Transcript - Doorstop at the Gallery of Modern Art
9 February 2013
Topics: Power and Colour book launch, mining tax, YouTube video leak, WA Labor, asylum seekers, Bureau of Meteorology
E & O E – PROOF ONLY
KEVIN RUDD: it is great to be here at the Gallery of Modern Art here in Brisbane, this is an extraordinary institution and by global standards is a great art gallery. I am also pleased to be here in the middle of my own electorate of Griffith where we have so many of the cultural institutions of Brisbane and Queensland. Pat Corrigan is an extraordinary Australian, remarkably, not very well known, across the country but he would probably be the single largest patron of the arts, meaning the indigenous arts in Australia that we have seen. So many younger and older indigenous artists owe their first start to this guy and it has been an honour for me to launch Volume II about his remarkable collection of contemporary indigenous art.
As I said in my remarks before, I think we in Australia need to pinch ourselves from time to time about the significance which the world now attached to the contemporary Aboriginal art movement of Australia.
Aboriginal artists are lifting Australia’s image around the world and we need to be aware of that, and frankly, grateful for it. Over to you folks.
JOURNALIST: Just on another issue…
KEVIN RUDD: I’m surprised by that…
JOURNALIST:… Should the mining tax be changed back to the original design to raise more money?
Kevin Rudd: well the Prime Minister and the Treasurer have made their decisions on that early in this Government’s term and the legislation is through. Obviously the revenue take is disappointing but let’s also remember that these are still early days in the overall history of this tax. The important thing for all Australians is to make sure that we get a proper return on the resources which are owned by the Australian people themselves so that we can invest back into the infrastructure which services all Australians.
JOURNALIST: Is it embarrassing for the Government that the tax has raised so little?
KEVIN RUDD: Look, tax numbers rise and fall depending on a range of factors, and this one still has a way to go yet.
JOURNALIST: The leaking of the YouTube video, can you tell us where the investigation is with police at the moment.
KEVIN RUDD: Well, um, it is an interesting season, I think we are about 12 months since all that happened and there has been some commentary on this in recent times. The bottom line is that I would just hope that the legal matters associated with this are dealt with as they would be dealt with for any other Australian citizen. And I am just another Australian citizen when it comes to the theft of property. A few other points is that these matters have been the subject of about 12 months’ worth of work by the Australian Federal Police. At the end of last year they said that their investigations had come to a conclusion, without a result, I subsequently wrote to the Federal Police and indicated that I thought there were other matters that they should investigate further, they should widen the number of people they had interviewed and I also questioned in my correspondence with them the extent to which proper use has been made of police to police cooperation with the United States but also the nature of the evidence brief which was put to the American authorities to obtain the source of both Gmail material and YouTube material.
The bottom line is that this was a significant event in Australian politics, it involved the theft of Commonwealth property in the documents I have FOI’ed from both the Federal Police and the Attorney-General’s Department their conclusion is that a crime against the Commonwealth Crimes Act has been committed and this involved the theft of Commonwealth property. That is a serious matter and we should get to the bottom of it.
JOURNALIST: Are you prepared to release the FOI information?
KEVIN RUDD: Look I am perfectly relaxed to release whatever information we have obtained. A number of journalists during the course of the week have asked for this information, we have provided that, and if anyone else wants to have a copy of it they are welcome to it as well. So hop onto us.
JOURNALIST: Are you sick of your colleagues attacking you, we have had the ETS leak and this video as well, are you tired of your colleagues attacking you?
KEVIN RUDD: Well politics is a rough and tumble business and I suppose I am Exhibit 1A when it comes to that. But sure, there have been a history of these matters certainly the unauthorised release of material concerning the then Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme was very unhelpful in the latter period of my own prime ministership and 12 months ago the unauthorised release of a YouTube which had been spliced and diced to make a particular point, using some pretty colourful language was also unhelpful in terms of my subsequent career as Foreign Minister. As you know events after that led to a crisis in the Labor leadership in the ballot of 12 months ago but my basic point is this, the Australian Federal Police in the documents that we’ve obtained under the Freedom of Information Legislation make it very plain that a crime has been committed under the Commonwealth Crimes Act. It involved the theft of Commonwealth property, therefore my simple request to the Australian Federal Police is to bring this matter to an appropriate conclusion given I, like every other Australian citizen, have a right to due process and I think that this should be attended to. My latest information is that the Australian Federal Police have also sought to interview further people.
JOURNALIST: The rumours seem to be persisting that Stephen Smith might be heading into state politics over in WA, have you heard anything along the lines, those lines?
KEVIN RUDD: No, I haven’t. What I’d say about the state leadership in Western Australia as they face the WA state election is that our state leader, McGowan is doing terrifically over there and if you look at what’s in today’s Newspoll results about how he is viewed as an alternative Premier of Western Australia, I think the people of WA have recognised that in this bloke they got a real gem. So he’s the bloke who’s leading Labor in the WA state poll and I wish him all the best. He’s a good fellow and as for Steven he’s exactly where the Australian Government needs him in the Defence portfolio.
JOURNALIST: Do you support sending our asylum seekers to New Zealand?
KEVIN RUDD: Look, Australia for a long time has cooperative relationships with other countries about the final settlement arrangements for various asylum seekers here. Also, we have cooperative arrangements with other countries who have sought to settle some of their more problematic cases in Australia. These sort of cooperative arrangements have been around for a long time. I welcome the agreement which the Prime Minister has reached with Prime Minister Key.
JOURNALIST: Courier Mail today is running a line on the weather bureau not getting sufficient funding to predict severe weather events. Do you have any feelings one way or the other about that?
KEVIN RUDD: Well, first of all I understand Senator Farrell has responded to that on the Government’s behalf, so I’ll leave substantive comment with him. But as a Queenslander let me say this. There is absolutely no cause whatsoever for any of us to tolerate any diminution in the resources available to the Bureau of Meteorology to do its work. Whatever the sceptics might say about climate change I think most Australians have now concluded that we now have a greater spate of extreme weather events whether it is floods or fires, Cyclones, more frequent, more intense, more destructive. Therefore the priority ordinary Queenslanders, ordinary Australians now attach to good reliable weather information is higher than it’s ever been. So therefore I won’t comment on the substance of the report, I’m not briefed on that, but I’m confident that the Australian government would not allow there to be any undermining of the effective delivery of resources to the Bureau.
JOURNALIST: Will you be making sure of that?
KEVIN RUDD: As a Queenslander and someone who has had large parts of his electorate underwater in recent years it’s something I’ll be taking up with Canberra as well but I do take the assurances by Senator Farrell in what he has said in response to these reports. Okay folks, thank you.