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.
ABC News (Sydney) -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) This program is not subtitled

CC

There were bits and pieces of

luggage and parts of the train

and glass and items of clothing

and telephones ringing everywhere, bodies laying on

the floor. Tonight -

confronting death, embracing

life after Victoria's rail

disaster. We were lucky to be

alive. Also, sheer hell for

Pell, MPs fire back at the

archbishop. And bad hair, very

bad day for Australia's most

wanted. Good evening, Juanita

Phillips with ABC News. It's

now officially Australia's

worst railway crash in 30

years. 11 people are confirmed

dead after yesterday's level

crossing smash between a train

and a truck in northern

Victoria. Nine others are

still in hospital. Joe O'Brien

begins our coverage from the

crash scene.

All of last night and through

today the terrible job of

finding and identifying the

dead and the missing continued

here at the crash site. Police

believe they have found the

last of the bodies. It was

pulled from the twisted

wreckage just a short time ago.

They say it'll be days before

this site is finally cleared.

But for the survivors and for

those involved in the rescue

effort, it'll take much longer

to recover. Relatives of some

of those who lost their lives

made a visit to the accident

site this afternoon. More than

24 hours after the collision,

the scene that confronted them

still showed all too clearly

the brutality of the impact. A

witness described the moment he

spoke to the driver of the

barely recognisable truck after

pulling him from the cabin. He

just asked if he could ring his

wife, if we could find his

phone to ring his wife. I

remember him saying, "I'm

sorry, I'm sorry". The lights

at the crossing remain intact

but all around wreckage lies in

the wake of the disfigured and

disjointed Melbourne-bound

train. There were bits and

pieces of luggage and parts of

the train and glass and items

of clothing and telephones

ringing everywhere, bodies

laying on the floor. Two or

three people trapped. Just a

big gap in the wall in the next

compartment where nice young

people had been going across to

get their dinner and they're

beautiful and they're gone. The

collision happened at 1:40pm

when the truck travelling north

on the Murray Valley Highway veered too late and smashed

into the second of three

carriages. The is train was

split in two but left behind

the detached third carriage and

stopping 150 metres beyond the

point of impact. Police from

the victims identification unit

worked alongside the State

emergency service clearing

bodies from the wreckage.

Those on site describe the task

as gruesome and difficult. The

Victorian Premier visited and

crash site last night and was

clearly affected by what he

saw. The Parliament of Victoria

which was due to resume at 8pm

tonight is now adjourned for

the night as a mark of respect

for those people who... Police

from the Major Collision

Investigation Unit have

continued collecting

information from the scene.

The driver of the truck has

been interviewed briefly in

hospital. His words likely to

shed the most light on how the

accident happened. It will go

on for some weeks and

ultimately, solutions - we

won't have any solutions really

for some months before we can put definitive recommendations

back to the coroner. The line

to Melbourne is not likely to

be opened for several days.

Police are yet to talk to some

of the badly injured survivors

to get their accounts of what

happened. There are three separate investigations into

this tragedy. Authorities say

it's far too early to lay any

more. blame. Danielle Bower has

It's been just over 24 hours

since Christian Scholl was

pulled from the tangled

wreckage of his cabin. He's

already spoken to police about

what happened in the moments

before the crash. The

49-year-old father of two has

worked for the Wangaratta-based

company since he was a teenager

and has driven that route every

week.

A 15-year-old girl is among

four survivors still at three

Melbourne hospitals. Three

patients came into the

hospital. As you know, one

elderly patient died soon after

arrival and two other patients

are in at the Royal Melbourne

Hospital in a stable condition. Victoria's

Parliament held a minute's

silence for those killed in the

crash. An accident of this

severity and magnitude will inevitably raise questions of

the safety of the road and rail

systems. We're firmly of the

view every accident, every

incident's preventable. There

should be zero. We have zero

tolerance. So we must go

through, we must review what

happened and we must work with

all the appropriate authorities

to make sure it doesn't happen

again. Experts say Australia's

level crossings are outdated

and unsuitable for fast trains

and heavy traffic. At some

point the system will get in

and there will almost certainly

be another nasty accident of

some sort. The trucking

industry says it remains a big

issue for its drivers. A lot of

our drivers have a continual

education program of awareness

to ensure that they are aware

of the dangers of level

crossings and from our safety

point of view we continue to

make this a significant issue. It's the worst

Australian rail accident since

a train derailed at grandville

in Sydney in 1977 with the loss

of 83 lives. Authorities say

it could be months before the

cause of the Kerang crash is

known.

It was just at Sundown that the

last of the bodies was pulled

from the wreckage here. Mick

Talbot from the Major Collision

Investigation Unit joins us

now. What's going to be

happening here tonight? Tonight

we've recovered all the bodies.

That's all gone. The luggage

and personal effects of the

people remain on the train.

The scene will be left intact

guarded by police until we can search the train in the morning

to ensure everything of value

is removed. You will be overseeing the investigation into what happened here. Police have already spoken to

the driver. Have you already

got a pretty clear of what's

gone wrong? Yes, we do. We've

had a number of investigators

on the scene for the last

couple of days and we've been

investigating the train, the

truck, the road, the

conditions, speaking to

witnesses. We've spoken to the

driver, so we have got a pretty

good idea of what's gone on.

To put it together takes a

period of time. Each bit adds

together to create the

story. Mick Talbot from the

Major Collision Investigation

Unit, thank you. Just wrapping

up now, police have confirmed

that 11 people have died in

this tragedy and the police

investigation is going to take

several months. For now,

that's all from Kerang in

northern Victoria. I'm Joe

O'Brien.

The Catholic Archbishop of

Sydney George Pell came under

fire in State parliament today

with one MP calling him a

serial boofhead. All hell

broke loose after Cardinal Pell warned parliamentarians there'd

be consequences if they voted

in support of therapeutic

cloning. He was also accused

of being a fanatic and a

hypocrite and compared with the

outspoken Muslim leader Sheikh

Hilali. From the Premier to

members of the National Party,

Catholics defied the edict of

archbishop George Pell to

reject the stem cellx This is

not the time to conjure up

reckless conflicts between

science and religion or science

and morality. The Minister for

Emergency Services led the

barrage of name calling. He

accused the cardinal of using

emotional blackmail and said

his hypocrisy is world-class. I

think he's got three options.

He can apologise, he can run

for Parliament, or he can

invite further comparisons with that boofhead Sheikh Hilali. The Planning Minister

added more insults calling the Catholic leader a

fanatic. Those comments border

on zealotry and awe tock

accuraciy of the type that we

sometimes saw at churches in

the dark ages and beyond and

it's just not right in today's

world. The Premier says he last

took communion a month ago.

I'd describe myself as a good

Catholic, yes. He says he

wouldn't take kindly to losing

those privileges, something

Cardinal Pell suggested could

happen to those who vote for

the bill. It's unprecedented

for the Labor Party to attack a

leader of the Catholic Church

so bluntly. Even Labor

Catholic MPs who agreed to

oppose the stem cell bill

joined the criticism. One

described Dr Pel as

authoritarian. George Pell

declined to comment today. The

Federal Health Minister leapt

to his defence. What he

appeared to be saying to me was

that this was a serious matter

and people need to carefully

consider the traditional

teaching. A vote is expected

tomorrow morning. After 15

months on the run, Australia's

most wanted man, Tony Mokbel,

has been captured in Greece.

Mokbel fled Melbourne last year

towards the end of his cocaine

importation trial sparking an

international hunt. That

search ended today when

Australian investigators led

Athen's police to a seaside

cafe where Mokbel was enjoying

a coffee. From Athens the

ABC's Josephine Cafagna

reports. A joint task force of

Australian Federal Police and

investigators from Victoria

arrived in Greece just under a

fortnight ago. Last Thursday

they briefed Greek authorities

who made their move yesterday

at 6pm Australian time. The

arrest of Australia's most

wanted fugitive overnight in

Greece is a terrific example of

the co-operative nature of

policing in Australia. Wearing

a wig and a mouse tash as a

disguise Tony Mokbel was

arrested at this cafe in the

company of an Australian male

who police are yet to remain.

The cafe is in a wealthy

seaside suburb. It's

understood Tony Mokbel was enjoying a morning coffee here

when the local narcotics squad

swooped. He gave no resistance

and it's understood he insisted

for some time he was not Tony

Mokbel. Mokbel was using the

alias Stephen Papas from Bondi

and Greek police seized a fake

passport and a NSW drivers

licence. It's believed he was

paying 2,000 euros a month to

rent a luxury apartment shared

with his girlfriend, Danielle

Maguire and their new baby.

And while police aren't sure

how long he's called Athens

home, they do know he's been

busy. It's been indicated that

he's been living the high life

and continuing with his

criminal enterprises

unabated. Investigators say

Mokbel has been running a major

drug operation from Athens,

directing production and

distribution and in regular

contact with his Australian

associates. In Melbourne

overnight, more than 150 police

swooped on 22 properties around

the city and seized drugs,

vehicles, weapons and $790,000

in cash. 14 people were

arrested, eight appeared in the

Magistrates Court today and

have been remanded in

custody. Five of those

defendants we say are key

members in an amphetamine

manufacturing network known as

the Company - that's what they

refer to themselves as. The

Australian Government has 45

days to formally seek Mokbel's

extradition. And we do

apologise for the sound quality

on that report. Well, they're

calling it economic bliss. New

figures show the Australian

economy is growing at its

strongest rate in nearly four

years. Better still, there's

no sign yet of serious

inflation. Although analysts

say that could happen if the

good times keep rolling. So

much for last year's three

interest rate hikes. Hardy

consumers are still at it. The

place is awash with cash. The

mining boom, it's feeding

through. Also feeding

consumption is easy credit and

low unemployment. It all

helped propel economic growth

by 1.6% in the March quarter.

The strongest increase in

nearly four years. Leaving Australia's annual growth rate

at 3.8%. When you bear in mind

that we are in the middle of a

shocking drought with

production which has fallen 22,

23% this is indeed very robust,

very strong growth. Also

stronger than expected was the

pick-up in business investment

beyond the mining sector and

housing, which may be turning

the corner. It was accompanied

by an easing in inflation and

wage pressures despite the

tight job market and a pick-up

in productivity. The Federal

Opposition warned the good

times wouldn't last without

infrastructure spending to

boost productivity. Because if

we don't lift our productivity,

we can't continue to have

non-inflationary growth in

these strong world

conditions. The Reserve Bank

Board chose not to raise

interest rates today but these

numbers won't make it feel any

easier, because a stronger than

expected economy could lead to

inflation problems down the

track. The market is now

pricing in a 30% chance of a

rate increase next month, a 60%

chance by early August and a

100% chance of a 25-point

increase by the end of the

year. At this stage, few

believe Australia can spend

like this and keep inflation in

check. Those strong GDP

numbers have seen the

Australian dollar jump sharply.

Alan Kohler has the details. As I mentioned last night there

was a feeling in the markets

that the GDP number might be

pretty strong, but up until the

national accounts were released

by the Bureau of Statistics at

exactly 11:30am today that

remind just a feeling and the

dollar was trading steady at

around US 83.8 cents. It went

straight to 84 cents at 11:31

and kept rising as the day went

on. The Trade-Weighted Index is

at a new 22-year high of 68.3.

Here's a slightly dense slide

that gives the breakdown of the

March quarter GDP increase of

1.6%. Household consumption

and business investment were the biggest contributors. A

lot of stuff was put into inventories and Government

consumption and the buying of

houses were also small

positives. Holding us back

were Government investment and

net exports, again. The

sharemarket wasn't too

comfortable about it all

falling about 0.5% today. Rio

Tinto amongst the biggest

falls, while Telstra fell 1.2%

and ASX was among the biggest

gains rising 2%. The local

fall was partly due to a drop

on Wall Street omp of 0.5%.

Led, Nickell and zinc all fell

2%, while copper fell 1.2%.

The two parts of Toll Holdings

started trading separately

today as Toll and its

infrastructure assets . The

parts tonight are valued at

$24.02, 25 cents or 1 fierce

than Toll was worth yesterday.

That's finance. If you thought

Sydney was getting too big for

its boots you're not alone.

The Lord Mayor wants to tackle

the mounting problems caused by

the city's growth. At a

business breakfast Clover Moore

announced a a project to combat

traffic congestion and

pollution problems. The Lord

Mayor wants Sydney to follow

the initiatives of other cities

like London, New York and

Toronto. Interestingly, all

those cities said their Federal

and State counterparts were

failing in this area. So the

cities around the world are

taking the lead in terms of the

urban environment. Planning

Minister Frank Sartor says

plans are already in place and

the talkfest could end up being

a waste of time. As far as the

blueprint for Sydney, it already exists. As far as

debates and forums and reviews

of what the City of Sydney is

doing, that is a matter for

them. It's good to debate

these things but we've done

this about three times in the

last 15 years. The community

has been invited to submit

ideas during the 2-month

consultation process. Home at

last, the remains of Australian

soldiers Richard Parker and

Peter Gillson have been

officially released to their

families. Now only four Australian soldiers remain

buried in Vietnam. Today's

handover took place at the

Richmond base north-west of

Sydney, the base from which the

soldiers left for their tour of

duty four decades ago.

Touchdown for a mission which

started almost 42 years ago

when distressed soldiers were

forced to leave their fallen

mates on the battlefield during

the Vietnam War. Today those

mates brought Lance Corporal

'Tiny' Parker and Private

'Gillie' Gillson home,

accompanying the coffins was

Robert Gillson who was just

four months old when his father

was killed in battle and is now

a soldier himself. Emotional.

It was worth every minute of

that Hercules ride to bring him

back home. So he's home now,

so I'm happy. We're all happy.

A grateful nation carries

forward its special duty and

moral obligation to those who

have done all their country has

asked of them and in doing so

paid the ultimate price. Both

men's widows looked on as their

husbands were awarded a

meritorious citation for an

American-led battle. These two

brothers in arms, these family

men, these heroes are now home.

A minute's silence was

followed by a Huey flypast.

Today, the two fallen soldiers

were remembered by their family

and friends as brave and

special men, forever young and

never to be forgotten. For

those from Operation Aussies

Home who've searched for years

to find their dead comrades,

this was a special moment. You

always hope that your mates

will do their utmost to recover

you, dead or alive. Funerals

for Lance Corporal Richard

Parker and Private Gillson will

be held next week. President

George W. Bush has given

Russia's a slap on the wrist

ahead of tonight's G8 meeting

in Germany. Speaking in the

Czech Republic he took Vladimir

Putin to task over Moscow's

democratic record. But he also

offered an olive branch on

another issue, America's

controversial missile defence

system. The Czech Government

wants America's missile defence

shield but two out of three

Czechs oppose it for fear of

upsetting Russia. Visiting US

George W. Bush told Czechs they

had nothing to fear. The Cold

War's over. It ended. The people of the Czech Republic

don't have to choose between

being a friend of the United

States or a friend with Russia.

You can be both. The US wants

to base a radar outside Prague

with interceptor missiles in

neighbouring Poland. Russia

says it would aim missiles at

Europe if the shield went

ahead. Foreign Minister Sergei

Lavrov said Russia wouldn't be

provoked and had an obligation

to protect itself. In Prague,

President Bush stressed Russia

was not an enemy. And my

message will be Vladimir, I

call him Vladimir, that you shouldn't fear a missile

defence system. As a matter of

fact, why don't you cooperate

with us on a missile defence

system? Why don't you

participate with the United

States? An invitation on one

hand and a punch with the

other. President Bush later

criticised Russia's democratic

progress. In Russia, reforms

that were once promised to

empower citizens have been

derailed with troubling

implications for democratic

development. The US is due to

face his Russian counterpart

and other leaders of the G8

later tonight. They have much

to discuss, but the subject of

missile defence could dominate.

From the White House to the

jail house. Lewis 'Scooter'

Libby was one of the most

powerful figures in the Bush

Administration. Now the former

chief of staff to

vice-president Dick Cheney has

been sentenced to two and a

half years jail for perjury and

obstruction of justice. The

judge ruled that Libby had lied

to FBI officers investigating

the leaking of the name of the

CIA agent Valerie Plame. He's

the highest ranking White House

official to be convicted in a Government scandal since the

mid 1980s. Libby made no

comment as he left the

courthouse. A ruling will be

made next week on whether he'll

stay free pending appeal. A

British TV channel has caused

an outcry over its plans to

broadcast photos of the car

crash that killed the Princess

of Wales. Prince William and

Prince Harry say they'll be

acutely distress fundamental

the pictures are shown to the

public. The Channel Four

program looks at the role of

the French paparazzi who were

the first to arrive at the

scene of the crash. In a

highly unusual move the private

secretary to the princes

appeared on camera with his

comments. It is the - their

mother's last moments on earth

and it's an invasion of her

privacy and it's chipping away

what little dignity there is in

her death. The television

company says the film has no

imannuals of Princess Diana

after the crash and is going

ahead with the broadcast.

Roger Federer has beaten Tommy

Robredo to move a step closer

to a place in the French Open

finaler. Federer dropped a set

for the first time in the

tournament. His next opponent

is fourth seed Nikolay

Davydenko. A Roger Federer-RAAF Base Williamstown final seems inevitable. But

after mixing up his play in a

7-5 first set win against Tommy Robredo that prognostication Ffk Phillip Lasker Phillip

Lasker suffered a hiccup.

Robredo's radar was accurate

while Federer had clay feet and

was making poor decisions.

Federer lost a Grand Slam set for the first time since last

year's US Open final. And I

don't lose sets 6-1 that often.

You're like get up and react to

it. Federer responded to this

challenge by taking the third

set in 20 minutes and closing

out the match 6-2 in the

fourth. He'll meet Russian

Nikolay Davydenko. Defending

women's champion Justine Henin

was flowing in her match with a

disparated Serena Williams, who bemoaned her performance.

Everything was going wrong.

Like usually I don't hit in the

net. I think I hit so many

errors today. Henin kept her

opponent covering a lot of

ground in a 6-4 set win. With

only sporadic moments of

William's best, wrapped it up

in straight sets. In a sea of

new faces, some familiar ones

return for the Wallabies' Test

against Fiji in Perth this

weekend. 129 Test veteran

George Gregan will start a Test

for the first time this year

and Fijian-born winger Lote

Tuqiri is itching to play after

an enforced lay-off he didn't

appear to enjoy. You have to

look at it objectively and

think that it's doing me good.

You never like missing out on

games especially when the boys

are playing. It's going to

stand in me in good stead. Five

players retained their starting position from last week's win

over Wales as the focus is on

expanding the depth of the

squad in this World Cup year. New Zealand anthropologists are

calling it poultry in motion.

They believe that a humble take

away chicken supports the

theory that Polynesians, not

Europeans, discovered the New

World. Prehistorians have

strongly suspected that

poly-Indonesians not only had

the means and the know-how to

navigate across the Pacific,

they had the travel

rations. The animals were

transported by the people. If

we can figure out where the

animals come from it allows us

to track the movements of the

people during pre-history. The anthropology department

followed and food trail across

the Pacific to an

archaeological dig in central

Chile where they turned up a

chicken bone. Tests in

Auckland confirmed it had

identical DNA to chickens in

Tonga. We had that carbon dated

and the date came back to

between 1300 and 1400 AD.

Clearly pre-European. What this

means is that poly-Indonesians

and their chickens probably

made it to the New World a

couple of hundred years before

Christopher Columbus. It may

challenge European views and

Colonel Sanders may be rolling

in his grave, but historians

were confident that there was

contact with South America and

it was likely to be Polynesian

who is made that

contact. Scientists can turn

their attention to which came

first, the chicken or the egg?

Time to check the weather.

Good news to report for South

East Queensland which has had

its best rainfall in two years.

Even better, some of it got

into the catchment areas which

desperately need it. Of course

it'll take a lot more rain for

water restrictions to be

lifted. Still things are

looking hopeful with more rain forecast over the next few

days.

The trough will move off the

East Coast, but a developing

low in the Tasman will cause

scbind showers to increase over

howers to increase over NSW.

Tonight's top stories again -

11 people are now confirmed

dead in the level crossing

crash between a train and a

truck in northern Victoria.

The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell has come

under fire in State parliament

after warning MPs of

consequences if they vote in

support of therapeutic cloning. And the Australian economy is

going gangbusters. It's

recorded its strongest growth

in four years. That's ABC News

for this Wednesday. Kerry

O'Brien has the '7:30 Report'

next, and I'll be back with

updates during the evening.

Goodnight. Closed Captions by CSI Crossings are often set

back in the 1800s and we are

now of course in the 21st

century with bigger and faster

trains and bigger and faster trucks.

Tonight on the 7.30 Report -

when rail meets road. Urgent

calls to make level crossings

safer. Trucks sometimes play

Russian roulette. If they can

see a train, but think they

have got a big enough gap to

make it across. Whilst it was

a shocking wig, it was a reasonably effective disguise. And the end of the

high life for the million

dollar fugitive. He is always a

person who liked the penthouse.

He had the Ferrari, the

mistress, he had all of the

ingredients that a major Hollywood-style gangster would

have. CC

Welcome to the program. As

with any horror accident of the