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(generated from captions) Australia's Federal system today The major source of discontent with hostile State Labor. over what it considers intention of flexing its muscle The Federal Government has every The threat is unmistakable. are underperforming. where he thinks States Mr Howard warned he will step in to lift their game. with John Howard ordering premiers and the States has soured further, Relations between Canberra Good morning. with Natalie Barr. This is Seven's Morning News This is Seven's Morning News are accused of price fixing. as pharmacists A bitter pill for consumers in their push for a pay rise. Workers take on the government for industrial relations reform. in its push The government takes on the States This morning, This program is LIVE captioned.

that's the least that the PM could least keep pace with inflation. Now That is that minimum wages will at themselves worse off in real terms. low-paid workers will not find relations changes it makes, that no matter what industrial We want the Government to guarantee basis of continuing economic growth. the increase is justified on the The union says to receive an extra $26.60 a week. who rely on award wages for the 1.5 million Australians The ACTU is pushing in Melbourne today. the Industrial Relations Commission is beginning in The hearing into minimum wages since its introduction. which has seen a huge cost blow-out a key Government election promise the Medicare safety net scheme - That's expected to include to discuss a range of budget matters. Federal Cabinet is meeting And in Canberra this morning, to be emanating from Peter Costello. and the bullying that seems to the tearing up of an agreement There should be an end Now, that's ridiculous. with Armageddon. and we have and we end up the Commonwealth has of using the powers We can both go down this stupid road regulating business. other Federal-State agreements by threatening to tear up The premiers retaliated, and charges. to drop a number of State-based taxes live up to an agreement unless premiers Peter Costello to slash GST payments follows threats by Treasurer on the States The Prime Minister's attack often at the behest of the unions. in recent years, gum up work places with regulation We've also seen Labor States State arbitration systems. with moves to scrap will be Industrial Relations reform, But its first big push and education as areas of concern. Mr Howard nominated health of the goods and services tax. following the introduction of current State governments, on the underwhelming performance must turn

but most are choosing not to. the default price Pharmacists can change to very high prices. seemed to default was that the software systems And what we found And what we found used by most pharmacists. in a computer software package is set automatically It found the inflated price hundreds of million of dollars. a practice that's costing consumers is as much as 75% - its found the mark-up on common drugs says The Australian Consumers Association for their prescription medicines. of charging customers too much Pharmacists are being accused while travelling overseas. considering using childcare centres to all parents wants a general alert issued Child protection group Braveheart did not find the hotels guilty. because Indonesian police there is no specific warning Mr Downer says of a resort nearby. was abused in the kids' club while a five-year-old boy at the Sheraton resort in 2001, while in a creche contracted gonorrhoea that a three-year-old girl The Australian newspaper reports at exclusive resorts. were sexually assaulted after two Australian children the Indonesian island be changed that travel advisories for Justice Minister Chris Ellison asked in Bali's child-minding centres. of the risk of sexual assaults to warn parents is defending his refusal Foreign Minister Alexander Downer to stay in the work force. that the solution is to get people has told morning radio Treasurer Peter Costello Treasurer Peter Costello Government to prepare for the future. The Commission is urging the to support the ageing population. an extra $4,500 a year in tax every Australian will have to pay And it warns 65 or over by the year 2044. one in four Australians will be aged one in four Australians will be aged The Productivity Commission estimates even faster than expected. Australia is ageing A new report shows but of just $11 a week. a wage increase, The Federal Government supports and would drive up inflation. the claim is excessive But business argues minimum wages. and their families who depend upon guarantee to the 1.5 million people

Thank you for joining us. The entries are already piling up, what do you think so far? Well, it's a day and in the morning and it is early however 3 or 400 pictures have already arrived would you believe? So far, what I would say, is that things will improve. I can defrptly say that. When we see all the pictures when they first come in, we think oh my God what is this. Jeff Kennett looking browned off and David oldfield. I was intrigueed with this, it has a cok atoo. You have to make of it what is its director, Edmund Capon. at the Art Gallery of New South Wales from the famous packing room Joining us now art portrait prize - the Archibald. and most contentious for the nation's biggest It's that time again is estimated at $200,000. The damage bill in case my roof caught on fire. I didn't want to stay in there and just left my house. and rang the fire brigade so I ran out, grabbed the phone to my bedroom" "Gee, that's right next and I thought and the whole sky was just aglow Looked out the window One of the units was gutted. in Laverton overnight. unit fires in the one complex will investigate three separate Melbourne's Arson Squad New South Wales. It's believed they were from they were close to a water hole. A map would have shown were ill-equipped for the desert. and his 21-year-old nephew Police say the 42-year-old man they were going to search for water. said A note in their broken down vehicle of Newman. near the Pilbara mining town hand 50km from Cotton Creek, They were discovered by a station around two weeks ago. It's believed they died from the West Australian outback. of two men and their dog Police have recovered the bodies Competition and Consumer Commission. and has referred its findings to the this amounts to price-fixing The Consumers Association says

you will. There's something symbolic of the bird on his hand. There's somebody playing the wrong sort of football here and we've got a very expressive Kim Beazley, with a lot of purple on him. I'm not sure what that all means. This is a picture which I think has got a bit of presence, a powerful picture that. Strong, you know what they say about dark backgrounds. If you want to make something emphatic, give it a dark background. That's a powerful picture and one that stands out. Edmund I notice there are no drawings, the controversy last year, Sydney artist Tony Johanssen launched legal action when the prize went to a drawing and not a painting. Has that had an impact this year? We haven't had a drawing yet but every portrait is a drawing underneath the painting. That matter is still not resolved. It is grinding on and keeping the legal profession happy and with something to do. Friday's the deadline. When dow announce the winner? In two - no Friday two weeks. Quite a way to go yet. This weekend - Friday all the entries are in and there'll probably about 5,000 or 6,000 pictures. On the weekend the trustees come in and we all look at the paintings and all the Archibald entries and we sit over the weekend and all the paintings go by this way and that way and this selection is made. These are the decisions upon which the future of the Australian art resides. It is very important moment. It is a great moment actually. You have a great weekend sifting through them. Thank you very much indeed. Next in Seven News - Charles and Camilla's official happy snaps and prayers make way for protests in Vatican City. He's mid-30s, uh...grey suit... He has a laugh sort of like a hyena. LOUD HYENA-LIKE LAUGHTER That's him.

A security scare has forced the evacuation of the US Capitol building in Washington. A man dressed in black, with two suitcases, had been standing on the west side of the government building. Officers ordered people away from the area, fearing an explosion. Armed police crept up behind him, tackled the man to the ground and dragged him away. And there are reports today that another American construction worker has been kidnapped in Iraq. Seven reporter Louise Pennell has the details. Louise, what can you tell about this latest abduction? Well Nat, details at this stage are still sketchy. What we do know is that an American worker working at a reconstruction site was taken at midday in Baghdad today. The US embassy has not released the person's name or the company they worked for but their family I'm told has been informed. This is just proof that anti-American sentiment is rife in Iraq even still. Today hundreds of Iraqi students took to the streets and calling for American forces to withdraw from their country and last week there was a large raid on the Abu Ghraib prison and this shows an attack on a US convoy in northern Baghdad. The blast was from a car bomb and al-Qaeda took credit for this attack but no-one was injured remarkably. There's been a US-Israeli summit in Texas. Is George Bush trying to broker a new peace? He's really trying to make sure Israel sticks to the internationally-negotiated peace plan in the Middle East, in a bid

to get the ball rolling in you like. The president met with Ariel Sharon in Texas this morning and while they looked like old friends meeting at the ranch the president made it clear Israel should stick to the plan to dismantle Jewish people in the strip and it came as there was a protest in Israel and 9,000 Israelis will be asked to leave their home in the Gaza strip by August this year. President Bush has said it is the only way to have peace in the Middle East. Let's take a look at what he said today. The PM and I share the desire to see the in the West Bank and energise progress along the road map. The president told reporters after that press conference that what we lack in the Middle East is confidence. We don't know if the president himself has confidence there will be peace there ever. Lets hope so. Roman Catholic cardinals have returned to the Vatican to plan next week's conclave to elect the new Pope. But while their talks continue in secret a public mass by a controversial American cardinal has sparked outrage and protest. Memorial services continue to be held in honour of the Pope. Pilgrims keep on crossing continents to attend. But it's outrage and not riverance which has brought some here. These American protesters are part of a support group for victims of sexual abuse at the hands of priests. The man they hold responsible for trying to cover up much of the sexual abuse scandal in recent years is cardinal Bernard Law. In 2002 the allegations forced cardinal Law to resign from his post of Archbishop of Boston. He's inside the St Peter's Basilica leading a massive mourning for the Pope. At this time when Catholics are grieving the loss of Pope John Paul II, it is inappropriate to bring up this embarrassing and painful subject of the sex abuse scandal and we would prefer if cardinal Law would step down. He's the poster child of the sexual abuse scandal in America and putting him in a position that's elevated and where he is revereed. It is insulting and painful to the victims. It is not about punishing cardinal Law, is it merely about stopping the pain. The late Pope made cardinal Law arch priest of a Rome yan Basilica and it dictates he should officiate at one of the mourning ceremonies. The cardinals responsibility for choosing the next pontiff are silent in front of the cameras. It will fall upon the man they elect to restore the in neglecty of the Catholic church. The Vatican has released pictures of the area in which cardinals will live when they conduct their secret ballot to elect a new Pope. The 115 cardinals will be confined to the Domus Sanctae Marthae. The video also shows the urn in which they'll cast their vote, and the stove where the secret slips will be burnt. The cardinals are keeping to strict instructions not to talk to the media until after the conclave, which begins next Monday. Meantime, the crypt in St Peter's Basilica where Pope John Paul II is buried will re-open to the public tomorrow. Prince Charles has released official photos of his wedding, revealing a royal portrait like few before. The main photo shows a low key but relaxed family shot of the prince and his bride with their children. In front, the Queen and Prince Philip and Camilla's father, Major Bruce Shand. Two other photos show the couple with their children and one on their own - all taken at Windsor Castle. And, if royal fans haven't got their fill there's soon to be a TV drama about the pair. Britain's ITV channel is now casting for a two-hour special about the early days of their love affair. Stay with us here on Seven's Morning News. I'll be back with all the day's sport after this break. AFL clubs hoping to persuade Swans forward Barry Hall to leave Sydney could be wasting their time. The club is about to offer Hall a four-year deal, worth at least $2 million. The sum could increase even further, with bonuses for awards and sponsorship. It would take him through to the end of the 2009 season. The AFL's umpires are again under fire. Several of the league's leading coaches are angry over decisions they believe cost their sides dearly at the weekend. Just three rounds into the new season and the league's whistleblowers are already being criticised. I think the free kick count was 29 to 17 and that's a bath in anyone's opinion. Brisbane coach Leigh Matthews says he was dumbfounded by the decision to award this crucial penalty in the Swans' win over the Lions on Saturday night. He now wants an explanation from AFL umpires' director Jeff Geischen. I'm a little, what's the word, unsure of some things. Hawthorn also has reason to feel hard done by after their two-point loss to Essendon on Sunday. The league has admitted this goal shouldn't have been awarded to the Bombers. To Rugby League and a huge blow to the Penrith Panthers. Forward Tony Puletua has been ruled out for the season. Specialists told the New Zealand international he needs surgery to repair his torn pectoral muscle. It's really disappointing but you know, it's one of those things that happen in football. Better news for the Bulldogs - forward Mark O'Meley and centre Willie Tonga have been cleared to play against the Roosters on Friday. The Australian Rugby League has admitted the provisional 23-man squad chosen for the Anzac Test was picked on reputation instead of form. More than half the squad was selected from teams outside the top eight. The ARU has defended its decision. Chief Executive Geoff Carr says because the Test falls before the first State of Origin, it's too hard to make mass changes to the squad. Cronulla half-back Brett Kimmorley, Manly forward Ben Kennedy and Melbourne full-back Billy Slater were the only players chosen from the top five teams. The Waratahs have some major fitness concerns ahead of their Super 12 clash with the Brumbies on Saturday. In the forward pack, hooker Adam Frier will have scans to determine the severity of a groin injury this morning, while lock Justin Harrison is battling an ankle injury. Better news for captain Chris Whitaker, who has been cleared of a serious head injury. He'll also have a fitness test today. Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist says he's likely to retire from cricket in two years time. The 33-year-old admits the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean could be his last international tournament. He says he wants to spend more time with his wife, Melanie, and their two children. Leg-spinner Shane Warne wants cricket authorities to divide Test-playing nations into two divisions. He says it will rid the game of one-sided victories, cheap wickets and easy runs. Speaking after training with his county side, Hampshire, he also took a shot at the English national side. He says the pressure is on them to perform during the Ashes, not on the Aussies. The world athletics governing body, the IAAF, has proposed a rule change to severely punish athletes who false start in races. Under the current regulations, the field is allowed to make one false start. Two jumps of the gun means a competitor is disqualified. The new plan would eliminate second chances with the offending athlete immediately disqualified. And the Australian under-17 soccer team has beaten - rather, thrashed - Tonga 26-0 in the final group match of the world championship qualifying tournament in New Caledonia. Next in Seven News, today's weather report and the Aussie movie tipped to make more than its name.

To the markets, from Macquarie Financial Services. and joining us is Martin Lakos from Macquarie Financial Services. Good morning, Martin. Despite all the concerns about another rise in official interest rates, financial markets don't seem that worried? Indeed if you look at international long bombs, it has been coming back in the US and Europe. In Europe, rates are at 2003 lows. Even in Australia, the long bond or the 10-year bond is at 5.6%. It is hardly indicating concerns of further interest rate rises or concerns on risks of inflation and that's good news for the economy and stock market. All eyes are on next month's bank results? ANZ kicks off the bank reporting season for the March end period, on 27 April and followed by the other leading banks in early May. They're expecting solid results but the market will look at lending volumes and particularly on the housing side. We'll watch that closely. What's the market looking like this morning? A steady and quiet morning. The market is square and the key features Woodside's up 31 cents and despite the oil price being quiet overnight in the US. BHP is down 5 and ANZ is up 18 and the Commonwealth Bank is down 4 to $36.40 and elsewhere the leaders are quiet. Thanks for the update. To the weather now, and a high will push winds and showers onto the east coast, keeping the south-east inland dry. A front will bring a cool change and showers to south-west WA. It'll also trigger a few storms over the inland. Warm, north-easterly winds will re-develop in the south. So to the national forecast - Sydney rolled out the red carpet last night for the premiere of the new Australian film Three Dollars. The who's who of Australian entertainment turned out for the event, including the movie's two Aussie stars, Sarah Wynter and David Wenham. This is, um...it's a good one. It's a great story, with a fabulous character to play, and it's also a film that I think affects people. Based on Elliot Perlman's best-selling novel, the film tells the story of an honest man who finds himself with a wife, child and mortgage but just three dollars to his name. And that's Seven's Morning News to now. We'll have updates throughout the day and David Johnson will have our first news at 4.30, with Seven News nightly from 6.00. I'm Natalie Barr. Enjoy the rest of your day. Captioned by Seven Network Email - captions@seven.com.au