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(generated from captions) fire to get him out of there

and get him to hospital. The

government's increased tax on so-called alcopops looks set to

be rejected by the Senate.

Independent senator Nick

Xenophon is among those who say

they won't support the Bill

because the government won't

agree to spend more of the tax

on harm minimisation. Senator

Nick Xenophon joins us now from

Canberra. Senator, welcome back

to 'ABC News Breakfast'. Good

morning. More hard-working

times for you and late nights and negotiations, but the

government's not getting you

across the line on alcopops.

Why? I guess my attitude to the

alcopops tax is a bit like that

TV program the X Files. I want

to believe and the truth is out there somewhere but the

government hasn't convinced me

yet. The government is going to

rake in $1.6 billion over the

next four years from this tax

but it's only going to spend

53.5 million on bin drinking

measures. When you consider

this tax was meant to be about tackling binge drinking which the government says and I agree

is a very significant social problem, then I don't think

that's good enough and I agree

with my colleagues in the

Greens and with Steve Fielding

from Family First that more

needs to be done in terms of

advertising and on the issue of sponsorship. You can hardly

argue not very much is being

done on that front. In addition

to the 53 million you

mentioned, there was 50 million

put aside in particular for

Indigenous issues when it comes

to alcohol abuse, 2.3 million

for getting people out of drug and alcohol addiction and back

into a straight life, 20

million looking at alcohol in sports. That's just federal. Then you have all the State

money. Then you have all the

local initiatives with NGOs

like the salvation army. You

can't really argue there's no

money going into it or not

enough? I think you can, when

there's never enough, is you consider ... Well then

there? I think we can do better. When you consider that the Commonwealth rakes in

something like $6.7 billion a

year on alcohol excise and with

the alcopops tax it's pushed it

over $7 billion a year, when

you consider the sorts of money

that's being spent, it really

is quite inadequate in the

scheme of things, and my

request was to spend more money on those local community

initiatives, the NGOs that you

referred to, where in the first

round of funding the government

set' side 9.6 million for

projects. There were something

sought funding. I would've like 300-plus projects that

thought the government could do

better in respect of that and

they could do better in terms

of toughening up controls on

advertising and on sponsorship

of sport which makes a big

difference in that culture of

binge drinking that's a real

issue. I think you go in to

vote on this in about an hour s

that right? Well, hopefully

not, because the Senate isn't

due to sit till 12.30. So it's

news to me, Virginia! I won't

give you an early start then.

Just wondering, between now and

the vote, can you meet again,

will you meet again with the

government? Are you optimistic

that that some of your concerns

might be met? I'm always

optimistic in this job,

otherwise I should just pack up

my bags and go home. Yeah,

yeah, I'm asking how close you are to a deal on this

one. Look, my door's open, and

I ran into the Health Minister

this morning across the

corridors, and she knows I'm

willing to talk to her and I

hope we can to reach some

resolution of this. On

industrial relations just

quickly, if I read between the

lines of the reports today,

there seem to have been some

meetings held overnight. You

mightn't come together on the

definition of small business

but is this one going to get

across the line? Well, that's

the big stul bling block. A lot

of small businesses are quite

nervous in this current

economic climate about taking

people on, about whether they'd

be hamstrung with more red tape

in terms of unfair dismissal

laws. I'm just not happy with

the definition of 15 and below

for a small business. I would

off thought 20 full-time

equivalents is a fair

definition. Automatic' still

talking to Julia Gillard and

her office. She has consummately professional in

her dealings with me. I'm

hoping we'll get somewhere. As

an independent senator, and

someone who gets there just

having a third of the Senate

vote from South Australia, if

you never have any moments of

doubt about inserting yourself

into the decision-making

position for all of these key

bits of legislation, this mob,

this government, was elected to

rule, and yet it has to appeal personally to you, personally

to Steve Fielding, and others.

Do you never doubt the

importance of the role that you

have given yourself? Look, it

the way our system works is

that Australians vote

differently for the Upper

House. Some 400,000 Australians

nationally voted differently

compared to the way they voted

in the Lower House in terms of

not voting for the major

parties. So I think that's the

way the system operates. I

think we learnt from the last

three years of the Howard years

what a rubber-stamp Senate does

in a democracy. That's not a

healthy thing. I don't think

it's unreasonable to do - to

play a constructive role and to

go through legislation

conscientiously and to try to

thrash out a resolution. Is it

sometimes just constructive,

though, to let the elected

government put in place the

laws it was elected to do? It

does. In the cases that the

legislation that doesn't make

the news is the overwhelming

majority of legislation that

isn't controversial, that does

get through. And I think with

the alcopops tax, there has

been a lot of controversy about

that as to what effect it's

had. When you consider the

evidence, the jury's still out.

When you consider that there is a lot of doubt about how

effective it's been directly in

tackling binge drinking and

that's why it's important to

have measures in place, to have

programs in place that will

actually make a difference.

Nick Xenophon, thanks for your