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.
Sunday Agenda -

View in ParlView

Sky News

Sunday Agenda

Warren Truss

Federal Leader of the Nationals

29 June 2008

Interview with Warren Truss

Sunday Agenda program, 29 June 2008

Helen Dalley: David, are the Nationals still celebrating? You've just interviewed their leader
Warren Truss, what was his reaction to this?

David Speers: Well, yeah, I think there would be a few sore heads in the Nationals this morning.
They had a great celebration here last night and they all came to Gippsland from all across
Victoria and indeed other parts of the country as well. Warren Truss, the Federal Leader, was here
to make the most of this celebration. They've had, well, look, a bad run, it has to be said the
Nationals in recent elections. In November they lost two seats Federally but last night they were
calling this the resurgence of the National Party and I spoke to Warren Truss a little earlier.

David Speers: Warren Truss, thanks for your time. The Nationals went backwards at last year's
election, people have been writing off the party for years. How important was last night's win here
in Gippsland?

Warren Truss: Well, we're very excited about the win. Not only was it a significant swing to the
Coalition, but it also took 9.5 points off Labor's vote, so that was an excellent result, excellent
result for the people of Gippsland who will have a very strong local representative in the Federal
Parliament. But it's also been great for the National Party. We lost two seats at the last Federal
election so to have a win like this is certainly an enormous boost for morale.

David Speers: How important were the national issues in this campaign or was it one on local
issues?

Warren Truss: Well, it certainly concentrated on choosing a good local representative for the
region and so local issues were important. But the local issues were about things like fuel pricing
and groceries and particularly in the Latrobe Valley, the emissions trading scheme and they're also
national issues and so there's a very clear warning being sent to the Rudd Labor Government that
the people are not happy about his response to these important issues.

David Speers: The Liberals ran against the Nationals in this seat, they ended up getting about 20
per cent of the primary vote, did that help the Nationals or hurt the Nationals?

Warren Truss: Well, I think we would have won the seat either way but it was a vacancy and so under
our arrangements, the Liberal Party are quite able to run, they ran a vigorous campaign, they did
well, particularly in the last week or so and I'm sure that the close and tight exchange of
preferences meant that there was no damage as a result of them running.

David Speers: The victory is a big win for the Nationals, is it also a vindication of Brendan
Nelson's leadership?

Warren Truss: Well, I never really ever felt that this was a test of Brendan Nelson's leadership.
The Liberal Party have never held this seat and so if it is a test of anybody's leadership, it was
mine and Kevin Rudd's. However, if you think it was a test of Brendan Nelson's leadership, he
obviously passed with flying colours. It was a good result for the Liberal Party and a very good
result for the Coalition.

David Speers: What about the idea of a Coalition merger? Certainly last night at the campaign
celebrations there was a lot of fierce Nationals' pride there, it doesn't seem to be a lot of mood
here in Victoria for a merger.

Warren Truss: No, there's not a lot of support for a merger in either Victoria or New South Wales.
The issues in Queensland are different and there's a strong push in that state for a merger and I
think it may well happen in Queensland but there's not that same pressure in New South Wales and
Victoria and I suppose last night's win will reinforce the view that the Nationals can be a
credible force, standing up for regional areas in states like Victoria and New South Wales.

David Speers: So where do you now stand on the merger?

Warren Truss: Well I think it's a matter for the organisation, I think that in Queensland there are
very strong reasons why the parties should merge and it's a matter for the organisation to put
those sort of things together but if a satisfactory arrangement can be made in Queensland that
accommodates the Federal issues, then I think that will be good for Queensland.

David Speers: And you think this result in Gippsland shows the Nationals do have a future standing
on their own?

Warren Truss: Well, there's no doubt that even in Queensland if there was no merger the National
Party is still a strong political force and will be electing people to the Federal Parliament for
many years. But what's most important is how we can best represent the people that trust us and
that's got to be the priority, not about maintaining organisations but making sure that we can do
the best job for people who live in places like Gippsland and that must be our priority as we look
at the Anderson Review when it comes down in a few weeks' time and when our organisations study
these sorts of proposals for the future.

David Speers: You mention petrol as one of the big issues here in Gippsland, are you now convinced
that fuel should be left out of any emissions trading scheme?

Warren Truss: Well I don't think that any emissions trading scheme should increase the price of
fuel.

David Speers: At all?

Warren Truss: The public have made it abundantly clear that they're very concerned about petrol
prices, they're particularly concerned that the Rudd Labor Government has failed to deliver on its
promise to put downward pressure on petrol prices. Bear in mind that four government departments
and the ACCC have all said that FuelWatch is actually likely to increase the price of fuel in
country areas and Kevin Rudd is proposing to exempt country areas from the FuelWatch program. So he
has no idea at all about how he's going to lower prices in country areas. He sent Martin Ferguson
off to put a blow torch on OPEC and the price has gone up 10 cents a litre since then, so nothing
is happening in regional areas to give people any confidence that the government can address issues
like rising fuel prices and that's hurting the pensioners and it's hurting the battlers in regions
like this one. But they're also concerned, deeply concerned about the emissions trading scheme and
its potential impact on the coal-fired power stations in this region. If there was one issue that
was raised most by me at people in the booths, particularly in the Latrobe Valley was their fear of
the future of their jobs. Now the people in this area don't want compensation like the government
was talking about over the weekend, they want their jobs and they're not confident that there is
any technology in place or any proposals in place that will save their jobs.

David Speers: Warren Truss, thanks for your time.

Warren Truss: You're very welcome.

Sky News

Sunday Agenda

Mike Rann

ALP Federal President

29 June 2008

Interview with Mike Rann

Sunday Agenda program, 29 June 2008

David Speers: National's Leader, Warren Truss there. Now for Labor's reaction, joining us from
Perth is the ALP's Federal President and the South Australian Premier, Mike Rann. Mr Rann good
morning. If I can start with what's happened here in Gippsland. Brendan Nelson says this swing at
the by-election is one of the biggest against an incumbent government since Federation. Labor lost
almost 10 percent of its primary vote. What went wrong?

Mike Rann: Well, can I just say this that I saw Brendan Nelson saying the other day that Labor was
going to win the election and, of course, Labor has never held this seat. The seat was created in
1922. It's always been held by the Nationals. Labor never believed, and neither did any serious
commentator, that we would win this election and, of course, you remember the 9.7 percent swing in
Ryan against John Howard. He then went on to win two subsequent elections: Big swings in
by-elections against Bob Hawke early on and then went on to win another three or four elections so
I think it has to be put into perspective. Also this sense, this idea that somehow that the
government was going to win a seat off the Opposition in terms of a by-election, that hasn't
happened anywhere in Australia since 1920 and that was Kalgoorlie so I think that if Brendan Nelson
thinks this is an endorsement of his leadership there's two things I would say to him: You spent a
fortune, five times more than Labor on this campaign and he came third, the Liberals came third in
the election and they wouldn't even put Brendan Nelson's picture on the 'How to Vote' card so I
think that really says a lot.

David Speers: You mentioned the Ryan by-election, that was a wake-up call to the Howard Government
and John Howard did cut fuel excise soon after. Is this also a wake-up call to Kevin Rudd?

Mike Rann: Can I just say, you've just seen the polls that came out in the last week, the News Poll
and a series of other polls, I mean being in government is difficult. You campaign in poetry and
you govern in prose and you have to make hard decisions. There's a whole series of tax cuts coming
down and other measures to support working families in July and what people want Labor to do is to
govern for the long term, not the short term. I mean the Nationals promised everything knowing that
they couldn't deliver. I mean we saw basically the Liberals and the Nationals do nothing over their
11 years in terms of these issues. I'm here in Perth by the way David. . .

David Speers: Yes but Mike Rann, you can't just dismiss this by-election as a historical blip that
happens to every government. Surely there's a message here for Kevin Rudd.

Mike Rann: The message is that you've got to keep governing for the long term, which is exactly
what Kevin Rudd is doing. And the other point is is that Brendan Nelson, if this is a, only Glenn
Milne would think this was great for Brendan Nelson. I mean I'm here in Perth at the moment, Troy
Buswell who's a joke locally and a laughing stock nationally, has twice the approval rating of
Brendan Nelson so if Brendan Nelson takes comfort from this, then he's kidding himself and Malcolm
Turnbull will soon be breathing down his neck.

David Speers: But has his strategy on petrol worked? Do you think this is a message on fuel prices?

Mike Rann: The FuelWatch, by the way here in Perth people are telling me that FuelWatch has given
them much greater certainty in terms of shopping around and there's also the Petrol Commissioner,
but there's also a whole range of supports for working families coming down, including tax cuts
from July, and that's about giving real help to working people and families across the nation
rather than promising things that the Nationals did in Gippsland that they knew that they could
never deliver and they certainly didn't deliver when they were in government.

David Speers: You don't think voters here are angry at Kevin Rudd, you don't think they feel they
were misled by him before last year's election?

Mike Rann: Look, there's absolutely no doubt that petrol prices are hurting people and that's
happening all around the world, by the way. I mean people know, Australians know, that this is a
global phenomenon, you only have to turn on the news from the United States, Britain, Europe or
anywhere else but what they do know is that Labor made some very strong pledges about helping
working families, they're in the Budget and they come out in July and I think that last week's News
Poll said a lot and if Brendan Nelson takes comfort out of this, basically he's kidding himself.

David Speers: Just quickly and finally Mr Rann, renewed speculation this morning that Alexander
Downer will confirm within days that he's leaving politics, leaving parliament, can Labor win his
South Australian seat, which you'd be familiar with, of Mayo, can Labor win that?

Mike Rann: Well, Labor's never held Mayo. Mayo is about the safest seat in the country for the
Liberals so, you know, I mean Alexander Downer I think is going to be taking up a consultancy
position or maybe a job as the UN Envoy on Cyprus and that remains to be seen. But I think it's
highly likely that we'll see a by-election in Mayo but, you know, Mayo is about the safest Liberal
seat in the country so I'm not quite sure why people are speculating about a Labor victory there,
we've never ever won the seat or come within coo-ee of winning it.

David Speers: All right, Mike Rann we appreciate your time this morning. Thanks for joining us.

Mike Rann: Thank you very much.

Sky News

Sunday Agenda, June 29

Cardinal George Pell,

Catholic Archbishop of Sydney

Interview with Helen Dalley: Complete version.

Helen Dalley: After months of preparation, World Youth Day's finally fast approaching. How are you
feeling personally about it all?

Cardinal Pell: I'm feeling well. I'm interested to know just how things are tracking. I'm confident
that things will go well.

Helen Dalley: So are you confident that it's all going to work out as exactly as planned?

Cardinal Pell: No, things never work out as exactly as planned, but I'm confident it will work out
well. We've got a very good team which will cope with whatever small hiccups might eventuate.

Helen Dalley: Now Pope Benedict XVI is going to arrive in dramatic fashion in Sydney, but we're
also led to believe he maybe making a fairly dramatic statement. Are you expecting him to say
something?

Cardinal Pell: I'm not expecting him to make any dramatic statements. He's a wonderful teacher and
he will give Catholics here, the young people and Australians generally, plenty to think about but
I'm not expecting any dramatic statements.

Helen Dalley: Well there has been media speculation that the Pope will make a statement of apology
to Australian victims of sexual and physical abuse by Catholic clergy, as he did in the United
States recently.

Cardinal Pell: The Catholic Bishops here have made these apologies. The Pope I think handled that
issue particularly well in the United States. What he says is his business but I would hope the
whole issue will be dealt with appropriately. It's a significant issue.

Helen Dalley: Yes do you think it would be the right thing to do, to do that, while he was in
Australia?

Cardinal Pell: If the Pope chose to do that it would probably be a welcome contribution.

Helen Dalley: Well the Australian situation with sexual abuse by clergy is surely not that much
different to the American situation, do you think he could well apologise?

Cardinal Pell: Yes well it's always different. Comparisons are odious and they're difficult in this
particular issue. Certainly there's plenty for which we shouldn't be - we're not proud. We faced up
to it I think pretty well for quite some time now and I think it would be appropriate for the Pope
to say something on that score.

Helen Dalley: So you would support that if he did and would like to see that?

Cardinal Pell: I'd support him if he did, yes I would, very much so.

Helen Dalley: What do you think his message will be?

Cardinal Pell: He'll tell us about Jesus Christ. He'll present the figure of Christ to us, he'll
present the teachings of Christ to us. That's what we're all on about basically. His first two
letters have been about love and hope. Here the theme is the spirit, the spirit of love that we've
got to try to cultivate and keep in our hearts. That's what he'll be talking about.

Helen Dalley: Is it a message that will ring true to young people?

Cardinal Pell: Yes, yes. Not all young Australians are religiously interested, but very few of them
are religiously prejudiced - hostile to the different religious groups or the different Christian
denominations and many of them, even in comparison with their parents, are surprisingly open to
listening to a good religious message.

Helen Dalley: Looking at more earthly issues, the Catholic Church has agreed to cover a $150,000
bond as I understand it to the City of Sydney to cover the use of Hyde Park, and ...

Cardinal Pell: I'm sorry, that's not accurate. The Catholic Church has given the State Government
of New South Wales 10 million dollars so that all these things with all the venues can be fixed up.
So that matter will be resolved between the City Council of Sydney and the State Government.

Helen Dalley: Okay. The Greens in the New South Wales Parliament continue to raise concerns about
just how much the cost of World Youth Day will fall on New South Wales taxpayers, do you think
they're legitimate questions?

Cardinal Pell: Well yes we believe in free speech, we like to exercise it ourselves and of course
we recognise that the Greens can speak as they do. The Governments, Federal and State, are
supporting World Youth Day for a whole variety of reasons. I mean many more people, many more
Catholics are interested in religion. There are many more Catholics than, for example, followers of
Rugby Union and so it's appropriate for the Government to sponsor both say the Rugby Union World
Cup and the World Youth Day. And one reason, perhaps not the most important one, is because of the
financial benefits that the whole of Australia will gain and particularly the city of Sydney. So
it's a good financial investment for Government.

Helen Dalley: So what's your evidence for saying that? Are you confident that taxpayers will be the
winners out of World Youth Day?

Cardinal Pell: Well yes, the Sydney residents and the other places visited by the pilgrims, they'll
be direct winners. I think the Chamber of Commerce estimated that it will be a boost of $231
million to the economy here in Sydney. Another survey has shown that backpackers normally spend
about $77 a day. For international visitors that will probably mean about $57 million for Sydney,
so you've got a couple hundred thousand pilgrims you have to feed them and look after them and they
have to get here. We've already you know commissioned immense amounts of food, millions of items of
food. That's quite a boost to the economy.

Helen Dalley: Do you think some Australians are justified in feeling annoyed that they have to pay
for part of this, but also on the other hand, they're being urged to leave the city by our
government and if they stay in the city, they're going to confront congestion and traffic snarls,
things like that.

Cardinal Pell: Well certainly the taxpayers are not bearing the main burden for the World Youth
Day.

Helen Dalley: They're not?

Cardinal Pell: They're not, no.

Helen Dalley: So what is the break down percentage-wise?

Cardinal Pell: Well, say, it will cost say $150 million, plus or minus.

Helen Dalley: So that has blown out, hasn't it?

Cardinal Pell: No, not by our estimate.

Helen Dalley: I thought it was a hundred million was the cost in the beginning.

Cardinal Pell: Well I always refuse to quantify those spoken terms of percentages.

Helen Dalley: Okay, so $150 million.

Cardinal Pell: So, let's say $150 million. Approximately half of that will come from the
registrations from the pilgrims themselves and we have received $35 million from the Federal
Government. The Sydney Archdioceses will put in plus or minus $20 million towards it and then from
individual donors and corporate sponsorship, we've got something like $15 million.

Helen Dalley: And what's the New South Wales Government paying?

Cardinal Pell: The State Government has put in no cash. The State Government is putting in, they
estimated $86 million dollars worth of contributed services. Being a comparatively small church we
couldn't do this without the support of the State and Federal Government and we're very grateful.

Helen Dalley: On the other question of Sydneysiders being very annoyed in advance about traffic
problems, congestion, being in fact urged to leave their city by the State Government. How do you
feel about that?

Cardinal Pell: Well, I take those State Government urgings with a pinch of salt. Polls have been
done on the attitudes of Sydneysiders and two-thirds of the Sydneysiders are well pleased that the
World Youth Day is coming here. Less than a fifth of them are uneasy about it. And there certainly
will be big numbers of people milling around, there certainly will be inconvenience to some, but
those particular people have been well warned in advance by the government agencies.

Helen Dalley: Cardinal Pell, what are the latest figures of the pilgrims who are coming?

Cardinal Pell: We're not sure exactly, even at this stage. What we do anticipate is that there'll
be between a hundred and a hundred twenty thousand from overseas and that there'll be eighty,
ninety or a hundred thousand registrants from around Australia. Now I've got no doubt that there
will be many, many tens of thousands of young Australians present at the events. We would like as
many of them as possible to register to help us pay for it. So we're looking at two hundred
thousand plus registrants.

Helen Dalley: So how many have actually registered, 133,000?

Cardinal Pell: About a 133,000/134,000 and we've got 60,000 in the pipeline. So perhaps it might be
60,000 or 90,000 in the pipeline.

Helen Dalley: And what does that mean exactly to register? They are actually booked and committed
to coming to Sydney?

Cardinal Pell: Yes and what is even more important to us, paid.

Helen Dalley: So they've paid a registration fee?

Cardinal Pell: Yes.

Helen Dalley: And that will go towards the cost of the whole event?

Cardinal Pell: Exactly.

Helen Dalley: Okay so the 60,000 who have committed, they haven't paid yet?

Cardinal Pell: That's correct.

Helen Dalley: And a lot of local people have neither committed nor paid yet.

Cardinal Pell: That's right but quite a few locals have paid and are committed but we would like
more.

Helen Dalley: So of the people who have registered, the 133,000 so far, are most of those from
overseas?

Cardinal Pell: I think 40,000 of them are Australian and 90,000 of them are overseas people.

Helen Dalley: Young Australian Catholic school children and young people, will they have to pay to
go to these events?

Cardinal Pell: Nobody's been obliged into anything. This is a free operation and there's a minimum
age. You're suppose to be sixteen but anyone who likes to register is very welcome.

Helen Dalley: But to register you have to commit some money?

Cardinal Pell: Yes, yes. But not to turn up say at the Way of the Cross or to go to the concerts.

Helen Dalley: So can you explain the difference?

Cardinal Pell: The difference is that those who register will be fed, they will be guaranteed good
seats at the Vigil, the final mass, the opening mass and the Way of the Cross. They've got free
travel around Sydney for the time. They're given an interesting backpack, there are all sorts of
goodies that are attached to it.

Helen Dalley: Okay but any child or adult can come. A young person obviously you want.

Cardinal Pell: Yes, yes.

Helen Dalley: Can come and attend any of the events for free?

Cardinal Pell: Yes if they can get in.

Helen Dalley: So you're advising people to register and get looked after and have a great
experience.

Cardinal Pell: We are, we are.

Helen Dalley: Roughly how much would it cost?

Cardinal Pell: It depends what package you buy, whether you go for the whole five or six days.

Helen Dalley: Well say a couple of days.

Cardinal Pell: $175 for two days for the weekend package.

Helen Dalley: So for two days young people would pay $175 Australian dollars.

Cardinal Pell: And they'd be fed during that time, they'd have free travel during that time, they'd
have a backpack - that includes of course a subsidy for people from the poorer countries. That's
built into the system.

Helen Dalley: What do you mean by a subsidy?

Cardinal Pell: Well part of the money that they will pay of say the $175, $20-30 of that is given
by us to pay for pilgrims from the poorer countries.

Helen Dalley: Okay.

Cardinal Pell: And we're subsidising for example, the Catholic Church in Australia, all the
pilgrims from the Pacific Islands and PNG so they're only paying $50 for everything. We've
undertaken to feed them and house them and look after them once they hit the country.

Helen Dalley: Fantastic.

Cardinal Pell: It is and we've got double the number coming from the Pacific and PNG that we
anticipated. We thought we'd get 3,000, we've got 6,000.

Helen Dalley: Would you like a lot more people to come?

Cardinal Pell: Obviously, especially if they were paying. No but our numbers, our overseas numbers
are very close to our estimates. Now it hasn't been helped by the rise in the Australian dollar and
the rise in the petrol prices, but overseas wise we've done pretty well. We look like doing pretty
well.

Helen Dalley: Have the number of American pilgrims, has that disappointed you?

Cardinal Pell: We look like being well over 20,000 and that was the original estimate. At one time
I thought we would have more from there, but there the numbers are still being finalised from
there. Another very real constraint from America is that there are almost no seats to get into the
country from the United States.

Helen Dalley: If they wanted to book now it's mostly booked out?

Cardinal Pell: If they wanted to book now it would be very difficult.

Helen Dalley: According to a national survey released in the United States, 92% of people said they
believe in God and 58% said they pray every day. Now those figures may not be surprising for the
United States, but do you know what the equivalent figures are for Australia?

Cardinal Pell: Well there are figures on these matters from Australia. We're not as religious as
people from the United States and neither are we as anti religious.

Helen Dalley: So we're more apathetic? Is that what that means?

Cardinal Pell: Yes, yes. I think about just under 80% of Australians describe themselves as
belonging to a religious tradition. That number has gone down somewhat but that's still not a bad
number.

Helen Dalley: You would obviously like a lot more young people to join the Church or stay in the
Church if they're brought up as children in the Catholic religion, how can you make the Church more
relevant to young people?

Cardinal Pell: I don't know whether 'relevant' is quite the word. I once got into trouble by saying
I didn't particularly want the Church to be relevant, but certainly the Church...

Helen Dalley: Well meaningful to their lives.

Cardinal Pell: That's exactly it and I think we have to do two things. We have to practice what we
preach and I say to young people, look at the adult you admire and find out what it is that keeps
them together and inspires their life. And the other thing we've got to do, is we've got to get out
and teach, explain what Christ teaches and why he does it and how it works and why the costs are
worth it. That's what we've got to do. It's easier said then done but it can be done and we've got
to try.

Helen Dalley: You mention issues like sexual mores for young people and certainly contraception is
a big issue that may turn them off the Church.

Cardinal Pell: That's correct. I'm sure that is the issue which at least for a while takes people
away from the Church because they're not prepared to buy the Christian package. Now it involves
restraint, self-control, love, genuine love - not self interest, not just lust. It makes much
better sense in the longer term when you see love as being tied up with marriage and children. And
in the longer term the Catholic package works.

Helen Dalley: But a lot of young people aren't interested in the long term are they?

Cardinal Pell: Yeah and that's why we need to be able to talk to them and that's why we urge them
to look at adults that they admire and find out how they've organised their lives to see what works
in the longer term. They're not going to be young forever. They'll finish up like us if they live
that long.

Helen Dalley: Less than 3 weeks to World Youth Day, what's the one event you're most looking
forward to and you think will really reach out and grab a lot of people?

Cardinal Pell: Could I say two events? Obviously the final mass with the Holy Father and the
Eucharist is always beautiful when it's celebrated with reverence and he's a great preacher and
teacher. The other great event will be the Way of the Cross on Friday night through the streets.
Father Franco Cavarra has sort of led it and it'll be a magnificent, beautiful spectacle.

Helen Dalley: Just paint us a little picture of what we can expect with that.

Cardinal Pell: Well it starts off from the condemnation of Christ who is condemned to death and
that will happen on the steps of the Cathedral. It will be watched by the Pope, then they will move
through the Domain down to the Opera House and around the harbour to around near Barangaroo. The
fourteen stations are basically taken from the scriptural account and it will be acted out. There
will be beautiful music and readings from the scriptures and beautiful reflections and prayers
which have been written by a very distinguished poet and Melbourne Jesuit, Peter Steele. He's
professor of English, or was for many years, at Melbourne University. So it will be beautiful and
we believe that you know if you present the figure of Christ and Christ's story directly to people,
it's very, very powerful.

Helen Dalley: Cardinal Pell, best of luck with it. Thanks very much for joining us on Sunday
Agenda.

Cardinal Pell: Good, thank you very much Helen.