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Tonight - prescription for

change - Kevin Rudd's radical

plan to fix hospitals. It's

time to end the blame game

between Canberra and the

states. Out of service - is a

fan Tasmania cy flu outbreak to

blame? Don't treat the public

like mugs. Stormy waters - a

ship grounded in Queensland's

wild weather. And re-working

US history to justify the war

in Iraq. One unmistakable

legacy of Vietnam is that the

price of America's withdrawal

was paid by millions of

innocent citizens. Good evening. Juanita

Phillips with ABC News. Kevin

Rudd has warned the states and

Territories that a Labor

government would take control

of the nation's hospitals if

they don't get their act

together. He has promised to

inject $2 billion into health,

but says if the problems aren't

fixed within two years, he

would hold a public vote on a

federal takeover. The Prime

Minister was also talking

plebiscites today, saying

communities would have a say on

any proposed nuclear power

plant. Political editor Jim

Middleton reports. Kevin Rudd

thinks voters are sick and

tired of Australia's creeking

hospital system. Always full.

Always the waiting list. They

say to us enough is enough when

it comes to the blame game on

health and hospitals. Now

Labor has unveiled a plan to

get the nation's 750 public

hospitals off life support.

The carrot s are: $2 billion

injection to upgrade GP

services, reduce visits to

emergency. Cut waiting times

for surgery, and improve care

for older Australians. The

stick is the threat of a

federal takeover of the public

hospital system. If the states

don't achieve agreed benchmarks

and the promise of a referendum

at the 2010 election in the

states don't measure up. If

lectd r elected, the buck will

stop with me. Health is not

the only pressure point for the

Government. Labor's relentless

campaign against nuclear energy

has now forced a U-turn from

John Howard, a sudden pledge to

binding local plebiscites in

any community where a nuclear

power station would be built.

It has never been any intention

to force these things on local

people. For weeks, John Howard has been taunting Kevin

Rudd that he stands for

nothing, that he is a mere echo

of the Prime Minister. Not any

more. It's also just on a year

since Mr Howard put the kybosh

on a push by Tony Abbott for

his own federal takeover-of-the

Federal Government run the hospital system. Let the

health system altogether. How

times have changed. I think

Kevin Rudd is biting off far

more than anyone could chew.

designed to trump the Prime The Opposition Leader's coup is

Minister's decision to save one hospital in one marginal seat.

The Australian public are fed

up with one-off deals for

individual electorates. Mr

Rudd is also trying to outflank

Mr Howard who has been warning

ever the risk of coast-to-coast

Labor governments. The Opposition Leader wants to

convince voters they would benefit from his cooperation

with Labor mates. The Prime

Minister really is in for the

fight of his life. The fate

of Kevin Rudd's health plan

rests with the premiers and

chief ministers. The promise

of cash has been greeted with

wild enthusiasm by most

leaders, but some are hinting

they would stand and fight Mr

Rudd if he tries to seize their

hospitals. To the premiers,

the carrot is far more enticing

than the stick. One of the

most visionary strategys to

deal with health in Australia's

history. Let's stop this stuffing around and let's fix

it. A I applaud Kevin Rudd.

A welcome step in the right

direction. It's more money,

less duplication, better

policies. None of the

premiers knows how much they

would get from Kevin Rudd's $2

billion kitty. They won't

until they come together within

the first 100 days of a Labor

government. We believe we can

do that cooperatively. The

money will flow faster than the benefits. Productivity

Commission figures cited in

Kevin Rudd's policy paper point

out that fixing the hospital

system could deliver savings of

around $2.8 billion a year, but

may take a decade to be

realised. Doctors are unsure

they would ever be achieved if

Mr Rudd resorted to a takeover.

We don't have to have that

big bank. Bang change to

improve what we need to do.

Kevin Rudd's cash bait has the

premiers hooked for now, but

what would happen in 18 months

if they failed to deliver they

progress in another matter.

750 hospitals are unlikely to

come Mr Rudd's way without a

fight. Well, that part of it

does puzzle me quite frankly.

I don't believe it will be it

will occur. I don't believe

the Federal Government, based

on the track record that I have

seen, could deliver health,

education or any other service

anywhere near as well as state

governments. If push does

come to shove, Alan Carpenter

says he has been told

plebiscite wos be held state by

state, rather than a wholesale

national vote. Flu epidemic

or secret strike? Whatever the

reason, 70 bus drivers didn't

turn up for work again today,

disrupt ing services across

Sydney's north. The union says

they are all genuinely sick,

but the Premier has told them

not to treat commuters like

mugs. It is one of Sydney's

busiest bus depots but from

Ryde today almost 130 services

had to be Anselled. Since

yesterday, almost 100 of the

350 drivers have calld in sick.

Today it is six times the

normal amount of absenteeism.

That's totally unacceptable.

The union says it's the flu.

Obviously they're subject to

viruses and stuff and there has

been viruses hit pretty hard

this wipter. Today the State

Government lost patience,

linking the sickies to the bus

union's campaign for better

wages and conditions. Don't

treat the public like mugs and

take it out on them. This is

just confirmation that the

Iemma Government and State

Transit con commumers, denying

a problem existed. Denying its

settlement has seen further disruptions. State Transit

Industrial Relations Commission took the union to the

this afternoon seeking orders

to stop drivers taking part in

a range of unorthodox protest

actions. Drivers may turn up

in civilian clothes tomorrow,

some in fancy dress. State

Transit certainly isn't

treating thises is a laughing

matter. The union confirmed to the commission that drivers

were considering wearing fancy

dress as a gesture to highlight

their pay claim. State Transit

warned that a mufti day would

seriously disrupt services as

wearing a uniform is compulsory

for bus drivers. The

commission this afternoon

directed the union to tell its

members not to abuse sick leave

and to wear their uniforms. I

would advise the delegates that

if at all possible, our members

would turn up to work in

uniform, but again we cannot

contact 3,500 bus drivers individually. All drivers will

be sent a text message from the

union tonight. Police have

threatened to take APEC

protesters to the Supreme Court

if they persist with a plan to

march to the US con sue lat.

Organisers insist they have a

right to protest within a

restricted area, but police say

that will cause too much disruption and they're prepared

to take the matter to court to

stop them. We want to

negotiate a settlement for all

parties, but if that doesn't

happen, then that's the only

place we can go. I think the

police and the Government's

behaviour has been consistent

all along which has been very

intimidatory, designed to scare

people away from attending

protests. 5,000 people are

expected to march when world

leaders meet in Sydney next

month. George W. Bush has

launched a spirited defence of

the war in Iraq, invoking the

bitter memory of Vietnam. The

President says withdrawal from

Iraq will result in a bloodbath, comments that

prompted fierce debate about

his version of history.

Presidents choose their

audiences carefully and this

speech was delivered to a group

of war veterans. Some of them

fought in the Pacific during

World War II. George W. Bush

says he is trying to bring

freedom to the Middle East just

like they brought freedom to

Asia. There were only two

dems in the far east, Australia

and New Zealand. Today most of

the nation's in Asia are free

and its democracies reflect the

diversity of the region.

Critics believe the conflict in

Iraq is more like Vietnam, a

costly quagmire. The President

is trying to turn the

comparison to his advantage.

One unmistakable legacy of

Vietnam is that the price of

America's withdrawal was paid

by millions of innocent

citizens. What is Mr Bush

suggesting? We should have

stayed there forever? We should

have invaded North Vietnam? It

just doesn't make any

historical sense to me. More

than 50,000 Americans died in

Vietnam. The toll in Iraq is

much lower, but it is rising.

The US commander in Iraq will

driver a report card on the

conflict next month. There are

some signs of military

progress, but political

reconciliation seem stalled.

They want the Iraqi Prime

Minister Nouri al-Maliki sacked

and even George W. Bush seemed

to distance himself from the

Iraqi leader. Today George W.

Bush distanced himself from a

rift. Prime Minister

al-Maliki is a good man with a difficult job and I support

him.

TRANSLATION: The American

administration is full of

contrasts and petty politics.

We see that from recent

criticisms and undiplomatic

statements about us which don't

show proper respect. Mr

Al-Maliki says Iraq can always

find friends elsewhere. A

refugee camp has come under

attack in East Timor with 10

houses burnt. The violence

flared this morning at a refuge

for people who fled last year's

riots in the capital Dili. Now

some of those people are once

again homeless. UN police say three people have been

arrested. It's thought to be

part of the latest political

violence which has broken out

since Xanana Gusmao became the country's Prime Minister two

weeks ago. They were meant to

be on the high seas, but

tonight they're just high and

dry. An knee shan Navy

training ship with a crew of 18

has run aground in bad weather

in South-East Queensland. The

sailors are safe, but their

schooner is stranded. The

local police station was a

welcome refuge for the wayward

crewmen. They were wet and

cold, but in good spirits.

Now maybe happy, but yesterday

maybe not. Early this

morning, the 35m 'Arung

Samudera' struck bad weather at

rainbow Beach near Gympie.

Strong winds and huge seas

pounded the ship, thrusting it

into shallow water. They said

that they tried to put down

some - their anchors, but

eventually that was also swept. With damage to the

sails, anchor and the engine,

the crew abandoned ship. They

are very experienced, but they

are just cold and I think quite

- a bit shook-up. The 'Arung

Samudera' is part of a

tallships program and was bound

for next month 's APEC summit

in Sydney. It left Indonesia

in early July and dropped

anchor in Darwin and Cairns.

It was due to arrive in

Brisbane today. Police have

closed the beach and secured

the area. Maritime safety

officers are also on site to

supervise the removal of about

2,000 litres of fuel. We hope

the ship can be refloated and

they can resume their voyage as

soon as possible. The people

are very kind to us. The crew

will spend the night at a local

motel. A coroner has found

that a driver who had taken

cannabis was responsible for a

crash that killed 7 people in

northern Victoria last year.

The State Coroner says the

driver, Max Purdue had such

high levels of cannabis in his

blood that he must have taken

the drug just before the crash.

Mr Purdue and his four passengers, including two

children, were killed when a

car hit a van at a dangerous

intersection. Two other people

died in the van. The Pope's

visit next year is causing

major problems for organisers

with Randwick racecourse

threatening to pull out of

hosting the event. Worth youth

Day organisers are planning to

shut down Randwick for three

days, but trainers are furious,

because week s of preparation

are needed causing major safety

issues for horses and jockeys.

We will definitely say no if

it compromises the safety of

our trainers and jockeys. We

are confident we will be able

to work through the issues.

Race officials are looking for

massive compensation, but the

State Government is committed

to using Randwick for the papal

event. There has been plenty

of reaction to the Government's

WorkChoices laws from union and

employees. Now company

managers have been surveyed to

find out what they think. The

result suggests unions are

being squeezed out of some

negotiations, but it also shows

that many managers don't think

it will create jobs or improve

the quality of life for their

workers. The survey canvassed

managers' opinions across a

range of workplaces and these

are some of the areas in which

managers say the WorkChoices

legislation is having the

biggest impact. 38% report a

number of personal carer days

allowed. 26% say sick day

allowances are up. 22% of

managers think more people are

cashing out annual leave and

20% judge that overall pay is

up because of WorkChoices.

Coming through quite strongly

was a belief amongst managers

that WorkChoices had increased

flexibility in the workplace.

And there are clear challenges

for unions. 26% of managers

say they're having more direct

communication with employees,

and a quarter thought there was

more negotiation now with

individuals on pay and

conditions. We now have an

active dialogue between

employers and employees T would

be a disaster for the economy

to have union bosses step into

that relationship between

employers and employees when

they're not wanted. The

survey also paints a mixed

picture. Managers report less

union involvement in settling

disputes and more direct

communication with workers, but

80% say they expect no change

in areas ranging from

productivity to job numbers. Most thought WorkChoices would

make no impact on the

work-family balance, but a

third clearly disagreed with

the idea that it would improve

it. What we have seen time

and time again is families

coming to us and saying AWAs

represent a major assault on

Australian family life and work

life balance. With the

federal election near, the

survey also concludes that many

businesses are adopting a

wait-and-see approach.

Tonight's top story: Kevin Rudd's radical plan to fix the

health system. And still to

come - the outback town now

ranked alongside some

engineering giants. engineering giants. AMP's

chief executive Andrew Mohl has

announced an impressive half-year profit for the

company and his own

resignation. A wealth

management boom has helped AMP

to a 6-month profit of $470

million. That's up more than

30% on the previous year.

Andrew Mohl says cash flows for

investment services soared 110%

in-the-June quarter because of the Government's superannuation

changes. He will step down by

December after five years in

charge and says he won't be

taking a similar role in any

other company. I've climbed

that particular mountain.

Instead I want to build a portfolio of business,

community and private interests

and live a more balanced life

overall. Mr Mohl is credited

with return turning AMP around

after his predecessors embarked

on a disastrous UK expansion

strategy. The local share

market surged 2.5% as

confidence returned with a

rush. Here is Alan Kohler.

The day was toe it willy

dominated by BHP Billiton and

Rio Tinto, up 6.5% each en

masse sieve volumes. A million

dollars worth of BHP changed

hands today. There was also

plenty of action in Telstra and

Brambles was also the centre of

attention and both Toll

Holdings and its spin-off

Asciano continued to nib le

away at Brambles' share

register. Here is the story of

this correction and rally so

far. It has been characterised

by six big moves of more than

100 points , what the traders

call gaps. Four down,

including the really big one

last Thursday,er and two up.

Monday morning and this morning .s just after the market

opened. The correction lasted

17.5 trading days, and

two-thirds of the fall has now

been recovered in 5.5 days.

And the other note worthy point

is that as far as China is

concerned, there has been no

correction at all. Far from

it, in fact. Over the same period as the Australian All

Ordinaries index fell 12%, the

Shanghai come posse sit index

went up 12%. So it's a global

market ex- except for China.

Today the Chinese share market

rose modestly, but the markets

that had fallen with the US

rose as strongly as the Australian market did today and

that followed gains of one and

a bit percent on Wall Street

overnight but there were bigger

gains on metals exchange in

London where copper went up

2.6% and nickel and zinc more

than 3.5% each. The Australian

dollar jumped with the share

market, rising more than one US

cent to above 81 and also going

above 60 euro cents and 9 had

yen. That's finance. With

the election approaching, the

Prime Minister has pledged more

than $130 million to clean up

the Hawkesbury River, but there

are strings attached. As the

race to win the federal

election picks up momentum, the

Prime Minister has announced

plans to restore the health of

the the Hawkesbury p Nepean

River system. It has supplied

5 million Sydneysiders with

drinking water. It is a very

necessary investment and one

that I know people of this part of Sydney will greatly welcome.

Over the years, the drought

has taken its toll on the

river. Reduced water flows

have led to algal blooms and

noxious weed outbreaks, killing

fish and plant life. Industry

groups say a clean-up is well

overdue. Over the last 10-15

years, the farming industry has

been blamed for the state of

the river. The rescue plan

includes funding for better

sewage treatment, stormwater

management and irrigation

practices, but it's conditional

on the State Government also

providing money and developing

a water-sharing plan. Years

ago, we used to have people swimming in the water all the

time. You would be too scared

to stick your head under the

water Thee days. The State

Government says it is just a

cynical election stunt. The

Hawkesbury basin takes into the

seat of Lindsay where the

popular Government Member

Jackie Kelly is retiring. That

seat is one of 16 Labor needs

to win at the next election.

And the Hawkesbury River had a

big part to play in this year's

Dobell prize. The demise of

oyster farming there was the

inspiration for this year's

winner. It's Australia's major

prize for drawing. Ana Pollak

's entry had to beat more than

500 others to win. Ana Pollak

lives and works on the

Hawkesbury. She wanted to

capture oyster farm ing where

it prospered. It feels like

paying homage to the old

practice of oyster farming and

these icons are vanishing now.

45 finalists were vying for

the $20,000 prize which is

named in honour of one of

Australia's great artists, the

late Sir William Dobell. Mullet

Creek will now be part of the New South Wales Art Gallery

collection. The national pore

trait gallery in Canberra also

unveiled a pore trat by John

Brack. It has been donated by

Kym Bonython who says the work

was almost destroyed by a

bushfire nearly 25 years ago.

This survived because it was

right inside the front door and

while the ceilings were falling

down on the Whiteleys and the

Boyds, this was the only

accessible picture and they got

that. The painting features

in a rare exhibition of John

Brack's portraits. It will be

the final show in the gallery's

home at the Old Parliament

House. A new gallery is being

built next to the High Court.

The Wallabies left tonight for

the Rugby World Cup confident

they can perform above

expectations. By contrast, the

All Blacks appear to be haunted

by the failed campaigns of the

past. Here is Peter Wilkins.

Winning the World Cup for

veterans George Gregan and Stephen Larkham doesn't sit

well with one of the Wallabies

key protagonists, Gregan

himself. I think it is a

silly motivation, really. We

should do it for each other. I

think you can sometimes get

caught up in that type of

emotion. The former skipper

expects a full campaign to the

final and believes their

progress will be enhanced by

the enigmatic Lote Tuqiri who

has been in the spotlight for

the wrong reasons. The

important aspect is Lote being

fit and playing well. The

Wallabies do have some

sensitivities, but across the

All Blacks, the -- but across

the Tasman, the All Blacks have

deeper concerns. The

favourites then and now haven't

been allowed to forget their

semifinal demise to Australia

four years ago, prompt ing naer

wave of excuses at their home

training session. I think the

guys were distracted by other

outside influences as well as

the moral in the team probably

wasn't as strong. There is little optimism in the Tall

Blacks camp. The New Zealand

basketball team capitulated in

the second half against

Australia last night. It was

horrendous, terrible. The

Boomers booked their spot at

the Beijing Olympics after

taking an unbeatable taking an unbeatable 2-0 lead

in the tleed three-game series.

The The Boomers bounced away

in the third quarter when they

outscored the visitors by 28-9.

They were going to come out

and give it their best shot and

whether it lasted a quarter or

a half, we were going to run

over the top of them.

Physically we were in better

shape. Teenager Patrick Mills

showed his potential by scoring

17 points in Australia's 93-67

victory. Australia's Olyroos

fared better than the senior

team in the recent Asia Cup by

holding Iraq to a 0-0 draw in

Doha. The match was the first

of Australia's final Olympic

qualification matches.

Meanwhile England joy at Frank

Lampard's pmp. The pain didn't

end there, a suegoal from debutant Christian Pander

consigned England to a record

of only two wins from its last

nine matches. The tiny outback

town of White Cliffs can now

claim a place in Australia's

engineering heritage alongside

the Sydney Harbour Bridge and

the snow which hydro scheme.

The town was the first in

Australia to be powered

entirely by solar energy. The

solar plant is now shut down,

but it has received a national

award which will see it

preserved as a piece of

history. It's a remote town

renowned for its opal mining,

but on the edge of White Cliffs

stands a mirrored landscape

which makes the locals proud.

It's something that is on the

horizon here that is a bit

different from looking at our

50,000 mullet keeps out there

and our dugouts. After

powering the town for more than

two decades, last year the

solar dishes were turned off

and talk was the plant would be

pulled apart. There was one

or two blokes that said,er you

know, we should just get one

each and take it to our place

and put it there, you know.

Now the town secured the

recognition it was hoping for.

An eng Engineers Australia

Award for its pioneering power

plant. It is now an icon

which they consider similar in

status to the Sydney Harbour

Bridge, the Parkes radio

telescope and the Snowy

Mountain scheme. When it was

up and running, the solar plant

could power up to 30 homes, the

local store, the hospital and

the post office and these days

in an emergency it could be

fired up again. But power

needs in White Cliffs are

modest. Most of the 200

residents live in underground

mines and en, d an energy-efficient way of keeping

cool. Living in a cave, look,

it's just wonderful. It's the

best eco house that you could

have. I mean, the temp ra tour

stays a constant 19-23

degrees. When temperatures hit

50 degrees in summer, many have

no choice. The town also

famous incidentally for often

being the State's hottest place

in our weather report, but

tonight we will start with the

dam levels. Do they get up to

60% as hoped after all the rain

we had? Here is Graham. We

almost made it. Not quite the

06%, that's despite falls of

about 30-90 millimetres across

the catchments. They are up by

1% overall, but only by about

0.7% at Warragamba. We should

see further inflows over the

coming week from that rain.

Light showers through Sydney

today. It helped to keep the

temperatures down, but we're

currently sitting on 14 and

overnight we do expect to see

the temperatures remain quite

mild.

A lot of cloud up around

the south-east of Queensland. the south-east of Queensland.

An Upper level disturbance has

moved through. In fact, a come

ples weather system off the

coast of Queensland. Onshore

winds also helping to keep the

cloud and shower activity along

the on shore fringe and helping

to drive the front to New South

Wales. Rainfall tomorrow

should be confined about the

north-east and north-west

slopes of-the-State.

Tonight's top stories

again: Kevin Rudd says a Labor

government would take over the

running of hospitals from the

states if they don't agree to a

national reform plan. And the

Prime Minister has announced

there will be binding local

plebiscites for communities to

decide whether they want a

nuclear power plant. And

that's ABC News for this

Thursday. The '7:30 Report' is

up next and I will be back with

updates during the evening.

Goodnight. Closed Captions by CSI

Tonight - Paul Keating

reveals China's candid threat

expressed to him against its

Asian neighbour. If the

Japanese ever go to nuclear

weapons, we would take them out

before they started. And the

reason he says APEC leaders

can't solve such problems. In

the end they're turkeys, they

won't take the big issues

on. Also - shock treatment, the

electricity meter that will

change your life, for better... You can make

instantaneous savings. Or for

worse... A lot of policy

outcome where we kill the

elderly during heat waves, this

is what you do.

Welcome to the program.

Kevin Rudd has today fired off

perhaps his biggest policy initiative of the election

campaign we're yet to formally