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Q And A -
View in ParlView
(generated from captions) The Daily Advertiser -
View in ParlView
(generated from captions) The Daily Advertiser -
known to its readers as the DA -
didn't actually say
that Wagga resident Joy Kelly
shouldn't have been fined $99
for sloppy parking.
It did show a picture of her
and her car
with its rear bumper
just centimetres across the line.
But, as the accompanying story noted,
So presumably that picture
was a reconstruction
of the way Mrs Kelly thought
her car might have been parked.
Yet the DA knew perfectly well,
before it went to press,
that her memory was, well,
not pin-point accurate.
Because just after 4pm
the day before,
the City Council had sent them
this email -
And here's the Council's photograph.
Bit different, isn't it?
When the story appeared next morning,
headed by the newspaper's picture,
the Council posted its photograph
At that point the DA posted
the Council's photo online -
but its own misleading picture
still led its online story.
You had to click through to
the Council's picture.
Why didn't the Advertiser print this
in the paper?
The editor chose not to respond
to our questions.
Well, nobody's perfect,
even Media Watch.
Two weeks ago we had a good old go
at WIN News in North Queensland
for the terrible quality
of its name supers...
ACTOR: Magdalena Blackey,
Bwgcolman Aborignial Arts.
Her name is Magdalena Blackley.
But WIN did get one thing right
in that caption -
and we got it wrong.
This word isn't the name of a
commercial sponsor of the Aboriginal
Arts festival called BWG-Colman.
It's an Aboriginal word,
The Mayor of Palm Island, Alf Lacey,
told Media Watch:
We apologise to the Bwgcolman people.
Next week, a special program.
We'll be looking at how politicians
are using social media
to by-pass the press gallery,
and get their message directly
Until then, goodnight
Closed Captions by CSI
This Program is Captioned Live.
Good evening. Welcome to Q&A live from the magnificent Princess Theatre in Launceston. I'm Tony Jones. Answering your questions tonight: Journalist and author David Marr whose new book on Tony Abbott has been released, the Shadow Minister for Industry and Innovation, Sophie Mirabella. Tasmania's longest-serving MP, the Member for Lyons Dick Adams. Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson. The head of the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association, Jan Davis. Please welcome our panel.(Applause)
panel.(Applause) Q&A is live from 9:35 Eastern standard time. You can join the Twitter conversation using the hashtag on your screen as usual. First question comes from John Chiarotto.Thank you Tony. My question is to Dick Adams. I have got to do this, I never grow old. It is often said parties don't win elections, the other side loses them because a little bit of a nibble here or there, gradual disenchantment with the ruling mob. Which would you say are the three issues that have resulted or caused the parlous state in which the Rudd-Gillard Government has found itself in? Dick Adams.Thank you Tony. Thank you for the question. There are some issues that the present Government has to deal with when we go to the people in September and make sure we have the trust of the people. But I believe the Government has done a hell of a lot. I believe we have a Prime Minister that has to deal with being a woman and I think that has caused some difficulties for her and I think doids ...She has had difficulties dealing with being a woman? No, no. I think people have treated her unfairly in many regards. I think that is one of the problems we have. If you the look at the state of the economy, the Government should be doing better than it is. Maybe it has a way of needing to sell itself in a better way and maybe it needs to do that as it goes to the election in September.The questioner asked for three issues that led to the parlous state of the Rudd-Gillard Government. Would you, for example, name the sacking of Kevin Rudd, the mining tax, the carbon tax promise? There is three.I don't think - I don't accept the premise there is a parlous state. I think there is many issues that people want to see answers to and I think we need to do that and we need to have the confidence of the people when we go to the election.Sophie Mirabella?
Look, you've got to give Dick credit for being the loyal lieutenant. But the reality is people do feel their trust has been breached, the carbon tax the key broken promise that has been followed by successive broken promises and bad policies. The mining tax. We've had several broken promises in education funding this week. education That is a key thing. The dysfunction and civil war within the Labor Party about its leadership and also about policy, we have seen Simon Crean and Ed Husic and Martin Ferguson about policy. They are key things. People think, quite rightly, if you can't rule yourselves, you can't rule the country.I think you have had three, probably six - I am not counting.I can go on.I am sure you could. There is a long list. David Marr? There used to be a rule in Australian politics that it required more than a government losing. There used to be a rule that Australian voters wouldn't go from a government they'd come to despise to a leader they didn't trust. But that rule, which Labor had put a lot of weight on, they thought the fact that Tony Abbott is widely disliked leader, which he is in Australia, they thought that would save them. But it's not going to save them this time. One of the really interesting things that is turning up in the very good polling material that's being done is a sense of Abbott as a widely disliked figure, seen quite largely as a kooky figure, but nevertheless he is going to be voted for, so that he has in fact produced exactly what you were saying. He has, with great brilliance as on Opposition Leader, made the Government, with a great deal of help from the Government, made the Government absolutely - people are absolutely sick of the Labor Government. That's a great achievement.The question was about the Labor Government. I suppose you have turned the reflector ....Are you saying you have done nothing wrong and you it is Tony Abbott's doing? He is miraculous.I just said with a great deal of assistance from the Labor Government. Tony has been the most effective Leader of the Opposition for probably 40 or 50 years. The three things are the sacking of Rudd which was needless and stupid; the failure of Gillard to get a decent majority in her own right and a mandate of her own. After that, the civil war within the Labor Government. They are the three principal problems. Tony Abbott has very brilliantly and correctly as Leader of the Opposition, exploited all of those to dim diminish the Government's standing in the eyes of Australians and give Australians a sense the Government somehow lacks any legitimacy.Jan Davis? I'm a political agnostic and I like to look forward rather than back. The three things are lessons for both sides of politics. The polling and the response of the electorate to the people that are putting up the people to be elected shows us that we need to move back to politicians who respect their electorates, that listen to what we say ...(Applause)... that understand how we live in our everyday lives and that govern not for the media cycle but for the future.(Applause)
Peter Whish-Wilson? Tony, I think so far what we have heard is events that we are looking at perhaps for the demise of the Labor Government but you need to look at the underlying reasons and causes. I think the need Labor Party has lost its way and people don't know what it stands for anymore. I also think all the bickering we have seen with the leadership struggle from whoa to go has given this perception that the party has been put before the people. We even saw it in the leadership spill a few weeks ago when we had a key lieutenant get up and say "I would always put the party first". What about putting the people first? I think the Labor Party is struggling with its identity at the moment. Going back to the last election when we had a Julia fiasco, people don't know what they stand for anymore. They used to have very strong values and need to do something about it.The next question is from Ella Miller.I'd like to ask about Mr Abbott. He seems to be a man of many contradictions, because on the one hand he appears to wear his religious values and beliefs like a badge of honour, and yet on the other hand he is quite capable of behaving in policy issues and humanitarian issues very, very un-Christian. Does this make him a chameleon and is he capable of doing and saying anything to become the next Prime Minister regardless of what it takes? I am wrong about that being a policy question. David Marr, you are probably well-placed to answer it.Did you write that? No, but you point to one of the fascinating things about Tony Abbott. He is a highly successful, aggressive populist politician. But all through his career, he has argued that there is another side to him, that there is a deep commitment to values. They are very traditional Catholic values. But there is no occasion in his political career where those values have stood in the way of his politics. When it comes down to it - this is something that a lot of people might find reassuring - when it comes down to it, Tony Abbott is an absolutely secular politician. He wears as a badge of honour the fact he was one of the few Ministers in the Howard Government who pointed out that Work Choices was not only a bad idea politically but unfair. He pointed that out, he was overruled, cabinet solidarity, he went with cabinet solidarity and he was brutal to critics from the churches who publicly flayed the Howard Government for Work Choices. Abbott was brutal in reply. He was a completely conventional, secular politician when the occasion came. His beliefs are real. His values are real. One of the very interesting things is going to be, if he becomes Prime Minister as he seems at the moment certain to become Prime Minister, what of his values will actually - will he actually display? Because those values are very interesting. He is in many ways a DLPkukou in the Liberal Party nest. He comes from the labour movement. He believes in big government. He doesn't see the purpose of government to make people richer, none of that. He doesn't see the person of government is to kick the guts out of the trade union movement. He doesn't see any of that. There is a lot of concentration of his views on women and sex and all those Catholic things, which he can do nothing about in office. The question is will he be as fair as he might be if he were true to his values. That's going to be the most interesting question in Australian politics in 2014.David, he pronounced your essay, in spite of the fact you are saying these things in the essay, fair-minded and generous, more fair-minded and generous than he expected. Did you find yourself warming to him as you wrote it and would he make a good Prime Minister? I am fascinated by people and character Tony. There is always a big part of Tony Abbott I have liked. He is a man of immense charm. Great charm. People who have known him face-to-face are always reproaching journalists for the kinds of things we write because they say "He is not like that. I have been on Polly pedals with him and he is marvellous". He is all of that. He is very, very interesting. He is a strange cookou in the Liberal Party nest. I am absolutely fascinated by this man. He has this huge public reputation for aggression and yet those who work closely with him say he doesn't seek conflict. He is in fact a very good chair of committees. He was very interesting in cabinet to the xas exasperation of many other Ministers in the Howard cabinet, he wanted to talk about the issues at length "Tony, come on". He believed in the cabinet notion of talking around the table. He is a very interesting man.Very briefly, your opinion, will he make a good Prime Minister? The thing we have learnt in this country is that the only way you can tell whether a person is going to be a good Prime Minister is when they have the job because we thought - I think Australia thought - that Kevin Rudd was going to be a superlative Prime Minister. He was in many ways a good Prime Minister but he kind of fell apart on the job. John Howard learnt on the job. Tony Abbott will have to learn on the job. My guess about Tony Abbott is that he is not going to be the strong man that Australians think he is. In fact, the problem for Abbott may be exerting his authority.Hopefully we will never get to find out.(Applause).Sophie Mirabella? Take you back to the questioner who asked whether he is a chameleon and whether he will do whatever it takes to become Prime Minister.I think we all need to remember that politicians are human beings and they have a private life and they have a public life. John Howard was religious and that was private. are human Kevin Rudd was religious but chose to have press conferences on a Sunday outside church. What I know about Tony Abbott is that he has an extraordinarily deep sense of commitment and service. For him, fixing this country is his mission and he wears that with great responsibility. He has a whole host of people that he does listen to, that do go to forming good, solid policies for this nation. I think it is very interesting - I can understand why you are fascinated with Tony Abbott, David, he is a very intelligent man, a very thoughtful man and that's what this country needs. He is that deep thinker. He is incredibly intelligent and I have found him a person that I can have enormous respect in because you can understand after being involved in politics for 25 years, you see a lot and you get disillusioned a lot but I have to say, personally, I find Tony Abbott someone that I can believe in because he has that intellect and that deep, perhaps some people would say old-fashioned notion of service to this country and he knows that what we promise go to the election ...I disagree with that.I think Dick Adams wants to leap in.David's analysis of Tony Abbott, seeing Tony Abbott, I have seen him become very aggressive in the Parliament. I have seen him look like he is going to be very aggressive towards somebody.What are you implying, Dick? I have seen him do that.What have you seen him do? I have also seen him react in policy terms when in government to do the hard man stuff, like cut a billion dollars to make the Budget work for the Howard government out of Health. I have seen him do that. jj/jâ‘ that. I saw the complications and implications of that. I think Tony Abbott can be as aggressive as anybody in the Parliament and I think he would make those decisions ruthlessly towards people in Australia. I don't see him as a soft touch. I see him as a pretty aggressive human being and I think when you have got the pressure on you as a politician, especially as a Prime Minister, as the leader of a political party, you come back to form and I think he would come back to form.Jan Davis? Go back to the question, do you think of him as a chameleon, someone who changes his position? I'm not in a position to comment. I would leave those comments to my politician friends here on the panel.I am happy to step in.You can give your opinion of a man who will be Prime Minister if he wins the election in September.It will be interesting as David said to see how somebody changes from an Opposition Leader to a Prime Minister. It's a totally different role. Many of us have seen many that have not done well in one role and done better in another. As David said, I don't think you can make a call until he is there.I don't think we should be spending any time speculating on his values or what sort of Prime Minister he is going to be. We need to look at what he is saying now before the election so people can make an informed choice when they vote. He wants a scrap a price on carbon. For Tasmania, one of the biggest earners we have in this State is for Hydro Tasmania $70-100 million a year profit. That's 12.5% of our profit. State Government's non-Canberra revenues. That will disappear if Tony Abbott is elected. He wants to scrap the mining tax, one of the big reforms in years, to take money off big companies to pay for single parents and education in this country.Except, it doesn't take any money.Not yet.(Applause).We are trying to fix that. Absolutely correct. We are trying to address that and get that mining tax fixed..Well, we have put forward a bill in the Senate to have it addressed, we have a Senate inquiry into this issue. Hopefully Labor will support this. The Liberals are supporting our Senate inquiry, although it is ironic they don't agree with the mining tax yet they are happy to grill the government for the next six months prior to the election on fixing the mining tax. Someone has to stand up for the needy in our society. Someone has to stand up for tax reform roos form across the country. I was lucky to go to a lecture when Ken Henry retired. He started that lecture the very minute hee he retired. After the lecture, a student said "What lecture, do you think the biggest single challenge facing this country is?". He said "We are complacent as a country. We've had it too good. He said I hope there are students in this audience who go into politics and make the big reforms we need to drive this country forward. The Greens are the only party who are prepared to stand up for the mining tax, put a price on carbon and a price on pollution ...Okay.You can jump in in a minute.(Applause).I want to come to the issue of the GST and for Tasmania what Tony Abbott will do is slash the GST.That's wrong.Give it to his mates.You are making that up, Dick. Come on, we are in polite company.Speak to your colleagues in the Senate about that.This issue, I agree with David, people grow into leaderships and you see that right through prime ministerships and Premierships but the issue is you have to go on the policy. They have a policy position to slash other GST to the smaller States and Tasmania would be devastated.Can I have a right of reply? A brief.That is a made-up story. There are no coalition plans to change the GST.He said it.You have been sent out with notes "Say Tony Abbott is aggressive, say they are going to change the GST".What about Hydro Tasmania? I a am going to questions from the audience. It is for Brodi Lucas.Dick Adams, it wasn't until adulthood you learned to read and write. Do you think it is important for the government to introduce the Gonski reforms and is it worth cutting from universities? How do you think the State Government will afford its contribution? (Applause).A lot of people won't know this about you, so can I start quickly by asking how it is you didn't learn to read and write at school? If I knew that I'd probably be able to write a really good book and, like David, make lots of money from royalties..I think there is a lot of reasons and I think that applies to a lot of people that don't learn when they are young. I think there is a lot of reasons why you don't learn. Educators would certainly tell you that. We have to treat every individual as an individual and every student as an individual and they'll all have their different needs. That might be environment, that might be where they come from, it might be because they don't eat breakfast, they get bullied going to school. There is a whole range of issues why people don't learn. The main thing is that students that need help should get help. We should make sure that nobody doesn't learn because their ears aren't right or their eyes aren't right and they are sitting up the back not doing anything. When I went to school, there wasn't the programs that there is today. There is a lot of programs now that can pick up young people and I think the Gonski report is a very good report. I think those people worked very hard. It is a needs-base ed funding model. That's what I think Australians would be very proud of and would support based on everybody getting an education. But where people need extra help, they get the extra help. Universities, you can have as many universities and you can get as many people to write PhDs but if you haven't got a secondary education or a primary education, you can't do much else and your quality of life, what you seek in life you won't be able to fulfil unless you get a primary or secondary education.What about the core of the question when it came to universities was $2.3 billion stripped from universities to give to schools? Taking from Peter to give to Paul as some people have put it. Why would you want to do that for an education government? Because you've got to find the money and we've got to balance - we are not balancing the Budget but we have to endeavour to find the money and cost the money. Universities are still getting their money and they are still going to get their growth money, they are just going to do it at a slightly slower level. As I said, some academics don't go on overseas - we cut back on those things, they can do that, I'm sure they can reach that and that will be for the interest of primary education and secondary education in Australia. You've got to have that basis for your education system and that's where we need to be pointing. This gives us an opportunity, the Gonski opportunity, for that for the next 6 to 12 years.Peter Whish-Wilson? A couple of big issues here. Firstly I think university through research and development and innovation is absolutely critical for the future of this country.(Applause).Particularly
so in Tasmania. The university of Tasmania is an example, it is the second biggest employer in this State and it is a springboard for a lot of good things going on in scientific research, for example into food agriculture. We can't afford to lose funding, we would like to see funding increased to universities. The other big issue is how do we pay for this and why are we robbing Peter to pay Paul? Can I interrupt there? The Greens seem to be promising to stop that from happening in the Senate. Are you convinced it will be split into two separate bills, you will be able to wade through the extra money for education and stop taking the money from universities? My understanding is it will be split into two separate pieces of legislation. At the moment we are opposing cuts to universities. We would like to see more funding to universities. The issue we have to deal with, we had it costed recently, if we had implemented the Henry tax mining tax, we would raise $23 billion. That's money we could be using to pay for Gonski and major reforms in this country. Someone has to stand up to the big miners. There is no reason we can't increase the mining tax from 22% to 40% and implement one of the best Treasurers in this country, who was there for the Howard years, the economic miracle years, who says this is a major reform this country needs. Someone has to stand up to the miengers and while we have this boom, there is a one-off opportunity to implement these structural reforms.(Applause).Dick Adams - thank you. If the Greens stop the funding from the university or taking the funding from the university, $2.3 billion, they stop that going through, that's a $2.3 billion black hole in your reforms, isn't it? It is but I don't believe the Greens will get away with that. I believe that Peter thinks there is going to be two bills, there might be only one bill and he will have to make a decision on whether he gives money to the school system and to the primary schools and secondary schools ...Are you reconstructing the bills to stop the Greens? No. I am not in charge of the bill. I should imagine there will be one bill going to the Parliament and to the Senate and not two.We will take this to another dimension with another question on this before I go to the rest of the panel, it is from Rob Soward.Thank you Tony. A question for the panel: The Federal Government's announcement around the Gonski report funding is well under what the extensive report recommended. Why would the Government undertake such an extensive and expensive consultative report that highlighted the need for vastly increased funding, then ignore the amounts of funding the report recommended that are absolutely central to the reforms? David Marr, let's start with you.Well, there is not a lot of money aroungd and the Gonski recommendations are extremely expensive. They are very prim impressive. The Government has faltered here in the sheer size of the amount of money they are willing to put into education. But where they've gone to, to come back for a moment to the point we were talking about a moment ago, is if you look at the amount of money they are planning to strip out of universities, it's almost the same sum of additional money they are planning to give to private schools. This report - this is a country where the Government has to decide what is it - what political aprobrium is it more willing to bear, stripping money out of universities or not giving even more money to private schools and it's decided on the latter.(Applause).David, you
have to say most likely they have decided on the latter because the idea of stripping it out of superannuation funds hit a roadblock.Yes, yes, it did hit bit of a roadblock. A tiny bit of equity being put into the amazingly, amazingly generous tax arrangements given to the prosperous of Australia where every prosperous Australian is their own Dutch antiles. You don't have to squirrel your money away with somebody over in the Virgin Islands because Peter Costello let us do it for ourselves. Tax free in the funds, tax free out of the funds. The fact it costs twice as much the Defence Budget now is something we put to one side. Let me go back to my rant about private schools.If you keep it brief.Under 10 minutes.You certainly will.There is no country in the world where the governments so lavishly endo you private schools as this country. We spend $7 billion on private schools. There would be more money for Gonski schools if we didn't have an enormous drain of public money to private schools which is going to be increased under Gonski. While Gonski is needs-based, the richest private schools will get more playing fields under Gonski courtesy of the money stripped out of the universities. That's Australia.(Applause).Sophie Mirabella? Two questions you can reflect on.I think we have to ask the question why did the Prime Minister make the announcement when she did, when the Government has been sitting on the Gonski report since 2011. To actually look at the facts, look at the figures. There is $600 million of new money per annum. None of that is coming from the Federal Government. There have been $11 billion worth of cuts and $9.4 billion worth of funding from the Commonwealth, so any new money is coming from the States. If you wanted this policy to succeed, surely you would sit down with those jurisdictions, those States you are asking to put money in before announcing it and letting them read it in the newspaper. Forgive me for being a bit cynical about the timing of the announcement and the manner of the announcement. This is actually a cut from the This Commonwealth of $1.6 billion to education, so I can understand why a lot of people are very angry and upset. For Tasmania, it means $10 million cut from the University of Tasmania and up to 150 jobs put at risk. The question is: What is the Tasmanian Premier going to do? There was 190 million cut out of education by the Labor Premier in Tasmania? Now she is being asked to put 140 million back in. Where is that money going to come back from? Is this a realistic policy announcement or something the Prime Minister is doing so close to the election? Jan Davis? I think this is symptomatic of everything that's wrong with politics today. I will make a declaration of interest, I'm an ex-school teacher and I'm a believer in life-long learning. Listening to these debates, whether it be about superannuation, education, people like me glaze over because you are forced into the mode of getting your abacus out and counting the numbers. Let's forget about the numbers and focus on the issue. The issue is our children, the future and the education we need to have. the There is plenty of places you could find the money. I read in the newspaper the other day, over the last decade we have provided $12 billion in subsidies to car manufacturers. When I am asked to weigh up how important are car manufacturers and how important is education, I know which side I'm landing on.(Applause).While we are on that subject, Shadow Minister for Industry and Innovation, first of all, quick question, would you ditch all those government subsidies to the car industry? No, but we wouldn't waste $16 billion on overpriced school halls. You are right. There are choices government has made.Can I bring you to the point, you are going to continue funding the car industry? We do believe in supporting the car sector but we are reducing it by $500 million a year. That's been opposed by the Labor Party and all sorts of scare mongering but we do believe in supporting the car sector. We do believe in reducing it. We announced that over two years ago as policy, reducing it by $500 million and asking for greater accountability and transparency and new rules so taxpayers know when, how and why car companies get their money and car companies will need to know what they need to achieve, the benchmarks they need to achieve, in order to be granted the privilege of taxpayers dollars.Like cars people want to actually buy.(Applause). Just a policy suggestion. I am making a friendly policy suggestion.Our policy is stating the obvious, that the car industry is in a parlous situation, current policies are not working and we need a better way forward because the auto sector ...The mar parlous it gets, the more money is thrown at it.No, what's the Labor Party has done.You will throw marginally less money at it.. Nigh Very clever Tony, but not quite. What the Labor Party did was put the auto sector in a very difficult situation. They promised them significant policies. We didn't match those promises and we were criticised for not supporting the car industry enough and we said to people "We will go to the election promising what we know we can deliver". What the Labor Party did was they cut those policies. They broke $1.4 billion worth of promises. Do you know what that does to multinational companies wanting to invest in Australia? It says don't trust the Government, you can't trust them on the policy ...What about renewable energy companies? Can I finish Peter? This is quite serious, it raised the issue of sovereign risk of investing in Australia.Rubbish.It is my fault for pushing that.I sat there while you made all ....I think the manufacturing sector is an important sector for Australia. A lot of people gain skill base through the manufacturing sector. I think it is critical for the future of Australia. We have to get on the top end of it and aiming at the top end of it. We have to do that in the car industry, the nexus between the oil industry and the combustion engine is now broken. I am in electric cars, gas buses, we have to look into the future and the next generation of cars, what they are going to be and we have to get into whether we are going to manufacture them or not going to manufacture them.I am going to shut it down because we want to get to questions about Tasmania. We have a few difficult problems in this State. Our next question comes from Adam Mostogl.Jonathan West 's essay in the Griffith Review earlier this year provided a shocking wake-up call to Tasmania both as a State where public funds sustain a majority of the population and an economy that's still based on traditional industries. Is Tasmania virtually a basket case or is there potential to change the State for the better? If so, how do we sustain this for the longer term, longer than just the Government grants that will kick start them? Jan Davis.Jonathan West's essay was a brilliant insight into some issues that we as a State have to come to grips with. One of them is how we find our way in the future. I find it very disconcerting that people consider the agriculture sector, which is one of our key industries in Australia, as dispensable. I was going to make that comment to my colleague Mr Adams in saying it is all very well to subsidise the car industry, can't eat cars and our farmers aren't doing real well either.(Applause).Jan, I will bring you back to Jonathan West's essay. It was scathing of the culture in Tasmania. Tasmania has developed a way of life, a mode of doing things, a demographic, a culture and associated economy that reproduces under achievement, generation after generation. Is that a fair cop? I'm a new Tasmanian, I haven't been here very long and I have to say that resonates very strongly with me. I come here with my experiences from other places and wonder at the opportunities that we squander, that we let go here because everybody automatically, without thinking, says "No".(Applause) We need to be a lot smarter and we need to be a lot more focussed on what we can do We instead of what we can't do.Peter Whish-Wilson? That was one essay amongst many in that Griffith Review. A lot of the other essays showed a lot of great things about Tasmania. It is a beautiful place to live. We are actually the happiest State on happiness index measurements, happier than any other State. We have these neo classical economic things, like unemployment. We might have had the highest unemployment, but four years ago we had the lowest. We had the global financial crisis. Are we at a tipping point? I think we have been tipping for 20 years. The Tasmanian economy has been going through 20 structural change for 20 years. We are doing it very tough at the moment because a lot of our industries like agriculture have been subject to a high Australian dollar and really struggled in tough commodity markets. If you want to get to the issue of under-achievement, we have to look at how we have propped up certain industries over the years. There has been very large subsidies - going back to the theme on subsidies - the issue that the forestry sector is struggling with at the moment is we have had this moral hazard in Tasmania where this industry has been insured against failure for a long time. Nearly a billion dollars put into this industry over 20 years for cash handouts. That's fine if it creates employment and leads to innovation and futures in the industry. It has failed. The industry is on its knees, a lot of good people looking for jobs, where do we go from here? Are we going to see a sea change in the way we operate in Tasmania? Unless we actually go that next step and make the hard decisions, things are going to continue to get worse. We can't afford to be complacent thinking about what Ken Henry said, we don't have the luxury of being complacent in this State anymore. We have to make hard decisions and brave decisions. You can blame it on the Greens, which I get every single day, but the reality is it is a lot more than that. We live in a global economy ...I am going to come to another question on this subject before the other panelist s come in, from Andy Stuart.I am a father of two high school-aged children who in the next three years hopefully will go on to further education. What future do my children have in Tasmania with the Labor Government slowly but methodically destroy ing our country with thoughtless, non-productive policies and systematic destruction of businesses and now our universities? (Applause).Dick Adams? I disagree with the question, of course. Just to go back, I certainly didn't agree with Jonathan West 's analysis. I found it really, really horrible. I thought it was a dreadful comment and slight on Tasmanians. I thought - I have looked at some of his other work, his academic work, trying to substitute 3,000 jobs out of Forestry for 3,000 jobs in wine manufacturing is nonsense and wouldn't hold up. I think there are great opportunities and some of the opportunities if you look at - some of the opportunities like we have done in irrigation and taking the situation that we have 10% of the rain that falls on Australia falls on Tasmania. Utilising that and adding value to it through irrigation schemes and, therefore, our agricultural sector, is a great way of doing things. That's one of the smarter things we are doing. We can do a lot more in that sector. Peter is quite right, we are going through change. I have thought about this a lot, I think we have been going through change all my life. There has been industries come and industry go. In today's world, industries change very quickly. It is the pressure, whether it is the Australian dollar, the world economy, whatever. We have got some old industries, I think trying to push them out, which I think the Greens would probably do, I don't think pushing them out. If they come to an end, they come to an end.I am going back to our questioner because I see him shaking his head. Can you spell us what you mean when you say the Labor Government, do you mean the Federal Government, the government in Tasmania and what are they doing to destroy business from your point of view? It has been many, many years. When I came through university and finished university, I needed to leave the State to find work. I am now at a point where I have my two young children who when they finish their Year 12, we are taking money out of universities, is the university going to be there for them but we are looking at every other industry in Tasmania, we don't have industry coming here. To say industries come and go, I don't see many industries coming to Tasmania. The door is open.(Applause).Jan? Let me give you a perfect example of what the questioner is talking about. Put aside your position on animal ethics, that the Tasmanian Government has decided that from 1 July this year, we will no longer be allowed to produce caged eggs in Tasmania.(Applause).82% of Australians buy their eggs on price. That figure is higher in Tasmania. Regardless of your position, that's a fact. The Government decision is their right to make. What sense does it make, though, if 82% of Australians and more Tasmanians buy on price if we are not stopping caged eggs coming from interstate? That's destruction of three large Tasmanian businesses and probably a couple of hundred people out of work. To what end? It's pointless.(Applause).I want to hear from Sophie Mirabella. The talk here is about industry in Tasmania, what it should be in the future? Does the Coalition have an industry policy that encompasses Tasmania? Sure. I really want to start by the happiness index. We all want to be happy. index. We It is a given. But the questioner there I am sure would be much happier if he knew his kids could get a job. This State is a remarkable state ...Are you saying people with jobs are happy or unhappy? In my experience of nearly 12 years as a member, I have to tell you when people have some sort of financial security and they can look after their families, they can make choices about their future, and they can create a life they want, that's why the Coalition in government and in Opposition has been very strong about helping people out of welfare ...How many public service jobs will go under Tony Abbott? That's just ...It is like the car industry.Can I just make the point about Tasmania? It is a room reasonable question because so many...There has been no announcement out on jobs out of the public sector.So many jobs rely on the public sector.A third.What is your policy for Tasmania? What would you do? Some of the things we would do is free up some of the regulations to enable it to be more attractive to come to Tasmania. Getting rid of the carbon tax, which is placing extraordinary cost on business. If you've got a horticulture business, for example and 65,000 pellets a year, your electricity price has gone up by $100,000 a year. We have seen in Tasmania ...Can I test that theory? Jan Davis is here, you are Farmers and here, Graziers Association. Has that been a huge impost? It is a Graziers cost burden on an industry that runs on extraordinarily slim margins and it is a cost burden, because farmers are outside the net of industry groups that got compensation that is very, very difficult for us to bear. Is it the biggest issue we need to deal with? Probably not. It's symptomatic of government interference and over regulation in so many different ways. I get really cross when we talk here in Tasmania about focusing on attracting new investors when we've got a whole bunch of us here already and we're investing money ...(Applause)... and making our lives ...I don't know what Dick means when he says old industry, agriculture is an essential industry, forestry is a sustainable industry. Australia imports forest products, Tasmania could be the supplier of that. Mining, it is an essential industry, living in a modern industrialised world.We import cars too.These are industries that could do very well in Tasmania. The thing that has strangled Tasmania is the dysfunction of Labor-Greens governments that have stopped significant development ...(Applause).You can respond to that, then move on to another question.I also have two teenage kids. Hi Bronte and Finn if you are watching. My 14-year-old is already talking about leaving Launceston and leaving the State. I speak to their parents about this, it comes up all the time in conversation. The question I ask is what sort of jobs would you stay for? What sort of industries would keep you or make you come back? I want my kids to go away overseas for a while and maybe go to university and bring those experiences back to Tasmania. That is important. Although it will break my heart when it happens. There is nothing here for them to come back to. I don't think the industries we have been focusing on and all the wasted effort, opportunity costs of what we could have been doing really well, we haven't capitalised on any of that. If you want to bring kids back here, you have to provide a culture for them, employment, but you need to start asking them what they want for employment. Then we work on building the industry. That's what the Greens plan to do for Tasmania.We are fast running out of time. Michelle Walker.Tourism in Tasmania was born on the back of prospectors, hunters and farmers looking for and using resources sustainably. Why is a minority group of self-interested people dictating for greater areas to be locked away against, I believe, the wishes of a majority? Tourism can coexist with sustainable resources use.Jan Davis. The idea that large sectors of the country are being locked away, that's obviously aimed at the Greens, what do you think? It is not just the Greens. Over half of Tasmania is already locked up. We are looking at significant increases in those areas . As increases well as private land that's already dedicated to conservation. There has to be a point where enough is enough. We need to be able to manage the resources that we have in a sustainable manner so that they are here for the future and for people that come after us. Farmers have done that. Some of our farms have been farming forestry and undertaken forestry activities for seven generations. Locking us up and throwing away the key is not a solution to
anything.(Applause).Peter Whish-Wilson, hunting, fishing, mining and tourism, why can't you have it all? We can have it all. Absolutely we can. My grandparents or my grandfather was a forester in Scottsdale so it is in my heritage as well. What we have to understand is the forestry industry has declined so rapidly to such an extent it is 1% of Tasmania's work force. You say that this area can't be locked up because it needs to be managed. What's happened to it so far? What's happened with the management of the forestry industry in the last 20 to 30 years that's led to such decline? It is worth more leaving it there for carbon sequestration, tourism, future generations. The ecosystems generated by forests are worth billions of dollars and we can't value them now. These places are precious. are There are not many places in the world that have what Tasmania has. We don't have billions of tonnes of resources in the ground like WA, we don't have big manufacturing industries like we see in Victoria. But we have pristine wilderness. It is worth a lot more leaving it like it is than actually throwing it to industry and subsidise ...I want to hear from the perennial arguments about Tasmania. I want to hear from an outsider.You have no idea the detailed insights you have missed in the last 10 minutes by Tony Jones not coming to me on industry policy in Tasmania. But it is time to look at the fundamentals at least of the tourist industry. Tasmanians need to face facts. Its tourist industry is not based on modern art and pinot noir. It is based on the fact this State is cool. We come to Tasmania because it is cool. We have always come to Tasmania because it is cool. ...You are not talking about the temperature, are you? I am talking about temperature, Tony. I talked fundamentals. Tasmanians are the natural allies of the carbon tax. If Tasmania warms, your tourism industry is gone as well. So you should be calling for a tougher carbon tax, a bigger carbon tax, a more immediate carbon tax.(Applause).To keep this State cool. Your prosperity depends on it being cold down here. Don't forget it.I think you can have tourism and all the other industries that you mentioned as well. I believe we've had some myths. Peter says he has run the lines you couldn't have forestry and tourism. They have run those arguments for 20 years.I don't think we have ever run those arguments.I believe that was a false argument. Peter's somewhat right in where the forest industry is today and there needs to be some reality checks. Gunns has gone. What we used to do with forestry we can't anymore.Forestry is a cycle crop and market forces should be let to run without government interference in the market place, particularly in the private sector.Gunns has gone.They were government interference.I want to hear from Sophie Mirabella on this, we are nearly out of time.I find it really perverse that areas that were burnt out, regrown from seed are now wilderness areas and under protection. Let's use science and let's be fair dinkum about this, but the questioner said why is this happening? Why is the minority locking up Tasmania and preventing it from fulfilling its economic potential? Having looked at it, it is the voting system you have that gives the Greens disproportionate amount of power in the Parliament.This is a free market - this is the Party of the free market speaking here. The party of the free market saying "Listen to the market, listen to the market". The market is showing you this industry is not viable. Why don't you address that particular issue? We haven't got time to address that particular issue in depth. We have time for Sally-Anne Richter.With such nation building projects as the NBN under way ahigh-speed rail being considered, Australia is prepared to consider audacious projects. When will it be time for the government to consider seriously the merits of building a permanent forest terrestrial connection between Tasmania and mainland? Such a project is achievable with existing technology and would be a massive stimulus to the economy and could end Tasmania's economic disadvantages? I will start with Peter Whish-Wilson. There is a proposal that a group of architects from Hobart and Melbourne have put together for a 600km bridge with a fast train, take you one hour to go from Hobart to Melbourne. I think they are talking about in 100 years.I think so. Seeing the size of the swells that go through Bass Strait, 60-70 feet waves, it would have to be up high. The sea highway itself is an interesting concept. More relates to federation and whether Tasmania has got the expenditure on a highway network like the other States have that connect each other, but because we are separated as an island and if we had that same amount of expenditure what would we be entitled to and what could we do with that? That is something we are exploring . There is a strong lobby group pushing for a fair amount of funding in Tasmania. As Jan knows, everyone knows, including David, it is a serious issue for us with ou freight costs being on the bottom of an island. It is something we are looking at and taking seriously.A brief answer Jan Davis, you won't be around to see it, a terrestrial land bridge between the mainland and Tasmania? None of us will.Look, who knows what's going to happen in the next decade. 20 years ago we weren't thinking about half the things we are doing now. Let's not rule stuff out. We have to focus on what is achievable. Today for the businesses in Tasmania, consumerers that are suffering because it costs us so much money to get stuff here and out again and that's not sustainable.Dick Adams quickly? I favour the tunnel. I think that would be better.250km tunnel.Yeah, 250km tunnel coming up at Flinders Island so you can have a weekend, it would help the economy there. I think that's a great infrastructure project, probably the best Australia could ever build. I think the issue of Bass Strait, we still have to do some work on our own side of the equation. I think Tasmania still has to get its logistics right on getting what we can do better and I think on the supply side and there is work being done in that sector. Jan is probably sitting on that committee. There is an industry-based committee, a lot of good work going on there. I am a bit worried about Peter, if he puts his name to a few of the lists I have seen, it is easy to say "Take the money out of Federal Treasury and solve our problems". It is more complex than that. The road question, we will go backwards if we try to argue the Melbourne-Sydney argument. We won't win that. We have to be very careful. We get 240 million in subsidies now. We have to be very careful on what we do, we have to justify our arguments very soundly.Sophie Mirabella, Shadow Minister for innovation? I am sure there are all sorts of innovative ideas of how it could be done but I'm afraid whilst the Greens hold the balance of powers ...Boo.There will be a threat to some fish species or if you go to the tunnel as Dick said, some rare worm so probably not going to happen.David Marr? Her lot hasn't even got the will to build a decent NBN.(Applause). The one thing we may not know what Tony Abbott is going to be like as a Premier but the one thing - as a Premier, but we know he is for the monarchy, marriage and copper wires. I like this young woman down here. Here she is growing up in a State that can't even build a bridge to Bruny Island and she wants to build a bridge to Tasmania. That's the future of Tasmania.
Tasmania. (Applause).Thank you. That is sadly the copper-plated ending. Please thank David Marr, Sophie Mirabella, Dick Adams, Peter Whish-Wilson, Jan Davis.(Applause)I will give you a chance to clap yourselves. A special thanks to the Princess Theatre and our wonderful audience in Launceston. You can give yourselves a quick round of applause.(Applause).Thank you. Thank you Launceston. Next week, the second of our special Q&A policy debates. Health policy is one of the crucial vote deciders in Australian politics, next week we will bring together the Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek and Shadow Minister for health Peter Dutton going head to head on the right prescription for health. With education high on the national agenda, we will leave you with one of the fabulous videos submitted by leave you high school students competing to ask the questions for our schools special in May. This is from Canterbury Girls High. You will find many more on our website. Until next week's Q&A, goodnight.Hi, we are Year 11 students from Canterbury Girls High.We'd love to be on Q&A. Our school was established in 1890.That's really old.Thousands of girls have walked through these doors including an Olympic swimmer and Dorothy the dinosaur.43 gold medallists.We strive to achieve no matter what the challenge.We are multichurly and accepting of everyone.We are given plenty of opportunity for expression.We love Q&A.It is a great opportunity to express everyone's opinion. We have some to share as well. is Thank you so much for consideration us to be on your show. We would really benefit from this experience.We are Canterbury Girls High and this
P Tonight - potentially world-class, but some State premiers mark down the Federal Government's plan for school funding.I will be very keen to see that federal money can come to this State. I don't have $1.7 billion sitting around ready to go.We will not ib signing up in Victoria to anything that disadvantages any child, any school, any family in this State.This is grossly inequitable and shows a complete disdain by the Prime Minister to Western Australia.
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Good evening. Welcome to 'Lateline'. I'm Emma Alberici. Six years after the Northern Territory intervention, what's worked and what hasn't in closing the gap in achievements between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians? Leading Aboriginal academic Marcia Langton credits the country's mining companies, not State and Federal Government policies, for lifting more of her people into the middle classes. Noel Pearson a