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Hello and welcome to Contrarians. There really are some crazy people out there on Twitter. First tweet that came in is great to have Rowan back on the panel he'll bring some sense to the program. We'll start by taking a look at Labor's new look bench in Opposition, who are the winners and losers, not just who's in and out but also in relation to portfolio selection. One thing that immediately stood out to me was the idea of putting Stephen Conroy in charge of defence and putting his assistant spoke person also in the Senate with Stephen Conroy, basically no-one there in the Lower House to take the fight up to the Government about a small matter bike the defence of the nation. Adam Bandt got himself into a little bit of bother and of course ongoing entitlements continue to be in the news. We'll take a look at the Labor Party. I've avoided all week taking a look at Williamson and his pleading guilty to fraud but we will look at it here on the Contrarians. A lot of discuss with my panel, Rowan Dean, Peter bentdly from the McKell Institute, Simon Council and the honourable Kerry chick love ski all on the panel. Let's take a look at what is making news.The NSW bushfires are being described as the worst the state has seen in a decade. And the danger is not over yet. There's now one emergency warning, it is for the area around Chapman Parade at Springwood in the Blue Mountains. Fires in Camden Valley Way and the Wyong fire have been downgraded to a watch and act. Now let's go live to Sky News reporter Cameron Price who is in Catherine Hill Bay just south of Newcastle. Good afternoon to you Cam, what's the latest there?Good afternoon, the good news as you just mentioned the Ruttleys Road fire has been downgraded to watch and act. The reason for that, although it is a bit windy this afternoon the temperatures have dropped right down which is good news for firefighters in the region trying to get on top of some of these blazes. Yesterday afternoon this township was impacted by that fire. A number of homes have been lose lost. We've seen forensic police going through the area counting the number of homes that have been lost, the fire among them. This home behind me built in the 1880s, it has stood the test of time until Willowra House was burned down yesterday. We understand the owners had it on the market for around $2 million. They along with the rest of the community here have not been able to get back into town to assess the damage. The road is still closed. Authorities say the fire is burning. There's only wunle road in and one road out. It's not safe just yet for people to come back into this town. So a number of homes here on the central coast have been destroyed by this fire but the good news for now is that fire that is still burning has been downgraded.If there is any good news, that is, and that scene end behind you says it all. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has this afternoon visited the Winmalee fire station to receive a briefing on the bushfire situation. He spoke of the grief being suffered by many people in NSW.I just want to say how sorry we are on behalf of the people in the parliament of Australia for the heart ache which so many hundreds of people in NSW are currently dealing with, but how proud we are of the thousands of volunteers and full-time professionals who are out there keeping your community safe on a difficult day.Kenny Heatley from Sky News Weather is at the NSW RFS. He joins us now with an update, KennyHi Jacinta. Last night we were tracking this wind change on Sky News Weather talking about how strong the winds were. It's only when you come down to the Rural Fire Service where you start to get a hold on just how massive this task is. Talking to Rob Rogers, the deafty commissioner about 20 minutes ago, and you can tell that the focus is still on protecting lives and property. The assessments about how many homes have been lost, that's kind of down the list of priorities at the moment. Also investigations as to how the fires started. I can tell you that there has been some movement just in the last 10 minutes or so. The Leppington fire which was an emergency warning just about an hour ago and then it was downgraded to a watch and act. Now it's been downgraded again to below watch and act status. It's now being controlled. That's the lippington fire to the south-west of Sydney. We still have that emergency warning in place for the Springwood fire. 94 fires still burning across NSW, 27 still uncontained. There's about 1200 firefighters in the field at the moment, along with the aircraft and support. There are reports going through, there are a lot of crew coming in from interstate to help with the situation tonight but these fires are absolutely massive and it's going to take days, if not weeks to get some of these big ones under control, and that's a concern because we could have some heat coming back to the state on Sunday into Monday.Kenny Heatley, thanks so much. And for the latest all important weather forecasts now here's Sky News Weather.For eastern regions into NSW on Saturday we're expect ing expecting an easing. Condition ramp up on Sunday, we're expecting those temperatures on shoot right up for eastern NSW. In the south-west a little bit of a cool change, light scattered showers. In New Zealand we have dry skies forecast across the country. We're just on channel 603. If you'd like more details, Sky News Weather.Back now to Peter van Onselen with the Contrarians. We are going to take a commercial break. When we come back my rant plus the thoughts of the panel. Back in a moment.

Holo, and welcome to the fracture trar. I'm Peter van Onselen. Thanks for much for your company. If there's one thing that I think is all important that really needs to be spoken about it is the economic challenges that Australia faces in an age where quite frankly I'm not sure that the political class either recognises the significance of those challenges or is indeed up for the combat at hand to deal with it. Now, like it or not, Joe Hockey likes to talk about an age of entitlement and certainly I believe there is some truth to that. The size of government is too large, the expectation among citizens that government can solve their every problem is something that needs to be adjusted. To recognise this is the case and follow through to do something about it isn't there. On top of that the culture politically is such that if one side of politics does seek to adjust the way it does business and put together a substantial reform agenda there is the political instinct which is one of firing back without the policy rigour but rather in the pure political realm by saying they can take advantage of that and combatting with a scare campaign. Some something that happens on both sides of parliament, when the Liberal Party put in reform the scare campaign came from the unions. When the Labor Party decided to go down the path of necessary climate change action the Liberal Party baulked and came up with their retrograde alternative Direct Action. This will be ever thus the way we look at things at the moment. We are right at a crucial moment because the international economy is fault Eric. We've seen the dysfunctional state of the political system in the United States. China which we decided to write off is facing increasing head winds themselves and don't discount the domestic turmoil going on between the emerging rural class which is underperforming and impover I shalled. Australia is well placed. Australia has great natural advantages, but what we don't have at the moment is a political culture, or a journalistic or a citizen culture to do something about the challenges that set us up for the decades ahead. If we don't we really will be the nation that is the lucky country that lost out because it was run by second rate people. Let's welcome the panel, Rowan Dean, Peter Bentley, Simon Cowan regular on showdown but first time on Contrarians and also first time on Contrarians former NSW leader of the Liberal Party, Kerry Chikarovski. You're far enough out of politicians I wasn't talking about you. Do you think there's a lack of political will to be able to deal with the sort of challenges that Australia faces.Until you got to the specifics I actually thought you were going to be talking about the American political system because I think certainly over there at the moment the whole concept of just saying no for the sake of it has been taken to an extraordinary level. The inability for that Congress to function in a pragmatic way has just been completely, nothing I think we've ever seen ever before and that's because there are certain political ideologues to be fair on both sides unwilling to compromise.They've got past the debt stand-off briefly, but it will be back early next year. The really sad part about it is is that that's not the way the American Congress has operated for centuries. Australia, if you have a piece of legislation you know the Coalition will vote yes and the Labor Party will vote no or vice versa, depending on who's in Government. But with the Americans there's always been compromise across the parties. I think perhaps the greatest wake-up call to the Republicans is the fact that they took a complete nose dive in the poll and there are enough people there who say hold on, we actually want to give ourselves shot at any election and we're going to have to be more reasonable. It will be interesting to seize what happens over the next few weeks. The Republicans in my view, and I kind of sit on that side more than everybody else, not quite as far as the Tea Party but if they don't become more reasonable and start to compromise they will be electoral history forever.You always know when you've had an ex-politician on your panel, you ask a question about politics, it's a chance to rip into her former colleagues, none of it happens. Let's see if we can get you into domestic politics broadly.I agree with what you said 100%. In 2003...Now I'm worried because I know how much of an economic radical you are.In 2013, 2007 and 2010 the Treasury put out a report that detailed the fact that in 40 years time there is a massive fiscal crisis. So far the action to address that has been nil. State attorney-general, state auditors have put out reports saying by 2030 the health system won't just be unaffordable, it will consume the entire budget of the state governments and the action to address unsustainable spending in health has -- again been nothing. There's no political will to look beyond the need media headline, the next sound byte. The conversation at the last election wasn't about health, wasn't about the sustainability of spending. It was about the politics, the leaders and who said this and who's wearing a blue tie. I mean in the big scheme of things the colour of your tie means nothing. The fiscal solvency of the country means a lot and we talk about the wrong one.Sorry to interrupt,No, go for it.Do you think that's because the media were more interested in the wholesome bollism of the blue ties than they were with what's happening in the economy and then the people talking about that weren't getting the coverage.Certainly there is an element of that, people are interested in those short-term things, they don't have a spend a lot of time to get around the issues. These are hard problems to address. Politics don't want to have those conversations because to tell people actually no, your free health care isn't free forever. You can't have, like Clive Palmer was saying, a massive increase in spending and a massive reduction in tax and somehow that's all going to balance out. We need to go back to, and both parties could do this, Hawke and Keating and then Howard and Costello actually did some tough reforms and convinced people...But the second half of the Howard years appealed into insignificance as far as progress ligcy in the last six years but in the second half of the Howard years he moved on from those reform things, other than industrial relations, he got caught up in the whole post-9/11 international climate. You'll try and tell us that carbon changes and all the rest of it by the Labor Government but ultimately the main stuff that needs to be done going forward is tax reform to create the sustainability we need to have, not to mention tax reduction and Labor just dropped the ball on that.I agree one of the main areas is tax reform. I agree with Simon, we know that we are heading towards major structural budget deficits if we don't make significant changes in the medium to long term. Where I do disagree is in the sense that I don't believe the solution is necessarily cutting spending because we have a state of affairs where the Australian people want investment in things like health, things like education, infrastructure. They actually want to see that, but that's where we need to have having, and to Simon's point, honest rational conversations with the Australian people about opportunity costs. And we have just throwing it out there, we have a federal budget which has over $100 billion a year annually in tax concessions. Now huge amounts of those are in super -- live in from which few people are arguing about, there's also negative gearing.Can you get rid of negative gearing.I advocate that.You'd keep one or two investment properties. I'm not talking out of personal interest. The way everything just laughed. There is a very serious and genuine argument that you can not only obviously bank all the tax concession foregone revenue, but it would also help boost housing affordability by phasing it out. But you'd kill the rents market. Unforeseen consequences, I can always tell you're part of a Labor affiliated.I can proudly say getting rid of negative gearing is not part of any major political party's policy.No-one is going to dare do that.These are the sorts of conversations that we need to be having.You've taken us into the realm of re-Mogg negative gearing. I'm all for limiting it to some extent. But you would have to have a serious cost benefit analysis, not just Kevin Rudd on a plane coming up with an NBN. You would need to seriously take a look at the unintended consequences of removing negative gearing.I'm not advocating getting rid of it.You were a moment ago.I'm saying we should be having a public conversation about it.I'm glad we managed to change your view on it. Before we get to you Rowan, I must say it's a rare delight to have you 20 minutes into the the program and you've not said anything. Rowan Dean thoughts?As normal Peter is talking total nonsense.Me or him? This Peter. Your thing was quite good Peter. But it's not about getting more money into Government, it's about reducing entitlements. Australia it's in a really lucky fortunate position at the moment that our debt isn't unmanageable, isn't that extreme. It's heading towards.Heading towards it because it's going to keep growing, the Liberals have said that.We have to get back into the black as rapidly as possible and it has to be a serious conversation about where we want to spend our money.Can I ask you a serious question about that. You say we have to get back in the black as soon as possible. Do you think the Liberals are showing the signs of doing that.Not at all. That's really frustrating.The people who think you talk a lot of sense are still saying that.You go back to Joe Hockey's age of entitlement speech in London 18 months ago what he said was absolutely correct. We have to be looking after those people who need it most in society. Not people who don't need it, we don't need paid parental leave schemes, all the free handouts to people. It's crucial that the Liberals get back to that dryer point of view.Would you broaden the inquire into the tax system to include all those entitlements as well?Absolutely, we should be getting serious about the size of our health system. We can't keep saying yeah, we'll spend more and more. We'll go down the European British route which is a disaster. Look at what is happening in America, the debt is out of control. We are fortunate we are in a position we can get our debt under control.You want to talk about disaster. We are on the same page Rowan Dean. Kerry Chikarovski when you were in politics, it was the '9 the e -- 99 election advocating... 10 years ahead of my time. How much would the states have reaped then?The estimates were in $1.2 billion. It wasn't just the upfront cost, it was the savings you were going to incur, it was a fair bit of money. At the time to be fair, I managed to not explain it as well as I should have I suppose. That was part of the reason that people didn't actually get it. But it was about getting rid of what is a huge drain on the state economy which is that maintenance in particular and taking that money and putting it into the sorts of things that Rowan and others are talking about. Putting it into infrastructure that the state can afford and will benefit the state.I think that was mostly because you took over 100 days out. That's probably a bigger problem. But it's an interesting one because its you can walk and chew gum on this stuff, have a serious debate about forms of paid parental leave scheme and some Asian of social liberalism if you like. But you need to have the debate about what you can and can't afford.And you can only have that debate from a position of strength, when the economy is strong, when unemployment is going down, that's the time to have serious solutions coming out. Not when our debt is growing. We should be doing nothing that adds to that debt which is what the Government is doing.Rowan, the problem with that is these are the sort of austerity policyies. Not austerity.What you were talking about, major...We need to have the discussion about where we want to spend the money and go, we don't need this. This isn't about slashing necessary services. This is about having a debate about where we should be spending our money.We've got a tweet that's come in from Ruth, she says in my opinion there are no morons on the panel today. Hang in there Ruth, there's an hour and a half to go, plenty of time.I think we should talk about austerity. There's been a move to demonise austerity. There hasn't been austerity practised in Europe. Actually each country spends more than it did when the crisis started. Countries like Greece and Spain, their austerity has been to raise taxes in an environment where taxes are already very, very high.Europe has become a theme park, they're not a serious economic collective.There were austerity policies used in the UK following Cameron's election and essentially that drove them into recession.I have to interrupt. This is complete nonsense. The left love to grab a word like austerity and demonise it. It's just rubbish. When David Cameron came in the UK is out of control with its spending, its NHS is a disaster. They had to look at areas to make cuts. So the left, oh,, you can't take any. Rowan Dean, maybe all the good people from the UK have moved over here?Unless people on the left are prepared to have sensible discussions like Keating and Hawke were prepared to about how to grow the economy rather than taking more and more money for themselves, unless you guys start talking like that this country will start heading in that direction. It was heading in that direction under Gillard and Rudd. It's crucial the Government brings it back.The point you were making before, you said we can only afford to make these sorts of decisions about additional spending at a time of strong economic growth.Exactly. But the point is when we are facing significant economic challenges, that is exactly the time that we shouldn't be cutting because if you cut too hard then you do drive... Kerry Chikarovski you look like you're losing the will to live. What do you make of this discussion?I think it's going round and round in circles a bit. That's Contrarians but in fairness. I am a virgin. But the point is that there are, within any budget federal or state, there is not a lot of scope in many ways to cut. There are certain particularly at state level, the recurrent spending at state level, maintaining schools, police, jails, means there's not a lot of scope...Vertical and fiscal balance what it is, that's the problem, states don't have the funds.They don't have the money they need is basically the answer. I suspect within the Federal Government there is a lot more scope. Whilst they employ a lot of people they do collect a lot more money. There is an opportunity I think to look at the federal budget and actually prioritise, I think that's what Rowan's saying, the problem is Peter and Rowan are saying the priorities are different. You're saying they need to prioritise by cutting and you're saying that's going to send everyone in a screaming heap. I actually think there is a balance between the two. You do need to have sensible reform, but at the same time don't go too deep too soon because you will scare the horses.That's why you got tranced at the polls because you make too much sense. We're going to take a break. "Love chicka was one, I wish Rowan would get a haircut". You'll get a chance to retort to that when we come back from the break. We'll be back in a moment. You're watching Contrarians.

Chance

Retort to that when we come back from the Welcome back. You're watching the Contrarians. We are going to continue with the panel in a moment and take a bit of a look through the list that is Bill Shorten's new Shadow ministry. I don't know if you can see that, but we've highlighted it up. But these are the key portfolios. We'll be taking a look at those when we get back. First let's take a look at the news and an update on the fires. The NSW bushfires are being described as the worst the state has seen in a decade and the danger is not over yet. There's now one emergency warning for the area around Chapman Parade in Springwood in the Blue Mountains. It progressed into the area surrounding St Column bus School and firefighters are working to protect properties. Fires near Camden Valley Way and the Wyong fire have been downgraded to a watch and act. Kenny Heatley from Sky News Weather is at the NSW RFS and he join us now with an update. Good afternoon again Kenny.Good afternoon Jacinta. It's been a quite concerning afternoon. There have still been properties under threat such as the St Column bus School which has been under threat in the Springwood area. Here we me now is Anthony Clarke, a spokesman with the RFS. Thanks for your time. It looks like we've been getting some movement going on. First I want to ask you about Springwood because that's where we do have the emergency warning in place. What's the latest?As you say, that emergency warning is still in place for this fire. This is a fire that has destroyed the plpts around the Winmalee area. To the west of that fire particularly around the Springwood area, around Groes Road and also the other road that runs off Gross Road there, Carter Road, there are obviously some concerns for properties in that area there at the moment because the embers are being blown into that area. And there are the potential - there is a potential there for spot fires to be starting in those areas. We have had concerns about a school up there, the kids are okay, they've been taken to another local school there, but all the kids have been accounted for. That emergency warning is going to stay in place for some time on that fire.It seems like you really made some ground quite quickly with that strike team you sent into Leppington.That fire was burning through scrub land around Camden Valley Way to the south-west of Sydney. It did close the road for some time but we sent in some strike teams, they got on top of that fire very quickly. It was up at emergency warning, we did send out text message and phone calls in that area. Fortunately the crews did get on top of that one pretty quickly.It seems like on paper we are making some ground. Really it seems like there's a massive task ahead.We've still got 100 fires burning around the state, about 35 uncontained. The problem we've got is there's so much fire out there in the landscape at the moment. Some of these fires are huge, they've burnt through thousands and thousands of hectares of bushland. Big fires like that where you're talking about 150km of active fire around the edge, that's going to take rainfall to put out. Some of these fires will probably burn for weeks if not even months.Thanks so much.Not a problem. Thank you. Still a concerning night ahead. Back to you in the studio.Thanks Kenny, let's go live to Sky News reporter Cameron Price from Catherine Hill Bay just south of Newcastle. Cam?Good afternoon, some of the residents have begun returning to Catherine Hill Bay and the home behind me, one of the real icons of this region, it's been in existence since 1880, it's a well- known house Old in this -- households in this region, one of the homes that fell victim to this fire. Believe it or not it was a sale. Locals had been preparing to put it to market. They'd had open houses. With me now is the selling agent. Thanks for your time. It must be a shame to see it like this, such a beautiful old home.It was a house and there are homes that have been lost in Catherine Hill Bay. Thankfully there's been no lyse. And at least there was no-one living here. The fireys, there could have been serious accident, they got trapped and ran to the beach. Certainly it's pleases to see that the houses or most of them here have been saved. This was a once in a lifetime property and unfortunately it's gone. Int There's a real story of survival and incredible braveries from the firefighters who were here yesterday afternoon. What have you heard? That they had to drop their houses hoses and run?We were hearing last night they were actually on the beach. They had to run for their lives. And in fact a crew was trapped here. I think it's just testament, the fireys, the volunteers, the way they work and they're the unsung heros and certainly Catherine Hill Bay, Swanlesy, caefs Beach further down at Lake Munmorah, they've just done an amazing job.Put the real estate agent hat on for a moment. This must have been the house of a life time to sell. I heard in the region of $2 million was the price. There was interest from all over the world.Yeah, it's the first time it was offered to the generally public on the market for 126 years and I guess being 30 years in real estate or more, it was a listing of a lifetime. And it's gone up in smoke, so to speak. I think the main thing is no-one was killed out this way and certainly I believe the group will take stock and a're more than thankful the fireys have done an amazing job.There you have it Jacinta, a house of a lifetime um in smoke but the good news at this stage from catds Kath is everyone is okay and ckd for.That's one of the heart breaking stories isn't it out of this fire. Briefly in other news now this afternoon. Labor leader Bill Shorten has announced his Shadow ministry with deputy leader Tanya Plibersek to take the foreign affairs portfolio. Penny Wong will take the trade portfolio while former Treasurer Chris Bowen will remain in that portfolio as Shadow Minister. Anthony Albanese was named transport and infrastructure spokesman. He also has a tourism portfolio. Stephen Conroy will become Shadow Defence Minister. Broadcaster Derryn Hinch has escaped jail but then fined $100,000 for contempt of court for breaching a suppression order relating to rapist and murderer Adrian Ernest Bayley. Justice Stephen Kay said he did not accept that an apology Mr Hinch made to the Victorian Supreme Court was legitimate. He also criticised comments made by Mr Hinch that he had been made a scape goat. Tomorrow's weather now, rain developing in the south-west. Warmer in the south. Mostly sunny in the east.

Hello and welcome back. You're watching Contrarians where I am talking to Rowan Dean, Peter Bentley Simon Cowan who just got attacked on Twitter before the break and Kerry Chikarovski former NSW Opposition Leader. Keep the tweets coming in. We are going to go through this front bench of Bill Shorten's. Plenty of women on it. He's bolstered the ranks of women in the parliamentary secretary ranks to make up for the criticisms that were coming in on the fly when Anna Burke and others were having a crack at him. Some of the people that people were upset about like Jacinta Collins not getting a position when he had had been the deputy leader and Senate. She's now back in the Shadow parliament sec ranks. She says she's honoured to receive that. I'd love to get a lie detector strapped to her. Some of the interesting ones, Tanya Plibersek gets her choice of portfolio as deputy leader and she has taken foreign affairs, Julie Bishop doing the same thing. Chris Bowen had effectively been promised the plumb position of Treasury by both Albanese and Shorten. That was always locked in. Tanya Plibersek comes from the left of the party. She's been quite outspoken over the years on a range of issues that are probably more sensitive in the foreign ministry than in other domestic portfolios.Do you think she's going to do what Bob Carr did, things he'd previously said when he became Foreign Affairs Minister. I don't know what she's said that might get her into trouble.I suspect we'll know tomorrow in the newspapers.With her very reduced staff she now has, I'd be doing that tonight towork out what might cause me some embarrassment tomorrow. I actually think the beyond Prime Minister the best job in Government is going to be Foreign Minister.They're not going to be in Government some time soon. Setting yourself up as a Foreign Minister in training. I'm not surprised she's taken it. In some ways it will be an interesting battle between two extremely feisty ladies.Do you agree with Kerry Chikarovski is Tanya Plibersek a Foreign Minister on training wheels. I don't think she'd be a Foreign Minister on training wheels at all. It's smart because she's facing off against Julie Bishop in the house. If that's the case, I'm glad you went into that realm, if that's a good strategic reason to take foreign affairs. Was it bloody stupid to put both your defence spokes American and your assistant defence spokesperson, both in the Senate. There's no-one in the Lower House, only the Shadow parliamentary secretary in the Lower House?I think for the same reason, the Defence Minister is a Senator.And the assistant isn't, the assistant's in the Lower House. I don't know if it's on that list or not or it will come to light in due course but there will be a Minister representing in the Lower House. That's quite standard.Gay brockman, from Canberra, is the Shadow parliamentary secretary for defence. She's in the Lower House. She may well represent during Question Time. But I think Tanya Plibersek will be strong in that area. She's obviously demonstrated in the last few years to be a very capable Minister. And she made it clear earlier in the week that she was considering a new challenge and I think she'll perform very well. What about Tony Burke in the role of finance. He's got a BA, LLB, doesn't have any qualification.I think the financial Opposition team is a very strong one.Despite having the lack of qualification. You've got Chris Bowen, Andrew Lee as the Assistant Treasurer, now Tony Burke who's shown to be an excellent performer in administration, agriculture. Because he sorted out all the issues there.He did. He signed a deal for the Murray-Darling which no other Minister or Government has in history.For everyone watching, be sure to tune in to 'Australian Agenda' on Sunday morning where we'll be speaking to Tony Burke, also the new Christopher Pyne of the parliament because he's now the Opposition manager of business.Do you think he'll know the rules as well as Christopher?Did Christopher really know the rules? He seemed to be jumping up on hills feet a lot.I think he knew the rules because he was often in violation of them.She certainly knows the rules.She knows the rules but I would have thought the problem with Bronwyn Bishop being the Speaker, assuming she gets, it, I think they've got the numbers to actually get the numbers through. Fait accompli. She will become the story in a lot of Question Times in a way I'm not sure will be helpful to the Government.When she stands on her feet she'll barely be able to see over the platform.She will make herself the story. She will come out with something or other, and as a result of doing it she'll take the wind out of the sails of the Government with the message with the thee at restriction of parliament.I think problem win will be terrific. I want to go back to Bill Shorten's ministry. Sorry, I've never had sump a good laugh as this afternoon when we learnt that Stephen Conroy as Minister of defence. That is hilarious.Shadow Minister.This guy couldn't even roll out green cable across the country. The thought of this character rolling out an army in some kind of military sense is hilarious, the tanks would all be bumping into each other, the submarines would be going upriver, the camouflage outfits would be bright green and pump.With their underpants on their head. Wasn't that his great line?Your yes, all the troops would be camouflaged. It's beyond a joke, if we do have any enemyings out there, they must be sitting there thinking they cannot be series. On the less funny side, Tanya Plibersek, you asked one of the things about her, hard left, one of our most important allies, called Israel a rogue state. She's retracked those comments, she called the Prime Minister of an ally, a war criminal.She's retracted it.Those were her views as a student politician.One at a time. One at a time.To be Foreign Minister one day, laughable. Statements that Tony Abbott made a decade or so ago I'm always the first to say they are irrelevant. It is exactly the same.Nonetheless I doubt if Tanya Plibersek weren't able to appoint herself to that position.Rowan, let me take on bored what Peter has said. What is the difference between all that time ago, Tanya Plibersek having said what she said about the state of Israel, calling it a rogue state and ble a similar period ago, Tony Abbott saying that abortion is the easy way out?Okay, there's a huge difference.One's more offensive? The Foreign Minister is responsible for representing the views of the country.And because Tony Abbott doesn't have any women in his front bench he can say what he likes about abortion.Not at all. They're completely different things. Tanya Plibersek's attitudes towards a foreign country are crucial. Our allies will look at that. And it's also very important, because Bob Carr, the Labor Party in Government were very pro Palestinian against the interests of Israel. They have moved strongly to the left, the Labor Party, so they're now putting up as their potential Foreign Minister, someone who has shown strong anti-Israeli views in the past.We have to take a commercial break. I hate it when this happens but it has been pointed out to me that David Feeney, the assistant defence spokes person is no longer in the Senate. He's moved to the Lower House. He stitched himself up a seat in the Lower House, so they do have representation in both houses. Peter Bentley you're meant to be our token Labor representative. He's your Labor colleague. You should know he moved to the Lower House. I blame for for that mistake. We're going to take a commercial break. Be back in a moment.

Hello and welcome back. You are watching Contrarians where I'm talking to Rowan Dean, Peter Bentley, Simon Cowan and chick which chick -- Kerry Chikarovski. We're looking at the front bench for the Opposition, the new Shadow line-up. One name in there, a big promotion in a way, Shadow Minister for Health, Katherine King. I didn't frankly know who she was, then suddenly he went straight up the ranks into the ministry in that dying days of the Rudd Government. I thought she was a really good perform area. What do the panel think?Blank here.You don't watch enough Question Time, Kerry Chikarovski.I wonder why.There's a big challenge I think in health for Dutton. He's not someone who's made a reputation for being a really strong performer. There's a lot of challenges in the Health portfolio. He's one of the Ministers who might be a bit vulnerable.I think he is a good performer. I think his role over the last four years was to go away. He hasn't established himself as one of the stars in the industry. If they're looking for someone to balance some of the gender balance on the front bench, if hen't starts to run up against these problems in Health I think he might be vulnerable.It's a lot easier as an Opposition Minister at state level because you can always find the tragedy, the terrible story, someone to trot out on to the 6 o'clock news about someone whose mother or child wasn't treated problem. I do think at federal level it's much more about policy. I don't think it attract the same sort of headline grabbing news as it does at state level. It will be interesting to see how this young lady, my apologies to you that I don't know who you are.Good to hear you talking about how you think she's going to go though.I'm looking forward to her establishing herself because I do think it's a much greater challenge at federal level for the Opposition spokesman, woman in this case.Another promotion, another woman, we can say that because we're talking about the Labor front bench, not Tony Abbott's but Kate Ellis, she moves into shadow cabinet, but she was an outer Minister previously. What are our thoughts there? It's not the full portfolio of education, it's titled simply Education but there is also a higher Education Minister in Kim Carr who also had that experience.I think what we're seeing, Kate Ellis, Katherine cipg, people like Andrew Lee, Jason Clare, all have significant promotions and really shows the balance between a number of senior Ministers in the previous Government that are senior Shadow Ministers but a whole range of new talent that's coming through. New talent, a lot of this looks like Government in compile to me. There's a lot of portfolios that match up to portfolios that people held in Government and people who perhaps should have been put out to pasture.I think this is the strength of the balance in that there's experience that you've got but you've got new people climbing the ladder and have the potential to make a real contribution. Bill Shorten spoke about this, I think the overwhelming, we've got an executive that's almost 50% women now, when you include the parliamentary secretaries. Secondly, the overwhelming majority of Ministers, Shadow Ministers, rather, have children under the age of six, I think lee said. So you've actually got a generational, we're essentially talking Generation X have kind of come through.Now you're doing talking points. We're going to move on. When you look at bord, he has basically harvested about a quarter of the parliamentary secretaries for himself. He's got three himself. What do we think of that Rowan Dean?That's fine, he's obviously done all the right things, got his little quotas. And as Peter read from his notes that he was sent, everyone on the or most of them have kids under six. Those kids are going to be at uni before Labor gets back into power, seriously. If your sole reason for putting to the your cabinet is to match various quotas and factions and the right number of women and keep the older ones and the gen X happy, nothing about policy as usual with Labor, it's all about appearances and appearing to do the right thing for the right group of people.Final thought on the bench there from Rowan Dean obviously hardly a compliment. We're going to talk about entitlements. Kerry Chikarovski, Dan Randall, you get the sense that there's a little bit of internal politicking going on over there in WA when Don ranleds has the situation where he's claimed $a,000 -- $5,000 worth of entitlements to go to far north Queensland. We haven't had an explanation from him but we've had the money paid back. Then Rob Johnson all of a sudden comes out and said the bloke should resign.I did like the reporting that said Mr Johnson acknowledged there had been some history between these two. I think that might explain why he's so, I hate to be critical of anyone, I'm not entirely sure he's so up in arms about it.Gleeful I think that Don Randall tripped up.I think it might be a bit more personal than that. That's not to diminish the issue and the issue is there needs to be some greater clarity, we need to have some rules and regulations. I don't think personally it should be that hard but clearly at federal level for both sides of the House it needs to be clearer.We're going to take a commercial break. Final thought on the entitlements there from Kerry Chikarovski but we are going to come back from the break and continue discussing entitlements because there's a lot more in that is particular space. There's been ongoing scandals, they're minor sure but they are detracting from what the Government would otherwise like the focus to be. We still haven't got to Williamson but we will. You're watching Contrarians. Back in a moment.

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