Thursday, 31 December 2009

Media wrap - Abbott promises to turn back the boats



POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Immigration

Tony Abbott pledges to turn asylum boats back – Tony Abbott says he will turn asylum-seeker boats back out to sea if the Coalition wins the next election, accusing Kevin Rudd of lacking the "steel" to fulfil his promise to do the same – The Australian

Tamils set down in Australia – Refugees off the Oceanic Viking have been welcomed to Australia by relatives in Melbourne and Sydney while six with family detained on Christmas Island were reunited there – Melbourne Age

Economic matters

Recovery to gather pace in new year – Major resource projects and a buoyant housing market will drive Australia's economy next year, offsetting the impact of the withdrawal of two key Rudd government stimulus measures – The Australian

War of words over cost of ETS to households – A row over the impact of Kevin Rudd's emissions trading scheme has erupted, with Tony Abbott claiming half of middle-income earners will be left worse off by higher electricity and gas prices. In reply, the government has accused the Opposition Leader of being "fraudulent" over his charge the scheme will cost households $1100 a year – The Australian

Abbott slams Labor ETS compensation – The claim that 2.9 million low-income households will be $190 a year better off under the proposed emissions trading scheme raises suspicions it is designed to be a ''political slush fund'' rather than a solution to climate change, according to Opposition Leader Tony Abbott – Melbourne Age

Secrecy

Government 'ignores' thousands of parliamentary questions – Thousands of parliamentary questions on notice, probing key portfolios have gone unanswered since the Rann Government came to power. The Government has been accused of creating a "secret state" and covering up facts by ignoring the queries, some of which date back to 2002. Since the Government entered office in March 2002, 2572 questions have been ignored - up from more than 1031 in 2007 – Adelaide Advertiser

Health and hospitals

One in 10 GPs set to retire – More than one in 10 GPs are set to quit their jobs in the next five years, prompting warnings of a "domino effect" leading to longer waiting lists – Adelaide Advertiser

Legislation

Work Choices headlines new year law reform – The  unwinding of John Howard's Work Choices, higher charges for couples using IVF treatment, the end of generous concessions for small business investment and the wind-down of the government's souped-up first-home buyers grant will take effect from tomorrow – The Australian

Elections

Baillieu pledge to end political ads – A new independent watchdog will crack down on politically motivated, taxpayer-funded government advertisements if the Coalition wins next year's state election – Melbourne Age

Industrial relations

Push for code of conduct for Queensland police - The outgoing chairman of Queensland's Crime and Misconduct Commission said the practice of police relying on the union to provide their legal defence compelled officers -- with little interest in industrial affairs -- to join – Brisbane Courier Mail

Opinions

Liberal plan would end the cycle of cynicism – Paul Austin in the Melbourne Age believes Ted Baillieu has come up with a good plan to cut back on taxpayer-funded government advertising - by taking the issue out of the hands of politicians such as Baillieu.

Laughter and jeers over ASIC failure – Matthew Stevens in The Australian writes that the corporate sheriff's conspicuous failure in its claims of dishonesty and more against Andrew Forrest and his Fortescue Metals was greeted both with frustrated agitation and subdued amusement around the halls of our equity markets' manager, ASX Ltd.

Bank on big changes at Australia Post – Danny John speculates in the Sydney Morning Herald about the future of Australia Post including the Rudd Government's election pitch to break up the big four's oligopoly; and an application for a deposit-taking licence with Bank@Post shedding its agency status as a conduit for other banks;

BUSINESS

China on the front foot in iron ore price negotiations – Redrawing China's battle lines in a bid to control iron ore term prices, a senior official with the China Iron and Steel Association yesterday warned of "a large degree of difficulty" in ongoing price talks because global miners want a 20-30 per cent increase in 2010 ore prices – The Australian

ENVIRONMENT

'Don't pander to greenies' – Environmental extremists would be the big winners from a proposal to make it easier for grassroots activists to tackle governments in the courts, a property development industry body has warned. The warnings, from Urban Taskforce Australia, come after one of the Rudd Government's key advisers recommended law changes to reduce the financial threat faced by community environment groups entering the legal system – Melbourne Age

LIFE

Security

Police guard for Commonwealth Games team in IndiaAustralia’s Commonwealth Games team will be protected by federal police for the first time next year as athletes admit terror fears have left them nervous about competing in IndiaBrisbane Courier Mail


Law and order

Medical groups warn dob-in doctor law will increase workloads, costsQueensland medical practitioners will be required to dob in colleagues suspected of misconduct under new legislation criticised by doctors' bodies – Brisbane Courier Mail

End of the road for car registration stickers - Cutting-edge technology being used by West Australian police has made car rego stickers redundant, saving millions of dollars. Police superintendent Lance Martin said hand-held computers were now providing officers with instant advice on registration expiries -- as well as an extraordinary amount of other data -- simply by tapping in a request – The Australian

Juvenile prisoners the most violent – The state's most violent prison is a young offenders facility where one in every two prisoners has been assaulted in the past three years – Sydney Morning Herald

Transport

Rail commuters rail against 'half-baked' myki smartcard ticketing system – Angry commuters have sent a barrage of complaints to transport operators as the $1.35 billion myki system continues to show cracks after two days – Melbourne Herald Sun

New train: catch it if you can – The Victorian State Government's public transport nightmare has worsened, with the unveiling of the first of a new generation of suburban trains that has been sent straight back to the workshop because of technical issues that could keep it off the tracks until February – Melbourne Herald Sun

Charities

Fraud squad police move on charities – The major fraud squad is investigating several charities in the state. Detective Superintendent Jim Jeffery, officer in charge of the Electronic Crime Branch, told The Adelaide Advertiser the major fraud investigations section was working with the Office of Liquor and Gambling and the Office of Consumer and Business Affairs. He would not name the charities.

Foreign aid

Fears gas project will fuel AIDS epidemic – A multibillion-dollar gas project in Papua New Guinea that will be partly funded by the Australian Government could lead to a million people becoming infected with the AIDS virus over the next decade, it has been claimed – Sydney Morning Herald

Privacy

Eavesdroppers target mobiles – Billions of mobile phone users around the world are at risk of having their calls intercepted and recorded after hackers broke the encryption used to protect 80 per cent of the world's mobiles – Melbourne Age
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