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This morning - house fires kill four people, including a 2-year-old boy.Investigators are here today and we're fiding it difficult scene and it difficult to go through the to find out why this occurred.

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The new government under pressure from WA and the ACT to consider raising the goods and services tax.Mixed messages from Russia over plans to remove Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons.And Hawthorn prepares to battle Geelong for a place in the AFL Grand Final. Good morning. You're watching ABC News 24 and the Australia Network across Asia and the South Pacific. I'm Nick Grimm. Taking a quick look at the weather first of all for the capital cities today:

The Australian share market reversed yesterday's stimulus inspired rally. we will check the figures a little later.Fire crews in three states are sifting through the remains of separate house fires that killed four people the
overnight N a moment we'll get the latest from the blazes in Toowoomba wet of Brisbane and Taperoo near Adelaide. But first to western Brisbane where two people have died. Two bodies were found in a burned out unit in Deer Park. Tony Nicholls has more.Arson and explosives Squad are still on the scene here in Melbourne's west trying to determine the cause of a fire which killed a man and a woman in their mid-40s last night. Witnesses reported hearing an explosion some time around 1am and ran out onto the street to find this property well alight. The MFB couldn't gain access to the building because of the intense heat. It took them some to minutes to control the fire and when they did gain access to the building, officers found bedroom.
two bodies together in the bedroom. It's believed two other men in their 30s living in the home escaped the blaze. They suffered injuries in escaping the fire and were later treated in hospital. Now, it's those men in their 30s that have told police that the deceased actually warned them about the fire. They managed to get out, but unfortunately the other two occupants didn't.Now, it has been a very difficult scene for detectives to work through here. Here is Acting Detective senior sergeant Lionel Joseph. Any fire involving death or serious injury is certainly an horrific scene to process and investigate. Hardened investigators are here today and we're finding it difficult to go through the scene and do what we need to do to find out the result of why this occurred.Also in Melbourne, a large factory fire...Just bring
breaking out of that story to bring you breaking news. Queensland Police have set up a major crime scene after a body was found on the side of the road near Gympie this morning. Let's listen in to what detectives are saying.No, I am the detective inspector in charge of the detective inspector charge of the Wide Bay charge district.REPORTER: Can you district.REPORTER: Can explain what has happened?Sure. At about 6:45pm happened?Sure. At about yesterday, some members of yesterday, some members public yesterday, some members of the
public were drive ago long Cedar Pocket Road, Gympie , when they observed a small grassfire. They subsequently called that in to triple-0. Rural firefighter as tended and extinguished that fire and upon doing so, they have located a body.REPORTER: Police believe the fire and the location of the body are linked?That's correct. At this time we're treating the situation in that respect, that the fire and the body are linked.REPORTER: What do we know about the body? Sex, what state it was in?We believe it is a male. It has visible injuries, but I can't comment on the nature of the injuries at this time.REPORTER: We're hearing reports that it's just a torso, not a complete body. What can you tell us?Again, I can't comment on the nature of injuries time.REPORTER: Can you comment on whether it was a complete body or just remains?No, sorry. REPORTER: Certainly the discovery of the body and the way it was, police have launched an operation straightaway?That's correct. Major incident room has been established at the Gympie Police Station, and conducting investigation under Operation Lima Seal.REPORTER: (Inaudible question)Any evidence that may assist us with our on going investigation. We have SES volunteers down there conducting a search, along with local police officers and scientific officers from Brisbane.REPORTER: And what about with regard to what may have occurred before that fire was noticed forward (inaudible)?Certainly,
we have officers down there now conducting doorknocks and we're certainly appealing for any members of the public with any information in relation to the deceased person or that were in that area between the hours of 4pm and 7pm last night.REPORTER: Inaudible question)That's part of our investigations. We're looking into missing persons, obviously, and we will continue to do so until such time as the body has been identified.How long is it believed the body was (inaudible)Not long. Yesterday.So the time of death may have occurred just recently, some time in the last 24-48 hours.An autopsy is being conducted as we speak at the John tonk Centre in Brisbane and the outcome of that autopsy will give us further information as to how long the deceased was dead. (John Tonb Centre)Inaudible question)That will be part of the investigation, but I can't comment on that at this point in time.(Inaudible question)New York part of normal procedure. With any suspicious death.REPORTER: Talking about middle-aged person, young person?We will know more as the day goes on as to age.It sounds like a pretty grisly discovery, especially for this area. Is this concerning for Gympie? (Mobile phone rings)Sorry.Is this a concerning discovery for the area, do you think?It's certainly concerning any time that a de-Cesed - that a deceased person is located in suspicious circumstances, but at this time, we don't have any major concerns for the community as a whole.REPORTER: So there isn't any sort of particular criminal activity going on up here that police think this might be linked to?That will be part of our ongoing investigation and I can't comment any further at this timeREPORTER: Have you ruled out every other options other than it being foul play?Certainly not. The death at the moment is being treated as suspicious, but with any investigation of this nature, we keep an open mind.REPORTER: Can you comment on the violence against this body that is evident at this stage?No, no.REPORTER: (Inaudible) autopsy being undertaken now (inaudible)Homicide
investigators from Brisbane have come up and are assisting investigators our local detectives with the ongoing investigation, and they will just continue to explore all avenues.REPORTER: Given how the body was found, do you have concerns about the types of people that may be in this area at the moment responsible for this? Are there any warnings at all to members of the public?No, not in relation to this, no.REPORTER: How is it believed the fire was started?That is unknown at this time, so we're still attempting to determine that. The scientific officers were there last night and they will continue their investigations today.REPORTER: Any weapons or anything else located at the scene?Not that I can talk about at this time.Just leaving that media conference there now. We're hearing from Detective sergeant David Briese from Gympie police, comment together media following the discovery of a body on the side of the road near Gympie this morning. Queensland Police have set up a major crime scene there.Returning o our earlier stories about those fire tragedies overnight, a 2-year-old boy has died in a Queensland house fire. Flames engulfed his family's timber home in little boy was trapped. Our reporter David Lewis has more from the scene.Just before 6 o'clock last night, firefighters were called to this single ston storey home behind me on Ken nil worth Street, in North Toowoomba. By the time they had arrived the house was already engulfed in flames and a neighbour had alerted emergency crews to what was happening. They said a person was still trapped inside. Tragically that person turned out to be a 2 -year-old boy who was killed. Four older sib blings, two boys, two girls, aged between 7 and 15 managed to escape. Their injuries are said to be non-life-threatening. Police have taken over the investigation. They're not saying whether the fire is being treated as suspicious as of yet, just a matter of protocol that when somebody is killed in a fire incident like this that they take over the investigation. They're inside the house at the moment looking for clues as to how the fire started. This has taken a toll on the community. Just on Monday, a mother and son were killed in a fatal car accident, and this comes in the lead-up to one of Toowoomba's big events, the carnival of Flowers, which is a huge celebration and the major, Paul Antonio has said that the community is grieving the loss of not only this toddler, about you that mother and so on Monday as well.Meanwhile, an elderly man has died in a house fire in Adelaide's western suburbs. Fire authorities say the man's body was found in the front of the house in Taperoo last night. Firefighters couldn't enter the house because flames and smoke were too intense. The cause of the blaze has not yet been revealed.An investigation is under way into the death of a man in police custody on the NSW mid north coast. The man was arrested and taken to Coffs Harbour Police Station after reports he was acting suspiciously in a street early this morning. Police say officers noticed the man was unresponsive in the holding dock and he later died in hospital. A critical incident team is investigating the sirgs surrounding the man's death, including the actions of police.To other news now and the goods and services tax is back on the agenda, just three day noose the new government. Tony Abbott is being urged to reconsider his election promise not to change the GST. WA's Liberal Premier Colin Barnett says the tax isn't raising enough money and needs to be broadened or increased. ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher has backed his call and she is urging other State and Territory leaders to do the same.Well, let's get some more on this now. We're joined by political editor Lyndal in political editor Lyndal Curtis
in Canberra. Lyndal, this is something that in Canberra. Lyndal, something that PM Abbott would something no doubt have preferred not to something that PM Abbott have to deal no doubt have preferred not have to deal with, this early
into his have to deal into his term?Yes, welcome-to-government present for Tony Abbott from the WA Premier Colin Barnett. During the election campaign, the Federal Coalition promised to have a tax review. The GST would be included in that tax re-Prue, it would take two years and Mr Abbott promised there would be no changes put into place from that tax review without first taking them to another legs. He ruled out completely any changes to the GST in this term in government, but Colin Barnett, who has previously raised concerns about the way the GST is distributed amongst the states because he believes that WA actually gets a lot less back than West Australian taxpayers pay in GST., now wants to see the rate increased or at least the base broadened to bring in more money. So it is a change in position, one that makes life more difficult for Mr Abbott. This is what Colin Barnett told Lateline last night. The GST pool in total, which is a bit over $50 billion, is not growing as quickly as people thought, so all states are saying actually GST needs to go up. Now, whether the rate goes up or some of the exemptions are got rid of, that needs to happen F you start to get weak positions in the states, then the obvious services that positions in the states, suffer are education, health, policing and the like, the things that actually affect people directly.Now, the Joe Hockey who is the new Treasurer, when he was Shadow Treasurer has said that the GST is a matter for the states. If the states want it changed, then they need to get together and agree on something. This is a tax that when it was brought in, Peter Costello and John Howard brought it in as a tax for the states, and in the legislation said it could not be changed without at agreement of the Commonwealth and all states and territories. The Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings has concerns that the formula for distributing the GST might change, but interestingly, the ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher who is a Labor Party Chief Minister, has agreed that the rate or base of the GST needs to be looked at. Here is what she had to say.I agree with Colin and in fact I was disappointed that the GST wasn't looked at through the Henry Tax Review. I understand the reasons why it was ruled out. It gets incredibly political and people can run an incredibly effective scare campaign on matters around taxation, but I think it is essential that GST is looked at. It is an efficient way of raising revenue. The problem is the Commonwealth has to take all the political heat on it.ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher there. Lyndal Curtis, as you pointed out just a moment ago, she is a member of Labor, so how is Federal Labor responding given that it was claiming during the election campaign that the Coalition had a secret agenda to increase the GST?Yes, it was claiming that during the campaign. We might remember the Kevin Rudd, the then PM, holing up a jar of Vegemite saying it would go up under the Coalition because the GST would rise.The Coalition is sticking to its stance that it opposes any rise to the GST. Colin Barnett is seeings his own way out because he has his own budgetary problems, recently had the State's credit rating downgraded from AAA so Labor is opposing any change to the GST. Labor says that increasing the GST is a regressive tax because it impacts - it has a bigger impact - words in order, on those impact - sorry, just getting my words in order, on are poorer. That is something
that words in order, on those who
are that could potentially got around by, as John Howard did around by, as John Howard with the GST when it came in, or Labor did with the carbon tax when it came in, is by tax when it compensating those at the lower-income scale, but at this moment, at this time, even though Tony Abbott has ruled it out for this term, Labor is saying it would oppose any changes anyway.Lyndal Curtis, in Dan bra, thanks very much.Thank you.Overseas now and Russia's President has delivered mixed messages on plans to remove Syria's chemical weapons. Vladimir Putin now says is he not 100% sure the Assad regime will comply with the process. Meanwhile, American senator John McCain has slammed Mr Putin in a tit-for-tat opinion piece on a Russian reb site. Our Europe correspondent gear gather gear reports.The Russian President may well have wanted to sound confident about his ally's intention for the removal of chemical weapons, but in this conference with journalists he introduced an air of uncertainty TRANSLATION: Syria already considers itself a member of the Chemical Weapons Convention. These are practical steps the Syrian Government has bring
already taken. Whether it will bring this process to an ep, I can't be 100% sure, but everything we've seen in the last few days gives me confidence it will be done.At the same time the President was facing a blistering assessment from US senator a Russian website in response
to Mr Putin's recent piece in the 'New York Times'. The senator accuses Mr Putin of destroying Russia's global reputation, of backing tyrants reputation, and presiding over a corrupt system. Pro-Kremlin voices responded with scorn.Does the senator believes that everyone dreams to live by Americans, but this is not true. This is a fallacy.Russia remains defiant on Syria, insisting rebels could have launched last month's chemical weapons attack, even as Western powers repeat there is little doubt the blame belongs with the government.It doesn't make sense for the opposition to attack their own people with chemical weapons in areas they already control.While the world's major powers remain at loggerheads and the body that would help oversee the removal and destruction of the weapons, postpones a meeting of its Executive Council to the weekend. The latest unverified footage from Syria suggests the bloody civil war will not wait for diplomacy.The first of nine ships participating in the Tall Ships Festival are sailing up the Derwent River into Hobart this morning. Our reporter Stephen Smiley is on the water right now and joins me now. Should I say, Stephen, I wish I could join you because it looks absolutely fabulous out there?That's right, Nick. It's beautiful conditions out here. I'm told it's very reasonable 15-20 knots southerly wind and we're on a water taxi out on the River Derwent. Behind me is the Windward bound, which is on my count, the third of the Tall Ships to make its way up the Derwent towards Sullivan's Cove for the festival about to get under way here.It does look a little brisk out there but the sun is shining and plenty of winds to push those tallship as long the Derwent, Stephen. Just talk us through what the festival is all about?Absolutely. So, there's all up 8 tallships which are making their way down to the Tasmanian capital. The physical of those was the bicentennial ship, the Young 'Endeavour' which docked in Sullivan's Cove last night. Coming out on the water today, we've gone part the Sovereign Larse next, Dutch-built ship based in Sydney, made its way down to Sydney via Rio and Cape Town in #19d 98 and now does short excursions. So that's making its way up the Derwent today. Among the other ships here as part of the festival, there is the Lord Nelson, an English-based tallship which is kitted out especially for people the signs on board are in braille, people with disabilities. All the braille, a talking compass for people who are braille, a people who are visually
impaired. That braille, a talking compass for
people who impaired. That is being - that's off Bruny Island at the moment, about 20km south of Hobart, making its way up, too. There were originally supposed to be nine ships. One of the ships, an Indonesian boat ran into some trouble off the coast of WA, about a week ago, and was actually demasted and is now limping its way back to the Port of Jakarta to be decommissioned but the other eight are very much on track. They are all in the Hobart area n southern ta and the big festival itself will kick off tomorrow and they are slowly docking ship by ship over the course of this afternoon.Now, of course, Hobart gets to enjoy these ships for a few more days. Then they will be setting sail again and heading to Sydney?That's right, that's right. A lot of these ships have been around or off Australian coastlines for a while now. They went through Adelaide a couple of weeks back, they attracted about 25,000--odd people in Adelaide, now making their way into Hobart and the Hobart City Council is tipping about 50,000
people to turn out to Council is tipping people to turn out to be part of the spectacle over the weekend. As you say, some are heading to Sydney, a lot sailing on from here to auk left-hand in New Zealand.Stephen Smiley there in Hobart on the Derwent, thanks very much.Time for sport now and Hawthorn will be trying to win its first match against Geelong in five years when the sides meet in the first preliminary final at the MCG tonight. I spoke to Steve Pearce a little earlier about Hawthorn's chances.When you look at the AFL match, it's a clash between two sides that know each other extremely well. They've played right at the top of the league for the last five or six years, these two, and Geelong, to say the least, has had the better of the past five years. Hawthorn hasn't beaten them in that entire stretch, going back to the 28 Grand Final and Paul Chapman is one of the reasons for that. But he will not play tonight - he is suss spended. It's one of those matches that looks on paper as if Hawthorn should win, just minute win, about you this lingering doubt because of the way Hawthorn has played against Geelong over the entire journey that. Will be a tough one to pick, as is the Fremantle one, although Fremantle goes into it as the red-hot favourite. Fremantle hosting a prepare limb - preliminary final, a lot at play here in Sydney with such an experienced side. A lot of the men who did this all for them last year of course through the prelim and a flag last year and a couple still left over from the '05 flag as well. Still things at play which will make both matches fascinating. Alastair Clarkson spoke briefly about the way Geelong may trouble his side tonight. Yes, this he have players in their side that are really capable of giving them real impetus, so we know their best is very, very good, but we've also seen them not at their best in the last 3 or 40 weeks as well. So that's what happens this time of year. You're coming up against really good quality sides, so you won't have it on your terms for four quarters. We have to do our best when it's our opportunity to try to control the ball.So maybe, maybe, Hawthorn can break that run of 11 defeats. Also tonight, in the NRL, one weekend previous, the semifinals and Manly-Cronulla shapes as an absolutely cracker of a match. Cronulla has had a setback, as you would have heard with Todd Carney ruled out of the game. Luke Lewis has been named in that position to take over from him. Cronulla looking in pretty good shape, up against a Manly side a bit battered and bruised after that crunching loss to the Roosters last week, albeit very low-scoring. Melbourne Storm host Newcastle Knights in the second of the semifinals. In nine years they haven't actually manageded to beat Melbourne Storm in Melbourne so it will be a very tricky encounter. A lot of people are thinking that the Knights have the weaponry to upset Melbourne, but then is all comes back to the big names of Melbourne, with Cameron Smith, Billy Slater, Cooper very, Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk,
very, very cracking matches and let's very, very tough for them. But briefly from the Cronulla cracking matches and stiper bawl briefly from stiper bawl Gallen speaking
just briefly from the Cronulla
stiper We would like to play a more physical game , to be honest. I don't think we played that well against don't think we played that against the Cowboys, but we got the win and that's what matters. People talk about Manly, battered and bruised, but they play that football every week and they're used to and won't be slowing them down one bit, so I'm expecting them to be coming out of the gates very fast.All set for a cracking weekend in football.Time now for the latest weather with Vanessa O'Hanlon.

A weak cold front has left behind brisk winds and showers in Victoria and south-eastern NSW. Another weak front will move across WA's south-west and also cause showers across western Tasmania. Elsewhere, troughs and a high that is controlling the weather and therefore clear skies N Queensland, the trough will move through the eastern interior and off the south coast this morning with dry and gusty wids. Severe fire conditions for the central highlands and coal fields:

Malaysia has opened its first sanctuary for orphaned pygmy elephant,, but the source of funding is proving controversial. The money is coming from palm oil, the very industry that activists argue is harling the animals. Take away the people and she is alone. So far the only pygmy elephant at the rescue sanctuary. The expectation is there will be as many as 50 elephants joining Miss Rocco, company for her, about you that demand is a worries sign of threats to the wildlife. The centre was officially opened by government minister, but mainly money from the palm oil industry that is paying for t the very industry some accuse are doing more to damage wildlife than any other. You're the main sponsor, your involvement is part of a guilty conscience?Definitely not, definitely not. That's a realisation that we cannot live in isolation. I think it is a realisation that we should be part of the overall effort.It is still possible to see striking wildlife down the River, though the chance of seeing an elephant in the wild is highly unlikely. There are thought to be fewer than 2,000 left. No-one quite knows how many there once were. Loss of habitat is to blame. First it was logging, then rubber, now what were once rainforests are palm oil plantations. They cover 20% of the entire state of Saba, around the River, that proportion rises to 85%. For kilometre after kilometre after kilometre, this is all you see - palm oil trees. Its fruit and their seeds are crushed, processed and the oil used in hundreds of thousands of products.From the air, you see the scale. At ground level, the trucks rumble by with relentless predictability. Sometimes animals are not just pushed out, but hurt.14 pygmy elephants were found dead in January. One baby survived. He has been named Joe and now lives in a zoo where he will probably be until he dies. There are other threats, too.Trunks get caught by hunting Senators, not meant forle Federal Parliaments, but they will be snared and they cause horrific injuries and basically it is a low death for the elephant. This sanctuary is for this group of elephants.Financial support for the sanctuary is welcome, but even those in the palm oil industry say in the past they've been part of the problem.

The top stories on ABC News - house fires have killed four people in three states overnight. A toddler died in a fire in Toowoomba last night and four other children were hurt.In Melbourne, a man and a woman died in a fire in Deer Park, and in Adelaide, fire crews were unable to get inside a house man before he died. a house to rescue an elderly man before he died. Police say there are no suspicious circumstances.The goods services tax circumstances.The services tax is back on the agenda circumstances.The goods and
services tax agenda just three day services tax is back on the agenda just three day noose the
new agenda just three day new bot. Abbott Government. new bot. Abbott PM is being urged to reconsider his election PM is being urged to his election promise not to
lift PM is being urged to reconsider
his election lift the tax rate. WA Premier lift the tax rate. WA Colin Barnett not bringing in enough money and needs to not bringing in and needs to be and needs to be broadened or increase. ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher has increase. ACT Chief Katy Gallagher has backed Mr Barnett's call.Russia's President Vladimir Putin now says he is not 100% sure the Assad regime will comply with the process. Deputy Prime Minister of Syria has told a British newspaper the country's civil war has reached a stalemate and the government is ready to call for a ceasefire. Hawthorn will be trying to win its first match against Geelong in five years when the sides meet at the MCG tonight. Lance Franklin and Cyril Rioli will return to the Hawks' line up.Environmentalist Professor David Suzuki has spoken out against the Government's decision to axe the Climate Commission. He says the move will help keep people in the dark about a crucial environment issue.It is a very sad thing because we are living in very uncertain times. Populations of people are increasing continuously. Our demand on the environment, on resources is increasing, our pollution and destruction of ecosystems around the world is increasing, and we are in an increasingly uncertain time. How are we going to navigate our self noose an uncertain future if we don't use the best science available? That's what terrifies me, is that we have people like the Abbott Government now and in Canada government that is trying have an extremely government that is trying to
shut down government that shut down every avenue of information coming from science that in any way indicates that in any climate change has to be dealt with seriously. Literally hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent have been spent on a campaign of saying climate change is junk science, a naturally occurring thing, human beings couldn't possibly be so powerful as to have that impact, whereas the vast majority of scientists are out there saying, "We've got to do something about this." Money talks and the media respond to this. Even now when the science is overwhelmingly on one side saying it's very serious, it's getting worse, we still have programs coming on air where you have a scientist saying we've got to do something and, ooh, in the name of journalistic balance we've got to get a denier over there. Wait a minute, that's journalistic imbalance. Every time you put a denier against someone saying it's real, you act as if it's a 50/50 proposition and we haven't made up our minds and that's simply not true. How will we manage our way into future? It may be uncomfortable from the standpoint of economics but our survival could very well be the stake and I say you need the best science possible and I applauded the Australian Government for setting up that Climate Commission, to inform Australians so that they could assess the information and make decisions at the time of the next election.The problem is the interval between elections is too short and Mr Abbott can focus on tiny short-term economic issues while ignoring the elephant in the room which is that the biosphere is in deep trouble.Professor David Suzuki speaking to the ABC earlier today. Let's return to our earlier story now about the calls for a review of the GST. Before the election, accountancy firm 'PricewaterhouseCoopers' tried to make expanding the GST and election issue N a 52-page research - in a 52-page research document - Tom Seymour is 'PricewaterhouseCoopers''s head of tax and legal processing. He joins me now. Tom Seymour, thanks for coming inPleasure.Let's put the GST in context. What sort of reform to Australia's revenue-raising base do you believe is most urgently required?Well, what our report says is that Australia is facing a large fiscal challenge. Our expenditure is outstripping our revenue, and if you look at the mission of revenue, we're very heavily rely ant on profits and incomes-based taxes, so the taxes you and I pay, income tax and kch profits-based taxes versus more consumption type taxes.And the taxes you were mentioning, there income tax, company tax, was really the GST was to take us away from the reliance on that form of taxation?Yes, it was to take the pressure off. The GST goes to the states and the states bear a greater e pend tour in this country. One of the things the report does is look at the whole package and not just about not just
important to recognise that's ralt or increasing the breadth of the GST. What we've advocated for in our report and what we strongly believe, we need to have a broad-based review of our tax and ref view level. Governments raise the level. Governments raise money and then they re-distribute it and they provide services and the whole system on which we raise money at a state and federal level is in urgent need of review.But I guess the problem is just the three-letter word "tax" is such a political hot-button issue and we've seen in recent times politically unpalatable taxes like the carbon tax and mining tax, for example, have eventually fallen by the wayside, which I guess make it is harder for Australia to steer its way through tax reform?It is an incredibly difficult conversation for politicians to have, and one of the key messages in our report is not to change the GST, but to encourage both sides of politics to start a community conversation about tax, because it is a community conversation. Every one way it is and it's what you contribute, and it's what you contribute to what you want back from a society and living in Australia, so it is a difficult conversation to have, but at its core, our fiscal framework, you can't spend more than you earn, whether you are a small business, a family, large business or you are the nation, you can't sustainably spend hr than you raise forever, so it comes to education, NDIS, the fundamental things that Australians want. We have to be prepared as Australians to have a conversation about how we are going to pay for them.Exactly. which is an As you mentioned the National which is an expensive scheme, no matter how worthwhile, the Abbott Government says it wants to be an Abbott Government says to be an infrastructure
government and roads and broadband networks cost a lot of money.Yes.What sort of changes do you think those sort of government programs are going to necessitate to something like the GST? Can we break it down to more brass tack-type concepts?I think you've got - whether it's a major infrastructure program, a major education program or health program, they require funding.You can go back to the GST as one pillar of that funding, but one of the reasons we haven't had tax reform in this country for a long time, true tax reform, is we end up trying to jump to a solution because it is hard and then it becomes a piecemeal solution, and what our report actually says you need to look at the change
whole thing, so if you were to change the GST rate, you have to do that in alignment with looking at the transfer system and compensation system to deal with some of the aggressive natures of a GST. If you were to put GST onto food, you have to ak nobling that lower percentage of income earners may need additional support, and therefore you need to look at the transfer system and in addition, GST is raised for the states, so how do you look at the vertical mix between state and federal governments and who gets the money and who spends it? You need to look at a holistic review and we haven't done that in this country for a very long time.Which is why, I guess, you're calling for this discussion to start now because the Abbott Government has said they won't change the GST in its first term, it will wait until it's re-elected to another term if that happens in order to bring about any review of the GST?Yeah, and we think that a well structure ed community conversation with both sides of politics is critical to achieving reform, and we think that that should start now because it will take time and it should be something that people consider as a mandate.Tom Seymour, thanks for coming in and explaining that for us.Great to be here, thank you.Fierce gun battles have erupted on the outskirts of Cairo. Security forces were looking for the people responsible for killing 11 police officers in Kerdasa last month. At least 1,000 people have died in unrest in Egypt from
since Mohamed Morsi's removal from power.The army and the police came to retake Kerdasa just after dawn, not far from the heart of Cairo, the town was besieged and was about to become a battle zone. It is a Muslim Brotherhood stronghold here. Many still support the ousted President Mohamed Morsi. No fans of the men now running Egypt, some in Kerdasa are prepared to fight.The fight - it wasn't clear who was shooting, but der Das 15 has been bracing itself for trouble for weeks. On the street there was a scramble for cover.Huge gun battle here, firing from all gun battle all sides. It seems some have been firing at the security forces from high up in one of the buildings here GUNFIRE(Inaudible)The authorities were driven out of Kerdasa and this police station was torched over a month ago. In these corridors, 11 men were butchered. Today their colleagues came to reflect and to find those responsible.A number of men were taken away for questioning. Others paraded alongside the security forces, but locals say the town is being unfairly targeted. TRANSLATION: Not everyone in Kerdasa is a terrorist. There are extremist groups but the town is full of peace-loving people. It is the authorities who harass us, beat us and arrest us.Egypt's crisis has moved into a new phase. Just two weeks ago, this was the aftermath of a car bomb, the first in decades, and suicide bombings have made a reappearance. Across Egypt, thousands of people have been detained. The gains from earlier revolutions are in peril.The whole process is so fragile. It's not based on any law, just based on if you know someone, you go after him and maybe you can take him out of prison and save his life. We can't go on like this.As the day ended, Kerdasa was subdued and even though a senior colleague was shot today, colleague was shot dead here
today, the police were quick to declare today, the police were quick declare victory.That may be premature. The siege mentality in Egypt is spreading far beyond this town. in Egypt is spreading beyond this town.The Japanese PM has beyond this town.The PM has toured the troubled Fukushima nuclear power plant after it was revealed Fukushima nuclear after it was revealed that radioactive water is still leaking from the plant. Shinzo Abe has ordered the plant's operators TEPCO to set a time-frame for dealing with the contaminated water. North Asia correspondent Mark Willacy reports. It's 2:30 in the morning and Fumio Suzuki is preparing to cast off in his boat, 'Ebisu'. In Japanese folklore, Ebisu is the god of fishermen, but in this post-Fukushima world, the protector has seemingly failed him, replaced by the zeem mon of TEPCO TRANSLATION: I think TEPCO has been telling lies from the start, since the nuclear plant exploded. TEPCO tells us there are no problems, but then there are problems. We cannot trust them, nor the government.With at least 300 tonnes of contaminated ground water flowing from the Fukushima knew plant into sea every day, fishing in these waters has once again been banned.The 'Ebisu' is just one of two boats allowed out to fish today, and whatever they catch will be sent off for radioactive contamination testing.Well, we've been motoring out to sea for a couple of hours now, and as you can see, dawn is just breaking and it's quite a beautiful sight, although just 30km up the coast is the leaking remains of the Fukushima nuclear plant. Now, for generations of fishermen who have been coming out to these fishing grounds, it means their livelihoods are now over because they just cannot go out to sea to catch anything worth selling anymore.The for these fishermen is that TEPCO is seemingly powerless to stop the contamination reaching the sea. That's not the only crisis of the on site there are about a thousand hastily built tanks, some containing highly radioactive water that has been used to cool the reactors. Already one has sprung a serious Leak, causing the most severe accidents since the meltdowns two and a half years ago. But there are warnings the worst is yet to come because it's believed that deep beneath the nuclear plant is a massive underground pool of contaminated water which is slowly making its way towards the sea.And now there are warnings from the head of Japan's nuclear watchdog that because room is fast running out, treated water may have to be dumped into the Pacific.A group representing group near Papua New Guinea's Ok Tedi
mine group representing communities
near Papua New mine has accused the country's government of stealing from the people T comes after the government passed laws giving government passed laws itself total control of the mine, while also opening the dooer for people to sue mining giant BHP Billiton over environmental damage.The PM Peter O'Neill says the decision back in 2001 by the then government to grant legal immunity to BHP Billiton, then just BHP, was a bad one.This Parliament has done gross injustice to our people, denying their right to have access to have their say and have their claims against the damage that was done to the environment and themselves.Mr O'Neill was addressing Parliament during the introduction of a bill to repeal the laws granting BHP protection from being sued. Standing Orders was suspended so it cob passed in a single session. Mr O'Neill says the deal is unfair and corporate entities must own up to their responsibilities.Mr Speaker, this proposed bill now removes that waiver for BHP Billiton, meaning that the land owners or any other affected party are free to bring in any external enforcement...Mr O'Neill has run a long campaign against BHP and the PNG stp sustainable development program or PNGSDP, as it's known. As well as repealing PNG's legal - BHP's legal immunity; PNG's PM when the deal with BHP was down and now the chairman of PNGSDP.AlI, to ex-appropriate his own people's assets without compensation. This slap on the face, it is stealing from the people. They took our right as way from the benefit s. We want to the change the life of our people and that tour environment.It's likely the battle for Ok Tedi will go to court, so it will probably be some time before the government gets its hands on the mine f it ever does.Alicia Barry joins us now with an update from the markets. The Australian share market is following a drop on Wall Street overnight. The boost from the US Federal Reserve's decision to leave stimulus measures unchanged has faded already. The All Ordinaries index is down a third of a percent as is the ASX200 index. The Dow
Wall Street dipped overnight. The Dow Jones industrial average closed a third of a percent lower and S&P 500 dropped by a fifth of a percent. To comedies and spot gold price has given back overnight gains. West Texas Crude oil also dropped and the decision for more cheap money to be available gave a boost to the Australian dollar, but it has come downly after jumping above 95 US cents yesterday. It's worth 94.5 US cents at the moment. The latest statistics on the pay packets of Australia's top executives reveal a small drop in the salaries of top business leaders. The average pay for chief executives with the top 100 publicly listed companies was a $4.7 million last year. The figure is $20,000 less than it was in 2011. The council of super investors calculations included bonuses and Westfield's co-chief executiving Peter and Lowy top the list, sharing a Lowy top the $21 million salary.There has been some debate in the country recently about the number women in the new Cabinet - the new Abbott Cabinet, but which country do you think has the highest number of women in Parliament? It's not Australia, Europe, Asia or the Americas, it's Rwanda. Women have just won 64% of the Central African nation's parliamentary seats.Vote something an earnest business for the members of Rwanda's women's electoral College. On Tuesday, just over 100,000 of them chose among the candidates who will sit in the 24 seats especially reserved for women, and that to the women who won legses in their own right and you got a record-breaking 64% who now dominate Rwanda's Parliament. They already held a majority of seats in the last Parliament, just over 50%, but this sets a new standard. As the outgoing Speaker was one of the most powerful Parliamentans, she says women haven't dramatically changed the way business is done in the House, but it has drawn attention to where it is needed - on the poor.They need help from women in politics, a shift from stratosphere in today, so as to improve the economic environment.One of the argue mets for pushing women to the forefront of public life is women to the public life is to avoid the kind of macho confrontations that helped drive Rwanda's genocide. There is continuing debate about whether that worked but this country remains economically and politically stable.Several academics have found that the high up in of women is Parliament has had no significant impact on Rwandan legislation but it does seem to have a much more subtle but profound impact on society as a whole.Mastster students discuss research techniques for their course on gender issues. The women MPs have helped break traditional taboos, including those against women in education. The lecturer says society is changing fast, but the dominance of women doesn't mean the pendulum has gone too far.AlThe fact that you have such a high representation of women in Parliament doesn't necessarily mean that there is too much achieve ed over - actually, I think it's about time because for a really long time, women have not had this opportunity.And so Rwanda's women are celebrating their renewed political voice. Not everyone thinks it is a good idea, of course, but for better or worse, things here are changing.He is a Queenslander known for his energy and enthusiasm which is often attributed to his love of coffee, but the mayor of Ipswich Paul Pisasale also holds a world record for the largest collection of small demitasse coffee cups. It is a title that he has held since 2008, as he explained to our reporter, Eric Tlozek. ShallI just love t a short black. To me, life in general is over a cup of coffee.Having an espresso in the morning it is a Sicilian way of getting started. It's like a fix and I just love T I started collecting short black coffee cups and I thought, "There can't be many." But it's amazing. I never used to see them amazing. I them but everywhere I go I see them but everywhere I go I the cups.Gist necessary book of records has 120 sets. All of a sudden, within a year I have 650.Look at that - absolutely fantastic. Look at this one here, from Paris.How cute is that?I've got the record now but I'm waiting for someone to say of a broken it with 800 or 900, because I've got 1500. I have 6,500 cups so no shortage of short black coffee cups in Ipswich. With people come in, having the coffee here and the collection t breaks the ice and people know I'm a real person. When they come into the offers, they're not expecting a mayor's office to look like this. This is somewhere where it's friendly, invite ing and I just like creating partnerships and friendships. The staff hated the collection when I arrived because it was there and it had to be dusted. Now we have it behind nice cabinets and the most important thing is they are all fighting over it and they're all waiting to see who I will leave it to in my will.Look at this Sicilian cup - how good is that.This simple collection has become a - how good is that.This collection has become a tourist
attraction, collection has become a attraction, we're making many Italian newspapers and magazines and as it grows, people are hearing about it. Bus trips are annoying the hell out of my staff to have a look. I just love people. I suppose it's better than collecting footballs or cricket bats. It shows a gentle side that he is sensitive and very caring and there is a lot of nuances to his personality. I've certainly seen another side to Paul that is just wonderful. He is not your average mayor.Some of these cups are worth hundreds of dollars, so you've got to be very careful you don't break them.You get the valuers coming in and valuing the collection at 100,000, but to me it's priceless. It belongs to the city.My daughter did say, "Dad, I can't wait. Maybe this thing we can bury with you. Maybe all your friends can come along and throw a few cups into the grave with you and say goodbye. So maybe something to remember me buyA little bit of a dunk. Many many many, that's coffee.What would George Clooney say? A white diamond expecting to fetch a record price of more than $28 million has gone in display in Hong Kong. The egg-shaped 118 carat diamond, the largest of its kind will be auctioned in Hong Kong in early October. South business has described the diamond as the best of its kind ever seen anywhere.For now, our estimate is over $220 million Hong Kong dollars which is equivalent to over $28 million US. We expect it would create a new world record for white diamond.The rock known as The Magnificent Oval diamond was discovered in a deep mine in Africa in 2011.Time for the latest weather with Vanessa O'Hanlon.

A weak cold front has left behind brisk winds and showers in Victoria and south-eastern NSW. Another weak front can move across WA's south-west and also cause showers across western Tasmania. Elsewhere troughs and a high petroling the troughs and a high the weather and therefore clear skies. In Queensland, a the weather and will move through the eastern interior will move through the coast this

Thanks for your company this morning. Stand by now for the latest from the markets and more coverage of the day's top stories. I will be back later with more news. Thank you.


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Today, the States lead a new push for a higher tax on goods and services.

This Program is Captioned Live.

Also today, four people dead in separate house fires overnight, including a 2-year-old boy in Toowoomba. Mixed messages from Russia's President on whether the Syria chemical weapons plan will work. And celebrating Hobart's maritime history, as the tall ships sail up the River Derwent.

A fellow Liberal has challenged Tony Abbott to show some leadership and put an increase in the GST back on the table. The PM has ruled out any change to the GST this term, but WA Premier Colin Barnett insists that's a mistake, and a Labor leader agrees with him. Here is