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Delivering unrivalled live

coverage. This is Sky News,

Australia's news channel.

This is PM Agenda. Good

afternoon, I'm David Speers,

welcome to the program. The

carbon tax compensation has

begun to flow, no turning

back now. The tax itself is

still about six weeks away

from being introduced. From today family payments have

been increased. People will

start seeing that in their

bank accounts. Now, Tony Abbott today has vowed to

continue his campaign in the labour heartland day in day

out, week in week out, he

said. He doesn't believe

this compensation will be

enough to cover families and

businesses for the extra

costs imposed by the carbon

tax. Coming up we will be

talking to the climate change

minister Greg Combet about

this. Also taking a look at

some good news for Craig

Australian Electoral Thomson today. The

Commission has cleared him on

most of the money spent on

his election campaign in

2007. You may recall, Fair

Work Australia, amongst the

many findings it made, said

that tens of thousands of dollars had been spent from the Health Services Union

covers for his election

campaign to bankroll his way

commission had a look at into parliament. The

that, found most of that money spent it was okay.

About $17000. Is it still

needs some questions answered

on. On most of that funding

it was either below the

donation threshold that has

to be declared or it was

declared by the Health

Services Union. Does this

raise questions over the

electoral funding laws.

parliamentary committee is Something that a joint

going to have a look at on

the back of this finding from the Australian Electoral

Commission. We will take a

look at that, where this

leaves the Craig Thomson

case. Also Joe Hockey the

shadow treasurer has given

his budget reply speech to

the National Press Club, a

budget surplus for every year

of the coalition term without

the carbon tax or mining tax.

Do we know how much more about how the coalition will

add it all up, where does it

stand on the disability insurance scheme, interesting comments on that, we will

look at that with the panel

Malcolm Farr and Lenore

Taylor. We're looking at the

Defence budget, the new Defence White Paper the

Government has asked for,

talking to one of the authors

of the last defence White

Paper in 2009. He warns we

have lost a decade of

momentum in achieving the

plans laid out in that White

Paper. Coming up. First

checking in on the top

stories back to the news

centre. Hello everyone, the Government says it hasn't

been advised of any breaches

by the electoral Act by

exiled MP Craig Thomson after the Electoral Commission

revealed it's seeking an

explanation from the Health

Services Union and NSW Labor

about more than than $17000

in election spending related

to Mr Thompson. The AEC has review the Fair Work

Australia report into the

HSU's national office which

found will Thompson misused

member founds for election

nearing when he was general

secretary of the union.

Speaking in Melbourne ahead

of a community cab net

tonight the Prime Minister

sought to further distance

herself from Mr Thompson.

He's not a member of the

Labor paper, his membership

is suspended. It is a member

of the Labor Party who will

represent Dobell in the next

election. Doubt have been

raised about how the

National Disability Insurance coalition plans to pay for a

Scheme after shadow treasurer

Joe Hockey said he wouldn't make promises he can't

deliver. I'm not going to

raise expectations then not

deliver. I won't do that.

That undermines confidence,

what we have got to the go it undermines hope, that's

the next election with, a

message of hope, a message of

confidence, to be a Government that is

predictable, that is stable,

that is reliable, so the

people can get on with their

jobs, get on with their

lives. The Government has

committed $1 billion over

four years to roll out the

first stage of an NDIS.

That's expected to cover

10000 people from 2013. Just

a reminder later this evening

Sky News and APAC channel 648

will have live coverage as

the Prime Minister hosts that

community cabinet meeting in

Melbourne's outer east. It

will take place at Timbara

college at Berwick, coverage

on APAC from 6.30 eastern.

Claims that excessive force

was used to evict members of Brisbane's Aboriginal Tent

Embassy. 200 police acted on

council orders to remove the

protesters. It has moved to

the Roma Street watch-house

to support their arrested

colleagues. Queensland

Premier Campbell Newman lit

the fuse when he called those

living at the Tent Embassy

squatters. This is not a

squatters camp people that

have been authorised by their

first national, I'm a Cooma

man, I'm authorised by the

Cooma people to come down

here and negotiate. By dawn

hundreds of police have surrounded Musgrave Park

armed with a Brisbane City

Council eviction order,

trying to clear the park

ahead of this week's Panyiri

Greek Festival. You know

what we're here for. You

know what we're defending. I

do, mate, we want to make sure firstly can we look

after your kids. This Mannah

rested as he tried to

confront the media. While

inside the steel barricades

the 150-strong crowd danced,

sung and taunted the police

who on Twitter promised to

negotiate a peaceful end to

the stand off. Binomial 8.30

their patience was up. Our

Aboriginal land! The police

moved in ushering the crowd

through a core don't on to a

street. There were a number

of arrests, over 30 arrests,

they were quite peaceful from

what I saw, and no-one was

injured. These people will

be taken to the Brisbane City watch-house where they'll be charged. They'll later

appear in Court. Protests then moved to parliament

house, demand ing a meeting

with the Queensland Premier,

before marching on the watch-house where all 3 # of the protesters arrested were

being held. I understand

from the media that there

have been some issues in

Queensland, obviously people

do have the right to peaceful

protest. We do need to make

sure that people are able to

put their point of view in a

peaceful way. As for

Brisbane residents the

slowest of kmuts with much of

South Brisbane cutoff.

Cameron Price, Sky News

Victims of one of the black

Saturday bushfires in Victoria's northeast have

been awarded $32 million in

compensation. Around 80

residents in the Beechworth

area sued an electricity company and Government

agencies. A trial had been

due to start in March, but on

the first day parties agreed

to a settlement with the

figure announced today. The

fire burnt 32000 hectares of

land, destroyed 38 homes and

claimed two lives. Talks to

form a coalition Government

in Greece have failed. Many

in the country will be forced

to hold its second general

election this year. A

caretaker administration will

be appointed later today,

ahead of the new ballot next

month. Elections 10 days ago

the majority of Greek voters

backed candidates opposed to

austerity measures demanded

by the EU and IMF in return

for two bailouts. With every

day day that passes Greece

edges closer to becoming the

first country to leave the

Eurozone. After days of

coalition talks failed to

reach agreement on a new Government there's now only

one course of action, it's

back to the ballot box for

Greek voters. TRANSLATION: We shouldn't have reached

this point. We are forced to

go to elections. Let's go

united in the best way to

safeguard Greece. Let's move

towards something better and

for God's sake let's not move

towards something worse. TRANSLATION: I did whatever

was possible to avoid

elections. New democracy

even accepted as a Government

be formed without us, as long

as we remained in the euro.

We placed the country above

our own political interests,

but we hit a wall of arrogance and intrance

against. The left wing ant

austerity Serisa party

receiving the second largest

number of votes is being

blamed for refusing to

participate in a unity

Government. It says the

other parties are at fault

for remaining committed to

the severe public spending

cuts imposed by the EU and

IMF. TRANSLATION: The

parties of the bailout

agreement faithful to their agreements to Mrs Angela

Merkel and Mrs Legarde

refused to accept the

proposals. They presented

the dilemma that either we

have the bailout or we have

elections. The new election

will be held next month.

Whatever the result it's

known that while most Greeks

want to see an end to Aust

tear tee, they also overwhelmingly want to stay

in the euro zone, 80% of them

according to a recent pole.

As the EU and IMF made clear

they can have one or the

other, not both. 50 women have launched a class action

in the Supreme Court after

allegedly being infethed with

hepatitis C at a Melbourne

abortion clinic. The lawsuit

has been filed against anaesthetist Dr James Latham

Peters, the director of the

former kroid Don day surgery,

Martin shil berj and the

regulation agency. The women

attended the clinic in Melbourne's northeast between

January 2008 Andes 2009. Dr

Peters is facing 162 charges.

He was suspended from

practising medicine in 2010.

A quick look at sporting

news now, the Blues are

moving camp to Melbourne

today, just one week out from

the State of Origin opener.

The players arrived at the

airport this morning after

enjoying a fan day at Penrith

today. Coach Ricky Stuart

giving little away as the

count down continues. You

know it's only early, we

don't want to be playing the

game on Friday. The Maroons arrived in Melbourne

yesterday. A brief look at

the weather, showers on the east coast, storms in the

west, mostly Sunny in the

southeast. 11 minutes past 4 eastern time. Back to David

Speers in Canberra as PM

agenda continues. Vanessa

thai, after the break we will

look at the carbon tax, the

compensation started throwing

today. We will talk to Greg

Combet about that, also the Electoral Commission findings

on Craig Thomson, does it put

him in the clear any more.

We will take a look at that.

Stay with us.

chrie chrie two

Welcome to PM Agenda.

Peter Slipper has been a headache for the Gillard

Government, they have brought

down the reputation of the

entire parliament. Still

under police investigation

and had better news after the

last couple of days, Peter

Slipper's accuser James

Ashby, per Ewing the sexual

harassment claims against the

speaker dropped the claims he

misused Cabcharge dockets.

Still being investigated by

the Federal police over

travel entitled lments, James

Ashby only pursuing Peter

Slipper over the sexual

harassment claims. He

remains stood aside. This

gives some vindication toal

Thonny Albanese actually, the Government's Leader of the

House, who stuck his neck out

and said the claims that

James Ashby made on the Cabcharge front couldn't be

proven. What we see in this

many dropped is some

vindication for him noting

that Anthony Albanese made

the remarks and days later

Julia Gillard made him look

embarrassed, sidelining Peter

Slipper, saying he cross the

a line and wouldn't be supporting him in the

speaker's chair. As for

Electoral Commission has Craig Thomson the Australian

cleared him largely on the

claims, the findings made in

the Fair Work Australia

report released a few weeks

ago that he'd bank rolled his way into parliament using

union member's funds. They

found tens of thousands of

dollars of union member's

money was spend on the

Dobell. The commission has campaign to win the seat of

had a look at this, all bar

$17000 which it wants to get

more answers on, there's

nothing technically wrong

with what happened. Why?

Well, most of the money spent

from the Health Services

Union when Craig Thomson was in charge was under what's

called the disclosure limit.

At that the time that limit

was 10500, any donations

under that don't have to be disclosed, things like

office that cost nearly setting up the campaign

$5000, the campaign bus, that

only cost about $1300, so

none of that had to be

disclosed. Some payments

were disclosed, like 9500 in

postage expense s,

advertising, 12500, radio

advertising, nearly $19000,

they were disclosed. Whether

that means it's right or

wrong for the Health Services Union money to have been

spent that way, technically

no problem as far as the

Electoral Commission is

concerned because they were

disclosed. Still a

parliamentary committee is

going to have a look at this,

whether we need to change the

disclosure limits to see

whether that threshold of

10500 needs to be changed or

the way that disclosure are

made need to be change, a

according to a couple of

Tweets from Craig Thomson is

what it shows that Fair Work

Australia got it wrong on the

expenses, it has been

discredited, it clearly shows that Fair Work Australia got

it wrong on electoral

expenses, I wonder how widely

that gets reported. We're

reporting it now. We will

look at that that. What does

it mean for him, he's accused

of misusing union funds and

escort services of course,

but for the Prime Minister

Julia Gillard she is not

about to embrace him back

into the Labor fold, he

remains suspended from the

parliament. A strong hint

from Julia Gillard today he

won't be standing as the

Labor candidate at the next

election. Mr Thompson is not

a member of the Labor Party.

His membership - member of

the Labor Party who will

represent Labor in Dobell at

the next election. Julia

Gillard is saying that the

opposition, though, keeping

the pressure on the Gillard

Government over Craig Thomson

saying while ever she is

supporting or taking his vote

in parliament well she's not

serious about getting tough

with Craig Thomson. All

Health Services Union. these matters surrounding the

Speaking of the HSU a

dominant theme, at the ACTU

congress in Sydney we heard tough talk from the Prime

Minister yesterday expressing

her disgust overall of this.

Union leaders lining up to

have their say, saying this

ace bad Apple not

representative of the union

movement. Let's listen in life for a little bit. This

is promised to be a fairly

firely speech from Paul Howes

about the Health Services

Union. To make sure we

eradicate, we hunt down and

seek out to destroy those

within the enemy within, who seeks to line their own

personal pockets off the back

of the hard work of decent

men and women, hard working

Australians who make that

voluntary decision on a daily

basis to be a part of their

trade union movement. I'm

angry... Applause) I'm angry

and you all should be angry

too. All of our members

should be angry that we got

to this stage. I like Dave

read the entire fair fork

Australia report into the

national office of the HSU.

It was a sobering assessment

of something going really

wrong inside one part of our

family. And whilst the ACTU

doesn't regulate unions we

should take collective

responsibility for our

movement. If we believe in

independent free democratic

trade unions, then we ourselves on our own should also had take responsibility

and say we don't care what

the laws say. It doesn't

matter what the RAO schedule

says, it should be about what

we believe, what we believe

trade union officials should

do on a daily basis. Because

if this happens again, it

will be our fault. We have an

opportunity here at this

congress to take responsibility collectively

for our own actions, and to

police ourselves and could

ensure that we never allow

this to happen again. I know

most nation unions are going

through reviews of their

practices. I think it's good

to be more transparent. I'm

happy to publish what I earn

and whatever official of our

union earns. I'm happy to

disclose what we do with the

members' money that is

entrusted to us. Every other union in this country should

do the same. Because I know

99% of our movement has

nothing to fear. Nothing to

fear through more transparency, through more

openness, to ensure that we

act diligently to demonstrate

to those, who as Tim very

eloquently said, are seeking

to use this opportunity, not

to act in had the interests

of... Paul Howes addressing

the ACTU congress, watch that

live on APAC 648, Paul Howes

strongly endorsing a motion

at the congress to appoint an

expert panel to look at

governance issues, moved by

Paul Oliver, the new

secretary of the ACTU, backed

in by fellow union leaders,

Paul Howes expressing his

concerns about what went on

at the union. The Prime

Minister has been focused on

the carbon tax, yes, the

compensation has begun to

flow from today. Families

will see more mun yip in the

bank accounts, those eligible

for family payments. Pension

increases and tax cuts to

come, the carbon tax won't

July. The Prime Minister kick in for six weeks until 1

says the Government is

protecting those low and

middle income families who

will face higher costs. This

is our way of ensuring that

with our strong economy, with

the budget coming to surplus,

that we are sharing the

benefits of the resources

boom, right around the nation

with Australian families, who

are doing the hard work of

raising the next generation

of Australians Tony Abbott

not convinced that this compensation will be enough,

he points out the carbon

price is set to increase over

the years. Questioning

whether the compensation will

as well. He's of course calm

pained very strongly against

the carbon tax. Today made

it clear he's not about to

change strategy. I want to reassure the Prime Minister

that I will be in the

manufacturing heartland of

our country, day in day out,

week in week out, between now

and the next election,

because I need the workers of

Australia to understand that

the coalition is their only

salvation from this toxic

tax. It's not just the

opposition criticising the

Government today over its tax

system. Jack Nasser the

chairman of BHP has delivered

a broader critique of

Australia's taxation system

during a speech in Sydney.

Look at what he had to say.

It is the right of

governments to set the tax

regime. Can I not over state

how the level of unseern tee

about Australia's tax system

is generating neng tiff

investor reaction and

sentiment. People just don't

know where it's going. The

head of BHP there, Jack Nasse

r. With the carbon tax are

families going to be adequately compensated,

particularly as the carbon

price does as its meant to

continue to rise. I spoke

earlier this afternoon to the

climate change minister, Greg

Combet. Well, Tony Abbott is

only trying to create fear

and harvest votes for himself

out of of that fear. Nothing

he said about the

introduction of a carbon

price is to be delivered or

to be trusted. Yet again

today he's making outlandish comments. These are some

facts, David, the

implications for households

include an average cost

impact of $3.30 a week in increased electricity price

whdz averaged across the

country. Here is another

fact, the assistance that

starting for households today

averages $10.10 per household

across the country, through

tax cuts, pension increases,

improvements in family tax

benefits and the like. We're

helping households meet cost-of-living pressures,

making sure that lower middle

income households receive the assistance that is

appropriate with the

introduction of the carbon

price. There will be some

households, I think about a

third of households and

plenty of businesses, that

will be paying more? Well, look, we're a Labor

Government. We think it's

very important to help low

and middle income households

to adjust with introduction

of a carbon price, albeit the

price impact is less than 1

Kent in the dollar. You have

to bear that in mind in

relation to all these

discussions. As I said, the

household assistance that is

starting from today, averages

$10.10 a week for households

across the country. In

relation to small and medium

sized businesses in

particular, we're also got to

bear in mind it's going to be

a bit under 500 companies

that are the companies who

will have the obligation to

pay the carbon price when it

starts from 1 July. That

means the overwhelming mass

of businesses in this country

do not have a direct

liability to pay the carbon

price. They do have

increased costs, though, like

households, you're compensating households bull

not the businesses? Let me

answer that. Of course we

have done work with the

council of small business

associations to look at what

would be the typical impact

on electricity prices for a

small business. It's around

$5 a week. There are steps

that businesses can take to

reduce their energy

consumption to improve their energy efficiency shall to

help them make that investment we're providing a

tax break, an instant asset

write-off up to the value of

6500 for every asset that is purchased by a small business

in a financial year. It's a

very significant incentive

for them to make a bit of a

capital investment in

improved energy efficiency or

in fact for any other asset

they might want to bye for

their business. We are

paying out of that through

the Minerals Resource Rent

Tax. One way we're spreading

the benefits of the mining

boom across the rest of the

economy and particularly to

small business. The ACCC

will be policing any price

gouging in connection with

the carbon price. There are reports of some businesses

already putting up prices.

There is any excuse for them

to do that at the moment?

No, there isn't an excuse.

The price doesn't start until

1 July, and even then it's

important for them to bear in

mind that the companies that

have the liability to pay the

carbon price, less than 500

big companies across the

country, they won't have to

first meet their obligations

until the middle of June next

year, in a year's time is

when they first actually have

to make any payments, so

there's no case for people to

be jacking up prices at the

moment. People need to

prepare for it in business,

and, of course electricity

regulators are preparing for

the price increase that will

flow only $3.30 a week

averaged across households,

but, look, if people are hearing of businesses jacking

up prices I was told something today that I think

would be of interest, the

ACCC. We have given the ACCC

extra resources. It will

crack down on people who are

inappropriately trying to

increase prices. What was that case that you were told

about today? I was just one

that I was told on a radio

interview about some council

suggesting that land fill

rates should go up by one

hundred per cent, that is

completely fallacious. In

relation to the household

assistance, Tony Abbott is

right when he says the carbon

price is set to go up and up

and up, due to rise every

year, for the first three

years when it's a fixed

price. Will the compensation

always go up to match the

price? Yes, we have

legislated further tax cuts

in 2015 to make sure that

we're covering off all circumstances, but Tony

Abbott can't have it both

ways. He's running around

saying what you just

indicated there, but on the

other hand Joe Hockey and

others and Tony Abbott

himself have been out saying

when we go to a floating

price in 2015/16 the price

will fall. It might be a problem because its falling.

I mean you can't have it both

ways. The Government's

designed the assistance for

households to continue to

help households meet costs

and you'll remember of course

from the budget last week

we're also intro us doing

additional assistance to help

families meet education

costs, for example, through

the school kids bonus. Next

month there's going to be

over $400 for - in relation

to kids that are in primary

school, over $800 in relation

to a child whose in high

school for families who are

eligible for family tax

benefit part A. That's very significant assistance. I

didn't think that was related

to the carbon price, though,

isn't that meant for school

funds? But it's additional

assistance. No, you're quite

right, not related to the

carbon price package. It's additional assistance that is significant. It is evidence

of the fact that the

Government is very conscious

of the cost-of-living pressures that many families

are experiencing and we're

responding to it. And we

have put the school kids

bonus through parliament to

ensure that we can get payments out in June over

#4dz00 for a child in primary

school, over $800 for every

child in high school for

families who are eligible for

family tax benefits. In

addition, of course, we have foreshadowed there will be

further increasen family tax

benefits next year. This is

a Government that listens to

the community in relation to

cost-of-living concerns and

we're acting and we're providing assistance and it's

significant. Let me ask you

if the price, the international price stays as

low as it did, when our price

goes to a floating price

there's meant fob a floor of

$15, it doesn't go below

that. There are potential

problems, here, are there, if

it remains at $15, the

international price is lower

than that we're stuck with a

much higher price, if you

were to go lower you'd have a

hole in the budget. What can

you do about that? . I don't

think you should get too

tangled up in that at this

point in time to be frank

David. Three years of a

fixed price when the carbon

price mechanism comes in to

provide stability and predict

built for business for the

economy to get used to having

a carbon price for those 500

large greenhouse gas emitters

to being accustomed to the

carbon price mechanical Mitchell then we will

transition to the market

price by auctioning the

permits under the Emissions

Trading Scheme that will come

into effect. Three years out

is a fairway to go. A lot of

developments in the

international markets,

particularly the debt crisis

in Greece and in Europe that

are affecting carbon markets

internationally. Obviously

we're very keen, as everyone

else is around the world to

see those debt crises

resolved, stability to

return, more confidence to

return to carbon markets in

particular. That's three

years away yet. Given that uncertainty then wouldn't it

be prudent not to lock in any

sort of floor price this far

out? Well, it's a commitment

that we made when we

negotiated and legislated the

clean energy future package,

including the carbon price

mechanical nif. It provides

some certainty about what a

minimum price might be. I

think carbon markets will

stabilise, they're deepening,

becoming more liquid over the

course of the next few years.

We're confident this is going

to be an efficient way of

getting the greenhouse

emissions down. Have you

convinced Rob Oakeshott of

that? He seems to be having

doubts? Rob Oakeshott signed

up with the agreement that

was reached in the multiparty

climate change committee, he

and I have had discussions

about this issue. We will be

talking further. We haven't

yet made the price floor

regulations. It's an

important part of the scheme and we will have some further

discussionb it if he'd like

to. He signed up to the

ement groo. All right, Greg Combet, we will leave it

there. Thanks for joining

us. A pleasure David, thank

you. Greg Combet talking to

us earlier. I should point

out he wasn't at his office

he was at a child-care centre

where he'd been with the Prime Minister spruiking

those extra family payments

do help with the cost of the

carbon tax. Quick break then

off to the panel with Malcolm

Farrer and Lenore Taylor.

You're watching PM Agenda.

Welcome to our panel, ren nor

Taylor from the 'Sydney Morning Herald' and Mr

Farrer. The Electoral Commission clears Craig

Thomson from the mun yes he

spent in the election campaign in the seat of

Dobell. What does it mean?

Is he cleared on the front

entirely? The fair work

report found a lot of its

findings went to what Mr

Thompson spent union money

on, whether it was for his personal electoral campaign. This goes to whether or not

he disclosed properly what he

was spending and what he was

spending it on. In most

cases he or the HSU did. There are four payments that

will are question marks, they

were below the threshold

which was a Howard Government

threshold. 10500. It seems

like this isn't going to be a

problem for Mr Thompson on

this particular front. Which

is important because this is something the coalition were

keen to pursue if he'd been

elected without properly

disclosing how the money was spent to get him there.

Exactly. That could disqualify him. Exactly.

This is the problem that the

coalition and people

generally have at the moment.

There seems to be a widespread view that Mr Thompson has done something

wrong, what people believe to

be unacceptable. All the

various legal avenues and

places where he can be

condemned from that don't

result in him being removed

from the parliament. A criminal conviction that will

see him booted from

parliament. If that were to

happen it would have to come

from one of the two police

investigations going into the

HSU. They're not concluded.

If they result in charges,

that's a process that takes

them beyond the next

election. Malcolm, whilst it

may not be in breach of

electoral laws, question

marks over why so much union

money was spent getting him

into parliament. Eventually

all the allegations about

election funding two issues

remaining, one is as you

suggest he still has to

explain why it was to the

benefit of all those members,

70000 members whatever the

Health Services Union that a

lot of money be spent on his political ambitions. This is

not something that's clear at

the moment. Going in his

favour is the fact that this

investigation of a bunch of

allegations contained in the Fair Work Australia report

found those allegations were

based on mistakes or errors

of some sort. Mr Thompson we

can imagine he will use that

to discredit most of the

report. That's what he

Tweeted today. It discredits

the whole thing. Does it?

In something like this where

details are hazy or so

jumbled it's very hard to

grab them with two hands, if

you tossed down a pebble of

doubt you could get an

avalanche going, we have seen

it in areas more clear-cut

than this. Something to be

working in his favour. Yes,

but the allegations and the

findings in the Fair Work

Australia report about the

escort agencies do seem to have a lot more evidence

behind them, phone calls, the

credit cards, the driver's

licence, all of that sort of

stuff. On this stuff, on the

use of union funds to get him

into parliament it seems some

better news for him today.

What about Peter Slipper, the

other problem MP for the

Government. James Ashby has

now removed from his court

claim the stuff about the

misuse of Cabcharge dockets.

How significant is that,

Lenore? It always seems like

a bit of an odd fit in

Ashby's claims that the

Commonwealth had breached his

employment contact with him

in putting him in a position

where he had to see Mr

Slipper a lengths that he was

illegal. Why would it worry

him as a staff member

misusing his Cabcharge. He

says he has withdrawn that from the statement of claim

because the AFP is independently investigating

him in a wider way Mr Peter's

misuse of travel entitled

lments. It's cold comfort

for Slipper it is no longer

in the statement, by taking

it out he can get his civil

matter dealt with quickly.

Is he simply narrowing his

case to the sexual harassment claims which may

have... Emotive aspect of the

whole thing. Let's be honest

about it, the sexual

harassment and the fact that

the homosexuality is involved

that's the one that's got

everybody into a tiz, got

everybody to focus on Peter

Slipper. If it was a couple

of cab dockets there wouldn't

be this attention. It's

getting back to what is going

to disqualify him a criminal

charge that's the cab

dockets. I have to say Mr

Ashby saying that in the

affidavits he was forced to

watch, maybe he wasn't forced

to watch anything nefarious

going on, the evidence from

the investigation is still ongoing, the evidence was on

those occasions Mr Ashby nominated nothing wrong

happened. Mr Slipper was confident on this point from

the get go. He released

those vouchers I'm not a

handwriting expert. They

looked like they'd been

filled out by Mr and Mr

Ashby's specific claim was Mr

Slipper hadn't filed them out, signed them but not

filled them out. Mr Slipper

seems to think he was on

solid ground on this one.

Looking at Joe Hockey's

budget reply speech at the

National Press Club, he got

stuck into the Government,

promised surpluses every year

of the first term of the

coalition Government, no had

carbon tax, no mining tax.

Questions on the NDIS, critical of the Government

days after delivering the

budget raising is possibility

of an extra levy to fund the

scheme. When asked how will

the coalition pay for

something they've committed

to here was the answer. I'm

not going to raise expect expectations and not deliver.

I won't do that. It

undermines confidence and

hope. That's what we have

got to go to the next election with, a message of

hope, a message of

confidence. Lenore, he

doesn't want to build up the hopes, the office point out they're committed still to the National Disability

Insurance Scheme. They are yet to see how the Government

is going to fund it. What do

you think of that line from

Joe Hockey. There is a

difference in tone between

what the coalition says between Tony Abbott and Joe

Hockey. One is they don't

want to make themselves, the

issue, it's the Government's

policy and the Government's

problem to figure out how

they fund it from the states

and in the long-term. From

an opposition point of view

that's there's to deal. On

the other hand Joe Hockey has

made several statements on this which seems to be

saying, hack, the coalition doesn't know how they would

found it down the track. It

might not be possible. They might need to have another

levy. I do think he's trying

to lay some groundwork for

the possibility that it might

not eventually be able to be

funded in the same way that

the however the Government

decides to do it. There is a difference there taking into

account the idea that the

coalition is trying to make it the Government's problem.

Which is a problem that Joe

Hockey as the shadow

treasurer will face on a

number of fronts how to pay

for it. A surplus every

year, plus tax cuts except

for the tax cuts that's going

to add which might involve a

disability insurance levy.

It was a very complex

equation that he laid out, I

think that's the nicest thing

to do, complex. It would be

very difficult to enact. The bare blueprint he gave us

today. He did seem to be

saying that the promised tax

cuts were based on the tax

that we pay right now. Of course... That's right.

We're going to get tax cuts

from Labor so it might be we

get to keep the ones we have

already got. The tax cuts

coming up after July would be rescinded, other tax cuts

would be enacted. I mean

really, come on. A lot of

detail to come on that front.

He did say it won't be left

until the day before the

election. It might be the

day before the day before. We will look forward to

that. Good to talk you.

After the break we're look at

the Government's promised

Defence White Paper. We will

be talking to one of the authors of the last white

paip he said that a decade of

momentum has been lost on the

plans laid out in it. Stay with us.

The Prime Minister heads

to Chicago this weekend for a

NATO summit on Afghanistan,

what happens after

international forces pull out

at 2014. At the end of the

visit the Prime Minister

announced Australia's

contribution, $100 million a

year for three years. It won

immediate support from the

opposition. From 2015 Afghan forces will be leading

security across the nation of

Afghanistan. That's going to

cost some money to sustain

those forces, just over 4

billion. Australia is

prepared to play its part in

meeting those costs for

Afghan forces. So yesterday

when I spoke to president

Obama he and I discussed Australia's contribution of

$100 million a year for three

years starting in 2015, so

that money will go to assist

with making sure that Afghan

forces are there, providing force security in Afghanistan

We generally try to have a

bipartisan approach on

defence matters. We are concerned that Defence

spending is going to soon be

at the lowest level since,

would you believe, 1938? But

certainly the last thing I

would want to do is criticise defence outlays this

Government is prepared to

make. Well, just on that

issue of Defence spending and

the Government's plans for a

new Defence White Paper is it

heading in the right

direction? Dr Mark Thompson

from the Australian strategic

policy institute was a

co-author of the last Defence

White Paper in 2009. I spoke to him about the new White Paper plans and the

contribution to Afghanistan.

I think it is about the

right amount. They're

looking for 4.1 billion

across the international

community. The US of course

will pay the Lyon's share of

that then the rest of the

partners. You look at the

scale of forces, 100 million

is about right,

proportionate. Costing us a lot more than that to be

there. 1.5 billion a year,

not to mention the human cost

on the men and women deployed. This won't be all

that we do. Obviously will

consider sending and they may

well have Special Forces there for quite some time.

Interesting to see what

Australia does, a range of

options, Special Forces have

been mentioned. There's the

whole of Government approach

we can take to help the

Afghanis with governance and

development. Front line

forces weren't touched in the

budget. There were a whole

bunch of other cuts in

defence, 4.5 billion, what

does it mean practically for

Defence? We're in a Holding

pattern, this budget got 5

million across the last four

years, out of capital

investment, buying the new equipment for the Defence

Force of the future. The Government announced a White

Paper in 2013. In that paper

they're going to work out

what they're going to do post

this budget year. I'm going

to ask you about the White

Paper. You were one of the co-authors of the White

Paper, did the acquisition

decisions, spending decisions

since then reflect what has

been recommended? I think

there has been significant

changes from the 2009 White

Paper for two reasons, on the

one hand events to

intervened, for example the

demise of Manoura and Kembla

the Government had to provide

replacements for them.

Changes in the joint fighter

program in the United States

make it prudent not to

proceed as quickly as we

wanted. Circumstances

change. The other thing that has changed is the Government

in pursuit of a surplus has

cut Defence funding through a

series of measures over the

last three years. As a

result there has been far

less money to go forward

with. Where has that left

the force 2030 plan laid out

in the wiet paip? 2030 is a

long way away, on the basis

of historical president we

can run a moon landing

program in that time. What

we can look at is what is

going to happen in the short

to medium term. We have lost

5 years in momentum. When

you think about the time it's

going to take to restart the

capital equipment process,

producing projects to produce

the high tech equipment. A

lost decade in momentum to

force 2030. It is now all up

in the air, we don't know

what the Government is going

to decide in the 2030 white

paper. A lost decade in

momentum in the 2030 plan

being laid out. Hard to see

that being caught up again

given the current budgetary

situation. The Government

has to make a decision.

There there are two course

options for them, spend a lot

more money, over time recover

the original plan that he had

in 2009 or September the

reality for five years at

least that funding is going

to be suppressed by the

requirement to maintain the

Commonwealth in surplus, and

start planning for a Defence

Force that can be afforded

within that budget. Into

does that mean scaling down

our national security? That

is a question of judgment.

It's a question of how you

assess the risks and how you

manage risks over time. If

you look at where our Defence

Force now is it's in pretty

good shape. Our army is

combat experienced, it's

larger than its been at any

time since Vietnam. We have

new combat aircraft, our frig

gats have been upgraded.

We're not in bad shape at the

moment. I think it would not

be irresponsible to pursue a

less aggressive path of investment in military

equipment at this point in

time. Nonetheless you have

argued that we do need a

broader strategic plan,

together with any new defence

White Paper that the

Government is committed to. Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister had a national security

statement. In 2008, I think

they were meant to be annual statements, they have

disappeared off the radar.

Do we need a broader strategic framework for

defence to work out how we

can achieve it. In a perfect

world we would have a

national security strategy,

we talk about all the arms of

Government, mill military,

diplomatic and economic to

work together to position

Australia for a secure

future. At a minimum we need

a defence White Paper to sort

out what has become a dysfunctional situation with

the budget and plans. I

think a DFAT White Paper

wouldn't be a bad idea

either. There is more in

Australia's security in

investing in military

equipment. There is the

critical question of our relationships, how we work

with the international

community to make the world a

safer place. Is there a risk without this this Defence

White Paper is going to be flying blind to an extent?

The risk is always that

Defence will march to their

own tune, will set priorities

driven with what they

perceived to be the most

attractive options for the development of the force.

That is a risk. The way you

mitigate that is to put it

into a broader context that

makes clear what the roll of

military force is in Australia's future position

in the Asia passivic. Mark

Thompson, thank you. My

pleasure. We will have full

coverage from the Chicago at

that NATO ISAF summit under

way officially on Sunday.

Out of time for today's

program. Hope you can join

us again. I'm David spears, thanks for your company.