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Good afternoon, welcome to the program. Labor ramped up its attack on the opposition today over the Peter Slipper case. It's trying to link what judge found to be a politically motivated abuse of court processes to any one senior in the Coalition. So far though it's been unable to prove any serving MP had any prior knowledge about James Ashby's plans to launch a sexual harassment case against Peter Slipper. But Labor is still using the tactic that Tony Abbott has used against the Prime Minister at various points throughout this year. Demanding a full public explanation from the Opposition Leader. The one Coalition figure, though, who has been implicated in this story is the former minister, Mal Brough, whose planning a return to Parliament. Coming up, we will discuss where this court finding leaves his political future and what the lessons are for all politics when it comes to commenting on matters that are before the courts. We are also going to be talking to one of Australia's most respected economists this afternoon about what is going on in the economy at the moment. Are interest rates as low as they should be and should the Government even be trying to get back into surplus right now? And we will be looking at the plans for the gal liply centenary memations to discuss the plans to restrict access to the dawn service on the Peninsula. All of that coming up. First a check of the top stories this hour. Hey Dad! Star Robert Hughes has been granted bail after being charged with child sex offences after his arrival in Sydney this morning. The actor returned to Australia from London after consenting to an order that he be questioned over claims made by five people. Robert Hughes back in Australia, the Hey Dad! Star under arrest for allegedly sexually abusing girls as young as seven. The 64-year-old released from custody after a brief court appearance where he was granted bail. But will have to face strict conditions, including surrendering his passport, reporting to police, and staying away from his alleged victims now in their 30s. He has cooperated fully, he surrendered, he has returned to Australia. I'm reasonably confident that the prosecution would not oppose conditional bail. He arrived in Sydney in the early hours of this morning, flanked by detectives on a Qantas flight after he was extradited from the United Kingdom. Taken straight to the Sydney police headquarters, where he was handed 11 charges relating to the alleged assaults of five girls aged between seven and 15, committed between the mid to late 80s and early 90s, while he starred in the hit Channel 7 show Hey Dad!. He refused to be questioned by detective's from the sex crime squad and his lawyer says will he vigorously defend all of the charges after pleading not guilty. He denies his guilt. He will strenuously assert his innocence. For police, the cull minination of a lengthy investigation, involving a number of witnesses dating back more than 20 years. 64-year-old Hughes will face court again in January. Senior Coalition figures are standing by Mal Brough and deny any party figures were in alliance with James Ashby in bringing a case against Peter Slipper. It comes as the Opposition Leader Tony Abbott paid a pre-Christmas visit to the troops in Afghanistan. A flying visit to the troops in Afghanistan, a humble Tony Abbott noted those in the room, whose mates had been killed in action. I'm always very conscious of the fact that as a politician, that we make decisions in Canberra, other people have to carry those decisions out. He spent seven hours on the ground before heading on to the UK. Back home, members of his front bench are facing more questions on the Peter Slipper scandal. I didn't know anything about it. It is not some great LNP conspiracy. The court found political motives were behind the sexual harassment case that ultimately forced Peter Slipper from the Speaker's chair. The case was thrown out as an abuse of process. Now, the Government smells blood. This is a huge story. I mean, this has all of the hallmarks of an Australian water gate. They are demanding full explanations from some of the Coalition's most senior figures. This matter has not been discussed, never been raised with me, I found out about it like the rest of Australia, on the Saturday when it was published in the newspaper. Nothing in anything that I've read that the judge has said that points to any senior Coalition figure being involved at all. The judge directly linked Mal Brough to the plot. But the Coalition is standing by him to contest Peter Slipper's seat of Fisher. Mal Brough will be our candidate in Fisher. Gee has behaved with integrity, he is an honourable. Mal Brough should get on a plane, go to Canberra, face the full press gallery for as long as they have questions and answer those questions. Labor figures will continue to pursue the matter. They are even demanding answers from Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and they are not ruling out a further inquiry. Given the conspiracy to bring down a Government that is revealed here in the decision by a court, I would think the Government has got to look at it and got to look at it seriously. The Australian Tax Office has moved to wind up Newcastle's NRL and A-League teams, the Knights and Jets because of debts of $2.7 million. Nathan Tinkler's Hunter Sports Group is also being targeted in the action. The two clubs and parent company were given notice of the debts in September but failed to pay by the 21 day deadline. A spokesman for said the debts will be paid in full, well in advance of the feb 20 court hearing. The Australian communications and media authority are opened a formal investigation into the broad cast of 2Day FM of a prank call to King Edward VI Hospital in London. The investigation will focus on the compliance of the licencee 2Day FM with the commercial radio codes of practise. However, some experts say that the investigation might not be straight forward. It is almost going be a two part investigation into whether the rules have been broken but also whether the rules are sufficient, whether loopholes have been shown up throughout this whole affair. ACMA has said it will not make any further statement until the investigation is complete. Three men have been charged with murder following the death of a man at Elizabeth Park in Adelaide's north overnight. The 49-year-old man was involved in a fight on Grant Street at around 11 p.m.. it has not yet been revealed exactly how he died. Another man was taken to hospital where he is in a satisfactory condition with an arm injury. Local police and major crime detectives are continuing to search the area. Graphic footage has emerged showing horses being slaughtered inhumanely. It is being investigated while there are calls for the racing industry to step in. Animal act activities say there have been dozens of breaches of animal cruelty, welfare, hygiene and meat industry laws. The allegations have been made in Melbourne's west. Footage taken shows horses being slaughtered inhumanly. In one instance, a horse was shot several times, tied up and dragged along concrete after which it was found the horse was still alive and activists say it is not an isolated incident. We have no idea how many horses this has happened to, however each time that we have been there, we have seen incidents similar to this where horses are treated like disposable objects and no concern at all is given to their well fair. As a result of these allegations, both the Melbourne and Werribee zoos have stopped sourcing meat from there. They were bred for the racing industry and now there are calls for the industry to face tougher regulation. We think the racing industry has caused this problem, they are the source of the problem and they need to find a solution and we believe if the racing industry was to put 1% of all turnover towards the race horses, retirement plan that, 24 would go a long way to solving this problem. Both the RSPCA and prime safe, the regulator, are investigating the claims. American and NATO officials say Syria's regime has used sput-type missiles against the rebels in a significant escalation of the conflict. Several of the short range rockets were detected being fired during the past week. The US says it's a sign President Assad is using desperate measures to crush the uprising. This is after a series of explosions inside the interior ministry of Damascus. As the battle inches ever closer, the uprising appears to be entering a decisive phase. But the regime's capacity to inflict suffering on the Syrian people seems to be increasing. This unverified footage posted on line shows people fleeing what's believed to be a bomb. Human rights watch says at least four populated areas have been hit by such devices, containing flammable materials such as thermmite. Most of the weapons found appear to be two kinds of soviet molgsess, the size of a football field. -- models, the size of a football field. The US and NATO also say Government forces have fired succeed-type missiles at the rebels in the past few days. Expensive, unguided and inaccurate, they are not designed to be used in the type of gor rila war favour seen in Syria. But as rebels have obtained better weapons to fight back, the regime seems to be adjusting its tactics. As the regime becomes more and more desperate, we see it resorting to increased vicious weapons moving forward and we have, in recent days, seen miss ills deployed. On Wednesday more than 100 countries recognised Syria's newly formed national Coalition paving the way for the community to deepen its assistance to the opposition. Speaking at the fourth friends of Syria meeting, British foreign secretary says it's a real sign of progress. We are also helping them plan the transition when that happens where when the day comes that Assad has gone, that is what we need to be preparing for so that there isn't a chaotic situation. But western powers remain reluctant to supply weapons to the rebels and despite the wide-spread endorsement of the national Coalition, there are concerns that extremist elements within the opposition could highjack the revolt for their own purposes. In sport, Australian captain Michael Clarke has confirmed Mitchell Johnson as the 12th man for the first Test against Sri Lanka beginning in Hobart tomorrow. Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus return to the pace attack. After missing the third match against South Africa along with Mitchell Starc. Mitchell Starc has been in the cue for a while now and I thought he would come in and did a really good job in Perth as well, but in saying that, Mitchell bowled really well in Perth and, he is unlucky to miss out. Clarke also says Phil Hughes will bat at No.3 with Shane Watson at 4, Mike Hussey trained with the Aussies earlier today, there were some concerns over Mr Cricket's fitness after he missed practise yesterday with a head cold but he is okay. The weather now, tomorrow, thunderstorms easing in the west, some showers in the south, it should be mostly sunny in the east. Now back to David Speers and PM Agenda. Thank you. We will get some more news headlines in about 20 minutes from now. Coming up after the break, we are going to have a look at the Australian economy. Is it strong as the Government suggests or heading in the wrong direction as the opposition fears and what about the budget surplus, is it even worth trying to get back into surplus this financial year? We will be talking to one of Australia's most respected economists, stay with us.

P You're watching PM Agenda. Coming up, we are going to take a look at the fallout from the Peter Slipper sexual harassment case which imploded rather spectacularly in court yesterday. Where does that leave things for a number of key players in this whole affair? First though, we are taking a look at the Australian economy. Is it in the strong shape the Government suggests or heading in the wrong direction as the opposition warns and should the Government even be trying to get the budget back into surplus at the moment? Today, we read in the 'Financial Review' that federal treasury is advising the Government to dump its commitment to a budget surplus. The Government, however, has not admitted as much. It still seems to be clinging on to hope that something will happen to see this surplus achieved. One of its fears though is the prospect of the US hitting the so-called fiscal cliff which will mean in January, in just a few weeks from now, deep spending cuts and tax hikes to try and cut the enormous deficit in the United States. If that happens, that would really knock US growth and world economic growth around. And we also heard overnight from the US Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke that this is already having an impact on confidence and sentiment in the US economy. He is urging politicians to find a solution in the remaining days before this fiscal cliff happens. It's already affecting business investment in decisions by creating uncertainty or creating pessimism. We saw what happens recently to consumer sentiment which fell, presumably in part because of concerns about the fiscal cliff. Ben Bernanke is naunsed further measures to stimulate the US economy, not satisfied that the signs of recovery that we have seen so far are self sustaining, are strong enough. He announced that the federal reserve will keep purchasing about $85 billion worth of bonds a month and it will keep interest rates at their record lows of about 0 until the unemployment rate comes down to about 6.5%. Of course, the Australian economy is in much better shape when you compare it to the US economy. But where is it heading and how confident should we be about the economic climate here in Australia? Professor bob Gregory is a highly respected economists, a former long serving member of the Reserve Bank board and now a Professor at the ANU. I spoke to him from Canberra a short while ago. Well, can I start by asking you to characterise how you would describe the Australian economy at the moment? Oh, at the moment, at this very moment, the Australian economy is doing very well actually and has done so for quite some time. The real problem is looking forward. It should be sort of okay for most of next year. But from then on, the economy is going to start to move downwards and people are becoming quite concerned about that really.Now, the other point I suppose is when I say it is doing quite well, what I mean is, you know, we have got lots of employment and producing lots of goods and services and so on, but the terms of trade which are worrying people, essentially the prices we are getting for our exports compared to our imports, the terms of trade are deteriorating and that is worrying people too. But at this very moment things are not bad. It is just looking forward that all of the clouds can be seen. Do you think the Reserve Bank has interest rates at about the right level at the moment? Well, I think probably but we have to understand that looking ahead again, the interest rates are on the way down, they are going to go down further and I guess the key issue for the bank is how to get from here to there where there does mean lower interest rates than now. Because they and the treasury and most commentators are thinking that Australia is going to not do quite so well in the near further. If that is the case, is there scope therefore for another cut early in the new year? Oh, I would think so. I would think so. The betting on a cut in the new year must be pretty high, I would imagine. So, you know, we will probably get maybe two or even more cuts next year. Providing they do the cuts at about a quarter at a time. There is, of course, much debate at the moment about the Government's efforts to get the budget back into surplus. Can I ask you a double barrelled question. Do you think they will get back into surplus and do you think they should be trying to get back into surplus this year? Here is a double barrelled answer: no, no. I mean, the surplus target was never really appropriate. If it was appropriate a year or so ago, it is certainly not appropriate now because looking forward, things are moving downwards and when things are downwards, you don't want the Government to help that process along. If anything, you want them to try to slow up the process. So moving towards a surplus is not what virtually anybody would advise at this time and so the Government's been locked into the rhetoric which seemed much better maybe a year ago and the politics are stopping them getting out of that rhetoric. Of course the surplus target this year is only about $1 billion but next financial year it is meant to be stronger than that. Do you think that following year surplus should also be under some consideration? Well, because my view is what I said earlier about looking ahead things are going to be much more difficult, the surplus problem shouldn't be thought of as a problem for this year, really. I mean, what we ought to be firmly focussing on, what is going to happen in the next 18 months, the next two years and when you do that, it seems to me pretty clear that it is quite likely we won't have a surplus 12 months hence even. And the next year. Because if things do deteriorate a bit, then whichever Government is in power will really won't want to continue down that path of cutting spendure and it won't be allowed to continue down that path either because the revenue base will erode. So that is really a message for both sides of politics s that they enter what will be an election year and clearly much of that focussed on the budget bottom line? I think that's right. I mean, one of the things that is very satisfactory about the current political process is that everybody is diverting away from the real issues, which is what is going to happen to the economy in the next two years, and when they divert away, they divert away into something which doesn't matter, like will there be a surplus this year or not. I mean, really we don't want to be fighting over that. What we want to be fighting about is where we see the next two or three years and how we should move into those next two or three years in the best possible way. Let me ask you further abroad. The United States first of all. We have seen overnight the Fed reserve chairman Ben Bernanke announce that they will be providing more stimulus, he is clearly not satisfied with the pace of recovery there at the moment. How do you see things playing out there and, in particular, the concerns over whether the US will go over this so-called fiscal cliff if agreement can't be reached in Washington? I think it is almost impossible to think they are not going to get to some agreement. The fiscal cliff is pretty serious business. So I think they will knock out some sort of agreement. But the more important points, are twofold. One is that the US has not recovered to the extent that we would have wanted a year or two or three ago. And it is partly because of that, that sits the situation in Australia, looks as though it might deteriorate a little bit. Secondly, you know over the last two decades or three decades, you would never have predicted that the federal reserve would have said something like it has currently said. That is, interest rates will be 0 until unemployment rates fall below 6.5. I mean, up until now, central banks were always worried about inflation, they were always trying to be reasonably tight and this is an amazing statement to come out of the US and it is coming around from central banks everywhere. So all fairly conservative institutions are worried about the pace of growth in the developed world and how has not picked up enough, picked up well enough to what they would have hoped two or three years back. What about the biggest economy in the developing world, China; there have been mixed views on how optimistic we should be about the growth rate in China. How optimistic are you, do you think some of these better signs we have seen over the last month or so can be believed as signs of a stronger growth there? Yeah, I think China is going to be okay. We don't know a lot about China. The growth record over the last two decades has been terrific, so it will probably be okay. But I think one of the important things we have to remember is that even though the growth in China will be okay, its impact on us is going to be less than in the past and the reason I say that is its big impact has been to forced price of coal and iron ore up, so we have had wonderful prices for coal and iron ore, and even if China grows, looking ahead, those prices are not going to be so good because more suppliers are now coming on to the market. And so even though China is going to grow, it is not going to be such a positive force for us as it was in the past. We will have to leave it there. Thanks for joining us. Glad to be here, bye. Interesting portrait there of where things are really at in the Australian economy and also our key economic and trading partners as well. We are going to take a quick break, then look at the fall out from the Peter Slipper case.

Pation You're watching PM Agenda. Time for a check of the news headlines. A Sydney court has granted former Hey Dad! Star Robert Hughes bail after he was charged with 11 child sex offences alleged to have occurred between 1984 and 1990. Strict bail conditions have been imposed. Hughes must surrender his passport, live in an address in Sydney's CBD and report to police three times a week. The 64-year-old was extradited from the UK and arrived in Sydney this morning. Hughes consented to returning to Australia to face questioning but strenuously denies all allegations of child sex offences. The Government has stepped up its attack on the Coalition in the wake of the failed sexual harassment case brought against Peter Slipper. A Federal Court Judge yesterday threw the case brought by James Ashby out of court declaring it an abuse of judicial process designed to cause significant public reputational and political damage. Labor MPs have demanded that Tony Abbott disendorse Mal Brough for his part in the matter and make a detailed statement about what involvement the Coalition had in the court case. The Australian Tax Office has moved to wind up Newcastle's NRL and A-League teams, the Knights and Jets because of debts of $2.7 million. Nathan Tinkler's Hunter Sports Group is also being targeted in the action. The two clubs and their parent company were given notice of the debts in September but failed to pay by the 21 day deadline. A spokesman for Mr Tinkler says the debts will be paid in full well in advance of the February 20 court hearing. The Australian communications and media authority has opened a formal investigation into the broad cast by 2Day FM of a prank call to King Edward VI Hospital in London. The investigation will focus on the compliance of the licensee 2Day FM with its eye sense conditions and the radio codes of practise. ACMA will seek to expedite the investigation and says it will not make any further statement until that is complete. American and NATO officialth have slammed the Assad regime and claim civilian forces have used missiles against the rebels in their battle for control of the war torn country. The US and NATO say several of the short range rockets were detected being fired during the past week. Washington claims it's a sign President Assad is resorting to desperate measures to crash the 20 month uprise. Mike Hussey has been given the all clear. Mitchell Johnson was the bowler to miss out while Phil Hughes will bat at No.3 in place of the retired Ricky Ponting. Tomorrow's weather, thunder stoms easing in the west, some showers in the south, mostly sunny in the east.Thank you. The Government continue to pile the pressure on the opposition today over the Peter Slipper sexual harassment case which fell apart spectacularly in court yesterday. Justice Steven Rares describing this as a politically motivated abuse of court process. Well, the Government is trying to lay as much blame as it can on senior Coalition figures. Here was Anthony Albanese, the Government's leader of the house today. Tony Abbott and the Coalition are pretty good at calling out members of the Government to give full explanations. Well, Mal Brough should get on a plane, go to Canberra, face the full press gallery for as long as they have questions and answer those questions. Because in yesterday's judgment, Mr Brough is mentioned more than 100 times. Well, the Government has also targeted the Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey for meeting with Mal Brough on a couple of occasions during this whole affair. Joe Hockey though, today, insisting that he knew nothing about the sexual harassment case. When I met with Mal Brough, as I have met with Mal Brough on numerous occasions, this matter has not been discussed, never been raised with me, I found out about it like the rest of Australia, on the Saturday when it was published in the newspapers. So frankly, I've said that on numerous occasions. Labor keeps repeating a lie because that's what they do in order to try to present it as facts. The bottom line is I didn't know anything about it. It is not some great LNP conspiracy. And Joe Hockey said for good measure if the Government thinks Peter Slipper is entirely innocent, they should put him back in the Speakers chair. That is not something the Government is about to do. Let's bring in our panel now. Joining us from Canberra, Christian Kerr from 'The Australian' and in Brisbane, Dennis Atkins from 'The Courier Mail'. A lot of the aenges today on Mal Brough -- attention today on Mal Brough, by taking Peter Slipper's seat of Fisher. How much damage does this do to Mal Brough's political future? I don't think it helps him much at all. I don't think it harms his immediate political future. I think there is almost no chance that the LNP will disendorse him, I think they will hang on to him as the candidate and I think he will win the seat unless something emerges that we don't already know. But I think if anyone who read Justice Steven Rares judgment, there was a fair bit in there of pretty comprehensive, I'm not sure there is that much more to know about what went on, but where it might hurt Mal Brough is when he gets to Canberra, now presuming that Tony Abbott wins the next election, I think Mal Brough would expect to be - have a senior position in the ministry, if not in cabinet. Now, I'm not sure that is going to happen. There's a long cue to the cabinet door down in Canberra. There are plenty of people who are already there. There are a number of up and coming people on the back bench who lay claim to a spot in the ministry and cabinet. And there is also another outsider coming in in Christian Porter from WA, a former Treasurer and a one-time next premier of WA. So it is a long cue, it's a crowded cue, and I don't think that being involved in this affair and having the judgment or the comments made about him by the judge in this case is going to help Mal Brough at all. I think it is fair to say that a number of those in that Liberal Party cue for promotion, as well as others in the parliamentary party at the moment, haven't been huge fans of Peter Slipper - of Mal Brough even before yesterday's court decision. Let me ask you Christian. What do you think this does to Mal Brough? Look, I very much agree with what Dennis said then. There is quite a cue around the cabinet table already for people looking for seats from the Liberal Party. There's been just that little bit of suspicion about Mal Brough, I think, in certain quarters of the Liberal Party and I really think a lot of Liberals are already there really won't be that upset about what happened in that judgment. But in terms of winning that seat of Fisher, Peter Slipper despite that finding yesterday has been badly politically damaged. The text messages that are now out there in the open are pretty grubby, a lot of them, it is very hard to see Mal Brough having any trouble winning that seat. Look, absolutely. I think Peter Slipper has been damaged goods for a long, long time. The only reasonable this came up is that the Liberal Party is only too damned middle class an doesn't like knifing its members when they get to their used by date. He should have been gotten rid of a long time ago and people with a slightly strong will to win would have ditched him a long time ago. What about the rest of the Coalition? We saw Anthony Albanese, Craig Emerson and others in the Government over the last 24 hours demanding full explanations from Tony Abbott and others. There has been no proof, no evidence, that anyone in the parliamentary party knew about this sexual harassment case being cooked up. No, there's no direct evidence of any of that. There is a few loose ends with Christopher Pyne meeting with James Ashby and with some other contact here and there. But I think the Labor Party and the ministers are just giving back to Tony Abbott and others a bit of their own medicine and what they heaped upon the Prime Minister Julia Gillard over the AWU slush fund. So I think there's a fair bit of pay back in terms of that. And also I think the fact that the last poll of the year, the last newspaper poll of the year is out on Monday in the Fairfax press and Nielson are in the field for the next few nights and I think Labor's just ramping this up in a desperate hope that some of those 1800 people who aren't Nielson's survey will be influenced by some of the negative talk that they have been putting out there. Yeah, you can understand Labor wanting to put some heat back on to Tony Abbott over this. Is it a fair enough request that he front up and answer more questions on this? Well look, I think that is just interesting to see the change in 24 hours. I mean, where is the call for the inquiry today? I mean, I think the Government actually knows its position. From what we know about its lifestyle, you may end up dying in a ditch with Peter Slipper. I don't think anyone wants to die in a ditch for slip prI should also point out as far as Tony Abbott is concerned we now know that he has been visiting troops in Afghanistan, some pictures here of that fairly brief visit to the troops prior to Christmas, he gave them some gifts of cricket gear and footballs and the like and obviously expressed his full support for what they are doing over there in Afghanistan. Dennis, is this the end of the Peter Slipper matter now? I mean, there is obviously the question of the possibility of an appeal from James Ashby getting up. But what happens from here? Is the Government going to keep pursueing this in the new year? I would be surprised if they do. They might niggle away and they will certainly have some back and forth across the Parliament when Parliament sits again in February but I don't think they will pursue this too much. I mean, as Christian said, the problem with Peter Slipper is that he taints everybody he comes near and the Government have got as much sort of muck from the Peter Slipper affair as the Coalition have got over some time. Unless something else happens, I think this may be the end of this part of the Peter Slipper story. But we have been saying that so often and Peter Slipper sort of never fails to either turn up through his own actions or through the actions of his enemies, some new claims and some new outrageous stories around the place. Well, the police and the DPP are of course still considering the matter of the cab charges and Peter Slipper's travel entitlements. But moving on, look at the budget surplus issue now. Reporting that the treasury is advising the Government to dump its commitment to a budget surplus. Joe Hockey for one clearly thinks this is part of a drip-feed, softening us all for the eventual breaking of this promise. Have a look. I just say this to the Labor Party: stop the games. Come clean on the real state of the budget. Do not continue to deceive the Australian people. Do not continue to have organised leaks claiming that you are being reluctantly dragged to an economically responsible position. What do you think Christian s this part of a softening process or is the Government still holding on to slim hope that it will achieve the surplus? Well, I think Wayne Swan is looking a bit like the little red engine at the moment. It is sort of "I think I can, I think I can". A lot of huffing and puff away. I think it is a bit of a who cares out there in the electorate really. I think everyone knew that the surplus was a smoke and mirrors job. I think also just given the uncertain global economic times, the Government will be granted always a fair amount of room to manoeuvre over the issue of a surplus. You don't see this as being a political problem for the Government if they fail to meet a surplus? If it's a political problem, it's a problem they made themselves. Really, I think people cut them a bit of slack. I mean, everybody has seen State Governments construct phoney surpluses over the years or surpluses that are so tiny that you are ask "Why do you bother?". I don't think we are aware of some of the debates over the last 12 months that have been asked for to try and deliver this surplus. So I think people give them a bit of ground on this. Everyone is aware of how things are global I will as well. Do you reckon there should be forgiveness for the Government for not getting this surplus? I think there might have been some forgiveness and the electorate may have cut this Government a bit of slack if the Government had have been more honest with them all the way through. But the Government has made so many emphatic statements, the Prime Minister and the Treasurer, about how they will deliver a surplus, about how it will be a real surplus. They have done everything but sort of bet their political life on it. I think that the opposition will come down like a tonne of bricks on them if they don't do it. You can hear Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey saying that this Government can never deliver a surplus, you can't trust anything the Prime Minister says and it goes back to what is one of her great strategic weaknesses, which is the issue of truthfulness and trust. I think the Government are coming at this a bit too late. They should have started earlier. Deconstructing their previous story and constructing a new one. They may be able to get away with it but you have got to admit that looking at the communications effort that this Government has had over the last few years, you wouldn't hold your breath. On that point, we will have to wrap things up. Good to talk to you both. Thanks for joining us. Thanks David. After the break, we are going to turn to the Gallipoli centenary commemoration, plans underway to limit the number of people who will be able to attend the dawn service there. We will be talking to the veterans affairs minister, Warren Snowden.

P In a little over two years, Australia will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli. Such a defining moment in our nation's history. But the Government is worried about the sheer number of people who will want to commemorate this centenary by being there on the Gallipoli Peninsula for the historic dawn service. It's moving to implement a limit. It wants around 10,000, most of them Australians, 8,000 and 2,000 New Zealanders, a limit of 10,000 only on the Gallipoli Peninsula for this dawn service. But some tour operators have already sold tickets and they along with some veterans say it is not the place for the Government to tell Australians whether they can or cannot be at Gallipoli for this historic moment. So where are the plans at and why is the Government so determined to implement this sort of restriction? I spoke earlier today to the minister for veteran affairs Warren Snowden. Well minister, thanks for your time. First, you can clear up where we are at in terms of the limit on the number of people who will be able to attend the centenary service at Gallipoli, has Turkey now agreed to the 10,000 limit? We are waiting still on final advice from the Turkish Government. We have had discussions with them over the last few months and our expectation is that we will get some direction from them in the very near future that the figure will be around 10,000, yes. What what is the feedback from Turkey because the ambassador here is saying they want as many Australians that want to attend to be able to attend? As we all do. I don't think we are at odds there at all. I think we are all restricted by the capacity of the site for the dawn service and indeed the site for the ceremony at Loan Pine where unfortunately there is limits to those sites, they are very sensitive areas, they are small areas and frankly we can't accommodate large numbers of people. That is a pit pity in a way but at the same time, we have got to understand and I'm sure most Australians do, that the Anzac Day is a time of so he lemmitity and we need to be making sure that in 2015 we commemorate it with a dignified and appropriate way. This is not a big day out event. This is a national event commemorating effectively the birth of a nation in many ways. So it is very important it is done sensitively and appropriately and within the limits of the site can provide for and unfortunately at this point, it is about 10,000 people. We have got an agreement with the New Zealand Government that of those 10,000, 2,000 will be alkailed to New Zealand and 10,000 will be allocated to Australia...8,000 to Australia. That's correct. The agreement with the Turkish Government is that it will be the Australian and New Zealand governments who will determine who will arrive at that location on the day. So we have got a huge responsibility here and we have to make sure that whatever we do, whatever the numbers end up being, that it is open and transparent. Just clarify how many officials will there be and will they be on top of the 10,000? We have made room for a few hundred officials but bearing in mind, of course, we don't know who that will be, there are a number of nations who are involved in Gallipoli who will inevitably want to send representatives. I've had discussions with the British Government. They are expecting certainly the discussions I had, there is an expectation that potentially a member of the Royal family will be representing the British Government. So there will be people that we will have to adomdate. But in terms of Australia's accommodation, clearly we expect probably the Governor-General, the Prime Minister, leader of the opposition, and one or two other ministers, but outside of that and outside of State Premiers, I wouldn't imagine there would be many others who would be in the political class who would be seen as special guests. Now, just tell me how you have arrived that the 10,000 figure? Because I know everyone appreciates the sensitivities about damaging the site but we have sent a lot, Australia has spent a lot upgrading the roads, facilities there on the site. Why is it be only 10,000? Because we have had engineering advice and that is what we have based our consultants report, which is now with the Turkish Government, and once we have had advice back from Turkey, we are pleased to make that available publically but that advice is very clear to us and so we are not going to counter act that advice and we need to make sure, as I said earlier, given the nature of the environment that we are working within, the fact that it is Turkey soil, I mean, we are being hosted by the Turkish people here, we have got to be very mindful and respectful of that fact and we are very comfortable with our very strong relationship with the Turkish Government who have been going out of their way to help us, as they have done in the past. I mean, they already provide a much support for us, they provide security for us, they make sure that the access is open to us. They provide all manner of help. We can't take that for granted. We must make sure we work sensitively with the Turkish Government. Is there any consideration being given to more services, obviously dawn is the important one, but what about dusk or other services during the day? We are certainly mindful that there is a potential for those sorts of things. But at the Anzac sites itself, they will be very limited to the ceremonies which we are responsible for and they are the dawn service and the New Zealand Government. Wep medto make sure that we look after those -- we need to make sure that we look after those services. I would imagine it would be unlikely to have the capacity to have other services around those sites on Anzac Day but there is all likelihood that there will be other services either in the days before or after, we know that on the 24th the Turkish national Government will have a ceremony, that there is a Commonwealth ceremony on that day, there's a French ceremony on that day, no doubt the Canadians will want to have a ceremony of some description. We also know that over the months that follow, there is every possibility that other ceremonies might be held. What about on Anzac Day, what would be the reason not to have a dusk service? Surely people that attend the dawn service would be gone by then. I must say that that is not a consideration I have given at the moment but that is something that we are happy to think about. But we need to be very mindful of the capacity of what we are able to - the capacity that we are able to provide and make sure that we are out of the place and secured it properly and there are all sorts of costs involved that we have got meet and we need to make sure that we are planning properly, dealing with people appropriately and fairly and that we make sure that they have a comfortable time whilst they are there...Just on that, what will you actually do if people do show up who haven't been allocated a ticket and argue presumably that it is their entitlement to commemorate this very important day for the nation and be there, regardless of what the Government limits are, what will actually happen to them, will you have security guards turning them away? Well, there are security guards there anyway and, yes, that is what will happen. They won't be allowed on the site. But that is not to say there may not be overflow sites elsewhere on the pen insular where other ceremonies...Some tour operators are talking about that at the moment. You don't have a problem if there are other services nearby? I do have a problem if they are done against what we are doing nationally and not with agreement with the Turkish Government. We are dealing directly here with the Turkish authorities and that is how it should be and those people, such as tour companies, need to be working with us and not doing things outside of any arrangements that we might have with the Turkish authorities or indeed with the New Zealand Government. So just finally, when do you expect an answer from the Turkish Government on this? Any time now. I was hoping we might have it by now, I'm certainly expecting it within the next few weeks. We will be in a position, I think, early in the new year, relatively early in the new year to make some final decisions about what the final numbers will be. We expect it will be around 10,000. We will also be able to make announcements, we think, in February or March around what a ballot might look like but we are doing that in agreement with our New Zealand friends. And that is quite important to us as well. We should remind people that it will preference children and other descendents of those who fought there. That is a proposal which we have not finally decided upon. We have just had 30 meetings around the country allowing people to provide input. There has been opportunities for people to make submissions. That is certainly one of the things that have been suggested. We have got, for example, we know that there are currently alive 200 widows of first world war veterans. It may be that we should provide obviously some position for those people. There has been another suggestion that we should provide capacity for direct descendents, first generation descendents of those Gallipoli veterans that we think there are between 5-700 of those alive in this country. Should we provide for them? The veterans affairs minister war enSnowden. That's our program for today. After the break, the very latest Sky News. Live Captioning by Ai-Media