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(generated from captions) Today: The US intelligence boss hits back at Donald Trump over scepticism about Russian cyberattacks on the election.This was a multifaceted campaign. So, the hacking was only one part of it.

An apparent back down from Indonesia on the suspension of military cooperation with Australia. A Government Minister faces questions over an impulse property purchase on a taxpayer-funded trip. And: Striking results from a study that found a link between living close to major roads and dementia.

Hello. Welcome to morn Monday. I'm Joe O'Brien. Taking a quick look at the weather:

The Australian share market is interpret well flat in early trade. The ASX 200 trading around that 1-year high. American intelligence officials are giving a stark warning about the threat Russian cyberattacks pose. The outgoing US national intelligence director, James Clapper, has told a Senate hearing he has not come across a more aggressive campaign to interfere with an American election than Russia's actions in last year's race for the White House. Washington is investigating what could be the biggest political break-in since watergate N. Information the 70s the build was burgled. In 2016 it was the computer system at the party's present headquarters. A robbery in cyberspace, rather than in person. US intelligence believes it was orchestrated by Vladimir Putin, to help Donald Trump win the election. I want to welcome our members back...Today allegations were aired publicly on Capitol Hill at a Republican-controlled Congressional committee.Every American should be alarmed by Russia's attacks on our nation. There is no national security interest more vital to the United States of America than the ability to hold free and fair elections without foreign interference. That's why Congress must set partisanship aside, follow the facts, and work together to devise comprehensive solutions to deter, defend against and when necessary respond to foreign cyberattacks.America's director of national intelligence, James Clapper, said he stood for resolutely. In a statement released before the election he said Moscow was interfering. He was asked whether that was an act of war.I think that is a very heavy policy call. I don't believe the intelligence community should make that. But it's certainly - would carry, in my view, great gravity. The pro-Russian rubbished the notation he achieved a cream listen-assisted victory and poured scorn on the spies. He speak approval any of Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.Who actually is the benefactor of someone who is about to become Commander In Chief trashing the intelligence community? I think there is a difference between scepticism and disparagement.Director Clapper, how would you describe Mr Assange?Um. I don't think - those of us in the intelligence community have a whole lot of respect for him.Then this blunt and direct message from President-elect Donald Trump, from a senior member of his own party.I want to let the President-elect know that it is OK to challenge the intel. You are absolutely right to want to do so. But what I don't want you to do is undermine those who are serving our nation...We will leave that there because Anthony Albanese just started a media conference. Sending threats and debt... Debt repayment asks to people in the community that should not have received those letters. But they also took people out of the equation, not just from CentreLink offices, but for those people who received those letters. People have spent hour upon hour on the phone, trying to talk to a human being, trying to find out why they received these letters. Today I have just two of the many constituents, who have contacted my office, to put a human face to what is a human problem. Here we have Tony Barber, who in 2010 was diagnosed with cancer. Tony went on sick leave from his employment while he was receiving chemotherapy. Fortunately, in good news Mr Mr Barber and his family, he came through that process. In January of 2011 he commenced work again. During that time, he has been an honest man. Someone who's paid his taxes, someone who's worked hard, in spite of going through that difficult period in his then very young life. He is still pretty young I have to say! In the lead-up to Christmas he received a debt letter informing him that he now owed over $4,500. What's more, they said that it was his responsibility to go back to 2010 and provide evidence of his payments and what his former employer had paid him, and the circumstances that occurred in that most difficult period of his life in 2010. The only time that Mr Barber has ever received Centrelink payments in his life is during that period after he was recovering from chemotherapy. He deserves better from our national Government than to be treated with such disrespect. Of course, we know that the sort of pressure that this is placing on vulnerable people, many of whom have been through circumstances such as illness, can add to that illness. This is an extraordinarily callous Government, who when I saw Mr Porter being dismissive of these circumstances, of individual vulnerable Australians, it made my sick to the stomach. Mr Tudge can't be bothered being back from leave, the Minister responsible for this debacle. We also have with us today Curtis Dickson, another constituent of mine, from Leichhardt. Curtis was receiving Austudy while he was at university from 2007-2012. In the lead-up to Christmas, Curtis received notice that Centrelink believed he had been incorrectly reported his earnings during that period, and now he needed to repay $750. This is one of the many mistakes that have been made because of the way that the computer-generated Al go rhythmn has worked out -- algorithm averaging people's income and hit people with these debt letters. Despite knowing that Centrelink made a mistake, because he's been threatened with action from a debt collection agency, he's been forced on to a repayment plan for a debt that he knows that he doesn't actually know. These are just two of the many human faces around this debacle. It is no wonder that the person who was brought in to oversee the Government's information technology interaction across departments has described this debacle as cataclysmic. It is no wonder that he has said that if this was a private business, that admitted that 20% of its letters at least were on a false basis, then they would be put out of business. Now, it is about time that Malcolm Turnbull got on top of this issue. It is about time that the Government showed some compassion and some leadership. That is why Linda Burney, Labor's spokesperson, has called overnight for the Auditor-General to investigate this debacle. What the relationship is between the sacking of so many public servants, that computers are general reporting letters -- generating letters, that computers are answering phones and that people can't actually talk to a human being about the circumstances which are there. So, I say to the Government: It needs to acknowledge that it's got this wrong. It needs to allay the concerns of so many vulnerable Australians who have received letters with threats from debt-collection agencies to be put on them over circumstances which are not of their own making. People like Mr Dickson and Mr Barber here, who have done the right thing by their - themselves, but, also, by the community, by not trying to rip off the system, just trying to be hard working, trying to make a contribution, and who have received these letters. Now, I notice that as well Mr Porter said that there were only a few people. Now, my office alone has received more than 20 people at this difficult time of the year, they have approached my office for assistance on these issues. Any Member of Parliament would have received numerous complaints about these circumstances as well. It's not just one or two. You are talking 20%. And the Government has a responsibility to provide an appropriate response. Labor will continue to pursue these issues. We are concerned. Anyone who was not entitled to receive payments is ripping off the system. Of course, they should have to pay money back. But the fact that people in vulnerable circumstances, such as Mr Barber, who is being chased down for a period of his life in 2010, which was extremely difficult for him, as someone recovering from cancer, having to undergo chemotherapy treatment. The fact he has been in work since January 2011, and worked each and every day and paid his taxes, says a lot about his character. It is a pity that ministers in the Turnbull Government don't have the same character as Mr Barber. Happy to take questions. (SPEAKS INDISTINCTLY).Of course, Centrelink have had in place circumstances for a long period of time to recoup money that it believed was paid inappropriately. And I have been, in my electorate office here for 20 years. We've dealt with circumstances - people have made approaches. Some of them correct, some of them incorrect. When Centrelink have approached people about overpayments... There is nothing new in that. What's new about this is the computer-generated letters that don't seem to have taken any real human element into account. And what has also changed is that people, when you go into - there is a CentreLink office three doors from my electorate office here in Marrickville. When people go in to see someone from Centrelink, after they have tried to get through on the phone, sometimes for many hours, literally hours on the phone, so out of frustration, if you are someone, you have been on the phone from 10 o'clock in the morning, you have received this letter, you have been on the phone until 2 o'clock in the afternoon, out of frustration you go into the CentreLink office and you know what you get told? You get told, "We can't see you. Ring up." That is what you get told. So, people can't find out what the real circumstances are. This is a Government that likes to talk about people in politics being engaged in scare campaigns. Well, let me tell you - they are scaring the life out of vulnerable Australians who have received these letters, who have received debts that they don't actually owe. And threatening them with debt collectors being put upon them, and when they go and try to find out what the circumstances are... I mean, I'm sure that in Mr Barber's case, for example, in 2010, when he was suffering from cancer, when he was going through chemotherapy, when he was going through that recovery phase, he used all of his sick leave up, of his employer, who was there then. They actually are saying he has to prove those circumstances. He has to provide the employer's information from 2010, which is employe no longer has. Because employer's probably weren't considering that these circumstances would arise some seven years laterso, this is - there is a human element to this. It is pretty simple. We are saying to the Government put some humanity back into the equation here. Acknowledge this has been done in an incompetent and a callous way, and fix this debacle.You called for the Auditor-General to be involved. If that does happen it will take some months. What needs to be done in the interim to try and fix the system? The Government needs to get on tonne of this. It could start by actually having some real people employed in CentreLink instead of continuing to reduce the workforce, who are actually interacting with people. The Government needs to establish a process so that all those who say that they have received these letters on a false basis have someone to go to, and can fix their claim, can get it down quickly, and easily and efficiently and accurately. Because I'm certain that there are many people who when it goes through the process will be told, "No, you don't have a debt. We're sorry." They probably won't say sorry, but they should say, "Sorry, we caused this aggravation." But in the meantime, particularly the timing of this over Christmas and the New Year period - I mean, these letters were going out - they were hitting homes in the lead-up to Christmas. And how the Government didn't foresee - and then the Minister just went on leave. How the Government didn't foresee this problem is beyond me.Centrelink are referring people to Lifeline who are stressed about the debt letters.I think that says it all. The problem here is that Centre Link because of the slash and burn approach that this Government has to the public sector, have - don't have the staff to deal with some of the circumstances. I'm very sympathetic with the Centrelink staff who are in offices today with vulnerable people coming in and having to tell them to go away, and make a phone call, that they are unable to provide them with any assist significance on the spot -- assistance on the spot. I think it says a lot about the debacle that this is, cataclysmic failure, as it's been described, by the Government's own IT advisor. Hand opinion picked by Malcolm Turnbull to do that job. And the response is to send people to Lifeline. Lifeline do a fantastic job. I can tell you that people have been ringing elected officers around the country, who feel very vulnerable, and who, if you are someone - someone with a second language, where English isn't your first language, or you are elderly, or you are just not dealing with bureaucracy... It is up to individuals to say whether they are going to make their - make public the letters they have received. But, I must say, as a politician, who is used to receiving a lot of correspondence, these letters are pretty brutal. They don't provide a great deal of detail. They just immediately threaten people with debt collections. Now, if you are a hard-working Australian, who's never done anything wrong in your whole life, and you have never received anything like that before, you are wondering what is going on. OK. We will leave that there. That was live from Sydney, Labor's Anthony Albanese raising concerns about the Centrelink debt recovery program that we've heard a lot about over the past couple of days. The Government maintained this has been an effective program and it says there are relatively small numbers of complaints about it. We will hear more about that later today. Indonesia has backed down over its suspension of military cooperation with Australia, the move coming after a flurry of contradictory statements from Indonesia's leaders. Indonesia correspondent, Adam Harvey, has more. Gatot Nurmantyo's decision to suspend military cooperation surprised his own Government and shocked Australia. He told Indonesia media how offended he was by material presented at a training course in Australia. Presented not just by the lecturers, but by the students, as well. TRANSLATION: The curriculum and the lessons, as well as the result of the curriculum and the assignment paper of the students, were insulting. It hurts so much. I don't need to explain it here. There was about -- it was an office sr in the past, about East Timor, Papua needing independence, it was about being manipulated.After the General's decision created headlines for 24 hours and prompted all sorts of confusion in two countries, top Indonesian Cabinet Minister Wiranto came in over the top and said the suspension was only ever about a language course. He blamed the media. Relations will now hopefully be reset, although the whole affair has prompted a closer look at General Gatot. The ABC uncovered these extraordinary comments he made about Chinese refugees. TRANSLATION: If they ever come to my place, they will come by sea. Once they cross the ocean, I will butcher 10 cows in the middle of the ocean. The sharks will gather. After that, I will shoot at them, just by using small weapons so they leak and they all can be eaten by sharks. (APPLAUSE) Relations between Australia and Indonesia might be a bit banged-up by all this, but both nations are now free to take part in military exercises next month. An impulse purchase is how the Health Minister is explaining her decision to buy a luxury apartment on a taxpayer-funded trip. Sussan Ley bought the unit on the Gold Coast last year. She was on a trip described as official business. Political reporter, Ashlynne McGhee, has more. The Health Minister, Sussan Ley, was on a trip to Queensland in May 2015. Now, the purpose of the trip was to go to Brisbane, to make an announcement at the Wesley Hospital there about medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. But then later that day, 9 May, 2015, she travelled down to Maine Beach on the Gold Coast with her partner. Now, her office - I have just spoken to them this morning - they say she was there to meet with some local health stakeholders to discuss access to some medicines. But while she was there she purchased an apartment on Main Beach. We understand it's a luxury apartment, News Limited is reporting that it was a $795,000 apartment. Her office hasn't yet confirmed that. They do say that the purchase was not planned, nor anticipated. Now, for this whole trip, she claimed $370 in a travel allowance from the taxpayer, and she also charged taxpayers for the airfares to Brisbane from - to Brisbane, I should say, and then out of Coolangatta and back to Canberra, at a cost of about $1,000. If she did have the official engagements in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast, if she comes across a house purchase, does that mean she's broken rules? It is something the Opposition will be asking a whole lot of questions about today. They will be pushing for Mr Examination of this -- more examination of this. Some of the rules around this - certainly her office says - they consulted the entitlements management branch about the travel allowance and whether that was allowed. The fact that the primary purpose of the trip was to speak to stake holders, to make that announcement in Brisbane, would seem to fit within the travel rules. But there are also some questions about the Ministerial Code of Conduct, and that states that while your public life may impinge on your personal life, your personal life should not, in any way, be put back on to public purse. So, the Opposition will be asking a whole lot of questions about that today, whether any rules are being broken, given she is saying this was an impulse purchase. Well, that remains to be seen.Four people in the US city of Chicago are facing hate crime and kidnapping charges, accused of torturing a mentally disabled man in a session aired on Facebook live. In an assault that went on for two days, the 18-year-old victim who was white was bound, gagged and beaten. The suspect, who are all African American, are aged between 18 and 24. In the video, the suspects can be heard making derogatory comments about white people and Donald Trump. Chicago Police have described the incident as sickening.Let me be very clear: The actions in that video are reprehensible. That alone, with racism, have absolutely no place in the city of Chicago or anywhere else, for that matter, against anyone, regardless of their race, gender, state of mental health, or any other identifying factor. There was never a question whether or not this incident qualified to be investigated as a hate crime.At fifth Queenslander has been diagnosed with the potentially deadly meningococcal disease. Health authorities confirmed a case in Cairns in Far North North Queensland. The Cairns and hinterland Hospital is trying to trace people who may have come into contact with the patient. Four children, three from the same family, have been treated for the potentially deadly bacterial disease in Brisbane. A South Australian woman has been taken to hospital after a car crashed through her lounge room and pinned her against a wall. Just after 2:00am a van failed to stop at a T-junction. It hit a parked van and then smashed into the lounge room of the woman's home in Windsor Gardens. The 37-year-old male driver was taken to hospital Police are
with nonlife-threatening injuries. Police are waiting on the results of the driver's blood tests and charges are expected to be laid. A man will face court today after allegedly hitting his neighbour in the face with a brick in Sydney's west. Police say a 37-year-old and a 29-year-old began fighting outside their homes in Penrith last night before the older man hit the younger man in the face with the brick. Paramedics say the man suffered facial injuries and was taken to Westmead Hospital in a nonlife-threatening condition. The 37-year-old man has been charged with reckless assault causing grievous bodily harm and was refused bail. He will appear before Penrith local court today. A day of extreme heat is forecast for South Australia today, with temperatures hitting 40 degrees. That's prompted the State Emergency Service to hand out advice packs on coping with the high temperatures to incoming international travellers. Reporter, Lauren Waldhuter, has more. The passengers here are landing in the middle of a heatwave. Yesterday, it was 36 degrees, today it should hit 40, tomorrow it will be 41 here in Adelaide. That is just in the city. Around the state it would be even hotter. The State Emergency Service is down here handing out information about how to beat the heat, to some of the international travellers arriving here. They are handing out bottles of water. Joining me now from the SES is David O'Shaughnessy. Good morning. What is the message you are trying to get across?We are encouraging all South Australians to stay healthy, particularly international visitors who may not be aware of the heat. Extreme heat can kill more people than any other natural hazard. We want people to be safe during this heat event.What should they be doing?Some of the key messages - stay hydrates, drink water. Certainly for the general public, not to leave kids or animals in hot cars. We want peel to check on the vulnerable, the elderly and relatives that may not get a check-up normally. Give them a call or pop in. Let them know it is OK to use air-conditioning.If travellers are arriving, they may not be used to the heat. We have flights arriving from Asia, but some passengers have come all the way from Europe. What sort of people are you targeting?We are targeting people who may be dressed in scarfs or woolly jumpers, coming off flights who may not be aware that Adelaide is about to go into 40-plus heat.Can it be difficult for those people if they haven't experienced that stuff before?Yeah. It may definitely be. Some of the heatwaves happening overseas don't meet what happens here.In South Australia, we've had more rain and wind and storms than heatwaves. The last 40-de day was at Christmas. Will we be a bit out of practice here?We may be. It's been an unusual year. What we say to people is that the heat - once over - it can still be in effect. Even on Sunday, as it cools, we need to look after ourselves.You will be back here tomorrow. Is it unusual to have the SES out here handing out pamphlets to visitors?No. We just try to make sure that everyone comes to South Australia is safe. We will aim to do it when nice.Thank you for joining us. The SES will be out here tomorrow as well, and it is expected to be hot again. And they will be here until midday today. The main thing if you are visiting you will want to head to the beach or pool to escape the heat. Time for the weather. Here escape the heat. Time for the
weather. Here is Kirsten Diprose.

Thick cloud in the north as a monsoon low and a trough generate rain and storms. No the north-west, strong winds as well with that, and also in the north-east of Queensland. Heavy falls are possible, particularly south of Broome. That is as a tropical low moves over the Kimberly today and into the Pilbara today or tomorrow. Hot in the south. Weaker troughs drawing hot wins to WA, South Australia and western New South Wales. A front is bringing strong winds to south-west WA. Checking the rainfall: Much of the heavy rain over North Queensland will have moved offshore, but still some light-to-moderate falls possible P heavy rain for the WA interior and eastern Pilbara. The outlook for the weekend:

The top stories: The top US intelligence chief says he's resolute in his belief that Russia staged cyberattacks during the US election. Rebuking scepticism from President-elect Donald Trump about whether Moscow was involved, the director of national intelligence James Clapper told Congress that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the hacking of Democratic Party emails and the motive will be revealed next week. Moscow denied it was behind the hacking. Indonesia appears to have backed down from its suspension of all military cooperation with Australia. A top Indonesian Cabinet Minister issued a statement saying the suspension only applies to language classes at Special Forces facilities. That is vastly different from comments made by Indonesia's military chief 24 hours earlier, when he announced an immediate freeze of all cooperation because of offence taken at Australian military training material. A Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley December ebb kangarooed her decision to buy an an apartment on a taxpayer-funded trip as an impulse purchase. She was on a trip described as official business. At 10-year study of residents in Ontario in Canada has found a link between living close to a major road and a greater risk of developing dementia. The study published in the Lancet concluded that living near busy traffic increases the likelihood of developing dementia by up to 12%. The findings are not definitive, and further studies are needed. Now to breaking news - the Federal Government is taking action against a major prawn importer following an outbreak of a deaf stating disease which is threatening the industry in Queensland. The white spot disease has contaminated several prawn farms on the Logan River, between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Federal Agriculture Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, joins us from Parliament House. Good morning. First of all, tell us what you know about this disease.What we have is a white spot disease, not dangerous to hue moneys, but it is deadly to prawns. We have about a - $360 million a year prawn industry. We got the detection of white spot disease - what we thought was white spot disease - back in November, around about 22 November. On 1 December it was confirmed that it was white spot. Yesterday it was made aware, to me - I was told - that they are detecting white spot in imported green prawns that you buy in the shop for human consumption. But that, for me, is a huge concern. I know what happens - people have a tendency to - if they run out of prawns to use them as bait. It means they get into the waterways, it means it can infect fraun farms. What we are doing - I have been talking to - came straight to Canberra yesterday to deal with this issue. What we are - after talking to the secretary of my department, who homes the authority -- holds the authority in this area, we are going to have a suspension on the importation of green prawns into Australia to try and get on top of this issue straight away.So how big is that trade at the moment? How much trade in terms of green prawns comes in.Yeah. Look, it's... In excess of - around about 50-plus million dollars a year, I believe. A $$358 million a year industry. There is a large section - we have already gone to one of those prawn importers, and said, well, we are going to revoke your capacity to import. Now we are also investigating another - a number of other prawn importers, because there is the suspicion that they have not followed the proper protocols, they have been outside the protocols, which is the law of the land on how you import prawns into this country. We are making sure all and sundry are aware of the process, and now we are doing everything in our power to make sure we deal with this and try and nip this in the bud. We are now chlorinating where those infected farms are, to try and remove the disease from there. We have had an incursion of white spot before, and we did overcome it, back in 2000 in Darwin. What we note is we are also dragging the rivers up there and out of 6,000 samples, we've found four prawns with white spot in the river. Which basically in the wild it is... Basically at those numbers, it isn't a viable virus. Generally the prawns die and get eaten by fish, the ones that have white spot. Nonetheless, it is a major concern. That is why I cut short my trip, my family's time in Coolum, and came down.Is it the case that you are 100% certain that this outbreak that...No.It has come from those...No, we are not. We are not.Is it fair enough to take the action if you are not 100% sure?It is an insurance against what could possibly happen. We are 100% sure that we have detected white spot in imported green prawns. We are going back to those importers who brought the green prawns in and going through them with a fine tooth comb in regards to their protocols and what they were doing. But I just want to make sure that - made aware of this yesterday morning. And today we will be suspending the importation of green prawns.What's been the reaction from some of those importers when they have heard that news? You mentioned being in touch with one of them.Well, this is how... Biosecurity is incredibly important to this nation. This is an incredible important. I reiterate - white spot isn't dangerous to humans, obviously dangerous to prawns. What I can say - if you are buying green prawns or you have brought them from the retail outlets, please do not put them in a water Way ore use em-- waterway or use them as bait. If you cook a prawn, it kills the white spot in any case.This comes as the result of the outbreak on the Logan River in the south-east of Queensland. Just how devastating has that been there? Are those operations there likely to be out of action for at least a year or so?Well, we have... Currently chlorinating those, which killing everything in the va sinty. We have detected white spot in a crab that was one of the drainways of one of the farms. We are chlorinating those farms to basically kill everything. We have are putting in Kuan Fien farms that don't have white spot but are -- putting in quarantine farms that don't have white spot. They are allowed to harvest the prawns for sale, for... But they don't have white spot in those farms, but because they are close, they are still under quarantine. We are making sure that we also have our staff up there working to do everything in our power to get control of this as quickly as possible.Is it likely those farm also be out of action for a year or so at least?Well, look, I will leave that up to the chief scientists. No doubt the chief scientist will having further discussions with the media at a later stage. I'm not going to start musing about how long an area is in quarantine more. Obviously, we have to get rid of it. What I do say - we had an outbreak back in 2000 in Darwin and we dead eradicate it. It isn't a case this is not able to be eradicated. It is.Do you know if they confirmed what the origin of that outbreak was back in Darwin in 2000?Look... There was a range of cussion pisses. I don't believe there was a -- suspicions. I don't believe there was confirmation. Not certain on that. As I try to recollect that, has is my recollection.I have seen that these four properties on the Logan River are worth about $25 million. Are they a big slab of the farmed prawn industry in Australia?Certainly, yeah, a big section of the farmed prawn industry in Australia. We've got to make sure... That is why it is important that we deal with this in a prompt and thorough manner. That is what we're doing. We've been aware... We are not saying that the white spot came from imported green prawns. But there is a possibility that it could have. We have to make sure that that possibility is removed. That is why we are suspending the importation of green prawns.Presumably there will be a shortage of prawns, with the Australian farms out of operation and this ban now on the importation of green prawns from overseas. To what extent are Australian operators going to be able to fill that hole? Well, cooked prawns that come in - cooked prawns - obviously don't have white spot. There is no ban on them. Obviously areas in Australia which - the vast majority of the coastline is free from white spot - so they are still able to be in production. It is a section of the market which is imported green prawns which are raw prawns, uncooked. If it's not cooked, then we don't have the capacity to till the vie use. Cooking kills the virus. There is the capacity for the importation of cooked prawns.How long would you expect - I guess it might be lard # -- lard to say - how long there will be the ban?Until we have - I would rather go to a point where we are certain that we minimise our risks, and then work back to a methodical position. Once I heard yesterday morning that we - that the - they detected white spot if green prawns in retail outlets, then that was as far as I was concerned the trigger for us to take more substantial action. That's obviously why I am down here in Canberra.The prawn industry has been emphasising to you just how serious this is?Of course. Yeah. Absolutely. It has the capacity to devastate the industry. I believe it can - you can lose up to half your prawns. We don't want that.Would you expect that there could well be - this is just looking at it from a consumer perspective - there could well be a substantial increase in prawn prices as a result of this situation?Unfortunately, we haven't suspended the laws of supply and demand.Yes.What happeneds in the market happens in the market. Yes.I would rather deal with this action than have to deal with... The ramifications that we didn't take all mechanisms at our disposal to try to make sure that we eradicate the disease, and stop the possibility of further spread of the day cease, and that is why we have to take these sort of actions today. Just on other issues of the day, because you are a senior Minister. There are a lot of people upset with the way Centrelink has gone about the debt recovery program.Sure.We heard Anthony Albanese hold a media conference. There is no doubt it is already raised a lot of money, about $300 million, I think. There are people coming forward saying this has been a pretty terrible process for them. Is it acceptable that vulnerable people have been receiving these letters, saying they are in debt when in some of these cases - a reasonable amount - it appears that clearly they should not be getting them?Some of the cases they do need to repay money.Yes.We have to respect the right of the taxpayer... This is the taxpayers' money. When some people say - it is a wage somebody else earned that gets handed to someoneless to support them in a time of crisis, whether unemployed or whatever. In this process, Joe, you have a computer system at the taxation office, basically interrogating the system of the associate security office. Where they see a discrep say they send out a letter. The complaint psych is no different from in the past. 0.16. So what we have is the process of making sure that your tax - your taxes, that you pay, and I pay, and all your listeners pay, are well spent on those who need it, and those who need it are those in a time of crisis, and those who don't need it pay it back. And I make no apology for making sure that those who didn't need it, who got it, pay the money back.What about for those who weren't supposed to be receiving those letters and are now trying to sort this out and ringing up the CentreLink, and being on hold for hours at a time sounds like the process hasn't been handled as effectively as it could have been. We make no apology for the fact that we are trying to make sure we are more efficient, have a wider grasp of those who might have received payments in error. We are doing that because we are not getting people to check, we are getting a computer to say, "This is the details you told the taxation department, these are the details you told the Social Security department. They don't match up. We need you to explain the difference."What about the process and how it's being handled with people saying that... Some of the vulnerable people - dplish might be a second -- English might have a second ladies and gentlemen -- second language. They have letters, feeling like criminals, and they are calling the hotline and being put on hold for hours.Well they are not criminals. If they have received the money in... And they shouldn't have, then it is taxpayers' pun. Somebody went to work for that un. Someone went to work and worked Monday and most of Tuesday to pay tare taxes before they started working for themselves on the rest of the week. Those people have a right to say, "I have no problems paying my taxes to help those who need help. But if you are receiving money that you are not entitled to, I also as a taxpayer - have to right to pay it back." Questions have be asked of a range of people. That is part of the responsibility - the quid pro quo - of the - part of the responsible that when you are receiving somebody else's money... Hard work, that comes in the form of taxes, that pays your Social Security, yes, you do have a responsibility to comply with the requirements of the department that says we at times need to check as to whether you are entitled to receive the money that you are getting.Confirming that that figure is still only 0.16? Is that...I will... I was informed this morning that the figure is - has not spiked, that the complaint cycle is still 0.16. That was the latest information I got.People getting letters?People, I imagine, receiving... Social Security.Yep. OK. Just on a final issue - is it appropriate for a Minister of any party to go on a taxpayer-funded trip, go to some legitimate business-related functions and then buy an apartment?Look, when Minister Ley was - had to go to the Gold Coast for - I think it was a $1.3 billion announcement. She had other meetings. Look, we don't follow them down to dinner and ask them why are you going to dinner here, why are you doing this... If they are doing - she did not go to the Gold Coast by reason of a statement for the purpose of buying the apartment. She made that clear. Therefore, while she was there, they bought an apartment. We don't tell them where to sleep, don't tell them where to eat, and if they made a purchase, the even though - Ied a mit it is substantial - that is not the reason she went to the Gold Coast, she went to the Gold Coast for work.Is it reasonable judgement or poor judgement that she did this on a taxpayer-funded trip?Well, you know, that is a question you have to ask her. There is no... People are saying she concocted a reason to do a policy announcement on the Gold Coast.No.I think that is a bit rich.Yeah. Even if she didn't concock it, was it a wise -- concoct it, was it wise to do to go on the ship where she had legitimate business but do it at the same time. She had legitimate business. That is the question word - legitimate T other questions you can pose to the. She had legitimate business. You can't concontact a $is.3 billion -- $1.3 billion announcement. We don't bring together the Expenditure Review Committee to concoct an announcement so you can get to the Gold Coast. That was the business for which she was there.Thanks for talking to us from Canberra.You're welcome, Joe. Thanks, mate.For a comment on the announcement on the suspension of prawn imports, I amz joined by Nick Moore from the Australian prawn farmers association. Good morning. How serious is that situation on the Logan River?Dire. I am the general manager of site 5, you may have read in the paper, that the fifth farm has been confirmed with white spot. That was our farm here on the back - back on last Thursday, the 28th. Wow. What was it like to get that news?Actually, because we have farmers for a long time, well aware of what it looks like, and well educated with several of us have been doing this for 30 years, we knew what to look for. It was... We found it, we knew we had found this. We alerted Biosecurity Queensland on the afternoon of the 27th. It was confirmed at 5:30am, the following morning. The core Creane trucks rolled -- chlorine rolled trucks rolled in at 7:00am.Have you destroyed your stock?It's a matter of getting enough chlorine to do that. We've got 25 million animals here, more than the population of Australia. So it will take time. We are more than halfway in the first seven days.Just explain for us - are they sitting in the Logan River? Or ponds...No, outside the Logan River confine. We pump water from the Logan. As soon... Once the first farm had been confirmed, basically the order came across - and all farms reduced - sorry w eliminated the water intax, but also stopped the discharge wearts, not just by discharging, but also by installing bunded areas so, the water can't leave the farm.There would have been discharge of water from those operations while the white spot was there... You couldn't stop that? Absolutely. That would have happened to no-one's fault.Yes.In the early days, back in November.Yes. It looks like there has been a contamination of a farm downstream now as well?Um. We will see. We are very open-minded. We don't know... Not prepared to make statements exactly where this has come from. We do know that white spot doesn't... It does what, sorry?It does not exist in Australia. We do know it comes from Asia and certainly the Americas. The importation of raw prawns into Australia was a factor we have been highlighting from the Australian prawn farm association for many years. Unfortunately, I this Barnaby - while I absolutely applaud the Government's stance on it right now, it would have been nice a couple of years ago.So, you are frustrated that the message want heeded earlier.I suppose, yes. The Australian prawn industry is relatively small. Certainly from the farm point of view. The wild guys would do 4-4 times more than thus. The imported more than double both. I suppose it's the lobby voice that wasn't listened to as well as it should have been back when we did the first IRA.We will get to more on that, but I want to get to the effect on your operation. What is your annual - rough annual turnover in terms of dollars a year, and what is going to be the effect on your income over the next 12 months? How dong does it look like your operation will be slut down.We are -- shut down. We are fortunate we have more than one farm, we have a farm here on the Logan and one at Port Douglas in North Queensland. The farm in North Queensland is producing and does a reasonable amount, but only about a third of what we produce as a company. Our average production here is between 6 and 800 tonnes a year, at this site, which is around - between 12 and $14 million a year. Now, that total income will not arrive. We have spent - unfortunately - quite significant money to get the prawns to the size they are today, which is still unsaleable, largely. The prawn - the ponds are being chlorinated, as we seek, this second, we are chlorinating ponds, the Biosecurity Queensland is. No income there. The biggest concern is for the owners, the people that have built this farm and their families that have done this for the last 30-plus years, and the other farms. The farms that have been destroyed are all local family farmers that built the farms themselves over many years. So, then you have your staff as well. We will have to - won't be able to keep the numbers of staff we have got, in our case 35. That is on this farm alone. It is a devastating, horrible, terrible situation that probably - and certainly - could have been avoided.How does that feel going through that process of killing all this stock?Last Thursday was probably the worst day of my prawn farming life. To watch animals being chlorinated, watch... As a prawn farmer, any farmer that does livestock, your animals are your life. You spend so much time looking after and nurturing an animal. To watch your chlorinated pond with 25,000 litres of chlorine going into a hectare of water, watching 400,000 prawns come to the surface as their gills get destroyed by the chlorine and can't breathe... Watching them die over a period of more than 30 minutes... Absolutely gut-wrenching. I had people here that have got nothing to do with prawn farming in tears. They are not people that were actually part of what we are doing. Yeah.It was an absolutely devastating day.And so long does it look like that operation there - your operation on the Logan River - will be out of action?We only stop once a year. We are a seasonal operation, being in South Australia Queensland, the temperatures are important. We don't stock here until September/October on a normal year. We will be depopulating this whole farm. By this time next week there won't be a live animal on the site. We will be already in the process of decontaminating the drainage canals, the storage canals, settlement ponds. It is a major, long process. It would be certainly in the months not weeks to get the place sanitised, for want of a better word. Then lit depend very much on what the testing in the river has been. That River is our lifeblood. We need the Logan River to produce to fill the ponds. There is some methodology to water treatment that has been fairly successful overseas. That is my... I am not in my office and that is someone else's phone ringing!Have you got insurance against things like this.Absolutely not. Unfortunately, the only insurance we get here is when we are actually physically - the ponds are empty and the prawns are in boxes. They are insured in transport. No insurance available in the water. While I am asking the question, it might give you an opportunity to get that phone or pull that phone off. Taking into account what you have said just a couple of minutes ago about you having raised concerns about the importation of prawns for exactly this purpose, would you be looking to Governments for any compensation about this? As you have said, it is a devastating event that's happened there for a number of farmers there on the Logan River over the last month?There is absolutely no doubt that the farmers on the Logan, any farmersing affected by this in the future, will be seeking some sort of financial assistance. Whether that be in the form of grants, in the form of - I don't like the use the word compensation per se, because I'm sure they won't like that either, because that will involve blame or... But we will - will will be money needed if the industry is to survive. Government intervention, state or Federal, will be absolutely critical.It what portion of the industry comes out of the Logan River there in terms of the Australian operations?Around about 30-35%, depending on the year.Would you ex-p ex-that there will be an increase in prawn prices at the supermarkets as a result?I seriously hope not. Prices of prawns - people talk about shortages increasing. Supply and demand. They are like anything else - you have to offer a customer value. If a person doesn't see value in paying for something, they will buy something else. Simple. There is no need - there are other options out there. Yes.I hope not.As the Minister said, and you have said, you don't know for sure exactly where this came from. Why is it fair enough to go with ahead with this ban on the importation when you can't say for sure that that is the problem?I would would be - for the risk assessment that's been done, the importation of an animal that actually - has the virus within its system, and has been proved can transfer into your own non infected stock, who would ever do that? Can you imagine deliberately importing a product with a virus that can actually physically infect noninfected stock? You wouldn't do that.Yes.This has just taken time for, eventually, for a rather expensive penny to drop.Yes. OK. It sounds like you have been through a tough time up there. Thanks for talking to us this morning.My pleasure, Joe.Sue joins us now with business and finance.

The company that owns the Dreamworld amussment park says revenue has slumped since the park reopened last month, following a fratal accident. Ardent Leisure saysed made nearly $4 million since the park reopened. But that's down nearly two-thirds from the same time a year ago. Four people were killed in an accident at the park in October. The local share market is higher at midday, driven by stronger oil prices. The All Ords Index is up by stronger oil prices. The All Ords
Index is up around 1-5th of a per cent.

Manufacturers say a looming gas shortage by the middle of the year is forcing many firms to agree to large price increases to guarantee supplies. Any increase in the natural gas exports is causing a domestic shortage. Manufacturing Australia says it is expecting to see more big price rises. Australia says it is expecting to
see more big price rises. .Taking a quick look at the weather now:

Stick with us. Going for a short break. We will be back soon with the latest bulletin. Repeating that breaking news - the Federal Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce, announcing that the importation of green prawns is being banned immediately after the outbreak of white spot disease on some prawn farms on the Logan River in Queensland. Just heard devastating description from one of the prawn farmers about how they have had to kill millions of prawns over the last week because of that outbreak. Stick with us on ABC News 24.

This program is not captioned. This program is live captioned by Ericsson Access Services. Today, the Federal Government suspends the importation of green prawns after an outbreak of White Spot Disease. Indonesia appears to back down on a military decision to suspend defence cooperation with Australia. The Health Minister faces scrutiny over a decision to purchase property during a taxpayer funded trip. And a new study shows living by a major road can increase your risk of developing dementia.

Hello, Kathryn Robinson with ABC News. The Federal Government is taking action against a major prawn importer following an outbreak of a devastating disease which is

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