Radio interview with Jonesy and Amanda, WSFM 101.7

Transcript
31 Aug 2017
Prime Minister
Melania Trump; North Korea; Power prices
E&OE

BRENDAN JONES:

Right now on the line, we could ask him about this, it’s the Prime Minister of our country, Malcolm Turnbull.

AMANDA KELLER:

Good morning.

PRIME MINISTER:

Hey, good morning. How are you?

BRENDAN JONES:

Malcolm, we’re well. When you go out on - like to a disaster or anything, do you think about these things, what you’re going to wear?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well you know, as a bloke you get off pretty easily. I was just listening to what you were saying about Melania Trump, I think people are so hard and tough on women and what they wear. You know, whether they’re in the media or in politics or in the public eye, have you ever heard anyone complaining about what a male politician wears? Or indeed a male media personality? It is really, it is very unfair.

BRENDAN JONES:

Well, there was Tony in the Speedos. But other than that..

AMANDA KELLER:

There was that.

PRIME MINISTER:

[Laughter]

Well, it’s hard to think of another example.

AMANDA KELLER:

That’s appropriate in the flood zone at least.

PRIME MINISTER:

Yeah.

AMANDA KELLER:

Hey can we talk about North Korea?

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes.

AMANDA KELLER:

I thought you said some very strong words yesterday, saying: “Look, we would win in a fight with North Korea.”  But how, is this imminent? Are we likely to enter into a war with North Korea?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well it depends, really that’s up to North Korea, whether they’re going to, you know, attack the United States or attack one of the United States’ treaty allies like Japan for example. The point that I was making is that what this criminal, dangerous regime is doing, is it is essentially trying to intimidate the rest of the world to not impose sanctions and in effect reward them for their criminal belligerence.

You know, that’s the standover tactics, it’s like the mafia and the global community is absolutely united in standing up to that. The UN Security Council has imposed very strong economic sanctions. They will come into effect next week. They should all be imposed but the most important country in this regard of course is China. They have the biggest - by far the biggest economic relationship with North Korea. They have said that they are going to stop importing coal, iron ore, seafood and other things from North Korea. That will impose a heavy economic price on North Korea and that is the way to bring them, bring North Korea to its senses without conflict.

AMANDA KELLER:

So at what point are we ‘in’? At what point is there conflict? At what point do you say: “OK, Australia is in here”?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well Australia, the United States is our most important ally. I mean that, the US Alliance is the bedrock of our national security. We have the ANZUS Treaty, under that if either party is attacked, then the other one has to come to their aid. So if the United States was attacked, we would come to America’s aid and if we were attacked the US would come to our aid. That’s the basis of the treaty alliance.

So there is no question in my mind, that if North Korea were to attack the United States as they often threaten to do, there would be a conflict which would be a suicide note from North Korea’s point of view. You know he’s playing, Kim Jong-un is playing a game of very, very dangerous brinkmanship. But the people, the country that can bring him to his senses without conflict, is China. Now, I’m not suggesting China is responsible for what he’s doing, quite the contrary. They have plenty of complaints and problems with North Korea, but they do have that economic leverage that other nations do not.

So with the greatest leverage comes the greatest responsibility.

BRENDAN JONES:

He’s also playing a dangerous game with his hairdresser as well. What’s with that haircut?

PRIME MINISTER:

Yeah well that’s-

AMANDA KELLER:

You should tell him.

PRIME MINISTER:

Yeah.

BRENDAN JONES:

That’s dreadful.

[Laughter]

You’ve just struck a deal with the energy companies. What has actually been achieved, because my electricity bill is though the – I can’t even articulate how expensive it is. I mean, I went, “What? Look at that!”

PRIME MINISTER:

Yeah okay, so this is what we’ve done. What we’ve secured is a commitment from the energy retailers to contact about 2 million, probably a bit more, customers. So that’s 2 million households, who are either on plans that have expired, or are on the standard offer and would have the opportunity of paying less if they were on the right plan. So it’s essentially, it’s really a wake-up call to people to say, “Hang on, do you realise you’re paying more than you need to for electricity?” Now you know, so those letters will be going out between now and the end of the year.

It will become part of the law now, that if you’re on a plan and it’s coming to an end, before it comes to an end, the retailer has got to get in touch with you and say: “Hey, your plan is coming to an end. If you don’t do anything, you’ll go onto the standard offer and you’ll be paying more”. But you can go to energymadeeasy.gov.au. Go to that government website, federal government website and you will be able to compare what you’re currently paying with what’s on offer and you’ll find, as hundreds of thousands of people have done very recently, since we started raising the profile of this. You’ll find that there are a lot of offers out there and many people are getting - making savings of 3, 4, 5 600 dollars a year.

So my commitment, my objective is to ensure that no Australian family is paying more than they need to for electricity. So ideally, we want everyone to be on the right plan.

AMANDA KELLER:

Because we were told Prime Minister, like back in 2013, Tony Abbott made it his number one issue to repeal the carbon tax. He said that that was making our bills skyrocket and we’d be better off without it. He said these words:

TONY ABBOTT – RECORDING:

When this bill is passed, Australian households will be better off to the tune of $550 a year.

AMANDA KELLER:

Why haven’t we seen that?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well prices actually did come done after the repeal of the carbon tax, so that was achieved. But what’s happened since then, there have been other developments in the energy sector that have seen prices go back up again. Probably the most, single most important factor very recently has been the rocketing price of gas. Now again, that has been the consequence of a failure of policy by the Labor Party. When they were in Government they allowed gas to be exported from Queensland, from the east coast system, but failed to do anything to ring-fence or protect gas supplies for the domestic market. So as a result, the domestic market became short of gas. I know it’s hard to believe in a country that’s the second biggest gas exporter, about to become the biggest. But there you are, we were short of gas.

So I’ve had to step in and take very strong steps to restrict exports so as to ensure there is enough gas for the domestic market. Now while having announced that earlier in the year, already we’ve seen the wholesale price of gas coming down and more gas coming into the domestic market.

But it was, look, the story of the Labor Party on energy is that they’ve got two problems, it’s not just ideology, not just left-wing ideology that wants to drive coal-fired power out of the system, drive baseload power out of the system. But they’re also - it’s also idiocy, because they went hell for leather on renewables and did nothing to provide the storage and the backup. So it’s my Government that is getting on and building Snowy Hydro 2.0 which will be the biggest battery in Australia, indeed, in the Southern Hemisphere. Because it’s only by proper planning and proper engineering that you can ensure that people will have affordable and reliable power, so we’re doing-

AMANDA KELLER:

But this is five years after a major election promise, so hopefully we do see this kick in before too long.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well people are getting really substantial saving on their electricity bills now and we’ve secured that commitment from the retailers. So there are literally hundreds of dollars can be saved now in many cases, millions of households, will have the opportunity to do that.

So we’re doing things Amanda in the here and now, that affect prices in the here and now and we’re also making the long-term infrastructure and planning decisions to ensure that in years to come that there will be continued downward pressure on prices.

I’m doing everything I can to ensure that energy is affordable and reliable. That’s our commitment.

BRENDAN JONES:

Malcolm thank you for joining us, though I must apologise as well. When you were on ACA last night – well, Amanda you should apologise.

AMANDA KELLER:

Sorry, I was trying to line you up for the show, I didn’t know you were busy, here you are.

PRIME MINISTER - RECORDING:

That’s why we are taking strong steps to put in place - 

[Phone rings]

TRACY GRIMSHAW- RECORDING:

That’s your phone.

PRIME MINISTER- RECORDING:

[Laughter]

I know, I better turn it off.

TRACY GRIMSHAW- RECORDING:

You’re a man in demand.

PRIME MINISTER- RECORDING:

Sorry Tracy.

BRENDAN JONES:

Sorry about that Malcolm.

AMANDA KELLER:

You should have put it on silent as I asked you.

PRIME MINISTER:

Yeah well my phone normally is on silent, but it did ring. But I hope I was able to flick it off fairly dexterously.

BRENDAN JONES:

But the standard ringtone Prime Minister? I thought you might have something like you know Crazy Frog.

[Sound effects]

Something like that?

AMANDA KELLER:

Something distinctive.

PRIME MINISTER:

What do you guys think is the worst ringtone you’ve heard?

BRENDAN JONES:

I think that one, I think Crazy Frog.

[Sound effects]

PRIME MINISTER:

Everyone’s got that, but what’s the worst sort of custom ringtone you’ve heard?

AMANDA KELLER:

I dunno, but Jonesy has Guns N’ Roses which went off in a funeral recently which was unfortunate.

[Laughter]

BRENDAN JONES:

They’re the best. I had Milkshakes Bring All The Boys To The Yard as well. But my brother-

AMANDA KELLER:

That’s Christopher Pyne’s.

[Laughter]

PRIME MINISTER:

I like - sometimes I see people who have dogs barking as their ringtone, that’s always a bit disconcerting.

BRENDAN JONES:

That’s when Tony’s ringing you.

[Laughter]

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, I couldn’t possibly comment.

BRENDAN JONES:

Malcolm it’s always great to talk to you. Malcolm Turnbull, thank you for joining us.

AMANDA KELLER:

Yeah thank you Prime Minister. Thank you. Bye.

PRIME MINISTER:

Thanks a lot, see ya.

[ENDS]