Oct 4, 2012

Transcript of press conference by Tony Abbott 4 Oct 2012


Bernard Keane

Politics editor






Subjects: Julia Gillard’s carbon tax; the Coalition’s $1.5 billion commitments to Melbourne’s East West Link and Sydney’s M4 East; Michael Williamson; Health Services Union; wheat industry; David Murray’s comments; Peter Slipper.



It’s great to be here at Silverlynx Furniture. I want to thank Simon and Howard Bowler and Demir for making myself and Senator Scott Ryan so welcome. It’s really good to be here at this important manufacturer of high quality furniture for the Australian market.

Now, I want manufacturing industries like this to flourish and the problem with the Prime Minister’s carbon tax is that it acts as reverse tariff on Australian manufacturing. The carbon tax hits the costs of this company but its import competition is entirely free of the carbon tax: that’s why this is a tax on Australian jobs, that’s why it’s a tax on Australian manufacturing, that’s why it’s a toxic tax and the first order of business for an incoming Coalition government will be to get rid of this toxic tax.

Increasingly, we see evidence that this is an arrogant and out of touch government. There are reports today that the Prime Minister’s own power bill at The Lodge has gone up by thousands of dollars as a result of the carbon tax. The Prime Minister is completely oblivious to the impact of the carbon tax on households. She is completely oblivious to the fact that the carbon tax is adding hundreds of dollars to the power bills of ordinary Australian families and the fact that this Prime Minister thinks that the carbon tax doesn’t hurt demonstrates that taxes are just going to go up and up and up. A government that thinks it can get away with tax increases is a government that is going to hit you with more tax increases.

Finally, before I ask Scott to say a few words, we are in the great city of Melbourne. Melbourne suffered traffic gridlock yesterday. It’s very important that the national government fund nationally important infrastructure. I have committed an incoming Coalition government to spending $1.5 billion to kickstart the East West Link project. I have committed an incoming Coalition government to $1.5 billion towards the WestConnex projects in Sydney. These are vital pieces of national infrastructure. They are very important if we are to have liveable cities in the 21st century and I say to the Prime Minister: stop sitting on your hands; be part of the solution, not part of the problem and commit to the transport infrastructure that the great cities of Australia need.



Thank you, Tony. Welcome to Silverlynx Furniture. It’s great to welcome you on your 113th visit to Victoria since you became Leader. This area has some of the highest unemployment in Melbourne. The first job of any government should be to do no harm, yet the Labor Government is making this company’s job more difficult. It’s imposing a tax on it and costs on it that make it more difficult to employ people and to give families an opportunity in our great society. So, the Labor Government needs to withdraw all the cost that it’s imposing on this business, because that is what’s making manufacturing in Australia more difficult than ever before.


Ok, do we have any questions?


Tony Abbott, the former Head of the HSU, Michael Williamson, has just been charged in Sydney. What do you think about how Labor’s handled this, the events relating to this union?


Look, I think every Australian should be shocked that the former National President of the Labor Party has now been arrested on what look to be criminal charges of covering up the misuse of low paid union members’ money. Now, plainly the Prime Minister has got to take responsibility for this. The Prime Minister was the last person in the country who was still expressing full confidence in Craig Thomson and the administration of the Health Services Union. The Prime Minister is still relying on the tainted vote of the Health Services Union’s representative in the Federal Parliament. Until the Prime Minister has completely repudiated this kind of union activity, I think the public will conclude that this is a seriously ethically-challenged government; that this is a Prime Minister who lacks judgment as well as lacking competence.


Alby Schultz says that he’ll be abstaining from voting on the Government’s push to fully deregulate the wheat industry. What are your thoughts on that considering the split’s in the Coalition?


The Coalition supports deregulation but we’ve got to do it the right way, not the wrong way. We need to have a managed and orderly transition to a fully deregulated wheat market. We support that, we supported it in government, we support it in opposition, but I think that the wheat growers of Australia would be very rightly suspicious of anything that comes from a government with the proven record of incompetence and untrustworthiness.


How will you be disciplining Alby Schultz for not towing the party line?


As I said, the Coalition fully supports the move…


No, but on Alby Schultz, how will you be addressing Alby Schultz removing himself from the vote?


Well, you should not leap to conclusions about what anyone is going to do. The Coalition supports an appropriately managed transition to a deregulated market. The Coalition supports a wheat industry where wheat growers have appropriate control over their future as an industry and I’m confident that we are a strong team on this.


Is Alby Schultz right when he says that WA will get ripped off by deregulation?


There are obviously a range of different views here but the important thing is that the Coalition supports orderly transition to a more deregulated system. The Coalition supports the wheat industry. What we’ve got instead at the moment is a government which can’t be trusted to deregulate properly and at the same time as it claims it wants to reduce costs on wheat growers, it’s hitting wheat growers with a carbon tax which is going to add hundreds if not thousands of dollars to their annual costs.


The ex-Future Fund Chief on 7.30 yesterday was saying that Australia could go the way of Europe to its debt levels [inaudible]. Is there any comment from you?


I think that’s a timely warning from David Murray. David Murray obviously is very well placed to look at Australia’s economic performance and to look at our comparative economic performance. Look, the lesson of Europe is that countries can go very quickly from a strong position to a parlous position if things aren’t well managed. Now, at the moment we’ve got a government which has completely mishandled the mining sector, which is the one sector which above all else has kept Australia going through all the international economic difficulties of the last few years. This is a government which doesn’t listen to the mining sector. This is a government which is loading the mining sector up with cost after cost after cost after cost. This is a government which just assumes that rivers of gold will keep on flowing into this country. Well, I’m afraid you can never make that kind of assumption. We need a government which ensures that Australia continues to be a good place to invest and a good place to do business. With its endless taxes, this Government is putting the economic future of our country at risk.


Tony Abbott, if Peter Slipper is cleared of the Cabcharge fraud and sexual harassment claims, will you welcome him back to the Speaker’s Chair?


Let’s wait and see what happens and the important thing here to remember is that Peter Slipper is entirely a creature of Julia Gillard. Peter Slipper as Speaker is entirely a creature of Julia Gillard. So, it’s the Prime Minister who ruthlessly used her numbers in the Parliament to dispatch and remove an honourable Speaker in Harry Jenkins. This is her responsibility. Peter Slipper is her problem. Peter Slipper’s actions and standards are things that she needs to be accountable for.


The Opposition must have a point of view. So, if he’s cleared of these charges, what’s the role of the Speaker in your view from there?


He’s not our Speaker. He’s Julia Gillard’s Speaker.


You must have a point of view. If the judicial process clears Peter Slipper, what’s your point of view on his future as Speaker of the Parliament?


My point of view is that the Prime Minister who put him there must answer for him.


So you don’t have a point of view, Tony Abbott?


My point of view is that the Prime Minister who put him there must answer for him. Peter Slipper is Julia Gillard’s Speaker. Julia Gillard must account for him.


When your colleagues come to you for counsel as to the future of Peter Slipper if he’s cleared of all these charges, how will you counsel the Opposition?


Well, let’s wait and see what emerges from the court case which is ongoing, but this Speaker is wholly and solely a product of this Prime Minister and Peter Slipper’s standards are Julia Gillard’s responsibility – his values, his standards, his behaviour – she’s the one who has to answer for him because she’s the one that put him there.

Thank you.


(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)


Leave a comment

One thought on “Transcript of press conference by Tony Abbott 4 Oct 2012

  1. The Pav

    Like Abbott’s Quote

    “The Prime Minister is still relying on the tainted vote of the Health Services Union’s representative in the Federal Parliament.”

    Talk about an own goal.

    Didn’t Abbott become leader of the Opposition by one vote which includes Slipper.

    This means he is now in the position he is beacuse of a “tainted” vote but I guess he’s not going to call for a spill anytime soon to prove his integrity is he?

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details