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Antibodies point way to AIDS vaccine

ASHLEY HALL: Australia's peak HIV/AIDS organisation says a scientific discovery announced today is
the most hopeful step yet towards developing a vaccine for the disease.

An international consortium has identified two antibodies which can stop the virus being passed on.

If they can harness the antibodies into a vaccine it would have the potential to end the HIV
epidemic but nothing is guaranteed and experts warn that any vaccine is still a long way off.

Simon Lauder reports.

SIMON LAUDER: AIDS has killed more than 25 million people and an estimated 33 million are now
infected with the virus that leads to it, HIV.

After 15 years of watching attempts to develop a vaccine fail the executive director of the
Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations Don Baxter doesn't get his hopes up easily.

DON BAXTER: I think it is the most hopeful, potential bases for vaccine development that we've
seen.

SIMON LAUDER: Findings published in the latest edition of the journal Science detail how an
international team has sorted through the blood of 1,800 people who have HIV in search of
antibodies.

The lead researcher on the project professor Dennis Burton from the Scripps Research Institute in
California says they've found two antibodies which have the potential to neutralise HIV.

DENNIS BURTON: What we did was to look at a very large number of patients, nearly 2,000, to find
donors, infected donors who were making the best sorts of antibodies. Once we'd found those donors
then we focused on getting the antibodies out of them, which we did by a very large scale screening
process and that turned out to be successful. It was something of brute force but it worked.

SIMON LAUDER: What professor Burton and his team discovered are the first new HIV antibodies to
have been identified in more than 10 years and they took researchers straight to a weak spot in the
virus.

The head of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative Dr Seth Berkley says it's an important
advance.

SETH BERKLEY: If we could create a vaccine to prevent infection for the, you know the billions of
people who are potentially at risk then we could over the long run hopefully end the epidemic and
that's got to be the goal.

SIMON LAUDER: The aim now is to induce the same antibodies in people who aren't infected. Dr
Berkley says that would effectively give them immunity.

SETH BERKLEY: The holy grail around AIDS vaccines has been to try to get an antibody based vaccine.
And the first vaccine that was made actually back when the virus was first discovered was an
antibody based vaccine. It produced antibodies in good quantities and was safe but unfortunately
those antibodies didn't neutralise the large numbers of strains that are out there. It only
neutralised the strain that was in the vaccine.

These two new antibodies are very potent - 10 to 100 times as potent as the previous ones found and
they target what looks like a place on the surface of HIV which makes it a much more acceptable
target. And therefore we're very hopeful that this will be able to be turned into some type of
vaccine target.

SIMON LAUDER: What technically do these antibodies do to the virus?

SETH BERKLEY: Well what this is basically doing is making a block for the virus being able to
infect other cells. And so if we're able to do that then you stop the ability of the virus to
infect those cells, propagate and ultimately spread.

SIMON LAUDER: Melbourne University virologist associate professor Damian Purcell is excited by the
two newly discovery antibodies.

DAMIAN PURCELL: The target that it binds to is a very, very susceptible chink in the HIV armour. So
as a vaccine developer we now only have to achieve a relatively lower level of antibodies to this
target to stop the virus.

And then the second thing is that the target itself that's recognised by this antibody seems to be
very, very broadly dispersed across all of the HIV strains that they looked at in this study.

So it might be a common one size fits all approach which is something that is, we thought was not
possible with HIV.

SIMON LAUDER: Professor Purcell cautions that an AIDS vaccine could still be at least a decade away
and the virus may outsmart science once again.

DAMIAN PURCELL: We're up against a tough foe and the virus is highly likely to be able to evade
this one target. So I think the approach might be now to duplicate what drug developers have done
and build in more than one target into the vaccine and have a combination approach with perhaps
two, three, four of similar types of structures that are common across all of the virus strains.

SIMON LAUDER: Don Baxter from the federation of AIDS organisations is also urging caution but now
that a weak spot in HIV has been found he's hoping it can be exploited in full.

DON BAXTER: It's the first really potentially solid breakthrough we've got and it has the potential
not only to be a vaccine, a prevention vaccine, but also a therapeutic vaccine which may well be
very effective in people with HIV.

SIMON LAUDER: Dr Seth Berkley from the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative says there is a big
gap between the discovery of antibodies and a vaccine but he's confident it can be bridged.

SETH BERKLEY: What we're trying to do now is rational vaccine discovery. This is a relatively new
field. But again the amazing pace of science moving forward is such that I have confidence that
we'll get there.

ASHLEY HALL: The head of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative Dr Seth Berkley speaking to
Simon Lauder.

Obama critics rail against school speech

ASHLEY HALL: Conservatives in the US are advocating a national truancy day next week because of
President Barack Obama's plan to address the nation's students.

The White House hopes next Tuesday's speech will be watched live by students and teachers across
the nation but the president's critics say it's an attempt to indoctrinate rather than motivate the
country's youth.

From Washington John Shovelan reports that the controversy highlights how much ground President
Obama has lost in his first six months and how aggressive an opposition he's facing.

JOHN SHOVELAN: Next week President Obama will visit a Washington area high school where he intends
to deliver a 15 to 20 minute speech encouraging students to work hard and continue on in school.

It's a conservative message and one impossible to dispute yet in a sign of how dysfunctional and
poisonous politics in America has become the White House has been asked to release the text of the
President's message well ahead of delivery so that parents can decide whether or not they will send
children to school on that day to hear the address.

Conservatives like Andrea Tantaros are comparing President Obama's address to the propaganda of
North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il.

ANDREA TANTAROS: It's historic in the sense that it's unprecedented. They do this type of thing in
North Korea and the former Soviet Union.

JOHN SHOVELAN: Two Republican members of the House Education and Labor Committee have written to
the White House asking for the early release of the text so parents have ample time to review the
President's speech.

That criticism has already had an impact. The Education Department has changed its suggested
classroom activity to follow the address, from children writing letters on the politically charged
subject of "what they could do to help the President" to now "how they can achieve their
educational goals".

Six months ago there would have been no qualms about President Obama giving an address like this to
the nation's students but Republican strategist John Feehery says the administration has squandered
that political goodwill.

JOHN FEEHERY: The right wing base doesn't like them but they're also losing credibility with more
independent voters. And it has less to do with his actual speech than more to with the actions of
earlier this year of taking over the auto industry, taking over these different industries and then
the cap and trade vote and then this vote on health care. All these things kind of make people very
uneasy about too much of a government presence in their lives.

TOWN HALL DEMONSTRATOR: One day God is going to stand before you...

JOHN SHOVELAN: After a devastating August that saw humiliating town hall demonstrations over
President Obama's plans to reform health he has suffered an alarming drop-off in personal
popularity.

Weakened by the debate Conservatives are determined to hobble his administration and make it seem
ineffective and unable to govern from its very first year.

And it's not just the right wing. Even moderate Republicans like Senator John McCain are more
frequently toeing the party line since the Democrat was elected to the White House. An analysis of
Senator McCain's voting record since Barack Obama was elected President found he was far less
independent than in the past.

Conservatives have their eye on the mid-term elections and the White House in just over three
years' time. They have already been whipped into a frenzy by right wing radio and commentators.

They'll do whatever it takes even if it means undermining a message with which they agree just
because it's a Democrat President delivering it to the country's 13 to 17 year olds.

John Shovelan, Washington.

Brown faces more fire on home front

ASHLEY HALL: Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown is coming under increasing pressure to justify
his country's involvement in the war in Afghanistan.

He'll confront his critics in a major policy speech later today. In excerpts of that speech already
been released Mr Brown insists that the conflict remains important to prevent terrorist attacks at
home.

There's rising disquiet about the war's death toll though - 212 British soldiers have been killed;
40 of them in the last two months.

Mr Brown's speech coincides with the resignation of an aide to Britain's Defence Minister.

Eric Joyce attacked Mr Brown's stance on Afghanistan and accused Britain's European allies of not
pulling their weight in the war.

When I spoke to our Europe correspondent Phil Williams a little earlier I asked him what prompted
Mr Joyce to resign now.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: Well we're not quite sure exactly what prompted it right now. He has been making
muted criticisms from afar over the last couple of weeks.

But we do know the timing is very bad for the Prime Minister because he's due to make a major
speech on Afghanistan, on the directions with Afghanistan to try and allay fears about Britain's
involvement in Afghanistan. So it's very bad timing for the Prime Minister. He'd be quietly fuming
about this.

But look let me give you some idea about what he said. Here's a quote. He says, "I don't think the
public will accept much longer that our losses can be justified simply by referring to the risks of
greater terrorism to our streets."

And what he's arguing is we need a defined time there that we know when the troops are going to be
drawn down or pulled out altogether.

He has also criticised the Afghan Government, implying that they are both corrupt and have rigged
the election and that a second election needs to, a runoff election definitely needs to be held for
some credibility and that the British public won't tolerate for much longer the deaths of their
soldiers if they have no clear sense of why they're there in the first place.

So it's really quite wide ranging and quite damning.

ASHLEY HALL: Eric Joyce has also taken a swipe at Britain's NATO allies. What have they done or not
done that's upset him?

PHILIP WILLIAMS: Well what they've not done is contributed enough troops. And he's said that the UK
has, quote, "punched a long way above its weight for a long time" and that many of our allies do
far too little.

Here's a quote, he said, "for many Britain fights, Germany pays, France calculates, Italy avoids".
So it's quite damning of the NATO allies.

Now it actually reflects in part what our own defence establishment has been saying about the lack
of support from other NATO allies but to say that very directly, name countries, would be highly
offensive.

And of course this is going to have an impact because it will play to fears that are held by many
in Britain that this war seems to have no end, seems to have no direction and perhaps seems to be
propping up a Government that is less than highly desirable.

ASHLEY HALL: As you mentioned it comes at a difficult time for Gordon Brown. What's been his
strategy in response to this?

PHILIP WILLIAMS: Well there's just been a statement from Number 10 saying it was disappointed by
the resignation and said that Mr Joyce had not raised any of his concerns previously.

Another minister has come out publically saying that this is the first time that they've ever heard
of any sort of problems from Mr Joyce and so they're quite surprised by this. In other words, why
didn't he bring these concerns to us earlier?

But even if he had done that and had done it in a private way it certainly wouldn't have played to
current political thinking because at the moment the strategy is to possibly increase involvement,
certainly not draw it down at the moment. And of course the Prime Minister does have a difficult
political sell on his hands at a time when he's coming up against an election in the next few
months.

ASHLEY HALL: How big is the death toll of British soldiers in Afghanistan and why has it been
rising so dramatically recently?

PHILIP WILLIAMS: Well it's just gone up by two. It's now at 212 and it's really very much the
roadside, these roadside bombs have been used to deadly effect.

ASHLEY HALL: But the Prime Minister Gordon Brown indicates that Britain is in this for the long
haul.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: Absolutely and he's made it very clear that this is in effect fighting terrorism
in someone else's backyard so it doesn't come to Britain's backyard. That's been the sell all
along.

But increasingly the public are starting to question, well hang on, how does this relate directly
to us? Why are we in this? Why are we getting these almost daily reports of fatalities?

And the pictures of it too - it's very powerful images. When you get the shots of the Hercules
flying back and the bodies taken out and then very publically and with television cameras recording
it, taken through the townships with people with heads bowed and people weeping, it's quite an
emotive and powerful image that's being repeated again and again and it's really starting to cut
through with the public here.

ASHLEY HALL: Europe correspondent Phil Williams.

Afghan war far from over: Ambassador

ASHLEY HALL: A former leading diplomat to Afghanistan says the war there is far from being won.

Francesc Vendrell was the European Unions' Special Envoy to Afghanistan between 2002 and 2008.

Ambassador Vendrell has been in Australia this week for a special forum on the rule of law in
Afghanistan hosted by the University of New South Wales and he told Bronwyn Herbert that there's a
lot to be done if the west is to win the "hearts and minds" of the Afghan people.

FRANCESC VENDRELL: Well I'm afraid it's not going very well. I think it's going to be also linked
to the way we approach the elections that have just taken place. We have a long way to go before we
can say we're winning the hearts and minds of the Afghans.

BRONWYN HERBERT: We hear reports of new roads and new schools being built and then we hear of more
civilian deaths in coalition air strikes. Is this in reality one step forward, two steps back?

FRANCESC VENDRELL: Well it's certainly one step forward and one step back. I'm somewhat hopeful
that finally the America command seems to have understood that every measure has to be taken to
prevent or at least to narrow the number of civilian deaths and that it is preferable for, to allow
the Taliban or the insurgents to leave a village rather than to bomb the village and kill a good
number of civilians.

BRONWYN HERBERT: How important is it for the forces though to get out of their armoured vehicles
and step outside the walls of their bases and to engage with the Afghani people?

FRANCESC VENDRELL: Well absolutely, it is absolutely vital. And I hope now that the Americans will
also do it. The British, the Dutch and other have been doing this...

BRONWYN HERBERT: But are they doing it enough?

FRANCESC VENDRELL: No, of course it's not enough. But it is of course a chicken and egg argument.
They don't do it to some degree because they are afraid of being killed.

BRONWYN HERBERT: The US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has indicated that the United States is
willing to send more troops but it's often been said that the war can't be won by military means
alone. How important is political and social reform in Afghanistan?

FRANCESC VENDRELL: Well it's essential and I think even Robert Gates would acknowledge that there
is no military solution in Afghanistan, that it needs to be a political one. And so reforming the
way the Government, the Afghan Government functions and the way the Afghan Government performs and
also ensuring that there is far better local and provincial governance are essential elements.

BRONWYN HERBERT: Speaking of local and provincial governance, that also ties into allegations of
corruption. And the BBC is reporting that in the recent election some ballot boxes were "stuffed"
with fraudulent votes in favour of Mr Karzai. How endemic in your opinion is corruption in
Afghanistan?

FRANCESC VENDRELL: Corruption is very endemic, very widespread and it has become such a culture
that I think those, even those officials who do not want to be corrupt feel more or less impelled
to copy their colleagues and also, you know, become submerged in corruption.

But to go back the issue of the elections, there isn't the slightest doubt that first of all there
were far more ballots distributed than voters, probably about five million more.

BRONWYN HERBERT: Another change of strategy suggested has been more talks with say the "moderate"
elements of the Taliban. How crucial do you believe that strategy is to the success of
Afghanistan's future?

FRANCESC VENDRELL: Well I think we need the international community and the Afghan Government needs
to talk to what I would call provincial and regional Taliban commanders who may not be so
ideologically driven as perhaps the central Taliban is and who may be fighting out of a series of
local grievances.

I think it's premature at the moment to start talking of negotiations with the senior Taliban
leadership, let say the Quetta shura. We are not winning this war. We are in a way on the defensive
and I don't think this is the right moment to start talking to a group that probably feels that it
has the wind sailing behind it.

ASHLEY HALL: The diplomat Francesc Vendrell speaking with Bronwyn Herbert.

Businessman killed before court appearance

AHSLEY HALL: It's a crime that some people are calling "upmarket Underbelly" - a businessman shot
the night before he was scheduled to appear in court.

This drama centres on a businessman linked to the Packer family and a property which was fire
bombed in the wealthiest street in Australia.

Last night's shooting outside the man's home in front of his nine-year-old son has stunned nearby
residents.

Brigid Glanville reports

BRIGID GLANVILLE: Businessman Michael McGurk was killed by a bullet to the head after pulling up
outside his home carrying grocery bags at Cremorne on Sydney's lower North Shore.

The shooting was witnessed by his nine-year-old son.

His mother-in-law Noreen McDonald heard about this shooting on the news this morning.

NOREEN MCDONALD: She said that the little boy was at a friend's place and Michael rang up and said,
you know, are they all at home. And she said oh one of them is over at so-and-so's place. And he
said oh well I'll go and pick him up. And he said oh I'll get a few things to eat. And Tracey said
oh good.

And he came back and the little boy came running in screaming, "Mummy, Mummy, Mummy, quickly!
Daddy!"

So she raced out and he was bleeding all over the place.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: Michael McGurk was due to face the Supreme Court today over a property dispute
involving some of Australia's wealthiest businessmen.

But the interest in Mr McGurk goes back much further. Arson charges against him were dropped two
weeks ago over the fire-bombing of a house in Wolseley Road Point Piper in the Sydney's eastern
suburbs, the richest street in the country.

The house that was fire-bombed was sold by property developer Ron Medich to Adam Tilley, a friend
of the Packer family's. When Mr Tilley couldn't finalise the purchase Michael McGurk was brought in
by Mr Medich to collect the debt. That's when the house was fire-bombed.

Last week Mr McGurk told Sydney Morning Herald journalist Kate McClymont that he was worried that a
person had been hired to kill him.

There was no suggestion that Mr Tilley or Mr Medich were behind this.

KATE MCCLYMONT: Yes, we had been dealing with Michael McGurk as we were following the various
machinations of this story. I mean this story has got everything. You know, fire-bombs, arson,
assaults, BRW Rich Listers - it had everything.

And in the middle of it was this very colourful entrepreneur Michael McGurk who's a Scottish-born
former electrical lighting salesman who seems to have attached himself to, throughout the years to
various wealthy people and then universally seems to fall out with them.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: But today's shooting has still shocked many residents of the lower North Shore.

The wealthy, leafy, harbourside suburb isn't known for Underbelly-style shootings.

Local resident Dennis McCarron:

DENNIS MCCARRON: Well it's just you know, not the Underbelly of Sydney, you know. This is a one-off
incident in a quiet suburban area really. The biggest activity we have here is the school.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: The crime scene is just metres away from a private school and police have been
talking to residents and staff this morning.

Kate McClymont says there is an element of Underbelly in this case.

KATE MCCLYMONT: It's a sort of up-market Underbelly. This involves the top-end of town and it
involves I would say you know money and deals and property deals and all those kind of things
rather than drugs.

But it certainly was a professional hit. I mean at 6.30 at night when people are coming home, to
have somebody shot at point blank range with their son nearby, that's professional.

AHSLEY HALL: The Sydney Morning Herald's senior Reporter Kate McClymont ending Brigid Glanville's
report.

Time for action on childhood obesity: study

ASHLEY HALL: New Australian research on childhood obesity has cast serious doubt on the
effectiveness of advice that GPs give to children and families.

A study of overweight or mildly obese primary school children found several sessions of counselling
had virtually no impact on eating and exercise patterns or indeed on the children's body mass
index.

The researchers say a range of health practitioners should intervene more aggressively to combat
the escalating obesity problem.

Emily Bourke reports.

EMILY BOURKE: Concern about childhood obesity seems to be growing at the same alarming rate as
children's expanding waistlines. But despite the public attention the problem isn't going away
according to Louise Baur.

LOUISE BAUR: I work actually in Sydney at a weight management clinic at the Children's Hospital at
Westmead and all I am seeing is a longer list of patients, a longer waiting list of patients coming
to see us.

EMILY BOURKE: Of little comfort then is a new Australian study that's been published in the latest
British Medical Journal.

The survey by the Murdoch Children's Research Institute looked at a group of 250 overweight and
mildly obese children aged between five and nine.

Half of them underwent counselling over a 12-week period where they discussed changing eating
habits and physical activity.

A year later parents reported that the counselled children drank fewer soft drinks but there was no
significant differences in the amount of fruit, vegetables, fat or water they consumed. There was
also no major difference to the body mass index, overall nutrition and physical activity.

Professor Louise Baur was one of the authors of the study. She says the results are disappointing
but in some ways to be expected.

LOUISE BAUR: The intervention was only quite mild and only went over 12 weeks and to some extent
obesity in children is potentially a chronic lifelong problem that will need lifelong, ongoing
help.

One of the ideas about trying to intervene in childhood is trying to get in early and help families
turn around the less healthy aspects of their lifestyles so that you can have more sustained
changes.

EMILY BOURKE: Dr Paul Fitzgerald is a Sydney GP and a public health specialist. He disputes some of
the study's conclusions.

PAUL FITZGERALD: Each participating GP only saw 2.1 children in the study and it's a bit of a leap
of faith to go from those sort of results to try and draw implications for national policy for
obesity.

EMILY BOURKE: And he defends the work being done by GPs.

PAUL FITZGERALD: There are no GPs in the authors of this study and it reflects the typical
hospital-type intervention where it's very short term. You know, it's a single hit over four weeks
whereas of course GPs are caring for children, families over the years and so our interventions
tend to be over a much longer time frame.

EMILY BOURKE: Have you seen improvements over a period of time?

PAUL FITZGERALD: Childhood obesity is very much a matter of educating the parents as well as the
children and there are a lot of other variables impacting on the parents in terms of obesity such
as poverty, such as nutritional information, such as the amount of support that they have and the
stress levels they're at.

So you'd appreciate that just addressing the issue with the child really isn't going to get to the
root cause of the factors that are leading to the child's obesity.

EMILY BOURKE: Professor Baur says there's scope for obesity action plans that involve a team of
specialists.

LOUISE BAUR: Groups of health professionals working together in a shared care arrangement or
perhaps working in a team together are exactly the sorts of things we envisage seeing.

Don't forget too the importance of practice nurses who may be very important people in terms of
contact with family and being able to liaise with a range of practitioners.

EMILY BOURKE: But Dr Fitzgerald says these kinds of services aren't there or likely to be in the
future.

PAUL FITZGERALD: Wherever GPs can find resources to help families they're going to use them. At the
moment you can't find those sorts of resources. The actual support for families and health related
problems in families is very thin on the ground because it largely depends on state government
budgets and we all know what's happening there.

I've been of the view for a long time that what our community actually needs is safe bicycle
pathways.

If we can increase the background activity level of everyone in the community we not only address
the problems of childhood obesity, we address problems of diabetes, adult obesity, depression,
cardiovascular disease, all of the conditions that are looming as the major health problems we have
in the future.

And I'd have to say that I think the Federal Government really missed the boat when it spent all
this money on assembly halls in schools. We should really have been building safe bicycle pathways
across the nation.

ASHLEY HALL: Dr Paul Fitzgerald ending Emily Bourke's report.

ACTU agrees with aspirational aims

ASHLEY HALL: The Federal Government has downgraded its commitment to ensure both workers and
employers aren't worse off as a result of the award modernisation process.

And it's received some unexpected support for its change in stance from the union movement.

The ACTU secretary Jeff Lawrence says it was always just an aspiration to keep both bosses and
workers happy and that there will be changes that disadvantage some people.

That's not to say the ACTU won't move to protect workers adversely affected when modern awards are
introduced. Mr Lawrence says he'll take legal action in the form of "take home pay orders".

He's told our chief political correspondent Lyndal Curtis that the legal action is just one of
several mechanisms available to make sure workers aren't left worse off.

JEFF LAWRENCE: If those situations arise and workers and unions will be pursuing that but it is an
individual remedy so if there are such issues really the best thing is to, you know, ensure that as
part of this process those sorts of issues are minimised.

LYNDAL CURTIS: Do you believe that the Government has gone back on its guarantee, on its promise
not to leave workers or employers worse off as a result of this?

JEFF LAWRENCE: Well look I think the truth is that this was always going to be a difficult process.
I mean there are thousands of awards that are being reduced to about 130. You know you could say
that that sort of system just wouldn't have been sustainable into the future.

I mean certainly employers have been asking for this and it was something that the Howard
government of course didn't have the guts to take on. In fact what it decided to do was introduce
AWAs to effectively destroy the award system, to undermine it. So...

LYNDAL CURTIS: So is the promise one which should have never been made because it could never have
been met?

JEFF LAWRENCE: It was an aspiration and I think that as a result of the process and you know, the
mechanisms that are there then it can be achieved but I don't think there can be any guarantees.

And I think look fundamentally it's really a question that you know the ultimate protection for
workers, and really this is our own, to make sure that people are not disadvantaged from this, the
ultimate protection is for people to be involved in a union, to exercise whatever legal avenues are
there but also ultimately if there are still issues then collective agreements of course really are
what the system promotes. And collective agreements over and above the award will protect these
things and will enhance conditions through bargaining.

LYNDAL CURTIS: Will you go on the hunt now for test cases, cases you can run to set precedence on
this issue?

JEFF LAWRENCE: Generally we are just determined to make sure that the Fair Work Act is implemented
in a way which enhances workers' rights. And there are lots of issues that arise under that.
There's still a lot of work to be done here to complete this process and you know, it's a really
important process.

And I have to say it hasn't been helped by the misleading campaign, scurrilous campaign that's been
run by a range of employer organisations, usually based on a misstatement of the facts which I
think is really just based on a view that they'd like to return to WorkChoices essentially, that
they'd like not to have awards and a safety net. And actually they don't have the guts to actually
come out and say that of course.

LYNDAL CURTIS: Are you concerned though that the Government is responding to that by giving some
industries some exceptions from this?

JEFF LAWRENCE: Well the Government has responded in a couple of instances and we've made our
displeasure clear.

But the Government has also responded in some instances where there appears to be disadvantage. And
most of the issues there would've been dealt with by the commission.

You know the result of the Government's last intervention really was to set some parameters but
really to say to the commission, now you go back and finish that task. And most of the issues that
have been dealt with in most of the industries have been dealt with by the commission and by the
parties, by unions and employers through agreement.

ASHLEY HALL: The ACTU secretary Jeff Lawrence speaking to Lyndal Curtis.

Europeans bracing for bumpy recovery

ASHLEY HALL: In an important sign that the global economy is in recovery mode, the European Central
Bank has declared the economic contraction in Europe has come to an end.

However the ECB's president Jean-Claude Trichet has warned the recovery will be bumpy, especially
because Europe's unemployment is now at a record high of 9.5 per cent.

Mr Trichet is also in no hurry to withdraw emergency stimulus measures across Europe despite a push
by some ahead of this month's G20 meeting to do so.

The World Today's business editor Peter Ryan reports from the bank's headquarters in Frankfurt.

(Sound of cameras snapping)

PETER RYAN: Jean-Claude Trichet like many of today's central bankers gets celebrity treatment
whenever he provides an update on the global financial crisis, even if it is a normally mundane
press conference.

But today the world's second most powerful central banking chief surprised no-one when he left
Europe's benchmark interest rate on hold at 1 per cent.

Still, his unexpectedly upbeat view that Europe's economic contraction might be at an end came as
some long awaited positive news.

JEAN-CLAUDE TRICHET: There are increasing signs of stabilisation in economic activity in the EU
here and elsewhere. This is consistent with the expectation that the significant contraction in
economic activity has come to an end and is now followed by a period of stabilisation and very
gradual recovery.

PETER RYAN: But Mr Trichet's optimism was carefully qualified. While upgrading the growth forecast
for the 16 nation Euro region from negative to positive in 2010, he signalled that interest rates
could be on hold for an extended period; not surprising given the EU's jobless rate of 9.5 per cent
which translates into 21.5 million people out of work.

JEAN-CLAUDE TRICHET: Uncertainty is very high. It is more of a bumpy road ahead, which we probably
have, taking into account all the complexity of the situation.

If I have a message on behalf of the Governing Council it is that prudence and caution are still,
if I may, of the essence.

PETER RYAN: Mr Trichet's caution also applies to a growing debate around the world, including
Australia, that emergency stimulus payments need to be wound back.

JEAN-CLAUDE TRICHET: Today it is not time to exit. But again we are alert, we are permanently
looking at the situation and we judge on the basis of our analysis.

PETER RYAN: Mr Trichet will discuss potential exit strategies when he meets G20 officials in London
today, ahead of the Pittsburgh summit. But he'll be taking a clear warning about the risks of a
premature wind back.

JEAN-CLAUDE TRICHET: The worst possible attitude could be to say, now that we see that financial
markets are functioning much better, now that we see that prices are going up, now that we see that
we have a number of indications that we are back to normal, then business as usual.

It would be absolutely wrong, plain wrong, plain wrong. We have to do the job.

PETER RYAN: Jean-Claude Trichet's warning for measured action comes amid calls from Australia's
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd that individual exit plans be submitted to the International Monetary
Fund to ensure a coordinated withdrawal.

This is Peter Ryan in Frankfurt for The World Today.

G20 meets as OECD says return to growth

ASHLEY HALL: Finance ministers from the Group of Twenty nations will meet in London later today for
two days of talks.

At the top of their agenda will be the trillions of dollars in emergency stimulus that saved the
world's economies from going under.

As Peter Ryan just mentioned, some are pushing for an early end to the measures but the
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has warned against that. The OECD has
upgraded its forecasts for major economies and expects a return to growth in the third quarter. But
in line with other global forecasters, it says any recovery will be weak.

Here's our finance reporter Sue Lannin.

SUE LANNIN: The debate over the green shoots of recovery continues but the chief economist from the
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Jorgen Elmeskov promised to use the term
only once at a briefing for journalists.

JORGEN ELMESKOV: This briefing takes place at a time when we've had a run of good news. A recovery
looks to be in hand for the OECD economy at large but it is important not to get carried away.

The green shoots seem likely to grow further in the near term but they will still need careful
nurturing by policy if they are to become strong, self-sustaining plants.

SUE LANNIN: The OECD says the world is coming out of recession faster than previously thought. It
believes that most of the world's major economies including the US will start growing in the third
quarter of 2009.

Jorgen Elmeskov says the Group of Seven industrialised nations will shrink 3.7 per cent this year,
a less severe contraction than he predicted in June.

JORGEN ELMESKOV: The upshot is that following the much improved outcomes in the second quarter the
estimates for the third and fourth quarter are mostly in the positive domain.

SUE LANNIN: Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan is in London for the G20 meeting of finance ministers.
They will discuss whether to pull back stimulus measures.

Mr Swan says it's up to each government to decide the timing of any withdrawal but stimulus is
still needed in Australia.

WAYNE SWAN: When you're looking at a growth rate of 0.6 that is substantially below trend. We are
still looking at unemployment rising domestically in Australia. We see weak domestic business
investment. And we've had a huge shock to our national income.

SUE LANNIN: Professor of finance at the University of New South Wales Fariborz Moshirian says each
economy is different but coordination is essential.

FARIBORZ MOSHIRIAN: We are hearing from the G20 summit, we are hearing from the OECD and we are
hearing in effect from the IMF as well simply because the global economy requires coordination and
we know that the recovery is still fairly fragile.

We are talking about toxic assets in the US banking system, in the European banking system. We're
talking about a major challenge we are facing in Europe where banks are still not lending to their
customers. And so it would be quite premature to contemplate any withdrawal in 2009 or even part of
2010.

SUE LANNIN: There is a big wish list for the G20 meeting including a call from charity Oxfam for a
tax on global financial transactions to help the poor.

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is expected to push a plan to make banks raise their
reserves.

The leaders of Britain, France and Germany want new rules to clamp down on bonuses for bank
executives.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says there is shock at the return of what the leaders call
reprehensible practices.

GORDON BROWN: Some people get bonuses for not really doing anything that is of long term value.
Some people are getting bonuses that even when their bank doesn't do well, they still get the
bonuses.

SUE LANNIN: All three leaders say the global financial crisis is not over yet.

ASHLEY HALL: Sue Lannin.

Academic wins intellectual property rights

ASHLEY HALL: The Federal Court has upheld a ruling that a university academic from Western
Australia can retain the intellectual property rights over his invention.

Professor Bruce Gray invented anti-liver-cancer agents while working for the University of Western
Australia in the 1980s.

When they became commercially successful the university tried to gain intellectual property rights
but the court found that the university can't claim ownership because his job description didn't
include a duty to invent things.

Carly Laird reports on the implications of the decisions for Australian universities.

CARLY LAIRD: Whether universities or academics can claim intellectual property rights over
inventions has been a contentious issue around the world for some time.

Daniel Stewart is a research fellow at the Australian National University and is focusing his
research on intellectual property law.

He explains why this court ruling favoured the academic involved, professor Bruce Gray.

DANIEL STEWART: The primary issue in the case is whether or not there could be some sort of implied
term in the contract of employment to say that although the employment contract expressly required
Dr Gray to carry out research, whether or not there could be a further term implied into that
employment contract that that also required Dr Gray to carry out invention.

And it was the requirement to invention that meant that the employer would be entitled to claim any
intellectual property rights that might be associated with that invention.

CARLY LAIRD: Daniel Stewart says since the 1980s universities have attempted to change their
employees' contracts so they can financially benefit from their academics' inventions.

DANIEL STEWART: Various universities around that time and subsequently have attempted to
incorporate requirements to invent into the contractual terms or through some other mechanism tried
to place obligations on their academics to share the returns from invention with the university.

CARLY LAIRD: Dr Michael Spence is the vice-chancellor of the University of Sydney and has a
background in intellectual property law.

He says that because universities provide the resources that lead to inventions they have every
right to be compensated for the cost of that research.

MICHAEL SPENCE: Where the public purse has funded the research, as it usually has, it just seems
fair that the public should benefit from the fruits of the research. Not entirely, of course the
inventor should have a share and that's the kind of profit sharing arrangement that we have here at
the university and that is well really quite normal internationally.

CARLY LAIRD: But does the public benefit if there are patents at all on these inventions?

MICHAEL SPENCE: Ah well that's a much more difficult question. That's a question that has to do
with the role of patents in the commercialisation of research. And of course at that stage it's
important to attract private industry money and often that money won't be available unless there is
some intellectual property protection over the invention.

CARLY LAIRD: But don't universities have a role in breaking that cycle?

MICHAEL SPENCE: This is an extremely complicated area of public policy. I think there is an
argument that there ought to be particular kinds of patent exemption to support the work of
researchers in universities. But that's not really the issue we're looking at right now.

We're looking at the situation in which there has been a patent on an invention that's flowed from
a piece of research conducted during the course of employment and whether or not there ought to be
a sharing of the profits of that research between them.

I think in that situation a profit sharing solution is intuitively right.

CARLY LAIRD: Carolyn Allport is the president of the National Tertiary Education Union. She agrees
that academics and universities should work together.

CAROLYN ALLPORT: Traditionally there's a sort of a general split - a third to the institution, a
third to the department, a third to the researcher. In the long run you know we have to work in a
collaborative way.

CARLY LAIRD: But she's also worried that as a result of this most recent case, while seeking to
ensure their profits universities will make unfair contracts for their employees.

CAROLYN ALLPORT: It's important to give some degree of incentive to academics in order for them to
lift our capacity to innovate and provide the world standard research that we do.

Now what I fear is that universities might take a very, an attitude of wanting to stop that
immediately and to change people's contracts.

CARLY LAIRD: If academics do gain intellectual property rights 100 per cent to their inventions,
should they then be made to pay back some of those resources?

CAROLYN ALLPORT: We have already had a previous intellectual property case at Victoria University
where that question was examined and in that case there was a clear identification of resources
being given back to the university or an exchange of money if it was, if the particular invention
at that stage at VU was commercialised. And that was eventually negotiated.

CARLY LAIRD: The University of Western Australia is now considering taking their appeal to the High
Court.

ASHLEY HALL: Carly Laird.

Mayor unrepentant to the letter

ASHLEY HALL: A New Zealand Mayor is refusing to apologise to a group of primary school children
he's upset.

Maori students aged 11 and 12 had written to Wanganui Mayor Michael Laws telling him they were
angry that he wouldn't add a letter "h" to the city's name to return it to its traditional
spelling.

Mr Laws is known as New Zealand's most outspoken Mayor and since he didn't like the children's tone
he wrote a letter of his own, telling the kids to butt out and concentrate on tackling more serious
Maori issues like child murder.

New Zealand correspondent Kerri Ritchie reports.

KERRI RITCHIE: Michael Laws is the Mayor of the North Island city of Wanganui and he also has his
own radio show.

At the start of the week Mr Laws was on the front page of the newspapers in New Zealand when he
became the first mayor in the country to ban motorcycle gangs from wearing their insignia in public
places.

Now at the end of the week he's front page news again but this time he's being accused of being as
intimidating as any bikie.

Michael Laws is unrepentant.

MICHAEL LAWS: They are perfectly entitled to a point of view but they are not entitled to demand.

KERRI RITCHIE: A group of children from Years 7 and 8 wrote to Mr Laws telling him an "h" should be
added to Wanganui to return it to its traditional Maori spelling.

Mr Laws fired a letter back, saying he'd take their concerns seriously when the class dealt with
real issues affecting Maori like child abuse and child murder.

He told them to control their anger and sack their teacher who obviously put them up to it.

MICHAEL LAWS: I gave them a facetious reply but one that was aimed at pointing out that this was
not an appropriate way to be trying to convince persons to an alternative viewpoint.

KERRI RITCHIE: Representatives from Otaki School, students and their parents met last night at the
school to work out what to do next.

The principal Chris Derbidge says people are still a bit upset.

CHRIS DERBIDGE: Parents and our whole school are still concerned about the letter Mr Laws wrote
addressed to the students. We're concerned that he didn't address the issues the kids had put
forward and he wrote of things that were of no relevance to children of that age.

KERRI RITCHIE: He says there has been one positive spinoff of being in all the newspapers.

CHRIS DERBIDGE: It's provided an opportunity actually for the kids to get really involved in a
media study which they're going to be working on hard out for the next two weeks, so it has
provided learning opportunities for them.

So I would say no, they're not duly adversely affected by it at all.

KERRI RITCHIE: How important is it to Maori that an "h" gets put back into Wanganui?

CHRIS DERBIDGE: Not being Maori it's perhaps not for me to say. It would be similar to the
discussions that you are having in Australia currently about the Aboriginal naming of some of your
sacred sites like Ayers Rock and so on. So I think for Indigenous people it is, these things can be
very important.

KERRI RITCHIE: He says the children won't be accepting Mr Laws' offer of afternoon tea. Instead he
should come to them.

Mr Laws maintains that the children, their tone was wrong and they went too far and they should
butt out of things that don't involve them when they don't live in the town. Do you think it's
important for children to be encouraged to speak up?

CHRIS DERBIDGE: Yes absolutely, not just in Otaki but all around the world it's important that
children of that age when they are forming their opinions on issues. And it's very, very important
that as adults, as a community that we do listen and their voices are heard.

ASHLEY HALL: Otaki school principal Chris Derbidge ending that report by our New Zealand
correspondent Kerri Ritchie.