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Government has Slarked its up employment forecast, predicting stronger growth and lower debt. rescued, but at still missing after a boat sank about 2 ,000 kilometres off the West Australian coast. That's ABC News. Stay with us now the 7.30 Report coming up next. You can find the latest headlines 24 hours a day Online. Enjoy your evening, headlines 24 hours a day at ABC

This Program is Captioned

Live.

Welcome to the program.

Shortly I'll be talking with the Prime Minister on the

latest dramas off Australia's

northern coastline as well as

the latest on the economy, and

we'll also hear a story of

contrasts in the Melbourne Cup.

The king who's poised for No.13

and the young trainer who's

come from nowhere to challenge

Bart. First, 10 weeks after it began, efforts are continuing

to plug a massive oil leak off

the Western Australian Coast.

Over the weekend, the crisis at

the West Atlas oil rig took a

dramatic turn when the leak

turned into a fire ball. The

platform in the Timor Sea

continues to burn fuelled by

leaking oil and gas. While

environmentalists are calling

for tighter regulation of the

offshore oil and gas industry,

the Federal Government says it will hold a full inquiry once

the emergency is over. In the

meantime, concerns grow about

the environmental impact and

the damage to the credibility

of the industry. Tracy Bowden

reports. What we have had from

day one unfolding is an

environmental disaster. It's

now almost like a national

emergency. You've got a rig

that's got a fireball sitting

on it and an uncontrolled fire,

and still uncontrolled flow.

So absolutely, it's a disaster

on many levels. The fire is

out of control. What we are

trying to do is to stop it by

injecting heavy mud. Just days

ago, the experts in charge of

plugging the leaking well head

at the Montara Rig were feeling

confident. Mike Allcorn from Alert Well Control was

extolling the virtues of his

team. There's been exceptional,

world-class for a group of men

and women to work in unison for

a unified objective. Fantastic, exceptional group of

people to work with and our

achievements equally is

exceptional. Over the weekend,

a fourth attempt was made to

intercept the leak, almost

three kilometres underground

which has been spewing oil and

gas into the surrounding waters

for 10 weeks. The leak was

intercepted, and mud was being

poured in to plug it. But

then, fire erupted on board the

platform fuelled by the oil and

gas. The incident is

regrettable, it's very, very

unfortunate and very unusual

incident, one we're not

expected to recur again. The

company continues to apply best

practice to whatever it does.

What it requires is a

re-regulation of those people

who are allowed to be operators or accredited to be operators. Resources analyst

Peter Strachan says the

accident has damaged the

reputation of Australia's

entire oil and gas

industry. It's a huge negative

for the industry and there has

to be - people are jumping up

and down there there'll

definitely be some sort of

ramifications and I hope at

point of view to the stricter least from the Government's

regulation of who can be an

operator in Australian waters.

Let's concentrate on the main

issue at play at the moment,

actually getting on top of this

oil and gas leak. Then there

will be a full and proper

independent inquiry and I will

announce it at the first

available opportunity. Federal

Resources Minister Martin

Ferguson has defended the

Government and PTTEP

Australasia's handling of the

crisis, but Greens' leader Bob

Brown has called for the

minister's resignation. The

minister Martin Ferguson has

made a complete botch. He has

completely bungled one of the

biggest environmental catastrophes the Commonwealth

Government has had to deal

with. So I say to Bob Brown,

please stop playing a very

delicate situation in terms of

importantly, the health and the environment and

safety of Australian workers

for political purposes. From

argued that the Federal day one, environmentalists have

Government hasn't taken the

incident seriously enough. It

should have had a much more

immediate response. It should

have been scaled up to the

level of a national emergency

immediately. Gilly Llewellyn

from the World Wildlife Fund

was part of a team of

scientists which travelled out

to the area affected by the

spill to take samples and

observe wildlife. You felt that

you were literally sailing

through a sea of oil. You

could left look and right and

as far ahead as the boat could

see and it was this

heavily-oiled surface, it was a

velvety texture, the wake of

the boat being dragged behind

it. We were seeing sea birds

feeding in amongst this, and a

dolphin came to the surface

next to the boat and it was

sickening. These are the

innocents out there, our most

loved and cherished marine

wildlife and here they are

being exposed to toxic

contamination. Exactly how much

oil has leaked into the Timor

Sea is not known, but using the

company's estimate of 400

barrels a day, that's 28,000

barrels so far. Scientists say

the long-term impact could be

dramatic, especially on

fisheries. Red emperors, their

peak spawning is right now,

while there's oil in the water,

there's a risk these are toxic

to the food supply for the

larvae. Dr Brett Maloney is a

marine scientist based in

Western Australia. So what this

might mean is in five or six

years when these fish move into

a fishery size they just won't

be there, or be in reduced

numbers and we don't see that

for 5-8 years' time. PTTEP

Australasia says well control

experts are now fixing 4,000

barrels of heavy mud to pour

down the relief well, which

should stop the leak and thus,

the source of fuel for the

fire. But there's no doubt

that the full impact of the

incident, both on the oil

industry and the environment,

will not be clear for some

time. There's going to be a lot

of lessons learnt from this.

Our priority today is to stop

the well. There will be a

Government inquiry. There are

already investigations under

way from the regulatory

authorities and the lessons

learnt will come from that.

We've got to stop that flow, is the first and most urgent

thing, to stop the toxic oil

leaking into the environment.

And then a full and

comprehensive inquiry, not just

into this individual incident

and the response to it, but

into the broader aspects of oil

and gas operation. Tracy Bowden

with that report. The latest

Treasury update on the outlook

for the economy and the

Government's Budget is a story

with two plotlines.

Unemployment deficits and debt

are projected to be lower than

expected, growth will be

higher. But the economy will

remain below capacity for two

years and 105,000 may join the

ranks of the unemployed before

that index of misery peaks next

year. The Government says the

stronger than expected

performance is down to its

stimulus, the Opposition

counters that it's a sign Kevin

Rudd panicked and wasted

billions. Offshore, today's

story is a simple one of

tragedy. More than 20 asylum

seekers are feared drowned in

the Indian Ocean when their

boat sank. 19 people have been

rescued by a merchant ship.

Australian planes are now

assisting. It comes as there

is no end in sight to the

stand-off with 78 Sri Lankan

asylum seekers refusing to

leave the 'Oceanic Viking'

anchored off Indonesia. To

discuss a particularly

difficult fortnight for the

Government, I'm joined from Townsville by the Prime

Minister. Kevin Rudd, if I can

refer you briefly to the oil

spill first. The way this

incident has escalated and lingered, continuing to

escalate for 10 weeks. Looking

back to the early assurances

from all sides, no-one comes

out of it well, including the Government? This has been a

very difficult incident and can

I say that the Resources

Minister Martin Ferguson has

handled this exceptionally well under difficult circumstances.

The Government was responding

to this incident within 15

minutes of it beginning, of it

being notified. We think this

response has been appropriate,

as Martin has also said, once we have dealt with the immediate circumstances here,

then we will deal with a full

commission of inquiry. What

went wrong, and how can we

avoid such an environmental impact from an incident such as

this in the future? What you've

said is once you've dealt with this immediate incident, you've

been dealing with it for 10

weeks, can you yet say when

this will have been

resolved? Can I just say on

that one Kerry, this is very

difficult. It's very complex,

but our advice is that all of

the technical means being

currently deployed to plug this

well are the best which are

currently available. It is

easy for people to stand to one

side and to make criticism of

it. I, like everyone else in

the Australian community, am deeply concerned about how this

incident occurred in the first

place. I'm deeply concerned

about its environmental impact.

They are technical challenge

with the company and the

Federal regulators is to get

this well under control and secondly, to establish what

went wrong and how to avoid

this sort of thing in the

future. All Australians and

West Australians want that to

occur. In simple terms, you at

this moment have no idea how

long that's going to take, how

long it's going to keep

leaking? This is a very complex

engineering operation and as

Prime Minister of Australia I'm

not in receipt of technical

advice which says as of 3pm

tomorrow afternoon this well is

going to be plugged. In other

words, you don't have any

idea? I'm advised it's being

deployed to this particular

challenge. That is the best

technical advice and the best

set of technical services

possible. That's what we've

received as advice and,

therefore, that's what we'll be

going with. Let me tell you,

this Government will get to the

bottom of what went wrong here,

what we learn from it for the future. Asylum seekers Mr Rudd we've heard the latest today

including the tragedy of lives

lost, what implication doss you

take from it in the light of everything else happening in

the waters to Australia's north

and north-west? Our first responsibility with these

tragic events in the Indian

Ocean is to make sure that we

fully prosecute this search and rescue operation. This has

only unfolded in the last 24 to

36 hours. It's still under

way. There are still people

who we believe are unaccounted

for. We've got the deployment

of vessels. We've got deployment of

deployment of RAAF aircraft.

We've had rescue rafts released

from those aircraft, but we

have grave fears. You ask what

implications advise from this,

I'd much rather we went to all

of that once we've completed the research and rescue operation. That's where the Government's efforts are

focussed right now. On the

asylum seekers or refugees on

the 'Oceanic Viking', I'm not

quite sure what we call them

now, maybe both. Can you

confirm that the Indonesians

are yet to indicate how they

would prefer to disembark those

78 people from the 'Oceanic Viking', whether they would

prefer ship to ship, or ship to

shore? I'm unaware of those

operational details, Kerry.

What I do know, and I simply

reiterate what the Indonesian

Foreign Minister said on ABC

television last week, that

Indonesia has infin it patience

in dealing with this particular

set of circumstances, as does

the Australian Government have

great patience in dealing with

this. This is one of a whole

host of challenges we'll face

in the period ahead, because

we're dealing with the outflow

of problems from an extraordinary civil war in Sri

Lanka, about which I was

discussing these matters with

the President of Sri Lanka on

the phone this afternoon. You

used the term " infinite

patience" I would suggest it

has to be finite patience.

Sooner or later, something has

to give, you can't possibly

expect that these people would

continue to float on the

'Oceanic Viking'

endlessly? We'll work our way through this together with

other challenges. Remember,

what we're faced with in Sri

Lanka is 260,000 people

displaced because of a civil

war, hundreds of thousands

seeking to return to the part

of Sri Lanka they used to live

in. The matters I discussed

with their president this

afternoon and the particular

needs which exist within that

country for housing. But on

top of that - Very quickly,

what was his country's response? At transit level and

here at the national level in

Australia, you must be dealing

at all three levels and I'm

dispatching John McCarthy, one

of our most experienced senior

diplomats as our special envoy

to Sri Lanka to deal with a

range of these challenges in

the future. All of these are

part of dealing comprehensively

with the challenge of which

this boat is one part. You've

conducted a nationwide media

blitz from Townsville late

today. At least five radio

interviews around the country

in less than an hour. You're

doing this program, as well.

It seems more frenetic than

usual. What sparked it? Not at

all, Kerry. When I'm in

Parliament during the week,

life's pretty busy. I've got

other things to do in Canberra.

I'm on the road today in

Townsville and there was an

opportunity to respond to a

whole range of interview

requests and to do other

interviews as well. But I tell

you this, when it comes to

asylum seekers' policy, border

protection policy, our policy

is responsible, it is balanced,

it is hardline in dealing with

people-smugglers. It is humane

in dealing with asylum seekers,

but I'm under no illusions that this policy and our

implementation of it will be in any way popular in the Australian community. These

are difficult challenges, but

I'm elected to govern in the

national interest and to

implement a responsible policy

in the national interest. OK,

you say not popular in the

community. When I talk about the media blitz I'm referring

to the flurry of media alert s

that hit the press gallery this

afternoon. Is it true that the

public mood is moving away from

the Government on the asylum

seeker issue? Well Kerry, my responsibility as Prime

Minister is not to be mindful

of mood one way or the other.

Our approach has been

criticised from the far right

and various parts of the left.

That's fine, it's a democracy.

My job is to get a responsible

balanced policy, which we were

elected with, which we've

implemented since the election

consistently, but I'm under no

illusions that when these

challenges arise they're not

popular in the Australian

community. So I'm sure people

will be critical, as they would

be critical of any government

in these circumstances. On today's economic update from

Treasury, put simply, the

economy is in much better shape

than you had thought it would

be when you laumplged your

various stimulus programs and

the Budget. The Reserve Bank

is likely to put interest rates

up again tomorrow because it

fears the economy will overheat

again. Is that why you are now

reining in some of the

Government spending in the

pipeline? Not at all Kerry, and

if you look at the overall quantum of our stimulus

strategy you'll see these

adjustments are really quite

modest in terms of in

particular for the out years in

the Building the Education

Revolution. The bottom line is

this, here we have Australia

which has got better growth,

lower unemployment, less debt,

less deficit since the figures

were produced at the last

Budget and the Treasury's

concluded that this is a direct

reflection in terms of growth

this year and next of the

stimulus strategy. When other

countries have gone into

recession one after the other,

we are doing better than most

world, but the challenges are other countries around the

still there for us to handle in

manage ing the recovery. You

say the scaleback of spending

is modest it's half a billion

coming off Julia Gillard's

schools program. She calls it

rephasing and

recalibrating. And she's right. The Treasury also calls

" rephrasing and recalibrating"

which I think is another way of

saying throttling back, isn't

it? Is there more to come? Not

at all. It's spreading it over

a longer period for

implementation. That's the

right approach when we're

trying to make sure that what

we are doing is extracting

proper value for money. This

is the right economic strategy

for Australia. Had we taken Mr

Turnbull's approach, frankly

we'd have hundreds of thousands

more people without jobs. But

Mr Turnbull's approach in the

very recent past has been to

say to you it is time to rein

back the stimulus and that's

what you now seem to be doing.

Perhaps he was right this

time? Kerry, this is a modest

rephrasing at most parts in the

outer edge. Mr Turnbull has

said kill the infrastructure investment, kill the stimulus strategy and as a result we'd be killing hundreds of thousands of jobs. This Labor Government will not do that. Mr

Rudd, thanks very much for

joining us from Townsville

tonight. Thanks very much,

Kerry. Remote Australia has had

its first State funeral

honouring an Aboriginal man

they called " the Professor".

In death he's known as Wamud

Officer of the Order of Namok, and he was made an

Australia five years ago. He

was a famous artist who won a

prestigious Telstra Art Award

in 1999 and whose works feature

in major public collections

around the country. He'll also

be remembered as a man of

science, who generously shared his unique knowledge of the

landscape and fauna of Western

Arnhem Land. 700 people turned

out to pay him due homage.

Murray McLaughlin reports. By

Aboriginal custom, he's now

known as Wamud Namok. By best

calculation he was born in

Western Arnhem Land in 1926 and

this morning he was honoured by

a State funeral in the

Aboriginal community of

Gunbalanya, 300 kilometres due

east of Darwin. A eulogy from

the Prime Minister was hand

delivered by his Minister for

Indigenous Health. He describes

in his message a man of

ceremony, a person who

traversed this country

recording the knowledge of the

country in art and whilst

during his life he worked in a

tin mine, he worked with the

Defence Forces during the

Second World War, in 2002 he

started off what has become a

very important movement. That

year, without Government

assistance, Wamud Namok built

an outstation on the heights of

the West Arnhem Plateau which

came a research centre for land

and fire management, visited by

scientists from around the

world. It's known as

Karulwarnamyo, and here, he

helped develop a fire abatement

program which two years ago won

a Eureka Science Award.

Through a carbon trade-off

deal, the program will earn

millions of dollars over the

next two decades. Indigenous

rangers who work on the program

were pallbearers today. He was

involved in a long series of projects going back decades

which involved experiments in

fire management, documenting of

the landscape, documenting

vegetation. We call him " the

Professor". He had a profound

understanding of the way the

world works and the

interactions between fire, but

landscape and individual also other aspects of the

species and habitats and so

on. Wamud Namok was also one of

the last rock art painters of

Arnhem Land, a region famous

for its art, much of it yet

unrecorded. This was his last

painting near his camp at Karulwarnamyo depicting a Black

Walleroo. Four generations of

families gone through here,

painted. Just want to put his

mark here as a memory for the

children. His art is really important, because it

represents, if you have a look

at that country that he was

custodian and caretaker of,

that art that was reflected on

those rocks and in those caves

is what he put onto paper and

onto bark. A massive painting

on permanent display at Darwin

Airport is probably the most

viewed work by Wamud Namok.

More than six metres long, the

image was originally painted on

bark. His artistic

achievements were remembered

today by an interpreter of his

language and his

paintings. Wamud's work has

been widely recognised by a

variety of awards over the

years. In 1982 one of his

paintings was used on the

Australian 40 cent stamp. In

1999, he was awarded the Works

on Paper Prize at the Telstra

National Aboriginal and Torres

Strait Art Awards. His

artworks appeared in scores of

exhibitions across the

country. Wamud Namok did live

to see his country incorporated

into the national reserve

system. Only six weeks ago he

was there when Environment

Minister Peter Garrett declared

1.4 million hectares of the

West Arnhem Plateau adjoining

Kakadu National Park an

Indigenous protection area.

The old man had agitated for

that outcome for many years.

To encourage Aboriginal people

to come back and manage their

homelands. His main concern

was to try to draw the people

back into the plateaus, and

people would sit down and

manage the country and a lot of

communication would go on. Wamud Namok's body will be

flown over his country's by helicopter next week before

he's buried at his outstation in Karulwarnamyo. Murray McLaughlin reporting from west

Arnhem. Horse racing has

always been a sport of great

contrasts and this year's Melbourne Cup is no exception.

There are two stories that have

captured the public's imagination this year. Mr Melbourne Cup himself Bart

Cummings in his 82nd year and

with no mountains left to

climb. 12 cups in the bag

already, has struck a purple

patch of form going into

tomorrow's race. He has three

chances, including last year's

winner and race favourite,

Viewed. Here's the contrast.

The close second favourite is a South Australian horse called

Alcopop that used to help round

up the cattle on his trainer

Jake Stephens' small farm.

Stephens bred the horse but

only took out his trainer's

licence three years ago. He

and Alcopop are on a fast

learning curve. Between them,

these two trainers at opposite

ends of the racing spectrum are

dominating the race on Cup eve.

I caught up with them both this

morning. Bart Cummings has

been doing this since 1953. In

fact, he started learning in

his father's Adelaide stables

as a small boy. Today, he has

the might and sophistication of

one of Australia's great racing

stables at his fingerprints and

a dazzling array of horse flesh

bred in the purple. He's

built, nearly lost and rebuilt

his enterprise over 56 years.

Oh, he's feeling good. Jake

Stephens has been doing this

officially for three years. He

has a small team of horses at

Victor Harbour south of

Adelaide, where after only one

year and 10 races - of which he

won 7 - Alcopop is the

star. That's the thing with

him, he's like power to weight

ratio, he's not overly heavy,

but he's so strong. Is that

right? Showing his ribs and

he's quite thin and everything, but the strength you can see in

the legs and everything. Bart's

preparing his three Cup horses

- Viewed, Roman Emperor and Les

Dick - at his Flemming -- a-Les

wonder - at his Flemington

stables. Jake has done much of

his prep work on a beach and

yesterday he drove to a small

set of stables attached to

Ballarat's race track 90

minutes north. They've been

preparing since June. We're

going to have to have him up

and firing for every race. At

Morphettville we had to win

that to get into the physical

balaclava Cup and every race we

have scraped in and won every

one, which he's pretty well had

to, to get to where he is

today. The Balaclava Cup in

early September is not exactly

a classic preparation for the

Melbourne Cup and he did only

win by a short half head, but

Alcopop was on the way. Two

wins later, Alcopop's fourth in

a row, he was ready to send an

emphatic message - take me

seriously. It was the Herbert

Power Handicap on 10 October.

How would you describe his win

in the Herbert Power? He looked

like he clocked off and I shook

him up again. To me, he's one

of those horse s that puts

himself into the race and makes

his own luck and when the tempo

picks up he seems to grab hold

of the bit. But otherwise

he'll stay there and clock

off. A week later, Viewed was

clocking on in the Caulfield

Cup for Bart Cummings, and so

was Roman Emperor. him up again. To me, he's one of those horse s that puts himself into the race and makes his own luck and when the tempo picks up he seems to grab hold of the bit. But otherwise he'll stay there and clock off. A week later, Viewed was clocking on in the Caulfield Cup for Bart Cummings, and so was Roman

Emperor. How do you judge his

Caulfield Cup win? Well, he was

lucky, he got on the fence and

he never left the fence. It

opened up, he charged through

and won and he rode for luck

and got a dream run. How's

Roman Emperor? Foolproof, no

problem, going very well. How

do you evaluate him alongside

Viewed as a stayer? Viewed can

go wet or dry, but Roman

Emperor prefer s the sting out

of the ground. How do you

summarise his abilities? If it

rains he's a good thing, if it

doesn't, you'll water the

tracks. The mare Allez Wonder

had began to stake her claims

with a win in Toorak handicap

ridden by Michelle Payne. But

a week later, she finished

eighth behind Viewed in the

Caulfield Cup. Allez Wonder

had a good win in the Toorak,

and how did you judge her run

in the Caulfield Cup? Too close

to the lead and that won't

happen in the Melbourne Cup

because she's quite aware of

that, so Michelle's going to

drop it back midfield and just

take its time coming into the

straight and hopefully finish

it off in a better position. She's better when she's got

horses in front of her. I

imagine you've been spacing

your runs very carefully.

You've planned all this, you're

not worried at all about the

gap between the Herbert Power

and the Cup? We've done a lot

of work at home and the horse

sort of having... one of the

things I've got to keep

reminding myself, it's only the

second preparation. You've got

to nurse him a little bit.

Mentally he's so strong and

you've got to keep him in shape

physically so he's got the

goods to do it on the day. He's

an intelligent horse, a smart

horse? He's very intelligent

and that's one of the aspects

that obviously makes him as

good as he is and every time he

steps up he's done it better and better against tougher company and over more ground. What do you see as the

biggest dangers for

Alcopop? Obviously, Viewed

would be one of the biggest and

it's one of those races where

there's always something that's

going to pop up. Having

watched it over the years just

from a fun perspective and

sitting on the couch and things

at home, there's always horses

that come into the mix that

even if they don't have the

form, all of a sudden they're

primed and ready. Alcopop is a

pretty promising stayer.

Unusual preparation, but that

doesn't stop 'em winning, so if

he's got the will to win, well

he's proven to have, it'll be interesting to see the result.

I'm not sure. The overseas

horses don't seem to have

attracted anything like the

attention that they usually do

this year, do you think they're

not...? The one the Russian

owns seems to be the best of

them. I think his form's quite

good. That's the one probably

would be the one I'd suggest

the Russian gentleman they're

all trying to analyse. What

will the race mean to you if

you win? I'm not really sure, I

sort of haven't wanted to think

about it at this stage, get too

far ahead of myself. Obviously

it will be very exciting for

myself and the owners. I think

there'll be a few days off

which might be well due by now

and the staff will be very

happy. They're all over, so

they're really excited about

it. The story of Jake Stephens

and Alcopop is quite

remarkable, isn't it, by

racing, that he'd only been

training for three years? It

is, yeah. How long's he been

training for? Three years. Is

-- a good horse to start with

anyway. He bred the horse

before he took out his training

licence? There you go, he's a

control freak. One of these two

men has been living the magic

of the Melbourne Cup for five decades, the other is just

learning what it might be like

to live the dream. Either

result would be a great Cup

story worthy of a great race.

And somewhere in there Bart Cummings found time to write his autobiography which

certainly covers a rich racing

history. The overseas horse is

Marillian owned by Chechnya's

controversial President and

trained by South African Herman

Brown. We'll talk with the winning connections tomorrow

night, but for now, goodnight. Closed Captions by CSI

This Program Is Captioned

Live. Hello. Last week, we

began the story of a young

nurse who disappeared 5 years

ago from a Sydney train

station. Shortly before she

went missing, Kylie

Labouchardiere had left her

marriage to pursue an affair

with police liaison officer

Paul Wilkinson. She told her

family she was pregnant to her

lover and that they were

planning to start a new life

together. Suspicion soon

mounted that Kylie

Labouchardier had been murdered