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Aid teams converge on earthquake-hit islands

Aid teams converge on earthquake-hit islands

Reporter: Kerry O'Brien

KERRY O'BRIEN: The latest nightmare earthquake to terrify still-traumatised survivors of the Boxing
Day tsunami. The quake, which struck overnight off the coast of Sumatra, measured a massive 8.7 on
the Richter Scale and occurred close to the epicentre of December's shock wave, causing seas to
rise in some areas, but no tsunami. The remote island of Nias, off the west coast of Sumatra,
appears to have been the worst hit. And early reports today estimated deaths in the thousands. The
latest news is not so discouraging. The first reports from aid agencies have begun filtering out in
the past hour or two, and I've just got off the phone from the United Nations relief coordinator
for the area, Michelle Lipner, in Banda Aceh. Michelle Lipner, there's been a certain amount of
confusion through the day as to exactly the extent of the damage from this earthquake. I guess
that's understandable, but from your reports from the ground in Nias and other centres, what are
your latest figures on casualties?

MICHELLE LIPNER, CHIEF UN OCHA, SUMATRA: Well, we have advanced teams and response teams currently
on the ground in Nias and in Simalu. Communications are difficult with them. The earlier reports of
the initial stages of the assessments in Nias were figures quoted of 200 dead and 500 injured. That
was preliminary reports and we suspect, as we go deeper into the city area, that we will probably
find more casualties. We have been told that there will be various needs for evacuation of those
who are seriously injured and we will be looking to support a medivac of those who have
life-threatening injuries. We're also looking at enhancing our search and rescue teams because
there has been structural damage in Nias and that will no doubt also reveal additional casualties
as the day progresses. In Simalu, our earlier reports of the assessment and the response teams is
that there are reported three deaths and 57 injured. It appears that the more immediate response
will be much more modest than for Nias, where you're looking at some support for food and medical
support. The good news is that in Simalu as well you have a robust international NGO presence so
that there can be a rapid response to those needs. The concerns we will of course have is that as
the day progresses and we get more information to ensure the needs in Nias are attended to, we are
looking at, for example, providing food, sending out 500 tents, medical teams are already there and
more are coming. Medical supplies are coming. But we really need to be able to get a full picture,
which we hope to have by the end of the day so at first light we can ensure a coordinated and
effective response.

KERRY O'BRIEN: To what extent are you going to need to rely on extra outside resources beyond those
that are already in play as a result of the Boxing Day tsunami.

MICHELLE LIPNER: Well, the good news is that we have actually support from the Singapore military.
They are sending three Chinooks to support actually transmittal of tents and also some medical
teams that are being deployed from the Indonesian Government side. At this stage it is too early to
assess whether we will need support that comes from the outside. I think what has happened since
the tsunami of December 26 is that agencies have certainly stocked and stocked well for emergency
response in the event of additional earthquakes and potential tsunamis. Here we did not have a
tsunami last night. We had 13 quakes. The most serious one being 8.7, but that has not resulted in
a tsunami. So far emergency stocks are very robust and I think it will take for a couple of hours
until we get full reports back from the field to assess what type of support will be needed from
external sources.

KERRY O'BRIEN: It must have been a very tough nightmarish moment when the realisation developed
that there had been another major earthquake of this size?

MICHELLE LIPNER: It was frightening for us all in Banda Aceh. We were not at the epicentre, but it
was the most striking quake we have all felt in a number of months. It did result in some panic in
the streets, but the mosques and the police were very quick to say there is nothing to worry about.
But, yes, it was much too soon and certainly for the population here it was very traumatising and
needless to say, brought back all the memories an horrors of December 26.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Michelle Lipner, thank you very much for talking with us.

MICHELLE LIPNER: Thank you. Bye bye.

Corby is innocent, prisoner tells Bali court

Corby is innocent, prisoner tells Bali court


KERRY O'BRIEN: Just a few weeks ago, John Ford was an anonymous prisoner awaiting trial in
Melbourne on charges including sexual assault and burglary. Today, he was the centre of
international attention as the 11th-hour witness for the defence case in the Schapelle Corby drug
trial in Bali. Ford claimed to have information that Corby was the innocent victim of a domestic
drug-trafficking operation, in which more than four kilograms of marijuana was planted in her
luggage. After a last-minute frenzy of negotiations at the top levels of government, John Ford was
finally flown to Bali over the weekend. But appearing in court today, he refused to name the
person, he said, is responsible. Some observers are now questioning whether his evidence, based on
conversations he allegedly overheard in prison, will cut much ice with the Indonesian judges
hearing the case. Tracy Bowden reports.

TRACY BOWDEN: For 27-year-old Schapelle Corby, this was the last throw of the dice and the strain
was all-too apparent. The moment she and her legal team had been sweating over for days had finally
arrived. Prisoner John Ford had travelled from Melbourne to the Denpasar District Court after a
flurry of activity involving the Justice Ministers of Australia and Indonesia.

JOHN FORD: All I can say to the court is there is no way on God's earth that Ms Corby is a drug

TRACY BOWDEN: The defence team hoped his evidence would convince the three judges presiding over
this trial that Schapelle Corby is innocent.

JOHN FORD: Schapelle Corby is an innocent victim of domestic drug trafficking in Australia by what
I regard as petty criminals and cowards. My belief in that is so strong that I'm putting my
personal safety at risk over this and I'm not asking for anything in return. I want nothing for it
than to see justice done.

TRACY BOWDEN: Today John Ford named the man he believes owned the drugs that were found in
Schapelle Corby's boogie board bag last October.

JOHN FORD: I would swear it belongs to Ronnie Bagenza. Or that he at least has a substantial
financial interest in it.

INTERPRETER: Do you know that it belongs to Ronnie Bagenza?

I was told that and I formed that conclusion myself as a result of some months of information and
discussions between other prisoners and having met Ronnie himself.

TRACY BOWDEN: But he refused to name the man who supposedly put the drugs in the bag.

JOHN FORD: I'm 100% certain if I mention this person's name in connection with these other cases
that should I go back to Australia I will be killed. And very likely Ms Corby as well just to prove
a point.

It's hearsay of hearsay and wouldn't probably have been accepted in an Australian court. It's
interesting that the judges have allowed it. Probably they didn't know exactly what the nature of
the evidence was going to be, but I think it's a credit to the Indonesian legal system that they
did allow this witness to come in at a very late stage in the proceedings.

TRACY BOWDEN: While the Indonesian judges granted an adjournment to allow the defence team to get
its final witness to Bali, it's been suggested that the last-ditch, very public efforts by
Schapelle Corby's lawyers have done her case more harm than good.

PROFESSOR PAUL WILSON, CRIMINOLOGIST, BOND UNIVERSITY: My view was strategically it was risky and I
did express that to the lawyers. You have to understand that under Indonesian law you really have
to prove your innocence. You have to set up an alternative scenario about how the drugs got into
the bag. The only way I know that you can set up that scenario is hope that some member of the
public will come forward with information and that's exactly what has happened. I think that has
come because of the publicity that has been generated by both the Indonesian and also by the
Australian defence team.

TRACY BOWDEN: Bond University criminologist, Professor Paul Wilson has been following the Corby
case closely. Last week he was rushed to Bali to give evidence for the defence.

PAUL WILSON: It's very different from Australia. It's quite bizarre in some ways. You have
cameraman running around behind the judges, in front of the judges, on the side of the judges. You
have sound recordists sticking mics very close to you. There is an awful lot of noise and the whole
atmosphere is quite unsettling to begin with, at least.

TRACY BOWDEN: Despite John Ford's evidence today, the fact remains that 4.1 kilograms of marijuana
was found in Schapelle Corby's boogie board bag and the judges are looking for proof of her
innocence, not hearsay.

DAVID BOURCHIER: I somehow think that a last-minute intervention like this is not going to sway the
judge's minds. The courts in Indonesia are more bureaucratic, I think, less prone to emotional
appeals and while they do have the presumption of innocence and certainly the concept of reasonable
doubt, it's very difficult to say whether this will change their view about it. I suspect probably
they've already formed a view at this stage. This is a late stage of the trial.

TRACY BOWDEN: In this trial there is no jury. Under Indonesia's judicial system, these three judges
run the case.

PAUL WILSON: At one stage during my testimony, one of the judges asked me to stand up and to look
at Schapelle Corby in the eye. He asked Schapelle Corby to stand up too. We looked at each other.
Then he asked me to say what I think by looking at her eyes if she was an innocent person. I told
the judge and the court that I couldn't just make that judgment based on looking at her in the
face, but based on my interview with her and looking at her together with all the information I had
about the case, I was able to say that I thought it was highly unlikely that there was any intent
on her part to put drugs in the bag and she had no knowledge of it.

TRACY BOWDEN: After 24 weeks in custody, it's not over yet for Schapelle Corby. She'll be back in
court next Thursday as the prosecution presents its closing arguments. Then a week later, it's the
defence team's turn. That day the judges will indicate when they will give their final judgment.

PAUL WILSON: I suspect that she will be found guilty, but of a lesser charge, maybe, and I think
eventually if she is found guilty, and I hope that is not the verdict, then I think she will be
eventually extradited back to Australia once Australia and Indonesia sign a mutual extradition

TRACY BOWDEN: The defence team staged a mighty battle against time and bureaucracy to get today's
evidence before the court. But looking at Schapelle Corby as she watched those who will decide her
fate, all you could see was her despair.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Understandable in the circumstances. And we'll have to wait until the judges'
verdict to find out whether today's evidence was admissible or not. Tracy Bowden reporting there.

Battle hots up for destroyer contract

Battle hots up for destroyer contract

Reporter: Mike Sexton

KERRY O'BRIEN: The Australian Defence Force is about to place the most expensive order in its
history. The government has approved the purchase of three air warfare destroyers which carry a
price tag of at least $6 billion. The ships will be the most complex and sophisticated ever
produced for the Navy and, therefore, the process of deciding who will build them has been
exhaustive. Each ship weighs 24,000 tonnes and has 600,000 pieces, which means the construction
contract will create thousands of jobs. The government has promised to build the destroyers in this
country, which leaves two states battling for the lucrative deal - old rivals South Australia and
Victoria. Mike Sexton reports on the battle so far.

MIKE SEXTON: After 34 years of service, the guided missile destroyer HMAS 'Perth' was given a fond
farewell off Albany in WA three years ago. The steam-powered vessel became a dive wreck and as she
sunk to her final resting place, the Navy turned its attention to her replacement.

SENATOR ROBERT HILL: They will be the most sophisticated ships Australia has ever built.

MIKE SEXTON: To replace the 'Perth'-class destroyers, the Defence Department has ordered three air
warfare destroyers, known as AWDs. At a cost of $6 billion, it's the largest Defence project in
Australia's history and guarantees thousands of jobs to whoever gets the contract. There is a bid
from the United States, but it's unlikely to be successful, which leaves two States slugging it

STEVE BRACKS, VICTORIAN PREMIER: Victoria has the runs on the board.

MIKE SEXTON: In one corner is the Victorian bid by Tenix which operates shipyards at Williamstown
where 10 Anzac-class frigates have been built for the Australian and New Zealand navies.

MIKE RANN, SOUTH AUSTRALIAN PREMIER: We have by far the best site.

MIKE SEXTON: In the other corner is South Australia. where the bid comes from ASC based at Osborne
where it's built the controversial Collins Class submarines. 'The 7:30 Report' asked to visit both
facilities, but was told under tender rules neither company could talk about the bids. They both
also declined to even speak about their capabilities or work history, leaving the premiers to take
pot-shots at their rivals.

STEVE BRACKS: The reality is we have produced excellent, excellent frigates on time and on budget.
You, obviously... and there is some question about the capacity of other defence contracts that
have been produced, but there is no question about the frigates.

MIKE RANN: It really shows that they don't have confidence in themselves and they can't possibly
have confidence in the industrial relations of the past. Why would John Howard want to reward the
industrial relations practices of the past that are in Victoria?

MIKE SEXTON: If Tenix wins the contract, Victoria has offered to spend $22 million building a
college of ship building and marine design. It's also employed retired major-general, Peter Haddad,
to help Williamstown win the contract by streamlining planning approvals, training workers and
building infrastructure.

PETER HADDAD, CONSULTANT: Around Melbourne and wider Victoria there are numerous firms - small to
medium enterprises - who have been involved in the Anzac frigate project. There were about 1,300 of
those nationally and three quarters of those are in Victoria. Those same firms will provide the
basis of support in Victoria to this project.

MIKE RANN: This won't be some small 19th century ship-building site surrounded by affluent suburbs.
It will be able to operate 24 hours a day, if needed, which gives us a fantastic edge on the

MIKE SEXTON: But South Australia has fired some big shots too. Retired admiral, Kevin Scarce, heads
a defence industry advisory board, that's convinced the South Australian Government to promise $100
million for facilities at Osborne to support an industry beyond this project.

KEVIN SCARCE, CONSULTANT: We are building this infrastructure with the air warfare destroyer in
mind, but we are building additional capacity up to 27,000 tonnes. That means at a later date it's
a reasonably simple process to amend the infrastructure to take all of the Navy ships into the

MIKE SEXTON: The ASC facilities are well known to the federal government. At the past election, the
Prime Minister spent his final campaigning day in Adelaide touring the ASC workshops and that night
the Liberal Party ran TV advertisements pushing the industry.

TV ADVERTISEMENT: The Howard-Liberal Adelaide team's top priority is to make Adelaide the hub for
Australia's land and sea defence industries.

MIKE SEXTON: With Defence Minister Robert Hill, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, and Finance
Minister Nick Minchin, all from South Australia, there's a perception across the border that the
deal may already be done.

STEVE BRACKS: You would hate to think that that was subject to any political influence. Of course
it is going to be scrutinised closely. There is going to be probity auditors all over it and that's
as it should be. But, you know, we'll have to wait and see.

SENATOR ROBERT HILL: Ultimately it's a decision by Cabinet and there will be a recommendation that
comes from defence. And Cabinet will choose the best builder in circumstances of Australia's
national interest.

MIKE RANN: The Victorian's opening bid reminded me of a football coach complaining about the result
before the game had started and criticising the umpires.

MIKE SEXTON: Sensitivity to the accusations has led the Prime Minister to appoint former New South
Wales Chief Justice, Sir Lawrence Street, to oversee the contest. But amid the PR flurry, there are
those who question the very reason why the ships have been ordered.

HUGH WHITE, STRATEGIC & DEFENCE STUDIES ANU: 99 per cent of the time, we could provide the same
kind of air defence to our ships at sea that an air warfare destroyer could provide, using our

MIKE SEXTON: Hugh White is head of strategic and defence studies at ANU and a former senior defence
strategist. He argues with large ships being vulnerable to attack by submarines or mines, the
Defence Department may not be getting enough bang for its buck.

HUGH WHITE: More broadly there is a question as to whether or not investing $6 billion in these
kinds of capabilities is the best way of investing our defence dollar overall. It may well be that
10 years from now we'll look back and say, "Why did we invest all that money in air warfare
destroyers with a relatively limited range of uses?" if the price is that we have to cut back our
buy of joint strike fighters, or, for that matter, we can't expand the Army as much as we should.

SENATOR ROBERT HILL: Well, protection of troops is our highest priority. The advice of the defence
experts, the defence leadership, is that in the mix of force capability, this is very important.
That's the advice the government has accepted.

MIKE SEXTON: Although headlines suggest the AWD contract is a winner-take-all stoush, the truth is
the project is so big and complicated, that both states will get a large slice of work, whoever
wins the bid.

Beach sprinters tackle chilling 'skeleton'

Beach sprinters tackle chilling 'skeleton'

Reporter: Genevieve Hussey

KERRY O'BRIEN: You may remember the film 'Cool Runnings', based on the true story of a group of
Jamaican athletes who decided to switch to the bobsled and competed at the Winter Olympics without
ever having seen snow. Well, we now have an Australian version. In a bold move, Australian Olympic
officials have opted to pluck athletes from their normal area of expertise - beach sprinting in
this case - to compete in one of winter sport's most heart-stopping and riskiest events, the
skeleton. And if you've never heard of the skeleton, well, neither had most of these athletes
before they began their training last year. Now it appears the gamble is paying off. Genevieve
Hussey reports.

MELISSA HOAR: I've been doing surf lifesaving since I was eight years old. So it's pretty much been
my life and I've really loved it.

GENEVIEVE HUSSEY: At 21, Melissa Hoar is a star in the world of surf life saving. She's in a class
all of her own - twice winning the world beach flag sprint champion title. In fact, there's only
one thing Melissa Hoar likes better than surf, sun and sand - and that's the skeleton.

MELISSA HOAR: It's just a massive adrenalin rush. It's good fun. It's something I've never done
before. So, it's addictive. I was pretty scared when I was standing up the top and looking down the
track, not having an idea what it was going to be like, but once we got to the bottom I couldn't
wait to go again. It's just really exciting.

MALE #1: How was it?

MELISSA HOAR: I flipped and it was so cool!

MALE #1: Did you?

MELISSA HOAR: I'm not even scared anymore!

MALE #1: Whoo!

MICHELLE STEELE: In about corner six, the g-forces got to me because I'd picked up speed and just
threw my head on the ice and for the rest of the whole way down I couldn't lift my head, couldn't
see where I was going. It was the most terrifying, but exhilarating thing I've ever done.

GENEVIEVE HUSSEY: If you've never heard of the sport of skeleton, you're not alone - neither had
Melissa Hoar or fellow beach flag sprinter Michelle Steele until late last year. They both answered
an Australian Institution of Sport invitation to try out for one of the Winter Olympic's most
hair-raising and potentially dangerous events.

JASON GULBIN, AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF SPORT: Within a few hundred feet, you're up to about
80km/h-90km/h down the course. You're banging into walls. You're experiencing g-forces four to five
times your body weight. Your eyeballs are distorting and popping off contact lenses. You're forcing
air out of your lungs. It's quite an unreal expectation.

GENEVIEVE HUSSEY: The story could almost be written by a Hollywood script writer - in an attempt to
boost Australia's winter medal tally, the AIS decided to pluck beach sport athletes from their
usual pursuits to try for a place in their Winter Olympic's team. Scientists put almost 100
athletes through a range of tests before selecting a squad of ten.

JASON GULBIN: We were particularly looking for women who were very fast and powerful, leg speed,
and also had the attitude and determination to want to be a winter Olympian, and also in a very
short time frame.

MELISSA HOAR: I mean, flags is a really explosive sport. It's so short so you have to really pump
it out for the first couple of steps and it's the same with skeleton.

GENEVIEVE HUSSEY: The AIS admits comparisons with the film 'Cool Runnings' are inevitable. It told
the story of the Jamaican bob sled team's bizarre bid for Olympic glory in 1988. But the Australian
skeleton team's coach says what these women have achieved is even more remarkable.

JASON GULBIN: They are very competitive internationally in less than ten weeks on the ice. We met
the Jamaican bob sled guys when we were over there in Calgary and they were in awe of what we were
doing so it's kind of like a nice reversal. Look, it's a great story because you get the summer
babes going to the winter Olympics.

GENEVIEVE HUSSEY: Skeleton isn't a sport for the timid. Already some of the women have paid a heavy
price in training.

MICHELLE STEELE: I flipped before I knew it. I didn't even know it was going to happen and all of a
sudden I was on my back. At about 115km/h I think I was going, just sliding down the ice.

MELISSA HOAR: I've had a few concussions and some whiplash and some pretty bad bruising and that
type of thing.

JASON GULBIN: We've had a couple of cases of, I guess, being knocked out. We've had a broken
scapula and many, many bruises, but, in the end, these girls realise it's part of the sport and
obviously we patch up and mend and move on.

GENEVIEVE HUSSEY: Although the AIS is the big winner as the women cross over into new sporting
territory, Surf Lifesaving Australia says it will also benefit.

TRACEY JOHNSTONE, SURF LIFESAVING AUSTRALIA: It gives them the opportunity to get access to
high-level sports science support and knowledge and the whole experience of operating in an Olympic
environment will be of terrific benefit to them as they develop as surf athletes.

GENEVIEVE HUSSEY: The AIS strategy is already paying dividends, but coaches believe the best may be
yet to come.

JASON GULBIN: It's really a phenomenal and outstanding effort to move from November to February and
finish 13th at the top of the world. We're so early on the learning curve that we don't know
whether we've got athletes coming through that may even surpass Melissa's performances.

MICHELLE STEELE: It's unbelievable what we've learnt. Like, to think back to not long ago when we
didn't even know what a sled was. This whole journey of trying to get there is just unbelievable
and the best experience ever.

GENEVIEVE HUSSEY: Michelle Steele, along with the rest of the Australian team, is now in training
for World Cup events later this year. A finish in the top eight would see Australia through to the
Winter Games in Italy in 2006 - just 18 months after the women first went on ice.

MELISSA HOAR: I dreamed of following summer around the world, to be honest, and yeah, now I'm
trialing for a winter Olympic sport. The goal of going to the Olympics is in the back of everyone's
minds and, I guess, that's what we're all aiming for. If we can only take one, I hope it's me.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Makes 'Cool Runnings' look tame. Genevieve Hussy with that report. And that's the
program for tonight. Incidentally, if you're a Bette Midler fan don't miss tomorrow night - she'll
be on the program. Until then, goodnight.