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Q And A -

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TONY JONES: Good evening and welcome to Q &A live from Dandenong's Drum Theatre. I'm Tony Jones.
Answering your questions tonight: former Howard Government Workplace Relations and Defence Minister
Peter Reith; Cabinet Secretary and Local Labor MP Mark Dreyfus; Dandenong comedian and actor Diana
Nguyen; local Sudanese youth leader Victor Victor; Shadow Industry Minister Sophie Mirabella; and
the President of the ACTU Ged Kearney. Please welcome our panel.

Okay, Q&A is live from 9.35 Easter Time. It's simulcast on News 24, New Radio and streaming at
Australia Network so go to our website to send a question or join the Twitter conversation, as
usual, using the hash tag on your screen. Well, tonight, in fact, we're from Dandenong in the outer
suburbs of Melbourne. This area has been a magnet for new arrivals. It's home to people from 151
countries, with more than half the population from non-English-speaking backgrounds. Dandenong is
also the manufacturing heartland of Victoria. As the economy shifts, so do many jobs and
unemployment here is double the national average. Let's go first to politics and a question from
Jonathon Barreiro.

GILLARD - TRUST00:01:40

JONATHON BARREIRO: Given that the Prime Minister has stood by Craig Thomson for months before the
weekend and that she made Peter Slipper the Speaker, isn't it too late to ensure public respect for
the Parliament and for the PM? Is a leadership change before the next election inevitable?

TONY JONES: Ged Kearney, you first.

GED KEARNEY: Look, I kind of get the Prime Minister taking some time to consider what she did. You
know, she talked constantly...

TONY JONES: It's quite a long time.

GED KEARNEY: It was a long time, I agree, and like everybody else actually I was frustrated by it
and I'm sure everybody here was frustrated by it. You know, she did talk about having respect for
our statutory institutions. I think that's important. She talked a lot about innocence before being
proven guilty. I think that's important but I guess, in hindsight, you know, and it's a wonderful
thing hindsight, she might have done it a bit differently and perhaps controlled a bit of the
maelstrom that has engulfed the Government. Hopefully these things that we've waited for so long
might actually come to fruition now. We might be able to get on with doing what this minority
government, in a way, has done very well. You know we've had some very good, progressive policies.
They might actually leave some space for really true debate about that now, I'm hoping.

TONY JONES: Now, the future of the union movement is bound up in the Labor Government which,
according to the polls, is headed for electoral oblivion. So to go to the rest of that question, at
what point does your instinct for survival overcome loyalty to a failing leader?

GED KEARNEY: Well, I actually disagree with that entirely. You know the union movement has a very
strong, firm independent agenda and as the President of the ACTU it's my job to make sure that
agenda is loud and clear and is heard and is actually respected by not only the Government, a Labor
Government, but all governments: the Greens and Independents, even the Liberal Party, who have
never ever really expected workers' rights. I'm going to give it a go, I'm here to tell you. Get it
out there.

TONY JONES: So you'd stand against a leadership challenge, would you, or you'd argue against one?

GED KEARNEY: I think the last thing they need now is a leadership challenge. I think we really need
to see everybody just settle down, take a deep breath and get on with some decent policy and let's
have some decent debate in this country.

TONY JONES: Let's go to the other end of the panel: Peter Reith.

PETER REITH: Well, I mean, quite frankly it's a joke to say that, oh, you know, within hindsight,
you know, we could have done better. I mean the fact is the day that she picked Slipper to put him
into the Speaker's chair everybody knew that he would be bad news for Labor. Labor people
themselves were saying "He's got a shocking record, why are we promoting the guy?" I mean this is
not a question of hindsight. She did it for one reason only: she did it to save her own neck and,
let's face it, in the last few days why did she move, after all these years, what three years with
the HSU and knowing what Slipper was like all along? Well, simply because she realised that people
like Shorten are starting to line up against her and, you know, it's all clear as the day. To
answer the question: should there be a leadership challenge? Well we don't know that obviously but
should there be an election? Well I think the Australian people would like to make a decision,
clean up the mess and make a fresh start and I think they deserve to.

TONY JONES: Mark Dreyfus.

MARK DREYFUS: Well, what we've just heard from Peter Reith is what you expect to hear from Peter
Reith, which is...

PETER REITH: Well, good.

MARK DREYFUS: ...more political - no, seriously, more political tactics and all of this has been
political tactics and I think we can actually just reflect back a bit. I've got an example sitting
right next to me which shows that this has been about political tactics. Peter Reith, of course,
was involved in what was known as the Telecard Affair...

PETER REITH: Yeah.

MARK DREYFUS: ...about ten years back and just to put this in a bit of perspective, while serious
allegations of misuse of entitlements costing the taxpayers $50,000 were investigated, Peter Reith
did not stand down from the Ministry. Peter Reith did continue to cast his vote in the parliament
and...

TONY JONES: Okay, well, I'm going to stop you there because at least Peter Reith deserves the right
to respond to that. I mean, it's true that you didn't are the principles now different for Slipper
and Thomson?

PETER REITH: No, I don't think they are, actually. I don't want to go into all the details
obviously but just - you know, just to give people some information I was not aware what was
happening and the only way I found out about it was because Telstra rang me and said "Look, there's
fraud on this card. We've told the Department but they won't do anything about it." So I was the
one that called the investigation. But to go to the politics, the fact is that, leaving aside the
legal processes, from a political point of view if the person's conduct is causing sufficient
damage to the Government, governments in the past where the ministers or anybody else have been
prepared to move them and in this particular case it is a bit different, it's a case of the Speaker
doing damage to the Parliament and in my view that is the reason why Gillard should still move
against Slipper. She's kept him and I think it's inappropriate (indistinct).

TONY JONES: Okay, I'm going to go back to Mark Dreyfus.

PETER REITH: Yeah.

TONY JONES: And I'll just pick up on what you were saying before: political tactics. It's all about
political tactics. I presume you mean on both sides.

MARK DREYFUS: No, I'm saying these are attacks, this frenzy that's been drummed up is all political
tactics. We've had (indistinct)...

TONY JONES: But it was - but wasn't it - well, can I interrupt there? Wasn't it political tactics
for the Prime Minister to publicly support Craig Thomson for such a long time and then suddenly to
cast him to the wind?

MARK DREYFUS: The Prime Minister was quite right and other members of the Parliament are quite
right to observe the presumption of innocence here.

TONY JONES: Until now?

MARK DREYFUS: Peter Reith - we are continuing to preserve the presumption of innocence because all
that is...

HIS HONOUR: So why has he been - why has been suspended from party membership?

MARK DREYFUS: Because of the potential damage to institution of Parliament, which I happen to think
is a very important institution. All that we've had...

PETER REITH: But he's still the speaker.

MARK DREYFUS: Well, if you just...

PETER REITH: He's still getting 300 grand a year.

MARK DREYFUS: Well, the question was about Craig Thomson. They are two separate members of the
Australian Parliament. They are...

PETER REITH: Well, they're both in the same camp, mate. They're both in your camp.

TONY JONES: Which really complicates...

MARK DREYFUS: And this is...

TONY JONES: Which really complicates...

MARK DREYFUS: This is Peter Reith interrupting me...

TONY JONES: ...your tactics.

MARK DREYFUS: It doesn't at all.

PETER REITH: Your political tactics, that is.

MARK DREYFUS: It doesn't. He's not going to let me get a word in here. We've got an Opposition here
that wants to play political tactics. We've got an Opposition that, since the last election, which
it doesn't accept the result of, has been trying to get an election in Australia and we are
governing in this Parliament that the Australian people elected and the reason why the Prime
Minister was right to act is that we need to put these distractions to one side so that we can get
back to what the people of Australia want us to do, which is govern the country, get the Parliament
back to doing what it's meant to do, which is make laws and assist in the governing of the country,
and get on to things like the Budget next week. That's what matters.

TONY JONES: Okay. All right. All right.

GED KEARNEY: Yeah, let's talk about that.

TONY JONES: I'm just going to hear from Sophie Mirabella and then we'll go to our next question.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: It's extraordinary that public opinion again is being trashed and you're calling
it a frenzy, Mark. The fact is everyone out there knows that the only magnet for the Prime
Minister's moral compass is her own political survival and keeping her own job. Her change of mind
overnight wasn't due to some epiphany on her way back from Turkey. It has everything to do with
damage to her position as Prime Minister and her longevity in that position. It's got nothing to do
for respect of the Parliament. It has everything to do with politics and, Ged, I can understand why
you and other trade union movement leaders are conflicted because you're both members of the Labor
Party and supposed to represent the workers. Now, what happens when the Government does something
that is very damaging to the rights of workers but you have to go and protect the Prime Minister
that you support, there is a conflict?

GED KEARNEY: Hey that a bit rich. That's a bit rich, Sophie saying that - you know talking about
damaging to workers. We've had a Government, a Liberal Government, for many years that took away
just about every single right...

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: What's happening now with the carbon tax?

GED KEARNEY: Every single right that workers ever won.

PETER REITH: Yeah, and people had the highest wages they've had in the - in decades.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: But, Ged, don't get defensive.

TONY JONES: Okay, I'm going to keep to the subject.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Sure.

TONY JONES: And you mentioned the Prime Minister returned from Gallipoli. Well, I suppose, at
least, she would have discovered you can survive a tactical retreat.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Well, I mean, it's interesting. Well, Tony, it's interesting that the Labor Party
talks about the presumption of innocence. It was the Prime Minister's Fair Work Act in section 361
that reverses the onus of proof and the application from the former Slipper staffer is under these
provisions. So you might want to have a look at those provisions, Mark, before trying desperately
to reach into the depths of a former government and a former minister.

MARK DREYFUS: Can I just say, in answer to Tony, Sophie...

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: I think it's really...

TONY JONES: Can I say to the politicians, former politicians...

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: I think it - yeah.

TONY JONES: ...and union leaders, we've got a couple of civilians here and I desperately - just
quickly, watching this - watching this mess, what do you think?

DIANA NGUYEN: I can say politics is a circus that I don't want to be involved in. What I want to
say is I think as a nation we should support Julia Gillard. I think we've been slamming her for too
long and she needs to get the job done and we can't do with her support. So girl power. Go girl.

TONY JONES: Victor?

VICTOR VICTOR: Yes.

TONY JONES: What do you think about this whole thing?

VICTOR VICTOR: I know very little about politician but what I know is that it has taken a very long
time for, what do you call it, the Labor Government to oversee what has been going on, especially
with, what do you call it, the Slipper incident and there has been since he has had sexual assault
- sexual harassment since 2003 and has been...

TONY JONES: It's your bad, legal bad so we'll fix that. Sexual harassment, good.

VICTOR VICTOR: Yeah, but what I'm saying is that the comparison, how come he gets to get away with
all these years while another citizen doesn't really gets away with it? Is it because he's in the
Government and we're just civilians?

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: That's right.

VICTOR VICTOR: So...

TONY JONES: I think a lot of people are asking that question.

MARK DREYFUS: Well, that was the point at which Sophie needed to remind herself that she's not the
prosecutor, I'm not counsel for the defence. You, the audience, are not the jury. This matter is
before the Federal Court of Australia and it's yet to be resolved. So it's not about getting away
with it. It's not about getting away with it.

TONY JONES: So can I...

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: What happened overnight, Mark? What happened overnight, Mark? What happened
overnight.

MARK DREYFUS: It's about - it's about...

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: What happened to the line? Can you explain it to us? We're all waiting to
understand what happened that changed the Prime Minister's mind? Was it that people are starting to
say Labor Party backbenchers who are embarrassed and disgraced out there in the community saying
the smell test is telling us this Government's smelling really badly. Prime Minister do something?

MARK DREYFUS: I know you'd like to have the whole of this program on these distractions. I know
you'd like to have the whole of Australia's political debate taken over by these distractions but
we want to get back to the business of government.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: You've created these distractions.

MARK DREYFUS: We want to talk to the Australian people. I didn't create these distractions and nor
did we...

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: No, your government - Julia Gillard's poor judgment has...

MULTIPLE SPEAKERS TALK AT ONCE

TONY JONES: Okay. Okay. Okay. All right. Hold on.

MARK DREYFUS: Sophie's proving my point that she wants to talk about the distractions. We want to
talk about the important things to Australia. We want to talk about the things that matter. We want
to talk about the Budget that's coming next week, which is going to get our Budget back into
surplus, create the right settings for lower interest rates. We want to talk about the National
Disability Insurance Scheme that the Prime Minister announced today.

TONY JONES: You'll get your chance but I just want to, just to end this, Peter Reith, I believe you
have a slightly interesting legal view about whether Slipper can or cannot be taken out of that
job?

PETER REITH: Well, I've made some inquiries today from people who know about these things and it is
interesting to know that there is no precedent for a Speaker standing aside. There is no provision
under the constitution for such an arrangement. There is no legal arrangement by which he can stand
aside and have provided $300,000 plus salary. It's a situation we've never had before and the point
of that is is that if it's not provided for at law there is a constitutional question as to whether
or not this fix that Julia Gillard's organised on the weekend can, in fact, continue. You see, he's
the Speaker and he will be the Speaker tomorrow. He will be the Speaker after the 8th of May and
there's nothing to say that he can't just walk back into the Parliament any day that suits him. The
fact is there are a lot of loose ends. She's just gone off at a tangent to try to fix her...

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

PETER REITH: ...political problem but there's a very important legal issue and I think it's time we
had the Attorney-General get some proper legal advice, make it public so we know whether or not
this fix is, in fact, legal under our constitution.

TONY JONES: Okay, very briefly legal or not legal. Mark Dreyfus, do you know the answer?

MARK DREYFUS: I know Peter Reith has been out of the Parliament a long time. The standing orders
provide that when the Speaker is not there...

PETER REITH: No.

MARK DREYFUS: ...the Deputy Speaker is to act and she will be acting until such time as the Speaker
returns.

TONY JONES: All right.

MARK DREYFUS: And I repeat this is a matter that needs to have due process and until it's resolved
by a court then none of us here should be making judgments about it. The whole of the Opposition's
tactics, Peter's tactics here tonight, Sophie as well, is to find someone guilty before they have
their day in court...

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Oh, that's rubbish, Mark.

MARK DREYFUS: ...and we stand against that.

TONY JONES: Okay. All right.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: That's silly.

TONY JONES: Let's move on. This is Q&A. It's live from Dandenong, the manufacturing...

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: You're embarrassing yourself.

TONY JONES: ...multicultural heart of Melbourne. Our next question tonight is from Fawaz Ateen.

FAIR GO FOR REFUGEES AT WORK00:14:45

FAWAZ ATEEN: As an immigrant I'm grateful to Australia every day for accepting me. Every time I see
new boat arrivals or people behind tall wires in detention, I feel their heartache since I have
been there. My question to the panel: why doesn't fair go apply in the workplace? I see many people
frustrated on not finding jobs, despite being fully qualified, and in the meantime employees and
the Government are crying foul that the job rate is high and there are thousands and thousands of
jobs available.

TONY JONES: Diana Nguyen, is there a fair go in the workplace for people from immigrant
backgrounds?

DIANA NGUYEN: I think it's a difficult journey for anyone who has just come to a new country and
trying to find work and it's hard with job losses as are happening in the moment. But I'm not
really confident discussing this question.

TONY JONES: Yeah. Victor, can I ask you. You've actually had some experience of this because your
own family have had problems being qualified but not being able to get work in Australia?

VICTOR VICTOR: Yes, I had uncles and aunties who qualified back where I'm from, Sudan that is of
course. There are some of them were doctors, nurses, lawyers who work in the banks but then when we
come to a new country such as Australia here, all of a sudden the qualification is not recognised
anymore. So we have to start from scratch. So imagine for an older person here starting from
scratch, learning English, having to go to school, learning accounting and all these things all
over again but they already have these skills so personally I see what's the whole use if you have
got your qualification? Why can't you just - can't we just teach these people the language of
English and then so that the qualification can be recognised so we actually see that, what do you
call it, what they have done in the past can be done in Australia here as well so personally...

TONY JONES: Ged Kearney, do you - I mean listening to this and our questioner, do you think well,
and bearing in mind the unemployment rate here, with so many immigrants, is nearly double what it
is in metropolitan Melbourne, what is going on here? Are immigrants getting a fair go, as that
person asked, in the workplace?

GED KEARNEY: Yeah, I think Fawaz asks a really important question and I know that when I was
nursing I actually worked in the area of nursing education and we would get thousands of
applications from nurses overseas wanting to come here with their qualifications and I did
recognise that the barriers were really, really high for them and yet there was very little support
here, even though we needed health professionals. We were screaming out for them. There was very
little support here in Australia to help them reach that bar. So I do think he's quite right. There
is a link missing there and there are a lot of people, we recognise here, with qualifications who
would like to work back in those areas of speciality but they're finding the barriers that exist
for them to actually get there are high. So, yeah, I think that's an area we really need to focus
on and it's something that we could do to improve participation and employment. There's no doubt.

TONY JONES: Sophie Mirabella?

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Well there are always challenges for new arrivals to this country, particularly
if their country has been through difficult time, different cultural backgrounds and language
issues. I think we do have a very good resettlement program in Australia and what we do need to do
is focus on that intensive support when people do arrive. Obviously professional bodies do have
certain qualifications and standards and they need to be satisfied but they're always open to
review.

TONY JONES: I'm just going to go up there. We've got a person with his hand up. Yep, go ahead.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Just to add to the discussion. The problem is it's not people coming from other
countries with qualification. They are people from migrant background who are graduate in Australia
and they cannot even get a fair go of getting a job, though they actually qualify or recognised in
Australia. My question is why do employers, even the government fear to hire people from African
background and what can the government do to utilise these resourceful graduate who are capable of
contributing to the current growth of our nation, Australia?

TONY JONES: Okay, I'm just going to go back to Victor for that. Do you think that's true? Are
employers reluctant to hire people from African backgrounds?

VICTOR VICTOR: Yes, I do believe that is true. Indeed because I myself has been in that, what do
you call it experience like for years I've been trying to look for jobs around area. I could not
find. Right now I have a job that is 25 minutes away drive from where I live, which makes it very
difficult and I believe that the problem is that because these graduates, they're not recognised
and they're not getting a fair go, especially the ones who are from African background, is because
that what the image has portrayed upon us Africans for coming to this country, you know, we are
from war torn background, we are this, we are that, we're that, we're that and all of a sudden when
we want to apply for a job, get a job, no, his name - his name is what do you call it, his name is
Deng or I cannot pronounce his name. I'm not quite sure if he will be qualified for this job. So
it's very hard and without giving us a fair go into that workplace you never know what skills we
can bring to this country. And I know lots of people who have lots of highly qualified skills but,
you know, if you guys are not giving us a fair go into this Australian society, you know, a fair go
for everyone, you know.

TONY JONES: Let's...

DIANA NGUYEN: Can I say...

TONY JONES: Yes, go on, Diana, and then I will bring in the local member.

DIANA NGUYEN: So I work in community development and we get a lot of work experience young people
coming through our organisation and the Sudanese young people who want to contribute back to the
community, so they do disability or community development. What's strange thing is there is a need
for disability workers in Melbourne but they can't get a job here so some of my friends they've
actually now moved to the Northern Territory and they get jobs there and they get higher jobs than
I do entitled.

TONY JONES: So what do you think is going on here? Have you thought about it?

DIANA NGUYEN: I have.

TONY JONES: And what do you think?

DIANA NGUYEN: I think we need to do I think we know what it is and we need to change that.

TONY JONES: What do you think it is?

GED KEARNEY: You can say it.

TONY JONES: Are you suggesting it might be racism?

DIANA NGUYEN: It is. I think it is racism and I think, you know, why do people need to move to the
Northern Territory for work when there is a need in Melbourne? Yep. And people I see, they talk to
me and tell me what's going on.

TONY JONES: Was that part of your experience 30 years ago or so as an Indo-Chinese or your parents
coming here?

MARK DREYFUS: I don't think Diana's quite 30.

TONY JONES: No. No. Was that was your parents' experience 30 years ago?

DIANA NGUYEN: I think with the same community, the Vietnamese community, when they came out here,
it was the same situation. It was a lot of refugees coming through with limited skills, a lot of
skills that people weren't willing to give them jobs but the good thing about the Vietnamese
community is that we're very self reliant and we've created our own businesses and you can see it
from the hubs in Melbourne, Dandenong, Springvale, Footscray, Richmond. We've worked together to
build our own community and I think, you know, we would have liked the opportunity with that help
but, you know, we've done it on our own. I think that's what's great about the Vietnamese
community.

TONY JONES: I'm going to - we'll come to everyone else. I've got a related question in the audience
and it's Dave Simpson.

JOBS FOR AUSTRALIANS00:22:25

DAVE SIMPSON: Good evening, panel. My question is why today, with the high number of unemployed,
especially in Dandenong being 12% currently I read, why do we have a leader of the Australian
Government suggesting that we bring in migrants to this country to replace our jobs which we're
struggling to keep ourselves? Why don't we put our finances into improving programs for the skills
of our own people and keeping our families growing?

TONY JONES: Okay, we'll, first of all we'll go to Mark Dreyfus.

MARK DREYFUS: Well, just to answer Dave's question directly, I don't think any Australian
Government has ever thought that there is a direct equivalence between new immigrants coming to
this country - and we are a nation of immigrants and I can say that particularly here in Dandenong
- and jobs that are available. There is a shortage of skills in many industries in this country and
part of the immigration program is directed to filling those skills and all Australian governments,
all political parties have always accepted that. And part of the immigration program is about
family reunion. I know this was something of particular concern to the Vietnamese community. You
always get it when you've got a wave of immigration and then later there will be a desire for
family reunion. We can do both. The present Government of Australia has worked incredibly hard at
improving the skills of the Australian work force because our aim is a high skilled economy with
reasonable wages for all Australians. And that's why we've created 130,000 training places. 100,000
additional students are now in university compared to 2007 and 750,000 jobs have been created since
Labor came to power in 2007.

TONY JONES: So what have you identified as happening here in Dandenong, where clearly you've got
double the rate of unemployment of the rest of the country or at least of the nearest city, plus
you've got a very high rate of youth unemployment here. In fact among Sudanese it's 39%.

MARK DREYFUS: And I think Diana touched on it partially in her answer, which is to say that we've
had, here in Dandenong, successive waves of different immigrant groups over many decades. This
place stated as a little village, farming village, in the 19th century and over the years
particularly in the latter part of the 20th century it's seen different ethnic communities arrive
and many of them, as Diana mentioned, have found it difficult, at least initially, to get work, to
settle in but they do settle and this is a fantastic place as a result. As you said in your
introduction, we've got 150 nationalities plus in Dandenong, more than 200 languages being spoken
and there is a tremendous sense of harmony in this community. And I'm not saying there's not a bit
of racism. There is and that's why we have laws against discrimination that are designed to make
sure that every worker in the community gets a fair go and I'm not saying it's easy, either. It
takes time but over time what we all know, the Vietnamese community is a terrific example of it,
the communities settle in, have got appropriate rates of employment, start businesses as Diana
said, but always with the most recently arrived community there's sometimes some problems and
that's what's really happening.

TONY JONES: Okay, let's go to Peter Reith. You wanted to get in.

PETER REITH: Well, I think the - some of the issues that have been raised, racism and skills, are
obviously relevant to the unemployment rate but there are also wider policy positions which affect
this and when you think of it from the point of view of the employer, you know, governments should
have programs which basically say to employers we want you to give somebody a job, we want to make
it easy for you to give somebody a job and the truth is that in that regard, I'll take one issue,
which is a big issue for the small business community, a lot of them don't want to give somebody a
job because they think they'll end up having to pay unfair dismissal go away money. Now, I think we
should do something about that. For small business and for larger business, many of them have to
pay payroll tax. So they give somebody a job. What's their reward? Well, they've got to pay tax to
the Government. Personally, I think we should get rid of payroll tax. It's a big call but I think
it's something we need to do.

TONY JONES: Peter Reith, the rest of the country has a very low level unemployment and the same
laws apply there. Can I just go - well, just to respond to that, I'll go to Ged Kearney.

GED KEARNEY: You know, I always find it amazing that whenever there's a problem the Liberal Party
turns to a way that they either - is easy for you to drop wages, get rid of penalty rates, sack
someone, it seems to be their first port of call to every problem when life is much more
complicated than that, you know. You remember how it was under the Howard Government, how easy it
was to get sacked. You remember those wonderful Tracy ads where just because she didn't want to go
to work because she needed to mind her kids it was so easy for the boss to say "You don't come to
work tonight, you've lost your job," and that's how it was under the Howard Government and that's
how Sophie and Peter would like to take us back. We say it is much more complicated than that. We
understand the issues for small business. Let's help small business, sure, but let's not do it by
lowering people's wages and saying, you know, because you work on Saturday so you can't go to
weddings, you can't watch your kids play footy, you can't have dinner in the evenings, that's what
penalty rates are for so let's (indistinct)...

TONY JONES: Okay, just - I'm just going to bring - well, both you and Peter actually back to the
question. The last question we asked was whether jobs are being taken by migrants. That was the
essence of that question.

GED KEARNEY: Look, the ACTU's position on this has always been that we are not opposed to skilled
migration. If we need people with skills, let's bring them to the country and offer them residency
and use their skills and let them add to the diversity of our wonderful country. As far as
short-term goes, you know that we've always had concerns with that, not the least of which because
workers on 457 visas are often exploited. They're often not treated probably. They have a sickle
hanging over their head saying if you don't accept these lower than market wages, for example, we
can send you home. We've always had great concerns. But the other thing is, you know, we have the
big mining companies wanting to bring in thousands of these workers because they think they're
cheaper, because they can undermine local wages, local jobs. Well if there really is a skill
shortage and they need those workers let's say to them, let's say to them, Dave, let's say, okay,
we will accept that on the terms that you will take X amount apprentices, you will actually train
apprentices, you will help people who might have lost their jobs in manufacturing re-skill and work
if your industries. There has to be a terms and conditions around bringing those in that actually
helps Australians in the future work, get jobs and contribute.

TONY JONES: Okay. Sophie Mirabella wanted to get in. I could see you shaking your head.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Well, it's a bit a bit ridiculous and it's desperate to start scaremongering
again. The reality is there is a skills shortage. There is a problem in Australia. There are
billions of dollars worth of projects around the country that can't get started, can't progress,
because we don't have enough of the relevant skilled workers. There is nothing wrong with bringing
in people on 457 visas which is very flexible, because you can impose conditions on which employer
you will work for and which location and for how long you will be needed. So when those workers are
no longer needed anymore they can go back to the country from where they came from, whereas what we
saw from Wayne Swan leaking some information the other day was that it would increase the permanent
skills migration by 5,000. So I think we need flexibility, need to understand the reality that we
do need skilled people into this country and...

GED KEARNEY: , Yes, but, Sophie, the reality is there's 15% youth unemployment right now in
Australia. People screaming out for apprenticeships, screaming out for trades, that is a reality.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Well the trades, well, if the Labor Party hadn't abolished the technical schools
program that the previous government had, maybe we'd have more apprentices.

TONY JONES: Okay. All right. I'm going to - okay. I'm going to bring us back to where we are. Our
next question deals very specifically with an issue for Dandenong. It's from Brad Woodford.

SUDANESE GANGS00:30:12

BRAD WOODFORD: Yeah, I'd like to direct my question to Mr Victor Victor. Some of the - a lot of the
Afghan refugees have settled into the area quite well, whereas with the Sudanese refugees there's
quite a visible occurrence of violence, alcoholism and even the formation of gangs. Obviously that
sort of situation is going to make people of the local area uneasy about Sudanese people. Do you
think that minority groups hide behind the perception that Australians are racist to avoid dealing
with the actual issues at hand?

TONY JONES: Victor.

VICTOR VICTOR: Can he just clarify that?

TONY JONES: Yeah, well, he's basically saying that there are Sudanese gangs here and that puts off
a lot of people and he's accusing the minority groups in this part of the world of hiding behind
that and is saying the white people are racist, let's say.

VICTOR VICTOR: Technically I ask you define the word gang. I wouldn't define it for you right now.
You can go out on your own time and define that word. But, yet again, saying that Sudanese youths
are creating gangs, I give you an example. I myself hang around with lots of young Sudanese people,
okay. Last week I was at the station just going to catch a train. I was with some of my mates.
There were six of us. We were all going to a city to do a performance. Unfortunately the police
came up to us. They were like "What are you guys doing here?" And then I questioned, "What do you
mean, sir? Have we committed any crimes? Have we done anything?" "We don't want you in this area."
"Why?" "Are you guys a gang or anything?" That's what they asked us. Now, because we're very
logical and we know what's going around. What we did was we were like, okay, "Look, sir, we've got
no problem here at all. We're just waiting for a train. We're trying to leave the place." But
unfortunately the police officer, I don't think he was very intellected, you know, because...

TONY JONES: I'm just going to interrupt you there because we've actually got a person with their
hand up there and we'll come to you in a moment. We've also got another questioner on this subject,
Yembe Forna. There we go.

AUSTRALIAN CITIZEN/IDENTITY00:32:32

YEMBEH FORNA: My question is I'm an Australian citizen. Why is it that if I commit a crime they
immediately identify me by my appearance country but not as an Australian citizen. Why is that?

TONY JONES: Let's hear from Peter Reith on this.

PETER REITH: I have no idea. I've got no idea.

TONY JONES: You've got no idea why. Why the media would refer to a Sudanese person rather than an
Australian citizen.

PETER REITH: Well, I must say I'm not sort of conscious of those examples. I believe what you say
obviously but, I mean, I think we want a society where we treat everybody the same, don't we?

TONY JONES: Go ahead.

VICTOR VICTOR: I think because the fear of acceptance, accepting something that is different,
something that you have never seen before or someone who is totally new and then them coming,
example somebody knocking on your door, a stranger, would you accept them straight away into your
door? Would you accept them straight away into your house? You wouldn't. I think it's that fear
because we're different we're from the dark skin and back in the days, you know, history came is
that, you know, they bought slavery to America, to different countries and they were scared. They
feared us black people unfortunately. And we cannot do anything about it. But I hope that our
future generation in this country here will prevail, will show them that what we actually are as
Africans and what we're capable of other than just our skin colour.

TONY JONES: Diana would you like to get in on that?

DIANA NGUYEN: I think we live in a society where we like to label things. I'm known as Asian.
That's the colour of my skin so for us to differentiate a race, we like to go, "Oh, it's a black
person or a Sudanese person," and gang, the word it really frustrates me when you hear the word
Sudanese and you hear the word gang. It's something that - oh, it just really annoys me and in
relation to Afghan community, they're starting to settle in Australia and I can say that as
workers, community development worker, it's not easy for them too and for the Sudanese and Afghan
young people settling here, you know, we're, as community workers, are trying to, you know, provide
programs for them and make it easier for them and I don't like it how we can just put one type of
community as a gang and it really frustrates me so stop.

TONY JONES: Mark Dreyfus?

MARK DREYFUS: I'd just say this about the city of Dandenong. The last four mayors of this city have
been a Cambodian Buddhist man, an Albanian man who's Muslim, a British woman who's Jewish, and a
young Turkish woman who's Muslim and they are all Australians. This is a - and we have had
successive waves of immigration here. There's always a bit of fear of the new but we've got to be
incredibly careful to be tolerant for everyone. This is the city that prides itself on its harmony.
I thought it was very brave of what Victor just had to say before. It's too easy to typecast
strangers, typecast people you don't know. I seem to remember that 30 odd years ago accusations a
bit like the one that you've just made about gangs were made about the Vietnamese community and I
just say to everyone we've got to be pretty careful when we're looking at new communities. We've
got to be tolerant. It's one of the great qualities of Australia and I hope that it remains so.

TONY JONES: I'd just like to hear from Sophie Mirabella. You've obviously lived through some of
this yourself?

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Oh, more or less but, I mean, I still get abusive...

TONY JONES: Well, you went into parliament as a Greek Australian. (Indistinct)

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Well, yeah, and I still get some abusive mail from the so-called progressive left
and they always seem to put in a jibe about my Greek background, which I find really interesting.
But I think of course we have to treat everyone equally in front of the law, whatever colour,
whatever background, whatever gender but there's a question that arises: should the police be
prevented from using a description about someone because it might relate to their ethnic
background? Should they - if someone has just robbed a bank, an armed robbery, should they be
prevented from saying 6 foot 2 Caucasian with red birth mark on his left cheek or if that person
happens to be of an Asian background or black background? I mean I think we can get a bit too
sensitive and politically correct. Yes, we should all be equal in front of the law but when it
comes to law enforcement we shouldn't actually tie up the hands of the authorities to prevent them
from accurate description.

TONY JONES: Okay. We've just got a couple of people with their hands up. I'd just like to, well,
get a microphone to this gentleman here with his hand up, if we can. Question or comment. We won't
spend too much longer on this because we've got other things to talk about.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I think I want to talk on this issue of racism and Peter will recall what the
former immigration says clearly about Sudanese, Kevin Andrews. He clearly called Sudanese thugs
bought to Australia. (Indistinct) that most of - the Howard Government bought most of these people.
So holding the normal citizen accountable is not the right one but politicians are the ones who
started all this. So racism here is a (indistinct) but Sudanese are people who came here to be
Australians and they are like other people so just treat them.

TONY JONES: Okay. All right, we'll take that as a comment, a very good one. We'll just go to this
gentleman down the front who's also got his hand up if we can get a microphone - well, there's a
gentleman right down the front. Yes, go ahead.

JOHN GULZARI: Thank you. John Gulzari's my name. I am an Afghan refugee now Australian citizen. My
question is that why Dandenong doesn't have any (indistinct). Is it because racism or low
socioeconomic status. Thank you.

TONY JONES: Okay, we could spend a long time talking about that. We'll just leave that one as a
comment and we'll just go to this gentleman here. I just want to get a range of comments. We've got
to go onto other things as well.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: What about sort of inequitable or unequal treatment of sort of specific race
groups in terms of making proactive economic policy in terms of like affirmative action and things
like that. For instance I was reading in the paper today about Andrew Forrest, Twiggy Forrest,
mining magnate, has increased 62,000 Aboriginal jobs through job and skills training programs
specifically directed to the Indigenous people of Australia in a way of sort of breaking that cycle
of maybe not, you now, having the skills or having the sort of the credentials and the
qualifications that employers look to and sort of you know, specifically targeting people.

TONY JONES: All right, affirmative action. We'll get Ged Kearney just to comment on that.

GED KEARNEY: Yeah, well, I think that's a great idea. You know, there's a lot of - for example,
right now a lot of exactly programs what you're talking about actually done through the union
movement. We're working very closely with women from asylum seeker backgrounds, who find it
particularly difficult to enter the job market and they would like to. So I think programs that are
specifically targeted are very successful if they're done appropriately, they're done in
partnership with industry, with employers who are prepared to help. Certainly they need to be done
in a respectful and culturally respectful way but I think there is room for affirmative action like
that.

PETER REITH: Can I just add to that to say that I think it is very - it's a really good idea.
Twiggy has done a very good job. Rio Tinto have also done a good job and obviously for the miners
and the proximity of that work force, they've made the whole thing work together. But they've put
in a hell of an effort and I think it's for those who have got a problem about mining, you know,
it's a question to have in their mind because the fact is mining...

TONY JONES: Okay, but the question was a general idea about whether you could use this affirmative
action idea for other groups.

PETER REITH: Well it's an affirmative action idea not in the sense of any compulsion on these
companies. It's been entirely a voluntary thing on behalf of the mining industry but can it be
extended beyond that? It certainly can and when I was the minister we had a program like that to do
that and I think both sides of politics support it.

TONY JONES: Okay, well we are in the manufacturing heartland of Victoria. This is Q & A live, we're
interactive in Dandenong Melbourne. Our next question is from Roger Young.

MANUFACTURING + HIGH DOLLAR00:41:05

ROGER YOUNG: I run a small manufacturing business. We manufacture specialised fastener s and we've
done so for 70 years now. Over the last two years or so the Australian dollar has appreciated from
a long-term average of around 75 cents to up around $1.05 now. That means that products that we got
$105 for, for instance, we would be getting $75 for and I don't see that as being a sustainable
situation for manufacturing industry or, indeed, for tourism or education or agriculture, which is
affected by this currency problem in the same way. So my question to the panel is do they see this
horrendous problem as being a cyclical problem which may rectify itself in a relatively short time
or perhaps it's a structural problem that we'll be struck with for a very long time and would the
panel have perhaps a view on how this problem might be addressed?

TONY JONES: Okay, let's start with Ged Kearney. I mean and we will reflect on the fact that the
mining boom is what's driving the dollar so high.

GED KEARNEY: It is and the mining boom has caused a lot of problems for the economy and do know -
I'm very acutely aware that manufacturing is bearing the brunt of it because of the high Aussie
dollar, tourism and education of course are also affected. And it just highlights for me your very
descriptive and very easy to understand explanation of what's happening is why we need to support
manufacturing during this time. Eventually - you're quite right, eventually we will hit another
cycle, the mining boom will end. It may be a long way down the track but when that does happen,
when we stop digging things up out of the ground, we're going to have to have something to turn
around and rely on, that it's going to have to be manufacturing. It employs one million people, one
million people like your business, and it's not to mention all the people that rely on
manufacturing to keep their businesses. The multiplier effect is, you know, enormous. So we need to
invest in manufacturing. We need to invest in - you know, look ahead. What are we going to make in
Australia that's going to add value in 10, 20 years time and they're the things we need to focus
on, build the skills for, get the innovation and the technologies we need for that. Help businesses
like yours, if necessarily, transition over time so that you can survive and I think it's a very
good point you raise and a vitally important part of government policy.

TONY JONES: Sophie Mirabella and you might like to tell us how you'd deal with keeping
manufacturing industries that are suffering like this, 30% effectively depreciation in what they're
getting for the things they export.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Look, there's no silver bullet but the first and simplest thing you would do is
make sure you reduce government debt. The Government borrowing $100 million a day is putting
pressure on the dollar, is putting pressure on interest rates and that's something the Government
can do. The second thing you would do is immediately announce that you would not introduce the
carbon tax or abolish the carbon tax. I've been to Dandenong, I don't know how many times in my
capacity as Shadow Minister, and what the carbon tax has done is make a very challenging situation
very difficult. It's removed a lot of confidence from businesses to invest in the machinery to take
advantage of the high dollar, bring in cheap machinery.

TONY JONES: Can we just make the point there is no carbon tax yet...

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: No, but...

TONY JONES: ...and so all of these things...

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Well, sure.

TONY JONES: All of these things that you're talking about...

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: No. No. No.

TONY JONES: No, I'm just making the point all of these things that you're talking about have
happened without a carbon tax.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: That's the exact point, Tony. These things have happened without a carbon tax.
The spectre of a carbon tax is not helping people to make the decision to invest machinery into the
future.

GED KEARNEY: (Indistinct)

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Ged, come with me next time I visit some manufacturers in Mark's electorate that
he has to traverse three other electorates to get to. He gets very upset when I visit them because
they tell me the truth. They tell me the challenges they're facing and the one thing they can't
deal with is additional costs that will come from a carbon tax. You're not going to make an
investment decision today to buy a $5 million piece of equipment when you know that you're going to
be in a less competitive position after 1 July because you will be competing with imports and
exports perhaps that don't have the additional costs of a carbon tax imposed upon them.

TONY JONES: Okay, but beyond getting rid of the carbon tax, because everything that happened to
that gentleman...

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Yep.

TONY JONES: ...happened to prior to any carbon tax.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Yep, sure.

TONY JONES: What would you do to solve that problem for manufacturing?

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Well, the first thing is you would...

TONY JONES: And how would you get the dollar to come down, just to start with?

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Well, we don't believe in controlling the dollar, neither does the Labor Party,
but we would make sure that we're not a wasteful government borrowing $100 million a day, putting
pressure on the dollar and on interest rates. That's a very definite thing that we would not do. We
have announced policies to make sure we get a better anti dumping policy, not something that takes
2 years and $500,000 to make sure that Australian industries are operating on a level playing
field. We were criticised about it - about that policy from the Labor Party because they didn't do
the hard work and go that extra mile. We did. We got a world class policy that's akin to the US and
to Europe because politics should be the art of the possible. Where there is a problem you should
look at trying to fix it and one area we are looking at is the burden of regulation. You would know
yourself how your costs have increased with regulation and we've already announced - Tony Abbott's
already announced a one-stop shop based on the State Government model.

MARK DREYFUS: Tony, Sophie is going to keep talking if you don't stop her.

TONY JONES: No, and I appreciate that but I'm just going to go back to our questioner. Listening
to, well, first of all listening to what Sophie Mirabella is saying do you feel that your concerns
are going to be addressed appropriately?

ROGER YOUNG: Well, I think perhaps labour laws need to be looked at and I don't think we're talking
about lower the level of wages at all, as Ged Kearney referred to before. It's becoming more
flexible. Peter Reith was talking before about taking off payroll tax, for instance, which appears
to be an inequitable tax on employment. The problems that we face as small manufacturers we do a
little export. We've actually invested a lot of money in the potential of export, which is a little
difficult now because of this change in the currency, but it's also import competing aspect. It's
not just exporters that are affected by this. It's all of those industries I mentioned that may
have all of their activities domestically but they're being impinged upon by cheap imports. I see
it as a difficult problem. I have no solutions other than labour laws. Freeing up of some of the
labour laws would be a very good thing.

TONY JONES: Okay, all right. Thank you very much. We're just going to get another aspect of this
from another questioner, from Sasho Avramoski and then we'll move onto the rest of our panel.

MANUFACTURING - PROTECTIONISM00:48:23

SASHO AVRAMOSKI: Okay, should we allow inefficient and unproductive industries to fail so that we
can free up scarce resources and reallocate them to entrepreneurs that can turn a profit and
ultimately benefit society instead of squandering good money on doomed industries?

TONY JONES: Peter Reith.

PETER REITH: Yeah, good question and I like the tone of it because, well, the fact of the matter is
today every day there are businesses that do go broke and they don't look to the Government for a
handout. They go broke and then somebody goes on and tries something else and this is free
enterprise.

TONY JONES: Do you oppose any form of government assistance to subsidise manufacturing industry?

PETER REITH: As a general principle, yes, absolutely and we have far too much of it and when we ran
our policy in 1993 we said that we'd remove all tariff benefits for the car industry and I think
it's about time we had cheaper cars in Australia and, you know, that gentleman's talking about
manufacturing. He probably has cars for his manufacturing business. Right across the board...

TONY JONES: So I've got to ask you this: former Howard Government minister, should the Coalition be
ruthless about this and be prepared to let whole sections of the manufacturing industry disappear?

PETER REITH: Well, I don't think it's entirely a question of them all going broke because the fact
is that if you get...

TONY JONES: No, but if it came to that you said struggling or the car industry, for example?

PETER REITH: I think businesses should stand on their own two feet and I don't think the Australian
taxpayer should be funding big American companies who ought to look after their own business, you
know, and concern themselves with their own productivity.

TONY JONES: Let's hear from Mark Dreyfus on the range of issues we've been talking about.

MARK DREYFUS: That's right. We've just heard from the modern Liberal Party, which says we don't
care about people's jobs, we don't care about disruption to communities and to answer Roger's
question. Sophie Mirabella did not answer your question because all she wants to do is spread
misinformation about the carbon price. You're right, Roger, there is a real difficulty for a lot of
businesses whose business models worked when the exchange rate was at its historical average around
70 cents since the float. They work at 80 cent, they work at 90 cents but they don't work at $1.05
and that's why we are...

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: So why make it worse the carbon tax?

MARK DREYFUS: I let you talk and you should let me talk.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Why make I worse?

MARK DREYFUS: That's why we are a government...

TONY JONES: We'll come to you.

MARK DREYFUS: ...that is working with Australian manufacturing. We're working towards a high skills
future, one which takes advantage of Australian expertise, which takes advantage of the research
that's happening in Australian universities, of research that's occurring in laboratories across
our country and I'll just give you one example of a company probably quite close to yours, AW Bell
down here in South Dandenong, who make metal castings and parts and up until a couple of years ago
they were making almost entirely for local consumption and the automotive industry. They've moved
into high skilled with a world beating casting technology that they're now making products for
aerospace and defence industries in the United States and in other countries and they are exporting
and the dollar is not now bothering them because they've developed, with the assistance of CSIRO,
an excellent product and the Government has got a whole range of programs that are directed at that
sort of thing occurring and I'd be very happy to talk to you, Roger, because I'm the parliamentary
secretary for industry, about how we might be able to assist your business and I don't accept Peter
Reith's position, which is let people be put out of work. You want to go on employing people we
want to see you stay in business.

TONY JONES: Let's go...

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: (Indistinct)

TONY JONES: No, I will come - I will come to you. We've still a microphone - we've still got a
microphone over our questioner's head. Are you going to shed any jobs when the carbon tax comes in?

ROGER YOUNG: No, I don't think so. I think we're a small business, 10 people. I estimate our costs
will go up by about $8,000 because of that carbon tax indirectly through increased electricity
charges because we do use quite a lot of electricity. So I don't see it as the major driver by any
means, no. I think it's possibly unnecessary but it's not really going to cause a big problem.

TONY JONES: All right. Sophie Mirabella, I mean, well, first of all you might want to respond to
that.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: AW Bell, I'm so surprised, Mark, you used that example because I visited them and
they showed me the castings...

MARK DREYFUS: And spread more misinformation, Sophie, probably.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: They showed me the castings of the products they made and they're exporting to
Germany but they're making very narrow profit margins. They're high energy users therefore high
emitters. The carbon tax will diminish and dissolve their profit margin. They've got a $15 profit
margin for these export products and they have said the carbon tax is going to destroy that profit
margin. So the example you use Mark is very surprising.

MARK DREYFUS: This is more misinformation, Sophie. I was there on Friday - I need to correct this.
This company is thriving. It's putting on new staff. It's got world class products.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Did you ask them about the carbon tax?

MARK DREYFUS: I talked to them about it, thank you very much.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: No. No. Did you ask them...

TONY JONES: Okay. All right. Okay, Ged Kearney wants to get in.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Did you ask them about the carbon tax?

MARK DREYFUS: Expect much more of this from Sophie in the next couple of months.

GED KEARNEY: I just wanted to go back to Sasha's - it was Sasha, wasn't it?

TONY JONES: Yes.

GED KEARNEY: Sasha's question because he's touched on a very good point and I actually think it's a
very smart question because what you're saying is about current industries versus, you know, should
we be investing in future industries and that is exactly what we should do. We can do both. I've
been to factories where they are diversifying. They're changing from making ball bearings to making
plastic cups and there's government assistance to help them do that. I think you are a smart man
and that is the way to go.

TONY JONES: Well, do you endorse his fundamental point which is that inefficient and unproductive
industries should be allowed to fail.

GED KEARNEY: No, I think we - I think we can do both. I think we can support industries that need
to employ people, that are important and need to, you know, keep going but at the same time we
should be able to invest in innovation, in technology and transitioning to what we need to do
(indistinct).

TONY JONES: And, briefly, Sophie Mirabella, do you endorse Peter Reith's idea that inefficient
industries, even the car industry, should be allowed to fail and should not be supported by
government?

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Look, we believe in supporting the auto industry. We believe in supporting
manufacturing and under the Howard Government the last 13 of the 14 months of the Howard Government
saw an increase in manufacturing. We've seen under the Labor Government 30 months of contraction,
so we have supported in the past with real, flexible policies that allow businesses to invest and
employ people. The important thing is to make sure that when you give over taxpayers' money to
private companies that you have transparent rules because it's not our money, it's taxpayers'
money. So whether it's the car industry or anyone else, whatever funding program you have has to be
transparent, it has to be at arm's length and you have to demonstrate a cost benefit analysis to
the taxpayer and recent announcements to the car sector have not produced a cost benefit analysis,
have not produced transparency and they have caused concern for us.

TONY JONES: Okay, I'm sorry, we're fast running out of time. We do have one final question. It
comes from Helen Heath.

PARLIAMENT PRAYERS00:55:08

HELEN HEATH: In the 2006 census, less than two thirds of Australians identified themselves as
Christian. In Dandenong we celebrate this diversity and at the start of each local council meeting
a prayer is offered by a faith leader from a different religious community on a rotational basis.
Is it time for the opening of Commonwealth and State Parliaments to be marked by not only the
Lord's Prayer but also prayers from a variety of religious traditions?

TONY JONES: Okay, we've got very little time. We'll quickly go around the panel. First of all
Diana.

DIANA NGUYEN: I think it would be great, wouldn't it, to learn something about a new culture that's
come into Australia. I would love to hear Vietnamese being read. I would love to learn Vietnamese
myself as well. My mum would be very proud of me. Hi, mum. But, yeah, I - well, you know, you never
know what could happen in a parliament.

MARK DREYFUS: I think it's a great idea and I'm going to raise it with my parliamentary colleagues.
The US Congress already does it.

TONY JONES: Peter Reith.

PETER REITH: Well I think we've probably got enough religion in the parliament as it is, quite
frankly.

TONY JONES: Victor Victor?

VICTOR VICTOR: I'll vote for that, yes.

TONY JONES: Was that an affirmative or were you agreeing with Peter Reith?

VICTOR VICTOR: Yes, I agree.

PETER REITH: It was a political statement.

TONY JONES: Ged Kearney.

GED KEARNEY: Sure, as long as we can have one day where there's no prayer for people who, you know,
consider themselves atheists.

TONY JONES: And Sophie Mirabella?

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Look, I think a lot of people come to Australia because they want to join us, not
change us, and I think this is a country founded on...

GED KEARNEY: Oh, Sophie.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Well, that's - well it is a country founded on the Judeo Christian ethic and
having the Lord's Prayer is a good thing. It reminds us that there's something more important than
us and stops some politicians from thinking they're the font of all knowledge.

TONY JONES: Diana wanted to come in there.

DIANA NGUYEN: I know time's running out but I just want to say that today, the 30th of April, marks
the 37th year when the fall of Saigon happened, which means that 37 years ago my mum and the
Vietnamese community had to flee the country to come here and look at us now. I just want to say,
you know, t