DAVID KOCH: The Prime Minister joins us from Royalla in NSW this morning. Prime Minister, thanks for your time.
PRIME MINISTER: Thanks David.
KOCH: Look, you’ve got to have bipartisanship, support on this, wouldn’t you? To get the legislation through?
PRIME MINISTER: We do.
KOCH: Has the other side agreed?
PRIME MINISTER: Yeah, we do. That’s right, I spoke to Bill about it yesterday and that support is there. So we will introduce the laws this morning. No one is going home until they’re passed. I imagine that will happen with that support, speedily through the Parliament.
This is an important preventative legislation as well, because as you just said, many of the things we’re seeing are pranks and things like this. One of the other laws we’re passing today is that if people do this recklessly, as opposed to with serious intent, they will also face potential prison terms for that type of offence.
So if any of you are doing and thinking of doing that and thinking it’s a laugh, it’s not funny.
PRIME MINISTER: It’s very serious and it carries very serious penalties.
KOCH: Yeah and it’s a message to get through to kids as well; being stupid or grabbing attention, you are going to get into real strife with this?
PRIME MINISTER: That’s right. That's the very clear message. That’s why we’re moving very urgently to make sure this is passed through the Parliament ASAP. So we appreciate the support of Parliament for doing that. You know, you’ve got to take action quickly on these things.
PRIME MINISTER: That's what we’re doing.
KOCH: Gee, the other big issue at the moment, it looks so dry behind you there at Royalla. You’ll make a big announcement on the drought today. Can you tell us about it?
PRIME MINISTER: Yeah, well you might be able to see behind that hay truck behind us. There is this quite ridiculous law which says that the truck width is about 2.5 metres, and you put the hay on it and once you travel for a while, it spreads out at the bottom and when they hit a border, they can get a fine. Or, they have to apply for permits so it can be more than 2.5 metres. So, we’re just changing that rule, changing that law right across the country for the states. The states have signed up for this, so there won’t be a need for that anymore. That will remove the need for a 6,000 permits a year.
PRIME MINISTER: It just means that those getting hay to where it’s needed, they can keep on trucking. They don’t have to stop.
KOCH: That’s a very sensible change. Hopefully, the truckies that have been fined recently for that will get those fines revoked as well.
Now while I’ve got you, there are reports out today that Australia is working with Papa New Guinea on developing a joint naval base on Manus Island to prevent the Chinese from building a port there. Can you confirm that? Is that happening?
PRIME MINISTER: Well David, you wouldn’t expect me to discuss national security issues in an interview like this or anywhere else. The Pacific is a very high-priority area of strategic national security interest for Australia. We work very closely with all our Pacific partners. That’s why we have the Pacific Island Forum recently, we showed a lot of support there. We’ll continue to do that. But I’m not going to comment on speculation on national security issues, that would not be appropriate.
KOCH: Okay, alright Prime Minister thanks for joining us, see you soon.