Hypothetical Interview with the PM – Julia Gillard on the Carbon Tax and broken promises….

PRIME MINISTER JULIA GILLARD: Morning Some Reporter.

SOME REPORTER: Could I read you a letter from yesterday’s Australian? It said ‘Actions of corporate dishonesty and custodial sentencing. Pity the same rules don’t apply to politicians.’ What’s your response?

JULIA GILLARD: Well, I can understand why people feel unhappy about the Government’s decision to introduce a price on carbon. But we took a decision that in the end it was more important to be economically responsible, and more important to maintain the climate in the long term than it was to avoid embarrassing the Prime Minister.

SOME REPORTER: So honesty comes a distant second in this?

JULIA GILLARD: Well, Some Reporter, when I made that statement, in the election campaign, I had not the slightest inkling that there would ever be any intention to change this. But obviously when circumstances change, governments do change their opinions, and that is actually the responsible course of action.

SOME REPORTER: You say you had no inkling it was likely to change, but Scientists knew that there’d been a blow-out, didn’t it?

JULIA GILLARD: Yes. We certainly were aware the costs were increasing, and there was no secrecy about this, Some Reporter. The, the pre-election climate outlook statement revealed that there had been a substantial increase in the cost of the carbon, and obviously since the election the Government has had the opportunity to consider this blow-out — to look not just at the current quadrennium, but to look at the long term — and has made the decision that the price had to be applied.

SOME REPORTER: So it didn’t bother to look at the long term before the election?

JULIA GILLARD: Well, we, we were looking at the long term before the election. But obviously in a budget context you can focus even more directly on the long term, and that’s what we’ve done.

SOME REPORTER: It sounds as though you can’t believe anything anyone says in an election if they follow those rules.

JULIA GILLARD: Well, Some Reporter

SOME REPORTER: Unless it coincides with the budget.

JULIA GILLARD: Some reporter, look, I can understand your scorn.

SOME REPORTER: Mm.

JULIA GILLARD: And I can certainly understand the dismay of — of some electors. I can obviously understand that. But there are all sorts of values here. One value is obviously keeping commitments. But another important value is economic responsibility, and another — a third important value is solidarity with the team.

And in the end I think voters expect above all else that governments will be economically responsible, and certainly I think economic responsibility has been the chief hallmark of the Gillard Government.

JULIA GILLARD: Well, Some Reporter, again let me say that I can understand why people are dismayed by this decision. But in the end governments have to balance a whole lot of objectives. And sometimes you have to choose between a range of difficult, even unpalatable, alternatives.

And we could stick with the pre-election position. And further blow out the cost to the climate. Or we could make a change. And we thought on balance it was best to take the economically responsible position now.

SOME REPORTER: On balance wouldn’t it have been better to be honest before the election? Acknowledge it had blown out to $1.3 billion and make the changes thenJULIA GILLARD: Well, Some Reporter, we did acknowledge in the pre-election financial outlook statement that there had been a very significant blow-out in the cost to the climate. I think the, the first year cost of the climate had blown out by some fifty per cent in the pre-election financial outlook statement, and obviously there had been a commensurate blow-out in the forward estimates.

SOME REPORTER: Now, Wayne Swan also knew the figures were phony, didn’t he? In fact he said the parameters of the Carbon Tax will not change. In other words, he committed himself as much as you did.

And yet he’s led the charge now to break the promise. What do you think of that? This is the bloke who wants to be prime minister.

JULIA GILLARD: Some Reporter, again, I can understand your dwelling on this. But, but sometimes governments have to choose between a range of unpalatable alternatives. Now…

SOME REPORTER: One of the unpalatable alternatives is telling the truth, presumably.

JULIA GILLARD: We set up this Carbon Tax back in March of last year. Thinking that it was going to cost $440 million.

SOME REPORTER: You knew by the election it was $1.3 billion.

JULIA GILLARD: We, we discovered in September-October that it was going to cost a lot more. We made a decision in a budget context that the best thing we could do for the long-term health of the climate, and indeed for the long-term health of the climate, to change the thresholds.?

SOME REPORTER: And con the people through the election.

JULIA GILLARD: Look, we, what we, what we said to people back then was what we honestly believed to be the case. And…

JULIA GILLARD: But, but Some Reporter, the point I make is that there was no deception about the cost blow-out. The cost blow-out was there for all to see in the pre-election financial outlook.

SOME REPORTER: The deception’s about what it meant.

JULIA GILLARD: Well, Some Reporter, the thing is this: obviously when you have time to reflect and consider these things, as governments obviously do in a budget context, you’ve got to make a decision. And the decision was to be economically responsible.

SOME REPORTER: Now, you opposed that decision. Did you at any point consider resigning?

JULIA GILLARD: Not seriously.

SOME REPORTER: But you considered it?

JULIA GILLARD: Oh, look, when you tell me that I should resign, Some Reporter, on national television, obviously the thought goes through your head. But as I said, there are many important values here. One is keeping commitments. Another is economic responsibility. And a third is solidarity with the team.

And it’s been a very good team. It’s been a very good Government. And in the end I think people don’t have a simple-minded approach to this. They understand that governments have got to balance a range of different objectives, and probably economic responsibility is the most important one.

SOME REPORTER: But your word’s not worth much any more, is it? A Julia Gillard commitment now will rouse horse laughs.

JULIA GILLARD: Well, Some Reporter, look, these are the risks you run, obviously. And I guess I would simply ask people to appreciate the totality of the circumstances in which governments operate.

SOME REPORTER: The Productivity Commission has suggested that Australians who can afford a price on carbon should be allowed, or even obliged, to opt out of the public electricity network. Is the Government going to do that?

JULIA GILLARD: That’s not something that the Government plans to do.

SOME REPORTER: Is that an iron-clad, rock solid commitment?

JULIA GILLARD: Some Reporter, I, I’m not…

SOME REPORTER: You see the problem you’ve got?

JULIA GILLARD: Yeah, look, I understand that, Some Reporter. But the point I’m making is that when circumstances change, governments change their view. And that’s not mendacity. That’s responsibility.

SOME REPORTER: The circumstances that changed was you won the election.

JULIA GILLARD: Well, Some Reporter, we, we are considering the long term health of our climate in a budget context. And we believed on very full consideration that the best thing we could do to protect and preserve our climatea climate which The Liberals still pledged to abolish.

SOME REPORTER: You said repeatedly in the election that the Government would not price carbon

Is that a rock solid, iron-clad commitment?

JULIA GILLARD: Well, yes it is.

SOME REPORTER: You see, at this point we cue the horse laughs, don’t we?

JULIA GILLARD: Well, well, Some Reporter, as I said, I can understand your scorn. But I think that the citizenry of Australia know that governments sometimes have to choose between a range of difficult alternatives. And in this case we had to choose between strictly keeping that commitment that I gave, and the long term health of the economy, and the long term health of the Climate.

And we chose the long term health of the economy and the Climate.

SOME REPORTER: Julia Gillard, we thank you.

JULIA GILLARD: Thanks  Some Reporter.

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ok… I have a confession, I didn’t write this… in fact apart from changing the words in italics and the names “Julia Gillard”, “Some Reporter” and references to Labor, the rest is actually a word for word transcript. I admit I did change the meaning, by swapping Medicare Safety Net for Climate Change.

As for the original, the actual person who broke the election promise, well that was one Tony Abbott.  See this is a transcript of an interview from April 17, 2005.  ( Sunday Programme with Lauri Oakes ) Well after Howard decided that there were “non-core promises” at election time anyway.

Food for thought next time Tony Abbott rants on about broken promises….

 

 

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