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Australians missing after Indonesian plane crash: Downer

Australians missing after Indonesian plane crash: Downer

Reporter: Kerry O'Brien

KERRY O'BRIEN: An Australian emergency response team, including burns experts, is on its way to
Indonesia tonight, to the scene of that devastating plane crash that has claimed more than 49
lives. Reports are still conflicting but around 10 Australians were on board; five are unaccounted
for, after the Garuda Boeing jet burst into flames while landing at Yogyakarta airport in central
Java. The survivors are being treated in local hospitals and plans are in place to transfer
Australians back home once their conditions are stabilised. The Australians were part of a
contingent of government officials, Federal Police and media travelling from Jakarta to cover the
Indonesian visit of federal ministers Alexander Downer and Philip Ruddock. I'm joined now by Mr
Downer on the phone from Yogyakarta and he's been at the crash site and the hospitals.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Alexander Downer, obviously it goes without saying that it was grim. But have you am
I correct that the latest is, five Australians still missing?

ALEXANDER DOWNER, FOREIGN MINISTER: Five are missing, yes. We've had some unconfirmed reports at
one stage about one of them from the Indonesians, but it doesn't seem that those reports were
accurate, so we are still sticking with the figure of five, and then there are five who are
accounted for, four of whom are in hospitals in varying degrees of difficulty and then there is one
who we understand, we haven't caught up with him yet, though, we understand he just walked away
from the plane and is in a hotel in Yogyakarta.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Now, you've spoken to four, I think, of the survivors in hospitals. What is the
picture that they have presented to you?

ALEXANDER DOWNER: Well, first of all, they're in varying degrees of health, you know. At the one
extreme, one of them is in pretty good shape and, at the other extreme, there are a couple who are
suffering quite a lot, let me put it that way. In terms of what actually happened, the two who are
in the best health told me that the plane came hurtling in to the runway at a much greater speed
than an aeroplane would normally land at and they themselves were both from the RAAF, from the Air
Force; they themselves thought the plane would never stop in the length of the runway, which it
duly didn't. They just ploughed across the end of the runway across a road, hit a bank and a
culvert and went into a paddy field and when it hit the bank and the culvert it exploded.

KERRY O'BRIEN: What was the sight that met you when you visited the crash scene?

ALEXANDER DOWNER: Well, the fire had all been extinguished by then. That was at about 1.30 or 2, I
suppose. 1.30 in the afternoon, and the crash happened at 7:00 in the morning. So the fire had all
been eventually extinguished, but it is just a charred remain of an aircraft and there are bits and
pieces of the aircraft strewn across what was once a paddy field and there are, of course, people
surrounding the site with cameras and there are police and it's cordoned off, as a police crime
site would be.

KERRY O'BRIEN: And the emergency response team that's on its way to Yogyakarta, what are the plans
for that unit? What will it do?

ALEXANDER DOWNER: There are two teams that are coming. One of them is a medical team from the
Australian Defence Force. That will be here, I think I am right in saying, tomorrow morning and
they'll be able to provide additional medical assistance over and above what the hospitals here are
doing, though the hospitals seem pretty good to me, the two I visited. They can medivac people as
well if that is necessary. Then in addition to that, there is a Boeing, one of the official
government Boeings is coming up here overnight, which is bringing an emergency response team. They
are people who are able to provide logistical assistance of one kind or another for the
Australians, additional consular assistance and, you know, social security assistance and so on,
just to make sure that people don't have to confront those sorts of difficulties.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Alexander Downer, particularly in these difficult circumstances, thanks for joining
us.

ALEXANDER DOWNER: It's a pleasure.

Journalist describes plane crash aftermath

Journalist describes plane crash aftermath

Reporter: Kerry O'Brien

KERRY O'BRIEN: Australian journalist Mark Forbes was in Yogyakarta at the time of the plane crash.
He flew from Jakarta last night. Some others in the Australian party, including his 'Sydney Morning
Herald' colleague Cynthia Banham, had missed the night flight and flew instead on today's ill fated
Garuda aircraft. Cynthia Banham is badly injured and in hospital. Mark Forbes has been with her,
and I recorded this phone interview with him just minutes ago.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Mark Forbes, you're one of the lucky ones, I guess, as an accident of timing, but in
terms of those who have survived, I know you've spoken to Cynthia Banham. Have you spoken to other
Australian survivors?

MARK FORBES, FAIRFAX JOURNALIST: Yes, there's been a couple of Air Force security officers who
sustained relatively minor injuries who were sitting further back in the plane. They said that they
knew they were coming in too fast to land and were amazed that anyone in the seats further in front
of them got out, they were just engulfed by flames.

KERRY O'BRIEN: And what description have they given you about how it unfolded in the plane once it
had crash landed?

MARK FORBES: Well, it happened really quickly. They realised or thought they were coming in too
fast, the plane hit the tarmac hard, overshot and ran through a road at the end of the runway and
into the paddy field and then exploded into flames. They said that the exit doors at the front were
blocked by the fire, including an exit door on the left hand side as well. So there was just a mad
scramble to get out.

KERRY O'BRIEN: And how what's the latest on Cynthia? How would you describe her condition?

MARK FORBES: Well, she's alive, which is something of a miracle given where she was sitting, but
she's sustained some fairly severe injuries and some fairly severe burns and has clearly sort of
witnessed some absolutely horrific scenes of her and others being trapped inside a plane as the
flames just engulfed them.

KERRY O'BRIEN: How did she actually get out?

MARK FORBES: I think that she was actually dragged out. It is unclear. She was very hazy on the
details and obviously had been given some pain killing medication, but it appears that someone has
actually dragged her from the wreckage.

KERRY O'BRIEN: And how would you describe her spirits in all of the circumstances?

MARK FORBES: Well, I think she's just incredibly shaken up. In a state of shock and utter distress,
I think. I don't think that the enormity of her escape has really sunk in.

KERRY O'BRIEN: And you and others are working to try and repatriate her to Darwin, is that right?

MARK FORBES: Yes, yes. I spent most of the morning trying to track down Cynthia and other
Australians. The Aussie officials were pretty short-staffed so we went to hospitals to try and
locate people. There was absolute bedlam around town, streams of ambulances and people being
ferried in private cars to hospitals, and so we liaised with the Australian officials about getting
her out. They've now very quickly, I must say, got a lot of people on the ground and are doing a
fantastic job and I think are going to get her and at least one other severely injured Australian
back home tonight. They have got a whole lot of people in there very, very quickly.

KERRY O'BRIEN: There is one other Fairfax journalist still missing. What are you able to tell us
about him?

MARK FORBES: Well, yes, there was some confusion about whether he was on the plane. It now appears
certain that he was and my understanding, I know there are different figures, but my understanding
is there are five Australians missing, including four senior government officials and there is
very, very severe hopes very little hope, I think, that they are going to be turn up alive, if
you've seen the pictures of the plane, the only possibility is there has been some mix up and
they've gone to a hospital and not been recorded. It doesn't look good, which is pretty upsetting
for all of us. These people are friends of ours and it is purely by absolute chance that myself and
one or two others weren't on that plane. So it's been a real shock for everyone here.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Mark, I know you've got to file still for Fairfax, but thanks very much for joining
us tonight.

MARK FORBES: Thanks, Kerry.

KERRY O'BRIEN: And I'm sure you will understand we've had to be a little bit circumspect about some
of the identities until all relatives have definitely been informed.

Qantas takeover stalled by shareholders

Qantas takeover stalled by shareholders

Reporter: Greg Hoy

KERRY O'BRIEN: The Federal Government may well have approved the private equity takeover of Qantas
last night, but the reluctance to sell by large shareholders may yet prove to be the real stumbling
block. Prime Minister John Howard today said that the Government, while keen to ensure company
headquarters and maintenance operations remained in Australia, was reticent to stand in the way of
shareholders realising a capital gain on their investment. Despite this, 63 per cent of Qantas
shareholders are still holding out against the takeover offer. The private equity consortium,
Airline Partners Australia, today appealed to shareholders to accept their takeover but, as Greg
Hoy reports, the stand off is likely to continue for some time yet.

GREG HOY: The Federal Government announcement last night came earlier than expected, surprising key
players. But the private equity bid to take over the national carrier has effectively been cleared
for takeoff.

JOHN HOWARD, PRIME MINISTER: I know there is feeling about Qantas, but we cannot have a situation
where the Government decides whether people who have invested money in a company have a right to
realise that asset. That in the end is what is at stake and you've got to, in a private enterprise,
fair, capitalist system, you've got to balance those against the understandable concern about
keeping jobs in this country.

DOUG CAMERON, AMWU: The weasel words in the document, the loopholes in the document don't guarantee
maintenance in Australia. We're very concerned that maintenance jobs will end up in China and
Thailand out of this agreement.

JOHN HOWARD: No Government can guarantee and no company can guarantee forever the same work force.
That is just unrealistic.

GREG HOY: Conditions imposed by the Government to keep maintenance and administration in Australia
were as negotiated, and came as no surprise to the consortium of local and foreign private
equiteers, Airline Partners Australia.

BOB MANSFIELD, AIRLINE PARTNERS AUSTRALIA: The vast majority of them were along the lines of what
we had been discussing anyway, but it puts into a legal framework with the deed structure that puts
a legality factor around it that is different and, as I said, we were happy to conclude on that
basis with the Government's discussions.

GREG HOY: The so called barbarians at the gate, it seemed, had won, or had they? Even the Prime
Minister knew the challenge still ahead.

JOHN HOWARD: Mind you, it has to run the gamut of the shareholders. We've done our part, the
Treasurer has given the approval and it's been checked against the Qantas Sale Act.

GREG HOY: With the Government's green light, 37.5 million Qantas shares changed hands today, but as
of this morning, acceptances of the takeover had yet to be received for 78 per cent of the shares.
And in number, just over a third of shareholders have accepted the offer, which is set to close on
April 3. The takeover partners remain optimistic and obstinate about their premium offer of $5.50
per share.

BOB MANSFIELD: Our communication is such that anyone that does want to talk to us with any
questions, so that they can then make the decision to accept, we're available and there are
different ways to do that via a website as well as direct communication, and that applies to
institutional shareholders as well as to retail shareholders. So the next few weeks is pretty much
dedicated to doing what we have to to get people to vote for the transaction.

GREG HOY: Indeed, they shouldn't hold their breath. Major institutional shareholders who have yet
to accept or decline the offer are keeping their cards close to their chest, one telling the 7.30
Report today they are unlikely to make a decision for at least two weeks, there being no incentive
to hurry. Should they decline, and those like them do likewise, the question is, would the takeover
consortium raise the bid?

BOB MANSFIELD: No, legally we can't. The only way the offer would be increased, and we've said
categorically we are not going to, is you start out with a new offer and, I can assure you, it's an
arduous process and we've no intention of starting off again.

GREG HOY: The stakes are a mile high, $10 billion worth of new aircraft on order. The takeover bid
has already been extended by almost a month. Disgruntled institutional investors are concerned
they've not been given sufficient financial forecasts to gauge their prospects of a higher share
value for the national carrier, which last month reported a half yearly net profit of $359 million
on total revenues of $7.7 billion. At the end of the day, though no one suggests it will be easy,
the majority of analysts believe the offer will be accepted, but this cannot be taken for granted,
as the consortium itself knows all too well.

BOB MANSFIELD: We're optimistic, but, as I also add, I'm not relaxed, from the point of view we've
got work to do to convince people that do have questions and that is understandable but the two
major regulatory issues that we had to confront, the ACCC and also the government's position, have
now been clarified and that gives us a considerable optimism for being able to move ahead and,
hopefully, conclude the transaction successfully.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Greg Hoy with that story.

Iemma Govt looks set to return in election

Iemma Govt looks set to return in election

Reporter: Deborah Cornwall

KERRY O'BRIEN: With just over two weeks to go before the NSW election, the state Opposition appears
to be in deep trouble, with the latest polls showing the 12 year old Labor Government expected to
win quite easily, despite its own deep unpopularity. In what seems to be becoming commonplace at
state level, regardless of widespread discontent with Morris Iemma's Government, the Opposition
leader, Peter Debnam, has so far failed to win hearts and minds with his bag of mixed promises.
Deborah Cornwall reports.

IMRE SALUSZINSKY, 'THE AUSTRALIAN': This is an attempt to paint him as Debnam, Texas ranger.

GLENN MILNE (TO JOE HOCKEY): Don't you think that Peter Debnam would do better as an alternate
premier if when in front of the cameras he put a few more clothes on?

GRAEME MORRIS, FORMER LIBERAL PARTY STRATEGIST: He is a fellow that likes beaches, so do most of
Australia good on him.

DEBORAH CORNWALL: Peter Debnam's splashy swimwear sent ripples as far as London this week, the
Times snidely observing the NSW Opposition Leader was as cut and buffed as the new James Bond.

PETER DEBNAM, NSW OPPOSITION LEADER: Well, it's me. I am into exercise every day and I suppose the
media became interested in that angle.

DEBORAH CORNWALL: But just over two weeks out from election day, the NSW Opposition Leader is in
the last gasp of the campaign and, if the latest polls are any indication, he'll need more than an
oxygen tank to revive him, with just one in every four voters prepared to back him as premier.

PETER DEBNAM: Um, look, I can't explain it. I suppose I'll leave it up to other people to explain.
The feeling ... is very strong both towards me, very warm, and to our candidates and we feel as
though we are making a lot of progress.

IMRE SALUSZINSKY: I think that Peter has so far failed to charm the electorate. He's very genial,
easygoing, generous and considerate on a one to one level, but in terms of the media, yes, there is
a certain intensity, a certain narrow eyed look.

DEBORAH CORNWALL: But perhaps the most remarkable thing about the polls is not so much how badly
the Liberals are doing, but how well Labor is faring.

GRAEME MORRIS: I think it's a bit symptomatic of the Liberal Party at a state level right around
the country, and that is, not being able to lay a glove on the Labor leader for three years or four
years and then try and do it in the last four weeks of an election campaign. Just pathetic.

BRUCE HAWKER, LABOR PARTY STRATEGIST: There tends to be an expectation that the Government is just
going to implode and they are going to be handed government on a platter. That doesn't happen.

DEBORAH CORNWALL: Just two months ago, the Iemma Government appeared to be on its last legs, rocked
by a series of ministerial scandals and 12 years of pent up voter rage over the state's crumbling
infrastructure and an economy on the brink of recession.

IMRE SALUSZINSKY: Peter had the Government right on the back foot. Well, he didn't - the Government
had itself on the back foot. A minister is dragged out of bed, taken to court and charged with
child sex offences. I thought it was a tsunami that would wash across the Labor Government and
sweep them out to sea and we would never see or hear any of them again. Then, I think, a brain snap
occurred.

DEBORAH CORNWALL: Armed with allegations from a paedophile, Peter Debnam took a monumental gamble,
launching a smear campaign against the Attorney General Bob Debus, which backfired badly.

BOB DEBUS, RETIRING NSW ATTORNEY-GENERAL: This is my challenge to you, you grub. Walk 15 paces out
there and say it again. Say it now!

DEBORAH CORNWALL: It cost the Opposition critical momentum and raised alarm within the Liberal
Party about the former naval lieutenant's leadership style.

DEBORAH CORNWALL: You're described by colleagues as a bit of a lone wolf. You don't like to take
advice. That may have cost you dearly in the Debus matter.

PETER DEBNAM: Look, I've seen those comments in the media. I don't know where the comments came
from, but I don't accept them.

DEBORAH CORNWALL: But Peter Debnam was always going to be up against it. His elevation to the
leader's job just 18 months ago marked a major crisis in the NSW Liberal Party. The former leader
John Brogden had just attempted suicide, after resigning in disgrace.

GRAEME MORRIS: I think Peter Debnam inherited a mud house and he's had to build it up. I think
everywhere around this country that the Oppositions could benefit from some new blood.

BRUCE HAWKER: The last time Liberals won an election at a state level in Australia was in 1997 in
South Australia. That's 10 years since they've won. That's a terrible record. No one would want
that and I think Liberal hardheads around the country continue to really worry about what they can
do at a state level to win an election.

DEBORAH CORNWALL: Peter Debnam has scored some points in the campaign, notably, his decision to
champion recycled drinking water, leaving the Iemma Government flat footed with its highly
unpopular desalination plant. But as the election inches nearer, there have been even more
stumbles, from the sacking of central coast candidate Brenton Pavier for sending dirty text
messages -

IMRE SALUSZINSKY: And God help us if one joke about having sex with goats is enough to get you out
of NSW politics.

DEBORAH CORNWALL: To a press conference last week where Peter Debnam tried to spruik the benefits
of his proposed property tax cuts to mum and dad investors.

PETER DEBNAM: And we want to talk to two people today who really do feel that impact of the heavy
tax burden in NSW.

DEBORAH CORNWALL: The problem was, Michelle and Robert Banning owned eight property investments in
all, not exactly Struggle Street. It was a gaffe that played straight into the Labor spin: Peter
Debnam, the silvertail who was out of touch with ordinary voters.

IMRE SALUSZINSKY: This is just nonsense. Mr Debnam is from the same classic Australian lower middle
class background that most of us are from.

DEBORAH CORNWALL: Labor have set out to paint you as a sort of stitched up, moneyed, white bread
kind of guy, the Member for Vaucluse.

PETER DEBNAM: Oh, look, the Labor Party have tried to demonise me and that's been their defence, I
suppose, to try and deflect attention from all their troubles and their woes over the last 12 years
and say, "Look at Peter Debnam, isn't he terrible?"

DEBORAH CORNWALL: The Opposition's last sprint to the polls may well be boosted when they finally
start running their TV ads, but with campaign funds at an all time low, so far the Party has been
forced to make do with a bit of free advertising on the web, a message that's already been drowned
out by Labor's all singing, all dancing spoiler blog.

PETER DEBNAM: I think every election is winnable, but it's up to the people of NSW. It's really
it's a democracy. It is, what do they want, on the day?

KERRY O'BRIEN: We'll know that in just over two weeks. That report from Deborah Cornwall.

Israel's kibbutz falls to market forces

Israel's kibbutz falls to market forces

Reporter: David Hardaker

KERRY O'BRIEN: Over the years, tens of thousands of young Australians have travelled to Israel to
sample the Kibbutz's collectivist way of life, a philosophy which, put simply, was to give as much
as you can and take only what you need. The Kibbutz movement has been a remarkable experiment in
how humans can live together, but it's now facing the end of an era. After almost 100 years,
Israel's first Kibbutz, the model for all that followed, has become a victim of market forces and
has given up on the collectivist dream. This report from the ABC's Middle East correspondent, David
Hardaker.

DAVID HARDAKER: The sea of Galilee in the north of Israel, home to dreams of utopia. For close to
100 years, people have worked to make Kibbutz Degania the perfect community, a place where all
would get an equal share of the wealth, whether foreman or worker. Now, though, this experiment in
human nature is over. Kibbutz Degania has concluded that not all animals are equal after all.

GAD HOROVITZ, KIBBUTZ DEGANIA: This is my whole life. Not only the place, but the idea.

TAMAR GAL-SARAI, KIBBUTZ DEGANIA: We were too naive and we believed that everybody would work so
hard all their lives in order to create the comfort for everybody, and we woke up. This is where it
all started in 1910.

DAVID HARDAKER: Tamar Gal Sarai forebears helped found this Kibbutz, 97 years ago.

TAMAR GAL-SARAI: They had a dining room, communal showers and communal bathrooms.

DAVID HARDAKER: Her grandfather and grandmother were the pioneers, part of a group of a dozen who
came to carve out a Jewish homeland based on the principles of hard work and support for each
other.

TAMAR GAL-SARAI: It was a commune. Everything was shared. The principle was that each would take
only according to needs and contribute as much as they can. That was the desire, that was the
utopia.

DAVID HARDAKER: This utopia was the inspiration for hundreds of other kibbutzes. The tough life of
the commune produced a special breed a disproportionate number of its men and women went on to
become the elite of Israel's politics and military. The collective was also a big family for
refugees from Europe, like Chezi Dar, who arrived as an 11-year-old orphan.

PROFESSOR CHEZI DAR, KIBBUTZ DEGANIA: I came here and I was accepted, very good, and from the
beginning I felt that I came to a home.

DAVID HARDAKER: Professor Dar lived through the most ideological years of the Kibbutz. Private
ownership was forbidden. The commune owned everything, down to the clothes on your back. All of
life's decisions were taken by a vote of the collective.

TAMAR GAL-SARAI: We had to get special permission if it was something that the Kibbutz didn't need.
If we wanted to go on an overseas trip, we had to ask permission. But when you live through this,
you don't really feel that you are being controlled by the system, because the system gives you so
much.

DAVID HARDAKER: Yet it seems people weren't happy with that?

TAMAR GAL-SARAI: People who didn't like it got up and left.

DAVID HARDAKER: The iron will of the collective. It built successful industries like this kibbutz
factory, which manufactures diamond tipped machining tools. It emerged, though, that some on the
kibbutz weren't as industrious as others. Money and reward for effort became a flashpoint.

TAMAR GAL-SARAI: You and I, the same age, the same number of children, the same family status, you
work 10 hours a day and I don't get up in the morning. At the end of the month we would get the
same budget. About 10 years ago it started to bother people.

DAVID HARDAKER: The fact that people were paid the same, no matter what they did, even if they did
nothing, became a crunch question. Indeed, it went to the very heart of the collectivist dream here
at Kibbutz Degania. Over in the kibbutz banana plantation, Gad Horovitz doesn't like the talk of
change. Now nudging 70 years of age, Mr Horovitz grew up knowing the first pioneers.

GAD HOROVITZ: If I work harder or faster than somebody I don't care. I cherish the idea because
it's good for me. If I look around me, if people take advantage of me, it is just natural. I
wouldn't change it. I wouldn't change the way of life because of it.

DAVID HARDAKER: But the times have passed Gad Horovitz and the kibbutz by. Market forces have
crushed the ideal, and young people have been deserting the kibbutz for the outside world where,
the harder you work, the more you get. The communal dining room is emptier than it once was and
meals are no longer free, though the spirit of the revolution does live on for some teenagers.

KIBBUTZ RESIDENT: The idea of collective, it sounds to me like a dream.

MA'AYAN GOODMAN, KIBBUTZ DEGANIA: The world is changing and people want different things. People
think about money and to be more by their own, not share everything with other members.

DAVID HARDAKER: In the last month, the mother of all Israel's kibbutzes finally caved in. By a vote
of 85 per cent, it decided the individual could and should be paid according to effort. It was a
change too late to keep Professor Dar's family together on the kibbutz.

CHEZI DAR: I never thought of leaving the kibbutz. I was I felt here very good and I was quite sad
when my children left the kibbutz.

TAMAR GAL-SARAI: Every year that went by, we opened that much more towards the outside world and we
realised that it's OK to not be so naive. I don't think it's the end of the dream. I think it's
taking the dream and putting it into a wonderful reality that will allow us to maintain our ideals.
So, no, the dream hasn't died. We woke up.

KERRY O'BRIEN: David Hardaker reporting from Jerusalem.

back at the same time.tomorrow, but for now, goodnight.