Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts.These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
Lateline -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

Tonight - politics 102. Now,

Wayne and I went to school

here. Labor candidate reopened the debate on private school funding, Kevin Rudd got a lesson on how
to apply the

wedge. hit list has never been put away. It's only been put in a drawer and that a future Labor
Government will, if people like Mike Kelly have his way,

revisit that whole issue. don't care whether schools are government owned or non-government. What
I'm concerned about is the quality of education provided through those schools and their physical
assets, infrastructure and the training of their teachers. CC

Good evening. Welcome to 'Lateline'. I'm Tony Jones coming to you from a different studio tonight
for technical reasons. Last night we reported on one of the worst cases of wrongful immigration
we've seen. Tony Tran was suddenly arrested in 1999 when he visited the Immigration Department to
sort out a visa for his co Riaan wi. His wife left the country after that, he never saw her again,
and Tran spent 575 years in detention before he was able to see his young son. He was only set free
when the Immigration Department realised they'd locked him up by mistake. Tran and his son Hai are
still in migration limbo so why no apology? And why has his case still been unresolved? Questions
he wanted to ask the immigration but he says he won't comment until next week so we will be joined
tonight by Labor's immigration spokesman Tony Burke. Our other headlines - Bhutto place pd under
house arrest. The meat in the sandwich. Australian cattle finally allowed into Gaza after being
stranded by a political stand-off. And on Lateline Business, one billion up, but investors marked
down Macquarie Group's huge profit. his official campaign launch tomorrow, Kevin Rudd is trying to
claim the high moral ground on the economy by declaring that his spending promises will be more
restrained than the government's. John Howard splashed nearly $10 billion yesterday with the
biggest-ticket item a new tax deduction for school related expenses. That's come under fire from
Kevin Rudd, who says it will add to inflationary pressures but with Mr Rudd hinting that education
will take centre stage at his campaign launch, a question mark still hangs over just how modest his
spending will ultimately be. Dana Robertson reports. stamping ground, Kevin Rudd got the kind of
reception he could only dream about in his school

days. school here. Wayne was captain of the rugby league team. I was captain of the debating


(LAUGHTER very, very cool and I was very,

very not!

(LAUGHTER a difference 3.5 decades


hard! the schoolyard, too. He chose a Brisbane Catholic school to sell his new promise of a tax
break for education costs. And talked up the fact that it's not means tested, and can be used to
offset private school

fees. this sort of envy game when it comes to private and government schools. I support all school


problem whatsoever. won't criticise the policy, but neither will he support it. Three years ago,
Labor's so-called private schools hit list proved to be electoral poison. Kevin Rudd's determined
not to be caught in the same

trap again. whether schools are government owned or non-government. What I'm concerned about is the
quality of education provided through those schools and their physical assets, infrastructure and
the training of their

teachers. made that much harder by his star candidate in the seat of Eden Monaro, Mike Kelly. On
local radio, Mr Kelly criticised the current private school funding system that Labor's promised to

retain. approach to looking at the needs of schools and we'll move away from that and get down
eventually to a proper

needs-based approach. indicates that the hit list has never been put away. It's only been put in a
drawer. And that a future Labor Government will, if people like Mike Kelly have his way, revisit
that whole

issue. followed.

I've been talking about an education revolution all year. Labor has placed education on the
national political agenda.

And the Labor Leader's holding out the prospect of more to come. Education, health and climate
change are set to feature in Labor's campaign launch tomorrow. But Mr Rudd's eager to point out
that he won't be matching John Howard's

$9.5 billion in promises. concerned about the inflationary effect of what Mr Howard had to say
yesterday. Particularly on the same day that the Reserve Bank issued its statement on monetary
policy which warned of future

inflationary pressures. hasn't shown any interest in economic conservatism in the time he's been
in. It's a man tree which he thinks according to Hawker Briton, the public

wants to hear. launch will be an opportunity for Kevin Rudd to play up one of his recurring
campaign themes. Under the banner of his new leadership slogan he is certain to focus on his
commitment to the top job in contrast to John Howard's plan to retire during his next term and
today Mr Howard gave his clearest indication yet of the time frame for handing the leadership to


or 18 months on at least. Howard's not going to be there for the future because he said the future
will be handed to Mr

Costello own a plate. Rudd's hoping the succession plan never gets that far. The former Pakistan
Prime Minister and main Opposition Leader Benazir Bhutto has again been place under house arrest.
The seven day detention order is designed to prevent a march against emergency rule. After recent
talks of an alliance, Mrs Bhutto has now broken all ties with President Pervez Musharraf and is
reportedly discussing an alliance with another Opposition Leader, Nawaz Sharif. But General
Musharraf is under pressure on another front with a US envoy arriving on Thursday urging him to
reinstate the constitution and hold elections. Peter Lloyd reports from Lahore. Supporters of
Benazir Bhutto have been probing the plit perimeter surrounding the house she's detained in.
Grabbing the rifle was a step too far for police. The men ran for it, women stood their ground.
Police didn't want to see them being taken away. On the streets of Lahore, police are vastly
outnumbering protesters, the public showing no appetite for a direct confrontation. This is what
the regime meant by zero tolerance. All attempts by the opposition to gather on the street are
being met with force. With sharp shooting squatters on her rooftop and police in barricades
blocking the driveway, the former Prime Minister took to a satellite phone to demand the
resignation of Pakistan's military leader,

Pervez Musharraf. marching to end martial law and we're marching because it's time for General
Musharraf to leave, simply leave. He is out of his depth, and the situation in the country is most
grave. It's a nuclear-armed country. The militants advanced, instead of reaching out to the
Democrats, General Musharraf is trying to crush the movement

with force. Musharraf's refusal to lift draconian emergency rule has put him on a collision course
with the Commonwealth. He has been given 10 days to restore the constitution or face

expulsion. progress, Pakistan has failed to implement these necessary measures, it will suspend
pack -- Pakistan from the councils of

the Commonwealth. leaders are increasing pressure

on the Pakistani leader. recall on President Musharraf of Pakistan to restore the constitution and
implement the necessary conditions to guarantee free and fair elections on schedule in January. We
call on him to release all political prisoners, to pursue energetically reconciliation with
political opposition, to honour his commitment to step down as chief of army staff, and to relax
restrictions on

free speech. may be out of sight, but some of her supporters have begun a protest in vehicle convoy
to the capital Islamabad. Hamas has rounded up scores of supporters of the rival faction Fatah
following a rally yesterday honouring the late Yasser Arafat which ended in bloodshed. Hundreds of
thousands of thousands of people came out to mark the third anniversary of his death, but security
forces from the Hamas faction which controls Gaza opened fire on the crowd, killing seven people
and injuring more than 100.

TRANSLATION: Suddenly, Hamas executive forces attacked people taking part in the rally. Of course
as you know, it was simply shooting by snipers. There was an intention

to kill. the shooting was unprovoked although Hamas accused some of the protesters of throwing
stones at the police. Last night, we brought you the story of Tony Tran, a young Vietnamese man
wrongly detained for 5.5 years in Australian detention centres and separated from his wife and his
Australian-born son. Today the Commonwealth Ombudsman told 'Lateline' other serious cases of
wrongful detention are yet to be made public. In a moment, our interview with Labor's immigration
spokesman Tony Burke, but first, this report by John Stewart. Tony Tran was born in Vietnam. He
grew up in the United States as a refugee and travelled to Australia in 1992 to visit his
relatives. There's no question that Tran's first marriage to a Vietnamese Australian was messy and
ended badly. He came before a magistrate in 1995 over domestic violence allegations. No conviction
was recorded against him. But he was put on probation and ordered to do community service. But he
failed to do the community service, and as a result, was jailed for 3.5 months. Mr Tran put that
behind him, and over the next four years, re-established his life, married a South Korean woman and
bought a house. Then in 1999, immigration officials handcuffed Tran and took him to jai. He would
never see his

wife again. get locked up like that. So I never get to say goodbye or

kiss my son. your wife again since that


No time you saw your wife, that


Yes believed that he had a valid visa. But immigration officials told him it had been cancelled
years before. But Tony Tran had not been properly notified of the cancellation. The letter from
immigration officials was returned unopened to the

department. have been in there in the first place. He should never have been locked up. Under
Australian law, if you're not properly notified of a decision, it is unlawful for

you to be detained. department allowed Tony Tran's son to travel to South Korea with his mother,
but without his father's knowledge or consent. His young son later returned to Australia, and was

placed in foster care. they take my child away, that's when everything just - just collapsed for
me, mentally and

physically. was set free, and reunited with his son. After 5.5 years in detention, he received a
letter from the government, admitting that he'd actually had a valid visa since 1993. Mr Tran has
now been living in Australia for 14 years. But could still be deported unless he's given permanent
residence. The Commonwealth Ombudsman reviewed the case, and said Mr Tran's detention was one of
more than 200 where the Department of Immigration had wrongfully detained

people. individuals whether they want to identify their cases publicly, and as the report from
yesterday indicates, Mr Tran has apparently given consent to his case being identified publicly.
But the details of the settlements can - or of legal proceedings are likely to come out one way or
another, whether it's through departmental annual reports or through questions at Estimates
hearings and things of that

kind. Bartlett says as long as the mandatory detention laws remain in place, some people will be

wrongfully detained. just wrongfully getting a speeding ticket and being able to get it repealed
down the track. You can't unjail someone. You can't undo the damage that's done. That's why
mandatory detention is such an abomination. And that's why whoever forms government after the
election, the Democrats will continue to pressure through the Senate to get that

reform to the Migration Act. Like several other high-profile immigration cases, Tony Tran is
seeking compensation for his

ordeal. of it there is a very good case for compensation. As to it's level, that's a matter for

negotiation. spokeswoman for the Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews said that she expected that
details of the case would be brought before the minister by early next week. Tony Burke is the
opposition immigration spokesman. He joins us now in our Brisbane studio.

Thanks for being there.

evening. shocked by the wrongful detention of Cornelia Rau, perhaps even more so by the illegal
detention and deportation of Vivian Solon. What do you think of this new case, the details of which
we've just had on our program

last night on Tony Tran? I - I wish I could say I was surprised. Unfortunately, we've now seen more
than 200 cases where somebody has spent part of their life inside immigration detention, only to
find out at the end of that time that they were always lawfully in Australia. So ... I wish I could
still be surprised by it. But we've had now more than 200 lives turned upside down by mistakes that
have been

made in this fashion. consider for a moment what Tony Tran lost as a result of being wrongfully
locked up for 5.5 years. His family was torn apart, his wife and Australian-born son ended up in
Korea, his son was then brought back to this country, but he wasn't able to see him for that whole
5.5 years and extraordinarily, during that period when his son was here and he was in detention,
the Immigration Department attempted to deport the boy back to effectively an orphanage in Korea.
Now, this is an extraordinary set of circumstances. What do you

think of the detail? of these issues go to the cultural issues that developed within the Department
of Immigration that we've spoken about before. Where the nature of the leadership that was given by
successive ministers for that department drove a particular culture, which resulted in a culture of
assumption, a culture of denial, finally, a culture of cover-up, all of which has been reported in
the Palmer and Comrie reports of a couple of years ago. In terms of the rest of the detail, I have
to say, I can't give a final conclusion on all the aspects of this case, because unusually for an
election campaign, I'm not in a position - and I'm the only shadow minister in this situation -
where I'm not able to get the briefings directly from departmental officials that would ordinarily
be made available to a shadow

minister. what you mean by that? I mean, you're talking talking about the caretaker provisions I

would guess? caretaker period, shadow ministers are ordinarily able to get direct access, without
the minister's office there present taking note, direct access to departmental officials. I wrote
just before the election was called to Kevin Andrews seeking a further one of these meetings. I'd
had two, other shadow ministers have had a succession of meetings,. I received on - what was it - I
received it on the 17th of October, Kevin Andrews signed it on the 15th of October, a letter saying
that for this one department, the opposition would be shut out of

having any further meetings. Do you know why he's taken this position? Have you obviously

asked why? you can put it down to two reasons, we're either talking about a cover-up of further
incompetence, or we're talking about arrogance. I think either of them are probably plausible. In
terms of incompetence - the government and this minister have form, whether it's for the refugee
swap, the handling of Dr Haneef's case, yetting Yvonne Ridley into the country. In terms of are a
garns it's once again public servants being viewed as though they're the property of the Liberal
Party. I've no doubt Kevin Andrews gets access to them during the election campaign whenever he
wants but he's the one minister in the government who's decided that the caretaker provisions won't
be extended to the opposition

during the campaign period. What are the legal implications of this? Are the conventions simply
that, conventions that have no legal weight and he can do this and legally do

this? been that the shadow minister would write to the minister and seek meetings. The minister
would then arrange the appropriate time. I did write directly to the departmental secretary as
well, who in his response to me referred to discussions with the department of Prime Minister and
Cabinet and said, no, you have to go through the minister. So I've no doubt the Prime Minister is
aware of what Kevin Andrews has done, because PM and C were notified. But Kevin Andrews has decided
to shut down on providing all the information to the opposition. Now as I say, it may be just
straight arrogance, it may be further examples of incompetence that if anything like this arose
during the campaign, they wanted to make sure that we weren't able to get direct access to the
bureaucrats. But what it ultimately means in a case like the one we're dealing with tonight, I can
certainly look at the evidence that's been presented, see which evidence and certainly what was
presented last night puts Mr Tran's case in a very strong light and I can talk about the issues
that we would weigh up if we were ever presented with the file, if there is a change of government
in the couple of weeks' time. But in terms of being able to offer any sort of final conclusion,
Kevin Andrews, through his use of or abuse of what everyone else regards as standard protocols
during an election campaign,

has shut us down. what you would do if you had the complete file in government in a moment. First,
you've made your case for access directly, have you, to Andrew Metcalfe?

That's right. Kevin Andrews initially when I wrote didn't reply in what I regarded as a reasonable
time. Previously we0'd always had a turnover of a day or so. So I wrote directly to Andrew Metcalfe
and I understand where his hands are tied but he contacted PM and C and then wrote back to me
saying the advice from PM and C was that I had to continue to go directly through the minister. So
as I say, I appreciate the position that the departmental secretary's in, but because he did notify
PM and C I have no doubt that the Prime Minister would be aware of what Kevin Andrews is

doing. for a moment. You know Tony Tran and his son have never received an apology. They're still
in migration limbo as we've called it. If you were to come to government, what would you do to
resolve this

case? that the decision that says he was legally in Australia from everything that's been presented
so far was something that the department has fully acknowledged. So I've always taken a view that
if you are wrongfully detained, that's wrong. And an apology for having been wrongfully detained is
not an unreasonable thing to go so. I would like at the file and you adopt a number of principles
in how you weigh that up, principles like no-one should be stateless, the impact on children being
involved. You also have to weigh up character issues and you don't want to get hysterical about it,
but it is true that part of the role of the Minister for Immigration is a national security role.
I've got no evidence presented that that's relevant in this case. But as I say, you weigh those
issues up. And essentially follow the guidelines that were brought down by the Commonwealth
Ombudsman in a report that he brought out into 501 deportations a couple of years ago. Where he
just gave a good summary of the range of issues that a minister would properly take into account
when exercising discretions under that part of the Act, and depending on the precise visa that Mr
Tran applies for at any point of time, you'd weigh up

similar principles. briefly - would you say on the surface of it, he has a strong case for
remaining in Australia and a strong case for compensation, be that fought through by the courts or
an ex

gratia payment? if you're wrongfully locked up, it's difficult to see that there wouldn't be a case
for compensation that would flow from that. The exact quantum of that is a matter that gets sorted
out through negotiation and ultimately if those negotiations break down, then through the courts.
In terms of permanence, the first principle you have to get through is if not in Australia, then
where? It appears from what's been presented so far that Mr Tran in fact has nowhere else to go.
And certainly, it would be unusual to seriously look at relocating somebody who has been found to
be a refugee back in the country from which it had been independently found they were being
persecuted. So it appears that there are very few options available. That would have to weigh very
heavily. But as I say, issues like national security issues, I've got no reason to believe that
they're part of this case, but without being able to get access to the full file, then I can't get
to the point of that

final conclusion. realised from talking to the ombudsman tonight is that there are 200 other cases
like this, or this is one of another 200 cases besides Rau and Solon. There were calls for a royal
commission into why these cases happened in the past. If you come to government, will you have a
royal commission to get to the bottom of this once and

for all? want to do is have a look at what can be brought out publicly. I want to get to those
details. I've always thought that a royal commission was the way to deal with these issues. My
criticism of it being handled solely by the Commonwealth Ombudsman was that the Commonwealth
Ombudsman was not able to get to the bottom of when any of these problems had reached the
minister's office. Within his powers the Commonwealth Ombudsman has done a fantastic job, but I
imagine as minister, I would be able to get access the relevant files to be able to see whether or
not a royal commission was the best way to deal with this or whether you'd look at full release of
documents. Certainly I've always taken the view that if the Howard Government were to remain in
place, which it has so far, then that would require the openness of an inquiry with all of the
powers of a royal commission. The extent to which the powers for public release of information
would be in the hands of a minister is something that I'd be able to look at hopefully, if I hold
that job, in a couple

of weeks' time. we're out-of-time. We'll have to leave you there. We thank you very much for coming

join us tonight. pleasure, Tony.

Just how much does Kevin Rudd owe to Tony Blair's New Labour? There's no doubt Mr Rudd has a
comfortable lead in the polls but the question remains: has he really changed the Labor Party in
the 11 months since his election as leader? When he took power 10 years ago, Tony Blair had
fundamentally changed the British Labour Party. But some commentators say Mr Blair's reforms
haven't been matched by his Australian counterpart. The 1997 general election in the UK, and Tony
Blair won in a landslide, sweeping aside 18 years of Conservative rule, overwhelmingly defeating a
weak John Major government e beset

scandals. Her Majesty the Queen's kind offer to form a new administration of government in

this country. Government isn't beset by scandals and it has a strong reputation for economic
management, but nevertheless BBC correspondent Nick Bryant says he has a strong since of deja vu
about the Australian

election. I have covered this election before. It was in 97 and it was in Britain. There are
obvious similarities with Tony Blair and Kevin Rudd. Both are muscular Christians, both claim to be
fiscally Conservative. Both have tried to court Rupert Murdoch, both are offering generational
change. And both try to articulate their political thinking into these pithy sound bites which they

repeat over and over. Howard has lost touch with working families. Mr Costello has never been in
touch with

working families.

And it will be a government that seeks to restore trust in politics in this country. That cleans it
up, that decentralises it, that gives people hope once again that politics is and should be always
about the service of the

public. are strong similarities between Tony Blair and Kevin Rudd. They both sprang from the
moderate right, and like Tony Blair's economic Third Way, Kevin Rudd promises what he calls "social
inclusion", intended to help the less well-off back into the

mainstream economy. aspired to a third way to create a new Labour Party and he was very successful
at that. Kevin Rudd is not so explicit about a new Labor Party, but if you look at Rudd's content,
there's no doubt that he does want to reposition Labor very significantly as a more modern party,
and of course, modernism is what Blair stood for above

all else. judgments about who I'm like and who I'm not like. They'll sort that out in due season or
they've made their judgments already. I'm a Labor modernise yaer. Always have been, always

will be. Labor modernisers is to take the party in new directions, while holding onto older core
values. While pleasing the party and the electorate at the same time. In Britain, it was called New
Labour. Here, it's being called new

leadership. leadership! And friends, it is this new leadership that I

intend to deliver.

There's no doubt that Kevin Rudd is projecting himself as the man of the future,s as the wave of
the future and Rudd, like Blair, is trying to redefine the agenda of politics. Rudd wants to put
behind him a lot of the old agenda, a lot of the class agenda, a lot of the differences over
economic policy. That's the real significance of me tooism. When Rudd talks about me tooism, what
he really wants to do is

redefine the agenda. Kelly argues that while Tony Blair was leading a Labour Party that was
substantially reformed before it won government, this is not the

case here. between the party and the union movement had been reformed in Britain. It hasn't been
reformed in this country. So I think attitudes - towards the trade union movement formally are
different between Blair and Rudd, although Rudd may ultimately aspire to the changed relationship
between the party and the unions that

we saw in Britain. 1997 election the Labour Party and the union movement were incredibly
disciplined. But what you saw after the election in Britain wasn't an outbreak of industrial action
or strike action; Blair actually managed to keep the party until Iraq, really, and the union
movement, pretty much in line. I mean, the challenge for Kevin Rudd of course and what the Liberal
government would suggest he can't do is actually to keep the union movement in order and

in discipline. Kevin Rudd have something else in common, too - the devastating loss of a parent.
Tony Blair lost his mother when he was a student at Oxford while Kevin Rudd lost his father when he
was 11. There's no doubt Kevin Rudd is hoping for one final comparison with Tony Blair - a
landslide victory. Beyond the political turmoil in the Gaza Strip, its economy is also being
crippled by Israeli bans on trade with the territory and thousands of Australian cattle have been
caught up in the blockade. Israel has banned shipments of Australian cattle to Gaza which is
controlled by Hamas. Now the most recent shipment of cattle from Australia has just been allowed
into Gaza after months of delay but as Matt Brown reports from Gaza, the consignment will be the
last. Around 6,000 cattle have been trapped in Israeli quarantine for months. They were sent from
Australia destined for the dinner tables of the 1.5 million Palestinians who live in the Gaza
Strip. But Israel has the territory surrounded. It's imposed a blockade on Gaza, and will let
through only the most basic

goods. sort of humanitarian problem in Gaza. We're working with the UN, flour and oil and necessary
items are coming in on a regular basis. That does not

include beef. had the territory all but locked down. But the Australian cattle were caught in an
escalating conflict when the Islamist militant group Hamas took control of Gaza in June. Israel
says the strip is now a hostile territory. In October, the Israeli military killed 28 Palestinians.
Most were militants but the dead included two children and one disabled man, and the blockade has

intensified. situation where over the last four months you've had more than 1,000 rockets come from
Gaza into Israel trying to kill our people. And as long as that's the situation, there

can't be business as usual. However, after the Israeli Agriculture Ministery raised concerns about
the welfare of the cattle, they were allowed to run the gauntlet. Thousands have now made it
through, to wholesale yards just inside Gaza's border with Israel. But this shipment will satisfy
the needs of only a few beef merchants. Palestinians are about to celebrate an important Muslim
feast, when tens of thousands of cattle are usually slaughtered. Beef retailers like Ali say their
market is

being ruined. this time, our business should be booming. We should make profits to buy more Catsle
but because of the closures we

don't have anything to sell. Israel says in line with the ban on trade with Gaza, further shipments
of Australian beef

have also been banned. market is not an issue. What is an issue is the humanitarian situation in
Gaza. With all the respect to Australian beef farmers, I don't think even the UN would say
Australian beef is

a humanitarian essential. Because Gaza's market has been starved of of basic commodities, the price
of most imported goods has been on the rise. Even the price of animal feed has increased
dramatically and it's out of reach of many. Like so many other traders in Gaza, those in the cattle
industry say their businesses will soon collapse for good. Israel says it won't let the situation
in Gaza develop into a full-blown humanitarian crisis. But in so many ways, the economy here is
being destroyed. A quick look at the weather now . Lateline Business is coming up in just a moment.
If you would like to look back at tonight's interview or review any of our stories or