Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts.These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
Lateline -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

Tonight - global warning, the world's economy is cooling.

The global economy has entered a dangerous new phase. The recovery has weakened considerably and
downside risks have sharply.

But the newly dubbed "world's best Treasurer" says Australia will weather any storm.

In the global economy, we stand tall in a position of fundamental strength, because we did act to
support jobs and growth, Mr Speaker, at the height of the global crisis.

Good evening. Welcome to 'Lateline'. I'm Tony Jones. Yesterday Tony Abbott said a definitive no to
an IR policy which individual contracts. Tonight former Minister Peter Reith says the Liberal Party
shouldn't accept that's the end of the debate. He wants the decision to go back to the Liberal
Party Liberal Party room and to the party organisation.

I must say, I was quite surprised what he said. No doubt, I was quite disappointed, and I hear the
employer organisation saying they're disappointed, and we all know that's what they say politely in
the public arena, but behind closed doors I can tell all. So this is an issue that will have to be
considered in the next few days. Look, I'm not going to belt into Tony here and now, but I here and
now, but I do say to him, as I'm sure others are saying within the party, "This is an issue we
really need to look at very closely".

Peter Reith on how Tony Abbott has angered the business community after sending out different
signals on industrial relations reform. That's coming up. First our other headlines. Dis lobbying
in New York over the Palestinians' bid for statehead. Death penalty, a 20-year legal battle
expected to end with an execution to end with an execution in Georgia.

IMF warns of double-dip recession

IMF warns of double-dip recession

Broadcast: 21/09/2011

Reporter: Tom Iggulden

The International Monetary Fund has sounded an alarm bell for the global economy ahead of the G20
meeting of finance ministers.


TONY JONES, PRESENTER: The International Monetary Fund's sounded an alarm bell for the global
economy ahead of the G20 meeting of Finance ministers.

The Treasurer, Wayne Swan, flies out tomorrow to join the meeting in New York, fresh from being
named Finance Minister of the Year by a European magazine.

Political correspondent Tom Iggulden reports.

TOM IGGULDEN, REPORTER: The IMF's downgraded the global growth forecast it issued just three months

OLIVIER BLANCHARD, IMF CHIEF ECONOMIST: The global economy has entered a dangerous new phase. The
recovery has weakened considerably and downside risks have increased sharply.

TOM IGGULDEN: Europe and the United States saw dramatic adjustments to their forecasts, along with
a warning that, "... The Euro area and the United States could fall back into recession ..." The
report sets the tone for the G20 finance meeting in New York later this week.

OLIVIER BLANCHARD: We are very explicit in our messages, both in the EU and elsewhere, in saying
that Europe must get its act together.

TOM IGGULDEN: Wayne Swan'll be there too.

WAYNE SWAN, TREASURER: I will certainly be making the point that it's very important that the
Europeans get their act together.

TOM IGGULDEN: The Treasurer was a key promoter of the G20 forum during the first global financial
crisis. Now he's won Euromoney magazine's award for Finance Minister of the Year, last given to an
Australian in 1984.

EUROMONEY REPRESENTATIVE (archive footage, 1984): In Australia, we find that the hour has brought
forth the man.

(Audience applause)

TOM IGGULDEN: Wayne Swan's now earned Paul Keating's famous moniker.

FRAN KELLY, ABC RADIO NATIONAL HOST: Well, the world's best treasurer joins us now in our
Parliament House studios as well. Wayne Swan, congratulations.

TOM IGGULDEN: Euromoney's accompanying story notes the Government's poor polls and says, "... some
Australians will find it strange that Euromoney has chosen their treasurer, Wayne Swan, as finance
minister of the year."

Titled Swan Confounds his Sceptics, the London-based magazine's article adds, "Surrounded by the
consumer baubles that wealth brings, grumpy Australians don't seem to appreciate how good they've
had it."

WAYNE SWAN: I'd love to see a really good opinion poll, but it is not what drives me in politics
and it is not what drives this government.

TOM IGGULDEN: The Prime Minister says the fundamentals of the economy are strong, despite the IMF
slightly downgrading Australia's growth forecast in today's report.

JULIA GILLARD, PRIME MINISTER: But it also gives a ringing endorsement to the Australian economy
and says we can look forward to growing faster than any other major advanced economy.

TOM IGGULDEN: But in case there were Australians who also found that strange, she added it's not
all roses for everyone.

JULIA GILLARD: There is a two-speed economy, there's a multi-speed economy, a patchwork economy.

TOM IGGULDEN: Later, she paid tribute to Wayne Swan's award.

JULIA GILLARD: What makes the Deputy Prime Minister's achievement so remarkable is he has achieved
it day after day after day against the relentless negativity of the Opposition.

JOE HOCKEY, SHADOW TREASURER: A treasurer who is more like Stephen Bradbury than he is Peter

TOM IGGULDEN: The Opposition went through past winners of the award.

JOE HOCKEY: Two Slovakian ministers, a Serbian, a Nigerian, a Bulgarian. 2001, a Pakistani Finance

ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE HOUSE: Insulting a number of nations with whom we have

WARREN TRUSS, NATIONALS LEADER: In 2005 their award for the best investment house went to it - wait
for it - Lehman Brothers! Lehman Brothers!

TOM IGGULDEN: All good fun for now, but it's about to get very serious again. Debates been brought
forward to tomorrow morning for proposed amendments to the Migration Act. Though the Coalition and
the Government's both agree on the basic policy of offshore processing of asylum claims, the
argument's sure to be fierce.

Tom Iggulden, Lateline.

Defence admits need to re-check security clearances

Defence admits need to re-check security clearances

Broadcast: 21/09/2011

Reporter: John Stewart

Senior Defence officials have admitted that thousands of security clearances will have to be
re-checked after falsified information was passed to ASIO.


TONY JONES, PRESENTER: An internal review of Defence Department security vetting has found that
thousands of security clearances may have to be rechecked.

The review found that procedural errors led to false information being passed to ASIO and questions
are now being asked about the vetting of security guards who work on military bases and at

John Stewart reports.

JOHN STEWART, REPORTER: Last night the Defence Minister told Lateline that thousands of security
clearances performed by the Defence Security Authority in Brisbane may have to be rechecked after
an internal review of the organisation found widespread problems with its vetting procedures.

STEPHEN SMITH, DEFENCE MINISTER: Well I think it'll certainly be hundreds and almost certainly be

JOHN STEWART: In May, three former Defence workers told Lateline that false information had been
put into thousands of security checks to speed up the vetting process. They said that information
was made up to fill in the gaps.

OWEN LAIKUM, FORMER DEFENCE CONTRACT WORKER (May 2011): Sometimes they wouldn't give a city that
they went to in a certain country, you'd just pick a city that they went to. Sometimes some would
write Asia ... I would chose China because it's one of the main countries in Asia.

JOHN STEWART: The Defence Department said there was no problem with its vetting procedures and
Defence officials told a Senate committee in May that the false information involved a process
called workarounds to keep security checks moving through the system.

The so-called workarounds meant staff had a way of working around a problem, like filling in a
blank space on a security form with a phrase like "Fake Street" when they didn't know the real
address. The problem was that some staff didn't know the system and false information was included
at random.

Lateline has obtained a letter from the deputy secretary of Defence, Stephen Merchant, to the
Senate standing committee. Mr Merchant writes, "On May 30th, I advised the committee that process
'workarounds' used by the DSA to overcome the inflexibility of computer applications were
documented and managed ... However, contrary to my understanding at the time of the estimates
hearing, there was no single document or instruction that recorded all of the 'workarounds'. The
controls in place to manage and record the process by which data was adjusted by staff were
regrettably ineffective and in some cases non-existent."

DAVID JOHNSTON, OPPOSITION DEFENCE SPOKESMAN: This is really over the top. We've got embassies, we
have got bases, we've even probably got ministerial security compromised, not to mention the flow
through to ASIO which the minister has indirectly flagged.

JOHN STEWART: In the letter, the deputy secretary of Defence writes, "I also stated in my testimony
the 'workarounds' used by vetting centre staff were agreed and negotiated with ASIO. Again,
contrary to my understanding at the time of the estimates hearing, only a small number of entries
used when data was not provided by applicants were agreed by ASIO."

DAVID JOHNSTON: And then we find out that in fact ASIO has not consented to be part of the broader
use of these things, only consented for a small number to be used. So clearly the workload has
shifted to ASIO and the question is: how many approvals have ASIO given on false information?

JOHN STEWART: Former Defence worker Monica Bennett-Ryan says that ASIO was given thousands of false
security checks and it may now be impossible to weed out all of the fake information.

MONICA BENNETT-RYAN, FORMER DEFENCE CONTRACT WORKER: Now, the Defence Minister has stated that all
of these applications need to be rechecked. This wouldn't be necessary if ASIO had been able to
find the errors. And that reinforces what we said at the beginning: when the data is entered at the
beginning of the process in the wrong way, then it's impossible to find it later on.

JOHN STEWART: In May, the Defence Department said that only the security checks performed by the
three whistleblowers who appeared on Lateline would have to be rechecked. But now, the deputy
secretary of Defence says, "... issues arising from the use of 'workarounds' were not confined to
clearances handled by the three contractors appearing on Lateline."

Last night the Defence Minister said there was a low risk that security clearances had been granted
to people who are a security threat, but Monica Bennett-Ryan is not so sure.

MONICA BENNETT-RYAN: When you're talking about multiple thousands of applications that have been
compromised, the risk is there. Defence say low risk, but it only takes one person.

SCOTT LUDLAM, GREENS SENATOR: When the Government made all of these agencies exempt from Freedom of
Information, we can't even then apply to find out how many paper clips they have in their office.
And that removal of oversight from the public, from media and from parliamentarians lets things get
by under cover of darkness, and that's what's going on here.

JOHN STEWART: An investigation by the inspector general of Intelligence and Security will be
completed next month.

John Stewart, Lateline.

Obama to urge compromise on Palestinian statehood

Obama to urge compromise on Palestinian statehood

Broadcast: 21/09/2011


Support appears to be growing for a deal where Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas formally requests
full Palestinian membership of the UN but a vote is put on hold while peace talks are resurrected.


TONY JONES, PRESENTER: Frantic efforts continue in New York to forestall a showdown in the UN
Security Council over the potential declaration of a Palestinian state.

Support appears to be growing around a deal whereby Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas formally
requests full Palestinian membership of the UN but a vote on the issue is put on hold while peace
talks are resurrected.

President Barack Obama is expected to meet the Palestinian leader on Wednesday to try and persuade
him to compromise on his planned bid.

As Mr Abbas comes under intense pressure from the US and Europe to avoid a diplomatic showdown,
thousands of Palestinians have shown their support for UN membership, taking to the streets of the
West Bank cities in their thousands.

Serious questions surround impending execution

Serious questions surround impending execution

Broadcast: 21/09/2011

Reporter: Hamish Fitzsimmons

Troy Davis is due to be executed for the murder of an off-duty police officer in Georgia in 1989
but supporters say there remain serious questions about some of the evidence used against him.


TONY JONES, PRESENTER: Tomorrow morning Australian time a 20-year legal saga will come to an end in
the United States with the execution of a man many believe is innocent.

Troy Davis has always maintained he's innocent of the murder of an off-duty police officer in
Georgia in 1989 for which he was sentenced to death.

Since then, several appeals and high-profile interventions have failed, but there are still serious
questions about some of the evidence. Hamish Fitzsimmons reports.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS, REPORTER: Troy Davis is facing the last few hours of his life in a Georgia jail
as a final plea for clemency was rejected by the state's board of pardons and paroles, which has
the last say on executions. His supporters say it's an international scandal.

LAURA MOYE, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: Georgia right now is at risk of putting together - putting to
death somebody who may well be innocent.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: In 1991, Davis was convicted of the murder of off-duty policeman Mark MacPhail
two years' previously and he was sentenced to death.

MacPhail was shot while working a second job as a security guard when he went to help a man who'd
been attacked by a group of men which included Davis. Supporters say serious flaws in the case,
which include witnesses recanting testimony and allegations that someone else confessed to the
crime, means Davis's conviction is questionable.

LAURA MOYE: We cannot believe that the board of pardons and paroles is allowing a person to go to
his death, despite the fact that serious doubts about his guilt remain unresolved.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: The family of the slain policeman has no such doubt.

JOAN MACPHAIL-HARRIS, VICTIM'S WIDOW: He was found guilty by a jury of his peers, OK, and when you
look at it that way, he's guilty.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: The original prosecutor is confident there has been no miscarriage of justice.

SPENCER LAWTON, FORMER CHATHAM COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: The press has been missing, the world has
been missing the fact that - a number of things; the fact principally that there is physical
evidence in the case, the recantations that are so often cited - or not in fact recantations the
way the law would look upon them.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: The case has become an anti-death penalty cause, with some big names, including
former US president Jimmy Carter, pleading for Davis's life to be spared, to no avail.

Even Pope Benedict's request for clemency in July was rejected.

There have also been accusations that race was a part of the case, which was played out in the
heart of the south.

just too much doubt for this execution to continue.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: Those who brought Davis to trial say the failure of several appeals in the
courts backs their case.

SPENCER LAWTON: There are two Troy Davis cases. There is the legal case, the case in court and the
public relations case. We have consistently won the case as it's been presented in court. We have
consistently lost the case as it's been presented in the public realm in - on TV and elsewhere.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: Troy Davis's friends and supporters are keeping a vigil as the hours pass until
he's executed by lethal injection. They say he's taking solace in his faith.

RAPHAEL WARNOCK: He said that he is already victorious, regardless of the outcome, and that he
feels like his life has been blessed.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: The original prosecutor says an execution is not a moment anyone should feel
happy about.

SPENCER LAWTON: I have no brief for the death penalty. If it were to evaporate tomorrow, it would
suit me fine. On the other hand, it is a part of, it is a component of Georgia's law, and that's
what I was sworn to uphold.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: Others hope some good might come from this.

DAJAUN DAVIS-CORREIA, TROY DAVIS' NEPHEW: ... let this be a case that not only highlights the death
penalty, but, you know, will hopefully be a big part of bringing the death penalty to an end in

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: Hamish Fitzsimmons, Lateline.

Reith defends individual choice in IR

Reith defends individual choice in IR

Broadcast: 21/09/2011

Reporter: Tony Jones

Former Howard government industrial relations minister Peter Reith tells Lateline Australia can not
afford 10 years of a re-regulated labour market.


TONY JONES, PRESENTER: Tonight's guest is the former Howard government minister Peter Reith.

He's been advocating that Opposition Leader Tony Abbott do more in the area of industrial relations
reform and promise to overhaul Labor's Fair Work Act.

Only yesterday, Tony Abbott said there'd be no return to individual contracts if he wins

Peter Reith joined us just a short time ago from Melbourne.

Peter Reith, thanks for joining us.


TONY JONES: Now you've heard Tony Abbott's response to your IR reform push. "We don't support
statutory individual contracts. We once did, we don't now." I mean, does that represent the Liberal
Party philosophy you know and love?

PETER REITH: Well, I'm not sure, quite frankly, that's the right question. I mean, I'm sort of
happy to answer it in a way, but ...

TONY JONES: Well that's the question I'm asking. You can choose to try and avoid it.

PETER REITH: Yes, no, and I'll be very happy to come back to it. But I do think that he has raised
a very substantial issue here and this issue will need to be resolved. I think he's going to have
to take it into the party room. I believe he should also take it to the party organisation.

It does raise very significant issues. And you've got to put it in this context: if you go back to
1996 - or you can even go back a bit further with Keating, but let's start in 1996: what we said
then was, "Look, if you are entering into an agreement in your business between employers and
employees, you've got a number of choices. You can have an award, you can have a union collective
agreement, a non-union collective agreement or you can have an individual agreement."

Now in 2007, a lot of that went out the window and we ended up with two things: awards and union
collectives. And what Tony has said is that he doesn't propose going any further than that - or
that's what I infer from what he's said. And that is a very big issue.

TONY JONES: Yes, it is a big issue and it's precisely why I asked the question about Liberal Party
philosophy, if it reflects Liberal Party philosophy because you've just said in fact it reflects
Labor philosophy.

PETER REITH: Well, the point I'm making, sure, is that in the past, even as - Tony as minister, the
policy was that to encourage innovation in a business, you needed to give the people in the
business the opportunity to select an agreement system which best suited their circumstances, and
that's one of the avenues to higher productivity.

And that, I think, is the question. And when he says, well, he doesn't want a philosophical issue,
I mean, I don't think you can avoid a philosophical view about this because the Rudd-Gillard
changes have given us a philosophical view which is a union collectivism-only proposition.

TONY JONES: OK, so ...

PETER REITH: It is true that our policy has been moving towards and in 1996 we legislated, and that
philosophy was choice. And I think that is the way to go and I hope that that's where he ends up as
a result of the debate that he started yesterday.

TONY JONES: Alright. But you say he started a debate, he says he settled the debate, that it's not
going to change. That's the interesting thing. Now, you're saying it's a very big issue for the

PETER REITH: Well, it's a big - look, I was with a group of small business people. It's very big
business for them and big news for them because this particular group of employers, they represent
businesses with 16,000 people.

When they had Australian Workplace Agreements, they used them a lot because they were non-union
agreements and their rural, regional businesses basically are not unionised.

TONY JONES: So, what are they telling you about what Tony Abbott has done by ruling out change?

PETER REITH: Well, they're telling me two things. They've got two big issues. The first big issue
is they want to be able to have individual agreements, and the second big issue is that they're
very worried about unfair dismissal, because go-away money is coming back and they're a bit worried
if he won't give them individual agreements, maybe he won't stand up for small business on unfair

So it's got a big political aspect to it as well. So - no, I'm not walking away from it, and he was
pretty categoric yesterday, but I still make this point that - look, even only a couple of weeks
ago Tony himself said, you know, "Look, I believe in freedom at work for employers and employees
to, you know, have the maturity to come up to their own arrangements."

So, I must say I was quite surprised what he said. No doubt I was quite disappointed. And I hear
the employer organisations saying they're disappointed, and we all know that's what they say
politely in the public arena, but behind closed doors I can tell you they are not happy at all.

So, this is an issue that's going to have to be considered in the next few days. And I - look, I'm
not sort of going to belt into Tony here and now, but I do say to him, as I'm sure others are
saying within the party, this is an issue we really need to look at very closely, and ...

TONY JONES: Well let's just talk about that business reaction because the Liberal Party's not in
great shape financially, particularly some of the state branches, your own, as far as I understand

Are you worried there could be a backlash from the big corporate funders of the Liberal Party
because they don't believe that Tony Abbott - or they believe that Tony Abbott is squibbing on IR

PETER REITH: Well, again, I mean, I don't think I'd immediately jump to that, but, I mean, the big
corporates haven't been great supporters in regards to a lot of them anyway in recent years and we
may be looking at some big changes to the funding system, so it's all a bit up in the air.

But, look, leaving the money to one side, the fact of the matter is for a lot of people AWAs were
both useful in their businesses - I mean, in the resource sector, something like 80 per cent of
people were under AWAs, and why were they doing it? Well it was not for philosophy; it was because
it was a much better way of doing things. And ...

TONY JONES: OK, let me ask you this. I want to stick to the politics for a moment. One Liberal MP,
Jamie Briggs, who actually has skin in the game because he's one of the architects of WorkChoices,
came out today and flatly defied what Tony Abbott has said by saying that you can't have genuine
flexibility without a form of statutory individual contracts. I mean, was that crazy or

PETER REITH: Well, he said what was obvious and good on him for saying so. And I do think it is
important that people who have views express those and I don't think they should be shy about it.

I mean, look, we've got a bit of capital to spend here and I think it should be spent on good
policy, quite frankly. And I don't think that we should be avoiding a political fight with the
Labor Party over WorkChoices or any other big issues that go to a central aspect of economic

And my basic view is you cannot have a really strong and viable economic policy unless you are
upfront about the fact that when Labor got in in 2007, they started to re-regulate the labour
market, and that has adverse consequences, as the head of the Reserve Bank said, in the end, lower
productivity, lower living standards.

So, good on Jamie Briggs.

TONY JONES: OK. Once again, I'm going to stick with the politics just for a moment, because Heather
Ridout said it's all about politics. But of course Mr Abbott's single-minded focus is to win the
next election, whenever that is. Why would he hand the Labor Party another issue to beat him with?

PETER REITH: Well, it'd be the first issue from their point of view, but - well why? Because
eventually an incoming government is a government that'll want to stay in for more than one term.

And the fact of the matter is if you don't start to turn around some of the economic negatives,
then you end up in the same situation as Rudd and Gillard, which is they came in, they didn't
really have a plan to do anything in terms of the economy, except re-regulate and turn things back
and waste some money, but they certainly haven't given themselves any economic capital to maintain
their longer tenure, which of course any incoming government wants to aim for.

So, in the end it's the old thing: good policy leads to good politics. And the particular politics
here though ...

TONY JONES: Well the particular politics here are in the Liberal Party. Senator Abetz weighed into
this today; he said, "Times have moved on in the decade or so since you were a minister. There are
different scenarios at play now," so he's talking about a different political reality which you
aren't getting.

PETER REITH: Well, the political reality is actually that Julia Gillard has been taking the system
back to pre-1993, so it's perfectly reasonable to say, well, some of the things that have been done
in the past ought to be resurrected.

And, look, these issues have been around for a very long time and I don't - I mean, sure, our
general circumstances have changed with a resources boom and various other things, but the need for
productivity in businesses is a constant and you need to understand about the workplace relations
system: this is not telling people what to do; it's to facilitate their capacity to adapt to the

So, I hear what Eric says, but let's move on.

TONY JONES: Alright. Would you like to see a backbench revolt to overturn this decision?

PETER REITH: Well, I'm not sort of looking for revolts of one sort or another. I just think this is
a very big policy issue. It needs to be considered carefully. I think a lot more talk needs to go
on about it.

I think some of the things that Tony has said in the last few weeks would put him on a better track
than what he said yesterday and I'd encourage him to think about the consequences of this, because,
yes, there is quite a bit at stake.

And don't forget too: I also think he needs a decent mandate going into the next election, because
the Greens are going to still be there in the Senate. And if we are not upfront about what we're
going to do and if we don't have a substantial policy, you're not going to get any reform. And
Australia cannot afford to have 10 years of a re-regulated labour market. I mean, that is just a
guarantee for lowering people's living standards and boosting unemployment.

TONY JONES: OK. There's a bit of history to this. Earlier this year Senator Nick Minchin used the
industrial relations issue to undermine your bid for the Liberal Party presidency, warning of the
political consequences of putting you in that job. First of all, is that what brought your
candidacy undone?

PETER REITH: Well, it was a bit more complex than that. And, I mean, I don't agree with the
proposition. What he was really saying was, "Look, if you've been a successful Howard minister,"
his Labor mates were telling him that they're going to attack me for what I did as a Labor minister
implementing the Government's policies.

I mean, on that basis, no Howard minister would ever be the federal president of the Liberal Party.
I - you know, instead of saying, "Oh, crikey, watch out, they might criticise me," quite frankly,
Tony, I've been criticised by the Labor Party for as long as I can remember. You know, Fightback!
they attacked us, the 1988 ...

TONY JONES: Yes, but I'm talking about the Liberal Party. This is Nick Minchin who's saying this.
He was saying the Labor Party'd be salivating at the prospect of you becoming federal president
because it would give them this issue.

PETER REITH: Well you've got to admit, Tony, ...

TONY JONES: Yes, go ahead.

PETER REITH: You got to admit, Tony, it's a rare turn of events, you know, when senior Liberals
pick up a scare campaign being run by the Liberal Party and use it against their own. I mean,
really, I've heard of everything in politics, but that takes the cake.

But, even WorkChoices - in WorkChoices we've got a national scheme introduced by WorkChoices. The
Labor Party says, "Oh, shocking WorkChoices." They've adopted one of the most significant parts of
WorkChoices, namely a national scheme, which I initiated in the year 2000 in the last saga of that

And they've introduced increased minima in their recent changes, Fair Work, and where did that
start? With WorkChoices. The whole thing about WorkChoices is a load of nonsense, just nonsense.

TONY JONES: OK. Look, I'm going to stick with this Liberal federal presidency thing for a while
because some saw that as a battle for the heart and soul of the Liberal Party. Did you see it in
that way?

PETER REITH: Well, I think that's sort of overstating it. I mean, it's a big group, the Liberal
Party. It's not going to be swept along one way one week and another the next.

TONY JONES: It was a pretty big issue, though, wasn't it? I mean, the forces that lined up against
you, in fact on both sides; the moderates lined up with you, the conservatives behind Alan
Stockdale. Some say ...

PETER REITH: That's not quite right, Tony. I mean, I had a lot of so-called "conservatives" and
there are people that we both know very well who said, "Well, isn't that ridiculous putting Peter
Reith in the left wing camp." But, you know, quite frankly, all these labels, you know, I've sort
of grown out of these labels myself and I'm sure you have as well.

TONY JONES: Well, indeed, I certainly hope so. The odd way that Tony Abbott allowed his ballot for
Alan Stockdale to be filmed, does that suggest to you, or did it at the time, that something
fundamental had changed in the party?

PETER REITH: Oh, honestly, I think you're making too much of it. I think - the one thing I could
say for an absolute fact, Tony'll never do another tell and show, that's for sure. (Laughs).

TONY JONES: But why? I mean, what was the issue, as far as you were concerned?

PETER REITH: What, with a show and tell? Oh, well, I mean, obviously the particular circumstances
were it all came down to one vote and he was a bit unlucky, let's face it. It seemed to be his vote
that made the difference and you could argue the toss about it. Look, honestly, Tony, ...

TONY JONES: But it says something - but doesn't it tell you something about the internal democracy
that's occurring with the party at the moment?

PETER REITH: No, no, I think you're just totally exaggerated. And I mean, it's one vote. For
heaven's sakes, mate, I was over it within an hour. So, I mean, I think you ought to be over it by
now, for heaven's sakes.

They're working on the implementation of my review, and, you know, if they don't do a hell of a
lot, well, in due course I'll get up and say fairly it's a pity you haven't done a bit more.

But, I mean, we haven't got to that stage yet so let's just wait and see. If the Liberal Party's
sort of been going backwards as a result, well, let's actually review the facts. And I think the
facts there are: are they prepared to get on with some reform?

And I think the answer to that is that people are prepared to - not every last recommendation, but
I think there'll be a lot done and I'm encouraging them. They've got Julian Scheezel who's in
charge of the implementation within the secretariat. You know, things are moving on in a positive
way and I think that's the way to look at it.

And, you know - look, I just want to see Tony win the next election, mate, and have a good policy
to go with it, and do a good job when he gets into The Lodge.

TONY JONES: Let me ask you another question on another subject, on asylum seekers. Is Tony Abbott
doing the right thing, do you think, blocking these Migration Act amendments or is he being wedged
by the Labor Party?

PETER REITH: Well, no, I don't think he's being wedged. You know, when the issue came up about a
week ago, I must admit I thought, well, both sides want the executive to have these powers, but I
actually think that he has handled that pretty well. And the reason I like the way he's handled it
is because he's been consultative with his colleagues. I think he has followed through on good

And on the substance, he's had some very strong arguments. And in fact some of those arguments have
been endorsed by the left within the federal Labor caucus.

TONY JONES: Yes, but they're very strange bedfellows; he's going to be voting with the Greens too
on these amendments.

PETER REITH: Yes, but Tony ...

TONY JONES: And I'm just wondering whether people will understand this, whether the public will
understand how he comes to vote against something which gives the minister the right to decide
where asylum seekers are processed offshore.

PETER REITH: Yeah, but see, Tony, you go immediately to, oh, you know, odd bedfellows, but what
Tony did was he went to the substance of it and said why he didn't like the Malaysian solution. And
in terms of an appeal to reason within the Australian public, I think that's a far better way to go
and that's why I think he's been quite effective. And so, yeah, actually, I think he's - this one
he has run well and good luck to him for it.

TONY JONES: Peter Reith, we'll have to leave you there. We thank you very much. Good to talk to
you. It's been a long time, but it's good to have you back on Lateline.

PETER REITH: Thanks very much.

Afghans mourn assassinated peace negotiator

Afghans mourn assassinated peace negotiator

Broadcast: 21/09/2011

Reporter: Sally Sara

Former president of Afghanistan, and high-profile peace negotiator, Burhanuddin Rabbani has been
killed at his home by a suicide bomber with explosives hidden in his turban.


TONY JONES, PRESENTER: Hundreds of mourners have expressed their shock and anger after the
assassination of the former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani.

Professor Rabbani was killed at his home by a suicide bomber with explosives hidden in his turban.

As chairman of Afghanistan's High Peace Council, he was a powerful figure in negotiations with
government opponents.

It's unclear what effect his death will have on the peace process. Afghanistan correspondent Sally
Sara reports from Kabul.

SALLY SARA, REPORTER: They rallied in their hundreds outside the home of former Afghan president
Burhanuddin Rabbani. Students and supporters gathered with politicians and warlords.

Professor Rabbani was assassinated overnight by a suicide bomber claiming to be a Taliban
negotiator. The killing has shocked many Afghans.

MOHAMMAD IBRAHIM, UNIVERSITY STUDENT (voiceover translation): Today is a very sad day for the
Afghan people because they have lost one of their great leaders. This day will be remembered as one
of the worst memories when we lost this great man.

SALLY SARA: Burhanuddin Rabbani was president of Afghanistan from 1992 until he was driven out by
the Taliban in 1996. He was a scholar, powerbroker and leader, trusted by the president but accused
of human rights abuses by his enemies.

In October last year, he was appointed as the inaugural chairman of Afghanistan's High Peace
Council. He was given the responsibility of guiding talks between the government, opposition groups
and insurgents. Those who believe the war will only end with a negotiated agreement are worried.

MIRZA MOHAMMAD, KABUL RESIDENT (voiceover translation): Death will have its impacts on the peace
process. He wanted peace in Afghanistan and sacrificed his life on the path of bringing peace. The
enemies of Afghanistan don't want peace in Afghanistan and they don't want the people to live in

SALLY SARA: The killing has also raised questions about the level of security in the capital. Last
night's attack happened only a few hundred metres from the site of last week's siege near the US
Embassy and the headquarters of the International Security Assistance Force. The insurgents have
shown yet again they're able to target high-profile figures and locations in Kabul.

This attack has not only struck a senior political figure, it's also hit at the heart of the peace
process here in Afghanistan. President Hamid Karzai will now need to find a new chairman for the
High Peace Council, someone who's willing to take on this extremely difficult and dangerous job.

President Karzai received the news of Professor Rabbani's death shortly before a meeting with
Barack Obama at the United Nations in New York. Both leaders say the assassination won't stop the
peace process.

BARACK OBAMA, US PRESIDENT: It is a tragic loss. We want to extend our heartfelt condolences to
you, his family.

HAMID KARZAI, AFGHAN PRESIDENT: I don't think, Mr president, that we can fill his place easily. He
was among the few people in Afghanistan with the distinction that we cannot easily find in
societies, a terrible loss. But as you rightly say, this will not deter us from continuing on the
path that we have.

SALLY SARA: The Afghan government is now preparing to hold a state funeral. Security forces are on
alert as high-ranking Afghan officials farewell one of their own.

Sally Sara, Lateline.

quick look at the weather now. A little evening rain for Hobart. A light shower or two in Perth. An
afternoon shower for Darwin. Fine in for Darwin. Fine in Brisbane. Sunny in all the other capital
cities. That's all from us. If you'd like to look back at tonight's interview with Peter Reith or
review any of 'Lateline's stories or transcripts, you can visit our website. You can also follow us
on Twitter and Facebook. I'll see you again tomorrow night. Until then, good night.