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ABC News 24: 9am News -

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(generated from captions) Live. The head of Murray-Darling Basin Authority

in his fight prepares to meet British police

in his fight against rape allegations. He's very

clear his name of these

threat moves to areas damaging allegations. The flood

NSW town of Gunnedah. And threat moves to areas near the

praying for praying for rain, Australia fights to avoid defeat

I'm Virginia Trioli. The you're watching ABC News 24,

I'm Virginia Trioli. The chair of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, Michael Taylor, has resigned. Mr Taylor's

Authority's draft plan as one of the most significant water

planning exercises undertaken anywhere in the planning exercises ever world. the plan was met released in October and met

Melissa Clash joins from explanation as to why Canberra. Has he made any

this? He's given a fairly detailed explanation in announcing he would be Murray-Darling Basin Authority. down as chair of the

Federal He's effectively disputing the

Federal Government's process of coming up with a new plan for

coming up with a new the Murray-Darling Basin. He coming up with a new plan for

Basin Authority has a task says that the Murray-Darling

that is to determine how water should be taken human use and returned to the

human use and returned to the

environment. And he says legal

advice previously and new legal

advice that the Authority has

shows that it cannot take those environmental concerns those environmental concerns be overridden by concerns about social and economic impacts. Now of course you might

remember the Environment

that they had been balance Minister Tony Burke has said

Authority and that's should happen between Authority and that's what

should happen between the draft being release and the final

report which is still being put together through these community consultations that

have been going on. Mike have been going on. Mike Taylor

says that's not the case. It

has a limited scope in what it

can do. Mike Taylor has said

it's up to the Federal Government to take economic impacts when it is

deciding what the deciding what the future of the Murray-Darling Basin

Murray-Darling Basin plan will

be. He says Government should reconsider the path it's taking and he the path

says because of those reason governance issues says because of those reason an

governance issues he's going

end of January 2011. Has there the finish up his term at the

Government? Not yet and it been any response yet from the

seems some seems some front bench

ministers may not have been

aware this was ing. One aware this was ing. One front on bench minister who was on air

information was coming to hand

seemed quite surprised at the

announcement so I imagine that

it's quite new to some of Tony Burke will have to respond

to this at some stage but given

the announcement has brn just made it's too early for

reation. It's going to be a

difficult one for Government to

manage because here we have the chair of the Murray-Darling

Basin Authority, the very body

the Government had charged with

coming World Cup a plan that it information from said it would take the

in making its final decision on

what to do with the

Murray-Darling Basin and this

individual is saying that the

Government is going about it in the wrong way. And given how

much heat is in this issue

life already this will no doubt make

life more difficult for the Federal Government. Just finally, taking that finally, taking that broader political view, this then can

possibly be added to the now

policies under the very long and growing list of

policies under the prooe yous

Rudd and now Gillard government

that are now floundering or

falling to

moving on as quickly as they

their list should be It certainly adds to

their list of woes. We should

point out this process didn't

actually originate with the

Rudd Government. It was process started under John

Howard in 2007 and Howard in 2007 and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority's commission to do

this work is stipulated in

act that was put in place under

the Howard Government. So it's

not a reform they initiated they're strugling one they inherited they're they're strugling with, it's

struggling with but given how

many having difficulty finalising,

negotiating with the States and

the cross benchers, there will

add another one to that growing list. We should list. We should be hearing from Danny O'Brien who is the head of the irrigationor's

national council and is fight Gwen that early draft proposal from the Murray-Darling from the Murray-Darling Basin Authority

Authority so we should hear his

response to the news of the

resignation of Mike Taylor in just a moment. WikiLeaks founder Julian police who have now received a

warrant for his arrest from Swedish authorities. European authorities have wanted to

question Julianne Assange about

allegations of sexual assault.

formally charged. And He has, however, not yet

formally charged. And Mr

Assange's lawyer Jennifer Robin

says her client denies any

wrong doing. He stayed wrong doing. He stayed in

Sweden for more than 40 days to answer her allegation. offered himself voluntarily for answer her allegation. He

interview both in Sweden and subsequently. He sought the specific permission of got that permission and since being outside of Sweden being outside of Sweden we have

offered a number of forms of cooperation. All of those have

been refused. Now instead of

seeking a formal summons for

his interrogation he she has

gone direct for an arrest warrant. We absolutely think it's disproportionate. We don't

even have the full evidence. Mr

Assange still has not seen the full allegations against him or

the potential charges he faces

in a language which he

understands which is English

and this is in clear breach of

his human rights under the European convinction of human rights. You details of the warrant yet? Absolutely not. I have Absolutely not. I have been -

we have been seeking on his behalf copies of the European arrest warrant.

there was an earlier arrest warrant that was communicated

to the British authorities by

the Swedish and it was rejected

on the grounds of an administrative error. We're

still seeking confirmation of

that error. Even today, now we

know an arrest warrant has been communicated and has communicated and has been validated by the validated by the UK authorities

we have been denied access to that arrest warrant. So obviously

obviously we're access to that and are in communication with the

authorities. Just to make it clear, Julian Assange is

insisting he's not guilty of those allegation of those allegation of rape

levelled by the Swedish authorities? Absolutely not.

He vehemently denies the

allegation and as we have

suggested all along, and suggested all along, and put

strongly, the facts do not meet that marriage and this was that marriage and this was a

point that was agreed by the Court of Appeal in Sweden when

they knocked out the higher rape charge. He rape charge. He vehemently denies them and

allegation and it's shame the prosecutor hasn't taken him up

on his voluntary offers of cooperation and has cooperation and has sought such disproportionate measure in the arrest warrant. If Julian Assange is arrested following

that meeting with British

police, what are his options then? We will extradition. You'd be launching an appeal? an appeal? Absolutely. Absolutely. And you'd expect

that to take some months? It's unclear how It can take up to several

months. As an Australian

citizen is Julian Assange given

what's about to happen seeking

any consular assistance from the Australian Embassy in

London? As yet we haven't been provide nid consular assistance

and it has been one of our complaints that he was not provided consular assistance in

Sweden. Certainly as an

Australian living abroad myself

I think all Australians ought

to be concerned that the

Australian Government hasn't

been more supportive of him and

has been very quick to accuse rather Robinson there speaking earlier this morning. This morning the coordinator for

counter-terrorism at the US

State Department Daniel

Benjamin said the leaks were a threat to international

security. These releases are damaging international security, they are damage ing international security, they're international security, they're damaging relationships with

many countries and it's wholly

unjustify and unacceptable and

at this point we're now seeing the release is really, and this is a concern of

concern of mine, targets concern of mine, providing targets to terrorists and this is wholly unacceptable. Daniel

Benjamin who was on ABC

Breakfast earlier this morning.

In just a moment we will be

speaking with the head of the

irrigators there in the Murray-Darling region, Danny

O'Brien should be joining us in

a moment. Let me just before he joins us, share with you a bit from the from the extensive letter

resignation that has been

written by Michael J Taylor. It

runs over 2 pages. There are

of the central ones is this. In

at the end of the day lor noted in his let they're balancing the requirements of water act

2007 against the potential social and economic impact on

communities is still going to be a significant challenge. He

said the guide, the original

guide that he's been working to

was developed with full regard

to the requirements of the

water act and in close consultation with the Australian Government solicitor

and he goes on. However, the

Authority has sought and ob

tained further confirmation that minimum level of water required

to restore the system's environment on social or

economic grounds. Cannot compromise that amount of compromise that amount of water and clearly that amount of water was now up for compromise in his view the negotiations and the in his view given the nature of the negotiations and the angry response and backlash the negotiations and the very angry response from irrigators. And so Danny O'Brien is angry response and backlash O'Brien is joining us now. from irrigators. And so Danny the head of the the flown from Canberra. O'Brien, good morning and thanks for joining us. Danny can you hear

from Mildura, Virginia. speaking to you this morning About the resignation morning About the resignation

of Michael jasmed Taylor, do

you have a you have a response? I think

it was inevitable. Mr Day lor

deep down is a pretty decent bloke and I think he saw that the plan was going to the plan was going to cause such devastation to people that he could it and I'm guessing that's his reason. You'd it and I'm guessing that's his reason. You'd have to ask him that. I think he's saying to do was to make sure that enough water was put down the Murray-Darling Basin

Murray-Darling Basin system in order to restore the order to restore the health of the negotiation with the government or with irrigators or with irrigators is heading in a direction where not enough

water is going to be put down to save it then I'm leaving because that's should be all about. should be all about. What's your response? I think if Mr Taylor or Government had a look at a which was always going which was always going to

happen. What eve had is 13-year drought. Droughts with floods. The ancient

Aboriginal people knew Aboriginal people knew that 10,000 that over 250 years. Unfortunately a lot Unfortunately a lot of people

in government have ignore our history. This was Australia going to Australia going to happen.

We've now got a mass IF flood

on our hands. on our hands. What should have been happening for the

years was engineering being put in place to start to capture and use this

Now we're going to waste most

of the flood water, it will run to sea through the same process all over again when the wet stops and the and the dry comes again which it it will. The solution to this

is engineering. There is always has always has been. We struggled in the drought and that was

what is normal in this country. But we did nothing about it and now's the now's the time we must get into it this time engineering slutionzs to make sure when it better. But when the next drought comes, as inevitably drought comes, as inevitably it

will and these rains will subside, then subside, then the river system is again going to

acknowledge that you need acknowledge that you need in

those times to give your water it into order to sustain the health of the river, is that a first principle that you're prepared to acknowledge? No, simply because right because right now when it's raining was the time we should have the environment as well the environment as well as to cater for the irrigators in those dry times. Let's

forget 1979 was when completed the last dam on the population has got 50% bigger since then, it's sit on its hands and keep

saying we need to saying we need to take water from our food productive sector. The Government must create that water and it is

available, it's simply engineering instead of the weak

as water option which is simply taking it from one party never within been a stupid line because the engineers in

this nation are very clever people. There are solutions out there and it needs the Government to look in that

direction and not the easy one

which is just take it off one group and give it to another. Are you claiming the

scalp of Michael Taylor this morning? Do you claim job? I hope not. Mr Taylor is

probably a good bloke. He had a

job to do but anyone in his position position that was sent out basically the regional people in the Murray-Darling Basin and expect them not to feel that, if

they've any they've any conscience at all, would be kidding would be kidding themselves. Mr Taylor was given a was only ever going to make him

the most hated man in the most hated man in the Murray-Darling Basin in all time by

pressure got to hi. I would would like to

we've thrown away this

stupidity of taking water off the productive sector as the first and only option. I would like to think the would now take the message there is other options, would look at those as a first

prior. That is the important thing here. The is to-like at every is to-like at every other option except destroying

people that are already there.

That's the last option you go to. So the next person then do something to save the health

of the rivers and if that involves taking the irrigators, you're

out of their position as well and shut the whole deal other options first.

what I said and what I said and I'll say it

again. They have to explore the other options as the first just jump in there, what if taking some water, some off the irrigator, not all, some water is part some water is part of a series of options that's the end of the day that is only option after else has been explored, and the Government is then prepared offer full compensation for that it's something that every irrigator would consider but

that as that as the first option and are prepared to offer a mere

fraction of the value of that to the people ruin. If the Australian people wish the Murray-Darling Basin to be saved, and we all want to be saved, and we all want it

to be saifd and we want it to be saifd and we want it to live forever, they have to realise that not just irrigators have to bear the pain of doing that. Irrigators

never issued one never issued one water entitlement, government vtion

done so for over 100 years. Not

one irrigator's broken a law one irrigator's broken a law or done anything that the Government Government didn't give them

full sanction to do. Now it's the Government who have made the mistake, the Australian

people now have to rectify that

mistake if that's where they it for nothing which the

Government are currentry

doing. Good to talk to you,

thanks so much. No problem,

catch ya. They're calling

Operation Oprah, the world's

biggest talk show host, 150 crew and 300 audience members

are invading Australia for a 9-day adventure Dunn under.

Oprah's set to arrive by

private jet today while her

entourage have already started

arrive on Qantas flights. Our

reporter Dina rosen dor f is 300 lucky Americans are about

to touch down here at Sydney

Airport for a trip of a live time. Their itinerary shrouded in secrecy but what we

do know is they're going to be

divide into 3 groups an they're

going to visit Melbourne, Cairns, the Great Barrier Reef

and parts of NSW. Reportedly

they're going to climb the Harbour Bridge with Oprah,

they're going to go wine

tasting in the Hunter Valley

and take surfing lessons in buy

ron Bay. All ron Bay. All of this of course is going to is going to cull - culminate at the Oprah house for the taping of two shows taping of two shows next Tuesday and Sydney has Tuesday and Sydney has rolled

out the pink carpet for her. They're going to lighting a big

O in pink on the Harbour

Bridge. This is costing the Federal Government about $3

million but they say the money generated by generated by tourism as a result of Oprah's visit is

going to be a lot more than

that. They say that Oprah reaches quite a lucrative demographic and she appeal s to middle

middle class mums. They're the decision maker in American

family. They decide where their family will go Government is calling this a

major coup. Dina Rosendorff

there. We'll have a look at the

top stories - and the chairman

of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority has resigned. Michael Taylor says the Taylor says the Authority has new advice that conflicts with the Government's recent recommendation about recommendation about the river

system. Mr Taylor says it

cannot compromise on the minimum level of water required

to restore the river system. WikiLeaks founder

Julian Assange is preparing to meet British

Authorities want to question

him over allegations of assault but no charges have

been laid. This morning his lawyer told ABC lawyer told ABC News Breakfast he will fight those

accusations. There's more rain on the way for

communities in NSW. Major

flooding is expected tonight

around Narrabri and Wee Waa in

the State's north-west but the

immediate threat for Wagga has eased. One of the world's most popular dive resorts has

popular dive resorts has closed its Waters after an unprecedented number of shark attacks. Tour Sheikh are searching for

answers in the change of shark

behaviour that saw a German tourist mauled

Sunday. Some are laying the blame on Australian blame on Australian sheep exporters. Sharm el Sheikh is

famous for its crystal waters

and coral reefs. It's a popular spot with British and spot with British and Russian tourists escaping the winter back home. But these tourists are not happy at being kept out

of the TRANSLATION: This is

disgusting, ki not swim because

I came to Egypt for the first

time, the sun, the beach is

great, it's hot but then great, it's hot but then a shark comes and

up. It's not good for the

business, of course, business, of course, it's influencing the influencing the complete industry of Sharm el Sheikh. None of the activities are

happening today, tomorrow and

probably in a couple of days as

well. Authorities say they done

know which shark or indeed how

many are responsible for many are responsible for the series of attacks over the past

week. But Sunday's

on an elderly German woman has

them out looking for a culprit. Egypt's environment ministry

has released these picture of a shark that shark that was captured in the

Red Sea but what authorities really

really want to know is why it's happening. Theories include

tour operators chumming the

water to attract the fish and

even a plot by the

even a plot by the Israeli intelligence organisation the

Mossad. But a spokesman for the

national park has told the national park has told the ABC he believes an Australian

carrying live sheep for export has caused the problem by

throwing the carcasses of dead

sheep over the side. Dive operators in Sharm el operators in Sharm el Sheikh

say someone has been throwing

dead sheep into the water. I don't know the quantities,

don't know the number and I

know it was more than know it was more than once. Why

do you say you know it for a

fact? Because divers saw

it. But Australian sheep

exporters say there's no connection. To my connection. To my knowledge

there's been no Australian

vessel, livestock vessel through there in that 10 or sheep into narrow waterways

like those around Sharm el

Sheikh is prohibited under maritime law. International

experts are due to arrive in Sharm el Sheikh today

explain why these I tacks are happening. In finance news the

board of the Reserve Bank is expected to keep interest rate on hold when it meets on hold when it meets today. Last month the RBA lifted the

official cash rate by 25 basis

points to 4.75%. A survey of 21

comis has them all predicting that that the RBA will keep the cash rate unchanged. RBC rate unchanged. RBC Capital Markets says it Markets says it expects rates to 5.5% by the end of next

year. Australian companies are expecting a surge in sales expecting a surge in sales and profits in the new year. Dunn and Bradstreet business expectation survey shows more

than half of the firms surveyed is expected to is expected to deliver increased sales in the March quarter. Just 15% of quarter. Just 15% of companies expect those sales to expect those sales to fall. Expectations for profit growth have also lifted just under

half of those surveyed believe

prochts will go up in

2011. We'll take a look at 2011. We'll take a look at the markets now and remained flat overnight as precious metal made a big jump

instead.

Here's Paul Kennedy with sport. Good morning and it won't be long

won't be long now until we find

out whether enction can push

ahead and get the vigtry at the Adelaide Oval that they truly

deserve. After 4 days of

cricket they are well on top

and need 6 more wickets today and perhaps the only thing that

will stop them getting the

victory is rain although it's not beyond the realms of comprehension that Australia could get stuck in. could get stuck in. It would

have to fall to Hussey and

batting, maybe several hours.

Let's take a look at the action from yesterday. It's from yesterday. It's a massive bonus for us. session was a tough going for

us. Sometimes you need a bit of

inspiration and who else but KP

to come on and give it. Hussey

is a good player but my mother

could have beaten me all over

the place at that first game in Brisbane, I was dreadle. At

Brisbane during part Brisbane during part of my spell I was very happy with I boweled. There were little pockets there like a 12-year-old which is

disappointing in the first game of an Ashes series. a lot better in this game so

I'm very happy. We're going have cope keep fighting hard we

fought hard today and wait fought hard today and wait as kick in the guts to lose that one

one in the last hour. A bit one in the last hour. A bit of rain would help, sure but I done think

sure but I done think we can

really look at the weather too

much. We've got to concentrate on batting as much

time as we can and hanging time as we can and hanging in there and we're going to there and we're going to need a bit of luck as well. The

conditions are pretty tough for batting at times as wem but

certainly a kaup couple of hours of would help our kuz. To

an update on one of Australia's longest standing sports people it's Lleyton Hewitt who has been around the top of tennis for a long

for a long time and going on

his comments yesterday he seems

pretty keen to stay at the top for a little while longer. for a little while longer. He

slipped down to 54 in the international rankings but he's

looking forward to a big

summer. He's at the koo ynge

Classic before the Australian of things with his coach Tony

Roche to improve himself, Roche to improve himself, let's

hear from Lleyton Hewitt. A lot

always comes back to if I serve well in big matches against the

going to get opportunities to

break serve. So a lot of it is about taking care of my service

games as well. Rochy is a great

thinker of the game and he's

going to have ideas of how I

should play my best tennis and

if my body holds up to it, which I I can go out and do those things he's teaching. It

probably goes through your mind

a bit more a bit more because you

know what's absolutely around

the corner. The fortunate thing

about tennis though is I can

retire on my terms pretty much, unless injury dictates unless injury dictates that, ki

actually go out there. It's not

so much like a team sport or

where you have a coach actually making the decision on when you're going to you're going to pull up stumps.

So for me I still feel when I

play my best tennis and it showed this year I played showed this year I played in Wimbledon and Harlay two of my best tournaments after hip and knee after the Aussie Open and was

able to compete against the best guys. There was an English Premier League match

Liverpool and aston villa. The

score line late in the

half was 3-0 and there is one

of the goals and Liverpool is having a much better season

this time of year than it did

last year. So Liverpool fans can enjoy can enjoy their Christmas knowing their

and his name is rod Rodriguez

but the name on his shirt Maxy. They So what would you

predict is going to happen in

the cricket? I think there will

be a bit of rain around be a bit of rain around but I

don't think England will need

long if they get two or three

hours to bowl at Australia with

the spinning conditions I don't think the

will be enough. They

it. They do. Rain shouldn't get

in the way of this victory, they've been so dominant. Thanks so much. Now Vanessa joins wus the weather. Let's take a look at

the satellite image. Low

freshure troughs are producing

warm and tundery weather. We have a high in the Tasman

that's sphrentenning. At the same time this low pressure same time this low pressure

trough is passing over SA, it

will affect the cricket today.

It's expected to deepen as it meet ascold affect NSW, central Victoria and Tasmania. Tomorrow and Tasmania. Tomorrow the

trough will then move future east on Thursday morning. For Queensland today you've got scattered showers an thunderstorms over central and eastern areas. Isolated thornls

but we'll see very little rain over western Queensland. NSW,

scattered showers in the north-east and over north-east and over the western inland with isolated

thunderstorms in the west and a

few show airs long the southern and Central Coasts. Victoria,

heavy rain is falling in the west, scattered showers an central parts. Tasmania, scattered showers in the north

will increase to rain this afternoon.

afternoon. In the north-west before it spreads before it spreads across the

State. For South Australia,

very heavy rain in the souft and east. and east. In the south-west we've got very heavy falls of

around 30 mm this around 30 mm this morning. Over in the west cooler temperatures and also a few isolated showers. For WA,

showers. For WA, scattered showers this morning near the

south coast and rain and isolated thunderstorms clearing from around Eucla. Hot and

mostly dry for northern Western

Australia and late isolated thunderstorms and across most of the Northern Territory. That's it for morning. Stay tuned to ABC News 24 and ABC

online throughout the day and stay tuned for follow up on the resignation of the chair of Murray-Darling Basin Authority.

That story will run. See tomorrow. Soup Closed Captions by CSI This Program is Captioned Live. This

Live. This morning Live. This morning authorities

close in on WikiLeaks founder

Julian Assange. He is

happy to face these allegations

and has offered himself and has offered himself on numerous occasions to do so. He

takes them very seriously, indeed they've been incredibly

damaging. Also today - flood- ravages NSW braces for more to the forecasts and listen to the forecasts and listen to

more warnings because they

could have to move quickly. The head of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority resigns saying

the body is not equipped to undertake the entire task. A fond farewell for the fond farewell for the creator of Mr Squiggle. And Australia

down but not yet out on the

final day in Adelaide. Good