Transcript of Interview: 891 ABC Adelaide Breakfast with Matthew Abraham and David Bevan

Interview

BPC045/2015

26 August 2015

E&OE

Matthew Abraham: Let's start now with Jamie Briggs. Kate Ellis has been caught in traffic but she's on her way. The Liberal MP for Mayo and the Federal Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Jamie Briggs, welcome to the program.

Jamie Briggs: Good morning gentlemen.

Matthew Abraham: Jamie Briggs do you think it's a good idea to bomb Syria?

Jamie Briggs: Well I think it's a good idea to confront the spread of Daesh or ISIL or whatever they're known as. They are A destructive force for the world who maim and kill innocent citizens as we've seen too often and if our American friends and allies across the globe think that we can assist with a greater role than what we're doing at the moment in Iraq then I think we should give full consideration to that and that's exactly what the Government's doing.

Matthew Abraham: Should anyone be worried that this idea of bombing Syria arose out of a Coalition backbencher?

Jamie Briggs: No I don't think that's right. I think obviously…

Matthew Abraham: [Interrupts] Well they're the first one to verbalise it and the Prime Minister seemed to think it was a good idea.

Jamie Briggs: No that's not been the process. But Dan Tehan who's the chair of Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence matters and obviously well versed in these subjects talking across the globe to people and he realises the threat is very significant. He made those comments a few weeks ago. At the same time the Americans have put in a formal request for the Government to consider expanding the existing operations that we have in Iraq to assist with the operations that other countries are undertaking throughout Syria and that's what the Government's giving consideration to.

David Bevan: Kate Ellis is the Labor MP for Adelaide, Shadow Education Minister and has just rushed in. We appreciate the efforts you made this morning juggling baby and all sorts of things. Kate Ellis a question without notice. Matthew's asking is it a good idea for us to get involved in Syria, bombing Syria?

Kate Ellis: Well I think that obviously we want to see all the information and have full briefings on this. But if the Prime Minister decides that there is a case for further action in Syria then I think he needs to make that case to the Australian public and to the Australian Parliament. I mean this is an issue where we've requested further briefings. There are a whole range of questions that need to be answered which I'm just not in the position to be able to answer this morning.

Matthew Abraham: Well does it make you uneasy?

Kate Ellis: Well I think certainly putting Australians in harm's way always makes me uneasy. We need to make sure that there is a strong case and a legal case and we need all the information in order to make that decision.

Matthew Abraham: Jamie Briggs, does it make you uneasy though? I mean just… it would make anyone uneasy wouldn't it when you further commit Australian forces and hardware to conflict?

Jamie Briggs: Of course, I mean the Australian forces operating now in Iraq are in harm's way and they're doing so to protect our freedom. I mean they fight for us on our behalf and as a member of the executive, as member of the Government that's made that decision, of course, you are fearful for those service men and women. But we can't stand by and watch this death cult go about the atrocities that they are undertaking in good conscience and that's what the world has said. Led by the United States as ever and as a good friend of the United States we are a good friend of humanity and this is about stopping what is an organisation designed to inflict the worst possible punishment and treatment of citizens that live in these countries and we should stand up for them and protect our people so these threats don't reach our shores.

David Bevan: Here's an easier question for both of you. What do you think will be the grounds, the battleground for the next election? Where will it be fought? Kate Ellis.

Kate Ellis: Well I think it will be fought on jobs in South Australia, on broken promises in South Australia. But I think also on the future of our schools and hospitals we have $80 billion worth of cuts that have been put before the Australian public and I think that there will be a clear choice at the next election.

David Bevan: Jamie Briggs, schools, hospitals, jobs.

Jamie Briggs: Well I agree in part with what Kate said- there you go, a bit of bipartisanship this morning…

Kate Ellis: What a beautiful morning Jamie.

Jamie Briggs: [Laughs] Look, jobs are a very important issue and we've got a challenge in South Australia. Undoubtedly we inherited a difficult situation and what we're doing is investing in jobs through infrastructure investments we talk about regularly, we're investing in free trade agreements which will allow our great resources and agriculture sectors and services sectors in our states to grow. But the choice will be very clear at the next election. If you vote for anyone other than your Liberal candidate in your seat you'll end up with Bill Shorten as prime minister. That will be the very clear question people will have to ask on election day.

Matthew Abraham: Or you could say—I suppose if you reframed it another way that if you vote for anyone other than the Liberal candidate at the next election you won't have Tony Abbott as prime minister.

Jamie Briggs: No you'll end up with Bill Shorten as prime minister. That's the clear outcome that will occur, if you vote for anyone else you will end up with Bill Shorten as prime minister.

Matthew Abraham: But the Newspoll shows that people want him to be prime minister more so than Tony Abbott.

Jamie Briggs: Well that's the choice that people will have Matt, absolutely. Very clear choice. Do they want a government that's got a plan for our economy, a plan to protect our national security or do they want the risk of Bill Shorten. Not even two former Labor prime ministers could trust Bill Shorten.

Matthew Abraham: If that's meant to be a scare campaign why is he more popular than Tony Abbott?

Jamie Briggs: Well you guys are the commentators…

Matthew Abraham: No, no, no…

Jamie Briggs: You asked me the question…

Matthew Abraham: You're the politician and I would imagine this isn't just a thought bubble from you Jamie, you're not that sort of person…

Jamie Briggs: [Laughs] Some would say.

Matthew Abraham: No I don't think you are and if you're saying, well, think about this. Do you want Bill Shorten as prime minister…

Jamie Briggs: The next election is 12 months away. We've got a lot of time to govern and we have challenges, there's no question. But we are putting in place a very strong plan for the future to develop the economy, to create jobs, to deal with what is a difficult situation in places like South Australia but also more broadly across the country we've got economic instability globally. Our fundamentals as an economy are strong but we need to make the most of the opportunities in our region and that's what the free trade agreements are about. That's what reducing red tape is about and that's what investing in infrastructure is all about.

Matthew Abraham: You're listening to Jamie Briggs there, Liberal MP for Mayo and in our studio Kate Ellis, Labor MP for Adelaide. She's the Shadow Education Minister. Jamie Briggs is the Minister for Infrastructure and we are periscoping Kate Ellis in the studio as we so often do…

Kate Ellis: You didn't tell me that before I started rolling my eyes at Jamie.

Jamie Briggs: [Laughs]

Matthew Abraham: We can roll the tape back now.

Matthew Abraham: There is a little sign on the door sort of…

Kate Ellis: Alright, I was rushing through, I didn't see that.

Matthew Abraham: You may not have read that little thing- at a quarter to nine. Jamie Briggs, were you rolling your eyes at Kate Ellis, just for balance here?

Jamie Briggs: No I never roll my eyes at Kate. That's a dangerous thing to do.

Matthew Abraham: Now, are you happy with the ABC's apology to Prime Minister Tony Abbott over the Q&A, the tweet that bobbed up on the Q&A screen this week?

Jamie Briggs: Well I think so much attention gets put on this show unfortunately, it's not a show that I spend too much time watching to be honest with you. Look I think the ABC's got to sort it out. I think that was made clear, very clear by Malcolm Turnbull yesterday. I think it was right that Mark Scott very quickly got involved yesterday morning and made that apology. It really is quite silly, it's a show which in its early stages I think added something, but I have to wonder now whether it does at all.

David Bevan: For those people who missed it, and for people that aren't regular watchers, Q&A, as you're watching the panel discuss issues, will put up on the screen tweets that are coming in. Now these are meant to be moderated. And one that was put up on the screen was disgusting, the Twitter handle was disgusting. It wasn't what was being said, but the person, the Twitter handle …

Matthew Abraham: The pseudonym I suppose that they use, yeah.

David Bevan: Yeah, was disgusting, and it was about the Prime Minister. Kate Ellis, it is an appalling lapse by the ABC. I imagine you're a supporter of the program?

Kate Ellis: Sure.

David Bevan: Right. But given that, what do you think the ABC should do. I mean there would be many people, particularly within the Coalition, many people within the community who are thoroughly sick of the show and all of these lapses, and would just say look close it down and start again with something new.

Kate Ellis: Look I think clearly the tweet should never have gone to air, and clearly they should apologise for the fact that it did. But frankly I also think the Australian public are sick and tired of their politicians talking about Q&A, that we have so many serious, really serious issues facing this state and this nation, that how much airtime do we want to give to a program that's on the ABC, which some people like and some people don't like?

I mean my own views on Q&A is I think that the best programs are actually when they take the partisan politics out of it. The episodes of Q&A that I've enjoyed the most are actually when you see the human side of your politicians, you might learn a little bit more about their views without going through party lines, and without having all of the viewers tune in, cheering for one side or another.

David Bevan: You say most Australians are sick to death about talking about Q&A, is that a Labor Party talking point? Because that's exactly the phrase that Bill Shorten used.

Kate Ellis: No I just think it's probably an obvious point.

David Bevan: So that hasn't come out on a list of talking points for Labor MPs, if you're asked about Q&A, your line should be people are sick to death of talking about it?

Kate Ellis: No, certainly not. But we have seen that- I mean obviously, I think Jamie would probably agree with that as well, this isn't about Labor talking points it's about the fact that I think we'd all agree that there are serious issues of political debate that we need to address, and I just don't think that Q&A is at the top of the list, and I think it's probably got far too much attention.

Matthew Abraham: You're listening to Jamie Briggs, Kate Ellis there, Labor MP for Adelaide, Jamie Briggs is Liberal MP for Mayo, both front benchers in their respective parties.

Jamie Briggs, the Japanese delegation is in town today, they're talking to the Premier after they've spoken to The Advertiser, we're still waiting for our visit.

Jamie Briggs: [Laughs].

Matthew Abraham: Our door is always open. Jamie Briggs, do you think the turning point in this was Jay Weatherill's first of all advertising campaign, taxpayer-funded advertising campaign against the Coalition, and then that very direct threat to Chris Pyne, and that is we're going to come after your seat and take it off you?

Jamie Briggs: No. Look, the process has been in place for some time. There have been a lot of fibs being told by people who are ill-informed on this subject claiming that secret deals and so forth had been done, which is just simply not been the case. And we've said that for some time. The Government is dealing with six years of indecision by a Labor Party that made no major defence investment decisions in its entire term. They kicked the can down the road when it came to the submarines decision. They should have made it—in fact Kevin Rudd promised in 2007 to build submarines in Adelaide. They made no decision for six years, so we will confront this as a government.

Matthew Abraham: [Interrupts] well they were a little busy dealing with the Global Financial Crisis. There were a few things on Kevin Rudd's plate.

Jamie Briggs: For six years? They made no decisions, major defence acquisition decision, and that's why we face the valley of death that we have today. But putting that aside we are dealing with the situation we have now. And what we are trying to get for the Australian taxpayer and for the future of our country—remember this is a project that will start in somewhere around 2025, 2026. It is some way to go until the project begins…

Matthew Abraham: [Interrupts] but the starting point of the debate was that you wouldn't trust the ASC to build a canoe, and we're now… we've now been sort of dragged full circle have we not? And that would be a good thing for Adelaide.

Jamie Briggs: Well no I don't think that was the starting point of the debate. That was an unfortunate comment made by David Johnston, and you know the penalty David paid for that was to lose his job. You know that was a pretty significant penalty that David Johnston paid for what was an ill-informed, or an unfortunate comment, which we all made that comment… we commented at the time. But the starting point here is to get the balance between Australian taxpayers' money, our strategic interests, and our workforce right, and that's exactly what we are trying to do.

David Bevan: Kate Ellis you're going to have to find a new whipping boy aren't you in terms of the defence industry because that promise has now been made.

Kate Ellis: Well I'm amazed that Jamie wants to talk about fibs when it comes to submarines. The biggest fib here was the one that was told before the last election and that is that 12 submarines would be built in Adelaide. That is the starting point for this debate, and we can talk about all of things that have happened since then, but until Jamie, Christopher Pyne, and the Prime Minister actually commit to the promise they made to South Australian voters that 12 submarines will be built right here, then they absolutely hold the trophy for the biggest fib told.

Jamie Briggs: Well Kate you made that promise in 2007, what happened for six years?

Kate Ellis: Well Jamie that's actually not true and what we haven't done is gone through a process and tried to award…

Jamie Briggs: So you didn't promise in 2007? You didn't promise to build submarines in 2007?

Kate Ellis: Well if you could be so kind as to let me finish my sentence I would say that what we haven't done is gone through a process where we've looked at giving South Australian submarine jobs to anyone overseas, or anywhere else in Australia. You made a very clear commitment they would be built in Adelaide, and unless you keep that commitment then the voters of South Australia are right to feel absolutely betrayed.

Jamie Briggs: Well here's the thing we will make a commitment…

Kate Ellis: You already have. Can you just restate the one you made last time before the last election?

Jamie Briggs: Well, and you can restate the one you made in 2007. But the issue here will be that we will actually get to the point of making a decision. We will give certainty to our shipbuilding industry, and I'm very confident, very, very confident that Adelaide will be the major beneficiary of the decision when it will come out hopefully towards the end of this year.

Matthew Abraham: There's always that little hesitation isn't there?

Jamie Briggs: No there's not a hesitation.

Matthew Abraham: No, no, no, when you get to what Adelaide will be.

Jamie Briggs: Well I mean the reality here Matt is that there will be a significant—a very significant amount, and I think an overwhelming majority of the work will be conducted in Adelaide. We've got world class shipyards, we've got the capacity to do the job here. Certainly the bidders are putting a very strong case about the construction of all the submarines here based out of Adelaide, and I'm very confident that will be the case.

Kate Ellis: So can you repeat the words we will build twelve submarines in Adelaide?

Jamie Briggs: After you repeat what you said in 2007 Kate, happy to.

Matthew Abraham:I'll raise you two, and then you know… Jamie Briggs thank you.

Jamie Briggs: Thank you.

Matthew Abraham: Liberal MP for Mayo Jamie Briggs. He's the Federal Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional… oh by the way Minister before you go, and I do thank you for being on the phone, the Northern Expressway, are we any closer to having a go ahead of Federal funding? Have you found $660 million in the bottom drawer?

Jamie Briggs: The Northern Connector?

Matthew Abraham: That will do, sorry Northern Connector.

Jamie Briggs: We are moving in the right direction if I can put it that way.

David Bevan: Right, which depends on who's going to pay for it…

Jamie Briggs: Matthew Abraham: Let's start now with Jamie Briggs. Kate Ellis has been caught in traffic but she's on her way. The Liberal MP for Mayo and the Federal Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Jamie Briggs, welcome to the program.

Jamie Briggs: Good morning gentlemen.

Matthew Abraham: Jamie Briggs do you think it's a good idea to bomb Syria?

Jamie Briggs: Well I think it's a good idea to confront the spread of Daesh or ISIL or whatever they're known as. They are A destructive force for the world who maim and kill innocent citizens as we've seen too often and if our American friends and allies across the globe think that we can assist with a greater role than what we're doing at the moment in Iraq then I think we should give full consideration to that and that's exactly what the Government's doing.

Matthew Abraham: Should anyone be worried that this idea of bombing Syria arose out of a Coalition backbencher?

Jamie Briggs: No I don't think that's right. I think obviously…

Matthew Abraham: [Interrupts] Well they're the first one to verbalise it and the Prime Minister seemed to think it was a good idea.

Jamie Briggs: No that's not been the process. But Dan Tehan who's the chair of Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence matters and obviously well versed in these subjects talking across the globe to people and he realises the threat is very significant. He made those comments a few weeks ago. At the same time the Americans have put in a formal request for the Government to consider expanding the existing operations that we have in Iraq to assist with the operations that other countries are undertaking throughout Syria and that's what the Government's giving consideration to.

David Bevan: Kate Ellis is the Labor MP for Adelaide, Shadow Education Minister and has just rushed in. We appreciate the efforts you made this morning juggling baby and all sorts of things. Kate Ellis a question without notice. Matthew's asking is it a good idea for us to get involved in Syria, bombing Syria?

Kate Ellis: Well I think that obviously we want to see all the information and have full briefings on this. But if the Prime Minister decides that there is a case for further action in Syria then I think he needs to make that case to the Australian public and to the Australian Parliament. I mean this is an issue where we've requested further briefings. There are a whole range of questions that need to be answered which I'm just not in the position to be able to answer this morning.

Matthew Abraham: Well does it make you uneasy?

Kate Ellis: Well I think certainly putting Australians in harm's way always makes me uneasy. We need to make sure that there is a strong case and a legal case and we need all the information in order to make that decision.

Matthew Abraham: Jamie Briggs, does it make you uneasy though? I mean just… it would make anyone uneasy wouldn't it when you further commit Australian forces and hardware to conflict?

Jamie Briggs: Of course, I mean the Australian forces operating now in Iraq are in harm's way and they're doing so to protect our freedom. I mean they fight for us on our behalf and as a member of the executive, as member of the Government that's made that decision, of course, you are fearful for those service men and women. But we can't stand by and watch this death cult go about the atrocities that they are undertaking in good conscience and that's what the world has said. Led by the United States as ever and as a good friend of the United States we are a good friend of humanity and this is about stopping what is an organisation designed to inflict the worst possible punishment and treatment of citizens that live in these countries and we should stand up for them and protect our people so these threats don't reach our shores.

David Bevan: Here's an easier question for both of you. What do you think will be the grounds, the battleground for the next election? Where will it be fought? Kate Ellis.

Kate Ellis: Well I think it will be fought on jobs in South Australia, on broken promises in South Australia. But I think also on the future of our schools and hospitals we have $80 billion worth of cuts that have been put before the Australian public and I think that there will be a clear choice at the next election.

David Bevan: Jamie Briggs, schools, hospitals, jobs.

Jamie Briggs: Well I agree in part with what Kate said- there you go, a bit of bipartisanship this morning…

Kate Ellis: What a beautiful morning Jamie.

Jamie Briggs: [Laughs] Look, jobs are a very important issue and we've got a challenge in South Australia. Undoubtedly we inherited a difficult situation and what we're doing is investing in jobs through infrastructure investments we talk about regularly, we're investing in free trade agreements which will allow our great resources and agriculture sectors and services sectors in our states to grow. But the choice will be very clear at the next election. If you vote for anyone other than your Liberal candidate in your seat you'll end up with Bill Shorten as prime minister. That will be the very clear question people will have to ask on election day.

Matthew Abraham: Or you could say—I suppose if you reframed it another way that if you vote for anyone other than the Liberal candidate at the next election you won't have Tony Abbott as prime minister.

Jamie Briggs: No you'll end up with Bill Shorten as prime minister. That's the clear outcome that will occur, if you vote for anyone else you will end up with Bill Shorten as prime minister.

Matthew Abraham: But the Newspoll shows that people want him to be prime minister more so than Tony Abbott.

Jamie Briggs: Well that's the choice that people will have Matt, absolutely. Very clear choice. Do they want a government that's got a plan for our economy, a plan to protect our national security or do they want the risk of Bill Shorten. Not even two former Labor prime ministers could trust Bill Shorten.

Matthew Abraham: If that's meant to be a scare campaign why is he more popular than Tony Abbott?

Jamie Briggs: Well you guys are the commentators…

Matthew Abraham: No, no, no…

Jamie Briggs: You asked me the question…

Matthew Abraham: You're the politician and I would imagine this isn't just a thought bubble from you Jamie, you're not that sort of person…

Jamie Briggs: [Laughs] Some would say.

Matthew Abraham: No I don't think you are and if you're saying, well, think about this. Do you want Bill Shorten as prime minister…

Jamie Briggs: The next election is 12 months away. We've got a lot of time to govern and we have challenges, there's no question. But we are putting in place a very strong plan for the future to develop the economy, to create jobs, to deal with what is a difficult situation in places like South Australia but also more broadly across the country we've got economic instability globally. Our fundamentals as an economy are strong but we need to make the most of the opportunities in our region and that's what the free trade agreements are about. That's what reducing red tape is about and that's what investing in infrastructure is all about.

Matthew Abraham: You're listening to Jamie Briggs there, Liberal MP for Mayo and in our studio Kate Ellis, Labor MP for Adelaide. She's the Shadow Education Minister. Jamie Briggs is the Minister for Infrastructure and we are periscoping Kate Ellis in the studio as we so often do…

Kate Ellis: You didn't tell me that before I started rolling my eyes at Jamie.

Jamie Briggs: [Laughs]

Matthew Abraham: We can roll the tape back now.

Matthew Abraham: There is a little sign on the door sort of…

Kate Ellis: Alright, I was rushing through, I didn't see that.

Matthew Abraham: You may not have read that little thing- at a quarter to nine. Jamie Briggs, were you rolling your eyes at Kate Ellis, just for balance here?

Jamie Briggs: No I never roll my eyes at Kate. That's a dangerous thing to do.

Matthew Abraham: Now, are you happy with the ABC's apology to Prime Minister Tony Abbott over the Q&A, the tweet that bobbed up on the Q&A screen this week?

Jamie Briggs: Well I think so much attention gets put on this show unfortunately, it's not a show that I spend too much time watching to be honest with you. Look I think the ABC's got to sort it out. I think that was made clear, very clear by Malcolm Turnbull yesterday. I think it was right that Mark Scott very quickly got involved yesterday morning and made that apology. It really is quite silly, it's a show which in its early stages I think added something, but I have to wonder now whether it does at all.

David Bevan: For those people who missed it, and for people that aren't regular watchers, Q&A, as you're watching the panel discuss issues, will put up on the screen tweets that are coming in. Now these are meant to be moderated. And one that was put up on the screen was disgusting, the Twitter handle was disgusting. It wasn't what was being said, but the person, the Twitter handle …

Matthew Abraham: The pseudonym I suppose that they use, yeah.

David Bevan: Yeah, was disgusting, and it was about the Prime Minister. Kate Ellis, it is an appalling lapse by the ABC. I imagine you're a supporter of the program?

Kate Ellis: Sure.

David Bevan: Right. But given that, what do you think the ABC should do. I mean there would be many people, particularly within the Coalition, many people within the community who are thoroughly sick of the show and all of these lapses, and would just say look close it down and start again with something new.

Kate Ellis: Look I think clearly the tweet should never have gone to air, and clearly they should apologise for the fact that it did. But frankly I also think the Australian public are sick and tired of their politicians talking about Q&A, that we have so many serious, really serious issues facing this state and this nation, that how much airtime do we want to give to a program that's on the ABC, which some people like and some people don't like?

I mean my own views on Q&A is I think that the best programs are actually when they take the partisan politics out of it. The episodes of Q&A that I've enjoyed the most are actually when you see the human side of your politicians, you might learn a little bit more about their views without going through party lines, and without having all of the viewers tune in, cheering for one side or another.

David Bevan: You say most Australians are sick to death about talking about Q&A, is that a Labor Party talking point? Because that's exactly the phrase that Bill Shorten used.

Kate Ellis: No I just think it's probably an obvious point.

David Bevan: So that hasn't come out on a list of talking points for Labor MPs, if you're asked about Q&A, your line should be people are sick to death of talking about it?

Kate Ellis: No, certainly not. But we have seen that- I mean obviously, I think Jamie would probably agree with that as well, this isn't about Labor talking points it's about the fact that I think we'd all agree that there are serious issues of political debate that we need to address, and I just don't think that Q&A is at the top of the list, and I think it's probably got far too much attention.

Matthew Abraham: You're listening to Jamie Briggs, Kate Ellis there, Labor MP for Adelaide, Jamie Briggs is Liberal MP for Mayo, both front benchers in their respective parties.

Jamie Briggs, the Japanese delegation is in town today, they're talking to the Premier after they've spoken to The Advertiser, we're still waiting for our visit.

Jamie Briggs: [Laughs].

Matthew Abraham: Our door is always open. Jamie Briggs, do you think the turning point in this was Jay Weatherill's first of all advertising campaign, taxpayer-funded advertising campaign against the Coalition, and then that very direct threat to Chris Pyne, and that is we're going to come after your seat and take it off you?

Jamie Briggs: No. Look, the process has been in place for some time. There have been a lot of fibs being told by people who are ill-informed on this subject claiming that secret deals and so forth had been done, which is just simply not been the case. And we've said that for some time. The Government is dealing with six years of indecision by a Labor Party that made no major defence investment decisions in its entire term. They kicked the can down the road when it came to the submarines decision. They should have made it—in fact Kevin Rudd promised in 2007 to build submarines in Adelaide. They made no decision for six years, so we will confront this as a government.

Matthew Abraham: [Interrupts] well they were a little busy dealing with the Global Financial Crisis. There were a few things on Kevin Rudd's plate.

Jamie Briggs: For six years? They made no decisions, major defence acquisition decision, and that's why we face the valley of death that we have today. But putting that aside we are dealing with the situation we have now. And what we are trying to get for the Australian taxpayer and for the future of our country—remember this is a project that will start in somewhere around 2025, 2026. It is some way to go until the project begins…

Matthew Abraham: [Interrupts] but the starting point of the debate was that you wouldn't trust the ASC to build a canoe, and we're now… we've now been sort of dragged full circle have we not? And that would be a good thing for Adelaide.

Jamie Briggs: Well no I don't think that was the starting point of the debate. That was an unfortunate comment made by David Johnston, and you know the penalty David paid for that was to lose his job. You know that was a pretty significant penalty that David Johnston paid for what was an ill-informed, or an unfortunate comment, which we all made that comment… we commented at the time. But the starting point here is to get the balance between Australian taxpayers' money, our strategic interests, and our workforce right, and that's exactly what we are trying to do.

David Bevan: Kate Ellis you're going to have to find a new whipping boy aren't you in terms of the defence industry because that promise has now been made.

Kate Ellis: Well I'm amazed that Jamie wants to talk about fibs when it comes to submarines. The biggest fib here was the one that was told before the last election and that is that 12 submarines would be built in Adelaide. That is the starting point for this debate, and we can talk about all of things that have happened since then, but until Jamie, Christopher Pyne, and the Prime Minister actually commit to the promise they made to South Australian voters that 12 submarines will be built right here, then they absolutely hold the trophy for the biggest fib told.

Jamie Briggs: Well Kate you made that promise in 2007, what happened for six years?

Kate Ellis: Well Jamie that's actually not true and what we haven't done is gone through a process and tried to award…

Jamie Briggs: So you didn't promise in 2007? You didn't promise to build submarines in 2007?

Kate Ellis: Well if you could be so kind as to let me finish my sentence I would say that what we haven't done is gone through a process where we've looked at giving South Australian submarine jobs to anyone overseas, or anywhere else in Australia. You made a very clear commitment they would be built in Adelaide, and unless you keep that commitment then the voters of South Australia are right to feel absolutely betrayed.

Jamie Briggs: Well here's the thing we will make a commitment…

Kate Ellis: You already have. Can you just restate the one you made last time before the last election?

Jamie Briggs: Well, and you can restate the one you made in 2007. But the issue here will be that we will actually get to the point of making a decision. We will give certainty to our shipbuilding industry, and I'm very confident, very, very confident that Adelaide will be the major beneficiary of the decision when it will come out hopefully towards the end of this year.

Matthew Abraham: There's always that little hesitation isn't there?

Jamie Briggs: No there's not a hesitation.

Matthew Abraham: No, no, no, when you get to what Adelaide will be.

Jamie Briggs: Well I mean the reality here Matt is that there will be a significant—a very significant amount, and I think an overwhelming majority of the work will be conducted in Adelaide. We've got world class shipyards, we've got the capacity to do the job here. Certainly the bidders are putting a very strong case about the construction of all the submarines here based out of Adelaide, and I'm very confident that will be the case.

Kate Ellis: So can you repeat the words we will build twelve submarines in Adelaide?

Jamie Briggs: After you repeat what you said in 2007 Kate, happy to.

Matthew Abraham: I'll raise you two, and then you know… Jamie Briggs thank you.

Jamie Briggs: Thank you.

Matthew Abraham: Liberal MP for Mayo Jamie Briggs. He's the Federal Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional… oh by the way Minister before you go, and I do thank you for being on the phone, the Northern Expressway, are we any closer to having a go ahead of Federal funding? Have you found $660 million in the bottom drawer?

Jamie Briggs: The Northern Connector?

Matthew Abraham: That will do, sorry Northern Connector.

Jamie Briggs: We are moving in the right direction if I can put it that way.

David Bevan: Right, which depends on who's going to pay for it…

Jamie Briggs: Which way you're driving I guess.

David Bevan: Which depends on somebody agreeing to a toll on heavy trucks?

Jamie Briggs: Well there's a series of discussion that are underway. There've been discussions between the Premier and the Prime Minister and Stephen Mullighan and I continue to have regular correspondence with each other.

Matthew Abraham: Okay. Jamie Briggs thank you, Liberal MP for Mayo, he's the Federal Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development. Kate Ellis Labor MP for Adelaide and Shadow Education Minister. Thank you for coming into the studio.

Which way you're driving I guess.

David Bevan: Which depends on somebody agreeing to a toll on heavy trucks?

Jamie Briggs: Well there's a series of discussion that are underway. There've been discussions between the Premier and the Prime Minister and Stephen Mullighan and I continue to have regular correspondence with each other.

Matthew Abraham: Okay. Jamie Briggs thank you, Liberal MP for Mayo, he's the Federal Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development. Kate Ellis Labor MP for Adelaide and Shadow Education Minister. Thank you for coming into the studio.