Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
Australian Agenda -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) Even open Ai-Media will be live captioned by Even open -- This program

captioned by Ai-Media This program will be live

Good after noon, I am

David Speers, it has been an

extraordinary game of

political brinkmanship and

while the deal hasn't been completely sealed it does

look like the US debt crisis

has been resolved. Well has been resolved. Well at

least for now. Democrat and

Republican party leaders have reached an agreement on

lifting their country's

borrowing limit to $17

trillion, and therefore

avoiding an unprecedented

default. As part of the deal,

an initial $1 trillion in

spending cuts has been

identified, spread over 10

years. A special bipartisan committee will be set up to

find a further $1.5 trillion find a further $1.5 trillion

worth of spending cuts, they

have until the end of

November to do so. Neither side has got all they wanted

here and it is still unclear whether this deal will

actually get through. A vote

will be held in Congress

tomorrow, but President Obama

for now is certainly

breathing a whole lot easier.

Now, is this the deal I

would have preferred? No. I

believe that we could have

made the tough made the tough choices

required on entitlement

reform and tax reform right

now. Rather than through a

special congressional

committee process. But this compromise does make a

serious down payment on the

deficit reduction we need,

and gives each party a strong

plan done before the end of incentive to get a balanced

the year. A US default

would have been bad news for

the global economy, and the global economy, and while

few doubted that a deal would

be struck at the 11th hour,

nonetheless all have welcomed

the fact this deal for what

it's worth amongst the party

leaders at least has now been

struck. Here in Australia Treasurer Wayne Swan has welcomed this as an important

first step, but he also warns

there are some long and painful adjustments ahead for

the US. I spoke earlier to

the Treasurer.

the Treasurer. Welcome. It

hasn't gone to a vote in

Congress yet, but are you

relieved a deal appears to

have been struck to avoid the

US going into default? Well it's an important first step,

it is yet to pass the

Congress so I don't think

they will be popping the champagne corks in Washington

just yet. But yes, look, it

is welcome, we certainly hope

it does pass the Congress, it's very important because in the pathway ahead there is in the pathway ahead there is

still a long and painful

adjust ment for the US. But

jumping across this hurdle is

an important first step. Do

you get the sense they are

painful process you talk ready for that long and

about to cut spending? I

certainly hope that they are.

I think the administration

has the determination but

they have a very difficult

situation in the Congress, they have a political

don't have the advantage grid-lock in the US, they

don't have the advantage that

we have here where we have a

strong government that is

passing its legislation,

getting its budgets through.

That's not happening in the

US and that's part of the problem because that's what

kwakt impacts on certainty. This deal if it does get through Congress

seems to put a lot of the

hard decisions on cutting

spending to a special

congressional committee over

the coming months. What

confidence do you have that

they will be able to do a

deal when under this enormous

pressure over the last week pressure over the last week

or two, the congressional leaders haven't been able

to? That's why this is such

an important first step but

we have got to go to the next

step and that's just as

important. We have got to see

a pathway for fiscal

consolidation in the US and

we need that for global

certainty. We need that for

global growth. So a lot of

people will be watching. How

much has this crisis shaken

think it's the confidence in the US? Well I

think it's the combination of

what's been going on in upper

as well as what's going on --

in Europe as well as what's

going on in the US. It is

certainly a factor in global

uncertainty. Everybody

preferred it didn't get to

this stage but people will be

looking for now progress

beyond this initiative, that

long term fiscal

consolidation, naturally the

US economy is still weak, it

doesn't have to happen in the doesn't have to happen in the

near term. People want to see

that long term pathway. They

are not out of the woods yet.

There are still problems in

the world, Japan too, how

worried should we be about

the potential for the

potential for another global

financial crisis caused by a

country defaulting on its debt? We can have a great confidence we live in a region of the world which is strong and we can have great

confidence in the fact our

economy is strong and I think

fact we can have confidence in the

fact that we have the proven

ability to deal with global

uncertainty. So there is a

lot going for Australia but

we are not immune from these

event s internationally but

our region itself remains

strong. Growth in the region

is still strong, commodity

prices are strong, the

Australia is strong and we investment pipeline into

have a strong political situation in the country

where a government has passed

its budget and we are putting

in place the

in place the biggest fiscal consolidation in our history.

All of those things really count. The domestic economy,

the Reserve Bank makes its decision on interest rates

tomorrow. Annual inflation

has risen to 3.7%, that is

well outside the Reserve

Bank's target zone, it can't

ignore the inflation figure

can it? I don't speculate

about decisions of the board

but let me make this point

about it inflation, there was

a higher number, a slightly

made up higher number and that was

made up two thirds of fruit

and fuel. So there are

temporary factors here. The

Reserve Bank will take those factors into account, just as

it will take into account the

factors that are going on internationally, when it

takes its decision s

independently of the government but they have made

the point, that our budget

policy is very strict, it's

the sort of budget policy you need for our circumstances.

And they have made that point

on many occasion s as well. Inflation does appear

to be a problem across to be a problem across the

board beyond bananas, food

generally is going up 6.1%

annually, electricity 10.7%.

Petrol 11.3 before. Which is

why the budget position and

biggest fiscal consolidation

in history is so important.

We will not add to any inflationary pressures in the

economy and that's why our

investment in skills and

education and infrastructure

and so on, capacity-build

anything the economy is also so

so important. Is the

inflation genie out of the

bottle? We have seen some

very significant temporary factors, we will take those into account, the Reserve

Bank keeps an eye on

underlying inflation, the

most important thing is to

make sure that we get the

decision right for the future

but that's a decision they take independently of the government. Finally, the tax

forum later this year, have

you said the GST is off the

table. So too is the carbon tax. And the tax. And the mining tax. You

have also said you are not

interested in the congestion

tax idea, what will you be

open to? There is an enormous

amount on the table. There

was over 1,000 pages in terms

of the original tavm review

and we have done a lot

already but we will not press

the pause button on important reforms we have consulted. What ones jump out

to you? We will go through

the full gambit. Business the full gambit. Business

taxation, personal taxation,

state taxition, there is a

whole grouping of areas of

tax which the review talked

about which deserved

consideration as a hell of a

lot on the agenda and if

people want to talk about

those matters they can talk

about them but I have a responsibility to indicate to

people what the government's

bottom line is, and we have

said from the very beginning

that we wouldn't be touching

the base or the rate of the

GST and everybody knows we have been consulting have been consulting on

resource rent taxation and

doing it for well over 12

months. So I think a lot of

those points that people are

making miss the overall point

which is there is a broad

area for tax reform, we want

to have a decent conversation

with the community and that's

what we'll do. Thank

you. Thank you. Wayne Swan stalking to us earlier this afternoon and while the Treasurer isn't suggesting

what the Reserve Bank should

or shouldn't do tomorrow on interest rates, the

opposition certainly is.

Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey

wants interest rates kept on

hold, he says if they go up

he will be blaming the

government. Of course the

Reserve Bank should not be

increasing interest rates

tomorrow. But if they do then

it will be Julia Gillard and

Wayne Swan's interest rate

increase because they have

done nothing to address core done nothing to address core underlying inflation

pressures. After the break,

we are going to look at what

sort of cost of living political pressure the

government is under with our

panel, Bruce Hawker and

Graeme Morris and we will

bring you up to date on a new

opinion poll out this afternoon that has more

troubling news for the government.

Welcome back. Before we get

to our panel let's check in

first. on the latest news headlines

Queensland Premier Anna

Bligh says any flood enquiry

recommendations that need to be implemented by the next wet season will be done wet season will be done in

time. The Queensland floods

commission of enquiry has

released its interim report,

into last summer's disaster

Queensland Opposition Leader which claimed 35 lives.

Campbell Newman welcomed the

report but says he would have acted faster given the

concern about a big wet

season. A last-minute

political deal to avert an

economic crisis in the US has

been reached. The leadership

of the Republican and Democrat parties Democrat parties has agreed the deficit cutting deal

which will avert a

potentially catastrophic

American default on its

national debt. Australia has

welcomed the deal between

congressional leaders.

Treasurer Wayne Swan says the

US economy isn't out of the

woods yet, but says

Australia's economy remains

strong. Foreign Minister

Kevin Rudd has undergone heart surgery in Brisbane

this afternoon. He receive

aid new aortic

aid new aortic valve to

replace the leaky one

inserted almost 20 years ago,

due to rheumatic fever he had

as a child. He will now be

off work for two months after

the operation in Brisbane.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard says the Australian Federal

Police will do what is

necessary to asylum seekers

are taken to Malaysia under

group of asylum seekers the swal deal. The first

group of asylum seekers has

arrived under the deal, the

Prime Minister indicated the

AFP will be authorisised to

use force if necessary to

ensure people board the plane

to Malaysia. She won't say

exactly what force will be

used if asylum seekers resist

getting on a plane. US

President Barack Obama has

accused the Syrian President

of using torture, corruption

and terror against his own

people. The condemnation came people. The condemnation came after residents claimed at

least 100 people were killed after the tanks stormed the

city of Hama in a crack-down

of protest against Bashar al-Assad's rule. There are

also reports that three

demonstrators have been shot

dead in Dara and 40

protesters injured in

Damascus when security forces

To sport and Todd Viney has through nail bombs at them.

been appointed as the Demons

remainder caretaker coach for the

remainder of the AFL season

after the club officially parted ways with Dean Bailey.

His sacking comes after the

club's horror 186-point loss

against Geelong and the

Demons say they couldn't

weather: ignore the result. Tomorrow's

Thank you. There is more

troubling news for Labor this

afternoon, in afternoon, in the latest

opinion poll the essential

poll shows Labor slipping

back again after a slight

improvement last week, also

showing of those surveyed

there is opposition to the

carbon tax and also the

Malaysia deal. Joining us

Peter Lewis from Essential Media Communications. Thanks

for joining us, last week it

looked like Labor may have

bottomed out and bottomed out and turned a corner. Perhaps premature

they have fallen back to a 12-point deficit to the Coalition. Can you make too

much of 1% shifts, it is all

margin of error but a margin

of error heading into the

wrong drengs for Labor. We

got them into 55-45, two-party preferred lasted

week, that's back out 56-44.

The Coalition hovering around

the 50% mark and 49. That is

not a great result for the

not a great result for the

ALP. On a couple of specifics

the carbon tax which you are

asking about regularly now,

the support for that hasn't

changed but the opposition

has increased. So there is a

slightly number of people

opposed to it? Yeah, 2%

hardening in opposition above

that 50% threshold to 51% now

for all the leather and the

shoes of last week it hasn't

actually increased support.

It's still at 39%. Obviously It's still at 39%. Obviously

there ask some sharp partisan

divides there between Labor

and Liberal voters and also a

bit of an age different,

younger voters more likely to

be supportive of a carbon

tax. Also the big

announcement last week from

the government was its

Malaysia deal to send 800

asylum seekers to Malaysia,

not good figures for the

People aren't warming to this government on that either.

idea? Yeah and this was one

majority support where the government did have

majority support six weeks

ago. When we asked that

question mid June 40% support

and 39% opposition. That's

blown out now. Opposition up

to 53% and what's happened there is the opposition of

Coalition voters has hardened. They were quite

open to it in the first

instance and that's turned.

There has been a slight

increase in support from

Labor voter as

well. Depressing numbers for Labor voter as

Labor this week. Thanks for

joining us. Pleasure. Let's

go to the panel now joining

us Labor strategist Bruce

Hawker in the News Centre and

in improo with me jam -- in

Graeme Morris. I want to

start with Mike Rann, after 17 years as Labor 17 years as Labor leader,

nine as Premier, he will be

handing over the reins to

Education Minister wrt , he

had this to say today -- wrt

, he had this to say -- Jay

Weatherill, had this to say

today. My colleagues have

endorsed me to be the next

Premier of South Australia, I

think that's a pretty good

thing. Exactly when he will

assume the job remains

unclear, Mike Rann is in

India at the moment, before

India at the moment, before

he left on Friday night, he

said he had no plans to

retire, Bruce, this is all a

bit weird. He said the other

day he had no plans to

retire, the faction bosses

say he wasn't given any

ultimatum but clearly there

was a fair bit of pressure

applied and we don't know now

exactly when he will stand

down. He is only going to

tell us when he gets back into the country. What do you

make of how this has all been

make of how this has all been handled? Well, he said that

he had no plans to retire

before the convention. My

understanding is that it was

accepted for some time that

Mike Rann was going to make

way for a new leader at some

stage in the next few months.

The exact time was up in the

air because the party hadn't

decided who the successor for

Mike Rann was going to be. So, in some

So, in some ways, where we are now with Mike saying that

he is going to leave and he

will leave at a time of his

own choosing, is essentially

what had been agreed before.

But in the meantime of course

we have had this very messy

look of the so-called faceless men coming to his

office and talking to him. Revive ing unfortunate

memories of the whole Gillard

ascension. So I think - It does

does because here he 4 a

union leader from the

shoppies union, apparently

delivering the news, the

shoppies union also played a

role in Kevin Rudd's downfall

too. Are they repeating a

mistake here? I think they

are probably narrowly escaped

one but you would like to

think people understand that

as Gough Whitlam said the best machines run silently

and you don't have the

and you don't have the extra

Parliamentary machinery being

put out in front of everyone

all the time because the

public doesn't like that.

They take the view, probably

quite rightly, that they put

the person there, therefore

it's up to them to decide

when they should leave. It's

much more presidential now

than it ever has been I think

in Australia, it is a bit like elections where they

vote the President in and

they vote them out again. Of

course that doesn't sit all that comfortably with our

system where we actually that comfortably with our

leave it up to the party room

ultimately to decide who will

be the Premier, and who will

not. But that's the problem

that Labor has got. They have

got to understand that you

cannot go around presenting a

fate a a comply to Premiers

who have -- a fait accompli

to Premiers who have been

there for 17 years, who have

turned the state around from

a being a rust bucket state to

a highly productive one and expect there isn't going to

be a backlash. I would like

to be able to apologise for

it but I can't. Fair enough.

Graeme, wuld you disagree

with any of that? No, not

really. Does seem to be that

minister Weatherill becomes -

comes to the leadership of

the Labor Party as sort of

the glove puppet of the trade

unions, he wouldn't have

wanted that but it's a fact

wanted that but it's a fact

of life. And it is starting

to annoy me, these sort of

trade union people who jump

into the media and say look

as me, look at my pow,, I can

change your leader. Well, you

know, it is time the real

people in the Labor Party put

these people back into their

box. And Mike Rann I think,

he's been very successful. He

was very lucky

was very lucky because... Did

he deserve to be treated

better than this? I thought

the way it was going, it

would all be nice and orderly

until a few egos decided on

the weekend to go to the

media and say hey, look at my

power. Leadership changes are

never easy, that's the bottom

line. Party rooms have to

make a decision, it is the

party room who decides who

the leader is? It should be,

this has all been

this has all been decided

outside with two trade union

leaders saying this is what

the numbers will be. There

were moves in the party room

as well. And there have been

for a while and there were

fears that he could do a John

Howard and refuse to give up,

he would end up too close to the election and too late to do anything and lose the election. I suspect Mike Rann

would have done the right

thing but by the look of it

his luck ran out: every successful politician needs a bit of luck

bit of luck and I think Mike

Rann's biggest luck was that

he was up against some pretty

weak opposition leaders in

South Australia. They

weren't much good. The last

election not bad. The couple

before pretty ordinary. Bruce this is the bottom line,

changing leaders is never

easy. Is there any way to have a seamless

transition? Well, I think

can, Peter

can, Peter Beattie did it very effectively with Anna

Bligh. There was a period

when he was campaigning with

her making it clear that she

was going to be the successor

and everyone was quite

comfortable with that. I

think there has been an

arrangement worked out in

South Australia, which is

quite smooth, it is just

there was this hiccup in the

middle where there was this

meeting which was basically

unscheduled as far as I can

work out, and a surprise. It

shouldn't have happened like that and I think

that and I think it was more

a case of the appearances

than the reality. I think

everyone accepted in the

party both in the right and

the left, that the

Parliamentary party in South

Australia, that there was

time to make a transition. Mike Rann had no problems

with that, he had been there

for 17 years, he was quite

happy to make the move. They

couldn't settle on a

candidate. That's right and

Mike was waiting for the

appropriate time to make the announcement that he was

going to go. Once a successor had

had been settled on. It

wasn't that the unions were

making this call, it was that

a union official was involved

in the conversation with him.

That was where the whole

optics of the thing was

wrong. And should have been... What about Jay

Weatherill, is he the right

candidate to become Premier?

Tell us about him? I do

believe that he is the right

candidate. I have known him

for a few years too and I

think it is very unfortunate

that his ac session to the leadership has

leadership has taken place in

this manner and I hope that because Mike will be there

for a lot longer now it is

not going to effect him

adversely. But. What do you

mean by that? What time frame are you expecting? I

don't know the answer to that

but we know he wants to bed

down the deal with BHP over

Olympic Dam which will take

some time. We know that he

wants to make sure that he

mentors Jay Weatherill in

mentors Jay Weatherill in the

role of Premier, so I would

think a matter of months

rather than weeks. That would

be my sense of it. But the

question as to wertd , a

very, very camable -- Jay

Weatherill, a very, very

capable minister, very well

liked in the caucus, very

fresh, he's been there for a

while but he has a very

youthful aearns pa, he is the best choice for --

appearance, he is the best

choice for Labor to lead them

to the next election without

any doubt. Let's move on. Interest rates is going to be

the big news tomorrow. If

they go up. And economists

are divided. Surprisingly, on

whether the Reserve Bank will

hike rates or not. Graeme,

the inflation data last week

did show an increase, it's

now running at 3.6% annually,

that's outside the Reserve

Bank's 2% to 3% target zone.

But there are factors like

bananas, the cyclone etc

contributing to this. How big

an issue is cost of living at

the moment because prices are

going up? Absolutely massive. Around the suburbs

and the fringes around all of

the cities and in the

regional centres, electricity

up, food up, water up. And by

jingos if interest rates go

up tomorrow that will be devastating for the

government. And I suspect -

I actually suspect that the

Prime Minister who sort of

doesn't pray but she has at

least got her fingers crossed

tonight on two things - one

is the Reserve Bank does not

increase interest rates

because she is going to get

blamed. And the other is that

Kevin Rudd gets through this

operation, heart operation

he's had because if he - if

anything ever happened to him

and there is a by election in

his seat in this climate of

rising costs, the Labor Party

would get a hiding Wednesday

have a new government. Just

on that, he did get through the operation okay. We should bring you up to speed on

that. The surgery took four hours today to replace the

heart valve. His wife commented soon after, here

she was saying how things

went. I'm here to tell you

the agrees and oil change for

Kevin has been a success.

Doctors have advises ut the

procedure has gone to plan -- advised us the procedure has gone to plan and

gone to plan and we can

expect the recovery to take

about 8 weeks, It would

actually be the ultimate

irony I think if Kevin Rudd

had the heart for it and that

was - and that would be to

say that look, I think I have

done all I can do in

politics, I'm going away to

do variousnings that I have always

always been interested in.

You have got to be

kidding. We will have a by-election. He's not about

to do that. Getting back to

the inflation issue, the cost

of living issue, how

concerning do you think it is

for Labor at the moment?

It's not just bananas,

petrol, electricity, all

things are going up. There is the prospect of rates going

up if not tomorrow then soon. How worried should Labor be? I think you have got to be concerned about that. We

saw that in the last year

saw that in the last year or

so of the Howard Government

when inflation and cost of

living was going up, interest

rates hike, that was a real

problem for the government

and it's a problem for any

government. But we have to be

a bit sanguine about this

bananas, you wouldn't want to

be monkey owner in this

country have gone up 457% in

a very short period of time.

So there you can put some of

this down to the cyclone and

to the floods in Queensland.

I saw similar things in New

Zealand recently attributable

to the floods in Queensland.

So we have to make sure... It is more than that

though. Yes, it is more than

that and I'm not trying to

trivialise it in any sense

but if the prices continue

to go up, if petrol continues

to go up that's a problem. I don't think interest rates

will go up only because the

budget is bagtsically contractionry,

contractionry, the RBA knows

that. And there is so much

issues happening in the UK

and the US and Europe at the

moment that I think they will

be having a good hard look at

what's happening there before

they do anything more. But,

no-one should be in any doubt

that if prices continue to increase there is a problem for the government they have

to deal with it. A finally issue, Tony Abbott last week

had a go at Julia Gillard for

spending a few days where she wasn't out on

wasn't out on the hustings

selling the carbon tax after

saying she would wear out her

shoe leather, suggesting she

had given up. He's gone on

holidays this week, any

hypocrisy there? Tony

Abbott didn't say "I will

spend the next couple of

years wearing out shoe

leather" and it lasted for

five days and then stop. No,

no, no. Look, both of them,

both of them have actually

worked quite hard. They both

worked quite hard. They both

need a holiday. Both probably

need a holiday before

Parliament resumes mid

August. And I tell you what,

the governor of the Reserve

Bank tomorrow holds everyone

sort of future in his hand,

including the country.

Confidence in this country

has gone down and mainly because people think interest

rates will rise. If they do - more confidence - mof

more confidence - mof lack

of confidence and a real

problem in the country. Just finally Bruce, on Tony

Abbott, a bit of respite for

Labor not to have the Opposition Leader going

gangbusters for a few more

days? I welcome his holiday.

I hope he has a good long

holiday. And you know what, I think probably the electorate

is probably a bit tired of it

all too so everyone having a

break right now is probably

good for everybody's mental

health. That's why I am

surprised at the polls there.

I think it's gone off the

boil a bit so I am surprised

the polls have come back. We

see where it goes next week.

It is in the margin of error

we should point out. We will

wrap things up. Catch up next

week. After the break we will

look at the Queensland flood

royal commission enquiry

report out today. Are we

really going to see much

change in the way that the Wivenhoe Dam is managed and

what will be the political im implications, stay with us.

Welcome back. The royal

commission enquiry into last

summer's Queensland floods

was handed down today. The

draft report at least. It

makes more than 170

recommendations, 104 of them

applying to the Queensland state government which Premier Anna Bligh after receiving the report today

vowed to implement all of

them. Now, including clearing

up how agencies report on to

the minister the managements

of the Wivenhoe Dam, perhaps

the most critical finding in the royal commission report

today was that there was

confusion and a lack of

clarity amongst agency s over who was responsible

who was responsible for

telling the minister what the

dam level should be. Now,

Anna Bligh says if the

government is to receive a

similar weather warning about

a severe wet season from the

Bureau of Meteorology again,

it will automatically reduce

the dam levels to 75%. But

all in all, she says yes, in hindsight things could have

been done better. In

hindsight with the benefit of

hindsight and with what we now know about

now know about the size of

this event, there is no doubt

that if you had your time

again you would react

differently and I'm sure the

minister feels that as well.

Opposition Leader Campbell

Newman also welcomed the

recommendations in this

report. Backed them as well

but he's also gone on the

attack. Politically. He says

if he had been Premier when

some of these warnings were

received then yes, he would

have actually reduced that

dam level. This is where

leadership has come in, when

the scientists and engineers

are unclear about what should

be done, real leaders must

step forward and that was the

time for the government to

show leadership. Our

Brisbane reporter Tom Connell

has been following this story

today and going through the royal commission report. Tom it seems to be no

particularly damming findings against the State Government

there, is that right? Yes,

David, the whole nature and

language of the report was in

a highly -- wasn't a highly

critical one. It spoke about

doing things better. This

interim report is designed to

get as many things in place

before the up coming wet

season so it might be the final report in February does come out with some stronger language and that of course

will be just before a March

election so that will be very

interesting if that were the case. But in terms of this

case. But in terms of this

one, nothing really blasting

the government, although that

I suppose is in the eye of

the beholder. I mean the LNP

today has read into it some of the recommendations for

example that the minister

didn't know who was exactly

responsible, that they didn't

take on board these bureau

warnings ahead of this, it

was tip back in October this

was going to be an above

average, a very wet season

for Queensland and Campbell

Newman as he said today was

calling at the time for more

calling at the time for more measures, perhaps for

Wivenhoe to be reduced is

what he says but in terms of

the actual language the

government hasn't taken a

caning but a lot of recommendations, 104 in total

as you say all to be

implemented as many as

possible before the wet season here in

Queensland. Just on that

political attack from

Campbell Newman, how much

stwraejts is there to this? What sort of -- strength is

there to this? What sort of

warns did the government

receive about the weather

that the state was facing?

that the state was facing? The Brisbane was fating. And

should the minister have -- facing and should the

minister have acted? It

seems having a look at it

there was some applicanting

advice whether the dam -- conflicting advice whether the dam level should be

reduced or not? Campbell

Newman says the herself seems

to be somewhat concerned but

then find out the processes that were in place and the

way Wivenhoe Dam was managed

that it wasn't to be reduced

capacity according to the

manual. What Campbell Newman

is saying is that the

minister in this circumstance

and the Premier should have shown leadership, that

leadership would have been to

overrule perhaps these

experts and the manual. So

that's what he's digging

away at there. Of course he

wasn't LNP leader at the

time. He was the mayor of

Brisbane, him and Anna Bligh

were both praised for their

leadership during the floods

and it was a bit friendlier

between the two of them even

though they were from.opposite side of

politics they were at least

united in that cause. It is a tricky one, it is probably

one to wait to see what the

final reports say, it is

interesting to see the

minister was on the one hand

concerned and inquired as to

whether the dam could be at reduced capacity but then didn't act upon doing that.

So that in itself is it

probably a tricky one to defend for the minister who

of course is outgoing, he has

stepped down from his

position. He won't be

contesting the nest next

election. So that in itself

perhaps hiding some damage there for the Labor

Party. Perhaps. Tell us about

the political situation there

at the moment. We know Anna

Bligh was widely praised for

her handling around the clock

updates on the flood as it

was under way. How is she travelling now politically?

Has the support level waned

somewhat since then? The

polls really did give her a

massive boost and we saw that

extraordinary take over from

Campbell Newman quitting as

mayor, running from the LNP

leader now outside of the

Parliament of course he is

not an MP and Geoff Seeney

here is the official leader

bus Campbell Newman one he

took over, he took over on

the back of polls that saw

Anna Bligh establishing a

lead and the first poll taken after Campbell Newman's

leadership was showing the

LNP back with a significant

margin ahead of this March

election, they have

maintained that, the latest

poll showed them up nearly 10

points. So it's a significant

lead at the moment. The Labor

Party no doubt needs a boost

and the time is ticking. The

latest an election can be

called is March. Anna Bligh

has already ruled out an

election this year, she says

she won't be calling an early

election in 2011 is a year

for rebuilding. Going back on

that word will be probably

catastrophic and she needs a boost from somewhere and I

guess what they are pinning

their hopes on perhaps is

what happened in the past.

The leadership problems the

LNP has had but while you

have unhappy people deposed

in terms of John Paul

Langbrook and Laurence Springborg, it seems Anna

Bligh is travelling badly and

essentially before the they need something to happen

election at this stage.

Finally on the report

Finally on the report today,

has there been much in the

way of reaction from the

victims from the families who

suffered so much in the

flooding disaster? What do

they think about these

recommendations? I have seen

a couple of reactions so far.

And the overwhelming feeling

is there is no-one to blame

and I guess it's always nicer

to be able to blame somebody.

There is some thought I saw

two victims speaking they

lost their home and they

think that part of this language is about not

creating the possibility for

lawsuits, for class action s, whether that be against Seqwater or the government or whoever it might be. So they

are earn canned that part of this is -- concerned that

part of it is self

preservation on the

government or commission not wanting to open someone up to

that liability. There is some

disappointment but the main

thing for the victims might

well be the next phase on the

well be the next phase on the enquiry. That will be

focusing in part on insurance

and of course some people

weren't able to get flood

insurance because they were

at high risk. Others only saw

in the fine print afterwards

they weren't covered. That's

phase two of this enquiry

with that focus on insurance.

So that might be more in

keeping with some of those

victim s and their responses

but the other part I should

mention is this 000 call

overhall. The well-known

stories from the enquiry was

the calls made to Donna Rice

and Jordan Rice they made to

emergency phone call, they

were told they shouldn't have

driven into flood water. They

were told off effectively and

the fact that's going to be

overhauled might be some consolation for victims after

it was questioned the level

of training those emergency

operators had to handle the flood crisis, the scale

obviously of it on the day.

Brisbane reporter Tom

Connell thanks for your

analysis on this. Before we

go today, we will also have a

look at the asylum seeker

challenge which the

government of course

continues to face. The Malaysian deal is about to be

put to the test after a boat

load of some 54 asylum

seekers was intercepted off

Scott Reef. They will be the

first sent to Malaysia, how they will be forced if

necessary on to the plane

remains a bit unclear. Chief political reporter Kieran

Gilbert filed this

asylum report. The first group of

asylum seekers to be intercepted under the

Malaysia swap deal and still

not all the logistics are in place. Obviously you learn along the way and there are

things that need to be done

for that first time. That

then for the second time are

more routine. Under the deal asylum seekers are meant to

be processed within 72 hours

and then turned around and

sent to Malaysia. The first group will take longer than that, the government says it could be a number

could be a number of weeks.

As immigration officials lock

in how the procedure will

work. If any refuse to board

the plane, Prime Minister Gillard says the Federal

Police will do what they need

to. Obeying instructions here

is not a question of volunteering, we are

determined to get this done.

The Australian Federal Police

can speak on operational

matters, but we will do what

is necessary to ensure that

people who should be taken to

Malaysia under the agreement

are taken. Does that mean

potentially the use of

force? It means taking

appropriate steps to get

people to board the plane,

and to dis embark the plane

the other end. The intensity

of the political debate is

expected to ease this week with the Opposition Leader

Tony Abbott taking a short

holiday with his family to Europe. The Foreign Minister

Kevin Rudd has also been

forced to take a break but

for medical reasons,

undergoing heart surgery

today in Brisbane.

And that's all we have

time for today. We will be

back same time tomorrow. Stay

with us after the break the

latest Sky News. Live Captioning by Ai-Media