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Scientists lash out at solar theories on climate change

Scientists lash out at solar theories on climate change

The World Today - Monday, 8 June , 2009 12:10:00

Reporter: Emily Bourke

PETER CAVE: The Family First Senator Stephen Fielding is under fire from the scientific community
over his newfound belief that solar flares not human activity might be responsible for climate
change.

Fresh back from a study tour of climate change in America, Senator Fielding says he's now doubting
the science on the links between global warming and carbon emissions.

Climate scientists here say Senator Fielding has been misinformed by American climate change
deniers, and revisiting the solar flare theory is a wasting valuable time.

Emily Bourke reports.

EMILY BOURKE: Just back from his fact-finding mission to the United States, the Family First
Senator has a whole new take on climate change and its causes.

Where once he was convinced about the effect of greenhouse gases from human activity, now Stephen
Fielding isn't so sure.

STEVE FIELDING: Is carbon emissions really the major driving force of global temperature change?

And what I heard at the conference was that solar activity seems to be more closely aligned to
global temperature changes over a long period of time.

EMILY BOURKE: He says he's open minded, but he believes the science on solar activity is
compelling, and he'll be taking it up with the Climate Change Minister Penny Wong this week when
they meet for talks on the Government's carbon pollution reduction scheme bill.

STEVE FIELDING: Well, I intend to take some of the graphs and the charts that I've actually got
from Tuesday, and ask her to explain why what they've put forward isn't credible. And you know, I
think that's fair enough. I think to question things is a positive thing.

And the big question that I've got: what happens if what they're saying is true, and we're actually
going to actually be addressing climate change with reducing carbon emissions; in effect, that may
not do what we want it to do.

GRAEME PEARMAN: The solar flare debate has been around for an enormous amount of time. Senator
Fielding might have just learnt about it, but in fact the science community has been aware of it
for many years.

EMILY BOURKE: Graeme Pearman is formerly the chief of atmospheric research at the CSIRO.

GRAEME PEARMAN: The changes of output of the sun are well and truly documented. We've been
observing this for over a hundred years.

We understand that there was probably some warming earlier last century due to changes of emissions
from the sun, but no evidence that the recent warming is due to that.

And therefore there's no anticipation that that will be a major factor through this century.

EMILY BOURKE: One proponent of the solar flare theory is Phil Chapman - an Australian-born
geophysicist and former NASA astronaut scientist.

PHIL CHAPMAN: The sun is extremely quiet. There are very few spots, much less than we expect. And
the implication is that if this continues, we're going to see worldwide cooling rather than
warming.

The theory is that when the sun is not active, its magnetic field shrinks. And that means that more
cosmic rays get through to the earth from out in the galaxy. And the cosmic rays, when they stop in
the atmosphere, tend to produce clouds, and the clouds reflect sunlight back into space.

So when you have fewer sunspots you have more clouds and therefore cooler weather.

EMILY BOURKE: And he's warning against policies to reduce carbon emissions.

PHIL CHAPMAN: The fact is that everyone who's looked at the data recognises that the climate has
simply not been warming since 2002.

Whether that's going to continue, nobody can tell, but until we do know it is really foolish to
start spending money.

EMILY BOURKE: But Dr Pearman says the theories about the climate cooling down in recent years are
not to be taken seriously.

GRAEME PEARMAN: I mean, it's absolutely rubbish. What that is referring to the fact is that last
year's temperature was cooler than it was 10 years ago.

The year to year variation of the planetary mean temperature is the order of about two or three
tenths of a degree, and the trend that we've seen over the last hundred years is only one tenth of
a degree per decade.

So, if you only look at one ten-year period, you're never going to be able to see the trend. You
have to have a longer period of observations.

EMILY BOURKE: David Karoly is a professor of meteorology at the University of Melbourne.

He says the source of Senator Fielding's newfound knowledge - the American Heartland Institute -
deserves closer inspection.

DAVID KAROLY: It is very surprising that he doesn't accept the best information from scientific
assessments, such as those by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or the US National
Academy of Science, or the Australian Academy of Science, or the Royal Society, but seeks to get
his information from a group of climate change deniers, an organisation that's receiving sufficient
funding from the fossil fuel industry.

That he seeks to accept their scientific misinformation more than he accepts peer-reviewed
scientific publications.

EMILY BOURKE: While there might be some doubts over the causes of climate change, Dr Graeme Pearman
is more concerned that revisiting the solar theory is wasting valuable time.

GRAEME PEARMAN: We really don't have time to wait - we have to get on with it. That doesn't really
mean that we're absolutely sure about everything that is projected in climate change.

There will be uncertainties always, but the potential magnitude of the change, and the high
probability that that change will occur, means we simply have to stand up and manage that risk
through both adapting to it and reducing our emissions.

PETER CAVE: Graeme Pearman, the former chief of atmospheric research at the CSIRO, ending Emily
Bourke's report.

Maroons player contracts swine flu after Origin 1

Maroons player contracts swine flu after Origin 1

The World Today - Monday, 8 June , 2009 12:14:00

Reporter: Jennifer Macey

PETER CAVE: More than a thousand Australians have been now confirmed as being infected with swine
flu, and questions are being asked about why the disease has taken such a hold in Victoria where
there have been more than 800 confirmed cases.

Over the weekend, Western Australia, New South Wales, Tasmania and South Australia reported fresh
cases.

Some of those people had recently returned from Victoria.

Jennifer Macey reports.

JENNIFER MACEY: Thousands of people travelled to Melbourne for the State of Origin match last week,
raising fears that spectators packed into the stadium might contract swine flu.

But it was one of the players whose come down with the flu. Queensland's prop Ben Hannant has
tested positive for swine flu and will remain at his Gold Coast home.

The managing director of Queensland Rugby League, Ross Livermore, says their medical officer Roy
Saunders is considering what to do with the rest of the team, who have since returned to their
respective clubs.

ROSS LIVEMORE: Ben stayed on in Melbourne after the team dispersed, and then he went to the Gold
Coast. And we're talking Sunday night now, so Roy's not too sure as to whether there were
implications or not.

But you can only be careful about it. Roy will determine what the players should do - whether they
take tablets or get tests or whatever it might be.

JENNIFER MACEY: Queensland Health officials confirmed another eight cases of swine flu on the
weekend, bringing the state total to 45. Five schools across the state are shut due to the virus.

And Cairns State High in far north Queensland has kept its doors closed after another student was
confirmed with swine flu. Clive Dixon from Education Queensland says the school will reopen on
Thursday.

CLIVE DIXON: The Health Department has advised us that that's the period of time that the school
needs to be closed as a precaution in this particular case.

We also have an e-mail network, so the teachers can send work direct to the students.

And those students who are doing particular projects - particularly Year 12 students - there's even
the availability there to be able to phone teachers and to follow-up particular items at school.

JENNIFER MACEY: In Western Australia, where there are 12 confirmed cases, three schools have told
hundreds of students to stay home.

The headmaster at Christchurch Grammar in Perth, Garth Wynne, says year 7 is being shut down after
two students tested positive for swine flu.

GARTH WYNNE: We've supported the Health Department in providing class details and the like and then
the Health Department will act as appropriate.

We've got about 100 boys in year 7, and then there's a number of different staff that have been
involved.

JENNIFER MACEY: It's a move being copied around the country except in Victoria, which is no longer
closing schools if there's a confirmed case.

And while the rest of the country has confirmed cases of the virus in the double digits, Victoria
has the largest number, with 874.

But health officials still don't know why this is. Professor Robert Booy from the University of
Sydney says one explanation might be due to better testing strategies.

ROBERT BOOY: The truth is that Australia's probably the best in the world at detecting this
influenza virus. And so we have a tremendous bias going on, where we're finding most of our cases
through good laboratory detection, and the United States and other places, they're not even testing
everybody who probably have the disease.

I would be quite certain that there's ten to a hundredfold more cases in the US than are confirmed.
So it's totally, totally a bias of how we go about detecting disease, in that we're just so much
more thorough in Australia, and we pay much more attention.

JENNIFER MACEY: Professor Booy says it's ridiculous to blame Victoria for the spread of the virus
interstate and he says there's no need to restrict domestic travel.

ROBERT BOOY: Right now, we need to do sensible things. And saying that students who come back
should be quarantined is a good idea, because they are the ones who are the big spreaders of
disease right now. Trying to shut down the whole of commerce and business interaction is quite
silly.

JENNIFER MACEY: Professor Raina MacIntyre from the University of New South Wales says she's
surprised that the outbreak hasn't been more significant in New South Wales.

RAINA MACINTYRE: Once it starts spreading among school children, it spreads very rapidly. You know,
children excrete the virus for longer, they're more infectious. It doesn't appear to have affected
schools to the same extent in New South Wales. So that can be two big factors.

JENNIFER MACEY: Professor MacIntyre says swine flu still poses a real threat to high-risk people
such pregnant women or young people with chronic heart, lung or kidney conditions.

RAINA MACINTYRE: There's no evidence that it's less severe than seasonal flu, but we certainly need
to take seasonal flu as seriously, because there certainly is, are other strains of flu circulating
at the same time; in fact some of the labs in New South Wales are suggesting there's more seasonal
flu than swine flu.

I think people have kind of forgotten that seasonal flu is still a risk - and it is a risk.

JENNIFER MACEY: South Australian Health is also reporting that the 12th person to contract swine
flu in that state is a 26-year-old woman had recently travelled to Melbourne.

PETER CAVE: Jennifer Macey with that report.

Doctors concerned about rise in people addicted to pain killers

Doctors concerned about rise in people addicted to pain killers

The World Today - Monday, 8 June , 2009 12:18:00

Reporter: Simon Palan

PETER CAVE: There are growing fears that Australia could be following in the path of the United
States when it comes to addiction to prescription painkillers.

A new report shows a surge in the number of Australians addicted to opioid painkillers such as
morphine and Oxycodone.

The report's authors are calling for reforms on how these potent pain killers are supplied.

Simon Palan reports.

SIMON PALAN: Doctors say the increased consumption of prescription painkillers may largely come
down to better treatment of those who are genuinely in pain.

But Dr Alex Wodak, from Sydney's St Vincent's hospital, says there's also a growing proportion of
people who are misusing the drugs.

ALEX WODAK: Well, consumption of these drugs has been increasing since the early 1990s, and that's
certainly had its benefits from the management of pain, but we're getting to the stage now where
we're worried that if consumption keeps on rising we'll start to see the same kind of problems that
they saw in the United States, with drug overdose deaths from this group of drugs outnumbering
heroin overdose deaths in the year 2000 in the United States.

And that trend has continued since 2000, and in fact the gap is widening.

SIMON PALAN: Alex Wodak helped author a report into a spike in the number of Australians addicted
to opioid painkillers.

ALEX WODAK: There's a risk that people taking these drugs can have a drug overdose which can be
fatal, or can lead to a long spell in hospital.

And there's also a risk that people taking these drugs can become dependent on them, and find that
they need higher and higher doses, and then they perhaps might go to civil doctors, and the drugs
take control of their lives.

SIMON PALAN: The head of addiction at the University of Sydney, Paul Haber, found the number of
Medicare-funded prescriptions of Oxycodone quadrupled over seven years since the year 2000.

Part of the problem is the huge unmet demand for methadone.

ALEX WODAK: We do know that this group of drugs is diverted from legitimate use to the black
market, and when they're in the black market people are taking them for recreational purposes; some
people are crushing them up and injecting them; and of course there's a lot of doctor shopping
involved in this group of drugs.

SIMON PALAN: Do you think doctors aren't doing their job in notifying health authorities of people
that might be addicted or overusing these drugs?

ALEX WODAK: There are many factors involved, and one thing we don't want to see is heavy handed
action from Commonwealth or state departments of health clamping down on the use of these drugs,
because that will simply mean that people with cancer pain, people with chronic non-malignant pain
will be worse off.

So there may be a role for restrictions on the prescribing of these drugs, but only if it's part of
a comprehensive package which looks at demand as well as supply.

We also recommend the development of a national system of surveillance. Currently surveillance is
based on each state and territory doing its own thing, and so it's very hard to get an idea of
trends in what's happening nationally.

We want to see a web-based system of reporting. So the advantage of that is that doctors could see
whether a patient has been prescribed the same kind of drugs yesterday and the day before from a
range of other doctors.

SIMON PALAN: And what about getting off these drugs? Is it hard for people who become addicted to
them to get off them on their own? I mean, is there treatment options available?

ALEX WODAK: There are treatment options available, but it's a new form of.. a new kind of problem
for us in Australia, and so we need to develop better ways of treating people like this.

We're used to dealing with heroin users, and we've got reasonably good at it, and it's important
that we recognise that this is a different kind of problem, and many of the people with problems
with prescription drugs - not all, but many of them - are people who are leading quite stable
lives.

And it's important that we have a way of dealing with this problem that isn't simply a replica of
dealing with the heroin problem.

PETER CAVE: Dr Alex Wodak ending that report by Simon Palan.

Cronulla Sharks in crisis talks over Zappia tape

Cronulla Sharks in crisis talks over Zappia tape

The World Today - Monday, 8 June , 2009 12:22:00

Reporter: Barbara Miller

PETER CAVE: Pressure is mounting for the CEO of the Cronulla Sharks Rugby League Club Tony Zappia
to be stood down following the emergence of a secret recording of a conversation he had with a
female employee.

In the recording, broadcast by Channel 7, Tony Zappia admits he hit the woman, but says it was an
accident and asks if she wants to spank him in punishment.

The NRL has called for an urgent response from the club, and the Sharks' board has gone into crisis
talks.

Barbara Miller reports.

BARBARA MILLER: The Cronulla Sharks were celebrating their third win of the season last night,
after defeating the New Zealand Warriors.

But the joy's been short-lived.

The Shark's board members have now gathered at the Sydney club to discuss the future of CEO Tony
Zappia.

Last night Channel 7 aired segments of a conversation which a former employee Jenny Hall says she
secretly recorded with Mr Zappia a few days after he struck her in the face.

In the recording Tony Zappia admits hitting Ms Hall, but seeks her agreement that he didn't mean
to.

TONY ZAPPIA: So you admit that it was accidental?

JENNY HALL: Well, I just don't know how you could have accidentally hit me this hard with... Like,
look at my eye.

BARBARA MILLER: Mr Zappia then suggests that Ms Hall's bruising was not caused by his fist.

TONY ZAPPIA: I'm not going to defend it, because you know it was an accident.

I've apologised. You did bounce off the wall when you went to step back. That's how it happened.

JENNY HALL: No, I didn't hit the wall, it was your fist that hit me. It wasn't the wall that did
this.

BARBARA MILLER: When Ms Hall says she's not happy with the way he has handled the incident he asks
her if she wants to spank him.

JENNY HALL: I was just annoyed about the way you handled it.

TONY ZAPPIA: Ok, fair enough.

JENNY HALL: Yeah, it just made me feel...

TONY ZAPPIA: Do you want to spank me?

BARBARA MILLER: At another point in the conversation Mr Zappia again seems to try to lighten the
atmosphere by apparently showing to Ms Hall and his personal assistant an email he had received
reportedly showing pictures of bikini-clad women.

TONY ZAPPIA: This is what I put up with, Jen.

JENNY HALL: What is it?

TONY ZAPPIA: Oh, it's bad.

JENNY HALL: Sending pictures of...

TONY ZAPPIA: Yeah, oh...

JENNY HALL: ...porn?

PERSONAL ASSISTANT: You should have seen the one that (omitted) sent me. I said, I can't see anyone
else's name on this. What did you send that to?

(Sound of Tony Zappia laughing)

BARBARA MILLER: Tony Zappia has previously admitted hitting Jenny Hall, who was later paid $20,000
and left the club. But it looks increasingly like that won't be enough, and Mr Zappia will be
forced to step down.

Following the broadcast on Channel 7 the National Rugby League has called for an urgent review of
the matter from the Sharks.

The NRL's chief executive David Gallop said the emergence of what he called "new and damaging"
information necessitated a swift response.

DAVID GALLOP (voiceover): If the tape is a faithful recording, it would be difficult to see how the
club could not take the strongest action possible.

BARBARA MILLER: A spokesman for David Gallop told The World Today that the NRL was closely
monitoring what the Sharks were doing today, and hoped that whatever decision was taken would be
taken at the earliest possible opportunity.

This is the latest in a series of controversies to hit the Sharks.

The club's been dealing with the backlash from the group sex incident in 2002 recently exposed by
the ABC's Four Corners programme involving Sharks players at the time, including Matthew Johns.

The club's chairman Barry Pierce is stepping down following criticism of his handling of the
affair. The captain Paul Gallen resigned after being fined for making racist comments.

And a new recruit, Reni Maitua, has tested positive for a banned substance.

The club is also plagued by financial woes. A major sponsor, LG Electronics, is pulling out at the
end of the season.

But sympathy for the Cronulla Sharks is wearing thin. The New South Wales Premier Nathan Rees:

NATHAN REES: The Cronulla Sharks have been in all sorts of problems for some weeks now, and they
need to bite the bullet and do the appropriate clean out in order to redress the culture. There is
a resistance to the notion that there is a cultural issue in some of these clubs.

BARBARA MILLER: When contacted last night by The Australian Tony Zappia reportedly described the
Channel 7 story as 'a set-up'.

He's quoted as saying "you wouldn't know and how and when the quotes were edited."

Tony Zappia has not responded today to the ABC's phone calls.

PETER CAVE: Barbara Miller.

More bodies recovered from Airbus wreckage

More bodies recovered from Airbus wreckage

The World Today - Monday, 8 June , 2009 12:26:00

Reporter: Lindy Kerin

PETER CAVE: Almost a week after an Air France Airbus A330 aircraft plunged into the Atlantic Ocean,
the search for victims is finally yielding results.

Seventeen bodies have now been recovered.

But with 228 people on board the flight when it went down, many more families are still waiting.

The investigation into the accident is continuing, with the focus now firmly on whether a defective
speed sensor caused the crash.

Lindy Kerin reports.

LINDY KERIN: Brazilian military authorities have been scouring the Atlantic, searching for the
wreckage of the doomed Air France Airbus.

Colonel Henry Munhoz told a press conference more debris and more bodies have been recovered.

HENRY MUNHOZ (translated): So far a total of 17 bodies have been retrieved in the search area. We
also found a number of structural components of the plane.

LINDY KERIN: A forensic expert from the Brazilian Federal Police, Jefferson Correia, says the
identification process will be difficult.

JEFFERSON CORREIA (translated): If we are talking about visual identification, relatives really
cannot help much because these are bodies that have been in the sea for a week or eight days.

The relatives can help when they are asked by the federal police and the Brazilian army to
recognise some belongings.

LINDY KERIN: France has appointed an ambassador to help coordinate the investigation into the
crash. There's already speculation the plane's air speed monitors could be to blame.

There's a suggestion the equipment may have iced up and led to conflicting speed readings. The
doomed jet sent out 24 automatic error messages in its final moments as its systems such down.

And French accident investigators have confirmed the cockpit was receiving conflicting speed data.

Since the crash, Air France has accelerated its plans to replace the monitoring units in its jets,
after noticing problems with airspeed information on its Airbus A330s and 340s since May last year.

The company has released a statement saying this should not be taken as prejudging the result of
the crash investigation.

In Australia, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority says it's not aware of any speed monitor
replacement program for A330 planes here as a result of the Air France accident.

A spokesman says he's monitoring the situation closely and will wait for further information from
Airbus.

And Qantas has released a statement saying there are two manufacturers of the speedometers. It
says:

EXCERPT FROM QANTAS STATEMENT (voiceover): Qantas can confirm that it uses an alternative
manufacturer to Air France.

Qantas has received no directive or recommendation from the manufacturer of our parts, Airbus, or
regulatory authorities to replace the pitot probes on our fleet.

We have complied with all directives and recommendations from the manufacturer, Airbus and
authorities with regards to our A330 fleet, and are confident that the safety of our fleet it
assured.

LINDY KERIN: A Brazilian navy frigate will take the bodies that have been recovered to a nearby
port, where every effort will be made to identify the victims. The search for the remaining bodies
and the plane's black box will continue.

For some of the victims' families, the recovery effort is too much. Isa Furtado Santanna's daughter
Isabela was on the Air France flight 447 when it went down.

ISA FURTADO SANTANNA (translated): I would rather they just leave her, wherever she is. This whole
rescue thing is too painful. It's very difficult for us.

PETER CAVE: Isa Santana, whose daughter was killed In the Air France flight, ending Lindy Kerin's
report.

Hezbollah, Christians set to lose out in Lebanon election

Hezbollah, Christians set to lose out in Lebanon election

The World Today - Monday, 8 June , 2009 12:31:00

Reporter: Anne Barker

PETER CAVE: The official result in Lebanon's elections won't be announced until later this evening
Australian time, but all sides have conceded that it will be a victory for the anti-Syrian
coalition led by Saad al-Hariri.

His supporters are expected to take at least 70 of the assembly's 128 seats.

It's a defeat for Hezbollah as well as for its main Christian allies led by Michel Aoun, who has
the backing of Syria and Iran.

Our Middle East correspondent, Anne Barker, is in the capital Beirut.

ANNE BARKER: Look, I think the way people are reading this is that it is very much a stand against
some of the foreign influences that have played a part in Lebanon in recent years. Particularly in
recent times, Syria and Iran, which are seen as the backers of the Opposition.

Iran particularly is perceived to be the main funder of the Hezbollah militant group, and the
Christian groups within the Opposition coalition are seen as very much pro-Syrian, pro-Iranian. And
the Government, which has been re-elected, is very much anti-Syrian and pro-West.

So that is very much the message that we're getting; that Lebanese voters - particularly the
Christians, who really swing the vote in this - have made a decision that they support the
incumbent government, and they want to make a stand for Lebanon's sovereignty if you like, its
independence against some of those outside influences.

PETER CAVE: But yet it is a defeat for Michel Aoun.

ANNE BARKER: It is, and he's regarded as a maverick politician here, because he was once seen as
anti-Syrian, and played a part in the other alliance, which is in government.

And then a while ago, switched sides and became part of the Opposition, who's now supposedly
pro-Syrian.

So, that obviously must have been an influence as well in this. He's the one, or his party is the
one that's perhaps lost the most votes for the Opposition, and you have to ask whether it was
because he has switched sides himself in that sense, and perhaps is seen as inconsistent
politically.

PETER CAVE: Is this defeat for Hezbollah and their allies in any way going to diminish their
influence in Lebanese society and politics?

ANNE BARKER: Well no, not at all. I mean, it's not Hezbollah who's lost this election for the
Opposition.

They had 11 seats in Parliament before, and at least one spot on the Cabinet. They still have, as
far as I'm aware, 11 seats in Parliament still. But that's only a fraction of the 128 seats in the
Parliament.

The important thing is that their real strength comes from their membership base. I mean, the
figures are rubbery, as you would expect for an organisation like Hezbollah, but the suggestions
are that there are hundreds of thousands of members.

They're a guerrilla group effectively, as a lot of people would say, that operate in the south of
Lebanon, and you know, their real strength is they're seen as militarily more powerful than the
Lebanese state.

So really, they were always going to play a much lesser role in Parliament if they had won a
majority in their own right. But the standing they have outside Parliament as that militant force
will not change at all.

PETER CAVE: Lebanon is never very far from civil war; it came close last year. Is this election
result going to do anything for the stability of the country?

ANNE BARKER: Well, I guess anything that returns the incumbent government; you can expect the
status quo to continue. It's been relatively calm for the last 12 months, since a national unity
government was installed.

And in fact, that's the expectation again. That the, even though the March 14th group, as it's
called, the incumbent coalition has regained power. They are expected to offer to share power again
with the Opposition through a government of national unity.

And that was brought about very much as a way of avoiding some of the violence we've seen in recent
years, particularly a year ago, when Hezbollah took over part of western Beirut.

And look, it's also a reflection of the fact the Lebanese do want to keep some of those outside
influences, as I said, out of the country, and they were forces that really did drive a wedge
between a lot of Lebanese.

PETER CAVE: What part has vote-buying had in this election?

ANNE BARKER: Well, there are suggestions that literally thousands of votes have been bought; not
just in Lebanon, but particularly overseas, where some people say the Lebanese diaspora in
countries like Australia, the US and so on, is 14 million, compared to only three or four million
in the country, although that's probably an exaggeration.

But a lot of those Lebanese overseas are entitled to vote here; they're still on the electoral
roll, in fact, 10 or 20 years after leaving the country.

And there are suggestions that several thousand Australians alone have come back to Lebanon to
vote. Some of them may have been given free tickets from either side of politics. There's been a
lot of money spent in this election buying votes.

But a lot of Australians have returned to Lebanon to live, so there is a huge Australian presence
here - whether it's been people who've come back to vote or live here.

And I think that, the word I'm getting is that a lot of those outside Lebanese who've come home to
vote have in fact swung the result.

PETER CAVE: Our Middle East correspondent, Anne Barker.

Labour suffers electoral backlash in Europe elections

Labour suffers electoral backlash in Europe elections

The World Today - Monday, 8 June , 2009 12:37:00

Reporter: Emma Alberici

PETER CAVE: Vote counting in the European elections is almost over with Britain's Labour Party
suffering one of the biggest defeats in British political history.

Across Europe far-right parties have enjoyed a resurgence of support with the British National
Party winning its first seat in the European Parliament.

The BNP took the seat from Labour which saw its share of the vote across the country drop to just
16 per cent. Labour came third after the Conservatives and the Independence Party.

The results will have just as much impact in Westminster as they do in Brussels, as our Europe
correspondent Emma Alberici reports.

EMMA ALBERICI: Across the UK, this year's European election campaign had virtually nothing to do
with European affairs. It was more a referendum on the state of the parliamentary expenses system
and on the state of Britain's finances.

Throughout Europe, centre left and socialist parties met defeat at the polls. But no ruling Labour
Party suffered as much as the UK's.

The public turned on all the major parties, which had all faced embarrassing revelations about the
way their MPs used taxpayers' money to clear their moats, pay for their gardeners, have their
pianos tuned and their spas filled.

Smaller parties seized the opportunity to steal some of the vote. The far-right wing British
National Party which campaigned on an anti-European Union platform and took an anti-immigration
line, won their first seat in the European Parliament.

ANNOUNCER: Andrew William Henry Bronze, British National Party.

(Loud cheers)

EMMA ALBERICI: Across If this was a general election, the ruling British Labour Party would have
come third on just 16 per cent of the vote.

It was a clear victory for the Conservatives on 27 per cent. In the south west, Labour came sixth.

Daniel Hannon, the Tory member of the European Parliament who won again overnight, invoked Dr Seuss
to get his message across to the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

DANIEL HANNON: The time has come, the time is now; just go, go, go, I don't care how. You can go by
foot, you can go by cow; Gordon Brown, will you please go now. You can go on skates, you can go on
skis; you can go in a hat, but please go, please.

I don't care, you can go by bike; you can go on a zeit-bike if you like. If you like, you can go in
an old blue shoe. Just go, go, go; please, do, do, do. Gordon Brown - I don't care how - Gordon
Brown, will you please go now.

(Applause)

EMMA ALBERICI: It was a big night for the UK Independence Party, which came second, led by Nigel
Farage.

NIGEL FARAGE: Five years ago they said it was a flash in the pan, when we came third in the
country. Well this time, the UK Independence Party has come second, and we've beaten the governing
Labour Party, and this is the message:

Gordon Brown, you broke your promise on a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty - it's time you went, and
I think UKIP has delivered the coup de grace. So goodbye Gordon.

EMMA ALBERICI: In Wales, Labour lost the popular vote to the Conservatives for the first time since
1918.

After a week of resignations and condemnations, many members of the British Labour Party are
convinced that the problems of the party lie at the top.

Lawyer and mother of three Caroline Graham has been a member of the Party for more than 25 years.

CAROLINE GRAHAM: I can't see any way out of the current mess with Gordon Brown at the helm. I
suspect there isn't a way out without him either, but I would like him to go so that we at least
have a chance.

EMMA ALBERICI: A lot of people suggest that should Gordon Brown go this week, it will almost
inevitably trigger a general election. You can't have two unelected prime ministers from the Labour
Party. Wouldn't they have to go to the polls?

CAROLINE GRAHAM: I think that they would have to go sooner rather than later. They have to anyway,
go sooner rather than later; they've only got a year before it's compulsory to have an election
anyway, before the maximum term has expired.

It would probably be arguable, justifiable, for a new Prime Minister to bed down for a few months,
to just get his feet under the desk. I think there'd probably be an argument that the electorate
would accept along those lines.

But I think yes, it should go to the country. Hopefully you would get a bit of a honeymoon bounce.
But, um, if you didn't, I can't see it being any worse than it is now.

EMMA ALBERICI: Prime Minister Gordon Brown is holding firm, saying there's too much work to do to
be distracted by calls for his resignation.

Tomorrow he'll chair a critical meeting of the parliamentary Labour Party. Even if a debate is held
on the question of his leadership, the rules of the British Labour Party are such that the timing
of his departure, if he goes at all, will still be largely up to him.

This is Emma Alberici in London for The World Today.

New parliamentary secretary says repossessions giving way to unemployment

New parliamentary secretary says repossessions giving way to unemployment

The World Today - Monday, 8 June , 2009 12:41:00

Reporter: Alexandra Kirk

PETER CAVE: Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has used the resignation of the former defence minister Joel
Fitzgibbon to make a much wider reshuffle than he originally indicated.

The Prime Minister took the opportunity to re-jig some portfolios; he elevated two high profile
parliamentary secretaries - Greg Combet and Mark Arbib - to the ministry, and to promote some other
newcomers.

One of the class of 2007 on the way up is Jason Clare, the Member for Blaxland in western Sydney.

Mr Clare told Alexandra Kirk the Government has made employment its top priority.

JASON CLARE: Unemployment is forecast to go up, and that's because of the global recession. And we
have to marshal all of our forces to fight unemployment, to keep it as low as possible.

That's why the Government is rolling out a stimulus plan, and helping people who lose their job
through no fault of their own. My job is to help in that task.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Have you talked to Julia Gillard about how she sees your role? Because you'll be
working to her, won't you?

JASON CLARE: That's right. Yeah, I've been working with Julia on this for a little while now, and
part of my role is to work with local communities that have been hardest hit, that have lost jobs
in the last few months.

Place like mine in southwest Sydney. You know, in southwest Sydney, unemployment's already 8.6 per
cent, and unemployment's gone up there by 3.5 per cent in the last 12 months - twice the national
average.

Part of my role is to work with local communities there to help protect and support jobs. And I
won't be on my own - I'll be working with people that have done this before. People like Lindsay
Fox, and people like Bill Keelty.

You might remember in the early '90s, they went round the country and helped to create 60,000 jobs.
The Prime Minister's asked them to do it again, so I'll be working with them in these priority
areas to find practical ways to help business to keep workers on, and to create new opportunities
for apprentices and employees.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: And have you been given any idea about how that's going to be done?

JASON CLARE: Well, it's going to be rolled out over the next few months.

Talking to businesses, big and small, in those local areas; getting their advice about what we can
do. And then bringing business and bringing community organisations together to develop these
practical ideas, supported by the way, by a $650 million Jobs Fund.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: You've described your electorate of western Sydney as the nation's repossession
capital. At the height there were, I think, three a day. Has there been any respite?

JASON CLARE: Well, we bore the brunt of rising interest rates, and now we're bearing the brunt of
the global recession. As interest rates have fallen, and the First Homeowner's Boost has been
rolled out, we've seen a big change in places like Bankstown.

There's been a two-thirds drop in the number of house repossessions, down from 60 a month down to
20. And we've also seen a big jump in the number of people getting into the market; I think about
20 per cent jump in the number of home sales in the last few months.

So, a big change around there, because of the big drop in interest rates, as well as the First
Homeowner's Boost.

But the important thing here is that you can't pay the mortgage if you don't have a job.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Last week, when the latest growth figures came out, it was clear that exports are
up, and that's prompted some economists to revisit their dire forecasts.

Do you think that unemployment predictions now should be revisited, and that the 8.5 per cent peak
predicted for mid next year may need to be revised down?

JASON CLARE: When you see unemployment around the world, there are some dire predictions and there
are some dire statistics.

In America, for example, unemployment is already at 9.4 per cent. It's the highest that
unemployment has been in the United States for 25 years.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Your seat of Blaxland has produced one Labor Prime Minister, Paul Keating. I note
today that you've been touted in one newspaper report as being seen by some as a future Labor
leader. Is that how you see yourself?

JASON CLARE: (laughs) There's only one Labor leader, and that's Kevin Rudd. He's given me a big
responsibility, and I'm looking forward to the challenge.

PETER CAVE: Jason Clare, soon to be the Government's first parliamentary secretary for employment;
he was speaking to Alexandra Kirk.

Compensation considered for nuclear test veterans

Compensation considered for nuclear test veterans

The World Today - Monday, 8 June , 2009 12:45:00

Reporter: Nance Haxton

PETER CAVE: A landmark ruling by the British High Court has opened up the possibility for
compensation for thousands of Australian servicemen involved in a series of nuclear tests at
Maralinga and the Monte Bello Islands in the year 1950s.

The decision on Friday found that the British Ministry of Defence had a case to answer because
servicemen were essentially used as guinea pigs during the atomic tests.

It means that servicemen now have a right to sue the British Government.

The Government here is now considering the ramifications of the judgement.

Nance Haxton reports.

NANCE HAXTON: The Australian Government has never awarded specific compensation or service
entitlements to those involved in the now infamous nuclear tests.

Seven atomic bombs were detonated at Maralinga in South Australia's outback, between September the
27th 1956 and October the 9th 1957.

It was part of Britain's weapons testing program, which was then considered crucial to the
continuing defence of the Commonwealth.

Ric Johnstone was a motor mechanic with the RAAF stationed at Maralinga, and his job was to
decontaminate vehicles used at the site.

RIC JOHNSTONE: Well I have had several cancers removed, and so far I'm in remission, but I have
many lumps yet to be explored. I've had two heart attacks, I've had quadruple bypass, and I'm alive
at the moment by virtue of medical science.

NANCE HAXTON: He's now the national president of the Australian Nuclear Veterans Association, and
he's hopeful the decision by Britain's High Court will finally open up the possibility of
compensation.

RIC JOHNSTONE: The Government have been listening for 50 years, but the tactics have been to treat
us like criminals, or people who are trying to get something for nothing, and keeping everything
suppressed and swept under the carpet.

But that might change now, hopefully.

NANCE HAXTON: Momentum is building after half a century, to not only commemorate the tests, but to
recognise the ongoing damage that veterans have suffered from the nuclear testing program.

The veterans now have a high profile advocate - South Australia's Premier Mike Rann.

He says it's time that the British Government took responsibility for what happened not only to the
veterans on the site, but also to the Aboriginal people affected by the tests.

MIKE RANN: I just think that the British know exactly what went on. We were misled back in the
1970s - '78, '79 - when they said that they sent a VC10 to land at Maralinga and removed a small
amount of plutonium, and then pretended that the area had been cleaned up.

I think the British authorities over the decades have misled Australians about the nature and
extent of what happened there. I think that the prime responsibility should be with the British.

NANCE HAXTON: Ric Johnstone says veterans are pleased that a politician is finally listening to
their claims, and they are also lobbying for recognition and compensation for Aboriginal people.

RIC JOHNSTONE: Yes, our association would like to see some fair play for the Indigenous people too,
because they were affected - there's no doubt about that. And it was their land.

We're not particularly worried about it ourselves as individuals. What we're worried about is our
offspring. Because we know that there are genetic affects, and we know that there has been children
born with genetic problems, and we're told that will continue for many generations.

So that's the important thing that we would like to see get some support from the Government.

NANCE HAXTON: A spokeswoman for Veterans Affairs Minister Alan Griffin says the Government needs to
examine the details of the ruling in Britain before the Minister can comment on the implications
for Australia.

She says the Minister is now seeking advice and additional research on the matter.

The Federal Government was already reviewing the entitlements of Australian participants of the
British nuclear tests, with the findings expected to be handed down soon.

Ric Johnstone says it's been a long wait, but he hopes those caught up in the tests may be
compensated for their experiences soon.

RIC JOHNSTONE: We're not recognised as veterans because according to our government, we never had
operational service. But the real truth of that matter is that nuclear veterans during the atomic
weapons tests face more hazards than a lot of the people that went overseas.

PETER CAVE: Ric Johnson, the national president of the Australian Nuclear Veterans Association.

Socceroos set sights on greater glory in South Africa

Socceroos set sights on greater glory in South Africa

The World Today - Monday, 8 June , 2009 12:50:00

Reporter: David Mark

PETER CAVE: Australia's national soccer team, the Socceroos, have qualified for the second
consecutive World Cup finals.

The nil-all draw against Qatar early yesterday morning was all that the Socceroos needed to qualify
for the finals in South Africa next year.

Now the team has qualified for the World Cup, the CEO of Football Federation Australia, Ben
Buckley, says Australia is aiming to do better than it did when it made the final 16 at the last
World Cup.

He spoke to David Mark.

DAVID MARK: Ben Buckley, the circumstances in Qatar on Sunday morning Australian time couldn't have
been more different to Sydney four years ago, when of course it took a nail-biting penalty to
ensure that the Socceroos qualified for the World Cup finals in Germany.

But what are the reactions of the players? Were they more subdued this time round?

BEN BUCKLEY: Oh, I think it would be difficult not to be more subdued. It was in front of a very
small crowd. It wasn't in front of 80,000 people at a home venue and a nail-biting penalty shootout
as you said.

So, nonetheless, we're delighted with the result. It's a great move forward again for football in
Australia.

And look, the players are very, very professional, and they took the result with a great sense of
satisfaction and a great sense of pride, and that's the sort of maturity we expect in the sort of
professional outfit they have become.

DAVID MARK: Australia's coach, Pim Verbeek says Australia has to go one better than it did four
years ago, when the team made the final 16. What are the team's aims - and what will you be
satisfied with?

BEN BUCKLEY: Well, I think we've all raised our expectations about what we set out to achieve. No
doubt we took the world by surprise to some extent in Germany in 2006, and I'm sure over the next
few months the coaching staff and ourselves will sit down and plan out the campaign, and set what
we believe to be the right, appropriate goals.

But we're certainly going there with the intent to get competitive, and to make a contest of every
game, and go one step further than we went before.

DAVID MARK: What does the win mean in terms of Football Federation Australia - football in
Australia - and of course, your coffers?

BEN BUCKLEY: Well, I think more importantly than the coffers, it's a great step forward for the
game again. It's another milestone - to reach two World Cups in succession is part of our overall
plan.

I think it helps propel the game into the broader public consciousness, and raise the profile of
the sport, and that helps attract young players to participate. And I guess it's a flagship event -
to be there is a very good thing for the game.

DAVID MARK: You say that, but what can you point to in the past four years, in terms of the way
football or soccer has progressed in Australia. We see with the A-league that attendances are
flagging, and many of the teams are in trouble.

BEN BUCKLEY: Well, I don't accept that. I think that's not looking at the advancements in the
context of where the game has been in the past few decades. I mean, we have a very, very strong
A-league competition. We've got two new teams coming into the competition from the Gold Coast and
north Queensland.

Yes, we had a slight dip in attendances last year, but we're delighted with the way the A-league
has performed over the last three or four years, and the continuing support that the public is
showing for it.

PETER CAVE: CEO of Football Federation Australia, Ben Buckley, with David Mark.

Federer the great

Federer the great

The World Today - Monday, 8 June , 2009 12:55:00

Reporter: Alison Caldwell

PETER CAVE: Some are saying that the Swiss champion Roger Federer is the now the greatest tennis
player in history after winning the elusive French Open in Paris last night.

The man he beat, Robin Soderling, certainly thinks so.

But the veteran American tennis writer Bud Collins says that while the number two seed may be the
best player in tennis today, he still needs to do more to claim the title of the greatest player of
all time.

Bud Collins spoke to Alison Caldwell.

BUD COLLINS: I think it's too early to make that kind of declaration. I think he's certainly the
greatest player going now, although he has a lot of trouble beating Rafael Nadal, and Nadal's
younger than he is - quite a bit younger.

So, I think we have to wait on such historic - or I do, anyway - have to wait on such historical
judgements.

I think really all you can be is the greatest player of your era, just as Rod Laver was the
greatest of his, but that... and he had two Grand Slams - nobody has come close to that.

But, that was the era of wooden racquets and mostly grass courts, and totally different from the
present era. And there are more good players now - there's no doubt about that.

So, Roger is great. He's an all-time great, no matter what happens.

ALISON CALDWELL: It's been written that he did this very easily today, in Paris, but it...

BUD COLLINS: It wasn't easy. I mean, it looked easy - the score is not close.

But he was suffering emotional pain during the whole match, because he realised what... He kept
saying to himself, 'What if? What if? What if?'

Because, what if he didn't take advantage of this great opportunity, with Nadal not there? And this
opportunity to join what I call the 'Saintly Six' - the six men who have won all four majors.

And there were so many wonderful historic moments for him, and everyone in the ballpark knew it.
And that's a lot of pressure.

ALISON CALDWELL: For Federer this year... Federer took a six-week break after the Australian Open;
he had a lingering back problem. What are people saying about his mental strength? There was some
doubts about.

BUD COLLINS: Well, there were some doubts, and I don't think you can find any athletic career that
doesn't have slumps, whether you're talking about Aussie Rules football, or cricket, or anything -
any of those sports.

You have slumps, and he was in a slump. And he had a bad period there where he lost at Indian
Wells, California; Key Biscayne, Florida; and of course he lost the Australian Open and burst into
tears.

So, it has been trying for him - there's no doubt about that. But he seems to have righted himself.
The way he played today, that was pretty obvious. This was the old lord of the swings, and he just
was marvellous to watch. I hope you saw it.

ALISON CALDWELL: He said it was the greatest victory of his career, probably, and he said that he
can now play in peace for the rest of his career, never having to be reminded that he's not won the
French Open. Do you think that will make...

BUD COLLINS: There's something to that, yeah.

ALISON CALDWELL: Yeah. Do you think that could make him a better player then?

BUD COLLINS: Well, I think it will make him a better player. There's no pressure now, he's got the
four majors. I think he would want to hope to make a Grand Slam; if he can do that, wow. That would
raise him, oh, just way up in the stratosphere.

ALISON CALDWELL: But to do that he has to do this again, doesn't he? He has to win the Australian
next year...

BUD COLLINS: Yeah, that's right...

ALISON CALDWELL: ...he has to win the French...

BUD COLLINS: And yes, and he has all these youngsters sniping at him. So, it's going to be very
interesting in tennis this year.

PETER CAVE: Tennis writer Bud Collins speaking there to Alison Caldwell.