Radio interview with WSFM

 

AMANDA KELLER:

First time, we are thrilled to say hello Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull – welcome.

PRIME MINISTER:

Hello Amanda, hello Jonesy – how are you?

BRENDAN JONES:

Malcolm I am so pleased to talk to you at last because the only contact we had with you was one of our people that work here shared a subway sandwich with you at Erina Fair and that was the closest we could get.

PRIME MINISTER:

Yeah, right – well I’m amazed I didn’t meet you on the train but anyway, there it is.

[Laughter]

AMANDA KELLER:

How’s your flu going you poor thing? It’s a tough ride with this long campaign and your health has taken a bit of a battering.

PRIME MINISTER:

I’m on the mend - I work out pretty much every day except obviously when I’ve got the flu but I’m on the mend and I think I’m probably about 90 per cent back to good health. So some good sleeps and lots of flu remedies from lots of friends – lots of lemon and honey.

BRENDAN JONES:

Good – if this campaign was like a Rocky movie, at what stage of the Rocky movie are we now? Is this – you’re on the mat, you’re getting up, Micky is yelling at you, “Come on you bum – get up” – what part are we at?

[Laughter]

PRIME MINISTER:

It’s a great movie – well look, we’re getting to the end. You know, we are getting down to the choice and it’s a very very clear choice. We’ve got a very stable Coalition Government which I lead, with an economic plan that will deliver and is delivering jobs now. Committed to Western Sydney with a city plan for Western Sydney – committed to the airport, committed to developing more – billions of dollars in transport infrastructure, road and rail. All of those commitments are there focusing on jobs and growth - I’ve spent a lot of time in Western Sydney as you know with our members there talking about that and with businesses that will benefit from our tax cuts.

On the other hand you’ve got the chaos of Labor-Greens-Independent alliance. Shorten is now at the point where he has got nothing other than lies which he has been peddling and has been exposed for and certainly has no vision for how our children and grandchildren are going to have great jobs in the future.

Now we do, we have a plan and that is the big difference.

AMANDA KELLER:

The campaign seems to be a lot closer than we thought it might be going into it. When you took over from Tony Abbott there was a lot of excitement on both sides. I think a lot of people might have thought there may be some policy changes in marriage equality and climate change and yet it seems that they are the same old policies. How are you different to the Tony Abbott of old? Have we gone through all of this change for nothing?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well Amanda you talk about same-sex marriage – I mean the big difference is, I support it. I mean I will vote yes. Yes we will have a plebiscite. A big majority of Australians support having a vote on it and I will be voting yes. Tony obviously will vote no. He is against same-sex marriage – I am in favour of it. You know, I believe that Lucy and my marriage of 36 years is not threatened by two gay people getting married. Simple. So I am in favour of it – that’s a big difference.

On climate change – my commitment is absolutely unequivocal – we do need to continue to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and we are doing that. We have made a big commitment in Paris which I made as Prime Minister and we are part of a global effort. You know, we are supporting that in all of our policies. Part of the whole focus on our city plans is to ensure we have more sustainable investment in cities. We have got a $100 million a year commitment from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to go into sustainable infrastructure in cities – that will be more efficient lighting and so forth which will all add to our environmental effort.

BRENDAN JONES:

And what about the Coalition’s plan with Medicare? We had Bill on the other day and he was saying that you guys are spreading lies about Medicare and you’re saying that Bill is spreading lies about Medicare.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, look he was asked about it last night on television and he was not able, he wasn’t even able or prepared to repeat it. The fact is, Medicare will never ever be privatised. It will never ever be sold. He knows that. He has made up this extraordinary lie. He has got people robo-calling older Australians, frightening them late at night. It is the most shocking lie in this campaign. I can’t think of a worse one in any campaign.

We are totally committed to Medicare – we are spending more money on it than ever and will continue to do so. Medicare is something that all Australians support – all Australian political parties support. What Bill Shorten has done is because he has been exposed as having no economic plan - because he has been exposed as going to run bigger and bigger deficits and hence more debt – because he doesn’t have a plan for the future, he has resorted to this extraordinary falsehood and when he was put on the spot last night, on the ABC, he was not able to stack it up and that’s it. I mean basically this is a dreadful lie and if he is going to lie about that, if he is going to frighten older Australians with a dreadful lie like that, how could you believe anything he said?

AMANDA KELLER:

Well I guess with the election only a week or so away, it’s up to people to check out what these policies are. If climate change is a big deal to you personally, then have a look at the stats because I think they’re saying that with the changes the Coalition are making we would have 3 to 4 per cent global warming, 3 to 4 degrees celcius global warming. The other parties offer something less than that - the policies they make, so it is up to us to research it.

PRIME MINISTER:

Amanda can I just challenge that if I may. The way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has got to be global, right. I mean, any country in isolation, particularly a smaller country like Australia, our actions are not going to have any impact unless they’re part of a global effort. Now we are making - we’re committing to cut emissions by 26 to 28 per cent by 2030. Barack Obama thanked me for that commitment just the other day. It’s the second highest on a per capita basis in the OECD. We are very confident that we will meet those reductions with our existing set of policies but we are reviewing them next year and Australia is a country that always meets its international obligations. We will meet them and if the world agrees to higher targets as I suspect we will - I expect we will in fact - then we will meet those too. But the important thing is global action because a tonne of greenhouse gas emissions has the same effect on the climate, whether it is emitted from Sydney or Shanghai, or from Vladivostok. So global action is the key. The great thing about the Paris Agreement is that we finally do have global action. When I was Environment Minister years ago, the thing that used to frustrate me the most was the lack of any consensus between the big economies, particularly America and China. Now we have got that. So we are getting global action. We are playing a very responsible role in it. I can sight none other than the US President for acknowledging the value of the contribution we’re making.

AMANDA KELLER:

It’s just frustrating that we have all this space in the middle of Australia. Germany has more solar panels than we do. One of the richest men in China developed solar panels at NSW University. All our alternatives I think might need looking at. We’ve got that huge space in the middle of the country.

PRIME MINISTER:

Amanda actually in terms of roof top solar, domestic solar, we are doing very well by global standards.

AMANDA KELLER:

Oh I am pleased to hear that.

PRIME MINISTER:

Yeah no really are. Germany obviously has more solar panels. It’s a population of 80 million. So naturally it’ll have more rooftop solar because it has more rooftops. But we are really doing very well here. You’ve only got to drive around the suburbs of Sydney to see how many solar panels there are. What we are also seeing, the big game changer in solar energy is battery technology. You see, as you’ve seen, Elon Musk the guy behind Tesler has come out with a household battery and there are others. As you will see, batteries moving into the grid and into businesses and residences, so solar power becomes much more valuable because all of the electricity you generate during the day, say at home when everyone is either at work at school or they’re out, you can then use in the evenings. So I think there is - you know technology changes over time but it doesn’t change in a smooth line. You get big inflections. Big shifts. This battery, the arrival of batteries which we are putting a lot of research money into and a lot of support for - batteries are the key I think for renewable energy because what it means is you can store it which has always been very hard to do.

BRENDAN JONES:

Well there you go. Thank you for joining us Malcolm Turnbull. I know our thanks isn’t like Barack Obama’s thanks. To just ring you up direct. What did he say?

AMANDA KELLER:

Did he give you a flu remedy?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well he rang, we had a call recently, we discussed a lot of issues obviously a lot of national security and strategic issues. But he did quite unprompted by me volunteer his thanks for our commitment at Paris. It is a significant one. You know how committed I am to action on this issue. The key is global action. We do have a global agreement for the first time, we are making a responsible and proportionate contribution to it and we will continue to do so. The key of course is making sure that everybody moves up together. Individual countries striking out on their own, without bringing everyone else with them is not going to make the difference. It is that global effort, that community of effort that is going to deal with the issue.

BRENDAN JONES:

Okay so Election Day is on July 2, just so we’re all on the same page. It is July 2 isn’t it?

PRIME MINISTER:

It is indeed. Yes that’s right. Although people are voting now. A lot of people have voted now. It is a very clear choice. It’s a choice between stability and an economic plan that sets us up for the future or the chaos of a Labor-Greens-Independent alliance with no plan for the future and all of the risks that offers to our jobs, to our businesses, to our future.

BRENDAN JONES:

Excellent. Malcolm Turnbull thank you for joining us.

AMANDA KELLER:

Thank you Malcolm.

PRIME MINISTER:

Thank you so much.

BRENDAN JONES:

Good luck on July 2.

PRIME MINISTER:

Thank you.