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Good afternoon. Welcome to the program. Well, it's been a case with few winners, today, the Federal Court threw out the sexual harassment claim brought by James Ashby against former speaker of the house of Parliament, Peter Slipper. Now, Peter Slipper says he feels vindicated but he has also been politically destroyed through this process. He has resigned as speaker and his chances of any sort of political comeback do seem very remote indeed. As for James Ashby, he is considering an appeal against this verdict that he only brought the claim for political purposes and personal advancement to try and climb the ladder within the LNP. He is considering an appeal over this but the judgment today from Justice Steven Rares was scathing indeed about James Ashby, his friends and associates in putting together this case. Coming up, we are going to take a good look at this, where it leaves both political parties as well, some of those within the Coalition who pushed this case very hard, Mal Brough who of course is the LNP candidate trying to win Peter Slipper's seat of Fisher, some pretty damning findings as well, will it dent his chances of reentering the Parliament and Nicola Roxon is gunning for apoll gooets from the Liberal Party but was the government wrong to settle its case with James Ashby earlier in the year for a $50,000 payment. We will discuss that shortly. We are also going to look at North Korea launching a long range missile today. It has brought immediate condemnation from its neighbours, from the US, from Australia as well. We will come live to Seoul from the very latest on this, a nervous very South Korea watching this latest provocation from the north. And we will also look at our submarine capability, the government today released a report that found those much trouble's sub maroarens can have their life extended by another couple of years, well, we will be talking to the chief of Navy, is this what the Navy wants? All of that coming up. First a check of the top stories this hour. The sexual harassment case brought by James Ashby against former speaker of the house Peter Slipper has been thrown out of the Federal Court with the judge concluding the case was politically motivated. The former speaker says he has been vindicated. The Government says the Coalition now needs to answer questions about their members involvement. Not one member of the Coalition has fronted the media today. The allegations led to his resignation as speaker. Today, the Federal Court ruled the entire case an abuse of process. To pursue a political attack and was thrown out. Peter Slipper says he has been vindicated. His accuser is appealing. There has been a determined campaign to try to prevent the substantive allegations being heard. Jus Rares's dismissed the case telling the court it was intent on causing significant political damage to Mr Slipper and goes on to say Mr Ashby put forward scandalous, irrelevant and damaging allegations knowing they would receive very significant media coverage. The Government welcomed the decision and says the Coalition has some serious questions to answer about their conduct. He should be calling for an explanation from Mr Brandis, for comments that were quite outrageous and clearly not supported by the decision today that were made in Senate Estimates. Jus Rares significantly concluded that Mr Ashby was in alliance with Mal Brough, now preselected for Peter Slipper's seat. An alliance designed to benefit the LNP and Mr Brough's political career. That is what he has involved himself in, it is untenable that he should continue to run as a candidate for the federal seat of Fisher. Mr Brough says he acted appropriately at all times and today's decision changes nothing in relation to Mr Slipper's vile text messages. But the Government is also zeroing in on Shadow Attorney-General George Brandis for prejudging court matters with these comments. There is no way in the world that any court would summarily determine those proceedings. The Government has questions to answer of its own. Why did it settle for $50,000 with James Ashby over allegations that have now been thrown out of court? And there is questions here for all Parliament tearians when it comes to prejudging, given the comments that have been made about the case over the last eight months. There were in fact clear intentions to harm Mr Slipper and bring his reputation into disrepoout and to assist his political points. This won't be the last of it. The Commonwealth DPP is still investigating claims Mr Slipper misused his travel entitlements. More than 1,000 people have gathered at Parramatta in Sydney's west for the funeral of explain NSW police officer Bryson Anderson. Detective sppor Anderson's wife and children were joined by the NSW Police commissioner and premier for the service. I am deeply honoured and indeed privileged to be able to represent every member have the NSW police force here today to farewell a man who served his community with courage, honour, and distinction. A loving husband and father. A prized friend and colleague. A police officer. Today is the 12th of the 12th 12. They say there will never be a day like this for 1,000 years. I pray for the sake of my family and the police community that they're right. His brothers, Damien and Warwick also paid tribute, saying the senior officer was a dedicated husband, father and police officer. North Korea has carried out the successful launch of a long range rocket. The United States, sore Korea and other western nations condemned the move saying it was a cover for testing ballistic missile technology. Previous launch attempts by the north in 2006 and 2009 failed to achieve their stated goal of putting a satellite into orbit. Another report we are hearing, which is more poignant at this time, is to South Korean news agencies, they are saying that North Korea state run news agency has said that it was a success, so according to these reports, North Korea has claimed this this was a success and claimed that the satellite from the rocket successfully entered orbit. Now, of course we can't confirm this at this point but YTN both quoting North Korea's state run news agency that this was a success and also say that North Korea has said that it will continue developing its space plans, so it appears at this point and confirmed that North Korea has claimed that they have achieved what they wanted to do. They have basically said that they wanted to put a working satellite into orbit and they claim that they have in fact done this. Now, of course, many countries, Seoul, Washington included, believe that it is not to put a working satellite into orbit, it is actually a cover in order to be able to test their long range missile technology which, of course, is banned by the united nations. Australian primary school children have scored alarmingly low in international reading, maths and science tests. A quarter of the nation's year 4 students failed to meet the minimum standard in reading for their age placing Australia 27th out of 45 countries. The opposition says it shows the Government wasted billions of dollars on school halls and computers. The Government says that spending was vital to help Australia through the GFC and says it also focussed on teacher quality. We have also applied over half a billion dollars investment in teacher quality and one of the components of the national plan for school improvement that we want to deliver, with the States and with other education authorities, is additional support and focus on teacher quality and teacher training. Australia ranked 25th in science and 18th in maths. In South Australia now and a team of raidologists will independently review 54,000 digital mammogram images taken by breast screen South Australia. Health authorities fear cases of breast cancer may have been missed due to a potential issue with the screening process. South Australian Health Minister John Hill says there's been a slight drop in the number of the smallest cancers diagnosed since digital technology was introduced. The review covers pashses who attended breast screen South Australia clinics between September 2010 and June this year. Mr Hill says there will be a review of the implementation of the technology and State radiology services. US President Barack Obama has officially recognised the Syrian opposition Coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, that is of course in opposition to the Assad regime. It came in an interview with Barbara Walters. We made a decision that the Syrian opposition Coalition is now inclusive enough, it is reflective and representative enough of the Syrian population that we consider them the legitimate representative of the people in opposition to the Assad regime, so we will provide them recognition and obviously with that recognition, comes responsibilities on the part of that Coalition. That is a big step. It is a big step. There is a small element of those who oppose the Assad regime that are in fact affiliated with al-Qaeda in Iraq and we have designated them as a terrorist organisation and we are going to make clear to distinguish between those elements of the opposition. Quick look at sport now and Peter Siddle says he is fit and ready to fire in the first Test against Sri Lanka blining on Friday. He was forced to sit out the third Test on Friday and says that he and the team are using the disappointment of the series loss as motivation come this weekend. Everything that we put into that last series t does take its toll but the end result probably makes it more important. We lost that series which is very disappointing so now that they want to make amends for that, we want to get stuck in and show that we are still one of those top ranked sides an we want to go into this series very hard and contest it well and hopefully come out with the better result than the last. Another green top wicket is expected at blood stone arena for the Test. Tomorrow's forecast now, thunderstorms in the west, hot in the south, mostly sunny in the east tomorrow. Now back to David Speers in Canberra as PM Agenda continues. Thank you. After the break, we will bring up up-to-date on what the court found today as it threw out that sexual harassment claim against the former speaker , Peter Slipper.

P You're watching PM Agenda. Welcome to the program. Well, a rather dramatic decision from the Federal Court today to throw out the sexual harassment claim brought against the former Speaker of the house, Peter Slipper, an abuse of process based on a political motivation, the court has found, on the part of James Ashby, Peter Slipper's former staffer. Have a look at a couple of the key quotes from the judgment from Justice Steven Rares. The originating application was used by Mr Ashby, he says, for the predominant purpose of causing significant public reputational and political damage to Mr Slipper. He goes on to say that Mr Ashby began planning that attack at least by the beginning of February 2012. As Mr Ashby and Ms Doane, a fellow staffer, agreed in their text of 30 March 2012 that what they were doing "Will tip the Government to Mal Brough's favour and the LNPs advantage". The reaction from Peter Slipper firstly, he feels relieved, feels vindicated, in a statement today he said that Mr Ashby's application was about manipulating the justice system to inflict damage on my reputation and political career and to advance the interests of the Liberal Party National Party. I feel vindicated by today's judgment. As for James Ashby, well, he was actually there in the court today and had a brief comment as he came out. Have a look. There's been a determined campaign to try to prevent the substantive allegations being heard and judged in open court. To put me to the maximum cost in pursuing justice. With my lawyers, we will study the judgment in detail but at this stage we intend to appeal this regrettable decision. So James Ashby is considering an appeal over this. Nonetheless, the Government is also feeling vindicated and feeling like having a shot at the opposition as well. First out of the blocks Mark Dreyfus, partry secretary who is senior counsel himself. Here is what he had to say about this whole issue. It a little to an attempt to over throw the Government by sinister and, I would say, anti democratic means and I'm calling on Tony Abbott to come clean about what was the involvement of him, what was the involvement of Tony Abbott's office, what was the involvement of other senior members of the Liberal front bench, what was the involvement of other senior members of the Liberal Party in other States of Australia as well as nationally? An attempt to over throw the Government by sinister means. The Attorney-General didn't go that far but a short while ago when she addressed this issue she did put the heat back on to the opposition as well. On to Mal Brough in particular. Now, he is found in this court finding to have acted in combination with James Ashby and others to launch this case. Nicola Roxon now also believes he is unfit to stand for Parliament. I think he will need to consider whether it's appropriate for Mr Brough to contest the next election. He should be calling for an explanation from Mr Brandis for comments that were quite outrageous and, clearly, no the supported by the decision today that were made in Senate estimates and elsewhere. All together, I think the Liberal Party, not surprising that they have gone to ground today. What did George Brandis say in Senate estimates? Well, we have dug that out. He was indicating at the time - this was back in October - that this case shouldn't be thrown out of court. Have a look. I wouldn't have advised a client of mine in a million years that they had any chance of success at all of getting summary judgment on this particular. There is no way in the world that any court would summarily determine those proceedings. Well, it has now been thrown out of court, no doubt about that. The Shadow Attorney-General there also issuing a statement today. He says that the Attorney-General has once again behaved inappropriately and once again shown a misunderstanding of her appropriate constitutional role in commenting on the case when it remains before the court, given an appeal you could be pending and he doesn't want to, based on that statement, make any further comment but he has, just in the last 20 minutes or so, challenged Nicola Roxon to a debate on radio this afternoon. So we will see if that takes place and let you know the outcome of that. As for Mal Brough, well, we will go through what the findings in this outcome are for him but he has only issued a statement. He says that today's judgment in the Federal Court changes nothing in relation to Mr Slipper's vile text messages. I reiterate that I have at all times acted appropriately in relation to this matter. All right, so that is what everyone has had to say about this. Let's get into some commentary. Joining me in in the Canberra studio, Mark Kenny from the advertise rer and Malcolm, thanks for joining me. Does anyone come out of this particularly well? No, I don't think anyone comes out of it particularly well, we didn't expect them to. But it is a surprising development today. It certainly is a good development from the Government's point of view because it swings the pressure back on to the accusers and on to the Coalition. There are genuine questions now that the Government is right to pursue about who in the opposition knew what about this as it was being worked up. The Federal Court has clearly seed that this did amount to, in effect, a conspiracy, a concerted effort by some people to do damage to Mr Slipper's reputation and it doesn't reflect very well on any of those people at all. No, but it does not find, when you read through the lengthy judgment, any particular connection we should point out with Tony Abbott or sitting MPs. It is pretty clear that the senior levels of the Liberal Party, Mr Abtot's office, didn't initiate this action but there are questions to be answered and these go around when he might have known about it and what sort of endorsement did he give to this process. Because as the judge says, it was a political strategy rather than the judge sort of saying that a quest for justice on sexual harassment charges. What about Mal Brough? What particularly did he do wrong and where does this leave his plans to re-enter Parliament? Well, there is details in the text that says that - what does this one say? That the process is underway, it will tip the Government to Mal Brough and the LNP's advantage. He will stand for Fisher which is Peter Slipper's seat. He might have been working, helping Mr Ashby because of his concerns for a young man who had been the victim of sexual harassment. He might also in addition or instead of been working with Mr Ashby because he wanted to make sure that Mr Slipper was not a viable contender in the coming election. The actual finding against him is that Mr Brough was unlikely to have been offering to assist them in seeing a QC for advice or looking for new careers, helping them with new careers, out of fur altuism. It was kreted and fed by their willingness to try and damage Peter Slipper and help his own -- it was created and fed. That certainly doesn't look very favourable for Mr Brough but at the same time you have to say you can never know what someone's motivation is. Mr Brough has been a Member of Parliament. He intends to be a Member of Parliament depending on how this goes, he probably will be a Member of Parliament and Members of Parliament do do things for what other people might say are altrue istic motivations all the time. He has always maintained that he was genuinely worried about James Ashby being sexually harassed. He did get a political advantage from this, there is no doubt. Also you have got to remember when he was first asked about his relationship with Mr Ashby by a reporter, he declined to acknowledge it even and then later on, at his own convenience, he said gave some case of their contact. What about the Justice Steven Rares finding that "It is not necessary to make any finding about this, about whether Mr Slipper did sexually harass Mr Ashby in any of the ways alleged". It is not necessary to make a finding about that? He is simply decided that it was an abuse of process and therefore it's been thrown out. But not necessary to make a finding about whether it was sexual harassment. I'm not a legal scholar.St strikes me as a little odd. I think a lot of people will have a view about that and say hang on, if there is some substance to these claims, surely that evidence out to have been tested but -- it ought to have been tested but it seems that the court is saying that effectively the motivations of the people bringing it by virtue of the way they have done it, both together and also by way of an application to the Federal Court, suggests that it is just not ridgy-didge. He also points out that James Ashby at the time was keen to go on an overseas trip with Peter Slipper, so he can't have been too worried about sexual harassment. If he was willing to pay for himself to go on an overseas trip. He does say through the judgment that there was, what do you call them, sexualised text. And he points - from Mr Ashby to Mr Slipper. He points out that Mr Ashby didn't seem to be particularly distressed by some of the messages sent to him by his boss. And when he goes through all of the text messages, they are all about what they are going to do politically, they don't reflect any pain, personal hurt from sexual harassment. That's right. But I do think that your original point is right. A lot of people will look at this and say where is the merit of this evidence? Where is the testing of the allegations and that certainly is what Ashby is saying today. That eight months after making these charges, that no-one is - he hasn't had a chance, hasn't had his day in court effectively. Just to clarify one thing, but Senator Brandis seems to be contradicting if he is going to go on a debate with Nicola Roxon, contradicting himself, saying it is subject to appeal. There has been no application to the Full Court for an appeal on this decision. So up until there is and even if the Full Court was hearing it, they wouldn't bother what a couple of hacks like us said...We should also, before we wrap all of this up, mention Steven McGarry Lewis, the journalist who broke the story, gets a fair bit of attention in all of this, but in the end, the judge has found that he was doing what a journalist does.He was getting information and checking it.There is nothing adverse about what he did in any of this, but he has copped a fair bit of flak along the way. It is a very heavy mix when you get these highly charged political issues, you have got publicity and hung Parliament, all of these other things, mix it all together and this has been an extraordinary and explosive issue. It has all happened this year. This thing is pretty much contained...He was only made Speaker just over 12 months ago. So all of these agencies turn on things that have happened between the end -- of these allegations turn on things that have happened between the end of 2011 and the end of this year. Where does it leave Peter Slipper? He is still politically damaged?He will never come back. He is gone. He will probably lose the election, no matter who the candidate against him will be. This came too late and to save his job as Speaker, if it had - if this decision had been made in October, he would still be in the chair but we all know that that is not possible with the release of those texts. There are other things that go to his character. They are not necessarily about legal issues but they go to his character and I think they made his position untenable anyway. Good to talk to you both. Thanks for that. After the break, we will have a look at the North Korea lock rocket launch today. Stay with us.

P You're watching PM Agenda. In a moment, we will be crossing live to Seoul for the latest on this nor Korean rocket launch, we will also be talking to the chief of Navy about a report today that suggests the Colins class submarines can be extended for a little longer. First a check of the news headlines. Back to Vanessa Tresize. A police officer who was killed in the line of duty has been farewelled in Sydney. Detective Bryson Anderson was fatally stabbed while responding to a neighbourhood dispute in the city's north-west. NSW Police chief Andrew Scipione presented a commissioner's valour award to his widower at the service. James Ashby says he intends to appeal a decision by the Federal Court to dismiss his sexual harassment case against former Speaker Peter Slipper. The judge found Mr Ashby's case against the former Speaker was aimed at advancing the interests of the Liberal National Party in a scathing judgment, Justice Steven Rares says he reached the firm conclusion that Mr Ashby's main purpose for bringing the proceedings was to pursue a political attack against Mr Slipper. South Korea has called an emergency security meeting after North Korea launched a long range rocket. There was no immediate report of the success of the launch which Pyongyang insists is a scientific mission aimed at putting a satellite in orbit. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has condemned the launch and is calling for a swift and strong response from the united nations Security Council. And security for Victoria's Houses of Parliament is under review after a security guard was bashed by a man later found dead nearby. Police say the officer was repeatedly struck on the head with a hammer before the man then stole the officer's weapon. The man fled through Fitzroy Gardens before allegedly fatally shooting himself in the head. Victoria police say they will review their security protocols. And in sport, Aussie paceman Peter Siddle says he is fit and ready to fire in the first Test against Sri Lanka ghining on Friday. He was forced to sit out the third Test against South Africa at the WACA and says he and the team are using the disappointment of the series loss as motivation come this weekend. Tomorrow's forecast. Thunderstorms in the west, hot in the south, mostly sunny in the east. Thank you. Well, the Colins class submarines in Australia have had a troubled history indeed but the Government is confident that over the next three years, their performance can be improved. It's also released an inquiry report today which finds that the life span can also be extended now out until 2038. Now, that is not the minister insist going to change the decision that is due in the next year or two on replacing the submarine fleet with an improved and ex-panned number of subs but it does clearly give the Government and defence more flexibility on this. But is an extension in the life of the Colins class really something that the Navy wants to see? I spoke a short while ago with the chief of the Navy from Darwin. Well, can I start by asking how many of the current Colins class sub marines are in the water are capable of service? Obviously we don't talk too much about what the exact status of the fleet is but we have an agreed position with Government on how many boats we can provide and we are within the time notices that we have in that agreement at the present time. What is that current agreement? What does it require of Navy? Well, I don't want to go into the details of that David because it is actually a classified agreement. Okay, but can you tell me whether any of the Colin's class sub marines are currently in the water? Absolutely. But you just can't say how many? Well, I don't want to get into this debate about what is the exact number. But I can tell you that we are meeting our commitment with Government and we do have boats in the water. The report today says the life of the Colins class can be extended through to 2038. I want to ask you as dheef of Navy is that something you want to -- as chief of Navy, is that something that you want to see extended? What I want to see, of course, is a capability that is viable right through to the end of the life of the submarine and obviously I don't want to have a gap in the capability because this is a critically capability as part of the ADF overall force structure. I appreciate no decision has been made to do this, to extend the life of the class but it is an option now. Isn't there a danger that as our neighbours, Indonesia, India, purchase more sub marines, upgrade their current fleets, extend their current fleets, that extending the life of our class is only going to widen that capability gap? No, that depends how do you it David. If you just focus on the platform, on the engine nins and the diesel generators and those sorts of things, that would be a valid characterisation but if you extend the life and continue your continuous upgrade program in terms of capability terms, the combat system and the weapons, then you don't necessarily have that gap. What about in sheer numbers though? If we are stuck with only six and we have got India purchasing, as I understand it, a further six and they currently have a fleet of 15, Indonesia also ordering more subs, wouldn't that leave us further behind? Well, it is a matter of - I don't like talking about the numbers too much. I really prefer to concentrate on the capability that the boat brings to Australia's strategic needs and I'm pretty comfortable where the boating capabilities is in terms right now. Clearly as you saw in the report today there are aspects of it that we are not happy with. We are not happy with the reliability and we need to improve that and we have got a good plan to move forward on that. Let me ask you about what comes next in terms of our sub marine capability. The Government's pretty determined, it seems, to have them assembled, whatever we buy, have them assembled in Australia. Is it your view that that is the best way to go or should there be a mixture here of purchasing off the shelf, I know the Germans and have the type 216 which is the same size as the Collins class, we could have them immediately if we bought them off the shelf? Well, they are actually just the concept, it is not a real boat. It doesn't exist. There are very few boats of the size and complexity of Collins that actually do exist and so we are going to be in a discussion and Government will decide at the end of the day whether they go for an off the shelf option or they go for a new design or an evolved design of a current design. They are all discussions that we have to have. We have seen a fairly binary discussion about costs and $9 billion versus $36 billion as if it is an apples and apples discussion. The off the shelf boat gives you a different capability to the Collins class gives you to date. I think that is a very important factor in all of this discussion to remember that we are not comparing apples and apples. Let me ask you about a related issue. The issue of crewing. How much pressure is Navy facing when it comes to crewing sub marines and I guess other vessels as well from the mining boom? I understand a lot of crew would be taking up lucrative offers in the mining boom. Is that still a big issue? It is David absolutely. We have just stood up our fourth sub marine crew at the end of this year but it is a constant battle to retain our people. They are great people, they are terrific at what they do, they are highly skilled, they are highly motivated and for another employer, they are absolutely gold. So it is a real challenge for us and clearly I can't compete in monetary terms, I have to focus on what it is that drew them to the Navy in the first place, that notion of service, serving our country, and we need to really focus hard on those issues because I simply can't compete on the dollars. But if we did have 12 subs, are you confident we would have the crew for it? Absolutely. It's a matter of will. We have been growing sub marine force over the last three years at around 8% a year. That is with effort to recover the fourth crew to get to the point where tu have 12 boats is a long way off. And once we firm up the plan, we need to then put the effort in to building those crew. There is no point trying to build them now when we don't know the exact build schedule. We will continue to build our current crews, but I'm very confident we can make the crews we need to run 12 given that you will never actually need 12 crews. And just a final question. On the people that you've talked about there, the amazing job that they do, I'm just wondering about the issue of border protection, we often read from time to time the toll this takes on Navy crews. Tell us your perspective on that and whether this is also a factor in turn over? I'm not sure it's a huge factor in turn over. It's a very difficult job. I've done it myself. It's hard, it's relentless, it's grinding and in fact today the reason I'm up in Darwin with Warren Snowden was to present the first public presentation of the operational service medal for border protection and I think that is something that has really lifted moral here for our people to see such public recognition by the Government and the people of Australia for the very important job that they do every day. Just to clarify, Tony Abbott of course says he will have the Navy turn boats back to Indonesia. Is that something that the Navy can do? Well, what the Navy does David is safely and lawfully execute the direction of Government. We don't comment on the policy rights and wrongs. We execute the policy of the day. But it's not technically something you would have a problem with? I execute the policy of day. All right, good to talk to you, thanks so much for joining us. Thank you David. After the break, we will be talking to the trade minister Craig Emerson about today's court decision to throw out the sexual harassment claim against Peter Slipper.

P Well, there was swift condemnation across the region and around 9 world today after North Korea this afternoon launched a long range missile. Now, it says this was to launch a satellite into space which it did so effectively. The announcement was made on north Korean State television. TRANSLATION: The second version of Kwangmyongsong-3 successfully lifted off by carrier rocket on December 12. The satellite entered its present orbit. There are deep concerns though that such a long range missile could also potentially be carried - used to carry a nuclear war head. For more on this, let's go live in Seoul South Korea. Thanks for your time. What do we now know about this rocket launch? Well, David, US officials have confirmed to CNN that in fact the satellite is in orbit. They say that the US observers actually saw the third stage separation and then began to monitor it and track it with space sensors. So it appears at this point as though it may have been a success. Certainly that is what we have heard from North Korea already, you just played the very triumphant and jubilant anousment of that special broad cast on north Korean television say that their satellite was in orbit. Certainly it has attracted plenty of international condemnation already. The White House has called it a highly provocative act saying that it threatens regional security and also saying that it is against UN security resolutions. Saying that North Korea is not allowed to use this intercontinental ballistic missile technology. And also we have heard from the blue house here in Seoul, which is the presidential office, they have condemned it, also saying it is against the united nations sanction and also saying that it is a challenge and threat and t but around the world. So as expected, we are hearing very swift condemnation from many countries, all of these countries beforehand all coming together to try to convince North Korea not to go ahead with this launch. But as they have in the past, they ignored that condemnation and carried it out and it does appear at this point at least, US officials are telling us that it does appear it is in polar orbit. Despite those condemnations, as you rightly say, none of this seems to deter North Korea. What about China, the country that does have some influence over North Korea, has there been any reaction from Beijing? Well, we do know that the Foreign Minister is going to be giving a press conference quite shortly, so we are waiting for that to see what kind of reaction will come out of China. We don't usually see a strong condemnation from China as we do from the likes of Seoul and Washington, Tokyo, basically trying it is their own alley, but I have been told by a senior Government official here in Seoul that this is actually a bit of a slap in the face for China. This was, when I spoke to my source a couple of days ago, he said that just the day before North Korea announced it was going ahead, a senior member of the bureau was in Pyongyang to try and convince them not to go ahead with the launch. So certainly we could see relations sour a little more between China and North Korea, the source here in Seoul telling me that China has been a little stronger than it has recently in trying to stop North Korea carrying out this rocket launch. But this just goes to show that Pyongyang works to its own calendar, its own schedule and no matter what the rest of the world says, if they want to carry out a rocket launch in 2012 as they said they did, then clearly that is exactly what they will do. That is exactly what we have seen. Thanks so much for that. We are going to return now to the case of sexual harassment made against the former Speaker of the house, Peter Slipper, thrown out by the Federal Court today for more reaction on this, we are joined now by Trade Minister Craig Emerson, who has been following this case throughout. Thanks for your time. Let me start by asking you was it a mistake for Peter Slipper to resign as Speaker? Mr Slipper made a decision that he didn't really want to make and that was the reality of this situation but he had been under enormous pressure as a result of what turns out to be an abuse of process. That abuse is so described by the judge in the case and the judge also said that this case, in action by Mr Ashby, was designed to damage Mr Slipper, to advantage Mr Brough and to alter the balance in the House of Representatives. Now, that is a scathing judgment. So you agree with your colleague saying this was designed to bring down an attempt to overthrow a democratically elected Government, would you go that far? Effectively it was an abuse of process designed to change the Government of Australia. But on Peter Slipper's resignation, that in the end was about those text messages that were sexist, quite appalling. There are other reasons why he had to go. Well, we criticise those unequivocally those text messages but the fact is on the case overall, the Coalition set up a kangaroo court. They made their judgments against Mr Slipper. At 9.15 a.m., the day that the story broke, Mr Abbott had out a press release saying "Mr Slipper must be stood aside". That was followed up a little later by Senator eka bets saying that Mr Slipper must resign. So here you have the Abbott Liberals sitting in judgment, completely putting aside normal legal processes, determining that Mr Slipper must go. Why? Because it would advantage them. But hang on, the opposition weren't the only ones commenting on this case as it was playing out. Foreign Minister Bob Carr likened James Ashby to an actor. That's right and was condemned for it. Was that wrong to do? It is pretty clear from this judgment that Mr Ashby's motives were purely and simply to advance the interest of the...I'M asking during the actual case being heard...It is pretty clear that Bob Carr's comments have been vindicated. He didn't know that at the time. Was it wrong to make comments on a case that was still before the court? Come o let's not change the whole rules of the game. You know who else criticised Mr Ashby? Barnaby Joyce. Do you have a problem with Barnaby Joyce saying he is only...I'M saying is it wrong of politics to comment...Well, not only commented David, they not only commented, they called for Mr Slipper to resign. That is not a comment. That is a call for the occupant of a position in the House of Representatives to resign. Do you think...That's typical you know because this is exactly what they have done with other people. They have had motions in relation to Craig Thomson that he be expelled from the Parliament. The Australian people should be alarmed about what the Abbott Liberals do. They seek to change the composition of the House of Representatives through means that are completely, unacceptable, unprecedented, and you will find this: the Senator George Brandis will now try to shut down all debate because he will say there is an appeal. There is not an appeal. There is a desire on the part of Mr Ashby to appeal. He doesn't just get to make an appeal. But you will find Senator Brandis saying "We can't comment on this case, no-one should". He is now. You will not find - I know that - but you will not find Mr Abbott who said he will no specific knowledge repeatedly said he had no specific knowledge of this. Mr Pines - I don't believe that. On what grounds? I will tell you. For example during the Easter break, Mr Hockey was up on the Sunshine Coast and he said he had a one on one meeting, a one on one meeting with Clive Palmer. Well, Clive Palmer blew the whistle on that, he said no, there were two of us. What does that prove? It proves that Joe Hockey lied. But the thing with Mal Brough...Why lie about it? It is hardly a hanging offence. Fine, why not say that you met with Mal Brough? Why say that? Why lie about it? Mr Hockey wanted to conceal the fact that they did. They did have a conversation David, they weren't talking about eert eggs, right, I can guarantee you. That does not prove that Tony Abbott knew about this case. They discussed the situation of Mr Slipper. Do you believe there needs to be an inquiry...You know who said they discussed Mr Slipper? Mr Hockey said that. And you're saying oh, where is the evidence that the LNP knew anything about this. I'm just asking you what evidence there is. It is in abundance. Oh right yes, about what Peter Slipper would be getting for Easter, really? Come on David. Do you think there needs to be an inquiry into this? That is still an open question. What is the decision that needs to be made? The question of an inquiry is based on the concern for the abuse of process, the fact that it was politically motivated, not my words, not the Labor Party's words, but the judge's words. What would an inquiry solve? I'm not going to set up terms of reference in discussing it with you. This is unprecedented that a political party would abuse the processes of the court in order, amongst other things, to change the composition of the House of Representatives and you won't find Mr Abbott bobbing up in the next two or three days. He is on a flight to London. Yeah sure. I think at the other end, he will get off that flight, right, and he will say oh, I can't comment on it, they were freely commenting on this David. On the day that this story broke, on the day that it broke, they had a press release out at 9.15 a.m. He did another media statement on that day. Two Coalition front benchers were already available for Sunday programs despite those programs complaining previously that they couldn't get anyone on and they had no specific knowledge. Didn't know anything about it.Let me ask you about the Government's decision to settle with James Ashby and pay a $150,000 payment. In hindsight, was that a mistake -- $50,000. You take legal advice on these matters and this was the recommended course to minimise...What was the legal advice? As I understand it, I wasn't in receipt of that legal advice, but the Government acted on advice, acted on advice, to reduce the length of these proceedings, when you get advice like that, it is probably sensible to act on it. Should Peter Slipper still be Speaker? He has been a fine speaker snpShould he still be Speaker? I think in the light of these developments, if there hadn't been such an abuse of process, you would have had a much happier person in Peter Slipper than these vicious attacks on him. But would he still be Speaker? He would have still been speaker. Do you think he should be? Well, we now have a difference situation but the point I'm making is that this was a calculated abuse of process, described by the judge, as scandalous. Thank you. Thank you. We are out of time for today's program. More on this after the break, stay with us. Live Captioning by Ai-Media www.ai-media.tv