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Meet The Press -

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10th July 2005


MEET THE PRESS PRESENTER GREG TURNBULL: Welcome to Meet the Press. This morning a new broom
promises to sweep away bullying and abuse in our armed forces. As Angus Houston takes the reins
we'll talk to the Shadow Defence Minister about where to now for military justice. And taking it to
the streets - the union movement united against the Prime Minister's industrial reform vision. But
first to what the nation's press is reporting this Sunday July 10. And of course it is dominated by
the aftermath of the London bombs which left more than 50 people dead including 13 on a London
double-decker bus. Britain's worst ever terrorist attack wounded 700 and many people are reported
to be still missing. Some bodies remain trapped deep inside a subway tunnel. Police have revised
the timing of the deadly blast that tore through the underground, saying a explosions were
detonated just seconds apart, and not up to half an hour apart as first reported. The near
simultaneous detonation of the bombs suggest they were triggered by timers not by suicide bombers.
There's also a fresh claim of responsibility posted on the Internet by an al-Qa'ida-related group
calling itself the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigade. Well, the Shadow Minister for Defence and former
Shadow Minister for Homeland Security is Robert McClelland. And he's our first guest this morning.
Welcome to the program.


GREG TURNBULL: Could it happen here, and what are we doing to stop it?

ROBERT MCCLELLAND: Well, most certainly all the expert advice is it could, and again, on precedent,
probably a soft target such as a railway line or a public place, a bar. And quite frankly I don't
think we're doing enough particularly in the area of rail security. We've seen measures in port
security, airport security, but four years after September 11 I think both the Federal and the
State Governments could do more in the area of rail security.

GREG TURNBULL: You're on record, to give you your due, talking about this very issue in the past.
In fact you said that people on a suburban peak-hour train in Sydney are no safer against a
terrorist attack now than they were before September 11. But the Prime Minister just this morning
in the press is saying this is an area that he's prepared to look at. Is it a Federal
responsibility or the States?

ROBERT MCCLELLAND: Well, both have got to work together and both have got to show leadership. For
instance, the Federal Government has got expertise in bomb detector dog technology and training.
And we believe that working in partnership, that, at the very least, until more sophisticated
technology is developed, should be a program put in place. It exists in Holland Belgium, some
stations in the United States relatively cheaply and we think at the very least a program where
bomb detector dog teams a company existing rail security guards is a must, is essential, quite
frankly, whoever takes responsibility for it.

GREG TURNBULL: One of the, I guess, worrying things about the London bombs, is that we've known for
so long that London was a target. There is no-one more tuned into the intelligence of al-Qa'ida
than the London authorities, and yet it happened there. Is bomb detector dogs and everything else,
are they going to make a difference?

ROBERT MCCLELLAND: Well, again your first line is your intelligence framework and I think the
greatest fear of intelligence agencies is local cells, sort of maverick cells, that establish
themselves. Very very, difficult, very, very difficult task but one that you've got to persist in.
And clearly a focus on intelligence has got to be the priority but equally there are some common
sense things you can do to minimise it at the site of risk and soft targets such as the public
transport systems are areas where you've got to do what you can.

GREG TURNBULL: It's a balance isn't it between letting people get on with their lives? Do you think
it will one day be as difficult to get, say, to a platform at Central Station as it is to get
through the security into Sydney airport?

ROBERT MCCLELLAND: No, but equally I think passengers would accept a situation where randomly as
you get on a plane one or two were pulled aside, perhaps a wand to go through their brief case
before they enter the rail platform. I think the travelling public would readily accept that and it
could easily be made a condition of travelling on the public transport system. I think these sort
of things are being trialled overseas and quite frankly we're four years too late in terms of just
taking the initiative now.

GREG TURNBULL: Robert McClelland, we'll come back to the issue surrounding the bombing and the
second break counter-terrorism in the second break, but let me just turn to military just Through
the week the new chief of the defence force Angus Houston was sworn in and he had some very strong
words to say about military justice. Let's have a reminder.

DEFENCE CHIEF ANGUS HOUSTON (Last Monday): We must treat our people properly, and the chiefs and I
will not tolerate any form of abuse in our system. We will eliminate bullying and all forms of
harassment, and we take that very very seriously.

GREG TURNBULL: Well, strong words but can he deliver?

ROBERT MCCLELLAND: Well he's a particularly decent man. He can't do it on his own - he needs
support from the Federal Government. There've been six inquiries over the last nine years and
measures haven't been implemented. There's a lot that has to be done at a central level through the
Government. Equally, he will show leadership, but that leadership has to get down through the ranks
to effect the He's certainly got the determination to do it. He needs to be backed by the Federal

GREG TURNBULL: The culture's the thing though, isn't it? Can the military be trusted to reform
itself in respect to military justice?

ROBERT MCCLELLAND: Well, again, they need to reform some of the structures, such as for instance
more diligently pursuing these allegations of abuse and if necessary farming them out to civil
prosecutors, police experts either State or Federal. That sort of thing would show that we regard
this conduct as criminal conduct which is going to be prosecuted independently of the military.
That's one of the recommendations the Senate committee reports. They're structures that require
Government action, Angus Houston as head of the defence force can show leadership, but the
Government's got to do far more. They're yet to comment for instance on the Senate committee report
which was a unanimous report putting forward some very sound recommendations.

GREG TURNBULL: It's been a very serious issue that's led to, as we've seen, suicides, and the
Senate committee report is damning of the system, virtually describes it as a cot case. But is it
appropriate to take, I think to quote Senator Robert Hill, a system that's been built up over 100
years or so and superimpose on that changes involving civilian authorities?

ROBERT MCCLELLAND: Well, essentially, if you look at the modern defence force, there's so much, the
defence forces now effectively focuses on a core business - fighting wars. I mean, their catering
has been contracted out. Their cleaning services have been In terms of offences such as allegations
of theft, allegations of assault, there is no reason, we believe, why they wouldn't be more
effectively prosecuted by State experts, State police forces or if overseas, Federal police forces
for instance. Basically, the report showed the lack of expertise in the defence forces for handling
much of this primarily because they don't have that expertise, that ongoing experience in the
administration of the criminal law for instance.

GREG TURNBULL: OK, Robert McClelland, we'll take a break there. And when we return we'll ask why
Labor wants fewer troops in Iraq and more troops in Afghanistan.

GREG TURNBULL: You're on Meet the Press with Shadow Defence Minister Robert McClelland. And we're
joined by our panel this morning, Alison Carabine from Southern Cross radio and Tom Allard from the
'Sydney Morning Herald'.

TOM ALLARD, 'SYDNEY MORNING HERALD': Mr McClelland, what role do you envisage for Australian troops
in Afghanistan?

ROBERT MCCLELLAND: Well, again this is a matter obviously where we'd take expert advice, but prima
facie you'd look at Australia's previous involvement there with the special forces, but you'd also
have a look at for instance what the New Zealand Government is doing with their regional team
there. I think they've got about 122 involved in construction together with some special forces, I
think , about 60. Obviously they've had some success - that perhaps may be a model that Australia
might follow.

TOM ALLARD: We have a much bigger military of course, would you be envisaging sending many more
troops than the 100 already there?

ROBERT MCCLELLAND: This is a concern that we've consistently expressed - that because of our
deployment to Iraq, and the former head of defence general Cosgrove said, our dance card was
effectively full, we've been concerned that our involvement in Iraq is actually diverted resources
from where they should be most effectively applied in Australia's national security interests - and
that's in our region. Afghan having a direct relevance to our region in so far as it's a source of
the narcotics trade which is funding so many terrorist organisations including those in our region.

ALISON CARABINE, SOUTHERN CROSS RADIO: But Mr McClelland, is Labor singing from the same song
sheet? Kim Beazley appears to have muddied the waters by suggesting troops should be pulled out of
Iraq before an Afghan commitment is considered by the Government.

ROBERT MCCLELLAND: Yeah, again in this context, the point Kim's making is because of our deployment
to Iraq and General Cosgrove himself saying our dance card is full, we're in a difficult position
to know precisely what resources are available to deploy to Afghanistan. Clearly there has been a
withdrawal from Timor Leste and the Solomons. Now there may be units there that can be deployed,
obviously need a break, provide for rotation, training and equipment and so forth, these are things
that we need advice on.

GREG TURNBULL: Certainly, Robert McClelland, the Prime Minister didn't miss Labor or miss that
mixed message when it arrived. Let's have a look at how he seized on it during the week.

PRIME MINISTER JOHN HOWARD (Last Thursday): His defence spokesman Robert McClelland said we should
send more forces to Afghanistan and that was an unconditional call. Mr Beazley is now cutting it
back and saying we should consider something new in Afghanistan, whatever that means. He's also
tying it to our pulling back our commitment to Iraq.

GREG TURNBULL: Have you and Kim Beazley now got your lines sorted?

ROBERT MCCLELLAND: Well, it is an unconditional call. The nature of the deployment going back to
the original question is the relevant question - just what's available given our commitment in
Iraq. And this is the dilemma we have in Opposition. I suspect the Government perhaps as early as
this week will make an announcement. And clearly they'll provide the Opposition with details of
their reasoning in what they do deploy there. But certainly sooner rather than later. The United
Nations has estimated about 2.3 billion - not million - but but billion a year in the narcotics
trade that's funding organisations.

ALISON CARABINE: Do you think the London bombing does underline the need to go back into
Afghanistan? Do you see Afghanistan as the front-line in the war against terror?

ROBERT MCCLELLAND: Yeah. Kim Beazley is right in calling it "terrorism central" and I think that's
right. Terrorism acts on funds and people. Clearly your intelligence agencies have got to deal with
the people, but also you've got to deal with the source of the funding and the narcotics trade to
the extent of $2.3 billion, week acknowledged that is occurring in Afghanistan. We can't let that
occur indefinitely. There's just, even if you defer for a year to permit that to continue, you've
just got a massive resource base for terrorist organisations. You can't afford not to clamp down on

TOM ALLARD: So will Labor support an Afghanistan deployment no matter what the size of it is and no
matter what happens to and if Australian troops in Iraq are kept there?

ROBERT MCCLELLAND: We'll certainly support an Afghan deployment. We may be critical of the
Government for spreading our forces too thinly, not providing for sufficient rotation and so forth.
We may criticise them for not properly equipping them - I think that is the responsibility of the
Opposition to do that. But in terms of a deployment to Afghanistan, we will certainly support that.

GREG TURNBULL: Can it be open-ended or should there be a time limit? Should they be out by

ROBERT MCCLELLAND: Well, again, the New Zealand Government has committed until September 2006. And
given what's occurring there, the elections in September of this year, that's - that may be that
may be something that the Australian Government would simply look at. These are things, obviously,
to look at what's occurred elsewhere, but that may be a reasonable sort of time frame.

ALISON CARABINE: Mr McClelland, you agree there is a chance for a terrorist attack in Australia.
Has Australia's Iraqi and Afghanistan involvement increased that likelihood and if the answer is
yes should we not be redeploying troops back to Australian soil?

ROBERT MCCLELLAND: Yeah, two different technologies aren't they? The domestic intelligence and
policing is what you need essentially to prevent a terrorist attack on your shores. In terms of
what you do offshore particularly to dry up the funding base of these organisations or indeed in
the case of Afghanistan to address a situation where there was a failed state and terrorists were
flourishing there, you obviously need your military intervention, but in terms of whether it has
increased the risk of a terrorist attack in Australia, I think it's fair to say, as Kim Beazley has
said, we've been noted as a terrorist target by Osama bin Laden since our involvement in East
Timor. And inevitably, as the mayor of London said, the mere fact that we're a vibrant
multicultural community is abhorrent to these terrorists and for that reason alone they will be, we
may well be at risk.

TOM ALLARD: Mr McClelland, ASIO laws which deal with domestic terrorism will come up for review
shortly. What's Labor's position on this? Do you support continuing with the current tough laws
which include preventing people who've been questioned from talking to the media?

ROBERT MCCLELLAND: We do support the ASIO laws. We think the 3-year sunset should be renewed so
that they exist for three years. That gives a chance for the Parliament, the committee as we're
seeing now to review how they've operated. In terms of those issues on the edge, obviously you
don't want communication by someone who's been interrogated that could actually prejudice ongoing
investigations. In all these things balance is appropriate. The extent to which it actually neuters
or impedes open press communication is obviously something to look at. I suspect there'll be some
recommendations by the committee in that area and it may be an area that we can work co-operatively
with the Government on.

ALISON CARABINE: But by and large you think we've got the balance right, they're not being abused
by the intelligence security agencies?

ROBERT MCCLELLAND: I do, I do. In that context we've been on the record as praising the work of
Dennis Richardson. He's been just absolutely terrific as head of ASIO. But we do think the balance,
after a lot of work, is about right.

GREG TURNBULL: Robert McClelland, just briefly to IR. Is the Labor Party resigned to the fact that
the IR changes will go through the Senate in all likelihood, if the Government can manage its
numbers, and given that, what undertakings will Labor be making about rolling it back?

ROBERT MCCLELLAND: I suspect you're not going to get the full monty that goes through the Senate. I
think there'll be some negotiations, but in terms of Labor's position we're unequivocal, we're
going to restore fairness. Now, that's the role of the independent umpire, the right of parties to
bargain in good faith and so forth. So we're moving forward, but moving forward to restore
fairness, there's no doubt about that.

GREG TURNBULL: Robert McClelland, thanks very much for joining us this morning.

ROBERT MCCLELLAND: That's my pleasure.

GREG TURNBULL: Our thanks to Robert McClelland who is the Shadow Defence Minister and former Shadow
Minister for Homeland Security. And after the break - the AMWU's Doug Cameron on the union campaign
against John Howard's IR reforms. And that's the subject of the cartoon of the week this week from
Kudelka in the 'Sydney Telegraph' who has a boss pointing a gun at the head of the worker, whose
colleague looks up the book of reforms and says, "Actually, this is a bit of a grey area at the

GREG TURNBULL: You're on Meet the Press. And the union movement is in overdrive against the Howard
Government's industrial reforms. Among those leading the charge is the Australian Manufacturing
Workers Union's National Secretary Doug Cameron. Doug Cameron, welcome to the program.

DOUG CAMERON: Morning Greg.

GREG TURNBULL: A poll published in News Limited papers this morning finds 63% of people are worried
that employers will use the new industrial laws to impose lower pay and worse conditions. 63%,
that's a majority, does that mean your scare campaign is working?

DOUG CAMERON: We're not running a scare campaign. We're dealing with the facts of what will happen
to working people when this legislation is imposed on them. This poll result is a good result. I
can't see it getting better for John Howard, no matter how much lies he uses to try and justify the

ALISON CARABINE: But Mr Cameron, the Government today or this weekend has started rolling out its
campaign promoting the changes. There have been full-page advertisements in the newspapers. If it's
a long, drawn-out battle will the union movement be able to match the Government? Won't the
Government just be able to out-spend the unions?

DOUG CAMERON: Well, they will have more money than we will, but we are determined to take the
issues up in the public eye. I had a look at this. This is nothing more than a litany of lies,
misrepresentation and omissions. John Howard should be absolutely ashamed to put the Government's
imprimatur on this. Working families will be appalled that taxes that should be spent on hospitals
and on schools are being spent on these type of lies trying to brainwash the Australian public into
submission on this terrible legislative framework.

ALISON CARABINE: It will no doubt be an expensive advertising campaign by the Government, but it
does have a strong job creation record. It does have the boast that real wages have increased since
1996. What is so problematic with these changes?

DOUG CAMERON: Well, let me deal with those two issues. On job creation, any Government with the
economy going the way the economy is going would be creating jobs. But many of these jobs are
part-time, casual, insecure jobs. In terms of the economy, in terms of more jobs, there is
absolutely no way that you can continue to have more jobs, continue to improve the economy, if you
simply take the path to the lowest common denominator, if it's a race to the bottom with workers'
wages and conditions, then I believe John Howard will be in a lot of trouble.

TOM ALLARD: Mr Cameron, obviously the unions have started campaigning already with advertising and
with the stop work meetings and rallies. How far though are you prepared to take this campaign? Are
you prepared to, for example, look at strike action should the reforms get up?

DOUG CAMERON: Well this is a debate that has to be had within the ACTU. The executive meets next
week and I'll be participating in that debate.

TOM ALLARD: What will you be telling them?

DOUG CAMERON: Well, I'll be telling them that I think the campaign is going very well. That the
campaign should continue. That the campaign should be a long-term campaign leading up to the next
election. We'll also be saying that workers are saying to us that they want to fight back against
this attack on working families, wages and conditions. This will be a long-term campaign. I think
we're doing well but we have to have the stamina to see it to the end. Our members are saying they
want to do that. Our members have actually just signed off on an increase in their union dues to
fund a campaign for the media. We'll need a media campaign, legal campaign, political campaign and
if there is industrial action that will be on the head of the industry. The entire industry.

GREG TURNBULL: When you say workers have signed off on an increase in their fees. Do they get a

DOUG CAMERON: We did a plebiscite. We actually did a plebiscite with our members. We asked them,
are they prepared to fund our long-term campaign against this legislation, and overwhelmingly they
said 'yes'.

ALISON CARABINE: It sounds like you're not ruling out strike action, Mr Cameron?

DOUG CAMERON: We're not ruling anything in or ruling anything out. If there's strike action in the
manufacturing industry it will be because of the position adopted by the employers. The employers
are saying, "We want to minimise access to union officials. We want to cut your wages. We want to
make it hard for you to bargain." What do they expect working families to do? Do they expect them
to say, "This is great?" Well, they won't. And if there is industrial action then it's on the
employers. We have put a proposition to the employers in our industry to set up a separate
conciliation and arbitration situation for workers under 100, for places under 100 in our industry.
We've said to them there has to be some fairness and equity. We've said to them, let's meet once a
year and look at the big picture issues in our industry. Look at China, what's happening in China.
Let's see what's happening in terms of research and development, innovation, new technology,
skills, the issues that do drive new jobs and the economy. Not cutting workers' wages and
conditions. It's an absolute nonsense for the employers to pursue this, and John Howard's so-called
economic credentials are in tatters on this position.

TOM ALLARD: What about a legal challenge, though, that's another option open to the unions and the
States as well. Is that something that you think should be brought forward?

DOUG CAMERON: Absolutely. We should take every chance we can to stop working families' wages and
conditions being driven to the bottom. We've got to make sure that the race to the bottom doesn't
happen. So if that means political campaigns, media campaigns, legal campaigns, that's what we've
got to do and we've got to sustain it. We've got to keep doing it until the next election.

ALISON CARABINE: Would you accept any of the changes which I guess is inevitability that they will
pass the Senate? Are there any aspects of this reform package which the unions would agree to?

DOUG CAMERON: Well I can't see anything in here that we would be agreeing to. We have to fight
this. I mean, here we have a situation in a building industry where workers are going to have less
rights than terrorists. Where workers, where, you know, Steve Vizard can do what he did and remain
silent. But workers in the building industry if they are even suspected of doing something wrong,
then they are forced to, you know, be open with some interrogation in the industry.

ALISON CARABINE: That being the case, do you see some allies within the Coalition, for example
Senators Michael Johnson, Barnaby Joyce. Would you be lobbying those Senators to maybe oppose some
of the changes?

DOUG CAMERON: We certainly will and we'll be lobbying everyone in the Senate. We'll be lobbying
Liberal and National Party MPs because some of them must be very concerned about the loss of rights
for their constituents.

TOM ALLARD: What about the fact that Labor doesn't have a full-time IR spokesman? I mean this must
be a source of great concern given this is such a big issue?

DOUG CAMERON: I made my views clear about that. I think that was a mistake. But since I made that
point the Shadow Minister and Kim Beazley have been out strongly on this issue. I'm happy with
what's happening. I'll keep my eye on it. I want performance from the Labor Party on this issue.

ALISON CARABINE: Do you think some of the state Labor Governments are dragging their feet? You talk
about the need for a legal challenge, I guess, in the High Court, but we're not hearing anything
from the State Labor governments about that. They seem to have gone off the boil.

DOUG CAMERON: Well, I think Bob Carr was quite strong about it on radio last week. I know the West
Australian Premier was very active. Most of the premiers have been out there putting the position.

ALISON CARABINE: They won't commit to a challenge?

DOUG CAMERON: Well, I think they will challenge. I think they will challenge and why wouldn't they,
when people in their State are faced with this nonsense that's being put forward. When workers in
their State are going to lose rights to equity and fairness, why wouldn't they challenge?

GREG TURNBULL: Do you accept, Doug Cameron, that it's difficult for people to know who to believe
in this? You must admit there have been some reasonably exaggerated claims from the union side of
this propaganda war as well.

DOUG CAMERON: Well I don't know where the exaggerated claims are. If you look at the ads that we're
running, they are facts. If you look at the situation of the workers being asked to sign individual
contracts and give rights away, that's exactly what the Minister, Minister Andrews, is doing in his
department now. It's exactly what workers at Kennelix in Victoria were faced with - sign on the
dotted line, become an independent contractor, give away your rights or you don't have a job.

GREG TURNBULL: All right, Doug Cameron, you'll be girding your loins and getting up there and
battling for a while yet. I think the legislation's not due until October. So good luck to you and
your cause and, I guess, good luck to the Government in their public relations campaign also. We're
out of time. Our thanks to our guest Doug Cameron and to our panel Alison Carabine and Tom Allard.
Until next week it's goodbye from Meet the Press.