Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
ABC News (Sydney) -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) This program is not subtitled This program is captioned live. Tonight - facing life, not death. the first of the Bali Nine Summer inferno - killer bushfires take a grip on Victoria. for Police Chief Ken Moroney. An embarrassing climb down confronts a betrayal in the ranks. And the Nationals leader Juanita Phillips with ABC News. Good evening.

the wait has been excruciating. For the Bali Nine, demand the death penalty Would the Indonesian courts

if the nine accused were found guilty of heroin smuggling? Brisbane man Scott Rush, Today an alleged drug mule, prosecutors will be pushing for. was the first to hear what And for him at least, not death. the possible sentence is life, Tim Palmer. Here's our Indonesia correspondent

When prosecutors finally made it to

court today, it was for Scott Rush

equally a relief and a crushing

blow. There was still time for

anxiety in court as 20-year-old blow. There was still time for more

Scott Rush waited to hear if the

prosecutors would ask for his life

as a penalty. Rush was part of a

secret a carefully planned drug

conspiracies the prosecutors said,

detailing Scott Rush's path to his

arrest at Bali airport carrying 1.6

kilograms of high-grade heroin.

Prosecutors told the court Rush was

young and had been polite during

trial, but they said it was no young and had been polite during the

reason for a lenient sentence.

Still, in the end, they stopped

short of asking for his life.

Instead they requested for Rush to

go to jail for the rest of his life.

Scott Rush had clearly expected a

far softer result. If his lawyers

saw escaping the death sentence as

victory, they weren't saying so. saw escaping the death sentence as a

This prosecution, even long life is

unfair. Outside the court, Scott

Rush's parents were equally

disappointed. The prosecutor is

asking for life, which of course is

very disconcerting to us as a

family. And it seems it would

maybe for the rest of the group, family. And it seems it would augur

maybe an indication. However, we

have great confidence in our legal

team here in Indonesia and we feel

that there is yet another round to

go. It's now expected prosecutors

will request the same life sentence

for Rush's friend Michael Czugaj in

court tomorrow, and for his other

fellow alleged mules. But it's not

known what sentence they'll ask for

for Myuruan Sukumaran when he comes

tomorrow, a man prosecutors have

said is one of the ring leaders of

the entire conspiracies. The rest

of the Bali Nine will face their

sentence requests during the week. a legal decision in Australia today. Scott Rush was also the subject of that the Australian Federal Police The Federal Court rejected claims for four of the Bali Nine Australian lawyers in Darwin this morning, arrived at the Federal Court hoping for a decision in Indonesia. that could help their clients' case Michael Czugai and Martin Stephens Scott Rush, Renae Lawrence, were dubbed the 'Airport Four' after their arrest in Denpasar last April. They launched legal action,

Police acted illegally claiming the Australian Federal

Indonesian authorities. by tipping off threw out the case But Justice Paul Finn today of any wrong-doing: and cleared the AFP

the AFP should review its policy But Justice Finn said of giving information to countries to the death penalty. which expose Australians There is a need for the minister Federal Police Act, 1979 administering the Australian and the commissioner of police and protocols to address the procedures followed by members of the AFP. Chris Ellison However, Justice Minister is standing by his police force. transnational crime and terrorism - The fight against drugs, cooperation. we need international that we have this full cooperation, It is in Australia's interests it's Indonesia or any other country. and that will continue, whether working on the Bali Nine To suggest that we were only to help our relationship with Indonesia was wrong. The reality is

we operate offshore most of the countries where do have the death penalty. Scott Rush's mother says Federal Court findings. she's frustrated at today's have been watching I hope that people of Australia and they don't get themselves in our situation to help us, whereby people that we want simply do not help us. against today's decision An appeal appears unlikely. Michael Holland, ABC News, Darwin. As we go to air tonight,

in four states. bushfires are still burning South Australia and WA Outbreaks in Tasmania,

are causing concern, been loss of life and property. but it's in Victoria where there's when his truck rolled over A firefighter died found dead in a car last night and police believe two people were victims of another fire. in the Strathbogie Range. The firefighter died

In the Grampians hectares have been burnt out at least a hundred thousand and homes lost. were threatened by a fire front In Gippsland, towns described as a smouldering giant. at least three homes were destroyed. And near Geelong, set off this blaze near Anakie Two days after a lightning strike west of Melbourne, things took a turn for the worst. winds fanned the flames Soaring temperatures and powerful

and treacherously close to property. out of control and headed towards the town, As they jumped containment lines to leave their homes. dozens of residents were forced My parents are still there. that same road as well. My grandparents are still down So I don't know. We'll see what happens. At least three houses have been destroyed. and several sheds and vehicles family - their bush home gone. This is what greeted the Worrall It was pretty hard looking for little bits and pieces, kicking through the ashes but there's not much there at all. Just 50 metres away, is still standing, the neighbours' house

the country in their converted bus but their dream of travelling is ruined. We're fortunate. to look over the fence to see... Unfortunately, we just have ..How lucky we are. Thanks, yeah. Further west, a 100,000 hectare blaze in the Grampians is continuing to burn out of control. This is all that's left of a car which crashed into a tree. Two charred bodies were found inside. Police believe thick smoke forced them off the road and they perished when the fire swept through. The sheer size of the Grampians blaze has made it difficult for authorities to estimate exactly how much property has been destroyed. And in Victoria's east, the threat to several towns in Gippsland has eased, but with more hot weather on the way, fire authorities are describing it as a smouldering giant. Jeremy Fernandez, ABC News. The National Party is tonight reeling from the defection of one of its senators to the Liberals. As the Prime Minister was finalising his new-look ministry, Victorian Senator Julian McGuaran resigned, dismissing the Nationals' long term prospects. But party leader Mark Vaile is accusing him of stealing a National Party seat, declaring Senator McGauran's defection an act of betrayal. As late as this morning, Mark Vaile was still trying to change Julian McGauran's mind - but the effort was in vain. Obviously, I'm very disappointed, and many of us feel betrayed. Far from high profile, the Nationals' Whip in the Senate last hit the headlines with this display on the floor of the Upper House. In trying to justify today's resignation from the Party, Senator McGauran delivered a stinging assessment of the Nationals' prospects - especially in Victoria, where they hold just two federal seats. The Liberal Party are the only non-Labor Party

capable of electoral growth in Victoria. A couple of months ago, Julian McGauran gave the finger to the Australian Senate. Well, today he's given the finger to the National Party. Senator McGauran is also critical of the tactics used by Queensland maverick, Barnaby Joyce - who has twice crossed the floor to vote against the Government - hinting that was another reason for his disenchantment with the Nationals. But Mark Vaile says the Senate seat belongs to his party, and Julian McGauran should resign from parliament, leaving another National to fill the position. If he wants to be a Senator for the Liberal Party

he should get himself elected in that regard. But Senator McGauran isn't budging and says he's acting in the best interests of his constituents. Apparently, his brother - Agriculture Minister and Victorian Nationals MP, Peter McGauran - disagrees. He put to me an alternative view. With John Howard on the verge of a reshuffle, Julian McGauran's defection may leave the way open for him to dump one of the Nationals' five ministers.

The carve up of ministries depends on parliamentary representation. Mark Vaile refused to guarantee that all of his ministers are safe. The circumstances are not finally resolved in the make-up of the new front bench, and I'm not prepared to comment any further than that. The PM could announce his new frontbench as soon as tomorrow. Narda Gilmore, ABC News, Canberra. The Police Commissioner Ken Moroney has been forced into a humiliating backdown. He's had to reinstate a senior officer to the taskforce investigating Sydney's race riots. Detective Chief Inspector Dennis Bray was dumped last week for failing to disclose key video evidence on the aftermath of the Cronulla clashes. These officers investigating the Cronulla riots and its aftermath threatened to walk off the job unless their former boss Dennis Bray was reinstated. The Police Commissioner was forced into crisis talks with the union and Mr Bray.

Late this afternoon, Mr Bray was invited back - but not as commander. He's working back on Enoggera. That is a position I put to him, he readily accepted that.

Police will now get on with the job. At this time there is no industrial action mooted. We are reasonably satisfied with the outcome. There is no doubt that the taskforce would have liked Mr Bray to remain as commander. The Police Commissioner is unrepentant. It's not a matter of me apologising to Mr Bray. I took a level of action that I believed, then and today was appropriate in all the circumstances. The Government says it's a managerial decision for the Police Commissioner.

The only winners in any disunity or difference are the criminals, and the people - the thugs and the hooligans. But the Opposition says the government is the real problem, not police politics. The Labour Party has a cultural problem, not only with the left-wing approach, the political correctness, but they're actually indebted to certain ethnic communities, most notably, Middle Eastern communities. The new commander of Strike Force Enoggera, Ken Mackay, was quick to put his stamp on the investigation today. Since this video was released last week, only five inquiries have come forth from the public. He said today 100 responses would have been more appropriate. And senior members of the Arabic community need to really have a close look at themselves and start calling the police and start identifying these people. The new commander of the strike force says he has another 100 hours of closed circuit and private video footage to sift through. He's told the Police Commissioner they'll be released to the public when he's ready. David Spicer, ABC News, Mascot. The corruption watchdog has heard that a senior prison official apparently had "a track record" of using violence against inmates, then ordering videotaped evidence be destroyed. The ICAC investigation centres on Jeffrey Strange, the now suspended deputy governor of Parramatta Jail. He's been accused of assaulting a prisoner and orchestrating a cover-up. There's little doubt the prison officers involved were dealing with a difficult situation when John Lapa was sent to Parramatta Jail from the Drug Court on August 4 last year. ...struck me! When he was admitted to the centre, it was apparent to everyone that he was affected by drugs - abusing staff and self-harming

by bashing his head against the bars of the cell through the perspex covering. The deputy governor was called - he was off duty. It was nearly 10:00 o'clock at night, but he turned up with handcuffs, a restraining belt and a helmet for the prisoner. It is alleged that the deputy governor, Jeffrey Strange, slapped Mr Lapa to the face and excessive and unnecessary use of force. Mr Lapa repeatedly yelled, "Stop hitting me", If you ever smack me again, mate, it's going straight to Drug Court. The events were videotaped, but something strange happened to the tapes. It is alleged that the video recording of the use of force incident was tampered with by Jeffrey Strange, or someone else at his behest. Nothing new, according to witness Leslie Gove. She recalled seeing Mr Strange give another prisoner a slap and try to choke a third back in 1997, and then order the camera operators to take the tape and "lose it". It was, she said, just part of the culture. Ms Gove said that after last August's incident, Mr Strange told officers not to make any reports - he would take care of all reporting himself. Five days later, he reported being bitten by Mr Lapa on the thumb. It is alleged that Mr Strange fabricated this story

in an attempt to justify his actions towards Mr Lapa. It bought Mr Strange a little time. He was transferred to Long Bay jail as head of security, but now has some explaining to do. Geoff Sims, ABC News, Sydney. It's been a deadly 48 hours on the State's roads, with seven people killed in four accidents.

A collision near Tamworth claimed the life of a 47-year-old woman. At Glenbrook in the Blue Mountains, a motorcyclist died when his bike smashed into a four-wheel drive. This afternoon there was a fatal collision

between a car and a logging truck near Tumbarumba. The worst accident happened at Peak Hill near Dubbo, where a family of four was killed. It was a family road trip. It ended in tragedy. Police say the two adults, a 7-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy - all from the Victorian town of Ballarat - didn't stand a chance. Their car collided head-on with a truck on a straight stretch of the Newell Highway just north of Peak Hill.

When at a point approximately 8km south it crossed the incorrect side of the road and into the path of an oncoming prime mover. Fatigue is believed to have been a factor in the crash. It's the ninth road death in the Dubbo area this year. This is the third major fatality that we've had here in the last couple of weeks. And certainly the message has got to be sent out there to drivers to take care. Many of the deaths have been in accidents involving trucks. The State Government says a lack of Federal funding for highways means roads are becoming more dangerous. They have continually reduced the maintenance spend on the national highway system. The Federal Government says it's increased funding for highways. The Transport Workers Union argues road safety is not just about maintenance standards. It says truck drivers are under increasing pressure, with unreasonable deadlines putting them and the public at risk. Client pressure on deadlines on truck drivers, and the tiredness and stress that goes along with that, that the Government needs to act to take that pressure off. Across New South Wales seven people died in crashes over the past two days. The State's overall road toll now stands at 27, compared to 23 at this time last year. Michael Edwards, ABC News. Now a recap of tonight's top story - Scott Rush has become the first of the Bali Nine to be told prosecutors will seek a life sentence, not the death penalty if he's convicted. And still to come -

the last Australian left standing at the Open.

Some say it's a super idea, but it's no certainty. Prominent headlines this morning had the Federal Government considering scrapping the 15% tax on superannuation contributions. A clarification from the Government came this afternoon. Radio presenter Kartik Mohandas is among 10 million working Australians whose superannuation contributions are taxed at 15%, earning the Federal Government billions of dollars a year. I think that kind of money would really be helpful

for medical issues, issues of investment, lifestyle choices etc. And if the Finance Minister has his way, the tax might go. I think there is actually a very good case for abolishing the current 15% tax on superannuation contributions. APPLAUSE The Association of Super Funds estimates the removal of the tax would mean the average wage earner would be $30 better off each week in retirement,

or an extra $610 a year if opting for a pension. It translates into a lump sum of $30,000 more for the average wage earner. It really could be a turning point in terms of helping people save and that's good both for the individual and the economy.

Given that we've had three tax cuts over the last five years, it's time now, really to put government revenue back into essential services that every Australian can access. The Opposition says the Government too is deeply divided on the issue of superannuation tax cuts. The missing jigsaw of course in all of this is Peter Costello. He's like a rabbit in the spotlight on tax issues, he won't engage. Late today, the Finance Minister was backing away from any immediate call for a change in the super tax structure, saying he sees his comments as part of the longer term debate on national savings. Philippa McDonald, ABC News. Share markets in Asia have been hit by the biggest fall on Wall Street since June. But Phillip Lasker says

Australian stocks proved fairly resilient. If energy stocks are the only things in your share portfolio - congratulations! Today, you're a genius. The All Ordinaries index fell 39 points, but the energy sector provided some protection from the effects of the weekend slide on Wall Street. As you can see, Wall Street's decline took a heavier toll elsewhere in the region with Tokyo and Hong Kong down more sharply in percentage terms.

These are some of the global names responsible for the steep falls in both the Dow Jones industrial average and the Nasdaq in New York. Investors have had high hopes for the high-tech sector. They're hoping today's companies will deliver sustainable and real profits after surviving the dotcom era excesses. So recent disappointing profit performances and forecasts have not gone down well. Add to that an oil price which jumped more than US$1.50 a barrel and is approaching record territory. The crude oil market is responding to unrest in Nigeria and tensions surrounding Iran. Not surprising then that Australian oil stocks braved the downturn with many posting increases of more than 1%, although uranium miner Paladin jumped nearly 6%. And, as you would expect,

today's major casualties were companies with exposure to the US and the banking sector. But paint manufacturer and takeover target Wattyl was firmer due to prospects of a special dividend. On foreign exchange markets, the US currency, like the share market, came under pressure. As a result, the Australian dollar is trading well above the US$0.75 mark. And that's finance. Russia is being accused

of plunging another of its near neighbours into the deep freeze. Explosions have cut Georgia's main gas and electricity supplies

from Russia, in the middle of a bitterly cold European winter. The Georgians blame Moscow for what they say is a deliberate act of sabotage.

This was the main gas pipeline from Russia to Georgia. It's been severed and the gas cut off. A second blast hit the reserve line, and just a few hours later, hundreds of kilometres away,

a line carrying a quarter of Georgia's electricity supply was targeted. The pipes are in an area controlled by Russian troops. Georgia's President has been quick to lay the blame on Russia itself. TRANSLATION: This morning there was a serious act of sabotage on the part of Russia on Georgia's energy system. Georgia relies heavily on Russian gas. It's now receiving emergency deliveries via neighbouring Azerbaijan. The region is shivering through sub-zero temperatures and it could take days to repair Georgia's regular supply. About two hours now I have been standing in the line and nobody knows if there will be enough gas or not for today. Most former Soviet states and many European countries depend on Russian gas. But in the past few weeks, deliveries have been intermittent. Earlier this month, Western Europe suffered when Russia cut off the gas to Ukraine

at the height of a dispute over price hikes. The Georgian President says his country is the latest victim. Yesterday it was Ukraine, today it is Georgia, and tomorrow it might get anywhere where Russia sells its gas and electricity. Russia has dismissed his accusations as hysterical. It blames anti-Moscow insurgents. But regardless of who is responsible, the explosions will bolster growing international concern that Russian energy is not to be trusted. Emma Griffiths, ABC News, Moscow.

Australia's Sam Stosur is facing the biggest match of her career tonight. She takes on former world number one Martina Hingis in the fourth round of the Australian Open. Kim Clijsters and Amelie Mauresmo are through to the quarter finals, while Juan Ignacio Chela couldn't maintain the form which saw him beat Lleyton Hewitt.

Here's Rob Cross. Sam Stosur had a light hit-up today, hoping to eradicate the unforced errors which almost deprived her of a fourth-round date with Martina Hingis. But the 21-year-old says she'll keep going for her shots against the 3-time Australian Open champion, who by contrast has played almost mistake-free tennis. Martina's going to be a really tough opponent out there for me and we've never played before. And she's probably going to step it up another gear with her unforced error count, keeping it low and always keeping the pressure on me. The winner will play world number two Kim Clijsters who beat Italian 15th seed Francesca Schiavone. Looming large in their half of the draw is third seed Amelie Mauresmo. The Frenchwoman cruised past Czech Nicole Vaidisova 6-1, 6-1 to reach the quarterfinals. COMMENTATOR: Oh, that's brilliant. The run of Lleyton Hewitt's conqueror, Juan Ignacio Chela, is over. The Argentinian went down to 21st seed Nicolas Kiefer of Germany in straight sets. COMMENTATOR: Terrific way to finish. Last night, seventh seed Ivan Ljubicic reached his first grand-slam quarter-final with a 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 win over former Australian Open champion,

Thomas Johansson. Ljubicic faces a tough match against in-form Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis who defeated the Croatian at last year's Open. Women's fourth seed Maria Sharapova held off a second-set fight-back by Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova to reach the quarter-finals. The 17th seed led 3-0 in the second set but Sharapova proved too strong and now plays compatriot and sixth seed Nadia Petrova. And it wasn't that long ago that Pat Rafter was challenging for the Australian Open title. Just three years after retiring, the former world number one and 2-time US Open champion has been elected to the Tennis Hall of Fame and will be inducted in July. There was no Glenn McGrath, no Adam Gilchrist and in the end, Australia was no match for Sri Lanka. Chasing a massive 310, and with the in-form Phil Jaques left out, the new-look opening partnership of Damien Martyn and Simon Katich struggled, raising more questions about the controversial rotation policy. We'll continue to do it.

We'll continue to rest guys and fiddle around a little bit

but as I said,

we don't want to be making lots of different changes and moving guys all around the batting or bowling orders. The captain will be the next to take a break, with Brad Hodge called up for Thursday's game against Sri Lanka in Adelaide. The guys that have been playing both forms of the game for a long time, I can certainly understand if they need a game off or need a break, that it can help their cricket.

For a brief moment last night, Clarke and Andrew Symonds shifted the momentum back to the Australians... ..but when they both fell within the space of four runs, the match was all but over. We want to win enough games to make the finals Sri Lanka gets the chance to move to the top of table when it plays South Africa in Adelaide tomorrow. "All the world's a stage", somebody once said -

even, it seems, a humble backyard in suburban Mt Druitt. That's the setting for one of the Sydney Festival's more adventurous productions. It's a play exploring the violence in mens' lives - a work inspired by 'real life' conflicts in the western suburbs. (Sings) * Oh, Judy, oh, Judy... * It looks for all the world like a regular backyard but this setting in Mt Druitt has been constructed for the play 'Back Home'. Four performers from different backgrounds - Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Samoan and Palestinian have helped write the characters that reflect their own cultural experiences. He's basically on the path of stopping the cycle of being, you know, an irresponsible father so now I'm going to own up to my responsibilities and, you know, get in touch with my culture. It's gruelling, it's pretty much in your face,

it's raw, it's explosive and it's powerful. Long before opening night

there have been ripples of this production throughout the Blacktown community. With more than 70 nationalities and the highest concentration of Aborigines in Australia, the area has been marked by racial disharmony and violence. The worst violence has been between Pacific Islanders and Aborigines. Both groups came together for this production with startling results. The impact is really profound and really positive in issues that have affected our community. It's brought community closer together. The producers are hoping 'Back Home' will travel to other cities after the Sydney Festival. Anne Maria Nicholson, ABC News. Well in a very nice turn around,

it looks like the weather's brought Mike Bailey with it. Welcome back, Mike. Thanks, Juanita. Good evening. And good to be able to come back

to what's been a better than average month for rain in Sydney - but none of that today. Temperatures were a couple above average on the coast,

going from 22-28 degrees, while inland centres reached 33. Pressure falling ahead of a change expected tomorrow. Tempertaures in the south were the warmest in the state today. A few light falls in the southern inland since this afternoon. A little bit of rain and a trough that will move through the State. Warm to hot ahead of that change, espcecially about the northern part of the State. Thunderstorms likely about parts of the inland tomorrow.

Sydney tomorrow - cloud increasing with that change moving in. A few thunderstorms on the ranges are possible..5 Still the chance of a shower or two, and maybe some cloud on Australia Day. And before we go, a recap of tonight's top stories. Prosecutors have called for life imprisonment, not the death penalty, if Bali Nine defendant Scott Rush is convicted. The Police Commissioner has had to reinstate Detective Chief Inspector Bray

to the taskforce investigating the Cronulla riots, but he will no longer be in command. And a firefighter has died and two people have been found dead in a car as Victoria's bushfire emergency takes a heavy toll. And that's ABC News for this Monday I'm Juanita Phillips. Goodnight. Closed Captions produced by Captioning and Subtitling International Pty Ltd This program is captioned live. Welcome to the program.

Later, Cronulla after the riots

and the prickly former journalist poised to become the West's next premier.

But first, the bushfires which have raged across Victoria have now claimed their first victims. Three people are confirmed dead, two of them an adult and child found in a burntout car near the town of Moysten. The third, a fireman killed when his truck rolled over