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Good afternoon. Welcome to

PM Agenda. I'm David Spears.

Parliament is due to draw to

a close tonight. MPs will

head back to their

electorates for six weeks and

despite around 100 lives

being lost at sea in the last

week, no agreement has been

reached to deter boat

arrivals. Over the last two

days, we've seen heartfelt

speeches in parliament, but

the result hasn't been

parliament at its best, it's

been parliament at its worst.

The stalemate continue s.

Barring any sudden deal in

the next - well, it could be

five or six hours of debate

still to come in the Senate -

it appears a deal is unlikely

and the legislation,

therefore, that was passed by

the House last night will be defeated sometime tonight in

the Senate. Throughout the day, the Prime Minister has

been appealing to senators to

back what she calls a

compromise position. We are

now in a very straightforward

situation: either we can

leave this parliament with

laws that enable offshore

processing at the end of this

parliamentary day, or we can

fail the test of getting laws

in place. It's a "yes" or

"no" divide now, and I urge

senators, every senator, no

matter their party political

persuasion, to work today

with their fellow senators to

ensure that we see these laws

adopted. Coming up we'll be

talking to some of those who

have taken part in this

debate today. Labor's Doug

Cameron, who spoke today of

his change of heart on

offshore processing, and also

the Greens senator Sarah

Hanson-Young, why won't the

Greens give any ground on

offshore processing? Our

panel of journalists will

look at whether anyone has

come out of this week with

honour and later we'll talk

to Marion Lee, who's worked

with refugees for years.

Will any of the solutions

being put forward and argued about actually stop asylum

seekers making this dangerous

journey? First, a check of

the top stories this hour

with Mike Willacy. Thank you,

David. One person is dead

after a semi-trailer rolled

and crushed their car in

Sydney's west. The truck

tipped on to its right side

while turning from the

Cumberland Highway at

Liverpool. A car waiting at

a set of traffic lights was

crushed by the truck, killing

one person. Emergency crews

are still trying to find out

if anyone else was in the

crushed vehicle. This is a

tragic event that has

happened once again on our

roads. Innocent people were

sitting in their cars and

then, through no fault of

theirs, this tragic incident

has happened. The driver of

hospital for tests. A the truck has been taken to

section of the Cumberland

Highway has been closed in both directions. Motorists

are urged to avoid the area.

A major clean-up operation

continues on the Hume Highway

north of Melbourne after a

fuel tank er collided, the

tanker was carrying 67,000

litres of diesel and 16,000

litres of petrol, which

spilled on to the road. Both

drivers were treated by

paramedics at the scene.

Emergency services say it is

amazing no-one was seriously

injured. The highway remains

closed to north-bound

traffic. A new Hendra virus

case has been confirmed in

central Queensland.

Queensland chef veterinary

officer says a property

manager near Mackay contacted

a vet after discovering a

horse was gravely ill early

this week. The horse was

euthanased after the vet took

samples. Authorities are

investigating what contact

the horse had with other

animals on the property. News

Corp's board has approved a

plan to split the media

conglomerate into two pieces.

The the split is expected to

be formally announced later tonight, separating the

publishing unit from its

entertainment arm. The

Australian arm, including the

print media assets and the

stake in Foxtel and Fox

Sports, are expected to

remain together. Goldman

Sachs and JP Morgan are

reportedly advising on the

split. In the US, a further 32,000 people have been

ordered to evacuate as a fire

storm of epic proportions

spreads through Colorado's second most popular city. Authorities say it's the

worst fire disaster in the

State's history. In a matter

of hours, these Colorado

suburbs became a raging

inferno, dozens of homes consumed by flames, hundreds

of families tonight desperate

for answers. Mindy, like

thousands of others, got a

text message from authorities

saying she had minutes to

evacuate. She grabbed her

son, dog, and ran out. It

hurts just thinking going

back to my house and finding

it in ruins and tarred. Some

32,000 horrified residents

stuffed belongings in their

car and scrambled to get to

safety, including cadets and

personnel from the air force

academy which was partially

evacuated. Many people

captured the terrifying

moments on their cell phones. It's happened, it's

coming over the hill. The

fire doubled in size overnight, scorching more

than 15,000 acres and

evacuation zone mapping the

path of the flames, at times

moving at a rate of three

football fields a minute.

Yesterday 65 mile per hour

winds of fuel blazed out of

control, lifting an explosion

of red-hot embers, some as

heavy as a pound, carrying

them more than half mile

away. Those with wood roofs

didn't stand a chance. It's

virtually starting hundreds

if not thousands of little

fires in front of itself as

it goes. This is one of three

shelters set up for people

who had to evacuate their homes. They can pick up

food, snacks and of course

something to drink in this

blistering heat. Jason and

his wife and four young kids

wish they knew when they

could go back home. We're in

a limbo state more than

anything else trying to

figure out the next

step. It's a lot to take

firefighters from across the in. More than 1,000

country are battling the

blaze, the top fire-fighting

priority in the nation right

now. Military flames are dropping retardant from

above, still too early to say

just how many homes were lost. Just to breaking news

this hour, a magnitude 4.5

earthquake has hit Japan's

east coast. The quake struck

at a depth of 47km. No

initial reports of damage or

injuries. No tsunami warning

has been issued. We'll keep you updated on details as

they come to hand. Sport

news - Carlton players are

trying to brush a side the

Brock McLean Twitter

controversy ahead of tomorrow

night's match with Hawthorn.

They try to give Brett Ratten

the first-ever win against

the Hawks, but there is no

doubt drama surrounding the

tweet. It is obvious, I'm

sure they are frustrated, but

one little tweet in the

scheme of an Alf season is

one little tweet, let's talk about playing footy tomorrow

night. The Blues have lost

their last 8 games against

Hawthorn. Quick look at

tomorrow's weather forecast -

windy with showers in the

south, becoming mostly sunny

in the east and west. Now it

is back to David Speers as PM

Agenda continues. Thanks,

Mike. Coming up after the

break, we'll talk to the

Greens senator Sarah Hanson

Young and Labor senator Doug

Cameron as the debate in the

upper house on asylum seekers continues.

You're watching PM Agenda. Sometime tonight the Senate

will vote on whether to allow

offshore processing of asylum

seekers in Malaysia and

Nauru. The bill squeezed

through the lower house last

night but it's almost certain

to fail in the Senate. In reality, the Government's best hope lies with the

Greens, but for them to

capitulate on offshore

processing would be an

extraordinarily high-risk

move, potentially tearing the

minor party apart. There's

no sign they're about to do

it, despite immense pressure.

Today in the Senate the

Greens' immigration spokesperson Sarah Hanson-Young wept as she

recounted the story of a

young asylum seeker who faced

being sent to Malaysia before

the High Court ruled the

Malaysian Solution invalid.

He boarded a boat and came to

Australia. He was one of the

500 people that we detained

for up to three months last

year while we debated the

Malaysia Solution. He was

terrified, as a 15-year-old

on his own without his

family. His parents had been

killed, he was an orphan,

locked up for three months on Christmas Island with the

threat that he would be sent

back to Malaysia. Senator

Sarah Hanson-Young joins us

now. Senator, thanks for

your time. Look, no-one

doubts this 15-year-old you

spoke of there went through a

horrible ordeal, but isn't it

worse to actually die at sea,

as around 100 people have

just in a week? Look, what

I'm really focused on is what

we can do to save lives today

and what we can be doing to

ensure that into the future

people don't have to be

boarding boats in the first

place. Everyone who has

spoken in the chamber

yesterday and today in the

Senate I believe come to this debate with the best

intentions, I really do.

None of us wants to see people taking those risky

boat journeys, only to have the chance of them sinking

and dying. But this

legislation that we're

debating today does not save

lives, it removes protection

for young boys like Hussein

and the many others that,

over the years, will come

because they need protection

unless we give them a safer

option. Doesn't it stop them getting on the boat by

putting a deterrent in place

- and this gets to the

principle of it. Do the Greens believe there should

be some sort of deterrent or

should we just be welcoming

all boats? We know that

deterrents don't work, David.

That's what history has

proven to us. Mandatory

detention was introduced into this country because we

believed it would deter

people. It didn't.

Temporary protection visas

were brought in to toughen on

top of mandatory detention, because we were told it would

act as a deterrent. It

didn't. The Pacific Solution

was introduced and we were

told that would save people's

lives. Well, it didn't.

There were a number of boats

that sank after the Pacific

Solution was introduced, and

then, as the numbers of

people seeking refuge around

the region dropped, the

numbers of boats dropped.

That is the fact of the

matter. But the frequency of

boats since we've had onshore processing now for some years

has escalated and the

frequency of boat tragedies

at sea, as we've seen in the

last week or 10 days, has

been very clear as well.

That's right. We need to be

stopping people from having

to board those boats in the

first place. It's one of the

reasons why the Greens today

have moved amendments to this

legislation, to say "Let's do

some practical things that

would stop people having to

board those boats in the

first place,"immediately

increase the numbers of

people that we can bring directly from Malaysia and

Indonesia so we can take some

of the pressure off and send

a signal to people in those

camps that there is hope you

don't have to take the dangerous sea journey, you

need to be ensuring -- With

respect, people getting on

these boats aren't waiting in camps; these are people

paying whatever it is,

$10,000 to make a journey,

have an arranged people

smuggler deal to get on a

boat and make the journey to

Christmas Island. How does

increasing those in refugee

camps, increasing our intake

from there, stop them? David,

they are in camps, they're in

squats and slums throughout

Malaysia and Indonesia.

They've registered with the

UNHCR. They desperately want

protection, need protection, but because in these

countries, in Malaysia and in

Indonesia, they're not safe

there and there's no prospect

or no durable solution of

having them re settled, the

waiting list, if we can be as

crude as to call it a waiting

list, to be re settled from

Malaysia and given some

safety is 76 years. We need

to do something about that,

but we also need to be

building some protections in

these places for while people

are actually waiting.

Australia can't take them

all, I accept that, but we

have to be then pulling our regional partners together to

say "We will take this many,

if you take that many, if this country over here takes

that many, and across the

board let's not punish these

people while they're waiting." While you say

that's not punish, it's also no disincentive for any of

them to get on a boat. Yes,

we might take in more of

those who are in these camp

bees that you talk about, but

with no disincentive. There

are millions of displaced

people in this region. There

will always be those willing

to take this boat journey

without a disincentive. But

taking away the only

protections we have in law

for asylum seekers does not

make people safer, and that's what this legislation

does. But what if it saves

some lives, what if it stops

some of these boats going down? It won't save

lives. Surely that's worth

trying, after what we've seen

in the last week. We know it

won't save lives, there is no other safer option for

people. While people are

desperate for protection,

they'll continue to keep

running. They may not board

a boat to Australia, but

they'll take a boat to New

Zealand or take a boat

somewhere else. Not when

Christmas Island is so close

to Indonesia, that's where

they're all heading, they're

not going to go to New Zealand. You're saying if

the deterrent actually worked

and they stopped coming to

Australia. I'm saying unless

we build in these other safe

pathways for people, then

they will have to find alternatives to catch a boat

somewhere else. We know, in

fact, during the time when

the Malaysia announcement was looming and we were waiting

to see what the High Court

would do a number of boats started going to New Zealand.

That's an even more dangerous

boat trip. So the flow-on

effect in our region if we

remove the only protections

in law we have for refugees

doesn't make people safer, it

doesn't save lives. In fact,

it puts people in even more

danger and risks more lives.

What we can be doing - and

this is what the Greens have

put to the Parliament today -

is some things that could be

done immediately. We need to

drastically increase the

funding to the UNHCR so they

can try to get through a

number of these claims. We

need to make sure we rebuild

our relationship with

Indonesia. You mentioned

before that the numbers of

boats that have been coming

and of course then the

heightened risk of people

losing their lives at sea has

risen over the last few

months, and that's right.

Our level of cooperation with

Indonesia is quickly

unravelling. We need some higher-level discussions

between Australia and

Indonesia. What is it that

Indonesia needs from us for

us to be able to help them stop the boats leaving the

ports? I don't think anyone

disputes that, we need some closer cooperation there.

Just finally, senator, where

are we at now? Are

negotiations under way at all

still between the Greens and

the Government? Is there any chance of further compromise

on the part of the Greens tonight? We've put forward a

list of things that could be

done today to help save

lives. We're at a point

where the Greens, the

Opposition, the Government

all have differing views on

this, on how we process

people's claims and what we

do. But what we have done is

come up with some things that

all of us should be able to

agree on, things that would

make a difference today if

they were actioned

immediately. We have been

talking to the Government, we

have been talking to the

Opposition. We will continue

to talk about them -- But no

further movement? At this

stage it seems as though both

the Government and the

Opposition are stuck in this

idea that they have to and

they're willing to remove all

protection s in law simply so

Australia doesn't have to

take any more responsibility,

and that's simply not good enough. Senator Sarah

Hanson-Young, thank you.

Thank you. Coming up, we'll

talk to someone who used to

largely agree with the Greens

on all of this, anti-offshore

processing, Doug Cameron. First let's look at some

other contributions in the

debate today, one of them

Chris Evans, who was the

Immigration Minister under

the Rudd Government when they

dismantled the Pacific

Solution. He got rid of

Nauru, he got rid of

temporary protection visas,

and he said that was his

proudest political moment.

Well, listen to what he had

to say today. There is much,

much about this Bill that

challenges some of my

philosophical positions, my history, my baggage, if you

like. I was the one who

closed Nauru, I was the one who ended temporary

protection visas on behalf of

this Government. I find a

lot of this debate very

difficult. But one thing I

know is this Parliament has

the capacity to come together

and to respond to this issue. Someone who's fought

even more recently than Chris

Evans did, back at the start

of Labor's time in power,

Doug Cameron up until now has

fought - well, up until the

Labor conference last year,

to be more precise, has

fought against offshore

processing. He's a leading

figure in the left of the

Labor Party. Today he did admit during his contribution

to the Senate debate that

he's had a change of heart.

I'm troubled by the Nauru

approach. I'm troubled by

the Malaysian approach. I

have argued continually, over

many years, my opposition to

the Pacific Solution. I have

done that publicly, I have

done it within the Labor

Party and I just don't see,

regardless of the arguments

that the Coalition members

have put up here, that Nauru

could ever be contemplated as

some kind of success. But a

bit like Kane said and a bit

like the Nobel Prize-winning

economist Sam Nielsen, when

the circumstances change, you

change your mind and the

question is asked what would

you do? Well, I have changed

my mind. Doug Cameron joins

us now. Senator, thanks for

your time. You've changed

your mind, you say. Last

year you said "We should stop making asylum seekers the

problem and vilifying asylum

seekers. It's not their

problem that the only way

they can get here is through

people smugglers." That was

part of your argument against

the Malaysia Solution. What

has changed your mind on

that? Well, hundreds of

people are being killed,

mothers are being killed,

daughters are being killed,

sons are being killed,

brothers and sisters are

being killed. I don't want

that to happen anymore. So

were you wrong in your

previous position and do you

regret your previous

position? I don't regret my

previous position, but what I

do say now is I've had a look

at the situation and I think

a combination of the

Malaysian Solution, and for

political reasons Nauru, is

one way to say to people

smugglers "You have to stop

this practice". Just to be

clear here, Doug Cameron,

this is your genuinely

personally held belief, this

isn't just you towing the

line? No, I've not towed the

party line when I felt strongly about something. I

just take the view we have a

situation here we need to

take strong action on, and I

said today that there was two

developments in the Senate,

one from the Coalition, which

was pure hypocrisy, we never

heard any argument about

human rights from the

Coalition when the Pacific

Solution was in place. The

other position from the

Greens, which, in my view, is

simply denying the reality of

dealing with this and the

Greens are just im potent in

the purity that they're

trying to bring to this debate. You held the same

view as the Greens until very

recently. As Sarah

Hanson-Young has just pointed

out, we had boats go down

when offshore processing was

in place last time, hundreds

of people drowned. How are

you so confident that

offshore processing will stop

these boats? Well, I don't

have all the answers. I am not totally confident. But

what I have to do is look at

what the experts are saying.

The UNHCR and IOM have

indicated that they think

there is some benefit in the

Malaysian approach. I'm

happy that the Malaysian

approach would only be for 12

months. I'm simply saying

give it a go for 12 months,

let's see what happens, and

if the UNHCR have said there are benefits in it, that's

good enough for me. Your

concerns have always been

humanitarian ones. You've

been critical of the

Opposition's policy here, but

let's just be clear, they

want to go with only offshore

processing in countries that have signed the refugee

convention, like Nauru. Malaysia does not provide a

legally binding, legally

enforceable protection of

these people's human rights.

Yes, but that's an argument

of convenience from the

Coalition. Their position on

this -- It's an argument of

fact, though, isn't it? No,

it's an argument of

convenience, because when

Nauru was in place Nauru had

not signed anything to do

with human rights, so Nauru

were not signatories -- Well,

they are now. They are now,

and that's because, you know,

they've signed it because

they think they can get some

money into their depressed

communities and it might be

helpful for them. I don't

argue about that, but nobody

should argue that Nauru

signed because they're a humanitarian country, it's

not the case. This would be a

centre largely operated by

Australians, as it was last

time, or overseen by

Australians. Well, under the

Coalition you see what

happened under centres that

were run by Australians. We

had 14, 15 and 16-year-old

kids sowing their lip bees

up, we had people committing

suicide, we had people trying

to commit suicide. I have

absolutely no time for the

hypocrisy from the

Liberals. Do you think

people, including children,

that would be sent to

Malaysia would be thrilled to

be part of that? Well, the

UNHCR says that they will be

educated there, there will be checks and balances put in

place. The UNHCR have said

that they think it's an

appropriate thing to try, and

that would give them an

opportunity to take a step

towards a true regional solution. Where are we going

to end up here, Doug Cameron?

Tonight it looks like the

Senate will reject this.

We're back to this political

stalemate. Is there any room

for further compromise? Well,

I don't know. I just think hypocrisy and purity might

prevail, and that means more

people will be killed. I

think if there are further

discussions, then those discussions should take

place. The Greens now have

an opportunity to sit down

with the Government and talk

about some of the practical

issues surrounding the Malaysian approach. If I

were them, I would be

counselling them to sit down

with the Government, stop the

purist nonsense and get this through and stop people being killed in the high seas. Should Parliament keep

sitting? It should sit as

long as we can to deliver an

outcome that takes away from people smugglers the

opportunity to kill innocent

people. All right, Labor

Senator Doug Cameron, thank

you for joining us this

afternoon. Thank you. After

the break, our panel of

journalists Mark Kenni y and

Andrew probin looking at what

has been another

extraordinary week in the

parliament. We'll look at

the debate over the last 48

hours. Has anyone really

emerged with honour? Stay with us.

You're watching PM Agenda.

In a moment our panel of

journalists. First a check

of the headlines, news

hidlines, here's Mike

Willacy. Greens leader

Christine Milne says the

Prime Minister could take

immediate action to help

prevent more loss of asylum

seeker lives at sea. The

Greens are opposing

legislation in the Senate

passed by the House of

Representatives yesterday to

remove legal uncertainty over

offshore processing of asylum

seekers created by a High

Court ruling. Senator Milne

says if Ms Gillard wants to

ensure safety at sea, the

Government could increase Australia's humanitarian

intake to around 20,000.

Mean time, another suspected

asylum seeker boat has been intercepted off Christmas

Island. The vessel is

thought to be carrying as

many as 100 people. It was

spotted just hours after a

second boat in less than a

week capsized off the island. Authorities have now called

off the search for survivors,

with four people confirmed

dead, 130 people rescued.

West Australian Premier Colin

Barnett has confirmed

controversial former

Treasurer Troy Buswell will

return to the role. Premier

Barnett also admitted three

new Ministers ahead of the

State election. Michael

Mischin will become new

Attorney-General, Lisa Harvey

will take responsibility for

police and roads and Murray

Cowper will oversee training

and protective services. Rob

Johnston has been dumped from

cabinet. One person is dead

after a semi-trailer rolled

and crushed a car at an

intersection in Sydney's

west. The truck tipped on to

its side while turning from

the Cumberland Highway on to

the Hume Highway at

Liverpool. A car waiting at

a set of traffic lights was

crushed by the truck. The

male driver of the truck was

taken to hospital for tests.

A section of the Cumberland

Highway has been closed and

motorists are urged to avoid

the area. In the US State of

Colorado, a bushfire has

destroyed dozens of homes and

charred land on the edges of

the air force academy near

Colorado Springs. The

bushfire covers around 72

square kilometres and so far

has forced mandatory

evacuations of more than

32,000 residents.

Firefighters say the blaze is

only about 5% contained. President Barack Obama is due

to tour the area tomorrow.

In sport, NSW players hit the training paddock today confident backrower Glen

Stuart will be fit to play in

the State of Origin decider.

The Blues are preparing as if

injured fullback Billy Slater will play for Queensland. The weather tomorrow - windy

with showers in the south,

becoming mostly sunny in the

east and west. Mike, thank

you. Let's bring in our

panel this afternoon.

Joining us from Canberra Mark

Kenny and Andrew Probyn from the West Australian. Great

to see you both, thanks for

joining us. I want to start

at where we're at this

afternoon. Some hours we

expect in the Senate debate

before they finally get to a

vote later tonight. Is there

any chance of a compromise at

all, Andrew? Are there

negotiations under way or is

this destined for

defeat? Well, I think at the

present time it looks like

it's going to fail. I

suppose the question

therefore becomes what does

the Government do, does it

accept some sort of amendment

to the bill, an amendment

that perhaps, or similar amendment or same amendment

they were considering in the

House yesterday? The Prime

Minister has said that she is

not interested in a win or a

loss, just getting something

done. Well, if getting

something done means that

they walk away with at least

some form of offshore

processing, they could

accept, I suppose, an

amendment to that Bill.

That's not ideal for the Government. Are you stalking

about an amendment there

perhaps from the Coalition

that would knock out

Malaysia? That would knock

out Malaysia and they go

ahead with Nauru. Now,

that's always a possibility. The Government doesn't want

that because it thinks that,

first of all, it would be a

humiliation they can't take.

But walking away after this

week and going to a six-week

break with nothing might be

even worse. Mark Kenny, this

is an extraordinary game of

chicken really. Do you think

either side is going to blink

before they all pull stump be

s tonight? It's a good way of

putting it. I don't see any

real sign of it. If the

Government were to simply

pull Malaysia off the table

as a concession to the

Opposition, I think it would

go an awful long way towards

resolving getting passage of

this Bill, but what are you

left with then? You're left

with a situation where you

have effectively Nauru as

your main offshore processing

centre. Now, Nauru has a

limited capacity as well.

The Opposition has been very

happy to talk about the 800

limit on people going to

Malaysia under the Malaysia

transfer agreement. Well,

Nauru, depending on the size

of the centre that was

reopened there, would have a

limit and presumably would

fill up fairly quickly as

well. It's hard to see that that would actually achieve

any sort of serious system.

At this stage there's no real

sign the Government is

looking to do that. It has

been an extraordinary couple

of days, the debate in the House in particular yesterday

and then in the Senate today.

Andrew Probyn, do you think

anyone has particularly

shone, has come out of this -

yes, we've seen heartfelt

speeches, but who do you

think has shown real honour,

real willingness to

compromise? Look, on

compromise, I think the

Government gets that by

points, but no-one actually

comes out of this very well

at all. This has been pretty

pathetic really that we've

had almost 400 people die

since the last election and

we're in this situation. The

fact is that no-one has the

answers. The Opposition says

that its three policies are

the answer. Well, they're

not. There's lots of

problems with each and every

one of them. The Government

says it has some answers, if

not the answer. Well, it's

not the answer. And the

Greens' suggestion of simply

increasing humanitarian

intake to 20,000 and faster

processing in Indonesia is

not the answer either. In

fact, that could be a pull

factor. The fact is you're

dealing with people smugglers

who are running criminal

enterprises and people who

can be brought from Qatar or

from Tehran and be on a boat

to Christmas Island within

five, six days. That's what

you're dealing with. So it

is both a humanitarian issue,

but also a people smuggling

issue. That's why it's so

complex. That's why you've

seen such extraordinary

movement today. Look what

you just had Doug Cameron

from Labor's left saying

"give Malaysia a go".

Goodness me, someone from

Labor's left talking about

offshore processing a couple

of years ago would have been

unheard of. What you saw,

in that interview before was

in itself extraordinary.

That's the kind of strange

times we're in. That's right.

It's almost like we've had a

significant shift in this

debate because people are

weighing up what's more

immoral, having people turned

back to Malaysia, for

example, or having them risk

their lives and numbers of

them die at sea. That seems

to be the equation that's now

being made by people and it's

seen a number of people on

the Labor side shift. I

think, going back to your

question about who has distinguished themselves,

there have been a number of

MPs who have announced that they've changed their

position on the basis of the

evidence, and I think we have

to give them points for that,

just on the basis that it's a

hard thing to do in politics

and they're doing it openly.

Michael Danby yesterday was

fascinating, because I

remember a few years ago he was talking about Christmas

Island being a white elephant

and he effectively said he

was wrong in some of these

views on offshore processing.

This is the guy who was chair

of the joint migration

committee. So there's been a

hell of a shift and I think

that that is what happens

when you have people being

lost in great numbers. Now,

Andrew Wilkie did give - made

a pretty big shift, because

he has been, and apparently

still is, opposed to offshore

processing, but he delivered

the final number for the

Government for this to get

through the House last night.

What happened there? A lot

of confusion as to whether

Mal Washer would vote with

the Government or not, Andrew

Wilkie had to put out a

statement today. Mark,

what's the story there? My

understanding is that in the

case of Mal Washer, he was

extremely vexed, as we know.

It was an extremely difficult

situation for him. As I

understand it, there are a

few different versions of

this, but as I understand he

was willing to vote with the

Government to see the

Oakeshott Bill get up as amended but was relieved as

having to split from his

party when he was advised by

Labor, as I understand it,

that they had the numbers and

therefore he wasn't needed,

he wasn't slutdzly necessary

for the passage of the Bill.

As for Wilkie's position,

well, I'm still a bit

confused about that, but

obviously he may have come to

the view that a number of

people have come to that it's

better to do something,

something has to be tried

here because the status quo

is just not acceptable. Now,

it looks like therefore we'll

finish up tonight back with

no resolution, a stalemate

continues unless a last-minute deal is struck.

Question Time in the lower

house, however, was dominated

by the carbon tax. This is

now, what, just a few days

away. Sunday it comes into

force finally. It has been,

of course, the most

politically contentious

policy area perhaps of this

decade, putting a price on

carbon. Tony Abbott, not

surprisingly, tried to move a

censure motion against the

Prime Minister. She, which

she rarely does, stuck around

and responded to it. Take a

look. This is a Prime

Minister who sacrificed the

welfare of the Australian

people, who shredded her own

credibility, who broke her

own word to save her job, and

that is the political crime

that gnaws at this Prime

Minister every hour of every

day. That is the political

crime which haunt s this Parliament. The Leader of the

Opposition is as worked up as

he is today, as full of

insults, because he can see 1

July looming, he can see

Sunday looming, and he knows

from 1 July on he will be

held to account for every

negative, reckless campaign

claim he has made. Well,

Andrew Probyn, it was

probably a good idea for the

Prime Minister to take that

one on, to contribute to

defend herself in that

motion, but, again, this has

not shifted much. How

important will the coming

weeks be in assessing the

impact of the carbon

tax? Well, as one of the

people from the Rudd camp

told me recently, the clock

is already ticking on Julia

Gillard. I think the clock

is going to tick a bit faster

after 1 July. It's going to

be quite critical. It has to

go smoothly for a start, and

the Government is looking at

the way that the GST was

implemented 12 years ago as a

model. But even with the

GST, you know, that wasn't

that smooth. John Howard had

a lot of problem s on petrol

in particular, and it wasn't

until eight months after the

imposition of the GST that he

moved on petrol with the

excise decision. Now, I

don't think Julia Gillard has

eight months of horrible

polling left in her, so I

think that there has to be some improvement and it's

going to be reliant, from

Labor's perspective, on them

showing that the death of

Whyalla, the death of

industry, has been greatly

exaggerated, and they have to

turn it around. But Tony

Abbott is a very snappy -

well, he has snappy lines and

it's very hard to kind of cut

through. He cuts through

very, very well. This is the

thing. Obviously the

Government is hoping to

expose some of the claims

he's made as being overblown,

and Craig Emerson, the

Government's stuntman, Mark

Kenny, had a measuring tape

in Question Time today and

pointed out that he'll be in

Whyalla on Sunday to prove

that the sky hasn't fallen

in. But, regardless of the

Government's efforts here, do

you think people will

immediately buy their

position and dismiss all that

Tony Abbott has said, or will

they give this whole carbon

tax a bit longer to make a

judgment on? Well, I don't

think they'll suddenly change

their minds and I don't know

whether they'll take longer

to make a judgment on it,

because I think to large

measure they already have

made a judgment about it.

This is where the danger is I

think for Julia Gillard.

Labor has predicated a lot of

its strategy on the idea when

1 July comes and the period

afterwards it will show Tony Abbott's exaggerations up.

That may be true. But the

real test for Julia Gillard's

leadership and for Labor's

chances of any sort of

recovery are whether people actually shift their votes as

a result of it, whether

people mark Tony Abbott down.

Now, that's a fairly big

leap, and I think to some

extent she's made a rod for

her own back, because as much

as 1 July looms as the moment

when the truth is told about

Tony Abbott, it also looms

for Julia Gillard's

leadership. If Labor's

figures do not start to recover reasonably promptly

through this winter period,

then it really leaves no future promise that Julia

Gillard can point to and say

"Look, just hang on to then,

it will all come good",

she'll have had her last

chance. I think at that

point MPs may start looking

around for some other

options. Yes, I'm sure that

debate will return at some

point. Mark Kenny, Andrew

Probyn, we're out of time,

but thank you very much for

joining us this afternoon.

Thanks, David. We're going to

take a break and come back

and talk to a refugee lawyer.

Marion Lee has been working

with refugees for years. She

knows them well, she knows

what motivates them. We're

going to look at whether any

of the solutions being argued

about in Canberra will really

stop these people getting on

boats, making this dangerous

journey. We'll talk to

Marion Lee right after the

break. s

The Shadow Immigration

Minister, Scott Morrison, is

going to be talking to the

media in about five minutes

from now. It's apparent ly

about a press conference

about the Greens rejecting

the Coalition offer to break

the impasse. That doesn't

sound like we're any closer

to a compromise. Anyway,

we'll take you there when

that happens. In the mean

time, marran Lee is a refugee

lawyer and advocate, she's

worked with refugees for

years, is a leading advocate

in this field and joins us

now from Canberra. Thanks

for your time. Firstly, what

have you made of the debate

over the last 24, 48 hours

from all sides in this? Well,

I'm actually quite appalled

by the unseemly haste which

is evidenced at the moment in

this Parliament, the fact that both sides rushed to

judgment yesterday, rushed into the House of

Representatives and put up

their own bills and then

moved amendments and now we

have the same thing going on.

I mean, it's not hasty in the

Senate, but the fact that

behind the scenes people are

trying to cobble together a

long-term policy I think is

quite devastating for those

of us who understand how

absolutely important it is to

get this right. It's a fair point, this problem has been

around for years and years,

but I suppose the two boat

tragedies that we've seen

over the past week has added

the urgency to this before

Parliament rise s tonight for

the long winter break. But I

guess rushing this through

may not be perhaps the best

way to come up with a

solution. Let me ask you

about the various options

that are on the table. The

Greens say no offshore

processing, Labor is

insisting that Malaysia be

part of the mix, the

Coalition is insisting that

Malaysia not be part of the

mix, only Nauru. Does anyone

have the right answer? I don't think so. I think it

has to be a mix of all of

them, in a sense, but really

we need to be stopping the

necessity for people to take

to the boats to come to Australia. I believe that

what we need to be doing is

coming to a regional solution

- I've said this for the last

I don't know how many years,

10 years - go back to the way

in which the indo Chinese

refugees were processed, have

a regional agreement in place

where we work together with

Indonesia, with Malaysia,

with any other countries in

the region that we need to,

to stop people getting in the

boats. If we look at the

Nauru Solution that's being

offered, that really does in

and of itself say that people

will get into boats and on

their way they will be

intercepted. So I think it's quite hypocritical of the

Opposition to be holding fast

to Nauru, which we know was

an unmitigated disaster last

time. I was the person that

Amanda Vanstone allowed to go

there, at my own cost, I

might add, to finalise the

applications for everyone there. What about Malaysia,

what do you think of this

plan? Well, I've never really understood what we were doing

when we were talking about

trading in people, 800 people

for 4,000. If we're going to

bring people in from

Malaysia, let's do it

properly, let's go there,

work with the UNHCR, use the

UNHCR assessment process. I

understand there's already 1,200 people who are

recognised by the UNHCR as

refugees offshore. Let's

start bringing those people

in so that the people who are

so frustrated, some of them

waiting up to six years to be

re settled, can get the feeling that we don't need to

get in boats, there is a

process going on in Malaysia

now, in Indonesia, and we

will wait until we are re settled without going into

these boats. Well, as I said

earlier, you've worked with

refugees and asylum seekers

for years. I want to ask you

about the motivation here.

If there is a system in place

that makes it clear to them

that if they get on a boat,

they're likely to end up

being sent to Malaysia or Nauru, is that going to

change their mind? Are they

going to not get on these

leaky boats? No, I don't

think it will make much

difference at all, if any,

because the truth of it is

that these people are fleeing

from situations in their own

countries or in their own

places of second asylum, such

as in Pakistan with the has

ahas, for instance, where

genocide is being played out

every day. The Hazaras are targeted, we hear every day

about people whose family

members have been killed in

Quetta, or further up north

where I understood people

came from that particular

valley in the North of

Pakistan, most of them

Hazara. Those people feel

they have no choice now, they can't be processed in

Pakistan. There is no office

of the UNHCR open to them

there, so they move on to

Malaysia and then on to

Indonesia, because that's

where the UNHCR is situated.

I don't think it's going to

make any difference to people

if they think well, we've got

to move on, whether they're

going to be processed in

Nauru or if they're sent back

to Malaysia. But, as I said, I don't think that that's

even going to be a workable

solution at all. You've

talked about a regional

solution, and everyone would

love to see a regional

solution, but what are the

realistic chances of that

happening, of Indonesia, for

example, which is the key to

all of this, agreeing to

either sign the refugee

convention or to have better

processing systems in place?

What are the prospects of a regional solution? Well, I

don't think we have to insist

that Indonesia signs the

United Nations convention.

Many of the countries of

first asylum haven't done

that - Pakistan, Iran,

they're not signatories to

that convention. What we do

is we call those the

countries of first asylum,

and countries of settlement,

such as Australia, then just

guarantee that, yes, people

processed in those countries

will be re settled under the

auspices of the UNHCR in,

say, Australia. Now, I can't

see why Indonesia would not

agree to that. I'm just not completely sure what

negotiations have gone on

behind the scenes, but I do

know this, I know that

Indonesia is opposed to

pushing the boats back, and

that's part of the

Coalition's policy, to say

okay, when we find a boat in

trouble, we will turn it

around and push it back.

Now, if your viewers look at

the boats of this last week,

there was no chance at all of

pushing them back and they

certainly, as I j understand

it, didn't put holes in the

boats themselves. Where's

the policy in that? Well, it

is a vexing issue and it

doesn't look like we're going

to solve it tonight. Marion

Le, we have to leave it there but thank you very much for

joining us. Thank you Scott

Morrison was due to hold a press conference around now.

That's now been replaced by a

joint press conference with Scott Morrison and Tony

Abbott. That will happen in

about 15 minutes from now.

We'll bring that to you live.

Meanwhile, we're also keeping

an eye on the Senate, where

they are starting to get into

some detailed negotiations on

the amendments, debating some

of those amendments. We'll

keep you up to date on that

as well. But we will take a

break. Thank you for your

company on PM Agenda. After

the break, the very latest

Sky News.

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