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Government gets down to work on Fair Work Bill

Reporter: Alexandra Kirk

ELEANOR HALL: The Federal Government may be forced to make substantial changes to its industrial
relations legislation in order to get it through the Senate in the next fortnight.

Workplace Relations minister Julia Gillard is meeting cross-bench senators this afternoon, to
discuss a possible deal that would ensure the passage of her legislation.

But Independent Senator Nick Xenophon has told The World Today that he's worried that the unfair
dismissal laws will see business leaders push more people into casual employment and erode job
security when unemployment is already on the way up.

And the Opposition has flagged concerns in a number of areas.

In Canberra, Alexandra Kirk reports.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Julia Gillard will sit down this afternoon with the senators whose vote Labor needs
to get its workplace legislation through the Senate.

JULIA GILLARD: I'm prepared to talk to senators Brown and Xenophon and Fielding because I know
these senators, the Greens, opposed WorkChoices. So, broadly, they are on the same page as the
Government. They are opposed to WorkChoices.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Minister says she's willing to make quote "technical amendments" but she may be
forced to do more than shift some full stops and commas to ensure the passage of her Fair Work
Bill.

NICK XENOPHON: Look I'm on the same page as the Government but I've got a little bit of liquid
paper in reserve and a pencil just to make a few changes that I think will make the law a bit
better.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Independent Senator Nick Xenophon's first concern is the unions' right to enter
workplaces, though he supports a very broad right for unions when it comes to occupational health
and safety matters.

NICK XENOPHON: Whether it goes beyond what existed previously and whether it's fair for unions to
have access to non-union members' records, which doesn't just include details of the pay but it
could include other personal information.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: And that's just for starters.

NICK XENOPHON: Look, there are a number of concerns in relation to unfair dismissal laws for small
businesses as to how that would work.

Whether the threshold of 15 employees, whether it ought to be full-time equivalent employees, the
deputy PM has obviously done an enormous amount of work and consultation on this, but I think there
are also concerns in terms of greenfield sites, the issue of good faith bargaining, whether it's de
facto, compulsory arbitration. They're the sorts of issues that have been raised by employer
groups.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Employer groups and the Opposition have also targeted Labor's unfair dismissal
provision, arguing it will cost jobs and business will push people into casual employment.

Senator Xenophon shares some of that concern.

NICK XENOPHON: Because the casualisation of the workforce I think has been a trend that is bad news
for those people that are stuck as casuals who want to be able to make long-term commitments in
terms of buying a home to make long-term commitments for their families.

And I think it's important that the casualisation of the workforce isn't further encouraged by this
legislation, and obviously that's something that needs to be taken into account.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Workplace Relations Minister says her legislation's built to last a decade or
two, in other words not just the good times when it was drawn up.

JULIA GILLARD: This bill was designed for the good times and the bad. It's always the right time
for fairness at work.

NICK XENOPHON: I know the Government says that and I understand that that's the Government's
intent, but the fact is when these laws were drafted, when they were designed, the labour market
was much more robust than it is now and that's why I think it's important to take that into
account.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Nick Xenophon has a long list that Julia Gillard will consider. But she's
dismissive of the Coalition's position.

JULIA GILLARD: The political party in the Australian Parliament that is spitting in the face of the
Australian people and refusing to recognise that mandate is the Liberal Party, with Mr Turnbull
dithering on one side, looking over his shoulder to see what Mr Costello is going to say to him
next.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Workplace relations spokesman Michael Keenan's taking issue with this statement
from the Minister.

JULIA GILLARD: We've put with this bill a detailed regulation impact statement, which goes through
all of the economic consequences of this bill,

MICHAEL KEENAN: That is completely untrue. In fact the Prime Minister specifically exempted her
from doing a regulatory impact statement on this bill. And we don't know what effect it's going to
have on jobs and that is going to be out primary concern when we look at the bill in the Senate
over the next two weeks.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Shadow Cabinet will convene this afternoon to recommend a senate strategy on
industrial relations, whether to propose amendments and if so whether to insist on them, which
could mean the Opposition voting against the legislation.

If the Opposition insists on the amendments that it proposes, the Government's going to haunt you
all the way to the next election as being pro-WorkChoices. That's a very risky strategy for the
Opposition and are you willing to take that risk?

MICHAEL KEENAN: Well this debate has nothing to do with WorkChoices, WorkChoices is a policy that
was abandoned by the Liberal Party in 2007. What this debate is about is how we are going to best
equip Australia to be able to retain people in work in the teeth of what is the most dire economic
circumstances in a generation.

So this WorkChoices is just a big distraction that Labor's stirring up.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The World Today understands many in the Opposition are far less inclined to move
amendments they would later not insist on. That's seen as a "small target" strategy to be used only
when dealing with an unpopular government, which is not the case right now.

The Prime Minister caused a bit of a stir with some plain speaking on the jobs environment last
night.

KEVIN RUDD: Because there's going to be the usual political shitstorm, sorry, political storm over
that.

TV HOST: Prime Minister!

ALEXANDRA KIRK: And the man who ensured Kevin Rudd's second stimulus package got through the
Senate, Nick Xenophon, is offering to help out some more.

NICK XENOPHON: I think one good way of reducing debts is to get a parliamentary swear jar and I
think in next to no time we'll just slash that deficit.

ELEANOR HALL: That Senator Nick Xenophon ending that report by Alexandra Kirk in Canberra.

Small companies coping better than big firms

Reporter: Sue Lannin

ELEANOR HALL: The latest unemployment figures will be out on Thursday this week and it's expected
that the number of Australians out of work will rise.

Small businesses employ more than four million people across the country. But despite problems with
access to finance, recent surveys have shown that small businesses are responding to the changing
economic conditions better than their bigger counterparts.

Finance reporter Sue Lannin has more.

SUE LANNIN: Business confidence is at record lows, but small and medium-sized companies remain the
engine room of the economy.

The National Australia Bank's recent survey on small and medium-sized companies found they did
better than big firms in the December quarter.

Julian Pearce, the NAB's head of business banking in Queensland, says smaller firms have lower
debts than the big end of town.

JULIAN PEARCE: Well I think that's really to do with their capacity to respond to the current
situation in a more agile way than larger companies can. The SME sector has got ongoing access to
bank funding and has gone into this downturn less highly-geared than parts of the corporate sector.

SUE LANNIN: Small business organisations say the cost of credit is one of their major problems, but
Julian Pearce says business interest rates need to be higher because the risk is higher.

JULIAN PEARCE: We are keen to offer as low as possible rates to our business clients, but business
lending requires much heavier support from capital on a bank balance sheet than home lending, and
that's very much driven the outcome for the price for small business lending which is a capital
support required is much higher than for home loans.

SUE LANNIN: Christena Singh carries out the small business survey for Sensis, which found that
business confidence is at record lows.

She says while manufacturing is suffering, other areas are managing to survive.

CHRISTENA SINGH: We are seeing small businesses perform particularly well in health and community
services, in community sectors particularly, some of the tourism sectors had a good quarter last
quarter, some of the sectors that have been having more difficult times we've been seeing in retail
and manufacturing.

And we're hearing a lot from larger businesses of course too at the moment in those sectors. Some
of it has to do with sectoral issues, but at the moment small businesses are very open to
opportunities where larger businesses might be cutting back.

SUE LANNIN: Taine Moufarrige works with thousands of small and medium-sized firms as executive
director of office solutions company, Servcorp.

He says smaller firms are more able to respond to the economic downturn.

TAINE MOUFARRIGE: The nimbleness of a smaller to medium-sized enterprise should allow them to make
quick decisions that are going to benefit their business without having to worry about going
through a massive HR department or through a board of directors. The nimbleness of SMEs we think
will give them a really good advantage working through this terrible economic storm we're in.

SUE LANNIN: He's encouraging small firms to look overseas to increase their markets, especially
towards the Middle East.

TAINE MOUFARRIGE: This is the time to be focusing on your core business, this is the time to be
cutting back to business basics, this is the time to be finding solutions that are going to help
you keep your costs low, but keep the quality of your product or the service that you are providing
at the highest level that you possibly can.

Because people are still looking for products and solutions that are going to help them, that are
going to help their business or help their lifestyle.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Taine Moufarrige from the office solutions company Servcorp ending that report
by Sue Lannin.

World Bank paints gloomy picture

Reporter: Stephen Long

ELEANOR HALL: The World Bank has officially forecast that the world economy will shrink in 2009,
for the first time since World War II.

The international agency is also warning that developing nations are facing a major debt crisis
with a funding shortfall of a trillion dollars or more.

Concerns are growing, too, that Australia could face a debt crisis because of its heavy reliance on
external funding.

Economics correspondent Stephen Long joins us now.

Stephen, is it really such a surprise that the World Bank would issue such a forecast?

STEPHEN LONG: I think the only surprise is that it's taken them so long, Eleanor. The technical
term for this I think would be "oh der" and really it has been a long time coming.

They are the first agency to officially put in print in a report that the world economy will go
backwards this year but it should be acknowledged that Pascal Lamy, head of the World Trade
Organisation, said on Lateline last week that he thought that the world economy would go backwards.

The International Monetary Fund is still officially forecasting half a per cent growth, but it's
been hugely behind the curve. I guess more worrying than them saying that world growth is going to
go backwards this year all up is some of the numbers that they are citing.

They're saying that by the middle of 2009, global industrial production could be as much as 15 per
cent lower than the levels in 2008. And the world trade is on track this year to record its largest
decline in 80 years.

ELEANOR HALL: These are massive numbers, aren't they? I mean, what are the implications for
Australia of the world economy overall going backwards?

STEPHEN LONG: Well the serious implication for Australia is that the World Bank is saying, and
they're not the only one making this observation, that the sharpest losses will be in East Asia.

We had the boom in East Asia, and of course China, and the factors that drove that are going into
reverse now and given that Australia is an economy in that region and that some of our major
trading partners are in that region, that's really, really bad news for us.

ELEANOR HALL: Much of the focus of this crisis has been on the US and on other developed countries.
What is this trillion dollar shortfall that the World Bank is talking about in terms of developing
countries?

STEPHEN LONG: They say that about 129 developing nations will have a really hard task funding their
budget deficits and their current account deficits, because basically there's going to be a
crowding out.

We have a situation unprecedented in history where just about every major economy as well as most
of the developing world will be tapping the markets for bond issuance, for funding of government
debt plus private debt, and they're basically saying that there will be a crowding out and that the
emerging world just won't be able to get finance, and they're calling for an emergency fund to be
set up for vulnerable nations.

Now my own view is that it's not just the developing world that will be the worry. I think that
there's a possibility of a sovereign debt crisis and a capital markets crisis for advanced Western
nations because we have never had a situation where you've had the world hitting up the bond
markets, hitting up private investors for $US4 trillion in government debt and massive amounts for
the banking sector as well.

ELEANOR HALL: Well we keep on being reassured that the banking system here is sound, but you say
that the World Bank has some concerns that Australia could face a real crisis in the financial
sector. What does it base that on?

STEPHEN LONG: Well it's not just the World Bank. The dirty little secret, and something that you
will never hear the Prime Minister or any officials here talk about, is that there are serious
worries behind the scenes about the situation of Australia because we have a capital markets
crisis.

Basically you have these huge international capital flows and they're drying up. And guess what?
Australia is a small economy at the bottom end of the world with a large current account deficit, a
growing budget deficit, a huge private debt that has grown enormously, and the worry is that if
there is genuinely a serious problem with the world economy and this basic drought of money, of
capital flowing around the world, that Australia could be hit.

And that is why Kevin Rudd has put up this plan about the zombie banks. That he wants them to clean
up the banks. Because the worry is if these dead and defunct banks are sucking in all this money,
capital isn't flowing around the world, that Australia will not be able to fund its current account
deficit. Our banks borrow a third of the money that they use for lending and activity from
overseas. That's a serious worry.

ELEANOR HALL: When is this crunch likely to come?

STEPHEN LONG: Well we don't whether it will come. The hope is that the Government guarantees of
term funding will stop it and that the G20 meeting and other events around the world will pull us
out of the mess. But you'd have to say it's a material risk over the coming year.

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

Governor-General's Africa trip under fire

Reporter: Hayden Cooper

ELEANOR HALL: The Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, has become embroiled in a political controversy
over Australia's bid for a seat at the UN Security Council.

The Federal Government says it needs the backing of African nations to secure the seat, and that
enlisting the Governor-General's help is "absolutely essential".

Next week, Australia's head of state will be travelling to nine African countries and will lobby
for the Australian UN bid. But the Opposition says the matter is too political for vice-regal
involvement.

Hayden Cooper reports from Canberra.

HAYDEN COOPER: Representing Australia abroad is part of the Governor-General's job.

And Quentin Bryce has already done it on several occasions in her six months at Yarralumla.

But this trip to Africa has aroused political suspicions.

JULIE BISHOP: I think it compromises the position or it most certainly has the potential to.

HAYDEN COOPER: The Opposition's Foreign Affairs Spokeswoman Julie Bishop says Quentin Bryce is
being asked to do Kevin Rudd's bidding.

JULIE BISHOP: For the Governor-General as head of state can represent Australia overseas and can
play a role in promoting Australia's interests.

However, the mission the Governor-General is undertaking to lobby other countries for Australia to
get one of the revolving seats on the Security Council, would normally be done by Government
ministers.

And in this case, Australia's campaign is becoming highly politically contentious and the
Opposition is increasingly concerned at the strategy Mr Rudd is adopting to win the seat. It should
not be at any cost, either financially or by compromising our principles.

HAYDEN COOPER: The Governor-General will visit nine countries, including Kenya, Ethiopia, and
Botswana.

And the Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith has defended the trip. He told the ABC's Insiders
program that it's not only defensible, but absolutely essential.

STEPHEN SMITH: When the Governor-General is travelling in foreign countries, of course from time to
time as is appropriate she will make statements that reflect government policy.

Australian government policy is we want to make a substantial engagement with Africa. We see that
as being very importantly in our economic and social and foreign policy interests, and we reflect
our commitment to multilateralism by running for the Security Council. And she will make that point
appropriately.

HAYDEN COOPER: But the Governor General's trip aside, the Opposition says it's getting more
concerned about the UN bid itself.

Julie Bishop links the lobbying effort to the forthcoming United Nations Durban II conference on
racism.

Already several governments, including the Obama administration, have pulled out, because they say
the draft agenda, prepared largely by Libya, targets only Israel.

Ms Bishop says Australia hasn't withdrawn, for fear of losing support for its UN bid.

JULIE BISHOP: Our strategy for garnering a seat on the Security Council is intricately tied up with
our attendance at the Durban II conference.

And it will put the Governor-General in an invidious position is she is asked to comment on
Australia's attendance at Durban II, because already that is feeding the perception that we are
attending Durban II to appease or ameliorate those United Nations member states, whose votes we are
seeking to get a seat on the Security Council. And the office of the Governor-General should not be
compromised in this way.

HAYDEN COOPER: So are you saying the Governor-General should be restricted to basically ceremonial
events and picture opportunities and nothing more?

JULIE BISHOP: Well no, I didn't say that. I said obviously you would take it into account case by
case. In the past there are many examples of the head of state representing Australia overseas and
playing a role in promoting Australia's interests.

But this mission that is becoming part of the political campaign to win a seat on the Security
Council, and becoming part of Mr Rudd's strategy, is of concern.

HAYDEN COOPER: But surely the Governor-General is aware of the boundaries in her role and is
capable of taking on a job such as this?

JULIE BISHOP: Well that is our concern. If the Government continues down this path of using a
strategy to win a seat on the Security Council by trading on our principles, trading on our support
for Israel, for example, then that involves the Governor-General in a political campaign.

Mr Rudd is seeking to trade our principles in order to get a seat on the Security Council and
Australia should have no part of that and the Governor-General should play no role in that.

ELEANOR HALL: That's the Opposition's Julie Bishop ending that report from Hayden Cooper.

Hamish tipped to stay offshore

Reporter: Nicole Butler

ELEANOR HALL: Thousands of people in Queensland may still be forced out of their homes by Tropical
Cyclone Hamish, but the weather bureau says the category four storm is weakening as it heads south,
and that it it's now unlikely to hit the mainland.

Residents of Hervey Bay, though, are bracing for flooding. And emergency services workers are
closely monitoring the cyclone, which has already caused major disruptions in the tourist zone.

In Queensland, Nicole Butler reports.

NICOLE BUTLER: Tropical Cyclone Hamish was expected to inflict the same sort of devastation as
Cyclone Larry or Hurricane Katrina.

So as it hovered over the state's central coast over the weekend, tourists fled resorts and islands
in its path.

Guests who'd been booked in to the Voyagers Resort on Heron Island were greeted by this recorded
message.

VOYAGERS RESORT RECORDED MESSAGE: Heron and Wilson Islands may be impacted and as a result guests
will not be able to access each island until Wednesday the 11th of March.

NICOLE BUTLER: About 4 trawlers anchored at Heron Island to ride out Hamish.

One skipper Greg Murphy says he's never been this close to a cyclone.

GREG MURPHY: It's very overcast, it's very windy, I'd say it's well over 30 knots. I've got the
Weather Channel on TV and it's showing where the Hamish is now, and it's probably not far from
being straight out from where we are.

NICOLE BUTLER: Cyclone Hamish is now around 215 kilometres north-east of Yeppoon in central
Queensland.

But it's been downgraded from category five to a four. It's expected to become a category two by
tomorrow.

The weather bureau's Jim Davidson says Hamish is not even likely to make landfall.

JIM DAVIDSON: Look there's only about a five per cent chance now that the cyclone will move back
towards the coast. So as time goes on we're getting increasingly confident that it will maintain a
south-east track and not directly threaten the Queensland coast.

NICOLE BUTLER: But the senior forecaster has warned people need to remain vigilant and monitor
local conditions.

JIM DAVIDSON: I think we need to be awfully careful until about Wednesday. We're not out of the
woods yet, there's still some likelihood, even those it is small, of the cyclone returning to the
coast.

So I think the best idea at the moment is just maintain a watching brief but please don't let our
guards down because there is that small chance that it could return to the coast.

NICOLE BUTLER: Premier Anna Bligh echoed those sentiments.

She says there's some scary similarities between this system and Cyclone Wanda in 1974 that sparked
massive floods in Brisbane.

ANNA BLIGH: I don't think any of us should see ourselves as out of danger yet. These are very
unpredictable events and while the modelling is very positive, it is just that - modelling - and we
know that we need to continue to be on alert.

As a precaution, local disaster management groups have now been activated in Brisbane, Logan and
the Gold Coast. So, regardless of whether or not this cyclone crosses the coast, we are preparing
in all of the areas in the south-east for the possibility of heavy rain and localised flooding.
Hoping for the best today but still preparing for the worst.

NICOLE BUTLER: As well as resorts and islands, the Yeppoon Hospital in central Queensland, was
evacuated over the weekend. Queensland Health says patients will remain in Rockhampton until the
weather stabilises.

The port in the industrial city of Gladstone also remains shut today. Graeme Kanofski from the
local Regional Council says emergency teams there are also watching Hamish.

GRAEME KANOFSKI: A lot of preparatory work done yesterday, but generally now we're back to a wait
and see and monitor role.

NICOLE BUTLER: Further south, there were plans to evacuate 10,000 people from low-lying areas
around Hervey Bay on the Fraser coast.

But Ron Smith from the local Disaster Management group says those plans have been put on hold.

RON SMITH: Our advice is that the situation has become safer for us, which is good news. The risk
of having a storm surge is much, much less. So it looks to us now that we'll only get localised
surge flooding of about one metre.

He says state resources are still on standby in Hervey Bay, just in case Hamish heads that way
again.

ELEANOR HALL: Nicole Butler reporting.

Obama ponders reaching out to Taliban

Reporter: Barbara Miller

ELEANOR HALL: The US President Barack Obama has raised the option of negotiating with moderate
elements of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The Obama administration is reviewing the US strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan. And in an
interview with the New York Times, President Obama said he's looking at a strategy similar to the
one used in Iraq to engage Sunni insurgents.

But some analysts warn that such a policy could send the wrong message entirely.

Barbara Miller has out report.

BARBARA MILLER: He came to power promising to reach out to enemies of the US.

And after making overtures to Iran, Syria and Russia, Barack Obama appears to have the Taliban in
his sights too.

In an interview with the New York Times, the US President opened the door to reconciliation with
moderate elements of the Taliban.

It's a strategy that's been used with some success in Iraq, where former Sunni insurgents unhappy
with al-Qaeda elements in the country have been engaged in the political process.

Barack Obama said there could be comparable opportunities in Afghanistan and the Pakistani region.

The Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who's long advocated a policy of engaging the Taliban, welcomed
President Obama's comments.

(Sound of Hamid Karzai speaking)

HAMID KARZAI (translated): The good news is the call of the American President Mr Obama to identify
moderate elements of the Taliban and encourage them to reconcile with the Afghan Government. This
has been the stand of the Afghan Government and we support this.

BARBARA MILLER: But the Australian Afghanistan expert Professor William Maley doubts engaging with
the Taliban is the way forward.

WILLIAM MALEY: The lessons of past experience that the international community had trying to
negotiate with the Taliban in the 1990s is that it is like grasping smoke. That one thinks one has
a deal and it all evaporates because one's not talking about a hierarchal movement that accepts
international norms. And the danger therefore is that one loses ones moral credibility without
gaining anything political in the process.

BARBARA MILLER: Is it then too simplistic to say this was a strategy that worked with some Sunni
insurgents in Iraq, and so therefore we could try applying it in Afghanistan?

WILLIAM MALEY: Yes, I think the key difference between the two situations is that the Sunnis in
Iraq were a disaffected internal group resistant to the international intervention in their
country. Whereas in the Afghan case the core of the Taliban movements survives because of the
support from Pakistan and there's no particular reason to believe that even if one were able to cut
a deal with some fragments of the Taliban within Afghanistan this wouldn't simply stimulate the
supporters of the radicalism across the border from redoubling their efforts and sending different
kinds of people in Afghanistan to promote instability.

BARBARA MILLER: And Danielle Pletka from the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy
Research says engaging with the Taliban could look like an admission of defeat.

DANIELLE PLETKA: The real risks are in the perception that the United States is weak, that we're
sitting down within because we have no other options.

BARBARA MILLER: William Maley, the director of the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy at the
Australian National University, is also worried about the message reaching out to the Taliban would
send.

WILLIAM MALEY: The risk is it will be seen as a precursor to a cutting and running strategy which
of course then makes it very unlikely that ordinary people within Afghanistan would deem it to be
in their interest to support the current or moderate dispensation within Afghanistan itself.

BARBARA MILLER: President Obama's comments come as his administration reviews its Afghanistan and
Pakistan policy. And begins the process of drawing down US forces in Iraq and boosting their
numbers in Afghanistan.

As it does so, domestic disputes in Afghanistan are coming to a head, with President Karzai and the
Opposition engaged in a bitter feud over this year's election.

President Karzai's term runs out in May, but Afghanistan's electoral commission recently delayed
the elections until August because of security and logistical concerns.

It's not yet clear how the country will be governed in the intervening period.

ELEANOR HALL: Barbara Miller reporting.

Defiant Sudanese President visits Darfur

Reporter: Meredith Griffiths

ELEANOR HALL: Sudan's President, Omar al-Bashir, has responded defiantly to the International
Criminal Court's warrant for his arrest on war crimes charges, by visiting the region where the war
crimes allegedly took place.

While many Darfur residents support the charges, President al-Bashir was greeted by supporters
during his first visit to the region since the warrant was issued.

And he used his address to issue more threats to aid agencies.

Meredith Griffiths has our report.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: After a warrant was issued for his arrest last week, President Omar al-Bashir
told rallies in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, it was a colonialist ploy by nations targeting
the country for its oil and natural gas.

Now he's taken the message to Darfur itself.

President al-Bashir has travelled to the state capital of El-Fasher in the heart of the region
where he's accused of ordering murder, rape, and torture.

(Sound of rallying crowds)

Thousands of people, some on camels or horseback, lined the route from the airport to welcome him,
some holding up posters of the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, with a large X
drawn over his face.

Some analysts say the President placed himself in personal danger by visiting El-Fasher, because
most people in Darfur are said to support the war crimes indictment against him.

But President al-Bashir is defiant.

(Sound of Omar Al-Bashir addressing rally)

OMAR AL-BASHIR (translated): We will not submit to the International Criminal Court or surrender to
them and we will not hand over any Sudanese citizen to them.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: The President told the crowd that Western countries are the real criminals
because they sent their armies to colonise the world.

OMAR AL-BASHIR (translated): They are liars and hypocrites. That is why today from my position in
El-Fasher, I say to them, the International Criminal Court prosecutor and its members and all those
who support it are beneath my shoes!

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: But Melissa McCullough from the Darfur Australia Network says sources in Sudan
have told her organisation this morning that the rally is no indication of local support for the
Sudanese President.

MELISSA MCCULLOUGH: He said the protestors were largely comprised of the security personnel wearing
civilian clothing and that government officials have shutdown local schools and are now using force
and the threat of violence to demand that the youth participate in these rallies.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: Omar al-Bashir went on to tell the crowd that he would throw more aid workers,
peacekeepers and diplomats out of the country if they didn't obey Sudanese law.

(Sound of Omar Al-Bashir addressing rally)

OMAR AL-BASHIR (translated): Anyone residing with us here first should respect himself, and should
not be messing around with things here or there. He should not intervene in things that do not
concern him. He should not do anything that affects national security and safety.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: After the warrant for his arrest was issued last week, Sudan expelled 13 of the
largest aid agencies from Darfur.

OMAR AL-BASHIR (translated): We expelled duplicitous agencies and spies and all those who
threatened the national security of our country.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: But Melissa McCullough from the Darfur Australia Network says aid agencies are
careful to stay politically neutral and focus on delivering aid.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: He was accusing Oxfam straightaway of passing on information to the ICC and
that's how he justified the first expulsion of the aid group. I think that obviously he's making
links between aid organisations and the ICC's process and he's fabricating these links for the
purpose of continuing his agenda which is cutting off lifeline aid to the most vulnerable and it's
giving him sort of unfettered access into Darfur.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: The United Nations says the expulsion of the 13 agencies last week has put more
than a million lives at risk.

Ann Veneman is the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund.

ANN VENEMAN: There are millions of people in Darfur who are dependent upon humanitarian assistance.
The real concern is, is how to fill a gap when so many of the organisations have had their licenses
revoked.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: On the weekend, the UN Security Council met to discuss a statement calling on
Sudan to let the aid agencies back in, but diplomats say that China objected.

A delegation from the African Union and the Arab League is expected to ask the Security Council to
suspend the war crimes case against Sudan's President.

ELEANOR HALL: That report from Meredith Griffiths.

Charities take a hit, but the cheques keep coming

Reporter: Eleanor Hall

ELEANOR HALL: One of the United States' philanthropic leaders says the global financial crisis has
stripped $30-billion from the US charity sector.

Peter Hero ran Silicon Valley's billion dollar Community Foundation until 2007 and is now a fellow
at the Centre for Social Innovation at Stanford University's Business School.

He says that as the economy collapses, charities are more important than ever.

Mr Hero is in Australia this week to talk about the challenges facing charity groups here and he
joined me in The World Today Studio in Sydney this morning.

Peter Hero, you're here in Australia to talk about philanthropy. Is it a good time to be trying to
convince businesses of the benefits of philanthropy given their focus is likely to be very much on
their own survival at the moment?

PETER HERO: Well, this is a difficult time, as everyone I'm sure here in Australia knows. The US
economy is really on its knees and no sector of our economy's having a worse time really than
non-profit organisations. Because unlike businesses, they're not able to close-up shop and leave
town, they're expected to do more with less and the donations they're receiving this year are
significantly less.

ELEANOR HALL: How hard has the charity sector in the US been hit?

PETER HERO: We don't have any data on exactly what's gone to the sector but I can give you a couple
of statistics. About 10 per cent of the US GDP is in fact made up of people working in the
non-profit sector. More people working in that sector than autos and steel combined.

So it's a very significant part of our economy, and when the economy slumps, their revenue, which
comes mainly from donations, also declines. We do know that high net worth individuals have cut
back their givings, some 15 per cent over the last two years and since they represent about 70 per
cent of all the money given to charity, there's some $30-billion removed from the flow to
non-profits.

But I don't want to make it sound totally dismal and point of fact, people running non-profits are
a very cunning and creative group and they've found ways to deal with this, reaching out to new
donors. Looking at merging and consolidating is a way to save money. Looking at using more
volunteers when more people are out of work, there are more volunteers.

So, I think the sector's coping but it's a very difficult time.

ELEANOR HALL: Now you headed up the Community Foundation in Silicon Valley and you were described
as "modernising the charity sector by giving it the Silicon Valley treatment". What was so
revolutionary about your approach?

PETER HERO: Well I think what I found when I came there in 1988 was that much of the wealth in
Silicon Valley was and is self-made wealth. It's not inherited. Interestingly, 40 years ago, 50 per
cent of all the wealth in America was inherited, and today that number's just seven per cent.

So these are mostly younger people, they are very hands-on in terms of their charitable
involvement, they talk about giving as a charitable investment and how do they measure this social
return on that investment. And there's really, I like to say, I found people who wanted to give to
solutions, not problems. Very pro-active.

So we developed the Community Foundation in response to that, connecting donors with good charities
that we knew were returning a good social return, but also connecting donors with each other,
because that's the other thing that we found; donors loved to network and work with others on a
peer-basis and leverage their giving.

ELEANOR HALL: Now Australia and the US have very different philanthropic traditions. What strikes
you as most in need of change in the charity sector in Australia?

PETER HERO: I think one thing that's happened in America that's happening here which is a very
encouraging trend and perhaps the Government could take a look at accelerating it, is the growth in
fact of community foundations. I'll be working with the Melbourne Community Foundation later this
week and there are about two dozen community foundations that basically work within a geographic
area but which stimulate local philanthropy by bringing people together, doing research on needs
and mobilising the funds to address those needs. And so I think that that development which is
happening all over the world is very encouraging.

I think also that Australia needs to develop in its doing-ness; but more is always better.
Philanthropic leaders, people who speak out and say, "You know, this is really important that we
need to be concerned about social and environmental and other issues; "You can make a difference
and you can make a difference in your lifetime, you don't have to wait until you die and leave
money behind.

Do it in your lifetime, it's fun, it's interesting and I know it's not, philanthropy is not as sort
of a public thing in Australia perhaps as it is in the US, but investing in those charitable
programmes that bring people out of poverty, that change the environmental situation, good times
and bad. We find that in the United States, people continue to give as best they can.

ELEANOR HALL: Peter Hero, thanks very much for joining us.

PETER HERO: Sure, happy to be here. Thank you.

ELEANOR HALL: Peter Hero is a Fellow at the Centre for Social Innovation at Stanford University's
Business School. He is in Australia this week to talk to local charity leaders.

Sea Eagles stand by accused player

Reporter: Sara Everingham

ELEANOR HALL: Now to the controversy over a Sydney rugby league player who has been accused of
sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl.

The Manly Sea Eagles team said today that it will allow star player Brett Stewart to pull on the
club's jersey this weekend.

Sara Everingham prepared this report.

SARA EVERINGHAM: NRL CEO David Gallop concedes the season start has been less than stellar.

DAVID GALLOP: Certainly very frustrating and disappointing as well.

SARA EVERINGHAM: As the league launches its new season, it's the story of a player accused of bad
behaviour that's in the headlines.

This time it's star player Brett Stewart. He was out training with his club this morning. Manly is
standing by their star full back.

GRANT MAYER: At this stage, it's still an allegation. We'll wait and see whether the investigation
goes. If Brett Stewart is healthy and right to be selected, that team will be announced tomorrow
night.

SARA EVERINGHAM: The allegation against Stewart was made on Friday night.

On that day the club had been celebrating the launch of its season at the Manly Wharf Hotel.

Police say after Brett Stewart left that event he approached a 17-year-old girl outside a block of
units, she says she was then sexually assaulted

Stewart was arrested and released and hasn't made a statement to police. The results of DNA tests
are expected within five days.

The Manly CEO Grant Mayer says Brett Stewart's future will only come into question if he's charged.

Brett Stewart's lawyer Geoff Bellew spoke radio this morning.

GEOFF BELLEW: I mean even in a case where the activities of a player don't involve a breach of the
criminal law, the player is entitled, even in an administrative sense, to some sort of due process
and to have an inquiry conducted by the club.

SARA EVERINGHAM: NRL CEO David Gallop says the club's decision to allow Stewart to play is tenuous.

DAVID GALLOP: I think that decision needs to be reviewed on a daily basis as more information comes
to light and all I can do is encourage the police to obviously complete their investigations and
make their decision as quickly as possible.

SARA EVERINGHAM: There are recent precedents. Brett Stewart's lawyer Geoff Bellew says two other
first grade players charged with a similar offence in the past 12 months were still allowed to
play.

GEOFF BELLEW: The notion that it should lead to an automatic standing down or suspension is just
nonsense. Those cases also demonstrate that there is a great concern in clubs and people generally
exhibiting a knee-jerk reaction to these things. Both those players had similar allegations made
against them and they were discharged at a committal hearing in each case.

SARA EVERINGHAM: Asked whether the NRL is considering taking that power away from clubs, David
Gallop says individual cases should be dealt with separately.

Brett Stewart is the star of the million dollar NRL season advertising campaign, which it has since
suspended.

The Manly CEO concedes the allegations have been damaging.

GRANT MAYER: It's unbelievably disappointing on a personal front but also on a professional front.
There's no doubt that we come back after defending an NRL premiership, we're also now the world
club champions. So, ordinarily, you'd be celebrating those two feats. To walk into a season five
days out and this happens; it's obviously a body blow.

SARA EVERINGHAM: The Eagles Angels female support group is backing Brett Stewart today. In
newspaper reports about his charity work today it says he works with diabetic organisations,
mentors young kids, goes to schools and gives freely of his time.

As for the victim she was treated in hospital on the weekend. Her father has been putting her case
forward in the media but there are reports he's been warned by police not to make any further media
statements.

The case has some calling for a ban on drinking during the football season.

The NRL CEO says stringent rules are already in place. David Gallop says a blanket ban on drinking
would be going too far.

DAVID GALLOP: Ultimately what we've said was that we can step in but we expect our clubs to take
charge of these things, they are the employers, they've got an opportunity to set the sort of
culture that they want in their own joint.

ELEANOR HALL: The NRL CEO David Gallop speaking with 2GB Radio. Sara Everingham reporting.

Global shipping industry under climate change spotlight

Reporter: Felicity Ogilvie

ELEANOR HALL: A US study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research is pointing the finger at
the global shipping industry as a major contributor to climate change.

The study has found that the 100,000 commercial ships which travel the world's oceans emit almost
half as much particle pollution as the world's 600 million cars.

And the lead author is calling for an improvement in the quality of shipping fuels.

Felicity Ogilvie reports.

(Sound of ships horn)

FELICITY OGILVIE: The world's commercial shipping fleet is made up of 100-thousand large ships.

In the past ships running under flags of convenience have been exposed in reports like the 'Ships
of Shame' inquiry as being unsafe for crews and polluting the oceans.

Now scientists have put a figure of exactly how much air pollution is emitted by the world shipping
fleet.

US based researcher Daniel Lack has found every year commercial ships emit one million kilograms of
particle pollution into the air.

DANIEL LACK: These particles were sort of coming out about equivalent to half the particles that
are produced from all road traffic in the world. So, there's only about 100,000 of these big ships
around the world, but they're polluting almost as much as all of the world traffic.

FELICITY OGILVIE: To put that in context there are 600-million cars and trucks in the world.

So Daniel Lack has found that 100,000 ships are emitting almost as much air pollution as
300-million cars.

DANIEL LACK: What's interesting with ships is that they're in international waters most of the time
so the pollution doesn't really get noticed by people; but these ships are actually burning really
low-quality fuels that literally are burning the bottom of the barrel after oil refining, there's a
black sludge left. And that's what ships are burning, so it's, they're burning a really dirty fuel.

FELICITY OGILVIE: Daniel Lack works for a US Government agency called the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration.

He worked on his report with another scientist James Corbett from the University of Delaware.

It was Professor Corbett's job to find out what effects the pollution from the ships has on human
health.

JAMES CORBETT: We're talking about organic carbon materials and we're talking about these very
small black carbon particles. These particles are small enough to be breathed into the human lung
and they have been shown through epidemiological studies to be associated with increased incidence
of breathing illnesses, heart illnesses and even premature death.

FELICITY OGILVIE: The pollution is also damaging the environment.

JAMES CORBETT: The dark particles land on snow, they can accelerate the melting of snow in places
in the north, perhaps the Arctic. They interact with water vapour in the atmosphere to help produce
brighter or longer-lived clouds and the dark particles can absorb energy and retain heat and
contribute to global climate change.

FELICITY OGILVIE: It's the first time a large scale study has found exactly how much and what kind
of air pollution is released by ships.

Daniel Lack says his study exposes shipping as a major polluter, and more regulation is needed to
ensure the industry cleans up its act.

But he acknowledges, as with the car industry, some shipping companies are seeing an upside in
greener innovation.

DANIEL LACK: There's a company in Seattle which has just built the first hybrid tugboat; so it's
basically a Toyota Prius of the tugboat world. And the port of Los Angeles, they're starting to
make ships hook up to shore power which is much cleaner than the power from burning fuel.

ELEANOR HALL: That's scientist Daniel Lack ending that report by Felicity Ogilvie.

Gurrumul inspires the elderly to get healthy again

Reporter: Nance Haxton

ELEANOR HALL: The Indigenous singer, Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, has won a string of prizes for
his album Gurrumul.

Then last week the portrait of him by artist, Guy Maestri, won the Archibald Prize.

And this weekend in Adelaide he met some elderly Aboriginal women who are using his music to
inspire their aerobics routines.

In Adelaide, Nance Haxton reports.

NANCE HAXTON: Gurrumul's haunting music sung mainly in his native Yolngu language has struck a
chord in people around the world.

The blind singer whose voice pierces the hearts of those who listen, has brought the stories of his
home at Elcho Island in northeast Arnhem Land, to a worldwide audience.

Many people would think that his lilting musical style would not suit the thrashing involved in an
aqua aerobics class, but a group of elderly Aboriginal women in Adelaide, have proven them wrong.

Many of these women are disabled, or have long-term illnesses such as diabetes which stops them
from leading an active lifestyle.

But that all changed when they heard Gurrumul's album, and they've been meeting every Tuesday ever
since for exercise, and comfort time in each other's company.

When the organisers of WOMADelaide heard of the women's story, they provided passes for them and
their carers to come to the world music festival, and meet Gurrumul after his concert.

The news was greeted with great excitement by the women after their class.

ABORIGINAL WOMAN: Like, I've seen the difference in some of the ladies here, I was going to say
girls, (laughs), but ladies, and there's a spring in their step and a twinkle in their eye and
they're just so eager to get down there, it's just wonderful.

NANCE HAXTON: Gurrumul himself is a shy man who rarely gives interviews.

His spokesman and bass player Michael Hohnen, says when he explained to Gurrumul how his music was
helping the aqua aerobics ladies become healthy again, he wanted to meet them.

MICHAEL HOHNEN: When we first told him the story about these ladies he laughed but then he asked me
more questions and then was actually not laughing more touched or moved; because he just sat there
for ages in silence and he's just imagining it, I think.

NANCE HAXTON: After the concert, Mona Tur went backstage to meet Gurrumul, and thanked him in her
native language.

(Mona Tur says thank in her native language)

MONA TUR: I just like to say I'm an Anangu woman from South Australia and I just want to say your
spirit touch my spirit and it's so wonderful to hear you singing in your language, and I'm one of
the women who goes swimming every Tuesday and we put your music on, and we're in our 70s and we go
swimming to your music and you give us so much inspiration.

I believe that god has put you here for a purpose, you're an angel you're better than Tchaikovsky,
himself, thank you so much.

NANCE HAXTON: After a heartfelt thankyou and a quick photo, Gurrumul was gone.

Michael Hohnen says he is proud of the effect that Gurrumul's music has on such a wide range of
people.

MICHAEL HOHNEN: We've played in China and in Europe a little bit and there's some reaction like
this in Japan where people are actually tearing up when they don't understand and they haven't read
the translations either. We had really similar reactions.

And at first people said it was the apology; it's time in Australia, that sort of thing, but the
emotional reactions are really similar overseas where people are not aware about the apology or
Indigenous people or any of those issues, I think it's more than that.

ELEANOR HALL: And Michael Hohnen bass player for Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu. That report by Nance
Haxton.