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This is PM Agenda. Hello and welcome to the program. How much if anything will the mining tax generate in its first quarter of operation? If it doesn't contribute anything to government coffers has the whole thing been a failure? Not so says Treasurer Wayne Swan, he argues that one bad quarter does not mean the whole year has been a write off. We will get the Coalition's view this afternoon from the shadow Assistant Treasurer Senator Mathias Cormann. Also today the Greens and Australian Workers Union have been in peace talks over the future of the Tarkine wiltederness in Tasmania ahead of the decision by the federal government whether they will seek a world heritage listing. My guest this afternoon the AWU boss Paul Howes. Also today, my panel, of journalists Nicky Sava from 'The Australian' newspaper, and Shane Wright from 'The West Australian'. First let's check in on the rest of the day's news with Susanne Latimore.Thanks. The Opposition has declared the mining tax a failure. Amid reports it's brought in zero revenue in the first three months. Comes as business groups blame the Government for the collapse of the working group, that was seeking a reduction in company tax. The miners feared the tax would kill the goose that lays the golden egg. Now Joe Hockey says the egg is on the government's face.The grand mining tax is a failure. And it was directly designed by Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan.But not because the tax is too heavy, quite the opposite. On Monday the Government revised down its expected take from the mining tax, from $3.7 billion to $2 billion. But reports suggest in the first three months treasury didn't receive a cent.This is a lose perfect lose tax. Only the Labor Party could introduce a confidence destroying, investment destroying tax and then not raise any money.The Treasurer must have been listening to his Bruce Springsteen records backwards because he's taking from the poor and giving to the rich.Wayne Swan says he won't comment on the tax affairs of individual companies but he's confidence mining profit also improve and he will hit his revenue target.You can't take one particular quarter and claim that as representative of the whole year.The reality is, there is going to be a serious short fall and there is going to impact on various programs that they budgeted for.The mining tax was originally designed to fund among other things a 1% cut to company tax. But that was blocked by the Opposition and the Greens.Now, a working group tasked with coming up with a revenue neutral company tax cut has collapsed.I think it flawed from the outset. They were asking the business community to be the raiser gang for the government.The revising mining tax was drawn up by Wayne Swan and Julia Gillard in the days after she took over from Kevin Rudd help his mining tax was much more imposing but he couldn't get a deal with the miners.It is flown back in their faces and the guy with the big smile on his face is Kevin Rudd.Stirring the pot at the end of the parliamentary year. ANZ chief Mike Smith has defended the bank's decision not to pass on the central bank's interest rate cuts in full.And he's managed to do that as the bank delivered a record underlying profit of $6 billion. Sky News Business reporter Katie Silva has the details.Speaking at the Kensington Palace's AGM ANZ CEO -- company's AGM ANZ CEO Mike Smith says the cash rate is one component that determines how the bank sets its interest rates. He says they are driven by costs of funding and with that how international markets are performing.We have to look at our funding costs in terms of what it costs us to raise the money to what we then pass on to people who borrow money from us.And in terms of how much we can pass on in terms of an official rate cut, that will depend how the market is performing.The big four CEO says there is a constant battle to balance the interests of mortgage holders depositors and shareholders. Offering soft predictions for 2013 Mr Smith says future cut decisions by the RBA will be determined by how the Aussie dollar travels.The question of whether or not they will need to be further stimulus I think is going to be a difficult one to weigh up because I think the unknown is where does the Aussie dollar go. And I think that's the big question mark right now.The remarks come as the bank records underlying profit of over $6 billion. The 7.4% increase beat market expectations, marking a third straight year of record earnings for the lender. The Victorian parliament has held a special sitting to formally apology to the victims of forced adoptions. Politicians and victims shed tears promising the hurt and loss will never be forgotten. Children's shoes line the steps of Victoria's parliament, a tribute to the tens of thousands of children taken from their parents in forced adoptions. Today there were tears in parliament as the premier apologised.For the trauma, pain and loss experienced by victims. We say sorry for moral arrogance, for the flawed justification and for the heartless approach of authorities in institutions. We know these young mothers were terrified, ashamed, and alone. And today we offer them our unreserved apology. The Opposition Leader Gay a chilling account of what women -- gave a chilling account of what women went through. Many drugged and pressured into signing adoption papers. He says politicians failed the community by allowing the tragedy to unfold.It was methodical, and it was inhumane. It was performed by trusted members of our community and it remains, Speaker, our shame. The apology follow as I Senate enquiry that found up to 250,000 babies forcibly taken from the mostly young unmarried mothers from the 1950s through to the 19 70s. For victims today has been a long time coming.The apology needs to come with reparation afterwards. In the form of counselling for mothers and fathers and the now adult adoptees because they have lived lives that were different from the lives that they could have lived and should have lived.As part of today's apology the Victorian Government has agreed to take action to try to redress some of the wrongs of the past.It's agreed to enhance counselling services for those affected by forced adoptions, to create integrated birth certificates showing both adoptive and biological parents to wave fees for those searches for family and to amend legislation to allow access to adoption records.There are also calls for a memorial to be erected in Melbourne to ensure the era of forced adoptions is never forgotten and never happens again. A 28-year-old Tunisian has been arrested in connection with last month's attack on the US consulate in Libya. Ali Hazi is being held in Tunis according to an interior ministry spokesman. The US Ambassador to Libya and three other Americans died in the attack in Benghazi on 11 September. There are hopes a four day ceasefire in Syria could help make a breakthrough in ending the country's civil war. Syria is considering a UN backed ceasefire during a Muslim holiday that starts tomorrow. Australia's Foreign Minister says the temporary truce could be a major turning point of.Getting the gun, the guns quited and the planes grounded for four days.Should be an inspiration to the different forces in Syria that a ceasefire is the way to go and political negotiations the resolution.Meanwhile 32-year-old Australian lawyer Sarah Armstrong will hold further talkings with mongolian authorities after she was prevented from leaving the country in relation to a corruption enquiry. Senator Carr says he is yet to intervene in the matter but stands ready to make a call.I'm not commenting on any personal matters or on the details of the case, the only message I have got is that she is receiving consular support as any Australian in similar circumstances has done and will do in the future. The Foreign Minister has defended having his wife travel with him overseas at a cost of $120,000. Saying she plays an invaluable role on his foreign missions. Trainer Wayne Hawke says this weekend's Cox Plate is brewing as the clash of the colts with all too hard to once again meet race favourite Pierro. All Too Hard beat Pierro three weeks ago and Hawks is hoping to see it happen again come Saturday. These two colts have been ready for this race and if there is a fairytale going to happen it will be these two boys pulling away for the rest and you know, let the crowd go mad.Team Hawks kept All Too Hard away from the cameras today in preparation for the $3 million weight for age classic. In the meantime Gatewood could miss out on the Melbourne Cup despite yesterday a Geelong Cup victory. The English stayer has been given a 1kg penalty which moves it from 4 1st to 36 on the enthere I list.The weather forecast. -- entry list.. The weather forecast: Coming up to 11 past 4. Back now to Kieran Gilbert in Canberra and PM Agenda. Thanks very much after the break I will be joined by Australian workers union boss Paul Howes and also Liberal front bencher Senator Mathias Cormann

Thanks very much for your company today. The unions and the Greens have been in peace talks over the future of the taxine wilderness in Northern Tasmania. The union delegation was led by Paul Howes, the Australian worker union chief and he joins me now. Thanks very much for your time have these talks been successful today?Unfortunately they haven't. They failed spectacularly. The Greens had a complete refusal to compromise on any of the parts of the Tarkine where we have existing mining and particular new mines to open, the Greens have basically been threatening a Franklin River style campaign and unfortunately for literally tens of thousands of Tasmanians who are relying on the minerals industry for employment if the Greens are successful in their campaign it will lead to a state which already has the highest level of unemployment nationally increasing. So we have decided that we will have to continue our campaign, we will ramp it up, we say that mining and the nature can co-exist, it has co-existed in that region for over 100 years, and there has to be a sensible exclusion. But unfortunately the Greens won't be providing that sensible solution.For those of our viewers who aren't familiar with this story, the Tarkine wilderness is potentially under consideration for world heritage listing. Do you support the notion of that listing?Well, we say there are many parts of the Tarkine region which has been tagged as such bin the Greens that should be -- by the Greens that should be protected and should be locked up. We are takening about a part of that region which represents -- talking about a part of that region which represents only 0.8% of that land mass which we believe should remain open for mineral development. Now that region is the world's second richest tin deposit and Tasmania which has suffered really badly in the last few years is relying on these new mines which are going to open soon, to lead us economic recovery. And we think that there should be a sensible middle of the road approach where the areas that zoo deserve protection are protected and -- do deserve protection are protected and locked up but other areas many of which are in old racqueted mining sites any are rehabilitate ed mining sites anyway should be allowed to go ahead and we will not be intimidated or bullied been the Greens or environmental lobby into walking away from protecting our members job security in that region. As I said before, north-west Tasmania has an unemployment rate of 8.6%, it needs these new mines to be able to survive and whilst we were hopeful that the Greens may see some commonsense, maybe will be to compromise, they would not make any concessions at all today and we have said there is no point having any future negotiations and in fact we will step up our campaign and we are now calling on our large community rally in Burnie on 17 November.One of the pre requisites for world heritage listing is national heritage listing. The Environment Minister Tony Burke will make that decision by the end of this year. I know you have the support of Lara Giddings in the Labor Party in Tasmania, what's your sense about Mr Burke's stance in the federal government?Well, I'm very hopeful that minister Burke will make a sensible decision. He's visited the region many times and whilst he's also gone to see the wilderness he's also seen the existing mines that are there and knows that those mines practice some of the world's best environmental standards. The savage River Mine Roseberry mine are great examples of how mining and nature can co-exist and we will be making the cans to the minister that the vast majority -- case to the minister that the vast majority of the north-west coast population support listing some parts of the Tarkine but also support allowing mining to continue, I think the majority of Tasmanians have a similar position and that's why we are going to have run this campaign because unfortunately the Greens, their allies in groups like get-up, which has been exposed to be no more than a green front, have been running a campaign based on fear and misinformation on the mainland, and we are worried that that campaign of misinformation will incorrectly influence the decisions of the federal government. So hopeful that minister Burke will make the right call. He's indicated he will in all of his public commentary but we won't be taking those assurances for granted and that's why we will be running this campaign.There are a couple of very important seats up in Northern Tasmania as well. Let's move on I want to ask you about the matter you are in the news for another reason today, you have written to the foreign investment review board also Virgin Australia seeking greater transparency on Etihad's involvement the middle eastern airlines acquisition and its plans for Virin Australia what exactly are your concerns and have you received a response yet from any of you have line to?We are concerned about a state owned korm rate the form of -- corporation, the form of Etihad buying a significant chunk of thenate's second largest airline with an -- nation's second largest airline with a open and transparent third process. When Etihad brought that 10% of Virgin Australia they made commitments to FIRB that stake in Virgin wouldn't go beyond 10%.. I puck up 'The Australian' newspaper last Friday, I read -- pick up 'the Australian' newspaper last Friday and read a profile on the chief executive of Etihad where he said he intends to buy a much largeer stake of Virgin Australia. If intense is to have a state -- intention is to have a stated owned corporation of the Middle East buy a significant chunk of the nation's second largest airline then I think it is complete le appropriate that the foreign investment review board conduct an open and transparent enquiry. We don't have opposition to foreign ownership of Australian companies per se, we think each case should be taken on the facts of what occurs in that particular business,... Have you had a response from FIRB or the airline?No we haven't but we will be continuing to pressure them on this front because we think the nation and the industry needs to have an open and transparent process about this.On to a few other issues. A caucus committee is demanding changes to the government's foreign workers scheme in the mining industry. A bit of a showdown looming next week between some in the caucus and the cabinet over this ruling. You would welcome the caucus revolt on this?Well, they have a very clear position on this, AWU we are not opposed idea locally to having temporary foreign work -- ideologically, but we believe there needs to be proper market testing and use of the jobs board. We do not support the EMA that was granted to Gina Rinehart's Royal Hill project because essentially none of the important check lists that should have occurred were done on that decision. We think that if a big mining company wants to deploy foreign labour because they can't find domestic labour they have to demonstrate to the Australian Government and to the wider Australian community that they have actually sought to fill those jobs with domestic labour first.That hasn't occurred with the Roy Hill EMA we have seen terrible exploitation of workers under the 45 visa seem so we welcome any moves by the caucus to develop policies that would actually protect the interests of both foreign and domestic workers so we don't have exploitation... The revolt though not exactly what the Prime Minister needs right now is it?Well, you say revolt, I say policy development. And Kieran, you know, it is OK for the labour movement and the Labor Party to have disagreements over policy and to actually develop different ideas.Paul Howes, appreciate your time thanks for that.Thanks. Turning to the mining tax now and reports today that it's actually hasn't generated a dollar for the first quarter of its operation. This is some of the reaction today. First of all the Opposition Leader and then the Treasurer defending the tax. This is a lose-lose tax. Only the Labor Party could introduce a confidence destroying investment destroying tax and then not raise any money.I mean this is the extraordinary feature of this monumentally incompetent government that they can have the worst of all possible worlds. We are are forecasting in terms of the MRRT to receive around $9 billion, across the course of this current financial year.Because you can't take one particular quarter and claim that as representative of the whole year. The Treasurer said that a couple of times. $9 billion over this financial year. That's not right actually. It is $9 billion, a bit over $9 billion over the next four years. Mr Swan I should point out did clarify that later in the news conference after twice inaccuraterily saying it was $billion over one financial year. For -- $9 billion over one financial year. I spoke to Mathias Cormann earlier from Melbourne. The assistant Treasurer. Well, let's be very clear here, we have said for some time that the mining tax was not going to raise the revenue the Government said it would raise. We got to remember that when Kevin Rudd first announced the RSBT it was going to raise $billion when Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan -- $37 billion, when Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan announced the tax deal exclusively with the biggest miners said it would raise $22.5 billion over the four years. Now looks like it is not going to raise anything at all. I'm not surprised that the three big miners who did the deal with Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan would try to give Wayne Swan a little bit of political cover. The truth of the matter is is that if the three biggest mining companies that had the privilege of sitting around the table with the Prime Minister and the Treasurer negotiating the design of this tax, if they decide to take full advantage of all of the features in their mining tax deal with the government, they will not be paying any mining tax for very long time. You are saying that the mining tax isn't going to generate any revenue but the companies as I understand it are indicating that the first quarter results aren't going to effect the annual forecast. Therefore the mid-year budget update remains - well remains validWell what we know is on Monday, when the first instalment of the mining tax was due, not a single cent in mining tax revenue was collected by the government. Now, it is no wonder that Wayne Swan was so desperate to rush the mid-year economic and fiscal outlook out the door so quickly because he didn't want to be forced to reflect that information in his budget update.But isn't this way that mining tax, the profits-based tax is meant to work? When profits are coming in. The taxes are paid and when they are not, like we are seeing at the moment, if the commodity prices have come off as they have, the taxes aren't paid. Doesn't that make this a more efficient style of tax?The mining tax is in a completion mess. There is nothing efficient in it whatsoever. You might still be under the misunderstanding that some how the mining tax is some how related to the Henry Review recommendation was a profit based tax replaces state and territory royalties. That is not the case.This mining tax comes on top of state and territory royalties.Isn't there a contradiction at the heart of the Coalition, criticism that this is such a bad and evil tax that is going to bring down the industry, kill the goose that laid the golden egg on the one hand, but then on the over the you are saying it is not going to raise a dollar.The thing is this, like when this tax review process started, which is of course in complete chaos now, we have seen the business tax working group yesterday essentially put up the white flag, but we have got to remember that this whole process started with a proposition we needed to make the tax system simpler, fairer more efficient, list distorting. The mining tax is more complex, it is less fair, it is more distorting and less efficient. It is costly to administer. And on top of all of that it doesn't raise any ev are knew. So here we -- revenue. All we have is the certainty imposed on an important sector of our economy, you have the additional compliance costs and the additional red tape and there is actually no upside for the government. I mean, honestly you couldn't make this up. What does Wayne Swan expect us to believe? No wonder that he's been trying to keep his xhond commodity price assumptions secret. No wonder he hasn't been prepared to release his production volume assumptions. He wanted to rush out MYEFO out the door on mund before people realised that not a single cent mining tax revenue had actually been collected by the government.And, on to the business tax working group, the Coalition blocked the government's efforts to reduce the company tax rate, indicated that you weren't going to support it through the parliament. So stop the Government's efforts to reduce the company tax rate and now the Coalition's critical of this business tax working group for not achieving a way forward. Isn't that hypercritical?The Coalition said then and the Coalition says now that we support company tax cuts.We did not support a company tax cut which was linked to the mining tax. Which was always highly questionable as to whether it would actually raise any revenue at all. We said at the time we were opposed to the mining tax because in our judgment it is bad for Australia and bad for our economy and it came through a very bad process and we opposed in the parliament all measures attached to it and incidentally the government never put company tax cuts forward in legislation even though they had promised it. Now, two months ago Julia Gillard promised business a company tax cut bit Christmas. All business got from this government is 8.$8.3 billion in company taxes brought forward in order to help Wayne Swan plug yet another budget black hole. Business knows they capital trust this government. From in government they have a carbon tax, they got $8.3 billion in company taxes brought forward, they got no company conducts, the only way you can actually deliver -- tax cuts. The only way you can deliver company tax cuts sustainply is to apply sustaining budget savings and growing the economy more strongly. To try to raise an additional tax in order to pay for a tax cut that is not a tax cut that's a con.Isn't that what the Coalition's doing. Isn't the Coalition's credibility on the company tax issue diminished by the fact the Coalition would if you were elected introduce a 1.5% levy an to the biggest companies to pay for Tony Abbott's paid parental Leigh scheme?We have said -- leave scheme.We have said clearly we will be delivering modest company tax cuts without a mining tax and we will be delivering income tax cuts without a carbon tax. We do have a commitment to a fair dinkum paid parental leave scheme because we think that say very important productivity measure. And obviously the information how that is going to be funded is out there for all to see. Entirely transparent around that and we are entirely consistent with the way that we have been pursue ing that argument. The key problem with this government is that they said they would pursue genuine tax reform to make the tax system simpler, fairer more efficient and list will distorting. What we have is more complex, more distorting and costly to administer, both for businesses and for the Government and it doesn't raise any money.Shadow Assistant Treasurer I appreciate your time today. Thanks for that.Good to be here.More on the mining tax after the break and other issues of the day with our panel, Nicky Savva and Shane Wright.

This is PM Agenda coming up our panel today. Nicky Savva and Shaneright. First let's check in the latest news headlines with Susanne Latimore in the Sky News centre. Tony Abbott has dismissed the mining tax as a failure after it emerged the tax has brought in no revenue in its first three months of operation. Tony Abbott says it is an example of the government's incompetence but Treasurer Wayne Swan has played down the report saying one quarter of reporting is not an accurate representation of a whole year. ANZ is under even more pressure to pass on any future interest rate cuts in full, after posting a record annual profit.Cash profit rose 2% to 5.7 billion dollars helped by strong earnings on its growing Asian operations. Despite the strong result the CEO warps conditions are expected to become more -- warns conditioning are expected to become more challenging in the year ahead. Victorian premier Ted Baillieu has officially apologised for the state's forced adoptions. He says the parliament's intention was to ensure those practices of the past were never repeated, described them as wrong and disgraceful.He also told mothers they were not to blame for what happened. An estimated 150,000 Australian babies born between the 1950s and 19 70s were taken from the mostly young and single mothers. A 28-year-old Tunisian has been arrested in wection with last month's attack on the -- connection with last month's attack on the US consulate in Libya. Ali Hazi is being held in Tunis, the US an bass dom to Libya, Chris Stephens and three other Americans died in the attack in Benghazi on the 11th of September. In the meantime the White House has weighed in on e-mails sent while the attack was under way. Which state that a radical Islamic group was claiming responsibility. And in sport, all too hard is in lock down ahead of Saturday's $3 million Cox Plate. Tim Hawks xhoet not to show off the you -- chose not to show off the Caufield winner to the media today. To the weather: Thanks. With me now from 'The Australian' newspaper Nicky Savva and from the 'western Australian' Shane Wright. First let's look at the mining tax. Not a dollar for this Shane in the first quarter. Should we be worried? Should the nation's coffers be worried?I reckon Wayne Swan will be getting a little greyer than he already is. He will be listening to a bit more Springsteen to hoping inspiration to come through. The first quarter was als going to be the oner have to take into account that -- one you have to take into account iron ore is the lowest since the depths of the GFC. It has increased 38% in six weeks. This surt of qua urgent is the one if you -- this quarter is the one if you see this change it will be this one right now. So, that's what Swan and co-will be hoping for.Do you think the forecast revise ed forecast down to $9.1 billion over the forward estimates that's realistic?That's what they will be hoping for. Whether it's realistic, given trying to forecast where iron ore was in 2001 iron ore was just over $4 a tonne. And it got to $182 a tonne.Year or so ago.So, trying to pick where iron ore provisions will go is extraordinary. So much is predicated what happens out of China and out of the US. We have seen better signs over the last three weeks reflected in the stock markets and efrpg else. That's been the improve -- everything else that's been the improve. It is all tied into that - at the end of the day the mining tax, based on these figures is $2 bill yob out of $373 billion in revenue it it is a rounding error. It really is.But it's a critical $2 billion because when you consider that the surplus that they have budgeted is just a little over $1 billion, if they fail to meet that $2 billion target, and from what I'm told, the companies themselves aren't all that confident, that they are going to be able to pay even that. So the government will be up the proverbial without a paddle.It sounds like - you have seen a lot of the mid-year budget updates when working for Peter Costello over the years that there is no guarantee about this one. There is a lottery involved. Shane's right, and those numbers rebound, well they can come in and say we have surprised everyone.This tax, look at where we have come from and look where we are even in the space of a few months. We have gone from $10 billion down to...We started at $this billion and then we went down to $9 billion and $10 billion it's been all over the shop. If you are selling pencils to treasury you will be doing well because they have had to rub out so changes.It is interesting one of the things the Prime Minister said would be fixed, one of the three things when the Prime Minister took over from her predecessor Mr Rudd, that this was one of the things that would be fixed. It's a bit - far from fixed.A long way from being fixed and they were too anxious I think to fix it. They rushed to fix it and they didn't get a good deal out of the companies. They should have taken a bit longer and got it right.Did they get dudded?I don't think there is any doubt and adding to the fact that the politics of tieing expenditure to the revenue, was a complete mistake. That's absolutely clear and you go back at history look at the PRRR it that -- PRRT that was introduced it wasn't tied to an expenditure it was to boost overall general revenue which you could have argued no they went out and said we are give you awe company tax cut we will give you superannuation we will give you a couple of extra children if you want. That's what ran out. Funny thing is the Opposition is also tied to one of the policies part of it in terms of the superannuation.It is interesting, if you look at the original plan, to provide a company tax cut, that actually would have made a bit more sense, that you are reducing the liabilities on business across the board as you increase it for one section doing well.On to that business tax advisory group, the Coalition's compromised on this issue though, when it comes to the company tax given Mr Abbott ease plan to have a 1.5% levy on companies to pay for his generous paid parental leave scheme.I'm wondering about that if you were a corporation which would you rather. A small increase, perhaps temporary in company tax or what the government has done to bring forward tax payments to monthly basis.And I did ask one person this question today and they said that they would prefer the increase. Now, you know, I don't know that might not be across the board but it's an interesting situation now where you have got probably the worst of both worlds. So which one do you go for? And Shane, the no - when the Government said to the business tax advisory group go out and find a revenue neutral option, to reduce company tax it sounded unrealistic from the outset a face saving exercise. Is all it was?It was unrealistic and you are coming up against a sector that I'm looking for people who would gladly put up their hand, I will pay a bit more tax to get everyone else a tax cut.You will not have friends.There is no friends there and Nicky is right, this goes to the whole budget itself, there isn't a lot of money to give the corporate sector cuts.Like, asking, you have business sectors saying we want income tax cuts and don't want to give up anything and let's do it by cutting government spending t sounds so good. But, it is just unrealition tick when treasury is continually warn it -- unracistic when treasury is warning there is not enough revenue flowing in. That will be for the next five or six years.It was an unrealistic proposition you can find a revenue neutral way to do it because people would have done it before. Look at Bob Carr and the report, he's responded to this report, came by Adam Gartrell at the AAP through freedom of information, the Foreign Minister's wife has been on most of his trips overseas, it has cost over $120,000 apparently.So.Got an issue with that? No.I think he's entitled to take his wife with him on overseas trips. I don't see anything wrong with that.He's the Foreign Minister, he has to travel, and if he wants his wife with him I think that's perfectly OK.It's not like he's a backbencher on some study trip.The optics are still bad. That comes down to just the optics of it.Surprising the Coalition are critical though because they will be in government most likely next year.Mr Cartrell, a fine journalist has already quoted Julie Bishop criticising it. So raising questions which is how the Opposition does these things now. Will raise questions.I think that's nit-picky. I agree to be honest and I think both sides when you talk to the Foreign Minister or Prime Minister.For taking his wife... Especially spending most of the life overseas and he probably said this is part of the deal I come back I will do that.I want to finish on your opinion piece Nicky Savva in 'The Australian' today. After a long time of iron discipline from Tony Abbott he's been so effective, as Opposition Leader one of the most effective in Australia's history and very disciplined we have seen a few slips recently. What does he need to do?I think like I said in the piece, today, I think he needs to rewire the pathway between his brain and his mouth because too often lately he's just been running off like he did on radio the other day when he appeared to be taking a pot shot at Gillard over her childlessness, that was a distraction and also you know, an off thing to say for a leader. When he said the Government would die of shame that was another gaffe on his part. And he's been making too many of those kind of mistakes lately so he needs to get a grip.What else does he need to do. Because this is watched closely internally within the Liberal Party.I think he is a bit of a sitting duck at the moment. He's been very predictable in what he's going to do and when he's going to say and I think he needs to change the conversation. There is too much talk about Tony Abbott and Tony Abbott's personality and he needs to get it back on to policy.And maybe the best way of doing that is to release another one.Nicky Savva and Shane Wright. Great to see you both. Thanks for your contribution.Quick break and we will be back. David Speers has filed a report on the latest US presidential race. We will be cross to Washington.

This is PM Agenda. Thanks for your company. To the US presidential race and Mitt Romney has been forced to distance himself from one of his fellow Republicans after some controversial and damaging remarks about abortion but the Obama administration has also been on the defensive over what it knew and when about the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi Libya last month. There has been a breakthrough in the hunt for one - for those responsible a man has been arrested in Tunisia over that attack. Sky's political editor David Speers is covering the presidential race and filed this report from Washington. The attack on the US consulate building in Benghazi last month has been a problem issue for Barack Obama throughout the last few weeks of this campaign.There's the suggestion from Mitt Romney it is an example of growing anti-Americanism in the Middle East. And then there is also the confusion about why the Obama administration said for days after the attack that it was simply a protest in Benghazi that spun out of control then to later have to confirm it was actually a terrorist attack on the US consulate. Well, today something of a breakthrough, a 28-year-old man in Tunisia has been arrested, Ali Al Hazi is his name the Tunisian government saying not what he has been arrested over but he has been named in a number of reports in the last few days as a expect in the attacks.So that will be of some re-- suspect in that attacks. That will be a relieve relief to the President no doubt but we have seen leaked e-mails today that do show the White House was told on the day of the attack that a terrorist group had claimed responsibility.It had posted on Facebook and Twitter responsibility for that attack. The administration are saying still that that doesn't change anything, they were relying on what the intelligence agencies were telling them and at the time they were still saying that this was most likely a protest. There was, a lot of information coming and took some time to establish that it was actually a terrorist attack.But here on the campaign trail today, a lot more attention has been on and embarrassment for the Republicans, and once again over the issue of abortion.You may remember a few months ago we saw a Senate candidate make some awful comments about what he called legitimate rape and in cases of legitimate rape women physically being able to repel or reject pregnancy. Now another Senate candidate his name Richard Murdoch has made comments about abortion, in his view why there should be no exceptions, even in the cases of rape, here is why. I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape it is something that God intended to happen.The comments did spark outrage, and he later tried to clarify what he meant.I think that God can see beauty in every life.But, certainly I did not intend to suggest that God wants rape, that God pushing people to rape. That God wants to support or condone evil in any way because that goes against the strongest base of my faith.This whole issue opened a can of worms within the Republicans where there are differing views whether there should be exceptions for abortion in the case of rape and insist as Mitt Romney believes -- insist as Mitt Romney believes or a blanket no exceptions whatsoever. He zanlsed himself from those comments today but is still endorsing Richard Murdoch as a Senate candidate. It's a messy issue for the Republicans particularly when Mitt Romney is trying to win over the female vote in the final days of this cam pin.The polls are deadlocked here, it is now a battle on the ground in those key swing states. To win as many votes as possible and get out as many votes as possible.I spoke to someone who knows a thing or two about this sort of campaigning, Tom McMahon was the executive director of the Democratic national committee, at the last election, here, when Barack Obama did organise such a massive grass roots operation to win that election in 2008. I spoke to Tom McMahon about how this all works out and what sort of grass roots operation is now under way. I amI am not convinced there is a lot of undecided voters at this point. What you are having is there are voters undecided they will probably not vote in this connection so they are doing the knock and drag aspect of the campaign, going knocking different neighbours hoods and making phone calls and saying hey we will have a van that is going to poll ing locations can we come by yourrous dense and take you to vote here and -- residence and take you to vote.If they say no the follow up is can we schedule a time we can come and do that.Literally pick you up in a van, take you to a polling place. And cast your ballot.That works?Absolutely. The biggest thing in everyone in a lot of people in Washington will tell you that celebrity endorsements don't necessarily work and they were some people around town especially Republicans were mocking Bruce Springsteen doing a concert in Ohio. He is going to Virginia tomorrow I believe any will do exactly that.O what they were doing after the concert is take people to the polls. You get people excited and jazzed up and say hey there is buses waiting right hundred stage, let's go to the poll.Come along and see Bruce, there is a bus waiting to take you to cast your vote.This is particularly true, particularly important for a couple of key demographics. Minority communities, as well as working class folks who their chance to go and vote on election day is either before they go to work or after they come home from work.We must remind people, it's a Tuesday here, a working day.A one day voting affair in most jurisdictions.You spread this strategy out across 50 states, clearly it takes an army of people.Correct.To do all of this. How do you get people to get involved? To drive the bus? To go and knock on the doors to make the calls. It's a big commitment.Yes, so the one thing that we started, in the Democratic party back in 2005, early 2005, was figure a way we could enjees voters we would -- energise voter we get a over welling number of volunteers wanting to I involved in the campaign what was happening in the 2000 cycle we weren't effective in properly using their times aand resources we created on-line tools to allow them to self select whether they want to canvass the neighbourhoods be part of the knock and drag campaign, whether they want to be voluntary drivers, whether they wanted staff polling locations, whatever it may be but the idea is ahead of time we would get them trained and bring them into the proets, show them over the course of the four years their little engagement, whether it is one or two hours a week how that contributes to a much larger campaign.Are they members of the party?They are members of the party and members of the general public. People that are jazzed by either a particular issue, that spurs them to action, or because they are a long time believer in democratic party.The big problem in Australia is getting people motivated to join a political party. Both major parties are suffering this particularly the Labor Party a loss in membership. Trying to generate new membership. What is the answer to that? You seem to be saying it's giving them a reason and involvement beyond just the election.Correct. It's engagement. It's if you don't feel like you're part of something, in terms of the political party or anything else, what's your reason to remain engaged? That's what we found coming out of the 2004 election, is more Democrats why identifying themselves in the sense of in the 2004 election cycle, Democrats were saying to us their vote was primarily against President Bush and not necessarily poor John Kerry and that, becomes a glaring example that you have got a much larger problem out there. We tried to reconnect the National Party and localise it so it becomes relevant to every day lives. But more importantly give them small acts they can do which in combination of millions of others doing same or similar acts in other neighbourhoods contributes to much greater involvement and greater engagement. One thing you will see even though the polls are tight in this election, I would argue the Obama ground operation will be worth, one to three points depending on the state.Final question is he going to win?Yes.That kind of...I'm convinced. You know, the one thing that a lot of people still forget it's funny you spent some time in Washington, especially in Washington everyone gets hung up on the horse race in the national No.s. It is still a electional Coalition system and the key is President Obama all he has to do is win Ohio, the key state and he's successful then it's the path to 27 becomes a lot easier former him whereas Mitt Romney has to win two-thirds of the remaining states in order to get close to 270.Thanks.I appreciate it It will be fascinating to watch over the next couple of weeks. That is David Speers reporting from Washington. That's all for PM Agenda the news is next. Live Captioning by Ai-Media