Saturday, 9 January 2010

Media wrap - An alcohol charged morning


POLITICS AND ECONOMICS


Immigration

Indonesia has patience for asylum seekers – Indonesia would continue to exercise an "abundance of patience" in trying to resolve the case of more than 240 Sri Lankan asylum seekers who have refused to leave a boat moored off West Java for more than three months Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said yesterday – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Sold into bondage in new slave trade - Australia worries about the depth of Indonesia's commitment in preventing asylum seekers moving down to Australia. Within Indonesia is growing concern that the Government is turning a blind eye as its own people are shipped, in huge numbers, into bondage – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Elections

Land tax row flares – The Tasmanian Government has been accused of deliberately making it difficult to access land tax refunds. Property developers and commercial property owners say they are having to supply excessive, intrusive and private financial details of their businesses to get their share of the $18 million tax rebates, when the same information has never before been required by government – Hobart Mercury

Public service

Senator urged to explain pay barb – The Productivity Commission has called on Opposition finance spokesman Barnaby Joyce to clarify remarks suggesting its executive pay report was influenced by the Government – Melbourne Age

The great toilet brush challenge – Documents seen under Freedom of Information reveal Queensland’s European Trade Commissioner budgeted to bill taxpayers that amount for each of two toilet brushes to keep his London lavatories looking good. But the Agent-General and his wife Susie settled for two brushes for their Pimlico penthouse that still cost $61 each with the exchange rate at the time – Brisbane Courier Mail

Security

Labor still weighing scanner useAustralia is yet to decide whether to boost airport security by using controversial whole-body imaging scanners, which the US Government is now urging other countries to adopt – Melbourne Age

Backlash to airport body scans – An association representing many of the international carriers servicing Australia has slammed moves to introduce full-body scanners at airports, arguing that treating each of the six million passengers who fly every day as potential terrorists and subjecting them to virtual strip searches is absurd – The Australian

Aboriginal affairs

Tourists still free to climb Uluru – Tourists will be able to climb the World Heritage-listed Uluru for several years to come, after Environment Minister Peter Garrett deferred a decision to ban people from climbing the rock – Melbourne Age

Development

Madden fast-tracks 38-level tower in Melbourne's east – The State Government's fast-tracking of a 38-level tower in central Box Hill, as it tries to squeeze more housing into established suburbs, risks turning Melbourne into a Sydney-style mess of high-rises, critics say – Melbourne Age

Transport

The myki mess, times 30,000 – More than 30,000 myki cards have been recalled in the latest blow to the embattled public transport smartcard. In another low, it was revealed myki cards were being sent to dead people – Melbourne Herald Sun

Industrial relations

Aged-care nurses facing pay cuts – Nursing homes in NSW and Queensland face an exodus of aged-care nurses after the industrial relations umpire refused an application to delay by two years a revamp of the nation's award system that will result in significant wage cuts – The Australian

Young workers made to suffer - The Young Workers' Legal Service, run by SA Unions, has recovered $680,128 in unpaid wages, entitlements and compensation for workplace breaches and unfair dismissals in its six-year history – Adelaide Advertiser

Health and hospitals

Never again in a public hospital – The Melbourne Age prints an edited selection of responses to its special report on maternity care.

Opinions

Rudd rides the digital age to dominance – George Megalogenis in The Australian looks at how politicians have used the media and gives this information about Twittering: As of late last month, Rudd had almost 830,000 followers on Twitter, while Abbott had fewer than 3000. Even if you lopped off a quarter of the Rudd total for overseas viewers or for locals too young to vote, that still leaves a discrepancy of 600,000-plus in the Prime Minister's favour. With just under 13 million voters, that's a captive audience of almost 5 per cent of the electorate.

Abbott's crusade to woo women voters – Peter van Onselen suspects the new Opposition Leader will have a tough time winning over some female voters who don't already support the Coalition, and I suspect that he knows this. But many such voters reside in inner-city seats that don't normally vote Liberal anyway. We could see a polarising of the electorate under Abbott's leadership of the opposition, and not just among women. The divide will be geographic – The Australian

Racism is at the heart of attacks on Indians – Sam Varghese in the Melbourne Age thinks the way in which Indian media have treated the murder of young Nitin Garg is no different from the way in which the Australian media reacted when Schapelle Corby was caught with drugs in Bali or when Annice Smoel was arrested for stealing a barmat in Thailand.

Smiling faces mask an unease about growing ethnic diversity – Adele Horin in the Sydney Morning Herald believes the best account of how we are tracking is a new report for the Scanlon Foundation called Mapping Social Cohesion, by Andrew Markus, of Monash University.

Risk a trip down Filthy Avenue – Miranda Devine in the Sydney Morning Herald takes a look at her city’s CBD

It's the talk of the Lodge – Ahead of the launch of Kevin Rudd's new children's book, the stars behind the story - golden retriever Abbey and Jasper, the cat - were overheard having this conversation in the grounds of the Lodge – Madonna King in the Brisbane Courier Mail

BUSINESS

Qantas bosses held in Vietnam - Two Australian Qantas executives have been held in Vietnam and the former boss of joint venture Jetstar Pacific arrested over losses at the budget carrier – The Australian

Jetstar execs held in Vietnam – Two senior Qantas employees have been prevented from leaving Vietnam for the past two weeks while authorities undertake a financial investigation. The Vietnamese government, which is a shareholder in the budget airline Jetstar Pacific, is investigating losses the company made on buying fuel futures – Brisbane Courier Mail

Gerry Harvey says economic boom on the wayAustralia’s economy is heading for its next big boom, according to Gerry Harvey, billionaire chairman of the nation's largest electronics seller, after a report showed retail sales surged by the most in eight months – Brisbane Courier Mail

Stowe down but not out - Ric Stowe is down but certainly not out, with company documents revealing that a total collapse of his coal, energy and property assets would see the reclusive millionaire in line with other creditors for any payout from the proceeds of a fire sale – The West Australian

Job hopes raised as $2bn mine gets the nod – The NSW government has approved the nation's biggest underground mine -- the $2 billion Cadia East gold development near Orange -- which is expected to deliver more than 2000 jobs and $1bn to the state's central west region – The Australian


Nailed to the wall - Developers hope housing shortages will help shrug off the woes of 2009 – Sydney Morning Herald

ENVIRONMENT

Ady Gil blame game – As the stricken anti-whaling vessel Ady Gil sank in the Southern Ocean yesterday, doubts began to surface over who was really to blame. An independent translation conducted for the Mercury yesterday of what was said on the Japanese vessel at the time of the collision is at odds with the version released by the Sea Shepherd organisation – Hobart Mercury

Ady oil slick war continues as star Isabel Lucas defends Sea Shepherd – The decision by anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd to abandon the stricken Ady Gil in the Southern Ocean has drawn fire with accusations of environmental vandalism – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Japanese set June deadline to call off whalingJapan has been warned it has until June to agree to abandon future whale hunts or Australia will take action in the international court – Brisbane Courier Mail

Sea Shepherd lodges piracy charge against Japanese ship – Environmental lobby group Sea Shepherd has lodged a piracy complaint in the Netherlands against the captain and crew of a Japanese ship that collided with one of its vessels – Brisbane Courier Mail

Whale protest flag to fly again – Sea Shepherd has vowed to build a new Ady Gil by December after the wrecked protest boat sank off AntarcticaMelbourne Herald Sun

Isabel Lucas acts to end whale slaughter – Australian actress Isabel Lucas has signed up with Sea Shepherd and last night appeared in a TV ad asking Australians to donate to the anti-whaling organisation – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Labor refuses to back whaling legal bid – The Rudd Government won't guarantee international legal action against Japanese whaling, despite toughening its anti-whaling rhetoric since Wednesday's collision in the Southern Ocean – Melbourne Age

Embassy talks but no boats on duty – The acting Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, said ''high-level representations'' were being made by the Australian embassy in Tokyo to express concerns at the demolition of the Sea Shephard boat Ady Gil by a Japanese whaling vessel – Sydney Morning Herald

Clock ticks on water – Political leaders have eight days to secure an emergency release of floodwater into the River Murray before the first flows surge into the Menindee LakesAdelaide Advertiser

Wong slaps down critics of $23bn Darling River water purchase - Water Minister Penny Wong has deflected opposition criticism of the government's $23 billion purchase of Toorale Station in NSW, revealing the move has returned 11 gigalitres of water to the Darling River.

Department admits blame in oil spill - In the aftermath of one of the nation's worst environmental disasters, a Federal Government department has admitted for the first time that it failed multiple times in its management of the Montara oil well – The West Australian

Credit crisis strikes green bank – The state's vaunted BioBanking Scheme is yet to generate a single ''biodiversity credit'', more than three years after it began. The scheme - designed to allow developers to build in environmentally sensitive areas in exchange for preserving similar areas elsewhere - has cost $3.6 million and employs the equivalent of five full-time staff and 34 trained biobank assessors – Sydney Morning Herald

But so far no landholder interested in the scheme has generated a credit, according to data obtained by the NSW Opposition

MEDIA

Australian Idol rested in 2010 after embarrassing ratings – Australian Idol will be the first TV casualty of the year, with the former ratings juggernaut to be "rested" for 2010 – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Papers enter electronic age – Newspapers that are printed on electronic "paper" and distributed wirelessly to subscribers are a step closer following the announcement yesterday that Plastic Logic will launch a lightweight, largely plastic electronic reader in the US in April – The Australian

LIFE

Consumer affairs

Are you on the desalination hit list? – The Sydney Daily Telegraph says up to 1.5 million Sydneysiders, predominantly in eastern, southern and inner-western suburbs will soon be drinking desalinated water as bottled water sellers begin hoping for bigger sales.

Retailers claim schools force up cost of uniforms – Retailers have slammed the rise of the school-based uniform shop as a monopoly that drives up the costs of sending children to school – Brisbane Courier Mail

Law and order

Indians walking streets of fear – Indian students have said they are too afraid to walk the streets at night as foreign media reports create fear, accusing Australians of hate crimes against Indian nationals – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Indian summer flares up - In the 12 months to June 2006, 1082 attacks on Indians in Victoria were reported to police - an assault rate of 1700 in every 100,000. In other words, Indians living in Victoria are 2½ times more likely than non-Indians to be beaten up or knifed. Why? – Melbourne Age

Education

Crackdown forces exodus to publicAustralia’s private vocational college sector faces a fresh spate of closures as Indian demand dries up, hit by a visa crackdown, fallout from assaults and the exposure of dodgy colleges – The Australian

Teeth

Epidemic of child tooth decay in NSWSydney Daily Telegraph

Burial

Treading the delicate path of religious ritual - Space is running out. The Government says the state's cemeteries will be full by mid-century, but there is no consensus on what to do about it – Sydney Morning Herald

The drink

Queensland's $2.35 billion a year booze bill – Queenslanders now spend more on booze than ever _ more than $2 billion yearly _ despite rising living costs and the nation's worst unemployment rate – Brisbane Courier Mail

A nation of binge drinkers – Alcohol sales would plummet by more than half if people drank according to safe guidelines, industry research indicates. Figures from industry research group Roy Morgan, show the 17 per cent of drinkers who consume more than 22 drinks a week account for 53 per cent of all alcohol sales by volume – Adelaide Advertiser

Ban bid on alcohol ads – A total ban on alcohol advertising would help combat Tasmania's culture of excessive drinking, experts say. Adrian Reynolds, the state's head of Alcohol and Drug Services and the man who treats those with alcohol-related disease and injury, has called for a ban on all forms of alcohol promotion – Hobart Mercury

Racism

Julia Gillard slams Ku Klux Klan cartoon – The editor of New Delhi's Mail Today has defended a cartoon likening Australian police to members of the Ku Klux Klan, saying there is a widespread perception in India that Victoria Police is a "racist organisation". The response, from Bharat Bhushan, the editor of the New Delhi-based tabloid Mail Today came as Acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard joined the state's Police Minister Bob Cameron and the police union boss to condemn the cartoon – The Australian

Real estate

Property market's newest winners – The inner west and upper north shore are Sydney's best-performing residential property markets with surging land values outpacing the traditionally top-ranking eastern and lower northern suburbs last year. But land values in the central business district fell at the sharpest rate since the slump of the early 1990s, with little expectation of a quick rebound – Sydney Morning Herald

Don't spoil kids with home help: planners – Financial planners are warning parents not to help adult children buy houses with large mortgages that could ultimately become unaffordable – Melbourne Age

$100 a week rent for $1bn reef paradise on Great Keppel Island - The Queensland government has renewed the controversial contract with Terry Agnew's Tower Holdings, even though its own environment department wanted the allotment on Great Keppel Island set aside as a conservation area. The Sydney-based developer pays annual rent of $5200 for the lease on what is known as Lot 21, covering 70 per cent of the island, one of the few with the reef on its doorstep. That's $6.29/ha a year, or less than 2c a day – The Australian

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