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Lateline -

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This Program is Captioned Live.

Tonight - Colonel Gaddafi's Tripoli compound force force the rebels, the dictator vows to fight to
the death.

TRANSLATION: All the tribes in and out of Tripoli, youths, senior people, women, men and armed
committees Tripoli and eradicate the traitors and rats.

A defiant Gaddafi goes into hiding.

We're in front of his compound and where is he? and where is he? He's underground, he can't do
anything. Where is he? We're looking for you. Where are you? Come on, come out. Where are you?

Good evening. Welcome Good evening. Welcome to 'Lateline'. I'm Tony Jones. Also tonight, in a mo of
that could have serious repercussions for the Gillard Government and its endangered MP Craig
Thomson, his former union has asked the NSW police to investigate him. Kathy Jackson, the woman who
replaced Thomson at the top of the health services Union, says she represents the working poor and
they deserve answers.

In my view, as a National Secretary of the union, as a member of this organisation who misuses
union money, be it for prostitution services or other unauthorised services, has committed a crime
and, in particular, they've defrauded the membership.

Kathy Jackson shortly. We'll also hear from the National Secretary of the AWU on the Thomson
scandal, but Paul Howes also says Australian manufacturers are facing their biggest crisis since
the Great Depression and calls for the Government to set mandates for the use of Australian steel
and manufactured goods infrastructure projects. That's coming up. First our other headlines.
Australia's worst-ever house fire claims the lives of 11 people from the same family in Brisbane.

Tripoli but not Gaddafi in rebel hands

Tripoli but not Gaddafi in rebel hands

Broadcast: 24/08/2011

Reporter: John Stewart

Libyan dictator Moamar Gaddafi has made a speech vowing death or victory after Libyan rebels seized
control of his compound in the capital, Tripoli.


TONY JONES, PRESENTER: The Battle for Tripoli continues with rebels and Gaddafi loyalists
exchanging fire and NATO war planes striking targets in and around the city.

NATO says 80 per cent of the capital is now under rebel control.

Colonel Gaddafi, whose location remains unknown, has broadcast a defiant speech vowing death or

Lateline's John Stewart compiled this report on a momentous 24 hours that saw rebel forces overrun
the dictator's main compound.

JOHN STEWART, REPORTER: When the walls of the compound were finally breached, there were no
Gaddafis or any of their supporters inside. Rebels swarmed around the sprawling complex, seat of
the dictator's power for 42 years.

They hoisted their flag from atop Gaddafi's iconic fist sculpture and ransacked his home.

REBEL SOLDIER: "I'm in Gaddafi's room, oh my God." But then, then this thing happened: I found
this. I was like, "Oh my goodness," but I'm happy now.

JOHN STEWART: As symbols of Gaddafi's rule came under the boot or were dismantled, Libyans vented
their relief and anger.

REBEL SOLDIER II: We're in front of his compound and where is he? He's underground, he can't do
anything. Where is he? We're looking for you! Where are you? Come out! Come out! Where are you?

JOHN STEWART: The fighting to take the compound had been long and intense. For hours rebels had
swarmed around its walls. From inside, Gaddafi's men fired rockets, shells and grenades while
loyalist snipers picked off rebel fighters.

The wounded were ferried to homes. The worst injured taken to Tripoli's only functioning hospital
but, without medical supplies and equipment, many lives were lost.

MOUSSA ABU AKRA, DOCTOR: We need more doctors, more equipment and we also have deficient

JOHN STEWART: The rebel leadership says hundreds of people, including children, have been killed
over the past three days. Two thousand Libyans are believed to have been injured.

Despite the losses, there was celebration in Green Square, the site of so many pro-Gaddafi rallies
over the past months. People here believe Colonel Gaddafi's rule is over.

And elsewhere in the country, including Benghazi, there were scenes of jubilation. But where is
Colonel Gaddafi, his son and heir Saif al-Islam and his loyal armed troops?

The beleaguered strongman made a radio address claiming he was still in Tripoli and vowing to fight

MOAMAR GADDAFI, LIBYAN LEADER (voiceover translation): All the tribes in and out of Tripoli,
youths, senior people, women, men and armed committees must attack Tripoli and eradicate the
traitors and rats.

JOHN STEWART: NATO says the rebels are in control of 80 per cent of the capital, with sporadic
resistance by Gaddafi's forces. But there are reports of heavy gunfire around the Rixos Hotel in
central Tripoli where around 35 foreign nationals, mostly journalists, are still believed to be
trapped by loyalist guards.

John Stewart, Lateline.

HSU offers books to police investigators

HSU offers books to police investigators

Broadcast: 24/08/2011

Reporter: Tom Iggulden

The Health Services Union says its first duty is to its members above the future of Craig Thomson
and the Gillard Government.


TONY JONES, PRESENTER: Yet more pressure's being applied to embattled Labor MP Craig Thomson with
the union he used to lead saying they'll co-operate with a potential police investigation into his

The Health Services Union says its first duty is to its members, even if the investigation into Mr
Thomson brings about the downfall of the Gillard Government.

Political correspondent Tom Iggulden reports from Canberra.

TOM IGGULDEN, REPORTER: The Opposition's still finding new angles to embarrass the Government about
Craig Thomson.

TONY ABBOTT, OPPOSITION LEADER: There are 70,000 members of the Health Services Union, 70,000
low-paid workers whose fees, it seems, may well have been misused and the Prime Minister owes them
an explanation.

TOM IGGULDEN: That came after Tony Abbott moved a motion just a minute into Question Time to force
the Prime Minister to make a statement about Mr Thomson.

TONY ABBOTT: And I say to the Prime Minister: people with a reasonable explanation have nothing to
fear from the facts.

TOM IGGULDEN: The motion failed.

JULIA GILLARD, PRIME MINISTER: I've made many statements about that in this House and I stand by
every one of them.

TOM IGGULDEN: And the Prime Minister was in no mood to return to Question Time.

JULIA GILLARD: I ask that further questions be placed on the notice paper.

TOM IGGULDEN: But as the Prime Minister dodged, the Health Services Union broke its silence on the
latest allegations against Mr Thomson included in a brief of evidence provided to police from the

KATHY JACKSON, HEALTH SERVICES UNION: If the NSW Police are investigating this matter, then we're
not going to cause any impediment to them and we'll provide every records that we have available to

TOM IGGULDEN: The union uncovered evidence three years ago of possible financial irregularities
from Mr Thomson's five-year spell as its secretary. Until now, that evidence hasn't been referred
to police.

KATHY JACKSON: The police, as far as we were concerned, were not the relevant authority with the
facts that we had in front of us at that time. The relevant authority we continue to believe is
Fair Work Australia. Under the Act, they have certain powers that the police don't have.

TOM IGGULDEN: The Fair Work investigation's now two years old and has still not reported. The
union's denying the Labor Party contacted it regarding its co-operation with the potential police

KATHY JACKSON: Any allegations against - be it a union official or any member of the Labor Party -
is damaging to a Labor government. We understand that. But our first priority is to the members of
the Health Services Union, not to members of the Australian Labor Party.

TOM IGGULDEN: These moves increase the chance of a full-blown police investigation into Mr Thomson,
but do little to undermine the Government's position that Mr Thomson be presumed innocent until a
court finds otherwise. And the Opposition's already looking for new ways to land punches on the
Government, even at the expense of its own members.

Malcolm Turnbull was due at the funeral of his friend, the esteemed painter Margaret Olley today.
That would have also allowed the Arts Minister to also go with him as a pair, keeping numbers even
for parliamentary votes. But Tony Abbott scrapped the deal.

ANTHONY ALBANESE, TRANSPORT MINISTER: Despite it being agreed to in writing.

SIMON CREAN, ARTS MINISTER: Some things are above politics. And memorial services are above
politics. We should have been at that service today.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE, MANAGER OF OPPOSITION BUSINESS: It is not appropriate for a funeral to take
precedence over votes in the Parliament about the integrity of the Government.

TOM IGGULDEN: The Opposition did get an extra vote though by denying a pair to the Prime Minister
while she hosted the president of the Seychelles in her office.

But the extra vote wasn't enough to pass a motion the Opposition moved against Mr Thomson.

Meanwhile, the Government has passed its legislation for plain packaging on cigarettes.

Tom Iggulden, Lateline.

HSU's Jackson joins Lateline

HSU's Jackson joins Lateline

Broadcast: 24/08/2011

Reporter: Tony Jones

Health Services Union national secretary Kathy Jackson says she is concerned by any union official
misusing funds from her low-income members.


TONY JONES, PRESENTER: Just a short time ago I spoke to Kathy Jackson, the national secretary of
the Health Services Union. She was in our Melbourne studio.

Kathy Jackson, thanks for being there.


TONY JONES: Now, what new material has come to light in this scandal which has convinced your union
it was time to hand this over to the NSW Police?

KATHY JACKSON: Well, other than what we've read in the media and followed in the media in the last
couple of weeks, there's nothing new in so far as new material, but as far as the union's executive
is concerned, we felt that we had to act today.

We've had this matter before Fair Work Australia now for two years. We still believe that the
appropriate body is Fair Work Australia. They are the regulatory authority for unions and other
industrial organisations. They've had this report from me presented to them in - I think it was
about March - two years ago.

In those two years, Fair Work have used their powers appropriately, I say. They've interviewed and
subpoenaed people and got evidence. I was interviewed by Fair Work Australia on numerous occasions.
The Government solicitor was there. And as far as I understand it, their investigation is

But because of the new allegations being made - and they are just allegations at this stage ...

TONY JONES: Which new ones do you mean?

KATHY JACKSON: The stuff that appeared in the Daily Telegraph, as I've seen it. I've been away. I
got back into the country last Sunday. Allegations about hotel rooms, etc., etc. We felt that we -
some of that material was not available to the union, a lot of that. That was news to us.

TONY JONES: Right. OK, let's get this quite straight. Is the union making a complaint to the police
that a crime may have taken place and that the police should now handle the investigation? Because
that's what everyone was saying was lacking: the union making a complaint.

KATHY JACKSON: The union has made - referred the matter to the police. The union has referred to -
late this afternoon, the union has written to the Police commissioner. We've delivered the BDO
Kendall report, the internal review that the union had conducted. We've delivered that to the
Police commissioner, we've delivered a letter - you know, the material we sent to Fair Work
Australia. A lot of the material's still in Melbourne, so we still have to deliver that material to

TONY JONES: OK, but briefly, does your material suggest that crimes may have taken place?

KATHY JACKSON: Our position is and always has been we believe there's been misuse and
misappropriation of union funds and we wanted - we still need Fair Work Australia to continue and
finish that investigation. That hasn't happened to date, so therefore, because of all these new
allegations that have come to light, we felt that we needed to act on behalf of our membership.

TONY JONES: OK. Is there any way at all that the use of a union credit card to pay for prostitutes
could be legitimate?

KATHY JACKSON: Of course not. Of course not.

TONY JONES: And yet it has happened?

KATHY JACKSON: It has happened.

TONY JONES: But currently your investigation did not uncover who was responsible, is that right?
And so now you want the police to get to the bottom of that?

KATHY JACKSON: That's correct. That's our problem. Our issue is, and always has been - and we've
been upfront about this - there's been a misappropriation of union funds, we believe there's been
unauthorised use of credit cards, unauthorised expenditure that is not normal union expenditure and
we want answers to that. This union and our members require answers to that.

TONY JONES: OK. If the identity of the person who used the credit card for that purpose, for the
purpose of paying for prostitutes, is discovered, would that person, in your opinion, in the
opinion of your investigators, have committed a crime?

KATHY JACKSON: Um, well, they would have committed a crime, I would say - like, I'm not a legal
expert, but in my view, as the national secretary of the union, as a member of this union, anyone
in our organisation who misuses union money, be it for, you know, prostitution services or other
unauthorised services, has committed a crime, and in particular they've defrauded the membership.

TONY JONES: Is it clear from your investigation that Mr Thomson used his union credit card to make
more than $100,000 of cash withdrawals?

KATHY JACKSON: Well, I don't - I'm not on this program to talk about Mr Thomson, I'm here to talk
about the allegations that are out there. And what I mean by that - I'll be quite specific about
that: we have made particular allegations to Fair Work Australia about our concerns and we want
somebody to follow that up and let us know what has happened.

Beause what we don't know is there has been over $100,000 worth of irregular transactions, let's
call it that. There has been money spent on services not authorised by the executive. And, you
know, we're not going to jump the gun at that. We're saying we need to know who's done that and
then take the appropriate action against that.

TONY JONES: Very briefly, has that money all been paid back? Was it ...


TONY JONES: OK, so you're saying that you've found 100,000 missing dollars?


TONY JONES: Now, let me ask you this: what do you think about the culture of the union as it was
run under Mr Thomson's leadership? Whether or not he paid for prostitution, that the use of
prostitutes by somebody in that union credited to his union card could have happened in the first

KATHY JACKSON: I think that the union needed to have, or needs to have and does have now, more
importantly, checks and balances in place to make sure that never happens again. But I can't speak
about the leadership of Craig Thomson. All I can say to ...

TONY JONES: But do you know anything? Do you know whether that was commonplace under his leadership
of the union?

KATHY JACKSON: No, other than what we discovered in the exit audit that I asked for.

TONY JONES: Now you've repeatedly referred to your union members today, or many of them at least,
as the working poor. What's the point you're making there?

KATHY JACKSON: The point I'm making there is our members that work in aged care facilities and in
other health sector instrumentalities are the working class people. They earn less than $20 an hour
doing work that nobody else wants to do.

These people are salt of the Earth. These people deserve answers from the union. We need to report
to our members. And obviously the public needs to know as well. But more importantly, my role is to
make sure the union money is expended in a proper manner, and using it on prostitution services or
other unauthorised services is not a proper use of union money.

TONY JONES: So are you saying that this extravagant and improper use of union money, no matter who
did it, is a betrayal of the poorest workers?

KATHY JACKSON: It's a total betrayal of all workers, regardless - we cover blue collar workers and
we cover doctors. So our union covers all classifications across the health sector. The Health
Services Union is the union for all health workers.

TONY JONES: OK. One final question for you: you said you're not here to speak about Mr Thomson, but
he's at the heart of this. Should he still remain an MP while these charges are investigated?

KATHY JACKSON: Oh, that's a matter for him and the Labor Party.

TONY JONES: What do you think?

KATHY JACKSON: Well, I don't - my view is that if Mr Thomson stands by his statements, and I
understand late this afternoon that's what he was saying: he stands by his statements, then he
should go on the record and repeat those statements. He owes it to the members of the Health
Services Union, when he was national secretary, what he stood for. And, um, let's hear it from him.

TONY JONES: Have you ever fronted him about any of these things directly?


TONY JONES: Would you like the opportunity to do that?

KATHY JACKSON: Oh, well, I'm happy to.

TONY JONES: Kathy Jackson, we'll have to leave you there. We thank you very much for taking the
time to come and join us tonight.


Howes calls for active support of manufacturing

Howes calls for active support of manufacturing

Broadcast: 24/08/2011

Reporter: Tony Jones

AWU national secretary Paul Howes says Australia should consider local content rules while the rest
of the world is pursuing increasingly protectionist policies.


TONY JONES, PRESENTER: Earlier this evening I was joined by Paul Howes, the national secretary of
the Australian Workers' Union, to talk first about the growing pressure over Craig Thomson, but
also about union accusations that mining companies are helping to kill off manufacturing by
importing cheap steel from China.

As you'll see, Paul Howes thinks the Government should ignore cries of protectionism and set
mandates for the use of Australian steel and other manufactured goods in big infrastructure

He was in our Parliament House studio.

Paul Howes, thanks for being there.


TONY JONES: Are you starting to think the Craig Thomson affair could bring down the Government?

PAUL HOWES: Well, look, as far as I'm aware, there are no proven allegations against Craig Thomson.
There's matters before the police and they should stay with the police to determine whether there's
any volition to the allegations that have been made.

TONY JONES: Let me put it this way: does the future of the Gillard Government now depend on the
credibility of Craig Thomson?

PAUL HOWES: Look, I think there's a matter that is before the police. The police are going to
conduct their inquiries. And everyone should be presumed innocent until they're proven guilty and I
think that should apply to Craig Thomson as well.

TONY JONES: Well we're not talking about his guilt or innocence; we're talking about his
credibility. That's a different thing.

PAUL HOWES: Well, I don't know, Tony. I'm not a police investigator, I'm not a court, neither are
you, and the appropriate authority should determine whether he is credible or not in terms of his
explanations over the allegations.

TONY JONES: Is it time for the NSW Labor Party to now come clean and explain why they paid his
legal bills for the defamation case and how much they paid?

PAUL HOWES: Um, well, I think that's a matter for the NSW party and it's not my role to dictate to
them on how they're gonna operate.

TONY JONES: No, but you'll have your opinions and I'm asking for your opinion. Why are they drawing
down the shutters when this will inevitably come out?

PAUL HOWES: Well, I don't know that they've drawn down the shutters. I mean, ultimately, political
parties should be free to govern their own internal affairs and I think that's what the NSW party
is doing.

To be honest, Tony, when you've - when I've lost 1,400 workers out of the steel industry over the
last week, what's going on with Craig Thomson and the NSW party really isn't my priority or what
I'm concerned about at the moment.

TONY JONES: I'll come to that, but we are talking about the future of the Gillard Government and
you do have a stake in that. So the silence from Sussex Street means ongoing speculation about very
serious questions.

For example, did the NSW branch convince him to take the defamation case in the first place to keep
this out of the newspapers during the last election?

PAUL HOWES: Look, I've got - I don't know anything about this, Tony. You're asking the questions to
the wrong person. You know, I've come on to talk about manufacturing and I'm happy to do that.

In terms of Craig Thomson, my view is that like any other Australian citizen he should be presumed
innocent until proven guilty. In terms of other issues concerning the party, I'm not aware of any
allegations concerning the party's operations which would constitute any breach of the law, and so
frankly, they're irrelevant.

TONY JONES: Do you know the answer to that question though?

PAUL HOWES: What question?

TONY JONES: The question about why the NSW Labor Party paid for his defamation costs?

PAUL HOWES: I do not. I don't hold any position within the NSW Labor Party and I'm not aware of,
um, what's gone on.

TONY JONES: You're incredibly well-informed. If you were to ask that question, you'd get an answer,
wouldn't you?

PAUL HOWES: Well - and Tony, as I said, since Monday all I have been focusing on is the future of
the Australian manufacturing industry and the 1,400 workers at BlueScope Steel who are facing the
prospect of unemployment and these very important issues for the future of our nation and the
number one priority for our union.

TONY JONES: OK. Let's move on to the subject you want to talk about: the future of the
manufacturing industry, the crisis in the manufacturing industry - you could put it that way. The
Federal Government appointed a steel supplier advocate today. It's taken seven months to do that.
Has that long delay damaged the steel manufacturing industry?

PAUL HOWES: Well, look, I'm very pleased that that appointment was made and the supplier advocates
play a key role in Government policy in terms of boosting the participation of our industry in
various procurement processes.

I mean, I'm disappointed it took as long as it did. It should have happened earlier. I don't
necessarily believe it damaged the industry, because, frankly, the macro issues in the industry at
the moment, principally our unprecedented high dollar and also the massive pressure and shift that
the mining boom is putting on our economy, is well beyond the control of one particular person
within one particular department.

But, I would have preferred to see the advocate in place earlier, but he's in place now and that's
a good thing.

TONY JONES: Were jobs lost as a result of this long delay? I mean, could he have had some effect on
the industry? Obviously you're expecting an effect by having one now.

PAUL HOWES: Look, it's hard to say, but the issue about BlueScope Steel exiting the export market
isn't something that the steel industry advocate himself would be able to control. The reality is
we are seeing a fundamental shift in our economy. The high Australian dollar caused by our
extraordinarily high interest rates, the mining boom, the chronic devaluation of the Chinese Yuan
is creating huge inequalities right across the economy.

Now, one person by themselves can't fix that, but the Government and we as a nation are going to
need a long-term plan if we are going to continue to add value to our natural resources, if we are
going to continue to have a viable industry which employs over a million Australians, as opposed to
the mining industry, which only employees 200,000 Australians.

I think both sectors should be able to win, but one person in one position isn't going to be able
to determine that factor.

TONY JONES: Alright. The Resources Minister Martin Ferguson is effectively blaming the steel-makers
for many of these problems. He's saying they're not up to scratch, they're not competitive enough
and they're not efficient like the mining industry. Your response?

PAUL HOWES: Well, they're not helpful comments and shifting the blame at the moment isn't really
useful. This is what we know: a report last week from the Australian Steel Institute showed
comprehensively that only 10 per cent of componentry in Australia's major natural resource projects
at the moment is Australian-made.

Mining companies are being pressured by foreign investors, but also through global supply change
channels not to use Australian made equipment in the mining boom. At the end of the day, the
resources that are under the ground belong to all Australians. It's Martin Ferguson himself who
said that on the coal seam gas issue - belongs to all Australians.

TONY JONES: So how do you explain - Martin Ferguson - we'll run out of time before we get a chance
to answer this if we don't get this in.

PAUL HOWES: We should have stayed off Craig Thomson then, Tony.

TONY JONES: How do you explain - well that's a very important series of questions as well. But how
do you explain what Martin Ferguson is saying about your industry?

PAUL HOWES: Well, I represent workers in both the minerals industry and the manufacturing industry.

TONY JONES: OK, well, about the steel industry?

PAUL HOWES: But it is not helpful. The reality is the mining companies in this country are getting
away with far too much. They don't want to put anything back into the community.

You saw their campaign against the mining resources rent tax and the RSPT. Now they're getting away
with a situation where they're only using 10 per cent of local content in their major
infrastructure projects.

There was a view that naturally by itself the amount of work coming from the resources sector would
flow through into the manufacturing sector. It hasn't happened, and that's why plans like Eric
Ripper's plan in WA to have comprehensive planning and demonstration of what componentry is being
used on these projects has to be developed on a national plan.

Just saying it's the manufacturing companies' fault is rubbish. Clearly there is a shift in our
economy and the Government has a role in fixing that up.

TONY JONES: Now the Government is spending vast sums of money on these giant infrastructure
projects. Should they mandate a much higher level of Australian steel and Australian manufactured
components in these projects?

PAUL HOWES: Well one of the reasons why we've lost so many of our export markets is the
increasingly protectionist stances taken by foreign governments. We can't export steel into North
America anymore because of the buy America policies with their procurement policies in that

Now, in a perfect world, a free trade environment with none of these procurement policies would be
great, but the reality is with the rest of the world taking increasingly protectionist stances, we
too should make sure that we are mandating procurement policies that if Australian taxpayers'
dollars are used on these big infrastructure projects, Australian taxpayers should come first
because they're a ...

TONY JONES: We're running out of time. At what level should the mandate be set?

PAUL HOWES: Well, this is what we need - this is why we need a comprehensive plan on what will
actually save the steel industry during this time of an extraordinary high dollar until normal
economic conditions return.

I mean, the thing about the resources sector is: once you dig it up, it's gone forever. Now
manufacturing are renewable jobs, they are jobs that can stay there for the long term. And we need
to have Australian-made steel into these projects, particularly when Australian taxpayers' dollars
are being used.

And you can do that through tax incentives, you can do that through mandating, you can even just do
it by getting these resource companies and the infrastructure companies to actually demonstrate and
show to the Australian people what are they using and being open and transparent about how much
they are spending on local procurement

TONY JONES: A final question: Peter Beattie's been appointed as a kind of roving ambassador for
Australian manufacturing exporters in South America. Is that gonna work?

PAUL HOWES: Well, look, it's a positive step forward and the more people we can have out there
advocating for Australian industry both here and overseas is good. But these types of individuals
aren't going to solve the issue. We need a comprehensive plan to deal with this major shift in our

We had a major shift in our economy in the 1980s and that was attached to major industry plans that
assisted communities in adjusting to those problems - the car industry, the steel industry at the
time and so on.

We're going to need the same type of plans again if we are going to not see widespread unemployment
and widespread closures in regions where there aren't resource jobs to be able to mop up those

And remember this: 200,000 workers in the resources sector, a million workers in manufacturing. The
fact is there aren't the jobs available in the resources sector to absorb all the losses that will
continue to happen in the manufacturing sector if we don't actually take action now.

TONY JONES: We've been seeing this happening for a long time. Why isn't there a plan in place
already? Is that someone ...

PAUL HOWES: Well we haven't seen ...

TONY JONES: Well, with respect, the Australian Industry Group's been talking about this for a very
long time.

PAUL HOWES: Yeah, but in terms of the dollar, we've been seeing this for two years. And, yes, we
should have acted earlier.

But, let's not sit around having a blame game, let's not be too defensive about what government
policies are there. I don't care about that, because frankly manufacturing today is in its worst
crisis since the Great Depression.

It is worse than the GFC. Every CEO that I've spoken to in the last two weeks is telling me that.
And the time has come for action, the time has come for a comprehensive plan and we need to make
sure that we keep this industry alive because if we don't, the impact on manufacturing centres
across Australia will be drastic, it'll be severe and it'll be - it'll create a type of society
that I don't think most Australians want.

I don't think most Australians want us just to be a big sandpit for China and a tourism resort for
North Asia. I think they want to see us value adding to our natural resources. Sure, we have to
change the way we're doing that, sure, we need to adjust, but it has to come through a
comprehensive plan from the Federal Government.

TONY JONES: Paul Howes, we'll have to leave you there. We thank you very much for coming in to join
us tonight.

PAUL HOWES: Thanks, Tony.

8 children, 3 adults die in house fire

8 children, 3 adults die in house fire

Broadcast: 24/08/2011

Reporter: Imogen Brennan

In Logan south of Brisbane 11 people from the same family have died in what is believed to be
Australia's worst ever house fire.


TONY JONES, PRESENTER: The community of Logan, south of Brisbane, is tonight coming to terms with
the deaths of 11 people from the same family in a house fire overnight.

It's believed to be the worst fire in Australian history. Eight children and teenagers are among
the dead.

Imogen Brennan reports.

IMOGEN BRENNAN, REPORTER: This morning the streets around the Logan City fire scene were crowded
with a grieving Islander community. Just after midnight, a fire broke out in this suburban home
where 14 people were gathered for a family get together.

PETER RYAN, QLD FIRE AND RESCUE: The total engulfment of the building in flame, which is inclusive
of two vehicles parked external to the building.

IMOGEN BRENNAN: Three men were able to escape, desperately calling for family members who were
trapped inside.

FAIUMU TAFEAGA, RELATIVE: And when he got out, he called their names and no-one there. And he knew
already that the girlfriend and the kids were still inside.

IMOGEN BRENNAN: Thirty firefighters could do nothing but put out the fire. The blaze so ferocious,
the top floor of the home collapsed, preventing any rescue attempts.

PETER RYAN: I haven't seen a tragedy which is to this extent.

IMOGEN BRENNAN: Neighbours, friends and relatives gathered, their strong faith helping them cope.

NOEL POWERS, QLD POLICE: What is readily evident is just it's a total and utter catastrophe, it's
just a tragedy beyond all proportions.

IMOGEN BRENNAN: Authorities are scouring the scene trying to find out what could have caused the

Forensics crews are expecting the process of identifying the victims to be slow and methodical.
Police say they may have to rely on dental records because of the destruction caused by the
ferocity of the blaze.

This afternoon, fire and rescue teams built scaffolding inside the house to make it secure enough
for the forensic team to get in.

NOEL POWERS: We need to be 100 per cent sure and it's no quick fix. It will be here for some time.

IMOGEN BRENNAN: The close-knit Polynesian community is grieving. The Premier joined a prayer vigil
mourning the lives lost.

ANNA BLIGH, QLD PREMIER: This is a community in shock today, but it is a very strong and close-knit
community and they're rallying around each other.

IMOGEN BRENNAN: In Canberra too politicians paused to remember them, paying tribute to the families

The coroner will investigate the tragedy - the worst house fire in Australia's history and the most
devastating since the Childers backpackers fire in 2000.

Imogen Brennan, Lateline.

Australian content lost in digital multi-channels

Australian content lost in digital multi-channels

Broadcast: 24/08/2011

Reporter: Karen Barlow

A new report from funding body Screen Australia says Australian storytelling and jobs are being
threatened by cheap foreign programming flooding digital television channels.


TONY JONES, PRESENTER: Now that digital multi-channels have arrived, Australian television viewers
have more options than ever before and more choice is on the way.

But a new report has found that Australian content is being lost in the new media flood.

The funding body Screen Australia says cheaper foreign programming's now dominating the Australian
television landscape to the disadvantage of local storytelling and jobs.

Karen Barlow reports.

KAREN BARLOW, REPORTER: The television revolution is rapidly evolving. New digital channels are
vying for attention and they're competing with internet TV, pay TV and the traditional free-to-air

But they don't have any Australian content obligations or requirements and they have access to many
hours of cheaper foreign TV shows.

FIONA CAMERON, SCREEN AUSTRALIA: Why wouldn't they? So, what you're seeing is the market failing to
be able to allow Australian content to be put on those multi-channels.

KAREN BARLOW: The national funding body for screen production, Screen Australia, wants to inform
debate around the Federal Government's convergence review, which will lead to an expected revamp of
new media policies and regulations. It surveyed the local media landscape and found that more
choice and fewer rules means Australian voices are being lost.

FIONA CAMERON: What this report demonstrates is that the increase in foreign content has been
doubled, 154 per cent. That's a huge increase in what we as viewers are watching on the box. So we
get a lot more content with the Australian content diluted in that huge pool of content.

KAREN BARLOW: Screen Australia has found that Australian content across all commercial TV has
dropped from 60 per cent to 35 per cent in three years. It warns this dilution is threatening the
viability of the entire film and TV industry.

FIONA CAMERON: You do the math. Why would free-to-air broadcasters do it? I'm not complaining about
that. I'm saying they've got a business to run.

What we're saying is, moving forward into a conversion environment, is there a better way to look
at government requirements and incentives? And I think there probably is.

KAREN BARLOW: The commercial TV sector says further rules and regulations like quotas would be a
great burden on multi-channels.

The industry body Free TV says it's the internet which is diluting Australian content. It says that
will be exacerbated by the National Broadband Network bringing in internet TV. It says the entire
media landscape needs to be overhauled in the convergence review.

JULIE FLYNN, FREE TV: You can't regulate the internet like you can regulate traditional media. So,
there's no point in trying to love the existing child to death, which is what I think this report
seems to suggest is still the thinking.

KAREN BARLOW: Audiences may just sort out what they want to see on TV anyway.

HAROLD MITCHELL, MEDIA BUYER: We have very good people who are amazingly inventive, highly
creative. And if we give them any form of protection, it's not going to make them any better. What
we need to do is produce material for this part of the world.

KAREN BARLOW: While the way people get their programs is changing, television is still expected to
be the dominant player.

KIM DALTON, ABC DIRECTOR OF TELEVISION: The critical thing in Australia is to make sure that we
have the systems in place, whether it's the broadcasting systems or the subsidy systems in place,
to make sure that we're still able to tell our own stories and for people to hear Australian voices
and hear Australian stories via television programs.

KAREN BARLOW: The final convergence report is expected to be finalised in March.

Karen Barlow, Lateline.

A quick look at the weather now. Fine in Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Darwin. Showers for Melbourne
and Hobart. Morning frost and fog for Canberra. That's all from us. If you'd like to look back at
tonight's interviews with Kathy Jackson or Paul Howes or review any of 'Lateline's stories or
transcripts, you can visit our website. You can also follow us on Twitter and Face book. I'll see
you again tomorrow night. Until then, good night.