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(generated from captions) Tonight - The al-Jazeera statement. My brother, Vernon, is beside me. My name is Malcolm Wood. I speak on behalf of our family captive in Iraq. for our elder brother, Douglas, to have their brother freed, In a bid makes an undertaking. Douglas Wood's family we will ask Douglas Should he be released,

and leave Iraq. to close down his company an unwell man, We don't wish Douglas, away from his loved ones. to remin in Iraq This program is captioned live.

I'm Tony Jones. Good evening. Welcome to Lateline. from the disease schizophrenia Cornelia Rau was suffering immigration system for 11 months. when she disappeared into the other Australian woman So what of the was detained, wrongly deported whom the government admits and has now disappeared completely? unravelled part of that mystery. Well, we now believe we've

It appears that she too a severe mental disorder. was suffering from in that state, We've learnt today that, she was deported to the Phillipines. is coming up Margot O'Neill's report of a government spokesperson, and, in the absence the shadow Minister for Immigration. we'll be speaking to But first - our other headlines.

The Sea King crash - a catastrophic mechanical failure. investigations now suspect

Pro-life outrage overturns a ruling as a Florida judge

from having an abortion. that barred a 13-year-old girl And - rates on hold. The Reserve steers a steady path continues to cool. as the housing market First to the saga held hostage in Iraq, Douglas Wood. surrounding the Australian for his release His family has taped a dramatic plea such as al-Jazeera. to be aired on Arabic news channels are the hostage-takers The intended audience

in their hands. who hold Douglas Wood's life has also turned to al-Jazeera, The federal government Alexander Downer expressing concerns with Foreign Minister for the Australian hostage's health. to free Mr Woods - And against the backdrop turbulent events in Iraq. government in 50 years The first democratically elected has been sworn in, but the violence goes on, in the latest suicide bombing. with more than 45 people killed Norman Hermant reports.

The family of Douglas Wood is

reaching out to his captors the

way they can. This afternoon, at an reaching out to his captors the only

ABC studio in Canberra, they taped

message for broadcast on Arab ABC studio in Canberra, they taped a

language news channels such as

al-Jazeera, all in hopes those

holding the 63-year-old Australian

hostage will hear their words.

hostage will hear their words. holding the 63-year-old Australian

My name is Malcolm Wood. My brother

Vernon is beside me. This appeal

aimed convinced the --aim the at

coin Vincing the hostage takers

Douglas Wood was working for the

good of Iraq. He was focused on

saving lives of surrounding

communities.

communities. There was also the saving lives of surrounding

clear message that there's no

demands Australian troops leave clear message that there's no chance

will be met. We fwirmly believe demands Australian troops leave Iraq

Douglas's captivity will make no will be met. We fwirmly believe that

difference to the policy of the

Australian Government. Douglas's

captivity serves no public purpose.

Douglas respects the people of Iraq,

their patriotic spirit and their

we, right to independence. Douglas and

we, his family, support this. right to independence. Douglas and

Malcolm Wood expressed concern for

his brother's health, especially

his serious heart condition. And

there was this pledge for the hos

he tablg-takers. Should he be released,

we will ask Douglas to close down

his company and leave Iraq. We do

not wish Douglas an unwell man, to

remain in Iraq away from

remain in Iraq away from his loved not wish Douglas an unwell man, to

ones. These were carefully chosen

words, designed to emphasise the

humanity, the personality, and the

importance of the life kidnappers

now hold in their hands. Everyone

likes Douglas. More than that, many

who have known him love him. On

behalf of all of us, we, Douglas's

family, ask

family, ask his captors to return behalf of all of us, we, Douglas's

him to us unharmed. The government

has also taken to the air waves.

Mr Wood is a 63-year-old engineer.

Alexander Downer appeared on Mr Wood is a 63-year-old engineer...

al-Jazeera, and the Foreign

Minister also expressed concerns

for Mr Wood's health. Douglas Wood

serious heart is not a well man. He has a very

serious heart condition. He has a is not a well man. He has a very

problem with one of his eyes as

well. We are concerned about his

health in any case. And being held

hostage in this way, being abducted,

is only going to put further strain

on his health. In Iraq itself, more

bloodshed. Just one day after the

country's new government was sworn

when in. More than 45 people were killed

when a blast rocked the northern in. More than 45 people were killed

Kurdish city of Arbil. It's

a suicide bomber targetted a police Kurdish city of Arbil. It's believed

recruiting centre, located in the

same building that houses offices the powerful kur

the powerful Kurdistan democratic same building that houses offices of

party. Most of the dead were police

recruit. In all more than 200

have died in attacks since the recruit. In all more than 200 people

deadlock by naming government ended a plit political

deadlock by naming a Cabinet last government ended a plit political

week. So far the political progress

violence. has brought a new wave of insurgent

of the lost Australian woman Now to the story federal government four years ago. who was wrongly deported by the who was an Australian citizen, Lateline believes the woman, the country where she was born. was sent to the Philippines, Where she is now, nobody knows. There are also concerns tonight detention to be investigated that the number of cases of wrongful

has blown out to more than 100. This report from Margot O'Neill. Lateline understands

deported in 2001, that the Australian citizen, her country of birth. was sent back to the Philippines, she had a serious mental disorder It's understood in Australia had broken down. and that her marriage here has been unable locate her. But so far, the Australian government

And that's not surprising, according to some critics of the government's policy. We deport people, we dump them, we leave them. The government take absolutely no concern in what happens to people who are deported from Australia. The case of the deported Australian woman is now being investigated by the same government inquiry set up to examine the case of Cornelia Rau.

Rau was an Australian permanent resident suffering schizophrenia, who disappeared inside the immigration detention system for 11 months. But these two cases may be just the tip of the iceberg. So far, the government has admitted 33 cases of possible wrongful detention of either Australians or foreigners holding valid visas.

But that figure covers just a seven-month period. The government has now extended its review to cover nearly three years, and Lateline believes that's thrown up more than 100 cases. The government refuses to say how many cases, and Acting Immigration Minister Peter McGauran has pointed out that many may have been mistakes that were quickly sorted out.

We've produced a lot of material which we now hand to Mr Palmer.

He'll decide which ones, after scrutinising them, he should investigate more fully. But Lateline has also been told of a range of examples where people, often mentally ill and with poor English, have been detained for weeks and months, and there could also be other instances of women wrongly deported after failed marriages.

The risk of being picked up by DIMIA

is made worse by the fact that they, on the basis of their mental illness and on the basis of them speaking a foreign language, they are at risk of being picked up, incarcerated and being deported -

even though they are Australian citizens. Once in the system, critics say Australia's high standard of civil liberties are largely suspended. When you're in the system, there's no automatic right to a legal advisor. There's also the very real possibility of being locked up in solitary confinement for weeks or months with no access or ability to communicate with the outside world at all. We're looking at a system

in which people are permanently, indefinitely imprisoned with no right of review at all. No accountability. The lawyers acting for Cornelia Rau's family are offering to help any other family to take legal action against the government

and urge them to come forward. We'd be saying to anyone out there that may have been caught up in this affair, that they need to consult a lawyer

and they certainly can't rely on DIMIA and the officials.

Quite clearly it was the officials that have got us into this mess. And any person that's been caught up in it, any member of their family, needs to get some independent legal advice. There's also some concern how the Cornelia Rau investigation, headed by former AFP chief Mick Palmer,

will handle such a workload. It has yet to finish its investigation into just one case after three months,

and there are questions about how it would cope with more than 100 new investigations. Margot O'Neill, Lateline. Well, we had hoped to speak to the acting Immigration Minister, Peter McGauran, today. Earlier this week, his staff indicated a willingness for him to do so, but yesterday the office of Senator Vanstone interceded

and told us Mr McGauran would be making no further comment on the issue. The Minister returns from leave on Friday. Instead, shadow Immigration Minister Laurie Ferguson joins us now.

What do you believe would happen to

a mentally ill Australian woman

wrongfully deported to the

Philippines? Well, pretty dire circumstances

Philippines? Well, pretty dire circumstances for her, I would've

thought. We know, for example, in

Australia mentally ill people often

fall through the cracks in our own

country. The Philippines presumably

doesn't have as secure a safety net

as we do. Absolutely. I live in an

high NESB background. One of

arguments I constantly get from

Filipino residents of this country

is the difference between the

medical systems.

is the difference between the medical systems. Dou know any more

about this case? Not specifically.

We are following a line of

investigation into another case.

Who's to say the one we were

following is the only one or yours?

There could be quite a number.

Severe mental illness appears to

Severe mental illness appears to be a common factor in both this and

a common factor in both this and the Cornelia Rau case. What does that

say to you about the way the system

is operating? It says that it's

is operating? It says that it's long overdue and this is part of Labor policy,

overdue and this is part of Labor policy, that there should be

independent medical access to these

centres. The situation at Port

Augusta for instance is visits of

five to six weeks. There have been

claims in the last fortnight that

the personnel utilised there don't

have the correct qualifications.

The acting minister has refused to

reveal which country this woman

reveal which country this woman was deported to, for privacy reasons.

deported to, for privacy reasons. Do you accept that his hands are effectively tied

you accept that his hands are effectively tied on giving details?

Absolutely not. You can protect a

person's name while giving the

person's name while giving the broad outline of the problem. He spoken

outline of the problem. He spoken of 33 cases over a seven-month period.

These obviously vary in regards to

intensity. Some would be a short

period at the air Port but the one

that's been foreshadowed here is

quite serious. I think he can be

much more

much more forthcoming. Should he

name the country? At the very least.

We have an inquiry that is

name the country? At the very least. We have an inquiry that is quite

inadequate. It's not public. It

lacks powers in regards to self

incrimination and the forced

attendance of witnesses. His

continuous stone walling on the

issue is only worsening the problem.

With specific regard to this woman

who has been deported do you

believe there should be a public

information campaign in this

country and the country she has

been deported to, to try and find

her? Absolutely. Clearly,

been deported to, to try and find her? Absolutely. Clearly, this has

been a case that the department

hasn't been aware of for four years,

it's only been revealed as a result

of the Rau inquiry and I think it's

pretty appalling that the

pretty appalling that the department is unaware for four years that an

Australian has been deported from

the country. Have you asked for a

briefing from the department or the

government on this matter? No, I

haven't. We've been mainly pursuing

our line of investigations into

our line of investigations into what we thought was an alternative case.

What should happen,

we thought was an alternative case. What should happen, assuming that

What should happen, assuming that she's alive, what should happen

she's alive, what should happen once she's found? It's very difficult to

know the circumstances of the case,

what led to the deportation, in

what led to the deportation, in what manner she gained sit zenship.

manner she gained sit zenship. There are big issues of compensation here,

one would think. I'm unaware of why

this has been not revealed for four

years and why why she hasn't

attempted to re-10 ter.

years and why why she hasn't attempted to re-10 ter. The acting

minister has referred to case to

minister has referred to case to the Palmer inquiry, that's the

appropriate course of action, isn't

it? No, I don't think this inquiry

is adequate enough. We've been

critical of day 1. We see a need

critical of day 1. We see a need for a full judicial public inquiry. The

acting minister simultaneously says

this whole thing is just an

opportunity for critics to have a

circus. The average Australian circus. The average Australian would think this is

circus. The average Australian would think this is more serious than

that. Do you mean a royal

commission? The Rau incident was

commission? The Rau incident was bad enough. We're now talking about

large numbers of people. It's far

more endemic in the system than one

would have originally thought.

He says there may be other cases

He says there may be other cases of equal severity. Do you have any

equal severity. Do you have any idea at all how many cases we may be

talking about? Their estimate was

talking about? Their estimate was 33 in a seven-month period. I

talking about? Their estimate was 33 in a seven-month period. I had an

early introduction there that spoke

of 100. That would seem

mathematically logical. How many

Australian citizens do you believe

might have been wrongfully deported?

I just don't know. The overwhelming

majority will be people that were

detained for supposedly being

unlawful at airports. A French

national was detailed at the start

of the Rau inquiry. That will be

national was detailed at the start of the Rau inquiry. That will be

of the Rau inquiry. That will be the overwhelming number, in my view.

overwhelming number, in my view. You have revealed details of one person.

I think there will probably be more.

What should happen tomorrow?

What should happen tomorrow? Tomorrow? What should happen as a

result of this? I mean, the

result of this? I mean, the minister is refusing to confirm or deny, and

probably will continue to do so,

what country this person has been

deported to. We're now reporting

it's the Philippines. What should

happen tomorrow? I think he should

have a talk to Vanstone, think

have a talk to Vanstone, think about a full judicial inquiry, a royal

commission. Quite clearly, there's

commission. Quite clearly, there's a lot of mystery, a lot of doubts, a

lot of mystery, a lot of doubts, a lot of uncertainty on this matter.

lot of uncertainty on this matter. I don't want to know her name or her

family background but I think the

Australian public should be told

what is going on in regards to

deportation and detention. Alright.

We'll have to leave it there. Thank

you very much for joining us

tonight. Thank you very much.

Crash investigators looking into last month's Sea King helicopter disaster in Indonesia have highlighted a mechanical fault as a possible cause of the accident. In a preliminary report, the investigation team has discovered two parts vital to the helicopter's flight control system are missing. But with inquiries still examining flight recorders, gearboxes, payloads and other factors, the Navy says it's too early to conclude that the missing parts

caused the Sea King to crash, killing nine military personnel. From Canberra, Greg Jennett reports. For four weeks, 13 crash investigators

have literally left no stone unturned in their bid to find out what went wrong with the Sea King helicopter known as Shark 02. We've taken some of the topsoil from the soccer field where the aircraft crashed, and that will be fine-sifted

to find whatever parts that there may still be left in there. The navy's maritime commander stresses their work has only just begun, but so far one critical fault has been discovered - a missing mechanical link between the cockpit and the tail rotor. Two components of the flight control run which are normally connected together

were found to be detached from one another. Several parts of the hardware

that normally connects those two items together have not been located. He cautions against leaping to any conclusions. It's too early for us to say that's the cause, that's the only cause. We may find a lot of other things during the course of the inquiry. Crash investigators haven't yet found any other evidence of mechanical failure or human error, although work is continuing on several fronts.

The team is continuing to gather data in the areas of weight and balance, flight control margins, the potential for automatic flight control system malfunction. In the days after the crash, the Navy suspended flights for its remaining six Sea Kings, but now that the 'Kanimbla' is back from Indonesia, Rear Admiral Moffitt has ordered a formal grounding of the fleet. We would want to make absolutely certain

that we have confidence that the aircraft are safe to fly before we fly again. We don't have a particular need to do that at the moment, and so until I am convinced that we know as much as we will ever know about the cause of the crash,

then it doesn't make sense to me for them to fly. The Navy has now set up its board of inquiry. Run by four senior military members and a civilian,

it's begun gathering witness statements and will start holding public hearings in about two months. There's no reporting date for the inquiry. Final answers for the families of the nine victims

are still months away. Greg Jennett, Lateline. In Bali, the lawyer for Andrew Chan,

the alleged ringleader of the Bali Nine, has raised concerns about questioning of his client.

The lawyer has objected to the presence of Australian Federal Police during questioning

and has maintained that Chan is fully co-operating with local authorities. Meanwhile, health problems continue to plague the other alleged members of the smuggling ring. Rachel Mealey reports from Denpasar. The youngest member of the Bali Nine, Matthew Norman, still hasn't been visited by a loved one. Today he made a visit to hospital with a toothache.

REPORTER: Can you say anything to us, Matthew? Matthew Norman's mother has told a Sydney radio station she can't afford to travel to Bali. I'd like to see him, yes. But I don't know how I'm going to get there. I am on a pension. Andrew Chan, the alleged organiser of the smuggling racket, was brought in for another day of questioning in the presence of Australian Federal Police officers.

Everything's going very well. All we can say from a comment point of view is we're doing it jointly with Indonesian police. Everything's going extremely well and that we can't comment on operational activities at this time. Lawyers for Andrew Chan have complained about the AFP officers asking questions during the interview.

We want all the people, Indonesian police and Australian police to have respect with our system in Indonesia.

A police officer has told the ABC that Andrew Chan has admitted that he owned two suitcases which were found in a hotel room in the tourist centre of Kuta. Andrew Chan's lawyer, however, denies that any such admission has been made. The strain of her imprisonment has affected Renae Lawrence who has tried to harm herself by taking pain killers. Rachel Mealey, Lateline.

In the United States, a Florida judge has ruled that a 13-year-old girl is entitled to have an abortion. Just last week, the same court blocked the girl from terminating the pregnancy, sparking outrage. Right-to-life groups are appalled by today's decision, saying it has important national implications. As North America correspondent Mark Simkin reports, morality and judicial appointment are becoming key political issues.

We just ask for a miracle today, God. Whatever you would have done here, God... It's not the first time Florida has become a moral battlefield. Earlier this year, the courts, the government and the people were drawn into an extraordinary fight

over whether a brain-damaged woman, Terri Schiavo,

should be taken off life support. For several weeks now, an equally explosive case has been unfolding in Florida -

not about someone's right to death, but a right to life. I think it's another tragic situation of a court-ordered execution of an innocent person in Florida. A few weeks ago, we had the Terri Schiavo situation and here we have an innocent child in the womb. LG, as the 13-year-old is known, is a ward of the state. In January, she ran away from her home and fell pregnant. LG arranged an abortion,

but the Department of Children and Families said she was too young. The courts initially agreed, blocking the abortion but blasting the department. She was gone an entire month, but nobody cared. To say that I'm angry at that... ..would be an understatement. The ruling sparked appeals and outrage.

This governor ought to be more concerned about how a 13-year-old in the custody of state agencies

got pregnant in the first place than to be concerned with her thoughtful and considered decision to terminate that pregnancy. After days of debate, the judge has ruled that LG can have an abortion, and Florida's Governor, the brother of the President, is reluctantly abandoning the legal fight.

Look, if the judge has ruled, it's time to move on. It's a tragedy that a 13-year-old child would be in a vulnerable position where she could be made pregnant, and it's a tragedy that her baby will be lost. There's no good news in this at all. But pro-life forces are unlikely to let the issue die. In the United States, abortion is a powerful political issue,

and the President is morally conservative. Just last week, the House passed legislation making it a federal crime for an adult to transport a girl across state lines for an abortion without parental approval. I think there are some parallels here

and I think there are things

that should wake people up to realise that there are some serious issues in our culture in America that need to be corrected. But this girl actually wants to have an abortion. Shouldn't she be allowed to get her way?

We're talking about a child here. We're talking about a child who, within a public school in the United States of America, couldn't go and get an aspirin without parents' permission or approval, and yet this child is deemed responsible enough to make a decision that can alter their life physically and, many times, emotionally. The argument is likely to become even more heated in coming months as the White House continues an acrimonious fight to appoint new judges. Depending on your perspective,

this case is either about whether a 13-year-old should be allowed to have an abortion or whether a child should be forced to have a child. There are no simple answers, and increasingly, it seems, the President's second term will be defined by moral issues

and by the appointment of the judges who will weigh them. Mark Simkin, Lateline. At the end of this week, Australia's Ambassador to Washington, Michael Thawley, steps down after five years in the job.

He's presided over a momentous time in the US-Australia relationship - a strengthening of defence ties, the development of a free trade agreement and an unprecedented closeness to the alliance. The Howard Government is yet to announce his replacement. Ambassador Thawley has kept a very low profile during his reign, but he has a reputation as an extremely effective operator and networker behind the scenes - so effective, in fact,

that President Bush himself hosted a farewell for the Ambassador in the Oval Office - a rare honour. As he prepares to leave Washington, the media-shy Ambassador Thawley spoke exclusively to the ABC's North America correspondent, Leigh Sales. She began by asking for his response to allegations that Australia has become too subservient to the United States. I have never felt in five years here that I was acting in any way for a country,

other than for a country, which was able to make up its own mind about everything. Closeness - the worry about closeness, I sometimes think, is a bit of a remnant of cultural cringe. If you want to get something out of a country,

if you want out of a relationship, if you want to work with a country to your mutual benefit, you have to get close to it. I think a lot of this debate stems from a lack of confidence on our part - the notion that the United States is so big and powerful that if we get close to it we'll be trampled and we won't be able to stand up for ourselves. It is quite possible for us to get close to the United States

and act in our national interests. And indeed, if you look at the last few years, I'd say there have been some very practical demonstrations of that, so I would say let's look at the results rather than pound our chests and get into esoteric debates about closeness, independence and so on. Does the US take for granted that we will go along with what they say?

No, no, of course not. I think the United States obviously would like us to support it in various ways

and quite often we do. I mean, there are cases where we agree with the United States. Now, we don't agree because that's what the United States says it wants. We agree because we've made an assessment that this course of action is in our national interests.

You were one of the first people who floated the idea of a US-Australia free trade agreement. What sort of response did you get initially?

Oh, I think it's fair to say most people thought I was mad

and I can think of very few people who thought that we'd get there,

either Australians or Americans.

From time to time, I got pretty worried and certainly in the final two to three weeks of negotiations,

there were moments when both sides got pretty impassioned, not to say angry, and we had to retreat to our corners to cool off.

There were difficult moments. How disappointed were you

that sugar was left out of the final agreement? I was very disappointed, and, I think - I had hoped, right until the very end, that we would get something on sugar. I knew that we weren't going to get free trade in sugar. Is that something that you think that your successor should keep pushing for? Well, I think it's very important that we regard the free trade agreement

as a beginning and not an end. The worst thing of all would be for us to think, "Oh, well, we've done that. "We've got a free trade agreement and that's the end of it." The free trade agreement provides for a variety of mechanisms for continuing to discuss a whole range of issues.

I would be astonished if, in three to five years' time, the free trade agreement is exactly the same as it is now.

Do you expect that the Americans will continue to push for changes, particularly with pharmaceutical benefits? Well, they'll push hard on a whole range of things - I mean, that's real life - but I think if you want to win something, you've got to be in there. What are the big challenges that your successor's going to face?

There are many people right around the world who are seeking the United States' attention, seeking its support,

in any area you think of - technology, trade, defence, whatever. And, you know, we will have to ensure that we keep a very active agenda focused on our national interest and what it is that we can benefit from in this relationship.

Opinion is growing in financial markets

An ONY JONES: An al-Qa'ida ONY JONES: An al-Qa'ida operative ONY JONES: An al-Qa'ida operative accused ONY of ONY JONES: of masterminding ONY JONES:

An al-Qa'ida operative accused of masterminding two ONY JONES:

of masterminding two assassONY JONES:ination attempts on President

Pervez Musharraf. He is a

JONES:ination attempts on President Pervez Musharraf. He is a Libyan

national who had a bound te of US

national who had a bound te of US $1 million on his head. He was

million on his head. He was arrested along with five other al-Qa'ida

agents. The capture comes after the

US renewed its pressure on Pakistan

to hunt down terrorists. Opinion is growing in financial markets that there'll be no further rate rises this year, after yet another month of inaction by the Reserve Bank. The RBA has opted to keep rates on hold following a raft of soft economic figures.

But it's a different story in the United States, with US interest rates just increased for the eighth time in less than a year. More from finance correspondent Michael Rowland. Financial markets weren't expecting any nasty surprises this morning, and the RBA duly followed the script. There you go - no change. The official cash rate has been kept at 5.5% for the second consecutive month. The case for tightening right now isn't very strong.

Inflation is low and stable and we've seen household demand growth slow significantly. The RBA's decision was almost immediately vindicated by the release of disappointing retail sales figures. Consumer spending remained subdued in March, providing yet more evidence of an economy shifting down a gear or two. If the economy itself is starting to slow down, which we think is the case, particularly in the housing sector,

that will start to take pressure off inflation, so it isn't really necessary to raise interest rates if the slowing process is already under way. Indeed, most economists now believe the March rate hike could be the last for some time. I think we've seen the last.

Certainly, the professional money markets have now completely priced out another interest rate rise. As the RBA continued to sit on its hands,

there was no such inaction by the US central bank. Just hours before the RBA announcement, the US Federal Reserve raised official interest rates by another 0.25% to 3%. Well, the Feds moved rates up from an extraordinarily low level of 1% to 2% and now it's at 3% - eight quarter-point moves in just under a year. US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan is determined to keep a lid on inflation despite signs the US economy is slowing.

In a statement, the Fed's Open Market Committee said - In other words, there are more rate increases on the way. I think a steady course is in front of us. They're giving a little bit of a signal

maintaining the word "measured" in there, and so my guess is that we'll continue to see these 25 basis-point hikes at these meetings unless the data changes dramatically in the leading indicators of the economy. As US investors digest a detailed statement on the Federal Reserve's thinking, from Australia's central bank there's been the usual post-board meeting silence

on just why rates have been left on hold. RBA watchers will have to wait until Friday

to get a firm grip on just where rates may be heading when the Reserve Bank releases its quarterly statement on monetary policy. Michael Rowland, Lateline. To finance now. The All Ordinaries fell back today, losing almost 1%, despite the Reserve Bank's decision to leave interest rates unchanged. Weak retail figures, announced today, were another sign the economy is losing steam, with retail giants Woolworths and Harvey Norman

both losing ground. But Mayne Group was one of the bright spots on the market, up 17%.

Now to the weather. That's all for this evening. If you'd like to look back at tonight's interview or review any of Lateline's stories or transcripts, you can visit our website at abc.net.au/lateline. I'll be back again tomorrow, so join me then. Captions by Captioning and Subtitling International.