Jun 20, 2011

Transcript of Interview – ABC Radio’s AM program

Subjects: Abbott’s plebiscite stunt; Peter Beattie

SABRA LANE: Tony Abbott says he is going to introduce a motion into Parliament today to get a bill voted on to have a referendum on the carbon tax. Can he do it?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, he certainly can’t do it at 10 o’clock because Parliament isn’t sitting this morning at 10 o’clock. That shows how last minute and stunt-like this response is.

SABRA LANE: Isn’t he right though? With such a huge change to Australia’s economy and given that it involves a broken promise, Julia Gillard did say there would be no carbon tax under a government she led, don’t the public deserve a right to have a say here?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, Tony Abbott says this is about democracy but Tony Abbott has not accepted the result of the last election when he lost and what we’re seeing is the longest dummy spit in Australian political history and an attempt to impose this on the Australian body politic.

We will have a parliamentary vote on any legislation regarding action on climate change and that is appropriate, that is the way that we deal with our processes in our parliamentary democracy.

SABRA LANE: Mr Abbott says he hasn’t yet spoken to the Independents and the crucial Senators he’ll need in the Senate. Are you confident that the Independents will support the Government on this one?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, they can speak for themselves but clearly there are a range of people who have participated in the Multi-Party Committee on Climate Change, sitting down discussing the serious details of what you need to do to reduce our carbon emissions.

Now Tony Abbott wants to reduce everything to slogans and towards grabs. The truth is that this does require a serious response. The Government is determined to do that. There is good will from the cross benches for action and we are working through those issues constructively.

SABRA LANE: The Government this week is confronting the first anniversary of Julia Gillard making it to the prime ministership. You’ve recorded new lows in polling on the weekend, 27 per cent of her primary vote. How on earth are you going to get through this week and how are you going to turn those numbers around?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: We’ll turn it around through good policy. We’ll be putting in place action on climate change. We’ll be putting in place action to stop the people smuggling business. We’ll be putting in place a plan to continue the strong economic growth and job creation just like earlier this year; Tony Abbott was saying we couldn’t get through the flood levy legislation. We did. We are now reconstructing Queensland just like we saw Australia through the global financial crisis.

We’ll continue to present our positive vision and I think increasingly Australians will tire of Mr Abbott’s relentless negativity.

SABRA LANE: Peter Beattie has weighed into the debate today, the former Queensland premier says it is time for Kevin Rudd to shut up and move on. Should he?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, there is some irony it must be said of a former leader in Peter Beattie saying the other former leaders should be silent and I’ll leave Mr Beattie to explain that contradiction.

But the truth is that Kevin Rudd is doing a good job as Foreign Minister. Julia Gillard is our Prime Minister and is doing a good job of providing that leadership. We need the strongest team possible and the strongest team is Julia Gillard as Prime Minister and Kevin Rudd as Foreign Minister.

SABRA LANE: But Mr Rudd, he gave a number of interviews on the weekend and he indeed had plans for an anniversary party this week. Surely those things can’t help you?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, there is nothing wrong or unusual about people getting together with their former staff. I did it recently and that is a normal part of process and people should just calm down about some of the media frenzy around this.

That is the way that it is. There is a number of former leaders who have stayed in the Parliament. Simon Crean is also making an important contribution to the Government as Regional Australia Minister.