Monday, 14 December 2009

Media wrap - PM trying to associate with a saint


POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Religion

Rudd attends Catholic mass at pending saint's resting place – Prime  Minister Kevin Rudd made a surprise visit this morning to the memorial chapel dedicated to Mother Mary MacKillop, whose sainthood could be imminent – The Australian

Sainthood close for Mary MacKillop – Mother Mary MacKillop could become Australia's first saint soon, after Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made a surprise trip to her memorial chapel – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Industrial relations

New individual job contracts ruled out – Workplace Relations Minister Julia Gillard has ruled out offering any new form of individual contract in the lead-up to the next election as the government rolls out sweeping changes to employment standards and awards from January 1 – The Australian

Political life

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh to work on US holiday - Bligh is set to jet out on another trade mission - but this time she will already be on an overseas holiday. The Queensland Premier yesterday announced she would lead a trade mission to the US to attend the G'Day USA industry promotion. The six-day trade tour will coincide with Ms Bligh's summer holiday in New York where she is travelling with her family – Brisbane Courier Mail

Political parties

ALP members: we've lost faith – The Premier and Labor Party bosses have attempted to brush off ''disgusted and outraged'' rank and file members who say they have ''besmirched'' the party name. At a weekend meeting of 150 mostly left-wing ALP members representing more than 50 branches, a resolution was passed that ''the rank and file has lost faith in the parliamentary leadership of the NSW branch of the party'' – Sydney Morning Herald

Development

Revealed: ALP donor projects Keneally approved – Kristina Keneally personally approved at least three contentious development applications by major Labor Party donors as minister for planning, despite promising they would be determined by an independent panel – Sydney Morning Herald

Defence

Urgent call for nuclear arms cull – The risk to the planet from nuclear catastrophe is as serious as any other and more urgent, according to an international report calling for world leaders to slash arsenals of nuclear weapons and stop their spread to rogue states or terrorists. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is expected to release the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament report with Japan's Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama in Tokyo this week in a bid to influence looming international negotiations on the nuclear threat – Melbourne Age

Nation given N-bomb warningAustralia may be forced to acquire nuclear weapons to tackle deteriorating Asian security, a government-funded defence think tank has warned. Australian Strategic Policy Institute analyst Rod Lyons said a loss of confidence in US nuclear deterrence or the appearance of a new nuclear state in Asia could force Australia to take the nuclear arms option – The Australian

Report suggests single naval shipbuilder for $250bn plans – Australia’s naval shipbuilding industry must face up to further radical reform, including the option of a single naval constructor, according to a defence report commissioned by the South Australian government – The Australian

Aboriginal affairs

Rabbit-Proof Fence grossly inaccurate, says Keith Windschuttle – Rabbit-Proof Fence, the film that in the eyes of millions of children around Australia tells the true story of the Stolen Generations, is "grossly inaccurate" and should be withdrawn from schools. Keith Windschuttle, a frontline warrior in the history wars, has questioned the veracity of the film - though not the book on which it was based - in the third volume of his series, The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, to be released next week – The Australian

Rabbit-Proof Fence praised as trailblazer – The success of Samson and Delilah in the AFI Awards has been traced back to the impact of the ground-breaking 2002 movie Rabbit-Proof Fence – The Australian

Opinions

Blinded by political reality - David Burchell writes in The Australian that despite Abbott's stirring but rather improvised oratory, the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (for all its faults and foibles) is not actually a tax at all, but only a half-hearted attempt to put an economic price on emissions. To the extent that this has tax-like consequences, so too will any other serious impulse towards the same end. Efforts to insult the intelligence of the electorate in this manner rarely end well, at least over any period longer than a few months.

Tony Abbott adds the right stuff, in moderation – Glenn Milne in The Australian argues that any attempt to demonise Abbott as a divisive threat from the Right by claiming he's a throwback to the Howard era isn't likely to wash with voters. If for most of his period in office they didn't buy that argument about Howard himself why should they be worried about Abbott's resonance with those years now?

Abbott's populism may be making of Rudd – Ross Gittins in the Sydney Morning Herald believes Rudd can't avoid something that seems utterly contrary to his nature: a full-on fight to defend and explain an indisputably painful and complex economic reform, with benefits that are contingent, uncertain and long-term. For once, the man who has consistently put cynical politics ahead of good micro-economic policy, who's given us the most overblown rhetoric and the weakest delivery, has no choice but to stand and deliver.

Native title left behind - With all the limitations of native title now clear, what remains is a mixture of marginal policy choices and the processing of individual claims and negotiations – David
Ritter in The Australian


It's the poor who will pay for Copenhagen's circus – Tom Wilson in The Australian reckons the tragedy of Copenhagen is that the impact of any agreement on the world's poor has largely been lost among the self-indulgent circus caused by rich country green activists who'd rather see themselves on television back home.

Threat of over-regulation looms in financial market – Financial regulation is one of the wild cards in the economic outlook over the next year, with the potential to curb credit growth, still languishing around the zero mark, and increase costs – David Uren in The Australian

Flawed figures condemn our descendants to needless debt – Kenneth Davidson in the Melbourne Age asserts that just three infrastructure projects - the Children's and Women's hospitals and the Wonthaggi desalination plant - will cost Victorians (either as taxpayers or water users) an extra $8.3 billion over the next 25 to 30 years because they will be financed as public-private partnerships rather than by government borrowings.

Libs fear Joyce will overpower Hockey – Phillip Coorey in the Sydney Morning Herald writes that if the idea of promoting Barnaby Joyce was to get him into the tent to curb his excesses, it failed miserably in week one.

Too much power to the people – Paul Sheehan in The Sydney Morning Herald  points out  there has been a Labor or Liberal leadership change, on average, every five months in either Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane, for the past 15 years. Every time a dominant leader emerges, the opposition begins churning and the media begins grinding.

BUSINESS

Pubs back in vogue as demand rises – The hotels industry has been one of the hardest hit this year, so the sale of seven pubs over the past fortnight for about $26 million will give heart to investors that well-run pubs in good locations remain attractive – Sydney Morning Herald


Super funds leak $13 million a day – More than $13 million a day is being sucked from Australian retirement savings because of underperforming retail superannuation funds and commissions paid to financial planners, according to industry super funds. The claims are contained in an Industry Super Network submission to the Government's Super System Review, which today unveils draft findings from the first phase of its year-long inquiry – Melbourne Age

ENVIRONMENT

Carbon emissions soarAustralia’s annual greenhouse gas emissions have soared by more than four-fifths since 1990 - far exceeding the 8 per cent permitted by the Kyoto Protocol – Melbourne Age

Taxpayers to subsidise developing nations' climate - Barnaby Joyce – Barnaby Joyce has demanded Kevin Rudd reveal how much money will be siphoned out of hospitals and roads to help developing nations meet climate change goals – Brisbane Courier Mail

'Fizzer' fears for summit – The Copenhagen climate change summit is in danger of being a fizzer, Australian negotiators have warned.  Mid-way through the summit, Australia's climate change ambassador Louise Hand says things are not going well – Melbourne Herald Sun

Heat on China to break impasse at CopenhagenAustralia has appealed to China to step up to the leadership role expected of a global superpower, as a standoff between the US and China deadlocked the Copenhagen climate change talks – The Australian

Wanted (badly): US and China to get along - Trying to read what China might do from one day to the next has become the greatest challenge of the summit. A deal that lays the groundwork for a legal treaty at some point hinges on China sitting down with the US to see if they can overcome their respective sticking points – Melbourne Age

Politicians step in to tackle the most sensitive obstacles – Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will fly into Denmark tomorrow facing calls for the 110 world leaders attending the United Nations climate summit to find a path through a series of impregnable diplomatic stalemates after the first week of talks ended in conflict inside and outside the Copenhagen convention centre – Melbourne Age

Green pot of carbon gold lures politicians - The private It will be in the rolling back paddocks, grazing lands and grasslands of rural Australia, from Burke to Barcaldine, from Wubin to Wangaratta - a green pot of carbon gold.comments by an Australian climate negotiator in Copenhagen late last week gave some insight into where Labor intends to find a potentially ambitious cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

Campaign to save the world contains no laughing matter - Type "climate change jokes" into Google, and the last thing you'll find is an actual joke – The Australian

900 arrested as 40,000 rally in call to arms on climate action – Danish police arrested more than 900 people -- some pre-emptively -- during a 40,000-strong march through Copenhagen to demand that world leaders strike an ambitious deal on climate change – The Australian

Emotional temperatures rising as expectations fall – With so much anticipation, so much at stake, so many people watching and so little progress, emotions at the Copenhagen climate meeting are starting to run high – The Australian

No chef for Team Rudd – The Federal Government says Australia's delegation to the Copenhagen climate change summit will be far smaller than the 114 people accredited, with barely half that number likely to take part in the negotiations – Melbourne Age

Clean coal plan gets fast track – A major clean coal power plant and carbon storage project is being considered for planning approval in Queensland, even though a feasibility assessment has not been completed and a site is yet to be found, along with the necessary $4.2 billion in funding – The Australian

Australia in bid to repair ecological ruin - Amid the ecological ruins of a colossally ill-conceived project by former Indonesian dictator Suharto to convert 1.4 million hectares of wetland forest into an enormous rice farm, the Australian Government has undertaken an ambitious effort to rehabilitate the land. Moreover, it hopes the project - a joint venture with the Indonesian Government - will provide a template for how a global emissions trading system might work – Melbourne Age

MEDIA

Readership wars far from over by Christmas – Mark Day on why we will have two sets of readership information – The Australian

News chief lashes Morgan research – News Limited chairman and chief executive John Hartigan has accused Roy Morgan Research of setting out to destroy an attempt by newspaper publishers to find an alternative readership measurement system after deciding not to compete in the tender process – The Australian

Print and outdoor signs lead ad rebound – The advertising market bounced back into growth last month, with a sharp recovery in print and outdoor signalling an end to the sharpest media downturn in more than 50 years – The Australian

LIFE

Education

Bring back school inspectors, says national teachers union – The national teachers union is calling for a return to the days of school inspectors, proposing a system of external reviews of performance conducted by panels of principals, teachers and education experts – The Australian

The drink

Teen drinkers corrupting `brain software' – The seven years immediately after a child reaches puberty mark a developmental crunch time, when the brain is both extremely susceptible to damage from drugs and alcohol and six times more likely than an adult's to develop an addiction – The Australian

Drink games get axe – Drinking promotions deemed too sexy, degrading or just plain stupid will be banned.  In the toughest crackdown of its kind in more than a decade, bars and clubs will no longer have free licence to attract punters using lurid advertising or reckless promotions – Melbourne Herald Sun

CBD all calm, not so Lakes Entrance – A massive boost in police numbers in the CBD has been credited for ensuring there was not a single serious assault over one of the city's busiest weekends for the year. But a night out in Lakes Entrance for Collingwood footballer Scott Pendlebury ended badly about 1.30am when, according to a club statement, he was hit from behind and fell face-first on to the pavement, injuring his teeth – Melbourne Age

Roxon rejects advice on drinking age – The Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, has rejected a call from the Prime Minister's advisory body on drugs to consider lifting the drinking age – Melbourne Age





The drugs

Cocaine drug lords hit Australia – A generational shift has pushed demand for cocaine to unprecedented levels, giving Australia the dubious honour of being the world's most lucrative market for the illicit drug – Sydney Daily Telegraph

The moon


Prisons

Prison population rises by 1700 in a year – More Australians are going to jail than ever before, with the latest census of the nation's prisons showing states and territories locked up 6 per cent more of their citizens than they did the previous year – Melbourne Age

Health and hospitals

Medicare changes fall short: GPs – A revamp of Medicare payments for doctors aimed at discouraging revolving door medicine gives them a sweetener of less than $2 to consult with patients longer. But the changes will still mean doctors can earn more than the long consultation rate by churning through more patients – Melbourne Age

Real estate

Big upswing may not last – Victorians spent a record amount on property last week, but a mortgage research organisation has warned that the value of mortgages being written will slump in the new year – Melbourne Age

Australian housing market heading into hole – Australia’s housing market is heading into a deep $14 billion hole as house prices escalate, the first-home owners grant stops and banks tighten lending requirements. According to research company MISC, the market will face another three months of declining lending before a weak rebound in March – Brisbane Courier Mail

Driving

Man sacked for burnout in carpark - A NSW council has been branded un-Australian after it sacked an employee for doing a burnout in the carpark – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Drought


Stadiums

Upgrading Adelaide Oval voted the best way to go – The State Government's plans to redevelop Adelaide Oval have captured the imagination of voters, relegating the Liberals' vision of a Riverside Stadium to second place – Adelaide Advertiser

Electricity use

Queenslanders' electricity use soars despite cost – Rapidly escalating electricity prices have failed to have any impact on the power consumption habits of southeast Queensland households. New figures reveal electricity use continues to soar despite a 35 per cent rise in power prices over the past two years – Brisbane Courier Mail

Law and order

Point-to-point cameras will catch speedsters – Drivers travelling Queensland's highways face speeding fines if they make their journey faster than expected, thanks to new point-to-point speed cameras. Two cameras placed any distance apart will have the effect of "one speed camera every 100 metres," Deputy Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said yesterday – Brisbane Courier Mail


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