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This program is not captioned. This program is live captioned by Ericsson Access Services. Hello. Welcome to The Drum. I'm John Barron. Coming up - Malcolm Turnbull scraps the 457 foreign worker visa but the Opposition says it's all about the PM's job. North Korea, just the usual hot air or could we be stumbling towards nuclear war? And another fatal shark attack in Western Australia, making news around the world.

With us on the panel tonight is Kim Doherty. Hi.Hey.Paul Farrell is back. G'day.Hey, John.Joining us tonight from Townsville in the great state of Queensland, Ewen Jones. G'day.G'day, John. How are you? Very well indeed. You can join in on Twitter as well. Facebook. We're hive streaming the program right now. First this evening PM Malcolm Turnbull has abolished the 457 visas for foreign workers, replacing it with two new temporary working visas. The PM says the reforms will focus on Australian jobs and Australian values.We should not underestimate either our success as a multicultural society or the fact that our success a built on a foundation of confidence by the Australian people that it is their government and their government alone that determines in the national interest who comes here and the terms on which they come and how long they stay.The visas will address temporary skills shortages for a period of two or four years. For the 2-year visa, the number of available jobs will be slashed. And it won't bow a pathway to permanent residency -- be a pathway to permanent residency. The 4-year visa will require better English language proficiency and both will need two years work experience and stricter background checks. The announcement came this afternoon with a video posted to Facebook followed by more traditional press conference in Canberra.This rigourous focus on our national interest will ensure where skill gaps arise and can't be filled by Australians, then foreign workers can come in, but not otherwise.Pauline Hanson is claiming credit for the decision, as is Senator Cory Bernardi. But Labor says this is about Malcolm Turnbull keeping his job.This is about saving one job, one job only. Malcolm Turnbull's. And it is a desperate ploy when Australians deserve a lot more better detail and a lot more action from this government.Interesting to note the number of new 457 visas has fallen in the past five years from more than 125,000 to under 45,000 new visa last year and none of the current 95,000 visa holders will be affected. The 457 visa dates back to the early Howard years in the mid 90s. It's been sort of ramped up and down at different points for different reasons since then. Would you say this sagood policy decision now or is it more of a political move?I think as Paul Keating once said, good policy is good politics. I think what you are seeing here is Peter Dutton on top of his portfolio, building on the work that Scott Morrison did, giving them time to look at the visa situation. You're seeing them move into 457 now. I would like to see Pauline Hanson take credit for something she's done as opposed to something she's said. The same with Cory Bernardi. I think those two are a shid show. What are you seeing is a -- side show. What are you seeing is a Minister in Peter Dutton coming up with a sensible solution. We don't have the mining boom at the moment. If we're able to gear up, if the situation changes, we're talking about more flexibility but increasing the number of applications or decreasing the number of joints and also increasing the test to get there is a very sensible policy.The number of foreign workers coming out on these visas has gone down dramatically in the last few years anyhow. We saw them down to 45,000 last year. Is this crackdown coming after the problem has already been fixed?I think there's always been an issue there with the 457s. For people that have had anything to deal with them, they're difficult to organise. They're very hard for a business to do. They're very hard on the immigrant themselves and it was open to abuse. I know it is something that occupied a bit of our time. You are seeing things where you are working on these things, narrowing down the scope of where they can be applied, that you don't have people working in positions like speech writers and media consultants on 457s when you have seen the great plethora of journalists lose their jobs at places like Fairfax, and people move into those positions like hairdressers. And we are talking about what ordinary Australians want to do and should be able to do. It shouldn't be that easy to bring people in.Do you have have a sense given this as a visa category has always been designed to have that flexibility thattuen talks ablts, whether stripping 200 -- that Ewan talks about, whether stripping 200 visas out, is this being seen to make a change or a material difference that couldn't have been made under the old visa?I think trying to monitor 650 different job areas, that's a lot of ground for any government to cover. I think it's a well-intentioned program that's been loosely managed. By cutting it down 200 and getting rid of goat farmers, I suspect, and bet and breakfast managers I believe. And radio announcers.TV hosts as well.TV hosts. There's an awful lot of scope in there that I don't think needs to be in there. If they can tighten that up, apply it more sensibly, hopefully save dollars along the way and still support the areas that need it. 457 visas have been very useful in regional areas where we need doctors and nurses and skilled people. It has been well intentioned but loosely managed. It's good to see.What about the rhetorical tone around this where the PM is talking about putting Australians first? Qaelt we will decide who comes here and the terms under which they come." I've heard that before somewhere.There's a familiar political speak going on in here. I'd almost like to say here is the government tightening up an area that needs to be tightened and addressed and all move on. To bring in rhetoric undermines what is essentially a good move.Paul, what's your take? Was this being rorted? Were being going, "We need a couple of people to fill this job and won't advertise locally? There was the market testing but questions as to how real that was too?There has been huge concerns with 457 visas and very consistent allegations of fraud and rorting that have gone on for a number of years now. So it has certainly been a big issue. And if these reforms go to addressing those issues, then that's fantastic. But I think what's quite unfortunate is that's it's all been wrapped up in a lurid wave of populism, this idea of putting Australia first and all these sort of things, it is really quite sad to see Malcolm Turnbull taking that line, when in theory that's not what these reforms should be about. The way I'm hearing him speak about putting Australia first, I'm wondering whether he's planning on getting a Southern Cross tattoo now. He did begin by saying Australia is an immigrant nation and he talked about the Snowy River andem all these positive contributions but then he went into that kind of nationalistic talk as well. Is he just trying to step on both sides of this issue?Look, I think he's certainly trying to step on both sides. You put this in the broader global context where the Trump Administration hours ago hedging and indicating that they are going to improvise their skilled migration program, similar announcements are coming out of New Zealand now. What Australia should be doing now is sending very positive messages to the global community that we are still welcoming and there is a huge opportunity here. The simple fact is that if we really were to put Australians all first and simply stopped skilled migration, Australia would collapse. There is no way we could continue, we don't have the skills here.One of the issues that this seeks to address is the idea that a 457 visa is a bit of a short-cut to residency. Now, if you take that off the table, if you take that particular sugar off the table, could we actually miss out on the best and brightest who are thinking, "I'll come and work in Australia as a software engineer" or whatever it might be, because if things could work out it could be a new life for their family and themselves?No. I don't think so. If you're getting the best and the brightest, you're paying for them. As we just said, if we are going to fill those shortfalls, it's about sending possible messages that we have the work force here. If the dollar is low and you're from another country and you get a good exchange rate to go home, then that's sending the money home and that's the way out of it. I think this is what the PM was saying. I don't think he's dressing this up and getting ready for a Southern Cross tattoo or anything like that. He's dressing it up as exactly what it is. This has been an area of employment and an area in our society and talking to someone whose city of Townsville still has unemployment, you have real issues here with unemployment. And you still have 457s floating through. We have to tighten this whole area up here. What we are doing here, what Peter Dutton seems to be doing here is concentrating on the areas he can tidy up and make it better for Australians.I did think one interesting fact coming off the back of your comment about 457s in your region is the highest number of 457s issued in your former electorate are to doctors and nurses. Are you saying you want less doctors and nurses?No. But I do think when you're sending a doctor to Georgetown, and they should be really good at English and really good and that their English should be very proficient and should understand what they're going to. Too often we've seen with nurses and doctors that they've been put into these places without the receriset English and without the receriset support -- requisite support and English, and their kids have to board possibly. That can bow a shock for people. There are real issues there. What we do understand is we do have an oversupply or reaching an oversupply of GPs but no-one wants to work in those areas. So what those people do is come in there and provide that service at a high end professional level. When you have older people and talk about those regional towns and those smaller towns, you're talking about an ageing population where you must be very clear in the way you speak. You must be very clear in the way you communicate. If their English isn't up to scratch they must be addressed. It is about making sure that they understand they're coming from London or from Zimbabwe or from Zaire around the world to a place in rural -- from somewhere around the world to a place in rural Australia or rurld western Queensland where their the culture shock of going into a place like that can overqhem absolutely everyone, including their community. You can find when the Catholic priests go out there, when the doctors go out, they have the time of their lives and never want to leave.Australia's Foreign Minister says North Korea's nuclear weapons program poses an unacceptable risk and must be stopped. The US says it is considering all options, including military action, despite North Korea's warning that a nuclear war could break out at any moment. Julie Bishop says the Trump Administration will look at what she described as new and creative ways to meet that challenge.North Korea is increasing the threat by increasing the scale and tempo of its ballistic missile tests and this is all in utter defiance of UN Security Council resolutions. And so the US is saying all options are on the table. We hope it will not come to that. If the US were to act, I don't envisage a situation where Australia would be asked to be involved in that. When I say act, clearly what the US would be looking at is taking out the nuclear facilities that are giving rise to our concerns.We have a situation here where a nuclear armed rogue nation in North Korea is threatening the possibility of atomic warfare if the US strikes at its nuclear infrastructure. Is this our generation's Cuban missile crisis? Sn should we be more worried?We may have a Bay of Pigs issue coming at us. I believe the US ships are due tew rive on Saturday, which is right when Mike Pence is due to land here and have a meeting with our PM. We could see some stand-off happening from Australia. It is incredible to watch this sort of brinkmanship, particularly watching Trump starting to make decisions on a world stage. He has shown he's not scared to be aggressive. And certainly North Korea looked like they're not bluffing either. Interesting times. How concerned do you think we should be with all this, Paul?I think we should be absolutely terrified. For the first time since I think 1953, the Doomsday Clock, that the Atomic Society manages and issues these directives, is at 2.5 minutes to midnight. It means we're closer than we have been in 60, 70 years to nuclear annihilation. That last point with 1953 when Russia tested its first H bomb, this is a really terrifying time. It's almost impossible to grasp the gravity of it because almost nobody in our generation really knows what nuclear war would look like. It's just horrifying.What's your take? Are you hearing that Doomsday Clock clicking or a few sabres rattling as they always do?We have every right to be very worried here. You have the maniac in North Korea and Trump on the other side, a tweet issued the order to bomb North Korea. He is just as likely to do that sort of thing. The big one for me is the people who are missing out on this are the general population of North Korea. That's the saddest place in the entire world. Those people are being theld ransom and continue to do so by this maniac that's in there. I think we have every reason to worry, and just hope that China can pull the right sort of pressure from their side and Russia to shut this bloke down. I don't see any way out of it because I can't see either of these two guys backing down. It becomes a very real concern for everyone.Let's get an expert opinion on this. Professor Gordon Flake is recognised as a global expert on North Korea and CEO of the US Asia Centre and joins us now from Perth. Welcome to The Drum. We're feeling a bit concerned around the panel here but you've been to North Korea, to the region in recent times as well. How worried are you?Of course this is not something that one should dismiss but strangely enough the level of alarms seems to grow the farther one is away from the Korean Pin ensulea. I was in Korea all of last week, at the invitation of a very capable Australian embassy in Seoul. And the population in Korea was much more focused on their upcoming domestic presidential election than what we're focusing on here externally. That's not to say these things aren't very serious developments. They are. There's been a gradual marked increase in North Korea's capabilities both in its missile and nuclear program. If there is one thing that's different, however, and this was reflected on the ground in Korea as well, is an increase in unpredictability about what the US response will be. If you're asking citizens in the region, obviously there's ongoing concern about Kim Jong Un and the north cefens but there is a new-found concern about what the -- North Korea but there is a new-found concern about what the US would do in this context.What about after the US launched that talk hawk cruise missile attack on north -- tomahawk cruise mussile attack on North Korea, if they decided to hit North Korea's nuclear infrastructure, what would be the possibility of that?An airfield without tremendous physical impact, but more symbolic. North Korea's nuclear program is vast and well protected. I don't know any analyst who believes there is a viable first strike option for the US. Those who are watching it more closely aren't concerned about any type of a preemptive action by the US. The real concern here is what happens when a relatively inexperienced, poorly informed leader in Kim Jong Un decides he's feeling too much pressure or out of his own volition conducts a provocation, a successful nuclear test, another missile test that somehow goes wrong. There lies the real risk? What will be the US response? I could tell you can great confidence over the last thurts years that the US would be the adult in the -- last 30 years that the US would be the adult in the room. They would be coordinating with close allies - South Korea and Japan - and other important allies in the region like Australia. In the current context, given the decision-making process we have seen with North Korea, I'm not entirely sure or how confident the US response would be. The counterresponse is what I'm interested in now.When our Foreign Minister talks about the US trying new and creative ways of dealing with North Korea, what do you think the US Administration might be considering? They have already looked North Korea with trade and China as a potential issue. Saying apparently to the Chinese President if you can sort this out, there will be a bit of a better deal for you on the trade front?One of the real difficulties in having followed North Korea for so long is that the idea new and creative don't come naturally to mind. We have tried almost everything under the sun to halt this North Korean program from sanctions to military build-ups to negotiations, to concessions on the South Korean side. There really isn't a lot new there. There's been a policy review in Washington DC by the Trump Administration. Although they'll give it a different name, it is essentially trying to balance pressure on North Korea through sanctions, trying to convince the Chinese to plia more proactive role. And enhancing our program together with South Korea and Japan. Obviously China has a very important role to play here. Maybe the one new thing that's happened is that the Chinese now at this point feel that they've got to deter not just North Korea but Washington DC. And so that added element of sunnernty clear hea has got attention in Beijing at this point.China is maybe the grown-up in the scenario. I can't say you've reassured us greatly but we certainly appreciate your expertise. Thank you for joining us.My pleasure and thank you.Staying in the west and a 17-year-old girl is dead and a family devastated today after a shark attack yesterday off the coast of Esperance in Western Australia. Laticia Brewer was surfing with her father at a spot known as Kelp Beds when she was bitten on the leg. Her mother and sisters were watching helpless from the shore. She died from a loss of blood. The beach remains closed today. Following a change of government in the west no drum lines have been deployed.The Government is currently reviewing the policy, so at the moment the status quo is we would put boats in the water, keep the public out of the water and our priority is to try and advise all holiday-makers to stay safe and stay out of the water.So obviously a tragedy but still statistically a very rare event. How much public pressure do you anticipate there will be to do something, maybe another cull, maybe it's a return to the use of drum lines as the previous Barnett Government was doing?I think drum lines is a sensible thing. It's what we have here and around Magnetic Island. They are a sensible thing that keeps the sharks away from the beaches. Western Australia has got such a massive coast and such great surf along so much of it, it's impossible to do it all. But we have more trouble here in North Queensland with stingers and crocodiles than we do with sharks. But we still have drums out there. Look, for me, I don't go on to the ocean mainly becausiafect tides I'm that big. But you don't go into the ocean if you're going to worry about if you're going to be worried about getting bitten by a crocodile or a shark or a stinger. It can hurt you. When I go to Byron Bay or the Gold Coast, there are no problems there but there are sharks there as well. Sooner or later someone will get bitten. What we have to do is take the sensible response and I think drums and nets are the sensible response where applicable. But Western Australia is such a big state.Yeah, in a way since isn't about statistics. Because we're talking about maybe two or three Australians a year die as a result of shark attack and yet this is literally being beamed around the world as being reported in the US and elsewhere, another fatal shark attack. Is this ultimate leaf about something other than just comparing it to road deaths or something else? We need to find a different context to deal with shark attacks or should we be more objective do you think? It's a hard one to be objective about. That poor family, any of us could put ourselves in their shoes and think how horrific that must be. But I think there's an opportunity here to say that there is preventive things we can do and maybe we're not doing enough. There are some studies out there, the University of Western Australia has done fantastic work in this area of shark deterrence, using the electromagnetic sensitivities of sharks to repel them. They did a test that they released last year. It was 322 different tests repelled almost 100% of the sharks and it was a wearable or potentially wearable piece of technology. There are tests and there are experimentation going on all over the country at the moment. I'd love to see a bit more money put into that, potentially as a way of kind of dealing with it, without going down the sort of unenvironmental sort of area which a lot of the surfing families and surfers say they've don't want culling. But I'm sure that they would embrace deterrence and maybe a new Australian specialty.It's an interesting point. When it comes to fatal shark attacks the majority are people engaged in a sport. Surfing, diving, or snorkeling, etc... Should we be thinking of this more as a response to when Phillip Hughes was killed when playing cricket, we find a technological solution here to protect ourselves rather than to try and kill every shark in the sea? Absolutely. I really agree with Kim's points. I've been a surfer for a really long time and go out to Cronulla every week and it worries me. The idea that there are definitely sharks out there. There are some real unpredictable migration patterns happening right now across the east and the west coast.Do you take precautions? They safe don't go at dawn or dusk or not on cloudy days. Do you think about those things?Sometimes I take that advice and sometimes I'll go for a dur surf. Dawn is a great time to go surfing. If the water isglassy and there's great waves, you sometimes take those risks. I question which response being to kill as many sharks as we can because I think that's really going to damage our marine ecosystem. And what that could do could have really unforeseen consequences. And it's obviously a really tragic situation and I can completely understand that people are angry. When you're angry you do want to sort of strike out and retaliate against something. In this case that is the sharks themselves. But we can't just kill everything that could potentially harm humans. We would kill all the spiders and all the animals larger that had more than 10 teeth. I think it would be a pretty grim situation. I think there's a lot we can do to mitigate those risks. I'm wary of it and careful of it but sometimes you've got to consider that if you are doing these kind of sporting activities you do assume at least a degree of risk whatever you do.For politicians do you think the response here is to do things that reassure people like putting up nets, even though they may not prevent particularly surfers who are going to go much further out than bathers and so on? Or can they even address the irrational side of this primal fear that makes this a global news event?I think you've got to take the east coast experience and the west coast experience as two different things. West coast has such a great expanse of places you can go surfing with very afew communities. The east coast is completely populated along the way, where the people do surf. There are things you can do because there's economics around it. There's no way in the world in Western Australia you could net or drum every beach where there is a break. Like Paul was saying, you could have all the warnings in the world but if the sursf boiling you're going for a ride, you're going to go out there because you're not going to miss those waves. But there's got to be that, and the populations do understand I think, the population does understand and the surfing population does understand there is inherent risk and it's about your own management of that as well.OK. That's all the time we have for another edition of The Drum. Thank you to our panelists tonight. Ellen Fanning will be your host tomorrow night. I'll be back here at the same time next week. Goodnight.

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