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Fielding calls for focus on climate science

PETER CAVE: Family First Senator Steve Fielding met climate change campaigner Al Gore briefly this

As Fielding begins his own campaign against the Government's emission trading scheme.

Senator Fielding hopes to sit down with the former US vice president to discuss climate change in
the next day or two.

In the meantime, Steve Fielding is today writing to the nation's 75 other senators, asking them to
look at the science closely before casting their vote in August.

Included in his letter is a chart which he says shows that while greenhouse emissions have gone up
over the past 15 years, global temperatures have remained steady.

Steve Fielding spoke to Alexandra Kirk in Canberra.

STEVE FIELDING: Look, this is the first time I've written to all senators and because it is a very
big issue. It's the number one issue as far as our economy and the environment. One that we're
going to face for the next 10 to 20 years.

And so we've got to get the decision right and the question that I'm going to be putting forward to
each of the senators is - can they also explain why global air temperatures haven't been going up
over the last 15 years, while carbon dioxide concentrations have been.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: In other words you're asking them to vote against the Government's emissions
trading scheme?

STEVE FIELDING: Look, underlying it is, is that I have trouble voting for a Carbon Pollution
Reduction Scheme where there is a basic question about the science that needs to be answered.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: But shouldn't you be looking at longer than the last 15 years?

STEVE FIELDING: It hasn't been going up. Now 15 years is a very long time.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: But what about 50 years, for example?

STEVE FIELDING: But the issue at hand has been is that we've all been led to believe as carbon
dioxide concentration continues to go up, global temperatures would rapidly rise. Now what we've
found over the last 15 years, and this is based on the measurements that the IPCC have used for
many, many years.

Now the evidence and the facts that I'm putting forward, even though it could be an inconvenient
fact, global air temperatures haven't been going up over the last 15 years while carbon dioxide
concentrations have been going up over that same period.

Now that contradicts what the Rudd Government has been put forward and the Rudd Government needs to
explain it and I think each senator before they vote on this, they've got to be able to look at
their constituents, look at the Australian public in the eye and say that I can explain why global
air temperatures haven't been going up over the last 15 years, but carbon dioxides have.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: When you had your discussions with the Government, one of the issues that came up
was that sea temperatures are increasing, which you then asked the Government to explain. Professor
Stephan, who is the scientist who was at the meeting says that sea temperatures have risen by 0.1
of a degree centigrade, over 40 years, between 1961 and 2003.

He says that is quite impressive, given that oceans cover such a large percentage of the Earth's
surface and water has a very high heat capacity. So it takes a lot of heat to increase, say, the
sea, by that amount and human activity is the only explanation for that. You can't accept that?

STEVE FIELDING: Look, both the scientists on both sides of the debate have said for many years that
ocean temperatures have not been reliable or a good, and haven't been used.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: And you're worried that a number of Coalition senators might vote for the scheme
and therefore it might pass the Parliament come August-September?

STEVE FIELDING: Look, there certainly is concern but I would appeal to senators in both the major
parties to actually look at the fact. I'm appealing to senators to actually look at the facts and
it could be an inconvenient fact, but at the same token you need to actually take that on board and
consider whether you can explain it themselves.

And if you can't, then you shouldn't be voting on something you don't understand.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: You sued the words "inconvenient fact", which is a reference to Al Gore's book and
film, "An Inconvenient Truth". Al Gore has been in Australia and has supported the idea of
Australia having an emissions trading scheme, voted for, before the UN Climate Conference in
Copenhagen. Is you fear that Australia will have an emissions trading scheme before Copenhagen?

STEVE FIELDING: Look, it would be really odd for Australia to go it alone and risk jobs in our
economy at this stage. And especially given that the question that I've put forward hasn't been
explained by the Rudd Government.

I'm hoping to be able to meet Al Gore in the next couple of days. I met him this morning very
briefly, and I'm hoping to have a longer chat, one-on-one over the next couple of days; because
again, it's a question that I want to put forward to him to see what his response is to it.

PETER CAVE: Family First Senator Steve Fielding, speaking to Alexandra Kirk

Steve and Al have a convenient meeting

PETER CAVE: It was just a brief meeting this morning in Melbourne between Senator Fielding and Al

And as we've just heard both are hoping to spend a bit more time together over the next couple of

Mr Gore says Australia is one of the nations that should lead the global effort.

Shane McLeod reports from Melbourne.

SHANE MCLEOD: Not everyone's a fan of the former US vice president, turned climate campaigner.

Outside the venue for this morning's breakfast Al Gore was being serenaded by some sceptical

PROTESTORS (singing): Sea will rise when Al Gore takes a swim - more CO2 - She's loving and the
planet loves it too.

SHANE MCLEOD: The atmosphere inside was a little warmer.

The global guru of climate change was helping to launch a new organisation that wants to link
science, business, government and the community to press the case for a national response to the
challenges of climate change.

It's called Safe Climate Australia.

AL GORE: It is an emergency. We really do have to act.

SHANE MCLEOD: When he took the stage, Al Gore made the case for action and says Australia's own
experience with fires, floods and cyclones shows why a global deal on climate change is imperative.

AL GORE: What they do say again with increasing force is that the odds have been shifted so heavily
that fires that used to be manageable now threaten to spin out of control and wreak damages that
are far beyond what was experienced in the past.

SHANE MCLEOD: Watching on from the audience were some well known faces.

Among them the Victorian Family First Senator Stephen Fielding, who after the speech approached the
Mr Gore hoping to organise a meeting.

Mr Gore's speech suggests he might not be able to provide the answers Senator Fielding is looking

AL GORE: We can say to the scientists, "We don't want to listen to you." We would prefer to seek
out the one or two per cent the nay-sayers who stand against this growing and building consensus.
Because the actions necessary really are difficult.

So let's try as hard as we can to someone who disagrees and then build that disagreement up and use
it as an excuse for failing to discharge our responsibilities. If we continue on that path, it
leads to ward a catastrophic outcome.

PETER CAVE: Al Gore ending Shane McLeod's report.

Climate change making frozen island green, say scientists

PETER CAVE: Heard Island near Antarctica is turning green as more and more of its normally snow
covered slopes are exposed.

Nay-sayers aside, scientists says it's not the island's active volcano that's melting the ice but
climate change, and that's why they are monitoring it from space.

The volcano called Big Ben dominates Heard Island, 4,000 kilometres south west of Western
Australia, and the latest eruption has left a crater the size of the MCG.

Felicity Ogilvie reports from Hobart.

FELICITY OGILVIE: It takes two weeks to sail from Hobart to Heard Island.

But scientists in Hobart are overcoming the tyranny of distance by monitoring the sub-Antarctic
island from space.

In his office at the University of Tasmania, Arko Lucieer, is looking at satellite images of Heard
Island on his computer.

ARKO LUCIEER: These satellites are in an orbit 700 kilometres above the Earth's surface and the
spatial resolutions, so the pixel size that we get out of these images, is in the order of 50
centimetres to 60 centimetres.

So that means we can see individual elephant seals on the beach. You can see right into the glacial

FELICITY OGILVIE: Doctor Lucieer has even seen the island's volcano, Big Ben, erupt.

ARKO LUCIEER: We chose a very recent volcanic activity, and it shows a crater around the top of Big
Ben and the diameter of this crater is close 180 metres, which is roughly the same as the size of
the MCG stadium.

FELICITY OGILVIE: The satellite image of the volcano is pure white because Big Ben is covered in

Ewan McIvor from the Australian Antarctic Division says there's a good reason why the volcano is
covered in ice.

EWAN MCIVOR: The ice is just on the very surface obviously of the ground of the island and between
the ice and the channels where the lava might flow, there's a considerable amount of solid rock
which has fabulous insulating properties.

So where the lava flows come out, such as the crater where we're looking at, you might see some
melting in the snow and the ice; and where the lava flows down the hill.

But for the bulk of the island, the surface, the ground surface is very well insulated from any
lava underneath just by the bulk of rock that forms the island.

FELICITY OGILVIE: But the glaciers on Heard Island are melting and the scientists say the volcano's
not too blame. The culprit is climate change.

EWAN MCIVOR: We talk about Heard Island as our Southern Ocean sentinel for climate change, being a
largely unmodified location that is, hasn't been impacted greatly by local human activities. It's
akin to a natural laboratory.

So changes that are happening there, we're fairly sure are happening for reasons other than local
human impacts.

FELICITY OGILVIE: Arko Lucieer has been watching the glaciers shrink.

ARKO LUCIEER: We can see clear retreat of the Stephenson Glacier; pretty much from all the way down
to the coastline and all the way down to sea level to further up the mountain. The total length of
retreat between 2003 and 2008 appears to be around three kilometres, with a total area lost of 400

FELICITY OGILVIE: The island is getting greener too. Tough sub-Antarctic plants are growing in the
land that's been exposed by the melting ice.

This is Felicity Ogilvie in Hobart for The World Today.

South Korean media reports Kim has cancer

PETER CAVE: A South Korean broadcaster is reporting that intelligence agencies in Seoul and Beijing
believe the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il is dying from pancreatic cancer.

The dictator certainly looked very frail in one of his rare public appearances last week.

Our North Asia correspondent Mark Willacy has joined us on the line from Tokyo.

What is this South Korean broadcaster reporting, Mark?

MARK WILLACY: Well, it's not reporting a lot but if true what it is reporting is quite serious. The
YTN broadcaster in Seoul says its report is based on information gathered by Chinese and South
Korean intelligence agencies.

And apparently that information is that Kim Jong-il has pancreatic cancer and that the illness is
life-threatening. That's all we're hearing. But by way of background, pancreatic cancer has one of
the highest fatality rates of call cancers and according to the World Health Organization the
median survival time after the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is just three to six months.

So if this report is true, for Kim Jong-il, it would look terminal.

PETER CAVE: Tell us about that appearance last week that, where he looked so frail.

MARK WILLACY: Yeah, well it's true that at a tribute to his father, his late father last week, that
Kim Jong-il did look, basically, deathly. He was pale, his once full face was baggy and gaunt, he'd
lost a lot of weight around his middle, his hair had thinned considerably and he basically limped
to his seat on stage.

So that appearance certainly fuelled speculation that the dictator is suffering from some sort of
serious illness. And we're also hearing reports from Toshimitsu Shigemura who's a North Korea
expert at Tokyo Waseda University. He says he has a source close to the Dear Leader who basically
says Kim will be dead before the end of the year and possibly as early as a few weeks.

PETER CAVE: If this report is true, would Kim Jong-il still be in control of the nuclear missile
program and what are the chances that it could spark a military coup?

MARK WILLACY: Yeah, well there have been reports elsewhere that Kim Jong-il has basically left, let
the politbureau, his party and the military take over policy making and the day-to-day running of
the country.

And that may explain the recent hard-lined stance of Pyongyang in firing missiles and conducting
nuclear tests. Although another theory suggests that it was Kim's way of cementing his power in
forcing his succession plan, which would see his youngest son Jong-un take over when he's gone.

Although the military, as you mentioned, there is always a possibility of a coup. They may not
accept his youngest son as the heir apparent, and the military has always exercised a central
aspect of control in North Korea.

But just how powerful they are at the moment with Kim ailing, is anyone's guess.

PETER CAVE: Tell us a little bit about that youngest son.

MARK WILLACY: All we know was that he's Swiss-educated, that he's learnt English, he loves American
films and that he's very much like his father, both in looks and temperament.

Other than that, we don't really know much about him. We have heard reports that he's been put in
charge of some of the security apparatus within Pyongyang in a bid to toughen him up and to give
him some street credibility, so to speak.

Other than that; like North Korea, like Kim Jong-il's health, everything about Kim Jong-un is a
closely guarded secret in Pyongyang.

PETER CAVE: Mark Willacy there, live on the line from Tokyo.

F1 drought-breaker comes in uncertain times

PETER CAVE: Just as Australian Mark Webber celebrates his win in the German Formula 1 Grand Prix,
questions remain about the future of the sport in Australia.

Australia's Formula 1 chief, Ron Walker, has indicated the Melbourne Grand Prix may be scrapped if
disunity in the sport isn't resolved.

Simon Lauder reports.

SIMON LAUDER: Mark Webber's victory at the German Grand Prix is Australia's first in 28 years. For
the 32-year-old the chequered flag was a dream come true.

MARK WEBBER (shouting in excitement): Yeehah! Yes! Yes! Yeah!

SIMON LAUDER: Motorsport writer, Stuart Sykes, is the editor of the official program for the
Australian Grand Prix.

STUART SYKES: I can't think of a result that has given me as much pleasure as Mark's victory last

SIMON LAUDER: Why is that?

STUART SYKES: I've known the lad for a long, long time. I know exactly how hard he and his small
team around him have worked to get him where he is. He optimises much that, to my mind, is good
about being an Australian.

And it's just an absolute reward for effort, endeavour and let's not forget, some very real talent
behind the wheel.

SIMON LAUDER: The win comes after years of disappointments for Webber over 130 races; leading some
to doubt whether he could ever win. Webber acknowledged that as he took the winner's podium.

MARK WEBBER: Everyone in Australia that has supported me on the way through and of course there's a
few people that doubted me as well. So hello to them as well, and um, it's just an incredible day
for all the people that have helped me get to where I am.

SIMON LAUDER: As Australia's presence in the sport gets a major lift, the sports presence in
Australia is looking shaky. Major teams including Ferrari, Mercedes and Toyota are threatening to
form their own championship.

Stuart Sykes says tension between leading F1 teams and the sport's governing body have been
building for a while, but the dispute over plans to impose budget caps on the sport brought the
conflict to a head.

STUART SYKES: Because they saw it as an introduction of a two-tier world championship. The haves,
the have-nots. The ones who were being given special dispensation if they stuck to a budget cap.

But there are many other aspects to this to do with commercial rights, to do with the share that
the teams get from the revenues that flow through Formula 1; to do with the teams' input and the
technical regulations rather than having technical regulations imposed on them from outside.

So I think while that may have been the straw the broke the camel's back, I think there were a lot
of other humps along the way.

SIMON LAUDER: The chairman of the Australian Grand Prix Ron Walker, says the race wouldn't be worth
having in Melbourne if the disunity continues and the sport's major brands don't show.

Stuart Sykes says there's little chance it will come to that; he says the dispute between the major
teams and the organisers is as much about politics and personalities.

STUART SYKES: While what we're seeing at the moment is ongoing politicking, intriguing,
saber-rattling, etc. These things always come to a head and always seem to get resolved. And
usually someone with a modicum of common sense comes along and says, "Let's cut through all this
nonsense and let's get it sorted."

And we will see the race in Melbourne as we all expect to see it next year.

SIMON LAUDER: And Stuart Sykes, what do you see as the best solution to this disunity at the

STUART SYKES: For me, it would be for the teams to retain the degree of unity that they have
achieved in the last 12 months or so with the creation of the Formula 1 Teams Association; for egos
to be set aside in pursuit of the best interests of the sport.

And most importantly of all, for all interested parties to respect people who watch this wonderful
sport worldwide and are numbered in their hundreds of millions.

SIMON LAUDER: As for Mark Webber, Stuart Sykes believes the win in Germany overnight won't be his

STUART SYKES: If he can do what he did in Germany, Hungary is the next race, if you can put the car
on pole there and stay clear of trouble then that's another strong chance.

But I think there are other places like Spa-Francorchamps, the wonderful track in Belgium, which is
so flowing and undulating that it might just suit him and the car as well. There are plenty of
opportunities for him to do it, but wouldn't it be wonderful to see him do it in Australia?

PETER CAVE: Motorsports writer, Stuart Sykes, ending that report from Simon Lauder.

Glass ceiling still exists in Australia

PETER CAVE: New research shows that the glass ceiling still exists especially when it comes to
female pay.

While women may be making their way up the corporate ladder, women managers earn about 25 per cent
less than their male counterparts do.

The author of the research says the reason is simple: men continue to be paid more than women for
exactly the same work.

Our finance reporter Sue Lannin reports.

SUE LANNIN: What's the difference between male and female managers?

About $22,000 a year, according to new research.

While more women have made their way into the ranks of management, their pay isn't necessarily
keeping pace.

Study author, Dr Ian Watson from Macquarie University says there is an obvious answer.

IAN WATSON: Male and female managers quite similar in characteristics. They have similar levels of
education, similar age, been in the job in a similar length of time. So the only way to explain the
gap is that it's due to some form of discrimination.

And when you look at the gap and break it down, you find that the difference between simply being a
male and a female accounts for a large portion of the gap, a large portion of that discrimination
is simply the fact that women are women.

SUE LANNIN: That's very hard to quantify though, isn't it?

IAN WATSON: If you see the gap as being equivalent to about $22,000 a year, annual earnings, then
simply being a woman manager is likely to cost you $13,500, just the fact that you are a woman.

SUE LANNIN: The study looked at nearly 4,000 managers. Ian Watson says it's also about who gets
into management, and men are still more likely to.

IAN WATSON: Essentially there's a kind of screening process early on. Men are twice as likely to
get into management, and if woman have young children, their odds are even more reduced. So
essentially it's a kind of the survival of the fittest.

There are some differences. Men are more likely to be in manufacturing and finance. Women are more
likely to be in the kind of, caring industries, you know, health and community services. And again,
that's the reason why there's a difference in earnings.

Overall the surprising thing about managers is that the gender differences are nowhere near as
great as they might have been say 20 years ago, which makes the wages gap even more of a dilemma.

SUE LANNIN: Dr Watson's research is backed up by government studies, which show there are fewer
women on the boards of Australia's top 200 companies.

Megan Motto is a woman in a male dominated world. She's the head of the Association of Consulting

MEGAN MOTTO: I think there is a glass ceiling and it exists for a range of reasons. And of the 270
member firms in the consulting, engineering and technical services sector that I represent, there
are no female CEOs.

Few of those firms have women on boards, and indeed, few have women in senior management.
Distinctly in firms even, you note a quite a drop off in women when they hit their 30s. That we
have lots of female graduates come into the firms but few of them end up making the senior echelons
of management.

SUE LANNIN: And does it make a difference when it comes to pay?

MEGAN MOTTO: Well, it definitely makes a difference when it comes to pay. Once again though I think
the factors are quite complex. In most industries there still very much exists a pervasive culture
of hours of power.

People who are seen at the office working long hours; you're not necessarily being seen as a
visible. And visibility is a big promotability factor.

SUE LANNIN: Are women to some extent though their own worst enemies? That they're not, sometimes
they're not confident enough to go for senior positions?

MEGAN MOTTO: Yes I think that's definitely a factor. In my experience, women won't go for a
promotion unless they've got a 120 per cent of the skills set requirements of the new job. Whereas
males will tend to go for a promotion even if they've only got 70 or 80 per cent of the skill set
required of the new job.

And I guess the mentality is there. "I'll get the new job and figure it out in the first few weeks
and learn to swim as I go." Whereas women I think feel that they need to be confident to be able to
hit the ground running in order to justify the decision that was made to promote them.

Men will take the promotion and feel comfortable that they can learn the extra 20 or 30 per cent as
they go.

PETER CAVE: Megan Motto, the chief executive of the Association of Consulting Engineers.

Fresh offensive in supermarket petrol wars

PETER CAVE: Independent service station owners are up in arms at the latest moves by the large
supermarket chains to offer discount fuel vouchers to people who buy their groceries.

For the next three days Coles will offer generous discounts to people who spend more than $100 in
their supermarkets.

The move comes amid fresh concerns that companies aren't passing along the savings made from a drop
in the global price of oil

Meredith Griffiths reports.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: Independent service station owners are alarmed at the latest salvo fired in the
battle between the country's two largest supermarket chains.

CRAIG GLASBY: It seems we're collateral damage once again in the fight between Coles and Woolies.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: Craig Glasby is the president of the Service Stations Association.

He's livid at Coles' plan to give away big fuel discounts in its supermarkets over the next three

Shoppers who spend more than $300 will get 40 cents off the price of a litre of petrol.

People who spend over $200 will get 25 cents off and people whose groceries come to more than $100
will get 10 cents off.

Craig Glasby says it's unfair.

CRAIG GLAS: Colse Express hasn't got 40 per cent margins on their fuel. They just can't afford to
do it. It's coming out of their supermarkets. As an independent I average around about three cents
a litre, so obviously there's no margin there to give away a discount.

So the money has got to come from somewhere and it's coming out of the supermarket. And that means
that everybody pays for it. The pensioner that doesn't have a car, that the mums and dads that have
got children and are on a tight budget, they are all paying for this 40 cents a litre giveaway.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: But Monash University's dean of business and economics Steven King says that
argument doesn't stack up.

STEPHEN KING: When you start talking about subsidising, I think it's pretty hard to say, well we're
taking money from our left hand and giving it to our right hand, which is essentially what you're
saying. We're taking, Coles is taking from supermarkets and giving it to petrol stations.

I think, quite frankly, the whole argument is a nonsense. When you've got integrated businesses
like Coles or like Woolworths, trying to say well, is the money coming from the left hand or the
right hand is just not a sensible argument.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: Professor Stephen King says the Coles scheme is great for consumers.

STEPHEN KING: I wouldn't get too worried about it from a competition perspective in the short term.
Consumers benefit, it's clearly part of Wesfarmers' strategy, where they're really ramping up the
advertising on Coles.

I mean think of this as being another part of their advertising strategy, because that's really
what it is. It's to get the consumers back into the supermarkets. And it's clearly focussed at the
supermarkets. You have to be spending more than say, to get the largest discount, you need to be
spending more that $300 at a Coles supermarket.

So that's a pretty substantial spend.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: Petrol pricing is also causing particular concern in Queensland.

When the State Government announced it was scrapping its fuel subsidy it said it would name and
shame petrol companies who used that as a excuse to hike up their prices.

The state's motoring organisation, the RACQ, thought that meant a permanent monitoring system would
be put in place.

So spokesman Gary Fites says he was surprised to hear the Treasurer say it was only for a limited

GARY FITES: Although we always thought the threats to name and shame owed more to spin then
substance, it is all the more farcical, we think, to understand now that it was only probably 24
hours of the changeover period.

So one really does have to wonder how fair dinkum the Government was about keeping any sort of
check over pricing practices following the demise of the fuel subsidy.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: Gary Fites says drivers have been paying too much for fuel since the subsidy
was scrapped.

He says the fuel industry has been exploiting the consumer confusion.

GARY FITES: What we saw in the first week in south-east Queensland was most operators keeping their
heads down and keeping margins low to avoid any adverse publicity. A week on and certainly if the
naming and shaming exercise was for the last 24 hours, it's pretty clear that the week after 1
July, they've all resorted to normal pricing practices and then some.

In the past few days in south-east Queensland certainly, we've seen not only the full impact of
that extra nine cents a litre in tax, but also a little bit of extra margin being recouped to make
up for obviously what was pretty skinny margins in week one after the abolition of the fuel

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: The fuel watchdog FuelTrac agrees.

Its spokesman Geoff Trotter says that the price of unleaded in Singapore has fallen four cents and
the price of diesel has dropped five cents. But he says none of those savings has been passed on to

GEOFF TROTTER: The week after the subsidy was removed, the increase was 8.6 cents a litre on
average. This Friday the differential has moved to 14 cents a litre. And that's at a time when the
intervening period, the wholesale price for unleaded petrol has gone down 3.5 cents a litre.

So the oil companies have recovered much more than the cost of the state subsidy removal.

PETER CAVE: Geoff Trotter from FuelTrac ending that report by Meredith Griffiths

The other retail giant, Woolworths, has announced it will match the Coles fuel offer price.

The company says the price cuts are unsustainable in the long term, but that similar snap specials
are quite likely in the future.

Teachers take action against league tables

PETER CAVE: Teachers in New South Wales have voted to push ahead with a major industrial campaign
opposing the publication of school literacy and numeracy tests.

The Federal Government wants to collect data from the annual tests to monitor the performance of
schools across Australia.

However teachers say the media will use the information to make league tables similar to those in
the UK where schools are ranked from best to worst performing.

They claim that students at poorly performing schools will be demoralised.

Di Bain reports.

DI BAIN: It was a feisty morning at the NSW Teachers Federation's annual general meeting, with a
clear message: Ban league tables or face industrial action.

BOB LIPSCOMBE: This is a fight we must win. This is fight we will win.

(Sound of audience clapping)

DI BAIN: Hundreds of teachers packed the Convention Centre to air their concerns about the Federal
Government's proposal to publish numeracy and literacy tests which are conducted at all schools in

The Teachers Federation's Bob Lipscombe believes the media will take the information and create
league tables ranking schools from best to worst.

BOB LIPSCOMBE: It's a sad day when the media covering this issue has to turn to likes of Brendan
Nelson as the expert on league tables. It's a sad day when the media in this country has to turns
to John Howard as the next expert on league tables.

And it's certainly a sad day when they have to turn Janet Albrechtsen in The Australian as the
ultimate source of authority on the value of league tables in this country.

The people out there supporting them, they aren't there.

DI BAIN: The decision to test all school's for numeracy and literacy was started under the Howard

Under its Education Evolution the Rudd Government says it wants to continue the tests but its
planning on publishing the results later this year so there can information that compares schools
on a national basis.

But Bob Liscombe says the Federal Government is trying to work out a system by which to withhold
funding from underperforming schools.

BOB LIPSCOMBE: I don't believe that too many politicians in NSW or wherever else, the tying of
funds and be told by the Minister that $4.7-million is riding on disclosure of information which
will enable the publication of league tables. $4.7-million.

Well my response to that is, have a bit of backbone, Minister. Stand up to the interests of
students in NSW, stand up for their schools and stand up for communities in NSW.

DI BAIN: A short time ago New South Wales teachers voted to campaign against league tables. The
campaigns include a threat to ban numeracy and literacy tests next year if this year's results are

They also voted to hold a major rally in September, and will lobby local politicians.

Outside the meeting the conversation about league tables continued. School teacher Jennifer Killen
says she worked in the UK where league tables are published and it hasn't improved the education

JENNIFER KILLEN: The school I taught at in the UK most recently, students who teachers did not
expect to do well were prevented from doing their public exams, doing their GCSEs. That the school
would not allow underperforming students to sit their exams.

Children who do not do well drag your position in the league tables down, so don't let them sit.

DI BAIN: So schools have found a way to fudge the figures?

JENNIFER KILLEN: Absolutely. Leagues tables are not very useful for parents. What kids did last
year and the year before and the year before that, will not tell parents how their child will go in
that school in the future.

DI BAIN: The Save Our Schools Association's Trevor Cobbold is in Canberra lobbying against the move
on behalf of parents and teachers.

He says the Government's plan is too simplistic.

TREVOR COBBOLD: It actually misleads parents about the quality of schools. That people think by
finding out what the average school results are, that says something about the school's quality.

But the problem is, all the research shows that socio-economic background and ethnic background has
a significant impact on a school's results. And those results often reflect the social composition
of the school and not the quality of the school.

DI BAIN: Dr Dan White is the executive director of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese of Sydney.

He agrees that the Government's approach is a bit simplistic but supports a system which will
provide more transparency of a school's overall performance.

DAN WHITE: Yes, in the proposals we're seen to date, we believe there is a danger of creating
simplistic league tables, and that should be avoided because I think that can be counterproductive.

However if they can come up with mechanisms by which a variety of indicators about school
effectiveness can be provided, then we would give them serious consideration.

We believe parents are entitled to a rich array of data, that gives them meaningful information on
the progress of their own child and also the offerings a particular school might provide.

That being said, we are concerned if league tables are developed with simplistic uni-dimensional
data, which only really looks at only one criteria instead of a range of criteria.

PETER CAVE: The Dr Dan White is from the Catholic Education Office, ending that report from Di

Jury urged not to guess motive in corruption trial

PETER CAVE: The trial of a former Queensland Cabinet minister is entering its final days, with the
jury hearings closing arguments today.

Mr Nuttall is fighting 36 charges of receiving secret payments from two businessmen.

The defence has this morning that none of the 25 Crown witnesses said Nuttall had tried to
influence Government to favour the men.

Annie Guest is at the District Court in Brisbane and she joins us now.

Annie, what are the key points that Nuttall's counsel has been raising in his concluding statement
to the jury?

ANNIE GUEST: Peter, Nuttall's defence counsel John Rivett began by drawing several analogies. He
says sometimes the simplest questions in life are the most difficult. And he said those include,
'What's the meaning of life?', 'why is the sky blue?'.

And John referred to a television advertisement where a boy asks his father from the back seat of a
car, 'Why was the Great Wall of China built?' and the father answers, 'To keep the rabbits out'.
And the defence counsel told the jury they shouldn't be like that father and guess what was in the
former minister, Gordon Nuttall's mind when he received that $360,000.

Now those are the payments that he received from the mining magnate, Ken Talbot, and also the
businessman Harold Shand, but in court, the defence also referred to them having been possibly
received by Jim Gorman instead of Harold Shand, he was a colleague of Harold Shand the businessman.

Now the jury was told that they should consider the evidence. That none of the Crown's 25 witnesses
said that Nuttall had tried to influence government decisions in favour of the men, including
Queensland's current Premier and the former premier, Peter Beattie.

And that the jury should look at Nuttall's history as an honest, hard-working person who'd
previously made disclosures to Parliament about different matters. And he also said the jury should
consider that these were exceptional friendship that Nuttall had with the mining magnate Ken Talbot
and the others, and it was in the spirit of this friendship that they gave Nuttall money to help
fulfil his plan to buy houses for his children.

PETER CAVE: How does the reversal of the onus of proof affect this case?

ANNIE GUEST: After the crown has established several points, including that the payments were made
and we've seen all sorts of bank statements around those, and Gordon Nuttall doesn't deny that they
were made; then after that the defence bears the onus of proof. And it must satisfy the jury beyond
reasonable doubt that the payments weren't corrupt.

And John Rivett, the defence counsel has told the jury that what matters is their intention, the
intentions that were in the minds of these people at the time of the payment.

PETER CAVE: The prosecution has only just begun its closing arguments, but can you recap the main
emphasis of what exactly is the crown's case?

ANNIE GUEST: Well the crown's case includes that it's bribe and graft, regardless of what was done
with the money and that there was a whole list of coincidental events where a payment would be
received or in one instance, property brought from Nuttall; at what the prosecution says was at an
inflated price, and that around the same time, there'd be a favourable government decision in
favour of those men.

And prosecutor Ross Martin got up just moments ago and started in the same vain as when he
questioned Nuttall on the stand the other day when he cut to the chase immediately then and said
$360,000 for absolutely nothing.

Which had the court, the gallery on the edge of their seats. Well today he got up and he said,
"money for nothing and the cheques for free." And he told the jury, "Okay, it's okay for Mark
Knopfler from Dire Straits to use that material for his song, but it's not okay for Nuttall to put
this argument."

And he said that Nuttall had been in denial, that he was self-justifying, that he had fallen victim
to flattery as a minister of the Crown.

And he also said, which was quite amusing, and I'll get you the direct quote, "It's self-praise
with an Olympic event, the accused is Ian Thorpe and Michael Phelps rolled into one."

PETER CAVE: That was Annie Guest reporting their live from Brisbane.

Hospitals fail to properly investigate stillbirths

PETER CAVE: New research has found that many parents of stillborn babies aren't being given
adequate explanations as to why their child died.

Around 2,000 babies are stillborn in Australia every year.

But research, funded by the Stillbirth Foundation of Australia, shows that some hospitals are
failing to investigate the deaths and they're leaving many parents in the dark.

Lindy Kerin reports.

LINDY KERIN: It's a pregnant woman's worst fear. Six babies are stillborn in Australia every day.

And despite improvements in heath care, the rate of stillbirth hasn't really changed over the past
10 years.

Dr Adrienne Gordon is a neonatologist at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney.

She says around 30 per cent of all stillbirths are unexplained, which she says can have a massive
impact on grieving parents.

ADRIENNE GORDON: The whole situation for any family is really devastating, but if they don't know
why, it can make it much harder to deal with, because they also, it's difficult for their
clinicians, or their obstetrician to counsel them about risk for future pregnancies as well if they
don't know why it happened.

LINDY KERIN: Dr Adrienne Gordon says if hospitals follow the right procedures, the number of
unexplained cases could be reduced.

She carried out an audit of stillborn cases at the RPA hospital between November 2005 and March
2008, and found 34 per cent were unexplained.

But after the implementation of guidelines by the Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand,
that figure dropped to 13 per cent.

ADRIENNE GORDON: There are a comprehensive set of guidelines that deal with all areas of perinatal
death, so stillbirths and babies that die in the first 28 days of life. And they have chapters
about classification of death and investigations about autopsy, about psychological support for the

And it's very comprehensive and they're widely available; but the implementation of them hasn't
been as widespread.

LINDY KERIN: Why is that?

ADRIENNE GORDON: Mainly because that involves a lot of educational effort to hospitals, and the
Australian and New Zealand Stillbirth Alliance are now trying to roll that out to each state and
territory. And so we're hoping that in the next few years these will actually begin to be
implemented in hospitals.

LINDY KERIN: Emma McLeod is the founder of the Stillbirth Foundation Australia.

Almost seven years ago, her daughter Olivia was stillborn. It was unexplained and uninvestigated.

Emma McLeod says if the guidelines had been followed, she would have had some answers.

EMMA MCLEOD: Oh, it would have removed, I think, a lot of my guilt that I carry. It would have
helped me in subsequent pregnancies, because I did go on and have two more babies, which were very
stressful pregnancies, and many women do go on and have subsequent babies.

And if there is no reason known, and no idea why my beautiful healthy baby died, then we don't have
something to look at, and to monitor in those subsequent pregnancies.

Emma McLeod has welcomed the latest research and is now calling for the guidelines to implemented
in hospitals around the country.

EMMA MCLEOD: And through that, we will be able to collect better data, we will be able to
understand what's happening in many, many stillbirths that we haven't understood in the past.

And then the Stillbirths Foundation Australia will be able to better spend our money and set very
clear research guidelines and priorities so that then we can work at reducing the numbers of these
deaths and saving babies' lives.

PETER CAVE: Emma McLeod from Stillbirth Foundation Australia, ending Lindy Kerin's report.

Samoan motorists fear move to the left

PETER CAVE: In just under two months, Samoa's motorists will have to switch sides.

They'll have to abandon the right side of the road and drive on the left.

It's got a lot of people hot under the collar, confused and just a little bit scared.

Correspondent Kerri Ritchie reports from the Samoan capital Apia.

(sound of traffic)

KERRI RITCHIE: Absolute bedlam. That's what many Samoans believe will be the outcome when their
country's road rules change in early September.

(Sound of traffic)

Samoans have been driving on the right hand side of the road for more than a century.

When the Samoan Government announced that locals and tourists would have to switch to the left,
many people took to the pot-holed streets to protest.

The Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa is convinced he's on the right track. He also believes he's won
over many of the protestors.

SAILELE MALIELEGAOI TUILAEPA: Excellent, some of the people who objected are now asking me we
should have put it forward.

KERRI RITCHIE: The Samoan Prime Minister believes his country should stop importing expensive left
hand drive cars from America.

He wants Samoans living in Australia and New Zealand to be able to send their relatives right hand
drive cars.

Dr Biopapa Annandale is the chairperson of a protest group called People Against Switching Sides.
The 20 members meet once a week.

BIOPAPA ANNANDALE: I really don't know who he's referring to. I see no evidence of changes on the
roads, configuration of the roads are exactly the same, the signs, the mess, the potholes, nothing
has changed.

And so if he's referring to, what is he referring to as "excellent"? This is chaos. And it's all
been generated by this government.

KERRI RITCHIE: Dr Annandale believes the only people who will profit from the new road rules, will
be shifty car dealers in Australia and New Zealand.

BIOPAPA ANNANDALE: Some people are going to make a killing from sending their cheap cars to Samoa.
Of course they're going to be making a killing a sending in spare parts. You know, these people are
moving in already.

But many of those vehicles are sitting in their yards, car dealer yards. They're not being bought,
they're not actually cheap, you know. People here in Samoa spend, it's costing us a lot of money,
they're not any cheaper than the vehicles we used to get from America.

KERRI RITCHIE: Resort owners say they're worried about the safety of their guests on the road. Some
hotel owners are considering closing in September.

Locals are worried about their children, which will be on the old left hand drive school buses,
which they say will have to pick up students and drop them off in the middle of the road.

But the Samoan Prime Minister says there is a simple solution.

SAILELE MALIELEGAOI TUILAEPA: Well it's quite easy to build, to change the entry-exit point

to the appropriate side of the bus it is not very difficult to do.

Dr Annandale says that's ridiculous.

BIOPAPA ANNANDALE: I can't see how the buses are going to cut holes on the sides of their buses
behind the driver. The people get off, which the bus driver will not be able to check upon, check
or even see because he is driving on the wrong side of the vehicle, on the wrong side of the road.

They have come up with all sorts of ideas, bus drivers boycotting the roads, private vehicles
blocking the streets, you know we're not going to stop protesting.

KERRI RITCHIE: Samoa switches to using the left hand side of the road at exactly 6am on September

The Government has declared that day, and the one after it, national holidays, so people aren't in
a rush and can take their time making the switch.

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