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Capital Hill -

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(generated from captions) This is very much a global picture where what we do and very
receive here in Australia is very much dependant upon what's happening in the rest of the preview
world. Dave Denham from preview magazine. I'd like to turn a little bit to oil, because Australian oil production, as you know, has more
halved from the year 2000, or more than halved when Bass Basin production was at a peak and now it is way, way down. That's immaterial of the price variation in that time. So, the first part of my question is this is obviously significant in terms of our balance of payments and our strategic situation, so is the Government going to look at ways to generate more exploration, etc, etc, for that. While you are thinking about that, just a throwaway line, all this stuff about nuclear waste and low-level disposal, you've got the Defence Commonwealth land in SA, why don't you just go for it? It's a no-brainer.

much
first, we've tried that without much success in the past. People will remember Muckarty Station and other key Pisces of land that were problematic because you also have to take into account, very importantly, native title. Often that can coincide with Commonwealth land. We've avoided the path of Federal
a unilateral decision as a Federal Government which is, of course, something we could do but we've gone down the path of asking for voluntary nominations. To date, it has proven to be very worthwhile. Let's hope we can get out the other end but it will be not without want of trying. This is a pressing issue because the more exploration, the better. Obviously we have to be very sensitive to environmental issues here and that's where MOPSENA plays a key role. As a Government, we are trying to decrease the cost and decrease the processes for companies to invest in further exploration and that's why what I've said today about geoscience Australia. If we as a Commonwealth can provide the satellite imagery, the other geo strategic mapping we have the capability to do, that will be very enticing for companies. As I said, developments in the Browse Basin, the Inpex project, wouldn't have gone ahead but for what we have done at a Commonwealth level with that, as well as the one-stop-shop environmental approvals. All those things are very important for inviting further exploration.That was Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg speaking at the National Press Club. Ahead, the Government's long tax conversation finally jettisons one option. Malcolm Turnbull formally rules out lifting the GST.The so-called GST tax mix switch does not give you the economic dividend, the growth dividend that would justify doing it. There will be no GST increase taken to the next election.But Government's plans for any other tax changes are still under wraps.



The Prime Minister has declared the Government won't increase the GST at the next election.I can assure you the Government will not be taking a proposal to increase the GST to the election. Many governments have kicked - have said they don't want to touch the GST for political reasons. I just note that decision. That was something previous governments have done. What we did, which was different, is we looked very carefully at every angle, every possible change to the tax system. We are examining that. We looked very carefully at several proposals to increase the GST and use the money - if you listen to the Business Council of Australia, to reduce company tax, if you listen to the States, to give it to them and offer others to use it to offset personal income tax and address the issue just raised with me. We looked at all of those, we had the models. The reality is you do not get the economic growth dividend that people had assumed there would be. The growth dividend is somewhere between nil and very small. We are not a government that has not said "It's all too hard, we are putting into the political too-hard basket". We have looked at it carefully and diligently, as Australians expect us to do. It's been demonstrated to us that increasing the GST and then reducing income tax, after you take into account all of the compensation that you would need to ensure the change was equitable, simply is not justified in economic terms. We take the business of government very seriously. I know that there are people who will say "Well, you should make a snap decision on this and that and something else". I don't believe that's the way Australians expect their Government to govern. They want us to examine these issues carefully and diligently and make decisions that are based on the evidence. That's exactly what we've done. The GST - I have got no doubt people will be talking about GST for a long time but the work we've done demonstrates that the so-called GST tax mix switch does not give you the economic dividend, the growth dividend, that would justify doing it. So there will be no GST increase taken to the election.We all know that Treasurer Scott Morrison only has one idea, which is to put a 15% GST on everything. We know that Mr Turnbull and his backbench are panicked about their job security and, therefore, even though they'd like to have a 15% GST, they're worried about their own jobs so you've got division at the Malcolm
heart of the Government. Malcolm Turnbull needs to today stop waffling and just say in plain English, not 300-word slogans, that he will not introduce a 15% GST full stop. Labour's not interested - Labor's not interested at the national level of a 15% GST. We think it discourages confidence in the community. We don't believe people will be adequately compensated. We don't believe it will generate will be
economic growth. In fact, it it is
will be a brake on jobs. When it is all said and done, I have
understand that the Premiers have been taken hostage by Mr Turnbull's cuts to schools and hospitals but there is hope at the end of the - there is light at the end of the tunnel which is not an oncoming 15% GST and Labor's articulated and, Kate just articulate ed then, we can pay for improved schools funding which gives better outcomes to every child and every school without having to slug every family with a 15% GST. Malcolm Turnbull has to stop the waffle and just rule out no 15% GST and be done with that total distraction of the last six months.As we heard, that's exactly what the Prime Minister has done. So the GST debate is dead but all other tax changes are still on the table including negative gearing. Labor's already unveiled its plan to end the tax break on established properties and Coalition backbenchers are worried what the Government is planning. I Zed
spoke to ACT Liberal Senator Prime
Zed Seselja just before the Prime Minister ruled out lifting the GST. Zed Seselja, welcome.Thank you.Is this long-running tax debate starting to do the Government harm? No, I don't think so. I've been really pleased we have had a good debate about tax and we are continuing to do that. We are coming to key markers, we have the Budget coming up and an election later on in the year. No doubt we will come to some conclusions soon but I've got no problem with the fact that we've had a robust debate, that it's been done with the community, it's been done inside the party and I think that's really healthy.But ridiculously, even though we know the Government is not going to lift the GST, that still hasn't been ruled out. Now you are talking about negative gearing. Do you know - is the Government or isn't it going to be doing something about negative gearing? That's a question for the Treasurer and the Prime Minister. I speak as a member of the backbench and I have my views on policy -As a member of the backbench and what is your view then on doing anything with negative gearing? I think we should very, very cautiously is my view. I don't think we should go anywhere near the Labor Party policy. I think that will damage the property market. I think it will damage confidence. I think that so much of Australians' wealth tied up in housing, if you do something which the Grattan Institute could see house prices drop by 10%, that's going to have a real impact. We don't want to go anywhere near that. I would say we should proceed very, very cautiously with any alternatives. For this particular reason: Labor Party's policy will undermine confidence. If we have a policy that starts to tinker with negative gearing, the potential is, even if it's a very sensible policy, even if it is only relatively minor changes, that will affect confidence as well. Both parties are taking that forward.They are. That's precisely what the Government appears to be signalling at the moment, it is going to do something alt the high - at the high end of negative gearing, we don't know what, but everyone is looking to get clarity around that. That will be affecting decisions people are making so when will this Government provide some clarity about what it wants to do so we can have a proper debate? We are having a proper debate. -We know what the Labor Party is doing and debating any options about what the Government might do which makes it more difficult for you.We can debate the Labor Party policy because I think it is a bad policy and we should argue strongly against it. I have seen senior government ministers doing just that and I it is
joirn with them in that because it is a dangerous policy in my opinion. When it comes to our policy, my argument, my argument publicly and privately, is that we should area
tread very cautiously in the area of negative gearing.You admit you don't have a policy at the moment? Hang on, though, Chris, isn't it a fair thing, though, to go through a process and have a debate? You would be the first, Chris, I'm sure if there'd been the rule-in rule-out game straightaway, you'd be the first to say "It's politics as usual, they rule it out, don't have a proper debate". We are having a debate and why not and that means we need to get it right.That is a very fair point, we would do that but at some point you have to make a stand and start defending the stand and time between the election and now is collapsing.Look, I'm sure it will happen and it will happen in good time. We've got a Budget coming up. There is the lead-up to the Budget, a number of months 'til then and post Budget presumably then a September or October election. We can come to some conclusion s and we can take those to the election and certainly argue very, very hard for our policies.Leaving the Government aside, clearly you have a clear idea of what you'd like to see on tax reform, what will
are the fundamental markers you will be looking at and arguing with your colleagues about when it comes to talking about what is in or out? The overall tax take should be going down preferably, certainly not going up. That's the first marker. Then any other changes, of course, need to be increasing confidence rather than reducing confidence. Look at the property industry, it is a big part of the economy, it picked a lot of the slack from the mining boom. That's why Labor's policy is so dangerous. It needs to inspire confidence, needs to be about growing jobs and giving people choice. One of the things I have raised publicly a couple of times is whilst I don't like the idea of higher taxes on people's super contributions, if that was coupled - if that money went to income tax relief now, then that's something I could live with because that goes to our fundamental values. We are giving people choice. Yes, you will pay a little more tax on the money that's going into your super but right now you'll have more money in your pocket, you can choose what to do with that, you can spend it, you can invest it.Wouldn't the classic Liberal way be to reduce the size of government because you've essentially had an income cut from the world cutting the commodity prices we have, money's down, then cut your cloth accordingly? Fundamentally, that's what the Government has been trying to do since it came in. To be fair. That has been our argument. It wasn't - notwithstanding what our critics say, it wasn't to slash and burn, it was to slow the growth of government so that we get the budget under control. Almost every measure we've tried has been blocked in the Senate. We have a very clear position that we should make savings and we should do that and that continues to be the Government's position and it will continue, I'm sure, to be the Government's position. We now need some goodwill by some other people who control the Senate as well.Can I take you to what we are seeing in NSW when it comes to preselections? A lot of older members there people would like to see move on. There has been talk of younger members like Angus Taylor being moved out. The NSW branch of the Liberal Party would seem to any observer is very much like the Labor Party, it's deeply factional. Is there a problem there? What I would like to see, and I'm not going to comment on the individual preselections that people are facing at the moment, what I would say, though, is that we want to see as much democracy as possible in the parties and if that means reforms in NSW, I think that would be a very positive thing. It is certainly something John Howard has called for, something Tony Abbott has called for, many in the Party are calling for. It's effectively a one-vote one-value. A plebiscite within the parties. That gets rid of factionalism where it exists because if all branch members are empowered in the same way, then it's very difficult to stitch up the numbers through factional deals. would be
Democratisation of the parties would be a very positive thing.Zed Seselja, thank you.Thanks very much.The Services
Australian Council of Social Services has weighed into the tax debate with its budget submission targeting concessions given to those who invest in property and shares. It's identified $12 billion in negative gearing
savings from changes to negative gearing and trusts saying half that money should be used for affordable housing. Here is the chief executive Cassandra Goldie.For us, on the one hand, we want to see serious savings made but over the longer-term. We have identified areas in superannuation, negative gearing, capital gains areas, arrangements, tax concessions that were introduced at a time when we thought we could afford it which over time has shown what they are doing is enabling people on higher incomes and with significant wealth to reduce their tax bill and we outcomes we should
are not getting the kind of outcomes we should be getting in terms of, for example, in the superannuation area, people who are struggling to get adequate superannuation savings behind them, we want to see more tax concessions going to people on lower and modest incomes and clawing it back will be
from people on high incomes who will be able to secure their own retirement future. The debate is up about negative gearing and capital gains and we are delighted about that. We welcome the Labor contribution. We are waiting to see what the Coalition will be doing. Our proposal is very straightforward. We would not change the rules for people who are ready in the property market, who have already made investment decisions. We recognise the people would otherwise be exposed to risk. However, in the future, we would withdraw negative gearing from the property market and, instead, use the savings from that to enable us to put in place a strong tax incentive to encourage investment including superannuation funds in the building of new stock and particularly affordable housing stock.Today, again, everyone is talking tax. That's all for Capital Hill. Now it is back to Ros in the Sydney studio for the rest of the day's news.Thanks, Chris. In the US, cracks are widening in the Republican Party as the primary battle becomes ever-more bitter and the attacks more personal. Former President George W Bush has hit the campaign trail to boost younger brother Jeb's faltering presidential nomination bid. But Donald Trump has stepped up his attacks on the Bush political dynasty and taken another swipe at George W Bush's legacy. Here is Michael Vincent.Two brothers. A former President and a future hopeful.I came here for two reasons. One, because I care deeply about Jeb. Two, because I care deeply about our country.APPLAUSE Republican front runner Donald Trump has been scathing of the Bush family reunion declaring today: The Trump/Bush feud ignited at the weekend's Republican debate.We are going to leave that there.This is from a guy who gets his foreign policy from the shows. This is a guy who thinks Hillary Clinton is a great negotiator in Iran. We This is
are living in dangerous times. This is a man who insults his way to the nomination.Alright. Alright. Gentlemen.Donald Trump raised President Bush's record again today at a rare press conference.I've heard for years he kept the country safe after 9/11. What does it mean after? What about during 9/11? I was there. I lost a lot of friends that were killed in that bid building. The worst attack ever in this country it was during his presidency. But America's 43rd President is still highly regarded amongst South Carolina Republicans and is taking it in his stride.There seems to be a lot of name calling going on but I want to remind you what our good dad told you one time - labels are for soup cans.I thought it was a little strange the front running candidate would attack the President of the United States who did keep us safe while he was building a reality TV show.Donald Trump's very perm attacks and outrageous - personal attacks and outrageous comments are yet to hurt his campaign. Current polling has him 20 points ahead of his nearest rival going into the South Carolina primary this weekend. International diplomats are hoping for a pause in the fighting in Syria there
by the end of this week but there is little sign of it today. The charity, Doctors without Borders, says two hit
medical facilities have been hit in the north of the country. They are both in an area where Syrian forces and their Russian allies have been carrying out bombing raids. Monday morning in north-east Syria. Rescue workers scramble over the rubble of a hospital hit by missiles to rescue any survivors they can find. Russia is being widely blamed. It has been bombing intensively in this rebel-held area to try to win it back for President Assad.The hospital is completely destroyed. We report at least 7 deaths among the personnel and the patients. At least eight personnel of Medecins Sans Frontieres are disappeared.Further north in Azaz, missiles hit a children's hospital and a school apparently sheltering refugees fleeing the joint Russian-Syrian offensive. This is only a few miles from the border with Turkey strongly opposed to both President Assad and Vladimir Putin's massive military support for him. Tensions are rising still further just as the major world powers seem to be offering a little bit of hope. All the talk over the weekend in Munich involving Russia and the United States was about achieving a cessation of hostilities. That is not a ceasefire. Moscow and Washington agree a cessation does not apply to their bombing campaigns. The trouble is Moscow sees pretty much anyone fighting against Syria's President Assad as a legitimate target. No distinction is drawn in the Kremlin between fighters for so-called Islamic State and these anti-Assad rebels supported by the West. It is hard to see the five-year war being anywhere close to an end.The Russians can end this if they want to. They can make this cessation of hostilities work by scaling back their bombing and redirecting it against the real terrorists rather than bombing the moderate opposition.But Russia shows no sign of changing course and is now embroiled in a hotter and hotter war of words with Syria's neighbour Turkey. Washington is urging cooler heads but, on the ground, there's nothing positive to point to. The Zika virus is continuing to spread around the world with Russia confirming its first case in a woman who became infected in the Dominican Republic. In Brazil, a nationwide operation is in full swing to contain the mosquito that spread the virus. The army and health workers are visiting homes to educate the public. They are placing insecticide and lavaside in drains that could hold water with the female mosquitos lay their eggs. The Government has made this operation a priority. The impact of the Middle East conflict on children has been in
brought home through street art in the Gaza Strip. A German graffiti artist worked with children in the Palestinian murals
territory to create large murals that are helping to restore hope to a troubled generation. The eyes of babes on Gaza's walls. The international street artist known as Akut uses photographs of children's eyes for his artworks. The children are not just models but apprentice artists who put their touch on the final pieces.We have a lot of conflict zones in the world. It's the same. If it goes on for years and years and years, no-one is interested in this anymore.He calls his style photorealism. He is not the first international artist to transform the war-torn streets. Last year the elusive English artist Banksy made political statements. Akut's project took place in June last year and has gone on to show in a Jordan gallery.TRANSLATION: The message is that there are people suffering. Their homes are being destroyed, they are homeless but at the same time they have hope in their lives to start over.The project's organisers say the message is clear - it's all about the kids.Our focus is to involve the little ones, the kids, that's the reason we downscale it and instead of one big metaphor, words which are reachable to the kids. We are not there for us, we are there for them.Proceeds is going to the projects in the area. The CSIRO says a medical emergency on board its research ship 'The Investigator' is not related to the scientific work being done. A female scientist became ill last Friday while the ship was near Hird island in the Southern Ocean. 'The Investigator' was 26 days into a 35-day research mission and is heading to the home port of Hobart. The CSIRO says the ship's doctor is pleased with the woman's progress. Disney has confirmed that production on the eighth 'Star Wars' movie has begun. Academy Award winner Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern and Carrie Fisher will make up some of the cast members. The film is scheduled for release on December 15th next year. 'The Force Awakens' was the third highest grossing film in history.Malcolm Turnbull's new Cabinet is sworn in on Thursday, he may wish to consider a new set of portfolios for his frontbench being adopted by a Middle East nation. The United Arab Emirates has appointed its first Minister for Happiness. The swearing-in ceremony in Dubai, the new Minister wore a necklace bearing the letters HAPPY. There is also a Minister for youth and Minister for it
Tolerance. The Government says it is aiming to offer more than simply providing basic services for its citizens. The move has been mocked by human rights activists on social media who say they will be monitoring developments in a country where political dissent is rarely tolerated. Let's look at the national weather with Vanessa O'Hanlon.A cold front passing Tasmania has left a speckled pool of cold air. We have odd shower expected over NSW today, that includes Sydney. For Queensland and along the West Coast, very hot conditions with a couple of troughs. A couple of degrees cooler in Perth tomorrow. A high in the Bight bringing warmer conditions to the south over the weekend. More showers and storms in the northern parts of the country. Rain moving away from Tasmania tomorrow. The air becoming drier up through Victoria and NSW. Another cold front to follow but that looks like it will stay well to the south.

Ros
That's ABC News for now. I'm Ros Childs. Thanks for watching P

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Today - dozens killed and more missing after air strikes hit hospitals in Syria. This Program Is Captioned Live by CSI Australia Bronwyn Bishop under fire as Baird and Abbott endorse her potential preselection rival. Councils around Australia still using a weed killer that the World Health Organisation says could cause cancer. Good afternoon. You're watching ABC News. I'm Ros Childs. Also ahead on the program - Donald Trump lashes out at the Bush family as the US presidential campaign rolls in to South Carolina. And - 24 million Australians and counting. 17 years ahead of schedule, our population is increasing faster than planned. The United Nations has