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Ten Morning News -

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Now to our political debate, and

the major story in canberra this

week is still unfolding this

morning, the government's attempts

to get its fair work bill passed

through parliament. Joining us now,

are Small Business Minister Craig

Emerson in our Sydney studio, and

shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey in

Canberra. Good morning gentlemen,

thanks for your time. Mr Emerson,

as small business minister, can you

live with the definition - as

agreed in the senate overnight -

that a small business is one with

no more than 20 full time

employees? No, I can live with the

definition we took to the election

and put in front of the Australian

people. The entire issue of unfair

dismissal was a very big election

issue. The people supported the

policy to have a simple,

streamlined system of unfair

dismissal for small businesses with

15 or fewer employees. The Senate

has rejected that, despite the

Opposition leader acknowledging we

had a mandate to implement the

policy. Mr Hockey, the government

went to the election promising that

a small business with less than 15

full time employees would not be

subject to the full unfair

dismissal laws - don't they have a

mandate? No, he is dead wrong. The

Senate, in a unanimous vote, all

parties, killed the bill for good.

Now, the government, because there

is a Queensland election tomorrow,

are trying to revive work choices.

You want to try to pay - play

politics for the election tomorrow.

We are down to make technical

definition of whether a small

business should be 15 people by

head count, or 20 people on a full-

time equivalent. It is a time equivalent. It is a

technicality that is so small and

the scheme of things, but they want

to make a political point. If it is

so small in the scheme of things,

then except their mandate we burnt

at the election. - accept the

mandate. We spelled out the

threshold. If you want to go to

full time equivalent, you can find

a group of part-time employees. Was

such a small and a trivial issue,

for the Labor government to fulfil

its promise to the Australian

people, if it is so small, then people, if it is so small, then

except the will of the Australian

people. - then it accept. Obviously,

independent senators Steve Fielding

and Nick Xenophon are becoming

thorns in the side of the

government - are they using their

power reasonably, Mr Emerson? We

have had negotiations in good faith

with both senators are. In this

occasion, the independent senator

has not agreed with our definition.

We hope he would change his

position. It does not seem much but

the prospect that the Coalition

government will. It was said in

March that the previous policy was

dead, two weeks later, the

Opposition leader was the one he

said the policy was dead. Malcolm

Turnbull once the policy to exist

and continue - he once the policy

to continue. I am thinking that

make the piece must not be right

because I seem to be hearing the

small business minister wanting to

make things much harder for small

business. He said it was a trivial

issue but I want to make it harder.

Let me get a word in... You did not

accept the mandate of the people.

You why the minister, you are

supposed to be batting for 2

million small business people,

instead, it is an independent

senator from SA, together with the

Coalition, who is sagging please

provide protection for small

business. - who is saying. But the

minister wants to make it tougher

for small business at the worst

time. So, it is a big issue, and

the reason we are doing this is

because we have said to the

Australian people, these businesses

get a full 12 months to which they

can assess whether they have a good

employee or not, during which time

of the unfair dismissal provisions

do not apply. After that, a very

simple process to dismiss fairly.

Including the fact that if they are

genuine redundancies, the laws do

not apply. That is pretty

reasonable. Mr Hockey, as shadow reasonable. Mr Hockey, as shadow

treasurer, aren't you worried that

you've helped blow a $1.6 billion

hole in the budget with your

opposition to the Alcopops tax?

Work this week has proven is that

it was not a health measure from

the government, - what we found

this week. Young people were

turning to 100% spirits as opposed

to using mixed drinks. Now the

government has turned it into a

hole in the Budget. We have said

that the money already collected to

should go into an education should go into an education

campaign. The government said the

money should go back to the

distillers are. It yet again shows

that this government just resorts

to higher taxes in order to pay for

its bills are. It is quite a

wasteful government. Mr Emerson,

the government's looking

increasingly incompetetent, unable

to get its measures through

parliament - whats the solution, a

double dissolution? That is not in

contemplation, we say that it is a

health measure, now it is defeated,

it will blow a hole in the Budget.

Y a worried about a whole if it is

a health issue? Will always worry

about the Budget. But our decision

has been supported, not by the

Distillers, they are playing the

music and the Coalition is dancing

to the tune. But Our position is

being supported by the Australian

Medical Association. They say the

government's position should be

upheld in the Senate. But it is not

being. It is no point in blaming it

this independence and a toll on his

own, it is the entire coalition

party. The reason that the government is not getting

legislation through the Senate is

because independent senators, or

green senators, are saying that it green senators, are saying that it

is bad policy and bad legislation.

That is what they are saying. But

there is to love them and dozens of

new. - there are two of them. The

government has always had the

opportunity to talk to last, but

they refuse to do so. - talk to us.

The money would be going into an