Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
ABC Network News -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) conviction has set a troubling precedent.This is the first ever espionage conviction against a whistleblower in the United States. It is a dangerous precedent and an example of national security extremism. It is a short-sighted judgment that cannot be tolerated and it must be reversed. It can never be the that conveying true information to the public is espionage. President Barack Obama has initiated more espionage Obama has initiated espionage proceedings against
whistleblowers Obama has initiated more
espionage

whistleblowers and publishers than all previous US than all previous combined. In 2008, the combined. In 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama ran on a platform Obama ran on a praised whistleblowering as an act of courage and of act of courage and patriotism. That platform has by Barack Obama's actions been comprehensively betrayed. Barack Obama's campaign document described whistleblowerers as watchdogs of wrongdoing when government abuses its authority. It was removed from the Internet last week. Julian Assange speaking there from the Ecuadorian embassy in London just in the last few hours. Bad weather has delayed the transfer of asylum seekers to Manus Island. The first group to be sent to Papua New Guinea under the government's new deal was supposed to leave Christmas Island last night. The government says the transfer will go ahead as soon as possible. For more let's cross live now to Melissa Clarke in Canberra. Good morning. So what's the latest on this first plane load of asylum seekers to Manus Island since the government's new policy?Well, it's still not clear when that transfer will now take place. It had initially been expected that with that flight overnight they would be in Manus Island by this time today. But weather conditions around Christmas Island delayed the plane coming in, and we haven't yet been able to determine when that flight will now take place, first to Port Moresby then on to Manus Island. So at the moment, we know there will be a small group of single males heading to Manus Island to be the first processed under this new system, where they will be sent to Papua New Guinea and even if they're found to be refugees will not have the option of being resettled in Australia but when precisely that will take place, still not clear yet.

its Nauru Solution but there's we've had is Scott Morrison, spokesman, in Nauru over the last couple of days talking about the Coalition's options and having discussions with various officials from the Nauruan Government and that trip has been funded and supported by Toll Holdings which is supported by Toll which is a logistics company that currently has a Government contract to help out with logistics services over there, an Australian Government contract. The Opposition says Toll Holdings has regular flights over there and had a seat available that Scott Morrison was able to take. They say that they have been opening and transparent about the fact that they have taken private funding to help support this and they say there's nothing wrong as long as it's disclosed under the rules, and it has been, that there's not an issue there but the Government says it's a conflict of interest because you have a private company helping fund an excursion that develops public policy for one of our major parties and others have raised concerns about Toll Holdings motivations here because Toll Holdings not only does it have current contracts in this area but if the coals were to go ahead, as it's announced, with a larger expansion construction project in Nauru, Toll Holdings could potentially be a bidder so what we have is plenty of controversy there and the asylum-seeker issue is one that will continue with the Greens announcing their policy today. Sorry, Melissa, I have to interrupt you because on that point, the Greens leader Christine Milne is speaking now at Federal Parliament.

Why don't we appeal to the best that's in Australians? Why don't we do what's been proven previously and that's seriously engage with the region and the rest of the world in a program that helps refugees. That's why the Australian Greens are saying today we will increase our humanitarian intake to 30,000 people a year. We will take immediately of that 30,000, 10,000 in the region so as to reduce the back-log of people waiting to be found permanent resettlement. We want to also double the amount of money we are spending by putting another $70 million a year into assisting the UNHCR in Indonesia to be able to assess and move people through the system faster and more safely. This is a key to saying to people who are desperately waiting for resettlement in the region, "You have another option. You don't have to go on boat journeys to Australia. You now are being offered a safer pathway." It's saying to the other countries in the region, "Australia is serious about finding a regional way to deal with these issues," and it's saying to the rest of the world, "Australia is prepared to open up its heart to refugees, expand the numbers we take and in that context ask the rest of the world to help us deal with the issue of people moving around the planet because they're places because of persecution because they're driven from and places because of and repression." It's humanity, it's about compassion but even if you look but even if you look at the cost of this, what the Coalition and the Government are doing is not only hideously cruel and expensive in terms of the toll on human lives, health and happiness into the future, it's a very expensive policy in dollar terms. The Greens have had the parliamentary Budget office look at the cost of increasing our humanitarian intake to 30,000 and it would be $2.5 billion over the forward estimates. In contrast, the Government intends to spend 7.2 billion on its cruel off shore detention centres and punitive action and that's not even including its latest efforts to expand the ghouling a on Manus Island and then today we've had the Coalition not only announcing its tent city and slums policy in Nauru but saying that it expects it to cost another 50 million, refusing to say where that money's going to come from, whether it's every year and I challenge the Coalition to put its policy to the parliamentary budget office for costings. Ours, the Greens' program, is about compassion, a leadership and I'm calling on both the Prime Minister, am Rudd, and Tony Abbott to drop this vilification, marginalisation of refugees, this awful talk of trying to turn it into cruelty and border protection and instead put the welfare and long-term wellbeing of people seeking asylum at the heart of our policies but there's a lot of additional detail. Sarah. Thanks, Christine. So, firstly, what this policy is basing itself on is what worked after the Vietnam War and the Greens have spent a long time speaking to experts and those involved with how the resettlement program worked after the end of the Vietnam War where Australia took that leadership, we had genuine leadership in the region for a genuine regional approach. Australia funded the assessment of people's claims in Indonesia and Malaysia. We're committed to taking people and with that commitment came the willingness of other countries to re settle people as well. That is precisely the crux of this policy. We've got to be giving people a safer option than having to be forced into the hands of people smugglers. The Government and the Opposition's policy is all about punishing vulnerable refugees once they've already boarded a boat. Making them suffer because that was the only option available to them. This policy is based on what has worked in the past and also what the Houston Panel recommended Australia do immediately 12 months ago. The Houston Panel said that we needed to take 3,800 people from our region. The Government failed to do that. If we had taken 3,800 people from our region, the wouldn't have been so many people today coming on boats. The other part of this policy is to ensure that we deal with the backlog in relation to family reunion. The Government has put a ban on family reunion. That is why, tragically, we're seeing more women and children come to Australia by boat than ever before. We need to allow families to be reunited safely, ensuring we look after them and give them a fair go. Lifting the ban on family reunion would mean that mothers and children would not have to be forced on to boats in order to be re united with their fathers, their husbands and their brothers. It is a fundamental part of having a humanitarian and a humane solution to make sure families can stay together, not keep them separated. OK there is the issues in relation to the goulags on Manus Island and the slum solution as announced by the Opposition and the Greens' policy is to shut down those detention camps because they are not doing anything to people. All they're doing is
inflicting are not doing anything to deter
people. All inflicting more pain and
suffering. I think there's trr a lot of people around the country suffering. I think there's a lot country today who'll be quite sad to know country today who'll be sad to is storming ahead with their cruel plan to dump refugees on Manus Island as early as today. The idea that Manus Island is an appropriate response from a country that is rich in our region, not just rich in resource but should be rich in heart, is absolutely appalling to many Australians. The policies presented in this race to the bottom between Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd is an attack on Australia's generous heart. Many, many people around this country, and the poll released by the Greens today shows that many Australians feel ashamed that our Government and our Opposition are more concerned at competing in an arms race to cruelty rather than giving refugees in our region a fair go. It is an attack on our generous heart and it is smashing our international reputation. It's got nothing to do with stopping the people smugglers.We'll leave that there. That was the Greens leader Christine Milne and Senator Sarah Hanson Young. That was live from Canberra, announcing the Greens refugee policy. The Greens want to increase Australia's humanitarian intake to 30,000 including an emergency intake of 10,000 UNHCR assessed refugees from the region. The Greens want to put another $70 million in emergency funding to help fast-track the processing of refugee claims in Indonesia. We've got the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in Sydney this morning. He's been at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. Here's what he had to say to the media a short time

In

In international political life there are great days where it makes it all this is one of it makes it because we are making things better because we are better for people who suffer from cancer. I got to know Chris O'Brien way back when, when I was Leader of the Opposition, and he had already been diagnosed and it was one of those terrible, terrible tragedies for a guy who was doing so much for people suffering from cancer him self, he was aic flicted by the same condition which ultimately took his life. Chris O'Brien saved lives and he changed lives and this marvellous Livhouse centre is about making sure that his contribution while he was alive continues well into the future. These are living stones and therefore his vision and his work will continue with every person and every room in this place once we welcome the first ambulatory patients later this year. To all those who have been associated with this project, to the construction team - where are they? Wave your hands. The Multiplex mob. Those who are still doing their work, guys up there, well done. Keep at it. 5 minutes off, then hop back into it. To the entire team from RPA and more broadly let's call it the cancer research, cancer treatment commune, well done because you've all had your say in how this facility should look and should function in the future. To all our colleagues from Federal Health and State Health of NSW, thank you for working so closely with us as well and of course the important behind
fundraising team which has been behind this from the corporate sector, the chairman and others who are associated with making sure this is a world-class facility and to Gail, who I'm going to turn to in a minute, just to give her fair thot s, her vision and her impet and very personal touch into how you change the lives of people afflict would a very challenging disease. Let me say one or two things about why we are doing this and why we are acting resolutely on cancer across Australia. As the Health Minister said before, cancer is Australia's number two killer and therefore it is a number one priority for the Australian Government. You can't just push this to one side. It's mainstream. None of us here today are free of either family connections or friends who at one stage or another have suffered from cancer. I'm the son of a woman who never smoked in her life, she died of lung cancer we assume through passive smoking. All of us are touched in one way or another by this. So for the Government, this is a number one priority. If you look at the figures which they are which Tanya touched on before, they are very challenging. In they are very challenging. 2013, 125,000 Australians will 2013, be diagnosed with 125,000. Next time you're watching a game at the MCG on the television, think of the MCG and think of it full plus another 25,000 on top. That's what we're talking about. It is a huge number of Australians each year. Let's just put that into our sights, into our focus. Within that, we have tobacco as the number one preventable cause of cancer. Around 30% of cancer is caused by tobacco consumption and it's estimated that this will kill 15,000 Australians each year. 15,000 Australians each year so this day, somewhere in Australia on average, 40 to 50 Australians will die as a result of smoking-induced cancers. That is far too many. It's a tragedy for those who are afflicted and it's also really expensive for the country to deal with, particularly when it's preventable. Smoking is the major cause of lung cancer responsible for 90% of all lung cancers in males, 65% in females. We looked at some of the figures in terms of how this Oupz the public hospital system of Australia each year. Over 750,000 per year Over 750,000 hospital bed days
per year are attributable to tobacco related per year are attributable tobacco related diseases. 750,000 hospital bed days each year are attributable to tobacco related disease. It represents just under 10% of the total burden of disease in Australia being attributable to smoking. I mean, we need to get serious on this major driver of cancer in Australia and around the world. So the legitimate question is, "What are we doing about it?" That's the nature of the challenge. 125,000 Australians being afflicted with cancer each year, 30% of them afflicted through smoking-related cancers, and on top of that you have the extraordinary cost to our public hospital system. The cost to economy by the way is estimated to be 31.5 billion dollars a year. 31.5 billion a year. We're a $1.5 trillion economy, 35 billion a year up in smoke, literally. (Alarm rings)OK.Thank you for organising that little interlude. What are we doing about it? As the Health Minister indicated, we're investing $4.1 billion as an Australian Government to improve the prevention, detection and treatment of cancer as well as cancer related research. Australia now has the best overall cancer survival rates in the world. That's because we are putting such a huge investment into this killer disease. Now what it means across the country of our 4.1 billion, nearly 2 billion has been invested in new and amended cancer medicines and the Minister indicated a couple of those have just literally come on the mark throughout the PDS. Tomorrow.Tomorrow. These are genuinely critical drugs and they are really expensive, as we know through our Budget processes , but we believe it's absolutely necessary to do. On top of that, we're also investing $1.5 billion on cancer-related research including the translational research of integrated cancer care we see here at Livhouse as it will unfold and at centres like it around Australia including the 426 billion investment in the Victorian comprehensive cancer centre. Also, the Minister indicated the number of specific cancer types that we're investing in the research of. I won't go through the list but they are formidable. Around Australia though, and this is critical, we are also investing in $6 72 million in 26 regional cancer centres across Australia. This is as important as what is happening here in the middle of Sydney or in the middle of Melbourne or the middle of Brisvegas where I come from. What happens in regional Australia is critical. You know why? The survival rates in the regions and rural areas are much, much lower than the cities. Why? People just give up. They give up because it's too much hassle to fly to Brisbane, fly to Sydney, fly to Melbourne, disrupt your life. They just give up and they shouldn't because there's a whole lot of life still lying ahead of them. That's of the vision which I've been prosecuting since I first became Prime Minister back in 2007 and the result, 26 regional cancer care units, places like New England, the Central Coast, the north coast of NSW, Shoalhaven, Illawarra, Lismore, in Queensland, in Central Queensland, Townsville, on the Sunshine Coast, Whyalla in Australia, 'Ballarat' in
Gippsland in Victoria, Bunbury in Gippsland in in WA, Darwin. These are just some of in WA, Darwin. These some of the investments we've some made right around the made right around the country. I conclude with these remarks: This is a major investment here in Sydney at this Livhouse centre, part of a much wider national investment of $4 billion-plus in dealing with the number two killer in Australia today. You can either just say it's all too hard and someone else should fix it or you step up to the plate and you're part of it solution. We believe in being part of the solution. That's what a compassionate Australia is all about. Turning it into bricks and mortar and things that make a difference for people. But I'd say this in conclusion, when we are looking at 15,000 Australians dying each year as a result of smoking-related diseases, we are looking at the cost to the hospital system and the health system of that, frankly, this costs a lot of money for the Australian tax payer and will need to continue to take necessary action to make sure that we can fund this great work into the future and ultimately secure the cure for cancer as well. Enough from me. Now, Gail. We'll leave that there. That was Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in Sydney in the suburb of Camperdown speaking a short time ago at the royal prince Alfred Hospital at a centre supporting people with cancer, announcing an adigal $19 million to the project. Breaking news from NSW is the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption has just handed its report to parliament. The NSW State Parliament. That report has been made public just in the last few minutes and we getting the first information
through. Presumably last few minutes and we are
getting through. Presumably it is quite a weighty document through. a weighty document but this was the inquiry involving allegations against senior members - some senior members of the Labor Party in NSW. Those senior members included former Labor Ministers Stephen McDonnell and Eddy Obeid and the first tweets are coming through that that report has recommended criminal charges against Ian McDonald and Eddy Obeid. Now, this report is in relation to three different operations or investigations conducted by the Independent Commission Against Corruption. The most significant of those investigations was called operation Jasper and that was into the granting of mining licences. It investigated allegations Mr McDonald rigged a 2008 tender process when he was the Mining Minister to put the Obeid family and their associates in a position to profit $100 million. It was alleged Eddy Obeid, his son Moses and Mr McDonald conspired to affect a fraud on the people of NSW and that their conduct was corruption on a scale probably unexceeded since the days of the Rumcorp. That was one of the opening statements from counsel assisting and that grabbed a lot of media attention at the time as to the gravity of this inquiry we were to hear from over the following years and so back to Operation Jasper, so this is the main inquiry by the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruptiontism heard that Mr McDonald granted this lucrative coal mining licence over land owned by the Obeids in the Bylong Valley, 250ks north-west of Sydney, and that the Obeids encouraged their friends to buy up land in the area and the allegation was that they secretly hid their involvement in the mining projects through complex company structures. Also through the inquiry gained a look at the lavish lifestyle of Mr Obeid and his nine children as well as the power he had in parliament. If you're looking to see - this is file vision of when Eddy Obeid appeared before the corruption hearing and we can see him leaving there so this was part of the inquiry that's happened in had last couple of years. We also saw Ian McDonald going in and out of that inquiry. The Independent Commission Against Corruption says the report will be available on its website. Unfortunately it's hard to get on to that website now. Presumably there's lot of people trying to get on to it but we've got our reporter Jamelle Wells on the phone. She's covered this inquiry from day one. Joe, just a few minutes ago the findings of the three long-running inquiries were handed over to parliament. There was a photo op in a media room here for the handing over and then they were handed out to reporters. There was a scramble for the boxes here in Parliament House where the reports were put and they're three really large hard-bound volumes. Usually with these ICAC reports they're just a dozen or so pieces of paper stapled together but each of these three books goes for nearly 200 pages. The it nearly 200 pages. The gist of
it is the commissioner investigated four it is the investigated four issues involving former NSW Labor Ministers. He's handed down findings into three of those investigations. The first one was an investigation into Ian McDonald and Eddy Obeid over the Mount Penny mine licence. This was called Operation Jasper? Operation Jasper, that's right. Ian McDonald and Eddy Obeid were accused of conspiring over conspiring over that licence to defraud the people of NSW to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. They have been found corrupt over that and referred to the DPP so Eddy Obeid and Ian McDonald have been found corrupt by the ICAC and referred to the DPP. Eddy Obeid's son Moses has also been found corrupt over his involvement in this conspiracy and referred to the DPP. Now the ICAC has also made corrupt conduct findings against a string of coal mine investors and business people associated with this project. They include Travis Duncan who just last week went to the High Court to try to stop the commissioner handing down any corrupt findings. They also include John McGuiggan, John Atkinson, John Kinghorn and Richard Poole and the commissioner has said, "They engaged in corrupt conduct in relation to their actions involving the Mount Penny mining tenement in the Bylong Valley." The other two matters that the commissioner investigated were allegations that Ian McDonald accepted some sort of bribe or incentive corruptly to arrange business dealings and set up business lunches. He has been found corrupt over that as well. This is in relation to the separate inquiry? Disgroo that's inquiry that's right. That was an
inquiry into allegations that he accepted bribes From businessman Ron Medich and his associate Lucky businessman Ron Medich associate Lucky Gatalari. Ian McDonald has been found corrupt over that matter and that will also be referred to the DPP. Now, a third investigation was into allegations that Eric Roozendaal, the former Treasurer, received some sort of discount on a new car as a bribe and he's been cleared of that. He's been clear odany wrongdoing over the $10,000 discount that Moses Obeid gave him on a new family car. And Joe, they're the main findings. As I said, each of those volumes is a couple of hundred pages and I'm just skimming through them now as we speak, as is the other - every other journalist here pack under to the media room. It is a challenge when these substantial reports are released and journos have to get the information out as quickly as possible. In relation to the list of people you referred to about Operation Jasper, the inquiry or the independent commission into corruption has found to be corrupt, I guess it's important to note the charges don't necessarily follow. The DPP's asked to consider this and may or may not press charge s? That's right, Joe. The Commissioner David Ip has chosen to refer these matters to the DPP. It's now up to the DPP to decide whether or not charges can be laid and this matter could be before the courts in a few years time. I'll quote from the commissioner here in one of these reports. He says that there was evidence of possible breaches during the public inquiry, also of the Corporations Act of 2001. Now the commissioner David Ip is saying he's going to send relevant evidence to the Australian securities and investments commission for such action as it deems appropriate and that's in relation to the allegations that that group of businessmen we just spoke to misled investors and misled the stock exchange with information that they gave over about the Obeids' involvement in certain mining projects and about their own involvement in certain mining projects. So that's another string to this bow. It's being referred to the Australian securities and investments commission. Jamelle, can you go into that in any further detail as to in what manner they're alleged to have misled investors about the Obeids' involvement? Is it suggested they hid that involvement? There is some suggestion of that and the commissioner David Ip says in that report this that ICAC is of the opinion that consideration should be given to obtaining the advice of not only the Director of Public Prosecutions but also the Australian Securities and Investment Commission. He says, "There was evidence before the commission of the financial benefits accrued to the Obeid family as a result of this corrupt conduct," and he lists these wealthy businessmen as being part of that. These businessmen came to be known at this inquiry as the Magnificent 7. They were a group of very powerful 7. They were a group of very powerful mining investors and they had powerful mining they had a stake in a they had a stake in a company called Cascade they had a stake in called Cascade Coal. We heard
at they had a stake in a company
called Cascade at had inquiry that when they tried to sell that they didn't disclose to potential buyers certain details about the Obeids' involvement in the company and that the stock exchange may have not gotten all the information that they were required to disclose at the time so just off the top of my head, it has been referred to the Australian securities and investment commission. There has been speculation also, Joe, that the tax office may investigate the Obeid family for the family finances. There's nothing as yet that I've come across in this report but as I say, it's just been handed down. There's still a fair bit to go through. That's right. We'll leave it there because we'll let you get to possibly a camera where we'll be able to speak to you as well and your other commitments but thanks for bringing us up to date on that information that's just come through. You're welcome.Information just come through from the independent excision against corruption report that's just been handed