Friday, 11 December 2009

Media wrap - After sex allegations with barmaid the SA Premier moves further in front


POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Economic matters

CEOs warn on jobs squeeze – The fastest jobs growth in three years has signalled the peak in unemployment and sparked concerns among chief executives that Australia will again be facing acute labour shortages with competition from government stimulus spending – The Australian

Drop in jobless 'a turning point' – An extraordinary surge in hiring has created 100,000 new jobs in three months - most of them full-time - pushing the unemployment rate well below 6 per cent and raising the prospect that it has already peaked – Sydney Morning Herald




Health and hospitals

Private health fees tipped for $200 rise – Health funds are expected to press for premium rises of $200 a year for a typical family policy, in a move expected to exacerbate tensions between the Federal Government and private health in an election year – Sydney Morning Herald

Four-year wait on Rudd's clinics – Taxpayers will have to wait until late in 2011 before Kevin Rudd delivers his promised 35 GP super clinics across the nation to augment medical services – The Australian

PET scan priority for Coalition – Townsville has been promised a life-saving Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanner if Tony Abbott and the Coalition take government – Townsville Bulletin

Political life

Follow the leader: Tony Abbott turns Kevin Rudd trick on PM – Tony Abbott has begun stalking Kevin Rudd, mimicking the Prime Minister's geographical movements this week in a campaign sweep through QueenslandThe Australian

Abbott gets in a muddle about emissions model – Tony Abbott was digging himself out of his first hole as Opposition Leader last night after declaring boldly and often that the Government had failed to produce modelling which detailed the costs of its emissions trading scheme. The Government, however, pointed to the public release in October last year of Treasury modelling and then set about branding Mr Abbott as erratic, reckless and unreliable. Mr Abbott showed no humility. He dismissed the Treasury findings as ''implausible'' and out of date and demanded fresh figures – Sydney Morning Herald

Abbott defiant: show me the figures – Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has continued to stumble in his argument with the Government about the cost of Australia cutting emissions by 15-25 per cent – Melbourne Age

Joyce warns of US 'Armageddon' – The Opposition finance spokesman, Barnaby Joyce, believes the United States government could default on its debt, triggering an ''economic Armageddon'' which will make the recent global financial crisis pale into insignificance. Senator Joyce told the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday he did not mean to alarm the public but there needed to be a debate about Australia's ''contingency plan'' for a sovereign debt default by the US or even by a local state government.

Elections

Labor poll boost despite sex allegations – Sex  allegations against Premier Mike Rann have failed to put a dent in Labor's election chances. Exactly 100 days out from the March election, an Advertiser poll shows Labor's primary vote has gone up while the Liberals' has dropped. On a two-party-preferred basis, Labor is leading the Opposition 57 per cent to 43 per cent - up from 55 per cent in an Advertiser  poll conducted on October 14 – Adelaide Advertiser

Worries melt for nervous Labor – Labor breathed a sigh of relief only 18 days ago when an embattled Premier Mike Rann told reporters at Panther Park that he had not had sexual relations with former Parliament House waitress Michelle Chantelois. The worries of party powerbrokers will now be completely swept away with this Advertiser poll showing Labor remains virtually impregnable even after eight years in office. With only 43 per cent of the two-party vote, the Liberals appear to have no hope of picking up any seats and they need to win 10 to gain government – Adelaide Advertiser

Isobel Redmond's 'election vision' washed out – State Liberal leader Isobel Redmond chose the city's windiest spot to outline her "election vision", but mother nature was determined to rain on her parade. Ms Redmond determinedly delivered her party's platform - 100 days from the March 20 poll - and took questions from journalists before the elements drove her to seek refuge under an umbrella and, shortly afterwards, in her car – Adelaide Advertiser

Immigration

Andrews call for debate on slashing immigration – Senior Opposition frontbencher Kevin Andrews has called for a debate on slashing Australia's immigration from 180,000 people a year to a ''starting point'' of just 35,000 – Melbourne Age

Industrial relations

Bosses call for labour market flexibility – From the boardrooms of Sydney and Melbourne to the heavy workshops in Perth's burgeoning industrial strip, the message emerging from Australia's bullet-proof economy remains the same -- you can't maintain momentum without labour market flexibility – The Australian

Sacking a government

It's time the people of NSW were heard – It is ime for the people of NSW to take a stand, to say enough is enough. The politics of NSW has ceased to be concerned mainly with the delivery of services or about its development and the welfare of its citizens, and has turned into an expression of the Labor Party's civil war. We appreciate that the new Premier, Kristina Keneally, is simply the most recent draftee to this war. The petition we are launching today is not about her. It is about a system of government that locks the people of NSW into a four-year fixed electoral cycle, that reduces the voters to bystanders in an endless rotation of ministers and premiers - with no way of bringing on an election – Sydney Morning Herald

I'll back a recall bill, says O'Farrell – Barry O’Farrell has thrown his support behind a Sydney Morning Herald campaign for a California-style recall election in NSW, saying he would put a bill through parliament backing the introduction of a referendum for its introduction, should the paper raise enough signatures to support it.

Fixed terms legacy of reformists – How a fixed term Parliament came into being – Sydney Morning Herald

The policy Labor used to support – Professor George Williams explains some American states give people a way to remove an unpopular administration before its term is up. These states allow voters to petition to bring on a special recall election that can remove a person from elected office. The same idea has now been proposed for NSW – Sydney Morning Herald

How it works - and if it works – Paid petition workers, electoral commission officials vetting signatures and legal challenges are all part of the ''recall'' process in the United States, where elected officials can be dumped before their term in office is due to expire – Sydney Morning Herald

Planning

Premier rebuked on planning reform – The claim by the Premier, Kristina Keneally, that NSW is building the nation's best planning laws has been repudiated by members of her own party who have called for a fundamental review of the system – Sydney Morning Herald

Privatisation fears over planning – The Victorian Government has been accused of moving to privatise Victoria's planning laws under proposed changes that could see developers performing planning duties now done by council staff – Melbourne Age

Residents revolt against 'arrogant' state and local governments – Residents have accused the State Government of` being "arrogant and not representative" after it approved plans to swap St Clair Reserve for a formerly contaminated factory site – Adelaide Advertiser

Aboriginal affairs

GPs paid $500 to help close indigenous treatment gap – Doctors will receive incentives of up to $500 for meeting treatment targets for each indigenous patient with a chronic disease as part of a $28 million scheme that will pay doctors to sign patients up to their practice – The Australian

Foreign policy

Swan tries to calm Chinese nerves on investment – Wayne Swan has moved to ease diplomatic tensions between Australia and China, announcing a strategy to clarify widespread confusion over the government's policy on foreign investment – The Australian

North Korean artists not welcome, their 'propaganda' is - Propaganda, says Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith; ground-breaking contemporary art, says the Queensland Art Gallery. As for what the artists themselves think and feel, we will never know. We can see the product of their labour - more than 60 works, ranging from the heroic to the humble are on display at the sixth Asia Pacific Triennial in Brisbane until April. But the North Korean artists who created the works have been banned from visiting Australia - not by the reclusive North Korean regime, which gave six of them the all-clear to travel to Brisbane, but by the Australian Government – Melbourne Age

Transport

Buck-passing as rail crashes and derailments soar – The number of trains derailing, hitting people, slamming into vehicles at level crossings and running through danger signals has shot up in the past year, amid confusion and buck-passing by Government agencies. The disturbing figures come as new Premier Kristina Keneally declared transport was first among her top three priorities – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Judges

Push for High Court changes – Judges wanting jobs on the High Court bench would have to apply for the positions under changes proposed by a Senate committee that also recommends lifting judges' retirement age from 70 to at least 72 – Melbourne Age

Opinions
There's little love for the US – Lenore Taylor reports for The Australian from Copenhagen on the reception being given to the United States at the climate conference.

Islamists must be prevented from brainwashing kids – writes Carl Ungerer, director of national security at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, in The Australian

Barnaby, mate, you gotta stop being a boofhead about the economy – Jessica Irvine in the Sydney Morning Herald analyses recent comments by the new shadow Finance Minister

A year when the law was an ass – Richard Ackland takes a look in the Sydney Morning Herald at the legal year that was.

Scare campaign may be Abbott's best chance of troubling Rudd – Michelle Grattan in the Melbourne Age remembers some past scare campaigns

The ultimate Labor party – Andrew Bolt in the Melbourne Herald Sun recalls that God still laughs that Hawke, that once notorious womaniser, in 1984 gave Australia the Sex Discrimination Act, presumably as a public sign of repentance.

Only the foolish turn their backs on Wild Bill – Malcolm Farr on Senator Bill Heffernan’s bid for another Liberal Party pre-selection

Migrants driving economic growth – Michael Stutchbury in The Australian writes how immigrants used to be seen as a threat to local jobseekers. But Australia's new migration stimulus is maintaining the economy's growth momentum and keeping a firm lid on unemployment.

Health care should become the big battleline – says Dennis Shanahan in The Australian. If  Kevin Rudd wants to ensure that he wins the next election and if Tony Abbott really does want to give Labor "the fright of their lives" there's one thing they can both do that will galvanise the electorate more than any debate over climate change: take over the public hospital system and make it work.

BUSINESS

Future Fund joins the fray on Transurban – Transurban Group is back in play after the Future Fund yesterday made an unprecedented intervention in a hostile takeover, saying it was considering backing two Canadian pension funds in their $6.8 billion pursuit of the company – The Australian

BoQ boss sounds warning on bad debts – The Bank of Queensland expects bad debts to keep increasing and peak in the current financial year. But managing director David Liddy told shareholders at yesterday's annual general meeting in Brisbane that the problem fell far short of that suffered by the big four banks and may be eased with an improving outlook for home loans – Brisbane Courier Mail

ENVIRONMENT

Clear climate message to the Chinese – Rich nations, including the US and Australia, are demanding that China and other major developing-nation greenhouse gas emitters pledge clear reduction targets in an internationally binding agreement that allows the promises to be checked – The Australian

Met Office pushes carbon unity – The British Met Office has embarked on an urgent exercise to bolster the reputation of climate-change science after the furore over stolen emails – The Australian

Aussie footprint 1817 tonnes, and counting – The Australian delegation to the Copenhagen climate change conference could number 114, official documents reveal. The carbon footprint for 114 people travelling to Copenhagen and back business class amounts to 1817 tonnes of emissions -- the equivalent to the annual output of 2500 people in Malawi – The Australian

Kevin Rudd to be accompanied by up to 113 officials and staff at Copenhagen climate summit – Kevin Rudd will be accompanied by up to 113 Australian officials and staff at the Copenhagen climate summit, including his own personal photographer. The Australian delegation is one of the biggest at the UN climate summit, with a carbon footprint to match – Melbourne Herald Sun

Broadband and ETS the `keys' to change – Kevin Rudd tied together two of his most contentious election promises yesterday -- the $43 billion national broadband network and the emissions trading scheme -- by claiming both were vital to the effort to tackle climate change – The Australian


China must be part of deal: US - Barack Obama's special climate envoy has warned China that it must be a major player in a deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions and should not expect short-term financial help from wealthy nations to do so – Melbourne Age

MEDIA


LIFE

Children

Health risk for rural children – Children  living in rural towns in the Wimmera region, in Victoria's north-west, are the most vulnerable to poorer health and social skills, while those living in Shepparton are at greatest risk of having trouble at school. The results come from the biggest Australian study, of 260,000 children in their first year of school, which compares how children are faring in different communities across the country – Melbourne Age

Struggling schoolkids linked to postcodesQueensland children struggling with basic reading and writing skills when they start school often live in disadvantaged suburbs or far outside cities. A landmark breakdown of teacher assessments on 55,000 of the state's five-year-olds has exposed the centres where our kids are failing. The Australian Early Development Index was created by the Federal Government to highlight communities that need extra help. And Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard admitted the results would "disturb" some people – Brisbane Courier Mail

Struggling young students targeted for help – Thousands of children struggling in their first year at school will be targeted for special help after a landmark survey revealed serious deficiencies in the performance of five-year-olds – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Education

Private school fees soar - Fees at Perth's most prestigious private schools are soaring at more than five times the inflation rate despite the recent economic downturn – The West Australian

Law and order

Overland backtracks in files rowVictoria’s police chief has backed down on a commitment to reveal the list of projects where police have struck deals to pass on sensitive information about protesters – Melbourne Age

Senior police revamp after scathing report – Chief Commissioner Simon Overland has ordered a radical restructure of senior police management practices in the wake of a damning report into Victoria's Forensic Services Centre – Melbourne Age

Forensic Science SA corrects dna database 'errors' – The  use of DNA evidence in police investigations or prosecutions will continue in South Australia despite a "small error" in confirming a scientific match with a suspect and a temporary ban on DNA reports in Victoria – Adelaide Advertiser

Science

Advisers quit in perfect synch – At least six of nine scientific advisers for the $212 million Australian Synchrotron have quit in a row with the governing board, endangering the facility's reputation as one of the best of its type in the world – Melbourne Age

The drink

Nationwide campaign to crack-down on alcohol violence – They have had three weeks warning to clean up their act. From tonight drunken thugs across the state will be the target of a police crackdown on booze-fuelled violence. Operation will result in 200 officers flooding the CBD, Glenelg, Gawler and Mt Gambier – Adelaide Advertiser




Home births

Women warn they'll risk birth without midwives – Many future mothers say they will give birth at home without any medical assistance if proposed changes to maternity services proceed. Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon has been reviewing Australia's maternity services. She has introduced a Bill that means doctors would have the power to veto a midwife's involvement in births – Adelaide Advertiser

Child care

Day-care centres escape censure - Only five day-care centres in WA have been prosecuted for breaking child-care laws over the past three years, despite more than 1700 breaches of regulations being found in more than a third of licensed services this year alone – The West Australian

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