Transcript of interview on Sunrise, Brisbane
THU 14 JUNE 2012
HOST: Prime Minister, good to see you.
Look the meeting was snubbed by the tourism and transport forum claiming you bail out car makers rather than help them.
They’ve taken out big ads in the newspaper this morning. What’s your response to those claims?
PM: Kochie, right across the economy we’re working to protect jobs.
We did that during the days of the global financial crisis and we’re still doing it now.
Our economy is strong and we were talking about that over the last day here in Brisbane but some industries are under pressure because of our high Aussie dollar, tourism amongst them and we’ll keep working with the tourism industry.
I’ve met with them personally to see what we can do to help tourism operators through.
We’re seeing good numbers of inbound tourism. People from overseas who want to come and see our wonderful country.
But a big pressure for tourism is that the high Aussie dollar makes it cheaper for Australians to go overseas and they are in record numbers.
So we’ve got to keep working with tourism and manufacturing right across the economy to support Australian jobs.
HOST: Yeah because they’re mad because every traveller leaving the country from 1 July will be hit with a departure tax.
They’re saying a million Aussies are in the tourism industry and double the number of mining and automotive sectors combined.
So they’re hurting, what are you going to do for them?
PM: Well this new payment, increased payment at airports is for people who are going overseas.
They’re not going to be gong to Queensland or to other tourism destinations in our nation and spending their money; they’re on the way out of the country.
So we thought, in the budget where we needed to make choices in order to return the budget to surplus because that’s best for jobs and best for the economy.
Increasing that kind of charge for people leaving our country to go and spend their money overseas was a good place to earn an extra bit of revenue.
We want to keep working with the industry and they’ve raised things with me about you know supporting cruise ships who come and bring overseas tourists into our nation.
Supporting skills and training in the industry and we’ll keep working on those issues with them.
HOST: Let’s submit some questions from our viewers we’ve asked them to send in.
Via facebook, Topsy Kren, it says similar lines to what the tourism industry is saying, how can you keep bailing out companies and help to find mines when local hospitals are closing beds?
PM: Well we’re investing more in hospitals than any Government has in the nation’s history and we’re stepping up to being an equal partner in the growth in hospital costs.
A big problem for our country was that burden was predominately falling on State Governments and they just didn’t have the money to keep putting into their hospitals so now we’re working along side them.
When it comes to working with industry we are working with major industries like car making.
There are a million Australians employed in manufacturing and the skills that come from having car making in your country support manufacturing more broadly.
So it’s important to hold those skills, it’s important to have that innovation in our economy because it means jobs for people.
HOST: Prime Minister, a lot of questions on the carbon tax including this one from Lisa Zachary.
Why are you not listening to the voting public when it comes to the laws that are being passed at the moment such as the carbon tax?
PM: I’ve got an obligation to keep our economy strong, to keep working for a clean energy future to make sure we’re tackling climate change but also that we’re getting the jobs of the future those clean energy jobs.
Our economy is strong now; we’ve got strong growth the best since the global financial crisis.
We’ve created more than 800,000 jobs. We’ve got low unemployment. Interest rates going down.
So we can as a nation now address this challenge of putting a price on carbon and we can do it in a fair way while giving people tax cuts, the benefits of increased family payments and increased pensions.
HOST: Prime Minister, that message isn’t getting through.
For example the outlook that the average Australian has for their family finances over the next year is at a 22 year low, consumer confidence is still pessimistic, and Europe’s on the brink of a cliff of tearing itself apart.
Whether you agree with a carbon tax or not beside the point, is it the right time to bring it in?
Would you sort of consider of sort of saying, hey I’m a great believer in the carbon tax but I’ll delay it a year.
Or I’ll drop the $23 a tonne which is one of the highest in the world to $10 to help boost confidence, to ease that uncertainty.
PM: Well Kochie, I think we’ve got to be fairly clear about what is causing uncertainty.
I mean we’ve just lived through the biggest global economic downturn since the Great Depression.
I mean the biggest downturn many of us will see in our lifetimes.
So it’s not surprising that there are some aftershocks that are worrying people and affecting their confidence.
And when they get up in the morning and they watch your show and they hear about the news from Spain and Greece then of course that presses on people and it worries them.
But in all of that post the global financial crisis with the problems in Europe there’s nowhere else you’d rather be in the world given the strength of our economy.
And given the strength of our economy we can conquer challenges like putting a price on carbon.
And Kochie, we’ve got to remember there’s a bipartisan commitment to cutting carbon pollution in our nation by 5 percent by 2020.
So we’ve got to get started otherwise it’s going to be a really dramatic adjustment for our economy if we don’t get started now.