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 -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

(generated from captions) with the recording studio. There's a problem Let's see what we can do. I'll catch you later, Fenn. Morning, 5F. Good of you to join us, Hohepa. has for us today. Now, let's see what Miss Partington 'Pounamu Pounamu'... Exploration of Teenage Lesbian Love'. ..'Truth, Dare or Promise - An Marvellous.

Now... LAUGHTER for this defamation I want the boy responsible and take his punishment like a man. to come forward I won't bother with detentions. I'm denied the use of the cane. who is responsible for this... So, the boy

..I am going to fuck! GASPS your namby-pamby buggery I'm not talking your music teacher, you might get from Mr Hundertwasser oh, no, boys. comes back for a second helping. No-one who's rogered by Gormsby GASPS It won't bite you, I promise. You add chime. That's it. MUSIC GETS LOUDER Just a bit slower... CHEESY SYNTH MUSIC MUSIC PLAYED BADLY MUSIC CONTINUES Bastabus, stand up. Stand up! to count backwards from 10. Now, I am going you're going to tell me who did this. And when I get there, six of the best. If not, you're gonna get I'm not talking centimetres. Ten! Nine! Eight! Seven! is getting pricked. I hope some boy's conscience Four! Three! Two! wasn't me! I don't care. Stop blubbing, Bastabus. you hadn't been rogered before. Anyone would think One! Zero!

Come on, quick! Right, boy, up here. Drop your strides. UNDOES ZIP Come on, quickly! Bend over. It was me. (Sobs with relief) Ah, Hohepa. Just as I thought. I wasn't going to roger you. Sit down, Bastabus, of course This isn't a Catholic school. It was simply a ruse... for his actions. make Hohepa take responsibility Shamed, bro. LAUGHTER OFF-KEY MUSIC PLAYS trying to bum Bastabus. Mr Dasent...Mr Gormsby's go and get Mr Mudgeway, quick. Um, I can't leave here now, MUSIC CONTINUES HUNDERTWASSER SHOUTS, (Puffs and pants) Oh, God! (Puffing and panting) What do you want?! Mr Mudgeway? Is that you? Mr Gormsby's trying to bum Bastabus! as quickly as I can. Oh, God...I'll come OK. Miss O'Flaherty! Oh...sorry to interrupt, OFF-KEY MUSIC PLAYS Oh, encore, encore! More! More! this troublesome fifth form? No. What about Oh, fuck... bachelor, but he is not a homosexual. Gormsby might be a confirmed your Commerce teacher. Like Mr Morton, You didn't know that did you, boys? GASPS you know, either. Mr Morton doesn't know with being a homosexual these days. But there's nothing wrong Peter Tchaikovsky... Oscar Wilde, Alexander the Great, greatest writers, political leaders, ..some of the world's damp-eyed nancy-boys. AND Commerce teachers have been Now, I want you to write, 100 times, Mr... ..Morton... ..takes it up the arse...

with that! ..and there's nothing wrong Commence!

are very hard to find. Good relievers Everything OK? Of course! Bastabus, you OK? Yes, sir. Hohepa, anything to report? It's alright, you can tell Steve. Nuh. BELL RINGS (Relieved sigh) Class dismissed. BOYS CHATTER Afternoon, Madam. CLOSING THEME International Pty Ltd Captioning and Subtitling Closed Captions provided by This program is not subtitled

This program is not subtitled Tonight - John Howard gets his Christmas wish. legislation virtually intact. His two favourite pieces of accept some ammendments, The Government has been able to compromised the thrust but in no way has the Government of either piece of legislation. And Santa's elves are happy, too. To be not too blunt about it: saved Christmas, to say that the Queensland Nationals saved Christmas. or the National Party This program is captioned live.

Welcome to Lateline. Good evening. I'm Tony Jones. tax scandal With just the Robert Gerard Coalition's Christmas drinks, blowing the froth off the the Government potentially damaging story is so tightly controlling that or even backbenchers, that none of the ministers, whom we approached today were willing to comment. That being the case, we'll cross to Parliament House Minister, Lindsay Tanner, to speak to the Shadow Finance the Reserve Bank Governor who's predicting close questioning will come in for some the house economics committee meets. the next time

but first our other headlines. That's coming up, team up to oppose sedition measures Australia's biggest media players in the anti-terror bill.

Queensland's 'Dr Death' inquiry against surgeon Jayant Patel. recommends manslaughter charges And Britain's secret memo - the official Secrets Act invoked alleged plan by President Bush to suppress publication of an to bomb Al-Jazeera. from his party room The PM has secured agreement industrial relations on the controversial and counter-terrorism legislation. After agreeing to some ammendments, by Coalition MPs and senators. the bills were approved The PM is now hopeful through Parliament before christmas. the legislation will pass

says Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce before locking in his vote, he'll hold out to the end but he's happy with the changes to the workplace laws and says he's got what he wanted. Sally Sara reports from Canberra. It's just way the Prime Minister was hoping to finish the year - the Coalition party room

has given it's backing to the industrial relations and counter-terrorism legislation after the Government agreed to some changes. The Government has been able to accept some amendments, but in no way has the Government compromised the thrust of either pieces of legislation. This is the man who could decide whether the industrial relations legislation gets through the Senate. It now looks like he'll vote 'yes'. Barnaby Joyce won't give a final answer, but he says he's got what he wanted. That would be a fair statement, but you always have to be careful that doesn't preclude your right to call for minor adjustments that become apparent right up to the very end. Well, I am a cautious man, as you know, and I always respect the democratic processes of the upper house. I'm hopeful that it will go through. Senator Joyce has got several amendments he was after, including: ...for workers not covered by other agreements. Barnaby Joyce has got nothing.

He's been sold a pup. And I suspect, on this occasion, he knows it. Last week, the Queensland Nationals staged a revolt in State Parliament to demonstrate their opposition to the bill. But, Barnaby Joyce is confident he has done enough to keep them on side. I think they will be quite happy, to be not too blunt about it, to say that the Queensland Nationals or the National Party saved Christmas. It's not the kind of Christmas the unions were hoping for. They say Barnaby Joyce is only tinkering at the edges and the bill should be thrown out. But he says it's up to workers to decide whether their lives will change for better or worse. If their life has got decidedly worse, well, we will see the ramifications of the IR policy up close, but I don't think that will be the case. While Barnaby Joyce focuses on the amendments

to the industrial relations legislation, the Government has also made changes to its counter-terrorism laws. It's taken on board some of the suggestions put forward by the Senate. A Coalition-dominated Senate committee recommended more than 50 changes to the legislation, including a five-year sunset clause and the removal of sedition laws. But both of those demands have been knocked back. The sunset clause will stay at 10 years with a 5-year review, and the sedition laws will remain, but will be reviewed early next year. In the meantime, the sedition law, in the form in which it will now take, is sufficiently hedged and guarded by safeguards and expanded defences

to remove any doubt anybody could possibly have that political speech and political commentary could be effected. Labor says the extra safeguards won't be enough. We think it's just crazy to try to turn a law that was designed to protect kings and queens of Britain

to use it as a tool to fight terrorism in the 21st century. But it seems the Government will have its way - the PM is hopeful the counter-terrorism and industrial relations changes will be through the Parliament before Christmas. Sally Sara, Lateline. In a rare move, Australia's major news organisations have got together to oppose the sedition measures in the new anti-terror legislation. They're worried the laws will stifle public debate and threaten the freedom of the press. The country's biggest media players have formed a coalition to lobby the Senate for changes to the bill. More from Anne Maria Nicholson. The call to disobey the proposed laws came at a writers' forum -

convened to examine the consequences of the sedition provisions. What I believe we should be doing is a campaign of civil disobedience to this act. The bill creates new offences for inciting violence with jail sentences up to seven years. Publishers and journalists who report so-called seditious statements and events could be taken into custody

and held without trial for an indefinite period. Prominent lawyer Ian Barker said the new laws reflected an increasingly repressive government and would divide Australians. In my view, it is preposterous to assert that this country needs legislative protection against mere words. Australia's biggest media players have formed a rare coalition to oppose sections of the laws. Fairfax, News Limited, and the major television networks fear the Government will be able to pursue journalists for their notes and sources, compromising the freedom of the press. We want to continue

to bring the concerns of the entire media industry about the grave consequences if this bill is enacted as it is currently written. While the media groups say they will be bound by the laws, they also say they are committed to independent, rigorous journalism and won't allow that to be compromised. Anne Maria Nicholson, Lateline. The Opposition has revealed that the Taxation Commissioner put a legal hold on $250 million of Robert Gerard's company assets

months after he was appointed to the board of the Reserve Bank. Labor today continued its pursuit of the Government over Mr Gerard's appointment 2.5 years ago while he was fighting tax evasion proceedings. Treasurer Peter Costello maintained his defence of the Adelaide businessman's appointment. Wasn't the Treasurer aware

that Mr Gerard had, on behalf of his company of which he was the major shareholder, negotiated in the Cayman Islands an insurance scam that had been fought by the Tax Office for 14 years? Isn't it a fact that Mr Gerard should not have been appointed to the Reserve Bank board because of that tax scandal? Isn't the Treasurer inventing spurious distinctions in full cover-up mode to try to escape responsibility for having made this grossly inappropriate appointment of a Liberal Party mate? The Honourable Mr Costello - No, Mr Speaker. But then Labor unveiled its new element - a charge over the assets of Gerard Industries, taken out in September 2003, six months after he'd taken his place on the Reserve Bank board. Why was the Government forced to take this heavy action to protect its interests in relation to Mr Gerard's tax arrangements if all outstanding matters had been resolved? Naturally, because of the secrecy provisions of the Tax Act,

I am not privy to the individual affairs of the taxpayer. Mr Howard repeated that the Tax Commissioner had given Mr Gerard the all-clear on his personal tax affairs at the time of his appointment. Robert Gerard's alleged Caribbean tax haven has again focused attention on the huge amounts of money leaking out of Australia through international tax scams. Tax experts have told Lateline illegal havens have been a thorn in the side of the Australian Taxation Office and have been made worse by the globalisation of business. However, the ATO is clearly hoping to claim some high-profile scalps soon -

and reduce the allure of overseas tax avoidance. Rachel Carbonell reports. The expression "tax haven" evokes images of far away tropics -

the Cook Islands, Mauritius, the Caribbean. It used to mean a country with low tax and secrecy provisions to frustrate overseas revenue authorities. But increased competition for investment between countries means there are now plenty of countries with low tax that aren't necessarily tax havens in the traditional sense. And these changes are providing real problems for the Australian Tax Office. The biggest challenge for the ATO is that globalisation now means many many more Australian taxpayers, many more Australian businesses, have perfectly legitimate reasons to be operating in offshore jurisdictions and, indeed, many legitimate reasons to be operating in low-tax jurisdictions. Operating in a tax haven isn't necessarily illegal, but using one purely for the purpose of tax avoidance is. It's very very difficult for the tax office to be able to distinguish between a legitimate and genuine offshore transaction and the illegitimate transaction. International tax avoidance has been a big problem in Australia, particularly in the 1980s and '90s. Given the lack of ATO audit in the past, people had formed a view that their chances of being caught offshore were fairly remote. But Michael Dirkis from the Australian Taxation Institute says greater resources and a renewed focus on international tax scams are having an effect. I think their current attack has probably started to make a number of people think whether it's as safe as they have in the past believed. The ATO's high-profile $300 million Operation Wickenby is a part of that attack. It's reportedly aimed at high-profile, high-wealth individuals and is backed by the Australian Crime Commission and the Australian Federal Police. Reduced international secrecy provisions have also helped. The Treasurer, Peter Costello, has been at the forefront

of campaigns for international cooperation and against international tax avoidance, and so his appointment of Robert Gerard to the Reserve Bank board has caused some to point out the irony. The irony, from what I can understand, is that the Treasurer has been,

keen on the issues surrounding tax evasion and at the same time, has appointed somebody to the Bank board who the ATO at least has serious concerns about tax evasion. Stephen Bell has written a book about the Reserve Bank and he says the Robert Gerard controversy is more evidence of the need to rethink the way the RBA board is appointed. Rachel Carbonell, Lateline.

This raises serious concerns about

the veracity of the process and I

would have thought challenges or at

least raises questions about the

legitimacy of the bank board at

legitimacy of the bank board at this point. But as of now it's only the

Opposition that's talking about

making changes to the process.

No-one from the ATO was available No-one from the ATO was available to comment. Rachel Carbonell, Lateline. We're joined now by in Canberra by one of those Labor critics,

the Shadow Finance Minister, Lindsay Tanner.

In the US political system, they

have a system of congressional

hearings for appointments like

Robert Gerard's. Would that work in

Australia? I would have

Australia? I would have reservations about heading down that path but we

will have a look at the process of appointing members of the Reserve

Bank board. When Australians owe

money to the tax office or the

money to the tax office or the child support office they are pursued up

hill and down dale and yet here we

have an Olympic standard tax dodger

being appointed to the Reserve Bank

board by the Howard Government. It

just shows in John Howard's

Australia there's one rule for rich

Liberal mates and a different rule

for everybody else. I know you

for everybody else. I know you can't write Labour policy but does the

Gerard case point out the need for

more transparency at least in the

process of appointing to the

process of appointing to the Reserve Bank board? I think it does raise

big questions along those lines. We

will have a look at that and at the

hearing that our

hearing that our committee, the

House economics committee will have

in the new year, I will ask the

governor of the Reserve Bank if he

approved the appointment, if he was

a-aware of the extraordinary tax

issues hanging over Mr Gerard's

issues hanging over Mr Gerard's head at the time and if he has any views

about reforming the process. This

calls into question the integrity

calls into question the integrity of the Reserve Bank board an it's not

an ordinary board. These people

an ordinary board. These people vote to determine the level of interest

rates, they're not an oversight

board, they have an active role in

setting intraaes interest rates in

this country and it shows the

this country and it shows the degree of arrogance and out of touch

of arrogance and out of touch nature of the Howard Government that they

can't see it as a problem here.

can't see it as a problem here. They can't see this giant tax avoidance

scam casts doubt over the integrity

of a board member. Wouldn't you

of a board member. Wouldn't you want to be putting those questions

equally to the tax commissioner?

I think that's a fair call and the

tax commissioner may well appear at

some point before our committee.

It's a routine arrangement we have

every six months for the Reserve

Bank bank board. Obviously there

Bank bank board. Obviously there are questions we want to put to the tax

commissioner as well about this

issue. There's a really fundamental

question of values here. And it's

question of values here. And it's at the core of the Liberal Party and

the core of the Liberal Party and it goes back a long way, and that is

there's a blind spot about tax

there's a blind spot about tax avoid anss by rich people. They reckon

it's OK for rich people like Robert

Gerard to get away with whatever

they can get away, with it's all

part of the game. We had it when

John Howard was trrn with bottom of

the harbour schemes and they think

that's alright. There's a deep vane

of attitude in the Liberal Party

that sort of thing is OK yet

ordinary hard working Australians

are get taxed till the pips squeak

and they don't care about people

like Mr Gerard getting appointed to

the Reserve Bank board while

the Reserve Bank board while they're in the mid of a giant tax scam case.

It's not as if the Labour Party has

been squeaky time in Government

been squeaky time in Government over appointments to boards. It's been

such a long standing political

practice of Governments to stack

bonks and Gareth Evans joked a

bonks and Gareth Evans joked a board is what it needs if it doesn't have

a House of Lords. You might recall

it was that Government that

privatised the Qantas board and

privatised the Qantas board and over 13 years in Government not every

board appointment we made was

perfect but there was nothing as

perfect but there was nothing as red hot as this one, nothing you can

point to in the Reserve Banker

point to in the Reserve Banker other boards that remotely resembles how

outrageous this is. You have

outrageous this is. You have someone who has been fined $36 million in

penalties, paid $150 million to

settle a case so you can imagine

what would have happened if it went

to court. Peter Costello clearly

knew about it. He's refused to deny

he knew about it. Mr Gerard says he

knew about it and he's gone and

appointed him to the Reserve Bank

board. It's no co incidence that

Gerard is a key part of Peter

Costello's power base in the

Costello's power base in the Liberal Party. They don't care about rich

people's tax avoidance but they

chase the little people for every

last cent. You say you will be

questioning the chairman of the

Reserve Bank. What will you ask him

about other possible replacements

because there is the possibility

that Frank Lowy may leave the board

soon enough, if which case a

soon enough, if which case a vacancy will emerge and Labour presumably

will be in the position of fighting

against a potential government

appointee. It's been suggested that

Ron Walker may well be appoint and

he is the ultimate Liberal Party

mate and if we treat these

appointments as some kind of

cocktail circuit reward for Liberal

Party mates, then it really is

Party mates, then it really is going to call into question the integrity

of the Reserve Bank. Let me say

of the Reserve Bank. Let me say this - we are very fortunate in this

country to have an outstanding

institution in the Reserve Bank.

Both under Iain McFarlane and

Both under Iain McFarlane and Bernie fraiser. The is a years of

continuous economic growth that a

lot of that credit is dhow dew to

the Reserve Bank and it's critical

we have a Reserve Bank board that

the community has confidence in.

That's been shaken. We don't want

That's been shaken. We don't want to see the Government further shake

that confidence by appointing

somebody who is clearly associated

with the Government. You say it's

been shaken. The Treasurer's

argument is that tax audits are

argument is that tax audits are very common, especially for high wealth

individuals and if someone disputes

an audit in court they're innocent

until proven guilty in that court.

We've clearly had somebody cop a

plea here. You don't cough up $150

million if you think you're going

million if you think you're going to get off if you're being taken to

court. The really obvious response

to the Treasurer's comment is the

ordinary citizen facing a tax audit

over his workplace expenses or

something like that is not involved

in dodgy insurance, phoney

in dodgy insurance, phoney insurance arrange pths in the Dutch an

tillies. He's not involved with

tillies. He's not involved with $150 million of tax that's been foregone

12 years. This is an extraordinary

case. The

case. The notion that this is

case. The notion that this is normal routine stuff is total rubbish. The

ordinary Australian citizen who

deals with the tax office and is

sometimes in dispute with the tax

office is light years away from

office is light years away from this stuff. That is just nonsense.

Final question - do Labour's

strategists believe this will have

some impact on Peter Costello's

leadership ambitions? It clearly

exposes a real weakness in Peter

Costello f and that's lack of

judgment. Complete lack of judgment.

He has got a responsibility to

uphold standards and here he has

appointed somebody to a critical

position, the Reserve Bank board,

who is right at the heart of an

extraordinary tax avoid antionz

extraordinary tax avoid antionz scam and extraordinary tax avoidance

and extraordinary tax avoidance case and at the very peak of that case

it's months before it's ultimately

resolved he's clearly known about

resolved he's clearly known about it and from narrow political fashional

reasons he's appointed that person.

That calls into question Peter

Costello's integrity and his

judgment, both of which are

judgment, both of which are critical to leading this nation. Thank force

taking the time to talk to us.

Thank you. In England, two men have been charged with leaking a top secret government memo that could embarrass the US President, George W. Bush. The memo reportedly says the US President considered bombing the Al-Jazeera television network, whose coverage was critical of the war in Iraq. The British Government has issued an unusual warning to the media not to publish the memo, which has many war critics wondering what the Government has to hide. Rafael Epstein reports.

Two years ago and American troops

arephyting in the Iraqi capital

arephyting in the Iraqi capital when Al-Jazeera's Baghdad officer is hit

by an American missile and one

reporter is killed. One year later

and as the US launches its fierce

assault against insurgents in fluja,

Tony Blair is at the White House

with US President George W. Bush.

with US President George W. Bush. It seems they had a remarkable private

conversation. This week the former

top security official David Kehoe

went to court over the leaking of a

top secret memo detailing that

conversation. The memo appears to

make a spectacular claim, that

President Bush was so incensed by

Al-Jazeera's war coverage he wanted

to bomb their offices even though

the network's headquarters are in

Qatar. Details first published in

the Daily Mirror suggest Tony Blair

talked him out of it. Nothing but

the truth. The managing director is

now in London demanding answers and

getting nowhere.

The other man charged in court this

week is Leo O'Connor, a former

Labour starper. His former boss, a

Labour MP told police about the

leaked document. Before he did so,

he outlined its constents to Peter

kill foil. The former Minister of

the Blair Government says the memo

definitely includes a discussion

about bombing Al-Jazeera. On

Al-Jazeera there was a suggestion

Al-Jazeera there was a suggestion by the President that it be bombed.

Now, whether he said that as a joke

or not, I don't know. If it was, it

was in very poor taste but they

certainly had previous form. It's

not just the memo itself but the

British Government's response to it

that has people taking notice.

Presumably at the PM's direction

Presumably at the PM's direction the Attorney-General has fired a gun

across the bous of any newspaper

that wants to publish any more

detiefls memo - the warning, the

full weight of the powerful

full weight of the powerful official secrets Act could be used against

them. I think they're panicking.

They believe there's another copy

somewhere out there which is going

to severely embarrass them and they

don't want it published. The US and

Britain say it's all a laughable

conspiracy theer yi.

It seems to me as though the

Government are terrified that the

Government are terrified that the record that they have of that

meeting is at odds with what the

Americans would like to see in the

public domain. The White House and

Downing Street have not net

Downing Street have not net answered any of Al-Jazeera's official

queries. The trial of the two

queries. The trial of the two public servant also resume next Federal politicians from all parts of the political spectrum queries. The trial of the two public servant also resume next year. have tonight attended a candlelight vigil for the condemned drug trafficker Van Nguyen.

They joined hundreds of people outside Parliament House in Canberra in a show of support just two days before Nguyen's scheduled execution. And, with hopes of a reprieve fading fast, his lawyers are now concentrating on the rights of his distressed mother. They're pleading for the Singapore authorities to allow a contact visit for Mrs Nguyen

to let her hold her son one last time. Lisa Millar reports.

As the sun set over Canberra, a000

candles glowed, politicians from

both sides of politics showing

support for the condemned drug

terrific trafficker. They're hoping

their vigil offers comfort to the

Australian and his family as they

count down the last hours before

count down the last hours before his execution. His lawyer Lex lassry

execution. His lawyer Lex lassry saw him in Changi prison this afternoon.

An hour and 20 minutes with him,

enjoyable optimistic times humorous,

he's ready to die and he's grateful

for the support he's had. He's an

amazing young man. Despite

Singapore's sensitivities, Mr Hasry

is not tempering his criticisms.

I can't imagine I could disagree

with anyone more than I do with a

regime that promotes a death

regime that promotes a death penalty and imposes a death penalty by

hanging, which is an antiquated med

of execution. There is no hope left

that le can be safe bud they're

pleading with Singapore to allow

pleading with Singapore to allow his mother one last hug. They've got

mother one last hug. They've got him in the prison right behind us. They

will hang him at 6 o'clock on

will hang him at 6 o'clock on Friday morning. There's no basis on which

that family shouldn't be consold at

least with some level of physical

contact with their brother and son.

While many Australians have shown

support for Van Nguyen, the South

Australian Premier says the idea of

observing a minute's silence at the

time of his death would be

time of his death would be offensive to Australian servicemen and women.

I think to somehow equate a

convicted, self-confessed drug deal

wer those that have served and paid

the ultimate sacrifice is insulting.

the ultimate sacrifice is incredibly insulting. But Mr Rann has joined

others in condeping the execution.

Many the face of international

pressure Singapore has maintained

its tough stance right throughout

this case and as the end nears for

Van Nguyen there is no sign that will change. It became known as the Dr Death inquiry, now the investigation into the deaths of 13 patients in Queensland hospitals has recommended manslaughter charges against the surgeon responsible. Rogue doctor Jayant Patel is still on the run in the US. But two former health ministers are also in the firing line in what the Australian Medical Association says is a health crisis common to all States. Karen Berkman reports. The inquiry began when overseas-trained surgeon Dr Jayant Patel was linked to 80 suspicious deaths at Bundaberg Hospital - 13 now sheeted home to his negligence. Now hiding in the United States, he's being pursued internationally to face a string of charges, including manslaughter. REPORTER: Do you think this report will be instrumental in helping to bring Jayant Patel to justice? I hope so. The inquiry found that Patel had lied to the medical board to gain registration and that the board had failed to do fundamental checks. The Patel case cracked open a State health system already crumbling - under-funded, under-staffed and under extreme pressure to recruit personnel, especially for regional centres. I think this is a national problem. We may well be more magnified in Queensland. We know we have less doctor numbers We know we've been spending less per head of population in Queensland. The problems have come out here first, but this should give no comfort to other states.

In Queensland the repercussions run right through the public service and into State Cabinet. The 500-page report recommends further action against Patel's two immediate superiors and reprimands two former health ministers for concealing the blow-out in surgical waiting lists, and for failing to recognise the serious nature of the case against Dr Patel. For the nurse whistleblower, the report represents vindication.

I'm glad that we've got some good outcomes from this. The patients who suffered at the hands of the system want the recommendations followed through. We were never revengeful but I was wanting justice. The Queensland Government has already announced plans to spend more than $6 billion over the next 5 years rebuilding the health system and the public's faith in it.

Karen Berkman, Lateline. And now to an update on Robert Jovicic,

the convicted burglar and former heroin addict deported to Serbia after living in Australia nearly all of his life. Lateline revealed last week that Mr Jovicic was destitute in Belgrade. The Australian Government has since organised accommodation and medical tests for him while it reviews his case. But, in Australia,

Robert Jovicic's family says his medical condition is so serious that he needs to be brought home straight away. Margot O'Neill has the story. As winter takes hold in Belgrade, walking into this medical centre is a painful experience for 38-year-old Robert Jovicic, whose health is deteriorating. He's about to find out why. (Speaks foreign language)

Dr Slobodan Markovic, through an interpreter, says X-rays show that Mr Jovicic may need surgery on his back to treat widespread degenerative disc disease. Perhaps more alarming,

Mr Jovicic has been told by other doctors in recent days that he may also have prostate cancer.

And just to find out now that the condition has deteriorated so much worse at such an early age - more devastating for me.

I can't be suffering daily, nightly. I can't...I can't do it anymore. And now we're going into winter, I just don't know, I don't honestly know if I'll make it. You know, if they don't take me back, there's no...there's no choice for me. The Australian Ambassador has been providing accommodation and medical support for Robert Jovicic since he was found destitute on the embassy steps last week. Mr Jovicic was deported last year after a string of convictions, including burglary, to support a heroin habit. Although his parents were Serbian, he was born in France and lived in Australia from when he was two years old.

Serbia has refused to recognise him, leaving him stateless. His serious medical condition makes the Australian Government review of his case even more urgent, according to his sister, Susanna Jovicic. You know, it would be very, very sad to hear them say, "Well, had we got him earlier "we could have prevented this, this or that." I mean, right now we're looking at salvaging what we possibly can with his condition and his health. Susanna Jovicic says Robert has not had proper treatment for his back for nearly two years since being put in Australian immigration detention in Melbourne

and then deported to Serbia.

He says, you know, every step for him is a pain. Even lying in bed is difficult. I guess his concern is that he's going to be a cripple. Immigration officials met Susanna Jovicic yesterday in Sydney and promised to make a decision about Robert's future before Christmas. It would be fantastic to have him here before Christmas so my kids can see him and we, you know, can put our arms around him. And if he's going to break down, better he do that with his family than somewhere alone. Knowing that there is a family back down there that care for me, um, is just the only thing that's keeping me going for the moment. But that even is fading too. I've suffered enough. I think I've paid more than enough, and I want to just come back home. Margot O'Neill, Lateline. To the markets now, which lost ground again today. The All Ords closed in the red, falling more than 1.5 points. Solid gains by resource companies weren't enough to keep the market in positive territory. BHP Billiton was up 4 cents, while Rio Tinto added 41 cents. Elsewhere, Telstra shares dropped to $3.85, and the banks were mostly lower. In the region, the Hang Seng and the Nikkei are both down. In London, the FTSE is behind. Now, to the weather. And that's all for this evening. If you'd like to look back at tonight's interview

or review any of Lateline's stories or transcripts, you can visit our website at I'll be joining my colleagues at the Walkley journalism awards tomorrow night

and Maxine McKew will be in this chair through to the end of the week. So, that makes this my last program for the year.

I'll be back when Lateline restarts next year. Until then, I hope you miss us. Good night, and good luck. Closed Captions produced by Captioning and Subtitling International Pty Ltd

This program is not subtitled

This program is not subtitled