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This WeekTranscriptPanellistsQuestionsPanellists: Tony Burke, Minister for Agriculture; Helen
Coonan, shadow finance minister; Andrew Boe, lawyer; Jane Caro, social commentator; and John
Hewson, former Liberal leader.

In a week in which a cut in official interest rates was not fully passed on to home borrowers, the
Q&A audience was keen to engage on this topic and there were many questions on the theme. Diane
Dent noted that many restaurants were offering discounts on meals to help stimulate the economy, so
why were the banks holding back on cutting rates? The banks had no supporters on the panel, with
John Hewson declaring the banks were looking after share-holders at the expense of borrowers and
their actions of keeping rates high and squeezing credit would lead to record business failures in
coming months. Michael Jones, from Wollongong in NSW, then asked by video whether laws
criminalising bikie gangs were a move towards a police state. He was supported by audience member
Norrie May-Welby, who said tough laws against drugs and terror were achieving nothing except
eroding civil rights, and prohibition had never worked.

The big story of the week, the Government's decision to establish a giant public-private consortium
to undertake a $43 billion national broadband roll-out, also aroused intense audience interest.
Some thought it was a visionary, forward-looking proposal, others thought it would be an expensive
failure. The scandal over a spoof sex tape made by North Melbourne Football Club players, featuring
a chicken carcass, drew wide condemnation from the panel when it was raised by Meaghan Davies. Jane
Caro said she thought that in many ways society was going backwards, especially the views of young
women, while Tony Burke questioned the attitudes of young men. With the latest poll results showing
more bad news for the Opposition, Sev Milazzo asked whether the coalition was handicapped by a
hangover from the Howard years. Phillip Quinn, in the ACT, asked John Hewson if he would consider
returning to politics and taking the Liberal leadership again. (He said no.) Finally John Croker, a
student, asked each panel member what guidance they would give young people wanting to improve
society and effect real change.

TONY JONES: Good evening, and welcome to Q&A. Here to answer your questions tonight, the Shadow
Finance Minister Helen Coonan; criminal lawyer Andrew Boe; former Liberal leader John Hewson;
social commentator Jane Caro; and the Minister for Agriculture Tony Burke. Please welcome our

Well, remember that Q&A is live on the web from 9.30 eastern time and you can send your questions
to or by SMS to the number on your screen.

Our first question tonight from the studio and it's from Dianne Dent.

DIANNE DENT: Do it now? I have noticed restaurants advertising this: "To assist the stimulation of
the economy, we are discounting meals." I would like to know why banks then can't offer full
interest rate cut to people with mortgages?

TONY JONES: Why can't banks offer full interest rate cuts when the rates are cut by the Reserve?
Jane Caro, put on your advertising hat and try and explain how a bank would actually get away with
spinning this decision that they've taken?

JANE CARO: Yeah, it's a bit of a PR disaster for them, isn't it? That's what I think. I just don't
see how they're going to pull this one off at all. I mean, I understand why the restaurants are
doing it. The restaurants are doing it because if you go into a restaurant there's nobody in them,
so they're discounting their meals, not to stimulate the economy, but to stimulate their business.
I suspect the banks are in a position where that's not such a necessity for them, so I don't really
understand the business reasons or the financial reasons behind their decision but I'll tell you
this: from a communications perspective, they've just slit their own throats and, unfortunately,
they have a really poor reputation and it's amazing how attracted they are to making it even worse
and digging that hole even deeper. It horrifies me. I'd be advising them differently.

TONY JONES: Let's hear from Andrew Boe, a non political guest, first tonight. Andrew, you've
defended the likes of Ivan Milat as a criminal lawyer, do you think you could get away with
defending the banks?

ANDREW BOE: Ivan, at least, needed a defence. I don't think banks are terribly interested in being
defended. They're quite comfortable in their position in the Australian landscape. Everybody seems
to say that Australian Banks are doing really well and they've been very responsible so I don't
think they really care much about their reputation at the moment. If things go a bit more
pear-shaped, then things might change. Maybe then they can call me.

TONY JONES: Yes, perhaps they will. John Hewson?

JOHN HEWSON: Well, look, I think the banks are behaving outrageously, quite frankly. I mean, I
think they've been given so much support by the government: guarantees on their deposits; triple A
borrowing status for their overseas borrowings; the Rudd bank; support on mortgages - people who
lose their jobs and mortgage support; and they're actually, at the same time, - we're bailing them
out, basically, so that they can send a whole lot of the small to medium-sized business community
broke and I think it's about time they were held to account.

TONY JONES: As you can see, no serious argument from the majority of the audience, by the sound of

JOHN HEWSON: Well, when they don't pass interest rate reductions on - I mean, I know they've got a
cost of funds argument and all that but they've also got a social responsibility and they just
ignore it. I mean, they are in a unique position and I'm amazed, quite frankly, the government
didn't extract a deal where, you know, there was an increase - a guaranteed increase in lending or
support or something in the circumstance. But the banks operate as if, you know, they should be
bailed out. Hang the moral hazard, just bail us out and we can then go back and do what we did
before, which is create the crisis we're in right now. So I just think it's about time somebody
took a really hard line on that.

TONY JONES: Let's hear from Tony Burke, representing the government. Why didn't the government seek
some sort of guarantee when it made all these guarantees to the bank?

TONY BURKE: Oh, what John Hewson says is right in the sense that we absolutely have given
guarantees that have been part of the banks being able to stay in the game. The banks were out
there a few months ago raising credit and they were able to do so far more effectively because of
the guarantees that the government had offered them. There have been some very strong statements
made by both the Treasurer and the PM in recent days. Lindsay Turner made the comment yesterday
that not all of our discussions with the banks are going to be had in public but there is a very
clear expectation from the government as to what they should be doing in passing this on. Not all
of their costs...

TONY JONES: But is that the limit of the government's powers, simply making tough public statements
and talking tough behind the scenes, or is there something you could do to extract what the public
expects, which is the full discount of those rate cuts?

TONY BURKE: There are some products that are not based on the cash rate, and that's true. But to
have a concept at the moment where you get a cut from the Reserve Bank and some of the major banks
say absolutely none of that is going to be passed on is not an acceptable way for the banks to
behave and, as I said, not all of those conversations that are happening at the moment are going to
be happening in public.

TONY JONES: Let's hear from Helen Coonan.

HELEN COONAN: Well, I think it makes monetary policy a very difficult lever to pull if, in fact,
the banks refuse then to pass on rate cuts to consumers and to their customers. I mean, that's the
way it's supposed to work. Now, you obviously, I suppose, need to be careful about what you do to
banks and their balance sheets, but they're in a very strong position and they seem to be acting
with impunity, thumbing their nose at the Prime Minister and the Treasurer. If I were either of
those gentlemen, I'd be mighty cross and I think it's a...

TONY JONES: Is that all or are there...

HELEN COONAN: No. No. No. I think...

TONY JONES: there a way of legislating or a way or actually using government power...

HELEN COONAN: Well, look, I'd be - I tell you what...

TONY JONES: order to get the result that you actually want?

HELEN COONAN: I tell you what: the government has been quite extraordinary in its support of the
banks. Now, we can go into all sorts of arguments about whether it was too much or not thought
through or whether it's had bad or good effects, but the point about it is when you're developing a
policy like that, when you can really make the leverage count is at the time that you make a policy
like that available to banks and I think they've probably missed the boat. That is, the Prime
Minister and the Treasurer and the Finance Minister are not imposing some kind of clear
expectations as to what would happen more than a nod and a wink and more than a strong statement in
public. I mean, it really needs to work or people just continue hurting.

JOHN HEWSON: It's never too late to do that.

TONY JONES: It's never too late?

JOHN HEWSON: It's never too late for the government to go back. I mean, if you look at the next six
months, I think we'll see the greatest rate of bankruptcies and business failures that we've ever
seen in this country and the banks are largely responsible for calling that in and we've bailed
them out to do that. I think there's a big question there that's got to be addressed.

TONY JONES: Yes. A question from the audience and we'll hear what someone else has to say?

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I don't want to look like I'm defending the banks. I definitely - I'm not. I'm
against the bail out in the first place, but the reason why your policies don't work, if you look
at it from an Austrian economic point of view, is that the banks need to have savings before they
can lend it out so the amount of money you put into it - it doesn't matter how much you flood the
banks with the money. If it's not the actual savings, they can't lend it out. So that's why it's
not going out into the public and that's why the interest rates aren't going down because the free
market is trying to say, "Put interest rates up," so people can put savings in there. Then they can
lend it out. And the other flip side of it is businesses are - business people will not borrow from
the bank as interest rates go down, because why would they do it now when next month they can just
wait for a cheaper borrow rate.

TONY JONES: Okay. Well, let's put that to John Hewson, who just said that businesses are finding it
incredibly hard to get finance from the banks.

JOHN HEWSON: Yeah. Well, I think the fact is that the banks have actually put some business
interest rates up and they've made it harder to get credit. It's sort of a double whammy on the
business community. A lot of businesses that have had a pretty good track record, been pretty
successful in their business and been, you know, always meeting their payments and so on are
finding themselves being drawn to account. The banks are putting the base rates up and they're
squeezing the amount of credit that they can actually get and in those circumstances - you know,
and the banks are flush with funds. I mean, look at what they're doing with their funds? They're
buying government, you know, treasury notes and so on. The last, I think, tender was
oversubscribed. The banks are lending to each other. You know, supporting each other, buying each
other's paper and buying government paper and I guess, you know, as the government starts to issue
more bonds, the banks will buy those too.

TONY JONES: Let me...

JOHN HEWSON: Some of that money should be going into the corporate sector.

TONY JONES: Let me just interrupt for a second. What does this mean about the policy of using the
Reserve Bank as the main sort of lever to control the economy because the Reserve Bank calls for a
cut, the banks don't deliver it, what happens next?

JOHN HEWSON: Well, I mean, the Reserve Bank is - let's be clear. The Reserve Bank caused part of
the problem we're in. It's not just a global financial crisis. The Reserve Bank put interest rates
up too high and it left them there too long and that drove the economy through the floor. We didn't
see it because the resources boom was actually hiding it but, you know, look at New South Wales.
Today the unemployment rate is, what, 6.9 per cent? Those high interest rates were put up back in
the election campaign. A couple of times after the election campaign. Just crunched the business
community in New South Wales and, you know, so in a sense the bank is culpable. Now, when they
start to lower their interest rates and the banks don't pass it on, monetary policies become quite
ineffective. I mean, it's a waste of time actually lowering them, in a sense, because they don't
get passed on and it doesn't stimulate activity.

TONY JONES: Tony Burke?

TONY BURKE: With this latest cut, I mean the only bank of the people, who I deal with in
agriculture, that's made the cut and passed it on is Rabobank. None of the majors have passed it on
in full and that does put a constraint on the effectiveness of policy that the Reserve Bank is
trying to implement to stimulate the economy.

TONY JONES: Well, you just heard John Hewson say it's never too late to actually step in and force
the banks to act. Why isn't the government doing that?

TONY BURKE: Well, as I said, the conversations - and Lindsay Tanner has made clear, the
conversations that are happening at the moment with the banks are not all happening in public.

TONY JONES: Well, do they include these kind of threats, do they?

TONY BURKE: Well, I'm not going to give you an exclusive on Q&A from the agriculture portfolio for
the national economy.

TONY JONES: You've been briefed on what to say about it.

TONY BURKE: But the level of frustration from the government on the way the banks are currently
behaving couldn't be made more clear and those conversations have been put in terms of the level of
frustration at our end have been put publicly and the detail of those conversations are happening
privately with the banks.

HELEN COONAN: But the...

TONY JONES: All right. One final comment from Helen Coonan?

HELEN COONAN: But I think the other really important issue here is that there's a real credit
drought that's absolutely strangling small business. The banks seem to be prepared to lend on
security, for example, so it's not hitting mortgage holders quite as bad as it is a small business
trying to make a go and trying to get some kind of line of credit. I really think the government
must do more for small business. They're the ones that are really, really suffering and for viable
risks it's very important that there's a better mechanism and the government needs to find one to
make sure that small business is not kept in this vice-like grip of high interest rates when the
banks can do better.

TONY JONES: Okay. We'll draw a line under the banks for the moment. Remember that Q&A is live and
it's interactive. Send us your question via SMS at 197 55 222 or go to our website
to send us a message or even a video question, like this one from Michael Jones in Wollongong, New
South Wales.

MICHAEL JONES: Mr Bowie, do you think the New South Wales' government's recent moves against bikie
gangs is a move towards a police state? Will it soon be illegal for groups of four or more people
to meet?

TONY JONES: It's Mr Boe, of course, not Bowie.

ANDREW BOE: That's all right.

TONY JONES: But, nonetheless, I mean the question is aimed at you and obviously it's about whether
it would soon be illegal for groups of four or more people to meet. That's obviously an
exaggeration, but the suggestion is that the bike gang laws are moving us towards a police state.

ANDREW BOE: Can I say three things about this legislation. Firstly, it's a bit of an easy political
misnomer to call it a bikie or anti-bikie law. It's not. It's a law that - in South Australia it's
called the Serious and Organised Crime Control Act, and what it's doing is criminalising people for
a propensity and a risk, rather than for actually committing an offence, and that's a very severe
move away from the way in which criminal justice works.

The second part about it is that the decision made about these organisations will be made by
politicians, albeit an attorney general, and some of them are not legally qualified. And the
information that they work on is not information that will be tested in the process of litigation.
It will be decided on the balance of probabilities and, once a finding is made by a politician,
there's quite a Draconian effect for anybody associated with these people.

Now, look, it's very simple. We don't want violence in our community. Will this legislation achieve
that? Well, you have to query that. Firstly, the legislation may destroy gangs. It may stop these
middle aged men driving around with silly jackets on motorcycles on Sundays. Great. We get them
underground. But are we going to actually address the core issue, which is the violence? And I
really query that, because I think serious crime, and I get involved in the defence side of it
mostly, but serious crime generally is done underground. You don't go put on your bikie outfit to
go do a drug deal. You don't go put on your bikie outfit to go rape somebody. It really isn't the
sort of danger to the rest of society as it's painted. It's a very convenient political tool to...

TONY JONES: Andrew, can I interrupt you? The New South Wales legislation means the police
commissioner will have to go to the Supreme Court to have an outlaw motorcycle gang declared a
criminal organisation. So it's not as if the Courts are not involved in this process.

ANDREW BOE: No true. No, I was talking about the South Australian model, which has the attorney
general doing this. And it's a good step, but the framework within that sort of legislation - it's
always a little bit - I always think once you start tweaking the way you tell judges to behave and
you start taking away their discretion and start changing the way in which evidence is acceptable
to make findings of a criminal nature about people, it gets a bit scary, and we've seen the
experience with the Haneef Inquiry where - look, 90 per cent of police are decent, honest,
hardworking people and I suspect 90 per cent of motorcycle gang members don't commit crime, but
mistakes happen when you give discretions to people with enormous power and huge consequences which
is very hard to undo. This sort of law is the sort of law that is in places like Burma, for
example, where political organisation can't get together because of this belief that if you stop
people associating, somehow you'll be safer. I think that's just a misnomer.

TONY JONES: Let's hear from Jane Caro. You want to defend the Hells Angels, the Bandidos, et
cetera, et cetera?

JANE CARO: Well, yes, I do, in a way.


JANE CARO: For me it feels like scape-goating. It feels like picking on a particular group in
society that are very obvious. They stand right out and it feels like...

TONY JONES: Not defenceless, evidently.

JANE CARO: No, not defenceless, but nevertheless picking on them because there's a need to be seen
to be doing something and so if you tread hard on a very prominent and obvious and kind of a very -
you know, they draw attention whenever they go down the street in great groups of loud motorbikes -
then it looks like you're actually doing something. The problem, surely, is that a lot of the
violence around bikie gangs is really related to the drug problem in the society and the core issue
we have here is that we have a market with very high demand and, as long as that market is there,
there are going to be people who will find a way to fill it and, at the moment, we're saying,
right, we'll get rid of the bikie gangs. Well, okay, we might send them underground. We probably
won't get rid of them. But then, just another group of people will arise to fill that demand.
Probably the same people. They'll just take, as Andrew said, their colours off and dress in suits
and, you know, do things like that.

TONY JONES: John Hewson, a bit of a career opening. You're dressed in a suit.

JOHN HEWSON: Yeah, I'm a closet bikie, you mean. No, look, I've had some experience in the past in
working with a charity, the Arthritis Foundation, and Arthritis Research Task Force, where one of
our biggest supporters were the Ulysses Club. These are a group of people aged over 50 whose motto
is to grow old disgracefully and they enjoy themselves and they're really decent people. And I
think that the danger with this sort of legislation to me is it just goes too far and some of those
quite innocent people end up being victimised because they look like it, they - you know, they
dress wrong - incorrectly, the do the wrong thing in terms of the eyes of society. So I think the
danger is that - I would have thought the law was already there to do what you want to do anyway.

ANDREW BOE: There's a law there...

JOHN HEWSON: And I think it's a bit of a populist over-reaction by politicians who have to, as you

TONY JONES: All right, let's just let...

JOHN HEWSON: ...have to be seen to be doing something.

TONY JONES: Let's just hear from an audience member here and then we'll move on.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I'd just like to address Mr Boe. I'd like to ask would these laws be able to be
enforced if we had a human bill of rights?

ANDREW BOE: That's a good question. I think the notion that we have rights is really a - it's a
hope really. I mean, we all think we have human rights in Australia but when we start searching for
what the limits of that are and we find that we do need - we are the only country in the first
world that doesn't have a bill of rights that protects basic, essential rights like freedom of
association and freedom of expression. So in Victoria, there is legislation. And when you're
looking at what is the acceptable standard that we treat the weakest, we do need a statutory
framework in this country to protect them.

TONY JONES: Let's hear from another audience member. We've got a question from Norrie May-Welby
that broadens this out a little bit.

NORRIE MAY-WELBIE: Our government has failed to protect us from bikies bashing heads in at the
security conscious airport; from the increasing drug trade; or even from the power blackout that
disabled the city of Sydney and its emergency warning system. When will we admit that our
governments are not winning the war on terror or drugs or crime but just talking tough and doing
little except eroding our civil rights?

TONY JONES: Tony Burke?

TONY BURKE: Oh, well, the starting point, which will be an unpopular way to start, is don't agree.
To say that the fact that crime still continues and to say, therefore, laws are ineffective, I
don't think follows logically and with anything like the drug trade, there will always be new ways
of trying to deal with new methods of organisation and do you always have to make sure you're
getting that balance right? Yes. And if you get the balance wrong in one way, do you hurt civil
liberties? Yep. And if you get it wrong the other way, do you cause other damage within society?
Yeah, you do.

NORRIE MAY-WELBY: Prohibition always causes the same damage. History proves it. It's nothing new.
Whenever you've got prohibition you've got police corruption and people suffering needlessly, et
cetera. And people will still do what they've always done. Why can't we learn from history? Why
can't we follow some evidence-based policies?

TONY BURKE: There's a legal prohibition on murder. It doesn't stop murders happening but I don't
think anyone thinks we should get rid of the law. So for all of these issues, where you land the
balance is important. That's why I think the New South Wales laws that have been described are more
effective than the South Australian ones by having the police commissioner make the decision
instead of it being the attorney general. These sorts of protections are required and there'll
always be an argument about where you get the balance, but the simplicity of saying prohibition
always fails is an argument that can be run against every aspect of our laws.

JANE CARO: But isn't it partly language? I mean we don't have a war on murder, do we? We have a war
on terrorism or a war on bikie gangs or a war on drugs and that sets up this awful kind of
ridiculous drama around things that are crimes and go on and we need to be doing stuff about it,
but this macho rhetoric about having a war on everything, it seems to me, is a lot of the problem.
We don't have a war on murder.

TONY JONES: Okay, well, Tony Burke...

NORRIE MAY-WELBY: (Indistinct) is what terror is.

TONY JONES: Okay, I suppose we should...

TONY BURKE: First time I've ever been accused of macho rhetoric in my life so I...

JANE CARO: You didn't use "war on" but other people do.

TONY JONES: Okay. Perhaps you could explain why a whole new set of laws are necessary just to deal
with what are, in effect, the same sort of criminals that commit the same sort of crimes that we've
been seeing in this country forever?

TONY BURKE: Well, I could only presume the view in New South Wales from both sides of politics
there has been that part of the problem is organisational. That's part of the problem and the
organisation is not - I forget what you called it but not of your bikie gang.

JANE CARO: Ulysses Club.

TONY BURKE: Ulysses.

JOHN HEWSON: Ulysses, yeah.

TONY BURKE: But it's not a law against every bikie gang, but it's a concept of where it's believed
that the criminal behaviour has become organisational, then there's a law that allows that to be
dealt with when the police commissioner believes that's the way to target it.

TONY JONES: Andrew Boe, why isn't that the way to go?

ANDREW BOE: But that's just not right. I mean, the statistics clearly show that most drug activity
does not involve outlaw motorcycle club members, firstly. Secondly, where is the thinking on this?
That if you have young men, you have uniforms, you add alcohol or drugs and testosterone, you will
have a strong likelihood of crimes being committed in this country. The excess...

TONY JONES: What if you take away their uniforms, outlaw their gangs and say it's actually criminal
to be a Hells Angel or a Bandido because we believe those organisations are running drugs?

ANDREW BOE: And what I'd like to see is this evidentiary basis for making this connection between
if you are an overt member of a motorcycle gang that this legislation will somehow scare you so
much that you'll stop committing the crimes that you're doing covertly anyway. I can understand the
civil liberties arguments but, leaving them to the side, I think we've got to look at a social
utility argument. Will we achieve what we want to achieve, which is to reduce this sort of
violence, and I don't think this legislation will go anywhere near achieving that. It will make
news grabs work. People will think something is being done. Politicians very quickly ran at
agreeing to this from both sides of the parliament, without even examining what the detail was. At
the end of the day the drug trafficking that is rife in this country is not run by bikie gangs.
I've yet to see any evidence to suggest that.

TONY JONES: Helen Coonan, we'll just hear from you and then we'll move on?

HELEN COONAN: Well, look, I think it's very difficult to wrap this up and just decide that, you
know, that you've got one group of people and they behave badly consistently, because obviously
you'll find bikies who do very good works. You'll find a lot of bikies who not only do they do good
works but the certainly don't behave unlawfully. No doubt you'll find a lot that do behave
unlawfully and then you've got to balance the community interest to feel safe where bikies do step
over the line. So pulling all that together, I think whatever you do you need to be consistent and
I think it's a shame if people are treated differently in different jurisdictions. I'd quite like
to see some sensible look at this. The Australian Crime Commission had a taskforce to look at bikie
gangs and to look at an appropriate and proportionate response and Mr Rudd disbanded it last year
in 2008. I think that if you're going to do anything about bikie gangs, you need to be consistent
and you need to be proportionate to the risk.

TONY JONES: Okay. You're watching Q&A, the live and interactive forum where you get to ask the
questions. If you'd like to ask your own question here in the studio, go to our website - the
address is on your screen - and register to join the studio audience.

Well, the next question is from Alan Hyde.

ALAN HYDE: I'd like to understand where the proposed Rudd net fits into Infrastructure Australia's
priorities and, as a result of the massive investment proposed in the network, what other
infrastructure projects will now not be able to be funded?

TONY JONES: Good question. Tony Burke, I mean, it is a key question because there is a risk, it
seems, that $43 billion might actually mean the government is using one shot in the locker and
there'll be nothing left for other big infrastructure projects.

TONY BURKE: The 4.7 billion of the money that's being put down comes via the Building Australia
Fund. That's true. One of the things that's lost in the way that the national broadband network is
being set up in some of the discussions is that it has the capacity to go and raise its own
capital. When you think of the national broadband network, essentially think of the corporate
entity of Australia Post. It's that style of entity, the way it's been set up. It has the capacity
to go and borrow. It has the capacity to attract corporate investment and you've only got to look
at the comments from the telcos over the last 48 hours, I believe, to be reasonably optimistic
about the capacity that will be there to generate a good part of that corporate investment.

ALAN HYDE: So does that mean there won't be any additional government funds that were earmarked for
other infrastructure now diverted to fund this network?

TONY BURKE: Well, that's a decision that, you know, in terms of what will be the full corporate
take up is something that, understandably, when you start a process off - I can't give you a
concluded answer on that.

TONY JONES: So you don't know the answer, in fact, at this point? It could be the entire
Infrastructure Fund or it might be just part of it?

TONY BURKE: Well, by definition, when you start seeking investment from the corporate sector, you
don't, at that moment, have a landing place on precisely the dollar figure that you're going to get
and that's the nature of all...

ALAN HYDE: You must have a business case.

TONY BURKE: That's the nature of any major infrastructure project. If you want certainty of
funding, there's another way of doing it, which Australia has done for, I think, too long, and
that's make no long-term major infrastructure decisions on investment. That's the other way to go.


TONY JONES: Helen Coonan?

HELEN COONAN: Yes. But the problem, I think - just taking up the gentleman's questions, the problem
with this particular proposal is it's hugely risky. And yesterday Mr Tanner, the Finance Minister,
wasn't even able to give a guarantee that it would be limited to $43 billion. It may, in fact, be
more and he wasn't able to give any assurance as to what proportion of it, if any, would be taken
up by the private sector, so you've got a huge potential taxpayers' risk. But just assume for the
sake of argument that you can get over the funding problem. What this proposal really does is it's
like you're building an eight lane highway to very small communities all round Australia; an eight
lane highway, where you don't need it, to get in and out of a particular town.

Then the other problem you've got is because this is an actual wholesale network, no one will
actually be able to afford it unless ISP providers actually get on to the wholesale network, for a
price, then they can add on some retail price that will give them a sufficient return to ultimately
make this whole thing work.

Now, in the end, what the experts are telling us is that it's going to be a huge additional cost to
use this. So, obviously, it's very important that fast broadband is available to research
facilities and universities and anyone who has got a big demand and a capacity to use big
broadband, but why wouldn't you use a mix of technologies and a much more efficient way of
delivering what the community wants and the community needs and exactly what they'll use, rather
than have, for example, a full teaching hospital in every little town.

TONY JONES: Looking for you to take a breath but you don't seem to be doing that.

HELEN COONAN: I will now. I promise.

TONY JONES: We've actually got a question that expands this out a bit and it's from Serge Krezevic.

SERGE KREZEVIC: How irresponsible is it of Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberal Party to suggest they
will roll back the government's broadband program, given the significant economic benefits it will
have for Australians and, as well, and how will that finally bust the telecommunications ransom
that we've been held to by Telstra?

TONY JONES: I saw Andrew Boe shaking his head earlier, so let's start with Andrew.

ANDREW BOE: Look, I think it's a no- brainer and I don't want to be rude to the politicians here
but should we have a...

JOHN HEWSON: Yeah, you do.

HELEN COONAN: Yeah. Go on.

ANDREW BOE: Okay. Okay. I will. I will. Should we have a network that's 50 times faster, something
that the leading countries in the world started about five or six years ago? Should we do it?
Should we start investing in it now? I think the answers must be yes. How do we go about it? How do
we afford it? Well, that's something that needs parliamentary energy, not competitive point scoring
about who would have done it better, but parliamentary energy to look at all the players in the
field and broker an investment that's there for the long term. If we can't afford $43 billion now,
or whatever Monopoly money sort of figure you want to put on it, so be it, but let's structure a
sensible argument that the two things we can do with our economic strength as a country, as a first
world country, is have the best that we can afford and bring everybody else in the community with
us on it. That is, extend it to a way in which it reaches out to the indigenous communities; it
goes into areas in which education for people that are refugees that are coming to this country
have the, you know, world's best practice access to this sort of information.

HELEN COONAN: Well, that's the problem, Andrew, it doesn't because 10 per cent now just don't get
it. So any town under 1000 population doesn't get this. So what, in fact, this proposal is doing is
entrenching forever two tiers of...

ANDREW BOE: But have that conversation. Have that conversation.

TONY JONES: All right. All right. No. Okay. We've got the...

HELEN COONAN: But I mean, it's a valid....

TONY JONES: We've got the minister who deals with rural people, the Agriculture Minister, so let's
hear what he says on it.

TONY BURKE: The speed that they get is 12 megabits. The speed that they get in the regional

HELEN COONAN: So you think that's sufficient, do you, when everyone else is saying they should have
at least 100? They should have at least one gig.

TONY BURKE: No. That is - sorry...

HELEN COONAN: Why should you make a distinction? I mean, if you're saying that this is the
technology par excellence, why wouldn't you extend it out to everyone, as Andrew just said?

TONY BURKE: What speed were you offering regional areas?


TONY BURKE: You were the Communications Minister...

HELEN COONAN: No, look, can I tell you what...

TONY BURKE: ...and your speed to regional areas...


TONY BURKE: ...was to start at six.

HELEN COONAN: No. No. You're wrong about that.

TONY BURKE: We're offering 12 and you're ridiculing it.

TONY JONES: Okay. I'm going...

HELEN COONAN: You're absolutely wrong about that.

TONY JONES: I'm going to just cut you both off.

HELEN COONAN: You're wrong about that.

TONY JONES: Stop. Stop for a minute, okay. I want to hear from John Hewson, because no one's
actually addressed the question, and the question was about how Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberals
are dealing with this issue. So let's hear from John Hewson how you think Malcolm Turnbull is
dealing with this. I mean, is it a good idea to suggest, for example, you might vote against this
in the Senate and eventually possibly block it, or even roll it back? I think was what the
questioner said.

JOHN HEWSON: Yeah. Well, look, I'm not sure that that's what Malcolm's saying. Let's look at
Malcolm. Malcolm knows a fair bit about this, because he was a founder of Ozemail, one of the great
success stories in Australia. So he does know what he's talking about. But having said that, I mean
the key point goes back to the question over here is what's the business case? It hasn't been put
and we don't know whether 43 billion is a sensible number or not. We're being told at the same time
this is a national building project like the hydro scheme, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Opera
House. Well, you can only push those analogies so far. I mean, we're still paying, in a sense, for
the Harbour Bridge, aren't we, because we pay a toll every time we go across it.

TONY JONES: No. No. It's been...

JOHN HEWSON: At least a lot of people think that. A lot of people...

TONY JONES: It's been paid for. It's just a revenue exercise now.

JOHN HEWSON: Yeah. Yeah. Exactly.

HELEN COONAN: You still pay for it.

JOHN HEWSON: You know, and Opera House needs a billion dollars to be upgraded and put back to what
it should have been and so on. I mean, we need an informed debate and we're not getting - I mean,
sort of Moses Rudd comes down with his tablets. He announces it and the world says, "Yes, sir. No,
sir. Three bags full, sir," you know. Like, and it's ridiculous to say, "I'm going to spend $43
billion with no business case," and not explaining how on earth it's going to fit with the wireless
technology or the existing landline system or whatever. Ad it doesn't surprise me, Tony, that the
communications industry thinks this is a great idea, because what the government's done is de-risk
it. Instead of it being done by them, it's going to be done by the government.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: They weren't doing it.

JOHN HEWSON: And they'll all get in there and take their spoils. Take their share of the spoils.

TONY BURKE: But the alternative was for it not to occur.


TONY BURKE: And that's what Australia has been looking at.

JOHN HEWSON: I actually think it's a good thing, but I don't think we've had the debate about how
it should be done and in what form...


JOHN HEWSON: what pace, at what cost, et cetera.


JOHN HEWSON: No business case.

JANE CARO: But it's...

TONY JONES: Let's hear from Jane Caro, sandwiched in the middle of these two gentlemen.

JANE CARO: I think it's so exciting. I mean, I just heard about it and I thought hallelujah.
Australia at last is doing it in advance; doing it early; it's not being timid; it's not going,
"Oh, we don't know what might happen. It could be a really," - you know, which is what we always
do. We sort of do half measures, Australia, and it's so nice to hear someone saying, "This is the
future. This is what's going to happen," and it is. There's no doubt about it. We're all going to
be running our houses off these things. Forget about who needs how much. In the end everything is
going to come through those fibre optics and I just think it's so exciting that we're jumping in
there and going, "Let's do it. Let's do it properly. Let's give people the best possible and let's
work out a way to pay for it with private and public money going into it." I got a real kick when I
heard that we were going to do it. I thought it was great.

TONY JONES: All right. Several people with their hands up. We'll take this gentleman three rows
back in the black jacket.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Surely we're better off looking at even bigger advances in technology, rather than
using the old technology of fibre optics. I mean, fibre optics was founded in the 1800s. We now
have wireless technology. Why wouldn't we look at that, rather than putting in these old systems?

TONY JONES: Okay. We'll take that as a statement. There was another gentleman up the back there
with a question, as well. We'll hear from him and then we'll take answers to both of them.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: My question is for Tony Burke, representing the government. In one announcement,
Kevin Rudd, who I believe hasn't, as a businessman, ever delivered anything of this nature or even
to orders of magnitude smaller, has spent the entire Liberal Government's 20 billion dollar surplus
twice over to deliver, in eight years, what the Koreans are getting in three, in a network that is
one tenth the speed. Every Australian wants fibre. It's fantastic. Or wireless. Whatever. I don't
think anyone in this room or in the country would disagree, but what value are our grandchildren
going to be repaying. You know, this is a disaster for generations.

TONY JONES: Okay. Well, let's hear from Tony Burke, and you might want to pick up the question
about whether wireless and fibre optics are, in fact, compatible. Well, not compatible, but whether
one is better than the other, I should say.

TONY BURKE: The geography of Australia makes it more expensive than the geography of Korea. That's
when you're wiring out cable. That...

AUDIENCE MEMBER: But not 30 times. Not 30 times worse.

TONY BURKE: The geography of Australia makes it extraordinarily more expensive than the geography

AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Indistinct).

HELEN COONAN: Population.

TONY BURKE: ...many other countries. The issue of the population centres, where they are smaller,
that's where there can be some areas where rolling out cable all the way to somebody's home just
becomes impossible realistically and it's in those situations where we're looking at the latest
wireless technology and the other methods that are out there - satellite technology - as well. The
reason that in those most remote areas you go down that path and in areas where you've got higher
concentration - places more than 1000 - you can run out the optic cable and you want to run out the
optic cable, isn't because of how many hundreds of years optics have existed, it's because it's
faster. It's faster, so therefore it's the infrastructure used in those areas.

TONY JONES: Okay. Helen Coonan to round us off here.

HELEN COONAN: Well, look, the interesting thing about this was that the former government's policy
was to cover all of Australia and to make sure that 99 per cent of the population would be able to
access fast broadband and we had a policy that also delivered wireless and had the tender process
that Labor continued to look at fibre. Now, after 18 months, not only has that proposal been
scrapped, but the government has now come up with a proposal that will give no one anything really
much for another eight years. What the technological landscape will look like in eight years, we
can only guess at. Telstra already provides 100 megabits per second in Sydney and Melbourne. Their
Next G network provides, I think, up to 43 megabits already, and we have situations where we are
now going to try and roll this out as a wholesale network and the critical thing about it is that I
think we've got to be so careful that you just don't pick one technology, stake your house on it,
43 billion plus, and then find that it doesn't really deliver world's best practice in the end.

TONY JONES: Okay. I'm going to cut you off there. Tony Burke, quick response?

TONY BURKE: Yes. Very quickly. The claim that no one gets much for eight years is just wrong.
Tasmania gets rolled out this year.

HELEN COONAN: Yeah, but what about...

TONY BURKE: This year.

HELEN COONAN: When does Wagga get it? When does Dubbo get it? Can you tell me? Can you?

TONY JONES: All right. Okay. Well, no we...


TONY JONES: We - we can't go...

HELEN COONAN: When does Parkes get it? When does...

TONY JONES: We can't go through every community in the country. You're watching Q&A, the live and
interactive forum where you get to ask the questions. Remember if you'd like to be part of the
audience, the live audience, you can log on and register at Well, our next
question comes from in the audience and it's from Meaghan Davies.

MEAGHAN DAVIES: Possibly most concerning about the chicken sex tape is that 44,797 out of 69,735
Australian polled today didn't find it offensive. Are Australians becoming too tolerant to violence
and the degradation of women?

TONY JONES: Okay. We should explain, for anyone who hasn't caught up with this latest incident, two
players from the North Melbourne Footy Club have been fined after a video they posted on YouTube
ended up becoming widely seen. The video showed simulated sex acts using a dead chicken and a
rubber chicken cut to a track called If I Were a Girl. Believe me, we'd actually show you some of
this, but it was too stomach turning to even consider. So let's hear, first of all from Jane Caro.

JANE CARO: Well, the answer to the question is, no, we don't seem to have come very far at all.
It's really - actually I would say...

TONY JONES: Some of us.

JANE CARO: Well, as a society, I think what's happened is we've gone backwards and I have to say
that I really notice it amongst young women. I teach at a university and the sort of stereotypical
views about gender that are amongst my students absolutely astonish me and I think that's been
because for 13 years we've been told, "Oh, women have been done. There is no inequality anymore.
Feminists" - like, we're told two things and they're totally contradictory. One is feminism has
either been so spectacularly successful there is no problem anymore and anything you get or don't
get is entirely your own fault. There's nothing else about it. Or the other argument is the exact
opposite, often put forward by the same people once you've defeated one, which is that feminism was
an abject failure and, of course, women were much happier staying at home with children all along
and would have just stayed contented if those silly feminists hadn't come along and given them
ideas. Then we see tapes like this and we think, oh, no. We really need to go back to talking about
feminism and the position of women in our society.

TONY JONES: Can I interrupt you there, Jane? Do you actually think that it's because we're not
hearing so many prominent feminist voices...


TONY JONES: frequently...


TONY JONES: ...that a generation of young men has grown up that doesn't understand those lessons?
Is that what you're saying?

JANE CARO: Well, I think it's partly that and it's partly that feminism has become the thing you're
not allowed to be and women who stand up and say, "I am a feminist. I believe that women are fully
as human and can have these rights," are, in a way, put down. There's the sort of - we're called
feminazis by some people and there's this idea that if you therefore stand up and identify in any
way with protecting your gender, that you're not fun. You're the sort of thought police. You're the
sort of wicked witch who's jumping on young men and their healthy fun and I think a lot of girls
have bought this, that somehow it's okay if they get promoted as long as they go to pole dancing
classes on the weekend to kind of placate the guys and say, "I may be competing with you in the
boardroom, but really I'm just a fluffy-headed sex object at home."

TONY JONES: Let's hear from Tony Burke. Well, I mean this is happening - I mean, we've seen this
latest incident is in an AFL club. We've had plenty of recent incidents in NRL clubs and the rugby
league. There does seem to be something going on. It's like a sort of bubbling up of a very large
number of these cases. What do you think is happening?

TONY BURKE: Look, Tony...

TONY JONES: And what can be done about it?

TONY BURKE: Well, this is one of the issues that I'm probably most passionate about. One of the
things that I spend a fair bit of time involved with, with Joe Hockey actually, is as a white
ribbon day ambassador and in terms of the general approach, I agree with your description of the
problem. I disagree a bit with Jane. I think what we are talking about, at its core, is not a
problem of education of women, it's a problem of education of men and...

JANE CARO: Feminism would agree with you.

TONY BURKE: Yeah. And, you know, the truth that, as men, we need to deal with, is that one in three
women, during their lifetime, will experience violence, and they'll experience it from a bloke, and
we need to stop viewing this as a women's issue and start viewing it as an issue that men need to
take the leadership on and say, "This is just unacceptable."

TONY JONES: Let's hear from Chris Barry, up the back. You've got a question along these lines.

CHRIS BARRY: Yes. Does the panel feel that following this video from an AFL club and the Manly
rugby league incidents and the Nick D'Arcy incidents that all sporting bodies receiving public
funding or using public facilities should be required to provide written annual reports showing
that they are promoting non-violence and healthy team skills?

TONY JONES: Okay. Let's hear from Andrew Boe.

ANDREW BOE: Well, I think you should extricate the D'Arcy example. I don't think that's a good
example of the point you're trying to make. Look, can I just firstly just agree with what was said
on the left, save for I don't think it's just a gender issue. I think white young men in first
world countries need a lot to learn. I think we are abusing the privileges we have in this country.
I accept I'm not white myself but I'm saying that in this society, at the moment, powerful, rich,
young men in sporting clubs and in those sorts of groups feel as if they won't be restrained by the
society. They are heroes and they are really allowed to do whatever they wish to do, be it a sexist
thing, be it a racist thing, be it something that's anti-religious or whatever. Men need to get it.
It's no longer acceptable and I think unless we, all of us, embrace that with a bit more
seriousness, whether it be sporting bodies or government funding, it won't change.

TONY JONES: John Hewson?

JOHN HEWSON: Look, I essentially agree with what's been said. I think society has got a long way to
go in dealing with this issue and I think that's the point that Jane made quite strongly. I'd just
sort of add a word of caution. I mean, I don't think that the footballer example should be taken as
a stereotype for the average male in Australia.

TONY JONES: Why not?

JOHN HEWSON: I think some of us have moved on a fair bit from that. Oh, I think it's extreme in
terms of the circumstances. I mean, they are uneducated in that sense and they are paid a lot of
money early on in their life and they don't think they can play by the same rules. It's true,
there's an education problem. The sporting bodies have a role to play in dealing with it. There's
no doubt about that. They've got to set the standards and they've got to enforce them. But I think
progress has been made and I don't think we should downplay that. I think we should try and build
on it.

TONY JONES: It doesn't appear that much progress has been made. Jane Caro?

JOHN HEWSON: Well, just extreme examples always will get headlines.


JANE CARO: I just want to say that I think part of it is the problem is that sport is about

JANE CARO: It is about defeating somebody else and the training, therefore, for a successful sports

HELEN COONAN: Just like politics.

JANE CARO: ...has to be kind of, you know, this very male, very testosterone driven. That's what
they're celebrated for. That's what they get bought for.

TONY JONES: Helen Coonen just said, "Just like politics".

HELEN COONAN: It was meant as a light-hearted comment.

JANE CARO: (Indistinct).

TONY JONES: Oh, no, I know that.

HELEN COONAN: Yeah, but, I mean, I do agree with Jane and I think really we have got very
desensitised though, as a community, and my thought about this is that I do think it's cultural and
I do think you often see these examples coming out of sporting bodies and I think a lot of it is,
and this is just my own opinion. I haven't got any basis for saying it other than it's my own
opinion, that a lot of it is to do with the fact that so much in sport is now professional and I
think a lot of the participants are very much removed from the communities, whereas when footy was
really a family occasion, I think there was a very different attitude. I think it's become such a
professional and such a cut-throat business being a professional sports person and these kind of so
called incidents that happen, you know, when people are horsing around or whatever, are just awful.
I mean, they are truly horrible and I don't think they should be tolerated and I think it is very
important that sporting bodies, in particular, make sure that they get a few people in there who
can actually start to counsel them because that then goes out into the broader community. They're
very effective role models when you get good ones, and there are a lot of very good ones there.

JANE CARO: The only thing I'd say is: I wonder if this is new? You see, I think maybe we could say,
along with John, there has been progress made, because we hear about it. Because the girls come
forward, because they actually do now prosecute and feel that they will get some sympathetic
hearing. I suspect this is not new.

TONY JONES: Or because something is posted on YouTube, in this case.

JANE CARO: Or whatever. Yes, and YouTube. Well, the internet is helping, but I think this has
always gone on. I think that just once upon a time it was really buried and not spoken about so in
that way we have made some progress.

TONY JONES: Okay. Well, we have to move on. We've got another question. It's on a different topic
and it comes from Sev Milazzo.

SEV MILAXXO: Both Malcolm Turnbull and Helen Coonan were members of the Howard Government in which,
as Senator Coonan adroitly put it, no one wanted to commit regicide or stand up to the former Prime
Minister. Given the thrashing that the government was given, is it not surprising that the odour of
a (indistinct) regime and the unpopularity of its policies still clings to the leader of the
opposition, no matter who or she might be.

TONY JONES: Let's hear from John Hewson first on this. The odour of an (indistinct) regime. Is that
clinging to the present Liberal opposition?

JOHN HEWSON: You know, it is hard to live down your past and it's very true in politics that it's
hard to make the transition from government, whatever you've been and however well you've done
that, to opposition, and I think that's a painful process. I think the fact that we had all those
years of strong growth and the resources boom, which was our bubble economy, and we didn't take
better advantage of that. Didn't do more in terms of infrastructure and there's a lot of elements
of infrastructure that we could talk about there. Didn't turn some of that into more progress, I
think, is a very significant issue that lingers and you can then go to some of the value issues
that related to the previous government and those value issues exist as well, so the difficulty
that a new leader has, whoever it is, is how the dissociate themselves from the past and build a
view going forward, such that they are seen as a viable alternative.

TONY JONES: So how do you think Malcolm Turnbull, now languishing at 17 per cent in the opinion
polls, a place where John Howard once was, a place where Brendan Nelson once was...

JOHN HEWSON: Yeah. That should give him great heart, you know. John Howard was there once and he
came back and went all the way. I mean, I'm...

TONY JONES: Well, the big question is whether he's the John Howard version or the Brendan Nelson

JOHN HEWSON: Look, in the circumstances of a - yeah. In the circumstances of a crisis, which we
have - a global economic and financial crisis - Rudd has had a unique opportunity to actually make
a mark and it's hard to actually fault, in those circumstances, the fact that he's there every day.
And if you add to that the fact that Kevin Rudd is the master of the 24 hour media cycle - I mean,
I thought Howard was good. This guy is terrific. He can control that cycle one day, so he's on
broadband today, he's on Obama tomorrow, he's in Indonesia the next day. You know, an opposition
leader - I'm amazed that Malcolm has got 18 per cent, quite frankly. I mean, it's very hard. It's
very hard.

TONY JONES: It won't be for want of trying on his part, will it?

JOHN HEWSON: No, well, Malcolm, he's not short on - yeah, that's right.

TONY JONES: You cut yourself off short there, did you?

JOHN HEWSON: I did. Yes.

TONY JONES: Let's hear from Andrew Boe?

ANDREW BOE: I thought Mr Turnbull was looking more and more haggard these days because can I just
say something a little bit serious about something that's obviously treated lightly. It's just
great to have politicians like Obama, and Rudd, for that matter, who are proposing a vision for the
way we want to be. I think the one thing - we live in the first world. Comparatively we are doing
really, really well, except for the black fellas, and - but the legacy that, for me, the Howard
years left was you just didn't feel comfortable with what we were doing to - to everybody else in
the world and to those who were weaker than us in our society and I think the one thing those two
men give to us is some sense of hope that there is a better way to do all this and I think that
should be (indistinct).

TONY JONES: Helen Coonan?

HELEN COONAN: Yes. Look, I think that this is a very difficult time in the economic cycle and so
far as I can tell, no one's ever shot Santa Clause yet, so that Mr Rudd giving out a lot of money
and doing the 24 hour news cycle, saying a lot of things that obviously people want to hear, is a
very difficult thing to counter. But I just caution this way and this also won't be a very popular
statement. Tony started off with that, saying he didn't agree and it wouldn't be popular. You won't
agree and I'm sure this isn't popular, but you have to be very careful in the end that the visions
actually turn into real and concrete action. So far we haven't seen Mr Rudd actually deliver
anything other than broad statements, obviously big statements, certainly statements that are well
received by the electorate, but so far the rubber hasn't hit the road yet and you have to be very
careful when you look at the fact that we've now got $80 billion worth of spending, $200 billion
worth of debt, huge tax increases coming down the pipeline to get you all to pay for all this, that
this doesn't turn into an hallucination.


TONY JONES: Okay. A very brief comment from Tony Burke. Can you do that?

TONY BURKE: Oh, gee, it's hard after that. Look, just put simply, to say that major changes haven't
happened, I think belittles the significance of issues that were settled at the last election. The
apology to the stolen generation was real. Ratifying the Kyoto Protocol was real. And in terms of
why is it that Australia has been ahead of the curve and, yes, we are feeling the global recession
but we are in a much better space than comparable economies, with the United States now having five
million unemployed join the cues, China having 20 million unemployed join the cues. The stimulus
packages are part of that. That's real.

HELEN COONAN: They're not working. You've got more unemployed people than ever and it's going up.

TONY BURKE: Did you hear the figures I just quoted for comparable countries?

HELEN COONAN: What I'm talking about is Australia. You said you were going to create 7,000 jobs.

TONY JONES: I don't know that China and Russia have comparable populations.

TONY BURKE: In terms of our coal exports, that is a real impact.

TONY JONES: Okay. Here's a web question that's just come in from Phillip Quinn in the ACT. John
Hewson, the Liberal Party is in a shambles at the moment. Would you consider re-entering politics
and taking the Liberal leadership?

JOHN HEWSON: How stupid do I look? Look, I had my go and I had a fair go and I think we've got to
let the others have a fair chance at dealing with it and, you know, I'm a concerned Australian
these days and I'm very worried that we may not be going in the right direction.

HELEN COONAN: Absolutely.

JOHN HEWSON: And I pick up Tony's point. I mean the sorry statement: fundamentally important.
Signing Kyoto: fundamentally important. Broadband: fundamentally important. But in five years time
I want to see that we did something about Aboriginal disadvantage. I want to see something about a
genuine low carbon economy emerging in this country and, you know, I'd like to see that we had
actually turned this economy around and were on the path to a sustainable recovery, not a debt
induced, you know, ride as it's been.

TONY JONES: Okay. I'm going to interrupt there, because we have one final question I'd really like
to get to and it's from John Croker.

JOHN CROKER: In light of that discussion, I ask the following question: I'm a university student
and I'm keen to strive for social justice and change in my working life once I have graduated. Many
fellow students my age enter political parties and focus their efforts on organised politics.
Others reject political institutions and seek revolutionary change. We have, on the panel, current
politicians, a past politician, a social commentator and a member of the legal profession working
for social justice. What guidance would you give young people today looking for the best way to
improve our society and effect real change?

TONY JONES: Let's hear from everybody on the panel. And we're running out of time unfortunately,
but we'll keep it brief and we'll start with Tony Burke.

TONY BURKE: Look at what your skills are and pick your career based on that and then do it
dedicated to the service of others. There