Thursday, 10 December 2009

Media wrap - NSW leads the economic rebound


POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Economic matters

ALP seats scoop the pool of job funds – Labor electorates have received the lion's share of funding for community jobs-boosting projects from the Rudd Government's ''jobs fund'' – Sydney Morning Herald

NSW leads economic rebound - NSW is leading the national economic recovery with forecasts of a miraculous turnaround in growth figures in the coming year – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Keneally set to ride economic wave – The Keneally Government will go to the 2011 state election from a position of economic strength, with a strong rebound forecast that will push the budget well into surplus next financial year and will allow it to boost its capital spending program by $2.6 billion to $65.5 billion over the coming four years – Sydney Morning Herald

Rudd has no clout with banks: Abbott – Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has opened up the prospect of re-regulating the banks in response to Westpac's outsized rate increase, saying Prime Minister Kevin Rudd gave Westpac ''enormous support'' during the financial crisis without getting influence in return – Melbourne Age

Environmental matters

Households face even steeper costs under draft Copenhagen treaty drawn up in consultation with Rudd Government - The document, which has thrown the UN climate summit into chaos, would require a 25 per cent in carbon emissions within a decade – Melbourne Herald Sun

Brumby cans coal projects – The Brumby Government has shelved its controversial plans to allow the mining and export of Victorian brown coal to India, amid fears of a voter backlash – Melbourne Age

Labor plan to let rivers run almost dry – Bare survival is the best Victoria's northern rivers can hope for if the past decade of drought is to continue, according to a new 50-year water strategy for the state's north – Melbourne Age

Health and hospitals

Private hospital plan to wipe elective surgery lists – Elective surgery waiting lists could be wiped out within 12 months under a new plan being considered by the Federal Government. Private hospitals are offering to perform 323,000 elective surgery operations if the Government pays – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Animal transplants imminentAustralia has lifted its five-year ban on the transplantation of animal cells and organs into humans, allowing hospitals to use pig cells to treat diabetes, Parkinson's disease and strokes within months – Sydney Morning Herald

Rudd fails to deliver on 35 GP super clinics – Kevin Rudd's promise to build 35 GP super clinics across the nation appears to be in tatters, with only one completed centre in operation after two years of Labor government – The Australian

Super clinic not quite there yet – Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon calls the medical centre at Woongarrah on the NSW central coast a "super clinic" but the nurse who actually runs the facility begs to differ – The Australian

Immigration

Corrupt officials aiding refugees – Hundreds of asylum seekers have escaped Indonesian immigration detention centres and made their way to Australia by boat this year, amid widespread bribe-taking by guards and the brutal treatment of those who have been recaptured – Melbourne Age

Political posturing

Rudd gives Westpac a caning over mortgage rate rise – Westpac is facing increased political pressure over its decision to increase mortgage rates by almost double the Reserve Bank rise, as the bank's senior executives admit the institution's reputation has taken a hit. Kevin Rudd weighed into debate yesterday, saying the bank's unprecedented 45 basis point increase in mortgage rates to 6.76 per cent was a poor move for customers in the lead up to Christmas – The Australian

Rudd goes into battle as Abbott looks for an army – Kevin Rudd has accused Tony Abbott of unleashing ''the most hardline, right-wing people in the country'' onto the workers while the Opposition Leader flagged a strategy to win middle Australia, which he hoped to call ''Abbott's Army'' – Sydney Morning Herald

Bid to make MPs prove their worth – Victorian MPs would have to declare publicly the value of their share holdings under a plan to prevent conflicts of interest and corruption in State Parliament – Melbourne Age

Industrial relations

Penalty rates not threatened: Abetz – Eric Abetz has downplayed comments he made in 1992 that penalty rates were ''excessive and irrelevant'' and leave loading ''outrageous, illogical and economically debilitating'' – Melbourne Age

Opinions

Abbott’s front bench will pull no punches – Piers Akerman in the Sydney Daily Telegraph writes that climate change policy is not the only issue the Australian people expect their political leaders to explain to them. There are also major concerns about the Rudd Government’s failure to maintain secure border protection, its capitulation to the trade union movement on industrial matters and the future of Australia’s involvement in Afghanistan. The new Opposition front bench looks capable of exploring these areas and more, exposing the Rudd Government’s fraudulent claims to have delivered “decisive” action.

Banker is the new Scrooge – After slipping and slithering over its shameful clobbering of home buyers, it's kind of appropriate that the thing that made Westpac and CEO Gaily Kelly finally come unstuck was a banana – David Penberthy in the Melbourne Herald Sun

How the top banana slipped – Just three months ago, the Westpac Bank boss, Gail Kelly, was named the world's 18th most powerful woman by the influential Forbes magazine - outranking US first lady Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, talk show queen Oprah Winfrey and even real royalty, her majesty the Queen. But somewhere between a $10 million salary package and maintaining mortgages in the suburbs, the nation's most powerful businesswoman has slipped on a proverbial banana peel entirely of her own making – Michael Evans in the Sydney Morning Herald

Climate emails: a dirty war swirls around 'swindle' – Ben Cubby in the Sydney Morning Herald looks at the campaign to discredit global warming scientists

Ignore the whines of protest and raise the drinking age forthwith - James Pitts, chief executive of Odyssey House McGrath Foundation, writes in the Sydney Morning Herald that it's now clear we need to consider raising the legal drinking age. Many feel it wouldn't work, but given what we know about the effect of alcohol on developing brains, wouldn't the debate be worthwhile? Surely it is worth the risk of short-term protests against the benefits of lifting the drinking age to ensure the long-term health and welfare of our young people.

In Victoria, the house takes all – Paul Austin in the Melbourne Age says it seems whatever James Packer wants at his casino, he gets, in an unedifying display from our elected representatives.

Tony is the Gomez of the Abbott Family – Misha Schubert in the Melbourne Age finds that l ike the Addams family before them, the Abbott family of politics is an eccentric clan blissfully unaware that others may find some of their number unusual or alarming.

Rationalising the region's alphabet soup – Greg Sheridan in The Australian visits Kirribilli where Kevin Rudd entertained about 100 of the most influential foreign policy makers in the Asia-Pacific, gathered in Sydney to discuss the Rudd initiative for an Asia-Pacific community.

Wasting money damages Aboriginal health - Hospital reform wasn't the only issue put on the backburner at this week's Council of Australian Governments meeting in Brisbane. The Rudd government has also put off decisions about indigenous health – Sara Hudson in The Australian

Thank heavens cap and trade is dead – writes Gary Johns in The Australian

BUSINESS

Watchdog muzzled – The corporate watchdog was bitten again yesterday when its attempt to launch fresh legal action against former Australian Wheat Board chief executive Andrew Lindberg over the oil-for-food scandal was quashed – Melbourne Herald Sun

$376m nickel mine sale to create 600 jobs - A Canadian mining company has come to the rescue of the mothballed Ravensthorpe nickel mine, earmarking more than $540 million to return the project to production within 18 months and rejuvenating nearby communities shattered by its shock closure in January – The West Australian

ENVIRONMENT

Climate deal backers 'like Nazi appeasers' – Poor nations last night compared developed-nation backers of a controversial leaked Danish draft climate change agreement with Nazi appeasers before World War II, as growing anger at the Copenhagen conference forced a temporary suspension of the main talks. Climate Change Minister Penny Wong will land in the middle of the row when she arrives in Copenhagen today, after developing nations and environmental groups reacted with fury to the leaked document, developed by the Danish government in consultation with Kevin Rudd and other leaders – The Australian

Leaked draft deal sparks outrageAustralia and its key allies face an angry backlash from developing countries and environmental groups after the embarrassing leak of a draft document outlining a Copenhagen climate agreement that has been branded weak and skewed towards wealthy countries – Sydney Morning Herald

Copenhagen debate shifts to costs – Negotiators last night worked to bridge the chasm between rich and poor countries over how to share the burden of fighting climate change – Adelaide Advertiser

Weather bureau warns - each decade warmer than the last – Climate change is steaming ahead with each decade warmer than the last, the Bureau of Meteorology says. Next year is tipped to be the hottest yet – Adelaide Advertiser

Scientists tip 2010 as hottest yet – The past six months have been Australia's warmest winter-spring period on record and it is likely next year will set global temperature records – Sydney Morning Herald

Plimer the toast of Copenhagen sceptics meeting - For Australian academic Ian Plimer, a star attraction of the two-day event, there were 45 attendees, with an average age well above 60 – The Australian

MEDIA

City set for new talkback stationMelbourne could soon have a third talkback radio station to compete with 774 ABC and the top-rating 3AW. The Age believes Macquarie Radio Network owner John Singleton wants to convert 3MP into a local version of his top-rating Sydney station, 2GB – Melbourne Age

LIFE

The fags

Up the duff, on the puff - The annual mothers and babies report - published today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare - showed women in the Territory were more likely to smoke during pregnancy than their southern counterparts – Northern Territory News

Religion

Fears grow over 'hardline' mosque in western Sydney – Residents are fighting a mosque and cultural centre they believe will become a headquarters for the strict Wahhabi sect of Islam in Sydney. Auburn Council, in Sydney's west, has outraged residents by approving the three-storey mosque with dome and minarets on a site occupied by a Depression-era Art Deco fire station – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Sarkozy defends Swiss minaret decision – The French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, has voiced sympathy for Switzerland's controversial decision to ban the building of minarets, calling on religious practitioners to avoid ''ostentation'' and ''provocation'' for fear of upsetting others – Sydney Morning Herald

Birthdays

Bob Hawke gets down at his 80th birthday party – It’s an arrangement that has worked well for both men so there were no surprises when businessman John Singleton presented his old mate Bob Hawke with a share in another promising racehorse at his 80th birthday party last night – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Banking

So no one will lose their home, Westpac boss Gai Kellyl? Tell Judith Hobday - The Port Macquarie pensioner faces having to sell up and move to a caravan park because she can't afford the Westpac shake-down. Not that Westpac cares. It has Mrs Hobday right where it wants her because she can't afford to leave for another lender either - such is the scale of the penalty charges – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Bunk beds

New standards could make bunk beds unsuitable for children aged under 12 – Bunk beds could virtually be off limits to kids in a massive overhaul of standards that could make them unsuitable for children under 12. Following seven bed-related deaths in eight years, Australian Standards are reviewing the rules for bunk beds sold in this country – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Transport

Sabotage fears in rail delays prompt security review – Sabotage is suspected in a spate of major train delays that have caused commuter chaos across southeast Queensland in recent weeks.  The State Government has ordered an urgent review into Citytrain's computerised main control room, which co-ordinates the southeast's massive commuter network, after a series of system failures – Brisbane Courier Mail

Education

One in four children 'not ready for school' - A Federal Government study released today shows that 23.4 per cent of children starting school are not up to scratch in the key development areas of physical health and wellbeing, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive skills and communication skills – Adelaide Advertiser

Queensland fails prep kids: studyQueensland children are among the nation's least prepared for school and almost a third are considered developmentally vulnerable when they start grade 1, a landmark new study has revealed – Brisbane Courier Mail


Swine flu

Damning review of swine flu drug – A damning review of the antiviral drug Tamiflu has cast doubts on its usefulness in preventing serious illness, and led to accusations that manufacturer Roche withheld trial data from researchers – Melbourne Age

Billions for Tamiflu vaccination may be wasted – Governments worldwide may have spent billions of dollars stockpiling Tamiflu for little benefit, after medical experts admitted they were wrong to conclude the flu-fighting drug could slash deaths and other complications – The Australian

War veteran

Sabi, the hero detection dog, stuck in quarantine – Sabi the wonder dog is facing an even greater challenge than 14 months spent wandering through war-torn Afghanistan - strict quarantine rules – Brisbane Courier Mail

Law and order

New DNA testing flaw – At least six criminal cases have been put on hold after new flaws were found in police DNA evidence procedures. Chief Commissioner Simon Overland yesterday said he had banned police forensic scientists from giving evidence ''until further notice'' – Melbourne Age

Police put ban on DNA evidence – Police orces across the country could have their DNA evidence thrown into doubt after Victoria Police discovered a systematic breakdown in how it interpreted DNA samples and warned that other jurisdictions would face the same problem – The Australian

SA Police move against Rebels bikie gang - SA police have appealed to the Attorney-General to have the Rebels bikie club declared under the controversial Serious and Organised Crime Control laws – Adelaide Advertiser

Security sector in chaos after ICAC slams corrupt training provider – Every security licence in the state is under a cloud after the corruption watchdog found the biggest training provider in NSW was thoroughly corrupt and the police force and the Education Department had failed in their roles as regulator and auditor – Sydney Morning Herald

No charges over Vanstone visa bribery allegations – An Australian Federal Police inquiry will lay no charges over allegations former immigration minister Amanda Vanstone's decision to give an alleged crime figure a visa may have been influenced by political donations – Melbourne Age

Stadiums

Premier punts for cheap arena - Colin Barnett was under attack from all sides yesterday after declaring the Government would progressively rebuild Subiaco Oval rather than produce a new stadium. He said WA could not afford a new stadium but needed to have an arena ready if Australia won its bid for the 2018 or 2022 soccer World Cup – The West Australian

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