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Presenter: Well it's been another action-packed week in federal politics with a good news poll for
Labor but an outbreak of hostilities with the union movement and that big emissions trading report
to the Government. And here this morning to discuss these developments are Senator George Brandis
from the Government and Tanya Plibersek from the Opposition. Good morning to both of you. Now Tanya
if I can put the first question to you, a big headline in one of the papers this morning said
"Union mavericks turn Rudd". Do you believe it's possible that, politically, this is just what
Kevin Rudd needed?

Plibersek: It's certainly not something that Kevin went looking for, but there is a minority of
people in the union movement who are old school, and Kevin took action against some very thuggish
comments from one of them. I think the real difference is that Kevin Rudd hears these comments and
says they don't represent ALP policy; he asks for and receives Dean Mighell's resignation. If you
compare that to John Howard when Bill Heffernan made those incredibly offensive comments about
Julia Gillard, and not offensive just to Julia but to all childless women, we heard nothing from
John Howard, who took no action against Bill Heffernan. It is not something you go looking for, but
it is good to see Kevin Rudd Rudd laying out the line in the sand and saying there are some things
that don't represent Labor Party policy and they are not acceptable for people to be saying out
there in the community.

Presenter: Senator Brandis, Kevin Rudd was very quick as we mentioned earlier to expel rogue
unionist Dean Mighell from the Labor Party. What you think all this controversy with the unions has
had on the image of the Labor Party this week?

Brandis: Well I think what it's done is serve to remind people what the Labor Party is really like.
It is all very well for Mr Rudd to have a phoney war with Dean Mighell, but Dean Mighell in an
unguarded moment let slip what the attitude around the Cabinet table would be, were there to be a
Labor government. Last week I went to the exercise of working out what the background was of people
who would sit around a Cabinet table, were there to be a Rudd government, and I was struggling to
find more than two or three who hadn't been trade union officials, former student union officials
or party officials. This is a big issue in this election. A Rudd Government would be run and
dictated to by trade union bosses, not all of whom have the ugly attitudes of Mr Mighell, who is at
the extreme end of the mindset that they all share to a greater or lesser extent.

Presenter: George, another Newspoll this week, very strong result for Labor, over 60 to 40 on a two
party preferred basis. There must be some nervous people going to that meeting this weekend. Could
there be a possibility of a leadership change?

Brandis: Well, no. In relation to the poll, let me say that I did detect a bit of a change in
Canberra this week, not among government senators and members but among Labor senators and members.
There's a new arrogance. They were walking around the place this week in a very cocksure fashion,
not even bothering to give people the time of day, acting as if they had already won the election.
The Prime Minister's remark this week about puffed-up hubris, you had to see to believe it. But I
excuse you from that Tanya I didn't detect that on your part. There was hubris running like
wildfire through the Shadow Cabinet this week.

Presenter: Tanya, do you think Peter Costello could do a bob Hawke and take the leadership? And
what you think that could mean for Labor?

Plibersek: About Peter Costello taking the leadership, there certainly are a lot of rumours around
at the moment, but I don't know what is going on inside the Liberal Party. I think it would be very
difficult for him at the moment to take over, and he's never shown any courage before when it comes
to the leadership.

Brandis: Natarsha, can I just bell this cat right away, there are no rumours at all. If there were
rumours, I suspect I would have been one of the people who was hearing them. There are no rumours,
it's not an issue.

Presenter: George, if we can just put the final question to you because as Tanya mentioned we are
having communication problems there. John Howard seems likely to embrace a carbon emissions trading
scheme. Do you think he is being forced into doing this because of the concerning poll results?

Brandis: No I don't think that's the case at all. What the Government's response to the issue of
climate change has been a measured response and a careful response. If you want an example of the
different approaches between the government and the opposition, this is a test case. The opposition
has been a adopting lots of well thought through positions which are not costed, positions which
are not costed, cannot tell us how many jobs it would cost the Australian public or how many
dollars it would cost the Australian taxpayer. The Government's approach has been to treat the
problem as a problem of science, not of ideology or political propaganda, but to get the best
scientific evidence available to us and look at it carefully and develop a sensible solution, not a
job despair solution.

Plibersek: Natarsha, if I could make some comments about climate change, this report is certainly
something that Labor will study in the future. We do want to look at it very closely because any
extra information that we have about climate change is very important. But who in the public would
believe that after ignoring climate change for eleven long years but now, five minutes away from an
election, John Howard is serious about doing something about climate change? This is not about the
future of the planet, this is about John Howard's a electoral future and I think that people will
see it for what it is.

Brandis: What it is, Tanya, is a debate between science and ideology. We will look at the problem
and assess it in a scientific way.

Plibersek: Well, George, until recently, the Prime Minister said there is no science on climate
change. He has been denying the science for 10 years. He is a very late convert.

Brandis: That is a misrepresentation of the Prime Minister's position. What John Howard has said is
that we will look at the scientific evidence and consider it in a careful manner. We will not rush
to judgment on the issues before the science has been thought through.

Plibersek: Well I don't think eleven long years is rushing to judgment and I don't think the
Australian public sees it that way either.

Presenter: All right, we'll have to leave it there.