The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Wayne Swan

Wayne Swan

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer

3 December 2007 - 27 June 2013

4 December 2011

Doorstop Interview

ALP National Conference
Sydney

4 December 2011

SUBJECTS: Uranium Sales, Australian Jobs and Economy, Party Reform

JOURNALIST:

(Inaudible) on the conference floor will be uranium today?

TREASURER:

I'm looking forward to the conference today. I've looked forward to the conference every day. We've had a passionate debate about matters which really go to the heart of what Australians want for the future. We've had a passionate debate about jobs, about the economy, about how we secure the future, about how we fireproof our economy from what's going on in Europe and about how we maximise the opportunities of the Asian century. We had a passionate debate yesterday about relationships and today we'll have a passionate debate about uranium to India. So that's a good thing for the country. A lot of people here who've got a lot of ideas and want to do the best for the country.

JOURNALIST:

So far it seems that gay marriage has overtaken this conference, in a way. Are you disappointed that it hasn't been more of a focus on jobs?

TREASURER:

Well there has been a huge focus on jobs. We spent the first day speaking about the economic platform. Today we're back talking about the export of uranium to India. What we're talking about is Australia maximising all of the great opportunities that are going to come from the Asian century, how we make sure that Australians get good jobs with fair pay, good working conditions, access to affordable health, education and childcare.

I mean, yesterday we talked about disability – the National Disability Insurance Scheme. That's a fundamental reform to ensure that people with disabilities can participate fully in our economy and in our society and most particularly, in employment, which was a big focus of the last budget. So we are well and truly focused on the bread and butter issues which go to the core of living standards and the hopes and dreams that Australians have for their kids and for their grandkids.

JOURNALIST:

Kevin Rudd's not very happy that he feels like he's been largely ignored by Julia Gillard at this conference.

TREASURER:

I don't take any of those stories today very seriously at all.

JOURNALIST:

So there's nothing in it?

TREASURER:

I don't take them seriously. I mean, what we've been talking about is the things that matter to the Australian people. We've been talking about jobs. We've been talking about industrial relations. We've been talking about how we provide access to affordable health and education. We've been talking about disability and today we're once again talking about jobs and relationships in the region. It's a fundamental issue of importance to the future of our country. I mean, India is going to be a giant of this century. We're going to be talking about the big challenges of the future – the rise of China, the rise of India, the Asian century. Australia's got fantastic opportunities for the future and we've got 400 passionate people here talking about those issues every day because they want to do something to make our country better.

JOURNALIST:

There's a lot of talk that this conference could really change the way – party reform – talking about handing back some of that power to the rank and file but yesterday we only really saw a committee looking at…

TREASURER:

I don't think that's quite right. I mean, we took a threshold decision about direct election. But let's be very clear about where organisation fits into ideas. The thing that makes people passionate about the Labor Party is the ideas we stand for. The organisational arrangements that help us deliver those ideas into policies are not as important as the ideas themselves. Organisation is important, people are passionate about it, but the most important thing that we're passionate about is ideas and what we do to build the nation. Thanks.