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Live.

Tonight - still waiting.

Three of the big banks yet to

drop their rates while the

fourth only goes part of the

way. Possible charges after

Federal Police raid the Health

Services Union. On the road to

democracy. Aung San Suu Kyi

takes her place in Burma's

Parliament. And Canberra's

high cost of living fuelled by

our expansive lifestyles.

Good evening. Welcome to ABC

News. I'm Virginia Haussegger.

It's not come as a complete

surprise but the banks appear

to be short changing borrowers

after the late est interest

rate cut. The National

Australia Bank has passed on

only two-thirds of yesterday's

Federal Government says it is 50 basis point reduction. The

an insult to hard-working

Australians. Finance

correspondent Phillip Lasker.

When it comes to deteriorate

interest rates, for the big

four banks silence is

golden. The four banks do not

pass on the pass cut. The National Australia Bank has

passed on 32 basis point to

borrowers but cutting the main

saver rate by the full 50 basis

point. The bank said it was due

to higher funding cost. The

Treasurer called it something

else. This is an insult to

hard-working Australians who will rightly feel

short-changed. It didn't go

down well either. The NAB have

had a commitment they would

have the lowest standard

variable right of the big four.

It is disappointing to see them

go out first and lead from

behind. I accept all businesses

have funding pressures but the

banks are extremely profitable

businesses. It wasn't the

perfect PR day for the ANZ to

prove that point, with a record

half-year profit approaching $3

billion. Chief Executive Mike

Smith said ANZ Asian business

is going well but Australian

profits fell as funding costs

had an impact. These results

show that ANZ shareholders are

also sharing the pain of those

higher costs. The ANZ chief has recently put interest rates up

but he says it is the

Government that needs to take

care in its Budget not to harm

the economy. Confidence

requires continuity, it

requires certainty. The worst

thing that can happen are

further surprises. But home

borrowers are hoping the ANZ's

surprise us with a full rate cut.

The allegations dogging Peter

Slipper and Craig Thomson's

former union are now the

subject of high-profile

criminal investigations. Police today raided the Sydney

headquarters of the Health

Services Union and Federal Police are interviewing Mr

Slipper's accuser. As Mark

Simkin reports, it is an

unwanted distraction for the

Government in the lead-up to

next week's Budget. HSU

headquarters is giving up its

secrets. The police seized

dozens of boxes of documents.

They could be explosive.

Legally and politically. The

evidence we collect today needs

to be forensically examined. Detectives

intercepted a union official

trying to remove a bag of

documents from the building.

The man is believed to be

former ALP national President

Michael Williamson. I have

major concerns that efforts

have been made to interfere

with information relevant to

our investigation. I don't

dismiss the possibility of

criminal charges a rising. Mr

Williamson and Federal MP Craig

Thomson are accused of

receiving kick-backs. They deny

the claims. This raid today has

nothing to do with me. Can I

that this raid has nothing to reiterate one of the key points

do with me. Can I end by saying

this police raid today has

nothing to do with me. That's

Craig Thomson being in fantasy

land. Julia Gillard suspended

Mr Thomson from the ALP on the

weekend but still counts on his

vote in Parliament. The Prime

Minister cannot wash her hands

of this stinking putrid

mess. Labor's other mess just

got messier. Federal Police

have launched a criminal

investigation into Peter

Slipper's use of Cabcharges.

The AFP says it spoke to a

number of potential witnesses

and gathered information. It considerate relevant legislation and the likelihood of a criminal offence. The

conclusion - the matter requires further investigation.

It has emerged an Opposition

frontbencher met Mr Slipper's

accuser one month before his allegations were

published. Obviously there is a

cover-up going on. There is no

doubt. The Labor is trying to

create some fanciful political conspiracy which is deeply

offensive. Julia Gillard

sidelined slip slip slin and

Craig Thomson - Peter Slipper

and Craig Thomson to clear the

deck for the Budget, or remove

the dark clouds. Today is a

reminder the clouds are still

here and raining all over the

Government's pre-Budget parade.

Democracy campaigner Aung San

Suu Kyi and members of her

Party were finally sworn into

Burma's Parliament today. They

took their seats a week later

than expected because of their

reluctance to swear allegiance

to what they regard as a flawed Constitution. Zoe Daniel

reports. It is a sight the

Burmese people have been

waiting for for 22 years. Aung

San Suu Kyi and her Opposition

won a landslide election

victory in 1990 but instead of

taking power, she spent 15

years under house arrest. Now

she is finally in Parliament.

Aung San Suu Kyi's National

League for Democracy won 43

seats at recent by-elections

but holds only 8% of the Lower

House. Realistically major

reforms will be difficult, at

least until a general election

in 2015, but it is an historic

day and a symbol of rapid

recent progress. We would like

our Parliament to be in line

with genuine democratic

values. Hip-hop artist Zayar

Thaw is a symbol of change. We

first met a few days after he

was released from prison last

year after being jailed for

political comment through

music. He emerged more

determined to see change. Current issues of this country

are marked as our cause, it is

our cause, that's all, he

sings. He will now be pushing

reforms from inside the

Parliament. Right now Burma is

changing. We admit it, but it doesn't reach our goal

yet. Entering the Parliament

will be a new test for Aung San

Suu Kyi and her supporters who

will have to make the

transition from democracy

campaigners to politicians.

Their aim is for country wide

peace, judicial reform and

constitutional change are

ambitious and they will be

closely watched.

US Secretary of State Hillary

Clinton has flown into Beijing

amid a growing diplomatic storm

over a high-profile dissident.

Mrs Clinton arrived for annual

talks with Chinese leaders but

they are likely to be

overshadowed by the fate of

blind activist Chen Guangcheng.

Chen is reported to have left

the US embassy late today for a

medical facility. He spent six

days under US protection after

escaping home detention. Chen

exposed forced abortions and

sterilisation s in the Chinese

countryside. The Chinese

Government has denounced the US

for interfering in its internal

affairs. Barack Obama has made

a dramatic visit to Afghanistan

on the first anniversary of the

death of Osama Bin Laden. The

US President signed a security

cooperation agreement promising

continued support for another

12 years. A secret flight on Air Force One, touch down in

the dead of night at Bagram

Airbase, Afghanistan. After

talks at the Presidential

palace, a signing ceremony on a

deal covering the period after

most coalition troops pull out.

A security agreement extending

US cooperation to

2024. TRANSLATION: I thank you

for that from the bottom of my

heart. We have the capacity to

wind down the war and usher in

a new era of peace in Afghanistan. It took months to

negotiate. It demonstrates how

the US wants to engage after

2014 but is light on detail. In

a hangar at the US base outside

the Afghan capital, Barack

Obama thanked US troops for

their service suggesting the

end is finally in sight. There

is going to be heart break and

pain and difficulty ahead. But

there is a light on the

horizon. It was a theme he

continued in a prime time

address to Americans from the

US base. Good evening. This

time of war began in

Afghanistan and this is where

it will end. Barack Obama told

Americans there will be no US

bases in Afghanistan, that

there are only two narrow

security missions beyond 2014 -

training and counter-terrorism,

facing a war-weary public in an

election year, he called on

American to finish the job and

end the war responsibly. White

House officials say the

symbolism of signing the

agreement in Afghanistan was

crucial but it is no

coincidence the secret trip

happened today, a year to the

day since the death of Osama

Bin Laden.

A report by British parliamentary Committee has

declare ed Rupert Murdoch is an

unfit person to run an international company. Mr

Murdoch described the report as difficult reading and his

company condemned it as

unjustified and high ly partisan. The Murdochs wouldn't

have expected a sympathetic

result but the sting must have shocked. We find News

Corporation carried out an

extensive cover-up of its

rampant law breaking. Its most

senior executives misled

Parliament and the two men at

the top, Rupert and James

Murdoch, who were in charge of

the company, must now answer

for that. They accused Rupert

Murdoch of willful blindness to

what was happening and

expressed amazement his son

hadn't been more keers when

signing a hacking pay out.

There was blistering criticism

of Tom Crone, former 'News of

the World' editor Colin Myler

and the man who stood by Rupert

Murdoch's side for 50 years,

Les Hinton. All accused of

misleading the committee. To put

put it politely, we have been

led up the garden path by News

International. The committee

split over the most damning

clugs conclusions.. Rupert

Murdoch is not fit to run an international company like

BSkyB. This line about Rupert

Murdoch not being a fit person

was stuck on the basis of no evidence presented to the

committee whatsoever and we

just could not support it. It

is unclear what action will be

taken against the three former

executives who misled

Parliament but the impact of

the report on the Murdoch

empire could be far-reaching.

NewsCorp may be forced to give

up its stake in BSkyB. That

won't be end of it as the

Murdochs wait for the

independent Levensen Inquiry to

issue its first report.

Police have arrested 86

people during a May Day protest

in East Timor. They were among

thousands of demonstrators

around the world rallying

against Government spending

cuts and rising unemployment.

Water cannons were turned on

protesters in Germany and in

Chile where protesters were

demanding a rise in the minimum

wage. In Portugal, protesters

pressed the case for changes to

harsh budgetary

measures. TRANSLATION: I am

here fighting today for a job,

for a permanent contract, a

national health system, for

free education and public

transportation. It is for my

four. In Turkey, tens of

thousands of workers rallied

for better jobs and working conditions. The cost of living

is going up. It's become a

catch cry for consumers and a rallying cry for politicians

but it seems those gripes are

more about funding extravagant

lifestyles and struggling to

buy essentials. A joint report

by AMP and the Centre in Social

and Economic Modelling at the

University of Canberra has

found we are actually better

off now than we were 20 years

ago. Once considered a luxury,

going out for a meal is now a

regular occurrence. I'd say

probably at least once a

week. At least that, if not

twice. Catching a movie, take

away is not a big deal. Dinner

and possibly the movies once a

week. A new report has found

Australians has $220 more per

week than 27 years ago but it

is being used to fund a lavish lifestyle. With the extra

money, there has been a chance

to change spending

patterns. Canberra has been

ranked the second most

expensive city in terms of cost

of living but income has kept

pace with the rise in

prices. We found Canberra has

the highest standard of living

in the country because of much

higher wages. On average,

Canberrans spent more than

$10,000 each on food last year

and were slightly behind Sydney

in terms of recreation

expenses. More money on

overseas holidays, air fares,

restaurant meals,

childcare. Cost of living is

shaping up as a major election

issue this year and it will

take more than a study like

this to change that. 27-year

comparisons are interesting,

they will be relatively

meaningless to most families.

What we have seen in the last

decade is the cost of the

essentials has gone up faster

than wages. Not everyone

benefits from the high levels

of income but, by and large,

the city is going well. If the

report is anything to go by, a

majority of Australians are

living the good life as well.

The University of Canberra is

angry with the Government for

wasting its time over the

botched plan for a new tertiary

institution. UCIT was supposed

to be a joint venture between

CIT and the University

specialising in social degrees

and diplomaas. Both institution

s say they are relieved but not

surprised. I do regard it as

having been a waste of time but

we have learned from it. Although the government has put

the matter on hold, I can say I

would have no interest in

resuming those discussions in

the future. Everything has an

opportunity cost. Time is an

opportunity cost. I think that

because of the changes

happening around us, the

significance and of them, this

is a good decision and it is up

to us to take the lessons. The

Government says it still wants

to strengthen ties between the

two institutions. A man in

Sydney has had his arm nearly

cut off after being attacked

with a chainsaw. Police say the

man was set upon by his name in

Minto. Cut with a chainsaw

around the arm just above the

elbow. He got hit on the head

with the machete, cuts on his

head and his chin. Everything.

The only thing holding his arm

on at the moment is the bone. A

fight followed and the attacker

had his finger chopped off with

the machete. The Police

Commissioner said it was like

something out of the

movies. The spiraling crime

rate in Alice Springs continued overnight when two European

tourists were raped at gun

point. The women have told

police they were sleeping in

their car when they were

attacked by three men. Police

used a helicopter today to

search for the offenders'

vehicle. Police say the two

women were camping on the side

of this road last night when

three Aboriginal men broke into

their car and held them hostage

for an hour. Both women were

allegedly raped at gunpoint. It

is a very cruel, very

aggressive on two innocent

females visiting our country.

They are both international

tourists, 21 and 28, from Europe. Obviously very traumatised by the

event. Police say the men were

in their early 20s and were

last seen driving a dark green

car with SA registration

plates. Police took to the air

in the search for the car and

they are warning people not to

approach it. We are treating

the occupants as armed. The

last time we have information

they were in the possession of

a firearm, a long arm. Police

have described the attack as a

disgraceful act against

humanity and say it carries a

penalty of up to life in

prison. They say they will

catch the alleged offenders but

the women will need years of counseling. There is not

serious physical injury but the

psychological injury that

results from such a traumatic

event is huge. The attacks are

the latest in a spate of

violent incident s in the town.

The organisers of an

ultramarathon in which five

runners were burnt has told a

parliamentary inquiry in Perth

her company did nothing wrong.

Mary Gadams is the founder of Racing The Planet, the company

was in charge of last year's

100km race in the Kimberly in

which runners were caught in a

bushfire. Two competitors were

seriously burned. Ms Gadams

told the inquiry she was

shocked and upset by what had

happened but the event was

carefully conducted. The

brother of one of the victims

said it was clear she was on

the defensive. I feel that

there is an AFL lot more that

could have been said today and

I fear that her extensive

opening statement actually took

up a lot of time that could

have been more valuably used in answering specific

questions. The inquiry will

hand down its report in June.

A global shortage is having a

dramatic effect on vanilla bean

prices. While it is bad news

for ice-cream lovers, vanilla

growers in Far North Queensland

are set to cash in. For Russell

and Mary Spanton, growing

vanilla is a labour of

love. You kill the beans in hot

water and then sweat the beans

and then you sun dry the beans,

then you shade dry the beans,

then you massage the beans,

then put the beans away in

boxes. The entire process takes

twice the length of a human

pregnancy but at the end of the

18 month gestation period they

say the little bundles of joy

are worth it. They are like our babies. A global vanilla

shortage has caused a surge in

the price of the expensive

spice and a surge in locals thinking vanilla could be the

magic beans they are looking

for. The global wholesale price

of vanilla has only risen from

about $US24 to 40 per kilogram

so far but in the early 2000s

it skyrocketed to $550 a kilo.

Analysts say a more moderate

price rise is likely. And may

not be a ticket to

prosperity. When commodity

prices rise, there is room for

people to get into the market

but they need to be careful

they are not putting all their

eggs in one basket. It is not a

get-rich quick venture. We have

been growing it for 10 years.

We are not rich. But maybe it

depends on how you define

'Rich'.

To finance now and both the

Australian dollar and the local

share market edged higher

today, although bank shares

fell as investors digested

yesterday's rate cut. Here is

Alan Kohler. The market wasn't

too impressed with the ANZ

result and didn't like the

information that margins are

being squeezed even though the

banks are not passing on the

full Reserve Bank rate cuts. So

everyone hates them. Customers

and shareholders. All the banks

fell today but resources stocks

and retailers got the All

Ordinaries above 4500 for the

first time in nine months. News

Corp shareholderers weren't perturbed by the fact Rupert

Murdoch is not fit to run the

company. In Europe there is

some angst about the Spanish

problem. They are not running

with the bulls. The Australian

dollar is up slightly, 103 and

a third US cents, recovering

some of what was lost yesterday

but not much. In fact, there is

a theory gaining ground the

Reserve Bank is trying to get

the dollar down with

yesterday's rate cut and more

to come. The RBA never says it

is targeting the currency but

as I have pointed out before it

has decoupled from the terms of

trade in recent times. The currency rising and falling

with the terms of trade is

natural and not to be tampered

with but staying up at the

moment because interest rates

here are so much higher than anywhere else, which is

damaging our economy. That

needs to be addressed. You will

recall house prices came out

yesterday showing a fall for

the past 12 months of 4.5%.

Since the peak of June 2010,

the national average is down

6.1%, or 10%, in real terms

adjusted for inflation.

Disturbingly, according to this

chart, it is the same decline

from the peak at the same point

of the big Japanese and

American housing crashes of the

early 90s in Japan and 2006 to

now in the US. That's finance. Australian researchers say

they have developed a faster

and more reliable way to detect

explosives. Clearing land mines

is a dangerous task in many

parts of the world but it is

hoped this fluorescent plastic

could make it safer. The

plastic dims when exposed to

explosives containing nitrogen

such as TNT. It could lead to

the phasing out of sniffer

dogs. They have off days,

expensive to train and we get

them to sniff carcinogen

is. The research team is

developing a hand held sensor.

It could be used if prisons,

airport and large public

arenas. Wallaby great Michael

Lynagh was released from hospital today after suffering

a near-fatal stroke two weeks

ago. Lynagh says he is feeling

fine but he is yet to regain

all his eyesight. The former

Wallaby fronted the media this

morning. But this time to tell

about one of the most important

results of his life. I was

taking a sip of beer, one of

the guys was telling bit of a

story that was quite funny, I

like we all have choked on

it. The ill-timed sip caused an

artery to rupture and he had a

stroke. About 45% of my sight

to the left I don't have. It is

not my eyes, it is my brain's

ability to decipher what's out

there. His neurologyist says

things could have been

worse. People die. Lynagh has

spent two weeks in the Royal

Brisbane Hospital, a sudden

illness a shock to his fans. He

was a key player in the

Wallaby's World Cup 1991 win

and captain ed Australia for

three years. Lynagh says he is

focusing on the positive. One

thing I have said to my golfing

buddies, this might cure my - I

call it a slight draw, most of

them call it a hook. He will

remain in Brisbane over the

next few weeks until he is

given medical clearance to fly

back to his family in London.

The Brumbies have re-signed

another four players ahead of

Saturday night's big match

against the Waratahs. They

include Jesse Mogg who has been

one of the leading players in 2

the the Brumbies revival. He

signed up until the end of next

season along with Scott Fardy

and Andrew Smith. Vie vie vie -

Ita Vaea has signed for two

more years. Nine players have

entered into recent contracts.

One of Australia's most

valuable paintings is going

back on display at the National Gallery of Victoria after

restoration work. Nicolas Poussin painted 'The Crossing

of the Red Sea' nearly 400

years ago and it was showing

the signs of its age. As

Kirsten Veness reports, its new

look brings the painting much

closer to its original

appearance. After nearly two

years away, this prized

painting was finally put back

on the wall and the restoration

revealed. It is one of the

greatest European paintings in

Australia. It is a masterpiece

by Nicolas Poussin who I think

most would regard as the most

important French painter of the

17th century. It was painted in

Rome in the 1630s and depicts

the story of Moses crossing the

Red Sea. The painting was

acquired in 1948. This is what

it looked like before the

re-touching. Abrasion to the

surface, there was a lot of

wear and tear particularly on the upper half of the

painting. Carl Villis also used

a recently discovered replica

to get an idea of what Poussin

originally painted. This

painting may not look radically different to how it was before but much of the work has been

done around the finer details

particularly along the clouds,

mountains and the landscape.

When you look closely, however,

there is one dramatic change.

Before a face could be seen but

in the restored painting, the

head has Turned around. The one

facing the viewer was his

earlier version of it which he

painted out and covered with

the back of his head. He wasn't

happy with it. An artist's wish

and his work restored.

To the weather now. A rather

bleak drizzly day in Canberra

today. The best we could do was

a top of 13 degrees.

On the satellite image, we can

see cloud crossing south-east

Australia with a cold front,

generating showers and storms.

Cloud stretching from northern

NSW into western Queensland

along a trough which is causing

patchy rain and storms. On the

synoptic chart, a low may

develop over Bass Strait along

a trough bringing potentially

heavy rain to Victoria and

Tasmania. Around the nation

tomorrow:

That's the news for now. You

have been watching the ABC's

Canberra news bulletin here on

ABC1. I'm Virginia Haussegger.

Thanks for joining me. Stay

with us now for '7:30' with

Chris Uhlmann. From me for now,

goodnight.

Closed Captions by CSI This Program is Captioned

Live. Welcome to 7:30. Tonight

- fake and enter, a former

insider blows the whistle on

how Australia's immigration

laws are being rorted. There is

a lot of people that have come

in under completely false

pretences and we're so

concerned with being

politically correct and not

being seen as racist. And

another day, another crisis for

Julia Gillard. The Prime

Minister cannot wash her hands

of this stinking, putrid

mess. There's no-one on the

phones, no-one suggesting they

should be the alternative

leader. Australia's

immigration program is always

under close scrutiny but rarely

do we get a glimpse from the

inside. But we do tonight. Two

Immigration Department insider