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(generated from captions) This program is live captioned by Ericsson Access Services. Hello there. Welcome to The Drum. I'm Julia Baird. On tonight's show: Nine Aussies arrested in Malaysia free to return home after parading publicly in their swimwear. , "We're sorry." The last of the big four banks front politicians in Canberra, but have they done enough to avoid a royal commission? And we'll explore the stoush brewing between the country's top law officers.

Thanks for your company this evening. Also to those joining me on the panel. We have Principal at Cato Counsel, Sue Cato. Chief Executive of the Muslim Women's Association, and and and and in Melbourne, the Australian's foreign editor Greg Sheridan. Some breaking news as we go to air tonight - nine Australians arrested in Malaysia have been freed. The men spent four nights in custody after stripping down to their Malaysian-flag-printed swamwear at last weekend's Federal Parliament outside Kuala Lumpur. Australian Daniel Ricciardo had just won the race when the group began a rather rowdy celebration. Malaysian authorities charged them with public nuisance but they're now free to return home.There is no charge, there is no fine. The boys apologised. They recognise what they did was unacceptable but they have been completely cleared and are free to travel and go home and resume their lives. They're good boys and it happened. But we only have one mission in our life and that's to look after our children and we tried our best. A very big penalty that they paid. But I'd like to thank our lawyers, who represented them well. Maha, there are going to be many questions about whether this was enough. Jack Walker's father saying they've paid a heavy price already. What do you think?I just think as Australians, we talk about leading the way and we talk about wanting to make a difference and respect. And we want to be respected - I'm talking about Australian society. So in the meaning of 'respect', how we are showing respect to other countries, and neighbours Malaysia, we know what are some of the issues there, what are some of the cultural norms that they practise. Why is it OK for white, privileged guys to do certain things and get off and we thank the lawyers. And how about it if it was the other way around? How would we deal with them under the Australian law, if nine other, or nine Indigenous boys, or nine other boys did the same thing? I think they'd be making headlines and they wouldn't be called 'good boys'. We'd be using different terminologies of the way we'd describe those boys. There have been discussions that they're just lads and Larkins and doing their -- larrakins and doing their thing.I think Maha is widely over reacting. I can tell you if nine Malaysian or Indigenous boys stripped to their swimwear in Australia - no-one would notice its. It does raise the larger question - how many Australians who go to Bali or Malaysia or Thailand understand anything at all about the countries they're visiting? Malaysia is a majority Muslim country but all of their communities, Malay, Malaysian, are all pretty conservative. It has only been independent for six years and they take their nationals pretty seriously. So wearing their flag on your backside seems pretty stupid. This is young blokes acting stupidly and the Malaysian system reacting sensibly. I don't think anyone has said the young blokes behaved well but nor did they harm or damage anybody. So I think everybody has behaved OK in this matter.What do you think this would have happened, Sue, if this was a group of women in flag-born bikinis like we see on Australia Day, for example?Are you talking in Malaysia?In Malaysia. You would hope that the Malaysian courts would act in the same way, you would hope. We heard that the boys were defended as they were skylarking. From my perspective, they're well-educated boys. You would have thought...I get fun and all that kind of stuff, but to Greg's and Maha's point, they were in Malaysia and they should have been a little more thoughtful about it and I think the work of the lawyers, the diplomats and I'm sure there's a lot of duck activity - stuff happening under the water - I think they're really lucky. If another Aussie goes and does it, they can't say they haven't been warned.Moving on to Federal Parliament. Three days of hearings into the big four banks have wrapped up and while their CEOs have offered apologies, they've also said there's no major problem with our banking culture. Westpac and NAB fronted the House Economics Committee today and NBA's Andrew Thorburn admitting more than 40 of his financial advisers had been sacked for providing dodgy advice but no senior executived had lost their jobs.We had an and
independent review and we concluded, and we stand by that, that it was not a systemic issue.Westpac CEO Brian Hartzer issued his own apology for operational r ors this afternoon but said the idea of a banking tribunal might not be the best way to handle future complaints.It is clear that the trust gap has opened up and we need to work harder to close that gap. Westpac isn't perfect. In recent years we've had operational errors and we apologise for those. I suppose I have some concern about more prescriptive regulation. We already have a lot of regulation, and regulation hasn't necessarily saved consumers.Greg Sheridan, are you satisfied with the apologies, the concessions and the explanations that we've heard over this week?Julia, I think this is an extraordinarily tricky public policy area. We have four big banks, which means, to use the economists' term, they're in an ologopoly position. So they're almost like public utilities. They almost have guaranteed profits. But we chose that structure because we want to have a strong banking system. If you smash up the banks too much you'll have a weak banking system, and that is infinitely worse. At the same time you don't want to overregulate them because then you'll have a socialist banking system. If we're not allowed to make profits in this country, people talk about excessive profits but, you know what, everything we do - hospitals, schools, roads, even the beloved ABC - comes out of companys' profits paying people's wages which ark taed and companies paying corporate tax. We generally have a pretty good banking system in this country. I think the inquiry is useful. It shows the market is not the perfect mechanism for getting redressed for dissatisfied customers because of this ologopoly position. But I am against a royal commission.Is the real dispute, Greg, about the profitings or about a competitive banking culture that does not meet the needs of its clients at best? You say compared with what? We have a very good banking system in this country compared with the rest of the world. Compared with perfection, it is not perfect. Can always get a bit better. I think this has been a useful exercise. Clearly, I'm very strongly in favour of reforms that do things like force financial advisers to disclose any financial incentives they're under. Force them to operate always in the client's interests - all that sort of thing - I'm happily in favour of that. But if you make a much, much more competitive environment you will have some fringe bankers which will eventually go bust and then people will lose all their money, and that'll be terrible. Or, if you have it over -regulated, you'll have a socialist banking, which doesn't work very well either. We have a reasonable compromise which needs some twinking.Sue Cato, it is always a bit startling to think to get them to work in the customer's best interest. What do you think is required? Is this enough?Look, I think the banks have been pretty badly damaged in a reputation sense in all of this. They know that they're on the nose. From the performance that we've seen over the last three days, there was a lot of hot hair. I agree with Greg - I think a royal commission, quite frankly, is backward looking, not forward looking. I think what we need to do is to actually find ways that customers actually do have the redress. Customers can also move between banks. I think banks, more and more, know that if they do the wrong thing, they're going to get called on it. There have been some fantastic journalistPo says on these kinds -- journalistic exposes on these kinds of areas. I think we do need to educate people better about what they actually need from their banking service providers.And so that people are actually smarter. So I think there's a big edKaytive piece for -- educative piece for customers. The more banks behave badly, the more dank -- damage they'll do a reputation. They're big enough and ugly enough to pay for a royal commission but I'd prefer that money to go into setting up frameworks so customers have better protection.Independent Bob Katter joins us from Brisbane now. Welcome to the Drum.I'm Katter Australia Party, I'm not an independent. Apologies for that. Apologies from us and also from the banks over the past few days. What are you looking for?Those last two commentators show a towering ignorance of banking, and I can speak with great authority, because I was the minister that had primary responsibility for State Bank in Queensland, which started off about four years before I was responsible for it, and was sold four years later by the nament -- by the National Party Government for $2,000 million. We started off with $20 million. A great success story. It brought the entire sugar industry through the crisis in the late '80s. In that crisis, we gave out money at 2%, we made 300 million profit. To do that, we had to get rid of the head of the bank, which we did. So when I start speaking about banking, I've got a record, and it is a very fine record if I may say so myself. That last two, they're the chorus line from the free market choir, the chorus line from the free market choir." Oh, it's wonderful banking in Australia." It's wonderful because in America they have non-resource lending. In Australia, we have recourse lending. So when the banks, and this is their wonderful banking system - I'll give you the figures. The average price of a house in NSW, Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong, is reputed to be $980,000. Reputable, mainstream sources, 980,000. The repayments on that are 50,000 a year. The average Australian earns 72,000. His tax rate is 22,000. So he's got 50,000 - that's how much he has to pay for his house.Alright...That's how irresponsible banking is in Australia.I am keen for the panelist to respond to your remarks there about their towering ignorance. But firstly explain to us what you hope to achieve from the legislation you're introducing next week?The royal commission has the power to subpoena documents which this inquiry does not have. It has time which a member of Parliament has not got it. I doubt whether there was a single member of that parliamentary panel that would be able to explain to you that bank lending creates money. I don't think they'd be able to explain the most basic premise of banking. Now, the banking system in Australia is inherently at great risk. If you are paying 980,000 for a quarter or a fifth of the Australian population is paying 980,000 for a house, which they can't afford, now, the bank sells them up, the banks get their money back. If it was America, the banks would not get their money back. That's the reason why the GFC bit deeply in America but not out here because we put the whips to the back of the galley slaves...You're talking about comparative structure of lending between countries. But what we're talking about here is a culture within the banks, whether they're satisfying the consumer. It is the need for accountability and more transparency. How can you be certain that a royal commission would not just continue a debate, would actually find out more information and would not, at the accountable?
end, actually make the banks more accountable?You put the spotlight of public opinion upon them. In Queensland we had police corruption and we had an inquiry, which I and another member of Parliament were responsible for introducing, the Fitzgerald Inquiry. It didn't get to the heart of that inquiry - we all knew who was at the heart of it - but turning the spotlight on breaking the corruption in the police force we paid a terrible price as a government for going after that corruption. It is the same thing here. You turn the spotlight on the pangs. When people -- banks. When people understand that when the bank sells the house out from under you for half the price you paid for it and you have take the debt with you until the die you house. You buy a house or 600,000, it is sold out from under by the bank for 250,000, you carry that 350,000 until you die. In America, the debt is written off. What do you believe should be the primary outcome?I think an inif I nitly more responsible attitude would be adopted by the banks. I am giving you the figures. The average price of a house for nearly a quarter of the population is 98,000, and your average income is 72,000. You can work the figures out for yourself.Maha Abdo...That's your responsible banking...Mr Katter is broadening the current parameters of the inquiry substantially?From a community and Islamic perspective we do the NIL, the no interest loans stuff. But when you look at it, people need to take responsibility for their actions. We need to start calling out when something goes wrong. We don't wait until the end. We need to start working on the early intervention and prevention. I come from the premise that prevention is better than cure. If there is something that is not working, let's put our heads together and I think having literacy and numeracy is so important that you are aware of what are the requirements for you, your obligations, your responsibilities, so that you can actually challenge those that you're working with. It doesn't matter who they are. So I think education, awareness and early intervention is one of the utmost important ways.Right. If I can just bring in Greg Sheridan, we're talking about a range of issues here. We've had discussions about tribunals, annual meetings, inquiries, royal commissions, Bob Katter saying we need to reduce household debt which is far too onerous in questions of affordability and having to pay off mortgages over your lifetime. Do you belief that any of these mechanisms could address that concern?Well, you know, I'm stunned by Bob's criticism, because I think he is a great bloke, an adornment to the Parliament, and I feel terrible that he looks at me and see astower of ignorance. I'll try to do better. But, look, I don't think you can blame the banks for the asset price inflation that the whole world has suffered. We have to have low interest rates to keep our economy going and we want low interest rates otherwise our currency will be far too highly valued for our international competitiveness. Low interest rates everywhere in the world have seen asset prices inflate. That's doubly-so in Australia because we have a strong immigration program, which I strongly support. That means the demand for housing is always stronger than the supply. I think it's very good that we have recourse loans in Australia. It makes Australians the responsible people we are. We should have responsibility for the debts we undertake. We have a very low mortgage default rate. I think I there is infinitely more going right with this than going wrong.Sorry, just quickly, I want - I am sorry to interrupt. I want to get Mr Katter's response to that.This is what he is saying, that a diesel fitter in Sydney knows more about, and if he's properly educated, he'll know more about the value of a house and his ability to repay his loans than a bank will. Which is a ridiculous proposition. The bank is an expert in this field. I was selling insurance at one stage in my life. If we sold an insurance policy like the pang -- banks are selling these loan contracts, we would have been sacked. It was absolutely definite that if you sold a contract that the person could not keep going then you would be sacked.I have to bring in Sue...Agriculture...Bob, thanks for the generosity of your earlier comments. Once again we have a politician talking about a royal commission as a political weapon and a political threat as distinct from the platform that it used to be. If we actually want real time, a royal commission will waste time and waste money.OK, Bob Katter just before we lose you, the men in Malaysia, do you think they've received adequate punishment - a suspended sentence of home?
-- a substantial fine and returning home?I think they should get a kick in the backside when they get home. What an insult to the country. I think the Malaysians have reacted very responsibly and generously, a lot more than I would have acted if they had done it to us.Thanks so much for joining us on The Drum Bob Katter, from the Katter Australia Party. A very public stoush has broken out between the country's top two law officers, Attorney-General George Brandis and Solicitor-General Justin Gleeson. A Senate inquiry has been launched into Mr Brandis' decision to force all requests for legal advice from the Solicitor-General to go through his office first. In the submission to the inquiry Mr Gleeson said the planned restrictioned were not raised with him and that he wasn't consulted on contentious legal issues slaoic same-sex marriage and the stripping of citizenship from dual nationals convicted of terrorism offences.The Solicitor-General was consulted in relation to the legal services direction and guidance note no. 11. Both at a meeting in my office, which he requested, on 30 November last year. It is not at all unusual that two people might be in a meeting and come out of it with a different interpretation. That fact does not, for a moment, interfere with the solid, professional and ongoing working relationship that we have.Greg Sheridan, extremely rare for this personal conflict to erupt into the public this way. How damaging is this, and how crucial, if we're seeing that the Solicitor-General not being involved in core pieces of government legislation?Well, Julia, very complex technical matters of fact in dispute here. I think he saw an earlier draft of the legislation, didn't see the final draft of the legislation. Is apparently what he's alleging. The Solicitor-General and the Attorney-General have contradictory reflectionings of a meeting -- reflections they both attended. But the Attorney-General is supported by contemporaneous notes of two of his lawyers and a departmental note. The larger problem is this, though. I have two conflicting thoughts. One is I don't like the way the Solicitor-General is behaving. He is the Government's lawyer. One things lawyer do is provide advice in confidence and it's up to the Government how they get him to deliver his advice. But, at the same time, I don't think it looks that good for George Brandis because one of the things he needs to do as a poll -- politician is manage his relationship with people like the Solicitor-General. You know, I don't think this is the end of the world. I don't think there is any proof that George Brandis has told a lie, or anything like that, but I do think both men come out of somewhat diminishes and it is a pretty unsatisfactory state of affairs.Maha?It doesn't whatever it is, they need to take responsibility. Talking about stripping somebody from their dual citizenship, that's very much focused on - we were talking about terrorism and in that time there were so many legislations going past with no consultations. We need to take a step back and look at what effect are we having on those Australians that we are targeting in the changes of our law. So whatever is happening politically and legally, I think it's very important to look at the effect and the impact that these are having. Even the discussion right now is having an impact on young youth and the way that they're able to see the world. And seeing two older men, supposedly having the head of - you know, making decisions about legal issues to do with Australia, I think it's...it takes it to another level. Yeah.We will keep looking at that and discussing it on The Drum. But we want to end tonight talking about something very controversy - a scientific study posing the question how old is too old to be alive. American researchers say despite the steady increase in human life expectancy there is a limit to how long we can live - 115 years apparently. The world's oldest woman made it to 122 and the researchers say there'll always be exceptions, but don't believe even modern medicine can get us past this hump. Should we want to live for forever? I think it is about living well and actually enjoying your life, and being able to have a terrific quality of life. I think as much as we're talking about living well, we should also be talking about dying well. You know, it is not all about, you know, how long the race is. It is how great the race is. You know, this is really interesting research and who knows what we will discover in three or four years, but the compassion to actually allow someone to make a call about how they live their lives, that's what matters to me.Can I say I full agree with that and say that life is sacred entity and it is really not counted in years. It is what legacy you leave and how effective you are in the lifetime. We've had some people who've lived 20 years and have made great impact on the world. And you have people who have lived so, many, many years and have been a burden on society. I think it is about balancing. I don't measure my life in years. I measure my life in how much of an impact - I'm talking about building bridges of peace and to
understanding how well we're going to be able to live together as a society - and it is not about research. Life has been there for years. You know, thousands and thousands of years. So why are we going to look at it and measuring it in a way where, you know, how old we are in those, in time? You know, it...I want to go back to the fact that it is how enriching it is helps you to lead that part of the world into another, you know, level when you die. Because again, dying, with respect, and dignity, I think dignity, is one of the utmost, you know, things that you carry with you. During your life and at the end of your life.I'd love to talk to you about dignity because I think it is something that we don't really talk about enough. Greg Sheridan, what did you make of this research? I was really fascinated to, when I dug into the broader research, that actually as people grow older, they have less inclination to live for longer.Two reflections. One, is there are still an awful lot of books I want to raid.True.The other thing is life is a gift. There is nothing wrong with wanting to go on forever. There is no-one's life I'd like to end any sooner than...you know, I hope I live to see the Bulldogs win another NRL premiership and Cronulla come second.Maha brought up dignity, you brought up the Bulldogs. It's ul about what gives your life meaning? That's the two of us! Exactly. You got it.That's The Drum. Please thank the panel Sue Cato, Maha Abdo and Greg Sheridan. Tomorrow, Nakkiah Lui, Will Glasgow and Wendy Machin will join the panel. See you then.

JANE HUTCHEON: Tim Cahill
was the boy from the suburbs with a passion for the round ball which took him to the heights
of the English Premier League. He's Australia's all-time leading
scorer, playing three World Cups. He currently plays
for the Chinese team Shenhua FC. Tim Cahill, welcome to One Plus One. It's good to see you. China's obviously welcomed you
with open arms. It's an emerging football nation. What did you find the most different
thing about living there after living in New York? I think it's been
an amazing transition. Um, coming from Australia, living
in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Sydney, New York and then Shanghai, I've treated it as an adventure. You know, I've embraced the culture,
the food, the people, the lifestyle. But I've not really struggled
with anything. People talk about language,
people talk about the food. But growing up in Australia,
I think you're open to that at a very young age, of embracing different cultures
and ethnicity groups. And I suppose it's every day
I'm learning something. Picking up lingo. But it's been fun. Do you feel that you can get around
a bit more without being recognised? Or do you still get mobbed? I think at the start it was OK. It was OK where I could go out
and it wasn't a big deal, you know, a few people recognised me. But now, after how well
we've done this season, and obviously
we have the cup coming up, which is the first final in 17 years
for such a big cup, it's pretty hectic now for me. I suppose the only example
I can make is I did a New Balance appearance and we gave them 12 hours' notice
on Weibo and 1,000 people turned up. And I was like, "Wow." So Weibo is the sort of Twitter
in China? Yeah. And they're fanatical. Football is so big. Where I play,
there's 23 million people. I play for the blue team
and there's a red team. And you can just imagine how bad it
gets when they see you in public. (CHINESE COMMENTARY PLAYS) In Shanghai, the priority... ..in fact, in China the priority
for parents is education first and sport, particularly elite sport, really comes quite
low down on the list. I wonder, in terms of mixing
in education and sport, why were your parents
so driven to make you a footballer? I think firstly, you know, school
was always the main priority for me and my family. I think football was an outlet. My dad, coming from England, um,
heavily influenced me to that game. My mum's background is Samoan,
which is rugby. But it was something that I loved. And I suppose it was my only
get-out after school and weekends was to play football
and to enjoy it. They just helped me
follow my dreams. And I suppose, my kids going to
school in China, for me, is amazing. The set-up is one of the most
professional places I've seen, as a school. Um, but education, I agree,
it's important. Sport definitely comes second,
as children. Because, um, you know,
whatever they do, they've always got something
to fall back onto. But, you know, now in China,
they've made it compulsory for kids to play soccer
and to learn about it in schools.