Media Release

Tony Abbott Doorstop

TRANSCRIPT OF THE HON. TONY ABBOTT MHR

DOORSTOP INTERVIEW

SYDNEY

Subjects: Swim for Saxon; Julia Gillard's carbon tax; Bob Brown; border protection; interest rates; surf life saving.

EO&E..............................................................................................................................................................

TONY ABBOTT:

It is terrific to be here at Queenscliff Surf Club. It's an honour to be part of the Swim for Saxon. Saxon was a great member of the Queenscliff Club. He was a terrific competitor. He was a fine young Australian and this swim was in his memory and it's a celebration of the spirit of surf life saving.

If I could make just a couple of political observations. It's pretty clear that you only compensate people if you are doing them harm and the more we learn about the Government's so-called carbon tax compensation, the more we realise that it's not compensation, it's a con. IPART's figures that came out during the week show that many, many households will clearly be worse off under the Government's so-called compensation. But, in any event, we just don't need this toxic tax, which is not going to do anything to help Australian families and is going to threaten their jobs. The carbon tax won't clean up the environment but it will certainly clean out peoples' wallets big time.

Finally, on the Greens, Bob Brown has left the building but he's left behind the great big carbon tax. It's almost as if having surveyed the political scene, he said my work here is done. He has left us with a carbon tax, the Green-Gillard legacy, which - if the Coalition doesn't win the next election - will haunt Australians for generations to come.

QUESTION:

Mr Abbott, is there anything you want to say about the fact that ANZ rose their rates yesterday?

TONY ABBOTT:

I think that if the Government wasn't borrowing $100 million every single day it would a lot easier for the banks to keep interest rates down. Everyone needs to understand that when the Government is out there borrowing $100 million every single day, there is going to be upwards pressure on interest rates. So, the best thing the Government can do to help the Australian people is get its own spending under control.

QUESTION:

What's your response to the scurry of 60, I think, asylum seekers bailing the island of Lombok and heading this way?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, obviously it's good that those people are safe but as long as this Government provides the people smugglers with a business model there will be boats coming and there will be tragedies at sea. The only way to stop the tragedy is to stop the boats and the only way to stop the boats is to have rigorous offshore processing, temporary protection visas and the option of turning boats around where it is safe to do so.

QUESTION:

Just to get back to the ANZ issue, do you support the ANZ decision?

TONY ABBOTT:

What I don't support is a Government which puts upward pressure on interest rates by borrowing $100 million every single day.

QUESTION:

You do support the bank?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, the problem is not so much the banks; the problem is a Government which is creating an economic environment where the banks feel they have no choice but to do this. Now, if the Government was not borrowing $100 million every single day, it would be a lot easier to get interest rates down.

QUESTION:

But some groups have been calling for interest rates to go down but this is going in the opposite direction. Is it justified?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, they need to know who the real problem is and the real problem is Wayne Swan who is not capable of getting government spending under control and as long as the Government is borrowing $100 million every single day, we are going to have upwards pressure on interest rates.

QUESTION:

Isn't it the higher cost of borrowing from Europe, because of their situation, it being given as the reason for this rise?

TONY ABBOTT:

And this is a Government which is making a difficult situation worse. The best thing the Government could do to take the pressure off interest rates is to stop borrowing $100 million every single day.

QUESTION:

But that doesn't bring that much comfort, surely, to ANZ customers who are suffering under the banks decision?

TONY ABBOTT:

Look, if you have a bad government, you're going to get bad outcomes and as long as we have the current Government, we're going to have dud economic policy and we're going to have pressure on the forgotten families of Australia. The best way to restore confidence, the best way to get interest rates down, to get spending down, to get taxes down, is to change the Government as soon as possible.

QUESTION:

This isn't a government decision, it is one banks' decision.

TONY ABBOTT:

This is a decision which is made in a context and the economic context in which the decision is made has been significantly created by this Government.

QUESTION:

Mr Abbott, just on the swim, you couldn't get Mike Baird in the water last year, you did this year. I know you were back of the pack but it must have been good to swim?

TONY ABBOTT:

Look, I just think it's good to finish and yes, it's great to have Mike Baird in the water. I think both Mike and I have a long way to go to keep up with Bruce Baird, who might be 20 years older than me and 30 years older than Mike but he can absolutely flog us as a swimmer, even now.

QUESTION:

And Tony, just being a clubber yourself, just on the drama surrounding surf life saving at the moment. I've spoken to a number of clubs on the beaches who've backed calls for obviously more improved safety from the governing body. Do you support those calls for better safety standards?

TONY ABBOTT:

Look, obviously we've always got to look at what can be done to improve safety, but surf life saving is an inherently difficult business. It's impossible to have risk-free surf life saving. It's impossible to have entirely risk-free surf competition. The important thing is to minimise the risks and I'm confident that Surf Life Saving Australia will be doing everything it reasonably can to do that. Let's not forget that the people who run surf life saving are life savers, former life savers or the parents of life savers and the last thing they would want to do is to put competitors at unnecessary risk.

Thank you.