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ABC News (Sydney) -

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Tonight - that sinking

feeling. John Howard's water

plan hits more turbulence. I

believe that we are a long way

away from any agreement with

the Commonwealth. Upping the

ante Ash ante, Australia

spending more defence personnel

to Iraq: And a little

imagination goes a long way at

Tropfest. Sometimes when I'm

sad, I try to imagine my own

imaginary friend, but for some

reason it always feels the

same.

Good evening. Juanita

Phillips with ABC News. The Prime Minister and the premiers

are still at loggerheads over

the Federal Government's $10

billion water plan. Four days

out from a crucial meeting on

the issue, State leaders are

warning Mr Howard that

agreement on handing over

control of the Murray-Darling

Basin is still some way off.

And to further muddy the

waters, the Queensland Premier,

Peter Beattie, has revived a 70-year-old scheme to divert

rain from the tropical north

into the parched inland rivers.

John Howard could hardly be

further away from the

Murray-Darling Basin, starting

a four-day advice rit to Perth,

Spring ling cash for school

repairs and minor improvements.

It provide s small

infrastructure, it

airconditions a library,

provides new computer labs. In

Queensland, Peter Beattie has

been dreeping up public works

on an all-together breathtaking

scale. The cost of the

project is unknown in current

dollars, but it will be several

billion, and I'm not hiding

that. Still in a standoff

over the Prime Minister's $10

million water plan, Mr Beattie

has dusted off decades-old

engineering schemes to turn

water from three North

Queensland rivers south to the

parched Murray-Darling. We

want to look at visionary

projects. It's easy to say

know to -- no to these things.

I'm not going to let this idea

go at a time when we've

actually got Commonwealth money

on the table, we've got water

in North Queensland and none

here. He estimates up to a

million megalitres could be

diverted each year, but he

needs federal funds to do it.

I'm happy to look at other

proposals in an objective

fashion. Mr Beattie's Labor

colleagues like the sound of

it. It is an interesting

proposal from Peter Beattie.

I've asked our people to have a

look at it. The Prime

Minister hopes the states will

fall into line behind his plan

when he meets with the Premiers

on Friday. Ive believe we are

a long way away from any

agreement with the Commonwealth

gl. Not only is John Howard

campaigning here for four days,

he is bringing his entire

Cabinet with him on Wednesday,

and tonight Kevin Rudd has

flown in to join the fray.

Well, Peter Beattie's plan

might sound a bit far-fetched,

but these are desperate times

Federal Government say it is for the Murray-Darling and the

will consider it. Piping

excess water from Queensland

into dry river systems further

south has been suggested

before, but scientists have

ridiculed the idea, saying it

is too expensive and

environmentally unsound. It's

one of the wettest spots in

Australia, with an annual

downpour of up to 3,500mm of

rain. According to the

Queensland Premier, it could

also be the solution to

recharge the ailing

Murray-Darling River system.

Floods in the north, drought in

the south. Now, frankly we've

got to look at every option

about getting that water to the

Murray-Darling. Under the

plan, a million megalitres of

water would be redirected from

the north, along the inland

rivers, and piped to the

Murray-Darling. The federal

Environment Minister says he

will consider it, but he is

still not convinced. This is

something that's been looked at

often in a rather romantic way,

but it has been looked at in

the past . It has never been

found to be feasible. A

similar idea was first raised

in the 1930 s by John

Bradfield, the man who designed

the Sydney Harbour Bridge, but

critics have dismissed it as

too costly and environmentally

unsound. That would be a huge

pipe. You can't actually use

the river channels in this case

because of evaporation and

they're not particularly

well-formed channels. I don't

think it's feasible. The New

South Wales Premier says buying

the water rights from the

biggest cotton station in

Australia would be far more

efficient. A very good

measure to increase the flows

into New South Wales, Victoria

and South Australia would be

for Cubbie Station to be dealt

with, because there is more

water in there than Sydney

Harbour. Asty purchase the

Federal Government hasn't ruled

out. The Prime Minister has

announced plans to increase

Australia's commitment of

troops to Iraq. Over the next

two months, Australian forces

there will be boosted by up to

70 military trainers . The

Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd

has flatly rejected the move,

while the Greens are calling it

a terrible decision. The after

math of explosions in a busy

market area of Baghdad.

SIREN WAILS. Three lethal car

bombs left more than 60 dead

and another 130 people injured.

The Iraqi Prime Minister had

been highlighting the success

of a new US-led security

crackdown. Locals were left

wondering if this was the

insurgents' reply. With the Bush Administration sending

more soldiers, Vice President Dick Cheney arrives in

Australia later in the week to

discuss further military

options with John Howard. This

morning the Prime Minister said

he didn't expect to be asked

for more combat troops, but...

There is a case for a few more

trainers because they are doing

a very good job getting the

Iraqi Army ready. The

Opposition was quick to say no.

There should be no more

troops sent, no additional

troops sent, including the

category just mentioned. By

the time John Howard land in

Perth this afternoon, the

possibility of sending more

military trainers was now a

reality. We are talking here

of probably up to 50 or 7 o

people. I am a mazed that Mr

Rudd has criticised the

decision. He is contradicting

himself. He says the Iraqis

should stand on their own two

feet. Having trainers helps

them. And on whether

Washington asked for more

trainers... This wasn't a

result of they particular

request from the American

Americans. Kevin Rudd sees

Dick Cheney on Friday. I look

forward to a discussion with

him oath on Iraq and

Afghanistan. On Afghanistan,

the Prime Minister isn't ruling

out increasing the number of

Australian forces there. We

keep it under constant review,

and I think it would be foolish

of people to speculate either

way. As for the new trainers

bound for Iraq, John Howard

says they will be ready to

leave within the next few

months. More than 60 people

have been killed in a bomb

attack on a train from India to

packistan. The victims were

burnt to death, many of them

trapped behind barred windows.

The fire was caused by two

homemade bombs. Another two

unexploded devices were also

found. Most of the victims

were Pakistanis, but included

some Indians. Officials said

the attack was aimed at

damaging the pea process

between the two neighbours.

Eight US soldiers have been

killed and more injured in a

helicopter crash in

Afghanistan. The pilot

reported engine trouble. The

Chinook had a sudden un

explained loss of power before

plummeting to the ground. The

US denies claims that it was

shot down. Riot Squads in

Zimbabwe have used tear gas and

water cannon against opposition

supporters in the capital

Harare. Defiant protesters

hurled stones at security

forces. Police had earlier

ignored a High Court order

allowing the rally to go ahead.

? The State election campaign,

it was all about credibility

today. For the Government,

that meant defending its new

policies on schools and

domestic violence, and the

Opposition had to explain Peter

Debnam's change of heart on

recycled water. More to do,

but heading in the right

direction. Morris Iemma admits

his campaign slogan isn't

perfect. It doesn't work.

Can you see it? But

punctuation marks appear to be the least of Labor's problems,

when it comes to selling

yesterday's election

announcements. The promise to

name and shame domestic violence offenders is heading

in the wrong direction,

according to a key support

group. Should we be sticking

them in stocks and throwing

vegetables at them. This is

just sensationalist nonsense.

I I want these perpetrators

shamed, and I want the veil of

secrecy lifted. Critics say

more to do is an understatement

when it comes to schools.

Ourimbah Public School on the

Central Coast was hand-picked

for Mr Iemma's visit. Its

toilets are on the list for a

post-election upgrade. Not

maintenance, I stress that.

The Opposition has accused

Labor of recycling funding

already promised and for works

that should be routine. This

Government hasn't invested in

education over the last 12

years. Deb teb deb spent the

day on recycled water. He went

to Sydney's northern outskirts

where 50,000 people have been

drinking it for two

generations. I'm 78 years of

age, in a good state of

preservation. We call is

Chateau Hawkesbury, it's such a

lovely drop. It doesn't do you

harm. It's delicious. But

he hasn't always been as these

Yass tick. In an interview 15

months ago on pay TV, his view

was quite different.

REPORTER: Would you drink water

from recycled sewage? No, not

desirable from my point of

view. If it works for

Richmond and the folks out

there, why not for the rest of

Sydney? Snoo I can't see the

logic in that. It's

unacceptable to the people of New South Wales and we won't be

pursuing it. Mr Debnam says

he has changed his views in line with community attitudes.

It's already one of the

world's most expensive cities,

but for people renting in

Sydney, it's about to get a

whole lot worse. Rents for

inner-city apartments are set

to skyrocket by more than ho%

over the next five years. In the past three weeks, the rent

on this Sydney apartment has

increased from $600 to $675 a

week. Obviously the prices

have of units now are a lot

higher than what they used to

be. For renters like Trent

Southworth it's taking months

to find the right place at the

right price. I've got no

doubt that when we get the next

inflation figure, rents will be

the dominant figure. BIS

shrapnel is predicting a bleak

picture. It predicts:

Demand is going to

significantly outstrip rental

supply which will lead to that

strong rental growth. One

reason is construction of apartments in the inner-city.

From a peak in 2000, they have

dropped from 4,400 new

apartments to 3,000 last year.

By 2008, it's expected to drop

to a low of just 1,300. BIS

says high property prices and

interest rate hikes have led

investors to -- investors to

look elsewhere. Housing

affordability is already at an

all-time low and the industry

says historically high city

rents could make a bad

situation even worse. The

vicious circle is that as

refnts keep going up, it erodes

any deposit that households

might be trying to save in

order to get into home

ownership. BIS shrapnel says

many more of Sydney's

inner-city renters are now

liking to head for the suburbs,

regional areas or interstate.

A man accused of stabbing an

NRL player and his brother has

been granted bail in a Sydney court. The New Zealand

international and Penrith star,

Frank Pritchard, was stabd in

the thumb during a fight on

Saturday night. His brother,

Tom Pritchard, was stabd in the

heart, and remains in a

critical condition in hospital.

Today Stephen Pete Peter Lee

faced court charged with four

counts of malicious wounding.

The court heard Mr Lee lashed

out with a knife after being repeatedly punched and kicked

by the Pritchard brothers.

The workplace watchdog has

launched legal action against a

car parts manufacturer. The

Tristar employees at

Marrickville claim they've been

left on the payroll with

nothing to do so the company

can avoid huge redundancy

payouts. The Office of

Workplace Services is seeking

millions of dollars in

payments. Mpbts we believe

Tristar has not done the right

thing by its workers, therefore

it's going to court. They

should be paid their full

entitlements and this employer

should meet those entitlements

now. We are calling again on

Tristar to do the right thing.

The long-running dispute was

thrust back into the spotlight

last month when Tristar was

accused of hold ing out pf

paying out on a dying man. On

this day 65 years ago, Darwin

was hit by more bombs than

Pearl Harbor 10 week s before.

More than 200 people were

killed sparking fears of an

imminent invasion. It was the

day war came to Australian

shores at 2 minutes to so on 19

February 1942, more than 180

Japanese planes appeared in Top

End skies, taking Australia's

military by surprise One of

the boys remarked, "You beaut,

the Yanks are here." Another

one of the boys said, "They're

not Yanks, they're Japs." Then

a mad rush, grabbing our

equipment and dashing to our

trenches. You could see the

pilot s in the plane and they

were rat tat-tat-tat-tat, bullets going in all

directions. The 65th

anniversary of that moment was

marked on the shores of Darwin

Harbour this morning.

SIREN WAILS. The air raid

sounded as RAAF Hornet s flew

overhead and simulated anti-

aircraft fire rang out. 2,000

people gathered at the Cenotaph

to pay tribute to the more than

240 who died and to remember a

turning point in the Second

World War. The enemy had

attacked mainland Australia and

for the rest of the country,

the fear of invasion became a

stark and frightening reality.

Eight ships were sunk,

including the USS 'Peary',

which was part of a huge

American effort to help defend

Australia's north. It was in

those dark days that our two

countries took the first steps

to turn a close relationship of

mutual support into an

incredibly strong alliance that

we rely upon today. The Japan

Japanese campaign in northern

Australia lasted 21 months

during which time Darwin was

attacked more than 60 times.

Tonight's top story - the Prime

Minister and the premiers no

closer to a resolution over the

Murray-Darling. Still to come

- how Tropfest produced an

animated winner.

Robert Jovocic, the

stateless man deported to

Serbia three years ago, has

been granted a two-year

extension on the special

purpose visa which allows him

to stay in Australia. Mr

Jovocic never took out

Australian citizenship despite

moving to Australia from France

with his Serbian parents when

he was two. He had his

residency cancelled and was

deported to a country he barely

knew because of an extensive criminal record. He was

allowed to return on

compassionate grounds and his

original visa expired at

midnight tonight. As I

understand it, unless it is

otherwise revoked and his

behaviour remains as it has

been for the last year or so,

he is allowed to stay, but

without Medicare and other

entitlements. Kevin Andrews

says it's not possible for Mr

Jovocic to be granted Australian citizenship under

Australian law. Animal welfare

groups have released graphic

pictures of sheep being

mistreated to show it is proof

that the Australian

Government's attempts to

educate Egypt about animal

welfare aren't working. A

warning - viewers may fined

some images disturbing. It is

these images of Australian

sheep being drag add long the

ground and bundled into cars

that have an mall welfare

groups up in arms. The RSPCA

says it is one of the worst

cases they've seen. They are

treated horrificly. Australian

people would be disgusted that

our government isn't doing

something about it. The RSPCA

say it is has tapes showing

sheep's throats being cut with

blunt nifs and rusty knives.

You should see it, it's

disgusting. It is a totally

unacceptable way of handling

sheep. It is appalling, but

it's by individuals and not

sanctioned by the Egyptian

Government. This time last

year, trade to Egypt was

temporarily suspended after

similar pictures were aired

involving cattle. But the

federal Agriculture Minister

says these scenes don't warrant

a ban. It would be a futile

gesture to stop Australian

sheep going to Egypt because

others would supply the market

and without any concern

whatsoever for standards. He

says Australia is trying to he

had Kate the ee jip shans about

animal welfare but admits

changing attitudes will take

time. In the meantime, the

RSPCA wants sheeps to be

humanely process ed in

Australia and their froze den

carcasses exported. The

Australian dollar rose strongly

today. Here is Alan Kohler.

On Friday, the All Ords index

fell 33.6 points. Today it

rose 33.8 - pretty close to an

exact much, in fact, just

enough extra to be another

record high close. The S & P

ASX200 index went back above

6,000. On 1 July last year,

investors were celebrating a

third financial year in a row

of about 19% capital gain and

all the pundits were saying it

couldn't possibly happen again.

Guess what? It is, so far at

least. Here is the All Ords

index for the financial year so

far - up 19%. Here is the line

for 1 July 2005 to February 19

last year - up 18%. Here it is

for 1 July 2004 to 19 February

2005 - up 20%. Three virtually

identical performances, up to

19 February. You know what? In

the past two financial years,

that was it for the year. 19

or 20% gain up to 19 February,

and then nothing more. But if

that happens again, this year,

can we really complain? Today's

highlights included Leighton

Holdings continuing its

re-rating, up 25% in a week.

Uranium miner ERA is now up 28%

since the start of February.

Zinifex is up 12% in a week and

shares in Perpetual jumped more

than $2 today. The spot gold

price is trading above US $670

an ounce for the first time

since last May having risen from less than 650 from the

start of February P the oil

price is definitely on the

move, up 2.5% in New York on

Friday. Finally, the

Australian dollar also rose

quite strongly today, except it

lost against the Kiwis. Been a

bit of that going around

lately. And that's finance.

It looks as if concentrated soy

products are safe for

menopausal women after all. A

Cancer Council report last year

warned that too much soy could

pose an increased cancer risk,

but a new international survey

says the products are safe and

do provide relief for some

women. Many women use soy to

alleviate symptoms of menopause

instead instead of taking HRT.

Recently the cancer Council has

been under scrutiny. Now a new

Australian study suggests soy

tablets are safe. I think we

can say with some confidence

that soy supplements for the

average woman going through

menopause was safe. Ann

Andrews was one of 400 women

who took part in a worldwide

trial to see what effects soy

supplements had on cancer risk.

I think these studies show it

is safe both to the lining of

the womb and probably to breast

can series being. Ann said

the treatment improved hot

flushes and her quality of

life. Feeling basically

normal again. However,

doctors say women who have had

breast cancer and men who have

had prostate tumours do need to

be careful about how much soy

they consume. There is some

evidence it can stimulate the

growth of existing tumours.

Forget the cricket, last night

it was all about soccer. A

record crowd watched Melbourne

Victory's stunning 6-0 win over

Adelaide United in the A-League

Grand Final. Melbourne striker Archie Thompson starred with

five goals, but the authorities

are investigate ing allegations

of poor behaviour from the

beaten team on and off the

field. Here is Pete r --

Melbourne Victory took the game

at club level in Australia to

new heights with a record crowd

of 55,000 and a history-making

five goals from Archie Thompson

who thanked his team-mates, one

in particular. Mentioned a

couple of weeks ago that there

was a place that I should

visit, and today I visited it

and I think it was called the

Zone. The Victory

celebrations raged into the

night and day after a year of

domination. It threatened to

perform like that all year and

picked the right night to do

it. There was some sobering

thoughts for Adelaide United.

They had gripes and displayed

their grievances on and off the

field.

COMMENTATOR: Just a Hore iron

ore show for the team in red

tonight. We felt we were

harsh ly done by. I think the

three blind mice could have

done a better job. The

Football Federation wasn't

amused and will scrutinise

Adelaide's performance. At

best, poor sportsmanship. We

expect a lot more from professional athletes.

Adelaide's tribulations were

the only negatives on a night

which gave the kiss of life to

the round ball game. There is

plenty of introspection for

Australia's cricketers, but no

panic after suffering a fourth

consecutive one-day defeat for

the first time in neerl ly a

decade. Got to trust our

personnel, each other. That

trust see rap rated at the

hands of a belligerent New

Zealand. The stand-in captain

defended Shane Watson's

selection so soon after injury.

It was important that we got

him involved, got him into the

team and got him playing

top-class cricket under

pressure. There is another

reality - the quality of the

missing links. I suppose if

you take three of the best

one-day cricketer of all time

out of that side, you're going

to struggle. So minus

Gilchrist, Ponting and Symonds

- they are pretty hard guys to

fill their shoes. Certainly

hurts. We pride ourselves on

many the number one team in the

world. Australia's gets a

chance tomorrow P Steve Baker's

short film 'An Imaginary Life'

may just change his. The

Brisbane man won top price at

this year's Tropfest with an

animation he made on his home

computer. Now he has grabbed

the attention of some of

Australia's leading

film-makers. It proved to be

a boys' night out at this

year's Tropfest with just one

woman among 16 finalists. Male

bonding and toilet humour were

dominating themes in the 600

entries that all included a

sneeze. Bless you! For the

first time, an animated film,

'An Imaginary Life', won top

prize. I just did it at home

on my home computer. In my

spare time I would sit down and

just draw. The film cost me

nothing to make. The Brisbane

film-maker was offered $35,000

in prices by George Miller

whose film 'Happy Feet' happen

is vying for an Oscar next

week. Tropfest has gone truly

global. As well as audiences

of more than 150,000 in Sydney

and around Australia, the films

can also be seen online and on

mobile phones, delivering

audiences our most experienced

film-maker's envy. They

arrived early to support what

has become the cradle of the Australian Film Industry. I

think if I could get 100,000

people on one night to see one

of my movies, I could retire.

Film lovers crowded into the

domain for much of the day and

the darling of the audience

turned out to be a 10-year-old

boy. Sydney schoolboy Jake

Bicknell won the young talent

award for portraying the Von,

his first film acting gig and

possibly his last. I don't

want to be an actor. I like

stage acting a lot, but I more

want to be a scientist.

Film-makers are already looking

to next year where each film

must include the number p. --

number 7. Time for the

weather. Isolated showers and

thunderstorms have been a

feature again along the ranges

and more are likely over the

next few days. Sydney has

remained fine, at least about

the coast, where temperatures

went from 21 to 27 today.

The last few hours has seen

the radar pick up cell as long

the ranges, gradually spilling to coastal areas around the State.

The satellite loop shows

cloud associated with a trough

in the west of New South Wales

and there is also another upper

trough about parts of the east.

Not a lot of movement is

expectd in the patterns over

the next couple of days. It

will continue very warm and

humid about the coast and warm

to hot inland, with those

showers and thunderstorms

becoming a reasonably

broad-spread feature over the

next few days. The rainfall projections on the screen at

the moment indicating just

that. In fact it will be

unsetleed around the nation

tomorrow.

And that is ABC News for

this Monday. I will be back

with updates throughout the

evening. We leave you now,

though n Italy where locals

have turned the recreation of a

medieval battle into orange

crush. Goodnight. Closed Captions by CSI

Most people are offering

higher rent now than what's advertised. Tonight on the 7.30

Report - the great rental

squeeze, what's driving it and

how long will it last? Often

people are bidding up against

themselves. I found them in

very good heart, but looking

very bad. I didn't tell them

that. And 70 years on,

revisiting one of the most

famous rescues in Australian

aviation history. He didn't

talk about it. It was a

nightmare to him. CC

Welcome to the program. And

after a weekend of foraging,

thousands of people around the

country are waiting nervously

tonight to find out if they've

been approved for a rental

property. Most will be

disappointed. In what has been

described as the tightest

rental market since World War

II. Today there's yet more