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More funds frozen as PM rules out investment guarantee

More funds frozen as PM rules out investment guarantee

The World Today - Monday, 27 October , 2008 12:10:00

Reporter: Kirrin McKechnie

ELEANOR HALL: Yet another mortgage-based fund, Colonial First State, has frozen its redemptions as
the sector feels the bite of the Government's deposit guarantee scheme.

Industry representatives will meet Treasury officials in Canberra later this afternoon to try to
come up with a solution to stem what has become a run on mortgage funds and cash management trusts.

But already the Prime Minister has ruled out extending the deposit guarantee to market-linked

And the Opposition is warning that the meeting has come too late for worried investors.

Kirrin McKechnie has this report from Canberra.

KIRRIN MCKECHNIE: Thirteen of the 20 top managed funds froze withdrawals last week, to stop the
flight of billions of dollars to banks and other institutions covered by the Government's deposits

This morning Colonial First State became the fourteenth to suspend redemptions on its mortgage

The Opposition's finance spokesman Joe Hockey says he wouldn't be surprised if more followed.

JOE HOCKEY: Clearly the Government's action has made it far more difficult for a whole lot of funds
that are operating out there and have exacerbated what has been a growing problem. And the
Government should have seen this coming. The Government should have seen it coming because it is
quite obvious that when the Government provides an unlimited guarantee at no cost as they did on
October the 12th then it would create enormous distortions in the markets.

And certainly with the continuation of the unlimited guarantee, it is quite clear that distortions
will continue - perhaps spreading to other financial products - directly as a result of the fact
that Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan got it dead wrong with an unlimited guarantee.

KIRRIN MCKECHNIE: The Government has asked the Australian Securities and Investment Commission and
the Treasury Secretary Ken Henry to investigate what can be done to help investors whose funds are
locked up in managed funds.

Industry leaders will meet Treasury officials in Canberra today to put their case. But speaking on
Channel Seven's Sunrise programme, the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd again made it clear the deposits
guarantee won't extend to market-based products.

KEVIN RUDD: Now question arises, if you provide a guarantee to people who are depositing in their
bank accounts and that is, as I said, $800-billion worth across the country, that is a fundamental
in the system. Providing guarantees to market-linked investments, that is quite something else.

INTERVIEWER: So you won't extend it?

KEVIN RUDD: We will work through the implementation of this over a long period of time but
market-linked investments goes beyond the scope of the guarantee that the Government announced the
other day and we did so directly on the advice of the financial regulators of Australia.

INTERVIEWER: Sure, okay.

KEVIN RUDD: That is the responsible thing to do.

KIRRIN MCKECHNIE: The Treasurer Wayne Swan held a series of conversations with representatives of
the managed funds sector over the weekend, but he's unlikely to attend today's meeting.

Joe Hockey says he should be there.

JOE HOCKEY: Well, the first thing the Treasurer will do is find out exactly why there has been a
need for the funds to react in the way they have - either limiting redemptions or preventing
redemptions by individuals and this is the sort of information that Wayne Swan and Kevin Rudd
should have sought out before they introduced an unlimited guarantee.

Given that the Government has had three different positions on the guarantee in just two weeks, you
would think that they would have found out more about the impact of the unlimited guarantee before
they introduced it rather than simply trying to shut the gate after the horse has bolted.

KIRRIN MCKECHNIE: Meanwhile, the Prime Minister says he's confident the Government can keep its
budget in surplus over the economic cycle.

KEVIN RUDD: We've been doing our numbers. We believe that we can maintain the budget in surplus
over the course of economic cycle. Our view is that it is important to maintain surplus over the
course of the economic cycle but let me tell you why we believe that is deliverable.

Back in May this year when we framed the budget for the year ahead, the Treasurer and I and others
were concerned about how the economy would unfold. That is why we put aside a very large budget

As you know, in the decision we took just under two weeks ago, the economic stimulus package, the
economic security strategy, $10.4-billion, we are able to draw on that surplus for that purpose
while still maintaining a comfortable surplus on the way through.

We will need a buffer for the future.

ELEANOR HALL: And that is the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd ending that report from Kirrin McKechnie
in Canberra.

No sign Govt's fiscal policy soothing market

No sign Govt's fiscal policy soothing market

The World Today - Monday, 27 October , 2008 12:14:00

Reporter: Peter Ryan

ELEANOR HALL: Well as industry representatives meet Treasury officials today, there's no sign that
the Government's actions are soothing the market.

Joining us now with the latest is business editor Peter Ryan.

Peter, we've heard today about Colonial First State freezing its fund, is there a sense of panic in
this sector?

PETER RYAN: Eleanor, a lot of what we are seeing is largely human nature. Keep in mind what we've
seen happening around the world over the last few months: banks collapsing in the United States and
Europe; banks being bailed out by the government in the United States and governments throughout

So clearly when the Australian Government decided to introduce its unlimited deposit guarantee,
anyone who had money fixed for the long term in these other funds, would naturally be looking for
the safe haven of a government-backed deposit.

That doesn't mean though that any of these 13 funds, 14 now that Colonial First State is included,
that doesn't mean that those funds are in any way in strife but it is clearly a matter of human
nature of moving funds from what is perceived to be a potentially risky product, even a smaller
risk, into a haven where you are backed by government.

ELEANOR HALL: But Peter, can the funds blame the Government's regulation entirely for this run?
Wasn't that already underway some months ago as investors naturally moved to safer investments that
weren't linked to the market?

PETER RYAN: Well, that's right. I mean a lot of the certainty has been with us, not just for months
but the best part of a year. But keep in mind that these funds have been by and large set up in a
very conservative and responsible fashion. Most of them with a balance of, for example, one of the
funds had a 48 per cent exposure to first mortgage commercial property, the rest in cash

That is a typical make-up of a lot of these funds and set up in a conservative manner because a lot
of people have been relying on monthly income from the proceeds of these funds. And also keep in
mind that at least in the case of Perpetual, Perpetual's monthly income fund, the monthly income is
still being paid; people with money in the fund are able to redeem quarterly.

So it is not necessarily an entire freeze, people will still be able to get their money but as the
Prime Minister and Treasurer have been at pains to say, what we have here in these funds, it is not
a bank deposit. A bank deposit gives you the ability to take your money out at call. In these
investment funds and cash management trusts, the money is there for a long term investment and it
is not just a matter of these funds being able to present the money face-to-face when it is called

ELEANOR HALL: And Peter, we have just heard the Prime Minister again ruling out extending the
deposit guarantee to market-linked investment funds; so what are industry representatives expecting
from Treasury today?

PETER RYAN: The big is confidence. What they want from the Prime Minister, the Treasurer and
Treasury officials is a plan that will push confidence back into the market. To underline the
message that these 14 funds are managing very safe investments. The investments are safe.

We are not talking about collateralised debt obligations; we are talking about safe investments.
All these funds want confidence restored to the market so investors are relaxed and comfortable to
leave their money where it is.

ELEANOR HALL: It is quite a big ask for a government to deliver confidence in the current economic
environment. We have also seen falls on the share market today. Peter, what can you tell us about

PETER RYAN: Yes, Eleanor. The Australian share market fell two and a half per cent in early trade
this morning, actually hitting a four-day intra-day low. Not surprisingly we've seen the
heavyweight banks follow the slide on Wall Street amid those continuing fears of a deep recession.

A short time ago the All-Ordinaries index was down 55 points or 1.45 per cent lower at 3,776. We've
seen three of the top four banks - the National Australia Bank, the Commonwealth Bank and the ANZ
down more than 3 per cent today, while Westpac was down two and a half per cent.

But also significantly, the world's biggest miner and market heavyweight BHP Billiton gave up some
of its earlier gains and that in turn has pushed the market down.

ELEANOR HALL: Peter, the Australian dollar has also taken a battering. What is driving this?

PETER RYAN: Well, we are now seeing the Australian dollar at 61.9 US cents and it is quite
incredible really. The currency has lost 37 per cent of its value over a period of just three
months and it has now hit record lows against the US dollar and the Japanese Yen.

Amid those fears of a global recession and this goes back to Friday when the currency hit a
five-year low against the greenback of just over 60.5 US cents.

This doesn't reflect anything about the strength of the Australian economy but we are seeing a
flight to the perceived safety of the greenback which despite the financial meltdown in the United
States, is being seen as guaranteed to the hilt and a good place to be investing.

The Reserve Bank however was forced to intervene on Friday buying the Australian currency to
support what it sees as a liquid markets, but also to stem what could be seen as a collapse and a
dramatic fall And keep in mind it wasn't really that long ago that we were talking about parity
with the US dollar. Back in July the Australian dollar hit a 25-year high of around 98.5 US cents.

So that is the history and it is not great news for people who are travelling at the moment but
keep in mind, it is good news for anyone exporting to the United States.

ELEANOR HALL: Peter Ryan, our business editor, thank you.

Auction sales drop across Australia

Auction sales drop across Australia

The World Today - Monday, 27 October , 2008 12:18:00

Reporter: Jennifer Macey

ELEANOR HALL: People trying to sell their homes at auction this weekend faced a tough market - with
clearance rates dropping despite the interest rate falls and increases in first home buyer grants.

Property analysts say that economic uncertainty has meant buyers are wary of investing and that the
upper end of the market is now being hit along with the lower end.

And they warn that this will soon be felt throughout the economy as state government revenues fall,
public spending slows and unemployment rises.

Jennifer Macey has our report

JENNIFER MACEY: A Brisbane couple who wish to remain anonymous tried to sell their waterfront home
last weekend with no luck. They were offered a million dollars under the reserve price which is a
third lower that they expected but they're in no rush - so they're going to wait until they get the
price they want.

BRISBANE WOMAN: We went to auction last Saturday and we were told by the agent that there were six
bidders coming. On the morning only four bidders registered and in the end only two made bids.

They were bidding against each other and by the end going up in very small amounts which were
nowhere near the reserve - nowhere near. So in the end we put in a vendors bid and they dropped
out. So I am afraid the auction was very unsuccessful for us.

JENNIFER MACEY: Auctioneers had to work twice as hard selling houses in all capital cities around
Australia this weekend.

The auction clearance rate in Sydney dropped to a new weekly low for the year - at 39.6 per cent.
That's 24 per cent lower than the number recorded on the same weekend last year.

In Melbourne the clearance rate fell to 45 per cent - a third lower than last year and in Brisbane
only 22 per cent of auctions were cleared.

Australian Property Monitors senior economist Liam O'Hara says there's an obvious downward trend in
the market.

LIAM O'HARA: This time last year for Melbourne but we are seeing it pretty much, with the exception
of Melbourne which is relatively stable, we are still seeing right across the board, through all
the major capital cities, we are still seeing a flattening out of the market and the bias is

JENNIFER MACEY: He says the global economic crisis is beginning to bite and buyers are more

LIAM O'HARA: The real economy is going to be hit relatively soon. We've seen a financial crisis and
now that will feed through into things like unemployment rates, GDP growth, people's incomes. And
when that occurs and it is starting to occur now, when that increases, we'll be seeing people
borrowing a lot less and that's obviously going to affect the market.

So I think people are weighing up the fact that there is a lot of pessimism out there. How far will
we be affected into the future? Will I have my job in the future? - And therefore I should be more
prudent before buying in at what I believe are still highly overpriced property values.

JENNIFER MACEY: But the auction clearance rate only indicates the top end of the property market.
Analyst Robert Mellor is managing director at BIS Shrapnel.

He says the clearance rate is indicative of a lack of confidence across the economy but he says it
doesn't mean that property prices have collapsed.

ROBERT MELLOR: I personally do not keep a close watch on clearance rates. I mean, less than 20 per
cent of properties are sold through auction across Australia and in some markets it might even be
ten per cent or less. So, you know, it tells you what is happening at the, you know, people are
selling million-dollar plus properties but it doesn't tell you what is happening out there in the
three, 400, $500,000 property.

JENNIFER MACEY: Well, what is happening at that range?

ROBERT MELLOR: Oh, the market. Well, the only indications you have are obviously things like
housing finance figures and other commentary on data from real estate agents and you know,
obviously turnover is down and down significantly.

But prices, you know prices have probably come back about two per cent at the most since, you know
in the last three or four months. So you know there hasn't been a collapse in prices, there is just
not a lot of demand out there. People are sitting on their hands.

JENNIFER MACEY: He says the drop in property sales could also put a dent in state coffers with less
stamp duty tax coming in. And he says this could have a flow on effect with state governments
reluctant to invest in infrastructure and other projects.

But Robert Mellor says this is the time when governments should invest in infrastructure to avoid a
downturn in the construction industry.

ROBERT MELLOR: It is going to take a bit of a hit in terms of medium and high rise density
construction because developers will be struggling to get funding for projects. So in that sort of
climate, there is probably going to be a real hole in terms of weaker construction activity over
the next 12 months and so this is the time to get moving on projects.

But my fear is basically, they will do all the planning and organising for that and basically it
will be two years before underway rather than within the next 12 months.

ELEANOR HALL: That is property analyst Robert Mellor from BIS Shrapnel ending that report by
Jennifer Macey.

Turkish ambassador defends Gallipoli management

Turkish ambassador defends Gallipoli management

The World Today - Monday, 27 October , 2008 12:23:00

Reporter: Conor Duffy

ELEANOR HALL: The Turkish ambassador to Australia has defended his country's management of the
Gallipoli Peninsula, over allegations that war graves are again being disturbed by road works.

Three years ago disturbances at the site led to a major uproar and the Turkish and Australian
governments made a deal to work together to protect the historic battleground.

The ambassador says he's seeking more information from Ankara but he says the road works are being
carried out at the request of the Australian Government.

Conor Duffy has our report.

CONOR DUFFY: This morning on AM, a Turkish taxi driver Anil Dinch spoke of how human remains have
been unearthed by road works that have started in the last week.

ANIL DINCH: Everywhere bone, skull, fingers and everything, maybe Turkish, maybe Australian man.
Who know this, you know. This is very sad.

CONOR DUFFY: The area was identified as the Second Ridge Road and is believed to have been a no
man's land between Australian and Turkish troops fighting at Gallipoli

The ABC's Middle East correspondent Ben Knight gave an eye witness account of the damage.

BEN KNIGHT: Here on the side of the road, you can see where the excavator has come through and just
dug a channel alongside either side of the road and there is a vertical face of dirt in front of me
and jutting out of it are bones. What looks to be a hip socket here and next to it what looks to be
a leg bone that is white where is has been sheared in half by this earth moving equipment.

CONOR DUFFY: The Turkish ambassador to Australia Murat Ersavci says he's seeking more information
from his government.

MURAT ERSAVCI: I have asked Ankara whether such reports are really true or if true to what extent
and what's happening.

CONOR DUFFY: The ambassador is upset by the reports and sees them as a slight on Turkish

MURAT ERSAVCI: I am very dismayed; I feel this is an onslaught against the Turkish authorities. And
I really feel these are not very helpful reportings. They will be offensive to a good many people
in Turkey.

CONOR DUFFY: And ambassador Ersavci believes the road works may have been undertaken at the request
of the Australian Government.

MURAT ERSAVCI: To be honest you see many bones in various, underneath the bushes and various
fields, this happens and the road works are done there on the request of our countries, friendly
countries like Australia and New Zealand.

CONOR DUFFY: Three years ago, reports of bones being disturbed at Gallipoli caused a major
international row.

At the time, Labor was in opposition, and shadow minister Anthony Albanese blamed the Government
and Prime Minister John Howard.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, what we are now seeing is catch-up from the Government. First the
Government said bones weren't uncovered. They now say it is inevitable and they now come up with a
plan for a crypt in which those bones could be kept. Labor wants to assess any such proposal and
ensure that the site and any remains found gain the maximum level of respect available.

CONOR DUFFY: Today the new Veterans Affairs Minister Alan Griffin was unavailable for comment. The
Turkish ambassador though hopes that this time, the controversy will be resolved much more quickly.

MURAT ERSAVCI: I may be emotional on the subject perhaps maybe you got it from my voice but I
really feel these things don't help. I mean let's look ahead. Let's look at the friendship and
co-operation. Let's not get stuck down with, you know, broken bones which I am telling you, reminds
me of old wounds of my grandfather and great-uncle who was killed in the battle ground. My wife's
great-grandfather who was killed in the battleground. So let the dead rest in peace. Please, let's
look at, let's look at future.

ELEANOR HALL: That is the Turkish ambassador Murat Ersavci ending that report from Conor Duffy.

AMA calls for tighter control on prescription drug use

AMA calls for tighter control on prescription drug use

The World Today - Monday, 27 October , 2008 12:28:00

Reporter: Michael Edwards

ELEANOR HALL: The Australian Medical Association is calling for a tightening of controls on
prescription painkillers to prevent them falling into the hands of drug dealers.

New Medicare figures reveal that taxpayers are funding a rise in the unauthorised use of
morphine-style prescription drugs.

The figures coincide with a spike in the abuse of these drugs across Australian cities as Michael
Edwards reports.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Painkillers such as Oxycodone and MS Contin are prescribed by doctors to patients
suffering from chronic pain.

They're restricted substances and their use is monitored by both state and federal health agencies.

Gideon Warhaft is from the New South Wales Users and AIDS Association.

He says prescription painkiller abuse is widespread and while it's still dangerous, it is safer
than using street-level heroin.

GIDEON WARHAFT: It's another substitute for heroin use and I think that a lot of users find it more
reliable than street-based heroin because they know what they are getting. So they are able to have
some consistency with the dose they take. It is one of the things that makes it attractive to some

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Medicare figures show in 2007/2008 more than $53-million was spent on the drugs.
Doctors say part of these prescriptions are being obtained illegally entering the black-market
through the practice of doctor shopping - which involves users roving from surgery to surgery
conning doctors into believing them that they need the drugs for medicinal purposes.

The Australian Medical Association says there needs to greater co-operation between health
authorities to prevent this happening.

Dr John Gulotta is the chairman of the AMA's Therapeutic Goods Committee.

JOHN GULOTTA: There are safeguards in place and there are state regulations as well that ensure
that doctors have to prescribe within guidelines and to the appropriate patient for these
narcotics. But it important for people who are actually on these to be on them for the shortest
amount of time and ensure that they are stored safely at home and ensure they don't actually get in
the wrong hands.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: But doctor shopping does take place and fraud does take place. What could be done
to stop this?

JOHN GULOTTA: I mean obviously doctor shopping does occur. There is a doctor shopping hotline but
in certain cases it doesn't work because unfortunately the way that the systems are, there isn't a
linkage of computers between doctors and pharmacists. So if we sort of had an on-line, real time
prescribing and dispensing sort of network, that would actually help prevent leakage.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: But Gideon Warhaft from says the only way to stop people abusing drugs is for
governments across Australia to provide more places within treatment programs.

GIDEON WARHAFT: I think that there is a short of treatment programs ranging from pharmacotherapy
programs such as methadone, such as Suboxone ranging right through to detox and rehabilitation. The
whole gamut is required to allow people to have a chance of actually changing their lifestyle and
changing their drug intake.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: So is there the possibility that people, when heroin is not available and if they
can't get treatment for their addiction, they just have to switch to other substitutes such as

GIDEON WARHAFT: I think that is one of, I think that is right. I think that where there is no
choice, when people have fewer options, they tend to find it harder to change their behaviour. So I
think that the more options that we give to drug users, the bigger chance we have of actually
having people stop taking things for example like Oxycontin and perhaps taking up other
pharmacotherapies or other treatment options.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Dr Andrew Byrne runs a drug treatment clinic in inner-city Sydney.

Dr Byrne says he's seen a sharp rise in the abuse of prescription drugs over the past few years.

He says the only way to stem the abuse of any type of drugs is treatment.

ANDREW BYRNE: The biggest factor is that people who are addicted to opiate drugs have only very
limited access to treatment.

In New South Wales we have dozens of addiction treatment clinics, private and public. We have GPs.
We have hospitals which provide services however many of these services have complete log jam and
simply don't take any new patients.

Some have long waiting lists but most have stopped even keeping waiting lists.

ELEANOR HALL: That is addiction specialist Dr Andrew Byrne ending Michael Edwards' report.

Obama woos western states as McCain predicts victory

Obama woos western states as McCain predicts victory

The World Today - Monday, 27 October , 2008 12:33:00

Reporter: Kim Landers

ELEANOR HALL: To the United States now and it is a sign of the confidence in the Democrat camp that
at this late stage in the presidential race Barrack Obama is working to build his lead in some of
the mid-western states which voted solidly Republican in the last two elections.

Before another massive crowd in Denver, Colorado, Senator Obama was prortraying his Republican
rival as a weak imitation of President George W. Bush.

But while Senator John MCain is behind in the opinion polls, he is predicting that he will win next
week's election.

This report from Washington correspondent Kim Landers.

KIM LANDERS: It was in Denver in August that Barack Obama accepted the Democratic presidential

Today he was back in the battleground state of Colorado with 100,000 people turning up to his
outdoor rally.

BARACK OBAMA: Let me just ask something, do you ever have small crowds in Denver? (Cheers) Goodness

KIM LANDERS: Traditionally Colorado has voted for Republicans in presidential races - twice backing
George W. Bush.

But today in Denver, Barack Obama has jumped on John McCain's comment that he and President Bush
share a "common philosophy".

BARACK OBAMA: I guess that was John McCain finally giving up a little straight talk. Owning up to
the fact that he and George Bush actually have a whole lot in common. Here is thing though, we know
what the Bush/McCain philosophy looks like. It is a philosophy that says we should give more and
more to millionaires and billionaires and hope that it trickles down on everybody else.

KIM LANDERS: John McCain has also said he's differed from his president and his party.

But Barack Obama has noted that President Bush has already voted for Senator McCain.

BARACK OBAMA: We're not going to let George Bush pass the torch to John McCain and that's why I am
running for president of the United States and that is why you're here today.

KIM LANDERS: And, flushed with cash, the Obama campaign has released a new TV ad that shows footage
of John McCain with George W Bush.

(Extract from television advertisement)

ANNOUNCER: He's out of ideas, out of touch and running out of time.

(End of extract)

KIM LANDERS: With just over a week to go, John McCain is dismissing polls showing that he's well

JOHN MCCAIN: What America needs now is someone who will finish the race before starting the victory
lap. Someone who will fight to the end - not for himself but for his country.


KIM LANDERS: His running mate Sarah Palin has also seized on a report in the New York Times that an
Obama supporter had already penned a draft of his inaugural address.

SARAH PALIN: You know Barack Obama and I, we both have spent quite some time on the basketball
court but where I come from, you have to win the game before you start cutting down the net.


KIM LANDERS: The Obama campaign says the report about the draft inaugural address isn't true.

UK euthanasia laws tested in the High Court

UK euthanasia laws tested in the High Court

The World Today - Monday, 27 October , 2008 12:38:00

Reporter: Emma Alberici

ELEANOR HALL: A landmark decision in the High Court in London will this week clarify the laws on
assisted suicide in the UK.

A British citizen, who has advanced multiple sclerosis, launched the case last month in an effort
to ensure that her husband could take her to Switzerland to help her to die without the fear of
prosecution when he returns to Britain.

As Europe correspondent Emma Alberici reports, it's the second high-profile case to challenge
Britain's position on euthanasia.

EMMA ALBERICI: At 37-years-old Debbie Purdy was confined to a wheelchair.

Seven years later, multiple sclerosis has robbed her of the muscle strength to operate it and so
she's opted for a motorised version in order to maintain some sense of independence.

She doesn't want her husband to have to push her around especially not when she decides that living
has become unbearable.

It's not illegal to kill yourself in the UK but it is illegal to help someone to die.

DEBBIE PURDY: It is not something I would let him face. I mean losing his wife is going to hard
enough. I am not going to let him face interview by police and possible prosecution.

EMMA ALBERICI: Assisted suicide is legal in Holland, Luxembourg, Belgium, the American state of
Oregon and Switzerland. Debbie Purdy is planning to make the trip to the Swiss clinic Dignitas
where she'll be administered a lethal dose of barbiturates. If her husband, Omar Puente, helps her
get there he risks a 14-year jail term. Or does he? On this British law is unclear.

In another case this month the parents of 23-year-old rugby player Daniel James who was paralysed
in a training accident accompanied him to Zurich to help him commit suicide. The Director of Public

Prosecutions is deciding whether to press charges.

One hundred other Britons in similar situations have escaped the courts.

MARY WARNOCK: It seems absurd for the law to say it is perfectly OK to help someone die as long as
it isn't here.

EMMA ALBERICI: Baroness Mary Warnock is one of the UK's most powerful moral philosophers; a leading
voice on medical ethics and a member of the House of Lords. In 2006 she helped bring a bill to the
Parliament that would have allowed the families of Debbie Purdy and Daniel James to help their
loved ones die at home instead of paying the $5,000 plus to travel to Switzerland.

The bill was defeated three times after passionate debate by Christian groups.

MARY WARNOCK: These two cases together, Debbie Purdy's case and Daniel James' case will mean that
the law must be re-examined.

As for the very elderly who may ask to be helped to die, who are not terminally ill but who just
feel that they can't face dependence that is growing on them, I believe that they ought to be
allowed to make that decision, whatever their motive and I don't see why one should discount the
motive that they want not to be a burden to their children or indeed a burden to the health

That doesn't seem to be a bad motive to want to die at all, it seems to be a very good one. And
people talk about the aged being coerced into asking for suicide, well, some of them might be but
some of them actually want not to be a burden and that is what they want to do and I have the
greatest sympathy with that myself.

EMMA ALBERICI: Debbie Purdy has demanded to know whether her husband will be prosecuted if he helps
her die. She'll get that answer in a judgment expected to be delivered in the High Court this week.

In London this is Emma Alberici for The World Today.

Rebels storm Congo army base, national park

Rebels storm Congo army base, national park

The World Today - Monday, 27 October , 2008 12:42:00

Reporter: Ashley Hall

ELEANOR HALL: Rebel soldiers seem have come out on top in the latest heavy fighting in the Democrat
Republic of Congo.

They've overrun an army base in the east of the country and taken control of the headquarters of a
national park.

Aid workers say they fear the latest action will worsen the humanitarian crisis in the country and
there is also concern about how the rebels will treat the animals that live in the park.

It's home to 200 of the world's 700 remaining mountain gorillas, as Ashley Hall reports.

ASHLEY HALL: The onslaught came at about two o'clock on Sunday morning.

The rebels - loyal to General Laurent Nkunda swooped on the Rumangabo army camp.

Government troops responded with tanks and mortars - but the rebels won through. They also
intensified their attacks on three other towns in North Kivu Province.

It's not known how many soldiers, rebels or civilians have been killed in the latest fighting. But
what is clear, is thousands of people are fleeing the area. Joining the 200,000 people displaced by
fighting in the past two months.

This man was making the 50 kilometre walk north to the provincial capital Goma.

CONGOLESE MAN (translated): There is no peace. We are just running while bullets fly from every
part of the village.

ASHLEY HALL: He's one of a growing number of Congolese people who have become angry with UN
peacekeepers. They accuse the 18,000 strong force of failing to protect the population.

And they throw rocks at their vehicles including one that came to investigate the deaths of three
teenage boys killed when a government tank careered into them as they fled the fighting. This
father buried his son.

CONGOLESE MAN 2 (translated): This tank of the soldiers came at high speed and ran over these
children. They tried to run into the bush but the tank hit them.

ASHLEY HALL: Lulu Mitshabu grew up in what's now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo, and she
works with the aid agency Caritas. She says it's not surprising the population is angry with the

LULU MITSHABU: It is the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. In Africa is the worst. It has
been described as an African First World War.

ASHLEY HALL: Ms Mitshabu says the peacekeepers' mandate needs to be strengthened.

LULU MITSHABU: There is more than one million people displaced in that region. How would they have
that confidence you know. They are now asking questions, are we going to be protected or is the UN
peace mission here. What are their mandate? People are asking for strong mandate.

ASHLEY HALL: The conflict in the eastern part of the DRC has been raging on and off for about ten

A ceasefire held from January until the end of August, when the rebel leader Laurent Nkunda accused
government troops of launching an attack against the rebels.

Lulu Mitshabu says the reasons behind the fighting are complex.

LULU MITSHABU: Conflict over basic resources such as water, access and control of rich minerals and
other resources as well as various political agenda.

ASHLEY HALL: Roland Van de Geer is the EU's representative to the Great Lakes region of Africa, and
he was in Goma until a few days ago.

ROLAND VAN DE GEER: We are in spite of all the current fighting, continuing to work for two things:
for a cease fire and for a military disengagement. These are currently the two main priorities and
as you can imagine, these reasons, advances by the rebels have made these two priorities even more
difficult to attain. So we are very worried about these recent developments.

ASHLEY HALL: Mr Van de Geer is calling on the rebels to pull back to the positions they held before
the cease fire was signed in January.

ROLAND VAN DE GEER: The solution is stop fighting, withdrawal and commit yourself, and I am saying
this in the first place of course to Nkunda, to what he signed on the 23rd of January in Goma, the
Goma Peace Agreement which is still, according to the international facilitation, the way ahead and
all our pressure is now in that direction.

ASHLEY HALL: It's not just the human population that's under threat in this part of the DRC. After
a long campaign, rebel soldiers have also captured the headquarters of Virunga National Park.

The park is a World Heritage site and home to 200 of the world's remaining 700 mountain gorillas.

A ranger, Balemba Balagizi spoke to the BBC about two weeks ago.

(Sounds of mortars and gunfire)

BALEMBA BALAGIZI: You can hear behind. It is really serious, serious and the mortars are just
behind and they are just shooting in the gorilla sector.

(Sounds of mortars and gunfire)

ASHLEY HALL: Last year, rebels attacked and killed at least ten of the primates - reportedly for
their meat.

The 50 rangers charged with protecting them have now fled the park, so it's feared the gorillas may
again be targeted by hungry rebels.

ELEANOR HALL: Ashley Hall with that report.

Fed Govt planning next phase of NT intervention

Fed Govt planning next phase of NT intervention

The World Today - Monday, 27 October , 2008 12:46:00

Reporter: Sarah Hawke

ELEANOR HALL: The Federal Government is planning to introduce legislation on the next phase of the
Northern Territory intervention next year.

And the Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin has already signalled that she won't be taking in
any soft approaches to dealing with child abuse in Aboriginal communities.

The Minister has already signalled that compulsory quarantining of welfare payments will continue
despite an independent review saying it should be voluntary.

Sarah Hawke has our report.

SARAH HAWKE: When the former Federal Government rolled out the intervention citing a national
emergency, a corner stone of its response was extra police.

Officers were sent from interstate and there was a promise of an extra 66 Australian Federal Police

Sixteen months later there are now an extra 51 officers and 18 new stations in communities that had
never had a police presence before. But there is a desire for more.

The independent review commissioned by the Government stated that the overall number of police in
Northern Territory Aboriginal communities should be significantly increased.

The Police Federation of Australia says 50 per cent of the 73 targeted communities are still
without police.

Senior vice president of the Northern Territory Police Association Tim Lloyd says this wouldn't be
acceptable in other communities in regional Australia.

TIM LLOYD: I think some of these communities are quite sizeable and unfortunately at this point of
stage, there has not been a police presence, a permanent police presence. Some of those communities
may well be serviced from a close by community but we believe some of those communities should
have, not only police presence but other agencies like health, education.

We believe this effort should be a synergistic effort and needs all those agencies to ensure we
achieve the aims that are required.

SARAH HAWKE: Many of the additional officers are from interstate and come in on a fly in, fly out

Tim Lloyd says to ensure better law and order outcomes, the Government should provide more money
for Northern Territory sworn officers who spend more time in the community.

TIM LLOYD: In most cases they spend about six months in the Territory and one month is spent in
Darwin as part of orientation and training and then we don't sort of, it doesn't sit happy with us,
this fly in, fly out type policing because it is not the dedicated type policing or permanent
policing that these communities are entitled to expect.

So that is one of the issues that we have. That is why we strongly of the notion that these
communities should be serviced and supported by Northern Territory police officers.

SARAH HAWKE: I guess when the intervention was first announced, it was regarded as an emergency
situation and I guess you do get these fly in, fly out situation. Why now should the Government
look at more permanent presence? What sort of benefits would that provide a community?

TIM LLOYD: I think, continuity I think. I think that is important that those communities, you know,
have an expectation that the staff will not only police but are there on a permanent basis.

I suppose that ensures peace of mind also that those officers and those other health workers,
teachers get to know the community and so you can actually provide a dedicated service.

Normally, those remote stations if they are served by a Northern Territory police officer,
generally that commitment is at least two to three years.

SARAH HAWKE: The exact numbers and financial bill of such a commitment are still to be determined;
but not everyone is convinced that extra policing is the right way to go.

Priscilla Collins from the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency says many of the prosecutions
from the increased police presence have been for driving offences.

PRISCILLA COLLINS: What we do support is providing those communities with the resources that are
essential to be able to address the problem. The majority of the issues on those communities can be
addressed by their own communities themselves. They can be given safe houses; they can be given
resources so that there is night patrols there.

There is education programs not only in the schools but for adult education and then that way we
are addressing the issues out there rather than increasing prosecutions.

SARAH HAWKE: Was the lack of police one of the issues that perhaps led to these problems that
required the intervention in the first place?

PRISCILLA COLLINS: Well, what we've seen so far is even with an increase in police, there isn't an
increase in child sexual abuse cases being brought up. We haven't seen any.

ELEANOR HALL: That is Priscilla Collins from the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency. She
was speaking to Sarah Hawke.

Gender genes regenerate debate

Gender genes regenerate debate

The World Today - Monday, 27 October , 2008 12:51:00

Reporter: Rachael Brown

ELEANOR HALL: A group of genetic scientists in Melbourne has made a discovery which could help
explain why some people feel that they were born the wrong sex.

The scientists say they have discovered a gene for transexuality.

As Rachael Brown reports this challenges the theory that transexuality is a lifestyle choice rather
than a biological predisposition.

RACHAEL BROWN: Sally Goldner has known for most of her life that her male body is the wrong fit for

SALLY GOLDNER: My earliest memory of anything to do with gender was at the age of six when a
friend's mother said with eyebrows like that, you should have been a girl. By the age of nine I was
clearly having images of myself living as female, being female. I didn't know what to make of it. I
mean we are talking 1974.

RACHAEL BROWN: Did you try to suppress those feelings?

SALLY GOLDNER: Well, I suppose I did but not, let's say, with any negativity because I just thought
maybe I've got a vivid imagination or something like that because I didn't know what to make of it.
I mean I don't think anyone would have but obviously you can't keep pushing them down forever
because that is a part of who you are.

RACHAEL BROWN: Sally Goldner has now been living as a woman for ten years and is a spokesperson for
Transgender Victoria.

She says when she turned 29 she decided to be honest with herself because living as a cross dresser
wasn't working.

SALLY GOLDNER: It wasn't me and people who actually met both sides noticed that. They saw Sally as
this extroverted, outgoing, happy peaceful sort of person and then they met the male side and just
met, well I could laugh now but a friend of mine used to have the phrase a "nothing burger" because
that was what I was. I just didn't have any personality at all.

RACHAEL BROWN: Ms Goldner takes hormones but is one of the 75 per cent of transwomen who've decided
not to have surgery.

She's believed all along that transsexualism is a biological predisposition rather than a conscious

SALLY GOLDNER: You can't fight it. You can't get rid of it through silly ideas like conversion
therapy and to know that obviously it is something that is part of our hardwiring, so to speak.

RACHAEL BROWN: And she's heartened by Australian and US research that's found a genetic abnormality
believed to be responsible.

The lead researcher is Associate Professor Vincent Harley, the head of molecular genetics at the
Prince Henry's Institute in Melbourne.

He explains his team studied 112 male to female transsexuals, and says it was a large sample group
considering transsexualism is quite rare; affecting between one in 20,000 to one in 100,000 people.

Associate Professor Harley says compared to males, transsexuals have a longer androgen receptor
gene - the gene known to modify the actions of the sex hormone - testosterone.

VINCENT HARLEY: In crude terms the longer it is the less active it is. So we could imagine and we
speculate that perhaps when androgen is required for male gender identity which it probably is
during the development of the foetus, somewhere in brain, in a region we still don't know where the
gender identity centre is, then perhaps the signal is not as strong in male to female transsexuals.

The testosterone signal to the androgen receptor, the way it is processed by the androgen receptor
is not quite as strong and that could result in an under-masculinisation of this gender identity

RACHAEL BROWN: And how important is this research socially?

VINCENT HARLEY: Well, I think it sort of provides a clue that there is some biological basis to
transsexualism. Very likely a number of genes play a role. We don't know how many yet and that the
interaction of these genes with the environment, the hormonal environment in utero and the
environment of the individually socially after birth, could all play roles.

RACHAEL BROWN: It may at present be a weak link, but for transsexuals like Sally Goldner it's a
very significant one.

SALLY GOLDNER: It gives us a lot of ammunition to say that we need you know, social legislative

RACHAEL BROWN: How far do you think it will go to combating that social stigma that transsexualism
is simply a lifestyle choice?

SALLY GOLDNER: I think it's pretty solid evidence and the fact that the percentage of people who
have come up this way is very high, I think that is very, very hard to ignore.

Once you say, well if we exist and we need to live the way we need to live then we are entitled to
relevant legal protection. So, I think it is a significant muscle to flex.

ELEANOR HALL: That was Sally Goldner speaking to Rachael Brown.

Adelaide man crowned World Karaoke Champion

Adelaide man crowned World Karaoke Champion

The World Today - Monday, 27 October , 2008 12:55:00

Reporter: Barbara Miller

ELEANOR HALL: A young Adelaide man is today preparing to kiss his job in telecommunications goodbye
and instead trade on his new title of World Karaoke Champion.

Michael Bates beat off the ompetition from singers from more than two dozen countries at the
singing championships in Finland.

And as Barbara Miller reports, it's the third year in a row that an Australian has won the event.

BARBARA MILLER: Lahti is the Finland's seventh largest city.

According to its official website it's a "nice place to live, study, work or do business".

And over the weekend it was a nice place to catch some karaoke.

Singers from around 30 countries converged on the city for the World Karaoke Championships.

The newly crowned winner of the men's competition, Adelaide man Michael Bates, says it was tough

MICHAEL BATES: The competition was run over two days so it was almost like an endurance competition
for a lot of people. The first two rounds were performed on the Friday and last night being the
grand final, they knocked out competitors in a number of rounds so we all had to prepare five

(Extract from Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth by Meatloaf)

BARBARA MILLER: I understand one of your songs was a Meatloaf song. You also sang Walking in
Memphis. Would you without any backing track, mind just singing a little bit. Just giving us a
taste of your performance.

MICHAEL BATES: Oh, I don't see why not.


Put on my blue suede shoes and I boarded the plane,

Touchdown in the land of the delta blue, in the middle of the pouring rain.

BARBARA MILLER: That was great. That was Walking in Memphis. Is that your strongest song.

MICHAEL BATES: Oh, I don't know if it my strongest. It is a personal favourite of mine though.

BARBARA MILLER: The judges liked it too.

MICHAEL BATES: When they called out my name it was, I don't think there are any words to describe
exactly what I felt but I was ecstatic. It was elation. It was joy. It was relief. It was tears,
happiness, all sort.


You raise me up so I can stand on mountains.

You raise me up to walk on stormy seas.

BARBARA MILLER: A typical karaoke song perhaps, a little cheesy, a little sentimental.

And one of the five Michael Bates chose to perform at the weekend.

He's the third Australian in as many years to win at the World Championships.

And he says it's time for people to ditch negative stereotypes about karaoke.

MICHAEL BATES: I always though karaoke was just something that I guess drunk people do at a pub but
not realising what a great opportunity it is to sing and to practice singing in front of people and
I got hooked from there on in.

BARBARA MILLER: Are you drunk when you sing?

MICHAEL BATES: No, no. I'm always sober. I am always good.

BARBARA MILLER: Alongside a cash prize Michael Bates gets a chance to record a single with the
winner of the women's competition, Frenchwoman Juliet Gonnet.

He says life will never be the same again:

MICHAEL BATES: Look I hope this does change my life and I hope that, you know, I can wave goodbye
to my job and say hello to my new journey and living my dream.

ELEANOR HALL: That is 22 year-old Australia Michael Bates, the new karaoke world champion, speaking
there to Barbara Miller.