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Rudd manoeuvers health into key election issu -

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SHANE MCLEOD: As the election year gains momentum it looks like the Federal Government is more
worried about your health than that of the planet.

The gloves will be back on when Federal Parliament resumes on Monday after a week's break and
health looks to be firming up as the Government's number one political priority as its emissions
trading scheme loses momentum in the opinion polls.

The Government already has a double dissolution trigger on its ETS. Now it's set to test the
Senate's resolve on private health by pressing ahead with its plan to means test the Government's
insurance rebate.

As Alexandra Kirk reports it's already been blocked once by the Upper House and a second Senate
rejection will give the Government another trigger for an early election.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Government has put means testing the health insurance rebate at the top of the
Senate's debating list for next week.

The Senate has already said no once and is set to do it again. That would give Kevin Rudd another
trigger for a double dissolution election that could be held any time before mid-October.

He's keen to fight an election on health.

KEVIN RUDD: As for election timing, what form an election takes, well let's wait and see.

My intention as I've said many, many times is for a government to serve its full term. But let's
just see how this one unfolds. My attitude overall though is people want governments to serve their
full term.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: But first he has to neutralise the home insulation controversy.

Public servants in Peter Garrett's Environment Department face a weekend of swatting, having been
called to appear before a Senate inquiry. They'll be asked what they knew, what the Minister knew,
what they advised him and what he then did.

Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham, a member of that committee, says the Labor Senators didn't object
to the demand the bureaucrats give evidence but it was pushed to a vote which the Government lost.

SIMON BIRMINGHAM: They welcome it. They were happy to have the department appear at some stage. But
they objected to it happening on Monday morning, to it happening early next week.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Opposition is continuing to pile on the pressure. The public servants will be
quizzed before their Minister next fronts parliamentary Question Time.

The Coalition is also demanding to see the report the Government commissioned last year, a safety
risk assessment of the insulation program.

Peter Garrett's office has said it may be tabled in Parliament next week but Senator Birmingham
wants it now.

SIMON BIRMINGHAM: Not just drop it on the committee on Monday. Release it today so that there's
time to examine it and time for the committee members to ask serious questions about it and any
other relevant information when the department appears on Monday morning.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Having suspended the use of foil insulation the Government is now being asked to
help affected businesses. Kevin Rudd had to answer the plea from a foil importer on his weekly
early morning television gig on Channel Seven.

FOIL IMPORTER: Our small business has spent a lot of money importing foil insulation and it passes
all your government standards.

We'd like to know what the Government will do to help our small business now that the foil
insulation has been suspended and all the bad publicity about our products.

Our installers have received several phone calls now to have our foil insulation removed and have
batts put in. So we'd like to know what the Government is going to do about that.

KEVIN RUDD: Can I make simply this undertaking to you that Minister Garrett's department will get
onto you in the days ahead to see what practical arrangements can be put in place given your
circumstances.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: On the rival Nine Network, Julia Gillard had to explain why Kevin Rudd's 2007
election promise to build 260 childcare centres at schools to end the early morning double drop off
syndrome has resulted in just three finished in two years.

The Education Minister is pleading extenuating circumstances, saying 38 are in the process of being
built, still leaving a shortfall of more than 200.

JULIA GILLARD: We promised 38 in specific locations. They're being constructed now. On the 222
because...

PRESENTER: That's not going to happen.

JULIA GILLARD: Well because we had this big collapse of ABC Learning we've obviously got new market
conditions now and we're having a look at those new market conditions.

We didn't anticipate in 2007 that we would be a government that saw Australia's biggest childcare
provider start banging its doors shut with parents on the other side of the doors. And we've
managed our way through that.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Her weekly sparring partner Tony Abbott sees it as more grist for the mill.

TONY ABBOTT: You know I think this is a Government which is all talk and no action, which has made
lots of promises and it hasn't delivered and the childcare is just another example.

There's the super clinics which are largely undelivered. There was FuelWatch that wasn't delivered.
There was Grocery Watch that didn't happen. There was the baby bonus that wasn't going to be means
tested that was. Private health insurance rebate that was never going to be means tested but
they're trying to do that.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: In the face of Opposition taunts of inaction Kevin Rudd's hardened his position on
one promise - to prosecute Japan if it doesn't stop whaling.

KEVIN RUDD: If we don't reach a landing point with the Japanese diplomatically that action will
occur well before the commencement of the next whaling season which is this November. Okay?

ALEXANDRA KIRK: It's whaling season, not to mention the likelihood of it also being around
Australia's federal election season.

SHANE MCLEOD: Alex Kirk in Canberra.