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Media Watch -

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(generated from captions) THEME MUSIC welcome to Media Watch. Hello, I'm Paul Barry, veteran shock-jock Alan Jones, And no prizes for guessing that was the killing of five civilians charged in relation to in a raid in Afghanistan. of manslaughter, One of these soldiers is accused of 20 years in prison. which carries a maximum sentence a gut to get all charges dropped, And Alan Jones has been busting with a three-week campaign of Military Prosecutions, vilifying Australia's Director Brigadier Lyn McDade, who brought them. from doing this Now, there are laws to stop Jones and we'll come to them in a moment the entire program to this issue. because tonight we're going to devote But first to what happened. special forces raided a compound In February 2009, Australian Afghanistan's Oruzgan province. near the Village of Surkh Morghab in one Taliban insurgent was killed - In the heat of the fighting and a teenager. but so too were four children of some of the victims. interviewed relatives and the dead bodies were laid some were rolling in their blood here, We were all asked to sit over and she died. shot in the head and the chest TRANSLATOR: My daughter was of what happened The soldiers' version some four weeks ago - was given to the ABC after charges were laid - whose face was blacked out. by a senior commando officer, His second-hand account, and News 24, which ran on AM, the 7 o'clock News,

had little choice claimed the Australian soldiers but to do as they did. were exploding around them They were in a room where the walls the walls as this bloke fired through the walls, as the mud and stuff came off

the people in their section and in an effort to protect who were closest to this bloke into the room. they popped a hand grenade magazines and kept firing. The response was that he changed that he may have used up My understanding is of ammunition. the best part of three magazines 7.62 bullets That's 90 rounds of AK-47, without even stopping. that go through a mud wall going to keep going, They then realised that he was And he stopped. Now that may be well what happened. But it may not. Dateline's report showed pictures supposedly occurred of the room where the killings 90 bullet holes. and the walls did not have is also in conflict The senior commando officer's account told Dateline. with what the victims' families

As executive director Association, Neil James, observed - of the Australian Defence That's the point of having a trial rather than trial by media. Normally, once a person is charged, the media from trying the case. there are strict rules to prohibit can end up in jail Journalists breaking these rules for contempt of court, famously did. as broadcaster Derryn Hinch military tribunals, The same principle applies to a jury of soldiers. which are essentially made up of Professor Ben Saul, According to Sydney University's through the media... trying such a case a trial This principle of not prejudging is backed by Section 89 which states that no person shall... the rules are the same So in broad terms, a criminal court, whether it's a military or is potentially severe - and the penalty for breaking them the slammer? So why isn't Alan Jones in he's trying to stop the trial Because there's no doubt or get the soldiers acquitted. Well, the devil is in the detail. The tribunal hearing these charges - up to five army officers - comprising a panel of has not yet been constituted. And, until it is, for Alan to be in contempt of. there is no court This loophole in the law with saying anything he likes. means Jones can legally get away However inflammatory it is. is within the law, But even though Jones are still quite disgraceful. You can almost see his lip curl as he says the word.

and there are many examples - More often - Military Prosecutions "this woman". Alan Jones calls the Director of of sympathisers Jones has enlisted a variety Piers Akerman including News Ltd columnist are equally contemptuous. whose views on McDade For the record, since 1983. gained in the Army or Army Reserve by virtue of her office. And she holds the rank of Brigadier She's also worked as a barrister, she can't bring charges on a whim. Futhermore, She must be satisfied there is... as Jones insists on calling her. So, who appointed this woman, According to Alan - 100 per cent wrong. Well, no, actually. who appointed McDade. It was John Howard's government And John Howard's government independent military prosecutor. that created the office of Jones just doesn't get. But this is a concept to Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. Jones put that question

Parliament or him to decide Does Alan Jones really want who's prosecuted? the Separation of Powers? Has he never heard of Or it that it suits his case? told Senate Estimates last week, As the Defence Chief Angus Houston there is a principle at stake. that we have to consider - I think there is a principle here a process of prosecution fundamentally there was a need for an independent person. that would be run by

we fight wars fairly, to show the world

to do. as we often exhort other countries And as the Chief of Army Command, two weeks ago, In a letter to his soldiers of the undoubted anger in his ranks. Ken Gillespie tried to calm some concerned about Jones's campaign But the army chief was so Jones is doing all of those things. Courtesy of the loophole in the law, from Army command, And despite those threats rank and file soldiers and officers to kill the prosecution With the result that the campaign continues unabated.

It's compelling stuff, but may also be false. which may well be true detailed eight-page letter We have received an extremely

defending the soldiers' actions, condeming the prosecutions and attacking the investigators but we will not be publishing.

Why not? Because it is for the court not Alan Jones and his listeners, or us, to decide what happened on that night and who is telling the truth. After the trial, which is expected to start early next year, there will be plenty of time for debate. But until then, the court should be left to do its job, So it can get to the truth and be seen to do so. That's why we have an independent justice system. And you can read more about this on our website but for now that's all from us. We'll be back with another Media Watch at the same time next week. Good night. Closed Captions by CSI Tonight is your first chance

to put John Howard to the 'Q&A'

test. Our audience of Howard

supporters and critics have their questions ready. This Program Is

Captioned Live.

(APPLAUSE)

Good evening and welcome to this very special edition of

'Q&A'. I'm Tony Jones and answering your questions tonight is Australia's

second-longest serving Prime

Minister. Please welcome John

Howard. (APPLAUSE) 'Q&A' is

live from 9:35 eastern daylight

saving time and you can send your questions via our website

at abc.net.au/'Q&A' and you can join

join the twitter conversation

using the hash tag that's

appearing on your screen now.

Mr Howard's political memoir 'Lazarus Rising' isn't released until tomorrow but it's already

causing waves. Former colleagues Peter Costello and Jeff Kennett have hit back at

stinging criticism from Mr

Howard. Tonight we have an

audience of Australian voters

with questions about what he

did during his 11.5 years as

Prime Minister. John Howard led

Australia into a period of

economic prosperity. He led us

through the gun buyback, the

GST, the liberation of East Timor, September

crisis, Afghanistan, Iraq and

can WorkChoices among many

other things. 'Q&A' is a post-Howard phenomenon so this

is our first opportunity to

bring John Howard face to with the 'Q&A' audience. There

are a lot of questions. Our

first one tonight comes from

Steve Walz. You stayed on as

Prime Minister in 2006 because

of the way history would record

you stepping down after Costello accused you Costello accused you of

reneging on a deal. Knowing

that you would likely lose the

election and your seat, you

chose Opposition for your party and the Labor

giving Costello a shot at the leadership. Was thought not

astonishingly selfish? That

one view of what I did. Another

view is that by staying on I responded to the overwhelming

view of the majority of my parliamentary colleagues but

the real verdict of history about the Costello-Howard

relationship will not be our

leadership tensions, which

arose fairly rarely during 11.5

years, but rather that together

we built an Australian economy

which was bullet-proof from the impact of the world financial

downturn. Australia was in a

better economic position than

any other Western country when

the global financial crisis hit

and it was the partnership between Peter Costello Howard that made that possible.

That's our great legacy, more than

than the understandable

tensions that arise in political parties about leadership. I'm really pleased

to see you haven't lost your

ability to shift away from the question. It's fundamental.

History is about what you actually do

I did together was to build an Australian economy that was

bullet-proof from the economic downturn. (APPLAUSE) Yet

that wasn't the thrust of the

question that was asked and it

goes to what Laurie Oakes said

at the weekend - you've read

that I'm sure. Yes. He says

your memoir reveals your

decision on the leadership in

2006 was made on the basis of

ego and a concern for your

reputation not what was best for the Liberal Party. Well,

usually what is best for a

political party is what the

majority of the elected members of the political party think

and Tony, I can assure you that

in 2006 the majority of my

colleagues wanted me to stay.