Television Interview - Today Show
- Deputy Prime Minister
- Minister for Education
- Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations
E&OE TRANSCRIPTTELEVISION INTERVIEW7.10 AM FRIDAY18 JUNE 2010TODAY SHOW
ISSUES: Paid Parental Leave; Resources Super Profit Tax; Press Gallery Ball auction.
KARL STEFANOVIC:But right now, joining us to dissect the week in politics, Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott. Good morning.
JULIA GILLARD:Good morning.
TONY ABBOTT:Morning, Karl.
KARL STEFANOVIC:To you first of all, PM.
JULIA GILLARD:Stop it, Karl.
KARL STEFANOVIC:Cheap shot, cheap shot.
JULIA GILLARD:I’m going to call you Lisa.
KARL STEFANOVIC:All right, I’m quite all right with that.
JULIA GILLARD:Lisa mightn’t be.
KARL STEFANOVIC:The national Paid Parental Leave Scheme, that’s got up, a good thing?
JULIA GILLARD:This is fantastic news and obviously this is something that we’ve been fighting for, for a long time. So delivered in the Parliament, 18 weeks to support new mums, new dads, obviously they can make a choice, primary carer and that’s great news for Australian families. This is something the Labor Party’s believed in for a long, long time. We’re delighted we’re able to deliver it for working families.
I know Tony’s apparently a last minute convert to Paid Parental Leave but six months ago he thought it was all nonsense and no doubt in six months time he’ll change his mind.
LISA WILKINSON:Are you glad to see it pass, Tony?
TONY ABBOTT:Yes I am Lisa. It is an overdue reform. I don’t think the Government’s Bill goes far enough. I think that women need six months at their full pay but this is a small step forward and I’m very happy to see it passed.
JULIA GILLARD:But Tony, you used to be opposed to it, completely opposed to it and so how do we know you’re not going to change your mind in six months?
TONY ABBOTT:And if you read my book, which was published last year, you’d know that I changed my mind some time ago.
JULIA GILLARD:And how do we know you’re not going to change it back if you don’t really believe in it?
KARL STEFANOVIC:Will you take it further? If you become Prime Minister, will you take it further?
TONY ABBOTT:That’s certainly the plan. I think that if we are going to give women a fair go, finally, they need six months at their standard pay and that’s what the Coalition will do in Government.
JULIA GILLARD:The difference here is ours is fully funded. Tony is going to fund his with a big new tax on everything you buy.
TONY ABBOTT:You don’t like that phrase do you, Julia? It’s very much getting under your skin.
JULIA GILLARD:I hear it a lot but the reality is…
KARL STEFANOVIC:She likes it so much she’s taken it.
LISA WILKINSON:Made it her own.
JULIA GILLARD:The reality is the paid parental scheme Tony now says he supports after saying it was complete nonsense but, anyway, the one he now says he supports would be funded by a tax and that tax would flow through to bread and milk and things you buy.
LISA WILKINSON:Well we’ll have to wait and see on that one.
TONY ABBOTT:And your taxes don’t do that, do they?
JULIA GILLARD:Well ours is fully funded.
JULIA GILLARD:Fully funded on the Budget which is coming back to surplus.
LISA WILKINSON:Julia, we really need to go to the issue that just won’t go away – the proposed mining tax. MPs in marginal seats are getting understandably very nervous about how long this is going to take to resolve. When will it be finalised?
JULIA GILLARD:Well we’re in a process of consultation now. There’s agreement on one key thing; that is that the mining industry can pay more tax. The Government believes it. The industry’s saying it. Now we’re having a conversation about the best way of structuring it. Obviously the Government announced our resources super profits tax and we’re working through this consultation process.
KARL STEFANOVIC:Can you explain how it’s set up because, first of all, I want you to listen to, I’ve been looking at this on the internet as well, news.com.au did a very good simple explanation and I lasted about two paragraphs. I just couldn’t get through it. This is, you would think that people who are trying to install it would know what they’re talking about, but this is what Labor MP Julie Collins, how she explained the new tax to everyone at home.
JOURNALIST: Can you explain the tax to us though? How does it work?
JULIE COLLINS: We’re consulting with the mining companies to ensure that we get the structure of this tax right and we’re out there talking to communities and talking to the mining companies and people that have a, a, a bit of, sorry.
KARL STEFANOVIC:That’s a bit unfortunate, that grab, but what it does indicate is that it’s incredibly complex and I don’t know whether you are going to get it through and there are people that are on the backbench who are very concerned that this is going to cost you the election. That’s fair enough, isn’t it?
JULIA GILLARD:Well look, all the details of taxes are complex. That’s true of any tax but the concept here is a pretty simple one, which is mining’s a risky business so at the stage that you’re taking the risk you’re getting a tax credit for that. If the risk pays off and you hit a profitable mine when you’re making good profits, then you pay more tax.
So it’s actually supporting exploration, supporting start-up mines and when you’re in the really profitable stage, then you’re paying more tax.
KARL STEFANOVIC:You haven’t got the sell right. This could cost you the election.
JULIA GILLARD:Well look, it’s a tough debate – I’m not shying away from that. It’s a really tough debate but as a nation we have to look at what we’re getting out of this resources boom. These minerals, you can only dig them up once, you can only sell them once, we’ve got to make sure the nation gets a fair share. The mining companies are saying, yeah we can pay more tax so let’s work on it and get it right so the nation gets a fair share. Mining companies still get good profits.
LISA WILKINSON:So how long until it’s resolved?
JULIA GILLARD:We’ll work on it as necessary. We’re not setting a deadline here. Obviously the consultations are intense. There have been meetings this week and there will continue to be meetings.
KARL STEFANOVIC:Tony, is that what you’re hearing from mining companies; we’re happy to pay more tax?
TONY ABBOTT:What I’m hearing from mining companies is that this is a government in chaos, that it’s an amateur-hour government. I mean you had the mining minister’s own department only found out about the tax the day before it was announced. The Trade Minister’s asking his public servants to keep him informed about what his own Government is doing.
JULIA GILLARD:Tony, that’s not true.
TONY ABBOTT:This is a government in crisis and what the mining companies are saying is that whatever happens, they don’t want our mines to be uncompetitive and this new tax will make our mines uncompetitive. That means investment and jobs evaporate and that’s the last thing we should want for our country.
JULIA GILLARD:But Tony, if the mining industry, the Mineral Council has basically said they can pay more tax. Why are you the only person who thinks no more tax should be paid?
TONY ABBOTT:We are doing very well.
JULIA GILLARD:In fact some of your frontbenchers have said cut tax in mining.
TONY ABBOTT:We are doing very well.
KARL STEFANOVIC:I don’t think Tony’s the only person. This is part of the problem, here is the majority of people in every poll that you look at are saying well we don’t want this tax. Now that’s either your fault for not explaining it right or really, the indication out there is they don’t want it.
JULIA GILLARD:I can understand that people get confused about complex tax debates and our job is to explain it. I absolutely accept that.
LISA WILKINSON:But the mining industry is having better cut through than the Government at the moment. The mining industry has got most people on side Julia.
JULIA GILLARD:The cut through message here is mining industry. Government, believe that out of the proceeds of the boom more tax can be paid. Tony, Liberal Party, National Party say don’t pay any more tax, indeed some of them have said cut tax on mining. Well we need to be using this once-off mineral bounty for the nation.
KARL STEFANOVIC:Have you got a problem with explaining it to women, can I ask you that? Have you got a problem getting this over the line with women because the majority of women in polls are saying we don’t understand it and we don’t back it?
JULIA GILLARD:Well we’ve got to keep working on it and explaining it to people and we’ve got to keep consulting with the mining industry and we’re doing both.
KARL STEFANOVIC:How long are you going to keep explaining it? I mean we have had you on a number of weeks and we’ve had the Government in maximum PR mode and still it hasn’t been explained; still your own people are struggling to explain it.
JULIA GILLARD:Well I think, Karl, persistence pays. This is a big reform and we will keep explaining it.
TONY ABBOTT:It’s not a reform; it’s a tax grab, Karl. I mean this is a government which is addicted to spending and therefore it is addicted to taxing. This is not tax reform, this is just a grab, it’s a gouge, it’s a rip off and it will do enormous damage to Australia’s prosperity.
LISA WILKINSON:OK, Tony, let’s move on. Now a new book is set to reopen some Liberal wounds, the bitter fight within the Coalition over the emissions trading scheme. Here’s what Malcolm Turnbull had to say on Saturday night.
MALCOLM TURNBULL: Our efforts to deal with climate change have been betrayed by a lack of leadership, a political cowardice the like of which I have never seen in my lifetime before.
LISA WILKINSON:Now, Tony, it’s not clear there who is he talking about?
TONY ABBOTT:Plainly he’s talking about the Prime Minister.
LISA WILKINSON:Are you sure?
TONY ABBOTT:And I suppose the Deputy Prime Minister.
LISA WILKINSON:Are you sure?
TONY ABBOTT:And I suppose the Deputy Prime Minister. I mean, let’s face it, it was Kevin and Julia who kept telling us that this was the greatest moral challenge of our time and then just dumped the policy designed to deal with it.
LISA WILKINSON:So everything’s good between you and Malcolm? Does that mean he’s going to make his way back to the frontbench?
TONY ABBOTT:I think that leadership tensions today are between Julia and Kevin. That’s where the real tension is at the moment.
LISA WILKINSON:Will Malcolm make his way back to the frontbench?
TONY ABBOTT:What I’ve said to him is that if we win the election yes, there’ll be a senior place for him in the next Coalition government.
KARL STEFANOVIC:If things keep going the way they’re going, Julia, you may not find yourself in Government next time round and certainly the latest opinion polls will say that, historic low of 33 per cent in some of those opinion polls.You know that talk of Kevin Rudd’s popularity has waned significantly. Will you stand up and take the leadership if there is considered no alternative?
JULIA GILLARD:Oh look, Karl we’ve talked about this before and I’ve answered it before and I’ve done all of my sporting analogies before.
LISA WILKINSON:And polls have continued to go down, Julia.
JULIA GILLARD:I always expected this was going to be a tough year. It was going to be a tough contest going into the election and it’s proving to be.
KARL STEFANOVIC:Have you been canvassed, because we know that there’s some Labor people behind the scenes are pushing that. We know that it’s coming from somewhere. Have you yourself been canvassed as to whether or not you’d be up to taking the leadership?
JULIA GILLARD:We had the conversation last time I was on the show and the answer was no then.
KARL STEFANOVIC:And since then? That was two weeks ago. Things move pretty quickly with politics.
JULIA GILLARD:It was no then and it’s no now. We always expected this to be a tough, close contest with some big issues the nation’s going to have to decide; Work Choices, keeping Fair Work, just one example.
LISA WILKINSON:If you get to a point leading up to the election where there is just no other way around it, will you put aside any personal allegiance you might have to the Prime Minister and put the party first and step up to the plate which many people are saying you should?
JULIA GILLARD:Well I’m going to say once again, expect to see me playing in Barry Hall’s position first on that basis.
LISA WILKINSON:So you wouldn’t put the party first?
JULIA GILLARD:Well look Lisa, these are all ridiculous questions.
LISA WILKINSON:No they’re not, Julia. You look at the polls; they’re not ridiculous questions.
JULIA GILLARD:Look, I know there’s been all this breathless media speculation about leadership questions. There’s not speculation in my mind. What we’re doing as a Government is we’re working our way piece by piece through some difficult issues like the Resources Super Profits Tax but I think come election day, what’s going to be on people’s minds? It’s not going to be the sort of speculation we’re talking about now, it’s going to be the big things for the nation’s future.
KARL STEFANOVIC:Does the party come first or leadership to the leader, loyalty to the leader?
JULIA GILLARD:The nation, the nation comes first, Karl.
KARL STEFANOVIC:That’s a good one, we’ll take that one, Julia.
JULIA GILLARD:And that’s what the policies are about.
TONY ABBOTT:Julia, if you do win the election, do you expect Kevin Rudd to serve a full term?
JULIA GILLARD:Absolutely. That’s what Kevin Rudd has said and the election is going to be determined.
TONY ABBOTT:So he’ll serve a full term if he wins?
JULIA GILLARD:Well that’s what the Prime Minister has said.
TONY ABBOTT:And what do you expect?
JULIA GILLARD:I expect what the Prime Minister’s said, Tony, and the election will be about the national interest. That wasn’t a flippant remark. It will about the national interest. It won’t be about some of these questions. It will be about what do people want, what do they want their work…
KARL STEFANOVIC:People want to know who’s going to lead?
JULIA GILLARD:Well then what do they want in their workplaces? Tony’s Work Choices or our Fair Work. What do they want in their health system? Tony’s cuts or our new health system.
TONY ABBOTT:She’s on pollywaffle again.
LISA WILKINSON:How good’s pollywaffle.
TONY ABBOTT:She’s certainly on something.
JULIA GILLARD:Well it was one cup of coffee.
KARL STEFANOVIC:Let’s finish things now on a lighter note. The parliamentary ball a couple of nights ago was always good fun to see. There were a couple of auctions. Now first of all Tony went for the high, he’s very much in demand these days as we know. He won or someone won a surfing lesson with him and breakfast.
TONY ABBOTT:I’m better at breakfast than the surfing by the way.
KARL STEFANOVIC:By the way the Afghan refugee who won that has announced a new ad. Let’s have a look at this.
WINNER OF SURF LESSON: I risked my life on a dangerous journey. There was no safe way to safety, then I was locked up in Curtin Detention Centre where I saw many terrible things. Now I’m a small business owner, a proud Australian and I look forward to meeting you, Mr Abbott to share my story and the stories of other refugees. Please, Mr Abbott, listen to our stories, make your policies more humane.
TONY ABBOTT:Look, I’m happy to meet him. I mean, I’m very happy to listen to a story and I think that the best way to stop the kind of tragedies that we’ve seen on the high sea is to put in place policies that deny the people smugglers a product to sell and that’s what the Coalition wants to do.
LISA WILKINSON:OK, do you think you’ll get a lot of surfing done during that?
TONY ABBOTT:Look, the camaraderie of the surf, look it’s up to him, Get Up on his behalf, the surf and it’s up to him what he wants to do.
KARL STEFANOVIC:And only $10,100 for a lunch with Julia Gillard. What has the world come to?
JULIA GILLARD:But the best thing is $16,000 odd dollars I think, $10,000 all going to great causes.
LISA WILKINSON:So who are you going to, is it lunch or dinner, with?
JULIA GILLARD:It’s lunch or dinner, their option, I’m not even sure who’s bought it yet, Lisa. I’ll let you know.
LISA WILKINSON:A surprise package, blind date from the sounds of things.
JULIA GILLARD:Yeah, blind date for six.
KARL STEFANOVIC:Thank you two and have a great week. We’ll see you next week.