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A call for cadral changes - a

call for radical changes and

$6.5 billion to repair

Australia's ailing higher

education system. An Iraq -

doctor is convicted of the

Glasgow attacks. Telstra

shares continues to dive

following the dumping of the

national broadband tender. But

the government denies any

responsibility. Australia

takes on South Africa at the

WACA today.

Good morning, it is

Wednesday the 17th of December.

I am Virginia Trioli. I am

joub - Joe O'Brien. The top

story, a report released this

morning is calling for radical

changes to the nation's higher

education system. The Bradley

Review urges the Federal

Government to spend an extra

$6.5 billion over four years

and recommends public funding

be tied to individual students

rather than institutions. They

say a voucher system will help increase the number of

Australians with a degree and

improve the quality of

university education. From

more Ben Worsley joins us from

Canberra. Take us through the

recommendations of the Bradley

Review It says Australia's

a higher education history faces

a critical moment and that the

system faces a certain emerging

challenges which require urgent

action. The bottom line is,

the review is calling for over

$6 billion in more funding.

The thing about these reviews,

they are all starting to flow

back into the government. They

were commissioned about a year

ago, well before we were really

talking about a global

financial crisis. And bit by

asking for bit they are coming back and

asking for billions of dollars

and this is another one and

it's a major one. At the crux

of it is is calls for a reform

of the way universities are

funded and the way they enrol

students. It wants an increase

of the percentage of

Australians between the age of

25 and 34 to be increased from

29% where it is - who have

undergraduate degrees, increase

from 29% to 40% by 2020. Now

there are a range of ways this

review is recommending that

happen. And at the crux of it

is this voucher system which

you referred to in the

headlines. And that is where a

student takes its funding or

his or her funding to the

university rather than the

university being funded

according to its historical

enrolment records. It is also

urging rural and regional

universities to merge in order

to survive. It is calling for

a loosening of the allowance

system or the criteria by which

disadvantaged students can get

student allowance. The idea of

course being to encourage more

disadvantaged students into the

tertiary system. Now the

background to all this are

suggestions that the demand in

the workforce for qualified

workers will exceed supply

within two years Access

Economics has a report that

says within 10 years there will

be a short fall of round

370,000 undergraduate qualified

workers in the workforce. That's pretty much what it

comes down to. The voucher

system has been a topic of much

vexed conversation in America

over the years we know. And

here in Australia there seems

to have been little appetite on

either side of politics to

start talking in those terms where the funding follows the

student. That's true. It

would be perhaps a radical

departure from the way things

have been done in the past.

But that's what this report is

saying. That a radical

departure is needed. Now of

course a review is just a

review. It's about as worthwhile as a piece of paper

unless a government puts unless a government puts it

into policy. Julia Gillard is

the minister spopsible for -

responsible for everything

except climate change, and she

will accept the report today.

But won't make any decisions on

it until next year. And of

course the money needs to be

found. So we are not saying

all this is going to become

policy, but it's on the table

and the discussion will begin

again about how to reform and

improve and ensure the

sustainable itity of

Australia's tertiary education

system. And the opposition

spokesman on education,

Christopher pine will be

joining us later on the program

this morning. Turning to the

topic of yesterday though Ben,

and that of course being the

government's white paper on

climate change, carbon

reduction and an Emmissions

Trading Scheme. It would seem

even though conservation groups

are saying the concessions to

industry are too great, some

groups within heavy industry

are complaining today or have been complaining yesterday

about what they have read. Most

of the headlines that we have seen and the pictures yesterday

of the protests have been from

the conservation side of the

ETS fence, if you like. And

they are concerned obviously

about the modest target set,

according to them, for carbon

emissions reduction and also

the amount of taxpayers money

earned by the government

through the selling of these

permits for carbon emissions

that is going back to the heavy

polluters in terms of

compensation. Now cement,

aluminium and mining

industries, many of them are

getting 90% of their permits

for free and they are getting

billions of dollars, $2.25

billion allocated to them for

the first year of the Emmissions Trading Scheme

alone. They want more. You

can imagine the green groups

being aghast at that. If the

idea of an emissions trading

system is to change patterns of

behaviour and provide some sort

of disincentive to polluters

then their argument will be

what is the point of taking

away any deterrent fact for at

all. There is a lobbies

process already under way. Cement lobbying groups are

already taking Coalition

Senators on site to explain the

potential impact of an

Emmissions Trading Scheme. The

draft legislation is another

avenue of lobbying potential

and of course there is a Senate

inquiry early next year.

Headed up by the Greens and

then there will be the debate

in the Senate where the

Coalition, if it has room to

move at all, will put forward

its amendments, we have got a

long way to go before we get

anywhere close to knowing

precisely what Australia's Emmissions Trading Scheme will

look like. Thank you we will

tall later. We would like to

know what you think about the

proposed changes to the higher education system, as well as

the story of the week which

continues on emissions trading. You can email us at -

In other news the Federal

Government has denied

responsibility for the dramatic

fall in Telstra's their price

after dumping the Telco from

the national broadband tender

process. The commun kagtss

minister Stephen Conroy says

Telstra instead needs to explain to its shareholders why

it didn't put in a proper bid.

Their share price fell 12% on

Monday and another 3%

yesterday. Anti-terror police

in France say explosives found

in a top Paris department store

were intended as warning. The

parcel was discovered after a

group calling itself the Afghan

Revolutionary Front sent a

letter to a French media

organisation. Police say the

five sticks of dynamite had no detonators.

detonators. In one of Israel's

worst road accidents a bus full

of Russian tourists has plunged

70m down a ravine killing at

least 26 #24 people. - 24

people. Dozens more have been

injured in the crash. Israelis

say the tourists had only been

in the country about an hour.

The United Nations says The United Nations says repeat

tideral waves and unusually

high tides have displaced more

than 75,000 people in PNG. The

government has declared a state

of national disaster.

Australia has pledge ed $1

million to help the relief

effort and a Royal Australian

Airforce plane has been

dropping supplies to area.

Microsoft users are being

warned they might need to

switch from the world's most

popular Internet browser

Internet Explorer to another

system. There is a security

flaw that allows hackers to

access personal information.

Microsoft is investigating the

problem. To the UK now where a

doctor has been convicted of

planning two major bomb attacks

on a London nightclub and

Glasgow Airport. Bilal Abdulla worked worked for Britain's National

Health Service, but he was also

part of an Islamist terrorist

cell that prosecutors said

aimed to cause murder on an

indiscriminate and wholesale

scale. Europe correspondent

Phillip Williams reports from

London. Oh, my God, the whole

building's on fire. The

burning jeep at Glasgow Airport

shocked Britain because of who

was behind it, as much as it

was for the damage caused.

Iraqi doctor Bilal Abdulla seen

here just after the attack

worked at a local hospital

looking after the sick. Yet

the jury decided his intent

here was mass murder. Kafil

Akmed was also in the jeep that

day. He died of severe burns.

In this Glasgow house the bombs

were prepared. Cars were bought, ingredients for crude

petrol and gas bombs were

purchased in local hardware

stores. Two Mercedes packed

with explosives and nails were

driven from Glasgow to London.

One was parked outside the tiger tiger nightclub packed

with hundreds of people. The

other was parked in a nearby

street but attempts to

detonate the vehicles using

mobile phones failed. There

would have been a very rapidly

propelled set of gas cylinders

with all the flame effect

around them going into the

plate glass wound of a

nightclub. The casualties

would have been significant

indeed. Having failed in

London the would be bombers new

the mobile phones and cars

would give them away so the

next day a hurried change of

plan saw what was to be a

suicide mission at Glasgow

Airport. He had to be stopped.

I ran at him and I used my

forearm and elbow. Struck it

on his chest. He just went

down. Police went immediately

to talk to him. In the end the

doctor who attempted to kill

and maim in this club and

Glasgow failed on all counts,

the only person that was killed

was his o complies - accomplice. The Federal Government's increased border protection has been tested

again with the arrival of

another boat load of suspected

asylum seekers, the

interception of the boat by the

Royal Australian Navy will

place fresh scrutiny of the

Federal Government's claims it

hasn't provoked an increase in

people smuggling. Andrew

O'Connor is in the Perth news

room. What do we know about

the latest boat It was found

off the north coast of

Australia off Darwin. It is

carrying 37 people. We have not

had their nationalities

confirmed at this stage. The Home Affairs Minister Bob

Debus says they are expected to

be Iraqi, Afghan or Sri Lankan.

He is basing that on the fact

that is the mix of

nationalities we have seen

arriving on our shores in

recent weeks this. Is the 7th

boat to arrive for the year.

It's the 4th since PM Rudd

announced in parliament there

was no surge or deluge in

people smuggling. At that time

back on 1 December he was

trumpeting the fact only 48

people had arrived in

Australian waters this year

compared to 148 the previous

year in 2007. By my count this

latest boat brings that number

up to 164. So it is looking I

guess less and less like a

spike and perhaps more and more

like a surge. That is

certainly something the

opposition has ceased on. They

have again raised the issue of these temporary protection visas, the fact the Federal

Government abolished them. The

opposition says that has sent a

clear message to people smugglers, irrespective of how

you arrive in this country you

will be treated the same. This inevitably sparks discussion

about the impact of that change

in immigration policy. But we

have heard from experts before

that people smuggler s in these

regions wouldn't necessarily be

looking at Australian policy on

these issues and sending more

people through. Certainly the

Federal Government is maintain

ing the position the policy

changes aren't the reason why

there has been an increased number of boats in recent weeks

and as much as the opposition

would like to draw a straight

line between a particular

policy setting and an increased

number of boats I don't think

correlation equals causation.

How the poll - poll politics

are looking very difficult for

the government. They have increased surveillance, we

heard last week the government

was going to strengthen border

protection measures on the

north-west coast because we had

had that series of boats arrive

in an arc from ash more roof in

the far north as far south as

Shark Bay. Where some asylum

seekerers waded ashore and were

met by fishermen. They put

increased boats in the area and

an extra Air Force plane to

assist in detection, this boat

was found north-east of Darwin,

about 200km out in open water.

It will be interesting to know

whether or not that represents

a significant and deliberate

shift on the part of people

smugglers to actually

circumvent that tougher

surveillance regime in the

north-west. Presumably what

the government will do is after

these people have been processed on Christmas Island

they will be interviewed. Any

intelligence gained from that

will be used to re-evaluate and

look at that regime to see if

it needs strengthening across

the north or assets shifted

further east. Thank you.

Researchers have found Victoria's Sudanese community

is suffering a disturbing

amount of racial abuse. The

report says it is mostly young

migrant whose are bearing the

brunt. For Sudanese immigrant

Louise Gabrielle racial abuse at school is common, constant

and cutting. They say black

people don't deserve to be in

Australia, go back to where you

came from. They push us. Her

story is typical of 200

interviewies who participated

in a report into experiences of

young Sudanese Australians.

It's really worrying this

relatively new group of

arrivals to Victoria are experiencing such high levels

of racism. The report found

discrimination in public, at

schools and even at the hands

of police, is at worrying

levels. Since the bashing

death of 19-year-old Liap Goni

Victorian police and Sudanese

community have made efforts to

bridge cultural divides,

despite the attempts community

leaders believe many Angelo

Australians failing to see

beyond the differences. Dark

and tall that makes them more visible and more identifiable.

And it is sheer numbers too.

Since 1996 more than 8,000

Sudanese have migrated to Victoria, more than any other

African nation. With this in

mind the commission has drafted

37 separate recommendations

into what it describes as a

sensitive and complex issue.

Really good education to get

them going, has really good

access to justice, has access

to housing and all the things

we take for granted. I would

like someone to end the racism

that's been coming to us. It

would help me achieve my dreams

and become a nurse hopefully.

The commission will meet with

all agencies in the new year to

try to find a solution.

Now to the front pages of the

major newspapers around the

country today. The 'The

Australian' reports heavy

industry such as cement and

coal mining are demanding

further concessions from the Rudd Government's Emmissions

Trading Scheme. As we were

talking about earlier. In

order to protect jobs and investment. The 'Financial

Review' says a report on higher education in Australia rev

veals universities will need $6

billion in extra government

funding in order to boost

participation and address the skills shortage. The 'Sydney

Morning Herald' says the report

call force higher education

funding to be de regulate

ed. The report recommends

boosting student support

payments as calls for 40% of 25

to 34-year-olds to have degrees

by 2020 according to the

'Canberra Times'. The the

'Age' features a photo of Ben

Cousins being escorted from

Melbourne Airport by police

after his arrival from Perth

yesterday. Wearing a very shiny

suit. The 'Herald Sun' welcomes Ben Cousins to

Melbourne by reporting he has

been named in court as having

links to a gangland killer, The

Adelaide 'Advertiser' says his

connection to an alleged

murderer was revealed by a homicide detective following

recent surveillance. The 'Daily

Telegraph' leads with a tragic

car crash death of a

16-year-old from Singleton. A

man allegedly caused a three car smash on the Northern

Territory highway after he

pointed a gun at another driver

reports the another - Northern

Territory news. It also

feature satellite image of a

cyclone. The 'West Australian'

says changes are being

considered to local councillors

being paid and elected in WA. being paid and elected in WA. Protesters caused a 7 hour

truck log jam at Gunns

operations at Triabunna

yesterday reports the Hobart

paper. And 500 workers in the

Queensland mining ind industry

have lost their jobs says the

'Courier Mail'. The top

stories on ABC News Breakfast -

the government faces pressure

to spend an extra $6.5 billion

over four years to improve the

nation's higher education

system. The Bradley Review

released today also recommends

public funding be handed out to individual students not

universities. A British court

convicts a 29-year-old doctor

of planning two major bomb

attacks on London. And on

Glasgow's airport. Iraqi born

Bilal Abdulla was part of a terrorist cell that prosecutors

say was aiming to commit murder

on an in discriminate and

wholesale scale. The Federal

Government denies

responsibility for the dramatic

fall in Telstra's share price

after dumping the Telco from

the national broadband tender

process. The communications

minister Stephen Conroy says

Telstra insaid needs to explain

to its shareholders why it

didn't put in a proper bid.

Telstra's share price fell 12%

on Monday and another 3% idea -

yesterday.

To finance now and the US

Federal Reserve will shortly be

announcing a decision on

interest rates. With another

cut likely. US markets have

been stronger overnight in

expectation of a cut. The Dow

is currently up by more than

1%, America's other major

indices are also stronger. In

London, the FT 100 added 31

points. Oil is drifting lower

but gold is continuing its

recent rally, the Australian

dollar is buying just under 68

US cents. 48 - 49 euro . Neil

Woolrich from theline business

program. The market is tipping

half a percentage point. US

rates are already at 1%. So

not much room to move for the US Federal Reserve. So the

market seems to be expecting

about 0.5 percentage point cut

and as we saw the US markets

quite a bit stronger already

today in expectation of a

substantial duty from the

Federal Reserve. Back in

Australia there is some

speculation the reserve here

might hold a January meeting

but that looks unlikely

now. The Reserve Bank released

its minutes from the December

board meeting yesterday and the

minutes seem to fairly clearly

suggest they won't be holding a

meeting in January. The RBA

said they front loaded their

interest rate cut early on this

month. Put in a fairly heavy 1

percentage point cut and they

are repeated comments there

isn't much information economic

data coming out over December

and early January. So probably

no need to hold a meeting in

January as they always do. And

take a holiday over the summer.

We are still expecting US Federal Reserve announcement

very shortly on interest rates

in America. If they go down to

as low as they do, if only the

banks in America were lending

money people could end up with

wonderfulfully cheap mortgages

over here. Here housing starts

have slumped to a low right

too. We had housing start

figures out yesterday for the

September quarter. So it is

ancient history in one sense

because it covers the period

before the Reserve Bank here really started aggressively

cutting interest rates. We had

a quarter of a percentage point

cut in September but, of

course, the bigger rate cuts

came in October, November and

December. So the figures are

quite alarming though. They

were down 11% for the September

quarter which was the biggest

quarterly fall since September

2000 which was just in the wake

of the GST being introduced.

So really alarming figures for

housing starts in Australia and

it shows there is a big lack of

supply in housing in Australia

I think annually the figures

are round 140,000 new homes

every year whereas demand is

around 170, 175,000 new homes,

so a big shortage in new houses

coming on to the market. That

flows on to the rental market

as well. Indeed. It is likely

to push rental prices um. -

up. Stay where you are if you

can and we will talk to you

again once we hear what the US

result s This morning we will

be joined by the former editor

the 'Age' newspaper Michael

Gawenda. To cricket and the

first session of test between

Australia and South Africa in

Perth this morning, will be

critical. Australia has

completed its preparations, the

pitch has had its finishing

touches, Jason Krejza and Peter

Siddle are the inclusion s for

the world number one. The

series is a virtual world championship of test cricket.

Ricky Ponting looked relaxed

yesterday. He talked about

Krejza the South African

bowling attack and his nemesis,

the coin toss. We feel the

spinner with the breeze and

everything on offer at the

WACA, a finger spinner will

come in handy for us. A great tundity - opportunity for

Peter. He impressed everybody

on the Indian tour. I think

they have still got a little

bit to prove before they are

sort of recognised as one of

the great attacks to the play.

Tiny has been a class bowler

for a number of years but we will have an idea at the end of

threat tests here and we will

see how they perform. I

haven't decided what I will do

yet. I never win a toss

anyway. So it is usually - I

just accept what the other guys

want to do and we get on with

it. Ponting's opponent Graeme

Smith reckons his mate Shane

Warne gave him inside

information on how to get on

top of the team-mates. A claim

he laughs off. But the best

thing Warne did fort Proteas is

retire. The lessons are

valuable for the team. The

experience they have gained.

Even though it is not always on

a positive front. You learn a

lot about yourself and your

team and how we have developed

over the time and even though

even - even to the point you

actually know how much better

you probably are now. The

experiences for younger guys

are also crucial. I think the

team has a very nice balance at

the moment. The colour on

offer last time - the calibre

last time was incredible.

McGrath and Warne are very

difficult to replace. The guys

coming in have obviously got

big boots to fill. That's the

pressure on them more than us.

I think them trying to step

into that limelight is

something that might be

difficult for them. At the end

of the day we focus on our own

performances and what we need

to do to be successful. To AFL

and the Ben Cousins has landed

in Melbourne. He will train

with Richmond this morning for

the first time. He was greeted

at the airport last night with

a few barrackers cameras and

policemen. This time they were

on the footballers side. Well

done! Well done.

Well done Ben. Go Benny!

Go Tiges! Go Tigs That guy

was trying to get an autograph

for his son. That is a small

indication just how much

interest this is going to

generate for the AFL. It will

be amazing. Can I make a quick

point here. Looking at the

papers, I don't want to steal

Michael Guender's thunder.

Yesterday the 'Herald Sun' ran

with this one "we want Ben".

Which seemed to me to be an

editorial rather than a comment

from the fan, why do they want

Ben? Because they can run

stories like this - Customs and

the accused killer - Customs

cousins and accuse ed killer.

And Richmond has taken on all

of this. Outside of Melbourne

will it it be that important?

I am not sure. It generates a

lot of interest around the rest

of the country too and because he has got that Perth

connection. He has got the

Perth connection. I think he

maybe goes a bit further than

other footballers because he

has got all these different

layers and different levels to

his history. It will be an

amazing story if he can

overcome the drug problem and

have a clean year. It's going

to be hard for him to overcome

everything he needs to I think.

And I think Richmond from

purely a football standpoint,

it smacks of a little bit of

desperation from them and I am

always aware of where the code

sits in this and Terry Wallace

will be seeking a new contract

this year. It is important for

him to get wins on the board

early and important for them to

try to make the finals next

year. Thank you for that. We

are just hearing some breaking

news now. We have been waiting this morning for the Federal

Reserve to announce its news on interest rates. And the Fed

has dropped its rate there to 0

- to 0..25%. Not a cut of

0.25. It is down 2.25. Just

have a think about that for a

moment. I want you to think

about your mortgage and home

and imagine paying an interest

rate of 0.25%. How would you

even count that? And Neil

Woolrich is still with us this

morning. There is your good

news. Bigger than expected.

0.75 of a percentage point taken off their already low

rate. The issue for the US is

banks haven't been as

responsible as Australian banks

in - responsive as Australia in

ut cutting interest rates. The

banks in the US have added

funding pressures and haven't

been able to pass on as much of

the cut. So this is a bigger

cut than expected. So you

would imagine it would buoy the

markets even more than they

have been today. So the

expectation was to 0.75? I

think in the last few days the

market was expecting it to get

down to about 0.5. So getting

down to 0.25 is bigger than

expected. Doesn't that instil

in some people a sense of dread

about how bad things actually

are? That could be the flip

side of the coin that the

Federal Reserve has had to cut

by more than everyone expected

because the situation is worse

than expected. But I think

there has been a lot of news

out in the US, nobody is sort

of in - nobody is kidding

themselves this isn't a bad

recession and people are saying

this will take a long time.

Several quarter s before the US

sees any sign of recovery. It

finally might encourage banks

to free up some of that money.

The money is there, they have

just not lending T The credit

markets in the US are still

fairly much frozen. A lot of

fear and apprehension. I guess

the Madoff scandal that's been

emerging over the past few days

will do nothing for confidence

so hopefully this move by the

US Federal Reserve will start

to stimulate a bit of lending

from the banks. Thanks so

much. ABC News Breakfast can

be watch ed leave on the web from anywhere in Australia -

Now here is Vanessa O'Hanlon

with a look at the weather and

concerns of a possible cyclone

over northern Australia? Yes,

we do have monsoonal winds for tomorrow expected over the Top

End and today we do have more

storms and showers over the

tropics. We can see in the

satellite image that they are

being moved across with all of

that cloud up there and

generated by a heat trough.

Cloud also extending from the

Eucla in WA across the southern

parts of the country will bring

light rain and a few

thunderstorm. Low cloud over

Tasmania will cause the occasional shower. Cold

westerly winds will cause

showers in western Tasmania, on

shore winds will trigger

showers across western Australia. To tomorrow -

I will see you in half an

hour.

You are watching ABC News

Breakfast. A new political

party in South Africa the

congress of the people, has

chosen the country's former

Defence Minister as its leader.

Masua Lakota resigned its post

after beck Mbecki was ousted

from the presidency. For the

first time since the end of

appear tide in 1994 South

Africa has a real opposition.

Cope is the party of the

future. The congress of the

people was formed by

disillusioned members of the

ruling African National

Congress. Lakota has been

chosen to lead the party. A

party that draws inspiration

from the tenacity of our

people, to thrive against all

odds. Our s should be a truly

non-racial party, we should

provide a home and voice to all

South Africans irrespective of

race, class, or gender. The

new party accuses the ANC

government of being out of

touch and imoral. Corruption

allegations dog AMC leader

Jakon Zuma, the man most likely

to become South Africa's next

President. It is a call to us

as former soldiers of MK to

participate in today's battles.

The battles that are more

important, battles of building

a new nation of developing

South Africa. For the moment

the new party has not outlined

its policy s but that hasn't

stopped South Africans rallying

to support it. Now the AMC

which is the party which was

dominating has got the

opposition, which is good for

South African politics. I am

very glad that there is this

wind of change going on in our

country because it is going to

help in many ways. The first

thing is those are not to relax

because people are watching and

waiting for the quoment development of South Africa. Supporters of South Africa's

new party claim the tide has

new towned against the ruling

ANC. The true test of that

will come next year when the

country goes to the polls.

here is how you can contribute to ABC News

Breakfast. You can send email to -

South Australian Police have

applied to have the Finks

motorcycle gang declared a

criminal organisation under the

state's tough anti-bikie laws.

The state's Attorney-General

has a month to consider the

request, which would pre-ent

gang members associating with

each other. Opponents say the

law infringe civil liberties.

Jason Ong join us from the news

room. This is the first of its

application of its kind between

the Police Commissioner and the

Attorney-General. Now how this

will work in practical term

assist still very unclear -

practical terms is still very

unclear at this stage but it is

aimed on cracking down for the

ability of the fin motorcycle

club to meet that. Will aapply

to members with serious

criminal convictions but it is

still unclear how that will

actually work. Indeed because

it raises questions about can

two of them offer more meet at

a pub, stand on the corner or

go to the park together, have

discussions been had on this

subject today in SA? Sif

libertarians and lawyers for

the motorcycle clubs are very

angry that this - this

application has been made.

They are seeing it an as attack

on their civil rights and their

ability to meet. The control

order mentions it is trying to

stop them congregating, mixing

or communicating. Now if you

remember David hick's control

order fe for example initially

he was required to report three

times a week to police. And

his communications such as

emails, and phone

communications were heavily

surveiled by police. So it

seems - it is unclear about how

the extent as to how far they

will take that surveillance.

Jason my guess the discussions

among civil libertarians must

be there are repercussions for

other people, not necessarily so-called bikie gangs outside

of the gangs themselves The

anti-bikie laws talk about

association and associates.

And civil libertarian s have

argued associates is such a

broad term that could apply to

family members or friends of

people who are members of these

motorcycle clubs. So they have

always - they have used this

example of what happens with

families wants to go to have a Christmas lunch for example?

It is quite emotive but that's

an example they have used

because the law is so broad

that it mentions associates.

But as I understand it, it will

om apply to members with

serious criminal convictions.

Thanks so much. The

daughter of former US President

John F Kenity has confirmed she

wants to take over the New York

Senate seat vacated by Hillary

Clinton. Car line Kennedy had

largely stayed out of the

political limelight before endorsing president-elect Barak

Obama during the Democratic

primaries, here is what she

said before the election. As

our nations faces a fundamental

choice between moving forward

or staying behind, Senator

Obama offers the change we

need. Everywhere I go in this country people tell me Barak

Obama is making them feel

hopeful the way they did when

my father was President. She

told me she was interested in

the position. She realised it

was not a campaign but she was

talking to other people because

she thought that a number of

people she felt should know she

is interested in the position.

She would like at some point to

sit down and tell me what she

thinks her qualifications are.

It is an amazing turn of

events because she has largely

stayed out of the limelight.

But her decision to endorse

Barak Obama against Hillary

Clinton caused massive eripples

throughout the Clinton camp.

They felt personally betrayed

by that. If she ends up with

her seat. She is not the

inspiring of speakings is she?

She is a very good speaker.

She is give a heck of a good

speech. He has mainly worked

behind the scenes, to see

another Kennedy there, it is

atonnishing thoughow that

legacy continues. A Newspoll

shows the Rees government is on

the nose with 3 out of every 4

voters in the state. Tax

revenues are drying up and

unemployment is starting at the

big end of town is now on the

rise in NSW. Deborah Cornwall reports.

Everybody is feeling it.

Everybody you talk to at the

big end of town is feeling the

pain. The CBD starts emptying

it out it will be like being in

a ghost town. With the state

economy in paralysis and the

global financial meltdown now

decimating Sydney's big end

bagging the scandal prone Labor

government has become a

national sport. Something has

got to change in NSW. The

people of NSW deserve better.

Businesses deserve better.

It's a really awful situation.

In fairness to Mr Rees it

must be said he has been served

up a sandwich. The main

fillings are not roast beef and

horse radish. After 13 years

in power even insiders concede

the State Labor government has

all but run out of puff. Jesus

Christ probably couldn't

salvage a win for Labor in

2011. What senior Labor hard

heads will tell you about this

is we want to save the

furniture. We know the House

has gone. In the past three

years alone NSW Labor has

burned through three Premiers.

Lurching from one - crisis to

another. To a string of

ministerial scandals. You deny

the charges? The government I

think has got to a stage where

it is catching every disease

that goes around and little

scandals will get for scandals

and we look for them. Urban

conveston and fraying

infrastructure has plagued the

government. In a recent survey

Sydney's public transport

system was ranked below Mumbai

and Mexico City. Sydney is

becoming a basket case in terms

of urban conveston and public

trouble. This isn't the falt

of Nathan Rees, it is not even

the fault of Bob Carr and

Morris Iemma. The road and

rail network in Sydney have

been allowed to run down and

fall behind similar international cities over not

just years, but decades. But

despite its long history of

failure when the Rees

government put its hand out for

an extra $840 million from the

Commonwealth last month the Rudd Government didn't blink

because the problem for the

rest of the country, say

observers, is that if Sydney

falls, it's going to take

everyone down with it.

Sydney's absolutely critical

to the nation's prosperity. If

Sydney goes into a severe

recession, everybody in

Australia will feel the impact.

In the United States we see California, New Jersey, New

York, all going to Washington

for federal money now. And we

are seeing the same thing in

Australia. The reasonable -

reason why it is worse here is

because the NSW economy isn't a resources based economy but it

is heavily reliant on services

and in particular the finance

sector and the property sector both of which are really

struggling at the moment. The

first big round of job

casualties have already started

in Sydney, right at the top.

Where up to 19,000 former

masters of the universe have been given their marching

orders in the past few months.

Just last week Maquarie Bank

once dubbed the millionaires

factory cut loose up to 1,000

high-flyers in one hit.

Disaster is happening at the

very Top End N high finance at

the moment you have got mass

sackings happening at Maquarie

Bank. Deutche. We were the

centre of the universe, we sent

investment team around the

world to go and invest in NSW.

The trouble is alls that

collapsed. At 3 o'clock in the

afternoon you see people

sitting over a quitet drink

having been retrenched from some major financial

institution. They say job

losses at the big end will pale

into instance by the new year

as ordinary wage earners will

get hit. With the NSW

government already in deficit

for $914 million voters can expect little comfort from the

State. The problems in NSW are

very complicated and deep set

but certainly we are giving the other states, particularly the

state of origin opponent

Queensland, a lot of room for

glee as we struggle to solve

the economic and infrastructure

problems of NSW. The most

pitiful aspect of it is this

issue of squandered

opportunity. The state coffers

should have been brim full at

the peak of this boom. This is

the biggest stock market boom

in history. The fact is the

government did not exploit that

opportunity at all. The

money's gone. And bleak

outlook for NSW there. A

renowned anti-smoking

campaigner has been announced

as this year's ris ipent of

this year's national public

health award. Professor Simon

Chapman was awarded the Sydney

Sacks public health medal at a ceremony in Sydney last night.

He is a leading campaigner on

tobacco use. He is based at

Sydney University but works

extensively overseas.

Congratulations first of all.

What does this award mean to

you? It is the peak award

that's given out each year and

it is a great honour. I have

been working in tobacco control

for 30 years. We have heaved a

hell - achieved a hell of a lot

in Australia, still a long way

to government some of the

biggest challenges ahead for

the rest of my career lie in

the countries to the north of

us. I have been working in

China recently and will be

working there a lot more in the

recent years, Cigarettes in

Australia now are expensive and

the warnings are very graphic

and prominent. Do they need to

be even more so? I think

Australia leads the way probably silver medallists

behind Canada in having reduced

smoking and smoking caused

diseases further than anybody.

You have got to go back to the

early 1960s in Australia to

find rates of male lung cancer

as low as they are today. The

question is can we go any

further. Doctors smoke to 2%.

That shows what's possible.

And parts of the United States

and California are now below

10%. So what else can we do?

I personally would like to see,

I think I will see in the next

few years, governments starting

to introduce plain packaging,

this will be packs of

cigarettes with only the brand

name and health warning on

them. We will see all States

go the way NSW has already

announced it is going and that

is to put all cigarettes out of

sight on display. They will

treat cigarettes in the way

that for example pharmaceutical

prescription drugs are treated.

You don't go into

You don't go into a chemist

shop and handle them. What is

the percentage use in Australia

now and what do you think it

can get down to? It is down to

nationally about 17% of people

use daily. When I started my

career in the 1970s, there were

around about 45% of men smoked

every day and 37% of women. In

the 1960s it was just shy of

70% of men smoked every day.

So to get it down to 17% is

pretty good. In NSW where they

have invest ed money than any

other state, they have got it

down to 13.9% daily smoking.

So it's a bit of a brakeless

train and we are looking at a

bit of a sunset industry in

Australia frankly. Finally and

briefly, you mentioned the developing world is where

attention should be turned

now. I mean, just take two

countries to our north,

Indonesia and China. China you

have got 350 million smokers in

that country alone. 60% of men

smoke, about 5% of women. And

remarkably around about 45% of

doctors smoke in China. So

that shows if you like the

indication of the task ahead of

us there. Professor Simon

Chapman in Sydney.

Congratulations once again and

thanks for talking to

us. Thanks Joe. What an

amazing figure 17%. That's what

we got it down to. . It can go

a lot further. Michael

Gaunder is with us today from

with the national papers, do

you still smoke? No, I don't.

I haven't for quite a while.

Was it hard to break it? It

was hard. Yes. Did you go

through the patch process?

No,dy none of that. Cold

turkey. Tough guy. Tough guy. It was only hard for a couple

of weeks. Then it was

perfectly OK. Cold turkey is a

very awkward Segway for our topic of conversation this

morning. What a wonderful

front page it is. Ben Cousins

has had his troubles I think

it's a very strange front page.

If you read the story it says

"Cousins and the accused

killer". You have got a

photograph of Cousins and a

photograph of this guy called

Fat Ange. It is amazing how

many characters turn up. I

haven't turn of Fat Ange. I

have not heard of him. No but,

of course, Fat Ange has some

connection with this killer

called Benny or Vinnie.

Benumen. Who has killed

everybody in Melbourne if you

read these stories. But

nevertheless I think it's a

very strange front page

frankly. On a day Cousins has

signed with Richmond, I would

have thought for the readers of

the 'Herald Sun' reaction to

that story would have been interesting and the main story.

And if you read this story it

is very hard to see what the

connection between Cousins and

Fat Ange is. It is not spelt

out. It sounds like there was

one small mention in a court

hearing and that's been grabbed

on and - bang. There was a

phone apparently. There has been talk because of Cousins's problems he has had had connection was people, certainly in WA who were rather shady characters. And that was one of the issues with Cousins of course whether they - he

could break those connections.

That's why this phone call came

up but the story is so thin on

what actually is the connection

that I thought - a police

surveillance, it is over the

top. There is four pages of it

and really it doesn't tell you

much about what is this thing

between Cousins and this guy.

But a tabloid paper on a day

like today can have it both

ways, that's the joy of working

like a paper like that. It can

go with a story like that which

you are suggesting this morning

is a beat-up. The back page

can be as celebratory as you

like about Cousins.

Absolutely, and it is. There

it is. Final stream. If you

don't like the front, have a

look at the back. That's true

and that's what a tabloid can

do and it mass done it quite, -

has done it quite well. Except

the story is a beat-up in my

view. But that's OK. Beat-up

s are OK I reckon. And I have

in my time, more than once.

The 'Age' has the Ben Cousins

story too but it hasn't lead

with - actually when you look

at the 'The Age' front page, if

you look at the photograph,

that photograph could have

actually gone with the 'Herald

Sun' story there. Cousins

surrounded by police. He

doesn't look real happy either.

No. They have gone with the

football story and the joys for

Richmond supporters. Which is

the way to go as far as you're

concerned That's what I would

have done. The 'Age' also has

got a story on the Bradley

Review of tertiary education,

which obviously is an important

story. The bottom line with

this story is that the Bradley

Review is suggesting that there

is a need for 6 billion more in

federal funding. It won't

happen. It won't happen now

anyway. Our reporter Ben

Worsley was saying this

morning, it is a good

observation, all of these reviews which Kevin Rudd was criticised when he took government they are all coming

home now but they were

commissioned at a time of a

nice big fat surplus. There is

simply no money. So that won't

happen. And the other thing

is, apparently there is some

response coming to 2020 as well

from Rudd which also the 2020

summit which also had lots of

suggestions for things that

need to be done that required

money. So there is no money

for any of these projects. The

way I see it though, at least

these reviews have been done.

They are necessary, it is good that they have been done and

they can be used as the basis

for policy down the track.

Absolutely. I mean just with

the Bradley Review, the $6

billion could be offset if the Rudd Government allowed

universities to do what they

were doing before, and that's

have full fee paying students.

Beyond the Commonwealth funded

places. And the review

recommends that. The review

recommends that. And that

means that some of that $6

billion could be offset. At a

time like this the Rudd

Government may actually change

its mind and allow the

universities to charge full

fees. Can we have a quick look at the 'Financial Review'.

What's caught your eye at that

paper today? They have lead

with the university review as

well. But I thought the most

interesting story on that page

was the Commonwealth Bank is

now looking to raise cash as

well. To re do its capital

base. All the banks have now

done that. All the banks have

been able to raise money in

Australia unlike overseas.

They have been able to raise

money from private investors

which means our banks are in

better shape than the US banks

than and most of the European

banks. Think that's an

interesting story. Credit

markets not so much frozen as a

little bit slushy. Good to

see you. Thank you. You can

watch all of ABC News Breakfast

streamed live everymorning.

Here is Paul Kennedy with a

look at sport. The test match

series cricket badly needs is

just a few hours away. South

Africa will today try to take

Australia's world number one

crown. The Aussies have

completed their preparations,

the pitch has had its finishing

touches. Jason Krejza and

Peter Siddle are the inclusions

for the home team. Shane

Watson will be the 12th man. Former Brownlow Medallist Ben Cousins arrived in Melbourne

last night to begin his new

career as a Richmond Tigers.

He will train with his new team

mates this morning. If a big

crowd turns up the club will

run an on the spot membership

drive. A day after Suziki

withdrew from the world rally

championship because of the

global financial crisis Suburu

has also pulled the pin. It

won three driver championships

in its 19 year history in the

sport. I am not a massive fan of the world rally

championships, I don't folio it

closely but it is interesting

to see what's happening in

motorsport at the moment.

Especially after the F 1.

Here is Vanessa O'Hanlon with

a look at the wealth of -

weather. We have a monsoon

trough sitting in the Timor sea

at the moment and that is

sitting in a tropical low.

That is causing most of the

activity up there and a 50%

chance a cyclone could reach

the northern parts as of

tomorrow. We are being

generated by a cloud and heat

trough up there in the northern

parts. A couple of troughs

mover - moving over to the

southern states, causing

activity for SA and Victoria.

towards Tasmania. Light showers are also headed

Thanks so much. Still

ahead on ABC News Breakfast -

we will take a look at how US

markets have been reacting to

the Fed's decision to cut

interest rates there by 0.75 of

a percentage point. They are

down to 0.25 of a per cent. I

don't even know what that

means. Also ahead we will hear

from Perth about the arrival of

another boat of asylum seekers

off northern Australia. The

opposition education spokesman

Christopher Pyne talking to us

as well. Ahead on ABC News

Breakfast. See you soon.

US markets are surging on the

back of a bigger than expected

interest rate cut from the

Federal Reserve. A call for

radical changes and $6.5

billion to repair Australia's

ailing higher education system.

And Iraqi born doctor is

convicted over the botched

terrorist attacks on a London nightclub and Glasgow Airport.

And the battle for the world's

top ranking gets under way

today as Australia takes on

South Africa at the WACA.

Good morning, it is

Wednesday the 17th of December.

I am Virginia Trioli. I am

Joe O'Brien. The top story on

ABC News Breakfast US markets

are surging on the back of a

bigger than expected interest

rate cut from the Federal

Reserve. The Federal Reserve

slashed its base lending rate

by 0.75 of a percentage point

to 0.25% and for more Neil

Woolrich join us in the studio.

This morning. The fed spoke

about an interest rate range.

It is unprecedented they have

set a target rate for official

rates of 0 to 0.25%. Certainly

the base cut of at least

three-quarters of a percentage

point was much more than most

people had been expecting. I

think the markets had priced in

a cut of 0.5%. Nobody had

considered the possibility of

the Fed setting a range of 0 to

.25%. They have also talked

about putting more money into

the financial system. So

encouraging news there the

Federal Reserve is prepared to

do what it takes. What does

this range issue mean? Rather

than going for a specific

number, pointing out a range? I think what they are trying

to do is get rates as low as

they possibly can on the market

and hope that banks in the US

will be able to pass that on to

its customers. As we were

talking about earlier banks in

the US have higher funds costs

than they have here in

Australia and they have had a

less of a capacity to pass on the full extent of interest

rate cuts from the Federal

Reserve than what the banks in

Australia have had. So what

the r Federal Reserve is

hoping to do I think is to get

rates as low as possible in the

US and hope that the banks will

be able to pass that on to

their customer s and loosen up

credit market conditions in the

US. So put this in the context

of the rest of the economic

situation in the US. In

relation to inflation, and

economic growth. Where does

this decision sit? I think in

the statement the Federal

Reserve put out after

announcing this decision they have acknowledged that

conditions have deterio