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Lateline -

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What I don't believe in doing is cutting services that Australians need. Tonight - the Opposition
identifies another $1.2 billion in spending cuts.

This Program is Captioned Live.

Good evening. Welcome to lael. I'm Leigh Sales. If you surf around online you will find that
someone is already poking fun at Julia Gillard's phrase of moving Australia forward. The Opposition
wants people to look back at their history. But so far the negative has centre ed on the
Coalition's performance.

If you can't get the basics of a campaign organised, if f you can't have a campaign headquarter s
ready, if you didn't know when tha the rest of the election was going to be called, imagine what
they will be like if they got into Government?

This campaign has to focus on the record of the Government and does this Government deserve
re-election based on its record, which the answer is ae & resound ing no.

Joining Lateline tonight are the national secretary of the Australian Workers' Union, Paul Howse
and the former Victorian Liberal Party President Michael Kroger. That discussion is coming up but
first our other headlines. On the edge - a profile of one of the country's most marginal
electorates. The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, arrives in Washington and we will be
crossing to the US capital.

Election promises become as small as possible

Election promises become as small as possible

Broadcast: 20/07/2010

Reporter: Nick Harmsen

Tony Abbott has pledged to slash another $1.2 billion from the Federal budget, while Julia Gillard
has limited her campaign spending.


LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Sunday's election debate is shaping up as a battle of who can promise less.

Tony Abbott tried to kill WorkChoices, now he's reaching for the knife with a pledge to slash
another $1.2 billion from the budget.

The Prime Minister Julia Gillard was in western Sydney today, where she limited her own campaign
spending to a minimum.

Political reporter Nick Harmsen.

NICK HARMSEN, REPORTER: Tony Abbott enjoyed the fruits of labour, while accusing Labor of feeding
off others.

TONY ABBOTT, OPPOSITION LEADER: Businesses and families have had to tighten their belts over the
last couple of years and government needs to live within its means as well.

NICK HARMSEN: In a chaste campaign, budget funds are a gift that shouldn't be given away lightly.

JOE HOCKEY, SHADOW TREASURER: Wayne Swan is to surpluses what Paris Hilton is to celibacy: they
remember it once existed, but they'll never see it again.

NICK HARMSEN: To prove his credentials, the Opposition Leader unveiled $1.2 billion in spending
cuts, slashing infrastructure spending promised from the mining tax, dropping Kevin Rudd's push for
a seat on the UN Security Council, and the plans for a carbon institute, some green measures would
also face the chop, as would community cabinet meetings.

TONY ABBOTT: We believe that these are reductions to bureaucracy, not reductions in services.

JULIA GILLARD, PRIME MINISTER: I believe in budget surpluses. What I don't believe in doing, what I
don't believe in doing is cutting services that Australians need.

NICK HARMSEN: Interest rates are once again the target.

TONY ABBOTT: If we get government borrowings down, we'll get the pressure off interest rates.

NICK HARMSEN: A mid-campaign rate rise didn't help John Howard, and some economists are tipping
another will hamper Julia Gillard. The one man who might know, in typical style, is giving nothing

GLENN STEVENS, RESERVE BANK GOVERNOR: The board will meet, consider all the issues for the economy
and do its job. What else would people expect?

NICK HARMSEN: But a rate rise would help feed into the Liberal campaign.

COALITION TV ADVERTISEMENT (female voiceover): More Labor, more waste, more debt more taxes.

NICK HARMSEN: The Prime Minister kept a low spending profile in Sydney's west, promising $3 million
for training as the unions trained their sights on an issue that continues to fester for the
Opposition Leader.

UNION ADVERTISEMENT (to the tune of 'The Addams Family' theme song): "He'll unfairly dismiss you,
And lie when he tells you, They'll bring back WorkChoices, The Abbott Family."

NICK HARMSEN: In Melbourne, the Prime Minister was the star attraction at the farewell dinner for
former ACTU president Sharan Burrow. Julia Gillard's "moving forward" mantra was coupled with some
looking back.

JULIA GILLARD: And so in this election campaign we've gotta recommit to the fight, the fight of
2007, the fight against WorkChoices.

NICK HARMSEN: Labor is doing its best to ensure the argument remains on its own terms. The party
machine has mustered its powers of incumbency to deny the Liberals' request for three debates.
Instead, both leaders will face off in a single fight night.

TONY ABBOTT: The Prime Minister doesn't seem to like debates now that she's the Prime Minister.

JULIA GILLARD: I've debated Mr Abbott a lot. Arrangements are being made for a debate on Sunday

NICK HARMSEN: It will be screened at 6.30, an hour earlier than usual, to avoid being cooked by the
MasterChef ratings juggernaut.

JULIA GILLARD: You're into desserts too.


JULIA GILLARD: Oh, OK. What did you think?


JULIA GILLARD: Pasta. OK. I'm pretty good at toast.

NICK HARMSEN: The Prime Minister has less of an appetite for this stunt ...

RED SPEEDO-WEARING PROTESTOR: You like the cut of my Speedos, Tony?

NICK HARMSEN: ... served up by a Labor staffer.

JULIA GILLARD: It would be better if people attended campaign events fully clothed.

TONY ABBOTT: Look, I just thought he could work on his six-pack, frankly.

NICK HARMSEN: And in this campaign, it's the fiscal, not the physical, that counts.

Nick Harmsen, Lateline.

Tragic McEwen a marginal seat in transition

Tragic McEwen a marginal seat in transition

Broadcast: 20/07/2010

Reporter: Hamish Fitzsimmons

The electorate of McEwen in Melbourne was devastated by the 2009 bushfires and is accelerating from
rural to urban.


LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Tony Abbott's visit to Melbourne was intended to shore up support in some
of Victoria's marginal seats and one of the most marginal also has a tragic recent past.

McEwen takes in the areas most devastated in the 2009 bushfires.

173 people were killed and the fire destroyed the towns of Kinglake and Marysville.

It also happens to be an area in transition, moving from a rural to an urban population at an
increasing pace.

Hamish Fitzsimmons reports.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS, REPORTER: It's a common scene at the edges of many Australian cities: housing
estates encroaching on farmland, and the issues concerning voters are as diverse as the electorate.

VOX POP: I would like to see some clear statement on the environment. Everyone seems to be dodging
away from that at the moment.

VOX POP II: I'd like to see more stuff for the youth and also the high school - like, our high
school is just coming up and going and going and we don't have anything like TAFEs or any of that
sort of stuff. So a lot of that in this area.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: The candidates are well aware the winds of change may be blowing in McEwen.

ROB MITCHELL, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR MCEWEN: There's 10,000 people that have moved into McEwan since
the last election; it's 4,500 homes. It's growing very rapidly. And so that brings on challenges of
making sure you've got the infrastructure there, access to health, access to education.

CAMERON CAINE, LIBERAL CANDIDATE FOR MCEWEN: It's a huge seat, McEwen; it's massive. You go from
Matlock across to Macedon, Woodend, Diamond Creek to Terrub. It's a huge area and a lot of
different little communities and some big ones like your Wallan, Diamond Creek, South Morang, Mill
Park. There's huge issues with the new sprawling built up areas coming up from the south, with
transport, what are youth going to do?

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: Political observers believe the shift in population might just be enough to
make the seat change hands.

NICK ECONOMOU, MONASH UNIVERSITY: McEwen looks like a rural seat topographically. Most of its land
area covers regional, rural areas of Victoria. But in fact the thing that's really influencing the
seat is the spillover of the northern suburbs of Melbourne, and of course these are very strong
Labor-voting areas

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: Labor's candidate Rob Mitchell knows how close McEwen can be. After the 2007
election, there were five recounts which culminated in a High Court challenge, eventually returning
the seat to the retiring member, the Liberal's Fran Bailey, by a mere 32 votes.

The former state Upper House member and Labor staffer believes the urbanisation of the seat will
make the difference.

ROB MITCHELL: It was very close. I think people were very clear that they wanted a change.
Traditionally it's been a - before the election it was classed as a marginally safe Liberal seat.
We took that down to the narrowest margin in the country. So there was definitely a clear evidence
that people wanted to change and I'm really hoping that we don't go through that again.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: The Liberal candidate Cameron Caine was born in the seat of McEwen and for the
last 10 years has been a policeman in Kinglake, which bore the brunt of the Black Saturday
bushfires. That day and its aftermath was a transformative time, and it was then he decided he
wanted to serve the community on a broader scale, but he knows the challenges such a diverse seat

CAMERON CAINE: 5.30 on 7th of Feb, went to work as Cameron Caine, the local policeman; here I sit
now as the candidate for McEwen for the Liberal Party. It changed my life completely.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: Every last vote will count in McEwen and last-minute enrolments like this could
make the difference.

Political scientist Nick Economou says seats like McEwen will be major battlegrounds across the

NICK ECONOMOU: It covers an area that's a mixture of rural areas and of course growth corridors,
suburban growth corridors. Labor's got a stack of these in NSW and Queensland as well. So, if Labor
wants to win the next federal election, it really ought to win McEwen.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: Despite being a fast-growing urban area, there remains a strong rural economy
in McEwen. The most notable aside from tourism is forestry.

Locals like timber representative Scott Gentle say the two big earners for the region have
co-existed in the area for more than a century.

SCOTT GENTLE, VICTORIAN FORESTRY CONTRACTORS ASSOC: We're really looking for leadership from
government. We're just hoping they commit to the regional forestry agreements, commit to science
and let the industry continue, and hopefully, with changes to a few policy settings as regards to
biomass, biofuel, there might be actually more potential for the industry to grow.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: And with many yet to make up their minds, McEwen remains either side's for the

VOX POP III: I'm concerned about the health problems. I don't know whether the Gillard Government
are really going to do anything about it. Maybe the others won't either. But, I'm concerned about
that. I'm concerned about the boat people.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: Hamish Fitzsimmons, Lateline.

The early days of campaign 2010

The early days of campaign 2010

Broadcast: 20/07/2010

Reporter: Leigh Sales

Lateline is joined by regular guests AWU national secretary Paul Howes and former Victorian Liberal
president Michael Kroger.


LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: To talk about the early days of campaign 2010, I'm joined from Melbourne by
Lateline regulars the Australian Workers' Union national secretary Paul Howes and the former
Victorian Liberal president Michael Kroger.

Welcome to both of you.



LEIGH SALES: Michael Kroger, many commentators, even some who are very pro-Liberal, believe that
Tony Abbott has had a lacklustre start to his campaign. What do you think?

MICHAEL KROGER: Well, Leigh, Labor have played their trump card, which is the WorkChoices bogey and
it was gonna play well for them. But Tony's said over days and days that WorkChoices is dead,
buried, cremated, whatever else.

So I think that card has been played and I think now the campaign will turn back on to the
performance of the Government, which will play well for the Opposition.

LEIGH SALES: But that point you've made isn't what commentators are talking about; they're talking
about the fact that the Liberal campaign headquarters aren't up and running yet, that for example,
Tony Abbott's press conference on the day that the election was called was in a half-empty room
without a proper backdrop. There's been talk about Tony Abbott making some stumbles.

I mean, if those fundamentals aren't right, the campaign's in trouble, isn't it?

MICHAEL KROGER: Well, no. The fact that the campaign office opens tomorrow instead of two or three
days ago makes no difference to the final result. Tony Abbott had to call a press conference at
short notice to announce his reply to Julia Gillard's announcement of the election on Saturday
morning. Does that matter? No; it got national coverage.

Of course, WorkChoices, because Labor are, you know, frenetic about throwing this sort of bogey out
at the Opposition, was always gonna play well for the Government. But I think that card's been
played; it's over, and now we'll get into some serious campaigning about issues and policies that
actually are going to be implemented rather than those that are not.

LEIGH SALES: I'll come back to that WorkChoices in a moment. But Paul Howes, firstly, let me put to
you that what I just said to Michael Kroger was hogwash. We're two days into the campaign; how
could you possibly say that Tony Abbott's campaign's already stumbling?

PAUL HOWES: Well, if you can't get the basics of a campaign organised, if you can't have a campaign
headquarters ready, if you didn't know that the election was going to be called when the rest of
the country was ready, including the nation's media, imagine what they'd be like if they got into

If a political party can't get those fundamentals right in terms your day-to-day base business,
imagine what they would be like if they were trying to run the country. I mean, I'm not sure who's
running the Liberal Party campaign, I don't know who the key strategists are. Michael would know

But, clearly, clearly, they have no idea what they're doing. I don't know why Tony Abbott raised
the WorkChoices issue. I don't know why they're running on this kind of Newt Gingrich Contract with
America-style campaign which won't wash here. It will fail.

And, unfortunately for the Australian people, it means that we won't have a clear idea of what the
Coalition is standing for because of these stories about their campaign and these stories about the
complete fumbling of the ball as they have over the last couple of days will dominate the

LEIGH SALES: But Paul Howes, wouldn't it be very foolish for Labor to underestimate Tony Abbott?
Six months ago, nobody was predicting that he would wrong-foot the Government in the way that he
has. Is there a danger now of once again underestimating him?

PAUL HOWES: Well I don't think anyone in the Government, anyone in the party underestimates Tony

My personal views are my personal views and I am astonished at the way that the Coalition has run
their campaign.

Clearly, Tony Abbott represents a great danger for working Australians. We know that he is
completely inconsistent on the question of industrial relations. He has on the one hand said that
WorkChoices is dead, buried, cremated, but on the other hand we know that he wrote just a year ago
in his manifesto that WorkChoices was the crowning achievement of the Howard Government and
something they should be very proud of.

We know that he's said in the past that you shouldn't take what he has said on the run as being the
gospel truth, and certainly the contract that he signed with Neil Mitchell in the 3AW studio was
once again something that he said on the run, so we don't know if that's actually the case.

We know in the past - as soon as he made that announcement, we know that Eddie Abetz, the Shadow
Workplace Relations Minister, said that he would tweak Labor's Fair Work Act once he got into
power. and using the regulations of that act. The regulations of that act give the minister
enormous capability to rip away at our social wage, to undermine unfair dismissal protection, to
reintroduce AWA-like conditions through the individual flexibility agreements that exist under the
Fair Work legislation.

Just last night on Q&A, Julie Bishop refued to rule out changes to Labor's industrial legislation
under a Coalition Government. So the Liberal Party's been inconsistent on this. They will have
enormous pressure, enormous pressure from big business and from different constituencies that if
they win government, to change this legislation. And like we saw after the 2004 election, when John
Howard never made one mention of WorkChoices: they won the election and they went back on their

LEIGH SALES: OK. Alright, let me give Michael Kroger a chance to respond. Paul Howes' answer would
clearly show that Labor intends to keep thrashing that bogey man. How are the Liberals going to
counter this?

MICHAEL KROGER: Well I think Paul's better than that. That was hopelessly desperate stuff. If all
Labor can cling on to is that WorkChoices, WorkChoices ... Dean Miles said today there's no
difference, by the way, between WorkChoices and the Fair Work Act. So, this is just pathetic and
desperate stuff. You know, the campaign office hasn't opened and Julie Bishop said this and Eric
Abetz said something about tweaking, etc. They're not gonna reintroduce WorkChoices, full stop. I
mean, Paul, you've gotta get over it and you've gotta start talking about something more positive
than that.

The question I have for you, Paul, is is this government running on its record?

I mean, Kerry O'Brien last night ran a whole interview with Julia Gillard and did not once ask her
about the record of the Government. I mean, she's got - I'll give her credit: she's got the whole
Canberra press gallery except Oakes bluffed into thinking that the Rudd Government didn't exist.

And what you're gonna find in this campaign is the focus is now we've got this WorkChoice bogey out
of the way, this campaign is now gonna focus on the record of the Government, and the central
question in the campaign, which is: does this government deserve re-election, based on its record?
Which the answer is a resounding no.

She is the most incompetent Deputy Prime Minister since Jim Cannes, one of the worst ministers
we've ever seen in terms of her performance in managing her portfolio. Don't worry about the
Coalition being able to run the government; they've proved that for 11 years.

What we know is that this is a reckless government, a reckless leadership who are unable to control
their own spending, and despite the disasters of this government, Gillard's (inaudible) been
promoted and no doubt Kevin Rudd and Peter Garrett are saying, "Why have they been promoted when
we've been sacked?"

LEIGH SALES: Well, Michael Kroger, let me come at the Fair Work issues from another direction.
Doesn't business have the right to feel aggrieved that Tony Abbott is saying he's not going to dump
Labor's Fair Work laws, when in the past Tony Abbott's said that these laws meant that workers
would lose pay, that they would cause young people to lose jobs and that they would burden small
business with unfair dismissal rules?

MICHAEL KROGER: Well, I'd say this to the business community: if you want the law changed, do what
the mining industry did: get out there and make your case. Don't just off-the-record, you know,
whinge to journalists that, oh, you know, you're not happy with the Opposition's policies.

Get out there and spend some money, make the case, convince the public, convince the Opposition,
convince the current government that the laws need to be changed. There's no point these business
people behind closed doors ringing up Liberal Party people whinging about our position now on
industrial relations laws. Don't forget: this debate didn't start last year or three or four years

The industrial relations debate started in the mid-1980s and I was involved in it. And the
Coalition has basically implemented pretty well all it wanted to implement from 20 years ago. So,
if the business community wants further changes, let them start advertising and start campaigning
for it. That's what they've gotta do.

LEIGH SALES: Paul Howes, I saw you shaking your head there.

PAUL HOWES: So, Michael, what you essentially are saying is that if the business community is
prepared to put in some money, then the Liberal Party is prepared to change its policy, which
reinforces the point that we've been talking about this week ...

MICHAEL KROGER: No, that's not what I said. No, Paul, that's not what I said.

PAUL HOWES: No, that's what you said. That's what you said.

MICHAEL KROGER: If they want to change the - if they want the law changed ...

PAUL HOWES: That if the business community will step up some money, like the mining industry did on
the RSPT, then you'll change your policy. I mean, ...

MICHAEL KROGER: No, I didn't say that.

PAUL HOWES: ... I don't know how people like yourself - I don't know how people like yourself,
Michael, could be in this party when, as you said - I mean, your background in industrial relations
going back to dollar sweets and all those iconic anti-union campaigns of the 1980s, how you could
actually be an active and vocal participant of the Liberal Party, which is basically saying, "We
will keep Labor's legislation holus bolus." Now, if you actually believe that they will do that,
you wouldn't be campaigning the way you were - and that's why I would believe ...

MICHAEL KROGER: What, you think the dollar sweets campaign was an anti-union campaign. It was a
campaign, Paul, about protecting the interests of small business. It happened before you were born.
You weren't even born.

PAUL HOWES: We're not gonna debate dollar sweets. It happened when I was in kindergarten.

LEIGH SALES: OK, lets ... Alright. Gentlemen, let's not get bogged down into something that
happened quite a long time ago. What I'd like to do is pick up on something that Michael Kroger was
talking about before, which is Labor talking all the time about looking forwards rather than being
willing to focus on its track record. Paul Howes, is that the case, and also has this slogan,
"Moving Australia forward", already, so early in the campaign, become a parody of itself?

PAUL HOWES: I don't think so, Leigh. And in fact what we're talking - what Labor has been talking
about is moving Australia forward on our proud record. 260,000 working Australians have their jobs
today because of Labor's very strong credentials in saving the economy from recession, unlike the
rest of the world. When you look at what Labor has ...

MICHAEL KROGER: Didn't save Kevin Rudd his job.

PAUL HOWES: Well, look at what Labor's done in terms of workplace relations, restoring the balance,
ensuring that the Fair Work legislation protects workers rights, but on the same time allows
businesses to have flexibility and productivity in their workplaces. And if it's so popular, you
even got Michael Kroger's stamp of endorsement on the Fair Work legislation. These are substantial

These are substantial reforms and Labor has demonstrated since the 2007 election that it is willing
to take on the big issues. Now certainly, as we move forward, things like the announcement of the
trade training packages today are very important in terms of alleviating the squeeze on the mining
industry and the labour shortages which we'll feel into the future, ensuring that we do take action
on climate change in the long term will be important. These are all policies which will bring our
country forward.

What we know from the Coalition is that you have - basically the Coalition frontbench is the fish
that John West rejected, you know, the people that couldn't get out of politics after the 2007
election defeat, bringing up some kind of people back from the dead, you know, people that have
been - their political careers have been written off 20 years ago, and a few new young people.

There's the occasional bright star on that frontbench, but most of that team is extremely ordinary,
and they're having great difficulty in communicating their message because they don't have a
message about what they will do for our country and our economy and to move Australia forward in
the long term.

LEIGH SALES: OK. The conservative commentators Andrew Bolt and Steve Price said of Melbourne radio
this morning that the Coalition had been slow off the block in attacking this "Moving Australia
forward" slogan. Is that the case?

MICHAEL KROGER: Well, the campaign - there's absolutely no question the campaign got sidetracked
onto WorkChoices for two days, but that was gonna happen at some stage during the campaign. There's
absolutely no question that WorkChoices was gonna be an issue for a couple of days during the
campaign. The good news for the Coalition is its happened right at the beginning; in a week's time
it'll be forgotten and they'll be moving on to something else.

But I repeat the point: this is the first time in Australian history that I can remember that a
government is not running on its record. It's as if the Rudd Government didn't exist. It's as if
2007 to 2010 is a blank; you know, like during the War when they suspended the Grand Final so the
record is up to '39 and then from '45 onwards. Nothing happened between '39 and '45.

Well it's as if Australia didn't exist between 2007 and 2010. Is this government running on its

LEIGH SALES: Is that right, Paul Howes? Is Labor just papering over the Rudd years?

PAUL HOWES: Look, this is just complete fantasy from Michael and he knows that, he knows that.

LEIGH SALES: But you have to paper over them, don't you, because apparently they were so bad that
you had that dump that Prime Minister?

PAUL HOWES: Labor's record is very proud, and as Julia Gillard has said many times, this was a good
government that got off track. Now she's put the Government back on track and we are prosecuting -
Labor is prosecuting a case with great ferocity.

MICHAEL KROGER: But she was part of it.

PAUL HOWES: And the most important element to remember here is that the entire world has gone
through the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression, and Australia, yet is not in
recession, our economy is growing, unemployment is going down, there are 260,000 working
Australians that have their jobs today directly because of Labor's stimulus package.

There are 2.3 million working Australians who've had their unfair dismissal rights restored because
of Labor's Fair Work Act. And the Coalition would have ripped that away. They opposed - they are
opposed fundamentally, it's in their soul, it's ingrained in their DNA issues like WorkChoices.

Michael exposed it earlier on, how much fashion he feels about workplace relations reform because
he's been involved in it since the 1980s. It is a core component of what it means to be a Liberal
today is to introduce WorkChoices-like legislation. That's why they'll do it if they win.

LEIGH SALES: OK. Let's move on. There are a couple of other issues I want to quickly canvass before
we run out of time. Paul Howes, what do you make of the Greens striking a preference deal with
Labor and then their leader telling - leader Bob Brown telling voters, "Oh, actually, just
disregard our how-to-vote card"?

PAUL HOWES: Well that's a question you'd have to direct to the campaign. I mean, those negotiations
take place between the national secretary of the party and whoever runs the Greens' organisational
party. I mean, those issues aren't about policies. They're not - it's not unusual, it's not the
first time that Labor's striked a preference deal with the Greens and it won't be the last time.
The Coalition will strike preference deals with right-of-centre parties, I wouldn't be surprised,
in the next couple of days, if Brian Lochnane announced a preference deal with Family First.

LEIGH SALES: But do you have any concerns, though, about the Greens saying, "OK, great, we'll take
Labor's preferences that'll help perhaps deliver us the balance of power in the Senate, but we
don't really wanna have the deal go the other way"?

PAUL HOWES: Well the Senate's a fickle thing. No-one would have predicted that Steve Fielding would
have been in the Senate before the 2004 election. The outcome of the Senate won't be known for
weeks after polling day. What the exact balance of power will be after August 21 won't be known for
weeks and we shouldn't read too much into it at the moment.

Labor's campaign'll be strong and the Greens are obviously running a strong campaign. But there are
very clear choices and there are very big differences between Labor and the Greens. The Greens of
course oppose direct action on climate change. Labor took that action through their introduction of
the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

LEIGH SALES: Alright. Michael Kroger, let me ask you: what do you think an Australia would look
like led by a Gillard Labor Government with the Greens holding the balance of power in the Senate?

MICHAEL KROGER: A bit of a frightening prospect. But, Leigh, the real question tonight is one you
haven't asked, which is the fact that Paul Howes has just been in Washington with the
Australian-American leadership dialogue with Kevin Rudd and we all want to know what he and Kevin
Rudd talked about when they were in Washington together.

LEIGH SALES: Paul Howes?

PAUL HOWES: Does Michael write your questions now, Leigh?

LEIGH SALES: Well, I think it's quite an interesting question and it was on my list, so I'm more
than happy for you to answer it.

PAUL HOWES: Well, yeah, I was at the dialogue. I've met many interesting and very nice people at
the dialogue, including Michael Kroger. And as Michael knows, ...

MICHAEL KROGER: Well what did Kevin Rudd say to you? What did Kevin Rudd say to you at the

PAUL HOWES: Well, Michael, as you know, as you know, there is an agreement with people that you go
on the dialogue is that you don't talk about what happens inside the room.

MICHAEL KROGER: Oh, not the Julia Gillard I can't talk ... !

PAUL HOWES: I won't talk (inaudible) statements that you've made at the dialogue. I won't talk
about those and I expect that you won't talk about mine either.

LEIGH SALES: Alright. Michael Kroger, let me ask you ...

MICHAEL KROGER: No, I am asking you about what he said to you off camera.

LEIGH SALES: I think it's clear that Paul Howes isn't gonna answer that question, so let's move on
so we're not wasting time. I wanna ask you one final question: should we expect to be seeing John
Howard wheeled out during the Liberal Party's election campaign, or will he be a bit too much of a
reminder of WorkChoices and that era?

MICHAEL KROGER: The answer is I don't know, but I certainly wouldn't have a problem with that. John
Howard's the greatest prime minister since Menzies. His performance, his record is absolutely
outstanding. And the reason Australia was in the strong economic position it was in 2007 when he
left office was because of his brilliant, absolutely brilliant stewardship of the Australian
economy and we're all benefitting from that today.

So, if he comes out in the campaign, well and good as far as I'm concerned.

LEIGH SALES: Michael Kroger, Paul Howes, it's always a pleasure to have you. Thank you very much
for joining us.

MICHAEL KROGER: Pleasure. Thanks, Leigh.

PAUL HOWES: Thanks, Leigh.

US demands to know BP's relationship with Libya

US demands to know BP's relationship with Libya

Broadcast: 20/07/2010

Reporter: Leigh Sales

Washington correspondent Craig McMurtrie discusses UK prime minister David Cameron's first official
visit to the US.


LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: The British prime minister has arrived in Washington for his first official
visit to the US.

As well as meeting Barack Obama, David Cameron has agreed to see four US senators to discuss
allegations that BP lobbied for the release of the Lockerbie bomber to help its relations with
Libya over oil.

Senators from New York and New Jersey wanted to meet Mr Cameron over the release of Abdelbaset Ali
a-Megrahi, who has prostate cancer.

Mr Cameron had earlier refused a meeting, saying he couldn't fit it into a very full schedule in
the US.

To discuss the visit and the topics to be addressed, we're joined from our Washington studio by
North America correspondent Craig McMurtrie.

Craig, why has David Cameron now agreed to meet those US senators over the Lockerbie bomber?

CRAIG MCMURTIRE, NORTH AMERICA CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's saying that he recognises that it's
important for the families of the victims of the Pan Am disaster that he does sit down with the US
politicians, but I think it's also a simple equation. He's a new prime minister, it is his first
official visit to Washington and his minders, I'm sure, felt that it wasn't such a good thing for a
44-year-old new British prime minister coming to Washington and one of his first acts to give four
rather powerful US senators the cold shoulder.

So now he has agreed, as you've said, to sit down with them. They're gonna do that at the British
ambassador's residence this evening.

LEIGH SALES: Mr Cameron will also talk to president Obama about the Lockerbie situation and also
about BP. What else is on the agenda and what approach will David Cameron take to this first
official visit to Washington and the president?

CRAIG MCMURTIRE: Well the White House was saying yesterday that they'll definitely talk about
Lockerbie; that's unavoidable. There are all these concerns here in America about the circumstances
surrounding the release of the Lockerbie bomber and whether BP played a role in this, because in
2007 BP was lobbying for drilling rights in Libya, very lucrative rights.

BP has of course denied any specific involvement in the circumstances surrounding the release of
the Lockerbie bomber.

But apart from that, they're gonna talk about BP in general and what's going on in the Gulf of
Mexico still trying to contain this runaway well. Afghanistan, the global economy.

But in terms of the approach David Cameron's gonna take, it's really interesting. He's written a
piece in the Wall Street Journal today where he is quite unsentimental about the alliance. He
writes that this is a partnership of choice that serves our national interests and that he is
hard-headed and realistic about US-UK relations, and he says, "I understand that we are the junior

Now, Barack Obama's advisors are saying privately that already the two men have struck up something
of a rapport, that they get on well together and there's a suggestion that certainly it's a warmer
relationship than Barack Obama enjoyed with Gordon Brown.

LEIGH SALES: Craig, finally, it's just been announced that an international conference in Kabul has
endorsed a plan by president Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan to start peace talks with the Taliban. Is
that something about which David Cameron and Barack Obama would be happy?

CRAIG MCMURTIRE: Well, I guess only they could answer that. I think David Cameron - I don't think
it's gonna be a problem for either man, actually, because the in-principle agreement at this
international conference in Kabul is broadly in line with, certainly British thinking.

David Cameron's flagged that he wants British troops out within five years and they're talking
about 2014 for this peace deal and for Afghanistan taking control of itself in security terms at
this conference. But certainly they will be talking about that.

The key thing from the US perspective is where General David Petraeus is on this, because such is
Petraeus's political capital here in this town, that wherever he is, that's where the
administration's going to be. So that will be the key thing.

LEIGH SALES: Craig McMurtrie in Washington, thank you.


Karzai sets four year target for security handover

Karzai sets four year target for security handover

Broadcast: 20/07/2010

Reporter: Sally Sara

Representatives from 70 countries have gathered for historic talks in the Afghan capital Kabul.


LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: An international conference in Kabul has backed a plan by the Afghan
President to start peace talks with the Taliban.

Hamid Karzai also told the conference delegates that Afghanistan's determined to take
responsibility for its own security within four years.

Representatives from 70 countries have gathered for the historic talks.

The United Nations and the US-led coalition are calling on the Afghan Government to do more to
improve security and crack down on corruption.

South Asia correspondent Sally Sara reports.

SALLY SARA, REPORTER: There hasn't been a gathering like it in Kabul for three decades. Delegates
from around the world have converged on the Afghan capital to draw a road map for the country's

President Hamid Karzai is hopeful Afghan's security forces will be ready to take the lead within
four years.

HARMID KARZAI, AFGHAN PRESIDENT: I remain determined that our Afghan national security forces will
be responsible for all military and law enforcement operations throughout our country by 2014.

SALLY SARA: The United States says it will accelerate the transfer of responsibility to Afghan
forces when US troops start a gradual withdrawal this time next year. The US is also promising an
unprecedented civilian surge to develop the Afghan economy.

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, US SECRETARY OF STATE: The July 2011 date captures both our sense of
urgency and the strength of our resolve. The transition process is too important to push off
indefinitely, but this date is the start of a new phase, not the end of our involvement.

SALLY SARA: The United Nations has conceded some of its aid programs could have been delivered more
effectively. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon is calling on foreign donors and the Afghan
Government to improve transparency and accountability.

BAN KI-MOON, UN SECRETARY GENERAL: Just as our friends are taking greater responsibility for
governance and development, so must they take greater responsibility for security as well.

SALLY SARA: Hamid Karzai wants up to 50 per cent of foreign aid to be controlled and distributed by
the Afghan Government. NATO is encouraging a gradual handover of security and economic
responsibilities. It says that process can only go ahead when the conditions are right.

ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: We will not leave the Afghan people behind. We will
never accept that the Afghan Government will be overthrown by extremists. We will never accept that
Taliban once again will get a safe haven in Afghanistan.

SALLY SARA: Many donor nations are caught between domestic political pressure to get out of
Afghanistan and reluctance to leave without seeing some measurable progress. But the insurgents are
warning they will fight for as long as it takes.

Al-Qaida's second-in-command has released an undated internet message goading the US President.

AYMAN AL-ZAWAHRI, AL-QAEDA (voiceover translation): Poor Obama comes to Kabul and he promises that
Taliban shall not return to power. You poor man. Can you promise that your hordes will return
safely to America?

SALLY SARA: The US and many of its allies still have at least another four years of risking lives
and pouring funds into the uncertainty that is Afghanistan.

Sally Sara, Lateline.

Now to the weather - a shower or two for Sydney and Melbourne. Partly cloudy in Adelaide, mainly
fine and sunny in the other capital cities. That's all from us. If you would like to look back at
tonight's discussion with Paul Howse and Michael Kroger croeg, or review any stories or
transcripts, you can visit our website. Lateline will be back again tomorrow. Goodnight.