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ABC News 24: 4pm News wkend -

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(generated from captions) Speaker - Slipper stands aside. The controversial speak er

er of the House steps down while allegations are


over yesterday's Also today - a man charged

er Kings Cross refused

bail. United Nations to send bail. United Nations to

hundreds more security

observers to Syria to monitor the country's flag dial

ceasefire. Kick-off moments

away in A-League's grand final.

You're watching ABC News You're watching ABC News 24.

I'm Nick Dole. A quick look at


Peter Slipper has stood aside as speaker of the House of

Representatives. One of the

Speaker's staffers accused him

of sexual harassment and of sexual harassment and fraud. He released a statement a short

of time ago saying some

allegations have been made

against me by Mr James Ashby. I emphatically deny those

allegations. The allegations allegations. The

include both a claim of criminal behaviour and a claim under

under civil law. Any allegation

of criminal behaviour is grave

and should be dealt with in a and should be dealt with in

matter that shows appropriate

regard to the integrity of regard to the integrity of our democratic institutions and its

precedent. As such I believe it

is appropriate for me to stand

aside as Speaker while this

criminal allegation is

resolved. I spoke to our political editor Lyndal Curtis

Peter a short time ago. She says

Government the trouble of Peter Slipper has saved the

Opposition Leader has donor standing him down. As the

other matters he was seeking to tie the Prime Minister's integrity to this process integrity

aside calling on Mr Slipper to stand

aside and if Mr Slipper did not

Prime stand aside calling on the

Prime Minister to act saying it

was a matter of the Prime

Minister's integrity but Mr

Slipper has taken the decision himself. As the himself. As the Government

said, it was up to him and he has decided

while the has decided to stand aside has decided to stand

while the allegations

this proceed. So what effect does

this have on the Government's numbers in the numbers in the House. Peter Slipper will remain

independent and presumably vote

accordingly. It depend on that

advice I talked to you about

that is Opposition has that

says that if Mr Slipper stood

aside then he would not be able

to sit on the floor of parliament effectively. I have

yet to speak to either the Clerk of the House Clerk of the House of representatives

representatives or Mr Slipper's

office to check whether that is

the case. I have had a look

through the House of Representatives practise which

is always good Sunday afternoon

reading just to see if there reading just to see if there is

a precedent for it and I can't

see one. Mr Slipper resigned

from the Coalition when he took

up the Speakership and is an independent

independent so if he is independent so if he is allowed to sit on the floor of

parliament he would sit as a parliament

crossbencher. He spent his life

up until resigning from speakership as a member poor up until resigning from the speakership

the Coalition. First a the Coalition. First a National MP

MP and then a Liberal MP. So it

may well be that he would

naturally side with the

Coalition but I don't think in

these circumstances you can

presume anything. What it does

to the Government's numbers

really is one of those things where you'd have to watch this

space. Finally, what sort of

pressure does these pressure does these allegations have

sort have for the Government? What

sort of pressure does that put

on their hold on power given

that it was already tenuous and

then there's the issue of Craig

Thomson still to come well. The question is Thomson still to come as

two questions is what happens well. The question is really

to the Speaker per se now the -

while Mr Slipper has spent most

of his career as a member of the Coalition and has faced allegations before as a member allegations

of the Coalition, the

opposition has been very keen

to effectively make the

Government own Peter Slipper

because it was the Government's

call to put Peter Slipper into

the speakership. It decided to do

do that so the Opposition

effectively says that the

Government owns Peter Slipper

but the question of the

Government's position is a

separate question that will

come down to the numbers on the

floor of parliament. Now Andrew

Wilkie backed Labor to get into

Government. There has been a

split with Andrew Wilkie,

between Labor and Andrew Wilkie

over the issue of poker over the issue of poker machine

reform but his position on no confidence motions confidence motions didn't

change. He always reserved the

right to decide no confidence

motions on a case by case

basis. So in reality it makes

the Government's numbers on the floor of parliament a floor of parliament a little

bit tighter but the question of

a no confidence motion, if one

was moved, I think is still an

open question and at this stage

you would say that the

Government will probably have

the numbers to defeat one but those numbers would be tested

on the floor of parliament if a

no confidence motion was moved that. Is a separate issue from

the issue of the Speaker. A man

passenger alleged to have been a

passenger in a stolen car that was involved in a police

shooting in Sydney will face

court again tomorrow after being refused bail. Police 24-year-old Matthew Dalton and being refused bail. Police say

seat three others were in the back

seat of a car that ran over

29-year-old woman at Kings seat of a car that ran over a

Cross yesterday morning. Police fired several shots in an attempt to stop is the car hitting

hitting the 14-year-old driver and

and an 18-year-old man in the front passenger see. front passenger see. They

remain in a stable condition in

hospital. Three teenagers, aged 13, 14 and 16 have all been

granted bail to face the

Children's Court next month.

Dalton's lawyer has refused to

comment on whether his client will will try for bail again later

in the week. Police have arrested

arrested a man after a fatal

shooting in Sydney's south-west

overnight. Emergency services were called to the suburb of Riverwood with reports of gunfire.

gunfire. Police say a man was found with a bullet wound. He

later died at the scene. A man

has been yesterday at a nearby police station. Meanwhile a

man is in a serious condition in hospital after a shooting in hospital after a shooting in

Melbourne's north. Police say

the man aged in his 20s was

shot in his lower body outside

a house at Jacana shortly

before 9 o'clock last night. No

one's been arrested in relation

to the shooting. Neighbours say

they heard the man screaming

for help as he lay bleeding for help as he lay bleeding on the ground.

The United Nations has voted

to expand its monitoring

mission in Syria to 300

observers. The monitors are

there to make sure there to make sure the

ceasefire between the

Government and opposition forces continues to forces continues to hold. The draft resolution received forces continues

votes in favour. The draft

resolution has been adopted

unanimously. Just one week after its first resolution on Syria, the UN Security Council

authorised the next step in the

UN-backed plan for peace. Up to

300 mill teary observers will

join the small group currently

on the ground to monitor the ceasefire.

ceasefire. Before they can be deployed the Secretary-General will

will have to verify that a sufficient

sufficient cessation of violence violence has actually been

achieved. The US and European countries

countries have expressed their

doubts. We are sober about doubts. We are sober about the

risks. All the more so given

the Assad regime's long record

of broken promises, deceit and

disregard for the most basic

standards of humanity. YouTube

video shows tanks on the move

in Hama. The Syrian ambassador

said the military was withdrawing from population centres and abiding by Kofi Annan's

centres and abiding by Kofi Annan's peace plan blaming armed

armed groups for breaking the ceasefire. ceasefire. The Government he

says has a right to says has a right to maintain order. trans trans - TRANSLATION: The TRANSLATION: The police forces will undertake the maintenance

of security, order and law and

will exercise the utmost degree

of restraint. They will be

prepared to carry out prepared to carry out their

duties in responding to the armed terrorist groups if they continue to attack continue to attack citizens,

Government forces, public and

private property and if they continue to continue to commit violence. Russia, Syria's

closest ally on the council, backed backed the plan but insisted

backed the plan but insisted it not include any threat of

sanctions. TRANSLATION: If we

are no have any external forces

on this it may exacerbate the

crisis. We call upon all to

refrain from violence and

uphold the provisions of the Annan plan and the requirements of the resolution. The resolution only authorises the

mission for three months initially and it requires the

secretary-general to report on

the implementation of the peace

plan every 15 days. A sign that the Security Council will be

watching closely and weighing its next steps. We will take you to some live pictures from

France now where the polls have just just opened in the first stage of a two-stage presidential poll. These

poll. These are live pictures of

of people at the booths now.

The latest public opinion polls

put the socialist The

Francois Hollande ahead of the

President Nicolas Sarkozy by

almost 5%. Now there are around 85,000 voting stations that

have just opened. They are due

to stay open until 6 pom local

time. Our Europe correspondent

is in the French capital is in the French capital and

has sent this report. In just a few hours time nearly few hours time nearly 45

million French men, and women around

around the globe will start is

going to the polls. Their

choice simply comes down to

this; Sarkozy or Hollande. The

socialist or the incumbent President.

President. All the other candidates - some will do well

but they are not significantly

in the race if the polls are right. right. It is very important, particularly for Nicolas Sarkozy, to do very well in

this first round because in the

second round the polls tell us

he is way behind. If he can do

well and built some momentum

then he will be hoping at least he has some chance of surviving

through to a second term as

President. On the other hand supporters of Francois Hollande

are determined they must get their

their supporters out to vote. What

What they don't want is a

repeat of what happened to them

10 years ago when the 10 years ago when the socialist candidate was knocked out of

the second round. It was a humiliation they don't want to

see repeated. If the polls are

right then Hollande is heading

towards the Elysie Palace but

Sarkozy is a fighter and Sarkozy is a fighter and there

are two weeks between the first

round and the second round and

in between any thing can happen

. A Qantas A380 plane which .

forced to make an emergency

landing in Singapore returned home after a $139

million repair job. Almost 18 months

months ago the Airbus was on a

flight to Australia from Singapore

Singapore with 433 passengers onboard when one of the onboard when one of the four engines blew up over Indonesia. The plane was forced to return

to Singapore where it made a successful emergency landing.

Investigators say the explosion

was caused by a faulty oil


The A-League grand final

between Perth Glory and

Brisbane Roar has just kicked off. Thousands of people have

packed Brisbane's Lang Park for the match. Brisbane Roar is the overwhelming

overwhelming favourite and is aiming

aiming to become the first team

to win consecutive A-League

soccer titles. The Glory had been impressive run in been impressive run in the

lead-up to today's big match.

We will have an update on match We will have an update on the

match in the next hour. match in the next hour. Geelong

has secured a 10-point win over

Richmond in the first of

today's AFL matches. Sydney has

the lead over North Melbourne heading towards the main break.

Shortly Melbourne will clash with the Western Bulldogs. Geelong maintained its lead despite strong signs in the

Tigers but the Cats managed to

keep one step ahead of keep one step ahead of its opponents. That is lovely - exactly

exactly what he wants to do and

he does. He strikes back for

the Cats. Sydney the exactly slotted in the first major of the

the day only a minute into the

match thanks to Gary Rowan. His

luck on the field didn't last

long as he went down with an

injured ankle. In rugby league City

City has a 24-6 lead over country in Mudgee in the central west of New South

Wales. Steve Turner scored the

first try for City in the 14th

minute and backed that up with

another three minutes later. Chris Lawrence and Lachlan

Coote have also scored and

Blake Ferguson crossed for

Taking a look at the satellite

satellite image, a front and

trough are generating heavy

showers and isolated storms in South Australia, Victoria and showers

South Australia, Victoria and

is causing showers along the New South Wales. A second front

southern coast of Western

Australia. A low pressure system in the tropics triggering showers and storms system in the tropics is

over northern Western Australia over northern Western

as well as the Top End.In

Queensland showers and storms are developing in the west and

south of the state, warm and dry in the East. Isolated

showers and storms in New South Wales, mainly west of the

Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb has woken from a coma in London.

62-year-old Gibb slipped into a coma coma last week coma last week after suffering a bout of pneumonia. The pop

legend was diagnosed with

cancer 18 months ago. His

family has reportedly keeping a bed side vigil during his

illness with brother and fellow

bee gee Barry singing to

him. That's the latest bee

News 24. Do stay with us. News

'Planet America' is coming up

next. I'm Nick Dole. Thanks for your

Closed Captions by CSI.

latest news, now it's back to

Planet America with John and

Chas. This Program is Captioned


Hi there, and welcome to Planet America. I'm John Barron. I'm Chas Licciardello. We'll be talking to a authority. And voter

fraud. If there's any devimpbs

between Romney and ba Rama on

foreign policy and we'll be talking to One Direction here

in - no, we won't be doing that. But what we is reading some news. And that. But what we will be doing

heading the news from Planet

America this week, the American

secret service, which is

responsible for protecting President, among other responsible for protecting the

President, among other things,

is underfire itself this week

have hired prostitutes in after 11 agents were found to

Caragena, Colombia. They were

not part of the President's immediate security detail.

Barack Obama was in Colombia for an international summit. for

The agents reportedly bragged

they were in town to protect

Obama as they threw back

expensive whiskeys at The Play

Club. It's the latest in a

series of scandals for the

White secret service including the

White House gate crashers and the discovery of President

Obama's itinerary in a Canberra

visit. Meanwhile another sphreet before his official

scandal is embroiling the General Service Administration

in the United States, the GSA.

It's the government agency

charged with preventing

government waste. It's accused

of wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on junkets including a

lavish trip to Las Vegas and a lavish trip to Las Vegas and

week-long trip to Hawaii so GSA officials could attend a

one-hour ground-breaking

ceremony. The spending is ceremony. The spending is now the subject of congressional the subject of two congressional inquiries. GSA administrate or Jeff Neely

refused to answer their questions invoking his 5th amendment wrotes and

amendment wrotes and he refused

to answer media ques as well

but they're still hot on his trial. That is great footage. Not guilty. Of course

not. Obviously these are both

scandals, there is no doubt.

But to be fair, as far as

presidential scandals go

they're pretty weak tea and

I've got two pieces that these scandals are lame. I've got two pieces of evidence

One, the secret service

scandal. This scandal was so

massive that today the big

story about it was at one of

the secret service guys posted

this photo to his Facebook this photo to his Facebook account and said that he'd

checked Sarah Palin out. like Watergate all over again. checked Sarah Palin out. It's

And 2, as far as the GSA

scandal goes, these guys were obviously appalling but you

just can't buy that much exotic

sounding bling with 800,000. So when the Republican tried to

hit them with an attack ad this

was the best they can do.

ADVERTISEMENT: Now we learn a

agency spent millions of agency spent millions of

dollars on a conference for

themselves complete with clowns, mind reards and bicycle

building. Bike building, I

think Obama might survive this

one. In other news, pre presum tive Mitt Romney got a boost in

the polls. They have the polls. They have him leading Barack Obama and Gallup's poll had him stretches

his lead to a full 5%. Quite significant but the overall

average of polls still has

Barack Obama in front on

average by about 3%. Now a lot

of people are surprised by how quickly Romney's caught up to

Obama but I am not so over to

the explaining camera. This is

going fo be a mouthful bear

with me because if you dig a bit deeper you can see all bit

that's happened is that's happened is Romney's connen consolidated the Romney

vote. Take PPP poling they had Obama up 49 to 42. This week 49

to 4 the. Obama's stayed the

same Romney went up? Why, 2

months ago Romney had a 43 %

approval rating amongst

Republican but now he's their

nomny they've decided they love

the guy and he's got an

approval of 67%, that's why

he's closed the gap so quickly

in just a week. So we're now in

a 50/50 contest again and we'll

no doubt stay that way until

November. But a word of warning

about these polls. You can't

trust individual polls too much

and here's why. This week we

saw polls where Obama was ahead

by 9 points and polls where

Romney was ahead by 5 points.

What's going on there? It comes

down to two figures. down to two figures. The

white working class percentage non-white percentage and the

because Obama leads amongst non-whites by about 75% to 20%

and Romney leads amongst whites without college degrees by

about 60% to 30% so this means

that the number of non-whites

and working class whites in the and working class whites in the

poll is going to determine the

result of it. For example, 2010 electorate was 23% non-white.

non-white. The 2008 electorate

was 26% non-white and the 2012

electorate is projected to be

28% non-white. The Hugh poll

this week 25% of them were non-white so Obama was 4 points

up. But in Monday's Gallup

tracking poll odge 22% were

non-white so Romney was 2

points up. Every poll is

points up. Every poll is going to have a different number of

class people so individual non-whites and white working

polls are kind of useless.

You've got to look at the

averages of all of them from

here on in. Or, you can just

hype ventilate about every

single new poll like the media

will. I think that's the option

most people will be taking. But Mitt Romney Mitt Romney was in front. Apparently. Mitt Romney

also announced the formation of

his vice-presidential search

committee to be headed up by

Beth Myers. She's been tasked

with drawing up a list of potential running mates for

Mitt Romney and begin the often

intrusive vetting process which

covers everything from

financial disclosures to questions about a candidate's

sex life. We'll find out more

about what that process

actually entails next week when

we're due to speak to Mickey Kantor, you might recall Kantor, you might recall he

headed up Bill Clinton's

vice-presidential search in

1992. Barack Obama's push to

increase the tax paid by

wealthy Americans earning over

$1 million a year has hit a

fairly predictable snag fairly predictable snag this week. Despite opinion polls

showing overwhelming support around around 73% for the move, the

bill died in the Senate in the face of a Republican filibuster. Meanwhile filibuster. Meanwhile the 81-year-old 81-year-old billionaire financier Warren Buffet who has

lent his name to the rule after calling calling for people like himself

to pay more in tax announce ed

this week he has prostate cancer but that he's undergoing radiation therapy and says he

is expected to make a full

recovery. Meanwhile in recovery. Meanwhile in other

financial news shareholders in

Citigroup have voted to object

to a reported $49 million package of compensation for

their CEO Vikram Pandit. Now

you might be wondering why we

care about that, why that's

newsworthy. The reason is until

last year shareholders couldn't

do that sort of thing. It was

only part of Dodd Frank which

was part of Obama's legislation

law that it became lead for C

osmed l OE to take salaries shareholders. He's done a

horrible job with Citigroup but

gave himself a $49 million pay

day out of options, bonuses and

pay. So it's gooted to see some shareholders taking advantage

of the law and saying no way. Unfortunately it's a

non-binding vote which means he

can still get the pay package

anyway and he probably will. But hey, one step at a time. Little steps at that. And

finally this week, Chas, the

Obama campaign announced this

week it has raised $53 million

and that is just for the month

of March from more than of March from more than 500,000

individual donors. But President Obama may not have

the money advantage he enjoyed

4 years ago. American Crossroads the superpack

founded by Karl Rove is set to

announce it's raised close to

$100 million. Almost half of

that in the first 3 months of

this year and Karl Rove's other

fund raising body Crossroads GPS has received an individual

anonymous donation of $10

million all to be spent

presumably running attack ads against President Obama this

year. This is a bit of a moment

in campaign finance to over o to the moment camera. I think I mentioned earlier this year

that super packs are pretty

dodgy but it gets worse. Well

this is the worse. this is the worse. Rove's

Crossroads group is not

actually a super pack at all.

It's kind of a charity. It's what they call a 501 CF.

It's kind of a charity.

Crossroads is clearly not a

charity, no-one is ever going

to call them on that though so

they will keep on raising money

and pumping out ads. Why are dheez

dheez 05 - these 501 C 4s so bad, there's no donor requirement

requirement whatsoever. Super

donors every 3 months, which is packs have to reveal their

pathetic but it's something. 501

501 C 4s don't have to do

Diddley squat. So this $10 million donor may never be

known and that's why it's such an important moment. As soon as

the big donors realise they can get away with it everyone will

done Nate to 501 CFs instead of

the super pack and it will

become the wild west so strap

yourself in. This is clearly

not a big story not a big story because barely

anyone covered it in the news.

By contrast the really big

story that everyone covered

this week was this. It's 1955,

this has been Pittsburgh's

cookie Mecca. It's always

packed selling signature cakes

and those cookies. When they

heard Republican presidential

hopeful Mitt Romney was hopeful Mitt Romney was coming

to town. I said we need to get

some cookies up there. Look at that. And the moment of truth. Not sure about these

cookies. They don't look like

you made them. you made them. Did you make

those cookies? You didn't, did

you in No. They came from the local 7/11 bakery or wherever. Unfortunately when wherever. Unfortunately when I

heard it I thought oh my

goodness, this guy has no idea

how beloved this institution is

that provided these

cookies. They are not

convenient store cookies? No,

they are right from the heart

of Bethel Park. And the cookie

gate scandal are born and gate scandal are born and while

fans are mad saying Mitt Romney

with diamonds in them. The is used to eating cup cakes

owner of the store is laughing

and hopes to get another store

of pleasing the Republican who

will hopefully be back will hopefully be back in

Pittsburgh before November. Now

that is what you call a

non-troversy. These happen

endlessly during the campaign.

There was another when it was revealed in Obama's

autobiography dreams of my

Father he'd written at 6 years

dog. old in Indonesia he'd eaten

dog. Romney's campaign made a big deal out of that big deal out of that

retaliating for all the jokes

about Mitt Romney and his dog on the roof thing. Which on the roof thing. Which he

funny didn't eat. It was all very

funny until the AP actually put

out this tweet this week which

has been deleted, it's an official tweet which asked are

you a dog owner, AP would like

to talk to you for an That's the official feed for to talk to you for an article.

AP. What is going find out. Indeed, AP. What is going on? Let's

let's. Somebody who has seen some of the worst and the best

of American political

journalism over the last few

decades is Bill Schneider. He's

the Emmy and Peabody analyst at

CNN. He spoke to us this week from Washington DC. Bill Schneider, welcome to the

program. My pleasure. Tell us,

what do you think of this

scandal that's become known as

the Hillary Rosen affair over

the last week or so or

otherwise referred to as the

war on mums. A cable news

pundit and strategist Hillary

Rose said the potential Rose said the potential first lady Mrs Romney had never worked a day in her worked a day in her life.

journalists, what do you think Pundits generating news for

of that? Well, I think it was a

matter of timing because of course the White House is

trying to take advantage of the

fact that Mitt Romney faces an

immense gender gap which he's

trying to fill and here comes

this democratic pundit who has no connection whatever to the Obama White House or campaign

and makes a comment about Anne

Romney has never worked a day

in her life meaning outside the

home but that brought out a lot

of criticism from Republicans

who say raising 5 boys is a

whole lot of work. What do you

mean she's never worked a day

in her life? What the Romney

people are trying to do is

catch up to Obama with women voters

voters and they were hoping,

they were hoping that women, many women voters who don't work outside the home were

offended by Hillary Rosen's

comment. It's a cable story. It had a tremendous half life, lasting a few days and I think

by a week or two from now it

will be forgotten. Do you think

- we probably see 2 or 3 of these kind of non-troversys

every week, do any of them get

baked into the cake of the

final result or are they all

just entertainment? Some of

them do have lasting power and

I think we've seen that in the past.

past. Remember way back in 1988 when there were comments about the furlough program in Massachusetts, that was very damaging to the Democratic candidate. This year some of

the comments that Mitt Romney

has made referring to his

wealth I think have come back

to hurt him. He's made a series

of comments of blunders and it

just reinforced a preexisting

stereotype that he's a very

rich guy and he's out of with ordinary Americans. rich guy and he's out of touch

not going Believe me the Democrats are

not going to let voters forget

those comments. Do you think

these things as they happen

throughout the course of a race

will impact the final result or

is it more about external

factors and realities? Some say these things may have the ring of

of truth, they may run in the news cycle but at the end of the day presidential elections

are determined by the are determined by

in a debate? Well, yes and no. unemployment rate, not a gaffe unemployment rate, not a gaffe

In 19 what was it, 76 Gerald

Ford made a comment in a

debate, it was a very debate, it was a very serious

gaffe. He prematurely liberated Poland. He said it wasn't

dominated by the Soviet dominated by the Soviet person.

It was the peak of the Cold War. That raised a lot of

eyebrows and a lot of

questions. Was Gerald Ford

really up to the job of president and he very nearly really up to the job of being

lost that election. People

thought that had an awful lot

to do it. Sometimes these

comments have lasting power.

When John Carey said he voted When John Carey said he

for the $87 billion in the war in Iraq before I voted against

it that was an opening for

George Bush to hammer him day

after day as a flip flopper after day as a flip flopper who didn't come out consistently on

any side of an issue. Sometimes

these things have staying these things have staying

power, number one, if the

opposing campaign continues to

dwell on it and number 2, if

they have a ring of truth or if

they confirm a stereotype about

a candidate that was a

stereotype about John Carey, now we have the stereotype that mickt Romney is a rich guy out

of touch with ordinary

voters. With cable news, which is where a lot of these kinds