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Hello welcome to the program today. The 99th Australian to receive the Victoria Cross. Just the third since the Victoria Cross for Australia was created in the 90s corporal Daniel Keighran and his extraordinary story today.I have an exclusive interview with Mark conallowedson, VC as well and the chief -- don aldson and the Chief of the Defence Force.Also we wreak up the week in parliament with wlort, and we will cross -- with workplace relations and we will cross to Washington and Sky News editor David Speers to to the ambassador Kim Beazley. First the headlines.Thank you. And in breaking news this afternoon, code switching football star Israel Folau will quit the AFL to return to regime.We will take you live to the announcement now with coach Kevin Shedy.He knows he will be a friend of the Giants forever. Before I hand over to Israel I will like to ask Kevin Sheedy to say a few words.Thanks.It is disappointing from the point of view of losing a player that job not done really, probably coming back into this pre-season we felt that after his last game he had a really, one of those games if you hang to say this guy could be something in our AFL team, and of course probably blind-sided myself and everyone yesterday.I have to say that.But look he's such an honest person, he's come and told the truth about his feelings for what he feels is the game that he would play, and that's obviously rugby and NRL, either one of those codes. He has the talent to do either one of them.We would rather a person tell you the facts so we can move on as a club and see our pathway clear, obviously he's going to come and talk to the team tomorrow. And say goodbye obviously. He's had a lot of fantastic teammate s. Got a great relationship with the players. Probably in passing I have never known a player to try to avoid a threekm time trial tomorrow, I have never no -- three kilometre time trial tomorrow, to attempt that in his life to avoid that. You would do anything to avoid it wouldn't you ?So, in general I think he's left AFL still not sure whether he could be a great player. I think he could and for his 13 games probably 20 hours on the paddock, his last game was his best, we will all probably sit there wondering for eternity. Good luck mate, it's been fantastic.OK. A marvellous athlete and we have to start a whole new season next year and we will barrack for you whenever you go. I hope you come and see the Giants.You don't like the side on profile? Why the decision?Well, first of all I want to say that a few words first.Obviously today was a pretty hard decision to make, and what one I have been thinking about for a while and like season day, I want to be honest with them and I confronted them yesterday and let them know how I was feeling. I think it is only fair for the club to for me to let them know so they can move forward and worry about their future. So I am at the moment I just wanted to let every one else know and move forward as well.What are the reasons?I guess, the last two years I have really enjoyed my experience at the Giants and again I made a lot of good friends and all my teammates were wonderful, the whole time. Again I - in the end I think the passion wasn't quite there and I think in the end if I was staying I guess I was kind of cheating myself.So I had to be honest and move forward.When are you announcing you are returning to rugby league and who are you playing for?At this stage I haven't had any discussions with any clubs at all.And at this stage I leave it up to my management to control that stuff.The speculation...Israel Folau there announcing he is leaving greater Western Sydney and the AFL. And something of a surprise announcement today. We have heard some tribute from the coach Kevin Shedy andro Rojas join -- andro-Rojas joins me now.This was billed as the battle of greater Western Sydney and the marquee signinger signing Israel Folau in 2010 it was a deal worth $4 million and $6 million a four year deal. He's only served two years of that and he played 13 games and didn't really reach his potential. They weren't sure where to put him. He wasn't really a forward, not quite tall enough to play in the ruck and not really a midfielder either. So some frustration for him, certainly and every time he fronted the media we did hear questions about when are you coming back to rugby league. It was an unusual move. Many people surprised he did go to AFL instead of rugby union because he had no background of the support. Karmichael Hunt went to the Gold Coast, he had a background in AFL so not quite as surprising and he's adjacented much better. It's going to be very -- adjusted much better.We heard the couch say it was disappointing. -- coach say it was disappointing.Israel Folau, due to retire from AFL. Linked to the Paramatta asa eels.To other news and prominent Perth barrister Lloyd Rayney has been found not guilty of murdering his wife Corryn in 2007. The case had led to one of the most hoo profile murder trials in -- high profile murder trials in the state's recent history. Michael Hopkin is outside the WA Supreme Court where retired chief discuss Brian Martin handed down his -- justice, Brian Martin handed down his decision.Michael? The verdict was handed down just over, just under an hour ago bringing to an end this trial that is gripped Perth for more than three months as we heard from more than 100 witnesses. We saw 700 pieces of evidence tabled. Now, in the hours since that verdict was handed down, and Lloyd Rayney was declared not guilty, of murdering his wife he's emerged from the courthouse to front a packed street in Hay Street in the centre of Perth he gave a brief speech saying now having been acquitted the murder the real tragedy is his two daughters have been left without a mother and we still don't know who the killer is. A short time after that Corryn rain's sister Sharon came out and also gave a brief statement to reporters here and she thanked the prosecutors and also the police for what she described as pursuing justice.There are much unsuccessful in their case and justice Brian Martin described the state's evidence as riddled with uncertainties and im probabilities. He says parts it were little more than speculation that were designed to fit a pre conceived narrative of what Mr Rayney was alleged to have done on that night. He said there was no evidence to support the key part of the story that Lloyd Rayney killed Corryn at their home on the night she returned home from a dance class on 7 August. He - the judge raised the issue it could easily have been another person he was satisfied that she was attacked on the front drive of their property, although she didn't die until she was in the vicinity of that bush grave up in Kings Park where he she was found but, of course, the judge said there was no evidence attached to the home, that implicated Mr Rayney in that attack on Corryn.Lloyd Rayney not guilty. Thank you Michael Hopkin.? The other big news story of the day Australia has a new Victoria Cross recipient. Corporal Daniel Keighran was warded the highest honour for bravery on the battlefield in Afghanistan. Governor-General Quentin Bryce bestowed the honour on core rap Keighran during a -- corral Keighran at Government House earlier today, alongside the Prime Minister, Opposition Leader and defence officials.Side-by-side with two two others awarded Australia's highest honour. The 99th Australian to receive the Victoria Cross. Only the third since the creation of the VC for Australia. Corporal Daniel KeighranWith this medal your nation honours you.The Victoria Cross for Australia.The most eminent award our country can bestow. Corporal Daniel Keighran. On 24 August, 2010, Corporal Keighran of the 6th RAR was member of the partnered fighting patrol with soldiers of the after nan naturally when it came -- national army when it came under attack.You can see where they are coming from. That's extraordinary.And, he didn't do that once. He did that several times.Multi-ipp occasions he broke cover with complete disregard for his own safety. Identifying enemy locations, and attracting intense fire.When his patrol sustained a casualty Corporal Keighran again moved into the open to draw fire away from his mates.Lance Corporal Jared McKinney was killed in the battle but without Daniel Keighran's actions more lives would have been lost.In the moment you did not put your personal safety first. But you put that ANZ AC tradition of mateship first. That's why we are honouring you today. That's why it will be another moment in our history, where we can say that this is the best of who we are, and the best of what Australians can do.Corporal Daniel Keighran, the third recipient of the Victoria Cross of Australia, and like his two predecessors Mark Donaldson and Ben Roberts Smith a self-less hero and says this is just as much for his mates as for him. It was only a couple of weeks ago he shared the details of his battlefield feats with his wife Catherine.I only told her the full story 13 day ago.So, I don't like to talk about myself very often.Corporal Keighran unlike his predecessors corporals Donaldson and Robert Smith is not a member of the special forces.I knew what he was feeling and I did say to him before the event, it is only three other blokes in Australia who know how you feel this morning. And when it all happens and if if he ever needs a chat to give me a ring.An exclusive club indeed. People along the battered US east coast have taken their first cautious steps to reclaim their daily routines as the search for victims of the super storm sandy continues.About 20,000 people remain trapped at home in a single New Jersey city and millions were still without power. The bottom of the bathtub as one neighbour calls it..This is the sight stranded residents thought they would never see, military rescue crews, busting their backs to get each person out.Step-by-step, one by one.And clearly has been patiently waiting her turn for the last few hours.You can't cluncate with anyone.You can't find out what's going on anywhere else.We have been on this little Ireland.Hobokan is across the city from man hat union. It is 25% underwater tonight. ABC's Sam Champion got a bird's eye view today..The flooding we are looking at this is Wednesday we are flying now. The storm made land fall Monday night. That water is still there.Underground as many as 20,000 people -- on the ground as many as 20,000 people stranded in their homes, here an entire block. Taking turns to use a generator to charge phones and make coffee to stay warm. Some are braving the stew of sewage and rainwater.These people decided to truck through.It is scary. You don't know how long you will be stuck here.You don't know how you will get out of town.Dramatic scenes playing out across the region in the desperate ours since Sandy hit. Last night New York police helicopters air-lifted Staton Island residents off their roofs.Scenes of devastation, house after house crumple ed to bits and for many stranded in Hobokan there is no relief in sight.Autodom has shut down three plan plants in Victoria and South Australia.It means job cuts around the company of around 400 people. The plants supply parts to Toyota, Holden andFord have been shut down due to a slow down in demand for local vehicles. The company is in discussions with local car makers, to potentially diversify its product range.The Australian manufacturers workers union says it was contacted only yesterday by the company but is hopeful of a resolution. Quick look at the weather for you:

That's the forecast for tomorrow. Time now is 14 past 4 o'clock back to Kieran Gilbert in Canberra and PM Agenda.After the break I'm speaking exclusively to corporal Mark Donaldson VC on the latest edition to the very exclusive club. Stay with us.

This is PM Agenda. Corporal Daniel Keighran became the 99th Australian to receive the Victoria Cross today, just the third to receive the Victoria for Australia since that was created back in the 90s. The first to be awarded the Victoria Cross for Australia was corporal Mark Donaldson. I spoke to him at Government House after today's ceremony. Thanks for your time. As you stand here, a couple of years on now and look back how did you feel today for Daniel Keighran?It was, again it was all those emotion s come up in myself. Feeling for him and his family. It's such a great event, it's such a great setting to have it at too to be awarded the Victoria Cross in I guess what will be the Queen's residence here in Australia. Such a traditional setting and again, I felt for him. I sort of, you knew what he was feeling and I said to him before the event, there is only three other blokes in Australia who know how you feel this morning when it all happens if he ever needs a chat to give me a ring and talk about it. The tingles on the back of my neck, the same feelings of excitement and I was happy for the bloke.When David Hurley saluted him it brought back those images of acknowledgeus Houston when -- Angus Houston when he al saluted you.It's very rare and' very special thing and powerful thing. The applause is quite deafening for such a large audience in a confined space and that speaks of volumes how much it effects people when they see something like that.I you haven't got a lot of time but finally on the fact a member of the 6th RAR has won this, or been the recipient of the VC, you and corporal Ben-Roberts-Smith of the special forces, Corporal Daniel Keighran isn't -- itAgain, I feel for him in the sense of heartfelt warmth and congratulations for the guy he is from the battalion, from the royal Australian regiments and they do fantastic work over there and sometimes it does go unrecognised. But what a great day for the battalions and specially for the 6th. They will go down in history again, and such a great thing to see. Those guys getting recognition and again, my heart goes out to them and such a wonderful thing, just amazing to see that, what he did as well. He didn't even get shot, and it was quite an amazing story.Just all I can really say is good on to him and good on to his mates and well done to that battalion.It is always great to have your time, thanks for your time.My pleasure.He didn't even get shot. They are certainly very brave but also very humble men all three of them. Corporal conallowedson. Corporal -- corporal Roberts Smith and Daniel Keighran.I spoke to the chief of the defence force David Hurley about that moment when he saluted the new recipient of the Victoria Cross and the rest of today's ceremony and that too was at Government House. Thanks for giving us a few moments of your time.I asked you in a news conference but I want to ask you again that moment where you salute a junior officer it must be such a rare moment, isn't it?In my lifetime there has only been three Victoria Cross won and I was here for Mark Donaldson's award and watched Angus Houston salute him on that occasion. Never thought it would happen to me but as the moment got closer and you start to think about the significance of that and it is just a pure honour, to do so. A very brave young soldier and been recognised for that and according to the customs he's got every right to be sal utded by ever membered of the ADF.It is like when you talk about those young men, they are brave but selfless and want to share the honour with their mates.It is very much a way how they grow up in the organisation it's all about team work. Everyone has the role to play but it's all what the team produces. It is a team that's got them out. Working together. And he understands that.When you read that citation it is just such a stark reminder of what they face.Yep. Just walking up there, running around, and drawing fire, away from people so you can actually see where they are coming from. That's just extraordinary.And he didn't do that once, he did that several times. Great story.In your speech you spoke about the other young men, and also Jarryd McKinney who lost his life. A lot of others contributed not just providing support but putting lives on the line and one paying the ultimate sacrifice.As I said in my introduction these contacts are confronting, confusing but everynow and again there is a moment of clarity where someone sees something needs to be done and it crystallises for them and they go off and do it. That's what we saw with Daniel Keighran.He saved a lot of other lives on that day?Yes.What's the significance of the fact this soldier as a member of the 6th RAR from a military perspective we know the other two soldiers were members of the special forces, Daniel Keighran isn't?No, he is a member of the royal Australian regiment. Keith Payne was a member of the regiment back in Vietnam days. This is the first one the Royal Australian regiment, the Victoria Cross is won since Vietnam and a great day for the regiment to do so but in those previous comments when we said across the board, everyone who steps out on the wire there, these days, in the past, very dangerous environment, they are all brave.If you can give them all a medal you would.I know you want to go to talk to everyone. One last thing on the morale.I think everyone, will be really excited to see this award today. It will boost them and make them confident that hey I'm surrounded by good people, I know that, they are competent and we will all fight for each other. Those sorts of things are very important in this job.Thanks so much.Thank you. Time for a quick break on PM Agenda.We will be right back.

This is PM Agenda. Coming up in a moment, the Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten and I will also be talking to the head of tourism Alice Springs Australia Andrew McEv -- tourism Australia Andrew McEvoy.First let's check in on the latest headlines with Susanne Latimore in the Sky News centre.

Prominent Perth barrister Lloyd Rayney has been found not guilty of murderer his estranged wife Corryn ending his five year ordeal to prove his innocence.The prosecution had alleged Mr Rayney murdered the former Supreme Court registrar at their suburban home after her weekly distance class in 2007 before about bury herring her in a shallow game -- burying her in a shallow grave. The Justice dismissed the allegation in the Supreme Court noting several problems with the state's case.Corporal Daniel Keighran has become the 99th an to be awarded the Victoria Cross the nation's highest military honour. Governor-General Quentin Bryce bestowed the Victoria Cross on 29-year-old Daniel Keighran during a ceremony in Government House in Canberra. He's the third Australian soldiers to abwarded the highest honour for service during the war in Afghanistan. Autodom has stood down 400 workers after shutting down factory sites in Victoria and South Australia. The company informed the workers today and at the same time announced a suspension of trading on the ASX. The chief executive says the company had been forced to make the difficult decision after failing to come to an agreement with key automotive stakeholders.The Gillard Government poker machine reform bill looks set to go ahead after a deal was done with the Greens. The deal means the legislation should pass through both houses of parliament. The Greens had initially withdrawn their support for the reforms labelling Government's amendments as spineless. It will include a trial of mandatory pre-commitment in of poker machines in the ACT expected to begin in Frank Bainimarama. US President Barack Obama has landed in --. Begin in February. The death toll from Hurricane Sandy is approaching 60 and authorities warn that will continue to rise as they search through debris. Over 6 million homes and businesses are still without power, including 4 million in New York and New Jersey.The President has spoken to the media and vowed that despite the disaster America will recover and move forward. In sport, Israel Folau has quit Greater Western Sydney and is expected to return to the NRL next season.He walks out from a four year contract two seasons early but denies a deal has been struck with the Parramatta Eels.Tomorrow's weather:

Thank you. As she mentioned 400 workers lost their jobs today with the closure of car parts plants in Victoria and South Australia. For the latest on that I spoke to the Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten a short time ago. The automotive components industry is under pressure.It's good though that the federal government has a transformation plan. We have put some real dollars behind it. If any of these workers and it's incredibly difficult what they must be going through at the moment and my first thoughts are with them but if any of these workers are made redonant we want to give them the best possible service to help them find new work so we have got money available to assist people to find new work. We have passed laws to protect people's entitle manies in these difficult circumstances.-- entitlements in these difficult circumstances.Tony Abbott is against that. Importantly we want to see a lot more skills being developed in both young people and adults so we have a plan for deals with these difficult situations but it's really hard if you are an individual caught up in this.What do you say to taxpayers as well who have injected essentially billions and billions of dollars into this industry over the years. And yet we are seeing more job losses coming out of the automotive ind I have?When you talk about -- industry.When you talk about billions and billions I will not take responsibility for what Robert Menzies did or Ben Chifley did.We have a view that manufacturing can survive in Australia. There is nearly a million people work in manufacturing it's still a big part of our economy if we believe in that which Labor does, our challenge is to make sure we have workers with the skills so they can find new jobs.The world is always going to keep changing. What we need to do is make sure we keep backing manufacturing, on one hand but on the other make sure we have protections and supports for people who as one job finishes another job opens up for them.The representative of the Australian Workers Union, says he's worried about the ripple effect through the car industry.What are those concerns do you share them?There is no question that with the high dollar it's hard to for our manufacturing to compete easily with imports and also it's hard for us to sell exports into new markets when our product costs more because of our high dollar.So, what we can do, to support is do what we are doing which is provide money for companies to help invest in new ideas, to help make sure that we have a skilled work force. We can also make sure in the examples where people's entitlements are at risk we protect them.I can tell you now they are three things the Opposition just don't stand for. If you are a car worker in Australia you wouldn't be voting Liberal.You have been critical of the Liberal Party for not supporting your amendments to workplace entitlement this is week, but despite reports to the contrary, Liberals did support your amendment to the - essentially future-proof Fair Work Australia, the fair work amendment bill?There has been three different pieces of workplace relations law passed through the parliament. You're right, they didn't vote to pass a law to protect workers entitlements where companies become insolvent out of the control of the works hands. We got that up anyway.Then they... That's not 100%, is it because they wanted to protect the entitlement, but just capped it at 16 weeks.If you have worked at a car company for 20 years and if you have got tens of thousands of dollars which you have accrued which you have de facto lent to the company unsecured, when the Liberal Party of Australia come and say you might have 20 years service but we will only count four years of it that's cold comfort.They introduced the skeement t is hard to say -- scheme, it is hard to say they don't support entitlements.That's right these aren't John Howard agency Liberals anymore.They will not get you have got to have a safety net. They voted against policies which once upon a time they claimed and furthermore sure they voted to amend to provide a number one haircut for the worker, not very much at all, what we say is that if you are a worker in your 50s you have worked for a company for 20 year, the company becomes insolvent you should have a proper safety net which reflects your years of service. The Liberal Party of Australia and Tony Abbott's Liberals just think, you're on your own, mate.But that did get through.Regardless?It got through but not because of the Liberals. Because the Labor Party stood up.Should there be a nilgd ground though? They are -- middle ground? They are said it should be capped at 16 weeks guaranteed government bail-out. You are saying it should be the full entitlement. Should there be a middle ground there?What I'm saying it should be based on years of service. If you work at Sky for one year, if they became unsolvent, which is unlikely but you never know, you should get one year's worth of your entitlements but if you have been a cameraman here, someone behind the scenes for 20 years, why should you only get the same support as if you have just arrived here yesterday? I don't believe that.There has been more on the workplace relations. We want to look after all Australian workers to make sure if their job is changed from one company to the next, that their conditions aren't arbitrarily cut.Now, there is a loophole where Queensland, NSW, South Australia and Tasmania, those public sector workers, about 600,000 of them if the premier on Friday decides to say on Monday you have been contracted out and privatised bang you cop it in the neck the conditions can be cut in half but the rest of Australian workers if that happens, they can get, they had, we managed to get up a law again by one vote because the Liberals don't like public sector workers. They they think they are not worth defending and they were treating them second class. So the Liberal Party of Australia has got a hard line and this week they have shown, even if they won't tell us their policy, don't judge them by the rhetoric, judge them by the actions. They have had time and time again this week, and the peach spoos they have given, all they want -- speeches they have given they just want pay out on workers conditions.They say you to have sustainable government send ever extend tours to be honest and you look at the government building up -- expenditures and you look at government building up debt.The argument is if you are a low paid worker or you are a member of a union you shouldn't get the same conditions. That's the way they vote. Anyone can say anything. Look at the voting pattern. Whether they have a choice to make, about being pro worker, pro conditions, pro entitlements, pro respecting people's length of service they always take the wrong choice. Bill Shorten speaking to me a bit earlier in the day. To some resource by tourism Australia, the organisation has done some analysis on Australia's major and emerging markets. I spoke to the Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy foshtion for the details. -- fors details. Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoyy thanks for being here. You have released some research on your top 11 markets, obviously off the back of the Asian century white paper this will be very interesting to look at. What is driving the increase in the number of Asian Chinese tourists particularly to Australia ifI think we are a western developed economy on the fringe of Asia and people really travel to experience difference and Australia is a very different country. And authentic country. Big wide open spaces, great nature, cos mop ol tan cities and I think the world -- cosmopolitan cities. They are looking for world class natural beauty meets great cosmopolitan cities, is a perfect mix for the world in particular for Asia.James Packer likes to quote a statistic which says that most Chinese tourists on their first trip overseas head to a casino.And enjoy a punt.Yes.Do you accept that as being one of the driving reasons behind for example Chinese tourism and we need to bolster that infrastructure so to speak?I think most Chinese visitor when is they travel, an outbound trip includes McCaw, Hong Kong and Taiwan. I think James also said it is not one or the other, it is that beautiful world class beauty, that amazing world class beauty meets cosmopolitan city. Thele s for the Chinese -- the staples for the Chinas is ashopping dining and entertainment and that is part of is gambling. I thought yesterday at the conference he spoke incredibly well how we need to make sure it all co-exists. You have to fly over a lot of casinos before you get to Australia so we better have some other stuff going on for us as well.You have been running your directions some here at Parliament House looking at the big picture for tourism. There is one thing that I'm really interested in is the growth in the numbers to Australia. Despite the high exchange rate. Tourism has been doing well.It's been growing. We have had five straight quarters of domestic growth and domestic expenditure grew by 9% or 10%, more than $50 billion spent by Australians in Australia. That's the story people don't think is happening.Australians are still going outbound but the numbers are slowing. Importantly inbound numbers are growing largely led by Asia. We have seen a recovery out of the US and Japan and continued growth out of Indonesia, India, Malaysia and growth out of China. The one weak spot for us globally is the UK. The Europeans are coming but they backpacker working holidays visa types who probably escaping Europe a bit to have a holiday and get a job in Australia.Finally, and rue, can I ask you -- and roou, can I ask you what is your forecast for the tourism industry over the next five to 10 years? Will it increase in terms of its presence in the Australian economy?It really is.You saw in the Ken Henry Asian century white paper, where a services led economy ultimately and tourism is the largest surfaces export.So I think James Packer said yesterday, when he's investing his media money in this sector because it's a global growth sector and Australia's perfectly placed on the fringe of ash rato really capitalise on it.So -- Asia to capitalise on it. I think the news is good and we can do well. Today's conference is how we do that. I appreciate your time.Thanks.After the break, we will cross to the US and Sky News political editor David Speers has the latest on the presidential race. The fallout of the mega storm, Sandy and also his interview with Kim Beazley today. Australia's ambassador to the US.

Thanks for being with us on PM Agenda today we will take to you Washington, Sky's political editor David Speers has the latest on the fallout of mega storm Sandy and the impact of the presidential race.This town is full of analysis as to what impact the storm will have on the presidential race which now has only days to go.Barack Obama's being focused as we know the last few days, purely on the storm and the recovery efforts, he will return to official campaign duties from tomorrow. There is no doubt though what he has been doing in the last few days has helped him enormously.The sort of images that money just cannot buy, despite the billions that have been spent no doubt in this election contest. The President toured those devastated parts of New Jersey with the New Jersey governor Chris Christi at his side. Someone who has been critical of him but the two of them showing a bromance in the sort of stuff they are saying about each other.. What can they do? He is a governor and he has an eye on presidential ambition himself down the track, this show of bipartisan ship, putting politics to one side and focusing on the emergency efforts is a very important thing for him to do right now.As for Mitt Romney he did resume campaigning today, but look, he's certainly not getting the attention here that the President is at the moment.The latest poll shows this is still absolutely deadlocked. 49% each for Obama and Romney but the same poll shows when people ask what they think of the President's handling of this crisis strong support. Nearly 80% think his handling has been either excellent or good. We will see how that plays out in the coming polls in the next few days.To look what this presidential race means for Australia , given the slight differences we have on foreign policy from the two candidates, and in particular the concerns Mitt Romney has been raising about China, I spoke to Australia's ambassador to Washington, Kim Beazley a little earlier today.

Mr Ambassador welcome. Can I start by asking what you think is at stake for Australia, and for Australians in this presidential election?There is always a lot at stake for Australia in every presidential election in that sense this is not special.The US is our principal ally.Critical to us in the military and intelligence area, also important to us diplomatly .Who heads up the US, and the policy directions and which he or she chooses to go is always going to be a major focus of interest in the Australian political skm.And, this election is no -- system. Election is not different.The Treasurer and Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan said not all that long ago that cranks and crazy has taken over the Republican party. Was he right about that? Should we be worried about that?As far as we're concerned here at this Emerson basse what we do -- embassy what we do is relate to both major parties in the American political process. Our conversation with Republicans our conversations with Democrats, always have been frank and to the point and enormously helpful. So we are confident here at this embassy, whether governor Romney wins or President Obama wins, we will have access to policy makers in a way that ensures that Australian views are put on the table.Let's turn to a couple of specific issues. Afghanistan has been the longest war this country has been involved in that Australia has been involved in as well.Yet, it's barely discussed in this election campaign. Does that concern you at all?No, it doesn't.It is an indication of the fact that the American people basically accept as both President Obama has said and governor Romney has said their involvement in Afghanistan is going on to a different basis.That their combat engagement is gradually being phased out, they have confidence in the Afghan national security forces, that they will be able to take the lead on security and this will happen over the course of the next 18 months and then what's left is a sort of training and assistance agenda which all countries, we have indicated we will persist with that and so will the Americans.So you only really get political dispute in this country about an unsettled matter.This is not an unsettled matter.So there won't be much difference between Obama and Romney on that?If you went - as I did to listen to the last debate which was on foreign policy, it was pretty clear there was not much difference between them on that subject.What happens after 2014? Given all that we have lost in lives and in Treasurer in Afghanistan, if things don't go as planned? We have invested a lot in success here in Afghanistan?Yes, we have invested a lot. And we have invested the most precious things of all, 39 of our own people have been invested in Afghanistan.I think there is a determination insofar as we can, and we are not the main player, that we should try to do the things that give them the best chance possible.Obviously recognising you can't do everything and you can't count for every potential possibility. But we are giving it the best shot.It's a very generous Australian aid contribution and a very generous contribution to the Afghan national security forces and indication there is a possibility of a continuing contribution in train. So you have got to say that we have invested a lot, all we can do is hope that that works, our allies contribution works, and that there is a decent response from the Afghan people and the Afghan Government that at least makes a serious attempt at good democratic practice. You mentioned the two foreign policy debates between the two presidential candidates one of the main points of attack from Mitt Romney is American prestige is being diminished in the Middle East. Despite the war in Iraq and getting bin Laden he is saying the American power wasn't as respected as it was four years ago. Do you agree with that?I'm not here to run the commentary of the ongoing political processes of political debate in this cun country.Were an American ambassador to do that during Australian elections and Australians would be rightly offended. Obviously in any political campaign the two side also go in for a degree of product differentiation. Lit me say this about the -- let me say this about the administration and what we anticipate in the future administration. We have been given no reason to believe the Americans aren't going to be out there assuming a leadership role in international affairs, no matter what the election outcome is we have been given no reason to believe that they won't value their allies, and we have been given no reason to believe that they won't be having conversations with people other than their allies to ensure that the sorts of values that they represent in international politics as least least have a chance for more general adherence.It comes to all of that we shall see.As a general observation is the US standing in the world any weaker or stronger than it was four or five years ago?US standing is immensely powerful. Global politics changes over time. We are witnessing now the simultaneous rise of a large number of powers.But the judgment that was made I think it was attribute ed at one point to Hillary Clinton, maybe have been made by others and that is the US is the one indispensable power. That remains. It was the case previously and will be the case after this election.Let me take you to the Asian century white paper, the Gillard GST government has released this week -- government has released this week. One obvious points it makes is maintaining stable relations between the big powers and including the US and China is fundamental to stanlity, prosperity, in -- stability, and prosperity in the region. How confident are you over the long term that relationship will remain stable? Or stable enough?One of the things about Australia, our strong suit if you like at the moment in our alliance relationship with the US is our ability to intermingle and intermesh with the Asian region. The Asian region is immensely significant in the - as that paper pointed out to as the focal point of international politics.And we are good players, constructive players in the Asia-Pacific region.And that's valuable to the US.Now, as regards the US, they do understand and they repeatedly reiterate, in their different ways that the dialogue that the US has between itself and China is absolutely critical, and increasingly that despite the capacity of the Middle East to constantly drag in and draw attention to itself for decision makers in the US andess where, despite that -- elsewhere, despite that they have to assign an overwhelming priority to their relationships in the region.There is a desire for stability, there is an understanding that stability is an essential part of the economic progress of the region, and there is a understanding that the economic progress of region determines the dynamism of the global economy over all in which question are all interested and that's not -- which we are all interested and that's not to say there aren't going to be disagreements and that's not to say there is not going to be a lot of poging but that's the Jo all motive -- positioning but we have the overall motive.We have bothing up on China a bit -- beating up on China a bit during this campaign, they are saying they are trade cheats and currency manipulators is that talk going on there Sydney. A compared to previous campaign --Compared to previous campaigns this is quite mild. It means there is obviously other issues New Yorking around.It is campaign taken -- New Yorking around.This is campaign talk is it Sydney.There has been the major objection was currency manipulation allegedly on the part of the Chinese, the Chinese currency has been appreciating. Against the US dollar, over the course of the last few years so... They don't mention that here do they.Some of that pressure is off.You know, I thought in the foreign affairs debate governor Romney actually made a bit clear that as far as his concerned perhaps things were changing a little there. On... His TV ads are still pretty belacose?There is but you have watched TV probably as avidly as I have over the course of the last six weeks, there has been a plethora of negative advertising on both sides. I would say that those elements which actually mention China would probably constitute about 2% or 3%. It's not that big a deal.I finally want to ask you, how much are you enjoying this job? You do seem to be in your element.This job is relentless.Let me tell you this, it is much better being a minister. The decision ends with you.When you are a public servant as I am now you are a cog in the machine, albeit a cog in a very important part of the machine but at the end of the day it's the minister and the Government who make decisions, who explain the decisions, all you can do is to have a bit of an input..Struggled with that at all? Not being the one who calls the shots?Of course I struggled with that but I am benefitted by one thing, I have always thought the Australian public service was good.But I did not know how good it was until I came to work in an embassy where I think there is well over a dozen agencies here and they are just superb people. Superb foreign affairs and trade. Superb defence.Superb people in agricultural. Superb people in Customs and intelligence and so on.They, we have really good public servants.And it is a very interesting intellectual environment.It's been reported in week funding for the foreign affairs department hasn't rise anyone real terms for 10 years. Would you like more of those wonderful people you talk about?Well, I think that any additional eexpenditures on the foreign department would not be wasted.On that note thank you. That's all for PM Agenda a busy show. After the break the news is next. Live Captioning by Ai-Media