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Goose afternoon welcome to the program. It good afternoon welcome to the program. It it often doesn't sound like there is much agreement between the two sides of politics when it comes to the economy but both sides still remain committed to returning the budget to surplus despite more evidence today that Australian economic growth has slowed. We have seen the annual growth rate go from 4% earlier in the year now down to 3.1%. Now 3.1% isn't bad at all, it is better than most developed countries around the world, it's still at a trend rate, but, of course, that 3.1% annual growth figure takes in the good times from earlier in the year. When you look specifically at what happened in that last quarter, the September quarter, we have seen the quarterly growth rate come in at 0.5%. And that is down from a quarterly rate of 1.3% earlier in the year. Now this just underlines how difficult some sectors of the economy are facing things at the moment. It also underlines how difficult it will now be to get the budget back into surplus.Coming up we will be talking to Treasurer Wayne Swan about today's national accounts figures, how that task of getting back into surplus is going, can it still be achieved. We are also going to be discussing with the treasurer the mining tax and whether it needs to be changed. Along the lines of the recommendations made by a review commissioned by Wayne Swan himself.All that coming up. First a check of the top stories this hour back to Vanessa Trezise. Thank you. Yes, Australia's economic growth has slowed for the second consecutive quarter. Coming in at 0.5%, for the September quarter. The country's annual growth rate remains above trend, up with growth slowing there is more pressure on the Government now to be able to deliver a budget surplus.The figures are in the verdicts are contrasting.Today's GDP figures really shine a light on the reillence in the Australian economy, despite some very challenging global economic conditions.The slowest growth in the economy outside of the Queensland floods since the global financial crisis. Having raced along earlier in the year growth has slowed in recent months coming in at 0.5% in the last quarter, the annual rate has fallen to 3.1%.That sees our economy outpace every other major developed economy. That figure is a measure of the past. Economists though are concerned for what could be ahead. Particularly as the peak of the mining vest -- investment boom passes.As it tapers off and in the absence of any alternative sources of growth to maintain that momentum, the likelihood is that we will remain at a below trend pace for the next two or three-quarters.What we have seen in this quarter is a dramatic impact which has flowed through from lower commodity prices.The Opposition is also pinning part of the blame on the carbon tax.The cost of living is unquestionably having an impact on households.And escalating electricity prices are causing them to have grave concerns.Growth in the international conditions we have faced in the past quarter of 0.5% is by any measure a resilient figure.I don't think it's possible to discern any additional impact of the carbon tax on the economy, beyond what we already knew from the CPI figures that were released in late October.Whatever the impact of the mining and carbon taxes, slower growth means the Government is collecting less tax. And that makes it even harder for the Government to deliver on its promised budget surplus.It's forecast surplus is a crab walk. It's walking away from it. And therefore it is exposing the fact that the Government just has no economic plan.It will be very difficult for the Government to achieve a budget surplus this year, and frankly I wouldn't recommend that they try.The Treasurer says he's still committed to a surplus with a caveat.We are committed to a return to surplus but I don't answer all the hypothetical questions that you tend to get, what if commodity prices continue to go south. The Commonwealth Bank has now moved to lower interest rates off the back of yed's RBA cut.-- yesterday's RBA cut. CBA will lower its standard variable rate by 0.2% to 6.4% from Monday but that's less than the Reserve Bank's 0.25% drop. NAB was the first of the banks to move this morning, also lowering its variable rate by 0.2% Westpac is yet to announce any move, while ANZ as usual will wait until next Friday to review its position. Mourners have said their final farewells to best selling author Bryce Courtenay at a funeral service in Sydney.The iconic Australian author lost his battle with stomach cancer, at the age of 79 late last month.Our Sydney recorder Cameron Price has more from outside St Marks Church in Darling o Point.Hundredors gathered here to say goodbye to Bryce Courtenay the celebrated author who died late last month in Canberra aged 79. It was a moving emotional but also uplifting service with many here wearing bright colours and carrying sunflowers.Among those to pay their respects the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, who arrived early with partner Tim Mathieson and spent time outside the church speaking with family members and passing on their condolences. Also here, former Greens leader Bob Brown, and a number of notable people from the arts and literature community. As the casket was taken out mourners lined the path holding sun flowers and said their final goodbyes.The eulogy read by long time publisher and friend, Bob Sessions. Yothu Yindu lead singer Mandawuy Yunupingu has been rushed to hospital after collapsing in his home in East Arnham Land.The man who has been credited with bringing indigenous issues to the international platform has collapsed as he battles his ongoing illness with renal dial sis.Mandawuy Yunupingu, the former front man of Yothu Yindi collapsed earlier in the week and is now in hospital in Darwin. He returned to his home in none um boy after being inducted into his Aria fall of fame last Thursday. On Monday morning health professional says he dead err rated quickly and on moid -- deter rated quickly and he was being evacated to Darwin. He has spent two days in hospital is expected to spend another two days in hospital. And it comes just days after that historic induction into the hall of fame for his hit song 'treaty' which made international headlines in the early 90s and earned him a place as Australian of the Year.Mr Yunupingu says he hopes his battle with renal failure sends a message of hope to the indigenous communities of Australia.It gives people that are in my condition hope hope that the healing songs can cure naturally of course.Mr Yunupingu's manager says he is living by his own message and is showing great hope in hospital and recovering quickly.He's expected to be let out by the weekend. In South Australia, a woman found dead at Quorn near Port Augusta in suspicious circumstances has been identified.Sky News Adelaide reporter Ashleigh Steele has the details.Police have declared the death of Jessie Leigh Fullarton a murder. The 22-year-old was a well-known camel jockey in Quorn north of Port Augusta help her body was found around 3:45 am next to her white four-wheel drive just 300m from her grandparents home where she was living. Major crime detectives are conditioning to search the area and have asked for anyone who saw her overnight or noticed any suspicious behaviour in the small outback town to come forward.Ms Fullarton's family have been notified of her death, and friends have taken to Facebook to pay tribute to her.It is understood Ms Fullarton also worked in childcare in Port Augusta.Police are not revealing the circumstances of her death, but say it has been declared a major crime. At least 82 people have now been killed after a powerful typhoon slammed into the southern Philippines. Tens of thousands of residents were forced to ekingva ate their homes as the -- evacuate their homes as the category five storm packing wind gusts of 210 km/h caused widespread damage and deadly landslides. Rescuers are battling to reach areas cut off by flash floods and dozens of people remain missing.The UN Secretary-General has warned that extreme global weather conditions like the ta fan in the Philippines or hur cane sandy last month are new -- hurricane sandy last month are now the new normal. Ban Ki-moon says time is running out for action and urged countries attending climate talks in kwatrar to make a firm imprisonment p Qatar to make a firm commitment to slashing greenhouse gas emissions.The devastationer to across the east coast of the US in late October shocked the world. More than 100 people died, millions experienced floods and power cuts, and New York was brought briefly to its knees. But far from being the storm of the century UN chief Ban Ki-moon warns extreme weather like this is becoming common place.The danger signs are all around.Eye caps are shopping unness -- ice caps are showing unprecedented melting. Sea levels are rising.The abnormal is now due normal. If it sounds alarming it's meant to.He's trying to disheartened delegates from almost 100 delegations to take firm steps from a globaln plan to safeguard the environment. This is meant to be agreed in 2015 and come into effect in 2020.No-one is immune to climate change rich or poor. It is an existential challenge for the whole human race. Our way of life our plans for the future.Nations are divided over current plans to extend the UN's Kyoto Protocol to slash greenhouse gas emissions. With just days to go before the end of the Doha conference, and weeks before Kyoto expires on 1 Janry next year, Russia, China and Canada have pulled out 6 any commitment. China and India will have no targets to curve they're I missions from next year and the US never ratified Kyoto in the first place. Meanwhile those still supporting Kyoto are responsible for just 15% of world greenhouse gas emissions.No wonder the officials here refer to Kyoto as a symbolic agreement. A quick look at sport and Adrian Anderson has quit his role as the AFL's operations manager, and he has been with the AFL for nine years and is the third executive to depart CEO Andrew Demetriou's team since the end of the season.I have done most of the key things that I have wanted to do in this role and it is time for me now to do something different.He went on to say he has a few ideas about what he will do next but he didn't go into any detail.The weather:

Now back to David Speers in Canberra as PM Agenda continues.Thank you. Next we are talking to Treasurer Wayne Swan about the slowdown in economic growth.

You are watching PM Agenda. The latest national accounts figures were released today and we have seen a sort of glass half full glass half empty political debate in light of them. The Government putting the best possible spin on the numbers the Opposition the worst. Now the figures were pretty much as expected, a little worse but roughly as markets had expected. The annual rate of growth now stands at 3.1%. That is still as Wayne Swan says a solid figure, it does compare well to the rest of the world, and it is in line with trend growth but it is also down from the 4% growth we saw annually earlier this year.And it does show that particularly in the last few months we have seen a significant slowdown in economic growth.More telling is the quarterly growth figure. Earlier in the year in the March quarter quarterly growth stood at 1.3%. In the September quarter, the three months to the end of September it's come in at 0.5% growth. A lot has to do with the big drop we saw in iron ore prices in particular. Pe have recovered since then -- they have recovered since then but it has knocked around the performance of the mining sector so important to the Australian economy. We have seen slightly better news on the housing market with dwelling investments up and we will will talk more about that coming up but first to the political reaction here was the Treasurer's take on today's numbers.There aren't too many developed economies in the world that have the combination we have got. Low unemployment, solid growth, a very significant investment pipeline, contained inflation, lower interest rates, low public debt, and public finances in good shape.That's a combination which is a far off fantasy for just about every other developed economy around the world. Well Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey had a very different view. He says it's hard to find a sector that is doing well at the moment and believes the Australian economy is heading in the wrong direction.Nukts reveal the slowest -- the income taxes reveal the slon -- the national accounts reveal the slowest growth in the economy outside of the Queensland floods since the global financial crisis.This is the first quarter following the Government's introduction of the carbon and mining taxes. The data suggests consumers are very cautious. The one thing no-one disputes these figures do mean it is going to be harder to get the budget back into surplus.Nonetheless both sides of politics say this should still be a priority. So how realistic is this surplus now looking? Can it be achieved and is now the right time to keep pressing ahead with it. I spoke a little earlier to Treasurer Wayne Swan. Welcome to the program.Will you still achieve a surplus this financial year?Well, in terms of the mid-year budget update we forecast a return to surplus. The fact is that if you look at the data here that return to surplus is certainly achievable and we are committed to it.It will happen?We are committed to the surplus but I don't answer all the hypothetical questions that you tend to get, what if commodity prices continue to go south, what if the global economy moves here or there. The government is committed to a surplus and we have also made the point and made it very strongly we will always put in place the economic settings that are appropriate to support jobs and growth.That's the question, is it still appropriate given some weaker signs?Let's have a look at the figures here. Wismt we have got an economy which is growing around trend. 0.5 for the quarter, 3.1 through the year. We have low unemployment, we have also got a very substantial investment pipeline. We have got contained inflation and we have got lower interest rates. Now that's what we've - and we are forecasting in our mid-year budget update a return to surplus based on those fundamentals.Wage earnings are down, in this quarter. And company profits are also down. This does mean that tax revenue will be down as well.Will you now to deliver a surplus have to make deeper spending cuts or increase taxes?I certainly don't go into the hypotheticals. I did make the point that if you look at the nominal figures, the figures for nominal growth they do indicate that revenue will be weaker. Because profits are down, and that does have a flow through effect.So you...I also made the point that we can't just look at one quarter. What we have seen in this quarter is a dramatic impact which has flowed through from lower commodity prices. And that's reflected in the nominal numbers here which will flow through to revenue. What we also have to do is we have to go through all of the quarters that are yet to come. So I think it's a bit early for people to be jumping to some sort of definitive conclusion about the implications of that.You have acknowledged yourself the task is tougher to get into a surplus based on today's figures.That's right.Therefore you would need to find more money from somewhere?I'm committed to return to surplus, I have made the point that we will always have the settings in place which support jobs and growth, we are committed to a surplus. And what we have seen today is growth around trend low unemployment, big investment pipeline, low inflation, lower interest rates.You are also committed as Government to education reform and more spending on education. A dental health plan, a National Disability Insurance Scheme, as well all of these things cost money. And delivering a surplus. How do you make that add up? Which has priority?Well, as I indicated in the mid-year update, the Government will make further changes in terms of the budget to make room for some very significant initiatives such as additional money for school improvement through the Gonski reforms and the National Disability Insurance Scheme. We have already got significant money in the budget put there this year to deal with the trials for the #123450e78. But I mad it very clear -- National Disability Insurance Scheme but I made it very clear, particularly when I released the budget update the government will be making further changes in the structural nature of the bovment to make that reform and sustain the important reforms. Can I ask you on the National Disability Insurance Scheme, because jvk told us yesterday that the -- Joe Hockey told us yesterday the Coalition will deliver it once we are back into a strong surplus. How do you intend to pay for it?Well, we will outline the funding of it as we go through the normal processes. We don't do these things on a one-off basis but what we did do in our but this year we funded the trials. -- budget this year we funded the trials.Will you fund it before we get into surplus or too wait into surplus? .We are having negotiations with the states about the implementation of a full scheme. There is a detailed program of that.Are you prepared to launch such a skiel while we are in deficit?I have said we will make room within our fiscal rules to fund a National Disability Insurance Scheme.Will you be back into surplus first Oismt sur miss call rule which is aOur fiscal rules that apply when growth is around trend. We will fund a National Disability Insurance Scheme when we are within those fiscal rules.Getting back to the economy and the picture we can see we know in the first quarter of the financial year growth came in at 0.5 of 1%. If you will achieve the 3% growth forecast in the mid-year update clearly basic maths shows there will have to be improvement skwr. Where do you see the economy -- improvement coming from in the economy?The notion there is somehow a contraction in growth in the mining sector isn't true, you have seen very strong investment in the mining sector and we see that once again in these national accounts for the September quarter. But we do want to see if you like further growth outside the mining sector and in these figures today we are beginning to see the tentative signs of further investment in dwelling.In the case of housing to keep improving?Certainly one of the benefits of the fiscal strategy is to give the Reserve Bank further room to move when it comes to interest rates and we have seen substantial cuts, seven rate cuts since last November. We are now beginning to see the early signs of that if you like monetary policy stimulus in our economy. And it is important that that continues. Joe Hockey referred to the fact that growth has slowed in the first three months of the carbon tax and the mining tax. Have they had an impact?I don't believe so. I saw what Mr Hockey had to say, he somehow claimed a growth rate of 0.5 was very small by his standards. The fact is that you can go through any number of the years that the Howard Government was in power and see growth rates less than that. And indeed there have been various times under this Government where growth has been a little lower. Gent subsequently revised up -- so that was a bizarre point from Mr Hockey I think he is getting really desperate. Growth in the international conditions we have faced in the past quarter of 0.5% is by any measure a resilient figure for our economy.Can I ask you about the mining tax. We saw last week the GST review that you commissioned calling for a fundamental change to the mining tax. The Commonwealth, it says should no longer be refunding state increases in state mining royalties.Can you sit here and say this is still a good part of the mining tax -- this is still important?The whole objective of putting in place the RSBT and then the MRRT was to lessen reliance on royalties and go to a profits based tax because that is the sort of tax which encouraging investment in the industry.. Royalties are inefficient and punish the less profitable mines and discourage investment.They are still being increaseded and you are having to re refund.Nobody anticipated how bloody minded the state also be particularly in NSW and Queensland when it comes to increasing royalty s.Plenty of people looked at the framework and thought the states will take advantage of this.I don't believe the states were going to take advantage of it, I regard this as very op tyne us tick and full of -- opportunistic.What will do you about it?These are matters that were recommended to us by the Greiner-Brumby enquiry and we are take that up with the state treasurers when we meet nay few weeks time.Are you considering ending this element of the mining tax that refunds? ...I will not pre-empt the discussion with the state treasurers. There are a series of recommendations in that report and I will have a discussion with them. Jobs figures come out together what are you expecting?I don't speculate about the jobs figures just as I don't speculation about decisions of the Reserve Bank the fact is we had above trend growth earlier this year in the economy, the figure we have seen today is a little shorter than above trend growth, it -- softer than above trend growth, but we will have to wait and see the figures tomorrow.A final issue, Kevin Rudd has now backed John Falkner's call for Labor reform to end the power of factions. Kevin Rudd says there is something sick which needs to be healed. Is he right?I have been spending all of my time basically working on the economy, the national accounts... You know how the Labor Party works better than most.Of course I do I don't spend my time concentrating on it. Is there a case for reform, absolutely. I have always thought that and that has been discussed and progressed at various parts of the party. I am always for reforms which make our party more representative and put it in closer contact with the community we seek to represent.What about the way factions work that bind members of a faction to vote a certain way in caucus?Well, sorry, there is no rule that factions have that bind people into caucus. There is a caucus rule that people in the caucus support decisions of the caucus.And that has been a foundation stone.But John Falkner is talking about factions binding people to vote a certain way in caucus are you seriously saying that doesn't happen.I am sure some people adhere to the factional rules about the it is not something that relates to the rules of the party. These are matters for discussion, I don't say yay or neigh to in particular pop sis.Not a top priority?Not for me personally not because I don't think it is important but because what I do is spend every waking hour working on the economy and making sure Labor values an policies are implemented to the benefit of working people and that's what I have been focusing on for the past five years and will focus as we go through next year. What are we going to do over the next five years to strengthen the economy, to build our economic resilience, to create prosperity and spread opportunity around the country which is the historic mission of the Labor Party.Thank you.Thank you. Treasurer Wayne Swan there after the break we will be having a look at who is right and who is wrong in this economic debate. The economic corresponds Peter Martin from the 'The Age' and 'Sydney Morning Herald' and Shane Wright from 'The West Australian' join us.

Time for a check of the news. Here is Vanessa Trezise.

Treasurer Wayne Swan has praised Australia's solid economic performance saying the GDP figures sign the light of the resilience in the Australian economy despite some very challenging global economic conditions. Australia's economy grew by 0.5%, in the three months to September, just below economists expectations of 0.6% growth. This took gross domestic product growth for the year to September to 3.1% in seasonally adjusted terms. The Commonwealth Bank has moved to lower interest rates off the back of yesterday's RBA cut. CBA will lower its standard variable rate by 0.2% to 6.4%. That's from Monday. But that is less than the Reserve Bank's 0.25% drop. NAB was the first bank to reduce its variable rate by 0.2% this morning. It comes after the RBA brought rates down to 3%. Retailers have welcomed the rate cut, ahead of the all important Christmas and end of year sales. Mourners have said their final farewells to best selling Australian author Bryce Courtenay. At a funeral service in Sydney today. The celebrated author lost his battle with stomach cancer at the age of 79 late last month. In the days following his death his family described him as a story teller, and optimism who never stopped following his dreams. The father of three penned 21 books churning out almost one every year for the past two decades. The family of Brisbane teenager Harrison Kadell who died in Fiji while celebrating schoolies has described him as a beautiful, kind and fun loving young man.It's still unclear what happened prior to him being found floelting in a resort swimming bool -- floating in a resort swimming pool on Plantation Island. His parents have flown to Fiji to try and find answers to their son's death and bring his body home.NATO has authorised the deployment of Patriot air defence missiles on the Syria Turkey border.NATO insists the move is purely defensive. It comes as US President Obama warns his Syrian counterpart against using chemical weapons.The speculation the Assad regime is planning a Sarran attack against its enemies --. A shock resignation in the AFL with Adrian Anderson quitting as operations manager after nine years in the role. The 49-year-old is the third executive to depart Andrew Demetriou's team since the end of the season. Thank you. Well we have heard the political arguments over national accounts figured today whether they are good or bad let's cut through the spin. Joining me Peter Martin and Shane Wright from 'The West Australian'. Before we get to the national accounts data we have seen in the last half hour or so, leading business economists release Peter what is an annual forecast.These are the top 16 business economists. There are elected to the executive committee of Australian business economists Westpac. JP Morgan those companies.What do they think will happen?Next year will be worse than this year and for instance we have seen GDP fall from 4.3%, six months ago, annual GDP to 3.1% today. Next year they are picking 2.8%. The really bad news is investment. It is going to hit the wall. Stop growing. Business investment has grown 16% this year.Which is the thing Wayne Swan always points to. Business investment is going great.9.3% next year. 0.7%, which when I looked is close to 0, the year after. That is to say this boom will finish. And the predicting of course increases in unemployment and no budget surplus indeed instead of that $1.1 billion surplus they say we will get a $7 billion deficit.The bad news for...They say that doesn't matter being economists and so on. Politically it matter. They are saying unemployment will peak at 7.8%.Some say 6.8%. The range is 5.7 to 6.8 Economists you get two in a room you get three different outcomes and this say problem there is a wide variety in terms of where people think the economy is going, trying to pick - the big E issue always comes down to the currency trying to pick where the Australian dollar will be and that is shown up in the GDP figures today. How the dollar is hammering, certain sectors and what's going on that front.These are forecasts from dmifts. The national accounts figures are actually what happened. Now a lot of debate over whether these are good figures and Wayne Swan says or bad figures as Joe Hockey suggests.What are they? Greece is growing at minus 7.2%. South Korea 1.6%, Canada 1.5%. By any measure annual rate of 3.1% you are going well.But that's in the past.We come back to the 0.5 for the quarter, and I find the most interesting aspect is the fact that government spending and this is the effort by Swanny to get back to surplus has taken 0.5% from the figures. If you add that you would have got a growth rate of 1% for the quarter which is pretty damn good. You have the contraction from the government, all are doing it at the moment, coupled with the slowdown going on in the mining sector, coupled with the fact that home owners aren't out there renovating and they aren't building new homes out on the edges of the manger cities. And the manufacturers and particularly are still hurts on the dollar side.The Treasurer says you shouldn't do this but let's do it. Take that quarterly figure of 0.5% growth and annualise it. Say that happened for four quarters you get a 2% annual growth figure.Which con coincidentally is about the Australian population growth rate. When you look at this figure and the bureaucrats does that you get economic growth per person 0. 0 in this quarter. It was 0.1. It was higher the quarter before. And this is why, the Treasurer alluded to this, people don't feel good. So the economy's growing but income person per person, spending per person now that mining income has slowed right down, it is not growing at all.Wage earning are down a bit as well aren't they?In this quarter for the first time in quite a while.Company profits are down.If you want to go annualised growth rates the Greek economy grew in this last quarter.The American economy grew faster than we did.If you are trying to tell me the Greek economy is doing better than the Australian economy it is time to leave the building. Annualising is very American and very dangerous and 12 months is a tough snap shot, three months and cyclone Yasi proved is very dangerous.Let's go there.Question will not as I'm sure our viewer also be glued to that what does it mean for the surplus now? Is it cooked or still achievable?He will have to do more.If he wants a surplus he will have to kwut more. These forecasts are for $7 billion. The range actually in these forecasts is $20 billion deficit, to a... That's a lot of cutting --.0.1 billion to about no surplus. That's the range based on no further change. If he wants it and the expenditure review committee has been revved up, public serviants have been asked to look again.Next week.Look again for more savings, if he wants it he will have to cut more. Now, we saw what the cut has done already has done to GDP, it is probably unwise to cut more but if he wants a surplus that's what they will have to do.This is the question if he wants it how politically important because the economists won't mind they will say great. Let it go into deficit.They don't vote. There is a lot attached to the government's economic credibility here.That's right and that's why he will move heaven and earth to deliver.You wrecker more spending cuts?They have got to find spending cuts anyway to fit Gonski in and to fit NDIS in. So the - Longer term.But you still have to find ways...The budget will not be credible in May given that they are promising this unless they announce how they will do it. So they will have to - it is true to won't effect this financial year but it will effect the years into the future which are published in the budget.But this financial year which is the promise you will have to make cuts right now. That's right and there are still avenues to go. Like, don't discount an increase in tobacco excise for instance.Superannuation.And superannuation. They are two areas where they can definitely move and which will whacking a cigarette smokers... The treasurer is also glass half full about China. He pointed to an article that was more rosy than most are about where China is at.while we were looking at GDP which is two months ago, figures out up until the end of November, the number of Chinese tourist s coming to the country hit an all time high to the end of November up 18% over the last 12 months. They are coming and we have hit a record number of car sales into the end of November. 1.1 million cars sold this year so far. That's an all time high. There are people out there with money and Chinese people out there coming in.They are buying SUVs.I Westpac has announced it's cut its standard variable rate by 0.2%, in line with what do you know with the Commonwealth Bank and NAB so the big banks are all moving as one.That still leaves them with the highest standard variable. Which is an interesting aspect for Westpac.This is a joke....Are you laughing I don't know if mortgage holders are laughing. The big banks wait for one of them to go and move with exactly the same level of cut and it's not the full amount.It does not mean they collude, it is the same as - Of course not.No, it does not. They hate each other. They don't collude, they really do hate each other. It is the same as service stations hate each other. They look at what the one down the road is doing and if one provides cover, and one did provide cover, the NAB moves first the rest think, thank heavens so some say they take it in turns to provide cover.Are they justified in holding on to some of this rate cut? The Reserve Bank statement yesterday, didn't offer them much cover to do this.Still you have to also look what's going on in the #2kw069 rate and this is, my -- deposit rate and this is my bug-bare, there is an intense amount of competition going on.Less competition. This year, this year deposit rates have come down with the cash rate and mortgage rates have come down as we know on every occasion less than. That is to say yes depositors are getting an extraordinarily good deal, it is costing the banks money but they are easing off on that quite quickly. The Reserve Bank is of the view that whatever can they afford it, who knows whether they can afford it be of course they can they are make more profits but that they have a great capacity to afford to pass on the full cut than they did the last time.It will be interesting to see what the share market does because I think everyone here has shares in the all those big banks. Viewat superannuation. I know how much you -- via the superannuation. I know much you love compulsory superannuation, we won't get you started but in this area that's where there is also a payoff which most people won't ever see. I'm not trying to be an apologyist for the banks but having a profitable bank is far better...Buy their shares. Carbon tax, did it have much of an impact in its first three months of operation.The first three months the carbon tax was supposed to collect $1.9 billion, you can't tell me that $1.9 billion into that figure of $369 billion which was the value of GDP for the quarter, bees knee.Hasn't pushed up inflation.Joe Hockey was suggesting consumer sentiment was the issue here.That doesn't explain why the household saving rate actually fell. So what was going on? Increased 0.7%, spending increased 1.1% this this was in the very quarter that the carbon tax was meant to be cutting.The mining tax. We know that didn't have much of an impact because it didn't collect any money but, I was asking the treasure just before about are you going to change this. Particularly the refunding of state mining royalties which his own Government review says you have got to fix.The report sun tenable. This hasn't been widely reported except in the 'West Australian', the committee found the move by Queensland and NSW and even WA to lift royalties has hurt the business - has hit the mining sector and cost jobs. It's very clear in saying that's what's happened.It is easy to say the Treasurer should fix this and stop refunding the royalties but he will be buying an almighty fight with the miners if he did that.If only he won the first time really miners will be better off with the originally designed super... They would be? Why were they running that TV campaign.Because they did not expect the mining boom to end. Those prices to collapse as they have without super profits they would be paying no super profits tax and they will be paying no royalties. Kevin Rudd had it right all along. Let's go back to his plan.I want to mention although you are grey you are very young. There are vicious rumours about you today, Mr Speers but you are a young looking man.We will leave the viewers wondering what you mean and go to a break. Thank you for joining us. After the break we will turn to a far more serious matter. Sera. Stay with us. -- Syria. Stay with us.

we will turn now to the crisis in Syria. Over the last 21 months human rights groups say more than 40,000 people have been killed during fighting between the Government and rebel forces. So far the international community has been reluctant to intervene but overnight NATO has agreed to send Patriot anti-missile batteries to the Turkey-Syria border. There has been some shelling across the border, the Turkey has been increasingly worried about. There are also concerns about Syria's chemical and biological weapons capabilities and fears that it may arm missiles with chemical weapons. Something Syria says it wouldn't use against its own people but clearly NATO is somewhat concerned about this and it does escalate tensions there in the region.To discuss we are now joined by Dr Adam Lockier from the US study centre at the University of Sydney. Can I start by asking how seriously we should take this talk, and intelligence that is there when Syria having chemical weapons?So the two big questions that people are asking today, is first off do they have these weapons. And second of all would they use them. Now 10 years ago we were probably say they definitely have stockpiles of Serene VX and mustard gas but after the debacle in Iraq and intelligence there there are question marks about how much chemical weapons Syria possesses and what style of chemical wanes they possess.That's the thing we all remember everyone says that Saddam Hussein had chemical and biological weapons that turned out not to be there so how credible is the intelligence now?Exactly right and this is the question mark. And the chemical weapons that Syria is supposed to have are the same chemical weapons that Iraq was supposed to have. So I think we have to take these threat of Syria possessing these chemical weapons seriously, but like I said 10 years ago there will be no doubt but after Iraq there is now a question mark.Well, if they do have these sorts of chemical weapons the deployment of patriot anti-missile battery s what is that designed to do? Would it actually stop attacks within Syria or is this just about stopping missiles going across the border into Turkey?The Patriot missiles deployment, that's all about containing the conflict within Syria. So Obama administration's greatest concern now is that the conflict in Syria will spread. Is it night flow over into Turkey or flow over into Iraq or into Lebanon. And so they are trying to contain the conflict in Syria within its own borders. And so by deploying these Patriot missiles along the Turkish border hopefully this will stop in-flight incursions by Syrian aircraft into Turkish air space.Is it likely to provoke any sort of reaction from the Assad regime in Syria or is there not much they can do about this anyway?There is very little they can do and they have their hands full no matter what with the insurgents so that will not provoke any real response from the Syrians despite a bit of maybe hairy-chested Boise tering. Besides that no real action.What about the mood in Washington on this? Clearly there has been a reluctance to get involved in another Middle East war, now that the election is out of the way for President Obama does he have more scope to look at this and what possibly can be done to what has been an awfully long problem in Syria?Yes, so the Obama administration's great successes of his first term were the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq and the winding down of the conflict in Afghanistan. They don't want US forces sucked into a large middle eastern country with an ongoing conflict. That's the last thing they want. The second concern is that Obama administration has been pushing hard on reducing nuclear weapons between Russia and the US. And by intervening in the Syrian conflict that may harm that objective well. So the US has been trying to keep aloof of this particular conflict, and everything they have done up to this point has been in - with that aim in mind. Because, as I think President Obama pointed out during the election campaign, Syria is very different to Libya. We are talking about a much stronger military capability.Absolutely. So it's a much larger country whereas Libya has only about 6 million people, Syria has over 20 million people. It's far more military capable, and also has powerful international friends in the form of Iran and Russia. So the US has no stomach for getting involved with Syria, and these comments are coming out of Washington today about the Syrians should not use chemical weapons is with that in mind as well. They know if Syria uses chemical weapons the US will have no choice but to intervene. And so by coming out and making these statements they are trying to keep the conflict contained within an acceptable threshold of violence but also within its borders. Are you able to say and is it possible to know what behind the scenes support the US may be providing to some of these rebel forces in Syria?I would say that's been cautious support. So first off the US has been involved on the political side of trying to form a coalition. So opposition is now very Diers with a whole bunch of factions that probably -- diverse with a whole bunch of factions that probably hate the Assad regime only slyly more than they hate each other so they are trying to build a coalition they can work with. There has been reports of American special forces operating on the Turkish side and asking them what sort of resource they need in terms of weapons and other capabilities such as this. So although the US is not involve ed Syria itself on the Turkish side of the border I'm sure there has been movements to help the insurgents. Thanks so much for joining us. We are out of time for today's program thanks for your company as well. After the break the latest Sky News. Live Captioning by Ai-Media