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(Screams) Closed Captions by CSI *

This Program Is Captioned Live.

The top stories from ABC news. Three

Australian soldiers are dead and

another seven wounded after an

attacker wearing an Afghan army

uniform opened fire in Afghanistan.

An Afghan interpreter was also

in the attack. The incident happened An Afghan interpreter was also killed

during a routine morning parade in

Kandahar province in southern

Afghanistan. The attacker was shot

dead. And In a seperate attack in

Kabul, at least five American

soldiers, eight American contract

workers and four Afghans were killed

when a Taliban suicide bomber

attacked an armoured shuttle bus. An

emergency hearing has run well into

the night, to try to resolve the

industrial dispute which has led to

the unprecedented grounding of

Qantas. The Fair Work Australia

hearing was called by the Federal

Government, it's due to resume at 2

o'clock eastern time today to decide

whether to suspend or all terminate

industrial action. Among the issues

it's considering - a Qantas plan to

lock out striking employees, from

Monday night Qantas passengers

Australia and across the globe are Monday night Qantas passengers around

still looking for ways to complete

their journeys, after the airline's

shock decision late yesterday. The

shut down affects 108 planes at 22

airports up to 80 000 passengers are

affected worldwide. The airline says

it's organising alternative flights

and accommodation for stranded

passengers. It's also offered

for people yet to travel, who want passengers. It's also offered refunds

cancel their booking. Those are the for people yet to travel, who want to

latest headlines from ABC news. This program is not subtitled This Program is Captioned


Good morning. Welcome to

'Insiders' on what is a very

big news day and none of it

good. We'll get to the

shutdown of Qantas in a moment,

but first, as you've just heard, three Australian soldiers have been killed and

soldier who was apparently seven injured by a rogue Afghan

training with the Australians.

Here's Sally Sara in

Kabul. Well, this is a very

tragic and significant event

for Australian forces based in

Afghanistan. It took place in

the southern province of

Kandahar, at an operating base

known as Suk Bed. A gunman

opened fire at the conclusion

of a routine morning military

parade. He shot and killed

three Australian soldiers and

wounded seven others. An Afghan interpreter was also

shot dead. The gunman was

killed a short time later when coalition and Afghan forces

opened fire. Afghan and Australian commanders have

visited the seen of the attack

to talk with some of the mates

and colleagues of those who

were killed and wounded. Of

the seven wounded Australian

soldiers, they were taken to a military hospital at Kandahar

Airfield and are now said to be

investigation will take in a stable condition. A full

investigation will take place into this incident. Australian

soldiers in southern

Afghanistan have been placed on

a heightened security alert as

a precaution in case of further

incidents. That was the second

incident now involving the

enemy within and it changes the

nature of the battle in

Afghanistan. Most of that news

was too late for the Sunday

papers. We'll bring in the

panel now for the news that

until then dominated all of the

front pages, the grounding of

Qantas. Laura Tingle, this is

a massive call for an airline to ground its entire fleet.

It's a huge call, Barrie. The

brand damage, before we go into

the politics, is going to be

massive. The sorts of social

media feedback we've seen since

the announcement has been

exceptionally bad. It's a big

call. Probably ultimately,

though, it's a good one not for

passengers who are stranded

around the country, but this

has been a series of separate

industrial disputes that have

to be resolved one way or the

other. It's about a variety of

different issues. So it's

going to test the airline and

losing millions choice did they have, they were suppose Qantas would say what Government in a moment. I get on to the test for the weeks before Christmas. We'll certainty in the next couple of certainty if we get some hopefully we'll create some Work Australia system. But it's going to test the Fair

their heads around whether the point people will have to get work force. I think at some the country and not just the action by basically locking out they've escalated industrial side, because in a sense behaving a little on the risky Qantas's management may be Government-owned assets. couple of the other former ly country. We've seen it with a years in coming for this has probably been a number of is one of these debates that Australian flag. I think this standards to carry an force, a set of Australian is a role for a high-wage work asset like this whether there post the privatisation of an flag, so this is a big issue still carrying the Australian resolved. George? Qantas is bleeding and it had to be domestically. But it's

market sets the price for this

company or whether there's

something else that maybe

public interest demands gets

sorts out. Laura, is this the

first really big test for this particular Government on

industrial actions? I think it

is. Governments really are

made on the issues they find

themselves confronting. It's a

huge test for the Government at

a time when all the usual

suspects are

suspects are saying something

slightly offscript, if you

like. I think the Coalition is

divided on this issue. We also

have the question that they're

very reluctant to be looking to aggro

aggro on industrial relation s,

but I think the really

important thing here is if the important thing here is if the

Fair Work Australia system

works and ends up arbitrating

this case on a compulsory basis

and we get an outcome, that's

and we get an outcome, that's

going to completely change the political game I think on

industrial relations and hopefully for the Government

and in terms of smooth sailing

ahead would end up sorting that issue of whether the Fair Work Australia system does work. At

least the unions are saying

there was a degree of deception

on the part of the airlines,

George, because they had their annual general meeting on Friday, no hint of this.

Friday, no hint of this. No

hint of this, but bookings obviously got made at some

point in the last 24 hours,

because there were a lot of hotels on the ready for some

pretty grumpy Qantas travellers who couldn't make their flights

or were stranded somewhere

else. There's a couple of

interesting questions for

management here whether the

thing got cooked up or not.

The Government are a bit suspicious. They wouldn't give

you this publicly, but from

what I understand, the Government is

Government is wondering what

was going on in the last couple

of days. A couple of the

Premiers wrote a letter out of the

the blue calling on the

Government to intervene and

then Tony Abbott almost

completely off Coalition script

wanted the Government to settle

this dispute. I don't know which threshold the Government gets involved in disputes.

Obviously there was an

escalation yesterday and there

was no choice to intervene. was no choice to intervene. I

suspect this is a conspiracy

theory. The dispute was

getting into a very bad stage.

getting into a very bad stage.

Someone had to do something.

The idea that you would take

this to an annual general meeting which reports back

essentially on Qantas's report

is not my view of how annual general meetings work. They don't work like that. The

matter went to the board. It

seems the management has the

support of the chairman and the

board. If the management has

the support of the chairman of

the board, that's all you need.

You don't need to put these things through an annual general

general meeting. This stuff is

market sensitive. One is

market sensitive, so you're

keeping it out of the market. You're certainly not telling

the shareholders. I suppose

there is basically the public

relations debacle of seeing

Alan Joyce getting voted a huge

pay rise the day before all of

this happens. Maybe he wanted

to lock it in before it all

fell to pieces. Nonetheless, I

think you can see why, without

it being a conspiracy, you

wouldn't tell anybody at an

annual general meeting, by the

way, we're about to ground the

entire airline", but at the

same time I think it starts

Qantas off on the absolute back

foot in a public relations

sense. We just need to go on

with Tony Abbott's intervention

on this. You mentioned the

Premiers spoke out on this.

Tony Abbott agrees with them

and he blames the Government.

Here he is. This is a crisis

that could have been avoided.

The Government has been

procrastinating for weeks about

this and now it's urgent that

it be solved immediately. This

is in the end a test of

competence for this Government. Gerard, Peter Reith

would say, though, that

governments should not

intervene in these cases. intervene in these cases. Tony

Abbott's signalling there that

an Abbott-led government here

would be prepared to intervene

in industrial disputes. I

wouldn't intervene, but I think

the Government should have shown

shown much greater support for

Qantas earlier on. There was some support from the Government when some unions

were telling people not to fly

Qantas. Some ministers

criticised the union movement.

Broadly there wasn't a lot of

support for Qantas in this. You're talking about Labor

governments. When the Ansett

pilots had a dispute two

decades ago, the Hawke

Government gave massive support

to Ansett and it even put up in

the military - it put in the

RAAF to fly people around.

This has not happened on this

occasion. There has been an

absence of support for Qantas,

which I think it deserved a

long time ago. Anyone looking

at this knew this airline was

bleeding to death and there was

little public comment from the

Government in support of Qantas

management. Sorry, Gerard, but

the world has changed since

then. Yes, there was massive

support. We're also in a much more centralised industrial

relations system then than we

are now. This is this crucial

issue here, are governments

supposed to intervene here or

not. I think, without a doubt,

you'll end up getting

centralised arbitration, but

Alan Joyce and Qantas haven't wanted the Government to be

intervening here. I said the

opposite, I didn't say they should intervene. I'm not

agreeing on Tony Abbott. What

I said was they should have

given public support. But how,

in what way, just rhetorically?

Not support - all these unions

are affiliates of the Labor

Party. Some key figures in this dispute are senior figures in the Labor Party. They

should have been out there publicly talking about this,

just geeing the thing up. This

is not an interif fyrns. This

is what the Government has done

in other disputes. I wonder,

though, I noted very carefully

what Julia Gillard was saying

at the doorstop last night, any

time the Government takes the

side of an industrial dispute

before it reaches like it did

yesterday, the Government was

saying let's sort this out, at

which point does every industrial dispute go on the

Government's desk? This

Government is - I support a lot of things the Government does. This Government is talking

about how we are part of the

intir national economy. You

are talking about earlier

having a special high rate for

certain people in Qantas. When

you fly virgin, as I did last

night, they're not getting the rates these Qantas employees

are getting. You're suggesting

there should be some kind of

Qantas airline which pays

higher rates. In the world of

international air lines, this

is just bizarre. Okay. We'll

have to move on. You mentioned

the social media feedback on

this, Laura. There's a tweet

published in the 'Age' this

morning that says Barnaby is

the second Joyce in Australia.

It's a bit harsh, but there's a

lot of that out there. Somebody in America is feeling

the heat as well. That's

right. The social media feedback on this has feedback on this has been

vicious towards quantoos, but

feel sorry for the American

university student called Alan

Joyce, known as At Alan Joyce

at Twitter, who everybody has

mistaken for the Irish

Australian Alan Joyce and has

been berated overnight, much to

his bemusement as he sits at

Stanford University. Program

guest this morning coming up

shortly is Trade Minister Craig

Emerson. For a Federal

Government perspective on the

Qantas issue, we're joined by

the assistant secretary Bill shorten, welcome. Good

morning, Barrie. What do you

make of the behaviour of

Qantas? I was listening very

carefully to the panel

beforehand. This argument that says Qantas had no choice but

to ground 108 planes and inconvenience 68,000 Australians, that Qantas Australians, that Qantas just

had to do that, that the board

woke up Saturday morning with

without any planning and said "We're shutting down the

airline today", I don't believe airline today", I don't believe

that. There are plenty of

legal avenues available to

Qantas and the Government

certainly knows that and Qantas

certainly knows that. There is

no question in my mind that 68,000 Australians and the

tourism industry has been grossly inconvenienced by this high-handed ambush of the passengers. How embarrassed is

the Government about that, not

only that passengers are being

stranded, there are somewhere

between 17 to 20 world leaders

stranded in Perth at CHOGM and of course MPs

of course MPs are trying to get

to Parliament tomorrow. Sure.

It's inconvenient for a lot of

people, but the world leaders

will probably sort that out. I

am really frustrated, though,

for all the people who are on

holiday or coming to the spring

carnival in Melbourne or trying

to get away after Derby Day.

There is no case for this

radical overreaction, and

certainly no warning. In

industrial disputes, sure, employers have views and unions

have views. What I don't

support, though, is support, though, is the no-warning nature of what's happened. The unions, though,

are not free of criticism

surely, because this has been

going on for weeks. A lot of people have been

inconvenienced. It's costing

Qantas millions of dollars.

Let's be clear. Despite what

people say, one way or the

other, the Government is not

picking sides between the union

or the unions, only some of

or the unions, only some of

which are taking this action,

for the record, and the

company, we're on the side of

the public. We don't think

when there's other legal tools

and other means available

people should be waking up this

morning on friends' bedroom

floors or on couches in hotels,

they should have had to be put

through this. This is not the

way to do things in Australia.

You don't lock out your

passengers to square off with your employees.

your employees. I'm not

picking sides. If the unions had locked out all the passengers, I'd be equally

outraged. In this case it's

the Qantas management who have

done, in my opinion, the premature and wrong thing when

there was in fact plenty that

could be done of a sensible

nature. Tony Abbott and the Premiers, some of them, says

the Federal Government should

have intervened weeks ago. Why

didn't you? Why did it take this dramatic escalation?

this dramatic escalation? Let's be clear, again Qantas

will have to explain some

will have to explain some of their dealings with Government

in recent weeks. Plenty of

Government Ministers have been

monitoring the issue, there's

been plenty of discussion. The

reality is that this dispute

wasn't grounding the whole

airline. Qantas say at some

point in the future it was, so

we had to bring matters on. If

they really believe that, and

they clearly do, why didn't

they try to suspend the bargaining period,

bargaining period, take the

legal steps which now the

Government has to do, we've got

to be the sensible third-party

broker to ensure that the

planes get back up in the air

and this dispute reaches a resolution. Bill shorten,

thanks for your time this

morning. Thanks. Bill shorten

there. Now to the other

political issues of the week. The Commonwealth Heads of

Government Meeting is winding

up in Perth. This was, of

course, an opportunity for the

Prime Minister to host leaders

from around the globe. The Government expected

Government expected a

distraction from the Opposition

Leader Tony Abbott and it came

courtesy of a surprise intervention in the poker

machine debate. It did get

plenty of attention and James

Packer joined in as well. Yet those pushing for change were

not unhappy with how it all

went. Trouble in

Trouble in the heartland.

I'm not responsible for

problem gamblers, so why am I

being punished for it? This is

a matter where there are some

conflict of opinions over it.

We are only here because we live under the rule of the

worst Prime Minister in Australia's history.

I want to say that there is a

better way to tackle this problem.

problem. Will you repeal the

mandatory pre-commitment

legislation? When this

legislation comes before the

Parliament, I predict that we

will oppose it. Well, heavens

above, Tony Abbott saying no to

above, Tony Abbott saying no to something, who'd have thought.

And if we then subsequently

form a government, I predict we

will rescind it. Maybe in the

heat of the moment I'm hoping

he went a bit further than he

intended to go. He has made a

mistake here. He is backing

the wrong side. The solution

to this problem, it's more counsel selling.

counsel selling. I can't

believe that he really thinks

counsel selling is the

solution. It's a bit like

saying "Let's get rid of speed limits on the roads but fund

the funeral s really well" Anything put in the

public policy debate, Tony

Abbott says no. The Prime

Minister is not surprised but

Coalition MPs were. Tony Abbott consulted some Abbott consulted some senior

colleagues, but didn't canvass

this widely. I do know

this widely. I do know that

freedom and choice are

important to my party room. He

risks a significant division

within his own ranks. The

Coalition joined some powerful

forces lined up against compulsory betting limits.

James Packer today is addressing the

addressing the Crown Limited annual general meeting. Mr

Packer, what will you say to

the meeting about poker

machines? Asking James Packer

how he feels about poker

machines is a bit like asking

Robert Mugabe how he feels

about democracy. Crown Casino

makes a lot of money out of

poker machines, there's no

doubt about that. I just wish

he'd tell both sides of the

story. Mr Wilkie is not out to

solve problem gambling. Mr

Wilkie is out for notoriety.

The more rocks thrown at me,

the stronger I get. Craig Emerson, good morning, welcome.

Good morning, Barrie. On the question of poker machine

reform, how solid are your

colleagues on colleagues on this issue,

particularly those feeling the

heat in some marginal seats in

NSW and Queensland? The

Government is determined to

achieve reform in this area of

achieve reform in this area of

problem gambling when, on

average, problem gamblers lose

$21,000 a year, a lot of broken

homes, it can lead to domestic

violence, huge social hardship.

I think we have to confront

that, rather than pretending

that it's just a minor issue

that we can really brush away

with a little bit of counsel

selling, as Mr Abbott is now

recommending. The idea of

counsel selling is a new idea.

Of course there is counsel

selling. There is counsel

selling in casinos, for

example, who do have resources

to deal with some of these

problems, but let's not pretend

that this is not a major issue

and the Government is

determined to deal with

it. Tony Abbott has shown his

hand. He is predicting that

his party will oppose it and

you will be up against not only

the clubs but it seems

significant sections of the

media. Well, indeed, and our policies can't be bought and

policies can't be bought and

sold. I don't think it's a

good sign for the future if, in

a democracy, we are confronted

with threats of putting $2

million into campaigns in all

of the Labor marginal seats. I

think the Australian people would object to the idea that a

government or an opposition's policies can be bought and

sold. Now Mr Abbott has seen the attraction of that

the attraction of that $2

million per electorate campaign

and of course he has said

something he's said every day

since he's been Opposition

leader, which is "no". He's

not singing from the same song

sheet as Malcolm Turnbull, who

today in an exclusive interview

in the cure mer Mail said he's

not necessarily lining up with

Tony Abbott on this, this is a

former leader of the Liberal

Party who obviously does have a

conscience about these

conscience about these matters. Former Leader of

matters. Former Leader of the

Labor Party staying out of the

debate? Kevin Rudd is a

supporter of dealing with this

problem and we are looking to

mandatory pre-commitment and I

understand from the ads and the

campaign that's gone to air

that it won't work, will hurt,

why would you be opposed to

trials of mandatory

pre-commitment? Maybe they're terrified that mandatory

terrified that mandatory

pre-commitment will work. We

have been in discussion with

Clubs ACT, but I would urge the

industry to say, "Well, if we

are, the industry, convinced

that mandatory pre-commitment

won't work, what do we have to

fear from trials?" I want to

ask you about the international

economy and how you saw the

European leaders' rescue plan.

Is it both credible and durable? The best judge of

that is actually the markets.

I could go through the various

components of it and make my

own judgment and, frankly, that

wouldn't influence the markets

one bit. So far the markets

have given it the thumbs up,

but Europe will need to be

vigilant to make sure that it

does have a sustainable plan in

place. Confronted with this

reality that Europe and the

United States are going to grow very slowly for

very slowly for a substantial

period of time, not by accident

but by design, Australia is

much more deeply integrated

into the Asian region in the

Asian century as a result of

visionary leadership from Bob

Hawke and others, and Julia

Gillard has launched this Asian

century white paper to make

sure that we're even more

strongly integrated into the

fastest-growing region on

earth. I'll make this point.

People say well, if there is an

economic slowdown again, will

China then succumb to that? It

has foreign exchange reserves

equal to more than twice Australia's annual national

income. I don't think the Chinese authorities would sit

around doing nothing if there

was a real slowdown in Europe

and the United States. I think

they will continue to invest in

public housing, in ip

infrastructure and all of that is good

is good news for Australia. Is

it our role for Australia

through all this through the

G20 to support the initiatives

the Europeans have now taken?

Indeed. Prime Minister Gillard and our Treasurer,

Wayne Swan, have been very active. They have been

critical of what were shaping

up as rescue packages for Europe. I'm sure our Prime

Minister will join other

leaders in saying again to the

leaders of Europe in particular

that they have a big role to

play here in making sure that

the package is sustainable and

enduring over time, because we

don't want that contagion which

we saw during the global

recession that became very bad

for North America and Europe,

where 11 million jobs were

lost, but here in Australia we

actually gained a couple of

hundred thousand jobs. So we

withstood that last time. You wouldn't

wouldn't want to be in any

other place than Australia in these sorts of times integrated

into the Asian region in the

Asian century. On issues of

trade and based on remarks at

the fringes of CHOGM, it seems

now that you have given up on

the prospect of a global agreement through the agreement through the Doha round, it's now a case of

sector by sector. No, I'm

still in favour of a global agreement, but breaking it agreement, but breaking it up as you say sector

as you say sector by sector,

issue by issue, whether agriculture, export agriculture, export subsidies, farm subsidies, service industries, manufacturing

tariffs, all of these matters

are in one big impasse, logjam.

We need to break that logjam.

I think the best way to do that

is to come back, create a new

pathway and then deal with each

of these issues on their merits

and bring them to a successful

conclusion on their merits, rather than wait

rather than wait for this very

complex package or this very big

big logjam, if you like, to be

broken. That's the plan that

Australia is putting. While

it's early days, Barrie, I'm

very heartened with the sorts

of responses we're getting from other countries to that

plan. Aren't you going down that pathway because world sentiment

sentiment is basically shifting

against the open-door policy?

That's right, absolutely.

There is a shift in sentiment.

It's a worrying shift

It's a worrying shift in sentiment and Australia is not

part of that. We reaffirm our

commitment to free and open trade, but it is true that in

those countries particularly

there is that are growing very

slowly their domestic voting

constituencies are basically saying "Let's protect our

industries. The Great

Depression was deepened and exacerbated, lengthened in time

from those very policies. We need to learn

need to learn those lessons.

No-one has said to me yet,

Barrie, in terms of the

sustainability of growth in the

United States and Europe how

that growth is going to be

achieved. No more fiscal

packages. The debt is very

high. No more monetary easing,

because the monetary easing has

already taken its course. The

only way through this is gains from trade through

specialisation. That's what gets countries growing and that's Australia's position.

that's Australia's position.

This is the formula for growth

such that we're not squabbling

over a fixed or a declining

number of jobs, but we're

actually increasing the number

of jobs around the world and

then we can divide those up.

It's much easier to do that

than to be in a dogfight about a declining number of jobs

worldwide. On the issue now of

uranium sales to India, it

looks as though it will be

quite an issue at the national

conference. Martin Ferguson

and Kevin Rudd have both said

they're looking forward to

that. How do you feel about the prospect of a the prospect of a divisive

issue at the conference? I've

always taken the view, whether this

this becomes an issue or not, that national conferences

should be a forum for thrashing

out issues and shouldn't be

stage-managed. I can't

remember going back to the

uranium debate of 1984 a time

when the Australian Labor Party

has been weakened by robust

debate at conferences. I think

it's important for the rank and file membership, for the

delegates, for the

parliamentary party, that we do

have robust debates. Whether

there's one on uranium sales to

India, I don't know, but I'm

sure we won't be lacking in vigour at the forthcoming

conference and the Prime

Minister has already said

that's appropriate that we

should have robust and vigorous

debates. Once those issues are

settled by a majority vote at the conference, they are

the conference, they are then settled. Is that the way it

works, if the conference takes

a decision that you should a decision that you should sell

uranium to India, then the

Government will implement that

policy? Well, as I say, I

don't even know whether this is

going to come up as an issue. Martin Ferguson and

Kevin Rudd are very confident that it will be. The current

policy is not to sell uranium

to India, simply because - it's

no reflection on India, but

it's not a signatory to the

it's not a signatory to the non-proliferation treaty. We

sell uranium to countries that

are signatories to the

non-proliferation treaty. I

don't mind what the debate is,

but I'm certainly not going to

pre-empt it and then start

saying what happens if that

policy is changed. We can be

clear about that, can't we, who

make the decision, will it be national conference or federal

cabinet? The national

conference sets up the strr -

that is, the national platform. The national platform

The national platform is

binding. It depends what would

be said in the words in any

change, if there is to be any

change, in that national

platform. I don't now want to

say based on what you and say based on what you and I

might guess might possibly be a

change to the wording on

uranium sales to India that

this is what the cabinet's

response would be. I think

we're far too early in the

debate on that, if there is to

be a debate, to then start pretending that we pretending that we know what

the outcome of that debate

would be. Just finally on the

mining tax that will be

introduced into the parliament

this week, to what extent will

you need to tweak the legislation to get it through?

We're determined to implement

the legislation as it is, Barrie. This has been the

subject of a very long

consultation process with industry and the Australian

people understand and want

this, that the broader

community should share in the community should share in the

benefits of the mining boom.

We're going to do that by

cutting the corporate tax rate

for non-mining companies, we're

going to do it by giving small

business a tax break, we're going to do it by increasing

the superannuation of working

Australians from 9 to 12%.

What has Tony Abbott said, that

mining companies already pay

too much tax and he's going to rescind the mining tax and take away all of those benefits

because he thinks that the mining industry mining industry is hard done

by. This guy is so out of

touch. They then say that they

have $50 billion worth of

savings. I looked at that

table and, yes, it says they're not going to give small

business tax breaks, they're

going to increase the company

tax rate, they're going to take

superannuation off working

Australians, but then they say

they're savings, but they

forget that they're not going

to apply the mining tax, so

they don't get the revenue from

the mining tax. This is the mining tax. This is a $9

billion error, a new $9 billion

error in their savings plan.

That's why they'll never

subject this to Treasury or to

a parliamentary budget office. They'll probably get an

accounting firm in Mosman who's

a good friend of Joe Hockey's

to say this all adds up. This

is the standard of debate and economic literacy on the

coalition side. Is it any

wonder John Hewson, former employer employer of Tony Abbott,

described him as totally innumerate. Thanks for your

time this morning. Thanks, Barrie. Now to Perth and the

CHOGM. With the eyes of the

world on Perth - Ms Gillard

has been running the country

from Perth all this week. This

is a world event. I begin by is a world event. I begin by

thanking the good people of

Perth for opening their doors.

SONG: # Tie me kangaroo down,

sport, tie me Kangaroo down

# The city is certainly putting

its best face forward. I'm

sorry if my voice sounds a

little like Mae West this

morning, but I can make no apology for that.

apology for that. We are

looking forward to an

exhilarating CHOGM.

Australians all let us rejoice

for we are young and free

# What's the point of this

54-nation jigsaw jam berry?

The Commonwealth hasn't really

done anything effective on any

substantial global issue really

since 20 years ago. The Prime since 20 years ago. The Prime Minister has met the President

of Sri Lanka. Amid growing

concerns about his country's

human rights record. We know

that the Commonwealth's value s

are spoken loud around our

world for a long period of

time. We don't want a Mandy

pandy conference, we want a

conference with a bit of oomph

to it. I thought Colin Barnett

was very, very restrained. I

thought he was very, very

Statesmanlike. We don't have

to surely sit around and agree

on what everyone is going to

say. What a boring conference

that would be.

It gives me great pleasure to

declare open this 21st meeting

of the Commonwealth Heads of

Government. Centuries of royal tradition are to be overturned

after agreement that the rules

on women succeeding to the throne should change. Put

simply, if the Duke and Duchess

of Cambridge were to have a

little girl, that girl would

one day be our Queen. I'm very

pleased to be able to report

that all of the reform

proposals recommended by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action

Group have been accepted by

leaders. There being no other

questions, I'm going to go and

take a throat lozinger. Thank

you very much. George, it's a

bit of a worry when the main

talking point around the

conference is the relevance of

the thing? What could they

agree on, they could agree on

the succession and they could

agree that a future monarch

should be able to marry a

Catholic. That's seems to be

the only two things that came

out of the meeting. There

should have been probably a

more robust debate on human rights, because I think that's

not a bad discussion for CHOGM

to have, because it is carrying

a few members with, let's say,

questionable records on this issue. And there's a lack of

consistency on that issue. I

think that was what they were

trying to resolve through their Eminent Persons Group. I think

I like the idea of a fight. I

fight would have probably - Craig Emerson wants to have a

fight over uranium sales.

CHOGM needs to have a fight

about the common standard

across all the jurisdictions.

If you want to be a member of

CHOGM, you should really have

certain stands yrds on human

rights. They didn't want to

have that. As I say, they

prefer to agree to the little

things. Gerard, what was their

last major contribution, CHOGM

as a whole? Well, I suppose

one of the last major

contribution s was the idea of

independence of Zimbabwe and

the Mugabe regime, which

Malcolm Fraser strongly

supported and remained silent

about the human rights abuses

for a long time, although in

recent times he said something

about it. There isn't much.

If you go back to George's

point, it's not exactly right.

I thought the Prime Minister spoke very well when the

British Prime Minister

announced the end of the

settlement which bars the

British royal family from

marrying Catholics and announced that if a announced that if a girl preceded a boy, the girl would

go on. But that only applies

to the realms, that only

applies to those members of the

Commonwealth of nations who are

constitutional monarchies, so,

in other words, Canada and New

Zealand get involved in that,

but India and the others don't.

So that's about the realms. That's not really a

Commonwealth function. So there's nothing very much.

Look, it doesn't do any harm.

Is it any better or worse -

it's probably just a smaller

version of the United Nations.

Does it do any harm? Did it Does it do any harm? Did it do anything for Julia Gillard in

terms of somebody who suffers

from a lack of stature, a lack

of authority, rubbing shoulders

with all of these people? I

think this whole question of

rubbing - what gloss rubs off

from other leaders is always

pretty marginal, particularly

at CHOGM. I think obviously

importantly it provided a break from domestic politics for her,

which is good. She performed

well. She gave good speeches.

I think one thing that has been

overlooked, yes, we have this

relevance problem with CHOGM,

but even if it doesn't do

anything, it provides a forum

where everybody is saying oi,

what's going on in all of these

countries which might not happen elsewhere, and I think

one of the things that is interesting

interesting about CHOGM is the

business forum has become quite

a big business to-do. For a

lot of smaller Commonwealth

countries it's actually become quite an important business

platform. So while it's

frustrating the whole shared values thing and whether that's

going anywhere, it's possible

that CHOGM is morphing into something different, which

could be a value in its own

right to the business

communities of these smaller

Commonwealth nations and, in

turn, that may feed back in time into the politics. That's

a good point. But therefore

the ki, what was missing at

CHOGM was the Indian prime,

Prime Minister sync, not being

there. That was a huge blow to

CHOGM, India is so important. I thought the Prime Minister

did very well. Part of the

reason for that speculated is

because he's unhappy with the

Government on the position of

banning uranium sales to India. Let's hear from both Martin

Ferguson and Kevin Rudd on

that. You're very familiar with the Australian

Government's policy on these

matters and these matters are

often the subject for debate at

our annual conferences or semi annual conferences of the

Australian Labor Party. Come

on and watch the discussion and

watch the debate. watch the debate. Personal

view on uranium exports? view on uranium exports? I'm looking very much to the Australian Labor Party national

conference. I'm looking

forward to the debate too. I

think you know where those two

are headed. I think the point,

though, that Craig Emerson was

making is if there is an um ambiguous statement from the

con freps floor that uranium

ought to be sold to India,

federal cabinet has no choice

but to fall in line. They're

looking for an out of some

description, this is how I'd

interpret Martin Ferguson and

possibly Kevin Rudd, they would

like the party conference to

give them permission to take a

pragmatic decision to sell their particular principle on

this issue, which is whether

they should or shouldn't trade

uranium with India. Of course

the first principle in this debate is non-proliferation,

but that doesn't seem to matter

so much anymore. The more

difficult decision out of a national conference might be if

they say no, you can't sell it

to India. That would actually

- that would actually be more

difficult for them, I think. I think the first principle is

double standards. We sell

uranium to China, they're an

authoritarian communist

dictatorship, we don't sell it

to India, the largest democracy

in the world. That's why India

regards it as discriminatory.

I spoke to several people in

Government in India, the feeling against Australia at

the time was lethal. There was

contempt for Australia's

position. So when people say

the Indian Government doesn't

feel strongly about this, they

may not say it all publicly,

but my God they feel it

privately. Julie bish jop made

the same point. I don't know

whether it was at the same news conference conference when Kevin Rudd was

asked about the poker machine

and passed on that, he said he

wanted to focus on CHOGM.

Here's Tony Abbott. It's very significant that when Kevin

Rudd was asked about this

today, he refused to comment because the word around the

traps is that he's using this

as part of his pitch to his

Caucus colleagues in his bid to

get the numbers. Here we have

Mr Abbott, the alternative

Prime Minister of Australia,

engaging in this sort of

discussion this week. I mean,

give us a break. Mr Abbott can

engage in his retail political debate wherever he so chooses.

I'm not going to buy into it,

we have other priorities this

week. Is it conceivable Kevin

Rudd could use this issue to

garner support among his own

front bench for the leadership?

It might be, but Tony Abbott

also wants to rescind the

thing. I'm not sure where Andrew Wilkie would go if

matters came to pass that Kevin

Rudd on Tony Abbott's advice

challenged for the Labor

leadership and the Labor

Caucus, on Tony Abbott's advice

changed to Kevin Rudd and then

Andrew Wilkie apparently has to make up his mind on Tony Abbott's advice the thing

wouldn't get up, he'll bring

down the Government and make

Tony Abbott Prime Minister.

There are a number of

assumptions all driven

essentially by a very good

politician in Tony Abbott that

seem to bear no relationship as

to what might or might not be

in the caucus or Andrew Wilkie.

I'm mildly amused we are taking advice from Tony Abbott on

Kevin Rudd's leadership Kevin Rudd's leadership aspirations. Laura? Look, I

was surprised that people took

the idea that this was all

leadership bid from CHOGM by

Kevin Rudd all that seriously.

Kevin is a is maybe still

trying to harness support.

Maybe pokies is a way to do it.

I don't think that's really

what this was about. As George

says, I think the politics of

pokies and as a result of Kevin

Rudd have changed dramatically as a result of Tony Abbott's

intervention this week. Until now the Coalition has been

basically looking for an early

election, having all its

policies ready to go. By

calling this way on pokies,

Tony Abbott is making a call

that Andrew Wilkie isn't ever

going to shift sides at the end

of the day and is deciding to

lock in to try to capitalise on

that Labor heartland vote in

the club s and surf that until

the next full-term election. I

can understand that even if 60%

of the polls are right, 60% of

aubs want something done about

problem gamblers and scourge of pouker

pouker machines, and so on.

Those who think most strongly

about it are those who think sporting clubs might lose

revenue, and so on, whereas the

others might be a little more'

thettic. Where are the

politics on this? I think the

politics are there's been a

huge distraction for going back

a year. I agree with Lauraa's

assessment where Tony Abbott is

coming from. Andrew Wilkie

won't bring down this Government, he won't put Tony

Abbott in. This is pure methodology. If the Government

thinks he is, they're

misled. The danger for Tony

Abbott is the perception from

him now from that 60% who might

not necessarily vote on this

issue, but the perception as he

goes in to bat on poker

machines. In the areas Tony

Abbott is trying to get votes,

in the suburbs, particularly in

NSW and Queensland and in the

regional centres, there's a deep reaction among, as Laura

was saying, traditional Labor

voters who think the Government

is unfairly interfering with

their best and cheapest form of

entertainment. Tony Abbott

understands he's after Labor

voters to bring him across to

the Coalition this time. It's pretty smart politics. It's

based on the assumption that

Wilkie - Andrew Wilkie can talk

forever and he will talk

forever and he'll never bring down this Government down this Government because

(a) he wants to serve three

years, he has a marginal seat,

dependent on Liberal Party preferences,

preferences, he wants to serve

three years, and he doesn't

want to put Tony Abbott in

anyway. Having said all of

that, I think the politics of

this are now very confused.

You have Malcolm Turnbull and

others a bit uncertain about

all this. You have divisions

in the Coalition about it.

You've got I think confused politics with Tony Abbott

saying he's going to rescind

this legislation, but also

talking about bringing out his

own package next week. I think

most voters don't know what

this is about anyway and why it

will bring down their clubs. I

suppose the other question I've

got in all of this is that

whether Andrew Wilkie does

bring down the Government or

not, which we don't think he

is, the deadline for it is May

next year. If we're talking

about a full-term Government,

once again, like the carbon

tax, it means that that's a couple of years between a

decision on this, whatever it

is, and there might be a compromise that works for

everybody, and the election,

which means that it won't be an

issue by the time of the poll. Let's listen to the language that Tony Abbott used when he was explaining his

position on this issue. I do

know my party room. I know the mood

mood of my party. I know the

values and principles of my

party. That's why my

prediction is that when the

legislation does come before

us, if it comes before us, we

will resolve to oppose it in

Opposition and rescind it in Government. That

Government. That was a

carefully prepared, scripted

prediction. Why is he using

the word "prediction", rather

than "promise" In this instance

he doesn't want to be held to

anything. He doesn't want to insult the audience. He wants

to tell the clubs that he feels

their pain, but on something

like this, he doesn't want to

be put in the position where he

might pass up the 1%

opportunity that he could

become prom next May. You have

to bear in mind everything

that's occurred in the last

year and a half since the

Parliament was hung is really about Tony Abbott trying to

force an early election and the

Labor Party not really knowing

how to think its way through the agenda of the minor

parties. This is why politics

has been suspended for a bit

over a year. That is not a

typical statement, it's an

usual statement from Abbott,

but it still comes to the core

of his being, which is I'll say and do anything to get an early

election, because he probably doesn't trust himself any more

than Gillard trusts herself at

a general election. That's a

huge overinterpretation. There

are disputes in the Liberal Party room and joint party room if the leader makes an announcement, he's done a few of them without clearing it.

He wants to clear it through

the Shadow Cab net and the

party room. It's a reasonable

thing to do. He still made a

prediction. He made a

prediction but not a statement,

that gives him an out. Made a

prediction based on the values

of the party as he understand s

them. To be fair to Tony

Abbott, his assessment of the

party room's attitude on carbon

tax was much smarter - I'm not

judging his assessment. - and

the Labor Party, I think his

assessment of the party room

was right. As Laura said,

Malcolm Turnbull is making a

comment and it makes sense to

get a majority vote, anonymous

vote, or whatever it is, in the

party room. He's covering for

himself. He's also been in this position where Tony Abbott

has made a lot of really big

calls without consulting the

party. I think it's

interesting that he's got this

far and he's getting to the

point where he thinks "Maybe I

can't keep doing this". We haven't seen a proposal as

such. It was the paternal

leave one which is the one that

was the big one. Carbon tax he

took to the party room. Two

years ago there was a years ago there was a huge

support for Abbott's position

as against Turnbull's position.

There was a secret vote on what

was then the Kevin Rudd scheme

in the party room. There was a

bigger one that than that. The

mining tax we had a lock-up

that morning and that afternoon

I'm pretty sure there was a

party room meeting to oppose

the thing. He's going to -

What about James Packer's

involvement in all of this, he

is clearly going for the

Government, he's shown he's

prepared to use his network to

protect his casino interests.

A couple of examples of that,

the rant during the final was

one, a letter from Jeff Brown

the CEO of RSL club offering to

go into bat for them. Clearly

you have evidence of this and

then the comments he made at

the meeting during the week.

Is this surprising that they

should go to this level to

protect those interests? Well,

politics is now - the days when

people used to give donations

to political parties to get an

outcome are long past us. We

saw with the mining tax last

year, everybody lobbies direct

and they're really out there.

But I think with this issue, James Packer isn't Kerry

Packer. Kerry Packer was a media

media man. James Packer is a

casino man. He says that

himself. The media interests

are secondary. I think that

changes where he sits on the

stage on this. He's no the

just a big scary media

proprietor. He's a rent seeker

like everybody else. He's out

there and I think the exposure

of what they've been doing I

don't think really helps his

cause. But without a doubt

it's really out there, the

rugby League stuff was extraordinary. Gerard, is it

suss to use your media in that

way, do you think? And to be

dishonest about it. To what

extent does he dominate channel

nine these days, I'm not sure.

I don't see much of the point

of Mr Packer's intervention,

because the debate was going very very much against the

Government's position before he

intervened. It might have been counterproductive, it might

have been better not to say

anything. This has come from

the rank and file of the clubs.

The idea of a very wealthy man

like James Packer getting

involved in this debate, if I

was giving him advice I would

have said don't bother. There

are a couple of points to bear in mind here. This is

something that started with the union campaign against

WorkChoices. The union started

before the Government had

legislated, so they had an idea

of what the Government was

going do do. The first of the

ads were running before we even

saw the legislation. The

miners went after a Prime miners went after a Prime

Minister before they sat down and negotiated - When Kevin Rudd was the Prime Minister. When Kevin Rudd When Kevin Rudd was Prime

Minister and there was a

majority Government. Now James

Packer, a casino operator who

happens also to have an

interest in a media company,

decides to take on a Government before the Government has even

legislated. We're talking

about first principles earlier,

there are a couple I have in

mind here. If you were to make

a call between a government and

a market, you'd err on the side of

of the market to set the price,

because the market would

probably set a better price

than the Government. But if

your contest was between a vested vested interest and the parliament, the parliament

should always be sovereign on

this. A parliament should be

allowed to put its legislation

on the table and then everybody

else can have the debate around

it. James Packer is

Americanising Australian

politics in a way that I think

- the point you made earlier,

this might be counterproductive. On

something as big as this, you

want him to lose this debate

because you don't want the

precedent to be set that a

business interest can say

before a government had even

put pen to paper, by the way,

you can't do it. The Government

too is feeling a bit of

frustration with its treatment

in the media through I think

Graham Richardson's involvement

on both Foxtel and Channel 7.

There's a view in the Labor

Party he built his career on

the Labor Party and now he's

building a new career bagging

the party. Of course Tania

Plibersek took him on in 'Q&A'.

In 2007 Labor governed

everywhere. By 2012 he'll

govern nowhere. For me that's

pretty sad. To lose it all in

five years would suggest there's

there's been a pretty

significant change in the way

Labor does business. I hope

when I retire I never make a