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Tonight - Telstra's $9 million

question, is the boss worth it?

More hands to the pump to

tackle Australia's water

crisis. Six people killed in a

horrific car crash in Victoria,

and he's got the goods, the

Swans star wins another

Brownlow medal. Good evening,

Juanita Phillips with ABC News.

The Federal Government is demanding answers from the

board of Telstra tonight about

its $9 million a year chief

executive. The Treasurer has

taken directors to task for

giving Sol Trujillo a big

bonus, even though the value of

the company shares has

plummeted. Mr Costello wants

the board to justify Sol

Trujillo's hefty salary

package. Gone, but definitely

not forgotten. Peter Costello's aerial adventure has

left a lasting impression.

Cougars. Cougars! That was my

call sign. Back on earth

finance was his text for today

surrounded by children taking

part in a practical exercise

designed to teach them the way

money works. How to earn, how

to save, how to invest. And

there's one investment which

has the Treasurer infuriated,

doubting its value for money. There should be performance hurdles and the

board should be able to show

how those performance hurdles

have been met. With that, Mr

Costello became the latest

senior Government figure to lay

into Telstra. He accused its

board of awarding Sol Trujillo

a salary package of close to $9

million, including a bonus of

$2.6 million even though in

just over a year he's seen

Telstra shares plummet by

one-third, wiping $18 billion

off the company's value. We

would expect a board to have in

place proper hurdles which they

carefully monitor to ensure

that bonuses actually produce

wealth for the shareholders and

the company generally. It's a

priority, too, for the man the

Government's hoisting onto the

board over its objections. It's

up to boards to justify these

things clearly. It's another

sign how antagonistic relations

between Telstra and the

Government have become and can hardly inspire the confidence

of investors as they weigh up

whether to put their money into

the T3 float. The accusation that Geoffrey Cousins is the

Prime Minister's puppet won't

help either. I'm not anyone's

man except my own. This is another piece of interference

from John Howard in Telstra's arrangement. Another part of

the mess. And says Kim Beazley,

the Prime Minister's desperate

to sell Telstra at any price,

regardless of shareholder or

national interest.

The Treasurer also had James

Hardie in his sights today

after the company directors

awarded themselves pay rises of

up to 130%. Shareholders

backed the increases at the

company's annual general

meeting in Amsterdam. The

salary of chairman Meredith

Hellicar will rise from about

$240,000 a year to almost

$400,000. The board has been

accused of breaking a promise

not to spend more on executive

wages until a long-term

compensation deal for asbestos

victims is finalised. Well it

was something that we expected

but it's still like an arrow to

the heart once again. A real

kick in the guts. James Hardie has blamed a dispute with the

Tax Office for holding up the

compensation package, but the

Treasurer says that's no

excuse. I just wish the

directors of James Hardie were

as assiduous in ensuring that

they met their liabilities,

including their just tax

liabilities as they've been in

awarding themselves increases

in directors' fees. The NSW

Premier says the directors

should have shown restraint out

of respect for asbestos victims

and their families.

New National leadership or just

another layer of bureaucracy?

That's the debate sparked by the Prime Minister's

announcement of a new office to

coordinate policy on

Australia's dwindling water

supply. It'll report to

high-profile Liberal MP Malcolm

Turnbull leaving some to

suggest he could be on his way

to a new title, Minister for

Water. From the cracked edge

of dried up dams Malcolm

Turnbull's been highlighting

the nationwide water shortage.

But frustrated at a lack of

progress on the ailing Murray-Darling River system,

the Prime Minister's decided to

protect the national give him his own bureaucracy to

interest. We're establishing a

water office in my

department. John Howard says

he's been thinking about it for

a few weeks but he's playing

down suggestions it's a leg up

for the prominent Liberal on

the way to a new ministry. Currently I don't

have any plans to create new

departments. But one of the

country's leading water experts

says that's precisely what he

should do. I hope this will

emerge into a full-blown

Federal ministry for water and

a Minister for Water. The Prime

Minister says he isn't riding

roughshod over the States but

progress has been glacial and

it could cross State

boundaries. Labor premiers in Victoria and Queensland like

it. We would support it if it

means better coordination and

funding. I think the Federal

Government should go further

and appoint a water minister

and Malcolm Turnbull would be a

good choice. But the Federal

Labor leader says it's just

another layer of bureaucracy. One dazzling announcement after another and

not a single extra drop of

water down the Murray River. That's the truth of the matter. And Kim Beazley says

the creation of the new office

really is about Malcolm

Turnbull's ambitions. And a

bureaucratic arrangement to

produce a competitor for Peter

Costello. Farmers are already

struggling urn an extended

drought and scientists warn

some cities are fashion

further, possibly severe water

restrictions. Malcolm Turnbull

says it's overwhelmingly the country's biggest environmental challenge. So if it's so

important why not make it into

a whole portfolio? That's an issue for the Prime Minister,

not me. And he hasn't ruled it

out.

The AWB inquiry has reconvened

and this time it has access to

exporter fought to keep secret. documents that the wheat

Among other things they show

that the company's own lawyers

warned it that covert trucking

payments in Iraq could

constitute bribery and breach

UN sanctions. The commission

is now set to recall senior

executives to question

statements they made under oath

earlier this year.

For much of the year, AWB has

clung to the defence that it

had legal advice which showed

it was not bribing Saddam

Hussein. Today, some of those

documents which AWB was forced

to release, showed otherwise.

In 2003, lawyers from Blake

Dawson Waldron wrote the

company a secret report. It

outlined possible breaches of

the krooims Act and UN

sanctions. The lawyers said

there was no evidence that

money AWB paid to a Jordanian

trucking company was genuine

and could be seen as a bribe.

The report also said that the

fact that money sent to the

Jordanian trucking company

ended up in Iraq may mean there

has been a separate or

stand-alone breach of UN

Resolution 661. Just a year

ago AWB's senior executives

used a whiteboard to list their

own shortcomings in Iraq.

Amongst the points they

scrawled on a whiteboard were

misleading the United Nations

and the Department of Foreign

Affairs and trade, wilful

misuse of UN funds and

breaching sanctions. Other

documents have cast doubt on

sworn evidence of AWB

executives. The former

chairman Trevor Flugge will be

under the gun when he returns

to the witness box in coming

days. In February he told the

commission he knew nothing

about the transport payments.

However, it was revealed today

that his lawyer took notes of a

detailed explanation Mr Flugge

gave him about the matter two

years ago.

A tragic road smash has killed

six people in Victoria's

north-west. Early this

afternoon, a cash collided with

a small truck near Donald about

300 kilometres north-west of

Melbourne. Both caught fire

and there were no survivors.

So savage was the crash and so

intense the fire that followed,

authorities at first couldn't

tell how many people had been killed. Initial reports at this

stage that up to seven people

have been killed in the

two-vehicle accident. There

was a reported fire which makes

it more difficult to identify

who and how many were in the

vehicle. It's now known the car

was travelling five people

including three children. It

collided with a truck at an

intersection five kilometres

out of Donald just before 1 this afternoon. The driver of

the truck was travelling alone.

By the time ambulances arrived,

the vehicles were alight and

rescue was impossible. A major

catastrophe like this is

horrific. One's too many, but this many is just

terrible. Crash investigators

remain at the scene and are expected to stay into the

night. Donald is a town of

about 1700 people. It had just

celebrated a weekend of

sporting triumph. We won the

footy and the netball, hockey,

it was just a) terrific weekend

for the whole town. Everybody

was on a high, but not now.

It's just like a blanket's hit

the town. The names of those

killed haven't been released.

A woman and her daughter have

died in a caravan fire near

Newcastle. Police are treating

the blaze as suspicious. Fire

crews were called to the Freemans Waterhole Caravan Park

soon after 4am. A teenage boy

was able to escape but his

mother and sister were trapped

while other residents tried to

save them. They put me from the

outside into the van and

wouldn't move, nothing moved

and I had my hands and legs,

"Come on out" . Nothing moved.

Too late. Police believe the

fire may have been deliberately

lit. Neighbours can't believe

it. Nice lovely people. The

girl was only 13, the mother's

in her late 40s. Very nice

people. Respected here. We

liked them. The boy was taken

to hospital and treated for smoke inhalation.

Police will re-establish the bushfire arson strikeforce

after Sunday's devastating

fires around Sydney. Seven

homes were destroyed and fire authorities believe at least

two of the biggest fires were

deliberately lit.

It's a recurring story in this

State - houses leveled by

bushfires caused by arsonists.

During major bushfires in 2001

and 2002, police set up

strikeforce Tronto to track

down fire bugs. With arson suspected again the strikeforce

is back. In light of the

activity on Sunday and the

forecasts that we are getting

we thought it appropriate now

that we would recreate Toronto.

Anyone out there that seems to

get a sick thrill out of

burning people's property and

the community's bushland ought

to know there are cells waiting

for you. But the Opposition

says police shouldn't be

waiting for the bushfire season. Instead the

strikeforce should be operating

all year around. Here we go

again after 12 years Labor's

been caught out again cutting

resources for police. The Deputy Police Commissioner says

every strikeforce has a start

date and end date when the

investigation wraps up. It

would be inappropriate and

wrong for me to have officers

sitting on their hand waiting

for a bushfire to happen when there are other crimes out

there to be investigated. The

deputy commissioner says

hundreds of detectives are

trained to investigate arson

and there's already a permanent

arson squad that looks into all

deliberately lit fires, not

just bushfires. And he says

the police database on fire

bugs is always kept up-to-date.

And about 1,000 households

still without power tonight

will get a goodwill payment of

$150 from the State Government.

Integral Energy expects to have

them reconnected tomorrow.

It promised to be a rival to

the NRMA but after just two

years in business MTA Road

Service has gone bust. 30,000

customers have been caught out,

along with the two biggest

motoring groups in NSW.

It was supposed to challenge

the NRMA's roadside assistance offering competitive rates and

no joining fee. The Motor Traders' Association supported

it, at least initially. If this project goes ahead NRMA will be

the better for it as will the

consumer. The Motor Traders'

Association says it never

actually went into an

arrangement with Matt Mills,

the man behind the scheme, but

that didn't stop him offering

MTA Road Service powered by

NASA, not the American space

agency, but off the planet

anyway. MTA by now stood for Motor Transport Assistance and the Motor Traders' Association

couldn't stop him. We demanded

that he stop using our name.

He stuck his finger up at us. A

family-run call centre

operating out of Canberra is

now owed more than $70,000. It

has had a profound effect on

the business. The NRMA today

advertised it would honour the

remaining period of the

remaining roadside membership

if those affected signed up

with NRMA. When you've broken

down in the evening you want to

know if someone if you've paid

in advance you can rely on

them. The NRMA and the MTA

might be relieved but there's

little room for gloating. I

feel embarrassed he's used this

association's name. In fact the embarrassment can be shared

around. The NRMA, too, went

into business with Mr Mills on

a motorhome venture and is owed

something like $300,000.

They're a popular addition to

many school lunchs but now it

seems that muesli and fruit

bars labelled as healthy might

be anything but. The latest

Choice survey shows few meet

nutritional standards and in

some cases you'd be better off

eating bacon and eggs. They're

a common feature of school

lunchboxes but do they deserve

to be there? The Australian Consumers' Association checked

the nutritional status of 150

bars. They found only 13 had

acceptable levels of fat, sugar

and fibre and weren't too high

in kilojoules. Some of them had

as much as to% sugar in them.

One of them had more kilojoules

than a chocolate bar and one of

them had as much saturated fat

as a fry-up breakfast. Muesli

slices and muffin bars rated

and worst as did those covered

in chocolate. The sugary bars

we put them in a treat

category, once to twice a week

in kids' lunchboxes. The

Consumers' Association says

some bars claiming to contain

fruit actually held a small

amount of fruit puree and

chemicals. Nutritionalists say

the key is to check the labels.

The kilojoules fat and sugar

are spelled out on the

back. Parents can look for

wholegrains and small serving

sizes. As well as packaged

snacks good additions are

yoghurt, cheese and a piece of fruit.

Tonight's top story - the

Treasurer issues a please

explain to the Telstra board

over Sol Trujillo's $9 million

pay packet and still to come -

what's in a name? Plenty if

you're an old Sydney wharfy.

Nepal will hold a national day

of mourning for the victims of

a helicopter crash which killed

24 people, including Australian

conservationist Dr Jill

Bowling. The Russian

helicopter had been chartered

by the World Wildlife Fund.

The wreckage was found at the

bottom of a deep gorge nearly

500 kilometres east of

Kathmandu. The head of the WWF

expressed his condolences to

the families of its seven staff

and those of the other victims

of the crash. It is a huge loss

for this organisation, but also

for conservation in Nepal and,

of course, for the families of

these 24 people. The Nepalese Government has described the

crash as a national tragedy.

Another suicide bombing in

southern Afghanistan has killed

at least 18 people underlining

the extreme danger facing

foreign troops stationed there.

The violence is making it

harder for the Australian

contingent to carry out its

mission of training and reconstruction, but it's also

bad for the locals who can be marked for death just for

associating with foreigners. South Asia correspondent Peter

Lloyd reports from Oruzgan

province.

The beginning of Australia's

mission to build a better

Afghanistan. They're

constructing a trade training

school for many in the local

area inside the relative safety

of the diggers' military

base. Their first lesson is

building it. Basic carpentery

skills, block laying skills,

plumbing and electrical. These

first group of workers was

hired in the provincial capital down the road from the

Australian base. Taliban fighters are still

there. TRANSLATION: There are

two districts in town that are

still not peaceful. I'm scared

to go to those two areas. We

still feel the danger. We can't

tell you this man's name or

show his face. This is why.

The Taliban don't like us

working with Australians or

Americans. "Don't like" is an

understatement. Afghan s

who've worked as translators

for Americans and NATO have

been killed and recently two

Dutchmen were executed when

they went home. The Taliban

said they were collaborators.

Why take the risk? Labouring

pace $40 a week - six times the

normal salary. TRANSLATION:

There are six people in my

family. I'm poor and couldn't

find a job in the town. Here I

make money. This is still a

place where earning an honest

living can cost you your life.

Onto finance now and the

sharemarket closed flat today

as falls among resource stocks

offset modest gains by

industrials. Here's Alan Kohler.

Surprisingly Telstra was one of

the best performing stocks on

the market today despite all

the controversy around the

Government's nomination of

former Optus executive Geoffrey

Cousins to the board.

Investors obviously don't mind

a bit of creative tension.

Qantas shares also continued

their upward march but AMP fell

0.5% and BHP Billiton's share

price fell 1.5% despite news it

has nearly 200,000 tonnes more

uranium at Olympic Dam in South

Australia than previously

thought. But the real interest around the sharemarket at the

moment is in takeovers. Now

two of these companies Hardman

and DCA have actually had bids.

Today, though, saw the share

prices of Australian

pharmaceuticals and Ansell rise

7.5% and 5% respectively on

takeover rumours. While Coles

Myer where the rumours are

getting long in the tooth now

fell 5 cents. The sharemarket

rose 2.2% in August so the

nation's super funds were back

in the black after spending

July in the red. The winners

for the year to August

according to super ratings were

West Scheme M Team WA and

Australian Super, all industry

fund. Last night US share

prices closed higher because of

strong buying of technology

stocks. The oil price rose

1.5%, copper fell but the

shortage of Nickell continues

to drive its price higher. On currency markets the New

Zealand dollar fell back a bit

today but it's up 5% since the

start of August because of

expectations of rising interest

rates there. At the start of

December the New Zealand dollar

peaked at 95 Australian cents

but fell for seven months. In

the past month and a half it's

recovered half of what was lost

in the first half of the year.

Meanwhile the Australian dollar

is trading higher today against

all the major currencies. That's finance.

The Sydney Swans believe that

Adam Goodes's second Brownlow

Medal will give them the lift

they need for Saturday's Grand

Final. Today hundreds of

Swans' fans took the chance to

honour their hometown hero. It

was back to business for Adam

Goodes a day after being

crowned and AFL's best and

fairest. Maybe when I'm on

holidays I'll sit back and

think, "Wow, that's an

achievement" . At this stage

it doesn't mean much to me at

all. Last night the Swans'

midfielder became the 12th man

in history to win two or more

Brownlow Medals. Adam Goodes,

the winner of the 2006 Brownlow

Medal is Adam Goodes. Sydney

Swans. The umpires decide the

Brownlow Medal but they're not

his only admire. He's a good

player, never does anything

wrong. Fantastic, he deserved

it, he really did. It's an

extraordinary achievement and

it's a great achievement not

only for Adam but for the

Football Club and for his

mates. Goodes is expected to

mark Chris Judd in Saturday's

Grand Final. The Eagles are

keen for a premiership trophy

but this isn't the one they're

hoping for. The NRL's symbol of supremacy was misplaced today ending up in Perth rather

than in Melbourne for a

scheduled photo shoot. For a

short time today the

premiership trophy was lost.

I'm also pleased to say it's

been located. The trophy

arrived safely back in the arms

of NRL photographer Col Whelan

late this afternoon. Paul

Simpkins has been appointed to

referee the Grand Final. It

will be the first time the 37-year-old police officer has

laid down the law in a) premiership decider. And the Sharks have confirmed Rugby

League's worst-kept secret signing Ricky Stuart for the

next two years. The club has

massive potential to be a major

force in the NRL and that's

certainly an attraction for

myself. Stuart takes over from

Mr Stewart, dumped last week.

The Australian women's

basketball team has returned

home far from content with its world championship victory. The Open als beat Russia in last weekend's final. Now it's gold they're after at the Beijing Olympics.

For Australia's latest golden

girls the feeling's

irresistible. The best feeling

in the world. Toepals hope the

winning infection is transmitted. We've definitely been little sister for a long

time to a lot of sports but

yeah we've definitely made our

own mark in history. It's

pretty exciting. Lauren Jackson

says it's her career high

point. There's more in store.

Jackson and tournament MPV

Penny Taylor are just 25 and

most of the squad will feature

in 2008. I guess leading into

Beijing a lot of the first

timers at the world's will be

well prepared for an Olympics

now. So a bit of succession

planning as well. A possible

home world championship in four

years' time might extend a few

careers. I always said to

myself I'd probably retire

after the next Olympics but if

Australia got the next world

championships I think I'd hang

around for longer. Australian

cricket captain Ricky Ponting

is hoping to use Brett Lee as

more of a shock weapon in this

year's Ashes campaign rather

than the stock-type role he

fulfilled two years ago. We

were forced to bowl Brett in longer spells and he probably

lost effectiveness from that.

If we get the right attack and

everyone fit and firing here we

can use him in short bursts

he'll be dangerous. After

previously expressing surprise

at England's choice of Andrew

Flintoff as captain over Andrew

Strauss Ponting revealed his

true position. They've gone the

other way and who cares

really. Launching the game's

newest enterprise beach cricket

a project involving legends

from Australia the West Indies

and England, Australian

selector Alan Border had a

different view. I've heard good

things from his performances

when he was captain in India recently, so I think he would

be able to manage pretty

well. Australia's friendly with

Paraguay next week will be the

farewell appearance for up to

six World Cup Socceroos, but

one of them won't be captain,

Mark Viduka. Mark has given me

basically an indication this

morning, 100% that he will play

on till at least the Asian

Cup. Viduka is one of three

World Cup Socceroos missing

from the current squad. His

wife is expecting.

Well Sydney's old wharfies know

a lot about walking and they're

walking tall. They've

campaigned long and hard for a

permanent reminder of the

Laborers who trudged up and

down the docks looking for work

during the Depression. They

wanted the street renamed 'The

Hungry Mile' and today in the

very heart of east Darling

Harbour they got their wish.

These Sydney wharves along

Hickson Road have been the

setting for almost two

centuries of maritime activity

and they've become a symbol of

the workers' struggle from the

birth of Australia's union

movement to the misery of the

Depression. We're proud to say

that we're renaming Hickson

Road 'The Hungry Mile'. With

the dock set to close next year

the old wharfies and the

Maritime Union they belong to

wanted a permanent reminder of

their sacrifices during the

dark days of the 1930s. Many of

the memories resound and if

we're going to look forward we

also have a good understanding

of where we came from. For

87-year-old wharfy Harry Black

it's a proud day. 'The Hungry

Mile' will live on and that's

the way we've always wanted it.

NEWSREEL: To have the courage

of one's con-Vicses often meant

the difference between eating

and not eating. In honouring

the past the Government has

been very mindful of the

future. This hungry mile is

being turned over to office

buildings, waterfront

apartments and parkland. This

will be a magnificent

boulevard. The gun barrel

boulevard reclaimed for the

people. And through

story-telling plaurks and

sculpture much of the public's

face will eventually tell the

history of the struggles on the

waterfront. And a lot of old

wharfies of this stage while we're talking here will be

looking down from up above upon

this place and celebrating with

us all. And if these wharfies

are anything to go by, it could

also have been called " the

thirsty mile" .

Time to check the weather now

with Mike Bailey.

Good evening, cloud patches

have been widespread about the

coast. Rain confined to isolated showers mostly in the

north-east.

Cloud across the Tasman in

the wake of that cooler change

at the weekend. Cloud about Central Australia. Not much rain indicated from that one at

the moment, though. Onshore

winds about the north of NSW

will continue to produce

isolated showers and possible

thunderstorms. That change in

the south of the State later in

the day. That's likely to

trigger showers on the western

slopes of the ranges and

perhaps a dusting of snow on the high peaks tomorrow night.

Now tonight's top stories

again - the Treasurer wants the

Telstra board to justify Sol

Trujillo's $9 million salary

package. The Prime Minister has

launched a new office for water

resources to help tackle the

country's water crisis. And

police have just confirmed that

seven people were killed in

this afternoon's road crash in

Victoria. And that is ABC News

for this Tuesday. I'm Juanita

Phillips. Goodnight. Captions by Captioning and

Subtitling International.

Opals

Welcome to the program. With

much of the country battling

through one of the worst

droughts on record, water

restrictions have become a part

of jvr day life for millions of

Australians. Some inland towns

and cities are literally

running out of water, while

rivers like the Darling are in

trouble. Well, today John Howard took another step in

making water a Commonwealth

priority by announcing a new

national office of water

resources within the Prime

Minister's Department and to be