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Good afternoon welcome to the program. I am David Speers. Amidst all the heat and fury over the last 48 hours about the AWU slush fund and what the Prime Minister did or didn't know, a very tense internal debate is being going on within Labor about an entirely different subject. Recognition at least observer status for Palestine at the UN. Now, today the Government has announced Australia will be abstain ing from the vote this week in the UN to give Palestine observer status along the lines of the Vatican. Not voting rights but it is a limited level of recognition. Australia will abstain from this vote. This is not the position the Prime Minister originally wanted. I understand that the Prime Minister held a lengthy meeting, debate with her Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, prior to cabinet meeting last night. During that cabinet meeting some 10 ministers spoke against the Prime Minister's position, and despite what was seen to be a cabinet majority against the Prime Minister she rejected that position, and insisted that Australia would still be voting against any sort of recognition of Palestine in the UN. Only this morning just prior to the broader caucus meeting after consulting with more backbench members did Julia Gillard realise that she was not going to win on this, and she capitulated. Agreeing there would now be an ob tension. Australia going to abstain from this vote. Coming up we will be talking to Foreign Minister Bob Carr about this process over the last this hours and also the outcome, the substance of what this means Australia abstaining and Palestine ultimately as is expected now getting this observer status at the United Nations. We will also be talking to the shadow Immigration Minister Scott Morrison to pin down more about the Coalition's position on dealing with the increased number of boat arrivals. The differences between the bridging visa the Government is now releasing thousands of people on, and the temporary protection visas that the Coalition wants to go for. We will hear more on that and also this AWU slush fund matter, the Opposition not letting it go in parliament today. We will go live to the Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop shortly on that as well.First a check of the top stories. Back to the news centre with Vanessa Trezise. Thank you. The Opposition has used Question Time to continue its attack on the Prime Minister. Over the AWU slush fund scandal. The deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop was relentless of her questioning of Julia Gillard but the Prime Minister says it is sleaze and smear.She did not wrong.When did the Prime Minister first learn that funds from the AWU workplace reform association were used in the purchase of the Fitzroy property economy which her then boyfriend Bruce Wilson lived?I refer the premier to her statement in August whether she received any benefit from town Mode in 1994.These allegations are untrue. They have always been untrue. They have been known to be untrue for decades. And here is the deputy leader of the opposition in line with the Leader of the Opposition strategy, down at the bottom of the mud basket now des prayerly picking through. Des pra -- desperately picking through and scraping through the bottom of the mud.Labor says it is Ms Bishop who has questions to answer after it was revealed she recently met with Ralph Blewitt a former AWU official at the centre of the allegations.Has to answer, is when was the meeting, where was the meeting. Who was there at the meeting.Was there anyone from Tony Abbott's present at the meeting with Ralph Blewitt?And who instigated the meeting with this self confessed fraudster? Ms Bishop says her meeting with Mr Blewitt lasted for just 10 minutes and didn't provide her with any documents she could use in her pursuit of the case. To our other top story, a new report into the state of mental health in Australia has found that those who suffer from severe mental illness die on average 25 years younger than the rest of the population. Mental health commissioner Allan Fels made the startling revelation, during the release of his first national report card on the state of mental health in Australia, which also considered how we are fairing in bringing down the rate of suicide. Professor Fels called on the Prime Minister to make mental health a top priority.Today over 7 million Australians, as adults have experienced a mental illness.One in five Australians will experience a mental health difficulty in any given year. The commission has made 10 recommendations to improve the system. Queensland has become the latest state to apologise to the victims of forced adoption.Premier Campbell Newman addressed parliament and formally apologised to the thousands of mothers and children torn apart by the 1950s and 70s by the state sanctioned practice.Today this Legislative Assembly acknowledges the wrongs inflicted by past forced adoption policies and practices in Queensland.We acknowledge those who were denied the choice of parent hood, especially the mothers as well as the fathers and other generations of their families. State Opposition Leader Anastasia Pallache spoke and apologised for the wrongs of the past We are hear today on this historic day to say sorry. To say sorry to these mothers. Their now adult children and children's fathers siblings and grand parents and other family members. Today to women like Margaret and Trish and Glenda the Labor people of this place offer our apology.Around 250 people were in parliament for the apology.Hundreds of people at the university of technology of Sydney have been evacuated after a crane collapsed on to a building and caught fire. 8 fire crews rushed to the construction site where the 20m boom of the crane crashed into the building next to it. The top of the crane was on fire, flames clearly visible from the ground. Around 20 firefighter whose attempted to climb the boom to extinguish the flames quickry ran down from the unsafe crown and instead allowed the fire to extinguish itself, UTS has closed the building. What we were concerned about were two things, that's why we evacuated the building. First the fire was still burning and was right next to the building and could have spread and we didn't know whether the crane collapse had touched our building or not so we wanted to assess that.After evacuation we soon found out the crane hadn't touched anything on our site. So we have shut the building down, because of smoke. There have been no reports of injuries. The corner of Broadway and Wattle Street are expected to be shut for least another day as the Crown is dismantled and taken away.Photographs of bones have been shown in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on the second day of a committal hearing for the man accused of killing Daniel Morcombe. Daniel's mother Denise left the courtroom while the evidence was being shown. Sky News Brisbane reporter Joel Philp was in court and has the latest. Forensic experts were the focus of today's hearing to analyse bones found in the Glasshouse Mountains and confirm they belonged to a young boy. The bones themselves were dealt irated after years of exposure to the elements. The photographs of Daniel's remains shocked his mother so much she left the courtroom. --Seeing the mannequin skeleton and the images, just made it all that very much raw and real for her.As it did for all of us but you know, we all have different levels of tolerance and it's best - any of us that feel a bit wobbly to excuse themselves.A model juvenile skeleton was used to demonstrate how these bones fitted into the human body and a forensic scientist confirmed her tests indicated the arm bone belonged to Daniel by matching it with a DNA profile created from a 13-year-old's tooth brush. Throughout proceedings the accused, 43-year-old Brett Cowan sat silently in the docks on occasion resting his chin in his palm. Over the next two weeks more details will be revealed, to paint a picture what happened nine years ago, when Daniel Morcombe as a 13-year-old boy went missing while waiting for a bus on the Sunshine Coast. A South Australian man has been jailed for at least 23 years for the brutal bashing murder of his de facto partner while on a camping trip in 2011. Sky News Adelaide reporter Ashleigh Steele has the latest from outside the South Australian Supreme Court. 33-year-old Jason Gardner has been sentenced to life in prison with a 23 year non-parole period, for the murder of Catherine Towner in bushland south of Adelaide in April last year. In the South Australian Supreme Court justice Timothy Anderson said Mr Gardener had a complete lack of respect for women, having been violent to at least two partners whom he was banned from approaching.During Easter last year the couple went camping about 6km from Strathalbyn. It was there he fatally bashed Ms Towner causing 30 injuries including a split lifr, track truered ribs and rain -- fractured ribs and brain damage. Her body wrapped in a blanket and left in a car before being found days later by a friend. In sentencing he said Mr Gardener had maintained his innocence against the murderer charge and was not a good candidate for rehabilitation. The body of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has a short time ago been exhumed as part of an ongoing investigation into the cause of his death. We will bring you live images now of the Muqarta compound in ram Allah in the West bank where the international team has removed his remains. Arafat fell seriously ill in October 2004 and died a short time later in a Paris hospital. So an historic day on the West Bank.His French doctors were never able to say what caused his death. A murder enquiry was of course opened up in August this year, many international experts suspect the 75-year-old had been poisoned after a Swiss institute discovered high levels of radioactive Polonium on his clothing and tooth brush. Israel for its part has denied any wrongdoing. Arafat was of course one of the founding fathers of the Fatah movement, now the largest faction of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation.He became the first President of the Palestinian Authority in 1996 after having previously beenism aisled from the territories for -- been exiled from the territories for almost three decades. It could be as many as several months before a result of the analysis of the DNA evidence is announced. A $50 billion deal has been struck between eurozone ministers and the IMF to slash Greece's debt by 2020. As part of the agreement Greece must bring down its debt to GDP ratio from an estimated $144 -- 144% to 124% by 2020. The deal is seen as a key step towards restoring financial stability to Greece. The debt-ridden country had been waiting since June for a loan instalment of $3 9.8 billion. And that's part of a $160 billion rescue which was granted earlier this year. Time for a quick look at sport. Australian pacemen Peter Siddle and him remain in doubt for the -- Ben Hilfenhaus remain in debt for the third test at the WACA on Friday. Both put in marathon performances in the second test in Adelaide and may not recover in time. In contrast South Africa's bowlers have had plenty of rest and former test paceman Geoff Lawson believes they will have the edge in Perth.The South Africans have had a day and a half sitting down. They bowled less overs than Siddle and Hilfenhaus. Morkel and Steyn. Villander will be fresh. But he will be a handful in Perth. So their bowler be fresher and I think they have got a bit of an advantage because of that going into the test match. Whoever wins the third test will claim the series and the number one world ranking. Quick look at Sky News weather:

Now back to David in Canberra as PM Agenda continues. Thank you. We will take a quick break. Then Thai taking you live to the -- taking you live to the Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop she's devoted another Question Time attack to the Prime Minister's alleged involvement in the AWU slush fund the Opposition has been pursuing this week. Stay with us.

You are watching PM Agenda for the second day in a row the Opposition has devoted every one of is questions in parliament to the Prime Minister over the AWU slush fund. Julie Bishop the Deputy Opposition Leader and chief prosecutor in this matter for the Coalition today was zeroing in on weather Prime Minister received any money to renovations on her Melbourne house that came from or via this slush fund.Julia Gillard back in 1995 in her interview with Slater and Gordon, the law firm, did seem not entirely sure about the answer on this, saying she couldn't be 100 sure.. Now she is certain, she say shes has been able to clek. More documents refresh her memory she says she did not receive the $5,000 from this fund towards her home renovations. Here is a little of Julie Bishop's pursuit of this this afternoon.Does the Prime Minister claim as a partner of slate slat she did nothing wrong. Which did Slater and Gordon she did non-wrong. When did she learn the association funds were used in the purchase of the Fitzroy property which he then boyfriend Bruce Wilson lived in. I refer the Prime Minister to her statement in August whether she received benefit from Town Mode in 194.These allegations are untrue. They have always been untrue. They have been known to be untrue for decades. And here is the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in line with the Leader of the Opposition strategy down at the bottom of the mud bavengt now desperately picking through, desperately scraping through at the bottom of the mud.None of the allegations or questions put to the Prime Minister today were new, and they didn't elicit any new evidence or information from the Prime Minister. She stuck to her guns on this pointing once again to what she said in the long press conference yesterday and in answers on this in the past. But we will hear more from Julie Bishop, the Deputy Opposition Leader as you can see here she is about to address. Media in Canberra after Question Time, we will see whether there be more to come from the Opposition in the final two days of parliament for the year or whether they are about to change tact. Certainly Julie Bishop has shown no mood in dropping this subject. Let's hear what she has to say right now. Today in Question Time the Prime Minister was unable to refute the claim made in a statutory declaration of Bob Kernahan, a former AWU official he was told by Bill Smith, another AWU official, in the brens of Bill Shorten, also at that time an AWU official that Bruce Wilson had ill ly paid thousands of dollars -- elological le paid thousands of dollars for Julia Gillard's of dlams for Julia Gillard's hom renovations. She refused to guarantee no funds for such slush funds or accounts why used to pay for her home renovations. Also today the statement by Slater and Gordon that refers to the AWU matter shows just how grave the consequences were of Julia Gillard's conduct when she was a partner at Slater and Gordon.This statement reveals that as a result of Ms Gillard acting for Bruce Wilson personally, Bruce Wilson was then her partner, the firm had to cease acting for the Australian Workers Union which would have been one of the most prestigious clients for such a firm in Melbourne at that time. And that was of course to the very great financial detriment of her partners. And yet the Prime Minister still claims that she did nothing wrong.Also today the Prime Minister produced an advertisement in relation to the setting up of the Australian workplace reform association.I have located a copy of that advertisement as it would have appeared in 'The Australian' - 'The West Australian' newspaper on 6 March of 1992. That is the advertisement. I'm sorry that it is not easy to read, but I will read it to you because this is what I consider an own goal by the Prime Minister.By producing this advertisement she has proven that the association was not set up for the purpose she knew it to be for, that is the re-election of union officials, but for a completely different purpose. It reads down the bottom "the association is formed for the purposes of promoting and encouraging workplace reforms for workers performing construction and maintenance work". That was put in a newspaper at a time when the Prime Minister on her own account knew that it was to set up a slush fund for the re-election of union officials.And as we showed yesterday in Question Time, there were only two members of this association, Mr Blewitt and Mr Wilson.I also sought to table in Question Time today not only the statutory declaration of Bob Kernahan sworn on 11 August 2010 before a police officer, at the Castlemain police station but also a statutory declaration of Wayne Ham a former AWU official who relates an incident where Bruce Wilson directed him to put $5,000 of cash into Julia Gillard's bank account. And that was sworn on 11 November this year, 2012. I also suit to table the business name Extract for Town Mode which shows the trading name, Town Mode was actually owned by Cue Renovators Pty Ltd in Melbourne. I also sought to table a cheque made payable to cash for $15,000 on the back of which is written "K Spirides £10,000 bank cheque' for those of you familiar with the Prime Minister's exit interview from Slater and Gordon when she was effectively sacked from the firm, which resulted in the firm losing the AWU as a client, the Prime Minister gave statements about Con Spiridis and the work he's been dining on her house at the time and the fact -- doing on her house at the time and the fact it was his visit to the AWU demanding payment for renovations on her home that first alered the AWU -- alerted the AWU there had been a misuse of finisheds of Melbourne bank accounts by Bruce Wilson -- of misused of funds of Melbourne bank accounts by Bruce Wilson. The Prime Minister when she found out as she says she did in August 1995 the AWU was investigating the misuse of funds in bank accounts that were not authorised to be set up by Bruce Wilson, why she didn't also tell the client that she had personally advised Mr Wilson on the setting up of an incorporated association in Western Australia. And perhaps they might like to investigate that.In her exit statement to Slater and Gordon the Prime Minister indicated that she had a suspicion, she had a concern, that moneys from the Western Australian association may have been used in her home renovations. She couldn't rule it out.If she had that suspicion about the Western association at that time, learning that the AWU was investigating the misuse of funds from Melbourne bank accounts by Mr Wilson, surely she would have asked her client to consider investigating this matter. For had she done so, had she raised her concern or her suspicion about the conduct of her former boyfriend, because remember by this stage she had been so deceived and lied to by Mr Wilson that she broke off a four year relationship, why didn't she then just say to the AWU, perhaps you want to look into this workplace association in Western Australia.She didn't do that. And what happened then was that the house into which the $100,000 from the Western Australian fund had gone was sold. And there are statements, sworn statements, from Ian Cambridge the former national secretary of the AWU now a Fair Work Australia commissioner, to the effect had the AWU been told by anyone at Slater and Gordon but I claim by Ms Gillard who had all the information, had they been told that this association existed they could have taken some action to prevent the sale of the house and thus recover their moneys.And there were other frauds perpetrated by Mr Wilson that could have been averted had the Prime Minister just told the firm's client of her concerns about Mr Wilson in the first place, but secondly that she couldn't rule out at that time that fund s from the Western Australian association had been used in her house renovations. What's your allegation, what are your specific allegations why she did not inform the AWU of the Western Australian fund? Why are you saying she didn't do it?It's my view that Wilson and his side-kick Blewitt set up a number of these accounts without the knowledge of the AWU and they did it deliberately for the purposes of siphoning off money that would otherwise have gone to the AWU but for their own personal use.The Prime Minister took instructions from them, well from Wilson. She didn't ask the firm's prestigious client, the AWU, whether her boyfriend, the union official, had authority to set up a separate legal entity in Western Australia that would be receiving funds for the re-election of union officials.Even though for all intents and purposes the commissioner for corporate affairs and the advertisement in the paper shows that there was another - completely different use. What was her - what are you saying was her motivation for not informing the AWU of the Western Australian fund after they found out...It was to keep it hidden from her firm and her client because had she opened a file, had she told her clients, had she told her partners then of course the fund could not have been - sorry the association could not have been set up and associated bank account would not have been set up (INAUDIBLE).Are you saying that Julia Gillard was complicit in this fraud?I have no doubt that Bruce Wilson committed a fraud against the AWU.The Prime Minister is yet to answer questions about her role and her knowledge in relation to it.It was inconceivable that a partner of a law firm, that had as its major and prestigious client the AWU, receiving instructions from her boyfriend to set up a separate legal entity in Western Australia would not have made the basic due diligence enquiry has he the authority to do so.And a result of her not doing that, and a result 6 her not doing that -- of her not doing, that the AWU lost hundreds of thousands of dollars still not recovered to this day and Slater and Gordon lost a major prestigious client. This morning you said that she prof ited from the fraud.No, I did not say that.You said they syphoned off funds for their benefit. Are you not saying she prof ited?No, I said today in the press conference I didn't say that in Question Time yesterday and I'm not saying it today. That's what I said.They syphoned off profits for their benefit and referring to...No, I did not.They simply set up this fund and syphoned off money for that benefit. What else does that mean?Their benefit is the members of the association. The only two members of the association.She Wilson and Blewitt wanted to hide from the AWU...She wasn't a member of the association. The fact that an authorised entity was being set up to syphon funds through it for their benefit.Wellson and Blewitt are the members of the association. They are the ones that benefit from the slush fund. They were the signatories to the slush fund. As far as I'm aware - and then I was asked later in that interview, are you saying that she benefitted and I said no, I didn't say that in Question Time yesterday and I'm not saying it today.Are you saying she was a knowing party to a fraud? A knowing party to a fraud?I still have questions to ask of the Prime Minister and I will certainly continue them. But she was certainly a knowing party to breaches of relevant laws in Western Australia. I said that yesterday and I will say it again today.The in corporations, the in Corporations Act in Western Australia was breached in a number of material respects. How is it you can say the association was secret given that it was publicly advertised?It was unknown to the AWUAnd... But it was in the newspaper.There are numerous affidavit statements, declarations, including references to Bill Shorten, but OK let's take Ian Cambridge he states from his exhaustive investigations it was unknown.And the purpose set out in that advertisement was false. On that point, this was actually put to her in the August press conference, and her contention is that reading the cover sheet alone is not what the association was about. And that the nine page document that goes with it is consistent with it being used as a slush fund although she doesn't agree with the use of that terminology.The - newspaper advertisement makes it clear that it was for workplace safety.The newspaper...That is deemed... Is consistent with the cover sheet but the cover sheet alone is not the documents of in corporation.So the cover sheet that everybody accesses and the advertisement to the public... You can have the other documents too. We have got them and you have got them.I'm sorry, the advertise many to the public sets out an em-- advertisement to the public, set out a purpose that was not the purpose that she knew she was setting the fund up for.And so in a number of material ways the in corporations laws of Western Australia were breached Secondly, as I pointed out yesterday, the association could not have been incorporated because it didn't have the requisite five members.The purpose was for the re-election of union officials, you might be interested to know that in the HSU Fair Work Australia report the report finds that using union funds for the election of Craig Thomson was an improper purpose. What I have put is the purpose she stated on the documents and what was contained in the advertisement is not the purpose for which it was incorporated. And it had the capacity to mislead and deceive.As it did.And I tried yesterday to table a letter from 'The West Australian' Fraud Squad to the industrial relations commission setting out the findings of their investigation that the contract for one was misled to believing this was a legitimate AWU authorised entity for workplace reform. And when they found it was not authorised by the union and it was not for the purposes for which they thought they believed they had been misled and would not have donated thousands of dollars had they known the truth. Given there are now calls for the ALP for your resignation?Ralph Blewitt has met about with a lot of journalists he has appeared on the '7:30 report' I believe he has also med with the Victorian police. I don't think Mr Albanese is calling for their resignation. I was in Melbourne for other purposes on Friday, I received a call from Mike Smith who told me that he had just been with Ralph Blewitt to the police station where he had given a full statement.And he said they were in a coffee shop, would I like to meet with Mr Blewitt.It was on the route that I was taking, I stopped by, I spoke to Blewitt. I was introduced to him and I spoke to him for about less than 10 minutes and I left.Now how do I compare that chance meeting with Julia Gillard's four year personal friendship with him? Surely the Prime Minister's not suggesting that I shouldn't spend 10 minutes with a man that she considered one of her closest friends over four years, and for whom she used to do free legal work from the partner of Slater and Gordon. (INAUDIBLE)I had a 10 minute conversation with him at most. And... What was your initial impression?Part of it was he told me about a phone call he received from serving diggers in Afghanistan who were members of his old regiment.And he told me about that. The only interest I had in meeting with him is that he had met with the police and I wanted to know if he had produced any further documents. Because he - I understand that he has waved legal professional privilege over any advice that current or former partners of Slater and Gordon gave to him when he was Ms Gillard's client. And I wanted to know if he had any documents and he said anything that he had said to the police he wouldn't repeat to me so that was the end of it. I thought that that affidavit was based on something that somebody else had told him. So there is no direct evidence in that affidavit. So are you making an allegation based on a rumour?No, this is a statutory declaration which is sworn before a police officer, and it claims that people well-known to probably the crowd gathered here today, Bob Smith and Bill Shorten, told him that Bruce Wilson had paid for Julia Gillard's renovations out of union funds. And so I... But that's not evidence is it? I put that to the Prime Minister. I thought on Monday... When you put to to the Prime Minister she actually denied it and said it was a smear?No, you go back and read her answer to question one.I thought on Monday.The answer was she paid for the renovations in the house. That was the answer.No, I asked her to categorically guarantee that no money from any of these accounts that had been set up by Bruce Wilson unauthorised by the union had been used to pay for her renovations. She Denvery that. She later denied -- deny that. She later denied funds in relation to a company called Town Mode, which I pointed out was actually owned by key renovators Pty Ltd.And also Kon Spiridis but these are matters that I'm surprised you're asking me about. On Monday it was put to me that I hadn't put any allegation to Ms Gillard. I have now put allegations and she's entitled to answer them. (INAUDIBLE). Tomorrow about this?Sorry? Anything other than hearsay, concerns documentary evidence to show that Julia Gillard has... One of the other - I didn't say that in the House. One of the other documents I sought to produce to table today was this cash cheque to Kon Spiridis. Julia Gillard spoke a lot about him in her exit interview with Slater and Gordon. My job is to put the questions to the Prime Minister that we think need answering. I have put allegations to her and she's entitled to respond to them And that's what... Asking all of these questions tomorrow about this issue or is this the end of the matter?I don't announce Opposition decisions prior to them being made.Will ever question about about it? Are you thinking takes back the statement this morning, you were asked earlier and you said the reference to their benefit was only about (INAUDIBLE). But you clearly said she, meaning Julia Gillard and Wilson and Blewitt wanted to hide from the AWU the fact that an unauthorised entity was being set up to syphon funds. That is an assertion that Julia Gillard was aware that something was hidden for the AWU?Yes it was the hidden. The AWU knew nothing about it.You are saying she was a knowing party to hiding information about an organisation that was set up to syphon fund? She said...I asked the question yesterday about why she didn't open a file. A file that was for the incorporation of a legal entity that was a new entity that would be in the name of the Australian Workers Union. One of their major and prestigious clients.You accept on the face testify that's an allegation she was a knowing party to -- face of it that's an allegation she was a knowing party to...No if people didn't understand what I said they then asked a question shortly after and said did you say that. I said I didn't say it in Question Time yesterday and I didn't say it today. They refers to Wilson and Blewitt. I have said this on a number of occasions in interviews to people at this gathering I have said on a number of occasions the two members of the slush fund, the two members of the association, those who stood to benefit were Wilson and Blewitt. Wilson most certainly benefitted, I have no idea about Blewitt.The government says...Sorry that's a division. Thank you. Julie Bishop have to race off to make a division in the lower house there but no doubt the Opposition now coming under a lot more scrutiny about its pursuit of Julia Gillard on this. And Julie Bishop very carefully treading a line there to suggest she's not accusing the Prime Minister of breaking any law. Despite what she had to say this morning, I should add despite what she said on this program yesterday, about a breach of the in corporations association Act, in WAu that had been breached, she said in relation to that certificate the Prime Minister had put to the registrar about incorporating this association, so now she's not suggesting any broken law on the Prime Minister's part she's not suggesting she benefitted from the slush fund from the fraud that was perpetuated here by Bruce Wilson and Ralph Blewitt. But she has questions she says, more questions for the Prime Minister., don't know whether the Opposition will keep pursuing this tomorrow, what will be the second last Question Time of the year. But we didn't get any new evidence from the Opposition today, merely questions about a lot of past allegations, and at the end of it Julie Bishop not suggesting there Julia Gillard did benefit from this fund in any way.So a lot of heat now coming back on to the Opposition over this. We will have more on this throughout the afternoon and evening here on Sky News. We will take a break and shift topic. To the Labor Party decision today to abstain Australia's - for Australia to abstain in the vote this week in the United Nations on giving Palestine observer status at the UN. Was the Prime Minister rolled on this? We will talk to Foreign Minister Bob Carr.

De despite the focus over the last 48 hoursen hours of the slush fund there has been internal debate in Labor over the last 24 hours whether Australia should vote for, against or abstain when a vote comes up in the UN later this week on giving Palestine observer status. This doesn't give it voting rights but it is the same level of recognition that the Vatican has at the UN. Now, the G announced today Australia's position will be to abstain from this vote. This however is not the position the Prime Minister originally wanted. Julia Gillard I understand had a lengthy debate with Foreign Minister Bob Carr prior to Cabinet yesterday, in which she was arguing Australia should reject any recognition of Palestine at the UN. Fearing the backlash this could cause in the Middle East.In the Cabinet meeting last night I'm told that about 10 ministers rejected the Prime Minister's position, argued against it but despite what ministers have said to me was a clear majority view, the Prime Minister dug in and said no, we are going to stick with my position on this, rejecting Palestinian recognition. This morning, when it became clear from consultations with more backbenchers more broadly, this wasn't going to be get through caucus the Prime Minister relented and in the end the Government has adopt ed that position of abstaining on this vote. So what's the significance of this and what will the outcome actually mean? I spoke a little earlier to Foreign Minister Bob Carr. Minister thanks for your time. It's fair to say up until today you and the Prime Minister haven't exactly seen eye to eye on this issue have you? There have been discussions. I'd emphasise the Prime Minister and I both believe in a two state solution, with a Palestinian state and adequate security guarantees for Israel. That's the common ground here subsumes every other consideration.I am giving recognition to Palestine, observer status at the UN you had a very different position to the Prime Minister yesterday.I was intent on Australia abstaining, that's the position I wanted to argue for... The Prime Minister did not?The Prime Minister was open minded. The Prime Minister was open minded.I'm told in fact you two had a lengthy two hour discussion, debate, about this prior to kabtd where you, she wasn't -- Cabinet.I'm not going to comment, David, on the internal works of Government but I will say this. Julia Gillard could not have consulted more pain take staingly, not just -- stakingly not just me but other members of caucus but - with this subject. Talking to all concerned having a meeting where everyone gets to have a say and reefing a decision.Can you tell me at least what the position of Cabinet was last night?Cabinet voted to back the judgment of the Prime Minister.That was the Cabinet decision. To back her judgment.What was that last senate -- night?The Prime Minister last night was talking about the best way of getting a two state solution. As we all are. We are all focused on this, on getting a Palestinian state, living, functioning, securely, alongside an Israel whose status is protected and secured.Just to be clear on this, my understanding is around 10 cabinet ministers in that meeting last night rejected the Prime Minister's position, but she still insisted that the position would be to vote against Palestinian recognition sfpI'm not going to speculate what happened in Cabinet. No-one ever does that.You can tell me what the Cabinet position was last night.No, that's going through the archives.And it is talking about decisions in Cabinet. The Prime Minister... It is a decision of Cabinet.The Prime Minister was open, to discussions with all her colleagues, and her colleagues represented gamut of opinion on this subject. That's a good thing. It is a great tib ute... Before we get on to the substance. Jb to be clear you are a student of Labor history here, is it normal for a prime minister to reject the majority position of Cabinet?I haven't been in a federal Labor cabinet but I have to say at the state level there is a convention, and eethos, that the premier, the head of government, gets his or her way.Regardless of the position of wouldn't want to be an stating an absolute there, but broadly that's the case. In theory every vote around that Cabinet table might be equal, in practice, in practice, we have got something of an ethos of backing the leader.Kevin Rudd was heavily criticised for often ignoring cabinet, acting un lateral ly -- unilaterally.Julia Gillard in my experience has never ignored cabinet her her cabinet colleagues. She has consulted painstakingly. This will be a case in point. No Prime Minister, no head of government could have gone to more trouble to Alice it the views of cabinet -- elicit the views of cabinet colleagues weighed them carefully, gone into a meeting and put forward a position that appealed to her in the end.I'm told today she obviously just before the caucus meeting did agree to this position of abstaining from the vote. On Palestinian recognition. This observer status. What will that actually mean in practice? It means that there is not going to be this observer status granted?The vote is going to get carried to the UN. It is going to get carried by an joef welling margin members of the general assembly will vote to lift what is known as the non-state status of a Palestinian delegation. You have the Palestinian embassy of the UN, the resolution almost certain to be carried later this week will give them a status comparable to that of the Vatican.Which is not regarded by the UN as a state, but as a non-state - it aaccorded a certain status.Is that a good thing?It is but it carries some risks. We are prepared to live with those risks. While we attempt to influence the behave of the players in the Middle East. The Prime Minister, the Prime Minister summed it up well. She said this, there is a danger if this results in retaliation against the Palestinians or against the UN from a UN Congress, and there is a danger this might be seen as a substitute for the only way to get peace in the Middle East.And that's a negotiated two-state solution, between Israel and the Palestinians themselves.Notwithstanding the risks have you agreed there this is a good thing.It is a good thing on balance yes.Yet Australia is not voting for it?There will be a lot of nations very likely abstaining. And abstaining in a UN context is a way of conveying ambiguities about a position. So we are saying, by abstaining, very liberally, this is how it will be interpreted by all there, we will be in the company, I suspect, of most Europeans when we abstain.That's interpreted by UN observers as Australia seeing this as not the answer, seeing this as carrying dangers, but seeing it as an affirmation of the idea of a Palestinian state in the future. How...This is the most appropriate position. It will be welcomed by supporters of Palestinian state because if we had gone against it and voted no, it would have been portrayed as a rejection. This... The position...This motion. The position the Prime Minister had advocated.The motion faced in the general assembly became whether people like it or not a referendum on a Palestinian state. We support a Palestinian state, we insist the way of getting it is a negotiated solution with the security guarantees for Israel at the same time as a Palestinian state is created.How will this be viewed by some of our neighbours in particular Malaysia and Indonesia --I think they will welcome it as Australia in the Asian century being prepared to take account of the sort of views they have been expressing, the sort of views they represent. Not forming a view simply because they have taken it.But they prefer to see us vote for this wouldn't they?There will be no doubt about that but nonetheless they would see it as Australia moving in a different way from the United States. It is not a - David it is not a bad thing, we are very close to the Obama administration bus we share so many objectives. We work with them well. They have moved to a position of supporting ourcation for an arms trade -- our case for an arms trade treaty for example, trying to reduce the ammunition and small arms of the AK 47s of the world and that's so encouraging for us and speaks volumes of the multi-lateral approach, the creativity of the Obama agenda but from time to time, it is so easy to be in agreement with them, it shouldn't be consider ed odd, if we have a disagreement with our American friends. Not that that's the case here.Has there been any reaction from the US?They understand the way opinion was trending in the Labor Party, if anything, if anything there was some challenge of a yes vote. Now, I would have advised against that and said that's a little incautious at this time, the better course is an abstension but as the Americans said the movement in public opinion in Australia, I think public opinion, I think commonsense, middle ground Australian opinion is for goodness sake let's get progress in the Middle East, let's get the Palestinian state into place, both sides come together, capturing and reflecting that spirit, I think there is a feeling in the Labor Party you go for abstention and go for a yes vote.Was the Prime Minister rolled?She most certainly wasn't. She shaped that decision in the parliament today.And it belongs in in a textbook, a chapter in a textbook of smart leadership. Intelligent leadership.Assessing the range of opinions and a party room, and creating a good landing space. I congratulated her on it. I think it confirms her claim on the Labor leadership well into the future. It was very good leadership indeed. Thank you.Thanked David. Bob Carr get.the outcome that he certainly wanted as we heard there. He felt that voting in favour of Palestinian recognition or observer status would be a step too far. But rejecting it as the Prime Minister had originally argued as I have been reporting, would not have been the right outcome. Abstaining is the position he argue you'd for and the position that the Labor Party caucus has eventually landed on today. That's all we have time for in today's program. After the break more on what Julie Bishop has now argued in relation to the AWU slush fund. The very latest news headlines. Stay with us. Live Captioning by Ai-Media