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Good afternoon and

welcome to perform N agenda.

We've seen more twists and turns in the Craig Thomson

saga today with the Opposition formally referring

the embattled MP to the

privileges committee and just

a short time ago here in

parliament the Independent MP

Rob Oakeshott flagging his

plans to try to censure Craig

Thomson. Is this a parliament

that's trying to act as a kangaroo court over this

matter? Well we'll be getting

more on this, speaking with the Liberal senator and

leader of the Senate for the

Liberal Party Eric Abetz.

That's coming up shortly.

Also we're going to be

looking at the NATO summit in

Chicago, it's now wrap up.

It's come up with a result

where we're going to see the

Afghan forces take control by

the middle of next year. I'll

chat with the Afghan

ambassador a little later in

the program. Time for the day's other top stories at

the Sky News centre. Opposition leader Tony Abbott

is demanding the parliament debate Craig Thomson's

statement, describing it as

Prime Minister says utterly implausible. The

parliament shouldn't be

playing judge and jury but

she won't let Mr Thomson back

on to the Government

benches. Tony Abbott was out

early. A cold packing centre

in Canberra, but it's Craig

Thomson who remains in the freezer. I don't think he

has seriously addressed any

of the questions that he

needed to. The Opposition

wants Mr Thomson's statement

debated in parliament to work

out if he should be sanction

ed. I think what Mr Thomson

did was a travesty of due

process. It was completely

unbelievable. To be frank I

had an imaginary friend as a

child but he didn't use my

credit card. In Chicago the

Prime Minister couldn't avoid

being drawn in. I've said many times in Australia

before I left it's not for

the parliament to be judge

and jury here. Craig Thomson

has been judged to the extent

that he's not allowed to sit

in the Labor caucus and his

statement hasn't been enough

to see him welcomed back.

It's not my job to be a jury

man in this building, it's

not my job to be a prosecutor

or a defender. What matters

is the legal process here. I don't know any more than any

of you know. The most

parliament could do is

suspend Craig Thomson for two

weeks at a time. The courts

are the appropriate place to

determine issues of

criminality or otherwise. The

parliament is the appropriate

place to determine whether or

not there has been a misleading of the

parliament. To actually

elevate the findings of Fair

Work Australia to the level

of judicial findings would be

erroneous and it's wrong in

law. The Independents might

end up backing a

parliamentary debate, perhaps

even a sen sure motion but

they're not in favour of

suspended Craig Thomson until

the matters are in courts.

This Government is being

propped up by three amigos,

Craig Thomson, Rob Oakeshott

and Tony Windsor.

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie

will reluctantly support the

Government's proposed

gambling laws. Mr Williamson

says he's -- Wilkie says he's

still dis appointed with the

bill because it waters down

his original agreement with

Labor. I am giving the

Government my support

reluctantly but I do believe

that we have here a stepping

stone to meaningful reform in

the future. And look, I'm not

going to be the person to

stand in the way of getting

something, frankly. US

President Barack Obama has

told world leaders in Chicago

Afghanistan will continue to

be NATO support as it seeks

to take control of its

including Prime Minister future. The NATO leaders

Julia Gillard have endorsed

plans to hand security to

Afghan forces by the middle

of next year. Foreign troops

will gradually switch their

focus from combat to support

mode. Sky News political

editor David Speers is in Chicago. President Obama

who's facing increased

hostility has achieved what

he wanted here at this summit in Chicago and that is an

agreement to end the war. It

doesn't mean the fighting

will end, only that the

combat role for American and

allied troops will be handed

over to Afghan security

forces in the middle of next

year, mid 2013 is the

agreement they've made for

the Afghan security forces to

International forces will take that lead combat role.

still be there providing a

support role. By the end of

2014 most of them though will

have been withdrawn. They've

also agreed here in Chicago

that post-2014 there will

still be a NATO led mission to provide advice, support

and training to the Afghan

security forces. The main aim

from President Obama here was

to send a message that he has

a plan to end this

increasingly unpopular war.

A plan to train Afghan

security forces, and build a

partnership that can endure

after our combat mission in

fvs ends. One thing he was looking for here in Chicago

was a commitment to stump up

$4.1 billion a year to help

sustain the Afghan security

forces. A number of countries

have made pledges, the total

is short of that target. Prime Minister Julia Gillard,

she met briefly with

President Obama. She's backed

him in in urging other countries. Australia has

pledged $100 million a year.

The Prime Minister's key

message to them again and

again to the media afterwards

was that all need to make

firm contributions here. We

certainly made our decision

and publicly announced it

because we thought the very

fact that, you know, our

nation was making so clear

what we were prepared to do,

that that in and of itself would have a demonstration

effect, if you like, for

other nations that were

considering making the contribution. Of course one

of the keys to any sort of

success in Afghanistan will

be the cooperation of

Pakistan. It hasn't been

there lately since November

when two aircraft accidental

killed 24 Pakistan soldiers.

They've been demanding an

apology from the Americans

for those air strikes. That

hasn't been forthcoming. President Obama had refused

to meet his Pakistani

counterpart until today. They

held a couple of talks about

reopening those supply

routes. President Obama has

signalled a deal could be

close on this, they are

making progress on it. This

is one of the many stumbling

blocks to achieving a

peaceful outcome in Afghanistan. The four

sisters at the centre of an

international custody dispute will remain in Australia for

now after the matter was

adjourned by the High Court

until Friday. Today the court

heard an urgent appeal by the

family of the four sisters

which is fighting to keep the

children in Australia with

their mother. Police finally

located the girls last week,

a week after they went into

hiding to avoid being

returned to their father in

Italy. Queensland and Australian Federal Police say

the girls are now safe in the

care of authorities. One of

the country's top union

officials has called for

greater regulation of the

major banks. AWU National

Secretary Paul Howes told the

press club the big four had

too much influence on

macro-economic policy. With the growing power of the

banks has the RBA actually

lost control of monetary

policy in this country? The

banks are acting as a de

facto cartel and aggressively

exercising their control over

the market. Mr Howes also

questioned the banks' failure

to pass on in full any cut to

the cash rate by the Reserve

Bank, suggesting a lack of

competition has lessened the

fear of losing market share.

It's time that we had a bank

that served its customers and

not just its CEOs, it's time

for an active Government to

pull the financial services

sector back into line. Mr

Howes also called for a

greater focus of regulating

banks. There's been more

gunfire as a stand-off

between police and a gunman

continues in the Melbourne

suburb of keelor. Police have

been negotiating with the man

since early yesterday saying

they're in no rush. Sky News

Melbourne bureau chief Ahron

Young is in keelor with the

late est. Christopher bins

remains in a stand-off with

police in a house about 150 m

behind me. He's been there

since 7.30 yesterday morning.

So far there have been around

12 shots fired towards police

and including overnight, then

again around 10 a.m. this

morning. Police negotiators

continue outside the house

trying to get him to come out

with nothing in his hands,

even using a girl believed to

be the daughter of his

girlfriend who some say may, in fact, be inside the house

with him. They're using her

on a PA system outside trying

to get her to talk to him and

ask him to come out. Here's

what police had to say. He's

been associating with police. He's talking but

unfortunately he's also fired at least nine shots at

police. So it's an ongoing situation and it will

continue today. So police

have been playing a high pitched screeching noise to

try and keep him awake

throughout the night also

today, as this has now lasted

more than 24 hours. They have

negotiators here, more police have been arriving throughout

this morning as well. The dog

squad is here too and police

have evac ute some residents

while others remain in their

homes. A hot line has been

set up. Police say they do

not want a dramatic

independent, this is a well-known notorious criminal

known to them. They're not

going to siege and enter the

house, try and storm the

house. They will stick it out

for as long as it takes.

Qantas has announced it's splitting its international

and domestic operations into

separate businesses. The airline says from July each

of the two businesses will

have its own chief executive

and will report its financial

results separately. There

will also be several changes

to the airline's executive

team including the departure

of Jetstar boss Bruce

Buchanan. Qantas yesterday

cut 500 Hove maintain nabs

jobs in Melbourne. 96 people

have been confirmed dead

following a suicide bombing

in Yemen, more than 200 more

were injured during a

military parade rehearsal.

The bombs which took place is

one of the dead liest attacks

in years. It's believed the

attacker was a soldier taking part in the drill. Tomorrow's

weather, showers in the

north-east and the far south.

Mostly sunny elsewhere. It's

11 minutes past 4. Now back

to Ashleigh Gillon in

Canberra as PM Agenda

continues. Thanks you for that Vanessa. Right now in

the parliament and the House of Representatives we're

seeing a matter of public importance involving Craig

Thomson with a number of

different perspectives being

put forward including some of

the key Independents after

Rob Oakeshott said just a

short time ago he's pushing

for a censure motion

targeting Mr Thomson. After

the break we'll be speaking

with Eric Abetz and bring you

up to date with what's been

happening in parliaments in the last few minutes. Stay with us.

Welcome back. The

Opposition has today moved to

refer Craig Thomson to the

privileges committee accusing

him of deliberately

misleading parliament. The Coalition argues that Mr

Thomson's statement delivered

yesterday in the House was

implausible and inconsistent.

But the Government argues

that it's not up to the

Opposition to judge. In

parliament today the acting

Prime Minister Wayne Swan accused the Coalition of

trashing the rule of law. The

Opposition though has accused

the Government of being

hypocritical. I refer the

acting Prime Minister to the statement by the Prime

Minister that the Member

ForeDobell will not represent

the Labor Party in Dobell at

the next election and that

the Prime Minister has reairm

iffed in Chicago today. Does he agree with the Prime

Minister and if so isn't it

true that both he and the Prime Minister have been

prepared to act as judge and

jury over the Member For bow

bell in every respect other

than refusing to accept his

vote from the parliament? No

I don't and I'd like to take

some time to explain why.

Because you see there is an

enormous difference between

the decision taken by the Prime Minister and the

decision taken by the Member

For Dobell to go to the cross-benches and what is

being put forward by the

Opposition in this House. He wants this parliament to be

judge, jury and executioner,

whereas on this side of the

House we believe that people

are innocent until they are

proven guilty and they should

be given the opportunity to

explain themselves, but those

on that side of the House

want to turn this parliament

into a kangaroo court. Right

now on the floor of the representatives, politicians

are continuing to debate

Craig Thomson's future as a

matter of public importance.

Harry Jenkins is speaking at

the moment. If you'd like to

continue watching this debate

you can do so, just press red

and you can watch it on our

A-PAC channel. This debate

began on the floor of the

parliament after the

Independent MP Rob Oakeshott announced in the parliament

that he's going to be pushing

to have Craig Thomson

censured. It's not for

allegedly lying to parliament

as the Coalition has accused

Mr Thomson of doing but for

the delay that it took Mr

Thomson to explain himself to

the parliament and also

allegations that he didn't cooperate fully with the

authorities. This is what Mr

Oakeshott had to say about

this proposal for a censure

motion. My particular frustration is that he's

taken so long for facts to be

put on the table by both Fair

Work Australia and the Member

For bow Bell. That delay in

establishing the facts has

done damage to the parliament

itself. The delay of four

years is an unacceptable

length of time by Fair Work

Australia in its duties and

raises policy questions of

why and at what expense to

the taxpayer. Likewise, the

delay in the Member For Dobell standing up and at

least explaining the issues

from his point of view in

rugby league terms brought

the game of the parliament

into disrepute and has

owneded up doing damage to

the parliament itself. But another Independent MP Tony

Windsor was quick to jump to

his feet and say that he for

one would not be supporting any censure motion. Have a

listen. I make a plea to

people, be careful that you

don't walk down a road that

you'll regret later on

because just for short term

advantage. Thank you.

Joining me now for more is

the Liberal Senate leader

Eric Abetz. Thank you for

your time. You've just heard

this news that Rob Oakeshott

is going to be pushing for

Craig Thomson to be censured.

Will that have the support of

the Opposition, would you

hold those similar concerns

to Tony Windsor that this

move would be prejudging

Craig Thomson? The terms of

the Rob Oakeshott motion are

not fully known to me but the

concept of a censure of the

Member For Dobell is well and

truly in order. There is no

doubt that he misled the parliament twietion

yesterday. Once in relation

to his suggestion that Fair

Work Australia only had one

interaction with him, which

was an interview. The fact is

he had an interview, he had

many telephone and text

message exchanges with the

investigators, all detailed

in the report and then

finally the draft report was

given to him and his lawyers

had the opportunity to

respond, clearly a misleading

of the parliament. The other

assertion he made was that

all the allegations

surrounding him related to

his behaviour before he was a

Member of Parliament. That

also is demonstrably false

given the evidence in the report. One, Fair Work

Australia found that he gave

false and misleading information. That was done

whilst he was a member of the

parliament and he gave that

to Fair Work Australia which

is a Government authority set

up by his own Labor Party.

But then secondly, in

relation to this issue, we

have 15 separate credit card

transactions on his union

credit card, all detailed in

the report which had Craig

Thomson using his union

credit card after he had

become a Member Of the

parliament, Fair Work

Australia put that always to

him, he promised to respond

and he did not. So there are

two examples of his behaviour

and conduct relating to his

time as a member of

parliament which he tried to

sweep under the carpet.

Simply false, simply

incorrect and I am sure that

Mr Thomson must have known

what he was saying in the

parliament and that is why I

believe and the Coalition

believes he's worthy of

censure. When can we expect

a censure motion to be put

forward by the Opposition?

You will have to talk to my

colleagues in the House of Representatives in relation

to the detail of that, their

handling of that, but as Shadow Workplace Relations

Minister who has read the

1100 page report and knows

the detail, I must say Mr Thomson's speech yesterday

was noteworthy for its length

but also noteworthy for its

lack of content. There was no

specific denial, no specific

refutation, it was simply

throwing stones at a few

other people as though

throwing stones at other people somehow excuses his behaviour and means that he

does not have to give an explanation. I don't think

anybody bought his version of

events as I just previously

demonstrated on two key

points he has clearly misled

the parliament and anybody

that had not read the report

would not have known of this

misleading. Why is it your

place though to judge Craig Thomson, because the Government's argument that we've heard over and over

again is that you're trying

to turn the parliament into a

kangaroo court, that this

should now be left to the

courts to go through the

proper processes there. If

that is the case then the

Labor Party have to answer

why is it that Ms Gillard has

already said Craig Thomson

won't be reendorsed for

Dobell. Why did she allege to

him he should move across to

the cross-benches. She has

clearly and quite properly in

those circumstances prejudged

the issue. So she is willing

to say he shouldn't be given

any benefits of being in the

Labor Party, being the

re-elected Member For Dobell

but he should be given the

right to vote for her

Government on the floor of

the House. That is where any

moral argument I any moral

feather has been plucked

out. But two wrongs don't

make a right. We know that

court action is about to get

under way, why should it be the parliament aeletion

position to make a judgment

on whether he's guilty or

innocent? It is up to the parliament to determine

whether or not Mr Thomson has

misled it. I believe that the

evidence is there, black and

white in the Fair Work Australia report that

completely and utterly de bunks that which Mr Thomson

asserted. Me had a full hour

to respond to those matters

in the Fair Work Australia

report and spoke for one hour

and studiously avoided those

issues. Let's not forget, Fair Work Australia isn't

just making an always. They

had allegations put to them.

They tested them with Mr

Thomson. They interviewed

him, they exchanged telephone

calls, text messages, they

made a preliminary finding,

gave it to him and his

lawyers to look at. They responded. And then Fair Work

Australia has made a finding.

This is not just one quick

always thrown out there by

somebody. This has been

thoroughly investigated, 1100

pages of damning evidence and

findings against Mr Thomson,

a member of the parliament.

You cannot just say that that

is somehow an always. And if

it is just an always why is

it that Ms Gillard has said

he won't be reendorsed for

the next election? We know that Craig Thomson has a

series of concerns about the way that Fair Work Australia

process was carried out, how

that report was conducted.

One of them was to do with

the fact that Kathy Jackson

partner works for Fair Work

Australia. As Shadow

workplace relations Minister,

do you see that as a conflict

of interest? There is no evidence whatsoever that Mr

Lawler the person we're

talking about was in any way,

shape or form involved in the

drafting of the report or the

time line of the report. Now

Mr Thomson in his speech made

that always and we have Mr

Shorten and might I add the

attorney-general, Nicola

Roxon refusing to come out to

explain whether or not these

allegations by Mr Thomson

are, in fact, accepted by the

Government or refuted. If

they're refuted they should

do so and Mr Lawler's reputation should remain

intact. If not they should be

indicating they are taking

the allegations seriously and

investigating the matter.

They cannot just let these

allegations hang in the

ether. Bill Shorten did say in Question Time today that

he has pulled confidence in

Fair Work Australia when he

asked about that aspect.

Yesterday Mr Thomson also

accused the Coalition of

inspiring a lynch mob. We

heard of the level of abuse

that has been directed at Mr

Thomson, the death threats

he's faced. If you stop when

you were listening to that speech yesterday and think

even for a moment that

perhaps the Coalition had

taken the political pursuit

of Mr Thomson a bit far? I

think any fair minded person

would accept Mr Thomson is

the architect of his own

difficulties and problems.

Having said that, if he has received death threats that

condemned, but at the end of is to be regretted and

the day Mr Thomson is in the

situation he is in because of

conduct by Mr Thomson that

was exposed by some of his

fellow union officials and

found to be fact by a very thorough Fair Work Australia

investigation. Police now

are also investigating

allegations that Senator Bill

Heffernan physically abused

and made discriminatory

comments about a Liberal

Party staffer. Should Senator

Heffernan stand aside from

the Senate. Should the

Liberal Party refuse to

accept Senator Heffernan's

vote in the Senate while

these are being

investigated. Two people for

whom I have very high regard,

the State President were at

the meeting. They say that

nothing of that nature

occurred and I am willing to

accept their version of

events. So I don't have to go

on to Senator Heffernan's

side or his accuser's side, I

take the word of those two gentlemen as being that which

occurred. Still though there are allegations against

Senator Heffernan which are

now being investigated by police. What is the

difference here? You are having different standards

for your own and different

standards for the members of

the Labor Party. Absolutely not. What the Labor Party

always seeks to do is to say

that these are only

allegations against Mr Craig

Thomson. No, they are not.

on to nator Heffernan's on ti Senator Heffernan s stde side or is side or tide or his accuser side, side or hisraccuser's side, I side a his accuser's sid , I ta e take the wood of take he word of those tak the word of those two

gentlemen as b ing gentlem as being that gentlemen as bei that which gen pemen as being that which oc1urred. Still cre allegations Senator Hef ernan Senator He fernan which are

Seeator Heffernan whi h are now h nowFbeing investigated y now being invest gated by police What is police. What is he poli e. What is the difference here? You differ ce here? You are differenge here? You are having dif havang different stand rds

for your own for yoha own and or your own and di erent stand ds for standard for the stananrds for the members

tandards for the m bers of standards for th the Labor arty. Absolutely the Labor Party Absolutely

not. What the La not.rshat the Labor Part always seeks always eeks to always meeks to do always seeks tb do is

always seeks to do always s ks to do is to say that thesede that these are only allegations allrgations against Mr allegations a allrgations against Mr raig Thomson.o T mson. No, they T omson. No, they ar Thomson. No they are not. T omson. No, they ar not. They are act l findings They are ac al findings by They are a Fair Work k Fair WTrk Australia Fair Work A stralia after Fair ork Australia afte a Fair Wor Australia after a far too longyo far too lnng investigation, far toohlong investigation but after four butmafter four years but after four year of butmafter four years o investmgation, investmiation, 1100 investigatio , 1100 pages of investigarion, 1100 pages of

Doming evidence. Doming Lvidence. You D ming evidence. You annot

Doming evidence. Yo cannot

come to any otherin come than that whicheaair Work

than that whibh Fair Work Australia did. So with Mr ustralia did. So w th Mr Thomson we Thomson w are Thomson we are dealing with

findings. In relation to

Senator H fernan what Senator Heffern n what appears appear to appea s to be in appears to be in any appears to be in a language appears to be in ny language at its at it very at its very worst a minor tiff

Welcome back. Joining me

this afternoon on our panel

of journalists, Tim Lester

from Fairfax and Matt

Franklin from 'The Australian'. Good afternoon

to you both. Plenty to talk

about, we've seen this Craig

Thomson saga. The twists and turns continued today. Mr

Thomson referred to the

privileges committee this

afternoon. We're still seeing

the parliament right now discussing Craig Thomson and

his future in a discussion of

matter of public importance, Matt Franklin where do you

see this going from the

political debate. How did Craig Thomson's statement

yesterday change the debate?

I think the most accurate

comment I heard yesterday was from Anthony Albanese who

said the Opposition would not have been satisfied whatever

Craig Thomson had said. I

think the ins and outs of who

said what when and what the

Independents are saying are

all very interesting. But the

political takeout here is the

Coalition are determined to keep going on the Craig Thomson matter because as

long as they do, it's like a

chain around Julia Gillard's

ankle. I think of it like a

mindfield really. -- minefield really. Anytime

that Julia Gillard looks like

getting any clear political

air on anything, the

Coalition will be able to do

back to this and raise it

again and pull back the

momentum. It's sort of the

gift for them that will keep

on giving. As much as this

week has been important in

the rolout of the issue and

certainly Mr Thomson's right

to say what his side of the

argument, the broader

political thing for me is

that this is not going

anywhere, it's just going to

keep rolling on. In

hindsight Tim was a mistake for Craig Thomson to deliver

that statement? Because we've

seen the coefrletion seizing on a number of aspects. I

don't know if you heard my

interview with Senator Abetz.

He pointed out two areas where he believes Craig

Thomson did mislead the

parliament and they are going

to censure Craig Thomson over

that. A bit Domed if you do

and damned if you don't. You will remember when Craig Thomson announced to the Parliament, told the

parliament that he'd speak to

the parliament I think two

weeks ago. He was under a

great deal of pressure from the Independents to break

their, to give them some

relief from the pressure they

were feeling. I think in one

sense he had to speak to the

parliament and in a way his

speaking to the Parliament is

academic. It kind of held off

the debate a little bit and

forced the Opposition to do

the all right we'll wait and

listen thing, but the kind of

debate we're seeing now, this

is too juicy for the

Opposition not to chase.

They'd be chasing it anyway.

Really it's part of the

theatre. Let's not forget,

Craig Thomson had a right to

stand up and put his side

have the argument whether or

not you believed it. It's all

very interesting for us

sitting here in Parliament House but people outside would have wanted to hear

this man's version of events,

whether they believed it or

not. It had to happen but I

don't think it makes any

change at all to the overall

politics of this. The Prime Minister Julia Gillard has

managed to escape having to

sit down and listen to Craig

Thomson in the parliament but

she has been thrown a lot of

questions while she's been in

Chicago at the NATO talks

this week. This is the latest

she had to say about Craig

Thomson this morning. I've

seen a summary of Mr

Thomson's remarks to the

parliament. I haven't had the

opportunity as you would

imagine to do more than that.

I've been focussed on the

NATO ISAF matter, as I said

many times in Australia

before I left, it's not for the parliament to be judge

and jury here. So the Prime

Minister's repeating this

line that we've heard from almost every Government front

bencher, it's not the place

of the Parliament to be the

judge and jury in this

situation. Tim Lester when

we've seen the Prime Minister

already moving some weeks ago to see Craig Thomson moving

on to the cross-benches, the

Opposition argument is well Julia Gillard has already

acted as judge and jury.

It's not a bad argument. If

you're going to stand by him,

stand by him. Certainly the

Opposition has seized on an

argument there. Overall Julia

Gillard and the senior Labor

Ministers who are making this

argument have got a pretty

good case. He really does

deserve to be heard in a

court of law if it comes to formal criminal charges

against him for anything. So

that's solid. Although the Opposition has a reasonable

case too to say they want to

protect the reputation of

parliament. The problem with

that though is for so long in

history we haven't seen parliamentarians who might

have been hauled up in that

regard tested. It's the

fragility of the vote on the

floor of the House that

stirred everybody into

action. So suddenly we've got

this great fight. Now of

course this afternoon we're

seeing the two sides go to

war and say righto, you want

to bring out Craig Thomson,

Labor's going after anybody

they can get. So we'll see a

few cases tested I think.

I'm just hearing in my ear that Andrew Wilkie is

speaking right now on the

floor of the parliament.

Press red and watch it on our

A-PAC channel. Apparently he's seconded Rob Oakeshott's

push to have a censure

motion. We can see that shot there, Andrew Wilkie still

speaking. We'll continue with our discussion though. Matt

Franklin if there is a

censure motion and we see that it is successful

although a number of Independents say they won't

be back can it how

significant is that? It

won't be successful. The

Independents are saying that

they will, I gather, they're

happy to facilitate a debate,

happy to facilitate any move

that increases the

transparency around the

issue. But as I understand it

not one of them is really

saying that they want to

force Craig Thomson out of

parliament. So again you go

back to what are the politics

of this? The politics of this

are nothing is going to

change. The Independents

don't want an early election

either. Those Nationals out

there right now causing merry

hell. It's in the interest of

the Independents to delay an

election as long as possible,

just as it is in Labor's

interests and it's totally unsurprising that Julia

Gillard, Anthony Albanese,

they're all running the argument about how parliament

is not a kangaroo court and

it isn't, but equally George

Brandis was saying this

morning in 'The Australian' a

piece he wrote for us, this

is not so much about his

guilt or innocence on the

issues of this case, it is

whether he's misled parliament, bringing

parliament into disrepute. They argue that the parliament is very well

entitled to call him on

this. And that's a fair

point, isn't it? There is

that distinction and it is

important to make that

distinction, isn't it, Tim

Lester when you're looking at

whether or not he misled

parliament or is guilty or

not of these allegations

surrounding the Health

Services Union. So it gives the Coalition another shot if

you like at him, another

avenue to go after him. I've

got to say though looking at

Craig Thomson yesterday and I

know we get to this word

deluded all the time. He

didn't make any particular king-hit points that

logically helped his case

greatly, but just the passion

of the man, most people look

at him, would say well he

does believe it, I think. He

believes it himself. Maybe

that's a tragedy. Maybe it

tells us something us as

journalists don't know about the information behind the

case but that really stood

out about it I think.

Another thing I eel quiz,

firstly Paul Howes, the boss

of the AWU, he delivered a

speech to the press club today. What did you take out

of that? I thought it was a really impressive speech. He spoke about the need for

Labor to embrace big ideas

and reform and to lead the

public debate. Labor had let

himself down including union

leaders like himself by not

talking about the issues that average voters were

interested in. However some

of the issues that he says

they ought to be interested

in, seem to me to be a step

back, certainly before the

80s, he wants more protection of the manufacturing

industry, he wants tougher

rules against banks to make

them was on interest rate

cuts, these sorts of big ideas. The problem is I

think, I founds it fascinating policy discourse

but I think the problem

remains for Labor at this moment, no-one's listening

anyway, and the danger for

the history of this speech is

that it will be seen to be in

retrospect a prescription for

Labor to fight back in

Opposition rather than a way

to avoid defeat. There was a

mention of Mark Latham in the

speech. Yeah, Labor should

cuddle up again to Mark Latham, bring him back into

the fold and Bill Hayden he

mentioned, he didn't,

although was questioned on

Kevin Rudd. That was the subtext I think for some

people of that was, is this

the sort of first line in

let's put humpty dumpty back

together again, as in Kevin

Rudd after we bashed him up

in February, we're going to

need to put him back together

again, so let's start the big

happy family Labor thing going with a few other

people. Maybe that's too conspiratorial, that's the

way it looked. Let's not

forget Paul Howes is riding

on the fact that Julia

Gillard is going to remain

leader until the next election. There was one

other thing I wanted to

raise, Andrew Wilkie said he

is going to be backing the

Government's pokie reform s,

albeit grudging ly, is this a

big win for the Government's

mass, we know they're having

serious issues about these

reforms . What happened that

led Julia Gillard to break

her initial commitment to Mr

Wilkie over poker machine

reform was near revolution on

the backbenches. She ultimate

ly had to place a Sclois, do

I cut loose Mr Wilkie or do I

face a complete attack from

my backbench? She went with

her bark bench and they will

be take see, you said no to

him, now he's coming back,

still wanting to play. That

is the ultimate politician's

move, isn't it, the pragmatism of Andrew Wilkie

saying today well I'm not

going to get everything, I

might as well get something. Andrew Wilkie's position in

the Parliament too, he can

scream all he likes. Ultimately his only option in

this situation is to go back

to Labor, and not just on

pokies either. He can't rush

to an election either, just

as the other Independents

that Matt was talking about

can't. Whilst he's got a bit

of flexibility to kick and

scream here and there, he

needs to mesh that off. This

is the pragmatic result that

really we should have always

known was going to come

along. Tim Lester, Matt

Franklin, thank you both for

joining us this afternoon. We

do appreciate it. We'll be

back after the break looking

at the upshot of the NATO talks. Stay with us.

Welcome back. Well Julia Gillard was no doubt relieved

to be on the other side of the world this week, instead

of sitting in the parliament

yesterday to listen to Craig

Thomson's statement, well,

she has been in Chicago

attending NATO talks about

the future of Afghanistan. On

the sidelines of this summit

she held talks with Barack

Obama and Hamid Karzai with

whom she signed a long toerm partnership agreement

committing Australia to

boosting aid to Afghanistan.

When the talks wrapped up

earlier today the NATO

leaders announced Afghanistan

will take control of its own

security from mid next year. But Julia Gillard has left

the door open for Australian

special forces to remain in

some capacity beyond the full

withdrawal in 2014. This

morning we agreed that Afghan

forces will take the lead for

combat operations next year,

in mid 2013. At that time

ISAF forces will have shifted

from combat to a support role

in all parts of the country. But that doesn't mean that

there will be no role for

outside help and assistance.

We'll still be there providing training

assistance. There will be a

NATO led mission to train and

advise and assist. And as aye indicated consistently we are

leaving open the prospect

that there may be some

continuing role for special

forces. Earlier I spoke with

fs's am was car to Australia

Igor Andreev about the

outcomes of these NATO talks

and about how he sees Australia's role in Afghanistan progressing

beyond 2014. Thank you for

your time. NATO leaders have

now agreed to hand over

control of Afghanistan's security forces by the middle

of next year. Is the Afghan

national army ready for

that? Yes I think this is

what the recent NATO summit

concluded yesterday and it

was one of the most

significant national

gathering on Afghanistan. The

Afghan security forces will

take over responsibilities in

the middle of 2013 and for

that we had a plan which put

into execution since 2010 and

by the time, middle of 2013

comes, I think our national

securities forces will be

ready to take over that job.

And, in fact, we've already

taken over the job of

securing more than 75% of the

country right now. By 2014

most foreign troops are due

to be out of the country. The

question is what happens

then? Will Afghan forces be

strong enough to stand up to

the Taliban. Will the Taliban perhaps gain strength over

that period? I think that

was again the other part of

the agenda of the NATO summit

yesterday which countries get

together to make sure that

the Afghan national security

forces will have enough

support to make them strong

enough to take over this security responsibility

beyond 2014, and to thwart an

eventual attacks by our

enemies. So the sort of

assurance that we got from

NATO and also on the bilateral level from

different countries,

including Australia I think

will give us enough reason to

be optimistic that our forces

will be capable of securing

fs. Well beyond 2014 and when

there won't can major international security presence in Afghanistan.

There is a question mark over

the potential role for

Australia's security forces

in Afghanistan post 2014.

Would Afghanistan like to see

Australian security forces

stay beyond that withdrawal

date? I think that's - that

was what the Prime Minister

mentioned and we thank her

for her offer of, you know,

accepting that the Australian

security forces, especially

the special forces will be

ready to stay beyond 2014 if

the Afghan Government and

Afghan people want it. I think that's a little bit

early to comment on that and

that will depended on bilateral discussion that

will happen between the two

countries on future of Australia's security

engagement in Afghanistan.

But I'm certain that Kabul

will be in discussion with,

you know, with Australian

Government and to find out if

there is any role for the

special forces of Australia

beyond 2014. Much has been

made of the withdrawal time

line in context of the US elections. The war of course

is increasingly unpopular

among American voters. Are

you concerned at all that

this withdrawal has been sped

up because of those domestic political pressures in the

United States? I think we

should not forget that the

political pressures are an

important element in our

decision making of the

leaders but let's not also

forget that the same way that

the international, the

citizens of different NATO

countries are tired of war,

so does the Afghan people. We

also want to see the end of

this war and to me and to

most of the Afghan people I

think the war's nearing its

end. And we want to see that

this war finishes and we want

to see that, you know, our

country is no more a

battleground of any sort of

war in the future. But let's

not forget this, the war will

finish in 2014 and we will

announce the finishing or the

end of this war soon, but the

struggle will remain and that

will be an Afghan struggle, a

struggle along the lines of

moderation, rule of law,

justice, forward lookingness,

democracy, and the rights of

man and woman and all

citizens, and the forces of

tyranny, the forces of, you know, violent extremism and

the forces of the back waters. So I think this

struggle will be an Afghan

struggle. But in this

struggle for us to succeed I

think we need international community support but

probably there will be

support by soldiers and

forces but moral political

and economic support. That

support can be very

extensive. There's been a

push for the countries

involved to contribute more

than $4 billion to

Afghanistan to help with this

transition period, so far

that target hasn't been met.

Just how dis appointing is that? We are certain that

the countries, you know

especially the NATO countries have come to this realisation

that providing the Afghan

national security forces with

this $1 billion a year is

much cheaper and is much less

costly in terms of again, you

know, blood and treasure than

what's going on right now.

And we are certain that the funding level will reach to

what we have asked and for

that matter we are thankful

of the Australian Government

which has actually pledged

$100 million a year, which is

exactly what we have asked

for. And we want to see the

other countries following the

steps of Australia and

pledging this kind of support

because as I mentioned it

will be less costly and it

will be, you know, much

cheaper for countries to

invest in the Afghan national

army than to have their big

armies in Afghanistan. Just

how important is Pakistan's

contribution, so far the

country hasn't offered to

reopen supply routes, how big

a problem is is that I think

Afghanistan understand that,

Afghanistan right now beyond

2014 is very significant for

the future of things in

Pakistan itself, be it

security, be it economic,

because yes their President

had a meeting with our

President, and he have asked for a new agreement on

opening the way to central

Asia from Afghanistan,

getting there and sending,

you know, having more economic contraction between

Pakistan and central Asia.

Pakistan really will understand it is in their

benefit to keep this way open

and to have, a better

relationship, a renewed

relationship both with the

NATO neb countries and also

with Afghanistan. So we are very optimistic this will

open and this will open maybe

in a couple of weeks. You

mentioned that the people in

Afghanistan have tired of

this war as well. Critics

argue that little has been

achieved since the allied

forces intervened. Has the

blood shed been worth it? I

think yes, critics might say

things but what the reality

of Afghanistan is we have

allot of achievements in

Afghanistan. I think we have achievements in different areas for which we are prouds

of. We can count from the

statistics and education, the

number of people going to

school, boys and girls, the

thousands of alcohol terse of the roads in Afghanistan schools, clinics,

electricity. You just name

it. But the institutions

which are very important now,

we have a parliament, we have

a judicial system, we have

civil societies and all that. But it's important to see

that how we can sustain this

institution, how we can

sustain this beyond 2014 and

for that when I mention that

the struggle will remain in

Afghanistan is the struggle

between the people who have

stakes in the achievements of

past 10 years and these

people that have stakes in

chexts of past 10 years are

cross ethnic groups of

Afghanistan. And our hope

that makes me and makes

people hopeful that we have

enough stakes of the people

of Afghanistan, boys, girls,

mothers, fathers and everyone

in Afghanistan to hold on to cheese achievements of the

past 10 years and to move the

country forward based on the

past achievements. Because

going back to anything like

2001 or before that is taking Afghanistan back to the dark ages and no-one in

Afghanistan wants that.

Thank you for your time.

You're welcome. That is all

we have time for this edition

of PM Agenda. Do stay with

us. After the break we're

going to be looking at what's

been happening on the floor

of pafrlet for the past hour.

A number of Independent's

reacting to Rob Oakeshott's