Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts.These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
RN World Today -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

Girl's death blamed on racism and negligence

PETER CAVE: The death of a four year old girl in a remote Queensland Aboriginal community is being
blamed on both negligence and racism.

The girl's family say she was refused treatment several times over the past week at the Doomadgee

She died late yesterday.

Later they say the doctor was flown out of the town in Queensland's north-west under police
protection and the hospital was closed.

Annie Guest reports from Brisbane.

ANNIE GUEST: Katrina Walden says her granddaughter had been turned away from the Doomadgee Hospital
several times over the past week.

She says the girl was finally admitted on Wednesday when hospital staff could hear her rattling
chest as her grandmother pleaded with them over the phone to see her again.

The girl died in Katrina Walden's arms late yesterday.

KATRINA WALDEN: She loved me and she said "nanna (inaudible)". I was still holding her when the
doctor came in.

ANNIE GUEST: And why do you think that your granddaughter wasn't seen and treated by the doctor
when you thought she should have been?

KATRINA WALDEN: I don't know. I think she was neglected because she was a little black girl.

ANNIE GUEST: It's a sentiment shared by the family patriarch Athol Walden.

ATHOL WALDEN: I mean there are some doctors and nurses in here that have a bit of an attitude
towards Aboriginal people especially. If my little granddaughter was a white child she would have
been flown out the first day she went to the hospital.

ANNIE GUEST: Athol Walden also alleges hospital staff had been reluctant to admit patients because
of a fear of swine flu.

ATHOL WALDEN: That is why they didn't want to let anyone go through that door of that hospital.

ANNIE GUEST: Through the doors of the Doomadgee Hospital?

ATHOL WALDEN: They was treating them outside, you wouldn't believe it. Outside. My little
granddaughter, they came outside to get a reading of her temperature, they done it outside. They
never took her in there.

ANNIE GUEST: Are there many people in Doomadgee with swine flu? Is it a big concern that it could
spread rapidly if people are taken into the hospital?

ATHOL WALDEN: As far as we know there is nobody here or has it.

ANNIE GUEST: When Athol Walden returned from his road works job yesterday he says he asked the
doctor to transfer his granddaughter to the bigger Mount Isa Hospital.

Within a short time the girl had died.

Then last night Athol Walden says the doctor was escorted by police to the airport and flown out of
Doomadgee on a charter plane.

ATHOL WALDEN: I am suggesting that they try to put something away that we don't want to know about,
you know, that they never carried out in that hospital.

ANNIE GUEST: So you are alleging that they are trying to cover something up?

ATHOL WALDEN: We are expecting that.

ANNIE GUEST: Athol Walden says the doctor was not under threat. He says he and his wife had
questioned him about why he hadn't earlier admitted their grandchild or sent her to Mount Isa.

Today he says the hospital is closed and he doesn't know why.

The girl's parents are said to be too distraught to talk publicly.

Athol Walden says his 21-year-old son returned from his job working at a pastoral station yesterday
to find his daughter had died and he too is searching for answers.

ATHOL WALDEN: She was four years old. She went to school. She loved going to school everything. She
loved fishing and everything. She enjoyed herself in the bush.

I am so disappointed at how they treated her at this hospital. It is what you call a disaster.

ANNIE GUEST: The World Today has contacted the office of the Health Minister and Deputy Premier
Paul Lucas for a response but our phone call is yet to be returned.

PETER CAVE: Annie Guest reporting from Brisbane there.

Government moves to fill in gaps in child protection

PETER CAVE: The Federal Government has announced initiatives aimed at better protecting women and
children from family violence.

The Attorney-General Robert McClelland has taken aim at legal irregularities, announcing an inquiry
into how state and territory laws interact with the Commonwealth laws.

Mr McClelland has also vowed to tackle inefficiencies in the system of mandatory reporting, saying
the threshold for reporting abuse is too low.

There'll be a review of family court processes and a pilot program which will see lawyers once
again become involved in dispute resolutions.

Simon Lauder reports.

SIMON LAUDER: Delivering a speech in Albury this morning the Federal Attorney-General Robert
McClelland declared there are too many families that slip through the safety net and remain exposed
to abuse and violence.

Mr McClelland cites the example of Darcey Freeman, the little girl who was allegedly thrown off
Melbourne's West Gate Bridge.

Former Family Court judge professor Richard Chisholm has been commissioned to review Federal Family
Court proceedings to ensure nothing about them discourages people from disclosing concerns about

There will also be an Australian Law Reform Commission Inquiry into how state and territory laws
interact with Commonwealth ones to ensure there are no gaps and to come up with ways to get rid of

The Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says his Government aims to do everything humanly and legally
possible to protect children.

KEVIN RUDD: There is too much violence towards children. It's unacceptable and therefore the nation
has to lift its game. The nation has to do better and I support therefore the initiatives being put
forward by the Attorney-General.

We will need to take this debate through the community and in consultation with the states and
territories but our overriding mission is this: How do we do better as a country to protect
children, to protect our kids from violence?

SIMON LAUDER: The Attorney-General has acknowledged the view that the threshold for reporting child
abuse is too low, leading to too much paperwork and not enough action.

And when it comes to dispute resolution between parents Robert McClelland wants to open the door
for the involvement of more lawyers. There'll be a pilot program to provide legal representation in
mediation sessions.

The vice-president of Relationships Australia Anne Hollonds has welcomed the announcements.

ANNE HOLLONDS: These steps are building upon some quite revolutionary changes to the family law
system over the last few years and I think that it is, it's a good step to strengthen what we have
and to actually now focus on the particular needs of the more vulnerable parties, the more
vulnerable families.

SIMON LAUDER: Ms Hollonds says between legal ambiguities and inefficiencies in the system,
difficult cases have been going unnoticed or unresolved. She's hoping the Federal Government's
review and inquiry will find solutions.

ANNE HOLLONDS: Well all the cases that involve some serious issues such as concerns about the
wellbeing of the children or domestic violence or the effect of mental health or substance abuse
issues, these are all the cases that cause us a great deal of concern and it's important that state
and Commonwealth authorities work very closely together to ensure that these families and these
children don't fall between the gaps.

SIMON LAUDER: What hopes are you pinning on the inquiry into how state and territory laws interact
with the Commonwealth laws?

ANNE HOLLONDS: Well I think it's important that there be good information sharing between the state
and the Commonwealth authorities; that children are not exposed to multiple interviews with various
professionals unnecessarily; but that we are able to, in a more coordinated way, pick up on the
risks as early as possible with these families and to ensure that the appropriate measures are
taken to protect the children.

SIMON LAUDER: Rebecca Eberle is the coordinator of the Albury Wodonga Family Pathways network of
family lawyers and mediators. She was there for the Attorney-General's announcement this morning.

She welcomes the review into family court processes and the inquiry into how state and territory
laws interact with the Commonwealth laws.

REBECCA EBERLE: Sometimes there is a problem with different orders being made in different
jurisdictions and confusion around what that means for a family and the way that the communication
occurs I guess between the different systems and families can be involved in two different parallel
systems at once; so how that comes together.

SIMON LAUDER: What about the mandatory reporting of abuse? Do you agree that the threshold is too
low and it's causing a lot of time wasting?

REBECCA EBERLE: It is too low in the family courts, in the family law system. The requirements are
not as stringent as they are in other, in say the state based system. So yeah, that would be good
when they look at that.

SIMON LAUDER: Rebecca Eberle says there will be concerns about the plan to involve more lawyers in
family disputes.

REBECCA EBERLE: Family relationship centres are a neutral place where people can go to sort out
their parenting issues. If lawyers are there it would be important that both mother and father have
a lawyer there to make it equal. So it would be interesting how that all works.

SIMON LAUDER: The Law Reform Commission is due to report to the Commonwealth within a year.

PETER CAVE: Simon Lauder reporting.

Abbott pushes Opposition vote for ETS

PETER CAVE: Malcolm Turnbull's preferred strategy of passing the Government's contentious emissions
trading laws has won an influential backer.

The Liberal frontbencher Tony Abbott has become the first member of Mr Turnbull's shadow cabinet to
definitively support the plan but his statements have once again laid bare the Opposition's
divisions on the issue because other prominent Liberals are still saying the laws should be

Emma Griffiths reports from Canberra.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: Tony Abbott has been enforcing a broadcast blackout, declining ABC interview
requests because of commitments given in relation to the publication of his book.

News Limited will publish an extract and today its newspaper also featured an opinion piece from
the Liberal frontbencher on emissions trading.

In it Tony Abbott lays out his case for supporting the Government's plan to tackle climate change.

He says it's a plausible way of limiting carbon emissions without imposing any obvious costs on
voters and Mr Abbott believes the Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull is right to argue that the
Coalition should ultimately pass the bill.

To him it's not so much a matter of policy conviction as political reality.

It's due to go to a vote in the Senate on the 13th of August but another senior Liberal Senator
Nick Minchin says on that occasion the Opposition will oppose it.

NICK MINCHIN: It is Malcolm's position, my position and the position of the whole of the Coalition
that this bill should not be before the Parliament and we will vote it down in August.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: The Opposition knows that decision could eventually lead the nation to a double
dissolution election - and that's an outcome Malcolm Turnbull wants to avoid.

He could push for amendments in the hope the Government bends but Labor would be sorely tempted to
insist on its original plan and bring the laws back before Parliament where a second no vote would
give it a trigger to dissolve both Houses and go to an early poll.

Tony Abbott says that's not a fight the Coalition can win.

The Liberal frontbencher Scott Morrison has told ABC2's News Breakfast that the Opposition could
change its mind in between votes - meaning the views of Nick Minchin and Tony Abbott could both
hold true.

SCOTT MORRISON: What Tony is talking about is a second vote. What Nick is talking about is the
first vote and on the first vote at the moment the Government is not considering any amendments and
in its current form the Coalition has very strong reservations about this bill and as said, we'd
vote it down if the Government does not change it.

If the Government wants to come and talk to us and be genuine about that then of course we are
going to listen to them but Tony is saying ultimately, at the end of the day, that he believes the
bill should pass through.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: And do you agree with that?

SCOTT MORRISON: Well I think at the end of the day if the Government doesn't make changes we have a
real problem.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: The Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is honing Labor's game plan.

KEVIN RUDD: The national interest dictates that all people of goodwill support the legislation
which is in the Parliament and instead what we have on the part of the Opposition is Senator
Minchin speaking for Malcolm Turnbull; today we have Tony Abbott speaking for Malcolm Turnbull. But
we don't have Malcolm Turnbull speaking for Malcolm Turnbull.

It's time that we actually got fair dinkum about this and found out exactly what Mr Turnbull plans
to do.

Senator Minchin seems to be saying the Coalition will oppose this. Mr Abbott today says the
Coalition will support this. Mr Turnbull's position is: I don't really know.

But you know this is not just a political game. It's serious stuff about what will happen in the
Senate with the passage of this legislation and it lies within the hands of the Liberal and
National parties.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: Stay tuned for many more months of political manoeuvring ahead.

PETER CAVE: Emma Griffiths reporting from Canberra.

Macquarie Airports flies the coup

PETER CAVE: To finance now and there have been more cracks appearing in the model that Macquarie
Bank pioneered for developing infrastructure and collecting fat fees along the way.

Macquarie has already been hit by plummeting share prices and asset values in separately listed

Now one of Macquarie's biggest satellite funds Macquarie Airports will no longer be managed by the
parent company. The fund owns Sydney airport amongst others.

Macquarie announced today that its airports fund is "internalising" its management, meaning that
millions in management fees will be retained by the fund rather than going to the parent at

Our economics correspondent Stephen Long was one of the first journalists to question the
sustainability of the Macquarie model and he's joined us now.

How do you think this affects the Macquarie model?

STEPHEN LONG: Well Peter it certainly puts a strain on it. What's happened in broad terms with this
is that the Macquarie Airports Trust is buying out the management rights from Macquarie and another
Macquarie entity. And in return Macquarie Group, the parent company, will gain a bigger slice of
the shares in Macquarie Airports - upping from 22 to above 27 per cent.

But in terms of the model yes, it raises all sorts of questions because over a long period of time
you have had a situation where Macquarie raked off a triple layer of fees with these satellite

It set up funds, scoured the world looking for infrastructure assets such as airports and toll
roads, spun the assets off into these funds, took fees for acquiring the assets then for managing
the funds and also performance fees if they outperformed benchmarks on the stock exchange and the
like - a triple layer of fees.

Well it looks like the fees are going and this key fund and that raises questions about whether
they will stay in other funds.

There have been a lot of complaints over time about this system as well because it was perceived to
involve a conflict of interest for these separate companies which are meant to be responsible to
their own shareholders but were operating as a fee factory for the parent.

PETER CAVE: So is the core of this critique the lack of independence for the funds and the fees
going to Macquarie or are there other aspects to it?

STEPHEN LONG: There are other aspects to it. There's a couple of cores if you like or separate
cores to this critique of how Macquarie operates.

One is the conflict of interest for these supposedly separate funds which had directors appointed
by Macquarie and were channelling fees to the parent company and questions about whether that was
actually good value for the shareholders.

But the more fundamental critique of this model was that Macquarie was placing valuations on its
assets that many thought were too much. And we've seen with key trusts such as the Macquarie
Infrastructure Group the values that it placed on its assets halved in the recent period from their

But apart from that key Macquarie trusts were also borrowing against those high asset valuations to
pay distributions to the unit trust shareholders, unit trust holders or shareholders, borrowing out
of supposedly future earnings.

Now the income streams for a lot of the Macquarie trusts have actually fallen with the global
recession despite denials by, despite assertions by Macquarie that these trusts were essentially
monopoly assets and largely recession proof.

And yet it's borrowed money in advance against the future income streams and paid it out on the
basis of asset valuations in many of the trusts which have actually plummeted now.

And so the whole sustainability of the model that Macquarie built is certainly open to question.

Now you know it has also raised questions about the fees that were being paid when you've seen the
share prices collapse in these listed satellites and definitely there are cracks appearing and this
forging of some independence for Macquarie satellite is a sign of that.

PETER CAVE: There has certainly been opposition to the amount they're milking off people who go to
Sydney airport. Is this specifically a problem of Sydney airport or could it mark the beginning of
the end for those other satellite funds?

STEPHEN LONG: Well it certainly goes beyond Macquarie Airports Trust which owns airports around the
world, Sydney being one of the beacons, one of the highlights of its portfolio.

But it goes well beyond this trust and raises questions about whether you will see a spill over to
other listed trusts and whether they will be seeking more independence from the parent company and
whether that fat income stream will remain over time.

PETER CAVE: Our economics correspondent Stephen Long.

Theophanous committal verdict nears

PETER CAVE: Victoria's former Industry Minister Theo Theophanous will soon learn if he's committed
to stand trial for the rape of a female friend in his parliamentary chambers in 1998.

The defence and prosecution counsels have finished their closing submissions and the magistrate
will hand down his decision after lunch.

Rachael Brown has been covering the committal hearing from the Melbourne Magistrate's Court.

Rachael, the defence counsel has now summed up this case as a farce?

RACHAEL BROWN: Yes, Robert Richter QC said if it didn't have such tragic consequences as to make a
minister of the Crown stand down while it was investigated, it would make a comedy farce on

Mr Richter described it as the wholesale destruction of a career. He accused police of having a
zeal to get the Minister removed from office and of swallowing a lie that demeaned genuine rape

Mr Richter has admitted the woman did tour Parliament with the Minister at some time but he says
she was delusional, a fantasist who made the whole thing up after a breakdown, that she was just
after justice in the form of dollars to finance her addiction to prescription medication, that she
pressured friends into giving false evidence and fabricated emails and letters to support her line
that her friends knew of the attack on that night.

Mr Richter said we have perjury on perjury upon perjury upon attempt to pervert the course of
justice and he thinks there is no way a reasonable jury could convict.

Now he said she is a damaged person and that she does deserve sympathy but he says this is a court
of law and the kindest thing for all involved would be for the magistrate to dismiss the charge.

PETER CAVE: I suppose it's no surprise to anyone that the prosecution remain adamant that there is
sufficient evidence for a conviction?

RACHAEL BROWN: Well the prosecutor Michelle Williams SC has said it was absolutely scurrilous for
Mr Richter to suggest the complainant was delusional and made the whole thing up.

She said the complainant was under heated cross examination for five days and she stuck to her
story. She says telephone records verify that the woman did make calls to her friends the night of
the alleged rape and that they met each other before giving their police statements so suggesting
there may have been some collusion there.

The prosecutor said the telephone records also prove that despite Mr Theophanous' driver dropping
him home at 6pm that night that he did return to the city.

And the prosecution says Mr Theophanous doesn't deserve special treatment just because he is an MP.
He should be treated the same as any other citizen.

PETER CAVE: So when will Mr Theophanous know whether or not he is going to face trial or not?

RACHAEL BROWN: That will happen later this afternoon.

Now of course if he is not committed and the police want to press on there is the option that the
OPP could decide to directly present him for trial.

Now today will end day 15 of what was supposed to be a seven day committal - one that has provided
some theatre Peter.

There's been outbursts from Theophanous who has been told by the magistrate, it's not Parliament,
you can't just yell out when you like. There's been sniggers from his wife who has been told to be
quiet in court. We even saw a talk to the hand gesture from the prosecutor to the defence team. I
felt like I was watching an episode of Ricky Lake.

So it has been eventful and there will be some significant political ramifications of today's

Mr Theophanous has put his hand up for pre-selection for next year's Novemember state election and
if he is committed he could be looking at a trial before then so clearly not something Labor would
want on voters' minds.

But some say even exoneration, even if he is cleared this afternoon it might be too late to save
his renomination chances.

Factional leaders think this case has taken its toll and that politically Mr Theophanous is damaged

PETER CAVE: Rachael Brown and I suspect it's not the last time we will be discussing that
particular case.

Australia Post stamp hike

PETER CAVE: Australia Post wants to hike up the price of stamps by another five cents saying it's
being squeezed by higher business costs.

Analysts say that a price rise is fair because so called snail mail isn't cheap to distribute
across Australia.

The changing face of communication in Australia has been hurting the postal service's traditional
business with email becoming the preferred method of communication.

But social demographers say there's a new trend that will keep Australia Post profitable and that
is internet shopping.

Di Bain reports.

DI BAIN: It'll be the second price hike in nearly two years but Australia Post's spokeswoman
Elizabeth Rich says it's not about increasing profits but covering costs.

ELIZABETH RICH: We have applied to the ACCC to increase the price of basic postage, that is the 55
cent stamp by five cents and what the ACCC will do is assess that before deciding whether or not to
object. So it's the first step in the process where the independent umpire looks at whether what we
want to do is reasonable.

DI BAIN: Why do you need to increase the price of a stamp when it was done just last year?

ELIZABETH RICH: Rapid growth in places like western Sydney, south-east Melbourne and south-east
Queensland is going to add an extra 2.5 million new addresses over the next decade to Australia
Post's network. And to put that in perspective, that is the equivalent of having to deliver to
another Queensland or nearly four Adelaides by 2020.

So we need the increase to help cover the escalating costs of delivering to that rapidly expanding

DI BAIN: Since becoming incorporated in 1989 Australia Post has been trying to diversify its
business model.

It's increased stamp costs from 39 cents to the current 55 cents. It's been selling off land,
franchising post offices, setting up retail arms and providing bill paying and identification

But keeping up with the changing face of communication is still taking its toll.

IBISworld's senior analyst Raghu Rajakumar says the government-owned enterprise is likely to
continue increasing its stamp costs in coming years.

RAGHU RAJAKUMAR: There is definitely a chance that that may happen. I mean there was a recent one I
mean last year so it's not expected to happen in the near future. But as competition does increase
from rival products for example more and more internet penetration in Australia, more people
logging onto the internet and using that as their primary means of communication, then there may be
a time when costs are rising to the extent where another price rise is required by the Australia

DI BAIN: Dr Mark Gregory is a communications lecturer at RMIT University in Melbourne. He says
emails are taking over the snail mail but the internet shopping is a revenue winner.

MARK GREGORY: There is a lot more parcels being transmitted around but I wouldn't look at it as
people sending parcels or people receiving parcels from suppliers where people have been buying
goods over the internet.

DI BAIN: Demographer Bernard Salt who's with accounting firm KPMG say emailing, Facebook messages
and Twitter are popular ways of communicating but many people underestimate the letter writing
habits of the older population.

He says there's also a new trend emerging. The younger generation sees traditional letter writing
as a romantic way to communicate.

BERNARD SALT: I just recommend caution in assuming that this new technology is going to replace
traditional mail. I think it will augment and I think there might be specific areas where it might.

But who is to say that it's actually going to generate more mail. Remember the theory with when
home computers came in or computers came in we would have the paperless office because everyone
would be doing everything electronically.

Well actually quite the reverse happened. The demand for computer paper absolutely skyrocketed
because everyone wanted to print something out.

It may well be that because of mobile phones, because of text, because of email, because we are
communicating so much more that then generates the need to send more stuff through the post.

PETER CAVE: Demographer Bernard Salt ending that report from Di Bain.

Push to save river red gum forests

PETER CAVE: After more than a decade at the top the former New South Wales premier Bob Carr often
boasted that creating national parks was his greatest achievement.

Well it seems the retired Labor leader retains his passion for the environment. Mr Carr is piling
the pressure on his successor and former staffer Nathan Rees to save the river red gum trees in the
south of the state.

But as Simon Santow reports the jury's out on Mr Rees' commitment to green issues as he juggles
high unemployment rates in the bush.

SIMON SANTOW: Six months ago it was the Brumby Government in Victoria which protected vast tracts
of river red gums from logging.

Now it's New South Wales' turn to consider turning state forests where the gums grow into national

At the forefront of the push to end logging is Bob Carr, long time and now retired New South Wales
premier and committed bushwalker.

BOB CARR: They are very stately trees. The forests are different from other eucalypt forests. These
are huge trees, huge structures and of course it has got something of the quality of Kakadu, at
least when these landscapes flood, it makes you think of other inland wetlands in Australia.

MAX RHEESE: We have people come swanning in from Sydney pushing a particular cause which doesn't
sit well with the science and the evidence.

SIMON SANTOW: Max Rheese heads up the pro-logging group, Rivers and Red Gum Environment Alliance.
He's sceptical about the politics involved in this latest move.

MAX RHEESE: These areas are safe National Party seats. There are no votes to be had for Labor
governments and I am sure that Bob Carr was aware of that when he was premier.

The fact is that these areas are populated by New South Wales citizens and it is very important to
their life and to have people coming from inner city electorates who have got this environmental
agenda that they wish to impose on local communities.

SIMON SANTOW: While Bob Carr no longer holds the reins of power, he's skilled at applying the
pressure to his successor Nathan Rees and the remnants of the Labor Cabinet he left behind.

BOB CARR: There they are in Hans Heysen's watercolours. They are the symbol of inland Australia.
They are seen as guardians of these river systems. We have lost so much. This is the current
environmental challenge, the nature conservation challenge.

SIMON SANTOW: And of course some people would say well you are not in power at the moment. You had
10 years. Why didn't you do it then?

BOB CARR: Well no-one could have declared more national parks in 10 years than I. I declared 300.

SIMON SANTOW: But in retrospect should these river red gums have been more of a priority?

BOB CARR: The agenda was so crowded. For example in my last month in office we were putting
together a very complex package to save the Brigalow Belt north of Coonabarabran, the Pilliga.

SIMON SANTOW: The National Parks Association is not surprisingly demanding an end to logging red
gums, arguing most of it ends up as low grade firewood and at the same time local fauna is being

Spokeswoman Carmel Flint.

CARMEL FLINT: Close to 60 threatened species that occur in these forest and are dependent on them.
Ones that are particularly threatened by the logging that is taking place are the barking owl, the
squirrel glider and the fishing bat. Really important species. The barking owl in particular needs
large hollow bearing trees to nest in. They are the kind of trees that are still being destroyed by
logging and there is also nationally threatened species such as the superb parrot and the regent
parrot that warrant protection.

SIMON SANTOW: But Carmel Flint is worried that the sort of commitment to the environment espoused
by Bob Carr is not necessarily shared by the current Premier Nathan Rees.

CARMEL FLINT: Since Bob Carr left the New South Wales Labor Government we have not seen anything
like the iconic conservation decisions that he made replicated by the premiers since and this is
why this is an incredibly important test for Premier Rees.

As far as we are concerned he needs to show some environmental credentials. We haven't seen
anything of note to date and this is a really major nature conservation issue which is now being
followed by large numbers of people throughout New South Wales and they see river red gums rightly
as an Australian icon.

SIMON SANTOW: You know Nathan Rees well. He worked for you as a staff member. Does he have the same
commitment to the environment and the same passion that you have?

BOB CARR: Oh yes. One of the things he specialised in in my office was land use. He knows it. He
knows the arguments about water and about forest intimately. His instincts on this are all good but
it's important to encourage him and to have the decision made first on a generous scale and second
as early as possible.

He needs support as he confronts the sceptics in his Cabinet and others in the community. But I
believe his instincts are good on this issue and I believe he will make a very sound conservation

SIMON SANTOW: I mean you kept a lid on those sceptics. He doesn't quite have the same level of
authority that you had.

BOB CARR: Oh but I think he will discover it and he will discover it making this decision; making
it I hope before much longer.

PETER CAVE: The former New South Wales premier Bob Carr ending Simon Santow's report.

Calls for youth detention centre in South Australia to be demolished

PETER CAVE: Calls are growing in South Australia for the State Government to bulldoze its youth
detention centre in Adelaide, with claims the facility is so outdated it's causing mental illnesses
and decreasing the chance of rehabilitation for the children who are being kept there.

South Australia's Guardian for Children has described the centre as "barbaric" and the Social
Inclusion Commissioner says the conditions there are "deplorable".

A representative from the UN youth think-tank has now joined the condemnation of the Government's
decision in the recent state budget to scrap plans for a new youth prison.

Nance Haxton reports from Adelaide.

NANCE HAXTON: The Magill Youth Training Centre may be a benign name but it's essentially a
children's prison.

About 500 children a year between 10 and 18 years old spend some time there. About half of those
are on remand in custody awaiting trial.

The centre was built in the 1950s to help troubled youth but there have been calls to replace it
since the 1970s.

The South Australian Government has announced four times that it was going to build a new facility
but has never progressed beyond the planning stage.

South Australia's Guardian for Children Pam Simmonds says the prison is a blight on the state.

PAM SIMMONDS: The cells are two by three metre with a single bunk and no room for a desk or chair.
The windows are at 1.5 metres high so for small children they can't even reach the bottom of the
window. It's a very, very sad place.

NANCE HAXTON: What would be the ramifications of that sort of environment for people who have to
stay there for long term?

PAM SIMMONDS: It's a good question because if you think about the profile of the children and young
people that are there, many of them have already been traumatised by some child abuse or neglect
and what we're doing is compounding that.

NANCE HAXTON: Andrew Paterson used to work in the centre in the 1970s and now sits on the board of
the United Nations think tank the International Centre for the Prevention of Crime.

He says the Magill Youth Training Centre fails to meet international standards and the environment
harms children's chances of long-term rehabilitation.

ANDREW PATERSON: We need to provide the sort of accommodation, particularly for young offenders,
that makes it easier to offer them options and the Magill Training Centre certainly doesn't do

I mean if you can't see daylight, if you can't see through windows, if the accommodation you are in
is run down and appalling, then predominately the message that you are going to receive as an
inmate of that institution is that we don't care.

NANCE HAXTON: The person ultimately responsible for the centre is Jennifer Rankine - South
Australia's Minister for Families and Communities.

Her spokesman says that while it is clear that the Magill Youth Training Centre needs to be
replaced in time, that decision will be made in the future.

He says if the Government had the money to build a new centre it would, but the state budget does
not provide for that and there will be no change of heart.

Monsignor David Cappo was handpicked by the Premier Mike Rann to be an adviser on social issues.
He's also part of the razor gang appointed by the Government to review next year's budget.

But he says the Magill Youth Training Centre is inhumane and should be bulldozed, despite the
budgetary pressures.

DAVID CAPPO: It is beyond acceptance in a modern society that we have children needing
rehabilitation in that sort of environment. So it is clear as anything to me that that centre has
got to go.

NANCE HAXTON: So are you hoping that the State Government will consider that? They have ruled out
the proposal to build a new centre at the moment but are you hoping the Government will review

DAVID CAPPO: I realise the Government have ruled that out however people realise something has to
be done. So I would, I am optimistic, I am genuinely optimistic that Government will find an
innovation, will find a way to maintain the integrity of the budget and find our way through this.

NANCE HAXTON: What would be the ramifications do you think if this centre is left the way it is?

DAVID CAPPO: Well if we just have children left in the centre and this continues we will see more
and more depression and mental illness amongst kids, young people who go through that centre and we
will see those kids returning to lives of crime.

PETER CAVE: Monsignor David Cappo, South Australia's Social Inclusion Commissioner.

Porsche CEO quits: paves way for merger with VW

PETER CAVE: The chief executive of Porsche has stepped down paving the way for the luxury car maker
to merge with the German auto giant Volkswagen.

Wendelin Wiedeking has walked away from Porsche with $70 million euros payout.

A merger attempt earlier this year failed because Porsche wanted to maintain its own independent
brand within the Volkswagen group.

Now with the global financial crisis crippling General Motors, Volkswagen merger with Porsche is
all part of its grand plans to become the world's leading car maker.

Jennifer Macey reports.

(Sound of car engine)

JENNIFER MACEY: At this Porsche showroom in Sydney the dreams of some customers are about to come

VOX POP: I dreamed about having a luxury car like that but also to be sporting. I like something
strong, fast, so I bought a Porsche.

JENNIFER MACEY: And for this customer the Porsche brand name won't be tainted if it merges with

VOX POP: No. Porsche is Porsche. And even if Volkswagen owns it Porsche as long as it has the
Porsche brand on it, and the look of it, then Porsche is Porsche. It's fine by me - whoever owns

JENNIFER MACEY: The merger between two of Germany's most famous car companies has been on the cards
for some time.

Porsche had initially made an audacious bid to take over Volkswagen buying a 51 per cent stake in
the firm. But the financial crisis and a slump in luxury car market crippled the firm with massive

The two companies then agreed to a merger but Porsche insisted on retaining its independence within
the VW family.

Porsche's CEO Wendelin Wiedeking and VW chairman Ferdinand Piech have been locked in a power
struggle for months.

Now the biggest stumbling block to the merger Wendelin Wiedeking has announced he'll leave saying
Porsche will better off without him.

(Wendelin Wiedeking speaking)

WENDELIN WIEDEKING (translated): Actually the rainy weather shows our mood at the moment. It could
be better but I am also sure after these difficult hours and days we will look forward. You should
not look back.

JENNIFER MACEY: Speaking to factory workers near Stuttgart in southern Germany Wolfgang Porsche
fought back tears while saying his goodbyes to the former CEO.

(Wolfgang Porsche speaking)

WOLFGANG PORSCHE (translated): Dr Wiedeking's achievements are unchallenged and obvious, brought
Porsche from hardship to the top - something which to us was unimaginable beforehand.

JENNIFER MACEY: The two companies plan to complete the merger by the middle of 2011.

The German state of Lower Saxony will retain its 20 per cent stake in VW.

The chair of the VW board Martin Winterkorn says the two strong companies will be now made

(Martin Winterkorn speaking)

MARTIN WINTERKORN (translated): The industrial logic is of course that both companies fit together
in an excellent way. And more important of course is that our common know how of people and
engineering will take us further forward so that we can be more successful on the global markets
than today.

JENNIFER MACEY: The combined car company could potentially generate more than 120 billion euros in

John Cadogen is a feature editor for Wheels Magazine.

JOHN CADOGEN: It's inevitable that Volkswagen is going to metastasize across Porsche and basically
take it over. It's either a reluctant merger or a semi-aggressive takeover of Porsche by

The unions, the chief executives and Wolfgang Porsche, the founder of the company are basically not
happy about the whole thing.

JENNIFER MACEY: He says the merger helps VW realise its goal of becoming the world's top car maker.

JOHN CADOGEN: To do what they want to do which is be the number one car maker on earth by 2018 they
will have to kick much more of a goal in the United States.

To put that in perspective Toyota owns 16 per cent of the US market and Volkswagen owns about 1 per
cent right. So they are going to have to kick more of a goal there and owning a brand like Porsche
may help lead them into that.

If you want to know the numbers Volkswagen and Porsche make about 6.4 million vehicles and of them
Porsche is only about 100,000 - if only is the right word - and Toyota makes about eight million

So they have still got a way to go; 1.6 million gap by 2018. That's going to be an uphill battle.

JENNIFER MACEY: Despite recent drop in sales and Porsche crippled by 9 billion euro debt, Wendelin
Wiedeking walks away with a 70 million euro payout.

PETER CAVE: Jennifer Macey with that report.

Why do people do extreme sports?

PETER CAVE: Jumping off the top of a mountain in a suit fitted with wings might sound like a death
wish to most but there are others who call it the experience of a lifetime and a way to make a

As technology improves extreme sports have picked up speed and made the seemingly impossible the
next challenge. But why do they do it?

One sports psychologist at the University of Queensland has been trying to find out.

Elyse Denman reports.

ELYSE DENMAN: Back in 1992 Glenn Singleman was standing on the edge of a 300 foot high crane and
about to jump.

GLENN SINGLEMAN: When Roosevelt said we've got nothing to fear but fear itself...

MALE: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Just jump!

GLENN SINGLEMAN: He wasn't standing in a situation like this.

ELYSE DENMAN: Equipped with only a parachute and steel nerves it was the beginning of an addiction
to wing suit jumping.

GLENN SINGLEMAN: I couldn't believe it; I just thought this is it. It's not going to open. I really
thought for a couple of seconds, it is not going to open. And whack! It was open and I looked up
and there it was. And it's so alive, so alive.

ELYSE DENMAN: Now with four world records under his belt he knows a thing or two about commitment
to an extreme sport.

That's why Dr Eric Brymer from Queensland University of Technology found Glenn Singleman to be a
prime subject for his research on extreme sports.

Dr Brymer says most literature to date presents extreme sports people as thrill seekers putting
their lives in danger for an adrenaline rush but after looking at levels of risk taken in sports
like sky diving, base jumping and big wave surfing, he has his doubts.

ERIC BRYMER: The bottom line is participants do not consider that what they're doing is about risk
taking. And the reason is because they understand the environment and the task and their own level
of skill and ability - that's emotional, physical, psychological etc - so well that they are able
to control the situation to such a high level that risk really doesn't come into it.

ELYSE DENMAN: Jan Lewis is a lecturer on psychology and extreme sports at Central Queensland
University. She believes that Dr Brymer's research will help people better understand the
experience of extreme sports.

JAN LEWIS: I think it's them expressing a life wish. They want to enjoy life to the absolute
fullest they possibly can and they get a huge amount of enjoyment if they're doing extreme sports
well. It's about being the best they possibly can be which sometimes in their normal work role they
can't do that.

ELYSE DENMAN: Glenn Singleman agrees.

GLENN SINGLEMAN: Contrary to popular belief we don't have a death wish but we are motivated driven
people with high I guess ambition and we want to know what's possible.

The real question is when you go beyond your fears what is possible? What can we use technology to
achieve? And you know with the level of technology that's around now you can do truly amazing

ELYSE DENMAN: The Sydney based adventurers Justin Jones and James Castrission are in a similar

The first people to ever successfully kayak across the Tasman Sea from Australia to New Zealand,
they set out on the daunting expedition in 2008 to find out exactly what they were made of.

JAMES CASTRISSION: By both of us pushing our own boundaries so far physically, mentally,
emotionally, all those boundaries so far, we got to see what we were capable of as well.

PETER CAVE: And you can see more of that story on our website. Elyse Denman was our reporter there.

Queensland Authorities silent on Doomadgee death

PETER CAVE: Returning now to our earlier story about the death of the four-year-old girl at
Doomadgee in north-west Queensland.

Her family has been blaming negligence and racism. They say she was refused treatment several times
over the past week at the Doomadgee Hospital.

She died last night.

Later they say the doctor was flown out of the town in Queensland's north-west and the hospital was

The World Today has offered Queensland's Health and Police Ministers interviews along with the
Premier, but they've either not returned our calls or not been available.

Joining us now on the line is the shadow minister for health in Queensland, Mark McArdle. Welcome
to the program.

MARK MCARDLE: Good afternoon, Peter.

PETER CAVE: How do you react to this shocking story?

MARK MCARDLE: Peter, these are very serious allegations and they go right to the very core of
Queensland Health and why they should exist.

The allegations must be investigated by the minister to establish exactly what did take place. If
they are correct, if the allegations are correct, serious consequences will flow from that.

Equally if the allegations are proven not to be correct, that must be established as well as soon
as possible.

In addition to Queensland Health there are certainly avenues here for the Queensland Police to be
involved and perhaps also the Coroner's Office as well.

These are allegations as I said before, go to the very core of Queensland Health and if they are
established, it is a very, very serious matter.

PETER CAVE: If the simple fact is established that a critically ill four-year-old girl was turned
away several times over the course of the week, who should take responsibility?

MARK MCARDLE: Queensland Health. There is no doubt about that. And the Minister. This is a
portfolio that in Queensland has been under a cloud for many years and nothing is getting better.

Nothing could be more devastating than losing a little child. That would be an absolutely, pardon
the French, gut-wrenching exercise for any family. And anybody who could stand by and allow that to
happen and see the consequences and not take action and not be responsible should not be in

PETER CAVE: Do you think this is a Queensland-wide problem or a Doomadgee problem?

MARK MCARDLE: Look Queensland Health as I said have been under a cloud for a long, long time. The
Indigenous community have been saying now for many years that they are not given the services they
need or the treatments they need.

If these allegations are proven to be correct that establishes their claim once and for all.

PETER CAVE: Mr McArdle thank you very much for joining us.

MARK MCARDLE: Thank you Peter.

Full investigation needed into Aboriginal death at Doomadgee

PETER CAVE: On the line now I have Boni Robertson from Flinders University- an Aboriginal academic.

Boni, does this sort of a story surprise you?

BONI ROBERTSON: No it doesn't surprise me and as the shadow minister just said, it is very
important that these allegations be investigated to find out whether there is substance to it or
not. And I think it's just (inaudible) that this is a really decent family, a family who tried to
be responsible parents and grandparents, who tried to seek help for this little child.

And I spoke to the family this morning and obviously they are very devastated but they are also
devastated at the fact that the child could have been saved. Their thoughts are that if somebody
had listened to them when they took the child to the hospital in the first instance, their belief
is that she would still be here.

PETER CAVE: Are you aware of institutionalised racism at that hospital?

BONI ROBERTSON: Well according to the family involved the doctor involved was not of an English
speaking background. They found it very hard for him to understand. And it's not uncommon for
visiting doctors or doctors from overseas to be sent to these remote communities and like with any
visiting practitioner there is a cultural barrier in terms of the language.

But if you've got somebody from overseas who perhaps can't speak very clear English and you have
got our people with English being their second or third language, then you have got a very serious
problem and this is not something...

PETER CAVE: So you are prepared to concede that it may have been just a communication problem?

BONI ROBERTSON: Well I mean we would have to look at all the facts involved but the communication
situation with our people on these communities and the visiting practitioners has been an issue
that has been raised for many, many, many, many years and one would have thought by now that that
would have been addressed.

PETER CAVE: Does it surprise you that the Government has remained completely silent on this up to

BONI ROBERTSON: I suspect what they are trying to do is to gather all the information so that they
can be informed. I think it would be a foolish move for anyone to make a suggestion one way or
another as to the background of this other than what the family have indicated.

I think for anyone in that position of authority to make a comment other than, you know giving
sympathy to the family and understanding that there is a family now that is so stressed and bereft
at what has happened to this little child, a beautiful little child, I think it would be prudent
for any person in a position to want to get all the facts first.

But I would also want, if I was the Minister I would also want to at least issue a statement to the
family that you know this is a terrible tragedy and it should never have happened and give the
assurance at the very least that an investigation will take place.

PETER CAVE: Okay well we are still waiting as you are. Boni Robertson from Flinders University. She
is an Aboriginal academic.