Transcript by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Adventure playgrounds, Budget, Newspoll and Labor leadership

*** E & OE – Proof only ***

JENNY MACKLIN: I am very, very pleased to be here in this fantastic Adventure Playground with my friend and colleague Lindsay Tanner, the Member for Melbourne, and of course Minister for Finance. This week is Families Week and so we are just so thrilled to be announcing extra money from the Budget for Adventure Playgrounds around different parts of inner Melbourne. We know how important it is for children, especially children growing up in the flats, to have a big backyard like these Adventure Playgrounds. So $2.7 million will go to make sure that these Adventure Playgrounds here in Kensington, and other parts of the inner city, will continue for children as they have for the last thirty years. Congratulations to everyone who’s involved in making sure that they’re such a lot of fun for the kids. Talking with the children here today this place is obviously a place that they love to come to, to play on the trampolines, to look after animals, to help build cubby houses, to understand where chickens come from. This is really a place where children in the inner city can learn through play and that’s why we’re so pleased to be supporting it.

LINDSAY TANNER: I’m also delighted to be here to participate in the announcement of additional funding for a number of Adventure Playgrounds, a couple of which are in my electorate, and which basically serve kids in the high rise flats that you see behind you. Not only them but they are the main customers, the main participants in these Adventure Playgrounds, and it’s really, really important for kids growing up in these flats to have a backyard, to have the opportunity to play in safe areas that are supervised with all kinds of possibilities as you see around you. So it’s something that I’m really proud of that we can deliver to kids who often don’t get too many opportunities as they are growing up because of their circumstances, that’s something that’s really important for inner Melbourne, and it’s great to see the people who’ve Dave, (inaudible), others, Danny who run the Adventure Playground putting in so much to ensure that kids whatever their backgrounds, many of them from refugee backgrounds, can get genuine opportunities to play, to enjoy life and to learn in good circumstances.

DAVID KUTCHER: Well thank you very much to the Federal Government and to Jenny and to Lindsay for your support, play and early intervention and early prevention and community and health work and we really appreciate you guys for supporting us. Thank you.

JOURNALIST: What would have happened if you hadn’t have got that extra money?

DAVID KUTCHER: We wouldn’t have given up, we would have kept trying to chase up for more money because we believe that our program works, that these things are important. So we find that we are as busy as we could ever be. We’re getting over 200 – 300 people a week. Some days 100 people a day come down. So I thought that the community and the work with Lindsay and with the Government and with the City of Melbourne would be enough to get us through.

JOURNALIST: Where’s the money actually going to go to? Is it going to upgrade any (inaudible)?

DAVID KUTCHER: Yes, some of the money, we get funding from all sorts of bodies, some of it will go for operation, some will go into our new building. We’ve just been given 700 square metres of extra land and we’re going to be using that to build on. We also have to expand, we’ve got more programs to run, we got an (inaudible) program starting up, we’ve got a girls group and a boy’s group and a youth group program. And these are all free programs so the idea is that if we all know each other in this community, and if we all play together, then we have a healthier and safer and happier community.

JOURNALIST: Mr Tanner is it a concern to the Government that the Budget doesn’t appear to have shifted the polls in your favour?

LINDSAY TANNER: Budgets rarely have much impact on opinion polls unless there’s something very big and negative that moves them downwards. But we’re committed to the long term investing in Australia’s prosperity that is necessary and that’s what the Budget’s all about. Obviously we’ve got a lot of hard work in front of us. We’ve had a few difficult decisions over the past few weeks that appear to have had some impact on our public standing, but nonetheless we’re just committed to try and govern as well as we can, to do the best job that we can. And I really believe strongly that’s what ultimately gets rewarded, that that’s what people give you credit for, rather than giveaways and gimmicks that have historically featured in election budgets.

JOURNALIST: All this talk about an alternative leader, Julia Gillard, it must be concerning also for the Government?

LINDSAY TANNER: We’re committed to proceeding to the election with our current configuration and as far as I’m concerned, all you’re seeing is a pattern across a range of opinion polls that reflect really two or three tough weeks. We never know what the future holds but we’re focused on the issues. We’re focused on delivering for the future of the country, delivering the investment that’s necessary for long term sustainable growth and that’s really the end of the story. So opinion polls capture to some degree a moment in time or a brief period and clearly we’ve had a rough few weeks, whether or not that continues is basically up to us.

JOURNALIST: Minister are you 100 per cent clear that Mr Rudd will lead the Labor Party to the next election?

LINDSAY TANNER: Oh, of course I am, and there’s no question about that. And we are committed to delivering for the Australian community. One of the things that’s been missed here is that you’re seeing some kind of decline off absolutely stratospheric levels of support. That was always going to happen at some point because Government’s have to make decisions that upset somebody no matter which way you jump, you are going to upset somebody. And after a while eventually those days when you have absolutely stratospheric levels of support are going to come down. So we’re committed just to doing the right thing for the Australian community and making sure that we invest for long term sustainable growth. That’s what the Budget’s about. We’ve got some big issues that are now being debated and it’s really very much in our hands to demonstrate that we should be re-elected. But I believe ultimately what people will focus on is what’s happening with the investment, what’s happening with skills, what’s happening with infrastructure and what the future of the country holds on the economic management front. And that’s where the contrast is greatest with our opponents, they’ve clearly go no idea what they’re on about. They can’t put forward any plan, they can’t put forward any spending or savings initiatives that are detailed. They’re still struggling around with rhetoric.

JOURNALIST: Is it correct that internally the belief has become the two biggest problems you have are asylum seeker policy and Kevin Rudd?

LINDSAY TANNER: Look I’ve got no idea who’s making that suggestion. I wouldn’t even purport to name you know what the biggest problems may be. Things always move around a bit. So we’ve got issues to deal with but that always changes and moves around. There are always going to be things on a Government’s radar that are causing a difficulty, that’s just the nature of governing. And those things change over time, so in two months time it could be something different, something that’s even unexpected. We just don’t know. I wouldn’t speculate on what the list is. We just have to deal with issues whatever the issues are and do our best to govern in the interests of the country.

JOURNALIST: How do you rate some of the backflips you’ve seen here this morning? (Laughter).

LINDSAY TANNER: I was just joking before that I probably shouldn’t try physical backflips because the metaphorical backflips in politics are bad enough, but the physical backflips on the trampoline I don’t think I’d be very good at.

JOURNALIST: One other thing on another issue. On the mining tax, have you, are you 100 per cent confident now that Labor Party MPs have not bought or sold mining shares since the announcement?

LINDSAY TANNER: I’ve got no idea what Labor Party MPs have done with respect to buying or selling shares in any companies, but I would be very surprised, very, very surprised if anybody’s done anything untoward. But I own no shares and I don’t know whether Jenny owns any shares, and I suspect she doesn’t either, so I haven’t got any to sell and therefore I really have got no knowledge of anything that might be in anyway of concern.

JOURNALIST: But if they have, I mean it would be a bad look like Mr Dutton’s been attacked?

LINDSAY TANNER: Well, I’m not going to speculate on something that I suspect probably hasn’t occurred and I’m certainly not in a position to know whether or not anything of that kind has occurred.

JOURNALIST: Okay and can we ask Ms Macklin, is it time we looked at having a female Prime Minister?

JENNY MACKLIN: I think we’re incredibly fortunate that we have Kevin and Julia in the two top jobs. They are a very, very successful team. They get on incredibly well together, so I just think it’s so important that we keep the strong team together as we go forward and do the hard things that the Australia public expects us to do. Lindsay Tanner with Wayne Swan has just delivered a Budget, a Budget that’s going to bring us back to surplus three year’s earlier than we expected. We’ve done a very, very important job that I think’s actually the number one thing the Australian people want us to do and that’s make sure that people have a job, that they’re able to look after their families. That’s what I’m worried about, how families manage in difficult economic times and we’ve made sure that we’ve kept unemployment lower than any other developed country in the world.

JOURNALIST: Is it a healthy thing though that there is now debate, and serious debate about the fact that a female could take over as Prime Minister?

JENNY MACKLIN: I think the media love to stir this pot. My view is that we are incredibly fortunate in the Labor Party, in the Labor Government, to have Kevin and Julia as the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister of this country.

JOURNALIST: And Kevin Rudd will lead Labor to the election?

JENNY MACKLIN: No question.