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Australian Agenda -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) Australia's news channel.

This is PM Agenda. Good

afternoon, welcome to the

program. I'm David Speers.

As Australia begins to

prepare for the withdrawal of

our troops from Afghanistan

questions are increasingly

turning to what sort of

country will be left behind,

what sort of support it will

need and whether the war of

the last 10 or more years has

been worthwhile. Today the

Prime Minister firmed up a

timetable for the gradual

withdrawal of our 1500 troops

in Afghanistan, this isn't a

the Government has been radical departure from what

saying in recent months. It

is a clearer time frame and the position that Julia

Gillard will take to the

important NATO submit taking

place in Chicago next month

will decide the next phase

for Afghanistan. Australia's

decision to go into this war

and its decision to come out

is of course very much tied

to the United States. It's

also tied, supposedly, to

what is happening on the

ground to orz began where the

Australians are largely

based. Once the Afghan

security forces are able to take control of the security

situation there, well, that's

where we can go. The Prime

Minister today said she is

expecting an announcement

from Ahmed Karzia on when

that will happen. I expect

Ahmed Karzai to tell us which

provinces of Orugan will

start first. This will take

12 to 18 months. When this is complete Australia's

commitment in Afghanistan

will look very different to

that which we have today. We

will have completed our

training and mentoring

mission with the fourth

brigade. We will no longer

be conducting routine front

line operations with the

Afghan nation security

forces. The Australian-led

provincial reconstruction

team will have completed its

work and the majority of our

troops will have returned

home. It was one of the

clearest time lines we have

heard from the Prime Minister

on Afghanistan, but there are

still plenty of grey areas,

and perhaps necessarily so.

Julia Gillard did not specify

how many or whether there

would be necessarily an

Australian Special Forces

role in Afghanistan post

2014, nor how long that will last. Those sorts of

decisions are yet to be

taken. She also didn't talk

too much about what exactly

Pakistan needs to do in

securing peace in Afghanistan

or what sort of role there

may be for the Taliban. But

these are crucial questions,

and earlier this afternoon I

sat down with the Afghan ambassador in Canberra to

talk about those issues.

That interview coming up.

The ambassador did make it

clear there will need to be a

political settlement with the

Taliban. The more we

continue the more generation

we are losing in this war, so

we have to forgive, both

sides have to find a

forgiveness, but the

forgiveness might not be

mistaken by vender. We the

Afghan people, who have went

through this dark years of

the Taliban time we will

never ever surrender, we

might be able to forgive.

That full interview with

Nashi endis ha coming up. We

will be looking at the carbon

tax, the 10 billion dollar clean energy finance fund.

This is going to help

bankroll a lot of renewable

and Lowy mission technologies

to get off the ground.

That's been given a green

light. We will be talking to the minister for climate

change Greg Combet. To the

news centre for the rest of

the news. Hello everyone.

Police in Queensland have confirmed they have shot dead

a # 6 year-old man. Tom

Connell has the details. Two

plain clothes officer arrived

here in Iva street at

brafrngen ridge at 11.30 this morning. Living in that home

is a woman and her two young

children. Police say the

offences were in relation to

her 36 year-old boyfriend.

The search went without major

incident until they went to

leave. The 36 year-old man

Drew a gun on them, they Drew

their weapons and fired, he

was hit twice. The male occupant of the address

produced what they allege to

be a black firearm. As a

result of the weapon being

produced police have drawn

their weapons, shots have

been fired, and the male

occupant has been wounded

allegedly by the police. Paramedics arrived just

before midday. They

performed CPR on the man for

45 minutes, but he was unable

to be saved. Ethical standards are investigate thg

fatal shooting. Already the

police union has weighed in.

They say officers in this

situation have their lives at

alternative to do what they risk. Police had no

did, otherwise they may very

well be deceased themselves.

This 36 year-old victim was

very well known by police.

They have promised a transparent investigation.

Thom konl, Sky News, Bracken

Ridge. The NSW premier has offered to bolster police

resources as a authorities

attempt to crack down on gun

Strike Force Coonara has crime in Sydney's west.

today been established to

investigate four of the five over night shootings.

Bullets have again been

sprayed throughout suburban

Sydney. Fortunately no-one

has been killed. The closest

of calls at this Granville

home hit in the early hours

of this morning, bullets

Pearcing the rumpus room and

an upstairs bedroom with five young children and the

parents inside. A neighbour

heard it all. I heard six or

seven shots late last night.

I thought maybe they're

fireworks or something, I

didn't think they would be

proper gunshots, not in this

aer, you know what I mean? This attack believed to be

the result of a business dispute. Police are pointing

the finger at the hell's

angles and Nomads outlaw

motorcycle gang for the other

four shootings. There has

been ongoing conflict between

the two groups something we have targeted for some time.

The first was at 2am, a toot

too particle lor at Baulkham

Hills. Later this Merrylands

home with three elderly

people inside were hit.

Another toot too particle lor

again in Merrylands. After sunrise evidence of an over

night attack as a man from

Granville awoke to find

bullet holes in his house. I

share the public's concern

that even though these are

clearly targeted shooltings

only one stray bullet is

needed to seriously injury or kill someone who is innocent. The latest violence brings

the number of shootings to 20

in April alone. Since

January police have been busy

cracking down on gun crime.

Persons arrested, 74,

charges laid a total of 327.

Firearms seized 146.

ammunition seized over 21000

rounds. Kerry Griffiths, Sky

News. A South Australian man

who murdered three members of

the one family has been

sentenced to at least 35

years behind bars. Sky News

Adelaide reporter Joel Filp

was in Court when Jason

Downie was sentenced. He

nield report. As an 18

year-old Jason Downie broke

into the Rowe family home in

Kapunda in 2010. He murdered

father Andrew first mother

rose then Chantelle was

hiding under the bed. He

stabbed the 16 year-old 30

times then raped her as she

died. Today in Court the

judge said words could not

describe the crime. He said

the crime shattered the

community of cap pund da an

feblth that would last

forever. The courtroom

erupted in anger when new

horrific details of the

murder were very veeld.

Relatives cried out to Downie

he would never survive his

stint in prison. Former AFL

star Ben Cousins is facing

new drugs charges after

allegedly being caught with

cannabis in Perth. Sky News

Perth reporter Michael Hopkin

has the details. Former AFL

great Ben Cousins is facing

fresh drugs charges after allegedly being caught by

police in possession of

cannabis. Police have

confirmed they searched a 33

year-old man in the Perth

suburb of North beach. When

they searched his person and

car they found less than a

gram of cannabis and a

smoking implement. He's been

issued with a summons to face

those charges. It's the

second drug relate add rest

in a few weeks for cousins.

A fortnight ago he was bailed

in the Perth Magistrates

Court with possessing

methylamphetamine. Currently

on bail on those charges. He

will reappear in Court in

June. Sky News Perth.

Tobacco giants are today challenging the Government's

plain packaging laws in the

High Court. They claim its unconstitutional and are

seeking compensation for

losing their property in the

form of brand names and

logos. Nicola rockson is confident the Government will

win the legal battle. We are

very confident that we have

taken careful advice that we

have a strong case, that that

will be argued by the

Solicitor General today and

in the coming days in this

Court. The Government claims

the plain olive brown

cigarette packaging will save lives and makes economic

sense. One of the key planks

of the government's carbon

tax package has been given

the green light by an expert

review, opening the door for

companies to access 10

billion worth of clean energy

finance. The clean energy

finance corporation will make

the money available as loans

and equity to help projects

get off the ground that would

otherwise strug toll attract

investment. The fund is due

to start operating from July

next year. Reserve Bank

board member Gillian broad

bent chaired the review,

dismissing coalition claims

it is a $10 billion slush

fund. I've never heard that

description internationally.

Most of these funds have

bipartisan support and have

been successful in newer

turing this industry and

needs to be developed. The

funds will assess each

company on investment

opportunities and roll out

the $10 billion over the next

five years. A look at sport, Nathan Buckley said the

public spat between Eddie

McGuire and former coach Nick

Malthouse has been blown out

of proportion. Buckley and

the Pies enjoyed a light

training run this morning,

the current coach was quick

to play down the off field

dramas. Eddie is a

passionate man, he will back

Collingwood to the hilt. I

think where it's got to it's

not great for the footy club.

It has been blown out of

proportion. There's been a

miss mun kags that's been

fostered in many ways by

outsiders who don't mind to

see the miss communication

pushed up. Buckley also says

rumours of a rift between he

and some players are also

unfounded. Tomorrow's

forecast showers in the east,

heaviest on the NSW coast,

showers and a cooler change

in the west. It's 12 minutes

past 4 eastern daylight now.

Back to David Speers in

Canberra as PM Agenda

continues. Vanessa, thank you, after the break we will

look at the time line for the

withdrawal of Australian

troops from Afghanistan, is

the country ready for

coalition forces to go? We

will be talking to

Afghanistan's ambassador in Canberra, sit down interview

with him I recorded at the

embassy this afternoon. We

will look later at the clean

energy finance corporation, a

key part of the government's

carbon tax plan. We will be

talking to the minister Greg

Combet about that. An expert

review panel has given it the

thumbs up, made a couple of

recommendations the Government will embrace. How

is this actually going to

work? Stay with us.

Welcome to the program, I'm

David Speers. Australian

troops could start coming

home from Afghanistan within

months. The Prime Minister

today laid out the time line

which is roughly in line with

what the Government has been

indicating in recent months,

but it does for the first

time really spell out just what the Government is

thinking. It's a waiting an announcement from president

Karzai in Afghanistan of when Afghan security forces will

be able to take the lead role

in security in the Oruzgan province, where the

Australians are based, then

once that happens Australians could start coming home. Julia Gillard today as we have seen has said the

process will be a long one,

it will take 12 to 18 months.

By the end of it we won't be

doing the mentoring role

we're doing now. Importantly

we won't be out on patrol

doing some of that front line

combat with insurgents who

have seen so many Australian

casualties in Afghanistan.

This is a realistic

timetable? What sort of

support will Gavaskar n is

Stan still need beyond that withdrawal time line? I

spoke earlier this afternoon

to Afghanistan's ambassador

in Australia, Nasir Andisha.

He says this time line is in

line with what Afghanistan is

thinking. There will need

be a need for what he calls

enablers, helicopter support

and Australian Special Forces

beyond 2014. There will need

to be a political settlement

with elements of the Taliban,

that both sides in this war

need to be able to forgive

each other for peace to have

a chance. Here's our full

interview with the Afghan

ambassador earlier today. ambassador thank you for your

time. Can I ask you firstly

just to describe how you see

the security situation in

Afghanistan at the moment?

Thank you very much.

Security situation in

Afghanistan is improving. I

mean, people might think that

what happened yesterday, the

day before yesterday in Kabul

might not be a good evidence

of what I'm saying. Overall

the security situation in

Afghanistan is improving.

The officially in Afghan is

Stan, we haven't seen a major string offensive save the one

we had yesterday. All the statistics shows that this

year is going to be a better

year than what we had

previous. What about in the

Oruzgan province particularly

where the Australian forces

are? Even the Oruzgan

province I think we see a lot

of signs of improvement.

First in the training of the Afghan security forces,

mainly on the police side,

because the Afghan army is

more or less ready to

takeover the lead operations.

This is what they're slowly

going to be, Oruzgan will be

announced the next lot of transition means our forces

will be conducting the

day-to-day routine

operations. When is that due

to be announced? . I don't

have an exact date, it will

be in the month of May.

Oruzgan will be part of it?

Oruzgan will be part of it,

this is the information we

have, not the whole province

but Oruzgan is part of this.

This is evidence of the

process is improving, if that

was not the case Oruzgan

would not be part of the

transition. It would be left

for the next transition. As the Prime Minister said today

she is waiting for that

announcement to begin the draw down of Australian

troops. That you expect will

happen very soon? I think the announcement will happen

very soon, but the draw down

is a process as Prime Minister mentioned it will

take another 12 to 18 months

for these forces to finish up

their job first, it means

that the training should be

finished all together, and at

the same time we should make

sure that, you know, we have

enough enablers for our

security forces who will be

taken over from the

Australians. What really

concerns in Afghanistan is

that when the forces are

leaving we would not have enough enablers for our

security forces, being police

or army, in response to some

sort of merge seal situation,

like emergency medical

evacuation in a far valley

where on the road going it

will take many hours and you

will lose your soldiers. You'll still need that

aerial support? We need

aerial support, intelligence

and surveillance. That will

be the nature of the Australian presence in

Oruzgan beyond 2012. The

attack this week in Kabul the

Afghan security forcev won a

lot of praise in the way they

responded there was the need

for coalition air support attack helicopters and embedded troops as well.

There is a need there still,

isn't there? Exactly. Yes,

we take a lot of pride in

what our security forces, particularly the police in

the operation in Kabul

clearing, taking out

terrorists, insurgents in 17

hours which is a record. Of

course they have been enabled

and assured if the situation

is going to be prolonged we

have NATO close by, America

forces over there, ISAF,

they'll be there to help us.

That's the kind after

assurance we want to see for

some time to come. That

assurance should not be

suddenly withdrawn in 2014.

Would that include

Australian forces in some

sort of capacity? Australian

Special Forces, Australians

to be presented profession

yals in terms of logistic

communication, surveillance,

intelligence and probably helicopter units to help

there, medical evacuation is

an important element. That

is going to be some years?

Yes, I think that's how the

nature of engagement in post

2014 will be, but I don't

contemplate that that will be

again another 20 or 10 years.

That will probably slowly gradually withdraw those

elements too, but for the

time being the emphasis on

our Air Force, like, have not

been there at all. The idea

was we're going to stop this

late. So it means that even

if we have an enenabled Air

Force capable of doing this

kind of support operations

that will be 2016, I mean,

that may be that year. You

sound very positive about

this security gain that is

being made in the capacity of

the Afghan forces, but we

still see, even in Oruzgan

coalition forces confined to

heavily fortified bases,

they're unable to walk freely

on the streets without strong

security presence, the

Taliban seemingly able to

roam at will and control

large tracts of the country.

Is there still a real

strength to the Taliban's

position? Those are two

different things, how you

want to measure security in Oruzgan yourself. I've been

in Oruzgan, if you're in a Humvee it's a different

thing. The Afghan forces are

roaming freely, they take a

larger percentage of risk

according to our calculations

but the Australian forces

they wanted to protect themselves in the best way

possible casualties are not

acceptable for them, but what

the insurgents can do to Australian forces, they might

not be able to continue doing

that to the Afghan security

forces, that's when it brings

confidence to us they're not

able to engage us

conventionally. They might

be able to do the kind of

attacks they did yesterday or

some suicide bombings, to

that matter we have seen

Oruzgan being the safe place

for at least the past six,

eight months except one

incident of suicide bombings,

the Ausaid colleagues were

injured, we regret that.

Save that we have seen no major incident. Nonetheless

the general view is there

will need to be some Taliban

involvement once coalition

forces start to draw down in

some sort of political

settlement in Afghanistan.

Do you see it that way? Do you think there will be some

sort of Taliban involvement?

We see that happening. One

major reason or excuse for

Taliban to fight out, we have

s the occupied forces in

Afghanistan, that might give

them some level of support among different people in

different regions of

Afghanistan. So when we have

transition finished,

president Karzai time and

again calls, if you really

truly are pursuing the

foreigners should not be in

our country, let's try, make

a peace so there should not

be any need for international

forces to be in Afghanistan,

they can leave and we can

life in piece if you're

honest. The security forces are here because you're

fighting, you're giving -

you're not disassociating, you're associating yourself

with al-Qaeda. We need

smaller smeps, then we are slowly joining our

government. I mean, it's an

open society. They can take

part in it. We believe that

probably we will get

hopefully a big chunk of

reconcilable Taliban, the way

we are going, moving towards

2014. Those talks are under

way? Those talks are under

way, we have talks going on,

working with Saudi Arabia,

too, with turk turk key, the reconcilable elements to

reannounce violence, when it

comes to the groups related

to the intelligence agencies

of enabling countries, they

tag groups their survival and

their existence is to be a

criminal group basically. I think with those people we

have to eliminate them.

There's no way out. You

referred to the Harcani

element being linked to the

neighbouring country

Pakistan. What role is there

for Pakistan in reigning in

the Hercani network to secure

peace in Afghanistan? You

know, there are elements

within the neighbouring

countries, they think that

this kind of group are

strategic assets for them,

not only - not vis a vis

Afghanistan but vis a vis

countries in the region, they

might be used as bargaining for different settlements in

the region. That thinking of

keeping the terrorism or the

terrorists as part of your

assets unfortunately has not

been completely washed away

from the minds of some

strategic gifts in the

region. It will take some

time, some resolve on the Afghan and international

community side. It will take some more time for our

security forces to be able to

respond with these people.

For us to think we might live

in a region that will be

marked by existence of this

kind of criminal groups for

some time to come. So we

think basically at this time

in the state of really

shouting and crying, the work

that Hercani is doing in

Afghanistan, we have to make

ourself strong to be ready to

face them. As I understand

it you had your own childhood

experience with the Taliban

when they were coming to

power. Perhaps you could

tell us a bit about that.

Whether you would be

comfortable being part of the

government that would involve

or a country that would

involve some role for those

reconcilable parts of the

Taliban? Yes, you know, not

only me, I might be an

example of what the Afghan

group in 1990's went through,

in my generation, I mentioned

in different interviews that

I lost my classmates when I

was studying in Mousharif.

They were killed by the

Taliban group there, just

because they were there. I

don't know, because they were

in that university in the

wrong time in the wrong

place. They opened fire on

them? There was fire in a

hostel room in the university

in Moushariff. There was the reality we went through a lot

of fighting, if the fighting

could have saved Afghanistan

the scorched earth policy

that the Taliban had that

would have saved the country

which was not possible. The

Afghan people throughout the

30 years of the war they

found out beating the Taliban

side, beating the other side,

war is not the answer. The

more we continue the more

generation we continue in

this war, so ultimately we

have to forgive, both sides

have to find forgiveness but

the forgiveness might not be

mistaken by surrender. I

mean we, the Afghan people,

who have went through this

dark years of the Taliban

time, will never ever

surrender, we might be able

to forgive the people who did

the brutalities, that also

for the sake of a sustained

peace, Afghanistan is the

home of all Afghans, be it

the Taliban or Afghan soldier, there might be

families who have one soldier

and one Afghan. That is an

Afghan family. For us to get

together probably we need a

reconciliation among

ourselves. Ambassador thank

you. You're welcome. The Afghan ambassador talking to

us from the embassy in

Canberra. How has the confirmation of the Prime

Minister for this timetable

for withdrawal gone down with Australian troops and

commanders on the ground in

Afghan is Stan. Laura Jase

is in Afghanistan at Tarin

Kowt where the Australians

are based at the moment. She

joins us now live on the

line. Laura, good to talk to you, what has been the initial reaction on the

ground? Well, I've just

spoken to the deputy commander, Colonel Ben James

he conveyed to me that it

wasn't a particular surprise,

looking at the way the

mentoring effort has been

going and the transition

that's already occurring with the Australians stepping back

from their mentoring role,

just over seeing the teaching

within the Afghan national

armies, they always expected

this to be the time line,

whether they expected three-quarters of Australian

troops to be out of this

country by the middle of next

year, middle of 2013 is a

different story. Colonel Ben

James, I also asked him about

the effects on the ground

when it comes to the waving support of the Australian

public in supporting our

involvement in the war here.

Troops have been very

cautious of that, very aware

of that, but he also said

that there has been a very

clear purpose for Australians

being here. They feel like

they have achieved their

mission and are well on track

for that transition process

to take place. Now, I've

also been observing myself

some of the mentoring, some

of the training that's been

going on at the ANA camp,

and, look, the ANA soldiers

that I've spoken to as well,

yes they appreciate a

coalition effort, but they

are keen to take the reins

themselves. Do they tell you

that they're ready to do

that, but just, what, need

the equipment that the

coalition forced have? --

forces have? I spoke to

general Passar yesterday

afternoon before this

announcement, he was that

general who made the comments

to another Australian

journalists saying Australian

troops should leave and leave

their equipment. He was

speaking to me yesterday. He

said when the coalition leave

everyone will start attacking, there's never

going to be peace in Afghanistan, whether the

coalition remained here or

not. The general has a long

history in the Afghan

military here and some things

can be lost in translation,

so first of all you need to

understand that. He is

appreciative of coalition

troops, but perhaps the

comments from general Passar

present slightly less

optimistic or more realistic

view of how Afghanistan will

cope. It's not going to be a

perfect transition, but he

says that ANA soldiers are

probably as well prepared,

especially in the Oruzgan

province as they can be.

Also Julia Gillard in this

announcement has opened the

idea or opened the chance for Special Forces remaining

here. That is something also

the deposit commander Colonel

Ben James says would be

important in this transition

process. It looks like we

will have an ongoing role at

least at a Special Forces

level for some time yet.

Laura Jase live from Tarin

Kowt in Afghanistan, thank

you, we will look further to

your further reports. We

will take a quick break then

back to our panel to discuss

all of this. Stay with us.

Welcome back, our panel in

just a moment. Let's check

in on the news headlines with

Vanessa. The Prime Minister

says Australia is prepared to

pay its fair share to keep

Afghanistan on track as

troops start to withdraw from

the middle of next year.

Julia Gillard says a summit

on Afghanistan in Chicago

next month will shore up

details of when international

troops will move into a

supporting role. She says

once the process starts it

will take 12 to 18 months to

pull troops out. Up to 100

extra police will take to the

streets of Western Sydney

after five over night

shootings. Premier berry

O'Farrell says he shares the

public's horror and has promised the police whatever

they need to fight the skuj

of gun crime. It's believed

to be an ongoing turf war

between the Hell's Angels and

know mad's bikie. 8

shootings, 19 so far this

month. A South Australian

man who murdered three

members of the one family has

been sentenced to at least 35

years behind bars. Jason

Alexander Downie pleaded

guilty to stabbing 16

year-old Chantelle rowe and

her parents Andrew and rose

in their house 112 times in

November 2010. The judge had

heard emotional statements

from family and friends

saying that Downie had been

obsessed with Chantelle and

jealous of his friend who was

dating her. Former AFL star

Ben Cousins is in trouble

with the law again. This

time it's in relation to

cannabis with police charging

the 33 year-old with

possession of one gram of the

drug. Earlier this month

cousins appeared in a Perth

court charged with possessing

methylamphetamine. Tobacco

giants are today challenging

the Government's plain

packaging laws in the High

Court. They court it's

unconstitution al and are

seeking compensation for loss

of their property in terms of

brand name and logos. Nicola rockson is confident the

Government will win the legal

battle. The Government

claims the plain olive brown cigarette packaging will save

lives and makes economic

sense. A quick look at

sporting news for you now,

and the Kangaroos five-eighth

Johnathan Thurston has warned

the Kiwi's plan to target

debutante James Tamou will backfire. He's sure to receive plenty after tension

when he puts on the green and

gold Friday's test at he'd

Dan park in Auckland. The

Kangaroos hit the training

paddock for the first of two

sessions. Showers heavy in

the east, showers an a cooler

change in the west. Welcome

to our panel. Joining me is

Nick Bullerley from the

Western Australian NSW and

Nick from the tieser. Both

of you have been to

Afghanistan, Mark you're back

from Afghanistan over the

weekend. No great surprise in what the Prime Minister

has announced today in this

time line within months will

start withdrawing, it will

take 12 to 18 months. It is

a little faster than the end

of 2014 that the Government

had previously been saying.

Mark do you think this was an

important thing for the Prime

Minister m to do today? I think it was, it is

interesting you make a good

point there was this 2014

deadline, now we seem to have

come back even from that. It

wasn't so long ago when it

wasn't appropriate to talk

about any time of time line

at you. You never gave the

other side any sort of indication when you were

pulling out. We have moved

past that, moved to 2014,

we're effectively in the

middle of 2013 or our forces, presumably for most of the

other international forces as

well. It is pretty

significant. Significant

that the Prime Minister's

done it, significant ahead of

this big meeting in Chicago

coming up. We will have to

see how quickly it starts

seeing troops withdraw. The

big question hanging over

this is it political, I don't

even Australian politics, US

politics, driving the time

frame, are they ready for

coalition forces to go? The big question is what happens

when everybody leaves. Of

course it is political. Like

you say it's mostly about US

politics, it would be silly

to suggest we'd stick around after the Americans would

pull out. President Obama is

desperate to get his troops

out of Afghanistan. It is a hotter issue there than it is

here. People are

increasingly upset about the

war, far more so in the

states? More exposure to the

toll of war... And the cost.

Stories of wounded troops

are biting in the US. That's

true, it is a big political

negative in Australia, it's

not a partisan one in the

sense that both sides are for

the conflict or the

engagement. It is true to

say it is fairly unpopular

and more and more people are

of the view we're really not

achieving anything on an

ongoing basis by staying

there, exposing ourselves to

ongoing risk. In that

context this government does

have a domestic political

imperative, that is is it

would like to go to the

election saying we entered

the Iraq war, we have

concluded our major

engagement in Afghanistan,

brought it to a close. What

about specifically in Oruzgan, you guys have seen

the Afghan national army

where they're at. Are they

ready to take security

control? You were there more recently, varying standards

depending on where you go,

some are good and some are

bad. A string of incidents

recently where Afghan troops

have fired on Australian

troops, the most recent

casualties have been where

Afghan troops have fired on

Australian troops. It is a

mixed bag. Totally confidence inspiring, the

Australian military

leadership on the ground in

Oruzgan the Afghan national

army and national security

forces are going very well.

Leading a lot of operations,

they are of a generally high

standard. As you say, Nick

it is quite patchy, parts

that are better than others,

there are those issues which

are genuinely confidence

shaking. In Oruzgan the

answer is broadly speaking,

yes, the subsequent question

then becomes for how long

after we have gone and how

important is Oruzgan anyway?

Only a small province, not

the main game in Afghanistan.

The big question too once we

go what happens with the

Taliban? There are efforts

under way to establish a

peace deal with those

elements of the Taliban that

are willing to corporate, lay

down arms. It's pretty

unclear how big that element

is. Well, I think that is a

question what exactly is the

Taliban, who exactly they are

negotiating with. I think

they do have to have - they

have to bring the Taliban

into the fold. It has to be

part of the exit strategy.

That's one of the things the war has established the

Taliban isn't going away.

Really it's one of the bitter

lessons the Taliban's not

gone away,al guide da has not

completely gone away, Harcani

network is not going away.

It is a political solution

that is needed. Still a

very messy place. Yes, for a

long time. Thank you both

for you. Thanks. The carbon

tax, the clean energy finance

fund, we will be talking to

Greg Combet, the minister

tore climate change right

after the break. -- minister for climate change right after the break.

Welcome back. Like it or

not it's full steam ahead

with the carbon tax package.

Today a key element of it was

given a big tick by an expert

review panel, the 10 billion

fund, the clean energy

finance corporation that will

offer loans, in some cases

equity to help get clean energy projects off the

ground, about half of it for

renewables, half of it for

Lowy mission technologies T

won't start operating until

July next year. The

coalition has labelled this a

$10 billion slush fund bankrolling projects with

taxpayers money that won't

get commercial loans. It was

reviewed by Gilligan Broadbent a member of the

Reserve Bank board. After

reviewing it has made a few recommendations which the Government are going to

adopt. Did seem to reject

the coalition's argument this

is a slush fund. I've never heard that description

applied internationally.

Most of these funds have

bipartisan support in all the

countries in which they've

operated and been successful

in nurturing an industry

critical to the nation and needs to be developed. Why

the need for this $10 billion

fund? What will it fund,

what won't it fund? I spoke

earlier to the climate change

minister Greg Combet. Greg

Combet, thanks for your time.

Can I start by asking why

should taxpayers be subsidising projects which

wouldn't otherwise be

commercially viable? The

clean energy finance

corporation that we have

taken a step further today is

going do operate on a

commercial basis, that's the first important point to

make. So it's not some, you

know entity that is going to

be handed out taxpayers money

on the form of grants. These

are projects that wouldn't

get her shal finance in the

private sector? There are

financial barriers to funding

of renewable energy and some

lower emission projects the

review led by Gillian

Broadbent the Reserve Bank

bank direct r has found, the

availability of finance for

clean energy projects, the

term of finance, the cost of finance, those barriers in

the marketplace at the moment

are in large part because

this marketplace is not very

mature. There is a role for

an entity like the clean

energy corporation to over

come those. Risky

investments? Other words?

Not necessarily,

circumstances in which you've

got an emerging market in

this country for investment

in clean energy technology,

renewables, Lowy megs

technology large scale energy technologies included. There

is an opportunity or

requirement for an entity

such as this, which will be a government corporation, which

will operate on a commercial

basis to step into the

marketplace, work with

private sector players, bring

other lenders to bear, equity

investors to bear to get some projects off the ground.

There are rules around how

this will work, half of them

will go to renewable projects

and half to Lowy mission

projects. On the Lowy

mission projects basically

they have to be producing no more than half of the current

average emission s intensity

of power generation in

Australia. That's right.

Not any nuclear power or

carbon capture and storage

projects. Yes. Why not?

Well, nuclear is an issue

that's not on the agenda in

Australia in truth. We have tremendous renewable resources that are going to

be cheaper for us to develop

and exploit well in advance

of a debate about nuclear

energy that is a serious one. Putting aside all the

politics it's a high cost

form of energy for Australia

to be considering. Surely a

lot of... Many other

resources to exploit. Many

projects this corporation is going to be looked at as

well. Why do you need that

rule? Why can't the market

rule and this fund go and

look at what will be the most

financial and environmentally

sound plo jects? We

shouldn't see this as the only thing the Government is

doing in clean energy for a

start. There is an entire

package at the centre of

which is a carbon price which

will drive the market signal

in Australia for investors in

the energy market in particular, such it will be

more attractive to invest in

cleaner energy. Ultimately

if nuclear were to come on

the to ra Darcy screen in

this country it would

essentially be because it is starting to make commercial

sense. That is an awful long

way away, regardless of any political consideration.

Why? Because this energy

energy finance is about clean energy to complement the

carbon price package and the

renewable energy target we

have put in place. A package

of three major institutional reforms really to drive

investment in cleaner energy

sources lower emissions technology, frankly everyone

knows that's what we have to

concentrate on. It is, as

you say, helping projects that otherwise wouldn't be

viable get off the ground.

So why do you need these

rules about nuclear power and

carbon capture and storage the Government thinks is the

future. With the greatest of

respect David you're going

down periphery and distraction in carbon capture

and storage. Any serious

debate about nuclear in this

country is an awful way away,

even if there was a political

consensus. Carbon capture

and storage the Government is

putting a significant amount

of resources into through

other programs. We have set

up a groebl carbon capture

and storage institute. Other

forms of support for it.

This here, the clean energy

finance corporation is an

initiative, a significant one where the Government

corporation will operate on a

commercial basis to work with

private sector investors and

bankers and other lenders to

help get off the ground some clean energy projects that

currently might be struggling

to over come financial

barriers. Basically the technologies are there, but it's difficult to get them to

the marketplace at the

moment. The whole point of

the carbon tax package was to

get rid of the mish-mash

supporting this technology

and that technology, letting

the market decides. If the

market decides carbon capture

and storage is a good idea

why not? We have other mechanisms dealing with

carbon capture and storage,

the par emers around the

clean energy corporation ha

been worked over. These are

the areas... These the greens... Stop interrupting

for a moment. These are the

areas Lowy missions technologies, for example gas

in combination with solar

power, large scale energy efficiency projects where

things are in a position to

potentially to get to market.

Where there are financial barriers that exist in Australia at the moment where

this corporation can help.

They're the things on the

immediate horizon that are

realistic. Climate change

minister Greg Combet talking

to us Earl err why. We're

out of time forever today's

pro grachlt back Sam time

tomorrow. Stay with us after

the break. News is next.