Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Media wrap - The talking goes on in Copenhagen as Rudd prepares to fly in




POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Identity

Govt to launch 'virtual national ID cards' - The private details of every Australian will be held on a giant national database under a Federal Government plan for "virtual" national identity cards designed to crack down on welfare and medical fraud. The West Australian understands Human Services Minister Chris Bowen will use a speech tomorrow to claim the idea will save Australians from the paperwork involved in applying for employment benefits, seeing a doctor or collecting child support payments.

Health and hospitals

Domiciliary funding crisis hits patients – Hundreds and possibly more than 1000 frail patients will miss out on domiciliary care for at least three months as funding for a key provider runs out. A letter sent to Royal Adelaide Hospital staff obtained by The Adelaide Advertiser  states Domiciliary Care SA will continue to treat urgent cases while other patients are forced on to waiting lists.

Medical dilemma: too many graduates to train – Public hospital medical training is at risk of collapsing because it cannot handle the numbers of those who will be graduating in medicine over the next few years, the Australian Medical Association has warned – Sydney Morning Herald

Lobbying

Graham Richardson is still a figure of influence – Labor heavyweight Graham Richardson revealed himself as an unpaid policy adviser to Premier Kristina Keneally's Government yesterday – Sydney Daily Telegraph


I listened for barely a minute - Labor powerbroker Graham Richardson said he walked out on 'lowlife' Michael McGurk's blackmail tape – Sydney Morning Herald

Richo claims 'very little' influence – The Labor powerbroker and lobbyist Graham Richardson may have helped put Kristina Keneally into the Premier's job because he was pushing for ''anyone but Sartor'' when speaking to MPs in the frantic hours before the leadership coup, Labor sources say. Mr Richardson confirmed at the parliamentary inquiry into the McGurk affair yesterday that he had spoken to the powerbrokers Eddie Obeid, Joe Tripodi and John Della Bosca and other MPs before and after this month's leadership spill that made Ms Keneally Premier – Sydney Morning Herald

Privatisation

Anna Bligh faces union mutiny over assets sell-off – Anna Bligh is facing open mutiny from within her own party with moves afoot to hold a special conference to scuttle the Government's planned asset sales – Brisbane Courier Mail

Economic matters

Rises to hurt families – Families are set to be slugged an extra $3000 next year as mortgage rates continue to climb and household bills rise.  Increased home loan repayments are likely to hurt the most, with economists predicting rates will rise by at least an additional percentage point by Christmas next year – Melbourne Herald Sun

Push for 'no-frills' super funds – The retirement savings of most Australians would be directed into a new generation of low-cost, no-frills superannuation funds under a radical plan to transform the $1 trillion industry – Melbourne Age

Joyce talks down a storm – Barnaby Joyce is trying ever so hard to be good. After putting his foot in it comprehensively last week, he struggled to avoid pitfalls yesterday. He explained, defended and played down controversial remarks on Chinese investment and the possibility of the US defaulting on loans, and then refused to be drawn on one of his favourite topics: climate change – Melbourne Age
Barnaby Joyce rejects 'extremist' taunts – Barnaby Joyce faced a fresh round of Rudd government attacks yesterday as he continued to defend his rejection of Chinese government investment in Australia, and insisted he was not a right-wing extremist – The Australian

Polls

Labor still high and dry with voters – Labor’s tumultuous changes in NSW over the past month, including the axing of Nathan Rees in favour of Kristina Keneally, have done nothing to steer the state government away from electoral oblivion. Just more than a quarter of voters continue to support the NSW Labor government, according to the latest Newspoll, which was conducted exclusively for The Australian in November and this month.

Labor Party

Lift your game, Rudd tells NSW as he flies out – Kevin Rudd does not back proposals to force an early recall election in NSW but maintains the State Government needs to lift its game or suffer the consequences at the ballot box – Sydney Morning Herald

Immigration

Indonesia turns up heat on people-smugglers - Indonesian authorities have prevented almost 2000 asylum-seekers from travelling to Australia in the past 12 months – The Australian

Aboriginal affairs

Welfare clamp boosts health – The Rudd government has received new evidence that the quarantining of welfare payments in indigenous communities has significantly improved health, with children eating more and gaining weight as their parents' alcohol consumption fell – The Australian

Opinions

Pollies deserve pay rises too – Paul Williams makes the case in the Brisbane Courier Mail

Writing was on the wall for Nathan – Nathan Rees, it turns out, was a dead man walking, says Imre Salusinszky in The Australian. If Rees had survived until today, this Newspoll would have triggered a spill before Christmas.

PM and Abbott are in the same boat – Lenore Taylor in The Australian writes that Australia is not cooking the books in its accounting of greenhouse gas emissions -- certainly not in the way alleged in some reports.

When the moral argument went mainstream – Marian Wilkinson reports from Copenhagen for the Sydney Morning Herald

Long-term goals the big hurdle - Those in Copenhagen may not be in charge when the greatest cuts to carbon emissions are required writes Tim Colebatch in the Melbourne Age

A civil partnership law for gay couples should be a priority - Giving recognition to partnerships will bring gay marriage nearer writes Mark Peel in the Melbourne Age

Garnaut, the scalpel-sharp seer, still looks to China – Peter Hartcher in the Sydney Morning Herald explains why Ross Garnault in 2009, as in 1989, is a China optimist.

Debate the recall, but safeguard the system – George Williams in the Sydney Morning Herald says the idea of recall elections for NSW has immediate popular appeal. However, he is yet to be convinced it would be a sensible addition to the state constitution. An easy path to an early election could produce timid governments less likely to make hard decisions. It could also compromise some of the strengths of our current system.

Why we must ban export of live sheep – Clover Moore in the Sydney Morning Herald

In an age of celebrity, a role model to give church the boost it needs – Somewhere in Australia a devout Catholic grandmother is quietly celebrating her against-the-odds survival from terminal cancer, and waiting on Rome's recognition that her cure was no mere fluke – Linda Morris in the Sydney Morning Herald on how Mary MacKillop stands alone as a figure of popular adoration among ordinary Catholics and offers all Australians a role model for selfless service in an age when celebrity and sports stars dominate.

Teacher union still waging a war against transparency – Jennifer Buckingham explains in The Australian how the Australian Education Union is waging a war against the publication of school league tables.

Abbott needs business plan to challenge Rudd's dominance – Malcolm Colless in The Australian explains that the Liberal Party is facing a campaign funding crisis as it gears itself for next year's federal election. At the heart of this is a dramatic fall-off in financial support for the party from corporate Australia.

Carbon account trick a rip-off – Brendan Pearson in The Australian on how under UN rules there is a huge disadvantage for big agricultural and mining exporting nations such as Australia, and large manufacturing nations such as China. It exaggerates the contribution of exporting nations to global emissions and underestimates the contribution of wealthier, service-based countries that consume those exports.

Stimulating our way into trouble – Tony Makin in The Australian on why the Keynesian spend and borrow response to the economic downturn embraced by the federal and state governments has been seriously flawed in theory and practice.

BUSINESS

Westpac chief executive Gail Kelly to get bonus $6 million incentive package at annual meeting - Her salary package, which is the second highest in the local banking sector behind ANZ chief Mike Smith's $13 million, is set to rise if shareholders approve a fresh batch of  performance-based shares and options at tomorrow's annual meeting in Melbourne – Sydney Daily Telegraph

ENVIRONMENT

Copenhagen climate change summit tests Kevin Rudd's diplomacy – Kevin Rudd arrives in Copenhagen on Wednesday ahead of an intense stand-off between global leaders struggling to strike a deal on climate change – Brisbane Courier Mail

Rudd ducks questions of ETS cost – Kevin Rudd has refused to directly address Tony Abbott's claim that Labor's proposed carbon emissions trading system will cost average Australian families $1100 a year. Instead, the Prime Minister has forecast a Coalition government's response to climate change would wrap Australians in red tape by allowing Canberra bureaucrats to dictate individual behaviour – The Australian

Climate cuts not sufficient, says PM – Kevin Rudd has rejected as inadequate the offers by all major developed and developing nations to cut carbon emissions – Sydney Morning Herald

Developing nations stage climate summit walkout - Talks have resumed at the international climate change summit in Copenhagen after a walkout by developing countries. The protest was led by African nations, which accused rich countries of trying to wreck the existing UN Kyoto Protocol – ABC News

Poorer countries quit the summit – Developing countries last night threw the Copenhagen climate change conference into chaos, staging a walkout in protest at the refusal by rich nations to put tougher targets on emissions cuts on the table – The Australian

Koalas at risk of climate change extinction: study - Climate change threatens the survival of dozens of animal species from the emperor penguin to Australia's koalas, according to a report released at the UN climate summit – ABC News

LIFE

Gambling

New pokie limits put NRL in peril – Only five or six National Rugby League teams will survive if gambling regulations are overhauled, an inquiry heard yesterday – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Law and order

Speed police set to go sky-high with new plane surveillance system - The airborne speed trap is being brought out of mothballs this holidays, with a two-man aircraft using an aerial camera to patrol the state's roads – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Council dogged on cat curfew – Bayside cat owners face stiff fines and their pets could be sold under tough new laws set to start in the New Year.  Residents are divided at the new local law, which will see moggies banished indoors by 9pm or owners slapped with fines of up to $2000 – Melbourne Herald Sun

Security

Terror plotters 'a danger even after prison' - Federal prosecutors believe five men who conspired to plan a terrorist attack on Australian soil will still present a danger to the public even after they have served decades in prison – The Australian

Drugs

Stressed Australian soldiers turn to drugs – Diggers are turning to illicit drugs and alcohol as combat stress takes a rising toll on up to one-third of Australia's overseas troops. Defence has ordered a top priority study into combat stress as doctors and soldiers claim ecstasy use is rising among returning Diggers – Brisbane Courier Mail

Why we feel the need for speed – Amphetamine and alcohol abuse is forcing more South Australians to seek help than the national average, a national report reveals. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's report found alcohol was the main drug for more than half of those seeking help in 2007-08 – Adelaide Advertiser

The drink

Despair over alcohol abuse, yet bar asks to open longer – There would be no need for a police command in Manly if it were not for the abuse of alcohol and its associated anti-social behaviour and violence, its commander said yesterday. Superintendent Dave Darcy said alcohol-related problems tied up significant resources on weekends, then locked many officers into performing related paperwork during the week – Sydney Morning Herald

Education

New proposal for school performance ranking – The federal teachers' union is proposing external scrutiny of schools in a bid to steer reporting of school performance away from league tables – Adelaide Advertiser

Religion

Pope set to approve MacKillop as a saint – Mary MacKillop will become Australia's first saint on Saturday, according to a senior official of the Vatican Congregation for Saints – Melbourne Age

Rudd 'exploiting' MacKillop sainthood talk - Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says the Prime Minister is politicising religion amid speculation Mary MacKillop's sainthood is imminent – ABC News

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