Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
ABC News 24: 11am News -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) This morning - the This morning - the report

into last year's Queensland

floods finally released at

midday eastern time after weeks of Block Tough retailers fear Tough times, Australian

retailers fear massive job

losses in the retail sector.

Mission breakdown. Afghanistan's President tells

coalition troops to leave

remote areas of the country.

Five time Olympic gold medallist Ian Thorpe makes his

bid for London this morning.

Very good morning, you're watching ABC News 24, I'm Jane Hutcheon. Take a quick look at

today's weather. The loam sharemarket is

trading flat despite gains on

offshore markets. Mining offshore markets.

stocks are lower, while banks

figures are edging up. We'll check the

figures in more detail a little

inquiry later. Queensland's floods

inquiry is today handing down

its long awaited report into

the State's flooding disaster

last year. The inquiry was

supposed to release its

findings last month, but hearings were hearings were reopened

following allegations the

inquiry was misled about how

engineers operated Brisbane's

Wivenhoe Dam. They've been

accused of not following the dam's manual as well as

colluding to cover-up the

failure. If the Commission

finds the manual was ignored,

the Queensland Government could

be liable for compensation. Today's report will also cover

insurance, land planning and

the emergency response.

The Senate is taking the

unusual step of sitting on a

Friday to allow the debate

the Government's mining tax to continue. Government wants to get

get the tax through Parliament

next week. Political next week. Political reporter Julie Doyle has this look back at the long-running and bitter fight over the mining tax.

Sorry about this. Lawyers

for the US Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning have

filed a motion to dismiss the

entire case against their client. The 24-year-old is

accused of aiding Al Qaeda by orchestrating the leak of

sensitive US intelligence to

the whistleblower website

Wikileaks. Hopefully, our North America correspondent

Jane Cowan filed a report from forward Meade military base in forward

Maryland. It is a dramatic defence team. Bradley hasn't entered his plea yet. defence team. Bradley Manning

Hi lawyers are asking Hi lawyers are asking the

military judge to throw out all of military judge to

of the charges against him.

They say the US Government has

to provide material failed to meet its obligation

to provide material requested

by the defence in the lead-up

to the trial that would have allowed them to properly

prepare their case. They're

saying that the US Government has actually so hopelessly

messed this up, that's their words, very critical language

against the prosecutors, that now it is essentially

impossible to remedy the

situation. The defence lawyer,

David Coombs, actually likened

this to a cake that's been baking for a long time. You've

realised at the last-minute realised at

there are no eggs in it and

he's saying you can't simply

add them now and hope for the

best. The whole thing best. The whole thing has to

be thrown out. This isn't

actually such an unusual legal

tactic to apply for the charges actually

to be dismissed, but the

defence team is asking for the

case to be thrown out with

prejudice, which would mean

that the US Government would be

unable to try it again. The

prosecutors obviously have a different interpretation of

what's happened. They say that

they have met all of their

that obligations. They acknowledge

that some material hasn't been

handed over to the defence yet,

but they say that's but they say that's because it

is sensitive and classified.

It will be up to the judge to

resolve this fundamental

disagreement between the two

go sides. Jane Cowan there. Let's

go back to our main story, the release of the Queensland floods inquiry report today.

It is going to happen in less

than an hour. ABC reporter Kathy McLeish is in the Queensland state Parliament

where the report is due to be handed to Anna Bligh in about

an hour's time or just under.

Thank you for joining us this morning. What are the key

aspects in the report that are likely to please, if you like,

mitigate, some of the intense

criticism that's taken place

over the operation of over recent weeks, particularly

over the operation of the Wivenhoe Dam? Jane, that will

be the burning issue for people

in this report. They'll be

has looking to see what the inquiry

has to say about the operation

of the floodgates, whether the

flood effect could have been

mitigated by the management.

The inquiry was extended to allow re-examination of allow re-examination of the evidence of the dam engineers

and primarily it looked at

followed - whether they did whether they should have

follow the Wivenhoe Dam manual

and whether they were actually

required to follow it. If it

is found that they should have

and they didn't, that could

leave the State Government open

to legal action and groups of

home owners, businesses and

councils have said they're

prepared to join a joint if that's the case. Moments prepared to join a joint action

before this report is released,

would it be fair to say that

people in a sense are looking for someone to be responsible

for the terrible disaster

it is mixed. I think some really from last year? I think

people would like to feel that

it wasn't the fault of a

particular particular person or people.

I've spoken to a number of I've spoken to a number

by floods, whose homes were people who have been affected

damaged, who say that it would

be reassuring for them if they heard that there was some

element of human error in what had happened so that they -

there's some hope they may not

over just be facing flood over and

over again in the future. We had

had the Ipswich mayor on a

short time ago and he said short time ago and he said that

he hopes this report brings closure. Do you think closure. Do you think that

will be the result? I think

that's certainly the hope for a

lot of people, but there's

still a lot to be done for

people to actually personally

have closure. People who were

affected. There have been

people who have been denied

insurance or had their claims

denied or are still waiting for insurance claims to be

resolved. There are people who

weren't insured. The impacts

will go on for quite a number

of years for people personally.

While I think hopefully the

State will be able to lay to

rest some of the concerns and worries and questions that have

been over this, I think for

people personally there's still quite

quite a way to go. We know there's less than an hour before

before the report is due to be released. Do we know released. Do we know whether

the Premier and also the

Opposition have had a chance to

review this report first? What

we've heard is that nobody we've heard is that nobody will see this report before it is

handed over at 11. The

Commissioner will arrive and

hand it to Anna Bligh. We've

heard that she is likely to

speak about an hour after the

report is handed to her, so

she'll use that time to digest

it obviously and come out and give a response to people.

Then we'll shortly hear Then we'll shortly hear after that from other interested parties, like parties, Council of Australia, and other

players in that area, in players in that area, in those areas, local government areas, local government will

have something to say about

land planning and flood maps and what the report had to say

about that. Also, of about that. Also, of course,

we will be waiting to hear from

Campbell Newman and his response. This is just eight

days out from a State Election. How is How is this report likely to

impact on the campaign? It is

close to the end, thanks for

sure, and Anna Bligh has made

it very clear that she's sure,

determined to see this through

with the Queensland people. If

there's a bombshell in this

report, it could have a

significant impact on the

outcome of the election next

week. Any guess as to what that

bombshell could or might be?

You would have to think the

big one would be if the State

is found to be open to legal action, that would be

significant. ABC reporter Kathy

McLeish, we know you covered

many of the incidents in the

floods and we look forward to

hearing what's in that report a

little later. Many little later. Many thanks, Kathy. Thanks, Jane. The

Lockyer Valley region sustained

severe damage during severe damage during the

floods. Mayor Steve Jones

joins us on the phone now. Steve, councillor Jones, take

us back first of all to what it

was like fighting the floods was Grantham in 2010. It was an

absolute disaster for everybody

involved. I think in involved. I think in most people's live times fortunately

they don't come across they

of this level and it is just

one of those things you have to

deal with. What are you hoping

the final report will produce?

I think it is just imimportant

if the facts be put on the line. Whatever happens line. these sorts of disasters, have you

you people with all sorts of

views, all sorts of anxieties

and obviously a lot of emotion

is involved. This is just one

way in which the facts will be

put forward and we hope that happens. In terms of the valley

recovery, what's taken place in

the 14 months since the floods

struck? In term of the valley,

struck? we believe we're fighting back very well. struck? happening well. The Newtown happening ship of Grantham, we've got

about 40-odd houses there

either under construction and

about to start. We anticipate

within the next six to 12

months we'll 90% of the house the relocated up there. The farming community has jumped back and business is coming

back and we're certainly looking to positive Times Now after such difficult

floods of course were something

human beings con control, but human

is it your view that this event, what happened after the

floods, was freakish or was it

Mormon made? No. Make no

mistake, in our part of the world it

world it is quite clear that

this was a natural event which was way beyond man. Sure, there might be some there might

could be done better here or

there or whatever, but in the Lockyer Valley it is quite

clear it was an event that was

way beyond man. It was way beyond the beyond the State and even tried

Federal resource. What are some of the residents in your area -

I guess you've had a chance to

speak to to them in recent

days, a as we have over the

past year - what are they

hoping for today? I think the

majority of people are clearly

looking to some facts,

looking to move on have the matter dealt with and so forth.

There are some who are more emotionally affected than

others and they'll find it more difficult and may seek in other difficult

ways to move forward. At the

end of the day, I think 90% of our people are really positive. They're looking forward and

trying to make things

happen. Councillor Steve Jones,

Lockyer Valley mayor thank you

very much for joining us on ABC News

News 24. No problem. Thanks,

mate. The Senate is taking the

unusual step of sitting on a

Friday to allow the debate over

the Government's mining tax

the Government's mining tax to continue. The Government wants

to get the tax through Parliament next week.

Political reporter Julie Doyle

has this look back at the long-running and bitter fight

over the mining tax. The mining

tax version one was unveiled tax

Kevin Rudd back in May 2010.

It was one of just a handful of

ideas the Government picked up

from Ken Henry's tax review. from Ken Henry's tax review.

This long-term plan release order today builds a This economy by using super

economy by earned from the resources owned earned from by all Australians. It is certainly not about certainly not about lower

taxes. It is not about fairer

taxes. It is not about taxes. It is not about simpler taxes and that's what's wrong

with this Government. The main features of Kevin Rudd's

resource Super Profits Tax were

a 40% tax on mining profits to

apply broadly across the apply broadly across

sector. It was expected to sector.

raise 1 (200) 000-0000 in 2012 and

and 2013. As part of the plan

the company tax rate would be

cut from 30% to 28%. Compulsory super contributions

would be lifted from 9 to 12%.

It didn't take long for mining

companies to fight back. You're

going to get whacked. More electricity bill. The going to get whacked. More for

government launched a counter

attack. I think it is very disappointing that the

Government is seeking to use taxpayers money to

to portray an image the of the taxpayers money to essentially

industry that's wrong. A month

later Julia Gillard deposed

Kevin Rudd and made sorting out

the finings tax one of her first priorities. Australians

are entitled to a fairer share

of our inheritance, the mineral

wealth that lies in our

grounds. They are entitled to

that fairer share. But to

reach a consensus we need to do

more than consult. We need to

negotiate. She struck a deal negotiate. She struck a

with the three big miners,

XStrata, BHP Billiton and Rio

Tinto. She called her version

the Minerals Resource Rent Tax,

the tax was limited to iron ore

and coal companies and the rate

was shaved to 30%. The changes

meant less revenue would meant less revenue would be collected. As a result, the planned reduction in the

company tax rate was halved, but the superannuation changes remained.

remained. Today we're seeing

what happens when people address difficult questions in

a spirit of mutual respect and

with a shared commitment to

move forward. The big miners

were on side, but the Greens

weren't happy. This is a an

unprecedented tour deforce by

the mining barons against the

public interest. After some last-minute negotiations, Julia

Gillard won the support of the Greens and other Greens and other key

cross-benchers, giving the

the tax through the House of Government the numbers to pass

Representatives late last year.

That left just one final hurdle

- getting the legislation

through the Senate. Julie Doyle

there. The bills are being

debated in the Senate right

correspondent Latika Bourke, now. Our political

correspondent Latika Bourke, -

who has been Tweeting as we

heard that report, has been watching the debate in watching the debate in between

the Tweeting. The Senate doesn't usually sit on Friday, but Government doesn't usually sit on a

obviously very keen to get this

through? Yes, the Senate

passed some extended sitting hours and they also are here on

a Friday, which is unusual. It

does happen when a lot of the

bills bank up and they need to

get legislation through.

Anyone who is even faintly

familiar with the Senate knows

that they can spend hours

debate. debating whether even to

debate. It is not a surprise they need extra-time to do the work of passing or rejecting

legislation. There's in the

Senate today debating the

mineral tax bills. There will

be some attempts to amend, of course, the coalition course, the coalition opposes

this outright. The Greens say

it doesn't go far enough and

they'd prefer the original form

that this was originally

proposed by Ken Henry way back

when Kevin Rudd was Prime

Minister. We can see the debate

in full swing there as we

speak. Yesterday, the Indonesian Foreign Minister was

in Canberra. He said turning

back asylum seeker back asylum seeker boats would

be impossible, but the

Opposition doesn't appear to

have accepted his advice . No, that's right, Jane. The Foreign Minister was Foreign Minister was asked

directly about whether he still believes

believes that turning back

boats carrying asylum seekers which Kevin Rudd said he would

do in the lead-up to the 2007 election campaign when he

wanted to be the Prime

Minister, it's become a real

core plank of the Opposition's

immigration policy now, turning

back boats, they say that would

be the central deterrence for

asylum seekers coming here by

water. The Foreign Minister of

Indonesia said shifting the Indonesia said shifting

continuum from one end to the

other, that is, turning boats back to Indonesia from where

they've departed, is almost

impossible and that certainly

it is not advisable. Pretty

strong language from a diplomat

there. Usually they couch their words sometimes more

diplomatically. But he's in no

doubt of wanting to give a

hint, as he described t to Australian policy makers about

how he sees that. Tony Abbott

Minister's comments this was asked about the Foreign


morning on the Today Show and

he doesn't look to be in the

mood for accepting that advice.

Let's not forget that are Indonesian flagged, Let's not forget that these

Indonesian crewed, Indonesian

home ported vessels that are coming from Indonesia. Of

course they can go back to

Indonesia. They've done it

before. They can do it

again. Tony Abbott there.

Latika, when are we going to

see the Fair Work Australia

report into the HSU east

come branch? It was supposed to

come out yesterday. Any chance we'll see it today and what's

the hold-up again? We've just

had word in that it has now

been public lick released. . It is up on the Parliament come

website which is A P Yesterday the Senate committee

that deals with Fair Work

Australia asked for that report

to be given to it and it

wasn't. The report was given

to the Department late

yesterday evening and there was

some talk that perhaps it would

will goes to the Senate will goes to the

committee yesterday. It looks as though that report has gone

to the Senate committee this

morning. That now enables the

full public release of that report because we don't know

which three individuals have

been named by Fair Work

Australia as having potentially breached the rules about

reporting union funds and

mismanagement spending and potential

spending mismanagement of them. We

should be able to get some of

those details soon. That's

right. We'll have to read right. We'll have to read that report and come report and come back to you. Sounds good. Latika

Bourke in Canberra, many

thanks. Thank you, Jane. The

United States has suffered a

double blow to its campaign in

Afghanistan. The Taliban has

announced that it is pulling

out of talks with the US which

were aimed at easing the

transition after foreign combat

troops withdraw in 2014. It

cited America's shaky, erratic

and vague standpoint as the

reason. It comes as Afghan President Hamid Karzai told US

Defence Secretary, Leon

Panetta, that he wants the handover to happen a handover to happen a year

earlier and for all NATO troops

to leave the villages and stay

inside their bases. The

decision by the Taliban to send representatives from its

mountain hideouts to talks with

Americans in Qatar was always

seen as a gamble by both sides.

The US offered the group

inducement, five high value

prisoners would be released

from Guantanamo Bay to live in

Qatar. It looked like the Taliban have given up waiting

for this to happen. A

memorandum of understanding memorandum

which was agreed on earlier was

not yet fulfilled when an

American representative

presented lace of conditions presented lace of conditions in his later meeting with the

Islamic emrit which were not

only unacceptable but also in

contradiction with earlier

agreed on points. It was due to the alternating be ever changing position

The US Government wanted the

Qatar negotiations to lead to

talks between the Taliban and

the Afghan Government.

Washington hoped this would

help secure peace hereafter

foreign combat troops withdraw

in 2014. The US strategy in Afghanistan looks like it is unravelling. There are problems on the American side. There are problems on the

Afghan Government side. Of

course the way forward course the way forward is completely unclear. There's a

lot of uncertainty on the lot of uncertainty on the part

of the US presence here on the

part of the Afghan Government's

dealing with the US presence

here. So the short answer to

the question yes, it is in a

mess. We don't exactly know what is going to happen. In

another blow for the another blow for the Americans,

the Afghan President told the

US Defence Secretary to pull his troops out from Afghan villages. villages. Hamid Karzai gave his villages. Hamid Karzai gave

Leon Panetta his ruling after a

US soldier shot dead 16 Afghan

villagers last week. Keeping a

small number of US and Afghan

soldiers in key villages had

been successful in keeping the

Taliban out. The situation in

Afghanistan is going from bad

to worse for the Americans.

Already the burning of copies

of the Koran and the killing of

16 villagers by a US 16 villagers by a US soldier

has cemented the view in the

minds of many Afghan the US

military has outstayed its

welcome. Now the ending of nascent talks with the Taliban

has blown a hole in Washington's political strategy

as well. Nothing seems to as well. Nothing seems to be

going to plan. There have been dramatic dramatic developments in

Chinese politics with the

sacking of a key power-broker

in the upper echelons of the

communityist party. Bo Xilai

has been the charismatic

champion of those who wanted champion of those who wanted to install a form of neo-Maoism is

in China. The more Liberal

forces in the party have seized on a local corruption scandal on

and had the party boss of one of China biggest cities removed. China's Communist

Party is deciding which

direction to take the country

in. Some are pushing for more

Government accountability and

greater freedoms. Others say

the party should lead the way

with economic and social programs, including programs, including poverty

alleviation. Bo Xilai has been alleviation. at the forefront of the latter

approach and appeared to be headed headed right to the top of

power here. But this battle has

has just taken a major turn.

Chongqing Party boss Bo Chongqing Party boss Bo Xilai

has been sacked and bowing his model for China and his political future appear to be in tatters. Bo Xilai's

dismissal was announce on

Chinese state television. Chinese state television. This

the biggest story to hit China

in a decade wasn't the in a decade wasn't the lead

story. It wasn't the second

story or the third. 7th item down there was a simple throw

away line: Bo Xilai won't be acts as Chongqing Party secretary any more. He had

been putting on a brave face at

the National People's Congress,

a far cry from his swagger at

earlier meetings. His

anticrime crackdown in

Chongqing had made him Chongqing had made him very popular with ordinary people,

but critics say he flouted the

law and used it to law and used it to get political opponents. Then his

right-hand man, police chief

Wang Lijun, was accused of corruption and made an

unsuccessful attempt at

political asylum in the United

States. Upped massive States. at the National People's

Congress, Bo Xilai said he

wasn't under investigation, and that whether he made it into

the Politburo Standing Committee at the party Congress

in October was not important.

The important thing was: The important thing was: TRANSLATION: In the run up to the 18th party the 18th party Congress

Chongqing needs someone to do a

good job in all aspects of

life. Other issues aren't on our agenda. But when Premier

Wen Jiabao started Wen Jiabao started warning

about going back to the old

ways, in an apparent attack on

Bo Xilai and his model, it

didn't look good for the

Chongqing Party boss. Then China's

China's number two leader made it even more clear who he was attacking. TRANSLATION: The current Chongqing Party

committee and Government must

seriously reflect on the Wang Lijun incident and Lijun

lessons from it. Bo Xilai's removal from office appears to

be a win for more Liberal

forces within the Communist

Party. Really, this corruption

scandal was probably just an

excuse to get him. If the

momentum is moving their way,

this could have a huge impact

on the make up of on the make up of the

Government later this year.

Also on the policies it might introduce. Time now for sport

with Lucy Carter. Ian Thorpe

is through to the semis but

does that mean he's booked his

place to London. Not just yet. He's won through the preliminary final. He's still

got to get through the

semifinals and into the final

and then through the final.

All eyes have been on Ian Thorpe at the Australian swimming championships in

Adelaide this morning. The

five time Olympic gold medallist has just finished third in his heat of the 200

metres freestyle. Thorpe swam

a time of 1 minute 49.1 seconds and

and made it throughed to

semifinals in equal fifth spot.

Last night in the swimming

Stephanie Rice won through to the London games. It

the London games. It was

thanks to an impressive win in the 400 metres individual medley. . COMMENTATOR:

Stephanie Rice is back. What a

swim, 4.33.45. She's off to

London. It's been one of the

toughest preparations I've ever

had. I'm so thankful to have

qualified and to be the First Person going to the Olympics.

I'm really excited. Blair Evans

is also going to the games

after finishing second. Thomas Fraser-Holmes set a new

Australian record in the men's event.

event. He and Daniel Tranter

will be going to London. David McKeon and Ryan Napoleon went

one two in the 400

one two in the 400 freestyle

final to also make the team. Libby Trickett's come back is on

on track. She's through to the

finals of the 100 metres

butterfly. Jessicah Schipper

was the fastest qualifier

there. Geoff Heugill's

qualified fastest for the final

of the 50 fly. Australia's of the 50 fly. Australia's Test wicketkeeper Brad Haddin is

returning home to Australia

because of family reasons. Haddin has been in the

Caribbean for less than a Caribbean for less than a week

with the Australian squad with the Australian squad and Cricket Australia has yet to

comment on his defafrtier.

Matthew Wade, who became

Australia's First Choice keeper

in the shorter in the shorter forms of the

game in summer will take

Haddin's place if the

34-year-old doesn't return to

the test series. George has been named in the the test series. George Bailey

Australian team for the

match in St Vincent tonight.

Bailey has been select add head of Nathan Lyon with the

Australians going into the game with only three specialist bowlers. Ferrari's Fernando

Alonso says he's determined Alonso says he's determined to

end Red Bull ago recent domination of Formula 1. The drivers will have their first practice session today in

Melbourne: two-time world

champion says Ferrari, champion says Ferrari, McLaren

Anmer December will be driving

to dethrone Red Bull's Daniel

Vettori. He says despite a

difficult testing season, he's feeling good heading into Sunday's

Sunday's race. S it was difficult difficult to know in testing

what they're doing. For us it

was not easy winter. We have

been having some been having some problems with the car to understand the the car to understand the quite complex Karratha we have this

year and some very novel ideas we have in the new car. we have in the new car. I

think we're not at the point that

that we wanted to have arrive

in the first race, but it

doesn't mean that we are not

quick enough. I think we target very optimistic target

maybe before the start of the season,

maybe we are not at that point, but hopefully we can but hopefully we can be competitive to fight for the

top places. Great news for

Thorpe and fingers crossed for

Leisel Jones who is in action

this morning. Many thank this morning. Many thank for that

that Lucy. It is time for weather with Vanessa O'Hanlon. It is a very cloudy satellite image we're satellite image we're looking. Strong monsoon system continues

to cause very heavy rain through the tropics. The heaviest rain will be heaviest rain will be a

tropical low over the north tropical low over the north and a developing one near the Gulf

of Carpentaria. Cyclone Lua of Carpentaria. Cyclone Lua is strengthening off the north-west coast. A north-west coast. A frontal

system and a trough are causing

severe weather down in the

south-east. Around the states:

Today's top stories - the

Queensland floods Commission of

inquiry will hand down its

final report today. The inquiry reopened last inquiry reopened last November after allegations it was misled

over the operation of Brisbane's Wivenhoe Dam.

Today's report is expected reveal Today's report is expected to

reveal if the dam's operators

are responsible for the floods

that inundated Brisbane last summer. Retailers say fresh

research predicts nearly

120,000 jobs will be lost over

the next three years. They the next three years. They say

increasing online sales. many losses will result from

increasing online sales. They

want the Government to shut

down a GST exemption for imported goods bought online imported goods bought online up

to the value of $1000. The

United States has been dealt a

double blow to its campaign in Afghanistan. The Taliban Afghanistan. The Taliban has announced that it is to announced that it is to pull

out of peace talks with the

United States, calling its

approach shaky, erratic and

vague. The Afghan President is

also demanding US troops

withdraw from village outposts

after last week's mass as /* massacre. Ian Thorpe is one

step closer in his bid to

qualify for the London

Olympics. He placed third in

his heat of 200 metres

freestyle just moments ago.

Thorpe swam a time of 1 Thorpe swam a time of 1 minute,

49.1 seconds and has made it

through to the semifinals which gets under way tonight in

Adelaide. Queensland's floods

report inquiry is about to release its

report on last year's disaster. The inquiry was

supposed to hand down its

findings last month. Hearings

were reopened after allegations

the inquiry wasn't told the

truth about how Brisbane's

Wivenhoe Dam was operated Wivenhoe Dam was operated last

summer. Engineers were accused

of disregarding the dam's manual, then colluding to hide the truth. If the Commission

finds the manual was ignored,

the Queensland Queensland Government could be liable to compensation. Today's report

will cover insurance, land planning and other aspects of

the emergency response. The

report comes in the report comes in the middle of the Queensland election the Queensland election or

nearly the end, where Premier

Anna Bligh and LNP leader

Campbell Newman have gone

head-to-head for the first

time. The pair fielded

questions from undecided voters

in Brisbane last night. Mr

Newman was asked again about

receiving donations from a developer while he was

Brisbane's Lord Mayor? I have

never, ever done anything

illegal or there's been no

impropriety at any time. I've declared all the my interests. Any of you people can look on the

the internet and see in quite minute detail sufficient, frankly, that you would frankly, that you would never want to put out there to other

people. It is all out there. Everything that we've seen has

been a constant barrage of sort of salacious connections

supposedly joining the dots supposedly joining the dots to try and scare voters. I try and scare voters. I would encourage you to go to encourage you to go to the website you'll find on it

listed in Mr Newman's list of pecuniary there is a contract

on that land. It is in the

public Arena. These are

serious questions. If you want

to lead Queensland, you've got to have the strength to have the strength of

character and integrity to

manage these sorts of issues. I think it is very I think it is very worrying

that Mr Newman doesn't seem to

have that. Anna Bligh there.

The latest Newspoll shows Campbell Newman's lead in the fight for the seat of Ashgrove has narrowed. Mr Newman's

primary vote remains steady on

49% but his Labor opponent,

Kate Jones, now has 44%.

That's up from 37% last year. Australia's new Foreign

Minister, Bob Carr, has only

been in the job for a few been in the job for a few days, but already he's come under

fire overseas. Senator Carr's

suggestion that Australia might

consider imposing sanctions but Papua New Guinea if the Papua New Guinea if the year's

elections are delayed did not

go down well in Port Moresby.

The fu new Foreign Minister has

soften ed his words saying he's

quietly confident PNG will hold

elections on time. It is clear

that Bob Carr wants to hit that Bob Carr wants to hit the ground running and with ground running and with PNG's leaders threatening to delay

elections he's prompted for a

pre-emptive strike. It is absolutely vie Dal that Papua pre-emptive New Guinea, that the

New Guinea, that the Government of Prime Minister O'Neill,

commit unequivocally to this election.

election. Without it you've

got a shocking model of miss

government that's there planted

in the Pacific. You've got

Australia placed in a position

where we would have noaltern I

have but to organise the world to

to condemn and commit unequivocally

New Guinea. We would be in a

position of having to consider sanctions. When news of Mr Carr's remarks was relayed Carr's remarks was relayed to Port Moresby, the Foreign Minister summoned Australia's acting High Commissioner for acting High Commissioner for an

explanation. He was ready to

push for a retraction but after speaking directly to Bob Carr

he says he's reassured that the

suggestion of sanctions should be seen in a hypothetical

context. I have accepted his

explanations and we both have

agreed not to dwell too much on

the reporting as it is not in

the best interests of our

relationship between our two

countries and we should move

on. Another view from the at

PNG's national research institute Bob Carr's remarks

were over dramatic. He

suggests that Mr Carr would

have been better served by

making a visit to PNG making a visit to PNG before wading into the wading into the electoral debate. I would imagine debate. I would imagine that

would have been the normal

channel for a Foreign Minister

to do because he would have had

a better perspective and a better understanding of the

issues here on the ground. He

says there are observers in PNG monitoring the monitoring the electoral process and Mr Carr's

intervention risks inflaming an already delicate situation. Richard Ewart, ABC News. Wayne Swan has weighed says there

into the debate over the appointment of David Gonski into Future Fund chairman. Peter

Costello has accused the

government of bungling prodses

after he was overlooked for the position. Mr Swan has hit back

at the former Liberal

Treasurer. I don't think it

comes as a surprise to anyone

that Peter Costello thought he

was the best person to head the

board. He's always had tickets on himself. The fact is that

Mr Gonski is the best person to

head the board. I think that

would be the overwhelming view

in the business community. Mr

Gonski is very experienced,

he's a very senior Australian business person. I think he's

the best person to lead the Board. Treasurer, Board. Treasurer, with the

greens Coalition both agreeing that they won't deliver the

corporate tax cut to big

business, are you going to have

to dump or compromise on that? It is a pretty odd combination. The really remarkable thing here is the

Liberal Party, the party of

Menzies, is so anti-business

and they don't understand the

challenges in our economy. The

fact is whilst our economy is

strong, we have a patchwork

economy, we're putting in place

a resource rent tax to capture some of the super profits of

some of the largest companies some of in the country and using that revenue

revenue to give a tax break to

other businesses that aren't in

the fast lane and the fast lane and are

struggling and the Liberal

Party doesn't Party doesn't seem to understand the challenging

these business are facing. I'm

gob-smacked that the Liberal Party doesn't have the

commonsense to recognise the

need for a tax cut need for a tax cut for many companies that are struggling and aren't in the fast lane of

the mining boom. They just

don't get T I think it shows

how unqualified the Liberal

Party is. Do you believe with the

the private health insurance

rebate going through, how do

you feel about that? It is you feel about that? It is a

very important measure in the

Budget and I'm pleased to see Budget

it is passed the Senate. it is passed the Senate. The

fact is we shouldn't fact is we shouldn't be paying huge subsidies for the health

insurance of people like

myself. We're not going to do

it any more. We can't afford

to do it. It is the sort to do it. It is the sort of

reform we need as cross the

budget. The Liberal Party

which has a $70 billion hole in

their budget bottomline oppose

this important measure which is

why they can't make their sums

add up. The NATO mission in

Afghanistan has suffered Morisset backs with the Taliban

announcing it is suspending

talks with the United States.


Western forces to pullback

their bases after an American soldier allegedly killed soldier allegedly killed 16

civilians. The US and Britain

are insisting that these latest

events will not lead to a

change in strategy. It change in strategy. It all began here - almost 7,000 miles

from Afghanistan, a place

once Twin Towers stood. Now a

memorial to 2,983 who died on memorial to 2,983 who died on a single day. David and Samantha single

Cameron remember 9/11. She was

in New York, he in London. For

hours he had no idea whether she was safe. Kathryn wolf she was safe. Kathryn wolf was not. Her death and all the others remembered today

triggered a war a decade old and not yet over. and not yet over. Do you understand why some people

seeing you here may say "so

much has been sacrificed

apparently for so little." Of course we made big course we made big sacrifices

and Britain losing 400 of our soldiers. It is worth

remembering why we're there and this is the right place this is the right place to

remember it nearly 3000 remember it nearly 3000 people including 67 British Nationals,

died right here on 9/11. You

know, that terrorism was coming

straight out of Afghanistan and

Pakistan. That area of the world. But in Afghanistan today

another set back for hopes of a political solution. The Taliban announced they were no longer prepared to talk longer prepared to talk with the United States. The reason,

they claimed, not the

they claimed, not the burning of the Koran, not the slaughter

of the 16 civilians by an

American soldier, but

conditions they said were put

down by American negotiators. The Afghan President, Hamid

Karzai, added to the pressure,

telling the US Defence

Secretary to pull all international troops back to their bases. Does it depress

you now that the talks between

the United States and the

Taliban seem to be at an end as

a consequence of the events of

last week? I think we just have

to be clear that we have a plan

in Afghanistan which is to hand

over to a capable Afghan army,

police and Government at police and Government at the

end of 2014. We'll do that

without a political settlement

or with a political

settlement. Afghanistan has

been the substance that has

lane beneath the White House

event door. Last night the Obama's hosted a state dinner

attended by the special relationship's great and the

good. They dined on bison,

they drank on the praise of one

leader for another. Good leader for another. Good times

and in bad, he's just the kind

of partner you want at your

side. I trust him. He says

what he does and he does what

he says. I've seen he says. I've seen his

character. There are three things about Barak that really

stand-out for me. stand-out for me. Strength,

moral authority, and wisdom.

He has pressed the reset button

on the moral authority of the

entire free world. A conservative praising Obama's

strength in a country strength in a country where conservatives deride his

weakness. It was their

predecessors who began the war

that started here. It is

fitting that David Cameron ends

his trip to the United States

here. This gaping awe

inspiring black hole, all that

is left of one of the two Twin

Towers. It is a reminder of

the roots of the war which the

Prime Minister and Prime Minister and the

President are still struggling

to end and to find an end to end and to find an end with honour. Nick Robertson to end honour. Nick Robertson

reporting there. It has reporting there. It has been

one year since the start of a

bloody uprising that's torn

Syria apart. Human rights groups

groups say the violence has

cost the lives of more than

9,000 people, the overwhelming

majority of them civilians.

They say there's evidence of

another massacre in the city of

Idlib which earlier this Idlib which earlier this week

fell to government forces. Foreign Affairs editor Peter Cave reports from our Middle East bureau. Syrian state television showed tens of thousands of people out on the

streets of Damascus, the

northern city of al Aleppo, a city

city on the Mediterranean

coast, a town to the south and

a town in the north-east. a town in the north-east. The message was one of support for

the army and defiance of the

so-called armed terrorist gangs the government blames for the

violence. That was not in tune

with figures released by the Syrian Observatory For Human Rights which says that more

than 9,000 people have died

over the past 12 months. 6,645

civilians, 1,99 1 members of

Assad's security forces and 471

rebel fighters. The rebels may

have been driven out of Baba

Amr in Homs and Idlib city, but

they're not defeated. This

footage uploaded to internet

shows fighting raging in the

city of Hama. This is a village in the mountains near

Idlib where rebels attacked a

tank with a shoulder launched

missile. But for those who

can't fight, the only option can't fight, the only option is to flee, like these to flee, like these civilians

crossing into Turkey after the

hazardous trek through the land mined laced hills, more than

1000 of them in the past 24


number of people fleeing the

cruelty in Syria goes up every

day. Yesterday, 13,700

refugees were registered and as of this morning, 14,700 Syrians are registered in Turkey. This

vast tent city is where most of

those refugees now live. those refugees now live. Work

goes on to expand it around the

clock. Peter Cave, ABC News.

Alicia Barry joins us now with an update from

an update from the markets. On the local sharemarket falls in the mining sector are

outweighing gains among

retailers. The All Ordinaries

Index is down two 10th of a

percent. The ASX 200 index has

lost a similar amount. The Dow Jones Jones industrial average was

pushed up by a better than

expected economic data. Spot

gold has recovered some ground.

West Texas intermediate crude

oil slipped on speculation that

Britain and the US will release more supplies. The Australian dollar is currently buying

105.2 US cents. Financial

sanctions against Iran over its

nuclear program are

intensifying. European Union

nations have agreed to ban

financial transfers to financial transfers to hundreds

of Iranian firms and individuals. As a result, society for worldwide interbank society SWIFT which connects thousands society SWIFT which connects thousands of banks around the world, has

been instructed to been instructed to cease dealing with most Iranian

institutions. The measure institutions. The measure is expected to make trade with Iran even more difficult. The

National Retailers Association

has released a report predicting the retail sector

could lose 118,000 jobs in the

next three years. It blames

the situation on a tax loophole which allows items to be purchased overseas on the

internet which are valued at

less than $1000 to be exempt of

GST duty or custom fees. GST duty or custom fees. The association says that disadvantage is local

retailers. today's top

stories - the long awaited

report into last year's

Queensland floods will be released at midday today eastern time. The report is

expected to determine whether

the Government owned Wivenhoe

Dam operator, SEQ Water, was to blame for widespread flooding

in Brisbane and Ipswich. The

Afghan Taliban has broken off

diplomatic talks with the

United States. The group says

it suspended dialogue in Qatar blaming the Americans for what

it described as an ever changing position. And Ian

Thorpe has qualified for

tonight's 200 metres freestyle semifinals at the Australian

swimming championships in

Adelaide. The five time

Olympic gold medallist finished

equal fifth fastest from this

morning's heat. His time was 1

minute, 49.46

The State Emergency Service

in NSW has ordered the evacuation of the Riverina town

of Hay by Saturday as

floodwaters make their way

through the Murrumbidgee River

system. Order as hangered some residents who believe residents who believe the

town's levee will hold. The

local council says it, hasn't

been certified by engineers, been certified by engineers, so locals should leave before locals should leave before the

flood waters peak early next

week. And has some of the

floodwaters recede following

weeks of rain across southern Australia, farmers are only now Australia, beginning to assess the full

extent of the damage. Wine

grape growers in the Gryphon

region have been hit hard predictions region have been hit hard with

predictions some may be forced

to leave the industry. The

floods came at a particularly

bad time for rice growers who

were getting ready to harvest.

From the NSW Riverina Peter

McCutcheon reports. Rice farmer

Hayden Cudmore desperately need

to drain his fields but he

can't pump the water back into

the creek system If I drain it

it is going to affected someone

down team. It is like a House

of Cards. Something like that,

yeah. From this one field alone, over the next few alone, over the next few weeks

he'll be pumping the equivalent

of 10 Olympic swimming pools a

day to higher ground on his own property. It is quite amazing

to the extent of where we to the extent of where we have

seen the water go. seen the water go. No-one around here in living to

has seen any water like it. In

this irrigation country, the

floodwaters are taking their

time to recede and farmers are

only now counting the cost.

Rice crops un, cotton crops virtually under, yeah, it's

been bad. Bad for the

horticulture, the viticulture,

it's just one of those sort of

years where it rained and

rained over a period of six or

seven days and it just wouldn't

let up. Hopes for a good year

for wine grapes have been

dashed. This is a Ruby cabernet grape and, as you can

see, it is ruined. The water

only came about three quarters

of the way up these plants, but only of the way up these plants, but that was enough to that was enough to write off

the entire crop. The tragedy

is these grapes were ripe for

harvest just before the flood

hit. The 30% of grape growers

in this region who haven't

harvested face some tough decisions.

decisions. They're going to

find it very difficult. find it very difficult. Hoping

they could get their crop off and

and have some income. They're

not making a profit but at least

least some income to keep going

for a lot of year. A lot of

growers would probably leave

the industry. A harvest that was going to run for weeks the

could be over in could be over in days. Ian Thorpe has qualified for

tonight's 200 metres freestyle

semifinals at the Australian swimming championships in Adelaide. The five Adelaide. The five time

Olympic gold medallist finished

equal fifth fastest from this morning's heat, Olympic

reporter Ben Knight joins us to

assess his achievement, if it

is that. Ben, good to speak

with us. How important was his

performance this morning? It

is crucially important because

he's advanced to the next step.

He has done it qualifying equal

fifth for Tonight's semifinal.

After that what he'll have to do if he makes it through to

the final is come in the top

two in the final and that

two in the final and that will

earn him a place in the

individual 200 metre event at

the Olympics. That's, from

here, still a very, very long

way away. Certainly the signs

have been very, very good. In

his heat, he led early, led

probably for at least the

first-half of the race, but was

just pipped at the end and came

in equal second in his heat.

It's been pointed out in fact

between first and eighth in

qualifiesers for this semifinal

there's only one second between

them. He really is up there

with at the moment at least in

the heat stage, the best

swimmers that distance that

Australia has. To you think to

an extent his performance this

morning has surprised some

surprised people? I think it certainly

surprised me when I was looking at his heat and saw him out

there in front. Where we're at

used to Ian Thorpe being. I

think what it's done it's got a

lot of people excited. There is been a lot of, I think,

negativity, a lot of scepticism

is perhaps the better word that

his come back was simply too his come back was simply

little, too late. He mistimed

it. He underestimated the

amount of work that needed to

be done. That may still be

proven to be the case. Think

what it's done have got a lot of people excited negativity, about the whole idea of Ian Thorpe making some kind Thorpe making some kind of come back to the Olympic Games. Of

course, as you reported earlier

this week, there are a lot of swimmers swimmers or several swimmers swimmers or several swimmers we

should say who are trying to

make a come back for the London

Olympics. Does the performance

of Thorpe this morning actually give some hope that there could

be successful and go on to

fulfil their dream of a true

come back? Well, come back? Well, everything I moment. think is inspiration at the

moment. We will have to wait

and see what happens in the

semifinal tonight. That will

really be the test. At that

point, that's when the younger swimmers, the Ryan Napoleon,

let's not forget he qualified first for the semifinal, David McKeon, who has already qualified for the Olympics in

the 400 metres freestyle when

he won that event last night,

he is absolutely dead level

with Ian Thorpe in the heats. Those

Those guys all of a sudden, they probably weren't so

worried about Ian Thorpe going

into this event, maybe they

will be as well. Maybe that's something that they think look out, we really have to out, we really have to push ourselves even more than we might because there's a Ian Thorpe Thorpe swimming in the pool against us and he's against us and he's looking good. I think it is going to push everything. I think it

can only be a good things for

swimming. Apart from anything

else, you would be aware that

there's been a story going

around there's been criticism

about the investment that's been put into these older

swimmers, like the Ian Thorpe, like Libby Trickett. If you could have heard what was going

on inside that swimming pool

complex comment Ian Thorpe stepped up on the blocks and when he was out there in front when he

and when he was going to the

wall, there's no doubt that the

attention, the enthusiasm, interest that someone like him attention, the enthusiasm, the

brings to an event like this

and brings to the whole lead-up

dollar to the Olympics, whatever the

dollar figures turn out to be, it's got to be worth it. That enthusiasm is really what everybody is looking everybody is looking for, I

suppose. Could I put you on

the spot. What time is that

big race this evening when we

should be tune ing into see

whether Ian Thorpe does make it

through to the Olympics? From

memory, I think it's around

about half past 7 this evening.

Thanks for putting me on the

spot, Jane. I apologise for

news time or shortly that. Anyway, probably around

thereafter. It will be around then. Thanks very much thereafter. It will be roughly

Ben Knight. Good to talk to

you. Thanks, Jane. Time now for

the rest of sport with Lucy

Carter. Great news as we heard

you about for Thorpe thomp. I won't ask

you about any times. No.

Absolutely not. It is

wonderful news for Ian Thorpe.

To the other sports news, gorm

Bailey has been named in the

Australian team for the opening

one day cricket international

against the West Indies in St

Vincent tonight. Bailey has

been selected ahead of spinner Nathan

Nathan Lyon with the

Australian's going into the

game with three specialist

bowlers. Ben Hilfenhaus was

ruled out because of a virus. Meanwhile, Brad Haddin is returning home from the West returning

Indies today because of

personal reasons. The

Sheffield Shield final between

Queensland and Tasmania is

currently under way in Brisbane

at the Gabba. This morning

Tasmanian captain Ponting won

the toss and elected to bat.

The tourists were none for 19.

Western Force has made nine

changes to its side against the

Waratahs in Sydney. Three

members of the backline are out

through injury and coach Richard Graham made a further six changes as the Force

searched for its first win of

the season. Former Brisbane

Broncos NRL player due few will

make his rugby debut. Too

few. Defensively having come

from rugby league, mate, I can from

tell you he hits and he hits hard. Recruit Dave Harvey will

make his debut at fullback

after being signed by the club

on a short-term deal. That is

the latest in sports news All eyes on the pool the latest in sports news Jane. All

again. Exactly, many thanks

Lucy. Quick weather. Showers