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Meet The Press -

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MEET THE PRESS

INTERVIEWS WITH SENATOR BOB BROWN AND SENATOR RON BOSWELL.

MARCH 8TH, 2009

MEET THE PRESS PRESENTER PAUL BONGIORNO: Good morning and welcome to Meet The Press. Last week, the
Government pirouetted around the word "recession", and instead used a number of metaphors to talk
about the economic cyclone that hit our shores with the release of the national accounts. On
Wednesday, the Prime Minister put on a hard hat as the news was confirmed - our economy had come to
a shuddering halt and was beginning to reverse.

PRIME MINISTER KEVIN RUDD: (Wednesday) Australia cannot continue to swim against the global
economic tide. Australia can reduce the impact, cushion the impact of the global economic tide, but
we cannot stop it all together.

PAUL BONGIORNO: But for the Greens, that won't be an excuse to abandon efforts to combat global
warming.

GREENS SENATOR BOB BROWN: (Monday) We're going to have worse bushfires, worse cyclones, sea levels
rises affecting the capital cities of Australia as well going through the whole of Calcutta and
Shanghai. 150 million people on the move by mid-century, massive droughts, food shortages.

PAUL BONGIORNO: Greens leader Senator Bob Brown is a guest. And later, Nationals Senator Ron
Boswell. But first, what's making news in the nation's papers this Sunday, March 8? In Brisbane,
the 'Sunday Mail' reports Cyclone Hamish could be worrse than Cyclone Larry. Hamish hovering off
the Far North Queensland coast has been upgraded to a Category 4 storm. Major centres Innesfail to
Marybrough are under threat. The row over executive salaries takes a twist with the 'Sunday Herald
Sun' saying "PM's wife gets million dollar bonus." The paper says Therese Rein earned at least $1.4
million last year from her company, Ingeus. In Adelaide, the 'Sunday Mail' has "Send Up Big and And
Save Jobs." That's the message from businesses, especially retailers as the $4 billion of nanna
from Kevin starts flowing into accounts this week. The 'Sunday Telegraph' reports on last night's
gay and lesbian Mardi Gras. "Parade Colours Gay World" - almost 10,000 participated in the event
which had the theme - Nations United. Good morning and welcome back to the program Senator Bob
Brown.

BOB BROWN: Good morning, Paul.

PAUL BONGIORNO: That report on Therese Rein, a $1 million bonus. Is that an excessive salary?

BOB BROWN: Well, Therese Rein, what she does, of course, and what her business does is her
business. But the comparison is very clear. The Prime Minister is on about a third of that, and we
are in a world which is divided into some very, very big salaries, particularly with CEOs, and we
Greens want to see that in Australia brought into some order at a time when for example Pacific
Brands has executives, the last executive went on $3 million. The new one is getting $2 million,
but they're sacking nearly 2,000 workers and that's unfair, and that should be a matter for the new
Fair Works Commission to be able to look at.

PAUL BONGIORNO: Well, I notice that the Greens believe that you can use the Corporations Power to
legislate executive salaries. Can you do that? What's your advice on that?

BOB BROWN: Yes, of course you can. The Corporations Power, John Howard began the process of being
able to make law for the internal good governance of corporations in Australia. It was put there by
the founding fathers for that. And good governance includes looking after the workers, and in
Australia, we're facing some hundreds of thousands of workers minimum going on to the unemployment
queues in coming months because of the recession. And it's a time when we should be doing, as
legislators, all we can to look after the interests of the average working...

PAUL BONGIORNO: But in a free market, how do you do that? I mean, if a company is doing very well,
employing a lot of people, they're all making money. Who is to say that $1 is million is just
right?

BOB BROWN: Well, it's a free market that's now dependant upon the taxpayers. We've seen billions of
dollars going through the Parliament to support those people at the top end of town - the big
banks, the big corporations which are wanting investment. And there's a quid pro quo here - you
just simply can't say, "Oh well, we're a free market and the Government shouldn't intervene."
Except it should back us up when we're in financial trouble. On the other hand, leave the workers
to the whims of the market. Our job is to look after Australian families and that means Australian
workers and to make sure that they get a fair go. Now, we're not saying that there should be a
wholesale interference of course, but where CEOs - and I look at the figures for the last year,
some of them are $8 million, $10 million, $12 million. I don't believe any worker is worth that at
a time when thousands of people are being put on the unemployment queue. So we just need a little
bit of fairness here. We've got a Fair Work Commission being set up. I'll be talking to Julia
Gillard tomorrow about this, because we've got the Fair Work Legislation coming into the Parliament
and it's an opportunity and the Greens want to see this, to at least have the Fair Work Commission
look at the most excessive, the "obscene" to quote the Prime Minister, CEO grabs, and make sure a
little bit of the money goes to workers who might otherwise be displaced.

PAUL BONGIORNO: Obviously the context here is the economic downturn. Is Australia is in a
recession?

BOB BROWN: Well, we're in reverse and if you ask me.

PAUL BONGIORNO: That's the "R" word, not quite recession.

BOB BROWN: If you ask me, Australia has to deal with itself as if it's in a recession, and we would
be very unwise not to assume that we're in a recession. This idea of a technical recession. Who
invented that? The fact is that the economy is contracting. That we're seeing thousands of jobs
being lost and it's our job to make sure that we look after the average Australian the best we can,
assuming that that recession may well get worse.

PAUL BONGIORNO: As you say, the Fair Work Bill is coming into the Senate this week and Peter
Costello during the week said that it is a jobs killer.

PETER COSTELLO: It has to reconsider its proposals in relation to Industrial Relations, which might
have been OK in times of good growth, but will affect jobs in a downturn.

PAUL BONGIORNO: Well, Senator Brown, what is the Greens' attitude? Is the Fair Work Bill a jobs
killer?

BOB BROWN: Well, no. Of course, it is catching up on the template set by Peter Costello and John
Howard, which is part of the problem we now have and which is seeing us lose so many jobs. We think
the Fair Works Legislation needs improving actually, to make sure that it saves more jobs. It is
there to give fairness in the workplace and to protect Australians.

PAUL BONGIORNO: Is it tilted too far in favour of the unions?

BOB BROWN: No, not at all. And for example, we would like to see the Commission able to arbitrate
on - where workers and their employers agree. Let's say a better environmental circumstances for
workers, less pollution, a greener workplace. Why should the Commission not be able to look after
the employers and the workers as they come to an agreement on that. currently that's not allowed
under the legislation. The issue of parental leave, for goodness sake. I heard Sharon Burrow during
the week leading you have as if shepherding the Government as if to say, we're going to put that
off because of the economic circumstances. We are only one of two equivalent countries, the other
being George Bush's, Obama will fix this up, United States - which doesn't give parental leave. And
I've been talking with Sarah Hanson Young, our shadow minister if you like, so that will be moving
in this legislation, the Fair Works Legislation, to bring in 26 weeks parental leave. And if not,
then she'll introduce discreet legislation, about $1 billion, where the Greens have said - let's
lock the top tax cuts which provide $3.5 billion to the richest people in Australia, so that we can
have parental leave and all the good that flows from that in the Australian work place.

PAUL BONGIORNO: Time for a break. When we return with the panel, has the global financial crisis
put global warming in the deep freeze? And only in Queensland... former AFL high flyer and reformed
porn star Warrick Capper threatened to steal Pauline Hanson's thunder as a candidate until he
screwed up his nomination.

WARRICK CAPPER: (Wednesday) Vote one! No more porn. I'm reborn. Please explain.

PAULINE HANSON: (Tuesday) He made the whole thing a joke, he really did, and it's a shame because I
don't see elections as a joke

PAUL BONGIORNO: You're on Meet The Press with Greens Leader Senator Bob Brown and welcome to our
Panel Alison Carabine from Radio 2UE, Good morning.

ALISON CARABINE: Morning Paul.

PAUL BONGIORNO: And from ABC News Radio Marius Benson, Good morning, Marius..

MARIUS BENSON: Morning Paul.

PAUL BONGIORNO: Last week the government's closest industry adviser, the Australian Industry Group,
urged a two year delay for the introduction of a carbon pollution reduction scheme and that seemed
to fit in with this view of Professor Ross Garnaut.

PROFESSOR ROSS GARNAUT: (Tuesday) At this stage, it looks as if we've transferred back two years,
the emissions levels that we were expecting, two to three years and might turn out to be longer
than that if this turns out to be an even worse economic crisis, but we've got a little bit of
breathing space.

ALISON CARABINE: Senator Brown, Ross Garnaut, the Government's own highly respected climate change
advisor. He seems to be suggesting that carbon output will fall naturally as a result of the
economic slowdown. Why not delay carbon trading, which is what industry wants until the economy
picks up? Surely people's priorities have changed?

BOB BROWN: Because we can't take a Chamberlain attitude towards climate change. The fact is that
we're polluting the atmosphere at the highest levels ever in human history. And catastrophic
climate change - witness the cyclone off the Queensland coast at the moment, the Category 5. The
bushfires, the massive drought on the Murray-Darling basin. The threat to the Barrier Reef with
63,000 jobs on it, most of it to be killed off by mid-century just as we're going at the moment.
Now, this is a huge threat to Australia and its lifestyle and the well-being of our grandkids. But
also a huge opportunity. And that's where the Greens come in with our new jobs, with our new
economy. Up to a million jobs can be created in the next couple of decades, but you'll lose that
opportunity if we take the Garnaut attitude, that any excuse for holding back in the traces will
do. And the Government has got to pick up its act here. It's aiming at 5% reduction. It just is
simply insufficient, it's going to lead us into massive climate change problems and a much bigger
hit on the economy than we're seeing at the moment for our children or grandchildren to deal with.

ALISON CARABINE: But, how can industry afford such massive upheaval during these times, and surely
people are more concerned about their jobs now than they are about the environment, which to an
extent has become a boutique issue. Will the Queensland election be a litmus test on the jobs V
environment question?

BOB BROWN: Well, I think the Queensland election campaign, and I'll be at the Greens launch up
there with Ronan Lee today, is going to show that the Greens are out at the forefront here in
creating jobs to meet this double predicament of an economic recession, but also the threat of
climate change. And you put the two of those together, and industry itself, big corporations in
Australia have been calling for this for years now, and when you look at for example, the
opportunities in energy efficiency, retrofitting all the houses in Australia with solar power, with
hot water services, with insulation. Making sure that all the buildings in Australia and indeed
around the world are properly fitted out, because they emit 29% of the greenhouse gases going into
the atmosphere that's threatening us all. A massive, technologically based, job-creating industry
for Australian investors to get into with huge economic export potential. And job creation -
hundreds of thousands of jobs in Australia. And the Greens are going to lead the debate on this, as
the old parties get bogged down in the old thinking of last century, which is simply not going to
get the Australian economy going in the coming decades.

MARIUS BENSON: Senator, can I ask you about the politics of ETS, because there is a view that the
Government would be quite happy if you and other members of the Senate blocked their bill, because
then they could say to the electorate, we tried, we promised to get an ETS up. We tried but the
Senate blocked it. Are you prepared to be portrayed as the man who prevented Australia having an
Emissions Trading Scheme?

BOB BROWN: Well, you won't find me or the Greens being part of an Emissions Trading Schemes that
does fail Australia. Let me say this, if you have a pathetic 5% Rudd target, which even Ian Dunlop,
formerly of the coal industry itself, roundly criticised this week, then you're leading taxpayers
to be potentially forking out billions of dollars of compensation when we have to lift that further
down the line. We have to get this right from the outset. We need to be at the cutting edge. We
need to be world's best practice, we need to be catching up with the rest of the world, and we need
to be going to Copenhagen at the end of this year leading the world. And by the way, if this
Government was to end the unnecessary destruction of forests and woodlands in Australia, not least
in my home State of Tasmania, that would reduce greenhouse emissions into the atmosphere by 15% to
20%. But the Government is not even looking at it.

PAUL BONGIORNO: Senator Brown, one of our viewers is concerned the cost of reducing our emissions
will put pressure on her employer. Amy, a food processor from Cronulla asks if the ETS goes ahead
in the current economic climate, will it put my job in jeopardy?

BOB BROWN: Well, no not at all. In fact, it will give great opportunities for a food producer
that's able to show that they are minimising on greenhouse gases. That is becoming more and more a
buyer item. And in Europe, they are now beginning to label food according to the carbon output. So,
if your employer is at the forefront there in making sure that greenhouse gases are reduced, it's
going to actually increase the sales potential, secure your job and make sure that it's very
competitive in the world market coming down the line.

ALISON CARABINE: Senator Brown, you concede Australia is in recession. The Greens supported the $42
billion stimulus package. Did it spook you last week that the national accounts showed that the
first round of stimulus spending did not stop the economy contracting. Have you just not helped the
Government blow $42 billion?

BOB BROWN: Well, $13 billion of that is going out as tax bonus, and we did not at any stage really
want to see that happen. I said we wouldn't take a sledge hammer to what the Government was doing.

ALISON CARABINE: You let it through.

BOB BROWN: But we did reduce that and with the $50 coming from each of those payments, we've been
able to create a $500 million jobs creation.

ALISON CARABINE: Yes, but it hasn't stopped the country sliding into recession.

BOB BROWN: Well, that's right, and this is a very serious matter for the nation. The Greens
recognise the responsibility we have. We dealt with that ... unlike the Opposition and Malcolm
Turnbull simply saying we're going to block. The Greens said - we will improve this package, and as
a result, there are thousands of jobs to be created in the areas of infrastructure, local
Government, communities helping unemployed people that would otherwise not have occurred, and
that's right across Australia, including in regional Australia. So we're very pleased that outcome,
and the Greens will continue to aim at jobs creation. When the Government comes up with packages
for infrastructure and it's got a big infrastructure program down the line. We want to hone that
in, particularly on small business and jobs creation right across-the-board in Australia. Because
we can do that. This can be a smart, Green-savvy country, and that means creating jobs.

PAUL BONGIORNO: Senator Brown, just before we go, the alcopops legislation comes before the Senate
this week. Will you be party to allowing $200 million going back to the distillers or will you back
the rise in the excise?

BOB BROWN: I see that the distillers have agreed that they're not going to fight to take that back.
It should go into a fund - like the Victorians did with their tobacco taxes to assist
organisations.

PAUL BONGIORNO: Doesn't that mean that you have to allow the tax to stay though?

BOB BROWN: Well, exactly. Either the tax will be cut off at this stage and then there will be
hundreds of millions of dollars to establish a fund that's been collected over the last year, or it
will continue to be collected It has reduced binge drinking, it has reduced alcohol consumption.
That's a good thing, but we want to see the money going into education and reducing the ravages of
alcohol, particularly on the health bill in Australia and on the ability of people to get the best
out of their workplace.

PAUL BONGIORNO: Thank you very much for being with us today Senator Bob Brown.

BOB BROWN: Thank you.

PAUL BONGIORNO: And coming up, Queensland Nationals Senator Ron Boswell. And cartoonist Ron
Tandberg in 'The Age' was inspired by the treasurer to lay bare the socks and jocks stimulus.

WAYNE SWAN: Well, you know the one item in our stores that's really gone through the roof? I said
"What's that?" and he said "Socks and jocks".

PAUL BONGIORNO: The undies drawer empty - she says the first signs of recession.

You're on Meet the Press. The Nationals in the Senate aren't convinced humans are completely to
blame for global warming, which seems to put them at odds with the Coalition Leader.

OPPOSIITION LEADER MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, certainly, we should cut our emissions by more than what
Mr Rudd is proposing. Those people who want to reduce Australia's emissions, including us,
including me in particular, feel this is going to be an ineffectual scheme because the cut in
emissions is going to be very low.

PAUL BONGIORNO: Well, good morning and welcome back to the program, Senator Ron Boswell.

SENATOR RON BOSWELL: Good morning.

PAUL BONGIORNO: Are you having trouble with the hearing now or are you OK?

RON BOSWELL: No, there is a back echo on this.

PAUL BONGIORNO: Can we fix that? Anyway, we'll push ahead and see how we go. Your Coalition Leader
Malcolm Turnbull is of a view that the Government isn't going far enough, but isn't it a fact you
can't cut emissions without changing the way we do business in this country?

RON BOSWELL: That is absolutely correct. The Labor Party is going to put an emissions charge on
every motor, every conveyor belt , every piece of equipment in an abattoir. The charges are just
going to go up and up to Australian industry.

PAUL BONGIORNO: But, won't that happen even if Malcolm Turnbull has his way, because he says we
should cut emissions further than the Labor Party, he's suggesting?

RON BOSWELL: Look, the emissions debate is vast, but one thing that - one thing that can't be
dismissed is that if we go this alone, and if China, India and America don't follow us, and we go
out there alone with our 1.4 emissions, then we're going to achieve nothing. And all we are going
to achieve is risk and lose jobs right across Australia.

MARIUS BENSON: Senator, could I go back one step and ask you - do you think the Australian climate
is changing because of human activity?

RON BOSWELL: Look, that debate is open. You will get a body of scientists that say it is and you
will get an equal body of scientists who say it isn't.

MARIUS BENSON: What's your view?

RON BOSWELL: But one thing you can't dispute is if you go this alone and China, India and America
don't follow, our Emissions Trading Scheme is going to be useless and we're going to ... we have
1.4% of the word's emissions and we're not going to change a thing, except in Australian jobs.

MARIUS BENSON: So as the debate gets serious in Parliament, is there any way that you would back
any form of an ETS?

RON BOSWELL: Look, I don't propose to telegraph my punches on how we're going to vote. I hope that
the Coalition will oppose this in total and I believe Senator Brown will oppose it. And I hope it
is defeated.

MARIUS BENSON: Well, that's a fairly well telegraphed punch - you're against it?

RON BOSWELL: Well, I'm certainly against it, but I'm not saying whether I'm going to vote against
it if the Coalition doesn't. But I'm certainly against it and I'm very hopeful and I'll be arguing
in the party room that we abandon this and dump it as fast as we can.

ALISON CARABINE: Well, Senator Boswell, another major piece of legislation comes up this week,
Labor's Fair Work Bill. Which set of IR laws are better for the economy? WorkChoices or the ones
Labor is proposing?

RON BOSWELL: Look, the Labor proposal is going to cost a lot of jobs. I agree totally with Peter
Costello. It will be a job-loser. And the main disadvantage facing business is the unfair
dismissals law. When we dropped the unfair dismissals law, our unemployment figures went down like
a brick, and to re-introduce it, you're going to find that business will push people into casual
employment and then they'll go and try and put everything else on ... well, they'll go and hire in
cleaners and they'll do all sorts of things to not put people on work.

PAUL BONGIORNO: Senator Boswell, thank you very much for being with us today. And I can only
apologise for the problems you're having with the audio there. You did mention Peter Costello.
Would you like to see him back on the frontbench?

RON BOSWELL: Well, that's a matter entirely for the Liberals to debate.

PAUL BONGIORNO: OK, thank you very much. And thank you Alison Carabine from Radio 2UE and Marius
Benson from ABC News Radio. A transcript of the program will be available on the website. And if
you have any questions you would like to ask future guests, e-mail us
meetthepress@networkten.com.au. Until next week, goodbye.