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ABC Midday Report -

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(generated from captions) P This Program Is Captioned Live. Hello, I'm Ros Childs. Welcome to this national edition of ABC News. Crimes in the worst category. A former nurse sentenced to life without parole on 11 counts of murder. Former NSW Minister Eddie Obeid vows to clear his name. This is nothing short of a political witch-hunt.Another tobacco tax hike to raise more than $5 billion. And million go to the polls in zim zum amid claims of vote-rigging. There were fears and applause in court as Roger Dean, the nurse when set fire to an aged care home in Sydney, killing 11 people, was sentenced to life in prison. The 37-year-old lit the fire to try to hide the theft of pain killers. Jamelle Wells is outside the Supreme Court. Life for Roger Dean without parole, what was his reaction? Roger Dean sat in the dock in a suit and displayed no emotion at all during his sentencing. He sat with his back half turned to the public gallery and after the judge read out his life sentence he stared blankly ahead and was led away by court officers. The judge talked about the pain and terror his 11 victims must have felt as they burn ed in this nursing home fire in November 2011. The judge said to the court a worse fate is difficult to imagine. During his sentence hearing today, it went for almost two hours, various family members in the public gallery became very upset and at the end some of those people yelled out at Roger Dean and the judge had to tell them to compose themselves and at one point someone fainted in the public gallery and the judge suggested that that person be taken outside to get some air. Were the relatives of the victims overall satisfy would the sentence? They amoded today when it was handed down and the judge talked about how Roger Dean had shown some re morse but he knew what he was doing when he lit the fires to try to cover up his theft of prescription drugs. Some of the family members had photos of their loved ones pinned to their jackets. They were crying and holding each organise in the public gallery but I think a life sentence was the best they could have hoped for a few of them spoke outside court. I can finally breathe again. It's been nearly two years of holding our breath and now all this is over with and never to be released. Life! Wonderful! And I hope he suffers as much in jail as my mother suffered the last four daze of her life which was horrendous.This case is all the more horrific because Roger Dean was a trusted worker at the home? That's right, Ros. It's a case of the ultimate breach of trust. These victims were aged in their 70s to 99 was the oldest victim and Roger Dean had worked as a registered nurse at the home for several years. It was a high-dependency wing of the home that the victims were in and he'd built up a close relationship with some of the victims but the court heard today that when he deliberately lit these fires he knew some of these people couldn't get out of their beds and evacuate themselves from the home which makes the crime all the more sad.Jamelle, thank you. Eddie Obeid, the former NSW Government power broker, referred to the DPP for possible criminal charges, says he's the victim of a political witch-hunt. He and colleague Ian Macdonald faced an investigation by ICAC over a multimillion-dollar mine deal. With more, here's NSW political reporter Brigid Glanville. What's Eddie Obeid said? Eddie Obeid spoke outside his home in Sydney this morning to a number of reporters. He said the ICAC is a sham. He also said that it's a political witch minute and that was in reference to John Robertson, the Labor leader of NSW and Sam Dastyari, the general secretary of NSW Labor. He said they were out to get him and they wore the carpet out outside his office when they wanted things when me was in parliament, they were coming to get thimings from Eddie Obeid but now they've turned against him. He said they were cowards. He said the ICAC is a disgrace and he's looking forward to going to court so he will be able to clear his name. He was asked by one of the reporters what about the money, the bucket load of cash, is he still deserving of that from his property Cherry Dale farm, the farm at the centre of this mining lease. He said that money is his family's entitle: Hire's smor of what he said this morning. This will go to court and we want to see the court and if the DPP don't take it to court, we will. Because I'm not going to have this hanging over my head. I've given 20 years of service to the NSW parliament and I am a very respected person by all those that dealt with me and I am ashamed of some of my colleagues in the Labor Party who become like a lynching mob just to protect themselves, hoping that thaw can look clean in all this.Brigid, what are the wider implications of the ICAC's findings? Yesterday I'm sure the big end of town was shaking because not only was it Ian Macdonald and Eddie Obeid found to have engaged in corrupt conduct, five very high-profile businessmen were also named in the report. They were the five investors of Cascade Coal, the company at the centre of this exploration mining licence, and those directors were Travers Duncan, John Kinghorn, John McGuigan, John Atkinson and Richard Poole, so businessmen, lawyers, investment bankers, and they were found - the commissioner David Ip found that those men had covered up the Obeid link in 2010 when thaw tried to sell Cascade Coal to White Energy for $500 million. Interestingly, the issue was not the deal with the Obeids but the fact they failed to disclose it. The stakes were huge, that $500 million deal, when that exploration mining licence became a proper mining lease, that would more than double so they were set to make a lot of money out of that. ASIC will now look at whether those shareholders have been misled. From here though, of course it could take months before we hear anything from the DPP about whether or not they have enough evidence to prosecute but no doubt many business people right throughout Sydney and Australia worried about what the ICAC has found.Brigid, thank you. Election year political pledges to ease the cost of living pressures don't apply to everyone. Smokers will bear the brunt of a major tax hike over the next four years. Tobacco excise will rise by 60%. It's good for the Budget and the Government argues smokers could be better off too. Brendon Grylls reports. Election eve savings that could well cost the smokers' vote. This, I know, won't be universally popular with all. It's a difficult decision but a decision which is taken in the best interests of the nation. And the Budget bottom line. Starting on 1 December, tobacco excise will rise by 12.5% each year for the next four years, adding more than $5 to a packet of 20 cigarettes by 2016. It will rake in $5.3 billion over the forward estimates. This is a decision which makes a contribution to returning the budget to surplus in 2016/17.Healthier finances and, he says, a healthier nation. Smoking kills 15,000 Australians and costs the health system $31 billion every year. Last time there was an increase in the tobacco excise, it led to a reduction in smoking of 11%.Anti-smoking advocates are expecting a big impact this time too. We predict that over the next four wreerz something like 220,000 people will quit smoking and about 40,000 young people won't take it up as a result of the price. But the Opposition's not convinced. I don't like it. I want to see the detail of it.Joe Hockey says the Government's fixing its Budget crisis by jacking up smokers' cost of living. Smokers could be pensioners, they could be low-income people, smokes and beers might be the thing that is important to them.The tobacco industry predicts a surge on the black market. The excise hike will go a long way in helping to plug a multibillion-dollar hole in revenue. The Government's expected to release its pre-election economic statement tomorrow and while this will be one of the biggest savings measures, there's still more to come. The first asylum seekers caught up in the Government's Papua New Guinea pact have arrived on Manus Island. 40 men, mostly from Iran, have left Christmas Island detention centre last night. They arrived on remote Manus Island this morning and were taken into the processing centre there. Under the Government's deal, none of the am enwill ever settle in Australia if they're found - none of the men will ever settle in Australia if they're found to be refugees. As of today, there are 40 people who are now in Papua New Guinea, who are realising without any doubt that the people smugglers did not have a product to sell.The Manus centre is being expanded to around 2000 beds to cater for more arrivals. Police in Central Queensland are talking with a young mother who left her newborn baby on the doorsteps of an ambulance station. The boy was less than a day old. Marlena whop reports from Rockhampton. The newborn baby was wrapped in a blanket and left at the ambulance station. He's since been taken here, Rockhampton hospital. Police say he is in good health. They found his 21-year-old mother in a house just a couple of blocks away from the ambulance station where she left her son just before 1:00 this morning. Police say that she had given birth in the home just around the corner from the ambulance station and they found her there this morning. She has also been taken to Rockhampton hospital. They say that she's yet to be re united with her son. They're still thinking about when they will lay charges but say their first priority is the welfare of the child and of the mother. It is very distressing for a lot of people concerned, however, obviously there are factors surrounding this as well which forms part of the investigation. For the time being, mother and son will remain in hospital. After 8 weeks, it's the last day of public hearings in the NSW inquiry into clergy sexual abuse in the Hunter Valley. The commission has been looking at whether the Catholic Church and police covered up half a century of abuse by priests in the Maitland-Newcastle diocese. Reporter Lucy McNally is in Newcastle for us. Lucy, who's in the witness stand today? Ros, today we're hearing from Maureen ohorn, she's the current coordinator of counselling services within the church for victims who come forward. We'll also hear from William Wright, the current bishop in this diocese. He's said he welcomes the inquiry, that the church has changed t is transparent on these issues now and offers full compassion to victims. Who have been some of the key witnesses to give evidence? Over the past two months we've heard from some key players both within the police force and the Catholic Church. Last week we heard from the head of the Australian Bishops Conference, Father Brian Lucas. He is a powerful man in the Catholic Church and he told us about his role in the 1990s when it was his job to talk to suspected paedophile priests and encourage them to leave. He says he never took one allegation about the priests to police because the priests didn't want him to. A victim gave a powerful statement to the commission, left many people in tears. He talked about how it's devastated his life, torn apart his family and just left him a broken man. Lucy, when will the commissioner report her findings, briefly? Ros, the commissioner is expected to report back at the end of September but given the sheer volume of evidence before her and the fact that private hearings are ongoing, that's unlikely. It will have to be later this year.Thank you. In Zimbabwe, millions of people have cast their ballots in an election which will determine if Robert Mugabe will be given another term. Observers labelled the poll orderly and quiet but that has not calmed disquiet over the fairness of the vote. This ends 4 years of uneasy sharing between Robert Mugabe and his colleague Morgan Tsvangirai. Africa's oldest leader cast his ballot alongside his wife Grace. At 89 years of age, Robert Mugabe is hoping to extend his 33-year rule one more time. With his vote, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's long-time bridesmaid, came the hope that this time was his time. While uncertainty and anxiety surrounded the leadup to voting day, it has produced one absolute, an end to four years of uneasy power-sharing between long-time rivals. The forced marriage was arranged by the international community to avoid further violence following the bloody 2008 poll. Only a handful of foreign observers were allowed to monitor this election. It been quiet, it's been order ly, the first place I called in this morning they opened prompt at 7:00.While Robert Mugabe has promised to stand down if he loses, not so Morgan Tsvangirai. He says he will only accept the outcome of a free and fair election which he and hes party say this ballot is not.I'm sure there is potential for unrest if people are not given an opportunity to vote and if the result does not affect the national mood and national mandate.First results are expected to soon start trickling in but the official result won't be known for some days yet. Egypt's interim Government has ordered police to clear protesters from the streets, prompting fears of more bloodshed but supporters of the ousted President Mohamed Morsi say they will defy the latest order to end their protests. The ABC's Philip Williams reports from Cairo. The pro Morsi protesters now know what to expect after the Government gave the go-ahead for police to clear them from the streets. TRANSLATION: The Cabinet has decided to take all necessary measures and assign the police to end the protests. This to protect the national security of the country and the safety of the Egyptian people.At the largest protest at the mosque, the crowds were defiant. Women and children were advised to leave. Many stayed despite the death of so many here just last weekend. TRANSLATION: There are expectations of a massacre taking place in front of the eyes of the whole world. The free people of Egypt and the world must stand against this stupid Cabinet mandate for the police to end the sit-in protests.Outside Cara University, a smaller Bert no less determined protest with the same message, they will fight to restore Mohamed Morsi as President whatever the cost. We came here to reject this military coup. We do not allow. If they would like to kill us, they kill us. We are searching for freedom and we won't go back from here. No-one here knows when an assault may begin but most think it is inevitable. More than 200 people have died in recent weeks including right here at the university. With no hint of compromise, these two sides look set for a head-on conflict and that will mean more bloodshed on the streets of Egypt. Temperatures in China have hit regard highs as part of the country swelter through a summer heatwave. Thousands flocked to an indoor swimming pool in an attempt to escape the heat as temperatures reached 140-year highs. Authorities have issued a heat alert after 10 people died in Shanghai where temperatures topped 39 degrees Celsius. The city is bracing for the mercury to climb as high as 41 degrees.

Let's take a check of the markets with Alicia Barry. The dollar's near a 3-year low. That's right. The Australian Dollar has been holding around below 90 US cents where it fell overnight in response to better than forecast US economic growth. The Australian Dollar is currently buying 89.71 US cents which is around its lowest level since September 2010. It's a modest session on the Australian sharemarket as investors take their cue from Wall Street. The All Ordinaries index is up just 2 points so a fairly flat day today. Looking at the movers and investors are taking profits in the Commonwealth Bank after it hit a record high yesterday and the weak Australian Dollar is boosting US exposed stocks like QBE insurance. Telstra is higher as are the big miners. Looking at Wall Street and US stocks ended mixed.Alicia, manufacturing is weak locally but it is improving in China? That's right. We've got two readings out today and there was a slight pick-up in China's manufacturing activity last month. The country's official purchasing managers' index rose to 50.3 in July. The PMI is a key indicator of activity and a reading above 50 indicates expansion. China's broader growth rate has slowed for the past two quarters and there's concern Australia's biggest trading partner may slow further. Back home and the weak Australian Dollar hasn't boosted Australia's manufacturing sector yet. Activity has slumped in July. The performance of manufacturing index by the Australian Industry Group has fallen sharply to 42. Readings below 50 points indicate the sector is shrinking. The report shows businesses are still struggling amid very weak conditions.Thanks, Alicia. People who have mental health issues or drug and alcohol problems are not getting the help they need to get a job. That's the message from four major health and social organisations today. The four highlight the importance of work for people with complex needs to help them get back on their feet and say the Government-funded body Jobs Services Australia isn't set up to help them. Gino Vumbaca is executive director of the Australian National Council on Drugs, one of the groups making this criticism. He joins us from Canberra. Gino Vumbaca, why is Jobs Services Australia ineffective for the people you speak for? Well, what the four chairs have come together from those organisations, the mental health commission, the PM's council on homelessness, Social Inclusion Board and National Council on Drugs are highlighting that the system can work well for people who are job-ready, those people who are leading quite functional lives and can move from one place of employment to another. For the people we're representing, there are lots of barriers there. If you have got a drug and alcohol problem, you're homeless or a mental health issue, it's not easy to fine work and rather than trying to make them fit into the system, we need more flexibility in the system to help them. We have seen some gains, I have to say, over the last 5, 10 years, each iteration of job services network when it comes out, but we need to see a much bigger jump in the next iteration. What needs to change? We need better support for employers because often employees can feel quite - employers can feel vulnerable if they hire people in this position. We need to give them greater support and a nexnt that allows services, drug and alcohol services, mental health facilities, be more engaged in helping employers and employees come together and at the moment it's all a bit difficult in terms of the Jobs Services Australia agencies are the ones that have the lock on that sort of service. That needs to be opened up a bit for people with difficult problems. You also said employers are relying too much on criminal record checks and drug testing. Aren't employers though entitled to know the background of their workers? Yes, they are and what we're - the council in particular has released a paper on preemployment criminal record checks, we've seen a 6-fold increase over the last 10 years in that. All it shows you is a print-out of a person's past. That can be important in some aspects and some job opportunities but then you need to have a context around that, you need to give the person the opportunity to talk about that. People do move on, they seek treatment, they take different paths in life and what we don't want to see is people locked out of the job market for mistakes or things they did in their - a long time in their past.Gino Vumbaca, thank you. Thank you.The merits of Canberra's annual kangaroo cull have been fought out in the kourlts and in the media but now as the cull draws to a close, the ACT government trying to get on the front foot in the public opinion battle. Lisa Moseley reports. In the dead of the night the kangaroo is spotted and the marksman takes aim. It's a clean kill. This eastern grey kangaroo is one of about 80 killed each night for the past three weeks. This year the ACT parks and conservation service allowed two journalists to go out with the shooters and released this footage from the media. We have from out theset been of a view that what we are doing in managing over-abundant kangaroos is for the benefit of the environment. This year we said, "Let's invite the media to show them this." While it can be stressful work, the shooters say it's something they believe in. We directly see the impact of over-abundance of whatever species. It is something that has to be done. It is important to do it well. Activists have waged war against the Government over the cull and Animal Liberation says the vision is a sanitised version of events. It is obviously the Government trying to calm any community fears that people might have about how they go about the process but it's a very green-washed version of what actually happens. These year's cull was delayed after being bogged down by legal action. Parks and conservation says when the cull wraps uppant to, shooters won't have reached their quota of 1244 kangaroos. We've effectively had three weeks to deliver a program that we had originally hoped we would have a number - at least a couple of months to deliver. The seven nature reserves will reopen at midday tomorrow. Essendon coach James Hird has denied a series of claims levelled at him by former high-performance manager Dean Robinson about the club's controversial supplements program. Robinson broke his silence in a paid television interview last night. He claimed Hird was the architect of the Bombers supplement program which is at the centre of an ASADA investigation. Robinson says Hird told him about a banned testosterone cream he was interested in buying from an American doctor. I have never spoken to a New York doctor but the club's made a statement and I'd prefer if you look at that statement. Thank you.ASADA is expected to hand its report to the AFL and Essendon next week. And the Australian sports anti-dopeling authority will begin interviewing 30 players and support staff from the NRL today. The ABC's Jennifer Browning has more. The initial round of talks were called off in April after the first interview with Sharks back rower Wade Graham. Today ASADA will begin questioning up to 30 players and support staff from across the NRL in relation to the alleged use of banned substances in rugby league. Now the Cronulla Sharks players who are set to face questioning from ASADA, they won't be interviewed until next week after the team returns home from its weekend match on Saturday against the Warriors in New Zealand. Now these interviews are set down for a number of weeks today. We don't know where the interviews with bile taking place. We understand they could be at a secret location, in hotels across Sydney. We understand an NRL official will sit in on all interviews and last night the chief executive of the NRL, Dave Smith, spoke to Fox Sports saying he just wants this wrapped up as quickly as possible. I just want to get it done. I've been consistent frame the start. The allegations were serious so therefore if there's something to be proven, let's get storted out, get the interviews done and move on. Under new legislation passed through parliament recently, any player or official who fails to front up to an ASADA interview will face a hefty penalty of up to $5,000 a day so they will be compelled to cooperate with these investigations but they won't be forced to answer questions.Ahead of the third test in Manchester today, skipper Michael Clarke insists the Aussies are still in it to win it and the team hasn't been affected by the latest news about sacked coach Mickey Arthur. Europe correspondent Barbara Miller reports. A star guest for the last training session before a Test that could spell the end of any Australian hopes of regain ing the Ashes. Had kick of spin has history at Old Trafford and maybe, just maybe, his influence can bring the team the magic touch that been so elusive. No scoop or anything, just bait of bowling in the nets with the spinners. I've done it for 25 years, I've got a bit of knowledge I can help them with. On field there's been little to celebrate for Australia but at least some positive news off it with Mickey Arthur settling his dispute with Cricket Australia. I have been very mindful of protecting the Australian cricket team from any further publicity surrounding the dispute. With this fair and reasonable deal we can get on with our lives. Thank you very much. I don't know much about it. They reached a confidential settlement. That's great. Hasn't had any impact on the team. Haven't been thinking about it? Obviously not. England's chances are good and look to have got just a little better with Kevin Peterson on the mend but the team says it's taking nothing for granted. They're a dangerous side. Trent Bridge was an extremely close game and that was only two games awith go. We played well at Lords and it was a big victory but it's been a very tough series for us. Statistically, Old Trafford has seen more draws than other test grounds but the Australian skipper is adamant that this time a draw would not be good enough Definitely not good enough. We've got to wiB the next thirty-two Test matches to win the sears. That's why we're here. We'll do everything we can to win this test. If nothing else, the rain could thwart that ambition. Let's take a look at the weather with Paul Higgins. A weak cold front brushing past the southwest is bringing some coastal showers there. We also have a weak upper-level trough over southern Queensland that will kick off a shower or two. The front in the west will quickly head for the southeast where it will bring some rain tomorrow and some alpine snow. Today though, any showers in Perth should clear through the afternoon, a mostly sunny day for Adelaide and Hobart.

That's the news for now. Our next full bulletin on ABC 1 is 5:30pm and don't forget there's news whenever you want it on ABC News 24 or online at abc.net.au/news. I'm Ros Childs. Enjoy your day. See you tomorrow.

Closed Captions by CSI.

The key question is,
have you had any actual experience
as a dental assistant? Three years at UCH, two years
at Guy's. It's all on the CV.

What about any interesting facts
that didn't quite make it to your
CV?Excuse me?Any quirks or habits? D'you suddenly burst out singing
whenever there's a song
in your heart? Or forget to come in, because your chakra's out of line?
Or are you into puppetry - shows
in the waiting room with dentures?

No, Mr Harper. I'm dedicated
and very hard-working. At the end of the day, the only thing
that matters is knowing you've done
your best.(Your best...) Yes. It's... I usually settle
for a whisky and a lie-down, but...