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(generated from captions) This Program is Captioned Live.Hello Andrew Geoghegan with the top stories from ABC News. The Syrian Government is warning the US against military intervention following last week's suspected chemical weapons attack in Damascus. The Assad regime insists are to blame. State television has shown images of chemical containers in an underground chamber which it says was controlled by opposition forces. American warships have moved closer to the troubled country but have not been ordered to act. The PM Kevin Rudd suspended his campaign to attend a national security briefing on the situation in Syria. He held meetings last Bob
night with the Foreign Minister Bob Carr and Minister For Defence Materiel Mike Kelly. Opposition leader Tony Abbott will officially launchist election campaign today in Brisbane. Police in the Northern Territory are searching for a man who was feared to have been taken by a crocodile. The 24-year-old man was swimming with a friend in the crocodile infested waters when the attack happened about 100 kilometres from Darwin. In sport, the All Blacks have retained the Bledisloe Cup with a dominant 27-16 win over the Wallabies in Wellington. Australia led early in the game but two first-half tries to New Zealand winger Ben Smith set up a match winning lead for the home side. Stay with us now for "Insiders"with Barrie Cassidy. Captions by CSI Australia This Program is Captioned Live. Good morning. Welcome to Insiders. Our program guest this morning is the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. He will be joining us from Canberra where he has had briefings on the Syrian crisis. In Brisbane this morning the Coalition is preparing to launch its campaign. We will check in with Chris Uhlmann and see how that's going. It is the business end of the campaign and this week it did take on a more serious bent. The parental
Coalition released its paid parental leave policy and it came under attack for being too generous with a government trying to tie it in with cuts that need to be made elsewhere to pay for it. And the debate that for once achieved something dominated the week. SONG: # # If you had one shot, one opportunity to see everything you wanted in that moment #.Do encounters like this make a difference? I think they can if there is a significant stumble by either candidate.Journalists aren't asking the questions tonight, voters are.What are you doing to prepare and do you plan to bring some notes this time? I am here preparing by talking to real people.I am looking forward to a candid engagement with the people of Australia.If Prime Minister has won the coin toss. He .You might be surprised to know Mr Abbott and I agree on a few things. I completely a agree with the Prime Minister.You are way ahead in the polls.The biggest problem we have is the trust deficit.Can you Mr Abbott please address the recent allegations you will continue to cut public services? Where are you going to cut? Let's not say I am somehow Mr Cut, cut, cut.Cut, cut, cut again.I want to be Mr Build, build, build, so we have more jobs, jobs, jobs.When he was Health Minister he cut $1 billion from the public hospitals of Australia.Can I please ask you to stop telling fibs? I did not cut $1 billion out of public hospital funding. I did not. Why do we need a new inequitable maternity leave scheme? Tony Abbott's policy will cost $5.5 billion a year.It's massiveKevin Rudd reckons the shareholders will have to help fund it.To pay for your overly expensive.Completely wrong.How? You understand franking and you are double taxing Australian investors.S that greater than everything the Australian government spends on childcare payments.Mr Rudd is right, it will cover about half of the scheme.It will mean cuts for the other half.This isn't true.That doesn't add up.The Parliamentary Budget Office disagrees with you.One final point.Does guy ever shut up? People one. Journos nil.They wrestled each other to a draw.There was no knockout blow.How do you think it went? I will let the voters and the public make the judgment.It is all good for democracy. A half-time hooter sounded last time.NEWSREEL: A key poll shows the Coalition is moving ahead of Labor.Don't worry about the polls because them polls is a bunch of wombats.When the Prime Minister is talking about himself in the third person, we know the wheels are falling off the Government's campaign.Two weeks to go, Kevin Rudd is in need of a boost.The ears are okay.I used to tape them up.I look at Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott, I know who is more popular, it is Tony ... it is not Tony Abbott, it is Kevin Rudd.Our internal polling is a little different.Still bad though.It is neck and neck.I am a fighter.Is Kevin at risk of losing his own seat? People have written me off before. I have a habit of coming back. One of the major set pieces of under
the campaign is about to get under way in Brisbane. Tony Abbott is about to launch the Coalition's campaign and '7:30' political editor Chris Uhlmann is there. Good morning. What do you expect from Tony Abbott this morning? We are told a positive and optimistic speech and Tony Abbott will contrast his positive optimistic plan for Australia with the Labor Party's scare campaign. I would be surprised if he doesn't manage to get in what he sees as the Labor Party's greatest failures into the speech. We will wait and see. We have an announcement on trade to trade support loan schemes. It would offer $20,000 over four years to apprentices so there will be some plans announced in this. The interesting line-up is it will begin with Campbell Newman and go on through Julie Bishop, Warren Truss and then Tony Abbott. The Coalition is not so terrified of having Campbell Newman around in this campaign even though the Labor Party's trying to make much of the fact that his cuts will be replicated by the Coalition. It is an interesting thing to remember, in 2007 when the campaign was launched here, Campbell Newman launched it, he was the Lord Mayor of Brisbane. After that election in 2007, he was the highest ranking Liberal in Australia and people asked with the Liberal Party so it is interesting we should be approaching another election six years on where people might be asking wither the Labor Party.What's the mood within the Coalition? Obviously optimistic. It is buoyant. They think they are likely to win. There is a nervousness around. It is two weeks to go in the campaign. They do understand it will be a rough two weeks, that things can change between now and then and things could tighten a little. They are expecting that's the way the next couple of weeks will play out and there is every possibility things might tighten up in the final fortnight. Some are getting ahead of themselves but others aren't. There is a nervousness about Joe Hockey's numbers. Every time I talk to one of them and where the risk lies, the risk appears to be with the numbers and how Joe Hockey rolls those out over the next fortnight.Chris Uhlmann thank you. Later on in the program Mike Bowers with a special international guest on Talking Pictures.Our Prime Minister is into the selfie. Are you on to this yet? There is a great similarity in our complexion.There is .If there was a pinkometer, I think it would be going zoink. Is there a pinkometer in Australia? All of that and the Prime Minister coming up. First a look at the Malcolm
papers around the country. Malcolm Farr, why are the News Limited papers running a page one headline that says Kevin Rudd's goose is cooked.. There is lots of gooses around, aren't there? The insinuation is the Prime Minister is the prime goose. Let's go through the timing of this issue that has occupied the front pages. Yesterday morning in Sydney the Prime Minister had a press conference at which he said he would attend, words to the effect, briefings on the situation in Syria and it was he was
very important he do so. Twice he was asked by journalists whether he was abandoning the campaign to do this. In response to neither question did he say yes he was abandon ing ...We will run that part of the news conference and pick it I regard it as a necessary and practical step to make sure we are fully briefed on developments.He didn't embrace that interpretation of it. That was a media interpretation on it that he was suspending the campaign but neither did he disabuse the journalists.No, he didn't say "That's rubbish". The contrast, he went from Sydney to Brisbane where between 12:30 and 2:30, essentially, he recorded a TV program 'Kitchen cabinet' to be shown on the ABC. He then had a 3 o'clock appointment, I don't know what that was in Brisbane, that he had to attend. Then he flew to Canberra arriving at Canberra at about 6p.m.. He then went in at about quarter to 7 to the briefing which included Foreign Minister Bob Carr, senior bureaucrats from his department and Foreign Affairs for the briefing on Syria. The suggestion was that the Prime Minister had put off the Syria briefing so that he could record the TV show. Mr Rudd's office says that's not the case, that nothing was put off or delayed, that the Syria briefing was held as soon as possible and that was as soon as the public servants and advisers could get the material together to give to the Prime Minister. They denied totally that he had this little side trip, that he had foregone the briefing so he could have his side trip for 'Kitchen cabinet'.Michael Stutchbury, why does this matter? Why has it been given such prominence this morning? The Prime Minister's strong suit is foreign affairs. He wanted to give the impression he is still in government. Syria is obviously a dreadful situation, the whole of the Arab Spring seems to be unravelling and the papers have wanted to catch him out saying he is really going towards more trivial things such as recording a program about cooking so they are trying to bring out the hypocrisy of that. This is an election campaign which has overridden the G20 meeting which is very important for Australia and Australia is hosting the G20 next year but the election overrides that.Once the briefing got under way, they invited cameras in.The French are very forward leaning on this from their public statements. We saw Hague's statement earlier today.William Hague said a chemical attack by the Assad regime, which is pretty forward leaning.We have definitive statement from them and the Americans are using the language of grave concern.Andrew, are they - it is a problem because it is on of News Limited papers but are they entitled to feel it is part of an ongoing News Limited campaign? That's the impression they will be left with. It is about media interpretation as to what happened earlier on in the day. Of course some people woke up yesterday and heard the news that the campaign was being suspended. It is the fact that the Prime Minister didn't disavow the impression that was the case, to run dispossesses of that case, that it became an issue. That last piece of footage is hilarious because you cannot teach people to behave in a way that makes it look real especially when you are going to be discussing stuff you can never discuss publicly.That's the main story in the Sunday papers. Straight to Canberra now where we are joined by the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Good morning.Thanks for having me on the program. Good morning.Do you accept you left an impression you were taking time out from the campaign to deal with the Syrian crisis? Not at all Barrie. The bottom line is if I hadn't taken the opportunity to alert the Australian people as to what was going on, I would have been criticised for that. Furthermore, when you look at statements made by the White House during the course of yesterday, it was very plain when you have the President of the US receiving briefings on appropriate responses from the international community and by the US, a menu of responses to respond to the use of chemical weapons, I have a responsibility to make sure the Australian people are aware of that. I think the other point I'd make is just this - in that press interview yesterday, I then went on to talk about the other issues in the campaign, in particular the National Broadband Network. For me the campaign continues, as was evident by what I did yesterday which was to continue to campaign on the core issues in the this election.You made the announcement at 10 o'clock, you flew to Brisbane, you didn't get to Canberra until 6 o'clock. The crisis in Syria has been going on for days. Why did it take until 6 o'clock on Saturday night for the experts to get their act together? The experts, the officials and advisers behaved entirely appropriately. When I spoke to the secretary of the Prime Minister's Department yesterday morning, he advised me it was appropriate a briefing occur of myself and the Foreign Minister and others by relevant officials. Furthermore, he said given the time gap of various other capitals around the world and the need to collate the relevant information from the intelligence agencies, security agencies, from the Defence Department, Department of Foreign Affairs, that the earliest such a briefing would occur would either be last night, Saturday night, or on Sunday. I said the best thing to do was to do it as soon as possible. He recommended we do it last night. That's exactly what happened. I see in today's newspapers from Mr Murdoch's newspapers in many parts of the country stated on the front page that a national security briefing to ministers and myself was abandoned because of other commitments I had in Brisbane. That is 100% false. Had the newspaper bothered to contact my office, they would have known it was 100% false. The journalist who wrote the story has gone out there this morning to say their headline could be
was false. I don't think it could be any clearer in terms of what has happened here. Are you able to say what the other appointment was at 3 o'clock after you taped 'Kitchen cabinet'? I had other appointments in Brisbane. They were of a private nature, I don't wish to disclose those, but they were longstanding and dealt with members s of the community.Is there anything Australia can directly do given the Government is in caretaker mode? The first responsibility in caretaker mode is to ensure the Australian people are made aware of what's going on and to ensure Mr Abbott as the alternative Prime Minister is made aware as well through the caretaker conventions. Secondly what we have done is make contact with friends and allies. The Foreign Minister Bob Carr has been in contact with the French and British Foreign Ministers and Foreign Secretaries. I have been in contact with the US ambassador here as well as our officials. The core question is this - number one, I think anyone watching your program this morning would be horrified by what they've seen on their screens. It is 2013. We have the use, it seems, of chemical weapons in large scale against a civilian population. This is just horrendous beyond description. On the analysis, based on the information available to the Government at this time, indications point to the use of chemical weapons and indications point to their likely use by the regime. However, no-one should rush to that conclusion until we have the definitive report from UN weapons inspectors. You asked particularly what Australia can do. In a week's time we take over the Presidency of the UN Security Council. One of the reasons I put forward for nominating Australia to that position some years ago in the midst of considerable controversy and opposition here was we would have a place at the leading councils of the world on critical decisions such as those now affecting Syria. So we will be using our position on the Council now and from next week to try and forge consensus in the council around a resolution or a presidential statement from the Council to support the Secretary General's call for the Sirrab regime - Syrian regime to admit weapons inspectors now. The burden of proof lies with the Syrian regime and the inspectors who can provide the proof.It does seem the US is preparing for military intervention. Can you see the day when Australia might join them in military intervention? In these circumstances it is important to be calm and measured in our response to crises. The first step is to inform the Australian public as to what is happening to the best of our knowledge. Secondly, to then engage in what we are currently doing which is the proof-testing exercise. We are all very rim nesent of when previous Australian governments and other governments went into armed conflict in Iraq based on, frankly, something that was entirely incorrect. When it comes to the situation in Syria, whatever the response may be and whatever form it might take, it is absolutely absolutely
critical we get the facts absolutely right first. But the burden of proof, in my judgment, now lies with the regime. They've got to come clean with the international community, they've got to allow the weapons inspectors have access to this site now because, as I said, all the indications point in their direction. Responses that is something which would come next.We will turn our do
attention to the campaign. Why do you say you deserve to be re-elected? I'm the first one to admit at having returned to the prime ministership, in the past, the Government has got a number of things wrong. All governments do. I seek, however, to admit it. For example, I don't think our actions on the carbon tax were right. That's why I changed it and moved towards a floating price ...What was wrong with that? Well, to begin with we didn't have a mandate for it. Furthermore a floating price is the best response to changing international markets, so I have changed that. The second point is this - I think we also saw emerging unnecessary divisions between government, business and unions. I have sought to change that by bringing people around the one table, the ACTU, the Government and the Business Council of Australia. Thirdly I think we also saw something wrong happening in the Labor Party. We have seen of course the report of ICAC in NSW so the actions we have taken there - mine - to reform the leadership structure of the Labor Party so there is a new system for electing the leader but also to authorise federal intervention in the NSW branch. I'm up-front about the fact this hasn't been hon ki doory. But I'd say with a full and complete view of recent political history, Barrie, everyone in government in times past has made mistakes. If we are looking to halcyon days under the Liberals, they brought in Work Choices, took us to war in Iraq based on a lie and the Government who resided over the worst corruption scandal in the history ...Sure ....We have made mistakes, all governments admit them.Were there any mistakes between 2007 and 2010? Of course, I have been the first to admit those.For example? I have also admitted in previous discussions that in relation to the communication of the decision concerning the Emissions Trading Scheme and the lead-up to 2009-10, that that was not done correctly. Furthermore I have also said that, with the benefit of hindsight, in around 2009-10, we should have begun to adjust our policy on people smugglers earlier than we did with the benefit of hindsight. But I would make this point overall to go back to your first question which is the government's case for re-election. On the big calls, Barrie, we have got it right. On the big calls on the economy, and keeping us out of recession, we got that right. Our actions on the global financial crisis, we got that right. The action on keeping our employment level at less than half that of what's in Europe, we have got that right. On the big calls on the National Broadband Network, we've got that right. On the big calls on health and hospital system whereby we return to 50% funding for the respects in the State - hospitals in the State, we have that right as we have on the Better Schools plan for Australia's future and the National Disability Insurance Scheme. These are the big calls. On so many of those, Mr Abbott has got those calls absolutely wrong, including on the economy and how he would have responded to the global financial crisis.You admit mistakes because in 2007 you campaigned against one of Australia's most successful Prime Ministers in John Howard and beat him, now you are struggling against Tony Abbott, could it be because now you have a record and in 2007 you didn't? I think Barrie that's a statement of the obvious. If you have been in government for a period of time, you both have a record but also have plans for the future.You don't necessarily have to be burdened by that record but it appears as if you are.Barrie, I think any government, if they are being honest with the Australian people, says what they've got wrong and what they've got right. I don't believe the Australian people belief any politician standing up there with their hand on their chest saying "Aren't we terrific, we have done everything fantastically well". That's ridiculous. I go back to the question of the big calls, on the economy, on jobs, on people's sense of security about where whether they are going to have their jobs properly protected and their penalty rates and overtime protected in the future, where Mr Abbott $70 billion of cuts will fall on their jobs, their hospitals, their schools and the affordability and unfairness of his paid parental leave scheme. These are wrong calls on the big questions by Mr Abbott. On the big calls on the economy and taking Australia forward, building a future for all Australians, on those big calls, we've got them right. They are the ones Mr Abbott refuses to debate in this election campaign.You talk $70 billion in cuts, Saul Eslake said it is 30 billion. There is a very big gap between what he says and you'd say.The $70 billion figure is not invented by the Government. It is used by Mr Hockey -Not for a long time.And Mr Robb the Shadow Finance Minister. Here is the rub, if the alternative government, Mr Abbott's team, wanted to put this matter to bed, why is it two weeks before election day they've refused to ad here to Peter Costello's charter of budget honesty and put it on the table. I will tell you why. Because the strategy being pursued by Mr Abbott is one of evasion. What I think the Australian people are doing as we approach the second last week of the campaign is beginning to lift up the lid - lift up the bonnet and look inside at the engine and ask some questions. Which jobs will go? What will happen to the future of the car industry, 50,000 jobs there once Mr Abbott removes proper support for it? What will happen to my hospital? What will happen to my school? What will happen to 1.3 million families who depend on the Schoolkids Bonus. I saw in the newspaper today a report which said Mr Abbott will say at his campaign launch later today in Brisbane that if the people elect his government, they will know what they get. Mr Abbott, I think what the Australian people really want to know is where your $70 billion worth of cuts will fall on their jobs, their schools, their hospitals and how are you going to fund this un afford able, unfair paid parental leave scheme which leaves so many people in the lurch? Are you pleased to this point Julia Gillard has chosen to stay out of the campaign? I said from the point at which I returned to the prime ministership, I would not be engaging in any negative commentary in relation to Julia's prime ministership. I believe that is simply wrong in principle. I don't intend to engage in that now or in the future.How can you say that when you said on Friday she was leading the party to a very, very catastrophic defeat? Barrie, that was something I actually said at the time when the campaign - when I returned to the leadership, as you well know.How can that not be criticism? That reflected as you know the facts at the time. I said it very bluntly at the time. There is nothing new in that. On her policy record, I have been asked about this many times. Australia is a better place as a result of the extraordinary work which Julia has done in education reform. Her work on the Better Schools plan, her earlier work on testing and schools and, furthermore, her work in conjunction with Jenny Macklin and Bill Shorten on bringing in Australia's first National Disability Insurance Scheme. I believe our job and leadership is to affirm the contributions of those who have come before us, whatever our personal disagreements may have been made with them.Will you be inviting her to the campaign launch? I understand Julia has made plain her position on that question and I respect it. It is entirely appropriate she make her own call on this and I respect her decision entirely. You - I think earlier in your question you referred to the circumstances which I faced in 2010. The difference is, in 2010, of course I was recontesting an election and during that election campaign I was asked to campaign both in my own seat but other seats as well. Julia's record I honour. I will not engage in any character assassination of her or her political and policy reform record. I believe we should be building one another up, not be in the business of tearing one another down.Again I ask the question as to why would
halfway through the campaign would you refer to this catastrophic result? Well, I was simply referring to what I had already said. I have made no criticism whatsoever of Julia's policy achievements and the core focus of this campaign, Barrie, as you well know, is not whatever personal disagreements Julia and I have had in the past, they are well documented, including by yourself. This is about a contest between the Government I lead and Mr Abbott. Mr Abbott as of this day two weeks out from a campaign effectively is avoiding any level of scrutiny. Avoiding any scrutiny on his costings, avoiding any scrutiny on where his cuts would fall, avoiding any scrutiny about what he would do with the Goods & Services Tax and avoiding scrutiny on what would happen with Fair Work Act and protections for penalties and over time. We have a clear plan. We want to build jobs and industries in the future. We want to diversify the economy, not have our eggs in one basket. We want to build and complete the National Broadband Network, we have a plan to do that, and a plan to invest a further $15 billion in the school system of the future and $20 billion in the hospitals of the future so we provide the services which Australians need for the future. That's our plan of building. Mr Abbott's plan is one of cutting down. I think my job is to make that alternative very plain so that, come voting day, if people choose to vote for Mr Abbott, they know precisely what they are getting. At present, that is being kept from them.Are you at least grateful Julia Gillard supporters have not attempted to sabotage your campaign in the same way your supporters sabotaged her campaign in 2010? I am not going to go to internal debates at that
within the Labor Party either at that time or on this occasion. I respect Julia Gillard's contribution. I have made that plain this morning. In particular her contributions in health - I'm sorry, education and schools reform and on top of that in a wider health sphere in terms of disability reform. She has made great contribution, they should be respected. I am not going to go into debates about the party's internals. This is a federal elections about an alternative between what an Australian Labor Government offers or what Mr Abbott would do or keep hidden should he be elected .Your campaign is late in the - your campaign launch is late in the piece. What is the strategy behind that? I believe the timing is varied between two weeks out and one week out. The timing doesn't matter. This is a debate about Australia's future. It is about whether we are going to be a country which is going to build the economy and the jobs of the future or one which has a philosophy of cutting everything to the bone. The problem is this - it is not just where the cuts fall. I talked before about getting the big calls right on the economy and keeping this whole show afloat during the global financial crisis including the challenges we face ahead with the slowing in China. But I really do fear that with its $70 billion or cuts or $60 billion or $50 billion of cuts, the bottom line is there is a grave risk that by undertaking actions of that type, that Mr Abbott's policies would at a level of economic management throw the economy also into recession. There is a risk of that. If I can see one real symbol, I've got to say, of absolutely poor economic judgment and management, it is the un affordability of a $22 billion paid parental leave scheme. That's more than we the Commonwealth spend on childcare every year, on the NBN every year. It is just un affordable. For him to equate that with the aged pension reform as he did in the debate last Wednesday night shows a lack of priorities. My job is to put the priorities before the Australian people. Whether it is today or next Sunday, I think that's immaterial.Thanks for your time this morning.Thanks so much Barrie. It took a few seconds, but it has generated hours of character analysis.Just one final point.Very quickly.Does this guy ever shut up? I think given he has run a very low risk campaign, that's a high risk statement.I think that was one of the great moments in the history of leaders' debates.Every Gillard supporter in the Labor Party was cheering him when he said that.He has been very disciplined of late.He has been disciplined.You what's under the surface.He had a human spontaneous reaction.We know why they keep him on a short rein.He was showing who Tony Abbott is.He is a very aggressive individual.He is a perfectly normal Australian.You might want him in the rugby team in the front row, fair enough, but is this bloke up to representing our nation at the forums of the world? Kevin Rudd loves the sound of his own voice.Perfectly, perfect picture to what people feel about this guy.I think it was probably prepared.Kevin Rudd is a gold medal yaberer.Kevin Rudd talks and talks and talks.He was doing plenty of talking.It is all talk.Do you have a wind problem? One contest I can never win against Mr Rudd is a talk-a-thon. Before Labor's spin machine got into top gear, Kevin Rudd had a moment of deja vu.A make-up artist complained.I'm not that happy getting make-up put on on the best of days.Liberals labelled Mr Rudd Mr Rude.I asked for a nip and a tuck. Let's deal with the facts here.There is a pattern of Kevin Rudd.(Bleep).You have reports of the way he treated the Chief of Defence.A hostess on the VIP jet where he didn't get his meal order.We saw that video of when he was screaming at the camera.(Bleep) language.Veterans in Brisbane radio today ...You had a third of his cabinet colleagues say there is no way they'd work with him again.I can't believe my mate Kevy would do anything like that.I find him charming. We have to zip.The ALP tried to portray the shut up thing as a return to Abbott aggression. The Coalition tried to portray the make-up thing as a return to Rudd tan tantrums. Do you think the shuttup thing was premeditated? There was more premeditation went into that than the D-Day invasion. It was Tony Abbott trying to say - almost bouncing on the heels of his feet "Will this guy ever shut up?". Of course it was pre-planned. It was something focus groups found had been fed to the party leader and his task was to find the appropriate forum.What about the make-up issue? Too much made of that? You can judge it by the reaction from within Labor and there was a sense of familiarity to it. That is what was dangerous on a political level for Kevin Rudd when this story came out because people were inclined to believe it. The truth of the matter is probably a bit more benign and that he had simply said nothing to this woman Lily Fontana and that was interpreted as rudeness. Because there is a background to this, it becomes a bit lethal for the Prime Minister in that sense because of the background.Michael, he seems on the face of it to be - it seems on the face of it to be trivial but they take up media time, do they matter? I think it is surface politics that doesn't matter at all. The shut-up thing is the sort of line you have planned, just like sex appeal and not just a pretty face. These are lines Tony Abbott figures will go down well, will enrage the elite but will go down well and the contrast works well for him. The make-up thing is probably a little bit of rings true with the Prime Minister's personality but in the end it is surface phenomenon that doesn't matter at all.Our polling expert is crunching the numbers for us every week throughout the campaign. Andrew, I want to ask you, your newspaper ran the clouds to give a sense of what it is that the two camps are saying the most. Let's start with Kevin Rudd.Kevin Rudd's is quite interesting. There is a lot is said during the week and what we did, we threw in 30,000 words from both leaders.

With Kevin Rudd, it was Australia, future, Abbott, cut. These are the words most prominent in a week's worth of his words. These are the ones he has been hitting most. That's the general theme, cut being huge and Abbott being huge. When it comes to Tony Abbott. This is also interesting in the sense we are going to have the launch today, it's more of a passive appeal. It is about people and want and the second order words are interesting because they almost run as a sentence. Rudd, Labor, government, think and tax.

Everything they say is work shopped, it goes through a focus group so it comes through in a pattern. That's what we were trying to explore. It came out well.The paid parental leave scheme was the one issue that had a thread through the whole week. It started ropily for the Coalition when Joe Hockey, I think he was giving interview from a car somewhere in Sydney at the time, but he was asked about the impact or the extent of the levy that would be imposed on the companies to pay for the parental leave scheme.Why again is the taxpayer doing this? It is going to be the 3,000 largest companies.What percentage of the money do they provide? 100%.Initially only half the cost will be covered by the levy.No.What's the percentage, roughly? It would have to be 50, 60%. 60,70%. I am not going the speculate, I haven't got the numbers in front of me in a car.Mr Hockey yesterday said it is 100%, no it
it is 50%, no, it is 60%. Now it is reported it is 45%.There has to be more surety given it is a major campaign issue.Where we are going into the last two weeks the election is largely over. From the polls, the betting markets particularly the marginal polls, you know the Coalition is almost certainly going to win and a new era of Conservative governments in Australia, going to be the high water mark of conservative governments. Tony Abbott will be on top of the new era. Kevin Rudd the last throw is this cut, cut, cut thing. In your interview with him, he was going down the camera, talking to Mr Abbott and trying to get the cut, cut, cut thing going. Amid that is this confusing thing of Tony Abbott's parental 'Financial
leave scheme which the 'Financial Review' called populist junk. I would have to agree on that. It is a welfare entitlement program. Most of the Liberal Party MPs don't like it. The Nats don't like it because it favours city women. Business hates it because it is financed by a company tax increase. It is really bad policy and it is the one thing that really muddus the a - muddies the Abbott agenda and brings in real doubts about would an Abbott government - not would it cut too much, but has it got the stomach and ticker to face up with the budget problems that neither side is dealing with? Beyond that, from what we saw there, Chris Uhlmann made a reference to this, there is concern within the Coalition about Joe Hockey's ability on the numbers. That wasn't a good start with the cuts to come.I think that interview, there is some confusion as to what was going on there. When he said 100%, he he was saying 100% of the money that was raised from the levy would come from these companies. It is okay what he said there. The 50, 60, 70 stuff is a bit muckier.He could have been more precise than that.I think he should be. If you look at what the Greens got from the Parliamentary Budget Office, you can see that the numbers do ramp up because companies try and fudge their numbers so that it has less effect in the earlier years. That's where he is a bit vague. I was being assured that the levy would raise 70% and then, two days later, Tony Abbott said it was 50%. This is really ginormously awful in terms of scrutiny. Also, if they are proud of the blooming numbers, get them out there.There are two things grating on this. One is that the Opposition tells us frequently we are facing a budget crisis, emergency situation and it launches a $5 billion company tax cut plus introduces one of the most expensive welfare items to appear over the last 20 years. Those two things don't - they are not compatible. Secondly, as Andrew said, the Coalition created the Parliamentary Budget Office which has looked Tony
at all these things and now Tony Abbott is saying the figures match up, we are just not going to tell you.He is also going to be claiming a mandate on this. The politics of mandate are always fraught but to claim a mandate on something no-one else agrees with, including your own party, is very dangerous.Bill Shorten makes that point about the National Party's attitude towards it.Mr Abbott's $5.5 billion paid parental leave scheme which an anonymous senior National Party member has called a heap of poo - he actually used worse words than that - a heap of poo which they believe will undermine the value of their company tax cut.But the other issue that I think the government plans to spend a bit of time on today and Penny Wong has put out a press release on this, on the franking issue and the loss of the franking credits suggesting that - I think they will be saying close to a million self-funded retirees or people who partly fund their retirement will lose out. Here is part of that debate.Now we find that one of the ways in which they propose to raise money for their funding gap is by also hitting the superannuation earnings of self-funded retirees. I don't believe that's fair, I don't believe it is right and it is completely inconsistent with Mr Abbott's commitment to the Australian people.This is not a new story, this is not a gotcha moment. It has been around. It has been reported everywhere. There is nothing new about it.It applies to self-funded retirees and people on part pensions. Will this bite? Some people will be very annoyed that the tax levy doesn't attract franking credits so, in effect, retirees who are reliant on income will find they won't get as much from their retirement income. They went through families and didn't get a grossly generous paid parental leave scheme and now they are having to finance, in part, a very extremely generous scheme way out in front of just about any other country in the world and they'll be asking, at a time where low interest rates have already cut back their interest income, why are we having to fund this? It does go to some of the problems of bringing in such a large-scale welfare entitlement scheme basically.On the costing, when they finally come, what do you think the Opposition will say? This is our target and this is the amount of cuts, will it be 30 billion, 40, 50 billion, what sort of range? The Prime Minister kept using the $70 billion figure which know is complete scaremongering. Saul Eslake very reputable market economist who knows his way around budget numbers put it at $30 billion. That's over four years forward estimates. That's a large amount. Maybe it is a bit less. I think they have a sizeable effort ...It's got to hurt? It would have to hurt somewhere. There is a lot of wiggle room in budgets. They should be able to show something with some pain which shows they are responsible because they have got rid of things like the Schoolkids Bonus but the point I'd make is they have a job to show they are getting a better bottom line than the government in what they are going to do. This is stage one for whoever is in office of the election, because the real message from the Pre-Election Economic & Fiscal Outlook was the Budget task is much, much bigger than just paying for your promises you have over the next four years.That was one of the key things about Saul Eslake, it is 30 billion to get to where the Government was. They will have to go beyond.Saul Eslake, you gave him credit for being a reputable economist. Barnaby Joyce wasn't quite as generous.Saul's a good bloke. He was a former junior politician, aspirant. I can never quite remember the business that Saul ran but I'm sure he is very competent.He is an economist, actually.Well, what business.He was the ANZ Bank's chief economist.Good luck to him.He was the ANZ Bank's chief economist.He is not privy to all the details that are there for the costings of the Coalition policy so what he has put on the front page of the paper is his assumptions.Malcolm, you were about to say? Joe Hockey has said on a couple of occasions the commission of audit will not be used to retreat on election promises, but might it be used to, say, defer the paid parental leave by another year or so? Is that a legitimate option for them? I don't know. Even if you say it is $20 billion over four years, that's a hell of a lot of dough to find.You look at the productivity participation argument, it is a line item in the policy, it says "It just will improve "....That's right.... if you wanted to encourage both those elements, two of the three Ps, you could use the same money and effectively make childcare free. That's probably not a good idea because you'd need to means test because that's what you could do alternatively.The cuts will probably come after the advertising blackout is in force. Can it be a circuit breaker in the same way the leaks were against Julia Gillard which shift ed the polls between 8 and 10 points in a couple of days? The release of the costings? I wouldn't think so. It is entrenched now. The Government is in a deep hole and even if there is a horrific cuts made and announced, I think it is too late.Every week we seem to get a new policy on asylum seekers or an extension of the old policy. This week it is what Bill Shorten described as the cash for clunkers on the high seas.It is much better and much more sensible to spend a few thousand dollars in Indonesia than to spend $12 million processing the people who ultimately arrive here. It is a commonsense measure.Of all the mad ideas I've heard in immigration, I think boat buy-back wins. The whole concept that you can deal with three-quarters of a million boats, most of which are being used for poor villagers to make a livelihood, and Australian officials are going to wander in and buy the boats from them.Do you get the impression some policy s we will hear little of after the election, that being one of them? One of the stories about the election is the three shocking pieces of public policy. PPL, Kevin Rudd's troppo tax and this one. It is gob smackingly silly. You are advertising what you are going to do. My understanding in the Howard Government time is that money did go into Indonesian villages but did they talk about it and promote it and have big news conferences about it? No, they didn't.You made the point you have to start thinking seriously about the prospect of a Coalition government. Tony Abbott has said he will make adjustments, having said for a while he wouldn't in terms of the ministry, but Andrew Robb is likely to take over Trade from Julie Bishop and Arthur Sinodonis comes in to take care of Finance. Then Julie Bishop will be Foreign Affairs.I can guarantee Julie Bishop will be the deputy leader of the Liberal Party. She is going to be a magnificent Minister for Foreign Affairs. I suspect she has the potential, I say this Alexander
at the risk of upsetting Alexander Downer, but she has the potential to be Australia's best ever Minister for Foreign Affairs.The important thing is Arthur Sinodonis going into finance.This is potentially a good move. It is good to have trade and investment together and the idea is Andrew Robb would have policy there to promote free-trade deals, the flow of investment into the economy, cutting the cost of red tape and high cost of projects in Australia. It is very good to get Arthur Sinodinos in the control room of the government. He is a very good operator. It confirms the Nationals for the first time in a Coalition government since 1956 won't have the trade portfolio. You don't want a protectionist like Barnaby Joyce at some stage on behalf of the Nationals saying "I want to be trade minister". I think it is a good thing.Tony Abbott will have a very big backbench and not enough jobs? It is a huge problem. There is going to be tears. The 2000 legislation under the Howard government limited the size of the executive to 30 ministers and 12 parliamentary secretaries. Tony Abbott already has 47 in that role. It would be travesty if Arthur Sinodinos wasn't given a finance role. It is Rather than bring new people in, he will have to cut some people? Even if he brought no-one in, he will have to wind it back but there are people that have to come in. There aren't enough plush ambassadors jobs going around to eliminate all the people he is going to have to disappoint.More with our panel shortly with Andrew Malcolm
Probyn, Michael Stutchbury and Malcolm Farr. Now it is time for Mike Bowers and Talking Pictures.

I'm Mike Bowers. I'm director of photography for the Global Mail. A special guest for Talking Pictures, Alexander Boris De Pfieffer Johnson. the
Better known to you and me as the Lord Mayor of London, Boris. You have dropped into one of those elite few who has a mononym ....A mononym! That is a very kind of posh ABC. That is a very - a mononym, I will try that.You have arrived in Melbourne to give the address to the Melbourne Writers Festival. Right smack bang in the Festival of Democracy is the 2013 election.I know. It is very interesting to see it all unfold. I have met Tony Abbott, he seems a very nice guy. I haven't met Kevin Rudd but obviously I'm looking at it, seeing what lessons there are to be drawn.You are a journalist and you still write columns. How would you describe it to a British audience? Give us the opening par.That's a very clever question. There was a very good comparison made the other day to the thing you go through when you go back to an ex-girlfriend which is a bit what's happening with Kevin Rudd, right.Lots of awkward moments with the voters.I wouldn't want to elaborate on that. I think that's seems to be the gist of what is happening but who am I to comment? This is to the electorate of Australia.Our own politicians, their idea of a picture is to stick a hard hat on or high visibility vest or kiss a baby. Do you have any advice? You are no stranger to pulling a pretty spectacular stunt? This was much more of a disaster than you might think. You might think it was a disaster anyway but it was much more painful and frightening.I have seen the vision, yes.It went on for a very long time with a large audience beneath me cakinating. Cakinating is the correct word with pleasure at my discomfort.Misfortune.My evident discomfort. There he is! That's it. My God. That's my security man! Geez. That's an incredible photograph. He is normally Tony Blair's security guy and he is a very, very nice guy. I said Carl is there anything you can do? He went like this. I thought A-ha. Took out his mobile phone and took a photograph of my rear end.Our Prime Minister is into the selfie. Are you on to this There is a great similarity in our complexions. There is no question. If there was a pinkometer, it would be going zoink.Your signature is your hair. You are often seen adjusting it in this sort of fashion.Geez yes.Someone else does that too.Who's that? That's our current Prime Minister. Have you got any advice hair wise? I think he is looking great. Don't touch a thing.I have been looking at your cartoonists who give you a it
terrible time.They do. I think it is rather flattering actually. An uncanny likeness there.Does it ever give to you that you get the piss taken out of you I suppose? That's what I was trying to say. It is very important for a society to work, that people can take the piss - we can get away with it on the ABC because Mike just said it. Unless people can laugh at politicians, what kind of - that's what's so spooky. You should be able to laugh at Putin.Absolutely. You said that you had as much chance of Great
becoming Prime Minister of Great Britain as being decapitated by a frisbee or being re-incarnate ed as an olive.Or blinded by a champagne cork. Or lost at beach. That's what happened to one of your Prime Ministers. Very careless of you.Very careless. We have a tradition that the guest signs off with a back to you Barrie.Back to you Barrie.Thank you Boris. Final observation.The Opposition in defence of its PPL has said it is only 1.7% of people are over the 100K mark. That's based on taxable income. If you look at actual wages, it is more women 20 to 44, earning over 100 K, 78%. If this comes to be, the cost could blow out.Any insider fan who hasn't done so should get AFR weekend and read Pamela William's inside story of how Rudd killed Gillard. The scene is Malcolm's mid winter ball at the press gallery, it is Wednesday June 19, the theme is French, the comedian Bob Down well into the event points over to Kevin Rudd's table, he is not there, a lot of jokes are made about all of that and Pam reveals that right at that moment, Kevin Rudd was actually upstairs in Richard Marles' office talking to Bill Shorten and trying to win him over into his column. Of course, a week later was the ballot that returned Rudd to the prime ministership. It seems pedestrian after that, but it is amazing the role small business is playing in this election. Greater than any previous elections. The idea that small business always voted Liberal was wrong but I think they will this time round.Now the nation waits of course to see what Kevin Rudd will bake on 'Kitchen cabinet'. Annabel Crabb wouldn't tell me but she did remind Kevin Rudd won a CWA award with a chocolate cake. Here is Senator Doug Cameron.What is being talked about here.We are the lowest of the low. The most wretched, most miserable servile shat that was imposed on the population.Is it a the ALP or the NSW Labor Party? I thought it was News Limited.Last question. How would this clip sound if it was spoken with a convincing Scottish accent? They may take our lives but they'll never take our freedom.They may take our lives but they will never take our freedom.Correct.APPLAUSE Ladies and gentlemen, Senator

was on behalf of every politician in the country. God morning and welcome to Inside Business. I'm Michael Rowland filling in for al on Coller this week. If there is one big theme that has emerged on the businessus week of the corporate calendar, it's cutting costs. We will catch up with BHP Billiton's Andrew Mackenzie who has pulled out $3 billion out of his business but made a punt on Chinese growth. We will check out the one company weighed down by good news.

This Program is Captioned Live.

The big result of the week was BHP Billiton's $12 billion profit, a huge number but still 30% down on the year before. However, the real focus of attention was a new Chief Executive Andrew Mackenzie's response to weak global gloat and tumbling commodity prices. While the strategy was to rip cost oust base, there was an investment in potash and the future demand for food. I spoke to Andrew Mackenzie about his plans. Andrew Mackenzie, when you took the reins at BHP set
Billiton four months ago, you set three key benchmarks, operational excellence and being more shareholder friendly. Looking first at the simplification process, what assets need to be simplified?The big steps, we announced really during the course of the last financial year and he we talked about $6.5 billion of divestment have been taken. There is another form of simplification which makes it clear the areas you are going to invest in for growth. We have been specific about we are building this

Doug Cameron!Thank you. That