Sunday, 13 December 2009

Media wrap - Tiger dominates the news


POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Leadership

Rudd Tassie abuse furore – A Launceston-based federal Comcar driver is at the centre of a row over PM Kevin Rudd's treatment of staff. Mr Rudd admits friction with his senior staff, including chief-of-staff Alister Jordan and press secretary Lachlan Harris, but denies claims he has ever abused them. The window into the PM's relationship with his two most influential staffers comes with a claim the driver witnessed a tirade from Mr Rudd directed at the two men. The driver, based in Launceston, has told colleagues Mr Rudd directed a flood of "F and C" words at his staff in the back seat of his Commonwealth car – Sunday Tasmanian

A last gasp to fix this messed up state – Labor’s leadership crisis is bringing NSW to a grinding halt as significant development projects sit on the shelf and Premier Kristina Keneally struggles to bring her ministers into line after the dumping of Nathan Rees – Sydney Sunday Telegraph

Economic matters

Barnaby: I predicted the GFC – Kevin Rudd "just doesn't get economics" - so says Barnaby Joyce, the bush accountant and maverick Queensland politician who now doubles as Tony Abbott's finance spokesman. And Senator Joyce isn't so sure about Treasury boss Ken Henry either - although Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens is all right – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Health and hospitals

Frustrated surgeons at SCGH walk out – One third of the general surgery team at WA's biggest hospital are so disgruntled they have either quit or are poised to resign, frustrated medicos revealed last night – Perth Sunday Times

Poker machines

Premier petitioned over pokie tax hike – Every new poker machine creates almost one problem gambler. And there is no such thing as a saturation point, with the community showing an almost limitless appetite for pokies, a study has found – Sydney Sun Herald

Waste

Red faces over batts – The Federal Government has admitted it has been paying insulation installers in advance under its $2.45 billion Home Insulation Program without first checking if any work has been done. But the Government is refusing to say how many dodgy installers have walked away with taxpayers money or how much it has cost – Sydney Sunday Telegraph

Political lurks and perks

$4.3m bill for pollies' cars, petrol – Taxpayers spent $4.3 million last year on cars and petrol for federal MPs and their families – Melbourne Sunday Age

Opinions

Bump on the head is least of Barnaby's problems - Michelle Grattan in the Sydney Sun Herald ponders the new political role of Brnaby Joyce

PM's big promise back to haunt him – Glenn Milne in the Sydney Sunday Telegraph recalls the election promise of Kevin Rudd that the "buck" would stop with him when it came to reforming our decrepit hospital system.

Revenge of the living dead gang - Kevin Rudd will send Julia Gillard into the ring to defend his Government against Tony Abbott's right crosses and uppercuts – Sydney Sun Herald

Quasi-terrorist treatment for tea-and-biscuit protesters – Melissa Fyfe in the Melbourne Sunday Age says that government reaction to protest groups says much about freedom of speech. She finds a worrying pattern. Waving a placard against the State Government's agenda has become no simple matter. Aside from the demonisation - with John Brumby and his ministers variously labelling protesters liars, ugly and Molotov-cocktail-throwing quasi-terrorists - groups have been crippled because the state has, occasionally but strategically, left open the threat of court costs.

Human rights? Sorry, we'd rather strip-search children - The state's knife-violence bill is a blatent breach of human rights - and they know it writes Chris Berg in the Melbourne Sunday Age

Keneally should not overplay family hand – Lisa Cartry in the Sydney Sun Herald thinks that well-paid pollies playing the working-mum card can be a bit tiresome, since the salaries and conditions they enjoy mean they cannot compare their lives to those of regular working parents. While some voters may respond positively to the "I've got a job and kids so I understand you" message, it's a safe bet that it'll be a turn-off for others.

BUSINESS

Mark Bouris paving way for cheaper loans – He is credited with revolutionising the mortgage market in the 1990s and breaking the dominance of the big banks - and now Wizard Home Loans founder Mark Bouris is doing it again. Mr Bouris has vowed to undercut every big bank with the cheapest fixed and variable-rate home loans on the market amid the launch of his new lender, Yellow Brick Road. His company is offering a standard variable rate of 6.34 per cent, which would save a borrower with a $300,000 mortgage $80 a month compared with Westpac's rate of 6.76 per cent – Sydney Sunday Telegraph

Obama reforms Wall Street – More than a year after the near-collapse of Wall Street plunged the world economy into crisis, American lawmakers have approved the biggest overhaul of the nation's financial regulatory system since the Great Depression – Melbourne Sunday Age

ENVIRONMENT

Proposed UN draft attacked, the talking heats up – More than 40 ministers including Australia's Penny Wong will attempt to pick up the pieces of the fractured Copenhagen climate talks after a key part of a proposed United Nations draft text received a scathing review from a phalanx of wealthy nations – Melbourne Sunday Age

Thousands walk against warming – Record numbers of people hit Brisbane streets yesterday for the Walk Against Warming rally - more than double the size of last year's crowd. About 10,000 people took part in the fifth annual rally amid climate change negotiations in CopenhagenBrisbane Sunday Mail

Australia may foot huge climate change bill for ChinaAustralia faces having to make a hefty payout to help developing countries such as China and India cope with climate change in order to clinch a deal in CopenhagenBrisbane Sunday Mail

Abbott at the gallop but grunt falls on Hunt – Opposition Leader Tony Abbott - clearly a man who relishes a sporting challenge - has set himself a mighty task. Abbott's challenge, self-inflicted, is to deliver the same greenhouse gas cuts adopted by Labor, with no emissions trading scheme, no carbon tax and no harm to the coal sector. Greg Hunt, the Opposition's new ''climate action'' spokesman, has the unenviable job of devising a plan by February – Melbourne Sunday Age

Luxury digs at climate talkfest – Australian government officials are living it up in a 127-year-old luxury hotel amid criticism that the Copenhagen climate change conference has become an overpriced talkfest that will do nothing to halt global warming – Brisbane Sunday Mail

MEDIA

Our readers say: kick 'em out – The people have spoken: thousands of NSW residents have come forward to sign The Sunday Telegraph petition calling on the Governor to dissolve parliament and pave the way for an early election. So far more than 16,000 people have signed the petition, online or in hard copy. So far more than 16,000 people have signed the petition, online or in hard copy – Sydney Sunday Telegraph

Thousands of voters back petition for fixed terms - NSW voters are making their voices heard by signing the Reclaim Your Vote petition, which challenges the existing four-year fixed terms for State Government. Those who have signed the petition support a referendum on whether or not voters should have the power to call an early election. So far, 15,279 people have completed the petition started by The Sydney Morning Herald, which calls for the referendum to be held at the next state election in March 2011 – Sydney Sun Herald

Nine's TV fightback – Eddie McGuire and Rachael Finch are Channel 9's secret weapons in a 2010 TV ratings offensive, with the pair to present a new sports variety show – Melbourne Sunday Herald Sun

LIFE

The drink

How police swept our city streets clean – It’s the weekend police reclaimed the streets of Sydney - and they arrested hundreds of people to show off their efforts. The unprecedented police blitz uncovered the worst of our city: drunken fist-fights, illicit drugs, drink-driving, public urination and officers recovering in hospital – Sydney Sunday Telegraph


Actor Ernie Dingo lashes out at alcohol criticism – Indigenous icon Ernie Dingo has hit out at hypocritical "white people" who lecture Aborigines about alcohol consumption – Perth Sunday Times

A big night for the steadying arm of the law - On the streets for a blitz on alcohol-related violence and crime, police see it all – Melbourne Sunday Age

Child care

Kindy fees set to spiral – Child care costs are expected to jump as much as $22 per child per day to cover the cost of new laws aimed at giving kids more attention from better-qualified workers – Sydney Sunday Telegraph

For the love of children - The true costs of childcare reforms are perhaps not as high as parents believe – Sydney Sun Herald

Law and order

Police use secret speed traps – Secret speed camera vehicles with no warning signs, point-to-point speed cameras, alcohol ignition interlock devices and new speed traps will be part of Queensland's biggest road safety blitz next year – Brisbane Sunday Mail

Drugs, crime plague Crown casino complex – Heroin overdoses, sexual assaults and bashings at Crown casino have been exposed in a dossier of emergency calls from the entertainment complex – Melbourne Sunday Herald Sun

Drink-drivers go undetected – Thousands of drink-drivers are escaping detection because breath testing has been cut back in six of Queensland's eight police regions – Brisbane Sunday Mail

Adelaide solariums flout tanning laws – Tough laws banning under-age and fair-skinned people from using sunbeds are being flouted by some solarium operators. A Adelaide Sunday Mail investigation this week found a number of operators were failing to check customer IDs, despite the threat of prosecution – Adelaide Sunday Mail

Johnston keen to stir – Suspended Police Commissioner Jack Johnston has changes in mind for Tasmania's force. They will begin when he returns after his "demeaning" first-hand encounter with the wrong side of the law. Mr Johnston said his experience had given him a different take on the service he served for about 40 years – Sunday Tasmanian

Laws shield bungling fire culprits from litigation – Bungling bureaucrats whose negligence causes death and injury while they are managing fires will be protected from litigation under new laws being drafted – Perth Sunday Times

Forensics boss 'scapegoat' – The police are hanging a civilian manager out to dry at the Victorian Forensic Services Centre over shortcomings that have been known and ignored for years, a police whistleblower has claimed – Melbourne Sunday Age

Education

Students foil laptop filters – School students are hacking into their free laptops and disabling internet filters to access blocked sites and install unauthorised programs. Thousands of teenagers are swapping tips on the internet on how to bypass restrictions on the Kevin Rudd-funded netbooks – Sydney Sunday Telegraph


Religion

Mary almost a saintAustralia could have its first saint within days.  Pope Benedict XVI is expected to announce the canonisation of Mary MacKillop "imminently", after her second miracle was cleared by a team of cardinals and bishops at The Vatican – Melbourne Sunday Herald Sun

Real estate

Adelaide house sales defy rates rises – Auction clearance rates were higher this week despite the impact of three successive interest rate rises on potential homebuyers – Adelaide Sunday Mail

Beware real estate boom: economist – Australian house prices are likely to boom for at least three years following a record month for auctions and sales of nearly $1 billion yesterday, according to a leading economic forecaster. ''This is only the beginning,'' warned BIS Shrapnel chief economist Frank Gelber – Melbourne Sunday Age

Sport

Victoria still wants Woods – Australian officials are hoping to tempt Tiger Woods to return to Melbourne next year, despite his announcement of an indefinite retirement from professional golf. Woods' decision to break from the game which has made him the world's biggest sports star to repair his personal life has prompted concern of a massive economic backlash for the sport – Melbourne Sunday Age

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