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Australian Agenda -

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Good afternoon, welcome

to the program. I'm David

Speers. Treasurer Wayne Swan

as we know is no great fan of

the mining magnates, he's

called them a threat to

democracy. So the move by

Gina Rinehart to buy up more

of Fairfax and try to get

three seats on the board must

be getting up the Treasurer's

nose. Particularly as she

hasn't said whether she is

willing to sign the so called

charter of independence that

other board members are

required to do which effectively means they won't

try and influence what the

company's newspapers, the 'Sydney Morning Herald' 'The Age' and the Australian financial review, what they

put to print. Wayne Swan

tried today to put pressure

on Gina Rinehart, he used

questions in parliament to

challenge her, to declare publicly whether she would

sign this charter or not. Is

there anything to fear from

Gina Rinehart buying up more

of Fairfax and having a

number of seats on the board?

Meanwhile on the other side

of the world today Julia

Gillard has defended her

critique of Europe's economic

woes and her decision to

offer some free advice to

have a look at the Australian

economic model. There's been some criticism of this and indeed there was a response

from the President of

European Commission who said

they're not there to be

lectured by anyone at the 'G

Political correspond Kieran 20 meeting in Mexico.

Gilbert is there, he joins us

live now. Kieran, the Prime

Minister has defended these

remarks this afternoon saying

the European President wasn't

necessarily just talking

about her. David, that's right, and I think with this

case the truth is somewhere

in the middle. She's right

when she says there also

wasn't directly addressing a

question about her, it was

from a Canadian journalist actually, that particular

question. Let's look at

what's transpired. The Prime

Minister told the business

forum that Europe could learn

some lessons from Australia.

Today the EU commission

President says we're not

going to be taking lessons

from anyone. So it was a

general rebuke as far as I

could tell not just to the

Prime Minister but North

American leaders and other

leaders around the world too.

As to the broader

discussions, David, I'm told

that behind closed doors when

the leaders were discussing

Europe, they were very, very

the Prime Minister but a frank indeed, it wasn't just

number of leaders who put it

bluntly to the Europeans that

when they meet in a

fortnight, the European

Council, they've got to have

some substantial progress and

contain this crisis. So

Kieran, does that wrap up

things now for the 'G 20 and

given this has been a central

focus, has it been a successful meeting for Prime

Minister Gillard? Well,

there is - there's another

session tomorrow David. Today

we did have the class photo,

as they call it, the family

photo. Obviously a strained

photo in some respects. But tomorrow there is one more

session, we'll have a closing

news conference with the

Prime Minister. I think we've

got a sense where the final

commune Kay is et heads. The

end game will be that meeting

in a few weeks. I think what

this summit has been about is

trying to increase the

pressure on the European

leaders to act. I think the

Gillard comments shed be seen

in that context. We'll be talking more about this

coming up this hour on PM

Agenda. The deputy Opposition

leader and shadow Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has been critical of Prime Minister Gillard's behaviour

on the world stage. We'll be

talking to her shortly. Then the Finance Minister Penny

Wong. First though a eck

which of the other top

stories this hour. Fairfax

journalists have united making public a letter

they've sent to Gina Rinehart expressing concern over the mining magnate's push for

seats on the board. They're

worried Ms Rinehart who

currently owns 19% of the

company will refuse to sign

the charter of independence.

Without consideration to the

political xherk or personal

interests of proprietors,

shareholders or board

members. We've obviously got

grave concerns as

professional independent

journalists that if this

chart er isn't respected we

won't be able to do our work

properly or fairly. That

does raise concerns about

public debate, how reporting

is fair and balanced, what

that means for our

democracy. Meantime members

of the Australian

manufacturers workers union

have called on Fairfax after

it was announced two will

close in NSW and Victoria.

We call upon Fairfax to come

to the commission on Thursday

with Fair Work in Victoria

with an open transparent plan

to tell us why they've come

to this conclusion, and be

prepared to review their decision. . Foreign Minister

Bob Carr is hopeful he can

secure the release of

detained Australian lawyer

Melinda Taylor. Senator Carr

met with Libya, Foreign Minister to press for Ms

Taylor's release. He said she

should be released soon if

there is an apology to the

Libyan authorities. I'm

hopeful that a release can be

secured here. I think the

Libyans soon advantage in

losing the four detainees

from the International

Criminal Court. I've urged

the International Criminal

Court to give the Libyanings

a form of words that gives

them some comfort. I think

the court might have been a

bit more thoughtful about the

procedures and protocols it's

set up before it sent Melinda

Taylor and her three

colleagues into a difficult

situation and I think they

might be able to expedite the

process by saying the right

things at the right time.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard

also raised concerns about Ms

Taylor's detention with

Italian Prime Minister marrow

Monty in Mexico. Melbourne

police have arrested eight

teenagers over brutal attacks

on taxi drivers in the

south-west. It's alleged a

gang of men pulled up

alongside the taxis, smashing

panels and windows, two

drivers were treated for

injuries. It's extreme ly

concerning. You saw from the

vision of the taxis that it's

a very violent crime that's

been committed on these taxi drivers. It's very concerning

that people of this age are

involved in that sort of

activity. Police expect to

charge the teens including 7

males and one female later

today. Burma's pro-democracy

leader Aung San Suu Kyi is in

Ireland on the latest leg of

her European tour, after

picking up her Nobel Peace

Prize. She was presented with

an Amnesty International

award by Bono. Whenever she

goes Fotis Kouvelis is

surrounded. Such is the depth

of feeling but just a few

years ago such a reception

would have seemed an

impossibility. Now she's

taking her place on the world

stage. Ireland can't honour

her any more, we've shown our

admiration, the truth is in

the end she honours us by

coming here. That's as may

be but she better have some

space on the mantle piece,

along with being Ser naded by

Bono, she was awarded an hon

raer degree from the Trinity College raer degree from the Trinity Colleg

Dublin. Outside the crowd reflected on what she meant

to them. We're so exciting.

We see the lady. And excited

to see Suu Kyi. She has the

whole world behind her. We're

hopeful that change is going

to happen too. Do you think

we're going to see proper

full democracy in Burma. We

don't know about that. That

uncertainty reflect the in

Suu Kyi's own words as she

accepted the freedom of

Dublin. You have stood by us

in our times of troubles.

These troubles are not yet

all over and I'm confident

that you will stand, continue

to stand with us, and please

believe that when I say you

are a part of my heart, I

really mean it with my whole

heart. Thank you. (APPLAUSE)

. From here Aung San Suu Kyi

moves on to the UK, to Oxford

the place that she once

called home. Then she addresses both Houses of parliament, the first time

any head of state has been

afforded that honour.

Fittingly enough the event

ended in a sing song. Singh

happy birthday to you #.

Democracy for yurmer to cem

an appropriate wish, although wishes don't always come

true. The Western Bulldogs

have imposed a one match ban

on ruckman Minson for using

inSuting lange against

Pearce. Minson making a slur

against Pearce's mother.

Very sorry for what was said

on the field and I'll be,

continuing to make attempts

to contact Daniel throughout

the day and I'm very

degreeful for what I said on

the field. The last 24 hours

have been an extremely

stressful period for myself

and no doubt unnecessarily

stressful for Daniel Pearce

and his family and the Port

Adelaide football club. I have absolutely no intention of putting anyone through

that stress again. In

addition he will undergo a

compulsory sessionness line

with the AFL's respect and responsibility policy.

Showers spreading inland

across the west. Windy with

showers developing in the

south. Now back to David

Speers in Canberra as PM

Agenda continues. After the

break we're going to have a

look at Gina Rinehart's bid

to take some seats on the

board of Fairfax. The Government putting pressure

on wrr jrt today to say

whether or not she'll sign

the so called charter of

independence and stay out of

journalism at Fairfax

payments. We'll be talking to

Julie Bishop about that. Also

the 'G 20 meeting where the

Prime Minister Julia Gillard

has been urging Europeans to

look the Australian economic

model. Has she stepped the

mark though in her critique

of what's going wrong in Europe? Stay with us.

Good afternoon, welcome to

PM Agenda, I'm David Speers

coming to you live from

Parliament House in Canberra.

The power play inside Fairfax

is being very closely watched

by the company's journalists,

its shareholders and the Government here in the national capital. Gina

Rinehart has now bought

nearly 19% of the company.

It's reported she wants three

board seats. Today Fairfax

journalists wrote a letter to

Gina Rinehart urging her to

commit to the company's so

called charter of editorial independence, in other words,

guarantee she won't try to

influence the journalism of

the company's payments. The

Fairfax board is also

reportedly making this demand

as well. Ultimately though

this will be a decision for

Gina Rinehart and the company's shareholders but

the Government is also taking a particular interest in

this. Today the Treasurer and the acting Prime Minister used Question Time in

parliament to issue a

challenge to Gina Rinehart.

Wayne Swan is no friend of

the mining magnates. He's

accused them of being a

threat to democracy. I'll be

very, very concerned if the

purpose that Ms Rinehart has

is to buy influence by buying

more shares and junking the

charter of independence. That's what I'm very

concerned about and that is what the government is concerned about, particularly

given the record of Ms

Reinhardt in calling for a

greater say, not just in the

national debate but also in

terms of policy outcomes. I

certainly call on Ms Rinehart

very quickly to explain to

the Australian people what

her intentions are and

whether she will or won't

support a charter of

editorial independence. Meanwhile on the other side

of the world the Prime

Minister has deferreded her

decision to give some free

advice to European leaders at

the 'G 20 summit that's

taking place in Mexico,

speaking at a business forum

on the sidelines yesterday

Julia Gillard spoke about

Australia being a model of

what other economies should

do, in particular those in

Europe. The President of the

European Commission though responded a little later

saying they're not there to

be lectured by anyone. Jrled says he wasn't talking

particularly about her. Take

a look. Australia's economic

strength can be an important

sign of optimism to countries

of the world. And that our

policy responses can be an

important sign of the right

way ahead. That's why in

coming days I will be urging

my European friends to take

note of the Australian way. A

credible commitment to

fiscally responsible growth

is the only way forward.

Australia has shown this is

the way. But frankly you are

not coming here to receive

lessons in terms of democracy

or how to handle the economy

European Union has a model we

can be very proud of. We are

not complacent about the difficulties. We are

extremely open. President Barosso is amused at the

suggestion that anything he

said anywhere would be

reported in the Australian

media as about Australia, we were laughing about it a

little bit earlier today. I

have acknowledged the work

that Europe has done. You

know, things have been done

in the eurozone which have

made a difference. There has

been action on banks, there

have also been by individual

countries action on

structural reform. But it is

clear that more needs to be

done. And it's in Australia's national interests that more

be done. It's in our national

interests to have the mofrt resilient and strong #e6789

global economy that we can.

The Prime Minister speaking

in Mexico a couple of hours

ago. The deputy Opposition

leader has been particularly

critical of the Prime

Minister saying today it's

hard not to laugh at how

she's been acts on the world stage. Julie Bishop joins

plea now. What's so funny

about the Prime Minister's performance? The President

of the European Commission

knew exactly what he was

saying, using the diplomatic

language that Julia Gillard

consistently fails to use.

The European leaders would know that Julia Gillard wrote

a letter to them before she

left Australia, released it

to the Australian media,

clearly it was grand stant standing for political purposes back home and I

think the European leadership

have taken it with the drard

disregard that it deserves.

David, they don't need to be

lectured, they don't need

condescending language, any

more pressure. What they need

is constructive ideas. Julia

Gillard so far has failed to

come up with one new idea

that isn't already on the

table. Yet she's lecturing

them to do it the Australian

way. It would be laughable if

it were not so serious. The

Prime Minister has says she's

spoken to the President today

and he's been amused at the suggestion that he was specifically talking about

Australia. I'm sure he was

very applaused when they

received the letter so that Julia Gillard could score

political points at home. The

European Union situation is

very serious. And the G20

debate will be dominated by

this issue. For Julia Gillard

to go over there and

condescendingly suggest it's

got to be done the Australian

way, suggesting the Europeans

don't know they are in a

crisis. What should the

Australian leader do? Surely

we shouldn't keep your mouths

shut. Rather than telling

them to get their act

together, come up with

something constructive. Is

there anything wrong with an Australian Prime Minister

talking up the economy and

how good comparatively things

are in Australia? It's all

in the language you use, the

tone, the circumstances. And

I think that once more Julia

Gillard's shown herself to be

out of her depth on the world

stage. So the words "take

note of the Australian way"

is the wrong tone. The whole

attitude she took by

releasing the letter before

she went to Europe, by trying

to score political points

back home, and then lecturing, Hectoring it's

been described on the world

stage. It shows foreign

affairs is not her passion,

she said and that she's out

of her depth. You were also

in the party room today

talking to MP, critical of

Bob Carr, you likened him to

Peter sellars character from

the famous film 'The Party'. For those who don't recall

the film we found a quick

flick of it. Take a look. So

the stumbling, bum bling

Peter sell ars character

there. Why does that remind

you of Bob Carr. It was obviously light-hearted but

the point of it is that the

Peter sellars character was

accidental invited to a party

and found himself totally out

of his depth. And Bob Carr

seems to be the same way on

the world stage. I'm not just

talking about his public

blurnleds where he has

threatened to isolate and

condemn PNG and place

sanctions on our nearest

neighbour, not just talking

about when he gets his facts

wrong such as over stating

our troop demitment in Afghanistan, or his unfortunate comments about

the dead parents of the young Brazilian man that was

killed, or his indiscrete

description of conversations

he's had with Chinese

officials. It's the fact he

seems to be intending more

time promoting his profile

than getting on top of his

brief. Does that relate to

the lawyer detained in

Libya? Clearly we want to see Melinda Taylor released.

She has no reason to be

detained. We have called upon

the Libyan authorities to

release her. I just hope that

Senator Carr is acting on

consular advice, on the

experienced voices within the Department of Foreign Affairs

and Trade in doing what he

lass done overseas which is insert himself into the

negotiations in Tripoli

between the ICC and the

Libyan authorities. And I

just hope forte day 's sake

and for the sake of the

others in the ICC team that

he is acting in their best interests. Are you saying

that is unorthodox, his suggestion he's now made that

the ICC, the International

Criminal Court offers some

form of apology to the

Libyans for the way they've

dealt with this case? The

advice that I've always

received from the department

is that in cases of detention

of Australians overseas that

we leave it to our consular

officials who are expesht in

it to handle it, that we not

provide a running commentary

through the media and we particularly don't go into the details of every step of

the negotiation. Is he jeopardising her potential

release? I'm assuming he's

acting on departmental

advice. It is an unusual case

because of the complex

situation surrounding the

Libyan authorities, the

people in charge in Zintan

and who's actually holding Melinda Taylor and the team.

So it's a very unusual

situation. Maybe the

department has decided to

adopt an unorthodox approach.

I just hope Bob Carr is acting on their expert

advice. And this running

commentary in the media is

part of an over all plan. It

does go against the advice

I've received in the past.

Can I take you to Gina

Rinehart buying up more of Fairfax and seeking board

seats as well. The general

assumption is that she wants

some greater influence on

what the Fairfax newspapers do. You know Gina Rinehart

personally. What do you think

her moptive is in buying up

Fairfax? First fair fax is

an organisation that's

struggling for its survival.

Its share price has gone down

to 65 cents in a matter of

years. Gina Rinehart is

prepared to invest her money

into this organisation at

this time. I know she has an

interest in diversifying her

holdings, her assets. She's

been very focussed on mining

and resources. But more recently she's been

interested in the media, as

many people in the past have

been. But surely it is a

financial investment. You

don't think it is about power

and influence? She's made an

investment in Channel 10, she

has a place on the board. I haven't heard anyone

complaining about her

interest in Channel 10. If

she's prepared to invest the

kind of money that we're

talking about in fair fax to

keep Fairfax alive she's

entitled to board

representation. Surely she

wouldn't have a problem with

signing this charter of

editorial independence. Do

you share the Government's view that's what she should

do? I think that's a matter

for the board and for Gina

Rinehart. If that's a

precondition for giving her a

seat on the board she may or

may not do that. I haven't

asked her about that. It wouldn't be a problem for

you? It's a matter for Gina

and the bored Board. If the

board wish to grant her three

seats or two seats, whatever

it is, on particular terms or

conditions, that's a matter

for them. It's up to Gina to

accept them or not. Is there

a concern about board members

of major media companies

having an influence over what

the journalism is in that

company? I note that the Government got themselves

into a lather over this today. Wayne Swan in Question

Time went on and on about it.

The Greens are trying to regulate the internal

workings of a media company.

I wonder, in fact I question

whether there would be so

much anxiety about this if it

was say the Greens backer,

the owner of What If that was

making this bid. If it was

one of their major

backers... Doesn't this go

to the question of editorial

independence, isn't that

important? A paper like

Fairfax wouldn't survive. If

she's not willing to sign

that charter. Why is there

an assumption that Gina

Rinehart will be telling

people in Fairfax what to do.

You work for Sky, do you get

a phone call from Kerrie

Stokes or Rupert Murdoch

telling you what to do? No,

we don't. Of course you

don't. Has Channel 10 from

Gina telling them what they

have to put on that night.

No, they haven't. You don't

think she would interfere in

the journalism of the newspapers? You think she would want her investment to

be successful. Fairfax is struggling for its survival.

I would have thought that

Fairfax shareholders would be

slighted that someone was

prepared -- delighted that

someone was prepared to put

money no to save the

company. Wayne Swan said I

think in Australia it doesn't

matter if you're Twiggy Gina

but I also think a Government

has a job to represent all

the people. He spoke about the grief the Prime Minister

gets. Look at the grief she

gets for her gender? Do you

think the Prime Minister gets

grief for being a woman?

That is an absolute furphy. When Julia Gillard took the

job as Prime Minister sure

there was disquiet about the

way she took the job off

Kevin Rudd. Nobody had ever

seen anything like that

political anasnation but

Julia Gillard received a lot

of goodwill and support for

being the first female Prime

Minister. She has garnleded

that support. Nothing to

do... This has got nothing

to do with Julia Gillard's

gender, it's all about her

own competence, lack of

ability, lacks of capacity

and poor judgment. After the break we're going to talk

about a couple of these issues, the G20 and Gina

Rinehart. Paul Kelly, 'The

Australian''s editor at large joins us.

In a moments we'll be

joined by Paul Kelly of 'The

Australian'. First a check on

the news headlines. Here's

Mike willcy. Prime Minister

Julia Gillard says the first

day of the G20 summit in

Mexico has been comprehensive

and frank. She says G20 leaders have recognised the

need for austerity measures

in Europe. Julia Gillard also

welcomed a move by leaders to

double the resources of the International Monetary Fund

to more than $400 billion. Fairfax employees are

pleading with the media

company not to close down two

printing presses in Sydney

and Melbourne. The company's

journalists have also made

public a letter they've sent

to Gina Rinehart urging her

to respect Fairfax's

editorial independentences as widespread speculation Gina Rinehart will use her position on the board to

influence the company's news

coverage. Ms Reinhardt no not responded. Foreign Minister

Bob Carr has met with Libya's

top officials for the release

of Melinda Taylor. The 36-year-old is being held in

the town of Zintan on spying

charges. He was representing

the son of Colonel Gaddafi

Seif al-Islam. He says Ms

Taylor could be released soon

if the ICC apologise to the

Libyan Government. Melbourne

police have swooped on a

group of teenagers wand over

a string of attacks on taxi

drivers. Eight were arrested

in Laverton North, sunshine

North and Brooklyn. It's

alleged they pulled up

alongside the taxis smashing

panels and windows. Updating

sport the Western Bulldogs

have imposed a one match ban

on Will Minson for using

insulting language towards

Daniel Pearce. Minson

allegedly making a slur

against Pearce's mother. The

weather, showers spreading

inland across the west. Windy

with showers dwonge in the

south. Mike, thank you.

Joining us now Paul Kelly,

editor-at- large at 'The

Australian' newspaper. I want

to start with the restructure

at Fairfax. We heard

yesterday 1900 jobs to go there. Tomorrow News Limited

is expected to make

announcements on some changes

at that company as well. But

meanwhile a lot of the focus

is on Gina Rinehart buying up

more of Fairfax and trying to

get board seats as well. How

do you see this playing out

and how concerned do you

think the Government will be about Gina Rinehart's

influence at Fairfax? Well

the big question here David

is exactly what are Gina

Rinehart's intontions, and

what are her real motives in

terms of the position she's

taking at Fairfax. The first

point to make here is I think

that in terms of her corporate and financial

background there's no reason

to think that she's got any

particular expertise which

can help the Fairfax company

at the moment in terms of

their problems. There's no

doubt however that she is

determined it seems to press

ahead. I think one of the

interesting features here is

this is I think an embarrassment for the Labor

Government. They've been a

very strong critic now of Gina Rinehart for quite some

time. In a sense the

Government faces a lose/lose

situation here. If she gets

control of Fairfax I think

that is a fairly significant

political blow for Labor. On

the other hand if Labor tries

to prevent or stop her, then

there are dangers involved in

that course of action as

well. Can the Government do

anything here? It can try to

stop her and today we saw the

Treasurer and acting Prime Minister Wayne Swan saying

she should sign that charter

of editorial independence but

really the Government has no

sway here. There's not much

the Government can do about

this. I think that's right

and Wayne Swan admitted today that the Government's powers

in this situation are lintd.

At the present time both Wayne Swan and Stephen Conroy

are arguing very strongly

that Gina Rinehart should

accept the Fairfax charter of

editorial independence. She's

been reluctant to do that. In

a sense this is simply a

token of the overall debate.

The Government can't stop her

in terms of simply using the

charter of independence. It

can build up pressure against

her. And I think one of the

interesting features here is

might she simply change her

tactics if she was prepared

to accept the claritier, then

she removes the main critique

from her opponents in terms

of any takeover. And does

the charter then mean

anything? Do other media

companies, does yours have

this sort of charter

requirement for board members

to stay out of editorial

issues? The charter in my

own view is grossly inflated.

I think that there is merit

in the charter but there is

also a downside in the

charter and I think frankly

the charter only works if

you've got very strong editors. It does limit if you

accept the charter at face

value the capacity of the

board in terms of running the

company. So I think one needs

to be very careful about the

charter. Certainly the

argument put forward by the

Greens today that the charter

should be legislated I think

would be absurd and quite counterproductive. More

broadly Paul, looking at what's happening at Fairfax

and I suppose with

newspapers, how pessimistic

should we be? Everyone seems

to be almost writing off the

fair nax company, that -

shifting more to online,

putting up a pay wall, all of

this is risky. What are the pressures that newspapers are

under? Well the pressures

are very serious. But I think

the point to make about

Fairfax is that Fairfax

should have, many years ago,

when it was in a much

stronger editorial position,

have gone for a more significant restructuring at

that point. I think what

we're seeing now is that

Fairfax is undertaking this

exercise from weak enters and

I think that is a real

difficulty and it's a real

problem. And one of the

difficulties associated with

what's happened at Fairfax is

in a sense there's a creation

of doom about the newspaper

industry. And if you're an

advertiser, if you're a

merchant bank, if you're a

determine or a Fairfax

journalist, then I think this is quite destabilising

because the impress left for

the entire world is that the company doesn't really have

any faith any longer in its

print products. It's yet to devise a successful business

model when it comes to the

digital process. So it's

caught, if you like, between

these two stools and that's a

very dangerous place to be.

Now Paul I want to get your

thoughts too on the G20 meeting that's been happening

in Mexico. We've seen the

Prime Minister this afternoon

defending the critique she

gave of what's going wrong

with the European economy, a

suggestion they look to

Australias as a model. What

do you think? Was this a fair enough point for the Australian Prime Minister to make at a gathering like

this? I think this was a

very -- ham fisted effort. It

lacked any sense of sophistication, it wasn't

very effective at all. The

impress is left, I think,

that Julia Gillard was

playing not just to the G20

leaders but also playing very

much to her own domestic

audience back home. It's

quite clear from the reaction

so far from some leaders, in

particular the head of the

European Commission, that

they don't appreciate this.

I'd say it's going to have no

influence whatsoever, so you'd have to really ask,

what was the point of it

all. All right, Paul Kelly,

editor-at- large at 'The

Australian' newspaper. Thanks

very much for that. Thank

David. After the break we'll be talking to Finance

Minister Penny Wong. A bit

more about this, did the

Prime Minister overstep the

mark, was it a ham fisted

attempt at the 'G 20. Also

talk a bit more about the

Gina Rinehart bid for Fairfax. Stay with us.

Welcome back to PM Agenda.

As we've seen the Prime

Minister has copped some

criticism for the way she's

approached the G20 summit

happening in Mexico at the

moment in Los Cabos. Her free

advice to the Europeans to

look at the Australian model

as a model. When it comes to the stability of their

banking system, fiscal consolidation as well to try

and generate economic growth

at the same time. Some have

suggested as we heard from

the deputy Opposition leader

Julie Bishop, that this has

been lecturing that the

Europeans certainly don't

need. I spoke a little

earlier to the Finance

Minister Penny Wong. Penny

Wong, thanks for your time,

there's been some criticism

of the Prime Minister for

telling the Europeans they

should model themselves on

our economy, and our economic

performance. Why should

Europe look to the Australian model? Well the Australian

model has delivered over

800,000 jobs since we came to

government, an economy that's

over 10% bigger than it was

when we came to government,

delivered contained

inflation, falling interests

rates and growth in excess of

4% throughout year. They are

pretty good results. The

Prime Minister is doing what

she should do which is

advocating the policy

responses which are needed

overseas because all of us in

this global economy are obviously affect by each

other. Obviously we are in a

much better position but...

We had a resources boom and a

big customer called chin

sitting there. There are big

differences. Are you

suggesting that the Prime

Minister shouldn't be telling

with a other global leaders

what has worked in Australia?

There are real risks in

Europe, we're all aware of

them. World leaders, all of

them need to respond to that

whilst it's primarily a

European problem, the policy solutions are something that are relevant to the whole of

the word. The Prime Minister

is dog what she should be

doing. Do you think they

need to be told? I'm not

going to get into whether or

not, sort of judging European

leaders. I would say that we

have had a very unfortunate

set of bouts of uncertainty,

we've had a policy responses

which are shifted over time

and I think it is in

Australia's interests for the

Prime Minister to be

advocating for a sensible

clear policy response that

has a long-term objective.

Looking at Europe after the

Greek election result which

will it seems see Greece stay

within the euro, has the

danger passed at all, or are

you still very concerned about what's happening

there? Our budget factored

in? Pretty pessimistic

figures for Europe. I think

the reality is when we've

said there will be a long and

painful adjustment in Europe

we meant it. We are likely to

see bouts of uncertainty,

different policy responses

which will possibly calm the

waters for a period. Fundamentally they have to

deal with a fiscal

sustainability issue as well

as issues in their banking

sector and they have to get

growth going. None of those

issues are going to be fixed

in the short term, what we

need is a credible medium and

long-term plan as well.

Martin Parkinson, the head

have Treasurer says we need

to be more "agile and

versatile" in responding. Is

he talking about whether the

budget should return to

surplus? I can tell you how

I've spoken about

adoptability and flexibility,

I've spoken about it in the

context of making sure as the

global economy and our

economy changes, and we know

our economy is exchanging very rapidly because of the

sort of investment we're

seeing and the growth in the mineral's sector

particularly, we have to be

agile, have to be able to

adapt. That's how we make

sure we make the most of this opportunity for all

Australians. Should we be

more flex able around the

surplus target? We've laid

out our surplus position and

the reason we laid those out,

you and I have discussed on a

number of occasions, it's

about where fiscal policy

should be positioned at this

moment and at this time with

the economy growing and I

think the rate cuts

demonstrate the sense of that position. The carbon tax is

just a couple of weeks away,

or less. Tony Abbott appears

to have shifted his focus,

certainly this week, to where

the price is going to be in

2050, in the middle of the

century, pointing to Treasury

modelling. It's going to be

$350 a tonne. His point is

that the $23 starting price

is just the starting price.

It is going to go up and up

and up. He's right about

that. This is a man

desperately in search of a scare campaign. This is a

bloke who said the carbon

price would be the end of the

coal industry. What have we

seen? More investment in

coal. This is a bloke who

said that towns in my home

state would be wiped off the

map. I bet you here and now

they'll still be there with

July 1st and July 2nd. What's what happens year down

the track. What does it say

about a man who aspired to be

leader of this country the

best he can do is talk about

what might happen in 2050,

his attempt to whip up a fear

campaign. He's now walking

away from some of the things

he said. We've gone from

wrecking ball to python

squeeze. This is becoming

Monty Pythonesque. Can I ask you about Gina Rinehart and

the Fairfax board. The

Government's been expressing

concern today about her

refusal to say whether she'll

sign this charter of

editorial independence and

effectively not try and

influence what the newspapers do. Is there any role for the

Government here when it comes

to major media companies in

saying the board members

should all have to sign

something like that? You

wouldn't want governments to

have to do that, to have to

leglate to impose a principle

which I would have thought

media companies want to have. It's fundamental to our

democracy, fundamental to

your job and the jobs of many

journalists in this building,

fundamental to the way many Australians understand what

the media does. There's no

role for the government to

enforce that, to say this is

a major media company. I

think the company and the

market should reflect that. I

think what people need to

remember is that editorial

independence is about quality

journalism and quality journalism is about the value

of the company. I think

Fairfax particularly, people will look to those papers

because they have a certain

regard for journalists and

for the content. That would

be a value that would be

diminished if editorial independence was

compromisemented. Thank

you. Good to be with you.

Finance Minister Penny Wong there, so the Government

clearly rejecting the idea

put forward by the Greens

today that there be some sort

of legislation, some sort of

government requirement that

board members on mainly media

companies sign a charter of

editorial independence. The Government is urging Gina

Rinehart to do that but

certainly not going to

legislate that there be such

a requirement. If you watched

Question Time this afternoon

you would have seen that the

carbon tax once again dominated proceedings. At the end of the fortnight of

course parliamentarians head

back home to their

electorates for the long

winter break and the carbon

tax will be introduced on

July 1. Today the shadow Treasury Joe Hockey seized

upon some remarks from the

Treasurer Wayne Swan

yesterday that the carbon

price is only a fraction of

the rise in prices in NSW.

The big 18% increase in the

electricity prices was half

due to the carbon tax. Wayne

Swan tried to answer today

saying he was talking about

the electricity price rise

we've seen now over a number

of years which has been an

80% rise in recent years in

NSW. The Assistant Treasurer

David Bradbury has been

speaking to reporters about

this just in the last few

minutes. When it comes to

deceiving people about the

impact of the carbon price,

what we've heard is that it's

not going to be the Cobera

strike anymore, it will be a

python squeeze. That's

because the carbon arm geden

that Mr Abbott has been

warning us of is not going to

happen on 1 July. People will

wake up, the birds will still

be chirping and the sun will rise. Mr Abbott is going to

be looking around trying to find anything he can pin on

the carbon price. I think the

Australian people are more

sensible than that, and

certainly as part of the

Government I'll be out there trying to inform people of

the true costs of what are driving our power prices and

that the carbon price is only

a very smart part of that. The Prime Minister lied to

them during the last election

campaign. They don't care

anymore. They don't want a

carbon tax. Well the reality

of a carbon tax will be felt

by all on 1 July. It's not

the most popular policy that's ever been implemented

in this country, I dwrant you

that, but it is an important

long-term reform. It's

important because it will cut

greenhouse gas emissions so

we can play our part in

tackling climate change but

it will also drive investment

in clean energy. That's

important because if we want

to build a strong economy for

the future we should have an

economy less dependent on

fossil fuels. That's what we're building, hard decisions, the right decisions for the future of

this country are not always

popular ones. In the end

people will see that the

consequences of a carbon

price are not nearly as

desirous Mr Abbott has

suggested. The country will

move on. In NSW and South

Australia in say September

the average punter gets their

bill it's 20% and people know

there's a carbon tax. That

what will hurt you. In

Western Australia where power

prices have gone up over 50%

since the Barnett Government

has been in office.

Everything that goes on,

whether it's related to the

economy or not, Mr Abbott

will seek to blame the carbon

price for it. Today we're

hearing that the 66% increase

over the past 5 years are as

a result of the carbon price

when it hasn't even come into

effect. We'll get on with

trying to inform the

Australian people so they are

able to see the true impact

of the carbon price and the

benefits it will bring to our

economy in the lodger term.

You're not frustrated by the fact your message has been

lost and people are still

blaming the carbon tax for

almost everything? I have

great optimism that we can

continue to make the case and

that over time people will

see the bests of the

difficult decisions that we

are taking today. I recall

very well the period where the former Howard Government

was introduced the Goods and

Services Tax and similar

things were being said. In

fact, there are some people

whose long evident in this

place is such that not only

are they here today but they

were around back then. If you

trawl through the Hansard and

through their transcripts you

will see the reality of

politics is it's difficult to

make reforms like this but if they are the right thing for

the country and implemented

well over time people will

see the benefits that that

delivers for the economy.

David Bradbury the Assistant

Treasurer. You can expect this argument to continue in

the next couple of weeks in

parliament. Tonight on show

down the national Senate

leader will be along. He will

be very much focussed on the

carbon tax as well, the

impact it is going to have on industry and jobs right

around the country. In fact,

Tony Abbott told his troops

today when they doss go on

the long parliamentary winter

break at the end of next week

he will be spending the first

two weeks of July travelling

around the country as part of

his anti-carbon tax campaign

with fellow front benchers.

This will be the focus for

some time to come. We're out

of time for today's show.