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26-07-2011 04:09 PM


British cabinet Minister Iain Duncan Smith speaks about welfare reforms in the UK. Brendon O'Connor speaks about the US going into technical default unless both sides of politics can reach an agreement. Catherine Branson speaks about the Malaysia deal.


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Australian Agenda -

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(generated from captions) You are with News Day on

Sky News. 'PM Agenda' is just

moments away. Here is David

Speers. Thank you. After the

break on 'PM Agenda' we will

be talking to the former be talking to the former

British Tory leader and now cabinet minister in David

cack ron's government, Ian --

in David Cameron's government. We will talk

about the sort of welfare re

reforms he is pursuing in the UK, also the climate change

debate here in Australia and

phone scandal back in his home country too. Stay with us.

This is PM Agenda. Hello welcome to the program

I am David Speers. Two

foreign leaders, one past,

one present were in Australia today weighing into the heated climate change debate. today weighing into the

They couldn't have taken more

different positions or have

been treated more differently. The first was

the former Prime Minister of

the UK, Tony Blair, he is in

Australia for a speaking tour

and this morning he was in

Melbourne where he was greet

ed by the Prime Minister

Julia Gillard, the two met

for some time and then held a

joint news conference and of

course Tony Blair coming from

a country that does have a price on carbon already, price on carbon already, as

part of the UK and the

European emissions trading

scheme. Tony Blair backed the

idea of Australia doing the

same. Around the world

right now people are moving

towards a low carbon economy

as the future, that's what's

happening. And the only way

you do that in the end is you

put some sort of price on

obviously hi to deal with carbon, so I think that's

these situations when I was

Prime Minister, I was there

when we created the European emissions trading system,

these things are always tough

to begin with but the central

decision you have to make is,

are you going over time to

move to an economy that is

less dependiant on carbon.

On the other end of the

spectrum was the current

President of the Czech

republic and the former Prime

Minister of that country

Vaclav Klaus, he is in

Australia also on a speaking

tour but he does not believe the global warming is happening, he does not

believe there is is a need to

put a price on carbon. He

received a very different reception, he in fact wasn't

in Australia on any sort of

official state visit, he was

here in a personal capacity

and is making a number of

speech s when climate change speech s when climate change

and why he doesn't believe

there is a need for any price

on carbon. He is not meeting Prime Minister Julia Gillard

on this visit because it's

not a state visit. He is not

receiving any joint news

conference and he certainly

isn't having the red car pet

laid out for him. In fact

enter Parliament House but this afternoon he tried to

was told he would have to go through the regular security screening that members of the public are required to do. He

refused to do so and was

turned away. But earlier in

the day he did speak at the

National Press Club, we will

bring you some of that

shortly where he did lay out

his argument as to why the

world does not need to act on

this issue. Meanwhile Tony

Abbott continues his campaign

around the country,

campaigning against the need

for a carbon tax in

Australia. He was in Rockhampton today in

Queensland and argues that

Julia Gillard has given up in Julia Gillard has given up in

wearing out her shoe leather.

I say to the Prime

Minister, look, if you are

fair dinkum about wearing out

your shoe leather you won't

National Press Club, you just walk down to the

won't just go down to Melbourne to talk with Tony

Blair, you will actually be

out in regional Australia and

what we have seen from the

Prime Minister is that it

looks like she surrendered,

it looks like she's admitted it looks like she's admitted

defeat, it looks like she's

given up wearing out the shoe

leather. The shoes have got

holes in them because for the

last few days, if she's left

Canberra it hasn't been to

talk about the carbon tax

package because she seems to

have worked out that the more she talks about it the less

people like it. She seems to

have worked out that the more

she talks about it the more

to be the Australian people. toxic this carbon tax seems

The Czech republic

President didn't back Tony

Abbott's direct action plan,

he doesn't believe there is a

need to go that far, so far

it is unclear whether Tony

Abbott will be meeting Vaclav Klaus during his visit to Australia, but we now have a little bit of what he did

have to say at the press club

today. I feel threatened by

the it global the it global warming

doctrine which I consider a

new dangerous doctrine as a

new attempt to control and

mastermind my life and our

lives. Vaclav Klaus and

Tony Blair weren't the only

foreign politicians in the

country today. Former British

Tory leader and now cabinet minister in David minister in David Cameron's

government, Iain Duncan-Smith

is also visiting Australia at

the moment. He is now the

Secretary of State for work

and pensions. And I spoke to

him earlier in the day about

the climate change debate,

also about the phone hacking

scandal in the UK. But I

began by talking to him about

the welfare reforms he's now

embarked on in the UK to try

and break the cycle of

welfare dependency.

welfare dependency. Iain

Duncan-Smith thanks for your

time. You are embarking on

some major welfare reforms in

the UK. Can you explain to us how big you have discovered

the problem of welfare

dependency to be in your

country? Well, over the years

what we have seen is the big

problem is the number of

people who stayed out of work

for long periods of time.

Some of them up to 10 years

on benefits. Before the recession

recession began in the UK, it

was estimated we had about

4.5 million people on out of work benefits. This is not

including by the way those

who legitimately are caring

or doing something like that, these are people outside of

that and during the recession

that's ratcheted up to about

5.5 million people. So the

result of all of this is

these are what I call

residual un employed people who notwithstanding the

growth in the economy growth in the economy plefsly

or the difficult -- previously or the

difficulties of the recession

they simply aren't available,

can't do and don't get work.

We have to tackle that

because the cost is enormous

not just in the amount of

money we spend in benefit s but also that group the

highest draw on the health

service comes because if you

want to go to the areas that

have the greatest level of

sickness it is the highest

levels of unemployment and of course the third area course the third area that

draws hugely it is that of

criminality. It is those areas, admittedly a small

mine or tr but active mine

ority, that create some of the criminal behaviour that

effects us all and the total

cost we expected when I was

at the centre for social

justice all of that as a

follow on is somewhere in the

order of ?100 billion pound

a year to the Exchequer as a

result of the failure result of the failure to get to terms with getting people

back to work and sustained

work s. It is a staggering

figure and an entrenched

problem that is faced to the

extent here as well.

Successful governments have tried vary -- successive

governments have try ed various approaches to tackle

it, what new ideas are you

approaching to try to break

this cycle of welfare dependency? There are really

two or three things we have

to do. First is to recognise right now in the UK

right now in the UK we have a

very complex mess of benefits that all interact with each

other. Make it very difficult

for people who have been out

of work for a while to understand whether as they go

back to work and they are all

withdrawn from them, the

benefits as they go back in a

different rate, it is very

difficult for them to

understand whether they are

better off or worse off and

because of the rates they

have withdrawn basically for

the most part they feel they are worse off are worse off so dis insent

advised from the beginning to

seek work. So we are bringing

in a thing called universal

credit which will first of

all make s sure going to work

you are better off and

secondly as you work more

hours, very simple system

with one single benefit drawn

at one rate you always know

you will be better off at every hour than you would

have been had you been out of

work on benefits. That's the first

first bid bit. The second

bit is to attack the problem

with a proper work related

support organisation called

the Work Program and we will

give to the private and

voluntary sector some of

that's been done in

Australia, but we will take

this a little bit further,

and we will get them to work

in detail with people who

have got drug addiction

problems, come from broken homes, perhaps mental health

issue, we work with them to get

get them back to work, a big wrap around support program

that can be worth anything

between ?3 billion and ?5

billion to the voluntary and

privately sector on a pay by

results. That's to say you

only get paid as and when you

get them into work and as you sustain them and that's the

critical bit, into work. So

six months, nine months, and

the last bit, big reform of

the incapacity and disability

benefits which have kept

people trapped out of work for a

for a long, long time. The

Gillard government here is

pursuing welfare reforms of

its own in particular trying

to or gradually increase the

pension age over the next 10

or 12 years, increase work requirements for the long

term un employed and for sole

parents and also shift more

people from the disability

pension back into the workforce as well. Do you think the Gillard government think the Gillard government

is on the right track

here? We are doing the big

reform of disability benefits

to get more of them back to

work. The lone parent thing

we are bringing the age down

to 5 to make sure they have

to go back to work. Absolutely critical and we are of course raising the

pension age but I think you

have to go beyond that. My

point is that's fine, but you

need to get beyond that and

the two big reforms and the

very big one for us which I

don't think has been embarked don't think has been embarked on here is the sim

plifkcation of the benefits

system but making sure that

as you do it and as you draw that benefit as people go

back to work people are

insent advised to go back to work. You have conditionality, you tell

people if they don't take

that job you will take their

benefits off them. You get

tough on them at that end but

you must have an incentive

just like for people higher

up the income scale on marginal rates of tax you

have to recognise the same have to recognise the same principle of applies to

people in the bottom end,

make sure they are better off

going into work, so that in

instinctively they will want

to be in work then you can

make sure that disability

payments and lone parents can

be supported out as well. It is important to reform that

benefit culture that leafs

people able to say I'm worse off in work so I'm not going

to try. Can I turn to another topic, the another topic, the hottest

political topic in Australia

certainly at the moment,

climate change. Does the UK

want to see Australia put a

price on carbon given have

you already done so? I'm not

in the business really of

giving advice on these things to any particular government,

I mean, the UK government notwithstanding what we have

in some senses signed up to

nonetheless the present

government recognises that these things are always balanced decisions because what

what is absolutely critical

at at a time of low growth

and I suspect the same will

be here, that you make sure

that actually what you are doing doesn't destroy the

ability of business to grow

without being over burdened

with tax and regulation as a

result and so this is a fine

nuanced position and back in

the UK that is definitely a

debate that is still going on

about how far could we and should

should we go with regards to

that extra burden that may be placed on business and that

is the bit that is still

being discussed. So there are different positions in each

of the government but they

also come from where we stand

or stood before we made those decisions in the first

place. Surely as a country

that already has imposed a

price on carbon on your own industry, you would like to

see other countries do the

same to achieve eventually

somes of level international somes of level international playing field? It is always

good to have international

level playing fields but you

know each country, I'm a

great believer in national

sovereignty and so I have to

say I think every country, every government has to take

what they think is best for

them at the time notwithstanding obviously if

you sign up to international

agreements then that's fine

but if you really look at it

you do have to recognise that

whatever is required in that

country to make sure these people have

people have got work to go to

and jobs to do is also met

and that's the balance of the

debate that has been taking

place and we are trying to do

in the UK is to balance off

some of those extra costs

that may come as a result of

the carbon issues, balance

them off so we reduce the

burden on businesses through

other means as well. So there

is no-one-way direction, you

still have to get that

equation right about how much

burden there lies on burden there lies on business, get that wrong, and

your businesses will no

longer be employed the sort

of people and your economy

won't grow and that is a big

issue at the present time

where as you have seen in the

UK our growth figures have actually gone down a little

bit and we therefore need to

make sure growth is higher.

We have all been following

the phone-hacking scandal in

the UK over recent weeks, can

I ask how much damage you

think it's done to confidence in

in the UK in the press and in

the political class as well

if there was much confidence

to begin with. Well, the

thing I don't think it's

affected much is the general

public view of politics and

the media because they were

parked pretty much in the cellar anyway so immediately

that I think is pretty much

meeting their expectations. I

think the big issue here is

for us as a political class back in the UK to just

back in the UK to just own up

to the fact that over the

years we have allowed I think

decision makers to get too

close to a senior executives

in newspaper organisations,

in this particular case the

Murdoch one but there has

also been other involvement s

elsewhere and that needs to

be reviewed. We need to

restore confidence and have a proper independent body proper independent body that

oversees some of the excesses

and can mete out necessary

punishment. I'm not

necessarily saying to stop investigative journalism, I'm

a great believer in the free

press and we need to

recognise that but we do need

to have some independent

mechanism that deals with

this. The third element that

is the damaging bit beyond

that is the involvement of

the police I'm afraid in with the journalists because the journalists because the selling of information has

clearly got out of hand and

that damages the police

authority and the public's

view they can trust the

police. That has got to stop

and whatever investigations

take place I suspect there will be further people that

will find their jobs no

longer tenable. When you say

politicians have become too

close to media executives

does that particularly apply to Prime Minister David Cameron?

Cameron? Hiring of the

former news of the world

editor Andy Coulson, the

meetings he had with Rebekah

Brooks and other news International executives was

he too close to the Murdoch

ec pire? The Prime Minister

has already made -- made his

position clear which he hired

an individual for the reasons

he thought he would do the

best job in advising him

about general media, that's

just not to do with Murdoch.

Obviously you take somebody on on face value and he still

stands to be charged yet

which has not happened and

found guilty. The key thing

we need to get into

perspective on all of this

and I was seeing it on a

screen in the corner of the

room here was the former

Prime Minister Tony Blair standing with your Prime

Minister. It is worth bear

ing in mind what we are

dealing with is very much the

result of what happened on

his watch and that of Gordon

Brown. That is the key

element what we saw there. We element what we saw there. We

are picking up the pieces now

for the mess of what they got

involved with with the media

particularly then. Whilst clearly this decision about hiring Coulson is something the Prime Minister has said,

look if it turns out that

this guy gave an assurance

which was wrong, well then he

will recognise that he made a bad judgment. But at the moment as far as he's

concerned and I am too, we

are actually picking up the

pieces of an incredibly slack process that took place under process that took place under

the watch of the last government particularly under

Tony Blair. So I think the key thing here is we have got

to clean this up and that's

the responsibility of this

government, it's exploded on

our watch but it actually happened pretty much across the watch of the last

government. A final question,

just to finish with, the

awful terrorist attack in

Norway over the weekend, the

suspect Anders Breivik has

said in court that the said in court that the aim of

his operation was to give a strong signal that Norway

must not be kol noised by

Muslims, how widespread is

this far-right view in Europe

and indeed in your own

country and concern about

Muslims in terms of

immigration, in terms of

society in Europe. Are you

worried about this far-right

view gaining more momentum? view gaining more momentum? You should always be worried about extremists in whatever

shape or form they rare their

head. Whether they be Islamic

or whether they purport to be

some kind of right ring

Christian organisation, the

-- tendency is to associate

people like this directly

with some kind of legitimate

movement. There is no legitimacy what this man legitimacy what this man

represents or whatever he D whenever they may be and

there are others around

Europe and possibleply

elsewhere, maybe even here in

this country who have such a perverted and psychologically

warped view of the world that

they think killing people is

justification for almost

anything else. It isn't. So

whatever else we do our anti-terrorism procedures

must make sure we don't just

look in one direction, but we

make sure we cover others make sure we cover others

whoetion organisations may

well -- chose organisations

may well foster this idea

that violence is an end in itself. It's a terrible

tragedy for the people of

Norway and nothing must ever stand in the way of freedom of speech and democracy and

the rule of law, and these

are not legitimate people.

They do not represent any kind of political force that

can be ever represented as legitimate. I get a little

bit tired sometimes when you

see them pigeon holed as somehow somehow almost associated

with some kind of legitimate

concern. Of course they are

there are concerns in various countries about immigration

and other issues, but they

are dealt with in the normal

democratic way. Characters like this are absolutely

out-with the normal nature of

society, with the normal

nature of human beings and

must be treated with severity

whenever we find them and the

reality here is I hope that

happens to him as well.

Iain Duncan-Smith good to

talk to you, thank you so

much for giving us time today. Pleasure, thanks very

much for having me. Former

Tory leader now cabinet

minister in the David Cameron government in Britain, Iain Duncan-Smith talking to us a little earlier. After the

break we will shift to the political brinkmanship in

Washington, will the US go

into technical default next

week? Stay with us.

Welcome back. Let's first

check in on the latest news headlines with Vannessa.

Our top stories, former British Prime Minister Tony

Blair has held a joint Blair has held a joint news conference with Julia

Gillard, backing the idea of

putting a price on carbon. Mr

Blair wouldn't be drawn on

the Australian debate saying

Julia Gillard's proposed tax

is a matter for the

Australian people. He

admitted he was a little out of practice with Prime

Ministerial news conferences,

but dodged questions on Australia's new asylum seeker

deal with Malaysia.

President Barack Obama is

pleading with Republicans to put

put aside politics so they

can prevent the US defaulting

on its debt. The deadline 62

August is fast approaching --

of 2 August is fast approaching and no President in history has allowed the

country to hit its debt

ceiling. Republicans have

lashed out at the President

with how speaker John Boehner

saying the Democrats are

responsible for the country's

debts and it's their problem.

A glitch in Westpac's system has has caused delays in payments

for customers across

Australia's four major banks,

ANZ, CBA, NAB and Westpac

customers are affected by the glitch but they can't say

when the problem will be fixed. Customers can keep

making payments but they

should expect delays.

Customers have been told they

won't incur any additional

fee s as a result of the

delay. The outbreak

delay. The outbreak of the

Hendra virus in Queensland

has now spread to dogs.

Authorities say a dog who

contracted the virus still

appears to be healthy,

despite tests showing it

carried the disease. It

thought the dog was on a

property yr where a horse had

recently died from the virus,

14 horse s have been killed

or had to be put down because

of the outbreak. The art

gallery of NSW has praised the work the work of artist Margaret

Olley who die ed aged 88. She

was the subject of dozens of

paintings, including last

year's winning Archibald

Prize by Ben Quilty. She died

in her Sydney home early this

morning. Updating sport. Australian Casey Stoner is fighting to overcome a neck

injury and is in doubt for

the Czech republic Grand Prix

in three week, the in three week, the

championship leader won

Sunday Australia US Grand

Prix but rode with an injury

he sustained during a recent crash in Holland. Doctors

have told him he may not

fully recover before the

Australian race at Phillip

Island in octo. -- in October. The weather:

Thanks, we are going to go

to the US now, where the

political brinkmanship is certainly being pushed to certainly being pushed to new

levels. On Tuesday next week

the US will go into technical

default, unless it can reach

an agreement between the two

sides of politics on raising

the debt ceiling. But so far

there has been no agreement

as the clock literally ticks down. Today President Barack

Obama used the platform of a nationally teleeadvised

address to put more pressure

on the Republicans. The only reason reason this balanced approach

isn't on its way to becoming

law right now is because a

significant number of

Republicans in Congress are

insisting on a different

approach. A cuts-only

approach. And approach that

doesn't ask the wealthiest

Americans or biggest

corporations to contribute

anything at all. And because nothing is asked of those at

the top of the income scale

such an approach would close

the deficit only with more

severe cuts to programs we

all care about. Cuts that

place a greater burden on

working families. So, the

debate right now isn't about

whether we need to make tough

choices. #2kr59s and Republicans agree --

Democrats and Republicans

agree on the amount of

deficit reduction we need. The debate is about how it

should be done. Immediately

afterwards rvn House leader afterwards rvn House leader John Boehner offered this

reply. Last week the House

passed such a plan and with

bipartisan support. It's

called the cut-cap and

balance act. It cuts and caps

government spending and paves

the way for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution

which we believe is the best way to stop Washington from spending money that it

doesn't have. Before we even

pass the bill in the House the President said

the President said he would

veto it. I want you to know

emade a sincere effort to work with the President to

identify a path forward that would implement the

principles of cut, cap and

balance in a manner that could secure bipartisan

support and be signed into

law. Well to tell us more

about this we are joined by

Brendan O'Connor from the US

study centre. Thanks four

your time. I just want to

break this down and get to what we are what we are actually talking

about here and whether we are

going to actually see a deal.

I know the President said he

is confident there will be an

agreement. What are the

sticking points and do you

think there is going to be an

agreement? Well I think the

White House has said that

there is about 50% chance a

deal won't be reached so the President's confidence is probably could be overstated

on that front. This is really

becoming a crisis this week as both as both sides don't seem to

be able to find a middle ground. Particularly the

political parties. I think

Boehner and Obama probably

could find mindz ground but

Boehner has flanked to his

right by young Turks in the

House of Representatives some

aligned to the tea party who don't want to compromise on

this issue of a debt ceiling.

They don't even believe the

US should raise its debt

ceiling level which is in my mind mind totally ir responsible

because the US's foreign

debts. On the Democrat side I

think some of the people in the House of Representatives

on the Democrat side are

saying Obama has compromised

far too much he has given over to the Republican

argument but the Republicans

don't quite know how to claim victory and think that's

where it stands at the

moment. That the Republicans

have probably won the debate

not the public relations

debate which abomba has debate which abomba has

probably won but they don't

quite know how to finish the

deal to some regard. What

actually happened if they

don't raise that debt ceiling

and the US does go into technical default? That's

going to raise the cost of borrowing for a long while to

come? Well, it will create a

big problem with the bond

market. I say come next week

by Tuesday means some people

in the US don't get their

cheques. So social cheques. So social security cheques, cheques to the

retiree, veterans cheque, all

sorts of government payments

will be put into chaos, so it

is - it's not as very

sensible thing at all. It is

quite an insane thing because

it should be a technical

decision but it looks more

likely I thought last week it

was about 5% to 10% likely,

where this week I think it is

much more significantly likely because there is

stimply run of out of time to -- simply -- simply run of out of time to come together with any form of legislation which

could deal with these

multiple sort of complex issues which are currently on

the table. How much of this

is genuinely an argument

about the economy in the US

and the need for spending

cuts or tax increases and how

much of this is just really a

political test? Well, I

think it's a political stunt

largely because spending issues, taxation issues, should

should be dealt with in a budgetary process, they

should be dealt with in other

times, this isn't probably the right team to deal with

it when you are trying to

raise the debt ceiling.

Traditionally it has been

treated rather like a technical decision under other Presidents but the

Republicans have seized the

moment that they realise that

they can use this debt

ceiling issue to get their arguments across about cutting government spending,

and they have got really they

have got Obama have got Obama in a different

place, the President is on the sidelines to some extent

here, and the Congress will

dictate the terms of the

legislation. So Obama is trying to talk sort of big today, trying to involve

himself once again in these

debates, but largely unless

the Congress can agree on something the President is

sort of going to be sort of

floating in the wind to some

extent. Thanks for extent. Thanks for that. It will be fascinating to see what happens over the next

few days. We will talk again

about this I'm sure. I want

to check what's been

happening also in the terms

of market reaction to this.

Siddle sid from the business

channel is with us. I know

the -- Siddle sid is with us.

I know the US dollar was fall ing while Barack Obama was

speaking, what was the market reaction here and overseas? Yeah, David, really locally traders locally traders showing

little sign of panic as rvns

and Democrats fail to bridge

their differences with just a

week to go on that August 2nd

deadline. The US treasury has

said when it may fail to meet

its debt obligation, des

despite a weaker lead from

Wall Street overnight and I

guess the comments coming out

of Washington today, local

shares managed to find some

traction amitd grow s optimism over a optimism over a possible

solution to that US debt

ceiling. With evidence really

that yesterday's selling was

in fact overdone relative to

the expectation I suppose on

the out come of the

stalemate. Now investors here

generally of the view that an

actual default in the US is unlikely with the deal

expected to believe

formulated at the 11th hour.

Now by the close today the

bench mark index gaining

close to 1%, to close to 1%, to 4573 points.

Now strength across the big

banks and miners really

driving gains, investors here also looking to reporting

season which is due to kick

off next week with pleasing

results from some of the

biggest companies expected.

Now of course if a US default

does actually occur like you

were just mention mentioning

we are likely to see panic

dominate with the reverb

rations I suppose across

global markets quite severe, it

it will initially mean credit

ratings downgrade for the US

which would translate to higher interest rates for

bore ears in turn filtering

through to global markets.

All in all not good news but investors at this point price

anything a resolution before

the deadline is reached. It looks like everyone has a

stake in this. It will be one

to watch over the coming days. Thanks so much for that. After the break we will

turn to the mal Asian turn to the mal Asian deal.

Signed and -- Malaysian deal,

signed and sealed yesterday

but facing criticism 24 hours on. Stay with us.

Welcome back. The Prime

Minister defended her refugee

swap deal with Malaysia

today, amid ongoing concerns

there is no way that the

government here or in

Malaysia can guarantee a

human rights safeguards to the asylum seekers we send

there. Under the deelt it was

signed off in Kuala Lumpur

Australia will send 800

asylum seekers to Malaysia

and take back 4,000 refugees

in return over the next four

years as part of the

arrangement the asylum seekers are being told they

will have health and

education services, and

importantly they importantly they will have

the entitlement to work in Malaysia unlike the more than

9 90,000 other asylum

seekers who have been

languishing there for many

years. Julia Gillard argues

she is confident that they

won't be facing the same sort of abuse that other asylum

seekers in Malaysia do. We have entered an agreement

with Malaysia, the agreement

was made public yesterday and

signed yesterday. It's got protections of human rights

for people who are transfer

ed by Australia to Malaysia.

And of course we have entered

that agreement on the basis

that both governments signing

the agreement will honour

their obligations under T

The government's under

attack from both ends of the

spectrum here. The

Coalition says she is kid fg

she thinks -- kidding if she

thinks she can make that

thinks she can make that safeguard. Malaysia haven't

signed the convention, it

doesn't matter what Julia Gillard or minister Bowen

tell us, the fact is they

cannot guarantee or make any promises about what happens once these people are in

Malaysia. The UN High Commissioner for refugeeless

will have an oversite role to keep an eye on this arrangement but it does have

some concern, it sees some

positive elements of this. It

stild would prefer to see

Australia -- still would

prefer to see Australia

process boat arrival s right

here in Australia, the Australian Human Rights

Commission also has concerns, it fears this deal could be

in breach of Australia's

international obligations,

the commission's Catherine

Branson joins me now. Outline

for us what sort of

obligations international

obligations do you think this

deal could breach? Well, our

main concern about this

arrangement is Australia is a

developed country, which receives a very small percentage of those around

the world who claim a

asylum. It is transferring to

a third country our

obligations to assess these

claims for asylum and provide

protection where its people

are entitled to that

protection. That's our

primary concern. But we also

notice there are very

difficult for us to be

satisfied that the human

rights of the people

transferred to Malaysia will

be fully respected. We note

for example that the right of

children to education is

something that doesn't seem

to be dealt with in any very comprehensive way, it seems

that they won't have access

to public education. Fewer

them will be able to pay for

private education, and so it

seem it might be informal

education these children will

have access to. We can't

know what health care will be

available to people that we

transfer to Malaysia. In a

sense we have to wait to see this agreement in operation.

But we do hope very much that

a pretransfer assessment will

make sure really vulnerable people don't go to Malaysia

where we won't be able

ourselves to assure their

standard of treatment. I'm

thinking here of un

accompanied minors, families

with children, pregnant

women, people who have been

subject to torture and trauma

in their home countries. I

think it will be quite wrong

for us to send these

vulnerable people to a place

where we can't take responsibility for their

care. The Prime Minister has

said there will be no blanket

exemptions for un accompanied

children or anyone else. It

argues on the human rights

front if this does stop the

boats coming to Australia that is

that is going to be a better

outcome for all concerned. Do

you accept that argument? It

is very important that people

don't take very dangerous

journey bis boat which we

know put -- journeys by boat

which we know put lives at risk but I'm not satisfied

this is the best way to go

around about stopping that. I mean for example so far as

children are concerned un

accompanied children come to

Australia are placed under

the guardianship of the

minister for immigration. In

that role their best interest

should be his primary

consideration. It is very

difficult to think it will be

in the child's best interest

for them to be sent to

Malaysia. Are you saying that

the Minister will be in

breach of his own

responsibility if he does

send un accompanied children

to Malaysia? Well as a

guardian of the children he

is obliged to take account of

what is in their best

interest. I can't see how he could conclude that it will

be in the best interest of a

particular child to be sent

to Malaysia. Is there any

way that you believe this

deal could be improved, made

better or are you outright

opposed to any plan that sends asylum seekers to a

third country Well we believe Australia should

assess for itself those who

make claims on Australia for protection but it will be

better when we have as I hope

we will more detail about how

the agreement will operate,

when we know precisely what

are the preassessment checks

that we made on people before

they are sent, when we know

what will be done to assure

that human rights for all

those that we sent to

Malaysia are protected in Malaysia. At the moment we don't have details about

these things. We are going

to have to leave it there.

Thanks so much for your time

this afternoon. Thank you.

That's all we have time for

today's show. We will be back same time tomorrow. Stay with

us after the break the latest

Sky News.

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