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All at sea - the 'Oceanic Viking' still anchored off an Indonesian port with its human cargo of
asylum seekers, and passions remain high in Australia.

This Government is a disgrace on this issue, it is gutless, it has been suckered, it has done
everything conceivably wrong here.

What is this really about, Mr this really about, Mr Speaker, it is about the Liberal Party deciding
to actually play deciding to actually play the asylum seekers card because they see it is full of
good politics for them. This Program is Captioned Live.

Good evening, welcome to Lateline, I'm Tony Jones, getting the 78 asylum seekers ashore is one
thing, but what happens to them once they are in Indonesian custody. To start with there are
allegations that people in the Australian-funded facility have been isolated and physically abused.
What physically abused. What happens to the women and children who are offloaded? Is are offloaded?
Is the Australian Government comfortable with delivering them into mandatory detention behind bars,
despite their policy forbidding it happening in an Australian Detention Centre?

Our responsibility, under our UN obligations will be fulfilled completely. There is no interest...

Let me understand this correctly, what about the moral responsibility, because one would think it
was the unbreakable principle that you established that women and children would not be held behind

With due respect, you know full well that Australia has responsibility for Australian law, and what
occurs within Australia. We cannot, with due respect, take responsibility for everything that
happens offshore.

Government strategist and Leader of the House Anthony Albanese on the newances of the Indonesian
solution, and Indonesian solution, and as Minister For Infrastructure, we ask if he's preparing for
a population of 35 million. Committed for trial - four men accused of plot tog bomb a Sydney
barracks bomb a Sydney barracks plead not guilty. Shockwaves - not guilty. Shockwaves - 1230 dead
in the worst bombing in Baghdad in two years. Baghdad in two years.

Asylum seekers still haven't docked

Asylum seekers still haven't docked

Broadcast: 26/10/2009

Reporter: Geoff Thompson

Indonesia correspondent Geoff Thompson reports the 78 asylum seekers remain aboard Australian
customs ship the Oceanic Viking, despite being expected to dock near Tanjung Pinang, Indonesia


TONY JONES, PRESENTER: After a week on board the Australian customs ship the Oceanic Viking, the 78
asylum seekers still haven't been taken ashore for processing by the Indonesians. They were
expected to dock at Kijang Port near Tanjung Pinang today, but that hasn't happened. Indonesia
correspondent Geoff Thompson is in Tanjung Pinang and joins us now on the phone.

Well, Geoff, what is happening?

GEOFF THOMPSON, INDONESIA CORRESPONDENT: Well, Tony, I'm at - still at Kijang Port and the dark is
well and truly fallen and we're just about the only people here. There isn't much happening here.
I've just been talking to someone who's been on a boat out to look at the Oceanic Viking again.
They got within sight of it. (Inaudible) any vessels around it. So it doesn't look like there's
going to be a boat-to-boat transfer overnight, which some people had suggested. But the last
opportunity to actually put in here was when the tide was reasonably high - just before it got
dark. That window of opportunity has passed. So now I guess we're looking at tomorrow before the 78
Sri Lankans can be off-loaded here at Kijang Port and taken to the Australian funded detention
centre in Tanjung Pinang.

TONY JONES: We have heard that there was some effort for Indonesian authorities to reach the ship
by going out in small boats themselves. Did that actually happen?

GEOFF THOMPSON: Yes, it did. I was - we've left Kijang Port and just went about 10 minutes down the
road to a small - very small little naval base, and Immigration officials boarded a small naval
patrol boat and headed out. But at that time there was a storm; a very localised storm sort of came
over this stretch of tidal water that runs between a couple of the islands here where the port is.
And I think because of that, they turned back and didn't actually make it out there. We understand
they wanted to do some of the processing there. Customs people wanted to do some health checks,
that sort of thing and the Immigration officials wanted to begin their processing onboard the
Oceanic Viking. But that hasn't happened, and that, of course, has meant that the bureaucratic
wheel is gone from moving slowly to perhaps grinding to a halt, at least until tomorrow.

TONY JONES: Geoff, do we know why the ship just doesn't simply dock and unload the people so that
they can be processed ashore? Wouldn't that be the safest and the easiest option?

GEOFF THOMPSON: Look, it would be. I think part of the problem is that the wheels of Indonesian
bureaucracy are turning quite slowly. This order very much came from the top: it came from Susilo
Bambang Yudhoyono after his meeting with Kevin Rudd. There has been some disquiet from the Navy,
from Immigration officials, from the Department of Foreign Affairs itself. I think that no one was
particularly happy with this solution to this particular situation and because of that, there is a
bit of, "Well, you know, it's OK for the president to make an order, but we've got orders to give;
we've got things to arrange." There hasn't been a lot of activity today for instance at the
Immigration detention centre itself and there doesn't seem to be a sense of immediacy. There are -
officials have come and gone from the port, as has an Australian Customs official. But I think that
there's a feeling that there are preparations to be made, and also this port here, (inaudible) tide
does go up and down, so for a ship of the size of the Oceanic Viking, the windows of opportunity
are not that many throughout the daylight hours.

TONY JONES: Finally, and briefly, Geoff, is there any more word on the accusations of ill treatment
of asylum seekers at the detention centre?

GEOFF THOMPSON: Well, indeed, we know that six people connected with the centre, Immigration
officials and guards at the centre are currently being investigated by Indonesian police, given
that just two weeks ago, when there was an escape attempt made by some of the Afghans - 18 escaped,
three remain at large. But the ones that got back actually say they were beaten up and made these
allegations to the police and the police are now investigating.

TONY JONES: Geoff Thompson, we'll leave you there. We thank you very much for that.

Border protection dominates federal politics

allegations to the police, and the police are investigating.

Geoff Thompson, we'll leave you there. The debate about asylum seekers and border protection border
protection dominated Question Time in Federal Parliament, the issue set to pay is central role in
by-elections in the safe Liberal seats of Higgins and Bradfield, both set for 5 December. The
enflamed December. The enflamed debate was given heat from a comment by the Tamil community leader
that Tamil Tigers are on the boats making their way to Canberra. The Opposition brought in props.

I refer

brought in props.

I refer the Prime Minister to this table by graphically illustrates the surge in people smuggling

And the Taliban

. So many young Afghan men are coming to this country on these boats while our young men, our best
and finest young men are in their country fighting the Taliban.

It's stick tog its argument that the Government's new policies are to blame.

It is, in fact, the Government's changes to border protection policy which provided policy which
provided smuglers with a powerful marketing tool to induce more asylum seekers to risk their lives
coming to Australia.

The Prime Minister sees more calculating motives at play.

What is this about, Mr Speaker, it is about Speaker, it is about the Liberal Party deciding to play
the asylum seekers card, because they see it is full of good politics for them.

And particularly for Malcolm Turnbull who he has accused of talking tough on asylum seekers, as a
some to the hardline members of his open partyroom.

Why doesn't he instead reserve his venom for those vile individuals who those vile individuals who
are people smugglers, rather people smugglers, rather than Macquarie Street it upon the people who
are - mete it upon the people who are the people who are victims, asylum seekers.

He failed to impress one right winger

It's impossible to be more humane and not get the increase in boat people that this Government

The criticism comes from all sides.

I've been disappointed, I must say in the Prime Minister's attitude. He's someone that has shown so
much compassion in other areas, somehow or other there seems to be a blind spot with regard to the

The latest boats carrying Tamils fleeing Sri Lanka and refugee camps criticised by the United
Nations. The Tamil community in Australia conceded Tamil Tiger fighters could be among those
seeking asylum.

In any war situation, there'll be ex-cadres fleeing the country, the Tigers are no the Tigers are
no exception, they'll flee the country.

They argue a fighting past shouldn't disqualify them from receiving help.

The LTTE Cadd rers are the people in most danger -- cadres are the people in most danger, according
the to refugee convention, if a person is threatened by race, religion or a political belief, so
they are 100% qualified for refugee status in a country, in a third country.

The Sri Lankans on board 'Oceanic Viking' will have to make their case for refugee status in
Indonesia. Until that's decided they'll wait in a Detention Centre, the subject of allegations of
brutality, coming as a blow to the Government's plans to boost cooperation with Australia's
northern neighbour. It triggered a careful request from the Foreign Minister.

Australia would want that any asylum seekers held in detention in Indonesia is treated
appropriately. If allegations are made, serious allegations made, they need to be investigated by
the appropriate authorities.

The Government is ready to put up more money to make the

Alleged army terror-attack plotters to stand trial

Alleged army terror-attack plotters to stand trial

Broadcast: 27/10/2009

Reporter: Rafael Epstein

Four of the five men accused of planning a terrorist attack on Sydney's Holsworthy army base have
been committed to stand trial in Melbourne.


TONY JONES, PRESENTER: In Melbourne, four of the five men accused of planning an attack on the
Holsworthy Army Base have been committed to stand trial.

The men are accused of having links to the Somali group Al-Shabaab. Police do not claim the men had
obtained any weapons for the alleged attack, but authorities claim the men planned to die while
killing as many soldiers as they could.

The four men have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to prepare for a terrorist attack.

Rafael Epstein has this report.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN, REPORTER: In August, the men were arrested and accused of planning to attack the
Army base at Holsworthy. Now the full police case against them could be heard as soon as Easter.

Lawyers for four of the five accused men told the court they wanted to skip over their committal
hearing and go straight to trial in the Victorian Supreme Court.

People from the Somali community were in court today, as the accused men pleaded not guilty to the
charge of conspiring to do acts in preparation for a terrorist act.

In March, 26-year-old Saney Aweys was allegedly recorded referring to Victoria's Black Saturday
bushfires, saying, " ... fires broke out in the whole country and all were happy ... by Allah, they
are coming down, these filthy people."

Police say Aweys discussed Australians going to Somalia. The police statement of facts claims he
was recorded saying he has, "... boys lined up and itching to go, always asking him when they can

In a phone call to Somalia, police allege Aweys, "... talks about the men having access or being
able to acquire weapons such as guns/rifles and they want to enter a military/forces barracks ...,
" in Melbourne.

Police transcripts allege Aweys said, "... the infidels - their forces are cast (scattered) in the
lands of Islam ... They are casted from Afghanistan up to Iraq, they are massacring and doing no
favour to anyone."

After his arrest, police say Aweys told them if a terrorist incident was happening in Australia,
he'd stop it and report it.

The police evidence released today includes CCTV vision of 33-year-old Wissam Fattal near the
Holsworthy Army Base. Police say he was recorded saying, "... it's something that's very easy ...
there is work and for one to do business, it's good."

He was arrested on the day this footage was taken over an unrelated charge.

In another conversation, police say Fattal was recorded saying, "... the present world doesn't mean
anything to me. At the end there is the afterlife and all I want is to please Allah."

Police claim the men have links with the Al-Shabaab group in Somalia and were looking for a fatwa -
religious sanction - from a cleric in Somalia approving a terrorist act in Australia.

The men's lawyers opposed details of the police allegations being made public, but the media
successfully challenged the suppression bid.

The fifth accused man, 25-year-old Nayef El Sayed, has not entered a plea. He'll face the
Magistrates Court again next month.

Australia 'at risk' without better infrastructure

Australia 'at risk' without better infrastructure

Broadcast: 26/10/2009

Reporter: Tony Jones

The business lobby is warning a new era of Australian prosperity is at risk without serious
planning and investment in cities, roads and ports to cope with population and economic growth.


TONY JONES, PRESENTER: Business is warning a new era of Australian prosperity is at risk because of
a lack of serious planning in investment in cities, roads and ports. Without improvements, the
Business Council of Australia expects bottlenecks and city congestion as population and economic
growth pick up.

Well, just last week, the Treasury Secretary, Ken Henry, brought up the population challenges for
Australia in 2050.

The business lobby says there'll be high energy, water, transport and trade demands.

ROD PEARSE, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA: And as we start to head towards a population of 35
million, then bottlenecks will start to emerge again. So we've got to anticipate the bottlenecks
and we've got to look for the productivity growth, and remove the impediments before they come
such, and we're actually looking at ways of improving our cities and our regional areas.

TONY JONES: The Business Council says that federal and state governments have started the process
but have mainly been playing catch-up on neglected infrastructure.

ROD PEARSE: There's been a lot of action, I think, around trying to prioritise projects. There
simply hasn't been enough time, I think, to get a real pipeline of strategic, ready-to-go,
productivity-growing pipelines in place.

TONY JONES: The business lobby says the time is right to get started on major projects as the
Australian economy emerges virtually unscathed from the global financial crisis.

Albanese discusses asylum seekers, public works

Albanese discusses asylum seekers, public works

Broadcast: 26/10/2009

Reporter: Tony Jones

Federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese joins Lateline to discuss asylum seekers and calls
for more public works.


TONY JONES, PRESENTER: Anthony Albanese is the Minister for Infrastructure. We'll be talking to him
in a moment about how Infrastructure Australia is planning for the anticipated population growth to
35 million. But what will our biggest cities look like with more than seven million people and how
will they work? The minister says he's disappointed that no one has yet come forward with a
proposal for fast trains. But before that, we asked him to put on his other hat as Leader of the
House. He was in our Parliament House studio just a short time ago, and I might add we assumed that
the 78 asylum seekers would have been put ashore on Indonesian territory by now.

Anthony Albanese, thanks for joining us.


TONY JONES: Would you agree that the Government's Indonesia solution is primarily about deterrence?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: No, it's - well, it - that's a word. It's much more than just a word. It
certainly is about ensuring that people do not risk their lives on leaky boats trying to get to

TONY JONES: So it's about deterring them from doing that. It is in fact about deterrence.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, it's about making sure that we have a two-pronged policy. Prong one is to
have secure borders and to have a range of policies around that, of which cooperation with our
region is one of them. Second prong is to have a humane response towards the treatment of asylum
seekers, which is why we've abolished TPVs, abolished the Pacific solution and treating people with
dignity and respect.

TONY JONES: But this business about taking these 78 asylum seekers the Sri Lankans picked up at
sea, taking them to an Indonesian port where they've landed tonight: that was about deterring
others from taking the same journey.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: No, it was about fulfilling our international obligations under the UN charters
that we've signed. It was about ensuring the safety of those onboard was the primary responsibility
that we had. We've done that. These people weren't picked up in Australian waters. They were picked
up, the Australian authorities responded to a duress, which, according to the law of the sea,
certainly as the person responsible for maritime safety, I'm very conscious of. Australia has a big
interest in making sure that occurs. We did that and are then taking them to an appropriate

TONY JONES: Well, first to one, then to another. But finally the Indonesians were convinced to take
them to this one. Let me ask you this: what is the difference between the Indonesia solution and
the Pacific solution?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, let's be clear, what the Pacific Solution was about was people who had made
it onto Australian land being taken to a third country, in this case Nauru and Manos Island, who
were paid money to house these people. People were then processed; they were given temporary
protection visas. I note that at the time the then Prime Minister Howard said that none of these
people would enter Australia. That, of course, isn't the case. People did enter Australia, the
legitimate asylum seekers and of course ...

TONY JONES: But the main idea, and the thing that makes these two solutions similar is that these
people are effectively warehoused on behalf of Australia in another country, where Australia picks
up part or all of the bill, perhaps even builds the detention centre. So there is a striking
similarity in that regard. Although as you point out, the one major difference is that these people
in Indonesia will probably never get the chance to come to Australia.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: No, what you're forgetting, Tony, of course, is that the cooperation with
Indonesia, including the Australian funding to help assist with construction of the renovation that
occurred at this particular detention centre, was undertaken by the Howard Government. The Howard
Government had cooperation with Indonesia as well. It had ...

TONY JONES: But you're planning to keep doing that, aren't you? I mean ...


TONY JONES: And there's a strong possibility you'll be building more detention centres, in fact.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Regional cooperation is very important, Tony. But what is also important is that
we respond to the obligations that we have to asylum seekers, who are - who reach Australian land.

TONY JONES: OK, well let me ask you about one of those - let me ask you about one of those
obligations in particular. Can the Government guarantee that women and children that it delivers to
Indonesian detention centres will not be kept mandatorily in those detention centres?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, let's be clear here, Tony. In terms of people who are asylum seekers, who
leave, primarily at the moment, it's from Afghanistan and from Sri Lanka. Those people go through a
range of countries seeking asylum. They apply through UN processes. They are the responsibility of
the nations where they are, and the UN in terms of those UN processes.

TONY JONES: So is that where the cooperation with Indonesia ends: you can't convince them not to
keep women and children behind bars?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, Tony, in terms of the discussions with Indonesia, or Malaysia, or Pakistan,
for that matter, there are a range of decisions that they make; Australia plays roles in terms of
negotiation with them. But our responsibility under our UN obligations will be fulfilled
completely. There is no interest ...

TONY JONES: OK, but what about - well, let me understand this correctly. What about the moral
responsibility, because one would think it was the unbreakable principle that you've established
that women and children would not be held behind bars?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Tony, with due respect, you know full well that Australia has responsibility for
Australian law and what occurs within Australia. We cannot, with due respect, take responsibility
for everything that happens offshore in other countries, be it Indonesia or Malaysia or Pakistan.
What we can do, though, is to engage with our neighbours, and the Prime Minister was doing that on
the weekend, with regional cooperation. We've had reports today to the Parliament from both the
Prime Minister ...

TONY JONES: I'm got to interrupt you there because you have taken responsibility to some degree ...

ANTHONY ALBANESE: From both the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister.

TONY JONES: ... you've taken responsibility by providing money for the building of detention
centres and for future building of detention centres and you've taken responsibility by delivering
these people to a place where, arguably, women and children will be kept in mandatory detention -
the very thing, which, according to your own policy, should not happen.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Tony, let's be clear here. The responsibility that we took was to rescue people
who were in danger at sea. That is entirely appropriate that that occur. We did that. And the
primary responsibility we had was for the safety of those citizens.

TONY JONES: But is that where your responsibility ends, because here's your policy: "It is Rudd
Government policy," - this is your Immigration Minister speaking - "It is Rudd Government policy
that no child be held in an Immigration detention centre and there are no children detained, for
example, at Christmas Island Immigration detention centre or any other detention centre." But
apparently, on Australia's behalf, it is OK to keep women and children in detention centres.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: But that's your mistake, Tony. Why is it on Australia's behalf?

TONY JONES: Because this is your Indonesian solution; you haven't denied that. The Indonesian
solution is a way for this government to get another country to warehouse people who would
otherwise come to Australia.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: No, Tony, these people, the people have come to Indonesia. They haven't come to
Indonesia via Australia. So, in terms of the policy, I don't think would be advanced, as you would
be very clear, clearly aware, if Australia was to lecture our neighbours about the way that they
conduct their policy. What we can do is engage in diplomacy in an appropriate fashion, which is not
to lecture on Lateline. We have engaged in a ...

TONY JONES: So there's no moral issue here as far as you're concerned, because Sharan Burrow says

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, Tony, what's the moral issue? Can I say this, Tony? Tony, can I ...

TONY JONES: Well if I can just finish that question. Sharan Burrow, on behalf of the union
movement, says they won't stand quietly by and watch children be put into detention centres and
become psychologically damaged. She's talking about what's happening in Indonesia. Are you in
danger of having a confrontation here with the union movement over this?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: No, Tony, we're not. We are engaged in a policy process which is trying to work
through what is an extremely difficult and complex issue.

But let me say this to you, Tony: as we're here tonight, there are literally tens of thousands of
asylum seekers in Africa, in Pakistan, in various countries that aren't Australia or their country
of origin, sitting in camps, sitting in camps. We would prefer - I would prefer, as you would, that
that were not the case. I would prefer that that were not the case. I'm very sympathetic, as you
know, with the asylum seeker cause and issue. My heart goes out to those people. But in
establishing government policy, the starting point has to be that it is not, it is not a reasonable
test to say that Australia is responsible for every one of the millions of people who have been
displaced due to what's occurred in their country.

TONY JONES: Alright, you've shifted the argument by broadening it out and not talking about the
people which Australia has ...

ANTHONY ALBANESE: But that's the reality, Tony. That is the reality, Tony.

TONY JONES: ... which Australia is in the process of delivering to a refugee camp which it has
helped build. Anyway ...

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, the Howard Government helped build, Tony.

TONY JONES: I think we have actually - I think we've covered that. Let's move on, because we want
to talk to you also about infrastructure, which is your particular responsibility. Will you be now
instructing Infrastructure Australia to start planning for a future in which this country has 35
million people?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, Infrastructure Australia is all about planning for the future, making sure
that it has a response, which is considered, which is about long-term planning for 10, 20, 30
years. That's why, Tony, it developed a pipeline of projects through the infrastructure priority
list that it released in March of this year. That is precisely what it is doing that. That is also
why it's engaged in not just the issue of what projects should go forward, but also regulatory
reform; why it's doing measures such as the uniform public/private partnership guidelines that were
agreed to by COAG last year; why it's developing a national freight strategy, a national ports
strategy; why indeed the Government in two weeks time will, through the Australian Transport
Council, be meeting with all of the state and territory ministers to have single national
regulators in rail safety, in maritime and in heavy vehicles. So it's about getting investment, but
it's also about getting that regulatory reform and policy process in place as well.

TONY JONES: OK, well, one of the areas in which they're looking is cities of the future, as they
call it. You live in Sydney. Where - what do Sydney or Melbourne look like with seven million
people each? What changes? What's been put in place to cope with those changes?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, I think what those cities look like in 20 years time is that they have much
greater use of public transport, they have much higher density and planning around those transport
modes, we use smart technology, through everything from information being given in cars and in -
available to people through their mobile phones, or whatever version of mobile phones exist in 20
years time, to give people up-to-date information so that they can get from A to B in the quickest
time. I think we will see nothing less than a transformation of our cities. We need to get much
better planning in place, and that is a part of the Infrastructure Australia agenda, and indeed why
we established the major cities unit as part of moving forward.

TONY JONES: Will you be looking, for example, at linking satellite cities to the major centres by
fast trains, so that you can take the pressure off the population base in the major centres, as
they do in many other countries around the world - in Europe, in the United States, to some degree,
and certainly in Asia?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Certainly that's one of the issues that'll be going forward. Of course, the
cities in Europe and Asia have much higher populations. I was in fact disappointed that we didn't
get a stronger submission for a fast train, say, from Newcastle to Sydney as part of the
Infrastructure Australia process. But this is a ...

TONY JONES: If you did - are you saying if you did get such a submission, you'd be willing to look
carefully at it and possibly even provide large-scale government funding?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, certainly this is a dynamic process. What we've seen with the
Infrastructure Australia process is we've committed to a quadrupling of funding on rail. Indeed,
we're spending more on rail in 12 months than the previous government spent in 12 long years. This
is vital to our future, for both freight, but also for passenger rail. There's no doubt that it's
part of not just modern cities, but it's got to be part of the climate change agenda as well. We
need to move towards ...

TONY JONES: With respect, there's not a lot on the books right now in that regard. I mean, there
are some projects, there are some very expensive projects for inner-city rail networks in Brisbane
and in Sydney, but there aren't the sort of wide, sweeping projects, as you just referred to, which
would link satellite cities together and take the pressure off a population base like Sydney or
Melbourne or even Brisbane for that matter.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: That's correct, but there are projects, be it the Northbridge rail project in
Perth is a very exciting project that will change the nature of the city of Perth by linking the
city for the first time in a way that it should be done. The O-Bahn project in Adelaide, the Gawler
electrification of the line there; the extension of the rail line from Noarlunga to Seaford. The
regional rail link process in Melbourne is very exciting in the western suburbs. That's linked with
urban development.

TONY JONES: They all exist, of course, but by comparison with a major infrastructure project like a
fast train, they are quite modest, if you'll forgive me for saying so.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I think the regional rail link at $4.25 billion, that will transform the way that
Melbourne operates and the way that regional cities, indeed, such as Ballarat and Bendigo are able
to relate to the city of Melbourne are major projects. That is a precondition for the next stage of
rail projects that you would have in Melbourne. We have moved forward substantially. Can more be
done? Of course that is the case. And we need to be vigilant and determined and work as different
tiers of government - Commonwealth, state and local - but also with the private sector to achieve
these objectives. But we have made substantial progress. We have the largest ever infrastructure
program in Australia's history. And that is real progress in terms of building economic
productivity into the future.

TONY JONES: OK, Anthony Albanese, we'll have to leave you there. We're out of time. But we thank
you very much for taking the time to come talk to us again on Lateline.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you, Tony.

Iraq experiences worst violence in 2 years

Iraq experiences worst violence in 2 years

Broadcast: 27/10/2009

Reporter: Ben Knight

Two suicide bombs have torn through the heart of Iraq's capital Baghdad, killing more than 130
people and littering the streets with mangled cars and the shreds of buildings.


TONY JONES, PRESENTER: Iraq's deadliest violence in more than two years has left the streets of
Baghdad littered with charred bodies, mangled cars and shredded buildings. Two suicide bombs tore
through the heart of the capital, killing more than 130 people and injuring hundreds of others.
Blaming the attacks on Al Qaeda, Iraqi's Prime Minister said they were designed to create chaos
ahead of key parliamentary elections in January. Middle East correspondent Ben Knight reports.

(Sound of a massive bomb explosion).

BEN KNIGHT, REPORTER: A mobile phone camera captures the second explosion, detonated just moments
after the first. Once again, the targets were Iraqi Government buildings. This time it was the
Baghdad Provincial Administration and the Ministry of Justice.

UNKNOWN (voiceover translation): As we were doing our business at the Ministry, an explosion took
place, sending up thick smoke, covering us. I saw dead girls and employees fallen on the floor.

BEN KNIGHT: Water mains were destroyed, flooding the streets and adding to the chaos, while the
city centre resembled a car wrecking yard.

Hundreds of people were injured, dozens trapped in the rubble.

Hospitals were overwhelmed as the injured arrived in waves. The lucky ones were able to walk away
by themselves.

This was the second major attack on government buildings in Baghdad after blasts in August that
killed nearly 100 people.

MOHAMMED AL-RUBAIEY, BAGHDAD CITY COUNCILLOR: These government buildings, which were not struck
during the past six years, they start collapsing one by one. This is a deliberate plan to target
the political process in full.

BEN KNIGHT: This is supposed to be one of Baghdad's most secure areas. The attacks came on the same
day that Iraq's Parliament was trying to hammer out an agreement to allow national elections to go
ahead in January. Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki has staked his campaign for re-election on

Although violence across the country has been on the decline, today's attacks show that the
insurgents still have the ability to strike hard with devastating effects.

Early reports suggest that two vehicles, each carrying more than a ton of explosives, might have
passed through several checkpoints before reaching their targets. No one has yet claimed
responsibility. Some Iraqi officials blame Al Qaeda or remnants of the Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath
Party for this spike in violence.

These attacks appear to be aimed at destabilising the Government and are expected to get worse
ahead of elections.

SAFIA AL-SUHAIL, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT (voiceover translation): We have to reconsider the security
plan drawn up for the capital Baghdad, which is basically targeted during the next stage till the

BEN KNIGHT: The question is: will they succeed in turning voters against the Al Maliki Government
or instead galvanise them against the attackers? As families of the victims began burying their
dead, the signs weren't good for Iraq's Prime Minister.

ISA SALMAN, RELATIVE OF VICTIM (voiceover translation): Three people were killed: a man, his wife
and his brother. This is the result of the Government's struggle for power. The poor people are the
victims of their running after power.

BEN KNIGHT: The United States has condemned these attacks but says it won't slow its withdrawal of
troops from Iraqi cities. That means it's up to Iraqi forces to maintain security on the streets of
Baghdad, and that's a task that's proving to be a major test.

A quick look at the weather: That's all from us, Lateline Business coming up in a moment. If you'd
like to look back at tonight's interview tonight's interview with Anthony Albanese, or review
stories or transcripts, visit the web site. Now here is Lateline Business with
Ali Moore.