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The king is dead

The king is dead

John Shovelan reported this story on Friday, June 26, 2009 12:00:00

The man known as the king of pop, Michael Jackson, has died in Los Angeles. He was aged 50.
Paramedics were called to the singer's home around midday local time after he suffered a heart
attack and stopped breathing. He was pronounced dead in hospital two hours later.

PETER CAVE: Pop star Michael Jackson has died in Los Angeles, aged 50.

Paramedics were called to the singer's home at midday local time after he stopped breathing. He was
pronounced dead two hours later.

Jackson, who had a history of health problems and had been due to begin a comeback series of
concerts next month is survived by three children.

John Shovelan reports.

JOHN SHOVELAN: Around 12.30pm, lunchtime in Los Angeles, Michael Jackson collapsed at his home in
Bel Air. He'd stopped breathing after suffering a cardiac arrest. Paramedics rushed to the home and
performed CPR.

Two hours later at the UCLA Medical Centre, he was pronounced dead. His brother Jermaine Jackson
read a statement on behalf of the family.

JERMAINE JACKSON: This is hard. My brother, the legendary king of pop, Michael Jackson passed away
on Thursday June 25th, 2009 at 2.26pm. It is believed he suffered cardiac arrest in his home.
However the cause of his death is unknown until results of the autopsy are known. His personal
physician who was with him at the time attempted to resuscitate my brother and as did the
paramedics who transported him to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Centre.

Upon arriving at the hospital at approximately 1.14pm a team of doctors including emergency
physicians and cardiologists attempted to resuscitate him for a period of more than one hour and
they were unsuccessful.

Our family requests that the media please respect our privacy during this tough time.

And may Allah be with you Michael always. Love you.

JOHN SHOVELAN: The Los Angeles Police Department as a matter of course is investigating the death.
Lieutenant Gregg Strenk from the Robbery and Homicide Squad said he was dispatched to the home
where Jackson collapsed because of his high profile and not because they suspect foul play.

GREGG STRENK: Robbery Homicide was assigned this because of the high profile nature of it. Don't
read into anything as it relates to my team being here. Just by the fact that all of you being here
caused the chief to decide that we should handle this investigation.

JOHN SHOVELAN: A family member was reported saying Jackson was feeling ill last night and a doctor
was called to the home but he wasn't sent to the hospital.

His death was no surprise to some of the people who knew him well.

Michael Levine a former Jackson publicist around the time of the first child molestation
allegations in 1993 released a statement shortly after his death. It read, "I am not surprised by
today's tragic news. Michael has been on an impossibly difficult and self-destructive journey."

A family attorney Brian Oxman was waiting at the UCLA Medical Centre with the family. He said
Michael Jackson had been abusing prescription drugs and the family had been trying to stop it but
other people close to the pop star had been enabling the abuse.

BRIAN OXMAN: This family has been trying for months and months and months to take care of Michael
Jackson but people who have surrounded him had been enabling him.

If you think that the case of Anna Nicole Smith was an abuse, it is nothing in comparison to what
we have seen taking place in Michael Jackson's life.

JOHN SHOVELAN: Michael Jackson's death came as the singer prepared to make a comeback in London -
his first series of shows in more than a decade and the first since his 2005 acquittal on child
molestation charges. The dates of those concerts however were pushed back although organisers said
it had nothing to do with Jackson's health.

The Reverend Al Sharpton was among the first to pay tribute to Jackson as a performer.

AL SHARPTON: Michael Jackson was a trailblazer - to say an icon would only give these young people
in Harlem a fraction of what he was. He was a historic figure.

JOHN SHOVELAN: Michael Jackson was 50 when he died. Fans are gathering outside the hospital and all
around the world to mark his passing.

John Shovelan, Washington.

The world reflects on Jackson's life and legacy

The world reflects on Jackson's life and legacy

Emily Bourke reported this story on Friday, June 26, 2009 12:15:00

Michael Jackson's extraordinary career began when he was still a small child, then stretched over
four decades. Music critics say his reputation as an artist with enormous creative influence will
endure despite the controversies and scandals that beset his later life.

PETER CAVE: From child star to the King of Pop, Michael Jackson's life was both extraordinary and

While his lifestyle and public appearances became increasingly bizarre and despite charges of child
molestation, his musical genius remains unblemished.

Emily Bourke looks back at his career and his legacy.

(Excerpt from "Don't stop 'til you get enough" by Michael Jackson)

EMILY BOURKE: He was one of the biggest pop stars in the world with a career that spanned four

He took to the stage in the 1960s as a baby-faced eight-year-old performing with his older brothers
in the Jackson Five, an ensemble that blitzed the American charts.

(Excerpt from "ABC" by Jackson Five)

EMILY BOURKE: In the late 70s and 80s Michael Jackson's solo career took off. The "Thriller" album
became a smash hit and the popularity of his music and video clips - along with his unique dance
style - transformed popular music and fashion.

(Excerpt from "Thriller" by Michael Jackson)

MICHAEL JACKSON: My entire childhood, I remember people always saying to me, he's a 42-year-old
midget. At first I didn't understand but what they meant was the way I, you know, moved on stage
and the way I sang, like the inflections or whatever. You can't teach that. You can't teach it. It
has to come from inside.

EMILY BOURKE: Molly Meldrum is an Australian music critic and the former host of "Countdown".

MOLLY MELDRUM: Basically for all of us Michael Jackson it seems has always been in our lives. It
was like, you know from the Beatles to the Elvis Presleys and whatever. It was just part of our,
our life and our music. You know, you've got to remember he started and became a world famous
figure by the time he was eight years old.

And then obviously once he became a solo singer and did "Off the Wall", I mean "Off the Wall" which
was the album before "Thriller" changed the face of music. And you know as "Thriller" unfolded and
you had you know the videos with "Beat It", "Billy Jean", "Thriller" itself, it just took on a
whole new meaning and a whole new world.

EMILY BOURKE: There's been an insatiable fascination with Jackson's lifestyle - his marriages, his
attitude to fatherhood, his finances and his deepest thoughts about himself.

REPORTER: Why is Peter Pan a figure of such interest and inspiration to you?

MICHAEL JACKSON: Because Peter Pan to me represents something that is very special in my heart. You
know he represents youth, childhood, never growing up, magic, flying, everything I think that
children and wonderment and magic - what it's all about. And to me I just have never, ever growing
out of loving that or thinking that is very special.

REPORTER: You identify with him?


REPORTER: You don't want to grow up?

MICHAEL JACKSON: No, I am Peter Pan.

EMILY BOURKE: Through the 80s and 90s the music and the tours kept coming and he was constantly
reinventing himself. The "Bad", "Dangerous", and "HIStory" albums hit the charts and sold millions.

But there were revelations about his troubled childhood, and his relationship with his father.

MICHAEL JACKSON: His presence, just seeing him and sometimes I'd faint and my bodyguards would have
to hold me up.

He didn't allow us to call him daddy and I wanted to call him daddy. You know I wanted to call him
daddy so bad. He said, "I'm not daddy, I'm Joseph to you." You know? And I totally forgive him for
all of it, you know. You have to.

EMILY BOURKE: He was hounded by the tabloids over his physical appearance - the dramatic cosmetic
surgery and his bleached complexion - a condition that was blamed on an allergy to the sun.

REPORTER: The black kid and now as an adult, he looks like a white man.

MICHAEL JACKSON: Well, you've got to ask God that. That has nothing to do with me, okay? And that's

REPORTER: What do you mean it's got nothing to do with you?

MICHAEL JACKSON: I don't control, you know puberty. I don't control the fact that I have vitiligo.
I don't control, how many white people with their little kids look white, now they look very, and
they sit out in the sun all day to look black.

EMILY BOURKE: In the 1990s explosive child sex abuse claims emerged. His Neverland Ranch was
searched and he made an emotional public statement proclaiming his innocence.

MICHAEL JACKSON: My deepest gratitude for the love and support. I am doing well and I am strong.

As you would already know after my tour ended I remained out of the country undergoing treatment
for a dependency on pain medication. This medication was initially prescribed to soothe
excruciating pain that I was suffering after recent reconstructive surgery on my scalp.

There have been many disgusting statements made recently concerning allegations of improper conduct
on my part. These statements about me are totally false.

EMILY BOURKE: But in 2003 there were yet more claims of sexual abuse.

POLICE SPOKESMAN: An arrest warrant for Mr Jackson has been issued on multiple counts of child
molestation. The bail amount on the warrant has been set at $3 million.

At this point in time Mr Jackson has been given an opportunity to surrender himself to the custody
of the Santa Barbara sheriff's department within a specified period of time. We are currently
working with Mr Jackson's legal representation on this matter.

Mr Jackson has also been directed to surrender his passport when he is taken into custody.

EMILY BOURKE: After a five month trial in 2005 he was acquitted on all charges but the glare of the
spotlight didn't fade.

Despite his immense talent, wealth and fame Jackson was a man of simple needs.

REPORTER: What do you want the world to know about you most? I asked Liz that. What do you want
them to know?

MICHAEL JACKSON: Like to be remembered for?

REPORTER: Well not be remembered for, what about known for now? Forget remembered.

MICHAEL JACKSON: Oh, known for now is to be an artist, a great artist. I love what I do and I would
love people to love what I do; and to be loved. I just simply want to be loved wherever I go, all
over the world because I love people of all races from my heart with true affection.

EMILY BOURKE: Michael Jackson is survived by his three children.

PETER CAVE: Emily Bourke our reporter there.

Canberra quietens after the week that was

Canberra quietens after the week that was

Emma Griffiths reported this story on Friday, June 26, 2009 12:15:00

Federal Parliament has risen for the winter break but questions still remain after a week of
politics dominated by the OzCar affair. "The World Today" speaks to two former senior advisers from
either side of the political divide to get their take on the winners and losers from the scandal.

PETER CAVE: It's been a ferocious week in federal politics with accusations flying between the two
major parties over the fake email scandal.

Parliament has now risen for the winter break and MPs have headed home with questions still hanging
over both the Coalition and Labor.

At issue for the Coalition: whether it lent on a Treasury official to go public with the now
notorious email; and for the Government: whether Wayne Swan did in fact play favourites with a
Labor Party donor, the Brisbane based car dealer John Grant.

To help go through some of these issues today we have two former senior advisors.

Graeme Morris who was John Howard's chief of staff and Simon Banks who held the same position under
the former Labor leader Simon Crean.

They're both speaking with Emma Griffiths who's in our Canberra studio.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: Graeme Morris, Simon Banks, thanks for joining us today.


SIMON BANKS: Thanks Emma.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: We'll start with the man at the centre of this affair, the Treasury official Godwin
Grech. It was his evidence at a Senate inquiry exactly one week ago that set this all in train. Let
me get it on the record first, gentlemen.

First Graeme Morris, what do you know of Godwin Grech? Have you ever met him and have you ever had
any dealings with him?

GRAEME MORRIS: I haven't met him but a lot of my former colleagues and friends know him very well
and they tell me that a) a very, very professional, diligent public servant, a workaholic, knows
his stuff and also a fellow, I'm told who for many, many years has not been well and...

EMMA GRIFFITHS: Did you know him as a man who was supplying information to the Coalition?


EMMA GRIFFITHS: And Simon Banks, any dealings with Godwin Grech?

SIMON BANKS: Yes, like I dealt with him in his role as a public servant in recent times and I found
him to be a professional public servant.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: Did you ever think perhaps he was doing anything that a public servant shouldn't

SIMON BANKS: Had no idea, no idea.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: So we'll go to another man at the centre of this scandal - Malcolm Turnbull.

Graeme Morris, how does Malcolm Turnbull look at the end of this week? It should have been a big
win for him but it hasn't turned out to be like that because the email has turned out to be a hoax.
Can he recover from this?

GRAEME MORRIS: Yes he can. He can. Look when you think about it, if there was talk of you know
special treatment from the Government for a prime ministerial mate and that was confirmed by a
public servant, I would have thought most people would have thought Malcolm Turnbull was a bit of a
wuss or a sook if he hadn't done something.

As it turned out probably he opened up with a full sort of cavalry charge on the Prime Minister
when he probably should have had some sort of guerrilla or sniper fire at the Treasurer and he sort
of missed the PM completely.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: So was that a mistake? I mean you can't really see John Howard doing that, can you?
There was no caution there, was there?

GRAEME MORRIS: Oh, you know, John Howard had his mistakes too at times. But look all Opposition
leaders do.

And you know, did it hurt him? Yes I think when it was clear that the Prime Minister and his office
was in the clear the Government aimed all their missiles and cannons at Malcolm Turnbull and he had
a bit of skin taken off him, but you know he's a big boy.

And Opposition leaders, all Parliamentarians but particularly the Opposition leaders are tested by
how they handle themselves in difficult periods.

And it just seemed to me, just watching Parliament this week that the three people on each side,
the Prime Minister, the Treasurer and Anthony Albanese up against Malcolm Turnbull, Joe Hockey and
Tony Abbott - it was Parliament at its best on a peculiar issue. But they, you know they got in
there. There was lots of drama, there was lots of tension, lots of pressure and they did their job.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: On Malcolm Turnbull though, I mean his leadership, there are senior Liberals
expressing concern about that. Has he being saved simply because there's no-one else out there
really at the moment? Peter Costello has gone the week before.

GRAEME MORRIS: They're not senior Liberals. There is one or two prissy little pygmy panic merchants
who might be out there and it's, you know, and it's on both sides. Had the Treasurer had a rougher
week than he had, you know some of the Labor people would be saying oh dear, you know the Treasurer
is bringing us down.

Look, Malcolm Turnbull is very safe; a) because he is the best person I think, the backbench thinks
the best person to lead them; and yes because it is daylight to anyone else.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: Peter Costello is in Israel during this whole thing. Do you think there was a bit
of phone traffic asking him perhaps to reconsider?

GRAEME MORRIS: I doubt it. It seemed to me that the former treasurer made it very clear that he's
done politics.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: Simon Banks, Wayne Swan has been ducking and weaving over this issue. He, you know
he has had dealer with the car dealer John Grant. John Grant has given a free ute to the Prime
Minister. Wayne Swan spoke directly with John Grant on the phone. Is there an error of political
judgement here?

SIMON BANKS: Well I think the first point I make about all this is that the Government has put all
this on the record so it's there; I mean the relationship between the Prime Minister and Mr Grant
in terms of the, you know, the gift of the ute for his campaigning purposes. All of this stuff is
on the public record. I think the Government has put it out there. People can form their own
judgements about whether they think is, you know, right or wrong.

The key point at the end of the day with this particular matter is that, you know, Mr Grant didn't
actually get any special treatment. He didn't get any privileged position out of this compared with
all of the other car dealers who were coming forward expressing problems at the time. He was dealt
with in essentially the same way.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: But there was a suggestion or a prompt from Treasury to Godwin Grech to bring up
John Grant's case at a meeting with Ford Credit at the time that Ford Credit was seeking
half-a-billion-dollars worth of funding from the Government.

There are questions there, aren't there?

SIMON BANKS: Well look there are issues about it obviously and people will have a look at it. The
Auditor-General is going to have a look at how this case was handled at the time and that's an
appropriate and independent way of checking to make sure that things were done properly.

But the key point again, I keep coming back to is that at the end of the day Mr Grant didn't
actually end up getting any special treatment at all from anyone.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: Wayne Swan though was looking under pressure. There would have been some very
worried people in Labor ranks listening to that Senate inquiry last week, wouldn't there?

SIMON BANKS: Well look I think you have to now look back a week later on that Senate inquiry in
context. I think there are obvious questions out there in the public domain about the evidence that
may have been provided to that Senate inquiry.

I think we have to wait until we see all of this come out in the full wash. I don't think you can
judge it based on that information at that time.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: Has Malcolm Turnbull through jumping on this hoax email, given Wayne Swan a bit of
a get out of jail free card here?

SIMON BANKS: Well I think the big problem that Malcolm has really had over the past week is a
fundamental one. I mean that like in a couple of months' time no-one is going to particularly
remember these events.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: But it has been a close call for Wayne Swan, hasn't it?

SIMON BANKS: No, no I wouldn't say that at all. What I'd say is that what people are going to take
out of this last week in particular is real issues about the judgement of Mr Turnbull in dealing
with this matter.

He made a series of mistakes. Let me just run through them very quickly for you.

First of all on Friday he jumped to some conclusions on the basis of Mr Grech's evidence to the
Senate inquiry and really overreached by calling at that stage for the resignation of the Prime
Minister and the Treasurer.

Then you know early in the week he promised that he was going to fully cooperate with an AFP
inquiry and as the week went on he reversed that and said that he was going to qualify it.

Thirdly, you know then you know despite during the middle of the week clearing the Prime Minister,
saying that he had no case to answer, yesterday in Question Time they continued to come back to the
Prime Minister's relationship with Mr Grant despite the fact that there is no evidence, no evidence
at all of anything inappropriate.

And then finally I think you know the question that a number of his own colleagues are raising at
the moment which is, why did he get so personally involved in all of this? Why didn't he keep some
distance and objectivity about what was going on? Why did he invest so much of himself in this?

EMMA GRIFFITHS: Well on that...

SIMON BANKS: Those fundamental questions of judgement I think will linger and it's not the Labor
Party raising those questions today. It's the Liberal Party raising those questions today.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: Well on that last point, Graeme Morris should Malcolm Turnbull have handed this
matter over to somebody else who could really take up the fight against Labor instead of putting
himself all out there?

GRAEME MORRIS: Well the answer is yes but you knowJoe Hockey didn't do a bad job. Tony Abbott
didn't do a bad job. But sometimes in these sort of things everyone says come on leader, it's

And yes look if you know if you had a Peter Reith or a Peter Costello there then maybe you would
hand it over there but he didn't.

And look, you know an Opposition leader needs, they sort of needs a backbone, they need guts, they
need ideas, they need to be able to work long hours and they need a little bit of luck.

Now Malcolm I think has got all of those but this week he ran out of luck.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: Has he had, has he worn some damage though with the electorate? I mean their choice
of leader recently, their choice of Prime Minister has shown they appreciate a bit of caution.


EMMA GRIFFITHS: The electorate.

GRAEME MORRIS: Oh yes, look the electorate, well that, that's true that there is, one has to be a
bit cautious. But also, you know the electorate has to look at how a person handles themselves
under pressure and there is no doubt at the end of the week Malcolm ended up under pressure but he
was still in there fighting, he was still in there batting.

And when you think about it, it's not, it's only a couple of weeks ago the Labor Party was in a bit
of a schmozzle when Joel Fitzgibbon fell over and here we are today at the end of that strange week
when we've got, what was it, five minutes on the ABC's main news where we're talking about a fellow
who for half of his life probably would have been kicked out of the sideshow alley at the Wagga
show because he was too weird.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: Well I just want to keep on that issue about how people out there, voters are
looking at this issue because it's been a fairly fierce time in federal politics the last week and
there have been lots of letters to the editor in the papers saying what are our elected official
doing? You know, get on with running the country.

Simon Banks first, does anyone really win in this sort of stoush?

SIMON BANKS: Look I think politics as a whole is the loser out of these sorts of you know incidents
but look, Parliament and politics is a process for holding people to account at one level.

I think the real problem out of the backend particularly of this week is that there are really some
very substantial issues that the Parliament should have been getting on and dealing with - climate
change being the most obvious example.

And what we are seeing constantly from the Coalition at the moment is a focus on these issues on
the one hand. And the answer is if they were doing that but then getting on with the main game of
the legislation in the Parliament, you could at least give them some credit for that. But they are
not even getting on with the main game around those core issues that people really do care about.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: And Graeme Morris, is there any winner is this? Can there be any winner in this
sort of stoush?

GRAEME MORRIS: Yes I, look I think there are. I think people do judge leaders by how they handle
themselves in difficult periods. And the week started off on sort of probity and governance and
standards and it ended up sort of, the Government get Malcolm.

But he's still standing. I think, look I think the basic message the electorate took out of this
was Malcolm Turnbull had a go at something. He got it a bit wrong. He shouldn't have had a go at
the Prime Minister. But the Treasurer did something there and I think they would hope that the
Treasurer wouldn't handle things in future the way he did with this one.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: Okay Graeme Morris, Simon Banks, thanks very much for your time.

SIMON BANKS: Emma, Graeme.


PETER CAVE: And asking the questions was our political correspondent Emma Griffiths.

NSW Parliament breaks for bitter winter

NSW Parliament breaks for bitter winter

Simon Santow reported this story on Friday, June 26, 2009 12:33:00

The NSW Government says it was forced to bring an abrupt end to the sitting of the Upper House
because it was clear there'd be no progress on its legislative program. But some observers say it
only shows that houses of review are redundant in parliamentary democracies.

PETER CAVE: In parliaments throughout the Westminster system Upper Houses are often getting a very
bad name.

Paul Keating famously described the Australian Senate as "unrepresentative swill".

In Britain commentators have long made fun of the House of Lords.

And at state level in Australia there are regular calls to abolish the so-called houses of review.

Now in New South Wales that state's Legislative Council or Upper House is mired in controversy
because the Labor Government locked out Opposition MPs by invoking a rarely used parliamentary
procedure in order to prevent it from defeating the Government's plans to privatise the Lottery

Simon Santow reports.

SIMON SANTOW: The Lower House in New South Wales might be famously called the "bear pit" but across
the way in the red leather seats, the Upper House has prematurely become a pollie-free zone.

TONY KELLY: I move to adjourn the House for the winter recess, having sat through to two o'clock
and one o'clock two nights during the week. Now they, the Opposition then attempted to hijack the
operation of the House which is a very unusual procedure. I was left with no choice but to suspend
the House or cause the House to be suspended on the ringing of the long bell.

SIMON SANTOW: Tony Kelly is the Police Minister and the Labor Government's leader in the Upper

He's been feeling the heat because he can't get key crossbenchers to agree to backing a bill which
would privatise state lotteries.

In the sometimes murky world of political payback, Labor is being blocked because it won't support
legislation which would allow sporting shooters open slather to hunt in National Parks.

So what did Tony Kelly do? He gave the rest of his colleagues an early mark ahead of the two month
long winter parliamentary break.

TONY KELLY: I think that's the first time that that has happened in my time. The historic part
about this is that this will be the longest day. The technicality is that when the House adjourns
on the long bell, it's still the same day so that when we come back in September, instead of the
Parliament starting as at the 1st of September, it will technically start as at the 24th of June,
the continued day.

SIMON SANTOW: Meredith Burgmann has retired from state politics but from 1999 to 2007 the Labor MP
served as president in the Upper House of New South Wales.

She sees the shenanigans in Macquarie Street as inevitable when you have a political system that
gives a voice to minor parties.

MEREDITH BURGMANN: What the crossbenchers in the Upper House have said is, we are not going to let
the Government get its legislation through. And I think that froze up for a lot of people the whole
question of whether an Upper House which is elected in one way really should be able to frustrate
the plans of government of the Lower House which is the House where governments are made and the
house where decisions about governance of the state should take place.

I means the Upper House has always been considered to be a house of review whereas it's quite clear
from the actions of the crossbenchers over the last few days that they have seen their role as
stopping bills going through.

SIMON SANTOW: Tony Kelly says as frustrating as the system can be he's far from convinced it ought
to be abandoned.

TONY KELLY: I believe that the Upper House does reflect the constitution of the people or the way
the people would normally vote. Obviously from the Labor Party I would much rather have an Upper
House that has a Labor majority. But what it does reflect, the Labor Party in its correct numbers;
the Liberal Party, the National Party, the way their proportions in the community, but it also
gives those minor parties a chance to have a voice as well.

SIMON SANTOW: And Meredith Burgmann argues that voters are getting an insight into the deal making
that goes into getting bills passed, or in this case not passed.

MEREITH BURGMANN: For 16 years I watched governments of both sides go through this difficult
process of trying to get a bunch of very dispirit minor parties to support the bill. It's a bit
like herding cats.

You get one people from say the shooters to support something and then the Greens won't support it
or then you get the Greens to support it and then suddenly they change their mind. The Democrat,
you know, wouldn't vote with the Greens.

As I say, it was like herding cats.

SIMON SANTOW: I suppose the other way of looking at it is that it does shine a light, the people
out there who aren't watching the intricacies of the political process or aren't familiar with
them, that really there is a lot of horse trading that has to go on behind the scenes for the
system to work.

MEREITH BURGMANN: Yes, I always tell people to watch "The West Wing" if they want to see how
legislation is really made. There is a huge amount of horse trading has to take place.

PETER CAVE: The former NSW Upper House President Meredith Burgmann, ending that report from Simon

Former ANZ boss downplays impact of Opes Prime collapse

Former ANZ boss downplays impact of Opes Prime collapse

Peter Ryan reported this story on Friday, June 26, 2009 12:38:00

The former head of the ANZ Bank John McFarlane says the collapse of the Melbourne stock lending
firm Opes Prime has been blown out of proportion. Mr McFarlane denies the disastrous relationship
with Opes Prime exposed cultural and ethical problems within the bank.

PETER CAVE: The former head of the ANZ Bank has spoken out for the first time about last year's
collapse of the Melbourne stock lending firm Opes Prime.

John McFarlane - who left ANZ before the bank's exposure was uncovered - believes the ethical and
cultural issues surrounding the collapse have been blown out of proportion.

Mr McFarlane also admits he knew nothing about ANZ's relationship with Opes Prime until he read
about it in a newspaper well after his retirement as chief executive.

Here's our business editor Peter Ryan.

PETER RYAN: During his 10 year reign as the ANZ's chief executive, John McFarlane was lauded as one
of the world's most successful bankers.

He left the ANZ in October 2007 more than a year before the bank's disastrous dealings with Opes
Prime were uncovered.

But according to John McFarlane there was no smoking gun or warning he could have provided to his
successor Mike Smith.

JOHN MCFARLANE: I'd never heard of it until it was in newspapers and I am sure the board had never
heard of it either.

PETER RYAN: In some of his first public comments about the Opes Prime collapse, Mr McFarlane told
the ABC's "Lateline Business" that the bank's $600-million exposure just wasn't big enough to make
it to his in-tray. He said Opes Prime represented a small activity in a very small part of the

JOHN MCFARLANE: It was on our books for a tenth of the value and therefore it would never, ever
have been close to head office. It would have been way down on the list. It would have been well
below people's radar.

I think that judgement is probably the thing that obscured it and was the reason why action was not
taken earlier. I think if I'd have known about it, I would have closed it down.

PETER RYAN: Around 1200 Opes Prime clients lost most of their investments when the ANZ called in
their loans after the share market plunged at the height of the credit crisis.

The legal, ethical and risk management fallout became a hospital pass for Mike Smith who walked
right into the crisis.

MIKE SMITH: It is not ANZ's finest hour.

PETER RYAN: After an internal review found multiple levels of management weakness, Mike Smith
sacked eight ANZ staff including two top executives.

MIKE SMITH: These issues were never given the proper attention and oversight and in particular were
not escalated to the CEO, to the board committees or to the board in the way that they should have

PETER RYAN: But John McFarlane says the cultural and ethical issues have been overblown. And while
he agrees the buck should stop with the CEO especially in the area of risk management, he says that
can't always be the case.

JOHN MCFARLANE: You are never happy and you have to take responsibility for things that you
couldn't control. You can't take responsibility for things that you weren't aware of even though
you are at the top. You got to, you know the CEO has to be accountable.

But you secondly can't be responsible for something that happens well after you leave and the
handling of that.

PETER RYAN: The corporate regulator ASIC proposed a settlement between Opes Prime creditors and its
financiers ANZ and Merrill Lynch earlier this year.

But the matter is still before the courts. Investors say the $254-million on the table isn't enough
to cover their losses.

While that battle goes on, corporate law experts are assessing the impact of Opes Prime on the
ANZ's overall reputation.

IAN RAMSAY: We can't expect everything to cross the desk of the board or indeed cross the desk of
the CEO.

PETER RYAN: But Professor Ian Ramsay of the Centre for Corporate Law at Melbourne University says
the Opes Prime failings have resulted in CEOs and boards being more accountable than ever.

IAN RAMSAY: It has ratcheted right to the top. At the latest AGM of ANZ both the chairman of the
board and the CEO did comment upon this. They commented upon the report that was commissioned by
ANZ and published. They commented upon the fact that the collapse of Opes Prime and the failure to
the bank in this area that led to the departure of eight managers and executives, remuneration cuts
for certain executives.

So in a sense what was a small part of the bank's business has had quite a significant outcome for
the bank in a number of ways, including improved control environments within the bank.

PETER CAVE: Corporate law professor Ian Ramsay ending that report from our business editor Peter

Bank of Queensland stands its ground

Bank of Queensland stands its ground

Annie Guest reported this story on Friday, June 26, 2009 12:42:00

Critics have called on the Bank of Queensland to clarify its position amid reports it's being
officially investigated over its involvement in the $3-billion collapse of the Storm Financial
advisory firm. The Bank insists there's no evidence of improper or dishonest practices.

PETER CAVE: The Bank of Queensland is facing criticism that it has misled the market after it
strongly defended its involvement in the collapse of the Storm Financial advisory firm.

The Bank said in a statement yesterday that it wasn't being formally investigated over the
$3-billion collapse and that there's no evidence of improper or dishonest practices.

"The World Today" understands however that the Australian Securities and Investments Commission has
since told the bank that it is under investigation.

Critics say that the Bank of Queensland should release a clarifying statement today. The company
says its statement was correcting the record and there's nothing more to add.

Annie Guest reports from Brisbane.

ANNIE GUEST: Keith and Dianne Ensor had a home loan through the Bank of Queensland. Storm Financial
arranged the loan and the retirees used the money to invest in the share market through Storm.

The pair in their 60s and 70s then had to sell their home to repay a margin loan after the share
market dived.

And now they're surprised by the Bank of Queensland's statement that it wasn't being formally
investigated as Keith and Dianne Ensor are among those who found anomalies in their home loan

It said the retirees had an income when Keith Ensor says they had next to none.

KEITH ENSOR: I was supposedly tied up with a transport company, money-wise or work-wise, while we
really weren't earning anything.

ANNIE GUEST: The share market collapse meant that you had to find money to repay margin loans and
therefore sold your house. What effect has this whole saga had on you and your wife?

KEITH ENSOR: We do have a caravan and a car. We do have a few dollars in the bank. We are actually
doing house sitting. My wife goes back to work three days a week. She is now on anti-depressants.

ANNIE GUEST: The Bank of Queensland said it was taking the opportunity to clarify key facts after
significant media misinformation when it released its statement yesterday.

It said there was no evidence of improper conduct by the Bank and that its involvement was to
provide 320 customers associated with Storm home equity loans, not margin loans.

The loans total about $105-million. Of 15 customers who have lodged hardship applications, the bank
says all but one were approved.

But since that statement "The World Today" understands the Australian Securities and Investments
Commission has told the Bank of Queensland it is under investigation.

Storm was headquartered in Townsville where economist Carey Ramm has since advised its former

CAREY RAMM: Unfortunately it looks like the Bank of Queensland are going to have to make a
humiliating retraction of their strongly worded denial about their involvement with Storm Financial
today because it's quite clear that they are under investigation by ASIC.

ANNIE GUEST: The Bank of Queensland took a very different approach to the Commonwealth Bank. It had
2,500 customers involved in the Storm collapse, many of whom borrowed money to take out margin

The CBA has accepted some responsibility and agreed to a former High Court judge independently
arbitrating between the bank and the clients' lawyers.

Carey Ramm says the Bank of Queensland needs to also accept blame.

CAREY RAMM: With the Bank of Queensland it's actually been some of the worst documentation that I
have seen out of all the Storm clients.

I mean I have seen one old-age pensioner who had an income put on her loan application form where
supposedly she earned $104,000 per month net of tax. I've seen Bank of Queensland approving loans
the day before they are actually applied for.

ANNIE GUEST: What do you say to the Bank of Queensland's comments in its statement that it had been
portrayed unfairly and negatively in the media when it's the Bank of Queensland provided the Storm
clients with equity loans, not margin loans?

CAREY RAMM: Well look unfortunately all the problems associated with the Storm victims stem from
the home equity loans and then the subsequent margin loans on top of that. Really in Australia it
comes down to loan affordability and what we have seen here from the Bank of Queensland is a number
of loans where home affordability wasn't assessed adequately by the bank.

ANNIE GUEST: "The World Today" sought an interview with the Bank of Queensland to respond to the
criticism but a spokeswoman referred us to the statement yesterday, saying it had placed the facts
on the record.

PETER CAVE: Annie Guest reporting.

Qantas cancels orders as industry woes continue

Qantas cancels orders as industry woes continue

Sue Lannin reported this story on Friday, June 26, 2009 12:47:00

Qantas has cancelled 15 Boeing Dreamliners to cut costs. The move comes as the slump in
international air travel continues, made worse by the global financial crisis and the recent
outbreak of the swine flu pandemic.

PETER CAVE: The global financial crisis has continued to take its toll on Qantas.

The airline has deferred or cancelled the delivery of 30 Boeing Dreamliners to save nearly

Finance reporter, Sue Lannin.

SUE LANNIN: The Dreamliner may be a dream aircraft but its owner Boeing is expected to soon
announce yet another delay in its delivery date.

Qantas says its decision to delay or cancel the orders of 30 Dreamliners isn't linked to the
aircraft's troubles.

In a statement chief executive Alan Joyce, says changes to the orders are appropriate in the
current climate and will save $3.7-billion.

Derek Sadubin from the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation says it's no surprise.

DEREK SADUBIN: That is just symptomatic of the pressures that the airlines around the world are
under and we expect that there will be more airlines cancelling aircraft deliveries as they
reassess the demand outlook over the medium term because it's very different than it was 12 months

SUE LANNIN: Aviation consultant Neil Hansford is critical of Qantas for not selling its freight
business and its frequent flyer program to help improve its bottom line.

He was involved in the order for the Dreamliners.

NEIL HANSFORD: Certainly Qantas's figures are particularly poor at the moment and believed to be,
they're believed to be losing $20-million a month. When the original order was placed it was fairly
bold and I think there was a belief in Qantas that they could have sold their production slots to
other people and made money on the slots.

If they had taken the full 65 aircraft, Qantas and Jetstar would have absolutely been booming.

Alan Joyce has probably got the most difficult job in what he has inherited from Dixon. Geoff Dixon
must be wiping his brow saying, I'm glad I'm out of that.

SUE LANNIN: The woes of Qantas won't be helped by new figures showing another fall in international
passenger demand made worse by the outbreak of swine flu.

The International Air Transport Association or IATA says demand dropped 9.3 per cent in May with
Mexico and the Asia Pacific hardest hit.

Demand for freight fell more than 17 per cent over the month but the association says it may have
reached the bottom.

Derek Sadubin isn't so sure.

DEREK SADUBIN: Well certain the headline traffic figures suggest some stabilisation in the overall
worldwide picture in international demand. Revenues are a totally different story and we are still
seeing airline revenues deteriorate and average fares and yields go down as airlines really throw
the kitchen sink at getting people to try and fly again.

The financial health of the airline industry globally is extremely fragile and IATA goes on to say
that airlines around the world are really in survival mode.

SUE LANNIN: Neil Hansford thinks the bottom is a long way off and it's the budget carriers who will
emerge victorious.

NEIL HANSFORD: When we come out of it and you know there's a million of professors want to tell you
when, it will be the low cost carriers who have got a low cost base. They haven't inherited
traditional high labour costs which the legacy carriers like your Qantases and your BAs are still
stuck with and their dynamics will allow them to come out quicker, they are better on their feet,
they've got better access to equipment.

The saviour of Qantas will be Jetstar and Virgin will obviously benefit.

SUE LANNIN: Singapore based budget carrier Tiger Airways started flying in Australia in late 2007.

Managing director, Shelley Roberts:

SHELLEY ROBERTS: Tiger Airways is the fastest growing airline in Australia today. What we are
finding in fact is that people are looking for a good deal and so they are flying with Tiger.

SUE LANNIN: And how do you see the state of the industry overall? Is it a pretty tough time?

SHELLEY ROBERTS: Well, I think it's certainly the model of the low cost carrier that is proving
successful in this market at these times. It is actually a great time for us with fuel prices being
low and the Australian dollar being strong to continue expanding and we are going to do that.

I mean I have plans to bring 30 aircraft to Australia and we will fly wherever there is demand for

PETER CAVE: Shelley Roberts, the managing director of Tiger Airways Australia ending that report
from Sue Lannin.

Fast food giants curb advertising

Fast food giants curb advertising

Rachael Brown reported this story on Friday, June 26, 2009 12:51:00

Seven fast food chains have agreed to voluntarily curb their advertising aimed at children aged
under 14. The industry says it's committed to federal health initiatives but with a new health
report card due out next week critics say it's just trying to head off regulation at the pass.

PETER CAVE: Fast food giants have announced voluntary curbs on junk food advertising, restricting
what can be promoted to children under the age of 14.

But critics say those guidelines have massive loopholes and are just an attempt to derail a federal
health report due next week.

Rachael Brown compiled this report.

(Extracts from various fast food commercials)

RACHAEL BROWN: They bombard our senses every day and have become the wallpaper to modern living.

But Australia's fast food outlets, or quick service restaurants as they're calling themselves now,
are trying to clean up their act.

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: Only to advertise their healthier food options to children under 14. It's also a
commitment to put nutritional information on their websites, on the packaging of the products and
also to make it available in the restaurants.

RACHAEL BROWN: The Australian Association of National Advertisers CEO Scott McClellan says it's a
big step for seven fast food chains to sign up to the standards.

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: Now the criteria were developed by accredited practising dieticians in accordance
with the National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines and they cover things such as
levels of saturated fat, sugar, sodium and the energy level of the product.

RACHAEL BROWN: Fast food outlets aren't known for their healthy meal options. What type of options
are we talking about?

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: McDonald's for example offers a chicken wrap with a milk sipper on the side and a
bag of apples so that kind of meal will meet the nutritional criteria that has been established.

(Extracts from fast food advertisement)

RACHAEL BROWN: What about the marketing of toys with junk food? Do the rules cover that?

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: We're saying that they can only be used if the ad is for a healthier choice and if
the toy or premium is incidental to the meal being advertised.

RACHAEL BROWN: The new guidelines apply to all media, including the internet, will be independently
monitored, and any consumer complaints can be directed to the Advertising Standards Board.

They've been released a week before the Preventative Health Taskforce is due to release its report
on issues like obesity but Mr McClellan denies the industry is trying to derail possible harsher
advertising restrictions.

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: Let's remember these are very competitive companies. To get them all to sign up to
a series of undertakings under this initiative took several months.

RACHAEL BROWN: Deakin University's Professor of Population Health Boyd Swinburn disagrees.

BOYD SWINBURN: There is no question that this is a cynical attempt to try and head regulation off
at the pass.

RACHAEL BROWN: Professor Swinburn says the guidelines have loopholes so big you could drive a truck
through them.

BOYD SWINBURN: Children's meals of nuggets, fries and coke gets through the very lax criteria. The
promoting healthy lifestyle which is an escape clause for most of the conditions and that includes
promote physical activity so they just need to have some character or some promotion showing that
they are active.

RACHAEL BROWN: Professor Boyd adds the code targets children, but he says most watch TV between 6pm
and 10pm, which isn't specifically classified as a children's time slot, so he says it will be open
slather for advertisers.

Dr Samantha Thomas, Health Sociologist at Monash University, the fast food industry has always been
targeted as the big baddy in the war against obesity, but she says society needs broader public
health initiatives.

SAMANTHA THOMAS: We want to have much more emphasis on great healthy lifestyle and activity
programs, lots more stuff for kids in school educating them about healthy behaviours, not around
dieting and weight loss but around what it means to be a good, healthy, active Aussie kid.

But also we need lots more family interventions to help families who are often facing a lot of
different socio-economic circumstances and so on to make those choices, those good healthy choices
for their families.

PETER CAVE: Dr Samantha Thomas from Monash University ending that report from Rachael Brown.

Melbourne company hopes Mexico will see the light

Melbourne company hopes Mexico will see the light

Simon Lauder reported this story on Friday, June 26, 2009 12:55:00

A Victorian company is hoping to earn millions of credits on the European carbon market by changing
30-million light bulbs in Mexico. The world-first scheme is run from Melbourne but can't be set up
in Australia because there isn't the regulatory support.

PETER CAVE: An Australian based company says its plan to give away 30-million energy saving light
bulbs in Mexico will do as much to reduce carbon emissions as closing Mexico City to traffic for a

But it's also set to be the first household scheme to be accepted by the United Nations as a part
of the Clean Development Mechanism which enables industrialised countries to offset emissions by
investing in developing countries.

But because Australia has no emissions trading scheme, the credits will be sold on the European

Simon Lauder reports from Melbourne.

SIMON LAUDER: In an office in Brunswick in Melbourne's inner north a small company is on a mission
to plug into households on the other side of the world.

The aim is to distribute 30-million efficient light bulbs throughout Mexico. Senior policy officer
at Cool nrg, Dougal McInnes, says that will create eight-million carbon credits.

DOUGAL MCINNES: And it will be eight-million tonnes of CO2 over the life time of the bulbs.

SIMON LAUDER: How significant is that?

DOUGAL MCINNES: In terms of Mexico, that's equivalent to taking cars off the road for one year.

SIMON LAUDER: The coordinator of the project in Latin America, Rodrigo Castellanos, says Mexico is
being targeted because it's one of the world's most polluted countries but also because it's a poor

Mr Castellanos says efficient light bulbs are too expensive for many Mexicans and the free bulbs
will last a decade, significantly reducing household power costs.

RODRIGO CASTELLANOS: In Mexico, from the electricity bill of an average family, approximately 40
per cent is from lighting. So the annual savings of this project is approximately, it's almost one
week of income for a low income household.

SIMON LAUDER: And in terms of Mexico's carbon footprint, how big a deal is this reduction that
these light bulbs will cause?

RODRIGO CASTELLANOS: As offsetting activities or else activities that reduce that carbon footprint,
this one is at the moment, one possibly within the top three actions that the Mexican Government
can take in the very, very short term which is the other really attractive part of this action.

It is not something that has to wait for 10 years or 12 years. It is something that can be deliver

SIMON LAUDER: The project is unique because it's set to be listed under the UN's Clean Development
Mechanism which allows developed countries to invest in emissions reduction in developing

The effectiveness of the mechanism has been questioned because it focuses largely on industrial
sized projects.

Dougal McInnes says the light bulbs scheme would be the first household based scheme to be listed.

DOUGAL MCINNES: As a first for the CDM mechanism, it's a world first.

SIMON LAUDER: Why has it taking so long for a household based scheme to be registered?

DOUGAL MCINNES: I think it hasn't happened because traditionally climate change action has been
directed at the supply side so at large factories and the industrial level.

SIMON LAUDER: It's the initiative of a Melbourne based company but it's registered in the UK. Mr
McInnes says project couldn't be registered in Australia.

PETER CAVE: And that was Simon Lauder reporting.