Radio Interview on 2GB Summer Saturday

Transcript
24 Dec 2016
Prime Minister
E&OE

PRESENTER:

Prime Minister, thanks for joining us on Summer Saturday.

PRIME MINISTER:

Great to be with you all.

PRESENTER:

Firstly, Merry Christmas to you and the family, how will you be spending the day tomorrow?

PRIME MINISTER:

I’ll be spending time with the family. We’ve got the grandchildren, opening presents, some lunch, just a very warm, friendly, family Christmas.

PRESENTER:

Are you a roast kind of man, Prime Minister?

PRIME MINISTER:

No, we’ll be definitely having a cooler Christmas lunch, some fish and some ham as well to provide some variety.

PRESENTER:

Will you be there with the apron on?

PRIME MINISTER:

I’ll certainly be supporting in the sense of being an assistant. I’ve got to tell you, the rest of my family are much more talented at cooking than me, but I’m an enthusiastic amateur in the kitchen.

PRESENTER:

You talk about your grandkids, me and Jules here, he’s got a two-year-old, I’ve basically just had a daughter this year and this is going to be her first Christmas.

PRIME MINISTER:

It’s fantastic isn’t it?

PRESENTER:

Doesn’t it bring a lot of the memories that you had as a kid when you see your grandchildren and now my child coming through. Christmas is a different time isn’t it?

PRIME MINISTER:

It is and you know, grandchildren are a wonderful rejuvenating part of your life. You know we have three grandchildren, we have a little boy who is three and a few months, we have a girl, a granddaughter who is 18 months and we have another granddaughter who is 16 weeks old, so she is still a little baby. But the interesting thing is as a grandad, the last time I was running around with little people like that was when my children were that age. So every time I am with our grandchildren it makes me feel as though I am back in my late 20s early 30s and I know Lucy feels the same. So really – grandchildren are a wonderful, wonderful joy.

PRESENTER:

Now I’m 34 and my dad still dresses up as Santa to give out his presents with his sack, he walks out. Anything like that at your house Prime Minister?

PRIME MINISTER:

I have dressed up as Santa at a kids party many years ago but I’m not planning to do it this year. But yeah it is, it’s wonderful isn’t it?

The whole delight of children at Christmas time and the excitement and the squeals of joy – it’s wonderful. Also of course, you know I’ll be going up to the Wayside Chapel, which I do at Christmas time. I visit the Wayside Chapel a lot and as you know, Luce and I have been great supporters of Graham Long over the years. It’s also a very important time to reach out and give a hug to those who aren’t having as happy a Christmas as you might be. You know for whatever reason – they’re lonely, sick, estranged from their families. This is a season of love, and you should share it.

PRESENTER:

There was a story in The Australian this week Prime Minister that said that you were cancelling your Christmas drinks, much to the chagrin of business and industry leaders. Is this a symbolic gesture of fiscal responsibility?

PRIME MINISTER:

[Laughs]

No I think we are going to have a summer reception in January.

PRESENTER:

Lovely. I look forward to the invite. Now a couple of weeks back though you did host the Christmas function at the lodge for all of Canberra’s politicians. Now every work Christmas party has somebody who drinks too many or goes hard on the dance floor.

PRIME MINISTER:

They were all very well behaved. They were all very well behaved.

PRESENTER:

So you’re not going to dish the dirt?

PRIME MINISTER:

Now I have to say, however, the press gallery Christmas party on the other hand … no but I couldn’t possibly comment. Everyone was – I have to say – everyone was, at least in my sight, very well behaved and full of good cheer, but not too much.

PRESENTER:

Now here’s one for you. Most offices have a Kris Kringle, now who do you think would be the hardest person to buy for in federal politics, from either side of the floor.

PRIME MINISTER:

That’s a very good question. I’m not sure. I would think that Bill Shorten would be hard to buy something for. I think he’s always got plenty to complain about.

PRESENTER:

He’d whinge about whatever you got him would he?

PRIME MINISTER:

So you’d be worried that he’d whinge about whatever you got him. Yeah, he’d be the hardest.

PRESENTER:

Have you received a Christmas card from the Opposition Leader?

PRIME MINISTER:

I have.

PRESENTER:

Oh good.

PRIME MINISTER:

I have. It’s a very nice Christmas card in fact – picture of him and Chloe and the children and their dog. So no, it was a good family picture.

PRESENTER:

Now it’s got to be one of the toughest gigs going around. Everyone’s out to get you, everyone’s got an opinion. You’re pretty much on the clock 24/7. Do you get any time to clock off over this summer period?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well you know, it’s interesting. The answer is I do and I swim, I paddle my kayak, I get out and exercise, go for long walks with Lucy.

Luce and I hang out a lot together when we are taking time out, whether it’s on a weekend and we get some time on a weekend or on a holiday. But you know, it’s interesting – I get the ferry in to the city regularly or I get public transport elsewhere, you know the trains and so forth – and it’s interesting, when you are actually with Australians in a casual situation, without the television cameras there and without microphones, people are very good natured and very courteous. They will tell you if they think you are doing a good job or if they think you can improve somewhere they will say that to you.

I have always found being out and about in the community, particularly when you are away from the media, people are very laid back, very friendly and even if they disagree with you, will do so in a civilised, respectful way.

PRESENTER:

Prime Minister, Kirribilli House is the perfect vantage point for the New Year’s Eve fireworks. Now if you’re not going to be there, would you mind just leaving the key in the pot plant for us?

PRIME MINISTER:

[Laughter]

I don’t think I can do that.

PRESENTER:

You mentioned the fact that you are a keen kayaker, you get out on the harbour a fair bit. But you are the Prime Minister, are you able to get there with relative anonymity or do you have to find a security team of comparable paddling ability?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well the New South Wales Water Police keep an eye on me from a discreet distance.

PRESENTER:

Do they? Not bad.

PRIME MINISTER:

But look I paddle around the harbour a lot and I normally do sort of eight or nine kilometres. I’ll go out to South Head and back typically. But I paddle in all sorts of places, and one of the phenomenal things about Sydney Harbour is that so much of it is still basically bushland. It’s vast of course and you can explore it. Sometimes I paddle up and down pretty much just in a straight line, but generally I will mooch along the shoreline going over the shallows because you can see the fish, you can see the rocks. Not so long ago, I saw a rather large seal in Chowder Bay which was just sunbaking there, floating along with one flipper in the air. And as I passed by it just lifted its nose up and looked at me, blinked and went back to sleep.

PRESENTER:

Do you know what they say though when you see a seal in the water there? There’s something chasing it, Luke. I can tell you that, there might have been a nice big white pointer under there thinking: “That flipper is a nice little tasty treat there as well,” Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER:

Yeah could be. Well there are more sharks in the harbour than there have been in years past and that’s because the harbour is a lot cleaner.

PRESENTER:

The water quality is beautiful isn’t it at the moment. There are so many fish out there it’s incredible.

PRIME MINISTER:

There are and that is for a whole bunch of reasons. A lot of the plants that used to put effluent and pollution into the harbour have shut down and environmental standards have improved. So, there are more fish, there’s more sharks. It’s interesting, sometimes people will say to me “Oh, there aren’t really sharks in the harbour are there?” and I say: “No of course not! They call it Shark Island, Shark Point, Shark Beach, that’s because there aren’t any sharks”. Of course there are sharks in the harbour. In fact Lucy, you know years ago, wrote a very good book, a big history of Sydney called Sydney: Biography of a City back in 1999. She did a massive amount of research for it, including on the early history of Sydney. When the European settlers came to Australia, one of the things that they observed was that the original inhabitants of Sydney – the Gadigal people – were terrified of the sharks. They talked about them, that was one of real anxiety. So sharks are a real feature. One of the good places to swim for example, that I often paddle over to and swim at, is Nielsen Park, you know which is a great beach with a big netted enclosure, so if you do six circuits of that, by my calculation that’s 2.1km so that’s a reasonable swim.

PRESENTER:

Well I know you’re not all about showboating to the media or anything, but I think a very powerful image of the Prime Minister would be out there on Boxing Day in your kayak paddling side by side the Sydney to Hobart yachts. What do you reckon?

PRIME MINISTER:

Oh yeah that would be – as I was ploughed under the bow of one of those Maxis.

PRESENTER:

With the cricket on a transistor radio.

PRIME MINISTER:

Can I tell you one thing, and this won’t be the case for the Hobart because they will have a good wind, but I have on occasions been out kayaking and the wind drops and it’s completely still and I’ll paddle through a sailing race fleet and they’re all sitting there. Of course being naturally good-humoured, Australians are always good humoured, people will say “Can you give us a tow mate?” And I say, “throw me a rope mate and I’ll help you out.”

PRESENTER:

One final question Prime Minister, you’ve been very good with your time, we’re going to ask everybody this this afternoon. If you could invite one person to your Christmas lunch, anyone in the world living or dead, who would it be?

PRIME MINISTER:

That’s a good question. Who would it be? One person. You know, I think …

PRESENTER:

I think Donald Trump’s available.

PRIME MINISTER:

Donald Trump, yeah well, I’m sure he’d be very entertaining. You know if there was one person I could invite to Christmas lunch, and I miss him every day, and that would be my dad. That’s a bit sentimental but if it was just one person, I would love him to be able to see our grandchildren, he’d be just so proud of them.

PRESENTER:

Wonderful, very good. Well Malcolm I know you don’t appear on this radio station very often due to your busy schedule, but I’m glad you’ve recognised that this is a program of immense quality, professionalism befitting of a Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER:

Thank you so much. Look forward to talking to you again. 

PRESENTER:

Thanks, have a Merry Christmas.

Ends