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This program is not subtitled This program is not subtitled This program is captioned live. on student unionism. A last-minute Government win

Australians in Iraq. An extended tour of duty for of murdering his ex-girlfriend. A Sydney musician guilty to remember a musical legend. And coming together Juanita Phillips with ABC News. Good evening.

for the year, On the last day of Parliament another key piece of legislation the Government has managed to ram through Parliament. Tempers flared in the Senate ban on compulsory student unionism. during a shortened debate on the Barnaby Joyce refused to back it,

Senator Steve Fielding but the Victorian Family First delivered the decisive vote to the Prime Minister. and another victory to quit Parliament for the year. Senators were more than ready Thank goodness for that. Last one, eh?

About, ah, six hours. (Laughs)

weren't prepared to give up But the PM and Education Minister compulsory student union fees. on the bill to ban that we'll continue to pursue. It's something we're just going to let it drop. It shouldn't be assumed that of Barnaby Joyce And as the lobbying and Family First's Steve Fielding continued behind the scenes, the Senate dragged on. in shame. You should all hang your head

lingered on minor laws, Coalition Senators bank operations in Mongolia, including one authorising European embarrassing proportions... until, as it reached Why are we here? to try its luck ..the Government decided student unionism legislation on the contentious voluntary to force it through. and guillotined debate one last time What arrogance, what arrogance. You are so drunk on power. Freaky Friday in the Senate! within the Government, Tensions were also showing Barnaby Joyce with Nationals Senator publicly splitting with his party, without an amenities fee. rejecting the legislation I think we are being bloody-minded. go through in the next half hour. There is no reason that this has to Coalition Government in jeopardy. I will not put a successful extra vote came from Family First. In the end, the all-important

on this bill and nothing else. Family First will be voting comes in here to tell us Senator Sell-out here across this country. he's sold out students an $80 million transition fund The Government's offering for universities, which critics insist isn't enough. ask for anything for his vote, Senator Fielding says he didn't if other issues, but he refused to say of the RU486 abortion pill, like opposition to the wider use

were discussed. I have lots of conversations of those conversations and the details should remain confidential. And so, at the 11th hour, its final victory - the Government achieved will be banned - compulsory student union fees finished in acrimony. and the parliamentary year Craig McMurtrie, ABC News, Canberra. to protect Japanese soldiers Australian troops will stay on until at least next May.

it's deployment for up to 12 months. The Japanese Government has extended and said, as a result, Mr Howard welcomed the announcement staying on in southern Iraq. Australian troops would be will continue their mission The PM says Australian troops in southern Iraq. to protect Japanese soldiers He made the announcement for another 12 months. after Japan extended its deployment and could well stay beyond May. They will certainly stay until May

are providing security The 450 Australian troops for Japanese soldiers humanitarian work in Al Muthanna. who are carrying out have an unlimited commitment, The PM says Australia doesn't a definite withdrawal date. but he won't give in flagging withdrawal I see no point government and the people of Iraq at the very time when the need reassurances of support.

highly significant for Japan. The deployment is also since World War II. It's the first of its kind

But under the Japanese constitution, to defend themselves. the troops only have limited powers are there to offer protection. That's why the Australian forces But the Opposition says to keep Australian troops in Iraq it's reckless closer to home. when there are security threats in a dangerous neighbourhood - The bottom line is we live

has to be. that's where our security priority The Defence Association says stretching resources, the Iraq deployment is already

to publicise an exit date. but it says it would be dangerous calling for a definite exit date Look, I think anyone who keeps to the contingent. is just not thinking of the danger when you're going I mean, you don't tell your enemy till you go 'cause they'll just go on holidays and strike again. and then come back If the Iraq mission goes beyond May, send in another rotation of troops. the Government will need to

next week Mr Howard will raise the issue at the East Asia summit. when he meets with the Japanese PM Sally Sara, ABC News, Canberra. A militant Islamic group in Iraq an American hostage. claims it has killed on the Internet. The unconfirmed claim was made

hostage was aired earlier this week A video apparently showing the al-Jazeera. on the Arabic television network

bloody suicide bombing in Baghdad. The claim comes after another when a blast tore through a bus. At least 30 people died just as the bus was about to leave Witnesses said a man hopped on board and then blew himself up. to be students, Most of the dead were reported as well as women and children. the lead-up to elections next week. Officials expect more violence in has caused more outrage Iran's President over his comments about Israel. over his comments about Israel. referred to Israel The hardline leader

relocated to Europe, as a tumour which should be specifically Germany and Austria. about the Holocaust. He also expressed doubt by the US and Israel. The remarks were swiftly condemned the last one that said His statement is following that Israel has no right to exist. We should do everything we can in order to stop him

and to stop the Iranian efforts to develop a nuclear bomb. The comments were also condemned by Germany, Austria and Britain. Two years after the body of Sydney teenager Lyndsay van Blanken was found in a cricket bag, her former boyfriend has been found guilty of her murder. After deliberating for three days, the jury found that William Harold Matheson killed the 18-year-old killed the 18-year-old in the storeroom of an Eastern Suburbs block of flats. It's been a painful wait for the victim's family. But at last, relief that their daughter's killer has been brought to justice. Very emotional, very mixed feelings, very emotional. Lyndsay van Blanken first met William Matheson when he played the cello at her mother's wedding in 2001. Two years later she ended the relationship and became engaged to an American hairdresser she'd met on the Internet. When she went missing,

Matheson was questioned by police. I pray that she'll turn up alive. Sure. But when you see things like this, it's hard not to suspect the worst. He said the scratches on his chest and arms were caused by his cat and pet rats. Detectives took him to the crime scene.

That's the room where Lyndsay's body was discovered. The jury accepted the prosecution's argument that Matheson lured his victim to the basement of this block of flats,

strangled her with a pair of cable ties and hid her body inside a cricket bag. Police alleged that on the night the news broke her body had been found, Matheson said to his father, "I think I did that." He then admitted himself into a psychiatric unit,

saying he'd been hearing voices. Crucial evidence in the trial was a song that Matheson had recorded on tape after the break-up:

As the jury delivered its guilty verdict, members of Lyndsay van Blanken's family held hands

and gasped with relief. Her mother mouthed to the jury and mouthed, "Thank you". William Matheson hung his head and remained as expressionless as he has been since day one of his trial. He'll sentenced in February. Jane Margetts, ABC News, Sydney. Volunteer workers in Newcastle have accused a private company of profiteering from newly arrived refugees.

The company is paid to welcome refugees to Australia and set them up in their new lives, but the volunteers say the families are being offered food and accommodation that's below par - a claim the company denies. Mohammed Tonkon Kamara and his extended family arrived in Australia three weeks ago at the end of a tortuous journey from the civil war in their native Sierra Leone. Everywhere in Africa we consider Australia to be one of - if not the most peaceful country on earth but one of the most peaceful. Newly arrived refugees are supposed to be looked after by a private company, ACL, which is contracted to help them settle in.

Local volunteers claim ACL gave the Kumaras a $250 voucher to last 10 people for two weeks and, they claim, other refugee families are getting similar treatment. One group of refugees was for five days without support and without food until we made a fuss about it. The Kamara family's flat is above a paint shop in Newcastle, has one entrance, no fire alarms and the family is sleeping three to a room. It came with enough beds, but not much else.

This was the only sofa that we met here. All these other chair supplements,

including this table and the other chairs behind you here,

was supplied to us by St Vincent de Paul. The company says the refugees are being adequately cared for and it has nothing to hide. We're judged on our success and the outcomes and DIMIA takes a very active role in making sure that we meet our commitments. But the department says it's taking complaints it's received seriously.

and the provider know It's important that the community

on the part of than there's an expectation the Department of Immigration as contracted. that services will be provided worked with refugees for years say Volunteers in Newcastle who have cutting costs to make money. it's a case of a private company is the main consideration. The bottom line, the dollar, Volunteers say the efforts of private contractors they'll continue topping up

so long as they remain inadequate. Oscar McLaren, ABC News. Six people have been charged Pine Gap defence facility after breaking into the top-secret in central Australia today. Released on bail today,

the group of Christian pacifists said they were carrying out a citizens' inspection of the base.

They say the facility is playing a key role in the war in Iraq. We need to expose Pine Gap

and the activities of Pine Gap should not remain secret Every Australian deserves to know what's actually going on in there. The group has been charged with several Commonwealth and Territory offences. They will appear in the Alice Springs Magistrates Court next Wednesday. it seems like only yesterday, For music fans, since John Lennon was murdered but it's been a quarter of a century in New York. as a master songwriter and singer The former Beatle's legacy

lives on on both sides of the Atlantic. and has been celebrated You-hou... # (Sings) # ..sharing all the world and you're not the only one, You may say he was a dreamer he was off with the fairies. but others, for all that, would say he was not the messiah Lennon himself insisted from the bend in his arm. and didn't really know his backside

make plans, you know, I'm not a leader and I try not to and we have no new plans. Not having plans, of course, may have been part of the plan, either to send a message or send up the lot of us. We just like to come across with a message of peace and love. 25 years ago, Lennon was murdered in Manhattan by a fan and other fans thought their world had almost ended.

He's not dead. John Lennon can't be dead. But he was, and remains. And Mark Chapman, the fan who killed him, board that he should be released. remains unable to persuade a parole remembered her man in New York. Today, Lennon's widow Fans remembered him too, of their own mortality. most of them presumably reminded last October. Lennon would have turned 65

(Sings) # I am the eggman... # John Lennon may be acclaimed of the 20th century. as one of the greatest songwriters Sadly, but not surprisingly, remain unfulfilled. his messages, his wishes, Geoff Sims, ABC News. will live as one. # (Sings) # And the world It's the disease most people associate with older women, but it seems that osteoporosis is also afflicting men

much more than previously thought. Researchers say they're shocked by the findings and that men should be having their bone density tested as regularly as women. The study of 650 men found almost two-thirds had low bone density, which can lead to osteoporosis. The incidence is almost double in women, but doctors at Concord Hospital say the prevalence in men is enough to warrant regular checks for the over-70s. 12% had osteoporosis. Among those men, osteopenia, or low body density, But another 57% had what we called at increased risk of fractures. and all those men are knows that feeling too well. 78-year-old Peter Lattimer he was diagnosed with osteoporosis Five years ago, with a shopping trolley. after being hit got to accept these things. I was stunned, but I've just

got to accept these things, As you get older you have just whatever comes your way.

routine bone density testing, Currently, men are not offered which can pick up problems. it's important to identify patients Doctors say with the early stages of osteoporosis, as a third of all men over 60 will go on to have a bone fracture. Men are also more likely to end up in nursing homes or even die from complications related to fractures.

If you look at a group of older men who have had a hip fracture, up to 25%-30% won't be alive 12 months later. Peter Lattimer had two broken bones but is now doing well after being treated with medication. Sophie Scott, ABC News. Recapping our main story - voluntary student unionism bill, the Senate has passed the Steven Fielding. with the support of Family First's And still to come - from Vietnam to Iraq, Christmas cheer to the troops. Little Pattie bringing significant damage A fierce storm has caused in the State's north-west. were damaged Dozens of houses and vehicles brought down and trees and powerlines yesterday by tornado-like winds near Moree. in the village of Ashley, they've seen. Locals say it's the worst storm

I was inside the house there and I was watching all the trees go past. just going straight through us. Every bits and pieces of the village This home was flooded after the air conditioner was torn from the roof and the rain poured in. It was a renovator's delight, but it's turned into a bloody nightmare now. Most homes had power restored today, but the clean-up operation is expected to take some time. Salinity is one of the biggest problems facing rural Australia. to be making some headway. But a new approach appears have joined forces Government and woolgrowers unconventional solutions. and come up with some green pastures It's hard to believe these lush were once unproductive - devastated by salinity. It was just bare, black ground. "It was just useless." And everybody would have told you, to recharge his property. Bluey Smith embarked on a plan He built contour drains

the low-lying saline areas to intercept water entering such as clover, to soak up the salt. and planted introduced species,

I would dare say the 80 acres would go close to probably 300-400 sheep now, where it would have been flat out to run 100 sheep before. It's a saline problem that extends across the district, with 80 tonnes of salt seeping into local waterways every day. Now that Bluey's working on his side of the road and getting it into shape, we'll be able to do the same on our side of the road and get it into shape, as well. Dryland salinity effects about 2.5 million hectares across Australia. is it's applying local knowledge, But the key to this research in different areas. trialling different techniques to look at how we can improve The program's really keen management at the same time. both productivity and environmental

And, as you can see behind here, is giving people - the salinity program showing people what can be done which gives them confidence. After just four years of trials productive options the program's identified

land in Australia. for about half of the salt-affected Mount Mercer, Victoria. Sarah Clarke, ABC News,

a remarkable recovery. This year's wheat crop has staged After four years of drought, wheat farmers around the country finally have something to celebrate. Farmer Maree Stockman knows what a hard day's work is really like. On her properties near Lake Cargelligo in central New South Wales, she's been stripping wheat for 12 hours a day, every day for the last three weeks. At harvest time, every second counts.

Think of dollar bills flying in the wind and the rain and you've got to gather them in as quickly as you can otherwise they'll escape on you. of drought, And during the last four years

Australian farmers. the dollar bills have been eluding

in June, When rain finally started falling many took a risk, six to eight weeks late. planting crops The rains continued -

at just the right time - the right amount

creating a near-record wheat harvest. recovery round here. Oh, there's been a very big cow paddocks here There's...a lot of these never had a blade of grass on 'em. quite a lot But this year we will sell to hopefully do it again next year. and we will get enough Bit of money in the bank? REPORTER: Yeah, hopefully. Nationally, wheat production this year is tipped to increase to 24 million tonnes, up from 20 million last year.

Yeah, this is about the second largest wheat crop, at least, that we've seen in the last decade or so. It's not a record, but it's right up there with one of the best crops for quite a long time. many this year, Wheat yields may be surprising wheat prices relatively low but a large global supply is keeping are also being squeezed and farmers' incomes by the rising cost of fuel.

to keep her head down for now, Either way, Maree Stockman plans Australia's ranking helping to restore

exporter of wheat. as the world's second largest Lake Cargelligo. Simon Palan, ABC News, To finance now - on commodity markets today, and gold glittered again

resource stocks higher. helping to push Here's Alan Kohler. is now sitting pretty comfortably Well, the gold price at US$520 an ounce of slowing down. and showing no signs for the yellow metal. It's been a remarkable few months since mid-July, It's gone up about US$100 an ounce and the really interesting thing is that the US dollar has gone up at the same time. They usually go in opposite directions because gold has been seen as an alternative to the fragile greenback. Not any more. Oil is sitting comfortably above US$60 a barrel again, putting on another $2 today. In general, commodities are on the move. The CRB index, which combines all commodity prices,

went up 1.8% last night and has risen more than 6% in a month.

But the share market has done nothing over the past month. There's been relatively weak gains among resource stocks which have been offset by banks and other industrials slipping back, which is what happened today - the All Ordinaries steady, resource stocks up, banks down. And today's Telstra update - it can't get up off the floor. Today's economic news is that Australians are winding back debt.

Overall lending rose a bit in October

because of an increasing in home mortgages, but credit cards and personal debts - down. Here's a graph of total debt - including housing, personal loans credit cards and commercial loans -

soaring between 2000 and 2003 and then flat for two years, so even less reason now to put up interest rates again. But here's the really big picture - what might be called the 'global balance sheet'.

The net asset positions of America, Australia, Europe and the UK look grim - they're all in hock to largely Japan and increasingly China and other developing nations. Finally, the Australian dollar has snuck back above 75 US cents. And that's finance. The Socceroos are bracing themselves for part two of their World Cup journey. The draw for next year's World Cup will take place

early tomorrow morning, Australian time, when the 32 teams will find out their opponents in the group stage. Here's Peter Wilkins. There's glamour, excitement and gut-wrenching expectation for the world's best footballing nations, and a few others.

We're still pinching ourselves that we're here.

That's not to say there's no attitude. We're not here to make up the numbers. We'll be very competitive.

The Australian coach is a little more circumspect.

Overall, we meet at least two very strong opponents. There's respect in at least one quarter - the England coach nominating Holland, Australia and the US as its worst result, saying their most recent encounter, a 3-1 defeat, was no friendly and that Australia desperately want to beat England in a big tournament. It'd be great if we got England as the seeded team.

When the balls roll out to an audience of 32 million for the eight groups of four in tomorrow's draw, all teams will be hoping to avoid Brazil, but the 'favourite' tag doesn't sit well with the game's greatest ambassador. Every time in my life who I saw the team come to the World Cup as the favourite team they lost. (Laughs) clark's in the Test squad, but it's not Michael.

Paceman Stuart Clark comes into the 12 for leg-spinner Stuart MacGill in the only change for the First Test against South Africa on the pacey WACA pitch. Hopefully, the selectors are happy with the way I bowled in the one-day game and they see a future for me there in the Test cricket arena. Selectors resisted the temptation to recall Michael Clarke, hoping that Andrew Symonds will bring his one-day form to Perth. Queensland fast-bowler Mitchell Johnson will make his international debut tomorrow after being named the super-sub for the final game of the Chappell-Hadlee series. It's the Nick O'Hern show in the Australian Masters. O'Hern followed his flawless 64 yesterday with a 6-under 66 in the second round to extend his 4-shot lead to 5. Commentator: Look out...look out...

Robert Allenby looked a chance of narrowing the gap mid-way through the round, but his 68, to be in equal-second at 9 under,

couldn't keep up with O'Hern, who is looking for his first big tournament win in Australia. John Fitzgerald has been reappointed Australian Davis Cup captain and the job will be now 12 months a year with an emphasis on developing young talent. The direction the Davis Cup team will take over the next few years will be a slightly different direction.

We'll have to blood some new names.

Tennis Australia is looking for a new Fed Cup captain,

with John Alexander unable to commit to the full-time role. Boxing Day ride towards Hobart And it might not be a wild $8 million super-maxi. for this sleek some fine-tuning in mild conditions 98-footer 'Wild Oats' today did outside Sydney Heads for line honours. and is one of the favourites In domestic cricket the final day of its match Victoria has dominated against New South Wales for a draw. but the Blues have held on New South Wales' top order The Bushrangers ran through in the second innings in a tense finish. but fell just short 40 years ago, she did her bit to boost the morale of Australian troops serving in Vietnam. Now Little Pattie is due to embark on another tour of duty, this time to Iraq. (Sings) * Oh, it is in his face? * * No, it's just his charms *

Little Pattie and the Navy Band get in some rehearsal time for their Tour de Force of Iraq, a concert series to help lift the spirits of Australian troops over Christmas. It's beyond politics. This is about enjoyment for them, entertainment for them, a touch of home for them. And, of course, they deserve it. is no stranger to the cause. And Little Pattie

the youngest Australian At 17, she was to entertain the troops in Vietnam. overseas, It was my first experience my first experience in a war zone and it was truly wonderful. I felt safe all the time, broke out. except when the battle of Long Tan Joining her on stage of Australian music. is a cross-section I'm the token country chick. Obviously, as a country singer for at least 20 minutes on the show. I'm gonna turn everybody hillbilly It's all about having a good time and bringing some smiles. And for 'Australian Idol' finalist Hayley Jensen it's quite a leap. It's all very exciting, but I think it'll kind of hit home for me

when we're getting in the Black Hawk helicopters and kind of, "Hold on, everyone." The exact itinerary is being kept secret for security reasons. The 1,300 Australian troops can look forward to 12 concerts over the Christmas-New Year period. Adrian Raschella, ABC News. Let's see what the weather has in store for us this weekend. Here's Mike Bailey. Thanks, Juanita. Good evening.

A fine weekend ahead for most areas, southerly change expected despite another weak on the south coast tomorrow. A comfortable day for Sydney today, from 18 to 25 degrees, with coastal temperatures a top that's 1 below average.

reason for the storms in NSW. The satellite picture shows the of the continent, More cloud developing over the north

in NSW tomorrow. which will bring unsettled weather Thunderstorms for the NT.

Thanks, Mike. look at tonight's top stories. Now before we go - another The Federal Government's contentious voluntary student unionism legislation has been passed by the Senate with the support of the Family First Party. Australian troops look like they'll be staying on in Iraq

for another year to continue protecting Japanese forces, who've extended their mission. And a Sydney man has been found guilty of murdering his ex-girlfriend and dumping her body in a cricket bag. And that's ABC News for this Friday. I'm Juanita Phillips. is up next 'Stateline' with Quentin Dempster at 10:55pm. and the 'Late News' is on and have a great weekend. Enjoy the rest of your evening

International Pty Ltd Captioning and Subtitling Closed Captions produced by

Welcome to Stateline New

South Wales. I'm Quentin

Dempster. The State Government

will never again surrender

control of its roads in any

contracts. That's the future private tollway

contracts. That's the

commitment of Premier Morris

Iemma in accepting the major

recommendations of Professor

David Richmond who he called in

to review government policy

following motorist aggravation

and resistance to the cross

city council. While the

government says it's learned

the lessons from that fiasco,

it's little comfort to a city

which has become gridlocked as

a result of a road funneling strategy to