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Good afternoon, I'm David

Speers, welcome to the

program. More good economic

news for the Government, and

for the country today, after

yesterday's surprisingly strong economic growth

figures, jobs figures today

showing 46,000 full-time positions were created last

month. Now, yes, the unemployment rate did tick up

from a revised 5% to 5.1% but

that is largely because more

people entered the hunt for

work. Joining the workforce

and looking for work themselves. That participation rate increase.

So this was unquestionably

more good news as far as the

Government is is concerned

and coming up, we will talk

to the employment minister

Bill Shorten. The Government

would love them to remain on

the strengths of the economy

we have seen this week but

other issues do keep coming

to the surface and border

protection is one the

Government hasn't been able

to get away from. Another

boat arrived today. As the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police admitted that the man at the

centre of a 'Four Corners'

report this week, about

people smugglers, slipping

through the net, entering the

country, well, this man at

the centre of the story is under active police

investigation, but fled the country just two nights ago.

The day after that 'Four

Corners' story went to air,

the man known as Captain

Emad, left Australia, flew

out of Melbourne Airport to an undisclosed country, the

police aren't let that on,

but they say they just didn't

have enough evidence,

admissible evidence, to stop

him. Well, this is what Tony Negus, the Federal Police

commissioner had to say more

generally about the problem

of people smugglers, or

alleged people smugglers,

entering the country posing

as asylum seekers. There are

literally thousands of people coming through this pipeline

as we know, it's a very

difficult job for everyone to make sure that peoples rights

are respected and we deal

with these people fairly and

quickly and sometimes these

people can slip through the process. Thousands of people

in the pipeline, sometimes these people can slip

through. Hardly going to

build much confidence in the

system. The Shadow

Immigration Minister Scott

Morrison has responded to all

of this. Here is what he had

to say just a few minutes ago

in Perth. Well, the Government's handling of

border protection has

descended into further farst

with the rolling adventures

of Captain Emad as the

Government tells us today

that Captain Emad has

actually left the country.

There are some very serious

questions for the Government

to answer today. I accept on

the face of it from

commissioner Negus the

Government and the AFP did

not have sufficient evidence,

despite apparently a two year

investigation, to prevent him

from leaving the country in relation to any criminal

charges, but Minister Bowen

has some explaining to do and

he needs to explain to the

Australian people today a

number of very important

things. Firstly, did

Minister Bowen, when he

became aware of the situation

involve Captain Emad, seek advice from his department

about immediately seeking to cancel Captain Emad's visa?

What was the nature of that

advice? And why wasn't Mr

Bowen able to cancel that

visa of Captain Emad? And if there are not sufficient

powers within the Migration

Act, will the minister bring

forward changes to the

Migration Act to ensure that

a minister has appropriate

powers to cancel a visa in these circumstances or

suspend a visa to ensure that someone like Captain Emad

wasn't able to just slip out

of the country? Now, one

other thing he needs to

explain is that it is clear

that under the Migration Act,

that the minister would have

had the power to cancel

Captain Emad's visa had he

been on a temporary visa and

a temporary protection visa

and this is just another reason why temporary protection visas are

important in dealing with border protection and with

those who arrive on illegal

boats. 90% of those who

Comancheros without any

documentation. There is a substantial amount of

guesswork that goes into determining someone's identity and their own story.

And the revelations on 'Four

Corners' I think demonstrate

again just how these stories

can be put across and people

can gain the system as it

would appear that Captain

Emad has done and now he has

done a runner out of the

country on this Government's

watch. So Minister Bowen

needs to front the media

today and give an explanation

about why Captain Emad's visa was not cancelled and whether

he will be bringing forward

any amendments which the

Coalition would be very pleased to support in

principal if we are able to strengthen the Migration Act

to deal with these matters in

the future. But what is

clear is temporary protection

visas had been in place today, then Captain Emad

would be sitting in a

detention centre as we speak,

as is able to be done under

section 189 of the migration

Act, if his visa had been cancelled which could have

taken place under other

provisions of the Act. The

shadow immigration minister,

Scott Morrison speaking just

a very short time ago from

Perth. We will have more on

this coming up this hour. As

I said, we will also talk to

the employment minister Bill

Shorten about today's strong

jobs figures. And we will

also take a look at Craig

Thomson's electorate of

Dobell. Craig Thomson, as we

have seen, has again been in

the headlines, this time

because a former prostitute

says, well, she didn't

actually sleep with him back

in 2005 as she had earlier

clamentd. Craig Thomson

welcomes that, he is also

looking ahead now to his own political future. We will

bring you more on that.

First, a check of the other

top stories this hour. Thank

you. Also today thousands of

Victorian teachers have

marched on State Parliament

calling on the value

Government to meet their pay

demands. The teachers want

the Premier to keep his pre-election commitment to make Victorian teachers the

best paid in the country.

Melbourne at a stand still as protesting teachers marched through the city streets,

their message is simple.

What do we want, fair work.

More than 10,000 teachers and members of the Australian

education union, calling for

a 30% pay rise over three

years. Strong promise was

made to make teachers of

Victoria the best paid in

Australia and it is a broken promise. We are trying to

give Ted Baillieu a message,

that the teaching profession,

he has really undervalued

it. The education union

wants the Victorian Premier

to stand by his word to, make

the teachers the best paid in

the country. The commitment

was given not once, not

twice, but many times

including in his election

launch. He again pledged to

make Victorian teachers the

highest paid at every level.

He is now putting forward a proposal around performance

pay where potentially 10% of

teachers may become the

highest paid. But that is

not his promise and we are

here to hold him to his

promise. Students across the

State spent the day at home

while the teachers called on

parents to support their

cause. Teachers deserve a

pay rise just to come into

line with other teachers in

the other States of

Australia, we feel we do just

as good as any other teacher

in Australia an we feel that we should be paid properly by

our Government. We are worth more than the Government is

currently offering us. We

work hard. We work long, we

deserve the pay for it.

Melbourne's CBD became a sea

of red ponchos as thousands

of teachers, their students

and children, marched through

the city streets and on to Victorian Parliament. The

message was certainly loud

and clear and it was heard by the Victorian Premier, though

he says it won't change his

mind. I'm disappointed. I think everybody is disappointed that the union

have chosen to take this

step. But it is not

something they have not been before, they have done it

before. Teachers say they

will keep marching until the

Government negotiate. We

have claimed 30% over the

three year period, that is in the context where Western

Australia the highest paid

are almost 9% ahead of us,

that is negotiable, it has

always been negotiable, we

are not going to - you know,

30% over three years, we are

realistic. The union denies

they are being greedy but

trying to stop the number of

teachers who are leaving the

system. In sport today,

Ricky Stewart will take a DVD

when he meets with referees

bosses tomorrow with the

Blues powering through their

toughest training session in

camp so far, Greg Bird says

their loss in game one cannot

be blamed on the whistle

blowers. I think we mated a

few silly errors at pivotal

points and I don't think we

really defended those errors

very well, they came down our

end only a couple of times

and got points both times, so

that is something we have got

to focus on and will address

through the week. I don't

think anything was miss

anything game one, I just

think that we have got to

tweak on little things and we

will pick up for game two. Injured capital Paul Gallen

skipped training again today.

back to David Speers now and

PM Agenda. After the break,

we will have more on the employment figures today.

They were pretty positive, we

will be talking to bill short

en, the employment minister,

and, well, the revelation,

the admission today from the

Federal Police commissioner

that Captain Emad, that

alleged people smuggler that

featured in a 'Four Corners'

story earlier in the week, he

was, is, under active police

investigation but slipped out

of the country on Tuesday

night because they don't have

enough evidence. Stay with

us.

You're watching PM Agenda.

It's been a good week for the

Government, as far as the

economy ask is concerned, an

interest rate cut, world

beating economic growth and today, better than expected

jobs figures. Yes, the

unemployment rate did tick up

a fraction from a revised 5%

to 5.1%. But that's largely

because more people entered

the jobs market looking for

work. The overall number of

people employed hit a new

record high of more than 11.5

million. 46,000 full-time

jobs were created last month.

If the Government doesn't get

a bounce out of this good

news, well, there is

something seriously wrong.

Of course, the problem for

the Government is other

issues often shift the focus

away from the economy. Like

the claims aired on 'Four

Corners' this week that

people smugglers have slipped

through the note posing as

asylum seekers. Today, the Federal Police Commissioner

admitted the man at the

centre of this story is under

active investigation but he

fled the country the day

after the story went to air. They couldn't stop him because there wasn't enough evidence. We will have more

on that shortly. But on the

jobs figures, the employment

minister Bill Shorten was

clearly pleased with the

result today. We think

Australians deserve a pat on

the back. There are a lot of

difficult circumstances all

around the world. But

Australians are sending a

message to the rest of the

world that they are willing to work hard and they are

looking for work and they are

finding work in record

numbers. Well, for the

second day in a row, the

opposition had to concede

these are positive figures

but for the second day in a

row, it gave the Government

no credit. We can do better

in Australia. We should have

more jobs. The greatest

threat to job security, the

greatest threat to prosperity

over the next few months will

be the carbon tax. It is

going to make life harder, not easier for every day

Australians, it is going to

make life harder and not

easier for Australian businesses and Australian

employers. At the end of the day, if employers aren't

successful and profitable,

there are no jobs. Well, for

more I spoke earlier to the

employment minister Bill

Shorten from Melbourne.

Thanks for your time. Joe Hockey says that these jobs

figures could be better and

should be better and that the

carbon tax is only going to

destroy jobs. Is he right?

Why is it that whenever

there's any good news, the Liberal Party look like they

have sucked on a lemon. The

only place with better unemployment figures at the

moment is Japan. If this guy

wants to be the Treasurer of

Japan, can he go off and have

that job. I know that things

are tough for a lot of

people. I know blokes at

Qantas who lost their

engineering jobs, but we have

got to be honest about the

bad news, why can't we be honest about theed good news and compared to the rest of

the world, we are doing

reasonably well and we want

to do better but sometimes

you don't always have to make

everyone feel depressed and

sad about getting up every

morning Joe. If the figures

are as good as you say, and

these do relate to last

month, so we are talking

pretty current figures, was the Reserve Bank right this

week to cut interest rates?

I think the Reserve Bank was

right to cut interest rates.

Because what these figures

show is that economic - the

benefits of the mining boom

are unevenly spread. They

are very unevenly spread. In

Western Australia, they are doing very well courtesy of

having all the mineral

resource but in parts of

south-eastern Australia,

people are doing it a lot

harder. So I don't say the news is all good for people.

But let's call it as it is.

People were expecting and

have been for a number of

months worse unemployment

numbers. We do believe that

unemployment will climb up

and that is always a matter

of concern. But you know the

national accounts yesterday,

the loss time industrial

disputes are far lower at the

moment than they ever were in

the Howard era. Productivity

is up. More Australians have

got full-time jobs than any

point since Captain Cook in Australia. These are good

news and I don't kid myself,

there is bad news out there

too, but we have got to move

beyond trash talking the

Australian economy. The Reserve Bank though was recognising the news is

mixed. So they want to

instill greater confidence in the Australian economy. If

the Government want to

increase confidence, if business want more confidence, if Australians

want more confidence, if the

Reserve Bank says we want to

have more confidence, maybe

the opposition should start being a little more positive

and not always looking like

they have just suck odd a

lemon when the numbers aren't catastrophic. But it is not

just the opposition who do

have concerns about areas of

the economy, BHP boss has

warned that doing business in

Australia is costly, we have seen the business council of Australia today point out

that it costs 40% more here

than in the United States to

do business. Are you saying

that they are wrong? Well,

would you believe in the last

two days, David, I ran into

both of those people and

Marius Cloppers is a very

capable businessman.

Lealways do well in a deal.

He said to me his concern was

Asia. So, sure, he wants to

make sure he gets the best

deal possible from his industrial relations. I can't begrudge someone wanting to do that but

there's always two sides to

every story and there is

something like 430 billion of

new capital expenditure

coming to Australia. If

Australia was really beset

for the next SashaBorat film, why are we getting the

numbers we are getting? I

don't pretend things are

great in every part of

Australia, and that is why a

Labor Government is good at

making sure they share the

benefits of the boom, but I

don't buy this story of all

doom and gloom because that's underestimating the capacity

of Aussies to fight back and

compete with the rest of the

world. In terms of the business council research,

you know, it's a val.able

contribution, they have got a legitimate role to speak up for their interests but if

you read that report

carefully as I have, they

also say there is plenty of

good things going on here. I

agree with the business

council that we want

Australia to do better. What

I don't anticipate -- what I

don't accept is that the

Australian businessman has

not delivered the goods. Thank goodness we are Aussies

and not in some other part of

the world. But I want to

clarify on that, you said you

ran him Marius Kloppers

today, does he have a point

about any of those concerns?

I always listen carefully

about what the big end of

towns say and BHP Billiton, they contribute a lot of investment and jobs in

Australia. To be fair, it was more of a casual

catch-up. What I do know is

that they're most keen to

ensure that there is good

industrial relations and they

have got a focus that they

resolve their difficulties on enforcing workforce on

change. But what I also know is what happens in the rest

of the world influences Australia but remarkably Australia has done better

than a lot of the other parts

of the world. That is due to

a whole lot of factors, not

just the Government, but the

mining industry, the

Australian workforce, a whole

lot of things, but I do think

that when we - we need to be

careful that we don't kill confidence in Australia for a whole lot of negative

rhetoric. I'm not saying

that is Mr Kloppers or the BCA, I sometimes feel

obligated to remind people

that this country has done

pretty well in the last five

years. Speaking of negative

rhetoric, the unions have

been pretty dark on this - a

policy of the governments to

allow foreign workers in to

get big mining projects off

the ground. Now, the Government's response has

been to set up a jobs board.

How is that going? When are

we going to see this? Well,

this jobs board you refer to

is an issue with the

Government, in coming days we

will see more about it. What

it is, it is sort of like - I

don't want to simplify it too

much - but almost like an electronic dating service between employers and

employees. We want to see

the mining boom jobs go to

Australians. We want to make

it easy for Australian

employers to find Australian employees, prospective

employees, we want to make it

easy for Australians who are

looking to work in the mining

sector to at least get that

opportunity. Having said

that, there will come points

in the development of

projects where there simply

is not enough people. And

after all genuine attempts

have been made to find Australians jobs, I don't

think anyone, and I haven't

met anyone in the unions or any other part of Australian

society, who wants to see us lose projects simply for want

of being able to find the necessary workforce to make

the projects happen. I

believe this nation is capable of looking after

Australians, to making sure

we capture the wave of mining

expansion at the right time.

So just to be clear though,

will employers have to, as

part of an obligation before

they are allowed to bring in

foreign workers, will they

have to pick up employers off

that website before they are

allowed to bring anyone in

from overseas? Minister

Bowen and the Prime Minister

have been crystal clear and

at one on this matter. It is

the case that Australian employers will be required to

make genuine efforts to find

- to fill their jobs with

Australians and what we are doing, as a Government

should, is helping facilitate

that. I take Australian

industry at its word and I

also know that there is

plenty of skilled Australians

who want work. But we have

had temporary skilled workers

in this country, you know,

for a very long time, so I

think that we will work

through this issue just as we have dealt with other challenges in the last five years. I want to be clear on

this jobs board, is it going

to be a requirement that they

fill jobs from that jobs

board website before bringing

people in from overseas or

will this be a website that

they can consult that doesn't

have any obligation? I would

submit to you, again, the

same answer I just gave you

which is that we expect

Australian employers to make

genuine efforts. Everyone

know what's genuine means.

It is authentic, it is real.

What the Government is doing

is helping join up prospect

spif Australian workers to prospective Australian

employers as we will continue

to do. Thank you. Thanks.

The work place and employment

minister Bill Shorten. We

apologise for the audio problems with that interview,

a couple of gremlins in the

system that are being ironed

out. Do stay with us after

the break, our panel will be

looking at this and also the Federal Police Commissioner's

admission today about Captain

Emad, the alleged people

smuggler, leaving the country

two nights ago. Our panel

this afternoon Michael

Kroger. Stay with us.

Welcome back to the

program. Our panel in just a

moment, first a quick check

of the news headlines. A

man accused by ABC's 'Four

Corners' program of being a

people smuggler kingpin has

fled Australia. It follows a

report which alleged Captain Emad allowed to leave

Australia. The AFP says the

man and others featured in

the program are the subject of an ongoing investigation.

The jobless rate has listen

to 5.1% in May, however, the number of people in employment has actually

jumped. The data from the

Australian Bureau of

Statistics is in line with

economists forecasts with the positive news that nearly

40,000 jobs were created in

May, with participation also

beating expectations riding

to 65.5%. Prime Minister

Julia Gillard says she is

pleased more people are in

full-time jobs saying the latest employment figures

reflect the strength of the

economy. Meantime Ms Gillard

says she will act on ideas

from a childcare forum within

the next few months. The PM

today met with childcare

providers and unions in

Sydney to discuss the next stage including quality

assurance, rising fees and

wages for childcare workers.

She wants to get some answers

to the problems in the next

few months to make sure

childcare is more affordable

in the future. Ted Baillieu has urged thousands of

striking teachers to return

to the negotiating table. Up

to 10,000 teachers dressed in

red and holding placards

marched to Parliament House

angry that premier bay Lou

hasn't honoured an election

promise to make them the best

paid teachers in Australia.

It has been warned to prepare for a long industrial

campaign. Activists claim

more than 70 people,

including women and children,

have been killed in Hama.

The massacre took place on

the eve of high profile

meetings at the UN and in

Turkey. Meantime, both the

United States and Russia have called on the Assad

Government to abide by the UN

broken peace plan. In sport,

the Western Bulldogs have

locked in young star Luke

Dahlhaus for another three

years. The promising teenager has become the

hugely popular at the dogs in

just 21 appearances and is

set to stay there until 2015

. Thank you. Welcome back

to the program. Let's bring

in our panel now. Joining us

from Sydney, Steven Loosey

and from Melbourne, Michael

Kroger. First to you, what

do you think, we have seen

some pretty positive news on

the economy, the economic growth figures yesterday, the

jobs figures today, and

interest rate cut to boot, is

it as bad as the opposition

sometimes makes out? Yes, in

many ways I think it is

probably worse. Because if

you look at the growth

figures yesterday, outside

the mining sector, the growth

was only .8%, less than 1%

year on year, so if it wasn't

for the mining boom out of

Western Australia, the growth

figures would have been absolutely terrible. And in

fact if you look at some of

the brokers reports today,

the growth figure is closer

to 3% because the March

figure in 2011 had the impact

of the floods, so that's why

growth was down in that

quarter, so we have come off

a low base, so in a normal

situation the growth figure

would have been 3%, so is

this as bad as the Coalition

says? Probably a bit worse.

But can you really do that?

Can you say if it wasn't for

this, if it wasn't for that,

the figure would be worse?

Of course you can because you

are talking about an abnormal

act which was the Queensland

floods. If you hadn't had

the Queensland floods, growth

would have been much higher

in the March 2011 quarter.

So you've got growth severely

impacted by that. So if you

had a normal growth period

during the March 2011

quarter, growth in the March

quarter of this year, would

have been 3% not 4.3%.

Steven, it is true that the

mining boom is driving a lot

of this economic growth and

yet Wayne Swan and others in

the Government do nothing but

bag the mining bosses. Shouldn't the Government

arguably be down on its

knees? The figures for growth and the jobs figures

ought to be seen as part of a

mow say k identify a very

healthy Australian economy,

David. With the conservative

parties these days, they are

so negative, they are so

destructive, that you could actually apply a new collective noun to them when

you have a gathering of

conservatives, you have a

whinge of conservatives

before you. Because that's

all that ever comes from the

other side, along with

economic incoherence. If you

look at the performance of

the Australian economy over

time, compared with all of

our trading partners, it has

been a stiller performance,

not only in terms of interest

rates lower than at any time

during the Howard years,

employment, growth, right

across-the-board. It is

true, the mining sector makes a very, very strong contribution. No question

about that. But it's also

true that the strength of the

Australian dollar depresses

the Australian torrism sector, for example, so that

the tourism sector doesn't

display the kind of growth

that we have seen in years

previous. It is all a matter

of a balance perspective and

I think the Treasurer, the

Government generally, is

entitled to more than a mark

of passing credit for getting

the economic policies

settings right. You said you

would call them a whinge of

opposition figures reacting

to this but what about those

in business? Aren't they

entitled to legitimately

point out where there are

problems in the economy?

Yes, no question about that.

And they should. And the

arguments need to be mounted

in terms of where the policy

settings need to change. But

there is every reason for

Australians to be optimistic

about the future. When you

look at the low level of

growth in the United States,

for example, the Japanese

economy, the slowing in

China, the economic policy

malais in Europe, when you

look about the place,

Australia is performing very

strongly, in my view, mining

makes a very solid

contribution to that, but I

think the Treasurer was right

to have a bounce in his step

and the country ought to

smile once in a while.

People who come from

overseas, they are

aastonished at how people -

internally, for running the

place down. What about this

argument that we hear from

Tony Abbott that now is the

worst possible time to introduce a carbon tax? The

economic story, whether it is

the jobs figures, the

interest rate figures, the

inflation rate, or economic

growth, they are all pretty

strong? No, they are not.

To take Steven's point, you know, you talk about bounce

in the step of the Treasurer

here. And you compare

Australia to Europe, well,

there is no mining boom in

Greece, there is no mining

boom in England or Germany or France or Japan because there

is no mining. So that is

what Australia is doing much better than these countries.

If they had a mining boom in

there, then comparatively we

wouldn't be doing so well but

we are doing remarkably well

here because of the mining

boop and not because of the

Government, not because of

Wayne Swan, but David in

spite of Wayne Swan, in spite

of the Government we are

doing well, in spite of the

attacks on the mining sector.

You think they would be

saying thoo these mining chiefs, keep going, you are

doing a great job, you are

employing Australians, or

threatening to employ

thousands of Australians, but

what do we hear, exactly the

opposite and then they try to

claim some figures for

yesterday's figures snp Do

you think there is a case

though for what Wayne Swan

says about the doom dayers outing it out and being positive about the economy?

No, I don't. I take Bill

Kelti's point the other week.

He said there is no point blaming the opposition, that

is Abbott's job. His job is

to point out the truth in relation to the Australian economy and that is what he

is doing. He could be half hearted but that wouldn't be

much good, he is triges his

best and he is doing a great

job and the fact of the

matter is the Australian

public that know Wayne Swan

and Julia Gillard best don't

rate them. He might have got

a medal from some crowd

overseas but the Australian

public don't rate Gillard and

they don't rate Wayne Swan

and they know full well that

the good position of the

Australian economy is because

of the mining boom. Not

because of the Government

despite it. Surely the

Government has to get a

bounce though out of what has

been a strong set of numbers

this week, there is something horribleably wrong if they

don't? Perhaps over time we

will see the figures reflect

the Government's performance.

The simple fact of the matter

is the Treasurer was awarded the Finance Minister of the

year by a magazine that

judged the Australian economy

objectively and not - took a

particular partisan line.

I'm all for having an open

political debate and sometimes people in the

mining sector, like Mr Palmer

for example, want to come in

and engage the Government in

a debate. You can't fault

the Treasurer, the people,

when they go in and put a point of view. I think Mrs

Ryan hart gets an unfair

press, that's my own personal

view and I'm pleased that the

Government minister Chris

Bowen took the decision for

the new project. Does she

get an unfair wrap from Wayne

Swan as well? I think when

people come in debate, and

they engage in debate, they

then become public property,

the same as I'm public

property right now, so is

Michael for expressing our

views. I think some of the media comment on Mrs Reinhardt... Media comment,

what about the Treasurer's

comments? He goes a lot

harder than the media.

People who are engaged in a

public debate, David, on an

issue and the Treasurer or

anyone else engages them,

then they are part of the

public. What about Craig

Thomson, we saw another

extraordinary step in this

story last night when a

former sex worker recanted

her accusation that she had

slept with her a couple of

years ago. Michael, does

this change anything? What a

great topic to be discussing

David on your program. It's

a shift to that. There are

no rules or regulations or

laws governing houf a Prime

Minister should deal with a

member in this situation -- how a Prime Minister should

deal with a member in this

situation. It's all a

question of judgment. I I

think to myself would Prime

Minister John Howard have let

a back bencher, let this go

on for two years, week after

week, month after month? He

would have said to the back

bencher, make a statement to

the Parliament and let's move

on. Even in a minority Government because it

wouldn't have changed anything according to Gillard

and Thomson that he was completely innocent. He should have made that

statement two years ago. I

don't know who has been

advising him. He should have made that statement two years

ago, not that statement

actually, a much fuller

statement and got it off the

agenda two years ago but this

is a hopeless failure of

leadership by Gillard, to let

this go on for two years and

thom Tom to say nothing. Howard would have cut this

thing on in two weeks. To think that John Howard would

have let this go on for two

years t would never have

happened and that's why Gillard's failure of

leadership has damaged her and damaged the Labor

Parliament and damaged the

Labor Government. To let

this guy sit there mute for

it would years has been a

disaster for the Labor

Government and a disastrous

failure of leadership. I'm

sure you would grip to that 'Today Tonight' interview

last night, but what did you

think? It doesn't change the

allegations and findings that

have been made against Craig

Thomson, does the fact thaw

have got this former sex

worker say, look, I said this

and now I'm taking it back,

does that help him in the court of public opinion at

least? I just say that I

find the whole business very

sorted and what's alleged to

have gone on at the HSU east

branch is a disgrace. I

think what the Government is

endeavouring to do, what Mr

Shorten has been endeavouring

to do, is the direct course

of action. I think this

matter right now is to be

worked out in the criminal

justice system and in the

courts. One thing that no former Australian Prime

Minister would have done

since the time of Billy Hughes is to punt Craig Thomson from the Parliament

on the basis of allegations and the fact that these

allegations were all over the

front page and have now been withdrawn simply underlines

that reality of fairness.

The Coalition position, apparently, has been to punt Thomson from the Parliament. I think these matters have

got to be worked out in the

justice system and that's

where it should reside. I

want before we go to get your

thoughts, both of you, on the political climate the moment.

We have seen in the last two

weeks two polls heading in slightly different

directions, the news poll had

a bit of an increase for

Labor, the kneelson poll had them going the other way,

Tony Abbott is unpopular in

both poles. Do you think

there has been any detectible

shift in the political

climate in the last month or

two? I don't and I don't

think the things will chinge.

I think they have made up their mind about Julia Gillard, I think they have

made up their mind about Wayne Swan, they don't like

them, they don't think they

are terribly competent. The

electorate thinks the new

paradigm has been a total and

utter disaster, they want to

get rid of it immediately, if

an election were held today,

tomorrow or next week, they

would be slaughtered. The

best thing they can do is to

get rid of Gillard which will

get rid of all her senior

ministers and as I've said

before, they should put Bill

Shorten in as leader,

probably Greg Combet as

Treasurer and they will save

some of the furniture. I

can't believe they will go

back to Kevin Rudd, that will

mean half a dozen senior

ministers would have to

resign, that would be a

disaster, bigger than what

they have got now, but I

don't see a difference. Paul

Kelly in 'The Australian' yesterday made the argument against doing that, against

going to Kevin Rudd and I

suppose going to an election

quickly. Arguing they might

be better sticking with Julia

Gillard, or at least pointing

out some of the problems in

making such a shift. Is

there a chance that give the

Parliament enough time to run

its full course, they could

turn things around or do you

think it is going to be

lights out no matter what

happens? Under Gillard, no,

they can't turn it around but

with respect to Paul Kelly, I

think his point was slightly different to be fair. I

think what he was saying was, hey, listen if I were Kevin Rudd, would I accept this

challis now or would I rate

until after the election and

as usual, Kelly's analysis

was pretty good, he basically

said to Kevin Rudd, listen,

they didn't want you then,

they want you now because

they are desperate, don't

fall for that, wait until

after the election and it was a brilliant piece of

writing. Getting back to the question about the political climate in general at the

moment, do you think there

has been any shift, any straws of hope there for

Labor? Well, there is always

hope and there is always

cause for optimism. If the

Government continues to produce economic figures like

we have seen in the last few

days, there will be movement.

I don't see that Labor

leadership being on the

agenda. I think it is

foolish to see everything

through the prism of leadership, I support the

Prime Minister for that

reason. I wouldn't have thought this issue was back

on the agenda. The PM

concentrates on issues that

are of concern to people,

particularly in the area of disabilities, childcare and

the like of recent times and

the Government continues to deliver prosperity through appropriate economic

settings. It is a very good

record and ultimately that

kind of record tells. We

will have to wrap it up there

but thank you both for

joining us today. After the

break, we are going to take a closer look at the Craig

Thomson issue, but in

particular, where to now for

his political career? Our colleague David Lipsom has

been in his electorate of deboel talking to some of the

voters there, some of the

other candidates lining up to

knock him off, and also to

Craig Thomson as well. Stay with us.

Last night we saw another

bizarre twist in the Craig

Thomson saga. A former sex worker unnamed recanted

claims that she had slept with Craig Thomson, the now

cross bench MP, some years

ago. She had initially signed a statutory

declaration making that

accusation as part of an

interview with Channel 9's 'A

Current Affair' program but

yesterday she went to 'Today

Tonight' to say that she

wasn't 100% sure he was her

client, she checked her records and her passport showed she was in New Zealand on the date concerned.

What's more, she said she

warned a current affair three

days before they went to air

saying that she wasn't to be

taken as a credible witness,

she want to take back the

accusation, yet they still

wept to air with the story.

Because there is evidence to

prove that it's not me. And

that evidence is the

passport? The passport, the

fact that it was so long ago now, that after thinking about it for a really long

time, how can I be 100% sure

it was him? I used to have a lot of clients that fitted

that description. So it's

just a really terrible case

of mistaken identity and it's

a horrible for Craig Thomson

and I feel terrible for him.

Of course this doesn't end the various investigations

that Craig Thomson is facing,

nor change much of the

allegations against him. Nonetheless, Craig Thomson

was relieved at this retraction. Always maintained that I was

innocent and what we are

seeing is these false allegations against me

starting to unravel. At

least she, last night, had

the decency to apologise to

myself, family and friends.

In fact, Craig Thomson has

longed been saying that he is

confident he will be cleared

of all of these allegations

and now he is even contemplating his political

future. Far from rushing to

the exits, Craig Thomson has

told Sky News if the

Parliament runs its full

course, and an election isn't

held until late next year, he

is likely to stand as an

independent and he reckons he

will have a decent chance of

being reelected. But it

seems the voters in his seat

of Dobell on the NSW Central

Coast will need a bit of

convincing. Sky News

political reporter David

Lipsom went to Dobell to test

the mood of the electorate.

I'm in the seat of Dobell on

the central coast just north

of Sydney. A lot of retirees

here, also young families

with mortgages, with parents

who commute to either Sydney

or Newcastle for work.

Unemployment here is a little

above the national average.

Cost of living and

infrastructure are two of the

biggest issues. It's been

Labor more often than Liberal

but some consider it to be a

bell weather seat, pretty

typical seat you might say,

that is except for one thing,

its local member. Pretty

lucky on the central coast

with our politicians because

we have Belinda Neal and now

we have got Craig, so life is

never dull. For local

newspaper reporters in Craig

Thomson's seat, business is

booming. I guess he is like

our own Lindy chamberlane in

one way, you know, did a

dingo take his credit card?

And everybody has an opinion

on that story. Denise bellstory. Dseat, pret bat story.er seat, pkz typica typay krig typic krig is ou might s trns say kr g that i he can ffor one th I il. The a its loce at the . lucky oreaking, hral with went to winly went liticians with ouent to groans becaus we havend we havand there we ha and thera Neal wtime and linda Neal w a few bit w open andt Craig, s neve open an ne For nevte never hard newsuite hardorters Thomson' Thomfor that t, busines Thg for thatat, busine ing for t seat, busne and booming. that pip boomi't booming attend boomn't attenuess he is boomint attend ss he is l

our ve o have beendy ouhave beendy chamber one waut circus. But after that, I

think Craig's functioned as

best as he could under the circumstances. Most people

we spoke to don't see it that

way. He is a joke, he is the

invisible man, you never see

him, the amount of respect

that he has, is people

constantly parked in the

Commonwealth car park, people

don't care. I guess I have

sympathy for anyone that

hasn't been committed of a

crime and yet is under going

the kind of scrutiny that he

is. Every day I walk past his office down there and I

feel like going in and saying

something, because I feel

disin franchised and

disgusted with what's going

on. Amid his ongoing denial

of guilt, Craig Thomson insists he is still scoring

goals for the people of

Dobell. I have sat down for

more.an hour with Craig

Thomson, he didn't want to

say anything on camera, he

knows better than anyone every time he opens his

mouth, it turns into a top news headline but far from

hiding out in his electorate

office, he want to meet in

the busy coffee shop here in

the local bustling mall at

Tuggera, and while he was

lining up, a lady came up,

put her hand on his shoulder

and offered a few words of

support and encouragement.

Craig Thomson says this is

far from unusual, especially

since he delivered that emotional statement to

Parliament. But he is also

very realistic about the

level of resentment in the

community against him. On

his election chances, well,

he is pretty realistic, he

says if a poll were called

tomorrow, it is unlikely that

he would run. But if Labor

ran full term, as he

spectsds, he reckons he will

have a decent chance as

running as an independent.

He certainly hopes he will be

able to clear his name well

before the next poll. You

would vote for him? It's

hard to say really. Maybe

not any more but then again I

doubt if anyone will ever get

a chance to vote for him

again, so it is a bit

hypothetical because most

people that voted for him,

didn't know what he was like

then, but now, he will be

lucky to get a vote in the

local football club, so it

won't really matter. No

happy around here. Everybody

is the same. Everybody has

turned against him. Why

wouldn't you? So if not

Craig Thomson, then who?

Labor is expected to preselect its candidate

around sppt but even in the

unlikely event that Craig

Thomson's judicial matters

are resolved by then, it is

unlikely he will be welcomed

back into the Labor Party.

The Liberals have got in early, but not without their

own problems, the candidate initiallingly selected

locally, was not not endorsed at a State level because he

was found to be living

illegally in a shed. The

Liberals have now locked in

Karen McNamara, the wife of

the unsuccessful challenger

in 2010. Do you think it

will be a walk in? No, I

don't. I'm not taking anything for granted. I do

not want to be known as the candidate who just turned up

on the day, I believe in hard work. In setting out to

prove it, unlike Craig

Thomson, she is unrestrained. Where are you

Craig? I'm out talking to

people. I'm visiting

shopping centres. We are

doing our street stalls, I'm doorknocking and people are

saying where is he? David

Minn was second on their

preselection ticket last time. Craig Thomson is the

local Labor Member, has been

a good local Labor Member.

Because of Craig, the roll

out of the national broadband

will be starting here before

it starts in other areas. We

have been made an employment

priority zone by the Federal

Labor Government. I think

you need to give credit where

credit is due there. But he

is open to stepping up if

Labor comes knocking again.

If an opportunity came up

that the federal level for

Dobell, I don't think it

would surprise anybody in the

Labor Party if I put my hand

up for that position as

well. The battle for Dobell

is far from over. One thing

that most agree on, even

Craig Thomson it seems, is

that he is unlikely to be

returning to the Labor fold

and standing as a Labor

candidate at the next election, but perhaps

standing as an Independent MP

and certainly confident about

his chances of being cleared of the various investigations and allegations that have

been made against him. David leadershipsome with that

report, David will be

spending more time outside

Canberra having a look at the mood in key electorates around the country, so watch

out for more of those reports

in the coming weeks. Well,

that is about all we have

time for on this afternoon's

edition of PM Agenda, do join

us tonight on the Nation

right here on Sky News, 8

o'clock eastern time, we will

be looking at the good

economic news we have seen

this week on growth, on the

jobs front today, the

interest rate cut as well,

the pretty sweet set of

numbers for the Government,

but are they going to get

credit for it, will we see a bounce for the Government in

the wake of this and does wb

have a point about the

doomsday as he calls them for

the opposition and some in

business as well, spending

too much time talking down

the economy or are they quite

entitled to say what they

like about what they think of

the economy. We will be talk

being that as well as some of

those Craig Thomson issues

and also the people smuggling

problems that we have seen,

alleged people smugglers,

slipping through the note posing as asylum seekers,

this one at the centre of the 'Four Corners' report though

slipping back out of the

country on Tuesday night

because police didn't have

enough evidence against him.

We will be going through

that. Our guests tonight

Peter Dutton, Kate pz Lumden. 8 o'clock eastern right here

on Sky News. Coming up after

the break, the very latest Sky News.

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