Transcript of Interview with Kim and Dave, Heart FM Hobart
FRI 01 MARCH 2013
Subject(s): Vodafone jobs; Dunalley; PM’s glasses; Politics; Tasmania’s economy
HOST: Good morning Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
PM: Good morning, great to be with you.
HOST: It’s great to have you, and we are having a lot of politicians in Tasmania at the moment. We’ve had a lot in the north of the state. It seems with an election coming up, we’re going to get a lot of visits between now and September 14.
PM: Well I think you’ve seen a lot of visits from me anyway. I love coming to Tasmania, I’m a very frequent visitor here.
And I’m glad that I’m able to be here today to announce some very good news for Tasmania, which is 750 new jobs with Vodafone – making sure that there are 750 more opportunities for people to be employed here.
We’ve worked hard to get this announcement to happen. I know that the Tasmanian economy’s been undergoing a big change, and a lot of people have been doing it pretty tough.
HOST: So what happens during an election campaign? Do you just suddenly go oh, what’s that up my bottom? That’s 750 jobs for Tasmania! Why couldn’t you find them before an election?
PM: It’s got nothing to do with the announcement of the election date. We’ve been working on this for some period of time, and provided $4 million to Vodafone.
The State Government has also provided some support.
The fact that the NBN is rolling out here makes it possible too.
So look, we work on this stuff every day, every day since the election in 2010 and we’ll continue to do so.
It’s not easy to swing big jobs announcements like this. But I’m glad we’ve been able to do it.
HOST: Well, we certainly are very happy to have more jobs in Tassie. You’re going down to Dunalley very shortly. And you’ll be going down to see the fire devastated area.
What are you announcing down there? You’ve got a little bit of an announcement about the historic hall?
PM: Well I might have to make it when I’m actually there, but as you probably remember I went immediately after the fires to see the devastation there, what had happened to the school, what had happened to people’s properties. It was a community that was pulling together, but doing a lot of grieving too; very, very tough.
So I’ll be there today and making a bit of an announcement to help people through.
We’ve been providing individual support to people through national disaster relief grants, to help people get their lives back together.
And then there’s community infrastructure that’s been lost. So I’ll be saying something about that today.
HOST: Now we’ve seen a lot of you in recent weeks. And I have noticed something, because you’re about the same age as me. You’re wearing your glasses a lot. My eyes have deteriorated in the last couple of years-
PM: Did you want to borrow a pair?
HOST: Have you got plus one’s from the chemist or are they prescriptions? And are your eyes deteriorating?
PM: No, they are definitely prescription. And I’ve got to that very unpleasant stage of life where I’ve always been short-sighted, so looking at things in the distance needed some help.
But now I’ve got this bad combination of short-sighted, and then when I go to look at the newspaper or whatever I’m putting my arm out and pulling my arm in and putting my arm out to try and get a good focus on it. So I’ve gone to the multi-focal lenses.
HOST: Well they suit you, so they work well with you. Okay, let’s mention a couple of other things that have happened recently; obviously a series of bad polls.
How do you keep on doing the job when you’ve just seem to have headline after headline saying you’ve got no hope of winning the election. Kevin Rudd’s looking over your shoulder and there’s a possibility of him fighting for the leadership.
What do you do at night? Do you go home to Tim and say, Tim I need a glass of red wine? How do you cope?
PM: I normally go home and do a pile of paperwork! Because getting everything happening we need to in our country requires a lot of paper to move through a very big system which is called government.
I just don’t let any of that worry me or deter me from getting the big things done that we need to for the country’s future.
So all of that kind of chatter will just happen whatever I do or say, the best thing to do is just get on with it.
HOST: You must have a giggle with Tim when Kevin Rudd’s doing things like barefoot bowls on a Friday night! You must just roll your eyes and go, oh Ruddy.
PM: I’d have to say when I get a few precious moments with Tim we’re more likely to focus on family life and genuinely personal things than reflect on the week in politics.
HOST: What do you make about the future of Tasmania very quickly? Obviously we have been going through a very difficult time. From a national perspective what do you see as Tasmania’s future?
PM: Our whole economy is in transition. We did well coming out of the global financial crisis but we’ve got that strong Aussie dollar and it’s going to be with us for a long time to come.
Here in Tasmania, the pressure of that strong dollar has been on manufacturing and on tourism, at the same time that the forestry industry has been undergoing a big shift.
So it’s all combined to make very difficult economic circumstances here. I’m very confident though the future of Tassie is a bright one.
The NBN is going to attract businesses here. And we’ve got the Vodafone announcement today. The future of tourism is going to be a very strong one here and we’ve got billions of people becoming middle class in the Asian region, and they’ll want great tourism experiences and they’ll want to come to Tasmania.
And of course we’ve made sure too with recent announcements by Minister Burke that mining is a possible aspect of the Tasmanian economy for the future – another source of strength.
And I do think you can still be a place where things are made. So a diverse economy; manufacturing, tourism, your great agricultural produce obviously being exported but also being part of the tourism experience, all of the work that can come with the NBN.
HOST: Well thank you very much for finding time in what is a very busy schedule today to have a chat to us, and no doubt we’ll speak again before September.
PM: Thanks very much. Thank you.