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(generated from captions) This Program Is Captioned Live. Hello, Andrew Geoghegan with the top stories from ABC News. An Australian soldier has been injured after an Afghan national army member opened fire on ISAF troops at a military base just outside Kabul. The ADF says the Afghan soldier was shot as Australian forces responded to the threat yesterday morning. The Australian soldier was treated for minor fragmentation wounds but is expected to return to duty soon. The Afghan soldier was killed. Crowds of protesters have joined a rally against mass surveillance in
Washington. Organisers say they want the US Congress to rein in the national security agency's surveillance program. Charges that the NSA accessed tens of thousands of French phone records as well as monitored German chancellor Angela Merkel's phone have caused outrage in Europe. Denmark's royal couple, Prince Frederik and Princess Mary, will head to the fire-ravaged town of Winmalee in the Blue Mountains today to offer sympathies to those who've lost their homes. They'll be joined by NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell and Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons. Australia has started in rugby league World Cup campaign with a win over hosts England in the tournament opener, 28-20. Australian captain Cameron Smith says the team does not expect to win the Cup. Stay with us for 'Insiders' with Barrie Cassidy.

This Program is Captioned Live.

Good morning, welcome to Insiders. Australians can make a political issue out of almost anything and so it was again this week with the bushfires.The question is simple enough - is climate change increasing the number and intensity of bushfires? But as one Government minister learnt this week if you're looking for the answer don't expect Wikipedia to be the suppository of all wisdom. Is this climate change in action?Behind the fire front assecondary battle is under way.Is there a link between climate and wild fires, brush fires? Yes, there is absolutely.I think the official questioner is talking through her hat.Now the WMO, World Meteorological Organisation, has not established the direct link between this wildfire and climate change yet.I think a lot of Australians would have a bit of a question mark over the UN.We have hat bad fires since almost the beginning of European settlement.We are really already paying the price of carbon. We're paying the price with wildfires, with drourt droughts.Fire is a part of the Australian experience.Bushfires can occur naturally and do.It has been since humans were on this continent.When the temperature goes up and when the vegetation and soils dry out then wildfire s become more pervasive and more dangerous.The world is now warmer and wetter than it has been.That's not me saying it, that's what the scientific community says.It isn't a great time when people are fighting fires to have a political debate and we've been very conscious of that. I looked up what Wikipedia said, for example, just to see what the rest of the world thought and it opens up with the fact that bushfires in Australia are frequently occurring events.Under his name under Wikipedia today it says he uses Wikipedia for important policy. Climate change is real as I've often said and we should take strong action against it but these fires are certainly not a function of climate change.Does climate change make these sort of disastrous events more likely? Clearly I think that's the science.It's pathetic to hear Tony Abbott try and back away from that and say oh, we've always had fires in Australia.The Greens should not misuse human suffering to try to make political points. OK, thank you very much.The Climate Council said there's an increased probability of fire, do you accept that, Minister? Climate change is real, it hasn't gone away just because Tony Abbott got elected.No-one, no-one should be politicising these bushfires. From time to time I will do my best to turn out with the brigade.Tony Abbott has admitted his security guards want him to give up fighting bushfires.Security people happy about that?I think the short answer is not very.These photographs of Tony Abbott were tweeted, purportedly fire fighting in the Blue Mountains.There have been moments when you start to get a bit of adrenaline. Moments when you think "Oh, dear".Mr Abbott drew criticism for taking part in backburning at the weekend.I will do my best to continue to be a citizen as well as a PM.And our program guest this morning is the leader of the Greens, Senator Christine Milne but first we'll check out the Sunday papers and this one could have a long-term impact, Mark Kenny. The Abbott gft has called a judicial inquiry into the home insulation scheme.This a story in the Sunday 'Mail' in question and it does appear the Government is about to launch an inquiry into this home insulation program and of course we know that it was associated with a number of house fires and 4 deaths so it's going to to look at the process, the basis of government decisions, whether the deaths of 4 men could have been prevented, if, if any, advice or undertakings the Government received and why it was deficient and what steps the Government should have taken to avoid the tragedies. So this is a long-running story that's not over yet. Two things, it would be public for one and would Kevin Rudd be called as a witness? The Government seems to be saying it's going to call all these people, the gang of 4, Lindsey Taner, Wayne Swan, Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd as well as Peter Garrett the minister in charge of the program so it will be interesting to see what comes from this.Peter Garrett might have an interesting story to tell.I think if you got Peter Garrett up there on oath and gave him no alternative to say exactly why this whole thing got fouled up behind the scenes we might know all about it. Brian Taoiseach, the fair nax have been chasing the expenses. The rules are you're only supposed to use them if there's no reasonable alternative available and you have to get the permission of the Defence Minister to use them. The main people involved are Peter Costello, Nick Minchin and Amanda Vanstone. Now without knowing what happened it's a bit hard to say whether anyone was rorting those rules. The main one that looks suspicious is Peter Costello because he took 60 flights from Melbourne to Canberra and you'd want to know whou there weren't alternatives available when most of the time flights between Melbourne and Sydney are hourly or half-hourly. That cost $470,000, Peter Costello's flights. They're mainly for going to remote parts of Australia or things lieb that.People smuggle rers looking for new ways to smuggle asylum seekers into Australia?Yes, mike the Fairfax Indonesia correspondent has been among the speem muglers again and reports the people smuggling policy is broken. The Rudd policies appear to have broken the model. So would be asylum seekers are now being offered passage in a cargo container for a mere $8,000 to $14,000 per person you can be loadeded into a cargo contain er according to these people smugglers. They reckon you will only be in the container actually for 9 hours but otherwise you will be on this cargo ship. The whole thing is complete bullshit from the point of view of the people smugglers and just remember what a stack of cargo containers looks like on a wharf. If your cargo container you're supposed to be in is in the middle of that stack you are going to come out a desiccated corpse. I would really recommend people don't take it. Except there's one sideline to this. People smugglers are trying to sell New Zealand as a destination conversation
and Michael Batchlart heard a conversation like this New Zealand is very clean, it's better than Australia, the only problem is unemployment.That's the Sunday papers and we'll go to Launceston and the leader of the Greens, Senator Christine Milne.Good morning, welcome. Thank you, Barrie. On the people smuggler story, is it of a concern that the people smugglers are in fact looking for new and more dangerous ways of bringing asylum seekers to Australia?Yes, it is. I was horrified when I read that story because what it demonstrates is what the Greens have been saying all along and that is that deterrence doesn't work. People will seek a way of getting to Australia and now New Zealand and they will believe people smugglers, as they have in the past, and what sends absolute shivers down our spine is what David said. We're going to find shipping containers on wharfs in Australia or in New Zealand and when they're opened we're going to find tragic scenes of a whole lot of people who have died. And this really has to stop. This is what cruelty does, it doesn't matter how cruel you become people become more and more desperate and the measures they take more extreme. What is broken is Australia's response to people who are seeking asylum in our country and it's time we thought about them as people like us, with parents and brothers and cysters and hopes for a new life and actually started to address the issue - around the world there are millions seeking asylum at the moment. You only have to look at what's going on in Syria, you have to see what happened in the Mediterranean as all those people died trying to get to Lampedusa. We have a global issue of people moving, seeking a new life because they're running from persecution and it's time that we responded to that in a humane and decent way and I think it's appalling to think that we will see people coming out of these shipping containers as a pile of corpses and that is going to be shocking.But wouldn't they, no matter how desperate they are, wouldn't they instinctively know how dangerous an exercise that would be? Instinctively I think yes, but people are desperate. They instinctively would know that the boats that they're getting from Indonesia also have a chance of sinking and them drowning. But we've seen cases of this kinds of cases in the UK where people have been trafficked into the UK and they've opened those containers and people have obviously suffocated and died in them. So I wouldn't say that people won't do it. They will know it's dangerous but they will want to believe that they will only be in them until they're loaded on the ship and then they will be allowed out and the fact is we know they will die.On the home insulation scheme inquiry, why do you think the Government is doing this? Look, it's purely political. I will look at the terms of reference. If the Government was really serious about the safety issues concerned, they would have taken up some of the recommendations from the coronial inquiries that have occurred. One of those is that we move to a much broader implementation of safety switches, for example, make those mandatory and also that we put in place a broader education campaign for all the tradespeople involved and the companies involved and that's clearly something we should be rolling out. Having said that, you know, everybody knows Peter Garrett was the fall guy for the failure of the PM's office and refusal of the PM's office to listen to the advice of the Department, it was clear in all the estimates hearings when I asked heaps of questions about this that people were being told to go ahead even though they were saying we simply can't roll it out at the scale and as fast as the PM's office is requiring. But we have had a number of inquiries. We'll look at the terms of reference but let's get on with doing what the coronial inquiries have already Recommended.But having said that though, isn't it possible that the families of the 4 young people who died would certainly welcome this? Yes, and we'll have a look at it from that point of view and we need to take into account absolutely what they want. I've read some of the remarks that they have made and yes, they do deserve answers. But if you're really serious about making sure it doesn't happen again let's go back and implement the things that will protect people now as well as getting to the basis of what has happened in the past. But again, if governments were more transparent in the first place, and this is what did - they absolutely blocked this information coming out during Kevin Rudd's prime ministership and as I said, Peter Garrett was forced to take the fall on it. We still don't know what role Mark Arbib had in it so perhaps we will get to the bottom of that.On bushfires now and climate change, when lives are lost and property is destroyed do we have to overlay the whole thing with a political argument? I think that there have to be questions asked about what we're going to do to make sure that more people aren't put at risk, more properties lost because we're not acting on the underlying causes and this is the big issue. There's no better time actually to be talking about how to save lives in the future and look at the consequences of failing to do that in the past. And that's what's gone on here. Climate change itself is not political, it's real, it's happening right now and it's how you respond to it that is political. I'd put in place a Senate inquiry last year into Australia's preparedness for extreme weather events like fires, like floods, that made a series of recommendations and again they get shelved. We need a national disaster resilience fund, we need to be putting money into mitigating against these things getting worse. But as long as you have the Coalition not wanting to talk about it, and as long as you try to derail it into whether climate science is real or not, you're not getting on with talking about how we can save lives and property into the future and that is the challenge for Australia.Sure, but Adam Bandt seemed to suggest that Tony Abbott was in some way responsible for the fires. We know what caused most of them. The army was responsible in one case, child arsonists in another.Look, what ignites a fire is going to be lightning or human induced, arsonists or what happened with the Defence Force. But the issue is the circumstances underlying the ignition and we know that southeastern Australia is experiencing a drying trend. We've had the hottest year, the hottest winter, we had conditions which were leading to higher likelihood of bushfires, more extreme fire danger days, a higher property of ignition chance at the upper end and the scale of the fires. It's the intensity and scale of the fires and floods and cyclones that is going to be driven by global warming and that's what we have to really respond to in Australia. Will Steffen said this week. The Climate Council is out saying climate change is the underlying cause of this drying out effect and as a result heatwave danger, higher levels of evaporation, therefore more fires but let's get on and talk about what we're going to do about it and that's where Adam Bandt was a absolutely right to be saying what Tony Abbott is doing is tearing down the only policy that we've got in place which is reducing emissions and we have a serious regime in place to address climate change and Tony Abbott wants to tear that down and try to denigrate the science as hogwash and then go and insult people like Kristina Fugueres who globally respected in the work she's doing for trying to negotiate towards a global treaty in 2015.Was Adam Bandt also right in saying Tony Abbott putting on a fire fighters uniform for the media is a con given he's got a long history of doing this sort of thing and quite often away from the glare of the media? I think Tony Abbott's work as a volunteer fire fighter is to be respected and I value that. But he's also the PM of Australia and in that role he has a responsibility to lead the nation and the point that's being made here is on the one hand fighting fires but if you're not doing anything that actually prevents the situation being worse in the future and putting more people's lives at risk, then you're not doing what you've been elected to do. You've been elected to lead and frankly the Coalition are not leading the nation when it comes to the biggest threat facing us and that is climate change. We're the most vulnerable continent on Earth. We are already seeing lives lost and billions of dollars worth of damage. Look at Cyclone Yasi, look at the floods, now the fires in NSW. When are we going to decide that we accept the climate science and now we're going to not only adapt and work out a national resilience fund to be able to spend money, but also we're going to pull down emissions, we're actually going to seriously address the problem and that's where Tony Abbott fails. He does the on the ground but not the leadership. In the time left I want to ask you about Senate reform. As a minor party are you now going to go after the microparties. Do you want some sort of reform that makes it more difficult for them to be elected? Well we've had legislation in the Parliament since 2010, so well before this election, saying that it's time we had Senate reform. Bob Brown had a bill in the Parliament that was for optional preferential above the line to get rid of the party tickets and I think it's the party tickets and those preference negotiations which people can't stand, they don't know the results and that's what's delivered the outcome that we've got this time. So we certainly want to pursue electoral reform.Will that do it on it's own? Will that reform do it on its own and achieve the purpose that you want? I think it's an important step towards it. The optional preferential above the line and also the Robison rotation which is where no one party has the poll position on every ballot paper. It is rotated. We've had that for - in Tasmania for a long time and I think if we did that for the Senate voting system that would be good as well.Thanks for your time this morning. Appreciate it.Thank you, Barrie.From the situation room all resources are being used to minimise risk.I will keep you posted as we attempt to get the situation under control.OK.Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey is pushing up the Commonwealth's debt limit. To a void a US-style budget crisis.We have decided to go to $500 billion. The old Joe Hockey used to say if debt's the problem then more debt isn't the solution, what happen sndThere is a difference between the debt limit and the debt.The debt ceiling does have to go up.We need to move quickly to deal with this. And the party that said they were all about turning around debt has now asked for permission for it to go to $500 billion.Without releasing the state of the books. The Treasurer has given a one-off grant to the Reserve Bank to help it deal with any major economic shocks.The sum involved is $9 billion, all of which will have to be borrowed.We need all the ammunition in the guns for what's before us and this is part of that equation.The payment to the Reserve Bank inflicts a 25% blow out in this year's deficit.And it's the money that should have been put in by the Labor Party.The RBA should be above politics.Today we are announcing a commission of audit.A commission for cuts.Nothing's off limits.Their mandate is to go through government branch by branch.Every area of government is going to be examined.Division by division.There are no restriction s.Agency by agency.The risk is that turns into a razor gang with a shopping list of cuts. The Liberals are doing what Liberals always do.We have to get spending growth under control. We can't continue, we can't continue.We have to fix the budget.We have to fix the budget.I'm not saying that everything that the new government does over the next 3 years is going to be rapturously received. This is a very different government to who Australians were being told they were electing.OK, let's start with the raising of the debt ceiling. Joe Hockey said this in May 2012 "Any legislation to raise the debt level should be properly debated by the Parliament so that the Government can explain and justify why it should further grow the nation's credit card limit." And then Andrew Robb said this in 2011 "The only reason the Government should lift the debt ceiling again is because of its own incompetence."It seems to me there's another reason that you raise the level to such an extent you only have to ask once and then that takes the politics out of it.Yes, but it sits uneasily with all the comments before about how debt is absolutely terrible. They've demonised debt and now they're increasing it including with the next item about $9 billion which they have to borrow to put into the Reserve Bank. So it's making it harder for them. They keep saying this is Wayne Swan's doing. But they in the interest
end have to both pay the interest on that debt and reduce the deficit to get back to surplus.We'll get back to the Reserve Bank issue, which is a separate one, but why, Mark, $500 billion, why not $450 billion? That's still a long way over and above where the debt sits right at the moment? That's right. It's a long way over where the debt sits at the moment. It's $20 billion over the worst-case scenario oof where their projections are of where debt could go to. So it is pretty transparent this really. He did even say when he was announcing it that he only wanted to do this once, which was, you know, it seemed to me pretty much an admission that the Government doesn't want to be going cap in hand to the Parliament to get the debt ceiling raised again, it doesn't want to do that closer to an election but also it clearly wants to saddle this to link it very closely to the previous government rather than his government.And does it imply that it's pretty hard to bring debt down? Well, you know, debt ceilings don't seem to have disciplined any government anywhere in the world that has them. They don't work that way. And bringing debt down is going to be very, very difficult. But the thing that they face, of course, is a most unpredictable Senate from the middle of next year. And 23 this has got to be done, you know, raising the debt ceiling has never been a problem in Australia before but look at the chaos in Washington. If this unpredictable Senate should catch a touch of Washington - itis things could be very difficult so he's done this huge, dramatic and only once off. But it isn't going to mean the Government is less disciplined about debt, these debt ceilings don't work that way.The Saul Eslake says in our system of government there's no need for a debt ceiling at all. We got by for 108 years since federation without it. It was introduced by Wayne Swan who was sort of being intimidated by the then Opposition's complaints about debt to say look, we'll put a ceiling on it. But in our system of government, unlike the American one, there's no need for a debt ceiling at all. If they wanted to do something I would have been better off abolishing it and sticking to their promise.The other issue you raised was the injection into the reserve bank. Now, why was that done and is there a precedent for it? It hasn't been - we haven't really had an explanation at all. I find it very hard to follow. Why is a government borrowing money at what will be a much higher interest rate than the Reserve Bank would be able to create the same sort of money. In fact, central banks all around the world can create credit for themselves. So really I can't understand why the Reserve Bank needs this and as I understand it the Treasury doesn't either. So it's weird. But again -What about the internal politics in this, doesn't that suggest then that the - it adds $8.8 billion to the deficit but it will be seen as Wayne Swan's deficit and a year from now that will certainly be the impression? Why? That one they're going to have to pay it back, not Wayne Swan, and secondly, Wayne Swan was advised by Treasury not to do it earlier this year and secondly, why this much?You had a piece on that yesterday, Mark? The advice from treshy from April 10 this year to Wayne Swan was that there was no provision in the law that establishes the Reserve Bank for the Reserve Bank to request this money, that is there is literally no legal provision for it to be requested and that to do so, to inject money in to the central bank, potentially sets up the impression that the bank is beholden to the Government. That was the word used in this Treasury minute that I got hold of.Doesn't it go to the question of credibility and the viability of the Reserve Bank if it's suddenly in need of almost $10 billion, what does it say about the soundness of the bank? This reserve fund is supposed to represent about 10% of equal to 10% of asset at risk in the bank and that has been run down as a result of the high value of the Australian dollar. Because foreign currency holdings devalue when the Australian currency is high, as we know it has been, which is why this reserve has dwindled to about $2.5 billion. But economists point out that's because the fund is doing what it's meant to do as a shock absorber in the Reserve Bank's prudential base. So this question of whether it needs to be done and whether it needs to be done quickly I think is a very open debate and I think it's the same - it seems to me the same political logic associated with the raising of the debt ceil - ceiling which is all about tying this alleged calamity to the previous government. Think back to Kim Beazley's $10 billion black hole, the narrative early narrative of the Howard Government. That's the narrative they're attempting to set up now, that Labor left them with a $40 billion deficit and something nudging near $500 billion of debt. This is the narrative being set up.The opposite happens in America. The US Federal Reserve is basically injecting money into the Treasury, indirectly so through the quantitative easing. I'm in the camp that much of
thinks they've done far too that
much of that but it illustrates that central banks can create money basically. There's no need to do this at all that I can see.When Wayne Swan was Treasurer though there's no suggestion that the Reserve Bank ever asked for this money but according to Warwick McKibbon who was a former board member, at one point though they did ask of Wayne Swan that he not take money out. Here he is on '7:30'.The following year after I'd left there was a small profit of over $1 billion. The Treasurer was requested not to extract that from the balance sheet of the bank. He ignored that request and took $500 million so he could reach the budget surplus in 12/13. To me that is economic vandalism. It wasn't that he may not have been asked to put more money in but he was certainly asked not to take money out. Is there something in that? I don't see anything wrong with taking the money out. The Reserve Bank is owned by the people of Australia and the Government owns it on behalf of the people of Australia. If he wants to take half the profit, if the Treasurer wants to take half the profit as a dividend why not?Economic vandalism is pretty strong, isn't it?Here we are on Sunday morning, the finest minds of our generation trying to work out what this is all about. It is open to the Government to make a simple statement of why this is being done. Now my economic advise ers who I have been consulting deeply in the last couple of days, so say that next year things might get a bit volatile and this is a message to the world that the Australian Reserve Bank has immensely deep pockets and don't try to speculate against our currency. But it is open to the Government to tell us why this is happening and they're not. If there's a good reason, tell us.OK, what about the commission of audit that will be taking a look at government spending right across the board? Tony Burke had this to say about it when it was first set up.You have clearly there advocates for increasing the GST, you have advocates for taking away protection away in the workplace. What you don't have is the whole view that Treasury is meant to provide and the people are actually paid to provide this sort of advice. This is an out sourcing of the responsibilities of government to big business, pure and simple.But is that really the core of his complaint, Brian, is that it's been conducted by big business? Well it half sounds to be. I think there sounds to be a different problem all together, is that it really can't look at everything. It is not allowed to look at a whole half of the budget, that's the revenue side, where there is the biggest scope for doing what the Government said the core principle that they have to implement here is to make sure that governments only do for people what they can't do for themselves and no more. And it's on the tax concession side of the budget that really stands out as the area because they're not means tested where they're doing lots of things for people that could easily fend for themselves and Treasury gave an example earlier this year, that the Government provides assistance to the tune of $438,000 a year to someone who is on a tax-free superannuation pension of $1 million a year. That compares to $21,000 for an aged pensioner. So if you're serious about applying that principle, you can't rule out looking at tax concessions. Secondly, they already on the direct spending side, both direct spending $1 on direct spending and $1 on tax concessions has exactly the same impact on the bottom line of the budget so why not look at both. But on the direct spending side they've ruled out touching a whole lot of tightening means tests on a whole lot of things and promised to relax or remove means tests that Labor introduced on the rebates for the private health insurance or more accurately semiprivate health insurance.Having said that, it's going to be the Government a lot to
comprehensive enough to give about?
the Government a lot to think about? I think so. I notice that Tony Burke saying it's outsourcing this whole process that Treasury could do. I notice that Treasury did a very comprehensive review of the taxation system known as the Henry taxation review for the last Government and virtual ly all of it was not picked up and what was picked up turned into a political disaster for the Government and is about to be rolled back in terms of mining tax principally. There's not a very proud history of these reviews really being taken up.Barry O'Farrell has just had one and I understand he's taken up not a single recommendation. But the other thing about this is it's incredibly fast. There's not very much time. This is supposed to be giving its first report in January. This is not enough time to do a deeply considered examination of the way in which public money is spent in this country. It's just too fast.They've got a little bit longer -There's another report after that.There's two stages in this report and it will be informing the budget that happens in May and it is a bit longer than Bob Officer had for the similar kind of -A couple of weeks longer.Than in 1996.The Henry exercise was a year, you know. This is going to provide political ammunition for a new Government to whack the old government around the head with. I think that's its principal function.It might create a few uncomfortable scenarios for the new Government as well because it will make all sorts of tough recommendations. The 'Financial Review' had a story suggesting that what will happen is that the Government won't immediately announce any cuts. It will take changes to the next election because they don't want to break promises over this.It wants to count that money into the Budget but not actually implement the - sorry, count it as part of the budget but you don't actually implement it until after the election.That's three years from now.Just going back to the Bob Officer thing. His report was comprehensive. It covered the tax concessions things which Costello not only ignored but made worse. The time thing is an important issue. All these people have got quite important jobs. Amanda Vanstone, for example, she's one of the commissioners, she has an hourly program which she has to prepare for on the ABC, Radio National every day. If she's on the ABC by definition she ha has to be left wing.And she no longer has a military plane to get her from Adelaide.She was a competent minister in the Howard Government and I think she could make a good contribution provided she's got the time.OK, now on the mining tax and if the mining tax goes, of course so does the school kids bonus and a couple of other things..They haven't been up-front about the fact that it involves abolishing the school kids' bonus. A hit on small businesses, a abolishing the instant asset write off increases of the previous government. A hit on 2.7 million hard-working Australian small businesses right across the country.It was conceived in a storm, it was delivered in a storm and it frankly has been a disaster all the way.A couple of things the Government has going for it there, Mark. One, is the perception of the handling of the mining tax and not the reality that it was such a mess for so long and secondly, the consequences that have been referred to there by Chris Bowen are well and truly known by now? Yes, I guess they are. I think it's going to be a rude shock for some people when some of these things are stripped out. I mean there's been a fair bit of publicity about getting rid of the school kids' bonus, for example. I think the low income superannuation contribution probably a bit less so. There would be some difficulty with that. This whole package is worth quite a lot of money to the Government and it's certainly worth their while to do so. They get rid of the mining tax. I think it costs about $3.5 billion to get rid of that but all those things that are attached to it that is a massive saving back to the budget and it's certainly going to help that difficult task of rebuilding the bottom line.It's perfectly reasonable. Mining tax set up by the previous government did not raise anything like enough money for all the things they said they would spend it on. In that case they should have withdrawn the things they were going to spend it on because there's no money there for it. And this Government obviously, because it will lose the little bit of money the mining tax was bringing in, has even less. And unfortunately it is not wiping out all the things that were supposed to pay for. It's not wiping out the biggest thing which was increasing compulsory superannuation from 9% to 12% which will cost $4.2 billion a year by the time the 12% comes in.It's It's just slowing the progression to that.It's also against Coalition principles which are strongly in favour of leaving people to make their own minds up what they do with their money and it will cost say a minimum wage earner when the 12%'s in, their take-home pay will be $70 a week higher without the 12%.Don't you think though there would be some support in the community for mining companies to pay more taxes, the problem is the governments haven't figured out the best way to do it? It remains mere consensus levels of public support for the effective tax of the mining industry. It is absolutely clear from all surveys, from face-to-face interviews, the public in Australia is completely on side with properly taxing mining. This is - there is no political controversy here. The problem is facing down the miners and finding an effective model to do it.There is an effective model. I mean the Henry review was completely excessive and was based on a thing about rebts which I don't think are valid, can't even measure them and then the compromise was worse. It basically let the mining companies write whatever, pay whatever they nt want. There's a simple alternative there and that's been in place for 20 years without any fuss aut all, the petroleum resource rent tax, just change it to petroleum and minerals resource rent tax. Leave it exactly the same mechanism, exactly the same rates but it cuts in and so forth it and would have worked, I think, without a lot of fuss. The carbon tax on the other hand is on the way out. The question for the Opposition is one, how they deal with that when the legislation comes up and secondly, what they do if they were to return to government in 3 years time. Former PM John Howard entered the fray this week, this is what he had to say about the issue.Can I respectfully suggest to Mr Shorten that his party has lost the argument on the carbon tax and with the election result now in it must surely be said that the Australian people have rejected the carbon tax and the common sense as well as good politics suggests that the Labor Party should accept this, allow the repeal legislation to go through and move quickly to new and potentially more productive areas of policy disputation with the Coalition including in the area of debate on global warming.In fact, the debate on global warming has started. By the way Tony Abbott referred to Bill Shorten this week as electricity bill shock Shorten. That's not a 3-word slogan at all.It's to be reduced to Electricity Bill.I've got it. OK, on the question now though on that, and
and where John Howard takes us on that, and that's on the whole question of talking more broadly about climate change, certainly we've had that debate or we're in the middle of it right now. Was it an appropriate time to raise it? Is there ever a good time to raise these issues? Look, I come down on the side that I don't think it is appropriate to be tagging the bushfires directly to climate change, simply because you can't actually prove it. Because it is such contested ground it then become asferocious political debate that, you know, detracts attention from the tragedy as it's unfolding. There's nothing to be gained from doing it other than to, you know, you start a whole argument. I mean Thursday night, I think it was, in Canberra, the temperature, forecast temperature was going to be minus 3 overnight. Now to suggest that because it's very cold that any one weather event suggests global warming isn't happening would be absurd just as it's absurd to suggest that any one event that occurs can conclusively prove global warming.What about the rg ament that they say in the US if a gunman goes crazy and kills some people the best time to raise it is at the height of that so that people's minds are focussed on it, is there a difference here? That's because someone has gone mad with a gun and is killing people and you can have a debate about whether people should have guns in the community. It's a direct causal relationship between that law and that event or that system and that event. There is not an absolute case here to be made and there will be not be an absolute case. The case for global warming, the case for climate change, the case for these things happening has to be built on trends. It has to be built on -Sure, but this has happened, you know. This has happened. This is real. There is an absolutely catastrophic bushfire burning in wild country to the west of Sydney.But there have been catastrophic bushfires -Of course there have but the science is also absolutely clear that what we face in the future is more of these. We are having a fire now. Now is the perfect time to talk about it because it's happening. And you can't pluck this fire out and say just because this can't be tied directly to global warming there's somehow some kind of political shield around it. This is a catastrophe, it's happening now, they're going to get worse unless something is done about it and this is a Government that is clearly not keen to do anything about it. At the same time, Joe Hockey this week, I nearly crashed the car when I heard this, he was talking about the budget or something and he said the Labor Party lit these fires. This is the Treasurer this week. You know, we mustn't politicise the fires. The Labor Party lit these fiers and we're having to put them out. Just disgusting.I thought it was the army. It's true that you can't indicate what started a particular fire, it might have been from the electricity wires or the army being completely irresponsible. But what is true, there is a trend which shows that the number of days that are hot enough to increase the number of extreme fire risk days per year is increasing. That trend is clear. So that the fires - there is a bigger chance of these bushfires occurring because there's more days in which they are likely to -That's pretty much the point Wil Stefan from the Climate Council made during the week.I think it's important we get scientific facts on the table in terms of the debate we're having around the country. For us it's clear-cut. We're seeing an influence of climate change on bushfire conditions, particularly bushfire risk. In the longer term the projection s are if we keep emitting greenhouse gases and keep the climate warming as it's doing now, we will simply increase the risk further in the future.So whatever the cause of the most recent fire you can have a debate about whether it's a more dangerous fire than it otherwise would have been if it had not been for climate change? I think you can have that debate but while people are fighting the fires and dealing with the emergency and given how, you know, sort of viciously contested this terrain is in political terms, I question whether it's right to be making a direct causal link at the moment. Because I think overreach has done this debate some harm. It's done the credibility of science some harm.Couldn't be a better time to do it, right now, when it's burning. Greg Hunt, the Environment Minister, went offshore for an interview this week for the BBC, for whatever reason I don't know, but the sensitive souls at the BBC beeped out the word crap who was quoting Tony Abbott who once said climate change is crap.So he no longer thinks it's a absolute (Bleep). With great respect you can swear on inveet
international radio, you can inveet me from Australia to do this, you can be profoundly rude, I'm happy to answer but I'm not going to be sworn at.Mr Hunt, I'm merely quoting your PM.Didn't go so well. Wikipedia one day and then the BBC the next.In the end though when you listen to what's coming up with Greg Hunt is he starting to come around to the position that Will Steffen and others are arguing? Given that you accept the scientists say there is a link between fires and climate change, did you just say that?My point has been very clear all along that we accept the science, we don't argue the science. Individual scientists will have differing views but I would just refer you to the words of the chief scientist yesterday where he pointed out that individual events should never be attributed but there are broader long-term trends and I would not want to do anything other than accept, acknowledge the words of the chief scientist.So isn't it closer to the arguments that have been put by the scientists than it is to the position that Tony Abbott was putting? Yes, he's a bit embarrassed, to be a minister in the government that came to power arguing the world was created in 6 days. It's very anti-scientific stuff that brought the Abbott Government to power. Why are we so hung #u7 - up on the nuances of what these people are saying this week? What they're doing is dismantling the effective response to global warming. They're dismantling the carbon tax. It's what they're doing that matters. While conservative governments in other countries in the world are putting them in -They've got a sizable mandate to do that.Labor lost the public argument on the carbon tax, there's no doubt about that.I think what Labor's putting forward would make much difference at all. What it's saying is not so much a carbon tax but it's committing itself now to linking to the European cap and trading scheme where the price, they keep talking about putting a price on carbon. In these trading schemes the price makes no difference at all. It's entirely the cap and if you have a very loose cap, which they do in Europe, then the price is very low, I don't think it's going to make any difference to anything. In Europe I think there's a very strong case that the scheme has made no difference to cutting emissions because those emission cuts would already have occurred already because the recession in Europe and the closing down of really clapped out but very dirty plants in Eastern Europe. So I think if Labor goes - I think Labor will be very foolish to go to the next election if they're serious about climate change saying this is how we're going to do it.What do they do, get behind direct action and try to make it a more efficient scheme? There are a number of things we could do, including the most important thing, if you want to bring about eeventually the least cost solution to global warming, you should put monies, is what Garnaut said, $3 billion a year, it should be a collaborative effort with overseas laboratories to working on low emissions technologies that end up with than coal and
making electricity more cheaply than coal and that is quite feasible and that's the key but not a cent of the - all of the money raised by the carbon tax was spent, and more, on compensation and not a cent went into this sort of stuff.I want to move onto the expenses issue now and Don Randall this week flew across from Perth to Cairns to talk with the Government whip. This week went public on that and said he wanted to talk about local government issues. He took his wife with him on this trip. Business class.Tony Abbott went out publicly this week to defend him, here he is on 3AW.The gentleman in question tells me that he didn't do that, that he went from Perth to Cairns to have some very important discussions with the whip.Haven't they got a telephone? Videoconference? There are some discussions that are best done face to face. I'm not ruling out improvements but no-one has come to me yet with a proposal, which I am confident on balance would take things forward.Does it surprise you that he's so publicly defends Don Randall in this way? Well, look, I have been surprised by it because it just seems politically sl - silly really. I guess it's a question of what can you do? What censure is there available to him in terms of Don Randall. It's very surprising because this is indefensible and what Tony Abbott said just then , if that's the best he's got in terms of an explanation it is still woefully inadequate. What is inadequate is he's not explaining his own situation properly. When he went to Port Macquarie for the run, the triathlon. He said there were other community events involved. Now Laura tingle in the 'Financial Review' this week was able to say because her father was the source of this that in fact he went to a fund-raiser, a Liberal Party fund-raiser the night before and beyond that he hasn't been able to explain any other community events. Why is there apparently no particular pressure on him to do so? There's no rig nor this system at all and that's the trouble. As we saw with George Brandis going to Michael Smith's wedding and he said that it was an important networking opportunity for him, it's clear a number of these politicians don't see a difference between what is essentially political work and community work. They don't draw a distinction. When Tony Abbott talks about a community event he's probably talking about a Liberal Party fund-raiser. Unless he's going to come up with some other explanation that's what he did on that trip.Xenephon has come up tw a reasonable thing, at least put them all up online immediately. The only way to fix this in the end is to have a strict rule that all is paid for is direct going down to parliament and parliament committees and direct cabinet expenses for cabinet ministers and then if they want to spend any more then they can do it themselves. Maybe you give them a little bit of a pay rise, although they've had big pay rises, they've got big electoral allowances.They're close to $200,000 now.Not including the electoral allowance s.Which they should be buying books with.I've got to defend Brandis on books. Books are a tool of trade. We're not going to start getting - not Don Randall buying the 'Women's Weekly' book on how to teach your kids to cook. I understand that's clearly a rort but Brandis buys important books, Brandis buys Toohey's books and my books and Thiess are indispensable to his work and therefore has a right.Naked self-interest, it's everywhere.Put them in the parliamentary library.He could borrow them from the parliamentary library too.Bob Carr has left politics, this time I think for good. And this is what he had to say about his own government, the government that he served on the way out.I'm struck by a lack of canniness in the Government, a lack of caution, cunning, canniness is probably the best word. As a product of the Wran era and having governed and won three elections in NSW, I did notice a lack of calculation, careful political instinct from 2007. Now that, I've got to balance that immediately by saying that I - there's been so many occasions when I've held Kevin and Julia in respect.What is he saying, they didn't get everything wrong? What is he saying? And what was it about the Wran/Carr period that was so outstanding? Well it was canny, no doubt about that.It was politically successful.Tony Abbott had an interview with the 'Washington Post' that described that period, the Rudd/Gillard period as scandalous and whack o.That's a bit rough. I thought we had a convention of some kind that we didn't bag our country abroad. Imagine if Latham had bagged the Howard Government in the 'Washington Post' wouldn't we have thought that was off. This is an analysis on the previous government and it's not bagging your country or the government of day. It comes close. Abbott is still electioneering. He's won this magnificent victory and he hasn't flicked the switch yet.I'm surprised the 'Washington Post' didn't say that's all very well but you're the PM now, so let's hear a bit about what you're going to do.More with our panel shortly but now it's 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 with Warren Brown. Has the new paradigm of the Abbott Government treating you? It's fantastic. Now we're all sort of Joe Hockeying up and Tony Abbotting up and it's good, it's great fun.The worst kept secret in politics was that Bob a job week turned up and he doesn't want his current job anymore. He wants to move on and who can blame him? For me it may be the last time I get to draw the wonderful rubbery face Bob Carr. Here we have in his retirement, Bob Carr enjoyed every second of retirement.He's bowling up jewel ka and Kevin basically.Bill Leak I did love this one for him, no company for old men. Be good boys and girls and promise you will stop bickering, brawling and eviscerating each other.Isn't that lovely goofy looking Stephen Conroy.He rocks a nappy, I've got to say, as does Bill really.I hope that - particularly Stephen Conroy. He hope he doesn't go away he's a cartoonist dream in all respects. What a wonderful week in the ACT. Same-sex marriages, George Brandis says I don't. Mr Zanetti has weaded into the same-sex marriage issue. Very fuching suits. If anyone can show just cause why this couple cannot lawfully be married speak now.And there's Tony Abbott with a fire house. "Let her rip." I love the way he's drawn them too. They look Dennis Lillee-esque.Scott Morrison has been calling asylum seekers illegals for quite a while and now it seems the Department has to officially call them illegals.This is a lovely cartoon. Scott Morrison calling a spade a spade which indeed he did. And illegal cue jumping spade, an illegal cue jumping spade that comes over here and digs up our lawns - dug yourself into a hole there, Scott. "It wasn't me, it was the spade."I think we should send the spades off shore somewhere. David Rose picked up on it as well with a really, I think he's my favourite Scott Morrison so far.It's a very good Scott Morrison. A spade is a spade, an illegal is an illegal and a asylum seeker is a... Shovel. There's a nice little detail here. See the boat in the water cooler. It's a water cooler moment.Lovely Cathy Wilcox. This is going to dehumanise me as much as it dehumanises them. Official euphemisms frp asylum seekers. I quite like hers as well. Do you have sometimes a eureka moment? Absolutely. And some cartoonists are able to really latch onto someone and do it really, really, really well.Mark Knight has drawn together the terrible bushfires in NSW and Scott Morrison's ability to put out spot fires.Well it's amazing because of course the PM is a member of the RFS.Spot fire ahead, a media pack asking questions about illegal boat arrivals, I'll hose them down. Can you call it a stunt if it's something you've always done? No, not at all. I think it's great.What happens to the poor protective coppers. You've got to be super fit and be able to keep up with him on a pollie pedal of 1,000 kilometres, you've got to put yourself in harm's way if someone wants to shoot him and get up in a fire suit and maybe be burnt to death.You've got to put on your asbestos suit and climb up on the truck and off you go.It's been a great pleasure talking about the events of the week.It's been an absolute delight. So I'll leave it up to you.You want to kiss?My mother always says to me why does that man kiss you all the time? Why wouldn't you.I say I don't know, Mum.Here's to the ACT. Back to you Barrie.I don't know either. Final observation.We saw Brian Loughnane give his postmortem of the election campaign last week, we're going to see George Wright, the ALP's national campaign director do it again on Tuesday so that will be interesting. Key your eyes out for that.Illegals breakthroughs - breaks laws, the PM talks about illegal boat arooifls. My request to the office says please tell me the law they've broken, tell me what it is.President Obama admitted last week the US's massive eavesdropping allegations against friends and allies raises quotes legitimate questions unlike Ange nah Merkel who grew up East Germany, the Abbott Government hasn't had any need to ask the White House whether it does the same thing to Australian businesses, governments and innocent individuals.And Tony Abbott has been PM now for 50 days and during that time he has been sorting out his friends and putting them in some sort of order. This is how it's going to far. Thanks for watching. We have no more important overall relationship because of Indonesia's size, proximity and Po - potential. Welcome.New Zealand is in many respects Australia's closest relationship, New Zealand is family in a way that probably no other country on Earth is. Japan is Australia's best friend in Asia and that doesn't mean that we don't have other good friends. Obviously China is a good friend of Australia and I hope in the years to come China becomes an even better friend of Australia. India is a good friend of Australia.Soup The US is our best friend in the whole world.Captions by CSI Australia Welcome to the program. The US pulls back from the brink, China's factories crank up another notch, and Spain emerges from a two-year recession. Or US jobs stay weak, China's bad debts are on the rise and Europe is still Europe. Take your pick. We'll sift through the data to work out just what's going on and we'll talk to one of the world's leading business figures, GE Vice-Chairman John Rice who has a foot planted firmly in both the US and Asia. We'll also check out all the scuttlebutt from the AGM season and see which boards are under the pump. AlreadyThis Program Is Captioned Live.

The era of the great industrial conglomerate seems long gone but theres at least that's one still going that's to its ability to keep reinventing itself and finding new ways to make money. Now General Electric is moving into the Internet of machines which is the rather worrying-sounding next stage of the Internet's development. I caught up with GE's Vice-Chairman and Asian based leader of the company's global operations John Rice when he was in Sydney earlier in the week. John Rice when we spoke to you on Inside Business 18 months ago now, you were all in favour of a price on carbon. And obviously therefore in favour of the government's strategy. So how do you feel now about the impending repeal of that?Well, we still believe that over time there needs to be a price on carbon. There will be a price on carbon but it's clear that the legislation that was prom mull gated, what