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 or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts.These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
RN World Today -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

Iemma must stand firm on privatisation push: Kennett

Iemma must stand firm on privatisation push: Kennett

The World Today - Monday, 5 May , 2008 12:10:00

Reporter: Emma Alberici

ELEANOR HALL: Former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett has warned the New South Wales Premier Morris
Iemma that his determination to push ahead with electricity privatisation will cost him his job.

Mr Kennett faced down unions in his state to push through electricity privatisation there more than
a decade ago and he is urging the NSW Premier to do the same.

But, unlike Mr Kennett, the NSW Premier is from the Labor Party and, while he is remaining defiant,
he will face another showdown from his party tomorrow.

And already one member of the caucus, Upper House MP Ian West, has warned the Mr Iemma to come
prepared to negotiate.

IAN WEST: Any Labor member of Parliament who doesn't pay due respect to the ALP annual conference,
does so at their peril.

MICHAEL JANDA: And with that peril include the possibility of the Premier or the Treasurer being
asked to leave the party?

IAN WEST: As I say, if you just ignore and have disrespect for annual conference decisions, then I
doubt whether you have much future in the party.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Upper House MP Ian West speaking there with Michael Janda.

As we mentioned, the former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett is no stranger to privatisation battles.
Sixteen years after he pushed through energy privatisation, he says Victoria is flourishing and
that for the sake of NSW, Morris Iemma must not back down.

Jeff Kennett has been speaking to Emma Alberici.

JEFF KENNETT: The benefit is two-fold. One, you get greater competition in terms of pricing, and
that is always good for the consumer. And secondly, you get the opportunity to have the private
sector upgrade a lot of what is clearly decaying infrastructure.

The third plus is an important one for NSW, in that it can raise some money from the assets sold
and that could be applied hopefully to reduce debt or to provide important services, hopefully
services that are measurable, so that is just not about employing more public servants.

EMMA ALBERICI: That's all good in theory and if I can just pick up on your last comment, you can do
all those things by borrowing more money. You don't necessarily need to be selling off the farm?

JEFF KENNETT: No, that's exactly right. But you're not selling off the farm, in this day and age,
these are assets that are got to be utilised for the benefit of the broader community. And to be
quite honest, NSW has adopted a dinosaur approach for some years now.

Bob Carr should have privatised the electricity assets when we did in Victoria. He got rolled by
the unions and left it at that. As a result if you have a look NSW as a state now, it is well
behind the national average; it no longer leads in terms of reform; it's financial position is
fundamentally flawed and finally the basic services that it provides its community are very much at
risk. I'm talking about water, I'm even talking about power, I'm talking about the public
transport, I'm talking about education. So, NSW is very quickly becoming a backwater.

EMMA ALBERICI: All good in theory to suggest the private sector can do a better job of delivering
essential services. Did Victoria actually see better services at better prices when the electricity
grid was indeed privatised?

JEFF KENNETT: No doubt. We got better pricing and people are able to choose their supplier. So, I
now in my residential address have got two or three suppliers I can choose from and I can put
conditions upon that and try and get the best deal possible.

And thirdly, I know as a state, and we had a $32 billion debt, we drove it down to $5 billion. And
the savings on the interest of that benefited every Victorian. And I think you got to get to stage
where you don't subsidise electricity, you encourage the technology to flow, we end up with a
national, proper national grid, and the consumer will be better off.

EMMA ALBERICI: What about the workers? Are they better off?

JEFF KENNETT: Yes, absolutely. In any economy, at any time, there are going to be job losses and
there are going to be job gains. And when we started our reforms in '92 and we laid off about
50,000 public servants, among others, what happened? Employment levels rose. Why? Because we
created a new environment.

Have a look at today. Our unemployment rate is the lowest it's ever been. So don't get stuck in
this myopic view that because of change, it doesn't mean that it isn't associated with growth. I
move around the state and I go up to Queensland often and people come up to me and say, "Jeff
Kennett, I was one of the teachers you sacked and I expect to get a rubbishing (phonetic)." And
they said, "Look, it's the best thing that ever happened." "I went out and did a, started my own
business or I started a Jim's Mowing franchise, and it's changed my life entirely."

Don't think the change can't be a good thing. If you're going to continually be controlled by the
archaic groupings of people, in this case called unions, then believe you me, your state is going
to shrink. Bob Carr started it, Iemma to his credit is trying to break it, but it might actually
come at the cost of his own job, which would be a pity because right now NSW needs some tough

You can stay where you are, as a state in cocoon mode, and I can assure you the rest of the country
will go ahead of you. Already Brisbane has gone, Queensland's ahead of you, Western Australia is
ahead of you, Victoria is ahead of you, South Australia will go ahead of you when they open up and
extend Olympic Dam, because it will become one of the three states that are driven by mining

NSW is unfortunately just going to be squeezed because you have no capacity to address those things
that have to addressed, and at least, by privatising the electricity system, it will give you
resources but I genuinely believe provide a better service.

ELEANOR HALL: That's the former premier of Victoria Jeff Kennett, he was speaking to Emma Alberici.

Buswell confident ahead of Liberal Party vote

Buswell confident ahead of Liberal Party vote

The World Today - Monday, 5 May , 2008 12:14:00

Reporter: David Weber

ELEANOR HALL: The now infamous Liberal Party leader in Western Australia is adamant that he'll
survive today's party room vote which was sparked by his admission that he sniffed a woman's chair
in 2005.

Troy Buswell says he's now a changed man and no longer engages in such behaviour. And he has some
high profile support.

But there are other Liberals who warn that Mr Buswell's actions have damaged the party beyond
repair, and they're pushing for him to go.

Our reporter in Perth, David Weber, joins us now with the latest.

David, it says a lot about the leadership potential in the Liberal Party there, doesn't it, that Mr
Buswell has even a chance of surviving in the leadership?

DAVID WEBER: It does, Eleanor. Mr Buswell is a strong parliamentary performer and he has the
ability to cut through in terms of delivering the Liberal Party's message. Although there've been a
few hiccups in that regard since he became leader earlier this year, he is still seen as the
party's best option.

But there have been attempts to try to get former leaders Colin Barnett and Matt Birney interested,
but Mr Barnett's ruled himself out and Matt Birney's indicated he wants to leave politics at the
next election, although, apparently he's keeping his options open.

Now, the message coming from sources in the Liberal Party, journalists and political analysts is
that Mr Buswell will survive today's party room meeting, indeed they're saying there won't even be
a vote on the leadership because the spill motion itself is likely to be defeated 20-10.

So, unless this is a highly successful disinformation campaign being put about by Buswell
supporters, he's likely to be the leader of the WA Liberal Party at the end of today. But there are
some people in the party who are very angry about Troy Buswell's actions back in 2005 when, he's
admitted now to having sniffed the Liberal's staffer chair and also the way he dealt with it,
because on Monday he said, "This is all unsubstantiated rumour and I'm not going to comment on it,"
and of course the next day he admitted it.

Now, the spill motion is being led by Graham Jacobs, the member for Roe. He isn't putting himself
forward for the leadership. Steve Thomas is, he says he has the skills required for a new direction
and a new focus. He's was on ABC Radio this morning. He said he was worried about the reputation of
the Liberal Party brand and this is some of what Steve Thomas had to say.

STEVE THOMAS: I don't think that the Liberal Party has ever faced a greater turmoil or a greater
threat than it does at the moment with all of this activity happening on the eve of a 'one vote,
one value' election for the first time in our history.

I think this is a crisis point and a crossroads for the Liberal Party, as it is for a number of
careers and I'm hoping that the Liberal Party will move forward from this in a positive manner.
Now, I don't know if that's possible.

ELEANOR HALL: That's leadership aspirant Steve Thomas.

Now, David, there's been extraordinary publicity about this event. We've just heard Steve Thomas
say he doesn't even think or know if it's possible whether the Liberal Party will recover. What's
the public reaction likely to be if Buswell does survive as the WA Liberals leader?

DAVID WEBER: Of course, this story went not only national but international. He became a national
laughing stock and an international laughing stock, although surely there was a lot of disgust out
there as well. Talking back callers last week were overwhelmingly opposed to Troy Buswell's staying
in the job. This morning, it was more of a 50-50 split, although all of the women that called up
suggested that, or said that he should go on very strong terms.

A lot of the polling that's been carried out suggests that people want him out. I haven't spoken to
one person over the past week that thinks he should remain. I'm talking about people from across
the political spectrum. Some Labor voters I've spoken to say they want Mr Buswell to stay because
it will help Labor win the next election.

Now, this morning, The West Australian newspaper published a rare and scathing front page editorial
saying the Liberals should dump Mr Buswell, or it will be seen as condoning sexual harassment in
the workplace. And the editorial accuses him of establishing a record of unprincipled behaviour,
and says today's vote should amount to a Liberal Party plebiscite on Mr Buswell's character and
this test he fails miserably.

So, very strong words there from the state's main daily.

ELEANOR HALL: From what you're saying, it's only within the Liberal Party party room itself that Mr
Buswell's likely to survive?

DAVID WEBER: Yeah, and the support that you've alluded to earlier, Julie Bishop and Brendan Nelson
last weekend and on the weekend and the standing ovation at the Liberal Party State Conference on
the weekend, which some people are saying sends the wrong message, a standing ovation there for
Troy Buswell.

ELEANOR HALL: David, clearly the Liberal Party has its troubles, but there's also been some
allegations made against the Labor Premier there. Tell us briefly about those.

DAVID WEBER: There have - allegations that Mr Carpenter, when he was education minister, lifted the
top of one MP and put his face near the breasts of another at a party. Now, there's been no
complaint in this regard and one of those women has identified herself as a strong feminist and she
said if anything inappropriate happened, she would have raised it with the Premier at the time.

So, the Government has fairly shut that story down. It's come out of the Sunday Times, which broke
the chair sniffing scandal, this did happen some years ago, but it suggests that there are people
out there that want to put these images in people's minds, I suppose, and once it gets into
people's heads, that's maybe all that the intention is at this stage with something like that.

ELEANOR HALL: David Weber, our reporter in Perth, thank you.

Specialist defends kidney transplant comments

Specialist defends kidney transplant comments

The World Today - Monday, 5 May , 2008 12:18:00

Reporter: Lindy Kerin

ELEANOR HALL: A Canberra specialist has defended his proposal to allow the buying and selling of
kidneys in Australia.

ACT nephrologist Gavin Carney says Australia's organ donation system is not working and that young
healthy people should be allowed to sell their kidneys for up to $50,000.

The International Transplant Society though has described the idea as naive and ill conceived and
transplant organisations warn that such a system would be open to abuse.

Lindy Kerin has our report.

LINDY KERIN: Every week, at least one Australian dies while waiting for a kidney transplant.

In a country that has one of the worst organ donation rates in the world, one specialist has come
up with a radical proposal.

Dr Gavin Carney from the Canberra Hospital says young, fit and healthy people should be allowed to
sell their kidneys.

GAVIN CARNEY: The proposal is not selling body parts, it's a proposal that we begin a dialogue
towards the commercialisation of kidney transplantation, not other transplantation, but kidney

The reason is, that the current wisdom has not worked in terms of trying to drum up cadaver
transplants, that is, persons who die and their relatives allow the donation of their kidney.

LINDY KERIN: Dr Carney says he has many patients who are forced to wait up to seven years for a
transplant. He says one patient has given up, and is set to travel to Pakistan to buy a kidney.

Dr Carney says his proposed would have high ethical standards and proper medical safeguards.

GAVIN CARNEY: Perhaps the best model would be that, in as much as the Government, through Medicare,
funds all renal replacement therapy, that's dialysis therapy, it would also fund the purchase of
kidneys from Australians. And the reason why that's important is that we then satisfy the medical
and ethical issues which are not satisfied when patients go to Pakistan or other places. Here in
Australia we could do it better and we could do it very well.

LINDY KERIN: But the proposal has been condemned by transplant organisations.

Kidney Health Australia says it understands the pressures on people to go overseas for transplants,
but it doesn't support the buying and selling of organs.

Professor Jeremy Chapman is the president-elect of the Transplantation Society. He's just returned
from an international conference of ethicists, lawyers and doctors from 78 countries about
transplant tourism and organ trafficking.

JEREMY CHAPMAN: The conclusion of that summit is that transplant commercialism targets the
impoverished and vulnerable donors and thus inexorably leads to (inaudible) and injustice. So, this
is a naive proposal by somebody looking after a desperate patient waiting on a waiting list, rather
than a well-considered view about the impacts of such commercialism on the poor and vulnerable in
the world.

LINDY KERIN: A Federal Government taskforce has just finished a review of organ donation system and
made more than 50 recommendations.

The Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon says the Government is yet to respond to the report, but
she says the Government won't allow people to sell their organs for profit.

NICOLA ROXON: We know that this really could put people at risk of being unfairly exploited and
we're not going to let that happen. We do know that we need urgent action in this area of organ
donation, and we are very carefully considering the 51 recommendations of a clinical review which
has just been completed, handed to us earlier this year, and we'll be taking action to implement
those recommendations, not doing something that will put people under risk of exploitation.

LINDY KERIN: But Dr Gavin Carney is defending his proposal. He says he doesn't support the illegal
trade of kidneys that can lead to exploitation, but he says a better system is needed.

GAVIN CARNEY: I don't approve of that one little bit, but I also do not agree with the fact that we
should just let people rot on dialysis, until they've been on dialysis so long they're

I am suggesting a scheme that is an ethical scheme, and a managed scheme and has due compensation
and due medical follow-up and I think it's not correct, it's just a red herring to say that poor
people will be exploited. They won't be.

ELEANOR HALL: That's ACT nephrologist Dr Gavin Carney ending Lindy Kerin's report.

Inflation running at record pace

Inflation running at record pace

The World Today - Monday, 5 May , 2008 12:22:00

Reporter: Peter Ryan

ELEANOR HALL: As the Reserve Bank prepares for its monthly meeting on interest rates tomorrow,
there's some new disturbing data on inflation.

A private gauge shows that inflation running at its fastest pace in five years, driven by higher
rents and spiralling fuel prices.

With the details, we're joined in The World Today studio by business editor Peter Ryan.

So Peter, tell us more about this latest inflation reading?

PETER RYAN: Eleanor, this is private data which the Reserve Bank generally regards as monthly, and
at times, volatile. But the gauge from TD Securities and the Melbourne Institute has shown the
steady trend borne out in the official figures from the ABS.

So the latest reading shows inflation rose half a per cent in April, after a slightly smaller rise
in March, but that's all part of the steady upwards movement. And it put the annual pace of
inflation at 4.34 per cent.

ELEANOR HALL: Way above the range isn't it?

PETER RYAN: Yeah, and it's just above the last official reading in the March quarter CPI of 4.2 per
cent, and as you say, it's way beyond the comfort zone of two to three per cent. The gauge is
showing big rises in health services, rental accommodation, financial services and fuel, which rose
12.6 per cent in the year to April.

And Josh Williamson a senior strategist at TD Securities, says the latest data could make
interesting or disturbing reading for the Reserve Bank when it sits down to discuss interest rates

JOSH WILLIAMSON: I think the Reserve Bank would be very worried about this data and the fact that
inflation continues to accelerate at a time when the economy is actually slowing. Now, some of that
is due to global factors like globally high food and petrol prices, and there's not a lot the
Reserve can do about that.

But what they can do is try to actually dampen inflation pressures that are being generated within
Australia. But I think they will be concerned though, that the fact that the economy is slowing
should start to impact inflation soon. But for the time being, it could be a close call on rates.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Josh Williamson of TD Securities.

Now Peter, he's talking about a close call, the Reserve Bank has already inflicted a lot of pain
this year in its battle with inflation. Do you think he's right? Is the Reserve Bank going to be
considering another increase tomorrow?

PETER RYAN: Well not necessarily tomorrow. No one is expecting any action, despite this new data,
but there will some understandable size of relief from right across Australia with rates remaining
where they are. And that of course is despite the most recent inflation reading of 4.2 per cent and
the TD reading.

Now, the board has sent signs though that it might set on the sidelines for an extended period,
perhaps a year, given that rates have already been increased significantly this year with
back-to-back hikes in February and March causing a lot of pain, and of course the banks have acted
independently throughout the year with 25 basis points here, 10 there, because of the credit

But there'll be more than the usual scrutiny directed at the RBA's comments that come with the
rates decision, and then Friday's quarterly statement on monetary policy for any hints on the depth
of the economic slowing or perhaps the rising threat of inflation.

ELEANOR HALL: There's been a lot of talk about the economy slowing, but apparently not on the jobs
front with some new data out today?

PETER RYAN: Yes, there are signs of a two-speed economy with different types of data, and what
we've seen this morning is from the closely watched ANZ job advertisement series. It's shown a
surprising rebound in hiring intentions, meaning to slow down might now be as pronounced as first

Job ads in newspapers on the internet rebounded in April, and that points to a continuing
resilience in hiring, even though we've seen consumer demand cool. So, the total number of jobs
climbed 3.1 per cent in April, and that easily recoups a major fall in March when the job ads index
fell by 0.7 of one per cent.

So this sees concerns that employment might be the next area of the economy to come under pressure
because of higher interest rates of rising living costs. Importantly though, skilled labour remains
tight, but so far no sign of wage inflation.

ELEANOR HALL: Business editor Peter Ryan, thank you.

Chartwell boss facing charged after company flops

Chartwell boss facing charged after company flops

The World Today - Monday, 5 May , 2008 12:27:00

Reporter: Alison Caldwell

ELEANOR HALL: The owner of the failed share trading group, Chartwell Enterprises, says he's
expecting to be charged over his role in the $70 million collapse.

Investors in the defunct Geelong-based company, which went into administration last month, are
meeting with creditors today. The owner, Graeme Hoy, says the $70 million of investors' money
that's been lost was placed into an imperfect trading system.

But he denies lying to investors about where the money was going or the returns they could expect,
as Alison Caldwell reports from Melbourne.

ALISON CALDWELL: The owner of the beleaguered Chartwell Enterprises, Graeme Hoy, wanted to send two
key messages when he did his first major interview with ABC Local Radio's Jon Faine in Melbourne
this morning.

First an apology to the investors who've lost around $70 million.

GRAEME HOY: Yeah, I greatly regret this outcome. Somebody said to me, "How do you live with
yourself?" And I'm finding it very difficult to live with myself.

I see the faces of all those people in front of me everyday. I can't escape them. I'm just
devastated, absolutely devastated. It's not an outcome that was intended. I'll deal with whatever I
have to deal with, but people need to know that I'm accepting, I'm here, I'm accountable for it.

ALISON CALDWELL: Graeme Hoy now claims the money was placed in a unique trading system which he
describes as "imperfect".

GRAEME HOY: I told them we made money, which we did, by trading a unique system. That we had not
perfected completely, which was why it was up and down. It was a technically based system,
analysing price movements over time and working out directions of potential trades.

ALISON CALDWELL: And to anyone who's even vaguely considering running a similar system, he says
give his a try.

GRAEME HOY: In fact, that's probably the only reason I'm here, because I'm facing a fair bit of
heat on a lot of fronts, is because at some point, some backer somewhere out there will pick this
up and see that there is a good system and that with the right backing it can restore the funds to
the investors.

ALISON CALDWELL: He says overtime, the returns he was delivering were too high. He admits some
investors were promised a 70 per cent return.

GRAEME HOY: Hardly anybody got 70 per cent.

JON FAINE: Well, halve it, 35 per cent, it's still ridiculous.

GRAEME HOY: It's a high rate of return, but it can be achieved.


GRAEME HOY: Your superannuation fund might well have achieved 30 per cent in the last 12 months...


GRAEME HOY: Well, not the last 12 months, but certainly in the previous two or three years, it
might have got up towards 30 per cent or better.

ALISON CALDWELL: Graeme Hoy is refusing to reveal when his company last made a profit or if he was
propping up investments using other investors' money.

He admits he became greedy.

GRAEME HOY: Ego out of control. The only thing that matters is people, in the end, and that's a
hard lesson to learn and I'm really sorry for all those people who are suffering.

ALISON CALDWELL: Listening in to the interview was Chartwell's straight talking administrator Bruno
Secatore, who today came along bearing bad news for investors.

BRUNO SECATORE: Look I'd have to say it's pretty grim. We have identified, commenced to identify a
certain payments going out, but unfortunately only having received the company records late Monday
last week, and investigations are probably a week behind as to where we would have liked them. But,

JON FAINE: So, as matters stand today, are you expecting to recover anything or not?

BRUNO SECATORE: I'd have to say it's very grim.

ALISON CALDWELL: Also listening in from Geelong, investor Anne Abrahmson. She's not blaming anyone
else but herself.

ANNE ABRAHMSON: I accept that I went into high-risk and I did as much as due diligence as I could
do and this is what happens.

ALISON CALDWELL: Graeme Hoy has had to surrender his black Jaguar and his Rolls Royce along with
his penthouse and luxury cruiser.

Another investor, who wants only to be known as Ian, says he's lost $40,000. He believes Mr Hoy has
acted unfairly.

IAN: Reading the press, his lifestyle is something that maybe we're all entitled to, but I believe
to live a lifestyle like that, you must be fair to everyone.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Chartwell investor, whose names Ian, we don't have his surname, ending Alison
Caldwell's report.*(See editor's note)

*Editor's note: The back announce in this transcript has been updated to identify the correct

Cyclone hits Burma killing 350

Cyclone hits Burma killing 350

The World Today - Monday, 5 May , 2008 12:33:00

Reporter: Sara Everingham

ELEANOR HALL: Officials estimate that at least 350 people were killed by the weekend cyclone which
devastated southern Burma leaving another 100,000 people homeless.

The United Nations says it could be several days before the full extent of the damage is known. And
there are already reports that Burma's military government has stopped some foreign aid workers
from going to areas that were hardest hit.

Sara Everingham has our report.

SARA EVERINGHAM: Tropical Cyclone Nargis hit the south-east of Burma late on Friday night.

The true picture of the damage it caused is slowly emerging. State media is reporting at least 351
people have been killed and almost 100,000 left homeless.

These eyewitnesses were in Burma's main commercial city of Rangoon.

RANGOON RESIDENT (translated): Oh, everything was wrecked. Roofs of the houses and the satellite
dishes were blown away. Windows were broken at Yuzana Plaza, roadside billboards were all blown
away. Satellite dishes on the roof of the UNDP offices were also blown away. Everything's in a

RANGOON RESIDENT 2 (translated): Rangoon is completely cut-off, no water, the roads are blocked,
it's difficult to travel. Everything has become so expensive. I think the main water supply has
dried up. Even if we use our own pumps we can't get any water out of the mains. We can't even take
a shower.

SARA EVERINGHAM: In Rangoon, electricity and phone links are still cut off. It's one of the five
areas that's been declared a disaster zone by Burmese authorities. Another is the Irrawaddy Delta
where the cyclone first hit. It's believed that's where most people have died.

And state media says 20,000 homes were destroyed on one small island, leaving 90,000 people without
shelter.But according to Terve Skavdal from the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs in
Bangkok, the full extent of the damage is not yet known.

TERVE SKAVDAL: This will be in the making for days if not weeks to come because of the widespread
devastation and the fact that its telephone communication is down.

SARA EVERINGHAM: Terve Skavdal says the United Nations and other aid agencies have started an
assessment of the damage.

But there are reports that Burma's military government has stopped some foreign aid workers from
going to the worst affected areas.

The World Food Programme's Antony Craig says his organisation is ready to help.

ANTONY CRAIG: We saw this coming, we were talking to the Government, we've warned people to be
ready to deploy. In the country they prepared their own contingencies but I stress that the
Government needs to ask for assistance and then we can bring that assistance in very rapidly.

SARA EVERINGHAM: The International Red Cross though says it has been able to start providing

Michael Annear is the organisation's coordinator of disaster management in the Asia Pacific. He is
heading to Burma tomorrow.

MICHAEL ANNEAR: After a diaster of this type, there's often difficulty in accessing the most
affected areas. And this due to debris blocking the road systems, etc. So, a lot of the problems
that we are facing at the moment, as the Red Cross, is to get mobilising, sorry to be mobile on the

But over yesterday and the day before, the communities and the authorities were starting to clear
the road networks, and as such, we've been able to head out this morning to undertake assessment.

SARA EVERINGHAM: How big is the job then?

MICHAEL ANNEAR: At the moment, our information is preliminary so we're trying to get an overall
picture, but it's expected that the number of people affected will increase over the coming days,
as we can get more access to the areas that are affected, and we can definitely determine the needs
of those people that have been hit by this cyclone.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Michael Annear from the International Red Cross, ending that report from Sara

Lawyer says Josef Fritzl mentally ill

Lawyer says Josef Fritzl mentally ill

The World Today - Monday, 5 May , 2008 12:38:00

Reporter: Barbara Miller

ELEANOR HALL: A lawyer for the Austrian man accused of holding his daughter captive in a cellar for
24 years and sexually abusing her says his client is probably mentally ill and should not face

The lawyer says in his opinion, Josef Fritzl, should be held in a secure psychiatric unit.

Psychologists though say that the fact that Josef Fritzl was able to carry on an apparently normal
life while carrying out his crimes could make it difficult for a plea of mental illness to be

Barbara Miller has our report.

BARBARA MILLER: On the face of it, it seems plausible that a man would have to be mentally ill to
commit the kind of crimes Josef Fritzl has apparently confessed to.

The 73-year-old has told police he held his daughter Elisabeth captive for 24 years in a windowless
cellar, during which time he fathered seven children with her.

A week after Mr Fritzl's arrest, his lawyer, Rudolf Mayer, says he believes his client is probably
mentally ill. Mr Mayer says a thorough psychiatric examination should be carried out to determine
whether Josef Fritzl should face prison.

RUDOLF MAYER (translated): It's necessary that experts examine him and be clear if there is a
mental disorder, and if there is a mental disorder, that experts have to be clear if the disorder
is that big, that he is certifiably insane. In this case, he'd be sent to a closed psychiatric

BARBARA MILLER: But sex offender experts say while a plea of mental insanity appears logical, it's
likely to be a difficult case to make.

Dr Lynne Eccleston is a consultant forensic psychologist based in Victoria.

LYNNE ECCLESTON: It's difficult because the assumption would be that somebody couldn't commit these
types of horrendous acts without there being a mental illness, but my best guess would be, if this
man had been able to live an almost double life and deceive everyone around him, if he's been able
to hold down a job and keep this secret for so many years, it's unlikely that he would have a
mental illness as such.

He was more likely to fit the sort of criteria of somebody who has got psychopathic
characteristics, some of our most sort of notorious serial killers have been psychopaths and
they've committed horrendous acts for many years and whenever it's gone to the court, they have
never been seen to be suffering from a mental illness.

BARBARA MILLER: Josef Fritzl's relatives and former tenants describe him as a powerful and
intolerant man.

His sister-in-law says everyone, including his wife Rosemarie, was afraid of him.

CHRISTINE R (translated): I must say one thing, he was such a tyrant. When he said it was black, it
was black. Listen, I was scared myself. I was scared of him at the family party and I did not feel
confident to say anything in any form that could possibly offend him. So you can imagine how it was
for a woman who spent so many years with him.

BARBARA MILLER: Forensic psychologist, Lynne Eccleston, says the picture emerging of Josef Fritzl
as a harsh and domineering person fits a typical profile of this kind of sex offender.

LYNNE ECCLESTON: It certainly can to, when you start looking at the motives why sex offenders
offend in the way they do, particularly at something who follows the sort of psychological torture
that this man has placed his daughter and the children in, it certainly suggests that there's an
element of sadism in the characteristics of this person.

BARBARA MILLER: Josef Fritzl's sister-in-law says Mr Fritzl was convicted of a rape in the late
1960s and spent 1.5 years in prison.

But she says despite knowing that, none of the family suspected he could be holding and abusing his
daughter, after she apparently ran away from home.

CHRISTINE R (translated): Every person that looked in his eyes was fooled by him.

BARBARA MILLER: The sister-in-law, identified only as Christine R, says she hasn't spoken to her
sister Rosemarie for a few days.

But she says she knows her and when something is wrong with her children, her world falls apart.
For sure, says Christine R, her world has now collapsed.

ELEANOR HALL: Barbara Miller with our report.

NZ troops accused of damaging Afghan Buddha statues

NZ troops accused of damaging Afghan Buddha statues

The World Today - Monday, 5 May , 2008 12:44:00

Reporter: Kerri Ritchie

ELEANOR HALL: The New Zealand Defence Force has spent the morning defending its troops over
accusations that they damaged the remains of the World Heritage-listed Bamiyan Buddha statues in

The ancient statues have already suffered a great deal, most recently when they were deliberately
blown apart by the Taliban seven years ago. Now, an Afghan Government official has accused New
Zealand troops of causing more damage, when they carried out a controlled explosion in the area.

New Zealand correspondent, Kerri Ritchie, has our report.

KERRI RITCHIE: The 34-metre high statues were chiselled in a cliff face 2,000 years ago, when
Bamiyan was a major centre for Buddhism.

But in 2001, the Taliban used dynamite to blow the Buddhas up, claiming they were anti-Muslim and
in breach of an Islamic law banning statues. It was one of the regime's most widely condemned acts.

Now, seven years on, Bamiyan's chief of information and culture, Najibullah Harar, believes more
damage has been inflicted, this time by New Zealand troops. He says a controlled explosion of
ammunition has resulted in cracks in a statue and a wall.

New Zealand Defence Force spokesman, Captain Zach Prendergast, says his team carried out a thorough
assessment of the site and the explosion happened 60 metres from the statues.

ZACH PRENDERGAST: The rocket was located approximately 50 metres to the right of the smaller Buddha
and was buried at the foot of the bank. What they did was covered the area and covered the rocket
with sandbags and then when they had blown the detonation, the effect at the head was it created a
crated which was approximately 400 millimetres wide by about 150 millimetres deep.

KERRI RITCHIE: He says New Zealand troops haven't done anything wrong.

ZACH PRENDERGAST: And that's now being proven. The UN mission head for the Bamiyan area, the deputy
director of culture and antiquities, our provincial reconstruction team commander, have all gone up
and seen that and seen that there's been no damage.

KERRI RITCHIE: Brendan Cassar is the chief of UNESCO's cultural program in Afghanistan.

He says officials have visited the site and he is satisfied that New Zealand troops haven't caused
more damage.

BRENDAN CASSAR: And I think it would be highly unlikely that from the photographs I've seen that
any further damage to the small Buddha would have occurred.

KERRI RITCHIE: But he is concerned, however, about the lack of communication. He says NATO troops
didn't inform UNESCO about the controlled explosion.

BRENDAN CASSAR: It might be that the administrative information and culture, which is the ministry
responsible for cultural heritage management in this country, it might have been that they were not
contacted, although other authorities were, so it's just a question of that flow of information.

KERRI RITCHIE: Captain Zach Prendergast admits the lines of communication can sometimes get tangled
in Afghanistan, but he says New Zealand troops are working hard to protect the country's sacred
sites, not destroy them.

ZACH PRENDERGAST: I suppose that in that area, there can be problems with communications with the
different agencies and so on. All I know is that, you know, there were widely different reports
that were sent to us and given to us by various media outlets of what the damage was.

There were different reports. Some were saying that the blast was between five to 10 yards away,
100 metres away, half a mile away. So, we're always working through all that the whole time.

We work in a complete agency environment, it's not something we do by ourselves, and so on. So, I
imagine that there'll be checks amongst all those agencies to make sure that these things are done
and that.

But our guys are out there having the first day they were in fear to the bombs. The bomb disposal
team destroyed 1.7 tonnes of munitions and with the strength, all the work is just getting busier.
So yeah, there's plenty of work to be done, that's for sure.

ELEANOR HALL: That's New Zealand Defence Force spokesman, Captain Zach Prendergast, ending that
report by New Zealand correspondent, Kerri Ritchie.

Author warns western world gripped by irrational fear

Author warns western world gripped by irrational fear

The World Today - Monday, 5 May , 2008 12:49:00

Reporter: Eleanor Hall

ELEANOR HALL: We humans, especially those in the western world, have never been healthier or freer
from risk. And yet, according to Canadian author, Dan Gardner, the western world is in the midst of
an epidemic of irrational fear.

The Canadian journalist has just published his book "RISK: the science and politics of fear", in
which he describes the growth of an unreasoning fear in all countries in the western world and
warns that this fear is causing us to make foolish and at times deadly decisions when we deal with
everyday risks.

A short time ago he spoke to me from Ottawa, beginning by talking about one of his most compelling
examples of the dangers of irrational fear, the response of US travellers to the September 11

DAN GARDNER: The difference in the safety between driving and flying is enormous. Flying is vastly
safer than driving. So, after the September 11 attacks, enormous numbers of Americans fled the
airports, and of course they still had to get around, so they started driving instead. And as any
statistician will tell you, when you have millions of people who increase their risk of something,
then you're going to have consequences.

And one researcher actually crunched the numbers, and he found that this shift from the airports to
the roads lasted for about one year and as a direct result of this shift, approximately 1,500
Americans lost their lives. And that figure is actually six times higher than the number of people
who were actually on the jets that crashed on September 11.

ELEANOR HALL: While there may at times an over-reaction though, isn't fear sometimes also entirely

DAN GARDNER: Oh, absolutely. Our brains did not evolve for this world. I'll give you an example.
Here we are having a casual conversation, as if we were sitting together in the same room. We are
in fact on opposite sides of the planet. Now, we've come to accept that this is perfectly normal
today, but in the span of human history, this is absolutely, a fantastically radical change.

And the brains, which we are using to try and grapple with this radically changed information
environment, we're shaped in this Stone Age, quite literally in the Stone Age. So, there's a
radical mismatch between our intuitive system for understanding risk, and the world as it exists

ELEANOR HALL: But we've clearly had these primitive brains for quite some time. Why is only in the
last few decades that it's producing this irrational fear epidemic that you're talking about?

DAN GARDNER: Well, ask yourself this. Before these last few decades, what sort of information
environment did people live in? For example, after the London bombing, images taken by the cell
phone cameras of people who were on the train during the bombing, were available all around the
world almost instantaneously.

ELEANOR HALL: So, we're more aware of risks and potential catastrophes than we were a couple of
decades, a couple centuries ago because of better education and mass communication. But, isn't that
an entirely rational response to be more afraid when you know more?

DAN GARDNER: No, it's not unfortunately. If it were simply a matter of being aware, that's one
thing, and in fact knowledge is good thing, information is good thing. I don't want to sound like
an information Luddite.

But I'll give you an example: Madeline McCann. Everybody in the English-speaking world knows that
Madeline McCann was the little British girl who was abducted and presumably murdered in Portugal.
Now, what does it say about my children, for example? Here I am, in Canada. What does it say about
my children?

What does it say about children in Australia? What does it say about their safety? Rationally, it
says nothing, but that's not how the unconscious brain, that intuitive primal brain that I was
mentioning, that's not how it assesses this information.

What the intuitive brain does, is it has certain mechanisms that allow it to form snap, quick
judgements, which it then communicates as intuition, as feelings, as hunches. One of those
mechanisms, for example, is something called the availability heuristic, that is very simple and it
simply says this: Is it easy for me to think of any example of something? If it's very easy for me
to think of an example of something, that thing must be common and therefore it must be likely to
happen again. Absolutely untrue, absolutely untrue, but that's what you will feel. You'll have a
strong intuition that says this is true, be aware.

ELEANOR HALL: It is interesting because you point out the statistics that we have much less to fear
in terms of our daily lives, for example the drop in child mortality over the last couple of
centuries. But, while our children are less likely to die of diseases like diphtheria, I mean,
people have always been irrationally afraid about their children anyway, haven't they? Are they
really more irrationally afraid now or are they just different fears?

DAN GARDNER: That's the toughest question because it's how you quantify these things. If you look
at western countries, you will find in country after country, after country, and I don't know the
situation in Australia, but I'm quite confident and I know how you'll respond to this. Are our
parents worried about their children being snatched by strangers? I suspect they are. Are they
allowing them to play less outdoors unsupervised? I suspect there are. Do they put them in cars and
drive them to school because they're afraid that they'll be abducted by strangers? I suspect they
are. And why is that? I think it's because of this information environment.

ELEANOR HALL: Yes, it's interesting. You say that we worry more about an increasing number of
things which are minor risks, and yet we shrug of greater threats. Now, why do we do that?

DAN GARDNER: It's the same as intuitive mind, which can result in you greatly overestimating the
risk of certain trivial risks. It can also result in you greatly underestimating certain risks. One
example is diabetes. Diabetes, particularly with the rise in obesity across the western world, is a
very serious, serious business. People consistently, however underestimate the risk of diabetes.

ELEANOR HALL: What about big, global issues like global warming, nuclear war, those sorts of fears.
Are they rational or irrational?

DAN GARDNER: When it comes to determining the rationality of a fear, these things are open to
debate. Reasonable people can differ, of course. If you look at society-wide concerns, what are
people bothered by? What do they say to pollsters, you know, "What are you worried that, you know,
is this going to harm you and your family?" Those grand, global, catastrophic scenarios may compel
some people, but they're not what show up as compelling the majority. The majority worries about
crime, terrorism, child abduction, school violence, sort of more personal, local things.

So, for example, if you have an extraordinarily rare event occurs and in gets a lot of media
attention, and this causes public concern to rise. Well, public concern, what will that do? Public
concern will draw politicians, and they in turn will raise the volume. And with that, that in turn
will lead to more media reporting, and all the while, of course, the public is processing this
information using these Stone Age brains, the intuitive sense of threat rises, and I've documented
in the book, some really quite extraordinary examples where there basically isn't any rise in the
real, underlying risk, but because of this back and forth, this feedback, as we discuss it, the
noise just gets louder and louder and louder and the fear just rises and rises.

ELEANOR HALL: And are you at all worried that you're warning about an epidemic of fear will spark a
whole new set of irrational fears itself?

DAN GARDNER: (laughs) Not terribly, no. Because I don't think I'm pressing any intuitive buttons,
this is strictly a rational argument and I don't think it will cause any irrational fears.

ELEANOR HALL: Dan Gardner, thanks very much for joining us.

DAN GARDNER: Thanks you.

ELEANOR HALL: That's the very rational Dan Gardner, the Canadian author of "Risk: The science and
politics of fear".

Senator Carr calls for new research ombudsman

Senator Carr calls for new research ombudsman

The World Today - Monday, 5 May , 2008 12:54:00

Reporter: Alexandra Kirk

ELEANOR HALL: The Federal Government is proposing to set up a "research ombudsman" to hear cases of
alleged academic misconduct.

The Minister for Science and Research, Kim Carr, says the existing dispute resolutions systems are
inadequate and he's just written to the organisations representing universities and institutions
funding public research, to gauge their support for the move.

The Minister has been telling Alexandra Kirk that the ethics of university research need to be

KIM CARR: Well we've had, probably, 80 disputes a year going through our universities, handled at a
local level. Most of those are resolved properly and effectively. However, there are probably half
a dozen a year that don't meet the high standards our universities have set for themselves.

Their present codes need to be evaluated in the context of those super cases, which have meant that
sometimes people are faced with court action. We'd like to see a situation where we can do a proper
assessment of the code, and an opportunity for people to have their cases heard by an outside body,
independent of the goings on at any particular institution.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: And what could an ombudsman do that the, say, universities couldn't do?

KIM CARR: It provides an appeal mechanism where the operations at the university level have been
exhausted. Clearly our intention is to encourage institutional autonomy and academic freedom. We
want to make sure that our universities are the very, very best places for our researches to
undertake their research, but they've got to have confidence that when there are disputes about
research findings, that they're going to be handled properly.

And at the moment I think there is a problem that once you reach the end of the line at your
university, you're usually faced with court action. Clearly, that's not the preferable way to
proceed. We want to see disputes resolved, we want to see the integrity of our research findings
maintained, and our international reputation secured.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Is there any evidence overseas, for example, that this would make a difference?

KIM CARR: There are examples from overseas where research findings of disputes have been handled in
different ways. Do we handle them in Australia? I want to be able to use the very best capacity we
have in our university to resolve conflict at a local level. But where that fails, there may well
be a need for the Commonwealth to assist universities.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Do you think it will be an attractive proposition to universities?

KIM CARR: We'll wait and see what the universities have got to say about this and the Australian
Research Council and NHMRC says...

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The National Health and Medical Research.

KIM CARR: Yeah, the medical funders, the research funders, and of course the funding for other
research bodies have a look at this. They currently sponsor the existing code. We may need to look
beyond that, we want to talk to the researchers directly through the National Tertiary Education
Union to ensure that researchers are confident that they get a fair go and that there's an
opportunity to assess these issues properly, judiciously and to ensure that the integrity of our
research findings are maintained.

We have to be certain that we have the excellence in our research, and that's why our whole
research quality assessment program is aimed at ensuring excellence because we've got to maintain
the very best international reputation. And increasingly, competitive international environment,
we've got to make sure that we do things as well as we can and in fact stand up to the very best
practice of the world.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: If there is no ombudsman, do you think that Australian research cannot be
internationally competitive?

KIM CARR: It's a way of improving what is at the moment, an inadequate situation. We'll have a look
at what people have to say and if there are better ways, well let's consider those issues. But
there is a need at the moment to resolve the problem of having exhausted the local administrative
arrangements and giving people somewhere to go to ensure that there is proper justice, there is
proper integrity in our research findings, and that the community's expectations and the right to
ensure the ethics in research is being able to be upheld.

ELEANOR HALL: The Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr,
speaking to Alexandra Kirk.