Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts.These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
RN World Today -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

Week off for students at risk of swine flu

Week off for students at risk of swine flu

Reporter: Rachael Brown

PETER CAVE: Swine flu continues to spread in Australia, with Western Australia confirming its first

Eighteen have now been confirmed around the country, with most in Victoria.

Schools have been preparing their defence, with their hothouse environment for germs leaving them
on the front line.

Students returning from overseas will be forced to take a week off to help buy time before the
expected availability of a vaccine in August.

Rachael Brown reports.

RACHAEL BROWN: In a bid to curb swine flu cases before a vaccine is developed, many states are
banning students from school for a week, if they're returning from Mexico, the US, Canada, Japan
and Panama.

Australia's chief medical officer, Professor Jim Bishop.

JIM BISHOP: If a child's come back from overseas, rather than have that child go to school, we
should ask that child to stay home until an incubation period is over.

And that way we'll avoid having to close schools if that child does, within a couple of days, get
flu-like illness.

RACHAEL BROWN: The ACT, New South Wales, Western Australia and South Australia announced the
measure over the weekend. And this morning Victoria, with the most cases, at 11, said it will be
following suit.

The Victorian Health Minister, Daniel Andrews.

DANIEL ANDREWS: There's been no delay; we have acted appropriately.

And in terms of this measure, which I think will affect a small but important number of students,
this is what the national health experts think we should do, and we are doing it.

RACHAEL BROWN: The news should please those Victorian parents angry at some schools' late damage

One parent, who doesn't want to be named, says her daughter's school Thornbury High is an example
of the dangers of playing catch-up.

The school has closed its doors to most students this week, but only after a second case was

PARENT: I basically, sort of, more or less said to them that - look there's bound to be another
case, I don't know why youse aren't closing it down for.

They just, yeah. I'm really peeved on that one, they should've closed it down the first time it

RACHAEL BROWN: What was the school's response?

PARENT: They had no concerns that another outbreak will happen.

RACHAEL BROWN: Minister Andrews denies Victoria's response has been slow.

DANIEL ANDREWS: The experience in Victoria I think you'll find is informing the way other states

RACHAEL BROWN: And the state's acting chief health officer, Dr Rosemary Lester, says one sick
student doesn't warrant their school's immediate closure.

ROSEMARY LESTER: We don't believe that for one case in a school as a base scenario that that
warrants closure. But as the Minister said, we will look at every case on a case-by-case basis.

RACHAEL BROWN: The virus struck a fifth school over the weekend, the Australian International
Academy, after an eight-year-old was diagnosed, despite having no recent travel history.

Raina MacIntyre, the Professor of Infectious Diseases Epidemiology at the University of NSW
explains schools are hot houses for germs

RAINA MACINTYRE: You get a congregation of lots of children together in closed spaces; it's also
known that children excrete the virus longer than adults, so they're more infectious in general.

RACHAEL BROWN: Most Australians who've contracted the virus are reporting only minor symptoms -
like this 20-year-old Brisbane student, who does not want to be named.

STUDENT: Um, I feel okay, a little bit congested still, but other than that I feel like I'm
definitely getting better.

RACHAEL BROWN: She arrived from New York on the Saturday morning, and authorities are trying to
contact 50 people on the same flight as her.

She says she and her two flatmates are all in quarantine in separate houses.

STUDENT: And I feel just really bad because all the housemates had to leave the house and all that
kind of thing. I just feel bad about that, but I guess that it's best to be safe, rather than

RACHAEL BROWN: The National Influenza Specialist Group says on the whole, Australia is responding
to the outbreak well.

Its director, Dr Alan Hampson, says the country's fast treatment has mitigated symptoms.

ALAN HAMPSON: In most parts of the world that's happening. It didn't happen in Mexico; that
might've been the reason it was more severe in Mexico.

On the other hand, Mexico's a city that's at high altitude with a lot of pollution, a lot of
respiratory illness already, and that might've been a reason why it was so different.

RACHAEL BROWN: Dr Hampson says the virus is spreading in North America into a summer season, which
is unusual.

So he says there's the potential for more severe cases here in the southern hemisphere, which is
heading into its true flu season.

ALAN HAMPSON: There is that potential - we really can't be sure at the moment. What we will
anticipate, I think, is that because we have so little immunity of any in the population, we might
expect more of the virus.

So even if it's no more severe than normal, what we can expect is more cases, and therefore to
amplify the usual effect of influenza.

RACHAEL BROWN: There've now been more than 12,000 cases reported around the world.

PETER CAVE: That report from Rachael Brown in Melbourne.

Treasurer admits mistake on shares

Treasurer admits mistake on shares

Reporter: Emma Griffiths

PETER CAVE: The Federal Government has admitted it's made a mistake in the Budget by cracking down
on employee share ownership schemes.

Businesses and unions have cried foul over the measure, saying the tax changes would have hit
ordinary workers.

Now the Government has announced a review, and the Opposition says if the Government will backflip
on that, why not reverse other unpopular Budget cuts that will make cataract surgery and IVF
treatment more expensive.

From Canberra, Emma Griffiths reports.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: The Budget was handed down with a message that it was all about tough measures for
tough times.

Not even two weeks later, one tough decision is being reviewed.

WAYNE SWAN: Look, I certainly think mistakes have been made in this area. I accept responsibility
for that. And the commonsense thing to do in this situation is to go out and consult and get it

EMMA GRIFFITHS: The Treasurer Wayne Swan has admitted it was a mistake to get tough on employee
share ownership schemes. Since the Budget, many businesses have frozen their share plans, and the
unions have complained that it would deprive workers of a chance to get ahead.

It was a $200 million savings measure in the Budget. The Treasurer says he stands by the intention
of stopping a tax rort, but he doesn't want ordinary workers to suffer. So the Government will
review the income level at which the tax break kicks in.

WAYNE SWAN: We've acknowledge that the $60,000 income cap for access to the $1000 tax exemption may
be too low. We've recognised that and we're going to look at that level and we're going to go out
there and consult about it.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: The Opposition says the share crackdown was a shambles from the start.

Now the Liberal frontbencher Peter Dutton is looking for more openings on other Budget fronts.

PETER DUTTON: My plea today is to the Prime Minister to think about older Australians who are being
affected by the Government's heartless change to cataract surgery.

Many Australians will go without cataract surgery because of the Government's cruel Budget cut. A
lot of families also who rely on IVF to conceive children, to bring a child into this world, have
been severely disadvantaged by the Rudd Government in their Budget.

So if the Government's prepared to backflip in relation to employee share arrangements, they should
make changes to the IVF program and to cataract surgery. They should backflip on those cruel and
callous decisions as well.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: But Peter Dutton's been forced to backpedal himself on the vexed issue of the
alcopops tax.

Over the weekend he stated that if the Government was serious about tackling binge drinking, it
should raise the tax on all alcoholic drinks.

Now he says the comments do not represent Opposition policy. And he's blamed the messenger.

PETER DUTTON: Now there's been some reporting in the press today that I'm in favour of some sort of
70 per cent tax hike on alcoholic products across the board. Well, of course that's ridiculous,
it's poor reporting, it's a rubbish story.

And what we're saying is, like many of the health groups that gave evidence to the Senate
enquiries, if you're serious about the tax system being used to try and curb some of the drinking
behaviours, then you would look at different taxation arrangements, and you wouldn't just drive
young drinkers to start drinking alcoholic products that have got a higher alcohol content because
they're cheaper in price.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: It was too much for the Health Minister Nicola Roxon to resist:

NICOLA ROXON: He's been all over the place on alcopops. I admit that the media as well as the
public might have trouble following what particular position they have on any one day.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: But the Government can't escape its Budget constant: the twin-spectres of deficit
and debt. After nearly two weeks of senior ministers dancing around the actual dollar figures, one
Labor backbencher has been caught out.

What the Prime Minister and Treasurer wouldn't - or couldn't - say - the Member for Petrie, Yvette
D'Ath, didn't know.

YVETTE D'ATH: The deficit forecast? Um, I couldn't tell you off the top of my head. I'm sorry.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: For the record - the deficit figure next financial year is $57.6 billion.

PETER CAVE: Emma Griffiths with that report.

Ban lifted on short selling of banks

Ban lifted on short selling of banks

Reporter: Di Bain

PETER CAVE: The corporate regulator ASIC has lifted its ban on short selling on bank shares;
signalling it believes Australia's stock market is stabilising.

The ban was first put in place last year... then it was revised to cover financial stocks and few

There were concerns that large international hedge funds were taking advantage of the downturn in
markets and ravaging the stock portfolios of some of Australia's biggest listed companies.

Some market watchers say the ban was unfair because it protected the banks and left the rest of the
market exposed.

Di Bain reports.

DI BAIN: When US investment bank Lehman Brothers collapsed last year, credit markets froze and
stocks went into a tailspin.

The shar eprice of companies like ABC Learning, Wesfarmers and Macquarie Bank, tumbled.

ASIC suspected short sellers; that means traders were borrowing stocks from brokers, waiting for
the price to fall, buying them on the market and then returning the stock to the broker and
pocketing the difference.

ASIC was worried some of Australia's biggest companies could be crippled during the volatility by
large international hedge funds keen to make a quick buck.

It put a ban in place in September, then lifted it for all stocks other than banks and a handful of

Tom Elliot is the co-founder of hedge fund MM&E Capital, and he says the partial ban was unfair.

TOM ELLIOT: It just means the market can go back to, as we see it, functioning normally.

I mean, to give you an example, Wesfarmers was covered by the ban because there's a very small
insurance subsidiary, which is ridiculous, because Wesfarmers is essentially Coles and Bunnings

So you could short Woolworths, Wesfarmers' major competitor, but you couldn't short Wesfarmers,
simply because they happened to have an insurance business. That's an anomaly in the market which
is incorrect.

DI BAIN: So do you think the ban was unfair?

TOM ELLIOT: Well, yes I do. I mean, obviously people would say, 'Well, you would say that,' because
I run a hedge fund, and our fund does do short selling.

But, I mean in my view, it was simply obvious that it was unfair. Why protect some stocks from
short selling?

I mean short selling is just a natural part of the market.

DI BAIN: In lifting the ban ASIC says it notes that the global financial crisis and global
recession continues to place pressure on Australia's markets and it will not hesitate to reimpose
the ban immediately using its enhanced powers it was recently given by the Government.

But fund manager Tom Elliot is sceptical about the reason the Government wanted to protect the
banks from being sold short.

TOM ELLIOT: ASIC has never admitted why the ban was on in the first place. I believe the ban was
politically motivated, and I do know there was a lot of lobbying going on by the ANZ and Macquarie
Bank to have the ban put in place.

It has now lifted - I mean, the whole stock market has gone up, you know, over 20 per cent from its
lowest experience two-and-a-half months ago.

Whereas every other time the ban came up for review the market seemed to be reaching fresh lows.
Not that that's a good reason to not have, or to have a ban, but I can understand politically or
emotionally why they did that.

DI BAIN: In noon trade banking stocks across the market were down. A short time ago Macquarie Group
shares were down more than 4 per cent to around $32.

The Investment and Financial Services Association, which represents wholesale and retail funds says
it's hard to measure whether the ban rescued any companies from collapsing.

JOHN O'SHAUGHNESSY: I believe that, you know, there's an acceptance across the board that a
temporary ban was necessary, and then there's been some debate on whether the ban should've been
extended or not.

Whether it has saved some companies or not in our view is an unknown area, but it's good that, you
know, what I would call more normalised trading will return, and particularly that we'll get
improved levels of market liquidity and better price discovery going forward.

I think that support of market integrity and market efficiency is very, very important,
particularly with the way the world markets are at the moment.

DI BAIN: Fund manager Roger Montgomery agrees and says the ban has just slowed down the inevitable.

ROGER MONTGOMERY: Everyone needs to remember that in order for a short seller to be able to sell,
there still needs to be a buyer; there needs to be two sides to a transaction.

And the lifting of the short selling may speed up the demise of the share prices of companies whose
share prices deserve to be lower, but ultimately share prices reflect the value of a company over
long periods of time, so I don't see this as the evil that it's being portrayed to be.

DI BAIN: The Australian Stock Exchange will continue to monitor daily short selling and is working
on new software which will allow market watchers to recognise trades in real time.

PETER CAVE: Di Bain with that report.

NSW north coast begins flood clean up

flood up

Reporter: Simon Santow

PETER CAVE: The severe floods which hit northern New South Wales on the weekend are beginning to
slowly recede.

That's left the huge task of cleaning up houses, properties and shops inundated by the swollen

The State Government has appointed the former police commissioner, Ken Moroney, to oversee the
rebuilding effort and to coordinate the various levels of government.

He'll divide his time between the major centres of Kempsey, Grafton and Lismore, and the smaller
towns and outlying villages where homes and remote farms have suffered some of the worst damage.

Simon Santow reports.

SIMON SANTOW: Smithtown sits between Kempsey and the ocean, but right at the moment it's a village
partly submerged by the floodwaters.

Lyn Brown runs the Smithtown General Store right in the thick of it.

LYN BROWN: We've got a four-wheel drive, and we've managed to - we know a few back roads - so we've
managed to get in and out of town, and get a little bit of stock back in the place for the
customers and that.

So, it's been pretty busy today, and we've had to take away up and going to feed all the hungry
people (laughs).

So it hasn't been too bad, and like, it's sort of the centre area of town, and everyone stands out
the front and discusses their stories with everyone else, and yeah. (Laughs)

Oh, there was one fellow - a funny story that was told - one fellow; his parents were away so he
was going around with his video camera to just do some videoing for his parents.

On video, he has this shark fin going up the street. Because in the river, you get little gummy
sharks and things. And it wasn't a real big shark, but any shark's big enough. And he just videoed
this sharkfin swimming up the street.

Another lady caught a nice big mullet in her garage (laughs). So we've got lots of funny stories,
and that helps a lot, mmm.

SIMON SANTOW: She says she can find the funny side, even in the midst of what would drive many
people to despair.

While the shop remained dry, the clean up in her house will take some time.

LYN BROWN: We've had to pull up the lino from the kitchen and take that out - that's all ruined and
damaged, it was just floating at one stage. So we've got cement floors in there now.

We were lucky that we managed to get everything up on milk crates; our fridge and our oven and a
few cupboards in the bedrooms and that, we didn't have enough for those, so they had to stay down.
But they're okay - we're cleaning the mud out of them at the moment, as we speak.

Still hosing out the mud from all the house, off tiles and polished timber boards and things like
that. The yard's still a write-off of course, but we fared a lot better than some people, I'm sure.

SIMON SANTOW: When you say the yard's a write-off, what's happened there?

LYN BROWN: It's just mud from the river. All the mud comes into town, and while the water's there -
I mean, that's got its own problems and it's bad enough - but once the water settles down, the
roads are all ripped up, they've got holes in them everywhere, logs laying around.

SIMON SANTOW: Ken Tassell runs a real estate agency in the seaside town of South West Rocks.

It's cut off by the floodwaters, and his own farm has lost fencing and will have damaged pasture
once the water recedes.

KEN TASSELL: I believe that most of our cattle will be pretty right; they'll be a little bit hungry
and pretty waterlogged, but we do have flood mounds in places there.

But the objective will be to get them off there as quick as possible after we can get access to

SIMON SANTOW: And what about fencing and that sort of thing?

KEN TASSELL: Oh, fencing's all damaged. It's funny you should ring now Simon, I've just come back

I've gone down and cut a lot of the fences on the river bank proper, on our property, because it's,
they've all washed down and collected a lot of debris, and there's logs and different other things

So it will be a matter of sitting down with neighbours and saying, 'Well, what day are we going to
go and put them back up?'

SIMON SANTOW: While the worst appears to be over for now, the effects will be felt for some time.

KEN TASSELL: We've had a quite a substantial drop in the river. I've just come up from looking at a
few cattle, and the lower part of the Macleay - they'll be suffering for quite some time now.
Particularly the people that have got a few cattle down there, or a bit of livestock.

They're going to suffer, because the grass won't return until the summer months, because now we're
going to get cold. The ground will be waterlogged, and the cattle will definitely suffer.

SIMON SANTOW: The north coast of New South Wales and the rivers that flow into the ocean are no
strangers to damaging floods. There's a reluctance to even rank the disaster with other disasters
of the past.

At the same time, there's a plea that authorities will come through with their promised help when
the help is needed.

JOHN BOWELL: We're still waiting on the support that we made application for from the March event.
I was told this morning that the support for the 2001 event took 12 months.

Now look, something's got to be done to speed up these processes, because if there are individuals
out there that need support, they want it now.

John Bowell is the Mayor of Kempsey; he says these floods are taking a toll because they've come on
top of other recent damaging weather.

JOHN BOWELL: We'd gone through a flood, well a flood in February, a flood in March - of smaller
proportions, but nevertheless, that's one of the contributing factors to what's happened on this
occasion. All of the low-lying areas were full. And so therefore the opportunity for water to
spread was not there as much as there would have been, say, in a dry time.

So therefore the farmers that haven't got stocks of hay - and I'm not too sure there'd be too many
of them, because look - they're resilient, they know that these things can happen, and I think that
they're probably prepared for such an event. But it's disappointing that it's come on with winter
just round the corner.

PETER CAVE: The Kempsey Mayor John Bowell ending Simon Santow's report.

Homeless numbers increasing in NSW

Homeless numbers increasing in NSW

Reporter: Brigid Glanville

PETER CAVE: The global financial crisis continues to bite with a rising number of families being
forced out of their homes.

The St Vincent de Paul Society says in some of its centres, inquiries for housing have increased

The hardest hit areas are the western suburbs of Sydney, but nationally other states have also
noticed a rise in people looking for housing.

Brigid Glanville reports.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: Emerton near Mount Druitt in western Sydney is an area where residents face
hardship on a daily basis.

There are many welfare dependant families who at times struggle to find affordable housing.

But now many families on low incomes are also finding it hard to pay rent, and are being forced out
of their homes.

Dr Andy Marks is the senior researcher for the St Vincent de Paul Society.

ANDY MARKS: Most of the people in Emerton are really struggling. It's an average household income
there of around $700, compared to over $1,000 nationally on average. So we're already talking about
people that who are up against it.

It's minimum wage earners typically. There's a higher proponent of people there on welfare.

What we've seen now is an increase, as I said, in the number of working families - for want of a
better term - that are approaching us for assistance.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: Dr Marks says at Emerton in western Sydney, the number of people looking for
housing through St Vincent de Paul has risen from 110 to 679 people in the past year.

ANDY MARKS: In most cases it's renters, and when we have rental vacancy rates out west of less than
three per cent, there just isn't the level of supply to keep up with them. So it's forcing prices
up as well.

We do see some mortgage holders as well. What's very worrying for us, as well as the number of
people that are getting themselves into mortgages at the moment, where interest rates are at record

And should they creep up a margin as is expected in the recovery, we do expect another spike in
demand there.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: The New South Wales Department of Housing says it's not just a problem in western

Every month on average there are an extra 643 people looking for somewhere to live.

David Borger is the NSW Housing Minister.

DAVID BORGER: Each week we provide temporary accommodation to people who have lost their home,
who'd have nowhere to live. And most of those people have been people who obviously have a lot of
complex needs in their lives; some people are chronically homeless.

But what we're seeing increasingly is two things. Firstly, more people are coming through - 643 a
month, compared to the previous year - can't get their accommodation needs met in the private

But secondly, we're seeing more people who are, in a sense, economic refugees - that have lost
their job, who may have lost their house, and they need somewhere to stay very urgently.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: The Wesley Mission is another charity noticing the rise in homelessness.

It says it is turning away families every week who are desperate for short-term accommodation.

New South Wales is the hardest hit, but Federal Housing Minister Tanya Plibersek says all states
have noticed a rise.

TANYA PLIBERSEK: Right across Australia we saw an increase in homelessness amongst families with
children between the 2001 and 2006 census.

Since the 2006 census we anecdotally, that renters in particular are vulnerable to homelessness if
they lose their jobs. Rents are very high and growing very quickly.

For people who own their own homes, the news has actually been good, because they're paying a
smaller proportion of their household income on mortgage repayments. But renters are still under a
lot of stress right across Australia.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: Last year the Federal Government released its white paper on homelessness in

The Federal Government says it's committed to increasing the amount of public housing. The first
150 of 9,000 houses pledged to be built have just been constructed in New South Wales.

The Federal Housing Minister Tanya Plibersek:

TANYA PLIBERSEK: There's an unprecedented amount of activity in building new housing, but also in
improving homelessness supports. So, as well as the 9,000 new public housing dwellings that will be
built in New South Wales, we're also improving services.

We're providing particular support to homeless children that has never been provided before; 1000
extra adults with a mental illness will have an personal support worker.

I mean, these investments are unprecedented in Australia's history.

PETER CAVE: The Federal Housing Minister Tanya Plibersek ending Brigid Glanville's report.

Pakistan military says Swat offensive going well

Pakistan military says Swat offensive going well

Reporter: Barbara Miller

PETER CAVE: The Pakistan Army says its troops are engaged in street battles and house-to-house
searches in the main city in Swat Valley as it attempts to drive out the Taliban from the region.

An army spokesman says it could take another week to ten days to complete the mission in Pakistan's

Two million people have been displaced by the month-long offensive, and some civilians are reported
to be trapped in their homes in the midst of the fighting without the very basic necessities.

Barbara Miller reports:

BARBARA MILLER: The Pakistan Army's offensive against the Taliban in the Swat Valley is now
concentrated on the main city of Mingora.

The army says it's engaged in street fighting and house-to-house searches of Mingora for militants.

The chief military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas says the operation is going well, and power
could soon be restored to the city:

ATHAR ABBAS: The power station of Mingora city - the technicians are working on that, and hopefully
very soon the power will return to Mingora city.

And the otherwise, the forces have captured three crossings - the crossroads which are very

They've captured those, and today there were five killed - five militants who were killed - a lot
of arms and ammunition has been recovered. Fourteen miscreants - terrorists - have been arrested,
and the operation is moving well.

BARBARA MILLER: The army says it's taking great care to avoid civilian casualties.

ATHAR ABBAS: Civilians in Mingora are told to have their hands up whenever they walk in front of
the security forces. This we have announced there and so far the forces haven't reported any
civilians in the area where they've operated.

BARBARA MILLER: But some locals who have remained in the city reject those claims.

This woman says this is what happened when the army raided her street.

PAKISTANI WOMAN (translated): It was around evening time, and we were cooking, and the kids were
outside playing. Suddenly, soldiers started firing on us. Then they got into our house. We went
into a room, but they came after us, and took the men away.

My sister, my mother and my father are injured. My brother-in-law has been killed, and three of
children are injured.

BARBARA MILLER: In an interview with the BBC army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said the
woman's claims would be investigated.

He conceded that it was difficult to distinguish between militants and civilians, particularly
since militants have been shaving off their beards to blend in.

ATHAR ABBAS: We have requested the locals that they should have confidence in the security forces

That they should move forward and identify these militant Taliban in the area. They are the best
people who can identify without the beards and hair cut short.

BARBARA MILLER: Up to two million people have been displaced by the month-long offensive in
Pakistan's north-west. Some are living in camps.

Australia's Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Smith visited one of them as
Australia announced a further $12 million in funding to meet urgent and immediate humanitarian
needs caused by the escalating conflict.

RICHARD SMITH: Well, obviously very moved to see people and families in these circumstances, and
especially the children. It makes you very sad and moving, because we're all family people

But you know that there's a cause that brings them here, and the cause is to solve a problem in
Swat and their homes, and so we hope that problem can be solved and they can go back home shortly.

BARBARA MILLER: Many of those displaced by the conflict are not lucky enough to be in the camps.

They're staying with friends and relatives in cramped conditions.

(Sound of displaced people)

BARBARA MILLER: This woman staying with family in Buner says they have nothing to eat.

The Pakistan Army says it will be at least another week to ten days before its offensive in Mingora
is complete.

It will be some yet before the hundreds of thousands of displaced people can think about returning

PETER CAVE: Barbara Miller reporting.

Aboriginal film maker honoured at Cannes

Aboriginal film maker honoured at Cannes

Reporter: Lisa Millar

PETER CAVE: The Aboriginal film director Warwick Thornton is celebrating today, having won the
prestigious award at Cannes. He's convinced it won't be the last time an Indigenous film maker is
on the podium at the prestigious festival.

The 38-year-old from Alice Springs says the world should watch out for the film talent emerging
from Indigenous communities.

His movie, 'Samson and Delilah' is now gaining international recognition with the Camera D'or

Lisa Millar reports.

(Sound of 'Samson and Delilah' score)

LISA MILLAR: 'Samson and Delilah' might be a love story, but it's a dark film about two teenagers
growing up in a troubled Indigenous community.

There's barely any dialogue but its impact has been extraordinary.

And now its director Warwick Thornton has been rocketed onto the international stage with his win
overnight at the Cannes film festival.

WARWICK THORNTON: You know you get one chance in your life to win this award. It's an award that
is, you know, is, you know, for best first film by a first-time director for the world, and we won.

And it's just sort of like, you know, as far as, not a stepping stone, but as far as, you know,
sort of storytelling in your life, it's kind of the best bloody start.

LISA MILLAR: It was a nervous wait for the film's producer Kath Shelper.

KATH SHELPER: Because it was all in French, and we didn't, we were sitting there and we didn't
really understand anything that was going on.

And someone told us that Isabelle Adjani was presenting the Camera D'or, so when we saw her come
out, we thought, 'Oh, this is the moment'.

And then finally, we heard, you know, Samson et Delilah and Warwick's name, and we were like 'Oh my
god! We won'.

LISA MILLAR: Margaret Pomeranz isn't surprised. She and David Stratton gave it five stars on the
ABC's 'At the Movies' - the first Australian movie to get that kind of praise from them.

MARGARET POMERANZ: I think I screamed out loud (laughs). I am so excited for him. I'm overcome,

LISA MILLAR: What was it about this film that so hit home with both the two of you - I mean, you
both gave it five stars?

MARGARET POMERANZ: Look, I think that there is a searing truth in it. And I think that that's what
you want from filmmakers.

It's beautiful, it's beautifully shot, it's tough - it's such a tough film. But it ultimately
offers such an emotional punch. It's unbelievable.

LISA MILLAR: The Cannes jury was just as impressed.

KATH SHELPER: They kept on thinking about it, and there were many images in the film that they had
stuck in their heads, and just kept resonating for a long time afterwards.

And that it was, you know, one of the most poignant love stories that they had seen in a very long

LISA MILLAR: Warwick Thornton lives in Alice Springs and filmed the movie around the areas in which
he grew up.

The 38-year-old is a graduate of the Australian Film Television and Radio School.

He may be destined for even greatest things, but he's convinced there are others out there with
just as much talent.

WARWICK THORNTON: I watched the new series of Screen Australia's short films by Indigenous
filmmakers, and they completely blew me away.

And I think the world's cinema's going to have to watch out, because there's some incredible
directors and storytellers coming - you know, about to come up.

LISA MILLAR: Warwick Thornton was thrilled his film was even nominated; winning was beyond his
wildest dreams.

Margaret Pomeranz doubts any of it will change his approach.

MARGARET POMERANZ: Look, it will certainly bring Warwick a lot of international attention. But I
think that what he wants to do is go back and tell his own stories.

He wants to go back to Alice Springs and tell his own story. I don't think he's going to be easily

LISA MILLAR: And in fact Warwick Thornton is already yearning for home. A week on the red carpet
has been enough for someone who's more at ease in Central Australia.

WARWICK THORNTON: The people I've met are incredibly beautiful and incredibly positive, and it's
just an amazingly special place that is just like the absolute essence of cinema and storytelling.

But you know, sort of, after a week of this place, you like, you get quite tired, and you just go,
'Um, I think I'm ready to go home'.

PETER CAVE: Warwick Thornton ending that report from Lisa Millar.

Queensland to sell assets to boost ailing budget

Queensland to sell assets to boost ailing budget

Reporter: Nicole Butler

PETER CAVE: In Queensland, the Bligh Government is considering selling off the state's assets to
prop up its ailing budget.

Economists say that's the worst possible excuse for privatisation.

And Queenslanders are worried about the price and quality of services once they're placed in
corporate hands.

From Brisbane, Nicole Butler reports.

NICOLE BUTLER: Queensland's railways and motorways, energy companies, and the Port of Brisbane are
among the state's assets that could soon have a 'for sale' sign on them.

And Queenslanders aren't happy about the Government's planned fire sale.

VOX POP 1: South Australia sold off their ports, and South Australia is now a backwater.

VOX POP 2: If something goes wrong, and you flogged off - let's say our water pipes, and the
company that has them doesn't look after them properly - in ten years' time you're buggered, pardon
my French.

VOX POP 3: We promised once there, not so long ago, when they sold an electricity business there,
the prices wouldn't get higher. Yes, well, now they have - the price has gone higher?

RADIO HOST: They certainly have.

VOX POP 4: You give them to private companies... I think we just get duped and ripped off.

NICOLE BUTLER: The Treasurer Andrew Fraser says the Sunshine State's been hard hit by floods and
cyclones, and that's put pressure on a Budget already floundering in the current economic climate.

So Mr Fraser says government-owned corporations need to be sold.

ANDREW FRASER: Those are decisions that Government's taken in the past, and the reality is that
those are options before us.

Why? Because our number one priority here is about funding our capital works program, because that
supports job and that supports demand in the economy.

NICOLE BUTLER: Mr Fraser says privatisation works well in some sectors, and he says it has some
distinct advantages.

ANDREW FRASER: And so a test here is: is it only the state that can provide that infrastructure, or
are there other people, i.e. the private sector, who can provide those funds?

And therefore if they're doing it and the state's not, the taxpayer's not, the taxpayer has
additional capacity to invest in things like schools and hospitals.

NICOLE BUTLER: The Queensland budget is delivered in three weeks but the Treasurer says he hasn't
decided which assets will be put up for sale.

ANDREW FRASER: These are all tough choices; these are all options that will no doubt be unpopular
in some quarters, but our frame of reference here has to be what's in the best medium-, long- term
interests of the state.

NICOLE BUTLER: But economic policy professor at Curtin University Peter Kenyon says the Queensland
Government's firesale is not in the state's best interest.

He says a short-term fix is not the right reason for something as lasting as privatisation.

PETER KENYON: He should be looking at efficiency, economic efficiency. And economic efficiency
would say what we need here is a pretty careful cost-benefit analysis about in which hands would we
get the most efficient outcome? Is it in the public sector's hands, or in the private sector's

Now that's a very different type of analysis that is required than we need a boost to Treasury
finance now because we're short of cash. That's not really an argument for privatisation - it's the
worst possible case, in fact, for privatisation.

And experience shows around the world that when governments act in this way, that really often bad
decisions are mad.

NICOLE BUTLER: Queensland was a boom state, like WA. Mining royalties and the money coming in from
the mining boom was sensational. The question's being asked: how did Queensland become so broke?

PETER KENYON: Well, I think in actual fact it's not that broke. What's just happened, like here,
what's happened is that the revenue stream has been cut, so therefore the cost structure has to be

Now of course, no government likes to cut costs. What they would like to do is find an alternative
source of revenue. And suddenly, public assets become an attractive target.

NICOLE BUTLER: The Queensland Opposition says it doesn't object to privatisation.

But Treasury spokesman Tim Nicholls says now is the wrong time to sell.

PETER CAVE: Nicole Butler.

Tasmania reviews $15 million football deal

Tasmania reviews $15 million football deal

Reporter: Felicity Ogilvie

PETER CAVE: The global financial crisis is forcing the Tasmanian Government to start playing
hardball with the Hawthorn Football Club.

At the moment Tasmania spends $15 million sponsoring the AFL team.

Tasmania has no AFL team of its own so it pays Hawthorn to be known as the Tassie Hawks and to play
four home games in Launceston every year.

But the five-year deal ends next year and the cash strapped Tasmanian Government wants better value
for its money.

Felicity Ogilvie reports from Hobart.

FELICITY OGILVIE: In the past fortnight the Tasmania Government has axed its Environment Department
and scrapped plans to build a new hospital in Hobart.

But it's only now reviewing its $15 million deal with the Hawthorn football club. The Government's
tightening its belt because it's facing a billion dollar shortfall in GST revenue.

The five-year, $15 million Hawthorn deal is up for negotiations next June. After the Hawks won last
year's AFL premiership the club's president, Jeff Kennett said Tasmania was getting a bargain.

JEFF KENNETT: I don't know what you'd be charged today, but it would be millions more than you are
paying at the moment.

FELICITY OGILVIE: But this morning after hearing that Tasmania's having second thoughts, Jeff
Kennett was on local radio fighting to keep the deal.

JEFF KENNETT: The Government's own independent assessment indicates that for that expenditure, it
brings in $16 million a year of added economic activity. Over five years, that's $80 million.

FELICITY OGILVIE: The Tasmanian Premier, David Bartlett, says he's not about to scrap the idea of
sponsoring an AFL team. But he's not going to give the deal to Hawthorn.

DAVID BARTLETT: Hawthorne footy club, although I accept many of the intangible benefits that Jeff
Kennett's just talked about, shouldn't just expect the Tasmanian Government to roll over and have
its tummy tickled when it comes to renegotiating this contract.

And yes, we would consider a process that might be a more open expression of interest process, or
request for tender process that would allow other football clubs in Australia wanting to deliver
the goods for Tasmania, to perhaps have a crack at it also.

FELICITY OGILVIE: Not all Tasmanians are convinced that the Government should be sponsoring an AFL

VOX POP 1: I think the various sporting clubs should take care of themselves, and the Government
should be looking at primary things like health, education and infrastructure.

VOX POP 2: I don't really have a strong opinion, because I'm not a footy fan.

VOX POP 3: I'm in favour of it, but then I'm a member of the Hawthorne Football Club, and have been
for a long time. But the economic benefit - you know, the tourists that it brings in and the
dollars it brings into the state I think more than offset what the Government spends on it.

FELICITY OGILVIE: The leader of the Tasmanian Greens is also a Hawks fan, but Nick McKim wants the
deal scrapped.

NICK MCKIM: We've got a global financial crisis coming down the line; we've got a State Government
which is slashing and burning on public services that it provides to the Tasmanian community; we've
got health problems, we've got problems in education, problems in public housing, problems managing
our national parks.

And in that context, to spend millions of dollars a year sponsoring an already very rich AFL team
is not the best use of taxpayers' money.

FELICITY OGILVIE: But the Government's own economic studies have shown that the $3 million it puts
in a year to Hawthorne brings at least a $16 million return to the state. Isn't that money well
spent in a global financial crisis?

NICK MCKIM: Well, Hawthorne were flying in and playing AFL games in Tasmania long before this
sponsorship deal was arranged, so it's disingenuous of the Government to make a specific link
between Hawthorne flying in to play games at Aurora stadium in Launceston and the sponsorship deal.

FELICITY OGILVIE: The Liberals support the Government's sponsorship of the Hawks and want it to
continue. They hope one day Tasmania will get an AFL team of its own.

And while public outcry didn't sway the Government's decision to get rid of the Environment
Department or the new Hobart hospital, the Premier says he's keeping an open mind about continuing
to sponsor an AFL team.

PETER CAVE: Felicity Ogilvie reporting.

Museum of money makes its mark

Museum of money makes its mark

Reporter: Michael Rowland

PETER CAVE: The global financial crisis is making history in more ways than one.

It's already the subject of a museum exhibit.

The Museum of American Finance, located appropriately on Wall Street, has been pulling in the
crowds with its timely interpretation of the market meltdown.

North America correspondent Michael Rowland reports.

MICHAEL ROWLAND: In a cavernous marble and stone building just steps away from the New York Stock
Exchange the global financial crisis is being put into context.

JOHN CIRINCION: It begins with the 2007 subprime mortgage crisis, and follows through to March of
this year.

John Cirincion, a tour guide at the Museum of American Finance walks a group of lunchtime visitors
through an exhibit tracking the credit crisis that's wreaked so much devastation here in New York's
financial district.

The museum, sitting as it does on Wall Street, suddenly found itself much more popular as the
financial crisis erupted.

Leena Akhtar is the Museum's exhibits director.

LEENA AKHTAR: We noticed especially in September and October 2008 many people were coming into the
museum and saying, 'How are you documenting the crisis?'

I am an historian by training and I had to tell them, 'Well, I'm collecting newspapers in terms of
displayable artefacts, because we're in such an electronic age; it's really all I have right now.'

But what people were really asking was for... whether we could give them an understanding of what was
going on, in a way that was accessible to lay people.

So what we're attempting to do with this is show how the origins of the credit crisis were in the
housing bubble when it popped late 2006, and bring people to an understanding of how we got to
where we are now, where there's such turmoil in the markets all over the world.

And you know, there is so much government intervention necessitated by the fact that credit has
dried up.

MICHAEL ROWLAND: The exhibit features a timeline that tracks the rollercoaster movements of the Dow
Jones as key events unfolded.

The collapse of Lehman Brothers, the big bank bailouts and the nationalisation of insurance giant
AIG are all noted, along with other key government interventions like the massive economic stimulus
packages introduced in countries including Australia.

Unlike most museum exhibits the subject of this one is still very much active.

Leena Akthar says the museum has thought ahead.

LEENA AKHTAR: We built the exhibit with the ability to expand it. So there'll be another panel, and
it'll expand a little more into the exhibit hall.

We have room for about, oh I'd say, 15 months comfortably before it will get too cumbersome, be too
much information, and we'll have to figure out a way to present it in you know, perhaps electronic
format or as an interactive or something like that.

MICHAEL ROWLAND: The financial crisis will be keeping this slice of Wall Street busy for some time

In New York, this is Michael Rowland reporting for The World Today.

Kiwis fight to save that other flightless bird

Kiwis fight to save that other flightless bird

Reporter: Kerri Ritchie

In a recent survey of New Zealanders, the kakapo, a large, bright green, flightless parrot with a
penchant for eating cars, was voted 'Bird of the Year'.

The kakapo has been in dire straits for some time. It's only found in New Zealand and there are
just 124 left.

With this in mind, vets at Auckland Zoo are doing everything they can to get the kakapo - a certain
kakapo with a very embarrassing problem - back on his feet.

New Zealand correspondent Kerri Ritchie reports.

(Sound of leaves rustling)

KERRI RITCHIE: The Kakapo is the world's largest parrot. They can weigh up to three kilograms.

They have a face like an owl and hop like a sparrow.

(Sound of kakapo squawking)

KERRI RITCHIE: One of the kakapo's biggest problems is that they don't fly - which in earlier, far
less bird-friendly times made them easy to catch and cook.

KERRI RITCHIE: John Potter is a vet at Auckland Zoo. He admits, he's crazy about kakapos.

JOHN POTTER: We sort of term them the big green budgies really (laughs). If you could imagine a
green budgie that weighs three kilos (laughs). They are cute birds.

KERRI RITCHIE: Dr Potter has been treating 'Rooster', a one-year-old kakapo with a very personal

JOHN POTTER: The rooster is a young male, and we tend to think that this is definitely a traumatic
injury, and it's just unusual. He's had it, really, twice in two months.

And we think he might have been - put it this way, there's been a lot of breeding activity on
Codfish Island this year that he hasn't been involved in, and he might have been trying to take
part in some small way. (laughs)

He's actually the third kakapo that's been identified in the past, I guess for years, with a
problem with his vent or his rear end. The other two have been females, and they've had quite major
infections there.

KERRI RITCHIE: Dr Potter says while infections are a worry, predators are a bigger problem.

JOHN POTTER: New Zealand, of course, was - apart from a couple of small species of bats, there were
no mammals here, so there was really no predator problems to any of our land-based birds.

So they stayed around for hundreds - or probably in the case of the kakapo, thousands and thousands
- of years in this form, and were under no threat until humans came and bought mammals with them.

KERRI RITCHIE: Deirdre Vercoe is in charge of New Zealand's Kakapo Recovery Programme. She says the
kakapo pays the price for giving off a nice scent.

DEIRDRE VERCOE: They actually smell divine. They've got this odour that's - some people would
describe it as a musty violin case, or quite fruity. Yeah, not a good thing when there's a whole
lot of mammals sniffing birds out on the ground.

Their future, they really need to stay on islands where there are no sniffing predators.

KERRI RITCHIE: She's celebrating after a record 33 chicks hatched this year.

DEIRDRE VERCOE: Well, kakapo are quite bizarre in the fact that they've got a really long life span
- maybe up to 100 years - and so they only really need to replace themselves, you know, four or
five times in their life. So that might be one in 20 years.

KERRI RITCHIE: When Rooster recovers, he'll return to Codfish Island, a nature reserve near Stewart
Island, right down the bottom of New Zealand. All the remaining female kakapos in the world are on
Codfish island.

This week, Deirdre Vercoe and her team will split them up. They want to move some birds further
north to try to establish a second breeding population.

She says while the kiwi is great, New Zealanders need to stay committed to their bird of the year -
the kakapo.

DEIRDRE VERCOE: There is a perception out there now that we've kind of helped them turn a corner
with more than 100 - let's just leave them to it, they're long-lived, they'll sort it out

But I still have a real fear for the kakapo, because we've actually only got 30-something known
aged female birds. There's actually a large proportion of our population at the moment; we don't
have any idea of how old they are. There's 40 per cent of the birds out there that could be
grandmas and granddads, and they could be due to die in the next decade or so.

And if we don't cover on their recovery and let that happen, we'll suddenly find ourselves dropping
in numbers again.

KERRI RITCHIE: They have high hopes Rooster will be able to do his bit.

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

PETER CAVE: More than you ever wanted to know about a kakapo.