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

Good evening, welcome to Lateline. I'm Virginia Trioli. For four weeks, the fate of the World Bank
President Paul Wolfowitz has hung in the balance. Now he's been cut loose after allegations he'd
arranged a pay for promotion package for his partner Shaha Ali Riza. A few days ago, a special
committee of the World Bank board found Mr Wolfowitz guilty of ethical and governance violations,
sentiments watered down in today's resignation statement. When he was nominated for the job in
President Bush in 2005, opponents cited his role as a key figure in the Iraq war as a reason he
shouldn't take the job. Christopher Hitchens has described the affair as the nastiest, dirtiest and
cheapest campaign of self- designation he's seen in 25 years. James Packer joins Margaret Jackson
as the exodus continues from the Qantas board. The Nine boss pays the ultimate price for the
network's poor performance. Gordon Brown given a clear run

Taxpayers to foot new IR campaign bill

Taxpayers to foot new IR campaign bill

Broadcast: 18/05/2007

Reporter: Dana Robertson

The Government begins its new, taxpayer funded, industrial relations advertising blitz this weekend
but Labor says the ads are a sign of arrogance and desperation, and should be paid for by the
Liberal Party.


VIRGINIA TRIOLI: "Know where you stand"

That's the slogan you can expect to hear spouted from your TV this weekend, and from the mouths of
coalition MPs for the foreseeable future.

It's the catchphrase for the Government's new taxpayer funded industrial relations advertising

The new ads are designed to re-cast the unpopular WorkChoices brand by talking up the changes John
Howard announced a fortnight ago.

The Opposition says the ads are a sign of arrogance and desperation, and should be paid for by the
Liberal Party.

And as Dana Robertson reports, the Government says there could be more to come.

DANA ROBERTSON: The Government's already spent $55 million selling its WorkChoices laws.

(Excerpt of Government Advertisement)

VOICEOVER: WorkChoices moves us towards one simpler, fairer national workplace system.

(End of excerpt)

DANA ROBERTSON: But the Prime Minister acknowledges the message hasn't cut through.

JOHN HOWARD, PRIME MINISTER, AUSTRALIA: I think the problem in this area is there's just so much
propaganda flying around in the paid advertisements from the ACTU (Australian Council of Trade
Unions) and the Labor Party that people are confused about where they stand.

DANA ROBERTSON: Now the Government's launching a new assault on voters. From Sunday there'll be
more TV, radio and newspaper ads to promote the new fairness test for workers who earn less than
$75 000 a year.

The Opposition says it's nothing but party political propaganda.

JULIA GILLARD, DEPUTY OPPOSITION LEADER: This is arrogance off the Richter scale. This is
desperation. This is an affront to hardworking Australians and people should remember that when
they see these deceitful ads start this weekend.

JOHN HOWARD: We'll be telling people in very plain, simple language, lacking spin, as to exactly
where they stand.

DANA ROBERTSON: But the Opposition says it's impossible to explain the changes when the legislation
hasn't even been written.

JULIA GILLARD: How is it that you can have an advertising campaign when you don't even have a piece
of legislation in the Parliament? Shouldn't a responsible government write the laws first and
that's not what this government's done.

DANA ROBERTSON: And as for just how much the ads will cost, the Government's keeping that a secret,
although it says their impact will be closely monitored.

JULIA GILLARD: This is an advertising campaign without a budget. It's just going to roll week after
week. Tens of millions of dollars of taxpayers' money spent to protect his political hide.

DANA ROBERTSON: The ACTU has already spent millions on its own advertising. But it says workers
won't be fooled.

SHARAN BURROW, ACTU PRESIDENT: You can't pay your bills when people are increasingly struggling to
keep their heads above water, then no amount of advertising will convince people that this is a
fair game.

DANA ROBERTSON: The Workplace Relations Minister, Joe Hockey, has hinted that this weekend's
advertising blitz might not be the last. Only yesterday he admitted that the Union's campaign had
worked, and the WorkChoices brand name was now so unpopular that it was being dumped.

But John Howard denies the new ad blitz is designed to make WorkChoices a distant memory.

JOHN HOWARD: It's not designed to alter the way it's playing. I mean, we're probably still, from
time to time, going to use that as a description, as a policy.

DANA ROBERTSON: And he's keen to stress that the framework underpinning WorkChoices hasn't changed.

SHARAN BURROW: This is just Fawlty Towers in action. If it wasn't so serious, as I said yesterday,
the Government will be starring in its own comedy.

DANA ROBERTSON: Except in an election year, John Howard's not laughing.

Dana Robertson, Lateline .

Brown wins support to replace Blair

Brown wins support to replace Blair

Broadcast: 18/05/2007

Reporter: Stephanie Kennedy

British Chancellor Gordon Brown has formally accepted a nomination from his party to succeed Tony
Blair as the Labour leader and prime minister of Britain.


VIRGINIA TRIOLI: Gordon Brown will become Britain's next prime minister.

He secured the position when he his only opponent withdrew from the contest after receiving just 10
per cent of the nominations.

While Mr Brown is a well-known figure on the UK's political stage, his profile as an international
statesman is limited.

From London, Stephanie Kennedy reports.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: With 313 Labour MPs nominating Gordon Brown as the next Labour leader, no other
candidate had enough support to run. So Britain's next prime minister is a fait accompli.

GORDON BROWN, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER ELECT: I am truly humbled so many of my colleagues have
nominated me for the leadership of the Labour Party and I formally accept the nomination, the
responsibility it brings and the opportunity to serve the people of Britain.

(Sounds of cheering)

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Gordon Brown has played a vital role in the British Government for the past
decade. As Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr Brown has been a familiar face in the UK.

He was born in Scotland in 1951 and became involved in student politics at university.

(Excerpt of archival footage)

GORDON BROWN: So with these employment odds stacked against thousands of people...

(End of excerpt)

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: He was elected to Parliament in the 1983 poll, along with Tony Blair. The two
were the architects of New Labour. For nearly 10 years they shared an office and worked together in
dragging the party into the centre-left. Their friendship began to fall apart after Tony Blair was
elected Labour Leader in 1994.

For over a decade, their relationship has been the most important, yet tumultuous one in British
politics. Gordon Brown, the older and more senior of the two, felt he should have been the party's

And after winning Government, the so called "Brown ites" worked tirelessly to undermine Tony
Blair's Prime Ministership.

Largely responsible for domestic policy, Gordon Brown is little known on the international stage.
Embroiled in an unpopular war, Mr Brown has made the commitment to stay in Iraq. Gordon Brown is
also an American file, and he's also pledged to follow Mr Blair's lead with the US.

GORDON BROWN: I'm not announcing new policies in relation to foreign affairs today. What I do say,
however, is that the values that unite America, Britain and Europe on foreign policy are more
enduring than either one single set of events or what happens in one country.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: This week Tony Blair made a farewell visit to Washington and George W Bush was
effusive in his praise for the outgoing Prime Minister.

GEORGE W BUSH, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA : You know, will I miss working with Tony Blair?
You bet I will. Absolutely. Can I work with the next guy? Of course.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Gordon Brown has a reputation as a hard worker and big on detail. But his
detractors argue he's prickly and inflexible and he lacks the charisma and showmanship typified by
Tony Blair.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER US PRESIDENT: He's different; he's got a different personality. In terms of
communication skills he's gotten better and he'll keep getting better at that. But there are
different ways to be charismatic, you know. The most important thing is if he comes across as
brilliant, which he is, and authentic, which he is, that carries its own charisma and people will
get used to him. I think he'll wear off.

DAVID BLUNKETT, FORMER CABINET MINISTER: The public won't necessarily love Gordon Brown but they
deeply respect him. They'll want him to be successful. They'll understand that his commitment is to
them and to Britain as a whole, and above all, to taking on the challenge of a global economy, of
preparing Britain, helping people to cope with change.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: While he sailed into number 10, the challenge now is to win back an electorate
disillusioned with Labour's foreign and domestic policies.

Stephanie Kennedy, Lateline .

Wolfowitz steps down

Wolfowitz steps down

Broadcast: 18/05/2007

Reporter: Tom Iggulden

After resisting pressure to resign over a conflict of interest, World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz
says he is stepping down in the best interests of the organisation.


VIRGINIA TRIOLI: The World Bank president, Paul Wolfowitz, has ended weeks of speculation about his
future by stepping down from his position.

His resignation comes amid claims he arranged a promotion and pay increase for his partner Shaha

The former US deputy secretary of defence is a close ally and friend of President Bush, and during
his short time at the bank had been leading a drive to reform the institution.

Tom Iggulden reports.

TOM IGGULDEN: Today came the bank statement that Paul Wolfowitz had been hoping would never arrive.
In a carefully worded announcement, the World Bank said while Paul Wolfowitz had acted ethically
and in good faith, he'd inadvertently broken the Bank's rules and would be resigning next month.

The furore began weeks go when it was revealed Mr Wolfowitz arranged generous pay and promotions
for this woman, Shaha Ali Riza, a bank employee and Mr Wolfowitz's companion.

PAUL WOLFOWITZ, WORLD BANK PRESIDENT: Not only was this a painful personal dilemma, but I had to
deal with it when I was new to this institution and I was trying to navigate in unchartered waters.

TOM IGGULDEN: He's been steadfastly refusing to resign but two days ago began negotiating an exit
with the Bank's board, as calls for heads to roll grew louder.

He leaves with a large pay out and an acknowledgment from the bank that he was poorly advised.
President Bush offered his commiserations before the official announcement.

GEORGE W BUSH, US PRESIDENT: First of all, I believe all parties in this matter have acted in good
faith. I regret that it's come to this. I admire Paul Wolfowitz. I admire his heart. And I
particularly admired his focus on helping the poor.

TOM IGGULDEN: But the announcement was welcomed by the bank's staff.

WORLD BANK EMPLOYEE: Mr Wolfowitz has finally done the necessary thing by resigning. He has damaged
the institution and continues to damage it every day that he remains as its president. He cannot
continue to be the face of the World Bank. He has demeaned the bank, insulted the staff, diminished
its clients and dragged this institution through the mud.

TOM IGGULDEN: A chief architect of the war in Iraq...

(Excerpt of archival footage)

PAUL WOLFOWITZ: I am reasonably certain that they will read us as liberators.

(End of excerpt)

TOM IGGULDEN: ...and an ally of President Bush, Mr Wolfowitz was always a controversial choice to
run the bank. His aim is to fight world poverty.

IAN VASQUEZ, CATO INSTITUTE: This will be the most contentious nomination in for history of the
World Bank. Precisely because Bush's foreign policy is not held in high esteem by the other major
members of the World Bank.

TOM IGGULDEN: After his appointment, Mr Wolfowitz made corruption his highest priority.

DR GEORGE AYITTEY, FREE AFRICA FOUNDATION: Corruption alone costs Africa $148 billion. The Bank
knew this, did nothing. So when Wolfowitz came and made corruption - anti corruption campaign - its
number one priority, it resonated with a lot of Africans.

TOM IGGULDEN: But the perception of special treatment for his partner was contrasted with Mr
Wolfowitz's attempts to tie anti corruption measures to the Bank's $27 million in loans and grants
delivered to developing countries annually.

DR GEORGE AYITTEY: Even if he had been exonerated completely, a lot of people recognise that there
was too much acrimony and rancour at the World Bank and the relationship... The entire atmosphere of
the bank had been poisoned, which will have made it literally impossible for him to be an effective

TOM IGGULDEN: Former US trade negotiator, Robert Zellik, who Mr Wolfowitz beat for the position 18
month ago, is favourite to replace him in the position.

Tom Iggulden, Lateline .

Author Christopher Hitchens on World Bank developments

Author Christopher Hitchens on World Bank developments

Broadcast: 18/05/2007

Reporter: Virginia Trioli

Virginia Trioli speaks to author Christopher Hitchens on the media treatment of the World Bank
president Paul Wolfowitz.


VIRGINIA TRIOLI: Well now to Miami and Christopher Hitchens, who's on a tour of the United States
to promote his latest book, God is Not Great How Religion Poisons Everything . But the author and
Vanity Fair columnist has paused from his book tour to talk to us tonight about what he sees as a
poison of another kind, in American public life - the treatment by the media of the now fallen
World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz and in particular, Mr Wolfowitz's partner, Shaha Ali Riza.

Christopher Hitchens, welcome back to Lateline .

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: Very nice to be back, thank you.

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: Christopher Hitchens, it was a long time coming, I guess. Was this inevitable did
Paul Wolfowitz have no choice in the end but to stand down in this way, in your view?

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: No, I think he had the choice to stay on but it would have been impossible to
convince himself, I think, that by doing so he wouldn't have damaged the bank.

But I don't think that the horns of the dilemma were, so to speak, his fault. In either sense...
either horn, if I can put it like that.

VIRGINA TRIOLI: You see Paul Wolfowitz's forced resignation as a great injustice. Can you tell us
why you see it that way?

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: Well, yes. It's an injustice in itself, and as I was saying, it's self
imposed because he realised that he couldn't go on without damaging the bank. But it's an injustice
that's been necessitated by an initial injustice and that's the simplest thing to understand.

His partner, Ms Riza, who had been at the bank for 10 years, she's been there since 1997, was told
when he was appointed, 'you're fired'. Now, in order or in other words, to find all of this
intelligible or fair, you have to be able to say it's completely right that a senior woman at the
World Bank is told she loses her job when her partner is made the president.

I can't see how - in any sense, legal or moral - that is fair, and if I had been her, I would have
sued, as she had the right to do and would have had the right to do under all possible laws
governing discrimination.

She chose not to do that, not to make a fuss, but expected to receive, and was promised, a
promotion and raise as compensation for losing her job. That's all there is to this.

VIRGINA TRIOLI: Well there's also the role...

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: It's an absolute, it's absolutely that's all there is initially to it. Then
all you need to add is the rape of her privacy by interested parties at the bank who leaked her
confidentiality agreement, broke it I mean to say - which is an agreement she only had to sign in
the first place because of the injustice done to her - made her private life a public thing.

She's a very shy and private person as I happen to know. I have known her for a very long time. Had
her referred to in the press as "girlfriend" and "mistress", terms that are almost never used these
days about unmarried people who have some kind of relationship. Usually the neutral word "partner"
is used. In this case, even in newspapers like the New York Times "mistress" and "girlfriend" were
bandied about freely.

I have a feeling that it might not have been the case if she wasn't an Arab woman for example. Then
because this has become so unpleasant, her partner has to resign as well. Well I hope they're all
happy with having done this.

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: So there's an element...

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: They have - it is these people who have paralysed the work of the Bank,
wasted an enormous amount of time and money and are now gloating presumably over their victory.

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: But the other key mess in the whole thing is on both sides, surely. I mean, he was
put in jeopardy. Paul Wolfowitz was put in jeopardy, surely you could argue, because he was put in
charge of reassigning her somewhere else, giving her another job, and also in charge of that pay
increase, but equally he was foolish by agreeing to take part in that in such a fatally
compromising process.

Doesn't the blame cut both ways?

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: No, I don't really think so because when he arrived, he said to the relevant
officials at the Bank, what I presume some of them must have already known, he said, "If you don't
know this already, you'd better hear it from me. There's someone who works at this institution with
whom I have a personal relationship. What I propose is that I disclose this to you and I sign a
statement recusing myself in advance on any decision that might affect her work or her position."

She wasn't actually in a part of the Bank that reported directly to the President in any way. It
wasn't in any sense an immediate relationship within the terms of the bank itself.

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: Yes, but the Bank found that unacceptable.

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: Unfortunately. They said, "No, I'm sorry, you have to be in charge of
reassigning her". They won't take his first offer, which was a perfectly decent one. They say, "No,
she's got to go, you have to be involved in it". And then they told him, "I've seen the documents".
The ethics committee say in print, in terms, "We now think this has been settled in a way that is
satisfactory to all parties".

And they agreed in advance that naturally, given she was on the fast track for promotion anyway,
had a very high standing and reputation, had had her career damaged and her integrity questioned,
that she should receive promotion and more pay.

Now they blame him for doing as they advised. It is absolutely monstrous.

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: Do you argue, Christopher Hitchens, that Paul Wolfowitz has acted with complete
integrity throughout this process?

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: Absolutely I do. I have not read anything that he has done anything in any
underhanded way.

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: Can I make one suggestion...

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: Unless you're able...

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: Can I make one suggestion? In the New Yorker profile in May, his spokesman and
senior adviser said Wolfowitz had nothing to do with Ms Riza's transfer and compensation, it was
all handled by a board of directors. That was utterly untrue and came from the Wolfowitz camp, so
he was trying to cover it up even then.

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: In the first place, I don't see where that's untrue. It was at the direct
stipulation of the ethics committee of the bank's board that the transfer and related arrangements
were made.

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: It's a true quote.

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: It wasn't his idea. If it had been up to him, she would have kept, as she
should have done, her original job. That's the original problem, the original sin, is that a woman
is told, 'you're being fired without cause because of an appointment given to someone with whom we
know you have a relationship'.

In what world, let me appeal to you, is that fair?

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: The larger problem, I guess he was grappling with at the World Bank, was this
atmosphere of almost complete hostility towards him when he first took the job. The employees'
association and people within it did not want Wolfowitz at the job for various reasons his close
association with the White House, with the President and as one of the chief architects of the war.
Is that Jermaine in this case?

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: That is the only thing that is Jermaine. That's all there is to this. The
rest is a campaign of defamation against a woman who did not start any wars in Iraq and has fought
get a friendship with the White House. We're talking politics. A lot of people at the bank don't
like the preponderance of the American shareholding that more or less guarantees that the President
of the United States can appoint the president. They haven't liked this for some time. Obviously,
people who think like that, tend to be European and Asian, are, I would say, pretty likely to take
the anti war view on Iraq so Mr Wolfowitz's position on that might be called an additional

I wrote a book about the United Nations a few years ago and pointed out the World Bank and IMF is
supposed to be the credit arm of the United Nations. That's how they started. Got moved to
Washington during the Cold War, became more like than American dominated World Bank credit
institution. All kinds of arguments one might want to have about how that could and should be
reconfigured. As a matter of fact, since we're talk about it, I can't think of anyone who would
have been more open minded on these points than Paul Wolfowitz, or more interested in discussing
them or more of an internationalist. I'm afraid that chance has been missed in this appalling
sexist vendetta.

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: Given he walked into a climate of hostility. Anyone as politically savvy as
Wolfowitz, you would expect them to handle the better. When you come into a climate of hostility,
don't you have to be like Caesar's wife, you have to be above reproach.

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: That's right. On day one he says, "There's something you need to know. I
propose to recuse myself of anything".

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: You insist on not taking part in the review. No matter if they want you to, you
say, "I won't oversee her assignment or pay increase".

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: I don't think that that would have been prudent, given their insistence he
did take part. Here's the thing. You must have noticed it you have noticed it he's being indicted
for following the advice of the people who now blame him for doing so and she has been treated in
the most miserable, discriminatory way. Now, where is the justice in this?

I'll give you another example about you also mentioned the politics of the bank. It has been
whispered against him that he threatened to cut off aid to Uzbekistan.


CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: Mr Kareem's horrible dictatorship, which also around that time have been
having a quarrel with the US about its human rights policy and had, in effect, lost its position of
the host of the United States base for the Afghan war. People said, "There you are, it's Wolfowitz
punishing Kareem for not toeing the line". It had nothing to do with that. It had it do with the
human rights policy.

Imagine what would have been said if Wolfowitz had gone on giving aid to Uzbekistan while it was
mowing down civilian demonstrators. You know what would have been said. But no, he's attacked for
not doing it. Under no circumstances was he not going to be subject to an extraordinary campaign of
defamation that did not exempt an innocent woman, a very serious professional, well known in
Washington for more than a decade as one of the most important people in trying to rebuild and
reconstruct the Middle East and now her life, private and public, has been ruined in an attempt to
get to her companion.

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: You know Paul Wolfowitz quite well. I understand you have had him to your home a
number of times. What are his qualities that appeal to you?

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: I know both of them well. I have known her longer than him. I suppose the
thing that would surprise most people one Wolfowitz is what a bleeding heart he is.

He's had to read all the time, for many years now, that he's a member of a Jewish, heartless,
neocon, cabal of hardline interventionists. As a matter of fact, I came to know him because he was
in favour of an intervention to save the Muslim population of Bosnia from extermination by
Christian fascists in the 1990s, a subject in which the State interests of Israel were not
involved, can I just say. I knew that previously he'd been instrumental in persuading the Regan
administration to dump the Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines, even if it meant losing the
American basis there, very important change in the early '80s.

I was impressed by his view the risks of democracy and democratisation are very great. They're
nothing compared to the risks of dictatorship. He's been retatively consistent on that, more than
most in Washington.

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: Christopher Hitchens, how does this affect his standing and employment prospects?

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: I simply don't know about his employment prospects. As to his standing, I
think he's conducted himself with great dignity but I wish he had not conceded to this rabble and
to this defamation and slander.

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: You think he could have toughed it out?

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: I think anyone of his conscience would have had to come to the conclusion at
some point that the self fulfilling prophecy that as long as you stay you're damaging the bank or
the whole institution's been disrupt was to some extent true. Remember who made that prophecy come

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: On Iraq, given Mr Wolfowitz's key role as an architect of the war, how do you
assess the current stand off of Congress and the President over the situation there and the
continuing surge?

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: Well...the President and the Congress in fact are now both talking about
timetables for withdrawal. It's only a matter of now when rather than if. There's much less
difference in some ways than there appears to be, which means that those who hope to, shall I say
inherit Iraq the other side in this war, in other words more or less only have to set their

I hope again that the people who want this will be happy with what they get.

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: So the President is making a mistake by engaging in this discussion about a

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: Well, I think he is, yes.

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: Because it just brings about the inevitable result of the civil war escalating and
the country descending further into disaster?

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: It simply means that those who wish to reduce Iraq to the level of Somalia or
Afghanistan in the name of God, the Al Qaeda forces and the other parties of God who are in the
process of destroying Iraqi civil society have only to wait it out now. The anti war side appears
to have won the argument in the media and in the Congress and elsewhere. And from what I
understand, this would be true for a lot of public opinion in Australia as well. I hope that they
will be delighted by the Iraq they'll get.

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: On other matters, in your home country Gordon Brown prepares to take over the
leadership of the country. How can he distinguish himself, in your view, of the man who goes before
him and leaves a very mixed legacy?

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: Well, the way people keep saying he's going to do this is by being more
sceptical about what is sometimes called the special relationship between the UK and the United
States and maybe he will find a way of making that plain. That might indeed mean an earlier
timetable or a faster one for the withdrawal of British forces from Iraq.

Interestingly, though, and I think unexpectedly from most people's point of view, while the British
are undergoing that, if you like, rethink, both France and Germany for the first time in a very
long time have elected heads of Government who are fairly solidly Atlantisists. In the rest of
Europe, you might say paradoxically or ironically, the tendancy is another way.

There are people who say, "If the British don't want to be America's best friend, we do". If
there's a vacancy they'll fill it. What's funny about that is it was David Cameron's idea first.
This is really something I didn't expect to live to see, a race between Labour and the Tory Party
with the Tories in the lead to take distance from Washington. That's really extraordinary. We saw
David Cameron last September 11, he chose that day to make a press conference saying America
shouldn't count on us anymore. Brown is still catching up with the right wing on this.

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: Could Gordon Brown surprise us all by not stepping back so quickly from that
special relationship?

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: Yes, he could. Yes, he certainly could. I don't know how surprised we'll be.
I can tell you, the atmosphere of anti Americanism in Britain is so toxic now, so widespread, so
deep going, that there probably are political rewards to be had from exploiting it. Brown has to
know that and has to know on most projections currently Cameron would beat him. I know it is early
days to say that. He might not want to hand this demagogic advantage to this new little smooth
talking Tory.

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: Christopher Hitchens, thanks for taking time from your book tour.

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: It's a pleasure, thanks for asking me.

Packer quits Qantas Board

Packer quits Qantas Board

Broadcast: 18/05/2007

Reporter: Helen Brown

Qantas has announced that the chairman of Publishing and Broadcasting Limited, James Packer, will
retire from its board at the same time as the chairman Margaret Jackson.


VIRGINIA TRIOLI: There's been more fall out from the failed takeover of Qantas with Board director
James Packer resigning today.

The media and gambling mogul won't leave until November, the same time as chairman Margaret

In a statement issued today, Ms Jackson said the past eight months had been particularly pressing
and she felt it was time to move on. Her imminent departure opens up one of the country's prime
Board positions.

Helen Brown reports.

HELEN BROWN: The calls had been strong for Margaret Jackson to leave the chairman's role at Qantas.
Last night it was announced she'd step down at the annual meeting in November.

Today, fellow board director James Packer followed in her steps, although the reasons why are

There's been little insight from the Qantas Board, apart from a statement issued earlier. In it, Ms
Jackson said she greatly values what Qantas has achieved over the past seven years, culminating in
the largest takeover offer for an airline in aviation history. And the Board says it will continue
with the company's strategic direction.

But, some think for that to happen, Margaret Jackson might have to move on sooner.

BRENT MITCHELL, SHAW STOCKBROKING: I think in the current situation it may not be desirable. She is
a lame duck chairman in that respect, that a lot of the decisions on the longer-term future of
Qantas may have to be postponed until the new chairman is put in place.

HELEN BROWN: Ms Jackson has a respectable track record in the corporate sector, but in the end was
seen to have identified too closely with the bid by private equity group Airline Partners Australia
(APA) and also put shareholders offside with some comments.

IAN CURRY, AUSTRALIAN SHAREHOLDERS' ASSOCIATION: She was too quick to embrace the APA offer, overly
enthusiastic. And she also insulted shareholders by suggesting they didn't have the mental capacity
to understand the issues and vote accordingly.

HELEN BROWN: The Prime Minister says it's not up to him to judge her decision.

JOHN HOWARD, PRIME MINISTER, AUSTRALIA: I'm not going to comment on the nuances or ins and outs of
the Qantas bid. But let me say that I think Margaret Jackson has been a person of great ability and
great integrity, and she will remain a very significant figure in the Australian business

HELEN BROWN: The search is now on for someone to fill one of the nation's blue chip corporate
positions. Favoured candidates include Commonwealth Bank chairman John Schubert, former Qantas
chief executive James Strong - who's on the Qantas board - and Westpac chief executive David

Ms Jackson was the first woman appointed to chair the board of an Australian company listed in the
top 50. And while plenty of names have been mentioned as her replacement, none so far have been

Businesswoman and co-founder of the Women's Electoral Lobby Wendy McCarthy says the corporate
sector fails to even consider the many competent women available for board positions.

WENDY MCCARTHY, BUSINESSWOMAN: I would say that recent corporate Australian history would suggest
it is unlikely a woman will follow her into the chair, but I would hope that there would be other
women appointed to the board.

HELEN BROWN: Margaret Jackson's departure means there are now two women in Australia occupying the
chair's position out of the top 200 companies listed on the Australian stock exchange.

The Equal Opportunity and Workplace Agency says that across publicly listed companies, women make
up 8.7 per cent of director positions. Meanwhile, the Qantas Board has backed its chief executive
Jeff Dickson, who says he'll stay until at least July 2009.

Helen Brown, Lateline .

Eddie McGuire resigns as Nine Network CEO

Eddie McGuire resigns as Nine Network CEO

Broadcast: 18/05/2007

Reporter: Stephen Long

The man known as 'Eddie Everywhere' is no longer going to be in the boss' chair at Nine, although
Eddie McGuire says he'll be staying at the network.


VIRGINIA TRIOLI: In business and media today is the shake up at the top of the Nine Network.

The man known as "Eddie Everywhere" is no longer going to be in the boss' chair at Nine, although
Eddie McGuire says he'll be staying at the network.

To analyse the business reasons behind the move, I'm join by Stephen Long.

STEPHEN LONG: Evening, Virginia.

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: Evening, Stephen.

Well it was long predicted, this departure of course, many people saying he was going to go back to

And with things so bad at Nine, revenues down and ratings down, I guess it was inevitable.

STEPHEN LONG: Well the basic problem is he can no longer look at the camera and say, "Still the
one". Twelve straight weeks they had it for, coming second to Seven in the ratings. Go back a
little while and Nine used to command an audience share of 38, 39, 40 per cent. On the OzTAM
ratings they're down to 34 per cent, just a bit over 34. The media buyers say for every percentage
point of decline in audience share you lose $30 million in revenue.

Then there's the audience mix. Nine is big in the over 55s but they don't tend to command a lot of
advertising dollars, the advertisers prefer the 16-39 age bracket. Their market share there is
pretty weak.

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: The discussion around town was Eddie simply wasn't given the power he needed to
get the job done, that he needed to get done. Although they have been slashing and burning pretty
strongly at Nine, haven't they?

STEPHEN LONG: Yeah, but I don't think slashing and burning is really Eddie's game or his favoured
occupation and he kind of gave a hint at that today when he was giving reasons for stepping down.
This was Eddie McGuire's explanation.

EDDIE MCGUIRE: No I wasn't given the flick if that's what you're asking me. No. Not at all. No, no
- look the simple solution to that is the fact that I've signed a five year contract to remain at
the Nine Network. I like being able to float through, make things happen and go about doing these
things. The position of CEO at the Nine Network for the foreseeable future is going to be one
that's going to be heavily about the machinations of finances and doing those sorts of things which
aren't necessarily all the things that I want to be spending all my life doing. I'm good at other
areas and I want to more of those areas.

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: 'The machinations of finances" is an interesting phrase there, because I know, and
it's the word around town, that the private equity investors want a 21 per cent return on their
investment at Nine.

STEPHEN LONG: Well, that's staggering. Twenty-one per cent in a media company - that is blue sky
mining, and they're really going to have to slash and burn costs to achieve that.

And you can understand it, though, when you look at the financials. I mean, there was a $4.5
billion private equity buy in. They've got it loaded up 70 per cent debt to 30 per cent equity, so
they really, really need to get a big return, to make the numbers work, pay down the debt. And I
don't think slashing and burns costs is Eddie's key talent.

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: And not what he'll be doing in the future. Thanks, Stephen.

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: You're welcome, Virginia.

Sheikh Hilali gives Al Jazeera interview

Sheikh Hilali gives Al Jazeera interview

Broadcast: 18/05/2007

Reporter: Virginia Trioli

Controversial Muslim cleric Sheikh Taj el-Din Al Hilali has appeared on the Al Jazeera television
network, saying he is a moderate Muslim who is opposed to terrorism.


VIRGINIA TRIOLI: The controversial Muslim cleric, Sheikh Taj el-Din Al Hilali, has appeared on
Arabic television saying he's a moderate who's opposed to terrorism.

The Sheikh was interviewed at length on the English language edition of Al Jazeera TV. He said the
controversy surrounding his statements was generated by the media, particularly talkback radio,
which he described as a warehouse of racism.

He said the Prime Minister supported his removal from the position of mufti because of

SHEIKH TAJ EL-DIN AL HILALI, MUSLIM CLERIC (translation): You have not been given the right
information. You have been given wrong information about Al Hilali and you have to correct

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: The Sheikh admitted his analogy comparing women to meat was harsh, but he repeated
his view when women dress immodestly it arouses men and logically leads to rape.

A 57-year-old Lesley Kahlma was fined $600 for harassing Greg Andrews between July and September
last year. A second charge of stalking has been dropped for comments Andrews made an this program
last year made an this program last year concerning Mutitjulu. That's all from us. If you'd like to
look at tonight's interview with Christopher Hitchens or any of Lateline's stories or transcripts,
you can visit our website at Tony Jones is back on Monday and I'll be back
next Friday night. Goodnight.