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ABC News 24: 10am News -

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(generated from captions) This morning - Labor hits

back over the Peter Slipper scandal, accusing the Opposition of double standards. scandal, accusing the Federal

This Program is Captioned Live.

Also today, the battle for France. Francois Hollande defeats Nicolas Sarkozy in the first round of Presidential

elections. A new Sydney shooting, bullets are fired

into two units in the western

Sydney suburb of Merrylands.

The Brisbane Roar celebrate after winning back-to-back A-League titles.

Good morning, you are

watching ABC News 24. I'm Joe

O'Brien. Taking a quick look O'Brien. Taking a quick look at

the weather first in the the weather first in

capital cities around the

nation today:

The local share market has

just opened. We will check

Wall figures shortly but on Friday

Wall Street ended higher led by strong earnings strong earnings reports. The

Federal Government has accused

the Opposition of hi pock rah

si over its approach to the claims against Peter Slipper. Mr Slipper

accusations he Mr Slipper has denied

accusations he misused taxpayer-funded cab charges and

a civil claim he sexually

harassed a staffer. He aside as harassed a staffer. He stepped

aside as Speaker while aside as Speaker while investigations are under way.

The Opposition says he should

continue to step aside while civil allegations are dealt

with. Tony Abbott has suggested

the Liberal Party ignored claims about Peter Slipper in

the past. We were trying to get

him out of the Parliament, he

was going to lose his

pre-selection. While we him

Parliament, the Prime trying to get him out of the

gave him the biggest job in the

gave him the biggest job in the

Parliament. That's why the

Prime Minister's judgment, the

Prime Minister's integrity is

now in such question. Now that we

we have got the Slipper matter

dealt with at least for the

time being, what about the

Thomson matter which is still

dogging the Prime Minister. dogging the Prime

Another serious question over

the integrity of the Prime the integrity of

Minister and, indeed, over the

government. Tony Abbott integrity of this

this morning. For the latest we cross live to Melissa Clarke in handling this this morning? The government is trying to fight

fight back on its own. They are

starting by appealing for

everyone to let the process s

take their course. Let the AFP

and finance departments look at

what they need to look

Peter Slipper having stood

aside, they are certainly

resume hoping he will be able to

resume the chair by the time

Parliament recon seens in -

reconvenes in two weeks' time.

They are appealing for everyone to

to step back, let processes

take place and not pre-judge

Craig Emerson, the Trade anyone. We also heard from

Minister, who was trying to

fight a bit of fire with fire and point to the Opposition's

conduct in the past. He said that when Opposition members have had civil proceedings before them, the Labor Party hasn't insisted on making moves, so Craig Emerson was

keen to paint the Coalition as

hypocritical when he spoke to ABC News Breakfast earlier this

morning. The fact is that under the previous the previous Coalition

Government, Malcolm Turnbull as

a minister, was the subject of civil proceedings. We didn't ask

ask him to stand aside, we

didn't ask him to stand aside as Opposition as Opposition Leader. Processes

are under way. Those processes

should be able to take their course without Mr Abbott course

calling for the end of the

processes or interfering in processes, calling for early processes or interfering in the

elections. The truth is, behind

this, all he wants is to be

able to become the Prime

Minister through a cheap and Minister through a cheap

easy way to the Lodge. It is

not going to happen. Craig

Emerson there. Melissa, how will this play out when Parliament resumes in a couple of weeks' time? If things

remain as they are, that is

Peter Slipper standing aside,

the Deputy Speaker Anna Burke

filling in the role, we have

the Government in a position

where it can command 75 votes

to the Coalition's 73. Then the question becomes is there any

attempt to move a motion of no

confidence? The question would

be could the Coalition get

enough support if that were to

happen, even if say Andrew Wilkie were to shift his support, which he hasn't

indicated he would at this

stage, that would still only

get you votes tied at 74 a

piece with a casting vote to

the Labor Speaker. It is not

looking likely, if we were to find ourselves in find ourselves in that scenario,

scenario, come two scenario, come two Tuesdays

away, Budget day, that the

Opposition would succeed in a no-confidence motion. They

don't want to take the risk un less they know they have

numbers behind them. That's the

Pyne, the leader of Opposition indication, that Christopher

business in the House was giving this morning. He was

saying it is not the Coalition's job to move a

motion of no-confidence, he is

saying it is up to the

Independents. It won't come as

any surprise to the public to any surprise to the public

have confidence in know the Opposition doesn't know the Opposition doesn't

Government. It is up do the have confidence in the

Independents to move a vote of

no confidence in the Government because we need their support

to carry it. Tony Windsor and

Rob Oakeshott continue to prop

up this Government. When they

move, finally realise the

Australia Network tender, the

Thomson affair, the Slipper

affair have sapped the

confidence of the public in

their elected officials, then

motion, it will be worth moving such a

motion, but until the

Independents make that move, it

would be just emblematic of

continuing chaos in the

Government. Christopher Pyne,

the Opposition's leader in the

House there. It is interesting

because it certainly hasn't

been the Opposition's approach

to censure motions, they are more than happy to call those

on a regular basis knowing on a regular basis knowing they

don't have the numbers but showing reluctance here showing reluctance here to try

a no-confidence motion despite

them saying the Government is in

in chaos and in shambles. The

Independents don't really like

the idea of the Coalition

putting the onus on them, putting the onus on them, or at

least Tony Windsor doesn't. He

has thrown it right back at the

Coalition when he spoke Coalition when he spoke to Radio National's Breakfast programme this morning. This

Parliament is nearly two years

old and hasn't seen a vote old and hasn't seen a vote of no confidence. Hasn't seen one no confidence. Hasn't seen one on the floor of the House.

Everybody says there is no

confidence but no-one is

willing to try it. They want to

try it in the immediate media. The Parliament is the place to

do that. If Tony Abbott with respects to question the confidence, do it in the

Parliament, not the press. We haven't heard much yet from haven't heard much yet from the Prime Minister? Because she is

in now in Singapore. She left

the country last night for a the country last night for a long-planned trip to Singapore

where she will have bilateral

meetings. She is visiting a war

cemetery before heading off to

Turkey for meeting and Anzac

Day at Gallipoli. It is

fortuitous in some sense, she

can't be hounded in Canberra,

but problematic for the

government because it is difficult when the Prime

Minister is away overseas when

there are these machinations going on back at home,

especially when you consider the Deputy Prime Minister is overseas, as is the Foreign

Minister as well. At the

moment, a lot of the

Government's heavy hitters Government's heavy hitters are

away overseas and that makes it more difficult for the Labor more difficult for the Labor Party to coordinate themselves

back on the ground in response to the scandal. The first time

Chris Evans has been acting Prime Minister? I don't know if it is

if it is the first time. If my

memory serves me correctly, he

had maybe a less than a day or

a day long when he was Acting

Prime Minister. It is a rare

event when you get to the third

rung of Acting Prime Minister, of course him being the leader

of the government in the

Senate. He is the deputy Deputy

Prime Minister in some

sense. And a lot on his plate

right now. Thanks for very right now. Thanks for very

much. To French politics now

and early results show Socialist candidate Francois Hollande has beaten Nicolas

Sarkozy in the first round of

presidential elections. The pair

pair will face each other in a run-off election in May. Europe correspondent Phillip correspondent Phillip Williams

is Paris and filed this report.

(Cheering)

This is the moment that the soerlists headquarters where

they have heard the news their

candidate, Francois Hollande, is well ahead, 28%, is well ahead, 28%, is well ahead of Sarkozy on 25%. That

was a crucial thing. If Sarkozy had managed to do better, at

least a chance for him in the

second round. Now it is seen as

little chance, but, you are a supporter of the Socialist for

a long time. For a long time.

The fact is I do not like the

personalty of our President but I liked much more the

personalty, I think he is a

serious man, very consistent

man and he has the support of

40 economists who are very

famous in France and I think he

will do a good job and the

ambience will change in France

because it has been tough for

the last five years Is there

any possibility in this second round that Nicolas Sarkozy

could pull off a surprise, he

could still win? We never

know. Everything can happen, we

never know, we have to continue and we don't know. Normally and we will be very difficult for Sarkozy, normally it will Sarkozy, normally it will be more easy for Francois

Hollande. How will France be different under Francois

Hollande as President? I Hollande as President? I think from the point of view of

economy, there will be not a

very big difference but I think

in the day-to-day life, because the Government, the Government, the actual

government, has been very close to very Right party and

sometimes quite racist. It has

been difficult for people of

black colour and so on. The

France's people, this is going

to change. I hope so. Thank you

very much. You are welcome. That is a summary of

really how many people feel

here. People are realistic the world will not change but the

character of the presidency

will they feel. A more modest

man, not the bling bling of will

Nicolas Sarkozy but, of course,

let's not jump the gun. This let's not jump the gun. This is

the first round. The next it is

head to head, Hollande/Sarkozy,

and the President never gives up. Phillip Williams reporting

from the streets of Paris. The

very latest figures from Paris are coming through. Francois

Hollande with a Socialist Party

28%. Nicolas Sarkozy only 1%

behind now 27. There was a

suggestion earlier that

division was about 3% division was about 3% but

Sarkozy has closed that a little bit. Marine Lepon from

the national front,

expectations were she was going

to score 20%, she is down

around 18% at this stage. The

turn-out rate for voting in France in the presidential election, 80%, which is election, 80%, which is impressive. The party of pro-democracy

Suu Kyi has delayed the opening

of Burma's new particle Parliament. The National League

for Democracy says it is

unhappy about the wording of

the oath of office. Zoe Daniel

explains. It is a test of

Burma's fragile reform process.

What the NLD wants is a change

to the oath that new MPs make

when they are sworn into the

Parliament. The NLD objects to

the phrase 'Safeguard the Constitution'. That's because it believes that the Constitution itself is fundamentally flawed. It was

drafted by the military, it was

put in place by a flawed 2008

referendum and, of course, it

dictates that 25% of dictates that 25% of the

Parliament is held by the

military. The NLD says it is comfortable with the phrase 'Respect the Constitution' and that its members won't be

attending the Parliament until

that change is made. is that change is made. Now, there is some discussion that Aung

San Suu Kyi and the President may in

may in fact have already come

to an agreement on this issue

but there is also talk it may

have to actually be debated in the Parliament itself. Of

course, we know that not all of those those parliamentary members agree with the President's

reform process. It is a test of

everything that's happened everything that's happened up until now here in Burma, not

least because one side will

have to give in to progress

those reforms further. It may come down to who come down to who breaks first. Zoe Daniel reporting

from Burma. Police are looking

for four people involved in

another drive-by shooting in

Sydney's west. Claire Aird

reports from the suburb of

Merrylands where shots were

fired into a block of flt flats.. Just after flats.. Just after midnight

last night, shots were last night, shots were fired

into the two unit blocks you

can see behind me here in

Merrylands in Sydney's west.

The bullets hit the sliding

balcony glass doors, the glass has shattered. There were

people in there at the time and

one woman was treated for shock

after the incident. Witnesses called police after they heard

the bullets fired. There was a

police patrol car around the area at the

area at the time which came to

the scene and there was a

collision involving a white car

with four men inside and the

police car. The men jumped out,

police gave chase but couldn't

keep up with them. They

deployed a helicopter and the

Dog Squad afterwards. I spoke to a witness a short time

ago. They are not suspicious,

they are just regular people.

There are other weird There are other weird guys

around here all the time in

this area but in those blocks,

no, I don't know of any strange

things going on there or any

reason why they would be shot

at. This is the 21st shooting

this month. It is worth noting

the NSW bureau of crime systems

showed a report shootings were

up on last year, they wouldn't

have included the recent spate

of shootings. We are up to 21.

At the peak of the shootings in 2002 there were 30 in the

month. Police will be

investigating this incident, 2002 there

it is related to the continuing shootings which have shootings which have involved bikie gangs across

Sydney. Claire Aird reporting

from there from Merrylands in

Sydney's west. I will just

mention, because the Peter

Slipper scandal is our top

story today, Peter Slipper is

deny ing the allegations

against him. We heart Peter Slipper sent out a Tweet, Melissa Clarke sent this

through "Thanks to all those

who have suffered strong

support to In mga and me at this time. Much appreciated".

No word yet on whether we will

hear from Peter Slipper at all. A man should be shot in A man should be shot in the leg

in Adelaide's north. Several

shots were fired in Prospect

after the man arrived home at 1

o'clock this morning. Police

say the man is refusing to cooperate with their

investigation. A NSW operation

who say the footage of the

Indigenous teenager needs to be viewed in context. viewed in context. The 18-year-old was one of the people

people shot. Video recorded on

a mobile phone appears to show

him being punched several him being punched several times and dragged by police before he

bleeds on to the footpath. Assistant Commissioner Mark

Murdoch says the footage shows

the incident from one angle and has urged calm while an

internal investigation internal investigation is conducted. The funeral of Australian swimming legend

Murray Rose will take place later this later this morning. The four-time Olympic gold

medallist died last week after

losing a battle with losing

He was 73. Rose set 15 world records during his career and

won three gold medals at the

1956 Melbourne Olympics and another at the 1960 Rome Games.

Murray Rose is survived by his

wife and son. The funeral will take take place at Saint Stephen's

Uniting Church at Sydney. It starts in about starts in about 45 minutes'

time. We plan to bring you some

of the service live. I might

show you now. This is a great

shot of Murray Rose, this is on

the front of his order of

service for that funeral to be

held today. He loved his Sydney

beaches. It is hard to tell which which Sydney beach that is. It

looks like a harbour beach

rather than Bondi. A great shot there

there of Murray Rose, a man who

everyone says was just a gentleman after his Olympic

career. That funeral starts in

45 minutes time. We plan to

bring you much of that live here on ABC News 24.

The top stories today - the

Government has accused the Opposition of hi pock Opposition of hi pock rah si in

its approach to the claims against Peter Slipper who has stepped aside while criminal allegations are being investigated. Early results

from the French election

suggest Socialist candidate

Francois Hollande has beaten Nicolas Sarkozy in the first

round of voting. Police are

searching for four people who

fled the scene of a drive-by

shooting in Sydney's west. Two

homes in Merrylands were

peppered with bullets peppered with bullets just after midnight. Now, the weather around the country:

The tiny island nation of Palau is paying a high price

for the global problem of for climate change. It is struggling to cope with rapidly

rising sea levels. The

president is warning the

country is facing a disaster of Biblical proportions if the

world doesn't change its ways. Elders of Palau sit ways. Elders of Palau sit to

pass on the traditions of

farming to their young women.

It is an important vegetable

that's been the staple of diets

for generations. But tradition

offers little preparation for

the challenges farmers now face. TRANSLATION: We first

noticed the sea coming in when

noticed the sea coming in when the salt water was halfway through the first square patch,

then it moved past the second

patch. Now it has progressed

beyond that and is destroying

whole farms. Only 25% of

patches on the island are still in use endangering food

security and changing the local

diet. Palau is now importing most of its food and officials

here say eating all the less

healthy items being sold in

supermarkets is leading to a

rise in diabetes, high blood pressure and other disorders.

But that isn't the only problem

Palau is dealing with because of climate change. Palau's coastline

coastline is being eroded so

much that the ground is literally being swept out from

underneath the houses here.

soil here used to come up to

this level. But with the rate

that the sea is rising, they

say if 20 years, this entire

area could be swept away. At a recent micro neegs leaders summit, Palau's President

reiterated his proposal to the

UN that small island nations be allowed hold larger industrialised countries legally

legally accountable for climate

change. He says the nations most responsible most responsible for climate change should do more to

mitigate the impact on the most

vulnerable states. I think they

tried to close their eyes tried to close their eyes to the threats of climate change.

This will create a disaster Biblical proportions where

people may have to relocate to

higher lands or they may completely lose their

sovereignty and may result in mass

mass exodus. Palau officials

want to remain hopeful. In a lab, scientists are rushing to

develop a salt-resistant strain

of taro. Out doors of taro. Out doors more traditional methods are being

adapted to keep the sea at bay.

Families have erected dams

around the homes and farmers

are using dieks around their plants. These are short-term

solutions. The fear here is that if more

that if more help doesn't that if more help doesn't come

soon, the entire way of life

could get washed away. We

could get washed away. We have

a live line-up from Singapore.

Julia Gillard is holding her

first doorstep interview on her trip to Singapore and overseas. We

We will listen into that right

now. I understand she is talking about Defence issues

first. We have had the

opportunity to meet on a number

of other occasions and I am

looking forward to meeting him

here in Singapore. I will also

here in Singapore. I will also be meeting with a number of

leading Singapore business

leaders. I have come to Singapore

Singapore with four objectives

in mind, to reaffirm

Australia's commitment to this bilateral relationship and to deepening

deepening it, to promote

Australia as a secure and open place to do business, and to

invest, a great place to come

and work in our

and work in our economy, to

underline the value we attach to our defence relationship

with Singapore and to discuss economic and strategic change

in our region and in the

regional forums in which regional forums in which we

work together. Singapore is one

of our closest and most important

important partners in South

East Asia. We work together

closely on regional issues and

in regional forums such as the east

east Asia summit, APEC and the Asia-Europe summit. Our economic relationship is a strong

strong one and it is growing.

Singapore is our largest

trading partner in ASEAN and our fifth large est trading partner globally. Our bilateral free trade agreement with Singapore Singapore is our second oldest.

The only one that is older The only one that is older is our one with New Zealand. our one with New Zealand. Many

Australians work here and live here and here and many here and many Australian businesses have their regional

headquarters here. So, in this

century of Asian growth, we can

learn a lot from Singapore's

record of innovation and

adaptation as well as its

tremendous economic success in exploiting its competitive

advantages. I will also be very

pleased later today to present

an hon rare AO to CA

an hon rare AO to CA Kao who is

a legend ry business leader who

has been one of the mainstay s of the business relationship

for a year. All of that will be

a focus of the visit but we

shouldn't forget the importance

of our defence ties too. Singapore values the

opportunity to train and come

and do exercises in Australia,

including at the army aviation centre at Oakey

centre at Oakey where Singapore

does helicopter training.

That's under an agreement we

are about to renew. That would

have come to the attention of many Australians during the

worst of the days of the

Queensland floods when

Singapore were very very Singapore were very very quick

to offer the services of those helicopters for flood relief

should they be required. So should they be required. So the

relationship between our two

countries is a busy one, it is

a mature one, but there is always more

always more you can do

together. In this visit, I will

be proposing to the Prime Minister we formalise an annual

meeting between leaders, either

in each other's country or in the margins of the margins of international meetings to make sure there is

the high level the high level guidance necessary tore further develop

the - to further develop the

relationship. I will also suggest

suggest we task the next

meeting of the Singapore-Australia joint

ministerial committee to report

become President Li and me on

ways to deepen our cooperation and and trade and investment

cooperation. I am looking

forward to that series of

events today. I am happy to take take questions. (Inaudible

Question). Obviously I

realised you would be asking me

questions about this matter and

I am very happy to answer I am very happy to answer them.

When Australian looks at their

Parliament, Australians Parliament, Australians rightly expect parliamentarian s to

play by the rules and to play by the rules and to uphold

the respect and integrity the respect and integrity of

the Australian Parliament. They

rightly expect that and they

should do so. I believe the

decision Mr Slipper made yesterday to step aside yesterday to step aside while allegations relating to potentially potentially criminal matters

are investigated, I believe the

decision he made to step aside

was the appropriate decision.

On Mr Thomson, I have dealt

with that matter extensively

back in Australia. Mr back in Australia. Mr Thomson

is a backbench member, he is not a parliamentary office holder. (Inaudible

holder. (Inaudible Question).

On your second question first,

I think the appropriate thing

now is for everyone to respect

the processes that are under

way. Those processes are independent of me and so I

can't help you with an estimate

about how long they will take, that would need to be that would need to be directed,

that question, to the people

who are engaged in

who are engaged in the

processes. As for Mr processes. As for Mr Slipper's

decision, it was a decision for

Mr Slipper and taken by him. It

wasn't taken with consultation

with anyone in government? I

did not speak to Mr Slipper directly. As I believe directly. As I believe is already a matter of public

record, the leader of

government business in the House of Representatives Mr

Albanese spoke to Mr Slipper. When? You would have

to go through details with Mr

Albanese. Just to clarify, are

you saying he holds a higher

position it would be

appropriate ... Mr Thomson at an earlier point in an earlier point in time stepped aside from a committee

officer position, you will probably recall that. What do

you know about new allegations

in Tasmania in Tasmania (Poor audio). Nothing other than what was reported in today's

newspapers. (Inaudible Question). I have not. We Question). I have not. We are

continuing to work with Mr continuing to work with Mr

Wilkie and work with him constructively on poker machine

reforms and on issues of importance to the Australian

nation. We will continue to do

that. Our attitude will be the same as before recent events. same Tony Abbott this morning

questioned your judgment

questioned your judgment and

integrity for supporting Mr

Slipper's speakership given the stuff known about him. Do stuff known about him. Do you

think if he was a member of the

Coalition for so many years,

how does that appear in this

matter? I expect Mr matter? I expect Mr Abbott to

be negative about everything.

That's what he is and what he does. If he is going to be

negative about everything, he matter?

will be negative about this. Mr

Abbott, as he goes forward with the negativity, will need to recognise Mr Slipper was pre-selected by the Coalition

on nine occasions is my

on nine occasions is my understanding. There is you

know a relationship with these pre-selection matters

pre-selection matters and Mr Abbott's leadership, that is Mr Slipper was pre-selected as recently as the last Federal

election and was a candidate in

that election under Mr Abbott's

leadership. I do note that

allegations that have been made

on the weekend and we should,

for the record, say they are

for the record, say they are strenuously denied by Mr

Slipper but I do note that

allegations made on the weekend

involve not only Mr Slipper but

the conduct of senior Liberal

adviser Mr Tony Nutt who adviser Mr Tony Nutt who worked in Prime Minister John Howard's

office when Tony Abbott was a

senior member of John senior member of John Howard's frontbench. In all of his

negativity, before he gets too

carried away, I think Mr Abbott

might want to reflect on those

facts. Are you confident you

will be able to operate in Parliament Parliament while Mr Slipper

stands aside? Yes, I am. Is it inappropriate from any member

(Poor audio). You should not assume from that anything assume from that anything other

than what I have just said

thanks very much. Clearly, look

at Mr Albanese's words and draw

your own conclusion. That's the

only rational conclusion you could draw. could draw. (Inaudible Question). Can I say two things about

about that? First, I formed about that? First, I formed a professional judgment about Mr

professional judgment about Mr Speaker - sorry, I formed a professional professional judgment about Mr Slipper's ability to act as Speaker in the parliamentary

chamber and to control the

Parliament in Question Time,

for example, having watched for example, having watched how

he performed as Deputy Speaker.

Mr Slipper, as he has done his

work as Speaker, has kept firm control of the control of the Parliament,

during what can be a quite

rukous Question Time . I rukous Question Time . I don't claim to know Mr Slipper personally

personally or well but I formed

a professional judgment about

his ability to do the his ability to do the job. Number two, having Mr Slipper be

be Speaker has enabled the Government to do some important

things on behalf of Australian

families. Our focus is always

running the economy, running

the Parliament, running the nation in the interests of

working people. So to take just

one example, it has enabled us

to end the spectre to end the spectre of hard-working taxpayers' money

going to support the private

health insurance of millionaires so that money can

be available for frontline

services families need. That is

important to working families.

They are the sorts of goals I have as Prime Minister looking after

after working families and

making sure we best meet

making sure we best meet their

needs for the services they

rely on - great schools, good

hospitals, family payment

supports which assist them like supports

paid parental leave and the

like. Has that professional judgment (Poor audio). There are proper processs in train