Margo Kingston

Margo Kingston

Co-publisher and editor-in-chief at No Fibs
Margo Kingston is a retired Australian journalist and climate change activist. She is best known for her work at The Sydney Morning Herald and her weblog, Webdiary. Since 2012, Kingston has been a citizen journalist, reporting and commenting on Australian politics via Twitter and No Fibs.
Margo Kingston
- 8 mins ago
Margo Kingston

By Margo Kingston

9 July, 2013

Today’s original Abbott #BATTLERORT transcript was kindly transcribed by Dr Lachlan Hinds – @Doclach, and Brock Turner – @Turlow1.

There are errors and lies throughout – have a go at finding them by reading the letters in EXCLUSIVE: Abbott forced to repay $9,400 he charged taxpayers to promote his book.

Yesterday’s lie

QUESTION:

Did you claim travel expenses on your book tour?

TONY ABBOTT:

I did not.

*

(Transcript Source: Mr Abbott website)

QUESTION:

Mr Abbott, how is Peter Slipper incorrectly claiming $900 and offering to pay it back different from you incorrectly claiming $9000 worth of travel expenses and then paying it back? How are the situations different?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well look, this matter was fully dealt with last year. There’s nothing further to add.

QUESTION:

Well he’s facing charges and you just got to pay $9000 back. How are those two situations different?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well as I said, this matter was fully dealt with by the Labor minister last year who said that the matter was closed.

QUESTION:

And why were the travel expenses incorrectly claimed? How did that happen? Can you explain what happened in your office that you incorrectly claimed $9000 worth of travel expenses?

TONY ABBOTT:

The matter was fully dealt with last year.

QUESTION:

But you’re not explaining how it occurred, why it occurred, why it happened in the first place?

TONY ABBOTT:

As I said, it was an oversight in my office. It was fully dealt with last year.

QUESTION:

Why did you use Comcars on your book tour? Surely you would have known when you were using the Comcars that you were on private business?

TONY ABBOTT:

Fully dealt with last year. The Labor Minister at the time was perfectly satisfied that there had been nothing that was deliberately done wrong and the matter was closed.

QUESTION:

Do you take responsibility for the mistake?

TONY ABBOTT:

I think I’ve fully dealt with it. Time to move on.

QUESTION:

It’s been reported that you have been forced to repay the amount? Are the reports inaccurate?

TONY ABBOTT:

This was dealt with two years ago. This is old news. Old news. Now, why is Kevin Rudd now trying to dish this sort of dirt? Kevin Rudd came into the prime ministership a few days ago and he said let’s have a kinder, gentler polity. Now, that was a bit rich from someone who’d spent three years and three days plotting against a prime minister, but he called for a kinder, gentler polity and he called for positive politics. Now, we’ve got the Labor Party spinning this kind of stuff. Now, let’s move on.

QUESTION:

It’s not the Labor Party. It’s an independent website who did an FOI?

TONY ABBOTT:

Let’s move on. Let’s move on.

<Poll, boats, debt and deficit blah blah blah>

QUESTION:

Mr Abbott, why didn’t you say yesterday you had incorrectly claimed those travel expenses?

TONY ABBOTT:

Look, I think we’ve fully dealt with this. Gary Gray dealt with this…

QUESTION:

You just repeated your lines over and over again to me you haven’t answered any questions.

TONY ABBOTT:

Calm down. Gary Gray looked at this matter two years ago. He said there’s nothing to see here. Ok. Next question.

QUESTION:

After you repaid. Do you take responsibility for the incorrect claim of $9,000?

TONY ABBOTT:

I didn’t claim travel allowance. I never claimed travel allowance. My office inadvertently booked some travel as official, which should not have been booked that way. It’s been fully dealt with.

QUESTION:

No, there were expenses. Gary Gray wrote back after you repaid the initial $6,000 and said there were travel expenses that had been claimed, such as comcars.

TONY ABBOTT:

Ok. Are there any other questions?

QUESTION:

What is your response to the Labor Party reforms for the Caucus and leadership with Kevin Rudd?

TONY ABBOTT:

As I said, this is all about Kevin. This is all about Kevin. The faceless men did for Kevin before, and he wants to make sure that he’s protected against him if he gets another chance. Now, it shouldn’t be all about Kevin, it should be about the Australian people and the best thing that we can do right now is to ensure that the prime ministership of this country is in the hands of the Australian people. So, again I say to the Prime Minister, I say to Kevin Rudd, what are you hiding from? Give it back to the Australian people. Name the date, end the suspense, let’s have an election.

QUESTION:

Will the Labor Party reforms neutralise your attack on the faceless men?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, it vindicates our attack on the faceless men. It absolutely vindicates our attack on the faceless men. It is an admission by Kevin Rudd that he is frightened of the faceless men. It is an admission by him that he is frightened of the faceless men. But the choice for the Australian people is between a party which is controlled by faceless men and a party which has always belonged to its members. The choice for the Australian people is between a party which doesn’t think it elects its leaders the right way and a party which has never had this kind of a problem. It’s a choice between debt and boats and the carbon tax on the one hand and between surpluses and deregulation and low tax and border security on the other hand. It’s the clearest possible choice and I say let the choice be made. Name the date, let’s have the election. Stop running away from it. Bring it on now, Mr Rudd.

[ends]

For the Public  Record: