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(generated from captions) high is keeping the

south-east dry. Troughs are

bringing storms to much of

the Northern Territory and

inland Western Australia A

low near PNG is triggering

showers in north-east Queensland. Widespread storms

over the northern trottic and

interior. Showers for the

years land coast. Mostly

sunny for Brisbane, Sydney

and Adelaide. A late shower

for Canberra and Melbourne,

increasing sunshine. Hobart a

clearing shower. Sunny in

Perth and thunderstorms for

Darwin. Let's take a last

check of the markets - the

All Ordinaries is more than

70 point higher. The Nikkei

and do you are up and the

dollar is 90.06U.

Cent. National Party leader

Mark Vaile is next at the

National Press Club. Our next

full bulletin is at 7

o'clock. I am Ros Childs,

thank you for joining us.

Have a great afternoon.

Closed Captions by CSI

This program is not subtitled Today Deputy Prime

Minister Mark Vaile takes his

tour of rural Australia to

Canberra to launch his

National Press Club Deputy party's campaign. Live at the

Prime Minister Mark Vaile.

Welcome. Welcome to National

Press Club and today's

National Bank address. It is

a pleasure to welcome Mark Vaile as Leader of the

Nationals and a closing

address from the Nationals

for this election campaign.

It is very hard though to

separate that role from his

ministerial role of transport

and regional services. The

National party has - the

National party leader

particularly has an

interesting role in election

campaigns traditionally

pursuing what they have come

to call the wombat trail

which explains the beast at

the end of the platform here,

but although Mark Vaile an

his campaign has had more

coverage than most national

and country party leaders in

the past has had it has still

been rather sparse compared

about the massive coverage of

the two major parties but he

will bring you up-to-date on

all that is going on if he is

re-elected today. Please

welcome Mark Vaile. Thank

you, Ken, and to Morris and

the staff here at the

National Press Club and of

course the members, thank you

for hosting today's lunch and

the opportunity to have a bit

of a chat with this group and

of course the broader

Australian public. The my

parliamentary colleagues, distinguished guests, ladies

and gentlemen, seeing as you

raised the issue of the level

of press coverage of the

overall campaign, Ken, it was interesting last week Denis

Shannihan where a column in

the Australian as to how I

and my party is not getting

as much coverage as the

leaders of the other major

parties bit is a standard

campaign story. If you look

through Australian political

history that has always been

the case but in reality the

journalists that have

travelled with us on the

wombat trail, journalists

from the Australian, the ABC,

AAP, 'Courier-Mail' and other

news organisation haves done

a excellent job of being able

to get stories through in the

Metropolitan media and it is

important that we do that. It

is important we get those

messages through because what

we have been doing on the

wombat trail as it is called

and it has been

affectionately called for

generations now in our party,

generations of different

leaders, is that it is a

campaign trail that takes us

around regional Australia. We

engage in a direct dialogue

with real Australians, real

people working in their daily

lives. The journalists

travelling with me for

example have been exposed to

a pig-hunting exercise in North Queensland. We were

mustering cattle in Em yald

and over on the coast at

Tweed Heads we had lessons in

skateboard riding. But that

is what goes on in real

Australia. That is what real

people do. Whether they are

young people that just want

something in their community

they can enjoy or whether

they are people in drought-stricken Australia

trying to extract everything

they can out of their piece

of Australia to provide for

their families, whether they

are like guy in North

Queensland that is trying to

help out with the control of

feral animals with the sugar

cane industry. That is what

this campaign to us is all

about, having a direct

dialogue with real

Australians. The 7.5 million

of them in particular that

live outside the Metropolitan

areas of Australia. We have

been talking to them about

the importance of the

strength of the Australian

economy. We have been talking

to them about the importance

of safe hands carrying that

forward, given the commentary

about looming storm clouds on

the economic horizon and people understand that and

people are thinking about

these things in their daily

lives. I have been talking

about how we will share and

spread Australia's prosperity

to every part of the country

especially the regions that

are not directly benefiting

from the economic growth and

prosperity that may be

evidence in other parts of

Australia. I have been

talking about the real threat

that a change of Government a

change of Government a Labor

Government would pose to

local businesses, small

businesses in those

communities, local

communities and regional

Australia in particular. So

ladies and gentlemen, the

case I believe is quite

compelling for the

re-election of a Coalition

Government. You know our

record, the Coalition has

delivered the longest period

of economic expansion in

Australia's history. 16

continuus years of economic

expansion in our economy

within our country and

everything that that has

delivered to 21 million

Australians. In the 11 years

since 1996 the net wealth of Australian households has

doubled. Real wages have

increased dramatically and we

as a nation have created 2.2

million new jobs. 2.2 million

new jobs. It is a significant

record. As part of the

Coalition my party, the

Nationals have helped deliver

these years of prosperity. We

have used our seats around

manage and represent the the cabinet table wisely to

interest of regional

Australia but also and always

maintaining a focus on what

is important for Australia,

the National interest, what

is in the National interest

in everyone of those desists

we have taken? We have

delivered as a Government

significant benefits across

Australia. More money for

Australia's roads and

railways than ever before in

our nation's history. Why?

Because we can afford it. We

have established a savings

base as opposed the a

borrowing base. We are no

longer a net borrowing

country. We a net saving

country. For example, the $2 billion perpetual

communications fund, the

Future Fund, the higher

education endowment fund,

they are all there to ensure

that we have the services

that we need and expect in

the future. We have

established better laws to

protect the the small

businesses in our community.

We have committed $3.5

billion since the drought

began to support the more

than 40,000 farming families

in small businesses that are

suffering as a result of

drought across Australia. Our

strong economic management

has transformed Australia. It

has transformed Australia

permanently. This country now

and the people that live in

it are in a situation where

we are much more confident

and much more optimistic

about ourselves, our nation

and our future than we have

been at any other time in our

history. As far as I am concerned, that is undeniably

a good thing, a really good

thing because we are a confident country about

ourselves and our place in

the world. Ladies and

gentlemen, on the wombat

trail we have visited lots of

communities all over regional

Australia and new communities an suburbs in some place that's are growing that did

not exist in 1996. We have

met ordinary Australians who

were struggling in 19960 but

who now have thriving

businesses. They have may it

through some of those

difficult years as we have in

Australia, to be in a

situation now where they are

confident and optimistic

about their business and the

people they employ. We have

been talking to families

about the difference that 11

years of security and

prosperity have made in their

daily lives. That is what we

stand for and that is what we

believe in. I believe that

ordinary families want to be

able to live in quiet

security within our nation.

They want the security of a

job in a strong economy. The

security of good health

service. They want to know

their children will get the

education they need and they want to be able to drive

their children to school on

decent roads that are safe.

It is a vision of Australia

as a secure, safe and

possible prus place where the

Government Prince people with

help when they need it and

otherwise stays out of their

lives. That is the Australia

we are aiming for, that is

what we are targeting - an

Australia that is confident,

optimistic, where there is

help available and where

there are enormous

opportunities available for

those who want the pursue them. Our strong plan for

Australia's future is based

on this vision. Our plan will

spread Australia's prosperity

to every street and household

with tax cuts for all

Australians and opportunities

for everyone to get ahead. We

will take advantage of

Australia's prosperity to

make more investments for the

future. One of our greatest

achievements without fear of

contradiction, one of our

greatest achievements has

been the wipe out the Labor

Party's debt we inherited in

1996 and we have been able to

start putting money away for

the challenges of future and

I mentioned before into funds

like the Future Fund t higher

education endowment fund. We

are now able to do these things in Australia and

invest and save for future

generations so they do not

have to suffer the burdens we

did when we inherited office

in 1996. Ladies and

gentlemen, our strong

economic management has

enabled us to spend more on improving health care

especially outside the major

cities. We have announced we

will make I easier to see a

doctor by training more

doctors, nurses and medical

specialists. As a result of

our plan there will be an

extra 150 doctors per year

working in rural and regional

practices across Australia.

We will fund more health

clinics in rural areas and

home clinics by general

practice nurses to older

Australians. I have talked a

lot on the wombat trail about

our plan the appoint local

hospital boards and provide

funding to hospitals in rural

and regional areas. We want public hospitals to be

controlled by men and women

who know the hospital staff,

who know the patients and who

have a personal commitment

for the health of their local

community. That is what we

want in our local communities

across Australia. By contrast

Kevin Rudd want the replace

the state bureaucrats who are

running the health system

into the ground with Federal

bureaucrats who are going to

be further removed from their

problems and the issues of

the day facing our local communities. We do not

believe that is the right way

to go. Ladies and gentlemen,

our strong economic

management is also central to

our ability to build the

infrastructure that Australia

will need for its future

growth under our 20-20 plan for Australia's transport

future. We have already

announced many of the key

projects under the plan which

include port links in

Brisbane and Sydney which

will enable exporters to get

their products to the docks

more efficiently. A massive

upgrade of Australia's major

highway network. $300 million

over six years to upgrade

development roads that are

vital for the future of the

mining, beef, forestry and

other industries particularly

in regional and remote Australia. These roads are

generally in remote or

Outback regions so you would

expect they have been utterly

neglected and ignored by

state governments. This is

because local Government can

not afford to work on the

roads and state Labor

governments are refusing to

spend money on these vital

economic drivers in these

regions. We have announced an

extra $5050 million for the strategic regional roads

program so that local

councils and other Government

can work together to build

more high-priority road links

in regional Australia and particularly critical

arterial links. Again local

Government cannot afford to

do this by themselves. The

pressure is on them to do it

and state Labor governments

are refusing to spend money

in this area. Added to these

announcements ladies and

gentlemen, today I am

announcing funding to

complete the Hume Highway

project that was start many

years ago in NSW. By the end

of 2009 the whole of the

highway in NSW will be four

lanes except for the sections

through Holbrook and

surrounding areas which have

a combined length of 20

kilometres so today I

announce a re-elected

Coalition Government will

invest $75 million under

Australia link two to

complete the Dunhlil Cuply

kation of the Hume Highway by

2012. Our total spending

tonne highway will be $992

million by 2012. As a result

of this investment Sydney and

Melbourne Australia's largest

cities will be linked by a

four-lane highway for the

first time in our nation's

history as well as a

four-lane connection in

Canberra the highway will be

safer and the Dunhlil Cup l kation will increase.

One of the best ways we

can maintain Australia's

strong economy into the

future is to make sure that

every Australian student gets

a good education. Including

vocational training or

university qualifications

after they leave school. It

has to be good for the

student and good for the said and we know it has to be good

for the country. We need more

people with technical and vocational skills in

Australia today. The Coalition has already

announced we will provide a

new tax rebuild for education

expenses including school

fees. Parents will receive up

to $400 for each child at

preschool or primary school

and $800 per year for each

secondary student. The rebate

will benefit every family

because the parents of

students in Government

schools are often asked to

contribute the equivalent of

school fees through voluntary

contributions and various

other levies and charges.

They all deserve the support

of the taxpayer. We will also

be providing 1000 student in

remote Australia with $40000

Burnsies to help them

participate in higher education, either university or vocational education and

training. As well we will

establish a further 100 new

Australian technical colleges

to enable more secondary

students to learn the trades

that laws need the future to

provide a greyer path way

between school and the

workplace in more communities

across Australia. Ladies and

gentlemen, one industry that desperately needs more

skilled workers is the

aviation industry. Today

releasing the Coalition's

aviation policy. There is

currently an international

shortage of pilots, aircraft

maintenance engineers and air

traffic controllers. The

shortage is particularly

affecting regional airlines

here in Australia. For

example Regional Express had

to extend services a number

of location, Cooma, Wagga

Wagga, because of the

shortage of pilots, not

passengers. It costs up to $100,000 to train a

commercial airline pilot and

many young people who enter

the industry have to pay this

cost themselves, although

some airlines now setting up

their own scholarship

arrangements to create a flow

of entry-level pilots into

their work force. I am

announcing today that a re-elected Coalition Government will establish a

regional airline pilot

scholarship scheme at a cost

of $9 million over two years

from 2008-09. Under the

scheme we will reimburse up

to 25 per cent of the

training costs that a pilot

incurs provided they then

work for regional airline for

two years. We will pay half

the payment at the end of the

first year and the other half

of the payment at the end of

the second year. A re-elected

Coalition Government will

also take action to increase

the number of aircraft

maintenance engineers who are

critical to Australia's

aviation industry and to

maintain our excellent air safety record. We have

already announced that we

will establish an Australian

technical college campus in

Nowa which will focus on

aviation training for the

Defence Force and its

associated industries. I am

announcing today the

Coalition will establish a

second Australian technical

college with a focus on

aviation training. The second

college will be located at or

adjacent to Perth airport. It

will emphasise training

technical skills for the

civilian aviation sector

rather than military sector.

The general aviation industry

make as significant

contribution to Australia and

especially to regional areas

but it has been hard-hit by

the drought and rising fuel

prices. The Coalition has

already set up an action

agenda for general aviation

in conjunction with the

industry. We will work in

partnership with the industry

to implement the strategies

they device under the action

agenda to enable the industry

to grow into the future. In

the meantime we will work

Royal Australian aeroclubs to encourage more high school

students to consider a career

in aviation. We will invest

$250,000 to help fund a cadet

pilot certificate course run

in part any ship with the

euro clubs. High school

student who undertake the

certificate will complete

courses of in radio

procedures and other

subjects, they will have a

solid foundation to go on in

a career of aviation and will

learn the importance of

understanding their own

limitations as pilots

particularly given in the

training years the

difficulties as far as flying

in bad weather and poor

light. The aviation industry

in Australia is critically

important to regional Australia, particularly those

regional air services. At the

moment they often fly a lot

of specialists and specialist

services in and out of regional Australia and we

have to ensure that we

maintain the base and the

critical mass of those

services across Australia and

that is why we support the

development and growth of the

aviation sector and

particularly the RPT sector.

Ladies and gentlemen, as we

have continued to outline on

a daily basis during the

course of this election

campaign in 2007 our team t

Coalition team, is a team

proven economic managers. We

have the safe hands to steer

Australia through any

challenges we might confront

in the future. By contrast, a

Rudd Labor Government would

be the least experienced Government in Australia's

history but they somehow feel

qualified the make big and

risky changes to our country.

We keep being told everywhere

we go on the wombat trail that average Australians do

not want an education

revolution, they just want a

core national curriculum.

They want their kids to go to

school and leave school

knowing how to read and write and understand Australian history, they want skills

they can use in their lives

afterwards. We can't put the

future of our nation at risk.

We would be putting it at

risk with the inexperience

that exists on the front

bench of the Australian Labor

Party. We would put it at

risk with the domination of

the union movement that

exists on the front bench of

the Labor Party. We have got

inexperience in Mr Peter

Garrett and we have seen on a

number of occasion wheres he

has belted the cat as far as

what their real agenda is.

Australians should never

forget if comment he made in

Melbourne Airport "Once we

get in we will change it

all!". So as we watch the

news tonight and listen to

the commitments and promises

that are being made by Mr

Rudd in his campaign launch

this afternoon, we need to

tag each one of those

commitments with that line

"Once we get in, we will

change it all!" Because that

is the real agenda of the Australian Labor Party and

you only have to look at the

comments of the union

heavyweights and Mr Garrett

and others to believe that

that is going to be the case.

That will to be challenge for

Australia during the course

of the next week and a half

as we move towards the 24

November and election day. Australians do not want big

and risky changes. They want

security, they want

stability, they want strong

plans, they want safe hand to

manage this nation on their

behalf so they can continue

to enjoy their lives in that

stable way. I believe that

the Coalition is the most

experienced team, the best experienced team to deliver that the Australia into the

future. Australians want a

Government to provide them

with help when they need it and when they don't need help

they just want us to leave

them alone so they can get on

with their lives and take

advantage on the

opportunities that are being

generated in this country.

Ladies and gentlemen, during

the next 10 days I will

continue my wombat trail and

explain how the Coalition has

the strong plans and the safe

hand to deliver and maintain

Australia's strong economy

into the future. We cannot

put that at risk. We must

ensure that going forward not

just with the a strong

economy but that strong

change that has taken place

in the culture in Australia

that, we are now a nation of

strong, confident people optimistic about our future and very positive about our future. We cannot let

anything undermine that

confidence and that optimism

among the Australian people.

Thank you very much. APPLAUSE

Thank you, minister.

Let's move onto questions.

The first is from Kath

Hart. Mr Vaile, throughout

the campaign there has been a

keen focus on the new leadership deal between John

Howard and Peter Costello. Do

you share former Nationals

leader John Anderson's view

that this has been a

disfraction the Nationals

campaign? Not at all. As you

know, Kath, you have been

travelling a fair bit of the

wombat trail with us, our

diagnosis directly with those

7.5 people that live outside

the Metropolitan areas. You

and your colleagues have

reported the discussions we

have been having and the

issues we have been focusing

on. Of course with the prospective change in

leadership in any political

party there is going to be

attention on that. But could

I draw your attention to our

- the Coalition's campaign

launch in Brisbane on Monday

where the leadership team of

the Coalition presented to

the people of Australia - and

that was John Howard, myself

and Peter Costello - both our

parties in that Coalition launch outlined very clearly

our commitment to the

Australian people, outlined

very clearly the importance

of the strength and the unity

of the Coalition going into

the future to deliver what

Australians want and

underpining, I suppose, the

reason why our Coalition

Government is arguably been

the most successful in

Australia's history it is

because of that commitment and that level of

understanding between the two

parties. Yes, we have had a

leadership change during the

life of our Government on two

occasion in our party and

that has been managed very,

very professionally and the

Government has continued to

deliver and deliver very,

very strong through the Australian people and that is our view about how we will

continue to do that into the

future. We run this campaign

as a Coalition. I am individually running a

campaign as the leader of the

Nationals travelling across

Australia engage wing the

people we represent. The next

question. 'Sydney Morning

Herald', Mr Vaile. On

November 1 or Taree Radio you

agreed, is a under it, to

undertake a lie detector test

regarding your fore-knowledge

of the AWB scandal. Has that

ever happened? Have you had

the lie detector test?

Apparently the guy who

offered it was offering to

pay $5000 to Legacy if you

did it! Has it happened?

And does it concern you that

it indicates even in regional

Australia a credibility

problem on issues like AWB? A

couple of responses - we are

engaging in a debate on local

radio with my Labor

counterpart in my local

electorate and next thing on

bobs a person in the studio

with the Labor candidate making a number of

acertificates so one can only

assume he is part of the

other side. I was on a phone

remote if the radio station.

Look, I went through the

entire Cole Inquiry, appeared

before that inquiry, answered

the questions and the

questions in the Parliament

and that royal commission

brought down their decision,

their judgment on any

wrongdoing by the Government

and that is now a matter of

history as far as Australia

is concerned. What I would

say to the gentleman that

laid tout challenge, if it is

not a political stunt, come

and see me after the

election. Lincoln Wright from

News Limited. Welcome to the

club again, Mr veil. I would

like ask you an economic

question T Prime Minister's

attack on Kevin Rudd's

credibility is based on an

argument which some say is

quite sound which is if Labor

re-regulates the labour

market if they win Government

this will add to inflationary

pressure in the economy but I

think a loft Australians are

concerned that both sides of

politic are spending so much

money, $60 billion according

to the newspaper summaries of

these spendings. Why is your government so confident that

this is not going to leave

the Reserve Bank next year to

crack down tonne economy with several interest rate rises?

Well, Lincoln, at the cover

this issue our stated objective that is 1 per cent

figure, as far as surplus is

concerned, right? Now first

thing, isn't it fantastic to

be having a debate in this

country about budget

surpluses and about what size

they should be and what

impact they are going to

have? I can remember a time

in this country when we used

to have a debate about budget

deficit and debt, now we are

having a debate about budget

surpluses and savings which

is a good thing. There will

be all sorts of economic

analysis taking place about

election commitments and what

they might and might not do. The reality that is we have continued to show over the

last 11 years we have the

safest pair of hands as far

as the economic management of

Aussie is concerned. Just

remember that in terms of the

issues that are addressed by

the Reserve Bank in making judgments about interest

rates, it is not just

inflation as we have seen

over the years, there are

other issues. It is not just

decisions governments make as

far as fiscal policy, there

are other issues as well. On

the issue of the commitments

we making, we are making very

responsible commitments that

I believe will continue to in

a very stable way drive economic growth in Australia

and that is what we are

supposed to be doing but we

also as a Government are

supposed to be assisting

people where they need

assistance in staying out of their lives when we need to

and we believe we have the

balance right. Every time

that we have forecast at

budget surplus - and there

has been a bit of a debate

about this - every time we

have forecast a budget surplus, we have

over-delivered on that. The

budget surplus has always

come in higher than our

forecasts. Our whether that

is a conservative forecast,

but that has been the case

bit is important that we

understand the context of

this. This election is a

debate, an election between

two political parties, two

political movements about our

philosophy for driving

growth, jobs and a strong

economy and budget surpluses.

Now we go back to the Labor

years and the debate was

about how much money are

going to bore yo, servicing

debt, not budget surpluses,

about unemployment not jobs

opportunities, not a skills shortage, about delivering on

those things. They are the

things that have changed and

it has changed in those last

11 years so we are in a

situation in Australia today

where we are having a debate

about very positive issues

and of course it takes deft

management, as you point out,

as far as just managing the

economy is concerned. But the

most important thing and the differential the Prime

Minister often raises that

you alluded to is the very,

very clear difference between

the Coalition and the Labor

Party on what takes place in

the labour market in terms of

industrial relations. Our

work choice policy compared

to them abolishing that,

rolling it back and returning

the a sent liesed form of

wage fixing which would

seriously have an

inflationary impact on the

economy. Next question is

from Kate Corbet. From

AAP. Mr Vaile, we have

certainly enjoyed your

antics, skateboarding, horse

riding, pig-hunting this election campaign but there

are some like your colleague

Barnaby Joyce who are calling

for more visiony

announcements. Do you think

he may be satisfied after

today's speech? Well, what

I would say to people in the

media through the media that

are commenting about visiony

announcements and looking for

investment in major project

assist in infrastructure

across Australia is that they

should have a look at not

just the course of this

election campaign but the

term that we have been in

office in Australia since

1996. People say well why are

you just announcing these

things now? Well we spent

quite a few years fixing up

the mess we in her itted in

1996, paying off $96 million

worth of debt, fixing up the

economy in Australia where we

can now afford to start

investing in major items of infrastructure and I read the

comments that you refer to

this morning. Well, you know,

what is $10 billion worth of investment in the future of

the Australia's irrigation

systems in fixing up the

sustainability of Australia's

water system? What is $38

billion wofrt investment in

road and rail infra structure

not one cent of it being

borrowed, every krefnt it

being general aided by a

prosperous country, that is

not major investment in to a

prosperous Australia. What is

the investment into roads to

continue to drive economic

development in development

roads and strategic

development roads. The $3 50

0 million a year every year

on their roads, roads that

state Labor governments are

refusing to fund. What is

that? Is not that investing

in infrastructure? Of course

it is. We are living in a

time where we are seeing

unprecedented levels of investment across the country

that will continue to drive economic development growth

and more jobs into the

future. We have not just

started announcing these

things during the course of

this election campaign, we

started to announce them a

number of years ago and in

May of this year we committed

another $22.3 billion that

bulked up that investment in

the road and rail

infrastructure in this

country an many of those

project that the Commonwealth

of Australia is now investing

in we have had to do it

because of the lazy way state

Labor governments managed

their budgets and they

abrogate their

responsibilities inch of that

infrastructure so I would say

to those come enday force

there is a mountain of

investment in sphruk sphruk

today not just for today but

for future generations. Brad

Watts Daily Telegraph. I was

on a Rex flight, an elderly

woman sitting next to me had

a property in rural NSW and

talked about the election.

She said they had no tell

vision connection and the

only way to get the news was

for the husband trying to

connect the set to the wire

fence t.s she said she would

vote for the Nationals, and

they always have done that.

Do you think your party has

an unfair advantage and how

do you expect to capitalise

on this especially in the NSW regional areas? In answer

to the last part of your

question, no I do not think

we have an unfair advantage

as far as that is concerned.

We do not take any supporters

for granted or any votes in our electorate in Australia

for granted. On that issue,

we in recent years have

fought hard within the

Government to ensure we have

been able to see not tens of

millions or hundreds of mirl

Johns but billions of dollars

being invested into telecommunications across

rural and regional Australia.

I know it is part of the

great debate with the Labor

Party at the moment but the

reality is that we have

continued to invest more in

getting a lot of those

services in to the more

remote parts of Australia. I

am not sure where that

particular lady was living

but at worst she should be

able to get a satellite

connection into TV stations

like ABC, I think Channel

Seven and maybe the Northern

Territory station or you

could get onto Aus Star. We

are certainly going to be

covering 99 per cent of

Australians with our broadband network that is

currently being rolled out by

Optus and elders and Opel. We

have established the new

review committee being

chaired by Dr Bill Glasson

former president of the AMA which will recommend to

Government where to spend the

first $400-odd million out of that perpetual communication

fund in remote Australia the

make sure that people like

the lady you are referring to

get a better service particularly as far as their communications are concerned and that into the future they will always be able to keep

up to the rest of the country

with new technologies as it

become available. They are

the sorts things we have done

in Government and if that

gives us an unfair advantage

in the bush then we will take it. Bren

In terms ever a crisis

facing the country and the

world climate change, drought

and in Australia's case are

two of the big once. One of

your key constituent being the National Farmers

Federation has expressed its

great disappointment with the

Coalition's agricultural

policy. If anyone is going -

a serious constituency that

has to have a role in dealing

with climate change and with

drought and baring the

effects of it is the rural

community. What do you intend

to say to your constituents

in the regional areas about

how you might actually

improve your acted in those

areas? What I am saying to

our constituency in those

areas and I've said to David

Cromby and the people he represents that is we will

approach these issues in a

very balanced way. We will

not approach these issues in

a knee jerk reaction way as

we have approached the entire

issue of climate change and

all the issues out of that

that we need to deal with.

Right - you know, starting

with the ratification of

Kyoto and what that might or

might not do through to our

plan for the future as far as

moving into the next phase of

negotiations and commitments

under the structure of Kyoto,

which begins in December in

next month with the meeting

in Bali. We will be taking a

balanced approach that will not disadvantage our industries, including our agriculture industries

against other industries

across the world. Now, you

know, on the odd occasion

during the course of the

campaign it has been

suggested that we should lead

by example and that people

concede that if we ratify

Kyoto tomorrow, the day after

there will be absolutely zero

difference in terms of the

reduction in greenhouse gas

emissions across the world

and that is the reality and

it is the reality because you are not getting any

commitment out of China,

India or the US. We

negotiated and Robert Hill

was the minister at the time

who negotiated our position in the face of commitments

and we will meet our

commitments under the first

round of commitments in Kyoto

and we will continue to argue

the case and this took a

significant turn at the APEC

leaders sum quit in Sydney

when the Prime Minister was

able the achieve a

significant breakthrough with

those major developing

countries and particularly

China with the Sydney Dec la

yation when they committed to

engage and participate in

negotiations about climate

change and greenhouse gas

emissions in the future. Up

until then China had never

made any public commitment in

this regard and so though are

the important things and we

do not - we not going to go

ahead and telegraph the our

negotiating partners overseas

what our strategy is. Not

like Peter Garrett did on a

certain Monday I think it was

in Cairns a number of weeks

ago when he sent the message

to the world that they would

be fairly weak negotiators

and after the first hurdle

when they said they would not

be in that would not be a

deal-breaker. We will go on

and still negotiate the

second phase. By 5 o'clock

that evening their policy had

changed, it changed to where

we are, where we have always

been - about the future of

this issue, and that is to

work hard and to ensure with

other countries that we get

the major emitters involved

in this. Coming back to the

comments that you raised,

domestically, I mean for

years for almost the 11 years

we have been in office we

have had a broad range of

programs through the NHT that

help fund better natural

resource management both

water and land and

particularly targeted at

working with the farming

community in the new age if

you like of a carbon-trading

system, you know, we had the

task force report come back

to the Government from across

section of departments during

the dhoufrs year and it

focuses on a number of

things. The thing want to

focus on - and this is what I

say when talking to people in regional Australia - there is

a significant call role and

great opportunities for the

agriculture industry in

Australia to play. I am a

believer in carbon farming,

yet to be tested or

quantified by the scientists

and it is important that

agriculture is able to play

its role on that side of the

equation as well. So I will

always accept in good spirit

the criticism of the NFF but

I would say that we have

taken into consideration a

lot of the issues that the

farming community across

Australia will have to

confront over the years and

help manage those in the

overall challenge of managing

climate change and the issues

aligned with it. The other

thing that I would say is

that the most important thing

that our government is doing

for the farming community

across Australia at the

moment toys help them

survive. Is that $3.5 billion

thus far has been committed

in support to those 40,50 00

farming families and small

businesses across regional

Australia. Just remember this

program is not capped, there

is no limit to the funding,

while the drought goes on we continue to support them and

we believe as a nation we

should be doing that, we should support farmers in

their hour of need. I see

that as being the most

important issue at the

moment. For many of those farming families at the

moment the issue is survive. I believe one of the other great commitments we have

made is the national water

strategy the $10 billion plan

to try to plan and develop

into the future a structure

that makes us much more

sustainable in our use of

water. I mean, they are very,

very important things to a

loft farming families across

Australia. Next question. I

just want to go back to

Barnaby Joyce for a minute.

He has also said today that

the Coalition is facing

political annihilation if the

polls are correct that there

is a sense of depression and frustration within Coalition

rank thanks the message is

not getting through to

voters. Is that an accurate

assessment of the mood, and

does the Coalition need to

change its strategy to move

the focus away from the dry

topics - as he has called

them - such as the economy?

No. And no. All I would

suggest is that a few more

people should come into some

of the areas where I have

been and talk to the people

that I have been talking to

because I have been bumping

into as I said in my speech

confidence and optimism not

withstanding some of the

challenges. The issues we

dealing with are the issues

that the great mass of the

Australian population want us

the address and deal with. We

have a very, very broad base

of policies in place

addressing future growth and

structural changes in

Australia that have been

there for some time. Maybe

they maybe worth repeating

but the reality is that we

believe that this election is

far from won or lost and

anybody that things it is, is

fooling themselves. There is

still a vast number of

Australians out there yet the

make their final decision

about what - the way they are

going to vote on the 24th and

can I suggest to all my

colleagues that they all need

to keep working very, very

hard between now and 6

o'clock on the night of 24

November to get every vote

they can because Australia's

future depends on it. Mr Vaile, you referred in your

speech to the Government's

experience and how this was a

good thing. Yet when you were

elected to Government in 1996

you had never been near a

ministerial office, neither

had John Sharp, Tim Fisher,

John Anderson. Peter Costello had only been in Parliament

for 7 years, he had had zero

experience as a Treasurer yet

you all turned out to be

pretty good ministers and it

has not been a bad Government

so why is having zero

experience good for the

Coalition but bad for the

Labor Party? In 1996 I did

not immediately become a

minister, I chaired one of it parliamentary standing

committees on transport and

Regional Development as it

was then, regional services,

for 12 or 18 months before I

became a minister. But we had

been in Opposition for 13

years and many of our front

benchers had been front

benchers and if you like to

put it in an Australian

context had been galloping

around the training track for

many, many years before we

won Government in 1996. Had

been through a number of

election defeats like the 89

election, the 89-90 election,

the 93 election, the

un-losable election! And

having will all those experiences and if you

compare and contrast that accumulated experience lead

hinge up to 1996 to where it

is today with the opposition

there is a great deal of

difference. There is a great

deal of difference. There was

a number of people within the

Government ranks that had

been members of a previous

Coalition Government to give

guidance and of course the

Prime Minister of the day t

Prime Minister of today, had

been a senior minister right

through the Fraser years and

so there is an enormous

amount of difference. You

should never underestimate

the significant role as the

leader of the Government and

the leader of cabinet and the

executive that the Prime

Minister plays in the

decision-making process and

the man that was elected

people in 19960 had been

honeing skills for the day

for 13 years in Opposition

and carried with him into

that 7 or 8 years of

experience in Government from the previous Fraser

Government, plus a number of other ministers that - a

number of other members that

had been there. But it is

fundamentally the amount of

time also that it has been

spent on the training track.

And I mean if you look at it

year for year weight for

weight it does not stack up.

Laurie Wilson. Freelance

journalist and director of

the National Press Club. I

will use my prerogative and ask you two questions! The

first one is just picking up

on Jessica's question

previously - how do you

explain this apparent anomaly

that this Government has

presided over this period of

economic prosperity yet

despite your earlier comments

it seems a significant

proportion of the Australian

electorate is not prepared to

reward you for that? I will

come back and ask the second

question. That really is a

question if that is going to be the ultimate outcome and

we are in the hands of the

Australian people as far as

that is concerned, Laurie.

That is really a question for

them. Because if you have a

look at the circumstances of

this nation today, you know,

we are the envy of most other

developed countries across

the world. On all counts. So

there is not a looming

economic crisis in Australia.

We have not got an inept

goifnt charge of the country

at the moment so that is why

I argue there is a compelling

case to reelect a Government

that can provide stability

and certainty and has a

proven track record of doing

that. Now ultimately the

people of Australia will

decide that and we await

their verdict. My second

question - and I will make

that two parts - just to pick

up on that do you think the

electorate is tired of you?

Queensland is seen as a

pivotal state, in terms of

your travails throughout that

state what impact do you get

if any that the row over

council amall gations is

going to have there? On

your supplementary - I am not

into second-guessing what the

Australian people are likely

to decide or their

disposition to do that. All

we can do is put forward and

announce aide the strongest

case for the re-election of a

Coalition Government with all

the facts in the most

understandable way, layout a

very strong plan for the

future in what we are doing,

what we want to do with the

prosperity that has been

generated in this country and

that we have a proven track

record to be able to deliver

that with a safe pair of hands, the most common

comment I have had across

regional Australia over the

last four and a half, five

weeks is "Please, we want

things to stay as they are.

We have stability. We have

job. We have better incomes

than we have ever had. We

have opportunity. My wife can

go get the job she want, she

has the flexibility to manage

work and family

responsibilities. We do not want this to change. We do

not want to go back to where

the place - the workplace was

run by the union movements.

We do not want to go back to

where there was a union

official standing between an

employer and an employee".

They are the sorts of things

they are saying. Whether they

are saying that to those

other pollsters, I don't

know. I am just taking note

of what I am hearing on the

streets of regional

Australia. With regard to

Queensland, Queensland

obviously is going to be a

very important state as are

all others but particularly

because the Coalition holds

the overwhelming majority of

seats in Queensland and for a

Labor Government to be

elected there would have to

be a significant change in a

number of those seats so it

is an issue. Of course local Government amalgamation in

Queensland more than any

other state is a significant

issue. Where at the start of

the process the Beattie Labor

Government in Queensland passed legislation without

any consultation to demunts

had elected their local

authorities, without any

consultation, and the Labor

Government was up there going

to abolish those elected

representatives. If we tried

to do that to a State

Government there is like lick

to be civil war in the

country but they tide do it

in Queensland. We believe in

democracy in this country, we

believe people should have a

say about their local

authorities, about who

manages their local affairs

and they are often the issues

closest to the heart of any

constituent, the pothole t footpath or something going

down the road with a

development application, they

want control of their local

community so we said they

should have a say. We said

okay the Australian Electoral Commission elected by a local

authority in Queensland, we

will provide their services

to run a member sit or a poll

in that local community. That

night or the next more in

that - 4 o'clock in the

morning Peter Beattie said

any local authority and mayor

that went near the Federal

Government and sought assist

fant to the AEC to run a

plebicite would be sacked

forthwith and he amended that

legislation to do that.

People were outraged and said

"What country are we living

in here? Is this Australia

or what? "And they were

outraged. You ask, Laurie, is

it going to have an effect?

Yes, people are still angry

about the way they were treated even though the

Government has backtracked a

little bit and there will be plebicites later in the year

on this issue, they are still

rolling forward and there are

many local communities

particularly in regional

Queensland who believe they

are going to be

disenfranchised because of

their lack of representation

and they are angry about

it. Let's go back to Lincoln Wright. From News Limited

again. Bob Hawke was in Queen

been the other night at a

fundraiser He was in cough's

harbour the week before! The

silver bodgey was there with

his great presence and he

made an assault on the Howard

Government in three parts.

The second part was the

Government had lied on Iraq

and the third part was that

the Government claims to superior economic management

were not correct but he

reserved his fury.... The

first part! For the

Government's campaign against

the union movement in this

country. He accused the

Howard Government of demonising the union movement

and he said it was the

equivalent of Kevin Rudd

taking out a full-page

advertisement with some crook

yesterday businessman saying

"All employers are crooks"

something like that. I have a

funny feeling the Government

might have over-reached in

its attack on this? Do you

think you have over reached

and demonised them? We have

demonised aspects of union

action and involvement. Where

you cannot draw any other

analogy is that there is no

singular organisation that

has the level of

representation and control

over a individual political

party the way the union

movement has over the

Australian Labor Party in

terms of the percentages of

their front-bench make-up

which is 70 per cent made up

of union officials. The

involvement of the union

movement in that political

party, we have business

people in our party, small business people, large business people, individuals

from the community, we have

people just worked in the

workplace as PAYE wage

earners in our political

party but in the Labor Party

- and the question was asked

I think of Anna Bligh in the queens larnd Parliament, how

many of your members have got

to be members of the union?

And see said "All of my

members of Parliament have