Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Media wrap - A Labor promise on police cannot be achieved says report



POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Law and order

Kevin Rudd's police promise falls short – Kevin Rudd's election pledge to boost the Australian Federal Police by 500 sworn officers cannot be achieved without compromising the effectiveness of the force, an independent auditor has found. In a bombshell report, former federal mandarin Roger Beale has found massive funding shortfalls in key areas of the AFP, including international deployments and the five-year plan to increase the number of investigators unveiled by the Prime Minister before Labor's 2007 election victory – The Australian

A colony of convicts who wouldn't dob turns into a nation of tattle-talers - Australians have proven themselves to be world-class informers, pointing the finger at hundreds of people every day for alleged wrong-doing. Tax dodgers, welfare rorters, criminals, litterbugs and water wasters spurred almost 250,000 Australians to overcome a natural distaste for dobbing last financial year – Melburne Herald Sun

New CCTV zooms in on crime – Territorians beware - big brother is watching you. More than 100 spy cameras are now installed in Darwin and Palmerston – Northern Territory News

Aboriginal affairs

Anna Bligh's plan for Aboriginal home ownership failing – The Bligh government's plan to open the way for Aboriginal home ownership in remote north Queensland settlements is failing, as not a single home loan has been signed since a new leasing scheme was introduced 18 months ago – The Australian

Immigration

Detainees in Melbourne – Overcrowding at Christmas Island has forced the Rudd Government to move 30 Afghan youths to Melbourne to speed up processing of their claims for asylum – Melbourne Age


Privatisation

Keneally keeps public at the helm of ferries – The State Government has buckled to union pressure and decided against further private sector involvement in the running of Sydney's ferries. The decision defies recommendations by Bret Walker, SC, to privatise the ferries if a private operator could be found to offer a better service – Sydney Morning Herald

Health and hospitals

Rudd shores up pledge on hospital reform – The Prime Minister has side-stepped the prospect of a bipartisan approach to reform of public hospital funding but re-asserted his promise of a referendum if he can't win co-operation from the states on health reforms – Melbourne Age

Desperate carers dump relatives – Desperate carers are leaving their elderly relatives in hospital so they can have a break over Christmas, doctors say. The Adelaide Advertiser  has been told the practice, known interstate and overseas as "granny dumping", is also an annual phenomenon here that concerns doctors and nurses in the state's hospitals.

Public service

Government breaches its hiring ban - Less than six months after imposing a freeze on appointments for non-frontline jobs, the State Government has sought to fill at least 180 senior public service positions, carrying salaries of $20 million a year – Sydney Morning Herald

Economic matters

Half of teens cannot get a job in Sydney's southwest – Almost one in every two teens in the Canterbury-Bankstown area is out of work, with the region now boasting the nation's highest teenage unemployment rate. Forty-six per cent of 15-19-year-olds are unemployed, almost twice the national teenage unemployment rate of 25.8 per cent – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Industrial relations

NSW posties return to work, but odds-on for casino strike – National mail disruptions are set to continue today as Victorian, South Australian and Tasmanian postal workers strike, a day after NSW postal workers agreed to go back on the job to clear a Christmas delivery backlog. Star City Casino staff, meanwhile, have also now voted to strike, with industrial action likely on New Year's Day – Sydney Morning Herald

Your card's in the mail, worse luck – Striking postal workers could rob us of what we consider a basic holiday right - receiving mailed Christmas cards by December 25. Thousands of postal staff took part in rolling strikes yesterday, threatening the nation's timely Christmas deliveries for the first time in 30 years – Sydney Daily Telegraph

National security

Labor MP bucks party on war - Melissa Parke, the member for Fremantle, who has worked as a UN international lawyer in conflict zones across the world, including Kosovo, Gaza and Beirut, has told a parliamentary inquiry that wars have a ''dramatic impact'' and the decision to commit troops should not remain solely in the hands of the prime minister and cabinet.

Political life

Rann takes aim at 'reckless lies' - A TV network broadcast implied Premier Mike Rann has been manipulative, is a liar, and exploited a vulnerable woman into acting out sexual fantasies, court documents claim – Adelaide Advertiser

Opinions

Rudd is all talk and no voter pain -  writes Janet Albrechtsen in The Australian

Populate and prosper – Julie Novak writes in The Australian that what has tended to be overlooked about a rising population is a balanced discussion incorporating the benefits.

Super clinics won't ease emergency overload – The revelation that most of the Rudd government's GP super clinics will not be operating for at least another two years has brought opponents of this expensive program out into the open. – Jeremy Sammut in The Australian

Rudd to blame after bridges burnt – Paul Maley in The Australian says akarta is in no mood to do Rudd any more favours

At the pointy end of a pressing issue – Daniel Flitton in the Melbourne Age on the transfer of some boat people to Melbourne.

US is culprit for Copenhagen failure but shifts blame to China – George Monbiot in the Melbourne Age claims that a new ''coalition of the willing'' has stitched up the poorest countries.

Activists should stop talking about global warming and start acting – John Humphreys in the Melbourne Age reckons that if climate activists had spent the past 10 years acting instead of wasting time at talk-fests such as the one at Copenhagen, we would already have a price signal on greenhouse gas emissions.

Leave is for the taking, not selling – Ross Gittins in the Sydney Morning Herald fears that, in our pursuit of affluence, holidays are losing out.

Another bastard for the colonies - Elizabeth Farrelly on Paul Keating’s pivotal role in the Barangaroo development. He helped judge the competition and now chairs both the Public Domain body controlling the front half (which is unfunded and therefore revenue-dependent on the back) and the Design Excellence Review Panel that advises on the back half. Like, what conflict of interest? Where? This could spell disaster. Reintegration is virtually impossible and John Tabart, who redeveloped Brisbane Airport and ruined Melbourne's Docklands, is leading the charge. The heart sinks. But there is at least one overseeing eye: Keating's.

BUSINESS

ASX slams loss of market powers to corporate regulator – The Australian stock exchange has launched a savage attack on government plans to transfer the supervision of financial markets to the corporate regulator. In its first official response to being stripped of its supervisory powers, the ASX charged that the draft legislation prepared by Treasury lacked clarity and accountability for exchanges and regulators, while creating loopholes for overseas operators that would allow them to evade many of the key investor protection provisions – The Australian

Start-up costs Tiger $80m – The Singapore Airlines-backed Tiger Airways has revealed that its Australian subsidiary lost $79.3 million within its first two years, outstripping the losses its Singaporean parent has accumulated in its first six years of operation – Sydney Morning Herald

ENVIRONMENT

Ord River dream finally bears fruit - Farmer Fritz Bolten believes he's part of the next big thing in Australian agriculture, an expanding Top End food bowl overflowing with a seemingly endless supply of water. As seasonal rains arrive to top up Lake Argyle and irrigate 14,000ha of deep, fertile soil at Kununurra, 45km west of the Northern Territory border, stage two of the iconic Ord River irrigation scheme is about to become a reality – The Australian

$800 million wind farm in doubt - AGL Energy says its plans to build the $800 million Macarthur wind farm in western Victoria are under ''enormous pressure'' because of a collapse in the price of renewable energy certificates, which is threatening the entire industry – Melbourne Age

Green energy scheme 'a fraud' – Kevin Rudd’s environmental agenda is under attack on two fronts, with the country's biggest private renewable energy business declaring his green power target at risk of failure. As criticism of the emissions trading scheme grows bolder after the fractured Copenhagen summit, AGL has labelled the administration of the the renewable energy target a fraud – Sydney Morning Herald

Sydney motorists drive up greenhouse emissionsSydney’s obsession with cars is outstripping the city's population growth and is fuelling the largest rise in greenhouse gas emissions after electricity consumption – Sydney Daily Telegraph

MEDIA

Hungry Jack's breaks code with kids meal promo - Less than four months after they were introduced, new advertising guidelines for fast food restaurants have had their first breach – Melbourne Age

LIFE

Mental illness

Mentally ill keep rights to leave – Mentally ill inmates at Thomas Embling Hospital will still be allowed to use knives, live together and go out on leave, following a review of two stabbing deaths at the facility – Melbourne Age

Child birth

Home-birth boost for expectant mothers – Victorian women will be able to give birth at home - with hospital back-up for the first time - under a pilot project starting at three hospitals next year – Melbourne Age

Disabilities

Disabled ignored by taxi drivers – Disabled passengers are regularly waiting more than an hour for a taxi - if one arrives at all - because drivers of Melbourne's 266 wheelchair-accessible cabs are opting for easier and more lucrative airport work – Melbourne Age

Development

Developer will take over site: architect – The architect who won the original design competition for Barangaroo has challenged the Government's claims that more than half the site will be reserved as public space and predicts it will increasingly be taken over by the site's developer – Sydney Morning Herald

Experts claim Barangaroo priorities completely wrong – Kristina Keneally's government has been accused of getting its priorities completely wrong by focusing on the design of the Barangaroo development on the CBD's north-western foreshore – Sydney Daily Telegraph

The punt

State fails to curb addiction to pokies – Queenslanders will lose almost $2 billion to poker machines for the second year in a row, defying attempts to curb problem gambling – Brisbane Courier Mail

Neighbours

Queenslanders worst for not socialising with neighbours – Neighbourliness may be a dying art in Australia, as a new survey reveals nearly half the population never or rarely speak to the people next door. And Queenslanders are the nation's worst offenders, with 52 per cent snubbing the neighbours – Brisbane Courier Mail

Education

Schools 'pushing easy subjects' - An official investigation has found that some schools are encouraging Year 12 students to choose easier subject options so they can achieve better grades or avoid sitting exams – The West Australian

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