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President-elect gets down to business

President-elect gets down to business

The World Today - Thursday, 6 November , 2008 12:10:00

Reporter: Michael Rowland

ELEANOR HALL: We begin today in the United States where the celebrations over the election of
American's first African-American president are still going for many.

AMERICAN VOTER: I am so proud, in my lifetime, first black president.

AMERICAN VOTER 2: I've been waiting all my life just to see a black president. Man, I finally got

AMERICAN VOTER 3: We did it OK baby. We did it. Barack Obama, first black president.

AMERICAN VOTER 4: This is the beauty of America. God bless America.

AMERICAN VOTER 5: We are happy. We are happy. We are going to see change.

AMERICAN VOTER 6: Even my hair is happy. It is amazing.

OPRAH WINFREY: It feels like something really big and bold has happened here. Like nothing ever in
our lifetimes did we expect this to happen.

ELEANOR HALL: An excited Oprah Winfrey there among the revellers.

But Barack Obama was staying away from the spotlight a day after his historic election win and
instead getting straight into the business of selecting the key members of his administration.

Senator Obama will take over from President George W. Bush in less than three months and while his
win is huge, the challenges facing the new President are also massive.

North America Correspondent Michael Rowland reports from Chicago.

MICHAEL ROWLAND: Barack Obama doesn't take the oath of office for another 76 days but already the
levers of power are shifting.

From tomorrow he'll start getting daily intelligence briefings, during which he'll receive the same
sort of highly classified information served up to President Bush each morning. The Democrat's
secret service security detail is suddenly much larger. The presidential transition is well

Senator Obama is moving to fill key posts, especially on his economic and national security teams.
Former Clinton Treasury Secretaries Larry Summers and Robert Rubin may be asked to reprise the role
in the Obama White House.

2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry is mentioned as a possible Secretary of State.
Prominent Democratic congressman Rahm Emmanuel is expected to be the White House Chief of Staff.

The impact of America electing its first black president is still being felt from the streets of
Chicago to the highest offices in the land. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says it's an
extraordinary moment in the nation's history.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE: One of the great things about representing this country is that it continues to
surprise. It continues to renew itself. It continues to beat all odds and expectations.

You just know that Americans are not going to be satisfied until they really do form that perfect
union and while, the perfect union may never be in sight, we just keep working at it and trying.

And I just want to close on a personal note. As an African-American I am especially proud because
this is a country that has been through a long journey in terms of overcoming wounds and making
race not the factor in our lives.

That work is not done but yesterday was obviously an extraordinary step forward.

MICHAEL ROWLAND: It's a sentiment echoed by the House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi. But
she's got extra reason to celebrate the election victory. The big swing to the Democrats has
consolidated the party's grip on the US Congress.

The party picked up at least 20 House of Representatives seats and five Senate spots. Mrs Pelosi
says she's looking forward to working with the new president.

NANCY PELOSI: We'll be working with the new president on his legislative agenda but our priorities
have tracked the Obama campaign priorities for a very long time and they are what I mentioned.

The growth of our economy, the education of our children, the health of our people, the end of the
dependence on foreign oil and the end of the war in Iraq.

MICHAEL ROWLAND: But with a nod to how Barack Obama may not necessarily get his way with that other
branch of power, the Speaker says the change he has been promising to bring to Washington may not
happen overnight.

NANCY PELOSI: I believe that the aspirations that people have for themselves, that they have pinned
on President Obama will recognise that it will take some time to get much of this done but there
will be no time wasted in getting started.

MICHAEL ROWLAND: As the Democrats look to the future, shattered Republicans are trying to regroup.

John McCain spent most of the day in his Phoenix apartment. The devastating election loss marked
the end of his 10-year quest to win the presidency.

As recriminations mount within Republican ranks, one name keeps bobbing in the "what went wrong"
conversations. Exit polls show many voters believed vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin was too
inexperienced to be a heart-beat away from the oval office.

Making a brief appearance in a noisy Phoenix hotel lobby the Alaska Governor spoke about her
possible impact on the Republican vote.

SARAH PALIN: I don't think anybody should give Sarah Palin that much credit that I would trump an
economic woeful time in this nation that occurred about two months ago. That my presence on the
ticket would trump the economic crisis that America found itself in a couple of months ago and
attribute John McCain's loss to me.

But now having said that, if I cost John McCain even one vote, I am sorry about that.

MICHAEL ROWLAND: And what about speculation she's now positioning herself to win the Republican
nomination in 2012?

SARAH PALIN: Don't know what the heck is going to happen in 2012. Again, just very anxious to get
back to work there in Anchorage and in Juno, making sure that the people of Alaska are well served.

REPORTER: You are notably not ruling out 2012?

SARAH PALIN: You know right now, I cannot even imagine running for national office in 2012 and I
say that though, of course, coming on the heels of an outcome that I certainly did not anticipate
and had not hoped for but this being a chapter now that is closed and realising that it is a time
to unite. All Americans needs to get together and help with this new administration being ushered

ELEANOR HALL: That is the Republican vice-presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, ending Michael
Rowland's report.

Crunching the numbers

Crunching the numbers

The World Today - Thursday, 6 November , 2008 12:14:00

Reporter: Eleanor Hall

ELEANOR HALL: The exact size of the election win for the Democrats is not yet clear with votes
still being counted in several states but our election analyst, professor of political science at
Stanford University, Simon Jackman has been looking at the numbers and he spoke to me a short time

SIMON JACKMAN: Well it has been a big win for Barack Obama. He has pushed the Democrats over the
top in a number of states that they haven't carried in presidential elections in quite some time.

I am thinking of Virginia in particular which hasn't gone Democratic since 1964. The win in North
Carolina is very impressive. The win in Indiana is even more impressive and then also the wins in
the mountain states. This is no longer a map where you have Democrats winning big states on the
coasts and the interior of the country and the south the province of Republicans.

Barack Obama has made inroads into some of that territory that for a long time has voted
Republican. It is a sign of the magnitude of his win and the widespread mood for change that people
bought into and supported yesterday.

ELEANOR HALL: And what about the popular vote. Can you put that in context for us?

SIMON JACKMAN: Yeah, that is a very interesting thing to look at actually. The count is still going
on. There is still an awful lot of votes coming in - absentee votes as we would call them in

And my best guess is that there may be 10 to 15 million more votes yet to count. They are sort of
staggering numbers when you put them up against Australian elections but he is on track at this
point to probably go up towards a seven point margin over John McCain in the two party vote once
all the votes are counted which is, by the way, exactly where an average of the opinion polls had

A win of that size is unprecedented. It would be the biggest win by a Democrat in a presidential
election again since 1964 when Lyndon Johnson beat Barry Goldwater after, of course, the
assassination of John F. Kennedy a year earlier.

But it is also starting to get into territory when you have got to go back to 1932 when Franklin
Delano Roosevelt brought the Democrats to power in the wake of the Great Depression, to find a
change election - an election where the party of the president has changed hands - where the
incoming party has a bigger vote share.

It is a curious fact that in 1992 Bill Clinton, 1980 Ronald Reagan, their vote shares that they
recorded in those big historic elections are not as big as the one that Barack Obama ran up last

ELEANOR HALL: What are the numbers we are looking at?

SIMON JACKMAN: He is going to go something like 54 per cent of the vote in two party terms which
will be, Jimmy Carter only won 50 per cent of the vote. Bill Clinton came to power with just 43 per
cent of the vote so it has been a long time since we have had this clear a signal from a
presidential election in the United States.

ELEANOR HALL: Now you talk about a change election. What group is driving this most strongly?

SIMON JACKMAN: It is a curious fact that, you know, no candidate, no Democratic candidate for
president has won a majority of the white vote and Barack Obama did not. He won, as best as we can
tell, about 45 per cent of the white vote but there is a huge gender gap among white voters and
among all voters.

Women have broken very hard for the Democrat candidate this year. The big story here is that
African-American turnout was up a little over previous years as a proportion of the electorate and
Barack Obama, unsurprisingly, did very, very well among that group. At least 95 per cent of the
vote among African-Americans went for Barack Obama.

The other big story and I think this is sort of full bad news frankly for the Republicans going
forward is the poor performance of John McCain among Hispanic voters - the constituency that Barack
Obama won and won convincingly yesterday on margins of 65/35.

The idea that Republican vote is primarily a white suburban older vote, that is not a good sign for
a country that is becoming increasingly ethnically diverse. The Republicans are in a bit of a bind
here and there is not a lot of good news. You look at the way that Barack Obama was able to make
inroads into constituencies that have gone Republican over the last couple of cycles.

ELEANOR HALL: Is a lot of this about Barack Obama personally? About him being the first black
American candidate. Would Hillary Clinton have done so well, do you think?

SIMON JACKMAN: I think she would have, to be perfectly honest with you. This was always going to be
a very tough year for Republicans and a very good year for Democrats.

I think Hillary Clinton would have turned out a different set of voters. Barack Obama has mobilised
a lot of young voters. He has brought out ethnic minorities in proportions that we haven't seen in
a long time.

But I still think nonetheless that we would have seen a win to a Democrat candidate last night. Had
that been Hillary Clinton, but I still tend to think that the margin of victory would not have been
that dissimilar.

ELEANOR HALL: Well, of course, he is now in the process of selecting his administration. There is
lots of talk of bipartisanship and certainly his speech last night suggested that. How important
will the makeup of his administration be?

SIMON JACKMAN: Every signal that has been sent so far suggests bipartisanship will be the watchword
that he will be looking to pull people from both left and right into his Cabinet.

I think it is important that he do that. I'd expect at least one, possibly two appointments going
to Republicans in key portfolios. There was talk that, as Bill Clinton did, that Bill Clinton, you
may remember had a Republican Secretary of Defence. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see a
Republican, a moderate Republican to be sure, appointed to a portfolio like Defence.

And then I think, you know, a figure like Colin Powell, although he may not have an official role
in the Cabinet, I think will nonetheless have some sort of role as a wise elder in some sense not
too far away from the centre of power.

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


ELEANOR HALL: That is Dr Simon Jackman, professor of political science at Stanford University. He
is also a visiting fellow at Sydney University's United States Studies Centre.

Administrator spells out future for ABC

Administrator spells out future for ABC

The World Today - Thursday, 6 November , 2008 12:18:00

Reporter: Brigid Glanville

ELEANOR HALL: Australia's largest childcare centre has been placed into administration, raising
questions about the childcare places for 100,000 children.

ABC Learning owns 1200 centres around Australia and 25 per cent of long day care is conducted
through those centres.

The Federal Government says it has contingency plans ready to put into place to ensure the centres
will remain open. And the receivers McGrathNicol said late this morning that the centres will
continue to operate as normal.

With the latest reporter Brigid Glanville joins us now.

So Brigid, what have the receivers said this morning about how the children at the centres will be

BRIGID GLANVILLE: Eleanor McGrathNicol are the receivers and Ferrier Hodgson are the administrators
and in a statement, we haven't spoken to anyone, but they did release a statement to the stock
exchange saying that ABC Childcare Centres will remain open and continue to provide care.

There is a quote from Chris Honey who is one of the receivers that has been appointed and he said
he would like to assure all parents and staff that following the appointment of McGrathNicol, their
local childcare centre will continue to operate as usual.

They said the interests of children, family, staff and their entitlements are central to the
considerations in the process and McGrathNicol said they encouraged parents and guardians to
continue their support at their ABC Childcare Centre.

So they said it is their intention to manage the process smoothly and avoid disruption to families.

ELEANOR HALL: Any long-term predictions though about how the centres will operate?

BRIGID GLANVILLE: No, there isn't as yet and they certainly haven't said anything. Ferrier Hodgson
said a meeting of various companies within the ABC Group will be held in less than two weeks.

There is a press conference this afternoon so we may know a bit more then but certainly at this
stage, no information as to long term.

ELEANOR HALL: And what about the Government's role? What has it said?

BRIGID GLANVILLE: The Government has said that it is prepared; it has established a taskforce to
plan for the potential breakup of ABC Learning. It has put contingency plans in place to ensure
that those children won't be left, you know, without a childcare centre.

It hasn't said exactly what it would do but it is believed that it is resisting a bailout as such
of the group as the company, which has about 25 per cent of all long day care places in Australia
receives about 44 per cent of its revenue from government subsidies.

But obviously the Government is under pressure to act to ensure the parents of 100,000-odd children
aren't forced to look for other childcare centres but it could be something in the short term to
maintain that ABC has capital so the centres can continue opening before if someone comes in and
buys ABC Learning.

ELEANOR HALL: Does the collapse of ABC Learning suggest that these centres individually are not

BRIGID GLANVILLE: No, it doesn't suggest that and lots of people have said, in the past few days
commentators have said that ABC Learning, it is hard to imagine not being about to make money out
of childcare centre.

ABC Learning woes stem from much deeper than that and they largely stem from the founder Eddy
Groves and ABC expanding too quickly into the United States and getting too much debt so when the
financial crisis hit, it couldn't repay its debt.

ELEANOR HALL: So what is the likelihood then, if it is a viable business, of a private operator
coming and buying it?

BRIGID GLANVILLE: Well that remains to be seen but you would imagine that if it is a viable
business that someone would come in and buy the business.

ABC as a company has had a number of problems largely because earlier this year when Eddy Groves,
the founder, had a margin call on his shares so his shares were sold from underneath him so that
caused the share price to tumble and I think from the beginning of this year, Eleanor, the share
price has dropped 90 per cent.

In December '06 the share price of ABC was around $8. It last traded at 54c so there is a whole
number of issues over ABC Learning but you would think, largely, that ABC Learning centres are a
good business. A childcare centre, everyone knows it is hard to get children into childcare
centres. There is a very long waiting lists. You would imagine it would be quite a viable business.

But ABC Learning does owe the banks a number of money. All the four major banks in Australia are
involved. The Commonwealth Bank has confirmed it is owed $450-million. ANZ, Westpac and NAB are
owed around $200-million so there is a lot of money and investors out there.

ELEANOR HALL: Brigid Glanville, thank you.

Jobs figures defy economic concerns

Jobs figures defy economic concerns

The World Today - Thursday, 6 November , 2008 12:22:00

Reporter: Peter Ryan

ELEANOR HALL: To the broader economy now and there's been a surprise surge in Australian
employment, despite the concerns about a slowing economy.

According to the official figures released late this morning, the number of people in jobs rose by
more than 34,000 in October, defying expectations of a decline. And the unemployment rate has
remained steady at 4.3 per cent.

I'm joined in the studio now by our business editor Peter Ryan.

Now, Peter, a rise in the number of Australians in jobs. Where are we seeing this?

PETER RYAN: Economists, Eleanor, had been expected jobs to fall by 10,000 in the month of October,
but as you said, the ABS is reporting an increase of 34,300 to 10.76 million.

Now this has come about because of a fall in full-time employment of 9,200 while part-time
employment is up by 43,500.

Now that's created a slight increase in the participation rate to 65.3 per cent up from 65.1 per
cent in September and unemployment remains at a 33-year low of 4.3 per cent. Economists had been
expecting 4.4 per cent - and they have been looking for a sign that those days of record low
unemployment were fading with the economy

ELEANOR HALL: Well that sign is not there this month. Why are we seeing not a contraction in jobs
but the reverse, or is part-time, are part-time jobs masking these figures?

PETER RYAN: Well, the big issue here is that these are lagging figures, and employment is the
biggest lagger.

They traditionally reflect the strength of an economy six months or so ago and the raw data
certainly doesn't fit with the various business surveys and anecdotal evidence that really does
underline a slowdown in the Australian economy.

But once again the key figure is full-time employment rather than the helicopter view of all jobs
including part time and casual.

And it's worth noting that in these figures, this is the second straight month of falls in
full-time employment, repeat full-time employment, and that hasn't happened in over three years.

But we have seen a lot of economic stimulus over the past few months - record income tax cuts,
falling interest rates, government cash handouts and continuing commodity exports to China. Perhaps
that's all combined to helped stem any panic about a global slowdown and to maintain confidence
that the Australian economy will be able to avoid a recession.

So the underlying message is that the economy is better placed than most other countries to deal
with the array of negatives that we are seeing at the moment.

ELEANOR HALL: And how has the share-market reacted to the figures?

PETER RYAN: The share-market was already down quite sharply even before these figures hit. There
was a five per cent plunge in late trading on Wall Street this morning despite earlier elation
about Barack Obama's election victory.

As a result the Australian share-market has taken a direct hit. A short while ago the
All-Ordinaries Index was 3.4 per cent lower or 149 points weaker at 4141.

We've seen BHP Billiton down 2.1 per cent on fears of a prolonged slowdown and Rio Tinto is down
seven per cent and it has taken a big hit given slumping commodity prices and of course, the big
four banks are following the lead of financial stocks down on Wall Street. They are all around one
per cent lower.

ELEANOR HALL: And Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation has taking a hit as well. What is driving that?

PETER RYAN: News Corporation has downgraded its full-year outlook due to weak advertising and the
impact of the strengthening US dollar.

The downgrade came as News Corporation posted a 30 per cent drop in quarterly profit. The news and
entertainment company which Rupert Murdoch has built up over the last 50 years has also flagged job
losses at some of its Australian operations, which includes mastheads such as the "Daily
Telegraph", the "Australian", the "Herald Sun" in Melbourne.

A short time ago, News Corporation stock was down 21 per cent on that news of the downgrade.

ELEANOR HALL: And how is the Australian dollar looking?

PETER RYAN: Slightly weaker, Eleanor, at 67.6 US cents and that is on the expectation that the
outlook for unemployment is going to mean that interest rates will fall and jobs will eventually
come under pressure.

ELEANOR HALL: Business editor Peter Ryan, thank you.

Minister upbeat amid bleak predictions

Minister upbeat amid bleak predictions

The World Today - Thursday, 6 November , 2008 12:26:00

Reporter: Sabra Lane

ELEANOR HALL: Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner says he thinks Australia can avoid a recession.

The unemployment rate is steady today, as we've been hearing but economists are predicting it will
be much higher by 2010 and that the Federal Budget could be in a deficit by next year.

In Canberra, Sabra Lane reports.

SABRA LANE: While most of the world and Australia were captivated by the historic US presidential
election yesterday, the Federal Government released its revised Budget estimates.

The figures weren't good, but the problem is many economists believe the forecasts are overly

Treasury slashed the Budget surplus for this year to $5.4-billion, it predicted growth will slow to
two per cent and that unemployment will jump to five and three quarter per cent by June 2010.

Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner says those estimates are accurate given the difficult science that
is economics.

LINDSAY TANNER: Look, I'm confident that Treasury's got it right as much as you can get these
things right. This is a very inexact science because you are facing these forecasts on a whole
range of variables, all different factors. I believe we've got the best available assessment of
where things are going to head.

SABRA LANE: The Finance Minister was asked on ABC Radio in Melbourne if Australia could avoid a

LINDSAY TANNER: Look I think we can and obviously that's the very important objective of the
Government to keep economic growth and jobs growth in the positive.

Nobody can predict what these international pressures will do. I'm optimistic that things have
improved and that we've have seen the worst of these circumstances in the United States and in

But I can't guarantee that. I can't predict that. But we will be doing everything we can to push
back against these very powerful economic forces.

SABRA LANE: Shane Oliver is the Chief economist for AMP Capital Investors.

SHANE OLIVER: I think the downwards revision to growth and the upwards revision to unemployment was
probably in the right direction but if anything erring on the side of optimism.

Our view is that the downturn in global growth, the blow to confidence, the loss of wealth, the
slump in commodity prices will have a more negative impact on economic growth going forward.

Probably taking growth this financial year down to one and a half per cent or maybe even a little
bit lower and there is right now, a significant risk that we may already have slipped into a mild
recession. And hopefully it will be a mild one.

But basically we think that growth will be quite a bit weaker than seen in the midyear review. That
in turn, I think will push the unemployment rate probably up to around six per cent by the middle
of next year and up to around seven per cent by June 2010.

SABRA LANE: While the Government is loathe to even mention deficit, let alone admit the possibility
its Budget might slip into one, Mr Oliver says it shouldn't be so concerned.

SHANE OLIVER: I think if the economy was booming, and we had a deficit, that would be a major,
major problem, but when we've got an economic downturn on the scale that we are now seeing globally
and the threat that that poses to Australia, I think it would be entirely appropriate for the
Budget to go into a small deficit or into a deficit.

It would be entirely the wrong thing to do to fight against that, and for example raise taxes or
slash spending just to make sure that we maintain a small surplus. If anything, what is required
here is further reductions in taxes, particularly for pensioners and lower and middle income
earners, and I think we're going to need more government spending to help us tide through these
tough times.

SABRA LANE: Heather Ridout, the chief executive of the Australian Industry Group, backs those

HEATHER RIDOUT: The population will not thank the Government if they run surpluses for surplus'
sake and more people than necessary lose their jobs and more businesses fold or go into stress
because of activity not being as strong as it otherwise could have been.

Now the big task for the Government, the big challenge for the Government is to get the spending
priorities right, not just support activity in the short term but also contribute to the longer
term growth potential of the economy.

So the alignment of the short-term imperative of keeping activity and jobs up whilst we keep
investing in the productive capacity of the economy going forward. That is the challenge for the
Government at the present time.

SABRA LANE: The Australian Industry Group is developing a paper for the Government, on ways in
which it can boost growth and jobs.

Economist Shane Oliver says the government should take advantage of the drop in demand for
commodities, and fix infrastructure problems, to ensure the nation's ready for when the boom

SHANE OLIVER: Well I think key area to focus on is infrastructure. The Government had a plan to
invest in infrastructure. There is now some question mark over that, given the reduction in the
size of the Budget surplus but I think infrastructure should remain the focus.

If anything we're going through bit of a lull in the resources boom at the moment. In fact it's a
fairly major lull, but in the years ahead I think Chinese growth will come back with a vengeance
and we should be using this period of weakness in the economy and the spare resources that are
being thrown up to invest in our capacity to supply commodities to China, when it bounces back in a
year or two's time.

ELEANOR HALL: That is economist Shane Oliver ending that report by Sabra Lane.

Kiwis starved of excitement in lead-up to poll

Kiwis starved of excitement in lead-up to poll

The World Today - Thursday, 6 November , 2008 12:30:00

Reporter: Kerri Ritchie

ELEANOR HALL: Politicians across the Tasman may be wondering if the mood for change which swept
across America will have any role in Saturday's New Zealand election.

Labour Prime Minister Helen Clark is seeking a fourth term but some are complaining that the
election lacks excitement. The third televised debate between the Prime Minister and Opposition
Leader, National Party Leader John Key, was notably civil.

And as New Zealand correspondent Kerri Ritchie reports both leaders are now being criticised for
getting on too well.

KERRI RITCHIE: Helen Clark and John Key looked relaxed and happy as they entered the studio at
Television New Zealand in Auckland.

TV PRESENTER: Welcome to all of you and also to our studio audience.

KERRI RITCHIE: The New Zealand leaders couldn't ignore that other election which has been hogging
all the headlines. The pair began by congratulating Barack Obama. Helen Clark sees his win as a
positive for her re-election chances.

HELEN CLARK: Firstly this is an incredible day for progressive politics. We do regard the Democrats
as a sister party.

KERRI RITCHIE: John Key believes the result in the US proves there's a mood for change.

JOHN KEY: We'll be looking to advance a strong relationship with the United States. It is an
important relationship.

KERRI RITCHIE: The American stations might have had holograms in their coverage. New Zealand TV had
YouTube - taking questions from voters over the internet. Most were serious.

YOUTUBE QUESTIONER: I am wondering about your policies concerning Israel and how also do you see
our relationship with Israel in the future? Thank you.

KERRI RITCHIE: Another voter asked about the drug methamphetamine or "P" as it's known in New

YOUTUBE QUESTIONER 2: My question is, what will your party do to eradicate the P menace from our
society? Please note, I said eradicate.

KERRI RITCHIE: Then the debate got unusually deep.

TV PRESENTER: John Key, do you believe in God?

JOHN KEY: Oh, look I'm not deeply religious person as I have said before. I also believe I live my
life by Christian principles but I don't sit there and worship a god every night.

TV PRESENTER: Can I put it to you, I mean both of you from a purely pragmatic political point of
view, you'd be far better to come in here and go yes I believe in God or I go to church or
whatever, as a political move.

HELEN CLARK: I think Mark, we are better to come in here and say what we really think and I think
the honest answer we've both given is we don't know. We don't know and we are not deeply religious

KERRI RITCHIE: And that was the tone for the rest of the debate - the two leaders agreed with each
other and joked together. Some political commentators believe it was so cosy, it was almost

YOUTUBE QUESTIONER 3: My question to Helen Clark and John Key is, are you two friends outside the
beehive? For example would you be seen at the same Christmas party or even sneaking each other a
Christmas Card?

JOHN KEY: Well, Leigh, I can give you an answer and that is about six months ago I went Manurewa
Primary and a little boy ran up to me, he was about seven years of age, and he said I know exactly
who you are.

And like someone that is a bit odd I said, who am I? And he said you're Helen Clark's boyfriend.
Mate, I'm a lot of things but with due respect, Helen, I'm not your boyfriend, that's for sure.

HELEN CLARK: You know if we weren't in politics, we might enjoy a beer or a cup of coffee together.

KERRI RITCHIE: Afterwards, John Key looked happy with his performance.

So you're confident you're going to win?

JOHN KEY: In the end that is for the hands of the New Zealand public but all I can tell you is out
there on the streets there is a very strong mood for change.

KERRI RITCHIE: So you won't say yes or no?

JOHN KEY: No, that is for the New Zealand public to decide.

KERRI RITCHIE: Helen Clark also looked confident.

TV PRESENTER: Bit tough that you would have a beer with him but he wouldn't give you a Christmas
card? Are you a bit hurt by that?

HELEN CLARK: Oh well. Who is counting the Christmas cards?

KERRI RITCHIE: No one is the short answer, when you're just two sleeps away from an election. Every
minute is precious for Helen Clark. She is behind in the polls and trying to convince voters that
after nine years as prime minister, she remains their best option for the future.

This is Kerri Ritchie in Auckland reporting for The World Today.

World greets US election win with optimism

World greets US election win with optimism

The World Today - Thursday, 6 November , 2008 12:34:00

Reporter: Karen Barlow

ELEANOR HALL: Returning now to the US election. Barack Obama's win has been greeted by the majority
of world leaders with optimism.

Karen Barlow reviewed the reactions.

KAREN BARLOW: The other side of the globe has now woken to the shift in power in the United States.
Israel's Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, expects close ties with the incoming administration.

TZIPI LIVNI: We have a new president, not only of the United States of America, but the president
of the United States is the president of the free world in a way and the leader of the free world -
and Israel is part of the free world - in a way we are in the frontline.

KAREN BARLOW: Hamas has opened the door to talks with the Obama administration, but the Islamist
Palestinian group says its rights and methods must be respected.

The Middle East is not the only diplomatic crisis for the president-elect. There are the two
American-led war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan and the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban
Ki-Moon, is looking for support in the UN Security Council.

BAN KI-MOON: I am confident that we can look forward to an era of renewed partnership and a new

If ever there were a time for the world to join together, it is now.

KAREN BARLOW: American voters may have had greater confidence in the Democratic candidate's take on
the global economic meltdown, but world leaders such German Chancellor Angela Merkel says radical
changes are not needed at the moment.

ANGELA MERKEL (translated): I think it is very important that we have continuity because creating a
financial market constitution will take several months and must be continued by the next

That's why I think it is important and right that we can secure this continuity by Obama
participating at the next G20 summit.

I'm deeply convinced that we have to draw the right consequences from this crisis. But we cannot do
it nationally or on a European basis, but internationally.

KAREN BARLOW: The Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero says Barack Obama's election
brings hope and confidence for a world which is experiencing moments of difficulty and uncertainty.

Those thoughts are echoed by the French President Nicholas Sarkozy who says the American people
have chosen change, openness and optimism.

Asian leaders have also welcomed the American election result. China's President Hu Jintao says he
is looking forward to taking their countries' bilateral relationship of constructive cooperation to
a new level and in Indonesia - where Barack Obama lived as a child - the President Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono was pleased.

SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: Indonesian hopes that president-elect Barack Obama will lead the US as a
force for peace, for progress, for spreading good and for reforming the international system.

KAREN BARLOW: It is a public holiday in Kenya and there has been a quick run on naming newborn boys
after the US president-elect.

KENYAN CITIZEN: Today is the greatest day in our black history see, because the black man overruled
the White House so we are very proud of our own son. We appreciate it. We give thanks to all the
American people. We love you, we love you man, we love you.

ELEANOR HALL: The celebrations in Kenya ending that report from Karen Barlow.

Moscow marks its territory

Moscow marks its territory

The World Today - Thursday, 6 November , 2008 12:38:00

Reporter: Stephanie Kennedy

ELEANOR HALL: In a provocative move Russia has launched a stinging attack on the United States just
hours after Barack Obama claimed victory in the US presidential election.

The Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev gave an address in which he blamed the US for the world's

And in a bid to grab the president-elect's attention, Mr Medvedev unveiled plans to deploy a new
missile system in Eastern Europe, as Stephanie Kennedy reports.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: A few weeks ago Joe Biden, Barak Obama's running mate, predicted that an Obama
administration would face a major foreign policy test within months. That test has come within a
day of the election, from Russia.

(Russian Music)

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: In his first state of the nation address the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev
launched into a scathing criticism of US foreign policy, describing it as "selfish". He harshly
criticised the United States - blaming America for the war in Georgia and the global financial

Russian US relations are at their frostiest since the Cold War and President Medvedev announced a
plan to counter America's anti-missile system based in part in Eastern Europe.

Russia has now pledged to electronically jam the US missile shield and its scrapped plans to stand
down three missile regiments. And in an extremely provocative move, the Russian President says
he'll deploy short range missiles in the country's Baltic Sea territory between NATO members Poland
and Lithuania.

DMITRY MEDVEDEV (translated): In order to neutralise if needs be, the US missile defence system the
Iskander missile system will be deployed in the Kaliningrad region. Naturally we envisage that the
resources of the Russian navy will be used for this purpose as well.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: But he insists it is not an anti-American policy and he called on the
president-elect to take the initiative in improving ties between the two countries.

DMITRY MEDVEDEV (translated): I would like to stress we have no problems with the American people.
We don't have innate anti-Americanism and we hope that our partners, the new US administration will
make a choice in favour of fully-fledged relations with Russia.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: It was no accident that Dmitry Medvedev made this speech just a day after the US
election. Dr Alex Pravda is the director of the Russian Centre at St Antony's College at Oxford

ALEX PRAVDA: I think the time was not accidental as the Russians would say. It hits both the
American public in terms of not supporting any more measures of the kind they regard as offensive
under the old lame duck administration but mainly positions Russia in terms of the new

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: What is the message the Russian President is sending to the new president-elect
with his announcement about deploying missiles between Poland and Lithuania?

ALEX PRAVDA: Well it is an offence stance tactic. He is sending a message that really America has
to reconsider expanding facilities in Europe. That Russia won't tolerate this without making
equally offensive responses and is determined to go forward with this.

But I think it is with an aim to look at engaging and negotiating with a new American
administration so this is a typically sort of tough Russian tactic to start negotiating on the
ground about these missile deployments and military deployments generally in Europe.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: What does Russia want from the new US president?

ALEX PRAVDA: I think first of all it wants attention. It wants a degree of respect. It wants
engagement on both military issues, where Russia has an inbuilt advantage. This is why it is
pushing the military agenda. That is the only agenda where the United States is likely to take
Moscow seriously as a senior partner, as a senior great power.

The second, it wants to be included in international discussions on reforming the financial and
economic system but it may well, this kind of hard language may well be counter-productive I think
from Moscow's point of view.

It is not the best way to do it but they tend to go for the tough stance rather than for the
moderate one.

ELEANOR HALL: Dr Alex Pravda, the director of the Russian Centre at Oxford University. Stephanie
Kennedy with that report.

Karzai issues demand to Obama

Karzai issues demand to Obama

The World Today - Thursday, 6 November , 2008 12:42:00

Reporter: Barbara Miller

ELEANOR HALL: The Afghan president Hamid Karzai, said he applauds the American people on their
choice of president.

But he was also quick to issue a demand to Barack Obama, calling on him to end civilian casualties
in Afghanistan. He issued the call as reports emerged that 40 civilians, including members of a
wedding party, had been killed in a US air strike in Kandahar province.

Barbara Miller has our report:

BARBARA MILLER: Barack Obama has repeatedly said he intends to give more focus to the war in
Afghanistan, bolstering troop numbers there. Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai has welcomed the

But as Barack Obama was being elected, reports were emerging from Kandahar province of around 40
civilians being killed in a US air-strike. It's the latest in a series of such incidents. And Hamid
Karzai says enough is enough.

HAMID KARZAI (translated): As we speak today we have again had civilian casualties. Yesterday in
Kandahar we had civilian casualties caused by an air strike. A few days ago we civilian casualties
in Helmand and a few days before that there were civilian casualties in Wardak province. Civilian
casualties must stop in Afghanistan.

My first demand from the newly elected president of America when he takes office is to end the
civilian casualties in Afghanistan and take the war to the safe havens and training camps of

BARBARA MILLER: Lydia Khalil a visiting fellow at Macquarie University's Centre for Policing,
Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism says boosting troop numbers could help reduce civilian

LYDIA KHALIL: The reason that the United States has been relying on these predator drone strikes if
you will that have unfortunately caused civilian casualties is because the United States and the
coalition allies have been working with an economy of forces.

Meaning that they don't have enough troops on the ground at the moment. I think that the way to
resolve that is through one of the proposals that Obama has put forward which is to increase troops
and to also implement an overall comprehensive strategy for the region.

BARBARA MILLER: That regional strategy has to involve Pakistan. Barack Obama has said he won't shy
away from taking action on suspected militants in Pakistan's tribal border regions.

Michael McKinley, a Senior Lecturer in International Relations and Strategy at the Australian
National University, says those comments worry him.

MICHAEL MCKINLEY: Pakistan at the moment is in dire straits and the last thing the country needs is
some sort of insurrection or civil strife being caused by western troops coming across the border.

BARBARA MILLER: Michael McKinley says Barack Obama needs to rethink his strategy.

MICHAEL MCKINLEY: I think they would have to do this as an experiment at least and that is monitor
Afghanistan in the same way that Iraq was monitored in the period after the first Gulf War. If it
looked like so-called terrorist training camps were being set up then undoubtedly you would
probably take action against them.

This would be unsatisfactory but it would kill less people and it would also result in less Western
troops being killed as well.

BARBARA MILLER: Barack Obama's campaign message was all about change. It sounds as though you think
the change he is proposing in that region of the world is going to be a negative thing?

MICHAEL MCKINLEY: I think it is yes. I don't see a positive outcome. There are some things that are
not amenable to the application of Western military power and Western political pressures.

BARBARA MILLER: Lydia Khalil from Macquarie University is a little more optimistic.

LYDIA KHALIL: I think a resolution to the conflict will take many years if not perhaps another
decade at least but I do think it is a positive beginning that there is a president of the United
States at the moment who has made that region and that conflict a priority and is working with his
advisers in terms of revamping our strategy there.

ELEANOR HALL: That is Lydia Khalil of Macquarie University ending that report by Barbara Miller.

Banks under pressure to become landlords

Banks under pressure to become landlords

The World Today - Thursday, 6 November , 2008 12:46:00

Reporter: Catherine Clifford

ELEANOR HALL: The Federal Government is calling on the major banks to have a good look at their
hardship provisions as more and more Australians default on their mortgages.

One option under serious consideration here and in the UK and the US is for banks to become
landlords. With the global financial crisis shifting all the goal posts, the pressure is on
financial institutions to stop foreclosing and start looking at potential home defaulters as

Catherine Clifford has our story.

CATHERINE CLIFFORD: Mortgage analyst, Martin North, is the managing director of Fujitsu Consulting.
He's been looking at the mortgage industry for nearly 20 years and says while there's been some ups
and downs in that time, he's never seen so many people in trouble.

MARTIN NORTH: Based on the government feedback yesterday, in terms of the economic review that they
just did, we think that by the middle of next year there will be about 1.2 million households in
some degree of mortgage stress which is a big number and about 400,000 of those will be in severe

CATHERINE CLIFFORD: But he says changes are afoot overseas to deal with the problem and the Federal
Government here is watching.

MARTIN NORTH: Well, if you look at the US and the UK in the last few weeks there have been
interventions at a government level which essentially is encouraging banks to find ways to keep
people in their homes and that often will translate to converting a mortgage into some sort of
lease-based proposition or some sort of refinancing program which extends the life of the loan
duration considerably.

CATHERINE CLIFFORD: Rod Stowe is a deputy commissioner in the Office of Fair Trading in New South
Wales. He says there's no legal obstacle for our banks and non-bank lenders to go down this path if
they want to.

ROD STOWE: The consumer credit code applies in all Australian states and territories and it
regulates the provision of home loans, but it doesn't regulate what happens once a mortgagee takes
possession of a residential property.

So if a mortgagee does want to allow a consumer to reside in that house as a tenant the mortgagee
would then have to offer a residential tenancy agreement under the residential tenancies
legislation that applies in that particular jurisdiction.

CATHERINE CLIFFORD: Real estate agent Adrian Gordon is the licensee of Lifestyle Choice Realty, in
Sydney's north-west, and says he's seeing property prices fall by as much as 15 to 20 per cent in
his area, well above the national average.

He says the banks and non-bank lenders have to think laterally about every possible option now,
even if it's more complicated than using the courts to foreclose.

ADRIAN GORDON: Yeah, I can see some positives and negatives out of that, is that a positive is
obviously to keep the people and families together into their own house and have some sort of
payback or lease arrangement but, then, with lease arrangements there is a lot of legalities which
the Residential Act has got in place through the Office of Fair Trading but it would definitely see
a decrease of these skyrocketing rents that are going around at the moment.

CATHERINE CLIFFORD: Where do the banks and non-bank lenders sit on this? Well, the Commonwealth
Bank told us it is currently reviewing its hardship provisions. The non-bank lenders we contacted
are yet to return our calls.

But general manager for corporate relations with St George Bank, Jeremy Griffith, says his bank is
not ruling anything in or out, but says landlord status, even if only for a temporary period, is
not part of the core business of St George, and says economic conditions in Australia have not
deteriorated as much as they have in the UK and US.

JEREMY GRIFFITH: Well, our first priority is to keep the homeowner in the house. That really is the
absolute last resort that we would respond to that, you know, we've got a portfolio of 450,000-plus
houses. We've only got 80 houses in repossession. So, you can clearly see that a) the economic
cycle is pretty strong still in Australia and also clearly it is not a policy of option.

ELEANOR HALL: St George Bank's Jeremy Griffith ending that report from Catherine Clifford.

Call for under-twos to be TV-free

Call for under-twos to be TV-free

The World Today - Thursday, 6 November , 2008 12:50:00

Reporter: Jane Cowan

ELEANOR HALL: Now to that warning on children and television. A visiting international childhood
expert says children should watch no television in the first two years of their lives.

Dr Michael Rich is the Director of the Centre on Media and Child Health at the Harvard Medical
School and he spoke in Melbourne to our reporter Jane Cowan.

MICHAEL RICH: What we know is that at least for national data from the United States that children
under the age of two on average use electronic games for about an hour, a little over an hour a
day. That 26 per cent of them have a television in their bedrooms and that it is very much
integrated into their daily lives, largely in the format of parents using the television as an
electronic babysitter.

JANE COWAN: Is there anything at all to be gained by children under two watching TV?

MICHAEL RICH: There is no scientific evidence that children under the age of about 30 months,
two-and-a-half years, can learn much of anything other than fairly rote imitation or mimicry from
an electronic screen.

JANE COWAN: You yourself have two very young children. How do you approach this issue with them?

MICHAEL RICH: Oh well they didn't get in front of screens until about 30 months for that very
reason that I didn't want to, I didn't see any positive benefit to be gained from it and my concern
was that the screens did not provide the kind of stimuli that we know are most optimal for brain

The best things are interaction with other human beings face to face, manipulating the physical
environment, stacking up blocks, trying to get a raisin in your mouth and open-ended creative
problem-solving sort of play. So a blank piece of paper and a crayon or a piece of clay to play
with and you know, I read a lot of books with them. They love books.

JANE COWAN: What about older children? How do you suggest parents manage television in the teenage
years for instance?

MICHAEL RICH: Well, I quite honestly I think in the teenage years the horse is out of the barn.

Parents, it is really the school age years where kids start watching television on their own and
actually teenagers, the data show, use television less than school age kids. They start using it
more music and on-line media use rather than television.

But frankly, there is no reason why young people who have otherwise, you know, rich lives and
homework to do and sleep to get need to get more than an hour or two at most of media time each

ELEANOR HALL: That is a childhood expert from Harvard Dr Michael Rich, speaking to our reporter
Jane Cowan in Melbourne.