POLITICS AND ECONOMICS
Rate rises stall home lending – The number of people seeking new home mortgages is collapsing under the combined weight of three consecutive interest rate rises and the end of the government's stimulus program for first-home buyers – The Australian
Political lurks and perks
Local councils living it up at our expense – Councils have frittered away millions of ratepayer dollars on themselves - spending up on junkets, Blackberries and souvenirs. Council expenses are now so out of control they are, in some cases, nearly double councillors' pays – Sydney Daily Telegraph
Whale envoy 'an expensive failure' - Former bureaucrat Sandy Hollway stands to pocket up to $200,000 for about 100 days work and that a staggering $342,000 has already been splurged on international travel by Mr Hollway and his envoy team as they press the case for global action – Sydney Daily Telegraph
ASIO warning ignored for deal on Tamil refugees – The Rudd government approved the transfer to
Australia of four Tamil refugees deemed to be a security threat while they were in detention in Indonesia to honour Canberra's special resettlement deal with – The Australian Jakarta
Health and hospitals
Patients to foot extra Medicare fee hike – Thousands of patients will be slugged extra fees as negotiations between the state's largest private hospital and healthcare insurers broke down – Sydney Daily Telegraph
Abbott to reject means test, define agenda – The Coalition will reject for a second time the means test on private health insurance in the Senate early this year - despite signs of internal division over the issue – Melbourne Age
CityRail says capacity of CBD Metro not needed – Cityrail has undercut one of the main justifications for the Government's planned $5.3 billion CBD Metro by insisting there is spare capacity on its trains, including those to western Sydney – Sydney Morning Herald
Lynne Kosky slams myki company Kamco for series of bungles in Melbourne launch – Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky has slammed the company behind the troubled myki for the series of bungles that dogged its start in Melbourne – Melbourne Herald Sun
Train fix still to come: Kosky – Things will get better on
's trains, according to Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky - but commuters will have to keep waiting to see the improvement – Melbourne Age Melbourne
It's 15 below zero as weathermen go witch-hunting – Frank Furedi in The Australian notes that extreme weather is not so much a scientific as a cultural metaphor that expresses the anxieties of our time. The conceptual linkage of weather with extreme symbolises a growing tendency to endow natural phenomena with moral meaning.
From Rio to Copenhagen the model was wrong – says Geoff Carmody in The Australian
Wong struggles to shift focus – Christian Kerr in The Australian asks: Doesn’t the government have anything else to talk about other than climate change?
Federal intervention is needed to rescue the NSW economy – says Jessica Irvine in the Sydney Morning Herald. Attempts by the NSW Government to portray the state economy as ''leading the national recovery'' are laughable.
Failures put heat back on Brumby – Paul Austin in the Melbourne Age reckons John Brumby must be getting used to the summertime blues.
Private cures for public woes – Martin Laverty writes in The Australian that federal control of public hospitals seems a long way off. Yet there is a simple solution that doesn't require major reform. That is, to better use the available capacity of non-government private hospitals to treat public patients who have endured unreasonable waits for elective surgery.
Mike Rann's refusal to come to the party may be a $1m mistake – Christopher Menz's refusal to renew his contract as director of the Art Gallery of South Australia is a misfortune for the gallery and reflects poorly on the Rann government's commitment to funding the arts in a state that prides itself on culture says Christopher Allen in The Australian
Brisbane: concrete examples of aesthetic failures - One of the great frustrations of growing up and living in
is watching the city get uglier writes Robert MacDonald in the Brisbane Courier Mail Brisbane
ASIO's assessments can destroy lives - Pamela Curr, campaign co-ordinator at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, claims ASIO have been complicit in the Australian Government's asylum seeker deterrence policy in the past so why would they not continue this co-operation when the Sri Lankan embassy has been so shrill in its claims that all Tamils coming to Australia are either Tamil Tiger terrorists or potential terrorists. Where, if not from the Sri Lankan embassy, are ASIO getting their information?
Shanghai food giant Bright Food Group eyes CSR sugar –
China’s appetite for investing in has expanded to sugar, with a tentative $1.5 billion offer for parts of CSR lobbed yesterday – Brisbane Courier Mail Australia
New water source will cost $1b - WA will have to commit up to $1 billion to a major new water source within five years if
's consumption continues at current rates, the head of the Water Corporation warned yesterday – The West Australian Perth
Tony Abbott backs Cape York mining over rivers - Opposition leader Tony Abbott has backed mining in Cape York wilderness as he attempts to override
's Wild Rivers laws – Brisbane Courier Mail Queensland
NSW agrees 'in principle' to release floodwaters to Murray Mouth – Adelaide Advertiser
News change opens horizons – News Limited has opened the way for an ambitious expansion of The Australian by creating a separate corporate division for the national broadsheet – The Australian
Rebound tipped for stagnant rents – Rents across
stagnated and in some cases even fell in the December quarter, but are expected to rise later this year – The Australian Australia
Prices tipped to rise in Brisbane rental market – Investors will be smiling but renters could be feeling the pain if the prediction of rising rents from Australian Property Monitors eventuates – Brisbane Courier Mail
From Sunshine State to Sardine City – The building and property industries in
's fastest-growing region have rejected government guidelines mandating more high-rise development – The Australian Australia
Tenants warned of steep rent increases – Sydney Morning Herald
Rent tipped to hit $400 a week – The West Australian
Guarding a special book of Mary MacKillop's miracles – It is a book that the Sisters of St Joseph guard dearly - inside are some of the stories of hundreds of people who believe they have been healed by Mary MacKillop – Sydney Daily Telegraph
Exclusive Brethren enjoying $1m taxpayer windfall – The Exclusive Brethren is getting more than $1 million a year in "overpayments" for its NSW schools under the Rudd government's independent schools funding system – The Australian
Indian assault response decried -
Melbourne University professor Simon Marginson, delivering a keynote address to the World Universities Forum in Davos, said the Australian government was trying to spin itself out of crisis following this month's murder of Indian accountancy graduate Nitin Garg in a west park. "The Australian government is in denial," Professor Marginson told the high-powered meeting of academics – The Australian Melbourne
Change to child custody laws will make access harder for fathers - The Rudd government is preparing changes to the controversial shared parenting laws, to make it harder for separated fathers to argue for a 50-50 time split if their children are under the age of two – The Australian
No more star power: call to stop casino high-rollers smoking – Anti-smoking groups have called on the State Government to stand up to gambling lobbyists and ban smoking in
casino's seven high-roller rooms – Sydney Morning Herald Star City
Tripling in sexual infection prompts demand for national testing – Sexual health experts are demanding the Federal Government urgently fund a national screening program for chlamydia after figures showing infection rates have more than tripled in 10 years – Sydney Morning Herald