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(generated from captions) Labor has positioned itself quite

effectively to exploit that. Paul,

thanks for your time. Thanks,

. And now to our studio guest - Labor's Deputy Leader and Shadow Education Minister, Jenny Macklin. This week, the Labor Party abandoned its long-held support for compulsory student unionism. They said they did so as a compromise to safeguard the funding of basic services at universities. But as Jenny Macklin found out this week, some of the students will take convincing.

I just want to let you know that

Labor's amendment is all about

saving those services. (Student

saving those services. (Students

chant) Jenny Macklin, good morning.

Good to be with you Barrie. That

can't have been a particularly

pleasant experience for the deputy

leader of the Labor Party? Wherever

you make a tough decision you have

to be prepped to stand up and argue

for it even in those difficult

circumstances, but I do think that

most students on our university

campuses do understand why Labor is

putting forward this solution.

putting forward this solution. They know that if the Howard Government

legislation gets through unamended,

student services on our university

campuses will just be decimated.

There won't be the sporting

facilities, there won't be the

subsidised child care, the

counselling services the advocacy

services, the drama facilities -

services, the drama facilities - all the things that students depend on

at university. Labor's amendment

at university. Labor's amendment is all about saving those services and

I think most students understand

that. So it's a compromise? It's a

solution we're putting forward to a

very, very extreme piece of

legislation. What the Howard

Government wants to do is get rid

Government wants to do is get rid of the amenities fee which will see

the amenities fee which will see the end of all of those services. We

want to make sure that those

services continue and that's what

the amendment's about. But it's a

compromise. Does that mean in

isolation you would still support

voluntary student unionism? We

voluntary student unionism? We would oppose the Howard legislation. Our

position is very clear. We don't

have the numbers in the Senate

Barrie as I'm sure you know, so

Barrie as I'm sure you know, so what we're trying to do is get those

Liberal and National Party senators

who've indicated their concern for

these services to support Labor's

amendment to make sure these

services continue on our university

campuses. What I'm trying to

establish is if it was an issue in

isolation what would your attitude

be to compulsory student be to compulsory student unionism?

It's not an issue in isolation.

It's an issue we face in the Senate

at the moment where we're trying to

save student services. We have put

forward a compromise. We do want

forward a compromise. We do want do separate the two issues. Separate

the issue of whether or not you

belong to your student organisation

from the provision of these student

services. What you're saying in an

ideal world then you would still be

supporting compulsory student

unionism? We will not support the

Government's legislation if it goes

through amended because we do not

want to see the end of these

services. But we will stick to our

amendment, if the amendment gets up

that will be the position that

that will be the position that Labor takes forward. We've made that

compromise. It's been a difficult

decision but we intend to stick

decision but we intend to stick with it. Can I try one more time on the

issue of compulsory student

unionism, is that a principle

unionism, is that a principle that's had its day? We've obviously made

that compromise. That is the

compromise that we're now putting

forward. We are recognising that

forward. We are recognising that to save student services we have to

separate these issues. You have to

throw a principle overboard?

We have to say that students will

have the choice to join their

student organisation or not and the

only reason we've done this is to

save student services. We don't

have the numbers in the Senate to

have the numbers in the Senate to do anything else other than try and

anything else other than try and get Liberal and National Party members

to come across and support Labor's

amendment to save these services.

Otherwise, our university campuses

are just going to be like deserts

without any of the services that we

all know make the best of student

life. Did you agonise before

ditching that principle? It's been

ditching that principle? It's been a difficult decision. These are

difficult decisions, but as I say,

we don't have the numbers in the

Senate to block this legislation.

We can't stop it going through

unless we get at least two National

or Liberal Party senators to

or Liberal Party senators to support Labor's position. Now that are --

they are not going to come across

they are not going to come across to support the current arrangements.

They've made that very clear. But

if Barnaby Joyce, Fiona Nash, all

if Barnaby Joyce, Fiona Nash, all of those senators who want to save

student services stick to their

student services stick to their guns then I hope they'll support Labor's

amendment. Did you take the shadow

cabinet with you on this? There's

one report this morning that

suggests it was done by the

leadership alone? What we did was

take the amendment to both the

shadow ministry and the caucus. It

was very clear what the amendment

was about. I certainly hope that

people will now get out there and

put the argument. These are tough

decisions that we have to make. We

recognise that the only way we are

going to protect all of these

going to protect all of these things that are so important to students,

that university vice-chancellors

have come out supporting, some of

our great sporting heroes, some of

our great comedians and actors, all

they want is to protect student

services. That's what we're about.

Perhaps in response to this and

reports Labor is moving to the

centre, the PM challenged Labor to

name one cause you've consistently

believed in for the last nine and

believed in for the last nine and a half years? Extraordinary isn't it

from a PM that breaks his word so

regularly. Let's take one example

in my own portfolio which has been

in my own portfolio which has been a Labor policy for 30 years, which is

needs based funding for schools.

That's just one example. I could

think of so many others. One of

think of so many others. One of the things that I'm concerned about

things that I'm concerned about with the PM's latest carry-on is we've

been putting forward many, many new

initiatives, policy ideas even

initiatives, policy ideas even since the election. Take one that's been

in the news very recently, the need

to send troops to Afghanistan.

to send troops to Afghanistan. This is something Labor, in fact, has

been campaigning on for a few years

and we certainly do support those

troops going to Afghanistan to help

in that country. Another

in that country. Another initiative which Kim Beazley and I were out

talking about in a school just a

talking about in a school just a few weeks ago. We were trying to

encourage Mr Howard to have

education on the agenda at his

summit with Muslim leaders. Now we

were very pleased to see the PM

recognising that the teaching of

democratic values, civics and

citizenship, these issues should be

taught in our schools. Brendan

Nelson has since gone completely

over the top on the issue. But

Labor's out there, putting forward

practical proposals, for example in

this area, where we can see ways

forward to make sure that the

democratic values that Australians

feel so strongly about get taught

feel so strongly about get taught in our schools. Now we're always glad

when the PM picks up on our ideas.

In what way do you think Brendan

Nelson has gone over the top?

Nelson has gone over the top? In suggesting that if people don't

do particular things they just

do particular things they just clear off. What Labor's about is not

those over the top sort of

statements. What we put forward

were practical ways in which we can

make sure that young people learn

make sure that young people learn to understand each other's beliefs and

values. I was at a Muslim school

just this week here in Melbourne

just this week here in Melbourne and they'd a wonderful program that

involved a Catholic school, an

Anglican school, some Jewish kids,

Anglican school, some Jewish kids, a Government high school with the

Muslim children and they were

basically talking about values,

talking about how they get to

understand each other. I think

understand each other. I think it's much better for us to look at

practical ways to impart those sort

of values that we share rather than

insulting people. You this week

linked the funding to schools

conditional on ensuring that

students are not exposed to

extremist material. You've picked

up on that principle, as well? You

think it's OK to make funding

conditional on certain conditions

being met? As I say Barrie we

actually put that forward before

actually put that forward before the PM raced these issues and I'm glad

he's picked up Labor's idea. We do

think that it's important that

think that it's important that these values of civics and citizenship,

our democratic beliefs are taught

our democratic beliefs are taught in all of our schools and we certainly

would want to make sure that

would want to make sure that funding is conditional on those things. I

don't think we'll find any

disagreement from the States and

Territories about that either and,

of course, Labor's approach will be

to sit down and talk about it with

the staifts and Territories, not to

bully them. There's a lot of talk

now about taxation. Can you

now about taxation. Can you imagine yourself in any circumstances

supporting a cut to the top rate?

Well, we're not ruling anything in

or out at this stage but we do

recognise there are some very

serious problems with the tax

system. I mean, it's a bit hard to

know who's running the coalition's

tax policy at the moment. There are

just as many views in Opposition, I

would suggest? They're in

Government, who's running the tax

debate - is it the PM, Peter

Costello, Malcolm Turnbull. You've

even had Sophie Panopolos putting

her point of view. From our point

of view, if I can just use one

example just to pick up from my own

area where there are serious

problems, you know there is a very

serious skills crisis in Australia

at the moment. We at the moment. We certainly want

at the moment. We certainly want to make sure that there's incentive in

the tax system to encourage people

to upgrade their skills. We don't

want people to think that if you go

away, get an extra qualification,

then it's not going to be worth

then it's not going to be worth your while. But we're going to be

looking at the substantial problems

in the tax system and bringing the

issues forward. And if you make

meaningful cuts do you accept there

will have to be some sort of attack

on middle-class welfare as Craig

Emerson suggests? As I say, I'm not

going to go into the detail today

going to go into the detail today of what we put forward, but we

recognise there are substantial

policy issues that do need to be

addressed in the tax system and

addressed in the tax system and that tinkering around the edges won't do

it. And I presume we won't see a

Labor tax policy until after the

final Budget before the next

election? We will have to wait and

see Barrie. Are you rolling out

policies at a faster rate than last

time? We've obviously been putting

some policies out already. We've

put forward the whole issue of

teaching our democratic values in

schools a few weeks ago and some

practical proposals about how that

could be done, professional

development for teachers, teaching

those values, buddy systems in

schools, schools of different

religious beliefs. In the skills

area we've put forward a trade

completion bonus, a trades in

schools programmes. We've put out

some good policies already, the

danger is, of course, the