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Govt 'tricked' voters about FuelWatch

ELEANOR HALL: We begin in the nation's capital where the Opposition today moved a second censure
motion against the Federal Government over the FuelWatch policy which has been the subject of two
Cabinet leaks in as many days.

The second leak revealed that no fewer than four Government departments advised Cabinet against the
petrol price monitoring scheme.

The Coalition is having a field day and is accusing Labor of "tricking" voters. And the Government
is refusing to guarantee that FuelWatch will deliver lower petrol prices, but it says it is relying
on the advice of the competition watchdog, the ACCC.

In Canberra, Alexandra Kirk reports.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The latest embarrassing Cabinet leak reveals four key departments warned the
Government its FuelWatch scheme could actually push up petrol prices by creating a price floor.

The departments of Resources and Energy, Finance, Industry and Prime Minister and Cabinet all
opposed the scheme.

That's forced the Government into a defensive position, declaring it prefers the advice of the
Competition and Consumer Commission. Treasurer Wayne Swan says the Government was quite impressed
with the evidence presented by ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel who he calls the expert.

In the face of multiple warnings about FuelWatch, he was asked on the Nine Network this morning if
he could guarantee FuelWatch would lower petrol prices.

WAYNE SWAN: I can't give that guarantee. That's a silly guarantee. The guarantee I can give is that
we will do our utmost through FuelWatch to get the best deal for motorists and to make sure they're
not ripped off.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Just as worrying for the Government is why so early in its life, Cabinet is leaking
so comprehensively.

WAYNE SWAN: When leaks like this happen, they should be investigated. The law has been broken and
it will be investigated.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon is perplexed by the leaks.

JOEL FITZGIBBON: Well I don't know why Cabinet is leaking. Obviously it's distressing for us, it's
very, very unfortunate.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The second leak prompted Opposition leader Brendan Nelson to move his second
censure motion against the Government in a week.

BRENDAN NELSON: For treating the Australian people and this Parliament with arrogant contempt, by
refusing to guarantee that his fuel policies will not increase the cost of petrol at his own public
servant experts fear.

Mr Speaker, this censure is against the Prime Minister, is against his Government, because what has
happened in the space of six months is the Australian people have been severely let down.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Kevin Rudd has hit back declaring ministers are not the puppets of the public
service or big oil companies.

KEVIN RUDD: Are they seriously saying to us that every time the department provided a piece of
advice, that it was therefore their bounden duty and would lead to a collapse of the Westminster
system if therefore the minister said, "Actually, I have a different point of view, I have a
different point of view."?

In fact the reverse model of government which those are advancing is this: that the responsibility
of ministers is to stand up here simply as the mouthpiece for government departments, simply as the
mouthpiece for the public servants.

Well I've got to say, this Government has a different view. This Government has the view that not
only do we welcome advice from public servants, we will engage in debate with the public service.
We will not always agree with the public service. And as I've said repeatedly, we'll take advice
from beyond the public service.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Opposition says the ACCC's report does not recommend FuelWatch. It's now
calling on the Government to make public the competition watchdog's subsequent advice to Cabinet.

Assistant Treasurer Chris Bowen has shed some light on the process.

CHRIS BOWEN: I brought forward a policy proposal on the advice of the ACCC. The ACCC's views were
tested. The chairman of the ACCC came to the Expenditure Review Committee of the Cabinet. The
petrol commissioner came to the Expenditure Review Committee of the Cabinet. One of the most
respected competition economists in the country, professor Dr Stephen King, came to the Expenditure
Review of the Cabinet. And the views of departments were put to them, were put to them and they
satisfied those concerns, Mr Speaker.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Opposition treasury spokesman Malcolm Turnbull has taken direct aim at Mr Bowen.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: So when Martin Ferguson, representing a Melbourne seat, Martin Ferguson born in
the western suburbs of Sydney, writes to the Member for Prospect and says this will hurt the people
of western Sydney the most, he is saying, and he didn't need to put that in the letter because it
was implicit, he was saying, western Sydney, they're the people you represent you dope.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Unusually, no Labor backbenchers made themselves available for comment on the way
in to Parliament House this morning, but there was no shortage of Coalition volunteers.

ERIC ABETZ: I think Mr Rudd is in more trouble than the early settlers.

DAVID BUSHBY: I saw the Prime Minister last night say that he went for, he gave preference to the
ACCC because it had econometric modelling backing it up. The news reports suggest that the Prime
Minister and Cabinet Department's advice also was based on econometric modelling and that was
saying something quite different to what he's saying the ACCC says. So it seems to me that the
Government is picking the advice that it wants to back up its own policy.

SIMON BIRMINGHAM: Kevin Rudd and Chris Bowen are engaged in FuelWatch. The Australian people are
now engaged in fool watch, watching Kevin Rudd and Chris Bowen.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Liberals Eric Abetz, David Bushby and Simon Birmingham ending that report from
Alexandra Kirk in Canberra.

ACCC report didn't fully endorse FuelWatch

ELEANOR HALL: As we've been hearing, the Federal Government is citing the ACCC's analysis of
FuelWatch as the basis for its support for the scheme.

Yet the competition watchdog's petrol price report is in fact far from a ringing endorsement of the
planned national petrol pricing system. The ACCC report specifically warns that FuelWatch has the
potential to deliver anti-competitive effects as well as competitive benefits, and it cautions that
"great care" is needed in assessing any national scheme.

Our economics correspondent Stephen Long has been analysing the fine print of the ACCC report and
Stephen joins us now.

So Stephen, you've read the report. To what extent does it back up the Government's plan?

STEPHEN LONG: I think Eleanor a reasonable assessment would be that the ACCC's report could make
the case for holding off whilst further research is done, rather than pressing ahead swiftly with
the FuelWatch scheme.

It raises at least six serious caveats or warnings about FuelWatch; firstly that assessing any
system in the style of FuelWatch requires great care due to the potential for anti-competitive as
well as pro-competitive benefits.

And it says that although its inquiry gained a preliminary assessment of the impacts in Perth, note
that word preliminary, it's clear that a case-by-case approach is required to assess the potential
impacts on competition of any similar scheme.

In particular, the ACCC says it has not analysed the application of such a scheme to rural and
regional areas.

It also warns the introduction of a 24-hour price notification rule could lead to price cycles of
smaller amplitude and longer duration, in plain English then, potentially no more of the discount
Tuesdays when savvy buyers can get very cheap petrol. And it says the inability of firms to change
their prices during the day could decrease the pace of petrol retailers undercutting each other and
make them more conservative about undercutting competitors.

It says FuelWatch-type arrangements could lead to a reduction in the number of independent service
stations and that a national FuelWatch scheme would involve significant administration costs for
Government.

And on top of that, it says that various other reports over recent years have questioned the impact
of FuelWatch, raising concerns it could be anti-competitive and queried benefits including
inquiries in the Northern Territory in 2005, Queensland two years ago, and a Senate Standing
Committee on Economics at a federal level in 2006.

One of the ironies and interesting things here is that a lot of the concerns it's raising and the
language used mirror the language being used in those warnings from the four departments who have
raised issues with Cabinet and recommended that they hold off on introducing FuelWatch.

ELEANOR HALL: And yet the ACCC chief Graeme Samuel wasn't raising these potential concerns about
FuelWatch this morning when he was interviewed on AM.

Let's have a listen to part of what he had to say.

GRAEME SAMUEL: Well I think what we can say is that all of our modelling, all the work that we've
undertaken has indicated that there is a statistically significant reduction in price that follows
on from the adoption of the FuelWatch scheme.

Now if that statistically significant reduction in price were to occur on a national basis, then
clearly the answer is that FuelWatch is not going to cause an increase in prices.

ELEANOR HALL: That's the chairman of the ACCC Graeme Samuel.

Stephen, how do those comments sit with the ACCC's broader findings?

STEPHEN LONG: If you listen closely to what Graeme Samuel said on AM, Eleanor, and to what he said
to newspaper reporters, he's very careful to limit his comments to the findings of the ACCC on the
FuelWatch scheme in Western Australia and say, if that was to be replicated then you would have
price reductions on a national level.

Now let's put this in context. Graeme Samuel has been worried about keeping his job. There's been a
change of Government and his position is up. It has to be renewed next month. Now my understand is
that he's likely to be reappointed, at least for a while, that he's swung the support round behind
him. But he's had to maintain support from the Government and it would be a brave person, a brave
public official in that position who would go out and openly contradict the Treasurer who would
determine their appointment.

Remember also that the Labor states and my understanding is, Wayne Swan, were opposed to Graeme
Samuel's appointment the first time around. So it's no surprise that he's been accentuating the
positives rather than the negatives.

ELEANOR HALL: Of course the Federal Government says that it's had further briefings from the ACCC
that have convinced it that FuelWatch should go ahead.

STEPHEN LONG: Yes, I've been told they've been verbal briefings. But in the period between when the
ACCC brought down its detailed petrol price report and the announcement of the scheme by the
Government in April, the announcement that it was planning to introduce a FuelWatch scheme on a
national level, there simply wasn't time to do the detailed research and due diligence of the
various options that the ACCC's report clearly implies was necessary, so I'd take that with a grain
of salt.

ELEANOR HALL: Stephen Long our economics correspondent, thank you.

Spirits sales rise due to alcopop tax hike: industry

ELEANOR HALL: The liquor industry is accusing the Federal Government of driving young drinkers onto
hard liquor with its alcopops tax and says it has the statistics to prove it.

The distilled spirits industry commissioned a study which shows that while alcopops sales have
plunged 38 per cent since the tax hike, sales of full-strength spirits and hip-flask bottles soared
at the same period by more than 20 per cent.

The industry says this shows the Government's decision has unintended social consequences, but the
Health Minister rejects the claim.

In Canberra, Sabra Lane reports.

SABRA LANE: Speaking on ABC radio in Brisbane this morning, schoolgirl Larissa had a question for
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd about his Government's tax hike on alcopops.

LARISSA: Many teenagers have resorted to purchasing strong spirits that are cheaper. How do you
feel about this and what else do you plan to do to help solve the problem?

KEVIN RUDD: Well, this is a really tough one because the Australian police commissioners just the
other day came out and said that, this is right across Australia, and said, effectively the country
is awash with alcohol. You know, there is no single solution to this. It has to happen at several
levels.

SABRA LANE: Mr Rudd didn't directly answer her question but program presenter Madonna King followed
up with another.

MADONNA KING: Prime Minister have you ever tried an alcopop?

KEVIN RUDD: That's a very good question Madonna (laughs).

MADONNA KING: Oh, I was using my best Larissa voice too.

(Laughter)

KEVIN RUDD: I'm scratching my head actually. I actually don't know.

SABRA LANE: Mr Rudd fired his first salvo in his self-declared war on teenage binge drinking last
month by increasing the tax on ready-to-drink beverages.

The tax on those drinks jumped 70 per cent to bring them into line with the tax charged on unmixed
spirits. It was an anomaly created though the introduction of the GST back in 2000.

The Opposition declared it nothing more than a $3-billion tax binge.

Regardless, the liquor industry warned it might actually push up consumption of hard liquor. It's
conducted a survey of sales of spirits prior to the tax hike and after, and has found drinkers are
substituting.

Stephen Riden is the information manager at the Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia.

STEPHEN RIDEN: Information that we've got from the Nielsen ScanTrack Liquor Survey was looking at
the sales of pre-mixed drinks and the sales of medium sized and small sized bottles of spirits, and
they've shown that while the pre-mixed drinks have dropped around 40 per cent, 39, 40 per cent, the
sale of bottles of spirits at the 700 and the 375ml size have actually increased by 20 per cent.

We think that as this data doesn't show the largest sized bottles of spirits or beer and wine, all
that's happened with the RTD (ready to drink) tax hike is that people have swapped across to buying
the full strength bottle of spirits.

They're probably drinking more, and we hear some anecdotal information around that from our
members' own sales data, and they're actually going to be mixing it themselves and putting
themselves at greater harm because they won't know how much they're drinking.

SABRA LANE: He says the survey results show the Government's policy has failed.

STEPHEN RIDEN: In terms of public health I think it's almost certainly failed. I think it will fail
on the excise-raising goal as well because the Treasury modelling which is skinny at best I don't
think predicted this level of drop-off.

SABRA LANE: But in the Federal Health Minister's office this morning you could say there was a
metaphorical popping of champagne bottles.

Ms Roxon says the survey results show the Government's plan of attacking binge drinking through
this measure has worked and she rejects assertions that the jump in consumption of harder spirits
shows the policy has backfired.

NICOLA ROXON: No look I think quite the opposite. These figures released by the industry show a
dramatic decline in the sale of alcopops. They do show a increase in the sale of some other
products, but even the industry themselves admits that these figures show an overall decrease of
one-million spirit drinks sold in just two weeks.

So this is, you know, one-million drinks in two weeks is a dramatic decline in anyone's language
and what they're showing is that these very popular products have dramatically declined. And we
hope that these products that are particularly attractive to young people, that their decline in
sales means that people will not be as attracted to drinking at an early age.

SABRA LANE: And Ms Roxon says the tax hike is just one measure of many that the Government will use
to attack the problem.

NICOLA ROXON: So I would say to any parent, a measure that we have taken which has reduced drinking
by one-million spirit drinks, is a positive measure. And of course we will want to see the impact
of this measure combined with our others over the coming months and years to hopefully instil a
more responsible approach to drinking across our community.

ELEANOR HALL: That's the Health Minister Nicola Roxon, ending that report by Sabra Lane in
Canberra.

NSW Liberal resignations 'self indulgent, damaging'

ELEANOR HALL: While the federal Liberal leader might now be getting some traction on the fuel
issue, in his home state his party is hardly helping.

The three key office holders in the New South Wales Liberal Party - the President, the
Vice-President and the Treasurer - have resigned en masse in protest at the party's failure to deal
with factionalism and branch stacking.

It's a move one factional powerbroker has condemned as self-indulgent and damaging.

Simon Santow has our report.

SIMON SANTOW: Branch stacks, slush funds to pay for party memberships, falsified credentials among
pre-selection candidates are just some of the problems besetting the Liberal Party in New South
Wales.

Then there's the two heavy election defeats, state and federal, in the space of a few months.

State leader Barry O'Farrell says he could have done without yesterday's resignation of Party
President Geoff Selig, Vice-President Rhondda Vanzella and Treasurer Robert Webster.

BARRY O'FARRELL: I'm surprised and disappointed. I understand for instance why Geoff Selig after
three years as an office bearer of the party, a time through which he went through a federal and
state campaign, you know, wants to move on.

What I'm focused on is not just holding the Iemma Government to account but ensuring that my
efforts to get the New South Wales division of the Liberal Party to embrace reforms to its
structure and behaviour continue, so that we don't end up at the next state election, as we did in
2007, of making an issue of ourselves.

SIMON SANTOW: Geoff Selig had vowed to pursue reforms which would have centralised control of
pre-selections and taken power away from the local branches and the established factions - reforms
which were unacceptable to many in the party, including right-wing factional powerbroker, Senator
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells.

CONCETTA FIERRAVANTI-WELLS: I think it's a bit self indulgent by the people concerned, Mr Selig and
Ms Vanzella in particular, at a time when regrettably their actions appear to have been done in a
way that will damage the party.

SIMON SANTOW: To make matters worse for the party, Rhondda Vanzella is no obscure dummy spitter. A
close ally of the Federal Opposition leader Brendan Nelson, she's worked in his electorate office
and helps control his pre-selection numbers.

In a statement Dr Nelson said he too was disappointed but understood why they'd chosen to quit.

It's clear that while the rhetoric might be all about introducing reforms, the numbers lie with
those opposed to meaningful change.

Senator Fierravanti-Wells:

CONCETTA FIERRAVANTI-WELLS: After the election loss, Mr Selig took it upon himself to push change
to the branch structure in New South Wales and our branches, our volunteers, they work hard and
should be supported. They've been the backbone of the party.

And the decision by Mr Selig and Ms Vanzella and their agenda to remove the right's branches and
reduce them in effect to mere coffee clubs, did not find favour with the grassroots of our party.

An effective and functioning branch structure, especially in our regional and rural areas, has been
vital, and the attempts by them to dilute the role and influence and importance of our branches did
not have grassroots support.

And I suspect that Mr Selig and Ms Vanzella realised that their changes weren't palatable to the
grassroots and would likely be defeated, and unfortunately they've chosen to pick up their bat and
ball and go home.

SIMON SANTOW: Scott Morrison was parachuted into the safe Sydney seat of Cook after taking part in
a pre-selection which ended in farce.

The former state director says the Liberal Party's problems can be overcome.

SCOTT MORRISON: I've been around this party both as now a Parliamentarian, as a party official, as
a party member. I'm very familiar with its internal workings and, you know, this is a very strong
party. It's a very resilient party and it weathers storms. It'll weather this storm.

And more importantly it will be strongly supporting Brendan Nelson and the federal parliamentary
team, and Barry O'Farrell and the state parliamentary team, to ensure that we return to government
in both places.

ELEANOR HALL: That's the Federal Member for Cook, Scott Morrison, ending that report by Simon
Santow.

Australia's flying future grim as fuel prices soar

ELEANOR HALL: The future of flying in Australia is looking grim today as the rising fuel price cuts
deeply into the balance sheets of the country's airlines.

QANTAS has raised its ticket prices twice just this month, grounded some of its planes and
cancelled routes, Tiger Airways which only took off in Australia six months ago has now announced
that it will charge passengers to check in their baggage, and many analysts say this is just a
taste of what's to come as the industry grapples with fuel bills that have more than doubled since
the beginning of last year.

Emma Alberici has our report.

EMMA ALBERICI: One hundred QANTAS engineers went on strike this morning in Sydney. The company says
it has been forced to ground flights but it's been scant on detail.

For six months, the Australian licensed aircraft engineers have been demanding a five per cent pay
rise. QANTAS has agreed to three per cent with a one per cent contribution to superannuation.

It's hardly an opportune time to be demanding more money. QANTAS says its fuel bill this year will
be more than $2-billion, or more than 35 per cent of its costs.

The blow-out in the price of petrol has forced it to retire five aircraft and cancel one of
Jetstar's new A321s.

Five routes have also been dropped from the QANTAS schedule, including the high traffic service
between Sydney and the Gold Coast as well as Jetstar's Sydney-Whitsundays service.

QANTAS will no longer fly as often as it has been between Sydney and Alice Springs and Jetstar is
in the process of scaling back its offerings out of Melbourne's Avalon airport, Adelaide and
Cairns.

Peter Harbison of the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation says this is likely to be the start of a
flood of routes cut across the Australian airline industry.

PETER HARBISON: The criteria for the ones which are predominantly tourist, ie, discretionary
travel, they're the ones that have low yields and in most cases they'd be the ones who have
generated a whole lot of new traffic over the last two or three years.

EMMA ALBERICI: Areas like Queensland and north-western Australia?

PETER HARBISON: Those are potentially at risk, particularly long, thin routes which are very, very
much tourism routes.

EMMA ALBERICI: To make matters worse for QANTAS, the credit ratings agency Standard and Poor's,
while not changing its credit rating per se, has revised its outlook for the airline from stable to
negative.

The travelling public has also had to stomach two price rises in the space of one month. Peter
Harbison again:

PETER HARBISON: We're starting to see just the early stages of it. Korean Air this week announced
two international cutbacks. Air New Zealand is talking about perhaps grounding some aircraft if
things continue.

The US is looking like a junk heap right now. Its airlines are really in big trouble with costs
going up and demand going down just as fast in the opposite direction.

Europe is heading that way but much, much more economically soundly based at present and the
economy is nowhere near as soft as the US.

EMMA ALBERICI: Do you think QANTAS is likely to remain in profit this next financial year?

PETER HARBISON: They had a great profit in this current year. Next year I'd be surprised if things
continue this way if they even make half that level.

EMMA ALBERICI: It's a sign of the times worldwide. Rising oil prices and inflation hitting double
digits in some quarters of the globe has seen slower growth and a reluctance to indulge in
discretionary spending, especially on holidays that involve flying.

The evidence is in the troubling statistic - 12 airlines have already collapsed this year.

Tiger Airways which entered the Australian market in October last year is already being forced to
tighten its belt. From today, the airline which is 49 per cent owned by Singapore Airlines is
charging for all check-in baggage - $5 for 15 kilograms, up to $40 per item over 30 kilograms. But
it's amazing how they've tried to spin that story into a plus for travellers.

Steve Burns is the company's chief operating officer.

STEVE BURNS: I think the announcement that we've made about our baggage charging is a further
extension of what we've seen in the market in the last few years, of a continued unbundling of what
people traditionally consider to be a core part of the airfare.

So I think people are now used to, for example, not getting a free meal in-flight. I think a
further extension of this is now that only people who take check baggage on board, check baggage
into the hold, will pay for it. So those people who don't, will get the lowest airfare, the lowest
Tiger airfares.

ELEANOR HALL: Steve Burns is the chief operating officer of Tiger Airways. He was speaking to Emma
Alberici.

White House in damage control after memoir

ELEANOR HALL: The White House is mounting a massive damage control campaign to deal with an attack
from a former member of its inner circle.

The President's former press secretary, Scott McClellan, has written a book that is highly critical
of the President.

And as correspondent Kim Landers reports, it's sending shock waves through Washington.

KIM LANDERS: Scott McClellan spent years in the West Wing, privy to the inner workings of the White
House and rising to become the President's chief media spokesman.

Two years after he was pushed out of that post, he's written a tell-all memoir, expressing anger
and disappointment about the President and his policies.

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: Well I hope people get a chance to take a look at it. I think it's got an
important larger message and I wanted to let it speak for itself today and I look forward to doing
some interviews tomorrow.

KIM LANDERS: Scott McClellan isn't explaining today why he's had such a dramatic change of heart
after years of defending George W. Bush.

In his book he says the President wanted to topple Saddam Hussein, quote, "primarily for the
ambitious purpose of transforming the Middle East".

But he says George W. Bush knew the American public wouldn't agree to send troops into harm's way
for that, so the administration chose a different path, quote, "shading the truth, downplaying the
major reason for going to war", and pumping up the case for war with, quote, "innuendo and
implication" while "quietly ignoring or disregarding" evidence against it.

His former colleagues are flummoxed by his criticism and they've hit the radio and television news
circuit to make their disapproval known.

Dan Bartlett is a former senior aide to the President who's known Scott McClellan for a decade.

DAN BARTLETT: Whether it's betrayal or is he lying, from the perch that I sat, in the meetings I
witnessed, is that I think I have a much different portrayal of this President than Scott does. And
I can't explain to you why he has today decided to come out with all of these views that he
apparently held throughout the entire time he served in the White House, yet said nothing to
anybody.

KIM LANDERS: Ari Fleischer was the President's first press secretary and says he's most surprised
by the allegation that the Bush administration used "propaganda" to sell the Iraq war.

ARI FLEISCHER: Even after Scott left the White House he went on TV shows and defended President
Bush and the war, so I don't know what changed so dramatically for Scott in the last few months,
several months, that led him to write a book that was so different from everything I saw about
Scott personally and privately. Something changed and there are parts of this book that just don't
sound like Scott.

KIM LANDERS: Ari Fleischer appears to be the only former White House staffer who's had contact with
Scott McClellan recently. They spoke on the phone yesterday.

ARI FLEISCHER: Scott told me that this book really did change and he said this book ended up a lot
different from the way it got started. He told me he didn't know if he could write a book like this
a year ago.

KIM LANDERS: Scott McClellan writes that he fell far short of living up to the kind of public
servant he wanted to be, but he also calls the media, quote, "complicit enablers" in the White
House campaign to shape and manipulate public opinion in the march to the Iraq war.

The three main network TV news anchors were making a rare joint appearance today to promote a
cancer fundraiser when they were asked to respond.

Charlie Gibson from the American ABC flatly disagreed with his accusation about the media and the
Iraq war.

CHARLIE GIBSON: No I think that the media did a pretty good job of focusing and asking the
questions. We were not given access to get into the country and I think it's convenient now to
blame the media, but I don't.

However Katie Couric from CBS is critical of the profession.

KATIE COURIC: I think it's one of the most embarrassing chapters in American journalism and I think
there was a pressure from corporations who own where we work and from the Government itself to
really squash any kind of dissent.

KIM LANDERS: The White House says this insider turned author is simply rewriting history.

This is Kim Landers in Washington for The World Today.

Japan's ex-PM 'doesn't want the job back'

ELEANOR HALL: To Japan now where there appears to be a revolving door syndrome developing at the
top of the Government.

Japan is on the brink of replacing its second prime minister in a year. The Opposition has gained
control of Parliament's Upper House and the powerbrokers are looking for a scapegoat.

And while many Japanese would like to see former leader Junichiro Koizumi return as Prime Minister,
he's apparently not so keen to be back.

North Asia correspondent Shane McLeod reports.

SHANE MCLEOD: On a warm evening in Tokyo's western suburbs a big crowd has gathered for a night of
politics. And while it's billed as a campaign launch for the feisty former economist Yukari Sato
there's just one man most of this crowd has come to see - former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

(Japanese woman speaking)

"Of course I believe Koizumi will do something for us," this woman says, "so I think it would be
good if we could have him as Prime Minister again. We can have hope with him".

The man who brought charisma, conflict and confrontation to Japan's staid political world, seemed
relaxed as he joked his way through his speech.

(Applause and laughter; Junichiro Koizumi speaking)

"Because Ms Sato is an economist, tonight is a very rational event," Mr Koizumi says. "The event
started on time. I often go out to make speeches or to campaign but I think this is the first time
when I've started on schedule".

(Laughter)

Since retiring from the prime-ministership nearly two years ago, Mr Koizumi has tried to keep a low
profile. He's given just one interview since then and that was to talk only about his love of
classical music.

Attempts to stay out of the spotlights haven't worked though. The current Prime Minister Yasuo
Fukuda is increasingly unpopular. There are moves afoot to replace him. Plenty would like Mr
Koizumi to consider another run, but having retired he says that's not going to happen.

Instead, he's promoting other options. One of them would be Japan's first female Prime Minister.

(Junichiro Koizumi speaking)

"Politics is a power struggle," Mr Koizumi says. "The Opposition knows this but because they think
they might win, they refuse to compromise. We have to think about how we're going to deal with
them. In the last election we had a tail wind behind us, but now we have to battle into the head
wind".

And Mr Koizumi says it's time that new political faces were leading that charge. For some of the
party faithful, despite their support for the former leader, there's understanding of why there has
to be change.

(Japanese man speaking)

"When Koizumi was the Prime Minister," this man says, "he did a lot of reforming to help Japan
recover, but he's 66 years old now. He himself says he's a man of the past and it's time for the
young people to step forward. I agree. He is a man of the past".

But as an agent of political influence, Mr Koizumi looks to be planning on a career stretching well
into the future.

This is Shane McLeod in Tokyo for The World Today.

Loophole in landmark cluster bomb treaty

ELEANOR HALL: The Australian Government is coming under pressure to guarantee that it won't allow
Australian troops to use cluster bombs.

At talks in Ireland more than 100 countries including Australia agreed on a treaty to ban the
production and use of the controversial bombs.

But while it is being hailed as a landmark agreement, there is a loophole that says signatories
will not be in breach of the treaty if they fight alongside non-signatories, and several major
producers of cluster munitions, including the US and Israel, were not at the talks.

Barbara Miller prepared this report:

(Sound of bombs.)

BARBARA MILLER: Cluster bombs open in mid-air, scattering dozens of smaller explosive devices
across a wide area. They've been used in many countries including Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo,
Lebanon and Cambodia.

From a military perspective they render a large area strategically useless, but it's their impact
on civilians that's fuelled an international campaign to have them banned.

WOMAN (translated): I was returning from the field. I stepped on the ground and I don't know how it
exploded. I was bleeding. I felt immediately that I'd lost my leg. It was connected to my body with
just one vein. My mother saw me and started screaming.

BARBARA MILLER: In Ireland, 109 countries have now agreed in principle to ban the production, use
and stockpiling of cluster bombs.

James Turton from the NGO Austcare has campaigned against the use of cluster munitions and is in
Dublin for the talks.

I asked him if the treaty was weakened by the fact that some major users and producers of cluster
bombs, including the US, Russia and Israel, are not party to it.

JAMES TURTON: That does not dilute the strength of this agreement because even though thery're
countries like Russia, China and the US that are outside this treaty, one of the biggest things we
will see this treaty do is stigmatise the use of this weapon. So it will be very difficult for
current users of cluster munitions to use these weapons in the future without, you know, incredibe
international kind of outcry.

BARBARA MILLER: The talks in Ireland were long and arduous and it was eventually agreed that a
clause be included in the treaty which would allow signatories to it to continue fighting alongside
non-signatories.

The Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon says he's confident that means Australian troops could not end
up in a position where they had breached the agreement.

JOEL FITZGIBBON: Well of course we would be concerned to be party to a treaty that caught us
inadvertently because we were somehow involved in a command chain with the US which involved the
use of cluster munitions. So of course we're very cautious to ensure that Australian legal terms
couldn't inadvertently be caught up in those legal processes.

BARBARA MILLER: James Turton from Austcare wants the Australian Government to go further, to ensure
that what he sees as a loophole is not exploited.

JAMES TURTON: We are calling on the Australian Government on Friday, when the Government will
present their closing statements on this Dublin diplomatic conference, we're calling on Australia
to make a really strong statement, to come out and affirm that they're not going to be caught up in
any way in the use of cluster munitions and that this provision is not going to be used by
Australia as a loophole for the use of cluster munitions. And we want them to come out and state
this.

BARBARA MILLER: Another issue of concern to the Australian Government was whether the new SMArt 155
weapons they have purchased would fall under the ban.

The Government has always insisted the SMArt 155s, an anti-tank artillery round, are not cluster
weapons. The Defence Department describes the weapons as highly sophisticated, discriminating,
accurate and reliable.

Joel Fitzgibbon says he's satisfied that's been clarified in Dublin.

JOEL FITZGIBBON: There is nothing in the text that would preclude us from procuring the SMArt 155.
It's a very sophisticated munition of course, and I don't think anyone would argue, well a few
might but very few would argue that the SMArt 155 goes anywhere near falling into the definition of
those munitions that act indiscriminately.

BARBARA MILLER: The cluster bomb treaty is expected to be formally adopted in December of this
year.

ELEANOR HALL: Barbara Miller reporting.

Yuendumu store protests against welfare quarantining

ELEANOR HALL: The welfare quarantining that is part of the Northern Territory intervention has
divided the central Australian community of Yuendumu and launched a new retail project.

The new system requires the cooperation of general stores but the two shops in the Yuendumu
community have refused to take part in the program.

Now in a move that has them being accused of division, some women in the town have decided to set
up their own store with the help of the Federal Government, as Alice Brennan reports from Yuendumu.

ALICE BRENNAN: It's a crisp autumnal morning in Yuendumu. The community is just beginning to wake
up, many heading to the local big shop to buy groceries.

Inside the community-owned store called the Social Club there are many empty shelves and long lines
for the cash register.

BESS PRICE NUNGARRAYI: The community people of Yuendumu are very concerned that the shop and the
committee aren't looking after the people who are supposed to be looked after, and that's been
going on for years.

Bess Price Nungarrayi doesn't live in Yuendumu anymore but she grew up here. She's related to
people on the store's committee and alleges they're not operating as they should.

BESS PRICE NUNGARRAYI: I'm embarrassed, I'm disgusted, and I think they should be able to turn
around and say, all right we've done enough. Let's just make sure that this store functions
properly for the whole of Yuendumu.

ALICE BRENNAN: The ABC understands an audit of the community store shows financial mismanagement
and that it's been running at a significant loss for the last few years - a claim committee
spokesman Ned Hargraves Jampijinpa doesn't deny. But he says the store won't cooperate with the
income management regime.

NED HARGRAVES JAMPIJINPA: Well that's something that we need to really work on it to make it come
back, to make it happen. But we can't do it with Government shoving and pushing us out, and pushing
themselves in, in a way that's not appropriate to the community. It is not the way to do it, and
that is really rude.

ALICE BRENNAN: Instead of seizing control of the community store the Federal Government has decided
to establish a new separate store in Yuendumu.

WOMAN: A six foot fence wire-mesh fence all the way around?

WOMAN 2: Yep.

WOMAN 1: All the way around but close that off?

WOMAN 2: Yep.

WOMAN 1: You don't want gates on there, they can open during the day? Nope?

WOMAN 3: It's about time women got something to say about this community and to make a better
future for kids.

NED HARGRAVES JAMPIJINPA: Those committees that have signed up for this new thing, for this store,
you are turning your back on you own people.

ALICE BRENNAN: But Bess Price Nungarrayi doesn't see it like that.

BESS PRICE NUNGARRAYI: The women are sick and tired of listening to the same old crap that's been
happening for all these years. It's just the men who want to look after themselves and they don't
worry about women, children, old people. They just worry about themselves.

ALICE BRENNAN: Only time will tell how income management will affect Yuendumu, but the women say
they'll press ahead with their store regardless of any threat made to them or their families.

ELEANOR HALL: Alice Brennan with that report. And a spokeswoman for the Federal Indigenous Affairs
Minister Jenny Macklin says reports about the Yuendumu Social Club store are concerning and that
the Minister will investigate.

Leading chefs band together against GM crops

ELEANOR HALL: Some of Australia's leading chefs have banded together to oppose the growing of
genetically modified food crops in Australia.

This morning the chefs teamed up with Greenpeace to launch a GM-free chef's charter.

With GM canola now being grown in Victoria and New South Wales, the chefs say it is particularly
important to label products to allow consumers to either support or reject the technology.

In Sydney, Sara Everingham reports.

(Kitchen sounds.)

SARA EVERINGHAM: At his inner Sydney restaurant chef Jared Ingersoll pays close attention to how he
sources his food.

JARED INGERSOLL: The milk comes from New South Wales. It's all small scale, local. I know the guys
who do the food. I know the farms that it came from. I know what their practices are so I can, I'm
really confident about the fact that this food is GM-free and I'd really like to keep it that way.

SARA EVERINGHAM: Are your customers demanding that you don't include genetically modified products
in your food?

JARED INGERSOLL: There's certainly a large percentage of my customers who have, for loss of a
better word, a bit of a social conscience when it comes to eating. They realise that if they want
to eat good food and they want to be able to give that food to their children, we need to take some
pretty, we need to take a stand on certain things.

As far as genetically modified, I mean it's a very confusing and misinformed area. And so what we
were hoping to achieve through this is to sort of give people the tools to educate themselves and
put pressure on politicians and companies.

SARA EVERINGHAM: Jared Ingersoll is one of several chefs who along with Greenpeace have launched a
GM-free chef's charter. It calls for products with genetically modified ingredients to be labelled
as such. Michelle Sheather is the coordinator of Greenpeace Australia's genetic engineering
campaign.

MICHELLE SHEATHER: The fact the GM canola has just been planted in Victoria and New South Wales
just last month means that once that's harvested, for the first time we will be eating a GM food
crop grown in Australia, in our food chain.

We haven't had this situation before so come the end of the year, for the first time, GM foods will
be on our plates in Australia.

SARA EVERINGHAM: But why all the fuss? The debates on GM foods has been raging for years but the
jury is still out on how the technology affects people's health.

Jared Ingersoll says he's heard enough to know that if he has a choice, he won't be serving GM
foods in his restaurant.

JARED INGERSOLL: What I'm calling for is through labelling and through raising people's awareness,
that we can start doing some proper studies and some tests and human trials. And there just seems
to be this massive rush to get it happening without proper studies being put into it.

SARA EVERINGHAM: Do you think that with labelling we can guarantee that some foods don't contain
genetically modified ingredients?

For example one of the concerns we hear about is that the pollen from canola can drift from
genetically modified crops onto other crops. I mean, do you think that it's just not possible to
have those labels?

JARED INGERSOLL: Cross-contamination through pollination of other things, I mean that's going to
happen and once those crops do become genetically modified crops then they will have to be listed
as such.

I hope that through labelling it's going to give consumers the opportunity to raise some questions
and also make a decision. Once people start buying and showing that they're against genetically
modified, that's the biggest message that business can get.

Whether or not there's a really simple way to get the labelling and that communication across,
that's not my field. I just know that given the choice, I would not buy genetically modified food.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Sydney chef Jared Ingersoll ending that report from Sara Everingham.

Newman dumped after lingerie stunt

ELEANOR HALL: He has made national headlines more than once with his sexist comments, but now
football show host Sam Newman may have gone too far.

At least one advertiser has withdrawn its ads in the wake of a Newman stunt with a lingerie-clad
mannequin.

Now his employer, Channel Nine, has dumped him. But the network says its controversial star is just
being "rested" and his departure is completely unrelated to the mannequin incident.

Others though suggest advertisers are drawing the line at behaviour they see as inappropriate.

In Melbourne, Jane Cowan reports.

JANE COWAN: This is the incident that started the furore back in April, when Sam Newman manhandled
a lingerie-clad mannequin plastered with the face of the sports commentator Caroline Wilson.

SAM NEWMAN: What I'm telling you ...

CO-HOST: Yes...

SAM NEWMAN: Now Gary, people are inspired by her and I thought we might try and see if we can get
some public reaction to a couple of outfits I've picked out for her.

(Laughter)

CO-HOST: Hello. This has got fun written all over it Gary!

(Laughter)

JANE COWAN: The stunt might have won laughs on the night but it outraged some of the AFL's most
influential women.

A month later at the Logies the mere mention of Sam Newman provoked boos for his colleague Gary
Lyon.

GARY LYON: Sam Newman is an absolute star ...

(Cries of "boo!" from the audience.)

The thing about Sam Newman, ladies and gentlemen ...

(Applause)

Thank you, is that he puts himself out there, Sam. We benefit from it. He takes it on the chin for
all of us.

JANE COWAN: And it seems Sam Newman is copping it again. He's been dumped from the Footy Show after
the ANZ bank withdrew its ads from the program.

The bank isn't officially linking its decision to Sam Newman's antics with the doll, keen to avoid
a stoush with Channel Nine.

A spokeswoman called it a commercial decision, but did say The Footy Show in its current form does
not allow the company to connect well with its target demographic.

Sam Newman's sudden departure has even caught the eye of the Victorian Premier John Brumby.

JOHN BRUMBY: I think it's the right decision, yeah. You know, what he did was quite inappropriate.

JANE COWAN: Sam Newman himself wasn't commenting this morning and it's still a touchy subject.
Several sports commentators approached by The World Today didn't want to comment either.

Channel Nine declined an interview, but told The World Today there was no connection between Sam
Newman's departure and the mannequin incident. A spokeswoman instead attributed his hiatus to
exhaustion after two recent bouts of surgery. The spokeswoman says he'll definitely be back.

And Sam Newman was finding support among callers to commercial radio.

CALLER: He always makes me feel like a teenager when I watch that show, like I'm hanging around
with the bad boys at school but I'm not getting into trouble, you know what I mean?

CALLER 2: I'm a fan of his, I like him very, very much.

JANE COWAN: But it's not just viewers who matter, it's also advertisers.

PETER SCHOLEM: I think advertisers were really getting the message that they just can't afford to
support a program which so deliberately and flagrantly sends up particular females.

JANE COWAN: Media commentator Peter Scholem is from Monash University's marketing department.

PETER SCHOLEM: I think where Sam probably overstepped the mark a little bit is that he
particularised the jibe. In other words, rather than just doing what he did to a mannequin and
saying this represented women in football, he actually put someone's face on it. There's a
difference between humour, sarcasm, wit and sexual debasement.

At the end of the day, if products and services are seen to be openly supporting views that are
against the morals and the norms that people have, then clearly advertisers have a responsibility
to their own stakeholders to exert some pressure on the organisations that the products associate
themselves with.

JANE COWAN: And do you think it's likely to see less of these kind of antics on our TV screens?

PETER SCHOLEM: Yes. I think when you start ridiculing people for a gender, a religion or a race,
then you start running into trouble.

JANE COWAN: And it might not be the end of the trouble for Sam Newman.

The businesswoman and Western Bulldogs board member Dr Susan Alberti is reportedly proceeding with
a defamation case against him and the show.

ELEANOR HALL: Jane Cowan in Melbourne.