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Q And A -

View in ParlView

TONY JONES: Good evening and welcome to Q&A. I'm Tony Jones and answering your questions tonight:
Queensland Senator and Shadow Attorney-General George Brandis; Labor lawyer Liberty Sanger;
Queensland Greens' Senator, Larissa Waters; Trade Minister and Member for the Queensland seat of
Rankin, Craig Emerson; and former Howard Adviser Grahame Morris. Please welcome our panel.

Well, Q&A is live from 9.35 pm Eastern Daylight Saving Time. It's simulcast on News 24 and News
Radio. Go to our website to send a question in now or join the Twitter conversation using the hash
tag that just appeared on your screen. Well, our first question tonight comes from Finn Sheridan.

QUEENSLAND - IS LABOR FINISHED?00:01:06

FINN SHERIDAN: Thanks, Tony. I certainly wasn't expecting the severity of Labor's defeat on
Saturday in the Queensland election. I was, however, like the majority of others, expecting Labor
to be defeated. Queensland is the second largest state in Australia. Now, that Labor has
effectively been killed in Queensland, is it possible for the party to survive off the rest of the
country?

TONY JONES: Let's start with Craig Emerson.

CRAIG EMERSON: We won't be relying on survival from the rest of the country. Labor will regenerate
itself at the state level in Queensland. It was only in 2001 that the Liberals were left with three
members of the state parliament and there was a fair prospect of the LNP winning the last election
in 2009 and people balked at the last minute because the candidate for the LNP for the premiership
was Lawrence Springborg. Perfectly nice bloke but he was a country National Party member and the
south east didn't want to make the choice to be represented by a country party guy. They got it
right this time, that is the LNP, in selecting Campbell Newman and so the people saw that as a very
low risk transition and made that transition in a thumping way.

TONY JONES: That question was really about the Federal implications for Labor. Peter Beattie says
Julia Gillard now needs to buy a house in Queensland but that won't do her much good if it's true
what Bill Ludwig says that state voters don't like women leading political parties.

CRAIG EMERSON: I think it's legitimate to separate the state issues from the Federal issues and to
put the proposition that overwhelmingly this election was fought on state issues. On that basis
could I cite, for example, no mention of Federal issues in Campbell Newman's victory speech,
nothing on the bunting, nothing on any campaign material. I know Tony Abbott...

TONY JONES: But a lot on all the media today. For example every newspaper.

CRAIG EMERSON: Well, I know these are post mortems and Mr Abbott said during the campaign that this
a referendum on the carbon tax and sought to piggyback on what was an inevitable victory from
Campbell Newman. Having said that there is no doubt that Federal Labor faces real challenges in
Queensland. We knew that before the state election, we know it after the state election. Not sure
about buying houses but it's certainly legitimate to argue that Federal Labor, including Julia,
should spend more time in Queensland for this reason: it's the most decentralised state in
Australia and you do need to go to the provincial places in Queensland and Queenslanders appreciate
it when they have leaders and ministers and shadow ministers going to, you know, far north
Queensland, north Queensland, central, southeast Queensland and western Queensland.

TONY JONES: Okay, briefly though - briefly, because we want to hear from the rest of the panel,
Bill Ludwig's point?

CRAIG EMERSON: Well, I think that the people of Queensland are overwhelmingly interested in parties
with good policies and these personality contests go only so far. I mean, we've got Grahame Morris
here. John Howard wasn't Mr Charisma.

TONY JONES: But Bill Ludwig's point was about whether Queenslanders like women or not leading
political parties.

CRAIG EMERSON: I know what the point was about and I'm simply saying that I believe that
Queenslander's make up their minds basically on the parties and the leaders who they think will
best represent their interests in the Federal Parliament Nationally.

TONY JONES: Okay, let's go to George Brandis and the question was now Labor has been effectively
killed in Queensland, is it possible for the party to survive in the rest of the country. What do
you think?

GEORGE BRANDIS: Well, let me start answering you question, Tony, by addressing what Bill Ludwig
said. Bill Ludwig is one of the dinosaurs who has run the Labor Party in Queensland for many, many
years and I think what he said was both wrong and ignorant and it reflects a misogyny that still
exists in some quarters of the Labor Party. The fact is that Queensland is the only state to have
elected a female premier when they voted for Anna Bligh three years ago and the fact that there is
still this mindset in some quarters of the Labor Party in Queensland I think is a very sad
reflection on those people. Now, coming to your broader questions, Tony, I think that although
obviously this is a state election and I'm the first to concede that overwhelmingly the
unpopularity of Anna Bligh's Government was the broad issue in that election, it would be madness
to suggest that there weren't important Federal Dimensions. Let me give you an example.

TONY JONES: Well, don't go to too many of them because there are many questions and some of them
deal with these issues.

GEORGE BRANDIS: No. No, sure. Sure but there was an exit poll taken by Newspoll on election day and
69 per cent of people said that the biggest issue in the election was cost of living. Now, you
know, if Craig wants to make the case that cost of living isn't an issue that's as important in
Federal politics as State politics...

CRAIG EMERSON: I'm not saying that.

GEORGE BRANDIS: ...good luck to you. The third most important issue as identified by the Newspoll,
by the way, was the carbon tax.

TONY JONES: Okay, I'm going to interrupt you there because we do have a question on this. You are
leaping ahead of it. We'll go to Juris Lucas.

QUEENSLAND AND THE FEDERAL ELECTION00:06:07

JURIS LAUTIS: Juris Lautis.

TONY JONES: Lautis, sorry.

JURIS LAUTIS: Hi, Tony. Yes, I thought my thunder was going to be stolen there for a minute.

GEORGE BRANDIS: Sorry. Sorry.

JURIS LAUTIS: In a Sky Newspoll, 69 per cent of Queenslanders considered the key election issue to
be the cost of living supplemented with 44 per cent for the carbon tax and 35 per cent for the
mining tax. Given that extraordinary circumstances are normally required to overcome hip pocket
sensitivity, is there any reason to expect that the key issue throughout Australia in the Federal
election will be different?

TONY JONES: Okay, you've started on that. I'm going to get Craig Emerson to answer this because
this could be critical.

CRAIG EMERSON: Those five questions - those five issues were put to the people, right, in that
poll. That is they listed five issues and asked amongst those five issues which were the most
important. Well, you're going to get a positive response to each of the five. There was another
poll conducted by someone who Grahame knows much better than I do, who is Mark Textor for the
Australian Petroleum and Exploration Industry and admittedly it was about coal seam gas but it was
an extensive exit poll as well and it showed that Federal issues did not - did not contribute to
the loss - the result in Queensland but I do agree with George that there is a cost of living issue
here, particularly from state utilities, whether it be water, whether it be electricity, whether it
be gas and also the removal of a subsidy on petrol. Now, all of those had an effect on people's
perceptions of the cost of living in Queensland.

GEORGE BRANDIS: But, Craig, I think the problem for you, if I may say so, is that when people think
of the cost of living they think immediately of the carbon tax and so they should because the
carbon tax is going to drive the cost of living through the roof. On your government's...

CRAIG EMERSON: Well, that's rubbish and you know it. That's rubbish and...

GEORGE BRANDIS: On your government's own modelling, electricity prices will go up from the get go
by 11 per cent. Grocery prices will go up. The ordinary day to day...

CRAIG EMERSON: I can give you all the figures.

GEORGE BRANDIS: Household expenses...

CRAIG EMERSON: I can give you all the figures.

GEORGE BRANDIS: Yeah, well, we can...

CRAIG EMERSON: The average...

GEORGE BRANDIS: We can debate - Craig, we can debate the figures all not but...

CRAIG EMERSON: The average compensation...

GEORGE BRANDIS: I make...

CRAIG EMERSON: Well, don't make false figures.

GEORGE BRANDIS: May I finish...

CRAIG EMERSON: Don't make false figures.

GEORGE BRANDIS: No, I'm quoting your own modelling.

CRAIG EMERSON: No you're not, actually. You said it would go through the roof and there's not
modelling that suggest it will go through the roof. Not modelling that says it will go through the
room.

TONY JONES: Okay, gentlemen, I'm going to interrupt now because I'd like to hear, if you don't
mind, from the rest of the panel.

GEORGE BRANDIS: (Indistinct)

TONY JONES: No. No. No. But hang on. Hang on.

GEORGE BRANDIS: If I may quickly finish the point I was making.

TONY JONES: Very quickly.

GEORGE BRANDIS: If I may quickly finish the point I was making. To the average voter...

CRAIG EMERSON: Take the hint, George.

GEORGE BRANDIS: To the average voter, cost of living equals the carbon tax.

TONY JONES: Okay, let's go to Liberty Sanger.

LIBERTY SANGER: Well, Finn, to your question it's been a massive shock, the result in Queensland
and for those of us that have watched Labor and have been supporters of Labor for a long time it's
been a devastating thing to watch but I think the things that Craig has talked about are important
to keep in perspective. It looks like it was very much a state based election. It looks like it was
about a voter response to Anna Bligh's failure to talk about asset sales before the election. It
looks like she promised to keep petrol subsidies and didn't and we've heard Craig and we've heard
from Peter Beattie talking about how the polling really showed that from that moment on it stayed
quite flat for Anna and she had a hell of a time trying to communicate any message after that so I
don't think there's a new lesson in that for leaders. I think the lesson is that you've got to have
trust and respect from your voters and, Juris, to your question, I guess I would say I very much
hope that the carbon price and the minerals resource rent tax are issues in the Federal election.
I, for one, am very proud of both of the achievements of the Gillard Government in passing that
legislation. I think that these are the big Labor reforms that we see from Labor Governments and we
can expect nation building from it. George has talked about, of course, the tax or the emissions
trading scheme but he hasn't talked about the compensation payments and he hasn't talked about the
new jobs that are going to come from it. I'm not one to sit back and let the country not transition
to the next stage. I'm one to get on with the job of making sure that we're going to have jobs for
the next generation so I very much hope their issues. And one last thing on gender.

TONY JONES: Okay. All right. Yes, all right.

LIBERTY SANGER: One last thing on gender.

TONY JONES: Yes, you can.

LIBERTY SANGER: I think the thing in this election that needs to be noted on is that gender was
unremarkable and I, for one, am very happy about that. Anna Bligh went to this election - Campbell
Newman did not fight this election on gender and what we have is her having rose or fallen on her
own merits and that's a success for women.

TONY JONES: Okay, let's go to Larissa Waters, our only Green member of the panel. I mean any
regrets at all among the Greens in forcing Labor into having a carbon tax in the first place
instead of going straight to an emissions trading scheme?

LARISSA WATERS: No, look, we're very proud of what we've been able to achieve in the Federal
parliament in the balance of power and as Liberty said so eloquently, this is something that we
need to do. We need to start thinking about transitioning to a new low carbon economy. It brings in
jobs. It's going to protect our environment and the compensation package is something that the
greens fought really hard for around the negotiation table so I thing actually it's a really
positive outcome for the country. It will set us up for the future and likewise I actually don't
think that it was a large issue in the state election. I think the problem with privatisation being
forced upon Queenslanders, the debacle with the Health pay scandal and I think also the quite dirty
campaign really put a lot of people off and I would hope that both of the old parties learn from
that and stop being so negative and actually focus on putting their positive message forward come
then next Federal election.

TONY JONES: Let's hear from Grahame Morris on the range of issues we've been talking about. You
might like to pick up on those exit polls and whether Mark Textor has a better take on it as the
Minister suggested.

GRAHAME MORRIS: Well, I think what we've talked about is the Labor Party problem. It is hard to
think over the next decade or two where the Labor Party in any part of this country can from here
on in govern in its own right. The labour, L-A-B-O-U-R, vote and support has just collapsed. It is
down under 30 per cent, which means in everywhere from here on in they're going to have to rely on
the Greens and that is really hard. You know, how do you tell a truck driver that he's got to get
into bed with some of Bob Brown's supporters. How do you tell a brickie's labourers...

CRAIG EMERSON: I'm going to leave it alone.

LARISSA WATERS: Yeah, I'm not touching it either.

GRAHAME MORRIS: How do you tell a brickie's labourer that, you know, some tree frog is more
important than his family's jobs.

LARISSA WATERS: You're sounding a bit like (indistinct) there, Grahame.

GRAHAME MORRIS: You know, the Labor Party over the next few years, starting in Queensland, but
might as well start in New South Wales, Victoria and then Federally, how do you marry these two
groups now because the Labor vote has collapsed so it's going to have to rely on the greens and
that is going to be very, very uncomfortable.

TONY JONES: Okay, we've got a questioner down the front. We'll just come quickly to you, sir.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: As a Greens senator, what I'm surprised at is you've mentioned privatisation,
which wasn't take to the electorate, yet at the same breath you've sort of boasted about what
you've done with the balance of power. Isn't it possible, in fact, that you are destroying the
Labor Government by using, and possibly in some people's view, abusing the balance of power?

LARISSA WATERS: No, look, I don't think so. I mean we were the only party that went to the election
saying that we wanted a carbon price so we've been full and frank and are very proud, as I said, of
what we've been able to achieve. I mean things are different in a minority government and certainly
it's not a common occurrence in Australia but, look, people have voted Green. They knew what we
stood for and frankly I think we're the only ones thinking more than just five seconds ahead and
actually planning for a more sustainable future and one that's fairer for people. So, you know, I'm
really happy to be the first Green Senator for Queensland. I hope that there's many more in years
to come and I hope that we can continue to be that voice for communities and for the environment
that we've been in the Federal Senate so far.

QUEENSLAND - A WORRY FOR SOME?00:14:02

TONY JONES: Okay, we've got a web question come in about who's voting for whom. It's Andrew Ongley
in Penrith, New South Wales: "Should gays, Aboriginals, ethnic minorities, the unemployed, women,
illegal drug consumers and people that are for a sustainable ecological conscious future be worried
about the Queensland election results?" I'll just put that to George Brandis.

GEORGE BRANDIS: I think none of the above groups should be worried about the Queensland election
results and I fully expect that the LNP obtained a majority from every one of those groups, so
strong were its results...

LARISSA WATERS: I don't know about that.

GEORGE BRANDIS: ...so strong were its results last Saturday.

CRAIG EMERSON: Back slapping.

GEORGE BRANDIS: The fact of the matter is that if ever a new government had a democratic mandate,
it is the new government of Queensland. It was the most emphatic result as far as anybody can work
out in Australian electoral history state or federal and I think you'd have to be a fairly
lily-livered democrat to deny that Campbell Newman has a mandate.

TONY JONES: I'm going to go to Craig Emerson on that question we just heard and it does - well, we
can reflect what Barnaby Joyce said, accusing - we'll have to exclude women from that but he...

CRAIG EMERSON: One of Barnaby's other minorities.

TONY JONES: Barnaby Joyce was taking about a nutty coalition behind Labor and a small and dwindling
one in Queensland.

CRAIG EMERSON: I think George and Barnaby, Tony Abbot, have to respect the will of the people and
people are entitled to a vote. You're right, George, it was a thumping victory to the Coalition or
the LNP or whatever they're called, plus GST. It was a biggie, right. We accept that. He has a
mandate. But for you then to say, well, all of those groups voted LNP, it does remind me...

GEORGE BRANDIS: I said I suspect a majority within those groups would have done so.

CRAIG EMERSON: Yeah, within those groups. Well, that's very generous of you but the point I'm
making, George...

TONY JONES: Well, if you look at how many people actually did vote for the LNP, there weren't that
many left after. I'd actually put this to you seriously.

CRAIG EMERSON: Yeah, no, well, let me respond to that. Let me respond to that.

TONY JONES: Okay, but let me put it as a serious question. It must be very worrying for Labor how
many young people did not vote for Labor but voted for the LNP.

CRAIG EMERSON: Well, let me respond to that because the vote for Labor in this election was almost
identical to the vote for the LNP in the 2001 state election. Right, now, people said that's it.

TONY JONES: Is that something to be proud of?

CRAIG EMERSON: No, I'm simply saying - making this point that the people then said, "That's it."
The Liberal Party is stuffed. It will never come back in Queensland and, again, I ask people to
respect the will of the people because they did re-elect Labor Governments but then ultimately
turned out a Labor Government in a most emphatic fashion but my point that I was making at the
beginning is that I don't think this is the time for back slapping. It don't think it's a time for
Tony Abbott to say, as he did at Campbell Newman's campaign launch, "I will be the next Prime
Minister of Australia. People don't really need to turn up and vote. It's my right."

GRAHAME MORRIS: He didn't' say that, mate.

CRAIG EMERSON: We've got Tony...

GEORGE BRANDIS: I was there, Craig. He didn't actually say that so I think you're misattributing
that remark.

CRAIG EMERSON: We've got Tony Abbot and we've got Barnaby Joyce now - we have Barnaby Joyce now
saying he wants to go to Lower House either to challenge Bruce Scott or to take someone else's
position because he wants to be the Deputy Prime Minister. I think we need to have a ballot in 2013
and I think that the will of the people should be respected and they shouldn't be engaging in this
backslapping and measuring up the curtains in the ministerial wing.

TONY JONES: All right, you get a quick response to that.

GEORGE BRANDIS: Well, I don't think there's any backslapping at all. There was an election. We all
know what the result was. We all know what the magnitude of the result was. I thought Campbell
Newman's acceptance speech in which he actually asked the audience of LNP loyalists to applaud the
job...

CRAIG EMERSON: Yeah, I agree with that. That's right.

GEORGE BRANDIS: ...Anna Blight had done during the floods...

CRAIG EMERSON: He was gracious. He was gracious.

GEORGE BRANDIS: ...was an extremely gracious speech and I thought Anna Bligh's concession speech
was a gracious one.

CRAIG EMERSON: Yeah, absolutely.

GEORGE BRANDIS: So I don't know why...

CRAIG EMERSON: My criticism isn't of him it's of you.

GEORGE BRANDIS: I don't know why there is - I don't know, Craig, why here is a criticism. The fact
is we had an election. We know the result. We know the magnitude and both sides behaved well.

TONY JONES: Okay and we know also some of the Federal implications. Our next question is from
Denise Fisher and she point to some of those from her perspective.

TAXES ARE HURTING00:18:03

DENISE FISHER: After successive state election wipe-outs, Federal Labor leaders deny federal issues
played any part. What this Government doesn't understand that people are really hurting out in the
community and do members of this Government, including Minister Emerson who made comments about the
Queensland election, continue to claim that all the taxes this government has imposed on
hardworking Australians did not affect the result on Saturday?

TONY JONES: Craig Emerson?

CRAIG EMERSON: Well, I'm objectively reflecting both the behaviour of the LNP leader during the
campaign and the exit polling. I am not saying, and if I could point this out again, I am not
saying that there are no Federal issues in Queensland. There are. We do have real challenges in
Queensland. We have challenges right around Australia and the cost of living is one of those. So I
think the two arguments can be separated. It's just objectively the fact that the state election
was fought on state issues but there is no doubt that there are Federal issues to be dealt with in
Queensland and elsewhere and now that we have both the mining tax and the carbon tax or the carbon
price or the emissions trading scheme through the parliament we can get out and explain the
benefits that they will bring, not only in environmental benefits but spreading the benefits of the
mining boom to the working people of this company through a big increase in superannuation for 8.4
million working Australians, for small business tax breaks for 2.7 million small businesses, taking
one million people out of the tax system by trebling the tax free threshold, increasing pensions,
increasing family payments. They're all the benefits, some of which are already starting to flow,
and will flow from the 1st of July and Mr Abbott is going to rescind the lot and give the money
back to Clive Palmer, his good old mate.

TONY JONES: Let's hear from Grahame Morris on this and I'd like to reflect on the questioner, who
seems to think the cost of living increases are already happening because of these taxes which
aren't yet in place. Well, presumably this is due to the success of the Coalition's...

GRAHAME MORRIS: Can I just make the point Craig has been batting man fully all day.

CRAIG EMERSON: He's a swell fellow.

GRAHAME MORRIS: And, you know, the Prime Minister yesterday put out a little piece of paper that
talked about Queensland then went to Seoul. We have a Deputy Prime Minister in this country, Wayne
Swan, he's a Queenslander. Why isn't he here?

CRAIG EMERSON: Well, I think this panel was set up about six weeks ago.

GRAHAME MORRIS: No, why isn't he anyway?

GEORGE BRANDIS: (Indistinct)

CRAIG EMERSON: Well, I know why he isn't here, because there's not enough room. He'd have to sit
there.

GRAHAME MORRIS: Look, the cost of living thing is huge and, look, it's felt in Queensland. It's
felt it is being felt anywhere. On July...

TONY JONES: Let me just ask you to go to the point that I just made. People think the cost of
living effects are already happening...

GRAHAME MORRIS: Yes.

TONY JONES: ...but the taxes are not in place yet.

GRAHAME MORRIS: No, I know. I know. But come July the 1st, watch electricity go up. And, look,
Craig is right...

TONY JONES: But I'll just come back to what I'm saying. Why do you think people think the cost of
living has already gone up before the taxes are in place?

GRAHAME MORRIS: Because people on the front page every month, people are talking about what's the
Reserve Bank going to do with interest rates?

CRAIG EMERSON: Put them down?

GRAHAME MORRIS: No, we didn't have that in the past. We didn't have all this discussion with the
Reserve...

CRAIG EMERSON: No, they went up under John Howard 10 times in a row.

GRAHAME MORRIS: ...in the Reserve Bank. We never used to have this public discussion. It makes
people very, very nervous and it is a fact of life that electricity, water and whatnot is going up
now but watch it go up in July. And Craig is right. The Government is trying to compensate you for
these new taxes but the Prime Minister is never, ever, ever going to get clear air explaining what
this is all about because everyone each day is going to say, "Hang on, isn't this one you promised
not to have." And she says...

TONY JONES: Grahame, I'm just going to interrupt you because we've got another question from the
floor.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Didn't John Howard turn the interest rate into an issue? In both the 2004 and 2007
elections the ads were centred on the interest rates under Labor always being higher than under the
Liberal Party?

CRAIG EMERSON: Well, he did. He said that under the Coalition interest rates will always be lower
than under Labor.

GRAHAME MORRIS: That's right.

CRAIG EMERSON: That interest rates would be at record lows. They went up 10 times in a row and
interest rates now, the Reserve Bank interest rate is four and a quarter per cent. When the
Coalition under John Howard left office it was six and three quarter per cent. It has come down
under this Government so don't believe the spin that you hear from the Coalition that interest
rates will always be lower under the Coalition. It is not borne out by the facts and while we're on
the subject of tax, the highest taxing government in Australia's history from 2001 to 2007 was the
Coalition. Never was tax as a share of GDP bigger before and never has it been since, taking
account of both the mining tax and the carbon tax.

TONY JONES: All right, George Brandis wants to get in on that.

GEORGE BRANDIS: Craig, this is all...

CRAIG EMERSON: It is just a fact. Check the budget papers.

GEORGE BRANDIS: This is all sleight of hand.

CRAIG EMERSON: It's not. It's the treasury budget paper.

GEORGE BRANDIS: You're a member. Craig. Craig. You're a member of a government that's introduced 20
new taxes in four and a bit years.

CRAIG EMERSON: It's the treasury budget papers. You're slamming the treasury again, George.

GEORGE BRANDIS: Now, the fact is that those Liberal Party advertisements turned out to be true.

CRAIG EMERSON: They're not.

GEORGE BRANDIS: If I may finish.

CRAIG EMERSON: They're just completely false.

GEORGE BRANDIS: Those Liberal Party advertisements turned out to be true because if you look at the
average interest rate over the 11 and a half years of the Howard Government...

CRAIG EMERSON: Oh, dear.

GEORGE BRANDIS: ...and the average interest rate since the election of the Labor Government in
2007...

TONY JONES: Okay. George...

GEORGE BRANDIS: The average interest rate under this Government has been higher than it was under
the Liberal Party.

CRAIG EMERSON: This is spin. This is just spin.

TONY JONES: I don't want to - I don't interrupt your flow but I think fighting issues from 10, 15
years ago...

GEORGE BRANDIS: Well, I'm merely responding to the question.

TONY JONES: No. No. No.

GEORGE BRANDIS: It was asserted that that advertisement was false...

CRAIG EMERSON: It is false.

GEORGE BRANDIS: ...and it turned out to have been true.

CRAIG EMERSON: It is false.

TONY JONES: Okay, I think we've got two perspectives on it now. Let's hear from Liberty Sanger.

LIBERTY SANGER: Thanks, Tony.

CRAIG EMERSON: The truth and then the other one.

LIBERTY SANGER: Denise, to your question, I work in a firm where we work across regional Australia
and in metropolitan cities and we work for people and we hear what you're saying every day of the
week. The cost of living is a huge issue and I reckon if the parliamentarians from Queensland and
across Australia haven't heard that from the result in Queensland then they'd be crazy. But I
always know, coming from Victoria, that that was a huge issue in Victoria...

CRAIG EMERSON: It was.

LIBERTY SANGER: ...and that was well known. So people get that. But I think what do we want from
our Governments? We want them to not only understand that but we want to know what the driving
causes are. So one of the things is electricity prices. What's caused that: failure to invest in
our electricity plants. And what's caused that: our reliance on the old dirty fuels? So what are we
doing about that? Well, the Gillard Government is introducing a carbon price to help transition out
of those fuels into a new carbon economy to be able to ensure that there are jobs in the new
economy, to address those issues about the cost...

TONY JONES: But, Liberty, they have to make the argument to the public it's going to get worse
before it gets better because electricity prices, which have been going up, everyone knows that,
are going to go up further?

LIBERTY SANGER: They are and the other part of the equation is, well, what's the Coalition
offering? Because what I see them offering is they've got the same goal with respect to the
reductions that we'll see by 2020 but they're saying they've got a direct action model which is
going to require, as far as I can tell, taxation. So they're not being honest, I don't think, with
the Australian people about how they're going to raise the revenue to fund their promises.

TONY JONES: Okay, I'm going to change the perspective slightly. You're watching Q&A. It's live and
interactive. Our next question comes from Gregory Black.

FACELESS MEN AND THE PM00:25:12

GREGORY BLACK: Thanks, Tony. After the Queensland and New South Wales elections, it's pretty much
unarguable now that there's a toxic and terminal stench of distrust, deceit and incompetence
attached to the Labor Party and I can't believe I'm saying this just a month after Kevin was seen
off but how long can it now be before the faceless men of the Labor Party tap Julia Gillard on the
shoulder in recognition of the failed experiment that they've hoist upon the nation?

TONY JONES: Not a partisan question particularly.

CRAIG EMERSON: Not at all. Straight down the middle.

TONY JONES: Let's go to Grahame Morris.

GRAHAME MORRIS: Look, you wouldn't want to be Kevin Rudd's cat today.

LARISSA WATERS: Maybe not any day actually.

GRAHAME MORRIS: Had he waited, he'd have got at least 10 more votes. Anna Bligh would have had at
least 10 more seats. They'd have both still got a hiding but not as badly. And now Kevin Rudd had
his shot. He's cactus but I cannot believe that the Labor Party will just be lemmings for the next
18 months and just say, "Hey, Julia, you going over the cliff. Can we go too?" The bloke you'd keep
an eye on is Bill Shorten. The Government's problem is communication and you look around the Labor
Party and, apart from Craig here, who can get off the TV screens and into the lounge room? It's
probably Bill Shorten. He is sort of not ready to be Prime Minister but he's the best communicator
they've got and I suspect between now and October next year we might have Shorten as Prime
Minister.

TONY JONES: Craig Emerson?

CRAIG EMERSON: Well, I thought there were a couple of value judgments in the question that was
asked but the idea...

TONY JONES: People are entitled to their opinions. That's the point.

CRAIG EMERSON: Absolutely and that's why we're here. The idea that because Labor Governments, two
of which have been in for more than 20 years, have got thumped, there's no doubt about that, that
that means that that is it for the Labor Party, again I really think that people should respect the
Australian people and allow them to make their judgments instead of doing what Grahame has said
that we're all going over the cliff. It is all finished, it is over, the curtains are being
measured up, the Chesterfield lounge is being pushed back into the Prime Minister's office.

GEORGE BRANDIS: Nobody is saying that, Craig.

CRAIG EMERSON: Well, you are and so is Grahame. You're both saying...

GEORGE BRANDIS: Hang on. Hang on a second. I mean, you're the party that sacked an elected Prime
Minister...

CRAIG EMERSON: ...you're both saying - you're both saying...

GEORGE BRANDIS: ...not us.

CRAIG EMERSON: ...you're both saying that it's all over. Now I do recall again with Grahame's
former boss that he worked in a situation where Federal sorry, state Liberal Governments had been
beaten and there were wall to wall state Labor Governments. That did not mean that John Howard and
the Liberal Party were toxic. It didn't mean that and I just...

GRAHAME MORRIS: No, that's right. But I know John Howard and Julia Gillard is no John Howard.

CRAIG EMERSON: Oh, well, that's a very original line from about 25 years ago in the United States.

TONY JONES: Craig, can we just - first of all I'd just like you to address the question which
ended: "How long will it be before the faceless men of Labor tap Julia Gillard on the shoulder in
recognition of the failed experiment?"

CRAIG EMERSON: We I think we all know the answer to that and there was a leadership ballot...

GEORGE BRANDIS: No, we don't. Tell us.

CRAIG EMERSON: There was a leadership ballot and the leadership ballot was determined decisively.
Decisively. And even those who were supporting Kevin and advocating for Kevin accept that. As much
as the Coalition - and I guess I'd be in the same position are willing instability on the Labor
Government there isn't instability. There won't be instability. I actually think the ballot was a
good thing because there wasn't one back in June 2010 and there was this sense, well, how did that
happen? How did an...

TONY JONES: I've got to ask you this, though, because we're talking about what happened...

CRAIG EMERSON: Well, I'm being straight and clear here about this.

TONY JONES: So but can I - sorry, can I just interrupt you for one moment.

CRAIG EMERSON: I understand that the people...

TONY JONES: Can I just interrupt you for one moment?

CRAIG EMERSON: Yeah, sure, and then can I continue my thought?

TONY JONES: Okay, I mean Queensland - Queensland, which we're talking about tonight produced only
two Prime Minister since federation. One was Andrew Fisher that was in 1914.

GEORGE BRANDIS: No, three.

TONY JONES: Sorry?

GEORGE BRANDIS: Three. Frank Ford.

TONY JONES: Oh, well, naturally.

GEORGE BRANDIS: And Arthur Fadden.

CRAIG EMERSON: Yeah, four.

TONY JONES: Okay, sorry, well, I've got that completely wrong.

TONY JONES: Let's go to the most recent one, however, a Queensland Prime Minister elected in
2007...

CRAIG EMERSON: Yes.

TONY JONES: ...and you got rid of him. Don't you think there's a State of Origin effect that is
going to hit you that already hit you in the last election?

CRAIG EMERSON: I think there was one in the last election.

TONY JONES: You do?

CRAIG EMERSON: I mean I'm giving a straight answer to a straight question. No political spin, just
a straight answer to a straight question. I think there was and that is - and that...

GEORGE BRANDIS: Are you going to tell us when there's no political spin on your answers are you?

CRAIG EMERSON: ...and that is - and that is that no doubt the people of Queensland were you know,
did react to the fact that a Queensland Prime Minister lost his position. There's no doubt about
that.

TONY JONES: So what makes you think they'd forgive...

CRAIG EMERSON: Now, what I am saying and this is what I'd like...

TONY JONES: What makes you think they've forgiven you for doing it?

CRAIG EMERSON: Well, see, again, I was about to finish the point that I was about to make before
you interrupted two times ago. What I was actually going to say is simply this: that it's actually
a benefit to have had that ballot. This is a ballot that I think should have been had in 2010. As
it turned out Kevin didn't call on a ballot. He did and so did Julia. They had the ballot. It was
determined 71 to 31. That's a decisive result. That's over. That's over. But just have a look - and
I'm not going to make a big point about this - at the emerging instability within the Coalition
with Barnaby now wanting to come downstairs...

TONY JONES: Okay. All right.

CRAIG EMERSON: With Barnaby wanting to come downstairs and be the Deputy Prime Minister in the
Government - in the Government that they've already declared as won.

TONY JONES: Okay, I would like to hear from...

GEORGE BRANDIS: That must be the longest bow that's ever been drawn in the history of Australian
political debate.

TONY JONES: Just hold on for a sec. Larissa Waters, we haven't heard from you for a while. Would
the - would the Greens...

LARISSA WATERS: No, and I can't get a word in edgewise with these guys.

TONY JONES: Would it matter - would it matter - would it matter at all to the Greens if Julia
Gillard was replaced between now and the next election by, let's say, Bill Shorten or someone else?

LARISSA WATERS: Look, I think the Labor Party would be very foolish to get rid of another leader. I
would hope that they've learnt their lesson by now. I think it certainly did damage them in
Queensland. We are a parochial lot and we're proud of that. So, I mean, you know, just pick someone
and stick with them, guys.

TONY JONES: Isn't the damage ongoing?

LARISSA WATERS: Oh, probably. I mean, you know, I don't know. You'd - certainly, it's not a good
look. It's not a good look, is it? I mean, you know, Bob Brown has been the - he's the longest
serving leader of any political party now and, you know, we think he's great and so do most people.
So we're pretty happy with the outcome. But it's been good working with Julia Gillard. I think
we've had a good working relationship. We've been able to negotiate some really positive things
through the parliament and it's tough in a minority Government and, you know, kudos to the Prime
Minister for doing as she has done.

TONY JONES: Okay, we've got yet another person with their hand up. Well, go down to the front row
there. Yes, it's you.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I work in education in northern India and coming back it just feels to me like
Australia is a bickering, self indulgent paradise. Aung San Suu Kyi today is battling in a
by-election to even just get one seat against the odds and another Tibetan self-immolated today. I
just wonder, the Greens are fantastically straightforward in how they approach all the quite deep
issues around the planet for which I and many people are very grateful. How do you stand it? How do
you stand day to day listening to all of this?

LARISSA WATERS: Thank you. Well, thank you for your kind words. Oh, look, I'm just an optimist and
I haven't been here that long so I'm still cheerful. We'll see how I am in about five years time.

TONY JONES: Okay, I'm going to interrupt the flow because we've got a question that's along the
same lines. It's from Clare Jasek.

STANDARDS AND POLITICS00:32:35

CLARE JASIK: In the last cliff-hanger federal election, we saw politics from all sides pledge to a
higher standard of political dialogue and parliamentary behaviour, yet in recent times we've seen
Anna Bligh attacking Campbell Newman and his family, Tony Abbott attacking Julia Gillard, remember
the target on the forehead scenario, and Julia Gillard acquiescing and encouraging vitriolic
personal attack on Kevin Rudd to settle the leadership question. When did it become acceptable to
attack the person and not debate the policies?

TONY JONES: Let's start with George Brandis on this?

GEORGE BRANDIS: Well, I think that and most people who live in Queensland, I'm sure, would agree
with this, that the level of attack on Campbell Newman during the recent state election campaign
took things to a new low because, regardless of what you might say about Julia Gillard's attracts
on Kevin Rudd or Tony Abbott's attacks on Julia Gillard, nobody has attacked their families. What
the Labor Party did in the Queensland election campaign, which was disgraceful and disgusting, is
it attacked Campbell Newman's wife and his family. So if you want to track, you know, how the
political debate has I think it is implicit in your question gone to a new low, I think that the
Queensland state election campaign run by the Labor Party marked a significant downward spiral from
probably a fairly low base already and I think that one of the reasons the Labor Party did even
worse than expected was because voters resented that and punished them for it.

TONY JONES: And how do you feel about targets on the heads of Prime Ministers, the sort of rhetoric
that is coming from your own side of politics?

GEORGE BRANDIS: I think - I think sometimes the rhetoric from both sides gets over the top. The
important thing is when it gets over the top that people draw back and, where appropriate,
apologise, as Tony Abbott did.

TONY JONES: Liberty?

LIBERTY SANGER: I have to say I was pleased that Tony Abbott followed the comments, that I thought
were grossly inappropriate, up with an apology. George, where I'd like to get your comment though
is you said earlier that there has been some misogyny in elections and parliament and politics in
the past. Where is the Coalition calling on that misogyny against Julia Gillard and all of the
terrible things that are said about her based on her gender, which have no place - no place - in
Australian politics?

GEORGE BRANDIS: Well, I don't think people are saying terrible things about Julia Gillard because
of her gender. I just...

CRAIG EMERSON: A childless atheist.

GEORGE BRANDIS: I just - I just don't think that's right. Well, the remark that Craig quotes was a
remark attributed to Kevin Rudd.

CRAIG EMERSON: No, Bill Heffernan. Bill Heffernan. Bill Heffernan.

MULTIPLE SPEAKERS TALK AT ONCE

TONY JONES: Can we go back to - can we just go back - I'd like to go back to our questioner because
you raised this and you hear the sort of discussions that's going on down here. What are you
thinking?

CLARE JASIK: Look, it's on both sides of the political spectrum. I clearly remember when they were
forming the minority Government Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard being out there saying, "We are going
to raise the standards." They're both to blame so...

TONY JONES: Grahame Morris, let me bring you in there. Do you recall a time when political
discourse, and you can go right across obviously the Queensland election was a classic example, but
it's also happening in Federal Parliament, the series of examples our questioner just put. Can you
recall a time when political discourse has been so debased?

GRAHAME MORRIS: Well, certainly in Queensland it was a campaign a grubby campaign run by grubs. You
don't you don't - look, you can attack people but you don't bring their families into it
erroneously. But, look, we're talking about Tibet and China. Goodness gracious me. You know, they
wake up in the morning and they have a political debate and they're dead by 6 o'clock. You know in
this country we scream at each other, we shout at each other and we all go and have a beer. You
know, there is nothing wrong with our political system in this country. Yes, it annoys people that
we sometimes go a bit too far but by jeez I'd much prefer our system than any other bloody system
in the world.

CRAIG EMERSON: Hear, hear.

TONY JONES: I want to come back to Liberty because whilst you asked George Brandis a question you
didn't tell us what you thought about it and particularly that question also included the
incredible vitriol that was heaped on Kevin Rudd.

LIBERTY SANGER: Yes, well, I think also we see examples across the world where politicians have
used excessive language. In the United States, and you might well have been making reference to
this, of course we saw Sarah Palin using very extreme language and using that imagery of the
crossfire on the forehead of various members of the Parliament and one of those ended up being shot
by a member of the public. So I think we do have to be always very mindful of the language that we
use with one another. I don't think that this problem is exclusively a problem of parliamentarians,
I'd have to say. Go and talk to people on factory floors. Go and talk to people on work sites. You
hear all sorts of dreadful things being said about one another. I actually think we have to lift
the standard of discourse across the country in as much as I think we have to lift the standard of
discourse in our parliaments. But I do absolutely accept...

TONY JONES: It's quite a good idea to start with the role models in Federal Parliament thought,
don't you think?

LIBERTY SANGER: I do absolutely accept that our parliamentarians need to lead by example.

TONY JONES: Craig Emerson?

CLARE JASIK: I'm sorry, can I just add to that?

TONY JONES: Yes, please.

CLARE JASIK: I think using the argument of relativism is just a completely erroneous argument. So
in China and other third world countries the standard is lower so therefore that makes us better or
it happens on factory floors so therefore it is okay for us.

LIBERTY SANGER: No. No.

CLARE JASIK: I'm sorry, I don't take that as an acceptable argument. You promised a better
standard. You failed to deliver right across the spectrum.

TONY JONES: Craig Emerson, and from Labor's point of view, the questioner put the very point about
the sort of vitriol that was unloaded - in fact you've done a better job of destroying Kevin Rudd
than Tony Abbott?

CRAIG EMERSON: Well, it's not my go. That's the truth of it. I mean, I don't engage in that sort of
behaviour and that sort of language. I agree that...

TONY JONES: You got stuck into Kevin Rudd on the night. I can remember?

CRAIG EMERSON: Well, what I said is that there were problems with this Government. I mean can't you
say that? Is that a personal attack? There were problems with the Government. It was a statement of
fact. But I haven't engaged in personal vilification. It's not something that I think is the right
way to go. I tend to agree with the questioner. You know, we do need to lift the standards, lift
them right across the board. I was absolutely appalled when I saw Tony Abbott and ten other
Coalition MPs stand up on a truck where there were signs saying "Ju-liar Gillard, Bob Brown's
bitch." You know, "Ditch the witch."

GEORGE BRANDIS: You're not saying that they were responsible for those signs, are you?

CRAIG EMERSON: No, but they saw those signs a half an hour before and they still got up there. All
they needed to do is say, "Take the signs down. We'll make our statement. We'll make it strongly
but we won't make it personal."

GEORGE BRANDIS: Well, I think it is perfectly legitimate...

CRAIG EMERSON: Well, there you go.

GEORGE BRANDIS: ...for the Opposition to make the point.

CRAIG EMERSON: I rest my case, your Honour.

GEORGE BRANDIS: I think it's perfectly legitimate for the opposition to make the point that this
Government was elected because Julia Gillard promised there wouldn't be a carbon tax.

CRAIG EMERSON: Bob Brown's bitch, hey?

GEORGE BRANDIS: And then introduce a carbon tax.

CRAIG EMERSON: Well, done, George. I apologise. I apologise. It's disgraceful.

GEORGE BRANDIS: So to say that this government is based on a lie is, in fact, an accurate claim.

CRAIG EMERSON: That does not justify that sort of behaviour. I agree with you and I think, George,
if you want to apply a standard we should apply it across the panel, right across the board.

GEORGE BRANDIS: Well, that's fair enough, Craig, but if a Prime Minister says something which is
revealed to have been dishonest it's entirely appropriate for the Opposition to call attention to
that fact.

CRAIG EMERSON: Yeah, Bob Brown's bitch. Good on, George.

LIBERTY SANGER: I don't think Clare would object to that but I think what we all object to is
failing to call the bad behaviour when it occurs. I mean, we're not going to get anywhere if we
continue to excuse that sort of language.

GEORGE BRANDIS: Well, that's right.

TONY JONES: Okay, we've got another questioner with their hand up there. I'm going to go to that
gentleman.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I think you guys just don't get it. You're bickering again. Listen to us.

GEORGE BRANDIS: Yeah.

TONY JONES: Sorry, can I just say would you accept that when they have fundamental differences on
issues of policy they ought to be arguing about those things?

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I think you should have passion, you should have drive but when we sit here and
listen to you, it's just you know, just get on with it.

GEORGE BRANDIS: Well, can I, on behalf of, you know, the politicians respond to you?

CRAIG EMERSON: He's a QC. Listen to him.

GEORGE BRANDIS: Craig and I debate all the...

LARISSA WATERS: Don't respond on my behalf, George...

GEORGE BRANDIS: Craig and I debate each other all the time and we sometimes have furious
differences, as you've seen tonight, and we get on fine personally. Now, I think that one of the
things that is good about Australian democracy is that the representatives of the alternative point
of view can have a vigorous debate, can contradict each other, can advocate for their sides with
passion but still go away and have a beer afterwards.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yeah, I still don't think you get it. You are not engaging me. The point that I'm
making is you're not engaging me. I am listening to what you're saying but I've lost interest. Get
on with it.

LARISSA WATERS: Well, you should hear them at question time, it's even worse. Seriously.

CRAIG EMERSON: Say Larissa.

LARISSA WATERS: I never interject.

TONY JONES: Okay, I'm going to take us to a specific policy area. If you'd like to continue the
discussion, check out the Q&A Facebook page. Our next question tonight comes from Nicholas Yuen.

CAR INDUSTRY PROTECTION00:41:35

NICHOLAS YUEN: Thank you, Tony. Over the years the automotive industry has become evidently
unsustainable. Should the Government withdraw subsidies from this declining industry or should it
be held at ransom by large corporations such as General Motors.

TONY JONES: Let's start with Larissa.

LARISSA WATERS: Yeah, look, I think that's a good, Nicholas, and we've backed the support for
Holden last week with the announcements for support for them but we'd really like to see that
support conditional on manufacturing some better cars, some greener cars, some electric cars. Why
shouldn't Australia start to lead the way in sustainable manufacturing? We've spent enough years
eroding our manufacturing base. It's about time we made any support conditional on actually taking
us forward into the future and regenerating that good Green manufacturing base.

TONY JONES: I'll quickly go to George Brandis on this. I'm a bit confused by the Coalition's policy
on this. Have you decided exactly whether you support the $215 million or not?

GEORGE BRANDIS: Well, you shouldn't be confused. You shouldn't be confused. We do support the car
manufacturing industry. In fact it was the Howard Government that introduced the automotive
transformation scheme. We do have some questions about the announcement that was made last week but
we support the principle of public subsidies to Australian automotive manufacturers.

TONY JONES: Do you support the - so do you support the $215 million that's been given to Holden,
for example?

GEORGE BRANDIS: Well, we haven't seen the detail of it. We haven't seen the conditions, what
strings are attached, what assurances in particular have been given by General Motors to the
Australian Government but in principle we do support support for the Australian industry.

TONY JONES: Craig Emerson?

CRAIG EMERSON: The money, it is $275 million with the state's money as well...

TONY JONES: With the top up from the states.

CRAIG EMERSON: ... is conditional and it is conditional on Holden putting in $1 billion and
continuing, in fact, to produce a new car to 2022. I think that the public would be entitled to be
very concerned about just throwing money at an industry that's really going out the back door. We
don't believe that the Australian automotive industry is going out the back door and there are a
lot of working people whose livelihoods depend not only on car assembly but all the component
manufacturing, particularly in Victoria and South Australia, and you do need - if you're going to
have this sort of industry you do need a core number of assemblers otherwise those component
manufacturers, they all loads their jobs and then we're talking about many then tens of thousands.

TONY JONES: Just on that score we've got a question from David Griffiths. It's up there. You were
right. Up the back there, David Griffiths.

CAR INDUSTRY PROTECTION00:44:00

DAVID GRIFFITHS: My question is why not support the car industry?

TONY JONES: Can you start again, David, sorry?

DAVID GRIFFITHS: My question is why not support the car industry? The figures have been given, $275
million over 10 years, 27.5 million a year, 250,000 workers, I believe, involved in the industry. I
got out my spreadsheet and my economic modelling today and that makes $110 per man per year and
that is a hell of a lot cheaper than the dole with very little with no social disruption and we
need a manufacturing base. Soon if we carry on like this there won't be a person in the country who
can weld or run a lathe or any of the essential industrial functions and countries in the past have
found themselves in this position. Suddenly there's a war. Oh, we've forgotten how to make tanks.
History repeats itself. I think we need a manufacturing industry and $275 million is peanuts.

TONY JONES: Grahame Morris?

GRAHAME MORRIS: I agree with you. I was actually in the room when John Howard did a similar thing
and, you know, you look at Adelaide and in those days if you look the car industry out of Adelaide
you were left with wine, a little bit of submarines and then it became a service centre for itself.
And, look, I think you're right. When you look around the world, those that have a car industry,
they do subsidise it but the spin offs are fantastic, particularly for small business, people who
make all the metal that goes into the car and the machinery and - and I think it would be a sad day
if we didn't have a car industry in this country because of the spin offs. But I think the taxpayer
is quite entitled to do what you just did and that's analyse it properly and ask the car
manufacturers, "Are we getting money value for our money and what's in it for us" rather than some
big corporation based in America.

TONY JONES: George Brandis, do I take it that you are sort of on the verge of agreeing with this
industry plan?

GEORGE BRANDIS: Well, I agree with what the gentleman said in his question. I think everybody in
the panel seems to be agreeing one way or another. Liberty hasn't yet spoken. But the Coalition
believes there ought to be an automotive manufacturing industry in Australia. In Government we have
supported it. In Opposition we have supported the Government's measures in support of the industry
in relation to the most recent announcement. Obviously we're going to look at the detail of it,
which we haven't yet been afforded, but our disposition is to support it.

CRAIG EMERSON: Well, I'm happy to hear that and I'm not going to make a deeply political point. I'm
simply going to say, George, I haven't heard that before. Joe Hockey has been saying he's got deep
reservations about this and I think that's a good thing.

GEORGE BRANDIS: Well - well, you haven't been listening to our spokesman because Sophie Mirabella
has said the very thing last week.

CRAIG EMERSON: Well, Joe Hockey is the shadow treasurer.

GEORGE BRANDIS: And so has Tony Abbott.

CRAIG EMERSON: Very good, I'm pleased to hear it.

TONY JONES: Anyway, it's a complicated question because there are differences of opinion in your
Coalition. Let's move along. The next question comes from Tatiana Siufi.

PALMER, THE CIA AND POLITICAL DONATIONS00:47:18

TATIANA SIUFI: In light of Clive Palmer's allegation that the Greens are being funded by the CIA
and the influence that certain mining magnates and businessmen clearly have over politicians, isn't
it about time that the Government introduced legislation to ban all corporate donations to
political parties?

TONY JONES: Liberty Sanger?

LIBERTY SANGER: Well, bless Clive Palmer. Every time he opens his mouth I become a much firmer
advocate in believing in free speech. I don't know why he said what he said. He could have made the
point that he was trying to make much more elegantly and eloquently because I think what he was
trying to say was that he believes that the coal seam gas industry produces jobs and he's not in
favour of those parties that are opposing it and there's a genuine debate to be had around that. I
think that's what he was trying to say. That is what I got through...

CRAIG EMERSON: Was it?

LIBERTY SANGER: ...trying to get through all of the...

LARISSA WATERS: I think you're being a bit (indistinct).

LIBERTY SANGER: ...the nonsense.

TONY JONES: Okay, but the question was about corporate donations.

LIBERTY SANGER: I think this is a really interesting question. We've got two options. Either we
receive money from the private sector and a bit from the public sector or get it all from the
public sector. I have an attraction to it all coming out of the public purse except I quite like
money being spent on schools and hospitals and roads and infrastructure so I end up falling back on
the other side of hang on a minute, we need to engage with corporates but need tough disclosure
laws. There needs to be quite a low limit set for when you have to disclose. There needs to be
really clear restrictions around things like lobbyists, dare I say it, Graham, and the like so that
we can all have faith and confidence that we've got a transparent system, that no one gets any
advantage by reason of money, no one gets special access and that we all have an equal say in our
democracy.

TONY JONES: George Brandis, Clive Palmer, the biggest donor for the LNP, obviously had a big
influence on what happened in Queensland.

GEORGE BRANDIS: Well, he didn't donate any money to the last election because he was prohibited
from doing so by recently passed laws of the Queensland parliament. But I think that people should
be free to back their political beliefs by donating to the political party that supports those
beliefs. I agree with the idea of ceilings in certain circumstances. It's important it apply
equally to trade unions and to corporates and I agree with what Liberty said in relation to
transparency. I think transparency, rather than prohibition, is the key here in a free country. But
can I just make this point: this is a very good example of the wisdom of the old saying, "Judge a
politician by what he does, not by what he says" because the recipient of the biggest corporate
donation in Australian political history...

LARISSA WATERS: Here we go.

GEORGE BRANDIS: ...was the Greens. After Senator Bob Brown has made an issue of this...

CRAIG EMERSON: Naughty Greens.

GEORGE BRANDIS: ...for years and years and years and made all sorts of wild allegations against my
side of politics, lo and behold one and a half million dollars to the Greens by one corporate donor
in Tasmania last year.

TONY JONES: Larissa Waters.

LARISSA WATERS: I might take the chance to respond to that, thanks, Tony.

GEORGE BRANDIS: Well, it's true.

TONY JONES: Well, I don't think you'll be giving back $1.7 million to the founder of Wotif.

LARISSA WATERS: No. No. No.

TONY JONES: Is that correct?

LARISSA WATERS: And it wasn't a corporate donation. It was from an individual so there's the first
distinction there. But, yeah, look we were very...

TONY JONES: And his money comes from a corporation.

LARISSA WATERS: Well, we were really alarmed by what Clive Palmer said this last week and
particularly alarmed at his remarks today where he said that those comments had served the purpose.
So, I mean, this is a serious matter to accuse candidates who put themselves forward for election
of treason and allegiance to a foreign power. I mean, you know, if it wasn't so serious it would be
hilarious.

GEORGE BRANDIS: Well, Senator Rhiannon used to be a member of the Communist Party during the Cold
War.

CRAIG EMERSON: Oh, bad, bad Lee.

LARISSA WATERS: And here we go.

CRAIG EMERSON: Here we go again.

GEORGE BRANDIS: She did. She did.

LARISSA WATERS: I think you just served that gentleman's purpose about dirty debates there, George.

GEORGE BRANDIS: No. No. That's a fact.

LARISSA WATERS: But this is precisely why we need to clean up our democracy and ban those donations
over $1,000. That's been our long standing position. We have continued to try to change the law.

GEORGE BRANDIS: But you took the money, Larissa. You took the one and a half million.

LARISSA WATERS: Well, we didn't have Graeme Wood saying you guys were members of the KGB and
certainly no policy influence was sought or given so there's a big difference there. We don't have
Clive Palmer wanting to put a big mine on a nature refuge that the LNP have said that they might
think about protecting so that would be very telling.

GEORGE BRANDIS: But, Larissa, honestly and truly how can you possibly say we should have a
prohibition on donations above $1,000 and at the same time accept a donation of $1.5 million.

TONY JONES: Okay. Very simple question. Do you accept that to at least some of the people in the
audience that does look hypocritical.

LARISSA WATERS: Well, look, we're here to try to get Greens in parliament to try and get a better
(indistinct)...

GEORGE BRANDIS: And we're here to try and get Liberals into parliament.

LARISSA WATERS: Well, let me finish.

GEORGE BRANDIS: They're here to try and get Labor into parliament.

LARISSA WATERS: Let me finish. Let me finish.

CRAIG EMERSON: Hear, hear.

LARISSA WATERS: No policy influence was sought or given and that would be entirely inappropriate.

GEORGE BRANDIS: That's not the point.

LARISSA WATERS: This was a donation made by an individual and we have continued to try to amend the
law and have had no support from either side. Until such time as the law changes we will continue
to comply with it but we will not stop fighting to try to change it.

TONY JONES: Is that a bit like continuing to smoke in a public place until it is banned?

LARISSA WATERS: I've given up smoking. I gave up smoking years ago.

TONY JONES: Okay, look, we're almost out of time.

CRAIG EMERSON: We'll take that as a comment.

TONY JONES: We're almost out of time. Our last question is from someone who clearly thinks that
state elections should be a thing of the past, Chris May.

SEND STATE POLLIES PACKING00:52:27

CHRIS MAY: State Governm