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Stateline (Vic) -

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(generated from captions) Tonight - suspended from the

force, Paul Mullett is standing

his ground against calls for

his removal as Police Association

Association secretary. And

clean coal as authorities work

to divert the river that is

flooding this coal mine, unions

have questioned the safety of

mining practices. We don't

believe there is enough

scrutiny of these powerstations

and the way they operate.

Hello and welcome to

Stateline. First, to the force crisis gripping the police Stateline. First, to the

force as police command and the Government refuse to deal with union boss Paul Mullett. Mr

Mullett is fighting for his reputation and his job. But

tonight his former right-hand

man calls for him to go for the

sake of his members. In a sake of his members. In a show of support, the Police Association executive is standing firmly behind Mr

Mullett, despite his suspension from the police force

from the police force amid

serious OPI allegations of

misconduct. A warning, this

report contains some offensive language.

Have you been interviewed by the OPI or summoned? That's a

very dangerous question to ask. Why? There are very strict

confidentiality provisions and

no reporter, no

know of those things. If you no reporter, no person, should

do, you are committing an

offence. Two months ago, Mr

Mullett knew the seriousness of

any discussion about private hearings of the Office of

Police Integrity. So you can't

say because of the legislation whether you've been interviewed

or not. We have to be very

types careful when talk being those

types of issues. But it

appears Mr Mullett was not

reasons Chief careful enough. One of the

reasons Chief Commissioner

Christine Nixon has suspended

him from the police force is

that he has now admitted

discussing secret OPI hearings

assistant commissioner, Noel with the disgraced former

Ashby. The penalty for such an

offence is as high as 12 months

jail. I think it will be very

jail. I think it will be very difficult for us, after having

listened to the evidence over

ten days, and aware of the inquiry the Office of Police

Integrity has been conducting

since 14 September, it will be difficult to continue a positive relationship with him,

but we have to have a positive relationship with the Police

Association and hope we can

find a way forward. At the end

of a second tumultuous week for Victoria

of the Victoria police, the top brass

of the force gathered in the

media room at police

headquarters in a show of

support for their leader.

Across town, the executive of

listening to Christine Nixon's the Police Association was

press conference on the radio before formulating its own hardline response. Paul Mullett

association executive. The has the full backing of the

clear message - the fight is

on. In confirming the general

on. In confirming the general

meeting of members of 14 June 2007, the executive further

condemns the continued actions of the Chief Commissioner of

police in directly interfering

in the internal affairs of the

Police Association and, further, totally rejects the

offer of a meeting with the

Chief Commissioner on the basis of this condemnation. It is

of this condemnation. It is

patently obvious that the relationship at the moment

between police command and the

TPA is not a tenable

urge the parties, particularly relationship. Accordingly, I

the TPA, they do need to

closely examine that issue. I

know they are doing that today.

I urge the parties to come to an arrangement. For an arrangement. For inspect

Graham Kent, none of what has

emerged at the OPI is any

emerged at the OPI is any surprise. The association over

a time after Paul took over

really became a one-man band. There was really only one

person who had a say and any authority. That includes staff

and executive. No-one was able

to influence Paul. Over time,

he lost the ability to take

advice from anyone. Paul

really power hungry. Anything advice from anyone. Paul is

that eats away at his power, he

has a lot of trouble with and

he will do a lot of work on. Essentially, I think he

could well be described as a

meg la maniac. It's the first time Graham Kent is speak being

his time at the Police Association. He was Paul

Mullett's right-hand man as assistant

assistant secretary for five

three years years until he quit in disgust

three years ago. When he did

so, he wrote this letter to the executive, damning of the way

Paul Mullett was running

things. Toxic. It was a terribly toxic atmosphere.

Staff members often n my view,

got around in egg shells and

sometimes in fear, about being

caught out who they might be

talking to or what they are saying or who they are

with. It was a terrible place saying or who they are meeting

to work. Inspect Kent says

many members feel the

association executive should

act decisively. Today is the

time for the executive to finally show some leadership here. Take their

responsibilities seriously in

terms of governance and running the organisation. If they fail,

then it will be up to the

to members. The members will need

to stand up and be counted. It

is the members that comprise

the association. It is the members' interests that are at

stake. They can no longer

effectively be represented by Paul Mullett. Stateline can

reveal that Mr Mullett's

contract, which makes him one

of the highest paid union officials in Australia,

contains a key clause which may now come into

now come into play. It states

the employer, the Police

Association, may terminate the

contract if he engages in any

activity of serious misconduct

or if he engages in any conduct

that injures the reputation or standing of the employer, the Police Police Association. The

contract goes on to state that

in the event of such

termination, he is paid three months wages.

months wages. The toll so farp is one assistant commissioner, Noel Ashby, resigned in disgrace. The director of police media, Steven Linnell,

resigned in disgrace. Inspect Glenn Weir suspended and perhaps the most significant of characters in the saga, Paul Mullett Mullett suspended from the

force and now fighting to keep

his job as head of the powerful Police Association. Over

Police Association. Over the

six days of public hearings, secretly recorded tapes were

aired, many of them unflatering towards Chief Commissioner

Christine Nixon and her deputy, Simon Overland. The most vicious conversations were

taken Steven Linnell and Noel

Ashby.

In one of those instances he's given me

he's given me a written apology. In apology. In Mr Ashby's case,

he's not responded at all. I have to say have to say to my face, he

never behaved in that fashion.

I never heard him s swear. He

never spoke to me in that way.

If he had of, I would have

dealt with him over it. It's a

matter of that's what happens

in organisations. I don't take

it personally. You get on with

it. No-one likes to see those things said about you, particularly in a

particularly in a very public

way, but I'm comfortable the comments that have been made

reflect on the people who made

the statement, not me. They are

not true. Central and most

serious allegation against Mr Mullett Mullett is that operational information about a murder investigation was passed on to the target of that investigation, a police officer. Mr Mullet places his

denials firmly on the record before the hearings.

Murray Wilcox QC says he will

prepare a report on his

investigations for the director

of police integrity, George

Brower, who will prepare a

report for the Parliament. Mr

Wilcox was expecting that would

happen before Christmas N

summing up Mr Wilcox conceded

that although there is no

direct evidence, no smoking gun

to prove Mr Mullett leaked the

information to the target, it

may be that as a matter of

inference and logic, this is

the only conclusion open.

This is set to become an

almighty battle. On the one

almighty battle. On the one level between Christine Nixon

and the Government against Paul

Mullett and his executive. On

another level, Victoria police officers pitted against each

other as they face the question

or whether Paul Mullett should

stay. Well, it's just over a

week to go now to election day

and two embarrassing political

developments have forced the

Government on to the defensive.

First, a damning report from the Auditor-General has

the Auditor-General has fuelled

claims that Regional

Partnerships Program was

corrupted and use as a fund for

pork-barreling Coalition

electorates in 2004. Then Tony

Abbott was caught on tape

accepting that certain workers'

protections are no longer what

they were. The PM says Mr Abbott said no such thing and

insists the Regional

Partnerships Program was

properly administered.

From toy town railways to

synthetic bowling greens,

equine centres and even

dredging the local creek, the Regional Partnerships Program

has provided a great well of

funding for a diverse array of

projects in rural Australia,

many of them in marginal

Coalition-held seats. Labor has long accused Government of

using the program as a

political slush fund designed

to pork barrel marginal seats

in 2004. Now, just a week out

from this poll, the

Auditor-General has lifted the

lid and it doesn't smell good

at all. The problem for Mr

Howard is he's becoming

increasing arrogant and lost touch with the use of

taxpayers' money, preferring to

spend that taxpayers' money on

short-term political fixes

rather than a long-term investment plan for the

nation. Audit report into the Regional Partnerships Program

found that the scheme had fallen

fallen short of an acceptable standard of public

administration. Ministers were

more likely to approve funding

for projects in Coalition

electorates and in some cases before the applications were

even lodged. It also found that

16 grants were approved in a

51-minute rush just before the

caretaker conventions came into

place in 2004. The ten

electorates that received the

most funding were all held by

the Coalition. In

the Coalition. In response,

the Nationals leader Mark Vaile

has questioned the independence

of the Auditor-General.

Thrrftel are certain

conventions - there are certain

conventions that the political

side of Government must comply

with during caretaker

period. It may be that whoever

forms the next Government in

Australia should have a look at

some of the conventions that

may need to be implemented for compliance by

compliance by departments. I

mean, to have an unelected

individual who is a statutory

office holder making a decision

on the release of a report like

this and the timing, may be

that needs to be looked at and

maybe that's something the next Government of Australia can

look at. Perhaps a future Government will do that, but

the report is critical of the

behaviour of the present Government during Gonernment during the Government during the G# ernment during the caretaker Government during the caretaker period of the last

period of the last election. It

details how the Government

announced as election

commitments 15 projects that

were yet to be approved by the

department, even though it had

suspended approval of other

projects due to the caretaker

conventions. With letters like

this, sent to an applicant

looking for funding in a

Labor-held seat.

The report highlights what

it says was the considerable uncertainty of the amount of money awarded for some

projects. The report says a

project initially identified as

a million dollar project for a

community centre in the

electorate of McCuin in

Victoria was revised up to $2

million by the member, Fran

Bailey.

The PM says he's confident

the program has been overall

properly administered. I think

you need to look at the benefit for local communities and from

time to time ministers have the

right not to take the advice of departments. Otherwise you

wouldn't bother having them. On

Saturday week, bureaucrats

aren't running for re-election.

Politicians are

accountable. More proof that

campaigns can be unpredictable.

Odd things happen. Politicians

always expect the unexpected.

Thank you very

much. Delivering non-core

promises... Some unexpected

events come out of left field

and can be dealt with swiftly,

others are more serious. For

the PM, the most dangerous of

all for this campaign have come

out of right field. I accept

that certain protections in

inverted commas are not what

they were. The whole raft of

regulation expressed in awards

that sometimes ran to hundreds

and even thousands of pages, I

accept that that has largely

gone I accept that. I accept

that the Industrial Relations

Commission doesn't have the

same power to reach into the

nook and cranny of every

business that it used to have.

I accept that. Tony Abbott's interventions in the campaign

have been spectacular. Arriving

late for a debate with his

Labor counterpart and then

caught on camera swearing at

her and now this. Filmed at an

eltorate function earlier this

week and sent to the Labor

Party. This is not Tony Abbott

unplugged, considering

WorkChoices is such a hot

election issue, it's perhaps

more like Tony Abbott off the

leash. He says it's not more

than a heavily edited and

doctored piece of miss chief

from the Labor Party's dirt

unit. Let's not forget the

dirty tricks campaign. Did you

not say that some of the

protections were no longer around? You read the

transcript. I never said that.

If you can give me a quote,

look at the transcript. Find a

quote where I said what you

just put to me? I never said

it. Mr Abbott, a senior

minister, letting the cat out

of the bag they've removed certain basic industrial protections. He didn't say that. Well, here's the transcript released by Mr

Abbott's office and here again

is what he did say... I

is what he did say... I accept

that

With a week to go and well

behind in the polls, this is beh nd in the polls, his is behind in the polls, this is

not what the Government would have

have wanted. The last week is

said to be the week that

counts, the week when most of

those who haven't made up their minds, finally focus on the

choice. The campaign is now

conducted in a strange

atmosphere of fiscal restraint.

There are no big spending

policy announcements to come

and the Government's only hope

is that the vast majority of

those undecided voters break

its way when they cast their

votes next Saturday.

votes next Saturday. Well, the

operators of the Yallourn Power

Station say they don't know

what caused the massive

landslide which has crippled

its output, but unions are

openly questioning whether lax

safety standards are partly to

blame. The landslide broke the

banks of the La Trobe River,

swamping the open-cut coal mine

with thousands of megalitres of

water. The size of the

landslide has shocked those in

the industry and even under the best estimate, it will

best estimate, it will be weeks

before the powerstation is

operating at full capacity.

The only good thing about the

collapse of the pitwall at Tru Energy's Yallourn Power Station

was it happened at 2 o'clock in

the morning. A few hours later, the unions say lives could have

been lost. Lucky it happened

early in the morning. If there had have been

had have been major maintenance

on the belt or belts at that

time, we could have had people

buried, numbers of them. Luke

Van Der Mulen got an urgent

call from one of his members

working on the night shift on

Tuesday night to say the batter

had give union way and the La

Trobe River was coming into the

open-cut mine. It caused a

massive landslide which mangled

two major conveyor belts and pipelines. The

pipelines. The river swamped

the mine and was still covering

a third of the mine floor

yesterday. As dramatic as it

was, men working there say

there were warning signs. They

had reported water leaks and

major earth movement. We

believe it's been leaking since

Cup day. Maybe they mined too

close to the river. Members

were concerned about what was

going on there for some

going on there for some days.

We understand there has been consultants working in that area.

area. I think they reported it

was a bore, but members were

saying there are more serious

things going on. There were

cracks appearing in the ground

and there seemed to be earth movement and things like that in the area. They were

concerned about it. Tru Energy

is saying very little about the

cause of the accident and is

not letting any media in the

gates, saying it is too

gates, saying it is too dangerous. Energy Minister,

Peter Bachelor, flew into

assess the damage today and

says there can be no proper investigation into the water is

diverted away from the mine. We

haven't started an

investigation and I think it is

far too early to be drawing

conclusions. People aren't even

able to get down to the coal

face at the moment. Mr Bachelor maintains water

seepage was being monitored and

workers had been moved away

from the area. They always

monitor water coming into the

mines and take it out. It was

that ongoing safety procedures

that have proved to the benefit

of mine workers here. An

incident control team led by the Department of Primary Industries is working on

site. It will be a full

investigation. It's a serious

matter. We want to know how it

happened, why it happened and

whether all appropriate steps

were taken. Yallourn supplies

22% of Victoria's energy, but

is currently producing only a

quarter of that. Authorities

will begin diverting the river

away from the mine again next

week, but preparing the coal

face, the conveyor belts and

other equipment could take many

months. It could be some time

before the powerstation is operating again at

operating again at full

capacity. It's not just power

supplies that have been

affected by the collapse. About 100 irrigators down stream have been asked not to use any

water. The river itself is also showing signs of stress.

This is the La Trobe River.

We're about 1km downstream of

the breach into Tru Energy

Yallourn's mine. So probably

Yallourn's mine. So probably

two days ago, before the breach occurred, this river would have

been probably 1 to 2m higher

than it is now. So it's

dropping all the time. So the

pools you see behind us will

start to dry up. Things like

fish kills, which we've already

had some evidence of.

Certainly lots of anecdotal

reports, but I've seen photos recently as

recently as well. The Water

Catchment Authority says it is

unlikely recent heavy rain

contribute ed to or caused the

collapse. We had rain that

caused a one in two year flood

event. It's the sort of flow

event we would expect in most years. It hasn't been that

significant. We had major

floods in the McAllister and

Thompson catchments, but in the

La Trobe was relatively

small. There was a nice flush

of water for the environment,

but in terms of flooding and

flood damage, there was really

nothing significant. While the

State Government has promised a

full investigation, unions say

the incident was a close call

and the Government should be reviewing safety legislation.

You know, you would have

thought they would have learned

from what happened at Longford.

from what happened at Longford. We believe that the Government

should be looking at some sort

of legislation, safety

legislation, and also the way

that these companies actually

operate in the power industry.

Well, finally tonight to

Australia's richest sculpture

prize. Over the past weeks and

months, the 35 established and emerging

emerging sculptors, chosen to

compete for the $100,000

McClelland Prize have been hard

at work turning ideas into

reality. One of entrants is Geoffrey Bartlett from

Melbourne. He invited us into

his studio to watch Aurora II

take shape. One of the great

areas of excitement for me on this particular job is whether

I can get it finished on

I can get it finished on time. There's a real race here. .

And always everything takes

longer than you plan. You

start to realise the size,

scale and weight of it and

start to rethink some of the

connections and realise they are

are not quite going to hold up

the way you had originally

planned it. It means more metal

and joints and a more

complicated structure within

those points and hence more

time and November 18 looks

problematic.

In nature you find this

spiralling out from a central core recurring

core recurring again and again.

Shells are a particularly good

example of that. If you slice

the naughtilus shell, you see

beautiful spirals coming out.

I just found that

fascinating. So I started to

develop some sculptures which

had some connection to

had some connection to that

principle and this work, Aurora II, stemmed from that. The

nails and washers and

balbearings, whatever I might

apply to the surface, can be

used as a type of seduction to give people a means of

approachings the work. I find it

it most intriguing that people

will find their own particular

meaning for my works quite

often. And partly that's intentional. Partly I'm

deliberately giving enough information for people to make

that interpretation, but not

too much that the

interpretation is always the

same. Prizes in the arts are

same. Prizes in the arts are

fairly contentious. There is a

view, and it's a very

justifiable view, that art

being subjective can't be

judged. I think the job, the

role of the prize is to promote

the practice. It's to promote

sculpture and to give it a

public airing. So who

public airing. So who wins, who

loses is of no consequence, but

the fact that there is a winner

will attract attention. People

want to know - people want to

see a winner. You know, they

want to - they connect with the

notion of a prize on that

level. But the positive is that

they will be connect, or they

will draw interest in this

practice of making sculpture as a result

a result of this prize. That's

its job.

You never know until you see

it up in its environment and

it's always radically different

in the context of an outdoor setting.

Oddly enough, sculptures are

frontal, but my work was very

much in the round and I wanted

people to circulate around it,

but not get that far away from

it that it would be diminished.

And all the entries in this

year's McClelland Prize are on show at the McClelland Sculpture Park at

Sculpture Park at Langwarrin.

The winner will be announced on

Sunday. That brings us to the

end of Stateline for this week.

You can read transcripts for

the program or send us an email

via our website. We leave you

with the latest exhibition at

the National Gallery of Victoria. Modern Britain opened

this week and runs until

February. We'll be back next

Friday after the news. See you then. Closed Captions by CSI