Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
Australian Agenda -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) by Ai-Media This program will be live captioned

Good afternoon and welcome to PM

Agenda, I am Ashleigh Gillon. On

budget years, it takes a lot to

focus on the speculation. Today, it

has happened with yet another twist

in the Health Services Union

scandal. Today, we saw a statement

from Fair Work Australia confirming

the three health services officials

will be facing the Federal Court.

Coming up on the program today, we

will get two very different sides

of the story. Kathy Jackson and

Chris Brown. We will also be

looking at Wayne Swan's budget.

What will be in and what will be

out. Our panel will look at how he

has crafted this budget. Bruce

hooker also -- Bruce hooker also

joining us today. The Opposition is

demanding the immediate release of

the full Fair Work Australia report

into the Health Services Union. In

a brief statement today, the

general manager of revealed that

they are taking three officials to

court. Virtual MP -- federal MP is

maintaining his innocence after

they say they found serious

breaches, including using credit

cards to fund escort services. They

say that for the report should be

released as a matter of urgency.

There is no legal basis to this

report not to be released now. Any

resistance by the government, by

Julia Gillard or Bill Shorten in

particular, to the release of this

report can only be seen as a cover-

up. The Prime Minister has

described as offensive Opposition

doubts over the government bonus

payments apparent. Joe Hockey says

it is a sugar hit to pay the carbon

tax. Others have questioned how the

money will be spent. Julia Gillard

says the suggestion that families

will waste the money is offensive.

At the start of a crucial budget

week, Prime Minister and Opposition

Leader attended a Red Cross

function at Parliament House. A

show of bipartisanship. I read and

he is always cross, we're here

together. (LAUGHTER) -- I am red.

There will be bonus payments to 1

million families that receive tax

benefits. It is there to assist families with cost of living

pressures, particularly from

education. The Opposition has rest

and -- questioned the merits of the

payment. It astounds me that they

would insult parents in this way.

Parents have cost of kids going to

school. We want to make sure that

we help them. The suggestion of 1

million families would wait is

money, with all of the bills to get

the kids to school and excursions

and uniforms, it is offensive. The

government has been strong on the

rhetoric within either a tough

budget. And a return to surplus.

Not tough at all when it comes to

low or middle income families. It

will be a surplus, fair, low-budget

as well. Wayne Swan doesn't know if

he is Santa Claus or the Christmas

Grinch. The by election will be

held in a state seat of Melbourne

after Labor Bronwyn Pike announced

she would be resigning from

parliament. Labor it has held the

seat of Melbourne since 1955, but

with a one seat majority keeping

the Coalition government in the,

ALP veteran Bronwyn Pike has

decided now is the time to go. I

certainly didn't want to be taken

out a parliament house in a pine

box. I knew I was going to have to

leave sometime. It is dangerous

territory for the ALP and

governance. The greens have been on

the March in Melbourne the past two

elections. It was the shock decision by the Liberals

introduction intent not to prevent

the greens first that held --

helped Labor it retain the seat.

They wanted again. It is an iconic

seat. I think it is important that

the Liberals give the people of

Melbourne opportunity to have a

genuine choice in this election.

Sources say it is unlikely the

Liberals will or have the finances

to contest the seat in a by-

election. The offer of another six

might be tempting to a minority

government. It was liberal

provinces that helped Adam Bandt to

win that seat. The Australian

hockey community is today mourning

the death of one of its most

talented players. It was a freak

accident. 24-year-old Lizzie

Watkins was playing a game at Perth

Hockey Stadium yesterday when the

ball struck her in the head. She

collapsed and died on the way to

hospital. Witnesses say the ball

was deflected by a stick and hit

her in the back of the head as she

rushed in to make a tackle. She

played the North coast readers and

her sister played in the same team.

-- North Coast Raiders. Police are

hoping that toxicology results of

the body of Allison Baden-Clay will

help them in the investigation. A

week after her body was found in a

searching for her killer. creek, detectives are still

Authorities are also waiting on

forensics have from two family cars.

They tested a vehicle on a

roundabout on Brookdale Road, but

refused to comment on whether that

helped investigation. -- Brookdale

Road. Sarkozy lost the French

presidential election, the second

year the -- the second leader in 30

years to be kicked off after one

term. Francois Hollande could have

a big impact on how Europe deals

with the debt crisis. He said

austerities is not the only option.

Francois Hollande has been handed

control of France, a country if you

have taken a left turn. On 6 May,

we have voted to change by electing

me. To become the president of the

republic. Dozens of people filled

the streets of Paris to celebrate

the win. The president David Mamet.

-- Savoured the moment. I noticed

the change and what is expected of

me before you. after just five

years in office, it was time to say

au revoir. France and knows that

life is made of success and defeat.

Let us be patriots, let us be

French. Elections are also underway

in Greece, but no celebrations to

be seen anywhere, even in the

central square of Athens. It has

been dubbed the peaceful revolution.

Voters hoping the country will

stick to austerities measures. They

are suffering under the data economic situation.

The new leaders and had the

problems, problems that will take

more than a popularity to fix. Turn

into sport, John Longmire has

backed his players to step up in

the absence of goods. The medallist

has been ruled out of action after

suffering a quad injury when the

Swans lost to Adelaide. And it is a

tremendous opportunity to many

players in and outside of the team

to make sure that they step up and

play well. We have to keep doing it

for a few weeks. Sydney tackled

Richmond at the MCG on Saturday.

Tuesday's weather forecast : :

Back to Ashleigh Gillon in Canberra

now. Thank you, December. After the

break, we will get to difference

takes on today's Fair Work

Australia statement. I will talk

with Chris Brown and Kathy Jackson.

Stay with us.

Welcome back. Two current health

services officials will be facing a

Federal Court. So well former union

official. In a statement from Fair

Work Australia today, is confirmed

substantial union funds were spent

inappropriately, including on escort services, spousal travel and

excessive travel and hospitality

expenditure. Apparently most of

these contraventions of union rules

were by a former union official. No

names were named today, but Craig

Thomson, the now independent MP was

quick to reply to the FWA statement.

He maintains his innocence denies

any wrongdoing. He also said that

any proceedings brought against him

in respect to the findings in the

report will be denied. He went on

to say that Fair Work Australia and

its investigation was nothing short

of a joke. The Opposition has been quick of a joke. The Opposition has been

quick to read between the lines and

say that Craig Thomson is the former official and has outed

himself as the one that will face

the Federal Court. This statement

was just that. A statement. Now the

Opposition said there was no reason

to the full report to be released until to the full report to be released until the government to intervene

and make it happen. There is no

legal basis for this report not to

be released now. Any resistance by

the government, by Julia Gillard or

Bill Shorten in particular, to the

release of this report can only be

seen as a cover-up. We are going to

bring you two different reactions

and sides of the story here on PM

Agenda this afternoon. Coming up,

you will hear my interview with the

acting national president Chris

Brown. After Health Services Union.

First to Kathy Jackson. She, of

course, if the current union

official with the National

Secretary of the HSU. She told

earlier that she believed she is

one of the current members that

will soon be facing a Federal Court.

Have you been informed that you

will be one of the officials taken

to the federal court? I have not

been informed at this point.

Unfortunately the delegate of the

general manager has put out a press

release without informing me of

what is in it. I am in Sydney today.

I also note that they waited until

Budget eve to release it. Why not

give this the air it requires and

announce it after the Budget? More

importantly, let the parties know

what's in there. They haven't named

individuals but I suspect I am one

of those individuals. Who do you

think the other officials are? I

think they are Craig Thomson and

Michael Williamson. Are you

surprised you have been included?

Have you been given access to the

report so you can see the

allegations? Not at this point, but I understand the contraventions

they found in relation to my non-

attendance at meetings have been

dropped but I think they will still

pursue the fact that the 2007 returns weren't submitted on time.

I acted on the advice of the

general manager. The 2007 accounts

I was left with when Craig Thomson

of the HSU and I became national

secretary were accounts that I

could not sign off on, because I

did find the alleged fraud. I

couldn't act on those. There was no

way I was going to sign those

reports. I contacted Fair Work

Australia and took the advice on

how to handle the issue. I followed their advice and the other

professional issue, and yet they

file these allegations against me.

It's outrageous. The fact that I

contacted the agency to ask them

what I should do with the reports

that Craig Thomson had left

unfinished, and for them to find a

contravention against me for not

completing them in a timely manner,

when we had investigation after investigation and Fair Work

Australia was sitting on it for all

this time, and for them to come out

and say now that they file a

contravention against me because I

did not put those reports in in a

timely manner is outrageous. It

shows once again that Fair Work

Australia either at -- are

incompetent or are in acting in bad faith.

Craig Thomson says the

investigation has been a joke. I

don't want to agree with anything

that Craig Thomson says. He needs

to come clean, asked himself about

his position. Every time he makes a

media statement it's never about

him. This is totally about him. The

situation we are in in the Health

Services Union lies squarely and

wholly with him. He did not run a

national office professionally, and

more importantly he is still the --

protesting his innocence. Now we

have Fair Work Australia announcing

a $430,000 investigation into their

actions, so we have got Fair Work

Australia investigating themselves

- they have sought the advice of

KPMG, and interestingly enough it

is the same firm that ministers

shorten once the administrator to

use. My view is that the review

needs to be independent, and the

people paying for the review

shouldn't be the same people who

are being investigated. This is why

this belongs to the Auditor-General

and not with KPMG or a private firm,

where you have the general manager

giving instructions to the cost of

$430,000 to the taxpayer, where we

have a Government agency who can do

it quite ably. It needs to be at

arm's length from Fair Work

Australia, arm's length from the

minister, and more importantly the

taxpayer is not spending $430,000

for a report for an agency into

itself. Your critics claim you are

not the innocent with a block --

whistle-blower that you portray

yourself to be. They seek you are

up to your neck in all of this as

much as Thompson or Williamson. To

clarify, these allegations against

you, you say you may have

contravened the union roles, but you didn't do that knowingly?

That's exactly right. In 2007 I was

left with a set of accounting

reports, the annual returns. Those

returns are refused to sign because

they were not accurate returns.

They wanted me to sign off on

returns that Craig Thomson had

completed, but more importantly,

once we conducted the exit audit,

the anomalies were picked up and

the returns weren't accurate. At

that point I contacted Fair Work

Australia on numerous occasions and

asked them what I should do to get

the returns in in a timely manner.

The response to me was that I

should go ahead and redo the

accounts, and that's what I did.

And here they are today fighting a

contravention against me for acting

on the advice. It's totally

outrageous. These people are not

serious about dealing with the

wrongdoers, and I accept that I did

not put those returns in on time,

and I didn't do that on the advice

of Fair Work Australia and other

advice from other professionals

that have been assisting me as in

the union persisted as -- union

solicitors and auditors. For them

to come out and try to hang on is

is totally outrageous. Do you think

won tickets to the federal court

you will be cleared on everything?

Totally. George Brandis has accused

the Government of a cover-up if it

doesn't push for the full Fair Work

Australia report being released. Is

that going too far? No. The

statement made today, on the eve of

the Budget, is another attempt to

cover up. They should release the

report, namely people. There was no

reason for not naming the people

this morning. I have nothing to

hide. Where is Mr Williamson and Mr

Thomson? Do you have evidence that

the Government is involved in the

cover-up? The Government's position

is that it doesn't want to

intervene. The Government needs to

- to show that they are bona fides, the Auditor-General should complete

the review and not KPMG. We should

not have KPMG being instructed by

the general manager to conduct a

review of the agency that is being investigated. There are enough

resources among the Commonwealth to

conduct an investigation at arm's

length. The same agency that

Minister Short and wants to use.

But you have no evidence that the

Government has been involved in a

cover-up. I have enough evidence to

satisfy myself that since I have

taken the allegations to Fair Work

Australia, as people have said on

numerous occasions, it is either a

go slow or total incompetence, or

there is a total cover-up. That's

why I think there needs to be a

judicial cover-up -- judicial enquiry into what has occurred.

I personally believe there has been

a cover-up or total incompetence.

It is one or the other. The only

way we will get to the end of it

and the truth is through a judicial enquiry, and that the investigation that Bernadette O'Neill has

commissioned was KPMG should not go

ahead. That's not the proper regular treat authority that should

be looking at this. I think it

needs to be the Commonwealth

Auditor-General, and not KPMG,

where Bernadette O'Neill or the

general manager gives instructions

into a report or into an investigation, rather, into

themselves. It is just ludicrous to

be placed in that position. Just to

point out again, a Thomson denies

these allegations and the

Government insists it has nothing

to do with the cover-up. Chris

Brown is the acting national

president of the Health Services

Union and thinks the Government has

behaved appropriately. I spoke with

him earlier and asked him what he

learnt to date out of the statement.

Not a lot. I think there are two

significant things. One is that the

general manager has decided that

they will refer a number of the

contraventions to the federal court

for prosecutions, and that is what

we were both expecting and hoping.

I think the really disappointing

news is that she has indicated in

her statement that she won't be

pursuing any criminal prosecutions

against any individual, and we find

that fairly disturbing. We were led

to believe right from the very

beginning that there was the

capacity for Fair Work Australia to

refer the matter to the DPP for

criminal prosecution in the event

that they and covered anything of a

criminal nature, and what she is

doing is basically saying that that

avenue is no longer available to

her, again because the DPP won't

accept the report is a brief of

evidence. Or that she then can't

hand it over to any other

prosecuting authority, so we are

pretty angry about that. I guess

the saving grace on that one is

that the Victorian police

investigation is still underway and

they clearly have the ability to undertake -- undertake criminal

prosecution if they find anything

of a criminal nature. But the

likelihood of that, do you believe,

has been decreased? It has

certainly been decreased as far as

the Commonwealth Public prosecutor

is concerned, or any criminal

prosecution at a Commonwealth level.

We would still be hopeful that the

Victorian State police, as we know

that they are, will pursue this

matter fully and won't hesitate

until they charge this in the event

of anything being found of a

criminal nature. The Fair Work

Australia statement sites two

current officials and one former

official that will be taken to the

federal court. Argue clear about

who those officials are? I think

most people who have been following

the story would be able to guess

who they are, but given that the

manager of Fair Work Australia has

chosen not to name them in the

statement, I would probably leave

that alone until we see the report.

I understand that the report has

been referred to the Senate

committee, and that there is a high

likelihood that the Senate

committee, hopefully over the

coming days, will be replacing --

releasing the report and we will

know who the individuals are and

the contraventions that they have

been pinged with. Craig Thomson

didn't -- did release a statement

shortly after the Fair Work

Australia statement. He called the

Fair Work Australia investigation

nothing short of a joke. Are you

happy with the way that FW a

carried out its investigation? Are

not sure how Craig Thomson can make

that statement, because none of us

have seen the report. We have just

seen the notice of contraventions

outside the context of the report,

so let's wait and see the full

report before we make any

judgements on that. In terms of the

way Fair Work Australia has

conducted the investigation, our

concern has been the amount of time

they have taken. 3.5 years, and it

is hard to imagine why it would

have taken as long as that is, that

we also note that there is an

independent investigation into Fair

Work Australia trying to establish

why it has taken so long and the

manner in which the investigation

has been conducted, so let's wait

and see the results of the

investigation before we jump to

conclusions. Bernadette O'Neill,

the manager of Fair Work Australia,

has raised concerns about the power

FW a has when it comes to this hat

-- these investigations. Something

clearly has gone dramatically wrong

with the investigation to the

extent of being able to refer the

matter to DPP for criminal prosecutions. I noticed earlier

that Eric Abetz and the Coalition

were jumping up and down about this.

The reality is that this

investigation has been undertaken under legislation that was

introduced by the Howard Government.

If there is any deficiencies in

that legislation, then it forces

the Coalition to explain why they

got the legislation so wrong, in

the event that it is the legislation that is preventing any

referral to the DPP. If it is not

the legislation, then clearly it is

the process adopted by Fair Work

Australia. If there is deficiencies

as far as that process is concerned,

then they need to be rectified as a

matter of urgency. As you mentioned,

the Opposition is calling for the

Government to intervene and demand

the release of the Fair Work Australia report. Senator Brandis

used the term cover-up, if the Government doesn't intervene. Why

shouldn't the Government get in now

and make it happen? Fair Work

Australia is an independent investigatory organisation. They

are referring the matter to the

federal court for Prosecution and I

understand that. Just about 105

contraventions occurred and a civil

penalty will be referred to the

federal court. They have also given

the report to the Senate committee

on which Senator Eric Abetz

actually sits, selecting the

Government has probably done

everything it can to -- it can or

needs to do. It is up to the

committee whether the report is

released. I'm sure Eric Abetz will

have his say about that. But I

don't think there has been any

cover-up. There needs to be answers

about the amount of time it has

taken and the possibility of the

conduct of the investigation by

Fair Work Australia. Chris Brown

sticking with me earlier. We will

look further at the development

today with our panel, Bruce hooker

and Grahame Morris. We will also

Budget. look at Wayne Swan's upcoming

Welcome back. Coming up on the

program, we will go to Grahame

Morris and Bruce hooker. -- Bruce

Hawker. That is all coming up.

First, the top stories. The

Treasury is preparing to deliver

what he called a tough at fair go

budget tomorrow night. Wayne Swan

has dodged questions about company

tax rate cuts on the eve of his

death budget. Instead, his bricks other steps to promote small

business. He says the budget will

allow Australia to walk tall in the

global economy. Opposition says the

government will promise a surplus

that it will never deliver. The Opposition is demanding the

immediate release of the full Fair

Work Australia report into the

Health Services Union. In a brief

statement released today, FWA's

Journal manager says that three

officials are going to court. --

General manager. Craig Thomson is

maintaining his innocence. FWA

confirmed that it has found serious

breaches including the use of union

credit cards to find escort

services. The Australian hockey

community is today mourning the

death of one of its most talented

players in a freak accident. 24-

year-old Lizzie Watkins was playing

a game at Perth Hockey Stadium

yesterday. The ball struck her in

the head and she collapsed and died

on the way to hospital. Witnesses

say the ball deflected from a stick

and hit her in the back of her head

and she rushed in to make a tackle.

Nicholas Sarkozy has lost the

French presidential election,

becoming the second leader in 30

years to be kicked out after one term. The new president, Francois

Hollande could have a major impact

on how Europe deals with the debt

crisis. He says austerities is no

longer the only option. Greece has

also voted in their general

election. It showed voters have

rejected the two main parties,

after widespread anger in over

austerity measures. Their coach has

asked them to step up in the

absence of Adam Brown who is ruled

out after suffering a quad injury

in the Swans lost to Adelaide.

Tomorrow's weather :

Thank you. Our panel chat will come

up shortly. First to penny from

essential media. Labor stocks are

down. How bad would it be if an

election was held today and the

government? We have the Coalition

study at 50% primary vote. Labor is

done to point to 29. They're

dipping under 30% on the pole.

That's what about as a two-party

preferred 58 to 42. As we approach

budget day, you asked questions

about the economy. It is

interesting to see that your poll shows Australia has done well

compared to other country. This is

a Catch-22 of the government. You

asked people whether they thought

Australia is performing well and

66%, including 60% of Coalition

voters, say they are doing better.

When you ask them which party would

you trust most to deal with another

it GFC, and other global financial

crisis, Labor gets only 25% support.

Finally, we have seen a debate

recently about what the process

should be when a politician is

accused of an offence, if we listen

to the people that voted in your

poll, with which the an interesting

precedent. Are hanging parliament,

not hung parliament. A 62% amount

seeing a politician accused of an

position. offence should stand down from the seeing a politician accused of an offence should stand down from the

Coalition voters, Particularly strong percentage of

Particularly strong percentage of

Coalition voters, 73%, wanted a

piece of people to step aside. I don't think our politicians or

would like those results. I

appreciate your time, anti-. Now,

to Bruce Hawker and Grahame Morris.

We saw that George Brandis were

suggesting that if the government

doesn't intervene and make this

Fair Work Australia report into the

public domain then the government

should be accused of a cover-up. Is

that too far? No, Ashleigh. I think

it will go to a Senate committee. I

think it will be released and

should be released. Even already a

general manager Fair Work Australia

is sort of dropping hints

everywhere. That's there has been

most improper activity, probably

hundred and five punishable

active... Individual pieces of

activity, and another 80 should

be... Someone should get back

around to head for. That aren't

going to. They are having real

difficulty in a legal sense getting

this into a proper, legal, Criminal

Court. It seems to me that there is

still something wrong with the

system. By innuendo, even if their

work people themselves by saying

that there are an enormous number

of breaches. The majority of them

by a former official of the union.

Not saying that it was a former

official who is a former Labor

person who is now sitting in the

parliament as an independent, not

saying that! But the innuendo is

there. We're going to have another

report on all of this in July. MS

there is a bit of transparency and

opening it up, this is just going

to bleed over the front pages. If

it is all open, it might be over in

a week. I talked with Kathy Jackson

alia and she suggested that the

timing of this is suspicious. We

have had this statement from Fair

Work Australia coming out on budget

eve. It had bad to suggest integrated? I hadn't thought about

that. I do think that they should

release of the report. They should

table it and give a Parliamentary

privilege and let people crawl all

over it. If they don't, we're just

going to get more calls it to be

released and it will look like it

is a cover-up, when in fact I think

it was just a proper think ahead to

be doing, not releasing it because

it is protection against defamation.

Solve that problem, release it, let

people go over it and make up their

minds about it. As to whether those criminality involved, clearly they

are saying there is no criminality.

It is a case of a 90 or not, it

looks to me like there could be civil prosecutions, but not

criminal one. Let's get it out.

They are saying they do not have

the power of to enforce the

criminal side of things, but didn't

have the power of to give it to

somebody who does have that power.

The act at the moment is just a bit

tidy. I suspect, well, I think most

people would think it is about time

that the government sought that the

act so they can do their job

properly. I do think that the

report should be tabled, I agree

with that. Otherwise, it actually

drags out the issue even further to

the government. In defence of the

government, I think they should

actually release the document and

let people make up their own mind

about that. I can't remember being

in Canberra today before a budget

and talking about things other than

the budget will stop it has been

overshadowed by the Fair Work

Australia statement today. We have

seen that tough rhetoric this year.

Wayne Swan suggesting that he is

going to find Linda dollars saving

in order to reach the surplus that

he has talked so much about. Bruce,

we always hear that tough talk from

Wayne Swan before the budget. Also,

the rhetoric hasn't matched up to

the budget. Is he serious this

time? I think he is or isn't

serious, but issues have come a

long like the global financial

crisis, that got in the way. Look,

they have thrown everything at this

budget to balance it and make sure

it stays balanced. It is an easy

spin line the Joe Hockey to say it

won't be balanced in the long run.

They will have to make sure it is

balance, because there will be an

election in 12 or 15 months time.

It'll be a big issue. Stringent

measures will be introduced. Some

good support there for schoolkids

and people that urgently need

dentistry. Good Labor-friendly

packages. There are some tough

stuff in it as well. They're

serious about making sure it

balances, otherwise there will pay

a price rest in 12 months time.

They can't afford that. We are

seeing is vision now on the screen,

Elsie is our studio can get the

audio. This is quite an awkward

conversation between the Prime

Minister and treasurer earlier. A

picture opportunity. Have a listen.

Sorry, we do not have that audio.

We played at earlier and it was

awkward chitchat with the Prime Minister and Treasurer. I threw

that on the studio crew, my fault,

not theirs. Let's talk about what

we know will be in the budget.

Grahame Morris, this education

payment for parents, the government

are going to be giving this lump

sum to every child in primate

school. $820 to every child in high

school. This is something that Joe

Hockey is saying today. He is

trying to compensate the carbon tax.

It is a scheme that was there

already, liberty was picking it up,

to the government said they wanted

to make sure it is dished out. I

don't think even this government

could make this one up. It is a

nice break your family. People will

accept it and say thank you. But,

they still will get hit with a

carbon tax and all of those bills.

That'll be awkward. I have some

admiration for any individual who

puts together a federal budget. It

is difficult. But, it seems to me,

at the moment, Wayne Swan is sort

of working his tail. The

government's Heart is not really in

it. They are all looking at this

with one thing in mind. This Prime

Minister of and this treasurer have

to shift than two dozen boats to

get back -- 90,000 votes to get

back to where they were. 90,000

votes are month. It is going to do

it? Added think the treasurer knew

which way to go. He has to have a

surplus, a tiny surplus. He is

still giving away stuff to try to

be politically clever. Some of it,

I think it is politically tougher.

Is this going to be the big

turnaround, the big saviour? Well...

I suspect that before the next

budget the Prime Minister and maybe

the treasurer probably would be

there. They will have some new

people tweaking all of the figures.

In other words, maybe the budget

will not last. Well, of course, we

know it will be a surplus, probably

small, as you point out. Today, the

treasurer is calling it a fair go budget.

There will be a surplus Budget, but

it will be a 'fair go' Budget as

well, particularly with the

schoolkids bonus and support for

small business and the first acts

of the National Disability

Insurance Scheme. Wayne Swan

doesn't know whether he is Santa

Claus or the Christmas Grinch. On

the one hand the Government is

making large announcements, handing

out money, and on the other hand

they are talking about tough

cutbacks. Is this a confused Budget,

Bruce Hawker, or is that what

treasurers do, give with one hand

and take with the other? Since time

immemorial, the Fisher Budget, they

have done that and they will

continue to do it. I thought the

$820 schoolkids bonus was very well

received, well reported in the

media on the weekend. It is the

best news the Government has had in

some time, so I thought it was well

placed to identify with people who

are doing it tough right now. We

hear constantly, quite rightly,

that cost of living is a big issue

for people. There is concern about

other impost that will come, the

carbon tax, and there will be a compensation package put in place

for that as well, but cutting the

Budget with some of these could

announcements - at the same time

taking away with tough

announcements - is going to be well

received by people who need it.

$820 is a significant amount of

money to help schoolkids and in

secondary school, $410 in primary

school - not amounts of money to be

sneezed at. It is well pitched to

an electorate feeling the pinch. I

think we'll would -- we will be

talking plenty more about the

Budget in the coming days. Finally,

a tweet from Bob Carr. He says this

seems more rehearsed than a Kabuki

actor. Grahame Morris, was that

tweet wise? I think I got myself

into hot water about this. I think tomorrow, when Parliament resumes,

there should be one action - the

Speaker is invited to stand and

explain himself. Everyone is

guessing about what happened, but

just the idea of the Treasurer

saying, I am out of here and I will

do the right thing, I don't think

that's good enough. He should be

invited to explain what happened,

so the Parliament knows and so that

he has a chance as the Speaker of

this Parliament, a very important

post, to have his say, because at

the moment it is all outside the

Parliament, innuendo, and it is all

very suss. Unless he does that

tomorrow, it is just going to build

and build and build. I don't think

the former premier did himself any

favours. Was it appropriate for the

Foreign Minister to make that sort

of comment, raising doubts about

James Ashby? I thought the main

focus should be on Christopher Pyne,

who has changed his story is more

times than he has changed his

underpants in recent times -- in

recent days. I think Christopher

Pyne might want to explain himself.

That will be an interesting twist

to Budget Day. Bruce Hawker and

Grahame Morris, thank you for your

time. After the break we will check

in and go live to Paris to have a

look at the results in Paris and

what France's election results will mean.

Nicolas Sarkozy has been defeated in France's elections. Francois

Hollande has taken the reins as

France's first socialist president

in two decades. Ananda, how

overwhelming was this election win

for Mr Hollande, and why were they

so keen for a change? It was a bit slimmer than anticipated. A week

ago he had a 10 point lead and he

got about 52% of the vote, which

was what was predicted over the

past couple of days. It was a

narrowing of the polls. There was a

television debate in which neither

candidate delivered a knockout blow.

A lot of people didn't like the

reiteration of Nicolas Sarkozy's

abrasive character. There was a lot

of antipathy towards him and has

been a criticism levelled at

Francois Hollande that he won the

vote for not being Sarkozy. He gave

moderately toned victory speeches

last night, which went down well

with his supporters in Paris. He

talked about having to promises -

use and justice. He has got the

young people's vote. There is a

genuine sense of excitement as to

why they want change. It is mainly

on a personality basis. People were

tied about -- tired of Sarkozy not

being for the people, too elitist

and two glamorous in his style, and

many saw him responsible for record

unemployment figures, around 10%.

So Francois Hollande pitted himself

as the polar opposite of Nicolas

Sarkozy, a man of the people, Mr at

Normal. For some, to normal. He has

always said, when I gain office I

will then be able to trip -- to

show my true colours and be a true

statesman. The hard work starts now.

He goes to Berlin quickly to smooth

over the cracks with an polemical,

the German Chancellor, and start

promoting the idea of gross. It

sent to Europe into a jet, but now

he is calming it, saying he doesn't

want to break apart the fiscal pact,

but wants to add a concept of

growth, which is becoming more of

an idea that people are warming to.

How have other European leaders

responded? What do they think? The

implications for a wider Europe

will be? Of course they have all

done the obligatory congratulations.

They want to start off on the right

foot because the reality is that

Francois Hollande will be the next

President of France, so they want

that to be a good relationship. I

think Angela Merkel in particular -

obviously that relationship is of

particular significance. As you

mentioned, Germany -- he mentioned

Germany, the friend, in his

speeches last night. I think

Germany is more accepting of the

idea of him now because the fiscal

pact that was so hardfought and

negotiated - there was a sense from

Francois Hollande that he would rip

it up and start again, but now they

seem to be tempering that with the

notion that he wants to add growth

to the overall plan of austerity,

so they will be trying to flesh out

how that can be achieved and really

there is more of a sense that that

could be a good thing if it is

handled in the right way. Francois

Hollande is not a revolutionary

socialist, so he is likely to be

measured, which is helping the

European markets to maintain some

level of -- some level of calm,

although there is still a level of

scepticism and uncertainty about

what party will take. Nicolas

Sarkozy has been such a huge

political figure. What for him now?

Is the retiring or can we expect to

see him in another capacity? There

was a sense from him over the past

couple of days that he was saying

that this would be his last

political campaign, that he might

bow out. He didn't actually

directly refer to that when he

conceded defeat in his speech, so I

think people are still wondering

what he will do. He lives a

glamorous, high profile life with

his wife, Carla Bruni, and it seems

unlikely that he would want to

disappear from any sort of platform

like that. Perhaps it will delay

Tony Blair and maintain some

prominence on a less obvious

political level, but certainly I

think a lot of people in France are

pretty pleased to see him step down

as their leader, and for somebody

completely fresh and different to

now step into his shoes. But of

course there is still now -- there

is still some danger in voting for

Francois Hollande because he is not

Nicolas Sarkozy, he has to prove himself. Appreciate your insight.

Thank you for that. That is all we

have time for this afternoon. Thank

you for your company. We will see

you next time.

Live Captioning by Ai-Media