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ABC News Breakfast -

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(generated from captions) for those Australians who

have lost these jobs through

no fault of their own This

week news polls showed Prime

Minister Kevin Rudd was rated

the better leader by 64%

compared to 19% for Malcolm

Turnbull. There are few

people who would envy Federal

Opposition leader at the

moment. One man who knows how

tough this role can be is former Opposition Leader

Brendan Nelson who retires from politics at the next

election. Tonight he attends

a tribute dinner in his

honour being held by the

National Party and Brendan

Nelson joins us now from

Sydney. Good morning Good

morning You must be looking

at the budget debate with

interest. Is it suicidal for

the Federal Government to be

hacking away at the private

health rebate like this? In

the space of the year we have

had a $90 billion turn around

in the give's position so we

have gone from a $20 billion

surplus to what we understand

will be a $70 billion deficit

so what the Government is

doing is clinging to the tax

cuts which were committed by Judd and Peter Costello before the last election then at the same time trying to

claw back money to pay for

the $23 billion in cash hand

out over the last 4 or 5 months.. the problem is if

you cut into the rebate you

put increased pressure on the

premiums for people who cling

to private health insurance

and others who will leave

private health insurance to

queue up for public hospitals

of. It will certain Liberal

detrimental to better health

care What about IVF, something your Government

considered but reconsidered.

Do you have sympathy for

women going down that path? I

certainly do. I was a member

of the Cabinet at the time

when this was considered and

I obviously will not discuss

what was said by others by my

own view at the time which I

say to you is if you think

about the most powerful

biological and emotional urge

in all of us as human beings

one is to reproduce. I have

never fortunately had the

agony of infertility but

there are many Australians

whose entire lives are built

around having a family for

whom access to i.s VF

services is the only hope

which Leeds to the conception

of a much-loved child. I

would caution the Government

very civilly about fiddling

with this. In fact I think

you will find that in any

classroom in Australia on

average about 1 in 25

children are there by virtue

of some sort of assisted reproductive technology. The

problem that we have and the

reason we are having these

discussions is that the

Government is basically taking the national credit

card to the bank, taken a

cash advance of $23 billion,

told people to go out and

spend money so what you are

now going to find that is

some women and their partners

will not be able to conceive

children. People will leave

private health insurance to

queue up in public hospitals,

pensioners will pay more for

their private health

insurance because we are all

having the pay for someone

else having a Fiji holiday or

buying a Chinese television.

Politics is weird. The ETS

that partially lost you your

job as Opposition Leader is similar to the emissions

trading scheme that Malcolm

Turnbull preposes. Does this

prove you were unfairly

robbed of the leadership? Ly

leave that for others. This is very important - one of

the things I wanted to do is

we are global citizens, human

beings but we are Australians

first and last. It seemed to

me that we should as a nation

do everything we possibly can

to change our individual

behaviour, to go to renewable

fuels to, reduce our

individual and collective

carbon footprint but the most significant deliberate

politically driven change the

tech numberic architecture of

Australia will be the

implementation of an

emissions trading scheme. My

strong view last year as it

is now that is we should

educate ourselves about what

this will mean for our

generation and subsequent ones economically but we

would be engaged in an being

of economic suicide if we

were to act unilaterally

without knowing that the US,

China and India in par tick

thrash three biggest emitter are actually going to

commit. When you see Malcolm

Turnbull talking about this

now you just roll your eyes

and think it is so hypocritical? I think I find

rate there interesting that

last year in early June I

made the decision thinking

about, look for you and me

and Virginia and many viewers

of your program adjusting the climate change is something

we want to do, we need to do,

for which it will be in a

sense an economic

inconvenience. But for many

Australians it is about

survive. Higher transport and

energy costs, less job

security and it seemed to me

last year that we needed to

put Australia's interests

first. We must be part of a

global solution Malcolm

Turnbull agrees with you now.

Can I move the another issue.

We have a limited amount of

time. Malcolm Turnbull is on

a pretty woeful rate as preferred Prime Minister.

Would you be above 19% now if

you were still leader? Well,

I have not got this sort of

foresight. My kids have got

it! Whoever is the Leader of

the Opposition having come

out of Government with a Prime Minister and a new

Government particularly dealing with the global

financial crisis it is not

surprising given the

Government has put so much

effort into managing the

media cycle that the polls

are where they are. The fact

of it is if you lack at the

electoral contest we have had

over the last year t depips

land by-election, the Mao by-election t constituent and

territory elections, even

Government elections t Liberal Coalition parties

have done very well. The for thing that Malcolm Turnbull

has got is the support of the

parliamentary party. The one

thing that I did not enjoy

unfortunately was having

every member of the

parliamentary Liberal Party

strongly supporting me in hot

was I can tell you a very

difficult job. And one that

you would be pleased is past

now I'm sure. It was an