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Opposition accuses Treasury of manipulating growth forecast

Opposition accuses Treasury of manipulating growth forecast

The World Today - Tuesday, 11 November , 2008 12:10:00

ELEANOR HALL: But we begin today in the National capital where the Federal Opposition is accusing
the Treasury of manipulating its forecast on economic growth to match the Government's political
rhetoric.

Treasury officials are predicting that the economy will grow at two per cent this year while the
Reserve Bank's estimates have a one in front of them.

The Liberal Party has seized on the difference.

But the government is warning that in doing so the opposition is entering dangerous territory.

In Canberra, Alexandra Kirk reports.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Government's been keen to point to the relative strength of the Australian
economy in the face of the global financial crisis. And its $10.4-billion fiscal stimulus package
is a key consideration. Legislation underpinning the package is being introduced into parliament
today.

But the Opposition's taken issue with the discrepancy between two high powered outlooks; Treasury's
snapshot, released last week, forecasting the economy will grow two per cent this year, versus the
Reserve Bank's assessment, out yesterday, opting for 1.5 per cent.

Opposition frontbencher Andrew Robb thinks something's amiss.

ANDREW ROBB: It's smells to me of, it's got the smell of manipulation about the Treasury forecast,
I think they were required to get a two in front of their growth forecasts so that the Prime
Minister wasn't embarrassed.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: A government source has told The World Today Mr Robb's entered dangerous territory
by casting aspersions on Treasury and that it's not the first time the coalition's attacked
Treasury and the Central Bank in an effort to score political points.

Opposition treasury spokeswoman Julie Bishop thinks the Reserve Bank's figure is closer to the
mark, but hasn't ventured as far as Mr Robb.

JULIE BISHOP: And the Reserve Bank's growth figure is five per cent, but what Treasury did in a
very unusual move and they said it was unusual was they factored in interest rate reductions in
order for the growth figure to have a two in front of it, because that's what the Prime Minister's
been saying. He's been assuring the Australian public that the growth rate will have a two.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: But Labor backbencher Mark Butler says both Treasury and the Central Bank are
right.

MARK BUTLER: The RBA models their growth figures on the basis that interest rates stay static,
while Treasury does their modelling on the basis on what markets expect to happen with interest
rates. Now the market expect interest rates to go down, Treasury has included that in their
modelling which is why their growth figures are different to the RBA's.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: And the Treasurer Wayne Swan's told Sky TV it makes sense for Treasury's modelling
to factor in future rate cuts.

WAYNE SWAN: They don't represent a conflict at all, in fact they are broadly similar. There is a
difference in terms of the Reserve Bank and the Treasury forecast because the Treasury forecasts do
take into account a loosening of monetary policy. For obvious the Reserve Bank forecasts do not.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Government's counting on its big spending package to boost economic growth.
With the legislation before parliament today, the Opposition says there are still a lot of question
marks.

JULIE BISHOP: The government has not provided any modelling, any analysis or any evidence to show
that spending half the budget surplus in this way will work. They're asking us to take them on
trust, they're operating on a wing and a prayer.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Julie Bishop says the Opposition's taking the Government on trust.

JULIE BISHOP: So we're very cautious but we understand a stimulatory package is needed.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The other half of the economic equation is interest rates. Labor backbencher Jason
Clare says his seat of Blaxland has the highest home repossession rate in the country. He's
concerned while mortgage rates are on the way down, interest rates on credit cards are bucking the
trend and continuing to rise.

JASON CLARE: It's credit cards where people are struggling more than anything else. It's not
uncommon for me to hear stories from financial counsellors about people who have half a dozen
credit cards who might be tens of thousands of dollars in debt and who are on the pension or are on
Centrelink payments.

Some of them are offering credit to people who can't reasonably be expected to pay it over a
reasonable time. If you paid the minimum amount on a credit card which is two per cent over the
time that is allocated for it every month, then it would take you something like about 20 years to
pay the credit card off. Now that's not reasonable and that's not appropriate.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Jason Clare acknowledges the government has credit reform in train for next year,
but has in his sights pre-approved credit card offers.

JASON CLARE: To make sure that those letters that we get in the mail that say you're entitled to an
increase in your credit card limit are not sent to people who are unable to meet that increased
credit offer.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: On the matter of rising credit card interest rates, the minister for Consumer
Affairs Chris Bowen's office directed The World Today to the minister for Corporate Governance,
Nick Sherry, whose office said it was a matter for the Treasurer.

Mr Swan is overseas. A spokesman says just as the Government expects banks to pass on the full cut
in to mortgage rates as quickly as possible, the same should apply to credit cards. The Treasurer's
office says the credit card market is very competitive, encouraging consumers to exercise choice if
unsatisfied with the rates.

ELEANOR HALL: Alexandra Kirk reporting.

Thousands gather at Canberra war memorial

Thousands gather at Canberra war memorial

The World Today - Tuesday, 11 November , 2008 12:14:00

ELEANOR HALL: Several thousand people gathered at the War memorial in Canberra this lunchtime to
commemorate the 90th anniversary of the end of World War One.

The Prime Minister gave the commemoration address and said the anniversary was an appropriate time
for all nations to re-commit to creating a century of peace.

But Kevin Rudd told the gathering that tyranny can't be wished away with a pen.

Sabra Lane was there and compiled this report.

SABRA LANE: Hats, sunscreen and the great Aussie salute were the order of the morning as the sun's
rays baked the parade ground in front of the Australian war memorial in Canberra.

The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd with veterans, dignitaries and hundreds of school children watching
on delivered the commemorative address pointing out that the great war did not end all wars and
indicated his great hope for the 100 years to come.

KEVIN RUDD: Is war our permanent conviction? Must every generation go through war to remind it why
there should be no war? Or can we dare to do something different? Can we dare to think something
different?

Not just to be informed from history but to learn from history. We have all endured a most bloody
century but let us resolve afresh at the dawn of this new century, this century of the pacific that
this might be a truly pacific peaceful century. Let us resolve afresh to build the habits of
cooperation rather than to yield the inevitability of conflict.

Let all peoples of good will resolve afresh for peace, resolve afresh a century free from the
threat of nuclear war.

SABRA LANE: 90 years ago today the guns fell silent on the Western Front, signalling the end of
World War One. Mr Rudd attending his first remembrance day as Prime Minister chose to deliver a
message of hope, peace and contemplation.

KEVIN RUDD: Tyranny cannot and can never be wished away with a pen. Tyrants must always be
confronted when all other options are exhausted and that means that the price of peace remains
eternal difference. That is why we need our men and women in uniform, that is why we are proud of
our men and women in uniform, that is why we are proud of 100-thousand names etched into walls of
this great memorial.

SABRA LANE: Before the ceremony another six names were added to the honour roll. Five of them
Australian soldiers who'd lost their lives during the past 12 months; trooper David Pearce,
Sergeant Matthew Locke, Private Luke Worsley, Lance Corporal Jason Marks and Signalman Sean
McCarthy.

The sixth name was Private Dennis Milane; a serviceman who died in 1965 during the Indonesian
conflict. Families of all men were present for the unveiling.

KEVIN RUDD: So what is the message of this 90th anniversary, I believe each of the foremen would
say to us this, be forever vigilant and be equally unstinted in the preservation of peace. Today we
remember those who fell, we honour the contribution they've made to this great nation Australia, we
honour the contribution they have made to the world and we commit ourselves to upholding the values
for which these Australians, these 100 000 or more Australians who gave their lives in the service
of this nation and we commit ourselves afresh to the great cause of peace.

SABRA LANE: During the service more than 100 school children each holding a poppy walked up to the
stone of remembrance leaving their floral tributes behind. Among them was 12 year old Perth girl
Natalie Griffiths who was wearing the medals of her grand-father.

NATALIE GRIFFITHS: Well I'm just really really happy about like how they've all done this just for
Australia and for all of us today and also been thinking about Grandad and what he sacrificed as
well

SABRA LANE: And it makes you really proud to wear those medals?

NATALIE GRIFFITHS: Yeah it really does.

SABRA LANE: And your girlfriends?

NATALIE GRIFFITHS: Yeah we're all very honoured to be chosen for this as well and really excited.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Perth school girl Natalie Griffiths ending that report by Sabra Lane.

Ex-WWI soldier's son speaks with The World Today

Ex-WWI soldier's son speaks with The World Today

The World Today - Tuesday, 11 November , 2008 12:18:00

ELEANOR HALL: Remembrance Day services have been held in towns and cities around Australia.

At the Cenotaph in Sydney, reporter Brendan Trembath spoke to Jim Kerr whose father James was one
of the young soldiers who landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey in 1915.

JIM KERR: My father was in Gallipoli and in France he was wounded in France but he came back
otherwise I wouldn't be here.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: What did your father tell you when he did come back.

JIM KERR: he spoke very little about World War One, he was at Gallipoli I think they were on the
first landing that went in and he just closed up when he came back after the war and hardly ever
said anything about it. He used to go to the ANZAC Day functions and things like that but never
ever did he talk to the four boys ever about the war.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: You must have been curious about what happened there?

JIM KERR: Well I read a lot of books about Gallipoli and the carnage that was there, it's just a
shame to think that we lost all those people. We lost so many Australians in World War Two, not as
many in Korea and Vietnam but then again they weren't as big a conflicts, but it really has been a
tiring time for the population. You know the people that have perished, and what have we gained out
of war?

BRENDAN TREMBATH: So obviously you think it's very appropriate to mark the end of the First World
War on this day each year?

JIM KERR: Oh it's always a memory for me, fall all the people that provided the ultimate sacrifice,
they gave their lives, I mean all those people who went to Gallipoli were volunteers; every one of
them. And you wouldn't get people volunteering to go to war today, not like they did then.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Why was that?

JIM KERR: I think it was all to do with King and country those days. I think there was a lot more
patriotism than what there is now.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: You have service medals yourself, tell me about those.

JIM KERR: Well I have a national services medal and I have a centenary medal for service of
veterans when I was doing welfare work. I was an advocate for the department of Veterans Affairs,
honorary work for about five years where I put something back into the community and I got a
centenary medal for it.

I didn't ask for it, I don't even know who nominated me.

ELEANOR HALL: That's ex-serviceman Jim Kerr with Brendan Trembath at the cenotaph in Sydney.

Schools must focus on Darwin bombings: Government

Schools must focus on Darwin bombings: Government

The World Today - Tuesday, 11 November , 2008 12:22:00

ELEANOR HALL: The Northern Territory Government says research shows that too many Australians are
unaware of the seriousness of the Bombing of Darwin, during World War Two.

More than 200 people were killed in the initial raid on the 19th of February 1942.

The government argues that while the $130 million Baz Lurhumann film 'Australia' will lift the
profile of the bombings, more needs to be done in schools.

Sarah Hawke reports.

BRENDAN GOWER: Not only did they bomb Darwin but they bombed a lot of the smaller regions like.
Katherine, Adelaide River.

SARAH HAWKE: 15 year old Darwin student Brendan Gower has a thorough understanding of the Japanese
campaign in northern Australia.

BRENDAN GOWER: The Northern Territory was a main communication point for the allies, the Japanese
thought well if we take the communication we've got the war.

SARAH HAWKE: 188 Japanese aircraft bombed Darwin on February the 19th 1942 killing over 200 people.
There were scores of other bombing raids through until late 1943.

SARAH HAWKE: Although it was the most significant military attack on Australian soil the Northern
Territory Government says more must done to educate young Australians.

Newspoll research commissioned by Tourism NT shows that while 78 per cent of the 1200 surveyed knew
that Darwin was the Australian city most attacked in the war, the figure drops to 62 per cent in
the 18 to 34 year old age group.

12 per cent of that group believed Sydney was the most attacked while 20 per cent of women surveyed
didn't know which country bombed Australia. The research also shows 77 per cent of Australians
didn't know more bombs were dropped on Darwin than Pearl Harbour.

Acting Northern Territory Chief Minister Marion Scymgour.

MARION SCYMGOUR: There is a lot of history that people certainly need to be aware of and we need to
share it and we need to show that Darwin is an important place in Australia's history.

SARAH HAWKE: Darwin High School history teacher Jenny Bolan says in southern Australia there is
some apathy about the bombings.

JENNY BOLAN: I attended the Prime Minister's summer school for Australia history teachers in
January that was held in the Australian National University. And while the teachers themselves were
really interested to know about, I just felt when we started talking about it with people
particularly at the war memorials and places like that, when I asked why did Darwin only have like
a little panel about 10 feet by 15 and yet they have the whole sub that came about of Sydney
Harbour taking up a huge big area like a barn, you know why was this? Because of the significance
of it, they didn't really want to know.

SARAH HAWKE: Rex Ruwoldt was 18 and serving with the 19th Machine Gun Regiment when the attacks
started. Rounds from a Japanese zero coming close to killing him on the 19th February.

REX RUWOLDT: The Japanese fighter planes had four gunners that fired simultaneously. I think I
really grew up in that moment.

SARAH HAWKE: Mr Ruwoldt says censorship during and after the bombings did stifle the story of the
Japanese campaign.

REX RUWOLDT: I would like to see the 19th February recognised as a day of importance in Australian
history.

SARAH HAWKE: And what about in schools?

REX RUWOLDT: Yes in schools for sure.

SARAH HAWKE: Why do you think there isn't better recognition?

REX RUWOLDT: I think it all goes back to the fact that the government banned it in the first place.
Way back during the war and then 50 years after the war.

SARAH HAWKE: You mean with the censorship?

REX RUWOLDT: Yes. After the war, a fellow I went to school with said, where were you? I said I was
in Darwin, he said did you see any bombing there? I said I did, I said I saw them out 46 ear range.
God he said I wouldn't believe that.

Now because he had never heard of the place being bombed he thought I was telling fibs cause I said
I saw these air raids. So most of the veterans just didn't ever talk about it because people didn't
know anything about it and they recon they were spinning stories.

ELEANOR HALL: That's a former solider Rex Ruwoldt, ending Sarah Hawke's report.

New claims about ABC Learning

New claims about ABC Learning

The World Today - Tuesday, 11 November , 2008 12:26:00

ELEANOR HALL: The Federal government is trying to keep the childcare centres of the collapsed
company, ABC Learning, running.

But now an industry insider has made serious allegations about the standards of care being provided
there.

The director of the Childcare workforce company that provides staff to the childcare industry says
ABC learning is not properly staffing its childcare centres.

The Federal Minster denies the allegations but the head of 123 Careers has hit back, comparing
Julia Gillard's knowledge of the situation to that of a pre-schooler.

Simon Santow has our report.

SIMON SANTOW: Don Jones has a fraught relationship with ABC Learning. As the boss of 123 Careers,
at one stage he thought he'd sold his business to ABC, before the deal went sour, and ABC Learning
collapsed leaving receivers in charge of the Childcare giant.

He says he's owed $10 million and without it, his role in providing staff to ABC is in jeopardy.

DON JONES: What we say to the receivers is, if we do not get our $10 million, it will be very
difficult for us to stand as a company and therefore we cannot provide this essential service to
ABC and that would be fine if it was any other business but we happen to have a unique service that
no one else in Australia and possibly the world can do at short notice.

SIMON SANTOW: Don Jones says that business is a computerised phone service which makes 15-thousand
calls a day, matching staff to centres and filling gaps when staff are sick or have quit. Yesterday
he says demand far outstripped his ability to supply people.

At four o'clock, he'd been asked to provide 1849 workers and he could only manage 778, leaving a
shortfall of almost 1100. Other agencies, he says, could not even come close to finding that many
qualified teachers at such short notice.

DON JONES: Yesterday we got 1900 because I think ABC staff are leaving in droves. You haven't got
the normal sickies and holidays, you've also got the people who are leaving.

SIMON SANTOW: If Mr Jones' figures are right then that would potentially place the receivers of ABC
Learning in breach of the license requirements and the ratio of staff to children in care.

AM's Alexandra Kirk put his concerns to the Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard this morning.

JULIA GILLARD: Well obviously the receiver is saying they're aware of their legal obligations, they
obviously want to run ABC Learning centres on a high quality basis from a business as usual basis
and obviously abiding by all of their legal obligations.

ABC Learning has direct staff, staff it directly employs and they have a number of sources of
getting temporary staff when necessary. Mr Jones's business is not the sole supplier of additional
staff to ABC Learning.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Has there been a problem with child to staff ratios at ABC Learning centres to your
knowledge?

JULIA GILLARD: I have not had raised with me a problem with child to staff ratios at ABC Learning
centres other than by Mr Jones who has a commercial interest in the matter.

DON JONES: Well I heard her interview this morning, it reminded me of when I worked in a childcare
centre and I was talking to a pre-schooler.

SIMON SANTOW: Don Jones says his business is akin to an essential service.

DON JONES: Miss Gillard says she's aware of no breaches, yet I except for Mr Jones, well Mr Jones
happens to be the person who provides all the staff. Who does she want to hear it from? Who else
does she need to hear it from before she gets it? Now I'm making that allegation, I can't prove
that but I tell you it's known, it's out there, ring up any ABC centre in Australia and it will be
no.

SIMON SANTOW: But the Union representing childcare workers, the LHMU, is offering some support to
the Minister.

Spokeswoman Rebecca Reilly says her members are, in contrast, not hearing about vacancies in the
way they normally do.

REBECCA REILLY: What's being reported to us at the moment is staff that are employed by the company
123 that actually filled in vacancies for ABC centres. A lot of those workers are reporting to us
they're not getting as much work as they were previously getting. We would have been inundated with
phone calls to the Union Office this morning if that was the case and particularly with all the
organisers that are out on the ground at the moment.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Rebecca Reilly from the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union
ending Simon Santow's report.

Tenant takes a first look at his new office

Tenant takes a first look at his new office

The World Today - Tuesday, 11 November , 2008 12:30:00

ELEANOR HALL: Let's go now to the United States where President George W. Bush has given his
successor his first private tour of the oval office. It was their first face to face meeting since
President elect Barack Obama's resounding election defeat of Republican John McCain last week.

And despite Mr Obama's trenchant criticism of the Bush adminstration during the campaign, the Obama
family was warmly received at the White House. As Washington Correspondent Kim Landers reports.

KIM LANDERS: It's just ten weeks before Barack Obama will make history as the first African
American occupant of the Oval Office.

But he only got to see the historic room for the first time today when he met President George W.
Bush there.

Their talk was so private, that no-one else was in the room. The meeting is a symbolic moment in
the transition of power, a shift that won't be finalised until Barack Obama takes the oath of
office on January the 20th.

But for Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, it's given them a glimpse of what's in store for their
family. Michelle Obama was given a tour of the private residence by the First Lady Laura Bush.
Anita McBride is the current First Lady's chief of staff and she says Mrs Obama was keen to see the
bedrooms that her two daughters will be using.

ANITA MCBRIDE: She thought the rooms were beautiful and would be perfect for her two little girls
and that they could decorate in a way that would be appropriate for young children and it is a
historic room, the Kennedy children lived there, the Johnson girls live there, Chelsea Clinton as
well and Amy Carter, so it has you know historical significance yet it still can be perfect for
children so I think she was very happy to see that.

KIM LANDERS: There've been no signs that the two hour visit was awkward, even though it could have
been given that Barack Obama has spent the past several months blasting the President for what he
calls "failed policies".

Michael Bechloss is a Presidential historian. He says the meeting between the incoming and outgoing
Presidents is a rite of passage.

MICHAEL BECHLOSS: This is basically a product of the cold war, after World War Two for instance
when Harry Truman was giving way to Dwight Eisenhower, they thought it was a very good idea to make
sure that that war time transition took place in an orderly way.

KIM LANDERS: One of the most interesting transition meetings was between the 70 year old Dwight
Eisenhower and the 43 year old John F Kennedy. President Eisenhower took the time to show the
incoming President how to use the panic button in the Oval Office.

MICHAEL BECHLOSS: And the subtext there was that Eisenhower felt that Kennedy was unprepared he
called him a sort of a young, not sort of, he did call him away from his hearing a young whipper
snapper, called him worse things but to show Kennedy the responsibilities he was about to assume
Eisenhower said well you know it may be that if there is a nuclear alert the President and the
White House staff would have to evacuate, this is how it's done.

Pressed a button, said send a chopper, five minutes later the helicopter was landing on the White
House lawn.

KIM LANDERS: Barack Obama will be responsible for hiring thousands of people across his
Administration. His website has been inundated with people wanting to apply for jobs.

Dina Powell is a former special assistant to President George W. Bush and she was deeply involved
in the last Presidential transition.

DINA POWELL: But I think that what they will need to do is stay very focussed on what he's trying
to accomplish in all of these different agencies at the government and make sure that they not only
pick the most qualified people but they ensure that there's a real balance of view so that he has
different perspectives from which to call upon.

KIM LANDERS: Meanwhile the finger pointing in the Republican Party ranks continues. Alaska Governor
Sarah Palin is pointing the finger at the Bush Administration for damaging the Republican brand.

SARAH PALIN: And I think the republican ticket represented too much of the status quo, too much of
what had gone on in these last eight years that Americans were kind of shaking their heads and
going wait a minute, how did we run up a $10-trillion debt in a Republican administration.

How have there been blunders with war strategy under a Republican administration?

KIM LANDERS: Speculation about Sarah Palin's future is being fuelled by a series of national
television interviews that she's scheduled. And she pointedly hasn't ruled out running for
President or Vice President in 2012.

This is Kim Landers in Washington for The World Today.

Frum frowns on Palin push for power

Frum frowns on Palin push for power

The World Today - Tuesday, 11 November , 2008 12:34:00

ELEANOR HALL: One senior Republican who remains to be convinced that a Sarah Palin run for the
White House would improve the Republican brand is David Frum. He is a former special assistant to
George W. Bush, who is now with the American Enterprise Institute.

He says his party is in trouble not just in terms of its depleted numbers in the Congress but in
terms of talent, money and direction. David Frum spoke to me earlier today from Toronto.

ELEANOR HALL: David Frum, a week before the election you warned that John McCain would not only
lose the election but he would take the party with him. How long will it be before the party
recovers from this loss?

DAVID FRUM: It will be a long time. First of all I should say that the final outcome was actually a
little less bad than I fear that week, so the balance won't be as bad for the Republicans.

At one point I feared it might go as low as 42, it looks like it will be 44. That said, the party's
in a lot of trouble, and the trouble comes from kind of subtle ways, not just the obvious balance
in the house and the Senate but also when you look for future talent, when you look down to the
state level to say well who are the candidates for tomorrow.

Our talent is rather thin and fundraising is going to be very difficult for the Republicans with
the Democrats holding all the instrumentalities of power. Now the hope I am encouraging is try to
accelerate the learning process, we see parties that are out of power, can often refuse to learn
the lessons of their defeat and stay out of power for a long long time.

ELEANOR HALL: Well the party is now doing the grisly post mortem. Who or what do you blame for the
size of the loss?

DAVID FRUM: Economic defeat, outside the United States, many people look at Iraq and obviously that
wasn't a positive and yet through the election cycle, John McCain consistently out polled Barack
Obama as the candidate most trusted on Iraq.

So that alone cannot be the answer. But we've had even before the market crash, we've had six years
in which the income of the typical American worker did not rise. That's a huge problem.

ELEANOR HALL: So did the Republicans ever stand a chance whoever the candidate and however the
campaign was run?

DAVID FRUM: I think there were moments where the Republicans might, if they played everything well
might have done better than they did.

The crucial moment or the point of no return was the David Lehman Brothers collapse and John McCain
stepped forward to say that the fundamentals of the economy are sound.

We had failed to deliver economic benefits to ordinary people and on that day we confirmed that the
reason we had done so was we were just completely out of touch with the economic situation or
ordinary people.

ELEANOR HALL: And what about the selection of Sarah Palin as the Vice Presidential running mate?

DAVID FRUM: That hurt but it hurt in a different place. Over the past decade we have really
witnessed an erosion of our support amongst the well educated so that's a big problem. Well Sarah
Palin made it worse and it sort of confirmed a lot of the fears that you know the better educated
people have. One that we're too religious a party, second that we just don't care about being good
at your job, we don't care about competence, she seemed so obviously unqualified for the job.

ELEANOR HALL: What was your reaction when she was picked initially?

DAVID FRUM: My reaction was I was disturbed and certainly I think her early appearances didn't
impress anybody.

ELEANOR HALL: So what's your reaction to Palin in 2012, would she be a good choice?

DAVID FRUM: We'll see, we'll see. She's got now the test of her political life ahead of her. How
does she manage her energy producing state in a time of slowing energy prices? Can she continue to
deliver economic success?

If she can do all of those things, that's pretty impressive.

ELEANOR HALL: What about her inexperience on foreign policy though and what you're talking about
just a moment ago in terms of competence?

DAVID FRUM: Well the inexperience on foreign policy is going to be a big problem, she's going to
have to do something about that. Last week a barrage of leaks from mid level campaign officials or
so they're described making claims about her ignorance of things like Africa's a continent, not a
country.

These claims are so exaggerated, so obviously implausible. There are people who are alleging that
she is such a fool that if she can give a speech and be reasonably effective at it she's going to
just banish the doubters.

ELEANOR HALL: Are you saying that you believe that Sarah Palin did know that Africa was a
continent?

DAVID FRUM: Yeah I think what we're hearing now from other people who are in these briefings, these
stories, I mean when you think about it, it's crazy that the Governor of the state next door to
Canada wouldn't know who the members of NAFTA are. Now I think those stories, they don't even have
to be believed and they just sound like inventions and I think that's what happened here.

ELEANOR HALL: So if the Republicans were to choose Sarah Palin in 2012, would that give you
confidence that the party had learned the lessons?

DAVID FRUM: Look the party is what a party is and you can't change your core philosophy. So
Republicans are not going to stop being the party of free markets, of free enterprise, of the rule
of law. But we have to have some policies that maybe apply these principles in ways that are more
relevant to people.

You know we sometimes treat the policy of cutting taxes under all circumstances as if it were a
philosophy, not a policy. Right now Americans are most worried about the rising cost of health
care, not about the rising burden of taxes. So we have to have a policy on health care, we cannot
continue to have a 'we're not going to worry about it' approach to the environment. This is an
issue of greater and great importance, especially for the young and especially for the educated.

Our social message, we're not going to stop for example a pro-life party and anti-abortion party,
you know a big chunk of Americans believe that, they're entitled to be represented, they're our
voters. But we have put that message in a way that is unnecessarily off-putting to people who are
sort of in the middle.

ELEANOR HALL: Now you're a senior Republican you worked for George W Bush, obviously this election
result was not what you were looking for. But putting partisan politics aside for a moment, as an
American, do you feel a sense of pride in the historic election of an African American President?

DAVID FRUM: Oh how can you not, how can you not, I mean it's a tremendous thing, I mean I wish it
was one of our team who proved this lesson that was right. But Republicans and conservatives have
always insisted that America is a just country that their people, the American people are decent
and moderate.

So in a funny way I think a lot of us, all I can say that the election of Barack Obama proves we
were right.

ELEANOR HALL: David Frum thanks very much for speaking to us.

DAVID FRUM: Thank you.

ELEANOR HALL: Taking credit where he can. David Frum is a senior republican who was a special
assistant to George W. Bush and who is now with the American Enterprise Institute. And you can hear
a longer version of that interview on the ABC website.

Poll to decide Jerusalem's future

Poll to decide Jerusalem's future

The World Today - Tuesday, 11 November , 2008 12:38:00

ELEANOR HALL: While the US works out the transition of power to a new administration the city of
Jerusalem is facing a critical decision about its future today.

In recent years, Israel's ultra-religious Haredi Jews have been in conflict with the secular
community, and the two have been fighting a turf war, neighbourhood by neighbourhood.

Today, the city's voters are being asked to choose between the two extremes.

As Middle East Correspondent Ben Knight Reports.

BEN KNIGHT: In June this year, there was a big party in Jerusalem to open its stunning new rail
bridge at the entrance of the city. There were fireworks, musicians and teenage dance troop, or at
least there was until the dancers were told to go home and cover up their leotards.

They did eventually take the stage, but it was in baggy neck to ankle outfits, they even had their
hair covered. The next day, one Israeli newspaper declared the Taliban is here. And that's why at
today's election, Jerusalem's secular voters like Reise Assal don't want another Ultra Orthodox
mayor.

REISE ASSAL (phonetic): The city is suffocatingly ultra orthodox as it is and for secular people
like myself and it's almost become untenable to live here so I wouldn't give them any other more
power than they already hold.

BEN KNIGHT: Ultra Orthodox or Hardei Jews are the fastest growing group in Jerusalem. Haredi women
give birth to an average of more than seven children each. And as the community size grows, so does
its influence.

Jerusalem's secular residents and even its non orthodox religious are feeling squeezed as the
Haredi spread out of their traditional closed off neighbourhoods. Daniel Mandler is one of them.

DANIEL MANDLER: They slowly go into the neighbourhood. They rate of the houses start going down,
young people and normal religious people start to leave the neighbourhood and that's the end of the
neighbourhood.

NIR BARKAT: Every year 17-thousand Jews left the city of Jerusalem in the last 15 years and it
hasn't changed in the last five years.

BEN KNIGHT: Nir Barkat is running for mayor, he made millions in Israel's high tech sector and he's
fiercely secular.

NIR BARKAT: There's two directions the city can take, it can become pluralistic, open or it could
continue deteriorating, becoming more ultra orthodox.

BEN KNIGHT: At the moment, the polls give him a lead over his ultra orthodox rival Meir Porush.

MEIR PORUSH: You can't judge me by the length of my beard, rather by my actions and my actions
prove that I'm not sectarian at all. And I've always behaved in a noble fashion.

BEN KNIGHT: Meir Porush can of course count on the support of much of Jerusalem's Haredi community.
But despite his long white beard and ubiquitous black clothes, he's been playing down his ultra
orthodox roots in this campaign.

MEIR PORUSH: These issues of secular and religious, they are marginal, the real problems are
housing and employment.

BEN KNIGHT: That's true but while high house prices and lack of work are driving people out of
Jerusalem, the city's budget is feeling the pinch from the growing Haredi community.

Many of them do not work, their standard of living is much lower, which means that they usually
don't pay taxes to the municipality and this means that the city of Jerusalem which is now the
second poorest city is Israel after Bnei Brak. You don't get good services.

BEN KNIGHT: Sitting behind all this is the city's sizeable Arab population who've been told as
usual to boycott this vote by their political and religious leaders. But there are prediction that
thousands of Jerusalem Palestinians are about to ignore their leaders and use their untapped
political clout by voting.

Watching the turnout of the Arab vote will be one of the most interesting votes of this election.

This is Ben Knight in Jerusalem for The World Today.

Concerns Congo crisis could escalate

Concerns Congo crisis could escalate

The World Today - Tuesday, 11 November , 2008 12:42:00

ELEANOR HALL: The rebel leader in the Democratic Republic of Congo has threatened to overthrow the
country's government unless it holds peace talks with him.

Until now President Joseph Kabila has refused to hold talks with a man that many in his party
describe as a criminal.

More than 200,000 people have been displaced by the fighting between rebel and government forces
that broke out in the country's east, last month.

And while Southern African leaders say they're ready to send in peacekeepers some analysts are
warning that this could see the conflict escalate.

Jennifer Macey reports

JENNIFER MACEY: The Congolese rebel leader General Laurent Nkunda is talking tough.

He's told the BBC that his rebel forces will overthrow the Congolese President Joseph Kabila unless
he agrees to power-sharing talks.

LAURENT NKUNDA: But the way to resolve problem is to negotiate. We have political problems, we have
political claims, they have to hear on them, then to look for political solutions, not military
solutions. If he refuse to talk now, he will not be able rule Congo and lead it.

BBC JOURNALIST: That sounds like a threat to overthrow him.

LAURENT NKUNDA: Yeah we're going to overthrow him.

JENNIFER MACEY: He's also threatened to fight African peacekeepers if they attacked him. Southern
African leaders have offered to send Angolan soldiers to help stabilise the country. But television
footage showing heavily armed government backed troops near Goma suggests they're already receiving
outside help.

SOLDIER: Congo is ours, I don't have a problem saying this, Congo is ours, victory is certain.

JENNIFER MACEY: It's the sound of this soldier speaking Portuguese that has some observers worried
that Angolan troops have already arrived.

But Dr Andre Renzaho from Deakin University who is originally from the Congo says he doubts this.

ANDRE RENZAHO: The Congolese Government has relied on Angola to train its soldiers most of the
Congolese soldiers are trained in Angola in which case they speak Portuguese.

So today if the Congolese government soldier, so the Congolese government soldiers are speaking
Portuguese, they are taken to be Angolan. But now I don't believe there are Angolan soldiers in the
Congo.

JENNIFER MACEY: The five year war in the Congo that began in 1998 drew in many neighbouring African
countries and left millions dead. Angola and Zimbabwe supported the Congolese Government, while
Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi backed the rebels.

In 2003 foreign troops withdrew. Under the peace deal the Congolese Government agreed to return
Hutu's accused of taking part in the Rwandan genocide to neighbouring Rwanda.

Tutsi rebel leader Laurent Nkunda says the Government has failed to do this and he claims to be
protecting the ethnic minority Tutsi's in the Congo. In the latest fighting General Nkunda's rebels
have seized towns and villages near Goma; the capital of North Kivu province near Rwanda.

But Dr Renzaho says the rebel leader is being propped up by Rwanda.

ANDRE RENZAHO: Rwanda has more motives than just pursuing those who committed genocide, mainly the
natural resources, they've been exporting coltan in the Kivu and today Rwanda has its financial
structures depend heavily on the natural resources that Congo processes. So clearly here, while
they're using the motives of pursuing those who committed genocide in 1994, but now it's primary
motives in actually fact is to exploit Congo's natural resources.

JENNIFER MACEY: African regional leaders have denied that Angolan troops are already in the Congo
but say they could be deployed soon. Jim Terrie is an independent consultant who was formerly with
the International Crisis Group in Africa.

He says if African peacekeepers are deployed it could drag the region back to the conflict that
engulfed the Great Lakes region during the 90's.

JIM TERRIE: What SADC may do is then provide a fig leaf for Angolan intervention which is basically
what happened last time. The fact that this is happening on the border of Rwanda given the
proximity of Goma could in fact yes inflame the situation where potentially the Rwandans re-enter
the Congo and we're back to where we were 10 years ago.

JENNIFER MACEY: The UN has 17 000 peacekeepers in the Congo making it the largest mission in the
world but it says it needs another 3000 troops.

Whether this reinforcement comes from Africa or western nations is still unclear but experts agree
unless the UN mandate is strengthened, the current fighting could drag on and destabilise the
region.

ELEANOR HALL: Jennifer Macey with that report.

Tighter timeline for ocean organisms

Tighter timeline for ocean organisms

The World Today - Tuesday, 11 November , 2008 12:46:00

ELEANOR HALL: Now to that alarming research on marine life in the southern ocean which shows that
the tipping point where animals will struggle to survive will come sooner than scientists
previously thought.

Researchers at the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales are warning
that acidity in the Southern Ocean will reach destructive levels where it will dissolve the shells
of marine organisms by 2030.

As Jane Cowan reports that is at least twenty years earlier than scientists had previously
predicted.

JANE COWAN: When you're a marine organism with a shell made out of calcium carbonate, one thing you
don't want is an acidic ocean.

BEN MCNEIL: I guess dangerous is not really, it's a sort of subjective word really. But I guess
dissolving shells is definitely a consequence which would be quite problematic for a number of
these organisms.

JANE COWAN: That's Senior Research Fellow Dr Ben McNeil from the Climate Change Research Centre at
the University of New South Wales. He's the one who made the unsettling discovery. The problem is
carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. As humans pump billions of tonnes of it into the air, oceans
absorb it and become more acidic.

Previous estimates predicted the shells of microscopic zooplankton for instance would start to
dissolve when carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere reached 550 parts per million,
something that was anticipated to happen around the middle of the century.

But Dr Ben McNeil has found that point will be reached when carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hits
450 parts per million; something that could happen as soon as 2030.

BEN MCNEIL: And the reason is that during winter in autumn in the Southern Ocean there are some
circumstances which lower the PH levels quite significantly naturally and so we didn't realise
there was such a large natural variation just throughout the year.

When you take that into account, coupled with what we're putting up into the atmosphere that brings
forth these problematic conditions a lot earlier.

JANE COWAN: Dr McNeil says if acidification can't be sufficiently slowed, the organisms will just
have to adapt and fast.

BEN MCNEIL: I guess they're out on their own really, I'm not sure what we can do in terms of
particular organisms in the Southern Ocean if we get to 450. They'll have to, hopefully they can
adapt to those changes and maybe migrate north where there isn't the problems that are associated
in the Southern Ocean.

JANE COWAN: But migration and adaptation aren't options for some of the deep sea coral ecosystems
most at risk. Ecosystems like those discovered by Dr Martin Riddle from the Australian Antarctic
Division on a voyage last year.

MARTIN RIDDLE: We discovered a very biologically diverse cold water, cold community ion the edge of
the continental shelf of the coast of Antarctica. They can't go any shallower, they can't just
migrate up the slope because they're old, slow growing animals that are highly susceptible to
disturbance from ice bergs to they can't live any shallower, but if that environment changes, we
may well loose them.

JANE COWAN: The scientists agree these findings emphasise the need to keep carbon dioxide levels in
the atmosphere below 450 parts per million. Researcher Dr Ben McNeil says reducing emissions across
the globe by 60 per cent by 2050 would keep carbon dioxide concentrations within those levels.

But he says the inability of developing countries to make such heavy cuts means developed nations
like Australia need to increase their targets to 80 per cent by 2050 to achieve 60 per cent
overall.

BEN MCNEIL: I think the developed world will be starting to or need to take stronger action quicker
to get to where we need to be and I know that the new Obama Administration has 80 per cent by 2050
target.

JANE COWAN: That's something oceanographer Dr Will Howard from the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems
Cooperative Research Centre in Hobart would like to see.

WILL HOWARD: If you really wanted to protect the ocean from ocean acidification let us say in
winter when these impacts would be felt, then you would have to in theory set much sharper lower
targets.

ELEANOR HALL: That's oceanographer Dr Will Howard, ending Jane Cowan's report.

Spire caps construction

Spire caps construction

The World Today - Tuesday, 11 November , 2008 12:50:00

ELEANOR HALL: It has taken more than a hundred years. But today the construction of the St John's
Anglican Cathedral in Brisbane is finally complete. A 22 tonne copper clad spire was lowered onto
the central tower of the gothic-style cathedral in the CBD early this morning.

As Donna Field reports.

DONNA FIELD: Designed in 1889, today St John's Cathedral in Brisbane was finally realised.

JOHN PARKES: What we started in 1906 we've brought to a completion, it's a fabulous day.

DONNA FIELD: The Dean of St John's John Parkes who has championed the final stage of the building
project. For years the Cathedral has been shrouded in scaffolding, but with the spire now in place
the building will be unveiled to the city.

Dennis Fulcher has been involved in St John's since the third and final stage of building started
in the late 80s was on hand for today's historic completion.

DENNIS FULCHER: I was in a chapter meeting in 1989 when the decision was made to go ahead with it
because I kept saying to them, well the longer you leave it, the more it will cost. Which is true,
you save anything. But it's nearly there, I think it's got to come down a little bit more, so it's
a big achievement. Big achievement.

DONNA FIELD: The huge spire was lowered onto the Cathedral's central tower by a crane. Workers then
carefully guided it into place with ropes.

Despite a little wind, Archbishop Phillip Aspinall who was dressed in his robes then took to the
sky in a cherry picker.

PHILLIP ASPINALL: I knew I was in good hands, I was happy to go up and bless the cross and bless
the spire before it was lifted into place. No I felt very comfortable doing that.

DONNA FIELD: The Archbishop says it's a monumental day.

PHILLIP ASPINALL: It represents an amazing achievement really by an enormous number of people.
There's been a huge team of fundraisers involved, the builders themselves have given their all; one
of our masons have worked on this job for 17 years.

But people have contributed in whatever way they can, some big contributions, some small
contributions, but together we've made it happen.

So we're very grateful to god and to everyone who's brought us to this point.

DONNA FIELD: A crowd of about 100 faithful were treated to a sausage sizzle and champagne. Dean
John Parkes says the real celebration will take place once the site is tidied up and the last two
bells are hung by an expert from England.

JOHN PARKES: The great celebration of course will be the 28th October next year when we dedicate
the completed Cathedral. The first section in 1910 was dedicated on the 28th October which is the
feasts of saint Simon and Saint Jude so 28th October next year, Brisbane's going to party in the
150th year of Brisbane, 150th year of the diocese, we'll have the best party here.

DONNA FIELD: Archbishop Aspinall says St John's is the last gothic Cathedral to be built in the
world and it will add greatly to Brisbane's architectural landscape.

PHILLIP ASPINALL: Some contemporary architecture is very functional you know and people live in
boxes. But this building speaks of beauty and it's meant to lift hearts and minds beyond the
ordinary and I think it does it magnificently.

DONNA FIELD: At a cost of nearly $40 million the final stage of the Cathedral represents an
enormous fund raising effort. The Archbishop says without many generous people and skilled
labourers, like stonemasons, today would never have become a reality.

ELEANOR HALL: Some building job, Donna Field in Brisbane with that report.