Liberal Party of Australia : Tony Abbott doorstop interview with Greg Hunt MP, Melbourne
07/01/2012| 05:51am US/Eastern
Subjects: Julia Gillard's carbon tax;
Ok, look it's great to be here in Melbourne today to
officially launch my campaign to rid Australia of this carbon
tax. The most positive message that I can give to the
Australian people right now is that if they elect a Coalition
government, there will be no carbon tax. On day one of a new
government, the instructions will go to the public service -
start preparing the legislation. On day one of a new
Parliament, the carbon tax repeal legislation will be
introduced. That is my pledge to the people of Australia. If
you elect a Coalition government, there will be no carbon tax
and I can be believed when I say there will be no carbon tax
under a government I lead.
Now Helen Kroger, John Nguyen, Greg Hunt and I have just been
to visit the Romeo household. These are decent, ordinary
people. They are the forgotten families of Australia and they
are just one of the millions of Australian families that will
be worse off, even on the Government's own figures, under
this carbon tax. The thing about the carbon tax is that it
will hit every Australian family's cost of living. It
will make every Australian job less secure and it won't
actually reduce emissions because emissions go up, not down,
by 8 per cent, according to the Government's own figures,
So it is a bad tax based on a lie and I think that the phrase
that will haunt this Prime Minister every day until the next
election is the big pre-election carbon tax lie of hers
before the last election, "there will be no carbon tax under
the government I lead".
So Australia, this campaign is now on. It is now on. What do
you think of this carbon tax? What do you think of prime
ministers who tell lies before elections? Well, this is your
chance to pass judgment on this bad tax put in place by a bad
Ok, do we have any questions?
The Government says that you're running a scare campaign.
What's your reaction to those comments?
This is a truth campaign. The whole point of a carbon tax is
to put prices up. That's the whole point of a carbon tax.
If it doesn't put up the price of power, if it
doesn't put up the price of fuel, it just doesn't
work and the trouble is when the power price goes up, every
time you turn on a light, you pay. Every time you open the
fridge, you pay. Every time you go to the airport or get on a
bus or order a cup of coffee, you pay. So this is a truth
campaign and, of course, the fundamental truth is that this
Prime Minister wasn't straight with the Australian people
before the last election.
Isn't similar to the GST though in it it's a bit of
fear-mongering and eventually people will just get over
It is radically different for a whole host of reasons. First
of all the GST was a replacement tax. Second, the GST was an
entirely orthodox economic reform and, third and most
importantly, John Howard went to the election and sought a
mandate for a GST. So his political conduct was entirely
honourable, unlike the conduct of this Prime Minister over
this particular tax.
Do you still think Whyalla will be wiped out?
Look, the only reason OneSteel is still operating in Whyalla
today is because of the $64 million in carbon tax
compensation that the Government has given it and does anyone
think that that money would have been forthcoming but for the
campaign that Greg Hunt and Sophie Mirabella and I waged
about the impact of the carbon tax on the steel industry?
I might add something here. The question for the Prime
Minister today is why did she give Whyalla, through OneSteel,
$64 million if she didn't believe that there was going to
be a wrecking ball through the steel works? And the other
thing is of course today is the day that the Prime Minister
should apologise to the Australian people for breaking her
word before the election.
What will be the status of cash payments to generators under
your roll back?
Well while the carbon tax is in place, compensation will
continue. Once the carbon tax has gone, there's no need
So that just rolls on until it is repealed, is that right?
As I said, while the carbon tax is there, the compensation
stays. Once the carbon tax has gone, there's no need for
What would you do to address the rising cost of distribution
and power bills as far greater than the carbon cost. What are
you going to do?
I accept there are a range of factors that are driving prices
up, but the carbon tax is going to make everything much, much
worse and the whole point of government is 'do no harm',
don't make bad situations worse, and that unfortunately
is a fundamental truth of government which this particular
Government utterly fails to understand.
Just about the billboards, how effective do you think they'll
Look, I think they get a very clear message across. If you
want to get rid of the carbon tax, vote for the Coalition. If
you want to punish politicians who lie, vote for the
Coalition. If you think it is all right for governments to
say one thing before an election and do the opposite
afterwards, well sure, vote Labor, but if you believe in
political ethics, if you believe in the fundamental integrity
which should mark our public life, well, there's only one
way to vote at the next election.
Just regarding your announcements yesterday, what role do you
see Infrastructure Australia as having under a government you
Well, Infrastructure Australia will stay and it will be
strengthened and we won't be going ahead with major
projects until there are published cost-benefit analyses. Now
there are published cost-benefit analyses on two of the three
projects I committed to yesterday. The third, the East-West
Link here in Melbourne, a very, very important transport
link, does not yet have a published cost-benefit analysis,
but it is on Infrastructure Australia's urgent priority
list and I explicitly discussed this specific project with
Infrastructure Australia before making the announcement.
So the Government's still working on its business case - you
have pledged $1.5 billion that's contingent on that business
case stacking up and being done in time?
Infrastructure Australia have given me a categoric assurance
that this project stacks up.
Why has the Baillieu Government wasting money on a business
It is important to dot all the 'Is' and cross all the 'Ts',
but this is an absolutely vital project and we won't
waste money on infrastructure that isn't economic. We
won't waste money on infrastructure that is low priority,
but this is an absolutely urgent piece of construction that
the great city of Melbourne needs if it is to progress into
the 21st Century.