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

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) This Program Is Captioned Live. Tonight, emotion in the assembly as the same-sex marriage bill is debated. Without having to experience fear, hate and discrimination. And rejoicing as the new laws are passed. # Love is in the air # A little rain and backburning in the Blue Mountains but no real relief in sight. And it's trying to reduce debt but the Government's increasing the debt limit. What matters is not the debt limit, it's the debt and the level of the debt. You've got to have a credible plan to bring the debt down.Good evening and welcome to ABC News. I'm Virginia Haussegger. There were scenes of high emotion and jubilation in the ACT assembly today as Australia's first gay marriage laws were passed. There were wild celebrations as the bill was voted into law but they may be short-lived. The Federal Government is already seeking a High Court hearing to try and reports.
block the laws. Lisa Mosley reports. The public gallery erupted into song as the marriage equality bill passed into law. # Love is in the air # It had been an emotional debate. Parents who want their children to live happy, productive and healthy lives.Labor's bill pass would the support of the Greens, 9 votes to 8. Some say this is an area of law that only the Commonwealth has jurisdiction. We disagree with that view.. I can only hope we will no longer be known as the home of the fat cats but as the rainbow Territory.The Canberra Liberals as a bloc against the bill and didn't have a conscience vote. We're united in our view this is not a matter for the ACT legislative assembly. We are Australia's smallest parliament, we only have 17 members. But regardless, same-sex couples from around Australia will be able to marry in the ACT before the end of the year. This is just the best day, the greatest day. It's just unbelievably fantastic and I can't thank the people of the ACT and their Government enough. I think that the ACT Government have done an outstanding job here today and I just really can't believe it's finally happened. The new law had barely passed when couples started popping the question. Ivan Hinton from Australian Marriage Equality proposed to his partner, Chris, during a press conference. Today is the first day that I can propose to you and say, "Will you be with me for the rest of my life and know that I can carry this intention all the way through?" Chris, will you marry me? Yes.(APPLAUSE)But the celebrations could be short-lived. The Commonwealth is challenging the laws in the High Court and today the Attorney-General, George Brandis, announced he's requesting an expedited hearing. There is some risk and some doubt around this law. quarters.But gay
These are uncharted legal quarters.But gay and lesbian couples say that doesn't matter. Today is the day and the future will bring what it brings but today is today and it's nice to have that moment now. Today, at least s a day of celebration. As you've just heard, the new law faces an uncertain future. The Government has made its opposition quite clear and is adamant it can be overturned in the High Court. With more, here's John Barron from the ABC's Fact Checking unit. The Australian capital Territory wants to let same-sex couples get married but does the ACT have the power to legislate for that or will the High Court overturn the laws? Chief Minister Katy Gallagher think there's law will pass the legal test. We are confident the bill we've passed this morning, the laws that have now passed the assembly are strong and they've been drafted very clearly under our instructions around some of the challenges they may face up ahead.Commonwealth law currently regulates marriage but this is where it gets tricky. States and Territories are make their own laws as long as they don't contradict Federal law. It was the Howard Government that defined marriage in Commonwealth law as being between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others and the new Federal Attorney-General, George Brandis, says the Commonwealth will challenge the ACT's same-sex marriage law in the High Court. Legal experts have told ABC Fact Check it is unlikely that the ACT law will survive largely because it extends the existing institution of marriage set out in the Commonwealth law to a different group of people, to have any hope of success the experts tell us the law should instead create a new legal institution of same-sex marriage that would fall outside the scope of the current Federal Marriage Act. That's what some other states are considering but they also face an uphill battle. So, after consulting experts and our legal panel, which includes a former Commonwealth solicitor-general, it seems doubtful the ACT law would hold up but ultimately that decision is one for the High Court. That's Fact Check. For more details, go to our website. John Barron there from our Fact Checking unit. It's a dangerous and risky operation but firefighters have deliberately joined two major bushfires burning in the NSW Blue Mountains. The plan is to link the fires under cooler conditions to stop them burning out of control and threatening surrounding properties. Residents are being encouraged to prepare to leave if the fires flare up again tomorrow under hot and windy conditions. IG Markets ploorts. Determined to stay one step ahead of this raging blaze, firefighters are on a pre-emptive strike. They've linked the massive State Mine fire to the Mount Victoria fire along the Darling Causeway. We are seeing some positive results of these very deliberate, very targeted, very decisive strategies being deployed. Behind the front line, members of the remote area firefighting team are winching to isolated spots. These men are trained in dry firefighting techniques to go where others cannot. That is ominous but it's a good thing for them to be doing today because tomorrow will be heaps worse If they tell us to go we're going. There has been some rain but people are being warned not to be complacent. We need to be focused on what's expected to come tomorrow.Hot and dry conditions with wind gusts of up to 100 km/h, the potential impact of which is fresh in many residents' minds. Holy crap! Look how dangerous that is. That would kill ya. The fire crews come up our street and then told everyone to evacuate and packed up all the animals and the kids in the car.Meanwhile, police are warning of the potential for asbestos in the debris of buildings destroyed by fires and an 11-year-old boy accused of lighting a fire north of Newcastle that burned out more than 5,000 hectares has been placed under house arrest. Back in the Blue Mountains, residents can only watch and wait. Jayne Margetts, ABC News. One of two boys charged with deliberately lighting one of the recent bushfires has faced Newcastle's Magistrates Court. The 11-year-old boy is among a number of children charged in the last week with intentionally starting a fire and police are warning they're keeping a close eye on potential arsonists. Lexi Metherell reports. Just 11 years old and accused of enormous destruction. The boy spent last night in custody. He's now under house arrest after his family posted $500 bail. His lawyer says he'll plead not guilty to deliberately lighting the Heatherbrae fire just north of Newcastle last week. How dare anyone threaten communities as we move into these hot, dry, difficult periods and how dare anyone threaten the lives of the firefighters that are going out there to twrie and protect those communities? Five children have now been charged with intentionally starting fires in the last week in NSW. That doesn't surprise criminologists. Young people around that kind of age will be going out and doing things that are impulsive and reckless. Kids like doing that sort of stuff. They like taking risks as well.There's around 50,000 bushfires a year. Only a fraction start naturally. A third are accidentally lit whereas 50% are thought to be deliberately started or suspicious and police want potential arsonists to know they're being watched. We've developed a database of a number of people who have either been convicted of there's enough intelligence for us to believe they may be able to light a fire.And when bushfire season begins, police pay them a visit. If they know they're being watched, there could be an opportunity they won't go out and light a fire.Initial investigations suggest the Springwood and mown moup fires in the Blue Mountains started by falling powerlines. The cause of the massive Lithgow fire is still unknown but defence is investigating whether its explosives testing played a part. Returning now to our top story, the passage of the ACT's gay marriage bill, and in our earlier report we saw Ivan Hinton from Australian Marriage Equality end his press conference today with a proposal. He joins me now. Ivan, thanks for your time. It was a very public proposal but a marriage based on today's new laws is really only symbolic, isn't it, until we know the High Court's position? The High Court, that's where it's going to go, and that's what we need to focus on from this point on. We've done our best to make sure this bill is as fortified as possible for the High Court challenge we know is coming and we have a very strong constitutional legal expert advice that we're going to be able to maintain this bill.Well, if you're very clear that the law or the bill is solid, given that the Federal Government has suggested the ACT should delay the start of the law until the High Court makes its decision, why not wait? I think there's probably two reasons why. One, the legislative assembly and the ACT Government are really confident in this bill and in defending this scbil, two, we have thousands of Australians who are travelling overseas to experience their special day and the ACT Government has been working towards making sure that they can do that at home surrounded by their family and friends.Isn't there a little bit of uncertainty though, Ivan? I mean, if the High Court does uphold that Federal Government challenge, those laws may be - sear, those marriages may be null and void.Now unfortunately we lost Ivan. That was of course a very emotional moment for him but hopefully we might get him back a little later. Australia's gearing up to push Commonwealth debt towards half a trillion dollars. The Treasurer's announced he's jacking up the debt ceiling to handle a looming blow-out, but he's also working on a remedy, giving his Commission of Audit 6 months to find savings and spending cuts. Chief political correspondent Mark Simkin reports. There goes Christmas. Help us fix the Budget.Shepherd will chair the audit commission - Tony Shepherd. He's been given just three months to produce an initial list of Budget-taming measures with a final report due before April. The last one was done in 1996. It is time to do it again and we are doing it.There will be cuts and the government isn't sugar coating it. We have to fix the Budget. We have to fix the Budget. The commission's terms of reference spell out the sort of things the Coalition's interested in although the potential nasties come in code. Price signals and co-payments could mean a user-pays approach, rationalising the service delivery footprint and increasing contestability suggest cuts in competition, the privatisation of assets is also on the table. The Government has to be able to live within its means on a sustainable basis over the long-term and this is of course what the Commission of Audit has to help us achieve in a calm, methodical and orderly fashion.In the meantime, the Government's going to do what it once railed against, lift Australia's debt lim. The current ceiling will be raised by $200 billion, a 67% increase. The Treasurer's been told debt will peak above $400 billion and he wants to have a buffer on top of that. We need to move quickly to deal with this particularly in the wake of what has been revealed in the United States in recent times. The party that said they were all about turning around debt has now asked for permission for it to go to half a trillion dollars. The increase isn't a surprise although its size is. The Government estimates it will hit the current limit in December and that's why the audit commission's significant. It won't just recommend one-off trims, it's searching for long-term savings, measures that are likely to test the Coalition's political will. There are new allegations of scientific misconduct at the University of NSW. This time about research into heart disease. Two months ago the ABC revealed that human trials into a cancer drug were suspended due to concerns about the science. Medical reporter Sophie Scott has this exclusive story. Every day around 130 people with heart disease find themselves here. His main problem is a plumbing problem.It's the nation's number one killer and for doctors, finding a cure is a top priority. This year a research team, led by eminent science Levon Khachigian, was awarded $8.3 million in Federal funding to do just that, but a paper he co-wrote on heart disease is now under investigation for what the University of NSW describes as a prima facie case of research misconduct. The research focused on how muscle cells change into plaque, a key cause of heart attacks. It may be really quite significant. At the core of the complaint is whether these images were manipulated. One image appears to have been rotated to show a different result. The professor says it's a simple formatting error and denies he's ever engaged in research misconduct. Professor Levon Khachigian has now taken a leave of absence. The university was unable to say when he'll return. This is not the first accusation levelled at research overseen by the professor. Two months ago the ABC revealed human trials of a cancer drug were halted after serious concerns were raised about the research. That investigation is proceeding but not fast enough for some. There's obviously a situation to be investigated here and we need to see that happen sooner rather than later. It can, from the outside, appear to be taking a long time but I can absolutely assure you this takes priority amongst senior members of the university. Despite this, the university was unable to say when an investigation would be complete. Melbourne-based friends of an Australian Pakistani family murdered in northern Pakistan are struggling to come to terms with their violent deaths. The Ullah Khan family, which included a 7-year-old boy, were killed a week ago. Police have arrested a nephew who's confessed and says he wanted the family's money. It should be a happy time Afridi, his in-laws are visiting from Pakistan. Instead, they're all in shock. My wife suddenly started screaming and crying and for us it was like we were not accepting the news.Afridi's good friend, Aamir Ullah Khan, was strangled to death last week along with his wife Nadia, 17-year-old daughter Roman, 14-year-old son Adam and 7-year-old Haider. Their bodies were found governmented in Islamabad. The family lived in Glen Waverly in Melbourne from 2000 to 2005. What sort of family were they? Sweet, beautiful, lovey. Afridi says his friend moved to Pakistan for work. Afridi spoke to Aamir the week before he was killed and urged his friend to stop posting photos of his house and cars on Facebook. Don't show off. Don't do these things. This is not safe for us. He just gave me a smile and laughed and said, "What I have I have and I am enjoying my life." Nadia Ullah Khan's nephview has been arrested. He's reportedly admitted to hiring six assassins and said murdering his relatives was the easiest way to get money. Afridi sis sez this photo is of Aamir attending the killer's engagement party. Afridi says he's sickened by reports 7-year-old Haider was killed last. He was very cheeky. He was very, very naughty, running around. DFAT says its High Commission in Pakistan is working with authorities who have commenced an investigation into the suspected murders. Its travel advice recommends Australians reconsider their need to travel to Pakistan. Afridi says these sorts of murders by family members are happening more regularly because there's no respect for the law. A female suicide bomber has blown herself up on a bus in southern Russia, killing at least six people. The blast was captured by video camera installed on the dashboard of a car travelling behind the bus. At least 30 people were injured in the explosion carried out by a suspected Islamist separatist. The palming has stoked fears of further attacks as Russia prepares to host the winter Olympics in February. The US has sought to re assure France over claims American spies secretly recorded millions of national security agency is
French phone calls. The said to said to have secretly monitored 70 million calls in a bid to spy on businesses, officials and terrorism suspects. The French leader has told Barack Obama of his deep disapproval. The US says it's reviewing its intelligence-gathering operations. Because it's all about a balance between legitimate security concerns our citizens have and the privacy concerns that we and our allies have as well about some of these alleged intelligence activities. US Secretary of State John Kerry the two countries will continue to discuss the issue. Arcourt in Greece has formally charged a Roma couple with the abduction of a young girl thought to be around 6 years old. The discovery of the child living in a Roma community had led some to suspect a child-stealing racket but the couple says they were just helping out the girl's natural mother who could no longer raise her. Mary Gearin reports. The truth about little Maria and the couple she knew as her parents is still far from clear. The suspects have been formally charged with abducting the girl they say they took in because her mother could not care for her. The case has raised fears of a child trafficking ring operating across Europe but supporters of the suspects have rallied to defend them and the entire Roma community. TRANSLATION: This is an isolated incident. You cannot blacken the name of every Roma in Greece by implying that gypsies kidnap children. Never in history has this happened in Greece.Vision has emerged of a girl who appears to be Maria, apparently dancing happily in her Roma community, and cameras were invited into the home where she lived. Lawyers for the suspects say they're keen to find Maria's biological mother to prove their custody of the child, while not legal, was in good faith. Our clients claim is that we never abduct this child. We just adopt ed in a way non-legal, that's where we can confess.More clues about Maria are emerging. The charity that's taken her in says medical examinations suggest she's in fact 5 or 6 not 4 as shown in what's now considered a forged birth certificate. As authorities search for answers, this mystery is reviving deep mistrust between Greece and its Roma community. The YMCA has been accused of failing to support parents and childcare workers after one of its employees sexually abused 12 boys. The Royal Commission into child sexual abuse is looking into the policies and procedures of the YMCA in NSW. The State's largest provider of out of school childcare. Phillipa McDonald reports. This case involves criminal acts against 12 boy those we're not allowed to reveal the identities of several key witnesses before the Royal Commission. The evidence before the commission was that Jonathan Lord's employment at camp USA where he was dismissed under suspicious circumstances was not looked into by YMCA so one phone call to Camp USA could have prevented the abuse of all these children. This woman's son, who was 7 at the time, was convicted by paedophile Jonathan Lord at the YMCA. He said, "Mum a, the bad thing is you might be express stressed but the good thing is it's good for children."-Y feel extremely let down. I trusted the YMCA to look after children and thought my child would be safe there.AT has told the Royal Commission the YMCA provided very little support to parents when Lord's crimes were revealed. We've never dealt with a child sex offender before. The criminal process is one we didn't want to jeopardise. YMCA childcare employees who worked alongside Jonathan Lord have also given evidence. One told the commission that she never really reflected on the organisation's child protection policies because she thought they only really existed for the purposes of accreditation. You were not aware there was a policy in place that said children sitting on staff members' laps is considered inappropriate? Correct.Another childcare worker broke down, telling the commission, "I feel devastated. I blame myself every day. I should have reported what I'd seen." To finance now and strong gains by BHP Billiton and the banks led the local share market to another 5-year high today. Here's Alan Kohler.

BHP Billiton shares jumped nearly 2.5% after the company announced record-breaking iron ore production, up 23% on last year, and also lifted its guidance for what it will produce next year so the mining boom livers on at least in iron ore. BHP Billiton accounted for half of today's increase in the market as a whole to a new 5-year record high and AMP and the banks accounted for the rest. Others worth mentioning are the salary packaging firm MacMillan Shakespeare up 4.5% and Qantas down 3%, it's lost 20 cents or 13% in a month. Not much action on global markets. Wall Street was flat last night, European and Japanese stocks edged higher, Chinese market fell. On commodity markets, oil fell in New York last night but the Tapis price in Asia was steady today. Silver went up, gold was flat. The wheat price fell in Chicago. The Australian Dollar was virtually flat as well, down slightly against the US dollar. Couple of random charts for you tonight. You heard the Federal Government debt ceiling has been raised without the sort of bust-up they have in the United States. Maybe there should be a debt ceiling for the Australian states. As this chart shows, they're the ones with worsening deficits. Further to last night's one on inequality in the United States, this is kind of at the heart of itch the blue line shows the ratio of debt to GDP in America and the orange line shows the ratio of bankers' salaries to everyone else's. A bit of a close match on the whole. The more people borrow the more bankers get paid relative to those borrowing from them. That's finance.

To racing and this year's Cox Plate is now wide open after the hot favourite, Atlantic Jewel, was scratched from the race today. The mare's won 10 of its 11 starts and was at short odds to win Saturday's $3 million race but a training mishap this morning has cast doubt on its racing future. At Moonee Valley's annual Cox Plate breakfast this morning there, was nothing to suggest the hot favourite was about to be scratched. Barrier's good, all fine. All systems go from here. But when Mark Kavanagh returned to his Flemington stables, it became apparent the mare had pulled up lame from trackwork. Once she cooled down we found bit of puffiness around the leg so when I got back from the barrier draw I didn't like the look of so we had a scan. It's unclear if the horse will ever be able to resume racing. At this stage it's too early to say. The scratching means it's a done deal the horse is favourite for the Cox Plate. The horse was impressive at trackwork at Moonee Valley. I reckon he's 100% but it won't be any excuses. It's the tricks in between. You don't want to overcook them and take the sprint out of them. We want them just fresh enough to run. Glen Boss was to ride another heavily backed horse, lune lune, but the jockey failed to have a careless riding penalty reduced by the board. I've been given a fair hearing, I can't argue with that. He's chosen to see the stewards have made the correct decision so I've got to abide by the rules and move on. Caulfield Cup-winning jockey Nick Hall had his rareless riding charge reduced but not by enough to ride in the Cox Plate. To the weather now and despite it being much cooler than yesterday t was a muggy day today in the national capital.

Cloud building over SA, Victoria and NSW in a developing trough is bringing rain and severe storms and cloud over southern WA and northeast Queensland in onshore winds are bringing light coastal showers. The synoptic chart shows a low extending across the central interior to the southeast is bringing rain and isolated thunderstorms from the Northern Territory to the south-eastern states. Hot north-westerly winds ahead of this trough will bring a hot afternoon and evening to eastern inland areas.

Before we go, a brief recap of our top story tonight. The ACT has passed Australia's first gay marriage laws but the Federal Government says it will seek to have them overturned in the High Court.That's the latest from the Canberra newsroom. Coming up on 7:30 with Annabel Crabb, the struggle to understand why people deliberately light fires. I'm Virginia Haussegger and I'll be back with a news update inch about one hour. Until then, goodnight. Captions by CSI Australia

This Program is Captioned Live.Welcome to 7:30. Tonight - playing with fire. What drives people to commit arson.

We know they have poor communication skills, poor social skills, they're not very assertive, they find it hard to say what they want and what they need so the fire can be - they can start using fire because it gets lots of attention very quickly.And the Government prepares to wield the budget knife.There will be some entitlements that the Government just can't keep affording to pay. So if you want to have new entitlements in relation to school funding, Gonski funding that will mean there will have to be adjustments elsewhere. You want new entitlements to disability care, that will require adjustments.Thousands of fire