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

Oppn moves to block alcopop excise rise

ELEANOR HALL: It's looking more likely today that the price the Federal Government will have to pay
to get its $3-billion excise rise on alcopops through the Senate will be more money for education
and advertising about binge drinking.

The Opposition has vowed to block the alcopop tax while it retains its Senate majority and those
who will hold the balance of power after June agree with the Coalition that more is needed to
prevent binge drinking than just a price rise.

Brendan Nelson's Budget Reply last night also called for a five cent cut in the fuel tax but the
Government has roundly rejected that option.

And while Dr Nelson has also pledged to block the Government's proposed changes to the Medicare
surcharge, he says he will support the means tax on the family tax benefit.

In Canberra, political correspondent, Lyndal Curtis, reports.

LYNDAL CURTIS: It's just days after the Government brought down its first Budget and it's having to
answer questions about the Opposition leader's proposals.

Brendan Nelson has thrown a policy ball in the air by calling for a cut in the fuel excise and the
Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner isn't playing catch.

LINDSAY TANNER: All Dr Nelson has done last night is play out the internal leadership squabbles in
the Liberal Party; grasping for cheap popularity. He is a bit like the late night TV salesman
giving free gifts away and the reason he has to throw around free gifts is because the product he
is trying to sell you is dreadful.

LYNDAL CURTIS: Dr Nelson has junked the Coalition's opposition to the excise cut espoused by both
John Howard as prime minister and Peter Costello as treasurer who argued the cut would cost money
but not help because a rise in oil prices would swallow up any benefit.

The Opposition leader has told AM times have changed.

BRENDAN NELSON: Anyone that thinks that five cents a litre off the price of petrol is insignificant
does not understand the stress that Australians are under at the moment.

You've got people that will drive considerable distances to get their four cents a litre off in
terms of the shopping vouchers that they get.

You'll also get people queuing up well out into the road on a Tuesday night trying to get the best
they can from the discounting which currently occurs, and is likely to be diminished quite a bit by
the so-called Fuel Watch system. It's very, very important.

LYNDAL CURTIS: Dr Nelson's Budget Reply did leave some questions unanswered but this morning on
Macquarie Radio he has cleared up one issue: whether the Opposition would block a means test on
Family Tax Benefit Part B.

BRENDAN NELSON: As a matter of policy, we don't support means tests on these things. We are not
going to block those measures, but nonetheless we don't support them.

LYNDAL CURTIS: Dr Nelson's big idea for saving petrol consumers some money won't become reality
unless he gets to be Prime Minister. But one thing the Opposition does have a chance of affecting
is the excise rise on ready to drink mixed drinks or alcopops.

He is still unimpressed the Government is putting up the tax and still expecting consumption to
increase, although at a slower rate.

BRENDAN NELSON: When I heard Mr Rudd say, "Oh we've got a problem with binge drinking with young
people, increasing the tax on alcopops will deal with it". Like most people, I said, "Well look in
principle we are prepared to support this but I want to see the evidence". We've seen the evidence
and I can tell you we are very angry.

LYNDAL CURTIS: He wants a better integrated strategy with stronger education and prevention signals
but the Finance Minister believes the price signal is the key.

LINDSAY TANNER: What we are on about is a comprehensive strategy to tackle binge drinking.

There is some advertising campaign as part of that, but really the most important thing here is to
discourage people and all the evidence shows that price does have an affect.

LYNDAL CURTIS: The Coalition retains its Senate majority for another few weeks and even when the
Senate composition changes, the Government will still have to negotiate with the Greens and either
Family First or independent Nick Xenophon to get its legislation through.

The Greens leader, Bob Brown, says a price increase isn't enough and he also wants better education
as does Senator-elect Xenophon.

NICK XENOPHON: The issue of binge drinking amongst teens is a significant social issue and clearly
something needs to be done about it, and the question is what is the best way of tackling that, and
that's is why I would like to talk to the Government and those who have a contrary view once I get
to Canberra.

LYNDAL CURTIS: Do you think there is more need for more spending on say, education and advertising
programs?

NICK XENOPHON: Well, I know that is something that Bob Brown from the Greens was talking about this
morning and that to me seems to be a pretty sensible approach. And I think the sensible thing for
me to do is to listen to all the arguments and to get the best policy outcome after hearing those
arguments.

LYNDAL CURTIS: You will be a much sought man when you come to Canberra. You will be one of the
people that the Government has to rely on to get measures through Parliament or one of the people
that the Opposition might rely on to block things. Are you prepared for the onslaught?

NICK XENOPHON: I had a 10 year apprenticeship in state politics. I don't know if it will prepare me
for Federal Parliament, but I think I have got a bit of an idea of what happens when you are in
that position and I am looking forward to it.

I was elected by South Australians to represent them as an independent and I am aware of that
responsibility. But I, my view is that I have to deal with everything conscientiously without
ideology behind it and as an independent I have that luxury.

I am not tied up by any party room decisions and I just have to work on the issues and take a
sensible, pragmatic approach and always keeping an eye out for the interests of South Australians.

LYNDAL CURTIS: And prepared for some late night negotiations?

NICK XENOPHON: I am prepared for late night negotiations, dawn negotiations, whenever. Whatever
time, I will be prepared for negotiations 24/7.

ELEANOR HALL: That is Senator-elect Nick Xenophon, ending that report from Lyndal Curtis in
Canberra.

Anger as Fed Govt means tests solar panel rebate

ELEANOR HALL: The director of a solar energy company says he will go out of business thanks to a
new means test introduced in Tuesday night's Budget. Under the previous government, households were
given a subsidy from the Federal coffers to encourage them to install rooftop solar panels.

Now the Federal Government has limited that $8,000 rebate to households with an income under
$100,000 a year.

And as David Mark reports, environmentalists, opposition parties and industry groups are condemning
the decision.

DAVID MARK: Installing a solar array isn't cheap. A typical unit for an Australian home costs
around $20,000, although a smaller array can be bought for around $12,000.

An $8,000 rebate has helped to reduce that cost significantly, but from Tuesday night that subsidy
is only available to households that earn less than $100,000 a year.

HAMISH WALL: I would expect that our business will probably drop revenue by about 80 per cent if
not greater. So, I would say it could well be the death of our business.

DAVID MARK: Hamish Wall is the general manager of business development with Nicholls Solar, a
company that install solar panels. He says he has already had customers cancelling orders.

HAMISH WALL: We have, we have and interestingly enough we had one household which consisted of a
nurse and a teacher and obviously under the Federal Government's policy, they're rich and therefore
they are no longer eligible for the rebate.

DAVID MARK: What were they planning to install?

HAMISH WALL: They were planning to install a one kilowatt system.

DAVID MARK: In other words they would have been about $3,000 out of pocket with the rebate?

HAMISH WALL: It would be $3,900 after the rebate.

DAVID MARK: But because they will be means tested, the cost will be closer to $11,000 or $12,000.

HAMISH WALL: That is correct.

DAVID MARK: What did they say to you?

HAMISH WALL: Well, they just said it was ridiculous and therefore they can't afford it, and it is a
real shame and you know, that is just the way it is. There wasn't much more that could be said and
obviously we couldn't do anything about it. That is the Federal Government's policy.

DAVID MARK: Erik Zimmerman is the director of Rezeko, one of the country's largest solar installers
and he's lucky. He has got customers in regional areas that earn less than $100,000 a year.

But he says his business has lost a million dollars in the past two days and that's because his
city customers simply earn too much.

ERIK ZIMMERMAN: In the cities of course, we are finding it is about 70 per cent of our customers
and in the urban ... sorry the rural areas, it is about 30 per cent.

DAVID MARK: Of those 70 per cent in the city, how many of those do you think will go ahead and pay
the full cost for the solar array?

ERIK ZIMMERMAN: Well, to date we have only had one so the answer is about 99 per cent won't and one
per cent will.

DAVID MARK: The World Today invited the Environment Minister Peter Garrett, to explain the decision
to introduce the rebate, but he wasn't available,

His spokesman told The World Today the "program targets those who can least afford to install solar
power without some assistance. We believe there will be continued demand for the rebates with the
new means test".

But the Greens spokeswoman on climate change and energy, Senator Christine Milne, has ridiculed
that logic.

CHRISTINE MILNE: Well at the moment, the only people who can afford to install solar panels on
their roofs are people earning a reasonable good income because low socio-economic earners are
struggling to even pay their mortgages and meet their petrol and food costs, and can't even
consider it even though they know that energy efficiency would reduce their long-term costs, it's
just not possible.

The big barrier is the up-front cost. The rebate made it reasonable, but putting on this ridiculous
means-tested rebate means the collapse of the industry and we have already had across the country
now, several people ringing our office with a supplier in Melbourne saying that he has already lost
a million dollars.

DAVID MARK: The collapse of the industry seems rather dramatic. Are you over-emphasising the impact
that this will have?

CHRISTINE MILNE: No, I think this is going to set in train the collapse of the solar panel industry
as it currently stands in Australia.

DAVID MARK: The Federal Government is talking up its decision to double the rebate program from
3,000 households a year to 6,000.

Peter Garrett's spokesman also points to the green loans plan, which is available to 200,000 homes
as well as the plan to put solar panels on 9,000 schools.

But the Australian Conservation Foundation's Don Henry says these programs don't go far enough. He
says the decision to introduce the means test will mean that the price of solar panels - which had
been falling - will now start to rise.

DON HENRY: We understand from suppliers that there is a real need to get the industry up-scaled
because that can help bring the costs down.

And so once again, anything we do to dampen this young new effort to get solar power on our roofs,
in our view is unfortunate. We really need to be going gangbusters on solar power in Australia, and
that should be across the board.

ELEANOR HALL: The Australian Conservation Foundation's Don Henry, ending that report from David
Mark.

Govt removes temporary protection visa system

ELEANOR HALL: The Budget contained some good news for refugees, with the Federal Government
abolishing the previous government's controversial temporary protection visa system.

The decision means that hundreds of refugees whose residency status was previously uncertain will
receive permanent residency.

And they'll be able to apply to bring their families to Australia, as Jane Cowan reports.

JANE COWAN: Burmese refugee, Maung Khin, whose name's been changed to protect his identity, came to
Australia in fear of persecution in his home country. He has been on a temporary protection visa,
but now he'll be granted permanent residency and all the rights that come with it.

MAUNG KHIN: Yeah, I am very happy. I am very glad and happy because when I got a temporary
protection visa and I was very happy.

But at the same time because I am worried about my wife so I cannot travel out of the country, and
I can not sponsor her, my wife, my family. So now I am very happy to hear about that.

JANE COWAN: What difference will it make to you?

MAUNG KHIN: Because here, I will much feel better and have, and live this fully here in Australia.
And now I can sponsor my wife, because I left my wife back in Burma.

JANE COWAN: Refugee lawyer David Mann from the Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre is delighted by
what he says is a commonsense and humane decision to abolish a fundamentally flawed, unjust and
dehumanising policy.

DAVID MANN: The policy itself re-traumatised thousands of recognised refugees, people fleeing from
places like Iraq, from Afghanistan, Iran.

And these genuine refugees were left in a twilight world, in limbo, in Australia, not knowing what
the future would hold.

And they were discriminated against and denied basic rights such as the freedom to actually travel
in and out of Australia to visit loved ones.

And really worst of all, they were banned from family reunion, from reuniting, sponsoring and
reuniting with wives, husbands, children and parents.

JANE COWAN: The ability to apply to bring family members to Australia means the change stands to
benefit many more than the 1,000 people currently on temporary protection visas.

DAVID MANN: In doing that, will of course, ensure that there is an ability for those genuine
refugees who have been banned from actually reuniting with their families and rebuilding their life
with dignity in a full and meaningful way.

JANE COWAN: But the Opposition says the policy sends the wrong message, telling people smugglers
Australia's borders are open for business. Lawyer, David Mann, says that argument never held water.

DAVID MANN: Well, that proposition is not supported at all by the evidence, so the fundamental
problem with that proposition is that it has no basis whatsoever in evidence or fact. There was no
linkage between deterring people from coming and creating a TPV.

In fact, the opposite was the case. As soon as the temporary protection visa was created, more
people starting coming to Australia seeking refugee status.

JANE COWAN: David Mann says though, the changes don't go far enough.

While the worst effects of the temporary protection visas will be now be removed, with refugees
able to sponsor family members to come to Australia, the Budget failed to set aside money for even
one extra place in the family reunion scheme this financial year.

DAVID MANN: And this means, essentially the Government have failed to guarantee, thus far timely
family reunion for thousands of people.

And on current estimates, it is likely to be at least a decade after their arrival in Australia as
genuine refugees before many of the people that we are talking about will be able to reunite with
close family.

When we're hearing from the Government about working families, but these could well end up being
forgotten families if something is not done about it.

ELEANOR HALL: And that's refugee lawyer David Mann, ending Jane Cowan's report.

Junta allows some aid into Burma

ELEANOR HALL: Almost two weeks after Cyclone Nargis slammed into Burma's Irrawaddy Delta, aid
agencies say most of the survivors remain without emergency food and supplies.

Some aid is making it into the country and the Association of South-East Asian Nations has now
announced it is holding an emergency meeting on Monday to set up an international coalition to
deliver aid.

But there are still mixed reports about whether the military junta is allowing foreign aid workers
into the country.

In one report the generals say they will allow in 160 foreign aid workers as well as an emergency
relief team from ASEAN, but it's unclear whether the workers would be allowed out of the capital,
Rangoon, into the most devastated delta region.

The ABC's Peter Lloyd has our story.

PETER LLOYD: The scale of the natural disaster facing Burma means the numbers are simply
bewildering.

The United Nations says up to 2.5-million people were severely affected by the storm; which is to
say they're dead, or if they survived may have injuries ranging from mild to severe, have lost
their home, or their livelihoods, or a brutal combination of all three.

Burma's military government tells a different story. It says there are 600,000 survivors and that
they're now in 600 camps being fed and watered.

Well, whether it is 600,000 or two million; that's a lot of people in need and a lot of mouths to
feed. So, on day 13, what aid has actually arrived in Burma, and from whom?

The United Nations World Food Programme has dispatched more than 700 tons of rice, high-energy
biscuits and beans since the disaster struck.

The WFP says that's enough to provide first rations to 100,000 people and it's working to move a
heavy-lifting helicopter capable of delivering rations for 6,000 people at a time.

Aid agencies already working in Burma had stockpiles of food, water and medicines so they got a
head start. Save the Children says it has reached 100,000 people, World Vision 88,000.

The Red Cross also had supplies on the ground, and because of its neutrality, was able to fly in
around 20 plane loads of aid.

This is John Sparrow, the Red Cross spokesman.

JOHN SPARROW: We are bringing in bigger planes. We are getting landing rights for bigger planes, so
what we are able to bring into the country is increasing.

PETER LLOYD: Ok, well, who is in charge of distribution once it hits the ground? Is it yourselves
or is it the Burmese military?

JOHN SPARROW: We are always in charge of what we fly into a country and what we distribute, so it's
the international federation is co-ordinating and the Myanmar Red Cross is distributing.

PETER LLOYD: This in some sense is a different story to the one told by other aid agencies and even
by the United Nations. Why is the Red Cross able to get so much more done in Burma?

JOHN SPARROW: I can't comment on the other agencies, but we have a long working relationship in the
country as an international organisation. We have been there since 1993. We have been through
several disasters - not as big as this one - but several disasters there.

There was a cyclone in 2006. We have had a three year post-tsunami operation as well. But the
Myanmar Red Cross has existed since 1920. It is the leading humanitarian organisation in the
country.

It has 27,000 trained volunteers spread across the country and many of those have been mobilised
for this operation.

PETER LLOYD: That's John Sparrow from the Red Cross.

There has also been aid from the US, Britain, France and other countries. Australia sent 31 tonnes
of supplies. But the relief effort taking shape from now on will be dominated by Burma's neighbours
in the Association of South-East Asian Nations.

The ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan says the group will lead an international coalition of
mercy to provide help to Burma.

But the critics are asking: why has it taken ASEAN two weeks to take that stand? After all, ASEAN
foreign ministers agreed to a disaster emergency response plan three years ago at one of their many
summit meetings.

DEBBIE STOTHARD: Well, the ASEAN response so far has been pathetic and simply inadequate.

PETER LLOYD: That is Debbie Stothard from Altsean, a South-East Asian human rights group.

DEBBIE STOTHARD: ASEAN actually signed an agreement on disaster management and emergency response.

As part of the ASEAN security community, ASEAN is supposed to ensure that humanitarian assistance
is delivered to people in need, that there is safety for humanitarian workers and that it
intensifies co-operation between the UN donor countries and agencies and ASEAN members.

PETER LLOYD: Well, what happened to that agreement?

DEBBIE STOTHARD: It was an agreement. It looks like it stayed on paper and wasn't implemented at
all, and this is the challenge. ASEAN, there has to be political will in ASEAN. Not just the ASEAN
Secretary-General but all the ASEAN leaders need to step up and say, "Yes, we were committed to
this agreement. We signed onto it. Let's make it happen". It has to be implemented now.

PETER LLOYD: Two weeks late perhaps, but ASEAN does appear to be deciding to take leadership on the
Burma issue. A meeting of the group's foreign ministers next Monday in Singapore will decide what
measures are to be taken, and when.

In Bangkok, this is Peter Lloyd reporting for The World Today.

China accepts earthquake aid from Japan and Taiwan

ELEANOR HALL: China's Premier Wen Jiabao is describing the earthquake which has devastated large
parts of south western China as the most destructive in the history of the Communist republic, and
says China will accept foreign aid even from its arch rival, Taiwan.

China's state news agency is quoting the Chinese leader saying the quake which hit this week was
more powerful than the 1976 earthquake which killed 240,000 people.

The Government has put the official death toll at 19,500 people but has warned it could climb much
higher and officials say the quake has produced as many as 10-million refugees.

But authorities are at the same time cracking down on anyone suspected of spreading what the
Government calls "malicious rumours" about the disaster.

Stephen McDonell is visiting a volunteer centre in the devastated Sichuan province and he joins us
now.

So, Stephen what has being set up there for the refugees who are flooding in to the bigger centres
in Chengdu?

STEPHEN MCDONELL: Well all around Chengdu, in fact all around many of the cities in this area,
these tent towns are popping up. Sometimes it is just people have got like a tarpaulin, plastic
tarpaulin. Other times it might be just a sort of bed sheet or something like that. There's
makeshift tent towns just all around the place and people piling into them.

You know, you might have like 70 people piling into a sort of medium-sized tent and a lot of ...
because the main relief effort I guess is going to people in the hardest areas, I suppose it's a
bit of a feeling once you get to somewhere like Dujiangyan or Chengdu that you can sort of make do
so people are kind of looking after each other at the moment, you would have to say, because all of
the sort of emergency supplies of water and food are going to these much more isolated areas where
people could die if they don't get food and water soon.

ELEANOR HALL: So what is the volunteer centre doing there then?

STEPHEN MCDONELL: Well, what we are seeing here, this is really an indication of the outpouring of
public support for the earthquake victims. Hundreds of young people have walked in here and they're
signing up their names to become volunteers to join the rescue effort.

And veterans, war veterans are sort of forming them into sort of little teams, especially they are
picking out. I am just walking along the rubble here to get a bit closer so you might be able to
hear some of the orders being shouted out.

They are sort of forming them into teams of I suppose, rescue volunteers who I guess each group
there is about 20 of them or so, and they are going to hike it into there into the worst hit areas.

Now we've been thinking what is the point of doing that? It is probably 100 kilometres to get in
there. It's going to be too late to save anyone, but there is all sorts of work they can do beyond
digging people out of the rubble.

For example, those who survived, well, they need the supplies that they'll carry in there. They can
also administer first aid for survivors in these towns and there's an awful lot they can do to help
people.

People are wearing their t-shirts that have got things like "I love China". And they are wearing
little yellow ribbons around their arms as sort of arm bands, and some people are actually carrying
red flags in as well so it is quite a sort of, I suppose, a patriotic thing as well and they are
kind of revving each other up.

You'll hear one of the sort of corporals, these ex-army corporals are giving them a real come-on,
let's hear it, cheers, cheers and they'll all do a sort of chant or something like that.

Pretty soon they're going to sort of march out of here in these groups and head up to the worst hit
areas.

ELEANOR HALL: Now Stephen, we are hearing that as many 10-million people are needing shelter and
supplies, to what extent are supplies getting through to these people?

STEPHEN MCDONELL: Well, in some areas they are getting through, but I guess it would luck in a way
or how close you might be to a river or something like that. People have probably have seen the
images of paratroopers jumping into to these really isolated areas carrying supplies and also doing
drops from the air.

People in these really remote areas are close to the river, well the army, we went and watched them
yesterday travelling up these mountain rivers and they're bringing rescue workers and also supplies
along the river.

So even though someone is isolated, if they're in a area close to a river for example, they can get
help. But there would be ... it is a huge and remote area up there to the north of Chengdu.

There will lots of areas that haven't received any help, any supplies and even those who survived
the earthquake would still be in trouble if they can't get emergency supplies soon.

ELEANOR HALL: Are you surprised at the way the Chinese leader has been talking about this disaster
and about the death toll?

STEPHEN MCDONELL: Yes, it has been quite open and I think the days of China just pretending things
like this don't happen are long gone. I mean, the first we knew about how bad this was, was when
President Hu Jintao - this was before anyone was even proclaimed to be dead - within I guess, half
an hour or an hour of the earthquake hitting, he was coming out and saying everybody get ready for
big casualties.

Because its one of the reasons we hightailed it straight down here from Beijing, because we knew it
would have to be bad if, before we'd even heard one person was dead, he was already talking about,
you know, the casualties and how many people have died and the massive effort that is going to be
needed to save those who remain.

Obviously, he has received word through the army or whatever the extent of the damage and told
people straight away.

Wen Jiabao, China's number two leader was on the scene here pretty quickly and we have seen him
going up and speaking to people underneath the rubble with a megaphone. Don't worry, help is on the
way, this sort of thing.

I mean, I think they have changed tack. In years gone by, these sort of disasters, the authorities
just "Oh we don't want any announcements about this sort of thing".

For example SARS, they are widely criticised for the handling of that, but now it is much more a
case of marketing public support and international sympathy and they've realised that if you are
open about these things, that you can get a lot of help and we've seen it from other countries,
they're offering help.

ELEANOR HALL: Well, yesterday, there was talk the Chinese government wasn't letting in aid from
Japan. Today it has allowed not only Japanese aid in but also aid from Taiwan. Did that surprise
you?

STEPHEN MCDONELL: Yes, this is truly remarkable that the old Cold War enemy, Taiwan offers support
and that China, not only did the offer it but they would even think that China would accept it, but
then China turns around and says we do accept it.

The thing that is great about this actually is that Taiwan is obviously in a big earthquake zone
and the same with Japan, but the Taiwanese and Japanese are offering help, well they've got
sophisticated equipment to dig into rubble.

They've got very well trained people who are used to earthquake emergencies. Both those countries
are regularly hit by strong earthquakes.

I was in Taiwan last year and we were just sitting around in a bar and the whole thing started
shaking and everyone so used to it and blase about earthquakes there that they sort of laughed it
because it wasn't a very big one, so they're used to it, the Taiwanese and the Japanese and it is
great for them to offer and very smart of the Chinese to accept the help that they're offering.

ELEANOR HALL: Stephen McDonell, our correspondent in Chengdu, thank you.

Woman faces 20yr jail term for fatal MySpace hoax

ELEANOR HALL: In the United States, a cyber bullying case has been launched involving the popular
social networking site, MySpace.

A woman has been charged with creating a bogus identity on the site and bullying a teenage girl
into committing suicide. She faces up to 20 years in jail and internet safety groups have welcomed
the groundbreaking charges.

MySpace operators say they're cooperating with the prosecutors.

North America correspondent, Kim Landers, has our report.

KIM LANDERS: It was an internet hoax that had deadly results. In October 2006, 13-year-old Megan
Meier committed suicide because she believed she'd been rejected by a 16-year-old boy she'd met on
MySpace.

The case set sparked a national furore after it was revealed the teenager had been tormented by the
mother of one of her former friends. Its alleged Lori Drew had set up a fake MySpace page that
supposedly belonged to 16-year-old Josh.

She used it to send cruel messages to the teenage girl, including one that said the world would be
better off without her. Soon after, Megan Meier committed suicide.

Today, a federal grand jury in Los Angeles has indicted 49-year-old Lori Drew on three counts of
accessing protected computers to inflict emotional distress and one count of conspiracy. Each
charge carries five years in jail.

Tina Meier is Megan's mum.

TINA MEIER: What I want to see done is I want to see her behind bars and the key thrown away. I
don't want her to see a day of light because we have been served a life sentence by these people.

KIM LANDERS: Nevertheless she says the charges are "bittersweet".

TINA MEIER: In one way, Megan is still gone. I never get her back. The sweet part is, is this is
what we've been waiting for. For a year and a half we've been wanting justice.

KIM LANDERS: In a statement, MySpace says it "does not tolerate cyber bullying and is cooperating
fully with the US Attorney".

Parry Aftab runs WiredSafety.Org, the world's oldest and largest internet safety group, which
includes volunteers in Australia.

PARRY AFTAB: Lori Drew is now going to be prosecuted for, in effect, defrauding MySpace. When she
went onto MySpace and she lied about who she was and she said that she was going to adhere to the
terms of service of MySpace which says you can't do that, she is really being prosecuted for that,
not for causing the death of Megan.

KIM LANDERS: So what are the wider implications for this? I mean, a lot of people misrepresent
themselves over the internet on their MySpace pages.

They fib about their age, their weight, their appearance, their background, that sort of thing.
What are the implications of somebody, if you life, being caught up with creating a fake page and
misrepresenting themselves?

PARRY AFTAB: Well, I'm tall, blonde and very thin on MySpace and a lot of us lie about who we are,
but when it comes to using an anonymous identity to annoy or harass someone, that is now a federal
crime in the United States because if you know who it is, you may be able to evaluate the
communication better to know that it's your neighbour or the kid down the street or your ex-boss
who hasn't been happy since you left.

But if you don't know who it is, you can't evaluate how serious a risk it is.

KIM LANDERS: Although this happened in Missouri, the charges have been laid in Los Angeles, because
that's where MySpace is based.

Lori Drew's lawyer says the LA prosecutors are overstepping their jurisdiction. His client denies
she set up the phoney MySpace page or that she sent any of the messages.

This is Kim Landers in Washington for The World Today.

Football riots could damage UK's bid for World Cup

ELEANOR HALL: The British Prime Minister has warned rioting football fans that they've put the UK's
bid for the 2018 Football World Cup under threat.

For five hours fans rioted and clashed with police on the streets of Manchester last night. The
rioting resulted in scores of arrests and authorities say the fans were "like a pack of baying
wolves".

In London, Stephanie Kennedy reports.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: It was meant to be a night of celebration for the Glasgow Rangers, instead the
UEFA Cup Final descended into a war zone as angry mobs of fans attacked police.

CCTV footage caught the violence on tape. Fans are clearly seen surging through the streets and
chasing police.

Assistant Chief Constable Justine Curran describes the scene.

JUSTINE CURRAN: The footage of them, you know, 200 of them running after six officers down the
street and then tripping one up and jumping on him like a pack of wolves. It is, you know,
sickening.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: The city of Manchester was selected to host the final between the Glasgow
Rangers and the Russian team from St Petersburg.

100,000 fans from Scotland travelled to Manchester for the final. Those without tickets were
encouraged to gather in the city centre to watch the match on a big screen.

But the carnival atmosphere turned nasty when the screen broke down shortly before kick off.
Hundreds of fans attacked police and went on a wild rampage, smashing shop windows and looting
stores.

Officers wielding batons and shields tried to subdue the angry mobs. One Russian supporter was
stabbed. The trouble lasted for five hours. 42 people were arrested and 15 police officers were
injured.

John McMillan is the general secretary of the Rangers Supporter Association:

JOHN MCMILLAN: You cannot condone behaviour like that. You know, it is nothing to do with the
paramedics, the police or even the people who operate the screens. If it breaks down then it is
just one of these unfortunate incidents and it is inexcusable that behaviour.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: During the 80s and early 90s, Britain's reputation for football violence was a
huge international embarrassment. The problem was so bad that every English team was banned from
club competitions in Europe. But over the last decade football in the UK has cleaned up its act

The Prime Minister Gordon Brown condemned the overnight violence in Manchester.

Stephanie Kennedy from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Police and city officials have been
blamed for not doing enough in preparing for the influx of fans. What's your view on that and have
you had a full briefing?

GORDON BROWN: It was a disgrace to see people misbehaving. It was a minority but it is completely
unacceptable. We do have laws that enable us to control drinking in public places where there is a
risk of disorder, and we will have to look at these laws for the future.

I want to do everything to avoid us being put in a position where we might be at risk of an
application, for example, for the 2018 World Cup not being acceptable because of this, so we will
be looking at this as a matter of urgency.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: It was not a good night on or off the football pitch for the Glasgow Rangers.
They lost the UEFA cup final two-nil.

In London, this is Stephanie Kennedy reporting for The World Today.

A decade on, Stephen Glass scandal raises questions about journalism

ELEANOR HALL: The US political magazine, The New Republic, spent more than 80 years building a
reputation for quality journalism.

But one man managed to damage that legacy and the reputations of a series of other journals when he
sold them fake stories.

Now a decade after the Stephen Glass scandal, but the people who uncovered it are warning that it
could happen again, as Reged Ahmad reports.

REGED AHMAD: He was a 25-year-old journalist and his impressive record of exclusive stories made
Stephen Glass the toast of Washington.

Stephen Glass worked for the politically influential magazine, The New Republic, but everyone
wanted a piece of him. He was considered gifted by many of his colleagues and wrote stories on the
quirky side of American life for publications including Rolling Stone, the Washington Post and the
New York Times.

But all that crumbled in May 1998 when the New Republic published one of his biggest scoops, Hack
Heaven.

(Extract from Hack Heaven)

EXCERPT (voiceover): Ian Restil, a 15-year-old computer hacker who looks like an even more
adolescent version of Bill Gates is throwing a tantrum. "I want more money. I want a Miata. I want
a trip to Disney World. I want X-Man comic book number one. I want a lifetime subscription to
Playboy and throw in Penthouse. Show me the money! Show me the money!

(End of extract)

REGED AHMAD: The trouble was his colourful article about a teenage hacker extorting money from a
large software company was fake.

An investigation found Stephen Glass had faked some or all of 27 out of 41 articles over his two
and half years with the magazine.

Charles Lane was the editor of The New Republic at the time and fired Stephen Glass once he knew
the extent of the journalist's treachery.

CHARLES LANE: It is pretty embarrassing. First of all the articles were fact checked and the fact
checkers didn't realise that Steve was deceiving them deliberately with forged materials.

The environment inside the magazines was such, and I think this is normal, that people trusted one
another and didn't imagine that somebody would be doing all of this and finally I think there was a
certain, you know, the more he did, the easier it became to get away with it.

REGED AHMAD: Stephen Glass' deception was so breathtaking, his story was turned into a movie
starring some of Hollywood's well-known actors.

(Excerpt from movie, Shattered Glass)

(Sound of phone ringing)

ACTOR: A few other people we can't seem to locate. Julie Farthwork, Frank Juliet and Ian Restil's
agent, Joe Hiert.

ACTOR 2: You know this is not right Chuck. Ok, I feel really attacked and you are my editor, you
are supposed to support me and you are taking their word against mine? You are supposed to support
me.

ACTOR 3: By the way, who is your basis for writing that Jukt was a big time software company?

ACTOR 2: I didn't. That was added by the copy desk.

ACTOR 3: And was the hackers conference when you first met the Jukt executives.

ACTOR 2: No, that part of the article is misleading.

(End of excerpt)

REGED AHMAD: Adam Penenberg was the journalist with Forbes On-Line who started asking questions
about Stephen Glass' article.

ADAM PENENBERG: He admitted that it was the fear that he wouldn't be able to come up with that
great story again.

REGED AHMAD: By the time Stephen Glass' deception had been unravelled, it had become the most
sustained case of journalism fraud the industry had seen, but it wasn't the last.

Since then the American media has been hit with one scandal after another. Months after Stephen
Glass was exposed, award-winning columnist Patricia Smith was sacked by the Boston Globe for faking
quotes and characters.

In 2003 Jayson Blair was caught faking and plagiarising stories for the New York Times. And a year
later, Pulitzer prize finalist, Jack Kelley, was sacked by USA Today for making up large parts of
many stories.

So is there any way of stopping journalism fraud? Adam Penenberg says quality media is under
pressure to publish what sells.

ADAM PENENBERG: I think that what happens in journalism today and in the late 90s is that there is
this essence of hype. How can we hype a story to attract more readers? How can we sex it up?

REGED AHMAD: Former editor of the New Republic, Charles Lane says there is no doubt that Stephen
Glass' articles boosted sales, but he thinks it is the fraudster rather than the publisher who is
to blame.

CHARLES LANE: There appears to be a certain kind of person who keeps doing this regardless of, you
know, the evidence that you will eventually get caught, exposed and denounced.

And that just tells me that no matter what safeguards we put into place, eventually we're
vulnerable to the malformations of human nature.

REGED AHMAD: As for Stephen Glass, he published a book based on his experiences called The Fabulist
and performs with the alternative comedy troupe, Un-Cabaret.

In an ironic twist, its comedians get laughs by telling truthful stories about their lives.

ELEANOR HALL: Reged Ahmad reporting.

Multinationals eye NSW dairy cooperative as takeover target

ELEANOR HALL: One of Australia's largest remaining dairy cooperatives is being circled by two
multinational companies in a takeover bid that many fear could drive dairy prices even higher.

The deal for the New South Wales Dairy Farmers Cooperative could swallow a third of Australia's
dairy market and the competition watchdog has been asked to look at it.

Eight years ago, deregulation of the industry was hailed as a win for consumers.

But many of Australia's farmer-owned dairy cooperatives have now been taken over and prices are on
the rise as Michael Janda reports.

MICHAEL JANDA: The dairy industry is set for another major shake-up. New South Wales' biggest dairy
manufacturer, the Dairy Farmers Cooperative is seeking expressions of interest for a possible sale.

Two of the potential buyers are large multi-national companies. Kirin Breweries from Japan already
owns National Foods. And Fonterra, is itself a co-op owned by more than 11,000 New Zealand dairy
farmers.

Fonterra already buys more than 20 per cent of Australia's milk output and purchasing Dairy Farmers
would make it Australia's biggest milk processor.

Tim Hunt is the senior dairy analyst at Rabobank. He says industry consolidation is needed to allow
manufacturers to get a fair price from the big supermarket chains.

TIM HUNT: The Australian dairy industry has been looking for consolidation at processor level for
some time. It will help processors counterbalance the market power of retailers and ensure that
they can pass on the costs. In particular at the moment, they have been facing a rising input cost.

MICHAEL JANDA: Adrian Drury is the New South Wales Farmers' Association Dairy Committee chairman
and he isn't sure that a takeover will make much difference to prices for farmers or consumers.

ADRIAN DRURY: At farm level, I don't think there certainly won't be much difference at all.
Particularly the interested buyers at the moment which is Kirin Group, National Foods, and
Fonterra. You know, they're already players in the Australian market so we've had a chance to see
how they behave and we don't expect a great change at farm gate.

MICHAEL JANDA: But former Greens senator, Dee Margetts, says deregulation and industry
concentration has failed consumers.

DEE MARGETTS: The predictions prior to dairy farm gate deregulation was that the consumer would be
the major winner. There is no evidence to suggest that that has happened.

MICHAEL JANDA: Dee Margetts is writing her PhD thesis on competition policy and the dairy industry.
She says the failure has been caused by allowing greater concentration in dairy industry ownership
through deregulation.

DEE MARGETTS: There are fewer farmers and the retail sector has become more concentrated and at the
same time we have few dairy manufacturers and much of our manufacturing sector is now being taken
over by overseas interests, so we have a less competitive sector and we have farmers under much
more pressure.

MICHAEL JANDA: Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show dairy prices have increased at roughly
the same rate as those for food. This is despite 1990s predictions by the Industry Commission that
prices would fall by 30 per cent after deregulation, and dairy prices are expected to keep growing.

Tim Hunt says international demand and increased production costs will keep retail milk and dairy
prices high.

TIM HUNT: We're seeing chronic shortages of milk and dairy products in most countries of the world
at the moment. That's establishing very high prices for traded products on international markets,
and because of that and increases in the costs of producing dairy products, our consumers are
having to pay increased prices.

ELEANOR HALL: And that is Tim Hunt, dairy analyst at Rabobank ending that report from Michael
Janda.

Photographer hopes exhibition will help the Burmese

ELEANOR HALL: The delay in getting aid to the victims of Cyclone Nargis has been watched with
dismay by many Australians.

One Melbourne student visited a refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border last year. Now he is
exhibiting his photos in Melbourne to raise money for the Burmese people.

Samantha Donovan visited the gallery for a preview of the exhibition which opens tonight.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: In a gallery hidden in one of Melbourne's narrow laneways, preparations are
underway for the launch of Eli Greig's photographic exhibition tonight.

The RMIT University student is doing an honours thesis on sustainable refugee camps.

Many of the photos were taken when he spent time at a camp for 15,000 Karen refugees on the
Thai-Burma border.

ELI GREIG: The camps are absolutely incredible. We spent six hours in the back of a pick-up truck,
and then you're plunged down into a deep valley and it is a kind of a bit of romanticism but you
come down into this deep rain forest valley and there's just huts all across the mountains and
along this beautiful river with suspension bridges across the river.

And it's is sort from a naive Westerner's eye, it is just romantic looking agricultural village and
then you get closer and then all of the Thai military guys come out with their guns, and you stop
and they check your ID and all that sort of stuff.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: And what a contrast to the jungle? There is a teeming mass of about 15,000 people
in the camp.

ELI GREIG: Yep, 15,000 people and the majority of them, I think about 75 per cent are under 15
because either they have fled after their parents were killed or their community was destroyed.

So as soon as you enter, you are mobbed, literally mobbed by a 1,000 children and followed for the
rest of your time there by children.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: And we are standing in the gallery in front of some of your photos of the
children. What did you see in them that you wanted to capture on film?

ELI GREIG: Excitement. Joy. Playfulness. The pictures on the wall are all of one family.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: What have they been through that you feel makes them so deserving?

ELI GREIG: Their villages have been destroyed year by year. So every year in the dry season, the
Burmese military come through and raze their villages, burn their villages. Conscript the boys of
fighting age. If they're not conscripted they are killed. Men older than fighting age are generally
just killed or lost.

So they trek through the forest for as long as it takes, days, weeks. Snakes, tigers, pythons,
bandits, everything you can image. Small children on their own and groups of children, they get to
these camps and they spend 10 years in these camps, often without their parents.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: After Cyclone Nargis, Eli Greig has been keenly watching the news to see how the
Karen people have survived.

ELI GREIG: First of all, we are pretty sure that everything is fine. They would have got very wet.
West of there on the Burmese side, the typhoon, the edge of the typhoon or cyclone did cross the
Karen homelands.

No-one knows anything and that is part of the problem. No-one knows anything in the areas that were
most severely hit and no-one knows anything about what happened in Karen state.

Generally the Burmese junta don't go there in wet season. They'll come back in the dry season and
burn the villages again, so everyone is just in the dark.

ELEANOR HALL: Melbourne student, Eli Greig, speaking to Samantha Donovan and his exhibition opens
tonight at the McCulloch Gallery in Melbourne.