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assistance will be provided to

self-funded retirees to help them

deal with the impact of the tax. The

civil aviation safety authority says

it's working through the weekend to

assess whether it will seek

extension on the grounding of Tiger assess whether it will seek an

Airways. The low cost carrier's

domestic flights have been suspended

until at least next Saturday or

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warned by Burmese government

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highest-ranking Australian official

to visit Burma

to visit Burma since its civilian

hundred government took office in March. And

hundred of Peruvians have taken part hundred of Peruvians have taken

in the in the 10th annual gay pride parade

out in colourful costumes were in the capital of Lima. People decked

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supporter of same sex equality.

are the latest headlines. supporter of same sex equality. Those This Program is Captioned Live. # Theme music. efforts to bridge the divide On Landline today, we look at

between the big smoke and the bush. understand what it's all about The aim is just to get people to get an understanding, and until people difficult for them to understand I think it's going to be very does and why we do what we do, what our industry to produce food and fibre and the practices we actually use for the country. a study into We hear from the author of informs national politics. how that disconnect changed socially, I think the cities have ethnically diverse, they've become more in comparison with the country to often feel a bit superior and this has led people in the city to people in the country. And Tim Lee meets biological farmers, Welcome to Landline. Hello, I'm Anne Kruger. business from the ground up. quite literally building their Welcome to Landline. Hello, I'm Anne Kruger. The standoff trade to Indonesia continues. over a resumption of the live cattle the top end this week The Prime Minister went to angry about the export ban to face beef producers of the dole as compensation. and insulted by Canberra's offer

forgotten for years. I think we've been made a stand, to be honest. And I think it's time we all With their livelihoods in limbo, this week demanded that Canberra northern beef producers, finally hear their side of the story. but to do a lot of listening. I'm here not to do too much talking

issue back where it began, A former government vet took the animal welfare. raising concerns about that are running out of feed. Live cattle stuck on stations and their calves, That's 25,000 cows, because of your decision. dying of starvation What will you do about this? (Applause) What will you do about this? trade, and issue export permits? Why don't you lift the ban, open as Prime Minister I'm not going to stand here about deadlines. and make grand representations (bleep) angry at you people. Everybody in this room should be so bloody slaughter youse. They should just of people in this room What you've done here to this group is absolute bloody bullshit. in Mount Isa, The mood was just as tense Agriculture Minister, Joe Ludwig. where graziers confronted people across the north Can I then say I understand that are doing it tough forward this package and that's why I've brought to assist those people who have lost their employment. that's destroyed our industry. Basically we've got a minister our closest neighbour. Absolutely insulted north Australia He spat in the face of to make it all better and now he's going

voucher for Centrelink? by giving us a offer grew to an extra $30-million His initial $3-million compensation when Julia Gillard intervened. the political damage Acknowledgement as much of the snap ban had caused as the severe hardship on the north. the short term hardship This is a package to meet

that the industry is facing now. will enable people It is a package which to get direct monetary support. $5,000 and $20,000 It means grants of graziers and related business owners. will soon be available for it's not what was asked for But the Opposition says by the people of the north. doesn't want welfare. The cattle industry They want their trade back. into perspective. Locals helped put that With all due respect, is but a piddle in the Norman River. the offer of compensation of $25,000 Meat and Livestock Australia Meanwhile,

Indonesian government is waiting for a decision by the permits for Australia. to release the next quarterly export We don't know. Indonesian Minister That's in the hands of the as to when they will be handed out. they closed today. And at this point, The next quarter is an unknown. If they're not approved soon, could be locked out of Indonesia Australian beef for the next three months. has no doubt The local federal independent for this whole controversy. who's to blame has to be fed. The green greedy monster Every four or five months sacrifice to the Greens. we've got to give a human In the Red Centre this week, it business as usual, other cattle producers tried to keep sale of the year. as buyers gathered for the biggest but well up on the past decade. Prices were steady on last year, we were in severe drought, The previous years,

produce some fat cattle. so it's a nice feeling to be able to muscle shape in 'em. And with really good gone to Indonesia. Some top end cattle would've Instead they ended up in Alice Springs. Some sold, others were passed in. Most of them sold and they sold to probably about the rate that we hoped they might sell to. So that was very good. The industry's keen not to talk itself down. I think what we are certainly seeing is some re-adjustment in prices. Which could be in anticipation or as a result directly of changes or increases in numbers of northern cattle. But central Australian farmers are feeling for their northern counterparts. We're all in the industry together. We're all trying to sell an animal - a product that we've got.

Like their counterparts in Darwin and north-west Queensland,

the compensation offer got short shrift. Not even a bandaid, really, is it? We certainly need a lot more done than that. Uncertainty is creating anxiety. We need to know that the Prime Minister and Minister Ludwig animal - a product that we've got. are serious about getting this show back on the road, because I really don't know what's going to become of us. A time line's very important. We're at a critical phase in northern Australia. We have a small window of opportunity between the wet season. We need to move quickly.

The Prime Minister wasn't able to offer any timetable. We're going to do this as quickly as we can. I am not going to let an extra day go by that isn't necessary to get the animal welfare standards in place.

In Central Queensland

the crisis coincided with a scheduled MLA event for beef producers, called a Meat Profit Day. the crisis coincided with a scheduled MLA event You've seen this almost this firestorm, this freeding frenzy in the media over the last three to four weeks on this issue, and literally from an MLA perspective,

we have just been we have just had to weather this storm, hold the line, and now with a steady but slow turn, we are starting to get our story out there. In the audience was Scott Hanson, in a week, he starts his new job as MLA's new Managing Director. Don Heatley handed over the reins at the end of the year himself but he says he has a lot of work to do before then.

But at the end of the day, this industry has been through some pretty ordinary situations before, and I can tell you, I am bloody determined not to let this beat us. It will only be the politicians that beat us. And I can tell you, I am doing my bloody best to make sure that doesn't happen. I was wondering whether you, as head of MLA and MLA itself, take any responsibility looking back for what has occurred.

Certainly the responsibility that MLA takes is for that we, as I said earlier, are the only country who has invested outside our borders in activities of animal welfare improvements in other countries. Producers by and large were supportive of the red meat peak body. I think MLA have played a really strong role in both the markets and in actually trying to work with Indonesia and I think that we need to support MLA

to make sure that that continues and it strengthens and I think Don's leadership on this issue has been fantastic. I have some reservations. Possibly, it may not have - they shouldn't have hall loud it to get to the stage that it's at. Maybe an early intervention may have helped a little bit. I think they're travelling OK now. I think they've realised the problem hand they're on the right track now. They've got to while to go yet just the same.

The ban on the live is still dominating agribusiness and paddock chatter. The ABC's Helen Brown is based in Jakarta and I spoke briefly with Helen earlier today. First about ongoing reaction at the bureacratic and gobernment level. We haven't heard a lot from the government recently here in Indonesia. Certainly not as much as when the ban was first announced. And initially when the ban was announced the reaction was fairly cool and comfortable. They downplayed the announcement. The Agriculture Minister, Suswono, said well that's Australia's right to do a suspension of trade. And we'll work with them on getting what they would like and restarting it. And the Trade Minister, Mari Pangestu, was of a similar sentiment. Saying that the two countries should work together to create a win/win situation. Helen, Indonesians culturally are very polite but do you sense there's something behind that politeness in this issue? Look, initially when the ban was announced, we were definitely getting the sense that they were angry and they felt that it could've been handled better, given the 20 year trade relationship that had been built up. But no one would go on the record about that.

There was some confusion about what Australia was asking for. And I think really they were just trying to come to grips with the decision. and then work out how they could work with Australia and how quickly things could be moved.

Could this issue widen, Helen? I mean could there be longterm ramifications for Australia's relationship with Indonesia? It's hard to say.

I think it will depend on how quickly the trade can be resumed. I think a lot will depend on that. My information is that the industry in Indonesia is working very hard to try and get aspects of its industry up to the standard that Australia is asking for. And you know, they hope to do have finished that very soon. I guess the question then becomes, is this good enough for Australia? And if it isn't, that's when the relationship may well be tested again, or a different phase of this particular issue will be tested. That's the ABC's Helen Brown in Jakarta. Since I recorded that brief chat, an industry source has told me that lot feeders and importers in Indonesia have not ruled out legal action against the Australian Government over the ban. In other beef news, the industry is bracing for more abattoir closures on the back of the JBS decision to shut its grainfed plant near Toowoomba, beef city, for two weeks. Beef city has a 26,000 feed lot and can process 1100 head of cattle a day. It's one of the biggest employers in the Toowoomba Oakey region and even a two week shutdown will have an impact. 1,000 people out of work for a couple of weeks is very significant. It has a flowon effect and that raises my concern. Other abattoirs concentrating on Japan are now signalling their usual midwinter maintenance shutdowns

could be extended. The biggest single reason for the problem is our rising dollar and the fact it's making Australia uncompetitive in Asian markets. Look at Japan for example. Since around the start of the year, Japan has lifted its imports of Australian beef by 3% on the 2010 figure. In the same period, American imports have lifted 53%. But here's some good news. Russia is emerging as a crucial market for Australian beef especially at the lower end. Latest figures put Russia's beef imports at just over 540,000 tonnes a year. Brazil has the lion's share of the markets. Australia's share is a fairly modest 56,000 tonnes. But that is a 354% increase year on year. Now to the saleyards where the market picked up last week

Smaller yardings helped. Re-stockers were encouraged by the lower prices and the reduced numbers helped over ride the impact of our rising dollar.

But there's still a very nervous edge to the cattle market built around the live export ban, poor demand from Japan, But there's still a very nervous edge to the cattle market plus the strong possibility of further abattoir shutdowns. So most categories closed on an upward trend. Incidentally, reports from the feedlots would indicate it's a genuine struggle to make a dollar at present. This action left the the key indicator up six cents for the week at $3.78c/kg. That's up 30 cents on the same week last year. Sheep and lamb markets have slipped again. Numbers available are up and quality is down alongside the colder weather. Those price are high in historical terms

and about square with the prices on offer mid-winter 2010. Time now for grain prices and I'm afraid the news is not good. Across the board, it's all negative. In Chicago the Department of Ag stunned traders by pegging corn supply well above expectations. So corn and wheat reacted with limit down falls. Soybeans closed down as well bringing the loss since February to about a $1.50 bushel. But it's the price skid of corn and the spillover to wheat causing most concern. Here's Chicago wheat early February. About $8.63 a bushel, that's about $300 dollars a tonne. The current price represents a fall of nearly 25%. Back home ASX futures fell but only slightly, most of the price damage was done in the early weeks of June. Old crop prices also suffered - not a huge amount but the price falls have been steady now for several weeks. So wheat lost another $5, canola dumped $8 and sorghum fell $6. To New York for the softs and cotton continues to slide and surprisingly sugar lifted a fraction.

Cotton spilled more than a cent although growers would still be pretty happy at that price and so too would canegrowers. That price is holding very well. Finally to wool, where for the first time since easter, the indicator fell. At the last sale of the season, softer demand was the key but the increase in the US exchange rate was also a factor. The Eastern Market Indicator closed at 1,409 cents - a fall of nearly 2% on the week. But by any standards, wool has had a remarkable year. US exchange rate was also a factor. The EMI averaged 882 cents for the first two weeks of the season, was 875 cents at the end of September and it cracked the 1,000 by Christmas. It went to 1325 cents by Easter and peaked at 1436 cents last week. Next week I'll have that promised anaylsis of the wool price and where it might be heading. For the moment, that's the Landline check on prices.

Identify any significant issue related to Australian agriculture these days from water and land management to animal welfare and the power of supermarkets, and you will find sharply polarised opinions. As much as anything, your point of view may well be informed by where you live and just how often you come into contact with those who grow the food we eat and the clothes we wear.

A scheme was created a few years back to invite city slickers to set aside at least a day to reconnect with farm families and perhaps better understand what makes the bush tick. The national Farmers Federation couldn't have recruited more receptive sleeper agents, for its renewed push into our big cities than the Batkin family. Rachel Batkin has been working undercover since she left Cowra

after finishing school. Originally moved to Sydney 20 years ago, but have a soft spot for it. Have a bit of an idea about how it works. And clearly, she's been working on her husband. I like getting about, even though I'm a city born and bred fella, I've always been able to get out in the bush a little bit to do a bit of trailbike riding, an just getting out a little bit of camping and so on. I'm always glad to get out of the city, out of the hustle and bustle, a little bit of peace and quiet. Looking forward to the weekend? Yeah. What do you hope we'll do? Chase cattle. Yeah, what else?

Have a look at some sheep? Maybe have a look in the shearing sheds and see where they shear them and where the wool comes from. Frankly with role models like that, their children Amy and Nathan had no chance.

Always tried to keep, I guess, their feet on the ground so that they are aware of where things come from. That it's not just a packet in a supermarket, that there's a lot more work involved with it.

I'd do a mohawk on mine.

Would you? You'd do a mohawk on your sheep? Eggs don't come from necessarily a cardboard box, or chops don't come in plastic wrappers there's a further background to that than what you see in the supermarkets.

From this neat three bedroom bungalow in the burbs they've slowly infiltrated school playgrounds and playing fields, offices and barbecues and in the case of Mark Batkin, even bathrooms. You see Mark is a plumber. As dirty and difficult as some of his work is, It's the daily commute that's really taking its toll. In the city you lose touch with the simple things.

Everybody's so wrapped up in timeslots and gotta be here and deadlines and even with traffic now, you have to have that in the back of your mind all the time. Everywhere you're going to go is, 'am I going to be late, what time do I need to leave,

what route do I take?' We're in the country life, you don't have to consider that. You look at a road, it's a 100kms an hour road, if it's 60 kilometres away, you know it's going to take X amount of time to get there. With the city, even those other pressures

you have to consider all time. Meantime in the chill of the nation's capital, the elected head of farming's peak body persists with the more orthodox strategy of winning urban hearts an minds. One of the things, before I start, we need to go back and have a look at a lot of the work that's been done by agriculture over the last 40 to 50 years. It's hard to know, what lasting impression any of this can leave on busy city folk. Bombarded as they are,

with often conflicting messages about the sustainability of farming in a country seemingly under seige from special interest groups, railing against agriculture's impact on land, water and the natural habitat. A generation or two has passed since many Australians had a direct link with friends or family on a farm. Obviously a lot of work needs to be done. from special interest groups,

The more time we all spend in this job, the more we realise the disconnect, I suppose, between city people is just getting wider and wider all the time. An everything we can do to help to get people get there and get them to understand where their food comes from and how it's produced, and what farmers are doing out there on a daily basis, I think that's really important. Years ago, that same thought sowed the seed of an idea in a wool and lamb producer from western Victoria. Years ago, that same thought sowed the seed of an idea I think that there has been a real disconnect between the rural and urban communities over the last couple of generations and Farm Day is an opportunity to reacquaint urban consumers with where their food and fibre is produced and to get to know a farmer becuase there is not many farmers living in the city. In building that interest and that support for agriculture I think we're going to really find that city families actually put great credence into having Australian quality product and supporting what we produce. Dad, how far is this farm out of town?

Not far away now, nearly there which is gonna be great. Turns out Farm Day is a whole weekend away for the Batkin family. It's something of a reconnaissance mission. You see, they're thinking of making the temporary tree-change permanent. And they're not alone. 'Families pack and go bush.' That's interesting it just happened to be in today's paper. 'Family saves $1,000 a month on their mortgage, '$260 in transport and fuel.'

It's worth it. Mark Batkin swapped the tradie's ute for a four-wheel-drive. As they sweep through New England, he is priming the kids for a two day spell from the video games and the Internet. Hi. Hi.

How are you going? Good.

Hi, I'm Rahcel Jock Laurie, how are ya? I'm Lyn, Rachel it's nice to meet you. Over the next 24 hours, the visitors will get a hands on farm experience under the watchful eye of the National Farmers Federation President, his wife and two of their three kids. Farming's first family run fine wool sheep,

crossbred lambs and cattle on the property that's been under the stewardship of four generations of the Laurie clan. This year 250 families took up the invitation to go bush. Part of a national conversation that farmers believe is critical to cutting through the spin, that sorrunds so much of what city people see

and hear about agriculture. Gives the farm sector an opportunity to get their head around what city people are actually thinking about also. And you've got to realise that city people drive a lot of policy and a lot of pieces of legislation in this country. And if we don't understand what their views on life are or why they're thinking about climate the way they are, or water the way they are, or live exports or any of these industries, for instance, then it's very difficult for us to think about how we can make changes to move our industry forward.

So the division actually works both ways. It is a good way for people to understand what city people's views are. And I think a lot of country people need to actually link in there to get an understanding not only of what their views are and how it drives politics in Australia, because the outcome out of that could actually be beneficial to our industry if we had a good understanding. And of course, it's not just horsepower that's changed on family farms. And in that ground, I think the agriculture sector, over the last 30 or 40 years, have done a tremendous job moving to the techniques we've talked about, I think the agriculture sector, over the last 30 or 40 years, the genetic work that's been done, the farming techniques, the Landcare Movement it's self, better water efficiencies, changing of stocking practices right across the country. There's been some tremendous work done in the agricultural sector and it will continue to do that and deliver economic benefits. But at the same time it must be linked to productivity. Ready to go mate, what are we gonna do? Today we're gonna move all the sheep in this paddock to the greener one over there, and it's more nutrients for the sheep.

You know how to control the dogs? No. Neither do I, so let's go. Farming's first family run fine-wool sheep, crossbred lambs and cattle on the property, that's been under the stewardship of four generations of the Laurie clan. And in a season like this of course there's plenty of feed. There's plenty of water. Commodity prices are good. I suppose, never been a better time to be in the farming caper? It's looking absolutely fantastic at the moment, I've gotta say. After 10 years of drought, pressure everybody has been through throughout that period, the big floods up in Queensland and certainly through many parts of Australia, not just Queensland,

then to turn around and look now at commodity prices across the board that are pretty good, considering where the dollar is sitting at the moment, about $1.06 or $1.07, it's really surprising a lot of people that the commodity prices are as good as they are on the international markets. To come out of the drought and really start to get production up and going in many of those agricultural commodities is good. But we do know after a lot of bad years, we've always hoped, I suppose, there'd be some good years at the end of it. And maybe the next few years might just be fantastic for the industry. What was it about the Farm Day idea that tickled your fancy? I think it's the experience. I think, actually being able to see a working farm and what it involves. I think in the city you're probably a little bit insulated from how it really works. So I think that was an opportunity - And to give the kids a real look at it. I mean anyone can drive a country road, but to actually be able to come on to a property, it's a privilege. So yeah, we were grateful to have it. There is an important back story, isn't there,

behind the way these people go about earning a living. A lot of farmers are concerned that city people don't fully appreciate these days and obviously with more and more regulations and rules and laws that affect the way people can farm

and where they can farm and how they can farm, it's obviously a big issue, isn't it? Without it we don't eat, a lot of us don't eat. If farmers need protecting, our farmers need protecting and they need to be looked after and they need to be insulated from outside pressures. And I think too, we need to look after our own industries. I think, when you go overseas, and you look at the quality we're provided here through hard work, we need to appreciate it. When you see campaigns directed against the major supermarkets, perhaps over the price of milk, what sort of impulses does that trigger in you? What you're probably talking about is this dollar milk business that's happened. If supermarkets want to cut their bottom line and sell milk for a dollar a litre, that's fine. But not do the Australian farmer over in the process. So I think that's an important thing to consider. But I think too, the public are getting cynical. Because even though they say, 'Oh no it won't cost,' I think we're becoming more and more aware that, basically, someone's going to pay. And unfortunately, it's going to be the end of the line which is the farmer. JOCK LAURIE: I've taken the opportunity to talk about what we're doing with the sell, and how we move the sheep around, and how it's all about increasing carbon and getting better moisture retention and now we've sown this country by zero till, for instance,

and the benefits we get out of that. So while it's a little bit complex, it's all part of what we do, and people really having an understanding about how the industry has changed, over the last 40 to 50 years, to where we are now and how we're looking at new practices to allow us to stay in the game.

Because of the competitive pressure that's out there. I think it's a good opportunity to talk to people about those things and obviously today is a great chance to do that. There's an egg in there, hop in. Don't let them out, in you go, one at a time.

Whoo! you let a chook out! Out goes a chook! What effect - Even a very, very quick taste of it, what impact do you think it will have on your kids? I think this is something they want to have more of.

I think they appreciate the, what do you call it? The space? Yeah, the space, but even the slower way of life. In the city, everything's programmed, everything's rushed. You're raceing from here to there, everywhere. And I think it just seems a more paced way of life. Things seem to run more smoothly. Get the chicken! PAUSE FOR CHICKEN CATCHING. And we see and hear, of course, that more and more people in the city are looking for this kind of escape route and are looking for a bit of a tree change. Does that appeal to you as well, that kind of alternative? Um, well, to a degree, yeah.

We're probably in a bit more of a fortunate position than some people even in the city at the moment. A lot of people are really under the pump, they're under the pressure with mortgages and finances that way. For us, it probably wouldn't be more so that. It would just be just simply getting out of the pressure, and the ratrace and having a bit more of the wide open space. A bit slower lifestyle. It's a life change. Where I think there's a lot of city people that, by the time they pay their mortgage and their transport, you start to wonder,

'Is it all worth it, what many a doing this for?' You feel like you're on a treadmill. You're like that mouse and you're just running all the time. You've got skills that are portable and are in hot demand in regional and rural centres? Yeah, I'm a plumber. I work for myself in Sydney and have done for many years. And so I suppose, yeah, plumbers are in need a little bit, I believe, at the moment. I'm not sure to what degree in every country area, But our skills are quite portable, like you say. JOCK LAURIE: Hang on to that no matter what happens. This thing? Don't let that go. It'll cut you, yeah. Of course, it's just possible that people will come out, taste and try and really like life in the bush, but that's not really the aim, is it? I think the aim is just to generally get people to understand what it's all about and what farming is about. And where the connection is between when they get up in the morning and have something to eat, or pull on some woolen or cotton clothes, and where that's produced and how it's produced. That's the difficult part.

Becuase at the moment there is really no understanding at all. Until people get an understanding I think it's going to be very difficult for them to understand what our industry does and why we do what we do and the practices we use to produce food and fibre for the country. In the end, Farm Day has given the Batkin family and dozens like them plenty of food for thought about an alternative lifestyle.

As well as an insight into actually what makes the bush tick. To move up and move your whole life is not a decision that you take lightly.

The more information that you can get, the more comfort able you feel with your decision. The more people that you talk to that actually live and work in the area, I think it makes your decision easier for a lot of people. And for people that are considering the move, I think the more information, the more people you talk to, the less scary it seems. The gap between city and country certainly exercises academia as well. Professor Judith Brett is a wellknown political commentator who's written recently on this very topic. Professor Judith Brett is a wellknown political commentator Chris Clarke, caught up with her in her suburban Melbourne backyard to talk a little more about what divides the bush from the city. Judith Brett, you've written about the division between city and rural Australia. What is that division? Well, I think it's now a division where people in the city are quite disconnected in many ways from people in the country. And when problems come up about the regions or the country, they see that as problems for the section but not as problems for the nation as a whole, and not anything that's got much to do with them. So what's changed, what's brought about these divisions? I think that since the Second World War, there's been a set of economic, social and cultural changes that have disconnected the city from the country. In the first half of last century, people living in the city, in Australia, had quite a strong sense of their dependence on the people in the bush. They depended on them economically because we rode on the sheep's back, There was a widespread belief we needed to settle the empty land, and the country had a cultural importance

because it gave us images about who we are, what it was to be Australian. And, I think, since the Second World War, there's been a whole lot of processes of cultural and economic and demographic change, that have essentially disconnected the fate of the city from the fate of the countryside. So what effect does that have? How is it expressed? To give you an example when I was talking at my book club, about writing this essay, one of the woman, who was a daughter of postwar immigrants, said well if people want to live out there in the country that's a lifestyle choice, and I don't see why our taxes should support it.

And I was quite taken aback by this,

because I knew from Australian history that many people are living where they are

because of the policies of past governments - The opening up of the land. It's not a lifestyle choice. They're not tree changers and sea changers. And, so the postwar migration, I think, has actually disconnected people in the city and country quite substantially. Most of the postwar migrants came into the cities, and the people in the cities learned to get along and live in a much more socially diverse world. And they learnt to become quite proud of themselves for that. And then they looked at the country. And they saw a less socially diverse world and they decided that there was more racism, there was more intolerance, and whatever for people in the country. So I think they're the sort of examples of the way social change there was more intolerance, and whatever for people in the country. So if it's the Murray Darling Basin, those problems are the land holder's problems, If it's the live cattle trade it's the beef producer's problems. Yes, I think much responsibility for that way of seeing things - is the governments, the reforming governments of the 80s and 90s and neoliberalism, which was in a way wanting to take the Australian economy apart - Into it's parts and get rid of the various forms of crosssubsidisation

to have a policy of user pays. And so that treated the country as like a sectional interest, and I think, in a way, the nation as a whole has got used to thinking of our economy and of our society as made up of sectional interests. That sort of makes sense as an economic way of look at things, but we're also a social community and a political community. It's much more problematic when you come to that. At the moment the balance of power in the House of Representatives is actually held by country independents. What does that tell us? The fact they've got the balance of power, I don't think tells us all that much about what's been going on in the regions. But once they had the balance of power, we hear again the voices, the points of view of the third of the Australians who live outside

of the really large cities.

We're hearing those points of view again on our national media rather than just in the sectional media. I think that gives us an opportunity for I suppose the polity, the political community as a whole, to think about how we can rediscover a sense of the interdependence of the city and country and Australia. How can it be done? It's not as if it's ever been totally lost. I mean, people in the city know they depend on the country It's not as if it's ever been totally lost. for their food. And in some ways, the sort of focus even in the live cattle trade about animal cruelty and things is the city taking an interest in where food is made and how it's made and where it comes from. about animal cruelty and things is the city taking an interest But I've been interested in the last couple of weeks, there's reports in the newspaper about foreign ownership of land. Either from agricultural purposes, like in the western district of Victoria or to buy up mining leases. And there's quite a bit of disquiet, I think, about this, and that disquiet - In city and country? It's hard to know yet. These are pretty new features,

but I would suspect that there could be disquiet in the city as well. Because land is like the basis of our sense of a nation. You know, it's territorial sovereignty. And there's something about the foreign ownership of land,

that I think disturbs people's sense of their national sovereignty more than say the buying up of a car factory. So I think in the question of the foreign ownership of land, there's the potential for people in the city to be quite interested, agitated about that, because land is the basis of our territorial sovereignty. And so it's seen clearly, I think, as a national issue. On the Murray Darling, That is something which is also attracted the attention of the city. I mean, obviously in the case of Adelaide, which is a city, it depends for the quality of its water on the Murray Darling.

Queensland authorities are working to once again contain an outbreak of the deadly Hendra virus. They've quarantined a farm south of Brisbane, where a horse that died this week had tested positive to the virus.

All those who've come in contact with that animal, including the vet who made the diagnosis are being checked. As Pip Courtney reports the virus,

which is transmitted from bats to horses,

has claimed the lives of four people in Queensland since it was first identified in 1994. An outbreak of the deadly Hendra virus,

has triggered a major biosecurity operation at two properties, south of Brisbane.

Health authorities are beginning to test people for Hendra virus. has confirmed that a horse has died of the desiese. Eight people may have been exposed, one significantly. It's the news Queensland's horse owners and vets dread. Another outbreak of the virus scientists say is worse than Ebola. Basically your lung is flooded with the liquid, so you cannot breathe properly. And then, in the late stage, if the virus does cross the so called blood brain barrier, it's almost no return. Then brain malfunctions and you eventually die of encephalitis. This baffling, terrifying virus first appeared in Brisbane in 1994. It killed horse trainer, Vic Rail, and 14 horses. This baffling, terrifying virus first appeared in Brisbane in 1994. Vet, Dr Peter Reid, says he will never forget it. This baffling, terrifying virus first appeared in Brisbane in 1994. Seven horses die in less than 12 hours. It was a catastrophe. Absolutely a catastrophe. We'd never seen a virus do anything like that before. No virus had ever been known to be directly transmissible from horses to humans back then. That was the first in the world. There've now been 13 outbreaks in Queensland. From Cairns in the far north to the southeast corner, near Brisbane. As well, there's been one outbreak in northern New South Wales. 32 horses have died or been put down, and of the seven people infected, four have died. The latest outbreak occurred an hour south of Brisbane. On Saturday last, a vet was called to a sick horse at Kerry, which is just south of Beaudesert. The horse was unsteady on its feet, It was depressed and not eating. Because the horse was being agisted onto a property the owner decided to take it home, and took it home to a property at Budadaba, and that horse died on Sunday.

On Tuesday, tests confirmed the cause was Hendra. Certainly I think some people were caught by surprise. It's a little further inland than previously has happened, but the potential has always been there for it to happen anywhere in Queensland. How horsey is Beaudesert?

Oh incredibly horsey.

It's probably one of the most diverse areas in Queensland, for just there's a lot of big thoroughbred studs there, there's a lot of quarter horse and Arab,

and all sorts of different kinds of breeds there. Ray Webber owns the property where the dead horse contracted Hendra. Absolutely blown away. I didn't think it would be that. Yeah, shook me, you know, shook everybody. He's not surpriseed to see the batborne virus this far south. There's bats everywhere, mate. We got massive fig trees here and all that sort of stuff. Once Hendra was identified, Biosecurity Queensland quarantined the Webber property and the one at Badidabah where the horse died. It's tested the 25 horses at those two properties. We do three rounds of tests, to confirm that they are free from Hendra virus. And so the horses in the area, the other horses in the area, the other properties we're aware this is a big horse area, can feel confident that the disease is under control. Based on their contact with the infected horse, Ray Webber and seven others were judged to be at risk of getting Hendra. The level of exposure that those people have had has been very thoroughly examined. They all have low to moderate risk and low to moderate exposure. We've just had the Doctors here now, and they're all pretty good, and they reckon the risk rate to that is not too bad. It could be six weeks before the results are in. We really won't know until all these blood tests and stuff come back. But like I say, you know, I'm concerned about all my friends, the vet, all them fellas. Most at risk is the vet treating the horse before it died. You feel numb. I think anyone who's been involved in these cases blood tests and stuff come back. will tell you the same thing and you do go into a bit of a daze. You're not quite sure what to think. Mix of emotions. Some good news on horizon, though, is scientists have developed a vaccine which should be ready by 2013. Anyone who works with horses won't really feel any safety until we have a vaccine, and we are using it. And our view would be, that it would become compulsory to vaccinate all horses just so that it doesn't happen again. Ewan Mascry's business partner agrees. Otherwise you will continue to get horses slip through the system, and unless it's legislated for at some level, and it's mandatory, then you will still have people exposed and it will keep costing the government money for cleanup and everything else. Debbie Decker says while costly it's worth pushing for.

If it was a workable way of making it compulsory, I suppose I would love it because the more the vaccine is used, the safer everybody is, it protects our horses, and it also makes it more commercially viable. She predicts eventually horses won't be able to attend shows unless they're vaccinated. I think certainly the larger events, something like the Ekka, it certainly would be in their best interests to know that all all horses were vaccinated and therefore Hendra free before they came on. And things like Equestrian Australia with their bigger events. The organisation representing Australia's equine vets, doesn't support mandatory vaccination. But the vet who witnessed Hendra's awful toll 14 years ago, does. I think it should be definitely mandatory in Queensland,

because this is where most of the cases of Hendra virus have occurred. We know that bats that carry the virus across various other States. So, whilst the risk is low in those States, it's very real,

and the latest case at Beaudesert demonstrates that. We don't know where it's going to crop up again. It can crop up in New South Wales, it can crop up in Victoria, Anywhere, you know, Northern Territory, top of Western Australia. Queensland Racing says mandatory vaccination

will be hard to sell interstate. I think that highlights the issue about addressing the risk. Where is the risk of the virus occurring? And most likely to arise? And people in those sort of areas, would probably be questioning the need for mandatory vaccination in their areas. The cost is certainly going to be a factor, but also the practical approach, as to whether some program of mandatory vaccination can effectively be rolled out.

Peter Reid believes if vaccination is optional, vets will just change the way they work. They could be just refusing to attend the horse. Simple as that. Because veterinarians will be insisting, that vaccinations in risky situations become mandatory. Compulsory even. The vaccination issue is a year or two away. For those exposed to Hendra virus last weekend, the most pressing issue is getting the all clear in the next six weeks. You've probably heard of the term biological farming. But what exactly does it mean? Those who practise it say it's a way of farming, that combines scientific methods with commonsense. In essence, it's all about the soil. The socalled building blocks of life. Biological farming aims to encourage the beneficial microorganisms in the soil. And those who've embarked on it, say it's transforming their farms and their lives. Tim Lee reports. It's the sort of pasture that most farmers dream about. But the grass here wasn't always so green or lush.

It's three years since the Davis family,

But the grass here wasn't always so green or lush. who farm near Camperdown in Victoria's south west, took an unconventional step. This will tell the story now, guys. What's on top is mighty impressive, but the real action is happening underneath. Soil health is the key to what happens above. The Davis' have adopted what is loosely termed 'biological farming.' The clovers come back, The worms have come back, The roots have gone down. The fertiliser that we used to put on here for the results that we were getting compared to now, this paddock here in particular hasn't had fertiliser since October. Bar the effluent through the pivot. And due to the season, that's only been going every now hand again too because of the rain. It's just healthy pasture all the time. Three years ago, Landline filmed the start of the Davis family's quest to find better ways to make their farm more productive, profitable and sustainable. We were having a lot of pest problems in the autumn, where once redlegged earth mite and lucerne flea would attack the clover, it was starting to eat rye grass. And We were getting to the stage

where we were probably spraying three times in the Autumn. I'm thinking, this can't be right. We can't keep heading down this track. In Europe, they're utilising 100% of the effluent.

We use water out of our second pond to irrigate through the pivots. And Now we're starting to make compost, so everything on the farm is going to go back on the farm. Three years on, these rows of rich composted material, are the key to the farm's transformation. Dairy farms annually produce tens of thousands of litres of effluent. It's often seen as a liability. Tony Evans sees it as an opportunity. But like any heady brew, the recipe has to be right. thousands of litres of effluent. And that's where the principles of biological farming come in.

Most farmers have got to stay viable. The bank manager they have to answer to. They're looking at their input cost,

an that's challenging them all the time. If they can utilise what they've got first, and then import nutrient, that's a really valid way of farming. I think that's what they've got to do,

they've got to challenge their thinking, challenge the way they've done things. They can't keep doing things the way that they've done them. Part of the challenge, is to understand what's happening underground. Like every great drama, there's a cast of fantastic characters. Good guys and bad guys. Looking inside a nematode here. This nematode has got babies inside it. I guess in the microscopic world,

it's a constant battle between the beneficial bugs and the bad bugs. Absolutely. And I think that's the farmer's job is to understand that enough, to understand that his role is to create an environment for the beneficial bugs. There is processs that he can do to encourage that. There's probably some circumstances you can't control, but there are a lot of things he can do to minimise any damage.

As then this nematode came up to the root, this all under a microscope, And as the nematode came up to the root, the bacteria moved towards it. And actually acted as a barrier against that root. That's amazing. I don't know how or what, how it worked, but that principle of protecting that root - because the reason why they want to protect that root is that that's where they get their sugars from. And that's where biological farming gets its principles from. There's a lot of interest but a lot of people just can't get their head around it at the moment. You have to go out and source it as there's no textbook to say what to do. So the idea is to get the specialists in the right field, which is Tony in the compost, and try and get on to someone with soil biology. It's just a matter of working through the process. What grows above the ground is almost a symptom of what's happening below the ground. So, if you have things growing well in the ground then you will probably grow different species above the ground. Camperdown Compost began 13 years ago when Tony Evans and his business partner Nick Routson sought a way to utilise local dairy waste. We set up a licensed facility to take organic waste streams from a couple of different dairy factories That material was initially used for worms and producing worm castings.

It sort of evolved into a compost site

where we still use some worms but predominantly it's for composting now. We met Elaine Ingham I think about about 1999 or thereabouts and we started to then put together

how we can best utilise it in an agricultural system. Landline viewers met Elaine Ingham a few years back. Now this fungus here is fuzzy. Looking at soils, looking at a healthy system, and pulling the soil apart and seeing what biology is there

and then looking at a depleted soil that probably hasn't got a lot of carbon, that's tight, that the rainfall doesn't go in, it runs off, all these problems - and looking at the biology in that soil and then coming one some basic underlying principles of what sort of biology should be in a healthy soil. I really like the approach that you can see it, look under a microscope and see these are little critters that should be there and they're not in this soil and that's why it behaves in this way. That is the sixth grass crop in a row with no nitrogen. When Gary Zimmer, a world leader in the field of biological farming, visited Australia earlier this year, his various seminars were sold out. Biological farming is actually a term, I'm a dairy nutrionist by training, and adding that into what we call biological farming,

to me it's focusing on the fact that the soil is alive, it's full of biology and it's a living system. Can you imagine you're in a line and there's a fence here and they move the fence forward, now you got something to eat...

John Lilycoe is a dairy farmer in north-west Tasmania who in recent years has converted to biological farming. ..a complex carbon going in, that's point I'm trying to get to here, shortly. In the past we didn't really understand what microbes were in the soil and what function they had. We do now. And so we farm with complete respect for those microbes, you know.

There's as much life under the soil as there is above it. And we need to respect that and we need to work with that. The surge of interest in biological farming

is partly explained by the ever increasing scientific knowledge The surge of interest in biological farming of what happens in the soil at microscopic level. I remember that time when I first started using that word, I just wanted people to recognise that the soil was alive and so it was really a combination of minerals of soil life and we have not spent enough time and to me the future is to really get the biology to work in the soil. It's gonna clean up things, make our crops healthier and it's a way to fix our soils to have better use of water It's gonna clean up things, make our crops healthier Biology is the thing that's gonna fix this planet. We're note from New Zealand, number one. As a farmer an agri-businessman, Gary Zimmer's bestselling books on biological farming

launched him into becoming an educator of biological agriculture. The crowd here today - I think there's some potato growers and a few vegetable growers, but the majority of the crowd is us dairy farmers down there.

We've always wanted to meet Gary Zimmer, being probably the number one biological farmer/promoter in America. He's basically written the book and the bible that we all try to aspire to. Gary Zimmer talks of balancing the soil and its nutrients and working with nature. And for many farmers it was the global financial crisis that forced them to question aspects of conventional farming. I think the price shock of 2008 really brought that message home starkly to a lot of farmers. When the price of oil went up the price of fertilisers went up and I think the future then became writ large for a lot of producers when they thought, 'OK well if this is what's going to happen

to fertiliser prices in the future, am I going to be able to respond? when they thought, 'OK well if this is what's going to happen Am I going to be able to maintain profitability in the face of this or is there a better way to farm? However, changing from a tried and true system of production still requires a leap of faith.

They are cash strapped, I suppose. The industry's not particularly robust. And they're being frightened to change direction because they know the course they've been going down has paid the bills and they're nervous about changing.

Like the Davis family, John Lilycoe has seen the clover come back and a healthier milking herd. I'm quite sure that the way we're going is the way of the future. It certainly wasn't a sustainable system the way we farmed before. Next week in part two, we'll learn how other farming enterprises are embracing biological farming. From champion racehorses through to fine wine and even the humble potato. Something of an odd week rainfall wise, more on that in a moment. First, the Southern Oscillation Index. A fractional change only,

fairly meaningless in relation to expectations and confirming we can expect mostly average conditions in the immediate future. Now to our check on where the rain's been falling. Two highlights there on the map, that un-seasonal big spash in far north Queensland and the substantial drink enjoyed by the south-west of Western Australia.

Elsewhere it was mostly dry and cold. To numbers, Daradgee in the far noth scored 184 millimetres, in New South Wales most of the rain was coastal and Kempsey picked up 12 millimetres. Mansfield in Victoria had just two, Ringarooma in Tasmania had five. Not much in South Australia with the exception of a storm on Kangaroo Island where Cape Borda registered 25.

Alyangula in the Territory had five and in WA's central wheat belt, Beverley scored 52 millimetres. And that's the Landline check on rainfall. and in WA's central wheat belt, Beverley scored 52 millimetres. Next week, Kerry Staight takes us on a voyage in search of sardines. I'm off the South Australian coast near Port Lincoln, where sardines are normally caught to feed tuna. But some in the industry say the pilchard deserves a place on our plates too. Small fingers of fish, just one of the items on our menu when Landline returns next week. We'll leave you with images of a quintessential out back legend. Birdsville Maree mail contractor Tom Kruse who died in Adelaide this week, aged 96. Closed Captions by CSI