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Q And A -

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TONY JONES: Good evening and welcome to Q&A. Answering your questions tonight, former opposition
leader Malcolm Turnbull; Labor minister turned political lobbyist Graham Richardson; South
Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young; Small Business Minister, Craig Emerson; and Centre
for Independent Studies Analyst Jessica Brown. Please welcome our panel.

Well, Q&A is live from 9.35 eastern time, or thereabouts, and if you have a question, send it by
SMS to 197 55 222 or via our website at And you can join the Twitter conversation
with #qanda or follow the small selection of tweets we'll be showing on your TV screen.

Well, tragic news from Afghanistan today, where three Australian soldiers have been killed in a
helicopter crash. It's the largest number of Australians killed in war since Vietnam and it comes
hard on the heels of the deaths of two Australians earlier this month. Our first question is on
this subject and it comes tonight from Zeb Muller.

ZEB MULLER: I understand there is an alliance with the US and the UK et cetera, but is it really
necessary to send our young men half way round the world to fight battles that frankly have nothing
to do with Australia? How many innocent Australians need to die before we bring our troops back

TONY JONES: Graham Richardson, let's hear from you first on this.

GRAHAM RICHARDSON: I got asked this, I think on another channel, the other day, and I guess what
worries me is I can't see us winning. I've supported us being there. I don't agree that it's got
nothing to do with us. I think when the Taliban had their bases there it was a problem. You can't
say it wasn't. That having been said, how do you beat the buggers? They just keep coming and I just
worry that if you can't beat them, how do you get out? And I haven't heard anyone answer those two
questions. First, can you win and how do you get out? Maybe Craig can, but I just don't know what
the answer it. I just know that at the moment - we announce a surge every now and again, as if
that's going to somehow change things, then you wait six months and nothing has changed.

TONY JONES: Graham, there's an essential poll out today. It shows a majority of both sides of
politics now want Australian troops withdrawn: 61 per cent of Labor voters, 55 per cent of
coalition voters. It appears the support for the war is sliding.

GRAHAM RICHARDSON: Well, losing Australian soldiers the way we're losing them will always do that,
and as well it should. If you're going to waste Australian lives, people want to know it's in a
good cause. I supported the cause. I probably still do support the cause, but I also - as I said, I
think you've got to be realistic. I can't see how we win. Now, I don't think that that 61 per cent
is reflected in Labor politicians in the caucus. I suspect that there's still a majority want to
stay in there but I think you're right. I think right across Australia that feeling is growing and
every one of these deaths will only make it grow more, so I think that we obviously must be getting
somewhat closer to at least having an exit strategy.

TONY JONES: Let's hear from Malcolm Turnbull on this.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, look, I just take issue with the questioner. This battle does have a great
deal to do with us. We are in a war, a global war against terror, and the battle in Afghanistan is
the front line, so we have a vital interest in winning that battle, and the mission that Australia
has and our allies have there, is to create the space that will enable the Afghan nation to put in
place its own security forces and take over the job of managing the security and peace for that
country, so that's the exit strategy, Graham. The exit strategy is to ensure that the Afghan state
is strong enough and secure enough to take over the job. That being done, then the foreign forces
can leave.

TONY JONES: Tony Abbott wants to boost Australian troop numbers in Afghanistan. Is that a good

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, look, it's going to be an issue. I mean, I think you're putting it a little
bit higher than what Tony actually said but Tony was...

TONY JONES: Well, he said it would be a good idea for Australia to take over the leadership role in
Oruzgan province, which means sending in considerably more troops.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: This is after the Dutch leave. Yeah, we'll that's certainly going to be a
question for us to deal with, an issue, and I'm sure that that will arise. It will arise, I would
think, after the election, when Tony will be Prime Minister and he will act, advised - he will act,
advised by the - you know, the Defence chiefs and we'll have to take a very hard-headed, pragmatic
approach to that and determine what our capabilities are, but he will no doubt take that expert
advice, just as, indeed, the current Prime Minister would if an issue arose while he was still

GRAHAM RICHARDSON: Well, what evidence is there that the Afghan government has done anything? I
mean, that is the real problem. How do you ever like at Karzai and his team and say they're getting
there? How can you judge that their efforts on trying to defend themselves are getting any better;
that their efforts of even being liked by their own people are getting any better? What I worry
about is you don't see progress in those things at all.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, Graham, all right. What - let's say if the Australians leave and the
Americans leave and the British leave, all the allied forces leave, what happens next? You just
give the country back to the Taliban, what happens to Pakistan? What happens if the Taliban take
over Pakistan, a nuclear armed state? Is that something that we have no interest in?

GRAHAM RICHARDSON: No. No. I didn't say we have no interest. I wonder what we can do about it? I
don't think the Pakistanis are doing too well either, are they?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, for somebody who wrote a book entitled Whatever It Takes, you seem to have
evolved into an incredible defeatist.

TONY JONES: Okay. I'm just going to go back to our - you clearly haven't lost your touch, Malcolm
Turnbull. I'm going to go back to our questioner. He just wanted to make a comment, I think.

ZEB MULLER: Mr Turnbull, with all due respect, I just don't see how Afghanistan's security and
managing that security is our responsibility and I really don't see if there was any internal
issues in Australia that Afghanistan would be the first country to jump up and come to our aid
really, either.


TONY JONES: No, I'm going to take that as a comment.


TONY JONES: I want to hear from the rest of the panellists.


TONY JONES: And let's start with Sarah Hanson-Young.

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: Firstly, I just think it's really important for us to acknowledge that this is
really sad news and it's a tragedy and I can't possibly imagine how the families of these three men
are feeling at the moment and I said that only two weeks ago when we had the death of two other
soldiers and, you know, talking to Australians about this, I think people are beginning to question
and wondering how long this goes for and it's nearly a decade. It's actually - this war has been
now going longer than either World War I or World War II did. It's, in history, the longest war
that the US have been involved in, and yet we still have no exit strategy. I think we do owe the
brave, courageous soldiers who are over there every day, men and women in, you know, our - you
know, members of our own community, members of our family who are over there and yet for some
reason we don't want to talk about this. We don't want to talk about this in our parliaments. There
is the nuanced kind of approach to it, when I think they deserve a bit more respect from us and
particularly our political leaders to seriously discuss this and not just put it in the too hard
basket. They deserve much better.

TONY JONES: I know you want to jump in, Craig Emerson. I just want to hear from Jessica Brown,

JESSICA BROWN: Well, first, I think I'd like to second what Sarah says. It almost seems - it's a
big raw when we've only heard this news today to be discussing it in these sort of macro terms and,
I mean, you asked the question, "How many is too many?" Well, I mean, one death is too many really.
It's not something you can put a number on, but I suppose, in a way, I go back to your original
question about the US alliance. I mean, to me I think that's why we went there in the first place
and that's why we're still there, and that really does remain the cornerstone or our foreign policy
and our defence policy: the alliance with the US. It's a really difficult question to sort of way
that up and say, "Is our commitment now worth it and how will that sort of come back to help us in
the end?" I don't know the answer but, as I said, it seems almost a little bit raw to be discussing
it after the news we've heard this afternoon.

TONY JONES: Craig Emerson?

CRAIG EMERSON: War is horrible and our hearts do go out to the loved ones and the mates of those
young men who have lost their lives today. There was a fourth non-Australian. We should think of
that young man, as well.

TONY JONES: And we should bear in mind, I think there are seven seriously injured Australians.
Well, there's a number of seriously injured Australians...

CRAIG EMERSON: I think that's right, yes.

TONY JONES: ...amongst the other seven...

CRAIG EMERSON: There's two seriously injured.


CRAIG EMERSON: And others are also wounded. We have two sons, a 19 year old and a 17 year old, Ben
and Tom, and the idea of them going to war is truly horrific and so I just want to say how shocking
it must be for those loved ones. In terms of the connection to Australia, let's not forget that
more than 100 Australians lost their lives in Bali and other terrorist incidents and these - the
loss of life is directly associated with Al-Qaeda, whose safe haven has been Afghanistan. It is a
training ground and a safe haven for terrorists, Al-Qaeda terrorists, and I think we owe it, at the
very least, to, again, the loved ones of those 100 plus Australians who have lost their lives
rather than just say, "It's nothing to do with us." I agree the alliance is important but, in any
event, we owe the national security to our young people who are in places like Bali. So I think
that's the connection. Our role is now to focus on training the Afghan security forces and that's
what the effort is being devoted to doing. We can't be there forever, but at the same time you just
can't say, "Well, we've done it for a decade. That's a long war. Outskie. We're out." We need to
train those security forces.

TONY JONES: You heard what Graham Richardson said, though. Is the level of the Australian
commitment in any way dependent on the number of casualties, and bear in mind that in Britain they
just had their 300th casualty?

CRAIG EMERSON: Yes. We've got 1550 troops in Afghanistan, which is the largest non-NATO contingent
and our view is that number is about right. We're not, you know, projecting increases in those
troop numbers. What we're projecting is training the Afghan security forces, so that's the strategy
but it's a very big commitment as it is. I'd love for this war to be over. I'd love for all wars to
be over, never to be started, and if our young people can play a role in never starting wars and
getting, you know, a peaceful world, I think that is so vital to our future and I think so often if
you look at the history of wars around the world, they are often based on misunderstandings,
misjudgements. The whole Vietnam War was based on a misreading of what was going on in Indochina at
the time and something like - sure, 503 Australians lost their lives. Two million Vietnamese people
lost their lives in the Vietnam War. So, for God's sake, young people, do whatever you can to make
sure that wars don't happen.

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: I think the other thing that we need to think about is who really makes the
decision that we go to war? You're saying, you know, let there not be war. Let's all live in peace
and harmony. Yes, of course, let's do that. One of the things that I find really disappointing
about the current situation we're in is that our elected representatives - our parliaments didn't
even make a decision that we were going to war. That isn't a requirement for Australia to go to war
at the moment and, to me, when all of us are sitting around here - you know, Malcolm, Craig, I,
elected representatives, we talk to our constituents, the members of our community, everyday about
these types of things, things that people want to talk about that they're upset about, that they
feel strongly about and, yet, we were never, as the parliament, involved in making that decision. I
think that's something the parliament needs to change. It should be.

TONY JONES: All right, a very quick response and we'll move on, from the government.

CRAIG EMERSON: We did support - it was the Coalition Government, the Howard Government, that
decided to go to war in Afghanistan.

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: But it wasn't a parliamentary decision, is what I'm saying.

CRAIG EMERSON: No, but it certainly would have been a big majority of the parliament at that time.
I understand what you're saying, Sarah, but we supported that. We did not support the war in Iraq.
We did not believe that that case had been prosecuted. We did support the Coalition's decision to
go into Afghanistan for the reason of more than 100 young Australians losing their live and the
threat of that happening again and again.

TONY JONES: Let's move back to domestic politics. The Penrith by-election in New South Wales, which
delivered a massive 25 and a half per cent swing against the New South Wales' Labor Government.
Even a fraction of that swing was carried into the Federal election, Tony Abbott would be, as has
been predicted by one of our panellists tonight, our next Prime Minister. Our next question comes
from Jason Bradshaw.

JASON BRADSHAW: I'm wondering what lessons should the Federal Labor Party should learn from the
election result here in New South Wales on the weekend?

TONY JONES: Graham Richardson?

GRAHAM RICHARDSON: Well, first of all I really don't think you can take too much of a Federal
reading out of what happened on Saturday. I mean, there's been a train wreck heading down that path
for a long time now in New South Wales. There was a 23 per cent swing in the Ryde by-election,
which is, you know, only a couple of years back. Twenty-three per cent in Ryde. We just had a new
record, 25 and a half, but Ryde wasn't real flash either, so no one suggested that was a Federal
implication and the extra couple of per cent here doesn't mean there is one either. I mean, New
South Wales has its own problems and the Labor Party is on the nose and it's going to have to make
some serious changes if it wants to improve, so the only thing I'd read about it is people don't
like the New South Wales Labor Party very much. If I was Kevin Rudd, I wouldn't worry about it one
little bit. He didn't worry about Ryde and he doesn't need to worry about this.

TONY JONES: Despite the fact the New South Wales' right of the Labor Party put him in power.

GRAHAM RICHARDSON: The New South Wales' right of the Labor Party didn't put Kevin Rudd in power.
Everybody did. I mean, Julia Gillard's section to the left all voted for her.

TONY JONES: Put him into the leadership of the Labor Party, yeah.

GRAHAM RICHARDSON: No. No. They all voted for her. Give it a break. It was across the board. He had
a lot of support. He didn't just have the New South Wales' right, he had everyone on board at the
time, bar one section on the left. He bolted in. So I don't know what the New South Wales' right
percentage of the caucus is these days. It's pretty small. So, no, that's just a misreading of it.
He was put in by pretty well every faction, every individual. They all wanted him and they got him.

TONY JONES: Quick question. Do you think they still want him?

GRAHAM RICHARDSON: Actually, I have no doubt they do. I mean, for all the talk and everything I
read, I don't believe anyone ever got around to counting heads. I don't think anyone will and I
think he'll stay the leader.

TONY JONES: Malcolm Turnbull?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: There's some Liberals cheering that prospect.

CRAIG EMERSON: Malcolm, there are only two of them.

TONY JONES: Let's go back to the question. Do you see any Federal implications in what happened in

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, undoubtedly, yes, and we've heard both from people on the Liberal side and
also people on the Labor side who were out there canvassing during the by-election that Federal
politics was raised a lot by voters and there was very deep, entrenched criticism of the Prime
Minister and, you know, that certainly was a factor in it. Now, I agree with Graham that there is a
distinction between state and federal politics but, nonetheless, the feedback that everybody got on
the ground - both sides got on the ground was real anger and disappointment with Kevin Rudd. I
mean, people feel he has let them down and, you know, he's demonstrated, sadly, that he is a leader
without either competence or conviction. Now, I think you can get by if you've just got one, but if
you believe in nothing and you're no good at doing anything, then you've got to ask why you're


GRAHAM RICHARDSON: That may well be all true, Malcolm, except for one thing. Nobody has warmed to
Tony Abbott, just like you. No one.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, it's a two horse - Graham, the reality is it's a two horse race and people

TONY JONES: But getting back...

MALCOLM TURNBULL: ...I predict...

TONY JONES: ...are you warming - are you warming to your leader?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, I'm certainly - I certainly - well, I've always been friends with Tony
Abbott, despite differences on a number of issues over the years. No, there's no question about
that, and he is a very different style of politician but the one thing that people can see in Tony
is that he is fair dinkum. What you see is what you get. They look at Rudd - they look at Rudd -
they look at...

GRAHAM RICHARDSON: I agree with that.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: They look at Rudd...


MALCOLM TURNBULL: ...and they feel hi is a phony. Now, you know, that is the - you know, that
abandonment of the emissions trading scheme was a catastrophe for Rudd. Absolute catastrophe.

TONY JONES: No, we'll come - no, we'll come back to that.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: You had Rod Cameron on television earlier tonight saying that was the point and,
indeed, the guy from Newspoll has said the same thing. That was the point when Rudd's ratings fell
off a cliff, because people said, "This is a guy who got elected on the basis he had an answer to
the greatest moral challenge of our times, and now he's walked away from it. So if he doesn't
believe in that, what does he believe in?"

TONY JONES: We'll come back to that, because it appears this kind of attack is now going to go on
television. Kevin Rudd has been under attack from all sides of late. Let's take a look at an
excerpt from the latest Liberal Party ad.


TONY JONES: Craig Emerson, are they going to hurt you with humour? Are they going to hurt you with

CRAIG EMERSON: Well, Malcolm had his straight face on when he said he really strongly supports Tony
Abbott and he believes in something. This is a book out today called Sandstorm or something like
that. "According to Turnbull, Robb's speech that day was, quote, 'An act of almost inconceivable
treachery and dishonesty'." That was about emissions trading and he was backing in Tony Abbott to
roll you, Malcolm, and it worked. Nick Minchin and Andrew Robb knifed you that day for Tony Abbott
and you say that Tony Abbott believes in things.


CRAIG EMERSON: What does he say about climate change? "It's absolutely crap."


CRAIG EMERSON: And it's all here and it must be the gospel truth, because it's written down in a

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Okay. But, look, Tony, this is an important - this is an important point. You
see, neither Tony Abbott or Kevin Rudd support an emissions trading scheme. Neither of them want to
put a price on carbon, so it would seem.

CRAIG EMERSON: Well, that's not true. That's just not true.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, hang on. The difference is that Tony Abbott has never been committed to the
climate change issue in the way that I have or the way that...

CRAIG EMERSON: You can say that again.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: ...Kevin Rudd has claimed that he was. So, you see, the question of political
courage is brought into question by Kevin Rudd because the issue that he made - he chose to make
the greatest moral challenge of our times - is one that he has walked away from. Now, Tony Abbott
never put climate change at that level. You know, you've quoted the famous quite of him saying,
"Climate change is crap."

CRAIG EMERSON: No, "absolute crap."

MALCOLM TURNBULL: I think that's a little bit strong.

TONY JONES: No, Malcolm, I'm going to interrupt you because we actually have a question in the
audience on this subject. It comes from Daniel Keogh. Daniel, just put your hand up so we can see
where you are. There we go.

DANIEL KEOGH: Cheers. Malcolm, since we're doing quotes, I know that you've been - last week you
were saying that Kevin Rudd has been a coward for dropping the ETS.


DANIEL KEOGH: But late last year on your blog, you posted that you thought Tony Abbot's position on
climate change was "bullcrap" and that any policy announced under his leadership would be a con.
And now since you're back in the party, what's changed?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, I'll tell you.

DANIEL KEOGH: Have you changed your opinion on his views or has Tony Abbott changed his opinions?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Okay. Now have you stopped asking questions? Because you've adopted the - it's an
ABC technique...

CRAIG EMERSON: I thought it was a good question.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: ...and then just as you start to answer it...

CRAIG EMERSON: Oh, Malcolm, you can handle it.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: ...ask another one.


MALCOLM TURNBULL: But, look, I'll be - let me...

DANIEL KEOGH: I've got plenty more, if you want.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: No, okay. No, the...

CRAIG EMERSON: Let him speak.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: The proposition that I described as "bullshit" - not "bullcrap", "bullshit", was
that you can affect a significant cut in CO2 emissions without a cost, right? You know this is the
idea that you can somehow or other, by some magic, transform your economy from a high emissions one
to a low emissions one and it doesn't cost anything. Now, that - and that I don't think many people
would argue. They might not like the Anglo-Saxon, but the substance of my remark must be right. In
terms of the coalition's position, the coalition's current position is not for a market based
mechanism. It's not for an emissions trading scheme or a carbon tax, so it isn't the best or the
most cost effective way of cutting emissions. But what the coalition has is a taxpayer-funded model
which involves the government spending billions of dollars to buy carbon offsets to an extent that
would - the aim is to reach a five per cent cut in emissions by 2000 levels by 2020. Now, you have
to be completely objective and fair minded about it. It's not my policy. It's not one that I am
particularly keen on, but it does, at least, have the potential of meeting that target, albeit it
at very high cost, naturally, to the taxpayer. The Labor Party, on the other hand, has no policy at
all. They, having abandoned the ETS...

CRAIG EMERSON: No, Malcolm, Malcolm, Malcolm.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: ...they have no policy at all...

CRAIG EMERSON: (Indistinct) That's completely untrue and you know it.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: ...capable of meeting the target.


MALCOLM TURNBULL: And that's the difference.

TONY JONES: I'm going to get the government to answer that in a second, but I can't but note
Liberal leaders have been very fond of this word "bullshit"...

CRAIG EMERSON: Yeah, and "crap".

TONY JONES: ...because isn't that the same term that Tony Abbott used to describe climate change

CRAIG EMERSON: "Absolutely crap," he said.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: No, "absolute crap", I think was the term. A subtle difference.

CRAIG EMERSON: I knew we'd agree on something...

MALCOLM TURNBULL: A subtle difference.

CRAIG EMERSON: ...that Tony Abbott said that.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: But that is - and I think that was a - I think Tony subsequently said that was
perhaps a colourful expression that perhaps over-stated his degree of scepticism and he...

CRAIG EMERSON: And he expressed his sorrow and remorse...

MALCOLM TURNBULL: No, but look...

CRAIG EMERSON: ...and it was one of those heat of the moment comments. It wasn't written down. It
wasn't gospel truth.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: ...I'm being completely...

CRAIG EMERSON: He didn't know he had a microphone on him. That's the truth.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Being completely objective here, Kevin Rudd is the one - Kevin Rudd is the one
that said climate change was the greatest moral challenge of our times and we had to address it.
He's walked away from his solution to it. He doesn't have the courage...

CRAIG EMERSON: No he hasn't. He has not.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, why don't you take it to a double dissolution? You could do that. You could
have done that in February.

CRAIG EMERSON: We said that we...

MALCOLM TURNBULL: You could have done that...

TONY JONES: Okay, Malcolm.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: ...but you didn't have the guts to do that, Craig.

TONY JONES: Malcolm Turnbull, we can't let you filibuster here.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: That's the point.

TONY JONES: We have to hear from the rest of the panel.

CRAIG EMERSON: We are committed to the five per cent reduction that is unconditional. We are
committed to the 60 per cent reduction by 2050. We are, even in this budget, investing hundreds of
millions of dollars in renewable energy to achieve a 20 per cent renewable energy target and we are
going to be building one of the biggest solar power station in the world in this country, so we are
getting on with the job, Malcolm, and all Tony Abbott is doing...

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Yeah, but it won't meet the target, Craig. Your own - look, Penny Wong, who's the
minister, and Martin Parkinson, who heads up the department...

CRAIG EMERSON: You have no idea (indistinct).

MALCOLM TURNBULL: No. No. I know a little bit about this topic.


MALCOLM TURNBULL: And I'm just telling you...

CRAIG EMERSON: And you should stop defending Tony Abbott.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: The head of your own department...

CRAIG EMERSON: You should stop defending Tony Abbott and you say you want him to be Prime

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: I think this is exactly why...

CRAIG EMERSON: And this guy believes it's absolute crap.

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: I think this is exactly why Australians are sick of both major parties.
Absolutely. (Indistinct). What we need to be talking about is how we put a price on carbon...

CRAIG EMERSON: Yes, that's what we say.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: I agree with that.

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: ...and how we do that as soon as possible. We could be doing that by
introducing a carbon tax. I know I just used the word there but we could be doing that and if the
government wanted to jump on board and do that, we could introduce that this week if we wanted. Get
Kevin Rudd over to talk to Bob Brown, we could do it.

CRAIG EMERSON: And as I say, our policy is an emissions trading scheme and that's what we will

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: Except that you've delayed it until 2013. Who knows...

MALCOLM TURNBULL: That's the problem.

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: ...what you're going to be doing in 2013, whereas what we...

CRAIG EMERSON: But in the meantime we're making these other investments.

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: No, in the meantime - in the meantime you've totally squandered the amazing
mandate that you had in 2007 where the voters went to the election and said, "Yep, we want real
action on climate change," and they believed that Kevin 07 was going to deliver it. And he hasn't.
He hasn't delivered it. We've got Malcolm over here, and I know you stood strong for the CPRS
legislation, which I must say I'm a little tired - and I love you Malcolm but I start to - I get a
bit frustrated when you're held up as the climate change hero, because you're not. The CPRS
legislation - the CPRS legislation was ground down by your leadership and when you were leading the
Liberal Party to a point where there was no way it was going to tackle climate change the way it
should. We were paying...

MALCOLM TURNBULL: But to a point where you've got nothing. That's the problem...

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: We were going...

MALCOLM TURNBULL: You've got nothing.

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: We were going to be paying...

CRAIG EMERSON: They've got nothing.

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: We were going to be paying polluters to keep polluting at taxpayer expense and,
yet, we weren't even going to really reduce emissions. The five per cent was going to be offshore
offsets and, you know, permits off shore, and it wasn't going to take (indistinct).

TONY JONES: Okay. I'm going to interrupt you. I'm going to interrupt you, because we actually have
a question from in the audience from Boris Brkic on this subject.

BORIS BRKIC: Ms. Hanson-Young why after all those years of leading us on and telling us that yours
is the party that believes in environmental control and responsibility, did you baulk at the first
instance that a government was prepared to do something positive about it?


BORIS BRKIC: I refer to the failed ETS. Sure it was a small step and not the giant leap you wanted
but isn't something better than nothing?

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: Well, I'm so glad you asked that question because it just goes to the heart...

BORIS BRKIC: Can you give me a straight answer?

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: So it just goes to absolutely the heart of the problem. The government's
legislation was not going to tackle climate change. It was going to - it wasn't, Craig. Let's face

CRAIG EMERSON: It was a good deal that we struck with Malcolm Turnbull when he was the leader.


CRAIG EMERSON: It would have been a good...

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: It was a political deal.

CRAIG EMERSON: It would have been a good start.

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: It was a political deal.

CRAIG EMERSON: You talk about the parliament. We would have had a deal to go through the parliament
with the will of the people but the opposition of the Greens, because the Greens said they will
oppose whatever we put up unless it's absolutely to the satisfaction of the Greens. It would have
been a great start.

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: It was never going...

CRAIG EMERSON: Thank you for negotiation in good faith, Malcolm...

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: It was never going to tackle climate change.

CRAIG EMERSON: But the trouble is you got assassinated by Tony Abbott and Nick Minchin and Andrew
Robb and so we couldn't prosecute that good deal.

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: I love how the government can't take responsibility for any of their own cock

CRAIG EMERSON: It's the parliament. It's the parliament. You've got to get stuff through the

TONY JONES: Okay, can I just interrupt? Sorry, the questioner has his hand up again, sorry. I'm
going to go back to the questioner.

BORIS BRKIC: Follow up question. So, therefore, are you happier now...

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: Did he just call me "sir"?

BORIS BRKIC: ...that you've actually squandered the opportunity and you've not go, you know, the
person who calls climate change "crap" and, you know, a failed bookkeeper who thinks that it's all
just some big new tax. So is this your...

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: No, the issue with the legislation...

BORIS BRKIC: ...answer to climate change?

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: The issue with the legislation was it wasn't going to tackle climate change. It
was going to throw billions and billions of dollars to the big polluters to continue polluting.
They set this measly target of five per cent, which we weren't even going to reach. It was going to
be domestically a zero per cent reduction and it wasn't going to deliver the action that we really
need and, in fact, climate change...

CRAIG EMERSON: A 20 per cent conditional rate.

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: Can I just finish, Craig? Climate change...


TONY JONES: I'm going to interrupt to hear from other members of the panel. I'm going to start with
Graham Richardson.

GRAHAM RICHARDSON: I've just got to say this on the Greens' position on this, because it's really
annoyed me all the way through: the reality with the Greens on this is they have been totally
absolutist. You're right. Totally absolutist. You either do every single thing we want or we'll
give you nothing. Now, you can't get by, not just in politics. You can't get by in daily life with
that attitude and if they don't get over this absolutism: I am right. I am totally right. I can
never be wrong, therefore you must agree with me...


GRAHAM RICHARDSON: ...if they can't get over that, they're finished. They're growing because Labor
is a bit on the nose, so their vote goes up. The reality is that's happened before. It will happen
again. It goes up and down. But the base vote over time, election after election, doesn't change
much and why haven't they grown the way they thought they would? Because of this absolutism. They
don't achieve. If you're actually interested in the environment, what you've got to achieve is
something. If all you continue to achieve is nothing, then all I can say is God help the lot of us,
and that's what's happening now.

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: I think the reality is climate change is actually too bigger an issue for us to
simply try and patch up with some deal that was done...

CRAIG EMERSON: So we do nothing.

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: ...between the two political leaders here, which wasn't going to deliver the
action that we needed. It's too big of an issue. We actually need to get it right. Malcolm, you say
you believe in climate change, you want to tackle climate change. You would know - you would know
that this legislation wasn't going to deliver the action that was needed.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, I'll respond.

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: And the fact that we weren't sending those signals to the big polluters to stop
and change business as usual. It was quite significant. We needed much more rigour and spine from
the Labor Party and if the Labor Party was serious about tackling climate change and introducing a
piece of legislation that was really going to tackle it, why didn't they come and talk to the
Greens? Why has the Prime Minister refused since April last year to talk to Bob Brown about it?
They weren't interested. You wanted a deal with the Coalition, because you didn't really want to
deliver the hard and tricky legislation that we need in order to actually tackle climate change.

CRAIG EMERSON: To get an emissions trading framework into place would have been a great
achievement. Sarah, you talk about the parliament and how important the parliament would be in
deciding whether we go to war or not...

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: So let's put in a carbon tax.

CRAIG EMERSON: ...whether we go to war or not. We come to an arrangement that is knifed by Tony
Abbott. But at least with this man, negotiated in good faith, it could have gone in and then over
time be further developed, but we ended up with absolutely nothing and the Greens seem to be quite
happy about that. Now, Graham Richardson is standing here...

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: Oh, we're not happy about it.

CRAIG EMERSON: Graham Richardson is sitting here. He and I and Bob Hawke and others were involved
in the Tasmanian forest debates of the 1980s and the Greens didn't accept at all but at least they
said it's progress, and we made great progress and preserved the great forests of Tasmania as a
result of some pragmatism on the part of the Greens. Let's just have a little bit of that.

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: The government...

TONY JONES: Okay, hang on. No, we've got a panellist we haven't heard from for a while. Jessica
Brown, I want to get your thoughts on this.

JESSICA BROWN: I think, in a way, it shows up one of the problems the government is having with
process and in a way there's a lot of parallels I can see between the emissions trading scheme and
what we're seeing at the moment, with the resources tax and that is a sort of sense that the
government has a policy and they're pushing through and sort of taking no prisoners along the way
and failing to bring people into the tent and in the process alienating everyone along the way and
the outcome for the ETS was that it didn't work in the end. I wonder if we're going to see history
repeat itself at the moment with the mining tax.


TONY JONES: Okay. All right. Yes, Malcolm Turnbull, I know you want to come in.


TONY JONES: And so let me just ask you...


TONY JONES: Let me just bring you in with a question: if it weren't for the fact that Tony Abbott
became the leader of the Liberal Party, there would be an emissions trading scheme, wouldn't there?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, yes, absolutely. There's no question.

TONY JONES: And you still want one, then?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: No doubt. We need to put a price on carbon. You can do that with a cap and trade
emissions trading scheme or you can do it with a carbon tax. We will not be able to achieve, in my
view, substantial cuts in emissions in Australia cost effectively without putting a price on
carbon. Now, you can argue about the design of an ETS. You can argue about the merits of an ETS
versus a tax...

TONY JONES: Okay, but...


TONY JONES: No, quickly, what would have to happen in your party in the current leadership for them
to agree on either of those two things, which you say (indistinct)?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, I think the next big change is going to be what happens...

CRAIG EMERSON: In the leadership.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: the United States. If there is a cap and trade scheme set up in the United
States, then that will cause a lot of other developed economies to follow suit. But I just want to
get a couple of facts down?


TONY JONES: Sorry, we don't take question from people who are yelling out, okay? Sorry about that.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: I just want to get a couple of facts down because Craig suggested that the
government was in a position to meet the five per cent target with its current policies without an
ETS. That is not correct. Both...

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: And we all know five per cent is not enough that we need in order to

MALCOLM TURNBULL: ...both Martin Parkinson, who is the head of the department and the Minister,
Penny Wong, have said without CPRS, without an emissions trading scheme, they will not be able to
meet the target, and that is why at the moment we've got this absurd situation of a government
which says, "We've got this big target to cut emissions by so much, but, hey, we don't have the
tools to do it." Why? Because we didn't have the guts to go to the people with a double

TONY JONES: Okay, good. We're going to stay with this question for a while. On the politics of it,

RALPH PANEBIANCO: Ms Hanson-Young, if aggressive Greens campaigning and preference deals deliver
Tony Abbott into the Lodge, are you guys going to be happy with yourselves?

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: Look, I think Australians right around the country are disillusioned with
what's going on. I've said before this, kind of, the government doesn't want to take responsibility
for the fact that they failed to really deliver on their CPRS legislation. Yes, the Greens couldn't
support it because it wasn't going to tackle climate change. We know that the science says that we
needed a much more significant emissions cut than five per cent, and even that, domestically,
wasn't going to be the case. That wasn't what you were delivering.

TONY JONES: Just to go back to the question though, if we can, because the questions is...


TONY JONES: ...would you care? I mean, you've been accused of being absolutist. Would you actually
care if in order to have your sort of absolute position, it didn't matter who became the Prime
Minister. In other words you could potentially deliver Tony Abbott to the Lodge?

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: Well, I guess the first point is this is not about being absolute. This is
about saying, we need a solution that is science-based. And the science suggests we need more than
what the government was offering. They're offering nothing now and certainly more than what the
Opposition are offering.

CRAIG EMERSON: Well, that's not true.

TONY JONES: But would you rather see...

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: Australians are going to vote...

TONY JONES: ...Tony Abbott in the Lodge than do preference deals with Labor. That's the question...

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: I really think...

TONY JONES: its essence.

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: People are obviously going to be able to decide where they want their vote to
go. If they want action on climate change, then they'll vote for the Greens. If they want
compassion for asylum seekers and refugees, they'll vote for the Greens. Where they put their
second preference is totally up to them and, you know, unfortunately on both of those issues,
whether it's climate change or refugees or education, for example, then both the major parties,
there's not much difference between them. There really isn't.

JESSICA BROWN: I think it's really interesting.

TONY JONES: Go ahead.

JESSICA BROWN: I mean, Australia is one of the few countries in the world that has compulsory
voting. I'd be really interested to see, you know, what would happen in this election if we didn't
have compulsory voting, because I think it would probably be one of the lowest turnouts of all
time, because I think you're right, people are very disillusioned with what's on offer.

GRAHAM RICHARDSON: You're probably right.

TONY JONES: It's one of those hypotheticals we're not going to find out. Let me hear from Graham
Richardson on the issue of Green preferences, how important they're going to be in the next

GRAHAM RICHARDSON: Well, if Labor has got a primary vote of 35 per cent, as indicated by the
Newspoll today, then they're going to be absolutely crucial, and I can't see, listening to Sarah
tonight and listening to the Greens over the course of the last year or so, that there'll be too
many seats where they'd direct them to Labour. So I think there's a very real chance - it's got to
be at least 50/50 - that they'll put Tony Abbott into the lodge and when they do that they make
sure there's no hope of any change whatsoever on climate change at all. No hope ever. And that's
what they want to do.

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: Graham, I think you know better than most people how these things work and it
would not be the Greens who would be putting Tony Abbott or Kevin Rudd, for that matter, back in
the Lodge. It's the votes of the Australian people and it's up to them. You know, we obviously...

CRAIG EMERSON: (Indistinct) how to vote cards?

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: We obviously want a strong Green senate. We want a strong Green senate
presence, and that's what we'll be pushing for, and regardless of whoever is in government, whether
it's Tony Abbott or Kevin Rudd, we need to make sure the Greens are there in the senate, so we can
negotiate and we will work with however it is because...

GRAHAM RICHARDSON: So all you do is (indistinct)

CRAIG EMERSON: Like they pretty well have.

GRAHAM RICHARDSON: You'll just (indistinct)

CRAIG EMERSON: (Indistinct)


GRAHAM RICHARDSON: You know you won't. You know there'll be how to votes. You know you'll direct
preferences in a whole lot of seats. Now, what you've got to answer directly, you can't duck it...

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: Do you have a problem?

GRAHAM RICHARDSON: you, at the end of the day - are you going to sit there and say you're
happy with putting Tony Abbott into the Lodge? That's what you've got to answer.

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: I think, you know, regardless of what party you vote for, whether it's Labor,
Liberal, Green, it should be up to the individual voter to decide where your preference go. That is

GRAHAM RICHARDSON: So you won't direct preferences then?

CRAIG EMERSON: Will you have how to vote cards at all?

GRAHAM RICHARDSON: SO what preferences then?

CRAIG EMERSON: Will you have how to vote cards at all?

GRAHAM RICHARDSON: So what you're saying is you won't direct preferences.

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: I'm not saying we won't direct preferences. What I'm saying is individuals -
individuals need to make the decision and, look, as we get closer to the election, you know all
parties do negotiations on preferences. In fact, we have to, by law, for the senate and we'll
obviously be looking at that. Our preferences are worked out on a local community by branch status.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: You know, Tony, one of the things that Sarah was complaining about earlier was
how the major parties, you know, the Liberal Party and the Labour Party, people are sick of them
because, for example, you know, of the way the politicians slip and slide and don't answer
questions and, you know...

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: What I'm saying, Malcolm - what I'm saying...

TONY JONES: Sorry, does it disturb you to hear the audience response...


TONY JONES: that accusation?

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: Yes, it does. What I'm suggesting is that regardless of who...

TONY JONES: So is there an answer, actually?

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: Well, we haven't directed preferences anywhere, because we're not at that
stage, and what I'm saying is that I would prefer people to vote how they want to.


SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: And do you have a problem with that?

CRAIG EMERSON: Well, they will vote how they want to, whether you want them to or not.

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: Do you have a problem with that?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Stop digging. Stop digging.

TONY JONES: Malcolm Turnbull, can I bring you in with this?


TONY JONES: Would you appreciate the irony if Green preferences delivered the Lodge to Tony Abbott?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Oh, absolutely, and I think there is - I'd be very...

CRAIG EMERSON: (Indistinct) emissions trading scheme.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: There is so much - the whole political scene is littered with irony at the
moment. I mean the coalition's decision after tony became the leader to oppose the emissions
trading scheme was intended to set the scene for a battle on the great big new emissions trading
scheme tax and which obviously Tony thought he could win and other people thought mightn't be quite
as successful about.

CRAIG EMERSON: Yeah, I think it's covered in here, too.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: But then the unthinkable happened, at least the unimaginable happened and the
Prime Minister lost his nerve and walked away from it and so there was no battle on the emissions
trading scheme but, instead, this huge credibility hole left.

TONY JONES: There was certainly...

MALCOLM TURNBULL: It was an extraordinary...

TONY JONES: There was certainly a battle inside your party.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Oh, there was.

TONY JONES: We haven't forgotten that point.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: It was a - if I wasn't a republican, I'd call it a battle royal.

TONY JONES: All right. Okay. I'm going to change subjects completely. We're going to go to Michael
Beare. It's a political subject once again and it will have a bearing, again, on the election.

MICHAEL BEARE: Has the government dug a big hole for itself with the Mining super tax?

TONY JONES: Graham Richardson? I think you said - didn't you say there was a two week deadline for
Kevin Rudd to sort this out?

GRAHAM RICHARDSON: I said that a week ago, yeah, so I think there's about - it was a bit less than
a week to go, in my view. I think the mining tax is hurting Labor every day. I actually support a
resources rent tax, by the way. It's just the level at which it comes in and the percentage tax
that you have to pay. I think both of those, shall we say, need some work. Six percent? I can go to
the Commonwealth Bank this afternoon and get that. So I don't think that's too super. So I think
that the government needs to compromise on that but the important thing about the compromise is
that it needs to happen now. They can't wait two months and then call an election. They're bleeding
every day. The miners are spending something like a million bucks a week on television alone and
then they've got radio and newsprint, as well, and I might say their ads are about 50 times better
than the government's ads. I mean, one of the problems with the government is they're spending $38
million and the problem with the 38 million is that they give it to the bureaucrats to spend. Now,
there aren't too many bureaucrats who have spent a whole lot of time in the creative area of
advertising and so they come up with the worst ads imaginable, whereas the miners have got really
punchy, really good ads, and Labor is losing the battle. So if it lets it go longer than a week, I
think that they can lose an election over it and it ain't worth losing government over, that's for

TONY JONES: Okay, I just pause to say this: if there's anyone with a question put your hand up and
I'll try and come to you. Don't yell out. Craig Emerson?

CRAIG EMERSON: Tax reform is hard and every time that a Labor Government has tried tax reform the
vote has gone down because people don't want to pay more taxes. They don't want to pay more taxes.
We do need to invest in this country's future and get extra revenue from a sector that is capable
of paying more as a result of the China boom. The China boom is delivering to this country the
highest mineral prices in 60 years. That's a big increase in profits and all we're saying is that
the community, as the owners of those mineral resources deserve a fair share of the increase in
profits. Why? To invest in small business tax breaks. Why? To increase superannuation for every
working Australian from nine per cent to 12 per cent. Again, an investment in the savings and
future economic security of this country. Why? To cut the company tax rate from 30 cents to 28
cents and to invest in nation building infrastructure. But I can't remember, Tony, a time when a
Labor Government has said tax reform needed to repair the holes in the income tax base and stop all
the rorts which we did in 1985, was popular, but it was necessary and that's what we're going to

TONY JONES: You've just heard Graham Richardson - I'll bring you in in a second, Jessica Brown. You
just heard Graham Richardson say that you now have less than a week, from his point of view, to
resolve this and make serious compromises. Are we going to see serious compromises in a week?

CRAIG EMERSON: What we're doing is working through specific design details of a 40 per cent
profits-based mining tax. That's what we're doing. It will apply to existing projects. We will get
some understanding with some companies. Whether we get a final agreement where major companies and
other say, "Oh, that's fine. That's fair cop. We misunderstood. We're now going to sign up to this
mining tax," I'm not so hopeful of that but what we want to do is ensure that this reform is in
place on behalf of the people of Australia, as the mineral resource owners. What's wrong with the
idea of resource owners, the people of Australia, getting a fair share of the profits, extra
profits, from the mining boom?

GRAHAM RICHARDSON: Well said, Craig.

TONY JONES: We've got someone with their hand up over there. Just hold your question for a moment.
I just want to hear from Jessica Brown on this.

JESSICA BROWN: What I don't understand is what's it got to do with the superannuation guarantee?
What's it got to do with...

CRAIG EMERSON: I can explain that.

JESSICA BROWN: ...the company tax rate.

CRAIG EMERSON: I can explain that.

JESSICA BROWN: What's it got to do with infrastructure spending?

CRAIG EMERSON: It's funding all of them.

JESSICA BROWN: I mean, why do they need to be put together? I mean, if these things are worth
doing, why isn't the government doing them anyway?

CRAIG EMERSON: Because you...

JESSICA BROWN: Why do we need a big, new tax to get all of these (indistinct)...

CRAIG EMERSON: Because you need to find the revenue. I thought from the Centre for Independent
Studies, about whom I have a very high regard, actually, would understand that you need to find the
revenue in order to fund government programs.

TONY JONES: But can you tell us how much of the mining tax - super profits mining tax - is going
directly into superannuation?

CRAIG EMERSON: What it's done, superannuation is a tax preferred form of savings. It is a tax
concession and if you look at the tax concessions in this country, one half of all of the money
that is offered in the form of tax concessions is for superannuation. A Labor reform, we got that
superannuation for working Australians from zero to nine per cent against the vehement opposition
of the coalition parties at the time. They said it would send business broke. It would send the
country broke. We now have way over a trillion dollars in national savings and greater security in
the retirement of working Australians. A great reform. We believe it should go from 9 to 12 per
cent and that's what it is help...

JESSICA BROWN: But I don't think anyone disputes the superannuation system. I think the issue is...

CRAIG EMERSON: Well, it's got to be paid for.

JESSICA BROWN: I mean, well, why not then say, "We're going to put the mining tax together with,
you know, funding a new season of Playschool"? I mean you could put it together with anything.

CRAIG EMERSON: Well, I think superannuation is actually pretty important.


CRAIG EMERSON: And I think it is actually - I think it's more important than a new season of

JESSICA BROWN: I think it's very important, but if you think that the super profits tax on its

CRAIG EMERSON: Well, the CIS doesn't believe in finding the revenue to fund expenditures.

JESSICA BROWN: If you think the super profits tax...

CRAIG EMERSON: This is amazing, new economics from a - you know, from a market oriented
organisation who says, "Just go and spend. Go and spend."

JESSICA BROWN: Can I get a word in, Craig? If you think the super profits tax on its own is a great
sell and you've got absolute confidence in it, why not separate them out and just pass the super
profits tax on its own?

CRAIG EMERSON: I've just told you.

TONY JONES: Hang on a sec. I want to hear from Malcolm Turnbull on this and then I'm going to go to
our questioner.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, look, Graham Richardson put his finger on the key problem with the super
profits tax is that it is taxing profits that are not, under any definition, super profits. The
idea that profits over a 6 per cent return - well, in fact, a little bit less than that. It's over
the 10 year Commonwealth Government Bond Rate, which is a bit below six per cent, to describe that
as super profits or economic rent in the technical term, is completely absurd. It is a tax not on
super profits but somewhat slightly better than thoroughly anaemic profits and that is the problem.
It is not a tax...



MALCOLM TURNBULL: It is not a resource rent tax, it is a massive tax grab. It is a dramatic
increase in the share of the profit pool from mining that goes to the government and it thereby and
inevitably, devalues every mining project in Australia and every shareholding in every mining
company in Australia and that is why it has been roundly condemned right across the community and
why the coalition is utterly and totally opposed to it.

CRAIG EMERSON: Well, are you opposed to a profits based tax for the mining industry? Malcolm, are
you opposed to a profits based tax for the mining industry?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, Craig, that is a - you're saying at a theoretical level, would it be better
to tax resource companies in terms of royalties on profits as opposed to volume or gross revenue.
Well, of course there are arguments in favour of that and the Minerals Council put that argument.
But the question is: what is the rate? I mean, so the fact is...

CRAIG EMERSON: And so you think they're paying their fair share now and there should be no

MALCOLM TURNBULL: They are paying very substantial taxes from royalties and income tax.

TONY JONES: Okay, everyone hold on. We've had a person with his hand up there and I did promise to
go to him. Let's hear what he's got to say.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hey, how you going? I'm actually over here from Western Australia with a group of
Young Nationals, so we know a bit about the mining tax from being over there. My question is, if
this goes down badly and Kevin Rudd flip flops on his policy, don't you think that might be a bit
terminal for Kevin, a bit terminal for the Labor Party?

TONY JONES: Let's hear from Graham Richardson on that.

GRAHAM RICHARDSON: Well, you get asked that question all the time, because he's damned if he does,
damned if he doesn't. My view is I'd much rather have an argument about him compromising on this
tax than sticking with it and having the miners spending all that money bashing Labor up every
single day.


GRAHAM RICHARDSON: Labor can't handle, in my view, the bleeding that it's suffering every single
day out of this and it needs to cut and run and if it doesn't cut and run on it quickly, it will be
in strife. It will still get a resources rent tax. It will still make the industry pay more and
they should pay more, but they just don't have to go quite as far as they're going.

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: Can I just say, firstly, I think Malcolm has totally understated the amount of
money that the resource sector is cashing in on at the moment. Almost 100 billion of profits last
year alone. I don't think many Australians have been sitting around thinking that they're hard done
by and I think some type of resource super tax on the resource industry is not a bad idea at all,
and I'd like to think that that Labor Party doesn't take Graham Richardson's line and you actually
stand strong on this, because this is...

CRAIG EMERSON: Well, we're pressing on.

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: ...a really important issue for you to stand strong on. But the other thing I
just wanted to raise was the type of way public money, taxpayer money, is being spent on the
government advertising is just appalling. You've broken your own promises and rules around, you
know, using political advertising at taxpayer expense. But that is at the same time as the mining
industry spending all this money on their advertising, which they're going to get tax deductions
for. So the Australian people are paying for it on both sides.

TONY JONES: Okay, we've got a couple of people with their hands up. Gentleman up the back first.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: My question is what level of confidence can the Australian people have in Kevin
Rudd when he's clearly failed to consult with the key stakeholders in relation to the resource
super profits tax, being the mining companies and also what it appears he hasn't actually consulted
with his own ministry?

TONY JONES: Craig Emerson?

CRAIG EMERSON: Consultation is occurring. Consultation did occur.

TONY JONES: With the ministry, finally?

CRAIG EMERSON: Indeed. Consultation did occur before the actual proposal was announced. I'm not
saying it was extensive but going back to 1984 for a petroleum resource rent tax which Graham was
around for and supports, there was a similar controversy about this and at the end of the period
when there were a couple of discussion papers and proposals put out, you know what the industry
said? The consultation process has been hopeless and we totally oppose the tax. So I think we just
need to be realistic that if there were another consultation process, if it were to go on for a
very long time, I don't believe that you will find the mining industry say, well, that's great,
because the consultation process was terrific. It's about the tax and the tax is a very important
reform and we're pressing ahead with it.

TONY JONES: All right, Graham Richardson, you were just invoked there as being around when a
similar tax was brought in. Can you see comparisons?

GRAHAM RICHARDSON: I can see some comparisons but not too many. There clearly wasn't enough
consultation but you don't expect perfection out of governments, you expect results, and I think in
this case they acted somewhat hastily. I think they probably worked that out. I suspect there will
be a compromise. It will happen relatively soon and this bloody argument will go away and we'll all
be a lot happier and we can all go home.

TONY JONES: Malcolm Turnbull, if there is a compromise, would you welcome it?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, it depends what it is. You know, so that's like asking, "How long is a
piece of string?" So...

CRAIG EMERSON: Pretty long.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: The fact is that the government did not consult. We have a chaotic situation at
the moment. There is enormous uncertainty. The gentleman at the back talked about the damage it's
done to Kevin Rudd. It's done enormous damage to Australia's reputation as a safe and reliable
place to invest, because we are seen to be lacking in what's called fiscal stability. In other
words a sense that our tax regime is going to be predictable, is going to be stable, instead nobody
knows what the mineral resources tax regime is going to be.


MALCOLM TURNBULL: Projects are being put on hold and billions of dollars...


TONY JONES: We're nearly out of time. Hang on a sec. Hang on.

CRAIG EMERSON: I will respond to that.

TONY JONES: You've got 20 seconds to respond.

CRAIG EMERSON: I welcome, at least, the in principle possibility that you, Malcolm, would support a
super profits tax because your leader has said that he will not support any new tax...


CRAIG EMERSON: ...on mining, whether it's profits based or not.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: I'm not supporting any...

CRAIG EMERSON: You just said a moment ago...


CRAIG EMERSON: ..."It depends what it involves. It depends on the detail."

TONY JONES: All right.

CRAIG EMERSON: Tony Abbott said, "I don't care what the detail is, I'm going with the mining
industry and they already pay more than their fair share of tax, which is a bloody disgrace."