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Government under renewed fire over guarantees

Government under renewed fire over guarantees

The World Today - Friday, 24 October , 2008 12:10:00

Reporter: Lyndal Curtis

ELEANOR HALL: With seven more cash management funds announcing this morning that they are freezing
the assets of their investors the Federal Opposition has ramped up the pressure on the Government
to abandon its unlimited guarantee on bank deposits and the proposed compulsory fee for large
deposits.

The Prime Minister met the CEOs of Australia's four major banks in Canberra last night and the
Government says it is reviewing its guarantee policy.

It's also advising people who are facing hardship because of the financial crisis to speak to
Centrelink about getting help.

In Canberra, chief political correspondent Lyndal Curtis reports.

LYNDAL CURTIS: The details of the fee the Government will charge for large deposits going to
institutions covered by the guarantee haven't yet been revealed.

The Prime Minister and Treasurer met last night with the chief executives of Australia's big four
banks. They met for around an hour and the talks have been described as constructive.

With the decision by some funds to freeze some payments because of the move of money out of
unguaranteed institutions into the ones that are, the pressure for the Government to announce what
fee it will impose on the bank deposits guarantee and how it will do that is growing.

A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister says the Government is aware of the unintended consequences of
its guarantee decision. The Treasurer Wayne Swan is advising people who are having difficulty and
experiencing large losses to contact Centrelink.

WAYNE SWAN: In so far as there will be a significant number of people who may be affected by the
fact that they can't necessarily access their capital in a timely way, those people of course
should investigate whatever opportunities they have through Centrelink to see if they can access
temporary support under conditions in Centrelink.

LYNDAL CURTIS: The Human Services Minister Joe Ludwig says Centrelink is looking at what it can do.

JOE LUDWIG: The Government and ASIC are monitoring the situation closely. They're conferring with
our regulators about the circumstances.

We've also instructed Centrelink to undertake a system wide re-evaluation of all shares and other
financial assets held by pensioners and that's to ensure that the new value of their holdings is
used to determine the rate of pension they receive.

We can also, if they've had a large loss of income, then we can encourage them to go through, don't
self assess, and apply for the pension, which Centrelink can process within 28 days.

There's also other work that we can talk to them about. We've got trained financial advisors that
can also assist.

LYNDAL CURTIS: But the Opposition claims that some people have been turned away because they have
savings. Malcolm Turnbull has criticised the Treasurer for his Centrelink advice.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: It just shows how out of touch Mr Swan is. When he is confronted with this mess
that he has created, there's no doubt about that this is the consequence of his poor economic
management, the best he can say to people whose life savings have been frozen, is oh, just go down
to Centrelink. I mean it is a contemptuous comment and it just shows how out of touch he is.

LYNDAL CURTIS: He's also called on the Government to abandon the unlimited guarantee in favour of
one with a cap.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Mr Swan and Mr Rudd have created a terrible mess here. There is no question about
that. And I'm sure if they had their time over again they wish they hadn't made the grand gestures
they did on the 12th of October.

But in terms of where we go, how we get out of the mess they've created and move forward, it should
be at a level recommended by the Reserve Bank. What that will do is limit the amount of money that
will have an incentive to move out of non-guaranteed funds and institutions into guaranteed ones.

LYNDAL CURTIS: He says the Government should also abandon the plans to introduce a fee although
says people could pay one if they wanted a guarantee for deposits over the cap.

While the Government hasn't indicated if there are any plans to abandon the unlimited guarantee, it
has questioned what Mr Turnbull is proposing, saying it's already doing much of what he calls for
by setting a level at which deposits are subject to a fee.

ELEANOR HALL: Lyndal Curtis reporting.

Association predicts further fallout from freeze

Association predicts further fallout from freeze

The World Today - Friday, 24 October , 2008 12:14:00

Reporter: Sabra Lane

ELEANOR HALL: Thirteen of the nation's top 20 funds management companies have now frozen
redemptions and the amount of money locked away from investors now is around $12-billion.

The Investment and Financial Services Association represents funds management companies and it says
the freeze is not only affecting investors but will have a knock-on effect on small businesses and
developers.

The association's chief executive is Richard Gilbert and he's been speaking to Sabra Lane.

RICHARD GILBERT: The industry obviously has a lot of concern. We're actually meeting with our
members shortly. We have spoken to, I've spoken to the Government overnight and this morning and
hopefully they're giving this their urgent attention.

SABRA LANE: How many billions now are frozen?

RICHARD GILBERT: Well the industry is about $18-billion, between 15 and $18-billion depending how
you assess you. Thirteen of the funds, of the 20 top funds are now closed and so we're probably
talking two-thirds of 15, that's about $10-billion, $12-billion frozen as we speak.

SABRA LANE: You've been talking with the Government now for days. What seems to be the sticking
point?

RICHARD GILBERT: The Government is still putting through the details on the bank guarantee and I
noticed that it met with the four bank CEOs last evening. Hopefully that meeting tied up the
banking issues and today they will be looking at the money market issues.

SABRA LANE: So you'd be hoping that something is resolved with your industry either today or this
weekend?

RICHARD GILBERT: Absolutely.

SABRA LANE: And what if it's not?

RICHARD GILBERT: Well the capital markets are looking for a signal here and so I think the
Government needs to say something and say something that's positive. And that's why I think today
is going to be critical.

SABRA LANE: The Treasurer said last night you shouldn't expect the same sort of deal that the banks
are getting.

RICHARD GILBERT: Well we're not quite sure on what the deal the banks have so I don't want to
comment on what the banks have got because I haven't seen the final package for them, what the cost
of it is and what the advantage, what competitive advantage they have. But clearly we need some
sort of a deal if that is the case because the asymmetry in the market is glaringly obvious.

SABRA LANE: What exactly do you want from the Government?

RICHARD GILBERT: Well we want a recognition that some of the funds have got assets which are very
similar to bank assets. And we also want a recognition that you can do something here and in that
regard in the US they were able to do a special deal or package for the money market funds.

And we have put that to Government and so hopefully they will look at what happened over there and
look at how, what the differences are here and then come up with something for here. But at this
stage we don't have anything, we've got, we've put our options on the table but we're still waiting
for the Government to give us a response. So it would be inappropriate for me to pre-empt their
response.

SABRA LANE: In a nut shell, how did the Americans solve their problem?

RICHARD GILBERT: Well they gave them a three month window of closure and funds can opt into it and
they have to pay. And the US mutual fund industry readily went into that arrangement because they
could see that there was a real risk that investors would lose confidence in their funds.

The other side of the equation for them, and I think it is one for us too, is not just the
investors here, and the investors are important, but it's also the recipients of the capital. So
this capital is for small business; it's for people to do development projects; it provides jobs
and employment. And it provides liquidity in the economy and fluidity in the economy to keep growth
going. So that's why we can't ignore this problem.

SABRA LANE: What's this period of instability doing to the industry? Will it have long term effects
do you think?

RICHARD GILBERT: It's certainly shaken a lot of people in the industry. And we want this industry
to be a strong one in the Asian region. It still remains strong in the region. But rapidly, if we
can't face these problems and move through them fairly quickly it will effect the growth of the
industry and the employment in the industry.

SABRA LANE: Has the Government been willing to listen to you as readily as they have the big banks?

RICHARD GILBERT: Overall they have but you know, their priority has squarely been on the banks
because that's where the initial problem arose around the world. But as with anything, this is a
complex industry with downstream effects. We're a critical downstream element and we must be very
closely, these issues need to be closely attended to by the Government.

SABRA LANE: How confident are you Richard Gilbert that there will be a solution to this today or by
weekend's end?

RICHARD GILBERT: Well we remain hopeful. And you know I can't, I'm not in the Government's shoes
and they have to come up with something here. But we are hopeful because they're still talking to
us, which is a good sign.

ELEANOR HALL: That's the chief executive of the Investment and Financial Services Association,
Richard Gilbert, speaking to Sabra Lane.

Banks facing further court action over Opes collapse

Banks facing further court action over Opes collapse

The World Today - Friday, 24 October , 2008 12:18:00

Reporter: Rachael Brown

ELEANOR HALL: The liquidator of the failed stockbroking firm, Opes Prime, is taking the ANZ bank
and investment bank Merrill Lynch to court.

Settlement talks between the banks and the liquidator Ferrier Hodgson broke down last night. The
liquidator says it will now pursue large compensation sums in court and Opes Prime creditors are
also taking their own case against the banks with a class action in the Federal Court .

In Melbourne, Rachael Brown reports.

RACHAEL BROWN: It's been seven months since the collapse of Opes Prime but it could be years before
creditors recoup any of their lost shares.

DOUGALL DONALDSON: I was hoping for some sort of financial restitution either in cash or the
reinstatement of the securities that I owned.

RACHAEL BROWN: Unsecured creditor Dougall Donaldson lost his $112,000 investment in the collapse.
There are 1200 others like him who had their hopes pinned on liquidator John Lindholm, who was
trying to mediate a $300-million compromise with the banks. But talks broke down last night, the
banks describing the sum as exorbitant and unrealistic.

Mr Donaldson says creditors now face a long wait.

DOUGALL DONALDSON: I was hoping to see the end of this in the short term but now I think it's going
to be a long, drawn out process for all of us.

RACHAEL BROWN: How long are you tipping?

DOUGALL DONALDSON: You know, three, four, five years. It could drag on for that long I guess. The
court process is pretty detailed and pretty time consuming.

RACHAEL BROWN: Mr Lindholm won't be speaking until a creditors' meeting next week. His legal
advisor is quoted in today's Financial Review, describing the outlook as an "Armageddon scenario of
three to five years of litigation".

ANZ has declined an interview but released a statement saying it participated in the mediation in
good faith, hoping to achieving a sensible outcome, but that it couldn't be reached.

And Merrill Lynch says it won't be making any comment.

The courts will now decide whether the banks entered into uncommercial deals with Opes Prime in the
days before it collapsed but the liquidator first has some ground work to do.

DAVID ANDREWS: And I would expect that to include an examination of the directors and officers of
the banks concerned.

RACHAEL BROWN: David Andrews from law firm Slater and Gordon explains creditors will fight the
banks from another angle.

DAVID ANDREWS: Misrepresentations made by Opes Prime and the knowledge of the ANZ and Merrill Lynch
about those misrepresentations.

RACHAEL BROWN: Mr Andrews' firm has reopened its class action against the banks for alleged
deception and expects more interest in the wake of the failed mediation.

DAVID ANDREWS: I believe a lot of people were holding back from getting involved in legal
proceedings whilst the mediation continued because they were hopeful that the mediation process
would be a able to deliver a result which they would regard as being as favourable or if not as
favourable, not much less favourable than they could get out of litigation. The benefit of a
successful mediation would have been certainty and speed whereas litigation is notoriously
difficult to predict and can be a long and arduous process.

RACHAEL BROWN: He says while creditors won't be able to double dip, the separate liquidator
litigation will have an effect on their class action.

DAVID ANDREWS: Say for example if a dividend from a liquidator or creditor was able to get 20 cents
but wanted to claim 100 cents in the dollar then we would be pursuing the balance of the 80 cents.

RACHAEL BROWN: Creditor Mr Donaldson says he hopes a wider class action will strengthen his case.

DOUGALL DONALDSON: I mean it's just horrendous. I was told by the Opus Prime representative that
these shares were to be transferred to ANZ as a custodian on behalf of Opes and that I remained the
beneficial owner of those shares. And how the devil ANZ just come in and take all the shares and
flog them on us just left me absolutely bewildered.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Opes Prime creditor Dougall Donaldson ending that report from Rachael Brown.

Obama firming as presidential favourite

Obama firming as presidential favourite

The World Today - Friday, 24 October , 2008 12:22:00

Reporter: Kim Landers

ELEANOR HALL: The state of the economy is dominating the closing stages of the US presidential
campaign.

Republican John McCain has been hammering the issue as he searches for a way to shift the momentum
of a race that seems to be slipping away from him.

Democrat nominee Barack Obama is now leading not only in national polls but in many of the
mid-western states which were critical to deciding the last election.

And while the Republican campaign is pulling television advertising in several states, the
Democrats are flooded with money.

This report from North America correspondent Kim Landers.

KIM LANDERS: The economy is still the overwhelming issue in the home stretch of this presidential
campaign and the battle for America's middle class is raging.

Republican John McCain is keeping up a drumbeat of criticism of Barack Obama's tax plans,
especially how they'll affect small business owners.

JOHN MCCAIN: Obama wants to spread the wealth around, Senator Obama wants to spread it around.
(Audience boos) That means fewer jobs at their businesses and fewer jobs here in Florida. You know,
this week we learned that Senator Obama is concerned that his plan for wealth redistribution is
seen as welfare...

KIM LANDERS: John McCain is on a cross state bus tour of Florida trying to stop it swinging from
Republican to Democrat.

JOHN MCCAIN: Florida is a battleground state. We've got to win it. We have less than two weeks, 12
days, who's counting (laughter) until the election.

KIM LANDERS: And he's sharpening his personal attacks against his rival.

JOHN MCCAIN: He'll say anything to get elected.

KIM LANDERS: Democratic nominee Barack Obama has been campaigning today in Indiana, a state which
lost four-and-a-half thousand jobs last month. He says John McCain is defending giving tax cuts to
corporations, including those which move jobs overseas.

BARACK OBAMA: He said that's, quote, "simple fundamental economics". Well Indiana, my opponent may
call that fundamental economics but we know that's just another name for Wall Street first, Main
Street last. That's the kind of economic philosophy we've had for the past eight years and that's
fundamentally wrong!

KIM LANDERS: Barack Obama himself must be doing something right because the latest opinion polls
show him pulling ahead of John McCain. A survey by the University of Wisconsin shows he holds
double digit leads in eight crucial mid-west states; states which were key battlegrounds in the
2004 election. They include Indiana, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Ohio is where Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has been campaigning today,
standing on stage behind a row of pumpkins carved with the message "victory in Ohio".

SARAH PALIN: Okay Ohio, are you ready to help carry your state to victory?

CROWD: Yes! (Cheers and applause)

SARAH PALIN: Are you ready to make John McCain the next president of the United States of America?

CROWD: Yes! (Cheers and applause)

KIM LANDERS: But if the opinion polls are to be believed, Barack Obama is winning in these mid-west
states.

Ken Goldstein is a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin.

KEN GOLDSTEIN: We are in absolutely unchartered waters in terms of the advantage that Barack Obama
has in campaign spending. He's out-advertising John McCain by margins of two, three, four, five to
one in some of these states, plus he's up on the radio, but he's got a ground organisation, plus
he's doing massive mail campaigns.

And one of the reasons why you might see a state like Indiana that's going a little bit more
Democrat than we think it might, even given the national trends, is because Barack Obama has been
running a campaign there well really since May when he ran in the primary in Indiana; has field
offices there and has had massive amounts of television advertising. And the John McCain campaign
really wasn't campaigning there until very, very, very recently.

KIM LANDERS: Meanwhile in another troubling sign for John McCain, the Republican Party is slashing
its television advertising in Colorado.

This is Kim Landers in Washington for The World Today.

But what does it all mean...

But what does it all mean...

The World Today - Friday, 24 October , 2008 12:26:00

Reporter: Eleanor Hall

ELEANOR HALL: And a short time ago I spoke to our US election analyst, professor of politics at
Stanford University, Dr Simon Jackman, for his perspective on the US race.

Dr Jackman we've just been hearing that Barack Obama is surging ahead of John McCain in some of the
key election decider states in the mid-west. He's also looking like he could win over some of those
formerly solid Republican states like Virginia.

What's your polling showing? Is John McCain still in with a chance?

SIMON JACKMAN: No. You would have to say no at this point. It's looking like a pretty comfortable
win for Barack Obama at this point and frankly the debate is really just about the margin here.

There was a scenario in which Obama could win by holding all the Kerry states, the states that
Kerry won in 04 and adding on three more - Colorado, Ohio and New Mexico. It looks like he's
comfortably ahead there. But the real news of the last month or so has been the way he's surging
ahead in some larger states that have traditionally voted Republican.

It's been one way traffic and anybody who was, a Democratic who was wavering, they've come back in
droves now, back to their nominee Barack Obama and that's part of the reason why he's surging in
the polls in the last weeks of the campaign.

ELEANOR HALL: But Senator Obama is now taking two days out of campaigning to spend time with his
grandma. How unusual is this 10 days out from an election?

SIMON JACKMAN: It's very unusual. Hawaii is a long way from the rest of America; a long way from
the battleground states back on the eastern seaboard or in the mid-west and it's a big call.

It used to be that even coming out to California was considered just a tremendous investment in
time in the late (inaudible). I remember in 2000 when Gore came to California for a fundraiser and
people were scratching their heads about that one, taking a day out of the schedule. Taking two
days out of the schedule now to go to Hawaii, I guess that does reflect a certain degree of
confidence for sure.

ELEANOR HALL: Now despite all this the Democrat vice presidential candidate Joe Biden sent the
Obama campaign into a bit of a spin with his foreign policy comments. What was behind his comments
about America being tested by its enemies? They've certainly been a gift for the Republicans.

SIMON JACKMAN: Yeah look, this tends to fall under the category of things that happen late in the
campaign. I think it's a remark that I think, yes, America is probably going to be tested in the
next three months, six months, name the time horizon. I think the attention given to it in the
context I think is unusual and reflects just where we are in this campaign.

ELEANOR HALL: At this stage in the campaign it seems like neither presidential candidate is being
helped much by his running mate this week. How damaging are these revelations about the amount of
money that the Republican campaign has spent on Sarah Palin's wardrobe?

SIMON JACKMAN: I think there was no good answer for Palin on this one. I think she'd be eviscerated
frankly in the national media if she didn't come out looking literally like a million dollars.
That's what the American public has learned to expect from their leading politicians. It's a
performance. So she was going to lose either way on this. She either kept her existing wardrobe and
went on the national stage or the Republicans, they spent some money on making here, quote unquote,
look presidential.

ELEANOR HALL: But while they're spending money on Sarah Palin we've just heard that the Republican
campaign is slashing TV advertising in states like Colorado which you were just talking about as
being fairly important.

Barack Obama though is set to raise even more money this month than his record amount last month.
Just how critical is this funding gap between the two?

SIMON JACKMAN: It's going to really count in the home stretch here. It's going to count in a number
of ways. It's going to count I suspect for the media bias in critical states. Obama has basically
limitless resources now. He can buy as much advertising as he needs.

The flipside of it is that it gets just harder and harder for John McCain. The traditional
Republican donors are, you know, probably wondering whether they ought to continue to give to the
campaign. And in the final week and a half that can be tremendously important.

ELEANOR HALL: But Simon Jackman, then there's the question of the Bradley effect and whether people
who say they'll vote for the first black major party candidate will follow through. You've been
doing a lot of research on race in this campaign. What's it showing?

SIMON JACKMAN: The Bradley effect refers to the fact that white respondents say one thing on a
survey about their support for and African-American candidate but then in the privacy of the
polling booth actually not do that. There were a few surprises in the polls back in the primary
where occasionally Clinton performed better than the polls were suggesting.

But our research suggests that if you're a white voter and you do not want to vote for Barack
Obama, you are telling a pollster there. You are not hiding that fact. The idea that you are in
some way outing yourself as a racist by saying that you're going for McCain this time around,
that's less there.

Race is a factor in this election; race has been a factor in every American election frankly. It's
one thing, racial attitudes are one of the things that divides Democrats from Republicans, but as
best as we can tell we're not seeing an especially amplified effect in the United States this time
around.

ELEANOR HALL: So if there is an Obama win, would you say this election could be a major turning
point for the US on the question of race?

SIMON JACKMAN: Well that I think is going to be the big question that we will all be asking about
the United States after this election if, as I expect will happen, Barack Obama wins. Will this be
the turning point? Will this be the moment that we say race is finally off America's back with the
election of an African-American president?

I tend to think not. Race continues to be a powerful component of American public opinion and
what's special about this election cycle is that we've got a particular configuration. We've got
not just any African-American candidate but a particularly charismatic one.

I tend to think it's less about a sea change in America's ongoing tension with respect to its
legacy of racial injustice, but more a reaction to the times we live in and the way this particular
candidate Barack Obama has presented himself to the American people and aligned his political
ambition with this tremendous appetite for change that's out there in the American electorate in
2008.

ELEANOR HALL: Simon Jackman thanks very much for joining us.

SIMON JACKMAN: Thank you.

ELEANOR HALL: And that's professor of politics, Simon Jackman, from Stanford University.

Mums still facing discrimination, say experts

Mums still facing discrimination, say experts

The World Today - Friday, 24 October , 2008 12:30:00

Reporter: Simon Santow

ELEANOR HALL: Australian laws are meant to ensure that employers don't discriminate against women
and yet discrimination experts say that many women trying to return to the workforce after
maternity leave face enormous difficulties and that the number of cases going to court does not
reflect the extent of the problem.

Angela Davis is one woman though who has taken the decision to sue her former employer, Vodafone.
She agreed to talk to Simon Santow.

SIMON SANTOW: Angela Davis thought she had her dream job until she decided to have babies.

ANGELA DAVIS: I felt the only options I had were to resign from Vodafone and walk away and cut my
losses or take legal action against them because in my view I think they've broken the law.

SIMON SANTOW: Beyond the anger is a steely resolve to get what she believes is justice and an
admission from her employer, Vodafone Australia, that she's been treated badly.

ANGELA DAVIS: I've had two children in relatively quick succession, my first child in March of 2006
and I returned from maternity leave after a seven month absence. When I returned from maternity
leave I was demoted and I queried the demotion at the time, at which point they said there was
effectively no change in my role.

SIMON SANTOW: Angela Davis then complained to Vodafone's human resources department. In a
compromise, she accepted a deal to return part-time including a day a week working from home.

ANGELA DAVIS: Then I subsequently became pregnant again the following year and advised them I was
pregnant in about May of 2007. Immediately prior to advising them that I was pregnant I had been
offered a job promotion, a sideways promotion which I had indicated I would accept, and when I told
them that I was pregnant again, the job offer was retracted. And again I went to HR and HR were of
the opinion that I needed to lodge a formal complaint.

SIMON SANTOW: She says until then her regular performance reviews had been positive but after
complaining, she says her mainly male colleagues began to freeze her out and deny her
opportunities.

An added insult, she says, was being made to report to people she'd recruited to fill in behind her
while on maternity leave.

ANGELA DAVIS: And I believe the last sort of month or six weeks of my pregnancy I wasn't even
spoken to by these managers. I was sat in a corner at the other end of the office from them. And I
believe it was all because I was pregnant and not just because I was pregnant, I'd make a complaint
to HR about the treatment that I'd received.

SIMON SANTOW: Angela Davis says relations have broken down with Vodafone irretrievably. She's spent
several thousand dollars preparing a legal case against the telco and says she's prepared to spend
a lot more fighting for compensation in court.

Dr Belinda Smith is a senior lecturer in labour law at Sydney University.

BELINDA SMITH: The numbers that get to court are very few relative to the probable scope of the
problem.

SIMON SANTOW: That's because, Belinda Smith argues, going to court is emotionally draining and
beyond the means of many Australian women.

BELINDA SMITH: Under discrimination law there is a requirement that a complainant go through
conciliation first. If it's resolved, you know, the employer may come to their senses and resolved
it quickly but may not so that could take a year to go through that. So any woman who is then still
willing and able to pursue it has to face the question about do I now take this to court or a
tribunal. And that's a whole other ballgame in terms of cost, time, energy and effort.

SIMON SANTOW: In Angela Davis' case, her employer Vodafone has offered twice to settle - as an act
of good will it says and not as any admission of liability. It's since withdrawn those offers and
is hoping mediation will bring the parties to agreement.

The Telco's head of human resources is Wendy Lenton.

WENDY LENTON: I am not in liberty to talk about the Angela case. You know, we're going through a
process at the moment. We're in discussion. We're in dialogue and I really can't talk about that
particular case.

However, you know when I look at this situation, Angela has been in our organisation since 2004.
This is her third child. On many occasions she's been in either part time work, full time work at
her request. You know, there's more to the story than sometimes is reported in the moment. We've
tried to support her through a range of mechanisms.

SIMON SANTOW: Vodafone is proud of what it says is a 96 per cent return rate for its employees
coming back from maternity or paternity leave. Vodafone says it's unusual but not unheard of for it
to conduct a performance review of a staff member while she's on extended leave. Managers are also
expected to be familiar with the process of ensuring a smooth transition for staff. But Wendy
Lenton concedes the system isn't perfect.

WENDY LENTON: There will always be a situation where someone is not well versed. You know, their
experience as a leader, you'll have experienced leaders and then you'll have other leaders that are
new to those roles.

SIMON SANTOW: Does Vodafone ever get it wrong when it comes to managing this transition from
maternity leave back into the workforce?

WENDY LENTON: Does Vodafone ever get it wrong? I mean, does any company ever get it wrong? I mean
Simon, we've got really good practice and policy. You know there will be times that discussions
occur where someone's expectation is different to what actually occurs.

SIMON SANTOW: But you might have the best policies on paper of all the companies in Australia but
if they're not being implemented properly they're not worth much are they?

WENDY LENTON: Oh I absolutely agree. I mean a policy is just a policy. You know, you've got to
follow through with that.

SIMON SANTOW: For Angela Davis speaking out is as important as going to court.

ANGELA DAVIS: This is not going to go away, you know, until it's resolved and it needs to be heard
and understood that this is happening. And it's happened to me and I don't know how many other
people it's happened to at Vodafone. But it's a difficult situation.

And when you talk about costs, yeah absolutely it's impacting my life and it's putting other things
on hold and creating a whole heap of other pressures, but in my mind I've got a very supportive
husband and family and a large supportive group of friends that are absolutely behind me so I feel
it's worthwhile going ahead and pursuing that.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Angela Davis who is in dispute with her former employer Vodafone. The reporter
was Simon Santow.

Millions miss out on mental health treatment

Millions miss out on mental health treatment

The World Today - Friday, 24 October , 2008 12:34:00

Reporter: Paula Kruger

ELEANOR HALL: A survey which has found that more than two-million mentally ill Australians are not
getting adequate treatment has prompted calls for a radical change in the country's mental health
system.

The National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing is released by the Bureau of Statistics every 10
years and the latest report shows that despite recent public awareness campaigns, there has been no
improvement in treating mental disorders since the late nineties.

As Paula Kruger reports, the study warns that young Australians are the most at risk.

PAULA KRUGER: In June this year the Health Minister Nicola Roxon addressed a function organised by
the Mental Health Council of Australia. There she staked her success as Health Minister on doing
more to prevent mental health problems.

Now a report by the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveals how much of a challenge that personal
ambition involves.

Preventing mental health problems usually involves working with young people and the National
Survey on Mental Health and Wellbeing shows that more than a quarter of 16 to 35-year-olds had a
mental disorder last year.

Chris Tanti is the CEO of Headspace which specialises in helping young people with mental health
problems.

CHRIS TANTI: The majority of people that we're seeing in our services have anxiety and depressive
disorders and I guess, as well as a whole range of other disorders. And what we're keen to do is
send a message to the community that early intervention in these issues is pretty critical and the
earlier you get on top of it the better off you are.

Headspace has set up 30 sites around the country and in essence we only cover 30 per cent of the
population. The demand for these services is enormous.

PAULA KRUGER: It isn't only young people that aren't getting access to mental health services.
Despite a $1.8-billion package from the Howard government in 2006 and many other cash injections
most of the people who need help aren't getting it.

The Mental Health Council of Australia says the most startling find of the report is that more than
two-million Australians, that is 60 per cent of people who experienced a mental health disorder,
did not use a mental health service.

David Crosbie is the council's CEO.

DAVID CROSBIE: Ten years ago when we last did this survey we had similar figures. The government
has invested a huge amount in increasing access to address the very issues that are being surveyed
in this report. And what we've found is that we haven't moved forward. In fact if anything we've
moved backwards in terms of giving people access to the mental health services they need.

PAULA KRUGER: David Crosbie says the current system of dealing with mental health is inadequate at
every level and radical change is needed if there are to be any improvements.

DAVID CROSBIE: I think it's time for us to say we can't just keep putting new money into old
systems; that the systems themselves are not working for Australians. When you get over 60 per cent
of people who experience a mental health disorder in any 12 months not being able to get their
needs met, and desperate for additional mental health services, I think we have a very major
problem.

If you compare that to our major diseases like diabetes and heart and cancer, over 80 per cent of
people can get treatment for the kinds of conditions they have. And there's a huge gap between 80
per cent getting treatment and 35 per cent getting treatment.

PAULA KRUGER: Earlier this year the Federal Government established a national advisory council on
mental health consisting of 10 experts in the field including the Mental Health Council's David
Crosbie.

It is among a range of measures already announced by the Health Minister but experts in treating
mental health disorders say they won't be satisfied until mental health is recognised as a national
health priority.

They also say they're frustrated that they only get to find out how bad the mental health system is
every 10 years when the Bureau of Statistics releases the nation's mental health and wellbeing
survey.

ELEANOR HALL: Paula Kruger reporting.

Kyeema crash remembered

Kyeema crash remembered

The World Today - Friday, 24 October , 2008 12:38:00

Reporter: Margie Smithurst

ELEANOR HALL: It was an air disaster that sent shock waves through the Australian Government and
forced the rewriting of the nation's aviation safety standards.

A promising South Australian Federal politician and three winemakers were among those killed when
their plane hit the Dandenong mountains in Victoria 70 years ago.

As Margie Smithurst reports, the relatives of those killed are planning to mark the anniversary of
the crash this weekend.

(Sound of plane taking off)

MARGIE SMITHURST: Fourteen people were on board the DC 2 plane, the Kyeema, when it took off from
Adelaide airport on the morning of the 25th of October 1938.

The plane never made it to Melbourne. The pilots had miscalculated their location and flying
through thick cloud, they crashed suddenly into the western slopes of Mount Dandenong. All on board
died instantly.

COLIN GRAMP: Not a week goes by, 70 years, and I still have a very vivid memory.

MARGIE SMITHURST: Colin Gramp was 17 and at boarding school in Adelaide when he heard that his
father, winemaker Hugo Gramp, had been killed.

COLIN GRAMP: As usual we always, the boarders went to the common room to have a cup of tea and
listen to the four o'clock news. And that's when I unfortunately heard of my father's death.

MARGIE SMITHURST: Other prominent winemakers Tom Hardy and Sidney Hill Smith also died in the
crash. The South Australian wine industry was devastated.

COLIN GRAMP: The support from the other makers was terrific and greatly appreciated.

MARGIE SMITHURST: Federal politician Charles Hawker was also on the fated trip. He came from a
respected pastoralist family north of Adelaide and had done time in the trenches of World War One,
surviving with terrible injuries.

With another world war looming Charles Hawker was tipped as a potential leader, even prime
minister.

Former South Australian premier John Bannon:

JOHN BANNON: Hawker was seen as someone who could not only pull together the conservative forces,
but could also work very well with the Labor Party. In a sense Hawker might have been our
equivalent of Winston Churchill, a conservative who ended up leading a coalition.

MARGIE SMITHURST: The Kyeema crash was a watershed in Australian aviation. At the time navigational
radio beacons were in place that could have prevented the accident. They just hadn't been turned
on.

In shock at the loss of one of its most promising members, the government acted immediately.

Macarthur Job has written a book about the disaster to coincide with this year's anniversary.

MACARTHUR JOB: The responsibility for civil aviation was taken out of hands of the Department of
Defence where it had been a poor relation. A new Department of Civil Aviation as a separate
portfolio was created. And also the accident gave birth to what became Australia's system of air
traffic control.

MARGIE SMITHURST: This Saturday might be the last time 82-year-old Colin Gramp makes the journey
from his home in the Barossa Valley to the crash site in the Dandenongs.

After the commemoration ceremony he says he and his family will sit down to a quiet dinner and
drink a bottle of St Hugo cabernet sauvignon in memory of his father.

ELEANOR HALL: Margie Smithurst reporting.

Aussie hopes to be out of this world

Aussie hopes to be out of this world

The World Today - Friday, 24 October , 2008 12:42:00

Reporter: Scott Bevan

ELEANOR HALL: An Australian is about to become a member of one of the world's the most exclusive
clubs. Entrepreneur Nik Halik has paid tens of millions of dollars to become the world's sixth
space tourist.

He's just finished his training in Russia to prepare him for the experience of travelling and
living alongside cosmonauts and astronauts, as Moscow correspondent Scott Bevan reports.

(Sound of rocket taking off)

SCOTT BEVAN: When the Soyuz craft headed skyward on October the 12th, bound for the International
Space Station, it was carrying not just a crew of three but also the dreams of one of those on
board - American millionaire Richard Garriott.

RICHARD GARRIOTT: I've spent decades in pursuit of this dream. I've come very close many times in
the past.

SCOTT BEVAN: The computer games designer has been a space tourist, paying millions for the ride in
the Russian craft to the research facility and then staying at the station for just over a week.

Richard Garriott may have been far from the earth but he's been close in the thoughts of a
Melbourne entrepreneur, Nik Halik, who has even spoken to the American while he's been on the space
station.

NIK HALIK: I just had a brief chat with him. You know his experiments are doing fine. He's having
an amazing time. He had adaptation sickness but that's quite common.

SCOTT BEVAN: Nik Halik wants to go where Richard Garriott has been. For the past five years, he
says, he's been training at the Star City Centre near Moscow to become what he calls a civilian
astronaut.

NIK HALIK: You know just pushing the boundaries of your body, centrifuge training you know, a lot
of survival training. But also a lot of theory, a lot of physics and what have you. But also
learning every component of the Soyuz spacecraft.

SCOTT BEVAN: The 39-year-old says he trained with Richard Garriott and was to be his backup should
the American have pulled out of the mission. Nik Halik is hopeful that his turn will come around in
about 12 months time. But the price of reaching for the stars as a space tourist is astronomical.

(To Nik) How much has this cost you so far? How much will it cost you by the time you realise your
goal, if you do?

NIK HALIK: With the training, into space, we're going to fly, probably up to $40-million.

SCOTT BEVAN: Forty-million dollars?

NIK HALIK: Yeah.

SCOTT BEVAN: If Nik Halik hasn't had time to think about how much it costs to pay your own way into
space, then others have. Professor Leivziloni (phonetic) is the director of the Space Research
Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

PROFESSOR LEIVZILONI: Many of my colleagues discussing it because it's a sort of trade of the most
available scientific assets. But I have more positive approach to this. I think it brings space
more close to ordinary people.

SCOTT BEVAN: After the cash strapped 1990s, Russia's space industry is getting money from more than
millionaire adventurers. While touring a satellite factory this week, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
has announced an injection of more than $11-billion into the industry for space is once more viewed
as a place where Russia can reassert itself on earth.

For cosmonaut Alexander Kaleri, Russia's embrace of space again is welcome. During his long and
distinguished career, Alexander Kaleri has lived aboard the international space station. The
cosmonaut compares space exploration of today to the age of sail when countries competed and
cooperated on the world's oceans.

ALEXANDER KALERI (translated): Today we've barely moved off the coast. We have to go further and
further. That's why it is important for each country and especially for our country which is a
great power and was the first to take this step into space. We can't step aside. We must move
forward, we can't stand still.

SCOTT BEVAN: Nik Halik for one can't stand still as he waits to take his own giant leap.

NIK HALIK: It's just going to be a phenomenal experience. I mean I'm hanging out. I'm just going to
do whatever it takes to get up there as soon as possible.

SCOTT BEVAN: This is Scott Bevan in Moscow for The World Today.

Farmers face flak at reef meet

Farmers face flak at reef meet

The World Today - Friday, 24 October , 2008 12:46:00

Reporter: Annie Guest

ELEANOR HALL: A high level summit on the Great Barrier Reef is under way in Brisbane. It is meant
to be a cooperative meeting between governments and reef users but this morning farmers were
targeted for polluting the reef.

The Queensland Premier Anna Bligh confirmed that the Queensland Government will impose greater
regulations on farmers and The Federal Minister Peter Garrett flagged $200-million to help the
reef.

Peter Garrett and Anna Bligh held a press conference a short time ago, attended by our reporter
Annie Guest.

ANNA BLIGH: We know that there are many contributing factors to the water quality of the reef. We
are already addressing a number of those activities, particularly around increased population
levels, sewerage treatment, etc.

But what the science is telling us is that the highest levels of damaging chemicals and nutrients
are in those areas that have intense farming activity. As the State Government, I believe it's time
that we moved to regulate some of the on-farm activities.

ANNIE GUEST: There is already a level of regulation. To what extent are you considering taking that
further?

ANNA BLIGH: What I want to see is an effective regulatory framework that will set clear targets,
outline clear and certain requirements and provide for a timeframe. Now I think we need to work
with the farming groups. We need to work with the best scientists to get that right. It's not,
Government is not the font of all wisdom on this. We believe that we've got much to learn from
those people who are out there on the front line.

ANNIE GUEST: And yet, farmers have blamed the State Government from not providing enough assistance
over recent years to enable them to change their practices. What do you say to that?

ANNA BLIGH: I think it's important to recognise the money that's been spent out there to date and
the good work that's been done. I think everyone has to accept some responsibility here. This is
not a blame game... absolutely. What I've accepted this morning is the need for the State
Government to do more.

PETER GARRETT: Look I don't think there's any doubt. We heard it from the chief scientist again and
from Russell Reichelt that the science is very clear. And the Premier has just made the absolutely
right observation that we're driven by the clear annunciation of the science which tells us that
water quality in the reef is deteriorating. We have to address it. And as a consequence that's how
we've framed these goals and targets.

ANNIE GUEST: Are the targets for reducing sediment runoff by 25 per cent being pushed out a decade
now to 2020?

PETER GARRETT: We want the targets to be there for the reef rescue plan. The targets can be added
to under the reef plan as well. So reef rescue identifies those targets. We want to meet them. But
I want to hear what people have to say today about the reef plan because we are talking about
refreshing a reef plan and if we refresh a reef plan we might think about whether there are
additional target goals that we can set ourselves.

ANNIE GUEST: Minister you've announced today that the first tranch of the Federal Government's
$200-million package for the reef is going towards land management practices, $23-million or so.
What can we expect to see the rest of it be spent on?

PETER GARRETT: Look again, look I will expect that will provide additional opportunities for
natural resource management groups who put in bids.

ANNIE GUEST: Do you think a lot of that money will go towards further changes in farming practices?

PETER GARRETT: Well a significant component of the reef rescue allocation is for on-farm activity
and land based activity. So my expectation is that yes, a significant amount of it would do that.

ELEANOR HALL: And that's the Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett speaking at that press
conference in Brisbane which was also attended by Queensland Premier Anna Bligh, on moves to
provide greater environmental protection for the Great Barrier Reef. Our reporter Annie Guest was
there.

Breakthrough in the treatment of MS

Breakthrough in the treatment of MS

The World Today - Friday, 24 October , 2008 12:50:00

Reporter: Emma Alberici

ELEANOR HALL: A three year trial involving 300 patients has produced what scientists say is a
breakthrough in the treatment of multiple sclerosis that apparently reverses the effects of the
debilitating disease.

British researchers have discovered that a drug used to fight leukaemia appears to stop the
progression of MS in its early stages.

Alasdair Coles is a neurologist and a lecturer at Cambridge University and he led the team that
made the discovery. He's been speaking to our Europe correspondent Emma Alberici

ALASDAIR COLES: This is a very significant treatment. In terms of its efficacy, its effectiveness,
this is a new era. This is a new league of effectiveness.

We show today that if you treat multiple sclerosis early enough and aggressively enough, not only
can you prevent people from having further attacks and not only can you prevent people from getting
more disabled but you can actually reverse some of the damage that has been done, so that the key
finding today was that three years after treatment, patients were actually less disabled than they
were before treatment.

This is a really good day. This is really good news.

EMMA ALBERICI: Does it actually halt the progress of MS?

ALASDAIR COLES: In most of the patients that we give it to, yes it does, it halts the progress. Not
everyone. A small proportion escape but most people get real benefit, both in terms of not having
any further attacks and in terms of being actually improved on the drug.

EMMA ALBERICI: So it can restore function in other words?

ALASDAIR COLES: Yeah. A very good example of this is we're treating people who are early on in the
illness. They're not in wheelchairs. They're not housebound. They're just about coping with
everyday life but they're not performing as well as they should. Think of a golfer or a pianist or
someone like that who needs highly sophisticated control and coordination. They get multiple
sclerosis and their professional lives are ruined. But we can get them back to working, playing the
piano, playing golf, whatever it is, as a result of treatment with this drug.

The other side of the coin though is that this drug does have side-effects and our challenge now is
to identify ways to minimise those side-effects so we can make the most of the efficacy.

EMMA ALBERICI: What are the side-effects?

ALASDAIR COLES: The main thing, rather surprisingly perhaps, is that patients who are treated with
this drug develop auto immune diseases. So as the immune system reboots, occasionally it can make a
mistake and target another part of the body to attack. Most commonly this will be the thyroid gland
and people can get an underactive or an overactive thyroid gland.

But more worryingly, in a small proportion of people, three per cent, you can get an immune attack
of the platelets in the blood and so people develop bleeding problems.

We can put in place systems and procedures to make sure we identify patients as early as possible
so that we can institute the treatment that will cure these side-effects. In parallel we're working
on ways to minimise the appearance of these in the first place.

EMMA ALBERICI: How early does a patient have to be treated with this drug for it to be effective?

ALASDAIR COLES: I think probably we're looking at the first 10 years of the disease, something like
that.

EMMA ALBERICI: It's not one of those diseases that you wait 10 years before you even know you have
it, like cancer. It is a disease that manifests itself fairly obviously doesn't it?

ALASDAIR COLES: Well not really actually. I mean it would be very common to take two or three years
for a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis to emerge, surprisingly. It may well be that patients are not
aware that they've got MS for five or six years. They come along, they get diagnosed, they go off
and have a baby or whatever and they're too late for a treatment like this.

And so I think alongside this being good news and bringing about a new approach to treatment MS,
it's also going to bring about pressure to diagnose MS a lot earlier than we have been doing.

ELEANOR HALL: That's neurologist Alasdair Coles who led that British research team looking at
multiple sclerosis. He was speaking to our Europe correspondent Emma Alberici.