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Welcome to the program. It was only

a matter of time - Labor leadership

rumblings have been reignited by none

none other than Julia Gillard's

chief whip. We will bring you Joel

Fitzgibbon's comments and the PM's

response. Also the expert panel on

asylum seeker policy has met for

the first time. It will hear from

Chris Bowen and Tony Windsor, who

also attended those talks. Plus,

what is Bob Brown up to these days

and what does he think of the

stoush that has erupted between his

stoush that has erupted between his beloved Greens and Labor? I will

speak to the former Greens Leader

later in the program. First, a look at the headlines.

Australia's struggling

manufacturing industry is facing

more job losses, with Ford

announcing 440 workers will be made

redundant. The cuts will be made as

the carmaker scales down its

production despite a cash injection

from state and federal governments

earlier this year. Ahron Young was

at Ford's plant at Broadmeadows.

The unions have described the

announcement from Ford as a kick in

the guts for the 440 people and

their families. We understand

around 10% of the workforce on the

production floor will lose their

jobs, spread out between

Broadmeadows and Geelong. That

plant has been around since 1925.

It is in response to hit $290

million loss announced by Ford in

May, particularly because of a

reduction in the number of Ford

Falcon models sold in the past year

and past couple of months. Dave

Oliver from the ACTU says Ford has

a lot of questions to answer. We

are particularly disappointed in

the lack of adequate consultation

regarding the announcement. I also note from Minister Combet's

comments that they were not advised

of this announcement until sometime

in the evening of last night. The

announcement is also reduction in

production, going from 209 cars

down to 148 per day. The

ramifications are expected to be

felt across the car industry,

particularly the component

manufacturers. The Victorian

Premier, Ted Baillieu, has returned

from holidays and says the

Government will do all they can to

help the sacked workers. Port have

indicated clearly there will be a generous redundancy package

available and we will be working

with the Federal Government and

Ford to make sure that is in place.

The announcement comes on top of

240 people who lost their job here

at Ford last year and hundreds made

unemployed by Toyota and few months

ago as Victoria's auto

manufacturing sector again feels the squeeze.

, defence chief Angus Houston has

chaired the first meeting of an

expert panel on asylum seeker part

-- policy. -- former defence chief. The Government wants to resurrect

its Malaysian people swap deal

while the Greens oppose offshore

processing altogether. The Opposition, which opposes the

Malaysian deal, has refused to take

part in the Multi-Party Reference

Group but has met separately with

Mr Houston. Immigration Minister

Chris Bowen said the meeting was

constructive. There was a spirit of

goodwill in the room. I won't go

into details, and obviously came at

it in support of their own policies,

but nevertheless it is important

there is a spirit of good faith and

a willingness to take seriously the

recommendations of the panel.

That's our commitment and that

should be the commitment of every political party.

Police have arrested a man in

Queensland after a woman died

during a suspected domestic dispute

at a unit on Sydney's Northern

Beaches last night. The body of a

woman in her 30s was found in a

unit at North Curl Curl. Neighbours

raising the alarm after hearing an

argument coming from the home.

Today authorities arrested a 44-

year-old man at Brisbane airport

after he departed a plane from

Newcastle. He has been taken to the

Queensland Criminal Investigation

Branch, where he is currently

assisting police with their

enquiries. The woman, in her 30s,

is yet to be identified.

And 15 minus, seven hours

underground. Evacuation protocols

forcing them into a single refuge

chamber was light, air, power and

water to wait out the fire. We have

had confirmation that the remaining

15 miners are on the surface. So

everyone is accounted for and well.

13 others made it before them. They

had made it to other chambers. One

is receiving special attention for possible smoke inhalation. They

were all trapped before dawn this

morning. We do not yet know what

triggered the fire. This will be

the focus of our investigation at a

later stage. Construction started

on the mine in 2010 and the mining

company says there was no risk of

an explosion, but smoke poured out

of the vent shaft and the union

says it wants to know why the

engine caught fire. It says there

hasn't been an incident of this

scale at the mine before and it is

pushing a game for stronger mining

regulations. It's not yet clear

when the mine will reopen.

Workers are many -- maintaining

their picket line outside a Coles

warehouse in Melbourne despite a

court order banning dozens of union

organisers from the strike.

Officials from the National Union

of Workers have been banned from

stopping trucks entering the

building. Loretta Johns was there

and filed this report. Workers here

at the Coles warehouse at Somerton

are remaining defiant despite a

Supreme Court order demanding the

picket line be lifted. The National

Union of Workers was given until 9

AM this morning for workers to lift

the picket line. The deadline has

passed and instead of removing the

blockade it has been reinforced.

Workers have brought in more crates

to add to the wall that is blocking

trucks entering and leaving. The

protest has been in place since

last Tuesday. Workers say they just

want to be afforded the same

entitlement enjoyed by other Coles warehouse workers across the

country. The workers last week

voted unanimously to reject the new

pay deal put on the table by the

Toll Group, saying it doesn't come

close to address the issues they

are concerned about. Police are

monitoring the situation but so far

they say they have not been asked

to forcibly remove anyone from the


A problem for a -- public forum in

Sydney tonight aims to address the

escalating violence in Sydney's

nightclub district. It coincides

with a reported breakthrough in

relation to the murder of Thomas

Kelly, killed in Kings Cross

earlier this month. Coming price has more.

Police say they are closing in on

the person who hit and killed

Thomas Kelly in Kings Cross earlier

this month. The teenager was king-

hit as he walked with friends on

his first night out in the cross

Dharshini Cross, and police say

they have identified a male suspect

after going through CCTV footage.

Authorities also say they have

interviewed a number of witnesses.

The family of the 18-year-old say

they are planning a private funeral

including a memorial service at his

former school. Clover Moore and

Malcolm Turnbull meanwhile will

host a forum aimed at curbing the

violence in the Cross. Among the

suggestions, winds down hours were

no alcohol is served, and lollipops

to be handed out to patrons as they leave.

An official from the United Arab

Emirates says a boat which was

fired on by an American navy ship

in the Gulf was a fishing vessel.

It still unclear why it would --

why it had feared so close to an

American armed vessel and ignored

repeated warnings to turn away. The

US Navy ship opened fire on the

boat near Dubai's Jebel Ali port,

killing one person and wounding three others.

The Pentagon has confirmed this

civilian-operated tank had spotted

a small boat coming too close, it

felt, to it, and repeatedly issued

warnings, visible warnings. The US

Navy say they were ignored by those

on the small boat. Then they opened

fire with a .50 calibre machine gun.

The US Navy has sent us old

pictures of the Rappahannock doing

what it usually does, refuelling

warships in the Gulf. Also some

pictures of sailors, Navy personnel,

learning to use those .50 calibre

guns on board in situations like

this. You can see what was on the

minds of that navy ship. For many

years the US has feared the fast

boats of the Iranian Revolutionary

Guard buzzing around US ships. It's

not that far to Iranian waters. It

has happened in the past. George W

Bush described it as a provocative

act many years ago. It appears in

this case it was a case of mistaken

identity. They fired at a fishing

vessel and that had deadly

consequences for those on-board.

All of this at a time of increased

tension in the Gulf. The US is

piling more military hardware and

crew. The Iranians are threatening

to close the Strait of Hormuz at

protest at sanctions. There is

always a fear it would only take

one small spark, a case like this, a mistaken identity, something

minor that would lead to a major

confrontation. There is no sign yet

this has happened in this case, but

both sides watching very carefully

what happens in the days to come.

Egypt's political transition,

stalled peace talks and the run's

nuclear ambitions were all on the

table when Hillary Clinton met

Israel's leader, Benny Mac, in

Jerusalem. -- Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

This is likely to be Hillary

Clinton's last visit to Israel

before the US election. All the

smiles, this is one area of foreign

policy were even President Obama admits his administration has

failed. In a transformed Middle

East, the Israeli-Palestinian peace

process is still on hold. You are

absolutely right, we are living in

a time of unprecedented change that

a lot of challenges for us both.

And we will continue to consult

closely, as we have, on an almost

daily basis between our two

governments to chart the best way

forward for peace and stability for

Israel, the United States, the

region and the world. Israel says

it wants negotiations with the

Palestinians here their Prime Minister's won't talk until there

is a total freeze on settlement

building and Washington has long

stopped giving -- pushing for that.

Mrs Clinton has been coming here

for 3.5 years, meeting the leaders

and failing to deliver a

breakthrough. Despite President

Obama's pledge to make ending this

conflict is number one foreign

policy objective. It's now Iran

that dominates. I made very clear

that the proposals we have seen

from Iran as far within the P5 +1

negotiations are nonstarters.

Despite three rounds of talks, it

appears that the run has yet to

make a strategic decision to

address the international

community's and cents. -- that Iran

has yet. And to fill their

obligations under the UN Security

Council.... It won't take a long

time before Iran will be turn to

our culture and our tradition and

be a free nation among free nations,

that nobody threatens her and she

shouldn't threaten anybody else. So

keeping the alliance strong is the

main priority now.

A quick look at sport. Chris Judd

is expected to plead guilty at the

AFL Tribunal tonight. He was

charged with a chicken wing tackle

and had his case referred straight

through to the tribunal. Meanwhile,

North Melbourne's Jack Ziebell has

decided to contest his high heat on

Aaron Joseph. If unsuccessful, he

could be out for four weeks while

Brisbane's Daniel Merrett is facing

two weeks on the sidelines. The weather tomorrow:

Now back to Ashleigh Gillon as PM Agenda continues.

Coming up next, Chris Bowen and my

chat with Tony Windsor. Stay with us.

Are welcome back 2 PM Agenda. Is

Julia Gillard going to last? It is

the questions on the lips of voters, commentators and Labor MPs around

the country. Last night, Joel

Fitzgibbon Tomic the Labor Party

chief whip, was asked the same

question. His answer wasn't a

ringing endorsement. Have a listen.

ringing endorsement. Have a listen.

No matter what political party you

are talking about, if leaders

remain unpopular long enough, they

will inevitably stop leading the

party. But Julia Gillard is doing

good work, she's got a long way to

go. On the basis of what you just

said... That was quite a ringing

endorsement. That suggests her time

is limited or dependent on her poll

numbers. I believe Julia Gillard's

poll numbers will improve. Today, the Opposition has been pressuring

the Prime Minister to sack Joel

Fitzgibbon for those comments, but

today, Julia Gillard wouldn't buy

into the debate, and sister in no

less than nine times that the

leadership -- insisting that the

leadership question was dealt with.

We resolve these questions in

February. We resolve this issue in

February. We resolve the question

of issue -- leadership inventory.

I've dealt with your question and

we dealt with those matters in

feathery. -- February. The prime

ministers cause would get a boost

if she could come up with a way through the stalemate on asylum

seekers. Today, the expert panel

selected to advise the government,

met for the first time. Chris Bowen

told my colleague earlier that he

was optimistic a breakthrough could

be reached. That is what the

process is about, trying to reach a

compromise. We had the first

meeting of the reference group

today. The panel has been working assiduously for the last fortnight,

meeting with groups across the

country and formulating their dues.

But it was important for those

members of the Parliament wanting

to be part of the solution, they

had the opportunity to talk to the

panel today. There was a spirit of

goodwill in the room. I won't go

into detail about who said what,

but everybody came in support of their own policies, nevertheless,

it's important that there was a

spirit of good faith and a

willingness to take seriously the

recommendations of the panel. That

is our commitment and that should

be the commitment of every

political party. Every party will

have their own process and way of

working these issues through, but I

would like to thank everybody could

take the recommendations of the

panel. There are no indications the

Liberal Party is prepared to do

that. I'm glad the rest of

Parliament was represented in that

room today. You talk about taking

them seriously, that you are yet to

say as a government that you will

accept the recommendations of this

panel. Considering you have gone to

the effort of setting it up, three eminent Australians, no one

disputes that, wouldn't it be a bad

look if you don't accept it lock

stock and barrel. We wouldn't set

it up if we were going to take the

recommendations seriously, of

course we will. We accept every

political party has their own

caucus, Cabinet, executive process

to work through. We wouldn't expect

anybody to sign sight unseen to any

particular recommendation. But our

commitment is to take seriously in

an attempt to break the deadlock

the recommendations of the panel.

Just as we have until now, we put Nauru on the

Nauru on the table for the Opposition, temporary protection

bit -- visas, the government has

moved a long way in terms of

compromising to get the issue

solved. Mr Abbott has refused to

move a centimetre or even send

someone to the meeting today.

That's not entirely true. He is

going to contribute to the panel.

He said he would provide feedback.

That's fine to have a meeting with

the panel and try to lecture them,

but you have to give the commitment

that you will work with whatever

recommendations... But they are not

demanding TPV, they are not

demanding boats be turned back,

they are the two key parts of their

policy. The only move was to

scuttle the deal, to agree to it

and intake in refugees, not to get

legislation through, but stop one

of their members crossing the floor.

If the Opposition was serious about

this... Look at the government's

proposal, it's time to stop arguing,

let's do Malaysia, let's do Nauru,

we don't think it will work because,

Ciaran, if anybody sits in this

studio and argues to you if you

implement Malaysia... We know the

offer from the government, but it

is wrong to say that Tony Abbott

hasn't moved an inch. They are not

demanding TPV, they are not

demanding you turn back the boats,

in that sense, it's quite

substantial. The position has been

from the beginning that they will

not vote for this legislation,

despite good faith offers to them,

which we have improved over time in terms of those discussions. They

have not come back to the

government in any genuine attempt

to get legislation through. They

said they would vote for it if you

remove Malaysia. So they will vote

for legislation, providing

government policy can't be

incremented. But we need to move

incremented. But we need to move pastors, the Australian people have

had a gut full. This is why we have

tried to break this deadlock by

pulling these three eminent

Australians together to work with

Parliament to try to get a

breakthrough. I know it was an

unusual move, but justified in

unusual circumstances. As I say, I

hope political parties come to this

in good faith as the Mac has done.

People's lives are at stake, we

might need to move away from

positions held dearly in the past.

Tony Windsor was also present at

this morning's meeting, also

hopeful a solution can be found.

But can that hope to be transformed

into a result on the floor of

Parliament. I spoke to the

independent MP earlier. I thought it was quite good.

it was quite good. We had about 2.5

hours, I guess, of discussion and

comment. I thought it was very

constructive. Very impressed with

the three on the committee that are

looking at this. I think they are

going to give this a real go in

terms of coming up with options for

the Parliament to look at. I'm

pleased to be involved in the

process. Did the members agree on

anything so far? Have you reached

consensus in any of the aspects of

policy development yet? This

morning's meeting was about

essentially Angus Houston and his

group hearing the diverse views of

Parliament. The Greens were there,

the lady at -- Labor Party, the

Deputy Prime Minister, John Madigan

from the Senate and myself as

crossbenchers. They were in

listening mode. We did engage in

some degree of discussion and

talked about definition issues and

some of the legal issues. But it

was more about what is the

Parliament saying? Where is the

wriggle room in Parliament, if any?

Where are the issues of agreement?

Most people know where the issues

of disagreement are. I found it

very constructive, though. And not

being an expert on these things, I

learned a lot as well. My point at

the start of the meeting, there is

going to be an enormous onus or

expectation on the committee itself

because the Parliament, in a sense,

has failed to get a resolution

through the Senate. These three

gentlemen have enormous regard and

respect in the wider Australian

community. What they do say and

people can talk about outsourcing

and that sort of thing, I think we

need to look beyond that, what they

do say at the end of it, we should

have some regard for and it should

carry some weight hopefully in

Parliament and also in the public

arena. But when you have the Greens

saying they won't budge on opposing

offshore processing and Tony Abbott

is not budging from his policy on

Nauru, temporary protection visas

and turning back the boats, isn't

it unrealistic to think you can

come up with a solution that will

get through Parliament because that

is where this is stuck at the

moment? We have to look at the high

side. I've seen many issues in my

political career when no one was

going to budge. I remember when the

snowy Mountains scheme was being

sold off and then John Howard

capitulated at the last minute.

Even though two state governments

and the Commonwealth had passed

legislation to sell living. Things

can change dramatically. Some of

that may revolve around the

recommendations that Angus Houston's committee makes.

Particularly in terms of any

regional context. There will be

pressures on all sides. The other

thing that is happening as well,

next Tuesday, the regional cross-

party group is coming back together

and will be talking to another -- a

number of people in the Federal

Police, the UNHCR, some of the

departmental people as well.

departmental people as well. So

there are a number of people, and

perhaps the Navy, in terms of the

legal issues that are there. At the moment, the Coalition aren't involved directly in this reference

panel. They will be involved in the

cross-party arrangement, so

hopefully, out of all those

discussions, there may be some

consensus drift out of it. If it

doesn't happen, it doesn't happen.

I think that will be disappointing

and I think the Australian people would think it disappointing, too.

Malaysia is a real sticking point.

While we wait for Angus Houston to

report back, do you think it would

be helpful if the government came

out and said, we are going to take

Malaysia off the table, and then

start from scratch? Various people

this morning had their views that

they wanted to put forward to the

Houston committee. That's fair

enough. But there was also

discussion about other variations

to a theme. I think if there was a

consensus of any sort in the

meeting this morning, it was that

we want resolution to this. It is

not good for anybody, including

those people who drowned, that the

Australian public as well, it's not

good for any of us to be trapped in

the situation we are trapped in now.

It's all free well for people to

take their political views and

score political points in the short

term from this, but this is an

issue that's going to be around for

quite sometime and I think we have

two not only find something that

works, it's got to be something

they get through Parliament. In

anybody's mind, particularly those

there this morning, but within the

Coalition, there has to be some

sort of regional framework for this,

with Malaysia is in or other places

are in or out, or whether there is

a new way of developing some sort

of consensus in the region that

appeals to our political players in

the Senate, well, let's see. I

don't think everyone going away and

saying, it won't work because the

Greens won't change their mind or

Abbott is entrenched in his Nauru

solution, I think we are hopefully

a bit bigger than that and we might

be able to come up with something

that can work. Mr Windsor are you

open to the coalition's plan to turning back boats, reintroducing

TPV and sending them to Nauru? Do

you think it will work in deterring

people smugglers? No, I don't. I

don't think Tony Abbott does either.

The smart politic response from the

government, which I don't think

they would do, is to say, let him

have Nauru. It won't work in the

context of people smuggling and the

way things are working now. It

won't work, but do you try? Do you

waste money to show it won't work?

Mr Abbott, playing his opposition game, would just

game, would just shift to temporary

protection visa and then it would

be the government not managing the

process correctly. That would be

when the boats keep coming in that

context. I think we have got to go

a bit beyond that. I didn't agree

with them throwing on Nauru in the

last arrangement, it still involves

a risky boat trip and I don't think

the Nauru solution will work. But

maybe that is what Angus Houston

and as people will come up with, or

a variation, and if they come up

with it, I made this comment this

morning, I'm completely open-minded,

I'm not an expert, but I am willing

to be part of the resolution and

hopefully Tony Abbott and the

Greens and the government, they've

got an entrenched position in this

as well, can in fact go back to the

drawing board, leave the baggage

behind and try to construct

something from the ground up. And

that might mean it's quite sometime,

particularly if it is a regional

approach, that there is an entry

point where we suffer some of the

issues that are out there now, but

at least, there might be some light

at the end of the

What is your message to Labor as

they may contemplate Julia

Gillard's future? They will do what

they do, I'm not a member of the

Labor Party and I don't want to be.

But when it comes to your support,

all bets are off if Julia Gillard

is removed, writes? We went through

this a few months back, dealing in

hypotheticals. My arrangement is

with the current Prime Minister. If

there's a change in terms of the

dynamics of that, I would have to

look closely at that. I don't have

an arrangement and my negotiations

did take place with the other

prospective Prime Ministers. That's

where I stand. If there is a change,

I am more than happy to look at it.

But I can't guess at what that

change would be. I don't think you

can rule out a quick election.

There is no written guarantee that

changing leader - it insures that

you still have a three year term.

That is not in any agreement I have

signed. Tony Windsor, thanks for

your time.

Julia Gillard's leadership is the

question of surprise and we didn't

come up at the Perth People's Forum

last night. A number of issues were

canvassed but the main issue was

the carbon tax. For those of you

who tuned in but didn't get the

final result, around 220 people

attended after being selected by an

independent research company. The

Prime Minister didn't know the

questions, and neither did I.

Despite being deeply unpopular in

the West, it was a pretty polite audience the West, it was a pretty polite

audience the Prime Minister was in

front of. Going on, 30% of them

said they supported the carbon tax.

On the way out, the number jumped

to 49%. At the end of the hour with

the prime minister, 31% were still

opposed to the tax, 20% remained

undecided. We have a standing off -

- a standing undecided. We have a standing off -

- a standing offer for Tony Abbott

to also come to Perth. We have

plenty more coming up. Next, my

interview with the former Greens

Leader, Bob Brown.

Coming up on PM Agenda - right now,

the top stories. Australia's struggling

manufacturing sector is facing more

job losses with Ford announcing 440

workers will be made redundant at

two Victorian plants. The

announcement comes six months after

the company received a $100 million

bailout from the federal and state

governments and if you are -- US

parent company. The cuts follow an

industry-wide decline in car sales.

The ACTU Secretary says the union

is disappointed by the lack of

consultation around the job cuts

and hopes to hold talks soon.

Queensland police have arrested a

man wanted over the death of a

woman in Sydney. Neighbours raised

the alarm after hearing an argument

between a man and woman inside the

union -- inside the unit. Paramedics tried to revive the

woman, aged in her 30s, but she

died at the scene. A 44-year-old

man was taken into custody in

Brisbane after he flew there from Newcastle.

All 28 minus who were trapped

underground at a New Zealand mine

after a fire broke out have been

rescued. They sought refuge in

three safety chambers at Trio mind

after a truck engine caught fire

this morning. The company says all

staff have been accounted for, were

uninjured, and their families have

been notified. Operations at the

mine has been halted and will not

resume until an investigation into

the fire has been completed.

An official from the United Arab

Emirates says a boat that was fired

on by an American navy ship in the

Gulf was a fishing vessel. It is

still unclear why it had feared so

close to an armed vessel and

ignored repeated warnings to turn

away. The US navy ship opened fire

on the boat near Dubai's Jebel Ali

port. Speedboats from Iran's

Revolutionary guard often pass

close to American ships in

incidents that have caused alarm in Washington.

Carlton captain Chris Judd is

expected to plead guilty at the AFL

tribunals tonight after being

charged with a chicken wing tackle

and had his case referred straight through to the tribunal.

The Greens are still nursing some

hurt feelings after senior Labor

figures dug in with their attacks

on the minor party last week. Here

is a reminder of some of the jabs pointed in their direction recently.

Some of the policies that promote

our loopy. They don't Challow --

they don't share our values. I

believe they should be placed last

because their value is

fundamentally opposed those of the

Labor Party, and I believe they

pose a great threat to the job

security of working-class people in

this country. Earlier I spoke with

the former Greens Leader Bob Brown

for his thoughts on the stoush.

Thanks. A bit of a backfire from

Labor, I think. The Greens have

been campaigning for the State seat

of Melbourne and are doing very

well. We have got a great candidate.

She is off the city council and she

is announcing policies and she has

got them costed. Labor has got no

policies, has done no costing. Over

the border, the NSW Wright has been

doing -- has been saying in the

future they will consider putting

the Liberals first over the Greens.

Bad look, and it is certainly

insulting to the voters of

Melbourne. Some of the Prime

Minister's critics seem to suggest

Julia Gillard went too far in her

deal with you, that she gave you

too much. We will remember the big

ceremony, you were all wearing

wattle spread. The Julia Gillard

need to go so far considering Adam

Bandt had already said he wouldn't

be blocking supply to Labor? If

someone is embarrassed about

wearing wattle, I'm not. I'm

Australian, and it was Wattle Day.

I had no complaints about it at the

time. A bit of hindsight, which

comes from some lazy thinkers is OK,

but won't get much support from me.

That is an agreement that has

worked, there has been hundreds of pieces of legislation goes through

the Parliament under this period of

Gillard Government. I think some of

those backbenchers, snipers from

the Labor Party outside the

Parliament, do well to look at what

is on the good side of the ledger

and to promote that, instead of

being so negative. As a Green, and

having been in the relationship of

signing that agreement was Julia

Gillard, I think great things have

come from it for the Australian

people - economic responsibility

has flowed out of it, jobs have

flowed out of it. What can the

Greens do it senior Labor figures

keep up these attacks on the party?

It is not as if he would withdraw

support from Labor, is it? It is

unrealistic to think you would side

with Tony Abbott? I talked with

Tony Abbott straight after the last

election. It is our job to talk

with everybody, and he was quite

keen on becoming the next Prime

Minister. I think you made the

mistake of thinking that if he

didn't he would be Prime Minister

within a few months, and that

didn't happen. Because democracy

has got inherent stability factors.

That said, the Greens are used to

being sniped at. You have only got

to read 'The Australian' each day

to see that. I'm happy and positive

about it. I think that's what

Australians have taken to, and

that's why we continue to grow and

we will do well in Melbourne. We

are on the positive side of things

while other parties have fallen

into this sniping. We see that so

often, and too badly in the House

of Representatives at Question Time.

People are looking for an

alternative, a good, positive one,

and they see it in the Greens. It

would be a real hit for the Greens

if you lost Labor preferences at

the next election? It would simply

mean that more first votes will go

to the Greens. Victorians in

particular remember Labor giving

its preferences to Family First

ahead of the Greens and taking that

Senate seat across to the far right

back in 2004. He we are in the seat of Melbourne with Labor again

giving preferences to Family First

ahead of the Greens. Labor voters

don't like it, but they do like

what the Greens are doing. We are

certainly putting preferences to

Labor ahead of Family First, and we

will continue to do that. A poll

out yesterday found that more than

half of those surveyed have --

think the Greens have extreme

policies. What do you say to those

who think the policies will become

more extreme? Of course the Labor

Party and National Party will think

that. What he did say was that 50% think we have reasonable policies.

If you want to look at wacky

policies, look at the National

Party, Tony Abbott's own crew, who

in the last week have been voting

up in Queensland to try to get rid

of climate science being taught in

schools, for goodness sake. That is

the wacky extreme end of politics,

but the Greens are very reasonable.

We have a growing support base. If

the other parties were to get

together with us in exploring such

things as the $5 billion injection

in education that the Gonski report

has recommended, let alone our

support for an extra $100 billion

for hospitals and schools and other

support -- services Australians

want, a proper, Treasury-

recommended mining tax, then they

might see the Greens vote growing.

But sensible Australians like what

the Greens are doing. They see us

as economically responsible. Back

on the stoush with Labor - do you

think the Prime Minister should be

pulling her colleagues into line,

knocking heads together and getting

them to ease off the Greens? I

respect Julia Gillard to get on

with the leadership of the party

the way she wants to. What I think

is, Christine Milne, who have --

has taken over the Greens

leadership, is doing a fantastic

job. They said the polls would drop

after dog goes, and it didn't

happen. Here we are in a brace --

after Bob Brown goes, and it didn't

happen. At the last election the

Labor Party got the Liberals to

preference against the Greens, but

it was -- it is a litmus test here,

and I am happy to be in Melbourne.

I am with Sea Shepherd, going to

protect the Wales of the committee

coast in the coming weeks. I'm

supporting Cathy Oakes' campaign

for Melbourne. I'm feeling good

about it and I like what I see.

When I look back at the Parliament

and the lead the Greens are taking

in so many areas, and that's what

the public likes as well. The Sea

Shepherd has been accused of being

very aggressive and using unsafe

practices on the high seas. How far

do you think they should go in this

campaign you are helping them with?

Well, it's extreme to want to stop

illegal harpooning of Wales with

grenade harpoons fired into the

backbones of these warm blooded

animals, I'm on their side. It's a

job that governments in Australia

and New Zealand should be helping

to, but it is left to Sea Shepherd.

Sea Shepherd is drawing attention

to the fact that Woodside wants to

build a factory on shore at James

Price Point, just north of Broome.

With gas tankers coming and going

right across the world's biggest

humpback whale nursery. The Wales

are up there at the moment, having

their babies. I am working with Sea

Shepherd and asking the politicians

- Labor, Liberal, Greens - all of

them, state and federal, come and

have a look next month at the

magnificent whale nursery in full

function. And put the factory

elsewhere. Thanks for your time.

Coming up next, David Speers is in

the US at the moment. We will bring

you his chat with the US Ambassador.

Welcome back. Your regular host,

David Speers, is in the US at the

moment, where he will be reporting on the presidential election later

in the year. So far, the public

seems uninspired by the contest

between Mitt Romney and Barack

Obama. The former US ambassador Tom

Schieffer agrees. He said he was

dismayed at the state of his country's political landscape.

Disappointing, I think it is two

challenges, a challenge and an

incumbent, that have negative

messages for each other and there's

not much positive going on in

American politics right now. I

think that's a real shame. Who is

in front at the moment? If you made

me take a bet as to who would win,

my money would be on Barack Obama.

But it would be close. And it's

going to come down to election

night, I think, in three or four

states and how those states go will

determine the election. Should he

be in front, though, given where

the economy is? Or is this more of

a reflection at campaign for

Ronnie? -- Mitt Romney. All things

being equal, if it was a normal

year, I think any incumbent

president with these numbers would

have difficulty getting re-elected.

Having said that, Mitt Romney is

not a great candidate and so what

you have are two candidates that

are having trouble hitting their

stride and they are playing to

their base and the Independent s

are the ones that are going to make

their choice. I don't know what

that was will be based upon. Do we

know what a second term for the

Obama presidency would mean? I

think he has a heart and defining

that and it harms and quite frankly.

I think you always have to be able

to tell what the positive outcome

will be if you are elected. And

until you define it, it makes it

hard for people to say, well, I'm

voting for this person because...

And I'm afraid what the election is

about right now is, I am voting

against this because... And what I

fear more than anything else is

this negative campaign on both

sides, in which they focus on their

opponent as opposed to what they

want to do. One of them wins and

they have no mandate to do anything.

As a result, you wind up with

continued gridlock in Washington.

And I think that is bad for America,

I think it's also bad internationally.

internationally. This is a point

for Australia and I guess the rest

of the world, there probably won't

be a lot of change for Australia in

terms of who wins in November here,

beyond what happens to the US

economy. How pessimistic are you

about the prospects of either

Barack Obama or Mitt Romney to fix

the economic problems there? Unfortunately, I'm very pessimistic

as I think we have gotten ourselves

into this gridlock of political

partisanship that is so extreme on

both sides that the people being

elected to the Congress of the

United States don't have any room

to manoeuvre. They are being

elected on very narrow platforms,

on the Democratic side, they don't

change entitlements, on the

Republican side, they don't raise

revenues, and those are the

problems we have. I think most

people who would look at the

problems in America day, they would

say there is probably going to have

to be some combination of revenue

increase and puzzlement reform --

entitlement reform. It is bad

politics. If you think about it,

it's the worst of all politics

where you have to raise revenues

and reduce spending. In an electric

and reduce spending. In an electric

-- in an election year. You come up

with no politician wanting that.

You say, well, excuse me, I will

think about it after the election.

Well, the fact of the matter, after

the election, you will either have

a President Hu was barely re-

elected, likely with a Republican

house at least, maybe a closely

divided Republican Senate or a

Senate that is one or two of both.

Do you then have the ability to do

something you couldn't do now? I

don't know. Or you are going to

have a barely elected Republican

President with very thin Republican

majorities, if at all, to do the

same thing. I don't see where they

have the political capital to do

that. So what happens? Deficit

problems continue, get worse? I'm

afraid what happens is politicians

don't do anything until there is a

crisis and they are forced to do it.

That could happen here. I don't

want that to be the case. I want us

to get our house in order, to sort

things out and to do things for the

good of the country. Unfortunately,

a lot of people want it to happen,

but it doesn't seem to be on the

verge of happening. Ambassador

Schieffer, thank you. David, nice

to be with you. Thank you. That's

all we have for this addition of PM

Agenda. You can join us again in

the morning, Kieran Gilbert will be

along at 8:30 AM for a agenda. I

will see you again tomorrow. Thank

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