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ABC News Breakfast -

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(generated from captions) also we keep what goes on at

those meetings fairly private

because we don't like our

opposition to know our

thinking. That's the News

Limited editor Alan Howe there

between the Government and the speaking about the relationship

Murdoch press. For more on that

issue and many more Julie

Bishop is the acting Opposition

Leader and joins us from

Sydney. Good morning. Good

morning, Michael. Do you

believe the gft Government has

a right to be angry over its

treatment by the News Limited

papers? No, not at all. I think

we heard some very desperate words from Prime Minister Gillard recently when she

called for a media inquiry as a

means of diverting attention

from her Government's woes. We

believe in a free press in this

country, we believe in robust

political debate and for the Prime Minister to suggest there

should be a media inquiry to

look into bias and media

ownership sounded like somebody

trying to divert attention from

the incompetence of her own

government. She also demanded that News Limited had some that News Limited had some hard

questions to answer. Well, I

wonder if she put those hard

questions to News Limited last

night. How do you believe the

Opposition is treated by Rupert

Murdoch's papers? Well, when

you start complaining about the

media, I think you've lost the

plot. I really do. Politicians

should be able to argue their

case, argue their policies and

if the media criticised well

that's just part of the open,

robust debate we have in this

country and I find it very

interesting that both Julia

Gillard and Bob Brown have been

complaining about the treatment

that they receive in the

Australian press, particularly

from News Limited. Well if their policies were any good

and if their policies were

supported by the Australian

people they shouldn't worry

about what the media has to

say. Now, Julie Bishop, I want

to talk to you about the health

deal announced by the Prime

Minister yesterday shortly, but

just before that you've seen

the IMF's latest outlook for

the Australian economy released

yesterday and it seems pretty

rosy, doesn't it? Well the

Reserve Bank yesterday kept

interest rates on hold and that

did indicate that there is

uncertainty out in the

community. That's certainly the

feedback I'm getting, business

and consumer confidence is

still fragile. Of course we

have a resilient economy but

there is great uncertainty

internationally and increasing

uncertainty at home and the

feedback that I get,

particularly from small businesses, is that the last

thing they need in their lives

is additional taxes and that's

why we're saying is this is not

the time for the Government to

be burdening our economy with

additional taxes, particularly

not a carbon tax that will

drive up electricity costs and

increase the cost of living for

people who are already doing it

tough. 3.5% growth forecast by

the IMF for Australia next year

this current international is nothing to be sneezed at in

environment. No, we do have a

resilient economy. Clearly our

mining boom is supporting a

great deal of that growth. I

come from Western Australia and

I know that the mining and resource projects in that State are certainly giving our

economy a boost. Now looking at

the health reform deal, a lot

of the commentators today are

saying it's the best possible

deal the Government has got,

the most pragmatic deal the the most pragmatic deal

Government had got, managed to

get given all the competing

interests at play here. What's

your take on that? Everybody

wants to see better health outcomes in Australia and wants

to ensure that the money that

is currently in the system is

spent efficiently and

effectively. Labor had promised

sweeping national reforms. They

promised that the Commonwealth

would be the dominant funder,

they even promised a referendum, they promised

guarantees on waiting times and

they promised penalties for poor performance and all of

that has been dropped, all of

that has been swept away.

There's more money but the

systemic reforms have been

dropped. So for Labor to call

this an historic reform does

make you roll your eyes a bit.

This is the third time in 18

months that they've said their

health reforms are historic but

in fact it's more money but

none of the reforms that were

meant to go along with it. So

Julia Gillard's capitulated to

the States, she's put up the

white flag on health and

hospital reform. Did you

support that extra money, $175

billion going to the States as

part of this deal? You see,

more money is not the answer.

Labor thinks that you just

throw money at a problem and it

will fix it. Well that won't

happen. We want to see better

health outcomes and their

signature reform which they've

now walked away from, was meant

to be on waiting lists for

elective surgery and emergency

departments. Well they're no

longer guaranteeingss, they've

now watered it down to a rgt

ta, it won't be implemented

until 2016 after another couple

of elections and these reward

payments that were meant to be

the incentives are now going to

be paid upfront. So essentially

the States haven't given

anything, the Commonwealth's

providing more money and we're

not seeing the long-term sustainable improvements in

health care that we expected from this package . Just a

couple of quick issues before

you leave us, putting your

foreign affairs cap on now,

you've seen the escalating

violence in Syria, what action

would you like to see the international community take

against the Assad regime? The

Assad regime has been carrying

out some appalling attacks on

Syrian people and the

international community must

condemn this brutality and

violence and these killings. The United Nations Security The United

Council must issue a strongly

worded condemnation and ensure

that all avenues are pursued,

for example, sanctions if they

can be applied across the board.

So first there must be a

statement of condemnation

against the say - Assad regime

that this kind of conduct is

not acceptable for a

government, for a regime to

turn on its own people who are essentially carrying out their

right to protest peacefully seeking economic reform and

democratic reform, it's just

appalling. People are calling

for greater freedoms, they're

calling for a respect for their

human rights and in term - turn

they're being attack and

thousands are being killed,

thousands are now missing. And

finally, your shadow cabinet

colleague Malcolm Turnbull will

address the National Press Club

today. He said last week that

he was ungagable, his word, are

you comfortable with him

continually expressing

reservations about the Coalition's direct action

approach to climate change? I'm

very happy for Malcolm Turnbull

to continue as our shadow spokesman in communications,

he's doing a very good job

exposing the failings of the National Broadband Network and

pointing out that there is an

alternative that will cost far

less and be as effective as

what the Government is

proposeing. So Malcolm is doing

a good job as our

communications spokesman. We'll