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Australian Agenda -

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Good afternoon, Good afternoon, welcome to

the program, I'm David

Speers. For the second time

in the space of two weeks,

the Government has changed a key plank of its carbon tax

package. It will no longer

be paying power companies to

shut down dirty coal fired generators. To try to

achieve the emissions

reduction target it has set

5% by 2020. The explanation

from the Government today,

the price the power companies

wanted was more than the

Government was willing to

offer. And that is it. So

how did the Government get it wrong with its statementation of how much the power

companies would need to shut

down these generators, we

will be talking to Wayne Swan

an also about today's

national accounts figures,

the growth figures that come

in a little lower than expected but Wayne Swan is

pretty upbeat. We will find

out why. We will also talk

to Greens deputy leader Adam

Bandt about this latest change to the carbon tax package, the Greens are

furious, to put it bluntly.

faith from the Government and They say this is a breach of

we will also hear from the

Coalition's shadow

Environment Minister Greg

Hunt. Right now, a check of

the top stories back to the

news centre. The bodies of

five Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan last

week have returned home. At

air bases in Sydney and

Brisbane, family and

colleagues of the fall

ensoldiers gathered to pay

tribute to them. We begin at

Amberley Air Base, west of

Brisbane. It was a solemn

but stoic service here at the Amberley rah base as thee

three troops returned home three troops returned home

for the very last time.

40-year-old Lance Corporal

Rick Milosevic and Private Robert Poate and Sapper James

Martin were killed last week.

These men were portrayed in

today's ceremony ae as sons

and brothers and partners and

friends. The chief of army

paid tribute to the men he

said he was sorry for the

families but proud of the

work that they are doing

abroad. My sympathy is with

them, my sorrow is with them

but my pride of the service

of those soldiers, is also

with them. Private ceremonies will be held at a

later date so the families

can finally say goodbye. And

a similar service was held at

Richmond air base in Sydney

McDonald and Private for Lance Corporal Mervyn

Nathanael Galagher who were

killed in a helicopter crash.

Cameron prise filed this

report. Two Australian soldiers killed in

Afghanistan last week have

returned home and have been

farewelled at a ramp ceremony

at Richmond rav base near

Sydney. Lance Corporal

Nathanael Galagher Nathan Mervyn McDonald and Private

Adrian were killed last

Thursday. They had a

ceremony in Dubai before

returning on a C17 here into

Richmond RAF base. Inside,

fellow troops, family and friends and the partners of

the two men who released a

statement overnight, Rachel,

Mervyn McDonald describing the fiance of Lance Corporal

him as a real Aussie bloke, with a passion for his

company. They were due to be

married next Easter. Jesse,

Nathanael Galagher spoke of the partner of Private

the moment that they left for

this tour of Afghanistan and

they were at the airport and

Jesse asked Mervyn to look

after Nate and he promised to

bring him home. She said in

the most tragic of ways, he

has kept that promise. The

men were members of a special

forces unit, so there was a

large amount of privacy

surrounding their return and

ramp ceremony. The

Government has abandoned

plans to pay for the closure

of some of the nation's

dirtiest coal fire power

stations after failing to

agree on a price for compensation. Under its

clean energy future package,

the Government was going to

phase out 2,000 megawats of emodeugss intensive brown

coal capacity by 2020 but the

Government and energy

companies could not agree on

how much compensation should

be paid. The amount of money

that I had in my mind in

terms of what we were

prepared to pay, there was a

significant difference in

Commonwealth Government and, valuation between the

I might say, the owners of

the generation capacity. The

Greens are furious, saying the Government's plan to

reduce emissions is now under

question. By spending 5.5 billion on compensation to

coal fired generators, as

well as other assistance, you

are effectively propping them

up and undermining the

capacity of the carbon price

to deliver the

transformation. Up to 40,000

Victorian teachers have

marched on State Parliament,

calling for better respect

and higher pay from the bail

bail Government. The

education unionon has

rejected a 2.5% pay rise from the Government but the

Premier says they are being unreasonable. The stadium

that usually houses the

Australian Open today filled

with 15,000 teachers, the

largest education strike ever

in Victoria. And their

message was clear. We want

Ted Baillieu to be an

honourable man. He promised

that we would be the best

paid teachers. He hasn't

For thousands of lived up to that promise.

For thousands of students an

up to 400 schools across the

The Australian Education State, today was a day off.

Union is locked in a long, bitter dispute with the

Baillieu Government, they

want a 30% pay rise. I think

2.5% is a real insult, the

really care about our kids amount of work we do, and we

and we want to make sure they

can get the best education

they possibly can. Those

feelings are shared by other teachers and fear the first

time support staff as well.

Ted Baillieu promised to make

highest paid in the nation. Victorian teachers the

He is offering 2.5%. Have a

rethink Ted because what you are demonstrating is how much

you value the children of

this State. The Government

says the union's demands are

unreasonable. It has offered

a base of 2.5% a base of 2.5% with a performance bonus offered to

70% of teachers. But that

offer hasn't been accepted.

Ted proposes performance pay.

(Booing) you don't want

performance pay? But for the

15,000 teachers who have

packed into the arena, they

say it is not about a pay

rise, they just want

respect. Even from parents,

many of whom were forced to take the day off work to spend time with their

children. We have some

teachers who did not go out,

that is their choice, but the parents are totally behind

us. As a father as well as a

minister, I understand Victorians frustrations

today. Soy urge the

Victorian Premier to pull his

socks up and get back to the negotiating table with tens

of thousands of his

hardworking employees.

Further strike action is

planned for the future. To

the United States now and it

was Michelle Obama's time to

shine today. As she spoke on

the first day of the democratic national

convention in North Carolina.

The 44th First Lady didn't

disappoint as she championed

her husband's cause and encouraged voters to put

Barack Obama into the White

House for another term. She

is everyone's favourite First

Lady. Michelle Obama, the

woman behind the man. And

today, she didn't disappoint.

Renowned for her charm, wit,

sense of humour and

impeccable style, she opened

the three day democratic

national convention in North Carolina by waging Carolina by waging her

unwavering support for her

husband. I have seen first-hand that being

President doesn't change who

you are. She spoke about their simpler life before

Obama was elected as President of the United

States. And she rarely

mentioned republican

challenger Mitt Romney but

ensured everything she said

highlighted the difference between the President and between the President and his

competitor. Barack Obama was

raised by a single mum who

struggled to pay the bills

and by grandparents who

stepped in when she needed

help. The first African

American First Lady in the

country's history didn't hide

the fact the couple has been

through hard times. When we

were first married, our

combined monthly student loan

bill was actually higher than

our mortgage. And encouraged

others to follow the American

dream. Barack Obama knows

the American dream because he

has lived it. The party will

spend the next few days

attempting to persuade voters

to stick with the current

President for another term.

Despite high unemployment and

sluggish economic growth.

And like Mr Romney last week,

Mr Obama is likely to pull

out some big celebrity names

when he speaks on the final

day of the convention.

Taking a look at sporting

news now and Brian Smith has been socked coach of the

Roosters. He had been at the

helm for three years and led

the side to the 2010 grand

final. But after a

disappointing season, where

the try colours won just

eight matches and finished

13th on the ladder, there have been speculation that

Smith had lost the support of

the playing group. And there

have been suggestions that

Smith would also be moved to

a director of coaching role

but the club announced today

that they had cut ties with

the coach. Outgoing coach

says it has come as a shock.

Meantime all NRL clubs will

be watching the judiciary closely tonight as Sharks

centre pom becomes the first

to face it after the ARL

commission announced it was cracking down on shoulder

charges that come into

contact with the head. He was just trying to go up

there and put the pressure on

JT and make a strong tackle

and it was unfortunate how it

ended up . It will be interesting to see how it

pans out. I don't think

anyone knows what is going to

happen. So tonight will set

the precedent I think. The

Sharks take on the Raiders in

Canberra this weekend in the

elimination final. Taking a

look at the weather tomorrow.

Those strong winds persisting

with widespread showers

across the south-east.

Thank you. After the break,

we will be talking to Treasurer Wayne Swan about today's national accounts figures, some slow down in

economic growth, but Wayne

Swan still pretty happy with the Australian economy at the

moment, beating the rest of

the world, we will also be

discussing the Government's

plans today to, well, shelve another part of the carbon

tax package. The payments it

was going to make to power

companies to shut down dirty

coal fire generators. Stay with us.

You're watching PM Agenda.

The Government has today been

forced to defend the

integrity of its carbon tax package after cancelling

another key plank of it

today. Last week it was doing away with the floor

price and linking in with the

EU's emissions trading

scheme. Today, was the

resources and Energy Minister

Martin Ferguson who confirmed

that after more than a year

of negotiations, plans to pay

big power companies, to shut

down in particular five dirty

coal fired power generators

with Government assistance,

shut them down and save 2,000

megawatts of dirty power,

that is not going to happen

any more. Why? Well, the

power companies wanted more

from the Government than the

Government was willing to

offer. Did the Government

realise this was going to be

a problem earlier? Did it

realise when it went into

these negotiations what these

power companies would be

demanding? What has changed? Well, Martin Ferguson was asked about this this morning

and, in particular, the

decision last week to scrap

the floor price after 2015.

Whether this now means the carbon price is really going

to fall and whether it is

going to mean these dirty

power generators are worth

quite a bit more money. Here

he was. Clearly, it was a

minor issue in terms of our

consideration but I must say,

I refuse to complete the

Government process until the

Government had completed its consideration of where we

ended up in the price of

carbon because it would have

been completely inappropriate

to pursue negotiations in

good faith with these five operators whilst there was

some uncertainty as to where

the Government would end up

in respect of price on

carbon. The Government is

copping it from both sides

over this decision. The

Coalition says it is chaos

and confusion now surrounding

the carbon tax package. We

will hear from the Shadow Environment Minister Greg

Hunt a little later in the

program. Bear in mind though, the Coalition never

supported this idea of baying

the power generators to shut

down the dirty emitter s. It

is also unfire from the

greens, they of course were

pivotal in securing support

for the package. They have

said the announcement was a

breach of faith. Here is the Greens leader Christine

Milne. The Government's

decision to terminate contact

for closure is a breach of

faith, a breach of faith with

the Australian community, a

breach of faith with the

multi party climate committee and it really goes against

the spirit of everything we

have been trying to do and

that is close down the

dirtiest power stations in

Australia, particularly

Hazelwood in Victoria. So,

what was the reasoning behind the Government's decision

here and where does it leave the carbon tax package? I

spoke just a short time ago to Treasurer Wayne Swan about

this and also today's national accounts figures,

economic growth has come in a

little under expectations but

still growing, at .6 of 1%

for the quarter, 3.7% for the

year, that is slower than the

previous quarter but as Wayne

Swan points out, it now marks

21 years of consecutive

growth in Australia.

Something he is keen to boast

about. Thanks for your time.

Before we get to the national

accounts, can I ask you about this latest change to the

carbon tax package. The

Government promised to close

down 2,000 megawatts of power

by paying the power companies

to shut down dirty generators. The Prime

Minister said the Government

would work to get this

absolutely right. How did

they get it wrong? We

couldn't get value por money

and we didn't, so we didn't

move through with the

proposal. I think that is

the responsible thing to do

in the circumstances and the minister has been through

this in some detail. But

surely the Government didn't

go into these negotiations

blindly. There must have

been some rough idea of what the generators would want.

What has changed since then?

Can I make this point: until

you get into a commercial discussion, you don't really know the full outcome. I

mean, that is when a lot of

the detail is on the table.

We went into the discussions

in good faith. We couldn't

see the value for money. We

are on about reducing carbon

pollution an in the least

costs way. We didn't think

we had it and that is why we

didn't proceed. So those initial estimations really underestimated the value of

these power companies? Well,

I'm not sure. I wasn't in

the negotiations but I'm

certainly aware of them. We

went there in good faith. We

simply couldn't conclude the

deal. We didn't think it was

good value for money. This

is the second change in as

many weeks to the carbon tax

package. Will there be any

more? I know there has been

a lot of discussion about

change. I mean, what we have

got here is a price on

carbon, we have got it introduced now right across

our economy, and we have done

it in a pretty seamless way

as we have gone through some

pretty heavy political flak.

The fact is it will always be

making adjustments to policy

with very big changes. These

are pretty big adjustments as

we have seen. Yeah, sure,

but the fact is that the EU

linking is a major

enhancement to the scheme. I

think people that know about

carbon pricing understand how

important that advance was.

That could never be predicted

in advance. It was a subject

of negotiations over a period

of time by the responsible

minister. Ditto when you

come to these issues. There

had to be detailed negotiations. Unfortunately, negotiations. Unfortunately,

at the end of the day, we

didn't think there was value

for money. The question is

will there be any more

changes and in particular

will you bring forward the

shift to a floating price?

I'm not going to go into a

rule in, rule out. Why not?

This is legislature. We are

very happy with where we are,

we have got a fixed price for

three years, that is... That

is not going to change? That

is the commitment that we

have made. So you won't go

to a floating price? There

are other matters that we

have been dealing with,, for

example, we have got the

clean energy finance up and

running but we are committed

to the three year fixed

price. Let's go to the national accounts. They have

come in a little lower than expected and quite a bit

lower than the last quarter

which is a strong figure.

Last quarter was a stellar

quarter. It was always going

to come down from that, that sort of sort of figure. Absolutely.

It has come in at .6% which

is pretty good. It is

fantastic internationally and

it is .6 and 3.7 and

internationally, if you look

at all the major economies,

no-one is getting close to

that. So they are good figures and the other thing

to bear in mind is that in this quarter, Europe went backwards. Last quarter we

were deal being a lot of turmoil but turmoil but the data is now

in. So there has been some

pretty choppy global

circumstances... How much is

the Australian result in that

quarter helped by Government

payments to house holds,

things like the school kids

bonus, the carbon tax compensation payments? I

couldn't put a figure on it

but I would make this point:

that this quarter is broadly

based and it is not just

consumption. I mean, we have

got a very big impact from net exports and that is a

good sign because what it

shows is all that investment,

which is starting to produce

production and is producing exports, is quite

significant. Those payments

must have been a contributor? They certainly

add to consumption, there is

no doubt about that, but I

don't think they are the be

all and end up ah

consumption. What we have

seen is reasonably solid

consumption over recent

years. Yes, there has been some Government payments in

this quarter. We have also

seen the savings rate rise a

little. So what we have had

is good income growth and

what we have seen people

doing in that they have been

consumingings but not out of

this world and they are

sensitive about what they do,

and we have got the savings

rate up a bit. That is a

pretty good combination. We

are seeing slower or a bit of

a slow down in the mining industry with some projects

being shelved over the last

couple of weeks and you acknowledged today that the

commodity price fall has been

a bit more than... This is

the spot price, sure. Than

you estimated in the budget.

Did you therefore overestimate the ongoing

strength of the mining sector

at budget time? I don't

believe so. Look, if you

have a look at the data and I

showed some today, the

increase in the advanced

resource pipeline over the

past year has been $90

billion and this is despite

all of the debate and what

people claimed that the NRRT

was having an impact, the

price on carbon was having an

impact, well, the committed

investment in that pipeline

increased by 90 billion to

260 billion in the last 12

months. So I think what you

can see is real strength

there. Most of that is

absolutely going to happen.

Yes, some of it may slow

down. There may be changes

at the margin but a lot of

that is absolutely committed

and happening as we speak.

So you see that in the understanding strength of our

economy. If this slow down

continues and worse ens, is

there any scope to reconsider

the mining taxi? The fact is

that the MRRT is a super

profits tax, it is a resource profits tax, it is a resource

tax and if prices are down,

that is one of the factors

that impacts on revenue.

I've made this point on many

occasions. And finally,

Cubbie Station, the

Government has approved the foreign purchase of this

giant cotton station. The

nationals are angry about it,

bornby joys says it shouldn't

be sold overseas, it should

be broken up into smaller

farms. Is that possible?

Look, the opposition economic

team are simply a shambles on

this critical question of

foreign investment. We are

certainly about all else is

required. When Tony Abbott

made a speech in China few

weeks ago, got it all wrong

and it has been falling apart

ever since then. Do you

understand the sensitivity?

Of course I do. I'm a

Queenslander, I'm from the

bush, I have got parents who

came off farms, I understand

this absolutely but I know

what people want. What they

actually want is for Cubbie

Station to be operating and operating well and it had

been in the hands, and still

is in the hands of receivers,

for three years. And the

only money available here was

a consortium of some Chinese

and Japanese interests, as

well as an Australian

company, which is a partner,

so what I decided to do was

to put in place some strict

guidelines to ensure our national interest was met,

both in terms of employment

and in terms of the sale of

the product from that farm and that commercial prices

will be paid. So it could be

an operating concern and

there is a lot of people in

the bush and in the National

Party who understand how

important that is to the

future of our country and to

the future of agriculture.

Wayne Swan thank you. Good

to be with you. After the

break, we will be talking to

Greens Deputy Leader Adam

Bandt. Stay with us.

Welcome back to the

program. In a moment, we

will be hearing from the greens deputy leader Adam

Bandt, also the Coalition's environment spokesman Greg

Hunt. First a check of the

news headlines. Here is

Vanessa Tresize. Two ramp

ceremonies have been held

today for five Australian soldiers killed in two

separate incidents while on

operations in Afghanistan

last week. The first was

held at the Amberley air

force base near Brisbane for

the three diggers murdered by

a rogue Afghan soldier at a

base at Uruzgan province. A

second ramp ceremony took

place at the Richmond air

force base in Sydney for the

two soldiers who were killed

in a helicopter crash in

Helmand province. The

Federal Government has

abandoned plans to pay some

of Australia's dirtiest coal

fire power generators to

shuts down. Energy Minister

Martin Ferguson said the

Government could not be

satisfied that entering into such arrangements would achieve value for money

against the programs objectives. The move is

expected to save the

Government about $5 billion

but could put at risk the

pollution reduction target.

Victorian teachers have

marched to Parliament House

in Melbourne as they continue

their action over pay and

conditions. More than 15,000 teachers and support staff

walked off the job today in

an ongoing dispute with the

State Government. Today's

action which saw as many as

400 schools across the State

closed marks the biggest

education strike in

Victoria's history. The

United States First Lady

Michelle Obama has opened the

three day democratic national convention in North Carolina.

In her speech, the First Lady

praised President Barack

Obama as a devoted husband, a

caring father and a man who

can be trusted to revive the country's weak economy. The

President will make his

formal acceptance speech at

the party's presidential candidate on the third and

final day of the convention.

The sixth day of competition

at the Paralympics in London

has seen more medals for

Australia in the pool and on

the track. NSW swimmer

Jacqueline Freney put in

another sensational

performance. The 20-year-old

picking up her sixth gold at

these gimes. Brenden Hall

won gold in the mens 400 m

freestyle in world record

time and the youngest member

of the athletic squad picked

up a bronze in his 200 m

event. The Roosters are on

the hunt for a new coach after Brian Smith was sacked

today. It follows a dismal

year where they finished in

13th place winning just eight

matches. And the weather

very windy with showers

across the south, warm and

windy in the east. Well, as

we discussed earlier, the

Government has today a

nounsed a change to scrapping the key plank of its carbon

tax package, no longer will

it be paying power companies

to shut down dirty coal fire generators. This was

designed to save some 2,000

megawatts of dirty emissions

by 2020 but no more. The

Government's explanation for

this, the price it was

willing to offer was far out

stripped by the price the

power companies wand. They

didn't realise until it got into detailed negotiations

that there would be such a

gap. The Greens are furious

about this. To put it

mildly, they sat down, negotiated this carbon tax package and helped pass it

through the Parliament. I

spoke earlier to the Greens

deputy leader and member of

that cross party consultation

committee, Adam Bandt. Thank

you for your time. The

Greens have labelled this

move a breach of faith but if

you are convinced the carbon

price is going to keep

rising, why were these

payments ever needed to help

shut down dirty generators?

It is a breach of a key part

of the announcement that was

made to the people for the

benefit of the planet that

would allow us to start

moving quickly to a clean

energy future. It was a key

component of it to sit alongside the price on

pollution, buying out of some

of the dirtiest power

generators in the country

would create the space in the

market for newer, cleaner

forms of energy to come on

board. And the Government

acknowledged as much. And so

it, for us, was a key

component of the package and

it is a clear breach of the

announcement that they made

to the people. But if the

carbon price does keep going

up, as the Greens expect it will, therefore, won't these

power companies be put out of

business anyway? Our view

was that better to start

somewhere and that the carbon

price that is starting at the

moment is better than not

having a scheme at all but in

and of itself, won't drive

all the change that we need,

which is why as part of this

package, we negotiated $10

billion to go to a clean

energy finance corporation,

$3 billion to go to cleanable

renewable energy and the buy

out and the closure of these

dirtiest power stations in a

planned way so that we move

smoothly into the clean

energy society. So I don't believe that the price in and

of itself was going to be

enough and unfortunately what

we are also hearing from the

generators today is that they

now believe that given all of

the competition and free

permits and hand outs that

they are going to get as part

of the package, they can be

in business for another

decade or so. So for us,

this was an important part of

the package and also part of

the reason that we were

prepared to see some of these

companies get compensation. Because we understood that

there would be a planned

phase out of dirty polluting

coal fire power generation.

The Prime Minister says she

says Australia will still

meet its emissions reduction

target, even without paying

these power companies to shut

down the dirty generators.

Do you believe her on that?

We may well do that but the

target that is set for 2020

of only 5% is woefully low and I expect the climate

change authority is going to

tell us that in order to meet

the requirement of

decarbonising the economy by

2030 or 2040, which is what the climate commissioner said

we have got to do, we have

got to move much, much

quicker and this would have

been one of the key ways of

moving quickly, in an orderly

way, moving away from dirty

coal fire power station to

clean and renewable energy.

So maybe we are still on

track to meet the 5% target

but it's a big blow to

meeting the longer term

targets and to meet the chaem

lenge that the science has

set us. Are you expecting

more changes to the carbon

pricing package? Look, I

don't know. Most of the key

planks of the climate change

package are now in law and

are going to come into

effect. I think it does show

that you can't trust Labor to

look after the environment.

This is a key thing that they committed to do and now

won't. I would hope there is

no further nasty surprises

for the planet around the

corner. But we are going to

keep a pretty close watch.

What if the Government were

to move faster to a floating

price earlier than mid 2015,

what would the Greens think

of that? I think we have had

those discussions and we have

been quite happy to work constructively with the Government to get a

compromise out come that I

think is going to entrench

this scheme for a long time

to come and I don't think db

is going to be able to --

don't think Tony Abbott is

going to be able to repeal

it. So we were quite happy

to work with the Government

on that. I don't think that

there is any further changes

to the scheme that are

required in that respect.

But you would be open to a

discussion on moving faster

to a floating price? I think

we have had that discussion

and I think the plan is the

plan. I don't know that we necessarily want to open up

those discussions again. I

don't see any need to and

hasn't been any suggestion from the Government that we

will do that. So that is not

something at this stage that

we think should happen at

all. Thank you. Thanks David. Meanwhile on the

other side, the Government's copping it also from the Coalition. They never

supported this idea of paying

the power companies to shut

down dirty generators.

Nonetheless they say this

latest change to the carbon

tax package creates further

chaos and confusion. I also

spoke this afternoon to the Shadow Environment Minister

Greg Hunt. Greg Hunt thanks

for your time. The Coalition

opposed this part of the

carbon pricing package from

the start. Now it has gone.

But you say this is chaos.

Why not welcome the

Government's decision here?

It is chaos because it is

part of a collapsing carbon

tax package. We have had

bail outs, we have had

changes to the list of liable

entities, we have had changes

to the business

qualifications for

compensation. Last week we

had the collapse of the floor price a week after Greg

Combet said on your program

they wouldn't be changing it.

This week we have got a

radical change with the

collapse of the contracts for

closure. The entire carbon

tax package is falling apart.

We predicted it. We foresaw

it. We forewarned about it

and that is what is

occurring. There is no joy

in seeing an economic crisis

and ensuing chaos unfold even

if you have warned about it.

But these words "crisis" an "Chaos". Just to be clear

though, you do welcome what

the Government has done today? We never supported

the contracts for closure.

Our view is that we should be

cleaning up, not closing down

our power stations an we

always thought it wouldn't

work. The companies were

very up-front. They said we don't think this is going to

work. So it is part of a

pattern where at the macro level, the Government has

wasted the boom, they have

squandered the boom because

they just don't in their DNA understand sensible decision

making, it is all about big announcement and inevitably

big failure and at the

specific level, this

particular program was badly

conceived, badly designed.

On the one hand you have payments through what's

called the energy security

fund to keep the power

stations open, on the other

hand, you've got payments to

the same companies to close

the same power stations.

It's no wonder it's not

working. Can I ask you about

your direct action policy to

pay power generators to clean

up their act rather than shut down. What exactly would you

be paying them to do? Let me

give you a series of

examples. You could be

capturing cap bon and CO 2

and other emissions in the

flew stack and using it to

reduce emissions by

converting to algae energy.

You could be involved in

energy efficiency or

conversion from coal to gas.

They are the three things we

have talked about since 2

February 2010. Right now,

right now, the big firms are

talking with us about

cleaning up their power

stations and what they have

been saying for some

considerable period is we

don't think the Government's

system is going to work, but

boy, we are very interested

in working within an approach

which is about providing

incentives for real emissions production. Just to take up

one of those examples you

have given there, convert

from coal to gas. You might

be able to help them with

that transition but there is

an ongoing gas. Gas costs

more than comb. So what

would you do, keep

subsidising or would this mean higher electricity

prices? No, what we did is

we set out in the original

proposal a plan which

included the fact that the

capital cost would make sure

that there was no

differential between the price of current coalfied

electricity and gas. So that is built into the price structure that we had right

from the outset, right from

day one, right from the first

press conference on the 2

February 2010. So it was

conceived and contemplated and it represents the

difference between the two

sides. I honestly don't think they have got any idea

what they are doing. How could you have home insulation... Just to be clear on what you are doing

here though, are you saying you would have ongoing payments to these power

companies if they do convert

to gas? Well, nothing has

changed from our first

announce pent. What is that?

Is there going to be ongoing

payments or not? What we

have said, with great

respect, is that we would

have an initial bidding price

and what that means is if

they want to convert from

coal to gas, they would have

to include an equalisation of

the electricity prices as

part of their bid. So that

was from day one, exactly

what we said and we contemplated, we included it,

we budgeted fwor it, but

nothing has to come from any

one source under our system.

So that initial payment you

give them to make that

transition to gas, would have

to be big enough to make sure

that electricity prices never

rise? Not as a consequence

of our particular actions.

So what we are focussed on

here is the difference

between what the policies do

in terms of the imparkts, we

will not be adding to

electricity prices and with the reduction of the carbon

tax, we will take away

pressures on electricity

prices and that is the

difference between the two

sides. Thank you. Thanks

David. After the break, we

are going to take a look at

all of this and more, we have

seen a couple of interesting online contributions this

week from Kevin Rudd and also

Gina Rinehart, our panel this

afternoon, Sam Made enand

jacklin Railey. Stay with us.

Welcome back to the

program. Welcome to our

panel. Thanks both for

joining us. I want to start

on this latest carbon tax

change. Sam, what do you

make of it, it is another

change, two in two weeks and

they are pretty significant.

They are. I mean, the

argument is that they haven't

been able to reach any

agreement with these companies and that is why

they have abandoned the plan.

One of the issues I think for

them in terms of how they

sell these changes

politically is that all of

this stuff is, you know, it

is very interesting to people

that are officarnodos but the

problem is they have with the

carbon tax is, one, the lie and the cost to your

electricity. So unless they

make a change to the carbon

tax that addresses the lie,

and I'm not sure what you do

there, perhaps as we were

talking earlier, move to an

easier faster, or you address

electricity prices, I don't

think that any of these

changes has a big impact.

Even the floating prices is

another example of where - I

mean, if you stopped 15

people on the street and

asked them about the floating

price, I think that they

would think you were

bananas. I agree with that.

Any change they make, they

are playing to two audiences,

the Green audience who want

them to reduce emissions, but

then the other audience who

think they have gone too far.

So whenever they make a

change, they are still going

to achieve the emissions

reductions but we are not

going to shut down these

power stations. I agree with

Sam that politically they are

not going to pay a huge price

for it and it looks like they

have done it at least in part

so they can meet the budgetary constraints that

they are under and make a

surplus, which is a much

bigger political goal than

this which I think is like

the floor price is quite

complex, sort of die bollickally complex actually

stuff, all to do with carbon

emissions that the average

voter doesn't keep across in

political detail like

political journalists do. So

they won't pay a heavy price

for it. The opposition is in

an interesting price too

because how can they

capitalise on it. They say

it is another broken promise

but it is not a bad broken

promise in the sense that... They like nevered it

in the first place. They are

not shutting down something.

What about the Greens in all

of this? We have seen some

pretty strong language from

Christine Milne and Adam Bandt today that this is a

breach of faith. We do from

time to time see these

strains in the marriage of this minority Government but

that is not a bad thing for

Labor, I suppose, is it?

They have been trying to pick

their own fight with the

Greens very publically to

distance themselves and to politically demarket

themselves from the Greens

anyway so I don't think that

is going to do them any harm

at all. The Greens aren't

about to pull their support

for this Government, we know

that for sure. What about

moving to the Coalition and

the split that we have seen

over the sale of Cubbie

Station. Joe Hockey says

Barnaby Joyce shouldn't be

freelancing on this. Barnaby

Joyce though, again today,

this morning talking to

kerren-Gilbert was arguing

against the sale of Cubbie

Station to a foreign buyer,

Tony Abbott seemed to be

walking a fairly delicate

line in his remarks on this this morning. We support foreign investment but I

understand barnby's concerns.

Do you see this as damaging

for him? For Tony Abbott?

Yes. Well, I mean, Joe

Hockey doesn't mind picking a

fight with some of the people

on his front bench when they

talk out of school, it seems

to happen with relentless

regularity. Look, I suppose

Tony Abbott is playing that

sort of pastoral role that he

tends to when the boys in the boarding school are fighting.

But I assume that we would

see more of it. I can tell

you though that it is not

going down particularly well

within Liberal ranks, those

that do want to see strong

support Forbesen invest from

Tony Abbott. One I spoke to

today said that it was a

debacle, he was gobsmacked at

Tony Abbott not coming out

with a more emphatic spole

for the sale of Cubbie Station. Joe Hockey is

winning some support for

taking the hard line. On our

website, it said it is like barnby gets especially

treatment, he is allowed to

go around and say whatever he

likes, and never gets reined

in. But it is sort of a branding issue because Tony

Abbott sometimes likes to say

that the Coalition is for

small Government, for

noninterference, for true

Liberals values but in this

case, he is not really

sticking up for those values, not publically anyway, but

then I suspect that Barnaby

Joyce is playing to a totally

different audience. You can

understand that. I mean,

there would be concerns, no

doubt, in that area about

this but there is a thing

called front bench solidarity

as well. Which appears to

have been breached. Speaking

of staying on message, Kevin

Rudd this week has been

fairly active, visiting a lot

of schools and also spending

a lot of time on Twitter. He

is not specifically been

talking about the Gonski reforms and the Prime Minister's response to them,

he seems to be focussing on

the stuff he did in building

science labs and school halls and building the education

rechlution but he has also

posted some video of him

mixing it with the kids.

Good morning Mr Rudd and Mrs

Elliot. We have got a

problem with the audio there.

But a fair shake of the sauce

bottle we have got to work

out and a few other favourite

Kevinisms. What do you

think? You wouldn't say that

he is necessarily being provocative on the leadership

but he is making it pretty

clear that he is a happy

camper and there for all to

see. Yeah, I kind of feel

sorry for him in a way. We

don't really treat him with a

great deal of respect. The Labor Party doesn't really

treat him with a great deal

of respect. He is an MP. It

is not unusual for an MP to

go and visit a school. I thought what was more unusual

was that speech he gave a

couple of days ago where he

was saying things about some

neem politics don't even know

what they believe in. Some

people in my own party don't

know what they believe in

which I think some people

would have thought is he

talking about this woman who

has got red hair? I don't

think that it is unreasonable

that he would go and visit a

school and post videos on

YouTube, you know, and I

think that what do we want

this guy to do? Is he meant

to sort of hang his head in

shame for the rest of his day

snses You're right, he is in

a funny zone, he is a former

Prime Minister, normally

former PMs are afforded a

fair bit of respect and

legitimacy by their own side,

not this guy though. He has

even been air brushed out of

history, and he is trying to

bring that back. He is just

doing what local MPs do,

visiting schools, talking to

people, going to sausage

sizzles. They don't all seem

to have as much video footage handy to post on line

though. He has his social media front which gets his

message out to people. I

mean, I don't know if there

is anything sinister in it,

if it is like a here if you

need, kind of just letting

you know I'm around thing, it

might be or it might just be

him going about his business

in his electorate. Doing

what Kevin Rudd does. He is

not the only one that has

been posting stuff on line,

Gina Rinehart, Australia's

richest person, posted a

video message herself about

the state of the Australian

economy and the problems of

the carbon tax, mining tax,

as you would expect and some

of the challenges that we are

facing. Have a look at it.

Now, the evidence is

unarguable. That Australia

is indeed becoming too

expensive and too

uncompetitive to do export orientated business. Businesses that must sell

their product in the world

economy at world market, not

Australian prices. What was

too redly argued as the self

interested complaints of a

greedy few is now becoming

the accepted truth. And more

ominously, is showing up in

the incontrovertible data.

Sam, what did you make of

this? Does she make a

powerful argument? The

argument that Australia is an increasingly expensive place to do business is a significant one, it is a

serious one and it is one of

the arguments driving some of the debates within the

Liberal Party for example

about industrial relations.

I think when she got to the

bit about you can do business

in Africa they are prepared

to work for $2 a day, I think

that that was an issue. I know that everyone is just

sort of in their little corners and playing the

politics of it. I understand

why Wayne Swan attacks her.

But - and why she is not a

particularly, in some cases,

sort of a, you know,

attractive sort of - it is

easier to criticise her. But

I am sort of troubled by this

issue where Wayne Swan is

running around saying that

she is rattling her pearls

and some of the language he

is using. I understand why

they are doing it politically

but if someone sort of ran

around and said that the Prime Minister Julia Gillard was rattling her pearls or

made this sort of, you know,

quite personal attacks, you know, Greens leader Christine

Milne raises a lot of issues

around her family and relationship with her

children, you know, attacking

her for inheriting money from

her father. It is really

quite ugly in a lot of ways.

I'm not saying that she is a

sympathetic figure, that is

the way I was looking for --

the word I was looking for, but would - if someone started saying that the Prime Minister Julia Gillard was

rattling her pearls again, if Tony Abbott said that about

the Prime Minister, would we

not think that that was, you

know, a little bit sexist or

a little bit inappropriate?

Yeah, I think a few

commentators have made this

point that some of the

criticism we hear of public figures or female public

figures is jumped upon by

certain, I suppose left

wingers, but not so much when

more conservative right wingers like Gina Rinehart

are being criticised.

However, I do think Wayne Swan has made this very public sort of campaign

against the likes of Gina Rinehart and when Gina

Rinehart comes out and makes

favourable comparisons with

African workers who are paid

$2 a day, she is not doing

herself any favours. It is

poorly advised and by all

accounts she is not in there

taking a lot of advice on

media matters, like

presumably her sort of group

of advisors thought that was

a brilliant point to make.

But some of Christine Milne's

stuff about she got all of

this money from her dad and

she hasn't done anything, at

the end of the day, she has

built that wealth, you know. She plodeuz hundreds of

people. She is, you know, by

any measure one of

Australia's most successful

business women in an

environment that is dominated

by men. One of the world's

most... And we want to bash

her to death. I get that she

is not a sympathetic

character but I find it a

little interesting. We are

going to have to wrap it up

there, I'm afraid. Good to

talk to you both, thanks for

joining us. We will be back

same time tomorrow. See you then.

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