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ABC News Breakfast -

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(generated from captions) This Program is Captioned Live.

After the blast, the badly

injured of the survivors of the

asylum seekers explosion arrive

in brm and Darwin. A driver is

questioned by police after his burrs overturns in country Victoria killing three

people. The Chechen President

declares the nest of terrorism

has been crushed. Russia ends

its decade-long war against rebels in southern

Chechnya. Mick Fanning and Joel

Parkinson are on track for a

Easter Classic. showdown in the Bells Beach

Good morning. Its Friday 17 April and I'm Virginia

Trioli. I'm Joe O'Brien. The

top story on ABC News

Breakfast The injured from the

explosion on board a boat of

asylum seekers have arrived

overnight. The severely injured

are being treated in Darwin and Broome. Their injuries have

been likened to those suffered

by victims of the Bali bombings. The Federal

Government says it won't

speculate on the cause of the

explosion which happened as a

Navy ship was escorting the

suspected Afghan asylum seekers boat to Christmas Island.

Initial reports came from the West Australian Premier Colin

Bartlett who said the boat appeared to be soaked in

fuel. It is understood that the

persons on the boat spread

petrol and that ignited causing

an explosion. Three persons are

deceased. Two are missing. 51

are injured, including four Australian Defence Force

personnel. I have spoken to the

commander of border protection

command and he says, again,

that all it is likely that fuel

was involved in the explosion

on the boat, he cannot say for

certain that it was. In

consequence he cannot answer

the question which everyone

would like to know, was this an

accident or was it sabotage. Since aug off the

last year when the minister for immigration announced the

changed Commonwealth policy,

we've seen the people smuggling

back in business. We've had one

boat intercepted going down a

few months later. Tragically

bodies have been recovered from

the seas on Indonesian beaches.

Indonesians are sure they are from people smuggle episodes as

well. We had a debacle on about

1 April before Easter where a

boat was stranded for four days

on a reef. It was only when the

storms were bearing down those

people were taken off. We'll

cross live to Darwin and Perth

in a moment for the latest on

that situation. In other news -

three people have died and nine

people have been injured in a

bug crash in Victoria's

south-west. The accident

happened about 7 o'clock last

night in Heathmere near

Portland. The bus overturned

and the victims were trapped

underneath. A toddler was one

of the three people

killed. Russia has declared

that the war in Chechnya is

over. It's expected that 20,000 Russian troops and police

officers will be withdrawn from

the southern republic. Moscow

says it is satisfied the

separatist movement has been

crushed. Independent groups say

there are still widespread

human rights abuses in the territory. Russian forces have

fought two wars in the mainly

Muslim republic since 1994. 11

Somali pirates captured by the

French Navy have been taken to

Kenya for trial. They are part

of an EU force deployed to

tackle the surge in piracy in

the Gulf of Aden. In past year,

French forces have captured

more than 70 Somali pirates and

killed three others. Voting

has ended in the first round of

India's month-long general

election. More than 700 million

people were eligible to vote.

The turn out is reported to be

around 60%. That relatively low

figure is attributed to very

hot weather and voter

disenchantment. At least 17

people have been killed in

pre-election violence blamed on

Maoist rebels. And Thailand's

former PM, Thaksin Shinawatra,

has asked the Thai king to

intervene in the political

crisis. Thr Thaksin said the

chaos would get worse without

guidance from the highly

revered monarch. Abhisit

Vejjajiva says he will call a special sitting of Parliament

of political next week to begin the process

reconciliation. And for more on

the boat explosion, ABC reporter Margie Smithurst joins

us now from odds the Royal

Darwin Hospital N Perth, Andrew O'Connor joins us as well. Good

morning to both of you. Margie,

what's happened there

overnight? Well, we've had

three planes arrive. So six

injured people have arrived. We

know the condition of the first

four, pretty much. The first

man actually walked off the

plane. He had glad wrap around

his head and burns to his head.

The second man was in an

induced coma with severe burns

to most of his body. The next

two had burns, but we don't

know to what extent. The last

two who arrived we don't know

much about them. The first four

were men. Do we know their

nationality? No, we don't. We

don't know anything like

that. What is the hospital

telling you, if anything, at

this stage, Margie? They are

telling us - those six are

obviously being treated now.

They are expecting 13 people to

arrive by boat. The injuries

there they say could be

actually worse or could be less

bad. We don't know what time

they will arrive today. But at

some point if they are coming

by boat it could take a while.

The injuries so far they've

seen they say are comparable to

the first Bali bombing and to

some of the injuries they saw

after some incidents in East

Timor. So the hospital up here

is very well equipped to deal

with that sort of thing. We

have the national critical care

and trauma unit and very well

trained doctors and nurses who

are well-prepared for these

sort of injuries. Another thing

to mention about the injuries

are that they are consistent

with having been in the ocean

for a period of time. When the

boat caught fire and exploded,

it sank. People were left in

the ocean and so that's potentially exacerbated the injuries. Is the hospital

saying how long the people may

be kept in to be treated. We

know with burns victims in

particular it's a long process

back to health. Are they

speculating about a time period? No, it's just immediate

care at this point. Once the

second boatload arrives with

potentially 13 people on board,

do you know how many more after

that? No, no. They are

expecting about 20 in total in

Darwin. Six this morning, 13,

maybe one more out of that.

That sounds about right for

Royal Darwin Hospital. That's

as much as we know at this

point. Andrew O'Connor in

Perth, tell us what's happened

there overnight. About an hour

ago a high speed corporate jet

which was chartered arrived at

Perth airport. That was

carrying four patients. Their

condition is serious. They have

extensive burns. They are being

conveyed as we speak to Royal

Perth Hospital, which is the

State's major trauma hospital

and has the specialist burns

unit that dealt with so many

victims of the Bali bombings.

That brings to five the number

of people that are being

treated in WA. Last night

around midnight another person

was dropped at Broome airport.

They were being conveyed as one of three people being flown

down to Perth. This person had

extensive burns on their arms,

legs and face. But because

there were three people on the

flight, there was only space

for two stretchers. This person

had to sit up and found it too

painful to do so. They diverted

the flight from Broome to

Truscott Air Force Base and

he's being treated by a

specialist medical team. We

know that Broome will receive a number more of medical

emergencies. Is that your

understanding, Andrew? That was

the expectation yesterday that

Broome was almost quarantined

as the expectation they would

receive mass casualties. It

seems as though the one person

they currently they have in

their care will be the only

person they receive. There are

two other flights in-bound to

Perth. One is an aircraft that

was originally carrying that fellow. It is bringing two

patients to Perth. That is due

to arrive about 7 o'clock local

time. Then there is an RAAF

heavy lift aircraft, a C17

Globemaster, which is a very

large heavy jet. That is flying

to Perth and is due to arrive

about 8 o'clock local time.

That aircraft is carrying 16

people We've been given no

information at this stage about

the condition or nature of

their injuries. I think the

health department is deciding

whether they will be

accommodated at one hospital,

like royal Perth or triaged out

through several hospitals. Back

to you Margie Smithurst. What

are we hearing about the nature of the security around the

hospital where you are? Is it a

high security area? No, not at all. I don't think there is any

evidence anyone is keeping an

eye out the front. No evidence

of security whatsoever. So

obviously it's not considered a

particular high risk. No

immigration officials that

you've seen? No, we haven't

seen any this morning and we've

been about an hour. Thanks for

speaking with us this morning.

Andrew O'Connor, our thanks to

you to. Obviously we'll keep

across that situation as it

develops through the morning

with more patients arriving at

hospitals in Darwin and

Perth. Now returning to the

deadly bus crash in southern

Victoria, a man, woman and

child died when the bus rolled child died when the bus rolled

onto its side last night. Nine

others were injured when the

V-Line bus overturned on a

slight bend in the township of

Heathmere near Portland. The

drifr has been questioned by

police and the major collision

unit has taken charge of the

scene, but Victoria police's Senior Sergeant Nick Finnegan

was one of the first to arrive

at the crash site. A V-Line bus left

bus left Portland. The bus had

originated in warn abal. It

travelled to Portland and was

heading down to Mt Gambier.

We've confirmed there were 12

passengers on board. We've

confirmed as a result of this

latest collision there are

three deceased. Two adults and

one child. Nine people were taken to taken to Portland hospital.

All, thankfully, with

relatively minor injuries. You

have to put it in perspective.

When we arrived at the scene

there, were quite a number of

distressed people that were

there. Our main priority was to get the injured to hospital,

which we did, and then we found

the three deceased. Senior

Sergeant Nick Finnegan there

speaking at the scene about the

bus crash in Victoria last

night that has claimed three

lives. Now let's look at the

front pages of the major

newspapers around the country.

The 'Australian' says defence

officials have refused to go

into detail about the boat

explosion as the Government

tries to avoid a children

overboard-style scandal. The

Government has insisted the

humanitarian emergency take

priority over questions of

blame for the incident. Reports

'The Canberra Times' today. The

'Herald Sun' calls the

explosion a firestorm and explosion a firestorm and promises reader's Andrew Bolt's

opinion on the tragedy. The

'Adelaide Advertiser' labels

the explosion a firestorm. The

paper has a photo of Nathan

Bock, who will return to AFL

football tomorrow after being

banned for assaulting his

girlfriend outside a pub. The

'Daily Telegraph' predicts the

boat incident will turn the

spotlight on the Government's

border protection policies. The 'Mercury' focuses on

allegations asylum seekers

sabotaged their own boat and asks readers have you asks readers have you got your

$900 yet. A reference to the

stimulus payments. Liberal MP

Petro Georgiou said there was

no evidence recent policy

changes had caused more asylum

seeker arrivals. Says the

'Sydney Morning Herald': The 'Courier Mail' says PM Rudd

will face weeks of questioning

over the incident and tells

readers more boats are coming. The 'West Australian'

says it has the first picture

of the doomed boat before it

was destroyed and sank. A

fishing trawler and bulk

carrier which collided causing

a diesel spill off the

Territory coast is being reported by the 'Northern

Territory News' today. The

paper also has a photo of a survivor of the asylum seeker

boat explosion arriving in the

NT. The 'Australian Financial

Review' reports businesses face

double digit increases in

professional indemnity

insurance premiums. The 'Age'

leads with the headline -

sabotage, fear on boat blast,

as police investigate claims

asylum seekers poured fuel over

the boat. Now if you would like

to send us your feedback on any

of the stories we're covering

today, you can send emails to us here:

Now let's at the top

stories. The injured from

yesterday's boat explosion

arrive on the mainland, but the

most severe case is being

admitted to hospitals in Broome

and Darwin. The Federal

Government says it won't

speculate on the cause of the

explosion, which happened as a

Navy ship was escorting the

suspected Afghan asylum seekers

to Christmas Island. Police

investigate a bus crash in

Victoria's south-west that has

killed three people, including

a toddler overnight. Nine

others were injured when the

V-Line bus overturned in

Heathmere near Portland.

Russia declares an end to its

decade-long battle against

separatist rebels in Chechnya.

20,000 police will be withdrawn

from the southern republic

under the counter-terrorism

operation.

Cash inducements are being

dangled in front of British

motorists in a bid to lure them

away from their gas guzzling

cars. Incentives worth $10,500

will be on offer to off-set the

cost of buying an electronic

car. It's an initiative to

kick-start the market to improve the road

emissions. Silent and green,

but tiny and perhaps a little

impractical. It will take a lot

to change motorists from

petrolheads to lovers of

electronic cars. It's not very

cool. It is clumsy

looking. It's not a really good

idea. Now it's charging up. I

don't know. It keeps petrol

costs down. You don't have to

pay for petrol. It's cheap and

reasonably priced and helps the environment, I would think

about it. Facing daunting

carbon reduction targets, 80%

by 2050, the Government's plan

is to offer up to ?5,000 to motorists buying either

electronic cars or plug-in

hybrids. Government will wait a

couple of years because it believes electronic cars are

about to evolve from the tiny

city run around to more

mainstream cars like the mini

tested by the Business

Secretary this morning. I think

when people feel the car, the

speed, the lack of noise, they

will fall in love with it. It's

a revolution. The Government's

money may result in tens of

thousands of new electronic

cars on the roads, but not

millions. They will have to be

charged somewhere. Standing

here in Central London, it

feels a bit like the future of

motoring has already begun. But

advocates of plug-in cars are

adamant. We need more places to

plug them in. Your eyes are

constantly glued to your charge

metre. You are very conscious

if you run out of juice, then

you've got to spend several

hours recharging the vehicle in

order to get home. The 20

million ear marked by the

Government will buy a few

thousand of these charging

points. Not enough say the

Conservatives. This American

company wants to extend the

limited range of electronic

cars in more radical and

expensive ways. You can stop at

any battery replacement

stations and be on your way in

less time than it takes to fill

up a gas tank. A vision of the

future? Well to persuade car

buyers of the next decade, the

Government will have to flesh

out the details. How will the

incentives be paid, will the

electricity come from renewable

sources and will the cars be

any good? In other finance news

the IMF has warned the global

recession is likely to be long

and severe with a slow recovery. I think we've heard

that before. Last month it

reported that the world economy

would shrink for the first time

in 60 years in 2009. This comes

as China announced its worse

GDP figure since records began.

It grew at an annual rate of

6.1%. Nokia has reported a 90%

fall in profits. They dropped

from $2.1 billion to $221

million. In March the company

announced it would cut 1700

jobs worldwide. There were good

news out of the US. JP Morgan

Chase reported better-than-expected profits.

The American bank announced

quarterly gains of almost $3

billion. Profits were down 10%,

but better than market analysts

predicted. That's the second

American bank that has reported

a decent profit. We'll talk

later to our finance guest

about that on the

program. Let's look at the fin figures now.

Australia's second biggest

steel-maker, OneSteel, has

slashed its full-year earnings

guidance by nearly 50% and

flagged a cut in its

dividend. It's also embarking

on a capital raising to shore

up the balance sheet by half a

billion dollars. Andrew

Robertson reports. As a miner

and steel-maker, OneSteel has

felt the full force of the

global slowdown. A fortnight

ago it announced production

cuts and for some investors,

that's when it should have revealed its true position on

earnings. Two weeks ago they

were happy with their guidance

for $100 million of net profit

higher than what they are

forecasting today. I think it's

difficult to see how in difficult to see how in two

weeks their profitability can

have deteriorated so

rapidly. In February when they

released their half-year

result, it forecast full-year

earnings of up to $375 million.

That forecast has been nearly

halved with the company blaming

falling iron ore and scrap

prices, lower demand and

reduced margins. I think what

has happened with management is

that they have thought that

demand will stabilise and turn

around. However, at this stage,

they are yet to see a turnaround in

demand. Ironically as trading

conditions have worsened in the

last few weeks, OneSteel shares

have staged a recovery, jumping

57% off their low of $1.63 at

the beginning of March. The

company is taking advantage of

that to shore up its balance

sheet by issuing new shares

which it hopes will raise

nearly $900 million. They have

had a lot of debt on their

books over the last 12 months

since the Smorgon merger, which the market has been concerned

about. It got to a point where

the company's overall market

capitalisation got to the same

level as its debt load, which

is quite a significant level

because it's the point because it's the point where

investors start to get

concerned about whether the

company can repay the debt

load. The capital raising is in

two parts - an institutional

placement at $1.80 a share, a

30% discount to OneSteel's last

trade on April the 9th. This

will be fully underwritten and

raise $240 million. Then there

is an often of two extra shares

for already five already owned

by institutions and smaller

investors, also at $1.80 a

share, which it is hoped will

raise $638 million. As with the placement, the institutional

portion will be underwritten.

They believe the size of the

capital raising is a measure of OneSteel's concerns about the

future. I think that is a much

larger number than what the

market is expecting which

highlights that the earnings

risk going into 2010. OneSteel

says at this stage it will

maintain the dividend policy,

which at the very least means

dividend per share will fall

because more shares will be on

issue. But with the outlook

remaining bleak, there are

those who believe tougher

measures are needed. We would

think at this point in time

that it would be prudent for

them to not pay a dividend at

all. However, given the retail

shareholder base, it's unlikely

the policy will be cut to zero. If earnings come under

more pressure, it wouldn't

surprise me to see them take

measures to reduce shareholder

rewards in order to appease the

bankers. OneSteel is predicting

the profit performance will

start to improve next year. we'll be joined by Gigeon Haigh

from 'The Monthly'. Now with

sport, here's Paul Kennedy. Thanks the Bells Beach

Easter Classic finals will be

held today and likely we'll see

Mick Fanning and Joel

Parkinson. The surf picked up

along the Victorian west coast

yesterday. Fanning was in great

form. Parkinson then progressed

to the quarterfinals with a

dominant couple of third-round

waves. Without Slater and

Hopgood in the competition,

Parkinson and Jordy Smith are

the favourites. Parkinson beat

Owen Wright, but another Aussie

wildcard Jay Thompson beat

Burrow to progress to the

quarterfinals. Let's hear from

Fanning, Parkinson and

Thompson. I feel so relaxed.

It's weird. I'm not getting

nervous. My board is feeling

great and the body is feeling

great and my mind is pretty

clear. I'm stoked. From here on

out, every guy is a contender.

It's just you and two waves

really. I can't really bother

to watch what CJ does. He will

be on form. Keep it simple.

Stay relaxed and me and the

ocean and two waves. I'm happy.

Hi a shaky start last year. I

am coming in as a wildcard and

injure replacement. I haven't

had that much pressure on me,

but it's been like nine days

since I surfed. I want to go to

South Africa on Saturday. I was

hoping to finish early, but I'm

so stoked they waited an made

the right call. The waves are

cracking. Australia will play South Africa flaft 1-day

cricket team of the tour and

tomorrow the IPL starts, also

in South Africa. The BBC reports.

A spectacular South African

venue for a very Indian party.

Today Cape Town was awash with

Bollywood stars, cheering fans

and some of the world's finest cricketers. South Africa

filling in as a last-minute

substitute for the IPL. Missing

India? Of course. Love to play

for Indian crowds, but

hopefully next year. The

streets weren't exactly packed

here today, but the organisers

insist they pulled off a small insist they pulled off a small miracle by shifting the

tournament half way around the

world in under a month. It's

just been smooth sailing. Every

problem we think we have, it

would fold in the next ten

minutes. It's amazing. For the

IPL, cash doesn't seem to be a

problem. Kevin Pietersen and

Flintoff are the world's best

paid cricketers. They earn ?1

million each. For six weeks

work. There will be 59 matches

at eight venues in 37 days. The

Indian organisers have rushed

to book 10,000 plane tickets

for a tournament that could be

worth ?150 million to the

economy here. It's not all

about the money. Practice time

for last year's winners, the Ragastan Royals.

Ragastan Royals. The five

English players say this is a great learning opportunity. Obviously the

money is great, don't get me

wrong, but it's an opportunity

to represent and develop my own

game. We've seen how the

Indians have improved through

playing Twenty20s. I'm watching

the lads and picking their

brains. This tournament was

supposed to be taking place in supposed to be taking place in

India. Then England tried very

hard to take it over. But in

the end, this extraordinary

celebration of Bollywood,

money, marketing and cricket

will start this Saturday

afternoon in this spectacular location.

The Australian Super 14 teams

have a big weekend ahead. The

Brumbies and the Waratah are

clinging to hopes of a final

place. The Waratahs are in

final place. Speculation over

Timana Tahu have damaged their

season. They have a South

African tour ahead and must

beat the Force tomorrow if it

is going to make the

semifinals. The newspaper

reports Tahu wants to go back

to league, maybe the Roosters,

but his coach, Chris but his coach, Chris Hickey,

doesn't think. So Tahu has made

it clear where his commitment

lies and his management. That

is the end of it. It's a 22-man

game. Not just a 15-man. It's a

22-man squad. Timana hasn't

always got the start, which

probably leads to some

frustration in all players.

They would all like to start.

He's made a good contribution

when he's come off the bench.

This week he starts the

game. Back to the IPL, are you

excited? It doesn't look like

South Africa is. No, not a

massive parade. More people on

top of the buses. The report is

right, a spectacular location,

a beautiful oval. It's

beautiful in Cape Town. The

cricket grounds will be fantastic. Whether they will

fill them with people is the

next

next question. You would have

thought South Africans would

have been ecstatic at the fact

that you are getting the best

players from around the world

playing in ovals around South

Africa, but there is no-one

there. It is still new. The

whole concept of Twenty20 has

been around for a while in

England, playing it for a fair

while, but the IPL has only had

one year. The Indians loved it

and it was a great success.

Whether that can translate, or

whether the Bollywood style and

stars that turn up and wave,

whether that will wash with the

South Africans, we're not sure.

Maybe they don't care. Maybe

it's about TV. The BBC reporter

looked happy to be in Cape

Town. He was pumping it up. He

will have a good couple of

weeks there. Thanks, Paul. You

can watch us live on the web

from anywhere. Visit us at our

email address. Here is Vanessa

O'Hanlon with the weather. It

was cool in the south-east. Good morning, Joe.

Yes, it has been. Particularly

overnight. The high moves into

the Bight. A south-east change

will move through Alice Springs. It's the reason for

the cool overnight temperatures

through most of NSW, Victoria

and Tasmania. It is keeping the skies fairly clear. Now the

trough in WA will also cause a

few storms. Most of those will

be over the west and the

interior. Clouds across the

centre of the country. Cloud

crossing Tasmania, Victoria and

also the lower parts of SA. It

is behind a cold front and it

is causing a few showers. There

are storm clouds sitting over

the top of the Queensland

tropics. Now for Queensland -

isolated showers up in the

north. Isolated afternoon and

evening thunderstorms north of

Georgetown and into the far

south-east. NSW - afternoon and

evening isolated showers and thunderstorms over the

north-east. Showers will

develop over parts of the

Central Coast tonight. In

Victoria - isolated showers for

the ranges apart from isolated

showers in the west earlier this morning and a cool start.

It should be a fine day.

Tasmania - scattered showers in

the west and about the north

and South Coast first thing

this morning. Fresh north-west

to westerly winds will ease as

the day progresses. SA -

isolated light showers over the

agricultural area. They will

move to the southern coast and

ranges and the lower south-east

by the afternoon. WA - mostly

sunny on the west and South

Coast, but the trough moving

through the state will cause

isolated storms. Most of those

inland. In the north - storms

in the afternoon. Similar

conditions in the Top End and

the Alice could pick up light

showers with a partly cloudy

day.

See you in half an hour.

The top story on ABC -

survivors of the asylum seeker

boat explosion have start add

arriving at hospitals

overnight. The most severely

injured are being treated in

Darwin and Broome with further

arrivals due in Perth this

morning. Their injuries have

been likened to those suffered by victims of the Bali bombings. The Federal Government says it won't

speculate on the cause of the

explosion. Initial reports of

the tragedy came via the West

Australian Premier Colin

Bartlett who said the boat

appeared to have been soaked in

fuel. It is understood that

the persons on the boat spread

petrol and that ignited causing

an explosion. Three persons are

deceased. Two are missing. 51

are injured, including four

Australian defence personnel. I

have spoken to the commander of

border protection command and

he says, again, that although

it is likely that fuel was

involved in the explosion on

the boat, he cannot say for

certain that it was and in

consequence of course he cannot

answer the question which

everyone would like to know -

was this an accident or was it sabotage. Since August last

year when minister Evans,

minister for immigration announced the change to

Commonwealth policy, we've seen the people smuggling back in the people smuggling back in

business. We've had one boat

intercepted going down a few

months later. We've had

tragically bodies recovered

from the seas on Indonesian

beaches. The Indonesians are

quite sure they are from people

smuggling episodes as well. We

had a debacle on about 1 April

before Easter where a boat was

stranded for four days on a

reef and it was only when the

storms were bearing down that

those people were taken those people were taken off. And for more, Hayden

Cooper joins us from Canberra.

It didn't take long for

politics to rise to the surface

with this? No, it didn't, Joe.

There are two political angles

that play here. The first is

what happened yesterday? Is

Colin Bartlett right in

suggesting that the asylum

seekers doused their own boat

with petrol and why won't the

Federal Government Federal Government confirm that

and the second issue is did the

Government's softer policy on

asylum seekers contribute in

some way to this disaster?

Certainly the Opposition wasted

no time at all in suggesting

that that is the case P But it

appeared to be that there was

some back down in that

contention? To a certain

extent, but what we heard extent, but what we heard from

Sharman Stone, and you've

repeated it there, was a fairly

clear statement that she is

linking the two. There are

other members of the Opposition

doing the same thing. This

morning Kevin Andrews, the former Immigration Minister,

has also said removing the

Pacific solution has

contributed to this.

Essentially sent a message to

people smugglers to come on

down. Malcolm Turnbull, for his down. Malcolm Turnbull, for his

part, hasn't quite been so

strong on that. He is again

critical of the Government's

softer approach. But not quite

willing to be as strong as

Sharman Stone was. It will be

interesting to see if he's

dragged to the right on this

issue like he has been to an

extent on others. That's right.

That will be the temptation and

already, as I've said already, as I've said there,

are many Opposition members and

fr is another one who you would

expect to make a similar point,

and he has pointed out in the press that asylum seekers have

been known to sabotage boats at

certain times. So these are the

debates that will happen. It

could be a trap for the

Opposition but then on the

other hand people might agree

and say that, yes, since Kevin

Rudd came to power, and

particularly in the last six

months, the policy has been

softened and certainly in the

last few weeks or so there has been an increase in the number

of boats arriving. With the

recent history of this issue in

Australia, it wasn't surprising

that the first press conference

that Bob Debus fronted

yesterday and a Defence Force

spokesman was pretty fiery. It

was quite fiery. Bob Debus is was quite fiery. Bob Debus is

being ultra cautious. He needs

to be, but on one level that

translates as a fairy shaky

response N fairness, though, I

think he's just being very

careful. We all know what

happened last time a Government

minister was caught in a

similar situation and Mr Debus

simply does not want a repeat of the children overboard

affair. So I think until the

facts become a lot more

clearer, we'll continue to see

him treading very carefully and

not confirming or denying any

of the facts, which are

swirling around, because he

doesn't want to come out and

suggest as Colin Bartlett has

that this was started by asylum

seekers spreading petrol around

the boat. That could turn out

to be a rumour. Hayden Cooper

in Canberra, thanks very much

for that. So what do you think about how the political

discussion is playing out in

relation to the asylum seeker

boat explosion? You can send us

emails here:

In other news this morning -

police are investigating a bush

crash that killed three people in Victoria's south-west last

night. The victims were trapped under the vehicle and under the vehicle and a toddler

is among the dead. Nine others

were injured when the V-Line

bus overturned in the township

of Heathmere near Portland. The

driver is being questioned by

police. Russia has ended its

decade-long counter-terrorism

operation against separatist

rebels in Chechnya. It's

expected 20,000 Russian troops

and police officers will be

withdrawn from the southern

republic. Moscow says Chechnya

has stabilised under the

pro-Kremlin President, but

human rights groups say militias are guilty of

widespread abuses. Russian

forces have fought two wars in

the mainly Muslim republic

since 1994. 11 Somali pirates captured by the French Navy

have been taken to Kenya for

trial. They were captured by a

warship from an EU force

deployed to tackle pyrasy in Gulf of Aden Gulf of Aden gulf. They have

captured more than 70 Somali

pirates and killed three others

in the past year. Voting has

ended India's month-long

general election. More than 700

million people were eligible to

vote and the turn out is

reported to be around 60%. Now

that relatively low figure is

atracted to very hot weather

and voter disenchantment. 17

people have been killed in

pre-election violence blamed on

Maoist rebels. And Thailand's

former PM Thaksin Shinawatra

has asked the Thai king to

intervene in the country's

political crisis. Speaking from

self-imposed exile, he said the

chaos of recent weeks would

only get worse without guidance

from the highly revered

monarch. Meanwhile, Thailand's

PM Abhisit Vejjajiva says he

will call a special joint sitting of Parliament next week

to begin the process of

political reconciliation.

Returning to India now where

voting has ended in the first

round of the month-long general

election, Maoists bidding to

disrupt the poll have stepped

up attacks N latest incident,

five soldiers were killed and

seven people were injured in

the country's east. Natalie

McGregor reports. Landmine

attack is the latest in a spate

of incidents surrounding the

elections. The paramilitary

soldiers were killed after

finishing their shift.

TRANSLATION: Maoist exploded

the landmines in which seven

died. Five were personnel. Two

drivers and seven people were

injured. We've asked for a

repoll as we could not go to

the polls. The Maoist say they

are fighting for the rights of

poor farmers and landless

labourers. It's prompted calls

for security to be stepped up.

In another incident, nearly

1200 people complained they

couldn't vote because their

names had been deleted from the

polling list. This man says

that he had his identity letter

and voting slip and his name

and photo was there, but there

is a delete stamp against his

name. Poll officials say they name. Poll officials say they

can do very little but

wait. TRANSLATION: We can't do

anything. We will make people

aware of the decision taken by

the magistrate. Despite the

violence and confusion at some

voting stations, there's been a

steady voter turnout. The

outcome of the election will be known by May 16.

Police are investigating a

bus crash that killed three

people and injured nine in Victoria's

Victoria's south-west. The accident happened around 7

o'clock last night in Heathmere

near Portland and we're joined

now by Victoria police major

collisions unit acting senior

sergeant. Good morning. Thank

you for joining us. Good

morning. Tell us about the

circumstances in which this

crash happened? What do we

know? At this stage we have a

V-Line passenger coach travelling from warn travelling from warn am bull to

Mt Gambier. For reasons unknown

to us it has lost control and

rolled on to its side off the

highway killing three

occupants. One of the reports

I've read overnight said it

happened in the main street of that town. Is that

correct? It's out on the open

highway. OK. So a fair way from

the township itself. That's

correct. Do you know how long

it took until help reached the it took until help reached the

scene? I believe it was very,

very quick. Some 10 minutes out

of Portland. Those three people

who were killed, were they

killed at the scene? Yes they

were. I think nine people are

injured at the moment? Yeah,

look, the bus at the time

contained 12 occupants,

including the driver. All of those have been taken to

hospital. Everyone has been hospital. Everyone has been discharged except two

occupants, including the

driver. Those two occupants,

including the driver, are their

injuries more severe? Yes, they

are. Tell me about the driver?

What are you able to say about

the driver? Look, the

information at this stage is

very limited. We haven't had

the opportunity to speak to him

at all. He is a regular driver

of that coach and we will be

speaking to him later in the

day. So you have not had a day. So you have not had a chance to speak to him at

all? That's correct. I assume

you are not releasing a name at

this stage? No, we're not. Have

you made the basic checks? Do

you know if the man holds a

current licence or is able to

drive? Yes, certainly. There is

nothing untoward known about

the driver at this time. He's a

regular driver with the V-Line

service? That's correct. P service? That's correct. P Is

there anything notoriously bad

or dangerous about this stretch

of highway in your view, sergeant? Certainly at this

stage it's not something we're

aware of, but it will be an

aspect we're looking into. You

haven't had a number of crashes

along there? Not that I've personally investigated. But it

is an avenue of inquiry we will

be pursuing. Where else are

your investigations taking you

at the moment? We will look at the the environment. We will have

to look at the vehicle. Speak

to witnesses and passengers.

Basically try and get as much

information as we can to put

together a picture as to why

the event occurred. When do you

think you will speak to the driver? Some stage later today,

we're hoping. Thank you for

joining us. Thank you very

much. As asylum seekers reenter

the national debate, the UN human rights committee human rights committee has

issued its first report card on

Australia since 2000. The UN

review is an important test for the Rudd Government as it

pushes for a covet ed seat on

the UN Security Council.

Australia has had its fair

share of human rights PR

disasters. The children

overboard affair in October

2001 is perhaps the most

embarrassing. It involved

public allegations by senior

Government ministers, including

the then PM, John Howard, that

asylum seekers on board a boat

in Australian waters had

deliberately thrown children overboard in a

overboard in a presumed ploy to

secure rescue. It all happened

on the eve of a Federal

election. Subsequent evidence

revealed the claim to be

false. The claims that were

made were based about children being thrown overboard. They

were based on advice. It wasn't

long before the Howard

Government made another

controversial policy decision.

Asylum seekers would be sent to detention centres to detention centres on small

island nations in the Pacific, like Nauru and Christmas

Island. Rather than allowing

them to land on the Australian

mainland. The policy came to

be known as the Pacific

Solution. It was widely

criticised for failing to meet

international human rights

obligations. Australia in the

last decade has suffered a

crisis of credibility when it

comes to human rights

compliance. There were reviews compliance. There were reviews

by a particular human rights

committee of the United Nations

which the then Australian

Government didn't really like

in terms of what they had to

say about Australia's human

rights protection. There was a

level of disengagement that

happened with the international

community and with the United

Nations under the previous

Government. When power changed

hands in Australia 18 months

ago, human rights advocates say

our international reputation our international reputation

finally started to improve. Not

only did the new PM, Kevin

Rudd, abandon the Pacific

Solution, but as one of his

first acts as PM, he took the

first step in closing another

painful and controversial

chapter in Australian history

with a landmark apology to the

stolen generations. As PM of

Australia, I am sorry. On

behalf of the Government behalf of the Government of

Australia, I am sorry. On

behalf of the Parliament of

Australia, I am sorry. And I

offer you this apology without

qualification. At the time,

that apology won a standing

ovation around Australia. It

was applauded again this month in New York by the United

Nations's human rights

committee as it handed committee as it handed out its

first report card on

Australia's human rights record

in almost a decade. Then the

committee was also quite

critical of the Government in

not taking the next step so for

example the committee referred

to the issue of reparations for

members of the stolen

generation, including in

particular compensation and as

we know the Rudd Government has

already ruled out any

compensation to be paid to the stolen

stolen generation. This man is

a member of the non-government

delegation that flew out to New

York last month to brief the

Human Rights Committee. He says

although the committee

commended Australia on its

apology to the indigenous

people, it expressed serious

concern about intervention into indigenous communities in the

NT. It urged Australia close

down its Christmas Island immigration detention centre. immigration detention centre.

The only reminder of the

Pacific Solution. It was re-opened last year to deal

with the increasing numbers of

boat people reaching Australian

waters. In the past year, more than 500 asylum seekers have

been picked up in the waters

off northern Australia. David

Man is director of an agency

that gives free legal services

to asylum seekers and refugees

and has helped many who have been been taken to Christmas

Island. We're talk being people

who have already been

traumatised and who are at real

risk of being retraumatised if

housed in such a remote place.

There are very serious issues

to do with lack of resources

and also there is a very

serious issue around people being able to access

appropriate supports that they

need and ought to be able to access. While the human rights committee's review is taken committee's review is taken

very seriously there, is no way

of actually enforcing its recommendations. The big

question is whether or not the Australian Government will take

any action. One thing is for

sure, the report comes at a critical time for the

Australian Government. It's

pushing hard for a seat on the

UN Security Council and has put

respect for human rights at the

forefront of its campaign. If

Australia is to get an Australia is to get an

important seat at the table, it

needs to improve its game and very substantially. Australia

has a real chance to make

serious progress and start to

get serious about human rights

compliance and start to

actually ensure that people's

rights are properly protected.

You're now watching ABC News Breakfast. The Breakfast. The injure Friday

yesterday's boat explosion

arrive on the mainland with the

severe cases being admitted to

hospitals in Broome and Darwin.

The Federal Government says it

won't speculate on the cause of

the explosion which happened as

a Navy ship was escorting the

suspected Afghan asylum seekers

to Christmas Island. Police investigate a bus crash in

Victoria's south-west that has

killed three people, including

a toddler overnight. Nine

others were injured when the V-Line bus V-Line bus overturned near

Heathmere near Portland. Russia

declares an end to the decade-long battle against

separatist rebels in southern

Chechnya. 20,000 troops will be

withdrawn from the southern republic under the counter-terrorism operation.

Now for a look at the

national papers we're joined national papers we're joined by Gigeon Haigh from 'The

Monthly'. Good morning. Good

morning. I suppose we're obliged to talk about

goat-gate. I will do it before

anybody else. You're not obliged to talk about

anything! The law of averages

and the numbers, the acreage

this takes up is reminisceant

of the grand old days of

children overboard. The children overboard. The calmist

piece is in the 'Sydney Morning

Herald' by Malcolm Knox. He

gets to the heart of this, what

Donald Rumsfeld would call the

knowns and unknowns of this

story. The boat somewhere has

caught fire somewhere out at

sea. As Malcolm says, it

quickly turn Friday a story of

high human tragedy into one of

low domestic political farce. I

blame you Virginia for being so

beastly to that nice Mr

Reith. You could hear that

yesterday in the way that Bob

Debus is now much replayed

press conference was handled.

He was at pains, falling over

himself, not to say anything

that would misrepresent the

situation or get anyone into any trouble. Colin Bartlett

just ran off at the mouth fks, just ran off at the mouth fks,

but that's the prerogative of a

state Premier. He was running

on the old script. Journalists

in that press conference seemed

fiery in terms of demanding a

story from them. You know what

happened, tell us what

happened. They can't say in that situation exactly what

happened. All they can say is

give a rough outline, otherwise

they will get into the same

situation as they did

previously. You don't know. previously. You don't know. You

don't know whether they can't

or wouldn't. I thought what the

journalists could have provided

in the absence of concrete

information was a context about

the global refugee situation.

The 'Sydney Morning Herald'

writes the number of asylum

seekers has surged worldwide

since 2007 when the greater

number coming to Australia has

been part of that trend. What

does that mean? There have been

276 people this year. It's not

exactly the Normandy

exactly the Normandy landings.

I think the global population

of refugees is something like

60 million people. As far as Government decisions are

concerned, having influence on

people's behaviour, perhaps the most important policy is the

decision of the Pakistan

Government to expel 2.4 million

Afghan refugees, which means

their options are increasing

limited and perhaps their

desperation is such they will

take the extremely arduous take the extremely arduous and

dangerous trip to Australia.

While we are on the subject of partisan political

point-scoring though, it might

be worth having a look -

opening the door to death.

Andrew Bolt's column in the

'Herald Sun'. He says that at

least under the policy of

mandatory detention no-one

died. Should I hold that up

again. Just around the other way.

way. At least no-one died

under mandatory detention in the grand ol days of John

Howard's tough love. It was so

much better of course when the

people died in their own

busted-arse countries rather

than coming over here and

disturbing our sense of righteousness. According to

Andrew our problem is our

wealth, peace and too easy

welcome. We're just too

compassionate in this country

and people take advantage of us. You can hear us. You can hear the

conversations now can't you.

You can hear, Omagh, I've read

in 'The Monthly' that cud is a

social Democrat. Let us go and

exploit his foolish ban. I love

how you think they are reading

the month month. A good plug

for your magazine. If we blow up our boat,

up our boat, we'll infiltrate

their country and impose their

women. Let me refocus you off

this jag you are on. The

discussion that started up

already and you would expect it

is an analysis now of whether

any changes to border

protection policies by the Rudd

Government has had any bearing

on this. Talk us through what

you've seen and read this

morning in relation to that discussion? Everyone seems to discussion? Everyone seems to

be slightly shily-Shaliing.

They are saying on the one hand

this, on the other that.

Michelle Grattan says the issue

has been catapulted to the top

of the Government's agenda,

mandatory detention and the

changes there-in. But no-one

seems to be saying so far that it's anything other than a

potential hot button issue. I

think they are saying that it's come to the top of come to the top of the

political agenda in order to

justify the comment pieces they

will write over the next three

or four days in the absence of

any further information. Surely

it comes to the top of the political agenda because we

know in this country, as in a

lot of countries, there is a

fear and a near-jerk fear

around the issue of the others.

And other people coming. There

is. That's a fearful response

in so many countries that in so many countries that it

immediately becomes a political

issue, no matter the stripe of

the Government. You can tell some interesting

manifestations. This is from

yesterday's the 'Australian'.

We have well-dressed arrivals.

Well-dressed. God, if they are

refugees, the least they could

do is appear in rags and make

us feel more

compassionate. That gets us to

the discussion the discussion of near economic

migrants, which is a different

category altogether. I love the

commentary - it seems to be

pointing to encouraging people

not to revert to the

discussions that we've had over

the past eight years. Warning

against the going down that

path and saying that is not in

the national interest. Too

late. Bolt has started and I'm

sure the rest of the right sure the rest of the right will

be along any tick of the

clock. There is another subject

you wanted to look at this

morning? Yes. This is

interesting. The story on the

front page 'Age'. The

Marysville arson identified.

John Sylvester is looking sin

sister there. It is an

interesting story. It was

flashed on the 'Age' website

that a suspect had been found for the

for the Marysville fires. It is

not what we would have

expected, the lone nut with a

hard drive full of kiddie porn.

It is perhaps a CFA volunteer.

A member of the thin yellow

line. That's not what we

expected. This story will run

and run. What was interesting

was it flashed on the 'Age'

website around about 8 o'clock yesterday evening with yesterday evening with the teaser saying further details

to follow in the paper tomorrow. The 'Age' must have

been confident they had the

story on their own. Otherwise

other papers would have run a

spoiler. Thanks so

much. Pleasure. Now, Vanessa

O'Hanlon joins us for a look at

the national weather. Good

morning. Things have calmed

down in Tasmania after winds

exceeding 100km/h. There is exceeding 100km/h. There is a

wind warning for southern

western and northern coastal

waters. A high pressure system

over the south-east is the

reason for the cool overnight

temperatures keeping most of

the southern mainland dry and

sunny. A weak tropical low in

the Arafura Sea is having an

affect on the northern tropics.

It will continue to direct

humid and easterly winds over

the tropics. Cloud with the

trough in WA will cause patchy

showers and storm