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Meet The Press -

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Good morning and welcome to Meet The Press. There's a sense of a new contestability in Federal
politics and we certainly saw evidence of it in the bear pit of parliament during the week. The
Nielsen Poll picked up the improved support for the Opposition, tracked by Newspoll the previous
week. It also found confusion in the electorate over emissions policies, more than enough to
encourage Tony Abbott.

Yes, we can win. That is the message we are getting loud and clear from the Australian people, is
that increasingly, they don't like Mr Rudd's great big new tax on everything.

We know that the Leader of the Opposition thinks he is on a roll to win the next election. We know
he has had a bit of a hoopla in the party room about winning the next election.

A boost for the government when unemployment fell for the third month runnning, the same day the
Opposition blamed Peter Garrett for the deaths of four insulation installers.

Instead of talking about this minister, he would rather be talking about senator Barnaby Joyce.
Well, I have to say, Barnaby Joyce hasn't been responsible for programs that have killed people.

He's been a first class minister.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is a guest. But first, what the nation's papers are reporting this Sunday
February fourteen. The Brumby Labour government in Victoria has held onto one of its safest seats
in by election, despite a swing against it. It is a boost for the state opposition leader ahead of
November's state election. The premier of Queensland is facing annihilation. A huge swing against a
government ban she trails the opposition leader as preferred premier for the first time. Requests
for accommodation continue as many are forced from the rental market. The father of the first
installation installer to die road to the environment -- environment minister, warning of further
fatalities unless changes were made. And welcome back to the program, Kevin Rudd. Good morning
Prime Minister. Tony Abbott is not pulling back from linking the death of the installation
installers. He says Peter Garrett has to pay the price and lose his job.

What Tony Abbott has said is that Peter Garrett is guilty of industrial manslaughter. Let us step
back a bit. In Australia, every year, we have about 138,000 industrial accidents involving serious
injury. Each of those is properly investigated. We have more than 300 industrial deaths each year
in Australia and each of them is properly investigated by the authorities. What Tony Abbott has
done in this case is to go out there, step across the line, accused Peter Garrett of industrial
manslaughter without any of these independent investigations having concluded. I think it's --
shows extremely poor judgement. Even Barnaby Joyce things that has gone one step too far. The
responsible course of action lies in waiting for the coronal inquiry to conclude. To wait for the
safety authority and electricity safety authority to conclude, and having gone through those, we
will work out how the standards have applied in each case. In Stead, Tony Abbott has rushed to

You were confident none of these inquiries will find the programme which set up this installation
scheme, none of it will be lumped on Peter Garrett?

Let's go to the two core elements of this. One is the standard which applies to insulation
products. It has been around since 2002. Governing the use of foil insulation. Secondly, we also
have been the case of the Training Standards which apply, when his programme was introduced by
Peter Garrett, there were no nationally consistent training standards, he had to introduce them.
These are the two core elements of the regulatory standards applying to this industry. I simply go
back to my point, for Tony Abbott to go out there and accuse someone of industrial manslaughter
without any availability of the conclusions of the police inquiry, the industrial safety inquiry, I
think it is simply going way too far. Even Barnaby Joyce thinks that.

If you had your time again, this insulation scheme, does it look like a good idea which has gone
bad? Were to redesign it? Perhaps take more time in the way you implement it?

The let us put it into context. In the height of the global economic recession, what we were
seeking to do, or as we are dealing with education, is roll-out the door a large-scale economic
similar strategy to keep the Australian economy afloat. We know the economic results of that. This
economy, almost uniquely, has not gone into recession. The second thing is in the last period of
time, we have rolled out the door more than one million ceiling Insulations. That means 7,500
businesses out there have been employed. Things You have asked about, they are really important and
I responded to those earlier. But might call. Deers, we have to rely upon the baronial inquiry, the
police investigations, we have to rely upon these, the pull of bodies to investigate the facts,
rather than Tony Abbott rushing to judgement. And seeking to politicise this debate about
culpability before the facts are known.

On Wednesday, your ETS got through the lower house of Parliament. Nobody is expecting it to go
through the Senate. On Wednesday Tony Abbbot made this bold prediction about the future of the ETS.

I think the pressure is building on Mr Rudd to drop this whole crazy scheme and I frankly expect
him to quietly slither away from this in the next few weeks Time --.

Barry going to quietly Sarah away - - are you going to quietly slip up a way?

This programme is connected to the ones which the opposition supported four years. So in terms of
moving away from a consistent position, Tony Abbott gets a gold medal for that. Our position is
absolutely cut. It is the most effective environmentally, least cost system available to dealing
with the challenge of climate change. That is why the advanced economies of the world have done
just that. A very significant development this week was when we had Tony Abbott, and others,
concede, virtually for the first time that within four years, they themselves will be renewing the
need for an Emissions Trading Scheme. We are upfront about opposition. Tony Abbott says that here
is a con job on one hand but on the other hand, we might actually bring in a similar scheme later

When we return with the panel, has Doctor Rudd changed his prescription for the nation's hospitals?
And on Monday, Tony Abbott went in for some gender stereotyping, getting into hot water when he did
a spot of steam ironing.

Every time the housewives switches on the iron...

Or the house husband

. Or the house husband, that's what she needs to understand.

is a

This program is captioned live.

You're on Meet The Press with Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. And welcome to the panel, Jennifer
Hewett, The Australian, good morning Jennifer. And Malcolm Farr, The Daily Telegraph, good morning
Malcolm. By now according to a pre-election promise, the states would have all agreed to Mr Rudd's
National Health Reform Plan or we would be heading for a Federal take over. The timetable has
slipped about ten months while the Prime Minister regroups.

I say to those opposite that we will seek to achieve a compromise with the states on one thing.

He wants to be bold. He wants to be bold, it's just that the states and territories are holding him

Prime Minister, what ever happened to that sense of urgency and decisive action? Will we ever have
a reform package on the table?

Can I say, our position on the reform of the health and hospital system has not changed. We believe
the system requires Bridgen surgery, we need more hospital beds, we need the elimination of waste
between the Commonwealth and the States and that is why a bold reform plan is necessary. We make no
apology for the fact that we have taken longer than was planned to finalise this strategy for the
future. You have millions of Australians up there each year who depend on health and hospital
system, they depend on us to get this right. The reform plan or blueprint was put down in July last
year by Christine Bennett in response to the government's request. We have had large consultation
with hospitals and we are now in detailed discussions with the states and territories. We will
bring forward this reform plan and as I've said before, if the states and territories do not accept
it, we would take that matter to the people. Our resolve to do so hasn't changed one bit because
the needs of the system are fundamental, they are long-term and the need to be dealt with.

What is the timetable for doing this? Co-operative federalism seemed to be good idea but the states
are as recalcitrant as ever.

We have achieved some progress through the first to Australian hospitals agreement, the healthcare
agreement. We have increased funding to hospitals by 50%, we have increased the number of GP places
and nursing places, elective surgery procedures resulting in tens of thousands of additional
procedures, we haven't exactly been sitting on our hands. But the key thing is to get long-term
reform right. If you look at this one call fact - expenditure from the states and territories for
healthcare has been going up at between 9-11%. But their own source of revenue growth has been in
the vicinity of 4%. Things Otley are not squaring up. That's why we need to eliminate waste in the
system. We need to make sure we are delivering properly for the people of Australia for the future
and we are determined to do so.

Prime Minister, there has been 12 boats I believe that have gone to Christmas silence so far this
year. 700 passengers. It is straining credulity to think that Christmas Island isn't straining
itself. Aren't you ever much closer to having to reintroduce the mainland reception centres?

As we have said all long, Christmas Island is where we take people when they are intercepted in
Australian waters, that's where they go. Secondly, there is a purpose-built facility. And as far as
I know, there is still capacity death. But as the minister has made plain, we of course have
additional capacity in Dou wan and other places should that become necessary. What we have dealt
within the last year or so is the consequences of huge instability in our region, the civil war in
Sri Lanka which hasn't just affected us. It is hard, difficult, part of the day-to-day
decision-making of government. But on Christmas Island, we still have capacity as of today.

But it would seem that for political reasons, you are jamming them into Christmas Island so you
don't have to take that step of having a mainland processing centre, even in Darwin. I don't care
how many tens and camp stretches you send in, that has got to be a big problem. Logistically.

The thing with Christmas Island is that you will find over a long period of time that the pressure
on the capacity they will ever inflow. It will change from time to time. Remember, when Mr Howard
had this built, we were told the Pacific solution and other formulas adopted by him had solved the
problem but at the same time they were built in this -- building this institution. Prudent planners
knew that you would have increases and decreases in the number of asylum seekers in any given year.
Boats have been coming to this country since the 1970s and the key thing is to use facilities you
have got, to use them effectively but on the question of reserve capability in Darwin, Mr Evans has
made it plain that that is part of his long-term contingency planning.

Prime Minister, you have said this morning that the government was up front about emissions
trading, you have described it as the great moral challenge of our generation. Do you have the
courage to go to a double dissolution election on this?

The Senate still has a way to run on this. We only just put it to the House of Representatives
where Malcolm Turnbull had the consistency of conviction to cross the floor. It goes now to the
Senate. Will we are engaged in continued discussions with senators from all parties including the
Greens and what happens there. On the future, whenever the next election is held in whatever form
that election takes, both emissions trading and action on climate change will be front and centre
in that election because this problem will not disappear. It is real for this generation of
Australians and the next one.

Coming up the talk is about recovery but welfare organisations say forget buying a house even
renting is out of reach for a growing number. Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey's appearance on Channel
Ten's, "Talking 'bout Your Generation" wearing a crown and a tutu caused mirth for many and
embarrassment for Joe.

I can't believe I'm doing this.

Syndicated cartoonist Zanetti was amused.

So I was just saying to Joe the other day... Joe, that Rudd will do anything for a vote.

bacon, barbecue sauce You're on Meet The Press, with the Prime Minister. Some of the pub the
concerned queuing to get into question time. We gave some of them the chance to quiz the Prime

I have a question for Mr Rudd, it's in regard to your broken promises. I just wanted to ask, in May
2008 you declared that homelessness was a national obscenity and it was a big crisis that we had to
focus on. But since then homelessness has actually increased. I was wondering, how do you intend to
meet your target of reducing homelessness by 20% by 2013?

On the question of homelessness, we remain absolutely committed to reducing it by half. Through the
impact of the global economic recession, of course there are lot more people out there, presenting
themselves to aid agencies, and charities, for assistance. As people have gone into unemployment
and other pressures on the family budget have risen. In response to the question raised, this
Government has embarked upon the biggest expansion of social housing in the country's history.
20,000 new units being built, 7,000 around away as be speak. We have undertaken essential repairs
already a 59,000 units of social housing. We have increased our investment in homelessness services
by 50%. We have been in government for two years, we spent the first year delivering our first
white paper.

You've done all that, when you need to wrap it up to achieve your targets?

It cannot build additional houses overnight. We spent a year analysing the problem with the entire
per dissipation -- parties to pay some of the Church and welfare organisations. One year later,
houses under construction, or being repaired, and a programme to roll out total construction to
20,000. It cannot reduce homelessness and as you have extra capacity. These numbers, nothing was
done about them in the 12 years of our predecessors. We are turning the ship around and there is
investment to do it.

The opposition believes they are increasingly dissatisfied with broken promises.

How can they expect the Prime Minister to look them in the eye and honour commitments made in 2010
winners each day passes, the Australians for suffering the impact of broken promises. , do you have
a credibility problem?

I think it is pretty rich coming from the Liberals to say they would never be a GST. That interest
rates will be kept at record lows. Tony Abbott saying he would not change the Medicare safety net.
Let us put it all into context. Do you know what we have been doing for the last year or so?
Wrestling with the biggest economic crisis the world has seen for 75 years. We are proud of our
record of achievement. We said we would lead the economy during this difficult time. We have
produced -- reduce low levels of unemployment. 34,000 projects of construction under way. We have
acted in so many different areas. We have increased the childcare tax free rebate. The easiest
thing you can do as a Liberal Party is to throw around an accusation. I stand proud of this
Government's achievement and look forward to election day or matching hour record in two-year as
against the 12 years of the Howard government in each of these areas.

But people are looking at what was said in 2007 and what has happened now. Rightly or wrongly,
whether expectations were entirely true or not, they have saved you have not delivered everything
you promised. Isn't that a problem coming into a election?

In dealing with the challenges of the global recession, obviously some changes have to be made
because of the impact on government finances. I accept that. At the same time, the government,
through its actions, kept the economy out of recession. Had we not done that and follow the path of
other countries around the world, hundreds of thousands of Australians would be without jobs right
now. We have had unemployment go down from Mick on pre-election commitments, we said we would
ratify the cute a protocol. We did so. Troops out of Iraq, we have done that. Boosting the pension,
very easy to for the Liberal party.

Nevertheless, the opposition is gaining some traction. Many of your own colleagues say that some of
the problem is the fact that everything gets locked ending of this. Do you need to change her style

-- change your style on that.

This is a core part of the business of government. If you put together the ledger of our
pre-election commitments, right across the board, against what is being implemented, and a record
on the economy, in terms of the big challenges of last year, we will stand proud in defence of our
record of achievement.

We are almost out of time, but there is news of a major NATO offensive in southern Afghanistan.
Harrier hoping, along with President Obama and the NATO governments, that this major offence it
will be the beginning of the end the Taliban? For is at an endless war? endless war?

I can confirm today that Allied forces, British American Afghan, in the centre of Helmand Province,
have launched a major offensive. It is a centre of activity for the Taliban. Your broader question
is where it goes in the long-term war in Afghanistan. Hour approaches, in our part of the country,
-- our approach is, in our part of the country, we have a responsibility to train the Afghan
forces. Part of that it is to sit tour the country.

Thank you for being with us today. Thanks to our panel, Malcolm Farr and Jennifer Hewett, A
transcript and a replay of this programme will be on our website. Until next week, goodbye.