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(generated from captions) profitable and dynamic business. I don't say that every single last thing that is good for business is automatically inevitably good for everyone. Yes there is a national interest as well as a business interest but we cannot advance our country without also protecting, preserving and encouragingth businesses on which our economy absolutely depends. I want to pay a particular tribute to the small business people of our country. Unlike those in big business, small business people invariably have their whole life on the line. The worst that can happen to people in big business normally is that they might lose their job but

usually the principal of that small business loses his or her home as well. Often family too. That's why the small businesses of Australia have skin in the game that a way that almost no-one does and that's why they are particularly deserving of respect and consideration from people in authority. I want to assure you that if there is a change of government, your concerns and your interests will be very much at the forefront of an incoming coalition government's thinking. We think about small business because so many of us have been in small business. Bruce Billson the shadow minister has been in small business for much of his life. It's true of the vast majority of the members of the Federal we have been at our lives in Parliamentary coalition. That
we have been at our lives in small business. So our lives we understand business and we
want our lives in small business. So want to do the right thing by small business in particular. That is why we are That is why we are so committed to a process of thoroughgoing economic reform. Economic reform starts with getting taxes down, with getting spending down, with getting productivity up so that we request get growth up, because in the end, it is economic growth that will give because we need to improve our society and to help every Australian to come closer to being his or her best self. I don't want to be the leader of a government by is all talk and no action. That's the want to be. I know that many of you in this room want to be. you in this room are frustrated with governments that have been all foot intentions but very little in the way of real outcomes. So what I want to talk to you for a few moments about now are the specific things that will happen under a coalition government that will make it easier for you to get about doing your jobs and expanding your businesses. There will be tax reform in the first term of a coalition government. And tax reform starts with abolishing the carbon tax and abolishes the mining tax and provide ing a modest company tax cut particularly directed towards small business. That's where it starts. It starts with abolishes the carbon tax and the mining tax but it doesn't finish there. It certainly doesn't finish there. That's why within two years of the election of a coalition government, we will publish a comprehensive White Paper on tax reform and we will take proposals from that paper paced on that paper to a subsequent election. Reforl of the government starts with the commission of audit which will review the size, scope and efficiency of government that will get under way within days of a change of government in Canberra. But it doesn't end there. Within two years of the election of a coalition government we will publish a comprehensive White Paper on reform of our federation designed to ensure that we don't have the kind of dog's breakfast of divided responsibilities which has so bedevilled anyone doing business with government in Australia in recent times. We will have genuine red tape reform. The Productivity Commission estimated in 2011 that there were $12 billion a year in economic benefits from red tape reform. So we believe that it is more than possible to deliver $1 billion a year in red tape reductions, red tape cost reductions to business particularly to small business and we'll start by allowing business, small businesses to just send one cheque to the ATO for the superannuation guarantee levies of your

guarantee levies of your staff. Even if it is as it should be a workplace entitlement or to be administered by government and it shouldn't be adding to your red tape burden. So so there will be serious red tape reform under a coalition government. There will be productivity reform under a coalition government and that starts by fully restoring the Australian building an construction commission, which many of you would be familiar with. The Australian Building and Construction Commission added some $6 billion a year in productivity improvements to the construction sector when it was the was the construction sector when it will be was fully operational will be fully operational again
within months of will be within months of the election of a coalition of a coalition government. While our workplace relations changes will While changes will be framework of the existing Fair framework of the Work Act, they will nevertheless restore Work Act, they nevertheless restore the
workplace nevertheless restore the workplace relations pendulum
back workplace back to the sensible centre. I want Australian workers to be the best paid in the world. But best
if they are going to be the best paid in the world, they also have to be amongst the most productive in the world. And that hasn't been the case over last few years. We will have infrastructure reform. I know this is something very dear to your heart. We will have infrastructure reform. Because people who are stuck in traffic jams, moving around our cities, moving between our regional centres, are obviously far less productive than they should be. Infrastructure reform starts with building WestConnex, getting on with the Gateway upgrade in Brisbane, the north-south road in Adelaide, it continues with the upgrade of the Midlands highway in Tasmania, finally dum plik Kating the Pacific Highway all the way between Newcastle and the Queensland border and upgrading the Bruce Highway so that it is no longer a 1970s goat track but is a highway fit for the 21st century. So all these changes will be will be substantially first term of a coalition government. But ladies and gentlemen, not all of you, but many of you have worked with me in different capacitys in years past. And you know that I am by nature someone who wants to solve problems. I am by nature someone who wants to en gaj with those people who have business with government, and to try to make it easier, not harder for them. The first law of government should be do no harm and where you are doing needless harm, fix it as quickly as you possibly can. My First Ministeral job was to run the employment services portfolio for John Howard back in 1998. We were in transition from the old Commonwealth employment service bureaucracy to the Job Network where these services were provided by a range of private sect or community-based and charitable organisations. Over time, it proved to be a much more effective way of getting people off welfare and into work. But just then when I took over, the whole system was grinding to a halt, principally because the public servants who were administering the Job Network contracts were acting like lawyers, not like facilitators. My contribution - and I believe it was critical - to resolving this was to make it absolutely crystal clear to the public servants that if the Job Network members had a problem, government had a problem. And if the government had a problem, they had a problem, therefore, they just had to start acting like partners and not like bureaucrats. I have to say that the Job Network went from strength to strength. When I was the Workplace Relations Minister as Peter Anderson would well recall, it quickly became apparent that in most sectors of our economy, partnerships in the workplace were develop ing and expanding. There was a new spirit in those days in our workplaces. The old them and us capital versus labour divide was dissolving, except in one sector. The commercial construction industry, where the rule of law was so often threatened by naked industrial thuggery. So as a practical response to this, I established the Cole Royal Commission, the forerunner of the Australian Building and Construction Commission which as everyone involved in that sector would know and would say had a transformative effect. And then of course, when I became the Health Minister in 2003, I was confronted with a genuine crisis in our public hospital system. The word crisis is overworked, over used. You never pick up the newspaper without reading about a crisis here or a crisis there. But there is a crisis in hospitals when you don't have have trauma surgeons and you obstetricians, when you don't don't have have trauma surgeons and don't have anaesthetists. The
trouble was that back at that time, because of the problems with medical indemnity insurance, they were walking out of our public hospitals. Well, in conjunction with some fine leaders from the profession led by Bill Glasson, who is now our candidate for Griffith in Queensland, running against a certain K Rudd, in conjunction with some fine leaders of that profession, we solved that difficulty. And the doctors went back to work on a sustainable basis and this was never been a significant problem from that day to this. That's the record that I can offer you as a senior member of a government. A consistent record of practical problem solving in close partnership with the people impacted by the decisions of government and I am confident that that will be the hallmark of any government that I lead should we win the election, overdue now, in just a few weeks' time. I don't want to make a highly partisan speech today, because there may well still be some Labor voters amongst you.(Laughter) Programs. But I do want to draw a contrast between the approach of the coalition and the approach that we have seen time and time again from our opponents. Now, Mr Rudd likes to say that he's changed, but the only substantial new policy that he has introduced since becoming Prime Minister again are the fringe benefits tax changes, which have stopped motor sales in their tracks. In their tracks. And the of the fringe benefits tax changes were a total failure to changes consult, a total failure to understand the real nature of that industry, and as has so offer often been the case with in government a policy that is such an economic activity killer that it is likely to actually cost more revenue than any revenue that it actually brings in. Sadly, that is typical of the current government. Whether it be the overpriced school halls, whether it be the pink batts, whether it be the National Broadband Network white elephant, lack of consultation, lack of due process, lack of familiarity with the world of business has been their hallmark. And if this government is re-elected, as sure as night follows day, we will see higher taxes and bigger government. You will be once more the meat in the sandwich between this government's desire to spend and this government's imperative to tax. It's just not good enough. It's just not good enough and it must change. I have to say to you, ladies and gentlemen, that federal elections in this country are always hard fought. This election was going to be hard fought whether the leader of the Labor Party was Julia Gillard or Kevin Rudd. It was always going to be a hard-fought, close contest. Certainly, as we know, this is a hard fought close contest even though the actual date has not been named. But I want to say to you we will not forget small business. That's why today in addition to all the other measures that have recently been announced for small business, I can announce that the B20 advisory group will include a small business representative and that's to join with the fact that ...(Applause) And that will complement the announcements that I made last week about small business representation on the board of taxation, the ACCC and the Fair Work Commission. That will complement the the fact that we have in Bruce Billson not just a Minister for Small Business but an evangelist for small business and we have in Bruce Billson someone who will not be a minister but will be a Cabinet minister in his own right. A Cabinet minister simply for small business, not for small business and many other things. So we will not forget small business, and should we win the election, it should we win the election, certainly will be a government for small business. I am passion yait about this certainly will be a passion yait about this and we will deliver. We will deliver. Ladies and gentlemen, I think Australia is ready for change. I don't think Australians want another three years like the last six years. If that's to happen, people like Bruce Billson and myself will need to work harder than we've ever worked before. We will need to campaign harder than we've ever campaigned before. I do hope some of you might join us in this effort. I do hope some of you might join us in this effort. Not necessarily because you want to be politically partisan. But because you want to build a better Australia. Because you know in the marrow of your bones that there can only be a better Australia if there is a better climate for small business to operate in. So ladies and gentlemen, if, as I hope, there is a change of government in a few weeks' time,want to give you this assurance from Day 1, it will be absolutely crystal clear that our country is under new management and from Day 1, it will be absolutely crystal clear that our country is once more open for business. Thank you so much for having me. It is great to be here. And I look forward to meeting some of you at morning tea.(Applause)That was the Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, live from the Sydney convention and exhibition centre, addressing the New South Wales Business Chamber. Good morning, I'm Joe O'Brien with ABC News 24. The New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption is about to hand over its findings to State Parliament over a series of inquiries involving some senior Labor ministers. That's due to happen in about half an hour. I'm joined now by the host of 7.30 New South Wales Quentin Dempster. Just take us through the major allegations to do with this mining licence?The major one is about Ian Macdonald the then Minister for Mineral Resources giving an exploration licence over property in the Bylong Valley and the Hunter Valley where it emerged was own and acquired by Eddie Obeid, a noted powerbroker within the New South Wales branch. There are three inquiries - reports we're going to get today. One is on that one, because that involves a lot of business associates of Eddie Obeid. It goes to what the counsel assisting said was a rum corps-type syndrome of influence peddling. There are other issues about the former Treasurer Eric Roozendaal and his relationship with Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald the former minister's relationship with Ron Medich and favours that he'd been granted by Ron Medich as he was trying to get into business in New South Wales.To what extent did the Obeid family benefit from that mining licence? Was there any benefit actually gained?So far as quantified by the ICAC, Eddie Obeid, Obeid Corporation had received $30 million and was in train to receive another $70 million. This exploration licence was very valuable. Coal prices around the world were right up. Australia was right in the middle of it in the thick of it. These were very valuable assets and the Bylong valley or Mount Penny 10ment at one stage was valued at half a billion dollars. The stakes for all these people are very high. When the ICAC reports we're expecting multiple findings of corrupt conduct by a whole lot of adversely named people. They will have to decide whether to contest these findings in the Supreme Court of New South what
Wales. It's not over yet.To what extent did Ian Macdonald personally benefit if at all from the granting of that licence to the Obeid family? Was that proven in the inquiry?There was evidence adduced by the all this deal gone through, Ian adduced by the ICAC that had Macdonald would've received all this deal gone Macdonald would've substantial monetary And substantial monetary benefit.
And there were notes and other And there were evidence And there were notes and evidence and telephone intercepts which indicated the nature of that. The counsel assisting has charged - has put to Macdonald man and Eddie Obeid that they were involved in a criminal conspiracy. So he's deliberately used that we've got to see whether, as a result of these corrupt findings, these allegations and findings by the ICAC, whether it goes to the Director of Public Prosecutions. We're expecting briefs of evidence to be handed up to the DPP.You've reported on a few inquiries into your time. Is this one quite striking in terms of - you just mentioned there that there've been corrupt findings virtually already by counsel assisting, that they've already identified what they say ...In the nature of an inquisitorial proceedings, they have to say "On the evidence this would lead me to say this. I put it to you that you were involved in a criminal conspiracy." "Ian Macdonald, Eddie Obeid, all the others they say, no, it was all above board, the department did it and you're reading it all the wrong way so there's full denial of any impropriety by any of those who've been adversely named through the proceedings so far.How big is this day in New South Wales politics and also ahead of the federal election?Well, political implications are substantial as far as the Australian Labor Party is concerned because it's already helped to wipe out their base, the traditional support in New South Wales. Kevin Rudd the new Prime Minister's moved in with what's said to be a Wales branch of the Labor
Party. Wales branch of Party. That's playing out Party. That's playing out now. The damage to the Labor vote or the Labor tradition is substantial. It goes to the the Labor tradition power of the New South Wales branch and the culture within the New South Wales branch, the branch and the culture mates culture we'd call it for years, the mates and it goes even beyond that to the counsel assisting saying it goes to a rum corps right back to the very colonial history of New South Wales that this was a rum corps way of doing business. It's who you know. Your mates. How you can get a deal done. But they have to forensically go through all the evidence and they've got masses of it through the seizure of documents to determine exactly how an alleged criminal conspiracy could be put in place to defraud the public and reap huge monetary benefits for a lot of people.To that report gets handed to State Parliament in 10 minutes or so. We better let you get down there so you're there for this pretty important moment in New South Wales politics.Good, Joe.We'll have extensive coverage over the next hour. We have Jamelle Wells our reporter down there. We're expecting the report will be made public pretty quickly after it's handed over. We'll have that covered over the next few hours. ICAC spent months investigating the activities of former Labor ministers. Jamelle Wells has been covering the hearings for the ABC and takes us through the highlights. It's a drama that included thousand dollar lunch, memorable nick names and even references to Jesus. It offered a behind the scenes look at the former New South Wales Labor Government. The inquiry shone a light on the wealth of the Obeid family and the links between government, the unions and the mining industry.If it is corruption, then it is corruption on a scale probably unexceeded since the days of the rum corps. For months, it was the most popular show in town. As the ICAC gallery filled with press and members of the public, eager for another update in what at times played like a soap opera. Commissioner David Ip earned himself a cult following for his questioning and dry humour. The media scrum was an obstacle course for witnesses course part of the day's drama. But at stake, mining leases worth hundreds of millions of dollars and allegations former mining minister Ian Macdonald gave inside information to mates. The commission kicked off with an investigation into Eric Roozendaal and allegations he was given a $10,000 discount on a new car as a bribe. The former State Treasurer claimed he was not very good with his finances. That seems small beans when Eddie Obeid took the stand. After Ian Macdonald was lirchged to an escort called Tiffany at a 2011 inquiry, Operation Jasper looked at his decision to grant a mining licence over land owned by the Obeid family in the Bylong Valley. That licence potentially worth $100 Valley. That million.Are you potentially worth $100 million.Are you worried about
what else there is to come? The ICAC what else there The ICAC was told the Obeids tried to hide their involvement, and encouraged mates to buy hand in the area. Eddie Obeid was caught lying when three witnesses contradicted his testimony that the former mining minister had never set foot in Obeid's parliamentary office. Despite daily questioning the Obeid family's confidence seemed unshakeable. Eddie Obeid said to counsel assisting Jeffrey Watson "I've spent more money than you've learned in a lifetime." To a query about who drew up maps found in a family office, son Moses replied "It could've been Jesus Christ." In the third investigation former union head John Maitland also turned to the church claiming he would've asked the Pope for a letter of support. Operation Acacia looked at allegations Ian Macdonald gifted a coal licence to John Maitland without going to tender. A small group of Labor mates stood to profit hundreds of millions of dollars. They described it as a goldmine. A parade of Labor luminaries fronted the investigation, including former premiers Nathan Rees and Morris Iemma , a former Lord Mayor, as well as federal MPs Doug Cameron and Greg Combet. But it's perhaps the nicknames that will live longest in political history. Ian Macdonald was reminded of his title, Sir lunch-a-lot, as well as some less flattering ones. As the investigation wraps up and the ICAC hands its findings to Parliament, the future of the mining leases and the farmland they sit on is still unclear.I think it would be well and truly the first big nail in the coffin of Bylong. Bylong would change forever if Mount Penny inquiry Eddie Obeid and Ian
went ahead.Throughout the Macdonald denied any any wrongdoing. Jamelle Wells is down at State Parliament in Sydney right down Sydney right now. We will hopefully talk to her within the next half-hour about the release of that report. American army private Bradley Manning has been acquitted of aiding the enemy but found guilty of espionage for orchestrating the biggest leak of classified nearly in US history. A US military judge has found Private Manning guilty of 20 charges in total. Jane Cowan reports.The critics of this case from the start had said that the aiding the enemy charge was an overreach that it should never have been brought in the first place. And it is being called a striking rebuke to military prosecutors that he was acquitted on that charge because they had argued that simply causing material to be published on the anti-secrecy web site WikiLeaks was akin to aiding the enemy, simply because al-Qaeda could access the Internet and read material on it. So the concern from civil libertarians had been that a guilty verdict on that aiding the enemy charge could have redefineed what that actually means in the modern Internet era, if something publishing something on-line can be construed as dealing with the enemy and there had been a fear that it it would have a chilling effect on the media on both journalists and their sources, threatening to criminalise their behaviour, and perhaps deter future whistleblowers. So that perhaps has been avoided, journalists are breathing a bit of a sigh of relief, but has to be said, again, that organisations from WikiLeaks not surprisingly but also to Amnesty International are still unhappy and they say that it remains a misplacement of priorities on the part of the US Government that this charge was ever allowed to be brought and that Private Man something being punished so heavily on these other charges anyway, the effect is a very strong message is being sent to anyone who'd in the future contemplating doing what he's done. Jane Cowan reporting there from the US. The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has spoken to the media just in the last few hours. He says Bradley Manning's conviction has set a troubling precedent.This is the first ever espionage conviction against a whistleblower in the United States. It is a dangerous precedent and an example of national security extremism. It is a short-sighted judgment that cannot be tolerated and it must be reversed. It can never be the that conveying true information to the public is espionage. President Barack Obama has initiated more espionage Obama has initiated espionage proceedings against
whistleblowers Obama has initiated more
espionage

whistleblowers and publishers than all previous US than all previous combined. In 2008, the combined. In 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama ran on a platform Obama ran on a praised whistleblowering as an act of courage and of act of courage and patriotism. That platform has by Barack Obama's actions been comprehensively betrayed. Barack Obama's campaign document described whistleblowerers as watchdogs of wrongdoing when government abuses its authority. It was removed from the Internet last week. Julian Assange speaking there from the Ecuadorian embassy in London just in the last few hours. Bad weather has delayed the transfer of asylum seekers to Manus Island. The first group to be sent to Papua New Guinea under the government's new deal was supposed to leave Christmas Island last night. The government says the transfer will go ahead as soon as possible. For more let's cross live now to Melissa Clarke in Canberra. Good morning. So what's the latest on this first plane load of asylum seekers to Manus Island since the government's new policy?Well, it's still not clear when that transfer will now take place. It had initially been expected that with that flight overnight they would be in Manus Island by this time today. But weather conditions around Christmas Island delayed the plane coming in, and we haven't yet been able to determine when that flight will now take place, first to Port Moresby then on

when a small business goes bad,