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Financial rescue package passed by Senate

LISA MILLAR: This Thursday we go straight to the latest developments in Washington.

SENATE SPEAKER: On this vote the yays are 74 and the nays are 25. Persuant to the previous order,
the Amendment having attained 60 votes in the affirmative, the Amendment is agreed to.

LISA MILLAR: Well that's the sound of the US Senate finally voting to approve a massive rescue
plan.

It still has to go through the House of Representatives but this is a bit step forward - the
economic bailout package is seen as crucial to revitalising frozen credit markets.

Just days ago the US House of Representatives stunningly rejected an earlier version of the deal,
sending stock markets around the globe plunging.

But after getting approval from the Senate, the now revamped plan has a good chance of passing
through the House later this week.

I spoke to our Washington correspondent Kim Landers a short time ago.

Kim after the drama of two days ago when the US House of Representatives voted down the bailout,
why has it had such a fairly easy passage in the Senate?

KIM LANDERS: Well, I think there are a couple of reasons Lisa and first and foremost, this bailout
package has been completely revamped. Yes the US Government still has the power to take on the bad
assets of troubled financial firms but they have added a whole heap of sweeteners to it.

There are tax cuts for businesses in the middle class. There is increased insurance for people's
bank deposit. You used to be able to have up to $100,000 in the bank and it would be guaranteed by
the government. They are going to increase that to $250,000.

So what they have had to do in trying to get conservative people onside is that they have had to
add things to this bailout Bill.

They keep telling us that this is different to the first package that went down in a screaming heap
in the US House of Representatives.

There is another reason and that is also, that in the Senate only a third of these Senators are up
for re-election come the November elections so they are not all trying to save their political
hides unlike the US House of Representative where all of them were facing re-election and they
weren't prepared to put that re-election on the line because this package has been deeply
unpopular.

Public opinion is now starting to shift here in the United States. They have got tens of thousands
of phone calls and emails that once used to be against this package. Some of those members of the
public are now coming around.

And finally the presidential candidates themselves have also been weighing in trying to whip up
support for this package.

We heard from the Democratic White House candidate, Barack Obama today. Both Barack Obama and John
McCain came back to the Senate from the campaign trail for this vote and Barack Obama actually
addressed the Senate.

Here is a little of what he said on the Senate floor.

BARACK OBAMA: From my perspective this is what we need to do right now to prevent the possibility
of a crisis turning into a catastrophe.

It is conceivable, it is possible that if we did nothing, everything would turn out OK and there is
no doubt that there may be other plans out there that had we had two or three or six months to
develop, might be even more refined and might serve our purposes better.

But we don't have that kind of time and we can't afford to take a risk that the economy of the
United States of America and as a consequence the worldwide economy could be plunged into a very,
very deep hole.

LISA MILLAR: Now Kim, this rescue package isn't signed, sealed and delivered is it? It still has to
go back to the House of Representatives.

KIM LANDERS: It sure does and that may take a day or two. The President has indicated today that he
hopes that it will go back to the House of Representatives before the end of the week. There is now
going to be a lot of vote counting going on because as I said, it did fail by a very narrow margin
earlier in the week.

They think that all of these changes that have been made, may help get those conservative
particularly Republicans but some Democrats also, back on side.

So it is a little while before this rescue package is delivered but it will be very interesting to
see what the market response to this is tomorrow. Today the Dow Jones industrial average was very
flat here in the United States.

Really everybody is just playing a bit of a wait-and-see game. Perhaps it has got one more step to
go back through the House of Representatives before there may be a sort of an injection of
confidence once again in the American financial system.

There are some Republicans who are going to hold out no matter what. One of those is Bill Nelson.
He is a Republican Senator from Florida. Here is a little of what he said today.

BILL NELSON: This Bill rewards the banks and leaves the little person with the short end of the
stick.

This Bill sends a message to Wall Street that if you play fast and loose in the name of short-term
profits, the government will actually make up for their losses.

LISA MILLAR: Well Kim, what effect is all of this, the crisis, the drama on Capitol Hill, what
effect is it having on the presidential race itself?

KIM LANDERS: It really seems to be benefitting the Democratic candidate Barack Obama. There have
been a couple of different opinion polls out today taken since this financial upheaval on Wall
Street, since all of the midnight negotiations, backroom negotiations on Capitol Hill about this
bailout deal and these polls are showing that Barack Obama has surged to quite a lead over the
Republican John McCain.

A couple of the polls show that he has a seven point margin now. That is quite significant in some
of those polls he is hitting at least 50 per cent which he hasn't done before.

There is also one other crucial poll I should tell you about and that is that he is not only
leading in some of these national polls but he is building widening leads in key battleground
states. States like Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania.

These are states which have a history of going either Republican or Democrat. These are the states
that have a history of swinging presidential elections. They are vital stepping stones to the White
House and in these states too, Barack Obama is building a growing lead over the Republican John
McCain.

LISA MILLAR: That is Washington correspondent Kim Landers.

Well, President George W. Bush has applauded the vote and a short time ago some of the Senators
gave a press conference.

Democrat Senator Chris Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee warns there's a lot further
to go.

CHRIS DODD: We haven't done it all here obviously. There are a lot of things to come. There is not
going to be a blossoming tomorrow afternoon or Friday with the economy.

We've got many, many difficult months ahead to get this right but none of that can happen without
the decision today and so the journey in front of us is going to be difficult and long but I think
America tonight, I hope, saw a Congress, saw a United States Senate acting in the way that our
forbearers and our founders intended it to act and I am deeply proud to have been a part of this
moment.

LISA MILLAR: Senator Chris Dodd.

US economy heads towards recession

LISA MILLAR: It's unclear whether the vote will have any impact in stopping the American economy's
slide into recession.

Fresh data out today shows manufacturing at its lowest level since the last US recession in 2001,
as the credit crisis quickly spreads beyond Wall Street to Main Street.

Another report is showing more Americans are losing their jobs, while car and truck sales have
tumbled as consumers discover finance is harder to come by.

Americans are also being warned to expect another significant share market plunge, even if the
$700-billion bailout is finally approved.

Here's our Business editor Peter Ryan.

PETER RYAN: Across America, there's now little doubt that the worsening financial crisis is no
longer a problem for just Wall Street and Capitol Hill.

An almost daily spike in fear and suspicion means the cost of sourcing money is in a spiral, and
banks are hoarding their cash unless borrowers pay a hefty premium for risk.

So when banks stop lending to each other, consumers have little chance of easy credit and that goes
to a key part of the American psyche - like buying a car.

DENNY FITZPATRICK: When credit gets tight and we are not able to get people finance, we are not
able to sell those cars. Those cars are sitting in the lots.

PETER RYAN: Denny Fitzpatrick and his family have run a Chevy dealership in California for the best
part of 60 years.

His business relies on sourcing cheap finance for potential customers to seal a deal.

But with tighter credit controls and higher rates in return for risk, customers are being turned
away and sales are diving.

DENNY FITZPATRICK: So as finance companies have a tough time borrowing money in the market. You
know, dealers are feeling that because the interest rate they are charged is going up.

PETER RYAN: With so many buyers scared off, sales for Ford, Toyota and Nissan have tumbled by about
a third over the past year.

Industry-wide sales have fallen for 11 months in a row - the longest slide in 17 years.

And with the worst housing slump since the Great Depression, housing loans are not surprisingly
harder to negotiate.

GUY CECALA: You need to have next to perfect credit to get a standardised loan. They want more in
terms of down payments. It is much hard to get a loan now than it was even a year ago.

PETER RYAN: As a result, mortgage applications fell by more than 20 per cent last week alone,
according to Guy Cecala of the industry magazine Inside Mortgage Finance.

GUY CECALA: All the signs are pointing to less mortgage activity and most of it is attributable
just to a tightening of credit and fear and concern among home buyers about whether it is time to
buy a home or even refinance a mortgage.

PETER RYAN: But the pain has spread well beyond the house and the car.

Manufacturing in the United States has contracted at its fastest pace since the last recession -
now at its lowest level since October 2001.

NORBERT ORE: Most of this was confined to the financial services sector. Now it appears that it has
moved over into the manufacturing sector and if I knew all along that if it stayed around long
enough it eventually would happen and apparently this September is the month in which it really
has.

PETER RYAN: Norbert Ore conducts a closely watched survey for the Institute for Supply Management.

He says most areas of the US economy are shrinking and the survey is approaching a benchmark that
indicates a recession.

NORBERT ORE: Textiles, wood products, furniture, apparel. Those industries that are housing
related, they have probably been in a recession for a number of months and the discouraging part is
that we have seen those industries decline even more in September.

PETER RYAN: The bleak outlook for manufacturing means job losses are mounting.

According to a private survey, large US companies planned to eliminate almost 100,000 jobs in
September - up a third on this time last year.

John Challenger is the survey's author.

JOHN CHALLENGER: Well it is pretty bleak right now. We've seen negative job creation every month
this year. We've seen lay-offs growing. In fact we are up almost 30 per cent, by a third from where
we were last September. By every indication, the crisis in the labour markets is growing.

PETER RYAN: Back on Wall Street, big financial firms are racing to raise cash.

One of the world's biggest companies, General Electric, wants to sell $12-billion in shares, and
the billionaire investor Warren Buffett says he's injecting $3-billion into GE in what he sees as a
long term investment.

WARREN BUFFETT: So I understand their businesses. We do a lot of business with them and GE is
going, it has been, I think it is the longest running stock in the Dow Jones industrial average. It
will be 100 years from now it will be around.

PETER RYAN: But all eyes remain on the bailout Bill being successfully rolled out.

Investor Philip Dow worries it could be too late.

PHILIP DOW: If you think of the financial system as a patient in the emergency room, that is where
it is right now. They are filling out insurance forms waiting to apply initial therapy so we can
get a cure going.

PETER RYAN: Like Wall Street, the Australian share market was flat in the lead up to the bailout
vote.

The focus is now on interest rates, with the Reserve Bank certain to cut by a quarter of a
percentage point next Tuesday.

While in America, speculation of an emergency cut before the Fed's next scheduled meeting is
gaining momentum.

LISA MILLAR: Business editor, Peter Ryan.

COAG leaders set for belt tightening

LISA MILLAR: The Prime Minister is putting the states on notice that the tough financial climate
will have a significant impact on budget revenue.

Kevin Rudd and his Treasurer Wayne Swan are meeting state and territory leaders in Perth and the
global financial turmoil will top the COAG agenda.

The states are worried the crisis will affect their slice of GST revenue but far from giving
reassurance, Kevin Rudd's warning his state counterparts now is the time to be prudent.

From Canberra, Kirrin McKechnie reports.

KIRRIN MCKECHNIE: Joining the Prime Minister for a cuppa in his Perth office.

COLIN BARNETT: Nice to have a Queenslander in the west.

KIRRIN MCKECHNIE: The new West Australian Premier Colin Barnett is hosting his first COAG meeting
since securing the state's top job last month.

As the only Liberal in a sea of Labor leaders, he's told Sky News he's not worried about being the
odd one out at the table.

COLIN BARNETT: I think it's healthy for the federal system and indeed for the COAG meetings that
there is at least one Liberal there.

It's important that debates have differing points of view, that different ideas and concepts come
to the table.

But I support the approach of co-operative federalism. Our federal system is a work in making. It
continues to evolve and change to meet changing needs. So I'll be cooperative in that.

KIRRIN MCKECHNIE: There's a string of issues up for discussion at the day-long meeting.

One hot topic will be the Federal Government's computers in schools roll-out. New South Wales has
already pulled the pin on round two of the deal, because it can't afford the follow-on costs.

Now Colin Barnett too has raised his concerns.

COLIN BARNETT: What would be a better approach is for the Federal Government to say here is an
amount of money available to improve computers and technology in schools and it should be designed
and put in place to suit each individual school situation. So a blanket rule one computer per
student may not be very sensible.

KIRRIN MCKECHNIE: But topping the COAG agenda will be the global financial crisis - and exactly
what that means for Commonwealth-state funding arrangements.

Walking past protestors as she headed into the meeting, the Queensland Premier Anna Bligh,
expressed her concerns.

ANNA BLIGH: It is too early to say exactly what this will mean for state budgets but we won't be
immune from some fallout. We are certainly watching our revenue figures very closely but it is too
early to say.

KIRRIN MCKECHNIE: The Prime Minister has a blunt warning for the states.

KEVIN RUDD: The global financial crisis is going to see a reduction in global economic growth. It
is also reflected in Australia's growth numbers and if growth is going to be down it follows that
budget revenue is going to be affected as well.

I can't give you exact numbers, we're working our way through all of that but what it does mean, it
puts an absolute premium on federal and state governments working closely together to do three
practical things. Reduce duplication and waste because there is no money to waste. Secondly, also
act together to take away unnecessary regulation on businesses because businesses are finding it
tougher. We have got to make it easier for them to invest. And thirdly, the governments themselves
to maximise what they can do to invest in the nation's and in the case of WA, the state's future
infrastructure needs.

That's what I'll be talking to the premiers about today.

KIRRIN MCKECHNIE: It's that impact on budget revenue that has some premiers extremely worried over
fears it'll affect their slice of a smaller GST pie.

And they're not getting any reassurance from Kevin Rudd.

KEVIN RUDD: It's going to be necessary for all of us to be very, very prudent about the way in
which we spend because this is a global financial crisis and it affects all of us.

We intend to be very practical about all of this. There will be stuff that we can do and there will
be stuff which it will be too hard to do because of the financial affordability factor.

LISA MILLAR: That is the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, ending Kirrin McKechnie's report.

Former advisor suspicious of PM's warning

LISA MILLAR: For nine years Ken Wiltshire was a member of the Commonwealth Grants Commission - the
body that advises on federal-state finances.

He's now a professor of public administration at the University of Queensland and he's suspicious
of Kevin Rudd's warning to the states about tough economic times ahead.

I asked him earlier if the leaders, though, would be surprised by the message.

KEN WILTSHIRE: Well, perhaps not but I mean I am a bit surprised. The Prime Minister and Treasurer
have been telling us for days that the Australian economy is robust and it will survive this crisis
and there is nothing to worry about and now all of a sudden we've got a panic on our doorstep.

LISA MILLAR: Well, they have been told to expect lower tax revenues at least. What sort of disarray
might that throw the states budgetary planning into?

KEN WILTSHIRE: Oh, I am sure their revenues will fall. That is for sure but they are making hay out
of the GST. The GST has been an enormous growth tax ever since they inherited it so that is an
offset and from what we can hear, the property values will start to rise before too long as well.

Their other main source of income is payroll tax and there doesn't seem to be any great increase in
unemployment so at the moment, I don't think the states are facing a crisis.

LISA MILLAR: The suggestion is that the state government budgets are under pressure because of
falling property turnover while the Commonwealth is missing out on capital gains tax and
superannuation fund tax revenue.

KEN WILTSHIRE: Yes, well I am sure all those things are true but don't forget the Commonwealth is
sitting on a budget surplus of more than $20-billion. It has got about three major funds stacked
away including infrastructure funds and I see Premier Brumby is calling for that money to be
brought forward which to me makes a lot of sense in the current climate.

So, you know, I think the Federal Government is using this as a ploy. Just as an excuse to try and
cut back the funding to the states.

LISA MILLAR: You think that is their ulterior motive here?

KEN WILTSHIRE: I am sure of it and also it looks like they are going to put the pressure on states
- more conditional funding for schools and health. I mean, let's be honest about this. Kevin Rudd
is morphing into John Howard. You know, cooperative federalism is dead. He is just running a
centralist agenda and he is using every excuse he can to exert control over the states including
the threats of takeover of hospitals and some areas of education.

So, I mean he was elected on a promise of ending the blame game but what is going to happen today
is that has been killed off as well and from now on the states will be able to blame Canberra and
quite legitimately.

LISA MILLAR: Well, given that all but one of the leaders belong to the Labor Party, what do you
think the reaction is going to be?

KEN WILTSHIRE: Well, I think the honeymoon is over. I mean even New South Wales is not going to cop
it.

You may have noticed they refused to accept the computer funding in schools from the Federal
Government because the Federal Government won't provide all of the extra servicing and
infrastructure costs that go with it.

The states are unhappy about a number of other policies. You know, I think this was all window
dressing for the election and the whole thing is starting to fall apart and it is not just because
there is a Liberal government in Western Australia. The other states too are starting to realise
what they are in for.

We've got the climate change costs coming up shortly as well and the states haven't been guaranteed
a reasonable share of the infrastructure fund so they are obviously quite nervous and the ones that
are facing elections pretty soon are going to be very nervous and putting pressure on the Federal
Government.

LISA MILLAR: What are they going to say when Kevin Rudd today tells them to tighten their belts?
Expect less money?

KEN WILTSHIRE: Well, I think they are going to rebel. I think this is the end of cooperative
federalism. I think this will be the beginning of the states starting to say well enough is enough.

We have played along with this and we have done a lot in harmonising regulation. We've harmonised a
whole range of legislation and we have tried to achieve uniformity in creating a common market.

It is about time the Commonwealth Government now played its part in this so-called partnership.

LISA MILLAR: Are any of the states in a better position to wear a downturn in their budgetary
outlook?

KEN WILTSHIRE: Well, obviously we have got a two-speed economy and Australia in the states like
Queensland and Western Australia who have a bigger resource base have traditionally been stronger,
mainly because of the export of commodities.

But New South Wales is considered to be, to some extent to be the basket case at the moment. So
there are differences between the particular states and territories as well.

But if the climate change policies are introduced, you can imagine what that will do to states like
Queensland and Western Australia if the resources sector gets slammed despite the fact that there
might be concessions for export industries.

So, yes, it is not an even picture across Australia but the differences are not enormous yet.

LISA MILLAR: You think today might be a bit of watershed as far as state-federal relations go?

KEN WILTSHIRE: I do. I think in terms of attitudes and in terms of crimes and of course, in a
crisis you know, these positions usually come to the fore because people get particularly concerned
about the future but if the Commonwealth really tries to wave a big stick and uses the global
financial crisis as an excuse, I just don't think the states are going to wear it.

LISA MILLAR: That is Prof Ken Wiltshire from the University of Queensland.

New petrol commissioner targets wholesalers

LISA MILLAR: The man nominated to take over as Australia's next petrol commissioner says he won't
shy away from cracking down on oil companies that might be ripping off motorists.

Joe Dimasi is set to take over the role after the sudden resignation of Patrick Walker, the first
petrol commissioner not appointed by the Rudd Government.

But there are concerns that Mr Dimasi's efforts may be thwarted by a lack of real power needed to
keep oil companies in line.

Ashley Hall reports.

ASHLEY HALL: He may be a new vocalist, but it sounds like he's singing from a familiar song sheet.

JOE DIMASI: It's the international price of refined petrol and movements in the exchange rate. They
are the two single biggest factors that influence the price of petrol.

ASHLEY HALL: Joe Dimasi moves to the job of petrol commissioner from another position at the
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, as the executive general manager of regulatory
affairs.

His appointment won't be official until he gets the nod from the state and territory governments.
Then, he says, he'll get straight to work.

JOE DIMASI: My priorities will be to make sure that the petrol market is as competitive as can
possibly be. To make sure that consumers are paying the lowest possible price.

ASHLEY HALL: And Mr Dimasi says, he already has a plan worked out.

JOE DIMASI: First, at the retail level, we are monitoring prices and we certainly will continue to
keep track of prices and see how they perform against national benchmarks and also of course,
taking into account movements in the exchange rate.

Over and above that, we have the powers and I will have the powers to monitor the books of the oil
companies and in fact, we are in the process of collecting information, looking at their books
right now, so we will be able to see exactly what is happening.

ASHLEY HALL: He says he'll also turn his attention to the wholesale petrol market, which is where
last year's inquiry into petrol prices found room for improvement.

And he'll do all of that using little more than the Trade Practices Act as cover.

JOE DIMASI: No I am satisfied that there's an enormous suite of powers to be used where
appropriate.

ASHLEY HALL: As spokesman for the petrol wholesaler BP says, there is no need to focus on the
wholesale petrol market because last year's enquiry found it to be "fundamentally competitive".

Nonetheless not everyone believes Mr Dimasi have the powers he needs to make sure it stays that
way.

ALAN EVANS: Its very tough times out there for motorists. The cost of motoring has been very high
lately and we need someone in there who can not only bark at the oil companies but can bite them
when necessary.

ASHLEY HALL: The president of the motoring organisation, the NRMA, Alan Evans is calling on the
government to sharpen the teeth of the petrol commissioner, by giving him the power to force petrol
companies to drop their prices if they fail to pass on savings.

He also wants more information for drivers about where the cheapest petrol can be found.

ALAN EVANS: The government, I think has got a limited time to show it can do something. It bought
some time with the appointment of the federal commissioner but when he resigned, you know, they
have taken a while to appoint a new one.

They really need to make sure they get their act together otherwise the public will run out of
patience with them.

ASHLEY HALL: The Melbourne Business School's professor of economics, Joshua Gans says the ACCC
inquiry's recommendations read like a roadmap for improving competition and driving down petrol
prices.

JOSHUA GANS: They were very concerned about recent court decisions that made it quite difficult to
prosecute seeming cooperative or tacit collusive outcomes between petrol retailers and they sought
a strengthening of those laws to enable it to do that job better.

ASHLEY HALL: So far, the government's only attempt to extend the ACCC's power over the petrol
industry is the introduction the FuelWatch scheme. But that has run up against opposition in the
Senate.

JOSHUA GANS: The Opposition in particular have been distracted by FuelWatch and by trying to pull
it down when there are so many other issues that are of importance in the petrol pricing and
competition areas and so the very recommendations that the ACCC made, did not feature when the
Senate was holding its enquiry into FuelWatch.

ASHLEY HALL: Joshua Gans says it's time for the elected representatives to stop playing politics
and focus on the policies that would cut the cost to drivers, rather than boost the profits of
petrol companies.

LISA MILLAR: Ashley Hall reporting.

Experts warn Govt against complacency on human rights

LISA MILLAR: Several prominent Australian human rights advocates have given the Rudd Government a
mixed report card for its performance on social inclusion since winning office.

Among those delivering their verdict were academic Robert Manne and former Human Rights
Commissioner Sev Ozdowski.

They've given the Government a tick for its handling of Indigenous issues but say much more could
be done to promote multicultural understanding.

Michael Edwards has this report.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Many human rights advocates hailed Kevin Rudd's election as prime minister as a
turning point.

They hoped it marked the end of a government they say pursued a harsh immigration policy and had
little time for multiculturalism.

Almost a year on a group of prominent advocates and academics have met at a conference in Sydney to
deliver a report card on the Rudd Government's performance.

One of the group is Professor Robert Manne from La Trobe University in Melbourne.

ROBERT MANNE: In some areas the government, the Howard government pushed the culture far to the
right and the Rudd Government reflects that. In some areas the Rudd Government has been able to cut
through that problem.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: The conference judged the Government's performance by four criteria - rights,
reconciliation, respect and responsibility.

Robert Manne says one area where the Rudd Government has cut through is with immigration policy.

ROBERT MANNE: And I think you have to say that the Rudd Government has in general been good. Quiet
because they are worried about popular backlashes but in fact some of the most offensive parts of
the Howard-Ruddock policy have been removed like the Pacific solution and like the temporary
protection visas.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Labor's immigration policy is set for further scrutiny as the Government deals
with the arrival of the first boatload of people who could be seeking asylum since the changes.

But it's not the only area where Robert Manne says the Government is headed in the right direction.

He says it's also showed strong leadership by apologising to the Stolen Generations.

ROBERT MANNE: It has broken through this absolutely needless false division that you had in the
Howard government which is either practical reconciliation or practical action in fact or symbolic
action.

The previous government said that the two things were different. What the Rudd Government has shown
is that not only are they not in contradiction but the apology has given us a sort of moral
underpinning to things like the Northern Territory intervention.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: But Robert Manne isn't completely happy with the Rudd Government.

ROBERT MANNE: In the area of respect, I think overwhelmingly the biggest problem we have in terms
of ethnic relations or societal relations, is the attitude that's now become acceptable in regard
to Muslims.

All Western societies since 9/11, there has been problems but in Australia I think the Howard
government and now the Rudd Government has not done nearly enough to think about what is happening.
To think about the great story of postwar migration has now got a real problem but on the ground,
it is just common for Muslims to feel that they are under, not attack, but under suspicion.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: The former Human Rights Commissioner Sev Ozdowski is another who contributed his
views to the report card.

Dr Ozdowski says the Rudd Government should be doing more to help newer generations of migrants,
especially those from Muslim backgrounds.

SEV OZDOWSKI: You see I arrive in Australia with my family and small son in 1975. Long time ago and
I was treated very well. There were programs which helped me to settle there were opportunities
given to me and I made most of it. It was partly because there were government policies in place.

During the Howard government, unfortunately we had a couple of neglect of this area and I think it
is important that the Rudd Government reasserts its standing vis-a-vis migrants who just came to
Australia in order to succeed.

They sometimes need some help with English language, with equal opportunity, with understanding
better Australian cultures.

LISA MILLAR: That is the former Human Rights Commissioner Sev Ozdowski ending Michael Edwards's
report.

All will be revealed by security trial, say libertarians

LISA MILLAR: New trials of controversial full body x-ray machines at three Australian airports have
civil libertarians concerned that people's privacy will be breached.

The Office of Transport Security is trialling new ways of detecting explosives in liquids, aerosols
and gels carried by passengers, including their hand luggage and body scanners.

Some people are concerned that the "Backscatter" x-ray machine is a virtual strip search,
highlighting body parts and people's genitals in the search for anything that a passenger might be
trying to hide.

The Australian Government is justifying the search saying the five-week trial will strengthen
aviation security and streamline security screening.

As Nance Haxton reports from Adelaide.

NANCE HAXTON: The scans produced by the full-body x-ray machines don't leave much to the
imagination. While the face is blurred, the scans clearly show a person's genitalia and organs.

The Office of Transport Security says the scans are intrusive but necessary, to screen for possible
explosives that may be concealed by some passengers.

Executive director Paul Retter:

PAUL RETTER: Over the last couple of years we've seen a number of incidents of terrorism or
attempted terrorism which have suggested that the technology that airports around the world are
using could not, in fact, effectively deal with some of the tactics being employed.

We have been aware of for some time that technology is moving on and the Australian Government in
an attempt to look at what is best suited to Australia and our circumstances are now trialling a
range of advanced technologies designed to better detect explosive devices and other sorts of
weapons that might be used to disrupt aviation.

NANCE HAXTON: Mr Retter says privacy is a key concern and they've consulted with the privacy
commissioner on how to ensure that people's rights aren't breached.

PAUL RETTER: And making sure that the faces of those people being scanned are blurred. That the
person, the screening officer looking at the image that is on the screen, is removed from the
screening point and can't identify the person who is actually going through the screening.

NANCE HAXTON: The trials will take place from mid-October to the end of November at the Sydney,
Melbourne and Adelaide airports.

Adelaide Airport corporate affairs director John McArdle says real trials on real people are
essential to test the efficacy of the new scanners.

JOHN MCARDLE: The idea is to test it in an airport so you can get a real feel for the value of the
equipment. Whether it will improve facilitation standards and whether it will do the job it has
been designed to do.

NANCE HAXTON: Three technologies will be trialled at Adelaide Airport - the body scanner which
scans for weapons and prohibited items, a bottle scanner which detects vapours and liquid
explosives, and x-ray technology.

Only volunteers will be scanned during the trials.

The idea of full body scans and x-rays did not please many of the callers to Adelaide ABC Radio's
morning program

ANNOUNCER: A caller rang to say she has had a mastectomy and is worried that will show up on the
scanners. She has kept it secret from a lot of people because she feels embarrassed about it.

CALLER: My concern was the exposure rate for people with these machines. A traveller or a business
person might go through 10 or 20 times with these machines and it must be a health risk.

CALLER 2: Recently I got two return flights and didn't have to show ID on either occasion so
perhaps they should get the basic securities right first.

NANCE HAXTON: Some were less concerned.

CALLER 3: Surely it would be just as interesting to them as it would be to doctors and nurses
looking at people in hospitals. I mean a body is a body is a body and you don't get, I mean I'm a
nurse. I know you don't get some sort of voyeuristic pleasure looking at a body. You are there to
do a job.

NANCE HAXTON: George Mancini is the chair of the South Australian Council for Civil Liberties.

He says the searches invade people's privacy to an unjustifiable degree.

GEORGE MANCINI: Usually we subject ourselves to searches and intrusive searches where there is a
reasonable suspicion that you are a suspect for committing a crime. This won't be happening, I
suspect.

Look, there are privacy concerns. Fortunately this is on the Commonwealth land and there is
Commonwealth legislation that has some privacy protections for individuals but we just don't know
enough about whether this is going to protect privacy across the board.

LISA MILLAR: That is George Mancini the chair of the South Australian Council for Civil Liberties.

Suspected croc attack prompts call for cull

LISA MILLAR: As the search continues for a man believed taken by a crocodile in far north
Queensland, there are renewed calls for the reptiles to be culled.

There's been no sign of 62-year-old Arthur Booker, who disappeared during a camping trip near the
Endeavour River, north of Cooktown on Tuesday.

Some people are blaming the incident on an explosion in the crocodile population since hunting was
banned in the 1970s.

But a leading zoologist has slammed the comments as false, ignorant and populist.

Annie Guest reports from Brisbane.

ANNIE GUEST: It's a familiar script. There's a tragic loss of life in the wild - be it a shark
attack or in this case, a suspected crocodile attack. Within days a culling debate ignites but what
substance, if any, lies behind the headlines?

BOB KATTER: There has to be culling, I mean human beings are dying here.

ANNIE GUEST: That's Bob Katter, the Federal Independent Member for Kennedy.

His fellow north Queenslander, Liberal Senator Ian Macdonald has also weighed in.

IAN MACDONALD: If human beings are congregating in an area then all crocodiles should be removed.

ANNIE GUEST: And a man who has spent nearly three decades catching crocodiles and making a living
from their products, Mick Pitman says the Queensland Government must shoulder the blame.

MICK PITMAN: When you're getting the numbers that are kicking around at the moment and the people
that are around at the moment, you've got to draw a balance and it's just not happening over there
in Queensland. It's not happening at all.

And this is because the Parks and Wildlife mob have been educating the public supposedly but it's
not working much at all and that is that you've got to live with the animal.

ANNIE GUEST: In a life he says has been spent largely in the bush, Bob Katter describes rarely
seeing crocodiles prior to the last 20 years when the hunting ban came in.

BOB KATTER: Nature is completely out of whack. Where we had no crocodiles at all now in these
rivers, some of them will have 80 or 100.

ANNIE GUEST: Ignorant nonsense. That's how these claims are characterised by a zoologist and
Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Queensland, Craig Franklin.

CRAIG FRANKLIN: There's been little or no growth of populations.

ANNIE GUEST: Why do you think they say these things?

CRAIG FRANKLIN: Some are driven purely by politics. Other people are driven by wanting to exploit
the animal.

ANNIE GUEST: Professor Franklin says there's limited data, but a study of the very river that is at
the centre of the latest suspected crocodile attack shows a population decline.

CRAIG FRANKLIN: Endeavour River was surveyed in 2000 and along 17km of river, there were 12 animals
spotted. In 2007, 11 animals were spotted over 23km of river.

ANNIE GUEST: Now in the Northern Territory they talk about numbers of around 70,000 and they have
appealed previously to the federal government to allow safari hunting in addition to their
crocodile management programs which do allow for some limited killing, I think of 500 or 600
crocodiles a year.

If indeed, the population has grown back to 70,000 in the Northern Territory, why wouldn't it be
similar in Queensland?

CRAIG FRANKLIN: The habitat, crocodile habitat in Queensland is a lot poorer than the Northern
Territories and hence the populations just haven't recovered like they have in the Northern
Territories.

ANNIE GUEST: Queensland's Sustainability Minister Andrew McNamara has also criticised those calling
for crocodiles to be killed.

ANDREW MCNAMARA: At the end of the day this incident did not occur in an urban area, in a built up
area. It occurred in known crocodile habitat.

ANNIE GUEST: He's backed by conservationist Bob Irwin, the father of the late Steve Irwin. He has
told Fairfax newspapers the crocodile is a vital part of the eco-system and it was behaving
naturally.

Meanwhile, hope is turning to despair for the family of Arthur Booker. Several family members
remain at the bedside of his distraught wife in Cooktown hospital. They're waiting for more news
from the 13-member strong search party at the Endeavour River.

LISA MILLAR: Annie Guest reporting.

NRL grand final build-up dominated by legal talk

LISA MILLAR: With the Rugby League season building up to the decider on Sunday, the focus should be
on the two teams and the big match ahead of them.

But most of the talk is instead about apologies and the threat of legal action against the coach of
the defending premiers, the Melbourne Storm.

For the Storm's opponents, Manly, there's a different sort of pressure.

The Sea Eagles are trying to go one better than last year and have the hopes of the whole of Sydney
resting on their backs.

Simon Santow reports.

SIMON SANTOW: The AFL might have its grand final parade.

ANNOUNCER: So would you please now welcome the boys from the Northern Beaches, the Manly Sea
Eagles.

(Applause)

SIMON SANTOW: But in Rugby League, there's a breakfast at a Sydney hotel with both teams supping at
a long table on the stage.

ANNOUNCER: Would you welcome the defending premiers, playing in their third straight grand final,
the Melbourne Storm.

(Applause)

ANNOUNCER: Their coach is Craig Bellamy...

SIMON SANTOW: Before sitting back to some made-for-TV entertainment.

(Music excerpt from Vanessa Amorosi)

SIMON SANTOW: The NRL turned to Vanessa Amorosi and her hit 'Perfect' to help inspire the players.

(Music excerpt from Vanessa Amorosi)

SIMON SANTOW: But for the game's officials, the pre-game publicity has been far from perfect.

Two weeks ago, Melbourne had its best player and captain, Cameron Smith, suspended from the big
game because the judiciary ruled he'd used a dangerous 'grapple-style' tackle on an opponent.

When the Storm overcame the loss of Smith to charge into the grand final, their coach Craig Bellamy
launched a savage verbal attack on league's administrators and even alleged the result of the
judiciary hearing had been leaked to bookmakers ahead of the decision.

The NRL fined the club $50,000 for bringing the game into disrepute. But judiciary members want an
apology.

(Music excerpt from Vanessa Amorosi)

SIMON SANTOW: And they're still waiting.

Craig Bellamy this morning wouldn't even admit to being distracted.

CRAIG BELLAMY: Oh, there is always something every week that sort of comes up and makes it a bit of
a challenge but like I say, it is a pretty challenging job as a coach but it is very challenging as
players as well so as long as we all get in there and do our job, you know, that is all we ask.

SIMON SANTOW: Judiciary panel member and former Manly and New Zealand representative player,
Darrell Williams, won't let the Storm's comments pass.

DARRELL WILLIAMS: Look I've been a judiciary panel member for a little over 12 years now and the
longest serving member on that panel. I expect some criticism to come from clubs when they are not
happy with decision but the criticism levelled by Craig Bellamy and backed up Brian Waldron I
believe has crossed the line.

I believe it is a personal attack on my integrity in being part of the panel and parting the
judicial system and it is something that I am not prepared to tolerate.

SIMON SANTOW: And how easily could this problem be resolved?

DARRELL WILLIAMS: In the first instance I believe a genuine apology could have sufficed but
unfortunately it just appears that the club have dug their heels in. They may or may not be hiding
behind the fact that they are preparing for a grand final but this wouldn't have been an issue in
the first instance if they hadn't gone down this road.

SIMON SANTOW: You are absolutely serious about the threat to take legal action?

DARRELL WILLIAMS: Absolutely. I am on my way to a meeting now with David Gallop. I will listen to
him and any direction that comes from him and consider my options but I will be going into that
meeting with the full view that with or without the NRL's support, I'll pursue this through the
courts.

SIMON SANTOW: Because it is something that you feel so strongly about?

DARRELL WILLIAMS: I do. I mean I am an ex-player putting a little bit back into the game through my
role as a judicial panel member for the NRL.

I have done it for a while now. I believe in the system. I think it is a system that protects
players and helps to promote the code as a safe code to play and in dispensing, you know, my
services and my duties, I don't expect to be attacked in the manner that I was and to be aligned
with bookmakers and to suggest that I leaked information to bookmakers is intolerable.

LISA MILLAR: Rugby League judiciary panel member and former Sea Eagle, Darrell Williams, speaking
there to our reporter Simon Santow.

Stage star stopped by stroke

LISA MILLAR: Theatre great Rob Guest has died at the age of 58, after suffering a massive stroke.

He had been playing the lead role of the wizard in the award winning hit musical "Wicked" in
Melbourne for the past few months.

Best known for his lead performance in the Australian production of "The Phantom of the Opera", Rob
Guest died in a Melbourne hospital overnight, as Alison Caldwell reports.

(Music - Rob Guest singing an extract from Phantom of the Opera)

ALISON CALDWELL: In a world record-breaking 2289 performances, Rob Guest played the lead role in
The Phantom of the Opera for over seven years.

The English-born entertainer began his career as a pop singer in New Zealand in the 1970s. Like so
many before him and after, Rob Guest moved across the Tasman to try his luck in Sydney, joining a
band called the "In-Betweens".

(Music - Rob Guest singing an extract of a song by the In-Betweens)

ALISON CALDWELL: It wasn't long before he realised that his voice and personality might be better
suited to the burgeoning stage musical industry, beginning with a stint in Las Vegas in the 1980s.

Radio New Zealand presenter Phil O'Brien met Rob Guest in the 1970s.

PHIL O'BRIEN: And the first to admit not the greatest voice in the world, definitely not for the
sort of stuff he was doing at the time which were pop songs but loved the shows and hence the Les
Mis and the Phantom things. Perfectly suited for that sort of thing and incredibly consistent.

I mean over 2000 performances in Phantom, you kind of had to know what you were doing all the time
and he managed to make every single one of those shows like the only one he had ever done.

(Music - Rob Guest singing an extract from "Les Miserables")

ALISON CALDWELL: His big break came when he was cast as Jean Valjean in the Australian production
of Les Miserables. For his performance he won a Green Room award in 1991.

Altogether, Rob Guest performed more than 40 lead roles around the world, including Captain Von
Trapp in "The Sound of Music", Sweeney Todd and Al Jolson.

In 1994 he received an OBE for services to the New Zealand entertainment industry.

(Music - Rob Guest singing an extract from "Wicked")

ALISON CALDWELL: More recently Rob Guest played the role of the Wizard in the sell out season of
"Wicked", the award winning back story of the witches in the "Wizard of Oz".

In its first week in Melbourne, "Wicked" set a box office record with more than 300,000 tickets
sold, the return stands at $27-million.

Performing in eight shows a week, the cast has Tuesday's off. Guest was at home when he had a
massive stroke.

His two teenage children rushed from Sydney to be by his side in hospital, where he died in the
early hours of this morning.

"Wicked" producer John Frost.

JOHN FROST: You know he would pass his entertainment sort of prowess onto them and people like
Anthony Callea and Rob Mills who had never worked in the theatre before really.

You could often walk past the dressing rooms and there would be the two boys sitting in Rob's
dressing room and Rob saying, now this is the protocol backstage in the theatre. You are not doing
a rock concert now. There is no drinking backstage. You can't bring any girls backstage. You can't
do this and he would pass that on very generously.

ALISON CALDWELL: Rob Guest's agent Sherin Rickards says Guest was excited about "Wicked's" success.

SHERIN RICKARDS: It was just, it was the role that he had been waiting for. It was the right role
for him. He hadn't done a musical theatre show for around five, six years and it was the right role
and it came at the right time and he was brilliant in it.

ALISON CALDWELL: Cast in the lead role of a musical, Rob Guest would stick with it until the final
curtain. He spoke about his love for musicals to Radio New Zealand earlier this year.

ROB GUEST: Every show that I have ever done has unfinished business for me because funnily enough I
am the one person that doesn't leave a show. I stay with the show.

It is because I enjoy doing it and I see it through to the end and they close the show and I go,
ahh, I wish there was one more.

(Music - Rob Guest singing an extract from "Les Miserables")

LISA MILLAR: That report compiled by Alison Caldwell.