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(generated from captions) I'm joined from Melbourne by Dave Oliver, Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions and here in Sydney by the Victorian Liberal Party's Michael Kroger. Good to have you both here on this final night of the campaign.Thanks.To you first, Dave Oliver, it is looking grim for Labor in the polls. What's gone wrong with Kevin Rudd and his campaign over this past 5 weeks? I mean the polls aren't looking good. Probably the way - the best way to describe it is someone told me today that Tony Abbott had said recently that Labor has been good at politics but has been a bad government. I actually think it's the complete opposite. If you look at what Labor has done while in office it's been Fairley - fairly impressive in respect of the big tick items, the big initiatives. They've been pretty bad at their politics and unfortunately a lot of the public attention has been focused on what's been happening with the politics and some of the more colourful and interesting political manoeuvres rather than some of the big initiatives the Government's done. They need to be remembered for what they did during the global financial crisis. The big ticket items about major infrastructure projects with the NBN, increasing superannuation from 9 to 11%, lifting the tax-free threshold for low income earners, the $1 billion jobs package, got rid of Work Choices, have enshrined penalty rates, trying to tighten up the regulations around 457 visas. Gonski reforms for a better education system in this country and they've got a real effective, efficient paid parental leave scheme that's been up and running for some time. Michael Kroger, what's gong wrong in your view over the past 5 weeks for Labor?It's been a shocking government run by treacherous individuals who have plundered the nation into debt. That's the essential problem. Over the last 5 weeks what has happened is this, the reason Kevin Rudd was never going to work as leader was because his initial sugar hit in the polls was because people were happy to get rid of the Gillard Government and intutively thought we've got a new Government now. We've had this pseudo election, we've got a new PM and then they realised who it was and the Liberal Party reminded everyone of what he was like. They remembered what he was like and they've decided the last thing they want is another 3 years of Kevin Rudd. That's what's happened.Dave Oliver, you mentioned all the good that Labor has done and much of it, I'm sure Michael Kroger would agree with, but isn't the fact that it's been a lot of the great achievements have been undermined by the infighting and the Labor tensions and all of that noise which has drowned out the good? Yeah, but I mean that's what people need to reflect on. You know, despite what the polls are showing at the moment, what we do know from our own experience, we've been, you know, as late as today, still talking to our members out there. There is still a lot of people that are undecided. In fact it's extraordinarily high. Higher than what we've seen in previous elections. And what we've been asking those undecided voters is to weigh up not the color and movement and the politics of what's happened over the last few years, but look at the achievements. You know, the concern we have, and there are clear differences between the two parties. On one hand you've got a Labor Government that doesn't believe in leaving it to the market and thank goodness they didn't do that. You know, just think, if it was the Coalition in office when the global financial crisis had hit, we would have had hundreds of thousands or more workers unemployed. Where we had a Labor Government in place that intervened in the marketplace, put stimulus in, industry policy to save the automotive industry, a plan for a strong viable manufacturing industry, improved benefits for rights for workers out there, there are clear differences, despite the efforts of Tony Abbott trying to put himself out there as a small target, light on details in a lot of the announcements that they've made. Antony Green said it tonight, that a lot of people are now viewing the alternative as one that doesn't frighten them. But I think people need to be genuinely concerned about the things that Tony Abbott is not saying if he wins office.Michael Kroger, I mean Tony Abbott has really made a big deal of this being the worst government Australia's ever seen and yet the Coalition has adopted many of Labor's policies, education, disability reform, the same timing now on a surplus, the need for a national broadband network, both sides want to settle asylum seekers offshore and develop northern Australia. I mean do you agree it's becoming much more difficult to tell the policy platforms apart?No, apart from the NDIS there are major differences in all the others.The they're at the margins?Certainly not, not on the NBN, asylum seekers or Gonski. But look, here's the essential point. I hear everything that Dave's said. Here's the problem, this is a Government led by a man who has done more damage to the Labor Party than anyone since Jack Lange and the electorate knows that. To the extent that this Government has achievements they're achievements of one person - Julia Gillard. Not this bloke. Not this bloke. And that's what everybody knows.Not even the global financial crisis, the response to that?Well, if Kevin Rudd had been the great economic Messiah that he tells us he has been, he wouldn't have been thrown out by the Labor Party. They threw him out after that. So they didn't think he was much good and secondly, if it was true we survived it because of him, when in fact we survived the GFC despite him, by the way, because of what everyone knows is the economic position Australia was in when John Howard left office, if Kevin Rudd did so much for us why hasn't he once, once since he got back to the leadership praised Wayne Swan who was the Treasurer at the time? Why wouldn't you give any praise to Swan? Because he can't. This man can't acknowledge the achievements of anyone else in his Government apart from him because apart from him there is no-one else in this Government and it's one of the reasons he's going to be booted out tomorrow.Dave Oliver.So Michael, you know, as he always does is trying to play on the personalities and that's been the whole strategy is about focussing on the permt personalities not the actual product that came out of this government.Sorry to interrupt you but if it wasn't a contest of personalities then why get rid of Julia Gillard and re-install Kevin Rudd just moment bfrs the election? That might be a matter you might want to ask the party but from where we are the Labor movement, what we weigh up is on the achievements of the Government. It's a nonsense to suggest that Julia Gillard was responsible for steering our way through the global financial crisis when Kevin Rudd was there. It was a Labor Government that saw us get through the global financial crisis. And just another thing I want to pick up on, I'll agree with Michael in regards that, you know, there is significant difference in some key policy areas between the Liberal Opposition and the Labor Government, particularly around industrial relations. And that's a big issue that we're concerned about, that if Tony Abbott becomes the PM tomorrow, what it's going to that they've
mean for workers and we know that they've got well and truly in their sights penalty rates, it's going to be cuts, it's going to be back down the path of Work Choices based on the previous form that we've seen before, last time when they won office and particularly if they get control of the Senate, it's going to be very bad news for workers across this nation.Is there a hidden IR agenda, Michael Kroger?He didn't mention $70 billion of cuts. Dave, where's the $70 billion? Michael, let's go through it all. So the announcement we got yesterday, yesterday -Dave, it's not working my friend, it's not working and people aren't listening, hello? You're not listening. If your old friend, Peter Costello, might get dragged out in the same way that happened up in Queensland. The one thing that Tony Abbott did announce with the costing reviews was that he's going to set up a commission of audit and everything is up for grabs. He's on the record as saying that. And let's look at what happened in Queensland with Campbell Newman.That's not what he said..Your friend Peter Costello went out there and everything up for grabs, 14,000 public sector jobs gone, just in one State. Tony Abbott said 12,000 jobs are going to go before he's even hit the starter pistol and he's already announced he's going to double the efficiency dividend which means further cuts in the public sector and on top of that, Michael, 44, there are 44 different inquiries being announced under Tony Abbott. So is he going to say there's going to be no cuts coming out of of those 44 different inquiries.Let's give Michael a chance to respond.I can feel a Tony Abbott moment coming on. Does this man ever shut up? Look, Dave , you criticize me for mentioning personalities. But what you did to this country was sack Gillard, you sacked Gillard, your mob sacked Gillard. The Labor Party sacked Gillard and what were the great and profound policy differences between Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard? When this man Rudd went to the Labor caucus and said elect me, did he say it's because I believe in A, B, C, D no, he said I'm popular she's not. And the reason she's not popular is because he spent 3 years ripping her down. In February 2012 where she wan 71-31 her primary vote immediately after that dropped 4%. When Rudd failed to challenge her in March this year, what happened again? Her primary vote dropped 4%. No wonder she was on 29 on 26 June. She never had a hope after this bloke's spent 3 years ripping her down. Mate, he's not a Labor leader's boot lace. You know, I saw him at the launch hugging Paul Keating and Bob Hawke and I thought who's the odd man out here? Who's the odd man out? This bloke's not a leader's boot lace.We've spent time examining Labor's problems and its general state. Let's take a look at the alternative. Michael Kroger, whatever happened to the budget emergency?There is an emergency.There is or there isn't?Absolutely there is. There's $300 billion in debt, there's a $30 billion deficit. But in this situation when so much money has been promised to welfare spending that we've agreed with and when you have a very, very fragile economy which is going to 6.25% in unemployment, there's no way that this Opposition, if they win tomorrow, can get into Government and say we're going to cut all these things, right. They've announced $40 billion, that's a big, big number. It's not 70, they've announced $40 billion and that's essentially their program but they've decided, and I think they're right, you can't go and cut any more programs because this Government have left this economy in such a weak position there's nothing more the Opposition can do.Dave Oliver, what did you make of the Coalition's alternative Budget this week which promises a deficit of - that's just $6 billion smaller than Labor's deficit over the next 4 years? I find it interesting, you know. We either have an emergency or we don't have an emergency and we've had Joe Hockey, as long as I can remember, trying to be criticize the Government about not delivering a surplus Budget and what have they announced yesterday? It was almost the identical timetable about trying to get the Budget back into surplus. Now from our point of view I've always been of the view that we should not be obsessed with delivering a surplus Budget that we can afford to carry a little bit of debt with us and in comparative terms we are carrying a low-level of debt, particularly at a time where the economy might come under significant pressure and that's what we're concerned about. But to answer Michael's question about where's the $70 billion, again it comes down to the things that Tony Abbott hasn't announced. You know, this commission of audit is something that we should be extremely concerned about plus the 44 other reviews that are going to be done.Let's give Michael the opportunity to come back in here. I want to stick to this theme of the budget crisis because it was only May that Tony Abbott declared that the country was in a budget crisis. Now at that point Labor was forecasting the deficit over 4 years would be $22 billion, now it's projected to be $55 billion. So Mr Abbott was either exaggerating the nature of the economic problems just 4 months ago, or he doesn't know how to fix them, which one is it?Neither. It's option C which is we have a serious budget deficit and we have a serious debt problem and the reason we have a serious debt problem, why do you call ate serious debt problem? Because we're paying $10 billion to $12 billion a year in interest. That is a truckload of money which could be going to other welfare programs, could be helping those in need. $12 billion a year that John Howard didn't have to pay at the end of his reign in 2007. Why? Because he left with no debt. That's what happens when you give someone as inexperience ed as Kevin Rudd, as reckless as Kevin Rudd, a blank cheque and a grand vision and away he goes. He's spent far too much money during the GFC, he's been a reckless spender and now he walks out with his super and leaves us with $300 billion of debt.If he didn't spend the money during the GFC, Michael, our economy would have been in a lot worse situation than it is at the moment and again that just shows the difference. Can I also say one thing that's been overlooked as well, let's just analyse some of the cuts that Tony Abbott announced yesterday. I mean he's announced that he's scrapping the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation was which as opportunity for us to build a clean tech industry in this country. He's announced he's pulling $500 million out of the automotive industry which could in effect see up to the loss of 200,000 jobs across this very important industry and let's just explore this a little bit. We just had workers at Holden take a very difficult decision to have a wage freeze, we've had the company agree to take a hit, we've had the State Government in SA say they're going to make a contribution, we're all now looking at the Federal Government and if Tony Abbott wins office and pulls $500 million out of that program and doesn't agree to back Holden we could see the loss of our automotive industry in this country which will have a dire effect in the economy and that's only a couple of areas of the cuts that he's announced yesterday.Now we're running out of time and I want to get through a couple of things just before we go. Michael Kroger, what is the internal Liberal Party polling showing in terms of the size of a potential Coalition victory?Well, the truth of the matter is internal party polling is never much different from external polling. So if you buy the newspaper for $2 you will get the same polling that Brian Loughnane is getting.How many seats -?If you believe the polls and they hold up tomorrow the Coalition win more than 17 seats including 3 from Independents and depending on what happens in NSW and some very close-run seats in Victoria, close-run seats - there's one close seat in Tasmania, WA, SA and the NT, it's hard to win a lot of seats in Brisbane because we've already got 55% of the vote. People say why isn't Queensland better? In 2010 the Queensland Liberal Party did a phenomenal job, 55.1% of the TPP. So it's hard to see much more elasticity in the vote there whereas in Victoria we've got 44%, so there's a lot more upside there and a lot more upside in Tasmania where we've got only got 39% of the vote.And very quickly, Antony Green's not particularly of the view that Arthur Sinodinos might lose his Senate seat, what do you think about that given he is a potential Finance Minister in an Abbott Government?I'm praying Antony Green's right.Do you think he is?Look, all I can tell you is people in the Liberal Party in NSW are very worried that Arthur Sinodinos might lose that spot to Pauline Hanson. That would be a catastrophe beyond belief. If you're voting in NSW tomorrow and you haven't made up your mind please vote for the Liberal ticket. Arthur Sinodinos is a star.If Labor loses the election do you expect Kevin Rudd to stay on as leader and if not who do you support to take over? You're asking me that question, you might want to ask Kevin Rudd that question. Last time we looked I don't get a vote in it because I'm not in caucus and the party rules have been changed that won't necessarily give me a vote. My main concern is if Tony Abbott wins the election what that is going to mean for working people in this country and that's why -Dave, you've said all that.Thanks, Michael, let me finish.You've had a go, let Dave Oliver speak.My main concern will be standing up for the rights of the 2 million members we represent in this country and the many more workers we fight for every day out there to make sure their penalty rates will be protected and particularly in the public sector that jobs are going to be protreckted, front line services and workers won't be subject to the same attacks we saw last time we had a Coalition government in office.Dave Oliver, Michael Kroger, thank you both for coming in this evening and no doubt we'll catch up after the