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Lateline Business -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) Senate reconvene for the

nation's 42nd Parliament. The

day will be dedicated to

age-old Westminster customs.

MPs and Senators will be welcomed by the region's traditional owners. That's

just a precursor to the day

many have been waiting for,

when Kevin Rudd delivers the

Government's apology to the

stolen generations on

Wednesday. Dana Robertson

reports from Canberra. For a

decade it's been the hardest

word and while Kevin Rudd's

official apology to the stolen

generations is still two days

off, expectations are

high. This is a turning point,

a point at which we can all

move forward together. Saying

sorry is an act of forgiveness

and forgiveness is an act of

love. There's little love lost,

though, between the two sides

of politics before they come

together to say sorry. Brendan

Nelson admits there's still ambivalence within the

Coalition ranks towards the

apology. Not to mention fury

that MPs are yet to see the

final wording. If Mr Rudd wants

it to unify Australia, to bring

our nation together the most

important person he should be

negotiating with is me.

Remember who our audience is

here, which is Indigenous

people, to have an apology

registered with them through

the Parliament. The words will

be made public late tomorrow,

but regardless of what's said,

there are still demands for

more. If something's worthwhile

doing you may as well do it

properly and if the intention

of the Prime Minister is to

settle the stolen generations

issue once and for all, then

you can't either have an

apology or compensation, you've

got to do both. There has to

be rep penetrations, compensation komption with that

-- reparations. The fact Mr

Rudd has said no to it doesn't

mean that will be the

outcome. The apology's cast a

long shadow over the opening of

the 42nd Parliament. Veterans

and green horns alike are

pouring into Canberra ahead of

tomorrow's ceremonies. I must

say this is my 15 years in

politics and I'm as excited

about today as I was the first

time I walked into Parliament

House. My suits I'm not sure

where they are, they've assured

me they'll get it to us this

afternoon . You'd be a fool if

you weren't a little excited

and a little daunted by the

prospect of sitting in the

national Parliament. All eyes

are fixed firmly ahead to

Wednesday. After understood

lining the impact of the change

of government with the apology,

Kevin Rudd will face his first

Question Time as Prime

Minister. From there, there'll

be no let-up in the frantic

pace, with the introduction of

legislation to abolish

WorkChoices. The Opposition

has already abandoned the election-loosing workplace

agenda, but will fight to

retain workplace

agreements. We'll I think move

to have that bill referred to a

Senate committee for

examination inquiry. We're

very mindful of the fact that

the Government has an almighty

result of the last IOU to the union movement as a

election. They're probably not

very happy with the result of

the last election, but they

should respect the result and they should respect what the

Australian people voted

for. It'll be the new Speaker's

job to keep it all under

control. If I'm able to achieve

that without being noticed,

that's what I'd like to do.

But from time to time there may

be a need for some form of

intervention to try to get the

that the electorate type of behaviour that I think

expect. There are there's

disquiet about Parliament

sitting regularly on Fridays.

There'll be no Question Time,

no votes, no quorums, no

divisions. It is a bit of

propaganda spin by the Rudd

Government. There's no opportunity to scrut niez

Government, that can't be

considered a parliamentary

day. Absent ministers they

claim, will render the private

member's day a parliamentary

mirage. After decades of

phosphate mining Nauru looks

more like a moonscape than a

tropical paradise. Finally,

the rehabilitation of the

island has begun with funds

accumulating for a decade in an

Australian account. As Sean

Dorney reports from Nauru, the

work started with a controlled

explosion to shatter the first

of the island's traditional

pinnacles. Standby, standby,

firing now. The start of

rehabilitation on Nauru has

been a long time coming. Sean,

you can see the blast fracture

mark down through there and you

can see the hole, the fracture

line, that's all we want. We

only want to crack 'em. We

just push those over, maybe

break them with the breaker,

pick them up with the grab, put

them on the back of the truck

and take it to the krurer. In

the 1990s the Keating

Government settled out of court

when Nauru settled Australia

before the International Court

of Justice setting up a trust

fund to pay for the island's

rehabilitation. It's beginning

now after Australia agreed some

of the money could be spent on

new equipment that will not

only get rid of the pin acles

but mine the residual phosphate

down below. When I took on this

portfolio a few years ago I

made it clear that I thought

important part of secondary mining was an

rehabilitation. We had to

remove the phosphate in the pin

acles before we could level the

land and rebuild and grow on

it. The trial rehabilitation

blot has been selected for a

reason. It's been talked about

for at least the last 10 years.

All I've heard is a lot of

talk. Finally we're at that

stage where it's going to

happen. People are sceptical

about, "Ah, we've heard all

this talk, nothing's happened"

, and now they can see

something happening. They're

still sceptical as to how the

land's going to be

rehabilitated. We chose that

block where the public can

look. Nauru was once known as "

pleasant island" , returning it

to that state is the

rehabilitation aim. To the US

now and Barak Obama has scored

another victory over Hillary

Clinton in the race to win the

Democratic nomination for the

White House. Voters braved

heavy snow and freezing

temperatures to attend the

caucus for the State of Mayne.

Senator Obama grabbed nearly

60% of the vote for his fourth

win in a row. The clean sweep

gives him a burst of momentum

in his race with Hillary

Clinton. Her campaign manager

stepped down after the latest

defeats. At least 33 people

have been killed in a car bomb

attack in the Iraqi town of

Balad. The blast happened as

the US Defense Secretary Robert

Gates arrived in Baghdad on a

surprise visit. Mr Gates had a

private winner with top US

commanders including General

David Petraeus and the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri

al-Maliki. He was in Baghdad

to discuss a possible cutback

in American troops and to

assess recent security gains.

An inquiry has been told that

Private Jake Kovco was sexually

abused as a child and had

contemplated suicide. An

earlier military tribunal found

that Private Kovco was killed

by his own gun while skylarking

in his barracks in Baghdad in

2006. But nose a Leigh Sales

reports the NSW coroner is

investigating with greater

access to evidence and

witnesses. Jake Kovco's family

has endured one inquiry. This

second investigation will

explore even more painful

ground. Today a jury of six

heard that Jake Kovco had had a

short affair and that his

former lover will be a witness.

She'll testify that Private

Kovco, seen here standing in

his Baghdad Barra ks, told her

as a child he was sexually

abused by a 17-year-old

neighbour driving him to

suicidal thoughts. His wife

Shelly will appear as a

witness, but her view was that

Jake was not a suicide risk. Counsel Assisting the Inquiry

John AgiusSC said this inquiry would hear much new information in the case.

# # he told jury members to make up their own minds.

the question for the jury is

whether he deliberately took

his own life, or didn't realise

the gun was loaded. Counsel representing Private Kovco's

mother Judy Kovco told the

inquiry she wants every

scenario explored, including

the possibility of murder. Mrs

Kovco can't understand why

another soldier's DNA was all

over her son's gun when that

soldier claims he never touched

it.

That's all from us.

'Lateline Business' coming up

in just a moment. If you'd

like to look back at tonight's

interview with the Foreign

Minister Stephen Smith or

review Lateline's stories or

transcripts you can visit our website. Here's 'Lateline

Business' with Ali Moore.

Thanks, Tony. The Reserve Bank

says inflation will remain high

for the foreseeable future. The

Reserve Bank put out a very

hawkish statement on monetary

policy today, much more hawkish

than what markets were

anticipating and most

economists. Healthy appetite -

Primary's profit falls but

edges closer to a takeover of

Symbion. That's pretty nice,

Symbion's just announced a

board recommendation. And

farming boom - despite the drought, rural commodities

doing a roaring trade. We're in

something like a gold boom, a

wool boom, we're in

extraordinary territory. To

the markets and the prospect of

another round of interest rate

rises triggered a broad selloff. The All Ords dropped

2% dragged lower by big falls

in banking stocks. The ASX200

shed a similar amount. The

benchmark index shed 12.5% so

far this year. The Nikkei was

closed for a national holiday.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng slid

3.5%, and in London, the FTSE

is also weaker. The Reserve

Bank sent a shudder through

local markets today, warning

inflation could remain above 3%

for the next two years. That's

renewed concerns that another

interest rate increase could

come as early as March and

there could even be another in

May. However the rate rises so

far seem to be having little

effect on consumer spending,

with retailer David Jones

reporting a big jump in sales

for the second quarter. Neal

Woolrich reports. It's a

globaling time on -- troubling

time on global markets. The

Reserve Bank put out a very

hawkish statement on monetary

policy today, much more hawkish than what markets were anticipating and most

economists. The RBA is

forecasting that underlining

inflation could remain above 3%

for the next two years. That

means interest rates are likely

to rise again with the market s factoring in another increase

next month. These worse than expected inflation figures aren't being perceived as being

temporary, they're being

perceived as going on for the

next few years and so they're

looking at the economy and

coming with with if you like a

different mix of growth n

flation than what they were 3-6

months ago and hence are

signalling they need to go more

on interest rates. Jeff Oughton

says most parts of the domestic

economy are growing strongly

and that's fuelling inflationary expectations among individuals, business and

unions. But he says the RBA

could be nearing the top of its

rate tightening cycle and there

may be a slowdown in consumer

spending by the end of the

year. So we're still really

looking over the next few

months for some peaking in household spending. You have

started to see it in the

housing market. Housing

finance approvals are much

softer now and you really need

to see it down the supermarket

and that'll confirm that we're

slowing down and the Reserve

Bank's near the peak in their

interest rate cycle. The RBA's

sobering outlook on inflation

had an immediate impact on the

market. The ASX200 was already

on the way down this morning,

and slipped further to finish

2.1% lower. David Jones shares

fell 4% despite the company unveiling better than expected

second quarter sales and

upgrading its first half profit

guidance. Fabulous result.

It's another example of what

you get when you've got very

good retail management. The

like for like sales are

imperngted by at least 1%.

Topline growth also better buy,

about 1%. They've done a great

job, obviously had new stores, refubishment, probably the

benefit of the Aussie dollar as well and obviously full

employment. But the up-market

retailer remains caught in a

selloff that's hit the consumer discretionary sector. David

Jones, Harvey Norman and the

Just Group have lost around a

third of their values from last

year's peaks compared to a 18%

drop in the broader market.

Tony Pearce says investors see

tough times ahead in 6-12

months. Behind that we're

hearing about offshore hedge

fund selling. A lot of people

are looking at that and saying

this is an opportunity to make

money by short selling those

stocks. From the broking

world, that's definitely a

factor. Mark McInnes says the

RBA's attempts to dampen

spending have so far had little

impact. Interest rates on their

own haven't been a predictor of

slowing in sales growth. We've

had record level sales. That's

not the true determine gnat for

our business and customer. That

may be another sign that the

Reserve Bank has a lot more

work in front of it before

consumer spending and inflation

are sax contained. That said,

in other quarters thereby signs

the interest rate increases are

starting to bite. While the

latest housing finance figures

from the Bureau of Statistics

show the number of loans

increased slightly in December,

fewer investors are entering

the market. Loans for

investors dropped 3%. The

number of owner occupiers

taking out loans rose 0.5%.

The total value of loans fell

0.5% to $22 billion. Rio

Tinto's board has again called

on investors to reject BHP

Billiton's $165 billion

takeover offer. In a letter to

shareholders, chairman Paul

Skinner labelled the bid

preconditional and said the

board believes BHP's takeover

offer significantly undervalues

the company. Rio says BHP's

offers so far are not formal,

merely the intention to make

formal offers if certain

conditions are met. BHP shares

fell just under 1% today while

Rio Tinto plunged nearly 3%.

The battle for control of

Symbion Health has taken a toll

on the earnings of rival

operator Primary Health Care.

Primary's interim profit was

down 24% thanks to a big

interest bill from building at

stake in Symbion. Symbion

directors have finally agreed

to recommend Primary's takeover

offer if Primary can push its

holding past 50%. Andrew

Robertson reports. Despite the

fall in Primary Health Care's

half-year profit managing

director Dr Edmund Bateman told

investors and the media he

believes the operating results

show a company performing well. Especially since we've

doubled the number of centres

in the last two years. We've

gone from 20-40. When you

looked at the last time we

doubled the number of centres

we didn't perform as well as

last time. Net profit was down

24% to just over $20 million,

however profit before interest

and tax was up 24%, helped by a

15% increase in sales.

Primary Health Care shares

fell 3% today, and while health

sector analysts such as John

Hester believe Primary is in

good shape he says the figures

weren't outstanding. The result

was largely as we expected, all

divisions of the business

showed growth in earnings

albeit at slightly lower

margins than previously

reported particularly in the medical software business. Overshadowing the

results, though, was the $2.6 billion takeover bid for

Symbion and good news for

Primary arrived as Dr Bateman

was speaking to the media. Symbion has just announced a board

recommendation. With primary

stake in Symbion inching

towards 50% the board of Symbion announced it would

recommend the bid to

shareholders when that figure

was started.

As he digested and news

Edmund Bateman attempted to

play his cards close to his

chest. I think we'd better be

careful, it's subject to us

going unconditional by the

close of business tomorrow

night. Which means we've got

to get 50.1% and the board of

Primary needs to go with that.

Clearly this will accelerate

that outcome. Even with control

of Symbion Health there are

still big hurdles for Primary Health Care to overcome.

There's a capital raising to

pay for the takeover, the

consumer and pharmacy

businesses will need to be sold

and the pathology and radiology

businesses consolidated. Then,

there's the predicted takeover

cost savings of up to $105

million. To achieve that

Primary will need 100% control

of Symbion and that depends on

rival health scope selling its

12% stake. I think health scope

bought the stake to get a seat at the table and to negotiate

part of the assets. If they

can reach agreement with

Primary on the sale of some of

those assets I think they will

accept. Primary Health Care's

holding in Symbion is already

paying dividending literally.

It received $6.5 million from

Symbion in the first half as it

lifted its own dividend by 1

cent a share to 22 cents. In

other earnings announcements

Ansell posted a stronger than

expected rise to $57 million.

Shares in the rubber products

maker gained 3.5% after

upgrading its earnings guidance. Strength in January

was broad-based again, all

three businesses in all three

regions as well. Despite

unveiling a 46% rise in first

half earnings, investors

savaged engineering firm United

Group. Net profit below

expectation sending shares into

a record 1-day fall, down 25%.

To the other major movers on

our market today:

Zinifex dropped 3.5%. It

says its stake in takeover

target Allegiance Mining has

increased to 5%. Shares in

Alkatiri Co finance have been

suspended. But coalminer

Resource Pacific resisted and

trend and jumped nearly 10%

after it revealed it was in

discussions with a third party

about a rival takeover bid. On

currency markets:

If you had any doubt it was a

black January on the markets,

here's a number to think about.

The ratings agency Standard &

Poors has added up the cost of

last month's carnage and says

collectively global equities

lost more than $5 trillion US

in value. So where are we

right now with the subprime crisis continuing to affect

credit markets and at home, the

increasing likelihood of one or

even more interest rate rises

on the horizon. Stephen Wood

is a portfolio strategist for

the Russell Investment Group

which advises clients on more

than $2.5 trillion in sates

across 44 countries. He's currently visiting Australia

from his home base in New York

and joined me in the studio

earlier. Stephen Wood, welcome

to Lateline Business. Thank

you. George sores says we're

facing the worst market crisis

in 60 years, are we? We're

certainly facing a situation a

lot of people hadn't

anticipated and I think that

the macro-economic situation in

the United States and the

credit markets that we're dealing with right now, there's

a lot of challenges. I don't

know if it's the worst

situation in 60 years that

might be a bit extreme. It's

requiring global and

coordinated action from a lot

of policymakers. Let's look at

where we are on the curve

because at the moment I think

we've had something like $150

billion of write-downs due to

the subprime problems in the US. Are we close to clearing

the decks? Are we halfway

through clearing the decks? I

don't know that we're through

the decks being cleared to

extend the metaphor. What

we're looking at is an

environment right now where

there's more bad news yet to

come. I would say

conservatively I would

anticipate two maybe three more quarters of news coming through like this. I don't know if I

can give you an exact innings

of the baseball game to use an

American metaphor. But $150 billion in write-downs,

realistically that could be

higher. Thraets number we've

seen is $350 to $400 trillion

is estimates from some houses

out there. We're not halfway

through? It's about reasonable

there are going to be greater

charges coming off in the near

future. That's really the

issue is nobody's confident as

to what the magnitude of what

the losses are. I don't think

six months ago people would

have seen it more than $100

million, we've had $30 billion between two firms in the United

States. What we should be

looking for is the immediate

write crowns will go up. If

we've got two or three more

quarters, massive write-downs

to come, what are the broader

ramification s? There's a

couple of ways of looking that

is macro economy. Is it in a

recession, is it not in a

recession is this ball that

gets batted back and forth.

It's close to that zero mark.

I don't know if we're going to

be technically in a recession

in the US. It's going to feel

very close to one. To my mind

this looks a lot like the mid

1990s, about 1995 close to

probably not in a recession.

That would be the way I would

weigh it right now. For most

investors, most consumers it's

going to feel darn close to

one. Will that be a long

slowdown, are you thinking

short and sharp? I think we're

already there. It's likely to

be relatively shallow because I

think the Federal Reserve has

been very proactive on this and

we don't have the inventory overhangs that we would have

had let's say 20 or 30 years

ago. For a lot of your

recession s -- viewers that

think recessions need to be

long and deep and protracted,

that's outdate #d. The Federal

Reserve in the United States

has been relatively proactive.

By the third quarter this year

we'll see a snap around

economic growth. Two points

first of all the Federal

Reserve has been proactive but

I wonder the extent to which

monetary policy is effective in

this sort of environment. And

the second is when you've got

housing prices in the US

falling, I think they're

currently down around 9% how

long can the problems be

contained? At what point is it

inevitable that it does push

into the broader economy and

maybe there's a worse scenario than the one you're

painting? The first question I

think monetary policy is always

effective. What we found out

is that the Federal Reserve can

always find a interest rate

high enough to slow down the

high and an interest rate low

enough to stimulate the

economy. The same is true in

Australia. They've got room to

move? They've got room to move

and the Federal Reserve will be

successful. In terms of

subprime housing in the United

States I think we need to move beyond that conversation to a

certain extent because subprime

housing in terms of the area of

the US economy that is affected

by housing and then by subprime

in the financial markets I

think that's a relatively

definable situation. What

we're kind of seeing now in the

US is that the slowdown in

housing is awash with the spike

in imports the greenback being

low has spiked imports, that's

almost a wash right there. The

global phenomenon is the

securitisation of subprime

sates. You're confident about the economy because it's very

contained, but the issue then

becomes a broader one of global

security when you've got this

debt washing around? To me

that's the grand issue of the

day. We've moved beyond

subprime housing in the United

States. It's the broader issue

that's really interesting. At

the same time, some argue and

indeed a member of our Reserve

Bank Board was making this

point recently, that unlike the

last time that we had a big

financial crisis the tech boom

in 2001, that had very direct

links to Asian economies whereas this time it's different. Would you agree

with that or would you argue

that the contagion because of

the credit problems has

spread? Every situation, every

crisis, every situation good or

bad has its unique character yks

yks and for the longest time

there was harmonisation and

then the argument was

decoupling of Asian and

Australian economies

specifically. I always thought

that was a really thin argument

this decoupling argument. If

you look at commodity-based

economies or if you look at

emerging markets the reason

they make sense is they zig

when the rest of your portfolio

zags so there's negative

correlations. That's a generally positive thing.

Within the context of Australia

right now it's kind of

difficult to believe that Asian

economies at large and the

Australian economy are going to

be completely independent of

what's happening in the United

States and Europe and from an

economic perspective and also they would be completely

insulated from the credit

market situation that we're

experiencing. I don't know if

it will be as pronounced but to

say they will be completely insulated I don't think would

be the case. Let's look at

Australia, our market lost

2-odd percent today and it

wasn't because of global

worries, it's because of our

inflation problem and a hawkish statement from the Reserve Bank. In the words of the

Reserve Bank, absent a further

shift in economic risk the downside monetary policy is

likely to be tighter, or need

to be tighter. Do you think

that global events will provide

that downside, or do you think

when the context of the -- within the context of the

Australian economy we are set

for higher interest rates? I

would think the latter. You

are set for higher interest

rates. I think that your

monetary authority has been

very, very clear on that. As

much as they were in Europe as

well. They won't be sufficient

international - The likelihood

that the US will ripple through so dramatically to toss

Australia into recession I

think that would be an unlikely

scenario. If I were you, and

I'm not, I would be steeling

myself for interest rate hikes

by the RBA very soon. Yeah, I

don't think a shock is

imminent. What do you do with

your money in this environment

in this market? This is where

your discipline pays for

itself. The plan that you put

together for the next 10-15

years, fall back on that

long-term discipline. And so I

think this is a poor

environment for big moves. I

think making big sector bets,

making big stock or large

versus small versus value, this

is a poor environment to take

big risks. The information

quality we have is exceedingly

poor. I think investment

horizons are extremely short

right now in terms of the quality information. Until

this clears up a bit I think

this is really a professional

market, kind of close course professional driver, don't

attempt this at home. There's

going to be opportunities to

nickel and dime yourselves into

profit here, but making big

moves by the average investors,

I think there's a lot more

question marks than there is

certainty. In that environment

you don't want to make big

moves. Stephen Wood, many

thanks for talking to us. Thank

you. As the drought eases across part of the country

thanks to the recent rains, the

rise in the price of soft

commodities like wheat, barley

and cotton has prompt adminy

boom in rural Australia. Wheat

reached a new record high of

just over US 11 a bushel and US

investment bank Goldman Sachs

boosted its Chicago Wheat

Futures by nearly 50%. Desley

Coleman took to the bush and

filed this report on the

optimistic outlook for the

farming sector. After years of

flat prices, soft commodities

are at their highest levels in

more than two decades. We're in

something like a gold boom, a

wool boom. We're in

extraordinary territory. The

increased use of biofuels and

the rise of China and India

have caused a structural shift

in demand which has not been

matched on the supply side. The

limitations, of course, are the seasons that we're being

delivered but we've seen some

rain this year so that's been

really encouraging,

particularly in northern NSW,

Queensland. And the other

difficulty is for farmers who

have been through 02, 06 and

07, it's just their own

financial wherewithal to put in

a bigger program of

cropping. Spring wheat prices

are up 187% over the last year.

A sustained el Nina is

delivering welcome summer rain

and the prospect of a bumper

winter crop is sparking a land

grab. Bruce Gunnings a rural

agent for Ray White says since

November since sales for

cropable acres are up 80% on

last year. Farmers are literally buying back the

farm. I've sold more properties

in the last three weeks than

I've sold in the last three

years and that's pretty

significant. I've sold well in

excess of $100 million in the

last three weeks. Wheat farmer

Angus MacNeil is one of those

buyers. He's just bought an

adjoining property and is

changing his crop mix. This

year I'm putting in more crop

for a start because we've sold

some of our sheep, haven't got

any sheep. We're trying to

capture this grain boom price

and the moisture out there.

I'll be putting in 1,000

hectares of wheat and 500 or

400 hectares of canola and 300

hectares of the other crop.

More in a greater percentage of

wheat. The changes in the

global market are attracting

funds from a change of sources

beyond the farm gate. Recently

listed Prime-Ag has purchased

around 30,000 hectares of land

in northern NSW and Central

Queensland, and its chairman is

hunting for more. Our view is

that we are at a new paradigm

level for soft commodities

generally led by the grains

indexes. That's a long time

coming. Soft commodities have

dragged the chain for many

years. We're in a catch-up

phase. Peter Corish is the

former president of the National Farmers' Federation

and still owns the family farm.

He says there's plenty of room

in the market for bigger

players such as Prime-Ag and

argues more competition will be

good for the sector. We will be

able to perhaps create and

build some niche market

opportunities that perhaps

smaller farmers won't be able

to do and can't do at the

moment. Particularly as we see

less regulation in various

markets, in particularly the

wheat market. Recent rainfalls

have also attracted and

attention of investors to rural

stocks. The CommSecing and

stock index made up of

farm-focussed companies has

outperformed the broader market

by 13% this year and over the

past 12 months these stocks are

up 63% on average. It's a

forward-looking index. It

looks at analysts' forecasts of what they expect earnings to

be. It's suggesting they'll

have pretty good returns in the

next 12 months or so. That's

two things, obviously

recovering from the drought but

if you're recovering from the

drought you're not going back

to 2004, 2005 prices and demand you're plugging into much

better global futures. These

shifts are now permanent. Regardless of the depth or

length of any US recession.

Societe Genereale plans to

raise $8.9 million at a stock

at a lower price than expected

to replenish capital. They

will sell shares at a 39%

discount. Last month the rogue

trader lost the bank $8 billion

in trading losses. Now a look

at tomorrow's business diary

which is dominated by profit

announcements.

A look at what's making news

in the business sections of

tomorrow's papers. The 'Age'

examines the RBA's unusually

hawkish monetary policy

statement. The 'Australian'

leads on the same story. The 'Australian Financial Review' says Government departments

will be forced to pay suppliers

within 30 days. And the

'Sydney Morning Herald' says

today's plunge in United Group

shares shows investors won't

accept sub-standard results

this earnings season. That's

all for tonight. The London

FTSE is down 34, the Dow

Futures are down 17. If you

want to review any part of

tonight's program, you can

visit our website where you can

watch the entire program online

or download it as a vodcast.

We'd love to get your feedback.

I'm Ali Moore, goodnight. Closed Captions by CSI

..send secret messages underwater... ..circumnavigate the globe using invisible force fields... ..spit poison through hollow teeth... ..even run on water. One group of animals can do all this and more. So what makes reptiles so smart?

Reptiles have infiltrated every corner of the planet. From steamy swamps... to shifting desert sands to jungle canopy... to the open seas. But wherever they live they face the same challenges. Attracting a mate, fooling enemies, showing how they feel and what they want. And reptiles have some very smart solutions fine-tuned for millions of years to cope with almost anything the world can throw at them! So how do reptiles call the shots? Imagine living on a remote, primeval island, with no food or fresh water, and lashed by hostile seas. How long would you survive? Well, there is such a place. A land that time forgot. Home to iguanas, large dragon-like lizards. These are the volcanic islands of the Galapagos and living here takes ingenuity. Like all cold-blooded reptiles, an iguana needs a blast of morning sun to get it moving.