Saturday, 2 January 2010

Media wrap - Making mothers feel like cattle



POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Health and hospitals

Mother care: it's like herding yards – Chronic shortages in Australia's maternity system have left mothers feeling like cattle being pushed through herding yards that put both their own and their babies' lives at risk. A survey of 2792 mothers by The Melbourne Age found that about half of those who had given birth in the past five years believed the maternity system was not coping well enough with soaring demand.

The homeless

Kevin Rudd losing the fight on homeless – The Rudd government has conceded the homeless crisis has worsened since the Prime Minister declared war on a problem he described as being a "national obscenity". While official figures are months away, key agencies, including the Salvation Army and Youth off the Streets, have told The Weekend Australian there has been an appreciable rise in homelessness in the past 12 to 18 months – The Australian

Polls

Labor on top as regional cities swing back – Kevin Rudd remains dominant and is on track to pick up Liberal-held seats in Victoria, South Australia and Queensland if he chooses to go to the polls early in a double-dissolution election. That is the finding of a Newspoll survey, published exclusively in The Weekend Australian today, which also reveals Labor has reversed its drop in support in regional cities, returning to 53 per cent on two-party-preferred terms.

Immigration

Fight for life as asylum push tops 2700 – An asylum-seeker believed to be suffering from life-threatening septicemia following an operation in Indonesia to remove a toe was one of the last of the more than 2700 refugees to arrive in Australia last year – The Australian

Blackmail

'Kevin, you're dreamin', says Peter Spencer - The farmer claims that since the Federal Government declared his property a carbon sink without compensation, he is unable to clear or redevelop the land, leaving him in a dire financial state. He is now in the 41st day of a hunger strike while sitting up a pole waiting for Kevin Rudd to come and meet him – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Superannuation

Defence super rip-off – The Rudd Government is forcing hundreds of long-serving military personnel to sacrifice up to $20,000 a year in superannuation benefits. The working lives of about 320 staff were extended by five years when the Government raised the military retirement age to 60. But their employer super contributions ceased because they had reached their so-called "maximum benefit limit" – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Economic matters

Figures reveal jobless hotspots in Brisbane fringe suburbsBrisbane fringe suburbs and the tourism city of Cairns are home to some of Australia's busiest unemployment offices. Labour Market and Related Payments statistics, released by the Federal Government late last year, reveal that by office and centre, Cairns had 4315 residents receiving Newstart and Youth Allowance - more than any other Queensland jurisdiction – Brisbane Courier Mail

Rains will flood economy with money – Rains that drenched inland NSW, flooding rivers and plains, could bring a boost worth billions of dollars to the rural economy, with farmers hopeful of two seasons of good crops and plentiful feed for livestock – The Australian

Elections

Election campaign funding hits hurdle – The NSW Electoral Commissioner has called for an overhaul of the state's electoral legislation, all but ruling out any prospect that next year's election campaign will be publicly funded. The call was made as the Federal Government came under pressure to back off proposed changes to federal election funding laws, amid unions' concerns that caps put on external political funding would undercut their influence over a Labor government – Sydney Morning Herald

Cash-strapped Liberal Party faces uphill electoral battle – The Liberal Party faces an uphill battle as it seeks to fight and win four elections in the next 12 months. South Australia and Tasmania go to the polls on March 20, a federal election is expected in August or September and Victorians vote on November 27. The Abbott ascension has energised the party base and got small donations rolling in, but with Malcolm Turnbull gone, so is a big source of funding – The Australian

Kevin Rudd's poll battle is littered with traps, economists say – Kevin Rudd has staked out his preferred turf for the election year, nominating economic management and his stimulus strategy as the battleground issues in his new year message, but economists warn they are littered with traps for the government – The Australian

Transport

Minister Lynne Kosky: my myki mess – Transport Minister Lynne Kosky secretly tested the myki ticket system before its launch - and it failed – Melbourne Herald Sun

So Ms Lynne Kosky, what's your next big move? – Taxpayers had to pour more money into myki because of a bungle over how many smartcard scanners would be needed for trams, Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky has revealed – Melbourne Herald Sun

Local government

The 2010 Lord Mayor's SprintAdelaide faces a "Melbourne Cup" field of lord mayoral candidates as six sitting councillors and former Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer canvas support before the November election. Former soft drink baron and circus ringmaster Michael Harbison must hand over the Lord Mayor's robes as his eight-year term closes. Jostling to replace him has begun – Adelaide Advertiser

History

Distressed Holt took 'pep pills', claims former GG – Prime Minister Harold Holt was distressed and may have been over-confident from ''pep pills'' before entering the sea and going to his death in December 1967, according to taped statements from former governor-general Sir Paul Hasluck – Melbourne Age

Opinion

Factionless PM a slave to popularity contest - Peter van Onselen in The Australian reckons that unlike previous Labor leaders Kevin Rudd isn't factional and didn't win the leadership with a team of supporters in tow. It forces him to chase popularity in the polls to ensure his dominant position inside the party is maintained. That means he won't take risks.

Rudd's mission is almost disarming – Paul Toohey writes in the Sydney Daily Telegraph that after being ignored in his attempt to set the world's climate change agenda in Copenhagen, Kevin Rudd has got another trick up his sleeve for next year, which might assist his dream to be a key international diplomat. He wants to lead the world on nuclear disarmament.

Hit by the leftie sledgehammer – Amanda Devine in the Sydney Morning Herald reckons Avatar is ruined by the director’s “sanctimonious hippie sensibility.”

LIFE

Law and order

Payback only way to stop tribal feud – An aboriginal leader from a small central Australian community where two men were killed just before Christmas says a long-running feud will only be settled if the accused killers are brought to the community to face tribal payback spearing – Northern Territory News

Plan for double demerit points rejected by Victorian Government – A plan to introduce holiday double demerit points was rejected by the State Government just weeks before Victoria's shocking Christmas road toll. But motorists may still be hit with the penalty this year – Melbourne Herald Sun

Police back call for mobile speed cameras – Pressure is mounting on the Keneally Government to curb the state's soaring road toll by re- introducing mobile speed cameras, after revelations senior NSW police support the move – Sydney Morning Herald

Real estate

Ghetto coming to a suburb near you – Suburbs across NSW are in danger of becoming "mini ghettos" as the State Government pushes on with an unpopular $2.9 billion plan to integrate public housing – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Brisbane's neighbouring western suburbs back in favour – One of the greater Brisbane region's cheapest suburbs has seen a big increase in deals as investors and home owners look for affordable housing. Leichhardt, near Ipswich, saw a 14.1 per cent increase in median prices in the six months to June this year, but still remained relatively affordable with a median of $245,000 – Brisbane Courier Mail

Education

Schools upset by performances site – Preparations for the new school year will be disrupted by the launch of a controversial new website allowing parents to compare performances of schools – Adelaide Advertiser

Bushfires

Power boss on defensive after Toodyay fires - Western Power boss Doug Aberle yesterday defended his utility's inspection regime for its ageing pole network and criticised the State's electricity safety watchdog for saying it was insufficient and in some cases meaningless – The West Australian

Bread

Fair crack of the biscuit, is this mini ciabatte a bread? – It is made from dough and it is definitely a bread, says the expert from Italy. The Australian Taxation Office, however, reckons it's a cracker, biscuit, wafer, crispbread or pretzel. The Tax Office has millions riding on its ruling that the Perfetto Mini Ciabatte, an oven-baked ''flat bread'' imported from Italy and sold in supermarkets around Australia, is not really a bread. Crackers, biscuits, wafers and pretzels are liable to the goods and services tax. So are crispbreads, the taxman argues. But bread is not – Sydney Morning Herald

Fish

Fresh and local? Why things can get fishy eating by the sea - At a time when consumers are increasingly drawn to the idea of regional cuisine and local fish that has not done thousands of food miles, the industry trends are in the opposite direction – Melbourne Age
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