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Early Agenda -

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AM Agenda

24 June 2009

KIERAN GILBERT: Good morning and welcome to AM Agenda. The federal police have reportedly widened
their investigation into the fake e-mail scandal amid reports the Treasury official at the centre
of the story has been leaking to the Coalition for sometime. The Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull is
refusing to confirm the allegations.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, as an intrepid member of the press core you would know that the last thing
I would do is ever discuss, anymore than you would, anybody who may provide us with information, so
...

JOURNALIST: Is that a yes?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: So, no it's not, it's neither a yes or a no. It's like me asking you whether
people have provided you with information.... It's not something we discuss.

KIERAN GILBERT: And it's good morning to our Wednesday panel. With me in the Canberra studio Labor
front bencher Jason Clare, good morning Jason.

JASON CLARE: Good morning, Kieran.

KIERAN GILBERT: And in Sydney Liberal front bencher Scott Morrison. Scott good morning to you, good
to see you back and I want to ask you first of all. What do you make of the latest development,
reports, allegations that Godwin Grech has been a reliable source to the Liberal Party for
sometime. Have you spoken to him? Has he been a good source for you and your leadership?

SCOTT MORRISON: Well, look I don't know the man. But they're very serious allegations that have
been aired in the public domain and I think it's important that, you know, the process of
investigation follow it's course. But these are very serious allegations which I don't see anybody
backing up anywhere and as a result, you know, it's nothing more than rumour at the moment. But the
real issue is what's happening with Wayne Swan and I'm sure we'll come to that in a minute, but
what we're seeing from the government here is a massive distraction from what the real issue here
and that is what did the Treasurer do to give preferential treatment to a mate of the Prime
Minister's? I mean that's what this whole thing is all about and the government has been very
effective I think in trying to turn this debate into something about an e-mail. Well at the end of
the day what this is about is has the government acted to give preferential treatment to a mate of
the Prime Minister's to pervert the process in order to give some one a favour in the true
tradition of ...

KIERAN GILBERT: Yeah, Scott the e-mail ...

SCOTT MORRISON: ... mate hood.

KIERAN GILBERT: ... the e-mail was the basis upon which Malcolm Turnbull called for Kevin Rudd to
resign. It wasn't as if it was the government that raised that as the issue, it was Malcolm
Turnbull that was pushing it, the Coalition was pushing it and it turned out to be, turned out to
be fake. I mean did your leader over reach on this? Did he over reach?

SCOTT MORRISON: Well, let's be clear the e-mail has come out of Treasury; it didn't come out of the
Opposition. The fact that at the preliminary investigation suggests that it was a fake means that
it was a fake concocted in Treasury, no where else. The basis of what was put forward on Friday was
the basis of testimony given to the Senate Committee. I mean that was the issue that happened on
Friday and no Opposition leader worth his salt would've retreated from making, or putting the
question I should say, to the Prime Minister that he had some explaining to do, based on the
evidence given at that inquiry. Now, it's, it's now Wednesday ...

KIERAN GILBERT: But your Liberal Senate colleague Eric Abetz was reading from an apparent
transcript of this now, we know now, fake e-mail. It's not. I mean the basis of it, I think, is
unquestionable that the Coalition was using that as the basis to question the Prime Minister's
integrity. Did your leader overreach in calling for him to quit?

SCOTT MORRISON: No, look I think what the Opposition Leader, what Malcolm did on Friday was what
any good Opposition leader would do and highlight the fact that there was evidence given at a
Senate hearing which suggested there was some serious questions for the Prime Minister to answer.
Now, he said at that time, now he needs to either answer those questions or he should step aside.
Now, it's now Wednesday and events have unfolded which shows that that case can't be sustained,
well so be it, but the questions and the case against the Treasurer still remain and still remain
unanswered and the government wants to run around talking about e-mail-gate, well frankly that's
not the issue. The issue is what did Wayne Swan do? There's only one car dealer he picked up the
phone to, there's only one car dealer that he was seeking to run around and try and get a Kia
dealer get Ford Credit for and those questions remain unanswered and I think they're the real
issues of public accountability which are being swept aside here in an hysteria which has been
concocted out of Canberra.

KIERAN GILBERT: Jason, is the government being too precious? Is Malcolm Turnbull just doing his job
like you would've done had you been in Opposition and for that matter like your Prime Minister did
when in Opposition with the AWB scandal? He never apologised for calling the then Prime Minister
and Foreign Minister liars over that issue when they were cleared from it by a Royal Commission?

JASON CLARE: Malcolm Turnbull's a lawyer and he knows you've got to get your facts right. The real
trouble here is this is no longer a question of political judgement this is becoming a question of
integrity. The plot is thickening every day, every day we learn more about the relationship between
Malcolm Turnbull and Godwin Grech. Malcolm Turnbull's got some pretty serious questions he's got to
answer. What's the relationship between him and Godwin Grech that the Liberal Party are now leaking
and telling to ABC all about? What's the relationship? Has be spoken to him in the last few months?
Has he sent e-mails to him? Has he been pressuring Godwin Grech to provide him with confidential
information?

SCOTT MORRISON: Where's the basis for that, Jason?

JASON CLARE: ... and then inciting a public official to that? And this is the other important
question we've got to ask. Did he know that that e-mail was a fraud when he said the Prime Minister
was corrupt and should resign ...

SCOTT MORRISON: Of course he didn't.

JASON CLARE: ... These are all important questions to ask and we're not getting any answers from the
Leader of the Opposition.

SCOTT MORRISON: Oh Jason.

JASON CLARE: But ...

KIERAN GILBERT: We'll what's wrong Jason with ...

JASON CLARE: Scott's missed a very big, big week in Parliament. He's missed a very big week in
Parliament and I think, Scott you should get to Canberra as quick as you can mate because they're
might be a new leader of the Opposition by the end of the week.

SCOTT MORRISON: Ah well, Jason you know why I've been up in here in Sydney, mate and I think that's
a bit unfair. Look, the issues, rather the questions which Jason's putting forward here have
obvious answers. Of course Malcolm didn't know, I mean we don't have a forensic team and the AFP
working for us on these sorts of issues. There were issues raised in what was an actual e-mail
which preliminary reports suggest wasn't accurate but never-the-less there were questions to be
answered and I'm sure that the government wants Malcolm Turnbull to stand aside, of course they
don't want an Opposition Leader holding them to account and taking it up to them and forcing them
to answer questions and putting them under scrutiny, of course the government doesn't want that.
This isn't a government that likes scrutiny; they see themselves above the Parliament, they see
themselves above public scrutiny and they constantly parade their moral virtues all over the place
but ...

KIERAN GILBERT: Well, Jason ...

SCOTT MORRISON: ... when they come under question they run like scared cats.

KIERAN GILBERT: Jason, what's wrong with an Opposition having a source within the public service?
It's happened forever and you're party's been beneficiaries of it as well?

JASON CLARE: Well if there's nothing wrong with it why doesn't he tell us who his source is? What
information is he being provided? There's nothing wrong with receiving information but what might
be wrong is are you inciting, are soliciting, are you putting pressure on public servants to
provide you with information?

SCOTT MORRISON: That's an outrageous allegation, Jason.

JASON CLARE: Now when Malcolm Turnbull's asked a question he's not being told, we're not getting
any information at all. If you've got nothing to hide, give the information up.

KIERAN GILBERT: Scott, if, if ...

SCOTT MORRISON: ... that is beneath you, mate. That is beneath you, Jason.

KIERAN GILBERT: Scott if ...

SCOTT MORRISON: ... to make an allegation like that. You don't, you can't, you have no evidence of
coercion. That is an absolute smear.

JASON CLARE: Scott, Scott that is what your Liberal colleagues are saying to journalists around
this place right now.

SCOTT MORRISON: What, they're saying that there was coercion?

JASON CLARE: ... because what they're ...

SCOTT MORRISON: They're saying ...

JASON CLARE: No, they're not, they are saying ...

SSCOTT MORRISON: ...there was some sort of improper behaviour?

JASON CLARE: They're saying that there is a relationship between Godwin Gretch and Malcolm
Turnbull, that he's been sympathetic to the Liberal Party for some time, he's been providing
information. What is the information?

SCOTT MORRISON: Where's the evidence of coercion? Where's the evidence of improper behaviour?
Where's the evidence of any illegal behaviour?

JASON CLARE: I'm asking the question, Scott. I'm asking a question.

SCOTT MORRISON: Now, you're putting a doubt there and your smearing.

JASON CLARE: The Liberal party are asking a lot of questions of government, let's ask a question of
the Opposition Leader?

SCOTT MORRISON: This is a great counter attack, Jason but it won't divert the attention from the
questions Wayne Swan needs to answer which is what this is all about from the government.

KIERAN GILBERT: Well, Scott in relation to the association with this public servant, if he has been
a reliable source for some time as is being alleged ...

SCOTT MORRISON: I have no idea of that.

KIERAN GILBERT: ... is, no but if that is the case as is being alleged at the moment, would Malcolm
Turnbull then have his credibility salvaged somewhat for relying on this latest e-mail even though
it's proven to be fake because the source had prior, on prior occasions given good information?

SCOTT MORRISON: Well, look I think all of that is supposition. I mean, I have no knowledge of any
prior relationship and Oppositions get their information from a broad range of sources and as you
said before I haven't seen Kevin Rudd come in and disclose the sources of his information over the
wheat issue of some years ago and as you said we had a Royal Commission in to that, we had a Royal
Commission in to that issue. I don't see the government suggesting one here and nor are, but we are
suggesting that there should be a judicial inquiry into this and the government hasn't taken up the
Opposition's suggestion on that issue. I'm sure they would be very concerned about where that may
take issues. I mean we had a Royal Commission on the allegations that were made by the current
Prime Minister when he was the Leader of the Opposition and the government is clearly not prepared
to have any serious questions asked of them on this issue. So where the Opposition gets its
information from is just like journalists and like oppositions from time immemorial. Are they
suggesting that public servants shouldn't be whistleblowers on issues? Are they suggesting that
public servants should be brow-beaten by the government, not to disclose information when they feel
under pressure or they feel that there has been lapses in integrity? I mean is that the sort of
government this government is seeking to run?

KIERAN GILBERT: Jason, it looks like the government sees this is an opening to really hammer
Malcolm Turnbull and you're targeting all sorts of areas, his business life, his prior career in an
attempt to hammer his credibility. Have you seen this as a catalyst for that? I mean things do seem
to have got a lot more heated in recent days.

JASON CLARE: Yeah, well it goes to fitness for office, you know, this man has proved over the last
few months that he's prepared to do anything and say anything to get office. Annabel Crabb's recent
piece in The Monthly said stop at nothing, that's the title of it, 'Stop at Nothing'. Well, these
might be qualities that help to make you a millionaire but they don't make you the sort of person
fit to be Prime Minister of Australia.

KIERAN GILBERT: Have you overstepped the mark though?

JASON CLARE: Well, look have a look at what he's doing on emissions trading, doing everything to
delay so that he can delay an insurrection in his own party and he's flip flopped and he's changed
his position on emissions trading, on Alcopops, on just about everything that comes before the
party room all because he wants to try and protect power, try and protect his position as Leader of
the Opposition, prepared to do and say anything to be Prime Minister of Australia. And what's
happened in the last few weeks is evidence of that, a person who is prepared to overstep the mark
in a desperate grab for power.

KIERAN GILBERT: Well, I'll get Scott's response to that after the break and we're also going to be
speaking to Nick Xenophon the Independent because I want to talk more broadly about that emissions
trading issue. Stay with is here on AM Agenda.

KIERAN GILBERT: Welcome back to AM Agenda. The Independent Senator Nick Xenophon has voted with the
Coalition to delay a vote on the Emissions Trading Scheme until August, I spoke to the Independent
Senator in our Canberra studio a short time ago.

Nick Xenophon thanks for your time.

NICK XENOPHON: Good morning.

KIERNAN GILBERT: You voted with the Coalition to delay the emissions trading vote. What is a couple
of months going to provide? Don't business, doesn't the business community need certainty on what
the government's going to do?

NICK XENOPHON: I think the business community, the Australian community needs certainty that the
best possible emissions trading scheme is in place, one that suits Australia's economy, one that
delivers good environmental outcomes and right now we're not getting either with the current CPRS
that the government has put up. That's why a few weeks delay gives and opportunity for economic
modelling to be done on alternative scheme designs, in other words how can we improve on the
legislation to deliver those better outcomes both in economic and environmental terms.

KIERNAN GILBERT: But the government's been through green paper, white paper, the Garnaut report, do
you really think they're going to listen to you and change to another scheme?

NICK XENOPHON: I'm glad that you raised that because in the good old days, a bit old fashioned,
green papers are supposed to have robust policy discussions about various policy alternatives. If
you look at the green paper it was the government's way or the highway. All they had was basically
one scheme designed that was considered other scheme designs were basically ignored, no robust
discussion no detailed analysis and if you want to have a credible policy debate on this you need
to look at those alternatives. That's what the Senate inquiries have done, the two Senate inquiries
I was a part of and they looked at various scheme designs, they're worth a further look in the
context of how can we improve the current scheme design to get rid of the problems such as huge
revenue churn with this scheme, the economic inefficiencies of this scheme. And I also agree with
The Greens that we don't have modelling on higher, higher emissions targets and there's a motion
that The Greens are putting up this morning in the Senate which I'll support. Let there be
modelling on what the economic impact is of even a higher target because we just haven't had that.

KIERNAN GILBERT: Isn't it the bottom line going to be that we will have a scheme, a (inaudible)
just like the United States has because we have to be, have compatible arrangement to what the
biggest economy has?

NICK XENOPHON: We need to have Cap and Trade. One that had mechanisms for international trade
ability, I agree with that. We don't know what the American scheme will exactly look like, we don't
know what exemptions will be carved out in the final, in the final vote it hasn't gone to the
Senate yet it's still before a committee, a Congressional Committee. So we won't know for 2 or 3
months. But whatever the U.S does, doesn't mean we have to do the same thing. We need to design a
scheme that suits our economy that suits our economic structure, our environmental objectives and I
think it's important that we put that into perspective. Obviously we need a scheme that is
tradeable, that's why I don't think a carbon tax is credible in the sense that it doesn't allow for
that trade ability.

KIERNAN GILBERT: Haven't you let the Coalition off the hook in giving them a delay to this vote and
I suppose allowed them to avoid the potential double dissolution trigger? Do you think that's part
of their motivation?

NICK XENOPHON: Look, I like to think I'm letting both the Coalition and the government off the hook
because there are still serious flaws in the design of the government's CPRS scheme, there's, there
is real scope to, there's real scope to improve this and let's put this into perspective, this is
going to be the biggest economic change this country has ever seen. The GST was a walk in the park
compared to this in terms of its economic impact. This will effect generations to come and the way
we transform ourselves from a high carbon to a low carbon economy that involves billions and
billions of dollars worth of investment. You're not going to have a credible scheme unless you have
bipartisanship on this and I think that if we can thrash out alternative designs, if we can put up
amendments, if it can have that policy debate which we should've had months ago, we'll actually get
a better outcome.

KIERNAN GILBERT: Just finally, Nick Xenophon, I want to ask you about the huge controversy of the
week, the fake e-mail scandal. As you've watched it as an observer, I suppose, uninvolved, what
have you made of it all?

NICK XENOPHON: What I made of it is, you know, how much trouble a free ute can cause and how much
trouble politicians can get into by apparently jumping to conclusions. That's why I'll say again
what I said on Monday, let the Federal Police do their job, let the Auditor-General do his job and
because I think politicians don't make very good judges, juries and executioners.

KIERNAN GILBERT: Nick Xenophon thanks for your time.

NICK XENOPHON: Pleasure.

KIERNAN GILBERT: Thank you.

Welcome back to our panel now, Labor front bencher Jason Clare and Liberal front bencher Scott
Morrison.

Scott the delay to the emissions trading scheme vote, was this all about pushing out the prospect
of an early election because apparently Malcolm Turnbull told the Coalition Party Room yesterday
that the Coalition would not win an early election.

SCOTT MORRISON: Well, no it's not. That's not what it's about at all. What it's about is making
sure that we get a scheme that is right for the country. It's about making sure that we take into
account what is discussed at Copenhagen and making sure we take into account in the design of our
own scheme the U.S scheme which will have to single biggest impact on how this issue plays out
around the world for decades to come. That's what it's about. It's about the policy and the same as
the issue with Alcopops. With Alcopops the Coalition has made a point after the last budget that we
do not want to see this crippling debt which this government has put on future generations get
worse. We supported it as a revenue measure, we still think the health issues attached to this bill
are highly questionable. That wasn't the issue upon which the Coalition made its decision on, it
made it on the issue of revenue and had we not done that I'm sure there would have been a chorus of
opinion which would've chided us over our arguments on debt and deficit. We're very serious when it
comes to debt and deficit, we don't want to see Labor's spiralling debt and deficit get any worse
and we don't want to add to that. That's why we put forward alternatives when it came to private
health insurance, in terms of the tobacco exercise. We're very serious about getting the debt under
control which this government has allowed to get completely out of control and that will be ...

KIERAN GILBERT: Jason ...

SCOTT MORRISON: ... an issue at the next election.

KIERAN GILBERT: Jason will this delaying the vote be seen as the first rejection of the bill in a
potential double dissolution trigger constitutionally, is it seen as a rejection, the delay?

JASON CLARE: Well, I think it will be seen with great frustration by the people of Australia who
want us to act on climate change and Malcolm Turnbull revealed exactly what his agenda was when he
spoke to the Business Council of Australia last week and he said look I'm going to vote against
this the first time but when it comes up the second time we'll vote for it with some amendments.
So, it's all about trying to delay things to try and sure up his right wing and make sure that he
doesn't get, doesn't get rolled by the people that still support people like Peter Costello ...

SCOTT MORRISON: You've already lost that bet, Jason.

JASON CLARE: Does the government have ... a ... (inaudible)

SCOTT MORRISON: you've already lost that bet.

JASON CLARE: Well, there's a few of your colleagues around here mate that are asking for him to
come back, I've got to tell you, there's a few people in the Liberal Party that have been telling
me they wish Peter Costello was still around but the ...

SCOTT MORRISON: You keep pushing the cart.

JASON CLARE: ... problem the Liberal Party's got is that after Costello and Turnbull they don't back
down the order. It's like, you know if the openers get out then the next person in is Glenn
McGrath. There's not one else ...

SCOTT MORRISON: Time to call defeat on that one, Jason

JASON CLARE: ... in the Liberal Party who (inaudible) it. That's the problem they've got.

SCOTT MORRISON: Time for you to call defeat on that issue ...

JASON CLARE: But the problem in the Liberal Party ....

SCOTT MORRISON:... pay up and settle it.

JASON CLARE: ... yeah, I'll pay up mate, I'll pay up.

KIERAN GILBERT: I want to, let me ask you though about that being a potential double dissolution
trigger because a lot of this goes to the, you know, whether or not it will provide a timeline
suitable for potentially a double dissolution trigger as early as this year. Will this delay in the
vote be seen as rejection of the bill?

JASON CLARE: No one is talking about a double dissolution. The Labor Party, the government's not
interested in double dissolution we're focused on governing. The Liberal Party's not interested in
a double dissolution either and Malcolm Turnbull made that clear when he spoke to the Business
Council of Australia and said we'll vote against it once, we'll vote for it the second time. It's
all about delay because he knows that there are people in the Liberal Party and people in the
National Party who think climate change doesn't exist, the flat-earthers will be very upset if
Malcolm Turnbull supports this bill so he's just trying to delay as long as he possibly can.

KIERAN GILBERT: That speech to the Business Council, Scott, did flag the punch didn't it because I
mean he did lay that out as the game plan to block it once and then put up amendments and, you
know, told the business community to come up with some amendments and he'll put them to the
government and seek a compromise a second time around.

SCOTT MORRISON: Look, what we're trying to do is work constructively with this issue. Our position
today is that we want to see the Copenhagen conference held and we want to see what the U.S is
going to do. There is more information that is needed to ensure that the design of any scheme in
Australia gets it right and doesn't toss the jobs and export missions which the current proposal
will do. So, there is a lot more time to play out here and working through this issue. The
government just wants to ram it through; they want a blank cheque on emissions trading which under
their scheme will cost jobs and we're not prepared to support that.

JASON CLARE: Will you vote against it twice, Scott? Will you vote against it twice?

SCOTT MORRISON: Well, mate it hasn't even come up once yet so we're going ...

JASON CLARE: It has, it has and you've been delaying it.

SCOTT MORRISON: It's gone through to the Senate and the Senate's taken their view on it and you
just heard Nick Xenophon actually articulate quite well the reasons why this should be delayed
further and we've put our reasons why this should be delayed until we've seen the outcomes of
Copenhagen. So, we're not going to rush into this like the government wants to try and ram this
through the Parliament ...

JASON CLARE: Kieran, it's all a delaying tactic because ...

SCOTT MORRIOSN: I mean I know the government thinks they're unaccountable to anybody but you know
we'll hold them to account on these issues and make sure they get the information ...

JASON CLARE: Mate a lot has happened this week and you've seen people cross the floor against
Malcolm Turnbull to vote against his position on alcopops, there's going to be more Liberals today
cross the floor and vote against his position on immigration and detention legislation and you've
got big splits on emissions trading and that's why there's this delay because Malcolm Turnbull
doesn't have the authority to get his party to vote with one voice.

SCOTT MORRISON: I'm glad you raised that issue, Jason.

JASON CLARE: ... he couldn't run a bath at the moment, he couldn't run a bath.

SCOTT MORRISON: I'm glad you raised that issue because unlike in the Labor Party where all of your
guys and your factions get round and tell you all what you have to do, in the Liberal Party we
actually allow our members the opportunity to voice their opinions not just in the party room ...

JASON CLARE: No we have sensible debates and we don't bash each other in the party room.

SCOTT MORRISON: Oh is that right is it, Jason?

JASON CLARE: There's no fights in the party room in the Labor Party.

SCOTT MORRISON: That is the absolute experience in the Labor Party especially in New South Wales
that's they're Rolls-Royce tradition of constructive debate without violence ....

JASON CLARE: Mate, a few head locks and a few knuckle sandwiches a couple of weeks ago.

SCOTT MORRISON: ...give me a break.

KIERAN GILBERT: That's a fair point that Scott makes, I mean they are allowed to have a vote and
not be expelled from the party unlike yours. I mean it's a, isn't that a healthy situation if
you've crossing the floor from time to time.

JASON CLARE: Well, what it shows is that people don't support Malcolm Turnbull. It's the same
reason why people are leaking against him, talking to the ABC, revealing the relationship he has
with Godwin Grech, that's the problem. We've got people who don't support him about Alcopops ...

SCOTT MORRISION: It show's we're not a party of drones, mate.

JASON CLARE: ...they don't support him when it comes to immigration legislation, don't support him
ETS. You've got people leaking against him, there's people crossing rhe floor and leaking against
him to the press. It shows that this bloke doesn't have the leadership or the authority to run the
Liberal party let alone the Coalition.

KIERAN GILBERT: Scott, in 20 seconds or less, your response.

SCOTT MORRISON: Well, what Malcolm Turnbull is going to do is continue to hold this government to
account. I know the government doesn't like that and they would like him out of the way and they're
seeking to smear and shift the issue as much possible but what the Treasurer has to do is explain
why he gave preferential treatment to one of the Prime Minister's mates. That's the issue, nothing
else.

KIERAN GILBERT: Alright Scott, good to see you thank you very much for your time this morning.

SCOTT MORRISON: Thank you.

KIERAN GILBERT: And Jason Clare as well thank you.

JASON CLARE: Thanks mate.