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Tonight - the checks in the email.

I promise we're not interested in the email you send out about who did what at the Christmas party.

But civil liberties groups say giving bosses the right to snoop on workers is wrong.

We just don't see how invading the privacy rights of Australian employees is going to stop a
cyberattack from countries like Russia.

CC Finish

Good evening, welcome to Lateline, I'm Leigh Sales. A new phase of the Federal Government's
intervention in the Northern Territory began today with ear, nose and throat surgery for Indigenous
children. A review of the intervention's overall effectiveness will begin in the middle of the year
and those involved concede the results so far are mixed.

On the one hand in the community itself we've seen a great improvement in the safety for children.
On the other hand, we're concerned that people have drifted out and that there is an increase in
long-grassing in Alice Springs and Darwin for example. So now our challenge is to try and encourage
those people to go back to their communities and, of course, to help wean them off substance abuse,
alcohol abuse.

I just want to add to that point and I think what it really highlights is a lot of the focus in
particular around the media and certainly around the general population is focusing on the
alcholism and the alcohol that's involved there. I think what we really need to highlight in this,
and I agree with Major General Dave Chalmers is we're trying to address the social determine
insignificants of health there.

Coming up the head of the intervention Major General Dave Chalmers and Indigenous surgeon Dr Kelvin
Kong. History wars - John Howard takes the Liberal Party to task in his first public speech since
losing office. Fighting words - an ugly Aussie Rules incident sparks calls for a send-off rule. And
on 'Lateline Business' - budget airline, Virgin Blue's shares

Govt considering plan to allow employers to snoop on workers' e-mails

Govt considering plan to allow employers to snoop on workers' e-mails

Broadcast: 14/04/2008

Reporter: Kirrin McKechnie

A row is brewing over Commonwealth Government plans to give companies the power to intercept their
workers' emails - all in the name of tackling cyber-terrorism.

Transcript

LEIGH SALES: Critics say it's invading personal privacy, authorities insist it's protecting the
nation from terrorism. A row is brewing over Commonwealth Government plans to give companies the
power to intercept their workers' emails, all in the name of tackling cyber-terrorism. Civil
libertarians say the move will strip Australian workers of their essential freedoms. Kirrin
McKechnie reports from Canberra.

KIRRIN MCKECHNIE: A pledge to workers.

JULIA GILLARD, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: I promise we're not interested in the email you send out
about who did what at the Christmas period.

KIRRIN MCKECHNIE: That holds little comfort for civil libertarians. The Federal Government is
considering new laws to give employers the power to check their employees' emails without consent.
The legislation is designed to tighten national security and cut down on so called cyber-terrorism.

JULIA GILLARD: If our banking system collapsed, if our Government electronic system collapsed
obviously that would have huge implications for society. So we want to make sure they are safe from
terrorist attack. Part of doing that is to make sure we have the right powers to ensure we can tell
if something unusual is going on in the system. So it's a national security move, not a move about
an unseaming interest in people's private emails.

DAVID BERNEY, NSW CIVIL LIBERTIES COUNCIL: The threat of terrorism is used as the big bogeyman in
all cases to justify further reductions in our civil liberties and breaches of our rights of
privacy.

KIRRIN MCKECHNIE: David Berney says Australia's security agencies already have extensive powers
which allows them to tap into people's emails. He can't understand how extending such powers to
employers would help.

DAVID BERNEY: We don't see how invading the privacy rights of Australian employees is going to stop
a denial service attack from countries like Russia.

KIRRIN MCKECHNIE: Brendan Nelson is cautiously backing the move but wants assurances.

BRENDAN NELSON, OPPOSITION LEADER: On the face of it, I think the intention the Government has as
reported has got some merit. I think all of us would be concerned about the privacy implications of
this. What I will be looking for is a full briefing from the Government and the relevant security
agency so we can actually have a look at what is proposed.

KIRRIN MCKECHNIE: But once again the embattled Opposition Leader appears out of step with his own
frontbench. Both the deputy and the shadow attorney-general have attacked the plan, raising
concerns about giving companies quasi law enforcement powers. And one internet rights watchdog
insists we don't need them anyway.

DALE CLAPPERTON, ELECTRONIC FRONTIERS AUSTRALIA: I would like to think that Australian security
arrangements that protect our infrastructure networks are stronger than might be found in Estonia.
Moreover, even if we accept that is a risk, the Government needs to make their case why these
proposed changes will actually mitigate that risk and need to show that the resulting cost to
personal security and privacy will, in fact, outweigh the risk posed to Australia by so called
cyber-terrorism.

KIRRIN MCKECHNIE: Dale Clapperton warns the new laws could give employers free rein to read their
employee reasons all for the wrong reasons.

DALE CLAPPERTON: The worst case scenario is organisations that get these new powers will eventually
use them to conduct eavesdropping and corporate witch hunts into the personal correspondence of
their employees.

KIRRIN MCKECHNIE: But the Government insists it'll consult widely with privacy experts and unions
before making its next move. Kirrin McKechnie. Lateline.

Howard criticises Libs for rewriting history since he left office

Howard criticises Libs for rewriting history since he left office

Broadcast: 14/04/2008

Reporter: Tom Iggulden

John Howard has made his first public remarks on home soil since losing the election four months
ago.

Transcript

LEIGH SALES: John Howard has made his first public remarks on home soil since losing the election
five months ago, taking aim at what he called the rewriting of history since he left office. In a
speech in Brisbane tonight, the former prime minister also encouraged the federal Opposition to
strengthen its defence of the legacy of his government's term in office. Tom Iggulden reports.

TOM IGGULDEN: The Liberal Party's most powerful publicly elected incumbent, Brisbane's Lord Mayor,
introduced the former prime minister and set the tone for Mr Howard's remarks.

CAMPBELL NEWMAN, BRISBANE LORD MAYOR: There's a bit of an exercise in rewriting history going on in
Canberra at the moment.

TOM IGGULDEN: Mr Howard seems almost coy at the applause he got from his old friends.

JOHN HOWARD: Thank you, thank you very much.

TOM IGGULDEN: After listing his government's achievements, Mr Howard acknowledged the party's lack
of recent electoral success but exhorted his colleagues not to lose heart, reminding them of the
party's 64 years of political history.

JOHN HOWARD: For 42 of those 62 years the Liberal Party has formed the national government of this
country.

TOM IGGULDEN: Mr Howard offered little insight into his regrets over the recent loss, other than
this remark:

JOHN HOWARD: I continue to grieve for some of my colleagues who lost their seats at the last
election.

TOM IGGULDEN: He also offered home-spun advice from the prospective of the nation's second
longest-serving prime minister and also the second serving prime minister to lose his own seat in
an election.

JOHN HOWARD: Sure I had ups and downs, but everybody who gets anywhere in politics has ups and
downs. Anybody out there who thinks that it's all going to be beer and skittles in politics, forget
it.

TOM IGGULDEN: Mr Howard's recently returned from an extended trip to the United States visiting his
son in Texas and catching up with Republican Party friends. He also met with some of the country's
financial leaders.

JOHN HOWARD: The regard for the economic strength of our country in the United States is enormous.
And it hasn't grown up in the last four and a half months.

TOM IGGULDEN: The former prime minister was just warming up. He's apparently not happy at the way
his successor has blamed his government for rising interest rates and slowing growth. After 12
years of almost unbroken economic growth, Mr Howard says Mr Rudd should be grateful at the Liberal
economic legacy.

JOHN HOWARD: Not as a result from any effort from those who occupy the Treasury benches. Nobody
should forget that almost every single measure that we undertook in government, either in any of
Peter Costello's 12 budgets or other measures that we undertook, that was designed to reduce debt
or to strengthen the Australian economy, was opposed root and branch by Mr Rudd and his colleagues.

TOM IGGULDEN: On the subject of the lot of Opposition parties, Mr Howard also had advice for Mr
Nelson and his colleagues.

JOHN HOWARD: And the job of an Opposition is to balance the need to adjust with the new
circumstances and the new reality, with a proper respect and regard and a willingness to defend the
legacy of the previous government.

TOM IGGULDEN: When Mr Howard left office, he promised not to provide a running commentary on
politics. Tonight he offered himself to his party as a provider of quiet advice. Tom Iggulden.
Lateline.

New phase of NT intervention as kids get hospital treatment

New phase of NT intervention as kids get hospital treatment

Broadcast: 14/04/2008

Reporter: Suzanne Smith

Around 500 Indigenous children are about to begin recieving ear, nose and throat surgery as part of
the Federal Government's Northern Territory intervention program.

Transcript

LEIGH SALES: Five-hundred Indigenous children are about to begin ear, nose and throat surgery as
part of the Federal Government's intervention program. In Central Australia, 200 children have been
referred for treatment after their conditions were picked up during the intervention's health
checks. Some remote communities are reporting that the alcohol and drug bans which are key planks
of the intervention are working. But the condition of children in some of Alice Springs' more
dysfunctional town camps is still far from ideal.

Lateline reporter Suzanne Smith has gone back to Central Australia to gauge the progress of the
intervention and to follow 12-year-old Lekisha McDonald as she begins her journey to Alice Springs
Hospital.

SUZANNE SMITH: This big sky desert country about three hours west of Alice Springs is home to the
Pintubi and Luritja people. One of their biggest townships is the former Lutheran mission of
Papunya. And today, 12-year-old Lekisha McDonald is packing to catch a bus to Alice Springs
Hospital, where it's hoped she'll finally get her eardrum fixed.

MICHAEL NELSON, GRANDFATHER: I'm quite happy to see my granddaughter go check up in Alice Springs,
so she can hear the teachers. You know, the kids poke their ears with the sticks like that, they
get all the stuff out from the ears and suddenly they damage their ear drums, you know.

SUZANNE SMITH: Lekisha is behind in her schooling and if not for the federal intervention, she
would be still waiting for treatment. She wasn't afraid of the intervention health checks, although
some of her cousins ran away and hid when the health team came through. Lekisha McDonald's chance
to have surgery isn't the only result of the Federal Government's intervention apparent in Papunya.
There are four new homes that already house three generations of Aboriginal families. There are two
more nurses and healthier food at the store, although only one extra job for a local person has
been found. The biggest change has been the imposition of alcohol, drug and gambling bans, which
for Michael Nelson means a good night's sleep without being pestered for money from local drunks.
With 50 per cent of all welfare payments quarantined the drunks know, according to Mr Nelson, there
isn't spare money to give away.

ALISON ANDERSON, NT MEMBER FOR MACDONNELL: The fact before the intervention came on you heard from
the ladies here and Michael Nelson that people used to knock on their doors all hours of the night
and humbug them for food. You couldn't go to a shop without being humbugged and abused outside the
shop, and gambling has gone down by 80 per cent.

SUZANNE SMITH: Alison Anderson is the member for MacDonnell in the Northern Territory and was born
in Papunya. She says 8,500 children have been checked throughout the Territory, but about 7,000
children are yet to receive health checks by the intervention. Alison Anderson believes some
families avoided the intervention health teams because their children have sexually transmitted
diseases.

ALISON ANDERSON: I know for a fact that certain people who had children in that category actually
ran away from the community when the health checks come in. And I think we just have to make sure
that... because if we know there's 7,000 kids that haven't gone through the health checks, we must
know their names. And it's about us as a community and leaders stand-upping to these people and
saying don't be frightened. We need to expose child abuse and abuse against families and women.

SUZANNE SMITH: As the sun starts to fade across the community of Papunya and night falls, a few of
the children and families gather to sing some hymns to pray for the children heading to hospital in
the morning. After the singing, the families sit around the fire to talk. Alison Anderson has been
campaigning for a federal intervention for many years and sees this policy decision as a once in a
lifetime opportunity.

ALISON ANDERSON: Well, one of the messages that I'd send to my Labor colleagues in Canberra is to
allow the intervention to be ran forever. I mean, this is the 21st century and we need major
changes in our lives. Changes to make sure that our school go to school, that they've got a good
quality education, good health, live safely on the communities and making sure that we have laws
that we all abide by as Australian citizens of this country and be treated no different to anyone
else.

SUZANNE SMITH: And what are the consequences if it doesn't?

ALISON ANDERSON: I think the consequences are that history will prove that as a nation we failed.

SUZANNE SMITH: Back at the interventions Operations Centre in Darwin, Sue Gordon says this ear,
nose and throat health blitz is an important strategy, along with other measures which aims to
tackle child abuse and neglect in Indigenous communities.

SUE GORDON, CHAIR, FEDERAL INTERVENTION TASKFORCE: What some of the evidence that's being put to by
various commentators is that these same young people who have hearing problems that drop out of
school are more easily swayed off into being abused because they can't hear properly. Some nice
kind person wants to look after them, someone wants to give them some drugs or alcohol.

SUZANNE SMITH: Back at Papunya it's just after daybreak and children and their carers come to the
health clinic to wait for the bus. Some are discussing last night's news; a 15-year-old girl was
bashed with a picket by an adult man. Right outside the clinic she's being treated for her
injuries. But today is full of anticipation. Lekisha, her cousin and friends board the bus and do a
loop of the community. Lekisha and her friends sing and joke on the three hour journey to Alice
Springs. When the children get to town there's a party put on by the hospital under the red gums of
the oasis known as Telegraph Station.

But just five minutes over the hill, other children are living in pitiful conditions. At a camp on
the edge of Alice Springs, children as young as three, play and scamp through a river of beer cans
and broken glass. This is Mt Nancy Town Camp in Alice Springs. Under the Federal Government's
intervention it was declared dry. That means there is absolutely no alcohol to be drunk here. Now
as you can see, hardly anyone is following the regulations. As we walk around the camp, people are
drinking alcohol. The fence meant to keep it out was cut months ago and never fixed. Dicki Brown is
seeing out his days here at Hoppies Camp, in his wheelchair trying to supervise his many family
members, many who are just little children, including 8-year-old Edward Thompson.

Can he read and write?

DICKY BROWN, TOWN CAMP RESIDENT: A little bit. He can count, he can write his name, too.

SUZANNE SMITH: What do you think of the intervention and that big sign out the front saying, no
alcohol?

DICKY BROWN: I reckon good.

SUZANNE SMITH: Do they hassle you, do they humbug you, all the alcoholics and the sniffers?

DICKY BROWN: They go on the night, steal in the bridge, make everything bad.

SUZANNE SMITH: Do they still humbug you now the intervention's here?

DICKY BROWN: Yeah, they still humbug.

JENNY MACKLIN, INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS MINISTER: What happened in Hoppies Camp is obviously a serious
matter, but I'd say, we do understand how critical it is both for the law to be enforced. We also
understand how critical it is to get additional police into those communities who haven't had
police present ever before.

SUZANNE SMITH: There's still some people who do not like the intervention. Down the road at Mt
Nancy Town Camp, life is much better. Most people have jobs and children attend local schools. It
is the home of Barb Shaw, the official spokesperson for the anti-intervention movement. Since the
intervention it's now a prescribed area. What does that actually mean for you?

BARB SHAW, ANTI-INTERVENTION MOVEMENT: Well, on this camp under the prescribed area, we are now
classed as all alcoholics and paedophiles. One of the old men that live on this camp is my father
and he's a Vietnam veteran. He fought for this country, so he should be entitled to a drink.

SUZANNE SMITH: Barb Shaw says the main problem with the intervention is the imposition of laws
without consultation. Along with her stepmother Eileen Hoosan, she says this sign typifies the
approach and shames the whole town.

BARB SHAW: I'd say to the rest of Australia and especially the suburbs, how would you like a sign
like this outside your suburbs? I felt like burning it, painting it, but we didn't do that. What we
did was say to the Government, 'this sign has to go, there is a better way to get the message out'.

SUZANNE SMITH: But those supporting the intervention say the ear, nose and throat surgery blitz is
a major improvement for Indigenous children. Lekisha McDonald and her cousin Selina are amongst the
first to arrive at the hospital. The prognosis according to the visiting surgeon from Victoria is
good. Forty children will have surgery in the next few days. Real achievement that stands out among
the many fragile gains made under the intervention so far. Suzanne Smith. Lateline.

Key players in NT intervention discuss its progress

Key players in NT intervention discuss its progress

Broadcast: 14/04/2008

Reporter: Leigh Sales

Australia's only Indigenous surgeon, Dr Kelvin Kong, and Major General Dave Chalmers join Leigh
Sales to discuss the progress of the Northern Territory intervention.

Transcript

LEIGH SALES: Joining me in the studio are two people intimately involved with the intervention to
discuss its progress so far, and the challenges that lie ahead. Major General Dave Chalmers is the
operational commander of the Northern Territory Emergency Response Task force and Dr Kelvin Kong is
Australia's only Indigenous surgeon. He's organised the ear, nose and throat health blitzes across
Central Australia.

Gentlemen from what we've seen in Suzanne Smith's story, the intervention has made progress, but
there are enormous problems as well. How long do you think Australia's going to need an
intervention of this scale to improve things further, but also to protect the gains that have
already been made? Dr Kong first?

DR KELVIN KONG, SURGEON: I guess the success of any kind of outcome and the outcomes we're trying
to look at will really be reflected in the ability to improve the health status of the Indigenous
people in the area. And I think there are several things that really need to be taken into account
here. The first is the acute service provision is seemed what we're focused on at the moment. The
next is the immediate and certainly the long-term availability of services to be provided. One of
the things frustrating the process is the NT blitz is a much better terminology to us, we're not
just talking about surgery, we're talking about providing a complete service. I think far too often
we banter the words around about being spiritually, physically and healthy in all aspects. But what
we're really saying is that the person we're talking about or the individual needs to be, needs to
have a complete care, not just an operation.

LEIGH SALES: Major General Dave Chalmers, what are your observations about what's needed from here?

MAJOR GENERAL DAVE CHALMERS: Well, I think we've made tremendous progress so far in stabilising
communities, in providing a platform from which we can move forward. Look, the health problems that
face Indigenous people are significant. They're not going to be solved overnight and they're caused
not just by a lack of services but by a range of factors that include overcrowding, include issues
like a lack of good, healthy food. And so they're issues that we're addressing right now. But it is
going to take time. I think the positive thing is that both the Northern Territory Government and
the Commonwealth Government are committed for the long haul.

LEIGH SALES: We learned in that story that there are some areas which are meant to be dry, but
where there's still a great deal of alcohol consumption going on. Major General, have you got
enough resources on the ground to deal with these problems? Are there enough police, are there
enough soldiers?

MAJOR GENERAL DAVE CHALMERS: Well, firstly there aren't any soldiers. The law and order issues are
a matter for the Northern Territory police. I think those scenes just illustrate the depth of the
problem and how significant the problem is. But I would say that we've made tremendous strides in
getting policing out to communities, so there are 51 additional police in communities now, 18
communities have a permanent police presence. That's very positive. There are people who are
sleeping safely at night now, soundly at night when before they didn't have that simple luxury. So
I think we have made progress, but nonetheless there is much more work to be done.

LEIGH SALES: But why then are we seeing this camp like Hoppies Camp in that story where there seems
to be a remarkable problem?

MAJOR GENERAL DAVE CHALMERS: I think I wouldn't underestimate the challenge of policing these
communities and it's not something that we're going to be able to solve overnight. As I say, in
this first year we've sought to stabilise communities and town camps to provide better laws and
then additional police to police those laws. Those things have happened but they're taking time to
take effect.

LEIGH SALES: With the communities where you are seeing improvements, are you drinkers in those
communities simply being pushed out into different areas?

MAJOR GENERAL DAVE CHALMERS: Well, there's no doubt there's an element of movement of people and
that's something that we're concern about. So it's a balanced sort of situation. On the one hand in
the community itself we've seen great improvements in the safety for children. On the other hand,
we're concerned that people have drifted out and that there is an increase in long grassing in
Alice Springs and Darwin, for example. So now our challenge is to try and encourage those people to
go back to their comments and, of course, to wean them off substance abuse, alcohol abuse.

DR KELVIN KONG: I just want to add to that point, as well. What it really highlight social security
a lot of the focus in particular around the media and certainly around the general population is
focusing in on the alcoholism and the alcohol that's involved there. I think what we really need to
highlight, and I agree with Major General Dave Chalmers, is that we're trying to address the social
determine insignificants of health here, and it really gives us the opportunity to address
underlining factors that perpetuate why Aboriginal people are over represented on every poor social
determine. Unless we address those factors, these issues are not going to be solved very quickly.

LEIGH SALES: In terms of trying to make these communities stable, Dr Kong, is it the harsh
unpalatable truth that the solution may lie in keeping the drinkers elsewhere to quarantine the
rest of the community?

DR KELVIN KONG: Absolutely. We need to look at the factors as to why drinking is going on there.
We're talking about education and employment are two big factors. We're talking about sovereignty
of the Indigenous people here. If we create the employment and environment where they can succeed
and be self employed and more importantly, determine their outlook and certainly their future,
that's going to make a massive difference.

LEIGH SALES: Dr Kong, when this intervention first started there was a lot of fear in the
Aboriginal communities about what exactly it would involve and mean, what's the mood like now?

DR KELVIN KONG: I think I share those same sentiments in the initial phase of the intervention.
What it does is it changes the focus to me in looking at an area of expertise I'm comfortable with
and that is around the ear disease program. The intervention has good and bad aspects. With any
kind of intervention you're going to note those differences. What we want to harness is pick up on
an area we're very familiar with, in this case being ear disease and hone in on how we can make
this the best possible model so we can translate to that other service provision. In ear disease,
we're talking about ear surgery per se, but we really mean is talking about a child being able to
ear and learn at school. That might involve hearing intervention, as simple as the acoustics of a
classroom being maintained so the kids can hear.

Involving the teachers being aware of the hearing deficit and education tailored to that need. It
may involve surgery, but collateral support is important. Part of the process which I'm proud of,
is that the employment of the Indigenous people in this process is in giving the capacity and the
empowerment of the people to actually lead the way in which they want to determine what they're
doing. I'm not from the Alice or these communities, I don't know which way it's going to lead, we
need the community to lead these discussions and lead the way. We support as much as we can filling
in around the gaps.

LEIGH SALES: You mentioned you initially had mixed feelings about the intervention and you referred
to some of the bad aspects of it, what do you think the bad aspects are?

DR KELVIN KONG: I think the bad aspects of the intervention are probably beyond the scope of
discussion for me at the moment. If you look at the excellent report by our Social Justice
Commissioner in and around the 10 point plan to change the intervention to make it more appealing
to the Indigenous people, a lot of it is based on human rights and we're talking about Indigenous
people as humans and having an amount of dignity and respect about that. I think that's where a lot
of the process can be failing us.

LEIGH SALES: Major General Dave Chalmers, in Suzanne Smith's story it was clear some people are
happy with the intervention and want it to go on indefinitely and some are not supporting it. Is
one of your challenges that you're basically dealing with a policy that's one size fits all and
you're treating all of these people the same way whether they want to see the intervention or not?

MAJOR GENERAL DAVE CHALMERS: I think it's certainly challenging to make sure we explain the
intervention to people in a way that they can understand and maybe this challenge isn't a mountain,
perhaps it's a hill. Nonetheless it is a significant issue for us. I wouldn't underestimate cross
cultural communication. I think empathising with people, being able to talk in a way that enables
them to understand why we're doing things is very important. But I would say about the one size
fits all issue that where we have introduced policies, where people have got through the teething
problems of introduction and understood the benefits that these policies are delivering, then we've
got this groundswell, this momentum now of support for the intervention moving forward.

LEIGH SALES: Major General, do you think there's more scope at this point to include responsible
individual Aborigines in the communities in the implementation of the intervention?

MAJOR GENERAL DAVE CHALMERS: Well, I think there's always scope for discussion, for consultation,
for working with people. The solutions are in the end going to be solution s that we develop with
Indigenous people, not for Indigenous people. I think this Government thoroughly understands that
and, of course, now as we move to the 12-month mark of the intervention the Government had
committed and is committed to conducting a review where we'll examine all aspects of the
intervention and this will be independently done, and where many views will be canvassed and people
will be consulted as we shape the way forward.

LEIGH SALES: Dr Kong, if your opinion's asked for that review, what will you say?

DR KELVIN KONG: I think I need to look at some of the data that's around that, certainly from an
ear, nose and throat prospective. It's a little early to talk exactly how we're going to guide this
and certainly how we're going to measure the outcomes of this. Again, with the point you were
mentioning before about being tailored to each community, very much so in this aspect. You look at
certainly the people involved on the ground at the community level is phenomenal and they're driven
at the local level by that community health worker. I think that's very important to make sure we
make this sustainable and actually build the capacity into the community.

LEIGH SALES: One of the very controversial areas when this intervention first started was the issue
of the health care checks for children and the extent of sexual abuse it might uncover. Major
General Dave Chalmers, what have those health checks actually ended up involving?

MAJOR GENERAL DAVE CHALMERS: Well, I think it's important to understand that the child health
checks are a check of general health of children and Dr Kong's probably far more qualified than I
to speak to this, but generally these are checks of skin, of height, of weight, of condition, a
check of social history of the child that a GP can do in the space of 30 minutes or so, and these
checks have resulted in us having a much better understanding of the types of health problems that
confront Indigenous children.

LEIGH SALES: So Dr Kong, if a child comes to you for a ear, nose and throat check, are you able to
check for signs of sexual abuse?

DR KELVIN KONG: No, that's beyond the scope of what I'm doing, nor would I actually do that. That
would contravene or really support an avenue of rape on my behalf and I would go nowhere near that.
What we really want to be careful of is talking about this kind of sexual abuse in the climate of
the ear intervention, because we're from that. We're looking about ear disease here.

LEIGH SALES: Given when the intervention first started there was so much concern about child sexual
abuse, how are we getting to the bottom of how severe or otherwise this problem is then Major
General Dave Chalmers?

MAJOR GENERAL DAVE CHALMERS: Well, it's not that there aren't people working on this. In fact the
Australian Crime Commission and the Northern Territory Police are working very hard on the issue of
child sex abuse, on detecting perpetrators and bringing them to justice. But the intervention as a
whole is much more about changing the social dysfunction in communities, the poverty that leads to
child neglect and child sex abuse. So it's about changing the whole paradigm so that the next
generation of Indigenous children grow up happy, safe and healthy.

LEIGH SALES: But it was initially discussed as a crisis in that there were children needing
immediate help to get them out of abusive situations. Has that happened?

MAJOR GENERAL DAVE CHALMERS: Well, it is a crisis, it is a crisis for these children and there are
children who need help and there are children being offered help. What I'm saying, though, is that
from my point of view as the operational commander of the intervention the canvass that I'm
painting on is much broader and it's looking at generational change.

LEIGH SALES: But are you seeing still sexual abuse of children? Are there children being sexually
abused that are still being sexually abused six months after the intervention started?

MAJOR GENERAL DAVE CHALMERS: Well, yes of course there are and that's happening in mainstream
Australia as well as in Indigenous communities. The measure of what we're doing, though, is
addressing those conditions which allow child sex abuse, for example, to occur at much greater
rates in Indigenous communities than it does elsewhere. And that process has started. I think the
indicators are very positive but it is going to be a long-term commitment.

LEIGH SALES: So far about 8,500 children have been checked and there's about it's believed 7,000 or
so who haven't been checked. How are you going to get those children checked, Major General Dave
Chalmers?

MAJOR GENERAL DAVE CHALMERS: Well, child health checks have been offered to nearly 17,000 children
now and of those children, 8,557 have been checked by the teams of doctors and remote area nurses
that the intervention has brought into the Northern Territory. A further 1,900 children have been
checked through Aboriginal medical services, clinics in communities and that's an ongoing process
and I estimate that by June this year, 12 months into the intervention, we will probably have
conducted about 12,000 child health checks all up. I think that's a great result. It compares very
favourably with other screening processes. But, of course, I think our aim should be that every
Indigenous child is offered a child health check every year, that we track the health of children
and we make efforts to improve both primary health care and also the rate of visiting specialist
care.

LEIGH SALES: Dr Kong, as I mentioned before initially this was discussed as a crisis and the first
phase was responding to the crisis and then there would be some sort of ongoing next phase and an
ongoing response. Do you believe that we're through the crisis yet?

DR KELVIN KONG: I think the use of the word emergency and crisis is quite alarming to me. We have
known about this kind of health disparity that has existed for quite a long time. The dichotomy
that we live in where Indigenous people in Australia endure third world status whereas our general
population endure quite good status.

When you compare us to the competing OECD nations the health status is fantastic. What you're doing
is looking at that is working out why we're getting these health disparities going on. To add to
Major General Dave Chalmers's comments there, irrespective of this intervention, every child in
Australia deserves primary health care. Every child in Australia deserves ear care, or ear health
care, every child in Australia deserves the right to education, employment and self determination.
This is what we need to provide for these kids. It's the intervention has kicked in. We need to
provide holistic care to these children.

LEIGH SALES: Gentlemen, we appreciate your insights and your efforts in this field, we thank you
very much for joining Lateline.

Barry Hall punching incident prompts calls for send-off rule

Barry Hall punching incident prompts calls for send-off rule

Broadcast: 14/04/2008

Reporter: Rachel Carbonell

There are calls for Australian Rules Football to introduce 'red card' or 'sin bin' style penalties,
after Sydney Swans player Barry Hall punched an opponent during a match.

Transcript

LEIGH SALES: Sydney Swans player Barry Hall has ignited a debate about discipline in Australian
Rules football after he knocked out an opponent with a punch against Saturday's game against the
West Coast Eagles. Commentators say it's been a long time since such an ugly incident has been seen
in Aussie Rules. There are calls for the code to introduce red card or sin bin style penalties
where players are removed from the ground immediately after such offences. Rachel Carbonell
reports.

RACHEL CARBONELL: Barry Hall has worked hard to lose his bad boy image since he joined the Sydney
Swans in 2002, but after Saturday night, all that may have been in vain.

COMMENTATOR: It was a shocker, he's let himself down completely there, Barry Hall. That is the sort
of thing we thought was out of this game.

RACHEL CARBONELL: Despite those initially half hearted pleas to the umpire, Barry Hall was quick to
call it as it was.

BARRY HALL, SYDNEY SWANS: It was just a mind explosion and looking at the replay, I certainly
regret what I did.

RACHEL CARBONELL: Today, the Swans continued that line.

LEO BARRY, SYDNEY SWANS: I think we all are generally disappointed with what happened. He certainly
let all the players down 'cause he is one of our most influential players.

RACHEL CARBONELL: But Barry Hall has admitted it could happen again. The AFL's Match Preview Panel
has deemed the issue so serious it sent Hall straight to the tribunal which is tipped to suspend
him for at least six weeks. Hall broke his wrist when he slammed into the sidelines later in the
game and that injury could well keep him out of the game for as long or longer anyway.

What kind of punishment Barry Hall should suffer as a result of his action s isn't the only issue.
What role he plays in advertising campaigns is also likely to be an issue for the team and for the
AFL more generally. There have been calls for some kind of send-off rule or red card system to be
introduced for when issues like this arise. Soccer, rugby and rugby league all have provisions to
send players off immediately after major indiscretions. But AFL commentators say such a system
wouldn't work for Aussie Rules.

TIM LANE, CHANNEL TEN AFL COMMENTATOR: I think by its nature, rugby league is a game of heavier
tackling, greater tackling priority. It's a game given to probably more violent contact
historically.

RACHEL CARBONELL: Brent Staker, the victim of Barry Hall's left hook, had his jaw checked today. He
wasn't saying much, but his parents hope the tribunal comes down hard.

ALAN STAKER, BRENT STAKER'S FATHER: Maybe if there's a fight and you come out second best, fair
enough. But not to be king hit when you're not near the play. Pretty weak I reckon.

RACHEL CARBONELL: While Barry Hall hasn't been suspended since 2002, prior to that he had a string
of 16 suspensions dating back to 1998 when he was with St Kilda. Rachel Carbonell, Lateline.

And in news just in, Zimbabwe's High Court has rejected the Opposition's petition for the immediate
release of the results of last month's election. That's all from us. 'Lateline Business' coming up.
If you'd like to look back at tonight's discuss with Kelvin Kong and Major General Dave Chalmers or
review any of Lateline's stories or transcripts, you can visit our website. Now 'Lateline Business'
with Ali Moore.