Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
Today Tonight -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) I'm Naomi Robson. Hello, and welcome to Today Tonight. Tonight - The dance drugs killing our kids. what's really in them. You simply will not believe Russian roulette with your life. Effectively, you're playing are dancing and dicing with death. The report that proves kids

Plus, Australia's mega-rich, to fund great ideas. putting their own money on the line And they want to hear from you. for $3 million? Would you sell the company right now I've been offered more. the battle gets bigger and nastier. And petrol wars - It's do or die. They have to survive. They have to compete. They have to succeed. But first, our kids aren't getting the message. when it comes to drugs, of Health and Welfare report An Australian Institute

admit to using illegal drugs. shows that 15% of people among younger people. It's an even higher percentage It's an even higher percentage

is far worse And the story here in Australia and the United Kingdom. than the United States And, as Glenn Connley reports, about than just the drugs they buy, social drug users have more to worry these so-called party drugs because it's what's in and addling their brains. that's killing kids Ecstasy, GBH/GHB are both drugs Russian roulette with your life. that effectively you're playing Lynn Short is 22. she's abused her body and her brain For four years, of so-called recreational drugs. with a cocktail healthy 22-year-old brain. Look at this MRI scan of a normal, Now look at Lynn's - scarred, battered and badly damaged. Now look at Lynn's - it looks there. Look how almost moth-eaten association areas. That's where areas of memory are, of someone in their late 60s or 70s I would say this would be the brain multiple little strokes. that has had

So ask yourself - really that harmless? Are drugs like marijuana or ecstasy Do they really prematurely age you? Have a look at these women, experimenting with drugs... first before they started using drugs like marijuana, ..now after just a few years ecstasy, amphetamines and GHB. do they look much, much older, Not only drugs have made them ugly. they'd be first to admit What are you doing? POLICE OFFICER: Sir, stop that. by police for driving erratically. This man has been pulled over short for grievous bodily harm. He's taken GHB, known as GBH, of the other or even stand upright. He can't put one foot in front eventually call him an ambulance, Police on the roads. thankful he didn't kill anyone else It is predominantly manufactured of certain industrial cleaners. by the mixing

like Detective Inspector Bob Hill say Senior police Senior police

they simply cannot comprehend to risk their lives every weekend how young Australians continue chemically induced high, in search of a momentary test the seized drugs and when police scientists they can't believe what they find. It's enough to make you sick -

industrial cleaners and solvents, horse tranquillisers, nail-polish remover, even Ajax. caustic soda, paint thinner, a number of clandestine laboratories We've identified

in recent times as filthy, dirty, unhygienic that one can only describe and honestly producing material consider ingesting that you would never ever if you knew where it came from. They said that it was drug-related, which I just couldn't believe. Yeah, it was unbelievable. from country Victoria, Belinda Davey was a clever girl a dance fanatic and dedicated nurse. what drugs could do, She knew and saw every day by them whenever she went out. yet was surrounded and tempted 10 months ago She moved down to Melbourne to these different places and she was going and she said, and we had chatted about it a bit "Mum, it's everywhere.

face, but I just go to dance." "It's always being shoved in your Belinda's mum Lyn says about the prevalence of ecstasy she talked to her daughter used it regularly and how her dance buddies with drugs cost Belinda her life. just a couple of weeks before a brush around her as much as she tells you, Did you fear that if it was for her to go, "Okay, I'll try it" - it would only take one time one time for her to give in? Never in a million years, no. that she wouldn't do it. I just assumed tried ecstasy for the first time. In February this year, Belinda Within a month, she was dead, in the car of a drug dealer her body found on the deadly drug GHB. after accidentally overdosing It's a drug which sells for $5 a hit across Australia's major cities. at dance clubs There's a lot of victims out there some of these drugs and it only takes to be cut with the wrong ingredients or get a bad drug or a bad reaction and you've lost them. or even know someone who does You don't have to take drugs to be affected by them. ripped off or assaulted, If you've ever been robbed, burgled, a video or a DVD player ever picked up at a price too good to be true,

drugs have touched your life. then chances are directly linked to 70% of all crimes. Police now say drugs can be

I used to forget a lot. that I would go and visit them I would promise people on a particular day, that I had to go and visit, forget the day that I had to go and visit,

doctors' appointments. that were very relevant in my life Sometimes there were things that I even forgot about that had to be done.

It usually starts with marijuana. by the time they leave high school, Research suggests that kids like Angela. most Australian kids have tried it - At this stage I'm 35.

when I first started experimenting I was about 13 and I still smoke my marijuana. You can't stop? I'm finding it very, very hard a very difficult drug to stop. and it is almost impossible to beat marijuana, Not only has Angela found it

of a 20-year battle she also says it was the beginning with drugs of all kinds. or some people experiment with it. It might be fun for some people to other drugs. It actually does lead on

It's not just marijuana. It doesn't stop there. It actually tempts you to go further and further. How much further did you go? I went to the point where I was not under $750 a day heroin. I knew eight years ago that I was going to lose my son. And that's an awful thing for a mother to know because there was nowhere where we could go. Sandra Kranz says nothing makes her more irate than when people call marijuana a soft drug or call for its legalisation. She says it killed her son, Joseph. What do you say to people who say marijuana is harmless? Well, come and knock at my door and I'll show you some photographs of Joseph. That's how harmless it was - it took his life. in Easter this year Joe took his life after spiralling into deep depression. Sandra says Joe saw several doctors, was admitted to numerous hospitals and institutions, yet still slipped through the net. She wants a national strategy for drug abuse. son had so much to offer Australia - I was so angry that I felt that my

I was so angry that I felt that my son had so much to offer Australia - and he really did - but Australia wasn't prepared to offer him anything. I felt as if my husband and I and our three other children were fighting this battle by ourselves. So if you think your child won't experiment with drugs, think again. If you think a bit of experimenting can't hurt, think again. If you think drugs are hard to get or too expensive for your kid, think again. They're everywhere, they're remarkably cheap, and they kill. If you're lucky, they'll kill you instantly.

If you're unlucky, it will be slow, painful and can cost you everything along the way.

We're concerned about the way

these illicit drugs are now perceived within the community, the way they're marketed. There's a perception out there that they're safe, that they're safe to use. That is quite incorrect. What do you say to the scum out there selling this stuff? The scum out there, they should all be hung, I tell you. If we had half of what Indonesia's got, this might not be happening. What would you say to the teenagers out there that may be thinking if they experiment a little bit with marijuana, they'll be fine? All I can say is don't think you're going to be fine, because you're not, because I thought I was going to be fine and then I ended up with a $1,000 heroin habit, and it's taken a lot out of me mentally, physically, socially, in confidence, self-esteem. And it's about time we stopped kidding ourselves and saying that it's okay. It's not okay. Now, as petrol prices continue to soar everywhere, it's not just the oil companies reaping in a fortune. For Woolies, Safeway and Coles,

petrol is becoming a booming business. In fact, it's now worth up to $2 billion for the supermarkets annually thanks to their 4c-a-litre discount scheme. But finally, they have some competition with Australia's army of independent service stations entering the cut-price fuel battle. Sophie Hull reports. It's a petrol price war -

service stations slugging it out in a battle of the bowsers. And if you're confused about why your fuel bill keeps rising,

then the growing number of loyalty discount programs only makes shopping for petrol more complicated. It's do or die. They have to survive, they have to compete, they have to succeed. Struggling independent service stations are fighting back against supermarket giants Woolworths, Safeway and Coles. They now own 14% of Australia's service stations, yet sell up to 58% of all fuel. It's one of the biggest threats the industry's ever seen. Service Station Association chief Ron Bowden says small operators are under the pump from supermarket deals. About 200 outlets have closed down in the past six months. And if they don't compete, thousands more will follow.

We took advantage of the Coles one, but I'd rather see the smaller operator get a better deal rather than the big two. Do you have a Smart card on you? Yeah, I do, actually. Under the latest discount, SmartSave, as many as 1,200 service stations will offer 4c a litre discounts in a desperate bid to stop Woolworths, Safeway and Coles racking up $2 billion in fuel sales each year. The most I can save a day is $2 and it cost me nearly $50, so... I think it's a good deal, as long as they don't jack up the prices before they get the 4c down. The SmartSave scheme is the latest in at least seven major loyalty programs.

So how do they compare?

How much you spend there determines how much you'll save. It could be that some of the service stations are putting their prices up before they take the 4c off when you compare it to other offers in the area. NRMA public policy expert, Alan Findlay warns that while the discounts sound generous, they often amount to just a few dollars. 4c might sound attractive, but depending on the amount of fuel you're buying it may not equate to much in dollar terms. So 4c a litre - 50 litres is still only a $2 saving. Is it just a marketing gimmick or are there savings to be made? I think there can be savings made as long as you're confident that the 4c per litre is a genuine discount off the price that would otherwise be available. If it's 4c a litre all the time, then it's got to be a bonus, but, I mean, the way petrol is going now 4c is not going to make a hell of a difference.

And additional details on the SmartSave fuel card can be found on our web site - or you can give us a call. Coming up - Millionaires putting their own money on the line to fund new inventions and businesses. And you could have the chance of getting a share. Would you sell the company right now for $3 million? Do you accept our offer? We got a deal? $5 million right now. 'GET READY FOR THIS' BY 2 UNLIMITED PLAYS MUSIC STOPS so get online MAN: The new Chilled Juice from Golden Circle. A taste so good you may never squeeze oranges again.

To describe the sensitivity that I had, it's like nails on a chalkboard, particularly if I was having a cold drink with eating something warm. You just get that tingling through your teeth. I thought it was just one of those things that happens to everyone, that you just live with. Sensodyne's what we have in the house as toothpaste now instead of normal toothpaste. After Sensodyne, I really don't have any sensitivity, so it's nice to be able to just have a refreshing cold drink without having to worry about it. It's just easy.

Now to the millionaires offering to part with their hard-earned cash to help fund anyone who comes up with worthy business ideas or inventions.

As Chris Simond reports, the mega-rich are happy to hear from anyone with a convincing pitch. I don't understand at all how it works. Do you know what we can offer you? We're making you an offer. I'm not convinced about the product. I think they're dreaming. Have we got a deal? This is a terrific opportunity for anyone with a great business idea. You know that old story, build a better mousetrap

and the world will beat a path to your door?

Rubbish. Would you sell the company now for $3 million?

I've been offered more. Ever had an idea that just needs an investment of, say, $50,000 maybe $100,000 and you're on your way to untold riches? Well, meet five cashed-up multimillionaires who have agreed to invest their own money in hot business propositions. But step carefully as you enter the dragons' den.

What do you forecast your first year of sales to be? We're looking to sell at least a million units. The inventor of a life-saving device has offered our five resident investment dragons a 1% share of her business for $50,000.

If I was to offer you $5 million right now, Australian dollars, for 100% of the company, would you sell it to me? Once you're invited into the dragons' den, you pitch your business idea or invention then stand your ground as the panel grills you,

proposes a deal or rejects you outright. I think you've gone in too strong

and I think you may have lost out and may regret it. The inventor of a back-care product that turned over $300,000 in its first nine months

wants to sell 10% of his business for $240,000. Is his offer realistic? If you really wanted to grow your business, I'd have to be talking 40% for that kind of money. And on it goes as a $60,000 pitch for 50% of a new-wave designer lunch box gets its just desserts. Are you serious?

I'm deadly serious. And a new-fangled drinks tray feels the heat of a dragon's breath. I think its something that would be put in a drawer and totally forgotten. These five inquisitors

who are about to invest in other people's business dreams have all been there, done that, when it comes to making a fortune. If they put in some money and they devote a good portion of their spare time to help you, I mean, that's priceless. Their combined personal assets total more than $300 million. Peter Higgins is co-founder and top dog of the home-lending success story, Mortgage Choice. Recruitment whiz Sarina Russo, the driving force behind the Australian Businesswomen's Network, runs her own Institute of Technology. Shutterbug Magnate, the multi-coloured Darryn Lyons heads global photo and paparazzi agency, Big Pictures.

Suzi Dafnis, creator of high-profile stage-management outfit, Powwow Events, is publisher of the best-seller Rich Dad, Poor Dad. And one of the most enduring of the leading identities in Australian advertising, Simon Reynolds. His current agency group, Photon, is valued at $170 million. Wealthy dragons with lorry loads of loot.

What we're looking for is an idea that is able to make a lot of money and doesn't have much competition. Simon, if you see a corker of an idea,

how much are you personally prepared to put in? If it was unbelievable, I would put up to a million in. That's now committed on national television. You're prepared to stick by that? A million dollars. You're prepared to stick by that? If there was a way of making 10 out of it, then I'd put one in.

But Simon and his fellow dragons are not about to give any of their hard-earned cash away unless you and your idea stand out, like George Lewin's Triton workbench, one of Australia's most successful inventions ever. Over 500,000 have already been sold worldwide. The biggest turn-off for me personally is someone who says to me, "This is a great product, it's got a world market, "a global market, everyone will want one," because that person just hasn't got a clue. Before you go rushing into the dragons' den with your idea, George has some advice after years of experience from the school of hard knocks. This is what you'll need - Well, intelligence, drive, savvy and persistence. And if the inventor hasn't got those skills,

then they need to find someone who has got them. Which brings us back to the dragons.

Perhaps a good place to be when you hear that only one in every 600 inventions ever makes it on to the market -

Unless you radically reduce the price of this, I have to say I'm out. Do you accept our offer? Have we got a deal? We can't reveal which enterprise had trigger fingers reaching for cheque books. You'll have to watch The Dragons' Den on the Seven network later this year. And brave would-be millionaires can be there. The dragons still have a pile of cash and might just be tempted to breathe fire into your idea. If you've got an idea, go to the website, write to us and present it to us, because this is the chance of a lifetime. And if you want to face the dragons' den with your invention or new business venture, just head to our web site and follow the links. Good luck with that. Now, coming up - the 86-year-old

who keeps on racking up driving charge after driving charge,

and how authorities are now threatening to seize her property. I don't know what to do anymore, I've had enough.

I just started getting really sore teeth. It was pain when I had hot food, it was pain when I had cold food. It was just pretty much whenever I ate, I had painful teeth.

I use Sensodyne Gentle Whitening toothpaste now. It gives me nice white teeth. I can eat anything, I can drink anything. I love going out for coffee with friends! It makes me feel very comfortable. I think they're nice and white, so, yeah, I think that's got a lot to do with my toothpaste.

If your house was built before 1988, some of the materials it's built from might contain asbestos. And that's fine if they're in good condition and if they're not disturbed during renovations or repairs. But it is important to know where asbestos might be in your home and to make sure that anyone who might handle it, like tradesmen, tenants or potential purchasers, knows too.

For more information, see this booklet or the asbestos website.

According to the authorities, 86-year-old Bonnie Maskell is a law-breaker and a menace on our roads. it's hard to believe. But when you see her, it's hard to believe. In fact, they couldn't be further from the truth, as Rodney Lohse reports. I'm being harassed and bullied, really.

The letters that we're getting are very threatening. I've signed 14 statutory declarations up at the police station. Lynn Maskell is tired - tired of trying to keep her 86-year-old mother out of court, or even worse. And don't be fooled into thinking mum Bonnie is harmless - she's been caught driving unregistered cars, illegally parking, you name it. There are even warrants to take possession of her property to pay the fines. Mum has advanced Alzheimer's dementia and she has been in a secured facility for the past four years. Yes, you got it right. The authorities are chasing an innocent old lady.

I don't know what to do anymore. I've had enough. Lynn and Bonnie's woes started when Bonnie's car was sold when dementia took hold and she couldn't drive anymore. when dementia took hold and she couldn't drive anymore. The new owner hasn't changed over the ownership papers and is running up driving offences all over the country. I'm being victimised here. I haven't done anything wrong. My mother hasn't done anything wrong.

The person who has is getting away with everything and I'm becoming very distressed at trying to solve this problem. The sad irony in this small story

about bureaucratic incompetence and nonsense is that Bonnie's dementia means that she is being saved the dishonour of having her name dragged through the courts. Now, the two young Aussies you're about to meet are quite a double act. In fact, these identical twins are well on their way to international stardom after signing a major recording contract

with one of the world's biggest labels. Sonia Kruger reports. It's a pretty big thing. We kept saying, "It doesn't happen to two girls from Brisbane, Australia," you know what I mean? (sing) # Any day there's nothing new... # Meet the two million-dollar identical twins. # I try to find some hope to try to hold on to... # The talented 20-year-old sisters have hit the big time on the international music scene, and in the process have swapped the suburbs of Brisbane for the bright lights of LA. We got told the deal pretty much gone through Christmas Day, which is also our birthday. So it was pretty awesome. A pretty big thing. A pretty good present.

We had just woken up and we got a call from the two heads of Warner Brothers saying that they were really excited and congratulations. Jess and Lisa Origliasso, also known as The Veronicas, have been fast-tracked to success, complete with a million-dollar video made in the US. It was like a huge production, all these lights were being set up

and all these extras. And we were like, "Wow, this is for our video, "Wow, this is for our video, all this is for our video." One kissed my left foot, the other kissed my right foot. I said, "Get up, get up off the ground, girls." So they got up off the ground. No, I mean, they're so unbelievably charming. Billy Steinberg has co-written some of the world's most famous songs, including Madonna's Like a Virgin. Now he's working with the gifted Aussie girls.

One of the things that really appeals to me is the thing that happens that only happens with siblings, their instincts and their abilities to sing harmony. It's beyond something they think about. They just do it naturally. Another thing that happens naturally with identical twins is they tend to finish each other's sentences - a lot. and they're like - No, we're more excited. (both) We're like, "No, we're more excited." (both) We're hoping it'll do well and everyone will like it. What's it been like moving from Brisbane to LA? A bit different, aren't they? They're very different but it hasn't been too hard because, you know, it is LA and it has great shops. This is like... Hoons and lots of cars.

Lots of cool people but this is like one of the coolest places, like Melrose Avenue, to shop and, you know, happening. It might be a cool place to live, but it's a tough industry. Jess and Lisa will have to sell at least a million records to stay in the game. Billy's got these words of warning for the girls. Record company people all telling you what's good for you, what you should do and wear in your videos.

And if you're not careful, you can wake up and realise that you're not who you are, you're somebody that somebody has manufactured. Are you sure they're yours and not mine? Yes, Jess, I have the size 5 and you have the size 5.5. Okay, good, I was just being sure. But there's nothing manufactured about these twins, least of all their personalities. Do you fight? (both) Yeah, oh, yeah, we fight. We had a punch-up this morning. We sure did. But, I mean - All sisters fight. And we wish the twins all the very best. Now to one of the stories I'll have for you tomorrow night, when we infiltrate a multimillion-dollar scam. We go undercover to expose the biggest con of all,

which has trapped thousands of people. You're still -

Excuse me. You're still selling bogus ads to small businesses aren't you, David? Excuse me, out of the way. $8 million worth. Out of the way. That's among the stories I'll have for you tomorrow night.

So until then, I hope enjoy your evening. Please take care, and goodnight. Captioned by Seven Network Email - captions@seven.com.au