Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
Lateline Business -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) out.

TRANSLATION: We've been really

busy lately. We even work at

night. Another Government

initiative is the new business technology park. When we started looking around this

site, there was a PR meltdown.

A young Tibetan construction

worker told us he's earning

less than half of what Hahn

Chinese do for the same job.

TRANSLATION: Hahn Chinese who

push a wheelbarrow get paid

more than us. We get 25 or 30 a

day, they get 60 or 70.

Chinese Government officials

intervened. What he really

meant was Hahn Chinese are

doing different jobs to him but

the wheelbarrow pusher was

adamant that that they do the

same work and Tibetians get

paid much less. We put this to

the regional government.

TRANSLATION: That's impossible,

absolutely impossible. If it's

true then it's a serious

problem and we'll do something

using admin traitive measures. The Chinese

Government may be bringing

development and jobs to Tibet

but there's a cultural price to

pay. This part of Lasa, for

example, could be in any

provincial Chinese city with

it's Chinese writing, food and

way of life. And every day the

train brings more and more Hahn

Chinese influence. Each day

five trains bring 4,200

passengers. Virtually everyone

who gets off is Hahn Chinese.

When we ask the deputy station

master where most passengers

are from he said there are no official figures.

TRANSLATION: The station

doesn't have such records. He

also said he didn't know how

many passengers it would take

to pay for this train service.

Tibet is a land of progress

and regression. Sometimes you

see both at once. On the one

hand f you travel to certain

areas, you will find newly

built Tibetan style villages

with running water and

electricity. But on the other

you have to pass police checkpoints to get

there. There's a climate of

fear. Tibetans are not allowed

to openly criticise or debate

the sort of economic

development that's taking place

in their country, in their

land. People who travel here

during the Olympics will notice

there are no pictures of the

exiled spiritual leader the

Dalai Lama. That's because you

can be thrown in jail for

having one. According to the

United Nations special rep toir

on torture political prisoners

are prosecuted on flimsy

allegations related to

so-called national security. He

also said torture remains

widespread in Tibet. Local

government leaders were asked

about the UN report.

TRANSLATION: There are no

political prisoners in

Tibet. So is the United Nations

lying then, the vice chairman

was asked. TRANSLATION: What I'm saying

has nothing to do with the

United Nations. He was asked

time and again but refused to

answer if the UN is lying about

Tibetans being imprisoned and

tortured for political

crimes. It would be wrong to

say that Tibetan culture is

even close to being stamped

out. It's still everywhere to

be seen, even in the capital

Lasa. Yet while this unique

culture is still surviving,

there's little doubt who's in

charge of Tibet's destiny.

Lateline Business coming up in

a moment. If you would like to

look back at tonight's

interview with Alexander Downer

or review any stories or

transcripts you can visit our

website. And now 'Lateline

Business' with Ali moor.

Tonight, trade trarn papercy

how to add $180 billion to

trade within the APEC

region. That would be removing

hidden barriers to trade, for

example, a member economy in

APEC that might not have its

regulations redly available for

a trader, reducing the scope

for bribery and

corruption. Optimistic outlook,

predictions the Australian

economy will continue to grow

strongly. We're looking for

growth next year of around

about 4%, growth in 2009 of

maybe 4.25% and that compares

to this calendar year of maybe

3.75% so. It's very difficult

not to be very optimistic about

the outlook. And expansion in

the gulf, Leighton Holdings

takes a stake in a Middle

Eastern building company. As

part of strategy of growth

they've looked to expand and

diversify out of Australia. And so certainly the Middle East

gives them very good access

into a very good growth market.

First to the markets and with

investor sentiment buoyed by a

weekend rally on Wall Street,

Australian shares managed a

small game. Firmer commodity

prices helped mining stocks and

in turn that helped the All

Ords rise 0.33%. The ASX 200

extended last week's advance to

close at a 6-week high. In Japan, disappointing economic

data saw the Nikkei slide 44

points. Profit taking saw Hong

Kong's Hang Seng shed 80 points

and in London the FTSE has

managed to start the week on a

positive note and I'll cross to

London a little later in the

program. Well one of the big movers on the market tooth

today was Leighton Holdings

which surged 7% after

announcing it's taking a large stake in one of the Middle

East's biggest building

companies. Leighton says the

decision to team up with Al

Habtoor Engineering would allow

it to capitalise on the

building boom in places such as the United Arab Emirates.

Lleyton hold stion Australia's

biggest building contractor but

also has a growing presence in

Asia, India and the Middle

East, which according to chief

financial officer Scott

Charlton makes Al Habtoor

Engineering a good fit. They

have that quality reputation

and great repeat business with

their clients and that's the

kind of name we want to be

associated with. As well as

they were looking for expansion

and capability to step up to

the next level which Leighton

can bring to that in financial

capacity and systems and

procedures that we've developed

over a much larger

organisation. Due buy based Al

Habtoor Engineering was

established in 1907 and has

built many of the gulf region's premier developments such as

the world's tallest hotel. The merge Leighton international and Al Habtoor Engineering will

have $4 pbt 5 billion work in

hand and nearly $3 billion of

annual revenue. Analyst Andrew

John stn says the deal makes

sense. As part of their

strategy of growth they've

looked to expand and diversify out of the Australia and

certainly the Middle East gives

them very good access into a

very good growth market. Peter

chillton and Constellation Capital Management believes

Leighton and Al Habtoor

Engineering will complement

each other. They're probably

more of a building contract, they're building buildings,

whereas Leighton is more of a

civil contractor. So I think

the two being brought together

brings more muscle to growth in

that region. Aware of the

Middle East volatile history, Leighton has structured the

purchase of its stake in Al

Habtoor Engineering to keep it

separate from the rest of the

company. The price of $870

million is being funded 40% in

cash with the remaining 60%

coming from a non-recourse loan

which means lenders don't have

a right to assets in other

parts of the Leighton bid

business. Effective what that

means in a disastrous scenario

that no-one can foresee at this

point burks in a disastrous

scenario if something were to

happen Leighton holdings would

go on and survive but we see

great pros fect for investment

at the time. Partnering with a

local company will help

Leighton overcome cultural

issues an provide a ready source of management expertise

a shortage of which is becoming

a growing issue as Leighton

expands. Leighton Holdings

continuing expansion has helped

drive a boom in profits by construction companies in the

June quarter. Despite the

recent credit squeeze, experts

are tipping more growth as the

rural sector rebounds and

consumer and business spending

stays strong. But companies

continue to keep a wary eye on

costs and in particular, the

threat of a tight labour market

mushing up wages. In recent years, State and Federal

Governments have been spending

up on major projects and that's

translating to a boom in

profits for construction

companies. The Bureau of

Statistics says profits in the

construction industry grew by

nearly 14% in the June quarter.

That far outstripped the mining

industry, retailers an manufacturers. Transport and

storage companies dragged the

overall result down to 1.4%

across the economy. ANZ's Tony

Pearson says the annual rate of

profit growth is a more reliable indicator and it's

running at around 11%. Look at

the last four or five years

they've been varying between an

annual rate of 7% to 15% but

certainly it's been strongly

positive for that time period

and today's result does suggest

that profitability continues to

be at this very robust level. A

study by CommSec of 200 results

this profit season show add 30%

rise in earnings confirming for

many investors that this was

another bumper year. But some

companies went backwards like

the mining giant Rio Tinto. In

cost pressures clearly were

nominated as one of the reasons

that are impacting particularly

on mining and resours stocks

and golly, when you've got an

economy with unemployment down

at 4.3%, clearly labour is

going to be a major, if you

like, cause of pressure within

the company. There are more

signs that the labour market

remains tight with the ANZ's

job advertisement index rising

again in August. But Tony

Pearson says that pressure

hasn't caused a wages

blow-out. What you'll find is

that wages growth per hour is

really only running at about 4% per annum where it's been

roughly for the last couple of

years. So we're not yet seeing

an acceleration in per hourly

wages cost and that in itself

is a big surprise, given the continued tightening in the

labour market and the fact that

the unemployment rate is at a

3-decade low. Experts are

tipping the economy will remain

robust with the rural sector

recovering and business

investment and household

spending buoyant. The outlook

is great for the Australian

economy and we're looking for

growth next year of around

about 4%, growth in 2009 of

maybe 4.25% and that compares

to this calendar year of maybe

3.75% so. It's very difficult

not to be very optimistic about

the outlook. And while the

Reserve Bank retains a

tightening bias on interest

rates, the market is predicting

they will stay on hold at least

in the short term until

problems in global credit

markets have cleared. Higher

wages, employment and

emigration have combined to

push building approvals to a

5-month high. Approvals to

build or renovate houses and

apartments rose a stronger than

expected 0.4% in June but over

the course of the year total

approvals fell 7.5%. And there

could be more pressure on

interest rates with a leading

measure of inflation showing no

signs of slowing down. TD

Securities in the Melbourne

Institute found inflation

climbed 2.9% this year, that's

at the top end of the Reserve

Bank's target range. And on the

topic of the rerving bank the

chairmt of Alinta and former

head of Woodside Petroleum John

Akehurst has been appointed to

the Reserve Bank board for a

5-year term. Mr Akehurst will

fill the position left vacant

by Hugh Morgan in July. After a

rally on Friday, Wall Street is

closed tonight for a holiday

but in Europe investors have

started the week on a positive

note. If for latest news we're

joined by chief strategist

Philip Lawlor. As I just said,

the FTSE's managing some small

gains, is that fence sitting

while the Dow is closed sor

sign investors have really had

their fears alleviated? It's actually a combination of the

two. When we look at the

performance over the whole of

August, really markets are

pretty flat. The UK's

marginally down, US up about a

1%, Australia up 2.5%. If you

look at the performance as a

whole you wonder what the

worries been about. It's

inevitable after the recovery

we're in a bit of a pause mode

and the catalyst for change is whether we move into phase two

of this crisis or if indeed

there St A phase two. As you

say, you talk about a phase

two, you've got some key

economic data out this week,

haven't you that, should help

give some indication of the

extent to which those credit

problems have spread? Indeed. I

mean it's imperative now we

start to focus on what we call

leading indicator, indicators

that are tell us if perception

in the industrial sector or the

consumer sector is actually

being impacted. The real

economy's being impacted by

this financial crisis and one

of the key indicators to come

out of US this week, the ISN is

actually one of the most

paramount indicators for

industrial confidence. So it's

a difusion index and the number

we've got to worry about

tomorrow is below 50. Anything

below 50 would be persooefd as

a sign of a slow down. So a very important number

tomorrow. If we look at what's

giving some confidence to investors at the moment of

course Ben Bernanke's speech on

Friday, to what extent are

European investors reading that

as a willingness to step in and

cut rates if cut rates if necessary? Bernanke's been

really walking quite a

difficult tight rope here. He's

had to add enormous reassurance

to the markets. I think the Fed

have done a very good job in

terms of convincing the markets

that there won't be a credit

cruncher, a big spiraling of

the credit squeeze whilst

there's been a repricing of the

risk. But equally he's

cognisant he doesn't want the

market to think hooes it's just

a given they're going to be

pushed into cutting rates when

the market dictates and he was

walking that tight rope on

Friday. Now he is going to cut

rates. I think he's done enough

now to convince markets he

doesn't need to do an emergency

easing so we're going to see

about a 25 basis point cut on

September 18 but he's anxious

that markets get too carried

away in terms of the aggressiveness of federal funds

cut from here on in. So they're

injecting liquidity into the

market and he doesn't want the

market to think there's a

Greenspan put. That's very much

the difference that the point

that he was make of difference

between himself and Greenspan,

wasn't he? Greenspan was far lr

willing to act? Yes, it became

almost, as I said, axe mat nick

the market. If you have a

meltdown the Fed would be in,

interest rates get cut and then

yoe you recover your growth

trajectory. And of course, you

know, therein lies risks. If

you get a central bank where

it's always saying don't worry,

the US cavalry will come

charging over the horizon to

bail us out it will create

further problems down the line.

What Bernanke's trying to do is

change expectations and the

reality of the situation

dictates possibly more

technical injection of

liquidity than using federal

funds rates. So he's just trying to give that subtle

message to the market and I

think he's doing quite a good

job in that. You've got two key

interest rate decisions in

Europe. You've got the Bank of

England and the European

Central Bank, any movement

expected? The market's really

thinking tlea going to be in

change. The difficult position is for for European Central

Bank. They have been in a

tightening mode and obviously

with the volatility in the

markets they've now got to sit

back and hold back on interest

rates but the question is how

do they do that and maintain

their very tight

anti-inflationary credibility.

So it's going to be all eyes on

the language, the rhetoric used with the statements. There's

going to be no action on

Thursday. Many thanks for

bringing us up to date. To the

major movers on our market today.

As you heard in 'Lateline', the Federal Government sees

Australia as a key driver of

economic liberalisation in the

APEC region. So it's no

surprise Canberra has funded a

world bank study into how

greater transparency could

benefit trade among the 21 APEC

members. The result - a

prediction that removing hidden

barriers and providing more predictable regulations could

add $180 billion to regional

trade. The report was released

today at the same time as there

were calls for the APEC meeting

to provide an impetus for the

kick starting of stalled global

trade talks. The APEC economies

account for around half of all

world trade. One of the three

authors is John Wilson, usually

based in Washington but in

Sydney today for the report's

launch and he joined me in the

studio a little earlier. John

Wilson, welcome to Lateline

Business. Thank you very much,

pleasure to be here. We're

talking big money here, $180

billion potentially if you can

get greater transparency.

That's in terms of increased

trade among APEC members. How

do you get to that number? The

type of measures that we looked

at centred on reform in regard

to the transparency of trade

policy. And in a concrete

manner, that would be removing

hidden barriers to trade, for

example, a member economy in

APEC that might not have its

regulation s readily available

for a trader, reducing the

scope for bribery and

corruption, speeding the time

for exports and imports across

borders in the APEC zone. So

it's - it's in essence the

transparency of trade and trade

regulations that relates to

reduce ing trade transaction

costs in the Asia Pacific. Some

of it sounds difficult, some sounds basic. For example having regulations readily

available, how big an issue is

that? That can be a

significance issue for a

trader, in particular part of

the focus of the report here is

looking at the benefits to

trade with reducing these

barriers related to

transparency for small and

medium sized firms. In

particular in developing member

economies of APEC and so

without the read access and

widely available access to

information on regulations,

that can pose a particular

barrier to the type of expanded

commerce that really drives

poverty reduction and economic

expansion. How big an issue is

bribery? It can be an issue.

It's not the only issue

associated with transparency

and what we try to do in the

report is look at increased information, openness and trarn

p transparency in a rather

broad context, not only

focussing on the scope for

example, you know, on irregular

payments to cross border, but

also again the simple, basic

steps of making information on

regulation more widely

available, stream lines and

harmon ising technical regulations so that there

aren't dupe I will Kative and unnecessary steps for trader.

So it's an issue that should be

viewed we think in a relatively

broad context. At the same time

while you talk about a broad context, you've put a number on

it, you put a figure on it so

we can look at some specifics.

Can you give me an example of

say one particular Asia which

lacks transparency and the

dollar value you can put on

that should it be repaired or

fixed? Hopefully that's the

next step for us. The bank has

initiated a new trust fund

project on transparency and

we're very keen and interested

in get into more of the details

associated with the benefits

and the particular benefits

associated with more discreate

actions in the report. And how

did you get to $180 billion? We

looked at a whole range of

indicators related to the predictability and simplification of trade and

trade rules in the APEC region

and then deployed that in an

economic model to suggest the

potential gains to trade

associated with raising

transparency, and this is

another important point, I

think, from the report, raising

transparency to the regional

average and so in other words,

in our analysis we're not

assuming perfect and open

transparent system in the Asia

Pacific but simply raising tans

parncy to the regional

average. When you look at the

potential benefits that you put

a number on, is that doable in

our lifetime? I mean is it pie

in the sky? Is it a 5-year time

frame? Yes, as a matter of fact

the type of reform measures

that we talk about in the

analysis are largely the type

of measures that are administrative and legal in

nature. It's not the type of,

we think, extremely costly type

of reform in the Asia Pacific

reedge p. So we should be able

to see nit a short period n a

couple of years perhaps. With

the right type of movement

going forward and energy and

consensus that APEC has long

been a champion of, yes, I

think there is a good reason to

think that there's widely

shared benefits in reform can

come relatively

expeditiously. If we can look

at the broader trade issue,

global trade talks start in

Geneva this week and they're an

attempt to kick start the Doha

round of talks which is either

stalled, if not dead. The Prime

Minister says APEC is a good

opportunity to put, as he says

it, a bunson burner under the

process. What can APEC do

realistically to kick start

global talks? Well, APEC has

had a relatively long history

in championing multilateral liberalisation. I'll give you

one example that I know fairly

well and that is the information technology

agreement that was negotiated

through the WTO that eliminated

tariff on a wide range of

information technology products

and APEC and its championship

of liberalisation at the WTO

through that agreement was very

important and in the broader

context, most certainly the

support that APEC has shown to

the Doha agenda and a

successful conclusion to that

is important and will, I think,

continue to be important. But

anything that comes out of this

week's meeting. I mean the key

protagonists in the Doha round

is simply not here. The EU is

not part of APEC, Brazil,

India's not part of APEC so

anything that APEC does is it

really more than just

words? No, I think the

reflection of the interest in

APEC for successful conclusion

s and again not only the

developed member economies in

APEC but developing members,

the sense of the importance of

multilateral liberalisation and

the role of APEC in supporting

that, I think is generally

widely shared. So I think

there's reason and hope to be

optimistic because Doha is

absolutely critical and fundamental step forward. What

about the prospect of an APEC

regional free trade agreement, something that was first

proposed by the APEC business

advisory council in 2004, could

that be an alternative? Well,

what we talk about in the

report on transparency is

actually outlining an example

of reform as it relates to

trade and transparency that can

go forward whether there is an

eventual launch of a free trade

area of the Asia Pacific

negotiations or if APEC

continues along the line that

it has been pursuing. But when

you look at the dynamics of

APEC now, would you say that a

free trade agreement is not a

subject for today? Well, it's a

subject but the launch of those

types of negotiations would

obviously be a challenging

endeavour. It's not to say that

it couldn't happen and it

wouldn't happen but having it

in an immediate fashion is

probably unlikely and that's

why again the type of analysis

that we've conducted on

transparency and trade reform

in the APEC region really, you

know, can move forward, we

think, under any track that

APEC should decide to

take. John Wilson, many thanks

for talking to us. Thank you

very much. You've heard about

strong demand for labour in the

resources sector, well spare a

thought for the country's mango

growers. There are predictions

of a bumper mango season for

the Northern Territory but

getting enough workers to pick

the fruit is a big problem. So

growers are turning to

technology to overcome the

labour shortage and a Top End

innovator may have found the

solution. This is the latest

innovation in the mango

industry - it's a mobile

picking plat form that

processes and cleans the fruit

in the paddock. It was

designed and built by Dallis

Wilchefski a former rodeo rider and jack-of-all-trades who

started building farm machinery

after a car accident left him

in a wheelchair six years

ago. You've got to make it

bullet proof, idiot proof. I mean they've probably haven't

got much respect for the

machine. One of the biggest

issues facing the mango

industry every season is labour

shortages. Almost 3,000 pickers

are needed in the Northern

Australia and Queensland will Territory alone. Western

need thousands more. We've had

a problem with labour in the

Territory for the traditional

way of picking. That demand has

driven the development of these

machines. 14 will r on the

production line and plans are

being drawn up for a robotic

mango picker. Maybe another

five years you won't see these

machines, they will all be

these mechanical arms out

there. There are further

refinements planned. Elsewhere

in the Top End infra-red

scanners are being developed to

taib the guess work out of

picking. Orchards are expected

to produce around 2 million

trays of fruit this season

which peaks next month. Greater

efficiency in the industry

could lead to better and

cheaper mango. Now a look at tomorrow's business diary which

is dominated by local economic

news. Top billing goes to the

Reserve Bank board meeting. No

change in interest rates is

expected when it announces its

decision on Wednesday. June

water GDP numbers are out and

annual growth of around 3.8% is

expected. And overseas the

latest US Institute of supply management manufacturing survey

is due for release. Before we

go, a look at what's making

news in the business sections

of tomorrow's paper s 'The Age'

says the corporate profit boom

they yet convince the RBA to raise rates later this

year. The Australian examines

the brack groubd to John

Financial Review' says the Akehurst. The 'Australian

Government will be lobbying for

trade reform during this week's

APEC meeting and Europe's

biggest telco has told the 'Sydney Morning Herald' it

wants to play a part in

building the multibillion dollar national broadband

network. That's all for

tonight. As I leave you the

FTSE is up 8 points as the Dow

is closed for the Labour Day

holiday. Please visit our

website to review any of

tonight's stories or you can

view the program on ABC 2 just

after 7:00 tomorrow morning.

I'm Ali Moore. Goodnight.

Closed Captions by CSI

(Muffled voice) I've always wondered what makes Bruce. He behaves like nobody else that I know. There aren't many people in this world that get to live a whole life doing pretty much what they want to do, when they want to do it.

That's why we've got a very well-educated person and a very intelligent person and in some ways, a very cultured person. (Muffled woman's voice) I'm not saying he's a psychopath, or at least antisocial, but there are elements of that in him. He's a real bizarre eccentric person. You can't categorise him. Where Bruce is there's trouble. I've been surrounded by comments like these about my father my whole life. When I was growing up,

I was ashamed by my father and embarrassed by him. And whenever anybody would ask me,

"Oren, what does your father do for a living?" I would just make up lies. Then as I grew older, I started to really distance myself from him. But now that I'm an adult, I'm ready to revisit our relationship. I want to see for myself who my father is. So I started packing up my place here in Australia and heading back to the States and spend some time with my father.

This is my father's hideaway. It's been his sanctuary when he needed to disappear when he was in trouble. And Bruce has been in trouble many times. You see, the thing that I've always tried to hide is that my father is a criminal. He's an outlaw, and he steals just enough to support a frugal lifestyle.

I've avoided coming here my whole life but now I want to finally see this place my father calls home. Bruce dropped out of mainstream society at a young age. He's always had a vehement disdain for the American government and most of its policies.

During the Vietnam War, Bruce decided that he would never pay taxes again. And he hasn't had a so-called normal job in over 30 years. Instead, he steals from banks and corporations.

What's the topic of the day?

Mm... Topic of the day...'s talk about our relationship. Starting from when you were just a wee tot? Yeah. You can start off by telling me things that I don't know

because I was too young to remember. Hoo! You're assuming I remember those things... Yeah. I'm interested in this thing that Naomi tells me from time to time that she didn't want a baby, she was miserable, she was smoking pot a lot because she was so angry and unhappy.

And then I was born and she just didn't know what to do and just freaked out about it and you basically took care of me and did all the mothering and the fathering. Well, yeah. She did some things.

But whatever she didn't do, I took up the slack. I didn't mind that since there's only one of you. It wasn't like twins or triplets and we didn't have any before you so it wasn't that hard. I was born in New York City in 1968. My parents both rejected their conservative middle-class backgrounds

and got swept up in the alternative movement of the '60s. We left Manhattan when I was three and moved to Vermont for a kind of back-to-nature lifestyle. My mother, Naomi, couldn't handle Bruce's criminal ways and after a couple of years, she left him for a bohemian artist named Argenta. Argenta was a Buddhist and he took my mother and me to live with the Dalai Lama in India. I was taken out of school for a year while we travelled around the world and eventually we settled in Australia on a spectacular 350-acre rainforest property. My mother and Argenta set up a Buddhist retreat centre and invited lamas and monks from all over the world.

My two half-sisters were born on the property

and this was an idyllic period in my childhood. But that all changed when I was uprooted and sent back to live with my father in the United States. I was nine years old

and I did that cross-Pacific journey alone each year for the next 10 years. My upbringing was full of contrasts as I was shuttled back and forth between the Buddhist retreat centre in Australia and road-tripping and scamming in America with my father. My mother taught me the lessons of the Buddha. My father taught me how to open fake bank accounts.

I turned into a really sensible and diligent teenager. Going straight was my way of rebelling.