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Rudd voices support for Govt intervention in -

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Rudd voices support for Govt intervention in NT

Broadcast: 26/06/2007

Reporter: Suzanne Smith

Federal Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd has told a conference in Cairns that the Labor premiers should
supply police to the intervention by the Federal Government in the Northern Territory.


LEIGH SALES: Well, while the Federal Government's intervention plan is running into stiff
opposition in Canberra, a more supportive atmosphere has prevailed at a conference in Cairns - and
some of that support is coming from the Opposition Leader, Kevin Rudd.

Today Mr Rudd told the conference, hosted by Noel Pearson's Cape York Institute, that the Labor
premiers should supply police to the Federal Government's efforts in the Northern Territory.

The most controversial views of the day were expressed by one of our most powerful economic policy
makers, secretary of the Treasury, Dr Ken Henry. He advocated welfare reforms for both black and
white Australians.

Suzanne Smith has the story.

SUZANNE SMITH: Federal Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd held a breakfast meeting with Noel Pearson to
thrash out the policy issues. When it came for the Labor leader to address the conference, Noel
Pearson gave this blunt description of his former boss.

NOEL PEARSON, CAPE YORK INSTITUTE: Kevin was my first boss. Mate, you think the new IR regime's
hard. (Laughter from audience)

SUZANNE SMITH: On the issue of Indigenous policy, Mr Pearson and his old boss were in agreement.
The Cape York model might be applied across the nation.

KEVIN RUDD, OPPOSITION LEADER: Is it going to be a question of that particular model being
universally applicable across the country? Let's wait and see. If we form the next government of
the country, or if Mr Howard forms the next government of the country, I think it's important we
try and make this work.

SUZANNE SMITH: Controversially, the model imposes conditions on welfare payments. Parents who
neglect their children will have 50 per cent of their payments quarantined. In addition, a Families
Commission set up in each community will ensure welfare money is spent on children and not wasted.

KEVIN RUDD: I think one of the things I'm going to do if we form government is to pull the premiers
and chief ministers together on how we can now do this better nationally, across the board.

SUZANNE SMITH: On the issue of the Federal Government's intervention in the Northern Territory, the
Opposition Leader urged state and territory leaders to cooperate.

KEVIN RUDD: When it comes to the dedication of police, it's incumbent on all state and territory
governments to give what they can. Obviously different states and territories are going to have
different policing demands, but we need to see a strong effort from the Federal Government as well
when it comes to the policing needs behind this federal government initiative.

SUZANNE SMITH: Also attending today's conference in Cairns was on the nation's most powerful
bureaucrats, secretary of the Treasury, Dr Ken Henry. Dr Henry says he has observed Indigenous
deprivation up-close, he grew up near the impoverish Aboriginal community of Purfleet in northern
New South Wales.

DR KEN HENRY, SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY: In extreme cases, and Purfleet was one of these. The
social norms of the community can be so powerful that they effectively determine the complete set
of all feasible life experiences of all members.

SUZANNE SMITH: Dr Henry also used his speech to broaden the welfare debate to cover mainstream
Australia. He believes over-generous income support, for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous welfare
recipients, is sapping ingenuity and drive,

DR KEN HENRY: Currently, a couple with three young children can access about $36,500 a year in
income support payments and family tax benefit without working at all. That fact affects workforce
participation decisions all around Australia in all sorts of communities.

SUZANNE SMITH: Treasury secretary Dr Ken Henry was asked whether the Federal Government's
intervention in the Northern Territory was an example of big Government disempowering Aboriginal
communities. He had this politically astute advice for Aboriginal communities about how they could
become proactive on the policy front.

DR KEN HENRY: If you as an Indigenous person in this room, want to take up, accept that
responsibility, you really are going to have to get a lot better at the job of policy advocacy.
That's just a simple fact.

SUZANNE SMITH: Some policy advice that shouldn't get the Treasury secretary in too much trouble,
this time. Suzanne Smith, Lateline.