tax does not raise the predicted $10.5 billion in revenue? What would
happen to the infrastructure money, the company tax cuts, and the superannuation
benefits? Would they have to disappear for the sake of the budget surplus because,
let’s face it, the last time the Treasury came up with numbers for the RSPT, they were
horribly wrong. And secondly, would you consider lobbying or encouraging Woodside
to locate its processing plant for the Sunrise LNG project in East Timor if that is the, if
that is what it will take to get East Timor to accept a refugee processing centre?

PM: Okay, happy to answer those questions, thank you very much. Number one, I'm
not making any assumptions about Saturday. This is a cliff hanger election, a cliff
hanger election. If the Government is re-elected, and I'm using the word if deliberately,
if the government is re-elected, then we have worked with Treasury, and obviously in
my discussions with the biggest mining players in this country, BHP and Rio, biggest
mining companies in the nation, to get the figures right on the Minerals Resource Rent
Tax and I stand by them. The contrast for Saturday, let’s go through it: Minerals
Resource Rent Tax, superannuation, infrastructure, company tax reduction, better
benefits for small businesses, these are the things that I will provide. On Mr Abbott’s
side, company tax up, no tax breaks for small business, no superannuation, no extra
infrastructure for WA. He’s not only going to stop the $2 billion flowing from the
Minerals Resource Rent Tax, he’s hacked $400 million direct out the Budget, direct out
of the forward estimates. So that’s the contrast, that’s what people can choose
between. On commercial decisions about where projects go, whether its Woodside or
whether it’s any of our other great resource companies, they should make those
decisions in the best interests of their shareholders, paying dividends, the things that
they need to do to run a profitable business. Yes, I will pursue the dialogue with East
Timor, the East Timorese Government is open to the dialogue and as Prime Minister I
will pursue that dialogue, if I’m elected on Saturday.

JOURNALIST: Hello, Sandra O’Malley from Australian Associated Press. You’ve
repeatedly said that this will be a cliff hanger election. Can I take you to one seat where
the race will be against the Greens, rather than the Liberals the seat of Melbourne.
Many traditional Labor voters might think about switching their votes to the Greens there
because they feel betrayed on issues like climate change, asylum seekers, gay
marriage, the internet filter. What would you say to those people who no longer see
Labor as the progressive party of choice. And if the Greens were to have the balance of
power in either the Reps or the Senate, will you rule out any horse trading with them
over the MRRT?
PM: On the second question, yes I rule out any horse trading with the Greens on the
Minerals Resource Rent Tax. I know Mr Abbott has been going around trying to raise a
fear campaign about this. Part of the campaign of relentless negativity. But let’s just
actually look at the facts, because the facts are revealing. I have consistently ruled out
any movement on the Minerals Resource Rent Tax. What I have agreed with
Australia’s biggest miners is what I will legislate and to be fair to Senator Bob Brown, he
has publicly acknowledged that while he will seek to move amendments he accepts that
when those amendments fail that a re-elected government would have a mandate for
the Minerals Resource Rent Tax, in the form I agreed with Australia’s biggest miners.
So this fear campaign has no substance. It’s not based in fact. If I am elected as Prime
Minister on Saturday, the Minerals Resource Rent Tax I legislate will be the one that
was agreed.

On the question of the choice between the Greens and the Labor Party I would say
this. The way to make change in this country is from government. Yes, you can make
political points from other places, and of course the Greens very much use their
candidates in the Senate, people like Senator Bob Brown, for whom I’ve got a lot of
personal respect, they use them to raise issues and that’s appropriate, that’s part of our
democracy. But you make change from the Government benches. So if you want to
see change, there’s only one way to do it, and that’s to elect the Government.

JOURNALIST: Louise Dodson from the Financial Review, Ms Gillard. You’ve put the
economy at the centre of your campaign and I’m just wondering, if you are elected, what
your top economic priority would be. Would it be lifting productivity, returning the
budget to surplus, easing cost of living concerns, economic reform and tax reform etc?

PM: Look I’ve outlined a comprehensive economic plan for the nation that does all of
those things. So my priority is delivering that economic plan. I will bring the budget to
surplus. I will cut company tax. I will give small businesses tax breaks. I will invest in
the skills of the future that increase productivity and participation. I will invest in
infrastructure that increases productivity and participation. What is the one thing I will
always have in the front of my mind? It’s jobs. I’ve been motivated all of my life by the
benefits and dignity that work brings people. I’ve all of my life, worried about the
shattering of self confidence, family life that unemployment brings. That’s why I’m
proud we stepped up and we saved Australian jobs when the global financial crisis
threatened and that’s why I think Mr Abbott was so wrong, so wrong, to advocate that
this country go into recession and we just see hundreds of thousands of Australians join
dole queues. That’s not my way, that’s not Wayne’s way. We will be pushing for jobs.

JOURNALIST: Phillip Hudson from the Herald Sun. You’ve said that you believe
Australia should become a republic, but you don’t want to do anything about it, while the
Queen still reigns. But are you going to get ready for a republic. Will there be anything,
if you’re re-elected on Saturday, is there anything you will do in the next three years to
get Australia ready for it by having a non-binding plebiscite or anything like that at all, so
if the time ever arises, the nation will at least have some sort of road map.
PM: Look, I’ve expressed my own view during this campaign, but can I say, where the
republican debate largely went off the rails and didn’t get the confidence of the
Australian people last time round, is that it was too much about political figures and too
little about community views and community campaigning. So I genuinely believe that
for this nation to become a republic, we need to see an organic coming together in the
community, a sense that people want change. I think there’s actually less sense of
activism around this now than there has been for a long period of time. I think that
would have to be rebuilt before it is you know, credible to suggest that we would go to
any form of vote with a hope of success.

JOURNALIST: Good afternoon Ms Gillard. Phillip Coorey from the Herald, Sydney
Morning Herald. At this event about three years ago then Opposition Leader Kevin
Rudd was asked if elected what he would have liked to have achieved in a year’s time.
Could I put it to you if you are elected on Saturday, could you give me three palpable
things you would like to have achieved by this time next year and possibly one by
Christmas, which is roughly within your first 100 days?

PM: Right. Thanks for that. Well by Christmas I would have wanted to have delivered,
commenced delivery of the Government’s promises. Obviously, promises have
staggered start dates, but what I want to do is I want to rebuild a bit of faith by actually
setting about methodically, piece by piece delivering what we’ve promised. And what
we’ve promised is a comprehensive integrated plan for the future of this country on the
economy, on skills, on jobs, on health care, on the National Broadband Network, piece
by piece, step by step, getting it done, delivering what we’ve promised the Australian
people. What I’d like the government to be remembered for and whether that’s at the
end of the first year or the end of the three years or at some other time in Australia’s
history, if I’m re-elected what I’d like people to be able to say about a government I lead,
is that my passion and determination for making sure that every child got a great
education shone through everything the government did and that was the time that
Australian education was transformed so we gave every child that chance.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, Hugh Rimington from the Ten Network. Just sort of
really following on from Phil Coorey’s question in many ways. When the debate was
held here you were asked what was the thing, the area in which you’d been called upon
to display political courage and I think you nominated MySchool. Moving forward, if
you’re re-elected, if you’re elected on Saturday, can you nominate a policy area in which
you think political courage will be required and how will you display it?

PM: Look I think often these debates are, you know, close in a bit and people don’t get
a sense of what it’s like to live this life and do this job. You know, I’d hope people would
say to me that pursuing, piece by piece, the national plans that I’ve outlined in this
campaign takes courage and it takes determination. It’s easy to sit there and carp and
moan about what everybody else is doing wrong. It’s much harder to put out positive
plans and to seek to be judged by them. Judged by them in the election campaign,
judged by them on the implementation of those positive plans. So for me, transforming
education, keeping our economy strong, reforming health care, delivering the National
Broadband Network, stepping up and tackling the challenge of climate change, the need
for a deep and lasting community consensus. All of these things take courage. And
you know, when you look at the things that I’ve done as Education Minister, well you
know, it’s easy to say, oh modest achievements in one area of policy. Thirty years this
country waited for national curriculum. Thirty years. Why do people think that was,
because it was hard to do. I got it done. Twenty-five years, this country’s waited for
increased school transparency. Why do people think that was, because it was hard to
do and I got it done. Thirty years this country’s waited for uniform occupational health
and safety laws and we were well on our way to taking as long as it took to get a
uniform rail system – I got it done. Across these achievements, Fair Work Act,
WorkChoices, getting rid of it, getting the workplace relations system that shows
decency and respect to working Australians – I got it done. And for the Government,
here with Wayne, I would say it took some courage. It took some courage to step up
during the global financial crisis when there wasn’t anybody, there wasn’t anybody in
this country or around the world who had the play book, had the rule book, knew what
was going to happen next to step and to make the decisions to keep Australians in jobs
– we got it done. We got it done and that was the right choice. What do we see on the
other side of politics? Well, you know, national curriculum, talk talk talk, nothing
happened. Transparency in schools, talk talk talk, nothing happened. WorkChoices,
deep passionate embrace and ongoing love, global financial crisis, would have sat on
their hands. All too hard. Don’t want to know. Don’t want to be judged by a decision.
Maybe something will go wrong. We’ll just sit. We’ll just wait until Australians are on
dole queues and we hope that they’ll accept our explanation that it was something to do
with the world, not us. That’s what Mr Abbott stands for.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, Jessica Wright of the Sun Herald. You mentioned
before your first words as Prime Minister and during that same speech you said there
were some days that you’d delight and some days that you’d disappoint. Now five
weeks into the election campaign and you have battled leaks, outspoken criticisms of
former leaders. It’s been up and down. You’ve trailed in the polls and now have a
narrow lead. Could you tell us then personally what you believe has been your high
point when it is you have delighted the Australian people, and equally the low point
when you have disappointed?

PM: Well, you’ll probably have to excuse me if I keep these moments of critical self
analysis until after election day. And what I’d say to the Australian people is when I
delight and when I disappoint is a matter for them to judge. But with those words, what I
was trying to point out is, you know, we’re all human beings in this job. We’re all human
beings. There are days when you’ve got to make tough decisions. There are days
when people would look and say: “She could have done that better, I wish she’d said
that, I wish she’d worn a different suit.” You know, so on and so forth. Those things will
happen each and every day. What I seek to be judged by is not necessarily the
accumulation over a 24 hour period of the six or seven media cycles that are now within
that 24 hours. What I would seek to be judged by is what gets done and what gets
achieved. And that’s what I meant when I used those words, you know, this business
isn’t about entertaining. It’s about leading the country. What you’re remembered for are
the hard things that required persistence and effort and you got them done. That’s what
I seek to be judged by.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, Jayne Azzopardi from the Nine Network. Jess alluded
there to one of the low points probably for you this campaign, and that was the leak over
you opposing paid parental leave in Cabinet that Laurie Oakes revealed. The
announcement you made today about paid parental leave, can you tell us whether you
personally supported this decision and also when the decision was made? Was it made
before the election campaign or was it made after that leak in an attempt to make you
look a bit more family friendly?

PM: Look, guess what? I’m not going to give you an insight into how we do our
campaign policy announcements and I’m not going to invite all of you who have been on
the media bus and the media plane to our campaign strategy meetings or our Cabinet
Meetings, or any of those kind of things. What I’m announcing today, I believe in. It’s a
good policy, it’s an affordable policy, it’s a costed policy. It’s going to give dads time at
home with new babies – that’s a great thing.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, Karen Middleton from SBS Television. Could you also
tell us what this policy announcement today actually costs in dollar terms? But my
other question is this. The Government won great praise in 2008 for the apology to the
Stolen Generations, and there’s been a lot of talk since about closing the gap in life
expectancy. The Bureau of Statistics figures show in 2008, of all Indigenous deaths
that year, 4.2 per cent were due to suicide. The comparative proportional figure for non-
Indigenous deaths is 1.5 per cent. And there aren’t any newer figures than 2008 yet,
but if you talk to Indigenous people they tell you they go to far too many funerals,
particularly of young Aboriginal men. Can I ask you, what responsibility, what moral
responsibility do you as Prime Minister and former Deputy Prime Minister take and will
you take for this situation and the disillusionment that has clearly caused it, and what
undertaking will you give today to make this an urgent priority if you win office?

PM: Look, thank you for that question and you’ve raised something that I think is very
important to the Australian people and very important to our – suffering there a bit,
aren’t you – very important to our sense of perception of ourselves as a nation. The
Government has set a range of aspirational targets in closing the targets. Aspirational
in the sense that we are, you know, fixed on achieving them but we recognise that
they’re a climber’s reach; that they require a real effort, a real step up. And the
Government has allocated, it’s more than $4 billion extra to assist with reaching our
closing the gap targets. Now the reality is as we invest in literacy, in numeracy, in
closing the gap in education, as we invest in health care, as we invest in employment
opportunities, we’re investing but change happens, you know, piece by piece. And then
when you do the full set of statistics for all Indigenous Australians, obviously, for that full
set of statistics people are going to think, can’t we speed this up more? Look, I’m
determined, I think you’ve seen from Jenny Macklin as Minister a great deal of
determination in this area. For me, it all, you know, comes back to getting a great start
at school, getting skills, making a transition from school into the first rungs of work, the
first opportunities that are out there in the workplace. If a young Indigenous person
doesn’t come out of school reading and writing, and too many don’t, if they miss the first
step on that, you know, journey into the workplace, into an apprenticeship, where they
need to go next. If they end up therefore on welfare with the sort of corrosive effects
that come from that aimlessness, it can be a long, long, long way back. So that’s the
focus of our policy. On the costing of the measures we’ve outlined today, you’ll see the
costings in the press release. It’s a modest measure, absolutely modest measure. I
acknowledge that. When we look at Tony Abbott’s paid parental leave scheme, his is in
the capital B for billions; ours is in the hundreds of millions. The difference, of course, is
that ours is affordable and doesn’t require a tax on groceries.

MIDDLETON: Can you tell us what it is?

PM: The figure, it comes out, it’s 270 currently on the forward estimates. Sorry, it’s 270
a year for the current paid parental leave scheme and this will add 90 a year.

JOURNALIST: Hello Prime Minister, Jodi Spears from the Seven Network. I'm
interested in your thoughts today on leadership. Are you able to define what you see as
leadership and also name the person you see as the most inspirational leader, either
here or anywhere else in the world?

PM: Yep. Look I think leadership is about engaging with people. I think the Australian
model of leadership, particularly, is not for people to get a sense that they are above or
somehow different to the people that they lead. I think the Australian model of
leadership is to see yourself as, you know, a member of the community to always be
open to concerns, to questions, to issues, to discussions with people. That’s the model
of leadership that I will employ. I have always believed people are immeasurably
strengthened by being a member of the team, by having a team around them that can
feed in ideas, and I will have that model of leadership too. In government that is a
traditional Cabinet system of Government. But people also look to leaders to chart a
course, to inspire, to show fortitude and determination in pursuing that course, that’s
important to me, it’s important to how I conceptualise myself as a leader, and people
should expect that to be on display, I hope, this is in the judgement of the Australian
people. I hope people would say that’s been on display in this period of the campaign.

JOURNALIST: Mark Kenny from the Advertiser, Prime Minister. I want to go back to, I
guess, what was raised by Lyndal Curtis, and Matt Franklin, really the sort of functioning
of democracy question. In your speech you talked about Tony Abbott’s boat phone,
which we know doesn’t actually exist as an actual phone, but there’s —

PM: Well, you know, you’re making assumptions, aren’t you.
JOURNALIST: — Well I am, I'm taking him at his word. WorkChoices, which he says is
dead and buried and last night it as gone as well. The PBS, which he said today, there
will be no increase to medicines, and the surplus, which you say he doesn’t have a plan
for getting it, you don’t know when it will happen. In all of those cases he has an
alternative view. I'm just wondering, given that both sides in this election campaign
have so egregiously misrepresented each other’s positions, what choice to voters have,
what chance do they have, really, of making any sort of reasonable assessment of the
truth in all this.

PM: Well, can I say, the following, no matter which side of politics says it, one plus one
is always going to equal two. And on Mr Abbott’s costings, by using that very, you
know, simple set of mathematical processes, that hopefully people learned in school,
obviously I'm very passionate about making sure we keep investing in numeracy, but
using that very simple set of mathematical processes, when you go through Mr Abbott’s
costings, we’ve identified $12.4 billion in costing errors. Now, $12.4 billion means that
their savings do not match their spending, that means that it adds to the budget bottom
line. That is, it punches into the surplus. You can’t walk away from that maths. Maths
is maths. And for Mr Abbott on other questions on WorkChoices, look, I'd accept, I'd
accept if Mr Abbott, the day after the 2007 election had walked out and said, look I get it
now. I get it now, the Australian people are opposed to WorkChoices, I get it. You
know, verdict in, verdict accepted, that’s me packing in the tent, no more WorkChoices.
If he’d done that, then I think his claims in this campaign would be credible, but he didn’t
do that. He wrote a book that lauded WorkChoices. He stood at a despatch box in
Parliament House. The despatch box in Parliament House, in the single biggest
parliamentary opportunity an Opposition Leader gets in a parliamentary year. He stood
at a despatch box and he said, what he stood for was effectively the re-introduction of
individual statutory employment agreements and changing the unfair dismissal laws of
this country. Now that’s not ancient history, that was May. This is August. Now excuse
me for pointing the Australian people to the fact that I think, when a man who wrote a
book, and said that in May, wanders around radio studios in an election campaign going
“WorkChoices? Who? Me? I can’t imagine what you’re talking about?” That people are
entitled to be a bit cynical about that and we are pointing to that, we’re pointing to it for
good reason. We’re pointing to it because it’s a risk to what will happen if Mr Abbott is
elected as Prime Minister. And the other thing I would say, I think this would be
different too, if the Coalition had been transparent about WorkChoices before the 2004
election, but scoreboard. Form. They didn’t tell you about it before 2004, what would
make anyone think they’re gonna tell you the truth about it in this campaign?

JOURNALIST: Lenore Taylor from the Sydney Morning Herald. You spoke about the
$900 million you calculate that the Coalition has spent on marginal seat promises in the
campaign. By our calculations you’ve spent almost as much, or at least as much. You
and Mr Abbott have both said that you can’t spend more on things like mental health or
people with disabilities because you have to make the tough choices. Wouldn’t the
really tough choice be to stop making marginal seat bribes during election campaigns
on stuff that isn’t really Federal Government responsibility anyway? And while we’re on
costings, by our calculations you have I think $200 million left in the money earmarked
in the budget for climate change. Are you going to spend that? Or are you not talking
about climate change so much after the Citizen’s Assembly didn’t go down so well?

PM: Oh dear, cynicism, cynicism, cynicism. Number one, you may think that some of
these promises for local communities aren’t important, well excuse me for differing. I’ve
been in Townsville announcing the Townsville Ring Road. You couldn’t get something
more important for the citizens of Townsville as they move around. You also couldn’t
get a more important piece of economic infrastructure for our mining industry. So to just
you know take a broad brush view and say anything that’s been promised locally is just
somehow political trickery – I beg to differ. And you know you, look at examples like
that. On the question of climate change, we have made record investments. Yes we’ve
got some funding in the budget that enables us to make more investments. That’s a
good thing.

On the Citizen’s Assembly, obviously, you know, we look in Government’s past, I mean
Bob Hawke for example, I said at the campaign launch when I spoke – Bob Hawke
showed to this nation that you can make big changes with strong leadership and by
striving for consensus. He had a tax summit, now if we had that today, happen before
people’s eyes – “Oh – tax summit, imagine doing that? Imagine getting people to
Canberra? Oh – why would you bother talking to anybody – yeah? Why don’t get on
with leading it” – tweet, tweet, tweet and so on. Well, frankly I think, including people in
decision making is a good thing. I think Australians are pretty smart. I think if I’m
elected and I have this Citizen’s Assembly I reckon I know what will happen. You’ll all
follow it, and you’ll report it, and in doing so you will help inform the Australian
community about the big issues in this debate and that’s a good thing. So happy to
stand by that, just like I stand by $1 billion for transmission lines for clean energy into
your home. Just like I stand by no new coal fired power stations, dirty power stations
polluting our atmosphere. Just like I stand by my policies to green our car fleet. Just
like I stand by my policies to green our buildings.

JOURNALIST: Heather Hewitt, 7.30 Report. We are almost at the end of it, but –

PM: I’m not sure if you said that with relief, Heather, or with regret. It was hard to pick
your tone.

JOURNALIST: Well possibly both. But is has been an unusual campaign I think by
anyone’s standards, including the moment where you said, from now on I’m going to be
the real Julia. Do you think you really did throw out the rule book? Have you been
happy at all times with the style of your campaign and have you maybe thought
sometimes, perhaps I shouldn’t have called this so early if it is now so close. And just
on that previous answer, would you call a Tax Summit as Bob Hawke did?

PM: So you call all issue cynical tweets about it? No we actually took a different
approach with Tax Summits. We took a different approach on tax reforms so we had
the Henry Tax Review, who obviously went out and consulted widely and deeply and
produced the report that Wayne responded to and the Government, in its response to
the report has obviously indicated that there are a set of things that we want to do now.
It won’t be done if Mr Abbott is elected. He’ll go in the reverse direction, company tax
up, grocery prices up, and we’ve said there are a set of things that should be
considered over the medium term as Budget circumstances allow and we’ve said
there’s a set of things that we won’t do so our roadmap in tax is well and truly out there.

On the campaign, I’ve always thought this campaign was going to be an absolute cliff
hanger. I’ve thought that from the start. I thought it in the first few days of the
campaign, when there were polls coming out with very different figures and people I
think were, you know, not necessarily accepting my words, that that was my genuine
judgement of the campaign. I think it now. This is a cliff hanger. For me, in terms of
campaign style, yes there’s an orthodoxy. I think I’ve done some different and
unorthodox things. I think I’ve done that in my own way as I’ve been out and about. I
think I did that at the campaign launch. People will judge whether that was a smart
decision or whether it wasn’t. I’ll leave that for others.

JOURNALIST: Ms Gillard, Peter Hartcher from the Sydney Morning Herald. The Labor
Government in NSW, has that been a good Government and if not, how would your
Government be any different?

PM: Look the Labor Government in NSW has obviously had its set of problems and I’m
not going to stand here on a podium before the Australian people and seek to spin that,
or not acknowledge that. And what that means is for people in NSW, is 1. I think that
there is cynicism about Government delivery and I think that cynicism is particularly
acute in Western Sydney where people have been asked, year after year, to absorb
more people, where they live, without seeing the corresponding increases in services
and transport infrastructure that enable them to maintain their quality of life. And so, as
they’ve seen, year after year, their travel times go up, their ability to move around, you
know, more and more frustrated, too much traffic, very difficult to get to work, very
difficult to get the kids to school, very difficult to get a GP’s appointment and so on and
so forth. The lack of infrastructure that people wanted and needed. I think that that’s
particularly exacerbated the cynicism. We’ve seen some of that on display in this
campaign. The reception of our rail link announcement. I am determined to build the
rail link between Parramatta and Epping. But I understand, people have heard a lot of
policies before and some of how they respond to these things is informed by that past
experience. You know, what I would say Peter is people will make their judgements
about the NSW Government. They’ll get an opportunity to do that next March. Their
opportunity on Saturday is an opportunity to select who they believe should run our $1.3
trillion economy, who they believe has a plan for the future of this country, for jobs, for
health, for education, for embracing the challenges of the future. I’m asking Australians
to judge on that.

HOST: Prime Minister, thank you very much.

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