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Auditor-General criticises Government adverti -

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The Federal Auditor-General, who lost the power to approve political ad campaigns, says the new
system lacks integrity

Transcript

TONY JONES, PRESENTER: Well the Prime Minister says he expects more damaging opinion polls as he
tries to implement his super profits tax on the mining industry. As both sides continue their very
public campaigns, the Auditor-General today added to the Government's problems by attacking the new
approach to taxpayer funded advertising.

And although the Prime Minister had a victory tonight with the passage of his paid parental leave
legislation, he's pointed out that he still has until next year to call an election.

Political reporter, Hayden Cooper.

HAYDEN COOPER, POLITICAL REPORTER: It was an election promise three years ago. Tonight Kevin Rudd's
paid parental leave scheme became law.

JENNY MACKLIN, FAMILIES MINISTER: This really is a historic day for Australian families.

HAYDEN COOPER: It's a moment the Government wants to celebrate but it's being held back by
unfinished policy business elsewhere.

KEVIN RUDD, PRIME MINISTER: This business of reform is a tough business. It's a hard business. It's
never some sort of even and smooth trajectory. I expect that we're going to continue to take a
whacking in the polls for some little time to come yet.

HAYDEN COOPER: Time is running out. But the Prime Minister appears in no rush to go to the ballot
box.

KEVIN RUDD: We have an election due by, whatever it is, March or April next year.

HAYDEN COOPER: At last night's mid winter ball, Mr Rudd warned miners he has "a long memory."
Tonight he says it wasn't a threat.

KEVIN RUDD (Laughs): Well, listen; it's just a joke, Kerry. It's just a joke. For goodness sake.

HAYDEN COOPER: But there's no joking about the ongoing ad war being waged in prime time.

GOVERNMENT ADVERTISEMENT: That'll make mining more sustainable for the long-term.

HAYDEN COOPER: The Government's shifting approach to tax payer funded ads has been dragged back
into the spotlight.

IAN MCPHEE, AUDITOR-GENERAL: I believe they had been softened. The Minister, Secretary of Finance,
take a different view.

HAYDEN COOPER: Earlier this year the Government took the approval power for advertising away from
the Auditor-General. It then bypassed the guidelines to launch its mining campaign. Ian McPhee has
expressed his unease with the first change.

BRONWYN BISHOP: You never intended that they be softened?

IAN MCPHEE: I never suggested they should be softened. I would not want my role associated with
guidelines that give the impression of integrity and strength but in reality don't have it.

HAYDEN COOPER: He's in direct conflict with the Special Minister of State.

JOE LUDWIG, SPECIAL MINISTER OF STATE: Grown men can differ in their views on things and we differ
in our views on this.

BOB BROWN: You disagree with him that the guidelines have been weakened?

JOE LUDWIG: Well, we have different views on it.

HAYDEN COOPER: And the Minister's defence of the move to bypass the guidelines for the mining
campaign sent some senators into meltdown.

MICHAEL RONALDSON, LIBERAL SENATOR: You're not serious. You are not serious, this is a, this was a
fix. The fix was on from the 10th May and it was delivered, it was delivered and it's only now ...

CHAIRWOMAN: There's a point of order, point of order, Senator Ronaldson. There's a point of order,
Senator Ronaldson.

HAYDEN COOPER: Tactics on both sides are under scrutiny. The Minerals Council is using a survey
company to lure supporters. It's offering cash prizes for people who view the anti-tax
advertisements.

Hayden Cooper, Lateline.