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(generated from captions) NDIS access and review processes. People with severe mental illness, particularly those on compulsory treatment orders, the homeless, people with a dual disability, those with little informal support network, are often unable to or reluctant to engage with formal support service systems, or they have no treating health professional. So, just for that category of people, there is a need for additional effort and outreach to help them access, understand and provide the information necessary for them to participate. The same for many others. Despite the NDIS commencing over three years ago, there is still no published eligibility criteria for people with psychosocial disability. Added to that, anecdotal reports indicate that the outcomes from the assessment process are somewhat unpredictable and seem quite variable for people with similar levels of psychosocial disability. All of this points to the need for the scheme to build much better the specialist skill capability needed to deal with people with mental illness, and also to consider whether a special gateway is required for people with mental illness to facilitate their entry to the scheme. At the moment, the big risk is that mental health becomes the poor cousin of the scheme, and is squeezed between an imperfect and incomplete NDIS and a contracting mental health system. I also believe that the NDIS, by all its virtues, for all the great things it's doing, fails to adequately address the housing support needs of people with mental illness, despite the provision in some cases for a payment of a so-called user cost of capital, which does make a contribution, but a limited one in this area. Well, in this speech, I won't go into details of our action plan. But I want to acknowledge that there is some promising and substantial work in this area from groups which are here with us today. I just can't mention all of them. I've picked two. There's the Healthy Active Lives program, the Hill program developed by Dr Jacky Curtis and others at the Bondi Psychosis program. There's also the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, who have produced an excellent report, Keeping Body And Mind Together. And I would like to acknowledge members of the Equally Well implementation committee, who are here today, who is co-chaired by someone from Charles Sturt University, and the ka chair of the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum. They are joined by representatives from key stakeholders in the private, public and community sectors in the implementation committee task. And we also call on individuals and organisations across Australia to take action in their areas of influence. Many have already made the commitment and I believe more are on the way. Equally Well truly is a national statement of consensus. Today, there are 53 logos on the website, showing the support that already exists from the Australian and state governments, all of them, all mental health commissions, primary health networks, professional colleges, many high-profile mental health sector organisations. And we know of immense individual support for this tremendous but fixable challenge to the treatment of mental health. And in launching Equally Well, we wish to inspire a commitment to putting physical healthcare for people living with a mental illness on an equal footing with people with physical problems who don't have mental illness. Thank you very much. (APPLAUSE) Thank you, Professor Fels. It's time now for questions. Let me begin that process with a question. You made the point early in your speech that it's important for people with mental illness, particularly those with severe problems, to be able to thrive, not just survive. Are you actually saying, in fact, is it a fair characterisation to say that most people, if not virtually all, with severe illnesses are simply just surviving in our system today? And as a second question, it sort of intrigues me, in a way, there's this recognition of this problem, there's all these organisations you've alluded to that are attempting to do things, policy makers must have been aware of it for many years, anyone who's had any experience, I think - perhaps not anyone - but most people have had some experience with someone with mental illness, would understand the physical health problems and how they often feed back into - I mean, simple little things, I suppose it's not simple, but things like, if you like, your self-esteem, feed back into your mental problems. Why is it that only today are we actually publicly talking about this?Well, thank you. And those two questions are actually related, I think. The fact is that there have been rather low - there have been low political and community priority to mental health, no question. And it continues. From time to time governments move it up to the top of the agenda and do something, and they don't drop it, but other things come to overwhelm it and it just pulls down the ladder. That happens so often in mental health policy. But also there is a rather low expectation that governs mental health, and it shouldn't. I think if I had to generalise, I think I would go with the statement: They survive, they don't thrive. It's a glass half full, half empty. There are a lot of great things being done in mental health and a lot of things where you despair. What I think - I do know, I see it every day - that people with severe mental illness, all forms of mental illness, can thrive, can lead a better life. I see it all over the place. The management of them, handling of them, treatment, provision of facilities and so on, it can happen. Mental health, of course, can be not only cured, but people can lead a thriving life. But it's also the case that that could not be said to be the outcomes of those people. And so we have to get back to some of the fundamental drivers of it. And we need not only to look at the health system, but some of the underlying socioeconomic determinants, housing and things of that thought, employment and so on. And we have, in response to your question, you know, physical health has been particularly ignored, even though it's really obvious. It's a very visible sign of the problems of people with mental illness. And I think there has been an attitude problem, a bit of complacency about it, and also a tendency for the mental health people to look at the mental health problem, the physical, the physical, and not to coordinate it. I think that's it. Now, the good thing - of course, as I mentioned, medicine makes a difference. But I do think one positive thing about it, and one reason we're giving it a push and why there is such support from organisations, is that something can be done to radically improve it. It is a problem that can be dealt with without incurring big costs. So, I have always got two thoughts about mental health - it needs a higher priority by governments, in terms of putting investment into it, but also the system does not run well. It's a difficult system to run. Whatever the excuses and reasons, if it's not run well - and this is a rather spectacular example of something that could obviously be dealt with without additional spending, maybe with a bit more training and education and awareness of people, but not enough has been done. And that is why we have launched this statement between the 53 top shows in mental health to get it higher up on the agenda. One thing I would mention is that there is some slightly wider reforms going on in health, with a big role for so-called primary health networks, and they're a place where it's possible and really important that we get the two together.Just very quickly, though, you're saying there might be a cost up front, but there's an economic benefit downstream?Yes.And a social benefit, obviously?In this case, it's not a high cost. There are some other things that do require substantial investment. This requires a concerted effort within current budgets, principally, to handle the other bits of mental health could well do with some additional investments. And also with a reallocation of resources. On the economic question, broadly speaking, any economist that spends one minute looking at the system will immediately spot that most of the money is spent at the severe treatment end of it. To quote Pat McGorry, "When people have fallen to the bottom of the cliff, a lot of money goes into that. It has to." No money, very little money, is spent preventing them falling over the cliff. We need to get more investment in prevention, early intervention, and that would easily pay for itself, as I quoted Martin Wolf.A question now.Professor Fels. I want to ask you about a different kind of vulnerable person in your capacity as chair of the Migrant Workers' Task Force. It's been almost two years since the 7-Eleven wages scandal was first exposed, and just even today we're seeing another franchisee getting charged - sorry, getting fined. I want to ask you what you think of the progress in this area. Has there been enough progress? Do you think the companies have done enough or are doing enough? Do you think the Government has done enough? Obviously the legislation hasn't passed. And what do you think of the Franchise Council of Australia's bid to torpedo that legislation?I will just take one question on that. I won't take any more, if you don't mind. Just on that question, well, there's a completely over-the-top campaign to stop a sensible change in the law that all parties, most people agree with, that in future franchisors like 7-Eleven, but there are many, many others who run shops where there is law-breaking should have some legal liability where necessary. And in terms of progress, the Government is trying to get through the Parliament, and I imagine it will, and I hope it wards off all the pressure from the Franchise Council, who even seem to be working in the US. There was an article in Fairfax about this, in the US over Australia's law, trying to, as I see it, investment strike by US firms, for this sensible law. Now, the other things that are happening, more resources have been put into the Fair Work Ombudsman, and they're doing more. It's a struggle that may work systematically, but when there are large numbers of people not complying, 7-Eleven has paid out at least $110 million for lost pay. And it shows that if you can get - making up lost pay work, it's partly within the fines, which are 500,000. Just a couple of comments on that. The next question.Professor Fels, thank you for your speech. My question is about the revival we've seen in recent days about a proposal for a plebiscite on gay marriage. There have been warnings that that debate could have negative impacts on the mental health of gay Australians. Do you share those concerns?Well, I think whatever policy approach is adopted, that there will be some mental health effects, because people get very stressed about this topic. And debates can get out of hand and so on. So, I accept there could be some mental health consequences from that debate. And it is a fact. The commission has often said that the mental health of the LGBTI community is not good. The numbers are really bad for the LGBTI community. But I've got no particular view on how - and certainly the commission has no particular view on how we progress the question of gay marriage and equal rights. But like everyone, I acknowledge there are some mental health effects surrounding this matter. On the part of LGBTI, maybe on the part of opponents too.Next question.I've actually got a question about mental health. (LAUGHTER) And particularly it's the interface with the NDIS, reading up about it, it's a definitional issue, to a certain extent? When we had the terms people living with disability, it seemed to be a permanent - whereas mental illness, mental health, is something you can recover from, something that can be healed. And that's an attitudal - like a fundamental attitudal difference. I was looking before I came here, and looked at the Mental Health Australia submission to the PC from their draft report. And some of their recommendations go to this. They said, "Include the principle of recovery-oriented practice for psychosocial disability, remove the requirement that psychosocial disability must be or likely to be permanent, recognise that recovery-oriented approach will be taken in determining support needs." So, I wonder if you could just kind of expand on how you understand this definitional issue of permanent disability and recovery and how mental health stuff can come into the NDIS, or maybe should not necessarily be forming the NDIS? Just on the last point, I will try to answer your really important question. With regard to all health matters, including disability, some of it - the medical side, if you like - remains with health systems and welfare systems. But the psychosocial disability that arises from a disability, that's what the scheme is all about. So, mental health will always remain with governments and in the present health system to a significant degree, but disability and inability to live a proper, full life, for example, that's picked up by the NDIS and it is tremendously important. And the way you - there are quite difficult boundary problems in this matter. But let me get to your fundamental point. Actually, I will make another kind of preliminary point, if you like. Recovery. Now, the term 'recovery' is used in mental health. It's a very important term. It's a term of hope. That people can get better. With severe mental health, it doesn't mean there will be a perfect cure, but we do know they can lead a much better life, lead the best possible life you can expect, given maybe your inheritance or whatever, your incidence of mental health. Now a bit of a tendency in the economic departments to say, "Right, well, here's a program called Mental Health Recovery, that means people will be fixed in two years," so it's a 2-year duration, when mental health is most often for the severe end a life-long problem and affliction. OK, so now on the NDIS, there is a specification in the law that the disability must be permanent, and I'm oversimplifying the law, but it strongly emphasises the permanence. A very large number of people in Australia have got episodic mental illness as a permanent condition. So, they get mentally ill, they recover, no problems, they relapse, have another episode, and so on. Is that permanent? This is a very heated matter, but it is, to my mind, fundamental in dealing with mental illness properly, that a disability scheme acknowledges the fact that mental illness has this episodic character for many people. And it should be included in the scheme. Now, there's a bit of ambivalence about that, well-described in the Productivity Commission draft report. We believe that it's in. But whether one wants to clarify it by law, there would be some advantages in that. I also have some fears about what would happen if we sent the law back to Parliament and say, "We've got some worries about what might be unleashed there." But it needs to be in, if mental health is to be properly covered. And it needs to be recognised in the assessment process, which is already struggling. Now, on recovery, there is another point too. That in mental health, we've got a rather different idea of how you deal with the problem of mental illness. You look at socioeconomic determinants like housing, you try to do something about that. You try to set up early intervention and prevention arrangements as much as possible. They don't fit all that comfortably with the NDIS. To be fair, the NDIS is trying to do something about it, but there is a difficult issue there. The treatment that is are required for mental -- the treatments that are required for mental health, when the concept has been mainly developed in a physical and intellectual disability setting. So, this is another area of uneasiness about how the NDIS is going. What we don't want is people to arrive at the NDIA with a budget preoccupation and decide to turn the tide against mental health. Rather, it needs to be fully recognised, not to be the poor cousin, and as I mentioned, particularly a lot more work needs to be done on assessing eligibility and reaching out to people to join it, given the special characteristics of mental health. Have you made your own...? I mean, you mentioned 700,000 people with severe mental problems, an estimate of 64,000 to be covered, have you made any assessment of what you think the actual figure will be? Not suggesting it will be 700?We're up at about the, about 250,000 is our estimate, I think. Mental Health Australia is around that order also. The reason it's a bit hard to calculate, of course, is the assessments are still going on. The 64 came from somewhere, it was certain people who were in the system at the time. And a subset of them, um, there's a much wider set of people. I particularly emphasise, so-called 'new' people. So, if you're in a mental health system somehow at the moment, there have been statements by governments they'll look after you, we hope that happens. But every year there are a lot of new people. Just take the university, I don't know about you, but every year a huge bunch of new people are at a university, and a lot of them have mental health problems. They're new, they're not picked up. So, there's the new population, and the new population, the numerous people that miss out on treatment at the moment. Because one of the most famous, infamous elements of mental health in Australia is well-known. We've said it a million times. There is poor access to the system and large numbers of people don't access or get into the system, and yet they should be covered. Often they're the most severe.A question now from Tim Shaw.Professor, Tim Shaw from Radio 2CC in Canberra. I've got the Minister for Mental Health on the program tomorrow. The ACT Government is establishing an Office of Mental Health, and what I'm interested to know from you, is this a narrative that really should be more mental illness becomes 'mental wellness'? Are you hoping that health ministers from around the country, when they meet at COAG, change and shift the paradigm, and that under this mental illness or mental wellness, we have addictions, whether it be gambling addiction, as to prescription and/or illegal drugs, alcohol, that leads to issues like domestic violence and, of course, that depression and therefore suicidal tendencies? So, I'm just wondering whether the national narrative should be about mental wellness rather than illness? And that we thank all the organisations, like beyondblue and Lifeline, that are providing essential 24-hour service, but there needs to be more of a stronger, forkused national approach to the -- focused national approach to the mental wellness of Australians? Well, in case you don't know, I think you do, you're singing from the same song sheet as the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, who has quite a bit said that the mental wealth of a nation is as important as its physical wealth. Instead of spending money digging up streets and building rail lines to nowhere and so on, how about investing in people, in, if you like, human capital? Forgive the technological term that we love in economics. In human elements, why not put some of our investments into that? There's a much bigger pay-off for that. And we should bear in mind also, with your mental wellness point, and his mental wealth point, look, we are interested in mental health of the whole community. And if it were better, we would have a happier society, and I think a more productivity one. -- a more productive one. So, the other aspect of what you say about mental illness, I sort of touched on, but it bears repeating, is that we need a more positive attitude. That, you know, it is curable, this matter, or improvable, and also that we should put it on the same footing as other health problems. It's not really on the same footing. It's just low expectation, there's a bit of a complacency about the whole thing, that mental illness will always be these people, they tend to be often at the bottom of society, there's not much we can do about it. But there's plenty we can do about it.A final question from Nick Stuart. Canberra Times. Thanks very much, indeed, Professor. As soon as you talk about mental issues, people start imaging egos, super-egos running around their head, and we fall back into the Freudian terms - at least I do, maybe I'm showing my age, sorry - of over a hundred years ago. Do we now need to actually conceive of mental issues

conceive of mental issues very much as physiological? Do we need a actually start conceiving of the reality that younger children are, because their brains are developing, more likely to be in particular situations where they happen to have particular issues? Is part of the problem the way in which we talk about mental health as being somehow or another significantly differentiated from physical health and abilities? And as a second koda -- coda, if I can, how and when you look at, for example, the typical term in which the Prime Minister occupies office at the moment, how can you say that anyone is less intellectually able than them? The politicians surely deserve far more, you know, for surely the politicians are the ones who are really needing care at the moment, because they're in such a completely hopeless situation.Well, on the... (LAUGHTER) Just on the second point, everywhere I go, if I speak to lawyers, if I speak to doctors, if I speak to construction workers, if I speak to an LGBTI, whatever, they've all got their own problems. Everyone has got mental health challenges. It's really pervasive in the community. I'm sure it's present in Parliament, amongst members of the Parliament, because there are so many of them. There are a number who suffer from mental illness. So, um at a general level, mental illness is stalking some parts of Parliament. Rather, but I don't quite want to go on and give you a general comment on the sanity or otherwise of our politicians, and whether they're driving us insane or whether we're driving them insane. Now, on the other point, yeah. So, I think, it's a fair enough question to ask, given I have been talking about the physical and mental interaction and so on, and it's also important to know that a hundred years ago, even 50 years ago, that you talked about, that in those days the number one attributed cause of mental illness was family upbringing. That's what was blamed for, the way you were brought up. Now it is clear that major determinants of it are biological and genetic, and there can be physiological and brain chemical consequences of it. It is really important. That is why, unfortunately, it seems quite a lot of medicine is needed for people with serious mental illness, even though it's imperfect. So, I accept that there are physical impacts on mental illness. And, by the way, people who have bad physical problems, for example, who are very obese, things like that, other physical afflictions can go on and affect your mental health, make you depressed, etc. So, all of that is true. All of these factors are at work. So, thank you for that question.We'll finish on that note. (APPLAUSE)

Allan Fels, thank you. Thank you very much for your address today. We find that when we have these sorts of addresses, we tend to get a much greater response from our viewing audience than we do for many other addresses, so I think, if past performance is any indication, it's not just the people in this room - I know you're not just speaking to the people in this room - but there will be a very large number of viewers out there who will be very appreciative of the comments you have made today and will be very interested in those comments as well. Congratulations on bringing this to - letting us know about this issue, because I think probably most of us would be aware of it, but the fact that you have been able to bring it together like this is, I think, very, very positive. I would like to send you home not empty-handed, but a copy of Stand And Deliver. This is our 50th anniversary book, the history of the Press Club. Not so much the history of the club, but really the history of a lot of speakers here, and some of their speeches. And the back stories for those. A number of politicians on the front page. You can make injure own judgement, be given the nature of the last question. I'll leave that to you. Thank you very much. A pleasure to be able to renew your membership at the Press Club too.Thank you very much. This is the third copy of it! (APPLAUSE) The author of the previous speech. Thanks, Allan.

The full investigation into water theft and corruption in New South Wales is a wake-up call. Philip Glide says that the health of the river system relies on trust that all states are complying with the rules. There are growing calls for an independent inquiry into claims that some New South Wales irrigators have extracted more wau than they're allowed. Donald Trump's son in law and White House advisor, Jared Kushner shall has denied any collusion are Russia during the presidential campaign. 'S the first senior official to be questioned by the Senate Intelligence Committee over alleged Russia interference. The parents of terminally ill Charlie Gard have dropped their court proceedings to sent their son to the US for experimental treatment. It's the end of 5-month battle with the hospital who argued that the life support should be switched off. And Australian sailor Lisa Blair is about to make history as the first woman to solo circumnavigate Antarctica. She'll return to Albany in the WA coast after a 6-month treacherous voyage. Back to the Four Corners investigation which has left downstream states furious over the New South Wales Government's handling of the Murray-Darling Basin plan which was designed to strike a sustainable balance between the environment and water users. Chief executive of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority Philip Glide called the revelations a real wake-up call. I think we've been aware of the concerns for some time. Two concerns were raised. One was in relation to breaking the law and the other was in relation to the making of the laws. In relation to the laws, we get information from time to time about members of the community and irrigation groups about bad play in relation to the rules. And we refer those on to the various state regulators as they are in each state. In terms of the making of the rules, it's a really important issue. If water is returned to the environment, we need to make sure that it does end up being used in the environment and not being pumped out by other irrigators and it is important to recognise that in November last year, we came forward with an amendment to the current basin plan which had, as part of it, more work on this protection of environmental water. And in June of this year, all of the minister ial council endorsed that and committed, in-principle, to taking action to better protect the environmental waters. Up and down the basin.If you refer concerns on, isn't it your duty to chase up the concerns to chase up what's happened?It's a good point and people have to be confident and trust that the rules are being applied fairly. We hand those concerns on. And we expect that the various state governments will take that seriously. Under the constitution, water remains the responsibility of the states. Our job is to share that responsibility with them. And if we think that there's a problem with that, then our job is to raise it. So to date, we haven't been aware that the New South Wales Government has been not taking on board that responsibility. Why haven't you been aware of that? I think what happens is that when you refer these matters, sometimes it can take quite a while for them to come forward.But the buck has to stop somewhere inYeah.So shouldn't it be with it the authority that should have overall control of the Murray-Darling Basin plan, which is the Darling Authority?This is a shared responsibility. I'm not trying to shirk that responsibility, but we do share it. The states operate and they have the staffing and they have the resources. Indeed, they have the regulations and the legislation to operate at retail level and to intersect with the irrigators to check whether or not the metres are right, to check whether or not they're being used properly. The Commonwealth's responsibility is to make sure that there's a sustainable level of take, and so, we, if you like, regulate the regulators. We intercept with them. If we find out it is not working, we report it. And that's what we've been doing.So the plan isn't working. Trust is an important part of the overall plan and has been clearly violated. What happens now? Who pays the penalty for that? I would go back to the first comment now and say that actually the plan is working. We're five years into the 12-year roll-out of the plan. The Murray-Darling Basin Authority's powers really kick in in 2019. We've still got a little way to go. And we've seen some really good successes, not just on the environmental side, but also in terms of waurp recovery. Three-quarters of the amount of water that needs to be returned to the environment has done. It's really important as we go forward with the plan that everyone has confidence in the regulatory renl em, and the fact that there's -- regime, and the fact that there's been light shone on to this non-compli sentence a very important step as we deal with things as they come up.I think that irrigators in South Australia would firmly disagree with you when you say that the plan is working?I think that you only heard Minister Hunter this morning pointing out that the plan is working. They've had great Murray cod and golden perch breeding events. There's more water than ever before being returned to the environment much the Commonwealth water holds a little over 2,000 gigalitres of water as a result of the plan. It's important to understand that the plan is actually working. There will be problems. There's always problems in a regulatory system with people wanting to do the wrong thing. We've got to make sure that we can find the problems, identify them and deal with them. And indeed, I think that's what most of the topic of discussion has been about today - the best way to do that.So there are now calls for independent judicial reviews, a Senate inquiry, a Royal Commission, even. Irrigators in South Australia are furious. What do you want to see happen?It's not just irrigators who are furious. There's also all of the water users who want to know that it is fair and that the rules that they are being subject to, that others are subject to too. It's a bit beyond my pay grade to comment on what is the best way forward in this regard. You have to remember the basin plan is an agreement between six governments, only as recently as June. COAG, the Prime Minister and all of the Premiers signed off on the implementation plan and acknowledged that they were satisfied with progress to date. We've got to stay the course. We've got to make sure that these sorts of incidents don't happen, and fortunately, if they do, we've got to be able to deal with them.But what should change in order for the instances not to happen? Again, something has to change?Well, I think we're expecting that the state governments and regulators will live up to the obligations they've made under the plan. And we look forward to seeing what the results of the reviews are. And as I said, we've recommended already to the basin ministers, a change to the plan, when we realised that the laws may not necessarily be protecting environmental water. It really is quite important to make sure that this plan is adaptable and that as things come up and as we learn more about the environment, as we learn more about water use, as we get better at compliance, that we can change that plan to make sure that it happens. I share the concerns of everyone out there that they hate to see that the water that's being given up for the environment for a really good cause might have been used by another irrigator. It's just not fair.And what was your reaction to the New South Wales Government's plan, or proposal, Plan C as they called it, to pull out of the plan all together?That was unfortunately before my time. But you've got to also understand that that is disappointing. You notice at the first level and the premier level and the ministerial level, the New South Wales government has signed on and continues to be committed to the plan. I would point out, though, that we're going through a really significant reform. We're taking 20% of the water away from production aputing it back into the environment to benefit the system in the long-run. That is a huge change and you can imagine, as has been the course for 100 years with water politics and water management in this country, each state will always seek to get the maximum benefit for their state. And the beauty of the plan is that for once, there is a plan in place that is oblivious to those state borders and actually does try to manage that basin as a whole. And we're very comforted by the fact that the COAG and the ministerial council have signed off on the next steps.Finally, was there anything in the Four Corners program last night that was news to you? Which shocked you?I think the extent of things like tampering with metres and what have you. That was certainly news to me, personally. And fact that that is going on. I think there's certainly a lot more trust in the southern part of the basin and less so in the north. It's been a really good wake-up call for all of us to look at the compliance regimes to see if there's more that we can do to make sure that the basin plan is administered fairly. Thank you. Queensland chief scientist Professor Suzanne Miller has been stood aside after being charged with fraud. The crime and Corruption Commission announced last night that a 52-year-old woman was bailed in relation to a private health insurance claim worth $45,000. Our reporter is in Brisbane. So the Queensland chief scientist is in hot water. Has she been stood aside? Yeah, it was last night that the CCC came out with the announcement that now it is alleged that she fraudulently obtained $45,000 over the last three years via that private health fund. No other details have been given since. She was given bail last night and will appear in court in the coming weeks. Now, the minister for science has paid tribute to the work that she's done over the last few years. But the Premier's office said that she has been stood aside pending the serious allegations.Can you tell us a bit more about the allegations? It's only that since February 2014, sums of money were

Sums of money were fraudulently taken from a private health fund. The crime and Corruption Commission release last night alerted the media to the fact that she had been charged.And the Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne is in strife as well. What's happen thered?It was revealed that there was an Exxon -- expletive laden rant in front of staffers. He said that he couldn't recall what he said, but admits that he does swear from time to time. The Premier's office, though, said that they've spoken to the minister about what happened a couple of weeks ago. Thank you. President Trump's son in law Jared Kushner has deniedfully ve any collusion with Russia in last year's American election. He's the first member of the President's inner circle to have been questioned by a congressional committee. Speaking after giving evidence, he said that he had been completely transparent. Jared Kushner, the husband of Ivanka, the son in law of the President and the closest confidente of Donald Trump to find himself in the cross hairs of the sprawling Russia investigation. A man who is normally found studiously avoiding the limelight, today found himself, uncomfortably, the centre of attention. After giving evidence to the Senate Intelligence Committee behind closed doors, he returned to the White House to insist that he'd done nothing wrong.I did not collude with Russia. Nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so. I had no improper contacts. I have not relied on Russian funds for my businesses. And I have been fully transparent in providing all requested information.So, what were the contacts? the contacts? In April 2016, he met the Russian ambassador, Sergey Siklyak. Apparently no more than a handshake and small talk. He denies two further phone callses. In June 9, 2016, he joined to hear from a Russian attorney who has alleged links to the Intel services in Moscow. The subject matter - getting dirt on Hillary Clinton. Then, after the election, Jared Kushner meets the Russian ambassador again on December 1, and then two weeks later, he meets a Russian banker, Sergey Gorkov, said to Sergey Gorkov, said to have direct links to Vladimir Putin. But of one thing, he was insistent. These meetings made zero difference to the outcome of the election.Donald Trump had a better message and ran a smarter campaign, and that is why he won. Suggesting otherwise ridicules those who voted for him.But today, as Donald Trump was framed by over 100 White House interns, he was doing some ridiculing of his own. As reporters sought to ask disobliging questions. REPORTER: Jeff Sessions to resign? First by saying nothing! And then by letting rip! He's found it similarly difficult to keep his opinions to himself over Russia. More on the emotional story from the UK now where the parents of 11-month-old Charlie Gard have ended their legal fight to take him to the US for experimental treatment. The baby suffers from a rare genetic condition. In our medical system, as in the UK, the parents decide what happens to their children, except in cases of emergency. So when do the courts get involved? Here's Dr Neera Bhatia, senior lecturer in law at Deacon University in Melbourne.The case is nothing less than a great tragedy. It really is a very, very sad case. And the decision that has finally been reached, interestingly in this case, in the end by Charlie's parents themselves, is sad. And ultimately, it's been decided that it is in Charlie's best interests that treatment be withdrawn. I think the greatest tragedy in all of this is that Charlie's life over the past 11 months or so has been played out in the media for everybody to comment on. And I, for want of a better word, it has become almost a media circus.How much weight do the wishes of parents carry when it comes to the treatment of a child? And when are those medical decisions then taken out of the hands of parents?That's a really interesting question. And the answer to that question is actually very nuanced. Parents do have a say, to some degree, in decisions that are being made about their children, and it's a collaborative effort between parents and doctors, initially, in making treatment decisions for children and infants. However, decisions have to be made that are in the best interests of the child, as we've seen throughout the Gard case. That's been the operative word "The best interests of the child" and it's really about ensuring that no harm reaches the child. And when decisions come to the stage where there is disagreement between doctors and parents, unfortunately, and it's very rare that this occurs, but when we get to that stage, the courts have to intervene in determining what is best for the child, and I think that the judge in this case has made that point quite poignantly in saying that the child is independent of its parents and ultimately, decisions have to be made that are right for the child. Now, often people assume that treatment is always in the best interest of the child. And sadly, and unfortunately, sometimes the best treatment for the child isn't actually to provide treatment.And have there been similar cases here in Australia and do the same rules apply?There have been similar cases to some degree. It's rare that cases go to court. The most notable cases in recent times, at least, in Australia. We had a case in 2012 of a little baby, named Mohammed, and he also suffered with a different form of mitochondrial syndrome, and his parents also wanted treatment to be continued, and in particular, they wanted mechanical ventilation to be provided to their son in the case that he was to stop breathing. And the case went to the Supreme Court in New South Wales. And in this particular case of baby Mohammed, the judge determined that the treatment wasn't in his best interests. More recently, last year, a case that was publicised somewhat in Australia was the case of Oshin Kisko, a 6-year-old young boy who had a rare brain tumour. And in this case, it actually involved alternative treatments and his parents wanted to pursue alternative treatments rather than conventional treatments of radiotherapy and chemotherapy. And in that particular case, in the end, after three judgements in the Family Court, it was decided that palliative care was in his best interests.Is there likely to be a change in the law as a result of the Charlie Gard case? Or even a change in the way that parents or doctors make decisions? It's drawn everybody in, from Donald Trump to the Pope?It's really interesting and I've written about this very recently. I think that the decision in the charl Carl Guardiola case, in itself -- Charlie Gard case, in itself, is not particularly novel. We've seen previous cases, particularly in the United Kingdom, where decisions have been made which are sad decisions and unfortunate or uncomfortable decisions, the withdrawal of treatment is in the best interests of the child. However, what I think is novel in this case, and I've used this word before, and it's a word that I'm not comfortable using, but it seems the most appropriate word, is a "social media circus" and we've seen this really play out in the Charlie Gard case. Is this real use of social media to mobilise support. And it's been a real driving force in this particular case. We've also seen the use of crowdfunding in this particular case where it hasn't been about using limited resources, but it's been about using crowdfunding to source money to potentially send Charleroi gar guard and his parents to the United states for this experimental treatment. And what we've also seen -- charl Carl Guardiola and his parents to the United States for treatment. And what we've also seen in this case is a sense of anti-establishment in a shift away from pa ternalism or doctor's knows best. And we haven't seen that previously. So we're seeing a real change in society's attitude to what they feel in terms of end of life decisions for children, or infants in the case of Charlie Gard, but also long-term, what we might see in how people decide to make their own medical treatment decisions.Neera Bhatia, thank you for your insights. Thank you. Algae growing on the ice sheet in Greenland is accelerating the melting process and causing sea-levels to rise more than expected. That's the worry of climate scientists who say that warming conditions are encouraging the tiny plants to grow, darkening the surface ice and warming that ice. Here's Dr Andrew King, who is from the centre of excellence for climate systems science at the University of Melbourne. The algae is darker than the natural ice surface, which is obviously very white. And that means that they can absorb more energy from the sun. And heat up causing more melting than would otherwise be expected.Isn't the ice sheet melting anyway because of global warming? And how much of that melt is being accelerated by the algae?So that's a bit harder to tell. But we know that the Greenland ice sheet melting is contributing about 1mm per year to sea-level rise. And the algae which have been observed over Greenland may start to cause that number to increase. And we might get an acceleration in sea-level rises.So these tiny organisms could have, potentially, a huge effect. What impact could they have then on sea-level rises? Absolutely. So if we have increased sea-level rise because of this increased melting due to the algae, then we could have some quite dire consequences. We're very vulnerable to sea-level rise in coastal communities around the world, including in Australia.Can you talk numbers?So, there's quite a lot of uncertainty on the numbers. We're expecting sea-level rise of something like 50 cm to 1m this century. If the whole of the Greenland ice sheet were to melt, which is a kind of a doomsday projection, it would be more like 7m of sea-level rise. So any sea-level rise contributes to storm surges, when we have tropical cyclones, and east coast lows. So they increase the chance of coastal flooding and damage.And how long have the algae been growing on the ice shelf? Is that known?That's not really known either. So this new research highlighted today, this is part of a 5-year project being run in the UK. They've identified large areas where there's these algae blooms. And it was more than they expected to find as well. So we know that it is a problem. And it's something that we need to look at in more detail and do more research on.And has the effect of this, biologically inspired melt, been included in global climate projection? If it is relatively new?Not really. So climate model projections are based on... Our global climate model is run out over the next Septemberury. Whilst some have different amounts of increasing solar radiation over Greenland, they don't explicitly have these algae in them.Dr Andrew King, thank you. Thank you. Time now for the Time now for the weather. Here's Nate. Taking a look at the satellite, we've got cloud moving through the south-east of the country. That's associated with a low pressure system and a cold front and a trough just bringing some rain to Victoria and Tasmania. More cloud for the south-west as a cold front approaches, but the rest of the country, fairly cloud-free and that's thanks to a broad ridge of high pressure. Just keeping the skies settled. As we look ahead to tomorrow. We'll see some showers moving through the south-west of the country with that cold front and some showers lingering as well just for the south-east. A few showers along the Queensland coast as well thanks to a ridge up the coast there. And the capitals for tomorrow:

NASA has released a time lapse video of of the aurora as seen from space. The astronaut Jack Fisher captured the northern lights from the International Space Station showing the vibrant green colours dancing around the earth's atmosphere. Aurora Borealis is as a result of a collision of gases between the sun and the atmosphere. But he's come up with a more colourful description calling it "awesome green sauce". That's ABC news for now. I'm Ros Childs. Thank you for joining us.

This program is not captioned. This program is live captioned by Ericsson Access Services. Today: Outrage and calls for an inquiry. The furious reaction to allegations of water theft and corruption on the Murray-Darling. It's been a real good wake-up call for all of us to go back and look at our compliance regimes to see if there's anything more we can do to make sure we're administrating the basin plan fairly. Speaking out: Donald Trump's son-in-law declares he did not collude with the Russians. The British parents of a critically ill baby drop their legal battle after revealing they've run out of time to save him. And sailing into history: Australian Lisa Blair to become the first woman to circumnavigate Antarctica solo. Good afternoon. Ros Childs with ABC