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Meet The Press -

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MEET THE PRESS

19 SEPTEMBER 2010

INTERVIEW WITH SENATOR BOB BROWN AND PETER ANDERSON.

DISCUSSIONS ABOUT LABOR'S RELATIONSTHIP WITH THE GREENS PARTY, CLIMATE CHANGE COMMITTEE, CLIMATE
CHANGE CARBON PRICE, MINING TAX, PROPOSED INCREASE OF GST.

PAUL BONGIORNO, PRESENTER: Hello and welcome to Meet the Press. A carbon tax and the national
broadband network have roared back onto the agenda with the battlelines firmly drawn between the
newly installed minority government and an Opposition spoiling for a fight. The class of 2010 was
resplendent after its swearing in, Julia Gillard now determined to show she's in charge and up to
the job.

JULIA GILLARD, PRIME MINISTER (TUESDAY): I will well and truly serve the Commonwealth of Australia
in the office of Prime Minister.

PAUL BONGIORNO: Tony Abbott had his sights on a demolition job of the government, Malcolm Turnbull
assigned to the task via the National Broadband Network.

TONY ABBOTT, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION (TUESDAY): This is going to be the absolute focus of the
political battle over the next 18 months.

PAUL BONGIORNO: And despite ruling out a carbon tax before the election, the Prime Minister revived
it as an option when the BHP Billiton chief called for Australia not to wait for the rest of the
world.

MARIUS KLOPPERS, BHP BILLITON CHIEF EXECUTIVE (WEDNESDAY): We do believe that such a global
initiative will eventually come and we do believe that when it does come, Australia will have
needed to act ahead of it coming in order to maintain its competitiveness.

JULIA GILLARD, PRIME MINISTER (THURSDAY): The government has consistently said that we want to work
towards a price on carbon.

SENATOR BOB BROWN, AUSTRALIAN GREENS LEADER (THURSDAY): You have to have a carbon price if you are
going to give business certainty about investment into the future, and so Mr Kloppers is more or
less in the same area because it's common sense.

PAUL BONGIORNO: Greens Leader Bob Brown is a guest. And later, business leader, Peter Anderson from
the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry will join us. But first, what the nation's papers
are reporting this Sunday, September 19. The Prime Minister in Bathurst to deliver the Chifley,
Light on the Hill speech has pledged fearless rule according to the 'Sun Herald' and she has
appealed to Tony Abbott to put aside short term partisanship.

JULIA GILLARD: With restraint and civility, we can put aside the empty rancour of partisanship and
seek to work together.

PAUL BONGIORNO: But the 'Sunday Age' reports, "Abbott spurns Gillard plea for political civility".
The Opposition Leader told his New South Wales Party conference that our system, rightly, is an
adversarial one.

TONY ABBOTT: The only constructive way to channel that frustration and disappointment is to
redouble our attacks on the Labor Party. That is the only way to do it.

PAUL BONGIORNO: The 'Sunday Mail' has the teasing headline, "Kevin Rudd promises Hillary Clinton a
really good time in Australia". The Foreign Minister met the US Secretary of State in Washington
and she confirmed she will come down under for ministerial talks in November. Welcome back to the
program, Bob Brown. Good morning, Senator.

SENATOR BOB BROWN, AUSTRALIAN GREENS LEADER: Good morning, Paul.

PAUL BONGIORNO: Senator Brown, there is a new paradigm as we keep hearing. Private member's bills
and smaller parties will be able to introduce items on their agenda. What is number one on yours?

SENATOR BOB BROWN: Number one, after we establish the 2.5 hours private member's time in each
house, which is a breakthrough after a century of no private member's time effectively in the
national parliament, will be a reversal of the Andrews Bill, which in 1997 overrode the Northern
Territory and ACT legislatures to prohibit those legislatures legislating on euthanasia laws. That
was a taking away of the democratic rights of the people of the two territories. The poll showed
very strong support in both places for euthanasia. This won't bring in euthanasia but it will
restore the rights of the Territorians to be able to legislate for euthanasia the same as everyone
in the States.

PAUL BONGIORNO: So in effect, you're going to legislate away the right that the Commonwealth has
apparently under the Constitution now to override Territories?

SENATOR BOB BROWN: No, it won't take away the right, because it can't change the Constitution, but
it will reverse the part of the Territories Act implementing that power which says that the
Territories cannot legislate in the matter of euthanasia. That will be gone.

PAUL BONGIORNO: Will that mean that this is a de facto debate on euthanasia?

SENATOR BOB BROWN: Not really, it is a full-on debate on Territory rights. Euthanasia is a matter
that is of high interest to Australians. There is a Bill about to go before the West Australian
parliament with Greens Robin Chapple introducing that in the Upper House I think in the coming
week. A new Bill in the South Australian parliament moves to again, bring back a version...

PAUL BONGIORNO: Given that this is more than just the euthanasia issue, it's a constitutional issue
in a certain sense, would you expect a conscience vote or would you expect the Government to adopt
a government position on this?

SENATOR BOB BROWN: It was a conscience vote under the Howard Government to override the States on
this, so it would be one of the options is a conscious vote to restore the rights of the States.
But I will leave that to talks with both of the major parties in the coming weeks. What is
unarguable here is that the Territories should have their rights to legislate on euthanasia
restored. It will effectively be a debate about the people of the Territories to have their elected
assemblies legislate for euthanasia.

PAUL BONGIORNO: It seems that the new paradigm is going to throw up some interesting developments.
It certainly has in the last few days, five day before the election, Julia Gillard said there would
be no carbon tax under the government that she leads. That was junked yesterday with the excuse the
election result changed everything. Here's how Tony Abbott responded.

TONY ABBOTT, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION (YESTERDAY): What an outrage! What an outrage! If the Prime
Minister did not believe that she could put her election commitments into practice, she should not
have accepted a commission from the Governor-General.

PAUL BONGIORNO: An outrage Senator Brown?

SENATOR BOB BROWN: No, what a foolish Tony Abbott. If the Prime Minister cannot respond to a very
strong vote from the Australian people, and we saw the Greens vote rise by 40% on the matter of
climate change, what nonsense! It is one of the reasons why Tony Abbott is still in opposition. The
Prime Minister is very sensibly listening to what the people had to say and what business is
saying. We saw Marius Kloppers supporting the idea of moving on a carbon price and the Prime
Minister is making a commitment to action on a carbon price. It shows a great deal of maturity and
response to the vote of the Australian people from the Prime Minister.

PAUL BONGIORNO: One of the vehicles you want to use and Julia Gillard agreed to is a Climate Change
Committee. Who can be on that committee? Can anyone who accepts climate change but is not happy all
that happy about the way a carbon price would be imposed? Are they eligible for that committee?

SENATOR BOB BROWN: Part of the parameter for being on the committee is to support the idea of a
carbon price. It is written into the agreement between Labor and the Greens...

PAUL BONGIORNO: The opposition says that is undemocratic. You should allow other people who don't
support it to also be on the committee.

SENATOR BOB BROWN: Well, no, the nature of it is there has been a decision to have a carbon price
in the future. The matter now is how to get that carbon price and what the best arrangement for it
will be. That is common to politics including the opposition's own history of politics on a great
many matters. I don't remember a committee looking into the GST, for example, that had people
opposed to it. They didn't even have a committee on that. This is much more democratic. But it has
an aim in mind, and Christine Milne, our spokesperson on climate change, will be meeting with Mr
Combet again to flesh out the parameters of that committee which should be announced by the end of
this month.

PAUL BONGIORNO: Time for a break. When we return with the panel - is the Gillard Government hostage
to the Green agenda? Malcolm Turnbull's five years as a partner in Ozemail and the first politician
to have an iPhone App doesn't impress Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy.

SENATOR STEPHEN CONROY, COMMUNICATIONS MINISTER (WEDNESDAY): A dial up company for five years.
That's it. Having an iPhone app, and it was a dial up company, having an iPhone app, does not make
him tech savvy.

PAUL BONGIORNO: You're on Meet the Press, with Greens Leader Bob Brown. And welcome to the panel
David Crowe, from 'The Australian Financial Review' and Jennifer Hewett, from 'The Australian'.
Good morning, David and Jennifer. Labor lost a swag of votes to the Greens at the election but
Julia Gillard was mighty grateful to receive the benefit of Greens support for her minority
government. Tony Abbott says she's now handcuffed.

TONY ABBOTT (THURSDAY): The Labor Party is going to move to the left, we're going to get more
radical policies, less business-friendly policies from the ALP in this term of government because
they do have to keep conciliating those Green votes in the Parliament and those Green voters in the
community.

JENNIFER HEWETT, THE AUSTRALIAN: Senator, let's put that to the test with one of the more
controversial issues, the mining tax. Julia Gillard has effectively said that everything is back on
the table. Does that mean you think you have the freedom to try and insist on toughening up the
terms of the deal she negotiated with the big three miners?

SENATOR BOB BROWN: The position of the Greens clearly in the election campaign on that - yes, we do
want the original Treasury formula which the Rudd Government took up of a 40% tax on super profits.
But it simply won't happen because Tony Abbott wants there to be no taxes whatsoever. No money to
pay for infrastructure, no money for the nation's future. That said, we will take the Government's
alternative. Prime Minister Gillard went to the election with a formula which is effectively a 22.5
% tax, but only on coal and iron ore. We will talk with the government to see if there is
improvements to be gotten out of that because talks always can lead to improvements, but I would
expect that that basic rate is the one that will apply.

JENNIFER HEWETT: So you will not insist at all on other changes that you would prefer? You will let
that go through as your bottom line?

SENATOR BOB BROWN: We can't, you see, because anything we insist on, Tony Abbott will vote with
Julia Gillard to override in both houses. So the simple mathematics of it is, we will be supporting
the Government because at least it does raise a sensible tax on a wealth tax effectively, for this
nation's future.

DAVID CROWE, THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW: But what about other mining related issues? Under
your agreement with Labor, you have the right to get access to ministers so would you be seeking
direct access with the Environment Minister, for instance, to go over mining projects that might
need environmental approval, such as the one that Telstra director Geoff Cousins is vehemently
opposed to which is the $30 billion James Price Point gas plant in WA?

SENATOR BOB BROWN: Yes, absolutely. Let's not be too horrified about Members of Parliament having
access to ministers. That is what business corporations do every day of the week and they are not
elected. So this is a very reasonable and democratic process. Yes, we will be talking with the
ministers about issues which are important to the electorate. As far as the James Price Point site
in the Kimberley for a gas plant, very contentious, where the Premier of Western Australia is now
riding roughshod over the Indigenous people with a compulsory purchase, there are alternatives to
that site and they should sensibly be looked at. That alternative, those alternatives are one we
will be expecting the Federal Government to explore.

DAVID CROWE: Are these issues so important that they could bring into question your agreement with
Labor? Would you push your position so hard to that extent?

SENATOR BOB BROWN: No, I note Geoffrey Cousins was indicating that perhaps we should bring the
government down if they don't act on that. That won't be happening, but I can tell you that there
are better alternatives. Woodside and Shell, which is a major owner of shares in Woodside, need to
be taking their responsibility for Indigenous rights in this country and looking at the
alternatives. They don't have to use a State Government to ride roughshod over the Indigenous
people of the Kimberley in the fashion that we have seen in the last few weeks.

DAVID CROWE: If you are not willing to bring the agreement with Labor into question, what leverage
do you actually have to get a different outcome? You don't seem to be signalling trading off one
issue against another in the Parliament. Where is your leverage?

SENATOR BOB BROWN: The leverage is through the bond of the agreement. The Government is well aware
of that and we have heard in her speech in Bathurst on the Light on the Hill speech, Julia Gillard
calling for Tony Abbott to join in constructive dialogue for the future of government. He rejects
that. I think it is sensible. I think that is what Australians want. Simply being antagonistic and
trying to take 'the winner takes all' view annoys people. It's basic as to why politics has a bad
name. We will be constructive about this, but yes, there needs to be a lot of work put into the
James Price Point and I believe an alternative will be found.

JENNIFER HEWETT: Senator, Marius Kloppers you said you were more and less in the same area, you're
definitely much less in the area where it comes to full compensation, full rebate he called for,
for trade exposed industries. Will you try and insist on something like that?

SENATOR BOB BROWN: Jennifer, we had compensation for Trade exposed industries in our election
policy which was for a carbon tax...

JENNIFER HEWETT: But not a full rebate?

SENATOR BOB BROWN: What is the point of having a full rebate for polluters? The point of a carbon
price is to have polluters pay for the pollution of the atmosphere, creating dangerous carbon
climate change and therefore a huge threat, second to none to Australia's future economy...

JENNIFER HEWETT: That is the only way you're going to get any level of business consensus is the
new word of being a popular, consensus. Business is going to support it without getting very much
compensated for what they are doing.

SENATOR BOB BROWN: There isn't a business consensus, we know that, but we are seeing now Mr
Kloppers and other people who are very senior in business who want the assuredness of future
investment being based on a carbon price. This Government, I believe, is handling that maturely.
That committee will look at the carbon price and will take into account the views of business
leaders who want a carbon price, no doubt about that, and scientists, and I hope that certainly by
this time next year, we will be seeing that policy put into action.

PAUL BONGIORNO: Before we go Senator, we want to go to the issue of Afghanistan. The Greens
requested and received assurances of a full parliamentary debate on Afghanistan. That was
tentatively welcomed by the Defence Force Chief Angus Houston. Here he is.

AIR CHIEF MARSHAL ANGUS HOUSTON, DEFENCE FORCE CHIEF (MONDAY): Any notion of changing strategy at
this point would not be sensible. It's important that we maintain our resolve, we maintain our
determination, to give this strategy a chance to deliver the effects that I am sure it will deliver
over the next 12 months and beyond.

DAVID CROWE: Senator Brown, Kevin Rudd stood shoulder to shoulder with Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton yesterday and indicated Australia was in Afghanistan for the long haul. So is there any
real prospect of you changing their policy, whether there is a debate in Parliament or not?

SENATOR BROWN: On the face of it, you would think not. But the important thing is, after 10 years
of no parliamentary debate, we owe it to our troops and their loved ones and this nation generally
to be debating the deployment of those good folk in this nation, at this nation's request into
Afghanistan. Afghanistan has a corrupt government, an increasing death toll of civilians as well as
troops including so sadly Australian troops. We owe to every one of them that all of us in the
parliament are well-acquainted with what is going on in Afghanistan and can maturely debate that
issue. It is not a matter of winner-takes-all, it is a matter of us having a responsibility to
debate the issue as Congress has done, as the Netherlands Parliament and the other parliaments who
have sent troops to Afghanistan have done. Australia ought to have done this a long time ago and
I'm very pleased that in this new period of government, we will at last get a debate. John
Faulkner, the former minister was about to allow a debate in the last period of parliament but
events overtook that. It is now the right thing that our parliament will be debating this issue.

PAUL BONGIORNO: Thank you very much for being with us today, Senator Bob Brown. Coming up, business
leader, Peter Anderson. On Wednesday, Kevin 747 was back in an airport and about to start his first
trip as our new Foreign Minister. Kudelka in 'The Hobart Mercury' saw it as Kevin Rudd being
released back into his natural habitat. "Be free, Kevin!"

PAUL BONGIORNO: You're on Meet the Press. The very day that Marius Kloppers from BHP was urging
Australia to move on a carbon price, the Business Council was echoing the message.

GRAHAM BRADLEY, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA PRESIDENT (WEDNESDAY): The Business Councils' view is
that part of that multi-faceted approach will inevitably be the need for a market based mechanism
that will give us the lowest cost approach to reducing the carbon intensity of our industries.

PAUL BONGIORNO: And for the views of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry we're joined
by its president Peter Anderson. Good morning and welcome back, Mr Anderson. What is the view of
the chamber? Do you believe that Australia should not wait for the rest of the world?

PETER ANDERSON, AUSTRALIAN CHAMGER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY: No, Australia needs to calibrate its
response to climate change in conjunction with the other major industrialised nations. The reason
for that is very simple, Australia should not be tilting the economic playing field against our own
economy by going it alone. If we did, we would have much more to lose and little to gain.

PAUL BONGIORNO: The argument against that seems to be that we would have much more to lose in the
short-term but we will be worse off in the long-term. Do you accept that?

PETER ANDERSON: No, we would actually be worse off in the long-term as well as the short-term and
the reason for that is because we are a trade exposed economy and we are an economy which is
heavily dependent on energy usage. It is important to recognise that the overwhelming majority of
Australian businesses are energy users, they not energy generators, they are energy users. Their
competitiveness and cost structure will be increased. And until other industrialised countries are
prepared to do what is demanded of Australia, we should not be acting unilaterally because we would
be disadvantaging our own national interest.

PAUL BONGIORNO: Were you surprised by Marius Kloppers at BHP?

PETER ANDERSON: No, I think that Marius Kloppers was not purporting to speak on behalf of the whole
of the business community. The majority of the business community certainly does not believe we
should be going alone. Certainly, the majority of businesses are not in a dominant position in
their supply chain to simply be able to pass on those costs throughout the supply chain. They're
certainly not in the fast lane of a two-speed economy. They're energy consumers and as a
consequence of that, their costs would simply go up.

DAVID CROWE: Mr Anderson, on another reform, should an increase in the GST be on the agenda at next
year's tax summit? Would the Government be justified in abandoning its position at the moment
against an increase in that tax?

PETER ANDERSON: I think it is important if we're going to have a sensible discussion about tax
arrangements and how our tax system not only deals with equity issues, but also productivity and
competitiveness issues, that we put all of our major taxing vehicles on the table. The goods and
services tax is one of those. If we really want to make sure that the tax system can drive economic
as well as social objectives, then we need to discuss how we can get rid of a range of state taxes,
how federal and state taxation can serve the purpose and the GST is a critical part of the
consideration.

DAVID CROWE: Does that mean that the GST, ordinary consumers would end up paying the price for a
cut in the company tax? Is that justifiable?

PETER ANDERSON: Not necessarily. Personal income tax reform is a very important part of tax reform,
not just on the business side but also in terms of growing the economy. It is an important
principle recognise that if people can retain more of their earnings, we will increase national
productivity as well as our living standards and you can't engage in serious personal income tax
reform unless you have taxes like the GST on the table for discussion.

JENNIFER HEWETT: Mr Anderson, one of the other big policy differences is the national broadband
network. Do you think that the Labor Party's policy is superior to the Liberals?

PETER ANDERSON: The instinct in the business community is that there is a productivity kick that is
able to come out of rolling out national broadband. It is a good discussion for our nation to have
because it is a discussion about infrastructure rather than what we've heard this morning, for
example, a discussion about new taxes, carbon taxes, mining taxes, superannuation levies on
employers, when we talk about broadband, we're talking about growing infrastructure that can grow
our economy. But there is also a hard-headed approach required here, and that hard-headed approach
says that we need to be able to ascertain whether the productivity benefits and the economic
benefits are likely to exceed the costs because the costs are very substantial.

JENNIFER HEWETT: So are you saying that there should be a cost-benefit analysis from the Labor
government?

PETER ANDERSON: There needs to be I think more transparency in what those costs are. I think
business does recognise that in the short-term at least, there will be some costs which are not
able to be returned in a direct way. There will also need to be some subsidisation in regional
Australia. That is recognised with major infrastructure like this. But we don't want to sign a
blank cheque off if we're going to roll out major infrastructure like this. There does need to be a
hard-headed economic approach to these decisions, even though the instinct of the business
community is that there can be a real productivity kick and benefit from getting on with the job.

PAUL BONGIORNO: Thank you very much for joining us this morning, Peter Anderson from the Australian
Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Thanks also to our panel, David Crowe and Jennifer Hewett. A
transcript and a replay of this programme will be on our website. Until next week, goodbye.