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ACTU pushes pay claim employers say we can't afford

Reporter: Sabra Lane

ELEANOR HALL: While the Treasurer and the Prime Minister are warning Australians to brace for more
difficult economic circumstances, the trade union movement has launched a pay claim for the
nation's lowest paid workers.

The ACTU is asking for a $21 a week increase in the minimum wage that's paid to 1.3 million
Australians.

But, employer groups say the claim is unreasonable and that such an increase would lead to more
sackings.

In Canberra, Sabra Lane reports.

SABRA LANE: It was a clear admission though not as blunt as Paul Keating's famous declaration that
the 1991 recession was one Australia had to have.

KEVIN RUDD: The impact of a worsening global economic recession will make it virtually impossible
for Australia to sustain a positive economic growth for the period ahead with impacts, of course,
for budget and employment.

SABRA LANE: The Prime Minister carefully chose those words yesterday to soften up the nation for
bad news later this year. The warning followed the International Monetary Fund's latest update on
Friday. In yet another revision it says that the world economy will contract by 1 per cent this
year.

Mr Rudd says that has dire consequences for Australia. The Treasurer Wayne Swan backed Mr Rudd's
sentiments on AM.

Is a recession unavoidable?

WAYNE SWAN: Well I think the Prime Minister was just being upfront and frank with the Australian
people and of course his assessment comes on top of the forecast from the International Monetary
Fund last Friday which were very gloomy.

So I think he was being frank about the impact of that on the Australian economy. I do agree with
him that it will be virtually impossible to avoid a period of negative growth. That's the
consequence of the global recession.

SABRA LANE: The Prime Minister left Canberra this morning bound for Washington. The global
recession, the state of the US economy and reform of the IMF will be the top issues for discussion
when Mr Rudd meets the US President Barack Obama on Wednesday.

WAYNE SWAN: Given the fact that the global recession is the most savage economic contraction in 70
or 80 years it's a very important meeting.

SABRA LANE: While the PM's away for a fortnight Mr Swan will continue drawing up the budget due in
7 weeks. The only thing assured is an increase for pensioners. Mr Swan wouldn't guarantee anything
else.

SABRA LANE: What about defence? Is defence safe?

WAYNE SWAN: Well I'm not going to go through and speculate about any particular area. As you know,
we've made a commitment when it comes to pensions, but as I've said there will be hard choices to
be made but I'm not going to get into the business of ruling anything in, or ruling anything out.

SABRA LANE: The shadow treasurer Joe Hockey:

JOE HOCKEY: It's quite clear the Government has no plan. On the one hand they say they're going to
have to have a tough budget, there will need to be some pain. But that completely contradicts what
they've done over the last few months where they've committed $80 billion of new spending in order
to try and stimulate the Australian economy.

So on the one hand are they going to have an expansionary budget that acts as a fiscal stimulus or
on the other hand are they going to have a slash and burn budget that tries to address the massive
debt and deficit that they're leaving behind.

SABRA LANE: The Treasurer also wouldn't rule out this morning that they may have another go at a
stimulus package saying that, I think, all options are on the table. Can Australia afford another
stimulus package?

JOE HOCKEY: Well it's not a tough budget if there's another stimulus package.

SABRA LANE: As the economy slows, and unemployment grows, the ACTU says it's time Australia's
lowest paid workers got a pay increase. It's pushing for a $21 a week rise for 1.3 million workers
in this year's national minimum wage case. Submissions closed last Friday, a decision is due in
July.

ACTU secretary, Geoff Lawrence:

GEOFF LAWRENCE: It's a claim that will provide for a responsible increase in the current
circumstances, it'll provide for an increase of about 3.2 per cent in wages, which is consistent
with the rate of inflation and consistent with the sort of level of increase that's applying across
the economy.

At the same time, of course we've had considerable increases in executive salaries and in Australia
we've had a position where the wages for the lowest paid have been regulated; but there's been no
regulation really of the salaries of executives or the sort of profits that companies are
receiving.

So now we need to ensure a balance and that's what our claim is designed to do.

SABRA LANE: The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry's chief executive Peter Anderson says
the nation can't afford it.

PETER ANDERSON: A $21 increase as has been suggested by the ACTU would mean that Australia's small
and medium businesses pay $1.4 billion in extra wages over the course of the next year, and $300
million more in on costs on top of those extra wages.

That is not affordable to our economy and it is not an economy that is in sufficient shape to be
able to absorb those costs without it coming at the expense of jobs.

SABRA LANE: Mr Anderson, what has your official submission to the pay commission said?

PETER ANDERSON: Our submission is that there should be no wage increase in this current round until
such time as the economy stabilises. To do so would be far too risky and Australia's employees
would not appreciate a decision which, on the face of it may give them a wage increase, but behind
it would mean that they would lose their jobs or have their working hours reduced.

ELEANOR HALL: That's the chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Peter
Anderson, ending that report by Sabra Lane.

Employment experts debate prospects for minimum wage

Reporter: Jennifer Macey

ELEANOR HALL: The economist, Mark Wooden, is also arguing that any increase to the minimum wage
will trigger more job losses.

In a study for the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, Dr Wooden finds
that men and women in low paid jobs are more likely to join the unemployment queues than workers in
higher paid jobs, but he says that any job is better than none.

But another employment expert says his argument is unconvincing.

Jennifer Macey has our report.

JENNIFER MACEY: Economist Mark Wooden believes any job - even a low paid job - is better than no
job. The deputy director of the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research has
just released a report looking at low paid workers.

It finds that men who are in low paid jobs are not more likely to join the unemployment queues
compared to men in higher paid work.

MARK WOODEN: Jobs are best protection against economic hardship. Once you lose your job in a
recession the problem is finding another one. If it was in good times you can lose your job and you
can easily find another one.

So if you lose your job now you could be without a job or not have a very good income for the next
two years. Then there's the prospect that that'll continue on. You become the long term unemployed
of the future.

JENNIFER MACEY: Professor Wooden analysed data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in
Australia report which surveyed more than 11,000 people between 2001 and 2007. He says the study
supports his argument against any increase in the minimum wage.

MARK WOODEN: You hear the Government - Mr Rudd, Mr Swan say that jobs is the priority, the concern
I have of course is that priority really isn't jobs, the priority is paying back the debt the
Government has to the ACTU.

I certainly don't think award modernisation, so-called, is going to be good for jobs if it raises
the cost of doing business and certainly with the Fair Pay Commission minimum wage decision coming
very, very soon; I mean if I was the government I would be putting a figure and the figure would be
zero.

JENNIFER MACEY: But Professor Barbara Pocock the director of the Centre for Work and Life at the
University of South Australia disagrees.

BARBARA POCOCK: I think there are going to be jobs shed in the current economic climate regardless
of a modest minimum wage increase. The forces that were affecting demand and the nature of
employment in many sectors are well beyond the impact of a marginal rate of pay increase for the
low paid.

JENNIFER MACEY: She says it's impossible to separate low wages from low levels of skill, education
and experience.

BARBARA POCOCK: Well the two thing are very, very closely correlated. Many low paid workers have
low skills, and it is a key characteristic for explaining them being locked into low pay and in
many cases circulating between low pay and unemployment.

So you can't really take the skills and experience story out of the low paid story; as this piece
of research tries to do.

JENNIFER MACEY: And while low paid men might be protected - it's a different story for women. The
Melbourne Institute's report found that low paid men have a 20 per cent higher chance of becoming
unemployed than high paid men, while low paid women have a 70 per cent chance of losing their jobs
compared to higher paid women.

Professor Barbara Pocock again:

BARBARA POCOCK: Nearly one in two workers in Australia are now women and a disproportionate number
of the low paid are women. So the argument around women is very important.

But this study is not really about what happens for low paid workers if they get a pay increase and
that's the critical argument around the minimum wage.

JENNIFER MACEY: But Professor Mark Wooden says there are other reasons why low paid women leave the
workforce.

MARK WOODEN: Maybe it's because of employers behaving differently; so maybe there's some of
discrimination in hiring and firing going on there. Perhaps another reason is that in many
households women are the secondary income earner, so some of those women end up in low wage jobs
and are not quite so attached to them

JENNIFER MACEY: And he says the ACTU's push to raise the minimum wage by $21 per week in this
current economic climate is insane.

MARK WOODEN: In these particular times I wouldn't be forcing employers to pay more for their
labour. In fact I can see every reason why they definitely should be zero; because of their
disadvantage in the labour market, because of their skills.

JENNIFER MACEY: But Professor Pocock says other says other research has found little evidence that
employers sacked workers when minimum wages increased.

BARBARA POCOCK: We know that every dollar we put into pay packet of low paid worker is highly
likely to be spent, so there's a good stimulus argument for maintaining a decent rate of increase
for the low paid. And beyond the economics of it there are really strong arguments on the equity
side of the equation. Low paid workers are confronting high costs of training, their transport
costs are still high and their rental costs are also high in many Australian cities.

I think there are very strong arguments on the side of justice and a decent way of life for the
more than one in 10 Australian workers who are low paid, to get an increase in their pay packet.

ELEANOR HALL: Professor Barbara Pocock from the University of South Australia, ending that report
by Jennifer Macey.

Fears of a surge in bikie wars after airport brawl

Reporter: Lisa Millar

ELEANOR HALL: The New South Wales premier Nathan Rees is under pressure to respond to yesterday's
deadly brawl at Sydney airport by strengthening the laws relating to bikie gangs.

It's alleged that two gangs were involved in the fight and the Premier held an emergency meeting on
the problem this morning.

The Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty has also been facing questions about security at the
airport.

Lisa Millar has our report.

LISA MILLAR: There's nothing a very public and violent incident to warrant a political picture
opportunity, so this morning the NSW Premier Nathan Rees invited the media to film the start of a
crisis meeting with police chiefs as they worked on a response to yesterday's attack.

Despite the attack generating headlines internationally, Sydney Airport Corporation - which owns
and operates the airport - says it's nothing to do with them.

QANTAS STATEMENT (voiceover): All media enquiries about the operations of the Qantas domestic
terminal should be directed to Qantas.

LISA MILLAR: Qantas is offering counselling to staff who witnessed the attack but is otherwise
happy with how its security staff dealt with the brawl. Both organisations point to the Australian
Federal Police as responsible for overall law enforcement. And this morning the AFP commissioner
Mick Keelty responded.

MICK KEELTY: The first call went to triple-0 at 1.43 yesterday afternoon. The first call to the
airport police command came in at 1.46 and the first police responded at 1.47, one minute later.

LISA MILLAR: He says the incident needs to be put into context.

MICK KEELTY: This was obviously a well planned event. One of the things that will need to be looked
at is how much intelligence existed prior to the incident occurring, whether that intelligence
pointed to any event at the airport.

But in terms of the response for the event, it was a well orchestrated event, it happened very
quickly and I think the response that we put in place is a response that no-one else could have
expected to be any better on the day.

LISA MILLAR: The Federal Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, says yesterday's incident will be
reviewed.

ROBERT MCCLELLAND: But I think the Australian people expect and are entitled to expect that we have
that security response capability at our airports, in this case at Australia's major airport; to
ensure that an event such as this doesn't occur.

Doesn't occur again whether it's from base criminal activity or whether it's counter terrorism
activity.

LISA MILLAR: Liberal Senator Bill Heffernan is demanding more action than that.

BILL HEFFERNAN: As a matter of urgency, this committee, the Senate Standing Committee on Rural and
Regional Transport, or to have an enquiry into the circumstances, I mean it doesn't say much for
the millions of dollars we spend on airport security. Nor does it say much for; in the event of a
fair dinkum terrorist attack what would happen.

So, I think it leaves a lot of questions unanswered, the public seriously at ill-ease and we want
to get to the bottom of it.

LISA MILLAR: Security consultant, Rob Redenbach, who's worked with law enforcement groups around
the world, says you can't blame federal police.

ROB REDENBACH: I think what a lot of people underestimate is the realities of real violence and I
think what they commonly underestimate, dramatically underestimate, is how rapidly real violence
unfolds. And unless you've got hundreds of federal police personnel at the airport they can't be at
all places at all times.

LISA MILLAR: Shootings across western Sydney, and the bombing of a Hells Angels clubhouse last
month point to a surge in bikie violence. Clive Small - a former NSW assistant police commissioner
- isn't surprised.

CLIVE SMALL: I think there have been ongoing problems for years that indicate the bikie problem is
worse than ever and getting worse.

LISA MILLAR: But we have seen some high profile arrests within the bikie gangs.

CLIVE SMALL: Yes and I think what the high profile arrests indicate is simply this: we've had high
profile arrests, high profile drug seizures, seizures of assets, which you would think would impact
adversely on the operation of these gangs.

But they don't appear to impact adversely, they seem to be short-term distractions only. Now what
that suggests is that the problem is much bigger and more serious than we're currently estimating
it to be or the commitment we're giving to the problem.

LISA MILLAR: He's not convinced tough anti-gang legislation, similar to that introduced in South
Australia last year, is the answer. That state's premier Mike Rann wants a national approach to
bikie violence, something he's going to raise at the next Council of Australian Governments
meeting.

ELEANOR HALL: Lisa Millar with that report.

Changes aplenty post poll

Reporter: Matt Wordsworth

ELEANOR HALL: The newly elected Premier of Queensland is promising a further shake-up of her
ministerial front bench as she leads Labor into its fifth consecutive term in the state.

Anna Bligh signalled her determination to take control of her Cabinet when she sacked her Health
Minister and gave the difficult portfolio to her Deputy, Paul Lucas yesterday.

The Liberal National Party is also looking at significant changes, with several contenders vying
for the leadership of the party.

Matt Wordsworth is the ABC's state political correspondent and he joins us now in Brisbane.

Matt, so the newly elected Premier's first act was to reshuffle her Cabinet. Is this sacking of her
Health Minister justified by his performance or is it political showmanship?

MATT WORDSWORTH: There's a little bit of both in that Eleanor - Good afternoon - Stephen Robertson
has been acting as a health minister for four years and this is the toughest portfolio in Brisbane
as you can possibly imagine since the Jayant Patel scandal 4 or 5 years ago.

So he's been around doing it for a long time and he surely must be feeling very burnt out; having
said that he embarrassed the Premier badly during the election campaign. There was the issue of a
poor standard of accommodation for nurses because of the sexual assault of a nurse in the Torres
Strait, and the doors weren't even locking, windows weren't able to be closed and that led to the
sexual assault there.

He promised to get 100 of these homes, that were found to be substandard, fixed. And then during
the campaign it emerged that only 40 of them had been fixed and that caused a lot of anger and a
lot of embarrassment for the Premier. So she obviously has taken action against him on that.

There's also the political showmanship, the image of elevating health into the Deputy Premier's
office. Her 2IC now controls health and Labor people have been saying that that's unique in
Australia to have it so high up in priorities and you can imagine why they have done it.

ELEANOR HALL: Matt, there was some talk during the campaign that Anna Bligh would not have the
power to decide the make-up of her Cabinet. Has the size of her victory confirmed now that she does
have that power?

MATT WORDSWORTH: Apparently, she tells us that she sat down with the faction leaders - there's
three factions up here - and agreed with those factional leaders to take control of Cabinet
selection. It was something that Kevin Rudd did successfully at the federal level and so they've
tried at the state level and it seems to have worked.

There's also a suggestion that each of those faction leaders gave up a position so that she could
pick and choose who she wanted and she says she's going to put in the best and brightest in the key
positions.

ELEANOR HALL: So, what other changes are being flagged?

MATT WORDSWORTH: Well you already know about the health one obviously - that was the first act and
that's probably the symbolic act of her Bligh-era. She's also flagged up the importance of jobs.
There's currently a portfolio mix of transport, employment and industrial relations so there's a
suggestion that she may take jobs out, make it its own portfolio, give it a real importance and
then emphasise the campaign tactic of jobs, jobs, jobs in this sort of current economic climate.

ELEANOR HALL: Now Matt - the Liberal National Party didn't secure enough votes to win; but there
was a fair swing towards it. Can it claim this election as a success?

MATT WORDSWORTH: Yeah, it depends on who you talk to of course, the Liberal National Party say it's
a great success; but they came from a position that they were so far back that 8.3 per cent swing
that they needed to win was going to be tough no matter what happened in this campaign.

They managed to secure a 4 per cent swing. Some cases in some places that would have changed
government; it couldn't here. So they're saying 4 per cent is great, sets them up for next time and
hopefully there within striking distance for them.

ELEANOR HALL: Now, they won't have the same leader - Lawrence Springborg has said that he will
resign and not contest the leadership again. Who is likely to take over?

MATT WORDSWORTH: Yeah, well that's the jocking that's going on at the moment - there's only 30
members that there seems to be a position among most of them; but the leaders that have been
emerging are Mark McArdle who was the deputy and Tim Nicholls and there's also another former
Liberal John Paul Langbroek who says he's considering this position.

The key here is that a lot of people are feeling that the reason they lost is because they weren't
appealing to people in Brisbane and the way to do that would be to put in a former Liberal into the
job. So a lot of the former Nationals even are outwardly saying let's put a former Liberal in there
and see what happens there.

So, some of the former Nationals are lining up as deputies: Jeff Seeney, Rob Messenger, Dave Gibson
and trying to promote these former Liberals to try and win them some favour in Brisbane.

ELEANOR HALL: Matt Wordsworth in Brisbane, thank you.

MATT WORDSWORTH: Thank you.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Matt Wordsworth the ABC state political correspondent.

Financial crisis sparks surge in fraud, say police

Reporter: Sue Lannin

ELEANOR HALL: The number of fraud cases in Britain has jumped dramatically in the last year and the
chief of economic crime in the London Police force says this has been triggered by the global
financial crisis.

There has been a 60 per cent rise in fraud involving both individuals and organised crime groups.
But Stephen Head, from the London Police force, told Sue Lannin, that while fraud is on the rise,
the police are onto it.

STEPHEN HEAD: We're seeing an increase in reporting and there's also an increase, or a scrutiny of
companies. But we're also seeing frauds are coming to light because of the recession, and one of
the best examples of that is mortgage fraud.

As the economic tide goes out, what we're left is we're seeing those companies where they've been
exposed and mortgage fraud is a fine example, something which in 2007 we didn't have any examples
on our books but now we've got several with quite significant amounts of potential loss.

And I think the third reason is that people are making decisions in this time and there is crime
which is directly attributable to the global recession. A good example might be the times when
companies have unfortunately been legitimate previously, but come across hard times and
occasionally when people are facing into the abyss of financial ruin, some of those people will
make a decision and that decision is to become more turned to fraud.

SUE LANNIN: So are we seeing more fraud committed by individuals or more fraud committed by
companies and organised crime?

STEPHEN HEAD: We're seeing across the board more fraud by individuals and organised crime groups.
In fact I can say that over the last 12 months my own department's seen a 60 per cent increase in
reported frauds.

SUE LANNIN: Is it easier to commit fraud during a recession?

STEPHEN HEAD: I think people become more desperate in times of recession and so turn to fraud. I
think we should not underestimate organised crime, who are looking around for opportunities. And
we've seen a number of opportunities where they've targeted quite often with sad consequences.

And certainly one of the things that we've seen in Britain is people who are being made redundant
being targeted by fraudsters and also people who have got life savings and who are relying on those
savings to give them a living are now realising that with interest rates the way they are, they're
facing in some difficult times, and some of those people, by no means all of them but some of them
are turning to fraud.

SUE LANNIN: What's the worst example you've seen in recent times.

STEPHEN HEAD: I've seen people who have become desperate in the sense of their, their living has
been deprived from them in the sense that they had money, they were relying on that money. They are
being targeted by organised crime; who are reaching into them in their own homes, via the internet,
via the phone even via the mail.

They're offering them investment opportunities; a way out of their difficulties if you will. And
some people are taking that opportunity, not knowingly becoming involved in fraud obviously but
because they're vulnerable and because they're facing difficulties and we've seeing those people
being targeted - money taken from them.

And in one instance in actual fact people actually committing suicide as a result of the absolute
tragic circumstances they found themselves in.

SUE LANNIN: What about terrorist groups like al-Qaeda. Are they taking advantage of the global
recession to commit more financial crimes?

STEPHEN HEAD: What I do know is that a lot of fraud that we investigate does have a terrorist
nexus, certainly around credit card frauds. We certainly have at least two units doing nothing but
credit card fraud, full time.

And one of the things that they do is work closely with those agencies which are investigating
terrorism; and wherever we can we make sure we prioritise that as a piece of work.

SUE LANNIN: If you've got organised crime groups or terrorist groups carrying out global crimes
like fraud, how can you possibly fight it?

STEPHEN HEAD: Well we can fight it by cooperating; by sharing intelligence; working together. And
that's not just international law enforcement agencies, but that's also industry which is as global
today, more global than it's ever been. And I think that by working together that offers us without
a shadow of a doubt our best opportunity to defeat global fraud.

SUE LANNIN: But surely these crime groups and terrorist groups have many more resources at their
fingertips compared to government departments that are trying to fight fraud.

STEPHEN HEAD: That's always been an issue in terms of crime, in that criminal gangs have quite
large resources occasionally. What we're actually finding is that we can be effective if we work
together, we find that by pooling our resources we're able to take the finite resources that we
have and use them to the best effect.

It's an important truism that as the economy is cyclical, so is fraud in particular. And now is the
time that we really need to make the best advantage of the relationships that we've built.

ELEANOR HALL: Stephen Head is the chief of economic crime in London's Police force. He's in Sydney
at a conference on fraud this week and spoke to our finance reporter, Sue Lannin.

Rudd flies in ahead of new Afghan strategy announcement

Reporter: Linda Mottram

ELEANOR HALL: As the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, heads to Washington today, the US President Barack
Obama is set to announce the details of a new strategy for Afghanistan, which is likely to involve
a bigger troop commitment.

The revamped strategy will have implications for Australia's forces, whether or not Australia
contributes any more soldiers.

Radio Australia's Linda Mottram reports.

LINDA MOTTRAM: The tenth Australian military casualty in Afghanistan last week prompted the Federal
Government to restate a key Australian interest in the war: that Afghanistan and the border areas
with Pakistan are the hotbed of global terrorism, that Australians have been victims and that the
threat must be rooted out.

Major General Jim Molan, now retired, served in East Timor and he commanded 300,000 coalition
troops in Iraq in 2004. He agrees with the Government's view but says there are other interests
too, among them humanitarian and moral and not least, Australia's alliance with the United States.

JIM MOLAN: Australia has said for many, many years that the centre of its security policy is the US
alliance - and an alliance goes both ways. And if you put weight on the value of that alliance then
Australia should pay its dues at some stage.

LINDA MOTTRAM: But, notwithstanding the strong performance of Australia's troops in Afghanistan,
critics like Jim Molan say that in eight years, the war there has achieved little. That's certainly
Barack Obama's concern, prompting his administration's wide-ranging reviews of strategy there.

For Australia, a new US approach will have implications and not just for the numbers of troops
deployed. Doctor Benjamin MacQueen from Melbourne University works on the impacts of US foreign
policy on political transformation in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia. He says the
change in the American approach will be significant.

BENJAMIN MACQUEEN: It's a combination of the physical change of having 17,000 more troops on the
ground so there'll be an increased physical US presence there but a change in philosophy in terms
of, trying to sort of peg back to more pragmatic goals for the, both the military and the
reconstruction efforts there.

And also in terms of military strategy there's going to be a shift towards a counter-insurgency
focus.

LINDA MOTTRAM: General Molan says a greater focus on Afghanistan's people is vital but he puts a
premium on a larger number of troops.

JIM MOLAN: Really we haven't done much because the level of troops in Afghanistan have been too low
to do anything with; until this last commitment of American troops we only had 60,000 foreign
troops in a country of 30-million people and of a size two or three times the size of the ACT, and
worse country.

So really on the big scale we haven't done much. The British have done a lot of fighting in Helmand
province and it's been really nasty fighting. But the way this will be won is not with a focus on
the enemy but with a focus on the people and this is the big change that's come out of Iraq.

LINDA MOTTRAM: General Molan would have Australia doubling its numbers on the ground this year,
with an extra thousand soldiers, towards a goal of a total of 6,000 troops in Oruzgan Province
where Australian forces operate.

The signals from Canberra are that any increase in troop numbers would be nowhere near that high.
Dr Benjamin MacQueen says a doubling of Australia's effort would be a stretch.

BENJAMIN MACQUEEN: I can't see Obama asking and Australian accepting say a doubling of Australian
ground troops to around 2000. Fourteen to fifteen hundred I think is going to be the mark.

LINDA MOTTRAM: And do you anticipate that Australia will continue to do the sorts of things that
it's currently doing or do you think that the Obama strategy is going to fundamentally redefine
what Australia's role is as well?

BENJAMIN MACQUEEN: Part of the shift with Obama's strategy towards this counter-insurgency policy
is going to be focussed along the Afghan border and looking at longer term troop presence and the
continuity of presence in those areas.

So there could be a segment of the Australian troop force that's actually shifted slightly eastward
towards the border area which is also a very dangerous, volatile area.

ELEANOR HALL: Dr Benjamin MacQueen from Melbourne University, ending that report by Linda Mottram.

Families forlorn as authorities argue

Reporter: Philip Williams

ELEANOR HALL: The Israeli gGvernment has shattered the hopes of the family of captured Israeli
soldier, Gilad Shalit, by refusing to agree to the terms set by Hamas, for his release.

Hamas negotiators deny upping the ante at the last moment, but the Israeli Government says it
couldn't exchange some Palestinian prisoners it holds because they are simply too dangerous to set
free.

It's not only a blow for Sergent Shalit's family, but also for the families of around 11,000
Palestinians now in Israeli jails.

Philip Williams spoke to one of those families in East Jerusalem.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: Outside the nondescript house on a hillside Palestinian boys play marbles in the
dirt. Next to them a house with no door or window; it used to be home to a man now in jail for mass
murder.

I'm standing in front of the house which has been blocked up. In fact the doorways have been
totally bricked in and the house, I'm told, has been filled up with cement.

This is the way suicide bombers' houses are dealt with if they can't be blown up - this one's too
close to other houses to do that - and that house is effectively a concrete block now.

A few houses away I am invited to the Abassi family home, right in front is the house Wissam Abassi
used to own; what's left of it. It's been smashed to pieces under order from the Israeli Government
as punishment for his crimes.

He was convicted of complicity in the deaths of 35 people, including the horrific Hebrew University
suicide blast of 2002. Wissam's mother, Inala Abassi, pines for her son serving a 2,640-year
sentence.

Tell me about the effect on your family life of having your son in jail.

INALA ABASSI (translation): Me as a Palestinian mother like other mothers also, you know, it's
hurting me and it's hurting the whole family also and what is affecting me really talking about
emotions is only his daughter. You know, me as a mother I used to take care of my son now no, who
is going to take care of his daughter?

PHILIP WILLIAMS: Also in the room, Wissam Abassi's brother, Mousa, who sees the captured Israeli
soldier, Gilard Shalit's kidnapping and his brother's incarceration as equivalent.

MOUSA (translation): I can tell you that my message to these Israelis is completely different
because Shalit, when he was captured or when he was kidnapped in Gaza, he was kidnapped as a
soldier, he went there to do his duty to kill Palestinians, he was waiting orders in his tank, and
I can tell you that if we... want to end this conflict, then they should release all the prisoners,
they should lift all the checkpoints so as to live peacefully with each other.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: Despite the breakdown in negotiations hopes are still high in the Abassi house,
that even a man convicted of supporting mass murder will walk free from 26 life sentences. His
uncle, Azziz Abassi.

AZZIZ ABASSI (translation): First of all I can tell you that the hope of the family is really very
big, we would like, we would like; our hope is to release all the prisoners and we would like to be
happy. And also we, we hope that Shalit's family also will be happy after releasing their son.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: The optimism quickly fades after the interview, as.Azziz Abassi tells me Israeli
authorities have declared his house as illegal and will be demolished. What do you think my son
will do, he tells me. He'll want revenge.

This is Philip Williams in Jerusalem reporting for The World Today.

Industry rejects responsibility for workers' rights overseas

Reporter: Simon Lauder

ELEANOR HALL: As Australia's clothing industry struggles to survive in the harsh economic
conditions; it is now also dealing with some uncomfortable moral questions.

The charity group Oxfam says Australian companies may be sourcing their products from sweatshops
and need to ask a lot more of their foreign suppliers when it comes to labour rights.

It has singled out Pacific Brands which recently announced that it would cut 1850 jobs in
Australia.

But the textile industry group has hit back as Simon Lauder reports.

SIMON LAUDER: In a report on 26 Hong Kong based suppliers and clothing companies, Oxfam rates how
open and clear the companies are in reporting on the wages and conditions of their workers.

Oxfam's labour rights campaigner, Tim Connor, says more and more Australian firms are outsourcing
work to companies such as 'Li and Fung'.

TIM CONNOR: 'Li and Fung' don't own any factories either, so companies like Pacific Brands and Just
Jeans contract their production to 'Li and Fung' and then 'Li and Fung' has a network of 10,000
factory suppliers around the world that they don't own but they then further contract the
production out.

SIMON LAUDER: Dr Connor says he would classify nearly all clothing factories in the developing
world as 'sweatshops', so his report doesn't bother scrutinising working conditions, merely the
level of transparency.

TIM CONNOR: They're not releasing the addresses of their factories. They claim to be monitoring
factory conditions but they're not providing evidence of that by releasing the reports and they're
not allowing independent organisations in to verify that 'Li and Fung' report.

SIMON LAUDER: If you don't, for example, know how much the workers are earning, how can you say
with certainty that they are sweatshops?

TIM CONNOR: Well we can say with certainty because there's been a huge amount of research done into
factories. I've been working on this issue full-time for 15 years and it's extraordinarily
difficult to find a factory where workers are paid a living wage and where their basic rights are
respected.

SIMON LAUDER: The Oxfam report singles out Pacific Brands for contracting some of its work out to
'Li and Fung'. Pacific Brands recently announced 1850 job cuts in Australia, as it moves more
manufacturing to China. Last night the company's chief executive, Sue Morphett, told Channel Nine
the move will make the company more solid and more flexible.

SUE MORPHETT: And one of the things that we cannot afford is the luxury of local manufacturing.

SIMON LAUDER: This morning Pacific Brands has put out a statement, defending its record on
protecting working conditions overseas.

The statement says: "Pacific Brands insists on high standards and goes to great lengths to ensure
compliance and continuous improvement through external auditing... We have sacked numerous
suppliers for failure to comply with our standards or failure to work towards attaining them."

Oxfam says Australian companies shouldn't have to rely on external auditing, instead it says they
should pressure their foreign suppliers to be much more transparent about working conditions.

The coordinator with FairWear Victoria, Liz Thompson, says it's the only way standards will
improve.

LIZ THOMPSON: We want those same kind of standards to apply in Pac. Brands factories in China as
they do in Australia. I think that's reasonable.

SIMON LAUDER: But why should it be up to Australian retailers to police that?

LIZ THOMPSON: Because they're the ones making the profit out of it at the end.

SIMON LAUDER: The industry group, Textile and Fashion Industries Australia, says it shouldn't be up
to Australian companies to police work conditions overseas.

Executive director Jo Kellock:

JO KELLOCK: What has to happen is there needs to be time for those countries to catch up and so I
notice that a lot of the firms have been targeted but I think it's a bit unfair - they're easy
targets.

SIMON LAUDER: Don't the companies though make a conscious decision to go into business in countries
where there is a lack of regulation, thereby opening themselves up to the risk of exploiting
people?

JO KELLOCK: Well I think there's always; it's not a perfect world and you're mindful of those
things and I think most people try to do the right thing. But once again as is done in Australia
there are regulations, award conditions around that protect Australian workers.

So I don't think it's fair then to turn around and say in other countries that Australian
businesses should be responsible for those same regulations when it's clearly a role for
government.

ELEANOR HALL: Jo Kellock is the executive director of the Textile and fashion Industry Group. She
was speaking to Simon Lauder.

Brown leads tributes to Big Brother personality

Reporter: Emma Alberici

ELEANOR HALL: She built a personal fortune by appearing on reality television shows and her death
was just as public.

Jade Goody shot to fame as a contestant on Big Brother programs in the UK and in India. It was on
the set of the Indian version that the 27-year-old mother of two was told that she had cervical
cancer.

As the disease spread, the cameras kept rolling sparking controversy about the ethics of reality
television.

But since her diagnosis last year, cancer screening rates among young girls in Britain have soared.

And tributes to Jade Goody were led by the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown who described her as
courageous in life and in death.

Europe correspondent Emma Alberici.

EMMA ALBERICI: Jade Goody put it best when she said she was famous for nothing at all. She's said
to have auditioned for big brother in 2002 to escape the chaos of her life. Her father was a pimp
who was constantly in and out of jail and died of a drug overdose. Her mother lost an arm in a
motorbike accident leaving Jade Goody to do much of the housework from the age of five.

She had virtually no education and made headlines for calling a ferret a bird, claiming an abscess
was a green drink and when told in the big brother house that Cambridge was in East Anglia she
assumed that that was a place overseas.

JADE GOODY: East Anglia? That's abroad! .... I think they put me in because they knew I'd be annoying
to viewers.

EMMA ALBERICI: When she was evicted from the show she was labelled fat, thick and miss piggy. And
left the series to chants of ditch the witch. But the tide changed when the public thought the
tabloids had gone too far.

Suddenly she was hot property; a perfume marketed in her name rivalled the fragrances sold by Kylie
Minogue and Victoria Beckham. She wrote a best-selling autobiography and was invited to take part
in Celebrity Big Brother.

She lost her fight against cancer and died in her sleep at three o'clock in the morning. By
lunchtime there were hundreds of floral tributes outside her home in Essex with people describing
her as the working class Princess Diana.

VOX POPS 1: She's our girl next door, our Essex Princess. And she will be remembered like that.

VOX POPS 2: I've been following Jade since she's been in Big Brother and I just think she's an
inspiration to young girls and I just think everyone should go and get their smear test done; and
hopefully she's saved a lot of girls' lives.

EMMA ALBERICI: Her celebrity status earned her an estimated eight million pounds, 16 million
Australian dollars and a place in Heat magazine's list of the 25 most influential people in the
world.

So when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer last August while on the set of the Indian version
of Big Brother her appeal, especially among young women, proved invaluable for those fighting to
raise awareness of the disease.

There's been a surge of cervical screening rates across the UK.

Professor Karol Sikora is an oncologist at the Imperial College Medical School and advises the
British Government on cancer policy.

PROFESSOR KAROL SIKORA: My wife's a primary care nurse and she's been flooded with requests from
young women for primary...for screening for cervical cancer. It's the hard-to-reach group that she's
triggered. These are people that may not have great education but she's reached out to them and
they're coming forward now and that's been a huge challenge over the last 20 years.

EMMA ALBERICI: As the disease progressed, the cameras kept rolling on Jade Goody. Her publicist Max
Clifford says the publicity was designed to raise awareness for the disease and to secure a good
education for her sons.

MAX CLIFFORD: Outspoken, outrageous, but someone who cared a lot for other people, a great mum and
someone who, in her own words, has made sure that, I'm ignorant Max, but I don't want my boys to
be. I want them to have the best possible education.

EMMA ALBERICI: Seven years in front of the cameras gained Jade Goody love, money and fame. Her
audience got a real life drama with a tragic ending on the morning of mother's day in Britain.

The Prime Minister Gordon Brown was the first with a public tribute; in a statement he praised her
courage in life and in death.

In London this is Emma Alberici for The World Today.

New body to focus on whale research

Reporter: Shane McLeod

ELEANOR HALL: Some of the world's top whale scientists are gathering in Sydney today to talk about
the future of research on the marine mammals.

This morning the Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett launched the Southern Ocean Research
Partnership, which is intended to promote 'non-lethal' research on whales.

One of the scientists attending is Dr Phil Clapham, from the United States' National Marine Mammal
Laboratory in Seattle.

He told Shane McLeod that few justifications remain for killing whales in the name of science.

PHIL CLAPHAM: We need to be able to know about these animals in order to better protect them. We
need to know what their population status is relative to what it was before whaling to have a
measure of how well they've recovered.

And also we need to understand how they work in the ecosystem and what habitats are important to
them in order to best protect those habitats and those resources; so that the whales can have a
much better chance of recovery.

SHANE MCLEOD: You're here in Sydney as part of the Southern Ocean Research Partnership. What's
different about what's being proposed under this group?

PHIL CLAPHAM: Well it's not exactly different but it is a very large scale endeavours that they're
proposing here to look at non lethal research in contrast to a lot of the work that's been done on
whales in the past and indeed still ongoing by the Japanese.

SHANE MCLEOD: Is there any science that needs to used lethal research in these times? Is there any
need to kill whales in the name of science?

PHIL CLAPHAM: Well in my opinion there really isn't. There's been an explosion of techniques over
the last 20 or 30 years; non-lethal techniques to study whales and in most cases those techniques
have been a far cheaper and far more efficient at learning information about whales than you can
get from killing them.

There's, you can always find something to do with a dead whale but whether... in terms of management
the important question for management, such as how many whales there are, what their life history
parameters are etcetera. All of that pretty much these days can be studied by non-lethal methods.

SHANE MCLEOD: At the political level at the International Whaling Commission there's a lot of
dispute. What about at the scientific level, are there these same polarised disputes over the
scientific approach to whales?

PHIL CLAPHAM: Yes there are and although it depends of course on who you're talking about. If,
there are people who are very much anti-whaling and there are those who are very much pro-whaling.

If you look at the middle ground in the scientific community, those people who really don't have a
stake in the issue on either side, pro or con, I think you would find the majority of them would
recognise that non-lethal techniques are actually much better these days at studying whales than
killing them.

SHANE MCLEOD: Having a forum like this, will that advance the cause or will it just lead to more
polarisation?

PHIL CLAPHAM: Well I think it will advance the cause because it will... if this works and if a number
of countries come together and conduct a large scale non-lethal research collaboration across the
Southern Ocean, then the results that we'll get out of that will be quite extraordinary as indeed
they have been in some of the other large scale efforts that we've done elsewhere in the world.

And it will be then much more difficult I think; increasingly difficult for the pro-whaling
countries to claim that lethal research is really necessary when we've learned all this from
non-lethal techniques.

ELEANOR HALL: That's the US whale scientist Dr Phil Clapham. He was speaking at that Sydney
conference to the ABC's environment reporter Shane McLeod.

Darwin's student records published

Reporter: Barbara Miller

ELEANOR HALL: Cambridge University has just published documents detailing how one of its most
famous students spent his days. The documents reveal where the young Charles Darwin spent his money
during his days at the university between 1828 and 1831.

And they paint a picture of a lively student, who didn't spend much on books, preferring to pass
his time hunting and collecting beetles.

Barbara Miller has our report.

BARBARA MILLER: Charles Darwin described his years at Cambridge University as the most joyful of
his happy life. The newly released documents prove it was certainly a comfortable existence.

The young Darwin paid for a whole range of services, including a bed-maker, shoe polisher, tailor,
porter and hatter. Cambridge University is describing the recently unearthed records as a treasure
trove.

Iain McCalman, professor of history at Sydney University and author of Darwin's Armada agrees.

IAIN McCALMAN: They confirm our guess in a very detailed and rich and invigorating way what we knew
about him as a student, particularly... well both at Cambridge and at Edinburgh, that is he was a
normal student in the sense that he drank a lot, he spent money on clothes, went out to parties,
fooled around, spent a lot of time hunting.

He was not a particularly industrious student, he didn't finish his degree at Edinburgh and at
Cambridge he got a kind of modest degree but he was a very uproarious young undergraduate.

BARBARA MILLER: But the fact the he was paying people to make his bed, to polish his shoes, to
bring in the coal for his fire, is that the life of normal student in those times?

IAIN McCALMAN: Absolutely, absolutely. I mean you didn't go to Cambridge or Oxford unless you were
well heeled and Darwin's family was very wealthy indeed - his father was a doctor who was wealthy
as a result of his practice but who also kind of acted as an investor we might say these days, and
invested people's money in the industrial revolution and made an enormous amount of money.

BARBARA MILLER: This year marks 200 years since Charles Darwin's birth. The anniversary has led to
something of a boom in research into his life and work.

Ian McCalman says the Cambridge documents help us re-assess our image of Darwin the man.

IAIN McCALMAN: What I like about them is that they confirm a picture of the young Darwin which
tends to get eclipsed. You know people have this idea of Darwin and there's the standard picture
with the huge beard looking like a kind of enormously scholarly sage and a hermit as he became in
later life, but as a young man he was an incredibly vigorous young bloke who was really quite wild.

He drank, he sang songs, he was not a particularly industrious student, he was fanatical about
hunting, and there's a lovely anecdote about hunting and that one of his tutors outside of his room
heard this cracking noise, was worried about it and opened the door and there was Darwin with his
gun, he's firing it without bullets but it ejected a shot of air. He was trying to rush round
chasing a candle out just to practice his hunting skill.

BARBARA MILLER: Excerpts from the record books have been made available online.

ELEANOR HALL: And there's hope for many a less-than-studious undergraduate then. Barbara Miller
reporting.