Interview on 4BC

17 Sep 2020
Prime Minister

Neil Breen: Good morning, Prime Minister.

Prime Minister: G’day, Breeny. How are you?

Breen: I'm very, very well, thanks. What are you trying to achieve with this today?

Prime Minister: Create more jobs and to ensure we get emissions down, to meet our commitments and importantly, to get the costs down, and particularly for industry in manufacturing and agriculture. That's what this plan does. By investing in the technologies that we're going to have in five to 10 years from now. And you've got to put the investment in right now, whether it's hydrogen or in soil carbon or carbon capture and storage, these sorts of things, that's going to get our emissions down. It's going to get our costs down for manufacturers and it's going to increase the number of jobs, we estimate, by around up to 35,000 directly. And about that, again, indirectly.

Breen: Is it hard to get them to the public to engage in it at the moment? I think the public sees things like this sometimes and their eyes glaze over.

Prime Minister: Well, you’ve got to invest early. I mean, 10 years ago, people wouldn't have dreamed, frankly, of the technologies that we're now looking at. I mean, things move very quickly. And, you know, over the last 10 years, there's been investments in a whole range of technologies and now they're commonplace. And that's what this is. This is looking forward into the future over the next 10 years and saying what do we have to invest in now so that our trucks can run cheaper, so that our buildings will be more efficient and cost less for people living in them, as well as running, you know, their offices and their factories, and to ensure that our farmers can be even more productive and have lower emissions and lower costs. And that's how you generate the jobs. But you've got to invest in that technology. You can't constrict those investments. I mean, the funds that we currently have are restricted by law just to invest in solar and wind. Now, you know, when the sun's not shining, the wind's not blowing, well, you've got to have other things as well. But you've also got to have other things that can have lower emissions. And so it's just common sense stuff, Breeny.

Breen: Prime Minister, would you like to talk to the people of Queensland directly about this? At the moment you can't come here unless you do 14 days in an airport motel. Do you find that an odd situation?

Prime Minister: Well, I'm not like anyone else... I'm like anyone else, I should say, Neil. I mean, there shouldn't be a double standard for the Prime Minister and others who are coming from Sydney or the ACT. I mean, I don't, I'm not asking for special rules to apply to me and I don't think special rules should apply. It's not my decision as to how they run the borders, but if there are those rules, then I'll comply with them the same as anyone else. But I do know that there should be exemptions for hardship cases. We've talked about those before and I know you've done a great job on raising those cases. So I think these things need to be sensible. They need to be compassionate and they need to be efficient and they shouldn't be permanent. They should come down when it's safe to do so. And that safety argument, I think, is getting stronger and stronger every day.

Breen: Ray from Redcliffe writes him with a question I wanted to ask, but he asks it better. He says, ‘Morning, Breeny, could you ask the Prime Minister how he feels about the states, particularly Queensland, doing their own thing during the pandemic?’ And that's a question I've wanted to ask you. How do you feel that the country has splintered?

Prime Minister: Well, the Federation, you know, is eight states and territories. They're all independent ultimately on these sorts of things. And you try and get them to move in the one direction as best you can. And largely that's what's happened. On the issue of borders, that's not the case. States have taken different decisions not just to have borders, but how they've run them. I mean, in New South Wales and Victoria and South Australia, they're all working together to get their border down. That's what they're doing right now. And they're working with the Federal Government to do that and having common rules about how they achieve it. Thankfully, the situation in Victoria is improving. Victorian regional areas are opening up now. And that means, you know, it shouldn't be too long before we can get that border down in Victoria. But, you know, that could well happen. The border between New South Wales and Victoria is likely to come down before the one in New South Wales and Queensland.

Breen: Which is crazy, crazy stuff.

Prime Minister: Well, I know Queenslanders like the border being there, so I get that. I do get that. But it has to be done in a sensible and compassionate way that doesn't cost jobs and doesn't hurt the state. And they're the things the state governments are responsible for. See, the Federation works best when everybody takes responsibility for the things they're responsible for and the outcomes of that. And no doubt people in Queensland may feel that the borders are protecting their health situation. I understand that. But there's also the impact that it is having more broadly on jobs and business and industry in Queensland. And ultimately, they're the things that have to be weighed up. You've got to have a balanced approach is my point, Neil, and we've always tried to manage both the health effects and the economic effects together. It's just not one or the other. You have to achieve both to be successful.

Breen: Prime Minister, were you offended when our Premier said you bullied her?

Prime Minister: Oh, look, I don't dwell on these things, Neil. All I was looking to do that day, frankly, was to help Sarah go and say farewell to her dad. That's all that was in it, from my point of view. I'd spoken to Sarah privately during the course of that morning. I'd spoken to the Premier privately.

Breen: We know that's true because you asked us to keep all this quiet. You didn't want it to be a public thing that you were calling in the Premier.

Prime Minister: Exactly. That's all I wanted to have happen. I'm glad she was able to at least go and see her father. And I know her stepsister has also been offended by this. I understand you lose a parent and people are hurting and I get all that. All I was seeking to do was just help Sarah see her dad on the day she had to say goodbye.

Breen: And she was very thankful and she wrote us a letter and we passed it on to you. I’ve got to let you go, Prime Minister, we're jamming up to the news. I could talk to you all day. Thanks so much. Good luck with the Sharks in the final. We won't be cheering for them.

Prime Minister: Thanks a lot, Breeny. See you.