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protection service in the Live. Tonight - the border

crosshairs. It is enough to

sustain a gangland war. It is enough to terrorise our


Business caught in a war of

words over tax cuts. Heresy to what the Liberal Party what the Liberal Party has always believed in - vote

against tax cuts for

businesses. Also ahead -

Bob Barker returns to port claiming

claiming victory over Japanese whalers. Later on 'The

Business' with Ticky Fullerton

the growing concerns over China's Monopoly of rare earth


Live across Australia you're

watching ABC News 24. Hello China's Juanita Phillips. The Juanita Phillips. The nation's

border security is under fire

after Sydney police uncovered

an international gun smuggling syndicate . While police scramble to track down scramble to track down more

than 200 Glock pistols believed

to be in the hands of criminals politicians are pointing

fingers over who's responsible

for them getting into the

country in the first place.It began

began with the chance discovery

of this Glock pistol used in a

shootout in a Sydney street in

late January. It was the cluey police say helped them smash syndicate importing illegal police say helped them smash a

guns. This isn't just a border

security issue. This is a

national security issue. It is

something that we need to understand. Arrested last was 30-year-old Andrew Botros, understand. Arrested last night

the licencee of the post office

in the exclusive Sydney suburb

of Sylvania Waters. Police alleged he worked with two

pistols into Australia pistols other men to import Glock

Germany. Authorities fear the pistols into Australia from Germany.

guns were sold to organised

crime groups. They have

produced what we will allege to

be fraudulent documents

allowing those firearms to be imported into imported into Australia. The

parcel s were marked as place

stick stick or metal parts. These

going to magazines intercepted

last month. Alarmingly only one

of the guns has been found. Between

found. Between 160 and 220

firearms have been imported

through this methodology using

this syndicate. The Customs service says it needs to find illegal imports. There service says it needs a tip-off

are many millions of cargo are containers and air

coming into this country. It is

impossible for every one of

not those to be searched. That is

not good enough for the Premier of New South Wales. It is the Federal Government stopped of New South Wales. It is time


burying its head in the sand

about the porous nature of our

borders and our Customs service

mad yam speaker. A sentiment echoed in Federal Government. She can't stop the Government. She

boats, she

boats, she can't stop the guns. The Prime Minister

accused the Coalition of

planning to cut Customs. 12,000

public servants, does that mean

you will closing customs. The

wheels of justice kept turning.

The three men were charged with

range of offences including

importing firearms and being a

court member o a criminal gang. In

court today all were refused

bail.21-year-old Ahmed Karnib is

is fighting the charges. We are

obviously very disappointed. We

believe our client is innocent and

and think the evidence is of

such a nature that it shows he

is innocent. It will be several

months before the case returns

to court. Just days away from

through parliament the through getting its mining tax passed

Government has hit a serious

snag. The company tax cuts that

caught come with the package are

caught in a political

stand-off. The Greens and the

Coalition are both refusing to

more back the cuts, which are worth

more than $2 billion to

business. From Canberra chief political correspondent Mark Simkin reports. The politics of

business is the business of politics. Welcome to Smith's alternative book shop. Here it

is. This is it? An icon of

Canberra. Both leaders spent

the morning in shop fronts, each accusing the other of

trying to make small business

smaller. We have a Government

which just doesn't get it when

today it comes to business. It's

today that he said Australian businesses, "I'm today that he said to selling you out." Tony didn't actually say that but selling you out." Tony Abbott

didn't actually say that but he did

did make it clear the Coalition

won't support the business tax

cuts funded by Labor's mining

tax. A tax cut that's paid for

by a tax increase is not a cut,

it's a con. It's a tax fiddle,

not a tax reduction. not a tax reduction. That

means a mining tax package

could itself be undermined. The

Greens will support tax cuts

for small businesses but will

vote with the Coalition to

block the billions of block the billions of dollars

of tax relief for bigger

companies. Why on earth would

we want to be giving back to

the corporate sector $2.4 billion. I never thought billion. I never thought it

would see the day ha the would see

Liberal Party would join with

tax the Greens to vote against a

tax cut for business. That's

what Mr Abbott has announced today. The Opposition's

promising its own company tax

cut but won't yet reveal size, timing for funding. It cut but won't yet reveal its

will be a modest cut. We took a

1.5% cut to the last election.

There will be a modest cut that

we're taking forward at the

next election. They stand today

for the betrayal of Australian

businesses. Us standing up for small business as the small

Opposition runs away from

them. The Opposition didn't

join the fight in parliament. It wanted to talk about gun It wanted

them. The seizures in Sylvania

terror Waters. There is a reign of

terror on the streets of Sydney. Apparently the Federal Government's to blame. When you

can't stop the boats, Mr Speaker, Speaker, you can't stop the guns. Labor hopes to get its

mining tax through the Senate early

early next week but that be the early next week but that won't

be the end of it. The tax cuts

are in a separate bill so there

will be several months of

further debate and serval

months in which to find a

possible compromise. Three

former union officials could

face Federal Court action after

an investigation found they had broken laws or union an Fair Work Australia finished its inquiry into the branch its inquiry into the Victorian branch of the Health Services Union.

Union. It found 32 breaches, 25 of

of which could attract fines in

the Federal Court. Queensland's LNP leader Campbell Newman says

he is relaxed about a triple

pronged misconduct probe. The state's Crime and Misconduct

Commission is deciding whether

to investigate three matters from Mr Newman's days ace

Brisbane's Lord Mayor. The LNP

leader declared his record is

clean with 10 days to go in clean with 10 days to go in the state election campaign. Campbell Newman has campaigned

on public transport in Brisbane

but his years at city hall but his years at city hall are

causing a bumpy ride. The CMC

is assessing donations by a

developer to Mr developer to Mr Newman's

re-election fund when he was Brisbane's Lord

Brisbane's Lord Mayor. Mr Newman says he is not worried. Per #23ek9ly relaxed. He says there was no

illegality or impropriety while

he was in office but the CMC is also

also assessing two other city council issues from last year. The LNP now has one

leader who is the subject o

three CMC probes. Not at all.

I don't know how the Premier knows more about these thins

than me. The CMC made than me. The CMC made no decision to begin any formal investigations investigations and the LNP

leader said no one called

him? This is my phone, I have

had no calls. When will they

call? Mr Newman's public

transport policy includes transport policy includes a 7.5% fare increase which he

says is half the increase being

planned by Labor. This is planned by Labor. This is real,

fare relief. This is real cost

of living savings which people

are crying out for. The cost of

public transport is an

important issue for many

voters, so too is reliability.

The LNP made its announcement

about fares hours after a about fares hours after a power

outage caused severe disruption to Brisbane's train services. It is

It is the second big

interruption to the network in

just over a fortnight. How long

did you wait sir? Few minutes but

but it is enough to make

everything wrong. It is all part

part of the system. Things

break down, nothing runs smooth

forever. Both disruptions have

happened during the election

campaign. I put what we have

seen Dow to the neglect of

Labor. I apologise to any commuter inconvenienced this morning. Despite campaign planning it is the

uncontrollable factors that sometimes sometimes have the biggest

impact. Meanwhile the Queensland Labor Party has

returned to its roots campaigning in Barcaldine in the state's central west. Anna

Bligh visited the place where

the Australian Labor movement

was formed under the tree of

knowledge over a century ago. The Premier has signed knowledge Queensland Council of Unions

charter committing to skills training, regional infrastructure and infrastructure and better

industrial relations. To ensure that we protect the working

conditions of people here in -

working in workplaces working in workplaces right across Queensland. The Liberal-National Party has not signed

signed the pledge. We have seen

with the change of Government

in Victoria and a change of

Government in New South Wales many of

many of those rights stripped

away. The LNP says it is

committed to retaining the Industrial Relations Commission

and points out that the Labor Government introduced the

faulty health payroll system.

The Government has clashed with the unions over the the unions over the payroll

debacle and asset sales this

term. Like any great, strong, robust relationship from time to time you have arguments

about things. Labor's also

promised a $16.5 million in regional tourism funding

including $4,500 to give the

Australian workers heritage

centre in Barcaldine a facelift

and update its exhibit on

emergency services. It has be emergency services. It has to be upgraded to include the most recent

recent big disasters - cyclone Larry, the floods of 2010 and 2011 and Cyclone Yasi. The

funding comes from the $300

million Royalties for Regions program already announced.

Barcaldine may be the birth

place of the Australian Labor

movement but it is now a conservative stronghold. The Opposition's Vaughan Opposition's Vaughan Johnson

has held the seat of Gregory

since 1989. The Premier says

she is disappointed the Labor

Party could not field a local

candidate for this election.

There was no sign today of Brisbane-based student Jack

O'Brien who is contesting the

seat. Residents around Darwin woke this morning to find the

city was no longer on a cyclone warning. A tropical low that had been threatening the Top

End failed to develop into a

cyclone but its effects were

felt along the West Coast. The

system crossed the gulf this

afternoon and the moving afternoon and the moving inland

across the Territory. The

bureau will continue to bureau will continue to monitor

the tropical low. There will be

some more heavy rain as monsoon squalls

squalls continue to come

through. We have a severe

weather warning and a flood threat advice still current. Further threat

Cyclone Lua remains a category one system one system and the one system and the continuing

to move away from the WA coast

and is expected to intensify in coming

coming days. The threat of a

cyclone may have passed but

parts of the Top End have

endure Addai of intense

weather. With school cancelled

for the day many made the most of the severe of the severe conditions. For

once it wasn't crocs keeping

people out to the water at the city's beaches. city's beaches. The Nightcliffe Foreshore saw huge says and a

normally bustling strip of

beach was swallowed up by the

churning water. With school

cancelled for the day there was

no shortage of people coming

down to watch.Darwin copped a

drenching. Some parts of the

city recorded rainfalling of up

to 250 millimetres. Inland

lakes sprang up and four-wheel drives provided a good substitute for a boat. Enjoying having the day off school. The plants

plants at the botanic gardens received a watering they

probably didn't need while

local parks slowly went local parks slowly went under water. There was a slight

reprieve from the downpours reprieve from the downpours by

midday but by late afternoon

the wild weather was back. For the

the next couple of days at

least we will still see in

Darwin and in the Top End some

very heavy patches of wind and

squally rain. A close eye was

being kept on flood-prone areas

of the northern suburbs after

some homes flooded last year

during Cyclone Carlos. On the roads driving proved a

challenge with many lanes under water.

water. The bureau says Darwin

has seen the last of its unusually

unusually dry spell. It has been a

been a la Nina wet. Even though it

it has had some dry periods it has

has had some really wet ones so

that is why the rain full

totals will end up looking

healthy. La Nina and some big

events like this one. With the cyclone threat over schools around Darwin will reopen on

Thursday. After almost a week

of uncertainty the evacuation warning hanging over the town of Nathalia in north-east

Victoria is set to be lifted. A

makeshift levee system makeshift levee system has held

back the flooded Broken Creek.

Many elderly residents and children

children who left will now be

able to return to their homes tomorrow. The Victorian Government Government says it will now

look at using aluminium levees

to protect other towns around

the state. As the Broken Creek slowly recedes the State

Government is declaring victory

in Nathalia. The fight has been fought and the great wall fought and the great wall of Nathalia has held. The SES says

an evacuation warning in place since

since last Thursday will be lifted tomorrow lifted tomorrow morning. It would have dropped to a we would have dropped to a level

we believe is safe enough to remove the order. The success

of the temporary levee has

prommed the Government to contemplate a wider rollout. I

have today directed my department to undertake the appropriate investigations appropriate investigations not

only of the apparent success of

this barrier but also the prospect of being able to

examine its availability and equivalent in

equivalent in other parts of

the state. While Nathalia

appears to be out of the woods

the cost to agriculture in the

region continues to mount up.

Some or chardists north of

Numurkah are facing losses in

the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Parts of Andrew Routley's orchard were waste

deep when the local deep when the local water authority scaled back efforts to

to divert water from the

Katunga region. Our drain was

switched off to minimise any flooding downstream and flooding downstream and that's

unbeknownst to us, that's what's caused

what's caused the damage. He

expects 10% of histone fruit trees will die. It will be

upwards of $250,000. It is a

bit ugly. The water authority says it did reduce pumping from

the Katunga drain but argues it

had little choice. This is an

extreme event, greater than a one

one in 100 year event and our drainage systems have been

overwhele ed The fruit growing industry says it is assessing extreme

damage from the floods and the likely

likely to ask the Government

for support. Victoria Police

say they are at a loss to

explain the latest spate of fatalities on the state's roads.

roads. Four people, including a

pedestrian in inner Melbourne

died in the early hours of this

morning. It prompted yet

another plea from police but an

acknowledgement they don't know what what else to do. Many Victorians

Victorians woke this morning to the news another four people

had died in road accidents overnight. Look outside and the

sun is shining and the roads are

are dry and you - not a public

holiday or a weekend and you sometimes

sometimes sit here and wonder

why this hatches His deputy

didn't have the answers

either. We are at a loss with

regards to what else can we regards to what else can we do. What else can Victoria Police do. South-east of Melbourne a

41-year-old man and a

17-year-old boy died when their

Carolled and burst into flames.

Police believe speed, alcohol

and recklessness were

significant factors in their

deaths. The unfortunate part of

this is neither the driver or

passenger were wearing a seatbelt. A woman believed to

be aged in her 50s or 60s be aged in her 50s or 60s was

struck and killed by a car Toorak Road in inner Melbourne. Police

Police say she was crossing the

road without using a pedestrian crossing. One person died when

a truck and car delayed

collided near Bendigo. After a road safety blitz over the long

weekend police are increasingly frustrated. We detected over

600 vehicles speeding and did

nearly 5,000 preliminary breath

tests. We have been out there again

again doing the enforcement. With 14 more road deaths deaths than at the same time

last year it is a message

police are keen to get across.

They just need to work out how. The Sea Shepherd how. The Sea Shepherd ship Bob

Barker has arrived back in

Hobart celebrating victory

against the Japanese whaling fleet which last week fleet which last week abandoned its Antarctic hunt for the second

second year in a row. The Japanese fishing agency says the the fleet caught less than a third

third of its maximum quota third of its maximum quota of

935 minke whales. A calm return

from a turbulent campaign. The

Bob Barker sailed back into

Hobart after three months in the Southern Ocean. The Sea

Shepherd activists clashed with

Japanese whalers in January and

again earlier this month. again earlier this month. Last week the Japanese Fisheries Agency announced its fleet was

returning home. This year they

have gone home early and 768 whales' whales' lives have been

saved. The activists say it is

the second consecutive the second consecutive year

they have forced the whaling

fleet to retreat without a full quotea. Last year we bankrupted

the Japanese whaling fleet. This year we once again

succeeded in sinking them succeeded

Government has welcomed the

Japanese fleet's early

withdrawal. It says it will

continue legal action in continue International Court of Justice.

The Greens say that is not

enough It is a terrible indictment on the Australian

Government that year after year after year

after year they take no action while whales are being slaughtered in our waters. Sea

shepherd believes the war on whaling may have been won. We

are cautiously optimistic that maybe

maybe they don't return maybe they don't return next year. For now it is watch and


We are going to take you live

now to The Hague in now to The Hague in the Netherlands where Netherlands International Criminal Court is

handing down its first ruling

since being established 10

years ago. The ICC is ruling on

the case of Congo lease war

Lord Thomas Luganga. He stands

accused of conscripting child soldiers in the five year

conflict in the democratic

Republic of Congo in 2003.

Republic of Congo in 2003. We will bring more details as they

come to hand. 22 school children and six adults children and six adults have

been killed in a bus accident in Switzerland. The bus was carrying 52 Belgian tourists

when it crashed into the call

of a tunnel in the south-west.

They were heading home from a

skiing holiday camp in the Swiss Alps. Another 24 children

were injured in the accident.

China's premier Wen Jiabao has used his annual press

conference at the National People's

People's Congress to apologise

for his mistakes. He said the country's incoming leaders

would do a better job than him

but he would work hard in the

meantime to make up for any

shortcomings. For the final

time deal greats to the

National People's Congress entered the Great Hall of the

People, the centrepiece of the slowing slowing ceremony is always a series of votes guaranteed to

pass. Them premier Wen Jiabao walked

walked out for his annual press conference, the last before he

steps down in 12 months. He

seemed a little emotional as he comes to the end of his time in

office. He said he had many

regrets but hoped people would forgive

forgive him for his mistakes. With only vetted questions allowed

allowed this press conference is designed to send clear

messages. He said China does

not support the Syrian Government, that economic growth is being slowed

deliberately and he welcomes

Chinese bloggers criticising

him. There will be a major power

power shift in Beijing later this

this year when a younger

generation of leaders takes control.

control. In the meantime the

factions are jostling for

influence in the make-up of the

new Government. But you

wouldn't necessarily know that

by visiting here for the final

press conference of join press conference of join join

join as premier. It is all

smiles and solidarity and looking

looking to the future.But

Premier Wen did warn Premier Wen did warn against slipping back into the disastrous policies of the

1970s. It seemed like a slapdown 1970s. It seemed like a clear slapdown for those pushing slapdown for those pushing for

a return to the old ways. a return to the old ways. Time

for sport now with Meredith Sheehan. It is the moment for

truth for Ian Thorpe tomorrow.

All eyes will be on Ian Thorpe

at the national selection

trials for the Olympic All

Ian Thorpe says he isn't

getting an unfair leg up getting an Swimming Australia as he tries

to qualify for this year's

London Olympics.After months of

training and disappointing race

results Ian Thorpe's moment of

truth will come on Friday of

day two of the Olympic trials.

But while trying to focus on

his preparation the five-time

Olympic gold medallist has been fending off reports he is being paid

paid more than other

swimmers. What has been

reported isn't factual. There's

been a number of athletes who

are either Olympic champions or world record holders who have

been supported by Swimming Australia. As for making Australia. As for making the Australian team he says he

hasn't been foxing during his

difficult comeback with times

well off benchmark levels. The

selection trials will pit selection trials will pit him

against a horde of younger

competitors with no more gin

for error. I think I will be

able to swim as fast as I have in

in this preparation they've had

over the last 18 months and I

will need to. It will have to

be much faster than what I be much faster than what I have swum previously. He is swum previously. He is aiming

to qualify for relay teams but

has not discounted his chance

Ms The 100 and 2 #00 Ms The 100 and 2 #00 metre freestyle events. While several

poor lead-up results have put

huge question marks on whether he will qualify for London there is still some of the Thorpe confidence remaining. There will be a

tremendous sense of relief tremendous sense of relief when

it happens. The intense focus on Thorpe has allowed other

swimmers to quietly people for

the trials including another on the comeback trail. It take the comeback trail. It does

take the pressure off. take the pressure off. There is

no doubt about that. The

spotlight isn't focused solely

on any one of us. It is

predominantly focused on Mr

Thorpe. The trials start tomorrow.Spinner Michael Beer

has been called into

Australia's 16-man squad for the upcoming three-match cricket test series in the West

Indies. He played his sole test in

in the 2010-2011 Ashes and will battle Nathan Lyon for the spinner's spot. There will be an interesting dual for wicketkeeper's an interesting dual for the wicketkeeper's position with Brad Haddin and Matthew Wade both named. Captain Michael

Clarke has been included

despite missing the one day part

part of the tour through

injury. Shane Watson is injury. Shane Watson is likely to bat at number three and Queensland batsman Peter

Forrest is a chance of making his test debut. He has rewarded

his test debut. He has been rewarded for good form in the

one-dayers. He looks to all of

us he looks more of a test

match player than he does match player than he does a one day player yet he was successful in the one day game.

We are very happy with what he

has done this year. The grand prix season begins in Melbourne

this weekend and the main prix

contenders have arrived in town

talking up their chancellors. For the first time in For the first time in Melbourne

two local drivers are in the

field, Mark Webber and newcomer

Daniel Ricciardo. But as Nick

Bailey reports, the hot favourite

favourite remains last year's

world champion Sebastian Vettel. While the cars are to Vettel. While the cars are yet

to hit the track the drivers have have hit the ground running in their annual engagement in

grand prix-related media

stunts. From beach cricket to

go-karts to kicking a Sherrin,

the circus is very much in

town Do you feel any added pressure pressure when you pressure when you come

home? Nothing mate. What do you

reckon? It is a special event,

no question about it. I'm looking forward to the looking forward to the event.

Try to keep it as much of a normal grand prix normal grand prix as

possible. Not since is the

heyday of Michael Schumacher has

has there been a hotter

favourite for both the Australian Grand Prix and world

title than reigning favourite

Sebastian Vettel. It is a great

nobody feeling and something that

nobody can take away in you. That doesn't mean you don't

we want to do it again. The reason

we are here is to win, nothing

else. 2008 world champion Lewis

Hamilton believes despite Vettel's favouritism the grand

prix and the world championship

are up for grabs for any number

of driver s. It is the toughest

season yet just because we have

a close amount of drivers and six world champions. They are

seriously tough contenders. In

contrast to the many

experienced drivers on the grid

Daniel 22-year-old West Australian

on Daniel Ricciardo is embarking

on his first full season in

Formula 1 after acting as a

test driver for the last two

years. It is the life that I've

through seen so many other drivers go

it through the last few years and

it is all sort of happening for me

me now which is crazy. The first

first cars hit the track

tomorrow for a number of warm

up events and the Formula 1

practise sessions start on

Friday. That is the latest in

made sport. Four base jumpers have

made a surprise exit from a

high-rise Melbourne restaurant.

Dressed in business suits Dressed in business suits they

abandoned their drinks and

donned Marra chutes before

leaping over a balcony. The

business is on the level 55 of

across the Rialto building. We looked

across near the Rialto and

thought it was strange for a parachute is to be. There parachute is to be. There it

wasn't a massive chute. I

thought there has been no plane

been over or no one jumped out

of a plane. I thought it must be

be a base jumper. The owner of

the restaurant says the stunt

was well planned.

going There is a lot of weather

going on across the country at the moment. We have a trough trough moving into the the moment. We have a deepening

south-east. That will trigger

some further showers and thunderstorms and rain periods. We have

We have an upper disturbance triggering showers We have an upper level

and thunderstorms through and

eastern Queensland. The monsoon

trough and a tropical low and also Tropical Cyclone Lua

sitting off the Western Australian coast covering northern regions of the Australian coast covering the

continent with heavy rainfall

and cally thunderstorms. The

weather pattern will be the

same tomorrow. Patchy rain

spreading into Tasmania,

thunderstorms about the east

across and thundery thunderstorms

across the northern districts. Darwin

Darwin looking at the potential for damning winds with squally

Showers and storms increasing

across the south-east with

Perth and Sydney the only dry capitals.

I will have an update in a

moment. Then stay with us 'The Business'. You are watching ABC News 24. Closed

Captions by CSI.


The top stories from ABC News. Opposition Leader Tony Abbott wants Australia's border security tightened after

revelations more than 200

handguns could be on handguns could be on the streets. Police and customs say

they have mashed a gun

importation Sinti date but many of the weapons have already been smuggled in. The Federal Government is still struggling to

to pass its company tax cuts.

The Greens say they will only

support a cut for businesses

with a turnover of less than $5 million. The Coalition won't

vote for it because it is

linked to the mining tax.

Farmers in New South Wales are

counting the cost of the counting the cost of the recent floods. Wine grape growers in

hit the grifeth region have been

hit hard and some may be forced out of business. The floods

came at a particularly bad time

for rice growers who are getting ready to harvest. Ian