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Today Tonight -

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(generated from captions) along the Southern to Central
New South Wales coast tonight. A low off the New South Wales coast has whipped up
strong and gusty south-east winds Tomorrow, that will move off
the coast but not before it brings showers
and gusty winds to Sydney tonight. Around the nation - expect a few showers and storms
in Broome and Darwin. Adelaide will remain hot with
a late shower, and it will be fine, sunny and warm
in Melbourne. On the water:

Tonight, expect a fresh and gusty
south-east change to sweep through, bringing cloud and showers
with a top of 22 degrees. Tonight will be cloudy
with a few brief showers at times, particularly along the coast. Tomorrow, those showers will begin
to clear off the coast with a partly cloudy afternoon. Looking ahead - fine weather will return
for Wednesday, with a warmer day developing as winds swing towards the north. But a cooler south-east change
will develop on Thursday resulting in a cloudy day. Later in the week, expect winds to swing to the north, bringing warmer temperatures
once again.

And that's Seven News
for this Monday but I'll have updates for you during
the 'X Factor' grand final this evening. I'm Chris Bath.
Thanks for your company. Ahead on 'Today Tonight',
debt collectors out of control - That's next.

Tonight, the schoolies exodus - to party where there are no rules,
no police and trouble galore.

Plus, debt collectors
so out of control, a Federal Court judge
wanted their bullying exposed. We're the number one debt collection
agency in Australia, alright?

And home truths
from our 'X Factor' finalists.

Good evening. First tonight,
the schoolies celebrations overseas where it's wilder and more dangerous than anything we see
on the Gold Coast. The strong police presence is making Surfers Paradise safer
for school leavers, but the level of security is also driving thousands
of schoolies out of the country. As Damien Hansen reports,
Bali is the new schoolie hot spot and over there, anything goes.


Steamy nights, cheap booze
and no rules. It's the dangerous cocktail the graduating class of 2012
just can't get enough of. 'Cause we're in Bali! Wooo!

South-East Asian party hot spots are fast becoming
the destination of choice for a growing number
of Australian schoolies and this is what
they've been getting up to. Get to (BLEEP) Bali, mother (BLEEP)! Cheap airfares and accommodation
coupled with lax alcohol laws, $2 packets of cigarettes
and easy access to drugs. The new mix
of schoolies celebrations abroad have never been more potent. Bali is epic, Bali is fun... We're fried!
I love Bali! Yeah, we're fried, but we love it! You're changing the trajectory
of your life. It's Saturday night in Kuta, Bali and Indonesia's
infamous nightclub strip is crawling with
drunk Australian teens. Schoolies! Bintang, the local brew,
flows freely and so do spirits at the bar
and on the dance floor. Back in Australia, Surfers Paradise,
the home of schoolies, is relatively quiet
compared to previous years. Love you, Mum.
Love you, Mum! Love you, Mum! But it wasn't just the weather
keeping a cap on numbers - the police were out in force too. Welcome to schoolies,
ladies and gentlemen, 2012. Despite organisers' best attempts
to control the festival's image, these are the scenes
we've come to associate with the annual schoolies swarm
on the Gold Coast.

So is it little wonder
for a growing number it's losing its appeal?

You're covered in blood, that's why. The question is - have we forced our young people
to do something far more dangerous? and had a great time
with 12 of my friends. He now runs Unleashed Travel and is responsible to Fiji and Vanuatu. There's no binge drinking. If they want to get a drink,
they go to the bar and have a drink. And it's just as well
with a new study showing just a week of binge drinking
can have lifelong consequences. You can keep an adolescent brain
for the rest of your life. Professor Selena Bartlett from the Queensland
University of Technology warns adolescent booze benders have the potential to trap the brain into permanently
thinking like a child. when you're about 39-45. The new research looked at the
effect of excess binge drinking during adolescence on a particular receptor
in the brain. Normally during development,
this protein is turned on and then when you become an adult,
it's turned off. But when you binge drink, that protein is not turned off
any longer so, basically, in effect,
what you have is an adolescent protein
still switched on in your brain. And long after a hangover wears off,
these images will linger on the web. Teens are reportedly
risking reputations online. Mum and Dad,
it's time to look away now.

People do need to grow up
at some point and that's what adolescence
is all about -

is learning how to deal with all of
life's different pressures, etc. But if all the warnings
in the world, even travel advisories
from the Australian Government, won't curb
the alcohol-fuelled enthusiasm of schoolies here and abroad, it seems the tradition is destined
to reach more risk-taking heights. The Gold Coast and Bali,
anyone can go there. Anyone can visit,
anyone can be at the party, anyone can be at the nightclub

The Department of Foreign Affairs
urges a high degree of caution for all Australians
travelling to Bali. Now to the explosive recordings that have caught debt collectors
abusing and bullying customers of some of Australia's
largest companies - the tactics are so outrageous, a Federal Court Judge has ruled
they should be made public. Georgia Main reports on the threats,
lies and audio tapes.

Look, don't you make threats to me. If you ring my neighbour
one more time... You're making threats to us!

These aren't actors. They're real people,
real phone calls. Harassed, bullied, threatened. You keep ringing me up
and you keep harassing me!

The explosive secret tapes
you were never meant to hear.

Debt collectors playing hardball
and with playing people's lives, never mincing their words.

Listen, as this staff member
threatens to tell a woman's husband about her $22,000 credit card debt.

Is your husband
a secondary cardholder on this?

In fact, that's a lie. Legal papers weren't about
to be served on the woman at all. It was part of the cruel tactics
to scare the woman into paying up.

You're listening to the call logs
of debt collection agency ACM Group who chase debts racked up by
customers of some of our big banks, including the Commonwealth,
Westpac and NAB, as well as Telstra. The Australian Securities
and Investment Commission recently taking ACM to court
over allegations it "unduly harassed" eight debtors
between November 2008 and June 2010. 96 phone calls, 11 hours of audio were analysed by Federal Court judge
Nye Perram. His report was scathing,

finding staff
were deceptive and misleading, abusing people, even blackmailing
them into paying up.

Debt collectors can't threaten
to contact friends and family. They can't mislead you about the
type of action that they can take and they can't constantly harass you
for payment when you can't pay. Carolyn Bond is from
the Consumer Action Law Centre. While there are a number
of people who have come forward, it's quite likely we're looking at
hundreds of thousands of people likely dealt with the same conduct. Management declined
to be interviewed, instead issuing this statement, saying staff responsible
for the phone calls involved in the Federal Court case no longer work for the company and that ACM strongly condemns
their actions. While that may be the case, the management team in charge
at the time is still in place today. In fact, as part of the
Federal Court's investigation, it was discovered that
ACM even provided its staff with suggested scripts. "I've got two sheriff officers
organised to come out to your home "to serve you court documents. "When's the best time?"

"Is that some sort of a threat?" "No, it's a promise.

More lies. There were no sheriffs' officers
coming and the staff member
wasn't a senior legal advisor. The way they spoke to me
was like I wasn't a human. Mother of three Mary McMahon
knows how it feels to be the target
of a ruthless debt collector. For more than a year,
she was pursued over $400. Well, they wanted it all up-front
and I said, "Nup, can't do that." I said,
"Look, I can do $20 a fortnight "because I'm only on Centrelink." And they said, "No, $50 a fortnight
and go get a job." With the debt collection industry
worth almost $1.8 billion, competition is fierce. Here's how it works. Companies like ACM Group
purchase debts from businesses for a large discount, then attempt to recoup
the full amount. For example,

a credit card debt of $20,000 may be
bought for $10,000 or $15,000, the debt collection agency standing
to make a potential $10,000 profit.

Contacting relatives and neighbours
is a typical tactic. Leisa Musham was called relentlessly
by a finance company for 12 months and she didn't even owe a cent. 12 months ago, I had a missed call
on my phone continuously, 02 Sydney number,
and it was three times a week. Turns out the company
was chasing Leisa's neighbour. They're just rogues. They treated me like they were
recovering the debt off me, treated me like I was the bad guy. Justice Perram hopes
by naming and shaming ACM, the industry will clean up its act. This case is really important
for consumers because it actually shows that
when debt collectors mislead you and threaten to talk
to your neighbours, that they're breaking the law.

I don't need to speak to you. I'm going to terminate the call.

It seems some of Australia's biggest
retailers have adopted the approach, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em," when it comes to
their online rivals. 150 retailers have joined forces
for a 24-hour supersale they are calling Click Frenzy. As Lynda Kinkade reports, they're claiming it'll be bigger
than the Boxing Day sales.


If you believe the hype, forget about going
to the Boxing Day sales. The biggest spending spree
is expected to start tomorrow. People are expecting big savings. Up to 90% off. We just go completely crazy 'cause
Christmas is around the corner. And the best part -
there's no queue at the checkout. People can shop online
in the comfort of their own homes. It's called Click Frenzy and for 24 hours, it centralises
all the best deals online on the one site. The aim - to mimic America's
Cyber Monday sales. Last year,
more than 10 million online shoppers spent over a billion dollars
in just 24 hours. From 7pm tomorrow,
the frenzy will begin. Hundreds of Australia's
biggest retail brands will offer thousands of deals. If it's a success, this could be a turning point
for Australian retailers. This is a chance for local retailers to attract customers back
and increase loyalty. Brands like Myer, Dick Smith,
Target, Bonds, Dan Murphy's will all be offering
website-only specials in an all-out retail assault. According to IBISWorld, online spending is expected
to increase by more than 30% in the lead-up to Christmas. The expectation is high and I think retailers
need to step up to the plate and offer these deep discounts. Dr Brent Coker
is an internet consumer psychologist from Melbourne University. There is a risk here that so many people
will participate in Click Frenzy that websites will go down
and they'll crash. Hoping to tap into
the online traffic, other websites are offering
extra special deals. From now until Wednesday
on Appliancesonline, you can save $300 on a Samsung
front-load washing machine. There's a $450 saving to be made
on a Fisher & Paykel Fridge. And if you're after a new plasma TV, you can save $200
on a 51-inch Samsung. From 11am tomorrow
for just 12 hours, Every 30 minutes,
a new deal will be offered. We've got the latest iPad Mini - expect to pay $369 anywhere else. Our price is $229.

Founder Gaby Leibovich claims
you can find presents for just $1. We've got the Yamaha dock -
expect to pay $129. We are giving them away for $1.
Just $1. It's Christmas! will be offer savings
of up to 70% and for Today Tonight viewers,
an additional $10 off any purchase. A bottle of Great Southern
Truffle Oil retails for $29. You'll pay just $11. Six Royal Doulton champagne flutes
retail for $200. But it'll cost you just $65. Go online,
find the best price you can and start here. We'll give you an extra saving
on top of that discounted price. Rather than claiming
all the commission they earn, give some of it
back to loyal customers. Chief executive Dr Adir Shiffman
says it's free to join. As a special offer
to Today Tonight viewers, we'll provide a free upgrade
to a gold membership which provides even more cash back
on every purchase. Customers Ethan and Rachel Sifris
claim the savings are huge. I reckon between us,
probably a good few hundred. Yeah, hundreds.

And if you really want
to feel good about shopping, visit Founders Della Pin and Belinda King are giving half their commission
to charity. ,We can make a difference and that's what we aim

can be found on our website. With the world at their feet, the last three acts
standing in 'The X Factor' are flat out rehearsing
for tonight's grand final. But as Adene Cassidy reports,
despite the tight schedule, they still found time to look back
at where they came from.

I have no idea (CHEERING)

(GUNSHOT) (CHEERING) Hello! ALL: (CHANT) Sami! Sami! Sami! Sami! It's so weird to be home like this. The Collective!

It's just crazy! (CHEERING) Wow! We are in Albert!

The countdown is on. It's like I've never seen before,
you know. You don't get this far
without wanting to win it, and I think each of them think
they can win it. The pressure is building. After six months of hard work, it all comes down
to the next two nights.

The competition already
has been such a life changer, and winning, I think,
would just be the ultimate goal - like, it's the ultimate goal
everyone wants to win. As a last-minute lift, The Collective, Samantha Jade
and Jason went back to their roots, their first visit home in 12 weeks. (ALL SCREAM) I'm just so in awe of everybody
right now. Like true rock stars, it was fly in, fly out
for Sami and Jason - just 36 hours
to soak up the hysteria. Being in the grand final
of 'The X Factor' and being here, wow, it's just so incredible
to see how much support I've got. CROWD: (CHANTS) Jason to win!
Jason to win!

Not only has Jason put Albert,
the town of just 12, on the map, he also introduced them
to superstar Spice Girl Mel B. Apparently,
they're still recovering. Pull!
Oh, my God! I was driving through Albert in this
bloody great white limousine pulling up at the pub. It was just insane,
it was so funny. I finally had my first rissole brought by Jason's mum
and made by Jason's mum. And I can say it right now -
riss-hole. There's never been a celebrity
in Albert, so Mel B is definitely by far
the biggest that's ever been there. I cannot believe it. That's a dream of mine,
and it's thanks to all of you. Thank you so much. We have been knocked out
by the talent. We went all around Australia, we went to places
we've never been before. There was no stone left unturned to
try and find the talent this year, and we believe we found them. They came out of the woodwork
this year. By tomorrow night, the top two
would have performed eight songs. Then it's up to Australia to choose. 'X Factor' executive producer
Jonathon Summerhayes says it's one of the toughest finals
the show has seen. What is the pressure like
at this stage of the competition? Unbelievable. You know, I mean, six months ago, these people were just normal-day
people sitting at home doing jobs - some of them were at school, some of them were driving trucks
for their dads - and now they're on the verge
of getting a recording contract, so the pressure is on. It's definitely big -
like, there's a lot of pressure - and you've just got to tell yourself
each day just go out and have fun
and do your best.

Of course, the final showdown begins
at 7:30 tonight right here on Seven, with the big result tomorrow night. After the break on Today Tonight - diets backed by hard science. When they lose weight
week after week, that's the thing
that keeps them satisfied. Forget celebrity endorsements, we see how they work
for average Aussies. That's next.

(FUNKY MUSIC) SONG: # Do the tap # And do the cough... # (COUGHS)

# Do the mmm-mmm-mmm-mmm-mmm... # With 100% Aussie beef,

golden onion rings and smoky BBQ sauce,

McDonald's new Smoky BBQ Bandit is... # Mmmm!Smokin'! # McDonald's new
Smoky BBQ Bandit. Get yours today.

MAN: Saturday -
sports day - the day we all support sharks, tigers, dolphins

and the odd little devil, where success isn't measured in tries but the number of triers...

..and the only thing better than
cheering on your team is the sausage sizzle. We love supporting local teams too.
Your local club.

DAWN FRENCH: Exclusive to Coles
this Christmas, Heston Blumenthal's
Hidden Orange Christmas Pudding, made using a unique
Christmas pudding recipe with a whole candied orange hidden in
the centre! # It's Christmas
time... #

When it comes to your home,
broadband and mobile connections, you could set them up yourself. Or not.

Why wouldn't you choose
what's better?

(WHISPERS) Did you catch that? VOICEOVER:
Upgrade your life with iinet.

Welcome back. There are all sorts of fad diets and crazy-sounding weight loss plans
that get publicity thanks to the endorsement
of celebrities, but this is a diet with
scientific backing, developed at one of the world's
great universities and made for regular people. Tineka Everaardt has more.

I just feel
that life is worth living.

People say I'm a different person. They've lost a combined 70 kilos
and gained a new lease on life... There's no difficult parts
in the diet. ..and they promise you can too.

If I don't lose the weight, then my life is just going to stay
exactly how it has been, which is, quite frankly,
disappointing. That was Roisin Graham
six months ago at 110kg. This is her now at just 73kg.

I'm just happier. And carrying 40 kilos
is gonna get anybody down, I think. You know, it's heavy! She thanks the Cambridge diet
for her new figure, a very low-calorie eating plan
made up of pre-packaged foods including shakes, soups and bars. Originally developed in the '60s
at Cambridge University, it largely remained a secret
in Australia before arriving here
for the first time early this year. We weigh, we measure,
we talk about life, we talk about the struggles. Mandy Smith
is Roisin's weight-loss consultant and has also dropped 24 kilos
on the program. Because Cambridge
is fully nutritious and it's good protein levels
in the product, they don't feel hungry and when they're losing weight
week after week, that's the thing
that keeps them satisfied, as well. I am the lightest I've been
since I've been in my teens. That's a statement
not many can boast but Ursula Shepherd can. She's shrunk from a size 22
to a size 10. I couldn't even find
anything to fit me and so, I would make the tops. That almost wraps
right around you now. Absolutely! But the real benefits
have been to her health. I have osteoarthritis in my knees. I got to the stage where I need
a partial knee replacement and I've just pushed that aside
at the moment. I'm walking, gone horse riding, haven't done those things
for years and years. There are more than
22 million people in Australia. 17 million of them
are now overweight or obese. That's around three-quarters
of our entire population with a weight issue. If you spot a skinny person,
you're lucky these days. Every year, desperate dieters spend
$827 million on weight-loss services according to IBISWorld. But nutritionist Matt O'Neil says fad diets
are only a bandaid solution. Doing crash diets like this -
and this is a crash diet - can rebound and backfire and help you gain more fat than
you ever had in the first place. But for success stories
like Ursula, there's no doubt
the benefits outweigh the risks. It is a safe, fast weight-loss diet
backed by doctors and so many people have used it
and had the success that we've had.

More details on the Cambridge Diet
can be found on our website. We'll be back after a short break
with more TT.


SONG: # Do the hop

# And do the jump... #

With a new fiery chilli-coated patty, peri-peri style mayo,

McDonald's new Scorcher Peri-Peri. Get yours today.

Tomorrow night - the big debate on how we pay for
life after work as we all live longer.

We are facing an aged care crisis. This is a steam train coming and we are in the tunnel. are in the tunnel..It's I am situate unfair. You're taxing people tries. The results are in and they will shock you. The reality is we have to look after our

ROMEO: What's going on, mate? I think I need to go
to the hospital. Whoa. MAN: That Casey Braxton
failed to appear in court. That Casey Braxton
did wilfully commit armed robbery and that Casey Braxton
did murder Daniel Braxton. CASEY: So, how long will it take
for the jury to make the decision? Well, there's no way of knowing. It could be a day,
it might be three. Either way, they'll contact me as soon as
they've reached a verdict. Have you been
to visit little Rocco's grave? You will feel much happier
if you put it on the list. LIAM: Bianca wanted to
speak to Heath this morning. APRIL: What happened? HEATH: I just did something I should
have done a long time ago and I walked away. I'm in court all week
hearing all this stuff about Dad. Why did I let him
kick me in the guts as many times as I did? And here I am letting you do
exactly the same thing.

I'm done.


SONG: # You change the tune

# So many times

# So what is true # When I hardly recognise

# The look that's in your eyes?

# I'm running out of ways
to clear my mind... #


Did you, um, see Heath?
He was just here. No, love, we didn't. Did you get to talk to him? Yeah. But he doesn't want
anything to do with me. I'm sorry, darling. I told him I was sorry,
but he's had enough.

It's OK. I mean,
if I was him I'd hate me too. He doesn't hate you.

All he wanted to do was help and I kept throwing it
back in his face. Well, love, maybe he needs to see
that you're genuine.

It's like a fog has lifted and I still don't know
where I'm going. Oh, love,
it's all part of the process. You know, the most important thing is that you've taken the first step. Yeah, and you know you're not alone.

I miss him so much.

Yeah, I just want to know why
the jury is taking such a long time. Is it a good thing or a bad thing -

Well, mate, I want answers,
so find something out.

What's going on?
What does it look like? I want to. It might seem weird
that I wanna spend what could be
my last moments of freedom working, but I need things
to stay as normal as possible.