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Government defends middle climate course

Government defends middle climate course

The World Today - Tuesday, 16 December , 2008 12:10:00

Reporter: Lyndal Curtis

ELEANOR HALL: But we begin today with the latest difficulties facing the Federal Government's
emissions trading scheme.

When he announced the details of the scheme yesterday, the Prime Minister drew immediate criticism
from both environmentalists and from business groups.

Now the Federal Opposition is signalling that IT won't be giving the legislation an easy passage
through the Parliament.

The Government wants the scheme to begin in 2010, not long before the next federal election.

But getting through what is being billed as one of this country's biggest economic changes is also
a big political task for the Government, as chief political correspondent, Lyndal Curtis, reports.

LYNDAL CURTIS: The criticism is flying from all sides, but the Climate Change Minister Penny Wong
believes the Government did the right thing charting a middle course.

PENNY WONG: What we have to focus on is the Government doing the right thing. The right thing not
just for now, but for the jobs of the future and to ensure that our children and grandchildren are
not simply left with the costs of climate change.

LYNDAL CURTIS: The carbon pollution reduction scheme is being attack for going too far because it
sets a target, albeit a modest one, for cuts to greenhouse gas emissions irrespective of any
international agreement.

And the Government's also being attacked for not going far enough; taking the target of deeper
cuts, around 25 per cent, off the table ahead of next year's global talks in Copenhagen.

But Senator Wong says there's not much sense in putting up a target you can't meet.

PENNY WONG: Well unlike some of the people who are criticising us, the Government understands you
don't achieve a target just by setting it. You have to have a plan to get there. We have a plan to
get there, a comprehensive emissions trading scheme in the carbon pollution reduction scheme, the
most comprehensive in the world, covering 75 per cent of the Australian economy.

LYNDAL CURTIS: The Government not only has to sell the scheme to the public and to business it also
has to get it through the Senate.

And it's sending the strongest signals yet that it will prefer to negotiate with the Coalition
rather than the Greens.

PENNY WONG: The Greens have a target of carbon neutrality, that is no net emissions from Australia
by the latest at 2050 but I'm not sure, I don't believe they have a real plan to get there. So it
would seem Senator Brown is in a position which makes it very difficult to negotiate with him.

LYNDAL CURTIS: But one half of its preferred negotiation partner the Nationals have had a strong
early reaction to the scheme.

The Nationals Senate leader, Barnaby Joyce, says it's a tax that won't solve climate change.

BARNABY JOYCE: Is that what Australia wants? Another tax? And if that's all it is, it doesn't
change the climate, that is all it is, it's another tax.

LYNDAL CURTIS: And he's raised the conservatives favourite bogeyman.

BARNABY JOYCE: The Labor party have found the ultimate socialist outcome and they now have a tax
they can inspire on any person in enterprise, and any person in business and it would be determined
by their arbitrary belief about what the worth of that industry is that they can come into the
lives of anybody now and say not only can we tax you for services, but we can tax you for the
climate.

LYNDAL CURTIS: While Senator Joyce is considered by some a maverick, his views are echoed by his
leader, Warren Truss.

WARREN TRUSS: It is enormously complex, it is full of anomalies, it's a nightmare of
contradictions, there are some industries that are going to be taxed and other not. If you travel
by train, by electric train to work in the morning, you'll pay an ETS, but if you in fact drive
your own car you won't at least in the early stages.

That's $11.5-billion to the tax revenue of the Government in the first year, 12-billion the next
year and it goes on and on and on. So it is a massive new tax grab.

LYNDAL CURTIS: This will be a tricky political exercise as much for the Coalition and Labor.

The next election is due at the end of 2010 or early in 2011.

While it wasn't the dominant issue at the last election, Labor's support for signing the Kyoto
agreement allowed it to paint itself as being in favour of environmental action and the liberals
against.

If the Coalition ends up not backing the ETS if it can't get the changes it wants then it could
leave Labor with a rerun of the last election: As the party in favour of environmental change, and
the Liberals, as Labor would say, opposing it.

It would also leave the Greens the ground that they have long held; as champions for strong
environmental action.

The Greens are already taking a lead in the Senate, proposing an inquiry even before the
legislation makes it into Parliament.

The Greens Senator Christine Milne says the Greens will push for the inquiry when parliament
returns next year.

CHRISTINE MILNE: The Greens will move for a Senate enquiry into the adequacy or otherwise of the
Government's five per cent emissions reduction target. One of the aspects of the Senate inquiry
will be to look at what would be equitable burden sharing for Australia in a fair global
negotiation.

I'm confident that whilst the Coalition supports doing nothing on climate change, they can see that
what the Rudd Government is doing is all spin and I think they will be just as keen as we are for
different political reasons to expose how weak and ineffectual the target is and how disingenuous
the per capita spin is.

ELEANOR HALL: Thats the Greens Senator Christine Milne ending that report from Lyndal Curtis.

Coalition set to back Greens' push for inquiry

Coalition set to back Greens' push for inquiry

The World Today - Tuesday, 16 December , 2008 12:14:00

Reporter: Lyndal Curtis

ELEANOR HALL: And it is looking likely that the Coalition will back the Greens proposed Senate
inquiry into the Carbon Pollution Reduction scheme.

The Opposition's climate change spokesman Andrew Robb says he supports an emissions trading scheme,
but he told Lyndal Curtis that it has to be the right scheme or it will do enormous damage to the
economy.

LYNDAL CURTIS: An ETS is not a new thing to your side of politics. Malcolm Turnbull was environment
minister when the Howard Government had a look at an ETS. You must have some idea whether as a
first brush response whether you think it is achievable, whether five per cent is the right target
in the early stages?

ANDREW ROBB: The theory of an ETS has been around for a long time but the practice is not and
getting the scheme designed to be practical. There are lots of ways you can go about an emissions
trading scheme and we've got to look you know at the way in which the Government has structured
this proposal.

The Green paper, the devil was in the detail. We discovered and many industries discovered that
they would be not competitive if that scheme had gone ahead.

LYNDAL CURTIS: The Government's addressed some of those concerns by making the concessions more
generous though?

ANDREW ROBB: Well again we don't know the detail of that, I do know already that there are many,
many industries that saw themselves uncompetitive have received little, if any assistance in this
package. But we've got to spend some time to look at that, this is too important. This is one of
the most major structural changes in Australia's history in the country and we've got a situation
where the Government has not modelled the impact of the financial meltdown, they have not modelled
the impact of other major emitting countries not engaging with us.

These things need to be thought through or otherwise we could stumble into a scheme which once it's
in place you'll never get rid of it and we've got to get it right.

LYNDAL CURTIS: Do you believe that the Government's going to look to you for negotiations for the
legislation to pass the Senate rather than the Greens?

ANDREW ROBB: Look I don't, it's too early for all of that. I think the first thing that we must do
is to properly and in a considered way look at the full extent of this. It must be approached in a
very rational and sensible way, not in an emotive way. The emotion that's swirling around out there
at the moment is just ridiculous.

LYNDAL CURTIS: The National party has already gone out quite hard on the scheme; Barnaby Joyce says
it does nothing for climate change and Warren Truss says the complexity of the scheme would make it
a nightmare beyond any economic reform seen in this country.

Do you think there will be trouble holding the Coalition together on this issue?

ANDREW ROBB: No I don't, no look I agree; this is hugely complex. That's why we want to take some
time, that's why we've sought to get an independent economic research group to thoroughly consider
this and give us some advice. A five per cent target, that and much more is imminently doable if
the rest of the world is involved but we want to assess what impact if the rest of the world is not
involved.

If this thing doesn't work properly, we'll not only lose community support in Australia but it will
also have an impact, an adverse impact on impressions towards an emissions trading scheme by many
other countries around the world.

LYNDAL CURTIS: So would your preference be to vote for it in some form rather than not vote for it
at all because there would be a political risk wouldn't there, that you could go to an election in
late 2020 or early 2011 not supporting the Government's ETS?

ANDREW ROBB: Look it's all too premature; the first thing is to get this scheme right. It is of
such major consequence, it's potential to you know undermine the economic strength of Australia is
enormous if we don't get it right.

We have to be able to work from a position of economic strength if we want to best tackle climate
change.

LYNDAL CURTIS: Does the timing of the next election though provide political risks for both
yourself and for the Government?

ANDREW ROBB: Well look I think in the first instance you've got to put almost the politics aside
and look at the veracity of the scheme. Once we've decided on what's a right design, what is the
most appropriate way to go about this, then we can look at the politics.

LYNDAL CURTIS: The Greens have proposed an immediate Senate inquiry into both the five per cent
target and into the question of how much of the burden Australia should share. Will you back a
Senate inquiry before the legislation's in the Parliament?

ANDREW ROBB: We'd certainly be keen to progress any sort of assessment as quickly as possible,
that's why we've commissioned an independent report. If the Greens want a Senate inquiry I'm sure
that we wouldn't stand in its way. We certainly ourselves will be looking to have the Senate look
in, in a most exhaustive way at what the government has put on the table.

ELEANOR HALL: That's the Opposition's climate change spokesman Andrew Robb speaking to Lyndal
Curtis in Canberra.

Renewable energy sector disappointed with Government's scheme

Renewable energy sector disappointed with Government's scheme

The World Today - Tuesday, 16 December , 2008 12:18:00

Reporter: Michael Edwards

ELEANOR HALL: The renewable energy industry has joined the chorus of opposition to the Government's
climate change plans.

It say the greenhouse targets set by the Government provide no incentive for companies to invest in
green technologies.

A peak-body representing the industry says jobs and growth could have been created if the
Government had set higher targets but it's now clear the Government is putting any change to a
clean energy future on the backburner.

Michael Edwards has this report.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: If renewable energy producers had high expectations about yesterday's announcement
they certainly weren't reached.

Fiona Wain is from the Environment Business Australia which describes itself as a business
think-tank and advocacy group promoting commercial solutions to environmental challenges.

Ms Wain says the Government has deprived Australia of a big opportunity.

FIONA WAIN: This is basically a platform that rewards the status quo, we have a very unlevel
playing field for new technologies and it's very hard for them to break into a new marketplace
bearing in mind that they have got to carry all their RND early market development and market
penetration costs. And then they're undermined by companies who can outsource their pollution and
basically get a perverse subsidy from it.

So for decades we have been struggling against that and levelling the playing field by putting in
place high targets that says to everybody- investors, consumers, project developers, small
enterprise, the built environment, transportation, cities- this is the direction that we're heading
in, would have been a huge step forward. We didn't get that step.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Ms Wain says if the Government had set a higher emissions reduction target it
would have provided a big boost to many technologies including solar, thermal and wave power.

And she says this would have led to a greater level of energy efficiency throughout the economy.

FIONA WAIN: We've basically put smart and efficient onto the backburner.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Others in the renewable energy sector are also disappointed.

Rodger Meads is the managing director of Conergy; a company specialising in large and small scale
renewable energy products including solar panels and wind turbines.

RODGER MEADS: As far as policy setting is concerned, the Government needs to understand that it's
desire to not be too robust in setting high targets means that people like myself who are trying to
establish a business and need investment as well need to also understand where we're going.

Now at this point in time we just don't have those setting correct, we don't understand what
they're trying to achieve with the renewable energy sector.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Rodger Meads says the renewable energy sector has a lot to offer the economy.

He says the Government should realise it has long term environmental and economic advantages.

RODGER MEADS: And this is a great industry, this is not an industry where we could say of look it's
had its best days behind it; it's best days are in the future you know and there is a lot of
opportunity here, a lot of employment because it's locally generated employment. Extremely high
level of contracted based employment, community based people employed in this industry.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Michelle Brisbane is the director of Ethical Investment Services, a financial
group which specialises in investments in renewable energy.

She says there is demand to invest in these types of companies but that the Government isn't
harnessing it.

MICHELLE BRISBANE: Investors do want renewably energy options, and they can see that it is an area
that is going forward, is going to be a successful area, but until the Government actually provides
some incentive for business to manufacture or produce and install things like solar panels or wind
energy, it's a little bit difficult to see where the push is going to come from.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Michelle Brisbane's concerned the Government's reduction target will discourage
households from investing in renewable energy.

Presently, there are rebates for households which install solar units, provided their taxable
income is below $100,000.

Ms Brisbane says this should be expanded across a wider income level.

MICHELLE BRISBANE: Well I think if the Government could provided some sort of incentive to
households to install solar panels or other renewable options. I think that would create a push but
I don't think everyone necessarily can afford the initial outlay ad if there was some sort of pay
back over a period of time I think a lot more households would participate in the renewable
options, cause people do want to do the right thing.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Michelle Brisbane from Ethical Investment Services ending Michael Edwards's
report.

Greens protest against climate change plan

Greens protest against climate change plan

The World Today - Tuesday, 16 December , 2008 12:22:00

Reporter: Barbara Miller

ELEANOR HALL: The Australian Greens say that the Federal Government's announcement that it is
committing to only a five percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 has prompted
disbelief and outrage among voters.

And the party has organised a day of protest in capital cities across the country.

Our reporter Barbara Miller went to the demonstration in Sydney and compiled this report.

JOHN KAYE: He ran up the white flag with a five per cent target and then he added insult to injury
by handing over more than half of the proceeds from the sale of climate certificates to the big
polluters.

(Boos from crowd.)

BARBARA MILLER: Greens state MP John Kaye addresses a crowd of around 100 people outside Federal
Government offices in Sydney's CBD.

Similar protests are being held in state capitals around the country.

The Greens say they organised them after being inundated with phone calls and emails following the
announcement of the Government plan to tackle climate change.

Lee Rhiannon is a Greens MP in the New South Wales Upper House:

LEE RHIANNON: The Greens and the community are obviously extremely disappointed with a five per
cent target. It is an insult to the people, it's an insult to the planet, today's protests which
are both protests outside offices and also occupation of many MP's offices will roll out into 2009.

Clearly the Government needs to be embarrassed publicly to wake up to itself and to do the right
thing. Not only are they being destructive to the environment and failing to reign in climate
change, but they are robbing the future generations of jobs in the renewable energy industry. Jobs
that will last well into the future and will build a society that is much cleaner and based on
principles that we can all be proud of.

SPEAKER: A year ago Australia celebrated for the first time in over a decade we had a government
that didn't deny the signs of climate change. And we elected that government, the Rudd Government
because it was different from the Howard Government....

BARBARA MILLER: One of the protestors here today is holding self made banner saying 'Paying the
Polluters? Science weeps.' Are you a scientist?

PROTESTOR 1: No I'm not but I read a lot and there's so much obvious evidence that we need to do
something quite urgently and so you know we all voted for Kevin Rudd to do that and he has just
fallen into the trap of appeasing the coal industry and the other big polluters by really you know
subsiding their efforts and not promoting the renewables and the things that will save our climate.

BARBARA MILLER: Isn't it fair enough for them to try and appease those people? I mean these are big
employers in this country.

PROTESTOR 1: I think they are but he also has to realise that that's not the future, the economy is
going to be stimulated by investing in renewables and directing employment in that way. This is not
going to you know be a long term solution to anything, we've got to start now.

(Cheers from crowd in background.)

PROTESTOR 2: So disappointed in Kevin Rudd.

BARBARA MILLER: Did you come on purpose to the demonstration? Or were you just passing?

PROTESTOR 2: No absolutely I came to the demonstration.

BARBARA MILLER: Did you realistically expect him to set a higher target?

PROTESTOR 2: Absolutely, he said he was going to set a much higher target and we expected and we
voted for him on that basis.

BARBARA MILLER: What is realistic for you?

PROTESTOR 2: Well realistic for me for him to set at this stage would be 25 per cent and he should
be aiming for 50/50. That's where he should be going.

BARBARA MILLER: Some people say that setting any kind of target is ambitious and does send a signal
to the international community.

PROTESTOR 2: Yes but why not be something, be really ambitious and set something that will actually
put he as a leader and us a nation- we're a prosperous nation, sure we have problems but we're a
prosperous nation. We're an educated nation and we should be out there leading.

BARBARA MILLER: The Greens say they will continue to organise protests against the Government's
planned targets, saying today is just the beginning.

ELEANOR HALL: Barbara Miller reporting from that demonstration in Sydney.

Reserve Bank cuts inflation forecast

Reserve Bank cuts inflation forecast

The World Today - Tuesday, 16 December , 2008 12:26:00

Reporter: Stephen Long

ELEANOR HALL: The Reserve Bank has cut its inflation forecast as the global financial crisis
undermines the world economy and saps consumer confidence at home.

The RBA, which released the minutes of its December meeting today, says it now expects inflation to
fall below 2.5 per cent by mid-2009.

Overseas, more big rate cuts are on the way. The Federal Reserve in the US is expected to slash
rates possibly to zero when it meets overnight.

But back home, the Reserve Bank appears to be taking a pause for breath.

Economics correspondent Stephen Long has been analysing the board minutes during a lock-up at the
Reserve Bank headquarters and he joins us now.

So Stephen, Why has the Reserve Bank cut its inflation forecast?

STEPHEN LONG: Eleanor apart from parlour state of the world economy, it's the decline in commodity
prices and oil prices in particular. There was a 20 per cent fall in the price of crude oil in
December and the Reserve Bank is predicting that lower petrol prices at the pump will subtract
about 0.75 of a percentage point from the inflation rate.

They've revised down their headline inflation rate to 2.5 per cent by the middle of next year from
three per cent, although the underlying rate if you subtract volatile factors could stay a little
bit more persistently high because of the lower Australian dollar meaning that the price of imports
is relatively more expensive.

ELEANOR HALL: Still a dramatic change from this time last year isn't it?

STEPHEN LONG: Indeed, indeed, well from now, five per cent inflation rate we've got with these
massive cuts, so you're looking at a halving of the headline inflation rate.

ELEANOR HALL: And these are the minutes for meeting earlier this month where the RBA cut rates by
another full percentage point. Do the minutes explain why board members went for such a big cut?

STEPHEN LONG: Well there are a number of reasons, the continuing deterioration and the outlook for
the world economy; the IMF is talking about 2.2 per cent growth globally, down from 3.9 per cent
just a few months ago and the Reserve Bank has said publicly that it's more bearish, it doesn't
believe the IMF forecast and takes a more negative view.

ELEANOR HALL: Did it put a number on it?

STEPHEN LONG: No, no it hasn't but, but it also clearly concerned about the state of the domestic
economy, the collapse in consumer confidence and business expectations and declining credit growth
and people going from basically an overreach of debt to a pairing back of lending and borrowing
which could actually drive us into recession.

So they decided to go for a big cut that would make a situation where they had a clearly
expansionary monetary policy. They've said that the previous rate that we had- 5.25 before they cut
with one percentage point at the December meeting- was neutral, they wanted a clearly expansionary
setting.

But there's another reason Eleanor, I think they all want to go on a summer holiday, fun and
laughter for a week or two. And they actually mentioned in the statement that they traditionally
don't meet over January to quote members also took account of the fact that the board meeting was
not typically scheduled in January given the local markets tended to be relatively thin over the
summer break and there was lack of survey data and so they judged that they could hold off for two
months and see how things pan out.

ELEANOR HALL: Now Stephen, in the United States the Federal Reserve is tipped to cut rates possibly
to zero tonight. Is that because of concerns about deflation there?

STEPHEN LONG: Very much so, the spectre of deflation has really reared its ugly head in the United
States, consumers are on strike, you really have the economy overall going backwards and just a
collapse of consumption with the unwinding of the biggest housing bubble and leveraged asset price
bubble in the history of the world.

And with such massive wealth destruction with house prices going backwards on average by about 17
per cent in the US over the past year by 31 per cent in some cities, then you basically have a
collapse of consumption and a real threat of deflation.

ELEANOR HALL: What's the threat of deflation?

STEPHEN LONG: Well deflation is really really bad because debt levels for business stay constant
and consumers stay constant but prices are going backwards, so companies can't earn as much, so
over time it can really lead to serious economic stagnation. And it's generally correlated with
falling wages, falling incomes and a stagnant economy.

ELEANOR HALL: What does the Federal Reserve Bank do though once it's cut rates to zero? Where does
it go from there?

STEPHEN LONG: They have to try what are known as unconventional measure which basically means
printing money, running the presses and also buying assets off the private sector to create credit
to pump money into the private sector and try and get things going, in a sense they're already
doing that now Eleanor.

ELEANOR HALL: Stephen Long our economics correspondent, thank you.

Obama names a green team

Obama names a green team

The World Today - Tuesday, 16 December , 2008 12:30:00

Reporter: Kim Landers

ELEANOR HALL: The US the President-elect Barack Obama is making it clear that he intends to take
the United States' energy and environment policies in a sharply different direction from the Bush
Administration.

While naming his energy and environment chiefs, Barack Obama vowed to tackle global warming and to
develop alternative forms of energy.

In Washington, correspondent Kim Landers reports.

KIM LANDERS: Barack Obama is determined to tackle global warming and develop new sources of energy.

BARACK OBAMA: This will be a leading priority of my presidency and a defining test of our time. We
can't afford complacency nor accept more broken promises. We won't create a new energy economy
overnight, we won't protect our environment overnight, but we can begin that work right now, if we
think anew and if we act anew.

KIM LANDERS: The president elect has today vowed to act boldly as he named his energy and
environmental chiefs. In the past Barack Obama has promised to return greenhouse gas emissions to
1990 levels by the year 2020. He did not repeat that target today, but he has stressed that
tackling climate change has to be done on a global scale.

BARACK OBAMA: Just as we work to reduce our own emissions, we must forge international solutions to
ensure that every nation is doing its part. As we do so, America will lead not just at the
negotiating table, we will lead as we always have through innovation and discovery.

KIM LANDERS: America's greenhouse gas emissions are estimated to have increased by 20 per cent
since 1992. Yet President George W Bush has only belatedly acknowledged human activity may have
played a role in heating up the earth.

Barack Obama has previously said that the time for denial is over and that the US has to believe
what scientists are telling the world about climate change. Today he's confirmed that Nobel Prize
winning physicist Stephen Chu will be his energy secretary.

Dr Chu is an expert in renewable energy and he's delivered dire warnings about global warming
before.

In an interview last month, he said that the planet is threatened with quote, "Sudden and
irreversible disaster". He's warned that cities such as New York, London and Tokyo need to think
about erecting huge walls to protect their population from the rising oceans as ice caps melt.

Today Dr Chu hasn't been so dramatic, but he is insisting that America's energy and climate issues
can still be tackled while the US is in a recession.

STEPHEN CHU: What the world does in the coming decades will have enormous consequences that will
last for centuries. It is imperative that we begin without further delay.

KIM LANDERS: Barack Obama has an ambitious agenda of generating 2.5-million new jobs, partly
through green and new technologies. Despite the recession rocking the US, he isn't shying away from
his target, saying millions of so called 'green jobs' can be created.

BARACK OBAMA: Starting with a 21st century economic recovery plan that puts Americans to work
building wind farms, solar panels and fuel efficient cars.

KIM LANDERS: Barack Obama's green team includes the new job of Whitehouse climate tsar to oversee
the battle against global warming.

Carol Browner has been given that post, she was the head of the environmental protection agency
under president Bill Clinton.

CAROL BROWNER: The American people believe we can do better and they are right. We can create jobs,
curb greenhouse gas emissions, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and help restore America's
leadership around the world by shaping an environmentally sustainable world economy.

KIM LANDERS: It's not just Barack Obama's incoming administration that's promising to act on
climate change and energy issues. Democrats in congress are vowing to introduce legislation next
month to create a cap and trade system and to promote energy efficiency. But the environmental
challenges facing Barack Obama are still huge and the world will be watching to see how quickly he
can get the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This is Kim Landers in Washington for The World Today.

UN debates Zimbabwe amid rise in cholera deaths

UN debates Zimbabwe amid rise in cholera deaths

The World Today - Tuesday, 16 December , 2008 12:34:00

Reporter: Sara Everingham

ELEANOR HALL: The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on Zimbabwe overnight, as the
latest figures show a dramatic increase in the number of people being killed in the cholera
epidemic.

The UN is now reporting that almost 1,000 people have died from the disease and that more than
18,000 are infected.

But the Security Council has failed to agree on a resolution condemning Zimbabwe's President Robert
Mugabe, for failing to protect his people.

Sara Everingham has our report.

SARAH EVERINGHAM: As the Security Council met, the UN released new figures on the toll from the
cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe.

The UN spokeswoman Michele Montas puts the number of deaths at 978.

MICHELLE MONTAS: The cholera outbreak is now affecting nine out of 10 provinces in the country and
spilling across borders into South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique.

SARAH EVERINGHAM: The UN Security Council debated Zimbabwe at the urging of Britain and the United
States.

David Miliband is the British Foreign Secretary.

DAVID MILIBAND: The first priority is obviously to improve the humanitarian aid that is getting
through. But I think we all know that while cholera is getting the headlines, the real disease is
the misrule of Robert Mugabe and it needs political change to tackle this problem at root.

SARAH EVERINGHAM: The Bush administration might be in its final days but the US Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice was also at the UN trying to turn up the heat on Robert Mugabe.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE: We're really at this point putting plugs in a dyke because the underlying problem
is that the Mugabe regime has really lost all authority to continue to rule in Zimbabwe and so,
Mugabe himself has, and so we are going to need to look at that situation.

SARAH EVERINGHAM: UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has told the members about the worsening health,
economic and political crises in the country.

But not all the members share the views of the US and Britain.

In July the Security Council failed to pass new sanctions against Zimbabwe and yesterday they
failed to reach an agreement on a resolution condemning Mr Mugabe for failing to protect his people
from cholera. There are reports South Africa was opposed to it.

Still Condoleezza Rice holds hope that Zimbabwe's neighbours will come up with a solution. She
wants the Southern African Development Community or SADC to take a tougher line on Mugabe.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Sooner or later the region in the form of the SADC organisation and the regional
states will need to bring more pressure to bear to resolve this situation in Zimbabwe, this simply
can't go on.

SARAH EVERINGHAM: More African leaders have been speaking out on Zimbabwe.

One of them is the President of Botswana.

In return Robert Mugabe has accused him of trying to overthrow his government.

It's a charge Botswana's Foreign Minister Pando Skelemani denies.

PANDO SKELEMANI: He is very angry because everybody treats him with kid gloves and Botswana
doesn't. I think they're trying to divert attention from the problems usually they have, every time
there's a problem they want to cook up something.

SARAH EVERINGHAM: But still Botswana won't go as far as calling for Mugabe to be removed. It
supports the power sharing deal between Mr Mugabe and the Opposition Movement for Democratic
change, even though there are no signs it can work with Robert Mugabe has refused to hand over key
Cabinet posts.

Pando Skelemani says the decision to remove Mugabe must come from Zimbabweans themselves.

PANDO SKELAMANI: Well we really waiting for the Zimbabweans, as far as we are concerned Mugabe
should really go because he has no basis of being there. But we don't think we should send in an
army or soldiers to remove Mugabe because then you're going to kill innocent people.

SARAH EVERINGHAM: African analyst Dr Gerald Horne says Botswana is right to be cautious.

GERALD HORNE: There are very tense relationships between Namibia and Botswana, Namibia of course is
a neighbour that has had border conflicts with Botswana and Namibia is also very close to Zimbabwe
and so if there were to be a military intervention from Botswana into Zimbabwe I'm sure the
Namibians would be involved and once again you would be faced with the regional conflagration the
consequences of which would be ghastly.

SARAH EVERINGHAM: The General Secretary of the Movement for Democratic Change Tendai Biti says his
party would be willing to re-run this year's disputed presidential elections and let the people
decide again.

TENDAI BITI: You can bring on an election anytime, anywhere you want and we will beat you and beat
you thoroughly.

SARAH EVERINGHAM: But there are no guarantees Robert Mugabe will abide by the results.

ELEANOR HALL: Sara Everingham reporting.

No sign of let-up in Pacific war of words

No sign of let-up in Pacific war of words

The World Today - Tuesday, 16 December , 2008 12:38:00

Reporter: Kerri Ritchie

ELEANOR HALL: The New Zealand Government is still waiting to hear if Fiji's military regime will
follow through on its threat to expel New Zealand's acting High Commissioner in Suva.

A New Zealand journalist has already been thrown off the island this morning; she was told her name
was on a watch-list put together by the leader of Fiji's military government, Frank Bainimarama.

New Zealand correspondent Kerri Ritchie has our report.

KERRI RITCHIE: New Zealand and Fiji might be neighbours but today they're far from friends.

Barbara Dreaver, the pacific correspondent from Television New Zealand, flew into Nadi last night.

She planned to travel on to Suva to report on the escalating tensions between the two countries.

She didn't make it past the airport.

BARBARA DREAVER: When I arrived I gave my passport to immigration and the lady took quite some time
to process it and then she asked me to wait. The director said that I am to be taken to the
detention centre.

KERRI RITCHIE: Barbara Dreaver had her mobile phone confiscated and was held in a detention centre
overnight.

BARBARA DREAVER: I'm surrounded by a big heavy metal fence and high wall and it's certainly been an
interesting night. This one seems to be in the middle of a village and there's about 10,000 dogs
and twice as many roosters so it's been quite hard to sleep during the night but of course it's not
that which has been keeping me awake.

KERRI RITCHIE: Fiji's immigration director Viliame Naupoto says Ms Dreaver should have got
clearance from the Ministry of Information before she entered the country.

VILLAME NAUPOTO: The journalist, she has a watch-list against her name in our system to say that if
she comes into the country to do her reporting, she needs to get clearance from the Ministry of
Information. We did that so we asked the Ministry last night and they had confirmed that she was
still not allowed in, so we had to put her back on the next available flight which was this
morning.

KERRI RITCHIE: Fiji's interim government with self-declared Prime Minister and coup leader Frank
Bainimarama at its helm has always angrily rejected claims it's been cracking down on the freedom
of the press and intimidating journalists.

Fairfax journalist Michael Field was kicked out of Fiji in June last year; he'd gone there to cover
the expulsion of New Zealand's last High Commissioner Michael Green.

Barbara Dreaver says sadly, this is what you get under a military dictatorship.

BARBARA DREAVER: I was put on this list in July I was told by immigration in Fiji, I've been
wracking my brain trying to think of a story I did in July on Fiji. But look I don't think it's-
it's just an excuse really. I think that it's just the atmosphere here, that it's just the
environment it's just the way it is here in Fiji.

KERRI RITCHIE: Frank Bainimarama is demanding travel sanctions put in place against members of the
interim government and their relatives be softened.

New Zealand isn't expected to back down.

New Zealand's new Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully will speak with Commodore Bainimarama
this afternoon.

MURRAY MCCULLY: Look I'm sure that there's always an element of checking out a new administration
and a new minister and if that happens, I think the important thing is to keep your cool and make
sure that you try and show some good will and work your way forward.

And to the extent that we might have any problems on the table that's the spirit in which we would
have tried to deal with them, so you can be assured that we'll do everything we can to avoid any
sort of boil-over.

KERRI RITCHIE: New Zealand's acting High Commissioner to Fiji Caroline McDonald, is expected to be
expelled sometime today. Barbara Dreaver has just arrived back in Auckland; she says she feels for
the journalists in Fiji who are under pressure every day.

BARBARA DREAVER: Journalists who live here face this sort of thing all the time, not deportation of
course but the pressure. And so this is just part of what it's like here.

KERRI RITCHIE: Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith didn't want to comment.

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

Dhaka court orders parents to release captive daughter

Dhaka court orders parents to release captive daughter

The World Today - Tuesday, 16 December , 2008 12:42:00

Reporter: Emma Alberici

ELEANOR HALL: A British doctor is on her way back to the UK after a court in Bangladesh ordered
that her parents release her.

The 33-year-old woman said she was being held captive by her parents because they wanted to force
her into an arranged marriage.

The UK has laws against forced marriage but British authorities say they've dealt with more than
1,000 similar cases this year.

Europe correspondent Emma Alberici has our report.

EMMA ALBERICI: Doctor Humayra Abedin had lived in Britain for six years. She'd trained to be a
general practitioner in London and was leading the life of an independent 33-year-old single woman.

In August she received a call from her family with word that her mother was sick in Bangladesh.

It was in fact a ruse to get her back home in preparation for an arranged marriage.

Shortly after she arrived in Dhaka her friends received text messages that read, "Please help me,
my life is in danger they have locked me in the house, my job is at stake they're making my life
hell".

Humayra Abedin's lawyer Ann Marie Hutchinson.

ANN MARIE HUTCHINSON: I think the background has been a history of her parents concern for her to
marry somebody of their choice. In the summer in August in fact she went on a visit there with a
return ticket because her mother was ill.

Once she got there she met with her family and was manhandled into the home and from that date
which was the 5th August she hadn't been seen publicly at all.

EMMA ALBERICI: Forced marriage is against the law in Bangladesh where the Judge went public to
emphasise this civil wrong that had occurred. It's also one of the first cases that's successfully
tested the UK's new Forced Marriages Act which became law just last month.

Humayra Abedin's friend Kate Marsden is an aid worker living in Dhaka and one of the first people
who raised the alarm.

KATE MARSDEN: We first heard from a friend that Humayra had returned to Dhaka because her mother
was ill and had not returned to England afterwards as expected.

So after that we were very concerned over the next few months and tried to contact her
unsuccessfully. We then actually visited the family home to see if she was there and neither
parents were at home at that time although we were invited into the house and it was obvious that
she wasn't there.

At that point we believed that she was being held somewhere else by her parents.

EMMA ALBERICI: In court Humayra Abedin's father collapsed and sobbed after hearing the ruling. But
despite the trauma of the past four months, Kate Marsden says her friend is not bitter.

KATE MARSDEN: She loves her parents, and in spite of all that's happened that has not changed.
They're still her parents.

EMMA ALBERICI: The British doctor is making her way back to the UK, where 1,300 similar cases have
been handled by the country's forced marriages unit this year. That's a 79 per cent increase on the
numbers of forced marriages reported last year. Most of the families involved come from Pakistan,
India and Bangladesh. Campaigners and the Government say forced marriage remains significantly
under-reported in Britain and the problem is more widespread than the figures suggest.

In London this is Emma Alberici for The World Today.

Facebook features as long arm of the law

Facebook features as long arm of the law

The World Today - Tuesday, 16 December , 2008 12:46:00

Reporter: Alison Caldwell

ELEANOR HALL: In a sign that Australia's courts are adapting to technological change, the Supreme
Court of the ACT has granted lawyers for a mortgage lender permission to serve a legal notice
through the social networking site, Facebook.

The Supreme Court allowed the unusual method of service because the lawyers convinced the judge
that they hadn't been able to serve the documents personally on two people who had defaulted on a
six-figure home loan.

As Alison Caldwell reports the Canberra law firm had tracked down the defendants through Facebook.

ALISON CALDWELL: Two friends who defaulted on a six-figure loan will soon find out that their angry
mortgage lender is closing in on them, via their Facebook pages.

The civil case began three months ago and in that time, the defendants moved house and changed
their jobs, but they didn't change their Facebook pages.

Two bright young lawyers acting on behalf of the lender came up with the idea of searching the
popular social networking website to find the defendants after they failed to turn up in court.

Archie Tsirimokos is a partner at Meyer Vandenberg lawyers in Canberra.

ARCHIE TSIRIMOKOS: I'm not a technology buff but some of my younger lawyers are and they've all got
Facebook pages themselves. They proposed the idea of making the application to the court for
substituted service and one of the things that they came up with was the idea of Facebook.

They were able to locate the Facebook because of an email address we had for one of the defendants.

ALISON CALDWELL: How are you convinced, or how are your lawyers convinced that these people who are
on Facebook are the same people?

ARCHIE TSIRIMOKOS: When we accessed the Facebook site for the two individuals, the date of birth
matched the date of birth that our client had in his records and secondly in each case the
Facebooks had as friends, the other defendant in the proceeding.

ALISON CALDWELL: A default judgment is a legal notice which is given to someone if they fail to
appear in court. It's the responsibility of the plaintiff to personally deliver or mail the notice,
which can be difficult especially if the defendant doesn't want to be found.

In this case, the two defendants didn't take up the security options on their Facebook pages.

Satisfied there was a reasonable prospect of success, the ACT Supreme Court granted permission for
lawyers to serve the default judgment via the defendants' Facebook page.

ARCHIE TSIRIMOKOS: It appears certainly as far as we're aware it's a first in Australia and it's
possibly a first elsewhere as well.

ALISON CALDWELL: Do you think this could happen more often now that it's happened once?

ARCHIE TSIRIMOKOS: It's possible that it could happen, but the court needs to be satisfied in each
individual case what the position is and what the facts are relating to the application of
substituted service. In this case there was enough information for the court to be satisfied that
the defendants did- it was their Facebook page, that they were accessing it and that they would
reasonably get notice as a result.

ALISON CALDWELL: Now that Facebook has opened up another avenue are you getting closer?

ARCHIE TSIRIMOKOS: Closer to the defendants to having notice of it. Once they receive notice of it,
they've got a period of time within which they can make an application of the court to set aside
their default notice- the default judgement. Once that period is over, then we're entitled to take
steps to recover on the judgement debt.

ALISON CALDWELL: Courts have allowed legal notices to be delivered by email and by text message but
it's a first for Facebook.

Earlier this year, a Queensland court ruled against using Facebook as a legal means of
communication.

Seamus Byrne is a lawyer and a computer forensic expert. He says it was just a matter of time
before a court would recognise social networking websites, but he doesn't believe it will become
common practice.

SEAMUS BYRNE: How do you know that this purported individual by taking it on the basis of their
webpage profile has actually received this message? And secondly privacy considerations, looking at
Facebook, MySpace and other popular social networking websites, they've all recently taken steps to
increase the level of privacy one can set on their respective webpage profiles.

And so that's prior to even adding someone as a friend or a contact to their profile, you might not
be able to see their webpage, let alone identify them from search results.

In this case it may have just been that limited window of opportunity

ELEANOR HALL: That's computer analyst Seamus Byrne ending that report from Alison Caldwell.

Tigers pounce on Cousins

Tigers pounce on Cousins

The World Today - Tuesday, 16 December , 2008 12:50:00

Reporter: Samantha Donovan

ELEANOR HALL: Disgraced footballer, Ben Cousins, has been given another chance to revive his
career, with the Richmond Football Club picking him up in today's pre-season AFL draft.

It's a back-flip by the Tigers who up until last night were adamant that they'd use their only pick
today to draft a younger player.

In Melbourne, Samantha Donovan reports.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: After Collingwood, Brisbane and St. Kilda all baulked at taking on the recovering
drug addict Ben Cousins AFL career looked all but over yesterday afternoon when the AFL Commission
knocked back Richmond's request to have two picks in today's pre-season draft.

But today the Tigers had a change of heart and offered Cousins a lifeline that his manager and
medical experts say is crucial to his rehabilitation.

ANNOUNCER: Player number 209448, Ben Cousins for Melbourne.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: At a press conference a short time ago Richmond coach Terry Wallace said the
club's decision was based on the integrity of the game and in the interest of the players and fans.

TERRY WALLACE: We now have a responsibility to make sure all work is done to assist him as much as
we possibly can both on and off the field and we will do everything in our power and we'll have to
put in some recommendations of what we're going to do to the AFL already before we can pick him up
today.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: The relief of Cousins' manager Ricky Nixon was evident on SEN Radio this morning
when he said he was off to have a couple of straight Scotches.

RICKY NIXON: I never gave up put it that way and even yesterday when Richmond said it wasn't going
to happen, I said well until 10 o'clock tomorrow there's still oxygen so we'll keep breathing till
then and luckily we did because it did turn out pretty well for Ben in the end.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Ricky Nixon says Richmond's decision is a huge relief not only to Ben Cousins but
also his parents.

RICKY NIXON: If your son had been in that position and a lot of parents have been where all you
want is for the best for your children and they're no different to any other parents and you know
to be honest I couldn't be happier for anybody in the world but for them aside from Ben because
they've been through hell and back again in the last five years- not five years, two years. I mean
their son's life has been played out as a reality show.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: And judging by Ricky Nixon's comments this morning, reports that former Essendon
coach Kevin Sheedy has been instrumental in bringing Cousins to Tigerland are accurate.

RICKY NIXON: Well look, let's just say he's been part of it, we'll leave it at that. But yeah look
Kevin's been terrific all the way through, I mean in fairness to Kevin he's been very concerned
about Ben's health more so than his actual playing footy. But yeah I did meet Kevin, not many
people would know this, but I met him at the golf about three weeks ago and we discussed Ben for
quite a bit and then Kevin agreed to go and speak to Ben in Perth, so yeah it was an important part
of it.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Ben Cousins will speak to the media and start training with Richmond tomorrow.

His first round match of the 2009 season is likely to draw a huge crowd. Richmond will take on
Carlton at the MCG meaning Cousins will line up against his former West Coast team-mate Chris Judd.

ELEANOR HALL: Samantha Donovan in Melbourne.