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CC tonight - 12,000 dead,

thousands more buried in the

China quake. Tough but fair -

Treasurer Wayne Swan walks the line. There's not going to be

rabbits out of a hat

tonight. The Blues name a

Origin. Queensland star for State of

Jaubs. Time is life, that is

the rally ing cry from leaders.

Almost 12,000 people are

confirmed dead. Countless more

lie buried under the rubble.

The Quake measured 7en 9, the

most baufrl to hit China in 30

years. The epi centre was about

90km from the city of Chengdo

in Sichuan Province. Tonight

there has been wave after wave

of terrifying aftershocks

increase ing the panic. The

earthquake struck with no

warning and with devastating

force. There was little refuge

for those caught in its fury.

Here a terrified student tried

to protect himself as the quake

hit. Outside, others ran in

panic, looking for safe

grounds. The destruction is

overwhelming. Entire villages

have been levelled and

buildings torn to shreds. China

has responded at lightning

speed with a massive search and

rescue effort. Specially

trained troops with sniffer

dogs, are pouring in to hunt

for the victims. They're

searching for survivors, rescuers pulled one lucky girl

from the rubble. Chinese

Premier Wen Jiabao is already

at the disaster zone to oversee

the rescue operation. At the

site of a collapsed high

school, he called out to buried

victim that is help is on the

way. He also spoke to anxious

onlookers. So long as there is

a glimmer of hope we will make

every effort. We will not rest.

But in bad weather, rescuers

are struggling to reach the

injured. This boy was one of

those trapped. On a tragic day

for China this is probably the

saddest location, I'm stand ing

next to a high school where 900

students have been buried in

the rubble and rescue workers

are trying to save what Who

they can. Behind me they're

bringing out the bodies and the

family and friends of those

involved are waiting to see if

one of their loved ones has

survived. One girl went to the

middle school looking for her

little brother. We haven't been

told what's happened to him,

she said, "I hope he has been

taken to hospital". With the

identification of each new body

at the school fireworks were

lit to send the dead off

peacefully. Bad as their

conditions are, they're far

belter off than those further

north where rescue workers are

struggling to reach the epi

centre. Many roads are blocked,

the devastation the rerescue

teams will eventually find is

likely to dwarf anything seen

so far. As relatives mourn

their dead China is bracing

itself for the casualties still

to come. China is no stranger

to major earth quakes, 30 years

ago a quarter of a million

people died in one. The country

lies on one of the most

seismically active regions on

the planet, along the Himalayan

mountains. The Chinese know all

about devastating earth quakes.

The country sits on one of the

most seismically active regions

on the planet P shall In 1976,

250,000 people died in a

violent tremor in the city of

tang Shan, right on a major

faultline. Earth quakes can

occur at any depth down to over

600km. If they occur very deep

not much of the energy gets to

the surface. If the depth is

shallow, 10km, most of the

energy reaches the surface.

Sichuan Province, which was

struck this time, has been hit

before. In 1933, 10,000 people

were killed in massive tremor.

Geologists believe the latest

quake happened this way. Two

of the tectonic plates that

form the earth's surface meet

at the boardser with India, the

Indian plate is pushing against

the neighbouring Eurasian

plate, this can cause

vibrations along smaller

faultlines and in Sichuan

Province experts believe one

layer of rock collided with

another leading to the

devastating tremors. Because of

China's history with earth

quakes, there are stricter

construction codes there these

days to ensure buildings sway

if the ground moves. But there

have also been plenty of

developmentings that don't make

the grade. You have all these

Hervey stone blocks that come,

collapse down completely and a

lot of this will turn to dust

as well. So people think of the

cause of death in an earthquake

as being struck by stones, or

being crushed but a lot of

people will be suffocated. This

latest disaster is sure to put

even more pressure on

authorities to dramatically

improve building standards in a

country that will inevitably

feel the deadly force of earth

tremors again. Australians are

once again digging deep to help

the relief effort in China.

Around the country, China's

communities have been praying for victims of the communities have been praying Community leaders have

gathered to discuss aid

donation s. The Australian

Chinese community is always gen rouse towards the community

back home. The Rudd Government

says there are no known

Australian casualties. I extend

our sympathy to those affected

bit the earthquake in China.

I've written to the Chinese

Premier expressing this and

offering Australian assistance.

Anyone worried about family

and friends can call the

Department of Foreign Affairs.

China's response to the

disaster has been both swift

and sure, but it's a different

story in Burma. Aid agencies

say the relief effort there is

floundering with cyclone

survivors at grave risk from

hunger and disease. Prime

Minister Kevin Rudd says the

rule ing junta's response to

the cries cise can only be de-

scribed as callous.

After days of diplomatic

wrangling a plan touched down.

The aid was welcome. The

Americans were given a cursory

greeting then sent on their

way. It's not enough. We would

hope that the Burmese Junta

would allow more flights to

come in. 31 tonnes of aid from

Australia has also landed

today. It has been appallingly

difficult to get assistance in

to Burma and once in, to have

any guarantee of its proper

distribution. The response of

the regime in Burma to this

crisis has been absolutely

callous. As the people become

more desperate the military

leaders of Burma remain

unwilling to accept the help of

foreign aid workers, by some

reports rice supplies inside

the country are almost gone.

Unicef is concerned about how

the many affected children will

cope without food. We will have

to set up screening systems to

find those children that are

acutely malnourished and make

sure they get treatment for

that the acute malnutrition. If

ther not treated they will

die The threat of disease is

increasing by the day. Now the

weather forecast is ominous.

The rain within the coming

week, will be equal for the

full rain pour in May last

year. That could scuttle what

little aid is getting into the

country with disastrous results

for the 1.5 million people

still in need.

A budget for the decade is

how the Federal Treasurer's

describing it, in less than

half an hour Wayne Swan will

release the details of it in

Canberra. The Labor

Government's first budget is

one the Prime Minister says

will usher in a new era of

responsible management. It will

also involve spending of more

than $13 billion to pay for

election promises. Political

correspondent Greg gen et. No

Treasurer has ever held a set

of numbers like it. It's tough

but fair. Certainly not his

predecessor. Mr Swan would be

the luckiest incoming Treasurer

in Australian history. Luck's

misfortune stirred Peter

Costello from his five-month

media slumber. All the hard

yards, done by the

Coalition. In 10 minutes he

upstaged Brendan Nelson and

Malcolm Turnbull with free

ranging commentary on

everything but his future. Why

don't you interview

yourselves? It's damaging. Is

it? I say it is. No, it's not. Tonight it's the Treasurer's view of the future

that matters. This will be a

budget for the next decade.

Reigning in irresponsible

spending, tackling inflation,

and genuine investment for the

future. We're about to embark o

upon a new period of

responsible economic management

. The promise of restraint

won't stop spending on the

Government's major campaign

themes topping $13 billion.

Nearly half will go into

education alone. 3 billion for

Health, 2.2 billion for

housing, slightly more again

for climate change and water.

We're elected on a platform of

governing as economic

conservatives and we intend to

govern as economic conservatives. The Treasurer

was absent from question time,

talking to advisers and

journalists in the budget

lockup, leaving the Coalition

to zero in on the budget's tax

increases. Isn't this a budget

of confusion from a government

that doesn't know what it's

doing? And to make merry with

suggestions that work for the

dole would be scrapped. You'd

have to think that this looks like blg an anti-mother

pro-bludger budget. Not quite,

according to the man who

knows. We're keeping work for

the dole. In just 6 months

Wayne Swan has had a crash

course in the economics and the

politics of prosperity.

Tonight, a finely balanced

economy hinges on his

performance and just as

important for the flenl ling

Rudd Government its future

claims to economic credibility.

ABC1 will have full coverage

of the treasurers' budget

speech right after the news.

That will be followed at 8:00

pm by a News and current

affairs special with detailed

analysis of how the budget will

affect you. They've issued the

wedding bands but there is

still some way to go before Westpac and St George can be

formally united. The merger

deal is worth almost $19

billion, St George says it's an

attractive proposal and Westpac insists there's a compelling

case if it. If the union is

sanctioned it will create

Australia's largest bank. It's

the bank which had humble

begins in Sydney's

south-west. We've got to be

losers. Got to be. I'm dead set

against it. St George believes

the timing is right to go into

partnership. Proposal is

sufficiently attractive for us

to put it in front of our

shareholders. Westpac is

offering $18.6 billion for St

George. A deal would see

shareholders receive 1.3

Westpac shares for every St

George share, or just over $33

a share. It's a very

compelling opportunity, it

creates the leading

potentially, financial services

company in Australia. The

Shareholders Association is

telling members to consider

Westpac's offer very carefully,

because Australia's banking

industry could be in for a

volatile time. This merger will

ignite industry consolidation

across the board, amongst all

financial services sectors. The

temptation for other banks is

to... Westpac and make an

alternative bid for St

George. The other major banks

aren't showing their hands just

yet. Woigs pack CEO Gail Kelly

holds a million St George Bank

shares from her old job at that

bank. If this merger goes ahead

they'll increase in value by

25%, or more than $6.5 million.

Before it's a done deal,

shareholders, the competition

watch dog, and the Government,

will have to sign off on

it. We're talking about keeping

every single one of our

branchs, there will be no

branch losses. The union says

thousands of othersr other jobs

will be shed. We will take the

complain directly to the banks,

we will take it to their

shareholders, we will take it

to every level of

government. Both banks have 2

weeks to decide whether or not

they'll go ahead with the

merger. A 27-year-old man has

faced court has faced court

over last night's police chase

in Sydney. Traffic was banked

up for several kilometres along

Parramatta Road as police

chased a stolen 4-wheel Drive

from Redfern to Strathfield.

Police say an officer fired a

warning shot when the stolen

car was driven towards a

colleague. The chase ended when

the 4-wheel Drive crashed into

another car. Three men were

arrested. The State education

Minister may soon have to use

public transport to get to

work. John Della Bosca has

admitted he's about to lose his

driver's licence for

speeding. I regret my

carelessness and can report

speed cameras are very

effective. The Opposition says

he should take heed of the

Government's current

anti-speeding campaign.

Shall The RTA's message is clear, Eric Roozendaal's

statements are clear - idiots speed. The education Minister

has paid his speeding fines and

given up his ministerial

vehicle. A million children

heeded off to school today to

see how they stack up against

students in other states. They

were take ing Australia's first

national numeracy and literacy

exams. It's a big test for the

children and the tests

themselves. Over the next 3

days these Adelaide primary

school students will be put to

the test. To see how they

compare with youngsters in the

rest of the country. For the

first time, all Australian

children in years 3, 5, 7 and 9

are having literacy and

numeracy skills assessed. It

was very challenging but I

enjoyed it. It's one of those

things you find out what you're

good at and what you're not so

good at. They're good to show

your parents and feel proud of

yourself. In today's language

exam year 3s were did asked to

find the mistake in a sentence

like this. Year 9s had to

correct this kind of

sentence. It's going to give us

a piece of information we

haven't had before, it's going

to give parents information

they've never had before. The

task commences now. There are

concerns the information could

be used as a basis for funding.

Or that league tables could

lead to a shaming of bad

schools. League tables are a

Bad idea, because they

attribute false impressions

about a school's performance

based on a very narrow set of criteria. The Government

promised that we would put out

comprehensive information about

how schools are going. It

wouldn't be something as

simplistic as a league

table. The education Union is

worried the new system will

compromise standards and

teachers will coach students

for the test. Rather than a

broader education. We have

introduce end this nation

national testing when we've yet

to resolve the issue of

national curriculum. As far as

the students are concerned it's

one exam down, two to go.

Tonight's top story - 12,000

dead, China's earthquake toll

is expected to go higher. Still

to come - driving home a life

saving message. Going home cost

him his life. Melbourne taxi driver Fadhi Sheikh was

visiting Lebanon for the first

time in 10 years to see family

and friends. He ended up

another victim of the country's

factional fighting.

12 men died here, one was

Fadhi Sheikh killed by

pro-government militants during

a visit. What's clear is this

was an intense attack. What's

not clear is exactly how it

happened, or why. Falid Rahid's

garage is across the road, he

says he was one of the

attackers. He said those inside

the building had been shooting

at a peaceful demonstration and

villagers like him took

revenge. They got their guns,

surrounded the office. We told

them to surrender, they kept

shooting. These were the offices of the pro-Syrian

party, the SSNP, Fadhi Sheikh

was a member. In this area

they're a small minority so why

they would pick a fight like

this is a mystery. The Lebanese

Army says this was a hit squad

of pro-government militia who

came through this orchard then

towards this building where

what was obviously a vicious

fire fight took place. This was

less than 24 hours ago, yet

around us in this small village

life is going on apparently as

normal. But not in the nearby

village of Ayoun where Fadhi

Sheikh's family was in

mourning. He was here on

holiday for a month, says his

brother, Fadhi Sheikh's family

says he had nothing To do with

the politics of Lebanon but was

caught in the cross fire on his

way to a dentist appointment.

He was shot through the back

of the head, the Army said

there were no weapons around

him. I wish he'd gone back to

Australia. There's nothing here

except death. The Bank merger

was the big talking point on

financial markets today. There was speculation other deals

might be hatched in the near

future. The excitement of a big

bank merger wasn't enough to

sustain the market two dayinise

a row, the all ords index

closed nearly 11 points weak

beer even though Wall Street

rose 1%. The banking sector was

still action central - the merger bid weighed on Westpac's

share price, but St George

gained more than 25%, finishing

above the offer price of

$33.10. As was the case

yesterday, other possible

targets like Bendigo and the

Bank of Queensland were up

strongly. Australia's biggest private hospital operator

Ramsay Health Care suffered

from all the federal budget

talk surround ing health care.

Resource companies suffered

from weaker commodity prices,

and sales growth is slowing at

Harvey Norman. The company says

people are buying less big

ticket items. You can say that

again. Yet more statistics

showing we're borrowing less

with personal finance growing

at its weakest paste for 15

years. Treasurer Wayne Swan

might find this graph

interesting when considering a

Westpac and St George nernler merger. You can see how the gulf has widened since the credit crunch

hit around September last year.

Banks' share of home lending

has gone up 9%. The big five

banks account for almost 70% of

that. There was some good news

on commodities markets for

drivers with a fall in crude

oil prices in New York. And in

this part of the world. And

investors were prepared to take

on a little more risk, that

helped the Australian dollar.

It was quite a bit firmer

against the US currency at US

94 c. A bolter from Brisbane

has been picked to play in the

New South Wales team for the

opening State of Origin match. Broncos half Peter Wallace is

one of nine changes to the

Blues' team. Many names from

were in the suggestion box for

the Blues halfback role.

Peterual lace didn't rate

himself a chance at the start

of the centenary season. But he

got the call. You dream from

when you're a little kid, when

you start playing footy.

22-year-oldual lace was born

in Melbourne, learnt his rugby league at the foot of the Blue

Mountains and played for the

Panthers. Now a Bronco, his

Origin hopes escalated when he

had to increase his on-field

play making role when Darren

Lockyer was injured. Playing

along side him I suppose it did

help. Ual Wal Wallace, Wallace, Storm

winger Anthony Quinn Knights prop Ben Cross, and Titans

forward Anthony Lafranchi are

debutantses. After three season

out of Origin and nearing retirement, Rooster Craig

Fitzgibbon has reignited his

representative career. I'm

thankful to be here in any

capacity. Probably me ears are

still ringing. Bit of

character in there. That's what

we're gonna need this year. Newcastle utility Kurt

Gidley wasn't considered after

fracturing a cheek bone last

night. The Maroons selectors

slotted the Kangaroo fullback

Billy Slater into No. 1. There

was no room for Scott Prince.

Scott's a halfback, in our

opinion. Unfortunately he's competing against Jonathan

Thurston who has got that edge

on him at the moment. Origin 1

is in Sydney tomorrow week. The Olyroos have flown to Malaysia

for a Beijing Games for a

warm-up tournament. Mark

Milligan missed an important

training camp last week. Alley

roos captain Milligan is

adamant he is focused on

playing for his country.

Milligan will miss the first

two matches on the Malaysian

tour while under suspension, he

is satisfied the issue has been

resolved. I've decided to come

home and sort this out. I think

it shows my commitment to the

Olympic side and the Olympic

cause. Milligan wasn't named in

the Socceroos squad sfo the

friendly against Ghana in 10

days time, but four Olyroos

were, nine A-League players

to. Games like these are

fantastic for us and for them

to show us that they can play

on that level. West Indies

batsman Marlon Samuels face as

two-year ban for allegedly

having dealings with a book

maker, he was found guilty of

passing on team information

year. The Kings XI Indian during a series in India last

Premier League side looked more

like an Australian A team last

night. Shaun Marsh, James Hopes

and Luke Pomersbach were the

only batsmen required in

Punjab's nine wicket win over

Bangalore's Royal Challengers.

Shaun Marsh moved to fourth on

the list of run scorers in the

IPL. With 74 not out in a total

of 1/144. He is average ing 98

for the tournament. There was

hidden per perils on the third

stage of the tour of Italy.

Bradley McGee suffer add broken

collar bone in a fall 20km from

the finish. Stuart O'Grady

suffered an identical injury in

a separate crash as many

struggled to stay upright

during the 221km stage won by

the Italian Daniel Ben

aging rock star and a diplomat atti. Looking more like an

world boxing champions Jeff than two prime athletes, former

Fenech and Azumah Nelson are

promising to deliver more than

an exhibition for their June

rematch 16 years after their

last fight. I'm always ready to

rumble. We're both in the Hall

of Fame. We both respected

fighters, we're gonna let our

Firsts do the talking. The Adelaide Thunderbirds have moved to third in the Trans-Tasman Netball

Championships with a 66-50 win

over West Coast Fever. In a

physical game the Fever suffer

add blow in the third quarter when Nikala Smith was forced

from the court. The

Thunderbirds led by 10 at the

final change and carried the

momentum into the final term to

win by 16. For thousand thos - for thousands of high school

students it sounded like a bit

of a lark. It turned out to be

a life changing and possibly

life saving experience. The

students took part in a but a

simulated road accident that

was almost too real for

comfort. A day out of the

classroom for 12,000 students

over 3 days and who is in

control? There is nothing funny

about scraping you off the

road. About pulling you out of

biggest Youth and Road Trauma wrecked cars. Australia's

Forum is put on by the NRMA and

Sydney West Area Health

Service. It might be a mock-up

accident they're staging but to

students who just a few moments

ago were willing to laugh it

off it seems chillingly real.

Just a little to drink and a

quick glimpse of a mobile text

message have been enough to

affect the driver's skills. The

scenario has one person dead, a

a motorcyclist in bad shape,

and a seriously injured

passenger must be cut out of

the car. Listen to me, you're

under arrest. If the

reconstruction isn't compelling

enough, real road accident

victims are. The The young

driver at fault in my accident,

he was in jail for 18 months.

But my life was ruined. I was

basically hit by a car, flung

up on to the windscreen, giving

myself a serious brain injury.

The whole event today has had

impact on the students. They

made it so life like that, like

you got caught up in the

moment. Scared me, so, yeah. I

just got my Ls, I'm gonna be a

lot safer. No matter how often they're repeated the statistics

alone should be enough to put

young motorists on their best

behaviour, never mind

terrifying their parents, road

accidents are the leading cus

of death among 18 to

24-year-olds and though

P-platers make up only 3% of

drivers they account for 13% of

deaths. Time for the weather.

Those storms today signaled a

pretty major change in the

weather. They did. It's about

time too. We'll see more

showers and storms across parts

of the State this week. That's

ahead of significant cold

outbreak developing this

weekend. The temperatures in

Sydney reached tops of 20-22.

We even had some isolated

storms.

Small hail was reported in

other centres. Over the past

half hour, the strongest of the

storms have now cleared out to

sea, it remained clear through

the inland. The 24 hours to 9am

falls were very light and

patchy across the State. With

most the good falls occurring

today basically after 3 o'clock

this afternoon, we have had one

fall of 52mm at Crawford near

bull adeala. Perth was the only

capital city to receive rain,

with just over 7mm. Cloud over

the eastern States shows the

location of the upper level

disturbance. The cloud in the

West is with a front. That's

due into the south-east on

Thursday. This will be the

first of a series of fronts.

This first one will be weak

with a stronger fronts and the cold outbreak developing behind

it by Saturday. The more

showers and storms are expected

about the north-east quarter of

the State, with that upper

level disturbance tomorrow.

Little in the way of rain for

the capital cities tomorrow, though, with a mild day on the

way for Adelaide. Around New

South Wales tomorrow showers

and thunderstorms over the

north-east quarter, that

includes the ranges, the coast

and nearby inland areas. Mostly

falling in the afternoon. Some

of these storms could become

severe, just isolated showers

on the south coast and either

another dry and sunny day

inland with light winds.

Morning mist and early fog

about. Any storms should be

confined to the western suburbs

because the atmosphere close to

the coast stabilises when light

winds from the north-west will

turn moderate north-east as we

made into the afternoon. We

will see a few more showers

about tomorrow. They'll clear

pretty much for Thursday and

Friday with mild weather. That

front will move through on the

weekend bringing colder

conditions. The good news is

falls of around 5-15mm inland.

Tonight as top story again - a

strong aftershock has caused

further panic in China. The

original quake killed at least

12,000 people. The death toll

is expected to go much

higher. St George has agreed to

the Westpac takeover but it's

far from a done deal. That's

ABC News for this Tuesday. The

Treasurer's budget speech is

next followed by Kerry O'Byron

Brian with the - Kerry O'Brien

with the 2008 budget special.

Goodnight.

Closed Captions by CSI CC

Good evening. Welcome to

Parliament House. In a moment

the Treasurer Wayne Swan will

rise to deliver Labor's first

budget in 13 years, and one

fashioned in uncertain economic

times. He says there'll be no

rabbits out of the hat tonight.

That the budget will deliver

Labor's election promises,

tackle inflation, by cutting

government spending and invest

for the future, and says the

budget is a statement of

values, and he'll define the type of government Kevin Rudd

will leave. Now over to the

House of Representatives.

Honourable members, the