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7.30 Report -

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Welcome to the program. A strange thing happened in the campaign today - In Canberra, Mark Latham
announced he wanted to bring the business community into the Labor fold by promising a regular
business round table should he win the election on Saturday. And in Launceston, John Howard won the
support of the militant CFMEU trade union with a formula on old-growth forests which appears to
protect loggers' jobs. While Mr Latham was addressing the National Press Club, attempting to put to
rest any lingering concerns about his readiness for the job, the PM was forging his agreement with
both workers and industry employers. But it wasn't quite a miracle formula because it was labelled
misleading by environmentalists. Shortly, I'll be talking with Greens Senate Leader Bob Brown, but
first, political editor Michael Brissenden. After 5.5 long weeks of campaigning, this was Mark
Latham's last real national platform, a final chance to convince a sceptical electorate that he has
what it takes to be PM. Mark Latham likes to say this has been a referendum on Medicare. John
Howard says it's a referendum on economic management. Both know it'll really be a referendum on
Mark Latham himself. Is he ready to govern? Do Australians know enough about him? And is the
electorate ready to take the risk? Today his Press Club address was not so much about easing the
squeeze, more easing the fear. First, John Howard's big one - interest rates. When it comes to
interest rates, I've also got to declare my self-interest. Janine and I, like so many Australian
families, have a thumping great mortgage. At the kitchen table as well as the Cabinet table, I'll
be doing everything I can to keep interest rates low. Mr Howard started this campaign talking about
trust. He's ended it with the politics of the big lie. Don't tell a small lie, tell a whopper. And
that's what he's doing. Not one independent economist in Australia supports Mr Howard's claims on
interest rates, not one. Then there was this - aimed squarely at those who might think he's been
learning perhaps a little too much at the feet of his mentor, Gough Whitlam. A Latham Government,
he says, will be energetic and hard working but not rushed or impulsive. If we're honoured to win
on Saturday, Labor's transition to office will be steady and it will be disciplined, no
adventurism, no cockiness, straight down to work, putting our plans into place. And finally this -
there will be no night of the long knives. We haven't got a list of political enemies, nor time to
have a list of fights to pick - far from it. I want to ensure that Australians are working together
with a sense of common purpose and a real sense of community. And perhaps in response to the
specific fears that have been expressed, at least anecdotally, by many in the business community,
Mr Latham says one of the first things he plans is a regular business round table. But all of
that's predicated on what even many Labor insiders now privately say is looking less and less
likely - a Latham win. The polls still have them neck and neck, but Labor isn't getting any real
last week momentum. There's still three sleeps to go of course, and anything could happen, but one
of the consistent themes that does emerge in everyone's polling is that perhaps it's just not quite
time yet, maybe in another three years he'll be ready. Not surprisingly, Mark Latham doesn't see it
that way. And at 43 years of age I've got to say I'm ready to go, I'm in the prime of my life. I
think most Australians would agree - you get through your 20s and 30s, you knock around a bit, you
get the experience under your belt and then you go forward in your 40s and get stacks of things
done. Well, I've achieved a bit in my life and I've got more to do for the benefit of the
Australian people. I'm not waiting three years. If I can get their support, I'll be stuck in doing
things for three years for their benefit for the opportunity of our society. I've believed in these
things for a long long time and I hope if I get the honour and privilege I can implement them. It's
been an odd campaign, well, perhaps they all are in their own way, but in this we've seen John
Howard crisscross the country spending like an old fashioned socialist, and Mark Latham taking
daily delight in holding up the 'Financial Review's spendomoter to claim he's been the more
responsible economic manager. Well, today the spendomoter showed both had reached a net policy
spend of around $13.6 billion. But in all of it this was probably the strangest sight of all -
while Mark Latham was addressing the Press Club, John Howard was shaking hands with the timber
industry and the timber unions. Mark Latham's forest policy was a bold appeal to the green
sentiment on the mainland. John Howard's, in return, was a salve to the small Tasmanian regional
communities and timber workers' jobs. But there has to be a solution that is both environmentally
friendly and fair to local communities and doesn't ask of a small number of Australians to carry
the burden of what the great majority of Australians want. APPLAUSE Both sides have been dodging
and weaving on the Tassie forests, some in the Labor Party think Mark Latham may have gone a little
too far. It's even been suggested John Howard played him along on the issue, goading him with
stories suggesting he had big plans for the forests. He's set a new low in terms of political
dishonesty, a commitment in the campaign fed out to newspaper outlets for the obvious reasons to
say he was going to stop old growth logging and if he doesn't fulfill that commitment today, he's
got a new world record of land-speed for breaking a promise. He did it during the campaign itself.
The man is fundamentally dishonest and shouldn't be trusted by the Australian people any longer.
Mark Latham's forest policy would see an inquiry into 240,000 hectares of contentious forest,
including wilderness areas in the Tarkine and the Styx Valley. He says he expects that an inquiry
will lead to the vast majority of that area locked up from logging, and he's promised $800 million
to help communities and workers in transition. John Howard in contrast has offered $50 million. But
he for one doesn't see the need for more information. The Government - my government - does not
intend to have any more inquiries into this issue. Mr Howard's plan will honour the 1997 regional
forest agreement, but will see another 170,000 hectares of land set aside. The difference is even
the unions say a good deal of this area would never have been suitable for logging anyway. And it
has to be said it's a bit hard to be sure. There was no map issued with the policy. But the
conservationists say it's misleading and it's a wasted opportunity. It's only a small part of what
we believe needs to be protected. It's only a small part of those great old growth forests, the
rainforests, that need protection. And many of those areas that the PM's talking about are not
these threatened tall forests that deserve protection. Is this a valid compromise between
protecting the jobs on the one hand and protecting at least some of the forests? I think it's a
very sad day for forests and a sad day for workers. It's an extremely modest financial package,
probably in the order of $50 million. It's not a package that will help with value-adding in
Tasmania, with moving away from wood chips that go overseas where the jobs are in Japan and other
places. It doesn't give that money for the industry to grow jobs in Tasmania, so it's actually a
loss for forests and a loss for jobs. It's a very sad lost opportunity for the future of this
nation. The last few days of the campaign always get dirty. John Howard is a masterful last leg
campaigner.

Latham attempts to ease fear in voters

Latham attempts to ease fear in voters

Reporter: Michael Brissenden

KERRY O'BRIEN: A strange thing happened in the campaign today - In Canberra, Mark Latham announced
he wanted to bring the business community into the Labor fold by promising a regular business round
table should he win the election on Saturday - something that I don't think would cost much.

And in Launceston, John Howard won the support of the militant CFMEU trade union with a formula on
old-growth forests which appears to protect loggers' jobs.

While Mr Latham was addressing the National Press Club, attempting to put to rest any lingering
concerns about his readiness for the job, the Prime Minister was forging his agreement with both
workers and industry employers.

But it wasn't quite a miracle formula because it was labelled "misleading" by environmentalists.

Shortly, I'll be talking with Greens Senate Leader Bob Brown.

But first, political editor Michael Brissenden.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: After five-and-a-half long weeks of campaigning, this was Mark Latham's last
real national platform, a final chance to convince a sceptical electorate that he has what it takes
to be prime minister.

Mark Latham likes to say this has been a referendum on Medicare.

John Howard says it's a referendum on economic management.

Both know it'll really be a referendum on Mark Latham himself.

Is he ready to govern?

Do Australians know enough about him?

And is the electorate ready to take the risk?

Today his Press Club address was not so much about easing the squeeze, more easing the fear.

First, John Howard's big one - interest rates.

MARK LATHAM, OPPOSITION LEADER: When it comes to interest rates, I've also got to declare my
self-interest.

Janine and I, like so many Australian families, have a thumping great mortgage.

At the kitchen table as well as the Cabinet table, I'll be doing everything I can to keep interest
rates low.

Mr Howard started this campaign talking about trust.

He's ended it with the politics of the big lie.

Don't tell a small lie, tell a whopper.

And that's what he's doing.

Not one independent economist in Australia supports Mr Howard's claims on interest rates, not one.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Then there was this - aimed squarely at those who might think he's been
learning perhaps a little too much at the feet of his mentor, Gough Whitlam.

A Latham Government, he says, will be energetic and hard working but not rushed or impulsive.

MARK LATHAM: If we're honoured to win on Saturday, Labor's transition to office will be steady and
it will be disciplined, no adventurism and no cockiness.

Straight down to work, putting our plans into place.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: And finally this - there will be no night of the long knives.

MARK LATHAM: We haven't got a list of political enemies, nor time to have a list of fights to pick
- far from it.

I want to ensure that Australians are working together with a sense of common purpose and a real
sense of community.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: And perhaps in response to the specific fears that have been expressed, at
least anecdotally, by many in the business community, Mr Latham says one of the first things he
plans is a regular business round table.

But all of that's predicated on what even many Labor insiders now privately say is looking less and
less likely - a Latham win.

The polls still have them neck and neck, but Labor isn't getting any real last week momentum.

There's still three sleeps to go of course, and anything could happen, but one of the consistent
themes that does emerge in everyone's polling is that perhaps it's just not quite time yet, maybe
in another three years he'll be ready.

Not surprisingly, Mark Latham doesn't see it that way.

MARK LATHAM: And at 43 years of age I've got to say I'm ready to go, I'm in the prime of my life.

I think most Australians would agree - you get through your 20s and 30s, you knock around a bit,
you get the experience under your belt and then you go forward in your 40s and get stacks of things
done.

Well, I've achieved a bit in my life and I've got more to do for the benefit of the Australian
people.

I'm not waiting three years.

If I can get their support, I'll be stuck in doing things for three years for their benefit for the
opportunity of our society.

You know, I've believed in these things for a long long time and I hope if I get the honour and
privilege to serve as prime minister, I can implement them as the head of a great Labor government.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: It's been an odd campaign - well, perhaps they all are in their own way, but in
this, we've seen John Howard crisscross the country spending like an old fashioned socialist, and
Mark Latham taking daily delight in holding up the Financial Review's spendometer to claim he's
been the more responsible economic manager.

Well, today the spendometer showed both had reached a net policy spend of around $13.6 billion.

But in all of it this was probably the strangest sight of all - while Mark Latham was addressing
the Press Club, John Howard was shaking hands with the timber industry and the timber unions.

Mark Latham's forest policy was a bold appeal to the green sentiment on the mainland.

John Howard's, in return, was a salve to the small Tasmanian regional communities and timber
workers' jobs.

JOHN HOWARD, PRIME MINISTER: But there has to be a solution that is both environmentally friendly
and fair to local communities and doesn't ask of a small number of Australians to carry the burden
of what the great majority of Australians want.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Both sides have been dodging and weaving on the Tassie forests.

Some in the Labor Party think Mark Latham may have gone a little too far.

It's even been suggested John Howard played him along on the issue, goading him with stories
suggesting he had big plans for the forests.

MARK LATHAM: He's set a new low in terms of political dishonesty, a commitment in the campaign fed
out to newspaper outlets, for the obvious reasons, to say he was going to stop old growth logging -
you can look at the headlines - and if he doesn't fulfill that commitment today, he's got a new
world record of land-speed for breaking a promise.

He did it during the campaign itself.

The man is fundamentally dishonest and shouldn't be trusted by the Australian people any longer.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Mark Latham's forest policy would see an inquiry into 240,000 hectares of
contentious forest, including wilderness areas in the Tarkine and the Styx Valley.

He says he expects that an inquiry will lead to the vast majority of that area locked up from
logging, and he's promised $800 million to help communities and workers in transition.

John Howard, in contrast, has offered $50 million.

But he for one doesn't see the need for more information.

JOHN HOWARD: The Government - my government - does not intend to have any more inquiries into this
issue.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Mr Howard's plan will honour the 1997 regional forest agreement, but will see
another 170,000 hectares of land set aside.

The difference is even the unions say a good deal of this area would never have been suitable for
logging anyway.

And it has to be said it's a bit hard to be sure.

There was no map issued with the policy.

But the conservationists say it's misleading and it's a wasted opportunity.

DON HENRY, PRESIDENT, AUSTRALIAN CONSERVATION FOUNDATION: It's only a small part of what we believe
needs to be protected.

It's only a small part of those great old growth forests, the rainforests, that need protection.

And many of those areas that the Prime Minister's talking about are not these threatened tall
forests that deserve protection.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Is this a valid compromise between protecting the jobs on the one hand and
protecting at least some of the forests?

DON HENRY: I think it's a very sad day for forests and a sad day for workers.

It's an extremely modest financial package, probably in the order of $50 million.

It's not a package that will help with value-adding in Tasmania, with moving away from woodchips
that go overseas, where the jobs are in Japan and other places.

It doesn't give that money for the industry to grow jobs in Tasmania.

So it's actually a loss for forests and a loss for jobs.

It's a very sad lost opportunity for the future of this nation.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: The last few days of the campaign always get dirty.

John Howard is a masterful last leg campaigner.

But, at the beginning of this saga, who would have thought the political wedge would have been
coloured green?

But here it is.

JOHN HOWARD: I think the Labor Party has let down their traditional constituents on this issue - I
really do.

I think they have sold out the interests of their traditional supporters in order to buy Green
preferences.

I think it's a cynical as that.

Their policy has not been driven by any desire to balance anything.

Their policy has been driven by a desire to get Green preferences and it's been as cynical and as
deliberate and as manipulative as that.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: There's been a lot of talk in the past few weeks about doctors' wives and Green
preferences and the like.

Three days out, John Howard knows he can't win them back now but he's clearly hoping to wipe out
whatever impact that may have had on the mainland by gunning hard for a few Labor seats in
Tasmania.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Political editor Michael Brissenden.

(c) 2006 ABC | Privacy Policy

Brown 'horrified' by Howard's forestry policy

Brown 'horrified' by Howard's forestry policy

Reporter: Kerry O'Brien

KERRY O'BRIEN: And the man in the eye of this particular political storm is the Greens' Leader, Bob
Brown.

With his party polling stronger at this election than ever before, its preference flow could decide
who governs after Saturday.

Senator Brown joins me now from our Hobart studio.

Bob Brown, you were quick to endorse Mark Latham's plan for Tasmania's old growth forests on
Monday.

What exactly is your position on John Howard's policy announcement late this afternoon?

BOB BROWN, GREENS: Well, Kerry, I'm horrified, because almost without exception the forests that
Australians have seen on their television screens in the last few months in the Tarkine, the Styx
and the Blue Tier will go to the chainsaws under John Howard's Government in the coming years.

He's - we know now - going to condemn two-thirds of these grand forests and their wildlife.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Just how does that stack up, because you wanted old growth logging stopped in
240,000 hectares, he's going to stop it in 170,000 hectares.

How do you know that the trees you're talking about aren't part of the 170,000 hectares?

BOB BROWN: Because there's over 40,000 hectares of that on private land, and Mark Latham's package
also enables the saving of those special places, Kerry.

So that brings it back down to 126,000 hectares and we know that a lot of these are in the
backblocks where they'll be non-loggable areas which are, so-called, up for protection.

When you sort that out, and I think I'm being generous here, two-thirds of the grand forests, the
upfront forests, like the forests that Mark Latham and I walked in in the Styx in March, will be a
pile of woodchips under John Howard in the coming period of government or shortly thereafter.

The sound of chainsaws is going to be there as people go to the ballot box this Saturday and if
they vote Coalition they'll be voting for those chainsaws eating into the forests, like the Mark
Latham forests, like the forests of the rainforests that are vulnerable at the face of the great
Tarkine in the north-west, and John Howard has said here that this is a good deal for Tasmania.

Well, tell that to Tasmanians who see Mark Latham offering $750 million more for the restructuring
of this industry to ensure that there are jobs there in the future as the woodchipping industry
continues to shed jobs into the future and exporting most of the forests, over 90 per cent to
Japan, China and Korea where the jobs are created at a loss to Tasmania.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But against the 170,000 hectares that John Howard is saying he'll stop logging in
immediately, the best you've got from Mark Latham is a review, the outcome of which you will not
know for another 12 months.

BOB BROWN: That's correct, and that review is to look at which are the damaged forests to be taken
out of the 240,000 hectares and there's precious little of that.

What we've got here we know, John Howard's going to protect backblocks forests - which inevitably
are going to be protected under the Latham review.

I might say, the Greens wanted 240,000 hectares protected as of next Sunday.

KERRY O'BRIEN: So Mark Latham is still a long way from what you wanted?

BOB BROWN: Yes, he's offering a review by ecologists which I believe will lead to the protection of
-

KERRY O'BRIEN: But that's a trust, isn't it?

You're taking that on trust?

BOB BROWN: I'm taking that on trust but there's money to back that up.

There isn't with John Howard.

What we do have is a guarantee with John Howard that most of the forests and nearly all the forests
that we've seen on television in recent months will go to the chainsaws, will go to this job-sparse
industry where we get less than 1 per cent of the final return of the Japanese woodchippers.

It's a disastrous alternative for Tasmania and it's lacking in the values you'd expect of a PM who
signed the death warrant on these forests in 1997 when he signed the regional forests agreement.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Now John Howard has accused Mark Latham of doing a sleazy deal with you, that this
whole policy of his on old-growth forests is purely designed to get your preferences.

Now you gave away your preferences to Labor in 48 marginal seats, before his policy was announced
on old growths.

If the old growth decision was so important to the Greens, to environmentalists generally, and I
would think to you particularly emotionally, why did you do that and why doesn't that tend to back
up the PM's claim that your deal was already done before the announcement came?

BOB BROWN: Well, two things there, Kerry.

Firstly, we are a broad-based party fighting for a better deal for public education, public
hospitals, public housing and infrastructure.

And Labor has come out better than the Government on all those matters.

Labor will also withdraw the troops from Iraq.

Labor has got a promise to deal better with the East Timorese who's oil royalties are being thieved
by the Howard Government and there's so many more other policies, but when it comes to the forests
and many of the - I think some 26 electorates, the Greens have said they'll issue a non-preference
direction, but I've asked the party tonight to contact those electorates in the view of this
appalling destruction of forests imminent in the policy that's been greeted by the loggers today no
doubt with handshakes from PM Howard but which sells out this nation's heritage and the future
generation's right to see it, to review that decision by those electorates and I'll be hopefully
able to coordinate or collect that data and pass that on to the electorate between now and
Saturday.

KERRY O'BRIEN: You've held off on your preferences in two crucial Tasmanian seats, held marginally
by Labor which could well fall as a result of what's now happened on the old growth issue, Braddon
and Bass.

Will you, if I understand you correctly, are you going to ask your branches to change that, to
actually - are you going to recommend that they gave their preferences to Labor in those seats?

BOB BROWN: And in the now marginal seat of Lyons as well.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But the Labor Party itself is split, isn't it, in Tasmania?

BOB BROWN: No, it's got Dick Adams who's been a friend to the woodchippers all the way down the
line, even as the jobs have been shed out of the industry in Lyons.

Which Tasmanian is going to say, "Well John Howard's $52 million is a better deal than Mark
Latham's $800 million to restructure our economy, to get it away from industrial logging."

KERRY O'BRIEN: But there's no two ways about where the Tasmanian Labor Premier stands on this.

As well as the rank and file trade unionists who support the Labor Party in Tasmania.

They're the other way, aren't they?

BOB BROWN: John Howard has lined up with the radical CFMEU here which has never stepped off the
footpath as Gunns has shed jobs here, Kerry, in recent years.

But you know, it's so similar to the Franklin outcome, where both the big parties in Tasmania ended
up supporting the dam but the Greens didn't and we got the support of Labor on the mainland and
that's now been a huge boon for Tasmania, with millions of dollars of investment and 200,000
visitors and hundreds of jobs.

The forests will be the same.

If only, if Latham is returned on Saturday, and let's face it, if he's not, then the chainsaws are
going to bite into those forests.

And we're going to lose $750 million.

KERRY O'BRIEN: I've never heard a leading Green speaking so supportively of Labor in an election
campaign.

You could be an extension of the Labor Party tonight.

BOB BROWN: No, the Greens are absolutely needed in the parliament in bigger numbers to make sure,
whether it's a Latham government or a Howard government.

But look, yes, I am emotional about this.

I've spent so long in these forests.

I've seen the destruction, the poisoning of the animals, the firebombing of some of the most
magnificent ecosystems on the planet and John Howard says I'm going to do that to two-thirds of
these fantastic forests in my next period of government or shortly after it.

What sort of PM is that?

KERRY O'BRIEN: He also says he's going to preserve jobs, he's not going to see workers thrown on
the scrap heap?

BOB BROWN: So does Mark Latham.

And Mark Latham's putting the money into guarantee that.

I don't trust John Howard and I'm not waiting till after the election to see his maps.

Bring them out before the election if you want the electorate to feel sure about this, but it's a
jobs loss and forest destruction and wildlife poisoning regime that we've got from the PM and I
think people who want to vote for the Coalition should think about that before they put their '1'
in the box on Saturday.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Very quickly, with the time that's left, many of them I would think would also be
thinking about the rest of the Green's policies after the onslaught that's been directed at the
Greens in this campaign.

If we can look very quickly at Telstra for one.

You say you're now immovably opposed to selling the rest of Telstra although you did once open up
the prospect of a deal.

Even if the PM were to say, "We'll save all old growth forests, we'll adopt your policies to save
the Murray, to stop desalination, you'd still say no to 50.1 per cent of Telstra going into private
hands with the rest of it?

BOB BROWN: Well, that's not going to happen and again, the Labor government has come out with a
much better package for the Murray.

It's not what the Greens want, we'll go further, and for renewable energy, and for global warming.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But I'm talking about Telstra.

You're absolutely, immutably immovable on Telstra, no matter what?

BOB BROWN: That's correct, because the bush and regional Australia and the urban, the average user
of telecommunications in this country has so much to lose if it's privatised and then biased toward
the big end of town, Kerry.

That's not on as far as the Greens are concerned.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Very quickly, the Government says you support loopy policies including, I think,
permissive drug policies.

Now, the controlled availability of cannabis at appropriate venues, the regulated supply of social
drugs like ecstasy in controlled environments, pilot programs to test the effectiveness of
controlled availability of heroin to registered users from licensed clinics, now that surely
entitles Mr Howard to describe you as soft on drugs and way out of step with mainstream Australia?

BOB BROWN: What we know from today's 'Herald Sun' story is that drug abuse in Australia is growing
rapidly under Mr Howard.

What the Greens are saying - harm minimisation to save the lives of young Australians under medical
expertise.

Holland, the same size as us, one-third the death rate.

I want to save those kids' lives, Kerry, and that's what harm minimisation under the Greens will
lead towards.

KERRY O'BRIEN: And nowhere in your drugs policy statement that I've read do you talk about tough
prison penalties for drug traffickers.

Why not?

BOB BROWN: That is in our drug policy -

KERRY O'BRIEN: No, there's a reference that says, it says, penalties for illegal drug trafficking.

It doesn't say what penalties.

It could be a $5 fine.

BOB BROWN: No, it's the current penalties and we support very harsh penalties for drug traffickers.

Just the same as we support harm minimisation for those who fall victim to it because our policy is
aimed at saving the lives of young Australians, something that John Howard has failed to do,
compared to comparable countries elsewhere in the world.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Bob Brown, we're out of time but thanks for talking to us.

BOB BROWN: Thanks, Kerry.

(c) 2006 ABC | Privacy Policy

Students, universities concerned for future

Students, universities concerned for future

Reporter: Mike Sexton

KERRY O'BRIEN: Universities were once a hothouse of radical politics.

But now, it seems the only unrest comes from concern over changes to higher education.

Under the Howard Government something of a culture change has been forced on universities -
encouraging them to take on full-fee paying students from here and abroad, while increasing the
cost of the higher education contribution scheme, or HECS, which the Keating Government started.

Labor has tried to take the running with a series of policy announcements - the latest, just
yesterday.

Nowhere does the issue resonate more than in the marginal, inner-city seat of Adelaide, which has
the highest concentration of university students in the country.

In the third of his reports from the seat, Mike Sexton tests the mood in the tertiary institutions.

MIKE SEXTON: The University of Adelaide is one of the nation's most hallowed schools.

For over 130 years its leafy surrounds have nurtured Nobel Prize winners and Rhodes Scholars.

Up the road, in contrast, is the modern steel and glass of the University of South Australia which
was created in 1991 by an amalgamation of teachers colleges and technology institutes.

And both have emerged as battlegrounds in this election.

JODIE JANSEN, NATIONAL UNION OF STUDENTS: The seat of Adelaide has the highest proportion of
university students living within its boundaries of any seat in the country, and that is the reason
that NUS has decided to target the seat of Adelaide.

MIKE SEXTON: University students represent 1 per cent of the votes in this seat, which the Liberals
hold by just 0.6 per cent, so the parties are keenly aware that higher education policy could help
decide which way it goes.

The National Union of Students is targeting Adelaide with a niche campaign - reinforcing that some
full-fee paying courses will now cost $100,000.

JODIE JANSEN: The Howard Government really in its last three terms hasn't done much for students or
young people.

I think that young people are much more inclined to vote for the opposition parties - the Greens,
the Democrats and the ALP - than they are to vote for the Coalition.

MIKE SEXTON: Min Gho is studying both law and engineering at Adelaide University and believes the
burden of both fees and HECS means students are struggling with a combination of study and work.

MIN GHO, STUDENT: I know some of my friends as well have had to skip classes because they've had to
go and work and if they don't go and work, they don't eat.

I suppose that's a more extreme example but that does happen and we certainly need to look at a way
where we can support students, who will be the future of this country, in a proper way.

MIKE SEXTON: In a bid to boost university coffers, the Coalition will next year allow universities
to increase HECS fees by up to 25 per cent and boost the number of full-fee paying students.

Both Uni SA and the Adelaide University will raise HECS by the full 25 per cent.

And while university places will be more expensive, they'll also be more elusive.

Earlier this year, Federal Education Minister Brendon Nelson announced the roll-out of 25,000 new
university places across the country.

However, the places are not evenly distributed, with South Australia receiving just 6 per cent as
compared to 25 per cent for Queensland.

JODIE JANSEN: South Australia will actually be worse off under the Liberal Government in the
future, with less HECS places than what we have had in South Australia previously.

MIKE SEXTON: Recently at the University of Adelaide, a lunchtime forum allowed the candidates a
chance to sell their education policies.

KATE ELLIS, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR ADELAIDE: A Labor Government will create 20,000 new full and
part-time university places every year for Australian students to start their degrees.

SENATOR GRANT CHAPMAN, LIBERAL: The Howard Government will provide an extra $2.6 billion to the
higher education sector over five years as part of its higher education reforms, providing
universities with more resources and students with more choices.

MIKE SEXTON: Liberal Senator Grant Chapman stood in for absent Adelaide MP Trish Worth and found
himself facing a hostile crowd of students and academics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ACADEMIC: Having already virtually destroyed the sector as far as staff/student
numbers are concerned, how can you guarantee now that you are going to do something to redress all
that damage that you have already done?

SENATOR GRANT CHAPMAN: Well, I don't accept that this Government has done damage to the tertiary
education sector.

There are more students at university now than ever before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ACADEMIC: Absolutely!

A hell of a lot more!

(Laughs) That's a ridiculous response.

SENATOR GRANT CHAPMAN: Well, that is not a ridiculous response.

PETER MICKAN, LINGUISTICS UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE There is no way that Australia can be
internationally competitive with the kind of funding that's currently made available for research.

MIKE SEXTON: One of the most outspoken academics was Peter Mickan from the University of Adelaide
linguistics department.

Dr Mickan believes the restructuring of universities towards a user-pays system has increased the
student/teacher ratio to the point where research is being threatened.

PETER MICKAN: If we have an increased teaching load, it means that the time that is required to
carry out research is no longer practical and increasingly we find that we haven't got the time to
be able to do the research and to produce publications that are an absolutely essential part of our
work.

MIKE SEXTON: In this frantic week of campaigning, Mark Latham has visited the University of South
Australia confident Labor's policy of rolling back HECS would be a vote-winner among students.

MARK LATHAM: If we win on Saturday we will get the parliament back before Christmas so we can stop
the 25 per cent increase in HECTARES, which has been such a worry through the sector.

MIKE SEXTON: However, for universities, the Latham plan does have some unknowns - chiefly when it
comes to funding.

All universities have already budgeted for next year with HECS increases included, so if those
increases are knocked on the head they'll find themselves with a black hole on their balance sheet.

MICHAEL VENNING, NATIONAL TERTIARY EDUCATION FUND: Certainly, Latham has said he will reverse the
HECS fees increases that have occurred and will increase operating grants.

If he wins, we can only hope he increases operating grants sufficient to compensate the loss in
HECS fee income.

MIKE SEXTON: The National Tertiary Education Union, which represents university staff, says it
isn't supporting any party in this campaign but is targeting the seat of Adelaide in an attempt to
put higher education on the agenda.

Certainly, Labor likes its chances in this sector.

In Adelaide, the universities have hundreds of staff and thousands of students and while not all of
them live in the electorate, remember at the last ballot Trish Worth won by just 343 votes.

MICHAEL VENNING, Certainly there is enough votes to swing it.

It's whether the voters who have them choose to use them or not.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Mike Sexton with that report.

(c) 2006 ABC | Privacy Policy

In Adelaide, the universities have hundreds of staff and thousands of students and while not all of
them live in the electorate, remember at the last ballot Trish Worth won by just 343 votes.
Certainly there is enough votes to swing it. It's whether the voters who have them choose to use
them or not. Mike Sexton with that report. And that's the program for tonight. We'll be back at the
same time tomorrow, but for now, goodnight. Supertext captions by the Australian Caption Centre.
www.auscap.com.au