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Australian Agenda -

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This is PM Agenda.

Welcome to the show. The

painful wounds within Labor

over the dumping of Kevin

Rudd last year have been

reopened at a terrible time for Julia Gillard.

Struggling in the polls and

struggling to sell her plans for a carbon tax the Prime

Minister is now facing renewed questions over her commitment on the issue.

commitment on the issue.

Julia Gillard today visited

a gas-fired power station in

Dalby in Queensland, the aim

was to talk up the benefits

for lower emission energy

sources like gas if a carbon

price is introduced. Even

this event didn't go smoothly

though as pro est testers

gathered at the gate to voice

their anger over the impact

coal seam gas drill ing is having on farmland and water

supplies in the area but the

Prime Minister's dig biggest difficulty is dealing with

her comments on her

predecessor last night. Last

night Kevin Rudd finally

admitted he was wrong to have shelved his emissions trading

scheme last year. He then

went on to discuss advice he

was getting from cabinet

colleagues at the time. I

don't think it is a secret to

all assemble here that were a

diversity of views within the

Labor Party at the time and - And within the cabinet?

That wouldn't be stretching

the truth too far. And so

you had some folk who wanted

to get rid of it all

together, that is kill the

ETS as a future proposition

for the country. I couldn't

abide that. There are others

who said we should stick to

the exists timetable, apart

from the fact that the Senate

couldn't deliver it. So I

tried to find a way out the

middle of all of that,

preserve the unity of the

government. On balance it

was the wrong call because we

should have simply tried to

sail straight ahead. You

make mistakes in public life,

that was a big one, I made

it. Kevin Rudd wouldn't go

any further last night, but

at the time of his downfall

he told the en tire caucus it was Julia Gillard and Wayne was Julia Gillard and Wayne

the emissions trading scheme. Swan who urged him to abandon

It was Lindsay Tanner and

Penny Wong who he said wanted

to press ahead. The reminder

that Julia Gillard wanted to

duck the fight on the ETS in

that Kevin Rudd is again the last term and the fact

talking about the issue made

for some uncomfortable

questions to the Prime

Minister today. I'm not going

to be drawn into events of the past. the past. I understand that

some people are interested in

those times and will be

asking questions about them,

but for me the important

thing is this nation's

future. Being a prosperous

country. I do not believe it

is proper to discuss confidential discussions

between cabinet colleagues,

but I have always believed

that we needed to tackle

climate change. Tony Abbott

meanwhile was milking the

issue for all its worth. The

latest stop on his Pollie

Pedal tour this week was

Armadale where he visited

some dairy farmers to discuss

the milk price war and the

carbon tax. The Opposition

Leader also called on the

Prime Minister to pull her Foreign Minister into line.

I'm just not going to get

into what is a very, very

serious fight inside the

Labor cabinet. It appears

that the Foreign Minister is

deeply at odds with other

members of the cabinet and I

think it's time for the Prime

Minister to restore a bit of

discipline. So is Kevin Rudd

alone in thinking it was a

mistake to shelve the ETS and how worried are Labor MPs

about the reopening of these

old wounds? I spoke a little earlier to the Finance

Minister Penny Wong. Penny Wong thanks for your time.

Good to you with you. You were Climate Change Minister

when Kevin Rudd shelved the emissions trading scheme, you

had to defend the decision at

the time. Do you now agree

with Kevin Rudd that it was a

mistake? Well look what I'm

focused on what is what we

are doing now which is to try

to put a price on carbon,

taking up the fight to Tony

Abbott on this issue, given

he has turned his back on

action on climate change and

having the die logs with the

Australian people as - dialogue with the Australian

people as the Prime Minister

is about why it is we need to

put a price on carbon and

move to a lower pollution

economy. Clearly not all of

your colleagues are moved to

the future exclusive ly so do

you agree that decision in

the last term was a mistake.

It's a decision that

political historians and

political journalists no

analyse and doubt will continue to

analyse and consider, and

people have various views

about that. People in the

Labor Party too? Look, I

think what's important here

is to remember not just where

we have been but what we are

doing now. This government

will be judged by what we do

now in terms of the price on

carbon, the Prime Minister

Julia Gillard is leading that

fight because she knows this

is the right thing to do.

That's what we will be judged on that's what the Prime

appreciate the Minister will be judged on, I

appreciate the need to focus

on the here and now and the

future but very briefly was

it a mistake? There is no

doubt it was a decision that

had, as I have said before

implications, and a lot of people will trawl over what

they were, but I think the

important thing is this -

unlike the opposition, unlike

Tony Abbott we have always

had a clear view that you

need to put a price on

carbon. The Prime Minister

is out there in the

Australian community talking

with Australians about why it

is we need to do that. A

responsible reform, and she

is showing the leadership

leadership to deliver it.

Kevin Rudd told caucus at

the time that you and Lindsay

Tanner wanted to press ahead

with the carbon pollution

reduction scheme and it was

Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan

who wanted to a abandon it

the point now is doesn't it

leave a big question mark

over Julia Gillard's

commitment to introducing a

carbon price? Absolutely not

and I think people should

look at what the Prime

Minister is doing now. What

she is out there arguing for,

I think she's demonstrating her commitment in the way

political leaders do by

taking on tough possibly at times unpopular but the right reforms in the national

interest. I mean - ... just

hang on a sec, when Bob Hawke

took on the tariff debate it

wasn't popular, when Paul

Keating took on thenate every

title debate that -- native title debate it wasn't

popular but they were argued through by Prime Ministers prepared to take their case to the people and explain why and that is what she is

doing, The point is when the going going tough in the last term the suggestion is she

ducked it, wanted to run from

the fight. I don't think anybody looking at the Prime

Minister and what she is

being prepared to do since

becoming Prime Minister and

what she is currently doing

in taking on a very tough

fight against a man, Mr

Abbott who came to his

position on the back of opposition to action on

climate change. I don't

think anyone looking at what's happening now would

suggest the Prime Minister

hasn't got the metal for this

fight. Why do you think

Kevin Rudd is talking about

this now? He was asked a question on a television show question on a television show

last night and he answered

it. Is it helpful though? You know, there is

always going to be discussion

about what's gone before, as

the government we need to be

focused on what we are doing

now and explaining to the Australian people the way

ahead. Do you think Kevin

Rudd is trying to damage

Julia Gillard? Look, Kevin is

a good man, a man who is

serving in the Gillard

cabinet and he has made very

clear his view that he wants

to be Foreign Minister and

that's the job he is

enjoying. You don't think he

wants to get the leadership

back? We have a leader, we

have a Prime Minister and she

is out there advocating for a

carbon price on behalf of the

government. But you don't

think Kevin Rudd wants the

leadership back? I think

Kevin is very happy as he

said being the Foreign

Minister, and he is doing a very good job at it. very good job at it. Let's

move on to the Budget. We

are being told it is going to

be a tough budget once again

and there are some pressures there particularly after the natural disasters we have

seen here in Australia and in

Japan, the Reserve Bank's

pointed that out as well in

its statement today. What's

it doing to the budget bomb

line, what's the latest estimate? We know there is

going to be a significant

drop in revenue from company tax. We

tax. We know that treasury

has advised a further $3 billion off the company tax

take, it is likely over and

above the reduction we also

saw already - already saw reported in the November

update. So there is obviously... Because of a

number of things one is the

patch work economy, so some

parts of the economy are growing very strongly others

less so. We also as you know

have a cautious consumer, and

of course we have a high

dollar and that in the

November update as you might

recall did mean we saw some revision downwards and we

have seen even more significant revision

downwards now. So that's

going to make what was a tough job even tougher. So

$3 billion off the company

tax receipts the government

will collect. That's right, that's since the November

update and it is about 6 billion since the last

Budget. So that's giving you an indication on the hit an indication on the hit on

revenue we are expecting.

This Budget has to be about

recognising the demans of the

long term and the demands of

the long term are an economy we anticipate in the years

ahead to be growing very

strongly, with all of the

benefits and some of the

challenges that brings. It

is true we have some short

term softness in for example

as I said on the consumer

side and of course on the

revenue side for the reasons outlined. So we have got outlined. So we have got to manage as a government

bringing down a budget that

recognises those short term

challenging but not to be

diverted from the long term.

Are any areas quarantined

from spending cuts? This is a

rule in, rule out budget

question I think. Well

asked. It is a principle.

Are some areas too important

to cut? We know there are

areas that for example we

already have a program in the

Defence area, the strategic

plan, so that's obviously

already delivering savings to

be invested in

capability... So Defence

won't be cut? That plan is

out there but broadly this is

a budget where we have taken

the view, we have got it all

very closely in a very

disciplined way at government

spending. I wanted to ask

you quickly on a couple of

other matters the Greens are

very upset with the Prime

Minister over her comments

last week in a speech where

she said the Greens would

never embrace Labor's delight

at sharing the values of

every day Australians who

lead partnershipful and

dignified lives driven by

love of family and nation.

Do you agree the Greens don't share a love of family and

nation? I don't agree the

premise of your question. I

think what the Prime Minister

is expressing there is the

difference between a party of

government which appeals and

seeks to appeal to a broad

section of the Australian

population, and a minority political party such as the

Greens political party who really have an agenda around

possibly one or two seats in

the lower house but prim ly

-- prim ar ry arly are an

upper house party, She say s

they don't share the values

of every day Australians. I

think it is a expression of a difference between a party

that is a broad-based party

and a party that is a

political party in minority

and a political party that

appeals to a smaller section

of the population. It is a

bit like saying they -- it is

a bit different saying they

don't share a love of family

and nation. She is

expressing a view that Labor

is a party himselfly and

today a -- historically and

today a party of broad

being opened southern appeal. Detention centre

Tasmania, this is going to

cost $15 million, all of this

must be adding up. As you

detention system and strains put together the budget the

must be costing a fair bit.

Detention is expensive ask

the previous government. They

spent hundreds of millions of

dollars on their detention

regime. We don't apologise

for putting the resources in

to ensure we maintain a proper detention system consistent with the policies

we have outlined. Are you

spending any less or more

than the Howard government.

The spending we have is in

the Budget paper, is in the

updates and in the a

appropriations bills. Julia

Gillard's former chief of

staff Amanda Lampe will she

make a good national

secretary for the ALP? These

are matters for the organisational party and I

will leave that to them. Thank you. Good to speak

with you. After the break we

will be joined by our panel

Lenore Taylor and Dennis

Shanahan for a look at those

us. issues and more. Stay with

In a moment latest news head looips with

Nina. -- news headlines with

Nina. Prime Minister Julia

Gillard is in damage control

after former PM Kevin Rudd

broke ranks with the Labor Party yesterday admits he

made a mistake delaying the

ETS. Speaking on live TV last

night Mr Rudd revealed his

cabinet was deeply split over

the issue, that ultimately

led to his replacement. Mr

Rudd admitted some of his

cabinet ministers argued last

year for the emissions trading scheme to be killed

off all together. The

opposition says the PM needs to ensure cabinet

confidentiality. The government has announced it

will build a new immigration

detention centre to house 400

single adult refugees. The

temporary centre will be

built at upon upon, 30 km

north of Hobart. The facility

is expected to be up and

running next month and will

cost the Department of

Immigration and citizenship

$15 million to upgrade. The opposition says it is further

evidence of the government's

rolling crisis in handling

immigration issues. The role

commission into New Zealand's

fatal Pike River mine disaster has begun. A

minute's silence for the

victims was held before the

preliminary hearing got under

way. The 15 week inquiry will dissect events

surrounding deadly Methane

explosions last November. 29

disaster including two men were killed in the

Australians. The Reserve

Bank has left the official

cash rate on hold at 4.75%.

Making it the 5th month in a

row rates have remained

unchanged. Economists say

the overall RBA statement is

consistent with that of last

month's report. They are predicting the RBA will

continue to hold rate s until

consumers start spending

rather than saving. The

propose ed multi-billion

dollar merger between the

Singapore stock exchange has Australian Stock Exchange and

Treasurer Wayne Swan has suffered a major setback.

announced he plans to block

the deal as it currently

stands. He says however he

is open to considering other

proposals from the two

companies, SGX say it is will

continue to discuss options

with the ASX. In sport Manly

Anthony Watmough is facing coach Des Hasler has admitted

the sack if he commits

another off-field offence.

Watmough was charged after

urinating on a shop frond

window on Sunday night. And

taking a look at tomorrow's

weather:

Welcome back. Time for our

panel and joining us this afternoon in Canberra Lenore

Taylor, national affairs

Morning Herald' and Dennis correspond for the 'Sydney

Shanahan the political editor of 'The Australian', thanks

for joining us. Now I want

to start with Kevin Rudd's

comments on the ETS decision,

the beginning of last year

which was the beginning of

the end really for Kevin

Rudd. Lenor, you broke the

story at the time about the

decision to shelve the ETS.

The key question is now I

guess what position Julia

Gillard took. What position

did she take? How strongly

did she argue it should be shelved? I think looking back

to that time there was sort

of two or three months there

where this issue was fought

about, debated, discussed in

the senior echelons of the Rudd government for two or

three months. When I wrote

about it at the time I was

told that Julia Gillard was

in the delay camp, the people who wanted to sort of find some way of delaying the

whole thing. Beyond the

election. Beyond the

election. When I went back

and really dug into it after

the election and did a big

post-mortem of all that went

wrong with the Rudd era, the

end of the era, I was told

she in fact had supported by

the end the kill option. Now

what isn't clear is exactly

what the kill option was. I

was about to say.... Because most of this discussion took place as a tactical discussion about how to get

the ALP through the election

campaign. What do they do?

They haven't got it through

the Senate, it's a dead duck,

Tony Abbott's campaigning on

it anyway, do they go in and

fight for it, how do they

sort of try and not talk about it much during the

election time. That was the

context of the discussion. I

imagine the kill option would

have been let's not be half

pregnant about this and go to an election with it still

possibly going to happen. We

need to kill it dead and say

we will never do this. I'm

not clear whether it was the

last bit, we will never do

this. I think the kill option was let's try to find

a way where we say we are not

going to do this, we will

revisit it after the

election, we will have

another look at it. What I'm

not clear about is whether it meant we don't support pricing carbon anymore. I

don't think that it was

pushed to that extent in

those discussions. We need

to bear in mind exactly what position Dennis Julia Gillard

took to the election as well.

Now she is fond of saying these days that the position

she took was in favour of a

carbon price, even though she

ruled out a carbon tax. But

it was more nuance than that. it was more nuance than that.

It was when we have community

and business consensus. This

is the thing, a lot of people

have forgotten because it was

ditched so quickly, the citizens assembly of 150

people. This was designed to

create consensus before we moved to an emissions trading

scheme, before we moved to a

carbon price, so in a way her

explicit program at the last election was about election was about having a

big step in between, a big phase... A process. A process which had to get

community consensus. And

explicit ly ruling out a

carbon tax. So her position

is really quite different to

what it was that she took to

the election. And that position at the election is

looks to me like the sort of

annunciation of the delay. Of the delay option. That

was the delay option. That's

right and again let's right and again let's

remember that in December

after Copenhagen which I

noticed Kevin Rudd has now

described as imploding which

I don't think he has used quite that description

before. Certainly not at the

time. No, certainly not at

the time. That we know he

was being urged by the

leadership group on Christmas

Eve that year to go for a

double dissolution backing on

ETS We now a lot of the

people came out of that meeting thinking they had meeting thinking they had

broadly reached a agreement

to have a double dissolution

early in the new year and

were surprised then when the Prime Minister of the day

never pulled the trigger.

The other key question now is why is Kevin Rudd talking

about it now. You can say he

was asked the question he has

got to give an answer but he could use the answer that Julia Gillard and others use

and that is "I'm not going to

talk about it". It is pretty clear I think when asked a question which affects his

legacy, which affects his reputation Kevin Rudd is not

going to tell a lie. And he is going to come out there

and he is going to say it.

Now, he started to draw back

on whether he was actually

breaching cabinet solidarity, and the explanation is well

these were discussions he

had. His office today is

saying these were discussions

with cabinet colleagues not a

cabinet discussion. Not a

cabinet discussion. That's a bit of

bit of a.... It is and if you look at the transcript

from last night he actually

was asked in cabinet and says

"Yes". But look, I think

what he is trying to do is

look after his legacy and in

the meantime he's trying to

explain - he took responsibility for the decision which was his

responsibility, but he is not

going to back off the fact

that there were people... But

you don't think he is

deliberately destabilising

Julia Gillard? No, I think he

is tunisticly when asked

about - opportunistically when asked about defending

his legacy he is going to do

it. If that makes life more difficult for Julia Gillard which undoubtedly has today.

They have lost another day

campaigning on the carbon

tax. They have and another

day when the polls are

horrible as well. Within

Labor MPs are watching Kevin

Rudd fairly closely in recent

weeks aren't they? His

demeanour, what he is saying,

how worried are they? I think

they are watching him and are

a bit concerned about it. I

think what it looks to me what he is doing is

rehabilitating his image, his

reputation, in whatever forum

he can to do that. He is

kind of going over the heads

of his colleagues. I think

he knows he is not going to

be able to win them back. He

is really going over the

heads of commentators to a

large extent as well and

going back to try and sort of

appeal to the voters by being

the same old Kevin that they

liked when he was Kevin O 7,

a bit chipper, a little bit

self depro indicating, a

little bit odd -

Deprocating, I don't know who

calls Zimbabwe Zim. But this

is how he rose to stardom in

the first place, through the

people, the popularity. The

Twitter response to 'Q and A"

lasted night, very positive,

it came tat at a time after

his quite clear success in

Libya and the no fly zone.

So she is backing up this

chipper attitude with some

policy advances overseas. So

he is actually working at the

job and working at public - you know,

you know, add ulation. The

Newspoll out today has swung

against Labor quite sooeb

sooebly. The #3ri78ry vote

-- severely. The primary

vote down. It seems to me

there is is a lot of volatility in the electorate. Yes, and the interesting

thing is a lot of the other

polls are showing similar

move s I'm being told by

party strategists they are picking up the same volatility. Some Labor

ministers have said to me

"What are you get anything a

poll now is a referendum on

the issue of the week". So

that there is clearly a shift

moving, people moving between

the Greens and Labor and I

think one of the things that has occurred with Julia

Gillard's attacks on the

Greens and the Greens facing

more scrutiny as a result of

the NSW election is that the

Greens vote has dropped and

so that the Coalition's

primary vote this week has

gone up while Labor has gone

down. So the two-party

preferred vote is down for

Labor as well. Down to an

eight year low. That's bad

news, Labor is saying they

expect to stay down for a

long time. I guess the big

issue in the last couple of

weeks was the NSW election

and the focus on Labor and

all its problems in NSW can't

have helped federal

Labor. Everybody writing open

letters to everybody no that

doesn't go down well with

voters at all and the

nervousness in the Labor

ranks they all know they have

got a long fight. They all know they are going to be

down in the polls for some

time. But I think they were

kind of thinking after the last Newspoll that maybe they

had found the bottom. Maybe

they had figured out what was

the bottom, what was how low

they could go and maybe not.

they could go and maybe not.

They keep staring over the

abyss. Chris Bowen. The

Immigration Minister has

announced today another

detention centre being open.

This one in Tasmania, it is

open a temporary one we are

told. Here he was making the

announcement today. I have

indicated we are pursuing a regional and international

solution to a regional and international problem. In

the meantime I have indicated

we need to expand or detention network to cater

for that demand and that's

what we are doing as part of

what we are doing as part of

prudent and necessary

contingency planning. It

looks a bit ad hoc this process, let's open one here,

let's open one there. Every

few months they are opening a new detention centre. Does

the government need to

revisit either the processing

time, mandatory detention

itself, or find another location for these centres?

It looks ad hoc I think

because it is ad hoc and yet because it is ad hoc and yet

they really do need to have a

coherent policy. I mean,

they still are clinging to the East Timor solution even though it is clearly a dead

duck. They haven't got any alternative off-shore

processing centre to announce

although presumably they must

be working on something, if that's not going to work then

they need to clearly

annunciate what their

on-shore processing policy is

and what it is going to mean

in the longer term but at the moment it is kind of like

they are pretending to have

one policy while they are implementing something quite

different. And whenever you

open one of these, whether it

is near Hobart, Perth, you

are buying a big row with the

community. In Shirga in Queensland, the Adelaide

Hills, this time in Andrew

Wilk, ee aelectorate. He is

a long term opponent of

mandatory detention and

particularly when it is in

his electorate. So they are

having trouble dealing with

the basic policy they have, of mandatory deterrence and

an increasing number of

illegal boat arrivals. The

two can't be dealt with and deal with processing times

quickly. It is not possible.

Processing times have been

the trouble for illegal boat

arrivals since the 90 s, that

has been the problem.

Phillip Ruddock as opposition

spokesman on immigration in

1993 when the mandatory

detention legislation went through complained about

processes times. It is still

there and every time you get more people you have more processing delays. You get

slower and slower. All in

all not a great day for Labor

you would have to say. We

are out of time for this discussion. Dennis Shanahan

and Lenore Taylor thanks for

joining us. After the break

we will be talking to the we will be talking to the

former Liberal leader, now

the ambassador for the yun.

Brendan Nelson, he is in

Stay with us. Australia at the moment.

Welcome back. The carbon

price dell mania has cost the

leadership of a number of

Australian political leaders,

Kevin Rudd, Malcolm Turnbull

and Brendan Nelson. As

Liberal leader Dr Nelson was arguing against the trading scheme worried that government's emissions

Australia would be getting

ahead of the rest of the

world. He was dumped as

leader for Malcolm Turnbull

is instead. Now Brendan Nelson

is Australia's ambassador to

the European Union and

representative to NATO. The

main focus fortunato at the

moment of course is the military intervention in

Libya and where things are

headed in that region. Dr

Nelson is visiting Sydney at

the moment, and I caught up with him a little earlier. No-one has done anything

which is outside the confine

s of the security council

resolution, and President Obama has made it clear he doesn't rule out the possibility of providing arms and support to the rebels.

NATO at this stage as you

would know, I'm Australia's

representative ambassador to

NATO, and at this stage they

are making sure it does

everything it possibly can

and will do in fact to work

entire ly with the security

council reslug. There does

seem to be some argument

amoungs NATO partners about

what the end goal here, at

least a lack of clarity.

What is the aim, what should

the end result be in Libya?

Well look, David, it is not

for us, it is not for

Australia, it is not

fortunato and its members or

any other country to decide

the end goal in Libya, that

is the decision that needs to

be made by the Libyan people.

Our end goal if you like, if you want to describe it in

those terms is to make sure

that the Libyan people are

able to make decisions about

their own future. And that

in the process that they are

protected from the violence

and the behaviour of Colonel

Gaddafi with which we are only too painfully familiar.

Can I turn to some domestic

matters. There is of course

heated debate here in

Australia about the carbon

tax at the moment and whether Australia will be getting ahead of the rest of the

world. From what you have

seen in Europe where there is an emissions trading scheme in place would Australia be

getting ahead of the rest of

the if we introduced a carbon

tax? In Europe the scheme has

had quite a number of

concerns in relation to

leakage and there have been

some fraud in relation to the

distribution of credits and

permits, however Europe is

moving closer to having a

much more

trading scheme and the much more rigorous emissions

European Union represents

about a quarter of global

economic output, that is

Europe's position, and the

only thing I would say in

relation to climate change

and action on it, that the

Europeans see Australia

generally speaking as an

ally. That Australia, both

sides of politics here are

committed to adaptation of

mitigation, I explained the

Australian government is now

seeking to put a price on

carbon, the opposition has

its own plans in relation to

practical action on climate

change but whaft there there

is a partisan and intense

political debate in Australia

that Australians generally

speak ing accept we do need

to act in relation to climate

change both sides of politics are proposing to do so but have a different way of going

about it. I have got to ask, it must be a difficult

position for you as Liberal position for you as Liberal

leader you resisted the idea of an emissions trading

scheme, and in many ways you

lost the job because you

didn't want Australia to get

ahead of the rest of the

world and the internal debate

in the Liberal Party at the

time ran against you on that,

now Tony Abbott's hardened

the position, as your view on

this issue of price carbon

changed? Well, look, the

last thing I intend to do is

political to comment on domestic

political politics of that

nature and I'm certainly not

going to pass any comment at

all on the position taken by

the opposition in relation to

climate change. That is

entirely a matter for the

opposition and Australians

will make their own judgments

about the debate and where they think Australia should

go on this. Let me ask you

also about the issue of

tackling smoking in

Australia. You have been talking at the

talking at the Australian Medical Association

conference today, the

government is moving ahead

with plain packaging of

cigarette packets hoping to

have this introduced next

year, the opposition is waiting to see the legislation on this, what's

your view on this particular

matter? As a former

President of the AMA you have

some pretty strong views on the problem of smoking? Australia has been

for more than 20 years

through successive governments a

governments a leader in

tobacco control, this is the

last important instalment and

I think every member of the Australian pallet, doesn't

matter whether you are on the

- -- member of the

Australian Perth, every

member needs to ask himself,

what is most important to me.

The health and in particular protecting the well-being of young Australians who might

be attracted to taking up smoking, part of

smoking, part of the packages

and marketing of the tobacco

industry is to see packaging

reinforce s images of

identity and social

aspiration of young people so

longed for in the formative

years and we have a

opportunity now to break responsibility and

that. To put it into plain packaging that just says the name of the product that's

been soltd. It has got all

the had the warnings on it

and if people choose

and if people choose to

lawfully take up smoking at

the adult age that is their

business but I will be very

concerned if the Australian

the challenge of leadership Parliament does not rise to

and support this. Brendan

Nelson talking to us earlier

and apoll guys for the audio

problems in that interview.

Let's look at what's been

happening in business and

finance. Jason Kerr from the

business channel is with us.

A couple of big stories I want to

want to start with the

Australian Stock Exchange

merger with its Singapore

rival appears to be Scotched.

Wayne Swan the Treasurer says he hasn't made a final

decision but he is inclined

to accept the foreign

investment review board

recommendation it is against

the national interest. Does

this kill the deal? Good

afternoon you to you, it is

Nadine here. Apoll guys. We did again, Treasurer Wayne

Swan saying he is

Swan saying he is not

expected to make any

discussion on this proposed

merger yet. Listen the ASX

says it will continue to

pursue a tie, whether it is

with the Singapore exchange

or with other exchanges. We

are see ing a wave of

exchanges really sweep as consolidation between these

the board. crow the board. So -- across

the board. The ASX are

saying they will continue to

pursue other tie-up, the

Singapore exchange says it

has not yet formed its

response to the board. The

Treasurer has said he has not yet rejected the deal but

this has been running through

right since the time it was

announced so we are yet again

to see exactly what the two voices will come back with

but if a takeover has any

chance of happening at this stage now, the terms of the

deal will have to be

radically changed. We did

see shares in the ASX falling

today, about 3.3% after this

announcement was made, we

Singapore exchange actually have seen shares in the

rising in Singapore, it is up

about 5%. So giving you a bit of a taste how the market

is viewing this latest

development. As I say they

have to radically change the

deal to make this viable. Finally too the Reserve Bank

Finally too the Reserve Bank

kept rates on hold as widely expected but was there anything in the statement accompanying the decision

that was of interest? Yes,

this wasn't a big market

moving event, economists had predicted that the Reserve

Bank would leave interest

rates on hold for 4.75%, not

a lot of difference in the statement between April and

last month, March, where we

did see the RBA making some

comment s that

comment s that differed was

on the earthquake and tsunami

in Japan, the RBA said that

event will not have any real

big long-term implications

for the Australian economy.

It is also made some comment

on commodity prices saying

that commodity prices rising commodity prices are

contributing to consumer price inflation, not only here in Australia but around

many countries, and on Australia's natural disasters

it did make note that

corporate action is actually

takeses longer to resume -

taking longer to resume and

come back to normal as it initially expected. Not a

whole lot of change from last

month to this month.

Economists are still expecting an interest rate

rise this year, although many

have it pushed out towards

the latter half of the year.

Something to look forward

to. Nadine thanks for that.

That's all we have time for

for this edition. Jand jand.

We will be -- PM Agenda. We

will be back at the same time tomorrow: