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Q And A -

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(generated from captions) First, that the ACMA be given
more power NOT to investigate.

It's crazy to spend a year
on trivial complaints

and it's a waste of time
for all concerned.

Second, that the watchdog
be given some teeth.

Allow the ACMA to force broadcasters

to acknowledge
and correct their mistakes

and allow it to impose fines
on serial offenders,

as the British regulator Ofcom
is able to do.

Finally, it would help if 2GB took
its responsibilities more seriously.

Six weeks ago
Channel Nine's A Current Affair

was found to have breached
the TV code

with a story
that a shopping mall in Sydney

had been overtaken by Asians.

ACMA recommended
it acknowledge that breach on air. And thanks to Channel Nine boss
David Gyngell, it did.

We would like to acknowledge
that the ACMA has determined

that our segment
entitled All Asian Mall

was found to have breached
the code of practice in three areas.

The ACMA has made a number
of findings in their report -

a copy of the report can be found
on the ACMA website,

which is shown on your screen.

A Current Affair apologises for
any offence caused by this segment

and Nine accepts
the report's findings.

It wasn't the best apology
in the world

because it did not go into any
detail of the sins they committed.

And we're not suggesting A Current
Affair will never sin again.

But it is a start.

If broadcasters are forced
to admit their mistakes on air,

it will surely make them
a little bit more careful

about making them
in the first place.

And, as always, you can read more
about this story on our website,

including a number of other
responses from broadcasters

about accuracy and regulation.

But for now that's all from us.

We'll be back next week
but until then, goodbye.

Captions by CSI Australia

BlockThis Program is Captioned Live.

APPLAUSE Good evening. Welcome to Q&A. I'm Tony Jones. Answering your questions tonight - the Minister for Education and Leader of the House, Christopher Pyne. The editor-in-chief of the online magazine 'The Hoopla' Wendy Harmer. Journalist and author Ray Martin. The Shadow Minister for Agriculture Joel Fitzgibbon. Economist and opinion writer for the 'Australian', Judith Sloan. Please welcome our panel.APPLAUSE

As usual we are being simulcast on ABC News 24, News Radio and you can join the Twitter conversation with the hashtag on your screen. The first question is from Jakov Miljak.My question is to Christopher Pyne. I would like to ask - now that you are in power, what steps will the Coalition take to reduce the influence of a progressive Left Wing agenda in our education system, an agenda which continues to emphasise a black armband view of history and whose teaching methods are leaving today's generation of students deficient in material facts and concrete literary skills? APPLAUSEThat's a strong start. Well, the first will
thing we have done which we will be soon announcing is a review of the national curriculum. We have obviously announced we are going to review the national curriculum, that was part of our policy before the election. But I will soon be announcing who is going to do that and we are going to ask them to report to us early next year about whether the national curriculum is rigorous enough and whether it achieves the outcomes we as a nation need for our students because there is really a battle in education between people who believe that education is about skills and garnering skills and those who believe that it is can
about knowledge, something that can be used throughout one's life to change careers or to inform decisions, skills being something that you pick up at school and outside school but shouldn't be the focus of our education. So it will be interesting to see what the review of the national curriculum finds especially with respect to the themes in the national curriculum. Most listeners probably don't realise there are three themes that are supposed to permeate the national curriculum. Sustainability, Australia's place in Asia and Indigenous issues. I think there is a question mark whether there needs to be themes in a national curriculum, how themes work in, for example, maths or science. This is what we will ask the review of the national curriculum to find how it can be improved because it should be something we are aiming to make the best in the world.Do you accept the basic point made by the questioner that the curriculum has somehow been tainted by a Left Wing agenda? Look, I don't accept that in its entirety, no, but certainly the history curriculum was written by Stuart mac intyre and his supporters and Stuart McIntyre has a particular view about world history which probably wouldn't accord with a lot of people in the audience's view but that doesn't mean it is not worthy of being debated. As Wendy said off-camera, perhaps the different views about history should be taught in the curriculum ...That's actually not what I said.Oh, sorry. I thought that's what you meant.No. I will get to that in a minute.Perhaps the point I was going to make, that I thought Wendy was sensibly making off camera -I am not going to mention what I heard her say off camera.- there are divergent views about history is not something we should be shying away from.Wendy Harmer? I was actually saying this is a revival of the old history wars, like "Here we go again". I don't even know who won the last one. Maybe that should be taught. The war about historians rather than particularly the different views of history. This squabbling. I don't know why every Conservative Minister has to come into your job, Christopher, and make over the curriculum in their own image. It seems that's what you are doing. You have talked about an emphasis on skills teaching, standing in front of the blackboard and teaching facts, almost going back to what I think is a rote way of learning. The Minister Minister for 'Science' doesn't teach how to dissect a frog.In 2013 we do not have a Minister for Science in the Australian government. 1929 I think is the last time we didn't have a Minister for Science.It is called Ian Macfarlane, he is the Minister for Industry.We have a video question on this subject. This is from Tess Mimms and Ben Wong in Canberra.Mr Pyne, how do you justify your claims that the history curriculum which, according to you was written by an ex Communist is taught in such a way that exposes us to a black armband history? Shouldn't we be taught about Australia's Aboriginal history. How will you sure it is not subjected to the white blindfold approach? APPLAUSE.Wendy is saying they are clever kids.They are, they are thinking for themselves.Yes, sure, that's terrific. No-one is suggesting we don't need to learn about Indigenous history and the poorly way Indigenous people were treated by our forebears by changing the curriculum to reflect Australia's history. The thing about history is when you learn about Indigenous history in Australia, of course you would learn about the Mile Creek massacre or the treatment of Indigenous people. You wouldn't also want to ignore the fact Australia is the kind of country it is today because of our colonial past, because because of
of Western civilisation, because of the rule of law and the Westminster system. One of the problems with the history wars as they are called is the Left describe them as the wars because anybody who has a different view than the Left is apparently at war with the facts. That's not the case.Are you saying Stuart McIntyre, I think the supposed ex-Communist.He was a member of the Australian Communist Party. Which is fine, it is a free country.It is not a crime.No-one said he couldn't be a member of the Communist Party or the Greens or any other political party. It doesn't matter. I didn't raise it, these two characters from Canberra raised it, not me.Anyway, the point is do you think -You all raised it.Do you think somehow politics has tainted the curriculum? I think it is unusual that in the hiss history curriculum there is a strong emphasis on the role of trade unions in the curriculum but there isn't a commensurate commentary about the role of industry, business, agriculture in growing the country we are today. It is odd to me that since the trade unions exist to protect the rights of the workers, you would think there would be in the curriculum a description of why there are workers and who they are working for in the first place, which is things like BHP and so on. These things didn't just happen overnight. They are part of our history as a nation. I think that should have a commensurate view in the curriculum.I get worried, I don't think teachers should be untouchables but every time politicians on either side of the fence get involved in education, it is a no-go zone. We employ teachers, encourage teachers and principals to do their job. When you get politicians on either side of the fence, NAPLAN is one of the great disasters of Australian education I think. I have just loaded a story for NAPLAN on '60 Minutes' last month. I couldn't get any teacher in Australia to say it was a good thing. They said it was a waste of time.APPLAUSE.They said the children were stressed about the extra tests. One of the best selling books for Australian children is how to sit the NAPLAN test, yet our politicians have decided it is a great thing to do. I suggest you are going to keep it going.I am very excited.Have you talked to teachers? I have talked to teachers for five years. I am not doing one story for '60 Minutes'.Have you listened? I have listened to them. Teachers don't like the NAPLAN - many teachers do, some teachers don't because the results are published so the whole world knows how our students are going.The question was about the history wars so-called. Judith Sloan wanted to get involved in that discussion.Well actually I think what people don't understand is the broader point about the national curriculum is that it is very poorly structured so as Christopher said, there are these three cross-disciplinary priorities which is a mouthful, so sustainability, Indigenous and Asia. That actually has to be imposed on every subject including mathematics. I went and had a look at the Year 5 to 10 economics and business curriculum, which is absolutely terrible I might add, but you only have 20 hours in a year but you still have to impose the three cross-priorities, cross-curriculum priorities in the 20 hours. It is silly. It needs to be reviewed. Certainly, the thing is you have to be an expert in the area which is why I went and looked at the economics and business curriculum and it is very disappointing. I'd get rid of it actually.Joel Fitzgibbon? I am far more comfortable with Christopher having a review than I am with the idea of Tony Abbott just imposing his view of the world on the curriculum. I suppose the test will be who will do this review. Is it one person Christopher, a panel of people? That will give us fair guidance as to where this thing is heading. A practical point, I have three children who have recently done the HSC, political discussion and matters historical obviously are often conversations in my household. I have never seen any suggestion or hint that my kids have picked up a warped view of Australian history because of the nature of our history curriculum. I haven't seen it. Would you like to give some examples? I don't think it is odd the Prime Minister has talked about the history curriculum are Ben Chifley and John Curtin. I am sure they are terrific people. But Robert Menzies was the longest serving Prime Minister in Australia's history yet he was mentioned in the draft and background material, not in the curriculum. It wasn't until I mentioned the Magna Carta not being in the curriculum, which is the whole basis of the rule of law and Westminster system we rely on in this country, it wasn't until I mentioned the Magna Carta it was put into the curriculum. Whoever wrote the national curriculum thought the Magna Cart a wasn't important enough to have in the curriculum.There is a questioner with his hand up. I will let him get involved.You haven't spoken to me about education. I have been a teacher for 50 years. I think worst
NAPLAN has been one of the worst things to ever happen to Australian education. I think to spend millions of dollars on knowing what teachers know. Teachers know Johnny cannot read and Mary cannot spell. Why spend millions of dollars on testing and statistics which we already know? We should money on resources, on human children.APPLAUSE
resources for children.APPLAUSEDo you want to respond to that quickly? I think you are either an enthusiast for national testing or you are not. You are either an enthusiastic for the publication of results so the whole world can see how our country is going or you are not. The previous Government was an enthusiastic. Julia Gillard one of the good things she did as Minister for Education was she introduced the publication of the NAPLAN results. It was the Howard Government that introduced national testing. Labor kept it going. Because the vast majority of people in the education space think that unless you know how your students are performing, you can't remediate issues that need to be remediate ed.The details are important, this gentleman says here. You do a test for NAPLAN in May, you don't get the results for six months. I spoke to Joe Klein who was the inspiration for this. He says that's too long.Of course it is too long.You are the minister.For five weeks, yes.You have been ....I have been told that for six years.One of the other details, the American plan it is modelled on, if they find a school that doesn't work, they close the schools down and sack the teachers. We don't do that and shouldn't so it is a very different system. You talk to the guy who was the inspiration for it, he says you should have more than English and maths as a test because it is not a fair test. Test for history, science and music.I would like to do that too.That's not in the plan.I'd like to do a lot more online testing so the results get faster. There are lots of things you can test online, particularly maths and science and so on. Hard to test comprehension, but there is spelling, numeracy, literacy tested online. The only hitch is trying to get the States and Territories to agree they have the hardware necessary in their class #r78 #r78 - classrooms. 80% would be able to do that, we should do that next year and then bring the other 20% up to being able to do that.What would be the optimal time for getting the results? Before the publication, they used to get back in three months. I have four children in primary school, if you get the results in October or November, it is far too late for the teacher to do anything about using it as a diagnostic tool. The principal can use it for the following year but if you do the tests in May, you should get the results back two or three months later. That would be a useful thing.Let's move on. You are watching Q&A. Our next question is from Arjun Sachdev.In NSW Barry O'Farrell's Liberal Government has cut $20 million funding from the Rural Fire Service that have been battling the bushfires. With the benefit of hind sight that decision seems wrong. Now Joe Hockey has appointed the head of the Business Council of Australia to oversee an audit of spending. The 'Australian' says the term of reference supports the idea of user charging and copayments for government programs. How does Christopher Pyne reconcile the ideology of public expenditure against the clear need of public expenditure.I will hear from Judith Sloan on this.I am not services
an expert on the rural bushfire services in NSW but if we think about what the Commission of Audit is going to do, it is emphasising the expenditure side of the Federal Budget and going line by line through the major expenditure items and quite legitimately asking themselves, the questioners, are there alternative means of delivery we could extract greater efficiencies and greater bang for the buck? I think it is just absolutely inevitable. We have not had a serious Commission of Audit since 1996. If you look at the panel, it is not just the chairman that's important, it is a panel of five, including some very senior former bureaucrats. I think it is a matter of keeping an open mind about these things and we will see what happens. There is some important housekeeping issues to do and hopefully a reform agenda for your government.Judith, the terms of reference for the Commission of Audit refer to co-payments and to user-charging. Do you could
have any idea how those methods could be used, pay for public service? We have plenty of co-payments and user charges in matter of
the system at the moment as a matter of fact.They are looking at extending it, can happen?
you imagine how that can happen? I think you'd be looking at that for example in the health space in particular. I think people - I mean, in some ways, some of my medical friends like the idea of there being perhaps only a small co-payment depending on someone's income because that means they value that service and . Depending on how it is implements, co-payments can be a good thing.Christopher Pyne, could those methods be used outside the health system? Could we see them use more widely? Would the Commission have a broad remit to pay for expensive public services? The most important thing about the audit commission is to find waste in the Government and to find areas where we can fast-track our deregulation agenda. It is not designed to be a cutting government expenditure. It is about identifying waste and, if waste is identified, it would be bizarre if you then decided to keep wasting money if you have been told it was wasteful. The purpose of the Commission of Audit is to reduce spending where it has been wasted and to push the deregulation agenda because that was how we were elected. Nobody could be surprised that we have an audit commission. We talked about it for months and months and months before the federal election. Obviously the public wanted to have one. I think since the election there has been a great sense of relief in the Australian public the Government is getting on with the job of trying to fix the mess we have been left rather than being constantly in the newspapers and constantly discussing in a chaotic way ...Before the rest of the panel come in on this, one of the guiding principles of the commission is the government should do for people what they can't do for themselves. I am wondering does that mean the could
swathe of middle-class welfare could be under the gun of the Commission? I am not going to pre-empt the audit commission. It is axo mattic in any country like ours that the government should do what the people can't do for themselves. That's why the Government gets involved in large infrastructure projects and public transport and building ports ...We are talking about public service, how that would work in public schools? Schools and hospitals are public service.Middle class welfare by its nature suggests the people can do these things for themselves.We are lucky we are in a generous country. You described it as middle class welfare. Give us an example.Well, we could talk about the medical rebate on healthcare, for example? We support private health insurance because people who take out private health insurance are largely subsidising the health system by taking responsibility because they can afford to.The swathe of tax subsidies in the superannuation system for wealthy people. There are many such middle class welfare things. I am wondering if the Commission will be looking at them.The Commission is supposed to look at everything but that doesn't mean the Government accepts every one of the recommendations of the commission and we don't even know what the recommendations are yet so we are putting the cart before the horse.There is a great deal of disquiet in the community about this Commission of Audit because it is being overseen by the Business Council of Australia. It puts business right at the heart of government. The last time this Commission of Audit was undertaken by Peter Costello in 1996, it went to Melbourne University which you would say was an independent arbiter. I wonder, Judith, what you would think if the new Commission of Audit say was overseen by the ACTU, Greenpeace and ....It largely has for the last six years, Wendy.SCATTERED APPLAUSE.And St Vincent de Paul. You would be screaming blue murder.The person who share chaired.The Tony Shepherd.No, the previous person.He was from the Business School. He wasn't a lobbyist.The entire committee wasn't outsource ed to the university of Melbourne. There were other people on the panel including business people and former bureaucrats and the like. I don't think I have a problem with that. He is a very smart guy, he is very interested in infrastructure.You might be careful what you wish for because as we see he says he is going to make some very radical suggestions, that's ....His preview of it.You hopeI hope so.He thinks politicians should be prepared to lose their jobs over his recommendations, Christopher.Yes, I know. That's an unlikely situation.Let's hear from Ray Martin and Joel Fitzgibbon.I think like Judith I am comfortable with the make-up of the committee. I think it is valid. We do need it this time to give business reassurance with the economy. I would have liked to have heard Christopher your ideas of duplication in education and health in State and Federal Governments whether that's a major waste of money. You have told me you have done it for five years so you must know what it is about. Whether that's an area we could cut duplicating in Melbourne and Sydney.I didn't want to talk all night but the questions have been directed to me. In education, one of the big issues we have is the crossover between the Federal and State Governments regulating the same institutions. The non-government schools and the Federal
government schools because the Federal Government has a little bit of the pie for government schools and a large bit for non-government schools and State Governments have got themselves into the position where they're funding a little bit of non-government schools ....We know this. Do you think - is that waste? There is a tremendous amount of red tape and regulation from the Commonwealth government we don't need and that's why we will turn the Australian curriculum and reporting authority into the Australian curriculum authority and reduce the reporting requirements. We don't need to collect financial data from non-government and government schools ...Ray we have a question.It means getting the Fed doing what they should be doing.We have a question from the audience. Kay Matthews.This is a question also for Christopher Pyne.LAUGHTER.I am copping a real beating.He loves this you know. He loves being beaten. I threatened to put him in a headlock before the show, he said "Go right ahead".That will get us into the promos.Yes.Could you tell us how the people of Australia will benefit when Medibank Private is sold off? Certainly. Our policy before the election was to sell Medibank Private for a decent price, a price we believed was true value for it. We simply don't intend to sell Medibank Private at any price. There is a big question mark whether government should be competing with the private sector in something like health insurance when there is no terrific discount benefit to the consumer ...Doesn't the AMA say having Medibank Private there keeps rates down for everybody else, premiums down for everybody else? The AMA wants to keep Medibank private? The AMA is not the repostry of all wisdom.They are doctors.Doctors are pretty interested in outcomes because they are paid to pause you two again, I want to hear from Joel Fitzgibbon see what the Opposition is thinking about. Is this something you might have considered yourself, when desperate for funds? We never seriously had the discussion. We will give the Opposition - I mean the Government the chance to -It takes a while to get used to.It takes some getting used to. It is not nice either.You never repealed the legislation which enables the sale, so maybe there was a message there.We will let the Government make its case. Wendy made the point you keep instrumentalities like this in government hands if there is a social dividend and the AMA does make a very strong case on the competition front in terms of keeping premiums low but we will take some convincing. We didn't have a budget emergency, now they are raising the debt ceiling so they can borrow more money, the Commission of Audit as far as I'm concerned is a contracting out of tough decisions. We had a Commission of Audit every year, it was called the expenditure review committee. It looked for waste and made some tough decisions. Christopher put an emphasis on waste, he didn't give us his definition of waste. Was the money Barry O'Farrell took off the firies taken away because they were wasting the money, the money you have taken out of emergency relief for families affected by bushfires wasted money? This is where we get to the heart of the decision. Is this an economic decision or a grab for money.It is a good question. How will you define waste? Joel gets to ask questions now as well.You did respond to it.Waste is where Government is using taxpayers' dollars unwisely and in an unnecessary way. This is not the Federal Government's money, it is not the Labor Party or the Liberal Party's money, it is the taxpayers' money, they expect us to spend it sensibly and wisely.That is in the eye of the beholder? For example a lot of people see it is a waste of money to give wealthy people parental leave? APPLAUSE98% of women earn less than $100,000, Tony. You are arguing those women should not be paid ...I am not arguing that at all.... when they are having a child but should be paid when on holiday.I am not making an argument.It sounds like an argument.There are people who argue that wealthy people do not need that assistance going back to your principle. In the audit, the government should do for people what they can't do for themselves.My question is Liberal
about the privatisation. The Liberal Party's addiction to privatisation, it may be a quick fix to gain some capital but in relation to, for example, now with students there are rumours about selling off the HECS debt, do we want to end up like America with students having compound interest and being left thousands of dollars in debt. It is like selling off your assets, is it worth it? APPLAUSE.It is very sensible actually. The Labor Party were the party that sold the Commonwealth Bank and Qantas. Let's not get caught up in the idea there is some Coalition addiction to privatisation. Labor started a very substantial privatisation agenda, the Commonwealth laboratories was the first all under the Keating government because where the government was competing with the private sector and it wasn't a service that only the Commonwealth government would provide, it did seem unnecessary for the Commonwealth to do so. The airports were another very good example. That did help pay back debt deafn sit. - debt and deficit. In terms of the HECS debt, Britain have sold their HECS debt as an asset and we should investigate whether that is a sensible move for us.(INAUDIBLE).We will investigate whether it is a sensible move. The Brits have done it, not the US.Joe Hockey hasn't ruled this out.It has been floated as an idea. There is no government policy to do so but it was written up in the AFR as speculation. Even if we did pursue considering that, it wouldn't be insensible for us to do so. Why would you rule anything like that out? We have just got elected six weeks ago. We were elected to make a change. We weren't elected to simply keep the ring Labor had created for six years in their government otherwise they would still be in government today.You are talking debt and deficit. That is subject of the video question we have from Emre Mehmet in Birrong NSW.Last month one of Joe Hockey's election promises was to bring the budget back to a surplus. However, last week he said he was going to increase the Government's debt ceiling to $500 billion. As a result increasing the deficit. Is this not a sign the Coalition has lied to us about this election promise? Judith Sloan.There is confusion between the debt and the deficit actually. Joe Hockey had no choice but to raise the debt ceiling. I'm very disappointed he did go to the $400, $500 billion. There is no evidence that Parliament has ever stood in the way of the debt ceiling increasing. I like a bit of discipline, Christopher, frankly. Look, the thing about winding back the deficit, so this is the annual budget difference between revenue and expenditure, is that it will take time and I guess when you are in Opposition, they learnt from Wayne Swan's - how shall I put it? - failed pledges.You are looking to me to help you put it? No, you could possibly express it more colourfully than me. There is no point pledging with blood a return to surplus at a particular point in time. You have to have a very firm sbentions intention, build it up through the forward estimates. I think Joe Hockey is right on that. The thing is that Wayne Swan was effectively trying to rush to surplus. He then did a whole lot of stupid things in trying to do it and he never got there. That wasn't actually helpful for the Australian economy.Judith, just on the $500 billion, Joe Hockey is basically saying the Government needs this large amount of money in case the global economy tanks again so you can spend your way out of it. It sounds like he has turned into a kainsan economist.I looked at it as he was saying "It is your fault, we have to put up the debt ceiling". In the knowledge it probably won't have to be put up. When anyone reminds him, he will say that was the legacy of the Labor Government. Being a true fiscal conservative, it is a label other people have tried to grab, would have been much happier with a much more incremental arrangement which kind of actually kept on also
disciplining the Government and also I think subjecting to some Parliamentary scrutiny the case for increasing the debt ceiling.Joel Fitzgibbon? I sat in the Parliament day in and day out while Joe Hockey railed against Labor's gradual There
increases in the debt ceiling. There is a difference between the budget deficit and the debt ceiling. But by increasing the debt ceiling, Joe Hockey has made it clear that he intends to be looser in his fiscal policy, he intends to further blow the budget out. We had a budget emergency prior to the election. The sky was falling. Labor's fiscal management was so bad. Yet, the budget figures that came out post-election were exactly as we said they would be prior to the election. Nothing new has popped up for Joe Hockey. We have the same fiscal arrangements as we had prior to the election. The only thing that's changed is they are now in government and they no longer need to continue with the crazy rhetoric they tried or successfully sold in fact the Australian community prior to the election.I also remember the debt was spiralling out of control under Labor and suddenly we have the $500 million.Billion. Half a trillion.I wonder what the fiscal conservative would say about the RBA capital injection of $8.8 billion which we now understand the Treasury suggested wasn't necessary? Okay, that's a different issue. I am highly supportive of that because we do need the Reserve Bank to have a fully functioning and adequate that
balance sheet and I do think that was something that the Labor Government allowed to be diminished way too much and it was very unfortunate that that last withdrawal of dividends from the Reserve Bank.We were being told the Treasury ...I want Christopher Pyne to answer the question ....A low-level official was giving that information.We have heard you support that.The Reserve Bank didn't give that advice. It was about a different thing.Christopher Pyne, Christopher Pyne, the question was about the $500 billion debt ceiling. Why is it necessary to start with? I am happy to answer that question but we have to also understand the history. There was no debt ceiling in the Howard-Costello Government because there was no debt, we paid the debt back. Wayne Swan became elected as Treasurer and said he was going to introduce a $75 billion debt ceiling which he has gone back several times to increase 75 to 150 to 200. Now it is $300 billion. In December that debt ceiling will be crashed through. Not because of anything the new government has decided, we have only been sworn in for five weeks but because of the Labor Government's previous decision. That ceiling has gone. 300 billion has to be changed.That's not necessarily true. You don't know that.I do know that.You don't want a spun put on history.You are disputing the debt ceiling will be broken through by December. Where do you get that information from? You were the critic of Treasury analysis and budget predictions.You say they are wrong.Absolutely.You know better than everybody else. I hadn't realised you were an expert.More than you I think.I don't think so.You know more about education, I know more about this than you Judith
do.You would acknowledge, Judith Sloan, is an expert in these matters and she says you are fiscally reckless.That's not what she said.APPLAUSE.She would prefer us to have more discipline by not increasing the debt ceiling. That is of a piece with some of the other questions you have asked tonight.We will double-check.No, I don't. Joel is also right. We didn't ever have any concept of the debt ceiling until relatively recently. I am not quite sure why Wayne Swan thought it was a good idea. I think it was so he could show off. It then became a rod for his own back. It is difficult to go back on this idea of the debt ceiling. I think it is politics. I would have preferred - I absolutely think, there is no doubt, that the current debt ceiling will be breached quite quickly so there is something that has to be done under the current confines. But come on. $200 billion increase. That is really excessive.We also estimated the debt ceiling - nobody mentioned reckless but the host.Excessive you would have to agree is a term that's been described by the economist on the other end. That was the interpretation based on what she said. Excessive, reckless, choose your words.What you should be saying is "We'll never use it, it is just there". SCATTERED APPLAUSE.It is estimated the debt will rise by another $1 00 billion over the next 12 months because of decisions the previous ...Briefly, can you tell us the circumstances in which you may borrow up to the limit of $500 billion because Joe Hockey set out the scenario where the world economy could go pear shape ed and we may need to stimulate the Australian economy.I don't think he said exactly that. We want to be an infrastructure government that builds useful productive infrastructure. Labor would agree with that.He came back from the US shocked by what he heard about the state of the world economy.I think he was surprised by the gridlock in the Congress and wanted to avoid that here.He needed the capacity to spend up to 500 billion.No, we want to make sure we deliver the infrastructure we promised that's good for the economy.You will be spending the money on infrastructure? That's very confused. One minute it is because of an imminent crisis in America. Then you are saying we have to have more debt to money on Another Adelaide to Darwin railway line ...When we wanted to borrow for infrastructure, it was bad debt. Now it is good debt.What was wrong with the railway line? When we wanted to borrow for infrastructure.No, you didn't, you borrowed to give $900 cheques away. To dead people as well.With respect, you are now in government. It is reasonable for people to ask what you might do with the extra $200 billion. You have suggested a certain percentage may be used for infrastructure. What percentage? We have said we will build the infrastructure the economy needs to be productive. I am not going to nominate a particular figure, percentage of this am of money that will be - amount of money that will be spent on infrastructure.Give us a small example.Of good infrastructure? The WestConnex is good infrastructure in Sydney.Let's move on. There is a gentleman with his hand up there patiently waiting.Thanks Tony. Minister, you mentioned you are worried about having a repeat of the Congress, the US Congress episode here in Australia. Will you freely admit you are terrified, perhaps, of having Clive Palmer block your debt ceiling increase before 1 July? No, I am not in the least bit terrified of Clive Palmer. I like him, I have known him for some time. I can assure you the screaming headlines post the election about what a chaotic Senate it was going to be were written by people who wanted the Greens-Labor bloc in Senate to remain and were horrified the bloc has gone from July 1st next year. This is a Senate that is going to be much easier for the Coalition to deal with because almost every cross bencher, of which there is seven or eight, is centre right or right. They will mostly support the new government's agenda. They won't get elected as conservatives and vote as socialists such as Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott.But central rights don't raise debt ceilings, do they? That will be up to them to determine.Our next question is from Wendy Wilson.Initially to Joel Fitzgibbon and then the panel.What a relief. I think I will have a little break.When your government was in power, it allowed the Cubbie Station to be sold to the Chinese. This means we can never get it back and they now own a large part of Australia. Why did your government not put a law into place to prevent this and why not lease it instead? Does the panel agree that we should land to an overseas country particularly our valuable arable land and that leasing for say 25 years would be a preferable option? Cubbie was approved because it was in the national interest. Since the first settlement, our agricultural industries have relied on foreign investment. They won't be taking the land up and taking it with them. We can buy it back. It could be bought back on the market. Maybe no-one was prepared to lease it at the time. The purchase might have been the only offer but this does open up this broader question about agricultural land. Chinese investment in our agricultural land in Australia is very, very small. There are projections that by the year 2050, world food consumption will have grown by 70%. Australia wants a large share of that opportunity. I call it the dining boom.The dining boom. That's a good line.The mining boom comes off the dining boom comes on. We have to take part in this with the limited number of people, water and land resources so we need to dramatically lift productivity. To do so we will need 500 billion is one estimate of infrastructure investment out to the year 2030. We just don't have that money here in Australia. We will need foreign investment to meet the objectives. Foreign investment is a good thing. Governments from time to time take decisions about invent not being in the national interest, many of those decisions have been taken in recent years. More often than not it is a good thing, we need this investment and they can't take the land with them. We maintain control over the land and maintain control over export permits for goods that leave that land.Ray Martin, you hear There
this question asked a lot. There is a genuine fear in the community that foreign interest and especially Asian interests are buying Australian land. Is it a fear you share? It is not. Wendy, I heard your question and you are roughly the same age as me I suspect. We can remember, you and I can remember, when it was vesties who owned so much of the Australian land, the Americans, the French. We only seem to be concerned - I am not saying you - when the Indians, the Chinese want to it. The Chinese are a major trading partner. How can we say we will sell you our iron ore but you can't buy the cotton land? I am concerned the seat of your concern is the Chinese or the Indians than it was about the Brits buying it.It is not the Chinese per se. It is the sale of our land that's the problem. When you say you want investment in our land, investment doesn't mean you have to actually purchase a place. Joel said that you still have control over it. In what way do you have control over property that's now owned overseas country? Wendy, it appears the majority of this concern surrounds food security. Somehow people think if someone else owns the land, we somehow don't have control over that food. I disagree with that. It is a very simple equation. I understand the anxiety. But the simple equation is if we don't have foreign investment in our agricultural sector in this country - I have expressed a preference for joint partnership arrangements where Australian equity remains involved but Christopher's party have a policy on foot to dramatically reduce the threshold for foreign investment in agricultural land. Guess what? There is a lot of competition out there for that capital. We will be fighting other countries for the investment we will require in this country and that's going to add a whole layer of red tape to the system, something Christopher himself it
was talking about earlier, and it is going to drive foreign investment away from this country. We need it.If you were concerned about this issue, for example, that the food was being exported rather than kept at home to feed us, although we are all too fat and don't need any more food, but the way to deal with this is not through restricting foreign investment but through some export permit arrangement. The truth of the matter is this foreign investment is often very, very handy because it actually improves market access to quite a few markets which are otherwise quite difficult to access. You are absolutely on the money, Joel, you are absolutely right in terms of the history. We have always had a tremendous amount of foreign investment in agricultural land. It was tradition ly British, then the Americans really were the ones who opened up the cotton fields. It is now more recently Chinese and Indian but the principle is exactly the same. I don't think ...Wendy, do you have a different view? I can see a great disquiet and heads nodding when that first question came up from a lot of people here. If the case is that we need this investment, I don't think it has been made very well to the Australian public and am I right in saying that New Zealand has much tighter regulations than we do, Joel? People like comparing nation States. Remember we export two-thirds of everything we grow in this country. Food security is not an issue. When people invest in our agricultural sector, we want more food exported so export income matters. People say "The Chinese don't let us buy their land". Guess what? We don't want to. Apples and oranges, it is not relevant.Christopher I will let you off the hook on this because there are education questions which are directed to you. Peter Edwick.Thank you Tony. This is an education question but I do welcome the complete panel to respond if they could. Henry Parkes, father of federation and public education, legislated for free and secular schools. Now our federal legislate ors are proposing to copy the Independent schools model in WA where parent bodies control school boards. These independent schools are a yief euphemism for privatisation and there is no evidence to show improvements in student outcomes. How can a new conservative government justify their intention to change 25% of public schools into independent schools where educational excellence is secondary to parent business and religious lobby groups pursuing their own agendas? APPLAUSEChristopher.Peter, if the premise of your question you
was true, I would agree with you but it is not true. It is not true. The independent public school model - you dropped the word 'Public' from your question - it is not a privatisation of public schools. It is an introduction of characteristics from the non-government school sector into the public school sector that parents obviously value. That is the capacity of the principal to make decisions about their own school in concert with the WA Department of Education and a board made up of local government or business or parents at the school who are capable of being a board of a school. We have had this discussion before because I think you came to my public meeting at the -I think you have confused me with someone else.I have heard this question before.I am sure you have, yes.Proof of the pudding within independent public schools has been in the eating because it is the only there
jurisdiction since 1977 where there is a movement from non-government to government school education. That's occurring in WA. Because parents like the fact that in independent public schools, principals get to decide who they will hire on their staff, they get to make extracurricular and curricular decisions, they can't fire their staff, they can only determine who they can hire, they get to decide spending priorities along with their bursar and their leadership team and school council. If it was such a terrible idea, why is it that in the four years it has been in place in WA it is 1977
the only jurisdiction since 1977 where parents are voting with their feet and moving from the non-government sector to the government sector? If you are an advocate for government schools, as we should all be if you wish to be, then why wouldn't you think that was a good thing? Christopher Pyne, you are in for a battle with the teachers unions here, that's the first thing. In Tasmania, the Education Minister has just said he won't allow this to happen.That's up to them.He will try and stop it. You have incentives to put in place here.The States and Territories run their schools and they should. If a State like Tasmania wants to hold back their school system, let them do so. That's up to them. The Federal Government can't impose these things on schools.You have an incentive payment, $70 million sitting there ....There is a $70 million fund for independent public schools, yes, which will mostly go into the professional development of principals in jurisdictions who want independent public schooling. If Queensland or SA or NSW choose to access that, I will be very enthusiastic about it. If you are an advocate for public schools, you should be in favour of it. If other States choose not to, that's a matter for them and their electors to determine at election time.Wendy Harmer? The bottom line always has to be what is the outcome for students? The outcome for students going into this independent model has not improved. Christopher you might say this is a terrific thing to import from independent schools but there are a lot of schools who do not that have expertise of a big elite school that has a board full of CEOs ...And a bursar.And parents who are have time to be on these committeesing. I will have to throw some chalk at you young lady. What it does is take teachers out from the front line of teaching and catch them up with all kinds of admin work. Teachers are suffering from this. I think it is an ideological war with lefty teachers. I don't think - I think that's the main aim of the game, isn't it, to break the teachers unions? But the evidence is clear. It is a worldwide trend. They are called free schools in the US. They are called another name in Sweden dare I say it. School autonomy is clearly a factor that determines school performance.It is not improving student outcomes.It is, Wendy, it is.It is in WA.I would like to hear what the Labor Party view of this is and hear from Ray Martin, former teacher, or who trained as a teacher.Plenty of people will contest Christopher's proposition that success rates in WA are linked to autonomy. A level of autonomy is a good thing. Our Gonski reforms promoted levels of awe thon mi. Our empowering local schools program gave autonomy to some 926 schools. Wendy is right, it is about outcomes and to get good outcomes you need a range of things. Some autonomy, we need resources, good teachers and you'd be doing much more for the school system if you signed up fully to the gonsie reforms which you have refused to do.I see no evidence whether charter schools are better. It is like economics ....I will give you the evidence.I have read it. In America, there is no evidence the charter schools are doing better.It is not true.It is true. It is a case of politicians interfering where they should stay out.It is politicians getting out of it rather than imposing through bureaucracies.All international evident points to the more autonomy the school ...There is a few people with their hands up.I can't help but make a comment regarding some of those comments on school autonomy. Principals already in NSW have quite a large amount of autonomy in making decisions on staffing in a disadvantaged school where I am at now. The real issue that comes from me as an industrial arts teacher is that we are savagely undermined by not getting good resources and we have a lot of issues where I am - I have a major issue with OH & S or WHS in that the facilities now need major repairs or replacement. The equipment doesn't comply with NSW regulations because we don't have the funding. Principals are not able to fund a lot of those repairs and they are expected to. The problem we have got is that schools are under-resourced in all sorts of ways and principals don't have the time and the money to actually fix a lot of problems.We will take that as a comment.APPLAUSE.Just behind you. If you make a comment it would be useful.If you are looking at the success in WA, it is probably because you have stopped white anting public education and said "Hey this is the model that is great, public secular education, you have misinterpreting what parents are looking at. They are saying the Government is saying this
is good, instead of white anting public education, you have said this is exciting and it is a good model. Try that with all public education, back it up with funding and you will find people go back to public education.APPLAUSE.Just to you on that, the obvious point is you have committed to the Gonski funding model but for four years, where the big money kicks in is after that and no-one knows what you are planning to do.We have a four-year funding agreement an envelope of $2.8 billion over that time. There is a tremendous amount of money in education. Funding is very important but so is teacher quality. We have plans for teacher quality. We will soon announce an initial teacher training advisory group because the Federal Minister for Education has influence over the universities. Whereas if the States or Territories don't choose to come along the Commonwealth's program, there is little we can do about it. Public education educates two-thirds of our students. Nobody is against public education. What I am trying to do is work out why it is people will pay large amounts of after tax income for non-government schooling which they value . If the characteristics, the primary characteristic is a non-government school that makes a difference to the government school is the autonomy of the principal to make decisions, in WA we don't need a study, a conference or trip to the Gold Coast to determine the fact in WA where it has been operating for four years parents are moving to these schools. We have seen it in action. More autonomy means parents are happy for their children.Time for one last question from Christine Burton.My question is to the whole panel including Tony. It is a sad time but the legendry singer Lou Reed has passed away at the age of 78. His musical career spanned six decades totalling nearly 30 albums. He was an influential musician, ka raise charismatic, if anyone has seen him before, I am sure most of the panel grew up with his music and many of the audience probably ...Come to your question.My favourite song is 'Perfect Day'. I'd like each of the panel to say what is their favourite song and if any of you can sing a line or two that would be great too.'Satellite of love', I am not going to sing.I am not going to sing "I'm waiting for the man".Your choice is a song about a heroin addict waiting on a street corner to get a fix.That's right.Why? Like Dylan it is a song with a message, it doesn't always have to be happy. I like the words.What do you think it is about Lou Reed? A transgressional figure. Amoral, heroin addict, experimented with all different types of -He rehabilitated himself.What so great about Lou Reed is he was emotional and got really into what was going on in the times. He sang about it. True fact.I 'Walk on the wild side'.Do you feel like someone who has walked on the wild side? No.That's what I mean about a true professional, people like to look at someone from a distance who these these transgression al things.Christopher Pyne hadn't heard of him until tonight.That's not true. I had heard of 'Walk on the wild side'. I'm a 70s child. Lou Reed wasn't big in my era.70s was his era.I didn't listen to him. He wasn't playing where he was going.We are not going there.I was too busy ....Such an ABC discussion to end with a discussion about Lou Reed, a heroin addict and transgressional. So ABC.Ending as we started Christopher, with you outraged.If we don't know who is Lou Reed is and love his music as a heroin addict and transgressional ...Come on.What about chie could have sci.Nominate your 70s wow man.He looks like an ABBA man.They dominated 70s. They had more hits in Australia.(Sings) # Knowing me, knowing you #.The reason is DeJorvac didn't die today.I would love to claim to be too young, I don't have one, it wouldn't give much away because listening
my wife criticises me for not listening to the words.You can hum along if you like. I am afraid that's all we have time for. Please thank Christopher Pyne, Wendy Harmer, Ray Martin, Joel Fitzgibbon and Judith Sloan.APPLAUSE.Thank you. Next Monday Q&A will broadcast from the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House with four of the most dangerous thinkers at the year's Festival of Dangerous Ideas. Radical Trotskist turned Burkean Conservative Peter Hitchens. Author, Hanna Rosin who argues women are on the rise while men are on the wane. Sex advice author and gay advice Dan Savage. Iconoclast, feminist and historian Germaine Greer. A panel made for Christopher Pyne. It may be our most dangerous Q&A ever. Don't miss it. Until then goodnight.

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Good evening of the welcome to lat line. I'm Emma Alberici. The union movement has raised concerns about the membership of Tony Abbott's Commission of Audit. It's being chaired by the Business Council of Australia. Its secretariat will be headed up by the BCA's chief economist. Ged Kearney the President of the ACTU is critical of the role big business has been handed in the review of the public sector. She's also concerned that the commission will have just five months to decide on what the Federal Government should and shouldn't do.We believe there are some services that should be delivered by government. Particularly concerning is the discussion around, for example, tendering out the delivery of the NDIS or moving Centrelink to Australia Post. These are things that really need to be thought out. And they're a bit more than just than just a thought bubble. They're moving into space cadet territory I think.Our interview with ACTU President Ged Kearney shortly. You can join the conversation with our guest Tweeter Simon Banks, director of Hawker Britton, a Labor aligned lobbyist. Just follow the 'Lateline' hashtag. But first our other headlines. Under scrutiny. Former Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid back before the New South Wales corruption watchdog over the awarding of cafe leases. In the