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(generated from captions) Six weeks have passed

married to her boyfriend, Robbie. and Laetitia's now engaged to be about a life in Tonga. But she still dreams probably a little bit torn about It's just something I almost feel since I've been back,

I'm probably surprised because I feel like - you know, because part of me... ..wants to be there. You won't survive. Bah! You won't survive! incorrect to live in Tonga. You are far too politically will be over in a month and then... No way. I mean, the honeymoon period Don't listen to her. She's...'ll be having family members... Yep. Yep, yep. No. Rubbish.

They'll all sort of draw the line this way." and say, "It has to be done No. It'll be perfect. Darwin is fine for you, dear. Hey! My family DOES have to survive. in Tonga. And you know how they do it far too many faux pas in there. I just think you're going to have Oh, rubbish!


Good evening, three men have

been charged in connection with

the death of Dianne Brimble,

Mrs Brimble died on board the

Pacific Sky cruise ship in 2002

from a toxic mix of alcohol and

the drug fantastic assy. The

NSW Director of Public

Prosecutions has directed that

Mark Wilhelm face a charge of

manslaughter. Two of his

friends will face charges over

perverting the course of

justice. The RSPCA calls for

nationwide support to catch a

man filmed bashing a kangaroo

unconscious. The footage was removed from a Western

Australian-based website Monday

night. Showing a young man

kickboxing an animal until it

falls to the ground, if caught he could face five years in jail. Memorial services will be

held in the United States to

commemorate the anniversary of

the September 11 attacks in New

York and Washington. Seven

years after the attacks causing

the collapse of the World Trade

Center towers and the loss of

more than 3,000 lives, Ground

Zero is a construction result,

work has begun on a memorial

and a freedom skyscraper tower,

drew to be completed in

2012. More news on 'Lateline', at



Good evening and welcome to

'Q&A'. It's been a big week in

politics. Even bigger day with

Peter Costello confirming again

that he really, really won't be

running for the top job. The

New South Wales Government

extended its talent for

disasters with sex acts in the

Office - simulated sex acts in

the Office. Here to answer

Intellectual Property and Free questions is Head of the

Trade Unit at the Institute of

Public Affairs Tim Wilson,

Status of Women Tany Plibersek,

author, essayist and Sinophile

Linda Jaivin, Leader of the

Opposition in the senate and

shadow minister ster to defence

Nick Minchin. And Sebastien

Vettel - and veteran political

commentator and author Mungo

MacCallum. 'Q&A' is live in the

eastern States from 9.30 to

10.30pm. While we're live you

can send your name, location

and question to us online at or SMS the

number on your screen. Let's

great get straight into our

sfirs question - tonight from

Angus Laing. Just like some

countries should Australia

create a cap on the term of

political leaders in power? No

matter who you vote for a

leader being in power for many years is not in the best

interests of the country or

even its own party. OK, obvious

relevance to that question with

Peter Costello not managing to

get into power because his

leader stayed too long. Let's

start with I, Tim Wilson. I

think a leader is there for as

long as the people basically

want them there already. They

get two terms, if they want two

terms and they continue to be

voted in, if they get turfed

out by the voters they're out.

I don't know that term limits

achieve anything except throw

people out unnecessarily. If

the public wants a political

leader there to the - for the

long-term they should be there. In America they manage

to have a system where the

President only get two terms

maximum 678 it's written into

the constitution. Absolutely.

But who says that system

necessarily serves them well?

That came out of a tradition

with George Washington who

decided he only wanted to serve

two terms. I can see the

justification for it. But if

the public wants that person to

keep going, they'd always have

a choice about when to say no

more. Mungo MacCallum, what do

you think Australian politics

would look like if John Howard

had only been able to serve two

terms? I think it would've

looked very different, we

would've had Kim Beazley at

Prime Minister, I think it's a

great pity we didn't. Having

said that - You might have had

Peter Costello. I think it

extremely unlikely, but

still... I think that one of

the problems with Australian

politics is that people do tend

to stick around for too length.

Just look at the record - can

you think of a single

government in Australia which

has lasted more than 12 years

which hasn't run out of puff?

Which hasn't been corrupted in

various ways, which hasn't

turned into coneyism, which

hasn't - cronyism, com hasn't

been a government which is

really not serving anybody

except itself. Woud changing

the leader every two terms make

a fundamental difference? Well,

changing the leader helps,

certainly, because we are

getting more and more a

government in Australia where

the leader is paraam mount but

it goes further that that - I

think you need a change of

party. For my money I think

that any government which has

served more than 10 years - I

mean any government - is

probably due for a change. I

would like to see that happen.

But how you make it happen I

don't know. I agree with Tim to

a certain extent that if the

people want to keep the same

government they're entitled to.

They're usually wrong do so but

they're still entitlemented to

do it The people get the

government they deserve - I

don't think that's true at

all. But the party don't

necessarily get the leader they

deserve or they think they

deserve. The people who think

they should be leaders dot

necessarily get to be leaders.

I wonder if Peter Costello

would've been happy with a

limit on John Howard's

tenure? I think there was

one. You ask Peter slam thank! I think term limits are a

really bad idea. I think

they're fundamentally

anti-Democrating. Tim's right -

it's up to the people to decide

how long people stay in office.

As Mungo says, yes, some

governments take too long but

that's the people's wish. If

you really believe in democracy

you've got to believe in the

right of the people to decide

these things. Not have

arbitrary term limits. I'm

scor, you're still going,

sorry. Tany Plibersek. I agree

with tism and Nick on

this. You're not worried Kevin

Rudd might be about to set up a

dynasty, the Australian verg of

the Manchu dynasty that last

add thousand years. The people

might have something to say

about that. I think that the

most important thing is making

sure we have a well funking

democracy and a well

functioning media so

governments can be held to

account. Mungo's right that

after a time government becomes

mup more difficult. It's not so

much run ought of puff, I

think, but inevitably over time

governments make mistakes. You

carry the weight of every one

of those mistakes with you over

time. Should leaders be

changed on a regular basis?

That's the heart of the

question here. Well, if Peter

Costello had replaced John

Howard you still would've had

two people there who were the

architects of WorkChoices, who

had been sitting around the

cabinet table when all those

key sigs decisions were made,

is that real change? I don't know. Peter Costello would've

said so. Certainly, he's gonna

sell a lot of books talking

about why thinks it would've

been real change but I'm not

really convinced by that

argument. I would say to Mungo,

one of the things people look

for is a strong opposition

that's ready to govern. Sots -

it's not good enough to say

time runs out for a government.

You have to have a strong media

to keep them - hold them to

account aiven stong opposition

ready to govern. That there's

no doubt about that. But the

problem there surely, is that

if a government's been in power

for too long the Opposition

inevitably runs out of puff

because people give up, they

resign, you have a government

which controls all the sources

of funds, you have a government

which is run by cronies, all

these things. I see - The

opposition by definition, is

emass claited by this process.

- he mass culated by this

process - emass culated by this

process. I think it can be an

incredibly worth while time of

honing your skills in

Opposition, as a

parliamentarian, honing your

policy development skills and

Sloughing off the people who

are there for the reasons. Then

you're accusedch being totally

inexperienced because you've

never been in government. This

is true. On the subject of the

book you mentioned, the famous

Costello memoirs, we have a

question from Andrew Hicks in

the audience. Should

politicians be able to abuse

political office, flirt with

retire am, in a bid to

capitalise for making more

money on - at a best-seller

biography? Let's go to to a novelest for an early answer

to, that Linda Jaivin. I would

say it's really quite unfair to

the taxpayers to have somebody

spend ing all this time writing

a book. As a professional

writer I know this is not

something you just do in your

spare time. You don't just

throw out a book.. I think it's

a lot more - it would've been a

lot fairer if he had actually

retired then written the book,

and not done it when he's

supposed to be serving his

electorate. He got his

father-in-law to write it. He

was very clever about it. The

politician who is even too lazy

to write his own memoirs! He

had to get his father-in-law to

do it!

APPLAUSE Let's hear from Nick

Minchin on this. Let's face it,

your party's leadership has

been held hostage to a book

deal up until today. I mean, I

think that's an outrageous slur

on Peter Costello frankly.

(Laughs) I don't think like the

fact people are saying he is

doing this and behaving in a

fashion that is simply to

promote his book. This bloke

has served Australia as 12

years as a Treasurer, done a

fantastic job as Treasurer. I

don't think it is fair what

people are saying about him. If

you don't want to buy the book,

don't buy the Book, OK. It's a

democracy, you have a free

choice, don't buy the book. I

think it will be very

interesting to hear what he's

got to say. He has contributed

as much to Australia as anyone

in the current Parliament. I

think Australians should

welcome the fangt this he is

putting on the record what his

experiences were and what he

has to the to say about

Australia's future. Don't you

think it's at at aut suspicious

that you didn't hear from him

at all until the publicity

schedule which is arranged for

today allowed him to speak? He

said back in November of last

year he didn't want the

leadership and he'd be leaving

the Parliament. I don't

understand why people haven't

taken him at his word. Why

doesn't he leave the

Parliament? He will leave the

Parliament. He's said he will.

He is entitled to sit there

having been leaked as the

Member for Higgins. And write

his book. Of course he is. I

sat with him round the cabinet

table for 10 years and worked

on buckets with him. There has

not been a harder worker than

Peter Costello in the

Parliament. I think to begrudge

him the right to write his book

while he's a backbench member

of Higgins is unbelievable. ...

One sentence at any time in the

last 6 months he could've end

it had with one sentence. He

didn't. He let 'The Australian'

and the Murdoch press promote

him over and over and over

again. Heigist kept it - he

kept feeding T it's been the

longest bloody prick tease in history.

LAUGHTER Tim Wilson I think

Mungo's confused - I think

Peter's got his book deal with

Fairfax press not News

loimed. It's News Limited that

have been promoting it. That's

been pushing it, no doubt about

that. It's not as if he's the

first one to have done this,

Mark Latham wrote one or two

books while he was a member of

Parliament. Wayne Swan wrote a

book.. let's not just beat up

on Peter. The leadership of the

Liberal Party, indeed the Labor

Party did not hinge on the

publication of those books. S

awe well know, a large number

of Liberal poll tigs have been

exhorting him to make his

position known and he refused

even to do it to them. There

are brobl probl too many politicians going around -

advocating he run for the

leadership when they already

have a leader. That doesn't

distract from the fact - Who's

that? They're names out there,

nobody quite know, s, the

Senior Liberal sources. The

Government have already had

their say about whether they're

happy about MPs writing book

while in Parliament and every

MP that is been mentioned has

been reelected after they've

done it. I don't think they

care too much. You do have a

hypothetical leader at the

moment. How long will he remain

the leader? Why did you mention

that word? Because it looks

like he's not going to be there

very long. Brendan Nelson was

elected leader last year in a

vigorous contest with another

very talented Liberal, Malcolm

Turnbull, he won that ballot.

He is our elected leader. I

think he is an outstanding

leader. The tufest gig in

politics - Tania would agree is

when you've had a government in

office for 12 years like ours and you have to take over in

the wake of this. There is

bitterness and unhappiness and

why did we lose? And it's

horrible to be in oppings. To

be very fair to Brendan he was

prepared to do it, Peter

Costello wasn't. Malcolm

Turnbull still is prepared to

do it. And that is the problem

you face. How disappointed will

you be if your leader is rolled

possibly as soon as summer? I'm

not going to engage in

hypotheticals. Audience member

groans) Brendan Nelson was

elected the leader, and if

we've got any sense within our

ranks we will be disciplined,

be united, we'll get on with

the job of taking the fight to

Tania and her collection and do

so under Brendan Nelson's

leadership. and if we've got any sense within our ranks we will be disciplined, be united, we'll get on with the job of taking the fight to Tania and her collection and do so under Brendan Nelson's leadership.

I don't think it is

particularly good for democracy

to have a weak opposition

that's more focused on its

internal workings and

leadership fights than on

what's happening in our

democracy. Woo you have been

happier to see Peter Costello

take the leadership? It's not

for me to comment on who the

leader should be. That's a mat

forNick and his

colleagues? Would that have

been a stronger opposition? I

think an opposition that wasn't

obsessed with its own

leadership would abstronger

opposition. The only point of

that is that, if I were Tanya,

I'd be relishing the idea of an

opposition led by Peter

Costello, all you have to do is

remind people why they spent

the last 10 years hating him.

As the polls showed for 10

years. He's got a number of

difficulties, and being very

closely asosheded with

WorkChoices and ten interest

rate rises and all of that stuff, wouldn't help him.

Wouldn't have helped him. Of

course not, you but like I say,

the focus on the internals I

think disstracts from - You're

dead right. The real job of

opposition. If you'd like to be

parts of the live audience you

can lo on and register. Our

next question comes from Alison

McCard who has done just

that. Do we have another good reason other than

superannuation to ebter

politics? Risque parties? You

don't mean risque political

parties, do you? This is

clearly a reference to what

happened in New South Wales.

The resignation of the - anyone

who doesn't know outside New

South Wales - of the New South

Wales Police Minister, Matt

Brown was prompted today after

revelations a late night party

in his office in which he

allegedly stripped down to very

Barrier Reefs, and brief,

briefs and engage end simulated

sex acts with an MP. Linda

Jaivin. I think - Didn't you

once write a funny book? I did,

it was called 'Eat Me'. If I was going to be in State

Parliament for the fun of it, I would certainly choose New

South Wales Labor. But, no,

aren't they a disgraceful mob?

They do keep us amused. I

certainly felt that there was a

bit too much information in

that story. I was wondering

what the daughter of nor Ian

Hay was doing in the room if

any of you have heard the

details of all this. Noreen

Hay. Probably don't need to go

into all the details. The

so-called act allegedly took

place in the presence of her mother. It really is sad. New

South Wales is a state in a lot

of trouble and it's been in a

lot of trouble for a long time.

We have a Government that just

consistently misses every

single opportunity that comes

along. And then does this. It's

a little sad. Nick Minchin,

you're on much safer ground

here but then I thought... What

do you know that I

don't? Buswell. Have you ever

had any interesting - I must

have a very dull life. I've

informer been to a Peter like

that. I was brought unon the

northern beaches of Sydney, I'm almost ashamed to say that now,

New South Wales is unbelievable

now. No offence to Tanya, New

South Wales Labor politics is

amazing. It's breath taking.

Every day you find noib another scandal. I couldn't believe

when I read this one. What goes

on in State Parliament here is

amazing. Mungo doesn't like the

new Parliament House, but it's

a lot duller than that, that's

for sure. I remember when I was

at Sydney University way back

in the dark ages, the only

reason anybody joined the

political clubs was for the

parties. It must be said you

had a much better chance of

getting lucky at the Liberal

club than at the Labor club.

LAUGHTER Let's go to the front

row here. Gentleman here wants

to address... I finds it a

little bit curious, politicians

are very often accused of

especially those from Canberra,

of losing touch, not being with

us. Then when they behave like

normal people, having a good

party, they're suddenly accused

of not being Saint. It would be

- you would be out of this

world if you - weren't having a

moment of fun or moment of

letting your hair down or

whatever it is. I think he let

a little bit too much down!

LAUGHTER Letting the pants

down! Tany Plibersek. I think

that most people are very

closely in touch with their electorates. I don't think

actually that that's usually a

true criticism of

parliamentarians. I go out on

Saturday mornings and do street

stalls and talk to my

constituents and all the usual

appointment s and the emails

and phone calls and so on. I

don't go to parties like that.

I don't get invient vieted to

parties like that. You have no

life! I don't. She goes to rock

concerts. I do go out to see

live music sometimes. Lyn

Linda's seen me. Not often

enough, I should say. I think

that criticism of being out of

touch is not really right for

most people. But the other part

of your question is a question

about behaviour, I think that

letting your hair down is fine,

it's OK, but there are limits

to behaviour and certainly if

you have behaved poorly and your leader asks you about it

and you don't fess up then that

is a management problem.

Certainly for a political

party. Let me ask you this - you're from the Labor Party,

from New South Wales. Yes, I

am. Are you contemplating the

brand damage that's being done

by the State branch of your own

party? There are - Because I

say this seriously because you

go to the next election before

they do. I know. There are

some fantastic people in this

new leadership, I think

Nathan's gonna do a terrific

job as Premier. I think Carmel

Tebbutt as deb ti... - tep ti,

I've known Carmel for probably

25 years, a more honourable

hard working person you'd never

meet. Nathan worked on my first campaign for Parliament. These

ra great people. They're good

decent people. Verity Firth,

the in education Minister. But

think about the angry people

who know where the bodies are

buried or where the parties

happen. Behind the scenes

who've lost their jobs and are

feeding this information to the

press. How long is this going

to keep going? How many other

parties were there? I don't

know. I don't know who has

given this information to 'The Australian', there is an

assumption it is a disgruntled person within the Labor Party

in New South Wales. I don't

know whether that's true. If it

is true I think anyone in the

Labor Party would be sending a

very strong message to them to

think about the constituents

that they represent, think

about the State they represent,

think about - Before you tell

the public what really goes on

behind the scenes? No, before

you do things that are

malicious and self interested.

is Can I say something, I think

that if this was in the context

of a government that had been

running the State brilliantly

and we had a wonderful public

transport ation system and we had everything was going well

and we felt that the people

felt they were being listened

to on issues like the

desalination plant and the

selling off of the electricity,

all this stuff, if it was being

run really well maybe not with

the pants down and the full

business, but you know, yeah,

party on, great. Mungo. Can I

just make the point it is a

matter of context.. That when

Kevin Rudd was sprung at a

night club in New York at

Scores, drunk and vouned by

strippers apparently. Which gay

you the title of a book! Called

'Pole Dancing', this was a plus

for Kevin Rudd. He was seen as

the questioner suggested as a

more human as a result of it. I

think it is all a matter of

context. I totally agree with lindsa, if the New South Wales

Government won't so much on the

nose already it probably

wouldn't matter. Nick Minchin,

the one thing I know you are

reveling in this to some

degrees, it did occur it me

Matt Brown could start a new

party with Troy Buswell, the

Liberal leader in Western

Australia. Before he got - What

is it about State politics?

doesn't happy federally. You'd

expect it more in Canberra.

There are two games in knrarks

politics and porn. I expect

more of this sort of behaviour

in Canberra than... Remember

that 'Q&A' is live. It's

interactive. Send us your

question via SMS. Or go to our

web site.

Or register to join our

studio audience. All these

people have done it. Our next

question comes from Michael jos

am. There has been talk about

raising the aged pension, if

you raise a pension now it

means slugging young people

like me with higher taxes for

the next Foo #50 years.

Shouldn't people be paiking -

taking some peshl

responsibility for their

retirement, it's not as if old

age comes as a complete

surprise. It does, believe me!

I'll throw it over to Mungo MacCallum. I think two things need to be said here.

need to be said here. The present time is a very

difficult time, we're just at

the transition stage where

compulsory superannuation is

starting to kick in. So the

total reliance on the pension

is starting to fade out. But

you've still a got a situation

where the hangover from the old

days and a lots of people still

do totally rely on the pension.

The idea that we should have

compulsory superannuation is

now accepted by everybody, the

only real argument is about the

amount. And I think that this

is a very sensible system and

one which will eventually

supersede the pension and which

we swril a situation where

people are responsible for

fems. What - for themselves.

What worries me about this is

the pension is still very much

a political football, that you

have this idea that, OK,

pensioners are underpaid and

they probably are. But then,

homeless youth is under-funded,

hospitals need more money,

schools need more money. You

can go round across the whole

gamut of this political

situation and find worthy

causes. And to me the idea that

Brendan Nelson can jump up in

Parliament and say "Oh well,

you know, let's put 1.3 billion

into the old age pension and

that's a great idea", well, it

well may be but it's also

nonsense, because there are, as

I say, any number of worthy

causes which would benefit from

that sort of funding. You've

got to put it in a broader

context. And you've got to be

more sensible about it and as

you suggest you've got to look

at the long-term consequences

of how these things are going

to work out, not just do it for

a couple of headlines in a

week. Let's hear from Tim

Wilson. I am one of those young

people. I think fundamentally

people have been sold the false

promise of socialism in this

case. What you had is a system people invested - you can laugh

as much as you want, people

invest end a system at a time when there was a very different ratio between

ratio between the number of

people who drew from it in

comparison to people po who

contributed. What we've seen

over time is more and more

people wanting things from the

system and it's happening over

time, and now we're getting to

this point where people are

starting to draw from it - it's

gonna get worse before it gets

better with the generational

issue. Mungo raised the issue

of people in the transition

period. There are people like

my parents who only - sort of

in a halfway position and only

had superannuation for about

10, 15 years of their lives who

are going to be drawing from

this as well as drawing from their compulsory

superannuation. It is not gonna

be sufficient. We're gonna have

less people in the workforce if

current trends continue. Plus

we're gonna have a greater

dependence on pensions. It's

just a false promise of

socialism. It won't work.

Quickly on that point, are you suggesting that suggesting that Dr Brendan

Nelson is in fact the closet


LAUGHTER It's a problem where

you have a system and then you

have to kind of band aid up the

system as you go along to keep

it alive. Someone down the

audience there wants to make a

comment. The government have

been try to slow down the

economy for a long time, do you

think if they raise the pension

together with these recent drop

in interest rates, do you think they'll

they'll undo the work the

government's been trying to do

for a long time? I'll throw

that for the former finance

Minister Nick Minchin. On this

issue, the point of your

question is a very proper one,

because it is people of working

age in the workforce who are

paying for the pension. Some

people have the idea the

pension was there in the bank

or something and you can just

call on it, that ie your call on it, that ie your tarks

are being saved for when you're

a penger. That's not how it

works. It is important to have

a system that does provide

insent he was for people to for

their own retirement and not

relly on the aged pension. One

of the best things the

Hawk-Keating government did was

bring in compulsory

superannuation. I'd much prefer

as a Liberal we voluntarily

provided for our own retirement

but unfortunately that's not

human nature. It does have to

be compulsory, and eventually

that is going to be a real boon

for Australia. But the age

pension is a very expensive

part of our budget. It's about

10% of total Commonwealth

spending, about $500 million a

week. But the fact is as the

Treasurer, the Prime Minister

and others have said this week,

try living on the single age

pension. So we do think the

right thing is to do increase

the single rate of pension by

30 bucks a week. The problem is

- couples on the pension have

shared overheads in a sense,

when one partner or the - in

the marriage dies and there is

a single pensioner trying to

live on the single rate, it is

much more difficult. So I think

we have a particular problem

there. Quickly, how does the

government afford to do this?

Which your opposition leader

would like them to do when

simultaneously you're slicing

large chunks of the budget

surplus out in the senate by

blocking the taxes they have

put in to raise revenue? Couple of things about, that Coalition

can't block anything. We don't

have the numbers to block

anything. We can vote against measures we think are

and we will continue to vote

against measures we think are

wrong. That the government has

no mandate for and doesn't

need. ... $22 billion need. ... $22 billion surplus.

The Government is funding - or

budgeting for a $96 billion

surplus over the next 4 years.

I was finance Minister for 6

years, you don't need surpluses

of that scale. Sounds like

things are going pretty well

with the economy. They serment

don't need the $1.5 billion a

year of tax revenue we rg go to

vote against and the budgets

can Ford another billion

dollars a year on pensions. And another billion

another billion on homeless and

another cum of - couple of

billion on hospitals, another -

every other good cause we - I

didn't say that. The problem

with the $30 a week thing for

just single aged pensioners, as

many groups have pointed out,

on the one hand you have singed

aged pensioners, some are other

sources of income, partial

superannuation, whatever, then some desperately

some desperately need this $30.

That's hardly enough to make up

for... People aren't eating 3

meals a day. It's a really

serious problem with some

people. Nands you have people

on disability pensions, carers,

other people who could also use

a 30 doll ar thing. It's not

really the best solution. I

would really like to see Labor

speed up its review of this

issue. Because from my - to my

mind, I'm a writer, I work to

deadline. If you really have to

go fast and look at this, it's

a complex problem, why do we

have to wait till February then

wait till May then wait till

after that to see these people

get... You really are in

dilemma. Every single member of

the cabinet pretty much says

you can't live on the aged

pension. Yet you expect these

people to live right through

Christmas, right through to

February, wait and hear the

results of that review, then

decide what policy comes out of

it, then wait another 6 months

to the next budget. How long

can people wait if they can't

live on something? Tony, it is

- I don't think anyone has

denied that it's very difficult

to live on the single aged

pension in particular. We've

all agreed that that's the

case. Scmt live on it, I -

can't live on it I think is

whauf he agreed. The reason we

have to have a bit of time to

do a root and brench review

because it's not just about the

aged pension, it's about

veterans endiameters, carers,

married age pensioners, people

to get the widow pension. There

are a lot of payments in the

Social Security system. They

interact in a very complex way.

It's also worth saying that

even though I agree and even though I agree and people

in my party agree it's not

sufficient, the single aged

pension in particular, there

will be between March '08 and

March '09 about a $1,600

increase because of the

indexation of the pension,

because of the $500 bonus,

because of the increase in the

utilities allowance, so there

are small increases coming all

along the way that make up

about - well I know exactly,

$1,641 from March to March. I'm

not saying that's enough, I'm

not saying that that solves the

problem, but there are

additions along the way. We

have someone down the front row

who would like to make a

comment. I think the Government

should stop putting money into

white elephants and starting

putting money into where it

should be put like into the

pension, for example. Good point. This

point. This gentle man behind

you wants to make a point. I

think the 9% superannuation

people are paying into super

funds is not enough. I think

people are being fooled into

believing they think they'll be

able to live well off just on

that super. We need to increase

superannuation amounts by much

greater amounts than just 9%.

Has to be much greater than

that if people are going to

have a - worth while existence

in - at a pension age. Paul

Keating said - 15%. That seems

to be generally accepted as the

figure which would be needed to

guarantee a reasonable sort of

existence after a retirement.

The problem is that nobody in

the Government on either party

and particularly the employers

want to come along with it. I

thought I caught you nodding Nick

Nick Minchin, it might have

been imperceptible. I think you

are right people node knead to

contribute more to their own

super, our position and I think

it's the Labor Party's too, 9%

is a reasonable amounts to

expect employers to be paying

to their employees' super but

bof that really the employee

should be contributing. We had

a Crow Co-contribution ceem

where we helped, scheme, we

provided dollar for doll amplet provided dollar for doll amplet

we also in our Government took

off the Government on end

benefits in sup tore provide

more incentives. I think

governments do need to be

looking for insent he was for

people to contribute to their

own super. To put another 6% on

the back of employers is a

threat to jobs. People are

watching this discussion as

we're going. We have an SMS

question from Axel Tracey - question from Axel Tracey - can

anyone live on Ausstudy,

disability support pension or

Newstart? That's the point I

was making, saying you'll just

deal with single aged pensions

today with a $1.3 billion

payment, I don't think that's

an adequate response. Century

none of us would

Certainly none us of - none Certainly none us of - none

of us would want it try. In the

situation it depends very much

on where you live, I think that

in Sydney or Perth or Canberra

you couldn't, if you live out

in the sticks with good

neighbours and you grow your

own vegetables maybe you

can. The other point is what's

happening with Housing

affordability. If you're on the

aged pension and renting in the

private rental market - if

you're a home owner you have all sorts of expenses.

all sorts of expenses. I'm

getting so many calls and

letters from people on the aged

pension who are paying over 50%

of their income even more in

some cases in private

rental. That's been a major

cost of living pressure on this

group. One that's not gonna

stop any time soon. That's why

people keep waiting for

policies to come to fruition

that you're talking about. You're watching 'Q&A', the

live and interactive forum.

Next week we're joined by the Member for Bennelong Maxine

McKew, the Shadow Minister for Families and Indigenous

Affairs, Tony Abbott, the

author and commentator Robert

Manne, the author and former president of the young Liberals in Victoria, Margaret

Fitzherbert and prominent

Muslim community leader and

host of 'Salem Cafe', Waleed

Aly. You can register to be

part of the studio audience by

visiting our web site. Let's

take a video question now, it's

been submitted on to our web

site by Hugh Wilson in

Toowoomba in Queensland. (beep)

Federal funding has been used

to promote a sexist religious

education program in a

Toowoomba State high school.

Requiring girls to have 16

values including patience,

obedience, jentleness, self

control, and sincerity. While

boys are not required to

possess any of these. As

Minister for the Statous of

women, do you see this as a

serious problem 124 and what

are you going to do about it? I

have to put that straight to

you, Tany Plibersek. That would

be one for me then, would it? I

can give you a bit of

information. That gentleman sent us

sent us a link to his school's

web site, Toowoomba State High

school, they have ridge

otherwise instruction in the

schools - religious

instructions which includes

sprant programs for girls and

boys, for the girls sections on

obedience and gentleness, for

boys, a very different program

- truthfulness, character,

compassion and justice. I'm

just wondering if a boy's own

thing going on here and a girls

own thing going on the other

side? And are you disturbed by

it as the Minister for the

status of women. I don't know much particularly about that

program. they all sound like

quite good values, what I'm

surprised about is that there

shoulder - should be a gender

divide. Obedience for women. Is

that a worry to you? Make not

that one so much! I would like

it if my son were a little more

obedient I have to say. I wish

my daughter was! Yes, but are

these young boys going to grow

up and wish their wives were

more owe beadient. Linda Jaivin. I think you can't have

that sort of thing. Why can't

women grow up with justice and

compassion and truthfulness and

character? That's... I think

they do get some of that as

well. Boys don't well. Boys don't get obedience

for some reason. It sounds

quite suss to me. I think we

really have to watch the role

of religion in public school

education in general. Because I

think that when you've got any

kind of extreme or

fundamentalist view - I don't

care what religion you're

talking about, whether it's

Jewish or Christian or Muslim,

you do tend to skew you do tend to skew what should

be really for my mind in a

public school you need ethics

education, we need to know how

to live in society properly and

be part of a community and to

respect one another. And to

have those values, to be a

loyal, honest person. But it

often gets skewed into things

that people believe are

necessary because of one

religious belief or another. I

quite agree with Linda about, quite agree with Linda about,

that I take it a little further

- I am inherently suspicious of

lists of values. I mean,

somebody's value about

obedience may be something -

means something quite different

to somebody else. Somebody's

value about courage may be

something quite different to

somebody else, somebody's value

about tolerance may be quite

different to somebody else. I

don't like the idea these things can be somehow

categorised in into a list

where you go with your children

down a list and tick each one

off as you think your children

have absorbed what you think it

means. The Ten Commandments is

a list. It is, it's not a very

good one. Exactly what do you

understand by thou shalt not

kill? I think this is the problem, that

problem, that - I'm anti

abortion. Yes, but are you in

favour of war? In defence of my

country, yes, I am. So thou

shalt not kill doesn't mean

thou shalt not kill. Except in

times of war. Except when you

feel it should. This is the

point I'm making. You can't get

away with this, if you're going

to teach this kind of thing in

schools you have to take a very broadbrush indeed and you broadbrush indeed and you don't

want to be tied down to

specific people's ideas of

specific values. Was he

talking about a church school

or a public school? A public

school. With you we've seen

stories in the media this week

about the Shine program that's

been taken into some Sydney

schools by the Hillsong church

that "Young women's created

uniqueness", it says "Through skin care, natural skin care, natural make-up,

hair care, nail care, girls

discover their value and their

created uniqueness". Do these

sort of things disturb you,

Nick Minchin? We ought to

recognise there has been a

flight from public schools to

religious schools in this

downtry - country. That's not right. Parent want their

children to be taught good

values. (Audience groan) They

finds religious schools are

more likely to teach those

value than our public schools.

That's a fact of life. It's

proven in the figures. It's

been a massive foosmt movement

from free public schools from

parents sacrificing to pay fees

to send their children to

private schools. If you look at

the figures in New South Wales

you see enrolments are growing strongly in the public

education system. The idea that

public - - the idea that

public education is values-free

is absolutely wrong and

absolutely incorrect. Most

public schools offer a

religious instruction program

if parents wish to sign their

children up for it. An aside

from that, most schools have

very strong values and ethics

programs like the one Linda's

talking about, including at my

daughter's school, their focus

on anti-bullying, their focus

on treed Treating one another

deebtly, their focus on conflict conflict resolution, how you

talk about your feelings. When

my children were in child care,

when my daughter was two or

three she was saying things to

me like "That really hurts my

feelings when you say that,

Mummy". I don't think I was

able to say that until I was

30. Children have these days

have the most incredible resources available to resources available to them

through our school system and

through child care and I think

it's really wrong to talk it

down, to trash talk it. Tim Wilson.

APPLAUSE I'm gonna partially

agree with Nick and partially

with everybody else. You

wimp! I do think it's really

important to respect choice. I

am a big advocate for a voucher-style system voucher-style system for

education to at least take the

power out of the government

about where people go to

school, what they get taught

and to give empowerment to the

parents and also sometimes in

concert with the children about where they should go to scoot

and the sorts of values they

want to teach (too school) the

the problem we have here is a

compulsory system where people

are allocated to schools and

other people coming along they

willing them what need to be

taught. Would l would you be in

favour of schools teach ing

creationism and saying

evolution is all wrong but

creationism is all

right? That's are not my

opinions, I do not share those.

The reality is respecting

choice means respecting other

people's decisions, it doesn't

mean they always have to accord

with mine. We have a question

down the front here. What I'm

gonna say is that if you are

sent to a religious school and sent to a religious school and

you go through that school, by

the time you're a an adult

you're old enough to make your

own choices, it's not that

you've been sorts of brain

washed into believing

something, you know, it's just

a good structure to have, you

know. Just a set of morals and

values that you can take as an

example and live by those. D

doesn't mean you have to

believe in like God or

something, you could be an

atheist for the rest of your

life but still, you know, I mean,

mean, religion's' basis for

growing up on the rights path.

Taking a straight path in life.

Powerful statement. I'm very

old school, I'm a one of firefighter children brought up

in the public school system.

Out of the five of us none of

us have broken laws, none gone

to jail, to my knowledge none

of us have done anything

unethical. Two of us work in

welfare. (one of five

children) There was no

religious teaching it's a the

schools I went to or any of my

siblings. I'm all no the - for

the public system. The problem

is other people don't. I went

to a public school as well. I

have the same sense of that. I

felt I had an excellent

education. I believe that

religious teaching - it's - I

think that if that's in the

family and that should be

taught through the family,

through the community, through

the church or the mosque or the

synagogue, I went to a religious school after school,

and I think that's another

model that is completely

legitimate. We have another

question up there. we better

draw a line under this topic

after that. This drawings back

to last week' Des discussion

that it's about the money and

the resources that's allocated to the

to the schools, sur' still

restrict end areas with lower

socio-economic standards with

those areas where you're set to

go to a certain area school.

It's more about the resources

and the money that's allocated

as opposed to the school. I

should say - I was watching

last week when this lady said

that about how do you have

school choice when you have to

go to your local school. You

don't have to go to your local

school in New South Wales. You

do in Victoria. Parent have a

choice in New South Wales. I

should say - I hope this is

reassuring for you, that the

'Asia Pacific Focus' ous of the

new government - the focus of

the new government federally is putting concentrated effort on

some of the disadvantaged

schools because it is one of

the best opportunities we have

to intervene early from

kindergarten or before to deal

with cits kids coming from a

disadvantaged background - I

talk to teachers in my

electorate in some of the poor

areas, they have kids who don't

know how to open book, if you

can get to kids in pro school

and they don't slip behind

you've given them a lifelong

gift but you've made a lifelong

contribution to our society and

economy. Those kids go on to

achieve their full potential. I

think that is wonderful

investment. Ware going to wrap

up that topic nowch we've got a

different one. We're going it

our audience, Ian Spence.

Slightly different topic, Tony

- I think favourably of the

brave and idealistic citizens

from all ofrt world who rushed

to the aid of Spain and joined

the International Brigades to

fight faishism just before

World War 2. Why do I not feel

this way when I think about the

Muslims who rushed to

Afghanistan and Iraq to support

the ideals they believed in?

What's the difference? Tim

Wilson. That's a hard question

to answer. Obviously there as

something directly related to

values and that you probably

opposed fas ism as opposed to

supporting different

interpretations of Islam out in

those countries. I think it's also about the nature of

control. Because you can't have

a freedom fighter who goes out

and fights for a cause only to

want to enslave other people.

That person is not a freedom

fighter. People opposing

fascists are freedom fighters opposing people who want to control other people's control other people's lives.

We've seen time and time again,

whether it be the Taliban or in

Iraq, you have people going to

support or the former Iraqi

government of course and the

Taliban whoo Who are going to

fight for their right to

enslave other human beings,

treat women like dirt, kill

homosexuals, why would you want

to feel patriotic or feel like

those people were doing the

right thing? They

weren't. That's what Catholics

thought of many of the people who went over to fight on who went over to fight on the

communist side in Spain. We

won't sort of - Mungo

MacCallum. I think there is a

problem about this. Tim's

arrived from his point of view

but nobody who calls themselves

a freedom fighter says they

want to enslave other

people. But that's often the

consequence. It may be the end

result of it. Certainly. But

that's in the why they go to

fight in the first place. I

think the questioners quite

right that one of the problem

that is people who go to fight

for cause is they very seldom

know exactly what is behind the

cause they're fight for dr

fighting for or where it's

going to end up if they

win. You didn't have to be a

genious to know the Taliban was

killing people for simple

things like having sex. If you

were brought up as a Sharia Muslim Muslim you will probably

believe that what you are doing

is not only God's will, but

essentially it's going to free

your people within the law of

God. They are not - they're not

there to enslave people,

they're there to bring it's law

of God into the state and free

people by doing it. Which is

what they are taught in their

ridge us - religious schools.

It's never as simple as that.

People who go and put their

lives on the line very seldom

do so for selfish reasons. I

mean, they don't go suicide

bombers aren't going to kill

themselves to say "I want to

enslave people". They're going

to say because they believe

they're going to free people.

They may be wrong but that's

what they believe. Nick

Minchin, you're the shadow

defence minister and in the end

Australian troops are fighting against people who do believe

in some cases that they are

fighting an invader and that they are the ones in the

rights. To come back to the

question - human kind has

struggled with this for its

existence with human beings

constant ly battling against

the oppression of thaut or

tearianism and the brutality of

totalitarian rule. That is part

of the history of human kind.

The freedom we enjoy in this

country and that so many

democracies now enjoy is not

the experience of human kind

through the ages. This is

something that is a fen om non

almost of the 20th century,

we've got to treasure that,

protect it and preserve T I

support those who went to fight

the facsism in Spain, they were

fighting auth or tearianism and

the op session of a brutal

dictator. Taliban began because

they believed they were

fighting the oppressionive

Russians in Afghanistan. They

were were fighting to free

their country from the

Russians. That but also to

impose a form of Islamo-facsism

on their people. This is a

brutal regime in place in

Afghanistan, and it was a -

from our point of view you'd -

it harboured under the guise of

a State those who wished to

wreak destruction. This is

important because this is 9/11,

today's the 7th anniversary on

the day on which 3,500 people

sitting in a building in New

York were wiped out by some

lunatics who flu a plane into

the side of the building. Where

did they train? Under the

Taliban in Afghanistan. I'm not Taliban in Afghanistan. I'm not

defending the Taliban, what I'm

saying is we're never going to

peat beat these people if we

don't understand who they are

or why they do what they

do. That's certainly true. It

isn't because they believe

they're enslaving other

people. Linda Jaivin. Again, I

agree with Tim and Mungo and

Nick. But I think there is

something really fundamental

that comes out of this

fundamental, which is a deep

suspicion of intense ideology,

that when people are caught up

in an ideological struggle

maybe that's the points we go,

Mmm, maybe there are going to

be some problems with this.

Just to go with what you just

said, what in the sense of it

being an ideological

suppression, you know, and they probably

probably see what the allied

forces are currently doing as

exactly the same thing. Like

how do we draw the distinction

between the ideologies iology

they're trying to impress -

impose where they see us

essentially doing the same

thing, trying to put on a Western ideology. There is one

key difference, which is that

there is an elected government

in Afghanistan. Exactly.