Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
Insiders -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

(generated from captions) This program is captioned live. Good morning. Welcome to Insiders. Those who demand a policy - from Kim Beazley - and those who demand decisiveness got it this week. of more uranium mining. He came out in support And so now the Labor Party debate on nuclear issues is set for an emotionally charged since 1984. of the kind it hasn't seen the players have changed, 22 years later, but the arguments remain the same.

And in this climate is only

principled response is to stop all

uranium mining as quickly as

possible. You've got to have

and guts. I'm prepared to do it. possible. You've got to have courage

And I wish my colleagues were.

Even if a sellout on uranium does

not produce a green party, and

there's no guarantee that will not

happen, then at the very least it

will guarantee the Democrats a boat

race at the next election. If you

left the uranium in the ground it

would do nothing for the questions

of peace and disarmament. That

great mass of the Australian people

out there are wise, they are Life was so much simpler back then,

determined by the price of bananas. before your mortgage rates were What's that all about? We'll see if our guest this morning, can help us out on that one. Labor's Shadow Treasurer Wayne Swan, on Inside Business, Then at 10 o'clock more on uranium. second biggest uranium producer, The head of the world's

Well, I think it was a very

courageous step. The policy that

the Labor Party have had in place

for some years is clearly was

anacronistic. It led to a

where only three existing mines anacronistic. It led to a situation

able to operate and I think the where only three existing mines were

that has been made by Kim Beazley able to operate and I think the step

a courageous one and it's one that that has been made by Kim Beazley is

the industry supports. At 10:30, 'Offsiders' will take a look at a genuine turf battle

and Aussie Rules - between Rugby League literally a battle over turf. 8 square metres of Carrara Oval We're talking about just on the Gold Coast. temporary seats on it, The league wants to put the surface for the AFL. even if it means damaging but potentially, It may not seem much, to AFL expansion in the region. it could put an end

If you were a betting man you'd be

saying the Kangaroos would not be

playing next year at Carrara? The

way the indication is right now, yes.

Then at 11, That's 'Offsiders' at 10:30.

looks at the debate 'Asia Pacific Focus' about importing unskilled seasonal workers into Australia. first, with the news overnight, All that coming up, but and Jeremy, it's good morning, Jeremy Fernandez, its bombing campaign. I understand Israel has stepped up good morning. Yes,that's right Barrie, an Israeli air strike There are reports from Lebanon into Syria, has closed the main border crossing the two immigration posts hitting the road between on the Lebanese side. monitors in their observation post. A separate strike wounded two UN The attacks happened soon after Condoleezza Rice the US Secretary of State returned to Israel for fresh talks a larger international peace force. set to focus on bringing in discussed by world leaders The deployment is expected to be at a meeting in New York on Monday. five children have been killed Meanwhile, a mother and her in central Lebanon. in an Israeli air raid

the father survived. Lebanese police say to the town of Nabatiyeh The raid on houses close killed six members of the al-Kharakeh family of their home. who were crushed under the rubble in an Israeli raid Six civilians were also killed of Ain Arab in south-east Lebanon. on four houses in the border village to more than 450 The latest deaths bring Israeli military action in Lebanon the number of people killed by since the current conflict began. according to Lebanese police. They include 380 civilians, Residents in South East Queensland in 2008 are to take part in a referendum of drinking water on whether to boost supplies with treated sewerage. the referendum Premier Peter Beattie announced after a resounding vote town of Toowoomba yesterday. against the plan in the drought-hit dismissed the proposal, 62% of the city's voters which would have made them treated waste water. Australia's first to drink The Clean-up Australia Group says more public education is needed of drinking recycled water. to dispel myths about the risks The mayor of Toowoomba says Government to supply more water it's now up to the Queensland from dams closer to the coast. two AFL matches played last night. To sport now, and there were in Adelaide The Swans outclassed the Power from the Lions and the Bombers kicked away in almost four months. to score their first win Seven goals from Scott Lucas by James Hird and a spectacular return from injury inspired the Bombers to victory. against the Lions The win ends a 4-match losing streak off the bottom of the AFL ladder. and lifts Essendon In Adelaide, the Sydney Swans have continued their surge up the ladder over Port Adelaide. with a comfortable win and Adam Goodes Swans' midfielders Amon Buchanan to set up the 27-point win. dominated the clearances Meanwhile, in the NRL, South Sydney fans are smiling after the Rabbitohs scored their second win of the season last night. was the star for the Rabbitohs, Veteran fullback David Peachy with a solid performance in defence. In last night's other matches, and the Eels beat the Sea Eagles. the Panthers beat the Warriors To Rugby Union, and the All Blacks have retained the Bledisloe Cup over the Wallabies last night. after a hard-fought victory All Blacks' winger Joe Rokothoko to score the only try of the match. broke through the Australian defence to score in the dying stages The Wallabies missed chances and must now look to next Saturday's Tri-Nations encounter with the Springboks in Sydney.

has won the Evian Masters in France. Australian golfer Karrie Webb final round of 68 Webb shot a 4 under par to give her a 1-shot victory and England's Laura Davies. over Hawaiian teenager Michelle Wie the last with a putt for eagle, Laura gave me a scare there at but you know, it was just a great tournament and I'm thrilled to be the winner. It's Webb's third tournament win of the year. And there'll be more sport later this morning, with 'Offsiders' at 10:30.

Now for a look at the national weather forecast. Perth - showers clearing, 19 degrees. Darwin - sunny and 30. Brisbane - 24. Sydney - fine, 19. Canberra - fine and partly cloudy. Melbourne - showers developing this afternoon. Hobart - 13 degrees. That's the news for now, Barrie. I'll be back with more news at 11 o'clock. Jeremy Fernandez, thank you. And now for his analysis of the week in politics, I'm joined, as always on a Sunday morning, by Paul Kelly, political commentator with 'The Australian'.

Good morning, Paul. Good morning,

Barrie. Well two interest rate

Barrie. Well two interest rate hikes since the election and now in

prospect, and another one on

Wednesday? I think that's right.

That's certainly the expectation of

finance markets and most economists.

It means the cash rate will go to

6%. I think that the point to make

here is that it's not driven by

bananas. The underlying inflation

rate is running at about 3%, the

headline rate is about 4%. I doubt

the Reserve Bank can ignore this.

The Reserve Bank's got a charter to

run monetary policy so that over

run monetary policy so that over the cycle of inflation is over 2-3%.

cycle of inflation is over 2-3%. So it does look as though we will see

this further interest rate increase.

And if that happens, what impact

will that have on the political

dynamic? It's got to have an impact

politically Barrie, there's no

politically Barrie, there's no doubt that interest rates are very potent,

a very potent instrument both

financially and politically. And I

think we can now say that we're

looking at a prospect for the 2007

election in which the structure of

interest rates overall is at a

higher plateau than what it was at

the 2004 election. This is a

the 2004 election. This is a pretty big advantage for the Labor Party.

Labor will be able to leverage this

very effectively. It's got a lot

very effectively. It's got a lot of ramifications, both in terms of the

consumer budget and in terms of

economic credibility. You can see

what John Howard will argue. I

mean, the Prime Minister's going to

argue of course that the coalition

performance on interest rates will

always be better than Labor. What

he wants to ensure is that when

people go out to vote and they

people go out to vote and they think about interest rates they're not

making a vote in terms of a

referendum on the Government

performance, but a choice. A

performance, but a choice. A choice between what the coalition can do

between what the coalition can do as opposed to what Labor can do.

And on the Labor side, and Kim

Beazley's announcement on uranium,

his new position, do you think this

debate has the potential to hurt

Labor internally? Look, I don't

think it will. I think that Kim's

done the right thing. I think Kim

Beazley's done the right thing here.

This has been a sensible

announcement. Everyone knows that

Labor's uranium policy dating back

Labor's uranium policy dating back a generation is hopefully out of date.

It's an old-fashioned relic, it's

an old compromise which is no

an old compromise which is no longer relativant. It makes no sense to

say that you can mine uranium from

some mines but you can't mine it

from other mines. So I think in

that sense Kim Beazley's decision

that sense Kim Beazley's decision is very welcome. It's clearly

very welcome. It's clearly designed to demonstrate that he's a leader

to demonstrate that he's a leader of strength, that he's a leader who's

got ticker. There will be a

got ticker. There will be a dispute and brawl of sorts inside the Labor

Party, but I think the message sent

this week is that this debate will

be conducted with quite a degree of

restraint and I think that's

important. Kim Beazley will win

important. Kim Beazley will win the debate or get the policy changed

because the Labor Party couldn't

possibly afford to have him

detailed. Will there be an argument,

though, or certainly a wider

community debate about consistency,

I suppose. Why not go further I

suppose if you're going to sell the

stuff then why oppose enrichment

stuff then why oppose enrichment and why oppose a nuclear power industry?

In fact, Kim Beazley's proposals

Barrie are very modest. He's

Barrie are very modest. He's really offering the Labor Party a bargain.

He's really saying, "Look, let's

abolish the no new mines policy on

the one hand and the trade-off is

that Labor will oppose any uranium

enrichment and oppose the nuclear

power industry in this country.

power industry in this country. " Now, of course, there's no real

political debate about uranium

mining. We've been mining uranium

in this country for the last 20

years. The real coming political

debate is about Australia's role in

the nuclear fuel cycle and Kim

Beazley's really gearing up now to

oppose that and this is going to be

the big dispute between the Labor

Party and the Government. So

Party and the Government. So you've got to I think draw the distinction

here between Beazley's tactics that

is to get rid of the no new mines

policy on the one hand but his

strategy is to resist any deeper

Australian involvement in the

nuclear fuel cycle. Now undoubtedly

on the Middle East there's going to

be increasing talk about a peace

keeping force, how do you read the

Prime Minister's comments so far on

Australian involvement on that?

Jordon this issue remains very

tough, very very pro Israel in

tough, very very pro Israel in terms of the war. He's sent a very clear

signal about the international

signal about the international peace keeping force. He said there's no

good having a tokenistic force,

Australia would not be interested

Australia would not be interested in any tokenistic force at all.

any tokenistic force at all. Howard wants a force that's got a strong

mandate under UN provisions. He

said that Australia would consider

contributing to such a force. I

really wonder about that given the

extent to which our military is

stretched anyway. I think the

stretched anyway. I think the other point to make about this Barrie is,

though, that in a broader sense

though, that in a broader sense this war is not going well for Israel.

Not only is Israel got the

Not only is Israel got the political problem of if you like the

international backlash against its

tactics, there's also a problem

tactics, there's also a problem here for the performance of the Israeli

military. The Israeli military

tactics have been quite indice crim

gnat and, of course, they've not

been successful in disarming

Hezbollah. Hezbollah are still

Hezbollah. Hezbollah are still able to launch effective attacks against

Israel. And there are also signs

that within the Arab and Islamic

world Hezbollah are assuming the

status of heroes because they are

able to reasonably, successfully

resist to this stage the Israeli

assault. Paul, thanks for your time

this morning. Thanks, Barrie. And now to our program guest. And the big news this week will break at precisely 9:30 on Wednesday morning when the Reserve Bank makes an announcement on interest rates. Surveys suggest that 90% of senior economists expect a rate rise of at least 0.25%. That would be the third rise since the last election. Joining me now from Brisbane is the Shadow Treasurer, Wayne Swan.

Good morning. Good morning, Barrie.

How is it that a single fruit a

banana can be responsible for

boosting the inflation rate by 0.5%?

Well it hasn't boosted and

Well it hasn't boosted and inflation rate at all Barrie. You see Peter

Costello and John Howard's banana

alibi doesn't stack up. You can

walk down any supermarket around

walk down any supermarket around the country and see supermarket share

prices are up across the board.

prices are up across the board. You can sit down to pay your health

bills, education bills and

bills, education bills and transport bills and you can see that

bills and you can see that inflation is up across the board. Prices are

rising across the board and core

inflation has been rising for some

years now, which is why core

inflation has hit 3% in terms of

inflation has hit 3% in terms of the Reserve Bank's measurement and, of

course, that's at the top of their

target band. So inflation is up

across the board. But just on that

factor, though, if bananas go up by

250%, but surely that assume s that

people are buying them in the same

numbers and clearly they're not.

numbers and clearly they're not. So what you're getting from the bureau

shortly is a distorted figure. The

situation is not as bad as you and

others say it is? No, inflation is

up across the board. When you look

at the Reserve Bank measure of core

inflation it strips out the

inflation it strips out the volatile items. It strips out price rises

items. It strips out price rises of a huge nature, it strips out price

falls. What it does is give you an

underlying measure and that is at

3%. If you look at the Australian

Bureau of Statistics Barrie,

something like 70 of the # 0

expenditure items are up across the

board. Look, every family in the

country understands this and Peter

Costello and John Howard's alibi

Costello and John Howard's alibi has no credibility out there in the

public. It doesn't wash and it

doesn't wash with the economic's

profession either, Barrie. It

simply doesn't wash because they've

been ignoring core inflationary

trends in the Australian economy

since the last election and they

went to the last election promising

a low inflationary, low interest

rate environment. The pledge was

rate environment. The pledge was to keep interest rates at record lows.

And since that time they've ignored

all of the warnings from the

all of the warnings from the Reserve Bank about the capacity constraints

in the economy and the consequence

of that now Barrie is the prospect

of a third interest rate rise.

of a third interest rate rise. Well Barrie, if that happens, that will

be a very big black mark against

be a very big black mark against the economic record of the

Howard/Costello government. So what

should they have done to resist

these pressures? Well they should

have been heeding the warnings from

the Reserve Bank, that they've been

making for the past - And doing

what? They should be dealing with

the capacity constraints in the

economy, barry. They've ignored and

skills crisis and investment in

education and draining. They've

education and draining. They've not been providing the national

leadership when it comes to

infrastructure and they've not been

reforming the tax system to enhance

participation. Barrie, that's what

a modern productivity agenda is all

about, that can put downward

pressure on inflation and downward

pressure on interest rates. But

pressure on interest rates. But for the past 18 months it's slipped off

the table. All they've been

listening to Barrie is their

pollster. So we've had some tax

cuts, they've given back some of

their record tax take but they

haven't been investing in the

future. Now Barrie that's not a

future. Now Barrie that's not a way to run a modern economy. Are you

saying now that Labor could do

better than the coalition at

better than the coalition at keeping inflation down and, therefore,

keeping interest rates lower?

Well Barrie for the long-term you

have to have an investment agenda

particularly given what's happening

with the price of petrol. Because

that is a factor here, but because

it is a factor it makes all the

it is a factor it makes all the more urgent the need to invest in the

future, to lift productivity and to

lift productivity we've got to do

something about the skills crisis,

education. We've got to do

something about the infrastructure

bottlenecks that are choking our

cities and our drag on growth.

That's a agenda for a plod earn low-inflationary environment that

can maintain prosperity into the

future and keep interest rates low.

But the Howard Government's just

been playing politics. They

been playing politics. They haven't had an eye on the future and

particularly this Treasurer. He's

had his eye on the Prime Minister.

He hasn't had his eye on the job of

looking after a low inflationary

environment. But are you prepared

environment. But are you prepared to go to the next election and pretty

much turn the coalition's claim on

its head by saying Labor can keep

interest rates lower than the

coalition? Well, we've been arguing

that for the past 18 months Barrie.

We've been arguing for - The

We've been arguing for - The message didn't get through in the run-up to

the last election and, of course,

you had a record in the 1980s that

you didn't want to talk about?

Well Barrie what this government

Well Barrie what this government has done is lost a low-inflationary

outlook and they've lost it because

they've refused to invest in

productivity. The one thing the

Labor Party absolutely understands

is this - if we are to maintain

prosperity we must invest in the

future, we must do it by investing

in the skills of our workforce. We

must lift participation levels,

particularly through tax reform and

we've got to provide some political

leadership from the national level

when it comes to infrastructure.

That's what the Reserve Bank says

That's what the Reserve Bank says is putting upward pressure on

putting upward pressure on inflation and that's why this Government has

backed the Reserve Bank into a

corner when it comes to their

decision next Wednesday. What are

your thoughts on 40-year loans?

There are reports in the Fairfax

media today that GE Money has

media today that GE Money has become the first lender in Australia to

offer 40-year housing loans and

offer 40-year housing loans and some banks are considering 50-year

housing loans. Are these a good

idea? Well Barrie, the record of idea? Well Barrie, the record of the Howard Government is very simply

that people are now up to their

eyeballs in debt. There's no such

thing as cheap house in this

thing as cheap house in this country anymore and there's no such thing

anymore and there's no such thing as a small housing loan, so

a small housing loan, so Australians now have record levels of personal

debt. So I would be extremely wary

about another facility out there

which encourages Australians to go

further into debt. I'd like to see

the detail before I commented any

further. What it might enable

further. What it might enable people to do, though, is to get into the

housing market where otherwise it

may not? Yes,it may, but they need

their eyes wide open and understand

the nature of the debts they're

taking on and the responsibilities

it would bring. The minimum wage

claims that the unions have put in

for $30 is that an ambit claim or a

reasonable one? That covers 18

months, the State commissions have

been granting $20 for a 12-month

period. It's quite reasonable to

have adjustments to the minimum

have adjustments to the minimum wage that broadly follow the inflation

rate and those $20 decisions have

been doing. That but the minimum

wage is not the problem here Barrie.

The problem is the skills crisis

that is out there and the pressure

that it's putting on wages in

certain sections of the workforce.

That is why the failure of this

Government to invest in skills and

education more broadly is having

such a dramatic impact. The

chickens are coming home to roost.

Their failure to invest in the

future of the country and the

future of the country and the skills of our people is one significant

factor putting upward pressure on

inflation and interest rates.

Now the Fair Pay Commission will

determine this, have you written

them off, or are you prepared to

them off, or are you prepared to see how they go? It's very big test,

Barrie, because times have been

good, unemployment is low, the

economy is relatively prosperous,

but those on minimum wages are

but those on minimum wages are doing it very tough out there Barrie

it very tough out there Barrie given the price of petrol, given what's

going on at the supermarket and in

particular given the extreme industrial relations legislation

which is going to eat away at the

wages of many people on low incomes.

You talk about wages but their

primary role is to maximise

employment for the lower paid

workers, that's the bottom line

outcome? Yes,but both the Reserve

Bank and the OECD have observed

recently that the level of the

minimum wage is not a significant

factor in the employment equation

today. On uranium do you support

today. On uranium do you support the opening up of new mines and how

tough should Labor be in terms of

imposing new conditions on the

export of uranium? Well I do certainly support Kim Beazley's

decision. I think it's sensible.

decision. I think it's sensible. I think it's for the good of the

country in the long-term. I think

the really important question here

relates to the terms and conditions

under which we mine the uranium in

the first place is and the terms

the first place is and the terms and conditions under which we export it.

That's where we can have some real

influence in terms of the economic

and social outcomes. So I think

and social outcomes. So I think Kim Beazley's decision is very sensible

and I support it fully. Is the

uranium industry in for a bit of a

shock when they look at the detail

and see to what extent you want to

tighten up those guidelines?

Well I believe we do need stringent

guidelines Barrie when it comes to

occupational health and safety and

when it comes to who we are seeing

uranium to, because the last thing

we want to do is to contribute to

the proliferation of nuclear

the proliferation of nuclear weapons on this planet. But you are prepared, though, to contribute to

the availability of uranium around

the world. You're prepared to

export it and yet you are argue

against enrichment and you argue

against nuclear power? Barrie, let

me make it very clear, I am

absolutely opposed to enrichment, I

am absolutely opposed to nuclear

power. But you want to sell uranium

to others so they can enrich and

provide nuclear power? Because

provide nuclear power? Because we're not the only supplier in the world

Barrie and we happen to have the

largest uranium mine in the world.

But if you take the Prime

But if you take the Prime Minister's logic to his conclusion what he

would say is why not produce

would say is why not produce nuclear weapons if you want to go down the

road of nuclear enrichment, nuclear

power station, why don't you go

further? Barrie, we are a sovereign

country. We can take decisions

about what we do with our mineral

wealth and how we effect its use in

the world. We ought to be a responsible international citizen

and put the most stringent controls

on the export of that uranium.

Would you like to get a little more support from the premiers than

you've received so far? This is a

vigorous debate where the positions

held by various people including

held by various people including the premiers are generally held. The

position held by our environment

spokesman Antony Albanese are

generally hell. He's a good friend

, I just happen to have a

disagreement with him on this

important question. We hold our

views genuinely and we will have a

civilised debate. What about the

Premier in your own State, Peter

Beattie, is his opposition

self-interest because he's in a

coal-rich State? He will always

defend the interests of Queensland

first, I don't begrudge him that

attitude. People are entitled to

take a puf. We'll have a full and

frank debate and I think we'll get

frank debate and I think we'll get a sensible outcome not just for the

Labor Party but also for the

country. Just finally on the man

that you shadow there's talk of a

prime ministerial decision on 7

August, that's by no means clear.

What do you think? Do you think

What do you think? Do you think this will be sorted out before

will be sorted out before Parliament sits? I think this will probably be

the fifth act in the play of his

ritual humiliation, I think that's

what we'll see on the 7th. On your

side there were mutterings

side there were mutterings certainly from NSW about Kim Beazley being on

notice. Has that passed? Well they

certainly weren't true then and

they're certainly not true now

Barrie. Thanks for your time Barrie. Thank you.

. My name is Mark Bowden and I run

a bike shop in Hobart. I don't

agree with Kim Beazley's plan to

scrap Labor's uranium mine policy.

The policy may be 22 years old, but

it doesn't mean it isn't relevant

now. In the short-term, it may

now. In the short-term, it may make economic sense to harvest

Australia's uranium, but I think

that would only be fuelling the

nuclear fire and I think we should

have a longer term approach to what

we do with uranium and the sensible

thing would be to leave it in the

ground. Mr Beazley made the

statement that there would be very

stringent safeguards on the sale

stringent safeguards on the sale and use of uranium. I'm afraid I don't

really believe that. Ang it's just

a case of Kim Beazley wanting to

have his cake and eating it, too.

have his cake and eating it, too. I don't think at the ballot box

Labor's position on uranium mining

is going to make a great deal of

difference. I think it really

should, but like the last election,

I think people are more concerned

about their personal back pocket

rather than the global issues. One

person in the Labor Party who'll

find it difficult to remain in a

Labor Party I think is Peter

Garrett. Peter Garrett has

positioned himself on very much an

anti-nuclear position and I think

anti-nuclear position and I think he will be very very compromised if

will be very very compromised if the Labor Party goes with this new mine

policy. Whether you want a light

policy. Whether you want a light to see with, or a light to be seen.

see with, or a light to be seen... this policy is going to be a huge

test of Kim Beazley's leadership

test of Kim Beazley's leadership and in fact I think this will be the

undoing of Kim and I think Kim

Beazley will find out that he's

backed the wrong horse.

He points out a couple of

consistencies, one of them, he

doesn't believe that the safeguards

are serious, that there'll be

serious safeguards but the other is

adopting a pro-uranium mining

position and yet turning your back

on enrichment. Well the safeguards

are fairly tough in the sense that

they won't sell uranium to

they won't sell uranium to countries that don't sign the Nuclear

Non-Proliferation Treaty which

Non-Proliferation Treaty which would mean ruling out selling it to India

a potentially big market. I don't

follow why Kim Beazley is ruling it

out straight away. It doesn't have

radioactive waste or anything like.

That he should leave it up to the

market. I doubt it's not economic.

Let the market decide that. BHP

apparently doesn't want to build an

enrichment plant, it's got the

biggest uranium mine in the world.

I actually think it's going to be

John Howard who ends up in more

trouble on this because George Bush

has got this not well spelled out

plan called the nuclear energy

partnership which would only let

countries already enriching uranium

to do. John Howard wants to enrich

uranium, but the catch with Bush's

plan is he wants all countries who

enrich it to take back all the

radioactive waste produced by p

their customers. John Howard won't

do that. We've seen in the past 24

hours, the people of Toowoomba

hours, the people of Toowoomba can't agree on recycling water, what

likelihood that people will take

back nuclear waste having sold it

away. There is a problem for Labor

in this that isn't there for the

coalition. I think that there are

very few coalition voters who are

likely to shift ground on the

question of whether or not

question of whether or not Australia sells more uranium, opens up more

mines, enriches uranium. But I

suspect there are a few on the

suspect there are a few on the Labor side who would shift on the basis

side who would shift on the basis of this policy that the Opposition

Leader has now suggested and

promoted and it's indicated by the

way in which Antony Albanese, not

just because he is the environment

spokesman, but happens to be in the

seat of Graemeler, one of three

seats that the Labor Party holds

where the Greens get over 20% of

where the Greens get over 20% of the vote and could threaten them.

Frank Walker warned 22 years ago

Frank Walker warned 22 years ago you saw earlier that this might

you saw earlier that this might mean the emergence of a green party,

you've got to be careful. When this

issue came up when the Chinese

Premier was here and Kim Beazley

Premier was here and Kim Beazley got into trouble by being indecisive at

the time seemingly the Labor Party

were saying that the reason they

weren't prepared to shift now

because every time they do, the

Green vote goes up and their

Green vote goes up and their primary vote goes down. That is a

vote goes down. That is a potential danger for Labor. Looking for some

sort of logic in Kim Beazley's

approach, is to tell the electorate

especially in seats in South

Australia, for example, that John

Howard wants to put a reactor in

your backyard. It's about - we're

prepared to dig the stuff out of

prepared to dig the stuff out of the ground and ship it overseas. John

Howard is more radical, because -

Do you think the debate will shift

Do you think the debate will shift to that aspect even though it's a

long way down the track? That seems

to be the only logic to the Beazley

position. It's a sensible position

to the extent that Labor has always

been half-pregnant on this issue.

It supports existing mines but

It supports existing mines but won't allow new mines to open. The

existing mines could creep their

boundaries out to the extent that

the entire nation becomes a quarry.

That's how you would get around

that. Labor want to get them on

their own turf to run a seat by

their own turf to run a seat by seat scare campaign. You can do that on

the issue of nuclear reactors,

especially in coastal seats.

I think John Howard has been very

I think John Howard has been very good at differentiating the message

at a local level or electoral level.

Some of his marginal seat

candidates have contradicted

candidates have contradicted Federal issues. I did notice a slightly

different issue on the wind farms earlier this week Peter Costello

said he didn't want a wind farm in

his backyard. I can't see why how

that logic would apply. Perhaps

that logic would apply. Perhaps that explains why Nick Minchin is saying

this could be 100 years off.

Also if you're saying about if we

Also if you're saying about if we have to store the stuff if we

have to store the stuff if we become the dumping ground as well, again

the dumping ground as well, again in South Australia wouldn't want to be

a part of that. I think Nick

Minchin's right, I don't think

nuclear power will be economically

viable in Australia. Clean coal

viable in Australia. Clean coal and gas will be cheaper and get the

gas will be cheaper and get the same environmental outcome. How far away

is clean coal and gas? There's

is clean coal and gas? There's going to be plants working in Europe in

2012, 2013, not very far away. Ian

Macfarlane the Industry Minister

says that nuclear plants would take

20 years at least to build a

20 years at least to build a nuclear plant in Australia. The ones

they're talking about is a concept

called Generation 4 haven't been

designed and by the way they don't

use much uranium. The downside of

that. Clearly the Government will

say to Kim Beazley, Jim, that

say to Kim Beazley, Jim, that you're hypocritical by saying you're

prepared to sell it and let others

do what they will with it, enrich

do what they will with it, enrich it and turn it into nuclear energy.

Bob Brown and the Government are

Bob Brown and the Government are hoping to benefit. The Labor

argument is that it's outmoded and

Kim Beazley lacks courage. Now

he'll turn around and say you're

half-pregnant effectively still.

You're prepared to dig it up but

you're a hypocrite because you're

not prepared to go further. John

Howard brought in a law in 1999

which bans the construction of

enrichment plants, reprocessing

plants and power plants in

Australia. If he's serious about

it, next week he should repeal that

law. He's waiting for his report,

though, isn't he? The report

though, isn't he? The report doesn't matter. Let the market decide

whether or not it makes sense to

enrich uranium in Australia, as

enrich uranium in Australia, as long as you think it's safe and let the

market decide whether or not to

build nuclear power plants. My

guess is they'd do neither. If he

wants to build an enrichment plant

that's not economically viable it

will only raise the suspicion that

one day we want to build nuclear

weapons. An interesting player in

all of this is Peter Garrett

all of this is Peter Garrett because he virtually built an industry on

his opposition, an entertainment

industry on his opposition to

uranium mining. The question was

put to him this week about how he

would deal with it if Labor takes

this pro-mining position. Well, of

course, I'm in the Labor tent for

good and I'll discuss and put very

strongly my own views to colleagues

at the conference like any other

member would. But any suggestion

that someone in my situation is

going to pick up their bat and go

home simply because there's a

possibility that a decision is made

by the conference that he

by the conference that he personally disagrees with, that's not what I'm

here for. No dummy spit over a

single issue, though it must be a

major issue to Peter Garrett and to

those who supported him along the

way. He's certainly prepared to

way. He's certainly prepared to sing about it for long enough. Whether

he's prepared to have anything more

than a polite argument about it, I

somewhat doubt. That's the

difference between '84 and now

Barrie, is that while it was a

matter of considerable passion and

huge division within the Labor

huge division within the Labor Party at that time, now it really is a

much more minority view within the

Labor Party that is adamantly

opposed. The left's split. You've

got a difference between Martin

Ferguson and those around Antony

Albanese. It is a polite argument.

They are going through the motions

more than they were in '82 and '84.

Do you think Peter Garrett has

Do you think Peter Garrett has made the transition from the

the transition from the high-profile entertainer to the politician yet,

or still learning? He's

or still learning? He's deliberately adopted a slow learning process,

otherwise he should have pushed

otherwise he should have pushed into the ministry right now. Shadow

ministry I should say. He's

parliamentary scraetion on

reconciliation, if there was a time

to have a profile - but hi couldn't,

he didn't want to be tackled on

uranium. He's very happy to sing

about beds burning but not prepared

to talk about it on programs like

this one. He should keep talking on

this issue. It's not going to hurt

his profile to remind people that

this is a conviction issue for him.

But also make the point that he's

But also make the point that he's in politics for the long haul. That's

not a bad argument publicly. His

office has been saying he's got

nothing more to offer on this topic.

That's not the attitude the Prime

Minister ever takes and he's got

Minister ever takes and he's got the whole weight of office on his

shoulders. You can't let someone

fill the vak um for you. The

discussion about Peter Garrett is

whether he's sold his soul if he

doesn't get in the public space and

deal with this topic. If not

reconciliation, then what? This is

something right up his a Allie when

he was oo popular entertainer and

he was oo popular entertainer and -- alley when he was a popular

entertain. Kim Beazley's visiting

some Aboriginal communities this

week, so perhaps we may hear more

from them on that. Now the other

thing that Kim Beazley said during

the week is that he put industrial

relations right up there, I think

relations right up there, I think he even implied it might be the sole

issue that might determine the next

election, is he putting too many

eggs in that basket? If he is, he

certainly is. Sure industrial

relations, the WorkChoices

legislation will be very

legislation will be very significant in the next election campaign.

There's no doubt about that, but to

depend on it as being the sole

depend on it as being the sole issue as Labor did back in 1998 with the

GST I think would be a gooefous

error and particularly given that

it's generally the case in this

country that it's the economy in

broad. If they can hook IR into

broad. If they can hook IR into the economy as a general issue, then it

will work. If they think it's

will work. If they think it's going to be the one thing that will win

them the election then I think

they're mistaken. I think where the

politics is working for them,

however, is that Howard's been very

good at lifting the fears of people

both for their personal financial

security and their personal

security and their personal security through terrorism and last election,

through Labor will put up interest

rates. Here is an issue that's

working the other way. The

WorkChoices thing appears to be

making people feel less financially

secure, if not for themselves for

their nieces trying to get a job

their nieces trying to get a job out of school or whatever. That is the

thing that is a worry for the

Government that it's eating away at

the sense of financial security.

It's easier to get the sack, easier

to to have your wages cut or lose

conditions. The Government has to

keep on responding. It's not

something where they control the

agenda in terms of the public

debate. The ACTU raises an example

and whether it turns out to be

somewhat less credible than it

somewhat less credible than it turns out, the Government is seen to be

responding. The running through

responding. The running through one or two news cycles is always Greg

Combet with Kevin Andrews coming

back and saying, "No, it's not

back and saying, "No, it's not quite that way. " That's very difficult

for a Government to prosecute and

for a Government to prosecute and to encourage and discourage that

notion. There's no obvious backflip

mechanism in IR. If we go back to

the start of 2001 when the GST was

causing a lot of trouble for the

Government, fuel excise was cut,

Government, fuel excise was cut, the Business Activity Statement which

was causing a lot of problem. They

changed the timing of that, they

went to annual rather than

quarterly. They threw money at

quarterly. They threw money at beer drinkers, the over 55s and at

families. They could do all that

thing to the GST. But nothing on IR?

Well very little. You can't pull

it back. He doesn't want to anyway. Well very little. You can't pull

John Howard is showing no signs of

backtrack. They set up the Fair Pay John Howard is showing no signs of a

Commission which is also

independent, there's a head of a it

Ian Harper who from his previous

comments before he took this job

looks like he's keen on cutting

wages which he will be allowed to looks like he's keen on cutting real

in this Fair Pay Commission . Now wages which he will be allowed to do

the Government has set himself out

and made a mantra out of real wages

have increased higher and stronger

under us than they did under Labor

now there's a chance that they've under us than they did under Labor -

put someone in who'll say, well

put someone in who'll say, well that comes to an end now. Real wages at

least for the minimum wage will

start falling. Yet, this time

start falling. Yet, this time around you get the feeling this week

listening to the employers and to

the Government that there's no

the Government that there's no great resistance to something close to

inflation? They don't want to be

seen to be ripping the low-income

earners off. It's not their

decision, it's the decision of Ian

Harper. He will take their opinion

on board, surely? I don't think he

will. He's got deep views about

will. He's got deep views about the advantages of cutting the minimum

wage in real terms. That is putting

the emphasis on employment? He's

statutory independence and now is the emphasis on employment? He's got

his chance to go ahead and do what

the act of Parliament allows him to

do. It would be fascinating if he

took that remit to its ultimate

conclusion and didn't bring up

something at least in the order of

$20 a week rather than if not the

full $30. The only requirement is

can't cut the wages - I think he full $30. The only requirement is he

would like to from what he's said

the past. You'd have to start would like to from what he's said in

cutting the safety nets and you'd

back in the era of believing cutting the safety nets and you'd be

Bangladesh is a paradise with low

wages. This week is the big week,

nine out of ten economists can't be

change? We'll know soon enough.

The question - this is not just

The question - this is not just the view in the economics profession,

but the Government - the question

now is whether the Reserve Bank

now is whether the Reserve Bank goes to the 0.25 increase on Wednesday

to the 0.25 increase on Wednesday or decide to go for a shock therapy, 0.

decide to go for a shock therapy, 0.5. Go the big hit and hope

there's no need to do it again.

Inflation is - forget bananas and

Inflation is - forget bananas and petrol prices - inflation is moving

faster than the Reserve Bank wanted.

Early this year they'd set a

of about 2.75% was their prediction Early this year they'd set a target

for the underlying rate by the end

of this year. It's already hit 3

and on the first two quarters of

this year the way it's travelling

will probably be about 3.5. Now this year the way it's travelling it

interest rate rise we had in May will probably be about 3.5. Now the

just before the Budget, before all

those tax cuts appeared was meant

bring inflation down. Now last those tax cuts appeared was meant to

- sorry, it was meant to put a cap bring inflation down. Now last week

on inflation. This week's release

was respond what they'd expected in

May when they were raising interest

rates. This is really the true

rates. This is really the true test for this policy. They are going to

have to go ahead and possibly a

second time. How does the Prime

Minister deal with this? We'll look

at a radio interview in Perth.

I didn't guarantee in the last

I didn't guarantee in the last election campaign that interest

rates would never rise. I asked

that and I declined to give that

guarantee because nobody can do

that. What I did say was that we

would always run lower interest

rates than Labor and I think the

track record of our last 10 years

clearly demonstrate s that. That's

unprovable of course but we set out

to establish just how close he gave

to giving a guarantee. The closest

we could come was this particular

that ran during the campaign. we could come was this particular ad

As we all know, it is only by

building an even stronger economy, As we all know, it is only by

by keeping inflation under control,

by keeping interest rates low, can

we create more jobs. There's a

subtle difference there, you notice

the script said " keep them at

record lows" , they've already

broken that. It wasn't a promise

the way a subtle reference to the broken that. It wasn't a promise by

Government's plan to keep them at

record lows. Where this will start

to hurt, I don't see how they can

run that same line at the next

election. Who do you trust to keep

interest rates low? They can't run

on that again. The only way in

increased interest rates will on that again. The only way in which

control inflation is to slow the

economy and that's only 30% of

people have got mortgages and many

people haven't got a big mortgage.

If the economy slows down that

If the economy slows down that hurts lots and lots of people. It won't

matter if it slows from 6% to 5% in

Western Australia or Queensland but

in NSW it's running at 1%, so

in NSW it's running at 1%, so that's where it will really hurt and it's,

of course, where they have lots of

marginal seats. This confusion over

bananas and you're right because

bananas don't feed into the figures

the Reserve Bank will look at.

We've got this insert from the

Minister where he makes a reference We've got this insert from the Prime

to the bananas and you get the

impression they're happy for that

be out there. If people think impression they're happy for that to

interest rates have gone up because

of this terrible disaster in

Queensland, then so be it. Look at

what he had to say on that. We had

bad inflation figure yesterday, no what he had to say on that. We had a

point in mincing words about it.

was a bad figure because petrol point in mincing words about it. It

prices are rising and the price of

bananas went up by 250%. LAUGHTER

It actually would be funny if it

It actually would be funny if it weren't serious. I assure you,

weren't serious. I assure you, it's a reminder of the vagaries of

economic statistics. So he's saying

it is serious, the fact that

it is serious, the fact that bananas went up is a serious matter.

The inflation number was bad,

The inflation number was bad, that's the more important thing.

That's the closest endorsement to

That's the closest endorsement to the fact that the Reserve Bank

should lift trtds. The rest of the

week Peter Costello and he were

trying to jaw bone the public

argument. They've made the Reserve

Bank completely independent. The

main ingredient appears to be oil

prices which is driven by

international command and partly by

supply constraints. Don't forget

that John Howard participated in

invasion of Iraq where famously the that John Howard participated in the

very very shrewd observer Rupert

Murdoch said the good thing to come

out of the invasion, oil at US $20

barrel. That's well over $70. out of the invasion, oil at US $20 a

Just on interest rates and you

they won't be able to run that same Just on interest rates and you said

line about " they'll keep them

lower" , do you think Labor has

learnt anything from the last

election campaign. Will we see a

more aggressive approach from them?

You get that impression. The

You get that impression. The difference between '83 when Labor

was very effectively able to impugn

the economic record of the Fraser

Government, was that quite clearly

they've cocked it up and there was

double digit inflation, double

double digit inflation, double digit unemployment. This time round it's

not quite so serious and basically

all Labor had to do at that point,

what Labor had to do was basically

to just keep on pointing at what

Fraser Government had done and say, to just keep on pointing at what the

"We can do it better, trust us,

this occasion I suspect they've got "We can do it better, trust us," on

to do more than point to the record

of the Howard Government, even if

inflation is on the up, interest

rates are on the up a bit and

perhaps unemployment is starting to

turn back again. It is a more

difficult argument this time round

than it was. The other factor is

will they have the Treasurer in

place which has been an asset over

the years. Will we know the answer

in the next 10 days before

Parliament sits? We probably won't

know. Monday 7 August is a joint

party meeting and the Prime

is eager to note that point. If party meeting and the Prime Minister

history is anything to go by and if

you go back to the last time he

dudded Peter Costello, what was it,

2003? The process he went through

was to talk to the Treasurer about

it and tell him why he wouldn't go

through the transition, then tell

his Liberal Party colleagues at a

Liberal Party meeting, not a joint

party meeting. This is the Tuesday,

not the Monday The Tuesday morning

at 8:30. You don't think he would

before Parliament sits? The one

thing that he does owe Peter

Costello, he doesn't owe him the

leadership, but surely a response.

He gave him one on the day of the

Cabinet meeting. The response was He gave him one on the day of the

would think about it and get back Cabinet meeting. The response was he

him. Peter Costello says he's would think about it and get back to

waiting for that announcement. him. Peter Costello says he's still

As the Prime Minister said about

that 1994 meeting, people emerged As the Prime Minister said about

with different interpretations of

events. I think he's given his

answer. Jackie Kelly is reported in

the 'Sun Herald' as saying, I wish

he'd make up his bloody mind. Do

you think that's typical of the

feeling? They want some indication

as to what he's going to do. I

don't think he will - if he's not

going to say that he's going and I

very much doubt that's going to

occur, he will say that he will

occur, he will say that he will stay to fight the next election and that

he will also note that the

indications of support he's got

indications of support he's got from both backbenchers and also from the

ministry who will also note the

other point about - I don't know

other point about - I don't know why Peter Costello is pushing him hard

for an immediate answer. He

for an immediate answer. He doesn't want to give an immediate answer to

look like he's surrendered to Peter

Costello. Peter Costello's better

chance is to wait and hope that

maybe John Howard thinks

differently. Remember he was trying

to smile his way in the top job.

was in a) really good mood. I can to smile his way in the top job. He

understand why John Howard is

holding off. Because the strategic

advantage he has over Labor is he

knows in his own mind who they'll

up against at the next election, knows in his own mind who they'll be

the longer he keeps that secret up against at the next election, and

the Labor Party, the longer he the longer he keeps that secret from

that strategic advantage? I suspect the Labor Party, the longer he holds

the longer he keeps it from Peter

Costello the more likely he is to

have the Treasurer remaining in

job into that job. It will be have the Treasurer remaining in that

different if the Prime Minister

holds off till Christmas. I don't

think it matters if Peter Costello

pulls out. As long as you put a

competent person in as Treasurer.

Peter Costello will sink without

trace. It was a turning point with

Bob Hawke when he put Kerin into

Bob Hawke when he put Kerin into the Treasurer's shoes. I think Malcolm

Turnbull would make at least as

Turnbull would make at least as good a Treasurer. Alexander Downer does

aspire to the deputy Liberal

leader's job and obviously they get

called on portfolio. He fancies

himself as the Treasurer. If we've

got rising interest rates, we've

petrol prices at record levels and got rising interest rates, we've got

slowing in the Eastern Seaboard petrol prices at record levels and a

economies, regardless of what's

happening in Perth. You've got

Alexander Downer as Treasurer, it

could make an interesting debate.

Like you said, it only good a

Like you said, it only good a couple of dud press conferences from John

Kerin for the mood to switch

Kerin for the mood to switch against Bob Hawke. Bob Hawke was home and

hosed until Kerin put his foot in.

I mentioned Jackie Kelly before

I mentioned Jackie Kelly before and he's got a decision to make around

about next week as to whether she

continues on with 'Dancing on Ice'

and does her celebrity thing or

and does her celebrity thing or goes back into the Parliament. Is this

back i