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

View in ParlViewView other Segments

Tonight - the deadly quake - at least 57 dead, many more missing after yesterday's powerful
earthquake off-Java.

We fear that the fatality rate will rise, we just have to be patient in that respect. Obviously our
respect. Obviously our hearts go out to Indonesia, they are suffering this terrible tragedy.

This Program is Captioned Live.

Good evening, welcome to Lateline, I'm Rafael Epstein. It's approaching six months now since five
asylum seekers died when their boat caught fire when their boat caught fire off Ashmore Reef,
Ashmore Reef, the Northern Territory Police are still investigating, and the full details of what
happened have not yet been revealed. Now the Government would like action.

Certainly we are getting to the stage where we would like to get advice from them so we can process
the refugee applications from those who were on the boat, obviously it will be material for us to
know whether or not any of them might face charges as a result of what occurred on the moment. I'm
a little frustrated, I'd I'm a little frustrated, I'd be keen for the Northern Territory Police and
the coroner Police and the coroner to report as soon as report as soon as possible.

The Immigration Immigration Minister Senator Chris Evans joins us to Chris Evans joins us to
discuss asylum seekers and whether or not the Government has changed its policy, that's coming up.
Headlines - the abortion anomoly, Queensland doctors could face criminal prosecution for procuring
medical abortions. Cover-up - Federal Government may be forced to change every sign proclaiming the
benefits of the school stimulus spending. And stimulus spending.

Rescuers search for Java quake survivors

Rescuers search for Java quake survivors

Broadcast: 03/09/2009

Reporter: Geoff Thompson

Emergency workers in Indonesia have found more bodies under buildings destroyed in yesterday's
earthquake, raising the death toll to at least 57. Rescuers hope those remaining under the rubble
can still be saved, but they are having trouble getting to many of the affected areas across west


RAFAEL EPSTEIN, PRESENTER: Emergency workers in Indonesia have found more bodies under buildings
destroyed in yesterday's earthquake, raising the death toll to at least 57.

There are reports of death and damage across west Java.

Rescuers hope those remaining under the rubble can still be saved but they're having trouble
getting to many of the places affected.

Indonesia correspondent Geoff Thompson is in the quake zone in west Java.

GEOFF THOMPSON, INDONESIA CORRESPONDENT: The quake struck in the middle of the afternoon, shaking
buildings across Java. In the capital Jakarta, panicked office workers rushed onto the street.

JAKARTA MAN (TRANSLATION): The air-conditioner in my room broke off. I was on the 20th floor.

GEOFF THOMPSON: Closer to the epicentre the damage was much worse.

There was no time to get the injured to hospital by nightfall, so authorities set-up makeshift
outdoor medical centres.

I was in my house when the quake struck, this woman says, I waited a moment and then ran out as the
roof tiles crashed on my head. The survivors huddled together, each aftershock bringing fears
another deadly quake would follow.

With daylight came the realisation that the death toll was sure to climb. The quake triggered this
massive landslide in Cianjur.

Rescuers have already begun pulling bodies out from the mountain of rubble.

From where you're sitting I imagine it's hard to appreciate just how large that mountainside is but
I can tell you it is huge, and the epicentre of the earthquake, while it was about 150 kilometres
away, split that mountain in two, sending thousands of tonnes of earth and boulders the size of
trucks down into the valley below.

However stories of horror are far more common here. This local man says 34 bodies are buried in the

In the town of Pangandara, residents were too scared to stay in weakened buildings. Many people
can't afford to rebuild their wrecked homes. No aid has come so far, this woman says, I hope the
Government will help us rebuild our houses.

The Australian Government says it's ready to help if a request comes.

STEPHEN SMITH, FOREIGN MINISTER: We fear that the fatality rate will rise but we'll just have to be
patient in that respect. But obviously our hearts go out to Indonesia, suffering this terrible

GEOFF THOMPSON: Indonesia is hoping this disaster will not reach a scale where international help
is needed.

Geoff Thompson, Lateline.

Abortion anomaly

Abortion anomaly

Broadcast: 03/09/2009

Reporter: Megan Woodward

In Queensland, some hospitals have stopped offering abortions, and many women are wondering if
their terminations are legal. It is all because a Cairns couple is facing charges of illegally
procuring an abortion. While some were hoping the case would lead to broader abortion law reform,
today the Queensland Parliament passed what the State Government calls technical adjustments to the


RAFAEL EPSTEIN, PRESENTER: In Queensland, some hospitals have stopped offering abortions and many
women are wondering if their terminations are legal.

It's all because a Cairns couple is facing charges of illegally procuring an abortion.

Prosecutors say 19-year-old Tegan Leach and 22-year-old Sergie Brennan used drugs from overseas to
terminate a pregnancy earlier this year.

While some were hoping the case would lead to broader abortion law reform, today the Queensland
Parliament passed what the State Government calls technical adjustments to the legislation.

This report from Megan Woodward.

MEGAN WOODWARD, REPORTER: Pro-choice advocates have gathered outside the Cairns court for the last
24 hours hoping to provide some support to Tegan Leach and her boyfriend Sergie Brennan.

DR HEATHER MCNAMEE, CAIRNS GP: The vigil is to highlight how outrageous and outdated it is that
abortion is still in the criminal code in Australia.

MEGAN WOODWARD: The couple is charged with illegally procuring an abortion. In court today,
prosecutors said police were searching the couple's Cairns home in February on an unrelated matter,
when officers found two empty tablet packets. The officers believed they'd contained a version of
the medical abortion drug RU-486.

The criminal code says a woman who attempts to procure a miscarriage by administering poison or
noxious thing, or uses any kind of force is guilty of a crime.

The couple's defence lawyer argued that because no chemical analysis was done, there was no
evidence to prove that the drug's Ms Leach admitted to taking were in fact poisonous or noxious.
The defence also said there was no medical evidence to confirm that Tegan Leach did miscarry as a
direct result of taking the five tablets.

Police prosecutor Sargent Peter Austin told the court that while there was no evidence in regards
to the chemical compound of the drugs taken, he argued that only one obvious conclusion could be
drawn when considering what was taken, why it was taken and what the affect of it was.

The magistrate was going to commit Sergie Brennan to stand trial on the charge of supplying drug to
procure a miscarriage but Sandra Pearson agreed to reserve her decision when Mr Brennan's lawyer
asked to withdraw an earlier concession in regards to his client's case.

Meanwhile in Brisbane, State Parliament was working to clarify the issue for medical and legal
authorities. The Government moved amendments to the state's criminal code aimed at providing legal
protection for doctors prescribing drugs to perform abortions.

DOROTHY PRATT, INDEPENDENT MP: It allows greater certainty for doctors administering medical
abortions but does not provide the decriminalisation of abortion.

ANNA BLIGH, QLD PREMIER: The bill before the house is a bill with a technical amendment. Just one
MP, the independent Liz Cunningham, voted against it.

MEGAN WOODWARD: But supporters of Tegan Leach and Sergie Brennan say today's law reform doesn't
really change anything.

DR HEATHER MCNAMEE: There won't be too many doctors in Queensland prepared to go back to offering
medical abortion just with a little bit of fiddling at the edges of the law.

MEGAN WOODWARD: Some Queensland hospitals have stopped allowing medical terminations using drugs,
fearing prosecution with the legal uncertainty.

Megan Woodward, Lateline.

Promotional stimulus signs 'may breach electoral laws'

Promotional stimulus signs 'may breach electoral laws'

Broadcast: 03/09/2009

Reporter: Hayden Cooper

The Federal Government may be forced to change up to 5,000 signs promoting its schools stimulus
spending. The signs have been set up outside primary schools where stimulus work is beginning, but
the Opposition has complained against what it calls blatant government advertising - and succeeded.


RAFAEL EPSTEIN, PRESENTER: There's been an embarrassing setback for the Government's promotion of
its stimulus package.

Five thousand signs proclaiming the initiative will have to be changed to satisfy the nation's
campaign advertising laws.

The signs have been set up outside primary schools where work is beginning.

But the Opposition's complaint against what it calls blatant government advertising has succeeded.

From Canberra, Hayden Cooper reports.

HAYDEN COOPER, REPORTER: When stimulus comes to a school near you, there's no doubting who's behind
it. But there's a problem with the Government's policy of self-promotion and Mark Arbib is the
minister sent to explain it.


HAYDEN COOPER: Five thousand are already in place outside the nation's primary schools. The
Opposition's complaint is that they'll stay there until after the federal election at schools that
double as polling places.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE, OPPOSITION SPOKESMAN: The signs are blatantly and transparently pro-Government.
The signs shouldn't be in the place at all.

HAYDEN COOPER: And the Electoral Commission has decided it's a valid point. One by one the signs
will be altered to add an authorisation like the ones used in other government ads.

SEN. MARK ARBIB: More than likely it will mean placing sticker, an authorisation sticker on the
signage. During an election campaign it might mean covering up the signs, or moving them if they
are within six metres of a polling place.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: This is another bungle in a long list of bungles, from a bungling minister.

SEN. MARK ARBIB: If the Liberal Party think that this is some sort of win, they are kidding

HAYDEN COOPER: The Liberal Party is wrestling with itself on the question of winding back the
stimulus dollars yet to be spent. In the west the state Liberal Government says it's a bad idea.

TROY BUSWELL, WA TREASURER: No I think that would be far too premature to argue for the
Commonwealth to pull back on a stimulatory package. We see evidence of that here.

HAYDEN COOPER: But that's not the message from his federal counterparts.

JOE HOCKEY, SHADOW TREASURER: We have repeatedly called on the Government to reduce the stimulus it
is pumping into the economy.

MALCOLM TURNBULL, OPPOSITION LEADER: Our criticism of the stimulus remains the same, that they
spent too much money and in a very poorly targeted way.

HAYDEN COOPER: So on both sides it seems the politics of economic stimulus is not without its
challenges. But for the Government the back down on school signs is an embarrassing mistake it
didn't need, and it will be visible for many months to come.

Next year could bring another trap too, on the familiar topics of industrial relations. The
Government's campaign to reduce the number of workplace awards from 2,000 to just 130 is proving
challenging because no one wants to be worse off. But some people will be.

KEVIN RUDD, PRIME MINISTER: What Julia has said and I have said throughout this is our objective is
to have a system where employees and employers are not disadvantaged by this system.

HAYDEN COOPER: The Industrial Relations Commission's verdict that some workers will lose out and
some employers will too has everyone worried.

PETER ANDERSON, CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY: The Industrial Relations Commission has been
handed a hand grenade by the Government's conflicting instructions. Employers are unfortunately the
meat in the sandwich.

HAYDEN COOPER: It's one contest headed for a showdown.

Hayden Cooper, Lateline.

Fed Govt makes immigration exception

Fed Govt makes immigration exception

Broadcast: 03/09/2009

Reporter: Rafael Epstein

The Federal Government has made a rare exception in immigration policy, allowing a group of Afghan
boys to be processed within Australia - rather than on Christmas Island. But the Prime Minister
rejects any suggestion he is softening the treatment of refugees.


RAFAEL EPSTEIN, PRESENTER: The Federal Government has made a rare exception in immigration policy,
allowing asylum seekers to be processed in Australia. A group of 10 Afghan boys have been flown
from Christmas Island to Melbourne. It's a departure from the standard practice of offshore
processing of all asylum claims.

But the Prime Minister rejects any suggestion he's softening the treatment of refugees.

KEVIN RUDD, PRIME MINISTER: These are 10 unaccompanied minors, therefore what's happened is they've
been transferred from Christmas Island to the mainland on the 2nd of September because
unaccompanied minors are given priority in processing.

That's what's happened in the case of these minors. That's why there are treated separately.

INTERVIEWER: So there's no intention to change the policy?

KEVIN RUDD: Absolutely not.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: The Opposition says it may mean the asylum seekers will have access to the
Australian court system.

Immigration Minister discusses processing exception

Immigration Minister discusses processing exception

Broadcast: 03/09/2009

Reporter: Rafael Epstein

The Immigration Minister, Senator Chris Evans, joins Lateline to discuss asylum seekers and whether
or not the Federal Government has changed its processing policy.


RAFAEL EPSTEIN, PRESENTER: A short time ago the Minister for Immigration Senator Chris Evans joined
us from our Perth studio.

Senator Evans thanks for joining us this evening.


RAFAEL EPSTEIN: If Christmas Island is no good for this group of Afghan children, why is it OK for
other children?

SENATOR CHRIS EVANS: We are committed to processing offshore arrivals on Christmas Island. But this
group of children have been there since May 7, I was concerned they were a particularly vulnerable
group, and on this occasion we brought them ashore in preparation for them being awarded their
visas. They're likely to be granted visas, and I expect that will be moving out to the community in
a few weeks.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: How many other people came from Christmas Island to the mainland before their
claims had been processed?

SENATOR CHRIS EVANS: Probably in the order of 50 to 100, under the previous government they brought
a number of people ashore, even off Nauru, people who had medical conditions or had sick relatives
or had to come for legal reasons or what have you.

So it's not uncommon to bring vulnerable people off. On this occasion I thought these children,
without parents, not accompanied by parents, it was appropriate given concerns about the group that
they come off, what will be a couple of weeks early.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: I just wonder if you have the same concerns for other children? Are there other
children on Christmas Island without parents?

SENATOR CHRIS EVANS: Yes, there are. Our concern is expressed by the fact that we treat them
properly, we ensure they have proper care, accommodation, and education and social support. So I
have no concerns that the children on Christmas Island aren't being treated appropriately. But this
group I thought were vulnerable, there was a good reason to bring them off.

About 11 further children are coming off next week, but with full visas. But as I say this 10, I
thought it was important to act a little earlier, they'll be going into immigration facilities,
they will be cared for and hopefully move to grant a visa in a couple of weeks.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: I guess I'm not clear what your concern is about them. They are going into
detention in Melbourne. It's not your policy to keep children in detention for long, the law says
it should be used as a last resort. What is different about your concern for these children, and if
you are so concerned for them, why are they going into detention in Melbourne?

SENATOR CHRIS EVANS: They are going into a facility where they'll be cared for and supervised, some
of these are teenage boys, and some of them are subject to security checks, no one will be released
to the community until they have had their security checks completed. But I'm keen to get children
off Christmas Island as soon as possible. I do think we can provide better services and support for
them on the mainland, but we have to make sure they have had proper health, identity and security
checks. All I have done, proper management if you like in this case, that this group, for a range
of reasons ought to be brought ashore as in the past with people who we thought were vulnerable.
It's just a proper management decision.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: If we could just stop and think about their claims for asylum, I understand some of
them say they were worried about being recruited by the Taliban, effectively being forced to be
fighters for the Taliban. Do you hear that claim a lot from asylum seekers from Afghanistan?

SENATOR CHRIS EVANS: Well I don't interview them and I don't do the assessments, so I wouldn't
necessarily hear all the claims made.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: But is it a common claim made by asylum seekers from there?

SENATOR CHRIS EVANS: It's not one that's been brought to my attention as being a largely relevant
claim, no. Largely people who have escaped violence, difficult conditions, and they are seeking
asylum out of fear of returning.

Each case is examined individually, each person is interviewed both by our security persons and the
Immigration Department and we assess them against the refugee convention. If they are found to be
owed our protection they are granted a visa as a refugee.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: If we could just look at Christmas Island itself for a moment. There's an estimate
from Oxfam that it costs $1,600 extra per day to keep a detainee on Christmas Island compared to
the mainland, $1,600 per day. Is that accurate, is that how much extra it costs?

SENATOR CHRIS EVANS: No, that is not accurate, but I haven't done the comparison directly between
the daily rate on Christmas Island and on the mainland. But I have made it very clear that it is
expensive to house people on Christmas Island, the extra cost of flying staff there and servicing
people on the island makes it more expensive. There's no question about that.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: Why persist with it?

SENATOR CHRIS EVANS: The Howard government built the facility at Christmas Island. We committed to
maintaining offshore processing, that's where the facility is, it is a modern facility, it cost
them $400 million to build, it's the only facility of that size available to me. There's a range of
good economic reasons as well as policy reasons to do the processing there.

I don't have anywhere of that size on the mainland to accommodate people, and the accommodation is
modern, the facilities are modern, so there are some advantages from operating off Christmas Island
as well. There's no doubt the cost structure on the island is higher than the mainland.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: I just wonder when it becomes sensible to look at the long term, and when do those
figures become unreasonable?

SENATOR CHRIS EVANS: That's obviously, we'll have to manage over time, we have a $400 million
investment in that facility, there's nothing else it would be used for, and at the moment we have,
you know, 600 people on the island who we have to accommodate. Yes, it's expensive, but it is a
facility available to us, and equally, we maintained offshore processing as part of the deterrent
strategy to deal with unlawful arrivals by boat.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: In April, one of the boats carrying asylum seekers sunk on Ashmore Reef. Northern
Territory authorities are investigating that, are you frustrated that you haven't learnt the
results of that investigation yet?

SENATOR CHRIS EVANS: Certainly we are getting to the stage where we would like to get advice from
them so we can process the refugee applications from those on the boat, and obviously it would be
material to us to know whether or not any of them might face charges as a result of what occurred
on the boat.

So I'm a little frustrated and I'd be very keen for the Northern Territory Police and the Coroner
to report as soon as possible, but it is a matter that is outside the Federal Government's hands,
it's a police investigation, and while I'd like to know the result as soon as possible we are
obviously in their hands.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: Did you expect it to take this long?

SENATOR CHRIS EVANS: I thought it would take a while, this is a very serious incident. A number of
people died. They died at sea. No doubt collecting evidence was difficult. There were a lot of
witness statements to take, because a lot of people were on the boat and there were obviously
Australian Navy and other personnel who were witness to what occurred. So I didn't think it would
be quick, but I think we are at the stage where everyone would like to get some report back from
the Northern Territory Police as to whether anyone is likely to be charged.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: Have you contacted or has the department contacted the next of kin of the people
who died?

SENATOR CHRIS EVANS: I am not sure of what success has occurred in those regards. Certainly we have
been attempting to work with the survivors in identifying those that died and identifying their
relatives. But I haven't had an update on that activity, obviously that's partly handled by the

Certainly there have been attempts made to make sure their relatives back in Afghanistan were aware
of what had occurred.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: If we can shift focus a bit, I suppose, to migration policy, you reduced the
skilled migration intake this year, obviously in the face of what you thought the economic
conditions were at the time.

Things are looking better with the economy. I wonder if people in business have already approached
you and said, "Listen, we need to think about raising the skilled migration intake again."

SENATOR CHRIS EVANS: I certainly made it clear at the time I thought we would run large migration
programs for a number of years, that this was a temporary correction, and when the economy improved
there'd still be a shortage of skills in the economy. We are obviously trying to fill those skills
needs by training more young Australians for the demands of the economy, but I think we'll still
need strong migration over the coming years, particularly because of the ageing of the work force.

So those demands will commence again, and certainly in my own state of Western Australia I've
already been having discussions with a range of large developments about their skills needs, things
like the Gorgon project.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: So you have already flagged the need to raise that again?

SENATOR CHRIS EVANS: They've started talking to me about what the labour needs will be and
prospects are of getting the skills from the Australian work force. I think Gorgon is relatively
confident they'll be able to fill most of the positions locally. But if we get a succession of
large developments occurring at once, there's no doubt that some migration support will be needed
in order to meet some of those skills needs.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: I just wonder if your policy, your view is to try to stay ahead of the growth curve
of the economy, or do you wait for the economy to grow and wait for people to come to you and say,
"Listen, we need these people".

SENATOR CHRIS EVANS: Obviously we try to stay in front of the game, and we try to make sure that
the migration program is much more responsive to employers' needs, that's one of the things I have
been focusing on for the last year. People have to understand that the most immediate way of
responding to the needs is with a temporary migration program. A lot of employers want to bring
people on only for temporary purposes, for short period of times, and the 457 program meets those

We have seen a dramatic drop off in the number of 457 visa applications reflecting the state of the
economy. But if the economy picks up, no doubt the numbers of those applications will pick up again
as well.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: On another area of migration policy, I know you were in India recently, and I think
you - I believe you made the point to potential students coming to Australia that you want to
decouple this link between education and migration, you don't want people to think vocational
training in Australia is an automatic path to permanent residency. I just wonder if you make that
point and that point really sinks in in places like India, will people still want to come here and
will they want to learn vocational training for a year or two in Australia if they think it won't
lead to them living in Australia?

SENATOR CHRIS EVANS: Well I guess the proof will be in the pudding. I'm very clear that we run a
migration program to suit the needs of Australia, it's a program to suit our national interests.
Part of that national interest is attracting young highly skilled persons. People who trained here
and have had some work experience here make good migrants, so we'll want to continue to attract
former students into our permanent migration program. But we want to attract those with the skills
that we need, skills that we can't meet locally. So I'm making it very clear to potential students
that the migration program will be based on Australia's needs, not on whatever courses they choose
to study.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: I wonder if you think vocational training is still as attractive to people from
places like India if it's not a step towards coming to live here?

SENATOR CHRIS EVANS: One of the things I want to make sure is that they are looking at courses that
would advantage themselves in terms of coming to Australia. We have got to ensure that we are
sending the clear signals about what skills we need. I think some people have come purely for the
migration pathway, that's why some of them haven't been all that particular about the courses
they've studied or necessarily worried too much about the quality. That's been a really unfortunate
development. I think there is major reform needed. Julia Gillard's embarked upon that. But my job
as Immigration Minister is to make it clear that our program is designed to meet the needs of
Australia, we welcome graduates from a university from overseas and from our colleges who have the
skills that we need.

But we will be deciding on those skills needs and looking to recruit those people, and obviously
that would encourage people to study the sorts of skills we are looking for. Some of those will be
vocational skills, we were short of welders and other occupations like that a year or two ago. We
may well be again, but those decisions have to be based on Australia's national interest, and it
should not be run by courses chosen by overseas students and it won't be.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: Can I just ask you to put your political commentary hat on for a moment and
particularly this remarkable story around John Della Bosca, the NSW cabinet minister.

Do you think the media have gone too far, do you think the media are trying to pry into too much of
politicians' private lives?

SENATOR CHRIS EVANS: Look, I have always had a very strong view that we should be able to separate
people's private lives from their public roles. I'm always very protective of my family, and don't
seek to involve them in public debate or public exposure. I think really this is a private matter,
a matter for him and his family, and I don't think there ought to be a lot of press coverage of
those matters.

Clearly there is an argument this impacts on people's public duties, but I think politicians are
entitled to a private life as well, and I am not sure some of this coverage is absolutely

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: OK Minister, thanks for joining us this evening.


Too late for clean coal?

Too late for clean coal?

Broadcast: 03/09/2009

Reporter: Margot O'Neill

Amid the dire predictions of climate change - international governments and the fossil fuel
industry are clinging to the promise of clean coal technology. But some are warning that it may
already be too late for clean coal, unless billions of dollars are poured into the technology very


RAFAEL EPSTEIN, PRESENTER: Amid the dire predictions of climate change, international governments
and the fossil fuel industry are clinging to the promise of clean coal.

They say there is no Plan B. If we can't develop the technology to capture and bury carbon
emissions from coal-fired power station, then they say the world simply won't be able to save
itself from dangerous climate change.

But some are warning it may already be too late for clean coal unless billions of dollars are
poured into the technology very quickly.

Margot O'Neill reports.

MARGOT O'NEIL, REPORTER: It's been a promise since the late 1990s.

The plan to strip out CO2 from power station emission and then pipe the gas into deep storage. This
process of carbon capture and storage or CCS would not only help secure the future for the climate
but also for Australia's largest export money spinner: coal.

RALPH HILLMAN, AUSTRALIAN COAL ASSOCIATION: We are putting in place in Australia the infrastructure
to allow us to continue to increase our exports, but we are also investing in the technology that
allow ... that will allow coal in Australia and elsewhere to be burnt with a substantial reduction
in its emissions of 80 to 90 per cent.

This technology isn't pie in the sky, it's all proven in the lab or in other parts of industry.

MARGOT O'NEIL: But despite more than a decade of discussion, not one industrial-sized plant has
been built.

Now key promoters of CCS in Australia say time is running out to win public confidence and maintain
political support. Like Professor Robin Batterham, former chief scientist to the Federal Government
who works for mining giant Rio Tinto. He spoke to us in his capacity as President of the Australian
Academy of Technological Sciences.

don't see some of these large-scale plants actually happening, then people are going to say, "This
is not a real alternative".

NICK OTTER, GLOBAL CCS INSTITUTE: I tend to agree with that sort of statement. The most urgent
thing that's necessary is to really get to large-scale demonstration.

MARGOT O'NEIL: Nick Otter is the CEO of the Global CCS Institute set up by Prime Minister Kevin
Rudd to galvanise international action on CCS.

NICK OTTER: We are mandated to accelerate the process of deployment which really means take
encouraging - and removing barriers to the demonstration plants.

MARGOT O'NEIL: Former Queensland Premier Peter Beattie, who is now his state's Trade Commissioner
in Los Angeles has long urged the coal industry to increase CCS funding, saying coal risks being
left behind if CCS can't be proven quickly because of a huge push in the United States towards
renewable energy.

PETER BEATTIE, FORMER QLD PREMIER: Carbon capture and storage is seen as part of the green
solution, otherwise if not, you are going to find this trend in the United States against coal is
going to grow in momentum, and we'll have problems. There is a very significant anti-coal movement

MARGOT O'NEIL: Industry and the Federal Government have committed more than $4 billion to CCS over
the next decade, but billions more are needed according to one of Australia's leading CCS experts.

Dr Kelly Thambimuthu chairs the greenhouse gas research and development program for the
International Energy Agency. He says just one CCS power plant will cost about $4 billion and a
staggering $20 billion is needed to build four plants with pipes and storage costs.

DR KELLY THAMBIMUTHU, INTERNATIONAL ENERGY AGENCY: We have yet to get the first plant up. There's
nothing in the horizon that tells me that we are going to get a plant up earlier than 2015 or 2016.

To spread ourselves thin, in tackling this problem at the present moment means we might not be able
to get anything off the ground.

MARGOT O'NEIL: The global expectations for how CCS will slash greenhouse gases are huge.

DR KELLY THAMBIMUTHU: To take out of the order of 9 billion tonnes of CO2 between now and 2050.

MARGOT O'NEIL: That means building 50 gas or coal-fired CCS power stations every year from 2010.
But without even one operating plant, that could prove difficult.

Treasury modelling shows CCS won't have any impact on Australian emission levels until after 2035.

RICHARD DENNISS, AUSTRALIA INSTITTUE: Assuming that by 2035 they can invent it the problem is the
science says that's way too late. If we don't get serious emission reductions in the next 10 years
the science says, forget about two degrees, basically some models say forget about predicting what
is going to happen.

MARGOT O'NEIL: But there's no other choice according to most CCS experts, saying coal will continue
to be a substantial source of the cheap energy in the developing world.

NICK OTTER: Yes, there is a big investment. But this is what we have to do. To me, anyway, and it's
a personal view, I guess. There isn't a Plan B.

MARGOT O'NEIL: The Federal Government will announce grants to try to kick start industrial scale
CCS plants later this year.

Suicide blast kills Afghan intelligence deputy

Suicide blast kills Afghan intelligence deputy

Broadcast: 03/09/2009

Reporter: Rafael Epstein

The deputy head of Afghanistan's National Intelligence Agency has been killed along with 21 other
people, in a suicide bombing outside a mosque in Larg-Marn province, in the country's east.


RAFAEL EPSTEIN, PRESENTER: The Taliban has struck a significant blow against the Government in
Afghanistan. The deputy head of the National Intelligence Agency was killed along with 21 other
people in a suicide bombing.

Abdullah Laghmani's car was destroyed by the blast outside a mosque in Laghman Province in the
country's east.

LUTFULLAH MASHAL, LAGHMAN PROVINCE GOVERNOR: When he came out while he was getting into his
vehicle, a suicide attacker from this area run into his vehicle, exploded himself.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: Thirty-five other people were also injured in the attack.

Iran nuclear threat 'exaggerated'

Iran nuclear threat 'exaggerated'

Broadcast: 03/09/2009

Reporter: Ben Knight

The outgoing chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, says that Iran is not ready to
produce a nuclear weapon. Mohamed el Baradei says the facts do not support the view that Tehran's
weapon is on the verge of being developed, and he says the threat has been exaggerated.


RAFAEL EPSTEIN, PRESENTER: The outgoing chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency says that
Iran is not ready to produce a nuclear weapon. Mohamed el Baradei says the facts don't support the
view that Tehran's weapon is on the verge of being developed, and he says the threat has been

But he has said Tehran needs to be more transparent with the UN watchdog.

Middle East correspondent Ben Knight.

BEN KNIGHT, MIDDLE EAST CORRESPONDENT: Mohamed el Baradei has been criticised in the past for
playing down the threat of a nuclear Iran. But as he prepares to leave the job he's made his own
criticism of those that warn the country is on the verge of building a nuclear bomb.

In many ways I think the threat has been hyped, he said, but the idea that we will wake up tomorrow
and Iran will have a nuclear weapon isn't supported by the facts.

As his comments were published officials from Europe, the US and China were meeting in Germany,
where new sanctions against Iran were suspected to come up for discussion.

Barack Obama has given Iran until this month to open up nuclear talks. It's a deadline that's
backed by other Western leaders.

NICHOLAS SARKOZY (TRANSLATION): On Iran we have exactly the same opinion. We've supported President
Obama's outstretched hand to the Iranian people. But this hand can't be held out endlessly to
irresponsible people and leaders who don't respond.

BEN KNIGHT: Mohamed el Baradei's comments will be of particular concern here in Israel, this
country regards a nuclear Iran as its greatest external threat. In fact some politicians have
warned of a military strike on Iran to stop that from ever happening.

The US has made it clear to Israel that that is not an option. But Israel will be very concerned to
hear something that could weaken diplomatic pressure on Iran.

There was a quick response from senior Israeli opposition figure and former army chief-of-staff
Shaul Mofaz. He told Israel radio Iran is just months away from building a bomb.

There's still much that's unclear. Iran itself is still in turmoil after the June election, the
mass trial of opposition activists continues, while Mahmoud Ahmedinejad is facing a test of his
authority when the parliament votes today on his cabinet appointments.

Ben Knight, Lateline.

Now to the weather - rain and thunderstorms in Brisbane and Sydney. Afternoon rain in Hobart.
Showers for Perth Adelaide and Melbourne. Sunny in Darwin. That's all from in Darwin. That's all
from us. Lateline Business coming up in a moment. If you'd like to look back at tonight's interview
with Senator Chris Evans, or review stories or transcript visit the web site Now Lateline Business with Philip Lasker.