Saturday, 29 August 2009

Political rorts - taxpayer funded ads and grants for Labor seats

FRONT PAGES OF THIS MORNING’S PAPERS

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POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Australia

Leadership

Nathan Rees plotting his revenge, enemies need TNT to blast him out of Premier job - Sydney Daily Telegraph

Out of the ordinary - Barry O’Farrell looks destined for glory but he’s playing his cards cautiously writes David Marr in the Sydney Morning Herald

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Doctor out of the house: Nelson’s final diagnosis - Peter Hartcher of the Sydney Morning Herald gets a farewell message from Brendan Nelson that describes Malcolm Turnbull as having a narcissistic personality.

Bishop treated unfairly: Nelson - The retiring Brendan Nelson talks with Michelle Grattan and says he thinks Julie Bishop is being treated very unfairly by some of her colleagues - Melbourne Age

090829ageadsPolitical rorts

Brumby ‘wasting millions’ on ads - ohn Brumby is under fire for spending millions of dollars on a taxpayer-funded pre-election advertising blitz promoting his Government’s economic performance during the global financial crisis. The Opposition has branded the $4 million campaign a blatant misuse of public money to “spruik” the Government in the lead-up to next year’s election and is urging the Auditor-General to investigate -Melbourne Age

Sport rort claims go to CMC after mum cries foul - Community sports projects deemed “high risk” won millions of dollars in taxpayer grants on the eve of the last state election and 82 per cent of the cash went to Labor electorates. The Crime and Misconduct Commission has been asked to investigate allegations of rorts and favouritism because $23.6 million went to Australian Labor Party seats and only $5.2 million to non-ALP seats - Brisbane Courier Mail

Rudd cash plan hits the roof - The Federal Government is on the back foot over its $42 billion stimulus program, admitting dodgy deals in its home insulation roll-out the day after it revealed a cost blow-out in the school building program - Melbourne Age

Malcolm Turnbull link to Godwin Grech fee deal - Grech, the Treasury official at the centre of the fake email affair, proposed a fee deal to the merchant bank running the OzCar fund whose chairman was a key backer and personal donor to Malcolm Turnbull. The effect of the deal was to enable Credit Suisse, the bank hired by Treasury to implement OzCar, to maintain its $5 million in fees, despite the fund being scaled back from $2 billion to $1.3bn - The Australian

Wheat and Iraq

Federal police drop AWB investigation - fter a review of the evidence by senior barrister Paul Hastings QC, who declared the prospect of convictions was limited and “not in the public interest” - The Australian

Police abandon AWB probe - Melbourne Age

Political lurks and perks

MPs rack up teen-sized mobile bills - Figures show the 226 MPs and senators spent nearly a million dollars on mobile phone use last year. NSW Liberal Bob Baldwin cost the taxpayer, $19,716.93 in mobile phone charges, just ahead of his Queensland frontbench colleague, Ian McFarlane on $18,873.67 - Adelaide Advertiser

Lobbyists

Political lobbyists to be registered in Victoria - Melbourne Age

New code reins in lobbyists - The SA State Government will restrict the activities of political lobbyists to guard against corruption, cronyism and conflicts of interest - Adelaide Advertiser

Economic matters

Retail spending bounces back, just in time for Christmas - Sellers of whitegoods, clothing, manchester and electrical goods are reporting better-than-expected results - Melbourne Herald Sun

Competition

Cabinet split on cheaper books as PM Kevin Rudd urged to keep ban- The Australian

Parallel import restrictions on books hit students - The Australian

Industrial relations

Award revamp splits business as supermarkets and stores disagree - Independent supermarkets and Queensland tourism operators have accused Julia Gillard of “betrayal”, declaring the Rudd government had failed to address concerns about the financial impact of Labor’s award overhaul - The Australian

Aboriginal affairs

Spare us a wailing wall’: Noel Pearson - The national Aboriginal representative body proposed by Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma would not tackle the real crises in Aboriginal affairs, and would be little more than “a blackfellows’ wailing wall” - The Australian

Education

Private schools win cash bonuses - Private schools in Australia will receive up to $23 million each in overpayments over the next four years because of the Rudd Government’s commitment to a deal that John Howard struck. Some NSW schools will receive up to $15 million more than their entitlement under a funding formula that measures need according to the socio-economic status of the school community - Sydney Morning Herald

Opinions

Keneally’s novel trade solution - Lenore Taylor gives the background to the impending Cabinet decision on parallel importing of books - The Australian

Julia Gillard - from Teflon coating to feet of clay? - Laurie Oakes in the Brisbane Courier Mail finds that suddenly the Deputy Prime Minister’s competence is being questioned.

Emissions trading scheme parallels US healthcare reform - Dennis Atkins in the Brisbane Courier Mail looks at the difficulties of selling complex ides to the public.

Stimulus an item of faith - Paul Kelly in The Australian writes that the Rudd government’s $42 billion fiscal stimulus has now been exposed for its inefficiencies, cost overruns and lack of “value-for-money”, yet Australia’s economic trajectory will enshrine Labor’s fiscal and monetary stimulus at the heart of its 2010 re-election campaign.

Bishop’s bad move - The Australian’s foreign editor Greg Sheridan believes that during the past six months the Liberals seem to have abandoned all political values in foreign policy.

Repairing damaged ties - Sushi Das in the Melbourne Age has some advice for Julia Gillard as she sets out to rebuild relations with India

Come election day, Rudd and co may get a lesson in the folly of self-aggrandisement - Tony Wright in the Melbourne Age questions how clever it is to insist that schools receiving federal funds from the stimulus package put up signs saying so

We need Rees like a hole in the head writes Miranda Devine in theSydney Morning Herald. Rees’s only qualification for the job, according to one of many detractors in his party, is that he was a “westie” and not a “wog”,

Elsewhere

Economic matters

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Banks ‘Too Big to Fail’ Have Grown Even Bigger - Behemoths Born of the Bailout Reduce Consumer Choice, Tempt Corporate Moral Hazard - Washington Post

Afghanistan

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Accusations Of Vote Fraud Multiply in Afghanistan - Complaints on All Sides Threaten to Discredit Result, Hinder U.S. Policy -Washington Post

The CIA

Abuse Issue Puts the C.I.A. and Justice Dept. at Odds - The tension between the agencies complicates how the administration handles delicate national security issues, particularly the tracking and capturing of suspected terrorists overseas. It also may distract Mr. Obama, who is trying to move beyond the battles of the Bush years to focus on an ambitious domestic agenda, most notably health care legislation - New York Times

Bali bombings

Hambali off hook over 2002 Bali bombings - Hambali, the terrorist mastermind believed to be behind the Bali bombings, is set to escape justice for his role in the 2002 attacks that killed 202 people, 88 of them Australians - The Australian

Opinions

Could Afghanistan Become Obama’s Vietnam? - Peter Baker in theNew York Times says the L.B.J. model - a president who aspired to reshape America at home while fighting a losing war abroad - is one that haunts Mr. Obama’s White House as it seeks to salvage Afghanistan while enacting an expansive domestic program.

BUSINESS

Rio Tinto hires 150 new workers at Hail Creek coal mine - Brisbane Courier Mail

New-look Telstra back on track - John Durie in The Australianadvises forgetting the gloomy outlook statement from Telstra - the company is doing just fine as it emerges from its revolutionary transformation, focusing on customer satisfaction and still vowing to protect shareholder interests whatever demands the government may make.

Company profit season exceeds forecasts - The Australian

ENVIRONMENT

Yarra’s water contamination levels spiralling out of control - Water contamination levels in the Yarra River have spiralled out of control on Melbourne’s outskirts, but have improved in the inner suburbs -Melbourne Herald Sun

MEDIA

Aussie Amelia Lester takes key post at New Yorker - The Australian

Moving ahead by investing in news - The Australian will take another bold step forward next week with the launch of new sections, new features and a second magazine.

Julia Gillard out to make the grade with kids - Is Julia Gillard smarter than a 5th grader? TV viewers will find out on Monday night when the Deputy Prime Minister appears on the Channel 10 quiz show Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? - Melbourne Herald Sun

Battle of the barons - Ian Verrender in the Melbourne Age on the attempt by Kerry Stokes to get a share of the pay television business from James Packer’s grasp - Melbourne Age

LIFE

Abortion

Drug-induced abortions suspended in Queensland on legal fears -Brisbane Courier Mail

Cancer

Cancer on rise as births delayed - The number of women diagnosed with breast cancer during pregnancy or soon after giving birth has almost doubled since the 1960s, and researchers say cases will continue to rise as women have children later in life - Melbourne Age

Obstetrics

Obstetrics and IVF fees soar - Obstetricians and IVF specialists have increased their fees by more than 20 per cent in the past year, Medicare figures reveal, in a move the Government has slammed as an irresponsible grab for public cash - Melbourne Age

The drink

End the madness: Footballers urged to behave during end-of-season booze-ups - Melbourne Herald Sun

It’s all white at wine award night - Penfolds Yattarna chardonnay was named wine of the year at the Hyatt/Advertiser SA Wine of the Year Awards.last night - Adelaide Advertiser

Law and order

Police officer demoted despite CMC calls for sacking - Brisbane Courier Mail

Flood of drivers with no licences - Almost 45,000 WA motorists were caught driving without a licence last financial year, including 8650 who never had one in the first place, new police statistics reveal - The West Australian

Hands-free phones banned for L and P1 drivers - Adelaide Advertiser

Philanthropy

Kathmandu founder and recluse Jan Cameron refuses to feather own nest - 100 per cent of the profit from her Chickenfeed stores - $8million to $9m a year - is being donated to charities - The Australian

Forgiveness

Old fans show support for Cousins - Although the 2005 Brownlow medallist now wears the yellow and black guernsey of Richmond, he was greeted with a mammoth cheer from the Subiaco Oval crowd when the Tigers ran on to the ground to take on West Coast tonight -The West Australian

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