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Live by CSI Australia Live by CSI Australia The top stories - the PM says he won't be rushed into announcing the Government's tax plans before this year's Budget . Over the weekend, Federal Labor released a politically bold policy to restrict negative gearing tax breaks but while the Government is issuing warnings about the Labor plan it is conceding it's also looking at restricting tax breaks on investment properties. Turkey has bombarded Kurdish positions in northern Syria for a second cay day despite calls from France and the United States to end the shelling. Syria's Government has condemned the Turkish offensive urging the yans to intervene. Australian film 'Mad Max: Fury Road' has picked up four awards at the BAFTAs for make up, production design, editing and cost tulle design. Cate Blanchett missed out on the best award with Brie Larson instead honoured for her role in 'Room'. 'The Revenant' was awarded best film and Leonardo Di Caprio picked up best actor at the ceremony in London. And Australia has taken a 1-nil lead in the two-Test series against New Zealand. The Black Caps couldn't hold on in Wellington and were all out for 237. Australia winning the test competitively by an innings of 52 runs.Time now for Capital Hill with Greg Jennett.Thank you so much. As you just mentioned only a moment ago would be investors who want to borrow a left money to buy assets and reduce their tax bill are being put on notice, the tax benefits they can get look set to dry up somewhat after the next election, no matter who wins. Labor's got a 10 year $30 billion plan to end negative gearing on established homes, the Government's got plans too but we just don't know what they are.So yes we are looking at all of these tax issues and negative gearing is one of them.I get that Mr Turnbull is a very successful businessman. I understand he already have seven houses but I understand what's really going on in the streets and the suburb of this country.We'll try to unravel some of the options when we talk to the Finance Minister today on Capital Hill.With his new ministerial line-up sorted out the PM's taken what looks like preelection campaigning to North Queensland for a few days. This morning, Malcolm Turnbull's toured lav Rick army barracks in Townsville where he's met soldiers and thanked them for their service. Attention has also turned to policy matters in particular Labor's announcement at the weekend to scrap negative gearing on established properties.As far as Labor's announcement is concerned, I'll make a couple of observations. One is that it raises a relatively little money in the near term over the next four years and they acknowledge that, so it doesn't address the big deficit problem we have at the moment which I might add the Labor Party created, so yet again they're still addicted to spending and they're not preparing to do anything to address the deficit they've created, the policy as described has been criticised and I think fairly as going as likely to really distort the housing investment market. So it is not a well designed policy. If if I can put it that way, and it doesn't provide any Budgetary relief at least any time soon.We've said that if you have invested in a house and you're currently claiming negative gearing, you'll keep it. Labor does not believe in retrospectivity, so in other words we think that the nature of negative gearing needs to change in the future, it should just be used for new housing and apartments, but what we're make very clear is that for all those mum and dad investor, in fact for fin invested under the current rules that stays for them. We do not believe in changing tax law which have an impact on people who invested in one system in good faith. We're not going to put in the too hard basket the issue of getting the Budget back in the black, properly funding education and health care and making sure that people can revive the great Australian dream of owning our own home. Our policies are sensible and over the next ten year period they will significantly reduce the amount of Government spending that the Budget does by about $32 billion. What worries me though that that Scott Morrison seems to be on a frolic, we know that he hasn't made a good start as Treasurer, he's bizarrely criticised Lib for not raising enough money out of our measure, we're taking the long-term view but when we change things we'll do it in a slow and steady manner. The consequence of Scott Australia
Morrison's criticism of Australia that we're not raising enough money is that he would want to see the changes be retrospective. I think Scott Morrison needs to rule otd right now today that he would make any retrospective changes to the tax lawA bit to talk about there. The Government obviously vowa the PM giving plenty of indications that it too is moving on negative gearing. The Finance Minister Mathias Cormann is on the team working on the Government's tax plans and he joins us now from Perth. Minister, negative gearing seemed untouchable by Governments for so long yet now we have both parties going there. How advanced were the Government's plans before Labor's announcement or are they right now?Firstly I think there's a level of overinterpretation here on what the PM's actually said. The Government has not made any decision at all to change negative gearing, what the PM said and what the position is that we're looking at all aspects of the tax system which of course includes negative gearing but where Labor is pursuing a tax changes essentially focussed on ramping up the level of revenue in order to spend more, even though they're still dealing with a $50 billion Budget block hole the Government is focussed on how we can ensure that we can deliver stronger growth and more jobs by making sure that our Tam system is as growth friendly asset possibly can be so Labor in Government spent too much which meant they had to borrow too much which meant they were forever casting around for more cash through increased tax, their focus now having made poises to the tune of nearly $50 billion beyond what the Government Government has reflected in our Budget papers, they're still push up taxes, our focus is on how we can raise the necessary revenue for Government in a better more efficient less distorting way in the economy. How can we ensure that our economy is as competitive, as productivity as innovative as possible by encourageling people to work more, save more and invest more.But the PM did more than just negative gearing options on the table. He actually actively criticised Labor and its plan for not achieving enough savings particularly in the early years over the forward estimates. It would be really to assume wouldn't it that when the Government goes there you'd be targeting higher savings?That snot reasonable to assume. You're quite right that the PM appropriately criticised Labor's bad policy when it comes to negative gearing, the point the PM made and the point that economic commentators are appropriately made is that Labor's policy is very distorting and I guess that what we would say is that if you're going the look at making changes, improvements to the tax system, nortd to ensure that the tax system overall is more efficient, less distorting, is the most growth friendly it possibly can be at the same time as continuing to focus on getting the Budget back into balance as soon as possible, given the damage that Labor has done to our structural Budget position over the medium to long-term during their period in Government, then obviously you got to make these sorts of judgments in the conterm of making judgments on what any particular policy approach might deliver and what the trade-offs are in terms of additional distortions that would be created in our economy and Labor's approach that they released on negative gearing doesn't raise much, but on the flipside creates a lot of distortions which means it's highly undesirable.What work have you don on those distortions. It's going to massive deflate house prices, is that a suggestion?Obviously it will create distortions in terms of where investor also channel their investment, it will also have an impact on the price of housing, it will van impact on obviously the price of rental accommodation in particular, depending on whether you are in established or in new properties. But the truth of the matter is like - our focus as a country should be on how we can raise the necessary revenue for Government to fund the important and necessary benefits and services provided by Government as much as necessary and as little as possible, how can we raise that money in the best most efficient least di torting way. How can we ensure that the tax system doesn't hinder innovation, in fact encourages and innocentis inva, drive productivity improvements, are as competitive as we can be and all of that in the context of a fiscal environment that is there for all the see which is compartively challenging given the bad Trahan jektory that Labor left bewhend they they lost Government.You've spoken about distortions under Labor's model. What are other alternatives though, can you limit the number of properties that people could negatively gear or are you more attracted to the idea on caps on the totally dedutions that people can make?You're question is based on the Premiers they we've made a decision to make a which
change to negative gearing which we haven't, we are whole
looking at the tax system as a whole and we are considering all of the opportunities to make our tax system better, to make it more efficient, more growth friendly, in way that is also fair and we have haven't made a decision on a particular way forward, when we have they'd a decision on a particular way forward, obviously we will share that, with you and with the Australian community at large.Retrospectivity, just to pick up a Bill Shorten point, again as a design principle, would you rule that out noting that no decisions been made obviously?Obviously when it comes to our tax system, certainty and stability in policy settings is one factor principle
and it is an appropriate design changes
principle when it comes to changes to the tax system that there should not be retrospective but obviously again there's a lot of assumptions here on what may or may not be done by the Government moving forward. The Government has not made a decision to make changes to negative gearing arrangements. The Government is focussed on policy reforms that will help us strengthen growth, and create more jobs that will help us be the most innovative, productivity and competitive we can be and as we've said on a number of occasions now in good time before the next election indeed in time for the Budget relevant announcements about improvements to our tax system that we decide to pursue will be put forward to the Australian people for their consideration.Just on that timing it is at Budget or before Budget?In any Budget there is always a range of measures on the expandure and on the revenue side, that's put forward and obviously that creates a level of debate after the Budget is released in good time before the election, we will be putting forward our economic growth agenda for a second term of the Turnbull include
Government. And that will include what our intentions would be in a second term of a Turnbull Government in relation to improvements to our tax system.I do want to get so some other matters in your portfolio now because you have been confirmed in the reshuffle as the permanent Special congratulations
Minister of State, congratulations and that means that you will also be the person responsible for any move on changing Senate voting laws. When do you intend to do that and have you completed negotiations with the crossbench?Well, I'm due to be sworn in to that role on Thursday, ibeen acting in the role for just over a month and a half. What I've done in recent weeks taking into account the fact that there's a committee of the parliament which recommended certain changes, certain improvements to our electoral system as a result of what happened at the last election I've been considering the issue, been consulting widely, the Government hasn't made a decision on the way forward, at this stage I've been talking to many of the parties, represented in the parliament, been talking to stakeholders and interest ed experts outside the parliament, obviously in good time, before the next election, if changes were to be pursued I would expect to make some relevant announcementsOn the public record there are indications from the Green, that they strongly favour something broadly described as the Senator Xenophon option, above
this is optional preferential above the line and a minimum number below the line. Six or 12 depending what type of election you're having. Are you attracted or open to that, because it's slightly different to the one the parliamentary committee came up with?As part of the scultsation that ibeen engaged in, a number of parties and individual members of parliament have put their views to me. The Greens are on the record for a long time in terms approach
of what is their preferred approach and I can confirm that the Greens have put their preferred approach to the Government the way they have announced in recent days that they have.What do you think about that?Well, the Government is considering the proposals and the suggestions made by various parties and when we are in a position to make a decision on those we'll make an announcement.Is that likely by the end of March because some indications are circulating in that area?There's always a lot of speculation, always a lot of commentary. Our position is as I've indicated, we are obviously work our way through the issues and recommendations that were put forward in a unanimous fashion, in a bipartisan fashion by the joint standing committee onnelal matters, we're considering those issues, consulting widely. Yes we have been receiving various proposals from various parties and individual members of parliament and in due course we'll make a decision on the best way forward and when we've reached a position we'll make relevant announcementsIs moving on that in some way Senate voting reform a going
necessary precondition for going to the polls this year?Timing of the election is entirely a matter for the PM. That is not a matter for me.But the concept of addressing it so that when people vote this year they're voting on new laws, new arrangements, no matter what they are, is changing them, that important?Well, there's - the first point is that the Government will need to form a view as to how we as a Government want to respond to the unanimous recommendations that came from the joint standing committee on electoral matter, once we have decided on a preferred way forward from the Government's point of view obviously we would have to put that to the parliament and then the parliament would have to pass judgment on whether the parliament agrees with whatever landing point the Government has reach. If all of these things happen, if they happen before the election it would be before the election, it if it will
happens after the election it will be half the electionA bit of news emerging before our conversation today, Senator, that is that Liberal colleague in Ian Macfarlane has announced he won't be recontesting in groovm. Do you think the tumult, the retirement phase that we've seen unraveling very quickly in the last week or so are
is over yet for the Government, are there more people still to declare that they're leaving?Well, I think that every year in the lead-up to an election a range of people have to form a view and have to make a judgment on whether they want to continue and go around for another three years and a number of people every time announce that they have decided to retire. Now, Ian Macfarlane has obviously made a highly distinguished outstanding contribution as a long serving Cabinet Minister in particular in the industry and resource portfolios and I'm sad to see him go but I wish him very well.Mathias Cormann, for your thoughts on all of those subject today, thank you, we'll leave it there.Good to be in. leave it there.Good to be in.

Natale Like the Coalition and Labor, The Greens want to abolish group voting tickets. They're the ones you enter above the line currently, and if the Government and the Greens agree on a way to do all this, they could pass that bill together.We want a system where we ensure that the vote is distributed at least six votes according to their own preference, not according to a backroom deal. We don't want any changes to membership numbers for political parties to make it harder for new parties to enter the Parliament. We've also suggested a few other proposals that there are, for example, a registered officer for a political party can't control more than one political party and use that as an opportunity to funnel preferences. That's antidemocratic. We've put forward our position to the Government. We've said we have a long-standing position in this area and we've left that with the Government now. I understand they're considering those changes and it will be a matter for them to decide whether they accept The Greens' proposals. So the missing part of this Senate voting law story is the Labor Party. It's split internally over whether any changes should actually be made or not. Its spokesman on these matters is Gary Gray. He wants Labor to join the Government in implementing all of the changes recommended by the Parliament's inquiry into the last election. We spoke to him a moment ago. Gary Gray, you were on the committee that came up with a pretty clear idea of what you thought should be done to the Senate voting rules for the next election. Do you still stand by that committee work?Yes, of course I do, Greg. The committee report was quite unique in that pfs bipartisan and unanimous. One of the very special things about that committee was every single next year had the right to participate and many did. Still we ended up with a report that was both detailed, comprehensive but also most importantly, bipartisan and unanimous. What's gone on since then? Why is that appearing to fragment and now do we now have the jungle drums beating and suggesting the Government might bound ahead with some other model that possibly sidelines Labor? I think we have to look at the Labor Party processes here and the broader Senate processes. I've been quite clear in saying there's a divided view in my party about these reforms. There's a view that's held by some senators and there's a view which I hold. I personally think the recommendations are the best recommendations and legislation should be drafted and implemented prior to the next election consistent with those recommendations. 100% consistent. And the alternative view within Labor, that's fashioned by some notion of advantage and disadvantage for your party, is it? That's right. And that view is that the Labor Party isn't advantaged by these reforms, to which I respond Greg by saying these reforms are about empowering voters to have their votes cast and counted as they intended to have them cast and counted and not to have their votes manipulated by tickets and not to have the voting system confused by dispirate elements, pop-up parties and a range of measures for which the antidote is contained in these very good recommendations from the Joint Standing Committee. The Government does appear to have - sorry, Greg, the Government does appear to have an agreement with the Greens and some others that implements around 70%, perhaps even 85% of the Joint Standing Committee's recommendations. I'd like to see that up to 100%. Because of this disagreement within the Labor Party, what's your assessment of the Government now going ahead with the Greens and Nick Xenophon and just enacting that 75%? The key thing is that the Government can present its legislation so it can be cited. We can't take a position until there is legislation to which we can respond, so we need to see that legislation. Mostly, it's as simple as this. To the Prime Minister, call Bill Shorten, give him a call, offer to talk, offer to sort it out. Let's get the best result for the country. It's about every 30, maybe 35 years we get an opportunity to put in place genuine and enduring Senate reform. We did it in the late '40s, we did it in the early '80s, we have another chance to get it right. We should take it and get the best possible reform, not just 70% or 85% of the reform. Do you have any knowledge or suspicion about the haste with which the Government now wants to proceed in this area and also why that might be the case? I don't think it can be described as 'haste' given the report was tabled two years ago. But I do think it's self-evident that before there can be an election and if that were to be a double-dissolution election in particular, it is prudent to ensure these measures are in place. Without these measures, our legislature, our Senate is open to manipulation and it's open to compromise. And as a consequence of that, good public policy, good Budget measures, good governance is compromised. So good government, good politics, good processes are observed by both sides getting together around this report and concluding that we should legislate as much of it as is possible. I think that can be as high as 100%. Now with or without Labor's support, if the Government was to go ahead and try and get a reduced bill, but nevertheless a bill through within the next few weeks or by the end of March, do you think that heightens the possibility of a double-dissolution election? No. I think the likelihood of a double-dissolution election is that it would be after 1 July. Before the football grand finals and after 1 July and the reason for that is because Senate terms are backdated to 1 July and so for instance in 1987, the double dissolution in '87 was called for 11 July and that meant Senate terms were backdated to 1 July. Mostly governments terms of
would want to optimise the terms of the new senators and that makes good sense in terms of balancing the new Senate with the newly-elected House of Representatives. So I don't think we're looking at an election before July, but I do think good and prudent governance would require that both sides look seriously at the Joint Standing Committee's unanimous recommendations and implement as much of it as we possibly can and I think we can get that meter from the current 70-85% up as high as 100 and we should be trying for that. You're basically evoking a leadership responsibility on Bill Shorten to try and carry that through now, are you? And the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister should call Bill, say, "Let's talk about this". This is the Senate and the decisions that the people make at the next election will endure for the next six years for half of that Senate and for three years for the other half, so this is a big step that is taken. It should be carefully thought through and we should get the best possible result and Greg, I say that to you very clearly knowing that my own party has a divided view on this, but our nation should have a united view and the Prime Minister should give Bill a call. And if this reform happened, why would a Senate be anymore manageable with blocs of parties maybe not the dispirate microparties we have now? Why do you think that model looks tidier for the nation? Because what we're talking of here is delivering to the people the right to elect senators themselves and remove from the manipulators the game that they have been playing. We received evidence and it's all on the record in the Joint Standing Committee report, from very good people but manipulators who described how they went about the process of propping up political parties and doing preference deals that mean voters don't get control of their ballot papers and under Section 7 of the Constitution, it clearly states that the people should elect the Senate, not the manipulators. And so we need to take control of this process, we need to bring in these reforms. 70% is pretty good, 85% of the reforms even better, but let's go for 100 pes. It looks like it's going to move and we may hear from you again before it's out. Gary Gray, thanks for your thoughts today.Thank you. As the reshaped ministry prepares to be sworn in later this week, we've been offered a remarkable glimpse at what a political mystical calculation looks like. You might remember that all the way up to last Thursday when Warren Truss told everyone he'd be quitting politics, NSW National Michael McCormack was keeping alive the idea of contesting the leadership against Barnaby Joyce. Now in the end he didn't, and more than a few Nationals believe he did himself no favours by trailing his coat. So now thanks to the Nine Network's '60 Minutes' we get extraordinary insight into the final moment of his capitulation. Michael McCormack had to go and see Barnaby Joyce, tell him he wouldn't, in fact, stand against him and be filmed doing so for broadcast to the entire nation. The only other possible contender for job, the Member for Riverina Michael McCormack... Have a seat. Now is your time. Throws in the towel and pledges his support for Barnaby.I have had some colleagues, a lot of colleagues urging me to give it go, but look at the end of the day mate, you'll be great. I think it's destiny that you should lead our party. Yesterday, Michael McCormack was a bitter opponent. Today, they are allies... for now.Look, it's your turn. You were meant for this. My turn might come later, I hope it does. Appreciate that, I really do. Flies on the wall doesn't normally get that close to leadership discussions, and just before we go, we'll return to where we started with the Prime Minister touring Far North Queensland. At Lavarack Barracks he was given a briefing and demonstration on the arsenal of weapons the army has its disposal. When offered the opportunity to handle guns and grenades, Mr Turnbull politely declined, but keep a close eye on his local MP Ewen Jones. He's not nearly as cautious.Replicated grenades, when you pull the pin, throw it and after the demo, pull the pin and let it go. No. I'm a great believer that we should leave the handling of weapons to the professionals. I know some politicians like to fire guns, but I think it's better that your trained personnel do it rather than amateurs like myself. Probably good advice and I was sparing a thought for the cameraman standing in front of it all! That's it on Capital Hill for now. We're back tomorrow and in the meantime will hand back to Ros and her team in Sydney to update you on news of the day. United States political process have now spread to the highest court of the land, the Supreme Court. The Republicans reaction to the death of Justice Antonin Scalia hat the weekend was swift, declaring they will block President Obama from replacing him. But the President will push ahead with the nomination and Democrats are outraged that Republicans made the call without hearing who may replace the outspoken Conservative.Across the US capital flags are at half and
here at the Supreme Court people have been delivering flowers in memory of Justice Antonin Scalia who razz regard z a larger than life hero of the Conservative move. He declared once that the constitution is dead, dead, dead and no-one should be able to interpret it itself laws otherwise, that it was up to the Congress across the road from the Supreme Court to make those decisions. So, with his death becomes a vacancy on the Supreme Court. There are currently four Liberal and four Conservatives to Republicans are absolutely fearful of what a majority Liberal Supreme Court could do given that last year even with Antonin Scalia on the bench they did approve gay marriage and they also upheld twice President Obama's health care reforms also known as Obama care. Ted Cruz when he talks about in his election campaign pulling America back from the abyss, this is what he's talking about, having a potentially Liberal Supreme Court is one thing that hes using to rally his base, so overnight when the Senator majority leader Mitch McConnell said that would block any attempt by the President to fill the vacancy the President obviously came out and said, "I'm going to push ahead anyway" others in the race like Rubio rub said there is no precedent.I don't trust President Obama with the appointment of Supreme Court Justices. We cannot afford to have Antonin Scalia replaced by some of the nominee he's put from in the past. Weesh going to look for someone that most resembles Antonin Scalia to replace him.Back in 1987 when there was a vacancy on the security, two nominations were put up by Ronald Regan and were knocked back by the Democrats before a third nomination was eventually I proved and then confirmed in an election year. But Democrats are livid at the prospect of this President being denied a chance to containing the make-up of the Supreme Court. Even before he's suggested put up a nominee, so they've come out swinging, basically saying that the President is still the President until he leaves office as Hillary Clinton declared in front of a rally of Democrats last night.It is outrageous that Republicans in the Senate and on the campaign trail have already pledged to block any replacement that President Obama nominates. Now I'm sure we'll all have a lot more to say about this in the coming days, so let me just make one point - Barack Obama is President of the United States until January 20th 2017. That is a fact my friends, whether the Republicans like it or not.So yet again, US politics is completely polarised over an issue, that time of course a vacancy on the Supreme Court. The power of