Tony Abbott on the backfoot in Leigh Sales interview
By David Knox on August 23, 2012 / Filed Under News 43
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott was left dodging questions left, right and centre from Leigh Sales on 7:30.
Abbott tried to spin answers to her questions, frequently avoiding the question in favour of point-scoring against the government.
Whilst criticising the government’s carbon tax and how it had contributed to BHP abandoning the Olympic Dam, she quizzed Abbott on whether he had read the statements from BHP boss Marius Kloppers.
TONY ABBOTT: You’re not seriously – you’re not seriously telling me, Leigh, that the mining tax and the carbon tax have made Australia an easier place to invest in.
LEIGH SALES: I’m going on the facts that Marius Kloppers said today when he was directly asked if the decision on Olympic Dam was affected by Australia’s tax situation and I’m going on the facts that are outlined in their results statement that they’ve issued. Have you actually read BHP’s statements?
TONY ABBOTT: No, but I’ve also got again the statement of Jacques Nasser, who says, “While we’re still evaluating the impact of the carbon tax, but it just makes it more difficult.”
LEIGH SALES: But hang on, no, no, you haven’t read their statements today, but you’re commenting about what they’ve announced today and how the Federal Government’s to blame for that.
Later she asked him about asylum seekers.
LEIGH SALES: Do you – I’m asking you though, not about the Government. I’m asking: do you accept that it’s legal to come to Australia to seek asylum by any means – boat, plane – that it is actually legal to seek asylum?
TONY ABBOTT: I think that people should come to Australia through the front door, not through the back door. If people want a migration outcome, they should go through the migration channels.
LEIGH SALES: That’s an answer to the question if I asked you: how do you think people should seek asylum?, it’s not an answer to the question: is it legal to seek asylum?
TONY ABBOTT: And Leigh, it’s the answer I’m giving you because these people aren’t so much seeking asylum, they’re seeking permanent residency. If they were happy with temporary protection visas, then they might be able to argue better that they were asylum seekers, but obviously the people who are coming to Australia by boat, they want permanent residency.
He was also asked about an industrial relations policy and his questions on Julia Gillard’s history with Slater & Gordon.
LEIGH SALES: What are the questions you want to hear her answer in the Parliament?
TONY ABBOTT: And the point I’m making is that various reputable media bodies have put questions to her. I think the …
LEIGH SALES: I’m just asking what those questions are.
TONY ABBOTT: I think the circumstances of her departure from a previous employer are of public interest, but in the end it’s not whether she was an unethical lawyer that matters, it’s the fact that this is an untrustworthy prime minister that counts, and that’s the main game for us.
LEIGH SALES: But if you can’t put to me – if you can’t put to me specific questions that you want answered, then why are members of your frontbench running with it as an issue?
TONY ABBOTT: Well, look, don’t forget it was Robert McClelland, Leigh, who first raised this recently.
Leigh Sales was trending on Twitter as a result of the interview.
“There’s no way I can respond to or even get through the deluge of reaction to Tony Abbott on #abc730 tonight but thanks for engaging,” she tweeted.
You can watch the full interview here.