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Australian Agenda -

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Speers, welcome to the Good afternoon, I'm David

program. There's a glimmer of

hope for Labor in the latest

opinion polls. The number of

people worried about the

carbon tax leaving them worse

off has significantly fallen

in the space of just one

month. But the carbon tax is

still lardly popular. More

than a third of Australians

do feel they're going to be

worse off. Only 5% feel they

will be better off. And of

course many are yet to

receive their first power

bills. The other thing is

this near sen poll in Fairfax

papers today has hardly

driven a new lift in the

Labor vote either. If the

carbon tax isn't the problem,

what is?? We'll be talking to

the man who's tried to turn

around public opinion on

carbon tax, Greg Combet.

Later in the program we'll

also hear from Mal Brough,

the former Howard Government

Minister who has begun his

comeback, winning

preselection for the seat of

Fisher over the weekend. What

role does he see for himself

in an Abbott Government should the Coalition win the

next election. Later this

hour we'll also be looking at

Chinese investment in

Australia, a tricky political

issue for particularly the

Coalition at the moment. But

the Chinese diplomat, a

senior diplomat, the deputy chief of mission at the

embassy here in Canberra, has

entered the debate defending Chinese investment in

Australia, talking up its

benefit s saying the word has

nothing to fear from the

growing development of the

Chinese economy. Let's check

the top stories this hour.

Emily see bottom will lead

our chances of gold after she

qualified fastest in the 100

m back Stroeck. It will prove a welcome distraction after

the shock of the men's 4 by

100 free style relay team

this morning. Here's James to

preview what is coming up on

day three. 12 gold medals

are on offer on day three as

Australia tries to overcome

their disappointment in mitt

ever missing out on a medal

in the men's 4 X 100 relay.

Emily Se, bohm will be

leading the way for Australia

in the women's 100 m back

stroke. He was the fastest in

the qualifier. Belinda

Hocking will also be there.

Leisl Jones is a chance too.

Hayden Stoke will be there in

the men's 100 back Stroeck

and Thomas on also in the

final. Look at Nick Darcy

begins his campaign 234 the

200 m butterfly. Plenty of

action for the Australian

teams across the board.

Australia and Italy going

head to head in the women's

water polo. The kookaburras

play the 12th ranked South

African team in the men's

hockey as well and our beach

volleyball will be meeting

the Austrians as well.

Archery badminton boxing,

table tennis and tennis, all

have Australians involved.

You can see it all on

Foxtel's amaze ing coverage

of the games. It really

wasn't the best of days at

lon dore for us. That's

right, we had high homes. Didn't quite work out that

way. It did begin well enough

relatively in the pool,

however it unravelled big

time after you innings

mentioned in the pool with

that shock result in the 4 X

100 relay this morning. The

result now has wider

implications for world champ

James Magnussen he of course

is the big favourite for the

individual 100 m but the

missile finished second as he

led the men's team out.

Hayden Sullivan was actually

the quickest of the Aussie

men's and he's not in the

individual event. It followed

what was a bad day for a

number of Aussie teams the

Hockey radios, the Boomers

along with our men's water

polo and volleyball teams.

Meanwhile Australian cyclist

Cadel Evans has withdrawn,

he's pulled out of the men's

cycling individual time trial

event. Evans was seen by the

doctor as well as Olympic

team medical officers. It was

confirmed he was suffering

fatigue after that torrid

Tour de France. No

replacement has been named

for Cadel Evans which leaves

Michael Rogers as Australia's

sole competitor in the event.

As we take a look at how it

stands on the medal tally,

China are well out in front

now with 12 medals of which 6

are gold. United States are

in second spot with three

godle. Italy third. Australia

has one of each. Whilst New

Zealand is yet to get off the

mark. I'm sure they will

pretty soon. Really looking forward to the pool again on

day three. Let's hope the

Australians can get over that

disappointment. Emily Seebohm

the girl to do it. A new

poll shows the carbon tax is

not hitting voters as much as

they feared it would before

it began. A Fairfax Nielsen

Poll shows 38% think they're

worse off under the carbon

tax, down from 51% just one

month ago. Tony Abbott plans

on running his anti-carbon

tax campaign right through

until the next polling day.

There will be no carbon tax

under the Government I lead.

But a month in opposition to

the tax appears to be waning.

At the start of the month 51% of people thought they would

be worse off, now that number

has dropped to 38%. Now that

the carbon price is in, it's

operating the assistance to

households is flowing and

people aren't seeing these so called unimaginable price

increases and the like, I

think people are starting to

think, what was all that guff

Tony Abbott went on about.

Obviously the hyper wouldly

from those that opposed it

has been shown to be just

that. I have just come back

from the United States and

China and I've got to say

that there is no way other countries are going down this

path. The Nielsen poll also

has Labor's primary vote up

two points to 30% but the

Coalition still holds a

xhanledsing lead, 56 to 44 on

a two party basis. Tony

Abbott agency biggest problem

could be managing ambition

within his party. Mal Brough

has been preselected for the

seat of Fisher. He insists he

is not yet thinking about

returning to the front bench

but says he does have the

qualifications. I do have a

fair bit of experience across

a number of portfolios.

Whatever role we are in Government, hopefully that

can add to providing better government for Australia.

I've got a very good front

bench now. I've got some

outstanding people who are

knocking on the door. The important thing is to win the

election. That's what we're

focussed on. Mal Brough will

be trying to win the seat of

Fisher from Peter Slipper.

He's defended his contact

with James Ashby. Mr Brough

says he only spoke with James

Ashby three times and he

wasn't aware of the specifics

of the case. When he put his affidavit or whatever the

documents are called into the

court some time, weeks after

I had last spoken to him, I

had no knowledge that A he

was going to do that, B what

was in them. He had had

conversations with me. He

subsequently went on to have obviously many conversations

with his lawyers. They will determine what was actually

going to happen. Wins the

seat from Peter Slipper is

unlikely to be a major

obstacle but Mr Brough will

be hoping they're two names

no longer mentioned in the

same bretss. An inquiry has

opened in Melbourne in an

Australian Chinook chopper

crash in Afghanistan last

year which kill the an

Australian soldier. Ahron

Young reports from Victoria

bar action. The Chinook

CH-47 D helicopter came down

in the za bull province of

Afghanistan in May last year.

It was carrying a full crew

and apprehensions and claimed

the life of Marcus Case. The

chief of the defence force

ordered an quifr. That

hearing is now under way.

Namely crash of a CH-47 D

helicopter in Afghanistan on

30 May 2011 involving the

death of 8254464 lieutenant

Marcus Case. Pursuant to

regulations 117 of those

regulations I direct that the

commission of inquiry conduct

its hearing in public. A

total of 54 witnesses will be

called to face the inquire. While the defence department

is refusing to release that

report part of it has been

leaked blaming a controlled

pitch oscillation while the

aircraft was flying close to

the ground. The inquiry is

headed by Andrew Kirkham QC.

Part of the hearing will be

closed to the public. The

parents sitting in on the

inquiry. Let's have a look

at tomorrow's weather now.

Windy with showers in the

south-east and west. Mostly

sunny in the north and south.

It is 10 minutes past 4

eastern time. Back now to

David Speers in Canberra.

After the break we'll be

talking to Climate Change Minister Greg Combet.

You're watching PM Agenda.

Mixed news for Labor in the

latest Nielsen poll in

Fairfax payments today. It

shows that concerns over the

carbon tax appear to be

easing. 38% say they feel

worse off under the carbon tax, that is significantly

down from the start of the

month when it was up at 52%.

5% feel they're better off.

52% a big increase at 15

saying no difference at all.

While attitudes may be relaxing towards the carbon

tax there hasn't been much

improvement for Labor's vote

overall. It's heading in a

more positive direction,

still at 30% primary support.

That would see Labor wiped

out at an election after preferences. Still trailing

the Coalition 56 to 44%. As

for the carbon tax and whether the lived experience

is perhaps not as bad as Tony

Abbott made out, the Opposition leader points out

people are yet to receive

their power bills and he

certainly doesn't think the

attitude has softened much on

this particular reform. That

means that a very, very large

number are concerned and I

have just come back from the

United States and China and

aye got to say that there is

no way other countries are

going down this path, which

is why the carbon tax is a

piece of gratuitous economic

self-harm. The man who's job

-- whose job it is to turn

around public opinion, the

designer of the price on

carbon, the climate change

industry and innovation Minister Greg Combet, he

certainly welcomes the poll

numbers today sen aconfident

that Tony Abbott's scare

campaign as he calls it will

be proven to a lie. I spoke to Greg Combet a short time

ago. Thanks for your time.

In the poll today, 38% of

people say they peel worse

off under the carbon tax.

That's come down. 52% say no

difference. 5% say they feel

better off. Are you happy

with those sorts of figures? They're certainly a lot

better than a month ago

before the carbon price was implemented. I think what

they reflect is the fact that

now that the carbon price is

in, it's operating, the

assistance to holdholds is

flowing and people aren't

seeing these so-called

unimaginable price increases

and the like, the world's

gone on, the sun's come up. I

think people are starting to

think what was all that guff

Tony Abbott was going on about. Admittedly people

haven't got their power

bills? I just got mine last

week for my home in

Newcastle. People will be

receiving those. We've been completely upfront about the

cost impact of the carbon price all the time and the

fact that we're using most of

the revenue to increase

pensions, cut taxes, increases family tax

benefits, an average of $10

extra in cash assistance.

What Tony Abbott's done is

created such fear and

apprehension through deceit and welfull misrepresentation

for the last 12 months that

people have been worried. Now

they can actually measure though their claims against

actual experience. If I were him I'd be concerned about

that poll today because that

means people are starting to

conclude that he lied to

them. Do you now think the

tide of public opinion has

turned on this carbon tax

carbon tax issues. I'm not

making predictions. What I am

confident of is that the

longer the carbon price is in

place the more that people

will see that Tony Abbott's

fear campaign has been

completely deceitful. He did

say whole regions were going

to disappear, industries

would collapse, unimaginable

price increases. It wasn't

true then, it's not true now,

it's not going to come true either. We are only 30 days

in. A lot of households haven't got their power

bills. A lot of businesses

are weighing up the impact.

There could still be a sting

in the tail here. Let's wait

and see. I'm not prepared to

be a soothe Sar, as I said.

There is an impact on electricity prices to an

average of $3.30 a week to

households but we're

providing $10.10 cash assistance. How many times

have I said that, I'll keep

saying is and it's true.

Does it concern you that in

this poll attitudes have

softened towards the carbon

tax, they haven't softened

much towards Labor. Your primary vote is still stuck

at 30%. I know that it's tough. The Prime Minister

know it's tough. We can read

polls but we're not going to

have them dictate to us the

policy issues we think are

necessary for this country.

What do they tell you. If the

carbon tax is becoming less unpopular but Labor's not,

what does that tell you? We

did go up two points in the

poll today. Just put it

aside, I still know it's not a good position. However this

is a Government that's making

really big reforms and doing

it in a minority parliament

which people are not used to.

But just think about the Prime Minister's achievement

last week with getting the

trials set up for a National Disability Insurance Scheme

and staring down the NSW and Victorian Liberal Governments

to get them on board. That is

a monumental achievement and

every day the Prime Minister

gets up and she's thinking

about what are the changes

for the long-term benefit of

this country and our

community do we need to make.

She's pressed on with making

them. I think people again in

time will see that the scare campaigns are baseless. The

reality of the reforms that

we're en acting are

significant and they are in

the long-term benefit of this

country. What we know is that

we've got to keep arguing our

case. How long is that going

to take though? Labor's kept

saying in a few months things

will turn around. Even though

the carbon tax may not be as unpopular, things haven't

really turned around. 30% you

could be wiped out. I'm not predicting anything other

than the fact that we are committed to the changes that

we want to make, improvement

educational outcomes, providing a disability

insurance scheme cutting pollution, driving investment

in screen nrk, infrastructure

investment, spreading the

benefits of the boom. We'll

keep arguing those things. In

making those reforms we've

got to keep explaining them

to people. They're important

things too in the next 12

months in that the microscope will become more on Tony

Abbott. It's the easiest

thing in the world to go

around terrifying people, I

actually think it's the most

gut misthing, but that's what

he's been doing to try and

win people's votes. That will

be exposed the more as time

goes on. There will be a negative campaign against

Tony Abbott. No I think just

explaining what we're doing, ensuring that people understand it is the

principal thing ahead of us

and that's a positive

argument. Let me give you one example about the carbon that

I know from various bits of

research. If you ask people

if they agree or disagree

with it you get results similar to the Nielsen poll

today. If you say do you agree with carbon pricing if

the majority of the revenue

is used to assist households

it swings to a majority in

favour of carbon pricing.

What that tells me is we've

got to do lots more as a

Government in our role and my role in particular as a

Minister explaining to people

how we are using the carbon

price revenue to help

households. What about Julia Gillard? Do you think her

leadership, the broken

promise on the carbon tax,

and the unpopularity of her

as Prime Minister is holding

Labor back? I think she's a

very effective leader. I work

within the Government, in the

cabinet, it's a great

privilege. She runs the Government very professionally. Why isn't

that translating to the

electorate. Other commentators can reflect on that. I think from my experience in public life

when you're standing up for

what you believe in, you're

fighting for it, arguing your

case, sometimes very

difficult public debates,

sometimes not very popular

but if you stand for what you

believe in, you fight for it,

explain it, don't back away,

people will respect you.

You don't think she's holding

you ba back. I support the

Prime Minister, I have been a

supporter of hers for a considerable period of time.

I can see close up not only how tough but how committed

she is to try to improve the

economy and distribute the

benefits of economic growth

to the people in the

community who need it the

most. Those are the value s

of a Labor Government. What

about Kevin Rudd. He's far

more popular than both Julia

Gillard and Tony Abbott.

He's not the leader. We had a

ballot in February. The Prime

Minister is Julia Gillard.

I'm backing her. That's not

going to change. She's the

leader. I support her. And

that's not going to change.

I'm not going to even

speculate about it. We had a

ballot some time ago in

February. It was decisively

won by Julia Gillard. I don't

see the need to revisit it.

We've got to fight these

issues out. Caltex last week

announced they're shutting

down the Kurnell oil refinery

in Sydney. Paul Howes was

very critical of the federal

and state governments for not

doing more here. He says it's

an energy security issue. Is

he right? There are other refineries in Australia still. This is not just

specific to the oil refining

industry in Australia but in

other areas for example

aluminium smelting you're confronting a number of

things. We had quite an

investment wave after the

Second World War in major

industrial areas like this,

what we now finds

fast-forwarding 50, 650 years

is that we've got some ageing

facilities, not especially

competitive, bit inefficient,

quite small scale by global

standards, there are far more

modern facilities on a scale

internationally and of course

we're experiencing the

effects of a high dollar.

That is creating pressure in

areas like this, all of those

factors combined. So we are

going through a period of

structural adjustment and in

periods like this you've got

to can looking towards areas

where Government can work

with industry on the economic

areas and activities that are

going to be competitive in

years to come. You do that

with the automotive industry,

but with oil refining is it

in the national interest to

protect oil refining. Is it a

security interest as Paul

Howes suggests? We've still

got a significant oil

refining in this country.

How long is that going to

last? We'll see as things

unfold fold. That review by

tall telephone found there

was a review... Is there a case for Government

assistance? I'm not going to

speculate about that. Where

we are providing assistance,

for example in the auto

industry, people misunderstand it sometimes I

think. It's not just some handout. There is an

agreement with the individual

automotive manufacturers that

what we're about here is

trying to ensure we've got a

competitive industry in years

to come, one that can compete

when our dollar is at parity.

That means the industry is in

a process of restructuring

and we're seeing some of the

evidence of that. Just on

the automotive industry,

despite that assistance the Government is prying more

talk today that Ford is going

to cease to exist in

Australia. Is that right?

I'm very conscious of the

commentary. What I say about

that is that it's extremely destructive. This is a

problem that the Liberals got

themselves in last week with

the news of redundancies at

Fords. As soon as you start

talking it down, what are

people going to do? Keep

buying Ford vehicles produced

in Australia? You've got to

be honest. It's really

critical to not talk an

industry or company down.

These are Australian jobs and

people's families depend on

it. What the government does

is work with Ford on a

future. But then the Liberals

rubbish us for doing that and talk the company down.

They've got to stop doing that. It's actually against

the interests of those

companies and the people they

employ and everyone whose

lively haods again on it.

Ford of made no announcement

and I think it's a very

negative thing for commentators in the industry

to be going about talking the fri industry and Ford down.

Talk it up. Talk about what

we need to do to meet the

challenges, not talk it

down. Thank you. Thanks

David. The climate change

industry and innovation

Minister Greg Combet. After

the break we'll hear from Mal

Brough on his way back to

Canberra and federal

politics. What does he hope

to achieve. Stay with us.

Time for a quick check of

the news headlines. Here's

Jacinta. Disappointment for

James Magnussen at his 4 X

100 team mates. Australia now

looks to Emily Seebohm for

gold in the pool. She dwfed

fastest in the 100 m breast Stroeck. Meanwhile Cadel

Evans has withdrawn from the men's cycling individual time

trial event. No replacement

has been named for Evans

leaving Michael Rogers as

Australia's sole competitor

in the event. The latest

Nielsen poll has revealed the

Gillard Government has gained

some ground but is still well

behind the Coalition. The

poll has Labor's primary vote

up 2 percentage point to 30%

with the Coalition down 1 to

37%. On the two party

preferred vote the ALP

trailed the Coalition 44 to

36%. Opposition leader Tony

Abbott has refused to commit

himself to putting Mal Brough

on the front bench if the

Coalition wins the next

election. Mr Brough won

Liberal Party preselection

for the seat of Fisher which is currently held by Peter

Slipper. He won preselection

despite his involvement in

the sexual harass amount case

against Mr Slipper. A hearing

is under way into Melbourne

into the crash of a Chinook

helicopter which killed an

Australian sole ger in Afghanistan last year. A

total of 54 wnth to be called

and the inquiry will be held

in public as much as

possible. Defence is refusing

to release the safety report

from the crash but part of it

was leaked to the media. The

family say having to relive

his final moments in a public

inquiry is adding to their

grief. Companies and advisors

in Australia's car industry

expect Ford will quit local

production in 2016. The 'Australian Financial Review' reports many suppliers are

starting to factor the

company's demise into

business plans. Ford slashed

production to 33,000 cars a

year and cut 440 jobs. It

follows the company receiving

$34 million from the Federal

Government to continue making

thefall conand Territory in Melbourne. As thousands of

people continue to flee war

torn Syria neighbouring

Jordan has opened its first

ooh firstly refugee camp.

The number of refugees is

expected to increase as the

Syrian Government intensifies

its military campaign to

flush out rebels from its

main industries. Tomorrow's

weather windy with showers in

the south-east and west.

Mostly sunny in the north and

south. Thank you e. We

mentioned the Nielsen poll

earlier. Another poll out

today is the Essential poll.

Peter Lewis joins us once again. No move in the primary

vote for the mainly parties

but the two party result has

shifted a little. Yeah, this

is around the margin of error

but there was a two point

lift last week to 33. They've

held on to that over the last

7 days. That's improved their

two party preferred, but they

are still 10 points behind.

You've asked as you do from

time to time one what are the

most important issues for

voters at the next election,

tell us about what we're

seeing on here now. We have

15 issues that we ask people

to rate, the top issue and

top three issues. Management

of the economy is one of the

top three, 64% saying it's

one of their top three. The

other top tier are the

quality of Australia's health

system, education and

interestingly Australian jobs

and the protection of local

industries, it's gone up by a significant margin 8 points

up to 41%. What's also

interesting is that two of

the issues that have a lot of

the public air time,

treatment of slublings just

the number one issue for 3%,

likewise clining only the

number one issue for 3% of

the population. On jobs and

the protection of jobs and

the condition of the

workforce you've asked a couple of questions here on

industrial relations. One of them, what do people think

the current system, who does

it favour most, workers,

employers or is the balance

about right? It's a real

split finding there. Probably reinforcing the Government's

argument the balance probably

is right. 20 say it players

employers, 26% say it favours workers, 34 the balance

right, 20% don't know. That's

a slight decrease in the

number thinking it favours

employers from a few months

ago. School funding, the

Government within weeks is

set to announce its response

to the Gonski proposed over

haul of school funding. You

looked at what people think,

who deserved more. That's

right, there's strong support

for Gonski when you explain

the proposition. 68% support

for the reforms. When you ask

people whether they think all

schools should receive a

similar increase or public

schools should increase a

larger, it's really strong

that the public schools

system is in need of further

funding. Thanks very much

for that. Cheers David.

Tonight on late agenda with

Helen Dalley, the school Education Minister Peter

Garrett will be along talking

about some of those reforms.

Tune in for that. Mal Brough

is on his way back to

Canberra, winning a tough fought preselection battle

over the weekend. James

McGrath the former LNP state

secretary was his main

challenger there. Will Mal

Brough be automatically fast

tracked on to the front bench

should tabilityd win the next

election? Here's what the

Opposition leader said

today. I've got a very good

front bench now. I've got some outstanding people who

are knocking on the door of

the front bench but whether

you're on the front bench or off the front bench the

important thing is to win the

election. That's what we're

focussed on. Tony Abbott

wisely not getting ahead of

himself just yet. What about

Mal Brough, what intentions,

Sam bitions does he have? I

spoke to him earlier in the

day. Mal Brough, congratulationsing to you on

winning the preselection. Let

me start by asking why you

want to come back to parliament. What is your goal

now in returning to

politics? Well two questions

there is David. The first one

the reason for coming back is

twofold. First of all my family and I have lived in

the heart of the fisher

electorate for the last 12

years. It used to be part of

the Longman electorate. The

last five years like most

people on the Sunshine Coast

we have been to say the least

dissatisfied with the

standard of representation

delivered by the incumbent.

When I thought long and hard

about this, about coming

back, my family discussed it,

we decided in joining the LNP

we would make it very, very

clear we were going to take

on Peter Slipper for

preselection because we felt

we could do a better job. We

didn't respect him. The

second reason is I was a member of the Howard

Government, I believe the

Howard Costello Government

left this country in an

excellent position, with the

way we felt about our institutions, our political

institutions. There's always

going to be criticisms but

today I feel that the

reputation of our political

institutions, our government,

our parliament has been

trashed, our confidence is

low. When Mr Swan talks

about a strong economy, he's

not talking to the people on the Sunshine Coast because we

aren't feeling it, we are

hurting and we need a return

to good government and

confidence again to give us

the kickstart we need.

What's your role as you see

it in that Abbott Government

should you win the coming

election? Will you really be

satisfied being a

backbencher, having been a

senior Minister, isn't that

what you're aiming for, or

indeed to one day lead the

party? Mate, I am very ambitious to be the Member

For Fisher, never get ahead

of yourself. You know, this

is a three-stage process for me, first of all coming back

into the LNP, being accepted

back in, and then secondly

earning the trust and the

respect of the LNP membership. That was borne

out yesterday and I thank

them very much for having

that trust in me. I now need

to start all over again. The

people of fisher feel as

though the LNP have not

actually done the right thing

by them. So I need to regain

their trust, their confidence

again so they will vote for

us and become the next Member

For Fisher . Your only

goal. If we're going to move

further down the track I do

have a lot of corporate

knowledge, a fair bit of

experience over a number of

portfolios, whatever role we

are in Government hopefully

that can add to providing better government for

Australia, that's all I want. A better government for

Australia, a better future,

helping Tony Abbott whichever

way possible. Let me ask you

about a couple of those

portfolio areas, as

indigenous affairs Minister,

you set up the Northern

Territory intervention, I

know you've been deeply

concerned about the

entrenched levels of violence

and abuse in some

communities. What can and

should be done about this?

You don't have long enough to

deal with that right now, but

the bottom line, seriously,

it's so hard to answer a

question like that in a

couple of sentences. The

first thing we have to do is

acknowledge the depth of the

problem and what the intervention was supposed to

be a moment in time, to try

and clean some of the grog

out, some of the drugs out,

the abuse out, allow the

communities to be able to

think and make decisions for

themselves without that

clutter, that noise and

really with that chaos, but

the government hasn't moved

that debate any further and

hasn't taken the indigenous

people and those communities

with them. It's not just the

Northern Territory David, as

you saw recently here in the

NSW Queensland border the

issue is just as deadly to

those children. It's welfare

changes, it's do we want to

still live with an apartheid

type system. Do we want to

value people's lives as being

Australians first and their

culture second. That's just a taste of it. I don't think

you want to continue to

labour the point. It is a

very complex issue, it's

going to take a lot of time

and effort. It means we have

to be honest with ourselves

we have failed, we are still

failing, children are hurting

as a result of that. So it

will be a priority for you.

I think that if you've ever

been touched by this issue, if you've ever been that

close to it, you decide

you've had enough, I can

understand what people doing

that, you've let the team

down, you've let the nation

down. Whatever I do in life

that will continue to be a

priority to try and exchange

that course of events for the

better. You've got to knock off Peter Slipper have been

to win a seat in parliament

in that seat of Fisher. Let

me ask you for the record

about the whole sexual

harassment case against him.

How many times did you meet

with his accuser James

Ashby? Three times. Only

three times? Three times.

Everything I have said,

everything I have done, any

involvement I have is now on

the public record either via

the press, I did a lengthy

article with 'The Australian'

but also in court documents.

There is nothing else. In

fact, much of the media

reporting David has been inaccurate. There have been

suggestions I had ongoing -

let me very briefly, they

continue to say I had some

ongoing association. It's

untrue and I had no

association before. I had

only ever spoken to Mr Ashby

once before he went to work

for Mr Slipper and that was

on the day he announced it. I

happened to be at an LNP

meeting with him, it was my

advice to him, don't do it,

you'll live to regret it. He

did refer to a group lunch

that you were going to be at.

Did you talk to him about it

all or only those three

occasions? I honestly don't

know what you're referring

to, I don't know of any group

lunch. Three times, let me

say it again, straight down

the barrel mate, one two

three, send of story, Did

you see copies of Peter

Slipper's travel diary, what

did you do with those? I was

presented. He sent me a text

of three pages of his diary.

I didn't forward them to

anybody. Why did you want

those? He sent them to me

because in the course of our

first conversation he alleged

criminal behaviour, and you

know, like you and like most journalists and just about

everybody on the Sunshine

Coast we'd like to know how

anybody can spend over $1,000

a day in cab fares supposedly

doing parliamentary business

but not tell us what it's

about. I would have thought

if the Commonwealth has had a fraud which is what is

alleged against it with money

taken from the public purse,

that's the always, then they would be trying to protect

and trying to help that

whistleblower at least be

heard. It's quite perplex ing

that... Why did you need the

travel diary? Why not tell

him to go to finance

officials or the police? I

did tell him to go to the

police en you'll find no

record there of me asking for

those diaries, he never sent

them to me again and I never

forwarded them to anybody. I

tell you now David, as I

said, what I'd like to do at

this point, is these are

matters before, right now,

the criminal matter is being

dealt with by the AFP is now

I think with the DPP. That is

the appropriate people to

judge them, not me, not you. And in relation to the other matters they are before the

courts and the courts will

decide, again not the media

and not myself. This

question about what you knew

and when, the original

reporting in News Limited

Sunday payments from

Sammaiden is you said the

suggestion you knew of James Ashby's affidavit before it

was lodged was nonsense. And that's absolutely right. It's

a good one, I'd like to

canvass that because that's

where a lot of the misnomers

have come from. When he put

his affidavit or whatever the

documents are called into the

court some time, weeks after

I had last spoken to him, I

had no knowledge he was going

to do that, what was in them.

He had had conversations with

me. He subsequently went on

to have obviously many conversations with his lawyers. They would determine

what was actually going to

happen from there. You had knowledge he was talking

about a sexual harassment case. A big difference

between you and I sitting

having a conversation about

what you allege to have

happened and subsequent steps

after taking legal advice.

Absolutely no knowledge about

what he was going to put.

You knew in general terms it

was a sexual harassment

case. Absolutely, but

there's a big difference by

saying did Mal Brough know

what was in those documents

that went into the courts

beforehand? No, had no idea

whether he was going to go

down that path, whether the

lawyers would tell him,

that's why I said to him you

go and seek your own legal

counsel and he d independent

of me, I didn't discuss that

matter with him subsequently.

Final question, you're up

against James McGrath, the

former LNP state secretary,

you had strong support from

others in the party. He's

ruled out running in another

seat. What do you reckon,

would you like to see him

stand in another seat? I think everyone acknowledges

that James along with the

other candidates have a lot

to offer. I'm not about to

start making decisions for

James Ashby, it's hard enough

making decisions for Mal

Brough. James McGrath, not

James Ashby. Did I say Ashby. You'll understand why,

I do apologise to James

McGrath. Thank you. He's

helping the CLP right now in Government. That's a great

job for him to do. If he elects to seek preselection

somewhere else, I wish him

all the best with it. I know

he will continue to

contribute a lot to

Australian politics on the

right side of politics.

Thanks very much for joining

us. Thank David good to be

with you. Wouldn't be

surprised sph we do see James McGrath standing in another

seat in Queensland or indeed

on the Senate ticket for the

LNP. He does have strong

support in the party to enter

the parliament and join the Coalition team here in

Scombra. After the break we're going to look at the

issue of Chinese investment

in Australia. A senior

Chinese diplomat has entered

the debate today defending

the investment, two-way

trade. This comes amid some

criticism of state own ed enterprises buying into

Australian farmland and other businesses. Stay with us.

You may recall Tony Abbott

has in Beijing last week

where he gave a speech,

spelling out his approach to the relationship with China.

He said that rarely would

state-owned enterprises be

able to buy a controlling interest in an Australian business. It was a comment that sparked some criticism

from the Government. Labor

says that Barnaby Joyce has

now taken control of the Coalition's foreign

investment policy. Others

have been playing this down,

saying there's no real change

here to the Coalition's

approach, welcoming foreign

investment and particularly

trade with China. There are different views within the

Coalition on this and soon a

policy will be announced.

Today, we saw a senior

Chinese diplomat Xu Bing

enter this debate. He was

speaking at an Australia/China investment conference taking place at

the university of Canberra

this week here in the

capital. Here's a little of

what he had to say. China's

input from and investment in

Australia have generated an

income of $10,000 per

Australian household each

year and created tens of

thousands jobs for this country. China's development

does not pose a threat to

anyone. As Australian leaders

have stated on many

occasions, it is good for

Australia, it is good for

Asia Pacific and it is good

for the world at large.

China's investment in Australia is good for

Australian economy and good

for our cooperation. A A

strong defence there have

Chinese investment in

Australia. Also attending the

conference Ken Waller, he is

the director of the apex

study centre in Melbourne, a

long serving Treasury

official as well, he was

posted to Beijing for a time.

Thanks for joining us. We

heard Xu Bing say there we

have nothing to fear from

China's economic development.

Is that right? Do we have

anything to worry about when

it comes to China's

investment in Australia? The

short answer is no. I think

the importance of this relationship is growing very

strongly, it's a very deep

relationship. We have issues

to deal with in the growth of

that relationship. Fear is

not a phrase I'll use. Of

course the Australian economy

is built on foreign

investment, has been for

years. When it comes to China

the difference is state owned

enterprises, companies that

are controlled to a degree by the central communist

Government. Does that make a

difference? The problem with

that is differentiating in

foreign investment policy

terms between the issues set

up by the ruling party in

China, and say a private

investor. And the question

that we try to answer in the

foreign investment dialogue

that goes on here assist are

the implications of a

state-owned enterprise really involving strategic political

issues or are they commercial

ly... Are they driven by

profit or by Chinese national interest? What's the

interest? What's the answer

to that The answer is it's

hard to say. I think the

reality is that increasing ly

these organisations, they're responsible through the

various mechanisms in China

to the state council. China

has to make money, has to

make sure its investments,

its Scpt is well spent. I

suppose I think it does

appoint high quality people

generally to run these

organisations. Should we be more cautious about this foreign investment if there

is some uncertainty about the

motivation of these state-owned enterprises? I

think the issue is where do

we want to take this

relationship in the Asia

century. I think it's a very

deep relationship, it has to

grow and prosper. We have to

understand better the context

of state-owned enterprise and

sovereign wealth and

investment in Australia.

We're trying to do some of

this work in Asia Pacific in

a cooperation forum, not just

Australia, China but a number

of economies in the region

facing these kinds of issues

as capital exporters, China

is a capital exporter as well

as importer. We've got to get

these kinds of things better

understood. It requires

patience, a lot of energy,

which we need to turn to.

What kind of guidelines are

we all talking about, to make

sure this kind of

relationship is set on a

steady course. Is this being

debated enough? No, it isn't.

It has to be debated better.

We have to have a public

debate in Australia about it.

I think in my own mind that

debate is timely, it's

opportune to start work on

it. We want to do some work

in this area. Ken Waller,

we're out of time. I'm keen

to discuss this further with

you, an important debate, I think you're right about

that. Thanks for joining us,

thank you for your company as

well. Stay with us. After the

break, the very late est Sky