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A Current Affair -

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(generated from captions) This program is captioned live. Welcome to a Current affair. Hello again. was badly damaged in a bushfire. Imagine how you'd feel if your home And four years later insurance company to get it fixed. you're still battling your

I'd just like to see my home

returned to it's former state. Also tonight - hate to their followers Muslim clerics accused of preaching

while talking peace in public. Plus, crazy penalty fees. How about being slugged a dollar wrong? every time you get your PIN number wr g?

And, sunglasses with built in music. heading your way. Wait until you see the latest gadgets the missing cockatiel. And what chance of rescuing Tweetie, We'll bring you the latest. He's a pensioner to the same company who's paid home insurance premiums for a quarter of a century. he's been fighting them, But for the last few years back to the way it was. just to get his house The light bulb had fallen -

and shattered all over. it must have filled with water The carpet was absolutely saturated. The furniture was soaked. the house is in a state of disrepair? So basically, And is continuously deteriorating. Hermann Meier is frustrated. He says all around his home, the sloppy workmanship there is no escaping of a repair job gone wrong. been up here now? How long has this tarpaulin up here since October last year. Well, these tarpaulins have been October last year? That's over 12 months. about four or five times. They've been replaced and re-secured Not to mention the rotting sandbags.

They're also frequently replaced the guttering is now ruined too. and, under their weight, the side of the house when it rains, You don't want to walk around of water coming down. because there's just a flood The list goes on. Inside the home, serious electrical problems. water damage has also caused It's just a wet, rotting house. all the water in, And the tarps are keeping not keeping it out. than it was before. The house is wetter inside now what's it going to take - I just think or get killed for someone to get hurt really bad to happen? or something really, It was Christmas Day, 2001. Hermann had just returned home Jackie and her husband, Jason. after a family lunch with daughter the big black cloud over the area, When we left and we saw just massive flame and smoke, when we got here and it was I mean, yeah, our hearts just sank. by fire and smoke. The home has been badly damaged just enveloped the whole property. And the smoke and heat And it went up behind our house. it burnt everything there. We have a machinery shed - it went up like a bomb. The machinery, lost their mother, Alisi, to cancer. Just a month before, the family None of us, I guess, to really grieve that loss. have really had time to r ally grieve that loss. h v really had time

and it just all snowballs. And then this happened, Nearly four years down the track, with his insurance claim. Hermann is still struggling It runs off the roof, back into the house. and then it runs claims poor repair work The 71-year-old pensioner with a lesser material, saw the original roof replaced has never been the same. and he says his home the roof didn't leak. The house didn't leak, It had good carpets.

interior of the house was clean. The walls were painted and the And something to be proud of. like an old dump in a way, really. But at the present time, it's just more damaged than before. Eventually, it's got to be not forward. So yeah, they're going backwards, even more unbelievable - But here's what makes his story subcontractors who did the work Hermann has discovered the were unlicensed. NRMA through a registered builder. They were employed on behalf of the what did they say about it? What about the NRMA - They didn't worry at all. I had to go back to the builders. They always told me to the builders, And then when I talked I had to go to the NRMA. they've just been combined - So between them, and just ignored me. just a closed shop, really, in this situation now. And that's why I'm is now under legal dispute Hermann's claim to carry out the repairs. over the amount it will cost At one stage, the policy of their gold member, the NRMA even threatened to cancel for 25 years. who has been paying premiums to rectify the matter raised above, "Unless repairs are carried out to offer you renewal." "we will be unable everything you've been through? How does that make you feel after really. Well, just absolutely shattered, returned to its former state - I'd just like to see my home to the fires in Christmas, 2001. how it was prior In a statement, NRMA Insurance claims and his subcontractor it was Hermann Meier poorer quality roofing material. who decided to use on a new works agreement. They say Mr Meier refuses to sign off not satisfied with the original work. Mr Meier tells us that's because he's to fix the damage. NRMA say they stand ready in the ground Now to that massive hole the homes of 50 people which threatened to swallow up on Sydney's North Shore. at a block of units As we showed you last night, of the pet cockatiel Tweetie, there's concern over the fate still caged inside one of the flats. is in charge Assistant Commissioner Mark Goodwin of the police operation at the site.

Thank you for your time. Tell me

the latest in the building behind

you? OK, we have a bunch of good

news tonight which is great. The

situation firstly with the hole

itself, it has finished being

filled and we're just waiting for

the final drying of the concrete.

Throughout the evening, we've been

filling holes near the concrete

wall here. In terms of seeing if

there was any further vacant gaps

there that needed to be filled

before we released the site. The

good news is that the roadway will

be open ahead of schedule.

Previously we put out about 10:00

to midnight, but we're hoping at Previously we put out about 10:00

9:00, that will be open. In terms

of the residents that have been

evacuated, the unit block, two

unit blocks here have been

evacuated. The one on the left,

through work we've done with

engineers and e gi eers and adv sors engineers and advisors today, the

good news is that those people

within the next half an hour to an

hour will be brought back here and

can go back into the residences.

The other block of units there, not

so good news but not so bad either.

We've had our robots in there

throughout the day that people have

probably seen with the rescue squad.

We've had engineers in there and

we've had the police doing

assessments with the engineers. And

what we've found is that the back

12 units are structurally safe

enough for us to take people in

tomorrow morning with a police

tomor ow mor ?ng with a police officer to retrieve their personal

ie tempts at this stage. What about

Tweetie the cockatiel? What chances

has she got? The front nine units

is a different story. There is

structural damage there, most

notably on the left-hand side of

the building. The units on the

right-hand side, the police will be

able to go in and get personal

possessions. But as you can see, the once he nc

the once that are directly above

the collapsed area, those two

units there, what we've been

advised by our engineers, it is

exactly like a car on the edge of a

cliff. So if you can imagine if

there was any more pressure put on

that point there, it could actually

tumble the two units above into the

ground. That's where the cockatiel

is, without food or water for 48

hours? Of all 22 units in this

block it is the only pet in the

building and it is is right above

the collapsed area. But having

said that, we had a look with our

robots and have a good idea of the

layout of the place. We'll be going

in there tomorrow once some

in there tomorrow once some shoreing up is done under the

collapsed area and we'll be

sending our police robots in there.

And with any luck, the bird is

still alive and we'll be able to

get it out. So Tommo, the robot

could go in there and pluck Tweetie

out? Tommo is a good fellow, one of

our better police officers with a

chest of steel. He's been apt many

of these types of incidents and

he's an asset to us. He's been shot

he's an asset to us. He's been shot a few times. We hope he will be

able to get Tweetie out and

reconnected with the owner. We have

reconnected with the owner. We have to go, but we thank you for your

time and we have our fingers

crossed commissioner that Tommo can

save Tweetie for us. OK, thank you.

save Tweetie for us. OK, thank you.

save Tweetie for us. OK, thank you. Thank you for your time, we Thank you for your time, we appreciate it. They tell us that they're peacemakers, publicly denouncing terrorism.

But, according to one national newspaper today, some Muslim clerics in Australia are preaching hate to their followers, urging them in Arabic to support insurgents fighting our soldiers in Iraq. Osama bin Laden - he's a great man. We believe we have more right than you, because we choose Australia to be our country. A lady, if she wears any kind of alluring clothes or adorning clothes, or clothes that beautify her beauty, she is eligible for rape. They're radical, they're extreme, and if you believe today's 'Australian' newspaper, they're also dangerously two-faced. I'm 100% against all terrorism. This is my religion. They don't represent many other Muslims who actually do want peace and don't want a bar of this. But they're giving Muslims a bad name and they're scaring the rest of us too. According to the paper, radical clerics like Melbourne's Sheikh Mohammed Omran and Sydney's Sheikh Mohammed Zoud preach peace in public but hatred to their congregation.

For example, in public, Sheikh Omran is reported to have said: But in the sanctity of his mosque, speaking in Arabic,

he's reported to have said: And Sheikh Zoud in public has been reported to say: But in his Sydney mosque, speaking in Arabic, he's reported to have said:

Look, it's a real problem

that we do have religious leaders saying one thing in Arabic and another in English. 'Herald Sun' columnist Andrew Bolt supports new terror laws that could see extremists jailed for up to seven years. There's been so many instances now that we know of

of hate preaching and hate writing by some of these leaders and their organisations that I am afraid we do need to look more closely at what they do and hold some of them to account.

As I said, I'm not defending what they said, but I have to defend, as an Australian, their right to say it. Keyser Trad is founder of the Islamic Friendship Association. These are men of God,

and if a man of God, on conscience, is opposed to a military campaign or is opposed to the invasion of another country, then it should be treated as that - that these are people who object as a matter of conscience. Today, Sheikh Zoud wouldn't speak to us on camera, but he told A Current Affair that he wasn't even in the country when he was supposed to have made all these comments. Sheikh Omran, meanwhile, was not contactable here in Melbourne, but his followers deny that he's a preacher of hate. They're not talking about hate, you know? Well, what did the Sheikh mean when he said no victory for Islam's brothers and sisters can be stopped by George Bush, Tony Blair or John Howard? Who, brother?

Sheikh Omran, here in Melbourne. I don't know, I haven't heard that. If they're Australian citizens, they stay. You deal with them. If they're not Australian citizens, they get thrown out. It's not that hard, I don't think. Ben McCormack there in Melbourne. Sheik Zoud is now demanding an apology from 'The Australian' newspaper. OK, many Australians believe they just can't afford to be without private health insurance. But a Brisbane man now questions what good it's done him.

Because his health fund refuses to pay

for a drug he believes could save his life. Is your life worth more than $15,000? I think so. Adrian Bowman is dying, but that's not the reason for his tears.

I do feel that I have had a price put on me. Adrian's last chance at beating the aggressive prostate cancer killing him is a chemotherapy drug called Taxotere. I actually need that treatment to stay alive. I've been told by the specialist that it is the only chance I have. The drug is approved and therefore free for breast cancer patients, but not for men with prostate cancer. So Adrian's last shot at survival has been priced at $15,000 - a medical bill his health insurance company, MBF, refuses to cover. When Adrian initially made the claim, MBF came to the party. But after getting the $2,500 bill for his first course of treatment, the medical insurance giant sent him this letter.

I was in hospital when I got the letter, waiting to have my next lot of treatment, and I just...I couldn't talk. I couldn't talk. I didn't cry, I just got so - just so angry. Adrian was forced to leave hospital without treatment.

I just feet that I'm worth more than that. I think in general,

people don't have enough information aout health in general, but also about private health insurance. Tony McBride from the Health Issues Centre doesn't believe in private medical insurance. He says it's far safer to put the money we pay in insurance premiums away in a special medical expense bank account, so it definitely will be there when we need it. In general, for most of the major conditions, you're probably better off in a public hospital. So all up, over the years, how much do you think you've paid in medical insurance? It would have to be $35,000 or $40,000, I suppose. So that's more than double what your treatment will cost? Yeah - more than double, probably three times. It's medical insurance despair echoed around the country. I wouldn't recommend them to anyone, especially when I hear those happy, happy jingles on the television. # I feel better now. #

I don't feel better now. For a quarter of a century, 66-year-old grandmother Stella Moffat has struggled to pay for top cover with Medibank Private. So, when she put in a claim to have hospital treatment for her debilitating arthritis, she thought she'd be covered.

Instead, Stella was put on a 12-month waiting list. You can have paid a lot of money over the years to a private health insurance company, but you exactly the same rights as the person that's only een there one year. Non-cover of pre-existing conditions like Stella's is one of the most common complaints about insurance giants from policyholders.

So are unrealistic gap payment demands made on victims like Sandra Galvin. Even with the top level of cover, I still had over $4,000 of bills that I had to pay. Sandra paid $1,200 a year for top cover. But after collapsing outside her home B t after collapsing outside her home and being taken to the hospital her health insurer Medibank Private approved, Sandra was still hit with a massive bill. I believe that when you take out a contract with somebody, which I have with them,

I believe they've got a duty of care. Adrian's terribly sad situation is a result of an option medical insurers have called a restriction or exclusion. Even though I've reached a stage where it's more difficult to fight, I'm just not a quitter. I haven't given up. And I think I'm worthwhile saving.

Amanda Paterson reporting on a really crazy situation.

The insurance company is certainly within its legal rights

to reject Adrian's claim, but we're talking about a drug that could save a man's life here. Wouldn't it be great if they could stop thinking like a business. We'd like to know what you think. Send us an email or get on the phone and tell us. Alright, in the blink of an eye,

science fiction has become science fact. Even many of the gadgets we take for granted are being updated with newer, smarter and more efficient space-age models. There's so much great technology out there. Get your hands on it!

Digital cameras, digital music, even digital eyewear - you've got to try it! From digital delights to cutting-edge computer games, they're the latest in techno toys. Don't be scared, come and play. Here's something interesting for a little bit of a homework help... Andy Wells, who hosts a radio show called 'The Word on Technology', is taking us on a test run. This is the latest in digital music eyewear from Oakley - the Thump 2 -

sunnies for your eyes, a gigabyte of music for your ears. This invention has our road tester, Jacquie, off and running. They are really fun.

As you could see, I just felt like running when I put these on. Anything you don't take double the time to do, and it's all compact in one, just makes life easy and fun. Also hitting a high note with our road testers: The iPod nano - up to 500 songs, starting at $299. But it's so small! Impossibly small! Uni student Amy was happy to groove away. And play songs, you can download photos on it. If you're always lost or running late, then this is the gadget for you - it's a personal satellite navigation system linked to 24 satellites up there, exactly where to go. and it will tell you to Parliament station. And I want to go NAVIGATION SYSTEM: Turn left. NAVIGATION SYSTEM: Turn right. Well, we made it! is a great one at the moment. The 'Eye Toy: Kinetic' It works as a personal trainer in front of the TV, so you're standing there, or combat work-out. doing this whole cardio The trainer within the game is talking you through it, pumping you up. That was fantastic. You need a lot of energy for it. Something that requires a little less energy is the latest in digital cameras. 8.1 megapixel camera, which is great quality. It has this great Photoshop function so you can scribble and make little postcards and things. Give it a shot here, Halo there. Wings - nice. You're an angel. And computer whiz Damien is in techno heaven. It saves a lot of time. You don't have to go on the computer, you don't have to buy expensive software to make one of these, and I think it's really good.

Now to the Roboraptor - terrorising a lounge room near you. and dinosaurs and dogs? So these are a fusion of robots He's playing dead. Don't you love that?! you can interact with them, It's great - you can play with them, with sound. And you don't have to feed them. batteries. No, you've got to feed them a little softer, And if you prefer your gismos try the new, improved Furby. Go to sleep. OK. Me sleep now. Sing me a song.

(Sings) it doesn't always do what you say - When you ask it to do things, like a child, I guess. And it's temperamental. Absolutely. Hey, what?! Elise Mooney. high-tech toys at our website. And there's more information on those and other financial institutions Up next - how the banks with penalty fees. are now slugging you

Welcome back to a Current Affair. and other financial institutions It's bad enough the way our banks services they say they're providing. load you up with fees and charges for of getting at your money - Now they have another way so-called penalty fees. Believe it or not, you even have to pay up for entering a wrong PIN number, It's just greed as I see it. I can't see it as anything else. getting another dollar. It's just another way of them over the fee levied on him, Alan Finchley is furious

entered an invalid PIN number simply because he accidentally into an ATM. I don't think people realise to one of these machines that if you can come and mis-type a number, and it can cost you. cost Alan a penalty fee of $1.05. One wrong digit I really do. I think the charge is outrageous, screwing your customers? Robert, is your credit union Our customers are our owners. Definitely not. the Members Education Credit Union. Robert Allen is the group manager of the lowest fee-charging institutions He maintains they are among in Australia. slapping a silly charge like a $1.05 So why ruin your reputation by for an invalid PIN number on an ATM? it is a silly charge. We don't believe It is totally unreasonable of mistakes all the time. because people make those sorts It is not uncommon. at the bottom of the screen. Take a look at this ticker from just one of our major banks. These are the fees As you'll see, the list goes on and on and on. We receive a wide range of complaints about fees. the Consumer Credit Legal Centre Katherine Lane from are now profiteering with fees. believes some companies to charge Legally, they are not allowed on penalty fees. more than their reasonable cost

It's as simple as that. They are not. it's time for a government inquiry Katherine reckons into the m riad of fees we are all charged. into the myriad of fees

and so easy for a machine to do, For something so quick how can this possibly cost anything? my Internet this morning, Yeah, well, when I key into to connect up. that was all very easy than I pay in banking fees. I pay a lot more in Internet fees

over the last 12 months, The credit union says is the $1.05. the only fee you have paid

in complaining about this? Are you being a penny pincher Probably. that I was arguing for. But as I said, it was a principle those fees keep rolling on. As you can see, institutions having a lend of us. But it is not just our financial are cashing in on this fee bonanza. Companies of all kinds of $2.50 per month They have introduced a fine for not having a direct debit. in a pincer hold by iPrimus Joy Trigg is caught service to pay her Internet bill. for not using the direct debit I really believe it is simply an information-gathering exercise. her bank deta ls to iP mus Joy fears that is by giving her bank details to iPrimus for direct debit purposes, that information could end up anywhere,

leaving her vulnerable to fraud or unwanted marketing campaigns and telephone calls from far away places. Hi Mr Murphy, this is Christopher. I have seen the development in the past where information has ended up overseas.

I certainly know my electricity company now belongs to Singapore Energy and had I had them direct debiting,

my information would already be in Singapore today. I am concerned about direct debits generally, because you have to always monitor your account, otherwise you get charged large fees if you are a cent overdrawn and you can't meet the direct debit. Which is precisely what happened in Angela Eriksen's case. I was angry. Really, really, really angry. Angela was 94 cents short of fulfilling an automatic direct debit out of her Commonwealth Bank account. For that tiny shortfall, she was hit hard. I got stung with a $35 bank fee. When she realised, she topped up her account immediately. But the Commonwealth showed no remorse. So the day that the fees came out of the bank,

I noticed the dishonour fee come out. So I rectified it and put in the 94 cents that I was out. But they still took the $35 dishonour fee out of the account. Is it any wonder people are losing faith

in organisations which insist on direct debits and banks win encourage us to use them. Yes, I have lost faith in the banks. James Thomas with that story. It's an extraordinary family feud. There's a wedding coming up, but the bride and her sister are at war over a dress.

or one that helps fight the appearance of pores,

age spots, dryness, dullness, texture, tone and lines and wrinkles. Actually, there is a product that helps fight all 7 signs - Why fight just one, when you can choose a more Total Effect? Time's running out to enter Lotto's massive $19 million Saturday Super Draw. That's right, $19 million! (Laughs and cheers) It's on this Saturday,

so hurry and enter now. SONG: # Dreams come true. # Two sisters and one giant catfight. It's a feud over a dress for a wedding. Now the bride's big day has been turned into a family war zone. Sisters at war - that exclusive report tomorrow.

This is your sister. That f that's his is your sist r. That t t's This is your siste . That f that's This is your sister. That f that's This is your sister. T@at f that's This is your sister. That f that's This is your sister. T at f that's This is your sister. That f that's

This is your sister. That f that's the most disheartening thing. Your sister says sister s ys you re sister says you're destroy willing

sister says you're destroy willing sister says you're destroy willing her wedding I didn't want to get

married any more. This was the end

of the road with me. Sisters at war - that exclusive report tomorrow.

Now, earlier this week we had a story about a young woman sacked from her job for dressing up as the Bob the Builder. She was told it was because she wore a nose ring under her costume.

The name of the tour manager who sacked her is Lisa Currey. But just so there's no confusion, we're not talking about Lisa Curry-Kenny, the Queensland swimming legend and a good mate of this program - nothing to do with her. Look forward to your company again tomorrow. Goodnight. Supertext Captions by the Australian Caption Centre. www.auscap.com.au