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Tsunami victims remembered in Samoa

SHANE MCLEOD: First to Samoa and because it lies just on the other side of the International Date
Line it's Sunday and churches are packed as the deeply religious nation seeks to make some sense of
the tragedy that overwhelmed it last week.

The official death toll from the tsunami stands at 176. About a dozen people are still not
accounted for. But in the tight knit community there, the disaster has affected just about everyone
in some way.

Foreign affairs editor Peter Cave has been at Apia's main Catholic Church as the faithful gathered
to mourn, and celebrate the lives of those they lost.


PETER CAVE: In this church like the hundreds of others scattered across the nation today is a day
of reconciliation and perhaps of hope as well as mourning.


TAUTUNU FERETI: We celebrate life. Life in God through the Holy Eucharist. We remember those who
are in need, those who are in sorrow, our brothers and sisters who are suffering because of the
tsunami. We also pray for the souls of those who have gone with this tsunami and all those who have

PETER CAVE: Father Tautunu Fereti is the parish priest.

TAUTUNU FERETI: Actually we all understand in this kind of situation, it is very hard to offer
words that soothe the heart of someone who is suffering, someone who mourn the loss of their loved

So today I quoted the words of Paul to the Romans. "Nothing will separate us from the love of
Christ - not the persecution, not the suffering, not the nakedness".

PETER CAVE: I, as a journalist, have covered many, many disasters across the world and what seems
different to me about this one is the almost total lack of anger. Why is that?

TAUTUNU FERETI: For me, they have mixed feelings because they are people who believe in God. There
is no sign of expressing any anger to God or anybody else. They are just kind of trying to
understand what is the message behind this. Might as well think that, beyond suffering, we
experience the closeness of God to us.

PETER CAVE: In the south of the country the search for bodies continues. About a dozen people
remain unaccounted for. Over the weekend a 30-year-old woman with dual Samoan nationality became
the fifth Australian victim. A small New Zealand child who lived in Australia is also among the

An RAAF aircraft is on standby to bring the bodies of the Australian victims home but the sheer
size of the calamity has left Samoan officials overwhelmed and it may be later this week before the
death certificates are issued and the bodies can be repatriated.

At Tafaigata Cemetery in Apia earthmoving equipment is being used to prepare a mass grave for all
those who accept the government's offer to bury their relatives there. It's believed about 100
people will be buried during an interdenominational service. The mass burial was originally planned
for Tuesday but it has been put back to Thursday to allow family members to come back from

Many people hastily buried after the tsunami by their families are likely to be disinterred and
reburied in the mass graves.

TAUTUNU FERETI: And may Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins and lead us to
everlasting life.

PETER CAVE: Today though the focus is on those who survived.

This is Peter Cave reporting from Apia, Samoa.


Samoan locals celebrate life - and their day

SHANE MCLEOD: In Australia, hundreds of Samoans are gathering in Sydney today to celebrate that
country's national day. The special celebration had been planned well before last week's earthquake
and tsunami struck the island nation.

The World Today's Meredith Griffiths is in the centre of the festivities at Granville in Sydney's
western suburbs, and she joins us now.

Meredith, in Peter Cave's report we heard life is going on amidst the devastation. What's the
feeling like among Samoan Australians here?

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: Life is certainly going on, Shane. It is really festive down here in Granville
in Sydney's west. There's BBQs grilling, there is music playing. People are dancing. There is a
pretty fiercely contested rugby game on at the moment and the crowd here is breaking into cheers.
I'm sorry if it drowns me out.

There is volleyball going on. Kids have their chance. They had all these sort of athletic events
for them early this morning.

You don't have to go too far to find people whose lives obviously have been incredibly badly
touched by the tragedy in Samoa. One man here has lost something like 10 relatives back in Samoa
and about 20 people he knows are still missing. Some of the players out in the field today have
also lost loved ones back in Samoa.

So obviously, this is an annual event that normally is one of much joy and today I think people are
really trying. There is a lot of fun. People are enjoying themselves but obviously they can't
forget what has been going on back home.

But I think that the people that I have been speaking to have been saying that they were glad that
this day had been planned. They were glad they had it to look forward to because it is very
important for the community to come together and to share their stories and by talking and by
sharing their grief, they are beginning to try to work their way through that and begin to think
about what things they can best do to help people back in Samoa.

SHANE MCLEOD: Meredith, is that part of today? Is it about collecting charity to help people back
in Samoa?

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: Yeah, it certainly, certainly is. I think that a couple of the community groups
had begun a little bit of fundraising last week but today was really the beginning of the big push
for fundraising. There has been announcements throughout the morning about where people can go to
make pledges, to offer money to a fund that will then go to help reconstruction back in Samoa.

The referee, because as I mentioned, sport is a big deal today and lots of sporting events are
going on and the referees have all waived their match fees. They said don't pay us. Please give
that money instead to the cause.

So it is sort of the beginning of the building effort and again, as I said, many people said that
trying to get out as a community was important and part of that they said was they wanted to begin
to sit down together and have chats and work out what is the best way to help people back in Samoa,
where should the money best be spent? How can they best support people who have lost so very much?

SHANE MCLEOD: Alright, Meredith Griffiths there at Granville in western Sydney. Thank you.

Indonesia relief working well: Costello

SHANE MCLEOD: To Indonesia now, where the grim cleanup continues after last week's earthquake
there. Heavy rain overnight has again hampered the recovery efforts which are focusing now on
recovering bodies from the rubble more than rescuing anyone still trapped.

Among those surveying the recovery effort is Tim Costello from charity World Vision Australia. A
short time ago he told me he's struck by the way local officials have responded to the disaster.

TIM COSTELLO: I have been impressed with the determination and this is a city that has tsunami
practices. You know a million people practicing a tsunami coming again so they are really
disciplined and quite resilient but yeah, that is in the midst of a terrible earthquake.

SHANE MCLEOD: In terms of the conditions on the ground there - I know rain has been a problem over
the past few days - is that still causing problems?

TIM COSTELLO: Yeah, it is. It is just absolutely poured last night and those working, you know, at
Ambacang Hotel where so many, up to 100 died, that makes it impossible.

Even worse is the fact that rain has caused landslides and in the villages where the worst, the
epicentre of the earthquake, is no Komatsu (phonetic) heavy earthmoving equipment. People are just
using spades and four villages were just totally buried by landslides and that is an area where we
have been. We are working and the rain just intensifies every attempt to still rescue and keep
people from being exposed.

SHANE MCLEOD: You mentioned the efforts by local officials there. Are there priorities that the
outside world can help Padang with at this time?

TIM COSTELLO: Look, I have got to say the outside world including the Australian Government have
been really quick to act. There is 11 different international relief teams here along with the
local ones.

The race against the clock I think is over. It is now the fifth day and no one thinks anyone is
alive. I've watched ambulances coming but they weren't to save life, they were functioning as
hearses - taking away corpses.

What now is the real task is when the world's interest and media moves on. The fact that half a
million people have lost their homes and are needing water and sanitation, food, cooking utensils
and that is why we have brought in seven trucks of goods a couple of days ago and are distributing
that to say you are not forgotten.

SHANE MCLEOD: The earthmoving equipment has been on the site of collapsed buildings. It has been
going in there trying to clear up the rubble but there has been some, I guess, not criticism but
questions over whether it is appropriate to have heavy equipment in there fairly soon after the
earthquake itself. Have you seen that in operation? Do you have concerns about it?

TIM COSTELLO: Yeah, look it is a blunt instrument. They don't have the tools that we would choose
to have um, but they have raced what they have from Medan, down by road and I wouldn't be critical.
They have done what they could do against a race against the clock in a country that is, you know,
a developing country and poor. It is not how we would do it but they have done what they could with
tools at their disposal.

SHANE MCLEOD: How big a concern is disease and public health in the aftermath?

TIM COSTELLO: Oh look it is always the concern. The sanitation is the issue. Many of the hotels
including the one I am in, well, you don't get electricity and it has been raining all night and
they have sewerage mixed up with the, when you turn on the tap.

So this is the big issue which is why we have been distributing thousands of 10-litre bottles with
clean water and explaining how the WASH, as we call it, the acronym of wash water and sanitation
measures particularly with children are fundamentally important.

SHANE MCLEOD: In the aftermath of disasters like this, you often get a convergence of aid groups
and relief officials - everyone trying to help, everyone trying to do their best. Coordinating
those different groups, is that being managed effectively in Padang?

TIM COSTELLO: Yeah it is. The United Nations is always the coordinator. In a tsunami of course, so
many Australians both personally and little domestic NGOs jumped on planes and it became very
labyrinthal and confusing but the NGOs that are here collaborate magnificently under the UNs
leadership so you begin a day with the UN convening whose where, who is doing what, what specialist
skills are they bringing and that has all been happening.

SHANE MCLEOD: Given the scale of disasters we have seen across the Asia Pacific region just in the
last week or so, is there a danger that aid agencies are going to finish up overstretched in these

TIM COSTELLO: Yes. The truth is the last weeks for us at World Vision and other NGOs, it is like
being in the ring with Mike Tyson. Every time you look away, there is another blow and we have been
very deeply stretched and that is why we are appealing to our supporters to give generously - not
to be confused and say it is all too much. I won't give at all.

The truth is it is also shifting us from our development work where we go into an area for 15 years
telling the community we will be leaving, we are lifting you to sustainability - from shifting from
being development agencies to more and more just relief, reactive agencies and long-term proactive
measures, we've got to focus on.

SHANE MCLEOD: Tim Costello from World Vision speaking to me from Padang this morning.

Blame game begins over Dutton switch

SHANE MCLEOD: Federal politics - and the blame is spreading far and wide after the weekend's failed
seat switch by prominent Opposition frontbencher Peter Dutton.

Mr Dutton had been hoping to stand for the safe Gold Coast seat of McPherson after his northern
Brisbane seat of Dickson was rendered marginally Labor in an electoral redistribution. But
preselectors in the Gold Coast branch of the Liberal-National Party voted him down.

Some Liberals are blaming their Nationals brothers and sisters in the merged party in Queensland.
The Nationals deny it, saying it's a simple case of the local branch opting for an impressive local

The World Today's been told Mr Dutton was warned his plan to shift to a safer seat was a risky

From Canberra, Alexandra Kirk reports.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The high flying testimonials from John Howard and Malcolm Turnbull and many more
weren't enough to sway local preselectors in the safe Liberal Gold Coast seat of McPherson to
choose Liberal frontbencher and former Howard government minister Peter Dutton to be their next
local member. Mr Dutton lost his bid to switch to a safer seat 75 to 59. For now the member for
Dickson is keeping his own counsel.

Fellow Queensland Liberal frontbencher, Ian Macfarlane, has indicated it wasn't for a lack of
support from his federal colleagues.

IAN MACFARLANE: Well we all strongly endorsed Peter Dutton. The former prime minister John Howard,
the former premier of Queensland Rob Borbidge. Peter had very, very strong support from everyone
who knew him and his colleagues had endorsed him.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Mr Macfarlane told Radio National Breakfast's Fran Kelly the preselectors went for
the local candidate, Karen Andrews.

IAN MACFARLANE: Karen is someone of very considerable ability, quite a diverse background in
business and an engineer to boot and they are always very practical people, can I say Fran, and she
is a great choice. It was extremely unfortunate for Peter Dutton and like Peter, we are
disappointed but there are other options we will pursue. He can't be lost.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Peter Dutton had the backing of his federal Nationals colleagues too. Nationals
Senate leader Barnaby Joyce said he tried to help Mr Dutton as much as he could without imposing
his views too strongly on the locals.

BARNABY JOYCE: But I made a few phone calls and obviously wrote a letter of support.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: One Queensland Liberal has told The World Today the bulk of the preselectors who
were Nationals before the merger with the Liberals all banded together to vote against Mr Dutton -
both those on the executive and branch members.

He concedes, though, that Liberal votes went against Mr Dutton too - that a sizeable block of votes
went to Karen Andrews after Minna Knight was eliminated from the race.

Barnaby Joyce dismisses suggestions that ex-Nationals banded together to vote against Mr Dutton.

BARNABY JOYCE: That story is wrong. That story has about the same credibility as ambit scratching
on the back of public lavatory door and slightly less credibility than the dog ate my homework.
This is just you know, rubbish. It was the view and the wish of the people of the electorate. They
voted for who they wanted.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Fellow Queensland Nationals Senator Ron Boswell says it boils down to the
preselectors opting for the local candidate.

RON BOSWELL: Well, I don't know who supported who but I do know this that both Barnaby Joyce and
myself were supporting Peter Dutton. In fact I asked for a vote as a senator and if that vote had
of been granted which it wasn't, I would have gone down and supported him personally.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: And do you think that would have held much sway with the local members of the LNP
who were formerly Nationals members?

RON BOSWELL: Look, probably if we had of been able to go and vote and speak, we may have been able
to influence some but the fact is, under the new regulations the LNP senators don't get a vote but
I know both Barnaby and myself were trying to influence people to support Peter Dutton because we
thought he had potential to be a very important person in any government that was formed by the
Nationals and the Liberals.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: In your view, is there some dysfunctionality in the LNP in Queensland?

RON BOSWELL: Look I don't, look it was a vote. It was a vote. A vote took place. A decision was
taken. I don't think you can reflect on the views of a vote.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: One long-time Liberal insider says it's a case of a big time politician out of
Canberra brow beating locals in the media. He says it was the wrong strategy in a very parochial
seat. Another insider says Mr Dutton was warned by local party members that it was a risky strategy
to shift to the Gold Coast-based seat.

Malcolm Turnbull wants Mr Dutton to remain in federal politics, declaring a seat should be found
for him. Ian Macfarlane says Mr Dutton is a man of extraordinary talent.

IAN MACFARLANE: There are decisions for Peter to make, for his family to make and obviously there
are still vacant seats available and not everyone has yet committed to go around again.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: One option is for Mr Dutton to seek preselect ion for a new federal seat in
south-east Queensland, named after Australian poet and social and environmental activist Judith

The Electoral Commission will make a final recommendation on Wright, within a month. The ABC's
electoral analyst Antony Green has assessed Wright would be a marginal Liberal seat with a margin
of 3.8 per cent.

That's an easier prospect than trying to defend his own seat of Dickson which after the
redistribution has become notionally Labor by 1.3 per cent.

SHANE MCLEOD: Alexandra Kirk.

Dutton gets a local lifeline

SHANE MCLEOD: The acting president of the merged Liberal National Party in Queensland says he won't
rule out tapping another of the state's federal MPs on the shoulder, to ensure a continuing place
in politics for Peter Dutton.

The party's executive has said it's committed to finding a spot for Mr Dutton - and it's
considering all options. But political analysts warn that those options are limited.

Charlotte Glennie reports from Brisbane.

CHARLOTTE GLENNIE: Forty-nine-year-old Karen Andrews is a qualified mechanical engineer and a
mother of three. Now she's also been preselected as the LNP's candidate for the Gold Coast seat of

Here's the acting President of Queensland's Liberal National Party, Gary Spence.

GARY SPENCE: She's a very impressive person. She'll make an excellent member of the Federal
Parliament and will represent the people of McPherson very well.

CHARLOTTE GLENNIE: He says it was a closely fought race.

GARY SPENCE: What we had on the weekend was four very, very good candidates down in McPherson. Two
of whom were locals with a long track record on the coast and I guess the locals ended up,
ultimately after a three-and-a-half-hour process, supporting one of those two locals in what was a
very close-run thing.

CHARLOTTE GLENNIE: Among the rejected was the Federal Opposition spokesman on health Peter Dutton -
and that happened against the wishes of senior Liberals including the Federal Opposition Leader
Malcolm Turnbull.

Peter Dutton had taken a gamble. He'd sought the selection after bailing from his marginal seat of
Dickson following a redistribution of Queensland electoral boundaries.

Now Gary Spence says every effort will be made to find Mr Dutton a new seat.

GARY SPENCE: I actually supported Peter Dutton also leading up to Saturday. I very much intend to
work with our president, Bruce McIver and the executive of the LNP to find a spot for Peter Dutton
sometime between now and the next federal election.

CHARLOTTE GLENNIE: And he's not ruling out trying to oust another federal MP from their seat.

GARY SPENCE: I don't think it is helpful if I speculate on any of our potential options other than
to say that I think it is very important that Peter Dutton remain in the Federal Parliament.
Someone with his expertise and experience doesn't come along every day and I will be doing what I
can to work with our state executive to ensure that we find a spot for him after the next federal

CHARLOTTE GLENNIE: But finding a spot for Peter Dutton will be no easy task.

Here's Professor Scott Prasser, a public policy expert at the Australian Catholic University.

We've heard from the LNP executive that they are looking at options for Peter Dutton. They don't
want to see him leave politics so what kind of options are there available to him?

SCOTT PRASSER: Well, the other options are to look around, see who else could be up for retirement.
Could there be some inducement. The trouble is when you are in opposition both federally and state,
you can't offer any existing MPs any positions overseas or posts so it is very hard to sort of lean
on someone say could you please go for the good of the party because we've got nothing to offer

So I think there is only a limited range of options and you can just look around the seats around
Queensland. There is fewer seats after the last federal election. Who is going to put their hand up
to make way for Peter Dutton and I think you'll find that most politicians are not very inclined to
do that.

CHARLOTTE GLENNIE: Well what do you see as the most likely outcome of this then?

SCOTT PRASSER: I think the most likely outcome is unless the LNP executive can find a seat, Mr
Dutton is going to have to run his existing seat and do the best he can. He is a very good
campaigner and it is possible that he could win that seat.

This whole thing has been done so clumsily, so much in the public arena. These sort of things
should be done behind closed doors and it shows you the lack of professionalism of the coalition
parties in these sort of issues that have been so mismanaged.

CHARLOTTE GLENNIE: And what does it show about the merger of the LNP in Queensland?

SCOTT PRASSER: It highlights that there is still a lot of teething problems to go through because
we are dealing not with just state politics we're also dealing with federal politics. Two different
dynamics going on at each level of government.

SHANE MCLEOD: Professor Scott Prasser ending that report from Charlotte Glennie.

Reserve Bank may hike rates tomorrow

SHANE MCLEOD: The recent era of historically low interest rates may be coming to an end. As the
Reserve Bank prepares for its monthly meeting, many economists believe that the official rate will
be hiked at least once by the end of the year.

But a recent run of stronger than expected data has two respected economists tipping a surprise
hike tomorrow when the central bank unveils its decision.

Here's our business editor Peter Ryan.

PETER RYAN: The Reserve Bank's emergency cash rate of 3 per cent is a 49-year low having tumbled
from 7.25 per cent 13 months ago when the credit crunch catapulted into a global financial crisis.
But unlike the United States and Europe, Australia has avoided a recession recording just a single
quarter of negative economic growth before bouncing back.

Now some unexpectedly strong data has some economists wondering if the emergency rate strategy
still applies.

STEPHEN WALTERS: To me it does mean interest rates have to go up and I think you'll see a steady
drumbeat of rate hikes over the next 18 months.

PETER RYAN: Stephen Walters is chief economist at JP Morgan. He believes the Reserve Bank will act
tomorrow, and push rates up by a quarter of a percentage point to 3.25 per cent.

STEPHEN WALTERS: There certainly is no emergency there anymore and the Reserve Bank did set an
interest rate at an emergency level and the governor called the current setting unusually low and
with all those things in mind, then to me it is like why have you got an interest rate at that sort
of level if clearly the emergency has passed.

PETER RYAN: Stephen Walters also believes the Reserve Bank will be swayed by a potentially damaging
spike in housing prices, brought on by record low rates. He points to comments last from the RBA's
head of economics Tony Richards and the Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens.

STEPHEN WALTERS: Each of them talked about either imbalances forming in the economy and Tony
Richards explicitly mentioned house prices potentially going up by an unhealthy level and I think
that is the symptom of what happens when you have interest rates too low for too long.

Now I am not suggesting the Reserve Bank has done that but it is certainly a risk and I think it
shows you what the Reserve Bank officials are thinking about that if they do keep interest rates
too low for an extended period of time then you do end up with imbalances in the economy.

PETER RYAN: Last week's unexpectedly strong retails sales - up almost 1 per cent in August - is
also changing attitudes about when and how quickly the RBA will move.

Originally Macquarie Group's interest rate strategist Rory Robertson was tipping a Melbourne Cup
day rate hike with a follow-up in December. Now he's joined Stephen Walters in predicting the RBA
board will move tomorrow.

RORY ROBERTSON: When the Reserve Bank took rates down to 3 per cent earlier this year, it took down
rates to 3 per cent on the expectation Australia was going to have a big recession. It turns out
Australia has had only a small recession and most recently the data surprised on the strong side.

In the middle of last week we saw retail sales continue to grow in August and house prices have
trended up eight months in a row and they are about 8 per cent off their lows.

So I think the Reserve Bank has been mulling the idea for several months that it is going to start
removing the emergency low rates it put in place earlier in the year and I think there is a strong
chance that the Reserve Bank will start its normalisation process tomorrow.

PETER RYAN: And do you believe that will be followed up?

STEPHEN WALTERS: Well, I think it will be over time. I think the economy isn't so strong you would
want to assume a whole series of rate hikes in a row but I think the Reserve Bank in fits and
starts over the next six months will gradually move its cash rate from 3 per cent up towards 4 per

PETER RYAN: But not everyone agrees the RBA will move so swiftly. The chief economist at the
National Australia Bank, Alan Oster says the full evidence of a recovery isn't in just yet.

ALAN OSTER: The data hasn't been that robust as you go beyond say June when you had the last of the
cash drops etc so I think they just sit back and watch a little bit longer to make sure that
everything is OK.

PETER RYAN: So you think the Reserve Bank will be waiting to see stronger evidence that the economy
is recovering or has recovered?

ALAN OSTER: I think that is right. They will also have the ability of also seeing the next CPI
movement which will come out just before the November meeting, the last week of October, so I think
there is no great hurry but I think at the end of the day, sometime fairly soon, you are going to
have the RBA moving and I think they are going to probably move 75 points over the next three to
four months.

SHANE MCLEOD: The chief economist at the National Australian Bank, Alan Oster, ending that report
from business editor Peter Ryan.

Job ads bottom but unemployment to rise

SHANE MCLEOD: The nascent economic recovery will be on the minds of Reserve Bank board members when
they meet tomorrow And the latest job ads survey by the ANZ Bank has marked a turning point. Ads in
newspapers and on the internet rose again last month following a rise in August after hitting the
bottom in July.

The services industry is also in better shape with another survey showing that the slowdown has
slowed down.

Here's finance reporter, Sue Lannin.

SUE LANNIN: Job ads are increasing across the country and that's good news for job seekers. The
biggest rise in ads was in the ACT boosted by the Rudd Government's economic stimulus.

ANZ economist, Alex Joiner, says the economy is in an early recovery phase.

ALEX JOINER: Newspaper job ads were up by 4.4 per cent in September building on a 4.1 per cent gain
last month and these are positive signs but very tentative signs of a labour market recovery and
we'll get some more figures on the labour market specifically later in the week.

SUE LANNIN: So does this suggest that the fall in job ads has bottomed now?

ALEX JOINER: Ah, yeah these two consecutive increases would definitely suggest that the number of
job ads has started to bottom out but we should keep in mind that the number is still 45 per cent
down on a year earlier so they still remain at very, very low levels.

SUE LANNIN: That is because employers are just not hiring much. There are more people than jobs and
more people are looking for work.

Alex Joiner says the ANZ expects the unemployment rate to rise to more than 6 per cent when the
latest figures are released on Thursday.

ALEX JOINER: We still are forecasting a little bit of weakness in the labour market. We forecast
some employment falls going forward and that is going to add to the unemployment rate. What we've
also seen is that labour market participation has remained very, very high and partly this is due
to very high levels of migration into Australia so there is more people actually wanting a job and
not being able to be absorbed into the labour market so that is what is being reflected and that is
also adding to the higher unemployment rate.

SUE LANNIN: There is growth of sorts in the services industry although it's pretty weak. The
monthly Performance of Services Index rose slightly in September to 49.3 boosted by new orders and
more deliveries.

The Australian Industry Group carries out the survey. Chief executive, Heather Ridout says the
industry is not expanding yet but the rate of slowdown is easing.

HEATHER RIDOUT: Well the PSI rose by 1.3 points in September edging higher towards that magic 50
points. It is at 49.3 at the moment. It is off the back of improvements in new orders and in
deliveries which is positive.

Employment edged towards the 50 level which was also an improvement so all around, not a bad figure
but still quite soft in the services sector overall.

SUE LANNIN: New orders increased last month but Heather Ridout says the industry is very weak and
employment has continued to fall.

HEATHER RIDOUT: Employment in the industry is still contracting but it is edging towards growth but
worryingly, the two big sectors, particularly the retail sector and the tourism sector are still
very soft so that means we will still see fewer hours worked in those big sectors and that is
obviously going to have an effect on consumers' willingness to spend.

SUE LANNIN: And she's calling on the Reserve Bank not to raise interest rates yet especially with
the higher Australian dollar.

HEATHER RIDOUT: Look, I think the banks really has to take account of a number of issues. They have
to ask themselves and answer the question, is growth self-sustaining beyond this stimulus that has
been in the economy and when you look at it, it is still soft and quite fragile. Unemployment is
still rising albeit it may not reach the heights that people thought.

Importantly the exchange rate is very high and rising and acting a brake on inflation but also a
brake on the big trade-exposed industries like the tourism industry, the manufacturing sector that
is suffering import competition at higher levels as well as export contractions.

We believe they should wait a few more months and see what the impact of the stimulus fading from
the economy will be on growth going forward.

SHANE MCLEOD: Heather Ridout from the Australian Industry Group, ending that report by Sue Lannin.

Another Kokoda casualty

SHANE MCLEOD: Papua New Guinea's Kokoda Track is in the news again and again for tragic reasons.
Another Australian tourist has died - after apparently suffering a heart attack while trying to
follow in the footsteps of the World War II diggers.

It's the second death of a walker in a month and comes after the plane crash in August that killed
13 people, including nine Australians due to set out on the trek.

For the latest we're joined by our correspondent Liam Fox in Port Moresby.

Liam the walker who collapsed and died yesterday was only a couple of hours into the trek. Was
there anything special about conditions yesterday that might have contributed?

LIAM FOX: No, not that we are being told. Conditions are always tough in Papua New Guinea in
general. It is hot and it is humid but we haven't been told it was especially hot or humid
yesterday. As you mentioned he was only two hours into the trek when he complained to his guides
that he didn't feel he could go on.

He was helped to get back to his lodgings but collapsed. He was then stretchered to an ambulance
but unfortunately he died on the way to hospital in Port Moresby.

SHANE MCLEOD: Now there have been calls for fitness tests to be mandatory for people who are
stepping out on the track but I understand there are reports this man had actually passed a medical
examination before he went off on the walk?

LIAM FOX: Yeah, that's right. He was trekking with a group called Adventure Kokoda and its director
Charlie Lynn has said that he did pass a medical examination and in fact we were talking to some
trekkers who went with Adventure Kokoda only last week and they told me the reason they chose
Adventure Kokoda was because they had a heavy emphasis on preparation beforehand, that people over
40 as well as being required to undergo a medical test were also required to undergo stress tests
but Charlie Lynn the director says this might not be enough and we need further physical fitness

SHANE MCLEOD: Liam Fox, in a situation like this, how difficult is it for someone who is in trouble
on the track to be airlifted out, to be evacuated out for medical care?

LIAM FOX: Well, it is a very remote area. Planes can fly into villages along the way but if you're
stuck in between these villages, it can be very difficult.

With the case of Mr Brunskill he had to be helped back after he collapsed. He had to be stretchered
out so it can be very, very difficult to firstly get to a village and then get flown out of a
village back to Port Moresby if you do get into trouble.

SHANE MCLEOD: Liam, this is another negative story about the Kokoda Track. Is this having an impact
on tourism to the track and to Papua New Guinea more generally?

LIAM FOX: Yes, some people in the trekking and tourism industry here believe it has had an impact.
Since last year there has been a 25 per cent drop in tourist numbers coming to walk the Kokoda
Track. That is down from about 6,200 to about 4,000 or so.

People think it is a combination of reasons. Firstly the bad publicity surrounding other deaths and
of course, the plane crash but also the global financial crisis. It is a pretty expensive exercise
to come here and walk the Kokoda Track but it must be noted that there has been an explosion in
trekking numbers in recent years.

There was only 100 people who did the trek in 2001 to 6,200 last year and so that means the type of
people who are doing the trek have changed. It used to be hard-core trekkers perhaps ex-military
personnel. Now we are seeing your mums, dads, grandfathers and grandmothers doing the trek and that
perhaps is contributing to these incidents.

SHANE MCLEOD: Alright, Liam Fox there in Port Moresby, thank you.

Afghanistan deaths darken debate

SHANE MCLEOD: A massive attack on US troops in a remote part of eastern Afghanistan has added more
heat to the debate about the level of American engagement there.

The commander of US troops wants another 40,000 added to the 68,000 troops already on duty there.
That's a decision Barack Obama is weighing. But the weekend attack that left at least eight
Americans dead is now complicating that decision.

North America correspondent Lisa Millar.

LISA MILLAR: America marks the 8th anniversary of being at war in Afghanistan this week. It's an
anniversary that comes amid intense debate over America's place in the country and its current
strategy. And the weekend's deadly attack will help ensure it's an anniversary no one is

At least eight American soldiers and several Afghan police officers were killed when hundreds of
Taliban militants launched a daylight attack with mortars and machines guns on their compounds in
eastern Afghanistan.

Brigadier General Eric Tremblay is the spokesman for the International Security Assistance Forces.
When he spoke to reporters, the battle was still going on.

ERIC TREMBLAY: Well, we are on the second day of the operation. Reinforcement has been provided.
Quick reaction forces with the proper surveillance on the ground and normal framework operations
are being conducted as we speak in the villages.

LISA MILLAR: Back in Washington there is a fight - not as deadly - but just as serious. The US
commander in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal has asked for more troops - suggesting there
will be a terrible mission failure if his wish isn't granted.

Barack Obama is mulling over the decision. The two men met on the tarmac in Copenhagen just days
ago, the first time since General McChrystal delivered his grim report on the military prospects.

General Anthony Zinni was once head of US Central Command. He's joined the voices urging the
President to send additional troops.

ANTHONY ZINNI: I do think we need those troops and I think General McChrystal has made an honest
and thorough assessment as to what you need. It begins with security. You can't do all the other
things without it.

LISA MILLAR: Americans are losing interest in winning a war in Afghanistan but Anthony Zinni says
there is a bigger picture.

ANTHONY ZINNI: I think we have to remember, this is not just about al Qaeda and the Taliban. We
have two nations out there with nuclear weapons. One of which had the Taliban 65 miles from their
capital. We have the Taliban and others trying to provoke some sort of conflict between these two
nations. We also have a Taliban that is stretching their influence into central Asia.

LISA MILLAR: Even if the President decides to bump up the number of boots on the ground, he could
face a battle in Congress. Senator Carl Levin is the chairman of the armed services committee and
he's opposed to deploying more troops.

CARL LEVIN: I would not commit to more combat troops at this time. There's a lot of other things
that need to be done to show resolve. What we need a surge of is Afghan troops. There is a marine
captain out in Helmand Province who put it this way. He says our Achilles heel is a shortage of
Afghan troops.

When I was in Helmand Province just a month ago, we were told by the local folks what they want is
their Afghan army to be strengthened and the ratio of marines to Afghan soldiers when we were down
in Helmand Province was five marines for one Afghan soldier. That is exactly the wrong ratio. It
ought to be reversed from that.

LISA MILLAR: President Obama's own national security advisor Jim Jones says the discussion going on
inside the White House is about far more than simply increasing troop numbers. A decision on the
wider strategy in Afghanistan is expected within the next few weeks.

This is Lisa Millar in Washington for The World Today.

Greek Government goes in snap poll

SHANE MCLEOD: It was a gamble that appears to have completely backfired. After calling a snap
general election only half way through his term, the Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has
suffered a stinging defeat at the hands of the Opposition Socialist Movement.

The result means George Papandreou will follow in the footsteps of both his father and grandfather
to become Greece's Prime Minister.

This report by Barbara Miller.

BARBARA MILLER: On election day, the Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, said "Greek men and women
decide. They make an important political choice". And choose they did. But not the incumbent.

In a resounding victory, the opposition Socialist Movement PASOK has around 44 per cent of the
vote, compared to 34 per cent for Mr Karamanlis' New Democracy Party.

(Sounds of celebrations)

(PASOK supporter speaking.)

BARBARA MILLER: "We are happy because we got rid of Karamanlis, and that's it," says this PASOK

Costas Karamanlis called the snap election just halfway into his term. His stinging defeat might
serve as a warning to any leader thinking of doing the same. His party is out of government and his
days at the helm are over.

COSTAS KARAMANLIS (translated): The only responsible and honourable road for me is one. I accept
responsibility for the result and I will start procedures for the election of a new party president
of New Democracy.

BARBARA MILLER: Associate Professor Vrasidas Karalis is chair of the Modern Greek Studies
Department at Sydney University

VRASIDAS KARALIS: He'd never, never had in mind the worst case scenario because he believed that if
he called the elections now instead of next year or the year after, he would lose the elections by
all means but the Opposition would form government in a coalition with another party.

So unfortunately it seems that the dissatisfaction amongst the electorate was so much that he not
simply lost the elections, not simply you know the Opposition back forms a government of its own
but it seems that himself must be out of politics.

BARBARA MILLER: Does the scale of the defeat come as a surprise to you as well?

VRASIDAS KARALIS: Well, to a certain degree yes. We never expected to be such a swing of 10 per
cent throughout the country. That shows to my perception the frustration and the anger and the fury
of the people.

They had so many hopes for Karamanlis as a prime minister because it was a generational change when
he took over in 2003 and we thought for the first time there would be a young individual full of
ideas, full of modern perspectives in the administration of politics and he will change the
political culture of the country but it seems six years later, the Greek people felt totally let
down and completely, completely I would say, disappointed.

BARBARA MILLER: A number of factors have contributed to the Greek Government's demise - its
handling of the financial crisis, a series of corruption scandals, as well as its failure to
contain riots that erupted after the police shooting last year of a teenager.

Expectations of the next Prime Minister George Papandreou are high. Mr Papandreou told supporters
he's ready for the challenge:

GEORGE PAPANDREOU (translated): We are here united in front of the great responsibility that we
take on, that I take on. A responsibility for a change of course in the country, for a just united
country full of humanity, development and progress. We know we will succeed, we know we can and I
am saying to you, let's go. Let's go.

BARBARA MILLER: But Vrasidas Karalis from Sydney University has his doubts.

VRASIDAS KARALIS: It will be interesting to see what he can do. I don't think that he can do much
as I understand because it needs radical change and radical change in the approach of the
administration of politics in Greece, especially the way that the state apparatuses functions so
let's hope that Papandreou will be bold enough and radical enough to make a real generational
change in Greece.

BARBARA MILLER: And George Papandreou hardly represents a new beginning. He'll be the third
Papandreou to govern Greece since World War II. This is his third attempt to become Prime Minister.
And, as one commentator put it, this victory may be less on merit than by default.

SHANE MCLEOD: Barbara Miller.

Experts concerned about staph numbers

SHANE MCLEOD: A trip to the hospital can be a dangerous business. Even when an operation is
successful, there's a small risk of picking up a potentially deadly infection.

Staph infections have been an unfortunate fact of life in medical institutions for a long time, and
there's a growing number of people contracting infections away from hospitals.

A new study in the Medical Journal of Australia has found the fatality rate is almost twice as high
as was previously thought. But pathologists worry that no one has been adequately keeping track of
how many infections there are, or how many people are dying from staph.

Timothy McDonald reports.

TIMOTHY MCDONALD: You can pick it up in a hospital ward or sitting at home but either way, it's a
serious illness. It's thought staph infections affect around 6,000 people a year in Australia, and
may be responsible for more than a thousand deaths.

But Dr John Turnidge from SA Pathology says it's a worry that nobody can provide a firm figure.

JOHN TURNIDGE: Look, we don't know for sure but we do have a much better picture now. We think in
the time that the study was conducted, we captured around about a third to a half of all of the
cases that occurred in Australia and if that is the case, if for instance, we think there is about
6,000 cases of this occurring every year with a 20 per cent mortality, that is 300 more people died
and at least half of those we think are completely preventable.

TIMOTHY MCDONALD: He's the lead author of a new study in the Medical Journal of Australia, which
attempts to get a better grip on how many people succumb to the disease. An earlier study estimated
that about 11 per cent of those infected die from staph but it only looked at mortality rates after
seven days.

Dr Turnidge's study followed up cases for a month after infection and found that the numbers were
more like one in five. He says the health authorities need to start keeping track a bit better.

JOHN TURNIDGE: One of the messages that we wanted from the study is please start recording the
information on the instances of this infection. Without that simple tool of knowing how many there
are and how many people were dying from it, we won't be able to measure whether even hand hygiene
programs are having the impact that they need.

TIMOTHY MCDONALD: Earlier this year New South Wales became the first state to require mandatory
reporting of staph infections but in most jurisdictions, there is nothing to force hospitals to
keep a running tally.

Dr Turnidge says the federal and state health ministers have agreed in principle to act on staph,
but the devil is in the details.

JOHN TURNIDGE: The health ministers agreed last November that they'd implement such a system
although only agreed in principle and not how. Currently the proposals to how but unfortunately
without the mortality, collecting the mortality data and worst of all it is possible that there
will be seven different versions - one for each state. We'd rather a national system.

TIMOTHY MCDONALD: Associate Professor Paul Johnson is the deputy director of infectious diseases at
Austin Health in Melbourne and a co-author of the study. He says the tragedy of all these staph
deaths is that many of them are preventable.

PAUL JOHNSON: It prolongs people's stay at the very least and costs a lot of money at the very
least and in rare situations is actually fatal and the reason that it happens is usually due to
some error in hospital practice, often related to the insertion or care of intravenous catheters.

TIMOTHY MCDONALD: And what's more, he says improved infection control wouldn't just save patients,
but would also save money.

PAUL JOHNSON: What we've done is we tried to put a value on the cost of hospital-acquired golden
staph, not that which occurs spontaneously in the community and we think it costs about $22,000 for
each in-hospital staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia episode.

TIMOTHY MCDONALD: He says the good news is that proper reporting systems usually lead to rapid
progress. The Austin Hospital used to have several cases a week, but that's no longer the case.

PAUL JOHNSON: If you develop strategies to recognise and then feedback poor outcomes to departments
where they've occurred, people really take notice and get very concerned because the basic
motivation for people to work in busy hospitals is really to care for people and they get really
distressed when they find out they've caused some kind of complication.

SHANE MCLEOD: Associate Professor Paul Johnson from Austin Health. That report by Timothy McDonald.

Medical Journal of Australia article: Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia: a major cause of mortality
in Australia and New Zealand [link]