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Q And A -

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TONY JONES: Good evening and welcome to Q&A. And to answer your questions tonight, the CEO of Leo
of Leo Burnett Advertising and start of the Gruen Transfer, Todd Sampson; the controversial Labor
member for Robertson, Belinda Neal; author, feminist and Marxist, Germaine Greer; outspoken climate
change sceptic and Liberal senator Cory Bernardi; and ABC Board member and columnist for The
Australian Janet Albrechtsen. Please welcome our panel.

Okay. Remember that Q&A is live from 9.30 eastern time, so join the Twitter conversation and send
your questions via SMS to or to our website at

Well, a lot of people have been talking today about the controversial black face sketch on last
night's Hey Hey Reunion. Before we come to your questions, let's take a quick look at what they're
talking about.


TONY JONES: Harry Connick Junior there giving Channel Nine a lesson in racial etiquette, which
brings us to our very first question tonight, which comes from Ivan De Vulder.

IVAN DE VULDER: Look, surely any campaign to stop refugees coming to our shores would simply have
to include that excerpt from Red Faces, on Hey Hey last night, as it certainly showed that racism
is still alive and well in Australia, wouldn't it?

TONY JONES: Todd Sampson, what do you think?

TODD SAMPSON: When I first saw it, the thought that came to my mind is clearly racism doesn't age.
This is a - the crime here for me is not against racism. The real crime is against terrible comedy.
It was...

TONY JONES: I don't think anyone's going to argue about that.

TODD SAMPSON: It was stupid and awful and there was a moment where Daryl says - he turns and it's a
quick comment. He said that this show is filled with colour, but the audience clearly wasn't. When
it was panned over, it was an incredibly white audience. But the most uncomfortable thing for me
was Harry Connick Junior. So his initial reaction was, "I don't want to be a part of this," but
then it was a classic case of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. So then he qualified that
by saying, "We're trying very hard not to make black people look like buffoons," and to me that
implied that they were buffoons and we're sort of dressing them up. I found it incredibly awkward,
and he's been receiving a lot of criticism for his comments.

TONY JONES: Well, Todd, it's true and one thing, thanks to Harry Connick's involvement in this it's
gone viral. It's gone worldwide. I mean this is in The Guardian in Britain. This is all over
American television night now so God knows what they're thinking. What are your thoughts on what's
going out there?

TODD SAMPSON: Well, first of all, we all know that bad news travels much quicker. It's amplified a
thousand times rather than good news and people are attracted to that, hence gossip shows and all
the things that are around. I think the issue we have as a country is if you were sitting in Canada
or in America or, potentially, in England and you get snippets of Australia, bits of Australia, the
snippets you would be getting would add up to a terrible picture. So you've got the Indian issues
that we've had, the racist issues that were really overt and spread around the world. You combine
that with this show, which is clearly trying to take the piss - and in Australia we say, look, you
know, we can go anywhere with comedy. It's okay. But in this case it was completely unnecessary and
inappropriate. So you start to add up these things, you know. You get the racial issues in
Cronulla. You add those things up. If you put those together as a magpie, you think Australia's got
some serious problems, and it does.

TONY JONES: Germaine? Sorry, you're normally not shocked to be asked a question.

GERMAINE GREER: Well, it's kind of difficult this one, because we're very aware that it was
offensive to black people to have this particular version of blackness thrust upon them by white
folks. The thing that gets me is that wherever I look in whatever comedy department I choose to
forage, everybody thinks it's funny when men dress up as women, especially women of a certain age.
They talk like idiots. They wear ridiculous hats. They have appalling attitudes and it doesn't - it
can be Monty Python. It can be anything and it's okay. And women never get angry, they never throw
anything, they never shut anything down, they never boycott anything. They just sit there and look
at themselves being outrageously and offensively caricatured and they wear it. Wake up. If you can
get so angry about this piece of shit, get angry about all the other stuff.

TONY JONES: Okay. Germaine...

GERMAINE GREER: Are we allowed to say that word at this time of night?

TONY JONES: Of course, you - of course, you are. Now, I was talking about it going viral, and
here's what The Guardian newspaper in Britain said. They seem to be absolutely delighted by this
story there. Their correspondent refers sardonically to news of an important breakthrough in race
relations from Australia, the world's most savagely self-parodic country. Why are the Brits so
happy with this?

GERMAINE GREER: Because they can't play cricket, basically.

TONY JONES: The won the Ashes, Germaine.

GERMAINE GREER: They only just won the Ashes.

TONY JONES: All right. Okay.

GERMAINE GREER: Then they got thrashed in the one dayers.


GERMAINE GREER: It's okay. Don't worry about it. I mean, we know what it's like to - speaking as
someone who lives in England and who is reminded by every taxi driver that I'm Australian after 40
years and millions of dollars in tax, I am not at all surprised. They're a mean-minded country.
Don't worry about that too much. We can...

AUDIENCE MEMBER: That will be in the paper tomorrow.

GERMAINE GREER: Don't worry, I'll handle that. But I figure - I mean, I think the important thing
about - Australia is a special country in lots of ways. We did female suffrage before Britain and
we can be before Britain in other way and we can show a greater sensitivity, I think. The trouble
is we don't.

TONY JONES: Janet Albrechtsen, let's hear you on the original question, which is about what
happened last night on Hey Hey It's Saturday.

JANET ALBRECHTSEN: Well, I have to admit, I didn't watch it because the only TV I watch is on the
ABC but you can find - you can find a lot of comedy on the ABC, too. I have, of course, seen it
since it played last night and I agree with Todd, the worst thing was that it wasn't funny. It only
became funny when I learned that the guy that was playing Michael Jackson was a plastic surgeon.
But, no, let me come back to a serious point. You know, comedy is an interesting phenomenon
because, you know, if anything I would like to err on the side of us laughing more, not less, and
if you look at some of the comedy, and I'll come back to the ABC, that's on the ABC, you know, we
send up fat people, we send up old people. We send up gays.

CORY BERNARDI: Politicians.

JANET ALBRECHTSEN: We send up politicians on a regular basis.


JANET ALBRECHTSEN: We send up young school girls. We send up everybody and I think it's a good
thing. I think we sometimes take ourselves too seriously.

TONY JONES: Cory Bernardi?

CORY BERNARDI: Tony, I didn't see the episode except today and I think it's a complete
overreaction, actually. Germaine will be pleased to know she won't find me getting dressed up in
drag, at this stage of my life or later on. But I think we've lost the opportunity to laugh at
ourselves and just say, you know, this is Australian humour. We're going to push the boundaries on
occasions. It's wrong on other occasions. But I just don't think - I think the reaction is
completely over the top.

TONY JONES: It turns out the black faced performers are a bunch of middle-aged doctors, as you've
pointed out, as well. Surgeons. I think one plastic surgeon, all from a mix of ethnic backgrounds,
it seems: Indian, Australian, Sri Lankan, Greek, Lebanese, Australian, but they're all really,
really sorry now, they say. They've apologised and they say they should have known better. You say
it doesn't matter?

CORY BERNARDI: I say it doesn't matter. They're apologised. They've obviously offended some people
but I don't think the international reaction to this is warranted, quite frankly. I think is a
comedy act that wasn't particularly funny. It went wrong but, you know, we've apologised for Harry
Connick Junior's offence and I think we've just got to move on.

TONY JONES: Belinda Neal, what are your thoughts?

BELINDA NEAL: Well, I used to watch Hey Hey It's Saturday the first time, when I was at university
and enjoyed it very much but, really, what were they thinking? It wasn't entertaining and it wasn't

TODD SAMPSON: I think we should move on from Hey Hey It's Saturday.

TONY JONES: We've got another question in the audience, let's go to - on this subject. Let's go to
Lakshimanaa Varathan.

LAKSHIMANAA VARATHAN: A question to the panel. What do you think are, in general, Australian's
attitudes to foreigners? In some sections of the community people seem to be afraid. Why is that?

TONY JONES: I'll - what I'll do is ask the audience to think about that. Some of you have already
got your hands up. Think about that and I'll come to you in a minute. Let's hear from Janet
Albrechtsen. Do you think - I mean, we heard Todd earlier suggest that this incident raises, in the
minds of people overseas in particular, a whole series of other incidents, including the violence
against the Indian students in Melbourne and so on. So do you think there is a problem out there?
This gentleman here is saying people are afraid of...

JANET ALBRECHTSEN: No, I don't. I mean, I disagree with Todd about the link between a silly skit on
Hey Hey and what happened - what has happened to Indian students. I think that was, you know,
certainly a serious issue and it's been raised at the highest levels between India and Australia. I
don't think it has any - bears any relation whatsoever to what happened on Hey Hey. And I think by
and large, if you look at how Australia has integrated so many people over so many years from so
many different countries with very little unrest - sure, you can point to the Cronulla riots and
you can point to Indian students, but by and large, you know, I can't think of another country that
has integrated migrants in the was that Australia has and I don't believe (indistinct)...

TODD SAMPSON: That's interesting you say that because I love this country. I'm Australian and I've
been here for 10 years. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. I'm proud to pay tax in Australia
but I think we have stuffed our heads up our butts if we don't think racism is an issue in
Australia. I think - I've lived in many places. I've lived in four continents, I've lived in six
different country and I have to say not everyone, because it would be a sweeping generalisation,
but racism is definitely and firmly an issue in Australia.

JANET ALBRECHTSEN: But how is that manifest, Todd? Tell me, where do you see it? What do people -
is it the way they speak to people...

TODD SAMPSON: Have you travelled outside of metro Sydney?


TODD SAMPSON: You know, it manifests itself clearly in lots of places and is a...

TONY JONES: Can I just interrupt?

TODD SAMPSON: I'm not saying it is the most racist place in the world but it would be madness to
think racism is not an issue in this country.

TONY JONES: Keep that in your mind. We've got a few people with their hands up here. I'll take this
gentleman in the middle here first and then we'll come down to this gentleman in the front. Yes, go

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Well, what about you - how do you think about the Bugger Off, We're Full signs
that people have on their cars with the flag on it. Like that's a manifestation that you see all
over the roads and, you know, in various places and that reflects what a lot of people think.

TONY JONES: Okay. I'll take that as a comment for people to consider and we'll just hear from this
gentleman down the front, as well.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I think it's over-rated. Like, I live in the Sutherland Shire. There's a lot of
Australia - I mean, like, you know, Australian-born Australians and I don't feel that I'm being
targeted for my background and I think it just depends on the person. Like it's a - I see it as a
minority that are the ones who are racist and, yeah, like - sorry, that's it.

TONY JONES: That's all right. Cory, you wanted to get in on that. You want to pick up on what Todd
was saying.

CORY BERNARDI: I do, because I'm a product of a migrant family. My father came here from Italy in
1958. I've got an Irish wife. I've got an Austrian brother-in-law, a Chinese brother-in-law, Irish
cousins and relations. I've got a Danish sister-in-law. You know, we are a mini United Nations
sitting around our country. Not one of them has said to me they've been subject to racism in this
country and have complained about it. Sure, there may be pockets - pockets of people who are
xenophobic or are opposed to, you know, changes or culture changes or influences but, gee, to
generalise, Todd, and say that Australians are racist and we have a race problem in this country is
really wrong.

TODD SAMPSON: But you - clearly you live in a different country than me.

CORY BERNARDI: Well, no, I live here.

TODD SAMPSON: I mean, I'm not - at no stage am I saying racism - Australia is a racist country and
Australians are all racist. That is clearly not true. It is clearly not true and there is an
example in the audience and I'm very happy that that is the case for you. But there are a lot of
other people around the country that live a different life than that and outside of metropolitan
areas they live a different life. My point was to say it's not an issue is, well, it's close to
being insane.

TONY JONES: Let's come back to our questioner. He's got his hand up. Lakshimanaa?

LAKSHIMANAA VARATHAN: Yeah. I guess my point was that it's a sort of a milder form of racism than
you might see overseas and also subliminal. A lot of the messages that are not overtly racist,
because I think people are sensitive to that, but I think there is a lot of sort of subliminal and
sort of under the radar kind of racism. What do you think about that?

TONY JONES: Belinda Neal, what do you think?

BELINDA NEAL: Well, I think there certainly is racism in Australia and it's both in rural areas and
in the city. It may not be so much that we want to kill people who speak differently or are a
different colour, but we can be very unkind and we can discriminate them in terms of access to
services, education, jobs and I think we do have to remain alert to that in terms of our public
policy. There is a tendency in hard times for people to look for scapegoats and racism is, you
know, often a vehicle whereby that happens. So I think we would be being ignorant to say that it
doesn't exist. I remember coming back as a young person in the seventies and I did two things that
made people suspicious in Australia, and maybe it's a bit of an indication that Australia has
changed. I did two things. I shook hands. No one in Australia in the seventies shook hands,
particularly children, and I spoke Italian and they all called me a wog, so I know what it is to be
- even someone like myself, discrimination does occur.

TONY JONES: Germaine, let's hear from you. You've been watching this country. living here some of
the year, living abroad...

GERMAINE GREER: I live here a third of the time.

TONY JONES: Yeah, exactly.

GERMAINE GREER: Yeah. Now, there's an English brand of racism, which is quite difficult to detect,
because it consists in very good manners. You're very, very polite to brown people. In fact, you're
quite touchy with brown people. You think, would they be offended if I did X or Y? And you try to
show that you're a cultivated person, that you don't have any stupid working class attitudes, any
kneejerk stuff happening. But, basically, the one thing that no one ever shakes from morning till
night is your conviction that you are superior and you show this in your perfect behaviour to
people whom you are quite convinced are inferior to you. Now, Australians don't actually have that
quite. Instead what they have is a kind of anxiety about people whose culture they don't understand
and a kind of conviction that these guys are going to work harder than they do. That's one of the
things. And wherever they look they can see the proof of the pudding that's there. You know, people
clawing their way up by working 16 hour days and building their families and showing tremendous
self-discipline, and so Australians feel threatened by that. They also have this notion that
Australia is full and that the black and yellow hordes are going to arrive tomorrow and just push
everybody out because they're going to work so hard and be so organised and so on. So you actually

TONY JONES: Pay for our retirement, in fact.

GERMAINE GREER: Well, quite. But you have the Australian government breaking international law,
shaking their fists in the faces of people, calling them illegals when, in fact, they're refugees
on the high seas and the worst part about that is that more timid nations in Europe applaud. They
think the Australians are getting away with it, we can all get away with it. Australia is probably
as racist as the rest of the world but it's racist in its own, particular, strange way and we'll
overcome it in our own particular way.

TONY JONES: Just to finish this off, Lakshimanaa I see you nodding while you're listening to
Germaine. Does what Germaine is saying ring true to you?

LAKSHIMANAA VARATHAN: I think it does. I think Australians tend to tolerate people from different
cultures and backgrounds but probably not accepting and embracing different cultures as well as
they might, so I think that's a part of the comment that I agree with. Yeah.

TONY JONES: Okay. Well, we're going to leave it there and move on for the time being. You're
watching Q&A, the unpredictable program where you get to ask the questions. If you'd like to ask a
question in person, go to our website to register and join the audience. Our next question tonight
comes from Elaine Wziontek.

ELAINE WZIONTEK: By revealing that he has been sounded out for the Liberal leadership, has Joe
Hockey shown disloyalty and is his view on ETS different from Malcolm Turnbull's? If not, what is
the point of changing leadership now?

TONY JONES: Cory Bernardi, let's hear from you on that?

CORY BERNARDI: I'm not surprised it's come to me, Tony. Look, there is no leadership challenge. I
mean, Malcolm Turnbull is the leader. Malcolm Turnbull is the elected leader of the Liberal Party.

TONY JONES: Does it mean anything to you that the entire audience laughed at that?

CORY BERNARDI: Well, I can understand why you might think like that, reading some of the headlines
in the paper but, look, Joe Hockey has made it very clear that he's not going to be challenging for
the leadership, so Malcolm Turnbull is the leader. Now, the other...

TONY JONES: Can I just ask a question?


TONY JONES: Do you disagree with the proposition that Joe Hockey was being disloyal when he said
that he'd been approached about the leadership and, clearly, with the knowledge that that would
become a front page story immediately.

CORY BERNARDI: Well, I don't think it's regarded as disloyalty. That's what I would say because...

TONY JONES: How would you describe it then?

CORY BERNARDI: It's being honest. Now, there's a complaint often that politicians aren't being
honest. Joe is actually being honest but, also, he's reinforced that...

TONY JONES: So he is being - let me get this straight.

CORY BERNARDI: He has said...

TONY JONES: He is being honest that he's being sounded out about taking over the Liberal

CORY BERNARDI: And he has said he doesn't want the Liberal leadership. Malcolm is the leader and he
has offered 100 per cent unequivocal support to Malcolm Turnbull.

TONY JONES: But, Cory, who is sounding him out?

CORY BERNARDI: I don't know. I don't know. You'd have to ask the journalist about that. You'd have
to ask Joe Hockey. It's not me, let me tell you. So I don't believe it's disloyalty. The other
substantial part of your question was about the ETS and the ETS is the policy issue that, you know,
has erupted, quite frankly, in the last couple of weeks in the Liberal Party and for my
participation in this debate it has all been about the policy, because I think this is the wrong
policy for us to put Australia into or enter into. Now, the Rudd Labor Government thinks something
different. We're going to have a discussion about that in the senate but that's how all this
started, about a policy issue.

ELAINE WZIONTEK: And would Joe Hockey say something different?

CORY BERNARDI: I don't think so.

ELAINE WZIONTEK: Which is the second part of the question.

CORY BERNARDI: You actually have to understand that the Liberal Party's position currently is that
we are opposed to what the Rudd Government is proposing. That's our current position.

JANET ALBRECHTSEN: You're opposed to an ETS.

CORY BERNARDI: We're opposed to an ETS and that's why we have voted against it - or this ETS, I
should say - because that's why we voted against it seven or eight weeks ago. Now, there is a
suggestion and shadow cabinet is going to take a range of amendments to the party room next week
and we will probably - the party room will authorise the leadership to negotiate with the
government and see if they can improve what is a very flawed policy and I think that's how we're
going to go.

TODD SAMPSON: You know, (indistinct) if I seem slightly irritated by it. It's not an attack on
Liberal or Labor, because truthfully I don't really understand the difference in many cases, but I
find - I personally find that the issue is not actually about global warming, it's actually about
them, not about it. Eighty per cent of Australians have said they want us to do - they want you to
do something about global warming by - and the other 20 per cent work for the Liberal Party. But
they are not - just hold Cory. Hold Cory. So they are not asking you to talk about global warming.
That's not what they mean by do something about it. They're asking you to get together - for once,
drop the bullshit and sit around and talk about the best thing for the next generation, not for the
next election.

CORY BERNARDI: No, we understand. Look, that's an impassioned plea from the founder of Earth Hour
so, look, I understand where you're coming from.

TODD SAMPSON: Wow, I've just been politicised. That's brilliant. Okay.

CORY BERNARDI: But you've got to put this in perspective, that what we've got is a policy
suggestion, right, that's going to come forward, that is not going to have one bit of difference to
the climate in the absence of an international agreement. Now, if we commit to going down a
particular path...


CORY BERNARDI: ...if we commit to going down a particular path 10 days before the rest of the world
gets together and decides what they're going to do, the only thing we're going to do is
disadvantage Australia.

TONY JONES: All right. There are going to be other questions, I'm sure, on that subject. Let's hear
from Janet Albrechtsen on the question that was asked, which was about Joe Hockey, whether he was
being disloyal and, indeed, whether there'd be any point in changing from Malcolm Turnbull to Joe
Hockey because, essentially, on the ETS, they have the same position.

JANET ALBRECHTSEN: Sure. Of course he was being disloyal. It's not the sort of thing you say unless
you want it to be a headline the next day. Anyway, we'll move past that. The other point, of
course, is that, you know, all of these so called rebels who are talking to the media constantly
and undermining unity within the Liberal Party, they need to ask themselves is Joe Hockey going to
have a different policy? He's not going not have a different policy and I think the simple reason
is that it is quite responsible of Malcolm Turnbull as leader of the Opposition to be trying to get
the best possible result from an ETS that the Rudd Government ultimately tries to legislate on. Let
me come back to this group of - I call them the rebel rabble at the moment - because they really
are destroying the Liberal Party and they think they're torchbearers of conservatism, by the way.
I'm sorry, Cory, but you do, and they're not because...

CORY BERNARDI: I am a torchbearer of conservatism.

JANET ALBRECHTSEN: Okay. I don't think you are being one here.


JANET ALBRECHTSEN: Because at its core, conservatism is about being pragmatic. John Howard was
pragmatic. He was the one who stood up, you know, in Sydney on 3 June on a Sunday and introduced an
ETS so that the Liberal Party would have a determined and measured approach on an ETS. It would
have a world class ETS. Where were these people then? You know, we weren't hearing from them then.
We weren't hearing from them when a bill was introduced into the Australian parliament, which was
going to implement an ETS, so let me fast forward. That brings me to the next point. They are so
loud now, I can't help but think that a lot of this has to do with personalities and not so much
the policy. But if they think that changing leaders is going to improve the polling of the Liberal
Party, I think they - and if they think that getting a different position on the ETS is going to
change the polling of the Liberal Party, I think they are completely misguided and they are
destroying the Liberal Party. They will be irrelevant for so many years to come it's not funny.

TONY JONES: Cory Bernardi, you've got to be able to respond to that, I appreciate it.

CORY BERNARDI: I do. Well, Janet, of course I disagree with you. I think this is the most
significant change to the Australian economy in 100 years. It's going to have a profound impact on
families, on businesses, on our economy for the next hundred years. One, we need to get it right.
There are so many flaws in this existing policy that's been put forward by the Rudd Government
that, yes, I agree we have to negotiate amendments and try and improve it. But will the government
agree to them? That's going to be a question. We have to wait and see what the amendments...

JANET ALBRECHTSEN: That's the next step.

CORY BERNARDI: ..what the amendments exactly are.


CORY BERNARDI: So, yes, I support us negotiating on it. But I have to tell you, I'm opposed to
implementing a policy just a week or two weeks ahead of the rest of the world getting together,
because the only reason we're doing it - no other country is actually taking a firm, legislated
policy there. What - the only reason we're doing it is to fuel Mr Rudd's ego and I'm not interested
in doing that.

TODD SAMPSON: Oh, come on.

CORY BERNARDI: I'm interested in getting the result for Australia.

TONY JONES: Cory Bernardi, just before we move on, because I'd just like to get to the bottom of
your philosophy on this. Do you believe manmade global warming exists?

CORY BERNARDI: I'm at poles apart from you on the science, let me tell you that, but...

TONY JONES: So the answer is no?

CORY BERNARDI: The answer is I'm not a subscriber to anthropogenic global warming, yeah.

TONY JONES: That's manmade global warming?

CORY BERNARDI: That's right.

TONY JONES: So it doesn't exist, so why would you have an ETS in the first place?

CORY BERNARDI: Well, you see, there's different ways in which - if there is an international
framework that is brought in and other countries are going to be doing it, Australia needs to play
its role. I accept that, right. Whether - because I could be wrong. There's no question about that.
But - I thought...

TODD SAMPSON: There is no question about that.

CORY BERNARDI: Well, I know it's not a particularly popular cause right now but, you know, over the
course of time we're trying to enact the best possible policy that's not going to disadvantage
Australia and part of that, I've got to tell you, is making unpopular decisions right now.

TODD SAMPSON: But it's making unpopular decisions, not ludicrous ones. So I look at - I look at -
it's interesting, because I don't - as I said, I'm not really clear on the politics but
conservativism, to me, means - and you would consider yourself, as you just said, a conservative.


TODD SAMPSON: Conservativism to me means that you would not take massive risks. So we currently
have 90 per cent of some of the smartest scientists in the world - they've spent their entire lives
studying - telling us now that global warming is a massive issue and is human related, right? So I
look at that and I go...

CORY BERNARDI: No, I don't accept that.

TODD SAMPSON: But, wait, Cory. Just wait. Just wait.

CORY BERNARDI: I don't accept it.

TODD SAMPSON: So I look at the issue and I go, so what the risk of you getting it wrong. So you
willing to put a bet on the table, as a conservative, that they're wrong, you're right. And you
know what I think? I think it's easy to make that bet when it's with someone else's money.

CORY BERNARDI: Well, can I respond to this question? I mean...

TONY JONES: I will let you to respond but I need to let you hear from the other panellists, as

CORY BERNARDI: Sure. Look, you're asking us to make a bet on Australia's behalf and everyone
acknowledges that if Australia goes about this alone it's not going to make any difference to the
climate. That is undisputed and so why would Australia pass legislation just a couple of weeks
before knowing what the rest of the world is going to do? If the rest of the world gets into a
global framework and its going to make a difference, let's look at it next year.

TODD SAMPSON: Because we care and we want to lead it and we are a part of it.

CORY BERNARDI: Oh, that's just symbolism.

TONY JONES: I tell you what, I'm going to interrupt because a whole bunch of people in the audience
have their hands up. I'm going to just cast around and see - let's start with this lady here with
the red glasses and then we'll - keep your hands up because we'll come to some other people, as
well, just to get your opinions.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: The thing that I'm finding frustrating about what you're saying is that you're
saying that a decision that's made now may affect Australia's economy for the next 100 years but
the reality is if we don't do anything then it's actually going to affect the entire world
environment forever. So where's the - where's the gamble there? Isn't it smarter to make some
decision and try and make a difference and lead rather than do nothing at all.

TONY JONES: Hold on, because I'm going to try and get a few opinions. The gentleman just behind you
in the black shirt.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Cory, is it fair to infer that your position is a result of the action that
Malcolm Turnbull took to remove you from the position of parliamentary secretary in February this
year because of your ill-disciplined comments about Chris Pine? Is that fair to infer?

TONY JONES: Okay, leave that up in the air. I want to hear - there's another gentleman over here
with his hand up, as well. Yep. Okay.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: The argument that we don't need to do anything because of what other nations are
doing seems strangely like the argument that it's okay for us to sell weapons of mass destruction
to this horrible third world dictator because if we don't someone else will.

TONY JONES: Okay. I want to hear from the panel on what their thoughts are about what we're talking
about, the series of questions. Germaine Greer?

GERMAINE GREER: Isn't it funny that we don't want to be first. We're really anxious. Please, not
even a week ahead of other people. Don't let us be first. When did we really start thinking like
that? I mean, my worry about the emissions trading system is that it is a scam in itself. It's a
way of getting out of actually lowering carbon emissions and we should be doing both things. I
mean, this is the most extraordinary county. The whole thing about the solar panels collapsed and I
remembered - a year ago I drove down Spencer Gulf looking at the most radiant suburbs on earth. I
didn't see a single solar panel. Everybody had air conditioning and nobody was doing it with the
sunlight that was bouncing around everywhere. We have - we're already an energy rich country but we
produce coal and we're determined to sell it. We're determined to compete with South Africa in
selling as much of it as we possibly can as fast as we possibly can and that's really what's behind
all this; that Australia is a vast mine. We're all living on the excess value generated by selling
the country as fast as we can, digging enormous holes in it, and there's something completely wrong
about this approach. We are not taking any responsibility for the utter devastation of our
continent. And we are now saying we're not going to take any responsibility for the devastation of
the world either. We're smart enough to do this, let's just bloody do it. Don't wait for everybody
else to do it.

TONY JONES: Belinda Neal, I mean that was a plague on both their houses. Todd had a bit of a plague
on both their houses, as well. Do you want to speak on behalf of the government?

BELINDA NEAL: Well, I don't know if I'll speak on behalf of the government, but I think it's often
easier to say no one else is doing enough but we really have to talk about what we can do. I think
it is important that we act on climate change. It is obviously important to the whole community and
this idea that somehow we must wait for everyone else is ridiculous. At the moment the Coalition
has not been able to manage a policy in over 10 years. I don't think we can wait for them, if they
haven't worked it out by now. And I think it's extremely important we do deal with it immediately
and show some leadership at Copenhagen, not wait for them to lead us around. We've previously, as a
nation, played a leadership role, I think in a very positive way, and I think we should be building
on that rather than abandoning it. And I would have a little bit more respect for the coalition and
it's leadership if they were really a bit truthful about what they intend to do. We have four weeks
left to the parliamentary sittings and it's very clear to me that there is not going to be any
genuine attempt to negotiate an outcome so that we can go to Copenhagen and play the leadership
role. There's not going to be a genuine debate or genuine discussion of amendments. What they are
going to do is kill this legislation by a thousand cuts and make sure we have nothing at the end of
our four weeks when we rise for the end of these parliamentary sittings and I think that's a great
shame. And if they had the true interests of Australia, they would either vote for it or vote
against it and make a commitment to do that before we rise.

TONY JONES: Janet Albrechtsen, do you agree with what you just heard there?

JANET ALBRECHTSEN: Well, I have to say, Belinda, if the government is serious about climate change
and I am somewhat, you know, in the sceptical camp, I guess, so my comments previously were about
the politics of climate change and that is what we're talking about here. We are not talking -
Germaine is absolutely right. You know, the sorts of targets that the Rudd Government is setting;
the sorts of, you know, cuts you are going to see with this ETS - you know, the level of

BELINDA NEAL: It's a carbon reduction scheme actually.

JANET ALBRECHTSEN: Yeah, that's a neat name but it's a...

TONY JONES: Carbon pollution reduction scheme, I think is what the government calls it.

JANET ALBRECHTSEN: It's a tax. It's got exemptions.

TONY JONES: Everyone else calls it an ETS.

JANET ALBRECHTSEN: It's a whole shemozzle and the reductions are meaningless, absolutely
meaningless. If this is the great moral dilemma of our time that you sincerely believe it to be,
then do something serious about it.

TONY JONES: So, Janet, just so that I've got this correct, you'd like to see much higher targes, is
that right?

JANET ALBRECHTSEN: No, because I don't know. No. I am saying that the great iron in this debate is
for those...

TONY JONES: Okay, I'm sorry. Had me fooled for a minute.

JANET ALBRECHTSEN: ...those who think that this is the great moral dilemma of our time. What
they're proposing is nothing. And can I just add something to what Todd said earlier. You get 80
per cent of people saying they want the government to do something. Let's see how that changes when
they start to work out how much it's going to cost them. I don't think Australians actually want
the government to do that much once they work out - no one understands, by the way, what an ETS is.


JANET ALBRECHTSEN: Okay, no one? Right.

TODD SAMPSON: I think you're underestimating what Australians actually feel towards the environment
and towards the globe.

JANET ALBRECHTSEN: I agree with you on that.

TODD SAMPSON: Again, I'm confused by politics, but I think the notion of using fear to say to
people, "You're all going to be in massive trouble because we're going to have to raise money to do
this, therefore it's going to cost you all, so your best thing to do is we'll do nothing. We'll
watch everybody else. We'll bicker and argue in parliament over who is going to lead this, who is
going to lead that, and the world will go to hell in a hand basket. I think it's a bad idea.

JANET ALBRECHTSEN: But hang on, who is running the fear argument, Todd?

TONY JONES: Okay. We've got a gentleman down the front.

JANET ALBRECHTSEN: Who is running the fear argument?

TONY JONES: Janet, we've got a gentleman down the front here with his hand up.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes. Despite all the fear and hysteria, nuclear power has been shown to be much
more clean and environmentally friendly than coal. If we are serious about cutting down on our
carbon emissions, should we not be exploring nuclear power as former prime minister John Howard

TONY JONES: Okay. Let's hear briefly from Todd on that.

TODD SAMPSON: I think, yes, is the answer, from my humble, irrelevant point of view, but I would
definitely say yes. But nuclear power, as a brand, has so many negative connotations associated
with it. There is a mental block. I mean, even when you say nuclear power, so many people in the
audience sort of just shifted around. Some clapped because the majority kind of shifted, because
you assume there's something really bad and negative. I think the government should be looking at
the most viable, healthy option that's sustainable for the future. If nuclear power is that, then
we should be definitely looking at it.

TONY JONES: I'd like to see you make the ad that convinced people in this audience that that would
be a good idea.

TODD SAMPSON: Well, maybe we'll use the argument that's been used saying "It won't cost you money."
The Australian economy will be fine if we use nuclear power.

GERMAINE GREER: However, there is one big problem about nuclear power. We've wasted 50 years. We
wasted 50 years because we were terrified. We didn't know how to make it safe. We didn't try to
make it safe. We didn't develop it. And with all our technical expertise and all our cleverness we
just sat on our hands and we are now 50 years behind the eight ball, so we have a problem, but I
agree with you. It's not just because of us. It's because in all those countries where the people
have cut down all their trees, where they're absolutely without any source of energy, there is only
one answer and that's nuclear energy and we don't have it. We can't do it.


TONY JONES: And, indeed, it's time to move on to a different subject. Sorry about that. You're
watching Q&A. Remember you can send your web or video questions to our website. The address is on
your screen. Like this video question, which comes from Virginia Lindenmayer.

VIRGINIA LINDENMAYER: Powerful, intelligent women in politics who have been faced with infidelity
(such as Hillary Clinton and Belinda Neal) have been criticised by feminists for standing by their
man. Do you think committing to saving your marriage should be congratulated as a strong female
trait or criticised as weak?

TONY JONES: Belinda, the question you must have been expecting.

BELINDA NEAL: Well, I must say I'm surprised by that question. Firstly, I have to say that I'm a
feminist and I certainly don't think that someone who's not in the same situation can ever really
make a decision about what's the best decision. The reason I'm a feminist is because I can decide
what I do. It's not going to be decided by everyone else. It's not going to be predetermined
criteria. Me as a woman will say, "What is the best thing for me in this situation?" Obviously I
made a decision to work within my marriage but, certainly, I don't see myself as some downtrodden
person who is being submissive. I see it as a powerful decision to take control of my marriage and
a joint decision to work to improve it and I see that as a feminist decision. If I were to end my
marriage because I thought that's what women should do, as a feminist, then I would see myself as
not being true to myself.

TONY JONES: Hilary Clinton was mentioned there. Do you see Hilary Clinton as anything of a role
model? Because, I mean, when you talk about taking power within your marriage, she certainly
appeared to. I mean, Bill looks, you know, certainly diminished these days and she looks quite

BELINDA NEAL: Well, I have to say that I think - I've got a lot of respect for Hilary, though I
only know her from a distance. I think she's been much maligned. What goes on in their marriage, I
don't know. I'm sure none of us really know. Marriages are intimate. We make our own judgments
about what we'll do within them and we know more about each other than anyone else does so don't
leap to conclusions.

TONY JONES: There is this perennial question about - good answer. There is this perennial question
about whether politicians should be punished for any indiscretions in their private lives. Do you
have any thoughts on that?

BELINDA NEAL: Look, I think anyone, not only politicians but any person should be judged by what
they do, their deeds, how they do their job, not by what they do in their private life. I think
that most people in Australia who are pretty fair and decent agree and I think to make judgments
about things that are private matters between, particularly, individuals is completely wrong.

TONY JONES: So was it an overreaction, the public response - indeed the political response and
John's decision to resign? Was that all an overreaction, do you think?

BELINDA NEAL: Well, look, I personally believe that private positions you take or private actions
you take shouldn't be something that determines what happens in your public life. John made his own
decision and he's taken his medicine for his own personal reasons and I certainly don't intend to
comment any more but I think in the end we are, as good old Kevin Rudd says, we are all human and I
think we have to be cautious when we leap in to make personal judgments about people's personal

JANET ALBRECHTSEN: It's interesting, though, that things have changed because years ago people
didn't care what Bob Hawke did. People didn't care what John Gorton did. You know, there was a
young reporter who once saw JFK going into a hotel room with a young, beautiful woman and went
back, excitedly told his editor and the editor said, well, we're not covering that. Forget about
it. You know, so something has changed and let me posit a theory and see if you agree, Belinda. I
think that largely people are more interested in the private lives of politicians because
politicians are managing the media so much more. I don't agree with it, by the way. You know, I
don't think we have any business being involved in the private lives of politicians but I think
when politicians use the media so much more: they've got the beautiful family photos; they've got,
you know, the lifestyle and, you know, these wonderful programs that they do extolling how not
necessarily how moral they are but more about them personally. There's so much more focus on the
personality of politicians these days. I think sometimes people want to peep behind that. Again,
let me just say I'm not sure I agree with it but I think something different is going on, okay.
Years ago the media wasn't interested. Now, increasingly, they're crossing a line which I think
they should be careful about crossing.

TONY JONES: Let's hear from Germaine on that.

GERMAINE GREER: Well, I'm the sort of feminist who doesn't believe in marriage and I think marriage
is an unequal relationship and you can negotiate all you like but, in the end, I think a woman in a
marriage is vulnerable and is not in control of her own destiny. I prefer a situation in which a
woman negotiates all the time. She can never be taken for granted. Where people stay together
because they actively can see that they want to be together. It's better for them to be together.
So I would never dream of judging the quality of a relationship within a marriage. It's none of my
business. It's just that, you know, I wish clever women would give it up. Would you keep doing it

TONY JONES: I sense that Cory Bernardi wants to come in there. I saw you straightening your

CORY BERNARDI: I did straighten, because I'm a supporter of marriage. I think marriage is a
fundamental institution in our society and I think it's just so important.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yeah, but not gay marriage.

TONY JONES: For anyone at home who didn't hear that, the interjection was, "Not gay marriage."

CORY BERNARDI: Right. I support the fact that marriage is between a man and a woman. But let me go
to the...


CORY BERNARDI: Well, it is.

GERMAINE GREER: That's what you call a fact?


AUDIENCE MEMBER: It's a social construction.

CORY BERNARDI: Let me just go to the question, though. I think the decision about what happens for
individuals where infidelity occurs is entirely for themselves to make and I don't think you can
make a judgment call, because you don't know what's happening in people's relationships. If they
want to stay together they stay together and they should work it out. If they don't want to,
because it's irreconcilable, that's their business too. I think, you know, you have to leave this
to a personal decision and I'm not going to make a judgment call one way or another on what people

TONY JONES: Todd, do you have any thoughts on this?

TODD SAMPSON: I'm still trying to get over the man and woman is the only relationship thing. But

CORY BERNARDI: That's not what I said. That's not what I said. I said the law - I said basically

TODD SAMPSON: I'd let it go if I was...

CORY BERNARDI: Marriage is between a man and a woman.

TODD SAMPSON: Okay, fair enough. Cory, sorry, I should be...

CORY BERNARDI: I've just got to tell you.

TODD SAMPSON: I absolutely, 100 per cent, unequivocally disagree but I'm going to leave that part
and try to stick to the question because it's sort of becoming a question of avoidance, Q&A. But

TONY JONES: We'll make you stick to the question eventually.

TODD SAMPSON: Yeah, all right, cool. I think I wouldn't comment on Belinda. In fact, Belinda is
very different than I imagined her to be and responded in a very different way than I imagined
Belinda would respond. So I have no insight to know how, why, when and I've never had anything to
do with either John or Belinda but what I do think is interesting is strategy. So when it comes to
a political family - I won't use John and Belinda's because - I will use Hilary and Bill. They were
both very committed to politics and the result of the - because what happens is when it's a
political family, when something happens to one person it creates opportunity for another and it's
an opportunity to be heard and to be listened to and to be taken serious and if you react well
during that time it becomes something that you could - that's advantageous to you. If you react
poorly during that time it becomes something that buries you. And I think some people react really
well and take that opportunity, which is based on pain and hurt in a relationship - but from a
political point of view can use it in a different direction. And I think Hilary is a great example
of someone who has done that incredibly well. I think that she's taken disaster in her life and
politically has used it in a very advantageous way.

TONY JONES: Does that ring true to you?

BELINDA NEAL: Look, you know, through periods of great challenge, you either - it makes you or
breaks you. That's true of any difficulty situation. This is a difficult situation. You grow and
you deal with it or you don't and you'd hope...

TONY JONES: Is there a political dimension, as Todd was talking about?

BELINDA NEAL: Well, it doesn't really matter whether it's politics. Whatever you're doing, if you
don't deal with the issues and move on then it can harm and damage you. If you grow to expand and
cope with it and bring something positive from it, as I feel I have, then you actually end up a
stronger person from it. And I feel I've done that.

TONY JONES: I think we can see some evidence of that. Here's another video question. This one is
from Mary Collier.

MARY COLLIER: Todd, as a great ad man, if you had Germaine Greer and Belinda Neal as stars to
endorse a product, what product would you choose?

TODD SAMPSON: Oh, my God. That's...

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Gay marriage.

TONY JONES: What did you say?

BELINDA NEAL: Gay marriage.


TODD SAMPSON: Gay marriage. That's my answer. I have no idea. They've both become brands in their
own right and, actually, I get paid to do that, so that would require more than 15 seconds on the

TONY JONES: Is there any product that you feel you resemble, Germaine, just out of interest?

GERMAINE GREER: Compost accelerator.

BELINDA NEAL: Oh, I love that answer.

TONY JONES: All right. Okay. You're watching Q&A, the live and interactive forum where you get to
ask the questions. Our next question comes from Ken Dovey.

KEN DOVEY: Germaine, you've argued that parents are overprotective and that children need more
freedom. It's common knowledge that freedom and responsibility go hand in hand. So these days, when
parents are spending less time with their children or have a more tenuous relationship with them,
how do children develop a framework for responsible decision making?

GERMAINE GREER: What a very, very big question that is. Actually, what I was arguing was that
Rousseau's idea that children - that man is born free is simply wrong. A baby is the least free
person in society and that children have to struggle for their little bits of self-determination
and parents are more terrified than ever or actually yielding that self-determination that they
cannot give their children free time because they have been convinced by irresponsible media, apart
from anything else, that the streets are dangerous, that the bush is dangerous. Those of us who
grew up falling out of trees have children who will never be allowed to climb a tree and the
problem is that children who are constantly told what to do and constantly threatened with
punishment never really understand why the should do certain things; why doing the right thing
makes sense in the right circumstances, and you get kneejerk reactions when you try to enforce
behaviours by punishments instead of helping people to understand why it makes sense to do what
they ought to do in certain circumstances. I notice that one of the bills of rights that has lately
been arrived at by the states - by two states in Australia actually calls itself a bill of rights
and responsibilities. That's enough to make you tear your hair.

JANET ALBRECHTSEN: There are no responsibilities in it, though. It's okay. Relax. There are none.

GERMAINE GREER: But they thought...

JANET ALBRECHTSEN: There are none. It's just a title.

GERMAINE GREER: ...that people might get really, really nervous if they didn't put that word in.

TONY JONES: But, Germaine, can I interrupt you? Because, I mean, you mentioned Rousseau at the
beginning. Of course, when Rousseau was around, they didn't have video games and what a lot of
people find is when you give kids free time, they don't go and climb trees, they go and play video

GERMAINE GREER: Well, they go and play...

TONY JONES: Even if you want them to climb trees.

GERMAINE GREER: I reckon they play video games because they're prisoners in the house, amongst
other reasons, and they have very little in the way of social interaction that isn't already
overseen by other people. None of this is easy. We are all anxious about our children and our level
of anxiety has been hopelessly racked up by a media that are balmy. You know, the home is the most
dangerous person(sic) for a woman or a child but they're afraid of the streets, for goodness sake.
It's time we actually sat back and thought a bit about this. How do children build societies if we
don't let them interact. There was a time when everybody had a tree house. Everyone had a club
house. Everyone did stuff and some of the stuff they did was really bad and they found out about it
because freedom is freedom to get it wrong, as well as freedom to get it right.

TONY JONES: Okay. Let's hear from our other panellists who have children. We'll start with Janet
and we'll come back to Cory.

JANET ALBRECHTSEN: Well, let me say, I absolutely agree with what Germaine just said. I think
sometimes we don't let our children make mistakes and we don't hold them responsible for mistakes
when they make them. But, as a mother of two teenage daughters, I also have to say sometimes I
think they have too much freedom. Now, it may not be in a tree house, but they spend way too much
time on Facebook. They spend way too much time, you know, in this sort of netherworld of social
interaction instead of sitting down with a friend and having a hot chocolate or something. What
happens - yeah, but it's just - you know, it's - you don't learn how to interact with someone
through Facebook, right? You're not seeing the nuances of if you say something hurtful, how it
affects them. It's a very cold, calculated environment to maintain friendship in that.

TONY JONES: Okay. We're nearly out of time. I'm going to hear from the rest of the panellists,
because she laughed at the hot chocolate line.

BELINDA NEAL: I just - I have to say I just - quite the contrary this idea that all our young
people are going, you know, to hell and they can't do anything and they sit in their rooms and take
drugs. That just is not - is really not my perception of how young people are. I go out and I've
got two grown boys and they're fantastic. Of course, a mother would say that. But when I go out and
I visit our schools and I see people, most of our young people are fantastic too. They're smarter.
They're performance of things like music and drama is far better than I would have ever even
dreamed of trying at those sort of ages. And it's not just one or two. It's many of them. They can
interact on the computer. They can do anything. They have amazing confidence. The only thing that
concerns me is that, at the moment, there's an unacceptably high level of youth unemployment but I
don't have any great concerns about our young people.


BELINDA NEAL: I think they'll beat us down.

TONY JONES: All right. I'm going to hear from - just a quick wrap around, because we're really out
time. Cory?

CORY BERNARDI: Sure. Quickly, I think children need to be encouraged to take risks at an early age
because as they then get older, they'll know how to make assessments and judgments of particular
situations. If we don't allow them to do it, when they turn 16 or 17 or 18 and they're driving cars
or they're starting to drink, they will make catastrophic judgment calls because they haven't been
condition and they don't understand how to assess risk appropriately.

TONY JONES: Todd, in 25 word or less. I'm sorry to do that to you.

TODD SAMPSON: I saw as study recently that said that children's play spaces have decreased by 80
per cent in the last 20 years. I think that confining kids in a closed environment is not very good
for their mental health.

TONY JONES: Okay. Well, that's where we'll have to leave it because we have run out of time
tonight. Please thank our panellists: Todd Sampson; Belinda Neal; Germaine Greer; Cory Bernardi;
and Janet Albrechtsen.

Okay. Next week we have the British comedian, writer and political activist Alexei Sayle; the
Minister for Infrastructure, Anthony Albanese; the Shadow Minister for Education Christopher Pyne;
climate change activist Deepa Gupta; and chief executive of the New South Wales' Minerals Council
Nikki Williams. If you'd like to know more about our panellists, you can visit our website, And while you're there, upload a question or a video, like this animation on the
Copenhagen Climate Summit. It comes from Chris Voight of Greasy Moose. Good night.

Germaine Greer

Germaine Greer is regarded as a pioneer of the 1960s feminist movement that transformed the role of
women in western society. The publication of her ground-breaking work The Female Eunuch in 1970
made hers one of the most significant feminist voices of the era.

Germaine was born in Australia in 1939. She enrolled at the University of Melbourne in 1956,
graduated with a BA and moved to the University of Sydney, where she became involved with the
Sydney Push Bohemian social milieu of anarchists, Marxists and libertarians. She obtained an MA and
moved to Cambridge University to complete her doctorate, throwing herself into a 60s lifestyle that
included satirical theatre with the Cambridge Footlights, writing for Oz magazine, nude photo
shoots and a three-week marriage.

The publication of The Female Eunuch brought her massive international recognition and during the
70s she became a controversial and iconic figure with enormous media exposure. She established a
reputation as an iconoclast and a formidable debater. Since that time she has continued her career
as a writer, academic and literary critic. Though now retired, she continues to write and court
controversy and is a popular guest on a wide range of television programs. She lives in England
though visits Australia frequently.

Read articles and watch reports about Germaine Greer.

Todd Sampson

The rich and varied life of advertising executive Todd Sampson began 39 years ago on Cape Breton
Island, off the east coast of Canada. Todd, now the CEO of Sydney advertising agency Leo Burnett
and one of the stars of the hit ABC television show The Gruen Transfer, grew up in modest
circumstances. His father worked pouring sugar in the Coca-Cola factory and his mother worked for

Todd came to Australia 11 years ago, following a circuitous route that included North America and
South Africa, where he earned an MBA. At the time he had a scholarship that allowed him to study
anywhere except the United States. As Nelson Mandela had recently been released South Africa
seemed, to Todd, like an interesting place to be.

Todd is the co-creator of the international Earth Hour initiative, and was ranked as the most
influential advertising executive in Australia by the Financial Review. Outside of work he enjoys
mountain climbing, and has completed a climb to the summit of Mount Everest.

Todd and his wife Neomie live in Bondi with their two daughters.

Read articles and watch reports about Todd Sampson.

Belinda Neal

Belinda Neal, Labor MP for the NSW Central Coast seat of Robertson, is now in her second career as
a federal politician. In 1994 she entered the Senate, leaving four years later to contest the seat
of Robertson in the 1998 election.

On that occasion she lost, and it was not until 2007 that she finally achieved her aim when the ALP
under Kevin Rudd turned the coalition out of office.

Belinda, born in Brisbane in 1963, gained a law degree from the University of Sydney. She and her
husband, right-wing NSW Labor powerbroker John Della Bosca, wield considerable influence within the
party and Belinda is regarded by colleagues as an uncompromising political operator renowned for
her toughness.

In recent times she has needed it. In the past year Belinda has been plagued by the sort of
controversy no politician wants. In 2008 she was required to apologise to Liberal MP Sophie
Mirabella for suggesting her unborn child would be born a demon, and shortly after she and her
husband were accused of threatening staff at Iguana Joe's restaurant in Gosford, the heart of her
electorate. Earlier this year John Della Bosca resigned as NSW Health Minister when it was revealed
he had been having an affair for several months. In the public furore that followed there were
rumours that Belinda and her husband had split up, but she subsequently announced in an interview
with the Women's Weekly magazine, accompanied by a glamorous photo shoot, that she was standing by

Belinda is a significant contributor to the parliament, sitting on several important committees and
chairing the communications committee. As a senator she was shadow minister for housing, local
government, consumer affairs and status of women. She has also served on the Gosford City Council.

Belinda and John have lived in Woy Woy Bay for over 20 years and have raised their two sons on the
Central Coast.

Read articles and watch reports about Belinda Neal.

Cory Bernardi

Cory Bernardi has been involved in the Liberal Party for over 20 years. He served as the youngest
ever State President of the Party in South Australia from 1998-2000, and also became the youngest
ever Federal Vice President of the Liberal Party of Australia in 2005. He was sworn in as a Senator
for South Australia in May 2006.

Cory was born in 1969 and was raised in Adelaide. As a teenager he won a rowing scholarship to the
Australian Institute of Sport, and would go on to represent Australia at the world championships.
Following his retirement from professional sport, Cory travelled extensively throughout Europe,
Northern Africa and the Middle East and experienced many different environments and cultures.

Upon returning to Australia, he owned and operated hotels in and around Adelaide. In 1996 he
changed career and became a financial adviser with a leading stockbroking firm. Eventually he
established his own practice and continued working as a financial consultant until he became a

A leading member of the Liberal Party's right wing, Cory is outspoken on a range of issues and has
been involved in long-running battles with factional opponents. He has spoken out against gay
marriage and therapeutic cloning of human embryos, and on-screen swearing by TV chef Gordon Ramsey.
He rejects the notion that human activity causes climate change and is curren