Transcript of doorstop interview, Fremantle
MON 16 JULY 2012
Subject(s): Carnegie Wave clean energy agreement; Carbon pricing; Workplace relations; Asylum seekers; Shark attack; Gonski review
PM: It’s a great pleasure to be here today at Carnegie Wave, which is showing the way to a clean energy future.
We know that the temperature of our world is rising and that that is climate change. We know that the last decade was the hottest one on record, and that climate change is being caused by an increase of carbon pollution in our atmosphere. That causes warming of our planet; it also causes more extreme weather events – cyclones, hurricanes and the like.
We've in fact seen a 300 per cent increase in such events since the 1960s. So, we have to tackle climate change, we have to cut carbon pollution.
In order to do that, the Government has put a price on carbon. That is the cheapest and most effective way of cutting carbon pollution. It’s the cheapest and most effective way of unlocking new investment in clean and renewable energy.
Indeed, by 2050 we will see $100 billion of new investment in clean and renewable energy. And I’m so pleased to be here at a place where the leadership for that new clean energy is Australian leadership.
The technology here – making energy out of waves – is Australian invented new technology. It is Australia in the lead, showing the world how we can generate energy in a cleaner way.
I’m very pleased that we've been able to support the development of this world-leading technology, firstly by a $9.9 million injection of support, and now through a new relationship between Carnegie Wave and our Defence Force, which means the clean energy generated here will go to powering HMAS Stirling. Clean energy used by our Defence Force and less carbon pollution as a result.
As well as reducing carbon pollution, what we’re going to see from this clean energy future is more jobs. There will be more jobs here at Carnegie and more jobs in the manufacture of the technology that I’ve seen today.
That’s what carbon pricing is all about. Cutting carbon pollution, unlocking our clean energy future and unlocking the jobs and opportunities that come with that future.
We’ve been very clear with Australians as we've talked about carbon pricing, that the carbon price is paid by the big businesses that generate the most carbon pollution.
But we’ve always said to Australian families that there would be a flow-through impact to the prices of things that they buy. Overall that impact is 0.7 per cent, that is it’s less than a cent in a dollar.
For electricity prices, the impact will be 10 per cent. That means for the average household, they’ll see an impact of $3.30, but on average our assistance per week will be $10.10. Now I want every Western Australian, every Australian to be able to judge the facts for themselves.
I have wanted, in power bills in Western Australia, to see an insert that explained to people the impact on electricity pricing, the impact of the 10 per cent rise and also the assistance that’s available from the Federal Government.
Unfortunately that won’t be happening, because Premier Barnett, who has overseen a 57 per cent increase in electricity prices in this state, is hoping to not take responsibility for those increases but try and blame them on the Federal Government.
I believe Western Australians should know the truth, and the truth is that here in WA, under the Barnett State Government, electricity prices have gone up 57 per cent. That’s an impost of $520 per household and there’s no real assistance available.
Premier Barnett should take full public responsibility for that, and not try and hide behind the Federal Government and carbon pricing.
In denying Western Australians the facts, Premier Barnett is trying to hoodwink them on the actions of his government and the impact that has had on power prices.
Premier Barnett should agree to have information with power bills which clearly explain 57 per cent increase from the state government, no real assistance for households, an impost of more than $500 for each household and for the Federal Government the impact of carbon pricing, $3.30 a week, $10.10 in assistance.
I’m very happy to take questions.
JOURNALIST: What is the risk, industrial relations-wise, if the Coalition gets back in?
PM: Well I dealt with this yesterday and it’ll be one of the single biggest issues for the forthcoming election campaign.
The Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott, last week in a speech in Sydney, made it absolutely clear that they’re after cutting penalty rates, that they’re after cutting at the kinds of benefits that working people rely on to make ends meet.
They’ve got form; in the past they've cut penalty rates over time, leave loading, public holiday pay, and it’s clear that that’s their vision of workplace relations for the future.
Well under Labor, you’ll always see fair work and fairness and decency for working Australians in their workplaces. It’s what the Labor Party has always stood for and always will.
JOURNALIST: Christine Milne, after you spoke to Labor in NSW yesterday, said the fact that you didn’t talk about the Greens was a rebuke to the brawling boys of NSW Labor, and the fact that you acknowledged the achievements of your Government was an acknowledgement of the achievement of the alliance with the Greens. Is Senator Milne interpreting you correctly?
PM: Oh look, I’m sure there will be plenty of commentary but the speech I gave yesterday was about Labor’s values and Labor’s vision for this nation’s future.
And it’s a vision about more jobs, better jobs, including the jobs we’re getting through our clean energy future.
It’s about supporting families with more dollars in their pocket, through tax cuts and family payment increases and pension increases, as well as supporting them with things like improved health care and aged care.
It’s a vision of our schools being world-leading, and it’s a vision of the fairness that a National Disability Insurance Scheme will bring.
JOURNALIST: So is this the Greens claiming the positives of the alliance but not helping with the difficult things like offshore processing?
PM: Well, I’ve answered your question.
PM: Our Navy personnel, our most senior Navy personnel have spoken about the risks to the lives of Navy officers from trying to turn boats around.
Our former Chief of the Defence Force, himself a Navy leader, has spoken about the real risk this would pose to the lives of young Australians.
Indeed even the Leader of the Opposition has acknowledged that this would put Navy personnel at risk.
Well I am not going to risk the lives of young Australians on a policy that won’t work and a policy where boats are turned back to a nation that won’t take them.
And I do remind, the Leader of the Opposition didn’t have the courage to raise his towbacks policy with the President of Indonesia when he had the opportunity to do so.
PM: I’m for action and I am prepared to give a tick to Nauru in order to act. So I am for acting and prepared to say yes to Nauru in order to get action.
To that, every step of the way Tony Abbott has said no. And his excuse for not working with the Government has been pointing to the Refugee Convention.
And yet today, on the front pages of our newspapers, we see his immigration spokesperson saying that the Convention isn’t even really relevant to the modern age.
Today, Mr Abbott’s team has exposed the sham, the pantomime that he has been involved in in not being prepared to work with the Government.
His team has exposed he’s been involved in a pantomime to just say no to action to deter asylum seekers from risking their lives at sea.
JOURNALIST: Are people smugglers taking advantage of the Convention – the wording of it – and just jumping from country to country before lodging their asylum claims?
PM: Look, I’ve seen the commentary from Scott Morrison today, but the important thing that Mr Morrison has in fact revealed today Mr Abbott’s excuse for not working with the Government has been pointing to the Refugee Convention.
Then his spokesperson is saying the Refugee Convention isn’t fit for the modern age.
Now what this adds up to is Mr Abbott has clearly just been taking every opportunity to say no to effective action to deter asylum seekers.
PM: We saw an incredibly tragic incident at the weekend, so a lot of grief around, a lot of hurt, and a truly shocking incident. So for the family, for the people of Western Australia, my heart does go out to them, very, very tough.
In terms of the great white shark, great whites are protected under federal law and under Western Australian law, but as I am advised even under current (inaudible) to put human safety first.
I also understand that the Western Australian Government through its Fisheries Minister will be seeking to work with Minister Burke on this issue.
Of course we will do everything to work together with the Government of Western Australia on this matter.
JOURNALIST: Do you support the culling of great white sharks?
PM: Where we are is the Western Australian Fisheries Minister will be dealing directly with Tony Burke, our Environment Minister on this issue, but on my advice you can take steps, even under current Western Australian and federal law, to put human safety first. And of course, we put people first.
JOURNALIST: Does that mean killing the shark?
PM: That means we’ll do all of the appropriate work together, but once again under current law you can put human safety first.
PM: Well we’ve still got to have, it’s only following this incident and I don’t mean that in any way in a critical sense, I absolutely understand why the Western Australian Minister is raising this with Minister Burke. But that work now has to be done.
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, yesterday at the (inaudible) urged to move quickly on the Gonski review. Can you give a timeframe and is there a risk of trouble if you don’t act quickly?
PM: Oh look, we received the Gonski review earlier this year. We’ve worked hard on it every day, every week since.
There are a number of working groups that have been looking at the technical material. Federal and state, Catholic and independent; we will certainly respond to the Gonski review before the end of this year.
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, will you meet Mark McGowan while you’re here in Western Australia?
PM: Look I won’t have the opportunity on this trip.
Thank you very much.