Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts.These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
RN World Today -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

Australian market rallies on bailout hopes

LISA MILLAR: The Australian share market has staged a recovery today, shaking off most of the
losses from yesterday's heavy falls locally and around the world.

Bargain hunters have dived back into banks and resources, in the hope that the United States
Congress will eventually pass the $700-billion bailout of America's financial system.

But the optimism could be short lived, with credit markets still frozen over in fear that the
rescue plan on its own won't be enough to avert a deep depression, a deep recession sorry, in the
United States.

Here's our business editor Peter Ryan.

PETER RYAN: This time yesterday the Australian share market was in freefall after the US House of
Representatives rejected a $700-billion bailout for America's fast sinking financial system.

Twenty four hours on the blood bath on Wall Street has become a 4.6 per cent rally, with growing
optimism that the rescue package will survive; at least in some form.

Investors in Australia had no choice but to follow the US lead with fingers crossed.

OLIVER STEVENS: We had a really positive lead, a lot of hope that this bill in the Congress can be
resurrected and it can be resurrected quickly.

PETER RYAN: Oliver Stevens is the head of dealing at IG Markets, this morning he saw the Australian
share market claw back more than three per cent, thanks to bargain hunting amid yesterday's ashes.

OLIVER STEVENS: It seems the rally was based more on hope than hard facts. We heard Congress saying
yesterday that they will to pass the bill, but we heard that also over the weekend and then they
failed, on Monday.

So until the actual bill is signed, I think there's a lot of concern. We also saw hopes of some
central bank rate cutting over the next few days as they try to help the liquidity squeeze that we
saw come to fruition yesterday.

PETER RYAN: But today's rally has done little to help credit markets which remain frozen over in
fear. As a result Oliver Stevens says the cost of sourcing money is spiralling by the day, as the
US congress negotiates a deal.

OLIVER STEVENS: We saw the overnight cost of borrowing US dollars rise over four per cent, 430
basis points, it was trading at over six per cent with the US Fed funds at two per cent, so
obviously there was a complete lack of dollars yesterday.

The ECB (European Central Bank) was loaning out dollars overnight at 11 per cent, nine per cent
above the US rate. Everyone is trying to hoard US dollars, and that's really what's causing a lot
of concern, the money markets have dried up.

PETER RYAN: And is that really bringing us closer towards a point where the banks might consider
rationing credit because of the higher cost of sourcing money?

OLIVER STEVENS: I think that's definitely going to be the case, what we're going to see next week,
the RBA is expected to start, to continue cutting rates, with many people expecting a 50 basis
point cut in the meeting next Tuesday, and then probably a total of a hundred basis points before
the end of the year.

The question is whether the banks can afford to pass that on.

PETER RYAN: Josh Williamson of TD Securities, says with banks still worried about more shocks in
the pipeline, customers seeking mortgage relief could be disappointed.

JOSH WILLIAMSON: Banks are still hoarding cash, they're still scared to lend to each other, they're
still scared of further losses and write-downs and further nasty surprises from the global subprime
liquidity crisis, and they're wanting to keep their cash in-house in case they might need it
themselves.

PETER RYAN: Josh Williamson is expecting interest rates to be cut by a quarter of one per cent,
perhaps even half a per cent when the Reserve Bank board meets next Tuesday.

But he says the RBA has a delicate balance between helping anyone with a mortgage and restoring
confidence and liquidity to the banking sector.

JOSH WILLIAMSON: Yes I think it will be designed to actually put some pressure on banks to ensure
that something is passed through, it's also got to be designed to instil more confidence I think in
consumers, households and everybody in the economy generally, that the Reserve Bank is prepared to
do their part.

Because we know that interest rate changes do affect consumer sentiment, they do affect business
sentiment as well. So there's a few things the Reserve Bank going to be wanting to be kick starting
here with the, continuing with the rate cut next week.

It's just a bit up in the air how much is going to be passed through. You know, we want the
politicians of course, who want to see as much of that rate cut passed through, mortgagee's, and
I'm one of them want to see that passed through as well.

PETER RYAN: But whatever the Reserve Bank decides, Oliver Stevens of IG Markets says the days of
easy credit will soon be gone.

OLIVER STEVENS: We're not going to see 100 per cent mortgages anymore, people are going to require
more deposits, you know, in the US and the UK now you're requiring a 25 per cent deposit on most
mortgages. Now only a year or two ago people were looking at a five per cent deposit, some people
were even getting 110 per cent mortgages, that is not going to happen anymore.

Those with a poor credit history are going to find it difficult to get loans; if they do they're
going to be paying a lot more than they were 18 months ago. So that's obviously going to have a big
knock-on effect in the retail sector and to the economy as a whole.

LISA MILLAR: That's Oliver Stevens of IG Markets ending that report from business editor Peter
Ryan.

Swan dives on rates cut, says Opposition

LISA MILLAR: As borrowers once again wait with baited breath to see if the Reserve Bank Board next
week cuts the official cash rate, there are worries the banks won't pass on the rate cut in full.

And this time round, the banks won't be under the same pressure to do so by the Federal Treasurer.

Wayne Swan has relaxed his demand that lenders pass on any rate cuts, saying the global financial
crisis has complicated matters.

The Opposition is accusing him of letting the big banks off the hook.

From Canberra, Kirrin McKechnie reports.

KIRRIN MCKECHNIE: Earlier this year, Wayne Swan picked a fight with the big banks, demanding they
pass on any cuts in official interest rates to borrowers.

But as the panic on Wall Street spreads across the globe, he's eased up on the banks.

WAYNE SWAN: I would encourage all of our banks to act as responsibly and as competitively as they
possibly can.

KIRRIN MCKECHNIE: The Reserve Bank board meets next Tuesday and is widely tipped to cut the
official cash rate by as much as half a per cent.

While the Treasurer says he'll still pressure banks to pass on a rates cut, he concedes they're
facing higher borrowing costs.

WAYNE SWAN: There is certainly a problem at the moment in terms of short-term costs for banks, they
have spiked and they are very high, it complicates the matter.

But it is certainly not the case that the banks would be in the position where they would say they
would not pass on any official rate cut at all.

JULIE BISHOP: I am disappointed that Wayne Swan has effectively taken pressure off the banks to
pass on the full rate cut should the Reserve Bank cut interest rates next week. By stating that the
circumstances are different this time and the Treasurer just hopes that the banks will act
responsibly is very different from insisting that banks pass on the full rate cut; be it a quarter
or even half a per cent.

KIRRIN MCKECHNIE: The shadow treasurer Julie Bishop says regardless of ongoing financial
uncertainty, banks have a responsibility to pass on any rate cut in full.

JULIE BISHOP: Well this will depend on whether the Reserve Bank cuts interest rates next week of
course, and that is a matter for the Reserve Bank. But should the Reserve Bank cut interest rates
next week, whether it be a quarter or even half a per cent, our banks should pass that on.

KIRRIN MCKECHNIE: And the Treasurer is now under fire over his announcement last week that the
Government was buying up residential mortgages. He made the announcement late on Friday afternoon.

It now appears while the markets had officially closed, not all trades had been settled.

JULIE BISHOP: If the timing of the Treasurer's announcement was bungled, then that is a cause for
concern, particularly as it comes on top of the Treasurer's answers in Question Time that week when
it was clear that the Treasurer didn't understand the home lending market.

He gave two wrong answers confusing Government borrowing with Government lending, so that is a
cause for concern.

KIRRIN MCKECHNIE: But Wayne Swan has told AM, he received advice he was in the clear to make the
announcement.

WAYNE SWAN: Well we announced that after the market closed and that was the advice we received from
our regulators as to when we should make that announcement, we took that advice.

CHRIS UHLMANN: But doesn't settlement take place for another ten minutes and didn't we see a 25
point rise in the stock exchange between 4:00 and 4:10 while you were making your announcement?

WAYNE SWAN: Well, I'd have to go away and have a look at that Chris, but I took the advice from our
regulators about the timing of our announcement and I'm entirely confident that was the right thing
to do.

LISA MILLAR: The Treasurer Wayne Swan, ending that report from Kirrin McKechnie.

Washington edges towards revised bailout deal

LISA MILLAR: There's a glimmer of hope in Washington that the White House and congressional leaders
will manage to salvage a plan to stabilise America's financial sector.

The stalled Wall Street rescue package may be revived by the end of the week.

But part of the problem in convincing Americans of its necessity is that the man pushing the deal,
George W. Bush, is politically weaker than at any time in his presidency.

Washington correspondent, Kim Landers reports.

KIM LANDERS: The President has again been offering fresh warnings, but no new ideas, about the
urgent need for a multi-billion dollar rescue package for the financial industry.

GEORGE W. BUSH: We're facing a choice between action and the real prospect of economic hardship for
millions of Americans, for the financial security of every American Congress must act.

KIM LANDERS: George W. Bush has delivered this plea before.

He's used brief remarks to the media, prime time speeches to the nation, even an unprecedented
White House crisis summit with both presidential contenders.

But his inability to persuade enough people to back the bailout bid shows just how politically weak
he's become.

With the presidential election just five weeks away, a lot of attention is focused on Republican
nominee John McCain and his Democratic rival Barack Obama.

Both are pledging new efforts to persuade their party colleagues of the need to act.

John McCain has delivered his pep talk at a meeting of small business owners in Iowa.

JOHN MCCAIN: To the state the obvious we are in the greatest financial crisis of our lifetimes.
Congressional inaction has put every American in the entire economy at the gravest risk.

Yesterday the country and the world looked to Washington for leadership and Congress once again
came up empty handed.

KIM LANDERS: Barack Obama says there's plenty of blame to go around. But he's told a rally in
Nevada that all politicians now have a responsibility to act, because the crisis is affecting the
financial well-being of every American.

BARACK OBAMA: There will be time to punish those who set this fire, but now is the moment for us to
come together and put the fire out.

(crowd cheers)

I mean think about it, think about it, if your neighbour's house is burning, you're not going to
spend a whole lot of time saying well that guy was always irresponsible, he always left the stove
on, he always was smoking in bed. All those things may be true, but his house could end up
affecting your house and that's the situation we're in right now.

KIM LANDERS: Eric Davis is a Professor Emeritus of political science at Middlebury College in
Vermont.

He says decisions that are made now about the America's financial crisis will affect whoever wins
the presidential race.

ERIC DAVIS: Some of the decisions that are going to be made, both on Capitol Hill and in the
markets over the next three months will determine whether the next president faces a very deep
recession that's going to be there for most of his four-year term, or whether it's a period of
economic difficulty that might only last only say a year or 18 months.

KIM LANDERS: Who is doing a better job of convincing the American public that they would be the
better steward of the American economy, is it John McCain or Barack Obama?

ERIC DAVIS: The polls indicate that American's have more confidence in Obama as an economic manager
than McCain. I believe that's for two reasons, first of all, in times of economic difficulty,
Americans tend to favour the Democratic Party, it's seen as the party that's more in sympathy with
the interests of the middle class and the common person.

Second I believe over the last two weeks, Obama has presented the image of cool and collected
leadership while McCain has been floundering around and has seemed sometimes to be acting
impulsively rather than in a considered and deliberative way.

KIM LANDERS: Did John McCain manoeuvre himself into a bit of a political dead end by putting his
campaign on hold, coming to Washington, injecting himself into the bailout talks and yet it was his
own Republican Party which didn't help to deliver the numbers and ended up defeating this bailout
bill on the floor of the House.

ERIC DAVIS: If the bill had passed on the House floor, then McCain could have claimed some credit
for it, he could say that what he did in terms of coming back to Washington, making calls to
members over the weekend helped ensure it passes.

But since a substantial majority, 2-1 of Republican members voted against it, it's very difficult
for McCain to claim that he contributed to anything positive and perhaps indeed his intervention
ended up leading some more Republicans to vote against it.

KIM LANDERS: How would you rate George W. Bush's ability to influence the debate about this bailout
plan and about the financial strife that the country is facing?

ERIC DAVID: Bush has been on television nearly every day for the past week, whether it's for a
nationally televised speech; speeches from the White House in the morning; meetings while foreign
leaders are visiting him. And so far his interventions don't seem to have had much affect at all.

If the banks are running out of financial capital, George Bush is running out of political capital,
and it's hard to see whether there's a rescue plan in the future for him.

LISA MILLAR: That's Professor Eric Davis ending the report from our correspondent Kim Landers.

Former Fed heavyweight dismisses flawed bailout proposals

LISA MILLAR: A former high ranking official at the US Federal Reserve says the politicians who
didn't support the bailout package made the right choice.

Dr Robert Eisenbeis who was an executive vice-president of the Federal Reserve between 1996 and
2006, is in Sydney to address a financial markets conference.

Dr Eisenbeis says the bailout is nothing but loss sharing between financial institutions and
taxpayers, who he says are justifiably sceptical about it.

And he's urging the Australian Government to examine the fine print on any potential bailout before
supporting it.

Dr Eisenbeis spoke to Michael Edwards.

ROBERT EISENBEIS: The bailout package really is nothing but loss sharing agreements between equity
holders and financial institutions and debt holders of financial institutions and the taxpayer.

And what we're seeing in the United States right now is that the taxpayer perceives this correctly
and is having trouble assuming the responsibility for financial debts that others have accumulated.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: So what you're saying is that the public is getting right, it's the politicians
who support it who are getting it wrong?

ROBERT EISENBEIS: That's my view, I think that's correct and part of the reason for that conclusion
is the fact that it's being misrepresented right now what the actual nature of the vote was in
Congress.

The perception is that this was a problem of Republicans not supporting an agreed upon package when
in fact 92 Democrats voted against it. If those Democrats had supported their own party, it would
have passed without any trouble. And the reason that they voted the way they did, was their
constituents were against the bill 20-1.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Many governments including Australia are trying to lobby for support for a bailout
package within the United States, what would you say to them right now?

ROBERT EISENBEIS: I think, I understand why they feel the way they do, because they're concerned
about the potential spill-overs to other countries and to other financial markets and that's a
rational concern, and so I understand why they're pushing the way they are.

But from what I've been able to observe from the rhetoric that I've seen on TV since I've been here
in Australia is there's a superficial understanding at this juncture of what the nature of the
underlying problems are.

And they're reacting to more the fear that there will be these spill-over attempts and they want to
see the US take action in a way that makes it go away.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: But surely there are consequences for economies such as Australia with this
fallout?

ROBERT EISENBEIS: Oh sure there are, and it has to do with the extent to which market psychology
plays itself out and affects markets in Australia, and one of the things that struck me was how
conscious everybody is at this juncture of what's going on in financial markets because of the
superannuation funds and the extents of the stake that everybody has in the market, which is not
the same in the United States.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: You would say to the Australian Government then that it's not necessarily the cure
to this problem?

ROBERT EISENBEIS: That's right, I understand why they feel the way they do, but I don't think this
is a cure to the problem, and we are seeing this work itself out, as the institutions who had
questionable positions and questionable capital base are in fact in the process of being
restructured and many are disappearing. Which is exactly what happened in the dot com bust, it's
just happening in a different way.

LINDA MILLAR: And that was Dr Robert Eisenbeis, a former executive vice-president at the US Federal
Reserve, and he was speaking to Michael Edwards.

Increased safety checks for Chinese food imports

LISA MILLAR: The Federal Government has allocated an additional $100,000 to step up testing of
Chinese food imports, at the same time as its assuring Australian consumers that they shouldn't
panic over the contamination scare.

In the past couple of weeks, food safety authorities here have been checking if any contaminated
milk products were in Australian shops.

At first, they looked for infant formula, then for products which could contain small quantities of
Chinese milk, including lollies.

Yesterday, the chocolate giant Cadbury recalled one of its Chinese-made products, prompting some
consumers to question whether asking importers to certify their own products is an adequate
response to the health scare.

It's one of the questions The World Today's Ashley Hall put to the Parliamentary Secretary
responsible, Senator Jan McLucas.

JAN MCLUCAS: Look I understand the concern for consumers, but we do have to keep this in
perspective, this is not a terrible public health risk at the moment, you'd have to eat an enormous
amount of these products to affect your health. But in saying that I still do understand the
concern and to be frank I wouldn't be eating any of it myself.

Can I also say that the Government has allocated funding to increase surveillance and testing at
the point of importation of a range of products from China that may contain dairy product. This has
begun in the last couple of days.

ASHLEY HALL: I understand that most imported food is tested at a rate of about five per cent per
consignment, what would this extended testing take that level to?

JAN MCLUCAS: I can't answer the question in terms of a percentage, but food that is categorised as
risky is, all of it is tested, other food is categorised as food that is, that does not pose a risk
and you're right five per cent of all consignments of food coming into Australia from all countries
are referred for inspection.

Now if any non-compliance is found, as we have in this circumstance, that rate increases.

ASHLEY HALL: The other matter that's been concerning for some people is the amount of
self-regulation that goes on, that companies are asked to identify for themselves whether or not
their products are contaminated. Are you happy with that situation?

JAN MCLUCAS: Of course companies are testing their own products, it's in their interest and in
terms of protecting their brand name, that they would be acting very pro-actively to ensure the
products that they are selling under their label do not contain this product.

ASHLEY HALL: Some of the companies we've spoken to however, the extent of their testing involves
ringing their supplier to make sure that they can certify that the milk or the other products are
safe. How can we be sure that these companies are getting accurate information and aren't being
lied to themselves?

JAN MCLUCAS: Well to be frank that is an issue for the company, if that's the level of track back
that they're doing, and they're not comfortable with it then they may need to take further steps,
but it's...

ASHLEY HALL: But are you comfortable with it?

JAN MCLUCAS: Well that is being done on top of the work that we are doing, systematically going
through a long list of products to ensure that products are not contaminated; so it's almost like a
bonus.

ASHLEY HALL: The concern that's been raised to us is that in many circumstances, contaminants won't
be found in imported foods until somebody gets sick.

JAN MCLUCAS: I don't necessarily agree with that, we are going through a systematic list of
potential products that may have contaminants and we have worked from the highest risk potential
foods to those that do pose a lower risk to ascertain whether or not they do contain any melamine.

ASHLEY HALL: Leaving aside the question of melamine in milk though, other contaminants in other
food products, if we're not already alerted to the fact that they may be there and that we should
be on the lookout for them, and they're only being tested at around five per cent per consignment,
what's the chance that we'll pick that contaminant up before someone gets sick?

JAN MCLUCAS: Australia has strong and robust food safety system in operation, I really want to tell
Australians that they should not be panicking. We have a good quality of food safety system in our
country and we are working through this terrible incident in China to ensure that the health and
safety of Australians is being protected.

LISA MILLAR: That's Senator Jan McLucas, the Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing,
speaking with Ashley Hall.

Stakes rise in Somalian pirate face-off

LISA MILLAR: The tense stand-off between the US Navy and the Somali pirates who've captured a ship
laden with tanks and heavy weapons has escalated into a deadly shootout.

The American Navy has released a video of the Ukrainian cargo ship, which was hijacked last week
and is now anchored off the coast of Somalia but surrounded by US warships.

The pirates are demanding a ransom of $US20-million and have denied reports they've turned on each
other leaving three dead.

This high profile crime has highlighted the growing multi-million dollar piracy industry in Somalia
and the struggle to police the violent waterways.

Emily Bourke reports.

EMILY BOURKE: US Navy ships and helicopters are continuing to circle the hijacked freighter
carrying dozens of battle tanks and other heavy weapons, while negotiators try to reach a
resolution with the pirates off the Somali coast.

The pirates are demanding $20-million, they say it's not so much a ransom, but a fine for
unlawfully transporting weapons on Somali waters.

The Pentagon's press secretary is Geoff Morrell.

GEOFF MORELL: At this point, what we are most concerned about is seeing a peaceful solution to this
problem. I mean, first and foremost, the concern is that this is another incident of piracy, and I
think there are two additional ships that have been taken within that vicinity, as well.

So you've got three ships that have been captured by pirates in this area, that is cause for
concern.

Additionally, this particular vessel, the Faina, has on it a number of Russian tanks, and ammo, and
RPGs, and anti-aircraft weapons that raises this to yet another level of concern.

EMILY BOURKE: But there are some reports that the pirates have been fighting amongst themselves
over whether they should surrender, they've been labelled paranoid by one official, but tensions on
the ship have reportedly boiled over and a shootout left three pirates dead.

But a spokesman for the pirates has denied the claim saying his crew were just celebrating a Muslim
holiday.

PIRATE SPOKESMAN (translated): We are happy on the ship and we are celebrating Eid. Nothing has
changed, we haven't argued over anything let alone have a shootout, that's not true.

EMILY BOURKE: But there's now some dispute over where the precious cargo was supposed to go. The
pirates say the arms were headed for southern Sudan. But the Ukrainian owners of the freighter and
Kenyan Government say the tanks were destined for Kenya for legitimate self-defence purposes.

The Pentagon's press secretary, Geoff Morrell says the pirates have been allowed to resupply the
ship with food and water, but the immediate concern is ensuring the pirates don't unload the ship
and take off with the guns and tanks.

GEOFF MORELL: So we have no reason to believe that this cargo was not destined to the government of
Kenya, as their president suggests.

But obviously what we're concerned about now is, it's not in the control of those people who
intended to deliver it to the government of Kenya. It's now in the control of pirates, to whom we
do not know they will sell this material.

EMILY BOURKE: Despite international warships patrolling the now violent shipping lanes of the Gulf
of Aden, distress calls from attacked mariners often go ignored.

Colonel Lotf al-Baraty of the Yemeni coast guard has told National Public Radio his tiny fleet
can't keep up with the exploding crime wave.

REPORTER: What are people saying? What are they asking for?

LOTF AL-BARATY: For help, unfortunately we cannot do nothing. For example, I just show you in the
office a distress call, call me personally, that 15 pirates onboard. Fifteen onboard, can you do
something.

REPORTER: Onboard the ship?

LOTF AL-BARATY: Onboard the ship.

EMILY BOURKE: More than 60 ships have been attacked in African waters this year. 12 hijacked ships
and 200 crew members remain in the hands of the pirates.

LISA MILLAR: Emily Bourke.

Canadians speechless

LISA MILLAR: Now to piracy of a different kind, and in Canada, a political campaign worker has
confessed a speech he wrote in 2003 for the then Opposition leader, now Prime Minister Stephen
Harper was a rip-off of the one delivered by John Howard.

The staffer has apologised for being over-zealous in copying parts of the speech on troop
deployments to Iraq.

It's created a stir in Canada, where voters go to the polls in a fortnight.

But it's not the first time politicians have been accused of borrowing from others.

Alison Caldwell reports.

ALISON CALDWELL: With the Canadian election due to be held in just under two weeks, the Opposition
highlighted the striking similarities between the two five-year-old speeches on the eve of the
leaders' debate.

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered the speech to Parliament in March 2003 when he was
the Opposition leader, detailing why Canada should join the US in the war in Iraq. Canada has
opposed the war from the outset.

Only two days earlier, the then Australian Prime Minister John Howard delivered an address to
Parliament defending his Government's decision to join the coalition of the willing.

Here's part of that speech.

JOHN HOWARD: The world judged the Iraqi regime was a dangerous aggressor, in the interests of world
peace and regional security, the community of nations required Iraq to surrender its offensive
arsenal, its chemical and biological weapons and abandon its nuclear weapons programs.

ALISON CALDWELL: Two days later Stephen Harper delivered his speech, which reflected the tone and
substance of Howard's address.

Some lines were even word-for-word identical. With the help of Canada's opposition Liberal Party,
the two speeches have ended up on YouTube.

STEPHEN HARPER: The world judged the Iraqi regime to be a dangerous aggressor, in the interests of
world peace and regional security, the community of nations expelled Iraq from Kuwait, required
Iraq to surrender its offensive arsenal, its chemical and biological weapons and to abandon its
nuclear weapons programs.

JOHN HOWARD: It is inherently dangerous Mr Speaker...

STEPHEN HARPER: It is inherently dangerous to allow a country such as Iraq...

JOHN HOWARD: ...to allow a country such as Iraq to retain weapons of mass destruction.

STEPHEN HARPER: ...to retain weapons of mass destruction.

ALISON CALDWELL: Prime Minister Stephen Harper isn't commenting. Late today in Canada, a
conservative campaign worker resigned taking responsibility for the speech.

In a press release, Owen Lippert said he was pressed for time and over-zealous in copying sections
of John Howard's speech. The Canadian Liberal Party is ideologically similar to the Australian
Labor Party.

Polling poorly, it's decided to make foreign policy an issue in the campaign, suggesting Stephen
Harper's conservative foreign policy can't be trusted when it's borrowed from other nations.

Paul Wells is a senior columnist with Maclean's magazine. He says voters might just be interested.

PAUL WELLS: If it reignites a debate that has been fairly dormant in Canada, which is the question
of whether it would have been wise to participate in the Iraq war, then it could have a little more
juice, because Canadians were very divided in 2003 about the wisdom of taking part in the war.

But since then, there's a fairly substantial majority of Canadians who are grateful that we didn't
take part.

Harper has kind of been able to get away with the fact that he was on the other side of that
question and I think the Liberals hope is to not so much to paint him as a guy who hires a
plagiarist, it's to paint him as a guy who is on the wrong side of a historical debate.

ALISON CALDWELL: Former political advisor and speech writer, barrister Greg Barns also writes for
Toronto's Globe and Mail newspaper. He says Stephen Harper is copying John Howard in more ways than
one.

GREG BARNS: Harper's campaign themes and his themes as Prime Minister have been very similar to
those of Howard's, he's talked about ordinary Canadians, mainstream Canadians, he's emphasised the
mainstream Canadians versus the so-called elites.

ALISON CALDWELL: He's not the only one though is he, Stephen Harper, I mean recently Julie Bishop
here in Australia was accused of plagiarising the Wall Street Journal, then we saw Gordon Brown,
Britain's Prime Minister borrowing key lines from speeches delivered by none other than Sarah
Palin. And then also Barack Obama's vice-presidential candidate, Senator Joseph Biden.

GREG BARNS: Well Joe Biden's a very good example, he lifted directly a speech given by Neil
Kinnock, the Labour Party leader back in the late 1980s, in which Neil Kinnock famously said, "Why
am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to go to university".

The very, I think within 24 hours Biden had turned it into, "Why am I the first Biden to go to
university". He did exactly what Stephen Harper has done, and I think it says a lot about the
paucity of ideas in democratic politics.

Speech making and speech writing used to be crafts, and people and leaders would spend hours over
speeches, nowadays they seem to be content with lifting bits and pieces from here there and
everywhere like magpies. And I think that says a lot about the ways in which speech making and
speech writing is no longer taken very seriously.

All that politicians are interested in now is the short grab, the ten second grab, the key line, it
means that the art of delivering long and well argued speeches is lost and it's been replaced by
plagiarism and you know, getting a quick headline.

LISA MILLAR: That's a former political advisor, Greg Barns, speaking to Alison Caldwell.

Gorbachev in shock return to Russian politics

LISA MILLAR: Well he's loved by the West and loathed by the East and he's making a political
comeback.

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has teamed up with Russian tycoon Alexander Lebedev to form
a new political party in Russia, provisionally named the Independent Democratic Party.

A spokesman for the one time Soviet president says Mr Gorbachev's intention is not to win seats in
the Parliament, but to provide an alternative platform for young Russians interested in politics.

But Alexey Muraviev, an analyst on Russian strategic affairs at Perth's Curtin University of
Technology says he suspects Mr Gorbachev's deeper desire is probably to regain some political
respectability within Russia.

And he's been telling Tanya Nolan the new party is likely to have the backing of the Kremlin.

ALEXEY MURAVIEV: Well quite recently Gorbachev was acting very much along the lines of Kremlin's
policies, so I wouldn't rule out this possibility. Also this idea for the creation of so-called
Russia's Independent Democratic Party may result in an amalgamation of existing political blocks of
the liberal political spectrum.

This consideration suggests that it's not a move coming from Gorbachev and also this financial
tycoon Alexander Lebedev, but it's perhaps part of the game that the Kremlin is playing in order to
reform Russia's political spectrum.

TANYA NOLAN: But in the past Mr Gorbachev has criticised many of the electoral practices of Prime
Minister Vladimir Putin's United Russia Party, why don't you think this is Mr Gorbachev's attempt
to send the Kremlin a message?

ALEXEY MURAVIEV: Well I don't think Gorbachev has very much political leverage to engage in any
serious battles inside Russia whilst he is still very much a welcome figure in the West, as the
leader that stopped the Cold War; that contributed to the collapse of the iron curtain. He's still
very much regarded as a traitor in Russia, a person that has very little respect and very little
public support.

So in this sense I don't think the Kremlin considers him as a serious challenger.

TANYA NOLAN: Some commentators are calling this 'Glasnost revisited', the campaign of this new
party is for legal economic reform, favouring less state capitalism. Do you not think Gorbachev is
trying to shine a light on what's going on in the Russian political system?

ALEXEY MURAVIEV: Well first of all, we shouldn't really jump in ahead of the train because the
party is yet to be formed and I think him and Lebedev will actually want to see what would be the
real chances of this party coming to light.

It is quite possible that the party's, or the idea for the party has been formed in preparation for
the year 2011 parliamentary elections. But once again the chances of them succeeding at this stage
I think would be quite slim.

TANYA NOLAN: Well perhaps not Mr Gorbachev himself, when he last ran for president in '96 he won
less than one per cent of the vote, but what about his partner, Alexander Lebedev, what's he got to
gain? What can you tell us about him?

ALEXEY MURAVIEV: He's certainly made some headlines a while ago when he announced his intent to
engage actively in the political life, but I think after the Khodorkovsky case which effectively
demonstrated how the Kremlin would treat the ambitions of all the oligarchs, the major financial
tycoons when they suddenly decide to use their financial leverage and weight in order to gain
political dividends (phonetic).

I think it's a way for him once again not to get confrontational with the Kremlin, that's why he's
chosen an alliance with Gorbachev; interest, it's a way for him to basically gain an immunity from
any possible persecutions or any possible pressures coming from the Kremlin.

Not to share the fate of Khodorkovsky, if he would identify himself with more notorious in the
Kremlin's new political opponents such as either Mikhail Kasyanov, the former Prime Minister or
Gary Kasparov, a former chess champion, that these are the two that certainly represent more
clearly a clear pro-Western slash pro-American view point and (inaudible) Russian opposition.

And I think that both Lebedev and Gorbachev said that in no way they going to form any, in some
sort of partnership so with these two key figures, once again suggest this party will try to
distance itself from the pro-Western liberal position that currently exists in Russia.

LISA MILLAR: That's Alexey Muraviev, an analyst on Russian strategic affairs at Perth's Curtin
University of Technology, speaking with Tanya Nolan.

Gurkhas win fight to settle in UK

LISA MILLAR: Former Gurkha soldiers from Nepal have won their High Court battle for the right to
settle in Britain.

Six claimants brought the case arguing against the British policy that Gurkhas who retired before
mid 1997, the date that the brigade moved its base from Hong Kong to the UK, didn't have strong
enough ties to the UK to be allowed to stay.

Hundreds of the Nepalese fighters and their families celebrated their victory outside the Court. By
their side was the actress Joanna Lumley whose father fought with the Gurkhas in Burma during the
Second World War.

Europe correspondent, Emma Alberici.

EMMA ALBERICI: The Gurkha take their name from the eighth century Hindu warrior Saint Guru
Gorakhnath, and fight they did many of them with little fight left in them all the way to the High
Court.

The Gurkha's have fought for Britain since 1815, most recently in the jungles of Malaya, the
Falklands and in the Gulf.

Then came a battle on what they considered to be their home turf of Britain, and now the people
they were fighting for were fighting against them

DHAN GURUNG: We sacrificed our lives since last 200 years for this country, and it is absolutely
and automatically get right to live in this country and get right to enjoy other benefits same as
other British people.

EMMA ALBERICI: Dhan Gurung is one of 2000 Gurkhas who were refused entry to the UK, on the grounds
that, as the brigade was based in Hong Kong, they did not have strong ties with Britain.

Handing down his judgment, Justice Blake in the High Court said that was irrational and that the
British government immigration policy in this matter was unlawful.

MARTIN HOWE: This is day that will go down in history for the Gurkhas.

EMMA ALBERICI: The Gurkhas' solicitor Martin Howe.

MARTIN HOWE: We call today on our government to respect the views of the people of Britain, to
respect this judgment fully and immediately allow the men and women that are affected by this
judgment to come into this country.

(Sound of cheers)

EMMA ALBERICI: Justice Blake quoted from the military covenant that soldiers are expected to make
personal sacrifices and put the needs of the nation above their own and in return should always
expect fair treatment and be valued and respected.

He said rewarding long and distinguished service by the grant of residence in the country for which
the service was performed would be a vindication and an enhancement of this covenant.

The result was welcomed by actress Joanna Lumley whose late father serviced with the 6th Gurkha
Rifles.

JOANNA LUMLEY: This is more important than I can tell you: because it gives our country a chance to
right a great wrong and to wipe out a national shame that has stained us all.

What we need to do now is to compel the government if you like, by British plebiscite, compel the
government immediately to rescind their laws, to change them, fundamentally to re-write them, so
that the Gurkhas have equal rights with the British soldier.

EMMA ALBERICI: In light of the Court's*(see editor's note) ruling, the UK's Home Secretary Jacqui
Smith said the Government would revise and publish new guidance.

In London this is Emma Alberici for The World Today.

*Editor's note: The reference made to 'country's ruling' has been amended and corrected to 'Court's
ruling'.

Hopes fade for man after suspected croc attack

LISA MILLAR: Hope is fading for a man believed to have been attacked by a five metre crocodile in
far north Queensland.

Today searchers are scouring the river bed surrounding the boat ramp where the 62-year-old
disappeared.

Two crocodiles were seen lurking in the area overnight.

But there's been no sign of the camper since he went missing while checking a crab pot early
yesterday.

And now his wife has been admitted to hospital, believed to be overwhelmed by her loss.

Annie Guest reports.

ANNIE GUEST: It's not a good sign, searchers looking for Arthur Booker are now turning their
attention to the bed of the Endeavour River on southern Cape York Peninsula.

JAMES NEWMAN: They will be looking in the water today and having a look at the bottom to see if
they can't pull anything off the bottom.

ANNIE GUEST: James Newman is a spokesman for the state's Parks and Wildlife Service.

He says two big crocodiles were seen by torchlight last night around the boat ramp where Arthur
Booker disappeared.

JAMES NEWMAN: And so we need to make sure the searchers are safe while they're doing the search so
essentially what we're advising is that they have someone hold their belt at all times when they're
leaning over the boat.

ANNIE GUEST: The only other signs of the 62-year-old from Logan, south of Brisbane are ominous.

The camper had apparently told his wife he was going to check a crab pot in the mud brown Endeavour
River.

His video camera was found on the river bank. The rope on his crap pot had been snapped and there
were crocodile slide marks to the water.

It gets worse, about 100 metres upstream searchers found his watch and one of his shoes.

Arthur Booker's wife Doris is now in hospital in Cooktown, south of the campsite, she's believed to
be overwhelmed by the situation. Her sister and daughter have travelled to Cooktown to be with her.

People are already extending their sympathy to the family, including a woman who saved a friend
from a crocodile attack, also on Cape York Peninsula.

ALICIA SOROHAN: I sort of feel very sorry for them, I can imagine what they are going through at
the time.

It's not good at all, never usually is the outcome at all with a crocodile, but fortunately we were
pretty lucky but I feel very sorry for them, sympathy to them.

ANNIE GUEST: Alicia Sorohan is a grandmother who jumped on a crocodile's back four years ago,
forcing it to release its victim.

ALICIA SOROHAN: We've been up there since 1981 and always has been signs there but people just seem
to disregard them for some reason.

ANNIE GUEST: It's true it's not unusual to see crocodile warning signs in far north Queensland.

But it's not known whether Arthur Booker took a risk, or was simply unlucky.

The large salties, as their known, like to dwell around the river mouths along the pristine
coastline and in the inland rivers. The problem is, tourists are also attracted to these parts.

Ironically, the campsite where Arthur Booker was staying lists crocodiles as an attraction. In fact
the crocodile suspected of taking him even has a name, Charlie.

But police say it's not yet certain that he was the victim of a crocodile attack. However Inspector
Ian Swan says the broken crab pot rope was torn.

IAN SWAN: It wasn't a clean cut, certainly it hasn't been done with a knife.

ANNIE GUEST: There have been several attacks in the area in recent years.

In 2005 a fisherman died after a crocodile dragged him from his canoe in Lakefield National Park
just west of the latest incident.

The four metre reptile was shot by park rangers.

LISA MILLAR: That's Annie Guest reporting from Queensland.

Sleep loss linked to weight gain in teens

LISA MILLAR: They might be accused of lazing around, but now it seems the amount of sleep a
teenager gets could contribute to their weight problems.

A study by the University of South Australia found that if teenagers didn't sleep enough,
particularly on school nights, they were more likely to be overweight or obese.

Nine to 12-year-olds should be sleeping at least 10 hours a night and teenagers at least 8.5 hours.

The lead researcher Professor Tim Olds says the findings show that its vital parents try to enforce
curfews and regular sleep patterns in their children.

He's speaking to Nance Haxton in Adelaide.

TIM OLDS: The first time in Australia, we surveyed over the course of about five years, a little
more than 4,000 children, we got data on 9,000 days that they lived, so we had a look at their
complete use of time.

I guess one of the most striking things was this association between the risk of overweight and
obesity and sleep duration, so the kids who slept less were more likely, much more likely to be
obese or overweight.

Now, that's been found in a number of studies, just in the last few years in different countries,
this is the first Australian study, certainly for a long time.

But one of the really striking things was that it was true on certain days but not on other days,
so the big differences between the amount of time that overweight kids slept and lean kids slept
was particularly on Sunday nights, was very strong there, but it was less marked on holidays, on
Saturdays where there is virtually no difference across the weight categories.

NANCE HAXTON: Could there be a causal link here? Could the obesity actually be causing the poor
sleep patterns?

TIM OLDS: It's possible, that's what people thought for a while, that things such as sleep apnoea,
you know, that these kids had trouble breathing and that kept them awake, that certainly doesn't
seem to be the case of our study.

Firstly, because it only happens on certain days, it doesn't happen on holidays, or school...
Saturdays, it only happens on school days and on Sundays.

Secondly because it runs right across the weight spectrum, so the very lean kids sleep much, much
more than normal weight kids and obese kids sleep much, much less than normal weight kids.

So it looks as if it goes the opposite direction, it's the poor sleep or the low duration sleep
which is causing the obesity.

NANCE HAXTON: So what's really the next step from here? What lessons can be learnt from this study?

TIM OLDS: Most importantly is that kids, particularly older adolescents, are accumulating sleep
deficit, over the school days, the school week, if we were to even out the sleep, so the same
amount each night, then they need to be getting one hour more sleep on each of the school nights
and this intermittent sleep deprivation, even with the catch up sleep doesn't protect them against
the risk of overweight and obesity, and probably doesn't protect them against the risk of the other
things associated with poor sleep as well.

NANCE HAXTON: Does the study look at why the poor sleep could be causing this obesity?

TIM OLDS: Our study doesn't but there's pretty strong evidence from other studies, laboratory
experiments which show that when kids or adults are sleep deprived, you get a deregulation of
hormones which control appetite, in particular you get a sharp increase in a hormone which
stimulates appetite, and a decrease in another hormone which suppress appetite, so it just
increases hunger, and particularly hunger for energy dense food.

NANCE HAXTON: So really parents should be trying whatever way they can to encourage their children
to sleep more - ultimately?

TIM OLDS: I think the words whatever way they can are important because it is difficult, it's
difficult particularly with older teenagers for parents to get them to bed on time.

We've looked at what kept kids up, those who had late bedtimes, and therefore got less sleep, they
don't stay up watching television, they actually watch less television, they stay up talking to
each other, doing homework, part-time work, listening to music, things of that sort.

It's a very difficult issue for parents, but the take home message is you should really try to
enforce those curfews, the evening curfews.

LISA MILLAR: Good luck parents. That was Professor Tim Olds from the University of South Australia
speaking to Nance Haxton.