Friday, 18 December 2009

Media wrap - Liberals and Nationals differ again on climate change policy


POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Health and hospitals

Big hospital embroiled in heart scans furore - Monash Medical Centre emphatically denies allegations of rorting Medicare to pay for expensive diagnostic scans – Melbourne Age

Big differences in hospital death rates - Surveys find big differences in death rates at Australia's public hospitals, but the public will have to wait for two years to learn how individual hospitals rate – Melbourne Age

Doctors, nurses argue over roles in ugly fight for health control – Doctors would get the power to put midwives and nurses out of a job under a rule change before Federal Parliament, the nurses union warned yesterday – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Development

Millions go missing from sale price of union cottages – The revelation that the sale of Unions NSW's historic Currawong site has only just been finalised - and for millions of dollars less than was announced two years ago - has again drawn attention to the relationship between developers and NSW Labor – Sydney Morning Herald

Developers rejoice as loophole returns – The Territory Government has brought back a loophole that allows developers to ignore height limits in Darwin's CBD. Then Planning Minister Delia Lawrie scrapped the special merit provision 18 months ago, forcing developments to remain within the 30-storey limit. But her successor Gerry McCarthy - who has been in the role for less than two weeks - yesterday announced the new planning scheme introducing a new exemption for developers – Northern Territory News

Administration

Labor has a day at The Office - The new Premier's first caucus meeting yesterday did not feature Ricky Gervais from The Office as a guest, but the spirit of his character David Brent was present with MPs herded into "regional groups" and sent to corners to talk about "problems and issues" – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Child care

Order in the creche - now for sense in the Senate - A new research paper by Dr Mark Rodrigues of the parliamentary library examines how the needs of political mothers with young children could be better balanced with Westminster traditions. His conclusion: even in ''normal'' weeks, let alone the recent chaos, they cannot – Sydney Morning Herald

Petitions

Bring it on: irate citizens demand an early poll - Of the more than 20,000 signatures the Sydney Morning Herald has received in its Reclaim Your Vote campaign, the majority were from the north shore. There was another pocket on the northern beaches. And in the north-west, where the metro never came.

Political lurks and perks

Ministers spend up on travel - More than a quarter of Victoria's state cabinet ministers took overseas trips in the past three months - at a cost to taxpayers of more than $200,000 – Melbourne Age

$350,000 for ministers to research transit development – A fact-finding mission involving 10 government officials investigating so-called transit-oriented developments has cost taxpayers about $350,000. The contingent - including Transport Minister Pat Conlon, Planning Minister Paul Holloway and their chiefs of staff - undertook a three-nation tour over 14 days in May – Adelaide Advertiser

$90k blown on junkets – Territory politicians spent nearly $90,000 on taxpayer-funded overseas and interstate travel in the past seven months. Travel by Cabinet Ministers is not included in the figures – Northern Territory News

Local government

Council leaders live outside region – More than one quarter of Adelaide's mayors do not live in the council areas they were elected to represent, an Advertiser investigation reveals. Five of the city's 19 mayors, including Lord Mayor Michael Harbison, have their main residential addresses in suburbs outside their council boundaries – Adelaide Advertiser

The monarchy

Tension over Queen's removal - Monarchists and republicans have gone to war over the State Government's decision to dump the Queen from Victoria's legal system – Melbourne Age

Immigration

Forgotten asylum seekers left in squalor - As the 78 Sri Lankan asylum seekers who disembarked from the Oceanic Viking have their resettlement fast-tracked, more than 250 of their countrymen, intercepted a week earlier, have been unable to get a meeting with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees – Melbourne Age

Education

Julia Gillard calls for school honesty – Federal Education Minister Julia Gillard has urged the states to be honest with parents about national school results to be released next month, following revelations that public school principals in NSW have been instructed by officials to prepare at least three positive stories – The Australian

Classroom computer rollout `on target' – Julia Gillard is on target to slash the ratio of students to computers in high schools from 5:1 when Labor took office to about 2:1 within 16 months – The Australian

Labour costs

Inmates cheaper to use than the disabled, Qantas says – A Sydney business that employs disabled workers has lost a lucrative contract reassembling headphones for Qantas because the airline deemed it cheaper to use prisoners – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Opinions

Conroy will be censoring people, not the internet – Nina Funnell investigates for the Sydney Morning Herald and finds Stephen Conroy will not be censoring the internet. He'll be censoring people who do not know much about the internet."

Ready for battle - The Opposition's new, more aggressive leader has transformed the rules of engagement in this coming election year writes Michelle Grattan in the Melbourne Age

In fact, talks have come a long way – Daniel Flitton in the Melbourne Age writes that only as the leaders fly in will the so-called "red lines" to show each country's final position truly become clear. Not every developing nation is aligned behind China; the West has ground to give. Now is the time a result can be forged.

Gambling regulator is losing its way - Sensible reforms are needed to tackle the gaming industry writes Jason Dowling in the Melbourne Age

Rudd must stop NSW Armageddon - Nick Dyrenfurth in the Sydney Daily Telegraph believes the farcical shenanigans within NSW Labor are now likely to spill over and harm the re-election chances of Kevin Rudd's federal Labor Government. Rudd is scheduled to face the voters next year, sometime before Keneally or whoever else happens to lead NSW Labor does.

Blunderful Copenhagen kills ETS early poll – Dennis Shanahan writes in The Australian that the politics of climate change have so dramatically turned around that Abbott is daring the Government to "bring on an election" and Labor is drastically altering its election schedule and strategy.

Rudd's reckless regional rush - Tommy Koh, chairman of the Institute of Policy Studies at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, gives a harsh verdict on a conference organised by Kevin Rudd.

BUSINESS

NAB makes $4.6b AXA bid - National Australia Bank stands to become the nation's dominant player in superannuation and life insurance after emerging as a white knight for AXA Asia Pacific – Melbourne Age

Asbestos compo delays CSR demerger - The material CSR proposed to circulate about its $2.6 billion demerger did not allow adequate analysis of the impact on asbestos compensation, ASIC told the Federal Court yesterday – Melbourne Age

ASIC to appeal OneTel ruling – The Australian Securities and Investment Commission says it plans to appeal Justice Robert Austin's November judgment in favour of One.Tel directors Jodee Rich and Mark Silbermann – The Australian

ENVIRONMENT

Abbott, Nationals at war on emissions – A central element of Tony Abbott's alternative plan to cut greenhouse gases has hit a hurdle, with the National Party warning against the mass planting of trees. The Nationals, who were instrumental in killing Coalition support for Labor's emissions trading scheme, have told the Opposition Leader they will not support a policy that involves planting trees on arable land, especially one that involves incentives – Sydney Morning Herald


Rudd calls for 'grand bargain' to rescue talks - Kevin Rudd has warned leaders at the United Nations climate summit that they are on the verge of failing the children of the world and future generations if a compromise is not reached in the last day of the historic gathering – Sydney Morning Herald



Climate talks set for failure as China dampens hopes – Blocking tactics by China and the developing world have brought the Copenhagen climate talks to the brink of collapse, leaving more than 140 world leaders facing the prospect of achieving only a weak political statement – The Australian

High-polluting China sees no room for deal in Copenhagen – Economic powerhouse China has cast serious doubt on the ability of world leaders to strike an 11th-hour climate change deal between rich and poorer nations in CopenhagenBrisbane Courier Mail

Dancing in the streets as cities fight global warming – The Lord Mayor of Sydney Clove r Moore reports from Copenhagen’s mayors’ summit – Sydney Morning Herald

Aviation tax would 'devastate' tourism - Imposing climate change taxes on international air travel, as proposed at the Copenhagen climate summit, would be devastating for Australia's $89 billion tourism industry, the nation's top tourism lobby group has warned – Melbourne Age

Plastic bag ban for NT – Plastic shopping bags will be banned in the Territory as part of a new climate change policy – Northern Territory News

Barnaby Joyce attacked over land-use claim – Barnaby Joyce has sparked new Labor ridicule by demanding states scrap vegetation protection laws or compensate farmers for their lost rights to clear their own land. The government yesterday savaged the opposition finance spokesman as unfit for office after he backed the case of a hunger striker demanding $100 billion in taxpayer compensation for farmers for lost land-clearing rights – The Australian

LIFE

Law and order

McGurk linked to loan fraud – The murder of Michael McGurk, a people-smuggling ring and false passports have all been tied into a $150 million mortgage fraud that NSW police have been investigating for more than two years – Sydney Morning Herald

Drink-drivers likely to push luck again, research finds – More than one in seven drink-drivers will reoffend within five years because they do not think they will be caught again, a study has found. The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research followed 23,373 drink-drivers for five years from 2002. The bureau director, Don Weatherburn, said most drivers didn't believe their ''bad luck'' would be repeated – Sydney Morning Herald

Barry Manilow didn't work - let's go mobile, cops say – First there was the Barry Manilow music played through speakers, then there were pink lights to settle down the car hoons. Now a mobile police station will be based in Brighton-Le-Sands to keep them at bay. The recent addition to the St George area will be parked in and around Bay StSydney Daily Telegraph

School principals win right to expel problem students – Principals will be given new powers to expel problem students following hundreds of violent attacks in Queensland classrooms in the past year – Brisbane Courier Mail

The drink

Beware girls in bars, warns DFAT – The following scenario is neither joke nor fantasy, but a travel tip provided by the Federal Government. An Australian man is travelling overseas and walks into a bar. He is beckoned by a woman, who requests a drink. He quickly obliges. What did he do wrong? According to a travel bulletin titled ''Partying Overseas'', issued this week by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the bar-goer should have checked the prices before bestowing his largesse. Otherwise, the bill could end up larger than his ego – Sydney Morning Herald

Club owners propose on-the-spot fine to clean up city - Late Night Traders Group spokesman Tony Tropeano believes the upfront monetary penalties will help clean up the bad behaviour in and around the notorious nightspot – Adelaide Advertiser

The drugs

Alarm over lethal new 'party drug' - Melbourne crime syndicates are marketing a dangerous liquid industrial solvent as a "harmless" party drug, risking widespread overdoses, a police investigation has revealed – Melbourne Age

Retirement

More people plan to work till they drop - The global financial crisis has sparked a huge increase in the number of Australians who plan to work till they drop — and caused tens of thousands of retired Australians to return to work – Melbourne Age

Insulation

Novice installers to be banned from ceilings – Novice insulation installers will be ordered out of ceilings from February as the Federal Government cracks down on shoddy work practices in its troubled home insulation scheme. From February 12, every installer must prove they have a trade, prior insulation experience or have completed a registered training course to continue working – Brisbane Courier Mail

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