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Live. Tonight - turning the

tide. The levee protecting central Wagga Wagga looks

likely to survive the flood

peak. We won't be able to get

an all clear until we've done -

seen the peak and we've done

some engineering surveys of the

levee to make sure that it will

still retain the water that is

there and the last thing we

want to do is be moving back in

the middle of the night.

Good evening, welcome to

'Lateline', I'm Emma Alberici.

Shortly we'll be crossing live

to the devastating inland NSW

city. And we'll be discussing economics and politics in China

as the country's leaders

continue their latest session

of the National People's

Congress. And our guest tweeter

tonight is feminist commentator

Eva Cox. You can join the

conversation at hash tag

Lateline. Steel - seal

approval Bob Carr becomes a Federal Labor Senate after receiving the endorsement of

the NSW Parliament.

Republicans big day out, 10

US States vote on a candidate

to challenge Barack Obama.

We'll cross to our North

America correspondent for the

latest. And democracy takes a

holiday, a special report on

life under the military regime

of Fiji's dictator. Authorities

have declared a state of

emergency in the NSW city of

Wagga Wagga. Tonight the river

is slowly receding and it

appears the city centre may

have been spared but many homes

on the outskirts have already

been seriously damaged. And

authorities say the area will

take months to recover. Prime

Minister Julia Gillard will

visit the region tomorrow. Amy

Bainbridge reports. The

Riverina city of Wagga Wagga is

at the centre of a muddy brown

sea. Homes are submerged in the

city's north and east but the

levee protecting Wagga's centre

is holding. Still, it's been a

testing time, locals waiting to

see just how high the

Murrumbidgee River would

go. Levee banks, they were

tested in 1974 but on the

couple of occasions we've had

since then the rivers haven't

been as high as this. This afternoon the NSW Government

declared a state of

emergency. From the air in

particular North Wagga Wagga is

a pretty sad and sorry picture

with homes inundated. What

we're facing here in Wagga

Wagga, we're facing other parts

of the Murrumbidgee are

problems that aren't going to

go away

immediately. Authorities say

most of the 9,000 people told

to leave their homes have

complied. At this stage we're,

I suppose, comfortable with the

level of evacuation in Wagga.

We would be more comfortable if

we had everybody out but the

community spirit that has been

displayed has been remarkable.

I'd just encourage people to be

patient. The State Emergency

Service says despite the river

peaking locals won't be able to

return home immediately. We

won't be able to get an all

clear until we've done - seen

the peak and we've done some

engineering surveys of the

levee to make sure it will

still retain the water that is

there and the last thing we

want to be doing is moving back

in the middle of the

night. Hundreds are gathered in

evacuation centres. Many have

kept themselves busy working to

protect what they. Can Can't go

to work, can't go to school so

we came and helped. In the

State's central west residents

of Forbes have been told to

evacuate as the Lachlan River

continues to rise and in

north-east Victoria, Nathalia

is preparing for its moment of

truth tomorrow night or early Thursday. They've prepared the

homes, sandbagged their homes

but we can't guarantee our

integrity. Our recommendation

is they do evacuate. 17 homes

are at immediate risk but

another 170 will be flooded if

Nathalia's levee fails. And we

cross now to Wagga and the

Federal member for Riverina

Michael McCormack. Thanks for

joining us. How is Wagga

tonight and are there still

concerns about the strength of

the levee banks? Certainly

Wagga's on a nervous wait

tonight, Emma and at first

light tomorrow we will see the

full extent of where the river

only going is up to, the fact that it is

only going to be peaking at

10.6 metres is a huge relief

for everybody, certainly not a

relief for those people in

North Wagga who have lost

homes, livestock, fencing,

businesses, the mop up

operations there are going to

be many months in the doing but

certainly a sense of relief has overcome Wagga tonight because

it looks as though we've dodged

a bullet. So what's the mood

like among residents? How are

they coping with the

evacuations and the fact that

much of the city has closed

down? Look, the community

spirit is very high here and we

saw this morning where several

hundred people pitched in and

helped doing sandbagging and

helping people move furniture

and I mean as you've said in

your early report it was a late

night evacuation, the call

didn't come until 9:30 last

night and the army moved in,

air force and Navy, police,

everybody was down in the

central business district,

moving people on, encouraging

and urging people to leave

their businesses and gather

whatever they could from their

homes and to get out very

quickly before 6am this

morning. The city is in

lockdown mode at the moment as far as the central business

district is concerned. There

are police on every intersection vantage point

making sure that the security

is very tight. And it's a real

scene to go down the main

street this afternoon and to see absolutely nobody there

from apart the odd police

patrol but certainly the city

is relieved tonight but very

apprehensive. The first light

will reveal as to, you know,

just the full extent of the

water and we're very hopeful

that the levee bank which is

said to be secure at the

moment, we're very hopeful that

lit hold. It was built in 1962,

it's at a level of 10.7 metres,

technically, to hold out the

water. The river peak is 10.6

metres so we were 10 cm from

disaster. So you mention there

the police presence, is that an

indication of a fear of looting? Look, certainly there

were security issues that the

police were very quick to make

sure that the area was properly patrolled, extra police were

called in. There's been no

sight or any reports of

looting. Look, the camaraderie

here is very high, very

resilient community, everybody

has pitched in and helped one

another and certainly there's

been no report of looting. This

isn't just about Wagga Wagga.

This is Riverina wide.

Communities at un-Gary, Tumut,

giend guy, all those

communities, The Rock, they

have had evacuation orders

placed on them and many, many

homes have been lost in those

areas. We had anywhere between

250 mm and 400 mm of rain fall

over the weekend. That's a huge

amount of water equivalent of

250,000 Olympic pools were

released from Burrenjuck dam.

That coming down the river

obviously created problems but

at this stage the levee is

holding and fingers crossed and

we'll say a few prayers tonight

and hopefully that levee will

hold and then we'll look into

the future as to what we can do

to heighten and strengthen the

levee bank so that in future we

might not have to have

evacuation orders and we might

not have to have these

emergency procedures put into

place. The Prime Minister will

be visiting there tomorrow,

will you be asking her for some

specific financial aid? Surely

there needs to be some federal

assistance and I mean Federal

Government and State

Governments alike can't budget

for these sorts of things. The

best budget, the best way to

ensure against this is to have

a surplus but certainly the

road damage just local and

State roads is $500 million.

That's $500 million of road

works that is going to need to

happen. Hasn't been budgeted

for. That's not even to mention

the homes, the properties, the

fencing, the livestock and the public infrastructure that has

been damaged. Certainly the

Prime Minister is well aware of

the situation. I've been

briefing her office and

certainly I hope she doesn't

come here empty handed. There

will need to be federal

assistance. These communities

will need every bit of assistance to get their lives

back in order, to get their

livelihoods up and running and

they will need to have that

calm and reasoning sense that

we need help out here. OK,

we'll leave it there. Thank you

so much, Michael McCormack, for

your time this evening. Thanks,

Emma. Even as Wayne Swan

continued his attack on some of

the nation's wealthiest entrepreneurs, the Prime

Minister was making friends

with business leaders today

asking their advice on how to

cut red tape. Meanwhile the

Reserve Bank kept interest

rates on hold but warned that

productivity would need to

increase in order to achieve

economic growth forecasts.

Political correspondent Tom

Iggulden reports. The Reserve

Bank's decision was anticipated

and so was most of the

reasoning in the governor's accompanying statement. Local

growth is expected to remain at

about 3% with relatively low

inflation. Glenn Stevens is

cautioning this forecast is an

expectation that productivity

growth will improve somewhat as

a result of the structural

change occurring in the

economy. And that's something

the Government's keen to look

as though it's helping along.

The Prime Minister's forming a

new business advisory forum to

be comprised of around 25

business leaders who will help

the government cut down on red

tape. The idea is to harmonise

State laws to allow workers to

move more easily between

jobs. You've just seen on

display today the partnership

that there is between the Australian Government and the

business community. But the

love's not being spread around

the entire business community.

Wayne Swan's keeping up his

attack on billionaire mining

magnates. They've been seeking

to distort the public debate

because they've got very deep

pockets. But the Prime Minister

says the Treasurer's problem

with megarich minor - miners

doesn't mean the Government's

got a problem with

business. We've always wanted

to have a good relationship. I

believe this is a demonstration

this is what you can achieve with a productive relationship. Business Council

of Australia President Tony

Shepherd was on hand for the

announcement. I wouldn't agree

we haven't been the best friend

of government for a long time.

We've enjoyed a very robust,

good, working relationship. Among the

Council's members is Fortescue

Metals whose chairman is one of

Mr Swan's targets, Andrew

Forrest. Mr Shepherd was asked

whether he agreed with the

Treasurer's comments. Good

question. I didn't think we'd

get through this press

conference without it. I think

all Australians want their

leaders, political, business or

community leaders to work

together, to work cooperatively. Even those who

are willing to publicly

disagree with Mr Swan's campaign. I didn't think it was

a helpful intervention. Were

singing his praises with the

Prime Minister looking on. He

has been extremely willing to

hear our representations even

on issues which have created

differences of opinion. The

two-prong strategy of attacking

the megarich while wooing the

business mainstream is key for

Julia Gillard. She needs the

latter support to underline her

economic management credentials

while playing Robin Hood with

the former helps shore up the

ALP's blue collar base and it

gives her a handy weapon for

Tony Abbott to unlock. Details

of his economic policies. Well,

our policy on foreign ownership

will be announced in good time

before the next election. While

the Opposition Leader toured

country Victoria, in Sydney it

was back to the future for the

incoming Foreign Minister. Bob

Carr returned to the Parliament

he was first elected to serve

almost 30 years ago and quit as

premier 6 years ago. Would you

and Helena go federal after you

get bored doing nothing? No, I

don't think so, no, no. But he

did and today a joint

parliamentary sitting at

Macquarie Street gave its

ascent to Mr Carr's move to

Canberra. Held

It wasn't an entirely smooth welcome back to

politics. Shame, Bob, shame. A

lone protestor with a long memory attacked Mr Carr's

record as premier. I'll look

forward to serving the people

of NSW in a new capacity. Mr

Carr was unfazed saying it was

democracy in action. In the old

days they used to throw eggs. A

gentler reception no doubt

awaits in Canberra. Let's bring

on the joint sitting. In the

United States Republican

candidates are gearing up for

super Tuesday where 10 States

will hold primaries to select

their presidential candidate.

The biggest prize is the state

of Idaho carrying 66 delegates.

For the latest we're joined by

our Washington bureau chief

Craig McMurtrie. None of the candidates have so far been

able to establish a clear lead.

What are the chances that today

will finally offer some clarity

on this contest? Some clarity

is expected today, Emma. For

example, Mitt Romney is

expected to eke out a win in

Ohio in the sense that he

appears to be closing the gap

on Rick sanatorium but more

broadly he's expected to win 6

or 7 of the 10 contests, if not

delivering a knockout punch

then really underlining that he

is the inevitable candidate in

this Republican nomination

contest and essentially the big

difference today is we've got

10 races, a coast to coast

competition, it's not like New

Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina

before where other candidates

who aren't as well financed

have been able to go directly

at him with a local grass roots

campaign. This time it's spread

across the country. It's all

about organisation and money

and perhaps the best example of

that is near to here in

Virginia where voting has just

opened. Rick Santorum and Newt

Gingrich didn't get the

required paperwork filed to get

on the Pallot in Virginia so

that's a direct contest between

Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. Mitt

Romney likely to get all the

delegates in Virginia so that

demonstrates the clout there.

So after today he's expected to

make a big statement and if not

deliver a knockout punch then

at least underline the fact

that he is the inevitable

choice. Given the significance

of Ohio what are the polls

showing there? Well, in Ohio

Rick Santorum had a big lead but that really has come back.

The major polls are showing now

that the race is really a

statistical tie. But with that

momentum it is expected that

Mitt Romney will eke out this

win there. Rick Santorum's

saying he's been outspent 12 to

1 in Ohio. It's an important

symbol, I guess, today because

most Republican strategists

believe that the Republican

nominee to win the White House

in November will have to do

well in Ohio, which is why the

party is looking for a strong

performance there today and

even there the organisation al

aspect comes into it. Rick

Santorum wasn't able to file

the required paperwork and all

the congrenctional districts. A

significant number of delegates

are being assigned by those

congressional districts. So

even if Mitt Romney comes

second in Ohio today he is

likely to get most of the

delegates out of Ohio,

certainly more than Rick

Santorum. Aside from Mitt

Romney and Rick Santorum will

there be pressure on those

other candidates to quit with a

very poor showing today? Well,

yes, there will be pressure

though all of them are saying

they are staying in the race.

Rick Santorum looking to win in

Oklahoma and is likely to win there. Newt Gingrich really

staking his claim in the south,

Georgia, his home State.

Interestingly that's where most

of the delegates are in a

single State today. He's likely

to win there. May do well in

Tennessee as wesmt Ron Paul

looking more towards the open

caucus in North Dakota,

possibly Idaho but there's a

big Mormon population in Idaho

so Mitt Romney has chances

there as well. There will be

pressure on the other 3 to drop

out, as I said, they're saying

that they are staying in the

race. The big question is if

Mitt Romney can make a big

statement will their backers

stay with them, keep giving

money to the super packs to

support their campaigns. That's

an open question but the

Republican establishment is

making it quite clear that it

would like this competition to

start winding down. There is

growing concern with negatives

for all four contenders rising

in polls that if they keep

getting personal, if this

contest continues it will

really undermine the chances of

the eventual nominee. Craig,

we'll watch with great interest

and look forward to your and look forward to your full

coverage tomorrow night on

Lateline, thank you very

much. OK.

China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi appeared before hundreds

of journalists today as part of

the National People's Congress.

As Beijing's power and

influence grows on the world

stage the country's leaders are

coming under pressure to drop

their don't get involved

approach to foreign affairs.

China correspondent Stephen

McDonnell reports from the

Great Hall of the People in

Beijing. China's State power

is r on the rise. This is

driven by its economic strength

and growing military

might. What's more, as its

place on the world stage grows

larger, its diplomats are

feeling the heat. There were

plenty of questions to be asked

of the Foreign Minister when he

appeared at the National

People's Congress. But as Yang

Jiechi stepped out of the Great

Hall of People he knew this

would be a press conference

with Chinese characteristics.

TRANSLATION: We will continue

to stand for resolving regional

and international issues, in

particular those hot spots

through dialogue, consultation

and negotiation and play a

responsible role as a big

country. In a media conference

of nearly 2 hours, you'd expect

the Chinese Foreign Minister to

speak quite a bit about Syria,

given the role Russia and China

have played in blocking

international

intervention. Especially given

that today allegations have

emerged that anti-government

patients have been tortured in

a military hospital in Homs.

These injured protestors are

said to have been flogged and

leck Eck tro cuted by hospital

staff loyal to the Assad

regime. But with the questions

all preveted this is as close

as Yang Jiechi got to

addressing the issues in Syria.

TRANSLATION: We firmly believe

that people in the Middle East

know best about the situation

there. Issues in the Middle

East region should be resolved by people in the Middle East

and the future and destiny of

the Middle East region should

be determined by the people there. China's foreign policy

position can basically be

summed up by we don't get

involved in other country's

internal affairs and you hear

it said here often enough. The

reason for this is obvious.

They don't want others to get

involved here but in the modern

world this is becoming

increasingly difficult to

sustain, especially as China's

power grows. A couple of days

ago the Chinese Government said

it would increase its military

budget this year by 11.2%.

China says that this is

completely normal for a

developing country of its size

and actually many analysts

agree. The problem is that this

budget figure could be a complete fabrication and

neighbouring countries remain

concerned, despite China's

reassurances that it does not

represent a threat to anyone.

TRANSLATION: We will enhance

the armed forces' capability to

accomplish a wide range of

military tasks. The most

important of which is to win

local wars. The Foreign

Minister was also asked if he

was worried about the United

States expanding its military

presence in Australia and

elsewhere in the region.

TRANSLATION: China and the US

have more converging interests

in Asia than anywhere else in

the world. The trend in this

part of the world in my view is

peace, development and

cooperation. They're all going

strong in this region. This

needs people's will and it is

unstoppable. So in Asia at

least there is optimism. And

joining us now in the studio is

Dr John Lee from the Centre for

International Security Studies

at Sydney University. Welcome

to Lateline. Great to be

here. China has revised its

growth forecasts to 7.5%. It

sounds very impressive but it's

off from where people expected

it to be and in fact it's quite

a bit weaker than it's been for

the last 20 years or so. How

concerned should Australia be

about that given so much of our

prosperity relies on China's

strong growth? It's not the

growth target itself that we

should care about, it's how

China achieves growth, that is

is China going to continue on a

massive fixed investment

splurge, which it has been

doing for the last 10 years? I

because it doesn't really have think China will actually

much of an option for the next

few years. So the growth might

go down but the spending on

fixed investment, which is

basically building stuff, I think will continue quite

strongly for the next couple of

years at least. But of course

Wen Jiabao the Prime Minister

says expanding consumer demand

in China is the priority for

2012. Won't that kind of have

mixed implications for

Australia? If China could

achieve that that would

actually be bad for Australia

but the Premier has been saying

that for the last 10 years and

domestic consumption in China

is the lowest of any major

economy as proportion of GDP in

the world. Now, because that's

the case fixed investment tends

to take up the slack of

economic growth and 7.5% yes,

it's lower than the last 10

years or so but fixed

investment will still dominate

the way China actually

grows. But it will be trying

very desperately, won't it, to

be trying to get Chinese to buy

Chinese products? The problem

is that to increase domestic

consumption you need to raise

household incomes in China. To

raise household incomes in

China you need to stop offering

capital to state-owned

enterprises and start offering

cannot - capital to millions

of private businesses

throughout the country. That makes very good economic sense

but it doesn't make very good

political sense. The rise of

the State-owned sector in China

has really been the hidden

economic story over the last 10

years and China is a State

dominated economy, it's not a

private sector dominated

economy. And do you expect that

to change with the new generation of leaders that will

be coming through later this

year? I don't. And the reason

is that there are lots of

factions within the Chinese

communist party, there's lots

of disagreements but the one

thing they agree on is that the

Chinese communist party should

remain in power and one of key

ways the CCP remains in power

is that SOEs dominate the

economy and they will be the primary dispenser of economic

tunt opportunity in the country

and by doing so you tend to

acquire the support of the

elites in the country. If you

change that model that's very

good economics but it's very

bad politics for the CCP

because you dilute your

economic standing and therefore

political relevance in the

country. That demonstrates a real fundamental tension

between economics and politics

in that country especially as

they're trying to look outwards

to the rest of the world and

show a willingness to engage on

the foreign stage in terms of

investment both inwards and

outwards? The Chinese have been

complaining that their foreign

capital is not very welcome in

many parts of the world,

including Australia and

America, for example. But the

reverse holds as well that the

Chinese economy is still extremely closed economy and if

you look at the last 5-year

plan for example which I think

was announced in March last

year, it still wants to

maintain a dominance of the

State-owned sector in all key

sectors of the economy. So the

Chinese economy is extremely

closed economy and you won't

really have a lot of Chinese

capital entering other

countries if you don't have

foreign capital entering the

best parts of the Chinese

economy. Now, Bob Carr will

take up his post later this

week as Foreign Minister. What

advice would you be giving him

as far as focus in Asia? I

think Bob Carr needs modesty.

If you read some of the

writings of the private citizen

Bob Carr he has some ideas

about Australia playing the

role of between China and

America, of being a broker

between China and America. He

certainly should do that

because that just simply won't work. Why? Well, Australia is

very clearly in America's camp.

Everyone agree s that the

alliance with the Americans is

the bedrock of Australian security, there's no doubt

about that. Now it's just

unthinkable for the Chinese to

view us as an honest broker in

this kind of situation when security competition is

actually deepening between

America and China. So we try to

play this role as honest broker

we will just be rebuffed by

Beijing and just annoy

Washington and won't achieve

much in the process. Because

it's not very honest? We are

not an honest broker. With

ehave chosen our strategic site

and that is America. We should

mean we can't have a be clear about that. It doesn't

relationship with chiep - China

but we should be modest about

what we can achieve wean China

and America. China has

announced an increase in

defence spending by 11.2%. This

comes off the back of last year

having increased their defence

expenditure by something like

13%. The Chinese say this does

not represent a threat to the

outside world but rather it's

so that they can win wars their

own country what are they

talking about? That is an

understatement of how much

they're actually spending. They

will be spending around double

of what the official figure is.

The second thing is they're not

very transparent about what

they're spending the money on

and the third reason is they're not very transparent about why

they're spending this amount of

money. The problem is that

China talks about domestic

issues such as Tibet and that's

certainly a priority for them

but the other problem we have

is that China has a lot of maritime disputes with

countries in the region. It's

got disputes with Japan because

of its claims on South China

Sea , it's got disputes with

the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia. When you

have such a big country in a

region having all these claims,

maritime claims against lots of

other smaller countries in the

region any time you see such a

huge increase in Defence

spending of course the region

would be worried. Should be we

be worried? It doesn't affect

us directly in the sense that

there's no issue of the Chinese

suddenly being on our shores

any time soon. No, but we're a

big player in the region? I

think what we should be worried

about is it's a disturbance in

the regional order if I can put

it that way. China is not a

direct military threat to

Australia but it certainly is a

disruptive force in the order

or the post World War II order.

We have to fit China in somehow

but massive increases in

Chinese military spending done

in an intransparent way will

lead to a lot of resistance

against China in the region and

this is what we've seen in the

last 2 years . Further to what

we were talking about about

this kind of relationship, Australia/US/China 3-way

relationship, the Chinese think

tank this week has advised

Chinese officials to exert

economic pressure on Australia

to discourage Canberra from

pursuing those military ties

with the US. Of course we've

got the base in Darwin now, the

training base for the US

military and so on. Now that

sounds like a not so veiled

threat, doesn't it? Well, it is

a think tank, it's a

government-backed think tank

but it's not the government

saying this. The Chinese as in

the government have been

exploring ways of exercising

strategic leverage because of

the economic relationship they had with Australia. For

example, if you look at the

Australia/China relationship in

2009, 2010 that reached the

lowest point that it had been

for probably 10 years. But the

Chinese buy commodities from

Australia not because they like

our policies but because they

have to. Our commodities tend

to be around a third cheaper

than other competitors, for

example, Brazil because of our

location. The Chinese simply

have no choice. I mean getting

access to raw materials is

fundamental to the economic

growth. They cannot jeopardise

that for domestic reasons. So

it's very aggressive talk but

there's not much they can

actually do. And the Chinese

Government, if we can just move

on to another topic, we heard

there in Stephen McDonnell's

piece that the government

continues to frustrate efforts

at the United Nations to

intervene in Syria because its

foreign policy is pretty much

don't stick your nose into our

affairs and we'll butt out of

yours, does that sum it up

really what they're trying to

say here? It does and the

Chinese take this position

largely for this reason. They

don't want a norm or a

principle appearing in

international practice where

you intervene on behalf of

human right s aer - abusers

because that same argument can

be used against China. Their human rights record is not the

greatest. OK, we have to leave it there unfortunately but

thank you very much for your

time. My pleasure.

For Australians Fiji is an incredibly popular holiday

destination but what tourists

don't see is the signs of

repression after 5 years of a

military dictatorship. The

interim Prime Minister

Bainmarama says he's fast

tracking a new constitution.

Crited sicks of the regime says

there's still an air of

intimidation. Philippa McDonald

has been on the ground in Fiji

for Lateline. For holiday

maker it's paradise in the

Pacific. Resort accommodation

for every budget and kids and

honeymooners alike are welcome.

What's your message to the

hundreds of thousands of

Australians who come here on

holiday and consider Fiji a

paradise? Fiji is a beautiful

place to visit. But we the

people in Fiji have a problem

that exists that needs to be

resolved. On the surface Fiji

doesn't look any different to

how it did before the military

coup in 2006. And while almost

40% of the people continue to

live below the poverty line,

benefitted from Frank some of the poor have

Bainimarama's reforms. #7 For

Dan Urai the head of Fiji's

peak union body says for those

who speak out against the

regime punishment is swift. On

Saturday morning there was a

police officer waiting for me

telling me that they wanted to

see me at the police station at

the airport. So I went in and I

asked what was they want me

for. The only reply I got was

orders came from the top. Our

job is to come and arrest

you. How many days were you

held by the police and at what

stage were you given any legal

representation or charged? 10

days, no legal representation.

Just can you check the date for

my next court appearance? The

52-year-old is a former Fijian

Labour Party MP and critic of

some of the interim

Government's many decrees. With

the decrees that were

introduced they are trying to

basically kill the union

movement in Fiji. For a decree

that they put down some union

organised union basic been

removed from its roles of

looking after the interests of

workers, particularly with Air

Pacific and other statutory

bodies that we have in this

country. The interim

Government says businesses

critical to Fiji's economy need

to be protected. It's accused

the country's uni-Yoon ion

movement of being fat cats. If

you look at the history of

trade unionism in this country

most of these people are going

out talking about trade

unionism, they in fact sit in very comfortable positions.

Most of the trade unions have

only been strong in State-owned

enterprises, they've been very

strong in government-owned

enterprises or in fact the

civil service but where a lot

of the exploitation takes

place, for example, it was

highlighted to me is back in if

retail sector in previously in

some of the mining operations,

in other areas where you have

low-paid workers there is an

absence, there's a deafening

absence of trade unionism. Dan

Urai's bail conditions include

reporting to Latoka police

station every night. What kind

of jaim term could you

face? Life imprisonment because

the charge comes under the

committing of treason. When

Commodore Bainmarama lifted

Fiji's public emergency

regulations in January it came

with a warning. We must all

remember that public order,

protecting the vulnerable and

safeguarding the economy will

always be paramount. At the

same time a public order

amendment decree was introduced meaning people could be held

for up to 16 days without

charge. After that they have to

appear in the court. Now,

Fiji's not alone in this

respect. There are many

countries that do that. In fact

in USA, you know, there's an

indefinite period should the

Attorney-General, the President

of the USA decide to hold a

person there's no prescribed

limitation to that. Many other

countries do that. And even

the churches have to apply for

permits to hold meetings other

than services. Horses for

courses. You have to realise

the situation in Fiji and if

you see the actual focus of the

amendment decree it's to do

with things like ethnic, religious and racial vilification which Fiji has

been plagued with.

Prodemocracy activists like

Virisila Buadromo from the women's right movement is

calling for the decrees to be

revoked. We need to tell the

State that you've said we're

going to have elections in

2014. We want to see that

process happen as well.

However, we would like to see

that process to be a legitimate

process and for us that mean

asprocess that is supported by

the people, that's driven by

the people and for that process

to be genuine there needs to be

the lifting of or the repealing

of certain laws which are

limiting people's ability to be

able to express themselves

openly and without fear. At

the same time Fiji's emergency

rule was being lifted, former

MP Mere Samisoni was arrested

and held in a cell for 5

days. I didn't expect it. I was

coming off the plane and I was

approached by the police and the lady superintendent, the

lady inspector, she just said

very quietly "We are arresting

you and you will have to come

with us." It came as a shock

but I contained myself. Why was

she held for 5 days? What kind

of a message does it send when

a 73-year-old woman, a former

MP, is held without charge? I

understand in Australia you

have people of 75 years been

charged with paedophile. Age is

not of significance. If a

person has allegedly committed

an offence. Let's not get

emotional about this. The point

is that if a person has

committed or alleged to have committed an offence under the particular law they will be

charged with it according to

that law. The 73-year-old

business woman is charged with

incite - inciting political

vie lents - violence. There are

20 Fijians currently charged

with treason related offences

and if they are convicted they

face hefty prison terms. Critic

of the interim government say some of those cases have been

brought to make it possible for

people with strong or opposing

views to run for parliament in

2014. In the meantime, Frank

Bainimarama and his senior

colleagues haven't ruled out

standing in the elections.

Paradise is a long way from

being politically regained.

The Queensland Opposition has

raised questions about why the Bligh Labor Government is

refusing to release a report

into the wild rivers

legislation. Last night Cape

York land holders told Lateline

the legislation is too complex

and confusing now the

Queensland Government is

refusing to release the 5-year

because of the State review of the legislation

election. Well we're in care

taker at the moment so of

course I can't take that report

to Cabinet and it can't be

presented to Parliament but I'm

sure it's on track to make sure

that I can present it to my

Cabinet colleagues as soon as

hopefully a Labor Government is returned and obviously it would

be taken to one of the earliest

Parliaments we can. But it is

still being developed right

requires the Government to now. The Wild Rivers Act

report 5 years after a river is

declared. The report was due to

be released on February 28.

Opposition environment

spokesman Andrew Powell says

the Bligh Government is acting

as if it has something to

hide. Now to the weather:

That's all from us. If you'd

like to look back at tonight's

interview with John Lee or

review any of Lateline's

stories or transcripts visit

our website. You can also

follow us on Facebook and on

Twitter. The Business news is

coming up with Ticky Fullerton.

Tony Jones will be in the chair

tomorrow and I'll see you on

Friday. Goodnight. Closed

Captions by CSI This Program is Captioned

Live. Tonight - it's Live. Tonight - it's a growing business. Australian farmers

are cashing in on the best year are cashing in on the best

in more than 3 decades. We're

what will be going into the actually pretty bullish about actually pretty bullish

ground here in Australia and what

lot of disruption and this rain, while it's causing a

lot difficulty for people at the

moment will be a good thing for

the crop. I'm Ticky the crop. I'm Ticky fullerton,

and you're watching Ty Ty The and biz Business.

Flood waters have been on the

rise but so have exports as farmers reap the rewards. So biz Business. it's mostly good news down on

the farm as we talk to the the farm as we talk to the boss

of Graincorp. The tipsters had

it right, rates again on hold of

of for a second month as the

global gloom eases. And global gloom eases. And toy

story, it's not all fun and

games for retailers as online

sellers target their sellers target their business.

First a quick look at the

markets where the negatively markets where

lead from overseas and big

falls across the region set the tone. China was still on falls people's minds and the

Australian market fell with Australian market fell with the

A who's who of agricultural

Australian

experiments have gathered in

Canberra for Canberra Bureau of Agricultural and

Resources Economics and Sciences conference. Things are

looking promising for looking promising for producers

after a decade of drought after a decade of drought the

heavy rainfall of recent years

means water is aplenty and

commodity prices are solid.

commodity prices developing countries are keen commodity prices are solid. And

to snap up our exports as Emily

commodity prices

Stewart reports from Canberra.

After years of struggling, After

profits are ripe for the

picking. It's good news to be

Australia. Certainly for a farmer across

Australia. Certainly for the

first time in 30 years we've

seen positive farm business seen positive farm

return across all states of profits and positive rates of

return across

Australia and across all broad

acre industries. The higher acre industries. The

returns are due to good

conditions and solid

conditions prices. Moderate outlook for conditions and solid commodity

global economy underpin good value with fisheries and value forestry remains about $50

billion over the real term over billion over

the medium term. We sea the medium term. We sea the the medium real values of ex permts being

around $38 bling over the around $38 bling over the next

5 years. Exports are set to

jump because global food demand

is rising rapidly driven by the

growing middle classes growing middle classes in

India, China and Africa and

these countries aren't

producing enough food to producing enough food to be

self-sufficient. You're seeing significant growth in self-sufficient. You're still

demand for cereals or

and particularly to feed demand for cereals or grains

demand

demand livestock in China but also for

direct human consumption in

places like India and Africa. But even more so, you're But even more so, you're going

to see very dramatic gains in

demand for meats. This growth

in demand is a great opportunity for opportunity for Australian

farmers but it will put

pressure on prices. We pressure on prices. We think

food markets are going to be

tight for the future with food markets

higher prices. It does benefit

farmers and the big exporters farmers and like Australia and the like Australia and the US but it's going to be a big like

challenge for poor people in

developing countries. The developing countries. The two biggest uncertainties facing challenge for the agricultural sector are

climate and policy changes. climate

Australia's had its wettest 2-year period on record but 2-year there's prediction s of there's prediction s of more

dry seasons ahead. And farmers claim policies such as the claim

carbon tax and the

Murray-Darling Basin Murray-Darling Basin plan could

have an impact on future

production. But with the right conditions producers conditions producers are hopeful of many more bumper years ahead. And earlier years ahead. And earlier today

I caught up with Alison

Watkins, the chief executive Watkins, the chief executive of Graincorp, Australia's largest

Watkins,

agribusiness business and

grain handler. Thank you

grain handler. Thank you for

joining us down there. Hello,

Ticky. You talked today about

the opportunity we have given the opportunity

the global demand for wheat the global demand for wheat in

the next decades. You also

mentioned a grain growers mentioned

report which highlighted customer perceptions of variable wheat quality, delays variable

and lack of support from Australia and some customers Australia turning to Canadian or turning to Canadian or American

wheat. Can I ask you wheat. Can I ask you about

wheat quality first, is this

because farmers are because farmers are confused

about whether to go for yield

or quality? Look, I think we've gone through a period gone through a period of transition since the removal of

the single wheat desk and of transition

course the way we used operate course the way we used to

operate we just had via AWB one operate

seller of wheat to these customers. Now we've got many customers.

marketers of grain to marketers of grain to multiple

customers and some of those customers are definitely giving us the feedback that they're us not entirely comfortable with the way we've been the way we've been operating since the removal of the single wheat desk. Now, that's a since the

really important thing for us

as an industry to address and

one of their concerns is around

the supply the supply chain and making

sure that they can get sure that they can get really, really good levels of service out of the supply out of the supply chain. Now we

as operators of the supply

chain really want to make chain really want to make sure

customers are well positioned that ourselves and our exporter

customers

to do that. Currently we have a to do that. Currently we have

to do regulatory framework which is

getting in the way. What getting in the way. What sort of problems are you facing? Well, very appropriately and understandably I think when the

single wheat desk was single wheat desk was removed

in 2008 the Government put in a in

framework via the ACCC that

required us to sign up to some

undertakings undertakings effectively as if

assets. Now, those are quite our port assets were declared

assets.

restrictive and they

effectively mean that we have effectively mean that we

to offer a one-size fits to offer a one-size fits all level of service to our exporter customers and they

make it very difficult for us

to flex capacity. So you've got exporter customers

to cater for a massive to cater for a massive cargill

and then a small farmer. Are

these restrictions these restrictions different to to other ports? Yes, there's no

other countries that I'm aware

of that regulate their ports at

all. We as Graincorp have every other

incentive to serve these

exporter customers very exporter customers very well

because we have about 4 times

as much port capacity as we as much port capacity as

need in an average year. So

we've got more capacity at our we've got more capacity at

ports than you can poke a ports than you can poke a stick

at really. One of your slides

today shows that even companies

we've got like Graincorp are dwarfed by

the big multinationals the the big multinationals the Will

Mars and the Cargills. Why is it in agribusiness we haven't it been able to build a

multinational ourselves. We did

it in mining with CRA creating

Rio and creating Rio and creating BHP

Billiton? It's a very fair

observation and I think observation and I think it's

probably a legacy of the amount

of regulation that we did have

in our agribusinesses and the observation

heavily regulated up whole agricultural arena was

heavily regulated up until the whole '80s when the Government

stepped in and took some stepped in and took some pretty courageous decisions. Now, I

think it's really important think it's really

that we make sure that our

Australian domiciled

agribusinesses agribusinesses today do have

the best possible chance to succeed on the succeed on the world scale the because as you're saying,