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(generated from captions) the military called in This morning - of the Sumatra earthquakes. to free trapped survivors by his new minister John Howard stands to Brian Burke. after he too is linked Fremantle's Jeff Farmer And the AFL Tribunal sidelines for six weeks. This program is captioned live. Morning News with Ann Sanders. VOICE-OVER: This is Seven Good morning, welcome to Seven News.

is under way A massive rescue operation on the Indonesian island of Sumatra killed at least 82 people. after two earthquakes says The Department of Foreign Affairs Australians known to be in the area it has been in contact with and all appear safe. Buildings destroyed, makeshift hospitals overflowing. Scores have died the Indonesian island of Sumatra. since an earthquake hit Two children were killed collapsed on a school playground, when a 2-story building collapsed home burst into flames. others were burned alive when their This man was hit by a falling brick. he was at a food stall This local says the ground so much, when the quake shook people fell off their motorbikes. from school This dad grabbed his children as soon as the quake struck and came straight to this shelter.

was followed two hours later The 6.3 magnitude quake 6 on the Richter scale. by an aftershock measuring in Malaysia and Singapore. The quake so strong it was felt is promising as much aid as needed. The Indonesian Government

to free thousands of people Emergency crews are working believed trapped under the rubble. The death toll is expected to rise. A community in need tsunami that killed 160,000 people so soon after the deadly 2004 on Sumatra's northern tip. earthquake killed thousands more. And just last year, another Queensland Liberal MP Andrew Laming on his future today is expected to make an announcement was raided by Federal Police. just days after his office

for the Prime Minister It's another headache to defend his new minister who's also been forced after it was revealed to convicted fraudster Brian Burke. he holds shares in companies linked was brought into the Ministry Senator David Johnston Ian Campbell. to replace his WA colleague Senator Campbell was sacked with a group of people for having a meeting former WA premier Brian Burke. which included disgraced While he once worked Julian Grill, with Brian Burke's business partner, clean in relation to Mr Burke. Senator Johnston was seen as squeaky the Prime Minister that assurance As I understand it, he's given assurance, of course I accept it. and because he's given that 'Seven News' revealed But shortly after the announcement, in two mining companies Senator Johnston holds shares which employ Brian Burke. and Senator Johnston said The Prime Minister's office they had no idea. his new ministerial code of conduct. Only 72 hours ago the PM announced this afternoon. I think it hit the fence he will divest his shares. Senator Johnston said for the Prime Minister Another headache investigation is an ongoing Federal Police which saw police raid the offices Liberal backbenchers of three Queensland and this Brisbane printing factory. were seized in the raid Records and accounts which is understood to focus their printing allowances. on how the MPs spent has held meetings with his lawyers One of them, Andrew Laming, and Liberal Party officials.

has been completed, When that police investigation

it then could be appropriate, or not going to happen, when I know what is going to happen

to make a statement. is now uncertain. Andrew Laming's future If he quits or is forced to quit, in his marginal seat of Bowman. it could mean a by-election probably wouldn't relish. A prospect the Government in the hands of shareholders The future of Qantas is now for the $11 billion private takeover after the Government cleared the way of the airline. of conditions on the deal But it's imposed a number services and future investment. in an attempt to guarantee jobs, Mark Vaile a short time ago I spoke with Transport Minister about the sale. Good morning, Ann. Good morning, Mr. Vaile.

Now this isn't a done deal. green light, Despite the Government's it could still be rejected by shareholders. if you were a shareholder? Would you vote for the deal

up to the shareholders, The reality is that it is now you are absolutely? correct. is larger or higher per share Obviously the offer

on the market than currently the share price a matter for the shareholders but it is entirely in Qantas now.

has given the go-ahead Is the real reason the Government real reason to block it? is because there was no

if you wanted to You could create any circumstance

to this. but there were a couple of aspects structure of the bid Firstly, we had to test the in the Qantas Sales Act against the conditions and the Airports Act. and our solicitors My advice from my department

is that it does comply with those negotiated and then the Treasurer and I of agreement with APA this legally enforceable deed that contains a number of measures commitments they have made and basically codifies the public as far as the bid is concerned. about potential cost-cutting, How will you address union concerns

offshore? the loss of maintenance jobs within the deed of agreement Well, there's two aspects

that addresses this. operational aspect of Qantas One is that the principal

must remain in Australia

catering, flight operations, and that goes to administration,

training, as well as maintenance. carrier, Obviously with an international overseas they need to have some presence with staffing and other aspects.

One of the other conditions in this agreement committed to the maintenance review is that Qantas and APA remain

that was being undertaken and larger and more competitive with a view to developing a stronger maintenance operation in Australia to service both narrow and wide-body jets. Unions claim the conditions of the takeover were rushed. Why didn't you wait for the results of the Senate inquiry? Are you trying to get the issue off the agenda before the federal election?

Certainly not. There was a time frame available to the Government and particularly to the Foreign Investment Review Board in that process. My department and our solicitors had been assessing the bid

against the Qantas Sales Act and Airports Act for sometime. It was an appropriate and timely manner in responding to this issue. Otherwise, we would have had to extend the period, I understand, for a further 90 days. Two very quick things - you didn't answer me if you would vote for it if you were a shareholder. Well, unfortunately, Ann, I don't hold any shares, let alone any shares in Qantas obviously. But you have to seriously look at the offer that's being made. Because at the end of the day, I'm sure most shareholders will take their decision based on their personal interest. Before we go, the new rules regarding liquids are about to come into force this month. They are. And obviously more restrictions on what you can carry onto international flights in your hand luggage

and this syncs our operation in Australia with what is happening in the UK, Europe, United States and Canada. Basically, with aerosols, liquids and gels you'll be restricted to containers of no more than 100 millilitres in size that need to be screened also along with other hand luggage at that primary screening point on departure. Mark Vaile, thank you very much for your time this morning. Thank you, Ann. For the unions' take, I'm now joined by Linda White from the Australian Services Union which represents about a third of the airline's workforce. Good morning to you, Linda. You feel the deal has been done in great haste and without proper consultation with unions. Are you satisfied, though, with the conditions being placed on the takeover?

It certainly has been done in great

haste. We expected to

haste. We expected to minister Vaile

haste. We expected to minister Vaile

and the Trez You'rer were too busy

to see workers at Qantas. I am not

happy with this. You could fly happy with this. You could fly a

jumbo jet through this deed. You do

fear maintenance positions may be

moved offshore but there is moved offshore but there is nothing to prevent

to prevent Qantas from doing it now.

There is nothing to prevent them

from doing it now except for public

pressure. There is a lot of support

from the Australian public and the

Australian public have expressed

numerous times that they would be up

in arms if jobs were offshore. That

has been the pressure so far and we

ask the Government to stand up for

Australian jobs in the national

interest And transport workers union

thinks it is a step in the thinks it is a step in the right

direction T it can't be abandoned if

profitable? There are some

reflections but there are no

guarantees on jobs. There are weasel

words in this document. The

we have would the Government words in this document. The question we have would the Government enforce

it if they were forced to anyway.

There has been no consultation with

any of the employees or the workers

about this. Our elected


representatives couldn't be bothed

seeing us. They were far too

seeing us. They were far too busy yet they were able to negotiate this

deal for the purchase of

deal for the purchase of Qantas. It

is really done in a great rush and

is designed to

is designed to suit the buyers

rather than the employees and the

passengers. Linda white from passengers. Linda white from the

Australian Services Union. Thank you

for your time this morning In Victoria, three scientists are being tested for the deadly bird flu virus after they forgot to turn the air filters on in their safety suits. The scientists at the Geelong CSIRO animal lab

had infected live ducks with a strain of the disease

to study the effects of the disease. But the experiment went horribly wrong when they realised they'd been exposed to the deadly virus. Blood tests have shown nothing so far but they will continue anti-viral treatment as a precaution. NRL player Anthony Laffranchi has vowed to fight allegations he raped a woman during end-of-season celebrations in Sydney last September. The former Wests Tiger has been charged with one count of sexual assault after being arrested yesterday morning.

He's been granted conditional bail and will face court in three weeks. I'd just like to strongly deny the charges. I'm going to concentrate on working through this at this time and I'm going to concentrate on my football. Laffranchi's new club, the Gold Coast Titans, says it won't take any action until the matter's heard in court. Hundreds of frustrated and disheartened parents are calling for changes to workers' rights. A report released by The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission wants a new federal law to give employees the right to ask for flexible hours to care for children and parents. It suggests financial incentives for schools to offer activities between 8am and 6pm to cope with the increasing workload faced by parents. The results come after a 3-year investigation into work and family balance. Next in Seven News - business and finance. And a surprise for some Melbourne bargain hunters. Traffic was brought to a standstill around Sydney Airport this morning after a fatal accident during peak hour. A man died after his sedan hit a power pole on Qantas Drive. Roads were closed while emergency services

tried to remove fuel leaking from the wreckage.

Traffic became gridlocked, then moved at a crawl when roads were reopened. A Melbourne couple picked up far more than they bargain they'd hoped for when they bought a box of old tools from a private antique sale. was a live mortar - At the bottom of their $10 purchase

a World War II Italian breda. They phoned the police, then the army,

who told them and their neighbours to evacuate immediately. It's probably been lying around for many years but if somebody messed around with it, it could probably explode. The army defused the mortar and everyone is now back home. A political scandal in the US is proving extremely damaging to Vice President Dick Cheney. Our correspondent Rahni Sadler joins me now with the details. Good morning, Rahni. Today marks the end of a long-running political investigation. Take us through what's happened.

It all surrounds the leaking of the

identity of Valerie Plame. It is a criminal

criminal offence to leak her name.

It was an attempt to discredit her

husband who was speaking out against

the war then. Lewis Libby was Dick Cheney's

Cheney's Chief-of-Staff. He was not

accused of leaking the name. He is

accused of trying to cover up the

leaking. After

leaking. After 10 days the jury

found he is guilty of obstruction of

justice. Anyone telling lie, having

a high official doing it is

something that can never be

acceptable. He could face up to 25

years in prison. He is not likely to

serve out that many years. His

lawyers are

lawyers are pushing for a retrial.

What does it mean for the Bush

Administration? It leads to wider

questions what went on in the

lead-up to the war and who used this

information that turned out later to

be false. This is the tip of the

iceberg. This is the president and

the Vice President discredit people

who turned out to be right.

President George W. Bush does

President George W. Bush does have the power to pardon Lewis Libby.

Howard Dean believes it might be

happen because the administration

might be frightened that he

might be frightened that he will turn on them and give more

information. They are planning to

sue Lewis Libby and Dick Cheney. To

another part of America. Tell us

about the scandal involving the

lovestruck astronaut. Now

lovestruck astronaut. Now court document thaz have come out in

past couple of document thaz have come out in the

past couple of days. We have seen

the police report from Bill Oefelein

and he talks about about how he and

Lisa Nowak were an item and Colleen

Shipman and that Lisa seemed OK with

it. He was seeing both for about

three months. Apparently she was

not. She used his passwords to not. She used his passwords to get

into his computer and saw some

emails between Shipman and Oefelein

and that is why she drove in those

nappies to attack Shipman. To business and finance news now. Joining us is Justin Smirk, senior economist at Westpac. Good morning, Justin. The Reserve Bank has opted not to change interest rates,

but figures out today may suggest the risk of a rise is still there?

We think so. What we are getting out today is the economic growth

numbers. The third quarter came in

modest. We think demand will help

fuel imports. Growth will remain at 0.

0.6%. That demand

0.6%. That demand with no further

rate rises does suggest that

rate rises does suggest that further

down the track we will get more on

housing and put pressure on the

labor market. That is where the

risks lie around the strong domestic

growth. We will hear from assistant

governor today but if there is

governor today but if there is a

risk, it will go up rather than risk, it will go up rather than

down. I spoke with the Transport

down. I spoke with the Transport

Minister about Qantas being cleared

for sale. How are their shares

doing? Still trading at $

doing? Still trading at $5.

doing? Still trading at $5.21. What

was interesting is the buy-out group

has assets of 12% of the share.

Today will be interesting to see

Today will be interesting to see how it continues to in fold and

it continues to in fold and where

the share price goes when it is being more traded

being more traded Thanks for the update. Next in Seven News - the Mundine-Soliman world title fight. And all the action from the AFL Tribunal. Supporting rural communities and farmers strengthens Australia's future. That why a new Drought Assistance program opens the way to improve assistance for small business and farmers. There's over $200 million to support farm-dependent small businesses.

The interest rate subsidy has been extended to up to $500,000 over five years, plus drought support has been introduced to new areas

and extended in existing ones. The Australian Government Drought Assistance program. Now open to more farm-dependent small businesses and farmers. The Dockers fared badly at the AFL Tribunal last night.

With the details, I'm joined by Seven sport reporter Dylan Howard. Good morning, Dylan. Jeff Farmer is out for six weeks for eye gouging?

It did backfire and the Dockers have

until midday to decide whether they

will take this case to the AFL

appeals board. A marathon 75-minute

hearing ended in a decision that

took just seven minutes. They found

that he did in fact eye gouge. In

fact farmer argued that fact farmer argued that contact was

not intentional and not intentional and he made not intentional and he made contact

with an open hand. The panel took

only seven min sits to decide he was

in fact guilty. The Dockers could

appeal the decision and they gave

hint to that. Michael Johnson was

banned for a month? It wasn't a night banned for a month? It wasn't a good

night for the Dockers. They warned the league that they

the league that they would do this

and they did in fact talk tough. A

3-match panel and he chanced it and

slugged with a 4-match ban and slugged with a 4-match ban and so

too was Stokes and he it did give us

an indication that the AFL is trying

to stomp out head-high contact. We

understand the rule and we

understand how important it is

understand how important it is so

there is no dispute about that but

very severe on the player,

obviously. I think we forget how it

affects the individual player. It is

a pretty severe penalty for the a pretty severe penalty

young bloke. The Cats

young bloke. The Cats play on Friday

night. If they make it to the

final he could miss only two weeks night. If they make it to the grand

of the season proper. their 5-game losing streak Australia have snapped after easing to a 106-run victory against Zimbabwe today. in their World Cup warm-up match Michael Clarke top scored with 82 with 81 while Shane Watson chipped in as the Aussies made 7/290. In reply, Zimbabwe reached 7/184 with Stuart Clark the pick of the bowlers with 2/33. Stay with me here on Seven's Morning News, I'll be back with all the weather details after this break.

Time now to check the weather. An inland trough is causing storms in northern NSW, Queensland and the Northern Territory. Tropical Cyclone George is heading west, taking heavy rain and strong winds away from the Kimberley. Very hot easterlies are blowing across western WA while a high is keeping southern Australia dry. Actress Kimberley Davies is the latest dancing celebrity to cast off her costume the popular series. after being voted off didn't come as a surprise. Her elimination had a suspicion it would be her. The self-confessed shy star said she last night I felt like I danced really well to go out on. and it was a great night nerves enough to actually have fun. I'd finally sort of conquered the no more intense training, And now that there's to eating vanilla slices Kimberley's looking forward and playing with her children again. to now. And that's Seven's Morning News throughout the day We'll keep you up to date and in our bulletins at 4:30 and 6:00.

I'm Ann Sanders. Thanks for your company. Have a great day. See you tomorrow. Supertext captions by the Australian Caption Centre.