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Kevin Rudd's approval rating

hits an all-time low, but Labor

still has an election-winning lead. At least one person

killed and thousands of homes

evacuated as a powerful cyclone

slams Fiji. Mourners in India

attend the funeral rites of

gurs r the 3-year-old boy

killed in - Gurshan Singh, the

3-year-old boy killed in

Melbourne. Lote Tuqiri, and his

new team West Tigers open their

season with a thrilling win

over Manly. Good morning, it's

Tuesday, 16 March, I'm Joe

O'Brien, I'm Virginia Trioli,

the top story on 'ABC News

Breakfast', the latest Newspoll

shows support for the Prime

Minister Kevin Rudd hits a new

low. Satisfaction with Mr Rudd

dropped to 48 progress in the poll in the 'The Australian'

newspaper. It's the first time

it's dipped below 50%, but the Rudd Government has an

election-winning lead still on

a two-party preferred

basis. From more - for more

Melissa Clarke joins us from Canberra. Kevin Rudd's satisfaction rating continues

to fall. It's come a long, long way. We have to remember this

is a Prime Minister who at one

point had a satisfaction rating

of 71%. That was shortly after

the apology to the Stolen

Generation, I think there were

leaders around the world

envious of that sort of

approval rating. It was, at its

highest, where Newspoll - that

they will of for Kevin Rudd.

It's been a long time since

then, a lot of water has passed

under the bridge and a lot of

people have become dissatisfied

with Kevin Rudd n December his satisfaction rating was 58%,

that was after the debacle that

turned out to be the Copenhagen

Summit on climate change, now

what we see is satisfaction

rating for Kevin Rudd at 48%.

It's underneath that halfway

mark, the 50% mark, and the

dissatisfaction rating climbed

up to 41%, we are getting to

the point where there are

almost as many people

dissatisfied with Kevin Rudd as

satisfied. How do you reconcile

that with the fact he's way out

in front as preferred Prime

Minister Well, I guess it's an

indictment on the Coalition.

People say even though people

are not liking what they are seeing with Kevin Rudd, they

think he's a better alternative

than Tony Abbott. The preferred

Prime Minister stakes, he's up

about 55-30. That says a lot

about who is up against him.

However, having said that, we

can't ignore, of course, that

Tony Abbott was coming off a

low base when he took over

leadership from Malcolm

Turnbull, they were low in the

polls, his climb is continuing,

satisfaction with Tony Abbott -

it's done 1 point in this poll

- is on a steady trend upwards,

as we see Kevin Rudd's

satisfaction rating coming day,

we may, over the next couple of

months see the preferred Prime

Minister marker get closer. The

two-party preferred hasn't

moved despite the fact that the

Government has been trying to

get on the front foot over the

last couple of weeks. It

doesn't seem they are getting a

bounce from the health

announcements. The primary vote

is a minor change, it's pretty

much where it was, has been

over the last month, and on a

two-party preferred basis it's

steady at 52-48. Labor needs to

keep in mind it's being propped

up by preference flows from the

Greens, they are not making

gains with the health

announcements or Rudd's mea

culpa we saw 2 weeks ago, they

are not getting a bounce, they

are relying on preference flows from the Greens and minor

parties to keep them ahead in

the final tally. Give us a bit

of an update on what is

happening in the Senate. There's a fair bit happening in

the Senate at the moment. We

are in the middle of a two week

sitting, and once this sitting

weekends on Friday, there won't

be another parliamentary

sitting until the Budget.

There's a lot of important

legislation trying to get

through, as we know from the

Government's complaints, they

are finding it difficult to get

legislation through the Senate.

At the moment we have the

legislation that will look at

Telstra's treatment in relation

to the National Broadband

Network, that is moves to see

it functionally separate. Now,

this has been a difficult one

for the Government, they have

struggled to get the

crossbenches on board, and last

night we had the Government delay its own legislation

because they weren't getting

anywhere, and debate was going

on, they delayed that, they

hope to bring it back later in

the week to get a vote and they

hope between now and the end of

the week they get Senator Steve

Fielding on board. There's two

other bits of legislation, the

restoration of the Racial

Discrimination Act by expanding

welfare quarantining and the

Youth Allowance bills - movement on those negotiations

in the next few days. One more

issue before you go, we can't

let you go without mentioning Wilson Tuckey making headlines

again. That's right. After Tony

Abbott's comments yesterday

recording the use or the

overuse, perhaps, of welcome to

country ceremonies, we have had

Wilson Tuckey come out and make

comments that have have raised

eyebrows on both sides of the

House, about him not seeing

them as useful tore pertinent,

but making criticisms for

people who perform the welcome

to country ceremony for being

overweight as if that impacts

on their ability to do that

service or affect that. He's

come under fire from the Greens

in particular, and they are

asking for him to apologise,

and if he won't, which he says

he won't, for the Liberals to

sack him. Wilson Tuckey again

causing headlines. Melissa

Clarke in Canberra, thanks for

that. In other news, one person

has died in a powerful cyclone

that hit Fiji overnight.

Cyclone Thomas bought winds of

up to 175km/h rrs, and flooded

two villages in the east.

Earlier 5,000 people were

evacuated and houses boarded as

residents prepared for winds

and flood, the Category 4 psych

own is expected to remain over

Fiji throughout the day. In

India hundreds taped the

funeral of Gurshan Singh in the

north. The 3-year-old Indian

boy was found dead in Melbourne

this month, a man who lived

with the family has been

charged with manslaughter by

criminal negligence. Security

forces in Thailand prepare for

a wave of anti-government

Abhisit Vejjajiva rejected protest. Thai Prime Minister

calls from protesters to resign

and call elections, red-shirt

protesters of Thaksin Shinawatra held a protest

outside an army base, they are

planning to move the

demonstrations to Government

mouse in Bangkok. Western Australia's Deaths In Custody

Watch Committee says police have refused to release

information about a man who

died at the weekend. The

diabetic man was roasted

Saturday night and placed in a

cell at the watchhouse, he was

taken to Royal Perth Hospital

twice for treatment but died

behind bars on Sunday. Brisbane

drivers will get a chance to

try out Australia's longest

road tunnel, the 4.8km tunnel which goes understand the

Brisbane River was open.

Drivers will be able to use the

road for free until April when

tolls will be imposed. Thailand's Prime

Minister rejects a demand from

protesters to resign,

yesterday's rally was held by

supporters of the Shin r it was

the largest, and Matt - Thaksin

Shinawatra, it was the largest

and Matt Brown was

there. Red-shirt leaders say

Government House will be the

next focus of their

demonstration, they plan to

disrupt the work of the Government, keeping attention on the Prime Minister whose

grip on power, they say

lacksular support, in a biz -

lack popular support. They plan

to collect blood donations from

supporters and scatter them at

the entrance to the executive

building. This long

demonstration has not got the

Government to agree to resign

or hold elections, the Red

Shirts are anxious to avoid

violence that typified their

protests in April last year. Thailand's Prime Minister,

vigilantes, has refrained from

making - - Thailand's Prime

Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has

refrained from making an order.

Thailand's unity is further

undermined. For more now on

Cyclone Thomas, which hit Fiji overnight. Matt Boterhoven

joins you, a senior forecaster

at the Australian Bureau of

Meteorology, he's at Fiji's

meteorological service in Nadi.

What is the latest with the

cyclone. Severe Cyclone Thomas,

Category 4 system located at

7am Fiji time this morning, was

230km east north-east. Close to

the centre we estimate wind

speeds of 175km/h the cyclone

is moving south at 15km/h. Is

it clear of Fiji now. It's

moving through the Lomaviti

groups for the next 24 hours,

we should see it last 24 hours

there's been signs of it

weakening, it won't be until tomorrow midday that it will

pass to the south of the Fiji

group. You would rate those as

destructive winds at

150km/h. Certainly, 175km/h

would be destructive hurricane

force wind, we had reports of

heavy rain, squally

thunderstorms, and some reports

of sea flooding in an island called Lakemba. Two villages flooded, people had to move to higher grouped. The latest we have is one person died, do you have an update on those figures. I haven't had reports on fatalities, there's been

reports of communication links down with the approximately northern Island. significant and hectic time for the Fiji met service, it's been busy. Matt Boterhoven, good to talk to you, thanks for the update from Fiji. Let's look at the front pages of the major newspapers. 'The Australian' says Kevin Rudd's approval rating is at its lowest since 2006, as we discussed. A report aimed at solidifying the Telstra bill in Senate has come undone. 'The Financial Review' says the study cited Wikipedia as a source. 'The Age' - developers plans to cope with Melbourne's surging population growth by building skyscrapers. Two women are paid thousands to stack bricks in Melbourne's CBD as part of an arts grant for what 'The Herald Sun' describes as bizarre project. The 'Sydney Morning Herald' Kevin Rudd raises stakes in a health takeover plan, announcing funding for 6,000 new doctors. Hundreds of asylum seekers will move to the mainland to make way for influx of refugee

boats. Adelaide 'Advertiser'

billions of litres of

floodwaters to come down the

Murray into Lower Lakes. $2

billion will be needed to fund

vocational training if the

Government wants to meet

training targets according to

the cils . 'The Mercury' - Tasmanian Labor Government

resorts to scare tactics. A new

report is painting

report is painting a bleak

picture. Living conditions in

the Aboriginal townships

according to the 'The West Australian', 'The Northern

Territory News' aftermath of a

crash between a truck and two trucks. Brisbane's 'The Courier

Mail' - police involved in a

cover-up, falsifying watchhouse

logbooks. Nice swirls on the

front page there. What do you

think about the fact that Kevin Rudd is

Rudd is struggling with his

approval rating, what do you

think he's doing wrong?

We'll look at the top stories

on 'ABC News Breakfast'. Prime

Minister's - Prime Minister

Kevin Rudd's popularity has

dropped below 50% in the latest Newspoll, the poll in

Newspoll, the poll in the 'The

Australian' newspaper shows

support for Tony Abbott dipped

by a percentage point. Labor

leads the Coalition on a

two-party preferred basis. A

Category 4 cyclone hits Fiji

causing damage and flooding,

Cyclone Thomas brings winds of

up to 75km/h, and flooded two

villages in the east, one

person died. Protesters in Bangkok threaten to

Bangkok threaten to spread

1,000 litres of blood on the

steps of the Government House,

Prime Minister Abhisit

Vejjajiva reject calls to

resign and asks Thaksin

Shinawatra to donate blood to

use in the protests, asks the

protesters. This year is

shaping up to be a challenging

one for the Housing

one for the Housing Industry.

As the economy recovers.

Rising interest rates and

tougher lending conditions are

major issues for home builders.

The industry haze its harshest

criticism for the Government

saves it for the Government

arguing taxes, land shortages

and red tape add to the undersupply of housing across

the country, Andrew Robertson

reports. Australia has a

booming population and a severe

booming population and a severe

housing shortage which saw

prices rise an average 14% in

2009. Developers believe they

can address the shortage, but

say they are running up against

two huge barriers in the shape

of governments and the

banks. What the governments

have done is severely constrain supply and at the same time

introduced a lot of taxes and charges that have driven up the

cost. That's a view shared by

Harry Triguboff, the founder

Harry Triguboff, the founder and Chief Executive of home

unit builder Meriton, Harry

Triguboff says getting planning permission for new development

is extremely difficult. In the

old days we used to have good

councils and bad councils, so I

used to avoid the bad councils

and do to the good councils,

now they are all the same. And

if developers do get planning

approval to build, they then

have to convince

have to convince their banks

the project will sell,

something that is tougher in

the post-global financial

crisis world. I think there's a

large number of developers out

there that will find it

difficult to source project

finance, and hence further

compound the problem on the

supply side. The Housing

Industry Association says 130,000 homes were built last

year, about two-thirds of what

was needed. Chief Economist Harley Dale

Harley Dale says the funding

issue is bigger than people

realise. There are a large

number of small and medium sized residential builders out

there, who may not build a

particularly large number of

homes each year, but who used

to be able to get finance, and

are not able to get it

now. With supplies severely

constrained and prices rapidly rising the Reserve Bank warned that a

that a housing bubble could be

developing in Australia. And

according to assistant governor

Philip Lowe the situation is

not helped by the strength in

other areas of the economy. If housing construction is strong

at the same time the resource

sector is expanding, there'll

obviously be competing demands

for a raping of skilled workers

and specialised - range of

skilled workers and specialised

skilled workers and specialised

services, managing the demands and ensuring the supply of

workers for the skills is a

significant challenge. On the

demand side the housing

industry is facing some major

challenges, the surge in prices

in the last 12 months has seen housing affordability plummet

particularly for new homes. The

taxation and restrictions on

new housing are - is

increasingly making new housing product

product look expensive,

relative to existing homes, and

that is pushing more and more

people into the finite amount

of existing housing product. Another headache is

the withdrawal of stimulus for

first home buyers, reflected in

three months of falling lending

figures, translating into fewer

houses being built in the months

months ahead. What declining

home finance figures tells us

is perhaps we are not getting

the important upgrade owner

occupiers into the new home

building market in sufficient

numbers to offset what was a

very strong surge in first-time

buyer interest. A major issue

for home builders is interest

rates. The higher they go, the

more expensive their houses become. The Reserve Bank Board

become. The Reserve Bank Board

has raised rates at four of its

last five meetings with more

rises on the way. However Richard Dennis points out

history suggests it's not how

high rates go that

matters. Back in the late '80s,

development finance was 22.5%,

interest rates on home loans

was 17.5%, and it was one of

the most buoyant periods we

have had. What he's concerned about is home buyers

about is home buyers being

deterred by a rapid increase in

rates, putting plans on hold until they are confident the tightening cycle is over. Andrew Robertson

reporting there. A leading

expert on the Chinese economy

says warnings of a double dip

recession is at odds with the country's economic

climate. Richard Martin of IMA

Asia spoke to '7.30 Report'

Kerry O'Brien. It's going way

too fast. I have come back down from Hong

from Hong Kong, talking to our

clients up there, demand in

January was stronger than we

have seen in 3-4 years,

February is complex because the

lunar new year, the first few

days of March shot up again.

They'll have to cool the

economy down, this is an odd

situation, we are talking about in the advanced economies

people are fearing a double dip

recession, in China it's running too

running too fast. The focus

will be on slowing it down in

the second quarter of this

year. In the way they slow that

down, is there an economic

model for what China is now

seeking to do, and to what

extent is this a leap into the

unknown. It's a complete leap

into the unknown, there's no

rule book on what you do in

China. It's an economy that is

a bit market economy, largely a command economy,

command economy, and those are

the tools used to keep the

place under control to stop it

getting too hot. There's no

guide on this, that is what scarce the pants off the stock

market, you know, they see

premier Wen Jiabao coming out

and talking about how they

might manage the economy, cool

the real estate market, and

everyone says, "Communalists,

can they slow the market economy, or semimarket economy down. There's a

down. There's a lot of fear

there. Richard Martin from IMA

Asia. And Cris Bowen will join

us talking to Joe O'Brien,

that'll be well traversed

ground when it comes to how on

the money Wen Jiabao may be. Several topics to raise

with Cris Bowen, including a

review of the superannuation

and whether the compulsory

point will be lifted from 9-15%. US stocks

9-15%. US stocks slumped after

a credit agency warned the

American economy was at risk of

losing its AAA credit rating.

In a few minutes Paul

Higgins will be with us to look

at the weather. Then we'll

review the newspapers, this

morning we'll be joined by Radio Australia Phil

Kafcaloudes. With sport and

Paralympics action, here is

Paul Kennedy. It was a big day

Paul Kennedy. It was a big day in Vancouver, for the Australians, Jessica Gallagher

made history, becoming the

first Australian to win a medal

at the Winter Olympic Games,

and we'll head to Vancouver, we

are joined on the line on Skype

by the ABC's Amy Bainbridge.

Amy, not a bad birthday present

for Jessica Gallagher, turning

24, and won a bronze medal. Certainly wasn't. She

did very well. The alpine events

events here, the schedule at

least, were thrown into

disarray Saturday night. Jess

only found out at 6:30 the

night before that she had to

compete on her birthday, that's

two runs down the Slalom, 610

metres, the event was meant to

be the following weekend.

We've had shocking weather

conditions at Whistler Creek in

particular, and they've been

forced to flip around

forced to flip around the

alpine schedule. And give the

events the slalom, a technical

event, have that on days where

the visibility isn't a factor,

and push back faster glamorous

event such as the downhill to

later in the week in the hope

that the forecast will change.

Jess did extremely well, three

days of training work were postponed and cancelled because

postponed and cancelled because they couldn't get on the slopes

due to the dumping of know

coming down at the end of last

week. Certainly for her a cause

for celebration, a pretty good

24th birthday present. I know

you are keeping an eye on

plenty of events, one which

caught your eye is the ice

hockey with a difference, can

you tell us about that?. It's

called sledge hockey, as you know, ice

know, ice hockey is a religion

here in Canada, not just the

sport. Sledge hockey is the

adaptation of this. It's very

fast. The athletes are strapped

in, and once the whistle goes

at the start it's all on. It's

rough, it's fast, it's very

skilful. You notice in the

pictures that they are - that the athletes

the athletes are propelling

themselves with two upturned

shorter hockey sticks and they

fly them through the hands to

it hit the puck around, it's

fast and furious, it's a big

success story because all the

tickets have been sold out and,

of course, Canada, again, the

homeside, are the favourites,

it's a showdown between Canada

and the urks a big week of sledge

sledge hockey. What can the

Australians expect from the

next 24 hours conditions if the

conditions are OK? Conditions

are OK at the moment. We've had

news coming through that

Cameron, the Australian, has

come second in the first run of

the men's standing slalom, so

the second run is this

afternoon, Adam Hall,

afternoon, Adam Hall, a Kiwi,

has come down first in that

first run, so we'll see if

conditions will deteriorate at

all this afternoon. Jessica

Gallagher was lucky in that she

was one of the first event to

go down, by her second run the

conditions hadn't deteriorated

too much. Today up at Whistler

Creek, I guess conditions were

manageable for the athletes. It's

It's fast and icy on the slope.

Five Aussies in all competing

in that men's standing slalom

event and Cameron is doing the best, sitting in second

position, we'll see how he goes

later today. Thanks for the

update, Amy Bainbridge there in Vancouver. We'll move to the

rugby league, there was a big

game last night. All eyes on

Lote Tuqiri, as he made his

Lote Tuqiri, as he made his comeback to the NRL, playing

for the West Tigers, and they

were able to scraip home, come

from behind and beat Manly,

Lote Tuqiri scored a try with

his first touch. Let's take a

look. He gets it two to Cary

who scores, - Lote Tuqiri, with

his first touch at NRL. Does he ground

ground it? He does. Welcome

back Lote. Another kick across

the field. He comes up with it.

Here is George, speaking of a

contest, it's a no contest.

Still nothing. The Tigers are

back.

Brad Stuart coming across beating Williams for

speed. That's a gutsy tackle

from Stuart. Farah shaking it

up. Putting a kick in, they are

pouring through. Ellis. Has his

first ever try. Boy Fitzhenry

has been hit here by George Rose and they

Rose and they came from

everywhere. The Tigers thought

it was a cheap shot. That's

what Robbie Farah does, and the

Tigers have done it again. I'm

blowing, I'm hardly talking to

you, it's great to be out here,

have a great reception, can't

complain about the first touch,

great to be a part

great to be a part of winning

team. Lote Tuqiri getting a

kiss from the Mascot. West

Tigers one win and no losses, the Australian Swimming

Championships are about to

start, and we can show you

pictures from yesterday, things look different with the

swimmers, reverting to original

swimming costumes before the

fast suits took over. They look like anyone else

like anyone else almost

swimming, except they are

faster, and they are getting

their heads around maybe not

being able to swim as fast as

they have been in the past

couple of years, someone like

Brenton Rickard is someone who

will probably not get near his

time he swam in Rome last year

when he broke the record for the breast stroke. It is quite

a change for them. It's a change for them. It's weird

that they do look like any

other swimmer apart from the

fact they can get out of the

water when they do buster

fly. Most of the swimmers that

we are talking about seem to be

quite upbeat about it, and not

too fussed, but one thing is

they don't want the records

struck out. Brenton Rick is one

I mentioned, let's - Brenton I mentioned, let's - Brenton

Rickard is one I mentioned,

let's talk to him and Jessica Schipper. Last two years with

the suits, it's been a wild

ride for swimmers and the

sport. For me, I'm more than

happy to be back racing in

shorts. Up until really last

year was the first time I raced

in a full suit. It's nothing

too different for myself. At

the same time the record was

set under the rules of the

sport, so I guess it has to

stand until someone beats it.

I'm sure it will get beaten at

some point or other, it may be

a while, hopefully. U

obviously really want to go,

everyone really wants to go and

be there. It is sad that this

is an issue that we have to

decide on, whether we go for

our safety's our safety's sake. As Christian

says, it will be a decision

made closer to the date to see

how things go, we are sure we

won't be sent there if things

are that bad. Australia's

butterfly queen Jessica

Shippa. They said they'll

decide individually before they

go. 'ABC News Breakfast' can be

watched live on the web from anywhere.

With the weather, here is

Paul Higgins, cyclone Elui is

lurking somewhere. That's

right, tropical cyclone Elui is

churning away in the Coral Sea,

it's a Category 4, 1300km

north-east of Mackay. An upper

level pressure trough lice near the Western

the Western Australian border,

a cold front near the

south-west corner. A cold

front, you'll see it moving

there, will deliver rain to a

dry part of the nation, we've

hardly seen any. Moist

south-easterly winds will blow

to the Queensland coast

bringing showers, this high

sitting in the Tasman Sea will

keep mof of us south-east of

the nation dry - most of the

south-east of the nation dry and

and sunny. Showers along the

East Coast of the Queensland.

Squally in places, thundery

showers and - Torres Strait,

fine elsewhere, in Brisbane a

shower or two. Sunny across

most of NSW. A shower or two on

the North Coast and ranges,

Sydney mostly sunny after fog,

sunny in Canberra. Fog in

Victoria's south-west. A fine

sunny day across the State. sunny day across the State.

Melbourne sunny, bayside sea

breezes in the afternoon, high

cloud crossing parts of

Tasmania. A shower or two in

the far south, in the east this

afternoon, a partly cloudy day

for Hobart. South Australia - cloud spreading from a trough

in the west. A few showers in

the west, otherwise fine. Warm

in Adelaide with cloud increasing. Showers and

thunderstorms across inland WA

and Perth and and Perth and Geraldton. Early

cloud and sunny in Perth.

Thunderstorms over parts of the north, thundery ore the

Northern Territory Darwin,

early showers and storms, more

this afternoon. This is how

Wednesday is looking - fine in

most cities, showers for

Brisbane and along the

Queensland coast. Afternoon

showers in Hobart and Darwin,

more weather in half an hour.

The top story on 'ABC News

Breakfast', Kevin Rudd's

popularity has taken another

hit in the latest Newspoll.

Figures from the Australian newspaper show satisfaction

with Mr Rudd dropped to

48%. It's the first time his

rating dipped below 50%, support for the Opposition

Leader Tony Abbott has fallen

by 1 percentage point. Labor leads the leads the Coalition on a two

party preferred basis. The

Prime Minister promised a huge

cash injection for doctor training to boost doctor numbers, especially in the

bush. It's part of the Kevin

Rudd's bid to sell his health

reform plan to the states, it's

not enough to win over

sceptical Premiers, as Dana

Robertson reports. Kevin Rudd

has a plan to shake-up the nation's hospital system. And

he's not the only one. Although he's not the only one. Although

the emergency chief at

Queanbeyan hospital is looking

farther afield for inspiration. 60% seems a bit

like a cop out. Maybe Australia

should take a leaf out of the

Cuban health care book. I lived

in Cuba, they ran a good health

care system You are the first

to advocate the Cuban

system. There's nothing radical

in the Prime Minister's in the Prime Minister's

approach. The constant story is this: there are not enough

doctors, specialists, there are

not enough nurses. Kevin Rudd's

delivering more cash to boost

doctor numbers around the

country, promising more than

630 million over the next four

years, to train new GPs and

specialists. 339 million will

be spent teaching 600 new general practitioners each

year. It will mean 5,500 more

family doctors in a decade. We

want young graduates, the

numbers of which will be

increasing overcoming years to

see the general practice is the

place to go. 145 million about

bolster specialist numbers.

Kevin Rudd says those places

will be where most needed. This

package concerning 680 specialists is focussed specialists is focussed on

rural settings, it's focussed

on community settings. The AMA

thinks the Government is

heading in the right

direction. That is part of the

jigsaw puzzle that we need to

move forward with the health

reform agenda, training of

doctors for the community is an

important step. The Opposition

is not so sure it will reach

its destination. Mr Rudd is all

hat and no cowboy. He's all hat and no cowboy. He's all announcement and no follow through. The workforce

announcement is the first of

many fleshing out the original

Rudd health plan, overcoming

one of its biggest

criticisms. $600 million is a

lot of money to find in what

will already be a tight Budget

year. The Prime Minister says

every dollar will be there in

black and white This plan will

be fully off set and the details

details associated with the

funding will be outlined fully

in the Budget due in May. Mr

Rudd hopes by then the

reluctant states will have

fallen into line, he hasn't yet

found a prescription to quell

their doubts. I am not about to

take risks with the public

health system to try out

something different. I have to

be convinced that it will work,

it's safe. NSW is worried the hospital hospital network could become

localism run amok with as many

as 50 different health networks

across the state. That is

possibly too many local

hospital networks, the size of

them may not represent the best

arrangement from either a

clinical or a corporate

governance basis. It looks like

being a longer than expected

labour. You can't take the pain away. The away. The same might be said

for running a federation. Dana

Robertson with that report.

We'd love to know what you think about the issues today

and the continually falling

person approval ratings of

Kevin Rudd are of interest, particularly when voters, at

least those polled by the

Australian seem to strongly

indicate that they still want a

Rudd-led Labor Government to be

in charge. You have two things

at odd, a personal approval rating rating dropping but a

Government

How do we take act of that. Let

us know: - how do we take

account of that, let us know:

In other news - at least one

person has died in a powerful

cyclone that hit Fiji overnight. Cyclone Thomas

brought winds of up to 175km/h

and flooded two villages in the and flooded two villages in the

country's east. Earlier 5,000

people were evacuated, and

houses were boarded up as

residents prepared for heavy

winds and flooding. The

Category 4 cyclone is expected

to continue affecting Fiji

throughout the day. In India

hundreds of people attended the funeral of Gurshan Singh in the

country's north. The 3-year-old

Indian boy was found dead in Melbourne this Melbourne this month, a man who

lived with the family has been

charged with manslaughter by

criminal negligence. Security

forces in Thailand prerp for a

new wave of anti-government -

prepare for a new wave of anti-government protests,

Abhisit Vejjajiva rejected

calls to resign and call

election, red-shirt's

protesters for Thaksin

Shinawatra held a rally outside a Government base a Government base where the

army was holed up. They've been

donating blood and plan to dump

it on the steps of Parliament

House in Bangkok today. The

Greens say Federal Liberal

backbencher Wilson Tuckey

should apologise for comments about Aboriginal people, Wilson

Tuckey says acknowledging

Traditional Owners of the land

at official functions is a

farce and should be abandoned.

The Greens Leader Bob Brown says his comments says his comments are

obnoxious. Motorists will this

morning get their first chance

to test Australia's longest

road tunnel. The 4.8km tunnel

which goes under the Brisbane

River was opened last night,

drivers will be able to use the

road for free until April when tolls will be imposed. Children's rights

groups are angry about a

Tasmanian Family Court ruling

allowing a registered sex allowing a registered sex

offender to spend weekends with

his daughters, saying the

decision breaches a United Nations convention and should

be appealed. Kara Douglas

reports from Hobart. It's a

Family Court ruling sparking

outrage around the country,

Judge Robert Benjamin ordered

the 8 and 10-year-old daughters

of a registered sex offender

can spend alternate weekends

with him even though they need protection

protection from their father

particularly at night It's

wrong on every count, it's

dangerous and abuse i. You

have to wonder why the rights

and protection of the children

were not paramount in this

case. The court ordered the

girls share a room so they can

have the mutual support of one

another and the bedroom have a

door capable of being shut at

the request of the children.

The Launceston father was The Launceston father was

convicted in 2010 of three

child pornography offences, and

was placed on the child Sex

Offenders' Register for five years and his wife left

him. The Family Court found the

father invited the eldest girl

into his beside during a custody visit and demonstrated

an affection towards her that

in all the circumstances was

inappropriate or a child of

that age. The girl told

counsellors she did not want to counsellors she did not want to

spend time alone with her father repeating, "Please don't

tell dad". The 10-year-old is

frightened of the father, they

expressed that, their wishes

have been ignored. Black

Shirts, a group that campaigns

for the rights of fathers

supports the ruling. The father

is on notice that society, the

court, is keeping an eye on the

situation and the children are

not being denied their

parent. In a case like this the

children are more important and

have far more rights than what

the father should. Advocates

for children's rights want the

decision appealed. For the

American military there's been

a positive side to the economic

downturn, more recruits. One of

the biggest beneficiaries is

the Marines. Last year they

aimed to secure 37,000 new

recruits, and they recruits, and they exceeded the

target. North American Correspondent Kim Landers

joined the training of the US

marine corp.

These are US marines in

action. Three Platoon are invading a

invading a town. Carter, you'll

go to the westside on the other

window, provide security. Move

it. They are trying to take a

foothold in one of the buildings. This is not

Afghanistan, but it's supposed

to be pretty close. It's the

marine corps urban warfare

training centre at Quantico,

near Washington. On this day near Washington. On this day

about 40 marine play the roles

of insurgents trying to repel

the attack. Aim at the window

too. To an observer, it's

confusing and chaotic. Hey, in

the window. Where is the dead

body. I don't know, I don't

have a target. Don't waste your

ammo. These marines struggle to

follow the follow the fight It's

difficult, especially. You can

see the buildings, it's not

just windows, it's peep holes,

you generally see a muzzle

flash. It's the way Marines

train, chaotic, that's what

they are trying to asimulate.

In Afghanistan US marines are

leading the Marge ar offensive,

the first test of a US

the first test of a US and NATO

counter-insurgency strategy, a

rehearsal for a larger assault

in Kandahar, the Taliban's

stronghold. It could be crucial

in deciding whether the

Afghanistan war has reached a

turning point. It's a fight

these marines are keen to

join. It's not a question of if

we go, but when we go, awe of us are hoping

us are hoping that we can get

into that fight and be part of

it. I did a lot of studying of

counter-insurgency warfare and

Afghan people, that's why I

really want to get into it. The

Marines here are officers in

the final months of their

training at the basic school.

Their he'llets and flak jackets

are fitted with - helmets and

flak jackets fitted with

flak jackets fitted with

sensors, M16s with lasers,

while they are firing blanks,

the high tech system can tell

if they've been killed or

wounded. I have been killed. It

reveals how accurate their

shots are. The Marines are

attacking a town, it's not

going very well. They are

taking heavy fire, a lot of casualties, but it's giving

them a sense of what it's like

to be in combat. The to be in combat. The US has

been at war for almost nine

years, yet the strain of a

protracted conflict is having

little feght on reciting -

effect on recruiting, last year

they set out to recruit 37,000

men and women, a target exceed

ed. The Marr eeps have done

well, they are smaller -

Marines have done well, they

are smaller, they allow troops more

more time the home, they are 7

months rather than 12 and have

14 at home. The US economy

being week is propping up recruitment. The question is

whether it's artificial. Once

the economy turns around, if

and when it does, would it have

a major impact on recruiting

and retention, especially for the weak points in the

force. At the heart of the new

US strategy in Afghanistan is protecting

protecting the Afghan We are

looking for a Mr Hussin. Abdullah Mohamad. I don't

know. It's part of this

training exercise in a mock

village. With Afghans, many of

whom don't want to be

identified, playing the role of

villagers, as the marines try

to find an insurgent. But the

to find an insurgent. But the

marines blundered offending the

village elder. He say you come

to my town, and you start

pushing in front of them and disrespect to me and my

people. This is preparing the

marines for battle in

Afghanistan, some experts worry

that there's too much emphasise that there's too much emphasise on counter-insurgency

training. Marine corp in

particular is at risk for

training atrophy right now,

particularly in the amphibious

assault domain. Other pieces

like mountain warfare, all of

those types of training

regiments have been put off to

focus exclusively on

counter-insurgency, out of necessity. It's an open question whether this can

question whether this can be

sustained indefinitely. While

the US has begun to push back

against the Taliban in Afghanistan, military chiefs

warn there's heavy fighting

ahead. There's little doubt

these new marine corp officers

will get their chance to join

it. Kim Landers with that

report. You are watching 'ABC

News Breakfast', these are the

top stories, the Prime Minister Kevin

Kevin Rudd's popularity drops

below 50% for the first time.

The latest Newspoll shows

support for the Opposition

Leader Tony Abbott falling by one percentage point. Labor

leads the Coalition on a

two-party preferred basis. A

Category 4 cyclone hits Fiji,

Cyclone Thomas brings winds of

up to 175km/h, and flooded two

villages in the east. One

person died. Protesters in

Bangkok threatened to spread

1,000 litres of blood on the

steps of Government House .

Prime Minister Abhisit

Vejjajiva ignored calls to

resign and they ask supporters

of former Prime Minister

Thaksin Shinawatra to donate

blood to use in the protest.

It's Newspoll day, meaning Radio Australia Phil Kafcaloudes must be here with

us. He is. He certainly is. They are always interesting

polls, aren't they. This time

what we have, of course, is

Kevin Rudd who has gone down to

48% personal approval. A lot of leaders over the years would

have said, "I would have loved

that", he got to 48. We look at

Tony Abbott. 47% personal approval. Also

approval. Also interesting to

look at is the disapproval for

Kevin Rudd. If we look at the

papers, you can see it, you

probably can't make it out,

it's small. He has a

disapproval, Kevin Rudd of 41%,

as the 48 approval and the 41

disapproval get closer, we'll

see more of the Prime Minister

in the media as is his want. He

was trying to correct that to

an extent over the last an extent over the last couple

of weeks with announcements, it

doesn't seem to have had an

impact at this stage. Not

yet, we haven't. Tony Abbott

factor is still new. There's a

honeymoon going on, perhaps,

for Tony Abbott even though he

dropped a bit in the poll.

Talking about Tony Abbott. In

'The Australian', Tom Disavic,

says Tony Abbott is carrying

too much hand luggage, on the

right side, talking about right side, talking about his

image on women's issues will

come into play moving to the

election, and said in a country that is Christian said

god-bothering can be a turn

off. That's his quote. It could

be something that comes up over

the next few months. I wonder

if the drop in the Prime

Minister's personal approval

has something to do with all

the hospital beds he sits on

all the time. I look at the poor people poor people thinking, complete

stranger sitting on your bed,

"Get off the bed", you know,

you stay well back from the bed

thinking, "You must be sore and

fragile." This guy plonks on

the bed And the camera crews

that are there with him, and

the lighting. You feel like you

are in full election mode at

the moment. There was a bit of

point of clarity when the Prime

Minister went - I am not Minister went - I am not sure

which hospital, but one woman,

an employee there started to

lecture him about the

benefits. About Cuba. Yes. He

did manage a comeback about

human rights, which was the

exact right way to take the conversation. What we are

talking about human rights,

let's look at Christmas Island.

We have on the front taj of the

'Telegraph', the 'Telegraph', the PM's Tampa crisis, what this is referring

to is the fact that Christmas

Island is getting full. In

fact, if we move over from

there to the 'The Herald Sun',

you can see on the left side

there, there's numbers of votes

that brack boats that have

arrived and people on - and a

comment is if a big boat

arrives on Christmas Island, it

will be blown out of the water will be blown out of the water

anonymous source, which is

extremely inflammatory

language, it wouldn't be blown

out of the water. It would be

crowded. It seems inevitable it

will get to the stage that

people will have to be taken to

the mainland and processed

somewhere near Darwin. They are

talking about 600 coming to Darwin. We interviewed Malcolm

Fraser on the issue, in his

autobiography which came out in

the last couple of the last couple of weeks, he

said he never countenanced an

idea of a reception centre. Cabinet pushed him and his

Department, to do that. He said

he never wanted that, he wanted

people to be just given

whatever help they could and

move into society as they are

assessed. Things have changed a

lot in 30 years. 'Sydney

Morning Herald' is staying with

matters political. Yes, in

fact, bad news for both sides, if you look at if you look at the 'Sydney

Morning Herald', on the front

page, left side, "Rudd hones

razor to fund doctors", $632

million for doctors. Where

will it come from That's right.

Hence the razor, referring to

the Malcolm Fraser days, and

the Tony Abbott story on the

right side and carbon storage,

a study found by a group called a study found by a group called

Climate Works finding that by

sequestering the carbon into

the soil, you'll be able to

sequester half of what Tony

Abbott is claiming or what the

figures are that the Opposition

is claiming. We'll speak about

that as well. Also, some

elements of their plan seems to

shore up what Tony Abbott is

suggesting. We'll trawl through

that later. It is one of those

stories where the truth

stories where the truth of

climate change is just so how

can I say dicky. Who knows. The

quote of the day from Tony

Abbott, and this is in the

financial review. Tony Abbott

says Mr Rudd is all hat and no

cowboy. He's all announcement

and no follow through. A

beautiful quote It's a steal of beautiful quote It's a steal of

kooet's immortal quote of Peter

Costello, where he called him

all tip and no... You don't

think all hat and no koi by is

like the iceberg. They are

running their line, they have

the Opposition worked out about

how inauthentic the Prime

Minister is, it was interesting

to hear John Howard, lines about Tony Abbott about Tony Abbott is you know

what you are getting, he's the

real deal, he's a real person,

they are trying to bring up the

contrast. It may stick. He's not an Opposition Leader

saying, "I am not going to say

anything wrong or

controversial, I'll be OK",

he's putting out his policies,

it's refreshing. Yes. Finally

looking at 'Break are Morant'. After Morant'. After all these

years. A Parliamentary

Committee, the last person to

look at the last group that

should look at whether someone

should be given a pardon,

there's a Parliamentary

Committee, and we've had one

historian, Craig Wilcox that

said breaker Morant should not

be given a pardon, nor Hancock

the man executed with him, basically what they did they

killed South Africans out of

hand and the standards of the day were

day were fair, despite

descendants being in the

room. Is this an inquiry

looking at exonerating breaker

Morant. Whether there should be

a recommendation, instead of

going to lawyers and an Appeal

Court. In those days, 100 years

ago or more, there would have

only been a chance of an Appeal

Court. All this time

later. Yes. Good to see

you. Now Paul Kennedy with the

sport. There was league action sport. There was league action

overnight. West Tigers were

able to triumph over Manly, it

took a while, going down 4-20,

they came back and won that

one. Lote Tuqiri scored with

his first touch back in NRL. He

had a run down the sidelines

towards the end which set up

the winning try. So he made on

impact straightaway, his

team-mates were delighted with team-mates were delighted with

his contribution, and there's

the winning try for West

Tigers, getting home against

Manly, there's biffo on the

final whistle after a big late

hit, and there you go, a sign

off for a very exciting night

at the rugby league. Now, the

Australian swimming team is

getting ready. They are starting their Commonwealth

Games trials, the Australian

championships, and the whole

world of swimming will world of swimming will be

watching how they go and what

times they swim. It's the first

major event anywhere in the

world that's been held without

these fast suits that were

banned as of January 1. They've

come, of course, after two

years of almost incredible

world records set, 250 or

something world records in just

two years. Moving to the two years. Moving to the Paralympics, and it was Jessica

Gallagher who on her 24th

birthday won a bronze medal to

get the Australian team up and

going at Vancouver, it's the

first medal for the Australian

team. She turned 24 as she was

in the downhill event. She has

impaired vision. She's very

pleased with herself. She

tried to get to compete in Beijing, it was in the Beijing, it was in the

shot-put, and long jump, and

wasn't able to compete there.

She's looking to compete in

London. Who knows, maybe do

what would be a unique double,

I suggest, a medal in the

winter Olympics and the summer

Olympics. With the swimming,

swimmers are confident they'll

be able to beat those marks set

with the suits that are now with the suits that are now

banned. Maybe not these

swimmers, but some way down the

track they think the records

may fall. I don't think many of

them will get very close to

those records. In no the the

short term. It will take a

whilement - not in the short

term. It will take a while.

Those times were incredible

pre-2007, long before any fast

suits came out. 255 world suits came out. 255 world records. I think there's an

argument to be made that

swimming more than any other

sport should return to the

Greek ideal. Going naked. I'm

serious about this, think about

it logically, you'll have body

against body, in the one body

of water, no advantage or

disadvantage. More

spectators. Just get over the

purians of it, come on, Paul.

It's about athletes It's about athletes competing,

I would like to start that argument. Swimmers doing it

naked like they did in the good

old days. Then the shot-putters

and the discus throwers would

have to wear big white sheets.

Is that what they wore. Now you

are stuck in Roman togas, we

are going to have to get this

straight. We'll talk about this

later. Absolutely naked. Now

here is Paul Higgins, fully here is Paul Higgins, fully

clothed with the weather. Thank

goodness. It's hideous sight if

I wasn't fully closed. Cyclone

Yulure, i off the Queensland

coast, could produce swells.

Today showers along the East

Coast, squally, thupder why in

the Torres Strait. Fine, in

Brisbane a shower or two. Sunny

across NSW, showers on the far North

North Coast, and nearby ranges,

Sydney - sunny, fog in the

west. Light winds in Canberra.

Fog in the Victoria's

south-west. Fine and sunny

across the State. Melbourne

sunny. Bayside sea breezes in

the afternoon. Showers in the

far south, and into the east

this afternoon, partly cloudy

days in Hobart. South Australia

- cloud spreading from a trough

in the west. Showers in the in the west. Showers in the west. Fine. Fog in the

south-east. Fine in Adelaide,

becoming cloudy. Showers and

storms across inland wab. And

between Perth and Geraldton.

Cloud and sunny in Perth. Thunderstorms could be

brewing over parts of the

north, thundery over much of

the Northern Territory. Showers

and storms in Darwin, more this

afternoon, here is how

Wednesday is looking, fine in

most cities, showers in

Brisbane. Afternoon showers in

Hobart and Darwin. We are getting emails from you in

relation to the latest

Newspolls and how Kevin Rudd is

going. Ian says, "People are

realising Kevin Rudd is being

recognised for spin. His

charisma disappeared as soon as

he was elected", that's on Facebook. More coming up on

'ABC News Breakfast', 'ABC News Breakfast', stay with

us.

Crowd's approval rating hits Crowd's approval rating hits

a low, Labor still has an

election-winning lead. At least

one person killed and thousands

of homes evacuated as a powerful cyclone hits

Fiji. Mourners in India attend

the funeral of Gurshan Singh,

the 3-year-old boy killed in

Melbourne. And Lote Tuqiri and

his new team, West Tigers open

their season with a thrilling

win over win over Manly. Good morning,

it's Tuesday, 16 March, I'm Joe

O'Brien, I'm Virginia Trioli,

the top story, the lautest

Newspoll shows support for the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has

hit a low, satisfaction dropped

to 48% in today's poll in the 'The Australian' newspaper,

it's the first time his rating

dipped below 50%, the poll

shows Kevin Rudd's Government

has an election-winning lead on a a two-party preferred basis,

for more Melissa Clarke joins

us from Canberra.

Take us through the

numbers. The most interesting

numbers are that of Kevin Rudd's satisfaction

rating. What we see with the

two-party preferred numbers and

primary vote - they are steady, <