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Media Watch -

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(generated from captions) to the New South Wales Police
and the DPP. Their responses
can be found on our website. The coroner also noted that the
distinction in New South Wales between road-related offences and
private property offences should be reviewed. No such distinction
exists in Queensland, Victoria or South Australia. Next week - an investigation
into the obesity epidemic that may have begun in the West,
but is taking over the world. Until then, goodnight.

Closed Captions by CSI Australia

This Program is Captioned Live.

# Theme music

Get out of there, mate.
(Bleep) get outta there! Hundreds if not thousands of lives
were at risk

when the perfect firestorm
unleashed its fury

and then refused to die.

Hello I'm Paul Barry,
welcome to Media Watch.

And those dramatic pictures,
of course,

are from the devastating
bushfires in NSW,

which have now seen more
than 200 homes burnt to the ground

and miraculously only one person
lose his life.

By lunchtime on Thursday

this was the apocalyptic scene
on Sydney Harbour

as the city was ringed by fire.

But in Melbourne, a few hours later,

viewers of Channel Ten's
5 o'clock bulletin

were being given
far more important news...

Rescuers believe the koala
they named Koby

may have had his paw trapped
for up to two weeks.

Because of infection he had no
chance of survival and was put down.

It was very distressing to me

to be able to see this koala
in such pain.

Animal rescuer Nigel Williamson
risked his own life

to retrieve Koby.

In the wild winds
it was no easy feat.

Ten's tragic koala story

came 17 minutes into
its hour-long bulletin.

What have now become Sydney's
worst bushfires in 45 years

got a guernsey five minutes later,

after we'd been told about
a house fire in Hawthorn

in which no-one was hurt.

Ten tells us
it had technical problems,

but is it really any wonder
the network is being whipped

by its commercial rivals
and losing a fortune?

For Ten the biggest story
of the day -

fires or no fires -

was always going to be saying goodbye
to a celebrity killer...

First tonight, the final farewell
to Mark Chopper Read.

Mourners have attended a public
service in Fitzroy North

paying tribute to the notorious
criminal-turned-showman.

Mark O'Brien was there and he joins
us now, Mark what was it like?

Well, Stephen I have to say
it was a pretty low-key affair

but it was Chopper Read and nobody
really knew what to expect...

Well, what happened
was that hardly anybody turned up.

Yet Ten's live Eyewitness News

still stuck it up the front
of the bulletin,

as wild winds and hail buffeted
Melbourne and NSW caught fire.

But of course it's not just
the Melbourne media

who love a dose of violent crime,

as Sydney's Daily Telegraph
has recently been showing us.

The murder of 31-year-old
businessman Morgan Huxley

has hogged the Tele's front page
for much of the last month,

becoming more and more lurid
as days pass by.

Huxley was found lying in the bedroom
of his apartment on 8 September.

He was naked from the waist down

and had been stabbed more
than a dozen times.

Yet despite the fury of the attack,
the Telegraph was soon reporting

that police suspected a woman
had killed him.

It took more than a week for
this story to catch fire.

But once it was lit
there was no damping it down.

For six days in a row the Tele's
front page burned with speculation

over what the paper was calling
the Ladies Man Murder.

So how did the ex-lover know
what had happened?

Well, she didn't of course.

It was just conjecture.

But no doubt she had been reading
the papers like everyone else.

The Telegraph was also sure
a woman had killed Huxley.

And next day they came back
with even more colourful speculation,

or as they would say,
news of what the police were chasing.

Now, how much of this fire
was being fed by police

and how much was being fanned by
the Tele, it's hard to say.

But thanks to the Telegraph

with a little bit of help from
Fairfax's Sun-Herald

the reputation of the victim
was tossed into the flames. Ladies man, playboy, Casanova,
known ladies man.

No opportunity was missed to claim
Morgan Huxley lived fast and loose,

with the obvious implication
he deserved his fate.

And ladies man
was not the worst of it.

As you can imagine, Morgan Huxley's
family have been appalled

by this depiction of their son
and brother,

and are deeply distressed.

Yesterday they told Media Watch
in a statement:

But this is not
where the story ends.

Because apart from being tasteless,
intrusive and offensive,

it seems the Tele's 'spurned female
lover' story was 100% wrong...

Yes. Homicide detectives
have now arrested a man.

Of course he may not be guilty,

but the person charged
is not a former lover.

And he's apparently not someone
Huxley had ever met.

So how did the Tele
trumpet this development?

Simple. They called it:

Yes, it was a twist all right.

But in no way did it kill
the paper's enthusiasm for the story.

Because they could now set about
trying the accused

with another front page farrago of
speculation and allegation

that may or may not
have a basis in truth.

Once upon a time
the media wouldn't have dared

to canvass the evidence
in a murder case

or blacken the character of
the accused before the trial.

It can prejudice jurors and makes
a fair hearing much more difficult.

But it now seems
almost anything goes,

as long the trial is far enough away.

However, last week

the accused's lawyer did urge
the media to exercise restraint:

We'd love to think that appeal
will make a difference.

But we won't be holding our breath.

Despite the fact

that the Tele's owner, Rupert
Murdoch, was tweeting last week

re the trials of his journalists soon
to start in London.

Of course any trial in the Huxley
case should be at least a year away.

But Melbourne University
media law expert Jason Bosland

told Media Watch that he believes
some of the Tele coverage

is still too close to the edge.

And the Tele's response
to all these criticisms?

It says thanks for asking but...

No doubt it has helped
them sell plenty of papers.

The reputation of the victim,
the feelings of the family,

and a fair trial for the accused

are just so much collateral damage.

And now to news from
A Current Affair.

Last week we highlighted misleading
claims in a sting

that the program carried out
on five Queensland doctors.

If you've forgotten the story,
here's a reminder.

Not sick but you want the day off?
No worries.

These doctors are happy to
make every weekend a long one.

Just ask and they'll give you
a certificate.

Yup. Just ask
and they'll write you a sickie.

Using a hidden camera, ACA's
Aaron O'Brien posed as a patient

and then reported back to viewers

that scamming a sick note
from doctors was a snack.

One took 90 seconds to write it out.

Another laughed, and a third
helped him find an excuse.

Or so O'Brien told viewers.

I was shocked that he just seemed
to think it was a bit of a joke

and that he could just come up with
an excuse with me.

Ha ha ha. Oh, I'll leave it
up to you, mate.

Yeah.

The doctor in that clip,
Liam Carroll,

complained to Media Watch
that he had been lied to.

He also said selective editing
had made him look like a clown

and that his reputation
had been harmed

with patients and colleagues
who had identified him.

Now another of the five doctors,
David Chambers,

has seen that Media Watch report
and backed Dr Carroll up.

Dr Chambers has detailed notes

that he says confirm
his version of events.

And it's radically different
from A Current Affair's,

which was that O'Brien
told the five doctors

he was simply tired
and wanted a day off,

and that very few questions
were asked of him.

Dr Chambers says
he took a full medical history,

organised blood tests
and finally issued a certificate

saying only that O'Brien claimed
to be unable to work.

The consultation took 16 minutes 35
seconds and was no slapdash affair.

Yet that, says Dr Chambers,
is how it was made to look.

So, two of the doctors now say
they were lied to

and claim that ACA
misled its 1.1 million viewers

as to how they dealt
with their patient.

These are serious allegations.

So on Thursday we sent an email
to Channel 9 boss David Gyngell

asking him to hand over
the camera tapes

to settle who was telling the truth.

And what do you know -

on Friday, A Current Affair

returned to the so-called
Certificates Scandal.

Earlier this month
we brought you a story

on doctors certificates
in a hidden camera investigation

designed to demonstrate
how easy it is

to simply tell a doctor
you're tired and stressed

and don't want to go to work.

We've now come under attack after
two of the doctors we visited

claimed they weren't fairly
represented in the story.

In this reheated version,
A Current Affair

admitted that its producer
Aaron O'Brien had lied

by claiming to be a carpenter.

It also admitted he had told doctors
he was stressed and not just tired.

And it then broadcast a much
bigger chunk of the consultations

it had secretly filmed.

Finally, it asked viewers
to make up their own minds

about who was telling the truth.

Well, we've seen it and we have.

And it's pretty clear
that you could not accuse

Liam Carroll or David Chambers
of being negligent or a soft touch.

It is also clear
there was nothing scandalous

about the way they dealt
with the patient.

After watching the update
Dr Chambers told us:

He also told us:

Dr Carroll is also complaining

to Nine and the Australian
Communications and Media Authority.

And so both doctors should.

A Current Affair
lied to the doctors,

secretly filmed them
without their permission,

caused them to be identified
by patients and colleagues

and told viewers
they had failed to do a proper job.

All in all
it's a shocking indictment.

And those responsible
at A Current Affair

should be ashamed of themselves.

And you can read the correspondence
in full on our website.

But for now, that's all from us.

Goodbye.

Captions by CSI Australia

This Program is Captioned
Live. APPLAUSE Good evening. Welcome to Q&A. I'm Tony Jones. Answering your questions tonight - comic Vince Sorrenti. Minister for Agriculture and Deputy Nationals Leader, Barnaby Joyce.Criminal lawyer, author and former British army officer, Rabia Siddique.Politician turned broadcaster Amanda Vanstone. And Shadow Finance Minister Tony Burke. Please welcome our panel. APPLAUSEAs usual, we are being simulcast on ABC News 24 and news radio and you can join the Twitter conversation with the quand qua hashtag that's just appeared on your screen. Tonight NSW is facing its worst bushfire crisis in 50 years. A state of emergency has been declared as authorities warn of a growing risk of a catastrophic mega fire in the Blue Mountains. Major disasters like this raise questions about priorities, of the Federal and State Governments and more recently about the links between extreme bushfires and climate change. Our first question is on this subject and this is from Ted.The 'Sydney Morning Herald' today reported that cuts to staff and funding by the NSW Government has largely dismantled the State's ability to investigate and prepare for the effects of the climate change such as the frequency of extreme fires. Do you think that Government are focusing too much on short-term fiscal policies at the expense of investment into long term strategic policies.Let's start with you Tony Burke.There is always a battle to - getting the long term issues up is always what the nation needs and it is always the hardest part of any political argument. Specifically on the NSW Government, I don't know the answer to that. I don't know what they have been doing with their Budgetary decisions. Certainly, there is two things you always need to do at a time of natural disaster. You need to deal immediately with the crisis that is at hand and the human risk at hand. Then you also make sure you are doing the long term actions as well.Was Adam Bandt being short-term or long term last week when he Tweeted "Tony Abbott's plan means more bushfires for Australia"? I always worry when we take an individual event and use that as the example of climate change. Always worry about that. Climate change is about overall trends. You can never pick the individual drought or the individual major weather event and say that one is climate change. But you certainly know from all the scientific data that we have, that we get more intense major weather events as a result of climate change. I think there is an issue of timing with what Adam Bandt said but there is also an issue of making sure with the science that we're accurate about what the information is and that we deal with the data that is there. That means we have to be honest about trends rather than individual events.Barnaby Joyce I will come to you and we will hear from the non-politicians then.It doesn't matter what you do in regards - buyer occ won't put out a fire. Hazard reduction, fuel reduction, fire trails. Preparedness is obviously essential. I don't see how an inflam tie statement by Mr Bandt is of assistance at this point in time. Everybody who has lost their house is looking to the immediate future of how they get support and looked after now and I don't think they would appreciate someone playing short-term politics at this point in time.What do you think about the climate change argument, a professor said today what we have seen in last week's fires is the signature of climate change leaving Australia particularly vulnerable to fire? Obviously fires that we're seeing at the moment are not unusual at this point in time. We heard tonight on the ABC that this is something that happens once every 10 years. What we are seeing is a lot more people living in the areas where the fires are present now. Even taking into account that the climate is changing, it works its way down to how you actually are going to deal with this and if you say the way I remedy that situation is with a new tax, that is just not going to work.Vince Sorrenti? I agree, there is not a time for political point-scoring, either by the 'Sydney Morning Herald' or by Adam Bandt. It is a time to put out the fires and save peoples' property and hope people don't get killed. It is a realistic part of living in this country. There have been fires every few years in this nation for tens of millions of years. There is a definite pattern developing here. It is not something that happens out of the blue. Every year we get excited and try and blame some new reason as to why it happens. We choose to live in the bush or near the bush. This is something we have to confront.Rabia Siddique? In terms of the specific question of Government funding for climate change research, I think it would be a great shame and indeed the challenge for any Government is balancing those competing priorities and interests. It would be a great shame if reduction in funding or withdrawal of funding was to hamper and prevent further research in what is not only a hugely important issue to each and every one of us in this country but everyone on the planet. I am no scientist, I am not expert but in my short life, I can think of perhaps in the last 20 years, how many more natural disasters, how prolific they have been all around the world and it is an issue that touches and effects each and every one of us. Governments should look beyond the fiscal year and their term and really should be reinforcing funding in issues that effect us all long term and our planet of course.Amanda Vanstone what do you think? To go back to the question, the NSW Government used to have 10 scientists working on the impacts of scientists and they had another team working on climate change adaptation, that is down to three pretty much in both categories. They have lost most of their scientists.I don't think the scientists were going to put out the fire either. I don't think that makes a cracker of difference frankly. I would like to be more direct about Mr Bandt. I think she just disgraceful. When ever there is a disaster of any sort, and particular bushfires and floods, we have a long history in this country, I have pretty much been bipartisan about it. There will always be time when the disaster is over for a bit of finger pointing about who did the wrong thing. I am sure that will come and people ask the Greens about their policies of burn backs in national parks and I will be interested to see what Mr Bandt has to say at that time. When there is a disaster, the best thing is if you're not there helping put out the fire or you're not organising for more money to go there, shut up, keep out and let everyone get on with their job and have the debate after.To pick up on your earlier point, are you saying because scientists don't physically put out fires you shouldn't listen to them? No, I am not saying that.There is a lot of hot air from scientists.I am just saying why you necessarily link the two. There still is a very bad