A small group of protesters have briefly interrupted a Sydney business function attended by Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
About a dozen young protesters carrying a Socialist Alliance banner and signs with anti-Abbott slogans burst into the function centre of the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth on Friday.
The prime minister had just finished his address to a business lunch hosted by the Australian Industry Group.
The mostly corporate crowd drowned out the protesters’ shouts with a long applause.
After shouting “No cuts, no fees, no corporate universities” a few times, the protesters were removed from the hotel without incident.
Mr Abbott’s speech covered a broad range of topics.
Nuclear in future energy mix
Mr Abbott was asked about his position on nuclear power during the lunch in Sydney on Friday.
He said he would like Australia to be the world’s “affordable energy capital”, making the most of its natural advantage in terms of coal and gas.
“But who knows one day what our energy mix might be,” he said.
“Who knows one day where the market might go and what other forms of energy might come into their own.
Tax reform has not ended
Mr Abbott has assured the business conference that tax reform has not ended with the repeal of the carbon tax.
He also said that neither does workplace reform end with the re-establishment of the Australian Building and Construction Commission.
Energy reform involved repealing the carbon tax and some work with the renewable energy target but that is not the end there either, he said.
“There’s always a lot of static in government but I want all of you to know that this is not a government which is easily distracted … (or) easily put off,” Mr Abbott said.
Mr Abbott said Australia now has free trade agreements (FTAs) with seven of its top 10 trading partners and through accelerated talks with China he hopes to conclude an agreement later this year.