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Hello and welcome to 'Meet The

Press'. The Commonwealth's

multibillion dollar budget. Labor Press'. The Commonwealth's

wants to make it more transparent

wants to make it more transparent

and improve the ALP's image as wants to make it more transparent

We'll economic managers in the process.

We'll talk to Labor Finance economic managers in the process.

spokesman Lindsay tanner and the

spectre ever bird flu, how spokesman Lindsay tanner and the

seriously should Australians be

taking the threat of a pandemic seriously should Australians be

and how prepared is our region to taking the threat of a pandemic

night the disease. First to what and how prepared is our region to

the nation's press is

the nation's press is reporting night the disease. First to what

this Sunday, October 23.

Labor's Shadow Minister for

Labor's Shadow Minister for finance

is Lindsay Tanner, he's our first

gest in morning, Lindsay Tanner,

gest in morning, Lindsay Tanner,

welcome to the program. Good gest in morning, Lindsay Tanner,

morning, Greg. You've been

economies odd restore Labor's

economic credibility, what are you

doing about it. Labor is restricted

to strict budget discipline, the

to strict budget discipline, the

key to that is disclosure. The to strict budget discipline, the

budget is more of a device for

hiding financial information rather

than disclosing it. It's difficult

to get details of individual

programs and agency budget. It's

almost impossible to get meaningful

value, tax concessions are

value, tax concessions are not almost impossible to get meaningful

properly acted for. I'm launching

operation sunlight, a major

fundamental program of reform of

budget presentation and the first

stage is to seek the input of 20

leading experts on the budget from

across the country, people like desMoore, Ross

desMoore, Ross giten, people who across the country, people like

are commentators, none with a

particular connection with the

Labor Party, represent tis of

business, the ACTU, a whole range

of people, we are steeking their

inpit on how to reform the budget

so there's fiscal discipline and

that is imposed in Government. From so there's fiscal discipline and

op siption, you can't tamper with

what treasury or the Department of

finance put out at budget times,

isn't that just a bit of PR on your

part. We can't change what the Howard Government

Howard Government is doing. We can part. We can't change what the

set the bar for ourselves. The

recommendations that these experts

give to us will form the basis of

our commitment to budget reform,

and we'll be judged against that

setting when we are in office. We are

setting the war high. We will when we are in office. We are

ensure there's proper genuine

disclosure of financial information.

Since 1999 when accrual aaccounting

was intruved the Howard Government

reduced the quality and depth of

knification in the budget. DesMoore

so no friend of the Labor

so no friend of the Labor Party, knification in the budget. DesMoore

he's as critical of the quality of

information in the budget as others

are, some of whom are much further

to the left than he is. Economic

credibility is a subject dear to

the heart of the Prime Minister, he

never misses a chance to refer to the heart of the Prime Minister, he

interest rates being high under you never misses a chance to refer to

and wages high under him. He

it again on Thursday, let's have a and wages high under him. He was at

look. When Labor was last in

the interest rates were much higher look. When Labor was last in office,

than they were now. Since we

been in Government they've been than they were now. Since we have

much lower, and I've

said my guarantee on wages is my much lower, and I've frequently

record, and if you look at the said my guarantee on wages is my

wages have gone up during the time record, and if you look at the way I've been Prime Minister, that is wages have gone up during the time

fair comment to make. Lindsay I've been Prime Minister, that is a

Tanner, a simple message from

Prime Minister, but a potent one. Tanner, a simple message from the

John Howard's figures on wages are phoney. When you take

managers, executives, phoney. When you take out senior

professionals, then you get a much managers, executives, and

clearer picture and that is ordinary working people in clearer picture and that is for

Australia there hasn't

claims, huge increase in wages that he huge increase in wages that Australia there hasn't been the

claims, on from rates the real test huge increase in wages that he

of Australia's interest rates how they compare with the rest of Australia's interest rates is

the world. We live in a how they compare with the rest of

globalised society where there's enormous connection between

goes on in enormous connection between what

economy and the rest of the goes on in Australia and our

Our interest rates now are hay economy and the rest of the world. monks the highest in

world. The picture on interest monks the highest in the developed

rates is nothing like

Howard claims. Let me give you a rates is nothing like what John

quick economic credibility que.

I've seen Labor refer to

the budget across the cycle, mum I've seen Labor refer to keeping

jumble, does that mean you'll the budget across the cycle, mum bo

countenance going

you uses that word countenance going into deficit, can

Australian politics. You can use you uses that word in modern the word deficit. Circumstancess

can arise, particularly as a result

of external shocks, which may be

appropriate for a Government to

take the budget into deficit. If

there's a shock that reduces the

level of activity in the Australian there's a shock that reduces the

economy, that'll push the budget

into deficit by natural purposes,

if those circumstances, if you have

to pump economic activity that's

legitimate. That

likely to arise in the foreseeable legitimate. That situation isn't

future, we don't know. The key test,

obviously is over the psychle. You

need to ensure over an extended

the budget is need to ensure over an extended pst

the budget is in surplus, we do need to ensure over an extended pst

need a strong fiscal position, and

the lesson of the last 20 years of

Australian politics for me, Greg,

is Labor governments are successful

and can do good things for

Australia, building a

society only on the foundation of Australia, building a better strict fiscal policy,

discipline. When that is not strict fiscal policy, strong

we lose, we get turfed out of discipline. When that is not there,

office and the good things

done get unRAAFedly. It is office and the good things we've

done get unRAAFedly. It is the office and the good things we've

absolute key prerequisite to Labor

governing and governing well in my

view Let's move to a principal

battle frond, that is

battle frond, that is industrial relations a bit of good news in the

opinion poll. An Ipsos Poll of

1,000 has produced some great

results for the

Lindsay Tan ever,

Lindsay Tan ever, does that

indicate that if you throw enough

advertising dollars at an issue,

then you will sway people? If that poll is good news for the

poll is good news for the Government, I hope we see a lot

more good news for the Government.

That shows there are large

That shows there are large numbers of people that don't believe

they'll be affected by the changes,

You are on 'Meet

You are on 'Meet The Press', where

our guest is Shadow Finance

Minister Lindsay Tanner, and we are

joined by our panel Alison Carabine,

from Southern Cross Radio and Peter

Hartcher from the 'Sydney Morning

Herald'. Here is a taste of pest

mix. In Australia

Herald'. Here is a taste of pest mix. In Australia today there is a

dangerous indifference to politics.

Accompanied by a simmering

resentment of politicians. Citizens

who haven't enough interest in the

democratic process to stay even

vaguely informed of the issues of

the day have only one profound political conviction.

the day have only one profound political conviction. That

politicians can't be trusted. Well,

Mr Tanner, John Faulkner is the

second party Elder in recent days

to criticise the inner workings of

the party. When will all this

self-destruction stop, and until it

does, why would voters elect a

self-destruction stop, and until it does, why would voters elect a

Labor Government. Alsornings Ive

been campaigning on and off for 15

years for reform of the Labor Party.

Some good things have happened. I'm

a glass half full kind of bloke. I

think we are making progress. We

are not

think we are making progress. We are not going to get people back to

Labor through some kind the

perpetual seminar on ours, but

perpetual seminar on ours, but through issues and ideas, tackling

the great problems in society, not

just yelling at John Howard and just yelling at John Howard and

just yelling at John Howard and George Bush, running around with

George Bush, running around with placards at rallies.

George Bush, running around with placards at rallies. All that stuff

has its place. The big mistake many

has its place. The big mistake many people make is to assume that

reacting to the Howard Government

reacting to the Howard Government is the primary role for Labor. Our

is the primary role for Labor. Our primary role is to deliver a better

society, improve things for people who

society, improve things for people who get a raw deal, do deliver

justice for people with

disabilityies, a new start or

disabilityies, a new start or beginning for indigenous

communicates, hurt workers or the

appalling problems in meantal

health, the social exclusion of

health, the social exclusion of older people working alone, they

are the kinds of

older people working alone, they are the kinds of oibs we have to

are the kinds of oibs we have to address, that's why I'm in the game

e to build a better society. Those

e to build a better society. Those issues are not being publicly issues are not being publicly

issues are not being publicly issues are not being publicly addressed. All the attention is on

the ceeteecks of people like John

the ceeteecks of people like John Faulkner and Barry Jones, houp helpful

Faulkner and Barry Jones, houp helpful was his intervention, are

helpful was his intervention, are Labor members angry, or did he have

valid points to make. These things

valid points to make. These things

valid points to make. These things aren't helpful, they are inevitable

aren't helpful, they are inevitable in politics, they come and go. We

are entitle toed consider what

are entitle toed consider what people are putting. Barry a very respected

people are putting. Barry a very respected figure in the Labor Party,

I've said similar things in

previous years about problems, we

previous years about problems, we have to avoid getting obsessed about

them, get on to the main game.

them, get on to the main game. That's my responsibility. We are

That's my responsibility. We are not going to suddenly come up with

a whole pile of policies a whole pile of policies out of the blue

a whole pile of policies out of the blue overnight. This is a long-term

process that is time to coincide process that is time to coincide or

process that is time to coincide or culminate with the Federal election.

There has to be a degree of

There has to be a degree of patience that people have to have, because this is a

because this is a developing process, not something that's

happening overnight.

happening overnight. On the continuing on the theme

continuing on the theme of self-destruction, the self-destruction, the Labor Party

self-destruction, the Labor Party still has, sitting out there,

still has, sitting out there, a couple of those big election

couple of those big election losing policies, spawn of Latham.

You have a deviceive schools policy,

You have a deviceive schools policy,

You have a deviceive schools policy, you still have a fiscally scary

medical policy, what are you doing

about those. Obviously all the

commitments we made at the

commitments we made at the election last year are going to be

reconsidered. That comes

automatically, we don't

automatically follow through with a

specific election promise and say

that's going to be a promise at the

next election, irrespective of what

changes in the society or the budget.

changes in the society or the budget. Particularly commitments

that do involve substantial

that do involve substantial longer term financial commitments, when we

face a big pressure from

face a big pressure from the ageing population on the budget. They are

going to have to be reconsidered,

we'll have to think our way

we'll have to think our way through those kind of issues. On the those kind of issues. On the school question Kim Beazley made

question Kim Beazley made it clear, I've spoken about it, Jenny

I've spoken about it, Jenny Macklin has spoken about it. Our focus is

has spoken about it. Our focus is on improving the society's

commitment to education or

on improving the society's commitment to education or training. We support parents,

We support parents, we rather they do that than go on overseas trips

or blow the money on pokies. On the subject of the another policy issue,

which is tax, are you now in

which is tax, are you now in favour

which is tax, are you now in favour of tax cuts for the top bracket?

Under John Howard the

Under John Howard the people in the upper income levels are the only

people with any significant

people with any significant relief. people with any significant relief. Ordinary working people are getting

Ordinary working people are getting squeezed more and more. The place

where we have to have

where we have to have the strongest focus for tax relief is in the

lower and middle income scales. If

you look over the last three

you look over the last three or four years, people on $100,000

dollars a year have 12 per cent

reduction, people on 40 to $50,000

a year have 3 per cent. That's in a

table in the budget papers. The

only people getting tax

table in the budget papers. The only people getting tax relief

only people getting tax relief are the very highest income earners,

they are the only people the Howard

Government is looking after. Government is looking after. Our Government is looking after. Our job, as we indicated

job, as we indicated after the Budget in may, our job is to

Budget in may, our job is to look after ordinarily hardworking

families, the Howard

families, the Howard Government is not doing that. I not doing that. I didn't catch your

not doing that. I didn't catch your answer, are you in favour of tax

answer, are you in favour of tax cuts for the top bracket. We are in

cuts for the top bracket. We are in favour of fundamental tax reform to

favour of fundamental tax reform to make the system simpler and

favour of fundamental tax reform to make the system simpler and

make the system simpler and fairer,

make the system simpler and fairer, Wayne Swan and I have indicated a

willingness to address the

willingness to address the question of the upper level rates, but only

on the basis that that doesn't

alter the broad distribution of alter the broad distribution of the tax burden across the whole tax

paying group, and on the basis that

paying group, and on the basis that our No.1 priority is lower and

middle income earners. Make no mistake

mistake about this the Howard Government is now the highest

taxing Government in our history.

taxing Government in our history. The end result

The end result of ordinary hardworking families paying hardworking families paying more hardworking families paying more and more tax, getting less

and more tax, getting less and less back for it is a $14 billion

back for it is a $14 billion surplus, that's obscene. Ordinary

people are getting squeezed. The

highest income earnsers are getting

relief. We intend to change that,

relief. We intend to change that, tax is too high generally, we want

to reverse that. One

to reverse that. One of the other dominant issues of recent

to reverse that. One of the other dominant issues of recent date is

the terrorism laws, as a member of

Labor's left, are you comfortable

that the Labor premiers that the Labor premiers support the

that the Labor premiers support the

that the Labor premiers support the package, the shoot to kill powers

package, the shoot to kill powers notwithstanding. I am not quite

sure how wholehearted the

sure how wholehearted the support is. That's is. That's obviously something

is. That's obviously something we'll see more ever in coming days.

I think we are at risk of

destroying the very freedoms we are

supposed to be defending. I accept the

supposed to be defending. I accept

supposed to be defending. I accept the need for stronger bliss powers,

the need for stronger bliss powers, provided there are adequate

safeguards and judicial oversight.

safeguards and judicial oversight. I accept the need for stronger

I accept the need for stronger resources for organisations like

aisio. What I don't accept is anything

anything that smacks of extending shoot to kill powers,

shoot to kill powers, that creates a risk of a cowboy culture and

a risk of a cowboy culture and lead to tragedies like we saw in London

with an innocent man kimed. We

with an innocent man kimed. We

with an innocent man kimed. We don't want to see in in Australia.

I want to say this. There is I want to say this. There is a

I want to say this. There is a world of difference world of difference between world of difference between governments that are acting to

protect their innocent citizens

from the threat of mass murder by lunatics, by fanatics,

lunatics, by fanatics, and governments in the 60s and '70s

that used organisations lake aisio

that used organisations lake aisio to interfere in civil activity,

protest, decent. That's what we

have to take into

protest, decent. That's what we protest, decent. That's what we

protest, decent. That's what we have to take into account, we don't

want knee-jerk reactions, we

want knee-jerk reactions, we have to think them through and understand we are facing

understand we are facing a serious threat. Is it not embarrassing the

one consistent voice is

one consistent voice is a former Liberal Prime Minister, ma'am Liberal Prime Minister, ma'am come

Liberal Prime Minister, ma'am come Fryzer, who is speaking out. He is

no longer accountable to

no longer accountable to anyone. He's an individual. We have He's an individual. We have a He's an individual. We have a

He's an individual. We have a collective group of people, the

collective group of people, the Labor party kaukous, the shadow

ministry, we don't have a bill

introduced into the parliament. We

introduced into the parliament. We don't know precisely what

don't know precisely what the proposals will consist of. We've

indicated a general

indicated a general disposition about where we stand, what we

about where we stand, what we think is the right way forward. We

believe these issues have to be

believe these issues have to be treated on their merits, have to treated on their merits, have to be

treated on their merits, have to be dealt with carefully, there's a difficult balancing act

dealt with carefully, there's a difficult balancing act involved,

very difficult choices. Make no

mistake, we are not

mistake, we are not dealing with threats to people's capacity to

engage in political activity

engage in political activity or things like that, we are

things like that, we are dealing with threats to the lives

with threats to the lives of innocent people. We have to

innocent people. We have to treat that seriously, that's why Labor

Party Premiers are taking it

seriously. Just finally on another

Ipsos Poll out on four-year

parliamentary terms for the Federal

parliamentary terms for the Federal Parliament. It's a bit of

Parliament. It's a bit of a thumbs

Parliament. It's a bit of a thumbs down on that issue. The public

appetite for the four-year terms

doesn't seem to be

On that basis a referendum on that

On that basis a referendum on that issue is a waste of a Finance

issue is a waste of a Finance Minister's money, wouldn't it. This

Minister's money, wouldn't it. This is John Howard's cunning plan to

is John Howard's cunning plan to stay in office until he's

is John Howard's cunning plan to stay in office until he's '97. I

don't think we ought to treat that

too seriously. Labor

Welcome back to 'Meet The Press'.

The bird flu crisis worsened

through the week, with more

through the week, with more outbrakes across Asia and Europe,

Romania, Turkey, Russia and

Romania, Turkey, Russia and Indonesia announcing new cases. In the search

Indonesia announcing new cases. In

Indonesia announcing new cases. In the search for facts and the risks

it presents for humans in Australia,

it presents for humans in Australia, our guest is Dr Jim tul o the

principal advisor of AusAid.

Welcome to the program. Good

morning, thank you. We are getting

morning, thank you. We are getting mixed messages as members of the public.

mixed messages as members of the

mixed messages as members of the public. One newspaper said that

thousands of Australians could be

confined to their homes by

Government order, another said

Government order, another said don't panic, it's a very slim

chance of anything arriving in

Australia that's dangerous to

Australia that's dangerous to humans. Our political leaders

humans. Our political leaders through the week

humans. Our political leaders through the week had what I call

mixed messages, let's have a

reminder what the Health Minister

and Prime Minister said about Avian

bird flu during the week. There is

a serious risk of a pandemic

striking in the not too distant

future. We

striking in the not too distant future. We are not about to have a

pandemic spread to this country.

pandemic spread to this country. pandemic spread to this country. There is a heightened danger, but

it's a long way from some of the

it's a long way from some of the fierce scenarios that have been

floated by some. Mixed messages

there, as you can see, which

floated by some. Mixed messages there, as you can see, which is it

in your view, Dr Tulloch, what is

the sensible objective view of how

immeant and real a threat is. I

think we have to be alert. We have

think we have to be alert. We have to be informed, and we have to be

monitoring the situation

to be informed, and we have to be monitoring the situation closely,

and I believe the Australian

and I believe the Australian Government is doing all of those

things. In fact, has been doing

things. In fact, has been doing those things for several years now.

The engagement of AusAid and other

parts of the Government over the

parts of the Government over the last few years since 2003,

parts of the Government over the last few years since 2003, in fact,

last few years since 2003, in fact, since we started to see Avian

influenza in poultry in Aish has

been quite intensive. I believe we

are monitoring the situation well.

Is there a risk that we are going

to have human cases in Australia tomorrow, probably

to have human cases in Australia tomorrow, probably not. But this is

an evolving situation. A pandemic

is by definition a disease outbreak

which covers a large arbgs the

globe, and we are not likely to go

from the situation where we are to

that overnight. We should be

from the situation where we are to that overnight. We should be Monday

ring the situation very carefully,

ring the situation very carefully, and we are. You've been involved

and we are. You've been involved with the Australian Government's

efforts to help Indonesia deal with

the problem, Indonesia, where

the problem, Indonesia, where there's been more cases than

there's been more cases than anywhere else, yet Indonesia, as we

know, is a country with few

functional national institutions, except

functional national institutions, except perhaps the army. What except perhaps the army. What level

except perhaps the army. What level of confidence can we have that

Indonesia will be able to deal with

Indonesia will be able to deal with this problem? On a point this problem? On a point of clarification, in

clarification, in fact, it's Vietnam, the country that has Vietnam, the country that has had

Vietnam, the country that has had the most human cases. After that

Thailand. The Australian Government,

Thailand. The Australian Government, with AusAid, the aid agency, the

with AusAid, the aid agency, the Department of health, the

Department of agriculture,

Fisheries and forestry

Department of agriculture, Fisheries and forestry and

Fisheries and forestry and other entities have been working across a

entities have been working across a number of countries in Asia, so

Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand,

Cambodia, China. Efforts have been

going on in all of those countries

going on in all of those countries over the last few years to

strengthen the capacity to

strengthen the capacity to detect cases of Avian influenza in humans,

and, indeed, efforts also

and, indeed, efforts also to control the outbreak in

and, indeed, efforts also to control the outbreak in animals. So

control the outbreak in animals. So Indonesia is of concern, perhaps,

because it's our closest neighbour,

because it's our closest neighbour, but we are concerned more broadly

than with Indonesia with

than with Indonesia with the whole than with Indonesia with the whole of the Asian context, and have been

activityly engaged there. The

doomsday scenario suggest up to 150

million people worldwide can

million people worldwide can be million people worldwide can be killed by the bird flu,

killed by the bird flu, how realistic is that figure. The

estimates coming from the

estimates coming from the world health organisation, which is the

organisation mandated to coordinate

international health works, and

international health works, and is doing that activityly, and with whom the Australian

whom the Australian Government is Col aerateing, their estimates,

using some conservative assumptions

using some conservative assumptions are between two and 7 million

deathing can occur if we

are between two and 7 million deathing can occur if we have

deathing can occur if we have a worldwide pandemic. Using more

worldwide pandemic. Using more pessimistic assumptions then we

pessimistic assumptions then we might see higher numbers, although

150 million which has

150 million which has been mentioned is certainly a very

mentioned is certainly a very high estimate. But the fact of

estimate. But the fact of the matter is that nobody really knows.

matter is that nobody really knows. In the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918

there were different estimates, but one which is