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(generated from captions) When do you think you might be able to deal with funding and why are you behind NSW?Well, I don't think we are behind anybody. We have been out in it front much those issues. Michelle 23 you go back to before the last election we were out the front on those issues we advocated for a trial in the Barwon region and last COAG there was noise after that COAG around the launch conditions in Victoria . I can assure you I signed up on the terms that Victoria had proposed for that launch. We are pleased now to have signed up to it today. And we will continue to work with the Commonwealth and other jurisdictions on a sustainable outcome for the long term.A funding...I can't give you a date Michelle I'm sure we would all love to give you a date.I will go to Hugh.Pressing issue of the day the royal succession. Is there ion empty among all first ministers to -- unionimity to change the law so men don't get an advantage in the system from women and if there are any hitches from any first ministers can we get any clues to what there might be?Something about that laugh I think.I don't think there is any issue about the changes that have been contemplated.Why wasn't it settled today. Why are you having further discussions about this?Because there are some different ways we can do it.What are they?Queensland has a view that others don't agree with. Our view is - our view is we will pass legislation in accordance with our position as a separate sovereign state.We are a federation of states, we will do it the right way, the proper way and that's our view.Well perhaps if I can assist here. The advice that the federal government has very loud and very clear is that there is one Crown in Australia, obviously that one Crown plays a variety of purposes, Governor-General, governors. And that the way in which we should deal with this, the most legally effective way to deal with it is that states would pass legislation referring to the Commonwealth, the ability to make these changes to succession. For that to be a legally effective process all states have to do it. If one state doesn't do it then it doesn't work, we are continuing some discussions in that regard. It doesn't matter how it is done?Well, there is some legal advice about what's effective for the one Crown in Australia and that's the legal advice that the Commonwealth has. With that position Campbell Newman? Are you the only premier with that position?It seems so.We will go to - I will come across to Sarah.If I may Prime Minister, it is the advice I have received from my Attorney-General and it is the position of my cabinet. So I mean, I'm being treated to their views on the way forward on this and it can be done the way we are saying and it achieves the outcome which is as the Prime Minister described earlier. So we are not disagreeing with what we would achieve here. We are not going to discriminate against anybody. There we Bo.-- there we go.Are you willing to stymy it?No, no, then you are missing the point with the greatest of respect. It doesn't somy it is we believe the end ob -- stymy it we believe the end objective is obtained by the states passing their own legislation and the Commonwealth. That's the advice I have had. Anybody who goes away and says we are against this happening is not true. We want it to happen. We believe it should be done in this particular way because that respects the issue of a federation of states. (INAUDIBLE) your state's legislation?No, it is the principle of the thing. You want each of the states to pass their own law rather than states passing the law letting the federal government...The Commonwealth has another position there is another halfway house as well which we might look at.I feel honour-bound to give Syd the call given ill-treatment of him by misnaming him and then to Sarah.Two questions one to you and one to the premiers in the non-resource states. Can I clear up, if growth gets below trend are you still committed to a budget surplus? And to the premiers in the states, are you concerned that the federal government's push for a surplus is having an impact on your economy s - well that's actually the questions.As I would have said to you in any other press conference we are not joined by all my friends from the states and territories. We dealt with these matters in the mid-year economic and fiscal outlook and we stand by the figures in that statement.Now, in terms of non-resource states... Mr O'Farrell and Mr Baillieu?Syd.They do a fair bit of mining in NSW as it happens --.We do. Syd, can I make the point that what worries me and my colleagues more than anything else is the state of revenues particularly GST revenues, $5.2 billion down, state revenues down opinion increasing demand for state services. There is no doubt within a national economy states are the losers because we have the demand and provide the services and of course in a national economy with increasing reliance upon GST as it was occurring when GST falls we suffer.OK. Sarah. Some of your colleagues are worried about the damage being done to Labor because of the NSW ICAC investigation. What's your message to those voter whose have turned off Labor because of these allegations?I'm not sure that's a question about COAG. Were Will you be establish pointed walking away today not having any states signed up for the full rollout of NDIS.I'm delighted we interviewed an agreement with NSW. I did not expect premiers and chief ministers today when we only announced that agreement yesterday to be in a position in this hours to fully analyse it and understand what that benchmark meant for their state. But we will say - I will be saying to my colleagues assembled here the fact that we have got this done with NSW means that we can now work through with other states and territories and reach long term agreements about the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Sorry, yes. Prime Minister, how serious can the closing the gap program be when places like the Northern Territory and WA have unacceptable high level of incarceration rates, and also the second question would be Paul McLintoff earlier suggested he was quite concerned about the drop-out rates of Aboriginal students in secondary schools. What kind of guarantees can the first ministers provide they do their best in this but those two questions please.Well, neither of these matters has been under direct discussion today. That doesn't mean that they are not important matters but we are obviously principally here to report on what's happened in this COAG meeting. On circumstances for indigenous students we are working together and have been for some period of time now on a national action plan for indigenous education. It's part of our broader suite of school reforms where we are trying to close the gap in literacy, numeracy and year 12 attainment because we don't want kids to drift away from school. We don't want indigenous kids to drift away from school, and we know if people do drift away from school that that can be the first step on what becomes a lifetime of disadvantage. We are working together and operating some very effective programs, things that integrate sport into school, including Clontaff and other programs that are making a difference to retention rates. So we are on a vision here about closing that gap and it is something that all jurisdictions have been working on.Can I just add, Prime Minister, can I just add something which is to characterise incarceration rates of rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders is high only in the Northern Territory and Western Australia understates it. They are high in every state in the nation. It is a national disgrace and most of us are working hard to try to rectify it.How much discussion was there on the advice regarding school funding and how is that advice received? Today we had a brief discussion about the school funding reforms because I indicated to my colleagues that I want to make sha central work to the first -- that central work to the first COAG next year. We are in the position where Education Ministers are also meeting today and so we are working on the national school improvement plan, Education Ministers were discussing that today themselves. We want to get the benefit of that work and we want it to be a centrepiece of COAG discussions next year. I know that there's been some very silly attempts today to try and suggest that you weigh the worth of things by number of minutes talked about in the COAG room. Only someone who is a fool with no plan would take that kind of approach. Yes. Energy regulation, what convinced you that the on environment regulation what convinced you the bilateral agreements to reduce duplication and streamline those processes were not the way to go? And were there any premiers who felt that they had done a lot of work in and worked close to getting an acceptable standards for approvals of major environmental projects and major resource projects or other projects and were then disappointed that the Commonwealth walked away from that approach?Well, let me say on behalf of colleagues and they may also want to add, jurisdictions had done a lot of work. There is no doubt about that. Jurisdictions had done a lot of work and I thank them for it. But it was also clear is that work got done that we were in a situation where jurisdictions were taking a very different view. We had some states that were looking at 25% of decisions being in these arrangements. Some states that were looking at 90% of decisions being being in these arrangements and I became increasingly concerned that we were on our way to creating the regulatory equivalent of a dal medication dog and that for -- Dalmation dog and for all businesses that would be the worst of all possible worlds. There will be more risks an more litigation. You would have projects around the country identical that were the subject of different treatment and that wasn't a outcome I thought was good in terms of businesses process. Also the federal government always has its eye on high environmental standards and the legislative certainty that comes with high environmental standards.So, we are going to continue to work on this area, indeed we have agreed on some things today which I think are important. The federal government has indicated we will legislate the changes arising out of the Hawke review. These were very warmly welcomed by the business community when they were first announced and they will make a difference. We will work together, we have already worked together to try and deal with the spectre of sequential assessments and to get parallel assessments and we will take a further step about making sure bodies and agencies doing assessments were looking for the same dataset and asking the same questions instead of businesses effectively having to do two sets of documentation. And we will keep working with state and territory colleagues on further changes to make sure we achieve twin goals here of streamlines for business and high environmental standards. The alternative view from a disappointed premier is that we could have engaged in the same sort of bilateral approach as we have in relation to NDIS. In other words for Commonwealth and state officials to work together to satisfy themselves we were going to protect the highest environmental standards but do so in a way that was to reduce the burden of business that of course creates jobs that our community so desperately want. That could have been on a state or territory by territory basis and the federal government could have retain ed its powers in the other states that it didn't believe it had come up to the mark. That's the agreement but we are happy to continue to work because ultimately if we want to get out of the economic hole we are in resource projects and other major projects are important and the only way to compete that is to reduce the cost of regulation. Likewise we were ready to sign up?If what the Prime Minister outlined occurs, if what's in the communique occurs, that's great. That's all we want. But I do say that we are disappointed in Queensland with a progress over the past eight months. And that's what I said today.So, there are some things that are on the table that the Commonwealth are going to do, if they are delivered well we then do move forward and I look forward to seeing that. A couple of questions for premier Barnett. On energy reform.Because of WA being outside the NEM do you believe that it's achievable that $250 reduction in tariffs for WA consumers and did you bring up the problems of the GST carve up and the report from Greiner and Brumby is continuing to cause WA? I didn't say anything! I find that hard to believe!I make the observation that the current problems in the energy sector are result of the last round of industry reform. We shouldn't forget that. I don't think you will see a $250 reduction, and I guess as the Prime Minister is saying if some of these changes are made then hopefully future price increases will be less than they would otherwise have been. On GST, I am disappointed with the report. It was set up to deal with an issue that I had raised and that was a mismatch if you like, a dysfunctional grants commission process that was no longer serving the country and it failed to address that. I understand the position of the smaller states but if you get a scenario where Western Australia gets back arguably in two years team less than -- time, less than 30 cents in the dollar where other states are getting 90 cents you have a dysfunctional state relationship and basically Western Australia doesn't have a relationship with the Commonwealth. I don't think that's the best interests of this state given most of the investment and probably most employment growth happens to be on Western Australia and if I can comment on the green tape issue I think we went backwards today. The work that was going on in the officials level was going in the right path and I would hope that the Commonwealth would be more trusting of the states to deal with environmental assessments, including biodiversity issues because what this is doing is diverting Australia's scientific and financial effort on bio diversity into minutia, whereas the real threat is feral plants and feral animals and the like. That's not get.attention. We are putting a huge resource I think into minor issues and Australia does have good and high environmental stand arts. The Commonwealth would always have the right to call a project in if it thought it was not going properly but look around Australia now. Major projects have the world's highest environmental standards. Mr O'Farrell, do you think NSW consumers are going to avoid $250 in future power bill rises?I certainly hope so. We are in the process of saving $400 million across our energy companies. That's been returned in low income rebates. We have capped it at ends. We are engaging in if a range of savings. We would like Fair Work Australia to apply the same 2.5% wages cap to workers in the sector employed by public corporations and we have aemployed to other public sector agency s in NSW. I think every state and federal government is determined to do what we can to keep power prices low. That includes in NSW getting rid of green schemes because of the costs that they add to consumers who often don get the benefits directly those green schemes.Are you confident that the new reliability standards might lead to any brown outs and they might be able to sustain peak demand?Ultimately if you look at the issue of gold plates it does go to reliability. It goes to reliability on a number of days a year so the key will be to ensure that you don't dumb down or dumb up in a sense in a way that's going to hurt individual communities. That's the challenge that we have until the end of next year when decisions are made.Getting back to my earlier question on the surplus and the impact on Victoria, I think you wanted to say something. You opened your mouth?I was rudely interrupted? I was going to make a couple of points. If you look around the states and territories now we all challenged financially, the aggregate position across the states and territories at the moment the operates balances are between 8 billion and $9 billion in deficit. We face significant infrastructure short falls that we have to find ways to fund. We face demographic change and shifts which will significantly change the demand profile for services in the future. Decisions and policy positions proposed by the Commonwealth are set to impose expenditures on the states of up to $50 billion over fore years. That's a very significant -- four years. That's a very significant set of challenges so we have reconscious of that. I think the discussion amongst -- very curbs of that I think the discussion -- conscious of that. We have sought to address our expenditures and we are keen to see those expenditure s addressed across the board when it comes today Commonwealth surplus position the Prime Minister is keen to remind us that we all make our choices, I simply make the observation today, 7 December, checks go from the Commonwealth into the pool for Victorian hospitals and for other hospitals through other states. The cheques gone from the Commonwealth today into the pool are less than the cheques that went in November.And that represents in this financial year $107 million withdrawal of funds. And over four years some $470 million plus.That simply adds to the challenge that we all face.I don't like to argue with you Ted but let me argue with you. We of course we don't accept the figures about $50 billion, that's clearly untrue. This is a federal Government that has a tax to GDP ratio that is less than when this Government took office and took over from the former Howard Government. Tax is less as a percentage of GDP. Spending is less as a percentage of GDP. And there has never been more money flowing from the federal government to the states than there is now. Including in health care where Victoria over a three year period can look for a more than 20% increase indeed will be better off by around $900 million. That's a direct outcome of the health care agreement I struck with states and territories.We will take one more question and then we will go or you're all COAGed out? This morning you said you wanted the energy regulator to have more teeth and be separate from the ACCC. How did discussions go on that?I think the energy regulator is still a bit gummy. We would like to see the energy regulator separated from the ACCC.I think everybody around this table shares that view. But that's the view of the Productivity Commission, the view of other organisations who have looked at this. I think the communique and the decisions of COAG were to have a further review of that. We would like to think that Victoria has been at the cutting edge of energy market reforms for some time, going back to the years of the Kennett Government in those days those reforms were not supported by many on the other side of politics but they have since been supported through Victoria and we have been part of the energy market development privatisation, deregulation, the rollout of demand-sized equipment and we think that's important but it is important to get the education side of that right and it's important to get the flexible pricing right in the sense that that's where the option ought to be, whether consumers are docked flexible pricing but giving them access to it is part of it and educating them about that has got to be part of that and they need to be supported in that regard. And when it comes to protecting vulnerable consumers we have rolled out across the calendar the 17.5% energy concession and that's pretty significant. So we are disappointed that we haven't got there yet with the energy regulator, my view is it is inevitable. We need to have a regular that is capable, resourced and forceful in sticking up for consumers and we have sought that over the last two years. We have been effective to some degree in terms of pushing particular issues to the regulator. But an independent regulator wouldn't be much better. Let's give them some teeth. We are very happy that William and Kate are expecting a child. Long day of talking there between the Federal and state leaders. No big bang announcement s it must be said approximately still a lot of areas remain a work in progress. To go through the three or four Key issue there's. Electricity reform, the Prime Minister went in with a plan, yes they have agreed in general but still have a year essential sli of details to work out by the end of 2013. You heard there Ted Baillieu still concerned about this Australian energy regulator and whether it should be separate from the ACCC. You heard Colin Barnett from Western Australia say he doesn't think this $250 saving will be achieved and even if money is saved it will come off future increases not come off your actual annual bill at the moment.But there is general agreement there to tackle these issues of over investing in gold plaiting hopefully that will see some prices come down or be lower than they would otherwise be essentially.On some of the other areas the National Disability Insurance Scheme, yes all the states and Commonwealth agree with this in principle, the thing they signed there though, I think is the Victorian premier gave away didn't have much detail on it. It was an agreement to agree. Beyond that you heard the Prime Minister talk there an agreement to learn the lessons from the launch sites. Well that would seem fairly obvious a self evident thing to do but we don't have the sort of agreements that the Prime Minister struck with NSW yet in place with any of the other states. That will take time. That was a win for her yesterday on that front and getting the biggest state on board certainly puts more pressure on the other states but we are yet to see them actually sign on the dotted line with a funding split how the National Disability Insurance Scheme will work but they are all in principal on board. More significantly this is probably one of better outcomes today was on the royal commission into child sexual abuse in institutions. They are going to sign the state leaders a letter - issues letters patent that will mean there is legal cooperation between the states and the Commonwealth. There was a lot of talk in setting this up whether it should be a joint federal-state enquiry, well essentially that's the sort of form that is now taking shape. That will assist the commissioner or commissioners in their work, and that will hopefully mean that the findings and outcomes and recommendations are also implemented fairly smoothly as well at a state and federal level. An area of finally that you would think they would have signed off on without any trouble at all, in relation to the mon ar question and question of -- mon question and questions of succession and whether females and mails should be treated the same -- males should be treated the same and royal members should be able to marry Catholics there is a sticking point to Queensland as to whether it should be treated as a separate jurisdiction in passing its own legislation on this or whether it will refer to to the Commonwealth as the others seem happy to do to pass one single piece of federal legislation. All in all no big bang announcement but areas they will keep working on that hopefully will deliver electricity market reform, that will deliver a National Disability Insurance Scheme, but certainly on the royal commission I think some good news there. The tone, look I think look at this politically Julia Gillard comes out of this without any setbacks essentially but she hasn't got everything she wanted I think done today. There will stilling further negotiation. Barry O'Farrell I think is building his role there as a leader of those conservative state premiers. Certainly in taking that first step yesterday on the NDIS. We are still seeing from Colin Barnett in Western Australia a real difference of opinion on a raft of issues with the Commonwealth, particularly over the GST. We where all of them do seem pretty disappointed at the reluctance from both the federal government and federal Opposition to touch this thing at all, and Colin Barnett in particular worried about the steadily troping revenue that the Western Australian -- dropping revenue that Australian government is getting from the GST. It doesn't like like that is going to change -- look like that is going to change much and that is feeding real tension between the west and the Commonwealth at the moment. That is the COAG meeting today. We will have more reaction on this coming up. Here is Peter van Onselen and the Contrarians.I still had one serious question, how do you stake -- stay awake to put together the smoer inThey aren't particularly exciting. I think it is fair to say this one I would suggest was one of the more boring. Not the sexyist issues but as I say the royal commission outcomes are significant. To get that cooperation that is needed. But, I don't know what you think but the electricity market reforms still seems they agree in principle but have a fair bit of work still to do on that.They do and the Prime Minister's big gets I thought here were the NDIS announcement separate to COAG with NSW rather than anything else. But power to you on managing to stay awake and give a more comprehensive summary of what happened than the premiers and Prime Minister combined.I look forward to a full 30 minute dice ex of what's happened today.We will do that. We will take a quick commercial break. Whether we come back my rant plus the panel. You are watching the Contrarians.

Hello welcome to the Contrarians I am Peter van Onselen. This is the only show on Sky or anywhere elsewhere we truly involve you the viewers by reading out your tweets and e-mails. It's been a lot of debate this week about whether or not the Labor Party needs to move on from factions, whether indeed it needs to separate itself from the union movement. Now, it is easy to breathlessly claim that that is exactly what Labor needs to do but at the end of the day it is unrealistic and a waste of time to even discuss this sort of concept. Of course parties will always have factions whether they are informal like they are in the Liberal Party or formalised like they are in the Labor Party. The Labor Party should have factions because at the end of the day it is the party of the worker, it is the party of collective action. It makes sense for people to group together when they have similar views or similar attitudes. As for the union movement, this whole notion na Labor should consider separating itself from the union movement, I think a little bit harder about that if I was a Labor supporter because the unions provide a pretty important backbone to the Labor Party especially when they are in Opposition. When they are in Opposition they need all the help they can get. The kind of resources and infrastructure support that the union movement can provide becomes absolutely crucial just ask Queensland Labor that have been reduced to a netball team after the last state election. The union movement becomes all important in opposition, it is one of the reasons why the Liberal Party traditionally perhaps not at the moment finds itself in deep trouble when it goes into Opposition. Let's see what the panel think about this issue and wider issues in the political mix. Haron welcome back. You haven't been with us for -- Claire Harvey welcome back.I haven't got an invite.You have been invited you know that.Rohan Dean I'm trying to work out what you do at the AFR but you do write a column -- And Dee Madigan involved in the infamous Queensland campaign.You must bring that up every time.David Speers is talking about us Watching us talk about COAG, let me come to you first up, the whole thing I was talking about, Labor decoupling itself from the union movement or from factions, at the end of the day unions and factions aren't corrupt, individuals are corrupt. Is it is not about scrapping the system it's about finding ways to have checks and balances surely?I think the idea of decoupling Labor from the factions is hilarious given that factions will arise as soon as the dedumbed Labor Party moves on. There will be -- decoupled Labor Party moves on. There will be groupings that arise that will have a name and will get names that are probably not quite as imaginative as the Terrigles and Trogs. When they are formalised you know what is coming but when they are not it is harder. Don't you see the internal factions in the Sunday telegraph .No, we are exciting.The only news organisation without a faction. Rohan Dean what's your view. If you are a true Liberal shouldn't like factions anywhere including in the Liberal Party.Sure but what's fascinating about this is it is Labor who keep saying we have a problem. It was Mark Latham who first raise $it he got -- raised it it is John Falkner, Labor set up the only committee. Bob Carr and Steve Bracks came up with a bunch of things say we have a problem. It is not the west of the world saying that, it is Labor.You say that about Labor, labour has a problem with some individuals, Mark Latham's quarterly essay which is coming out he was talking about Australian Agenda, he is writing this but he's being realistic he is going to talk about what can be done rather than the ideological idea wouldn't it be nice to get rid of factions. That's rubbish it is not going to happen.Kevin Rudd the first thing he was going to do is kick out of factions. There is a problem in there.There is a theme in there.Pay-back I think is the theme. Dee Madigan, you are intick ately involved in the Labor Party. Anyone anything on this? There must be because there is something discussed in the press all week. Tell us what the Labor strategists think? I have no idea. I can tell you what I think. There will always be factions because people congregate around certain issues the problem is when it is set up as top heavy it sets the scene to allow corruptions and things to occur. The problem is the base membership felt like they weren't having a say. There is no point being in a faction if you don't feel like you have a say in it. That's the problem.The Labor factions had become so divorced from any sense of ideology, once they would have the traditional battles about Palestine, and other highly relevant things to the average worker, that had disappeared over the years and it ended up just being, you know, is Joe or Bob going to get a seat on committee X.That's the problem with Labor. It is all about holding on to power without any principles. No, it is that's the pronlem you have. You have -- problem you have. You have a party completely - turn over any principle at the drop of a hat if it gets them through the next opinion poll and gives them a chance of remaining in power. As opposed to Tony Abbott who was supporting the ETS one minute and then woke up the next day...You found one but any Labor policy and I will find they have changed their mind... As opposed to Tony Abbott who opposed paid patiental leave and suddenly changed his view on it? You have the factions.Let's answer this, people change their view. Labor has done it. Tony Abbott has done it they all do it.The whole thrust of Labor is simply about hanging on to power for power's sake.No.Whereas in the Liberal Party it is only Tony Abbott is that your point? No, the principles, class wrik one is asylum seekers. Labor came in absolutely determined after years of going on and on about how evil John Howard's policies were, now they have completely embraced them and turned chrom pleatly around.Because people have died.Gone are the principles.That's a nice line and I'm glad Mr McTiernan gave it to you.This is my fault that Dee cops it every week.The simple fact of the matter is talking about factions, they are about power for individuals, Labor is about power for individuals.But your premise is it is completely wrong to have as a principle the desire to hold power but without power principal without pourer is worthless. Look at the Greens.At any price that's the problem.All politics is about balancing your ideals and your need for power because unless you are in power you can't promote those ideals. So Liberal Party does it as well as Labor Party. That's what politics is.If the Liberal Party was all about principle why doesn't it look at getting rid of Medicare which was always a strong principled position or why doesn't it look at increasing the rate of the gvlt cutting company tax rather than increasing it through the paid parental scheme. There is a host of things where pragmatism doesn't stick to the ideology.I am not a member of the Liberal Party so I can't speak for them -- They are getting their moneys worth anyway.If you base your policies on principles, on basic principles, freedom of speech, compression, rights of the individuals and so on you will have a continuous threat. If you base your principles on power for unions and factions, that's where all the problems come unstuck and that's why Labor keeps coming back to the same problem they are driven by power backers and power individuals.Claire Harvey what do you make of the debate? At the end of the day these two will never agree.Rowan is right in one sense that has become Labor's reputation all they are about is power. That's a real problem that Labor has to address. I think it is ridiculous to say the Labor Party or people who work hard in the Labor Party don't have any principles that's completely facile but I think they do have a massive perception problem and situations like the one we are seeing unfolding now in ICAC make that perception kind of justified. You know but that's the problem that Labor has to solve. And I think rather than just getting rid of the factions, I think that would be a totally short term solution to a problem that is actually not about whether or not the factions exist, it is about whether people think the factions are corrupt. The union movement. Can we go to the union movement as well because I feel quite strongly about this. It seems as a superfigure argument that a lot of people -- super financial argument people say the unions need to go but they provide a infrastructure base. If was a Liberal strategist what I would want most is for Labor to decouple for the union movement. Because as much it gives them some political arsenal it gives Labor millions of dollars in donations and support theyise ever otherwise wouldn't have.Unions work against you in an election campaign, foi aLabor government to win it is possible. But the unions have I think had a very bad reputation in the 80s and 90s and that has cared through but theons do a massive amount of good for people and I think it is part of who Labor is as a core and if it needs to get back to its brand and build itself back the unions have to be part of that.The unions only represent 13% or 18% of workers. So the majority of workers have nothing to do with them.Outside the public sector.The number of workers who benefit from awards and from things that Labor...The majority of people who work in small business or larger businesses don't rely ob unions, so their interest takes second place as the unions look after themselves.They mightn't be a member of the union, I think it is 20.. They might not be a member but they actually benefit from unions.It will be nice to think so but you ask the majority of people who have a job out there, hardworking people they don't rely on the unions. They see a Labor Party that used to be the party of the blue collar worker looking after the vested interests of large union and we have seen that that leads to corruption.All of those people are benefitting from a minimum wage and benefitting from in many cases and the media is a good example of this an award.A lot of them are not benefitting from not having a job because unemployment goes up.Because aUnemployment levels went down yesterday.Because a bunch of school girls didn't go and get jobs. Go through the figures.The jobs are up. Keep firing. We have five minutes before a break so let's change subjects maybe. Something that there is no question you guys won't clash on this. The surplus. There is a report in the 'Financial Review', your paper there Rowan, suggesting Laura Tingle wrote it I think that there will be a much less likelihood of the Labor Party achieving the surplus courtesy of what's happened in the global conditions and a write down and that they may in fact be prepared to walk away from it. The Prime Minister came out today and suggested otherwise. How wedded are Dee Madigan how wedded are Labor to this surplus that they promised to get and how important is it that they get there and I don't mean politically. I mean in a policy sense.I - it's a really complicated one to answer because they have promised it in so in terms of selling the Labor Party in an election year it's kind of essential but from an economic point of view this is actually really good time to be borrowing money. You have really low interest rates, the economy's slowing down a little bit it is still one of the word's best.What a shock a Labor supporter saying it is time to borrow more money.It is a good time to borrow more money and pump it into infrastructure and create even more jobs and thing that way.Not politically, it's a killer.Absolutely so regardless of that they have to get surplus I think even if it is wafer thin.Yeah, I don't know that it is that necessary to get the surplus. I think You think politically it is not necessary?I think if the Government was articulate and passionate enough about arguing the case I think it would be possible to argue that for example if they chose this path debt-funded infrastructure investment was more important than achieving a $1.1 billion surplus. Which is as we all know on paper anyway. But I don't have the confidence that this Labor Government is good enough at selling that message. I think the Government that failed to sell the message of a resource super profits tax is not going to be capable of selling a message of the need for infrastructure investment in the contracting economy.Particularly when one of the issues people have with the Government is trust and if they are promised something it is not delivered. Also the public is not interested to try to sell a complicated message like that is really, really tricky.What Labor do and what Laura Tingle has done is forensically look at the spin and language used. The language is this term trend growth which has snuck in. Trend growth. Probably in Dee's note there's. Has anyone got a Liberal Party membership form anywhere because Rowan needs it.When hearing about the trend growth and what we will see over the summer is oh, surprise, surprise nothing to do with us, growth is not meeting global trends so hang on what can we do? We will abandon the surplus. That's what's going to happen. There is no question about that already. Language is maybe we should...What's your argument here? Are you saying a surplus is a good thing or bad thing?A surplus in the right hands is a good thing. It doesn't matter... Whether it is done by one politicians or another?A surplus or deficit is irrelevant. The economy has been so badly mismanaged.You can't have it both ways.I am not saying... I think you can do that because of them wedding themselves to their promise. I don't think you can say a surplus is only good when one side of politics delivers it.A surplus is good when the economy is being managed properly.But you can criticise them for having made the silly promise in the first place.It was a political promise,Even Dee is prepared to do that.I wouldn't have made the promise in the first place. You weren't advising them. They wouldn't have made that.You two can continue to fight it out. We will be back in a moment. A range of other issues to discuss. See you shortly.

Welcome back. I'm joined by Claire Harvey, Rohan Dean and Dee Madigan. We have been discussing various issues but we will move on to the NDIS. Keep the tweets and e-mails coming. Tough day at the office, Rowan a lot of people cracking into you on Twitter. A lot of people getting stuck into Wayne Swan for no real reason just because he's hopeless.Not as many as Campbell Newman.What was he doing saying that Queensland wants to have its own approach to changing the rules in relation to the royal...I suspect it is nor to do with his mining tax court cases about establishing Queensland as a sovereign state, I think.But he is trying to show some sort of consistency of reading the constitution.Will be Queensland, Quebec and a few strange Pacific nations that will hold out on passing legislation to allow a first born female to inherit the throne.Queensland likes to think of themselves as different. Will there is no doubt about that. Queensland is very different. You spent a lot of time there Dee.I may have.What's your view?Queensland's different. Campbell Newman's very different. NDIS, a surprise move by NSW Rohan Dean at the end of the day Barry O'Farrell has thrown the rest of the state premiers under a bus if they were looking to hold firm on the NDIS. He's done a deal with the Commonwealth and makes it very hard for other states to not do the same.Which is fantastic and there is nobody really who doesn't support the concept of a NDIS. There is nobody. What people argue about is how to pay for it. And that's... Plenty of people have an issue with even the way that Barry O'Farrell has now agreed to pay for itSorry people who believe the NDIS is not going far enough. There was the great girl who stood up and talked to the Prime Minister the other day saying pointless cutting it off at 65 or whae whatever the other limitations are because of course we want this. It is a priority question and this should be a first priority and the fact that Barry O'Farrell has signed up for it is fantastic. The key thing is to make sure it's dull well and it works and it is successful. Again, without sounding like I do have my membership on me to trust the Gillard team, to introduce this thing, properly, and well, and efficiently they don't really have the track record for it.A question question for you Rowan, if you had to pick two things that you are highly critical of the Liberal Party over what would they be?Not being prepared to talk about WorkChoices.Is the big one. I think... So IR.The - I also think that... Spit it out.The Liberals, when Hockey talked about entitlements and the need to discuss that really that's a big issue for this country.The rest of the Liberal Party doesn't do it enough.No, that's right.Clare, speaking of Joe Hockey, nice segue because he's the one saying only the NDIS when the surplus is strong. That might not be the case for well after when it is planned to come in at the sort of start date that NSW have signed up on. Where does that leave the political party politically.Tony Abbott is calling himself Dr Yes or Mr Yes on that one so it leaves Joe Hockey looking silly. My view really of the Barry O'Farrell sign-up is that's largely existing funding that the NSW Government has agreed will be part of the NDIS. So isn't this more a kind of clever move by Julia Gillard to make it look as though someone is committing a large amount of money but, in fact, what she's getting is agreement to have the mechanic of the NDIS work? So, I think is is a very clever move. I'm intrigued that he has agreed so readily. I'm not quite sure about why.My understanding is that from a dollars perspective NSW when you look at the budget hasn't really had to put anything in. It's put in kind support in.$3.3 million.That's right, exactly.If that's the case that means the Commonwealth is presumably putting itself on the line fiscally more than it otherwise might have planned to which is important going forward from the budget.Most money is coming from NSW but it is already being allocated to NSW.It is shifting to the NDIS.This is all for the test. The test is great to be doing this test case, but it's the NDIS.This has been signed up beyond the trial.We are talking about $15 billion every year.NSW is signing on though that, that's the point.Can the other states afford it. That's an interesting one because NSW in a sense was the most likely to do a deal because it has the highest disability funding is my understanding whereas swer like Queensland to get to the mark that NSW was at has to put a lost money in and Campbell Newman is saying there is no money to do that but politically he's going to have to jump on board.The argument, you shouldn't have kids until you can afford to, if that was the case you would never actually have kids. With the NDIS you just have to do it and the money has to be found. We can't say it's a priority but only if we get the funding. Like education. What is important about a society is we treat every single person gets a decent standard of living. This matters more. The money will come.If you are a Government you can't talk like that you have to plan for the money to come and know where the money is coming from.I think there are funding issues but I think this is an important enough scheme shouldn't the Opposition's policy be rather than saying we will only commit to an NDIS when we have a strong surplus why doesn't it say if we can't get an NDIS without - on the consolidated revenue we will go with a levy or whatever it takes basic will I to guarantee honouring this pledge to have the NDIS by the start date expected.The problem is you have people with serious disabilities who are having expectations raised that must be fulfilled. Because it's a double cruelty to have... They haven't started that process.It must be affordable because it is no good promising people you will give them something if they can't give it. So it has to be a priority. So both governments want to do it and they are working towards it --.This is also a test of Tony Abbott's influence over the Liberal premiers. If he has staked his new positive reputation on this doesn't he have to make it work? Make sure that the Campbell Newmans of Australia do actually sign up? Well we have had a tweet come in saying I have said it before and I will say it again, democracy just doesn't work. Thanks for that. Much appreciated.Is that one of your students? , no, it is not thankfully. This is a series issue. One of my studenting made the point where is the money coming from the NDIS. That's a fair point. If you commit to it there will be a long term budget strain. Surely that's why it should be with an levy. Otherwise it is not in an insurance scheme. By definition to fit the frame of its title, it should be a levy involved.Levy is a politically loaded term.Look what happened when the federal government tried to impose a levy as they called it for rebuilding of infrastructure after the Queensland floods.I thought it went down well.All the people who had kindly donated money to charity before that happened, ignored the fact that this new levy was actually for roads and brings not for blankets and -- brinchs and not for blankets and lunches and attacked it it. The people like Rowan I suspect you might have been one of the people who was having a go at the flood ley. The point is up until very recently governments responsible governments said how they were going to pay for something up front. They said we will pay for this it might be a levy, we might get rid of this scheme and that's what's not happening in Australian politics. Labour should be saying this is our really big thing so we will not bother by whatever it might be, Gonski, or whatever, we will concentrate and do it well.It is not an either or.Education reform is essential.It will be great to have everything. Europe tried to have everything. The states tried to vefrg.Labor has to follow your advice and blow the budget.It is not about blowing the budget. I didn't say blow the budget, I said that sometimes, I personally don't think going into debt, I don't think a surplus is the about all and end all.There is a budget.There is a difference between not needing a surplus and blowing the budget.If the budget goes from surplus to deficit you blow the budget.We are currently $170 billion that we have to pay back. That won't be coming from us, that will be coming from our kids. That's - that is That is almost 6% of GDP performWhich is massive compared to other countries. Yes.You tell them what they are struggling to pay that. That's when the Spanish were saying, the English were saying a decade ago.When they get the reforms from Gonski and making more money they will pay it back.A decade ago, Spain's debt was still over 85% of GDP. We are talking about 6% in Australia.Sure it may be nothing but all indicators are going the wrong way. The boom is over.We have got a protection for a surplus.We will continue debating this Australia the week goes on. Claire Harvey thanks for your company as always hopefully you will come back sooner than have you since last time. Rohan Dean and Dee Madigan as always great to have you both on together you get on so well. Thank you for your company. Be sure to tune into 'Australian Agenda' on Sunday, we will be joined live in the studio by Scott Morrison the shadow immigration spokesperson as well as former NSW premier Nick Greiner who has been in the mix with his attitude on the GST. See you then. Live Captioning by Ai-Media ai-media.tv