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On this week's Stateline -

councils dump on the

Government's dump tax. It's

milking the community. I've

been arguing for a number of

years we should make tips

free. The man from Maralinga... The Government did

not do what they agreed to do

and they did it just to save

money. And Australia's peaks and troughs by bike.

Hello and welcome to

Stateline. First to Adelaide's

chaotic day on the trains. It's already featured in the Federal

election campaign, the Opposition's demanding an Auditor-General's inquiry and

there was yet another breakdown

tonight on the Noarlunga line.

Bill Watson is the general

manager of TransAdelaide and I

spoke with him earlier

today. Bill Watson, welcome to

Stateline. Firstly, why did the

train system fail yesterday? We

had a failure with our computer

system. We've got two computers, one is meant to

provide a backup if there is a

problem with the first one

that. Didn't work

satisfactorily so it caused

difficulties for commuters on Thursday. How old is the

system? It cost $8 million and

is 18 months old and took three

years to develop. Are you happy

with what happened? No. We're

not happy it inconvenienced a

lot of customers. We don't set

out to deliberately ruin

people's day and when it does,

we are sorry it has

happened. If you've known about

it for a while, there is a

problem, why hasn't it been

fixed? We've been working with

our supplier since the

installation of the system 18

months to go to work through a

number of problems. The train

control system is very complex

and we had to go live at some

stage to iron out a number of

problems. The union says what

you've done is you have a

half-baked system, old copper

wires with a new computer and

you should have put in fibre optics. That's the first time I've heard that suggestion. What about that

suggestion? At the time of the

development of the proposal for

the new control system, a

technical evaluation was done

and we were satisfied with the

till emetry in the field. Are

they correct? You've done it

half-baked? No. The telemetry

in the field supports the train

control system. The old wiring

out there in the field is a problem? No, it's not a problem

at all. The fault we had

earlier this week was not

related to the wires or the

telemetry in the field. It was

to do with the backup computer. Talking broadly about

the whole system, is the age of

the system an issue? Not

necessarily. We work very hard

to maintain our system. We have

maintenance programs in place

for rail cars and for our

track. And we do what we need

to do to keep the system in a

safe manner. But that's not a

ringing endorsement is it? I

don't share that view. It's our

view the system is adequately

maintained and we provide a reasonable level of service to

our customers. Union is saying

that these trains we see at the

moment are two to three years

will hit their used by date.

What's the plan for the next

generation? We have Toohey

class built in the 1980s and

3000 built in the 1990s. We

have a maintenance program in

place that sees all redundant

parts on them regularly

replaced. We don't share the

view they only have two to

three years life. What if

Adelaide had a modern electric

system, would we see the

problems? In any rail system,

there will be operational

problems from time to time. If

you look at an electric system in Sydney or Melbourne, they

have operational difficulties

from time to time. Electricification, per se,

doesn't guarantee you 100%

reliability. Have we the only

diesel system in

Australia? Yes, but our on time

running compares favourably

with other states. Finally, do

you think people have an unrealistic expectation of the

whole system? No, they don't. Our customers are entitled to

good quality service and we

work very hard to provide

that. How do you compare with

the rest of Australia? We think

we rank relatively well. You

think? We know we do. We

certainly look at a system like

Perth, which operates quite

well and that's something we

strive to achieve. Bill Watson,

thanks for your time. Thank

you.

To the Federal election and

it's been a strange topsy-turvy

kind of week on the campaign

trail. From Canberra, here's

Michael Brissenden. You need

all the help you can get. Once

again, the morning walk

provides a pointer. At the

halfway point, the latest poll

shows three weeks of intense

political activity has failed

to move the voters one way or

the other. Labor still has a

10-point lead. Right now, John

Howard does need all the help

he can get, but this week he

hasn't been getting much from

his own side. Look, it's a long

time since I've been on the front page of every

newspaper. You are enjoying

it? Look f publicity is a drug,

jive had an overdose. Government's third

week strategy was derailed by

Tony Abbott. Early on, it

looked good. Labor appeared

confused and rattled by

inconsistencies on Kyoto, a key

part of the climate change

message and an area considered

one of Labor's strongest points

of differentiation. In policy

announcements, week three was

dominated by health and for all

the wrong reasons, by the

Health Minister himself. Forced

to apologise to asbestos victim

bantamweight bant, he failed to

turn up at the National Press

Club debate and was later

caught swearing at his

opponent. A day later, it was

still diverting the

Government's message. That's

not the language I use. I will

not adopt a holier than thou

attitude. Tony has a bad day.

Let's not waste time on

that. But for much of the week,

the PM didn't move on. He spent

almost all of it in Melbourne

campaigning in Liberal held

seats like La Trobe, which the

Government holds by 6%. Reports

began to surface that there was

growing internal Liberal Party

anxiety about the state of the

campaign. Some believed the

messages have been confused and

the PM was spending too much

time defending his record. He,

and his ministers, have all now

started to change the

message. What people want to

hear from me is what I have to

stay about their future. Kevin Rudd, on the other hand, spent

the week campaigning in

Liberal-held seats in

Queensland and swalts. Some,

with margins of almost

10%. Yesterday he dragged the

media pack through four in a

day. I say there is a mood for

change because people are

fed-up with WorkChoices . He's

been saying that for months,

but there is only three weeks

to go and the to go and the differing

campaign focus of the two sides

does tell a story. The other dominant feature of the

campaign so far has been the

calls of me too on policy. The

Government has put out a

helpful list of 36 policy areas

it claims Labor has copied

under Kevin Rudd. The latest

came this week when the Labor

leader announced he would adopt

the Government's $4 billion

plan for older Australians and

add on a few extras. This

strategy is clearly a

frustration for the Government

and, of course, a line of

attack. The Labor Party is

setting a world record in being

copycats, but there are two

things they can't copy - our

experience and our capacity to

manage the Australian economy.

I think it is fair to say in

the election campaign that the

things that Mr Rudd doesn't

copy from us are the things the

unions won't let him copy from

us. In relation to just about

everything else, he's tried to

minimise the differences, not

because he believes it. I seem

to remember 1.5 weeks ago Mr Howard saying my plan for

Australia's future would wreck

the country. 1.5 weeks later Mr

Howard says my plans are no

different to his plans. He

needs to make his mind up. I

think his comments this morning

very much reflect a PM who has

lost touch, a PM who is locked

in old politics, a PM who is

locked in the past without a

positive plan of his own for

the nation's future. Mr Rudd

nominates climate change,

WorkChoices, the housing affordability crisis, education

and health as key areas of

policy difference. But in those

areas of agreement, the policy

me toos. It may be that not

every Labor frontbencher shares

the leader's commitment. Tony

Abbott is not the only

politician to have had a bad

week. Peter Garrett has had a

loose tongue. During a

conversation with radio

presenter Price in the

Melbourne Airport this

morning. I had a copy of the

Sun newspaper which had a me

too story. I said to Peter

Garrett, "Looks like it's

turning into the me too

election campaign?" He turned

and looked at me and said,

"Don't worry about, that once

we get in we'll change all

that." He meant if Labor gets

elected, they will change what

they promised on tax, on

pensioners, on Kyoto. This me

tooism is just a pretense.

Peter Garrett has let the cat out of the bag and once they

get in, they will change it

all. For his part, Peter

Garrett says his conversation

was a brief and jocular one, a

version backed up by the third

man present at the time,

Channel 9 identity, Richard

Wilkins. Peter had an off the

cuff humorous response, which I

think was a throwaway line and

intended as a joke. If it was a

joke, it wasn't good. In an

election campaign, small slips

can be disastrous. This is the

second big gaffe this week for

Mr Garrett. He may have done

his party some damage, but he's

probably hurt himself a lot

more. Local Government

Association fears the recent

doubling of the waste levy is

leading to a rarg rash of

illegal dumping and is a grab

for cash. The Government

insists the increase will help

save the planet.

There is an old saying, where

there is muck, there is money.

And the rubbish industry is

certainly big business. It's

also a big money earner for the

State Government. The solid

waste levy was doubled in the

last budget. And, according to

the Local Government

Association, in one move the

Government got an extra $5

million. Coindently, it says

just enough to replace the $5 million cut from the environment protection authority. We believe they are being dishonest to the

community, absolutely. It's

called a waste levy, spend it

on waste. It is isn't? I only

half of it is spent on waste.

Local government is able to

access a waste to resources

fund. That is accountable. The

money is held and it has a

fence around it. That part is

accountable, and we are talking

about $10 million with the

other half, is spent on EPA on

general activities. They do a

lot more than waste. Government

says it has a target to cut

landfill by a quarter in the

next seven years and the

doubling of the levy is part of

that strategy.. the mayor, Ivan

Brooks, agrees with the goal,

but not the means. He says its

community has cut its landfill

by 9,000 tonnes a year and the

double dump tax dumps on the

wrong people, those who have

been recycling. Everyone has

taken to it like ducks to water

and done the right thing. It's

an opportunity for the

Government because we are

taking less, they think we need

the same amount of money and

have doubled the levy. Can you

do anything about it? I would

love to. Please tell me

how. Have you spoken to the

minister? Yes, I have. What

does the minister say? It's

only a few cents per household. It's milking the

community. Ultimately they pay

for the waste levy through

council rates. That money is

going - straight of it, into

general revenue. Some of it is

used in waste, EPA has

responsibilities, but I can't

find out exactly how much of

the levy is spent directly by

the EPA on waste matters. Wendy heads the Local Government

Association of SA and believes

the increased waste levy could

be leading to an increase in

illegal dumping. Have you had

an opportunity to check out the

situation now? We've had illegal dumping before and we're doing research on it at

the moment, there is an

increase in people dumping.

Adelaide Hills councillor,

Bill Spragg, sees the evidence

of illegal dumping every day as

he drives through the Torrens

scal gorge. At the nearest

dump, in Campbelltown, a

transfer station at Newton and

they come pass that to dump the

rubbish, probably because it

takes them too much to take it

to the dump. The in the last

hard rubbish collection, I had

two mattresses, it was putrid,

and was put in front of my

house. Whether because they

knew I was the mayor, I don't

know. The a spokesman for the

minister says her schedule was

too full to appear on Stateline

N a statement, she denies a

link between illegal dumping

and the increased levy, saying:

But Bill Spragg argues there

is a better way. I've been

arguing for a number of years

we should make our tips free

and all councils across Adelaide should incorporate the

cost of dumping into their

council rates and allow people

to dump their rubbish free of

charge. Our council gives out a

tip pass for one free dump a

year and that is estimated to

cost something like $70,000,

but I hate to think what it

costs to pick up the rubbish on

the other side of the road. I'm sure it would be a lot more

than $70,000. The state

Opposition is looking at both

free dumps and abolishing the

levy as part of its 2010

election strategy. There ought

to be a minimum of fees, if any

fee, linked to the proper

dumping of rubbish. The Mike

Rann waste levy, we would not

have introduced it. More than

half a century after the last

atomic test at Maralinga, traditional owners are on the

verge of taking back their

country. There are those that

question whether it is safe. A

warning - this story contains

images of deceased persons.

This area, section 400, the

Maralinga test site, is like a

little 4,000 square kilometre recollect angle in the

Maralinga lands. So it is

important for the Maralinga

people to get that land back.

Maralinga in the state's far

north-west is a giant slab of

real estate which has an owner

desperate to off-load and a

residential group eager to take

up. So in real estate terms, it

should be a simple deal. There

is rarely anything simple about

that place which translated

means Thunder. A half a

century ago, the British

detonated seven nuclear weapons

at Maralinga, but it was the

so-called minor trials that

caused most of the nuclear

contamination. Hundreds of

smaller explosions scattered

deadly plutonium across the

desert. After the British

finished their tests, they paid

for a clean-up they called

Operation Brumby, which is

considered not much more than a

tidy up. Bruckby was a

shambles. They claimed they

made that nice and safe and the

head of the weapons committee

told the Government it was fine

and everything was good. But

when we uncovered it,

everything was not good. Alan

Parkinson is a nuclear engineer

who was recruited by the Menzies Government to help

build a nuclear powerstation in

this country. That project

never eventuated, but a decade

ago he found himself at

Maralinga as a consultant for

an ambitious project to clean-up the old test site,

once and for all, at a cost of

$100 million. While much of

the work was removing and

burying contaminated soil, the plutonium was to be dealt with

by a state-of-the-art system of superheating, known as

vitrofication. It turns the

whole lot into a hard

glass-like rock. I have a piece

of it here. It is not radio

active, but that's what it

does. Turns it into the glass

and it immobilises the plutonium and other

contaminants for up to a

million years. After a dozen

successful vitrofication, there

was an unlucky 13th procedure

when something buried in the

1960s exploded. It was a

serious situation. Nobody was

involved so nobody was injured

at all, but it was a huge

explosion. As a result,

vitrofication was abandoned and the clean-up continued with

waste being buried. At Ground

Zero in March, the clean-up was

declared a success. We can shut

the book on it in a positive

way in terms of the way we

worked with the Aboriginal

people and rehabilitated it,

not just to say sorry, and walk

away. We've, as a people, Labor

and Liberal, together, have worked with the Aboriginal

people to rehabilitate the

area. The idea was the land

would then return to the

traditional owners, the

Maralinga Tjarutja. Now after

more than seven years of

negotiation, that appears

likely. The hold up is in

negotiating the final agreement

and indem nittis, which the South Australian Government and

Maralinga Tjarutja have sought

from the Commonwealth about

future claims in respect of

injury. I am confident those

matters will be resolved and

that the clean-up - sorry, the

handover will take place within

the next six months or. So

Aside from being able to carry on traditional practices in

their country, the Maralinga

Tjarutja have modest plans to

develop the old test site and

village for tourism They have enormous interest to students

of history, atomic physics and

botany. It is an ironically a

pristine botanic environment.

There are many people who have

an interest in the sites and

many former Australian service

personnel who are out there in

the '50s and the Maralinga

people would be delighted for

them to come back. But Alan

Parkinson still believes the

Maralinga Tjarutja have been

shortchanged. He's recently

written his side of the story

in a book explaining why he

believes economics, not safety,

was the reason for abandoned

the vitrifaction

process. Government did not do

what they agreed to do and they

did it to save money. Science

minister Julie Bishop dliened

to be interviewed and issued a

statement described Alan

Parkinson as a disgruntled

employee. She is wrong on both

counts. I'm neither disgruntled

nor an ex-employee. I'm

disgusted and dismayed at what

they've done and claim this is

world's best practice and

Maralinga is now safe. Alan

Parkinson has acted as an

adviser to the Maralinga

Tjarutja and their lawyer says they share his concerns about the abandonedment of the

vitrifation process, but are

taking a pragmatic approach,

working a deal to cover future

clean-ups. Maralinga Tjarutja and the State Government would

be crazy to say, "This is a

good clean-up." It may be at

the moment, it may not. The

more important thing is to deal

with further problems as they

arise and as they certainly

will. The Commonwealth

Government, to their credit,

has agreed they will make that

undertaking. That would be an entirely appropriate undertaking. While the

traditional owners prepare to

conclude decades of wrangling,

the technology from Maralinga

continues to be used

successfully abroad.

Multinational engineering firm,

Amec acquired the world-wide

rights to the process after the

Maralinga clean-up and has used

it successfully in Japan and

the United States. Everyone

agrees to various degrees that

Maralinga is now cleaner than

it's been for decades, but Alan

Parkinson still believes the

Maralinga Tjarutja should bear

in mind that old test sites

never die. It's not my land, it

is their land. I do not have

the same affinity with the land

that they would have, but I

wouldn't accept it back.

Cycling across Australia would

take the wind out of most of

us, but being out of breath is

exactly why two Adelaide men

took up the challenge. It was

to raise money for cystic

fibrosis, which can make each

breath difficult. Kosciuszko

is the impressive looking round

mound in the middle. The

highest point in Australia.

That's where we are heading. Let the journey begin.

(Sings) # I want to ride my bicycle...

#

It was a journey of

contrasts. Snow and green grass, then dirt and dust.

1900km by push bike from Mt

Kosciuszko in NSW to Lake Eyre

in SA, a trip from the nation's

highest point to the lowest. I

need someone to wipe my brow.

This is the film Mark

Wellington and Richard had shot

of their gruelling journey.

They say the trip was not as

tough a task as the one faced

daily by those living with

cystic fibrosis. There wouldn't

have been too many days that

went past when in some way we

didn't consider that we're

doing this by choice. We don't

have to do this if we don't

want to, but people who have cf

don't have the ability to say

they don't like it

anymore. This is a photograph

of Richard and a on Mt Kosciuszko. Their inspiration

for the epic bike ride was this

man, Brad, Taylor, born with

chronic cystic fibrosis. I've

been in the situation where so

much has happened to me in my

life and from an early age I

didn't think it's not fair, I'm

going to not work hard at it,

it's like a running race, if

you fall over, if you don't get

up and start running again, you

have no hope. At least if you

get up, you have a chance. All

you need in life is a chance.

You never know what is around

the corner. It was that

inspirational talk that brought

Richard and Brad

together. Because of his

experiences with CF, Brad

became a motivational speaker.

He met Richard, who is a

teacher when, he was telling

his story to a group of school

students. With my stitches

popped and my chest would open

up and my heart would go this

way... His story is so

compelling because through much

of his childhood, Brad was

given a slim chance of

survival. But at the age of 24,

hope came in the form of a

heart-lung transplant. Even

then, doctors doubted he would

live a long and full life. That

was 19 years ago. Brad says he

is now one of the longest

living heart-lung transplant

recipients in Australia. When

you are dying, a sense of

humour is great medicine. We

decided to do it for CF because

I got to know Brad over the

last ten years and found him a very inspirational sort of a

character and we were looking

for a charity to raise the

money for and I couldn't think

of a better one than Brad and

CF.

(Sings) # Great southern

land, great southern land... #

More confident than I have

been before that this is very

doable. As long as my butt can

handle it. Over 21 days,

Richard and Mark pushed through

pain and tiredness and were

picturesque countryside in rewarded by some of the most

Australia. Riding down the

Alpine Way was really

spectacular. Very, very

beautiful scenery. Very thick,

very luscious countryside. Very

steep! Yeah, very steep. And

then from there, for the next

week, it was actually quite

lovely pastures and green area.

Quite a fertile landscape.

Then we saw it slowly changed

and then changed I thought

fairly quickly. By the time we

got to Lake Eyre, we were

looking at sand dunes and

landscapes which were not even

real, it seemed. What was real

were the ferocious winds. At

the lake, the wind was so bad

it almost brought their journey

to a standstill, just as they

were about to cross the finish

line. There were many, many

days when we had very, very

strong head winds. So that was

a battle in itself. (Sings) #

This is Australia... # With

some persistence, they finally

made it. And along the way,

they managed to raise more than

$26,000 for CF. The biggest

donation was $10,000 from a

South Australian business. The

smallest - small change from

kids in country NSW. For them

to take on a trek like that is

very gutsy and I'm sure I speak

for ul after us with CF, we're

extremely grateful for the

sacrifices they made and the

guts they've got in actually

doing it. I'm humbled by the

sort of people that motivated

us to do it, the Brads of the

world, who I think are very

special people and deserve all the help we the help we can give.

You can catch us again next

Friday. That's the program for

this week. We've got to get on

our bikes now! Goodnight. Closed Captions by CSI

CC

Tonight on Stateline - the

Royal Doctor Flying facing an

emergency of its own. I don't

want to go to one of their

funerals. WA's murders laws

under review after a string of

failed prosecutions. People are

walking free who have taken a

human life.

Hello and welcome to the

program. I'm Rebecca

Carmody. WA's homicide lawyers

are set to be overhauled after

a string of failed prosecutions, including one

this week in which a man walked

free in another so-called 'one

punch' acquital. But the

Government's own admission, the

number of failed manslaughter

prosecutions has brought the

law into contempt. It seems

juries are reluctant to convict

in cases where it's argued that

death from one punch could not

have been foreseen. The

Attorney-General, Jim McGinty,

is now signaling changes to

make such prosecutions more

likely to succeed. Elvira Nuic

reports.

One deadly punch outside a

Perth hotel. My son is gone.

This boy's just walked. A

fatal Christmas bashing. Today

was a great defeat of justice

by the legal system. Deaths

that outraged the community and

critics say exposed flaws in

the legal system. The public

want to know that if you commit

a very serious offence, taking

someone's else's life, that you

will be brought to justice.

There are too many exception s,

ways in which people can get

around it, which I think has

brought the law into

contempt. Those loophole s may

soon be closed. The review of

WA's homicide laws has called

for sweeping changes, most

notably Stateline can reveal

'one punch' deaths would be

made easier to prosecute . It's

not about being harsher on

offenders, it's making people

that might be pre disposed to

getting involved in a fight

think twice about throwing that

one punch. Leon Robinson died

after being bashed on Christmas

day five years ago. His four

attackers were acquitted of