Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
Sky News On The Hour 4pm -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) This program will be live captioned by Ai-Media

Delivering unrivalled live coverage - this is Sky News, Australia's news channel.

This is PM Agenda.

Good afternoon welcome to the program. The battle over border protection will inevitably be one of the most potent political issues between now and the election. Despite the Government's efforts to narrow the differences between itself and the Coalition on this issue. We now have both major parties agreeing on offshore pros in particular Nauru and Manus Island and we have fairly similar positions on the sorts of visas used, bridging visas for the government, temporary protection visaa is what the Coalition would prefer but clearly the biggest difference remains whether the navy should be used to turn back boats to Indonesia. The Coalition maintains this is a crucial missing ingredient. A key part of its plan to stop the boats. The Government says it won't work. That asylum seekers or the crews at least of the vessels will simply successle the boat as soon as they are inter--'le the boat intoos they are intercepted by the navy. No less than authority the defence force achieve, General David Hurley has weighed in on this issue saying it is an operational matter, and yes they would do it if a Coalition Government told them to do it but it is not a solution.He says. I sat down with General Hurley earlier today with a lengthy end of year interview looking at a raft of issues from progress in Afghanistan, and the alarming number of so called green on blue attacks there, where Afghan soldiers have been killing Coalition forces. We looked at the withdrawal from East Timor, what this is now going to mean for the defence force as they pull out of some of these conflict zones. And also what's been a disturbing issue for defence throughout the year, the enquiries and investigations into abuse within the military. We will show you the full interview coming up but look firstly at what he did have to say about the asylum seeker issue and in particular his call for more time to be given to the expert panel' plan that put forward by Angus Houston, Michael Lastrange and Paris Aristotle. Have a look.There is one further step that the panel didn't recommend that Tony Abbott says could be done is using the navy 20 turn back boats to Indonesia. This has been done before can it be done?It is a operational technique and not a solution. That's one very small part of this and have you seen different reactions internationally to those sorts of proposal s. My job is to deal with the Government of the day, requires us to do, if there was a change of policy we would discuss that with government and enact it You say it's not a solution, why?In itself is it is not. It is part. As I say this is is a whole chain and just doing one bit does not stop the whole chain functioning. They will work around this. We do things out on the water and the barrier effect there, we will change techniques and within two days they will come up with a counter. So they are very agile in that sense.That means damaging the boat, or even throwing kids overboard.The way they use the telephone systems to ring up emergency numbers all that sort of thing. They will watch what we do and respond. So just making a small - a change like that may not be small in many senses but a change like that by itself may not necessarily have ramifications for the whole chain.Because the people smugglers work away around it.It's a business.The full interview with defence force chief General David Hurley coming up later in the program. We will also be talking to the shadow Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop this afternoon, first a check of the top stories this hour back to the news centre. Thank you. Hello. Dame Elisabeth Murdoch has been remembered as a great mother and remarkable Australian at a state memorial service in Melbourne. Dignities around the world attended the service at St Paul's Cathedral including her son Rupert Murdoch. Ahron Young reports. The bells of St Pauls rang out across Melbourne as thousands remember a wonderful life and a wonderful lady.We come together to remember before God, our sister Elisabeth Joy.To give thanks for her life.And to comfort one another in our grief. (SONG) # all things bright and beautiful # All creatures great and small # My sisters and I and our entire family wish to say how heartened we are for the great love you have shown for Elisabeth Murdoch by your presence here today.To do justice to a mother whose love gave me more than I could ever hope to repay. The mother of one of the country's most successful businessmen, and a strong supporter of the arts it was fitting that her memorial service be held in the church that overlooks the National Gallery of Victoria, the royal botanic guns and 'her and and weekly times' building.The headquarters of her son's global empire but today she is remembered fore her grand achievement.I first remember meeting her when I was 4 or 5 years of age and in one sense have been with her for all of her life.She lived through wars and depressions but her optimism served her family and the Victorian community so well.The most satisfying thing I ever did, she always said, was to marry my husband.That was my father, Keith Murdoch. Such was the power of Dame Elisabeth Murdoch's generosity today she brought together every living former Victorian premier as well as former Prime Ministers John Howard and Malcolm Fraser. Her mark will forever be felt on the state of Victoria.Whether there be tongues they shall crease, whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.And now abideeth faith, hope and charity. One of life's great participants, who saw luck as her opportunity. You can watch encore presentations of today's statement memorial for Dame Elisabeth Murdoch right now on APAC, channel 648. The people of Fiji are counting the cost of damage caused by Cyclone Evan overnight, 8,000 people were forced out of their homes by the cyclone but there are no reports of fatalities. Cyclone Evan may not have claimed any lives but the destruction is extensive. When gusts reached 270 km/h overnight, up rooting trees sending removes flying.I have been in my life.Rivers burst banks flooding houses. For many parts of Fiji there are still no power and the phone lines aren't working. Those heads to and ine don't know what to expect.I hope it's not that bad like the previous hurricanes. So should be alright. Yeah.But, I'm not sure about the death toll so I'm not sure. So hope it's not bad like Samoa.On the ground the attention is now on cleaning up.Actually I was meant to go for a month's holiday. So it is going to turn up to be a clean-up campaign. So might be clean around the house, during Christmas.More than 8,000 people spent the night evacuation centres, winds and heavy rain continues today, resorts mopping up after suffering minor damage.It is pretty bad. We tried to get from our room down there and we couldn't get down because of the trees above the pathway.Fiji's Red Cross says it has enough supplies to cope in the aftermath. 400 Fijian military personnel are assisting with the clean-up. New Zealand's contribution is expected to cost millions.I suspect part of it will just be sending money, there is reasonably widespread damage on both Samoa and Fiji. So they will need to restore a lot of their core infrastructure and there will be damage to that credible infrastructure.What is left of Cyclone Evan is expected to reach New Zealand this weekend.Weather forecasters predict it will be much weaker but it will still bring rain and winds to part of the north island. Funerals have been held for two of the youngest victims of the Connecticut school massacre three days after the tragedy unfolded. 6-year-old Noah Pozner was one of 26 people killed on Saturday. His twin sister, who survived the attack, was among family members paying their respects. Noah's classmates, 6-year-old Jack Pinto has also just been laid to rest. In the meantime the debate over gun control in America is intensifying.Word as lone cannot heal our nation. Only action can do that.Gun violence is a national epidemic and a national tragedy. Funerals for the other shooting victims will be held in the coming days.

Taking a quick look at sport and Australia has one session and needs six Sri Lankan wickets to claim victory in the first Test in Hobart. The Aussies set the tourists 393 for victory, and while they are not likely to reach that target the Sri Lankans are intent on hanging around and at least getting a draw.Despite his injured hamstring Michael Clarke was intent on piloting the push for victory on day five. Edged! Has he got him? Gentlemen yes he has.Yes he has. He has got his opposing number. I didn't think it was going to carry.Sangakkara notched up his 50.That gets almost what it should have got.On 54 he was given out leg before but he successfully reviewed the decision.Oh, has it hit him outside the line? It has. Worth reviewing.After lunch Siddle thought he jagged Samaweera.It looked to me the ball was outside the line when the ball made impact.The paceman might have been denied on that occasion but he eventually split the partnership.Oh, that's close! This is out. Tomorrow's forecast now: hot before a gusty change with storms in the south-east. Showers and storms continuing in the far north. Now back to David Speers in Canberra as PM Agenda continues.

Thank you. After the break our interview with defence force chief General David Hurley and we will also be joined by the shadow Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. Stay with us.

You are watching PM Agenda. It has been a difficult year for the Australian defence force, the focus on abuse within the military has seen various enquiries held and the extent of this problem exposed prompting formal apologies from the government and top brass. We have also seen another 7 Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan this year, three of them as a result of so called green on blue attacks.But despite this there have been gains made in Afghanistan, as the transition to local security control continues. We also saw just in the last few weeks the withdrawal of, a final withdrawal of Australian troops from East Timor after that long running engagement. But the workload that defence faces in intercepting and handling asylum seekers in waters to our north and north west continues at pace.To look back at what has been a big year for the defence force, I sat down for a lengthy discussion earlier today with the defence force chief David Hurley. General Hurley thank you for your time. Can I start with the situation in Afghanistan at the moment. How would describe the security conditions in the country and the strength of the Taliban in particular? David thank you. Look as a strategy level the senior government level, the operational level we are commander ISAF John Allan operates on reflection this year has been a good year for ISAF across the board.In terms of the continuation of the transition process, so we are into three tranches in transition, 75% of the population working under ANS Afghan national security force lead for security, that hasn't been completed that process, and another two tranches to go. But all the major statistics this year, so violence levels are down --.-- say violence levels are down. Civilian casualties and so forth down and in a recent survey conducted says about 52%, which is better than it has been in the past of Afghan people are confident of the direction that the country's moving in.So it is a safer place than a year ago. Are you able to say?You wouldn't say across the board, it's safer but there will be specific spots where it's still difficult ground.What about in the...For ISAF and so forth.We have focused our effort in the Oruzgan province would you feel safe walking around some of the villages in the B eluchi valleys and where we have dove devoted a lot of our attention.-- devoted a lout of our attention.People talk about what security means in Afghanistan and I have said this a number of times in discussions with people we are not about making Afghanistan a safe place for a white Caucasian tourist to go to tomorrow in a Hawaii shirt and thongs and take photographs. It has to be safe for the people in Afghanistan to continue to seek jobs, to grow jobs, for education. To go around their daily business. For people like me, I wouldn't walk down, you know it will be very difficult for me to walk unarmed in civilians in many places in Afghanistan, still.And why is that? Because of the Taliban isn't it?Because the country - across the board the institutions the security institutions are still in the process of putting their sort of stamp on the way they are going to do business and taking over control from the ISAF forces so yes it's a security threat but it goes from Taliban to lawlessness in it some areas and the two can be confused.The point I'm getting at is when you say we can't expect it to be a place where a white Caucasian westerner can wander around freely there will be inevitably still be some level of Taliban control or influence there, when we do withdraw?By the end of 2014 we would expect there will still be Taliban capacity 20 operate within Afghanistan. But not in the -- to operate within Afghanistan but not in the existential threat to the existence of the Afghanistan state as we know at the present time.There will be a degree of but you are confidence that -- influence but you are confident the central Government in Kabul will still be able to control the whole country?It will control the most of the population areas, there will be uncontrolled spaces. As I say always have been in Afghanistan. I mean there are desert areas in there where very few people live and there is no point trying to conduct operations in there. But the major population centres, around the ring road, the major infrastructure in the country, that's where they will - retain and maintain control. Over that period.The security transition in Oruzgan as you mentioned has been under way since July. We are at the point where there are no Australian soldiers based at those forward operating bases anymore. They are all back in Tarin Kowt at the main base there. What exactly are they doing now the Australian soldier?We have rused the size of the force -- reduced the size of the force so the numbers we had operating outside we don't require anymore so inside the base of the present time there are two Candax which are the logistic Candac or the Candac which provides artillery support and all that training can take place inside the base complex. So they conduct there. We are still advising the brigade headquarters four brigade headquarters located inside the base and we are still advising and assisting the senior leadership in the province in terms of the governor, chief of police, the NDS commander and the brigade commander in coordination of their activities there.There are no more foot patrols or day-to-day living and working with the Afghan soldiers?Not in the adviser sense we have before. Outside the wire that's correct. We still do have however the provisional reconstruction team operating so it has force protection elements provided by us. They go out when they go out to call on the local governor or local district leadership, and obviously we still have the special forces operating in the region. How much of this shift, this transition, was a response to the so called green on blue attack?This plan was put in place in Lisborne in November 2010. So this has been a well thought through process, of transitioning five tranches, provide inss and districts over a four year period to the end of December 14.So nothing to do with the legitimate concerns about the growing number of attacks from Afghan soldiers on the Coalition country?No, this was the NATO ISAF Government of Afghanistan strategy to transition security, over a four year period. So, the green on blue activity that's occurred over the last three years, and it's increased each year, is a response in one sense by the Taliban to how that strategy was playing out but wasn't the driver for the strategy.There have as you said been an increase in these sort of attacks. 61 Coalition soldiers this year have died at the hands of Afghan soldiers. What sort of impact do you think this has really had?Well, I have been NATO, ISAF meetings over the last year where this has been a topic of discussion. I think you can see internationally there has been a very solid response to this, to say look, we understand what the intent of these attacks are. They are trying to drive a wedge between populations and the governments in the western world, but that hasn't succeeded. We could see this coming over the last year or two, that the IED threat, still exists but it's largely under control. There is a few indirect fire attacks and few direct fire attacks. So what was the new tactical weapons system with a strategic edge that the Taliban were going to try?And we could see that sort of gradually building. And so in one sense not surprised they have used a tactic and we expect it will occur again next year in the next fighting season.Up to ISAF now and the rest of us to make sure we mitigate the risk of that being successful as far as we can.You still expect there will be more of these attacks.They will continue, of course they will yb yes.They did have an impact on some countries, the FrenchSped up their withdrawal. The last combat troops pulled out last week. Has that caused a issue snchThere is flow-in behind that and they are still support in that area so there is still French commitment in that sense.For the Australians you said there has already been a reduction, because we don't have the soldiers outside the wire anymore. Where are things headed from here? When will we see the last Australian soldiers withdrawn?Difficult to put a concise date on that at the moment because the planning for post '14, what happens and the next operation, to support the Afghan Government and people, is still in the process of being worked through. So, NATO will make up its major decisions about that by about February or so next year, then there will be some more detailed plans and as that flows through that will give us the indicators what the step down will occur. And when bases will close, and when will we cease operations.We will possibly still have some involvement post 2014 though won't we and the Prime Minister in particular has left open the option of special forces staying in Afghanistan. Do you see that as something that is likely?It's a possibility. As I said the Government have left that on the table for consideration as we see what the Government of Afghanistan and NATO and the current ISAF leadership determine what the requirement might be.Is - there has been a heavy toll on the special forces we know for many years now in Afghanistan, is this something special forces can cope with? An ongoing role there?We have looked forward over this period and certainly post 2014 will not be the same sized commitment that it is at the present time. So it will be a smaller commitment because if you go into say for example a counter terrorist type role it requires a much smaller force to do that.And it wouldn't necessarily be confined to just the Uruzgan province. They have not at the moment anyway are they?No they operate in the districts of the periphery of Oruzgan as well as the province. If we went to a CT feg it will probably be a national asset but there are only certain areas where the targets operate from.In that southern part.On the eastern borders. Yep.Whenever the date is the final regular soldiers leave, in two years time presumably they will be out, we also saw last month the final withdrawal of troops from East Timor as well.Are we now heading into, after a decade of fairly high tempo activity for defence, are we heading into a quieter period?My message to the ADF when I go around and talk to them over the last six to eight months has been by about 2015 we will be at a different operational tempo as you have said to what we have been used to for the last 10 years. So down sized significantly in Afghanistan, out of East Timor and out of the Solomon Islands so the three main operations we have been working to the last 6 to 10 years will have - either ceased or be much installer we will have Operation Resolute which is the support to border protection whichsy major task for the navy and supported by the air force and that should continue. I ink this in some form over that period. -- I think in some form over that period. Hard to say what that might look like at the present time. Will there be a period of resetting again. Building back up our conventional warfare skills and really preparing the ADF for what Government asked it to do to be prepared to respond to demands on its skill set into the future.Do you see the role of defence changing as we look into the future and all this talk about what's happening in the region?We continue to do the job we are asked to do. So build conventional capability, being able to respond to humanitarian assistance, disaster relief so all the stock-standard tasks you expect the ADF will still be there P one thing I think will flow through into that period is we will be lifting up our engagement levels again, back into the region. Not that we have walked away from it but we haven't conducted the number of exercises and as been as active in there as we might have been in the 90s and I think we will be heading impact into a larger rate of effort or in that period.I wanted to ask you about that because we are seeing of course more cooperation with US Marines in the Top End, how is that going? And is there scope for that to be expanded?That, this year we had the first company come through, 250, government has agreed we will repeat that again next year. And at the end of next year we will make an assessment as to whether there will be an increase to the commitment and the next one will be about 1100. About a battalion size. So there is a - thoughts about how that will progress, but we will just check on each of those as we go through. Very successful.Are you going well so far?Successful the deployment this year, good training value for the Marines and for us and also the Marines deployed from Darwin into the region to do the normal training missions they do with other countries in the region as well. So that's gone down well.What sort of we have you received from some of the regional counterparts about this because we know there have been some concerns?The two major ones I think people talk about are Indonesia and China. Indonesia, have been welcoming in the sense that they understand the reasons behind the decision, but wanted to engage and reached out and said can we conduct activities with the Marines and Australia, in a regional setting. So we have started work on a human an tarn affairs and disaster relief -- humanitarian affairs and disaster relief exercise next year and the Indonesians will take that and look after the affairs and that is a good sign sign. The Chinese there were mixed messages to start with but I was up there in Beijing last week, meant with my new counterpart Jen real Fu in g, CDF equivalent, and the ish -- General Fung and I have had no pointed comment or fingers poked in my chest about this decision over the last 12 months.Do you see scope for greater cooperation and joint exercises with the Chinese? And perhaps with the Americans and Chinese as well?Look, I think the latter is quite possible. And the former in terms of increased activity, yes, we put together a number of proposals between the two countries which we discussed last week. To lift the effort. We will continue to do HADR, humanitarian assistance exercise. We have done two, one with the Kiwis about a month ago, we will do more of that. Exchanges, guest lecturers into each other's military colleges and we have a very firm framework in place now for higher level dialogue from ministerial to my level to officials level. So it is growing in richness. After the break more from General David Hurley what does he think about the border protection debate which he explains to us is taking its toll on defence personnel and in particular Tony Abbott's plan to use the navy to turn back the boats. Stay with us.

We will hear more from defence force chief David Hurley in just a moment. First a check of the news headlines with Vanessa Trezise. The defence force chief has weighed into the asylum seeker issue, General David Hurley told Sky News turning back the boats is not a solution. He says people smugglers will still find a way to bring asylum seekers to our shores, and he pointed to cases where crew had telephoned Australian emergency services and asked to be intercepted.General Hurley says the issue needs a broader policy focus, but acknowledged it will take time. Dame Elisabeth Murdoch has been honoured by family, friends and the nation in it a statement memorial service in Melbourne. Among those paying their respects were Governor-General Quentin Bryce former Prime Minister John Howard, and representing the Prime Minister Nicola Roxon Rupert Murdoch delivered a eulogy saying his mother's spirit and energy em bodied the finest qualities of the country. He also remembered her love for her husband Keith mur and her children who he said were -- Murdoch and her children who he said were eternally grateful. Dame Elisabeth was 103.Tropical Cyclone Evan has left a swathe of destruction across Fiji after battering the Pacific nation for more than 12 hours. Western parts of the main island bore the bankrupt of the -- brunt of the cyclone's furry.Ed roads were closed by land slides and debris. 8,000 people were forced of their homes by the cyclone but thankfully there are no reports of fatalities. Funerals have been held for victims of the Connecticut school shootings. 6-year-olds Noah Pozner and Jack Pinto were farewelled at services in Newtown. All schools remain shut in the town, and mourners continue to pay their respects to the 20 children and six adults who were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. There have been protests outside the Washington headquarters of the National Rifle Association calling for greater gun control. Queensland police have charged a 19-year-old man after a stabbing in a park on the Sunshine Coast. The man has been charged with murder and two counts of armed robbery following the death of a 49-year-old Caboolture man. Police were called to a park in Bluebell Street around 9. And a vicinity was found with a stab wound to his chest and his partner screaming for help. Paramedics attempted to revive him but he died at the scene. Australia is struggling against Sri Lanka on day five of the first test in Hobart. The Aussies came into the day needing 8 wickets to win but so far they have only managed to claim three scalps. There has been several rain delays as well with Hobart's fickle weather frustrating the host. Speaking of the weather:

Thank you. Shortly we will be joined live by the shadow Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. First a more of our interviewer, our wide ranging discussion with the defence force chief General David Hurley. We looked at the difficult issue of border protection, and the role of defence is playing there and also General Hurley's thoughts on Coalition plans to turn back boats to Indonesia but also the Government's defence spending cut s announced in this year's budget. When we look what's happening in the region, China and a number of other countries are increasing their military spending. The Government has cut the planned increase in military spending by some $5.5 billion, as was announced in this year's budget. What do you think this is having because as commentators have pointed out this is reducing the defence spending as a proportion of GDP to the lowest level since 1938.The critical points that were made when that decision, we protected all our operational funding, so to support current operations, so that's the equipment, force protection measures and so forth all funded for those operations.The major capabilities that will be the really the backbone of our conventional capability and our ability to respond to lesser operations will continue.Now there has been some delays in the introduction of service of some of those capabilities to allow for the budget or the fiscal policy of the Government to be met, or implemented. But they are manageable over time. Then you have maintaining the current rate of effort of the ADF in terms of its training and so forth. We will work through Government in the white paper about how that will be managed into the future.But we will keep a core, or those key capability s on line we are talking about the Air Warfare Destroyer, the am fib yet of the LHDs -- am fibben LHDs and the jets and so forth.You don't like it, this it must cause you some concern?When the Government has a fiscal policy that says it is going to go into surplus and it need s to make some decisions it comes to us for advice and we give it, that's my job.You comment on the ongoing role the government has when it comes to asylum seekers. Tell me how difficult this task is, the patrolling of our waters to the north and west, and what sort of toll it does take on your personnel?

On the water,

we support the border protection command, we have their patrol boats the aircraft and our P 3 C Orion aircraft from the air force. It's a hard job. It is not as though they are cruising around in the ocean. Monsoon season, very heavy seas, difficult operating environment. And then you are running into often people in quite distressed situations, who need to be calm, and helped on board often in rough conditions and difficult conditions and on top of that we have the tragedies we know about. So there is a whole range of experiences that our sailers in particular go through, and these operations. We have got to be very careful in the way we manage that. I mean when people tend to talk about the stressors of operations in Afghanistan, they can be justice as acute for many of the personnel out on the water. It is part and parcel of doing our job, you know we need to be prepared for many of those incident when is they occur, so we need to be supportive as well.It is a difficult job for the navy to do.

It is a very difficult job and takes just as much of a toll on the personnel serving in Afghanistan. Do you think we are doing enough to deal with this problem, to reduce some of these pressures?In terms of on people or the asylum seekers? In terms of the policy on asylum seekers. I mean, is there more we can do?Well, I think the three member special working group that the Government put together, delivered a fairly coherent I think plan to allow over time for a reduction on the asylum seeker numbers. It's going to take time to work it through. It's fairly comprehensive and needs to be worked through. But we are dealing with some people out there who have really no concept of what you and I might call decent humanity. They will put these people out in those boats and push them off for a dollar.And, we have got to attack that at many levels so it's not just the sea barrier we put there to collect them, it's working as we have for many years right back through the infrastructure, like the value chain for asylum seekers, and trying to disrupt that and stop that all the way through. That takes time.There is one further step that the panel didn't recommend, that Tony Abbott says could be done and that is using the navy to turn back boats to Indonesia. This has been done before, can it be done again?That's an operational technique, it's not a solution. I mean that's one very, very small part of this. And have you seen different reactions internationally to those sorts of proposals. My job is to deal with the Government of the day, requires us to do, if there was a change of policy we would discuss that with government and then enact the policy.You say it's not a solution. Why?In itself it's not. It's just part. As I say this is a whole change and just doing one bit does not stop the whole chain functioning. They will work around this. I mean we do things out on the water, and the barrier effect there, we will change techniques and within two days they will come up with a counter. So they are very agile in that sense.That means damaging the boat or even throwing kids overboard?The way they use the telephone systems to ring up emergency numbers all that sort of thing. They will watch what we do and respond. Making a change like that may not be small in many senses but a change like that by itself may not necessarily have ramifications for the whole chain.Because the people smugglers work a way around it.It's a business. Let me turn to what has been a difficult aspect for defence through this year. The issue abuse within defence. We have seen enquiries and now ongoing investigations into specific cases. You delivered an apology on behalf of defence to those who have suffered in the military ranks, can you give any guarantee though to young men and women considering a career in the military that they will be safe from this sort of behaviour?Let me go to my bottom line on all this. What we have been through over the last 18 months the reports, the DLA Piper Report in particular I have said on many occasions that report does not define the ADF. The ADF is not an abusing organisation. We might have areas past and present we need to address and we are working very diligently to do that but I would like any parent in the eye and tell them that if you want a good career for your son or your daughter, the ADF is a great place to send them.A great place to send them but a safe place to send them?A safe place to send them.Are you confident of that?I am.One aspect the ongoing task force is looking at is the 24 alleged rapes that took place at ADFA in the 80s and 90s. Do you know or have you tried to find out whether any of those alleged culprits are still in the military?I have taken action on that. When I became aware of it I directed that the ADF investigative service start reviewing the evidence that existed or the documentation we had available, that's been undertaken and that's works in parallel with the task force.And are you able to say whether there is anyone still in the military who may have been involved?I think it's been reported there are about 10 people that may be still serving.Sorry, are still serving.And that's why the ADF investigative service is involved. And the task force under Len Roberts-Smith will look at other aspects of that am back with a decision.The 10 has any action been taken. Are they stood aside or doing their job?The ventive process has started on that. That's -- investigative process has started that's the best I can say at the moment.They haven't been stood aside?No.Even though they may have been involved in this...Well, the evidence and the data that's available is quite sketchy on some of these things and I think it might be premature to make these decisions.Damaging has this issue been for defence?You can't walk away from the fact when people see abuse next to your brand it has a damaging effect. But on my engagement with the population broadly when I go around the countryside, talk and so forth, there is still very, very strong support for the organisation. General Hurley thank you and hope you and the family and everyone in the military enjoys a happy Christmas.Thank you very much. Same to you. After the break, we will be live to the shadow Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop for a bit of reaction on some of that but also the foreign aid cuts as the Opposition have called them diversions as the Government has put it, spending less overseas and more on asylum seekers in Australia. Stay with us.

Well the Opposition has gone on the attack today over what it says is another cut to Australia's foreign aid budget. Some $375 million that was earmarked for spending on foreign aid will now be spent on asylum seekers here in Australia. The Government says this is still within OECD guidelines but as the shadow Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has point ed out today, spending on asylum seekers in Australia will now be the third biggest area of foreign aid spending in the spoern aid budget.Julie Bishop -- foreign aid budget. Thanks for your time Julie Bishop. On this issue you say it is absolute nonsense for the Foreign Minister to say that this isn't a cut from the aid budget. Is he right though in saying this is technically within the foreign aid guideline?Good afternoon David. It doesn't matter how Bob Carr tries to justify it on technical grounds, the fact is that our foreign aid budget is meant to be for overseas development assistance. This funding will not be spent overseas and it will not be spent on development assistance.In fact, the Gillard Government has now made itself the third largest recipient of foreign aid. Indonesia is the largest, then PNG and third, the Gillard Government. This decision is bad on so many fronts.Not only have they cut the foreign aid budget, it's the manner in which they tried to do it. Sneak it out before Christmas so that no-one would notice. They were caught out by Channel 10 and then have come up with this excuse they will redirect the money to their border protection policies. Well that just highlights what an absolute and utter failure their border protection policies have been. Because there is already been a $6.5 billion blowout and now they will take $375 million from the overseas development assistance fund to shore up their failings in border protection.The Government's argument is that this mun cry is still going to be spent on -- money is still going to be spent on needy people, asylum seekers food and clothing, just because they are in Australia rather than in another country doesn't make a difference.That is a false argument. There are needry people in Australia. There are needy people in indigenous communities. What the Government is doing is spending more money on its failed border protection policies in Australia than it's spending on source countries supporting Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Sri Lanka, and this is zoing enormous damage to our -- doing enormous damage to our international reputation. The government committed to increasing the foreign aid budget, that is overseas development assistance, as a key plank of its bid to win a seat on the UN Security Council and just weeks away from Australia taking up that seat it has junked its promise to increase the aid budget. So s not only can the Australian -- so not only can the Australian people not trust Julia Gillard, neither can countries overseas.So if it is so terrible will the Coalition restore this $375 million to the foreign aid budget?David, what this shows is that the budget is in crisis. It shows that the people smugglers have more control over the budget than the Labor Government. What we will have to do should we be honoured by the Australian people to win government is have a look at the state of the books. Clearly the budget is in crisis. Clearly this is an act of a desperate government and we will need to see the state of the national accounts before we can can determine what priorities we will be able to embrace.You may not reverse this?David, it's $375 million. It's the third largest amount of foreign aid in our overall budget. It goes to show that the budget is in crisis. Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan have promised on at least 150 occasions that they will return a budget surplus. They haven't done so today to date, they have driven the budget into record levels of deficit, we have now got a record level of gross debt, and we need to see the books of account before we can determine what will be able to fund but I can tell you this, by taking $375 million out of the foreign aid budget and not redirecting it to schools, hospitals in Australia, but to their failed border protection policies, that means that the budget is in utter disarray. Can I turn to what the chief of the defence force has now had to say about your policy to turn back boats to Indonesia. General Hurley says that while it is a question for the government of the day, it is "In itself not a solution" the people smugglers will change techniques and come up with a counter" what the your response to that?The Coalition has never claimed that in itself turning back the boats were it safe to do so is the exclusion. We didn't do that under the Howard Government -- the solution. We didn't do that under the Howard Government and that's not the Coalition's policy it is part of a range of measures we will put in place to dismantle the people smuggling trade and we have been advocating this for five years, ever since the Rudd-Gillard Government unpicked the measures in place that worked. When we left office in November 2007 there were just four people who had arrived by boat in our detention network. We have now seen 30,000 or more people arrive. So, General Hurley is right when he says of itself it won't stop the boats, it's got to be part of a suite of measures and that's what question put in place. We have done -- we will put in place. We have done it before and we are do do it again.On his argument the people smugglers will come up with a counter. He says they will watch what we do and come up way response. He spoke about making emergency phone calls. He has an argument it may not work.This is a battle between the people smugglers and the Gillard Government and currently the people smugglers are winning. Because the government doesn't have the resolve, they don't have the will to implement policies that will work. The Coalition does, we have demonstrate ed that in the past and we will demonstrate it again and I note that Australian Governmentus Houston no less -- Angus Houston no less has said it is skis let's... It will have an impact.And jefrnral Hurley has confirm he will of course do his job to implement government policy.Are you not arguing it will have an impact in stopping boat?We have never said that of itself it would be the entire solution. This will be a significant battle with the people smugglers but the Coalition has the resolve to win. The Government does not as has been evident by its massive policy failings. I would suggest that border protection has been the greatest policy failure in a generation. Now, Julie Bishop I want to finish on somewhat a lighter note. It is silly season of course. A couple of weeks ago we saw the PM doing a mock video for JJJ about the end of the world, now Kevin Rudd has, perhaps in a case of one-upmanship or one downmanship whichever way you look at it has gone all Gangnam style on breakfast TV. Have a look in case you haven't caught it.You can get the whole dance going around the country.You think so. Rudnam style.You look a little bit like him.He has the same car is ma as I have got.He does.Like not a lot.Julie Bishop, I have been trying to think of a clever question for you on this one, but I am lost. What do you think about that?Kevin shows he does have a certain sense of rhythm, the arm movements were - somewhat akin to Psy, the South Korean pop culture guru but the leg movements weren't quite there. What you have to say is Kevin Rudd is the master of timing. His media appearances so as to upstage the Prime Minister given that this is Julia Gillard's first day of leave. But the real story here is about Julia Gillard's leadership. Kevin Rudd is clearly trying to draw attention to himself, so that he can position himself to challenge Julia Gillard for the leadership. But my word of advice to Kevin is I think he has to stand in line. You see Bob Carr's been undermining the Prime Minister on that key UN vote, he's been boasting that he's got 90% of the caucus, so there is a min angry of people lining -- man angry of people lining up for the Labor leadership as we go to thirt.I don't think Bob Carr has got the dances. Unfortunately.Let's hope we don't find out.Thank you for your commentary on Kevin's dance moves and we wish you a happy Christmas as well. Thanks for all of your contributions through the year.Same to you and your viewers.That's all we have time for today's show. We will be back same time tomorrow though. See you then. Live Captioning by Ai-Media