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Uhlmann's take on Labor's leadership crisis

Uhlmann's take on Labor's leadership crisis

Broadcast: 23/06/2010

Reporter: Tony Jones

Senior online political correspondent Chris Uhlmann discusses the position Kevin Rudd has found
himself in.

Transcript

TONY JONES, PRESENTER: As you just heard, tomorrow will decide the fate of Kevin Rudd. Right wing
factions of the Labor Party in all States have backed Julia Gillard to overthrow Kevin Rudd as
Prime Minister.

They've been joined by the right wing Australian Workers Par..., Australian Worker's Union I should
say, and shortly we'll talk to the AWU National Secretary, Paul Howes to explain why Kevin Rudd
lost his support and the support of his Union.

And we'll also cross later to Morocco to talk to the Minister for Environment Protection Peter
Garrett about the leadership challenge, plus a breakdown of today's stories at the International
Whaling Commission.

That's all coming up. First we're gonna be joined by the ABC's online senior political
correspondent, Chris Uhlmann, and Chris, take us through it again if you can and how on earth did
this happen so quickly?

CHRIS UHLMANN, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, ABC ONLINE: And we're not the only ones who are
shocked Tony. There are ministers sitting in their offices this evening watching television,
watching this unfold and saying they are in a state of utter bewilderment.

If we rewind perhaps back about three weeks an emissary was sent, apparently, from the New South
Wales right, that's Mark Arbib, to David Feeney, who's the head really, one of the factional
heavyweights, in the Victorian right and they began to discuss the possibility of a future after
Kevin Rudd.

Both of those men went this morning to see Julia Gillard. They returned at noon. At noon they said
that they could deliver her the majority support of the New South Wales right, the Victorian right,
the South Australian right, the West Australian right and the Queensland right. They said that they
did not believe Kevin Rudd could win the next election and that Julia Gillard could. If there was a
change of leadership they could go forward strongly from here.

She has been a reluctant recruit to this, but she, we are told, also is of the belief that Kevin
Rudd can't win the next election and at this stage people are saying, without even picking up the
phone, Julia Gillard's got the numbers. The Prime Minister says he got to work, some work to do,
he'll be on the phones. It will be fascinating to see how he goes. It might be the last of his long
nights as Prime Minister.

TONY JONES: Well he's stressed, just a few minutes ago in his press conference, that he was voted
in as Prime Minister by the people of Australia, he didn't talk about his own Party, by the people
of Australia. His appeal, presumably, will be to the Party though and that's the big problem he has
isn't it?

CHRIS UHLMANN: Well that's the point that he's made. He was voted in by the people of Australia and
for a very long time the people of Australia thought that he was a magnificent leader but that all
began to come undone in April. And really it was around about the time that he ditched the
Emissions Trading System that that came undone. That was a breach of faith with the Australian
people. People saw it as an abandonment of values.

But what we're hearing most of all about those that run the factions in the Party is that they are
utterly fed up with the way Kevin runs the Party and what one of them said is:

"This crypto fascist never bothered to build a base in the Party and now that his only faction,
Newspoll, has gone, so has he."

TONY JONES: You talked about the right wing factions, of course Julia Gillard came from the left,
and we don't know exactly what's happened with her original faction. We certainly don't know what
major left wing figures like Lindsay Tanner have done in all of this. What's the story and what
happened in those critical meetings as far we know, in the Prime Minister's office.

CHRIS UHLMANN: As far we know Anthony Albanese is on the side of the left, New South Wales left,
that is supporting Kevin Rudd. The way that we're hearing the vote would fall at the moment is that
the Prime Minister could expect only half of the left and perhaps 40 per cent of the right. Not
nearly enough to get him, and as they said that's without Julia Gillard even picking up the phone.

It's extraordinarily difficult to see how the Prime Minister can walk back from here. He is
essentially being rejected by his own Party and these are unprecedented things and we have to go
back to John Gorton in 1969, where Gorton essentially voted against himself in a Party room ballot,
but don't forget Gorton did win, he came in after Holt, he won an election so he was in his second
term. You have to go a long way back in the history books to find anything like this, if at all.

TONY JONES: So Chris, it is your bet, clearly, that tomorrow we will see Australia's first female
Prime Minister. How will that process take place, assuming that you're right about the numbers?

CHRIS UHLMANN: The way that it works is that there'll be a caucus meeting tomorrow, the leadership
will be spilled, I'm not entirely sure of all the details of how that process will work, but there
will be a ballot. There'll be a ballot between only two contenders, those contenders will be Kevin
Rudd and Julia Gillard and as it stacks up at the moment there's no reason to believe that the
people who went to see her, to tap her on the shoulder, to get to go and tap him on the shoulder,
are wrong about the numbers.

It's fascinating too, of course the Prime Minister's made much of the fact that he's elected by the
people of Australia and he said when he came in that the factional warlords were no longer going to
rule this Party. Well they've hit back and they've hit back hard now.

TONY JONES: Well Chris stick around we may have to come back to you if there are any further
developments during the course of our program. We thank you very much for that.

Rudd's leadership in crisis

Rudd's leadership in crisis

Broadcast: 23/06/2010

Reporter: Dana Robertson

Kevin Rudd looks likely to be dumped as Prime Minister, as factional bosses and unions desert him
for deputy Julia Gillard

Transcript

TONY JONES, PRESENTER: And now how did this extraordinary night unfold?

We go to Dana Robertson who sets the scene in Parliament House.

DANA ROBERTSON, REPORTER: The gloss has gone from Kevin Rudd. He's so shop soiled right wing
factional bosses, Mark Arbib and David Feeney, have started to plot against him.

The numbers were originally being counted without Julia Gillard's blessing. But the leadership move
came to a head when Miss Gillard and John Faulkner went to the Prime Minister's office tonight for
what turned out to be a very long meeting.

It's a near fatal blow for the Prime Minister who was unassailable for more than two years. What
started out as a half hearted overthrow several weeks ago has quietly gathered steam. It played at
such senior levels that many backbenchers appeared oblivious.

FEMALE REPORTER (VOICE): Belinda are you hearing that powerbrokers are counting the numbers on
Julia Gillard's behalf this evening?

BELINDA NEAL, LABOR MP: No I haven't heard that actually.

LAURIE FERGUSON, LABOR MP: I don't know who they are but I think the ABC knows more than the rest
of the Parliamentary Caucus.

DANA ROBERTSON: But they acknowledge a mood shift in Caucus.

DICK ADAMS, LABOR MP: There's no doubt there's a bit of unease because of how many things are out
there I think. There's always those people that wanna look within the Government of how they can
improve themselves or whatever.

BELINDA NEAL: There were concerns about the polls, I mean obviously we wouldn't be human if we
weren't concerned about that, but I think we'll just have to see what tomorrow brings.

DUNCAN KERR, LABOR MP: Of course any leadership challenge is inherently destabilising.

DANA ROBERTSON: The day's extraordinary events had happened behind a facade of normality. Although
as Kevin Rudd tried to be a statesman there were questions about whether his chief of staff,
Alistair Jordan, had been shoring up his base.

KEVIN RUDD, PRIME MINISTER: Those are the sorts of conversations which happen everyday and have
done so ever since I got this job and, frankly, in a slightly different way when I became leader of
the opposition, it's just situation normal.

DANA ROBERTSON: And Cabinet ministers were also forced to answer the awkward questions.

MALE REPORTER (VOICE): Is there any circumstance under which you would tap the Prime Minister on
the shoulder before the election?

JOHN FAULKNER, DEFENCE MINISTER: No

STEPHEN SMITH, FOREIGN MINISTER: And as a younger statesman, no.

DANA ROBERTSON: It's not tapping now, more like a death knock.

Dana Robertson, Lateline.

AWU has switched allegiance to Gillard

AWU has switched allegiance to Gillard

Broadcast: 23/06/2010

Reporter: Tony Jones

Australian Workers Union National Secretary Paul Howes joins Lateline.

Transcript

TONY JONES, PRESENTER: One of the key moments of tonight's extraordinary developments was the
announcement that the Australian Workers Union had lost confidence in Kevin Rudd and was backing a
move to Julia Gillard.

Well the national secretary of the AWU is Paul Howes. He joins us in the studio.

Why did you do that?

PAUL HOWES, NATIONAL SECRETARY, AUSTRALIAN WORKERS' UNION: Well we've been looking at what's in the
best interests of the members of our union. We know that if Tony Abbott is elected as a prime
minister of Australia, Work Choices will be back, the legislation which ripped away fairness from
our workplaces will be reinstituted on our members, reimposed on our members, and we know that
Labor's message had been lost for the last few weeks, and in fact months, under the Prime
Minister's leadership.

We have to look at what's in the best interests of our members of our union to ensure fairness
remains in our member workplaces and we think that Julia Gillard is the best option to lead Labor
to victory at the upcoming election.

TONY JONES: And it would be fair to say that you've never really liked Kevin Rudd, you don't
consider him to be a figure of the Labor Party, he's some sort of hybrid politician who's been
grafted on. Is that the way you look at it?

PAUL HOWES: No, that's, that's ridiculous. I mean he's the leader of the Labor Party, he's been
working for the Labor Party as a member of Parliament for many years, he's been in Labor for a long
time. That's nothing to do with what tonight's events are about.

Tonight's events are about ensuring that Labor gets its message through, that we're able to talk
about the accomplishments of this Government, they're able to talk about the case of why an Abbott
prime ministership would be bad for the environment, would be bad for health, would be bad for
working people and why we need to ensure that we continue on the mission that we started three
years ago to restore fairness for our workplaces, to keep our economy strong, to have a fair
redistribution of the massive wealth that's being generated through the mining industry and
unfortunately, unfortunately that message has been lost over the last couple of months as the
ongoing instability about the Prime Minister's leadership has clouded out all the issues that Labor
needs to talk about in this election.

TONY JONES: Tell us what happened behind the scenes in this move against Kevin Rudd, because you
have been talking to all the major players over the past 24 hours, spell out for us because people
are going to be writing political PhDs on this subject.

PAUL HOWES: Well I don't know about that but I mean, I, I, I had a normal day at work today. I met
with the leadership of my union and we talked about where this election's going. We talked about
how difficult it's been to get the message through, about why we need to ensure that Work Choices,
whatever the name, never comes back again.

The leadership of our union took the decision this afternoon that we should throw our support
behind Julia Gillard for the leadership of the Party. That's not an easy decision for us to make
and, you know, we're not members of Caucus, we don't tell members of Caucus how to vote.

TONY JONES: But you talk to members of Caucus and members of the factions and you've known all
along what's been going on during the course of the day, can you give us some insight?

PAUL HOWES: Well I talk to members of the Caucus all the time. What's happened today has been
outlined and will be outlined in weeks to come. I mean I'm not sure of all the machinations,
obviously. The Deputy Prime Minister has been in a meeting with the Prime Minister for a long
period of time, we heard the outcome of that in the Prime Minister's press conference just before
this program went to air.

What's important for our union, and what's important for our movement is that Labor gets its
message back on track. That we recognise the fact that Tony Abbott is a major risk, a major risk to
fairness in our workplaces. That if we lose the next election it will be like losing the 2007
election because it will demonstrate that that party can bring back Work Choices.

TONY JONES: Right, do you believe Julia Gillard actually has the numbers tomorrow as an awful lot
of commentators now believe?

PAUL HOWES: Well I don't know, I mean that's, that's a question for the parliamentary party and,
you know, it's obviously happened in a very short period of time and there will be a caucus at 9:30
tomorrow morning so there won't be that long to wait to find out what the outcome is.

What's important for us is that the party, the party becomes reunified behind a strong leader.
Julia Gillard is a strong leader. She's a person who managed to kill Work Choices, put in the fair
work legislation, she has enormous popularity in the electorate. She's led the education revolution
and she's been a good, loyal deputy to the Prime Minister.

Sad, and to a very good Prime Minister, but sadly the Prime Minister's message has not been able to
get through to the electorate over the last months and weeks and that's why change is needed.

TONY JONES: Have you spoken to Julia Gillard this evening?

PAUL HOWES: I've spoken to many members of the Parliament over tonight explaining what our union's
view is and we don't, we don't...

TONY JONES: Did you only a very short time ago take a call from Julia Gillard?

PAUL HOWES: I spoke to Julia very briefly to tell her that the union, the union's position is that
we're supporting her leadership.

TONY JONES: And what did she say to you?

PAUL HOWES: It was very, very brief conversation. I just wanted to make sure that she heard that
from us rather than from you, Tony.

TONY JONES: Did you have any sense that she believes she has the numbers to become the first female
prime minister of Australia?

PAUL HOWES: I didn't ask her that question and she didn't give me that answer. It was a very brief
conversation as it was with many other people in the Party tonight to tell them what the union's
position is. Which is not unlike the position of the Health Services Union. I've seen that Michael
Williamson, who's also the national president of the Party has also endorsed Julia Gillard's
leadership.

The union always form a position on the leadership of the party whenever there is leadership
changes. We don't tell people how to vote, but we have been affiliated with the ALP since 1891 and
that's why it's important that we put that...

TONY JONES: Has your union ever withdrawn its support, in this manner, from a sitting prime
minister?

PAUL HOWES: Well, you know, it's been a long time since something like that's happened. I can't
look through the annals of the history of the union. We were formed in 1886. But this is pretty
unprecedented and the situation we're in is pretty dire.

This is a good Government with a good record and we can't get that message out. We can't get that
message out because there is a dark cloud over the Labor leadership and there has been for the last
few weeks and months.

It's important we put that behind us, we have a strong, solid message about what Labor stands for.
It stands for fairness in our workplace, it stands for a strong health and hospitals network, it
stands for a fair redistribution of wealth out of the mining industry and if we can't get that
message out under the current Prime Minister that's why it's time for a change.

TONY JONES: How significant was it that the right wing factions appear to have been behind this
move, appear to have been organising for some time?

PAUL HOWES: Well, you know, that's a question for leaders of the right wing factions in Parliament.
I mean...

TONY JONES: Well it's also a question for someone who knows the answers and I believe you do.

PAUL HOWES: Well look, I think it's significant that a large, broad section of the Party from
various factional backgrounds, from various States, from various professional backgrounds, see that
Julia Gillard is the best option for Labor in the upcoming federal election.

That is important because it shows that she has broad base support within the parliamentary party,
she has it within the Labor movement, she has it within the organisational wing and she has it in
the electorate, and the electorate is what matters.

We need to get the message out to the electorate about what we can achieve, what we can do. The
fact that Australia has remained out of recession is solely because of this Government but we can't
get that message through at the moment. That's why we need to put this behind us and move onwards.

TONY JONES: Do you track Kevin Rudd's demise, in the eyes of his Labor colleagues, all the way back
to his back-flip on the Emissions Trading Scheme as many others do?

PAUL HOWES: Well, that's an interesting question and I'm not sure what the answer is. You know I
think that certainly things got very hard for the Prime Minister after Copenhagen and I think blind
faith that Copenhagen would come out with a result was probably wrong with the benefit of
hindsight.

It's important that we have strong action on climate change, and this is one of the unfortunate
issues with the Prime Minister's leadership at the moment that, we can't get the message out that
Labor is in fact the best option for saving the environment.

Labor is the only party that has a long term plan to put a price on carbon and that is important
and it's important that we get those messages out there that if you want a safe and secure
environment for generations to come you need a Labor government. If you want fairness in our
workplaces you need a Labor government.

TONY JONES: What do you make of Kevin Rudd's statement, a short time ago, that he was elected by
the people of Australia, stressed that, the people of Australia. That he was, up until a very short
time ago, perhaps the most popular prime minister in Australia's history? How could you desert a
Labor leader under those circumstances because of a couple of months of bad polls?

PAUL HOWES: The Australian people elected the Labor Party to the Government of this country with
Kevin Rudd as its leader. It is not unusual for governments to change leaders within the term of a
parliament and, and, and...

TONY JONES: Well you just said this is unprecedented.

PAUL HOWES: ... for their first term, but it is important to recognise that there is going to be an
election soon. There is going to be an election soon and if Julia Gillard is elected as the leader
of the Labor Party tomorrow and as our next prime minister the electorate will be able to test that
in months to come at the general election.

TONY JONES: Why was it so important to bring this on so quickly?

PAUL HOWES: Well, I think that, unfortunately, having staffers going out and canvassing support for
the Prime Minister, insinuating that there has been some type of challenge mounted by the Deputy
Prime Minister in the last couple of days.

TONY JONES: You're talking about the Prime Minister's chief of star Alistair Jordan?

PAUL HOWES: Well yeah and I think that that was a grave mistake. You know, the Deputy Prime
Minister had previously, um..., without any caveats, given her full support to the Prime Minister.

Now there were many people in the party, I've gotta confess that I was one of them, wondering
whether, whether there should be a change. Now obviously that was within the organisational party
and it filtered through into the parliamentary party.

But to go out there and to start canvassing support is wrong, that is the role of MPs. MPs elect
the leader of the parliamentary Labor Party and it should always remain that way and to undermine
that strong leadership team, I think, was a fundamental mistake.

TONY JONES: It's a suggestion that the chief of staff of the Prime Minister was acting disloyally
to the Deputy Prime Minister. Is that right?

PAUL HOWES: Well I think it had been clear from all of Julia's comments, up until the last couple
of days, every time the Deputy Prime Minister was asked this question, every time she was asked
about her loyalty to the Prime Minister she made it clear what her position was and I hadn't heard
any whisperings within the union movement, within the parliamentary party of any differences in
that statement.

To go out there and start to test the numbers was to make out that she was somehow being disloyal.
That was wrong, that was a mistake.

TONY JONES: Is that the straw that broke the camel's back?

PAUL HOWES: Possibly. I mean, you know, Tony, that's, that's, I'm not in Canberra tonight, I don't
know what's going on, I'm not a member of the Parliamentary Labor Party. I'm not sure what's going
on in Caucus meetings and so on. But I'm sure many, one of, many of the reasons why people have
become increasingly dissatisfied has been that; which I think was a pretty duplicitous action.

TONY JONES: Well one thing we know for sure is the former head of your union, Bill Shorten,who is
obviously quite close to you, has been one of the key figures canvassing support. I mean you must
have spoken to him about what's been going on?

PAUL HOWES: Well I speak to Bill all the time, but Bill, in November 2007, ceased to be the
national secretary of the AWU and became the Federal Member for Maribyrnong. Look, you know...

TONY JONES: Was he telling you that this act by Alistair Jordan was one of the key things that led
him to start organising numbers against the Prime Minister?

PAUL HOWES: No, Bill hasn't said that to me. I mean, what Bill has talked about is the need to get
the message back out, the need to refocus on the issues; the need to move away from this constant
media speculation about the leadership of the Labor Party and talk about the key issues that matter
to the Australian people. We can't get that message out at the moment.

The party can't get that message out at the moment and that's why we need to put this period behind
us and get back on message because it scares me, it scares me, Tony, to think that in a couple of
months, Tony Abbott could be sitting in the Lodge. That Tony Abbott, who was too much of a right
ring zealot for even Howard to control, will become the next prime minister of this country.

That's a scary thing for our hospitals, it's a scary thing for our schools and environment and a
scary thing for our workplaces.

TONY JONES: Are you aware of the internal party polling that suggests that's exactly what will
happen if there's an election?

PAUL HOWES: Well, you can see Newspoll, you can see AC Neilsen, you can see Essential Research and
you can see some internal research and research that the unions have done that clearly says at the
moment if we had an election today it's more likely than not that Tony Abbott would become the next
prime minister and that's why, you know, it is not with any particular joy, it's not with any
particular happiness that our union changed our position because we want to ensure that Labor
continues to govern in the interests of all Australians and that working people get a fair go and
we can only do that if Labor's re-elected at the next election.

TONY JONES: A final quick question, because one of the things that's given Tony Abbott a bit of a
boost recently has been the mining super profits tax. Would you expect Julia Gillard to start
reversing policies like that if she becomes Prime Minister?

PAUL HOWES: Well I think the super profits tax is a great example of about how we haven't been able
to get our message out there. This is a great piece of taxation reform which would do a lot to
institute a fair redistribution of the wealth in this country, ensuring that we boost our
superannuation savings, having appropriate investment in infrastructure.

TONY JONES: Ok, ok so you don't expect any change there. Tell me this, what sort of prime minister
do you believe Julia Gillard would be?

PAUL HOWES: Well, I think she'll be one of the best prime ministers this country has ever seen.
She's demonstrated in the last two and a half years that she's been able to rip away Work Choices
and reinstitute fairness in our workplaces. She's instituted an education revolution. She's a
deeply impressive and thoughtful woman that I think will lead Labor, not just into the next
election victorious, but in many elections to come.

TONY JONES: And finally, is internal research, including your own union research, suggesting that
she has a better chance of winning the election than Kevin Rudd?

PAUL HOWES: I think the important thing to focus on is that by putting this instability and this
lack of, an over micro-attention on the leadership of the Labor Party aside and re-focussing on
issues that matter...

TONY JONES: Well there's going to be an awful lot of attention on the leadership of the Labor Party
now that you're getting rid of the leader and replacing him with another one if that's what
happens.

PAUL HOWES: And Labor will be able to move on quickly. Labor will be able to move on quickly and do
the work that matters to the Australian people, that is, ensuring that our economy remains strong
and fair, our workplaces remain fair, our education goes through the revolution that it needs and
we reform and overhaul our hospitals and health network.

TONY JONES: Paul Howes we'll have to leave you there. We thank you very much for coming in to join
us on what is a very interesting, perhaps even momentous, night. Thank you.

PAUL HOWES: Thanks Tony.

Whaling deal dead in the water

Whaling deal dead in the water

Broadcast: 23/06/2010

Reporter: Tony Jones

Peter Garrett joins Lateline from the International Whaling commission meeting in Morocco.

Transcript

TONY JONES, PRESENTER: Well while Kevin Rudd's leadership is imploding the Minister for Environment
Protection is in Morocco at the International Whaling Commission where any chance of a deal is dead
in the water.

Official talks resumed today after two days of private negotiations but a plan that would allow
Japan to resume commercial whaling if they cut their quotas in Antarctic waters has caused major
divisions in the anti-whaling camp.

New Zealand, the United States and some European countries backed the deal.

Australia was opposed, but the New Zealand delegation told the meeting that the gap couldn't be
bridged because of an absence of political will.

Well to talk about the leadership crisis and the crisis at the IWC I was joined just a short time
ago by Peter Garrett.

Peter Garrett thanks for joining us.

PETER GARRETT: Hi Tony.

TONY JONES: Obviously very big news from the IWC, but before we get to that we're obviously going
to have to ask you, are you surprised by the news from Canberra that senior party figures are
trying to bring on a challenge to Kevin Rudd?

PETER GARRETT: Tony I've been in the International Whaling Commission meeting all morning and in
meetings and negotiations all last night so what I'm hearing is intermittent, and I'm hearing a bit
from you as well, this is the nature of politics that there are things that are underway of one
kind or another. I don't know the details of them I don't propose to add anything else to your
questions on that basis because I've been really focused on what's happening here in Morocco on the
Whaling Commission.

TONY JONES: Indeed, understood but as we speak it's reported that a group of senior ministers are
locked in talks with Kevin Rudd in his office. Have you heard from any of your ministerial
colleagues about what's going on? Have they talked to you? Have they advised you about what's
happening?

PETER GARRETT: Again Tony, I don't think I can stress enough I'm not trying to deflect your
questions, I'm just pointing out my communications and political reality. I'm on the other side of
the world, we've been spending all of our time focused very much on the negotiations leading up to
the plenary meeting, which I've just come out of, this morning has been the critical morning where
we've seen the compromised proposal that Australia opposed, be abandoned. I haven't been spending
all my time on the telephone taking calls or monitoring the Australian media, I've been focusing on
what's been happening here in this Commission meeting.

TONY JONES: It's difficult for you to influence the process from Morocco, that's obviously the
case, but it's not so difficult to answer the question I originally asked you. Are you surprised to
hear that senior figures are putting on a challenge to Prime Minister?

PETER GARRETT: Well Tony, I'm hearing it, I'm hearing it from you and I don't have any other
information in front of me other than what you're putting to me and, you know, the nature of
politics means that there will be issues that arise, there will be issues that you want to put me
to to discuss, I'm not coming up with my more answers to you than that. I'm here in Morocco
focussing on the Whaling Commission. You know, you want to bring more issues in front of me, I'm
not across all the media, I'm not receiving a whole bunch of messages from people about any of
these matters, so that's probably the best that I can say to you. If you're letting me know about
it, well I'm aware of it now.

TONY JONES: There's one thing I can absolutely confirm for you and that is that Paul Howes, the
leader of the AWU, has taken his support away from the Prime Minister, the whole union, one of the
biggest in Australia, and put it behind Julia Gillard. Do you think that will have any impact?

PETER GARRETT: Tony, I'm not going to provide a running commentary on what's happening in Australia
in relation to these matters. It wouldn't be appropriate for me to do that and to be frank I don't
think you'd expect me to given that I'm operating at a different time zone and I've just come out
of the first, and most critical meeting, of the International Whaling Commission.

This was the plenary this morning. I've actually made a presentation on behalf of Australia this
morning and I've been listening to the presentations from other countries and their
representatives, including ministers as well, and on that basis that's been my focus and it's going
to remain my focus in this interview.

TONY JONES: Yes, indeed and I understand that. I'm going to ask you one more question about this
and it is an important one which you should be able to answer. Does Kevin Rudd still have your
complete support, if it came to a vote in the Caucus, and I note that you are trying to get back to
Australia as soon as you can, would Kevin Rudd have your complete support?

PETER GARRETT: I support the Prime Minister, Tony, I said that before I left Australia. And that's
my position and I'm not trying to get back to Australia that urgently. I'll try to get back in time
that's appropriate, but I've come over here in order to do something which was really important for
Australia and for the Australian Government and we've succeeded, by the way, at this meeting and my
focus has been really absolutely 100 per cent on that particular issue. It's been a critical issue
for us, as you know, it's a matter of great interest to Australians and that is what I've been
focused on.

TONY JONES: OK, let's talk about that, has been a dramatic day in the International Whaling
Commission. As you say the proposal to end commercial whaling has effectively been dropped, is that
down to Australia?

PETER GARRETT: Well, it is a huge day for the Commission and the fact that the proposal that was
there to resume commercial whaling is now no longer on the floor of the Commission is a very
positive step. It's one that Australia argued very strongly for but we haven't been the only nation
putting those views, and we've received strong support in general for the issues that we raised,
which were critical of the proposal, and I think what's absolutely remarkable about today is that
we have participated very constructively in the discussions right through the IWC including this
chair's proposal.

We've responded to it, not only by saying that we don't accept the resumption of commercial whaling
but also by putting forward a series of other positive proposals and initiatives, which we think
the IWC can take up, and I think what's, at the end of the day, even more important about what's
happened this morning is that not only has Australia's view about this flawed proposal prevailed,
and it has with the support of others, but it also means that it is now in the court of the
Japanese and the Japanese whalers to determine whether they are still gonna continue to target
large number of whales in the Southern Ocean.

Something which clearly at this commission we have seen views put about the undesirability of those
actions.

TONY JONES: You've had to go against both New Zealand and the United States who say they were very
close to a compromise deal with Japan which would dramatically lower the number of whales Japan
kills and put an end to scientific whaling. Was it not even worth considering that sort of
compromise?

PETER GARRETT: We looked very closely at the compromise, Tony, and we put a nine point proposal, an
alternative proposal, which identified some of its flaws. Remember, it wasn't only about resuming
commercial whaling, there was whaling in IWC sanctuaries, there was a targeting of vulnerable and
endangered species. There was no commitment to look at the significant governance issues and issues
around the use of agreed science in the Commission, all of which must be dealt with in a
comprehensive manner.

So to that extent yes, there were other countries including the ones that you've mentioned who were
in favour of compromise but frankly this wasn't a compromise that we or others could accept and
I've been very pleased to see interventions from countries such as India, the support that we've
received from the Buenos Aires group and a number of Latin American countries, and others,
recognising the substance of Australia's objections, which they share, and understanding that we do
need to have a very different but holistic vision for the IWC in the future. One which Australia's
been very, very positive in bringing forward.

TONY JONES: What will you do though if Japan simply walks away completely, as they've threatened to
do, from the IWC and goes back to commercial whaling unilaterally and just ignores you?

PETER GARRETT: Well, there's no signs as yet that that's going to happen and I very much hope that
Japan doesn't take that step and I'd urge them not to. We've always said that these discussions are
always difficult, are always contentious, but Australia has expressed its confidence in the IWC as
the appropriate body for these matters to be resolved and discussed.

We think that's where the discussions should happen and we're committed to identifying those things
which we can do positively together. Remember that we actually brought forward the Southern Ocean
Research Partnership, a big partnership which we invite other countries to join us with, Tony, and
the support that we've received here in Morocco for that has been really tangible.

And so what we're saying is 'let us work together on the things that we can agree on.' Sure there
will be areas of disagreement, we need to find ways of resolving those over time, but in the
meantime let's have confidence building measures working on those things which we can find
agreement on and for Japan to consider whether it's still appropriate for them to be targeting
those large numbers of whale species in the Southern Ocean for the coming seasons ahead.

TONY JONES: But at the same time you are effectively holding a gun to the head of the Japanese by
taking them to the International Court of Justice and trying to stop them in the International
Court. How much more important now is that case and particularly if Japan walks away from the IWC?

PETER GARRETT: Well that case is part of the Government's repertoire of actions in relation to
whaling which we always said that we would bring forward, but it's not the whole of our repertoire.
The point I'd make about the case is simply this: we're well prepared to take that case and
Australia and Japan accept that the resolution of that particular matter which has been identified
in that case, the question of so called scientific whaling, is one that can be adjudicated in that
court.

But there are a range of other issues, important issues, including some that were in the substance
of the chair's compromised proposal that we think need to be very, very seriously looked at and
resolved. And the only way that we can do that is to continue the process of agreeing on those
things which are positives in the Commission and saying 'listen, where we can work together on
non-lethal whale research - let's do it. Where we can identify the economic benefits for developing
countries for whale watching - let's provide expert support and additional advice and help. Where
we can actually have rigorous science in the Commission as the basis for determining those matters
under the reservations and the like - let's have rigorous science.'

I mean these are not exceptional matters but they're things which are absolutely fundamental to the
future of the International Whaling Commission. One which, again, we very much want other nations
to join us in.

TONY JONES: Peter Garrett, we'll have to leave you there. I appreciate the difficulties you were
having, caught between two very big stories on one night. At least you're able to talk fluently
about one of them. We thank you very much.

PETER GARRETT: Well Tony, the numbers that I've been focussing on here are the numbers of whales
that have been targeted in the Southern Ocean and the sort of positive policies that we think need
to be brought forward in the Commission and we've been doing that I can assure you.

TONY JONES: Ok. Thanks very much.

Australia in Afghanistan for at least two more years

Australia in Afghanistan for at least two more years

Broadcast: 23/06/2010

Reporter: Tony Jones

Defence Minister John Faulkner has outlined a possible timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Transcript

TONY JONES, PRESENTER: After a fortnight in which five diggers were killed, Australian troops in
Afghanistan have been given a clearer picture of how long they'll have to stay in the war zone.

The Defence Minister, John Faulkner, has for the first time outlined a possible timetable for
withdrawal starting in the next two to four years.

The withdrawal depends on how long it takes for Australian forces to fully train their Afghan
replacements.

JOHN FAULKNER, DEFENCE MINISTER: I am deliberately not providing a precise timeframe for you. I
haven't been given, provided with a precise timeframe by the ADF (Australian Defence Force) for
very good reasons. This depends on a number of factors not the least the conditions on the ground
in Afghanistan

In the meantime Australia's mission will rely, more than ever, on America.

The United States is stepping in to replace Dutch troops pulling out of Uruzgan province.

Now to the weather: It's been an historical night a move against the first term prime minister is
unprecedented in modern times but tomorrow a special meeting of the Labor caucus will decide the
fate of Kevin Rudd who only last year was considered the most popular prime minister in Australian
history and we'll be in the national capital with full coverage. If you'd like to look back at
tonight's interview with Peter Garrett or Paul Howse or review any stories or transcripts you can
visit our website and you can follow us on twiteder and Facebook. Now here's 'Lateline Business'
with Ticky Fullerton.