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(generated from captions) still harbour some reservations. In fact, it was those reservations the Federal Government's draft laws which prompted Mr Stanhope to post on the Internet, and the displeasure of the Premiers. provoking the ire of the PM for his unease But it appears he's got some support from government backbenchers Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, who've already forced the to soften some of the new laws.

stand in all this? So just where does federal Labor has been ambiguous, Some say their position

saving their strongest criticism of the one day for the inadequate duration for a Senate inquiry which has been allocated to examine the planned legislation. So to explain Labor's position,

homeland security spokesman, we'll be joined by the Opposition's Arch Bevis, Council of Australia, John North, and by the president of the Law of the proposed legislation. an unambiguous critic That's coming up. First - our other headlines. Diplomatic coup. Helen Clark forms a government leader Winston Peters after making New Zealand First Foreign Minister.

to a draft constitution Iraqis say "yes" despite fierce Sunni opposition. And the trial begins British tourist Peter Falconio. of the man accused of murdering Concern over planned new anti-terror laws the Federal Government's continues to grow own backbench with some of John Howard's now calling for more changes. As we mentioned, was made public last week the draft legislation website. on the ACT Chief Minister's Narda Gilmore reports. From Canberra,

were on alert today. Cities across the country More than 4,000 police and soldiers

counter-terrorism exercise are taking part in a 4-day called Mercury 05.

was playing his part - In Canberra, the Prime Minister with State Premiers. a mock phone briefing

VIA SPEAKER PHONE ROLLCALL OF PREMIERS Australia's preparedness, It's about testing to Melbourne's Commonwealth Games especially in the lead-up

next year.

international event in Australia. Well, it's the next great that it's not a target, Now, I hope and pray but we have to be ready. tougher new counter-terrorism laws - For John Howard, that also means the sooner, the better. are attracting plenty of critisism But the planned changes

published the draft legislation after the ACT Chief Minister on his website. is engaging in I guess Mr Stanhope Labor Party politics a bit of internal because some of his own people in this area, don't like any legislation let alone this legislation. Far from backing away, to release Jon Stanhope has promised as well. any further drafts of the Bill I have a Caucus, I have a Cabinet

that has a right to know and I also have a community that I make on their behalf. the basis of decisions

Is it a good thing to discuss these laws? that the public has an opportunity Well, obviously. We live in a democracy. to discuss these laws. We need an opportunity State Labor colleagues disagree. But some of Mr Stanhope's I wouldn't have done that. the sovereignty of Cabinet. I think it's important to respect I would have done. It's not something

been made to the legislation. Some minor changes have already The Prime Minister says from the states. he's yet to hear any complaints in touch with me - not one. Not one of them has been and putting into legislation We will be supporting what we agreed to at COAG. a fight with the Prime Minister. We're not interested in having the Prime Minister. We will work with is less convincing. The ACT Chief Minister but I'm not at all relaxed about it. I've agreed to the package, the Prime Minister's own back bench It seems some of

share that sentiment. the proposed new laws A Coalition committee examining has already had six hours of talks Philip Ruddock. with the Attorney-General, and discussions will continue. They've requested some changes John Howard denies suggestions been watered down. the laws have already in that legislation What is going to be and the states agreed to - is what I announced no more, no less. are also unhappy Some Liberal backbenchers into the legislation that a Senate inquiry to just one day of hearings. has been limited

Narda Gilmore, Lateline. After a month of wrangling, has a new government. New Zealand finally has put together Prime Minister Helen Clark a minority Labour Government the controversial MP Winston Peters in a deal which will also see of Foreign Affairs Minister. take on the role Gillian Bradford reports. New Zealand correspondent It was never going to be easy New Zealand government, forming the next would end up doing a deal but few picked that Labour with an old enemy. become Minister of Foreign Affairs, Right Honourable Winston Peters will Minister of Racing, of Senior Citizens. and Associate Minister the level of Asian immigration Winston Peters has long criticised in New Zealand a militant underbelly of Muslims and has also claimed there's

operating in the country. has granted his wish Now Helen Clark on the world stage. to represent New Zealand I considered it, portfolios that I could take but I considered it the only compromise New Zealand First. and not - how shall I put it? - Mr Peters will sit outside Cabinet of the United Future Party, along with the leader to ensure his party's support who's also been given a ministry on confidence and supply. looked like a natural ally While the Maori Party of the Labour Party, of government. it's decided to stay out to stand as an independent group, We've decided to stay in Opposition, over the next three years. consolidate ourselves as a party Labour's deal with United Future and New Zealand First gives it a majority but more than a few headaches. Winston Peters is bound to ruffle a few feathers as Foreign Minister

and because his position is outside of Cabinet, he says he's not bound by Cabinet solidarity and can criticise the Government when he chooses. Mr Peters' last taste of government in the mid-1990s ended with an angry split with the National Party. Labour is hoping this marriage won't end the same way. Gillian Bradford, Lateline. The official results won't be in for a few days, but early indications are that Iraq's constitution will be approved despite the opposition of many Sunnis. There has been more violence in the country today with as many as 50 insurgents reported killed in clashes with US troops. But the weekend's poll was mostly peaceful. Norman Hermant reports.

The ballots have been cast, and it

may be another two days until

they're all counted. Whatever the

outcome, Iraq's government says

there's no mistaking the success of

this weekend's referendum on Iraq's

draft constitution. For the first

time in the country's history, the


Iraqis are writing their destiny,

their history, by themselves.

Early results point to a higher

than expected turn-out, especially

in Sunni areas. And with a security

clampdown in place across the

country, there was far less

country, there was far less violence than anticipated. All very welcome

news for a US President who has

staked his leadership on the war in

Iraq. The vote stands in stark

contrast to the attitudes and

philosophy and strategy of al-Qaeda

and its terrorist friends and

killers. We believe in and the

Iraqis believe the best way forward

is through the democratic process.

There's no real surprise in Shia

and Kurdish numbers. They point to

overwhelming support for the

constitution. The key questions

surround Iraq's Sunnis. For months,

their political leaders had

threatened to boycott the vote

before a major party relented last

week. It appears Sunnis did turn

week. It appears Sunnis did turn out at the polls, certainly many more

than voted in elections last

January. The key here is the Sunnis

have voted in large numbers. That

means they're casting their lot now,

with the democratic process. And

with the democratic process. And one way or another, the Iraqis are

way or another, the Iraqis are going to be in a position to move forward.

And the hope is Sunni

And the hope is Sunni participation in the political process will dry

in the political process will dry up support for Iraq's bloody

insurgency. That shows that their

voice matters, that the political

process provides avenues for

affecting the situation, that the

military option is not the right

option. But some analysts say

there's another risk. If in the end

a majority of Sunnis voted against

the constitution, and it passes

anyway, that could feed the anger

anyway, that could feed the anger of insurgents. If Sunnis say, look, we

turned out, we tried to vote, we

tried the system and it didn't work,

then you have the prospect for

Sunnis going nuts . It appears two

Sunni provinces may reject the deal,

but opponents will fall one short

but opponents will fall one short of the third province they need to

the third province they need to vote no to scrap the constitution. The

government says the way ahead won't

be easy. We know well that either

way, if it's a yes or a no, it's

going to be a tough outcome, that

going to be a tough outcome, that we need to handle. We know that there

is a level of polarisation, and

is a level of polarisation, and Iraq as one big family, we know if part

of the family is not happy, you

cannot live in the same house.

Iraq appears to have voted in

favour of a new constitution. Now,

it will have to live with it.

The leader of Pakistani Kashmir has estimated the death toll in last week's earthquake at more than 53,000 as the international relief operation gets back into top gear. Helicopters are once again ferrying supplies to survivors after heavy rain hampered the relief effort over the weekend. The scale of the catastrophe is still being uncovered. Medical teams have visited remote areas of Kashmir and say there are around 2,000 critically ill patients in one valley alone. They are becoming septic. They are lying down on a bed in the cold. They have a little bit of cover over them,

and they have some blankets over them but very little else. So it is not only the cold and the conditions, it is actually their surgical problems that will, in the not-too-distant future, kill them. The official death toll has climbed to just over 40,000 but local authorities believe tens of thousands of bodies are still to be counted. On day one of the trial into the murder of British tourist Peter Falconio, the jury has heard that DNA found on cable ties used to restrain Mr Falconio's girlfriend, Joanne Lees, matches that of the man accused of the murder. 47-year-old Bradley John Murdoch is charged with killing Peter Falconio in the Northern Territory outback more than four years ago and assaulting Ms Lees. Liv Casben reports. Flanked by police, the prosecution's key witness in the case against Bradley John Murdoch arrived at court to face her alleged attacker. Joanne Lees has flown from England to give evidence

Flanked by police, Joanne and recount the night Flanked by police, Joanne Lees

arrived to that her boyfriend, Peter Falconio, disappeared on a lonely stretch of the Stuart Highway north of Alice Springs.

In a case that has captured international attention, Rex Wild QC laid out the prosecution's arguments. He told the court Joanne Lees and Peter Falconio had been travelling north of Barrow Creek on 14 July, 2001, when the driver of a white 4WD motioned for them to pull over.

They did so. He said Peter Falconio went to the back of the vehicle to talk to the man before Miss Lees heard a loud bang, like a gunshot. The prosecution alleges Murdoch then bound her wrists with manacles similar to these before forcing her out of the vehicle at gunpoint.

Ms Lees asked her attacker:

The prosecution claims Miss Lees managed to escape by sliding out of the vehicle and hiding from her attacker in the bushes. Mr Wild says Joanne Lees identified her attacker as being Bradley John Murdoch and that DNA evidence would be presented during the course of the trial linking the accused with the crime. He said on hand ties used to restrain Miss Lees, DNA had been obtained. He told the court: Mr Wild also told the jury that there was strong evidence of contact between Joanne Lees and Bradley Murdoch and that blood on the T-shirt being worn by Joanne Lees matched Mr Murdoch's DNA. The prosecution alleges Mr Murdoch had been running drugs from South Australia to Broome and that it was on one of those trips that he murdered Peter Falconio. His body has never been found. This afternoon, Peter's older brother, Paul, and father, Luciano, told the court they hadn't seen or heard from Peter Falconio since his disappearance. Also in court today was Bradley Murdoch's girlfriend. Earlier, Murdoch pleaded not guilty to the murder of Peter Falconio and the assault and deprivation of liberty of Joanne Lees. Liv Casben, Lateline. Now returning to our top story, the Federal Government's new counter-terrorism laws. They've caused concern among civil libertarians and lawyers but got the backing of the Labor premiers. At the same time, government backbenchers have forced some changes to what is being described as draconian legislation. To discuss their implications, I've been joined from Brisbane by the Opposition's homeland security spokesman,

Arch Bevis, and by the President of the Law Council of Australia, John North.

Thanks to both of you for being

there. Arch Bevis, have you managed

yet to read the legislation posted

by Jon Stanhope on his web site?

I've certainly managed to have a

good enough look to know that our

concerns last Thursday about the

importance of a parliamentary

inquiry were absolutely correct.

These things are important matters.

You have to get the balance right.

You don't do that if you rush it

You don't do that if you rush it and the simple fact it, John Howard's

proposing to gag the parliamentary

process when we return in a

fortnight, and that's not the way

you get good laws especially in

areas like this that are

areas like this that are very

sensitive. Let's talk sb specifics,

though. What provisions in the

though. What provisions in the legislation that you have seen are

of concern to you? We've only just,

like most Australians, had an

opportunity to look at this in the

brief. We've got two weeks before

Parliament resumes. Already, we're

hearing reports that there are some

changes apparently being considered

or made by the Attorney-General and

the Prime Minister so we'll spend

the next little while having a

the next little while having a close look at it and talking to a range

look at it and talking to a range of people in the community who have a

clear interest in. This I don't

clear interest in. This I don't want to pre-empt that. But you've seen

the draft legislation. I've seen

the draft legislation. I've seen the draft legislation. John North here

has seen the draft legislation.

has seen the draft legislation. It's pretty clear what's in there at the

present moment. There is there

anything in there at the present

moment n that draft legislation,

which is of concern to you? Look,

before the COAG meeting, Labor

flagged a number of areas where we

thought it was important for

principles to be adhered to, so

questions like sunset clauses are

fundamentally important and I want

to see the fine print of that.

10 years, the sunset clause. You

don't need any fine print, there's

10 years. Is that too long? In fact,

we do need some fine print, because

you're right, the Bill does talk

about 10 years, but in fact the

meeting spoke about a five-year about 10 years, but in fact the COAG

revu. I want to see what the detail

of that review s how it's going to

be done, and what will flow from

that review. But that's one of the

examples, and whether we like it or

not, it happens to be the case that

the devil is in the detail in these

things. So we do need to see that

fine print to get a clear

understanding of how some of these

issues will be dealt with. Alright.

And whilst the Bill gives us a bit

of a guide, I've got to say, it's

short in a number of areas. Well,

does more than give awe bit of a short in a number of areas. Well, it

guide, to be fair. Let's go to John

North, specifically looking at the

draft legislation, what specific

provisions are you worried about?

The major ones are preventive

detention and control orders,

because that is going to enable the

government to lock up people who

they do not reasonably suspect of

having committed a terrorist act.

But they could already do that,

couldn't they, under the previous

about two years and they've not couldn't they, under the previousfor

that seven days once, so what has about two years and they've not used

changed to make them now demand 14

days? Alright. Explain to us what

are the grounds set out in the

legislation, if there are any

grounds set out in the legislation,

for how someone qualifies for being

put under a control order, or being

put into detention? A senior AFP

police person of superintendent

or above, asks a judge or police person of superintendent rank

of the Federal Court to issue the or above, asks a judge or magistrate

order. The person concerned doesn't

know about it. They can't tell

members of their family if it

urs and their lawyer, if they get members of their family if it occurs

one, is monitored. Well, how does a

judge or a magistrate know what

grounds are actually applicable for

a control order? The AFP will have

to present them with sufficient

evidence. The difficulty is, these

are really people in legal limbo

land, because the AFP, if they had

enough proof that they were

in terrorism, could arrest them, enough proof that they were involved

charge them, and bring them before

court. Arch Bevis, does any of that charge them, and bring them before a

concern the federal Labor Party?

Well, potentially, yes, and that's

why the proper process needs to be

followed. That's why we need to

a full Senate inquiry. In 2002, followed. That's why we need to have

we confronted similar issues after a full Senate inquiry. In 2002, when

the tragedy of 9/11, these sorts of

laws were referred to a full

in the Senate and as a result of laws were referred to a full inquiry

that inquiry, a lot of these

concerns were delved into, there

were major amendments proposed to

the legislation and I have to

confess, supported by the Liberals

on that committee as well, and we

saw better legislation and better

laws as a result. Contrast that to

now, where John Howard's proposing

to introduce the Bill in a

when Parliament goes back, have it to introduce the Bill in a fortnight

dealt with by the Parliament in one

week, and give the Senate just one

day for a hearing. And these are

precisely the details we need to go

through in a proper manner with

proper scrutiny. Are you

concerned by the fact that the proper scrutiny. Are you potentially

legislation itself does not set out

the grounds for putting someone

under a control order or putting

them in preventive detention? There

are no grounds at all in the draft

legislation for, that it's simply

interpretation that has to be made, legislation for, that it's simply an

as we've just heard by the AFP or

ASIO and then another

by a Madge straight or a judge. ASIO and then another interpretation

Yeah, I think there are a number of

those concern, and yes, I do have

will be seeking questions about those matters that

will be seeking some answers from, questions about those matters that I

from the Attorney-General and from

the government. But you know, one

the ways in which we traditionally the government. But you know, one of

dealt with that is to allow the

public sufficient time to look at

these Bills when they're in the

Parliament and allow the Parliament

the proper time to actually deal

with them as well. None of that's

been afforded to any of us at the

moment. John Howard, for some

reason, has decided to adopt this

extreme tactic of forcing things

through. And heaven knows why,

because at the COAG meeting he was

provided with full cooperation by

the States an Territories and yet

seems to want to ram through the States an Territories and yet he

But you have a political problem seems to want to ram through ...

here, don't you, because your

colleagues in State Labor

governments around the country are

quite happy for this go through?

There was an agreement at COAG that

all of the governments at Australia

came to. If you read the communique

from that it was quite broad about

the sorts of measures that needed

be taken. Now we're geting to the the sorts of measures that needed to

sharp end of the process where the

detail of the legislation needs to

be examined and put on the table.

Unfortunately, there are, in the

Bill that we've seen so far, a

number of areas of concern that

further clarification, but there number of areas of concern that need

some other areas that just need further clarification, but there are

further details, frankly and that's

the process we have to go through.

There is no rush with this. There's

no rush with this. We've given a

commitment that we'll ensure

sufficient time in the Parliament commitment that we'll ensure there's

for this to be fully debated before

the end of the year and still have

proper inquiry. Let's have a look the end of the year and still have a

some of those other

some of those other areas of proper inquiry. Let's have a look at

because John North has brought up some of those other areas of concern

the shoot-to-kill policy which is

set out in the legislation. Now,

Prime Minister and the set out in the legislation. Now, the

Attorney-General say that's nothing

more than what's already in the

Crimes Act, they're simply taking a

section of that Act and putting it

into this legislation to give

arresting police the same powers

that arresting police have in the

Crimes Act. There's two problems

with that. The first is that AFP

officers may not be in uniform and

therefore the person subject to the

control or prevention order might

not know they are police and that's

what happened in Britain in the

Underground and the second problem

is that this is an order in which Underground and the second problem

they are trying to seek an arrest

a person who they do not reasonably they are trying to seek an arrest of

suspect of being a terrorist. So

do they get to the point where they suspect of being a terrorist. So how

can shoot them? They've only put

this into the legislation because

they want to cover themselves in

case they get a London case. But

what's in the legislation that's

different to what's in the Crimes

Act, because as I've said - in fact,

the Attorney-General says it has

been word for word lifted from the

Crimes Act. The Crimes Act doesn't

have "fleeing", they've used that

word in this Bill to try to cover

this English situation. They must

have done it at the behest of the

AFP who do not want to find

themselves in the same trouble as

the UK police are now. Do you mean

the legislation sets out that

someone can be shot at while

fleeing? Yes, with reservations,

fleeing? Yes, with reservations, but the trouble is ... What are the

reservations? The reservation is

that the AFP officer has to

reasonably suspect that the person

is about to harm him or someone

else, and has to yell "stop", and

then if there's no other means of

stopping them, they can shoot them.

But the crazy thing about this is

that it falls within the section in

which they do not, at time they go

to get the control order, have

enough proof that the person is a

terrorist. In other words , they

can't charge them but they can put

them under a preventive order or a

control order? Exactly. Arch Bevis,

does that worry you, what you have

just heard there, how it's spelt

just heard there, how it's spelt out in the draft legislation, it does

mention the word "fleeing" and it

doesn't sound like it's takeing in

the London case and protecting the

AFP or ASIO against a similar

situation? There are some caveats

situation? There are some caveats in the proposed legislation that deal

with necessary force and where

there's a belief that there's a

terrorist incident or someone's

going to come to harm in an

going to come to harm in an imminent situation. That said, yes, I do

situation. That said, yes, I do have some concerns about that. Now,

whether or not it complies with the

arrangements exists in all of the

States or any of the States at the

moment in respect of police powers

is not something in the last two

case I've been able to determine.

But there again, that's one of the

things that people would

legitimately be concerned about,

that the normal parliamentary

process would get to the bottom of.

For some reason John Howard doesn't

want the normal parliamentary

process to be used on this occasion.

Are you concerned, looking at the

use of the term fleeing in there,

are you concerned that's been set

are you concerned that's been set up to protect the AFP or ASIO in a

situation very similar to that

situation very similar to that which pertained in London when the man

pertained in London when the man who was not a terrorist was shot dead?

Don't think anybody wants to see a

situation like that tragedy in

London where an innocent person was

shot by police in the days that

followed the London bombings.

followed the London bombings. No-one wants to see that situation

anywhere. It is the case that

anywhere. It is the case that police in the States today have the powers

to use lethal force in certain

circumstances. Now, the question

here that needs to be looked at is

whether or not the caveats that

exist in this draft Bill that John

Howard has proposed properly get

Howard has proposed properly get the balance right. Have we ensured that

the necessary safety provisions are

there as well as protecting the

human rights and civil liberties?

Now, that requires some pretty

careful consideration taking into

account the various existing state

laws. John North wants to come in

here. I'm sorry but the existing

law, as you stated, covers the

situation where they can use lethal

force. There was no need to put

in this Bill. The existing law force. There was no need to put that

the Crimes Act? Yes, and that they in this Bill. The existing law being

can shoot and use lethal force if

they're going to save someone sells

or themselves from being harmed.

Let me come back to you, Arch

Bevis. You have read the

legislation, you have read where it

says "fleeing". That means someone

who is running away from the AFP or

whoever is chasing them as they

could be plain clothes as they were

in London, running away, could be

shot if the people chasing them

believe they present some form of

danger? Look, I agree, there needs

to be something done in respect of

the situation with plain clothes

police. You don't want a

circumstance where someone doesn't

know who it is that's yelling out

them to stop. You also need to know who it is that's yelling out at

ensure that the individuals who are

the subject of that chase, as it

were, have their basic rights

protected as well. That fleeing

provision does also include some

caveats. I think John referred to

exact them a moment ago. It's not clear

exactly --in exactly what

circumstances that power would

pertain. These are of the things we

need to get to the bottom of, Tony

and it's frankly difficult, 24

hours, 48 hours after these

documents have been made public -

this would not be a problem if

was going to be the normal this would not be a problem if there

followed in the Parliament. The was going to be the normal processes

reason we are in this bind now, the followed in the Parliament. The only

only reason we're all talking about

Jon Stanhope's web site, is because

the Prime Minister proposes to have

a truncated parliamentary debate on

this. Let me go back to John North

with a very specific example. Let's

take a 16-year-old boy, call him

Ali, he's put in preventive

detention, while inside, according

to the draft legislation

on Jon Stanhope's web site, he can to the draft legislation legislation

have two hours contact per day with

his parents but all his

conversations will be monitored and

if there are no translators

available, they have to be in

English. How does that affect his

legal representation, legal representation? Well, his

legal representation, if he gets it,

will be monitored as well, sow

have any client-solicitor will be monitored as well, sow don't

confidentiality, and of course, his

parents and anyone else cannot tell

anyone that he is in this

detention, or they themselves could anyone that he is in this preventive

face five years' jail. Arch Bevis,

you have heard that section as well.

That's an extraordinary situation

where let's say Ali's school mate

finds out that Ali is in preventive

detention and tells his teacher at

the high school. His friend is then

subject to five years' imprisonment.

Does that sound right to you?

No. I have to say there have been a

few examples that have - both

theoretically and the odd one in

practice, that have to come up,

where you have to wonder about the

operation of some of the secret

arrangements with respect to the

questioning. You can understand the

need for there to be some secrecy

certain circumstances where it may need for there to be some secrecy in

impede ongoing investigations and a

genuine threat to public security.

But to have people for a prolonged

period of time unable to tell their

family, their employer, their

mates, university colleagues, family, their employer, their school

happening, does strike a bit mates, university colleagues, what's

and it would only be in happening, does strike a bit strange

extraordinary circumstances that I

could imagine those sorts of powers

would be warranted. We need also to

have a look, I think, at the

processes of accountability,

so far you've been talking about processes of accountability, because

various powers that exist. One of so far you've been talking about the

the things that federal Labor has

been keen to try and get on the

record before COAG is the need for

some accountability after the event,

so that these sorts of powers

require judicial and executive

approval, that they require a

reporting mechanism back to the

Parliament, so that on any occasion

these powers are activated, it

becomes public and there is some

transparency so that these things

are not hidden. There needs to be

also an oversight review if these

powers are being exercised by state

police, by the various state

policing oversight bodies, your

ICACs, your CMCs, those sorts of

tribunals. We need loose to look at

some of those balancing provisions

and they're part of the

consideration that Labor will be

going through in the next fortnight.

It's interesting you say Labor

because you obviously mean federal

Labor because State Labor has

already made up its mind, it

appears, on this legislation.

They've agreed to it. Now, they are

looking at the detail, but they're

doing their own examination, and

they say that's enough. I think all

owe find they've agreed to the

principles set out in COAG and have

committed to those principles. The

legislation has questions in it for

all of us. Whether it's lawyers,

whether it's state or federal

politicians, and even if we believe

the news reports, some government

backbenchers. Alright. So the

of these laws is obviously backbenchers. Alright. So the detail

that's going to be very much an of these laws is obviously something

issue in the next fortnight. We've

only just scratched the surface

here, but I'm afraid in doing so

we've used up all your home

tonight. We'll hope if we can to we've used up all your home allotted we've used up all your home allotted

come back and talk to you about

again, because there is a lot more come back and talk to you about this

detail to talk about. John North,

thank you also for coming in to detail to talk about. John North, we

indeed. about it. Thanks to both of you thank you also for coming in to talk

a step closer to a uranium deal. China and Australia appear to be has cleared the way The Federal Government mines on Australian soil for China to develop uranium regulatory obligations, if it can meet strict Foreign Investment Review Board. including the provisions of the The Government says would also be needed a nuclear safeguards agreement should ameliorate any concerns and is adamant such an agreement involved in nuclear weaponry. about selling uranium to a country to mine Australian uranium Revelations of China's desire Treasurer is on a visit to Beijing. have come while the Federal

Rachel Carbonell reports. buy uranium from Australia, It's no secret that China wants to its own uranium mines here but its hopes of running were little known until today. Australia about the issue last year It's been revealed China approached has been positive. and it seems the response agreement with Australia, If China agreed to a safeguards the other safeguards agreements which would be comparable to if it was possible to develop a new uranium mine at all in Australia, and that might be possible in the Northern Territory, and if the Chinese got Foreign Investment Review Board approval - if they satisfy the three ifs, it's possible they could invest. The Prime Minister, John Howard, agrees, but says China won't receive any special treatment. If China, or indeed anybody else, wants to mine uranium in Australia, they'll be subject to the same laws as anybody else. That's our foreign investment laws.

Because the States and territories

are Labor Party led, the ALP's

are Labor Party led, the ALP's three mines policy could hamper a new

uranium mine, except in the

uranium mine, except in the Northern Territory, where the Federal

Government has the power to approve

new uranium mines. The Northern

Territory Government says it's not

happy with that arrangement, but it

has no choice in the matter and in

the meantime it has no problem

issuing exploration licences.

We welcome exploration. They're

welcome to come here for

exploraches. The federal treasurer

has played down the likelihood of

Chinese operated uranium mines in Australia.

He has indicated current mining

capacity here can satisfy China's

demand and highlighted the enormous

financial benefit Australia could

reap by exporting uranium to China

for its power industry. If such an agreement could be reached, Australia could export up to 10,000 tonnes of uranium a year. We have demonstrated uranium reserves at 701,000 tonnes. The Federal Opposition also supports exporting uranium to China, so long as its policy of no new mines is adhered to. Yes, I'm happy to export uranium to China provided the Government has satisfied all the tests that we apply to every uranium market on the security of the materials that we send there Formal negotiations to establish a nuclear safeguards agreement with China haven't yet begun, but it's a high priority in the Federal Government. And the Government is confident such an agreement would overcome any concerns about selling uranium to a country which manufactures nuclear weapons. Our experience over many years is that our nuclear safeguards agreements have worked extremely well. We don't have experiences of the nuclear safeguards agreements being ignored or abandoned by other countries. But not everyone is convinced the big mining dollars will be worth it. Environment groups are worried about the waste that will be created, and nuclear non-proliferation experts are concerned about Australia's capacity to ensure the uranium is used for civil power generation, not nuclear weapons.

China exports missile technology

China exports missile technology and nuclear technology to several

countries which are not

countries which are not particularly regarded as, as respectable in the

international nuclear

non-proliferation regime,

particularly Pakistan and Iran, and

China has a secretive regime, a

secretive scientific and nuclear

technological regime. The Federal

Government says Australia already

exports uranium to nuclear weapons

States like France without a

and if China wants to develop States like France without a problem

nuclear weapons, it can do it

Australia. without importing uranium from

To the markets now. after a stronger lead overseas. The All Ords closed higher today also gained ground, The materials sector and Rio Tinto up. with both BHP Billiton The major banks were ahead and the Commonwealth up 25 cents. with the ANZ jumping 45 cents while the Nikkei has eased. In the region, the Hang Seng is up is ahead in early trading. In London, the FTSE gold and oil are higher On the commodities markets, is currently buying 75.24 US cents. and the Australian dollar

Now to the weather.

That's all for this evening. at tonight's interview If you'd like to look back stories or transcripts, or review any of Lateline's you can visit our website at: so please join me then. I'll be back tomorrow night, Goodnight. International. Captioning and Subtitling Captions by