BOB CARR: I think it's because of the population numbers and the population distribution in Australia. We had it looked at between Sydney and Canberra, and between Sydney and Canberra on its own, it was very hard to justify the extent of the public subsidy. Some years have passed since that study, and valuable as it was, it's been overtaken by population growth - Australia's had the highest population growth of any industrial country - and by changing economics.
EMMA ALBERICI: Bob Carr, thanks so much for coming in for us.
BOB CARR: Thank you, Emma. Thank you.
BOB CARR: Well first of all I think Labor stabilising, confirmed by the Newspoll today, and then regaining the momentum is going to happen. I think apart from anything else, the public reaction I've experienced when I've been mixing with the voters to this colossal ramshackle parental leave scheme that Tony Abbott, against the opposition of everyone else in his party, has embarked on, has committed to, I think is gaining traction with the electorate. People realise how essentially unfair it is and how you cannot be talking about debt and deficit while signing the country up to a thoroughly uncosted hybrid proposition like this.
EMMA ALBERICI: Well they say it is costed. They say it has been costed by the ...
BOB CARR: Yeah, it's not. I saw Joe Hockey flailing around on Q&A. It was the least convincing performance by a shadow Treasurer I can recall. So first of all, I'm encouraged by the public response to that, to think Labor can regain ground in this week, and then fight hard in the final week of the campaign. I think a big factor in it is the extraordinary media bias we've encountered. I have never seen - and I say this as someone who hasn't complained about the media as a rule, but I've never seen the coordinated - I'd only describe it as the coordinated attacks on any government that I've seen coming from the News Limited tabloids. 70 per cent of the papers in this country are controlled by Rupert Murdoch. And there's no doubt they're being mobilised to vilify the Labor government and in particular its Prime Minister. I mean, everything - every article - I cannot nominate a front page devoted to federal politics in the Courier-Mail or the Daily Telegraph in Sydney that hasn't been there to deride, to treat in a derisory fashion, the Labor Prime Minister of Australia. Or to treat, or treat in an uncritical fashion ...
EMMA ALBERICI: What's the motivation, do you think?
BOB CARR: I don't know enough about the national broadband scheme to tell you the extent to which News Limited would be disadvantaged or whether they'd be disadvantaged at all.
EMMA ALBERICI: So what do you suspect is the motivation?
BOB CARR: I can't answer that question.
EMMA ALBERICI: Could it just be because they don't think the Government's done a good job?
BOB CARR: It might be that they do it because they can do it, but I think that leaves Australians ...
EMMA ALBERICI: But isn't it entirely possible that they believe your government hasn't been a good one?
BOB CARR: It could well be the case. But shouldn't the Australian people, Emma, make that decision, with all the facts before them, without being bullied and bustled in that direction by a coordinated campaign by 70 per cent of the newspapers in the country? On the bottom line, this is about a fair go for the Australian people. Let the Australian people make up their minds themselves. Let them look at newspapers ...
OH DEAR – HOW LOW CAN THE LEFT GO??