Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts.These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
Lateline -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

Tonight -

actions today are focussed on extending the no-fly zone southward, then westward from Benghazi,
with the capabilities of the Coalition I anticipate the no-fly zone will soon extend to Brega and
Misrata, and then to Tripoli.

This Program is Captioned

Good evening, welcome to Lateline, I'm Ali Moore. Lateline, I'm Ali Moore. Days after rioting at
the Christmas Island detention centre, authorities still can't confirm whether they've located all
the detainees who escaped. That news comes hours after Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said he'd
been told a final head count had been completed and all were accounted for. The extraordinary
confusion comes a week before a chance to sell its plans for a processing centre in East Timor to a
meeting of regional leaders in Bali. Tonight we'll be joined by Immigration Minister Chris Bowen.
First our other headlines - state of confusion, Brisbane's Lord Mayor declares he wants his party's
top job even though he's yet to win a seat in the Queensland Parliament.

Coalition strikes continue in Libya

Coalition strikes continue in Libya

Broadcast: 22/03/2011

Reporter: Peter Cave

Fighting between government and rebel troops in Libya has continued as coalition air strikes hit
two naval bases and two air bases.


ALI MOORE: A US fighter jet has crashed in Libya. Both airmen aboard ejected and are now safe.

The plane came down during the third wave of attacks by international aircraft on Colonel Moamar
Gaddafi's forces.

One resident of Misurata told the Reuters newsagency government forces had killed 40 people there
and there are also reports of government tanks firing on the rebel-held town of Zintan.

Earlier, coalition air strikes hit two naval bases near Tripoli and two air bases, one near Colonel
Gaddafi's home town of Sirt.

Foreign affairs editor Peter Cave reports from Tobruk.

PETER CAVE: For a third night anti-aircraft fire arcs into the sky over Tripoli.

Two naval bases near the capital were hit by coalition strikes along with two air bases, one of
them near Colonel Gaddafi's home town of Sirt.

The dictator himself has not been seen since shortly after the bombing began. It's not clear if he
is still in his compound which was bombed two days ago but his adoring supporters are rallying
there to protect him.

MUHAMMAD ABDULDAIEM, GADDAFI SUPPORTER: We here in Tripoli love you Moamar Gaddafi. All the people
watching here, all the Libyans love Moamar Gaddafi.

PETER CAVE: Libyan officials say there were more civilian casualties over night.

MUSAD IBRAHIM, LIBYAN GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN: You saw last night how a rocket was aimed at the
headquarter of the leader. This is not a military place. It doesn't have weapons. It doesn't supply
weapons. It's an official building.

PETER CAVE: The United States says coalition forces are not trying to kill Gaddafi or siding with
the rebels.

GENERAL CARTER HAM, COMMANDER OF US AFRICA COMMAND: Our mandate again, our mission, is to protect
civilians from attack by the regime ground forces. Our mission is not to support any opposition
forces. So while we have reports from people who are reported to be in the opposition, there is no
official communication or formal communication with those in this so-called opposition that are
opposing the regime's ground forces.

PETER CAVE: Here in the rebel-controlled east of the Country the initial optimism that the regime
was on the run and they could quickly push through and take Tripoli has had a reality check.

While families flocked to see the damage done by the coalition jets to the government's tanks and
artillery on the road to Benghazi, rebel forces pushed up that road expecting to take the first
town on the road to Tripoli with ease.

But it soon became clear that the jets have not entirely taken away the regime's ability to fight

A tank round whistles past, fired by government troops. There was chaos and panic as the militia
turned and fled.

Some were killed and many were injured and eventually the rebel attack was repulsed on this day.

But the rebels say it's a temporary setback and the attack on Ajdabiya and onwards to Tripoli will
continue in the days weeks and months to come.

Peter Cave, Lateline.

Bolton: Obama can not make hard decisions

Bolton: Obama can not make hard decisions

Broadcast: 22/03/2011

Reporter: Craig McMurtrie

Former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton has said Obama does not understand world


ALI MOORE: Only three days into the conflict, Barack Obama is coming under increasing pressure in
the United States to explain his strategy in Libya and what his endgame is.

There's confusion about the timing of a US handover to NATO command and disagreement about whether
Moamar Gaddafi can be directly targeted.

The US commander says it isn't part of his mission, but a former US ambassador to the United
Nations says it should be.

In a broadside directed at the US president, John Bolton has told Lateline Barack Obama doesn't
understand what he's doing and can't make hard decisions.

Washington correspondent Craig McMurtrie reports.

CRAIG MCMURTRIE: Brazil, now Chile. Barack Obama is under fire at home for being out of town in
ordering the US-led attack on Libyan air defences.

And he's being asked to reconcile his administration's call for Gaddafi to go with its support for
a UN resolution that's stopped short of that.

BARACK OBAMA, US PRESIDENT: First of all, I think it's very easy to square our military actions and
our state of policies. Our military action is in support of an international mandate for the
Security Council, that specifically focuses on the humanitarian threat posed by Colonel Gaddafi to
his people.

CRAIG MCMURTRIE: A missile strike on the Gaddafi compound has been described by the US commander of
coalition forces as a legitimate attack and not an attempt to kill the Libyan leader.

GENERAL CARTER HAM, US COMMANDER: Degrading that command and control facility would degrade the
regime's ability to control its military forces ...

CRAIG MCMURTRIE: Stuttgart Base, General Carter Ham concedes that the UN-authorised mission could
be completed without the removal of Moamar Gaddafi. An outcome he describes as "less than ideal".

GENERAL CARTER HAM: I would reiterate though that I have no mission to attack that person and we
are not doing so, we are not seeking his whereabouts of anything like that.

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER US AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: The mission is not clear at all. I think
the US's interests at stake here is in removing Gaddafi from power.

CRAIG MCMURTRIE: Former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton believes that the Obama
administration has hand-cuffed itself.

JOHN BOLTON: I don't think the UN resolution actually limits the ability to use force in aid of the
objective of the resolution itself, which talks about attacking innocent Libyan civilians. Now,
since the principle threat to innocent Libyan civilians is Gaddafi, I think that gives us a, all
the authority we need.

Although, to those who would say that it does not, I would say I'd be prepared to ignore the

CRAIG MCMURTRIE: The conservative former Bush advisor, who's contemplating a 2012 presidential run,
also says that it was a mistake to refer the Libyan leader to the International Criminal Court,
because it removed any incentive for Gaddafi to accept a deal and go into exile.

His criticism of Barack Obama's handling of the crisis and foreign policy in general is withering.

JOHN BOLTON: I don't think this man understand the world. I don't think he understands threats that
America and its friends and its allies face, I don't think that he's prepared to make the hard
decisions to confront these threats and defend our interests, and I think this will lead to a
weakening of America's position over time.

CRAIG MCMURTRIE: There's also confusion over what the UN resolution means precisely when it calls
on coalition forces to use all means necessary to protect civilians. The US commander concedes that
could extend to protecting armed civilians in the opposition.

JOHN BOLTON: Many in the opposition truly are civilians and they are trying to protect their homes,
their families, their businesses, and in doing that, some of them have taken up arms.

CRAIG MCMURTRIE: That state department spokesman tied himself up in knots when asked if civilians
supporting Gaddafi would be similarly protected.

JOURNALIST: Will the coalition act to protect civilians who support Gaddafi?

STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: I'm sorry, you mean, in what way, I'm unclear about that, you're
talking about ...

JOURNALIST: It's pretty direct.

JOURNALIST 2: Are rebel civilians, it's their arms, therefore, it would seem they don't meet the
definition of being a civilian.

STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: Um, guys, look, I'm just going to go with what I've said from the onset
which is that we are in an operation right now designed to end the violence, protect civilians,
bring humanitarian aid to those civilians who've been under siege under Gaddafi's forces.

CRAIG MCMURTRIE: While the Pentagon may be hoping that the current limited UN mission will be
enough for the Libyan rebels to regain momentum, John Bolton believes that by not explicitly
targeting Colonel Gaddafi and ensuring his removal, the Obama administration is dooming itself to

JOHN BOLTON: If we now fail to accomplish that, I think that there's a very substantial chance he
will return to engage in international terrorism and quite possibly return to his nuclear and
chemical weapons programs.

CRAIG MCMURTRIE: He says, unlike Iraq and Afghanistan, Barack Obama chose this war and he believes
as a consequence the president will be judged more harshly.

Craig McMurtrie, Lateline.

Gillard reverses poll plunge

Gillard reverses poll plunge

Broadcast: 22/03/2011

Reporter: Tom Iggulden

Julia Gillard's poll figures have climbed back from a record low but she must still overcome
opposition to the proposed carbon tax.


ALI MOORE: Well there was a spring back in the Prime Minister's step today.

The same polls that delivered a savage verdict on her carbon tax are now turning back in her

But as both she and Tony Abbott noted today, poll standings can sink as easily as they rise and
there's still plenty of opposition to the carbon tax inside and outside parliament.

Political correspondent Tom Iggulden reports.

TOM IGGULDEN: A sprinkle of stardust in the Prime Minister's office. Oscar winning-movie producer
Emile Sherman dropped by with a little friend.

EMILE SHERMAN: You can have a hold if you like, it's heavy.

JULIA GILLARD, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: Oh my lord, that is heavy, isn't it.

TOM IGGULDEN: On talkback radio this morning, the critics gave brutal reviews of the PM's act in
the last election.

RADIO TALKBACK CALLER: You obtained my vote and my wife's vote by deception. Is that yes or no
electoral fraud?

JULIA GILLARD: Well I'm very happy to answer your question. And let me say to you I did say before
the last election there would be no carbon tax, I did. I did, and I've walked away from that.

TOM IGGULDEN: To bring voters back, she'll use up to half the money raised by the tax to cut income
tax for low and middle income workers, and raise the pension and the family tax benefit.

Tony Abbott's not sold.

TONY ABBOTT, FEDERAL OPPOSITION LEADER: If you don't have the tax, you don't need the compensation.

JULIA GILLARD: What he stands for is ripping money out of the purses and wallets of Australians
which the Government wants to provide.

TONY ABBOTT: As she comes into this parliament it's almost as if she's trying to earn frequent liar

TOM IGGULDEN: But the polls are turning back in the government's favour after its popularity took a
major dip in the wake of the carbon tax announcement.

And Julia Gillard's turning the pressure up on coalition members who'll be selling a repeal of the
tax at the next election.

JULIA GILLARD: How will she feel in her electorate, in the electorate of Macquarie, saying her
political party is lead by a climate change denier and she stands for no effective action on
climate change.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE, MANAGER OF OPPOSITION BUSINESS: We all know the connotation that the pm is trying
to bring about by using the word denier. We know she is trying to allude to the holocaust. It is
offensive and it must stop.

GREG COMBET, MINISTER FOR CLIMATE CHANGE: When you stop denying the climate science, we'll stop
calling you a denier.

TOM IGGULDEN: But it's not just the Federal Opposition trying to undermine the tax.

High emission polluters like BlueScope Steel aren't convinced by government assurances they'll be
protected from foreign competitors who don't have to pay the tax.

GRAEME KRAEHE, BLUESCOPE: Some say a form of relief or assistance for emissions-intensive
trade-exposed companies will be the cure. It's not. It's simply a bandaid on a bullet wound.

TOM IGGULDEN: With mining industry successfully having stared down the government on the minerals
rent tax, the question is how far emissions-intensive trade-exposed industries will go to pressure
the Government on the carbon tax.

GRAEME KRAEHE: We'll put as much persuasive pressure on them to get them to understand the current
path they are heading down will be disastrous. We'd prefer not to be in a political party debate if
we can avoid it but we'll see how this unfolds.

TOM IGGULDEN: Other opponents to the tax are being bussed into Canberra tonight in preparation for
a grassroots rally being promoted on talkback radio in Canberra tomorrow.

Organisers are expecting hundreds in attendance, including a special guest.

TONY ABBOTT: My intention is to attend the rally and my intention is to speak at the rally.

TOM IGGULDEN: With opponents to the carbon tax getting more organised by the day, it's little
wonder reports surfaced today that the Prime Minister's department has been talking to advertising
agencies about a potential so-called public information campaign, despite the fact that Julia
Gillard was once a fierce opponent to tax-payer funded political advertising. Now she's says it's
all part of routine business.

Tom Iggulden, Lateline.

Bowen: One or two may be missing

Bowen: One or two may be missing

Broadcast: 22/03/2011

Reporter: Ali Moore

Federal Immigration Minister Chris Bowen joins Lateline to discuss the Christmas Island riots and
resulting uncertainty.


ALI MOORE: Authorities were unable today to say whether they've recaptured all the detainees
involved in the breakout from the Christmas Island detention centre.

A head count inside the troubled facility has revealed discrepancies, but the Federal Police won't
say how many people can't be found.

And it seems there may be some confusion about the total number of detainees on the island.

Well to clear up that confusion we've been joined tonight by Immigration Minister Chris Bowen, in
our Parliament House studio.

Welcome to the program.

CHRIS BOWEN, IMMIGRATION MINISTER: Thanks, good to be with you.

ALI MOORE: This morning you told Radio National that "My advice is that all asylum seekers have
been accounted for" , we now know that's not the case. Are you having trouble getting accurate
information out of your department?

CHRIS BOWEN: The situation is that I was advised that the head count showed the appropriate number
of people inside the detention centre. In other words, the number of people inside the detention
centre matched the number of people who should be inside the detention centre.

Then it became apparent that their further checking, face to file checking, so checking IDs,
checking people's photos with the actual detainees in the centre did show discrepancies and the
Australian Federal Police and my department and Serco are doing checking through the three
facilities on Christmas Island to establish exactly what those discrepancies are further and
whether there are people missing from the detention centre.

ALI MOORE: How difficult can it be? If they did a head count and told the Minister it was done and
final and they'd counted everyone, what did they do, count the trees? How can there be
discrepancies one minute and not the next?

CHRIS BOWEN: I accept it's difficult to establish. I accept the premise of your question, that it's
difficult to determine exactly what's gone wrong in that count, but the fact of the matter is that
a head count was done. That showed an accurate number of people, but further checking showed
further discrepancies which are being checked further.

ALI MOORE: Was that first head count done on the basis of photographs?

CHRIS BOWEN: No, that was a pure head count.

ALI MOORE: Are there photographs of every detainee at Christmas Island?

CHRIS BOWEN: Yes, that's my advice.

ALI MOORE: Should that have been the first port of call, should that always be the port of call?

CHRIS BOWEN: They do that regularly, but the first check is a head count and there are further
checks, a more accurate check which is a face to file check and that's the normal procedure.

ALI MOORE: Do you know how many may be missing?

CHRIS BOWEN: It's a very small number, we're talking one or two people is my advice is the
discrepancy established.

ALI MOORE: Categorically less than five?

CHRIS BOWEN: That's the advice I've received, yes.

ALI MOORE: Any question about knowing exactly how many people were there to start with?

CHRIS BOWEN: No, the department has records about how many people are in the detention centres at
any particular time. Of course they do.

ALI MOORE: We've received a copy of a detainee roll from another detention centre that is also, of
course, managed by Serco and some detainees there don't have photographic ID. Is that of concern to

CHRIS BOWEN: I haven't seen that report, I'd need to look at that report and satisfy myself of its
veracity. Certainly as I understand it the taking of photographs is a normal part of the processing
of asylum seekers as you would expect. If you've got a report I'm happy to look at that.

ALI MOORE: What are you saying to your department, Serco and the AFP?

CHRIS BOWEN: I'm in regular contact with all three and we are managing issues on Christmas Island.
I have expectations about what should occur and I've those expectations clear to my department and
to Serco in particular, the Australian Federal Police are in control of the detention centre and
have that situation under control.

ALI MOORE: How long will it take to establish whether these one or two people are missing?

CHRIS BOWEN: The AFP is working very assiduously on that and will give further updates as they can.

ALI MOORE: The AFP as you say are now in control of Christmas Island. What's gone wrong with Serco,
was it in essence a staffing problem?

CHRIS BOWEN: Very early in this incident I appointed an independent review. I flagged I wanted an
arms-length independent inquiry into the preparedness of my department, Serco and the
responsiveness of my department and Serco.

I've appointed Dr Alan Hawk and Ms Helen Williams to conduct that enquiry. They'll examine all
those issues. There are contractual obligations on Serco and those obligations are enforced by my
department. This is a major incident and I want to get to the bottom of whether my department and
Serco were a) prepared and b) responded appropriately and that's what that independent review will

ALI MOORE: Do those obligations go to the level of staffing?

CHRIS BOWEN: There are requirements on Serco to provide adequate staff at centres.

ALI MOORE: Are you aware that the former manager of the centre reportedly writing to his boss five
months ago and saying they're 15 people short on a daily basis and even if they had a full
complement they'd be struggling?

CHRIS BOWEN: Yes, I am aware of the reporting of that letter and that's something the inquiry will
be examining closely, along with all sorts of investigations as to not only the staffing of Serco,
but the preparedness of Serco, the intelligence reports as to possible disturbances, how they were
managed et cetera. They are all very legitimate issues for the independent arms-length inquiry I've
set up.

ALI MOORE: When do you hand control back to Serco, not until the end of that inquiry?

CHRIS BOWEN: No, it'll happen before then. Control will be handed back to Serco when the Australian
Federal Police, my department and Serco are satisfied that is appropriate. The AFP remains in
control of the centre and, of course, they are working closely with Serco.

The AFP are the appropriate people with the training, resources and skills to manage what was a
very difficult, tense and violent situation in the course of last week. The situation, of course,
now is much calmer. The AFP will hand back over to Serco when it's felt appropriate that's the safe
and responsible thing to do.

ALI MOORE: But at the same time if you don't know what went wrong with Serco, you're not sure about
the staffing issues, you've put in an investigation to try to find out. Is it wise to give them
control when you don't actually know what went wrong?

CHRIS BOWEN: I don't think you should pre-empt the inquiry. There's a premise to your question that
for some reason we should be assuming that there are management failures on Serco's behalf. I'm not
pre-empting the inquiry.

Serco manages a range of detention centres across the country and a range of facilities for a range
of government and the private sector. I'm not pre-empting whether there was anything that Serco
could or should have done, but they manage all our detention centres and they manage most of them
without incident and I'm not going to criticise Serco before I've seen the results of that
independent review.

If there's criticism of Serco or my department I'm more than happy to accept it and make it, but
I'm not going to pre-empt an independent arms-length inquiry.

ALI MOORE: Have they got a timeframe for reporting?

CHRIS BOWEN: Yes, they'll report to me by the middle of the year.

ALI MOORE: By the middle of the year? So there's a fundamental problem, you could have that problem
in place for months?

CHRIS BOWEN: Well, this was a major incident. It requires significant investigation. These are two
very respected and experienced former public servants. I think you could appropriately criticise me
if I didn't give them enough time to conduct that inquiry.

If I said I wanted a rushed job - I'm not going to do that. They will make recommendations to me.
They'll conduct a full and proper inquiry, conduct interviews, go through paperwork, examine all
the issues. That will take some time, but it's important we get it right.

ALI MOORE: Some of these issues have been on the agenda for some time, staffing being one of them.
Also in terms of numbers of detainees we know there have been very high numbers there. Before these
riots there were some 1,800 detainees. The island detention centre was built to handle 400 and
expanded to hold 800, is that not right?

CHRIS BOWEN: That was the original design and other compounds were added to cater for more numbers.

ALI MOORE: How many can it safely hold?

CHRIS BOWEN: The original design was 400 with a capacity of 800 and further compounds were added.

I have had the view for some time we needed to reduce numbers on Christmas Island. That's why we'd
taken the steps we'd had and announced new detention centres on the mainland. This was designed to
relieve pressure on Christmas Island.

I didn't do that because it was fun or it'd make me popular in local communities that would be
getting a detention centre. I did that because that was the appropriate thing to do to relieve
pressure on Christmas Island.

ALI MOORE: If it was built to take 1,800, then you say new compounds were added. What did they
take, the safe population up to?

CHRIS BOWEN: If you look at the population of the detention centre it was at 1,800 at the time of
the incident. We've reduced it down since in response to the incident. That's the appropriate and
prudent thing to do.

ALI MOORE: What is the safe population, if it's not 800 and it's not 1,800, what is it?

CHRIS BOWEN: The compounds were built and the detention centre was expanded to appropriately cater
for the increased population. Now there was, for example, an Australian Federal Police report into
the centre and made recommendations as to how security could be improved. All nine of those
recommendations were adopted. That report flagged a possible detention centre population of 2,300.

ALI MOORE: Do you think that's realistic?

CHRIS BOWEN: No, but that's above the levels we had at the time of the incident. We had a
population of around 1,800. So we had the preparations made if you like and the reports prepared
for a potential population of 2,300. The population was less than that at the time of these

I understand the issues about the number of people on Christmas Island. They are very legitimate
issues and I've said for some time we need to reduce the numbers on Christmas Island and we have
been. Last December there were 3,000 detainees on Christmas Island as a total, not just this
detention centre, but across the facilities on Christmas Island. Just before this incident we had
about 2,500.

ALI MOORE: Where do you plan to bring the number down to now? You've started bringing people off
the island, how many will you leave on the island?

CHRIS BOWEN: I would like to see the numbers closer to that 2,000 figure.

ALI MOORE: It's less than 1,800 now. How many will you leave on the island?

CHRIS BOWEN: I'm talking about across the island, not just the North West Point detention centre.
There are three different facilities on Christmas Island and my initial aim is to get it much
closer to that 2,000 figure or below.

ALI MOORE: It's a fair question as to why it's taken so long to remove detainees, you say you're
aware of overcrowding and I've no doubt you were aware you were going to face a problem as far back
as last April when in fact these freezes on processing applications from asylum seekers form
Afghanistan and Sri Lanka were put in place. You must have had some inkling then there was going to
be a back-up?

CHRIS BOWEN: I said from the time I became the minister there was pressure on our detention
centres. Accordingly I've expanded some detention centres, announced some new ones to relieve that
pressure on Christmas Island and other detention centres as well as announcing the closure of a
couple I thought were inappropriate.

ALI MOORE: Have you acted fast enough?

CHRIS BOWEN: Of course that takes time. When you announce a detention centre, there are planning
requirements, you have to build the centre if it's not an existing building and you have to put in
place the appropriate security and arrangements that go with that.

For example, we have opened the detention centre, the facility in Adelaide for families as they
transition into the community. The detention centre I announced outside Perth in Northam is not yet
on line because that takes longer and I've announced a new centre for Darwin, again designed
specifically to relieve pressure on Christmas Island.

They do take time to build and I think the people of Christmas Island understand that as do the
broader population, that these centres do take time to get up and running before they can
effectively take pressure off Christmas Island.

ALI MOORE: Are you confident there won't be any more riots on Christmas Island?

CHRIS BOWEN: The situation remains calm. We have incidents from time to time. They've occurred over
many years going back to the Baxter and Woomera riots of the early part of this decade under the
previous government and incidents on Christmas Island in the past and on Nauru. They do happen.

Of course they should be minimised. I'm confident that the situation on Christmas Island has
dramatically improved. I'm confident we have engaged with the vast majority of asylum seekers on
Christmas Island who had nothing to do with this riot. And I think that's an important point, the
vast majority of people who are detained on Christmas Island, the asylum seekers, wanted nothing to
do with this protest, wanted nothing to do with this violent activity and, in fact, tried to remove
themselves from the violent activity and they shouldn't be tarred with the same brush as those
who've engaged in unacceptable and violent activity.

There's a relatively small group who are within the North West Point detention centre who are under
the control of the AFP and I'm confident the AFP and Serco have the appropriate steps in place.

ALI MOORE: That small group that obviously has been identified, will they automatically have their
application for asylum rejected?

CHRIS BOWEN: No. We have a process under the Act and there are two relevant parts of the Act,
Section 501 which deals with character concerns and Section 46 A of the Act which allows people
who've arrived in Australia offshore to apply for a visa with the permission of the Minister.

I've said on a case by case basis I'll be taking the character concerns into very serious
consideration. If I were to give you a sweeping statement I would not be fulfilling my duties under
the Act. If I were to say as the Liberal Party would have me do, nobody will get a visa, they'll
get temporary visas, I would be not fulfilling my responsibilities around the Act to apply the law
on a case by case basis with a view to the evidence in front of me and I would potentially be
prejudicing the outcome and I'm not prepared to do that.

I will abide by the Act, but what I have indicated is that the character provisions of the Act
allow me or my delegate to take into account prison terms and also general conduct. I will be
taking that into account and examining it very seriously.

ALI MOORE: You've got the Bali process summit next week, will you be arguing very specifically for
the proposed regional processing centre on East Timor? Will you be putting out detail of what you
want or arguing more generally for a regional co-operative framework?

CHRIS BOWEN: Sure. I think it's important to recognise what the Bali process is about, and it's
about getting the region to focus on a regional solution for a regional problem. I'll be arguing
and Kevin Rudd will be arguing at the Bali ministers conference we need a regional framework.

We'll argue for ministers from across the region to agree on a regional framework, that we need a
regional framework and agree on the types of things that can go into that regional framework. That
will be a significant step forward.

The fact that the Bali ministers could agree that a regional framework is appropriate and should
include various elements would be a significant step forward. That's what I'll be aiming for and
what the Foreign Minister will be aiming for when we go to Bali.

ALI MOORE: Clearly still a long way to go. Isn't the best place to process asylum seekers actually
in Australia? It would avoid all those problems of remoteness, staffing problems that there appear
to be on hand at Christmas Island.

As you've pointed out, it wouldn't change how asylum seekers are processed, as long as they arrive
in an excise zone they can still be processed as part of an offshore processing regime?

CHRIS BOWEN: I think we need an international solution to an international problem. An offshore
processing centre without a regional framework is a more limited utility. If you just had Nauru
where people know they will end up in Australia, that is not a disincentive.

A regional framework can and will, and we're determined as a government to embark on a regional
solution to a regional problem. It takes longer than just establishing an offshore processing
centre or having cheap policies about turning boats back and not having agreement about Indonesia
or anywhere else to take them back to, which is the Liberal Party's approach.

It takes longer, it takes diplomacy and a rigorous action. That's what we're committed to do and
nobody should underestimate our determination to reach international agreements both bilaterally
and as part of a framework for breaking the people smuggler's business model. It's very important
to do, to ensure there is less incentive to move from country to country in a dangerous manner, in
a manner which risks people's lives and leads to a more disorderly immigration program.

ALI MOORE: Minister, thank you very much for joining Lateline.

CHRIS BOWEN: Nice talking to you, thank you.

Lord Mayor Newman eyes Premier's office

Lord Mayor Newman eyes Premier's office

Broadcast: 22/03/2011

Reporter: James Kelly

Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman has announced he will enter state politics and wishes to become
LNP leader.


ALI MOORE: It's been an extraordinary and unprecedented day in Queensland politics.

John-Paul Langbroek's Opposition leadership lies in ruins. Both he and his deputy stood aside.

They're making way for Brisbane's Lord Mayor Campbell Newman, who's putting his hand up for state
parliament and the Liberal National Party leadership.

To add to the confusion, Jeff Seeney has been elected interim leader at a party room meeting this
evening to keep the seat warm for Mr Newman.

Now, Queensland Premier Anna Bligh is not ruling out an early election.

James Kelly reports from Brisbane.

JAMES KELLY: After repeated refusals and denials, Campbell Newman has decided on a tilt at
Queensland politics.

CAMPBELL NEWMAN, BRISBANE LORD MAYOR: I'm so passionate about Queensland. I want to get Queensland
back on track.

JAMES KELLY: He'll seek preselection in the Brisbane seat of Ashgrove currently held by Environment
Minister Kate Jones. His ambitions don't end there.

CAMPBELL NEWMAN: It's then my intention to resign the Lord Mayoralty and launch a leadership
challenge for the leadership of the State LNP team.

JAMES KELLY: But there was no need. Within hours of Campbell Newman announcing his intentions, the
Opposition leader, John Paul Langbroek, resigned his post.

JOHN-PAUL LANGBROEK, FORMER QLD OPPOSITON LEADER: It's a treacherous business and it's just what
comes with the job of politics.

JAMES KELLY: His deputy stood aside, too.

Queensland didn't get to experience the privilege of having John Paul Langbroek as their gentleman

JAMES KELLY: As Mr Langbroek sat in Parliament as their LNP leader, his colleagues started
deserting him. Jeff Seeney signalled he wants to be the interim leader. The seat-warmer for
Campbell Newman.

JEFF SEENEY, QLD OPPOSITION MP: I will serve in the role that he can't serve in at the moment,
which is the role in the Parliament.

PETER BEATTIE, FORMER QUEENSLAND PREMIER: It's either the smartest thing the LNP ever did or the
dumbest thing they ever did.

JAMES KELLY: The Queensland Premier is now refusing to rule out an early election.

ANNA BLIGH, QUEENSLAND PREMIER: I make no decisions on this issue. What I say is: We now face
circumstances that are unprecedented in our parliamentary democracy, our Parliament is at risk of
collapsing into dysfunctional farce.

JAMES KELLY: Campbell Newman says he's ready.

CAMPBELL NEWMAN: Yes, we can win and win decisively. That's what Queensland needs.

JAMES KELLY: The voters will decide.

James Kelly, Lateline.

Nuclear firefighters hailed as samurai heroes

Nuclear firefighters hailed as samurai heroes

Broadcast: 22/03/2011

Reporter: Mark Willacy

The first firefighters to enter the Fukushima nuclear plant are now being rotated out and given a
hero's welcome.


ALI MOORE: Japan's nuclear emergency is no closer to ending with the latest concern, food and
seawater contaminated by radiation.

Australia has flown in extra water cannon to help the effort to cool the crippled reactors at the
Fukushima nuclear plant.

Meanwhile, the first fire-fighters into the shattered facility are being rotated out.

The ABC's Mark Willacy was the first foreign journalist to speak with them.

MARK WILLACY: They're being hailed as samurai, the men who embody the Japanese fighting spirit.
Yasuhiro Ishii and his team were the first firefighters to enter the Fukushima plant.

YASUHIRO ISHII, FIREFIGHTER (translated): Our mission was to go to the number three reactor and
cool it down. Of course I was afraid, because we know what happens to the body if we are exposed to
high levels of radiation.

MARK WILLACY: A specialist in nuclear and biochemical contamination Yasuhiro Ishii monitored
radiation levels while his men tried to cool the reactor. While the Japanese say there is no health
threat from the plant the UN's atomic watchdog isn't so sure.

GRAHAM ANDREW, INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY: We are seeing steady improvements, but the
overall situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant remains very serious. High levels of
contamination have been measured in the locality of the plant.

MARK WILLACY: There are fears that this contamination could be leeching into the food chain.

Banking water, measured by the Japanese authorities. This is not the measurement by us but by the
Japanese authority shows levels of radio activity in excess of limits.

MARK WILLACY: The Japanese insist there is no danger to human health from any of the food products.
These firefighters are confident their health is also fine. One thing that can't be questioned is
their commitment to their mission.

When the firefighters of this unit were ordered to the Fukushima plant they didn't hesitate. Most
didn't even call their wives or families. Instead they sent short text messages or emails telling
their loved ones where they were going and what they were about to try to do.

YASUHIRO ISHII (translated): I sent my wife an email to tell her I'd been ordered to the reactor. I
was too busy to call her. I was on a mission for my country.

MARK WILLACY: But it's a mission that's not yet complete and one these modern samurai may have to

Mark Willacy, Lateline.

If you'd like to look back at tonight's interview with Chris Bowen or review Lateline's stories or
transcripts you can visit our website and follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Tony Jones will be
here tomorrow. See you again on Friday. Goodnight.