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Hello, the top stories from ABC News - US President Barack Obama says the United States is ready to strike against Syrian targets but he'll seek Congressional approval first. Speaking at the White House, President Obama again used the Syrian Government of carrying ought a chemical weapons attack on the outskirts of Damascus. He said it was important to have a debate and a vote on the matter. The earliest this could happen is September 9 when Congress returns from recess. A new opinion poll shows Labor trails the Coalition with less than one week to go to the Federal election. The Galaxy Poll shows the Coalition leading the ALP 53% to 47 on a two-party preferred basis. Trm Kevin Rudd is scheduled to officially launch his campaign in Brisbane today. Ambulance Victoria has suspended the use of helicopter winches during rescue operations after a patient fell to his death. The man who had broken his ankle while bush walking plunged 30m to the ground as he was about to bely.Ed through the door of an ambulance helicopter. And in the AFL Richmond will make its first finals appearance since 2001, on the back omp last night's 39-point win over Essendon at the MCG. The 104-6 5 victory all be guarantees the Tigers will finish fifth and stay with us now for Insiders with Barrie Cassidy. Captions by CSI Australia

This Program is Captioned Live. Good morning. Welcome to Insiders. Tony Abbott is our guest here in the studio this morning. He enters the last week of the election campaign at Black Caviar odds to win and Black Caviar never lost.Those odds firmed even more when an attempt by the Government to expose a $10 billion black hole in the Coalition's costings back fired.This is a $10 billion fraud on the Australian people which he has sought to put before them within the last 24 hours. It is a question of judgement. It is a question of truthfulness.Three of their pop public servants have called them out for deliberately trying to mislead the Australian people about the Coalition's policies and costings.Mr Rudd has got all of his own figures wrong and now he is getting our figures wrong too. When it comes to Budget figures, if Mr Rudd's lips are moving, you know he is not telling the truth.That is how the week ended. Before then it was all a blur of promises, pledges and policies, big and small, in marginal seats all around the country. National elections are about priorities.An incoming Coalition Government will finally provide a measure of justice to the Australian victims of overseas terrorism.1750km high speed rail project from Brisbane to Melbourne.Freight logistics $40 million package.Fishing is part of the Australian way of life. We will suspend the marine protected areas that this Government has recently declared. APPLAUSEThousands of children from all over Australia will receive modest subsidies so they too can come to the nation's capital.$3 million towards the netball World Cup in 2015.$200,000 for the upgrade here at Palmerston of this boat ramp and facilities. A dedicated National Stronger Regions Fund.With a new Australian Government minister for cities.$3 million for new roads here on the Central Coast.$7 million for the Kibbleplex centre. $2 million for Central Coast training.$3.5 million for the Woy Woy oval upgrade.$3 million for improving water quality in our lakes.A caretaker cottage. Kevin Rudd has set off an angry debate over his push to shut Sydney's naval base and move defence resources to Brisbane.BOF how are you been
mate? A phone call would have been helpful.4,000 jobs.I am happy to share, your predecessor could share, you should learn to share.It is a Kevin Rudd thought bubble along with the northern Territory company tax cut. It is another bogus idea.Stop the selfies, these are not just for taking selfies, these are for calling premiers Mr Speaker.If there is such a compelling strategic necessity will you announce jer vis bay will move to Moreton Bay and Holsworthy to Forde and the SAS to Griffith.I don't apologise in national politics sometimes you ever to make these decisions. Our position's well-known, well documented, clear, out there.You guys are out there pork barrelling so merrily.I think it might be one occasion where Mr Hockey and I agree that we don't accept the premise of your question.There is a treat for everyone.Today it was $money for a Cadbury factory in Tasmania.I accept it is unusual but Tasmania, I put it to you, is a special case.Mr Abbott picks one out of space here.I have no self discipline when it comes to chocolate.Plucks another one out of that tree.I am a sucker for chocolate.And talks about something he might do in the by and by. You have to campaign as you intend to govern.How do you intend to pay for your promises or do you plan to keep on borrowing? How do you combat the perception that the only thing Labor is good at is spending other peoples' money.Will you state here and now that if you win, you will not alter or cancel any promises? My job is to make sure that every Australian, going into a polling booth on Saturday week, knows precisely what they're buying.I am determined to underpromise and overdeliver so that after the election people are much more likely to be pleasantly surprised than furiously disappointed.Good things, bad things, whatever. Though it is a week out from the election, it is Labor's turn to launch its campaign in Brisbane this morning. From there, Mark Simpkin joins us. Good morning. A big challenge for Kevin Rudd. What do you expect the major themes will be? I think the theme is pretty simple - it is going to be contrasting Labor's jobs, jobs, jobs with Tony Abbott's alleged cuts, cuts, cuts. I am not tour if there is two three-word slogans or two one-word slogans repeated three times but either way there will be policy meat to back that theme up. Tax breaks for small businesses announced by the PM. Changes to the TAFE system and some incentives for major projects to employ more apprentices. The theme and the policy very much about jobs.Jeff Kidney wrote in the 'Financial Review' is one of the toughest thing that Kevin Rudd will have to do is launch a campaign already dead. That is what he's up against today? Yes, I suppose the mood is not buoyant and it won't be helped Daily
by the front page of the 'The Daily Telegraph' this morning, a full front page screaming headline "We want Tony" and the photo leaves you in no doubt there they're not talking about Tony Soprano or someone but the people who are organising this Kevin
event, the people close to Kevin Rudd, they are determined it is not going to be a wake, it will be a wick-up. They will do things differently to the low-key approach of Julia Gillard three years ago. Kevin Rudd will be speaking pretty much in the round surrounded by audience members. I am told he won't wander around with a microphone like an old episode of Couchman but it an attempt to make him look presidential or to look engaged. If you look behind me, you might be able to see some of the volunteers here. They are decked out in white T-shirts with two big red words on them "Kevin and Rudd". You have to look hard at the fine print to see any mention of the word "Labor".Thanks Mark Simpkin.Tony Abbott is coming up shortly live in the studio. First we will look at the Sunday papers around the country. The endorsements, the editorials are starting to come in. The first are in from News Limited and Fairfax? Yes, the Sunday 'Telegraph' as Mark mentioned has "Australia needs Tony" all over the front page. It is a big shock from the News Limited Sunday newspaper. It has run a p.9 editorial saying that Mr Abbott has demonstrated himself to be a decisive and compassionate leader, despite the relentless and often unfair goading of his detractors, Mr Abbott has avoided the street fight and embraced a calmer appeal to Australia's better judgement and he's committed himself to finding solutions for some of our problems, from indigenous disadvantage, to business stagnation and Labor productivity.It is a fairly spectacular endorsement.Fairfax on the other hand are doing so but not with the same level of enthusiasm? No, the 'Sun Herald' - you have to say a lot of that Sunday 'Telegraph' editorial is actually about why we should get rid of Kevin Rudd and Labor rather than really a long endorsement of Tony Abbott but the 'Sun Herald''s line is more "Kevin Rudd does not deserve to win, nor does the party that he purports to lead, they have been politicking and campaigning for three years, an arduous process that has served to alienate many in the electorate and turned some off men
politics. Tony Abbott and his men in blue ties should ascend to power by default rather than ability putting a Coalition Government in charge after six years in Opposition".Our polling expert Andrew Catsaras will average out all of the opinion polls around the country shortly, straight after the Tony Abbott interview.Before then, we have a Galaxy poll Kerry Anne and a provocative headline in the SA paper? Yes, in Julia Gillard's home State, the 'Sunday Mail' has "Worse than Julia. Final poll reveals Rudd will lose more seats than Julia Gillard". It shows that the Labor primary vote has been steadily nose-diving. It is now at 35%. The two party preferred is something like 53-47 and it Julia
is basically suggesting that if Julia Gillard had have remained leader, she would have done a better job. Mind you, she probably wouldn't have if he was still in the party but that is a moot point at this stage, isn't it? The only glimmer of light for Kevin Rudd in this is that he remains the nation's choice as better PM at 45%. Tony Abbott is gaining on him in that particular place.What is the benchmark here because Kevin Rudd is involved in two races, one to beat Tony Abbott, but sectly, to somehow demonstrate he would have done better than Julia Gillard would have done? - secondly.Anything less than 60 and you would have to start querying whether or not it was worth the pain? There is a view that Julia Gillard may have run a better campaign, and whether she would have got a better vote who would know. A bad loss is a bad loss. We are focusing all the time on Labor's problems. The other side of this is that Tony Abbott has done remarkably well over four years. If he wins on Saturday, he will be the most successful Opposition Leader since Gough Whitlam in 1972, he unified his party, won an election. The focus should be more on that. It is not simply that Julia Gillard was in trouble -That is true but the 'The Daily Telegraph' focused mainly on Kevin Rudd as well -It didn't really. I think this is very important, particularly in the Western suburbs of Sydney, it said that Tony Abbott had a certain appeal to working people and that is right.Sure it didn't ignore him altogether. The point you make is if the polls hold up as they do now, Tony Abbott will in fact come into office with a better result than Gough Whitlam in '72 and Kevin Rudd in 2007? That would be a huge result. A party can always recover and the people who wrote off the Liberals six years ago were foolish and if you write off Labor now, you're also foolish. Parties can recover in three or six years. It looks like one of Labor's worst results ever on the current polls.Gerard, you have something about the shining light? This is the silver lining on the cloud. According to the Galaxy poll in the Sunday 'Times' in Perth, Alanah McTiernan has a swing to her and of all the 20 marginal seats that have been polled, this is the only seat where Labor has a swing to it. If that is right, then McTiernan would hold Perth for Labor. The other side is Ken Wyatt. Mr Wyatt has a swing to him. Ms McTiernan seems to be standing out. Who knows why.Which one is that? Hasler, Ken papers
Wyatt.That is the Sunday papers and now we will be joined by the Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott. As he does join us, here are a few thoughts from the leaders over the weekend on their prospects.I believe that the Australian people in the course of the last week and 10 days of this campaign will begin to lock onto their choices.I have seen a range of polls, both public and private, which suggest to me this election will end up closer than people think.It is like climbing Mount Everest and as people who have climbed summits will tell you, the last few paces are the most dangerous.The last few yards are the situation in which the most can go wrong.I respect the wisdom of the Australian people to make their judgements in a seasoned and proper way and I am sure they will do so.Tony Abbott, good morning. Tanks for coming into the studio.Morning Barrie.Why do you want to be PM? I want a stronger Australia and that means building a stronger economy so everyone can get ahead. It means scrapping the carbon tax, ending the waste, stopping the boats and building the roads of the 21st century.Let's talk about some of the policies. We will start with the cuts to come. How severe will they be? There will be no surprises and now excuses from a Coalition Government Barrie. We have already put out a lot of the savings that we think are necessary. Joe Hockey outlined $31 billion worth of savings this week. There will be some additional savings to be announced later this week -That is what I as asking about. How severe will they be? Nothing like Labor's scare campaign. All eminently defensible because, let's face it, our first priority here is to build a stronger economy and that means reinvesting taxpayers' dollars in things that will actually strengthen our economy rather than just build bureaucracies.You now know the size of these cuts, how significant, how big? Look, there will be some further relatively modest savings announced later in the week but I don't think anyone is going to think at the end of this week "My God there is this massive fiscal squeeze coming". If anything, what they will think is there has been a massive scare campaign, a massive campaign of exaggerations and even lies from the Labor Party.Put it this way, will the cuts impact on ordinary Australians? Inevitably there will be some changes that people won't like, for instance -Ordinary Australians will feel it? Ending the so-called school kids bonus.We know about that one.I don't believe the additional savings to be announced later in this week, will impact on ordinary Australians. I want to give people this absolute assurance, no cuts to education, no cuts to health, no changes to pensions, and no changes to the GST.And on timing, you say later in the week, clearly they will come after the electronic Kevin
black-out happens. But will Kevin Rudd, when he stands up at the 'National Press Club' on Thursday, will he know what the cuts are by then? What will be - it is not so much whether Kevin Rudd will know, the important thing is will the Australian people know Barrie? The answer is yes, they will.They will know by Thursday? We can't give you our final figures until we have given you our final policy initiatives and we will be making policy initiatives, new policy initiatives right up until the middle of the week.On climate change, we have just had the warmest winter ever along the east coast. Is that evidence of climate change? It is evidence of the variability in our weather, but just to make it clear, I think that climate change is real, humanity makes a contribution. It is important to take strong and effective action against it and that is what our direct action policy does.You say it is in evidence of variability but it is getting warmer.And there is no doubt that we have had a warm winter. No doubt whatsoever. The important thing is to take strong and effective action to tackle climate change, action that doesn't damage our economy and that is why the insent krif-based system that we have got, the direct action policies, which are similar to those that President Obama has put into practice, is - that is the smart way to deal with this, a big tax is a dumb way to deal with it.The target within the direct action is a 5% reduction on 2000 levels by 2020 and yet there are a lot of experts around who say you can't achieve that with $3 billion? We believe we can. When we released our policy back in 2010, we released a range of letters of comfort from different reputable organisations that said that they thought that it was possible to achieve very large amounts of emissions reduction at a relatively low cost per tonne.What if, down the track, say a year or two from now, it became obvious that you can't hit that 5% target, would you increase the funding to meet the target or would you abandon that we
the target? I don't accept that we are going to be in that position Barrie .Let's also remember that business has a very strong incentive to reduce its costs and some of the highest costs are power, fuel etc., which are the big sources of emissions. Given that power is expensive, given that fuel is expensive, there is a big int sentive for business to reduce those costs anyway. Take for instance the big transport company Linfox, they think they have reduced their remissions as a corporate by 35% since 2007 and they didn't need a tax to do that. They did that to save themselves money. They did it because it was simple, good economics for them.I accept that it is a hypothetical question in a sense but it still goes to the level of your commitment as to whether, if you face that situation, whether you would increase the funding or abandon the target.We're determined to common
reduce emissions but we think common sense and standard economics, along with some targeted incentives will get us there.On boats and this idea of buying boats in Indonesia, do you think it is just possible that we will never buy a single boat from Indonesia? Look, it is possible. But what we were announcing during the week was a fund, $20-odd million that would be available to our people on the ground in consultation and cooperation with the Indonesians to try to ensure that the local villages were working with us rather than with the people smugglers.We may not buy boats back but if we did have the opportunity to pay someone a couple of thousand dollars to stop a boat from being launched, if that boat arrived in Australia, it would cost some $12 million per boat to deal with people, that would be a shrewd investment.Surely on reflection, you now appreciate they will just go and find another boat, there is so many of them out there? And yet there is often a very narrow window of time for these things to happen and if we can interrupt a particular operation in this way, that may well be a sensible thing to do but, again, it is adding to the resources, adding to the flexibility of our response on the ground.The paid parental leave scheme is generous, I think everybody says, but it is generous at a time when you say we have a Budget emergency. Is this the wrong time for generosity? It is always easy to pick holes in an important social advance. Every social advance, whether it was the pensions, whether it was superannuation, has always been criticised as being too much too soon.This is an important social advance, I think it has important economic spin-offs. If we want to ensure that 50% of our work force, the female percentage of our work force has every incentive to stay in the economy and to have a family, this is an idea whose time has come.Sure, but the criticism is you have gone right over the top.I don't believer that I have. I think six months at your real wage, capped is the right way forward. It acknowledges the contribution that women make to our country, both economically and socially.You call it a social issue but there was an observation made, I think, in the 'Financial Review' yesterday that you won't be as much interested in economic management as you will be in cultural and social issues, is that a fair characterisation? Not really because while economic strength is not an end in itself, we want a richer Australia so we can have a better Australia. Economic strength is the foundation of almost everything else, for instance, if we want a better environment, a stronger economy helps. If we want more national security, a stronger economy helps. If we want a better health and education system, a stronger economy helps. A stronger economy is the key to everything else.The other observation I saw in that article was that of previous PMs, you are more likely to throw taxpayers' money at failing businesses than any other PM. What do you say to that? I don't accept that. Certainly we have been criticised uphill and down dale by the Labor Party for not wanting quite as much assistance to the car industry as they are propose ing. I just don't accept that. It is a caricature.It could be just a week before you're PM of the country, is there any trep dationz, any apprehension about that? I am incredibly conscious of what an extraordinary privilege it is to lead a major political party and should we win the election, I will be acutely conscious of the burden of duty and responsibility that has descended upon my shoulders. I will be very conscious of that. But, I think I am ready, my team is ready, our plan is ready and we can produce a better country.It comes at a time when Australia's about to take over the leadership of the UN Security Council. Whoever is PM next year will host the G20 meeting. Australia is about to take a lead in world affairs, in other words, and Kevin Rudd says you're not up to it.Yes, I thought that was a comment that was a little beneath our PM. It was an echo of something that Paul Keating, in his desperate last moments, said of John Howard back in early 1996 and, as you know, John Howard turned out to be almost certainly our best PM since Menzies and a very effective foreign policy PM. Look, I am ready for the responsibilities of the highest office including foreign responsibilities.It is fair to ask the question, where are your foreign policy credentials? I was a minister for nine years in a successful Government, I was leader of the House of Representatives for six years in a successful Government. I worked very closely with John Howard and Alexander downer. Sure, I don't have the overseas experience that they had at the end of their time but I have the overseas experience that they had at the beginning of their time and look how well they turned out.President Obama said overnight the US will take military action against the Syrian regime targets and he won't be waiting for UN inspectors. What do you think of that approach? All Australian governments instinctively want to support our friends and allies and our greatest ally is obviously the United States. All Australian Governments instinctively want to uphold the universal human Dees ensies and the regime's use of poison gas on its own people is an utter abomination. That said, any punitive strike, it has to be targeted, it has to be proportionate and it has to be carefully considered to try and ensure that as far as is humanly possible, we aren't making a bad situation worse.When the second general of the UN says he would like to see a political solution, not a military solution, the United States says otherwise. Your inclination would be to support the US on this? If we could get a political solution tomorrow that would be terrific but I don't believe we're likely to get a political solution tomorrow. We have a civil war going on in that country between two pretty unsavoury sides. It is not goodies versus baddies, it is baddies versus baddies and that is why it is very important that we don't make a very difficult situation worse. The other point I should make Barrie is Australia has a role here but it is a diplomatic role, not a military role. There is probably only three Western countries with the ability to actually take military action. That is the United States, Britain, which has apparently ruled itself out, and France, which has a very limited capacity.The other thing that President Obama said is that the UN Security Council has become completely paralysed. There is a challenge for you. How do you make the security council more active? This is really a difficulty between the United States and Britain and France on one hand and Russia and China on the other hand.Plainly, Russia thinks that it has an important strategic interest in propping up the Assad regime. Where the security council is, for whatever reason ineffective, there is precedent for right thinking powers, if you like, to take action and that was in former Yugoslavia, where Britain, the US and other countries took action in Kosovo.Just finally, you were press secretary to John Hewson when he lost the unlosable election in 1993. Did you learn anything from that experience that will get you through the next week? You take nothing for granted, you absolutely take nothing for granted and every day for the next six days, I will talk about our positive plans versus more of the same from the Labor Party. Build a stronger economy so that everyone can get ahead, scrap the carbon tax, end the waste, stop the boats and build the roads of the 21st century but to do that we need a stable majority Government.There will be no public rallies, no shouting slogans at crowds? There will be all sorts of events over the next few days but I am conscious of the fact that the Australian people want to be confident that their next Government is vastly better and vastly more adult, if I may say so, than the one they have now.Thanks for coming in this morning and good luck on Saturday.Thanks so much Barrie.Now it is time for Insiders Poll of Polls, our final wrap of the campaign opinion polls with Andrew Catsaras. As we enter the final week, we find that the ALP's primary vote is on 34.8. The Coalition is on 45.5 and the Greens are on 10.7. That translates to a two party preferred vote of 53-47 in favour of the Coalition.If we look at the see
two party preferred graph we see on the elevation of Kevin Rudd there was an immediate shift in the polls to be nearly at fifty-fifty. From the time the election was called, the gap between the parties opened up and has continued to be at 53-47.We have had a large number of polls released at this campaign at the national, State and marginal seat level but it is difficult to reconcile all the figures. On the one hand, the national and State poll figures tell us that the ALP is set to lose 11 seats leaving them on 61, the Coalition 86, two Independents Bob Katter and Andrew Wilkie and either a Green or ALP member in the seat of Melbourne. A clear Coalition majority and larger than Kevin Rudd's win in 2007 where the ALP won 83 seats. Smaller that Bob Hawke's victory in 1983 where the ALP won the equivalent of 90 seats and John Howard's victory in 1996 where the Coalition won the equivalent of 95 seats. The marginal seat poll suggests the ALP is set to lose 30 seats leaving them on 42, the Coalition 105, two Independents and either a Green or another ALP member which is a huge Coe lation majority and will rival Malcolm Fraser's landslide victory in 1975 where the Coalition won the equivalent of 108 seats.For the ALP to lose that many seats and for the Coalition to pick up over 100 seats, it would require the national two party preferred vote to be at 57-43, according to the reliable electoral pendulum devised by Malcolm Mackerras but none of the national State polls show anything like that. The only possible explanation for all the polls, national, State and marginal seats, to be accurate reflections of voting intentions of the public is for there to be large swings against the Government in the marginal seats, yet reasonable swings to the Government in the safe ALP and Coalition-held seats. That would be the polling equivalent of the theory of everything.So while it is possible, it is not very likely.Nevertheless what we do know is that the direction of all the polls, national, State and marginal seats, are all going the one way and that is against the government. What we don't know is the magnitude of that direction though I suspect the national polls are probably closer to the mark. In any event we shall find all that out on Saturday. According to Andrew's figures it is 53-47 in favour of the Coalition and Kevin Rudd relies on the Paul Keating precedent in 1993 but Paul Keating wasn't that far behind with a week to go? He wasn't. He didn't start that far behind in the sense that you need a swing to the Government to start with and you needed a swing as the campaign started for Labor to get over the line in its own right. Yes, the 92/93 thing has been clung to by Labor and all sorts of little rats and mice arguments are coming out of the polls aren't showing the support within ethnic communities, they are unreliable because of mobile phones, there are few seats that people aren't looking at, but given the way the campaign is going, the momentum - the momentum going into the last week, the real risk for Labor is people just go right, this is on and let's just get rid of them.Gerard, the other observation about this is that Labor expected that at some stage Tony Abbott would giver them some gold and it hasn't happened and if anything through the campaign Tony Abbott has probably developed a bit of reassurance. Certainly that is the feeling in Victoria, I think, where the expectation was that there might be a shift back to Labor at some point but it hasn't happened. There has to be a bit more relaxation about the prospect of Tony Abbott than what they might have started out with? Yes and in 1993 Paul Keating was still a substantial figure and the Opposition was led by John Hewson. Tony Abbott is no John Hewson. Also he has worked extraordinarily hard. His visits to Melbourne in the last three years would be over 100. He realised he had a problem in Victoria and he has worked on it. The people who thought he would explode were projecting their dislike of Tony Abbott onto Tony Abbott. He has demonstrated what he has always been like. I spoke to John Howard once and it was a private conversation, I am sure he wouldn't mind me mentioning it and he doesn't often praise people and John Howard said that Tony Abbott was one of his most effective cabinet ministers. He had a pretty substantial record. The idea he was suddenly going to fall apart when he became Opposition leader was unrealistic -But based in part on his performance in the 2007 election -He made one mistakes in that election and and he agreed he didn't have a good Tony
election. It was said under Tony Abbott and this was an article paid for and published in 'The Age', Judith said that under Tony Abbott the Liberal Party would become a party of angry old white men in the outer suburbs. This is the kind of philosophy that drove a lot of the feelings about Tony Abbott and it was always completely unfounded. A Professor of politics at La Trobe University, if she can say that, you can imagean how out of kilter other people are.It wasn't did about what professors were saying, the unelectable thing was coming out of focus groups at the time. There was a deep suspicion about Tony Abbott. I think it is true that he's neutralised a lot of that but it wasn't just - it wasn't elite opinion as people like to spit out the side of their mouths were saying this.If it was focus groups it didn't last for long. Tony Abbott becomes leader in December 2009 and in the following August he almost defeats Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd having been replaced. If that was the feeling in focus groups, it didn't last for long because he almost won an election within nine months.The Labor campaign then, it wasn't so much that Tony Abbott did such a sterling job, it was that Labor did an appalling job. That campaign was self-inflicted, it was a shocker, a massive stabbing in the back and the front from Kevin Rudd and all his people.I know Julia Gillard had big problems brought about -But that is not to discount Tony Abbott's role here and the fact he was worked very hard since -Tony Abbott has a great appeal in the suburbs and the regional centres, not in the inner cities where the journalists live.No, I'm not saying that. He has obviously grown in the job but you can't discount the fact that the 2010 campaign there was a lot of self-inflicted Labor wounds.It harmed Julia Gillard for sure but I still think Tony Abbott ran a good campaign.The Opposition put out their costings and the Government tried to exploit that during the week. The problem was that they brought Treasury and finance into it? I think the problem started even before they brought Treasury finance into it. You just had to look at the numbers and the whole $10 billion claim, it didn't hold a lot of water because you couldn't make all these presumptions that they made, half was about the cash accounting which we're hot about. The whole thing didn't pass the test and then they really outrageously used Treasury and Finance and the Parliamentary Budget Office to try and give it some street credibility. Kevin Rudd has history here. He used to use Ken Henry as a human shield early on as well and I think that really only just ment that a hand grenade became a nuclear explosion in terms of blowing up in their faces.There is nowhere to go with this now is there, other than wait until the cuts are made and go to town on that? My feeling about this is that the costings issue which I have history with, but the actual question of the costings, I think it is neutralised by the Parliamentary Budget Office. We have all been a bit too obsessed about this. Labor has run itself into a hole on it. The two big questions about this are what are the choices that the Coalition is asking voters to make in terms of cuts and spends? We don't know that. It doesn't matter what the costings are and, more importantly, after debt and deficit and Budget emergency, as far as we can see, the difference in the Budget bottom line is going to be absolutely marginal.All the way along Labor put too much faith it it not adding up rather than focusing on the cuts to come.Kevin Rudd has been exasperated with the media over this story. Here he is.The reason we're in this debate at all, at all, notwithstanding the headline in your paper today, is because Mr Abbott, as of today, hasn't faced one element of scrutiny by a range of newspaper outlets on when he will deliver his full costings.Is that true? He gets asked this - he got asked it this morning every time he is interviewed. What more can you do, you can't force him to disclose it? The questioning is always about that. He just maintains his calm and says in due course and we will release it in our own time and when we wish to. What does Kevin Rudd want? The other point is that the PM's obsessed with newspapers. That clip is about newspapers. The main media, as we all know, is mainly television and radio and increasingly social media and newspapers play a part but the idea that somehow News Limited will determine the outcome of this election is simply unhinged.He broadened it out beyond News Limited at that conference. He was getting stuck into Fairfax as well.I would argue that there is culpability here in the media. I think Kevin Rudd has to blame Labor itself because I think it has misplayed this costings argument. Without a duty doubt, stories about hairdressers and - sorry just crap stories, nonsense stories are one thing but there should be pressure on the Coalition to announce what it is doing and to say what it is doing and, yes, you can ask questions at press conferences but in the few periods of time when the media has collectively said "This is not good enough, you have to put out figures". The Coalition has had to do so, that is why they brought out the $30 billion figures this week. There is definitely an argument that the distractions and the personality politics of the last three years has meant people haven't been focusing on policy.He said this morning that - I think he accepted that the cuts wouldn't be announced before the electronic black-out comes in on Wednesday but Kevin Rudd would have them in front of him on Thursday. That is the last 36, 48 hours. That is very late in the piece.It is but the argument they have been using is Labor didn't do it until the final throws of the last campaign. Labor would argue that they were releasing their costings to that campaign the whole way along.You don't take a bad precedent and run with that.Exactly, that is right.He said this morning that he didn't think they would impact on ordinary Australians. That is a benchmark that he's set.I guess the judgement on Thursday is to ask an ordinary Australian to see whether they feel they're being impacted.That's right. It is going to be very difficult - unless they are going to take a huge cut at health, education, those sorts of things, to actually gauge what an impact will be of a particular policy on an ordinary Australian.What is working for Tony Abbott here I think is that the focus in the electorate is not so much on cuts, the focus has been on the competence of Government. From the time that Kevin Rudd was displaced and before that, which was why he was displaced and if the issue is really, do you want a competent government or you don't care about whether we have a competent Government, then Tony Abbott can pretty well get away with what he wants to because that is not the primary issue in the campaign.The most devastating line so far has been do you want another three years like the last six and that goes to that. Was Kevin Rudd thinking - what was he thinking he could do when he took over the leadership, he has built it around him? Absolutely, if that is correct, that is all about Kevin again today, it shows he is not listening to what the research is showing, that the inCoe heerns of his message and chaos and dysfunction around his leadership is showing up very much in their campaign research as being key factors turning off voters and if he continues to concentrate the efforts on himself rather than Labor values or the Labor message, this week will go absolutely down the gurgler.He hasn't been able to talk about the NBN, the NDIS, education reform, instead you get these policy announcements, they seem to come from a clear blew sky with a shelf life of 24 hours. What is the strategy behind that? None.Various people have various theories about that but one of the problems is that the Coalition has cosied up on a lot of those issues. There is not a great point of difference now. The NDIS, NBN, that is still a point of contention but all of the issues where the Coalition has been dragged screaming to essentially endorse Gonski -But even if it is not a point of difference, I am not suggesting you put it out there to pick a fight, you put it out there to get a pat on the back and they haven't done that? It is completely perplexing because they're the strengths of the Government and they seem determined to be talking about something else. Even the things that - we are talking about Kevin but also the question of all of the issues that Kevin Rudd tried to fix when he got back, like asylum seekers, which is pretty much taken that off the table compared to where it was. Tony Abbott's still talking about stopping the boats and stopping the taxes but as much as was humanly possible, those issues were neutralised.I have seen some oppositions run bad campaigns, we all have but I have never seen a Government run such a bad campaign. When the Governments of Malcolm Fraser went out and Paul Keating went out and John Howard went out, they didn't go out in a shambles. They lost badly but there wasn't any great criticism of the campaign. But this one, I just can't understand what drives -There is no common thread or no decent coherent message. There is nothing that suggests that he wants to lead a Labor Party with a future and a vision for the people of Australia.When he does talk about why he should be elected, he vaults back to the GFC and his handling of it and he seems determined to erase the three years in between and that goes to why he doesn't concentrate on the NDIS and education and those sorts of things.If you just said to Kevin Rudd today "What will you do for the next three years if you're PM? "I don't know.Do you get the feeling one thing Tony Abbott won't do as PM and that is buy some boats in Indonesia. I Kevin Rudd
don't think that will happen. Kevin Rudd has been redefining himself. First look at the question on foreign ownership that came up at Wednesday night's forum.With the sales of land to foreign investments and foreign companies, does either party have any thoughts of stopping those sales? I am a bit nervous, a bit anxious frankly, about simply an open slather on this. Your question is what would our policy approach be? I am looking very carefully at how this affects the overall balance of ownership in Australia. I think when it comes to rural land, but land more generally, we perhaps need to adopt a more cautious approach.Is this just a tendency at these events to try and followed in behind whatever the question is? They look at the question and think this is the question here - let's fold into it -Perhaps the Katter party, which is what Bob stands for, Australia first, and particularly in rural areas, that it is like "Well, if you're a Labor voter and you're thinking of voting for Bob Katter, actually don't, we might have a solution for you".So there is Bob Katter's support perhaps is there in the event of a hung parliament.Kevin Rudd has changed his position on a number of matters over a long time and it is possible that he's come to this position.It doesn't mean if he wins he will be genuine in three years time, he won't change again. He has changed a lot of positions, much more so than Tony Abbott or Bob Hawke and John Howard.He now described himself differently. Have a listen to this and keep an eye on Kim Carr's face. He seemed to be pleased with the development.I am at my heart of hearts and Australian economic nationals believe we need manufacturing for the future.What is an economist nationalist and why is Kim Carr so apparently pleased? Was he pleased? Bob Katter, economic nationalist, it is one of those phrases which means all sorts of things to all sorts of people doesn't it? On that foreign investment point, I thought that looked like a drowning man lunging at a life buoy and it was just a pure top of the head thing. Having said that, the history of Kevin Rudd and foreign investment is interesting. Remember there was that big takeover proposed by Chinese State-owned enterprise and this really racked the cabinet in its early days for some months about what they should do about this. There was actually a lot of push back against the Chinese at the time and the Chinese didn't like it.You can sort of thee some continuity in it but having said that, I thought it was just somebody saying what that particular voter and everybody who shared those views wanted to hear.Let's talk about Tony Abbott's credentials now. On foreign policy, Kevin Rudd feels they are fairly limited. Here he is.This stuff is complex and in diplomacy words of bullets, you have to remember that. On the question of temperament, I don't think it is wrong to raise the question and I don't challenge Mr Howard's temperament on those questions, wouldn't challenge even Malcolm Turnbull's temperament on these sorts of questions because he has a degree of background in dealing with these complex questions but I think Mr Abbott is a little different.A couple of things about that. First of all, Malcolm Turnbull's background on this? What was he talking about? He was a merchant banker, as I understand it.What do you make of that attack? Do you think given that some out there feel that Tony Abbott can be a bit loose perhaps? I think it is driven from the Bruce Hawker's opinion that - ta Tony Abbott would be fine in these areas. The other point to remember is that one of the strong campaigners in this current election is Julie Bishop who as Shadow Foreign Minister has done very well. What else is Kevin Rudd to say? I suppose he has to go at Tony Abbott's character and he hopes he will get somewhere with it.It just looks such an extraordinary thing to say from somebody whose own character failings are well documented, well talked about by people within Labor and have been highlighted a number of times the way he plucks things out of the air. His lack of ability to focus on things. His lack of coherence around his message and for him to be actually talking about somebody else's character begs questions back about his own. I thought it was - I just thought it was a very low point last week.Tony Abbott in fact, in what he has had to say on Syria so far, he has used the word calm a lot, he thinks there ought to be a calm and level-head ed approach to this, would that be driven by the focus group attitudes towards him? No. If you look at the rebels, a significant part of the rebels is al-Qaeda and you look at the regime, Assad's regime, it is getting support from Hezbollah and from Iran.As he says, two unsavoury sides fighting one another.Not all the rebels are al-Qaeda. But it is a very difficult situation. Today President Obama said he wants to do something but he will go to Congress to find out if he should do it and David Cameron got rolled on this in the Commons. It is a very difficult problem. The best thing is to probably be cautious. There is no reason to act immediately. But I think what Tony Abbott is saying is responsible and it is pretty consistent with what a lot of commentators are saying at the moment.He seemed to indicate in the end he would line up against the US if that was the will of Congress? Obama would? An Abbott Government would line up behind Obama? Obviously I think that is right. I think any Australian Government would line up behind the United States in such a situation, I think that is correct.He did make the point not militarily, diplomatically. If push came to shove and things progressed and unravelled and we were asked to join militarily, if it came to that, that would be a question, I don't think the Australian voters would be particular happy with going -I think we have one navy ship in the area which could give some support. I'm not saying - we wouldn't be firing weapons at Syria. We could support an action if we chose to.In the opinion polls, I guess it makes it tougher for Kevin Rudd to have chosen to launch his campaign with only a week out and not a lot of time to turn it around. How tough will it be personally for Kevin Rudd today to put on a big performance? Incredibly tough. You wonder about political leaders a lot about how they get up in the morning. You wondered that about Julia Gillard through all those months and years. It must be very hard. We have seen Kevin Rudd pull out at least one really good performance during this campaign under immense pressure. That first debate, first people's forum in Brisbane, which I think he did very well at and he used the forum well. We know that he can do it and it has only got harder since. As long as they can sort of get him into some sort of head space where he's not just feeling like he is going to lose and he keeps talking, he could still do something persuasive.They're all good performers on their day. He could do well today or at the 'National Press Club', the question is whether it makes a lot of difference.More with the panel shortly, Kerry-Anne Walsh, Laura Tingle and Gerard Henderson, but now it is time for Mike Bowers and Talking Pictures.I'm Mike Bowers and I'm director of photography for the 'Global Mail'. I'm Talking Pictures this week with a highly visible Reg Lynch who, when he's not highly visible, cartoons for the 'Sun Herald' newspaper in Sydney. Welcome.Thanks for having my back.Very fetching high visibility vest.Not everyone can wear that sort of lime green yellow.You need this on the campaign trail apparently. There is something missing. It is a genuine election trail hair net from a chocolate factory. There is nothing about these that can make you look any good. It is probably why Tony Abbott never wears them. He actually wears a blue cap. You can't have the leader looking like a dickhead. We can all look like dickheads -That is not right.What are the big issues down in Tasmania? It is quiet and slow in Tasmania. Julia Gillard is still PM in Tasmania.There will be an uproar.What's happened? Tony Abbott has asked us to dip into our trust funds and trust him.Especially, I enjoy this Alan Moir cartoon.He has them being hit with the U of the banner trust. The Liberal Party launched its campaign last Sunday and there was a lot of razzamatazz and they pulled out John Howard, the former messiah of the Liberal Party and it was almost like there was a changing of the torch, a passing onto the new generation.Yes, a passing onto the new incarnation, the new Dr Who.The big coup was bringing out Tony Abbott's chaurts.They are tall girls, they are taller than their parents.Do you think that works? It worked for Julia Gillard, no it didn't. The Obamas worked nicely.He is very fit I have to say. The Leader of the Opposition is a very fit man but it looks like I'm beating him here but I think he was slowing down for me.In defence he wasn't carrying 15kg of camera gear.I thought he might have sprung you hiding in his wardrobe at the hotel or something like that.I will get you Bowers.The PM thought he would get in on the action. He has busted out the tracksuit. Does it remind you of John Howard a bit? Hmm. Except John Howard actually walked, I think.I think he's on a ramp they're pulling along, puff, puff, pant, pant.I think they Tweeted this themselves "Here I am on the phone to Obama".Is that Obama on the phone. Barack, I'm wearing my tracksuit, what are you wearing, can I call you Barack, Mr P.Gotta zip. It seems every time there is an election Reg we have a discussion about a very fast train.The as if train.I did love this David Pope depiction of especially Albo, the very fast train, the very slow train, all aboard for Kevin 27 -Albo the tank engine.We need Ringo Star, you're a very useful engine.The bus that we have nick-named the big head bus, because there is a big head of Tony Abbott on it. The Abbott bus was fine on the night but the Rudd bus broke down in a beautiful political metaphor. The Abbott bus tried to giver the Rudd bus a jump-start because the battery was dying.The jumper leads which were borrowed from the ABC were too short.Typical ABC.Typical.The hoopla around this -This is nice.This lovely story this week, it is about a portrait of Julia that has been accepted into the museum of democracy in Canberra for their digital collection of Australian PMs and it was done by a 12-year-old girl Sophie Dean. It reminded me that this political picture has what we try all day to do on the campaign, which is take a picture that has some heart and is nice.Hats off to Sophie. It is a lovely portrait of Julia and it is what is lacking in this campaign.It is a beautiful picture.That is all we have time for.That was a good chat.It was a lovely chat.Vote carefully Australia. Think. Up the Rabbitohs and back to you Barrie. Thanks Reg. Not sure about the Rabbitohs.Final observations, predictions? There is obviously going to be a lot of changes of personnel after the election in the Labor Party. Also maybe in the departments across - in Canberra.A strong tip is despite the intervention of Treasury and Finance last Thursday, it was a bit of a gift to the Coalition of course. They heavily criticised treasury for the last three years and Martin Parkinson may be moved on and somebody from within treasury will take his place.Given all the focus on polls, I think one number that nobody's really ever able to predict but which will be fascinating given the number of people who are completely despairing about the choice will be the informal vote this tragic civil
election campaign.Beyond the tragic civil war in Syria, it is important to remember the terrible plight of the Christian Cops in Egypt. Many of them live in Australia and they have sought refuge and I think we can take more of Annabel
them.Two big campaign dates, Annabel Crabb and 'Kitchen Cabinet', Tony Abbott on Wednesday night and Kevin Rudd on Thursday. We will leave you now with Clive Palmer twerking hard for votes. Thanks for watching. Are you ready? We need to play the music.Get down low. Hold onto the table

he's twerking. That is the man who should be running the country. He can twerk. If you can't twerk you can't be PM. This Program is Captioned Live.G'day and welcome to 'Inside Business'. Another reporting season has whizzed by and if a lot of commentary from the CEOs is to be believed we just need the election out of the way and confidence will be restored and things will be hunky dory again but is it really that simple? We look at the big themes of the results and see whether the election could really bethe panacea it's cracked up to be and we'll catch up with the boss the toughest industry at the moment, Whitehaven Coal's Paul Flynn. Prices are tumbling, mines have shutting yet Whitehaven is planning to double production. We'll find out why. THEME MUSIC

The terrible time that coal miners are experiencing was laid bare when dole coal released its full year results on Tuesday. It tumbled into the red with a $61 million loss and gave guideness that things were likely to remain tough for the next 12 months. Against this backdrop Whitehaven is spending about $800 million to develop its new Maules Creek project when every other miner is being rewarded for cutting back on expansion. I spoke to Paul Flynn who has got a fair few challenges including being dragged into court by environmentalists?Paul are you budgeting for an
increase in the coal price this year?We're certainly budgeting for a relatively subdued market for this year. Not greatly. We think there'll be a general oversupply status in markets for this next 12 months.What are you expecting from the A dollar?We do think that will moderate further. It has been tracking down the US coal

if you need to.Go on Clive,