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(generated from captions) This Program is Captioned Live. Tonight - mum's the word - Tony Tony Abbott woos working mothers. It's high time this country had a national paid parental leave scheme. Defying the insurgents - Iraqis go to the polls. The mounting damage bill from Melbourne's wild weather. And hurt's so good - history. There is no to describe it - it's the history. There is no other way moment of a lifetime . Good evening and ABC News. I'm Virginia Haussegger. He once deck cliered the Coalition should fight to the death to stop compulsory paid maternity but Tony Abbott has now gone compulsory paid maternity leave

through a full conversion. He is floating a new scheme that's longer and more generous the Government's, and the longer and more generous than

Opposition Leader wants big business it pay for chief business it pay for it. Here's Mark Simkin. No child is during a Mark Simkin. No child is safe

campaign. Can you see some during a phony election

bunny ears up the back. While Kevin Rudd kozcied up the political action man courted Australia will finally have a personal commitment is that

national paid parental scheme that's more than a mere national paid parental leave

token acknowledgement of women's offering is more generous than women's rights. The Coalition's

the taxpayer-funded government scheme that next year. Instead of 18 weeks' leave, Tony Abbott is 26 leave, Tony Abbott is proposing receiving the minimum women earning up to $150,000 year will continue to get their between our scheme and Labor's Mickey Mouse scheme is that mothers will get real time and real money. The real money will come from big business. Tony Abbott wants to impose a 1.7% tax on the country's businesses It is a tax on the country's wealthiest

is wrong and it is also businesses It is a mistake. It

unfair. That means a $3 billion tax every year Australian businesses at a time billion tax every year on

when they've been through the global financial crisis. Tony Abbott admits thinking has evolved. ago he said maternity leave would be ago he said compulsory paid

introduced body. This government never, never come at that. The new policy Tony Abbott's pledge of no new policy also contradicts

the backflip will help win taxes but the Coalition hopes

female voters. A new Tony Abbott's approval rating female voters. A new poll shows

is still climbing but maintained suggests Kevin Rudd has

health system to the test in a bruising prelude to this week's parliamentary clash. The Shadow

Treasurer recovered and will be ready to tagle the Government

tomorrow. A series of bloody attacks Election Day in Iraq has killed to deter voters from out in large numbers. leaders, international observers and Iraqi officials part in the democratic process despite the threat of violence. Early estimates indicate Prime performed well, but it could Minister Nouri al-Maliki

take months of negotiation before a coalition government is finalised . ABC correspondent Ben Baghdad. Insurgents reports from campaign to derail this vote at Baghdad. Insurgents began their

dawn. Houses near polling booths were rigged with bombs. Two suicide bomber other sites and Two suicide bomber as tacked

morning rockets, roadside bombs morning rockets, mortars and

the capital. Before 10am, 24 roadside bombs exploded across

people had been killed. No, in the morning, but the bombings stopped in the morning, but suddenly

security forces re-opened the bombings stopped and when streets to cars around midday, security forces re-opened the

TRANSLATION: The polls in numbers.

have TRANSLATION: The insurgents to disrupt to to disrupt the sit Sebs going was the complete opposite. to the ballots. What happened Millions of people of voters has polling stations and the number

be strong across the country. increased. Turnout appeared to

There were some early claims of electoral fraud as candidates extra ballots had were asking why millions of but foreign observers say extra ballots had been printed,

normal procedures have been is of the observers that I followed. What I've heard here

is so far, so good. The US President for not being deterred by violence. Today's voting for not being deterred by the

it clear that the future of Iraq belongs to the people voted, there was no frontrunner to win. voted, there was no clear

new government could take frontrunner to win. Forming a

but there is a positive mood in or months of negotiation. Of

Iraq and a sense was once again a the religious militants who almost after the last parliamentary almost destroyed the country

election 4 years ago. And Middle East correspondent Ben Knight filed this update from Baghdad a short time despite the success of this Baghdad a short time ago. Well, election, which has been praised all over the world, as well as here in Iraq, the country is not out of danger yet. There is that insurgents could, once yet. There is still a chance

again, send the con into chaos. We are starting to see some early results coming through. They're not but Boothby booth, the tallies are starting to the person who will be in are starting to suggest that

position to form the person who will be in a is the former Prime Minister position to form the government

Alawai, the man hand-picked run the country directly after Alawai, the man hand-picked to

uncertainty and with the amount Hussein. That means potential of negotiation and horde trading that will need to to put such a broad coalition together there is a chance ta Iraq into chaos, is hoping of course that that's not the case. Ben Knight there in Baghdad. Two days in Baghdad. Two days on, parts of Melbourne are of Melbourne are still picking up the pieces violent hailstorm. So far, insurers have received claims and estimate claims and estimate the damage bill will top bill will top $200 million. Overnight it was Shepparton's turn to feel nature's fury as a freak storm caused flash floods and widespread power blackouts. These are the latest images to surface from Saturday's freak god! Hailstones 10cm diameter can be seen the suburb of Ferntree Gully Melbourne's east. The deluge lasted less than one hour, but the scale wake is wake is only now becoming clear It's terrible. All the roofs are caved in, all roofs are caved in, all the ceilings are caved in. We have some of the hailstones in some of the hailstones in the freezer the size of golf South Australia and New South Wales have been called in to respond to more than respond to more than 6,000 calls for help A series of houses that have roofs houses that have roofs that look more like cheese so now we're dealing with water damage damage and ceilings that are inundated with water and in threat of threat of collapse. The operateor of this outlet is facing facing financial ruin because he elected not to take out expensive hail damage Myself boy as long this strich rally together. Whether we sell thes cars cheap, don't but that's probably the way to go. The Supreme Court wasn't spared either. As predicted the wild weather didn't end there. The regional town of The regional town of Shepparton in in the State's north was struck hard yesterday We went through Cyclone Larry up in Queensland and it was far worse than Cyclone Larry, a lot more scary. Insurance companies have received more than 40,000 claims. They're claims. They're predicting a damage bill of more damage bill of more than $200 million. It is a very large event, one of event, one of the largest events that we've events that we've had, but it's also spread also spread across Victoria. It's metropolitan. There was a silver lining to these clouds, catchments received 2 billion wet weather hasn't produced any elsewhere. Rather the given the ACT a much needed soaking and helped to water supplies. Up to 150mm has fallen over the

a-52% We need a-52% We need really significant rainfall over the coming months for us to get down to levels of around down to levels of around about 60% before we could consider moving from Stage 3 to Stage 2 water restrictions. The rain was even heavier border. Junee and recorded 2 hubmm in 24 hours. It caused It caused flash flooding and closed some highways of the Queensland's big Queensland's big flood continues to claim continues to claim more communities as water streams south towards New South Wales. The towns of kun mull The towns of kun mull will and Thargomindah. Dirrumbandi Thargomindah. Dirrumbandi south of St George where a of St George where a flood peak is expected later tonight. From there, Paul Lockyer reports. The people of Dirrumbandi certainly know

certainly know what's coming - a wall of water heading south from St George. They have worked day and night to defend their town. We've had day dozers, they've worked for three or four days, just building all the levees the levees up. Dirrumbandi is plain and the smallest rise in the middle of a flat flood

water streaming towards town than they've ever town than they've ever seen before. After all the enormous efforts to fortify these flood barriers there is little left for the town to for the town to do now than wait for the huge flow of water to arrive. It is an unknow. have to wait and see. It is a best guess, but we around we will just manage it as just one of communities now confronting the flood crisis. The town of Bollon west

been engulfed for been engulfed for five days, and downstream of Bollon, where a woman was winched from the roof of her flooded homestead, station hand station hand Johnny foster is marooned, but he is prepared to sit it out on the top floor of the house. We managed to get through to him by mobile phone.

Some people will be isolated for weeks, if not months after this flood. And so stretch of high ground. An Indian national charged over the death of the death of toddler Gurshan Singh is in custody tonight pending another court appearance 23-year-old Gursewak Dhillon charged with manslaughter due to criminal negligence. An out-of-sessions court last night heard the man is a family friend who lived in the same have been staying at a relative's house and there relative's house and there was a steady stream of supporters visiting them today. The case visiting them today. The case is progressing and that's relieved the parent s relieved the parent s somewhat who who are not just coping with the loss of a the loss of a 3-year-old but are also coping not knowing what had happened. We want what had happened. We want to say thanks to the whole of the Australian community and industry has industry has surrounded the death of the since he was found dead on since he was found dead on the side of a road near Melbourne Airport on Thursday night. He Airport on Thursday night. He was a very sweet boy, quiet boy and it's very sad that it's going to him. Yesterday homicide detectives made a breakthrough in the case, charging family friend, 23-year-old Gursewak Dhillon with one count of manslaughter by manslaughter by criminal negligence. negligence. Dhillon appeared at an an out-of-sessions court hearing last night. It was told the Indian taxi driver had the Indian taxi driver had been living with Gurshan Singh and his parents in Lalor in Melbourne's Melbourne's north. The court heard Dhillon admitted putting the unconscious boy in of a car on Thursday of a car on Thursday and dumped the toddler on the #r50dside still alive. Dhillon refused bail and will face the Melbourne Magistrates Court tomorrow. toddler say they're the latest development. What can something like this? It's disgusting, you disgusting, you know. At sing sng sing's home, sng sing's home, tributes continue. I paid

flowers and I felt flowers and I felt sorry for the little boy, so that night that he died. A family spokesman parents are focusing on bringing their son's body back to India. The mayor of Palm Island in North Queensland called for someone to take responsibility for the death responsibility for the death in custody of an Aboriginal man almost 5.5 years almost 5.5 years ago. Cameron Doomadgee died in the island watch-house in November The death sparked a The death sparked a riot several days later. Initially a coroner found senior Sergeant Chris Hurley caused the Chris Hurley caused the fatal injuries to Mr Doomadgee, but a jury manslaughter and 2007. The an inquest into 2007. The an inquest into the death re-opened today. death re-opened today. Whether it's Chris it's Chris Hurley or the Queensland Police, Queensland Police, someone needs to take some responsibility. This responsibility. This young fella was in their custody and there needs to be some answers, hey. The hearing continues Palm Island tomorrow. The New South Wales roads and traffic Authority has been forced into an embarrassing rethink of the way it promotes after being caught out providing young drivers alcohol. 150

alcohol. 150 of them took the slow-down pledge last slow-down pledge last December as part of a government campaign to combat speeting. They out at the cricket out at the cricket where the beer beer flowed freely. It was meant to be a clever new way of getting young drivers to slow down Take the slow-down pledge not to speed. Cricketers gave their support to the their support to the RTA's initiative promoted through a faition book page. Now faition book page. Now it's attracting the publicity. Those who area at a Twenty20 match in jarn and it didn't take long for pictures and appear online celebrating that the drinks were on the have a RTA function rewarding good driving with alcohol, good driving with alcohol, is just beggars belief in a way. The way. The Premier says the campaign has September the wrong message Alcohol will no future part in any road safety promotion. Alcohol was hindsight, yes, we could have taken some measures taken some measures to make sure it wasn't this particular venue. The RTA admits free alcohol was a bad idea but has defended its handling of the promotion The event event was tightly managed, professional security professional security staff, professional staff. While free alcohol won't be a part of any future road safety campaigns, the continue to use social networking sites to promote safer driving. Offer them discount on registration or offer them a discount offer them a discount on licence, but don't alcohol. Who ever alcohol. Who ever gets the next campaign will scrugtny. Coming up, 'The Hurt Locker' scoops the Oscars. The Church of Scientology is under the spotlight with a sear series of new claims with the mistreatment and exploitation of some of its most loyal airing or not airing or not tonight's 'Four Corners' come just days Corners' come just days before an expected Senate vote on whether to launch parliamentary inquiry into the Church. have flatly denied charges. Canberra woman charges. Canberra woman Liz Anderson belonged to much of science toll ji's much of science toll ji's elite unit, The Sea Organisation Sea Org. A senior church officer tried to convince to have an abortion. She to have an abortion. She said, "you just can't because at that stage because at that stage the new policy had policy had come in that you can't have children in the Sea Org. And there are other Sea Org members who also claim to have been having abortions. And it categorically deny that allegation. The Church of Scientology would under no circumstances and it certainly has no reflection has no reflection in Church policy, tell a woman what to do policy, tell a woman what to do with her body. The last time former rugby league player Joe Reaiche saw or spoke to his children was five years children was five years ago, just before he was expelled from the Church of Scientology. His Scientologists and he says believes the church has instructed them not to associate with him They had already declared me suppressive person. They told suppressive person. They told everybody else, including my children. I cried. It's sad, you know. It's my kids. There are also allegations that are also allegations that some Scientology members pressured into donating large sums of money to the Church sums of money to the Church and another claims that as a teenager she once worked 72 hours straight If that was the case, that would be Church is vigorously defending legal actions which are under way overseas but early next week Independent Xenophon is expected to move that a parliamentary inquiry take place into Church. There will be more of will be more of that story on 'Four Corners' tonight on ABC1. To finance on ABC1. To finance now and the local share market rose for 7th session in a row after Shell launched a $4 Shell launched a $4 billion takeover As Alan Kohler Street set the Friday after better-than-expected job figures I Shell and PetroChina launched a takeover bid for Arrow Energy. The bids $3.9 billion or $4.45 a share, but as you can see by the $5.11 closing price, the market is quite excited about it and pushed other gas company shares up as well. Only the but just a bit. As a but just a bit. As a result the Australian share market 1%, its 7th gain in a 1%, its 7th gain in a row. Today is the anniversary of

the bear market bottom in 2009. Town a week ago it was absolutely flat. The Dow Jones rose 1.2% on Friday after news came that the decline in that the decline in jobs in February was less expected, down 36,000, which is about half of what had expected. You might think what's so good about that when the economy is supposed to have grown 5.9% in the December quarter, and the official cash rate has been zero for a year? Well, there are actually Well, there are actually two surveys of employment in the US. One is a questionnaire sent to 160,000 employers called the payroll survey and it's the main one the market watches. The other one is Americans at home. It's called the household survey the household survey and it showed 308,000 new jobs in February which is the second massive massive increase in as many months. It seems the household employment that the employment that the other one doesn't. The Australian dollar has shot up above 91 US cents, the highest level the highest level for a couple of months. That's of months. That's finance. Melbourne Victory isn't exactly jumping for joy despite winning the right to host Grand Final in five years. Grand Final in five years. The club officials were not happy with the refereeing in the extra-time defeat against Sydney FC. Here is Peter Wilkins. Balancing of the Melbourne success, of the Melbourne success, were two points of consternation. The Victory fuming at the application of the off-side rule which might have proved crucial. If it's in line or close, the advantage should go to the attacking team. They just can't get it right, especially in especially in finals and it's very frustrating. There double spray for the inconvenience of having to play an Asian Champions two days after the final. I the honest answer honest answer is ridiculous. I don't think there point in dealing with the FFA and the AFC. move on anything. On the plus the medical staff, the seasons for Robbie Kruse and Archie Thompson A goal like that is disappointing. Sydney FC will try to keep FC will try to keep its Grand Final hopes afloat against Wellington Wellington this weekend. Every weekend hacker across the country could sympathise with the struggles of Nathan Green this morning. this morning. The par-three 17th hole completed a horror round for the Australian at the mire, Green needed three attempts to extricate himself. COMMENTATOR: Sooner or later, you will put yourself in a position where you wish a position where you wish you could dig a hole and hide. Camilo Villegas with a five-stroke victory. Australia's chances rewarding hockey champions Germany in the the World Cup improved the World Cup improved after the Germans were held to a draw by by the Netherlands. Germany came from behind to grab a 2-1 lead before being denied the win. If standings remain as they are with one group round to play, Australia would the Dutch in one semifinal Germany. However, Spain and Korea are still chances to

qualify. Breaking up is never easy, but that's easy, but that's exactly what's likely to happen to the the Canberra quap the Canberra quap tals. A number of players, Lauren Jackson and Kelly Abrams may have played their last may have played their last game for Canberra. But for now thoughts of next season are on hold and the savouring the moment. It has been

been a whirlwind two days the #k578 was back at its was back at its regular hangout today, showing off the silverware. Capitals guard Nat Hurst has been a part of all of them. That's probably the most special one just because of the way we had to fight and how we stuck together and what we had to do to get there and it's probably on top of all the probably on top of all the 7 I've got. While I've got. While the celebrations celebrations continue, attention is already turning to next year's team likelihood of playing in Canberra next year is is slim, but she is still not making any decisions yet. I will take the next two weeks or so to enjoy so to enjoy it with my team-mates team-mates and whatever and then obviously I go WNBA and we'll see. Abby bisher is expected to

is expected to go overseas while Kelly Abrams is considering retirement. I will enjoy this week and then give myself time mentally and physically to wind down, then reflect and make reflect and make some decisions. The back to training after their 11-point win over the Lions on Friday night. The Brumbies are confident they can step up their game. Just had a lengthy chat there chat there about staying ahead of the game and what it is we have to do to stay ahead game. They now know what we're expecting and I on in we will be better. The Brumbies plays the Sharks on Saturday night at Canberra Stadium. Hollywood has already crowned her Kathryn the Kathryn Bigelow has gm Kathryn Bigelow has gm the first come to win an Academy Award for best direction. wasn't all. Her war drama, 'The Hurt Locker', also won the picture. Although this year's Academy Awards had a record films vying for the movie battlefield narrowed to two contenders. 'Avatar' and confronting war story, 'The Hurt nominations. And the nominations. And the winner is... 'The Hurt Locker'.

'The Hurt Locker' showed early form and triumphed as best movie of the year. Well, the time has Bigelow! CHEERING AND APPLAUSE Kathryn Bigelow became the to win the coveted to win the coveted best director Oscar, upsetting the dream run expected of the 'Avatar' jug Ger nought and fellow nominee fellow nominee her former husband James Cameron I would husband James Cameron I would just like to dedicate this to the women and men in the women and men in the military who risk their lives on a daily basis. 'The Hurt Locker' focuses on a US Locker' focuses on a US bomb disposal unit in Iraq. with a modest budget, with a modest budget, it became a surprise international hit Woo!. It was the fifth time lucky for crowd favourite Jeff Bridges. He beat off a strong field to take best his role in 'Crazy

his role in 'Crazy Heart'. And another Hollywood favourite Sandra bullock came up trumps as best actress for 'The Blind Side'. Did I really earn this or did down? She had a dubious victory, presented with a Razzie for worst actress of the year in 'All About Steve'. It was not a great year was not a great year for Australian

were nominated, though Sam Worthington played a 'Avatar'. Janet Patterson missed out on best 'cause sum in 'Bright Star' to. And Luke Doolan and Drew Bailey for 'Miracle Fish' lost 'Miracle Fish' lost out to the film 'The New Tenants'. Now with a look at here is Mark Carmody Good evening. Happy Canberra Day holiday. Although the weather was a little wet, was a little wet, that soon went away and the sun, along with with some moderate north-westerly winds

They averaged 30km/h.

A stream of cloud extends from western Victoria Tasmania and this is associated with a low. There's cloud in WA. The low south Victoria that brought more unsettled weather to the region today will be south of Tasmania by this time tomorrow night. A high in the Bight will return us to fine, sunny weather . With the high, the rain will crease for a while. crease for a while. Totals for the last three days,

airport 37mm. Tuggeranong, 81.

Virginia, happy International 'Woman's 'Woman's Day' and the weather wasn't too bad for it? grounding the balloons this morning. But they for the rest of the for the rest of the week. And the begonia. It's gorgeous. Happy International 'Woman's Day' you, to. I hope

very enjoyable one, and to of us. That's it for ABC News. Stay with us now for Stay with us now for Kerry O'Brien and the '7:30 Report'. I will be back with an later in the evening.

then, goodnight.

Closed Captions by CSI.

It's about ensuring that

people don't lose their homes.

It's about ensuring that

gambling doesn't contribute to

suicides. Tonight on the 7.30 Report - Report - the big push to wind

back Australia's $18 billion

gambling habit. That would cost

11,000 jobs annually. We try

to run a nanny State where the

Government is going to tell us

how we spend our own money. And

the battle to save the last of

the big cats. The situation for

tigers looks extremely bleak at

the moment. This Program is Captioned Live.

Welcome to the program. As

if the Rudd Government hasn't

got enough sticky issues on its

plate, there's now a battle

royal brewing over a report it

commissioned, and has, in fact,

already received, into

Australia's $18 billion a year