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(generated from captions) This program is live captioned by Ericsson Access Services. Hello and welcome. I'm Ellen Fanning. Coming up - Labor's promise to be the party to fix inequality, but is there really as much to fix as Labor says there is? The UNHCR says the Australian Government has failed to honour its deal for vulnerable asylum seekers to settle in Australia. And strinthzs in Israel over security at -- violent tension in Israel over the security at Al-Aqsa Mosque. How are incidents reported there by outsiders?

Joining me on the panel tonight is John Lyons. The former editor of the Australian Women's Weekly, Kim Doherty. We have author and journalist Antony Loewenstein. G'day. In Canberra, a political scientist, Lindy Edwards. You can join us on Twitter and Facebook. Clever political positioning or genuine political reform? Bill Shorten has been pitching Labor as the party that will tackle rising inequality, especially in the tax system.It's not fair when a young couple, perhaps with their parents, go and bid on a house on a Saturday, their first home, and they're competing with an investor who is receiving taxpayer concessions.The Opposition Leader is set to reveal the party's major new economic policy as tax reform as its centrepiece, although details aren't yet forthcoming.We are very close to announcing further initiatives. Around what area?The tax system. We think it's not right.What area of the tax system?I'll check our detail and the devil is always in the detail. Watch this space. We'll make further tax reform announcements. What I'm also prepared to say here is we as a party are doing the hard work to try and create one tax system for all. Mr Shorten's claim inequality is at a 75-year high and ever worsening has the Government insisting Labor is anti-growth.Bill Shorten's given up on growth in the economy. He doesn't think Australians can do better by their wages increasing, by the economy grow, businesses doing better. For Bill Shorten now, it's all about how he carves tup. Not how he grows the overall economy. He's playing heavily into this idea of envy. And he's saying quite bluntly to Australians he doesn't have any plans to grow the economy and he wants to have a discussion about how it's all divvied up.Economic battle lines are being drawn - a debate between growth and inequality. Let's start with Lindy Edwards. Is inequality ever widening and currently at a 75-year high in Australia?Look, this is one of those cases of statistics but there are lots of ways you can calculate inequality. You can look at it in terms of income, wealth, you can compare the bottom 10% to the middle, you can look at the share of the top 1%. When you look at all of those things you come up with different stories and Labor is focused on the increasing share of the top 1%. Meanwhile, and particularly the increasing share of their wealth. Meanwhile, the Coalition is talking about the relationship between the bottom 10% in the middle and they're focusing on income but are leaving wealth out of the equation.Which is it? Is it a 75-year yawning gap in inequality or not? A lot of economists are saying tosh.My sense of this - and it is a hugely contested area - my sense of this is equality in Australia peaked in about 1980 and then we had the string of free market reforms where we saw growing inequality after that but the economy as a whole was growing. Those at the top were racing ahead. Those in the middle were doing better, growing as well, but not as fast. And then the welfare system was picking up those at the bottom. Since we've seen the collapse of the mining boom, those things have compressed a bit. Those that were made wealthy by the mining boom have been brought back to the pack a bit and some of Labor's improvements to things like the aged pension picked up those at the bottom. So we've seen a compression there. These things speak to the difficulties of using macro statistics. Those things don't really, the mining boom and that doesn't tell you what's happening for a young person seeking a job in Melbourne or Sydney.In the lives of individual people. We saw the Treasurer there saying Labor is anti-growth. I think that's being interpreted as he's saying that Labor has ended this idea or is threatening to end this idea of a concensus that we've had in Australia for many years, that is broadly cartoonishly described which is good for business and trickle down and be good for ordinary people?It's not working. There's a reason why globally there's a battle against neoliberalism. This idea that accepts that if business has less regulation, less tax, it provides higher wages for the average person. The facts don't bear this out. There's a reason why Labor, if they're clever and history would suggest that they're not in economic policy in my view, but if they are clever they'd see a lot what is happening in the UK with Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders in the US, which I'm sure they're getting inspiration from. Unless you have far less privatisation, far more nationalisation which Corbyn was suggesting in the UK...Six months before that election was considered eccentric and an outlying thought. Mad dog socialism.What can be certainly utilised here in that UK example was Corbyn was opposed by everybody in the maintreme andres the political elite. Despite that -- mainstream press and the political elite. Despite that he came close. 40%.They have been backed and there's only one way to do this - lower tax so there's less regulation which dunts work for the average person in the country.25-plus years of economic growth in Australia. We dodged a bullet with the GFC. Is it just the vibe that we're feeling insecure, and wages haven't grown? shouldn't
Confidence is down and perhaps it shouldn't be. I do think it's interesting watching Bill Shorten's message about inequality. It's a very broad message. We haven't seen any can tail yet and it will appeal to a lot of people -- detail yet and it will appeal to a lot of people. I have never seen a politician say, "Let's be less equal." Until we see detail ant how you go about sorting this out, if there is indeed actually a problem to sort out. Shorten ain't no Corbyn in terms of inspiration in my view. Shorten could if he was clever utilise some of those same arguments that worked well with the youth in the UK.It will be interesting what they're going to say this weekend.How much meat is there on the bones? Ross Gittins reckons that there is something to this in that privatisation has become an end in itself regardless of whether the private sector sometimes can be seen to be doing it better. You see rent-seeking and he points to a string of corporate scandals and says that's driving the sense as Shorten says that there's a 2-speed system, to haves and the have notes, one that travels business class and one that travels economy.You have to look at it in terms of Sydney and Melbourne in particular because housing and rent costs are so expensive. Last week we got the news the tolls, if you're coming from south-western Sydney into the city to work, as many tradesmen do, you'll be paying $7,000 or $8,000 in tolls. If you're on $40,000 a year in south-western Sydney, life is very unequal. If you're living in Albury-Wadonga, life is not as hard on the same salary. The reality is that's the demographic that puts government in and out of office - Western Sydney. That was the Howard battlers. They were the ones Bob Hawke went after and that's why Bill Shorten will win this political argument. It's easier for Bill Shorten to sell the inequality argument, than it is for Malcolm Turnbull who is weakened by the Abbott factor, to sell the growth factor.Is this really a debate about nequality or the toxic mix that John's pointing to of stagnant wages, peculiar phenomenon around housing prices in Sydney and Melbourne and somewhat in Brisbane, and the failure to get a coherent energy policy for however long and we have spiking electricity prices? Morrison talks about growth. Unlimited growth is simply not sustainable for a sustainable world. That's the contradiction the Liberal Party and I'd argue much of the Labor Party ignores. You can't have unlimited growth and think the world will end up in a better place environmentally.How do you solve that with a tax system when the only thing that's coming out - to be fair - a policy that hasn't yet been announced, let's go after the family trusts of thesumer rich?I think there's a couple of elements in this. The other parts is around the growing power of key corporations. If we look at the proportion of GDP owned by the ASX top 100 companies, it's increased by something like, from 27% to 43% in the last couple of decades. The idea that we're getting this big concentration of wealth towards the top end is an idea that's got traction. I think the fact Labor is focusing in on this data about the idea you're getting this concentration of wealth in the top 1% is a big parkts there's a real truth in that story. There's a real truth in that story in the UK and the US. It's been more moderated here because we have a Labor government that brought in the free market reforms here and because we've had a mining boom. But that basic dynamic they're speaking to, there's a story going around the world now which is basically neoliberalism has failed. Neoliberalism isn't driving growth in the way trickle down economics doesn't work. And I think tapping into that global narrative is the wind beneath Shorten's wings on this.We'll wait to see the details on the weekend. First, US President Donald Trump called it a done deal. A reference to the agreement between Washington and Canberra for the US to take refugees from Manus Island and Nauru. President Trump went on to call it the worst deal ever. Now the UNHCR, which has been helping to relocate those refugees, says Australia is acting in a way that lacks common decency. The head of the UNHCR has released a statement this afternoon saying:

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has denied such a deal exists. A Government spokesperson says Canberra's position has always been clear and consistent that no-one sent to offshore refugee processing centres will ever settle in Australia. If I can start with you, this is quite a misunderstanding.It is. I'm sure the UNHCR were hoping they had something in writing to back it up.Do we know they don't?I understand they don't. A clear understanding on their side doesn't reflect a clear understanding on Peter Dutton's side. They're in an awful position. They have to relocate under a deal they clearly don't agree with. But the time is pressing. We need to come up with a plan. We have 2,000 people who are being held in dreadful circumstances overseas. They are in our name. And being cared for or not cared for by us. We need a solution quite quickly.John, the statement is from the UNHCR chief, Filippo Grandi, and there have been statements from the UNHCR as a body damning these offshore detention centres. But this is a very strong statement from him talking about Australia acting contrary to the fundamental principles of family, unity and refugee protection and to common decency. What's the significance of it?I'm mystified by this. Surely if you're the UNHCR and get a very important deal - that's a crucial factor that those with an Australian connection who are vulnerable can resettle in Australia. Wouldn't you have something in writing? Wouldn't you at least have an email or something from the Minister's office? I think unless the UNHCR provides some sort of evidence, then I'm inclined not to think it happened. Because Peter Dutton, that's one thing he's made absolutely clear from the get-go is not a single one will come to Australia. Surely the UNHCR has some sort of evidence for this?Lindy f I can turn to you - after all these years, does it matter if some refugees, knhem have been deemed to be refugees by the UNHCR come and particularly as
join family in Australia, particularly as the statement says here that these are people who have had traumatic experiences, including sexual violence, and it says these are people with serious medical conditions and they can't receive support of close family.Look, this seems to me to be the worst example of sound byte politics where they don't want that sof saying we made a couple of exceptions and they're toeing the line that doesn't make sense. We're looking at such small numbers of people. The situations they're experiencing are so harsh and so extreme and yet we're holding this point of principle in what seems to be a kindergarten level of black and whiteness.Would it make any difference at this point to let these people in to Australia? The argument that's been put forward as the UNHCR says is-s they fully endorse the need to save lives and the practice of offshore processing is detrimental and as a fundamental contradiction in saving lives of people at sea, only to mistreat and neglect them on land?The UN has been saying offshore processing is illegal, immoral, inappropriate, wrong.Why are they participating in this?You have to ask the UN. There's lots of examples where the UN has a belief, rightly or wrongly, to have an involvement where the outcome may not be their ideal. I think the situation after nearly 25 years now of various different Australian government, Labor and Liberal, I think the argument is stronger now that there should be, it will be hard to do, a sports boycott against Australia. I guarantee you if there was a sports boycott against this country, people would change their view pretty quickly. It might be hard to imagine that now.Who would lead the boycott?Well, various other countries that engage with Australia with cricket or rugby or football. They'd have to have a better track record than we do with refugees?And many countries don't. It's partly rhetorical that I'm saying that. But to say Australia has been breaching international law for decades andultly although both sides of politics - let's face it, agree with this policy. If Labor wins the next election which seems quite likely, little will change. Kevin Rudd on the weekend said he blamed the Abbott-Turnbull government for the inappropriateness of Manus and Nauru. His hands in my view are as bloody as the Liberal Party. He initiated the policy in the first place. Sports boycott, bring it on. John?As someone who likes to watch rugby, I hope New Zealand would lead the boycott against Australia if there is one. It's not on my radar or something I've thought about. The thing I think about the offshore detention centres is it's being resolved, there's a deal at the moment with thumarijuana President. They're being moved oout of there. It's happening slow -- moved out of there. It's happening slowly. It's being resolved.Slowly.This is a very strong statement from the head of the UNHCR himself talking about the extensive avoidable suffering, the physical and psychological harm. He urges Australia to bring an immediate end to the harmful practice of offshore processing. Is it actually possible in Australia given where we are at the culture wars, to have a debate about this, about this practice? Despite bipartisan support for the policy? And should we?I think there has been a big debate and there will continue to be one.Has there?About offshore processing?Yes.In Australia it's been a very fiery issue the last two or three years. I think it's drawn a lot of Australians out, on both sides. So I think that.Most Australians support the policy. Most Australians, according to a lot of polls, according to elections, a lot of Australians oppose the brutality of the policy but sadly in my view Australians have decided for a long time they're comfortable with people being tortured offshore. People have spoken loudly and that's shameful as an Australian. That's the reality. We're about to talk about censorship and difficult issues. We'll turn to the Middle East. The latest flashpoint is metal detectors. And where those detectors are - outside the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, an area considered sacred to both Jews and Muslims. The installation of the security devices has triggered the bloodiest clashes with Palestinians in years. With seven people killed in separate incidents since Friday. The latest saw two Jordanians killed anden Israeli wounded in Jordan at this raily embassy. How are these flare-ups reported outside Israel? John Lyons has written a book on his six years as a Jerusalem correspondent called Balcony Over Jerusalem. In the book you talk about the way in which foreign correspondents in Israel censor themselves. So let's look at this story. We had the security agency in Israel that keeps very close tabs on Palestinian activists. Pretty much tear down the metal detector they said. It stayed in place. And we've seen the bloodbath that ensued. I mean, in a different nation, that would be the story. It doesn't seem to be the story here. How do you assess the reporting of this issue? One of Israel's top journalists has reported recently in the last few hours that the army has opposed the metal detectors. If you look at it in journalistic terms the story is the security experts say don't have the metal detectors because this is the single most sensitive spot in this raily-Palestinian conflict which has -- the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which has been 50 years in occupation.That's not the lead paragraph in any reporting of this story?The lead paragraph should be a major split between the political leadership of Benjamin Netanyahu, who wants to do this, and the security services. Ariel Sharon in 2000 went to the same area and more than 4,000 people were killed after that. Netanyahu knows that this is the most sensitive. There's a deal with the Jordanians that we administer this area and yet against security advice the PM of Israel is doing that. In a way that's the story but it probably won't be reported as such.The broader point you make with examples in the book from your time reporting out of Jerusalem, is that foreign correspondents in Israel censor themselves and you recall the story of sitting down and talking to a leading correspondent and you said, "Who does this and what did he reply?"Rereplied everybody. He's one of the toughest bureau chiefs around. I interviewed many and I found a common trait. Reuters even has their own special words that we're allowed to use that won't upset the Israelis. And I went there with the view that I've been in Washington and New York and report it as I saw it. Every time I'd write about settlement, something that's factual, you get targeted as a journalist. If you write the truth of what you see in front of you in Israel and the West Bank, you'll be savagely targeted.Are you being targeted by the different factions or by the government or by security forces?A combination.Let's put that to Antony Loewenstein. You've reported from Israel for years. Is that your experience?I've been living there for the last year and a half in Jerusalem. What John says is correct. I've been writing about it for 15 years. A journalist who is critical, Jewish, non-Jew, Muslim, Palestinian, Christian, whatever, if you are critical of the settlements or critical of the occupation or critical of the Israeli government or the way Israel lobby in Australia dishonestly pressures media organisations from the ABC and others and knu. , you will be targeted.Do you face the same from the Palestinian lobby?No. There's a lobby that exists. It is small but growing. It is relatively insignificant. I think one of the things that you find, anyone who spends time in Israel or the West Bank or Gaza, which John said is now occupation for 50 years and it is now permanent, we have to ask ourselves why so many people in the media and the political eletes, including in Australia, refuse to say the reality. Occupation as permanence is something that's ugly. I've spent a lot of time speak with Palestinians and Israelis. There needs to be far more honesty with politicians here and journalists that don't give in to Israel lobbying bullying. It happens all the time.Kim, if I can turn to you and Lindy - I know some journalists do, with the have we had the debate about refugees? You raised these - I'm a free-lance journal and say I work all over the place - I'm not talking about the ABC here. We're doing a story around asylum seeker detention centres comes up and there will be a big inhalation and in part it's a fear of being boliced by the Australian for reporting those sorts of stories. When and where have you seen journalists censor themselves? I think there's all sorts of reasons to do it, and it takes a brave journal to say stand up sometimes. The guys are talking about war zones and conflicts and personal security and perhaps access or protecting your sources. But I think in all sorts of situations journalists have to be careful and prudent.Talk about commercial pressures?And I think commercial, here in Australia, not in danger of necessarily being shot or attacked. More and more journalists are vulnerable. They're much more accessible than they used to be. So there's social media and mump more use of people's faces. They're much more able to be accessed and that can be all sorts of very strong views. There's that commercial pressure that comes with an industry that often relies on commercial partners to keep things afloat and there might be please step away from...Have you had that sort of direction?I know of journalists who have had some pressure to move away from perhaps junk food stories or the sugar lobby can be incredibly strong.An example you can share?That's a hard one in terms of specific examples.What's remarkable in this situation, despite the fact I'd argue a lot of the media coverage in Australia is vehemently pro-Israel in my view, public opinion in Australia has radically shifted. In the UK, here, the US, Europe...There's a debate in the Labor Party about whether to recognise Palestine. How is it possible if there's not widespread reporting?I'm interested that you've got that view, Antony. As somebody who only watches this as the level of interest as a general watcher, it seems to me that Israel, that the coverage has sort of taken a pretty negative view of a lot of Israel's activities. I'm not surprised the public opinion is moving against Israel but that seems to me because that reporting is happening. And I'm kind of interested to know what power it is that you think that the Israeli lobby is able to apply to all of these players?Let's put that to John. You were there for six years. And you talked at one stage about being pulled aside by Israeli authorities and you had a roburst exchange, I've seen you have robust exchanges with people trying to intimidate you and they backed o. All good.I've written a chapter in the book called The Lob eaf. It looks at the various trips all sorts of politicians and journalists people take. Relentless caravans coming through Jerusalem. That's the subtle part of it. I know by different groups but I can tell and it's in the book from my own experience inside the Australian which is a very strong pro-Israeli newspaper but my editors, the pressures upon them which they've talked about for the book, so these are...How is that pressure brought to bear?It's made clear that they're not happy with your performance. And the endless complaints and I did a Four Corners report two years or three years ago and then you're tied up for months and months defending it. In the end we defended every claim but official complaints. Before the Four Corners story even went to air one of the groups in Melbourne were circulating this is the complaints link, click on it and file an automatic complaint to the ABC.Have you experienced similar to that? You're nodding away. If you have an organised lobby, is there a kind of a wariness of journalists saying do I have the energy for this story?Or the resilience to put your face to a story. Even a story that might be fairly researched. There's all sorts of very strong lobbies. The breast feeding associations or there are certain storas that you tell and you know you'll get a really big strong hitback here in Australia and you have to be ready for that.I'm not arguing and neither is John the lobby hasn't got the right to exist. People have the right to argue for Israel, Palestine, for trees, that's not the point. The point is some groups are so belligerent and far right, they're supporting Israeli government policy which is pro-settlements, pro-occupation, anti-Arab and deeply racist. That's the problem. That's why you have in the US and here growing numbers of Jews who are saying that we don't share that kind of view.We're nearly out of time. So many pressures on journalists. You can see why the fake news narrative feeds in from Donald Trump. It is about how much news is fit to tell. How much news you can stand to tell. And how you tell it. Very good. We could keep going. We may do after you leave us. That's it for The Drum on air. Thanks to our panellists. See you tomorrow night. Goodnight.

I actually recently found out... JANE HUTCHEON: She's blazed a trail making her experience
of mental illness the cornerstone of her work. Double winner, don't be jealous. Comedian Felicity Ward's debut
comedy performance in 2008 won her an award for Outstanding Newcomer
at the Melbourne Fringe. Felicity, who grew up
on the NSW Central Coast, hosted the documentary,
Felicity's Mental Mission.

Felicity Ward,
it's so good to see you. Thanks for coming in.
Not at all. Thank you for having me. You grew up on the Central Coast
of New South Wales. Mm-hm. And you described your upbringing
as a normal family life. Yeah... Did you feel normal? No.
(LAUGHS) There were some bits
that were very normal. The great thing was my mum
was one of four and we lived on the same road
as Grandma and Grandpa, like we just literally lived
down the street. And her sister lived there as well. Wow. And then her brother
lived across the road. So, all of the family
was on one street and then her other sister
just lived around the corner. And because the age difference
between my mum and her younger sister is 15 years,
when Mum had kids, my aunties and uncles
looked after me and my sister.