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.
Lateline Business -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

(generated from captions) get on board and vote this

through the Senate in

Australia. Absolutely, not only

that, it's in their own

interest transparently to vote

this in. Even if they roll

Malcolm over in the next few

days, the next leader will face

the problem. . The party is

divided, the last thing it

needs is the issue to

surface. Tim Flannery, that's

all we have time for, we'll

speak to you in cope r it will

be interesting to see what

comes true - Copenhagen, it

will be interesting to see what

comes true and what hasn't.

We'll speak to you every month

or so until then, when we speak

to you next time you'll be in

that place itself. It will be

fascinating to speak to you

from Copenhagen. I look forward to to it.

Well, several investigations

are under way into a violent

weekend riot on Christmas

Island between asylum seekers,

48 people were injured, three

so seriously hurt they had to

be thrown to Perth for hospital

treatment. While there's

concern about overcrowding and preferential treatment the preferential treatment

Federal Government says the

brawl was triggered by anxiety

over a tough immigration

approval process. Security has

been tightened as Karen Barlow

reports. Deportation may be a

self-fulfilling prophecy for

the asylum seekers on Christmas

Island. Anxious about claims

for asylum seekers, getting

involved in a wild brawl on

Saturday night may ensure a

ride back to their home

country If a detainee Christmas Island has committed country If a detainee on

a serious offence it will be

taken into consideration as

part of the assessment as to part of the assessment as

whether or not they are granted

a Visa. Pool cues, tree

branches, took half an hour to

contain. Five staff members and

43 asylum seekers were injured,

three detainees were thrown

2,500km away for treatment in

Perth. It was obviously a very

serious incident on the

weekend, and we take it very

seriously. The brawl was

between two large groups of

Afghan and Sri Lankan asylum

seekers. There had been anxiety

for some weeks among Sri Lankan

detainees, largely as a result

of their concerns when we

removed six men against their

will to Sri Lanka a couple of

weeks ago. The Immigration

Department is investigating the

riot, Federal Police are

looking at laying criminal

charges, the Opposition says

overcrowding and preferential

treatment for the Sri Lankans

aboard the 'Oceanic Viking' are

to blame. A lawyer for 200

Afghan and Sri Lankan detainees

pressures have been on Christmas Island says

building. It's a pressure

cooker environment in which

people have been placed under

enormous additional pressure,

this is incident and vulnerable

people placed under pressure,

already experiencing profound

trauma in their trauma in their life. The

Christmas Island facility will

have 200 more beds by the end

of this year. The 54th boat

since August last year was

intercepted 100 nautical miles

north-west of Derby, it has 58

people on board. The Budget airline Jetstar has been

accused of forcing a high

profile disabled athlete to

crawl through Brisbane airport

after forcing him to check in

his wheelchair. Multiple

wheelchair marathon winner Kurt

Fearnley arrived on a flight.

He said he was humiliated when

the airline demanded he use another wheelchair which he

couldn't control himself. I

said, "There is not a chance

that I am going to sit there

and be pushed through an

airport an able-bodied

equivalent normal person

equivalent would have your equivalent would have your legs

tied together, pants pulled

through an down and carried or pushed

through an airport. The

Parliamentary Secretary for

disability services Bill

Shorten will contact Jetstar

and the Human Rights Commission

tomorrow. Well, the South

Australian Premier has denied

having sex with a married woman

after claims of an affair were

aired on national television

last night. Mike Rann says it

was a friendship that was

flirty and fun and vowed to sue

media outlets who paid for the

story, Nick Harmsen reports.

For three days one question

has pursued Mike has pursued Mike Rann.

have sex with Michelle REPORTER: Premier, did you

Chantelois. It's a question

left unanswered until now. I

have not had sex with her. In

paid interviews with Channel

Seven and 'New Idea', Michelle

Chantelois outlined a lurid

sexual affair while he was mar

- while she was married and he

was dating the woman that

became his wife. Having me on

his desk. The idea that I

would have meetings in my office in Parliament House

while parliament is sitting is

ridiculous. The Premier insists

his relationship with Michelle

Chantelois is nothing more than

a friendship. It was funny,

flirty like any other

friendship would be. The relationship incensed Rick

Phillips, who last month was

charged with assaulting the

Premier, he is demanding Premier, he is demanding a

Parliamentary Inquiry. I call

Mr Rann to begin and behave

with honour and honesty and

apologise to us for the pain

caused to my children, my wife

and to me. Mike Rann says he'll

sue the outlets who paid for

the story, claiming he's the

victim of a personal, mall

malicious personal attack. We

are dealing with a the powerful in Channel Seven and 'New

Idea', I'll take them to court. Michelle Chantelois is

standing by her story. I don't

want more stress in my family,

I have spoken the truth, what

more can I do. It seems she

won't be sued. I do not intend

to denigrate her in any way

whatsoever. Mike Rann, for now,

has the backing of the Prime

Minister. Mike is a great guy

and first class Premier and first class Premier of

South Australia. One of the

best Premiers I know. Four

months from an election Labor

MPs are throwing their support

behind the Premier, making

denials to his party and

public, Mike Rann is stating

his political future on his own

weather: credibility. A look at the

That's all from us, Lateline

Business is coming up in a

moment. If you'd like to look

back at the interview with Tim

Flannery, or review stories or

transcripts visit transcripts visit Lateline's

web site abc.net.au/lateline.

Now here is Lateline Business

with Ali Moore. Tonight - a

10-month review into the financial services industry

stops short of recommending a

legislative ban on

commissions. The argument for

retaining trailing commissions

has somewhat been overlooked, particularly the disadvantages

of moving to a fee for service

model. ASIC under fire, this

time for its handling. AWP Iraq

kickback scandal and jarty

looks to the fewer for funds to

pay a growing asbestos

bill. Cement price and pulp

prices are going up and productivity increasing, things

seem to go in the right

direction in terms of their

margin. To the markets, and

higher commodity prices help

the All Ords add over half a

percent. The ASX 200 climbing

31, the Nikkei 31, the Nikkei falls, Hong

Kong's Hang Seng had a better

day, ending 1.5%. London, the

FTSE is up 1.5% in morning

trade. A short time ago trade. A short time ago a

Parliamentary Inquiry into the

financial services industry

handed down the findings of a

10-month inquiry, the committee

recognises the conflicts of interest inherent in the

current model but is not

recommending a legislative ban

on commissions, it's calling

for industry consultation on

how best to end payments from

product suppliers to financial

advisors, the committee wants

the Corporations Act amended to

include a fiduciary duty on financial planners, require

them to put the interests of

their clients ahead of their

open. In a moment we'll open. In a moment we'll speak

to the committee chair, Labor

Party MP Bernie Ripoll, first

this report from Andrew

Robertson. The public out cry

following the collapse of

wealth manages like Storm

Financial, and Opes Prime

prompted the inquiry, it's

looked at the role played by

financial planners and

commission payments and

conflicts of interest. The

issue polarising the industry

as we saw last week. I hope

and think we'll see sales

commissions and other forms of

incentives paid to common

planners band. We'll expect

financial planners be paid for

the advice they give, how is a

matter for discussion between

the planner and the the planner and the client. The Australian Securities and

Investment Commission agrees

with David Whiteley, in its

smigs to the Ripoll Inquiry, it

called for a - submission to

the Ripoll Inquiry, it called

for a ban of submissions and

fees under management banned

saying it could create

conflicts of interest.

Commissions are phased out by

some in the financial planning

industry, but there are those

that fear the baby is being thrown out with the bath water. The argument for

retaining trailing commissions

has somewhat been overlooked. Particularly the disadvantages

in moving to a fee for service

model Those disadvantages,

according to Greg Elias are

that charging an hourly rate

like lawyers and accountants

will put financial advice out

of reach of many that need it

You will deprive in many cases

those without the financial

capacity to pay for advice, I

think you are going to

basically preclude them from

receiving any form of

meaningful advice. While the

debate about commissions

grabbed the headlines, related

to that is the structure of the

financial planning industry

where big institutions such as

AMB, AXA and MLC are dominant.

Their number one goal is to

drive revenue for shareholders

which financial planners

believe puts them under pressure to sell the

institutions products. One of

those advisors is Rex Wood who

recently split with AXA Asia

Pacific. A product provider

providing licensing for

financial advisors is heading

down that track. Explicit or implicit, there's an aim in

that, and the aim is obviously

to promote their products and

sell their product. Rex wood

found out the hard way that

product providers can be

punitive if revenue budgets are

not met. The licensee that we

operate under at any given time

is a sole source, all our

revenue is derived through this

licensee, if they choose do

they can have control over

where the income close. Cameron Clyne is Chief Executive Clyne is Chief Executive of National Australia Bank, which

owns MLC, when asked if MLC's financial advisors were nothing

more than a source of revenue

for the bank, he refused to be

drawn That's a separate

implimentation and business

model. The model we support model. The model we support is

you are either an affiliated advisor or independent. Conflicts of interest in the finance

planning industry are not

limited to how financial

advisors are paid. As we said,

the Parliamentary Inquiry was

headed by Labor MP Bernie

Ripoll, he joins me from

Canberra, welcome to the

program. Thank you. Your report recommends changing recommends changing the

Corporations Act to include a

fiduciary duty for financial

planners to make sure the

interests of their client is

put ahead of the interests of

their own, also that

remuneration structures in

conflict with that duty should

be removed, but you are not

prepared to legislate to ban

commissions, why not? What we

are saying in this report, is

that we want Government to

consider looking in support in

consultation with the industry

to look at a mechanism to cease

payments from product

manufacturers to advisors, it's

an important step covering all

payments, be they commissions,

volume payments, shell fees,

it's a broad and bold

recommendation that looks at

all payments from product

manufacturers to advisors. You

say it's broad and bold. Words

like consulting and supporting

the industry and trying to find

the most appropriate mechanism,

it's less and stops short of

what many, including the

regulator call for, which was

an outright ban. Well, no,

what it does is looks at the

appropriate mechanisms. We are,

as a committee, prepared to go

as far as saying we believe

this needs to happen, that's

what we said in the report.

What we need to do is consult

with the industry, I don't

think anyone expects less of us

in terms work we have done, we

need to talk about the best

mechanisms to move forward, it

should be done in consultation,

it's not about handing down a

report saying this will happen

tomorrow, it's acknowledging

there'll be some transition and

some work needs to be done in

this area. Is legislative

change on the table or are you talking about

self-regulation. It's all on

the table, as a committee we

decided to put it to Government, this is our recommendation, we want the Government to take that up and

look at the best way to cease

the payments, that's clear what

that means to people that that means to people that work

in the sector, to cease

payments from product

manufacturers to advisors, but

with the cooperation of the

industry, and I think that is

the most appropriate way to

act. You had 10 months of

hearing, you're you heard

something like 400 submissions,

among them were submissions

that suggested if there wasn't

legislative change commissions

would condition under another

guise, do you believe it could

be successfully down through self-regulation. The industry

has had a long time to

self-regulate. In some parts it

does it well. Self-regulation

can begin today, nothing is

preventing people working

within the sector to work under

a different model. Many do.

What we say is we believe we

have received enough evidence

that we need to take further action, the committee pointed

to that, we recommended that,

it's a strong statement, we

want the payments to cease, but

we think it should be done in a

proper way, in consultation

with the sector. Do you have

with the sector. Do you have a

time frame or stick if the time

frame is not met. We haven't

set a time frame, we think

that's an issue for Government.

Government should be setting

time frames in consultation

with the sector, it's the

appropriate way to do this,

this is a big change, this will

involve people reorganising the

way they do business, some

products may need to be

remanufactured in a different

way. I don't think anyone would

expect we'd hand a decision

down and expect the next day

people will just do this. You

said earlier that it's not just

commissions but ASIC called for

the banning of soft clar

incidentives, fees on a

percentage of funds, rewards,

all of those things you are

including in your ceasing of payments. Well, we have said

cease payments. End of

story End of story, cease page.

That is as clear as you can

possibly get. I don't think

there's any ambiguity in

there's any ambiguity in what

we are trying to achieve. Cop

flicts of interest exist. flicts of interest exist. We

have had more - conflict of

interest exist. We have had

more evidence to suggest that's

the case. We've taken

seriously ASIC's smicks and

Treasury, we want to see action

in this area, but in a proper

manner. There's another side to

this argument put by the retail

funds represented by IFSA, if a

fiduciary duty to put the

interest of the client ahead of

other interests is adopted, why

do you need to ban payments from product suppliers to

financial planners, does that

not imply theifiedury duty is

limited. No, it doesn't. The

FID usualry duty needs to be an

explicit. There is an incompatibility between the

fiduciary duty and payments

that take place, the two need

to work in Harmony, we need the

FID usualry duty as a core

matter first and look at the

payments. The fiduciary duty is

an important mechanism and tool

to make sure the reform is done properly. Is there a risk that

that duty will push up the

premiums for professional

indemnity, the costs that are

already high. I don't believe

so. There is a cos to

regulation, there's a cost to -

cost to regulation and

responsibility, what we are

trying to achieve in the end is

ensuring that the rights of the

- the interests, sorry, of the

clients are ahead of the

interests of the advisor, the

fiduciary duty is about making

sure it's the client that

receives the most appropriate

advice based on their needs,

not on somebody else's. You

recommend that ASIC take a more

rigorous and targeted approach

to standards of advice, you

talk about risk-based

surveillance and things like

annual shadow shopping

exercises, do you believe ASIC

failed on those scores when it

came to Storm and Opes

Prime. ASIC undertakes a range

of shadow shopping exercises

and a range of audit undertakings. Not enough in

your view, you ask for more

rigorous and started. It's

never enough. That's the

reality, ASIC have to deal with

the consumer market, it's

enormous, it's a very tough

job. There'll never be enough

funding and resources for ASIC

to do what it must do, we

believe it can do more, and

more targeted, and we believe

it can be more effective in the

way it targets certain sectors within financial services,

that's what our recommendation

is about. Did it fail in that

duty when it came to things

like Opes Prime, and Storm

Financial, which triggered the inquiry. There are question

marks around the events and

what took place, we are

satisfied we have dat with the

issues, through the report, and

that ASIC heard the message

from us, and believe that ASIC

is working hard to ensure these

things don't happen again in

the future. The other key

issued tied with making sure it

doesn't happen in the future is

the question of licensing

requirements, you don't think

those selling products should

be licensed differently to

those giving independent price

and ruled out licensing

individual planners, does that

imply everything is OK with the

licensing system. Not at

all. What is demonstrates is as

a committee we didn't want to

overload the sector with more

regulatory burden, or

regulatory burden, or that

there was real value to be

gained in adding a lair of

complexity with further

licensing. The current

licensing regime needs to be

rigorously enforced, but

certainly the way it currently

operates is sufficient. We need

to lift the standards, left the

impacty of advice, lift the

educational base within the

sector, we don't believe you

should have to individually

licence every person that works

within it. If a system doesn't

change, there'll be big issues

once you stop all payments as

we heard in the earlier story.

At the moment if you are a

planner and licence the through

a larger organisation and you

are reliant on them for their

income, under the changes you

are seeking to have in force,

you wouldn't be reliant on them

for income, but you would for

the licence What we are looking

at is not one solution, but a

suite of solutions, one of the

things we talk about in the report that is

report that is critically

important is the fact that all

of these reforms need to happen

in concert, together to give

the best outcomes, just simply

picking one out won't be a

solution, there are no silver

bullets in the end. You are

talking about substantial

reform within the sector, it

needs to be done progressively,

in consultation, and the

reforms need to happen together

to get the best outcomes, in

the end you look for quality

advice, making sure there's no

conflicts as best as possible

and minimise the opportunity

for the Storms of the world to

happen again. Do you think the

victims of the Storms of the

world or the Opes Primes will

be happy with this. I hope they

can feel some satisfaction that

through a range of places their issues are being seriously

dealt with. This report, and

this committee's work is just

one part of range of things

that are taking place. There's

a court case in Brisbane, ASIC

are doing a separate review,

there's a number of resolution

schemes and compensation

schemes. Our job is to look not

only at Storm and what took

place, but across the whole

sector, we are looking to make

wholesale improvement. If we

get that right and the reform

right we'll minimise the

opportunity of the storms

happening again. I assume you

want in the sorted within a

2-year time frame, you say it's

up to Government. You are a

Labor MP. That's right. It's a

great report, the committee has

put a lot of work and effort

into the report, we have

received a lot of evidence.

There's a lot of merit in our

recommendation. Would you like

to see a time frame Look, in

the end it's up to Government.

I would like to see the report

adopted, but we have carried

out our responsibilities, we

are happy with that, I'm happy

with that. If anything, my work

continues in terms of trying to

reform the sector, and as best

as possible provide consumer

protection balanced with a good

efficient market.

The corporate regulator is

facing a fresh wave of

criticism over its handling of

a high profile prosecution,

days after losing its case against One.Tel founder David

Richard, ASIC is under attack

over its dispute with AWB and

illegal kickbacks paid to Iraq. AWB's formerly Chief Executive Andrew Lindberg is

facing trial over his role in

paying nearly $300 million in

kickbacks to Iraqi Saddam kickbacks to Iraqi dictator

Securities and Investment Saddam Hussein, Australian

Commission is laying new charges against Andrew

Lindberg, accusing him of

misleading the AWB board over

the payments. His the payments. His counsel,

David Collins SC has unleashed

on the corporate regulator,

telling Victoria's Supreme

Court ASIC was unjustifiably oppressive, sake the fresh

charges threatened to bring the

administration of justice into disrepute. David Collins said disrepute. David Collins

it was upreasonable for ASIC to

launch the new case weeks after

the start of the initial trial.

As the legal debate escalated,

justice Rob Robson expressed his concern:

The AWB hearing, one of the The AWB hearing, one of

biggest commercial cases is the

subject of greater interest

following the collapse of

ASIC's One.Tel case, the corporate regulator is

determined to press ahead with

its prosecution of Andrew

Lindberg, arguing it has the

evidence to prove he knew of

the kickbacks and mislead

company directors about them.

Senior ASIC official Brendan

Caridi told the court criminal

charges against a number of

former AWB executives was still

being considered. James Hardie

revealed its asbestos bill

jumped $200 million due to the

surging Australian dollar,

pushing earnings of the group

into the red, but the stock was

one of the best performers as investors looked through the

headline number to the better

than expected underlying

result. Over recent years

there's been no shortage of ang

ever directed at James Hardie

from asbestos - anger directed

at James Hardie. Now it seems

even the Australian dollar is conspiring against the conspiring against the company.

James Hardie has reported a net

loss of $106 million for the

September half. The result

included a $199 million increase in James Hardie's

total liability to asbestos

victims, which occurred victims, which occurred because

of the Australian dollar sharp

rise over the period. To the

large extent it's non-cash,

it's non-cash totally in the

near term and the lodger term

it can have a cash impact. It's

noise in the results. Investors

also looked past the asbestos

adjustment preferring instead

to focus on James Hardie's

underlying result and forecast

full-year earnings will be at

the top end of previous

guidance range Margins are

going not right directions,

cost and input costs are lower,

cement prices are going up.

Things seem to be going in the

right direction in terms of

margins, net profits above

expectations. Chief Executive

Lewis grieves say the ruts were

up, after all adjustments are

included. James Hardie shares

jumped 6 and a third percent.

And have more than doubled.

The stock is trading at 30

times the company's estimated

2010 earnings suggesting to

some the company is

overpriced. I think that's why

the stock has

the stock has underperformed

over the last couple of months,

traders see the stock assist

expensive. They look at other

areas, BHP is trading 20 times forward earnings, you suggest

it's more compelling, the

result from James Hardie

suggests earnings are in a

better space. Notwithstanding

that optimism jrdie continues

to be weighed down by in the United States housing to be weighed down by weakness

market, where the company makes market, where the company

more than four fifths of its

revenue. Haven't got any

recovery, we think things recovery, we think things are

settling down, we haven't seen

the sign where things are

getting better, even in a few

markets it hasn't started

yet. Weakness in the US will

also affect how much James

Hardie can contribute to its

asbestos fund. James Hardie

says it's committed to a

revised agreement to fund the

compensation scheme. The company expects to company expects to contribute

to the fund this year when

profits return, but can't say

at this stage how much it will

put in. For a look at the rest

day on the market I spoke day on the market I spoke with

Charlie Aitken Charlie Aitken at Southern

Cross Equities. Resources were

the dominant theme today. Yes,

again the switch was on from

banks to resources, banks a

little stagnant, marking time.

Resources quite powerful, led

by the gold stocks, they were

really breaking into new highs,

and the market was chasing

them. How much further do you

think the gold stocks have to

run. You asked the right

person. I think a lot person. I think a lot further,

I think it's breaking into a

permanently high trade, there's

a big event in the comex gold

futures, an option may be

exercised seeking gold to go

above 1200, I think it's

heading to 1500 over the next

two years. 1500 within the next

two years, that's your tip. It

could be of the next two month,

the way it's heading, the

structural decline of the US

dollar is on, gold equities

have a lot of catch up. The

small Gold equities are up

6-7-10%, it was a powerful day

for goal. Some of the small

ones are nothing more than

speculation. They have a good leverage for the gold leverage for the gold price,

they are high-cost producers,

the higher the price, the

biggest margin, gold is a

scarce commodity. Mine

production peaked in production peaked in 2001,

Central Banks and buyers, it's

interesting, yes, it smells

frothy, the vast bulk of

institutional investors have no

goal exposure. Retailers had a

solid session, is it more than confident talk from the likes

of Gerry Harvey. It's good to

see Gerry Harvey is alive we

haven't seen him, there he was

on the TV everywhere. Gerry

Harvey has a billion more than

me, people should listen to

what he sis about Christmas

trading, it lit up the trading, it lit up the retail.

Gerry Harvey's stock was up Gerry Harvey's stock was up 5%,

JB Hi-Fi strong, David Jones strong, there's a feeling that Christmas looks better than last year, that's the

case. Looking at the week

ahead. There's Thanksgiving in

the US, the start of the annual

shopping season, do you think

they'll be key factors for the

market this week There's no

doubt that end of the week will

be affected by thanks, quieter

with the holiday in America,

American shopping season will

be different to our, they have

10.2 unemployment. We have 5.2.

The American shopping season

will be sloppy, but it will be

better, this time last year the

world was falling apart, on

comparisons it will be better,

raw data maybe not so

agreement. The market will

still head higher into

Christmas, that's still the

case. To the other major case. To the other major movers

on the market. As we heard gold

and gold stocks had another

good Australia suds biggest

producer Newcrest Mining adding

3%. Can't us up onrenewed

speculation of a British

Airways takeover. Rio Tinto

higher, gaining 2.5%, Brambles

up 2% as it targets a greater

market share in the US, China

and Europe. Currency:

Now a look at the business diary, and the diary, and the AMPNatsem 'Income and Wealth Report' is

out. Ramsey Health Care hold out. Ramsey Health Care hold an Annual General Annual General Meeting,

Woodside Petroleum has an

investor briefing day, we'll

talk to Woodside boss Don Volty tomorrow. GDP numbers in United

States is released. News in the

business sections of the

papers, 'Herald Sun' criticism

of as ik's investigation into

the AWB oil for food. the AWB oil for food. The 'Australian Financial Review',

state Budgets hit by a wages blowout. That's all for tomato.

As I leave you the FTSE is

trading 85 points or 1.6%, Dow

futures showing an opening up

95 points or 0.9 of 1%, I'm Ali

Moore, goodnight.

Closed Captions by CSI

WIND WHISTLES Antarctica is the harshest and most isolated environment on earth. It's the closest experience to being on another planet. As man's trips to Mars become a reality, scientists are looking at Antarctic explorers to find out what sort of personalities could survive long missions in space. MAN: Your life expectancy is measured in minutes in Antarctica

if you don't have the right kind of clothing. And, of course, if go outside in space

without adequate protection, your life expectancy

is measured in seconds. In the 1990s, astronauts confronted the physical dangers of space travel when they lived on the 'Mir' space station. You're living on the edge. Extreme environment, things can go wrong very quickly. You've got smoke billowing out, you've got blackout. And you've got to hustle to stay alive. Soon the technology will be available to fly humans to Mars. But what will it take to cope with the extreme isolation and unexpected dangers of the two year journey? The early polar explorers were regarded very much as the astronauts of their day. They were going to a place that was uninhabited, and uninhabitable, and, I think, the people of that period were just captivated by their adventures as much as many people today are captivated by the idea of space travel. In 1911, an Australian Antarctic expedition would become a survival manual and inspiration for future generations of explorers. Leading it was geologist Douglas Mawson.

Although only 29, he was already an Antarctic veteran. Like astronauts today, Mawson's party was a select bunch. They'd been hand-picked by the young leader from a thousand applicants. Their challenges would begin almost immediately. ANDY THOMAS: They had to carry everything with them that they needed for their own survival. And that's very like space travel.

There is one fundamental difference between Mawson and modern space travel, and that is that he was truly alone. So he had to make sure that he could accommodate any scenario, any contingency plan in his expedition. And if something did go wrong, as it did for him, he had to be ready to react accordingly. Andy Thomas, an Australian research scientist, was the last NASA astronaut to fly the shuttle to the 'Mir' space station.

Like Mawson before him, Andy knew only too well that the first great difficulty in exploration was getting there. He was literally sitting on 500 tonnes of explosive.

ANDY THOMAS: Suddenly, you hear this enormous explosion. And if you're by one of the windows, you see everything light up around you. The vibration is just profound. Everything starts to shake madly, and everything's rattling. Your teeth are jarring.

And if you look out the window, you see the launch tower next to you

just fall away, and you're pushed back into your seat, and you've got this ride of your life for the next two minutes going higher and faster to take you up into space. Andy Thomas was leaving earth to spend four months in space. In the days before shuttle docked with 'Mir', Andy and the crew acclimatised to working in zero gravity. ANDY THOMAS: I got my start in this business through my work as a scientist and engineer.

Later on, I have to admit, it was the great sense of adventure.

The idea of doing something that so few people would ever get to do was just enthralling. (Speaks into radio) I think Mawson would have been a good astronaut. I think he had the right leadership qualities. He was obviously a very fit, strong individual. And I think you need physical strength to undertake space exploration. After a 3,000km voyage from Australia, Mawson arrived at the still largely unexplored Antarctic continent. He found a sheltered anchorage, and named the area Commonwealth Bay. The relatively mild summer weather allowed Mawson to build a hut and set up the first radio in Antarctica - their only fragile link with home. Then the weather changed with an unexpected ferocity. Hurricane-force winds hurtled down from the high Antarctic Plateau. Day after day, the blizzards funnelled into Commonwealth Bay, raging around the hut.

MAN: Mawson had simply not anticipated this.

And what it meant was they were trapped, essentially, with this raging wind happening outside.

And it must have been quite frightening to hear and to be in constant fear of, say, the roof lifting off, which would have been disastrous. In the confined conditions of the hut,

the mix of characters that Mawson had chosen proved vital. It was good that they had Murphy, who was a bit eccentric and told stories, and they had Hurley, who was a joker, as well as personalities that were quieter and more serious. So, there's a kind of balance. And clearly these were all men who were prepared to live and let live. They were all highly motivated.

And they all had a sense of humour.