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Please don't, I beg you! Merlin! (Recites spell) Agora. Agora! I think that's right. Yes. Oh. Ohhh. What happened? You again! You got hit in the face... Arggh! Sire, you must not miss. I know. sire. For the cure will no longer work, I know. Look, just leave me. I need to concentrate, Merlin. I'll be waiting at the chapel. Aim true, sire. Too-woo too-wit. (Mumbles) Oh, no! No, no! Closed Captions by CSI

This Program Is Captioned Live.

This Program is Captioned Live.

Goodmorning. Gunfire and explosions

have been heard in the Libyan

have been heard in the Libyan capital

ad Tripoli, as the rebels warn they're

advancing on the city. They've

consolidated their hold on key

either side consolidated their hold on key cities

either side of the capital including

away. Zawiya, which is just 30 kilometres

away. They're calling on the

of Tripoli, away. They're calling on the people

of Tripoli, Colonel Gadaffi's stronghold,

stronghold, to be ready for their arrival. There are reports Egypt is

withdrawing its ambassador from

Israel in protest of the deaths of

five policemen killed on the

countries' shared border. The five

were killed as Israeli forces chased

Palestinian militants who'd mounted

attacks in Israel on Thursday. Angry

demonstrations have been held

demonstrations have been held outside

the Israeli embassy in Cairo where

protestors demanded the closure of

Israel's embassy and expulsion

investigators say it will take weeks ambassador. Back home and

to examine shoes found to examine shoes found during the

search for the remains of missing

teenager Daniel Morcombe on

preliminary investigations indicate Queensland's Sunshine Coast. They say Queensland's Sunshine

the shoes are a matching pair but

cautioning the find could be the shoes are a matching pair but are

unrelated to the case. Search teams

have been combing swampy bushland

made a significant breakthrough when have been combing swampy bushland and

they found the first shoe earlier this

this week. And in the cricket

Australia has claimed the one-day

series against Sri-Lanka after

winning game four

wickets. The home team was dismissed winning game four in Colombo by five

Br for 132. Bowlers Xavier Doherty and

Brett Lee took four wickets a piece.

Insiders. Up next is Barry Cassidy with

This Program is Captioned


Good morning. Welcome to

'Insiders'. Well, it was bound

to happen eventually. The

Federal Government was reminded

this week of its own mortality,

with one of their own in a

marginal seat under serious

scrutiny. So far, no evidence

that Craig Thomson has broken

the law and the party seemed

seems determined to keep him

out of bankruptcy, no matter

how that looks. These

how that looks. These things

have a habit of getting out of

control, with minor

transgressions compounded by subsequent poor decision

making. In an environment

where the Government is just

one by-election away from

losing office, the opposition

smells blood. Quiet morning?

A Labor backbencher accused

of using funds to pay for

prostitutes has revealed the

party helped him with his legal

costs. The ALP reportedly paid

$90,000 to settle Mr Thomson's

case with fair faction, saving

him from bankruptcy and

bi-election. In the present

climate, Labor would lose the

ensuing by-election, the

Gillard Government would fall

and Mr Abbott would become

Prime Minister.

Have you done anything wrong?

I make no comments. I have

complete confidence in the

member for Dobell. Plainly,

the Labor Party organisation is

in this up to its neck. Did

the Labor Party bail you out of

bankruptcy to save the

Government? No. This is

someone who has authorised the

payment of union funds for

prostitutes. How did his

credit card, driver's licence

and mobile phone find their way

into the possession of another

person? She has to justify how

she can have total confidence

in the member. I think he is

doing a fine job. Is the Prime

Minister satisfied that it is

proper for the Australian Labor

Party to contribute some

$90,000 towards the member's

private action against Fairfax?

Was she aware he had failed to

add a $90,000 gift from the NSW

Labor Party to his register of

members' interests? There's

more than one member in this

parliament that has declared

things late. Of course people should abide by the rules. I

think that the member for

Dobell has quite a bit of

explaining to do. I've never

seen so many people here for an

economics committee meeting.

It's obviously an interesting

subject. I also think that the

Prime Minister has quite a bit

of explaining to do. It's not

my intention in this parliament

to comment on private

discussions I have with the

Prime Minister know any of member for Dobell. Did the

these details? I've got

nothing further to say, thanks.

This is a Prime Minister who

will sacrifice integrity in

order to stay in office. Are

you the man most likely to

bring down the Gillard

Government? He won't bring

down the Government, but he is

a big liability. The Gillard

Government is facing a deeper

crisis tonight. Look, there

are orps yesterday and in the

papers last night completely

untrue. He's being accused of

lying to Fair Work Australia,

an allegation that could

ultimately end with him being

forced out of parliament. I've

denied these allegations

before. There was nothing

there that was new at all.

When someone looks you in the

eye and says that, I take them

at face value. This is a

Government that has an

integrity problem and

everywhere you look there are

new integrity issues. One of

the Liberal Party senators is

actually the subject of

criminal charges and we have

been respectfully silent about

that. The difference there is

that Mary Jo is going to have

her day in court. For alleged

shoplifting. Everything has

been upfront and aboveboard.

Craig Thomson is obviously a protected species as far as this Prime Minister is

concerned. The Government's

finished if he goes, so they'll

be doing everything they can to

protect him. Knowing all of

that, if he was one of yours,

would you sack him? Well, the

thing is I don't know all the

details. Even the Opposition

is not calling for him to

resign. I'm about to go in and continue to do my work

representing the people of

Dobell in this parliament. And

I look forward to him

continuing to do that job for a

very long, long, long time to

come. Hear, hear! Our program

guest this morning is Greens

spokes woman on immigration,

Sarah Sarah Hanson-Young.

Before then we'll see what the

Sunday papers are saying around

the country. Craig Thomson,

we'll look at it from several

angles. Kerry-Anne, the first

issue, the one I guess a lot of

people would ask about, a lot

of these facts were known

before the last election. Why

was he preselected? Well,

there's a report in the 'Sunday

Telegraph' today saying that

Sussex Street, NSW Labor

officials had eye balled Craig

Thomson, had asked him about

the accuracy of the reports.

He'd said that there was no

truth to them. They also were

confident that the whole issue

was like a one-hit wonder and

that it would disappear. It

clearly hasn't and a lot of it

is due to Craig Thomson himself

walking into a very bad radio

interview a week or two ago

with a Sydney radio station

where he laid out a number of

things that hadn't previously

been on the public record about

this issue. Of course, the

mere fact that he had launched defamation actions against

Fairfax, there were a lot of

things that were discovered

through that that have come

back to bite Labor. Well, I

suppose, Phil, if you look the

guy in the eye and he said,

"No, it's not true and I'm

suing", that's fairly

compelling. Then of course

they had a bit of an issue in a

neighbouring seat with Belinda

Neil as well. That's what was

distracting him on the Central

Coast, the two adjoining seats,

Neil's seat and Dobell,

Thomson's seat. They would

have been better off paying

attention to both candidates.

The election was in August, a

year ago today, happy

anniversary, but it was in

December last year, after the election, that at the Herald we

published the information our

lawyers had got under discovery as part of the defamation case.

That was the really bad stuff

for Thomson, that was the

driver's licence at the

brothel, the signatures on the

back of the credit card slips,

the stuff that made his denials

to date look quite implausible

and I would hazard a guess led

to him dropping the Defoe

action not long after. Had

Labor seen that before the

election, he may not have been

preselected. I'd also point

out that Graham Richardson, we

reported this week, told

Thomson in February last year

to drop the case. Richo took

one look at it, didn't like it,

smelt trouble, and said "Drop

the action, mate", and he

didn't. What's caused this

trouble is the defamation

action has unearthed this stuff

that is very damaging. Niki, in

the same story there's a

reference to Labor Party

officials are now watching this

bloke 24/7. I guess they want

him to feel that they've got

their full support. They don't

want him suddenly spitting the

dummy and walking. No, that's

right. That would be the worst

thing that could happen for

them. As well as that, I think

there would be family pressures

on him as well. His wife is in

the paper today. She's seven

months pregnant. She's sent

out messages to her friends

about what a hideous week it's

been. One can only assume that

it's going to get worse. I

think he is under enormous

pressure from all angles, so

people would be keeping a very

close eye on him to make sure

that he doesn't do anything. That reference to

having a hideous week, that's a

Facebook reference, right? Is

that fair game now whenever

somebody is in the media

spotlight for the media to go to Facebook and drag this stuff

out? I think so. It's public.

It's out there. If you put -

everybody knows if you put

something on Facebook these

days or in any social media,

it's open to being used. It's

like a classified ad. That's

right, exactly. It's there for

everybody to see. The problem

of course for Thomson and his

family and for Labor in general

is that Graham Richardson, who

seems to be out there battering

away at Thomson on a fairly

regular basis and Labor, has

said that there's - revealed apropos of absolutely nothing that there's worse to

come. There's more to come, he

says. What do you think he's

talking about there? He said

just keep your eye on the 2 UE

interview. This is the brain

snap where Michael Smith from

2UE suddenly took an interest

in this case a few weeks ago.

This stuff had been published,

it had been printed in the

herald rr exhaustively two

years ago, no other media

organisation bothered to follow

it up at any stage. Michael Ronald s of the Liberal Party

has been beavering away,

suddenly 2 UE rediscovers the

story and starts pushing it.

Thomson, for whatever reason,

rang in and made a number of

claims, which seemed to be at

odds with previous claims he's

made. It's opened the door

again for everyone to have

another look at everything.

Richardson is not being

specific today, but he's saying

that interview will come back

to haunt him. There's still

more that may not - We'll talk

later on about how serious this

is for the Government, whether

it could indeed lead to a

by-election. Kerry-Anne, a story suggesting that Tony

Abbott is trying to round up

some of John Howard's old

soldiers from the past. Yes,

yes, this is in the Fairfax

press. It suggests that the

MP, Jackie Kelly, very popular,

once very popular MP for the

federal seat of Lindsay - It

didn't end that well It didn't,

because of her husband's

actions. They certainly went

up in flames a little there,

she had been approached, she

says she doesn't want to, she'd

prefer to mentor somebody. She

has been bobbing up on the

ABC's 'Q&A' and making a few public appearances lately which

I thought, "Hello, I wonder if

she might be thinking about

re-enter erg the fray. ""I

think she's probably had

enough. Certainly the way out

would suggest she wouldn't do

so well if she tried to make a

comeback. Ross Cameron, who

had a colourful ending to his

career also, and Mal bruv, -

Tom has been approached To run

for Dobell. Her name has come

up as well - Yes. It's about

bringing back the principles

and personas of the Howard era,

apparently. This is according

to a senior Liberal source.

You wonder whether or not that

sort of back to the future

strategy would have a few hairs

on it, frankly. While there is

that stability and that sort of

personality - the way that some

of those person amounts worked

before worked well, but in the

current climate, I don't

know. There's always a little

baggage, of course, if you go

back to the past. Phil, there's perhaps some evidence

of that, with a story this

morning involving John Howard,

Dick Cheney and David Hicks.

To be honest, no great

surprise here. It's a good

story by Natalie O'Brien in

Fairfax, former Guantanamo Bay

prosecutor colonel Morris Davis

says Howard got into Cheney's

ear, can you charge him with

something and get this issue

out of the newspapers,

essentially. There's evidence

coming to light in the US this

is in fact the case. It was

fairly widely speculated at the

time and not at all denied,

because Hicks had become a political liability for Howard

in 07 and people had grown

frustrated with the length of

time it was taking. I think

Howard even said publicly he'd

raised it with bush when he

used to talk with Bush, can you

speed this up? The US prosecutors had their nose out

of joint, they see

interference. Anyone who even

half-followed this, realised

the plea deal that Hicks

underwent to get out of there

was more political than

anything. He got out, the

Government got an issue off the

books and everyone was happy.

Surely if it was just a case

of Howard saying to his mates

speed it up or whether it was a

grander scale of intervention.

Downer was involved. They

just wanted the issue dealt

with, basically, because it was

dragging on and it was damaging

the Government. So they kept

pressing the Americans to do

something about it. That was

no secret. Finally, with the

papers, Niki, Kevin Rudd has

taken on a walk on the Sunshine Coast Happy anniversary again

from Julia Gillard, I'm sure

this was entirely coincidental.

A wonderful quote here in the

News Limiteded newspapers where

he describes his operation and

says "it's like the physical

experience of like a mule has

kicked you in the chest, then

they've dropped a bessa block

on you, then they take out the

black and decker circular saw.

The body after that is just

saying what the? To me it just

sounds like what they did to

him without an anaesthetic.

He'd be used to it by

now. That's the papers. We'll

go to our program guest now,

the Greens spokesperson on

immigration Senator

Hanson-Young. Tomorrow the

High Court will begin hearing

the challenge to the Malaysian

agreement, this weekend it

wasn't Malaysia but Manus

Island that became the new hot

political issue. What we see

today is yet another

announcement, but there are no

dates, no details, no dollars.

I'll believe it when I see it.

If the Prime Minister was

serious about sorting out the

boat people problem, she

wouldn't just pick and choose

amongst policies of the former Howard Government, she would

put the whole lot of them back

in place, and that means Nauru,

Manus, temporary protection

visas and a willingness to turn

boats around where it's safe to

do so. Well, this is the first

step in establishing a processing centre on Manus

Island. That is part and

parcel of our plan to break the

people smuggling model. Is

Senator Hanson-Young doesn't

want to break the people

smuggling model. We are

determined to break the people

smuggling model Good morning,

Senator, welcome Good morning,

thanks for having me Why don't

you want to break the people

smuggling model Isn't this the

rhetoric the Australian public

are getting sick of, empty

rhetoric. Nothing the

Government has done has proven

to smash the people-smuggling

model. Sure, I don't want to

see desperate people taken

advantage of. What I want to

see is safe pathways for some

of the world's most vulnerable

people. Let's stop beating on

asylum seeker children for a

political domestic debate.

That's what this is about, not

about smashing the people

smugglers from the Government's

perspective, it's about saying

"we'll send a message to the

Australian electorate". I

don't think the Australian lek

rat are buying it. You say it

hasn't yet broken the people

smuggling model, but it hasn't

had a chance to work I think

it's a mess, isn't it? Every

decision this Government has

made on this issue has fallen

flat on its face, has made the

issue even messier. We're

getting to the point now where

even people within the

Government's own department are starting to question the whole

idea of detention, mandatory

detention. We know offshore

processing doesn't work. It

didn't work ten years ago. It

was criticised by this Government when they were in

opposition. It's been

criticised by legal experts,

human rights experts. It

creates a legal mess, a

humanitarian mess, and, let's

not forget the billions of

dollars that's wasted of

taxpayers' money. What is wrong

with organising it so that the

people smugglers have nothing

to offer, and that's

essentially what they're trying

to do here. Mmm. Australia is

a signatory to the refugee

convention, and we are a

kind-hearted nation. When

desperate people knock on our

door and say "Can you give us a

hand?", we should assess their

claims. It's when they're

found not to be in genuine need

we find a safe way to send them

home. If they're refugees, we

have a moral responsibility and

a legal responsibility to allow

them to have freedom. You talk

about a safe way to send them

home, you have to find a safe

way to get them here in the

first place. That's not

happening at the moment.

That's absolutely right. What

would you do to deter them from

making the boat trip One of the

most practical things we could

do is increase our humanitarian intake. They're doing that through the malzan

agreement But at the cost of

sending 800 people back there

to send a message not just to

the people smugglers but to the Australian electorate. We need

to increase our humanitarian

intake. Did you think if they

did that, people would stop

making the boat trip I think

people in desperate

circumstances will always take

desperate measures, we have to

be realistic about that. We've

seen in the last 30 years the

peaks and troughs of numbers of

people who come by boat. When

you can't get a valid visa to

Australia because you happen to

have the citizenship from

Afghanistan, what else do you

do? We need to be thinking

about the barriers that we put

in place for these people at

the first instance. What are

you doing now about the Manus

Island situation? Are you

going to try to broaden the

Malaysian agreement inquiry or

separate inquiry, what do you

do? I'll take that back to my

parliamentary colleagues this

week. I think we need an

investigation into it. We need

to have parliamentary scrutiny.

An inquiry - it could simply be

added on to the terms of reference of the Malaysian inquiry or there may be an

argument it needs to be

separate. I'll take that back.

But we will move for some type

of inquiry so that we can look

at it. This is, of course,

using the changes to the using the changes to the Mai

Gration Act that we introduced

under John Howard in 2001,

where it was simply up to the

Government of the day to be

able to dump vulnerable people wherever they like, without

having to bring it to the parliament. The Government doesn't want the parliament to

look at it. I have a very

different view. I think the

parliament should Maybe the

Opposition doesn't either, they

support Manus Island, along

with Nauru I think the

opposition are as flip floppy

as the Government in some

respects. I think the

Australian people are getting

sick of this rhetoric. Why is

this a big issue? It doesn't

have to be. There's a small

amount of people who come here.

Let's actually assess their

claims, let's save money by

doing it here on the Australian

mainland. Let's uphold our

obligations to vulnerable

people, let's not use children

as an example in all of this.

Let's get on with the issues

that people really care about -

health, education, access to

child care, the security of the

Murray-Darling Basin. These

are the things we should talk

about. If people continue to

beat up on asylum seekers and

refugees, I'll do my job to

defend them and defend what's

right, but it shouldn't have to

be an issue. What is it about

Manus Island that you're not

clear on? What are the questions that you want

answered? Well, we don't know

who will be sent there. Is

this because the Malaysiaa

Solution isn't going to work?

Are they going to be sending

people currently already here

in Australia to Manus? What

happens to children? All of

those unaccompanied children

who come here without family,

because they've either lost

their family or they were the

only ones who could get out of

the situation in their war-torn

countries, that the Minister is

legally responsible for, are we

going to send them off to

Manus? How much is this going

to cost Australian taxpayers?

Last time Manus was opened

under John Howard for one

month, one month's bill for one

lone person left in Manus

Island, $216,000 for one month

for one person. It's

expensive. These are fairly

basic questions. Do you need an inquiry or just conversation

with the Minister would

probably cover it? I don't

think the Minister can give the

answers. He's struggling to

give the answers on Malaysiaa.

We have a signed deal with

Malaysiaa and these questions

are still unanswered. It's an issue before the High Court.

What is the Government's legal

advice on Manus if somebody

tries to challenge that? This

is a mess. It is absolutely a

mess. I don't think the

Government are winning any

favours from anyone on this.

And I don't think the solution

is being put forth by the

Opposition are cutting through

either. You mention bed the

High Court. There's not a

great track record in terms of

challenging these things in the

courts. What are your

expectations? Look, you know,

it's before the full bench,

which of course means that the

court itself is taking it very

seriously. There are some very

serious questions about the

legalities of Australia dumping

our obligations, shipping

vulnerable people offshore. We

can't guarantee their human

rights will be protected in

Malaysia. We've seen the last

couple of days reports of

people who were given refugee

status by the UNHCR in Malaysia

looking to be deported back to

China to face persecution in

China. The UNHCR can't

guarantee people will be

protected, how can Australia

guarantee that in Malaysia? No change to the Malaysian

domestic laws. Then the big

question, one that I think most

Australians are quite concerned about, is the children at the

centre of all of this. Why are

we using children as pawns in

this awful human chess game? I

want to ask you about the Craig

Thomson case. I appreciate the

Greens are mere bystanders in

all of this. Are you disturbed

by what you're seeing? I think

this is obviously an issue for

the federal Labor Party. It's

something that they're going to

have to sort out. Is Julia

Gillard being sufficiently

transparent? Is she answering

the questions put to her? I

think the issue really needs to

be - look, if I was giving

advice, I'd be saying, "Let's

have a full account of what's happened so that we can help

clear the air and get on with

the things that actually

matter. Let's talk about the

use of the water table in the

Murray-Darling Basin, let's

talk about affordable child

care, let's talk about ensuring

we deliver proper aged care for

our ageing population."

They're the things I think we

should be talking about. Unfortunately, let's not see

this issue become a distraction

from those. It may be a

distraction in that sense, but

proprietary standards, ethics in government, it's all

important. Yes, it is, absolutely. I think the

Government are going to have to

consider how they tackle

this. I just want to talk too

about the fact that the Government seems to be drowning

in maybe not compromises so

much, but under the weight of

the promises that were given

when they struck deals with the

Greens and with independents.

We start with the carbon tax,

and they're in a lot of trouble

on that, as you'd appreciate.

If the Greens hadn't insisted

on that, it wouldn't have

happened. Except that the

Australian people know we have

to tackle climate change. They

know that we can't simply keep

saying "Business as usual until someone else comes and cleans

it up." Sometimes you have to make the hard decisions in

order to progress. I want to

see a progressive Australia. I

want to see a future for our

children where we know we can

rely on clean air and clean

water. I want the future

generations to be able to gain

from the wealth of our

resources booms. These are the

things that they may be

difficult in terms of prosecuting in the short term,

but they're absolutely

important for the future of our

country. It's happening because

the Greens insisted on it. Now

you have the poker reform

issue, that's killing Labor in

some of these key seats. That's there because of the

power of one, because of Andrew

Wilkie. How right is that?

Well, these are all issues that were canvassed throughout

the election, they were all

issue youse that have been

canvassed through the

negotiations over who could

form Government. Tony Abbott

didn't win that negotiation

round. He changed his mind on

what he could offer. He even

denies - Tony Abbott said he'd

increase the humanitarian

intake, now he says that's not

what he's up for. I think the

reality is the Australian

people just want us to get on

with the job. I'll give you a

quote from the 'Sydney Morning

Herald', I think yesterday,

"The only way to get this

important reform done is if the

very existence of the

government depends on it".

That's a fairly brutal

political statement, certainly

a frank one. I believe that

pokie reform is really

important. I believe that a

lot of families, a lot of kids,

are suffering because of the

gambling addictions of their

parents, their loved ones. I

think they are important. I

would suggest to Andrew Wilkie

let's ensure we get everybody

on the same page, because

that's the only way of making

sure you can progress good

social policy. This week it's

become crystal clear to people,

but it's the disproportionate influence the Greens had on

carbon tax and now Andrew

Wilkie on an issue that could

determine the future of the

Government in this country,

that is poker machines. One

person put it up. It takes

more than one person to get

things through the parliament,

doesn't it? It takes a variety

of people. That's the beauty of having minority Government.

It might be a new thing for

Australia, but it's not a new

thing for the rest of the

world. Minority Government has

delivered wonderful reforms

throughout the rest of the

world. It's actually about - I

know it's a different mindset, it's

it's not winner takes all. I

remember the day after the

election, Barrie, being on this

exact show talking about how

wonderful it could be if you

couldn't just assume that

parliament could be a rubber

stamp for things, that you

could have to ep gauge with the

people, you had to talk to

people about what they care

about, you had to win your

arguments publicly as well as

in the party rooms. I think

that is a strength of our

democracy. I do think that we

can prove to do that, but in

order to make that happen, I

think both the major parties

have to give up on some of the

rhetoric and get on with

debating the real issues of the

day. That's not Craig Thomson,

that's not boat people, it's actually the things that affect

people in their everyday

lives. You can see where this

is headed in terms of the

Government's popularity. If

you push too hard, surely,

what's the result of that, a

Tony Abbott Government? Well,

we're interested in keeping the

Government of the day in

because we want to see progressive reforms. We want

to make sure we can get the

carbon tax legislation through.

We want a carbon package that

delivers results for renewable

energy. I want to see reforms

in the aged care sector that

actually deliver for my parents

and my friends' parents. I

want to see affordable child

care so that the next

generation of working parents

have support. I want to make

sure we can get these things on

the agenda. Now, that means

actually being able to have to

have that argument and win the

argument. It's not about

pushing ahead like a bull

dozer, it's about talking and

being realistic about the

things you can achieve now and

the things you have to work for

in the medium and longer

term. Finally on coal seam gas

and the issue of miners versus

farmers. You were thinking

about putting in legislation to

put Tony Abbott on the spot,

basically. He said he won't be

supporting it, so you're going

ahead with that? We will

introduce the legislation on

Wednesday. The new Queensland senator, Senator Larissa

Waters, in the Senate, will

introduce that. It will be her

first private members' bill,

which I think sends a very good

message how serious we are

about this. Tony Abbott has

made it fairly clear you can

play that card, but he's not

going to buy it. I think he'll

have to think about whether

that's his real position. The

idea of giving farmers some say

over how their land is used,

particularly over an issue like

coal seam gas, where we don't

know what the true implications

are. Malcolm Turnbull is

questioning the impact on the

water table. They're the same

questions the Greens have, the

same questions the farmers

have. Simply saying no just

because it's being put up by

the Greens, I don't think that's particularly

mature. Thanks for your time

this morning. Thanks, Barrie. Head of the immigration department has urged

politicians to question the use

of mandatory detention of

asylum seekers. Is immigration

detention a deterrent? Does immigration detention

facilitate case resolution?

What range of facilities should

be utilised? Has it ruined

vulnerable people's lives, yes.

I'd be surprised if he was

advocating a move away from

mandatory detention. There are

many questions for you as parliamentarians to consider.

The country does not have

confidence either in the

Government or in the Malaysian

process. One of the country's

peak doctors' groups says the

latest to criticise the

detention of asylum seekers.

The AMA believes that the

system of mandatory detention

of asylum seekers is inherently

harmful to physical and mental

health of detainees. It's

something that the Government

believes is an important part

of the overall framework.

Immigration Minister's office

says the Government makes no

apology for the policy. We're

calling on both the Prime

Minister and Opposition Leader

to be compassionate in this

area. We believe that mandatory detention is the

right way to go. But the

Government may have problems

closer to home. One of its own

says she's worried about

offshore processing. I

certainly think we need to have

more rational debate about what

we see as this asylum seeker

crisis. So a system in

absolute crisis. Where it's

not in Australia. What we have

to do is break the

people-smugglers model. It is

a huge problem. They have not

fixed it. I'm very concerned that we can't really guarantee the safety of the individuals,

the 800 who will be sent there.

We have to stop people

arriving from boat, taking that

risky journey. Since 2008

we've had over 12,000 asylum

seekers. What we have now is a

significant number of people

who have been in detention for

quite a long period of time.

When did you get to the Houston we have a problem

stage? I wouldn't describe it

as there being one specific

date. He's pondering the

prospect of more community

detention, rather than using

remote facilities. We believe

it is a very successful

program. Speaking personally,

it's something that I would

hope might be able to be

expanded. So the mandatory

detention, or putting an end to

it, came up on a couple of

fronts this week. The AMA at

the conference were saying it's

time to look at it, but for

mine it was Andrew Metcalf,

senior bureaucrat, throwing the

idea up at a Senate hearing.

He chose his words very

carefully. There have been

some people who are

interpreting his questioning

before that committee as just

rhetoric al questions, posing

them to MPs to consider. But

those who know Metcalf think he

is genuinely conflicted about

mandatory detention and the

fact that the immigration

department has been bedevilled

by this issue for so long. The

department itself suffers, the

personnel suffers, the

personnel suffer. For the

doctors also to come out, I

guess, finally, considering

they've been fairly quiet

except for the psychiatrists

over the years about the mental

health issues, is fairly

significant too. It comes in

the same week - Public support

in the poll. In the 'Sydney

Morning Herald' poll, that's

right. 53%? For mainland

processing, but of those it was

a fair proportion for in

detention centres, like keep

them in detention while here.

It was only just over a quarter

said ship them to a third

country like Nauru or PNG or

Malaysia or anywhere else. It

was quite surprising. Niki, I

wouldn't be surprised with Metcalf's intervention this is

part of a bigger game, there might be people within the

bureaucracy saying it's time to

shake the Government up a bit.

Well, he was asking the sorts

of questions that I think his

political masters should be

asking and debating of one

another. They are quite

serious issues and they

obviously are worried about the

effect that these policies are

having on people. I think it's

one thing Australians want Governments to run very strong

border protection policies, but

I think once people are here,

they don't want to see them

mistreated, they certainly

don't want to see children sent

off to some places where they

could be damaged or abused, and

there are so many groups now

that are coming out against

this, as is being reflected in

the polls. Apart from Anna

Burke, there aren't too many people in the Labor Party who

are speaking out about it,

especially the Labor left,

which I find a bit disturbing

and disappointing, I've got to

say. The Labor left started

this all those years ago,

didn't they? Mandatory

detention, yes, but not offshore processing, not sending people to Malaysia or

to Manus Island or to whatever.

You have to wonder why is it

that the politicians on both

sides keep re cycling the same

old attitudes to dealing with

what is an insignificant

problem. If we could just have

some leadership on either side

of politics, of the mainstream

parties, not the Greens,

because they have a very definite point of view, then

perhaps we might be able to

have some enlightened

leadership on this, rather than

re cycling stuff. That's what

Metcalf I think was trying to initiate the other

day. Apparently the Government

of PNG have made some requests

of the Government, if this is

going to go ahead, they put in

a list of 28 projects, they

like the BIR program, like NBN,

because they want high speed

broadband, but they want an international conference

centre. How did you think that

would go? This is extraordinary. It's the same

thing that happened with Nauru

also. Then you get the

governments of the day get ing

into a situation where they're

having to fork out all this

money. The Governor of Manus

Island wants barbed wire put

around the detention centre

because he's worried that there

might be the odd suicide bomber

there. It's outrageous. How

do you handle that? The point

being, I guess, if anyone in

government would prefer no-one

is coming at all. If any of

this stuff stops it, you have

no problem to deal with in the

first place. That's what the

Liberals argue, "We stopped it,

so it wasn't a problem, until

the boats started coming again, then it became a problem

again." I speak to people

from the Labor left, some

sitting in marginal seats, and

they say I'm getting creamed on

this, we can't win on this.

It's not just the coalition -

Or on the carbon tax or poker

machines. I reckon Tony Abbott

has a big chocolate wheel near

his bed, he spins it every

morning and says what am I

going to go on today? It's an

absolute smorgasbord. It always

falls in two spots, boats and

carbon tax. They say we need

it to stop, we're getting

caned. It's not just the

coalition, it's the media as

well, big screaming headlines

about it. I want to go back to

the Craig Thomson issue. I

didn't put the dreg question when looking at the papers

before, but does it have the

potential to bring the

Government down? He can only

be forced out of parliament if he's convicted of something

which carries an indictable

offence of a year or more. No

charges have been laid It's not

headed in that direction. He's

getting himself in deeper and

deeper political trouble. Two

or three weeks ago someone

walked into the Wyong police

station and made a formal

complaint to police. They put

information there to out a statement not enough

investigate. The DPP needs a

police from the police to

pursue criminal charges. The

DPP always has been waiting for

the end of this year for the

fair work investigation to be

completed. We're unsure of

that status of that, whether it

be a criminal thing. Short of

that happening and Thomson

holding his nerve, Labor's just

got to stick by the guy. The

trouble is it's going to drag

Gillard down. Howard - It

just identifies her with the

worst excesses of NSW. It

looks like she's standing up

for sleaze. It's a very sordid affair and she's been dragged

into the middle of it. What do

you do, you give up Government?

No way to resolve it. Do you

agree, though, there's a lot of excitement about

excitement about this, but can

you see it being the issue that

brings the Government down?

No, I can't, unless Thomson

snaps and decides he can't take

it any more and he's off, or

they move to take away his

preselection from him at a

certain point well in advance

of the election, in which case

he might decide, well, bugger

you. Or, as Graham Richardson

says, there is more to come.

If that more involves stuff

that isn't yet out there on the

media record, then who knows

what that is. Tomorrow is

another day. The damage is being done. The damage is

ongoing. It's hurting her.

It's almost worse for Gillard

to have to stand by. Howard

used to stand by people

assiduously 2348 it became untenable, like santso sant

oro, then cut him loose. It's a

question - what can he lose?

He's the chairman of a

committee. That's interesting.

I'd have to check, but didn't

he lose that position for a

while, stand aside from that position, there was pressure

for him not to be chairman for

a while. He was re appointed

after the election. He's been

there the whole way through.

They could take that off him. The other question is why Tony Abbott, uncharacteristically I think

you'd have to say, is not going

for the jugular on this

occasion. Let's hear from Tony

yesterday whether you would Abbott. You were asked

sack him and you seemed to

struggle with your answer, with

these new reports would you

sack him if he was one of

yours? Well, Lisa, this is a

Government that has an integrity problem. Everywhere

you look there are new

integrity issues. So knowing

all of that, if he was one of

yours, would you sack him?

Well, the thing is I don't

know all the details. Everyone

is very surprised that you're

not pushing this harder than

you are. Well, I've just said

what I think needs to be

said. So why is that? Is it because one of their own,

Senator Mary Jo Fisher, has

charges hanging over her head?

I think it's a little to do

with that, but also a

prescient. Bot can't afford to

lose anyone either. If one of

his MPs has been done using a

credit card or something

similar, if Abbott has said

Thomson must resign, by his own

precedent - he's one seat away

from Government. I think he

has to be careful. Also, once

you call for resignation,

there's nowhere else to go. He

doesn't know what else is out

there. I think he's best to

wait and see how the story

plays out before he takes that

final step. Turnbull made that

mistake with God man grech,

where he went out immediately

and called for Rudd's

resignation, it blew up in his face. It might be prudent,

about you the Government seems

to be assuming Tony Abbott is

about to do that. Let's listen

to the Trade Minister, Craig

Emerson, on television earlier

this morning. In May, the

charges were laid and it became

public in July. Now, there's a

standard where Mr Abbott had

that period between May and

July, said nothing, said

nothing whatsoever, and we have

never called for the

resignation of this particular

MP. The standard that Mr Obot

would want to apply is that

regardless of whether there is any criminal allegation against

a member of parliament, that

member of parliament, who is

the subject of allegations, as yet unsubstantialated and may

never be substantiated because

Mr Thomson has denied them,

should resign. All right, Mr

Abbott, for once, just for

once, apply the same standard

to your own team, but you

haven't. You haven't because

all this is about is what

you're inferring, Peter, and

that is political

opportunism. Except that of

course he hasn't called for the resignation. He was of course

there talking about Mary Jo

Fisher. She was charged in May

and it became public in July.

He has called on Julia Gillard

to say when did you know all

this about Thomson and when did

you know the Labor Party paid

his settlement fees. I think

it's a fair point by Emerson to

throw back. I think it's

entirely legitimate in the

context. It is also a

different situation with Mary

Jo than it is with Craig

Thomson. You have an incident

with Mary Jo, for whatever

reason, she obviously had a bit

of a snap and there are lots of

documented stories about women

and shoplifting, where it's a

bit more complicated than that.

But this is a very different

situation where you've got

misuse of union funds and

forgery s, alleged. Unproven.

I guess the thing about Mary Jo

Fisher is she'll have her day

in court. That's the important

part here. Kevin Rudd was

Prime Minister when these

allegations were first

published. Did Rudd due the

due diligence involved?

Thomson was preselected when Rudd was Prime Minister. They

should have asked more

questions. He was relying on

the Sussex Street branch, who

clearly took the assurances. I

think he can make a case on

Andrew Wilkie still a greater threat to the Government than Craig Thomson. There was written agreement that the

Government should support poker machine legislation, but he's

gone in harder than that since

then. He's now saying that

this legislation has to go

through. That quote in the

Herald yesterday, Phil, he said

that you make these demands

because the Government is so

vulnerable. He's determined to

see this through. His language

has become harder and harder on

this. But the Government can't deliver They're holding we

can't do it, we don't have the

numbers. Wilkie tells people

with a wink and nod we have the

cross-benchers, you don't.

Windsor and Oakeshott don't

want to go near this with a

10-foot pole. He is

effectively saying if you can't

deliver this, I'll withdraw my

support for the Government and

potentially take it to the

other side, which doesn't

support this at all. He's

stopping short of saying that,

though. What he's saying is I

will withdraw support from the Government, but he won't

necessarily give it to Abbott.

That's just a crazy situation.

It's a silly position.

Exactly, what does it mean?

It means he sits on the cross

benches and does what

independents do. Just over a

year ago, one year ago today

these negotiations started.

But I think this week we're

seeing the results of this in

their starkest form. This is

Jill Hal, Labor member for

Shortland. This was I think

last weekend and Clubs NSW have

sent this videotape to us, for

obvious reasons. Let's hear

from Jill Hall now. Can I give

you a little bit of background

as to why this legislation is

being introduced? Wilkie

wanted it. Don't tell me,

don't tell me, if Tony Abbott

had been in the position he

wouldn't have done the deal.

Tony Abbott would sell his

soul. Don't you ever forget

it. Only three words from out

of there, "Wilkie wanted it".

They're getting smashed in

these areas where there are

huge clubs that are the centre

of social activity for a lot of

people and poker machine

playing goes along with it.

Wilkie doesn't give a stuff

about that. As far as he's

concerned, a deal is a

deal. Darryl Mellum is also

President of the Revesby

workers club, so he has a bit

of a conflict of interest. He

fronted up at one of the

meetings as well. This is how

he explained how he'll deal

with the conflict. My position

is very simply that because of

that perception of conflict of

interest, I would not be

involving myself in the debate,

I would not be arguing behind

closed doors, I'll be basically

benched and on the sidelines

and that I would support

whatever decision the parliamentary Labor Party

took. So as a result of that, a

lot of people in the crowd started

started to yell "abstain,

abstain", that's another way to

deal with a conflict of

interest. Then they're

guaranteed to lose it, no

matter what the independents

do. It's the most invidious

thing. An extraordinary

position for them to find

themselves in. As you were

saying to Sarah Hanson-Young,

is this right in our democracy

that one person holds the entire parliament to ransom?

She signed up to the

agreement. She signed up to

the agreement, she agreed that

everything that they wanted

they would get. She should

have paid more attention to the

at the time some of these

things meant. I don't think

that happened. You can't blame

her for this, she was so intent

on getting them signed up so

she could go into minority Government. I suspect that Tony Abbott would have understood

the politics of that particular

issue a little better than

that. On the carbon tax, and

just demonstrate that it hasn't

been all of a bed of roses for

Tony Abbott this week, on the

carbon tax it appears as if he

is his constant doorstops and

little stunts that go on every

day are starting to wear a bit

thin. He was going to a butcher's shop in Canberra

during the week, it's media

turned up and they were turned

away, they chased him down and

asked him what had gone wrong.

All he said was the butcher got

an aggressive phone call. Here

he is. What sort of aggressive

phone call? Again, I'm not

going to go into the ins and

the outs. The point I try to

make at all times is that I can

under stand why the Australian

people feel deeply ripped off

by this Government and this

Prime Minister, who said -

Were you refused entry to that

shop? I can understand why the

Australian people feel deep ly

ripped off. Did the staff at

that butchery say they did not

want you to attend there this

morning? I don't know because

I wasn't a part of those

discussions. Were you briefed

by your staff on what happened

and why the change of plan?

Well, as I said, there was an

aggressive phone call. We're

talking about Canberra here.

If Tony Abbott goes in to bat

for a butcher, or a butcher

goes in to bat for Tony Abbott,

is that the best way to sell

sausages in Canberra? That

butcher shop is directly over

the road from the tradies club,

which is a how much workers

club in Canberra. My understanding is that there was

a phone call that was pretty

threatening and pretty

aggressive. 10 minutes after

the media went out. It was a

phone call, it said if you

entertain Tony Abbott, I entertain Tony Abbott, I won't

buy sausages from you. Neither

will my friends. It was threat

of a boycott. The second

butcher that he went to also

got a similar phone call after.

So the journos might be getting

a bit sick of the stunts, I

think. There are definitely

people out there who want to

see them stop. Niki, isn't

this the problem about running

an election-style stunt every

single day, you're involving

ordinary citizens and shop

owners, et cetera, in your game

playing and things come

unstuck. They've come unstuck

for both sides of politics over

the years during election

campaigns. It happens. But

he has to have something, I

guess, pretty much every day

that will get him into the TV

news. He's worn out

Queanbeyan, he's been to every

business in Queanbeyan, he has

to find somewhere else. When he

wasn't travelling that well, he

went to the AMA conference and

said I was one of the great

Health Ministers, essentially,

Nicola Roxon took him to task

on that in the parliament.

Have a look at this. I was

there working with you as

Health Minister for four years

and you know what I'm like.

They remember the Minister

when he was the Health Minister

insulting a man dying of as

bess toesos. They remember

what he was like. That's what

he would be like as the Prime

Minister, if ever he got the

chance. So there was that.

Then there was the issue of the

surplus again that came up in

the parliament through the

week. Andrew Rob was

interesting on that when he

said it was going to be tough

for whatever Government in

office now to reach that. Joe

Hockey and Wayne Swan went at

one another again. I refer the

Treasurer to his own Budget

speech where he said the

following, just three months

ago, "We'll be back in the

black by 2012/13, on time as promised. The alternative,

meandering back to surplus,

would compound the pressures in

our economy and push up the

cost of living for pensioners

and working people."

Treasurer, do you stand by your

words? Of course I stand by

the Budget. I'm proud of the

Budget, Mr Speaker. I'm proud