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Opposition questions PM's 'new approach' on Indigenous affairs

Opposition questions PM's 'new approach' on Indigenous affairs

Sabra Lane reported this story on Friday, July 3, 2009 12:10:00

PETER CAVE: The Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says he wants a new approach to Indigenous affairs.

It follows yesterday's report from the Productivity Commission which showed that living conditions
in some Indigenous communities haven't improved and in some cases they have worsened.

Mr Rudd told the Kununurra community in Western Australia that it's time to put partisan rancour
into the past and that all sides of politics should work together on closing the life expectancy
gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

An Opposition senator has taken issue with Mr Rudd on that, saying he's made the offer before but
rejected the Opposition's input.

And the Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce says it's time the Government considered other ideas, which
may not be politically palatable, like linking school attendances to welfare payments.

From Canberra, Sabra Lane reports.

SABRA LANE: Politicians, and to be fair journalists too, are often guilty of using a cliche when
searching for a snappy line to quickly explain something.

Over the past 24 hours, both the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader have resorted to cliches
or favourite phrases to get them out of a hole.

This is what the Prime Minister said yesterday on the latest report on the state of Indigenous

KEVIN RUDD: It is unacceptable and it requires decisive action.

SABRA LANE: For the Opposition, that's become a meaningless line.

The deputy Opposition leader Julie Bishop.

JULIE BISHOP: He said we need to take decisive action. Well, that's what he said before the last
election and it seems that nothing has been achieved.

SABRA LANE: Ms Bishop was restrained in her views on ABC-2 this morning. The leader of the
Nationals in the Senate Barnaby Joyce issued a media release saying he'd be violently ill if he
heard Mr Rudd utter the word decisive again.

BARNABY JOYCE: If he is truly decisive, that means that we will be doing something immediately. So
I am looking for him to do something immediately otherwise this just becomes another foil to say
decisive but really mean procrastination.

SABRA LANE: And Senator Joyce says he's also concerned by the Government's promise to double and
treble its efforts in addressing Indigenous disadvantage.

BARNABY JOYCE: There seems to be a belief that if you just throw a chequebook at something, that
somehow it will magically get better. What we need to see is clear policy statements that start
today such as if your child does not go to school, you will not get paid social security. In fact
if your child does not go to school clothed and fed, you will not get paid social security and
people will jump up and down and say well that is outrageous. Well, we just can't keep going on the
way that we are going.

We are having a whole generation of people in certain areas that basically are not educated,
therefore they are delivered to poverty in perpetuity and that has got to stop today. Not after
some report, not next week, not after a doubling and trebling of efforts. That has got to start
with effort and a policy statement right now.

SABRA LANE: Today, Mr Rudd will announce $200-million of new Aboriginal health, housing, education
and training programs for communities around Kununurra in Western Australia.

Last night the Prime Minister had his hands daubed in paint as he joined local leaders, in putting
palm prints on a large board.

(Sound of applause)

SABRA LANE: And Mr Rudd told locals it was time for a new approach in closing the gap between
Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

KEVIN RUDD: I think the times for the partisan divide on Indigenous policy in Australia have well
and truly passed. I think the time for the future is making a difference. Whoever happens to be in
government in Canberra or Perth or elsewhere, it is time that we put the rancour of the past behind
us. It is time that we recognised the things that have not worked in the past.

It is time we actually marched together towards the future.

On those things that do work, those practical things that make a difference in closing the gap
between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

SABRA LANE: The Nationals Barnaby Joyce takes issue with that, saying the Government made a similar
offer last year, after the formal apology. Then, Mr Rudd offered the Opposition a place on an
Indigenous war-cabinet last year but rejected the Coalition's candidate of choice.

BARNABY JOYCE: That is a great statement Mr Rudd, but you've got to put your statement into effect
with the way you act. For instance when Mal Brough, it was suggested that he go onto their
committee last year, Mr Rudd knocked it back. Now you can't walk both sides of the street, Mr Rudd.

If you are saying now that you are going to do something decisive, let's hope that this is just not
another one of your media spin rhetorical statements that sounds great, gets you through the media
day and then tomorrow is promptly forgotten about.

When you grab hold of the Indigenous issue, we hope that it is fair dinkum, which means we don't
want another 2020 Summit on this. We don't want another report. Start getting the right people on
board and maybe find out Mr Brough's phone number. Ring him up and give him a job.

SABRA LANE: Cliches were a problem for Malcolm Turnbull too this morning. He trotted out a familiar
response on the Macquarie Radio Network, in answering a question about his woeful polling results
earlier this week.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: The only poll that matters is the one on election day and opinion polls go up and

SABRA LANE: And if Mr Turnbull thought that would satisfy the interviewer, he was wrong.

ALAN JONES: But surely we have had GroceryWatch: a fake and a failure. FuelWatch: a fake and a
failure. BankWatch: a fake and a failure. Rudd Bank: a fake and a failure. How are you not 30
points in front?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: (Laughs) Well, Alan that is a good question. I just have to keep on getting those
messages across.

SABRA LANE: But the Opposition Leader says he can win the next election.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: We can win the next election and we should win the next election.

SABRA LANE: But his deputy, Julie Bishops, says it will be tough.

JULIE BISHOP: We obviously have a challenge ahead of us to win over the Australian public to our
policies, to our point of view, to our credentials in terms of economic management. It is not an
easy task but we must hold the Government to account and that is what we are doing.

SABRA LANE: And some in the Liberal Party might think that challenge is as big as the one
confronting all Australians in finding the solution to Indigenous disadvantage.

PETER CAVE: Sabra Lane reporting.

Macklin admits it will take time to reverse Indigenous disadvantage

Macklin admits it will take time to reverse Indigenous disadvantage

Louise Yaxley reported this story on Friday, July 3, 2009 12:14:00

PETER CAVE: The Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin says the Government made a record
level of investment in housing and it has increased funding in health and education.

But she admits it will take time to reverse the appalling statistics.

Jenny Macklin says the Commonwealth and states have agreed to a national licensing system for
remote community stores, to try to improve the healthy food sales in Aboriginal communities.

She spoke to Louise Yaxley.

JENNY MACKLIN: The Council of Australian Governments yesterday agreed in principle to develop a new
nationally consistencing (phonetic) licensing scheme for remote community stores to make sure that
the standard and quality of food available in these remote communities is much improved.

LOUISE YAXLEY: So is the community store announcement what Mr Rudd meant by redoubling and trebling

JENNY MACKLIN: We know that our resolve has to be strengthened when we see these terrible figures
that came from the Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage report yesterday.

We have always said that it is going to take some time to address these terrible results that we
saw yesterday.

It does strengthen our resolve to get on with implementing the substantial increase in housing,
health, education and employment money that we have got to get out into communities, into schools,
into health centres, building the houses. All of this needs to be done and it needs to be done as
quickly as possible.

LOUISE YAXLEY: But again, the existing efforts. What did he mean by redoubling and trebling?

JENNY MACKLIN: Making sure that we get the teachers of high quality into our schools. Making sure
that we get the housing reforms, get the tenancy management reforms and the land tenure reforms,
deliver the employment reforms. Making sure that we close the gap on employment so that people have
jobs and are able to sustain their families in a better way than they have been able to in the past
so that children's ear, nose and throat, their eye problems are addressed so that they can learn at

All of these areas have to be addressed together. We have got a historic level of investment. We
have got to get on and make sure that it is implemented effectively.

LOUISE YAXLEY: One of the figures that came out in the Productivity Commission report was the
increasing incarceration rates for men, women and juveniles in the Indigenous community. What is
your plan for addressing that?

JENNY MACKLIN: One of the main reasons that we see such high levels of incarceration is because of
alcohol abuse and we know that alcohol abuse is behind much of the child abuse and neglect that is
happening in Aboriginal communities as well. We are seeing some positive improvements in some
places; Fitzroy Crossing in Western Australia for example where they have put in strong alcohol
controls. In some parts of the Northern Territory now, we are seeing more money spent on food than
on alcohol.

These are just the glimmers of hope but we know that if we redouble our efforts to address alcohol
abuse just as one indication of where we can work to make sure that we reduce the levels of
violence, reduce the levels of child abuse that also will reduce the levels of incarceration.

PETER CAVE: The Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin speaking to Louise Yaxley.

Swine flu hits Indigenous populations harder

Swine flu hits Indigenous populations harder

Rachael Brown reported this story on Friday, July 3, 2009 12:18:00

PETER CAVE: Further compounding the health problems of Indigenous Australians is the news that they
may be more susceptible to swine flu.

The medical journal The Lancet reports the flu strain could have a potentially catastrophic effect.

An Aboriginal man from central Australia was the first of the country's 10 deaths so far.

In Victoria, where the outbreak began, a respected doctor says the state's health system has only
been spared from paralysis because of the strain's predominately mild nature.

Rachael Brown reports.

RACHAEL BROWN: Indigenous populations were behind the eight ball even before the swine flu
outbreak, with many groups' transition from a traditional way of living to so-called "western
lifestyles" leading to obesity, cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.

Professor Michael Gracey is a medical advisor to the Aboriginal-run organisation Unity of First
People of Australia.

His journal article in The Lancet says the tidal wave of lifestyle diseases have left Indigenous
populations vulnerable.

MICHAEL GRACEY: And their general poor standard of health and the fact that many Indigenous people
in Australia unfortunately are smokers or have been smokers and this makes them much more
susceptible to respiratory illnesses.

RACHAEL BROWN: Professor Gracey says swine flu is disproportionately affecting Indigenous
populations around the world.

MICHAEL GRACEY: In Manitoba in western Canada is several times higher in their Indigenous
populations than it is in non-Indigenous people in Manitoba. That is just one example and that is
the sort of disproportionate rates of infection that we are used to seeing in Indigenous people.

It's of interest to recall that during the influenza pandemic of 1918, the so-called Spanish flu
spread rapidly from Europe came to Australia and effected and killed many Aboriginal people in very
remote parts of Australia.

RACHAEL BROWN: In Australia, he says designing specific infection protection measures is difficult.

MICHAEL GRACEY: The strategies have to be designed according to the local circumstances.
Remoteness, isolation, poor severe staff, rapid turnover of medical nursing and health worker
staff, makes things much, much more difficult.

RACHAEL BROWN: The World Health Organization reports as many as four out of five flu sufferers this
winter will have the swine flu virus.

Ten people have died with the virus, most with pre-existing medical conditions.

A doctor who chairs the division of general practice in the initial epicentre of the virus,
Melbourne's north-east, says had the strain not been so mild, the state's health care system
would've buckled.

PETER EIZENBERG: We're very lucky that this was an on hold mild pandemic. It has been like a trial
run. Whilst the virus on the whole is mild and most people recover, there have been deaths and it
is certain that if the virus was more virulent, there'd be more

RACHAEL BROWN: Dr Peter Eizenberg's paper in the Medical Journal of Australia lists a string of
delays in flu test approvals and processing, and risks for those on the frontline.

PETER EIZENBERG: GPs and practice nurses are prepared to keep stepping into the firing line. That
is our role, but to do so, government needs to supply the flak jackets. It wasn't until almost four
weeks before our division received the Commonwealth stockpile supply.

RACHAEL BROWN: He says Australia's pandemic plan needs to be reviewed.

The first doses of a swine flu vaccine have been produced, but it could be a couple of months
before any is distributed

The youngest death has been that of a three-year-old Victorian boy and in Queensland inmates are
being given antivirals after outbreaks in two prisons.

PETER CAVE: That report from Rachael Brown.

North Korea launches more missiles

North Korea launches more missiles

Mark Willacy reported this story on Friday, July 3, 2009 12:22:00

PETER CAVE: South Korea is on high alert preparing for more missile launches from its Stalinist

North Korea tested four missiles overnight.

Believed to be anti-shipping missiles, they landed in the Sea of Japan and the launch came after
Pyongyang issued a warning to shipping to keep clear.

North Asia correspondent, Mark Willacy is in the South Korean capital, Seoul and he joined me on
the line.

Mark, what details have emerged about these latest missile tests and why are the North Koreans so
determined to continue with them?

MARK WILLACY: What we do know is that basically four missiles were launched in quick succession
overnight Australian time. There had been a warning that this would happen because the North
Koreans had warned all shipping to stay away from designated areas off its west and east coast.

So everyone had been told to keep the ships away and that warning actually still remains in place
until next week.

What we are hearing from the South Koreans is basically, let's expect some more and possibly we may
see even some medium range missiles launched, and the big fear here in Seoul is that they may even
try and launch a Taepodong-2 which is long range intercontinental ballistic missiles.

PETER CAVE: We'll talk about that in just a second but how is the Government in Seoul taking this?
Are they calm about it?

MARK WILLACY: They seem fairly calm. It is interesting in so far as what they are not saying. That
is basically, there has been no great public announcement or condemnation, there's the usual
condemnation. It is whispering behind the scenes and we are hearing from the newspaper reports that
security officials do believe that this will be the start of a new barrage of North Korean rocket
launches and the fear, as I say, is that it could get a little bit more serious than just a few
short range missiles.

That is when a few people around the region, including the Japanese, start to get very shaky

PETER CAVE: Well, you mentioned the Japanese, how have they reacted so far?

MARK WILLACY: They have come out publicly. The Government there is Tokyo has said look this is yet
another provocative action by North Korea. It contributes nothing to resolving the problems that
have been on the table now for decades and in fact, all it does is worsen things and the Japanese
say they are perplexed by North Korea's behaviour but in the past, as they know, North Korea is
quite unpredictable.

Although what they're seeking out of this latest missile barrage, the nuclear test, the launching
of long range missile a couple of months ago, that is the big question. Whether it's to try and get
a seat on the negotiating table internationally or whether it has got something more to do with
domestic politics inside Pyongyang.

PETER CAVE: Domestic politics; I guess you mean the succession, do you?

MARK WILLACY: That's right. A lot of people say look this isn't about international brinkmanship.
It has got nothing to do with trying to force Barack Obama to the negotiating table and to try and
squeeze aid or other concessions out of Washington.

A lot of analysts and North Korea watchers say this is all about playing to the North Korean

This is Kim Jong-il saying to the military, I want you to know that I am still firmly in control
and I want you to accept my succession plan and that is my third and youngest son, Kim Jong-un will
succeed me.

Basically making a third generation dynasty out of the Kim family.

PETER CAVE: Mark Willacy, live on the line there from the South Korean capital, Seoul.

Scientists discover new dinosaurs

Scientists discover new dinosaurs

Nicole Bond reported this story on Friday, July 3, 2009 12:26:00

PETER CAVE: Three new species of dinosaur have been found in the outback near Winton in Queensland.

They were unearthed at the site of a 95-million-year-old billabong not far from where a new
Dinosaur Museum opens this week.

Nicole Bond from ABC Western Queensland is in Winton. She joins us on the line.

Nicole, one of these new discoveries doesn't sound like the sort of animal one would have wanted to
run into had we evolved 95-million years ago.

NICOLE BOND: That is for sure and I think you are talking there about Banjo. He has been nicknamed
Banjo, the Australovenator. He is a carnivorous sauropod. He would have stood about two meters
tall, five meters long, very sharp teeth and three sharp claws on each hand. He was one of the
dinosaurs discovered here.

There is two others as well that have been uncovered today.

PETER CAVE: There were two, Matilda and Clancy. Are they anymore cuddly?

NICOLE BOND: They are a lot more cuddly. In fact, in particular Matilda would be a wonderful
dinosaur to cuddle up to. She has been described as having quite a big fat bottom. Her real name is
Diamantinasaurus. She was a plant eater. About 18 meters between her head and her tail and from her
feet up to her hips, there is about four meters so she is a giant and in fact, her and Wintonotitan
which is Clancy, they are two new types of the largest animal ever to walk the earth.

She has been described as a hippo-like creature whereas Clancy was a lot slimmer, a lot longer and

PETER CAVE: I guess all this activity is related to the launch of the Age of Dinosaurs museum there
in Winton. Tell me about that.

NICOLE BOND: That is right. These dinosaurs will be housed in the Age of Australian Dinosaurs

It is opening its first stage today. These are international finds but they are being kept in a tin
shed on a jump-up which is like a mesa, a hill in Winton in western Queensland so they are not
getting the royal treatment yet but there are plans over the next 10 to 20 years to build an
international scale museum here but this is the starting point.

The bones will be kept here. They will be further studied along with many other bones line the
walls here that we don't even know what they belong to.

PETER CAVE: Is this more about tourism or science?

NICOLE BOND: No, the organizers behind this scene say that this is a working museum. It is very
much about science but they have acknowledged that they are going to use tourism to bring the
dollars in to fund the science, to fund the digs and to find the funds that, you know, looking more
at the bones.

PETER CAVE: Nicole Bond on the line there from Winton.

Royal Commission urged not to jump to conclusions and unrealistic solutions

Royal Commission urged not to jump to conclusions and unrealistic solutions

Simon Lauder reported this story on Friday, July 3, 2009 12:30:00

PETER CAVE: A lawyer for the Victorian Government has delivered a blow to hopes that fire refuges
may be established before the next season begins.

The refuges are just one proposal in a long list of suggestions put forward by the counsel
assisting the Bushfires Royal Commission.

But the state government lawyer has cautioned against making interim recommendations that can't
realistically be speedily implemented.

The commissioners have also been urged not to jump to conclusions which may make volunteer
firefighters less willing to support their agencies.

Simon Lauder reports.

SIMON LAUDER: Between now and the 17th of August the main focus of the Royal Commission is to make
recommendations on how the risks the next summer brings can be minimised and how deaths can be
prevented if there are more threatening fires.

The chairman of the commission, Bernard Teague, reminded the hearing of that urgency this morning.

BERNARD TEAGUE: Four-hundred-and-sixty-nine of the 725 deaths in Australia have been in Victoria
and that vastly exceeds, so far as I am aware, anything else in any other part of the world, means
that we have got to have the best preparation, the best arrangements in place to cope with a
potential for more deaths.

SIMON LAUDER: The lawyer representing state government agencies, Allan Myers QC, wants it known the
state is well aware of its responsibilities.

ALLAN MYERS: The commitment of the state of Victoria to mitigate the risks and the consequences of
bushfires in Victoria. This is a commitment which is deeply held by the state of Victoria.

SIMON LAUDER: Yesterday the senior counsel assisting the commission, Jack Rush QC, criticised the
role played by the head of the lead fire agency.

Mr Rush told the commissioners the coordinating role Russell Rees played on Black Saturday was
divorced from his obligation to protect life.

This morning the counsel for the state agencies, Allan Myers, hasn't referred to Mr Rees, but he's
urging the commissioners not to make findings in their interim report which may later be proved

ALLAN MYERS: Other evidence may be led which would cause one to conclude differently to the
findings of fact that might now be suggested by the evidence.

SIMON LAUDER: Mr Myers points out that the next fire season is only a few months away and negative
findings could have an impact on the ability of fire agencies to cope.

ALLAN MYERS: The state relies heavily on volunteer firefighters. Everything possible should be done
to ensure that anything dealt with in the interim report does not have an adverse effect on the
retention and recruitment of fire fighting personnel.

SIMON LAUDER: The commissioners were told yesterday that the state should reintroduce the standard
emergency warning signal, which is an attention grabbing sound, designed to alert people before
warning messages are played.

The state doesn't think that's a good idea.

ALLAN MYERS: If the SOS signal is broadcast before every warning, the usefulness of doing so will
be eroded very quickly. Someone has done the calculation that on the 7th of February, it would have
had to have been played 510 times.

SIMON LAUDER: Another point Mr Myers tackles head-on is the suggestion that all fire prone
communities should have a fire refuge - a fire resistant shelter or space where people can go if
their plan to leave or stay and defend their property fails.

While not ruling it out, Mr Myers is clear that refuges can't be established in time.

ALLAN MYERS: It is not a matter of getting a big truck and taking a 44-gallon drum of Roundup to
every country town and creating a bit of open space. There will have to be a careful consideration
of the standards that apply to a refuge.

SIMON LAUDER: My Myers says that alone will take several months.

PETER CAVE: Simon Lauder reporting.

Former Premier Peter Beattie appears at Gordon Nuttall trial

Former Premier Peter Beattie appears at Gordon Nuttall trial

Annie Guest reported this story on Friday, July 3, 2009 12:34:00

PETER CAVE: The former Queensland premier, Peter Beattie has appeared at the corruption trial of
his former minister, Gordon Nuttall.

Mr Beattie said that all his ministers should have declared a payment from any person who did
business with his government.

He also said that he had a puritanical view on political donations.

Gordon Nuttall is charged with receiving $360,000 in corrupt payments.

Our reporter Annie Guest was at the court. She joins us now.

What did Mr Beattie have to say?

ANNIE GUEST: Well, Mr Beattie appeared via video link from Los Angeles where is now the trade
commissioner and he said that he wasn't aware of any payments to Gordon Nuttall, his former
ministerial colleague, and that Gordon Nuttall did not tell him about any payments over which he is
charged now and that he would not have been supportive of any of his ministers receiving money from
people doing business with the Government and that he would have taken action had he known so and
he described himself as "puritanical" and seen by some of his ministers as presbyterian in his
approach to political disclosures.

PETER CAVE: Have there been any new allegations against Mr Nuttall today?

ANNIE GUEST: No new allegations today against Mr Nuttall. He has pleaded not guilty to 36 charges.
One of those relates to a payment from Harold Shand, a businessman and a man who held a government
position, and also Ken Talbot who is a mining, known as a mining magnate.

Now the prosecution's case is that there was a remarkable concurrence of events around the time
that the Ken Talbot payments were made and an infrastructure project was approved near a mine he
was involved in.

But Mr Beattie said in his evidence that Gordon Nuttall shouldn't have been able to influence that
Cabinet decision and he didn't see how he could have and then in relation to the Harold Shand
payment, he said that had he known that he had made a payment of $60,000 to Nuttall, that he would
not have allowed his reappointment to a position as the WorkCover director with the Queensland

PETER CAVE: After years of seeing Mr Beattie appear on our television screens almost every night,
he's been off them for a while since he went overseas. How did Mr Beattie appear and how was his
evidence received?

ANNIE GUEST: he had a serious demeanour. He had his hands clasped in front of him on the table and
his glasses were next to his hands and he began with short, direct answers but he then soon assumed
his more familiar trademark style with verbose answers, having several times to be interrupted by
the prosecution or the defence, whoever was asking the questions, and at one stage the defence
suggested that Peter Beattie was racing ahead of things because of the time zone.

And when asked on a more serious note whether Gordon Nuttall had ever thought his ascent to place
an entry on the parliamentary pecuniary interests register, the court was then treated to a several
minute response from Peter Beatty on the separation of powers doctrine before he finally answered

PETER CAVE: Sounds like some things don't change. Annie Guest our reporter there in Queensland.

Passengers flying high on cheap airfares

Passengers flying high on cheap airfares

Simon Santow reported this story on Friday, July 3, 2009 12:38:00

PETER CAVE: The airline industry may be on its knees worldwide but it seems there's never been a
better time to fly.

From today the world's biggest airline Delta is crossing the Pacific Ocean, bringing more
competition, and lower fares hopefully, to the traditionally protected US Australia route.

Domestically the discount operator Tiger Airways has become the fourth carrier operating between
Sydney and Melbourne.

It's trying to grab a share of the market and even expand the market by selling some seats for less
than a taxi fare to the airport.

But the price wars may not be sustainable in the long term, as Simon Santow reports.

SIMON SANTOW: Turn on the TV, open a newspaper or log on to a computer - there's no escaping the
advertising blitz as airlines do their best to get people flying through the financial downturn.

BEN SANDILANDS: It is going to be the battle of four brands and I actually think the cheap prices
are going to last quite some time on what used to be the golden route.

SIMON SANTOW: Aviation commentator Ben Sandilands blogs on the industry for website

He's been watching on as aggressive no frills carrier Tiger Airways becomes the latest to take on
the Sydney Melbourne route.

Its hook is airfares from as little as $39 each way.

BEN SANDILANDS: Well it is certainly not sustainable at those prices but Tiger is not here to make
money. Tiger is controlled by Singapore Airlines and Tiger's entire purpose in Australia is to
participate in the ultimate rationalisation of the airline industry. So they are very patient and
they are prepared to lose money.

SIMON SANTOW: When you say they are not here to make money, in the long term they obviously want to
make the money.

BEN SANDILANDS: Yes, I think in the long term, the entire purpose of Tiger is to help Singapore
Airlines find effective investments outside of Singapore. That has been the strategy for a very
long time in Singapore.

They tried it with Ansett of course and it was a disaster.

VANESSA REGAN: Tiger Airways is now entering the big league and we are one of the major domestic
players in the industry at the moment. I guess what we are trying to achieve here is new low fare
travel options for people throughout Australia.

SIMON SANTOW: Tiger Airways spokeswoman Vanessa Regan says the airline is different from
competitors Virgin Blue, Qantas and Jetstar.

VANESSA REGAN: Tiger Airways offers an absolutely true low cost business model, which gives
passengers access to the lowest fares in the market without having to pay for all the expensive
add-on services if they don't want them.

We believe it is a proven business model which is based on the likes of Ryanair and easyJet
internationally which are two of the most successful airlines in the world.

SIMON SANTOW: So would you expect Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Blue all to be there in competition
with you in the long term?

VANESSA REGAN: Well, we actually believe we are quite unique in the market and that we are filling
a void. We are actually growing the travel market and we are not really looking at cannibalising
off other competitors.

SIMON SANTOW: Sydney Melbourne isn't the only route currently undergoing a shake up.

Airfares on the Australia United States transpacific route used to be some of the least competitive
in the world.

For airlines, there was a lot of money to be made on largely captive markets.

That's all changed since the number of carriers doubled from two to four in less than 12 months.

Commentator Ben Sandilands again.

BEN SANDILANDS: The economy fares across the Pacific, which most people are buying, have been as
low as $700, even $650 return. Delta which started flying today, that is the biggest airline in the
world, hasn't actually been too active in the Australian market but it has been enormously active
in the American market thereby making it quite difficult for Qantas and V-Australia to be
successful on the other side of the Pacific.

SIMON SANTOW: And as a proportion of what they were charging six to 12 months ago?

BEN SANDILANDS: About a quarter in some cases and this even applies to the premium fares too but in
economy, it has been down to about one quarter of the previous fare level.

SIMON SANTOW: Now is that unambiguously good news for customers or is there a danger that in the
mid to long term that some of them will have burnt a lot of cash, would have withdrawn and we will
be back to the bad old days?

BEN SANDILANDS: No, I don't think it will go back to the bad old days. I think when we look at the
history of this sort of operation now we have been seeing lots of new entrants come into markets
over the past 10 years. They do permanently change the market into a more competitive market. There
will be a lower fare benefit, there is no doubt about that, but will there be four carriers on the
transpacific? Probably not.

SIMON SANTOW: But while passengers enjoy the prices, there's also been a fall off in what customers
can reasonably expect for their dollar.

BEN SANDILANDS: Service levels have gone down and that is particularly noticeable on the short haul
domestic flights. I mean on the Sydney Melbourne route for example, you will see the premium
business class cabins that Qantas fly now disappear.

I am absolutely certain they will be gone by the end of the year as Qantas itself realigns its
product more to where the price is.

PETER CAVE: Aviation blogger and commentator Ben Sandilands ending that report from Simon Santow.

Prize cuts for NSW horse races

Prize cuts for NSW horse races

Ashley Hall reported this story on Friday, July 3, 2009 12:42:00

PETER CAVE: For years, punters have watched the prize money for horse races rise relentlessly - but
not anymore.

The Australian Jockey Club is cutting $4-million in prize money from 30 of its top races in New
South Wales and it's shedding seven staff.

The AJC says it's struggling because of the global financial crisis and the loss of betting revenue
to operators outside the state.

But one commentator says the industry has brought much of the strife on itself because it's been
reluctant to embrace change.

Ashley Hall reports

(Sound of a horse race)

ASHLEY HALL: The closing minutes of the Doncaster Handicap at Royal Randwick Racecourse in April.

This year, it was a $2-million race.

But next year's winning owner will get $500,000 less than that, as the Australian Jockey Club tries
to balance its books.

Ron Finemore is the AJC's chairman.

RON FINEMORE: The alternative was to increase the track fees to all owners and trainers at AJC
facilities or it was to affect the elite few that win the major races.

ASHLEY HALL: Ron Finemore says the industry's been struggling since the arrival of corporate
bookmakers and the online betting exchange Betfair.

He says because these businesses are based outside New South Wales, they're not putting money back
into the sport.

RON FINEMORE: The funds they are paying at the moment, they are paying under protest and they have
challenged that legally and that is in the courts to be decided.

Those funds can't be used because if the case is lost, those funds will have to be returned to the
corporate bookmakers and Betfair.

ASHLEY HALL: There's not the same problem across the country.

This week, the Victorian Racing Club announced it was planning to increase prize money
substantially over the next five years.

The editor of Horse Racing Australia magazine Garry Robinson says racing authorities in New South
Wales should shoulder at least some of the blame for the current strife.

GARRY ROBINSON: There's been a real lack of thrust towards promoting the sport in New South Wales.
There has been too much concentration on protectionist policies, worrying about where people are
betting and why they are betting and putting up all sorts of bogeymen as to why racing is going
wrong rather than looking inwards and seeing what they are doing wrong with the sport itself.

ASHLEY HALL: Garry Robinson says high taxes in New South Wales have forced bookmakers to move to
the Northern Territory, where taxes are lower.

And he says it's foolish to try to exclude them from the market or to force them to pay to operate
in New South Wales.

GARRY ROBINSON: The money has gone. What they have got to try and do is get it back. They are not
going to get it back by legislation because in the end, people are going to do what they want.

You are not going to buy from your local corner store when you can buy cheaper from Woolworths or
Coles and basically that is what is happening here.

The corner store is basically gone except for the convenience market, which is basically people who
are on course. They've gone. The internet is here. New South Wales racing simply has to compete.

ASHLEY HALL: Garry Robinson says that means making racing more attractive to owners, which will
boost the field on the track, the crowd in the stands and the take through the turnstile.

GARRY ROBINSON: If they get the racing product right and New South Wales changes their attitude a
bit and they can attract a lot of that punter business back to New South Wales, the revenue from
that punting business - and that is what really supports the business, the punters - as that
business comes back, prize money can go up again.

ASHLEY HALL: The AJC's Ron Finemore agrees, although he's still keen to see all bookmakers putting
back into the sport.

RON FINEMORE: I feel that all those things need to be done, as well as the corporate bookmakers and
Betfair pay their way.

ASHLEY HALL: If that doesn't work, the AJC could join forces with the Sydney Turf Club

The boards of both clubs are considering a merger proposal from the New South Wales Gaming and
Racing Minister, which promises industry-wide savings of at least $20-million.

But that would mean the sale of at least one Sydney race-track. And it's unclear whether the
proposal would win support in an industry's that traditionally resistant to change.

PETER CAVE: Ashley Hall reporting.

Rio Tinto raises more than $18-billion from share sale

Rio Tinto raises more than $18-billion from share sale

Sue Lannin reported this story on Friday, July 3, 2009 12:46:00

PETER CAVE: Rio Tinto has raised more than $18-billion from a sale of new shares to investors in
one of the world's biggest capital raisings.

The sale went ahead after the big miner ditched a deal with Beijing backed Chinalco Mining.

The fund raising means that Rio may not be forced to sell assets to pay off its $US40-billion debt,
following its takeover of the Canadian aluminium producer, Alcan.

Its rival, BHP Billiton has sold a nickel refinery to Australia's fifth richest person.

Here is our finance reporter, Sue Lannin.

SUE LANNIN: It's been a deeply discounted share sale but one which has satisfied Rio Tinto

Many were opposed to Rio's planned tie up with the Chinese state owned company, Chinalco.

John Murray is the head of fund manager, Perennial Value Management.

JOHN MURRAY: We only ever saw the Chinalco deal as a short term fix. It would have worked against
the interests of the existing shareholders, including ourselves over the longer term. So looking at
the rights issue, the way it has occurred, we have ticked off now the balance sheets concerns in
terms of the company being overladen with debt. That is now no longer an issue in our eyes and we
can now look forward to the company going forward and growing over the longer term and in a
financially much stronger position.

SUE LANNIN: Rio sold 97 per cent of the new shares on sale in London and nearly 95 per cent of the
new shares in Australia.

They went for the discounted price of $28.29 almost half yesterday's closing price on the local
share market.

John Murray says there are no regrets.

JOHN MURRAY: We certainly participated to the full extent in the rights issue. Very happy to do so
at the discount that it applied at and I think it is good news for existing investors and good for
the company that are now financially in a much stronger position.

SUE LANNIN: And it seems that Rio is no longer a dishonourable woman in Beijing's eyes.

Rebuffed suitor Chinalco has taken up its full entitlement to the rights offer.

Yesterday the company said the decision was economically rational because otherwise its nine per
cent stake would have been diluted.

John Murray says he's not worried about Chinalco's intentions.

JOHN MURRAY: This is just a commercial transaction which they have entered into. It is pleasing
that they have taken up their rights. I mean from where I sit as a fellow shareholder, it is
reassuring that they still see a positive outlook for Rio. That is good news.

SUE LANNIN: The next hurdle is Rio's planned merger of iron ore operations in Western Australia
with BHP Billiton.

The deal has been opposed by major customers like China and Japan.

The merger plans and the capital raising now means Rio won't be forced to sell off assets to pay
off debt.

Mark Taylor is senior resources analyst at Morning Star.

MARK TAYLOR: Probably won't have to because this cash and the cash that is going to be coming in
from BHP if the Western Australian iron ore joint venture is approved should pretty much cover
enough of their debt.

Having said that, I still think they will be looking to sell assets because some of the assets
including the paper and packaging business that came with Alcan are non-core and not really
businesses they want to be in so they will be more than glad to sell them if the right price is in
the offing.

SUE LANNIN: Rival BHP Billiton is also offloading assets.

It's sold its Yabulu nickel refinery north of Townsville to mining billionaire Clive Palmer, the
country's fifth richest person for an undisclosed amount.

Mr Palmer says he paid many millions of dollars for a good business opportunity after seven months
of negotiations.

CLIVE PALMER: We may have to restructure it and provide for future opportunities and our aim would
be to see if we can eventually expand the plant up there, so we hope there will be good
opportunities for everyone in the future.

SUE LANNIN: The decision has also been welcomed by the Queensland Treasurer Andrew Fraser, who's
being sued by Mr Palmer for defamation.

ANDREW FRASER: It would have been devastating to Townsville and the regional economy for the nearly
1,000 jobs on site to be lost up there. What this is about is a good result here. That means that
the refinery will continue.

SUE LANNIN: BHP Billiton will take a more than $600-million hit on the value of the refinery and
around $220-million in lost tax benefits.

The Ravensthorpe nickel mine in Western Australia which closed in January is still on the market
but Mr Palmer says he isn't negotiating for Ravensthorpe.

PETER CAVE: Our finance reporter Sue Lannin reporting there.

Indian court legalises gay sex

Indian court legalises gay sex

Emily Bourke reported this story on Friday, July 3, 2009 12:50:00

PETER CAVE: Homosexual rights campaigners have had a big victory in India's High Court.

The ruling overturns a colonial-era law which described physical relations between same sex couples
as unnatural offences, punishable by 10 years in prison.

It's being hailed as a revolutionary legal decision but others are more cautious about whether the
ruling will in fact have a real impact.

Emily Bourke has this report.

EMILY BOURKE: The New Delhi High Court has ruled that a law dating back to 1860s which outlawed
homosexual acts is unconstitutional.

The ruling comes after years of legal campaigning by gay activists and it sparked celebrations in
the street outside court.

GAY ACTIVIST: Feeling hopeful and enthusiastic and happy that finally there is some light at the
end of the tunnel.

GAY ACTIVIST 2: People realise that there is a need to accept. There is a need to include and you
see that reflected in the High Court judgement.

(Sound of crowd cheering)

EMILY BOURKE: In its 105-page judgement the bench said:

EXCERPT FROM COURT DOCUMENT (voiceover): It cannot be forgotten that discrimination is the
antithesis of equality and that it is the recognition of equality which will foster dignity of
every individual.

EMILY BOURKE: While prosecutions were rare, police used the law to intimidate members of the gay

Anjali Gopalan is the executive director of the Naz Foundation Trust, a sexual health organisation
that filed the petition eight years ago.

ANJALI GOPALAN: You know the fact that this law decriminalises homosexuality is a huge step forward
because one of the main issues was a lot of police harassment because this behaviour is seen as
criminal behaviour and that will stop now.

EMILY BOURKE: The ruling only applies in New Delhi.

But lawyer Aditya Bandopadhyay says the judgment should be followed by other jurisdictions.

ADITYA BANDOPADHYAY: The legal position is that unless a judgement is overturned by a higher bench
like this is a judgement by a division bench of two judges, other than a three judge bench or more,
that judgement continues to be in force and because we follow common law principles, it effectively
means that this judgement is a precedent that needs to be followed by other jurisdictions as well.

Of course we would hope that at some point the Supreme Court might also confirm the judgment and
that then it will become applicable all over India.

EMILY BOURKE: But India remains a country of deeply conservative social values and being gay
remains strictly taboo.

Religious leaders have argued that gay sex should stay illegal and that open homosexuality is out
of step with Indian traditions.

The Indian Government meanwhile has offered mixed messages on the issue, with some ministers
speaking out in favour of the petition, only to be contradicted by others in the Cabinet.

The verdict can still be challenged in India's Supreme Court but long time gay activist Rodney
Croome from the Australian Coalition for Equality says the ruling goes some way to changing
community attitudes in India.

RODNEY CROOME: The importance of this decision can't be overestimated. Not only does it mean that
gay men will no longer face the possibility of being jailed or harassed by the police in India but
it also sends out a strong message to the community that all Indians should be treated with respect
regardless of their sexual orientation.

Now obviously, this won't remove in one fell swoop all prejudice and discrimination in Indian
society against gay and lesbian people but for a long time I think that prejudice and
discrimination has been using the law as a justification.

It has been hiding behind the law and saying well, as long as these people are criminals, it is OK
to discriminate against them. That rationale has been removed now and I think it is now possible
for the gay community in India to begin tackling the deep prejudices against it in an effective

PETER CAVE: Rodney Croome from Australian Coalition for Equality ending that report from Emily

Public memorial for Michael Jackson in Los Angeles

Public memorial for Michael Jackson in Los Angeles

Kim Landers reported this story on Friday, July 3, 2009 12:54:00

PETER CAVE: A public memorial service for Michael Jackson is now expected to be held in Los Angeles
next week.

The promoter of the pop star's planned London concerts is telling the American media that the
memorial is planned for a rock concert and sporting venue in the city.

The arena is where Michael Jackson has been rehearsing for his planned comeback tour and a video of
his final rehearsal there has now emerged.

North America correspondent Kim Landers reports from Neverland in California.

(Sound of Michael Jackson song)

KIM LANDERS: The last known video of Michael Jackson has emerged.

It was taken just two days before his death.

(Sound of Michael Jackson song)

The video shows Michael Jackson rehearsing a vigorous routine, which appears to refute suggestions
the pop star was in ill-health in his final days.

It was shot in Los Angeles by the promoter of Michael Jackson's planned concerts in London.

(Sound of Michael Jackson song)

In the week since Michael Jackson died there's been a frenzy of confusing and conflicting reports.

The latest centres on whether his ex-wife Debbie Rowe will try to gain custody of the two children
she had with the star.

The boy and girl are now 12 and 11 years old.

A TV station in LA is reporting that she's told them, "I want my children. I'm stepping up. I have

But a lawyer says Debbie Rowe hasn't reached a final decision.

Nevertheless an LA judge has now delayed a guardianship hearing for Michael Jackson's three
children at the request of Debbie Rowe's lawyer and those acting for his mother Katherine Jackson,
who has temporary guardianship of the children.

(Sound of Michael Jackson song)

Michael Jackson's fans are still gathering outside the gates of his Neverland Ranch, north of Los

Grace Cash is one of them.

GRACE CASH: I've got me a chair with a canopy that comes right over, with my sunscreen here. I
usually have an ice chest here. My husband went to go fill it up with sodas. I bought a camper with
extra food. I have been here for two days and I will continue to be here until everyone is gone.

KIM LANDERS: Why? Why are you going to stay so long?

GRACE CASH: It is a tribute to Michael Jackson and it is just paying my respects even though I know
that I can't be at the Staples Center. It is too far for one. There is going to be way too many

KIM LANDERS: Would you like Michael Jackson eventually to be buried here at Neverland?

GRACE CASH: I sure would. I sure would. I think they should turn it into Graceland.

KIM LANDERS: Neverland is already a tourist attraction.

Ken B has set up a stand selling t-shirts for $20 to $30.

KEN B: I'm not making a big profit off these shirts because of the quality of them so we just want
people to have momentums to take back with them. They want something to remember him by so they
grab a keepsake t-shirt and you know, hang it on their walls and just keep them because you know,
he was a fascinating person. Very inspirational.

KIM LANDERS: You a big fan yourself?

KEN B: Oh, of course. I was a fan before I was born. Yeah, I listened to Michael when I was inside
the womb.

(Sound of Michael Jackson song)

KIM LANDERS: As fans continue to mourn Michael Jackson, the legal battlelines over the King of
Pop's legacy are starting to take shape.

This is Kim Landers at Neverland in California for The World Today.

(Sound of Michael Jackson song)

PETER CAVE: Will it never end.