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PM Agenda -

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(generated from captions) This program will be live captioned by Ai-Media. Hello, welcome to PM Agenda, I'm Ashleigh Gillon. Today on the show the latest Twitter saga, this time's a Liberal MP in trouble over a Tweet about a violent riot south of Brisbane. Plus today's Newspoll, the Coalition is still in front but there's only two points in it on a two party preferred basis. We'll discuss those issues and more with the mental Health Minister Mark Butler. Plus where is the US at with the debt ceiling debate. What does it mean for us. Tim Harcourt is going to be my guest. Finally what has Lance Armstrong told Oprah. We'll look at the link starting to flow. All of that's coming up. First though the top stories for you at the Sky News centre. NSW authorities have seen first hand the destruction caused by an intense bushfire burning in the state's north. Exhausted fire crews are working around the clock to contain the massive blaze. Around 100 fires are still burning across the state, authorities rushing to prepare with more hot weather on the way. It's a fire described by state authorities as the worst in a decade, a monstrous blaze with the perimeter stretching more than 200 km. Despite torrid weather conditions that have lingered over NSW for more than a week, no-one saw this fire coming. It's absolutely obvious that this was a, an extreme fire, the heat, the ferocity, the rapidity of this fire caught everyone pretty much unawares. The blaze in the Coonabarabran area still burns out of control. It could take days to contain. Despite dozens of properties being lost, emphasis again on the fact no lives have been lost. That's not through luck. It's through good preparation and through the good work of our firefighters. Authorities have praised the ongoing efforts of fire crews working hirelessly to protect lives and properties. The firefighting effort has been nothing short of outstanding. In the grand scale of this extraordinary fire campaign just have a good look at how much was saved and that's cold comfort obviously for those that have suffered so much. A further 6 Local Government areas have been declared natural disaster zones, including Warrumbungle meaning more assistance for victims. With more hot weather due again later in the week and out of control fires burning across the state the fight is far from over. Jack Board, Sky News. For the latest information from the RFS press red on your remote, look for the dedicated channel. Victoria is facing more fire danger this week. Victoria has seen some cooler climate conditions in the last couple of days but that's not expected to last with conditions expected to get around the 40 degree mark later this week. That puts fire danger ratings very high and severe in certain parts. Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu has stressed to the public to remain vigilant as the mercury climbs. Victoria over the next few days will experience very difficult fire conditions again. We urge all Victorians to prepare, stay in touch and do what's necessary to stay safe. We thank ele again all the volunteers and all the full-times oars on the work they continue to do. Two grassfires got away overnight but have since been contained by firefighters, one expected to have been deliberately lit. Obviously anybody who lights a fire at any time, which endangers life, is not only foolish, they're reckless and they are committing a very serious crime. Meanwhile a group of Victorian firefighters have returned from Tasmania and the Premier has taken a moment to pay his respects to fallen firefighters Peter Kramer. Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong has apologised to his own circularity he was forced to stand down from. A spokesperson for Livestrong says the apology was sincere and heart felt. Today standing amidst a tear filled room of 100 Livestrong staff members sources tell ABC News Lance Armstrong took responsibility for the damages it caused the Livestrong foundation, the cancer charity he founded and which helped turn him from athlete to global icon. He's categorically insisted he never Schetd, now coming back to haunt him. I have never doped. You can see it in his unflinch ing glare for more than a decade. The cynics and the skeptics, I'm sorry for you, I'm sorry you can't dream big and you don't believe in miracles. I've never taken drugs. Today sources say Armstrong is attempting to apologise by phone to a select few former friends including ex-team mate Floyd landers who broke his silence in 2010 and sparked Armstrong's depoun fall. The police or somebody was watching the hotel rooms. Can a tell all with Oprah repair. He is now just scraping for a second chance. I think he's at a point where he realises he's lost this game and people have been wanting an apology. The stakes are huge. Lance Armstrong risks hurting himself even more in the hopes of winning sympathy and restoring a lost reputation. You will be able to watch the world exclusive interview with Lance Armstrong in full on Friday. All six discovery channels in Australia and New Zealand will broad cavity the program as it is going to air in the United States, and that is from 1 p.m. Australian east ern daylight time on Friday. The first Newspoll of the year has recorded a surge in support for Labor with numbers not seen since the last election. But the shift seems to have come at the expense of the Greens and other parties rather than the Coalition. The first Newspoll of the year, an election year, puts Labor within striking zadges. I think we're at the beginning of the election campaign, with Labor and the Coalition going to be quite close. Labor's primary vote has jumped 6 points to 38% since December despite dumping the long promised budget surplus just days before Christmas. You can overnale cise these things. I've made this point before, I make it again, I've always been of the view when push comes to shove the Australian community will form the view that Mr Abbott does not have the demeanour or the judgment to be Prime Minister of the country. Despite the gains the Coalition would win the election on these numbers, 51 to 49% on a two party preferred basis but Shadow MPs are reluctant to claim victory as certain. To change the Government, it was always going to be tough. Labor's gains have come partly at the expense of the Greens who've slumped to 9%, a warning for the minority party approaching their first election with Christine Milne at the helm. The Greens have to be worried generally about what's going on long term for them. In the better Prime Minister stakes Tony Abbott trails by 12 points. In the last few weeks he work ed with the volunteer fire brigsade to fight fires in NSW and went on annual leave. By contrast Julia Gillard finalised the Royal Commission into child sex abuse and wrote an open letter to the Australian public declaring she's ready for an election. Then of course there's the dumped surplus target but there doesn't appear to be a backlash on that backflip in this particular Newspoll. Labor MPs are now concentrating on other promises and that is to deliver the Gonski school reforms and the National Disability Insurance Scheme. These are the sorts of decisions that if not made would be a matter of enormous regret for this nation. A promise that will cost in the order of $15 billion a year. If an election is called now or any time soon we'll certainly be ready for it. A large police presence will be on stand by in Queensland this evening over concerns of more clashes in Logan south of Brisbane, the riot squad was called in last night to control a confrontation between the two groups. At the moment we've got about 15 police on the ground. That said we have got a significant number of resources available today on the ground and they will be here at a moment's notice. But I am anticipating that there will be no further trouble today or in the future. Logan's mayor Pam Parker is organising a ministerial summit in order to ward off any more violence. At least 17 people have been killed and more than 100 injured after a military train derailed south of craoiro. It came off the tracks in Giza. It's not yet known what caused the crash. Egypt has a poor safety record and this could put more pressure on the Government to act on the issue. To sport, Bernard Tomic is among 7 Aussies in action at the Australian Open today. Britain's Andy Murray is through to the second round after downing rob yin has in straight sets. That's giving someone the run around. And that completes a reasonably emphatic victory. Meantime Caroline Wozniacki has beat is a bean Srecki in three. I'll be out there, I mean, unless something fatal happen toss me, there's no way I'm not going to be competing. Let's go to the weather. Heavy rain and storms in the north-east. Hot in the south. Thundery showers in the west. Now back to Ashleigh Gillon as PM Agenda continues. After the break we're going to be chatting with the mental Health Minister, Mark Butler. That's coming up. So stay with us. Hello, welcome to the program. It seems our politicians need to learn to watch what they write on Twitter. Last week the Labor Minister Brendon O'Connor apologised for Tweeting that Tony Abbott's volunteer firefighting ways a stunt. Today the Liberal MP Andrew Laming has been slammed for his contribution to commentary about a violent clash south of Brisbane after he questioned if those involved were on welfare. Also today Labor MPs have been given a boost with today's Newspoll showing the gap is now tightening much the Coalition is ahead 51 to 49. We're going to get to those issues in detail. Coming up on the program with our press gallery panel and also with the mental Health Minister Mark Butler. First a look at the initiative who was out launching today for parents... When you have depression, you say Leave it, get out of my face. This is what your child hears. Leave it, get out of my face. But this is what you mean. Look mate, I'm really struggling at the moment. I have depression and I wish you could understand. It's a big issue. As the Minister explained encouraging parents with a mental illness to talk about their issues with their kids is all the more important because it's clear there is a cycle with research suggesting that children of people suffering a mental illness are also likely to face their own deplons down the track. That's right, there are about 1 million children we think who live with a parent who has anxiety or depression or sometimes both, and we know that those children are as much as three times more likely than the average to develop mental illnesses or a substance abuse issue themselves. This initiative I have announced today is a really important prevention initiative to make sure that children and adlessents have the best possible outcome for menth health. It gives parents the tools to give them to have open frank discussions with their children about their mental illness, particularly if they're experiencing anxiety and depression. We know that one of the causes of children experiencing mental illness later in life because of this is because they just don't understand what's going going on at home. This is an important tool for parents to be start to have that conversation and have a much better understanding by all members of the family about what's happening at home. Are we making any inroads on taking away that taboo which is associated with mental illness or do you think that is one of the key challenges in deal with this issue. I think it is a challenge for the community but I think we've come an enormously long way in the last 10 years or so. The work that blond Blue has done, particularly in the area of depression and anxiety and postnatal depression has made I think significant inroads into defeating the stigma associated with this. We do have a long way to go. Where I'd like to end up is where people are as comfortable talking about depression or anxiety as they are talking about a knee or hip or heart issue. Really we're talking about health issues and the stigma that still is associated with this, has a self- perpetuating effect, particularly among other family members. That's what this initiative is directed at addressing. We are consistently seeing complaints from refugee advocate groups saying asylum seekers on Manus aoimed and Nauru are already showing signs of mental illness because of the lack of certainty about the time period in which they'll be processed. Are you confident the mental health services are adequate? This is something the dealt of immigration and citizenship and our department talk about from time to time because we are conscious of the need to track these resources and make sure that people are getting proper supports during a very centresful period of time in their lives. I'm confident that that is working as well as it can. There are very significant resources injected into the immigration detention system, whether on Australia or overseas to give properly psychological, psychiatric and other health support to people who might be experiencing mental health issues while in detention. This is something that I know Chris Bowen and his department monitor very closely and we provide, through the health department provide advice to him about this from time to time as well. Is it right that a psychiatrist is only vabling on a part-time basis and that counselling services are mainly being offered over the phone, not actually in person? Is that really good enough? This is still a new system that we're seeing built in Nauru and Manus Island and we'll continue to monitor the best possible service we can provide to people in detention. Sometimes some of these services are needed to be provided over the telephone. I'm not fully briefed on what's happening on those two locations today but I know for example that we're providing phone-based counselling services which has very good evidence base now across many parts of Australia to Australian citizens. On another matter you're also the Minister for social inclusion. That seems to be a real issue we're seeing played out in Queensland at the moment, violence scenes on the streets south of Brisbane. It prompted Andrew Laming to Tweet that mobs are tearing up Logan tonight. He said did any of them do a day's work today. He later clarified it though saying working together to solve these, training is the way to go. I'd agree with the late Tweet from Andrew but not the earlier Tweets and the 12 hours frankly when he said nothing to recant his position. We live in the most tolerant multicultural Scomplunts on the face of the earth. Even in Australia from time to time racial tensions do arise and sometimes end up in the sort of violence and very difficult situations we've seen in Logan in the south of Brisbane. The job of political leaders, Andrew is one, he areas the Shadow spokesperson for indigenous health, the job is to inject calm and to allow community leaders and police officers and other authorities to do their job to get the situation under control. The problem with Andrew's Tweet 12 or so hours ago is it did precisely the opposite. It -- opposite. It sought to inflame the situation. In doing that he made the job of community leaders and police officers harder not easier. I'm glad that Andrew has come to his senses and issued a different Tweet. I think it took too long and I think the political leadership of the Opposition should have intervened much earlier than this and made it clear that's not the position of the Opposition. The position of all parties should be to get out of the way and let community leaders and authorities like the police get the situation under control. Is this actually a welfare problem in your view or a cultural problem, a social problem. How do we go about dampening these sorts of tensions when they erupt. I'm a long way from Logan, I'm here in Adelaide, so someone based on the ground in Brisbane is better quipped to ens that question. These problems never have one cause. They are usually the Sclition of a whole range of tensions in a community, some of which might be racial which I understand is at play in Logan but others are economic and cultural and a sense of frustration in those communities about their prospects. So that's why we do have a very strong focus on intervening in communities that have high levels of disadvantage than the average and bringing a joined up approach to making sure that we don't just do an income response, a health response, a disability or a jobs response. We really provide a joined up sense to that community that they have a brat future and so do their kids. We've seen the first Newspoll come out, it gives Labor a 6 point boost on the primary vote. They're the best numbers we've seen since the last election. The two party figure still has the Coalition in an election winning lead on 51 compared to Labor's 49. A few have been very quick to dismiss these numbers because the political debate has been quiet in recent weeks. Julia Gillard has been on holidays. Do you think these numbers are going to continue to bounce around significantly as we approach polling day. I suspect numbers will bounce around a little bit. We are blessed with having polls come out almost every week or certainly every fortnight from Newspoll. So there will be no shortage of them. I think what you have undoubtedly seen is a very significant trends over the last 6 months. This poll today has our primary vote up 10 points from 6 months ago. More advisably what you've seen is a substantial shift in the approval and personal ratings of Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. For example you've seen a more than 20% improvement in the Prime Minister's personal approval realityings over that time. While at the same time Tony Abbott ace personal approval ratings have deteriorated by more than 10%. 6 months ago the preferred Prime Minister ratings was about even between the two, Prime Minister Gillard and Tony Abbott and in some polls Tony Abbott was ahead. Now there is a clear trend over some months that sees Julia Gillard more than 10% ahead of Tony Abbott as preferred Prime Minister. So the election's a long way away. None of us have a look at a single poll, whether it's good, bad or indifferent. But there is a clear trend I think that's indicating that the Australian people are starting to see through the relentless negativity that we saw last year and getting the Prime Minister some marks for her dedication and commitment to undertaking some very hard reforms and continuing that work over the course of this year in disabilities and in school funding. What do you say to those people who still doubt Julia Gillard is going to actually last as leader until the next election? If these polls do sour for Labor, could that be the case? I think they're wrong wrong. I think the trends that I've just outlined reinforce the correctness of Julia Gillard's strategy over the course of last year which was to stick at some very difficult, politically unpopular at times, but very important reforms for the country, for the economy, for the environment and for the sustainability of our prosperity in the long term. I think any scuttlebutt about that is just scuttle but, I think the Prime Minister and her Government, her Ministers, her backbenchers are committed to doing very hard work. In spite of today's poll or other polls we have a very hard job ahead of us at winning the election later this year but we're committed to doing all that we can to do that. And sticking to a really important agenda of reform for the country. Appreciate you joining us on P mmplet agenda. Thank Ashleigh. More coming on that Newspoll and Essential poll. Also looking at that Laming Tweet and possible election timing with our panel of journalists. Jeff tilling and Andrew tillet are going to join plea next. Hello again, it's half past the hour, time to check today's top stories with Michael will Si. A bushfire in the Warrumbungle National Park in north-west NSW is still burning out of control. Today's cooler weather is helping firefighters but it's feared warmer conditions will make the situation dangerous again later this week. At least 33 homes have been destroyed in the fire which has burned through 40,000 hectares, several local government areas including the Warrumbungle shire have been declared natural disaster zones which will trigger financial assistance for those affected. Lance Armstrong has formally admitted to using drugs. The disgraced former champion has believed to have confessed during a taped interview with Oprah Winfrey today. He was stripped of his 7 Tour de France titles and banned from the sport following a release from the US anti-doping jaenles. The Gillard Government has begun 2013 on a high when it comes to the opinion polls, support for Labor now at its best level since the last election. The first Newspoll of the year pushed in 'The Australian' newspaper shows support has risen. Julia Gillard is up two points extending her lead over Tony Abbott. Racial tensionses have been boiling over in a suburban street just south of Brisbane. Police were forced to break up two warring families in Woodridge overnight. Up to 40 people fought with sticks, metal bars and bricks. The tension flared up for the third consecutive night. Police remaining in the area in case of another outbreak tonight. Sydney's Taronga Zoo has released its findings into the inquiry of an elephant attack. Lucy Melo spent 12 days in hospital in October after being pinned to a bollard by an elephant. An abnormal spike in testosterone is the likely reason for the elephant's behaviour. In sport Serena Williams collapsing to the court mid match after a nasty incident. She still won 6 love, 6 lover. The rain heavy rain and storms in the north-east, hot in the south, and thundery showers in the west. Let's get straight into our tanle, joining us today, Andrew Tillett from the west and and instead of any from Fairfax. The Essential poll out yesterday, had a slightly different take on things to the Newspoll one in 'The Australian' today. The two party preferred vote at 54/46, Newspoll had two points between the major parties, 51 to 49. Stef, do we put much weight on these numbers? Labor will certainly be hoping that that 38 point primary vote will be the beginning of a comeback in this year. I'm sure they will. It's always nice to start the new year on a good footing rather than a bad one. I think most people are looking at these polls saying well we've had really three or four weeks not wanting to pay attention to politics, just people easing around doing their who will dairs. When they are asked what they think about the politicians they're probably in a pretty good mood and give a positive response. I don't think there's a huge amount of stock being placed in them at this point in time. When you look at the approval ratings for both of the leaders these have been pretty consistent for a while now, showing both of the leaders' ratings in terms of their personal approvals stuck in negative territory, Tony Abbott's more so than Julia Gillard. They've got a pretty big job to turn those around. They need to do a better job given they are still stuck in negative territory, as you say. I guess for a lot of people they'd probably like to vote for none of the above, I think that's what the beaut y element of those polls tell us. When you look at the two party preferred vote, Labor would be happy for four of the last their party has been at 49. That makes them a lot more competitive than they were 6 month s ago. What about the analysis that perhaps these figures show us the broken promise over the surplus isn't something that's concerning voters as much as the Opposition might like. I think that's probably true. When Wayne Swan made that announcement just before Christmas there was a lot of huff and puff from the Opposition about broken promises and this is the carbon tax mark two and so forth. I think the Government did a reasonable job at selling the case for why they did what they did, also had prepared the ground for it quite a lot. They told people how good Australia had it, how bad exports and balance of trade and so forth were. They really softened people up for that. I think people understand that Australia's in an exceptional position internationally when you look at economies and so forth. I think Labor was right when it took the gamble that it knew people would understand the case for not being in surpluses as opposed to harsh cost cutting measures that might affect things like the act to create nor jobs in the future. I don't think it's been a huge problem for the Government at all. Still Andrew we can see the Liberal campaign does feed into that theme of broken promise s and the trust issue. Specifically for Julia Gillard. It does, this has been a promise that had been around since before the 2010 election of a Government to get back into surplus. The Government had elevated it to a test of its economic credentials and economic management. They had sort of done that in a way to sort of try and kill the debt and deficit bogey and to go ahead and to actually break that promise does hurt them. But ironically enough it probably is good economic management to break it at this time given how tough things are economically with revenue and things like that. Yeah, and a lot of economists agree with you on that. Let's move on and look at this Tweet from Andrew Laming today. It said, mobs tearing up Logan tonight, did any of them do a day's work today and welfare on tap. He did clarify this later, he did say working together to resolve these rights is the priorities, train jeez and jobs are key. How significant a gaff was that? I think probably we've seen worse from both sides of politics in recent times but it was probably ill thought out from Andrew Laming. Absolutely, Twitters like your own mouth, sometimes you don't scream what's in your own brain before the words come out of it. Fortunately I'm not a politician on that score. Only last week we had Brendon O'Connor accusing the Opposition Leader of doing his firefighting work as a stunt. Before Christmas we had the Labor backbencher saying Julia Gillard was a bimbo on Twitter. A couple of weeks ago we had Joe Hockey out there asking what the Coalition should do in terms of climate change policy. I think Twitter's a medium that magnifies people's personalities. If someone's likely to go out there and say something offmessage for the day, you can do that on Facebook or Twitter. If you're somebody a bit more measured maybe you're a bit more cautious what you put out there. Warren Truss is acting, this was his reaction. Andrew Laming has made a point, that it's very important for communities to be able to have constructive things to do. It's important that we create jobs. Our emphasis as an incoming Government will be to create a million new jobs in our first five years. Was that an appropriate reaction, do you think, Andrew, from the acting Leader of the Opposition These MPs need to realise it's almost like you're issuing a press release when you take to trt and talk about these issues of public importance. It's kind of hard. What could he have done, he's the acting leader. He couldn't sack him, that's not his call to make. I mean, the reality is politicians, they - Andrew Laming won't be the first politician to have made a gaff on Twitter and he won't be the last. He can take some Sxhfrt from that. Overall it's interesting, I found interesting is that we've Sexed to go back, this is the classic old let's bash up on dole bludgers, whereas two weeks ago we were talking about how hard it is to live on the dole and people advocating for an increase to that. I guess there's probably a bit of an element there of maybe playing to the conservative base in what Andrew said. But I think overall we'll move on, the caravan will move on and we'll just wait for the next gaff, hopefully next week . Yeah, they seem to be rolling through thick and fast. One thing that we won't stop speculating about any time soon is what date the election will be. This is a game the press gallery likes to play. I know in election years it consumes a lot of conversations in the corridors. What are your thoughts on when the election might be called? I think we're looking at maybe an August/September election. The Prime Minister has been clear she wants the Government to go full tirm. Technically full term isn't ont. But she's been kind of making the case always bit that full term is since the election was held which would put us at the end of August. That would mean that you could call the election after the end of June which mean you wouldn't have a complicated problem of having the Senate and the House being out of alignment, which is often held up as a big reason why you wouldn't go any earlier than that. I reckon the Government wants to get through the budget, get a few of its other big ticket items bedded down, like the National Disability Insurance Scheme, gob Sce education reforms, I think we'll be looking at some cold weather for when we're lining up to place our votes, which is good for the sausage sizzles that the schools like to have at the same time. Andrew that theory that was around of an early election, that's obviously defunct now. What's your best guess? I'm actually trying to plan a wedding this year. I settled on November - in late November for the wedding date. Technically the PM can have that - that is Stileg in the election window. I think personally she'll look around August, September, maybe before the football finals. Obviously if she's campaigning during the NRL and AFL finals it's hard to get attention and things likes that. I think the Government will be looking to have a pretty decent campaign to try and flush out Tony Abbott on things. They see that as probably their best chance of beating him. And I think probably early September would be reasonable, not so good campaigning in Tasmania in the southern states but it's okay to go campaigning in North Queensland around that time of the year. I'm sure that Julia Gillard is going to be paying very close attention to the advice we're dishing out here on PM Agenda. We appreciate your insights with us on PM Agenda. Thanks Ashleigh. Coming up next we're going to look at two stories that have been doomnating the US news cycle, of course the debt ceiling and the political debate over that. Also those reports out today that Lance Armstrong has actually now admitted to using drugs. Details coming up. Soon we'll look at that interview with Lance Armstrong. It certainly hasn't taken long for the leaks to start ahead of the Oprah interview going to air on Friday. First though the US has started off 2013 with morbicering over the country's finance s. The fiscal cliff was narrowly avoided but the debt ceiling is entirely another matter. Overnight Barack Obama put his foot down saying he wouldn't tolerate another political stoush over the problem. Although he knows full well that's exactly what he can expect. Raising the debt ceiling does not authorise more spending. It simply allows the country to pay for spending that Congress has already committed to. These are bills that have already been racked up. And we need to pay them. So while I'm willing to extra myself and find common ground over how to reduce your deficits America cannot afford another debate with this Congress about whether or not they should pay the bills they've already racked up. Joining us now is the airport Sxhift Tim Harcourt, the JW fellow in economics in the school of business at the university of NSW. Thank you for your time. You and I spend in your year's day together watching American politicians. It's not over yet though is it? The debt ceiling is still simmering away. This is the second fight for Obama, he got through on the fiscal cliff. Republicans were pretty split between the Tea Party and the conventional GAP, so it was a pretty close run thing. The President had a sting in his tail because he's made it pretty clear that he doesn't want a brawl on the debt ceiling as he said there. We keep seeing talk of the need to create a trillion dollar coin. What's all that about? We'd all like one. Is it a stunt, under a logical loophole, what would it do to the situation. I think to be honest, it came from the blog sphere and no-one rule today out including the White House for some time the idea was to call the Republicans' bluff you created create a trillion dollar platinum coin and deposit in the Treasury. At the end of the day it's not going to be practical. You can't give a trillion coin to the Chinese to pay off the credit card. Aged they're going to have to move on the debt ceiling and Congress to basically going to have to raise it. Now we've got over the fiscal cliff heard on New Year's Eve. Barack Obama said he's sick and tired of all this bickering, no doubt the Americans are as well. What options are actually available on the President? Those House Republicans are pretty split and he's really dealing with the Democrats and two Republican parties on Capitol Hill. Ultimate ly if Congress does hold off, they don't raise the debt ceiling, you've going to have a Clinton Gingrich scenario. Obama's been clear, he made it clear that it was an alternative, an alternative proposal to what we're seeing on the other side of the Atlantic, you can reduce your deficits and tackle your debt problems without sending your economy in recession, there is an alternative to the politics of austerity. He made it quite clear he lass a different philosophy to what David Cameron a a few of the Europeans are putting forward. Ben Bernanke spoke overnight, we've seen some pretty good news out of China. Do you think we are going to see less doom and gloom on the economic front this year? That's one thing that's been frustrating as a commentator. If you look at the global economy, the news we got from China in manufacturing and their latest export results and some of the better news I saw coming out of India shows there's plenty of engines for the global economy to run on, but we're so obsessed with Congress and the news cycle is so obsessed with Washington DC that we do miss a lot of momentum in the economy which is probably more important for Australia. We export more to Christmas Island than we do to Greece. And most of these economies that Bernanke is talking about are ones where our future relies on the Asian century. You wrote a piece for 'The Australian' today suggesting we're all going to need to get used to this high Aussie dollar. Great news for travellers, but not brilliant for those exporters as you mentioned. I think we're going to be taking our holidays in Tuscany more than Tully. We 're buying online from the US, that's where imports are coming from and what is upsetting jerry Harvey and ultimately our travels offshore in the global aviation market. That's a reality. What I also said though is that in the long run most exporters have become importers as well. Most of them are handling the high dollar through quality and exchanges to their production structures. Most exporters don't pull out of the market because the exchange rate is not exactly where they want it to be, and nor should they. Tim Harcourt, we do appreciate you joining us on PM Agenda with your analysis as always. Thanks for running through some of those issues. Thanks very much Ash. Our regular viewers will know this is the time of year when politics is warming up and sport takes over for a while. That's been the case with Lance Armstrong again dominating the news for all the wrong reasons. On Friday the discovery channel on Foxtel is going to broadcast an interview that Lance Armstrong filmed overnight with Oprah Winfrey, leaked out suggested he's used that interview to admit to using performance enhancing drugs. Luke, how solid are these reports and what exactly do you understand he's said to Oprah? Those reports have come from the associated press. Call me a cynic Ashleigh but how do you get parts of a story out there that benefit both parties in this. You probably give it to one of the largest news gathering organisations in the world. They seem to have had a line on this from the start. They were the ones that broke the story this afternoon that Lance Armstrong had reportedly admitted to Oprah that he had used performance enhancing drugs throughout his career. They seem to have a really good relationship with the cyclist. Earlier in the week he said he told Oprah to go wherever she wants and he would answer candidly. You know that you're going to get a confession but we don't nose what form that confession will take at this stage. What would that actually mean, Luke,? In terms of legal ramifications and also Lance Armstrong's personal fortune. This is one of the most intriguing parts of this saga. 'The Sunday Times' newspaper in the UK is pursuing him over a liable payment they made to him in 2006. One of the others who are interested is a Dallas insurance company called SCA promotions. They were backed by that US postal service. When lans won a Tour de France it was the parent company of US postal, tail wind sports that had to pay Lance a bonus for winning the Tour de France. As a bit of an insurance policy they took out with that company, to say if Lance goes and win s 7 of these things we've got a policy with you, then you can pay out to Lance Armstrong. After the 6th one, SCA promotions stumbled on some rumours in Europe saying Lance wasn't competing clean. They refused to pay him a bonus of $5 million. Armstrong Staock them to court, in return they said that's fine, but you come into our offices under oath and we can question you for a while. He said under oath he has never used performance enhancing drugs in his career. That is one of the biggest complications in this, but if he does admit to Oprah something to the contrary, that opens up a whole other list of ramifications for Lance Armstrong. We're all going to be watching on Friday. It's going to be a fascinating interview. Is that apology what the cycling world needs to move on? Is that something that will close that chapter? You talk to psych lifts who are still competing today, they are absolutely sick of this story because they will tell you that the peloton had enough of the doping culture. They worked within itself to eradicate it. They say today they are competing clean. They are fed up with being lumped in with the whole Lance Armstrong era, an era where the peloton wasn't clean at all. We've had so many people test positive in that era when Armstrong was dominating the sport. They say move on, this story is over. But cycling fans will always associated cycling with the Lance Armstrong era unless he comes out and says this is what I did, this is why I did it, this is who helped me do it and really this is why I had to do it. Until we hear him address all those things, this is one of the most intriguing things about this interview, we know we are going to get some sort of admission from Lance but we need to know how the whole system works. That was outlined in the US doping agency report, from them and former team mates, cycling fans need to know how the whole system worked, how they re-routed around the tests. Why today we should believe the sport is clean. If Lance comes out and says I cheated, that goes some way to closing that chapter, then it's up to the psych lifts today to not test positive over and over again to win that trust. There is a sense here that you had one of the greatest sporting heros of all times, 7 Tour de Frances, he had cancer, it was a fairytale. To find that's not true, I guess that really takes away the trust of a sports fan. That needs some closure, definitely hopefully we'll get that by the end of the week. Who needs Canberra? You can watch that world exclusive interview with Lance Armstrong in full on Friday. All 6 discovery channels in Australia and New Zealand are broadcasting that program as it's going to air live in the US. That's from 1 p.m. Australian Eastern Daylight Time on Friday. Thanks for your company today on PM janled, appreciate you joining us today. Live Captioning by Ai-Media ai-media.tv.