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Rudd concedes economy is slowing

Rudd concedes economy is slowing

The World Today - Friday, 1 August , 2008 12:10:00

Reporter: Lyndal Curtis

ELEANOR HALL: Australia's economy is looking sicker by the day with retail sales dropping, demand
for credit slowing and home lending at its lowest level in more than two decades.

Responding to questions about his economic management, the Prime Minster, Kevin Rudd, conceded this
morning that the slowdown is likely to result in job losses.

But Mr Rudd fended off questions about whether his government had been putting the brakes on the
economy too hard.

In Canberra, chief political correspondent, Lyndal Curtis reports.

LYNDAL CURTIS: After a couple of weeks spent enjoying the twists and turns of debate in the
Opposition over climate change, reality has come thumping back in for the Government.

Already grappling with a major economic change in the shape of an emissions trading scheme, now the
Government's grappling with a change in the economy as the omens begin to look uncomfortable.

In two interviews this morning, on AM and on Melbourne radio 3AW, the Prime Minister has stepped
cautiously around questions about whether the Government has slowed the economy too far.

KEVIN RUDD: We believe that we have done the responsible thing through a $22-billion budget surplus
and remember that surplus is there to provide also a buffer for uncertain global economic times

CHRIS UHLMANN: Are you concerned the economy is slowing too fast?

KEVIN RUDD: We believe that in terms of the budget settings for this government's approach to
fiscal policy, we've got those right.

LYNDAL CURTIS: He's also danced around questions about whether jobs will go. And he's baulked at
buying into talk of a recession.

NEIL MITCHELL: Do you accept that a recession is a possibility?

KEVIN RUDD: I believe that we have a strong policy course of action to see this economy through. We
are in the best position, a better position than most other economies in the Western world given
our strong budgetary position; independence of our Reserve Bank and as well as a clear strategy of
economic reform.

NEIL MITCHELL: OK, do you accept it is a possibility?

KEVIN RUDD: I believe that we have a responsible strategy for the future.

LYNDAL CURTIS: He says the Government can't solve economic problems besetting the world but can,
through action already taken in areas like tax cuts, cushion the blow.

Economic clouds do have silver linings for some - house prices and house values may be falling -
that's bad if you own a home - not so bad if you're looking to buy. Although Mr Rudd wouldn't buy
into that.

KEVIN RUDD: Well housing affordability is a deep concern facing all Australians and it affects
people differently at different parts of the country.

CHRIS UHLMANN: So it is good news that house prices are falling?

KEVIN RUDD: I would say that housing affordability is a challenge facing many households across the
country and it affects people in different ways in different parts of the country.

LYNDAL CURTIS: A slowing economy has also increased the prospects for interest rate cuts and the
Prime Minister has put the banks on notice that they will be expected to pass any falls on.

KEVIN RUDD: Look at the overall profitability levels of our banks, they are huge. Therefore I
believe they have got a responsibility to pass on.

LYNDAL CURTIS: Mr Rudd also had a message for China - which isn't allowing free access to all
Internet sites during the Olympics as it promised to do.

KEVIN RUDD: My attitude to our friends in China is very simple. They should have nothing to fear
from open digital links with the rest of the world during this important international celebration
of sport.

NEIL MITCHELL: So you will raise that with them?

KEVIN RUDD: Yeah, absolutely.

LYNDAL CURTIS: Some plain talking in the guise of helpful hints from the sidelines have come the
Opposition leader's way this morning.

Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce has told News Radio Dr Nelson has a tough job and should be given
more latitude - but.

BARNABY JOYCE: And I don't think he will have to worry about pushing Brendan. Brendan will
understand the reality of the situation, if it obviously doesn't improve, that is a no-brainer. If
the situation doesn't improve, Brendan knows better than anybody else, what the result of that
would be.

MARIUS BENSON: And what would the result of that be?

BARNABY JOYCE: Oh, well I've said if the numbers don't improve before the election, I imagine that
Brendan would decide that he would probably have to move on.

LYNDAL CURTIS: Senator Joyce, who doesn't have a vote in the Liberal Party room says no one is
racing out for the job. But some MPs are trying to get former Treasurer, Peter Costello, to the
starting line. Mr Costello hasn't given a signal he wants to stay but he hasn't gone yet.

A Channel Seven report that he had turned down a lucrative job offer overseas offer buoyed some in
the draft Costello camp; although one person close to him says they wouldn't expect he'd head
overseas for his post-political career because he's something of a homebody - as it's been written
elsewhere - someone who when he wants to relax fires up the BBQ. His family is in Australia and his
youngest child still at school.

And there's the question of whether he'd do what he's never done before and that's put himself
forward for a vote on the leadership. One former leader turned commentator John Hewson was also in
the helpful hints game on Sky this morning.

JOHN HEWSON: Yeah, when I look back at Peter's career he's never had the balls to challenge or make
a move to actually move, to get the job in circumstances where he could have got it.

LYNDAL CURTIS: The Opposition leader is one of those urging Peter Costello to return to the
frontbench; although not all the way to the front.

Dr Nelson has told ABC Local Radio in Adelaide this morning he intends to lead the Opposition to
the next election.

BRENDAN NELSON: I am absolutely determined with everything that I've ever done in my life to see it
through and I will lead us through to the next election.

ELEANOR HALL: That is Opposition leader, Brendan Nelson ending that report by Lyndal Curtis.

Signs that interest rates could fall

Signs that interest rates could fall

The World Today - Friday, 1 August , 2008 12:15:00

Reporter: Peter Ryan

ELEANOR HALL: And there are more signs of a weakening Australian economy this morning. A closely
watched manufacturing index out today is showing industry activity close to a three-year low.

That's on top of yesterday's news showing the weakest retail sales in more than a decade.

It's all being seen as evidence that the Reserve Bank's series of interest rate hikes is pushing
the economy towards recession.

I'm joined now by our business editor, Peter Ryan. So Peter what do these manufacturing figures

PETER RYAN: Well Eleanor, Australian manufacturing activity is now at a three-year low or close to
a three-year low as those high interest rates slow the economy. And this if from the Australian
Industry Group and Pricewaterhouse Coopers and it is a very closely watched manufacturing index.

And the reading is below a critical 50 point level which separates an expansion in the economy from
a contraction and this is for the second straight month. And it is also the weakest reading for the
survey which takes in about 200 companies since November 2005.

The AI Group's chief executive, Heather Ridout says there is no doubt that the economy is slowing
and the outlook for manufacturing is grim.

HEATHER RIDOUT: Clearly the industry is really responding to the weakness of housing, the weakness
of consumer expenditure that is really softening under the weight of the interest rate rises.

I think the uncertainty caused by the whole global credit crunch and the effect on confidence that
is having as well. And the higher dollar is clearly putting a major drain on the import
competitiveness of the industry and continuing to constrict our export performance even though it
has picked up a little, it is fairly narrowly centrally based.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Heather Ridout, chief executive of the Australian Industry Group.

Peter, there is also new evidence today that Australia's corporate sector is feeling the heat from
the credit crisis. What can you tell us about that?

PETER RYAN: Yes, as we have seen with the National Australia Bank and the ANZ Bank this week, the
financial services sector is hurting very badly.

Today Australia's second biggest car and home insurer Suncorp Limited shocked the market with a
profit warning. They are saying that because of the global credit crisis, its annual profit will
halve to around $500-million. That is down from a billion dollars.

You would think they would be getting conditioned about this but investors still hate surprises and
they sent Suncorp shares packing and they went down as much as 18 per cent.

Suncorp like the NAB and the ANZ says its underlying business is strong but added that its level of
non-performing loans was expected to rise and critically its wealth management business, where they
have been making a lot of their money, has been significantly impact by the downturn in investment

And by the way the overall share market is weaker today, down around 1.3 per cent. There have been
heavy losses for the banks again. The Commonwealth Bank down 1.5 per cent. The NAB one per cent;
but Westpac and St George are both down around three per cent today.

ELEANOR HALL: Given this sort of corporate news and these sorts of economic figures, is there a
view that the Reserve Bank has gone too far with its interest rates strategy?

PETER RYAN: Yes the strategy of hiking interest rates has all been designed to pull back consumer
demand, stop people using the equity in their homes as a huge ATM machines and to ultimately tame
inflation. That appears to be working but it is coming at a cost to families and small business.

Life is much tougher than it was in December 2001 when rates were just at 4.25 per cent. We've now
had 12 rate hikes in a row. We've had two this year, in February and March and rates are now three
per cent higher at 7.25 per cent.

And of course, this year the banks have regularly been raising their rates independent of the
Reserve Bank to cover the credit crisis and the higher cost of money.

And importantly, the pain has been a lot sharper for those households that thought they were being
quite strategic in locking in rates at five- and three-year fixed terms and they are now moving
into a very expensive environment.

ELEANOR HALL: What is the likelihood that the Reserve Bank board will now cut rates this year?

PETER RYAN: It seems very possible that when the Reserve Bank meets on Tuesday, the first Tuesday
of the month, that no action will be expected, but these days we get a lot more information from
the Reserve Bank. They now publish their reasons for not making a decision. Previously they would
only comment if they put rates up or put rates down.

And so economists will have quite a few tea leaves to read in looking for changed language. Often
it is very subtle but we've noticed in recent statements that the language has been much more

Some pundits have been tipping September for a rates cut. That is seen by other economists as being
too early. Perhaps the RBA might wait, manage expectations and do something by the end of the year.

And this time last week we saw some similar action in New Zealand where inflation is high and it is
going to be remaining high but they have cut rates quite significantly by half of one per cent
simply because the economy is almost in recession.

ELEANOR HALL: Now you mentioned that the banks have hiking up their rates independently of the
Reserve Bank. Even if the Reserve board does cut rates, will the banks necessarily reduce their
rates in line?

PETER RYAN: Well that is a big question and Kevin Rudd has commented on this without questioning
what banks should be doing in a free market. But it highlights what many see as a major disconnect
these days. On the one hand we have the Reserve Bank using interest rates to manage the economy and
to bring down inflation but banks have been facing increasingly narrow margins because of the
higher cost of money in the credit crisis.

But you would imagine that there would be a high level of political pressure. If any downwards
movement by the Reserve Bank was effectively neutralised by an independent hike by the Reserve
Bank, banking chiefs have said that they will keep hiking rates independently as long as money is
expensive, but at the same time they have said that when their profits return, they would consider
bringing rates down.

ELEANOR HALL: Banks never have high enough profits do they Peter?

PETER RYAN: That's right, they can never be high enough and it is true to say that banks would see
themselves as having a greater responsibility to shareholders.

ELEANOR HALL: Just quickly, more bad news out of the United States this morning too?

PETER RYAN: Yes, there is now more fresh concern about the state of the US economy after a pretty
disappointing set of growth figures and the US, the world's biggest economy grew by just 1.9 per
cent in the three months to July. That disappointed the share market but it is seen as confirmation
that the American economy continues to contract and it adds to the case that the United States
might already be in recession.

ELEANOR HALL: Business editor, Peter Ryan, thank you.

Karadzic immunity claims laughable: former US ambassador

Karadzic immunity claims laughable: former US ambassador

The World Today - Friday, 1 August , 2008 12:20:00

Reporter: Stephanie Kennedy

ELEANOR HALL: The former US ambassador to the United Nations, Richard Holbrooke, has dismissed as
ludicrous the claim that he offered Radovan Karadzic immunity from prosecution in 1996 on the
condition that the war crimes suspect disappeared from public life.

The former Bosnian Serb leader made the claim during his first public appearance in the UN war
crimes court at The Hague where he is charged with genocide.

Mr Karadzic is also disputing the timing of his arrest and said that he had been kidnapped by
civilians three days earlier than the official record states.

Stephanie Kennedy was in the courtroom and she filed this report.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Gone is the disguise of the alternative health guru - the bushy beard has been
shaven and long white hair cut.

Wearing a navy blue suit, Radovan Karadzic is older but he looks very much like his old self. This
was his first public appearance since he went underground 13 years ago.

He sat impassively in the dock as a summary of the charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes
against humanity were read out by the Judge, Alphons Orie.

ALPHONS ORIE: According to the indictment, thousands of non-Serbs were forcibly transferred or
deported from the targeted areas and non-Serbs in the targeted areas were denied fundamental rights
such as the right to work, freedom of movement, access to judicial process and equal access to
medical care.

The indictment further alleges the wanton destruction of non-Serb property including religious

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Through a translator the former Bosnian Serb leader took the opportunity to
complain about his arrest in Belgrade.

RADOVAN KARADZIC (translated): For three days I was kidnapped by civilians whose identity I
ignored. I was kept in a place that I also ignored. My rights were not told me. I had no right for
a telephone, to a telephone call or even a text message to my friends lest they search for me in
hospitals and morgues.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: And he believes he shouldn't be in court at all making a sensational accusation.

He told the court the American mediator, Richard Holbrooke, who presided over the Dayton peace
talks that ended the Bosnian war, offered him immunity if he disappeared from public life.

RADOVAN KARADZIC (translated): I will say that in 1996, my planitecture (phonetic) representatives,
statesmen and ministers were presented with an offer by Mr Richard Holbrooke on behalf of the
United States of America according to which I had to withdraw from public life. I had to make
certain gestures and in return the USA would fulfil their commitments.

This is a matter of life and death. If Mr Holbrooke still wants my death and regret that there is
no death sentence here, I wonder if his arm is long enough to reach me here.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: It's an accusation Richard Holbrooke quickly dismissed.

RICHARD HOLBROOKE: Well, this is an old and completely false story put out by Karadzic after he
disappeared from public life and he was trying to justify himself. It's laughable; quite hilarious
the desperation in his voice, the phoney details, the total invention that it represents.

There was never any deal to give him immunity from capture. It was simply that NATO failed to
capture him. That is NATO's failure, not a deal

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Author Misha Glennie is a specialist on the Balkans.

MISHA GLENNIE: Well, my impressions were that he was trying on one level to emulate Slobodan
Milosevic in his appearance, and it was striking that he looked like the normal Radovan Karadzic
that we knew from the 1990s except he looked older and slightly more weary.

He was teasing us with the references to Holbrooke and secret deals and Holbrooke's intention to
have him liquidated. But, you know Radovan Karadzic is not as cunning and smart a character as
Slobodan Milosevic and I think you will find that he is going to find it very hard to sustain this
over the period of the trial.

And I certainly don't think many people are going to be taken in by the idea that he is going to
reveal deep secrets about what happened in the 1990s on a diplomatic level.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Karadzic did not enter a plea and he'll reappear in court at the end of August.
In The Hague this is Stephanie Kennedy reporting for The World Today.

Confusion reigns over China Olympic access

Confusion reigns over China Olympic access

The World Today - Friday, 1 August , 2008 12:25:00

Reporter: Karen Barlow

ELEANOR HALL: Now to China where there is yet more confusion from the International Olympic
Committee today over the censorship controversy.

The IOC now says that no deal was done with China to censor the internet.

But senior Australian IOC official Kevan Gosper, who spent yesterday apologising to the media for
the censorship, says his reputation has been damaged and that he has been humiliated.

However, the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games remains adamant that journalists do
not need certain sites, to cover the Games.

The president of the Australian Olympic Committee John Coates is among the ranks of the greatly
confused. He held a media conference a short while ago and our Olympics reporter Karen Barlow was
there. She joins us now.

So Karen the IOC has issued this statement this morning that no deal has been struck with the
Chinese on censorship - what did John Coates have to say about that?

KAREN BARLOW: Well, all along he has been very unhappy about the prospect of any deal but this is
an IOC matter, not an AOC matter; so he wants more information.

So this is what he said a sort time ago.

JOHN COATES: Well I hope that there will be no restrictions. That is our view. We have been getting
mixed messages on this and you know Kevan Gosper has felt it necessary to come out and apologise
and he clearly didn't, he clearly at some stage has been under the impression and you showed me the
bit of paper saying there would be restrictions.

He didn't know that. He has apologised. Others in the IOC say there are no restrictions so we'll
see. I'm finding it a little confusing.

ELEANOR HALL: That is the head of the Australian Olympic Committee, John Coates.

So Karen, clearly confusion about whether or not there was a censorship deal. Are you seeing any
difference in your access to the net?

KAREN BARLOW: Surprise, surprise today after some high-level meetings yesterday between the Beijing
organisers, Chinese authorities and the IOC, we can get better access in a place called the MPC
which is where accredited journalists like myself are working.

So we've tested it today and we can access websites such as Amnesty and BBC China which were
blocked before. However we have also tested outside this MPC building and I would say that those
websites, anyone outside the venue would have great trouble getting through still today and Falun
Gong you cannot get onto any of those websites anywhere in China.

ELEANOR HALL: Now the head of the IOC's press commission, Australian Kevan Gosper who spent
yesterday apologising for this supposed deal, told reporters overnight that his reputation has been
damaged. Was Australian Olympic Committee chief asked about the reputation of the IOC as a whole?

KAREN BARLOW: Yes he was and again you know, very unhappy about this matter coming up one week out
from the start of the Games. John Coates says this matter should have been dealt with much earlier.

He says if you've got a problem, he knows how to deal with it. You have to face up to it. But as
for the AOC, IOC executive as a whole, this is what he had to say.

JOHN COATES: Oh, I think, I'm not sure that there aren't honest straight shooters on there. I've
got a very high regard for those on the executive board and Kevan is probably a bit damaged at the

ELEANOR HALL: That is the head of the Australian Olympic Committee, John Coates.

Was he asked at all whether it looks like Kevan Gosper could resign?

KAREN BARLOW: Look, no; no that hasn't been asked at this stage. I think again, he would deflect
this to being a matter for the International Olympic Committee. Journalists seeking more
information from that body but they're still sort of getting very, response out to this whole
situation belatedly. So we are trying to get onto them today.

ELEANOR HALL: Has the head of the IOC, Jacques Rogge had anything to say?

KAREN BARLOW: Well, he only arrived yesterday and we are told that he will be in a series of
high-level meetings over the next, well up until the Opening Ceremony. But there is a scheduled
media press conference with Jacques Rogge and that is this Sunday. So it may be until Sunday until
we hear exactly what he has to say about the deal or no deal.

ELEANOR HALL: We await that with interest. Karen Barlow in Beijing, thank you.

NASA space probe melts Martian ice

NASA space probe melts Martian ice

The World Today - Friday, 1 August , 2008 12:30:00

Reporter: Jennifer Macey

ELEANOR HALL: Scientists have long known that Mars is covered by a sheet of ice - but now for the
first time NASA's space probe on the planet has "touched and tasted" water.

The Phoenix Mars Lander identified a small amount of water in a soil sample collected from just
below the Martian surface. NASA scientists say they can now search for evidence of life on the red
planet, as Jennifer Macey reports.

JENNIFER MACEY: Champagne corks were popping at NASA again this morning now that the Phoenix
spacecraft has found water on Mars after spending some 76 days on the surface of the planet looking
for signs of life.

Sara Hammond is the public affairs manager for the Phoenix Mars Mission in Tuscon Arizona.

SARA HAMMOND: We knew from orbiters that there was a sheet of ice covering about 25 per cent of
Mars and we are actually sitting on it. We have reached down and touched it. We've tasted it and
we've smelled it. So that is a terrific for our mission to have accomplished.

JENNIFER MACEY: The Phoenix spacecraft successfully landed on Mars's polar cap in June after
travelling for nine months from Earth.

The Phoenix principal investigator Peter Smith says since then the lander has been taking pictures
of the planet and digging below the surface.

PETER SMITH: We landed right on top of water ice and the thrusters spread the soil away and
revealed ice right underneath our lander. This was unexpected. Look at this. At the bottom, we now
see a dark patch after scraping and that dark patch, we consider to be ice.

JENNIFER MACEY: However the Phoenix has failed to identify any ice or water samples in the soil
it's collected until now.

The soil samples are cooked in an oven on the deck of the Phoenix Lander - which has the more
technical name of the Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyser.

William Boynton is professor planetary sciences at the University of Arizona and the scientist in
charge of the particular instrument.

WILLIAM BOYNTON: It was difficult because the ice was very, very hard so we actually had a little
drill-like device, it is actually called a rasp, and we were rasping the sample and kind of
grinding up the ice into ice powder.

We got a very good sample and we tried to deliver it to TEGA and it wouldn't fall out of the scoop
and when they tilted the scoop over for the sample to pour out, it just stuck there. It was almost
like it had refrozen right into the scoop which is very much a surprise to us.

JENNIFER MACEY: Mars is a cold desert planet with no liquid water on its surface; but below ground
there's ice. Scientists found this ice a few years ago using satellite images and gamma ray

So one of the main aims of the Phoenix mission is to test this ice - and the theory that Mars can
support life.

Professor Boynton again.

WILLIAM BOYNTON: This is a little bit more information in that direction. We know water is a very
important part of life but the main goals of this whole mission is to understand the habitability
of this particular area and to see if Mars might have been habitable in the past for life.

So this is just one very small part of it. We know water is really a necessity for life but other
things need to be found as well and the mission is still working to find some of those other

JENNIFER MACEY: The discovery has excited Mars scientists and enthusiasts.

Dr Jon Clarke from the Australian Centre of Astrobiology at the University of New South Wales is
the vice president of the Mars Society of Australia.

JON CLARKE: We may be able to actually find the traces of it, the actual bodies of micro-organisms,
perhaps are preserved in this ice and we can find out more about that by looking at it.

Of course, maybe there is no life and that will be just as interesting although perhaps not just as

JENNIFER MACEY: He says even if researchers don't find past evidence of life - finding water will
help to support future life - in the form of manned missions to Mars or even colonisation of the
Red Planet.

JON CLARKE: We would use on a space mission to Mars perhaps 25 litres of water a day per person and
even with recycling, that is several kilograms of water per day per person. And if you don't have
to bring that from Earth and you can use a local source, then that makes life a lot easier and a
lot cheaper.

JENNIFER MACEY: NASA is now extending the Phoenix mission for another month, to continue testing
soil samples, and to study the Martian weather.

ELEANOR HALL: Jennifer Macey with that report.

Proposed Qld council labelled undemocratic

Proposed Qld council labelled undemocratic

The World Today - Friday, 1 August , 2008 12:35:00

Reporter: Annie Guest

ELEANOR HALL: It has barely hit the news, and already the Queensland Government's proposal to
hand-pick an Aboriginal advisory council has come in for criticism.

The North Queensland Land Council has labelled the proposal undemocratic.

The plan involves the state government selecting 12 Aboriginal Queenslanders to advise the
Government on issues such as Indigenous health and education.

But the Queensland Government abolished the Department of Aboriginal Affairs in 2006, and critics
say the latest move is merely aimed at shoring up support ahead of next year's state election.

In Brisbane, Annie Guest reports.

ANNIE GUEST: The idea emanates from the 2020 summit.

It could include 12 Aboriginal people counselling the Government on issues ranging from Indigenous
education, to health, to business.

But the idea of a the group being hand-picked by the Queensland Government, to advise the
Queensland Government worries Terry O'Shane from the North Queensland Land Council.

TERRY O'SHANE: When it comes to black fellas in this country, Governments think you shouldn't elect
them so there is something fundamentally wrong and what is fundamentally wrong is that they are
inherently racist in terms of adopting that particular position.

ANNIE GUEST: Neither the Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh or the Aboriginal Affairs Minister were
available for an interview.

A spokeswoman says the Government hasn't yet settled on the idea; it's just one option.

She says the Government is seeking feedback from Indigenous people about what role the so-called
"Indigenous Advisory Forum" would play, who would be on it and how often it would meet.

If established, the body would follow at least two others - the Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Advisory Board, established in 1999, and the earlier Indigenous Advisory Council.

It's not yet known how the new body would be different.

Terry O'Shane says - it wouldn't be, because it's unelected.

TERRY O'SHANE: This is a Government position or there is no position at all and people don't have
the opportunity to bring those positions forward. If it contradicts or it is different to what the
Government wants to do, then the Government will not do it.

ANNIE GUEST: The Queensland Government's move to establish a group of advisers comes as the Federal
Government continues plans for its own advisory body.

It made an election promise to replace the previous government's National Indigenous Council. It's
not clear whether the new advisers would report directly to the Prime Minister.

This morning, The World Today contacted eight Indigenous people for a response to the Queensland
Government's plan.

Half were opposed to the advisory body. Some either didn't return calls or declined to comment, but
none said they were in favour.

University of Queensland Indigenous academic Sam Watson, believes it's politically motivated.

SAM WATSON: I firmly believe that because there is a state election due within the next 12 months,
that the state government is trying to shore up its situation by attending to minor matters such as
Indigenous Affairs.

ANNIE GUEST: Are you saying that this is a cynical exercise?

SAM WATSON: Absolutely. I mean some years ago we saw Mr Beatty, once he had been elected, after his
final term, within a matter of days he had sacked the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Island Affairs - again without any consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

He then removed the position of Minister from the Cabinet so Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
people were left without any voice or role in government.

ANNIE GUEST: Well, the State Government reportedly says that this new advisory body will do just
that. It will give Indigenous people a voice.

SAM WATSON: I don't see how because if the state government wants to given Aboriginal and Torres
Islander people an effective voice, then let the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
elect their representatives and send their representatives down to Brisbane to talk with the

ELEANOR HALL: That is Indigenous academic Sam Watson ending that report from Annie Guest in

Researchers excited over possible new dolphin species

Researchers excited over possible new dolphin species

The World Today - Friday, 1 August , 2008 12:40:00

Reporter: Simon Santow

ELEANOR HALL: Scientists off the coast of Western Australia say they've discovered a new species of

It's known as the Snubfin dolphin and it's thought to be a relative of the Irrawaddy, a dolphin in
danger of extinction in parts of Asia.

The scientists say they'll know for sure whether it is a new species when the results of DNA tests
are received, but in the meantime they've released some of the rarely heard sounds of the Snubfin

(Sound of a dolphin)

Our reporter Simon Santow has been speaking to one of the expeditioners, Dr Tammie Matson from
conservation group WWF.

TAMMIE MATSON: Well, it was incredibly exciting because we saw quite a lot of Australia's unique
Snubfin dolphin, and at one stage actually we had about six of them going around the boat and so
really incredible to see that. This is Australia's only endemic dolphin and only discovered just a
few years ago.

SIMON SANTOW: So it is not the first time that the Snubfin dolphin have been seen but what makes
these ones a little bit different.

TAMMIE MATSON: The ones from the Kimberley are quite amazing. I mean, from what we have seen so
far, there is so little known about this dolphin that is probably quite important to say from the

Because the species was only discovered three years ago and there has only been some genetics work
done on the Queensland population, this is a species that is only thought to be found in northern
Australia and nowhere else in the world.

That work that is being done now in the Kimberley; in the Northern Territory as well is totally
going to show that we may even have a separate sub-species or even another species of dolphin. But
you know, being on the boat for the last couple of days, the scientists were there taking genetic
samples of Snubfin dolphins there. So time will tell if that really is the case; so we are very
excited about the prospect.

SIMON SANTOW: And how far off the coast dolphins did you find these dolphins?

TAMMIE MATSON: Snubfin dolphins appear to just like inshore coastal areas; so the Queensland
populations don't go really more than 10 kilometres off shore. So of course, that puts them into
contact with fishermen and tourists on boats. That is something that we are quite concerned about
because this is quite an area of quite intensive human activity.

SIMON SANTOW: And the ones off the Kimberley coast, are they need areas of large population or
fishing areas?

TAMMIE MATSON: Absolutely, the ones that we were looking at were in Roebuck Bay and that is just
right off the coast of Broome and that area is really developing very, very fast and yet, you know,
it is one of the last relatively intact places in terms of ecosystems in Australia.

The Kimberley region itself is one of the last places in Australia where there hasn't been mammal
extinctions yet.

SIMON SANTOW: And when you speak to the people of Broome, are they familiar with these dolphins? Do
they just speak as if these dolphins have been there for as long as they know?

TAMMIE MATSON: I think a lot of people locally do know that they exist but they probably don't know
just how special they are. They are quite unusual to look at as well; they don't look like a normal
dolphin. They look kind of more like a porpoise. They have got quite a round flat nose. They don't
have the long nose like the bottle nose and they are quite shy and they are kind of elusive
actually so you don't see them all the time.

They tend to, when they come out of the water, they don't usually show much of their head; so they
are one of Australia's shyest dolphins and that is probably why it took so long for them to be

SIMON SANTOW: I understand that the team up there has recorded some footage of the dolphin spitting
into the water. Can you tell me about that technique? What is that used for?

TAMMIE MATSON: Well, Snubfin dolphins use this to hurt fish so that they can actually catch them
and eat them; so that was amazing to see that. So it is an incredible behaviour and it is amazing
to see these dolphins up close anyway; so you can imagine how excited all of us were to be on the
boat and to actually be seeing them up close to the boat. But then to see those natural behaviours
and see them so comfortable with us nearby was just fantastic.

SIMON SANTOW: Tammie Matson, have you got any idea of the numbers of these dolphins at the moment
in that particular area of the Kimberley coast?

TAMMIE MATSON: We have absolutely no idea what is going on with this species yet.; it is such early
days. It is so exciting to have this research going on because it is going to uncover that baseline
ecological data that we need to conserve the species. So it is just too early to say.

But they probably are quite rare and if we don't make sure that we reduce all the potential human
impacts to them at this stage then we could see them going the way of for example the Irrawaddy
dolphin in Asia which is now critically endangered and very much on the path to extinction.

ELEANOR HALL: WWF's Dr Tammie Matson speaking to our reporter, Simon Santow.

Scientists unveil cheaper fuel cell alternative

Scientists unveil cheaper fuel cell alternative

The World Today - Friday, 1 August , 2008 12:45:00

Reporter: Jesse Leary

ELEANOR HALL: With petrol prices on the rise, many motorists are looking to alternatives like
hybrid cars to bring down their fuel costs.

But the hydrogen fuel cells that power these cars have a flaw - they're partially built from
platinum - one of the world's rarest and most expensive metals.

Now though some scientists have discovered an unusual alternative in a material more commonly found
on the backs of bushwalkers and skiers.

As Jesse Leary reports.

JESSE LEARY: Platinum is already used to reduce carbon emissions from cars.

The metal is used in catalytic converters to trap carbon in exhaust. Platinum is also a crucial
ingredient in the hydrogen fuel cells that are powering the increasingly popular hybrid cars.

But platinum is at a premium - put simply there's not enough of the rare and expensive metal to go

JOHN MAVROGENES: There's a couple of very large deposits in the world. One of them is called the
Bushveld in South Africa and it could be mined for a long time.

JESSE LEARY: Professor John Mavrogenes is a geochemist from the Australian National University
who's been involved in the search for new supplies of platinum.

JOHN MAVROGENES: Most of platinum in the world comes from there and a mine in the middle of Siberia
called Norilsk. It is estimated that if we take all of that platinum and if we have to make
billions of cars with fuel cells in them, we are still going to be extremely short.

JESSE LEARY: But a cheap alternative to platinum may have just been found from left field.

It's the polymer used in millions of outdoor and wet-weather jackets - Gore-Tex.

A team at Melbourne's Monash University has designed a new hydrogen fuel cell that uses Gore-Tex
instead of platinum.

University researcher Dr Bjorn Winther-Jensen

BJORN WINTHER-JENSEN: The Gore-Tex is providing a function as a membrane. On The Gore-Tex we have a
coated an active conducting polymer, and that is actually the material that substitutes platinum in
this electrode. That means the electrode can convert oxygen from the atmosphere and thereby act as
one side of fuel cells.

JESSE LEARY: What would the durability and efficiency of these Gore-Tex cells be compared to the
regular platinum ones?

BJORN WINTHER-JENSEN: We have approximately the same conversion rates as for platinum; depending a
little bit on the pH of the electrolyte. Durability, we have been running for three months now
continuously without any degradation.

JESSE LEARY: Dr Winther-Jensen says the new technology is not without its problems.

BJORN WINTHER-JENSEN: There's a lot of engineering still to go into it. The material thickness that
we are using is very thin and to achieve sufficient energy density per square centimetre, so to
speak, we have to be able to apply thicker layers and make them active and there is still quite a
bit of engineering in that.

So it's not as much on the material side as on the engineering side to get a real 3D structure in
the membrane.

JESSE LEARY: But he's confident that hydrogen fuel cells using the cheap Gore-Tex electrodes will
be on the roads within the next decade.

BJORN WINTHER-JENSEN: I think for cars we are talking about something like seven, eight years. For
smaller application like substitution for batteries for PCs or mobile phones or that kind of
battery substitution size, I think we are talking a much shorter time frame; like two to three

ELEANOR HALL: That is Dr Bjorn Winther-Jensen ending Jesse Leary's report.

New art prize celebrates sport

New art prize celebrates sport

The World Today - Friday, 1 August , 2008 12:50:00

Reporter: Simon Lauder

ELEANOR HALL: In some ways the two disciplines couldn't be more different. But art and sport have
been melded together by a new exhibition in Melbourne and a large wad of cash.

The winner of the inaugural Basil Sellers Art Prize for the best portrayal of sport in art was
announced last night. Organisers say they hope that the prize will attract new fans to art

Simon Lauder went along for the announcement.

SIMON LAUDER: A large plasma TV screen turned on its side shows a sprinter running on a treadmill.
Daniel Crooks is the creator of this work, which he calls 'Static No.11 - Man Running '.

Daniel Crooks worked with just four seconds of footage, which he manipulated with extreme slow
motion and the duplication of columns of pixels so the runner's body appears to stretch out.

DANIEL CROOKS: There is basically a line down the centre of the screen and it is kind of like a
little crevice that then starts to open up and what is in that is the time between the two halves
so as the halves open up you get this, well I call them temporal structures so it is a structure
made out of time. It is, hopefully a kind of valid, what appears to be a valid physical form but it
is completely sort of abstracted and ..

SIMON LAUDER: So you are not just stretching out time?

DANIEL CROOKS: No, I am actually just packing more time in there really. That is what you get., you
get a whole lot more time but you get no space. You have just got that one laser vision.

SIMON LAUDER: And it is clearly art but is it sport?

DANIEL CROOKS: Well, I was saying this to a few people last night. I think what Basil was doing
with this show and trying to get artists to engage with themes and ideas of sport, he sort of did
that just by making it a competition. It has been a kind of weird process to say the least.

SIMON LAUDER: The Basil Sellers Art Prize is named after its benefactor, a businessman and

Other entries used sculpture, painting, or photography to portray sport. But the director of the
Ian Potter Museum of Art and one of the competition's judges, Dr Chris McAuliffe, says the judges
were looking for works that weren't merely about sport, but one that explores the psychology, drama
and spirit of sport. It's not the Archibald in a footy jumper.

But he is hoping people in footy jumpers will be attracted to the arts by the popular theme.

CHRIS MCAULIFFE: I just don't see why someone who goes to the football or the cricket or you know,
who swims ten laps a day at their local pool, wouldn't be interested in art as well.

SIMON LAUDER: Why don't you see that? I mean there is not a lot that the two disciplines have in
common, is there?

CHRIS MCAULIFFE: Well, I think there is. One of the pieces in this show by Sean Gladwell is a video
installation of various elite athletes at that moment before the race when they have to visualise.
And it is just like an artist; you have got a vision in your head that you want to make real and
that is what an athlete does.

They've seen the race before it is even run and in a lot of ways, that is what an artist has to do
as well. They have to see the painting before it is made.

SIMON LAUDER: In some ways the arts world and the sports world directly compete. People often draw
the differences to light when talking about funding for various industries. For you, is it a case
of if you can't beat 'em them, join 'em?

CHRIS MCAULIFFE: Look there has to be an element of that, you are quite right. We have to argue for
more support for art. But it is a marathon, you can't avoid using the sporting analogies. That is a
long distance race, that one. It is not going to happen overnight.

SIMON LAUDER: Daniel Crooks is still coming to terms with the winner's prize which is more akin to
the sports world than the arts.

DANIEL CROOKS: Oh, it is incredible. Yeah. This is very good. I think we need a few more of these.
This is definitely going to change my life and career. So everyone has been saying what is this the
deposit on a house. But I think it just means that I can, yeah, hopefully get to realise some
slightly more ambitious things that were a little bit out of my league, up until now, so yeah.

ELEANOR HALL: Good luck to him. Artist Daniel Crooks who has just won the inaugural Basil Sellers
prize for portraying sport in art. He was speaking there to Simon Lauder.

Vic Labor MP takes party feud public

Vic Labor MP takes party feud public

The World Today - Friday, 1 August , 2008 12:55:00

Reporter: Alison Caldwell

ELEANOR HALL: Now to the sometimes less edifying art of politics, and the extraordinary public
brawl which has erupted inside the Victorian Labor Party.

The in-fighting in the Premier's own faction has now escalated to the point where one MP has used
parliamentary privilege to accuse a fellow party member of treachery and branch stacking.

In a scathing attack, George Seitz compared Natalie Suleyman, who is a confidante of senior federal
Labor figures, to Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe.

The Liberal Party says it underlines the desperate need for a broad based anti-corruption
commission in Victoria,

In Melbourne, Alison Caldwell reports.

ALISON CALDWELL: Back in June, on the same day as the Gippsland by-election, voters in the
Victorian state seat of Kororoit went to the polls in a by-election brought about by the retirement
of former police minister Andre Haermeyer.

In the months before, the preferred candidate for Labor powerbrokers, including Bill Shorten and
Stephen Conroy, was the local councillor and former mayor Natalie Suleyman.

In the end though, Natalie Suleyman lost preselection to her rival Marlene Kairouz, who's also a
member of the Labor right faction. Devastated, Natalie Suleyman retreated to her role with the
local Brimbank Council while Marlene Kairouz went on to win the vote.

Last week, it emerged that local sporting clubs had been told to submit expressions of interest if
they wanted to use their own sporting fields. Councillors aligned with Natalie Suleyman claimed the
grounds were being misused for political activities involving the ALP.

Deputy Mayor Kathryn Eriksson spoke to Stateline.

KATHRYN ERIKSSON: For branch stacking, for recruiting members in the ALP which is basically getting
people to join the ALP who do not pay to belong to the ALP; but then will go and do what they're
told by the person who has facilitated their membership.

ALISON CALDWELL: One of Marlene Kairouz's biggest supporters is veteran Labor MP George Seitz. He
claims the council move is payback for not supporting Natalie Suleyman in the recent by-election.
He denies he's ever been involved in branch stacking.

GEORGE SEITZ: I've never done that. I don't have to do that because I have been here well before
they came on the scene. So I never had to do it; they are playing that sort of game and making
those accusations simply to divert the people and the media from the truth.

ALISON CALDWELL: By Wednesday, the 67-year-old was up on his feet in Parliament, launching a
scathing attack on Natalie Suleyman and her allies and backing calls for Brimbank Council to be

(The following audio was recorded by Fairfax Radio.)

GEORGE SEITZ: I grieve today on behalf of the people in the Keilor electorate and the city of
Brimbank; in particular because of Natalie Suleyman who is the Robert Mugabe of Brimbank.

She runs Brimbank same as Robert Mugabe runs Zimbabwe. With her supporters, they are controlling
Brimbank and those councillors that form the majority in Brimbank.

ALISON CALDWELL: The member for Keilor since 1982, George Seitz's parliamentary career was summed
up by former Labor premier John Cain as "eminently forgettable, a backbench warrior who was out
there in the local electorate doing a lot of branch stacking and enjoying it."

Three ALP reports in 2005 accused Mr Seitz of running a branch stacking factory from his office,
using forms signed with dozens of false signatures and false minutes of meetings that never took

Two years ago, branches under Seitz's control in Maribyrnong were crucial to the preselection hopes
of then up and comer Bill Shorten who belongs to Seitz's right faction.

As ALP state president Bill Shorten was on the committee which allowed George Seitz to remain in
Parliament past the retirement age of 65. Yesterday in Parliament, a dirt sheet on Natalie Suleyman
was anonymously inserted into copies of Hansard printed for MPs and staff.

The three pages also included insulting references to George Seitz, dubbed 'King George', and his
26 years distinguished service to the Australian Labor Party.

Here an actor reads an excerpt from the dirt sheet.

(Extract from dirt sheet)

ACTOR: Not only has she never worked for real boss in a real job in private enterprise, except I
understand for a brief sojourn as cleaner in the Crown Casino after she left school, we can not
afford to entertain her vain ambitions for a moment longer.

(End of extract)

ALISON CALDWELL: Natalie Suleyman didn't return The World Today's calls and neither did George

Opposition leader Ted Baillieu says the claims and counterclaims involving MPs and local councils
underline the need for a broad based anti-corruption commission in Victoria.

TED BAILLIEU: What action has the Premier taken to establish a full independent inquiry into these
extraordinary and unprecedented allegations.

ELEANOR HALL: Victorian Opposition leader Ted Baillieu ending Alison Caldwell's report.