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Grim news on jobs front

PETER CAVE: But first to the economy and the hit to the jobs market from the economic downturn. The
economy shed more than 21,000 jobs in June with an even bigger fall in full-time employment.

The unemployment rate edged up to 5.8 per cent but there are signs that people are giving up the
hunt for jobs.

Joining me in the studio is our economics correspondent Stephen Long. Stephen, what do you make of
the figures?

STEPHEN LONG: Well Peter I'll put the caveats first. It's very difficult to say anything definitive
about the monthly labour force figures which are notoriously volatile.

That caveat aside this may suggest that the employment market has finally turned the corner and
we're starting to see the fall in jobs, not just a rise in the unemployment rate through a failure
to create enough new jobs for the people entering the labour market, but an actual fall in jobs.

We've seen what close to 21,500 jobs shed this month. If you go back three months the economy was
still adding jobs but what we were seeing was full-time work was falling and part-time work was

Now this time there's only been a small rise in part-time jobs offsetting the fall in full-time
jobs. So in net terms employment has gone backwards. The unemployment rate has edged up. But it's
that big fall in full-time jobs, nearly 22,000 full-time jobs lost in the month after 26,000 in May
which says that the economy is, that the labour market is looking pretty soft.

PETER CAVE: Well let's take the caveat for granted for the rest of the interview. What does it tell
us about the economy?

STEPHEN LONG: Well that depends on whether you take a glass half full or a glass half empty view.
If you compare it to America where they've got a 9.5 per cent unemployment rate and 20-million
people out of work it doesn't look too bad. Compare it to much of Europe and you could say the same
thing. And certainly we've only seen a slow and gradual rise in the unemployment rate.

But that said I mean we've still got a 40 per cent increase in the number of people out of work
compared to a year ago and the figures would look a lot worse if it wasn't for the fact that the
participation rate had fallen.

So the unemployment rate was 5.8, less than the midpoint forecast by market economists who were
expecting 5.9. But the participation rate fell by 0.2 percentage points.

So what you've seen there, what that suggests when the participation rate falls in that way in this
current environment is that people are really dropping out of the hunt for jobs. So finally you
actually have jobs going backwards in net terms; you've got the, and you've got people dropping out
of the jobs hunt. So you will expect the unemployment rate to go up.

But that said you know it's still not nearly as high as many people would have expected it to be at
this time.

PETER CAVE: If you break it down on a state-by-state basis how does it look?

STEPHEN LONG: What that shows you Peter is that New South Wales is far and away bearing the brunt
of the economic downturn with an unemployment rate of 6.5 per cent.

And if you look at other states that's way ahead - Victoria 6 per cent; Queensland just 5.4; the
same for South Australia. Western Australia, the unemployment rate is 5.1 per cent which is
relatively low but it's up from 3.3 per cent a year earlier so they will be feeling the effects and
you can see that in a tripling in the number of home repossessions in WA. And Tasmania 4.7 per cent
- you know, low.

So what you're seeing is far and away New South Wales is bearing the brunt of this and I guess
that's partly because we had a very, very big financial services industry and that's been hit hard.

But in terms of the overall industry composition manufacturing is the area that's been really,
really hardest hit. And male jobs are getting hit really, really hard as well. You're seeing a
relatively a much bigger rise in the unemployment rate and the job shedding for men than women.

PETER CAVE: Just briefly, the Reserve Bank decided not to increase interest rates this week. Is
this, this news on the jobs front likely to influence them next time?

STEPHEN LONG: Well one economist is saying that it puts a rates rise on the agenda but my view is
that it doesn't really change things one way or another. This would be pretty much within the
ballpark of their expectations.

PETER CAVE: Stephen Long our economics correspondent in the studio.

IMF banks on stimulus packages to bolster world economy

PETER CAVE: Looking at the wider picture the International Monetary Fund has upgraded its growth
forecast for the world's economy next year but it warns that any recovery will be sluggish. It says
that the global recession is not yet over and that the banking system remains fragile.

The IMF says the stimulus packages put in place by governments need to be maintained to keep any
recovery going. The G8 also says the world is not out of the woods yet and more stimulus measures
may be needed.

Finance reporter Sue Lannin.

SUE LANNIN: Forecasting is a fraught profession. The International Monetary Fund was criticised for
being late to call the Great Recession. Now it thinks the forces pulling the global economy down
are decreasing.

Olivier Blanchard is the IMF's chief economist.

OLIVIER BLANCHARD: The global economy is still in recession but we're inching towards the recovery
and so in terms of our forecast for 2009 we have the global economy going down by 1.4 per cent. And
then for 2010 we have it going up by 2.5 per cent.

SUE LANNIN: Its calculations are different from those of the World Bank which says the global
economy will shrink by nearly 3 per cent this year and will grow about 2 per cent next year.

Westpac international economist Huw McKay thinks the IMF forecasts are on track.

HUW MCKAY: Well I think their 2009 numbers, they're distinctly rational. They have a good balance
between some extreme weakness in those balance-sheet constrained economies in the developed world,
the US, the Euro area and the United Kingdom versus some modest optimism I suppose on the Chinese
and Indian stories.

SUE LANNIN: Their figures are quite different though from the World Bank figures but I believe the
use different models.

HUW MCKAY: Well yes indeed. I think that the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have
slightly different views of the world given their different mandates and that does flow through to
the way they actually end up compiling their forecasts.

One of the key emphases in the World Bank report was on the collapse in capital flows to developing
countries and that is something that the IMF certainly monitors but I think they have chosen to
deemphasise that angle in that report and they're focusing more on structural underlying growth

SUE LANNIN: The IMF's figures for the industrialised world are not good. Advanced economies are
expected to contract by nearly 4 per cent, Germany and Japan by around 6 per cent.

Mark Thirlwell is the director of the international economy program at the Lowy Institute.

MARK THIRLWELL: I think that story of you know of a very bad 2009 for the world economy and a 2010
that looks better, that you get some growth but it still doesn't look great but it's going to have
global growth even though it's going to pick up in 2010 but we'll still be well below what we're
used to - that story makes sense to me.

SUE LANNIN: Two-and-a-half per cent growth for the global economy is in fact not very much is it?
It's almost a recession.

MARK THIRLWELL: That's right. I mean before the crisis we got used to seeing a world economy that
was growing somewhere between 4 and 5 per cent. So we were used to seeing it growing quite rapidly.

Something that's chugging along at 2.5 per cent is a world economy that's running well below
capacity. You know it's a bit above stall speed but it's still not great. It's just going to look
good compared to what we were seeing this year.

SUE LANNIN: Jose Vinals the head of the IMF's capital markets division warns the world's financial
system is still fragile.

JOSE VINALS: In spite of these improvements there are areas of concern, there the leveraging
process is still continuing. Banks' balance sheets are still continuing to be put into pressure as
a result of the expected bank write-downs that will come out.

SUE LANNIN: The Group of Eight industrialised nations says the world is not out of the woods yet
and stimulus measures must continue.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy says the economic crisis is far from over.

NICOLAS SARKOZY (translated): The first thing to report is that although there are signs of
stabilisation the economic crisis is far from over and that's the unanimous analysis of all the
members of the G8.

The second thing to say is that we must put in action the stimulus plans that we had already agreed
upon. It's certainly not the time to loosen our efforts.

SUE LANNIN: Olivier Blanchard says countries have to keep interest rates low and money flowing to
their economies while considering how to end the life support.

OLIVIER BLANCHARD: We have to continue with the fiscal monetary financial policies which we have
put in place in the last nine months. So yes, it's much too early to take them off. We have to
start thinking about the exit policies from the crisis on the fiscal front, on the money front, on
many fronts.

PETER CAVE: Olivier Blanchard the chief economist from the International Monetary Fund. Sue Lannin
was our reporter.

Welfare groups want action on homelessness

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd came into office promising to do something concrete about homelessness.
He ordered his MPs to go and visit homeless shelters in their electorates.

Well a new set of figures out today shows there was a 17 per cent increase in homelessness during
the boom years up to 2006 - before the global economic crisis took hold - with more than 100,000
people without a home.

And while welfare agencies support the Government's long term plans, there's criticism that it
should have done more to help people sooner.

Meredith Griffiths reports.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: Australia's economy was booming between 2001 and 2006 with jobs, exports and
the GDP all on the rise. Yet at the same time the number of homeless people also increased by more
than 5,000. The two could be related.

Simon Smith is the CEO of Homelessness Australia.

SIMON SMITH: If you look at the figures there are very high rates of homelessness sort of over 500
in the Pilbara, in the Kimberley, in some of the mining communities in Queensland.

We think that's because the mining boom in recent years has meant that people have moved into those
communities and driven up housing prices. It's made accommodation, especially affordable
accommodation, very scarce.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: A report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows
that Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory have the highest rates of
homelessness per capita. The report also shows the number of homeless families increased by almost
20 per cent.

Simon Smith again.

SIMON SMITH: The thing that does concern us about these figures is they're based on the 2006 Census
and then we know that since then things have got a lot tougher for a lot of families and for the
broader community with the impact of the global financial crisis. We hear anecdotally that families
who've defaulted on mortgages or been unable to pay the rent are now approaching homeless services
seeking assistance.

So we know things are getting a lot tougher and it wouldn't be surprising to us if homelessness was
higher than the figures reported today.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: Paul Moulds from the Salvation Army says it's alarming that the report also
shows a large increase in the number of people over 55 who are homeless.

PAUL MOULDS: These are the most vulnerable people who are homeless at this period of their life. I
think it shows again that many people have aged in homelessness. It shows us that we haven't
intervened and that people haven't been able to get out and so they've actually just aged and
become older and their homelessness hasn't been resolved.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: It wasn't all bad news in today's report from the Australian Institute of
Health and Welfare. The rate of youth homelessness actually fell between 2001 and 2006.

Simon Smith from Homelessness Australia says that shows why it's important to boost funding.

SIMON SMITH: These figures show that the number of homeless teenagers has fallen by about 16 per
cent and that's because we've put money into new services for young people at risk of or
experiencing homelessness. So where we have put money into new programs and services they've made a
clear impact.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: Last year the Federal Government mapped out a plan to address homelessness.
Simon Smith says it will work but he says the money must start flowing soon if the Government is to
meet its target of halving homelessness by 2020.

Clare Martin from the Australian Council of Social Services is also keen to see the Federal
Government actually start implementing the homeless strategy that the states and territories agreed
to last December.

CLARE MARTIN: Everyone was lined up all on same page and I think what you're seeing expressed is a
frustration that there has been six months now of plans being put forward, of being negotiated but
nothing really making a difference on the ground. And that's all. It's a frustration that we know
it's such a big problem and we want to see the action that's been promised happen.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: Paul Moulds from the Salvation Army agrees that the Federal Government's plan
to tackle homelessness will work, eventually.

PAUL MOULDS: And the problem is right now people are struggling. Families are living in cars. Kids
can't get accommodation and they're going into detention centres because they don't have addresses.
We don't have enough now to respond and what we failed to do I believe was do something in the

So we've got our grand plan which we're working towards and which we all agree is a great idea and
needs to be done, but we didn't do anything in the interim to increase capacity while we're
building the extra houses, while we're putting the programs in place. And I think that has been a

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: The Housing Minister Tanya Plibersek has acknowledged that the financial crisis
will make it harder to halve the rate of homelessness but she says she believes if governments,
non-profit groups and the community work together they will be able to reduce the number of
Australians who haven't got anywhere to sleep.

PETER CAVE: That report from Meredith Griffiths.


Australian Institute of Health and Welfare: Counting the Homeless report

Chinese media publish details of Rio detention

PETER CAVE: The Chinese media have released what they say is fresh information about allegations of
spying by the head of Rio Tinto's Chinese operations.

Our correspondent Stephen McDonell has been following the story. He joins us on the line. Stephen
what's new today?

STEPHEN MCDONELL: Well people will know of course that the report is, according to the Foreign
Minister Stephen Smith, that the Chinese Ministry of State Security is holding Stern Hu, a
53-year-old who is the general manager of China's operations, of China's, Rio Tinto's Chinese iron
ore operations.

Now he's said to have been involved in some sort of spying and along with three other Rio Tinto
employees and they're being held in Shanghai.

PETER CAVE: This sounds much more serious than simply the to and fro of the rough negotiations on
iron ore prices?

STEPHEN MCDONELL: That's right. I mean Australian consular officials haven't been able to get
access to him yet. He's been denied a lawyer to this point. But under the agreement that Australia
has with China I think that the consular officials, I'm not sure the exact time, it could be today
or by the weekend I think, must get access to him. So yes it does sound pretty serious.

But according to the 21st Century Business Herald which is a Chinese newspaper, a Chinese staff
member from Capital Steel, a Chinese company, has been arrested in Beijing. Now a man named Tan
Yixin who is 40 years old is said to have met Stern Hu at Capital Steel in April and they discussed
iron ore prices.

This man, Tan, is the general manager of Capital Steel's international trade and engineering
corporation and also the mineral import and export division of the company. And he's said to be
someone who Stern Hu knows very well.

Now Capital Steel has denied that it is, you know, has anything to do with the spying allegations
as a company. But I'm not sure that, they're not necessarily denying that this person has been

And according to these reports in the Chinese media they seem to be implying by quoting industry
analysts that this is a much bigger sort of net of people who are going to be involved in this and
that there are others who've either been detained or will, or are under investigation, other
Chinese people from steel companies who are said to be involved.

PETER CAVE: Has there been any more detail on Stern Hu himself?

STEPHEN MCDONELL: Well not so much on Stern Hu himself but on the three others they've named them
as Liu Caikui who is said to be a new manager at Rio Tinto, somebody named Wang Yong who is
described as a long-term employee of Rio in China, and Ge Minqiang, the third person. So they're
naming now those four people as the ones being held in relation to this matter.

PETER CAVE: Stephen McDonell in Beijing and a story we'll be hearing a lot more of in the coming
days and weeks.

Climate report underlines need for action: Wong

PETER CAVE: The Major Economies Forum in Italy tomorrow will continue negotiations on how the
world's large polluters will go about reducing their carbon emissions. G8 leaders have agreed that
the world should try to keep temperature rises under two degrees.

Australia's Climate Change Minister Penny Wong has welcomed the statement, hoping that it may
provide momentum on what methods that nations will be able to use to cut their carbon footprints.

The Minister has also used the occasion to release a new report on global warming, one which she
says shows climate change is happening faster than previously predicted. The report's author says
it's now more probable that the marked drop off in rainfall around Perth and the lower
Murray-Darling Basin are due to climate change.

From Canberra, Sabra Lane reports.

SABRA LANE: The Kyoto Protocol on limiting carbon emissions expires in 2012. This December the
world's nations will come together in Copenhagen in Denmark to decide what the next targets should

G8 Nations in Italy overnight have agreed to restrain temperature increases to two degrees. The
Climate Change Minister Penny Wong says that's important and might help with negotiations to

PENNY WONG: We welcome the G8 statement today which says quite clearly that climate change is a
global challenge, commits these economies to working together and recognises the signs that we need
to restrain global warming to around two degrees if we are to avoid dangerous climate change.

SABRA LANE: The tricky part now is how will the world do that? Developed nations say they will aim
for the biggest carbon emissions cuts of 80 per cent by 2050. But China and India won't agree on
deal that involves developing nations cutting their emissions by 50 per cent, saying that would
harm their improving economic prospects.

Tomorrow 17 countries including the biggest emitters will discuss what they're going to do next.
Australia will be at that meeting.

Again, Penny Wong.

PENNY WONG: I think what's important to understand is both the G8 and also the Major Economies
Forum which of course is meeting tomorrow and which Prime Minister Rudd will be attending, are not
the formal negotiating meetings in the lead-up to Copenhagen but they are meetings of leaders and
what they can do is give leadership and provide momentum.

SABRA LANE: Coinciding with the meeting Minister Wong released another report this morning which
she says shows climate change is real and happening faster than what scientists had predicted.

Professor Will Steffen wrote the report. He's the executive director of the ANU's Climate Change

WILL STEFFEN: In many important ways the climate system is moving near the upper limits of our
understanding and indeed our model predictions. That's understandable because emissions are moving
towards the upper limits as well.

What this means is it gives us I think a sense of urgency as a global community to get on top of
the emissions issue, to start getting those down quickly. And if we don't I think there is a risk
of quite serious impacts around many parts of Australia and indeed in other parts of the world.

SABRA LANE: Specifically Professor Steffen says scientists believe there is more evidence now to
show the dramatic drop in rainfall in south-west Australia, around Perth and the lower edge of the
Murray-Darling Basin are due to climate change, not drought.

WILL STEFFEN: I think we can say with some degree of confidence now that the drying in south-west
Western Australia, the one from which, the one which Perth is suffering from, has a strong climate
change signal so that's going to be with us for quite some time.

We're also now starting to see a signal we think in the southern part of south-eastern Australia;
that is the southern half of South Australia and Victoria. The pronounced drying we've seen over
the last few decades appears to have a climate change signal in it is as well so there's a risk
that that will continue for some time.

Now further east up the seaboard, particularly northern New South Wales, Queensland and so on, it's
still too hard to tell whether there is a climate change signal in there or not. Obviously that's
affected strongly by El Nino and we really don't know yet how El Nino is changing, if it is yet, in
relation to climate change.

SABRA LANE: Water flows to the Murray-Darling Basin for example, they've slowed quite dramatically
since 2001. Some were suggesting this was maybe prolonged drought but you're saying now that the
evidence is more pointing towards climate change and that these low inflows might be a permanent

WILL STEFFEN: Yeah I think what we're saying is that we still don't know. We can't say with a high
degree of confidence that the main factor is climate change.

What we're saying is certainly in the southern part of the Murray-Darling Basin we believe we're
seeing some effects of climate change. Now there could still be natural variability imprinted on
that as well. Natural variability still operates.

So what I would say is there is a risk that in the southern part of that catchment in particular we
will see continued drying.

SABRA LANE: Minister Wong says the report is another reason why the Opposition should pass its
emissions trading scheme when Parliament resumes in August.

But the Opposition's environment spokesman Greg Hunt says as it stands the Opposition will only
pass the renewable energy target bill immediately and only if that's decoupled from the
Government's Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

GREG HUNT: Let's deal with renewable energy legislation today, tomorrow, Saturday or Sunday and
let's then get the emissions trading scheme right.

We want to make sure that we don't export emission to China and India who only overnight have said
they're not keen to be part of a global agreement. We don't want to export those emissions and with
them would go Australian jobs.

So global emissions could go up under a bad scheme. We want to keep global emissions down and we
want to keep Australian jobs up.

PETER CAVE: The Opposition's environment spokesman Greg Hunt ending that report from Sabra Lane.

Nuttall says he just wanted to show magnate Parliament House

PETER CAVE: A former Queensland minister on corruption charges has denied that he asked businessman
Jim Gorman to give him land, or saying that he could help him by "talking to the boss".

Gordon Nuttall has taken the stand in his Brisbane trial to defend 36 charges of receiving secret
payments from two businessmen.

Annie Guest is at the District Court. She joins us now.

Annie, what has Gordon Nuttall had to say in defending these allegations?

ANNIE GUEST: Peter, Nuttall has denied that he asked a businessman for a block in a development on
the Sunshine Coast and denied that during that exchange that he said that he could talk to the

And interestingly he said to the court, "Well Peter Beattie wasn't my boss anyway. He was my

Now Nuttall also explained dinners that he organised at Parliament House for two of the men that
are the subject of those payments that he received - Harold Shand and Ken Talbot, saying that his
friends had not seen Parliament and they were interested in seeing it and the historical Strangers'
Dining Room.

He said there was nothing untoward and that it wasn't giving the men exclusive special access to
the mines minister. That was a social introduction and he joined them there to discuss problems
that they had with mining permits. And he also said that when he was approving mining leases in
Cabinet that he didn't know who they were for.

PETER CAVE: What has the prosecution had to say about all that?

ANNIE GUEST: Well the crown prosecutor Ross Martin has been very calm and methodical in his
questioning throughout the week-and-a-half or so of his evidence in chief. But today he got up to
cross-examine Nuttall and his first line was: "$360,000 for absolutely nothing". That's what he put
to Nuttall. And over and over Nuttall said, that's right, or no, yes $360,000 for absolutely

And Ross Martin put to him that it, the repayments were on the never-never because he was a Cabinet
minister and it was graft whether or not Nuttall is proved to have done anything for the men. And
Nuttall denied that. He said he may have repaid them after retirement by working in the private
sector and he said to Ross Martin, "You've prevented that".

And at that point the exchange became quite fast between the two men, Ross Martin putting back to
him, "You couldn't afford to carry out this plan".

The plan was that Nuttall wanted to buy his children houses and set them up and that he couldn't
afford it so he went to Jim Gorman and he went to Ken Talbot, the mining magnate, and that he asked
for this money.

Now Ross Martin said, "You couldn't afford it. You thought you had a right to the money and that's
called greed".

PETER CAVE: Was there any discussion in court of Gordon Nuttall's other business dealings?

ANNIE GUEST: Yes. There was extensive discussion of all the issues that have been raised over the
last week-and-a-half and including going on from that discussion at the Sunshine Coast.

Now those men, Jim Gorman, Harold Shand and others eventually back then bought a unit from Nuttall
in 1999 next door to this development.

And Nuttall had been, had got into financial strife and had been told that it was overvalued, the
unit, or that the value didn't come up so his financiers wouldn't help him out, his bank. But he
went and talked to these men about it. Now they eventually bought that unit for him in that year,

And the prosecution put to Jim Gorman - sorry the prosecution put to Nuttall that it was the same
year that Nuttall helped Shand out, Harold Shand out, in meeting the, having help from the mines,
then-mines minister Tony McGrady over a mining issue.

PETER CAVE: Annie Guest there on the line from the District Court in Brisbane.

Truth the casualty in Sri Lankan war

PETER CAVE: When a group of doctors spoke out in May during the final weeks of the protracted civil
war in Sri Lanka they were praised for their bravery. The message then was that the death toll was
much greater than the official figures supplied by the Government and the military suggested.

Two months later and as the guns fell silent the doctors disappeared. Well now they've re-emerged
to say they exaggerated the impact of the war and that they did so under pressure from the Tamil

So just who was telling the truth? The doctors then or the doctors now?

Simon Santow has been looking at an incident for which many people say illustrates the old saying
that the truth is the first casualty of war.

SIMON SANTOW: In the final few months of the war against the Tamil Tigers the Sri Lankan Government
did its utmost to keep journalists as far away from the conflict zone as possible.

Aid groups too complained that they couldn't get in to offer humanitarian assistance or even to
independently scrutinise the casualty figures spruiked by both sides. Propaganda was king.

But in amongst the claims and counter claims, there was a consistent theme. The military's estimate
of casualties was much lower than their opponents' figures and organisations like the United
Nations were somewhere in the middle.

So in this sort of atmosphere news organisations seized on seemingly credible information coming
from doctors inside the conflict zone.

DOCTOR: Heavy fighting was going on, shelling, and they were fighting very close. We received about
370 casualty in the hospital and among them 70 died.

SIMON SANTOW: The doctor was one of a handful to vanish in the final days of the war only to
re-emerge at a carefully managed Colombo press conference overnight. Among the reporters there was
the BBC's correspondent Charles Haviland.

CHARLES HAVILAND: They did look remarkably well groomed, quite breezy in a way. They were wearing
immaculate shirts with ties etc. They were smiling nervously.

SIMON SANTOW: He listened to among others Dr Thurairaja Varatharajah. The medic had spoken out
against the military back in May.

(Dr Thurairaja Varatharajah speaking)

THURAIRAJA VARATHARAJAH (voiceover): Yesterday night and today also there was heavy shelling into
the safe zone. This morning at around 7.40 there was one shell fallen into the hospital. On this
spot there are 29 dead and more than 86 people again with injuries.

SIMON SANTOW: But this was Dr Varatharajah explaining what happened today.

(Dr Thurairaja Varatharajah speaking)

THURAIRAJA VARATHARAJAH (voiceover): In my case in Kutanatama (phonetic) Hospital if the casualties
or wounded people came around 10 or 15, the LTTE people asked to tell around 60 or 70 people or
something like that. Without our knowledge they put the number at more than a thousand, 1500. The
LTTE put that number without our knowledge.

SIMON SANTOW: He and his colleagues now say the hospital he was working in was not shelled. The
United Nations and the Red Cross don't agree. They maintain their people on the ground verified his
earlier explanation.

Dr Rohan Bastin is an Associate Professor in Anthropology at Deakin University and a specialist on
Sri Lanka.

ROHAN BASTIN: The question as to who is telling the truth, my own feeling on this is that in a way
everyone is telling the truth and at the same time nobody is. That is whether the doctors were
coerced to exaggerate the figures at the time of the fighting I think is highly plausible, but
whether the figures have also been exaggerated the other way and now the doctors are being coerced
to radically change their view, I think is also highly likely.

SIMON SANTOW: And as far as people wanting to understand exactly what went on during the war we're
none the wiser.

ROHAN BASTIN: No in a way we're none the wiser. But at the same time it confirms so many things.

One of the features that was striking about the nature of the Government's campaign when they
decided on the military pursuing a military solution was that they seemed to have learned a great
deal from how other countries like the US for example go about martialling the truth, keeping
control of journalists, keeping people in or out of the fighting areas and being very careful in
stage managing the campaign and the information campaign. And I think this is a continuation of

PETER CAVE: Dr Rohan Bastin from Deakin University ending Simon Santow's report.

More coroners findings against private prison operator

PETER CAVE: The Victorian Coroner has released findings which put more pressure on a private
security firm that wants to run more of Australia's prisons. Just last month G4S was blamed by the
West Australian coroner for the death of a 46-year-old man who died of heat stress while locked in
a prison van.

The Victorian coroner has now found the company contributed to the death of a man who died in
Melbourne's privately run Port Phillip prison in 2005.

Simon Lauder reports.

SIMON LAUDER: On the 26th of November 2005, 50-year-old Ian Westcott was a remand prisoner at Port
Phillip prison in Melbourne's south-west. That night after lockdown he had an asthma attack and was
found dead in his cell the next morning. A handwritten note was also found. It said, "asthma
attack, buzzed for help, no response".

This morning a Victorian coroner Audrey Jamieson announced her findings to the court - that the
death was not sudden and it was preventable.

Mr Westcott's daughter Vanessa spoke outside the court.

VANESSA WESTCOTT: (Crying) It just was preventable. We could be on the Sunday morning at the
Camberwell Markets with a hot jam donut and you know it's just very sad.

SIMON LAUDER: Coroner Audrey Jamieson found the provider of healthcare to the prisoners St
Vincent's Correctional Health Service didn't manage Mr Westcott's asthma properly. He'd complained
of breathing problems just weeks before he died.

She also found the private operator of the prison, G4S, which used to be known as GSL, failed to
ensure the proper functioning of the intercom system prisoners relied on to communicate after
lockdown. The court heard it was common for prisoners to squirt toothpaste into the intercom to
muffle the sound of announcements, but there was no evidence Mr Westcott had tampered with his.

The director of public affairs at G4S, Tim Hall, was in the court to hear the findings.

TIM HALL: It's a matter of clearly of great regret to G4S that Mr Westcott died while he was in our

SIMON LAUDER: Do you accept the coroner's finding about failure to maintain the intercom system?

TIM HALL: That's one question I can't answer because I do have to read the report first to see what
she said. I mean I sat there but I didn't, I haven't had an opportunity to read in detail yet what
she said.

SIMON LAUDER: What's the state of the intercom system today?

TIM HALL: My understanding is that the intercom system is now fully functional.

SIMON LAUDER: It's less than a month since the last time Tim Hall was expressing regret over the
death of a prisoner in the care of G4S.

The coroner in Western Australia partly blamed G4S for the death of a 46-year-old man who died of
heat stress during a 360 kilometre journey in the back of a locked van.

In 2000 the Victorian coroner found the company had failed to provide a safe environment at Port
Phillip prison where four men hanged themselves in 1997.

G4S also manages a prison in Mount Gambier and is in the running to take over operation of Sydney's
Parklea jail from the New South Wales Government.

SIMON LAUDER: Has G4S got a bid in to manage the Parklea prison in New South Wales?


SIMON LAUDER: Do you think this on top of the finding by the WA coroner last month and a finding
several years ago to do with Port Phillip prison and G4S will make that bid untenable?

TIM HALL: No I don't think it will make it untenable. I certainly can't comment on what criteria
the New South Wales Government is going to adopt.

SIMON LAUDER: That's a lot of bad marks against the company's name though it seems.

TIM HALL: We in terms of prisoner transportation we do a lot of prisoner transports.

SIMON LAUDER: And the four deaths in 1997, the hanging deaths? There were negative findings against
the company over those.

TIM HALL: Yes but we're in 2009.

SIMON LAUDER: Vanessa Westcott says she won't rest until all of the coroner's recommendations to do
with the death of her father are implemented.

VANESSA WESTCOTT: Change is going to happen and particularly with the intercoms and particularly
with the health care. It's just not good enough. So look out because we're going to be following
this up.

PETER CAVE: Vanessa Westcott ending that report from Simon Lauder.

Fire disaster relief under scrutiny

PETER CAVE: Thousands of Victorians who weren't physically injured and didn't suffer property loss
in February's bushfires have received Centrelink disaster recovery payments. The payments were made
to people who claimed they'd suffered psychological trauma or inconvenience when fleeing their
homes in the days after Black Saturday.

The Federal Government is defending the payments saying the stress that people were under shouldn't
be underestimated.

Samantha Donovan reports.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: "Compo Greed" is the front page headline on today's Melbourne Herald Sun. The
newspaper says about 7,000 people have received Centrelink disaster relief payments to compensate
for the psychological trauma of having to spend time away from home during February's fires. It
says one family even used the money to pay for a trip to Bali.

Dandenong Ranges resident Sue was one caller to ABC local radio this morning who'd received the
Centrelink payment.

SUE: We evacuated twice but we were gone for a total of eight days because we didn't go back til
the fires actually finished.

We were probably out of pocket over $1000. I don't take any other Centrelink payments and I had to
think about taking it.

I thought the benefit of it would be is that if people knew that people live around where we live
in the Dandenongs, if they knew they could get money to pay for a motel when they haven't got the
money that they would actually leave when the CFA tell us to leave rather than staying there and
dying in a fire.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: The grant scheme is entirely separate from the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal. Under
the scheme adults are eligible for a payment of $1000 and children $400 each.

Bill Shorten, the Parliamentary Secretary for Bushfire Reconstruction defended the Australian
disaster government relief payment this morning.

BILL SHORTEN: I think it's perhaps now in the middle of winter easy to, or not easy but it's
possible to forget the tragedy and the drama of those days immediately after February the 7th.

The Federal Government has assisted a lot of people who were affected by the bushfires when there
was a very legitimate fear that the fires around Ferntree Gully, Upwey and Belgrave could become
potentially very devastating and people were moved out.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Rob Gordon is a psychologist with the Victorian Recovery Plan. He's pleased that
people whose lives were disrupted by the fires have received the payments.

ROB GORDON: There are quite a number of people who had very traumatic evacuations and also lived in
a state of great uncertainty for a considerable period of time. And often they didn't have anywhere
particularly good to go.

And I've also had people talk to me about a great deal of inequality in the provision of support.
There was a lot of this kind of assistance given early on and then if people didn't apply at the
right time they didn't get it. I'd like to think this is equalising the assistance that was given.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Rob Gordon says changes in Government's attitude to disaster recovery in the last
25 years are an improvement.

ROB GORDON: I've seen a steady shift in the way in which Government makes assistance available from
very stringent requirements to justify and document etc, which are impossible for the victims to
provide such information. And the very process of having to fill out all the forms and prove
everything is so onerous they actually just give up and walk away.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: But many talkback callers to ABC local radio remained sceptical of the payments.

CALLER 1: I have friends who lost friends up at Kinglake, who couldn't find people for days and
days. They were absolutely traumatised by it. Are these people eligible for compensation? I find a
lot of this discussion of people being paid out, paid money by Centrelink is a little bit over the
top I'm afraid.

CALLER 2: We heard there were fires just down the road from us, only about 800 metres away. Our
family agreed to meet at a restaurant. We had tea. We heard the fires were still on so we decided
to book ourselves into a motel. It cost us, the total thing cost us $300. And I was absolutely
mortified to find out that our family had an entitlement to $3,000 compensation, which we refused
to claim on the basis that it was just immoral and ridiculous.

PETER CAVE: A Melbourne talkback caller ending Samantha Donovan's report.

Virgin Blue and Delta join forces on US route

Virgin Blue and Delta join forces on US route

Ashley Hall reported this story on Thursday, July 9, 2009 12:51:08

PETER CAVE: Passengers flying between Australia and the United States have been enjoying lower
fares this year, as the number of carriers flying the route has doubled from two to four. The two
new entrants say they cut the fares thanks to increased competition. But now Virgin Blue and Delta
Air Lines are planning to join forces across the Pacific.

Ashley Hall explores what the new joint venture will mean for the passengers.

ASHLEY HALL: At this stage there's little detail about the joint venture proposal because the two
airlines haven't yet worked it out. Regulators don't allow competitors to share intimate
operational details. But it's clear what Virgin Blue's chief executive Brett Godfrey hopes to

BRETT GODFREY: The objective is to find what we refer to in the industry as metal neutrality where
basically it doesn't matter which airline you fly on. The airlines get to a position, the two
airlines that are looking to form a JV get to a position where they share revenues and share risk.

ASHLEY HALL: For example Virgin's trans-Pacific carrier V Australia might operate the morning
flights on one route while Delta operates in the evening.

BRETT GODFREY: The whole idea is to try and improve from a passenger point of view and of course
the peripheral benefit for us is that we will get more traffic flying on us to compete against the

ASHLEY HALL: It looks at first blush like a consolidation on the trans-Pacific route but you put it
as an increase in competition. How can that be?

BRETT GODFREY: The concept of this is not to rationalise to the point where people pull off or move
away and it's just done on the one airline. The overall concept is that we're in a position through
having the least, we have about, we will have about 12 per cent of the capacity. Delta has about, a
little bit less, about 10. United has 25 and Qantas has the rest.

So we're very much the new entrants and to ensure competition is sustained for the long term we
think this is a better way to manage it.

ASHLEY HALL: But for most of the past decade the route's been the exclusive domain of Qantas and
United. That was until Virgin Blue began its new service V Australia at the end of February and
Delta Airlines commenced direct flights earlier this month. And with the increased competition
prices have come down significantly.

BRETT GODFREY: The low fares that you see today which are basically 50 nearly 60 per cent off what
they were just some 12 to 15 months ago are quite honestly unsustainable. I would suggest you get
them while you can.

ASHLEY HALL: The lower fares are also a result of a slump in demand because of the global economic
downturn so they're likely to rise again as the economy recovers, according to the independent
transport analyst Brent Mitchell.

He says the joint venture proposal is quite similar to the plan put forward by the mining giants
BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto to form a joint venture to cover their West Australian iron ore

BRENT MITCHELL: In both cases the infrastructure will be shared and in both cases the marketing
will be aggressive on both parties independently and so look I think it has a lot of similarities
and I'd expect these sort of deals to continue across a number of industries going forward. And
it's a reflection of the economic climate at the present.

ASHLEY HALL: The chairman of the Asia Pacific Centre for Aviation Peter Harbison says Delta has
been less enthusiastic about a tie-up with Virgin Blue, possibly because it's been busy absorbing
the operations of Northwest Airlines which it recently bought. Nonetheless, he sees benefits for
both carriers.

PETER HARBISON: Virgin Blue V Australia is a weaker competitor, obviously it's much smaller and has
very little feed traffic at the US end of the route. And Delta is very much an unknown. It's the
biggest carrier in the world but it's still very much an unknown in the Australian market so there
is a nice apparent synergy between the two in getting some greater market presence on the Pacific.

ASHLEY HALL: Peter Harbison says there will only be low prices on the trans-Pacific route for as
long as there's excess seating capacity.

PETER HARBISON: If someone did pull out of the market obviously the downward pressure on prices
would diminish a bit but the issue at the moment is that demand is just so slack particularly on
the long-haul routes that there's very little that would suggest that prices are going to go up if
people want to sell their seats.

PETER CAVE: Peter Harbison, the director of the Asia Pacific Centre for Aviation, ending Ashley
Hall's report.

Astronomers see the light when it comes to black holes

Astronomers see the light when it comes to black holes

Felicity Ogilvie reported this story on Thursday, July 9, 2009 12:55:30

PETER CAVE: Black holes have something of a bad image for swallowing anything that's nearby.

But in a world's first, astronomers at the CSIRO have made the most detailed image yet of what
black holes spit back out again.

Felicity Ogilvie reports.

FELICITY OGILVIE: The galaxy Centaurus A is 14-million light years away from earth. It contains a
black hole that's 50-million times bigger than the sun and it's pumping radio waves out into space.

Astronomers from the CSIRO now know what those radio waves look like.

ILANA FEAIN: Right near the black hole is a pair of jets and these jets then travel over millions
of light years and they billow out into these plumes or big pillows of radiation with an area of
the size of about 200 times the full moon.

FELICITY OGILVIE: Ilana Feain used telescopes at Parkes and Narrabri in outback New South Wales to
look at the radio waves.

It took her three years to make the world's most detailed picture of what is coming out of the
black hole in Centaurus A.

ILANA FEAIN: The radio emission coming from the black hole has been ongoing for about a billion
years and so it extends way out, well beyond the galaxy. And even if you look at the Centaurus
galaxy there's, it has several neighbours around it and the radio emission from its black hole has
actually enveloped all of its neighbours as well, which is really very interesting.

FELICITY OGILVIE: Now, what does this tell you about galaxies then if you know that the radio waves
from black hole extend out for such a long period of time? What does that tell astronomers about
the importance of black holes for galaxies?

ILANA FEAIN: What we're starting to realise in the last few years, or maybe the last decade or so,
is that black holes and the energy from black holes is intimately related to the way galaxies form
and evolve over the epic of the universe.

FELICITY OGILVIE: Fellow CSIRO astronomer Brian Boyle hopes to use the information to find out more
about our galaxy - the Milky Way.

BRIAN BOYLE: By studying how the black hole in the centre of Centaurus A is currently interacting
with the gas in Centaurus A may tell us about how black holes heat up the gas, how it may stimulate
star formation in Centaurus A. And then we can then look back at our own galaxy and see if we can
see if you like fossil evidence for potential interactions between the galaxy, the black hole at
the centre of our galaxy when it once was active and look for telltale signs of previous activity
in our galactic black hole.

FELICITY OGILVIE: The astronomers say they have so much information from mapping the radio waves
from Centaurus A it will be several years before they can work out just how important black holes
are in forming galaxies.

PETER CAVE: Felicity Ogilvie reporting.