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Treasurer Wayne Swan has today

warned Australia's economy needs to

prepare for a malsive

prepare for a malsive population

boost and a near-doubling of the

number of retirees. Joining us to

discuss other issues in Federal

politics are Finance Minister

Lindsay Tanner in Melbourne, and

shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey in

Sydney. Morning. Morning. First,

can I get the thoughts from both of

you on news that Asia's top

terrorist mastermind and the man

Australians, responsible for the deaths of 95

Australians, Noordin Mohammed Top has been killed. Minister, firstly,

what's the Government's perspective

on this? It's certainly good news

for Australia and our region that

one of the key terrorist master

minds in the region is no more. And

it reflects I think some credit on

Indonesia as a nation. We got used

to thinking of Indonesia in a way

on this, we haven't noticed enough

of just the extraordinary

of just the extraordinary strides

we've made as a nation in recent

years. It's a vibrant democracy and

it's facing all kinds of challenges

with great strength and I think we

need to acknowledge that a lot of

effort has been put into policing

and into tackling some of the

problems with the Islamic

fundamentalism and terrorism, and

they're making big progress. A lot

of the attacks attributed to

to Noordin Mohammed Top are attributed

to your time in Government. Does

his death make his time safer?

Lindsay is right there. Indonesia

deserves great credit for taking a

very hard line. No Australian will

shed a tear about the death of this

terrorist master mind. He was an

evil person. Death is the

and appropriate end of his act ivity

and I would hope that Indonesia

would continue with the support of

Australia to track down these sorts

of people and bring them to justice.

The end of an era we hope. On to

the Treasurer's speech today, and

Mr Tanner,en older and bigger

population for Australia. When are

we going to see that reflected in

the taxation? I don't think it

necessarily has implications for

taxation of this kind, Ron, but it does put much pressure

does put much pressure on the

productivity performance. This is

one of the things I've been warning

about over the past few weeks with

our efforts to get the budget back

into surplus, is not only do we

face a challenge in the short-term,

but of course, as our population

ages, and that means that the

proportion of people who are in the

workforce shrinks, that puts more

pressure on us to be as productive

and competitive as possible, so, it

does increase the pressure on our

economy. I think we're up to that

challenge. I think Australian economy. I think we're up to that

businesses and Australian workers

are up to that challenge, but it

increases the policy challenge for

our Government. Mr Hockey, when

Wayne Swan was delivering his

speech today, he was talking a lot

about getting the economy back on a

balanced kiel. You've been harping

on over recent weeks about the

Government's stimulus spending. Has

that got a lot to do with that?

Well, tell me this, Ron.

Well, tell me this, Ron. How does

spending $3 billion on pink bats

help to address the ageing

population of Australia. How does

spending $16 billion on school

halls help to address the challenge

of an ageing population? It doesn't.

And this is exactly why the

coalition took the difficult but

so kur agous decision to vote against

so much spending by the Government.

We said - spend less, because you

never know when you're going to

need that extra money, and the

proof of the pudding is now. The

Government says - gee, we've got

the long-term challenges. That's

not a revelation. We had two

reports before unour Government. We

ieed that there are huge challenges

for Australia in healthcare and

aged care, and the pharmaceutical

aged care, and the pharmaceutical

benefits scheme and a range of

other initiatives and that's why

the Australian Government shouldn't

spend too much money, which is what

they've done. Mr Tanner.? Well, Ron,

we have other problems apart from

the ageing of the population, and

of course, the stimulus strategy -

particularly things like the

installation or the insulation

across Australia in our homes. It's

all about the short-term challenges

to the economy and

to the economy and averting mass

unemployment and mass failure of

businesses. But there is a

connection. Because if we were to

go to double digit unemployment,

that wrecks lives and it wrecks

families and it takes people out of

touch with the workforce and it

undermines our efforts to get

longer term productivity

improvement. It undermines our

skill base. So, although the

connection is indirect, it is still

relevant, but we've done that for

one fundamental reason. That without

without the stimulus strategy, we

would see hundreds of thousands of

people lose their jobs who

currently remain in jobs and we'd

see thousands of businesses go

broke. That's vital in the concern

situation and what Treasury put

forward. Whoever suggested double

digit in unemployment? We are

suggesting that if we were to

simply sit back and do nothing, as

on occasions the Liberal Party

suggests, that's possibly where

suggests, that's possibly where the

Australian economy could end up. If

you want to take that risk, that's

fine. We don't believe that is a

responsible thing to do. Wow, it's

interesting, Lindsay is now saying

that without all of the spending,

there would have been double digit

unemployment. Because the fact of

the matter is that we said that the

Government was spending too much

money. They are continuing to spend

INF, they too much money. According to the

INF, they are going to run nine

years of deficits, rather than

seven years. That growth is not

going to be as good as what the

Government was projecting only a

few months ago in the Budget.

Australia is facing very difficult

times ahead, and one of the reasons

why is that the Government has just

spent too much money. And if it is

too good to be true, it isn't true.

That's the fact of it. Alright.

That's the fact of it. Alright. Now,

I know that both of you are saint- I know that both of you are saint-

like when it comes to Question Time like when it comes to Question Time

in Parliament. You but I thought

when the Rudd Government came to

power, there would be more decorum power, there would be more deco

in the Chamber. This week, we've

seen a complete breakdown in all

behaviours. One member kicked

himself out of the House. What's

going on? Well, there were some

strange things happening in the

Parliament over the course of this

week, Ron, and you

week, Ron, and you don't have saint

Joseph or St Lindsay here before

you today! Speak for yourself! If

you want to put yourself forward

for that. So, Joseph was a

carpenter! That's right. But I

think we need to keep this in

context, Ron. It's endemic to the

nature of democracy when you have a

now robust parliamentary debate. Every

now and then you're going to get

things getting out of time. That

happens from time to time. People

mark us down and we do tend to

respond accordingly and the

behaviour improves, and it is just

the nature of the business. I don't

think that we should get too

carried away with it. I certainly

am commit today trying to make sure

that the behaviour as is as good as

possible, but when you're there

toe-to-tow about the political

issues of the country, it is not easy to be as

easy to be as polite as you would

like to be. But it is not always

argument. Some of it is filly

busting, answering questions for

the whole of Question Time. One

question? I don't agree with that.

I think it varies a bit. But the

question of whether or not somebody

is properly answering a question is

very much in the eye of the

beholder. You might think that I'm

ie vaiding the question when I give

a particular -- evading the

question when I give a particular question when I give a particular answer,

answer, and other people might

think I'm at it. If someone thinks

I'm avoiding an answer, they'll

mark me down. Sometimes it is not

pretty, but it is an important part

of the democracy, and it functions

better sometimes than others and

every now and then you get strange

behaviour going on, but I don't

think that we need to get too

fussed about that. The important

thing is that there's a contest and

debate and difference. And that

means that people get a choice.

They get to see people. See, Mr Hockey,

Hockey, he's doing it again. He's

going to answer the question the

whole way out. Look, Ron, I'm

prepare to admit on national TV

that when we were in Government, we

got it wrong. We got it absolutely

wrong and we constantly got

feedback about how bad it was. And feedback about how bad it was. And

we thought - well, we're the

Government and we can get away with

this. I think we were wrong to do

so. I think the Australian people

have had enough of the way that have had enough of the way that Question Time operates. The

Government controls the rules. This

week, we offered the Government

what it suggested in Opposition

only two years ago, that is to have

four minute limits on answers and

to make sure that they're directly

relevant to the question. The

Government rejected it. I would say,

Lindsay is one of the better

ministers. No, in fact, I would go

so far as to say that he is the

most honest minister in answering

questions in Question Time.

questions in Question Time. He actually

actually tries to answer the

question to his great credit. And I

would just say to the Government -

look, it is reflecting on all of us.

You guys control the rules. Can't

we talk about this? The Australian

people deserve better, truly. And

we're guilty of it in Government. I

admit that. We got it wrong, but it

is clear that times have changed.

St Joe Hockey and St Lindsay Tanner.

Was that Sir or saint! I'll stake with