Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts.These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
Q And A -

View in ParlView

TONY JONES: Good evening and welcome to Q&A. Answering your questions tonight, the founder of
Aussie Home Loans, John Symond; the Minister for Climate Change and Water, Senator Penny Wong; the
Liberal powerbroker who led his party's revolt against the ETS, Senator Nick Minchin; the Deputy
Leader of the Greens, Senator Christine Milne; and the national secretary of the Australian
Workers' Union, Paul Howes. Please welcome our panel.

Okay. Now, remember Q&A is live from 9.35 Eastern Time, or thereabouts, and if you have a question,
send it by SMS to 197 55 222 or go to our website at abc.net.au/qanda. You can use the #qanda or
follow the Twitter conversation online, and we'll also be showing a small selection of the
thousands of live Twitter comments on the screen.

Well, it's been an enormous week, with the release of the Henry Tax Review and political back flips
on both sides. Let's go straight to our first question tonight. It comes from Graeme Smith.

GRAEME SMITH: Yes. Unsurprisingly the large mining companies have come out against the proposed
resource rent tax. My question for the panel is when are we going to get fair dinkum and put this
one-off benefit towards a national sovereign wealth fund that will benefit all Australians, rather
than a benefit which is for the government of the day and the shareholders of mining companies?

TONY JONES: Let's start with Paul Howes.

PAUL HOWES: Well, a national sovereign wealth fund, I think, is a good idea, and we've started the
building blocks of that, I think, with the future fund under the previous government and certainly
I think there's a lot more we can do there. But I think it's important to realise what's going on
in mining communities at the moment, and my union represents mining communities from Tasmania
through to South Australia and across the entire country, and you have a situation where
communities are paying for the infrastructure which mining companies are using on a daily basis,
and there's very little money going in from the mining companies into those communities. You go to
places like Karratha, go to Port Headland, go to Paraburdoo or Rosebery on the West Coast of
Tasmania. Now, those places should be paved in gold. The streets should be paved in gold and
they're not. They're not because the mining companies simply move in, dig and run away. And I think
it's about time that there was some fair dinkum taxation regimes put in place for the resources
sector. We certainly got that yesterday. And I think it's important that a lot of that money is
reinvested in those communities, which create the wealth in the first place.

TONY JONES: Paul Howes, I'll just quickly follow up. A national sovereign wealth fund is a good
idea. Are you going to push for it within this government?

PAUL HOWES: Absolutely, and in fact when I did my National Press Club speech a couple of weeks ago,
I floated a similar such idea. Called it something else, but it's - you know, I think it's
important that we build the capital of our country. I think it's important that we build the future
and it can be used in many different ways, but I do think it's important that when we have these
taxation revenues being taken from the resources companies, which I support. I think it's a good
idea and the scaremongering that you've heard from the resources sector today is rubbish. I mean,
that nut-bag Clive Palmer calling it a...

TONY JONES: We'll come to that.

PAUL HOWES: ...communist conspiracy, but it needs to go into the communities and I think that some
of it does need to be put away for a rainy day.

TONY JONES: Christine Milne?

CHRISTINE MILNE: Well, it's what the Greens have promoted and been arguing for for some time. We've
been drawing attention to the fact that Norway did it with its vast profits from oil, recognising
it needed to get away from an oil based, fossil fuel based economy and it has banked that money for
the future, and that's what we've been advocating. So we are very keen to see that happen, and
we'll look forward to the support of the unions when we move for that in the senate, because...

TONY JONES: And would you like to see mining towns paved with gold, as Paul Howes would like?

CHRISTINE MILNE: Well, certainly, it's true that a lot of the wealth from mining has never been
returned to those mining communities. In fact, it goes offshore, a lot of it, and that is why this
is a good idea to actually bring some of that money into the Australian economy. But just letting
it go into general budget measures is not what we should be doing. We really should use this
opportunity to build for the future, invest in education, and the transformation to the low carbon
economy. It's a one off opportunity and we need to take it.

TONY JONES: Nick Minchin?

NICK MINCHIN: Can I congratulate Graeme on his question? As the person who, together with Peter
Costello, set up our future fund, which is to meet the Commonwealth Government's superannuation
liabilities, I'm a great fan of these sort of long term preserved funds, and the problem with what
the government is doing, is it's putting this huge tax grab on our most successful Australian
industry, in order to try and meet its budgetary position. I mean, the government is sending this
country broke. They needed tax and they needed it fast. They put this 9 billion dollar a year tax
on our best industry and they're going to blow it. This is the trouble. I think we're going to have
a real problem with the budget being, in a sense, hooked like a drug addict to this resources tax
and then when the mining boom ends, they won't have that revenue, but we'll have all the spending
that they've hooked to that new tax.

TONY JONES: So let me...

NICK MINCHIN: If we're going to have this new tax, which I oppose - but if we were going to have
it, it should be going into a wealth fund and that's the one thing I do agree with Paul on. I'm
very disappointed he's so anti Australia's greatest industry. The one thing Australia is known
around the world for is our brilliant, highly successful, fantastic resources industry and
typically of Labour they want to whack it when it's up.

TONY JONES: Is there a crack of light here in terms of bipartisan support, because if they put it
into a sovereign wealth fund or something similar, would you support the tax?

NICK MINCHIN: Well, I think our attitude to the tax would be a lot more sympathetic if they were
preserving the funds for the future. But they're not. They're going to blow it on recurrent
expenditure.

TONY JONES: Penny Wong?

PENNY WONG: Well, let's work out - let's remember what the government has done. This is a tax on
super profits, so for all of the sort of rhetoric on my left, that is positionally on my left, not
actually on my left from Nick Minchin, this is a tax on super profits and it's a tax that is about
ensuring more Australians share more fairly in the benefits of the resources boom, and let's
remember what the government has said we'll do with it. A third of it will go into increasing
Australian superannuation pool. Now, that is about increasing national savings. It is about
Australian's retirement income. It's a good thing. The measures the government have put in place
are both for low income earners but also for people who want to put additional money into their
superannuation. A third of it we've said will go into infrastructure, we've said, to deal with some
of the capacity constraints we know are there and will increasingly be there as the economy
continues to pick up. And, finally, we've also said we'll provide tax relief, particularly to small
business, but to the corporate sector more generally in the years ahead, so we'll have a tax on
super profits of the resource sector, but we will provide, as a stimulus to the other parts of our
economy which will need it in the years ahead, a reduction of the corporate tax rate. So this is a
very sensible policy taxing super profits but returning those monies to the Australian people and
to our economy.

TONY JONES: I'm going to bring you back to the question. The question was about whether to put it
into a sovereign wealth fund. You've heard, I think, three of our panellists from very different
political perspectives agreeing with that idea. You're saying no.

PENNY WONG: Well, I'm saying the government has pretty clearly laid out what we want to do with the
money and I'm surprised that Nick suggested there's a crack of light in terms of these
negotiations, which are yet to occur, which obviously Wayne Swan will handle, but I didn't think
from what Mr Abbott was saying there was anything like a possibility of a negotiation. I think he'd
just said this was a bad thing.

TONY JONES: Okay. We'll take you back to the question again. Sovereign wealth fund: good idea, bad
idea?

PENNY WONG: And I've said, Tony - it's like being on Lateline, isn't it?

TONY JONES: I'm actually trying to get you to answer the questioner's question.

PENNY WONG: And I've said the...

TONY JONES: Actually, I'll go back to our questioner, see if he wants to ask.

PENNY WONG: Actually, you asked me to answer it. Shall I answer it?

TONY JONES: Graeme, do you think you've heard an answer to your question?

GRAEME SMITH: I think she's against it.

PENNY WONG: I've said the government is clear about what we're doing with this super profits tax.

GRAEME SMITH: I don't think I've quite heard the answer but, actually, to be fair to Penny, the
previous government, I think, raked in around about $360 billion...

PENNY WONG: That's right.

GRAEME SMITH: ...above the normal receipts in company tax and other revenues.

NICK MINCHIN: Yeah, we saved it in the future fund and gave you tax cuts.

GRAEME SMITH: Did you save something close to 360 billion or was it a bit smaller than that?

NICK MINCHIN: Well, we've put 70 billion in the future fund.

GRAEME SMITH: That's...

NICK MINCHIN: And paid of $96 billion worth of debt, mate. That wasn't bad.

GRAEME SMITH: But that's people's superannuation and the sale of Telstra. I don't think it's...

TONY JONES: All right, I'm going to cut off this byplay. It is fascinating. And I'm going to go
John. Sorry, we never really did get an answer about sovereign wealth fund. In principal, yes or
no.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: She's against it.

JOHN SYMOND: From me?

TONY JONES: Well, I don't think Penny's going to answer so...

PENNY WONG: Well, we have laid out our policy in relation to this issue.

TONY JONES: Okay. All right. All right.

PENNY WONG: I don't think you want me to say I'm going to change it.

TONY JONES: (Indistinct).

PENNY WONG: I haven't, you know (indistinct)...

JOHN SYMOND: Tony, good idea, I'd support it. But what we've also got to recognise is I don't think
the benefits of the mining boom has been evenly spread through the country. You know, we're not all
in resources. It's caused skill shortages in business, small businesses throughout Australia, and
the money that a lot of these workers in these communities get - I'll give you an example. Four or
five years ago, a two year experienced out of apprenticeship mechanic was on about 54,000 working
around Australia. Today they can get 140 and $150,000 a year, which is ludicrous, because, you
know, it's caused problems in business outside of the resource boom. So the benefits aren't evenly
spread and that has to be addressed.

TONY JONES: So where do you think the government should spend the money? Have they got it right
looking at the way they're planning to spend it?

JOHN SYMOND: I think they can spend it in far better ways.

TONY JONES: Go ahead?

JOHN SYMOND: A sovereign wealth fund, for sure. That's important. But I'm all for overhauling the
tax system because the tax system has been broke. It's been broke beyond the existing government
and I don't believe any government has had the guts to do something about it.

TONY JONES: Okay, we've definitely going to come back to that. Let me go to a web question before
we finish this topic. It's a web question from Robert Jenkins in Wahroonga. It's directed to Paul
Howes. What would Mr Howes say to those workers who will have fewer job opportunities and may even
lose their jobs as a result of Kevin Rudd's great big new tax on the mining industry?

PENNY WONG: Sounds like you, Nick.

NICK MINCHIN: Good question.

PAUL HOWES: Well, I have nothing to say to those workers, because those workers won't exist. The
reality is...

NICK MINCHIN: No, they won't after the tax cuts.

PAUL HOWES: The reality is - well, Nick, you know if there was - if this tax was such a bad thing
for the mining industry, then how come you guys never dismantled the similar tax that exists on the
petroleum industry and has for the last 20 years?

TONY JONES: No. No. No. They get to ask the questions and so do I, but you don't.

NICK MINCHIN: There's no royalties on off-shore.

PAUL HOWES: Well, there is...

TONY JONES: You can make rhetorical points.

NICK MINCHIN: It's not a super profits tax.

PAUL HOWES: It is a super profit...

NICK MINCHIN: That is a complete misrepresentation.

PAUL HOWES: It is a super profits tax and it existed before the announcement of Gorgon. It will
exist after the announcement of Gorgon. The single largest investment in national resources
(indistinct)...

NICK MINCHIN: There's not state royalties off shore. You know that.

TONY JONES: Okay. All right. Okay. Both of you, hang on for a sec. Paul Howe I'm going to bring you
back to the question and I'll bring you back to what you were saying earlier, because the
Queensland mining magnate, Clive Palmer, says effectively this tax is a sort of communist style
initiative and he is saying it will lose jobs.

PENNY WONG: That does sound like Nick.

PAUL HOWES: Well, Clive Palmer, with all of this work with the Chinese Communist Party, should know
what a communist is. But...

NICK MINCHIN: Well, he obviously does.

PAUL HOWES: But maybe he's a Maoist, rather than a Stalinist. I'm not sure. When I first read the
reports about this tax, I was concerned. I was concerned about the mines that I represent in states
like Tasmania, which are quite marginal, not profitable a lot of them. Some have been in
administration for a number of years. The good thing about the way that this tax has been geared is
that it will actually result in a net decrease in the amount of taxes that those non-profitable,
non-viable, non-profitable mines will pay. In terms of the super profit, well, you know, you go to
these mines, and I deal with these companies on a daily basis. Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, they're
not Australian companies anymore. They didn't put the stuff in the ground in the first place. There
should be a tax on their profits, because the profits should be, in part, returning to this country
because this country owns those resources. Now, as Penny can tell you firsthand, if I'm concerned
about any of my members losing a job because of government regulation, I am not backwards in coming
forwards on those issues but I'm not concerned about any of my members or any workers in the
resources industry losing jobs out of this new proposal from the government, because I've looked at
it and it won't. These companies will continue to mine in this country as long as we have the
resources here and if they don't want to mine here other miners will come in and do it for them.

TONY JONES: All right, Nick Minchin?

NICK MINCHIN: Well, I'm surprised that Paul doesn't seem to care about workers in the mining
industry. I mean, we saw...

PAUL HOWES: Oh, come off it, mate.

NICK MINCHIN: ... the value of mining shares today collapse...

PAUL HOWES: Come off it, mate.

NICK MINCHIN: ...by 10 to $15 billion.

PAUL HOWES: Come off it, mate.

NICK MINCHIN: The mining industry is Australia's greatest industry. It pays more tax than any other
single industry. It represents 8 per cent of the economy but pays 16 per cent of all company tax.
And I've been resources minister. I think the mining industry is tremendous, what it contributes to
this country. What it does invest in rural and regional Australia. People in rural and regional
Australia wouldn't have jobs but for the mining industry, and for the Labor Party to so glibly
think that the mining industry will always be there, risking it's money to invest in this country
shows you the weakness and how dangerous the Labor Party is.

MULTIPLE PANEL MEMBERS TALK AT ONCE

NICK MINCHIN: There are resource industries all over this world. This Labor Party is a danger to
this country.

MULTIPLE PANEL MEMBERS TALK AT ONCE.

NICK MINCHIN: They think you can just go and tax all these industries and not care about it and
they'll always be there.

PAUL HOWES: We've got Clive Palmer here.

NICK MINCHIN: This is unbelievable.

PENNY WONG: Nick, which investment...

TONY JONES: Penny Wong.

PENNY WONG: Which investment for Australians do you disagree with: the investment in
infrastructure, the cut in the corporate tax rate...

NICK MINCHIN: Oh, come on.

PENNY WONG: ...or investment in superannuation?

NICK MINCHIN: You are ripping $9 billion out of...

PENNY WONG: Come on, tell us which of those...

NICK MINCHIN: ...greatest industry this country has.

PENNY WONG: ...tell of which is those you think is against the national interest?

NICK MINCHIN: An industry that already pays enormous tax and every one of you with superannuation
lost today...

PENNY WONG: That's benefits for all Australians.

NICK MINCHIN: Every one of you with superannuation is a loser today, because the mining industry
shares in this country have just collapsed...

TONY JONES: Nick Minchin...

NICK MINCHIN: ...under the weight of this resource tax...

TONY JONES: Nick Minchin...

PAUL HOWES: And they recovered this afternoon.

TONY JONES: ...everyone hear can hear your passion from the way your voice is (indistinct)...

NICK MINCHIN: I am passionate about it.

TONY JONES: So did Joe Hockey go too far today when he suggested that the coalition might be forced
to block supply to stop this tax?

NICK MINCHIN: Well, as you well know, Tony, the coalition in the senate can't block anything. We
are a minority in the senate. We can't block anything. We'll examine this tax and the legislation
to give effect to it when we see it. We're not going to see it before the election, though.

TONY JONES: What about this blocking supply notion? Would you be prepared at some time in the
future to do that, because that's what Joe Hockey seemed to be suggesting.

NICK MINCHIN: Well, I don't think so. The Liberal Party has, as a base rule, that we will not block
supply. We can't block supply, because we don't have a majority in the senate in any event, but it
is...

TONY JONES: You have - with assistance you've blocked an awful lot of legislation.

NICK MINCHIN: Well, we can't block anything.

PENNY WONG: That's right.

NICK MINCHIN: We can only vote as we see fit on legislation that comes before us. What other
senators do is their business.

TONY JONES: Okay, but the principle is...

NICK MINCHIN: Yeah, the principle is...

TONY JONES: ..the principle is Joe Hockey is wrong. You can't block supply.

NICK MINCHIN: Well, I haven't heard Joe say that, but we are not in the business of blocking
supply.

TONY JONES: Okay. We're going to move on. Remember you're watching Q&A, the program where you ask
the questions. Our next question comes from Michael Chen.

MICHAEL CHEN: Yep, over here. On climate change, the Prime...

NICK MINCHIN: Where is he?

PENNY WONG: Sorry, we were trying to see where you were.

PAUL CHEN: On climate change the Prime Minister has displayed his political cowardice on that
issue, something that he's criticised other leaders on. When viewed alongside other political back
flips - asylum seekers, grocery watch, fuel watch - many people who voted Labor at the last
election are becoming more and more disillusioned with the government. Senator Wong, why should
voters re-elect the government?

PENNY WONG: Because we are the only party who actually voted for action on climate change in
December of last year. I mean, let's just remember there's a little bit of history here that is, I
think, important to remember. We presented the legislation which would have put, for the first time
in Australia's history, a cap on carbon and a price on carbon, and we were defeated three times in
the senate. We were defeated finally in December after doing a lot of work to get the opposition to
come to an agreement, we were defeated because Nick very effectively, with his henchmen, ran a
political coup inside the Liberal Party...

NICK MINCHIN: Couple of henchwomen, too.

PENNY WONG: Sorry, henchwomen and men - henchpeople. Ran a political coup inside the Liberal Party
to change the leader and they voted down the legislation at the same time the Australian Greens
also chose to vote with Tony Abbott against action on climate change. Now, I am disappointed by
that. I'm extremely disappointed by that and I understand people who are disappointed. What we had
to do was to deal with the political reality they're not going to change in the short term. I think
they'll have to change in the longer term, because you can't meet the targets that they signed up
to unless you put a price on carbon eventually. We also have to deal with the reality that whilst
the world is acting, it's acting slower than we would have hoped and the position we've outlined
reflects both of those political realities.

TONY JONES: Let me just put this to you. And you must be getting concerned to hear questions like
that about votes becoming confused about where you stand on a whole variety of issues. Now, that
really goes to the heart of the question, as well as climate change, all these other back flips he
mentioned.

PENNY WONG: Well, we're still...

TONY JONES: Is the - are you at all concerned that voters are starting to wonder where the Labour
party actually stands?

PENNY WONG: Well, I'd ask people to look at the facts. We're still committed to a CPRS, a carbon
pollution reduction scheme. We are but we're not able to get it through, and we are also dealing
with the reality of what's happened internationally and I do accept, you know, a lot of people's
disappointment around the fact we weren't able to get the legislation up. That is a matter of
history now, for all of the reasons that I've outlined. But I don't accept that this is, you know,
about dumping action on climate change. I don't accept that. The fact is we had a very strange
alliance, a bit like we did with the republic in years gone past, where people who wanted a
different sort of republic and people like Nick - he was on the wrong side there, too, I'm afraid,
who didn't want a republic, worked together to avoid it, and regrettably I think that's we saw in
national politics. My view is over the next couple of years what we need to do is rebuild the
consensus that there was. There was a consensus in this country, politically and institutionally,
on climate change. It is the biggest structural reform our economy is likely to see in our
lifetime. I think on that Nick and I go agree and...

TONY JONES: Can I just...

PENNY WONG: ...we actually have to work, I think, politically but also within the community to
rebuild that consensus.

TONY JONES: I just bet a follow up here, because if you are determined to go ahead with the
emissions trading scheme, which Tony Abbott and I'm sure Nick Minchin referred to as a great big
tax, are you going to put that tax...

PENNY WONG: New.

NICK MINCHIN: New tax.

PENNY WONG: New.

TONY JONES: A great big new tax, if you like.

PENNY WONG: Yes.

TONY JONES: Okay. Are you going to put that tax on top of the new tax on mines?

PENNY WONG: Look...

NICK MINCHIN: Good question, Tony.

PENNY WONG: ...we have a number of - we've said we know that as the world moves to the end of the
Kyoto period there are, I think, two things will happen. One is the world is going to have to agree
on the post-Kyoto arrangements, so there will be much more clarity internationally than there is
now.

TONY JONES: I was kind of hoping for a yes or no answer on that one.

PENNY WONG: No. No. No. But, no, it's - you always want that sort of answer, Tony. But...

TONY JONES: Or any kind of answer, really.

MULTIPLE PANEL MEMBERS TALK AT ONCE.

TONY JONES: I'm going to move over to Christine on this one.

PENNY WONG: I actually had a second thing to finish...

TONY JONES: All right.

PENNY WONG: ...which was and I think also...

TONY JONES: But not on the question.

PENNY WONG: It actually is on the question, Tony.

TONY JONES: Okay. All right.

PENNY WONG: It might not be the answer you want. It's the answer I'm giving, and that is I don't
think either in Australia over the next few years that the position - the parallel universe
position that Tony Abbott currently occupies where he says, "I'm not prepared to put a price on
carbon but I'm signing up to these targets, that will become patently obvious to everybody.

TONY JONES: Okay, Christine Milne?

CHRISTINE MILNE: Well, the government doesn't have a whole of government approach on climate change
and it's an absolutely appropriate question. The scientists have made it clear we need to take
strong action on climate change quickly and we need to transform the Australian economy for all the
opportunities that come with that: for renewables, for efficiency, for the redevelopment of our
cities, for example. All that's possible with strong action on climate change but the carbon
pollution reduction scheme actually locked in failure on the science and it would have locked it in
right out to 2020. So we had a weak target locked in and it would also have locked in a coal fired
polluting economy beyond 2020.

PENNY WONG: So nothing is better than something? Nothing is better than something, Christine? Is
that how it works?

CHRISTINE MILNE: And so that's why - that's why we've put interim carbon price on the table. That's
why we're looking forward to the government negotiating with the Greens because the advantage of
what we've got on the table right now is that if the government wanted to negotiate with us, we
could get a carbon price in before this next election. We could...

TONY JONES: You're talking about a carbon tax?

CHRISTINE MILNE: Well, you want to call it a carbon tax. It's a carbon levy. That's right, it would
be the equivalent of $20 a tonne. Yes, carbon tax, $20 a tonne in before the election and we could
do that now and it has the advantage of not locking in a weak target and allowing the international
community to come to those appropriate targets over the next couple of years, plus it would avoid
buying in cheap permits from overseas, so we'd have to make the transformation at home, and those
things are really critical. They'd also allow us to get the money for the fast start finance and
for our appropriate contribution to international action. So it's not as if the opportunities
aren't there. They are. We're ready to go with them, but the government is actually not moving on
this.

TONY JONES: Okay.

MULTIPLE PANEL MEMBERS TALK AT ONCE.

TONY JONES: I'm going to come to John Symond, and then I'll come to our questioner on the floor,
yes.

JOHN SYMOND: I think it goes way beyond the issue of climate change. The way government is
structured in this country, we rip up tens of billions of dollars for too many layers of
government. You know, if we got rid of state governments, local governments, we would save tens of
billions of dollars to plug some of the stuff-ups that continually happen and you can't make a
decision. Vote in a Federal Government, let them govern and if they don't do a good job kick them
out. But that way at least we're not burning normal, hard, honest working Australians with their
taxes going down the drain and I think it goes beyond just climate change. Let government govern.
And the way it's structured, bureaucracy is just strangling this nation and it's hugely costly.

TONY JONES: All right, I'm going to go to the questioner on the floor.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hello. I'd just like to say that you all seem to be very - well, you have a lot of
- well, you seem to be very good and, well, you have a lot of information particularly on this
issue. What I want to know is in particular with - well - well - sorry, with the carbon emissions
tax and also with the - as you've just discussed - sorry, I forgot.

TONY JONES: That's okay. We'll come back to you in a second. Think about your question and we'll go
to this gentleman here, who has also got his hand up. I just want to hear from a couple of people
on the floor.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yeah, I wanted to ask the Greens member, surely you realise that if we did put in
this tax on carbon, that that would send jobs over shore - overseas and so forth, with other
countries not having a tax on carbon. If we put it in now, we're the only country with a higher
tax, a higher cost of living and more jobs going out the door. Don't you realise this?

TONY JONES: I want to hear...

CHRISTINE MILNE: (Indistinct)

TONY JONES: No, actually, I want to hear from Paul Howes on that.

PAUL HOWES: Well...

TONY JONES: Because he does represent those workers.

CHRISTINE MILNE: It's not true.

PENNY WONG: It is true.

CHRISTINE MILNE: It's not true.

PAUL HOWES: It is true, Christine, actually.

CHRISTINE MILNE: No, it's not true.

PAUL HOWES: If you don't have a market mechanism when you put a price on carbon, you will be
sending jobs offshore, because you won't have the appropriate levels of compensation going into
emissions intensive trade exposed industries, and we had this fight last time we were sitting right
here on the panel, and the reality is - the reality is that there are large portions of our economy
which are emissions intensive and are trade exposed and require appropriate protection until a
global, level playing field is put in place. Until everyone has a price on carbon and there is a
global market. I was hopeful that the CPRS would be passed as it was the end, because whilst I had
some issues with it at the beginning, at the end of the day I know for the industries that my union
represents, in particular aluminium, steel, hydrocarbons and heavy emitting industries...

AUDIENCE MEMBER: That would still send some jobs offshore, a trading scheme.

PAUL HOWES: No, well...

AUDIENCE MEMBER: A tax or a trading scheme is still putting more cost...

PAUL HOWES: No, well, a trading - a trading...

AUDIENCE MEMBER: ...into the Australian back pockets.

PAUL HOWES: A trading scheme - a trading scheme with the appropriate levels of compensation put in
for ETies would not and, in fact, if you look at - if you look at the CPRS as it was at the end and
Penny knows this well and me and Penny sat in my hours - many, many hours of negotiations over
these questions, but, you know, the steel sector, for example, I was concerned when the green paper
was first announced that it was going to kill the steel sector in this country and I firmly
believed that it would. The CPRS, by the end, with the appropriate amendments put in place, would
not have done that because the appropriate levels of trade assistance were put in place to the
point where the steel companies supported the CPRS because they knew in the end that they would
need to have an ETS for those countries that are putting in trade barriers through carbon pricing.

TONY JONES: Okay, let's hear from...

AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Indistinct)

TONY JONES: Sorry, briefly I want to hear from Nick Minchin on this and I want to hear on the
question of this double tax issue, that our questioner has raised that I raised earlier.

NICK MINCHIN: Well, can I just say on this whole issue, I must say I feel very sorry for my good
friend Penny Wong, who has been humiliated by Mr Rudd's extraordinary and very weak back flip on
this.

PENNY WONG: Yes, a funny version of friendship.

NICK MINCHIN: And poor old Penny has sort of been left with nothing to do. I mean, I've been
wondering what is Penny going to do now that Mr Rudd has put this whole thing off till God knows
when? Although I was pleased to hear that she has confirmed they're still committed to this
dreadful carbon pollution reduction scheme. But the questioner is absolutely right. Any sort of
price on carbon in this country done unilaterally, whether by a carbon tax, as the Greens want, or
by an emissions trading scheme, will disadvantage Australian industry, will cost Australians both
through their hip pocket, because the whole thing is based on putting your electricity prices up.
The only way Labor can do what they want to do, either through a tax or a CPRS, is put energy
prices up. You will pay more in the hope that you will use less energy.

PENNY WONG: This was...

NICK MINCHIN: That's the whole basis of that whole thing and it will drive jobs offshore for sure.

TONY JONES: Okay.

PENNY WONG: Just two points. First, you raised the carbon leakage issue. We were very conscious of
that and the key policy question here is how do you support existing jobs whilst you create the new
ones, because it's undoubtedly the case that in the years to come, just as the world currently is
already placing a premium on low carbon goods and services, that will become increasingly important
for Australia to have those industries. But whilst we are developing those industries through
putting a price on carbon and our renewable energy target, which will quadruple the amount of
renewable energy in this country, you also have to work out how you support existing industries
through that transition. So that's the fundamental policy question. Nick wants to talk up the scare
campaign issue. He's at least been consistent on that. He forgets to remind...

NICK MINCHIN: (Indistinct)

PENNY WONG: No. No. No. No. No.

NICK MINCHIN: That's the reality.

PENNY WONG: It is also the policy that John Howard endorsed. Let's just remember that. So when
we...

NICK MINCHIN: The climate alarmists have run the scare campaign.

PENNY WONG: ...when we - I love that word "alarmist". We've just come out of the hottest decade in
Australia's history. You know, we've had the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO say that...

MULTIPLE PANEL MEMBERS TALK AT ONCE

TONY JONES: No, I'm sorry, but that it is actually a perfect time for me to interrupt.

PENNY WONG: No, I have ...

TONY JONES: No. No. Just...

PENNY WONG: You said...

TONY JONES: You...

PENNY WONG: I had two points I wanted to make. The other...

TONY JONES: I know, but you can make one at a time.

PENNY WONG: Well...

TONY JONES: You're watching Q&A, live and interactive, and if you'd like to ask a question, got to
our website - the address is on the screen - if you want to find out how to join the studio
audience or upload a video question, like this one from PhD science students Corri Baker and Hilary
Coleman in Adelaide:

CORRI BAKER & HILARY COLEMAN: This is our research lab. There are thousands of scientists working
in labs like this across the world, producing peer reviewed research, all calling for action on
climate change. Why do politicians continue to ignore the experts on climate change and refuse to
show leadership? What more are you waiting for scientists to do? And if you refuse to listen to the
facts, how can scientists engage over half the Australian electorate, who, according to polls,
don't believe that climate change is man-made and don't believe the urgency?

TONY JONES: Let's hear from John Symond on this.

JOHN SYMOND: You know...

TONY JONES: John, there you're hearing from a couple of young scientists very concerned. They say
politicians are not listening to scientists.

JOHN SYMOND: Yes.

PENNY WONG: And the second part was interesting, too.

JOHN SYMOND: I believe that we're all concerned about climate change but if Australia moves first
what real benefits are Australians going to get when, globally, no one else is doing anything about
it? If we can save $4 billion in the next year by waiting to see what the world's going to do,
let's but the $4 billion to health, to more pressing needs, housing problems, rather than jumping
in when in the overall scheme of things today and next year it isn't going to really impact on
Australia. If we are the one country out and we haven't got the big polluters, the big global
economies jumping in to do something about it, it could be wasted money. I'm sensitive to climate
change, as well, but, hey, timing is important and I don't believe if we haven't got the big
polluters, the big global economies jumping in to do something about it, it could be wasted money.
I'm sensitive to climate change, as well, but, hey, timing is important and I don't believe if we
haven't got the support of the big economies it could be money down the drain.

TONY JONES: Okay, Christine Milne?

CHRISTINE MILNE: I think that's a perfect illustration of the question the young scientists asked.
Why aren't you listening to what they're saying? They are telling us that we have to make deep cuts
and quickly.

JOHN SYMOND: Yeah.

CHRISTINE MILNE: And what you're saying is, no, let's not act till other people act and that's, in
fact, false, as well, because there is amazing action taking place all round the world, no more so
than in China, I have to say, and every day that we delay actual transformation in the Australian
economy taking up the new technologies, making these transitions is a day that other countries get
ahead of us in all those technologies. But the impacts on climate change are with us now.
(Indistinct)...

JOHN SYMOND: But why wasn't an agreement reached months ago when we've had thousands of delegates
over there and they couldn't come to any firm agreement?

CHRISTINE MILNE: Well, I tell you why, because the developed countries refused to...

PENNY WONG: Oh, come on, Christine.

CHRISTINE MILNE: ...take on the targets...

PENNY WONG: You know that's not true.

CHRISTINE MILNE: ...that they needed to take on...

JOHN SYMOND: Well, I disagree.

CHRISTINE MILNE: ...and didn't keep to the commitments they made on the Kyoto protocol.

JOHN SYMOND: Globally they decided not to act. Where is the value? We've got real pressing problems
in this country.

CHRISTINE MILNE: Absolutely.

JOHN SYMOND: We've got a housing affordability crisis. We've got health problems. Let's put the
money where best bang for our buck.

CHRISTINE MILNE: Well, they're all going to be made worse by climate change.

TONY JONES: Okay. Okay. I'm going to bring you back to the question and I'm going to take Nick
Minchin to the question. You hear two young scientists from your home town saying politicians like
you don't listen to science.

NICK MINCHIN: Well, we do listen to science, but with great respect to those two young scientists,
it's almost as though they haven't heard about the Climategate Scandal at East Anglia University.
It's almost as though...

AUDIENCE COLLECTIVELY GROAN

NICK MINCHIN: It happened. It happened. I'm sorry, where have you all been? There is a scandal
around the science associated with this. What we have seen out of East Anglia is a scandal and we
have seen scientists...

MULTIPLE AUDIENCE MEMBERS SPEAK

NICK MINCHIN: ...scientists manipulating data trying to bully people into not publishing their
material, warping and corrupting the whole peer review process. We've had a scandal through the
IPCC. We all saw Glaciergate, where they completely manipulated data, so, yes, we listen to
scientists but politicians have a duty to the country as a whole and John is exactly right, this
country produces 1.4 per cent of the worlds CO2 emissions and the government has now accepted, to
their credit, that it is ridiculous for Australia to act unilaterally, and I commend the government
on accepting our argument that we have to see what the rest of the world is doing.

TONY JONES: Okay...

NICK MINCHIN: Thank you, Penny.

PENNY WONG: Can I just...

TONY JONES: Yes, Penny Wong, this time, yes.

PENNY WONG: Thank you. I mean, Nick thinks climate change is some left wing conspiracy to
de-industrialise the western world. Now, which of the - frankly, if I...

NICK MINCHIN: Well, I didn't actually say that.

PENNY WONG: Well, pretty damn close, and so if I'm confronted with all the evidence from trusted
institutions, like the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO, pointing out the increase in warming
globally, pointing out that it is a 90 per cent likelihood that human activity is contributing to
it. We've just seen - is it Victoria - has had its hottest year in history. We've had Australia
come out of its hottest decade in history. Now, you might want to back the one in 10 chance that
they're all wrong. I don't think that's responsible. But I wanted very briefly, Tony, to respond to
Christine's comments. If we'd voted - if you'd voted with us instead of with Nick Minchin, you
would have locked in action.

CHRISTINE MILNE: No.

PENNY WONG: And the position of the Greens is a bit like...

CHRISTINE MILNE: We would have locked in coal fired power to 2020.

PENNY WONG: No, hang on, the position of the Greens is a bit like...

CHRISTINE MILNE: If not longer.

PENNY WONG: ...a social welfare advocacy group who say, "We want the aged pension but what you're
giving us is not enough so we're going to vote it down." That's really the analogy

CHRISTINE MILNE: No. No.

PENNY WONG: Because - because what we see in the United States, for example, is environmental
organisations backing the legislation that President Obama wanted, which would have delivered -
would deliver less cuts than the legislation you voted down.

TONY JONES: Let's...

CHRISTINE MILNE: I just want to respond. That's important...

TONY JONES: Yeah, very briefly and I want to hear from...

CHRISTINE MILNE: Well, very briefly...

TONY JONES: ...a couple of our audience members, many of whom have their hands up.

CHRISTINE MILNE: ...in the senate we have always voted for things which are marginally better. But
the reason we voted against the CPRS is it actually locks in investment in coal fired power beyond
2020 and prevents the kind of transformation that we need, and that's something that's been backed
up by City Investments. Elaine Pire has said that.

PENNY WONG: So what have we got now, Christine?

CHRISTINE MILNE: We've got that...

PENNY WONG: What have we got now?

CHRISTINE MILNE: We've got that situation where...

PENNY WONG: We've got nothing now.

CHRISTINE MILNE: ...we're not prepared to lock it in and today we are seeing this new coal fired
coal loader in Newcastle being opened. We've got the dig baby dig...

PAUL HOWES: It's good stuff.

CHRISTINE MILNE: ...you know, out there with the coal mines. We've got - and you're talking about
climate change. We are exporting so many greenhouse gas emissions by virtue of our coal exports and
the government doesn't want to talk about that.

PAUL HOWES: Why...

NICK MINCHIN: I wish you two lefties would stop fighting with each other.

PAUL HOWES: Why do you oppose...

NICK MINCHIN: It's very disturbing.

TONY JONES: Well, you do were doing a good job of fighting with both of them. Now, we've got a few
people with their hands up. Now, what we're looking for from you guys is comments, if we can,
because we can't take every one of you as questions. So we'll take this young man here first.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: This is a comment for Penny. It's great hearing your rhetoric on climate change,
but now that your government has delayed action on climate change, how do you see your position in
the cabinet?

TONY JONES: Indeed, I will take that as a comment. We'll get her to respond in a moment. The
gentleman just behind you in with the black t-shirt.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes, scepticism is really important in science but we need to be informed about
science, as well. We need to be able to be swayed. Our politicians also need to hear the questions
and the answers as they're put. I wonder also about smoking and its addictive properties and its
influence on carbon production.

TONY JONES: Okay. All right. Now, we've mentioned smoking and we do have a question within the
audience on that subject. It comes from Dana McMullen.

DANA MCMULLEN: My question is for Senator Minchin. Do you believe the Government's new anti-smoking
measures will improve the health of Australians, or do you still believe that smoking is not
addictive and that there's no evidence that passive smoking causes ill health?

PENNY WONG: She'd done some research on you.

NICK MINCHIN: Yes, you don't work for the Labor Party, do you?

MULTIPLE PANEL MEMBERS TALK AT ONCE

NICK MINCHIN: If I may...

TONY JONES: Yes, well, it is a question to you, so you may.

NICK MINCHIN: I thank you for your question. You're quoting from a senate report that I was part of
many moons ago.

TONY JONES: Yes, here's what you said in 1995...

NICK MINCHIN: You set her up.

TONY JONES: Not at all. Not at all.

PENNY WONG: He does that.

TONY JONES: Not at all.

PENNY WONG: He does that.

TONY JONES: But I did read in an article not so long ago...

PENNY WONG: 1995.

TONY JONES: ..."There's insufficient evidence to link passive smoking with adverse health effects."
Now, you did actually cite a study to back that up, a scientific study...

NICK MINCHIN: Yeah.

TONY JONES: ...by the Tobacco Institute of Australia.

NICK MINCHIN: A very selective quote. The point I was making was that that committee was not
charged with the question of investigating the medical circumstances of addiction. We were looking
at the tobacco industry. But, of course, selective quotes by the ABC always get me into trouble.
But, look, I am not a smoker. I've never smoked. I've tried to prevent my children smoking. Smoking
is a hideous habit, but I defend the right of smokers in a liberal, free, democratic country to
smoke. We all gotta choose our way to go. Everyone's going to die of something. If people choose to
die of smoking I, as a liberal, think, well, that's your problem, but go for it. I don't think...

JOHN SYMOND: But the government getting billions of dollars in revenue out of it, is that the
reason why ...

NICK MINCHIN: Well, this is the extraordinary thing. The government needed revenue quickly because
it's blown the budget, and it's grabbed smokers,

CHRISTINE MILNE: I know.

NICK MINCHIN: And this is a terrible tax. Cigarettes are the most heavily taxed product in
Australia already and what they've done is put on a regressive tax which hits low income earners
much more than anybody else, because it's a fixed tax, and it is a fact that people in lower
incomes smoke more. So it's a terrible tax, in my view. What they should be doing is trying to
encourage people not to smoke. They should subsidise Nicorettes and all these patches and things,
which they won't do, instead of just slugging poor old smokers every time they need money. I think
it's terrible.

TONY JONES: Okay. All right. Paul Howes, you're a smoker.

PAUL HOWES: No, I'm a occasional social smoker and I struggle with my addiction to it but I have
almost kicked it. I promise you, honey, I have. Thanks, Tony. And I represent - I represent the
workers who make cigarettes out at Matraville at British American Tobacco, but I support this tax
because ultimately - ultimately, whilst I do agree with you to a point, Nick, and I don't - I don't
agree with a nanny state, I don't agree with the government policing all activities from their
citizens, but I do believe that people who contribute to the health bill of this country through
their smoking.

CHRISTINE MILNE: Yes. Yes.

PAUL HOWES: Through their smoking...

NICK MINCHIN: But that's not right. They die early. They actually save us money.

CHRISTINE MILNE: Oh, come on. Oh, come on.

NICK MINCHIN: I tell you, that's the truth.

MULTIPLE PANEL MEMBERS AND AUDIENCE TALK AT ONCE

NICK MINCHIN: You're going to save us money.

TONY JONES: You're going to have to live with that quote. You're going to have to live with that
forever.

NICK MINCHIN: Well, I'm telling you they die early.

MULTIPLE PANEL MEMBERS AND AUDIENCE TALK AT ONCE

TONY JONES: All right. I'm sorry.

NICK MINCHIN: They save us a lot of money.

JOHN SYMOND: If smoking kills, it's a drug, why not just ban it.

TONY JONES: Okay, I'm sorry.

JOHN SYMOND: If smoking kills and it's a drug, why not just ban it? But governments reap -
governments are a big beneficiary of smoking.

PENNY WONG: Can I just - just one very quick comment, Tony. There's plenty of evidence that shows
that increasing the price of cigarettes reduced the number of people smoking.

CHRISTINE MILNE: That's right.

PENNY WONG: That's so.

TONY JONES: All right. Okay.

PENNY WONG: I mean, you can have an argument about these other matters but I think that is
undeniable, on the evidence.

TONY JONES: All right, we've got a few quotable quotes. We'll draw a line under that now. This is
Q&A, the program that gives you the chance to ask the questions you want answered. Our next
question comes from Lei Gao.

LEI GAO: Thank you, Tony. In the last week, Malcolm Turnbull decided to come back to politics, and
saying that he will keep supporting an ETS scheme. Do you think Turnbull's strong support of the
ETS will bring another disunity problem to the Liberal Party in the future and between the Liberal
Party and the National Party?

TONY JONES: Nick Minchin?

NICK MINCHIN: Well, I assume that Malcolm has decided to come back because he actually does believe
that Tony Abbott can win the next election and he wants to be part of...

MULTIPLE PANEL MEMBERS AND AUDIENCE TALK AT ONCE

NICK MINCHIN: And, you know, I think Malcolm could well be right.

PAUL HOWES: Your faith is misplaced.

PENNY WONG: You almost said that with a straight face.

MULTIPLE PANEL MEMBERS TALK AT ONCE

NICK MINCHIN: Look, I'm not sure what Malcolm currently thinks about emissions trading. I would
hope that if he's prepared to stand as a liberal candidate at the next election, he does understand
that we no longer support emissions trading and, in fact, I've got to say I think support for
emissions trading as a solution to this issue is disappearing around the world. The godfather of
anthropogenic global warming theory, James Hanson, has himself come out and said emissions trading
is not the way to go. I actually pay the Greens some credit. If you believe all this stuff, which I
don't, you would be advocating a carbon tax and nuclear power and the fact the Labor Party doesn't
support either of those things shows how hollow their view on this is. So at least...

TONY JONES: I think we're talking about Malcolm Turnbull, oddly enough.

NICK MINCHIN: Oh, were we?

TONY JONES: Now, I'm going to throw it to John Symond. You're actually in his electorate.

JOHN SYMOND: I am and I have great admiration for Malcolm during his professional life, his
business life, but unfortunately I don't think Malcolm has it to cut politics and my concern for
Malcolm going in there - I think the Liberals stand a great chance of losing that seat. Malcolm,
unfortunately, has been very divisive...

TONY JONES: That's not conventional wisdom but you're worried about him being divisive?

JOHN SYMOND: No, just for himself to be humiliated because, you know, I can understand the
frustrations. To be a politician you've got to be patient and you've got to be able to play the
game. Now, I myself - I wouldn't have that patience either. Malcolm hasn't got it but he won his
seat by 50.3 per cent of the votes and I think, with what's gone on, he stands a good chance of
losing that seat for the Liberals. I don't think it's a good move for the Liberals. I don't think
it's a good career move for Malcolm.

TONY JONES: Just very quickly, Nick Minchin, you didn't exactly welcome him back, did you, with
open arms?

NICK MINCHIN: Well, look, I disagree with John. I actually think Malcolm, from a Liberal point of
view, is the best prospect of us holding Wentworth, without question. You're much better off going
with the sitting member, who is well known and I think Malcolm will retain that seat and he's out
best chance of retaining it. I have said that I thought Malcolm did the honourable thing in
deciding not to run because of his apparent belief in emissions trading schemes, which we don't now
support, and because he doesn't support our new policy on carbon emission reductions and I can only
presume that he now doesn't support emissions trading and does support our new policy and if that's
the case I welcome him back.

TONY JONES: No, in fact, he said he does support emissions trading, as far as I understand it.

NICK MINCHIN: Oh, is that right?

TONY JONES: So...

NICK MINCHIN: Well, that's not consistent with Liberal Party policy.

TONY JONES: Let me just ask you this: in order to stop what could be a Malcolm Turnbull leadership
in the future, would you consider reversing your retirement decision, as well?

NICK MINCHIN: The one thing I can say...

PENNY WONG: Scoop, here on Q&A.

NICK MINCHIN: ...is I will not be changing my decision.

TONY JONES: All right.

NICK MINCHIN: I'm out.

CHRISTINE MILNE: Well, I think that's (indistinct)...

TONY JONES: I'm sorry you got a huge round of applause for that. All right, our next question, and
we're going to move on to the Henry Tax Review again. It comes from Reinilda Delima.

REINILDA DELIMA: The Henry Tax Review proposes many bright ideas and grand vision but the
government is just taking baby steps by choosing a small part of the recommendations. Is the
government afraid of taking big steps for fear of losing long-term power?

TONY JONES: I'm going to throw that back to John Symond, because you did start to talk about this
earlier and I cut you off but here's a question.

JOHN SYMOND: I think it's a great opportunity missed by the Labor Government.

CHRISTINE MILNE: Me too.

JOHN SYMOND: Why not help low income families; honest, hardworking, low income families? Why not
help the backbone of Australia's small business instead of being strangled by paperwork, paying
payroll tax and all the rest of it and why not do something about solving the housing affordability
crisis? The great Aussie dream is a nightmare. I don't want my kids, your kids, or our future
generations having to buy a house that costs a million dollars. There's over 100 suburbs in Sydney
that a medium price is over a million dollars. In Melbourne it's over 60 suburbs and the problem is
not just the government bungling at state levels and local levels in not giving the orderly supply
of land to build homes on - that causes a shortage, that pushes prices up. It's also the cost of
doing that. You know, when I was a kid the cost of connecting services were paid by our taxes.
Today in metro areas up to $150,000 in effective taxes on the cost of connecting services to a
block, instead of going 40 kilometres out of Sydney as an example, a block of land is really only
worth $100,000. First home buyers pay 250,000, then they've got to borrow money to build a house on
that and we wonder why Australians are better spenders than savers. The consumer debt in the last
20 years has gone up 400 per cent nationally and 500 per cent in New South Wales in the ACT. And
what makes it worse, first home buyers are the most inexperienced in handling money and the most
prone for change. They go out there, they borrow 3, 4, $500,000. No experience. If I had my way I
would insist that all high school have financial literacy as an absolute compulsory subject because
they go out and a few years later borrowing 4 or 500,000, which is an absolute...

TONY JONES: John, I've got to interrupt you there, because it started with a question about the
Henry Tax Review and...

JOHN SYMOND: Well (indistinct)...

TONY JONES: But no, no, no. No, I'm not...

JOHN SYMOND: ...(indistinct) taxes and give incentivised savings.

PENNY WONG: Well, I'll talk about that.

TONY JONES: Yes. Right, this is what I wanted to ask you.

JOHN SYMOND: And they've (indistinct).

TONY JONES: So the issues that weren't addressed in the Henry Tax Review that you think should have
been addressed to deal with housing affordability, quickly.

JOHN SYMOND: Ken Henry made a very important statement in his review. The importance of home
ownership is not just disciplined savings. You know, it creates a nest egg for pensioners who don't
generate an income and it keeps the fabric of society together. Financial stress is still the
number one reason for marriage breakdowns and I know how bad it is. Let me tell you, I lost my home
20 years ago and my family breakup was a result and it's not good. The good thing out of that,
Aussie Home Loans was born out of that because I understood - no, I understood - I, like tens of
thousands of Australians, went through a terrible time. So I think the government needs to
understand. They are very keen on reaping tens of billions of dollars every year out of land taxes,
stamp duties and capital gains, but what have they done in terms of the tax overhaul to incentivise
people to save but, no, they've walked past it.

TONY JONES: Penny Wong, I'm going to come to you in a minute but Christine Milne also indicated she
saw holes in the response.

CHRISTINE MILNE: I thought there was a real opportunity for the government here to radically
transform the taxation system. After all, the biggest problems facing the planet today are
overpopulation and, indeed, resource extraction and the climate change and peak oil and so on, so
there's a really big opportunity to look at a tax system that takes the tax burden away from jobs
and employment, away from Labor productivity and shifts it onto waste and inefficient use of
resources and over consumption and there's not one word in the government's response to the Henry
Tax Review on looking at those issues, looking at things like a congestion tax in our cities, which
Ken Henry recommended, looking at issues around getting rid of the fringe benefits tax, the fuel
tax credit system. There was a whole opportunity to shift those taxes to create strength by
reducing payroll tax - you know, all those things are really good for jobs and for transformation
and getting that tax on where we are wasting money and inefficient use of our resources and that
hasn't happened and I'm really disappointed about that.

TONY JONES: Paul Howes, are the union movement generally pleased that the government effectively
picked or cherry picked a tiny group of recommendations to go with, which all look, frankly, as if
they're targeted to the next election?

PAUL HOWES: I don't really care about how many things they miss. I care about what they did pick
and I'm very pleased they picked superannuation, because it's something that we've been pushing for
for the last 10 years to get some action on finally getting adequacy built into the superannuation
guarantee. Twelve per cent isn't enough but it's a lot better than where we were. We need 15 per
cent. I mean, a worker needs to enter the workforce at the age of 25 and earn 15 per cent of
superannuation for their entire working life to have adequate retirement savings and the reality is
with an aging population and having less and less taxpayers into the future with a bigger and
bigger retired population, we need people to be self-funded retirees. Superannuation also builds a
huge national savings pool, and there's 1.3 trillion dollars, at the moment, sitting in
superannuation funds and anything that we can do - and I was very pleased to see the government
move on the superannuation guarantee, because it's the first time since 1992 that we've had a
concrete plan put in place by a Federal Government to increase the superannuation guarantee.

TONY JONES: Okay, Nick Minchin, briefly and then I want to hear from Penny Wong.

NICK MINCHIN: Well, just briefly, look, what the government announced yesterday was not tax reform.
They took two of the 138 recommendations of Henry and implemented them. I mean, they haven't got
rid of any taxes. All they've done is put in a big new tax on one particular industry, so it's
certainly not tax reform by any measure and, indeed, talking about the compulsory superannuation
guarantee, that's the one thing that the Henry Review recommended against doing, and that is
actually going to be a $20 billion a year hit on business and it will be paid for by workers,
because workers are going to get less wage increases as a result, by definition.

TONY JONES: Okay.

PAUL HOWES: Nick, Nick...

MULTIPLE PANEL MEMBERS TALK AT ONCE

PAUL HOWES: Sorry, Tony, but that is - in '92 to 2002 we went from zero to 9 per cent
superannuation guarantee. Zero to nine.

PENNY WONG: That's right.

PAUL HOWES: During that period the unemployment went down and real wages went up, now you should
know that because it was the mantra of your government. Real wages going up because most of the
time that the superannuation guarantee was going up it was during your government...

NICK MINCHIN: You can't put a $20 billion tax on business.

TONY JONES: Okay. All right. No. No. No.

MULTIPLE PANEL MEMBERS TALK AT ONCE

TONY JONES: Okay. All right. No, we've got a little time left and I'm going to leave it to the
government.

PENNY WONG: I'll be very, very quick. I'll be very quick. Nick...

TONY JONES: You can make two points.

PENNY WONG: I'm going to make three now.

NICK MINCHIN: No, we're running out of time, see.

PENNY WONG: No, I mean, Nick says it's not tax reform, but he's going to oppose it anyway. I don't
think you should underestimate the significance of this step. This is about delivering additional
national savings. I think it will add some $85 billion to our national savings in the decade ahead.
It is about delivering for Australians by increasing the superannuation guarantee. There are a lot
of other things in Henry and what Wayne Swan has made very clear, this is the first wave. It is a
very substantial step but there are a range of other reforms in there that do require further
consideration and discussion down the track. But don't underestimate the significance of this. An
increase in national savings, increase in superannuation, increase in infrastructure and a
reduction in the corporate tax rate with a particular focus on early assistance for small business.
These are very significant reforms and they're about sharing the benefits of the mining boom more
fairly amongst all Australians.

TONY JONES: Okay, well, we have run out of time. I'm sorry, it always happens. Please thank our
panellists, John Symond, Penny Wong, Nick Minchin, Christine Milne and Paul Howes. Okay. On Q&A
next Monday, we'll be joined by Beijing based technology and politics commentator Kaiser Kuo, who
favours net censorship; online activist and founder head of GetUp Brett Solomon, who has gone to
New York, where he's championing internet freedom; and the Minister for Home Affairs Brendan
O'Connor; the Shadow Minister for Innovation Sophie Mirabella; and controversial Melbourne
columnist Helen Razer. We'll leave you tonight with a political animation from Chris Voigt. Good
night.