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ABC News 24: The Drum -

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(generated from captions) Hi, I'm Tim Coming up tonight - the Hi, I'm Tim Palmer.

stalemate over company tax cuts. Will it derail the

government's mining fax? Also

tonight, brother versus brother. Carl Katter fires back

with a TV ad promoting gay

marriage. Joining me on the

panel tonight, Fran panel tonight, Fran Kelly,

Bruce Haigh and Peter Reith.

First a look at what's making the news with Jason Om. Thanks,

Tim. Julia Gillard's mining tax

is on shaky ground, with the

Greens and the coalition

withholding their support. The

tax had been just days away

from becoming law, but the two

parties won't support a cut to

company tax as part of the

package. The government's

plans to cut the company plans to cut the company tax

rate with the proceeds of its

mining tax have hit a snag. The

Greens are refusing to cuts for big business, Greens are refusing to support

demanding the funds be directed

elsewhere. This 2.4 billion in future years is going to be

extremely important for

delivery of a better health and education and other education and other public

services. The coalition has ruled out support for legislation connected to the ruled out support for any

mining tax. The last thing we

want to do is kill the want to do is kill the goose

that's laid the golden egg for Australia. The Australia. The opposition

calls the proposed company tax

cut a con. It says with only a

third of small businesses

structured as companies most

would miss out. Instead, the

coalition is promising its own

modest tax cut, but it's not

giving any details yet. The

Greens have indicated they are

tax. For now, the willing to negotiate on company

tax. For now, the government won't see say if it will

compromise, preferring to keep

the heat on the opposition.

A long-running investigation into the Victorian branch of

the Health Services Union has

concluded. The general manager

of Fair Work Australia has

found there were 32 breaches of

the law or union rules by three

former union officials and another person. The matter won't

won't be referred to the won't be referred to the DPP

application to the Federal but instead there will be an

Court for possible penalties in

relation to any of the

breaches. A bus crash in Switzerland has killed 28

people, many of them children.

These still pictures show the

site at Valais near the Italian

border. Officials say the bus

was returning to Belgium from a

skiing trip when it slamed into

a tunnel wall. 22 children are

among the dead, another 24 children have been children have been injured.

Four people charged over an alleged gun racket have alleged gun racket have been

refused bail in Sydney. Three

men and a woman were arrested,

including the owner of a Sydney post office which was allegedly used to import the weapons.

Police found seven guns and 140

magazines after a dozen raids

in Sydney. Detectives say some

guns used in recent Sydney shootings were imported from

Germany and police there have

also searched a gun dealership. Police say the syndicate has imported

imported up to 220

firearms. They have produced

what we allege to be fraudulent

documents, allowing those

firearms to be imported into

Australia. And the were then

supplied to customs and

subsequently imported using

names that we'll say are fictitious. The Customs

Service concedes the case has Service concedes the case has exposed

exposed problems in its systems. The cyclone threat to

but more wild weather is the Northern Territory is over

expected. The Weather Bureau says a tropical low off the

coast won't form a cyclone but

will cause flash flooding in

some areas. It's been a sopping day for Darwin which day for Darwin which has copped

250 mm of rain. Swimmer Ian

Thorpe will be one of the star

attractions at the national

swimming titles in Adelaide

this week. Thorpe says he's physically physically and mentally

prepared for his comeback on

Friday. The national titles start tomorrow. That's the

latest news from the newsroom. Now it's back to 'The Drum' with Tim

Welcome to 'The Drum'. I'm

Tim Palmer. Coming up on the

mining show tonight - why Labor's

mining tax is under threat.

While cater's gay half brother

hits back with a TV ad of his

own and British economics writer Daniel Ben-Ami on why

growth is always good. Our

panel tonight, host of Radio National breakfast Fran Kelly, former diplomat Bruce Haigh and Howard Government minister

Peter Reith. And of course as

usual you can join in too usual you can join in too on

Twitter using the hashtag 'The

Drum'. Labor's mining tax is

due to be debated in the Senate

tomorrow, but a smooth passage

The is certainly not guaranteed.

The major and minor parties are

at a stalemate over the company

tax cuts which are part of the package. The Greens are willing

to support the reductions for

small business, but not for

bigger companies. We want to

prevent this tax break going prevent this tax break going to

big business but to give it to

small business, we've got a government which says it wants

to cut the tax rate on

the Greens, even handedly corporations. In the middle of

the Labor rich saying let's preserve that for

sector in the Labor rich spall business

sector in Australia, much of which is struggling under the impact of the mining boom.

Tony Abbott says the coalition would offer a modest company

tax cut if it wins government.

But he won't say when or quite

how much. We took a 1.5% cut to

the last election. There will

be a modest cut that we're

taking forward at the next

election. What you will get

under us are tax cuts without

new taxes. What you're getting under Labor are tax cuts are funded by new taxes and a under Labor are tax cuts that

tax increase. It's not a real tax cut that's paid for with a

cut. It's a government chose to target cut. It's a con.

opposition. Tony Abbott went to

the last election saying he'd

support a cut to the support a cut to the company

tax rate F he doesn't support

Liberal it he'd have to be the first

Liberal Party leader in

Australia's history to go into

the Parliament and to vote down

a tax cut for business. The

Prime Minister kept up that theme through question

time. The Leader of the

Opposition has said today that

he will vote against tax cuts

for all businesses in this

nation. Vote against tax cuts.

Her see to what the Liberal

Party has always believed in.

Should the government choose to

not try too hard to compromise with the Greens possibly, see

this go to a vote and the coalition essentially vote down a company tax cut. You can see how

how they're lip licking their

licks at the prospect of wedging the coalition on this.

It's not easy for a Conservative Party to vote against tax against tax cuts for business.

So on the surface a couple of

easy wins for the government. They get to

They get to wedge the coalition, the opposition and

they get to perhaps pocket the

$2.4 billion that they'd save

if the Greens insist on teaming up with the coalition to block

the tax cut for big business.

So a couple of win there is. But I personally think the

government needs to be a bit

careful because it sold this as

reform. It sold it as part of

its response to the Henry Tax

Review and it sold this as our companies need to be more competitive on the global stage

and that will be good for and that will be good for our

economy, good for jobs. It's

all part allegedly of

redistributing the income in

this two-speed economy. If they

roll over too easily, if they

pocket that money and that

political victory too easily

then they could be deservedly

under some pressure about their

reform credentials. I think they need to fight this fight.

I don't think it will get in

the way of the passage of the mining tax because the mining

tax will be voted on first and then in May they'll bring in

this tax legislation. Should it win government it's going to

charge some big businesses this

levy to pay for its parental

leave scheme, at the same time

here it could be seen as voting

down a company tax cut. It makes it hard to maintain the party of lower taxes moniker

doesn't it? I don't think. I

don't think it's a wedge. don't think it's a wedge. I think the government is just

too cute by half. I mean, let's

face it, this is a tax which

has been mangled by the Labor

Party, which is really quite different to the original

proposal and some of the things

that Ken Henry had. It's a patch-up job. It's a shocking

tax in terms of tax design. And

the coalition's position has

been, this is a dreadful tax,

we're not going to support the

tax, and therefore we're not

going to support the money that

goes with it, spending goes with it, spending the money that goes with it. I mean, if they didn't do mean, if they didn't do that, what they'd be saying is we

oppose the tax but we'll take

the benefit. Now, that would be

grossly irresponsible. I think

what they're doing is absolutely the right thing. The

fact is that this is a benefit

that comes out of a tax which

they oppose and they said right

at the start they're opposed to

the tax and therefore the few baubles that get distributed as

a result are also opposed by

them. So they're on right track

here. Their general view of

course is yes they'd like to

have lower taxation, but not

through a very badly

through a very badly design ed,

inappropriate tax which is just

a sort of tax envy which they're running, they're running, a line that

Labor's running and I don't think they're going to be

convinced by this. When Tony

Abbott was quizzed on what

Abbott was quizzed on what the opposition might opposition might put forward as their company tax reduction

mans should they have nameed a

figure and if it was down to

you what should that figure

be? His position is different and complicated by the fact

that he's in opposition, he doesn't know what doesn't know what the numbers

are going to be. And the

election's still a long way off

and so therefore, he's just not

in a position to be in a position to be putting numbers on things and quite

frankly I think he's wise not

to. When it comes down to it, Peter, we're only talking about

a 1% tax cut. Tony Abbott's

talking about a modest tax cut.

I don't know that you can get much more modest than 1%? I

mean, this 1% is hardly worth

anything. The only weakness in Tony's position is on the paid

parental leave. He's against new taxes yet he is going

new taxes yet he is going to bring one in. So that's his

mistake. It's a pity he doesn't

dump it but he is stubbornly

hanging on to it regardless

even though most people on his

own side disagree with it. That

is the dis comfort when you're talking about company tax that

that is based on a levy on that is based on a levy on some companies? I companies? I don't think agree

with t I think it's a crazy

idea but looking at the

substance of this particular

proposal, this is just the

Greens at their worst. They're supposed to be partners with the government and the

government has said everybody

gets a tax cut, both big and

small. The fact of the matter

is there are jobs at risk in

both the big business and the small business parts of the

economy, so for them to pick

out the small business and say

aren't we good for small business but we're going to penalise big business, it's

just the sort of silly, irrational politics from the

Greens just to make themselves

look good. The real thing is

that Labor will probably give

way to the Greens and the real

reason for doing that is the

fact that the Labor Party is

going to struggle with their

surplus and in they can pick up

a few billion dollars courtesy

of the Greens, well, that of the Greens, well, that makes

their life a bit easier. But

there's nothing hom about it .

You can't call this a reform. I mean seriously if anybody was

doing tax reform, you'd never

do what they're doing with this

complicated little bit of tax

that they've got picking the

winners and losers amongst the

ones they don't like this. This

is not reform, it's just a is not reform, it's just a tax

grab, it's about as ugly as you can get. Let's look at what

you're suggesting you think the likely outcome is going to likely outcome is going to be, a compromise with the Greens in

trading off some of the tax

cuts to the bigger end of town.

Bruce Haigh, do you think if

the government did go for that, essentially the government

can't lose, in that it's going

to gain revenue from either of these, either losing or this compromise but do compromise but do you think the

tax as Peter Reith suggests

will meet its intent partially

in transferring money from the

mining economy to the

non-mining economy if they did reduce those tax reduce those tax cuts? I agree

with with what Peter is saying.

It's a messy tax, it's a messy

piece of policy. I think anyway

tax cuts generally are not good

policy. If you can't work out

where you're going to place the

money yourself into education, health, infrastructure, just

passing out tax cuts is a cheap way of programs wining a way of programs wining a few votes. But it's certainly not

in my opinion never has been

good governance. 'Cause I just don't believe that pushing

money out and we've seen it money out and we've seen it all before, in a government that

Peter Reith was part of, it

doesn't necessarily do what you

want it to do. Also I think

there's an argument, a problem with the Greens' argue minute

that small business versus big

business, be giving a hand business, be giving a hand out to big business, this cut-off

point for a small business is

$2 million turnover. Now $2 million turnover. Now that's

not a very big business. Sure,

it's something like 2.4 million

businesses in the country, and the

the rest make up about 7 the rest make up about 7 or 800,000 I think, 800,000 I think, but I think

there's a lot of argument from

the Greens equity point of view if they are concerned about equity for lifting that

threshold or else it just

doesn't make sense. You can't

argue that big business are

people with a turnover of 3 or

$4 million a year I don't

think. Yeah. That might be where

where the negotiations start. That will be some it. Defence Minister Stephen

Smith has been under siege from some

some high-ranking members of

the armed forces. The sniping culminated in the attack by

major general John Cantwell. He

accused Mr Smith of merely

tolerating Australian soldiers. The The opposition's jumped on

those comments and the those comments and the

minister's admitted to being

saddened by the criticism. But

hes a received support from hes a received support from an unlikely quarter, former Liberal leadered and Liberal leadered and one-time Defence Minister Brendan Nelson

has backed Stephen Smith's performance. Minister Smith is

a frequent attender in

Brussels. He attends the NATO ISAF

ISAF meetings. He works

diligently. He's across his

brief. He works respectfully

with the Chief of Defence. And

he prosecutes Australia's argue

amendments particularly in relation to Afghanistan and the

needs of our troops in the needs of our troops in the most

professional and I daresay effective manner. But effective manner. But beyond

that I'm not prepared to comment on any other commentary

that's been offered about his

role in the job. You can

comment on that commentary. comment on that commentary. How would you characterise this

criticism of the Defence Minister? It's unjustified. It says more about Cantwell than

it does about Smith. Cantwell

is meant to be a person who is meant to be a person who can

work with other people. He has

got to quite rye rank in the military. Presumably is not as

arrogant as he comes across arrogant as he comes across but Cantwell should be working with

the material that he has the material that he has got.

He's got Smith as Defence

Minister. Smith is taciturn,

reserved. He hasn't been a serving member of the Defence

Force, so he needs to be and eater Reith no doubt will back

some of this up, you need to

have people around you that can

provide you with good advice and

and support new situations like

that. Now, just bus Smith

didn't meet and greet like

Faulkner or like Kim Faulkner or like Kim Beazley,

that doesn't make him a bad Defence Minister. You Defence Minister. You can't expect our Defence Minister to

come up and behave like a

serving officer. I think serving officer. I think the condemnation condemnation should be very

strongly against Leahy and

Cantwell for expecting Smith Cantwell for expecting Smith to

be somebody he's not and not

working with Smith as the

person that he is. What's

happened in the Defence Force

over a long period of time is

that they've had pretty much a

blank cheque to do what they

like. There is a feeling there

of entitlement. There is almost a feeling that they can run the whole show without politicians. They have to be reminded that

they're part of a democracy,

and part of being a democracy

is to pave not like happened at

the ADFA. They've got to behave

within the parameters that we

expect within the expect within the community.

The other thing with Defence is

that in the 20 years after the

first - in the First World War and then in the Second World

War and then again at the time

of Vietnam, which is every 20 years, there has years, there has been a big injection of civilians into injection of civilians into the

Defence Force. Now for 40 years

there hasn't been, it's become

hide-bound, it's become very

much in my opinion an elite

organisation. If it has become

this force that pushes back

against ministers perhaps that

suggests maybe it wasn't such a

surprise that Brendan Nelson piped up in support of Stephen

Smith. His experience was

wasn't entirely dissimilar. A

little dissimilar. I know there were times

were times clearly when the

minister made his minister made his unhappiness with Defence absolutely crystal

clear that was primarily over

the private Jake Kovco affair

where he was blind sinlded a

couple of times around that

issue, a very serious, issue, a very serious, terrible

thing that happened and the minister was caught out and ep

barsed and blamed for a barsed and blamed for a number of of serious incidents that

happened within that, when

really it was that he hadn't

been kept in an information loop by defence. He was clearly put out there. I put out there. I would've generally described Brendan Nelson as a very enthusiastic

defence are minister. That was my sense of Brendan at the

time. He was an enthusiastic

defender of the troops that

line from commander Cantwell, describing Stephen Smith as barely tolerating soldiers is a

devastating line to be served up against a Defence up against a Defence Minister,

I think and certainly not one

you would've ever characterised Brendan

Brendan Nelson. It surprises me

to have that allegation put up against Stephen Smith but

certainly Brendan Nelson I

think in that grab we saw, that

excerpt, had some sympathy I sensed for Stephen Smith sensed for Stephen Smith and

the way you can be dealt with by the Defence Forces and you

can get blind signeded. Can I

just bring you in here? just bring you in here? How do

Defence Ministers continued to

travel? How do they tend to

survive if sections of the forces start this freeze

against them? It is a bit tricky the relationship between

ministers and the ADF generally. My experience goes back quite a way with this,

because when I was on the back bench at one stage in opposition I took up the case

of a lady who'd been subject to

harassment on an Australian

ship. A navy ship. And it was

seven or eight years later I

became the minister and the

word came back to me

word came back to me that I

better watch myself because there were some senior people

in the ADF who weren't too

happy about the way I had raised my concerns about how

this lady had been treated. I don't mind telling you, I was

absolutely livid that absolutely livid that when I was appointed as a minister,

that someone should go back and

hark upon something where quite

frankly, I had hacked in a frankly, I had hacked in a way which I considered which I considered to be in the best interests of the Defence

Force. The fact that some people didn't like it quite frankly, it was their frankly, it was their problem

and if they ever had the guts

to front me about it I would've given

given them both barrels. So

given them both barrels. So I

think there is a bit of an issue here about people pushing back on Smith because he took

an issue up in respect of the

treatment of women. I must say,

he has my 110% support on that.

The only sort of slight

qualification I have about all

this now is that - I supported

him on that ADF thing, on what's been an ongoing issue, basically. But he basically. But he set up various reports and various reports and we haven't seen one of them, probably the

one that's most critical. There

are various leaks about it, so

I'm not quite sure whether he

quite got it all right on

there. But in terms of the

general issue, Defence hasn't

done terribly well in that area

and this comment by Cantwell seems quite insubstantial to seems quite insubstantial to me

and it also smells of

and it also smells of this business that somehow the Defence guys are an authority

to themselves. Yes. A similar culture you were referring culture you were referring to. It sort of smells a little bit

like a concerted move as like a concerted move as well.

There's first one commander, former commander then another then another. Exactly. How then another. Exactly. How hard

is it given that in the end is it given that in the end the entire community entire community backs our troops as an institution, how

hard is it for a Defence

Minister to keep on pushing against what may against what may be this

culture of entitlement or defensiveness if they're

pushing against an institution

that has huge popular that has huge popular ... There is a power thing going on here.

Now, Peter no doubt, what Now, Peter no doubt, what he said is he showed it, you've

just got to have leadership. You've got to front these guise down. They think they can stand

in front of you with their

medals and their uniform and

they think they can intimidate you like that. I've seen you like that. I've seen it

all. I've within in the army. I

have seen it all. My

grandfather was an instructor at Duntroon. My father at Duntroon. My father was in

the second AIF in the sixth division and I did national service so I know about the

army. I know how they can play

their game. Cantwell is playing

a game. Hes has a game. Hes has written this

article and now he won't make

himself available for

interviews. Well that is pretty

gutless. He's written it, he's

got to front the media and

justify what he wrote. If he's

half the man that he's making him self out to be. All my sympathies in this are with

Smith on the ADFA thing and as

a parent, if I had sons that had done that, I would expect them to be out. them to be out. I would remove

them and make them get a them and make them get a job

and try to get the feet back on the ground. With the girl, if it was my daughter, by golly

I'd be pulling the place apart. Now, I don't know Commodore Kafer. They say he

Kafer. They say he is a good bloke. Therefore he must be

left alone. If he was a bad

bloke would they be going for

his throat? This is his throat? This is nonsense and whoever did this and whoever did this report,

the QC in my opinion he sat on the defence and he the defence and he allowed

people to go in two directions,

rather than coming down as he

should've done and it would be the same in the same in a University

College, this defence that ... It doesn't entirely It doesn't entirely clean-bill Commodore Kafer though. I'm

sure Peter Reith has something to add to Bruce's comments

about how hard it is for a

minister to stand up against this onshaut from the tap

brass, but former generals

anyway. I must say I thought it was interesting that I've been

a bit surprised how Stephen Smith has stood Smith has stood so strong

against the criticism and

refused to offer any kind of

apology or qualify his remarks

at all but I was struck by an

event I was at the night this broke, the report came out, and

a couple of women a couple of women came up to me

and they represented women's organisations. They were very

upset at the attack on Smith

from the media at this point, didn't have all the generals on

board then. For him standing up

for the young woman. So they

were very angry at that. So I think Stephen Smith certainly

has some support in some parts of the community for the fact

he's not taking a a backward

step on his taking such an

entrenched position in support

of this young woman. It's a

long game if you're facing

... It's a long game. Most of Australia's

Australia's been experiencing record rains and a pretty

miserable summer but miserable summer but according

expect in prth I guess. expect in prth I guess.

According to the latest climate

snapshot global temperatures

are reasoning to rise. The state of the climate state of the climate report has

been released by the CSIRO and

the Bureau of Meteorology. And

it says the amount of carbon

dioxide in the atmosphere is at its highest level in 800,000

years. The Greens say the

findings show the need for the

federal clean energy

package. What this report says, it's real,

it's real, it's healing and we it's real, it's healing and we should now take the opportunity

to look at how we not only

adapt to the changes that are

already occurring, but already occurring, but how we

can mitigate or stop things

getting worse. That really reinforces the importance of

the clean energy package that we've negotiated and also the

establishment of the climate

change authority. According to this report it's going to this report it's going to get

hotter, it's going get wilder, sea levels are already rising,

are you a believer inform and

do you agree with the report that

that it can't be that it can't be explained by natural variability alone? If they say it's getting hotter I suppose it's getting hotter.

I'm not a scientist and I I'm not a scientist and I don't really make any claims about

all this, but it is a big leap

to say then we've got to get on

with a new bureaucracy. What is it, the clean it, the clean energy authority

or something or other. And put

$10 billion on the table. Which

is just a giant leap. I think this whole carbon tax thing is pretty much off the rails now.

I go to one thing which I find easier to understand. We can have a price of $23 and the international price is $10. international price is $10. And

I also know that even with a

tax of $23, it doesn't make up the difference against alternative uses of ...

Alternative energies. So what we're doing is not actually

going to work, it's just going

to add additional cost on to

Australian business. Setting

aside the policy in response to

it, can I ask you on this

report about climate, would you, if you believe it, if you

agree with it, rather see the

opposition now adopting less of

a sceptical approach and a

sympathy towards climate sceptics as they're sceptics as they're called in

terms of their approach to the

eschew, not in policy? No,

because if you accept that the climate is getting climate is getting hotter the question is whether or not it's

anything to do with what we are

doing with carbon dioxide.

That's what this report clearly

states that it can the no be explained by natural variability. They'll always tell you that. It's been their

position. There's nothing new

about that. Hang on, this is the Bureau of Meteorology and

the CSIRO. Do we really want to

wipe them off as "They'll always say that" these are scientists with an international scientific

education and credentials and

reputation to maintain. I've been a bit of a sceptic about

this whole thing all along. I

much prefer to deal with parts

of the debate where we've got a

much better handle as far as

I'm concerned on what's being

done and the likely done and the likely outcome. The one

The one thing that's terribly

clear is that the current clear is that the current set of proposals simply will of proposals simply will not be

their objective. He will be the

on country world penalising our own businesses. Is now the time

to take this report and say the coalition should change their

position? No, it doesn't make

any sense. There's no logic to

T If we are the only country

adopting that policy, this

report suggests that beyond all

borders, what it's suggesting

is that elsewhere in the world,

mean temperatures could rise

between 1 and 5 degrees before 2070. How pessimistic are you with those projections? Look,

I'm a little bit with Peter and

I'm with Fran on this, because

I'm not convinced that what

path we've gone down is

actually going to really change

anything. I'm leaped to take

that step and to day look I

don't know whether climate

change is real or not - sorry change is real or not - sorry I

don't know whether it's man

made, it's happening. made, it's happening. I'm prepared therefore prepared therefore to take out

the insurance policy of doing

something and saying but look let's just say that it's

happening so let's just do some

stuff to address the issue. As a former diplomat, I don't think it's wise to go out

unilateral ly on our own. I

know we've had all the climate

conferences an all rest of it,

but that doesn't mean we have

to give up. Instead of spending all the money we're all the money we're spending on

trying to get a seat on the

Security Council, spend that money in going around, talking

to people, saying what's your

bolt tom line here? An Australia deploying Australia deploying its diplomatic resources to try to establish a bottom line and it

won't be as high as we'd like it to be, but establish a

bottom line and be a little

bit, be progressive but be a

catalyst in trying to get people together on this

issue. I think as long as the

world, though, is talking in

terms of oh well terms of oh well we're not quite sure we better take out insurance, then we're not gonna

get that, because that is what

ahouse governments ahouse governments to do nothing or not very nothing or not very much. I'm not saying the design of this

response is the correct design,

I don't think it's perfect by a

long shot and I think the

starting price that Peter

mentioned is one thing. I think

also the lack of a national energy efficiency plan is

another thing. So I do think

until - I'm just not sure at what point we accept the

science or don't. Where is this

point? Where is the point? Where is the scientific

report that we go OK, oh now I

believe you, because until that

is accepted there will not be f

these people are right f these scientists are right we're

looking at an increase of

temperature between 1 and 5%

over the next 55 years or so. 1

to 5 degrees. Yes, that is significant, catastrophic significant, catastrophic in

many ways. At the worst ends of

what you would've ... If they're right, we need to

act. The government's position

is inadequate even if it worked at their at their targets. The government's position is inadequate there has been a lot

of compromise. It's perhaps

poorly framed. Certainly we

can't be that far out with industry from the rest of these

schemes but I just think we

can't keep saying oh well we're

not quite sure, maybe. We

either accept these people are scientists and no know how scientists and no know how to do their job or we don't I

think. I make the point really

quickly, talking about climate

change and and the science is

basically correct on it, what

we haven't done in this country

is to do a national audit on our agriculture land, what's

available to us and water that we have available in connection with that land. In other with that land. In other words,

we don't understand what resources we have available to

us. You could see how

difficult that was to negotiate

even just limiting it to even just limiting it to the Murray-Darling project. Carl

Katter was furious about the

anti-gay marriage TV campaign

by his brother Bob's political

party. Now he is firing back

with his own ad with with his own ad with the help

of activist group GetUp. He

urges voters not to support Katter's Australian Party. It's

not OK for politicians to get

away with hatred and bigotry. We shouldn't have to put up

with politicians who seek

election by appealing election by appealing to the worst in human nature. We

should be electing politicians

who support diversity. Who tell

young Australians it's OK to be

who you are. Some of Bob

Katter's own candidates have

been saying they didn't know

this ad was coming, they'd have rather had the community's

respect rather than aim for a few anti-gay votes. Has it been

a huge misfire by Bob dater do you you think? --

Katter do you think. I'm not really in touch with really in touch with that electorate enough to know

whether it's a misfire or not. I think

I think it's appalling. Good on

his stepbrother in making that

ad. It went out to hit all the anti-gay buttons. That's what

it set out to do. I'm glad some

in the Australian CAT party have denounced it. I think Bob Katter should denounce it. Will

it set out what it it set out what it achieved to

do? Probably with some people. It will be interesting to Sydney. It's remarkable, the

way that these two ads, niece

two brothers almost represent

an old image of Queensland and

a new image of Queensland. It's

biblical. But the good thing

about it is that Katter has

eventually shown everybody what

he is. The guy can't even finish a sentence. He's a

twerp. Shouldn't be in

politics. But he's done t it's

out there, now we can see what

Bob Katter is all about, don't

vote for him, this is what

democracy is all about. There were suggestions today that

this was all actually the work

of Luke Shaw, now the campaign director for Bob Katter but of

course formerly famous as the foreman on the Joh

Bjelke-Petersen jury. Does that

show that this ad maybe did

hark back to another era where

there was thought to be some

bigotry in Queensland hand has

been completely outdated? I don't want to get stuck into

all the Queenslanders. We're very fond of our cousins up

there in the north. As they're

always telling us, this' very

special. I take it as an

indication of the quality of

policy that you'd get if you

vote for the Katter crowd. The

first thing you get is what

they're hoping for, namely, a

minority government . We have a minority government already in

the federal area. Why anybody

in Queensland would vote for a

minor party when you've got

choices between Labor and choices between Labor and the

coalition or the LNP, honestly

you need your head read if you don't vote for one side or the

other. You don't want a

minority in Queensland. minority in Queensland. The

second thing I would say about

it is that this is indicative of the quality generally now of

policy. So, for example, Bob's

also going around with a funny

money proposal, which is that

he wants he wants interest rates to be

all at 2%. I mean, this is bizarre. This is weird. This

is whacko politics. And is whacko politics. And people should be alert. It's not just

the homophobic stuff, but on

some of the things that go to

our economic performance, you

don't want Bob Katter. He's don't want Bob Katter. He's in

with the unions. He's all in

for protection. And of course, for protection for an for protection for an economy

like Queensland, it is a

disaster. It's a crazy idea.

If the polls aren't in aren't these ads certainly before the

ads they did suggest that minority government isn't really likely. Just one other

thing, it doesn't say much for young James Packer. Honestly,

why was he giving money to Bob

Katter? Why do you think he was? I've got no idea. Apparently it was Apparently it was because their fathers fathers were related or mates

or something or other, but I

mean, really, people should not

be giving money to weird outfits on the left or the

right or wherever they come

from. The thing is ... We

might have to move on. The two

sons aren't a patch on their

parents. That's the point in all of this. Next on 'The

Drum', where growth is good.

British financial journalist Daniel Ben-Ami speaks in

defence of economic progress. Our guest tonight is British economics writer Daniel Ben-Ami. He writes about

financial markets and the

global economy for publications including the 'Guardian' including the 'Guardian' the 'Financial Times' and Spiked. He's also the author of 'Ferraris For All: In Defence of Economic Progress' in

defence in which he argues defence in which he argues that

growth is universally good.

Daniel Ben-Ami joins us in the studio. Welcome studio. Welcome to Sydney. Thank you. You warned

in one of the articles you

wrote before your visit to Sydney against the rich and

powerful talking about in'quality. You were referring in Australia to Wayne in Australia to Wayne Swan's published complements about

some billionaires and also

about Warren Buffet and the

cache he is gaining about

saying the wealthy need to saying the wealthy need to pay their fair share. Why are you worried about them diping into

the debate? Because I think

it's a drop really. It's almost left wing when you get people like Warren Buffet talking about

about everyone needs to make

sacrifices. But really, I think

it's going to be ordinary

people who are going to be the butt of those sacrifices.

Warren Buffet if he needs to

can afford to lose a few

dollars. But if people have to

make sacrifices that's the difficult thing for them. Ordinary people clearly are responding to T Wayne

Swan's comments were well received according to polls, a

poll released today suggested 64% of Americans agreed with

the so-called Buffet tax. They may well respond, I think

that's precisely the that's precisely the problem, these are very these are very populist attacks. If people attack

billionaires or greedy bankers and say they're really horrible, they have so much

money, we haul have to make

sacrifices that does have an

appeal to people. Ordinary

people will think these people will think these people

are rich, maybe they should

make sacrifices. When they

think about it more they'll see that

that it's ordinary people what

are the butt of it. They're

being asked to make sacrifices.

What this new egalitarianism is

really about is everyone making

sacrifices but those least able

to make sacrifices are the

people at the bottom. You

lampoon movements from - green movements right through to

people who talk about happiness

through voluntary simplicity

and living a more limited life

because western life doesn't necessarily make you happy through acquisition. As through acquisition. As all

negateing a normal human drive

to have more than we actually

need. What is wrong with that

drive if it does in fact bring

happiness and a fairer

society? I think - against happiness. But what the

so-called happiness are saying is that people should be happy

with what they've got. with what they've got. Don't

aspire to have a bitter life.

Just live and make do with

simplicity. That's what I

object to. Why? Because I think people benefit enormous

ly from economic growth and from prosperity, in all sorts

of different ways. You can look at all the indicators in terms

of longevity, infant mortality, the amount and quality of food

that people have. So many different ways we benefitted from from more prosperity. The title

of your book 'Ferraris For All: In Defence of Economic

Progress' suggests that I guess

to a certain ex tept tongue in

cheek that everyone should have

the right to go for way more

than they need, these groups say that doesn't make say that doesn't make you

happy, it's diminishing return

as soon as I think it's up to

you or to anyone else in the studio to say what people need. It's up to It's up to ordinary people to determine what they need. I would say that most people, even in relatively wealthy

countries like Australia, do

struggle to get by. Do find it

difficult. Until we abolish

scarcity on a global scale,

which will be some time in the

future, it's worth still going

for economic growth because we

do benefit. Respect we talking about two separate things?

Economic growth is one thing.

It's the sort of the Buffet tax or some of

or some of what Wayne Swan was

talking about is what you do

with the prosperity w the

proceeds of that growth and

having a fairer share of that

spread more broadly and making

sure - it's the antithesis of

the greed is good. You make sure that - you don't

necessarily try to curb the wealth people are making but

you have a fairer share if government has a role in

that? If it's not greed - for a

start greed is good which start greed is good which came from the film Wall Street, it's

a caricature of prosperity. Of

course it is. So I would say that self-interest and aspiration, they are good things. I would reject things. I would reject the

caricature. When people say a

fair share for all, that does

have an appeal for people. But

I think it's a trap. It's

saying let's have our fair

share of pain, our fair share

of sacrifice. If you interpret it that way. It's the old

distribution of resources

argument. If you end up with a

situation like the - before the Russian Revolution or in France

or wherever it may be or in

South Africa now, where the resources aren't being distributed where they're distributed where they're being

held in a smaller number of

hands, then you get this - you get social unrest amongst get social unrest amongst other

things but people aren't

getting the sorts of things

that you want them to that you want them to have and

I agree that's an ideal and it

should happen. You think should happen. You think that inequality is inevitable as

societies develop and git richer? There is something

about capitalism which means about capitalism which means it it does have an un equal

character to it but I don't

think that should be used as an

argument against economic

growth and prosperity. Inequality is being used as an argument against

prosperity. But I don't think

Warren Buffet or Obama or Wayne Swan are arguing against

growth. They're arguing about

how you develop a taxation

system that operates most

fairly in a society so that we

can redistribute the proceeds

of the growth to the maximum

benefit for all. That's

precisely what my book is

about. I think the most dangerous critics of growth are

not those tree huggers who say

growth is bad, let's live in

growth is bad, let's live in a tepee somewhere, because obviously there's very, very

few of those people. The really

dangerous people are what I call the growth sceptics who say of course we're in favour of growth, of course we're in

favour of prosperity, but

because of inequality, because of happiness, because of the environment, you have to hold

back on aspirations. So it's that growth skepticism that is the real the real problem. There is the

point that underlines it which

is where you really tap on the environmental movements. You

don't like the projection don't like the projection that

resources are finite, growth

has to be finite. Why is growth

not finite in your mind? I

don't think resources are fine

night. If you take energy as an example, which is one of the

most popular examples, I most popular examples, I think there's so much embedded energy

on the planet Earth in terms of

wind power and solar power and nuclear

nuclear power, energy is not a

constraint on what we can do in

terms of economic growth. And I don't think other don't think other resources are either. You're either. You're an

optimist. Can I just say here the

the debate in Australia where

Swan the Treasurer got sphuk

into three wealthy people, very

wealthy people in Australia,

wasn't about that. It was about

power. It was about them coming

out publicly. That will be for

another time. Daniel Ben-Ami, thank you very much for that

optimistic view of the world

and thanks also to the panel Fran Kelly, Bruce Haigh and

Peter Reith. You can check Peter Reith. You can check out

our web site. Join us again

same time tomorrow night. We'll

see you then.