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PM rejects claims of skills training neglect

PM rejects claims of skills training neglect

Reporter: Michael Brissenden

KERRY O'BRIEN: Is it simply the by-product of a booming economy or a result of years of government
complacency? Today in Canberra, business leaders and the Opposition pressed the Government for
action over what seems to have become an alarming skills shortage. After 14 years of growth, you'd
think business would be happy, but a damaging skills shortage is now being identified as a serious
impediment to current and future growth. The Reserve Bank even cited the shortage as one key reason
for its decision to increase interest rates last week. But in Parliament today, the Prime Minister
rejected Opposition claims that his Government had neglected skills training, and he described talk
of a skills crisis as "dishonest and misleading". In a moment we'll hear from the group that
represent 10,000 manufacturers. But first, we'll hear from political correspondent Michael
Brissenden.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: In the shipyards and the factory floors, from the boardrooms to ministerial
offices, the whole nation, it seems, is talking about one thing. As Costello told the Coalition
Party room today, all the parrots in the pet shops are talking about the skills shortage. You bet
they are!

ALAN EVANS, FORGACS ENGINEERING: It's not far away from being a catastrophe, I think. We need to
have the State Government and the Federal Government engaged in programs that get companies in a
position where they can get these training programs under way.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Allan Evans runs Australia's biggest ship repair yard in Newcastle. The skills
shortage here has got so bad, he has even been forced to import 20 specialists welders from Hungary
to fill the gap. New apprentices are desperately needed but they're impossible to find.

ALAN EVANS: It's almost a start from scratch situation. There is a complete generation of people
disappeared from the trades environment in Australia.

DENNIS WILSON, MASTER BUILDERS AUSTRALIA: There's certainly a skills shortage in the building and
construction industry. There is a national skills shortage in all trades, not just the trades but
also the professions, estimators, project managers, supervisors, foremen, the whole raft of
projects that are being held up are because of the skills shortages that exist at the present time.
It's not just our industry, it's every industry that's suffering those skills shortages.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Dennis Wilson is parts of a delegation of business leaders who is meet fairly
regularly in Canberra with government representatives. The topics are discussion are usually
wide-ranging. Today, though, there was only one issue that dominated the talks.

DENNIS WILSON: Five years ago the word skills shortage or skills crisis was not thought about.
People have suddenly woken up that there is a skills shortage, that they need to do something about
it.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: But what? The government says it's already spending $2.1 billion on training.
The Opposition says it's too little and definitely too late.

JENNY MACKLIN, SHADOW EDUCATION MINISTER: When it comes to skills investment, we know that this
Government cut spending, it didn't increase it, it cut spending on training in 1997, and it took
years before they made up that cut. We really have got a Government that's dropped the ball on
training, that really is trying to deny the existence of a skills crisis in the face of very
serious evidence. There's only one organisation responsible for this skills crisis, and that's this
Government. They've known it's been coming, and yet they haven't put the additional investment into
training, especially in the traditional trades, where they should have.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: It may well have been building for years, but in the space of just a couple of
days, this skills shortage has become a real point of political debate. The Opposition can clearly
see a political opportunity, but the Prime Minister says the attack is misguided and any talk of a
crisis is wrong.

JOHN HOWARD, PM: And figures released last week by the national centre for vocational education and
training show commencements in traditional trades increased by 19 per cent, Mr Speaker, and the
deputy Leader of the Opposition was surely talking about a traditional trade if she's talking about
the building industry, has increased 19 per cent, Mr Speaker, in the 12 months to September 2004,
Mr Speaker, so the question of whether, over a particular period of time, there is a rise or fall
in renovations, Mr Speaker, is influenced by a variety of factors, but it does not merit the wholly
misleading and dishonest description of a skills crisis.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: The crisis or serious shortage, call it what you want, but the anecdotal
evidence now flooding in from desperate businesses is hard to ignore and the Reserve Bank cited the
skills shortage as one of the key reasons it decided to increase interest rates last week. The
Government's own skills at work evaluation paper, released yesterday, shows that overall trade
apprenticeships increased by 32 per cent in the years between 1996 and 2003. But significantly, it
also shows the number actually fell in the years between 2000 and 2003. And that a large number of
those apprenticeships were taken in areas that are not now in such high demand.

JENNY MACKLIN: We've seen a very significant increase in traineeships going into the clerical area,
into retail. It certainly hasn't been the case that we've seen that huge increase going into the
traditional trades, so the Government likes to claim that they've had an increase in
apprenticeships, but when you look at the detail, the big increase has really gone into those areas
where we don't have a skills shortage, in retail, for example.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: There is, as you'd expect, a lot of hot air now flowing through this debate.
But the one thing everyone does agree on is that apprenticeship seem to have an image problem in
today's Internet age.

DR BRENDAN NELSON, EDUCATION MINISTER: We've achieved many things as a country, of which we can be
very proud, but one of our failings we've created a culture in which young people feel their lives
are valued by the educational choices they make. They've been told in all kinds of ways that if
they don't get an outstanding result year 12 result and a university education and BMW and mobile
phone in fashionable clothes, in some way they're not as good as someone who does.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Well, maybe, but if that's all kids wanted, there would be no shortage of
sparkies and plumbers. A good tradesman can earn a six-figure salary these days without too much
trouble. But back in Newcastle, Allan Evans can certainly attest that spanners and oxywelders are
far from attractive career tools. He had 24 apprenticeship positions to fill this year, but could
only find eight willing takers.

ALAN EVANS: When we talk to the colleges around about the September-October mark, about prospective
school leavers that might be wanting to join the apprenticeship scheme, there's relatively few
people who want to get involved. It's not as socially acceptable as it used to be, it would appear,
the advice we're getting from the head teachers is that it's not cool to be an apprentice, the
trades are not as sort of well accepted as they used to be amongst the young people. They want to
get into computers or clerical work or retail.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: In the Parliament, this has predictably enough become an argument of smoke and
mirrors with different facts and figures flying about to prop up the rhetoric. The evidence seems
clear enough and the fall in apprenticeships has been happening under governments of both political
persuasions. There was a big fall, for instance, under the Keating government in 1992 and an even
more dramatic slide under the Howard government in 1997. Something clearly needs to be done. Today,
the Treasurer remained coy about reports that this year's budget surplus could be as much as $10
billion. Australian industry might have a few recommendations about how to spend at least some of
it.

Manufacturing trades struggle with worker shortages

Manufacturing trades struggle with worker shortages

Reporter: Kerry O'Brien

KERRY O'BRIEN: The Australian Industry Group and its 10,000 manufacturing members are bearing much
of the brunt of these shortages. AIG chief executive Heather Ridout joins me now from Canberra.
Heather Ridout, there's been a chronic skills shortage in what you'd call the traditional
manufacturing trades for some years now, hasn't there, in which case why are we suddenly
discovering that it's at a critical point?

HEATHER RIDOUT, AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP: I think through the 90s, especially the second half of
the 90s when the shortage really started to develop because we weren't training enough people, the
economy was growing strongly, manufacturing was struggling with tariff phase-downs. It was seen as
a sunset industry. The providers, schools, everyone, there was a systemic bias and devaluing of
trades. Parents encouraged their kids not to go into them. Careers advisers would take kids to
factories and say, "If you don't work hard enough, that's where you'll end up." There was a real
complacency about the fact that we were not training in those skill-rich occupations which are the
building blocks of a technology- driven economy. At the same time, we were focusing on growing a
service economy, Kerry, and expanding our training provision to the new service industry, but
unfortunately, they're not the ones that make us internationally competitive.

KERRY O'BRIEN: I've seen one paper from the federal Department of Employment warning of skills
shortages in these trades back in 1999, another paper from the National Centre for Vocational
Education and Training with a similar warning about three years ago, and you warned the Howard
Government about this skills shortage in your pre-budget submission about this time last year. Why
does it take an interest rate rise and a warning from the Reserve Bank to get a real public debate
going now?

HEATHER RIDOUT: Well, I think it's the combination of the fact that we're facing infrastructure
bottlenecks and skills shortages which are intensifying the whole public interest in the issue.
You've got in Western Australia projects not going ahead at the time they should because of skill
shortages. Queensland you have massive bottlenecks. So it's the combination of the intensifying
skills shortages with the infrastructure bottlenecks that are emerging in the economy, and the fact
that they are actually starting to have an identifiable impact on our economic growth. We saw that,
not only in the December quarter, but we also saw it in the September quarter with growth coming in
at sub 2 per cent.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But as I said a warning in '99 - these are ones I've just picked up - one in '99,
one three years ago, your own a year ago. And yet, we wait, it seems, until it's upon us before we
publicly officially recognise it.

HEATHER RIDOUT: I think that's right, and I frankly believe that really there's a number of issues
here. Last year, instead of doing something about tackling these skills shortages, we had an
unedifying discussion between the states and the Federal Government about the new Vocational
Education and Training agreement - the ANTA agreement - which is about how money is divvied up
between the states and the Federal Government. That was really the debate all last year. From 1999,
industry was warning about it, but we were also training all these new people. So we had this huge
numbers game of hundreds of thousands of people going into new apprenticeships, which is a good
thing, but there was a real neglect and complacency about the fact we didn't need the skilled
trades. All the time we had this emerging, boiling-frog effect of the housing industry steaming up
and requiring more tradesmen, the non-residential construction industry, all these massive
infrastructure projects in New South Wales, Queensland, everywhere, requiring more tradesmen. You
had manufacturing really feeding off that, off domestic demand from those sectors, needing more
tradesmen and the whole thing has come to a pretty peak this year when we've had the combination
culminate in us being held back, our potential growth rate being held back, Kerry, from not having
enough people.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Is it too simplistic to say that if governments really had the big picture, they'd
have seen this coming?

HEATHER RIDOUT: Well, I think they needed better advisory structures. I think the industrial
relations system - we have six systems around Australia, six plus if you include a couple of things
in the territories. In the VET system, we have eight, and I tell you it's like a giant battleship.
When you want to turn this system around, you run into blockages all over the place. There's not
one consistency virtually between states, on the employment of apprentices, for example.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Where should the leadership come from?

HEATHER RIDOUT: The leadership has tried to come from the Commonwealth. They try to impose a set of
arrangements on the states. The states rejected that. The states have some legitimacy to the
state's positions as well, but it really goes back to the fact that we have a dysfunctional federal
system in this regard and we are paying a big price for it.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Do you agree with the Prime Minister that too many students are going through to
year 12, that we should return to the days where those better suited to trades should recognise it
at age 15 or 16, around the year 10 level?

HEATHER RIDOUT: Look, I think the vocational stream is a good one for kids. When we closed down the
old tech colleges and when we said to kids, "You must stay on to year 12", the promise was we would
make years 11 and 12 relevant for all kids who stayed on. Unfortunately, the academic pathway in
most schools has remained the dominant one. We've had some success in Vocational Education and
Training years 11 and 12, but not great ones. If we're going to give this bargain to kids to stay
around in school to year 12, we have to offer them better options, and more consistent options
nationally, and we haven't done that. In terms of staying on, though, our group, we employ 350
apprentices and virtually all of them come from year 12. The industry is technology driven. It
needs maths, it needs some of these more sophisticated technology-based, knowledge-based subject
areas, and so we're finding the year 12 kids are the ones that are the building blocks of modern
industry.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Hasn't your industry failed to deal with this issue, too, to this extent: If a kid
is contemplating a blue-collar trade versus white-collar training in the services sector, that you
can complete an apprenticeship in retail, for instance, in a year, whereas traditional trades are
still taking the same four years that they used to take 10 or 20 years ago, and for the first year,
at least, on a pittance of income?

HEATHER RIDOUT: Can I say, Kerry, that I think there is an awful lot of difference between being
trained in first-line supervisory training in the retail sector or learning how to use a bar code.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But even allowing for that.

HEATHER RIDOUT: Yes, I think there is a failure. We've had a long-held view, and I was part of
setting up the system, that we should have a genuine competency-based approach to apprenticeship.
Once you've done all the skills, all the work-based training, all the TAFE-based training that you
need to do, you're signed off as competent, you should be made competent. Now, that system was
developed eight years ago, 10 years ago. It was part of the whole systemic reform. Yet on the
ground in the providers, in the unions, in industry, we still have the old conservative high-bound
approach. Also, the incentive structures apply to these. All those areas really don't work in
favour of a genuine approach.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Very quickly, if the only short-term solution to a critical skills shortage is to
bring in 20,000 skilled migrants, where are we going to get those 20,000 from if we're competing
with half the rest of the world for those same skills?

HEATHER RIDOUT: Skills shortages are endemic around the world but I tell you our members, we
support skill-based immigration, but 60 per cent of our members are retraining their own
workforces. They're trading up, they're trying to train people from tradesmen assistants to be
tradesmen. They do not see this as the panacea, but they certainly see it as a valuable short-term
contribution to relieving some of the pressures.

KERRY O'BRIEN: That's if you can find the ones to come here, as opposed to getting them to go to
Canada, Britain or Japan or et cetera, et cetera.

HEATHER RIDOUT: We do think Australia's beaches are enough to attract people, Kerry, but it's not
always the case.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Is that what you base economic planning on?

HEATHER RIDOUT: I'm an economist. I certainly don't do that.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Thanks very much for talking with us.

HEATHER RIDOUT: Thank you very much.

BHP makes bid for WMC

BHP makes bid for WMC

Reporter: Emma Alberici

KERRY O'BRIEN: Still on the business front, the ball game has changed dramatically on the future
ownership of Australian mining giant WMC Resources with the world's biggest miner, BHP Billiton,
putting more than $9 billion on the table. WMC Resources has been trying to ward off a takeover bid
from controversial Swiss company Xstrata. At stake - huge nickel resources and the world's biggest
uranium deposits. BHP Billiton is literally swimming in money after a record profit announcement
and with the promise of more to come, has upped Xstrata's bid by a cool billion dollars. The WMC
Resources board has recommended that shareholders accept the BHP bid, but with the prospect that
this could escalate into a bidding war, shares in BHP today slumped to their lowest price in four
months. Finance editor Emma Alberici reports.

PETER MORGAN, FUND MANAGER, 452 CAPITOL: It's got some good assets in a country that is politically
sound. It's hard to find assets at the moment that are available in a world that is chasing
commodities, and Western Mining has that.

STEPHEN COOPER, GRANT SAMUEL & ASSOCIATES: We might have high commodity prices for the next 5 to 10
years. If you're prepared to believe that, then you could justify very high prices for WMC indeed.

EMMA ALBERICI: The prize in the battle for WMC Resources - South Australia's Olympic Dam, a
significant copper producer, it also happens to be the world's biggest uranium mine. In one corner
is Swiss group Xstrata with its $7 a share bid and overnight it became a clash of the titans when
the world's biggest miner BHP Billiton, through its advisers, Deutsche Bank, entered the ring with
an offer that was 12% higher. Did you get a call from Deutsche Bank dealers last night?

PETER MORGAN: Ah, yes.

EMMA ALBERICI: And you turned them down?

PETER MORGAN: Well, yes, we did.

EMMA ALBERICI: Why?

PETER MORGAN: Well, I think when a bid becomes contested - and this has the potential for doing
that - past history has shown that you're better off waiting to see what happens.

EMMA ALBERICI: Fund manager Peter Morgan owns $60 million worth of shares in WMC Resources, which
he's holding onto in the hope a better offer comes his way.

PETER MORGAN: I still think it's early days. I think you still have a cycle that is still
reasonably fluid, and you have other interested parties that may well be there. Rio has been talked
about. It's up for them to make up their own mind. Anglo is still out there. There's some big
mining houses. You're in an industry that's consolidating. The bigger get bigger and the middle
rung gets eaten up. That's what you're seeing at the moment.

EMMA ALBERICI: In October last year, Xstrata launched its first bid at $6.35 and was more recently
pushed to $7. The play has been controversial, given the thumbs-down by the WMC board, sparking
concern about another big resource heading for foreign control, and raising questions about how
Australia's uranium might be used. In any event, WMC investors haven't been kicking Xstrata's door
down. In five months, the Swiss company has picked up next to nothing - 0.1 of a per cent.

STEPHEN COOPER: We value WMC in the range of $7.70 to $8.24. That fundamentally reflected our views
on the value of WMC's two major assets.

EMMA ALBERICI: When corporate advisors Grant Samuel released its valuation, Xstrata laughed out
loud. Look who's laughing now.

STEPHEN COOPER: At the end of the day, one is only correct if the market endorses the judgment by
the price it's prepared to pay. So, with the benefit of hindsight, my judgments do appear to have
been correct.

EMMA ALBERICI: Once dominant players on the Australian Stock Exchange, one by one the local miners
have been snapped up by the global giants. First, Normandy Mining and North Broken Hill. Rio Tinto
and BHP. Now, if BHP's play proceeds, a delicious irony develops. The one-time big Australian will
need Foreign Investment Review Board approval to swallow up WMC.

PETER MORGAN: BHP's effectively under geared at the moment. It has a strong balance sheet and it's
generating a lot of cash. Management has delivered to date. On the other side of that, potentially
other players around the world will be looking at developments down here and seeing an asset in
front of their eyes and trying to work out if they can pay more.

EMMA ALBERICI: Perhaps none of these big-ticket takeovers would be as big and aggressive if it
wasn't for China. The commodities boom that started two years ago and continues apace has been
fuelled by demand from the world's most populous and fastest growing economy. China has become the
magnet for the world's metals. There just hasn't been enough nickel, copper iron ore and gold to
keep up with demand. Industrial production in China is running at 15 per cent a year against the
global average of just 3.5 per cent.

MITCH HOOK, MINERALS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA: China also needs energy, and so you will see it starting
to move into building nuclear plants for electricity power generation. Of course, that will mean
uranium. We're also seeing a depletion of uranium stocks around the globe, so essentially the
demand for uranium is increasing, the price of uranium is increasing and so therefore, companies
with a very good strategic eye are going to look at a company that has a third of the world's
reserves of uranium and currently running at about 18-19 per cent of the world's world's
production.

EMMA ALBERICI: Australia doesn't currently sell uranium to China, but the future is driving a lot
of the interest in WMC Resources and the potential to exploit its uranium assets. You'd have to say
BHP Billiton or Rio Tinto, if it declares an interest, would have the upper hand if a bidding war
were to break out with Xstrata or any of the other foreign mines. Being listed on the Australian
Stock Exchange means BHP or Rio could offer its shares in return for shares in WMC Resources. That
would provide WMC shareholders the opportunity to avoid capital gains tax, which would apply if
they sold their shares for cash. BHP Billiton's cash offer for all of WMC Resources came tonight
after a day of discussions between the two Melbourne-based miners. Shareholders in WMC Resources
are being offered $7.85 a share - 85 cents more than the Xstrata bid.

STEPHEN COOPER: My guess would be that BHP has done its best to make sure there won't be another
offer by being so bold with this price, but you never know. There's still two, three and perhaps
more players who would desperately love to have those assets. So, I guess time will tell us.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Finance editor Emma Alberici with that report.

Melbourne man faces legal nightmare in Spain

Melbourne man faces legal nightmare in Spain

Reporter: Phillip Williams

KERRY O'BRIEN: Every year, thousands of young Australians venture overseas for the grand tour which
has become almost a rite of passage before settling down. But in the case of Melbourne man Adam
Dalton the trip of a lifetime has turned into an expensive nightmare. Arrested by Spanish police
seven months ago allegedly after a brief altercation with a drunken tourist, Adam Dalton was forced
to hand over his passport and has had to remain in Barcelona while local authorities complete their
investigations. Although he's not been charged, Mr Dalton has already been detained for longer than
he would if found guilty of assault. His family is facing a $100,000 legal bill that could force
the sale of their home. The Federal Government says it is doing all it can to help Mr Dalton but
argues it cannot interfere in Spanish proceedings. Philip Williams reports from Barcelona.

ADAM DALTON: It's a nightmare that I can't wake up from, that's what it is.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: For the last seven months, Adam Dalton has been stuck in legal limbo. His passport
confiscated, a court case due, who knows when? His family in Australia struggling financially and
emotionally, trying to get their boy back home.

ADAM DALTON: Mum's really struggling with it, you know. She's really, really struggling, Mum, same
as Dad. Dad's just the same. I've got really the best relationship in the world that I could have
with my father. He's like my best mate in the world. I miss him, yeah. Sorry, mate, I'm getting...
(chokes)

PHILIP WILLIAMS: It all began seven months ago on this street. Adam was out on the town in
Barcelona with his footy mates, all part of a European holiday of a lifetime.

ADAM DALTON: We were walkin' along this path to go to the next nightclub at the port. Just as I was
walking I felt someone push me from behind. As I sort of stumbled myself, I knocked the girl I was
with, and she landed on there, sort of put her hand out to stop herself from falling and me just
push - pushed him away, kept going to the next nightclub. From what I hear, he was meant to have
landed all the way over there.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: Over where?

ADAM DALTON: One of these light poles where he is meant to have is hit his head from a one-handed
push.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: That's a fair push isn't it?

ADAM DALTON: That's a real good push. You knew nothing of good push.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: You knew nothing of that?

ADAM DALTON: Nothing of it. I kept walking over to the port, to the next nightclub, went home to
bed, didn't think nothing of it, until they come five days later when they come and got me out of
me room.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: And the nightmare began.

ADAM DALTON: That's when it started.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: Despite witnesses saying he'd done nothing wrong, one person said he'd assaulted
an American, pushing him against a pole. The alleged victim remembers nothing. Adam Dalton was
arrested and thrown in jail for six weeks until he was bailed. Sharing his cell with murderers and
drug dealers.

ADAM DALTON: It's just really dirty. It reminded of the movie Midnight Express.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: Yet you'd rather go back into prison.

ADAM DALTON: I would volunteer to go back. If they said six, seven months and you're going home, I
would walk in there, no worries.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: It's the not knowing that's killing him, even if he is convicted, it's a maximum
one-and-a-half years in jail, automatically suspended. He'd be home to family, fiancee and his
beloved dog. Now, the only contact he has with his family is by phone. It's a vital link. The whole
experience an emotional drain for all, and a financial sink hole that's cost his parents around
$150,000 in legal fees and living expenses. And rising every day.

ADAM DALTON: I'm their son and I'm stuck over here, and my dad's always been there, no matter what
happens, he knows he can always bail me out of trouble, he can always sort somethin' out and get me
out of trouble, but there time there's nothin' he can do.

SHANE DALTON: If it's not shortly, I'm gonna have to sell me home, and the wife and myself sat
down. If that's what it's gonna cost to get him home, well, so be it.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: Adam's father Shane can handle a heavy load, but the burden of seeing his son
suffering for so long for a crime he believes he didn't commit is too much.

SHANE DALTON: Shockin', the worst. Absolutely the worst. The worst feeling that I can - the worst
feeling. It's just helpless. You can't - nothing to do. You can't do a thing.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: This is a brief moment together for Adam's father and sister, Jessica. Adam's
mother was at work, again. Both parents on extended shifts, seven days a week, to support their
boy. Not that Shane Dalton feels the Federal Government has given his son much more than
lip-service.

SHANE DALTON: People in places like they are, they're in big positions, they can get on national
radio and talk their rubbish and people think "What a good person." But down to earth, they're
doing sweet FA.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: According to the Government, it's doing everything possible to help Adam.

BRUCE BILLSON, PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Our people have been in regular
contact, 44, 45 times with the families. Many, many times with his legal advisers. And even with
Adam back in Barcelona. Repeated explanations have been provided about the Spanish legal system.
It's not something that the Australian Government can control or can directly influence. So our
position has been very clear from the outset. Any request, any avenue that we can provide
assistance to Adam, we are providing. It's just that we're not in control of another country's
legal system. Just as Australians would be very offended if Spain, for instance, came and sought to
exert influence over our legal system in this country.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: Whoever's right, the fact remains Adam Dalton is still stuck in a rundown
apartment. The street in which he lives is infested with drug dealers. When he heard his
grandfather was seriously ill, he nearly cracked. His parents talked him out of doing a runner.

ADAM DALTON: They said, we've waited this long, just hang it out a bit more, just hang it out and
come home the right way, don't do it the wrong way. If you get caught, you will go straight back to
prison and you will be there for a long time.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: It already feels like a long time. The tourist delights of Barcelona seem
irrelevant. He just wants his day in court and a ticket home.

ADAM DALTON: As soon as I land, I will be kissing the ground straightaway. I'm not leaving
Australia ever again. I've realised now, I live in the greatest country in the world, the most
fair, beautiful country in the world and I'm I'm never leaving again. I'm having a little ceremony
burning my passport.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: But the wait continues. Tomorrow, always tomorrow. While life passes him by. His
birthday's coming up. His one wish: that he can share it with the family that may yet have to bet
the house on him.

ADAM DALTON: I love 'em to death and I miss 'em with all my heart. I say it to 'em 100 times a day
and I can't wait to see 'em again.