Sky News The Contrarians


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Sky News The Contrarians -

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(generated from captions) Hello, and welcome to the

Contrarians. I'm Peter Van Onselen. After another big

week in politics, this is the

only show who let's you, the

viewers, decide who goes to

the sin bin.

Well, back to the future,

Lindsay Tanner is back in the

press this week. He has been

sprooking his new book, "Side

show" who decides the blame

for politics and policy

development and so forth,

isn't the politicians fault,

it is the fault of

journalists. Gee, I always leadership started in thought that political

parliament. I have had a

chance to read his book in a

'The Australian' tomorrow. I review I have done for it for

thought this man would give

us a good analysis of what is generally wrong with the

media but also, equally, what

is wrong with our

politicians, why it is that

they spin, what comes first

indeed in this debate, whether it is the fault of

the politicians or the media.

But instead, this book to my

way of thinking, has become a

justification almost

certainly of xan tanner of other politicians as well,

over and above what he sees

as the man problem which is

the media. The bottom line

is it certainly presents

challenges for politicians,

it certainly creates problems

for in-depth detail but

identify the media which in

essence is what Tanner did,

and therefore has been the problem, really isn't good

enough. Tanner needed to

spend, Frankly, a bit more

time writing this book rather

than trying to drill the

thing out while we still

vaguely remember who he was.

Let me introduce the panel

and see what they think. On

the far end of the panel,

Chris Kenny from 'The

Australian' newspaper, Tim

will con and closest to my

end, author of Howard end,

Phillip senior. You all haven't had the chance to

read an advanced copy of his

book but I'm interested from

some of the revelations that

have come out during the week

what you have all thought of

it, I suppose.

Well look, I mean, action

you say, I haven't had a clans to real estate the

book, only been able to pick

up the reports in the media,

so I would expect Lindsay

would want us to take it as a

grain of salt. I think he is

probably half right, only

the critical point. At the half right, I think that is

end of the day, I'm

sympathetic to some of the

arguments he has made, not so

much just about the 24-hour

news cycle but about the fact

that the media does focus too

much on polls, too much on

leadership contests, too much

on stories that are easy to

right rather than doing the

hard yards. I think it is a

trend that is evident. Where

I think he is only half right

and therefore half wrong is

that as you rightly pointed

out, he isn't laying any of

the blame at the politicians

feet. We all know there has

been a trend towards managing the media...

I should clarify, by the way

of those of you who haven't

read the book, he does refer

to the problem of politicians

but he is trying to determine

what comes first, the chicken

or the egg, and that is an

excite in futility in my

view. I think what the

problem is that the media has

its faults, so do the

politicians. Some exercise

in trying to decide who takes

more blame than the other is

a waste of time. Spend the

pages of your book, analysing

the problem on both sides,

rather than trying to,

Frankly, be part of the side

show, the title of his book,

and exise blame one way or the other.

It sounds like his book is

going to name up to the name

of his book because he

doesn't deal with it. The

reality is it comes down to

leadership from the political

class. I have never brought

the argument that just because there is a 24-hour

news kikesel, that the

politicians have to buy into

it. It is rising above it.

Using it when it is

appropriate. May have to

design strategy a bit

differently but you have to

deal with big issues.

If you think media training

and a news cycle are new,

then you haven't seen the

King's speech. He was a

media junky when he was in

politicians. He is obviously

feeling some attention

deficit now. He says there

is too much debate about

nonsense in politicians and

that he started a debate

about more nonsense...

And with David Spears where

he is given the opportunity

on those programs to talk in

depth about what he sees went

right or wrong with the ETSE

he says he doesn't want to go

there because he doesn't

think the media will report

it properly. Instead, he just shirks from it.

There will be a grain of

truth in the odd comment he

makes. Of course. There are

many faults in the media and

many faults in politics and I

have seen them from both

sides and Linda Tanner will

obviously strike on the odd

observation. But really, it

is a nonsense and politicians

who really believe in

something think about Paul

Keating, think about bob

hawk, think about John Howard, they found ways to have serious debates through the media.

They certainly did. And

Lindsay Tanner has been

talked about rightly or

wrongly about someone that

believed in ideas, he was a

guy who spent years in

opposition railing against

the GST that if he is the

economic whiz that he gets

described as being by certain people in the Labor Party, he

shouldn't have been fighting

against that GST. He should

have been doing what appeal

Keating did in the 80s and

advocating it because it was

brought in by other sides that was valuable.

I do think there is a

boarder point which is that

our political leaders seem to

feel that the media cycle

that is out there is one that

they have to engage with on

its terms, they have to be at

its beckand call w a new

story to feed the beast for

that day and have to have

something to announce. The

sad reality is that there is

- it is a mistake, that's my

point. ...

They are also afraid of makingmission takes.

Just as an inter lewd saying

to sin bin me because I

haven't spoken about the

wedding. I would like to go

as a no wedding free zone.

I'm getting attacked now by

my producer for attacking

sky. Back to Lindsay Tanner. I thought something that

really summed up the book for

me, he is trying to lament

what's wrong with journalism

and then to give an example

of what he believes is right

with jumper joumpism, he

refers to an argument --

journalism, where he thought

about Kevin Rudd and John

Howard. He answered nasty.

Then he tried to clarify

because he didn't realise

Kevin Rudd was included in

this and he says the enlightened sales cut this

out and put it to air. If

you really think that there

is a side show where

journalism is degrading

policy analysis, you wouldn't

be asking someone to sum up two Prime Minister in one

word, would you? Isn't that

an example of the problem.

Not just that he like it's

because it saved his bacon

when he called Kevin Rudd

accidentally or otherwise


I think that's probably a

fair point. I suspect if Lindsay Tanner wants the

journalists to be focussing

on the issues rather than leadership contests, he

shouldn't go around calling

any of the leaders nasty. He

could have moved it to a more

substantive issue, I suspect.

As I say, I think the

challenge really is that the

media cycle is not going to

change. It is not going to become less interested in

leadership and it is not

going to become less 24-hour.

The challenge is for

politician tosses interact

with it and they have to be

strong to do that.

Nice to know that the ABC

tiedees up the politicians too.

Constant mucking up by Alex

anner downer who you work for.

A got cha moment that they

conveniently cut out for him.

Phil is right though. What

politicians do need to do is

focus on other outlets. You

actually need to focus on doing deeper thinking and actually engaging in outlets

that allow you to do that.

There are heaps around. Don't forget that you can

vote one of the panel off

today. We haven't done it

for the last two weeks. Hurry up and make those

votes. You vote by email,

not by Twitter. We have had

a tweet come in saying "I

want to know what the panel

thinks of Kevin Rudd bobbing

up in London before Julia Gillard?".

Am I the only one who wasn't surprised?

I'm the Australian pment M

and see if they had him on

the list.

I don't know which I was

more surprised about. The

fact that he is not stake. I

think he is leaving as of this afternoon.

He wasn't invite instead

I'm not sure. It is nicely

timed, he is leaving so he

won't be there at the same

time at Julia, so read into

that what you like, I guess.

I think he is extraordinary, Kevin Rudd.

But he is doing a good job

as Foreign Minister, you

concede that?

He is keeping himself very

prominently in the public's eye.

His position at the royal

wedding and the BBC and

Clarence House about how it

was terrible for the Chasers

and whatnot was pure

publicism, that I'm in touch

with you and I don't take these things too seriously either.

He was up on Channel 7

wasn't he, on Sun rise.

Reacquainting himself with

Kochie, that love affair.

He is deliberately creating

a situation for himself where

the only leadership change option for the Labor Party is

to go back to the man...

They are not going to back

to him. That is as likely as

the Liberal Party going back

to your old boss, Malcolm turn bull.

He is creating an enorm mus

good will in the public and

he is very clever at T there is someone who knows though

manage the media sirekcel...

In terms of managing the

media cycle -- cycle. I

think it might be the very

first show of the Chasers

where our fellow panelist

makes a prediction.

I don't think either major party benefits from us having

no ETS. The Liberals need it

to be passed ultimately and

Labor needs to to be passed. Ultimately I think we will

get a scheme. The question

is when will we get it and the question is how much

movement will be there from

the model on the table today.

How much movement has been

on the table from then?

It is a good question.

Another former panelist on the show always argue about

this issue. I still maintain

and has always maintained,

that the issues changed dramatically when Kevin Rudd

walked away from it. Had he

taken this issue to an

election, he would have won.

I agree totally. My argument at that stage

was that they were running

against the coalition, that's

why Malcolm Turnbull was

arguing for it to be past.

Once he showed his weakness

on that issue and the public

began to lose faith on his

conviction of the issue, Tony Abbott smelt blood on the water. Nice recovery from your

prediction. I'm trying to

get your votes up here for

being voted off. No-one ever

votes him off. I thought

that might get the votes up.

We are going to take a

commercial break. When we

come back, we will be kicking

off one of the panel. You are watching the Contrarians.

Welcome back. You're watch

ing the Contrarians. One of

these three will be going to

the sin bin short ly but

first, to day's news head


Ten s of thousands of people

are line ing the streets of

lond on to try to catch a

glimpse of the royal couple.

Kate Middleton spent her last

night in the hotel and will

make her way shortly to Westminster Abbey. They will

be cheered by a presegs of

well wishes as they step into

the carriage after the ceremony. An estimated 2

billion people around the

world are expected to tune in

to watch the event.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard

has met with hire British

counterpart David Cameron at

Downing Street for talks as well as meeting with Prince

Charles. On the agenda were

both countries involvement in

Afghanistan and the ongoing

crisis in Libya. Both

leaders and their partners

will attend the royal wedding

in Westminster Abbey in a

short while. Ms Gillard has

completed a week long tour of

Asia where she turned

earthquake parts of Japan and

met with President Hu hue.

A man has shot dead three neighbours in Adelaide after

a siege that ended in his

arrest eight hours later. Police allege that he fired

shots through a neighbour's

house in Hectorville about

2.30 a.m.. when they arrived

at the scene two officers

were fired at and one hit in

the face. Finally made an

arrest late morning after earlier managed to free a

woman from the second house.

Two defence force cadets

have appeared in court over

the ADFA sex scandal. An 18-year-old and 19-year-old

have been charged with using

a carriage service for using

an offence. Secretly filmed

the encounter and broadcast

it over the internet. They

have been bailed to appear in

court next month.

In sport, Andrew Demetriou

says he doesn't blame AFL

players for wanting a hefty

chunk of the TV rights cash.

Speaking in the five year

1.25 billion deal, Demetriou

believes players will get

their fair share. Next up,

the NRL TV rights deal and CEO David Gallop says he is

excited that broadcasters are

so keen to secure sports rights. And checking tomorrow's weather:

Welcome back. This is the Contrarians. We are going to

get rid of one of the panel

now. Some complaints from

people on Twitter that we

weren't going to take their

votes, so we have gone with

email and Twitter. Tim

Wilson, you are gone. We

will see you in a little while.

While Tim is gone and

sin-binned, I just wanted to

come to you Chris because I

know you have got an

incredibly moderate view on

asylum seekers. What is your

view? These people are still

on the roof. Are you

starting to call for rubber

bullets. Tony Abbott wants

them down.

Get them down would be a

good idea. I do have a

strong view on this issue and

I think the government really

has lost control of the

situation. But I wouldn't

joke about it. They do need

to try to get these people down.

What about the operational

answer to that though? I

will let you answer it

properly but the argument

coming from the government is

we will let them make

operational decisions. Why

do you disagree with that?

This is exactly the point I

was going to make. When it

comes to situations rike

that, politicians don't

explain how to go about something, politicians can

express we need, we desire as

soon as possible, to get

these people down. But in

the end, it is the Federal

Police or the army, whoever

they are using, has to make

the decisions about the

operation. They are going to

take into account the safety

of the asuelim seekers but

also their personnel.

Remember, we have had

firefighters here with tile

thrown at them and whatnot.

They have got to take it

carefully but they should be

doing whatever they can to resolve it.

Let's fake a look at Tim in

the sin -- take a look at Tim

in the sin bin. Let me ask

you Phil Senior, on this

issue of whether there should

be political interference in

authorities. Do you take a

different view on this? We

all decide who sits on the roofs in the circumstances in which they do.

I don't know that that is

necessary for them to say

that. Having said that, I don't quite understand what the operational challenge is.

Now, I'm not the AFP, so if

there are genuine issues and

it is a real safety issue to

try to get them down, then

fair enough. But no-one

seems to be able to explain

exactly what that is. I

suspect the truth is that

they haven't got Chris Boahm

saying "Look, we need to get

these guys down as soon as possible". I guess if they

did get that direction, lo

and behold they would be able

to get these guys down. That

is hard to believe it is not possible.

It is hard to believe that our security forces couldn't

come up with a plan to try to

get them down. I'm

suggesting if this was in

Israel, they would find a way

to get them down.

Why do we even care? You

look at the ongoing issues in

Syria, you look at some of

the very serious issues here

as well around policy,

revelations today about the

budget blowing out to $50 billion in the financial

review , these are issues as

opposeed to a couple of guys

taking water but not food,

sitting on the roofs of Villa wood.

It is completely out of

control. That the government

has lost control...

That is separate to guys having their applications

sitting on roofs.

We have boats still

arriving. The government has done nothing to stop the

flow. This is a symptom of

that problem and we are

seeing it played out in the

suburbs of our major city.

People are very right to be concerned about this.

People are concerned saying

"Yes, get the idiots down and

get them in solitary confinement".

I don't understand why they

are necessarily being allowed

to stay up there. I agree

the problem is not that three

guys are now on the roof,

there is more now on

Christmas Island, that is not

the real problem. The

problem is why is that

happening. It is happening because there is a huge backlog of people needing to

be processed. One of the

things that people haven't

talked about, Chris is right

to talk about the problem

that boats are still coming,

but the government's

disastrous decision

previously to try and look

tough on this ish

But suspending the

processing -- issue on

suspending the processing of

Afghans. It has caused

waiting times for many people

to be tripled what they were

prior to that decision.

Understandably in that

circumstance, people get frustrated and you get these kinds of outcomes.

Let's have another look at

how Tim Wilson is going in

the sin bin. He is tweeting.

Seeing how he is going on

Twitter. I suspect Lindsay

Tanner wouldn't be a huge fan

of the sin bin. No, he probably thinks that's a little bit of a side

show. Mind you, I don't

think any of the panelists

are great fans of the sin bin.

I know. We have got to have

the sin bin when there are

three right wingers. We are

going to take a break. When

we come back, we will let him

out of the sin bin. You are watching the Contrarians.

He does have an imaginary

friend, I know,...

I think you are all to my left.

That is a good response.

Okay. Right of reply to

having been in the sin bin

Tim Wilson. I want to ask

you about the royal wedding.

Will you be watching or will

you be watching the AFL game tonight?

I will be watching a bit tf

but I'm not particularly

excited about t I have to

say. It's not something...

The swans, or...

Bit of both actually, I'm a

Melbourne man. I don't get particularly excited about it

but it is a positive thing

and I guess I will be tuning

in. I can't see why people

are so excited about it, considering how distant and

far and in fact apart from

about five people in the

country, I'm presuming nobody

actually knows the two

individuals involved very well.

This show replays when the

wedding is on, so for those

of you who have been tweeting

desperately, hope to go vote

one off, they were wasted,

weren't they. That irritates

me all evening because my

email beeps at me with people

that vote every single week,

they vote in the latter

section and wonder why their

person doesn't get voted off.

Let's move on from the royal

wedding because I did promise

it would be a royal wedding

free zone. Gillard's tour,

the Prime Minister touring

through Korea obviously and

visiting China, what did you make of it? The big question for Julia

Gillard trip to London is

whether she will catch the

bouquette. Seriously, human rights

issues with China, issues of economic trade...

The human rights issues

weren't the big issues in

China but she handled them in

the orthodox way. I think

that Julia Gillard north

Asian trip was a success.

She did not put a foot wrong.

She went to the right countries. She spoke about

the right issues. She made some progress both on trade

issues and importantly on

some security issues,

particularly with Japan and Korea and that is an important statement as far as

the growth of China is

concerned. I think the other

aspect that I've sort of

picked up from from those

that were there as well is

that the Japanese were very

touched by her interest in

the sue narmy affected aerps.

So I think her trip has been very successful...

Nuch to help her at the polls?

Being at the wedding isn't

the right look though. She

should be back here and left

that to the Attorney-General.

I agree. I think the Governor-General should have

done it. She should have

come straight back. The trip

was successful. It was

mostly a protocol and

diplomatic but not much in

terms of outcomes but she should have come back because

part of the reason the trip

would have been so enjoyable

for her is because in the

past two years having

everything kick the out of

her, she has had a pretty

rough time and because they

have got a basket case of

policy back home and that's

what makes the trip look so successful.

The most enjoyable day in

the job, I suggest.

The most successful thing

she has done in two years because it was a major disaster.

I should say I can't name

them but a senior colleague

of your former boss, Malcolm

Turnbull, when he went to

Afghanistan rang me up and

pointed out that while he was

overseas his numbers went up

and he said the problem is he

won't be able to stay in Afghanistan for the entire


I remember the trip well.

It is actually something that

works for opposition leaders

often to exit themselves from

the scene, especially when

the government is doing badly

and that is why Tony Abbott

doesn't need to chase a lot

of media at the moment because the government is

travelling so badly. What

Tony has done very well this

week is create a good

contrast while Julia Gillard

has been in the great hall of

the people in Beijing and at

Westminster Abbey, Tony

Abbott has been sitting in

the dirt with workers and

indigenous leaders.

He actually look's like he

is in touch. Leaders do get

booftses when they go

overseas and I think she

looks better than she has in

previous... you can manage it

so easily from afar but Tony

Abbott has actually been out

there in touch with people

and actually looking at

dealing with issues on the ground and it has been very effective.

Look, I would agree.

Broadly speaking I think it

has been positive for her.

Two things haven't been the

best look, one, is that the

contrast with Tony Abbott

going up to the Northern

Territory. I think the

interesting one there is that it is not like Julia Gillard

couldn't do it because of

this schedule. If you

recall, when Tony Abbott

wrote the open letter asking

for them both to go together,

she ruled it out straightaway.

That is him - if he is

serious about it, it wouldn't

be an open letter. That is

what Tanner is correctly

talking about. You arrange

it without the media...

It cuts the other way. If

you privately write to them,

the government comes out and

asks tow go.

They all play games.

The point is the substance.

The substance is that there

is a national focus now on

moving forward, to use the

Gillardism, taking some

drastic action or continue on

it ij dijnous disadvantage.

I wouldn't be surprised if Julia Gillard to some degree

doesn't take that up when she

gets back.

She has been abroad, the

budget is just around the corner, she has been

overseas, okay, some good

work in our region, off to

enjoy the royal wedding,

Wayne Swan has been up the

coast in Townsville or

something suffering, is Penny

Wong the only person bulge

together this budget?

That's exactlit right. It

is all goond well -- exactly

right. It is all good and

well and I agree with that.

But if this budget, which is

going to be a tough budget to

deliver, doesn't deliver what

people want, questions have

to be asked how involved has

Julia Gillard been in this

budget? Is Wayne Swan really

someone who should be left on

his own to write a budget or

as you rightly pointed out,

is he even writing it or is

Penny Wong writing it? It is

not his fault, these trims

have to than done. I agree

in particular -- trips have

to be done. Early in this

government, so those things

had to be done, but the timing is quite unfortunate.

I just think ultimately the

lairm figured out that when

Julia Gillard was away, the

one person they didn't want

defending the Labor and the

government at such a bad time

was Wayne Swan because he is

not their most competent

media person. Penny Wong

does present competently and

she does look like she has

some authority and she ins

charge. Don't necessarily

agree what she says.

Had a tweet come in, sack

swan, he has put us in a

hole. I'm not sure that

having 6% debt in terms of

your GDP is that big a hole

though, is it? When you come

pair it to our overall levels

of debt in this country come

paired to overseas, isn't

this all inflated?

That is very true. The debt

situation is not as dramatic

as some people make it out to

be. Put the question another

way. We have the highest

terms of trade in history.

The terms of trade are

dramatically better than they

were during the final years

of the Howard/Costello

government. The terms of

trade are significantly

better and Wayne Swan is not

going to deliver a surplus.

How do you explain that?

It is also about direction

as well. At some point the

United States had a small

deficit and was led out of

control. Unless swan reins

it in, which he hasn't demonstrated any credibility

at this point t can easily

get out of control. It is

like a credit card. Let it

go a little bit, let it go a lot.

Tax payers have every right

to be very confused about the

economic messages they are

getting because we had a $20 million surplus going back a

few years, now we are talking

a $50 billion deficit. This

at a time when we have low

unemployment and we have got

the - actually have to

establish a wealth fund.

The Australian greens want a

Sovereign wealth fund.

There is also the issue that

the GFC was a problem, but

what happens if another

economic situation occurs

where we have to go into it.

We have to make sure we go

into it in the best possible

position. All the spending

and waste last time wasn't what protected us from the

gvk and if we are in a lot

budget position, we will be

in a much better position.

There ace whole debate going

on on Twitter with Wayne Swan

saying he couldn't deliver a

pizza. Let's move - you would agree with that - let's

move on to an issue that we

were talking about before the

show. ACOS versus mission

Australia. There is debate there?

I think it is fascinating. 13 welfare organisations went

down to Canberra and

essentially were trying to

get a day of media attention

and political attention

around their concerns that

the rhetoric coming from both

sides of politicians is all

about cracking down on

welfare recipients as though

they are bludgers and cheats

and they are worried that the

way the debate is going.

Both the opposition and the

government are talking about

incentives and opportunities

to try to get people off

welfare and into work. What

is interesting is that today, the head of mission Australia

has basically come out and endorsed exactly that, said

that there are a huge number

of people, not everyone but a

huge number much people who

have the capacity to at least

do some work and he has made

the claim in today's paper

that for instance on the

disability support pension,

potentially half of the

people who are recipients of

that at the moment have the

capacity to do some work.

Most politicians agree with that, don't they?

There seems to be a

difference in the welfare community and in amongst

those who are charged with

the responsibility of

thinking through what it take

tosses help people get off

welfare into work.

It is a really good

developments and hats off to mission Australia. No-one

doubts their motivation. No-one doubts their knowledge

and expertise in this area.

They are adopting support for

some reforms that will

actually provide a little bit

of tough love, if you like.

It is a good development in

the welfare sector. You are

right to say that both sides

of politics are talking the

talk as well. It means that Mission Australia are...

I remember during the Howard

years when there was a lot of

kont versery about work for

the doll -- controversy, even

though they had some

criticisms along the way,

they were very critical of it.

You also need to broaden the

debate. Sticks and carrots

actually matter in terms of people who can work, maybe

not full-time but part of the

time, but we need to look at

what we need to do to give

businesses the incentive to

go out there and hire these

people who maybe can't work

all the time...

You three tell me with

what's going on on the lack

of industrial relations. You

can't expect the Labor Party

to go too far in that direction because they have

got a link opposed to that.

But where is the Liberal

Party on this? When you are

as powerful in the polls,

surely now is the time to get

courage in an area of core I

had logical area of...

I think you are very quick

to make excuses at the

moment. They are to manage

the boom. I think the Labor

market flexibility is a major

part of that.

They have and I deal logical

opposition to that. The

Liberal Party don't but they

don't have any guts to act on

it because of work choices.

They have a position against getting more people into work. Is that what you are saying.

Are you pausing for effect?

I'm asking for a supply.

They have a collective view

about a lot of IR issues and

therefore they dispute a lot

of the suggestions that it is

good policy to move towards

the sort of deregulation that

is involved in encapsulated

on thelish side so they

oppose it so you can't expect

them to go against their - I

disagree with them - but

liberals believe in the sort

of things that were contained in work choices but they

don't have the guts to go back there even though they

are riding high in the polls.

We found out about these

beliefs when Lindsay Tanner

was on the Rove show.

We are out of time. We are

going to have to move O

thanks for joining us again.

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