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Rudd may target high earners for Budget boost -

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Reporter: Susan McDonald

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Higher income earners might need to prepare. The Prime Minister's hinted
they could help foot the bill of key Budget measures, like a promised rise in pensions. Kevin Rudd
says it's all in the name of fairness, and while the Government's hard at work to plug the huge gap
in revenue from the economic crisis, it can't seem to escape even more scrutiny of its asylum
seeker policy. From Canberra, Susan McDonald reports.

SUSAN MCDONALD, REPORTER: Give with one hand and take with another.

KEVIN RUDD, PRIME MINISTER: Well there's always going to be possible changes at any time to the
taxation mix.

SUSAN MCDONALD: But at this time of year, tax talk is running hot. There's no doubt next month's
Budget will include an increase to the pension, and that'll come at a hefty price.

KEVIN RUDD: It costs a truckload of money to do it.

SUSAN MCDONALD: It could be up to $4 billion, so like Robin Hood, Kevin Rudd has hinted he'll take
from the well-off to give to the cash poor.

KEVIN RUDD: Australia is all about fairness. People who are at the upper end, over time, perhaps
could be in a position to provide greater support.

SUSAN MCDONALD: Those earning more than $150,000 are in his sights.

MALCOLM TURNBULL, OPPOSITION LEADER: Who is Mr Rudd? Is he Dr Jekyll or Mr Hyde? Is he handing out
- is he Father Christmas every day of the year, or is he trying to claw back benefits and raise
taxes on the other hand?

SUSAN MCDONALD: The boosted first home owners' grant is one target for Budget savings.

JULIA GILLARD, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: That program, as the Prime Minister said, is one where the
words, "All good things must come to an end," do apply.

SUSAN MCDONALD: But that doesn't rule out an overhaul of the system with a focus on new homes.

KEVIN RUDD: The intention is to keep up the level of activity in the housing sector.

RON SILBERBERG, HOUSING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION: The Australian Government should at least retain the
$21,000 grant for new home purchase and construction because that's where we generate the jobs.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: What are young people meant to believe? They need to have some certainty. The
Government cannot keep on sending out all of these confused messages.

SUSAN MCDONALD: Framing a Budget with billions of dollars in lost revenue is demanding all of the
Government's focus, but it's also grappling with a persistent political distraction, thrown up by
the surge in asylum seekers through northern waters.

Two Indonesian men have appeared in a Perth court accused of bringing boatloads of asylum seekers
to Australia earlier this month. And in Indonesia, a frustrated Iraqi refugee waiting for
resettlement says the Rudd Government's policy changes have encouraged him to board a people
smuggling boat.

IRAQI REFUGEE: If I go to Australia now, different, different. Maybe accept it. But when John
Howard President Australia, he said, "Come back to Indonesia."

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Further proof of the failure of that policy.

KEVIN RUDD: People are going to have a range of different perceptions all the time. I ran into a
bloke the other day who hopped on a boat in 2001 in the midst of Mr Howard's Prime Ministership,
and as I was advised, was informed once he got to Australia under Mr Howard, there'd be two free
houses and three free tractors. There you go. I mean, look, it's a rumour mill out there.

SUSAN MCDONALD: In the interest of transparency, Defence has released more images capturing the
dramatic scenes of last week's fatal asylum seeker boat explosion, but there's still no word on its
cause. Susan McDonald, Lateline.