Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Media wrap - No smokos for health workers


POLITICS AND ECONOMICS


Economic matters

Surplus hopes in doubt as costs leap – Kevin Rudd's plan to get the budget back into surplus is being undermined by blowouts in spending on health, welfare and interest payments, making the need for future budget cuts more likely – The Australian

Interest rate rise likely as jobs market grows – A robust  jobs market and a booming Chinese economy have raised the likelihood of a further interest rate rise in February – Melbourne Age

Job ads boom but it's not all good news – A day after NSW was labelled Australia's economic basket case, the state received some welcome news - its job advertisements were up by 56 per cent. But the good news led economists to predict another interest rate rise by the Reserve Bank next month – Sydney Morning Herald


Rise in job ads deceptive - While the spike in ads is welcome news, the boost is not as healthy as it seems. The level of advertising in the resource states of Queensland and Western Australia is still lower than for this time last year while all other states have increased – Brisbane Courier Mail

Fears of more capital gains complexity following review – Representatives of the investment industry have called on the Rudd government to preserve the capital gains tax system amid speculation the Henry tax review has proposed changes that could increase complexity – The Australian

Buswell warns of tough times - WA's economy may be the strongest in the nation, according to the Commonwealth Bank, but Treasurer Troy Buswell warned yesterday that the State still faced a struggle to balance the books and meet service demands because of the lag in revenues flowing into the State's coffers from any economic recovery – The West Australian

Elections

Libs plan to trap Brumby – Premier John Brumby faces pre-election embarrassment over taxpayer-funded Government advertising, with the Opposition set to use his own words against him when it introduces legislation designed to stop public money being used for political propaganda – Melbourne Age

Thanks a lot, but schools don't need two signs – Some Victorian schools are having to erect two signs to pay tribute to the funders of their building projects: one to laud the generosity of the State Government, and another to thank the Federal Government for its largesse – Melbourne Age

Reform bid wins backing – Political leaders have given in-principle support to a number of reforms to state and local government put forward by the state's peak business lobby – Adelaide Advertiser

Mansell: Premier a dictator - Aboriginal leader Michael Mansell yesterday accused Premier David Bartlett of acting like a dictator by delivering an ultimatum to his community to resolve objections over the road – Hobart Mercury

Aboriginal affairs

Tony Abbott vows to turn back Wild Rivers legislation – Tony Abbott is proposing a Franklin dam-style federal overthrow of state laws with a private member's bill to strike down the Queensland government's controversial Wild Rivers legislation. The Opposition Leader will today detail his proposal to use federal powers to support the revolt by indigenous communities on Cape York Peninsula against the state law – The Australian

Political life

Oh Kristina, what a place for a holiday – Kristina Keneally has picked the worst place for a Labor Premier to holiday in NSW. Ms Keneally is flying into a storm over a long list of broken 2007 election promises in the far northern border electorate of TweedSydney Daily Telegraph

Labor accused of drought stunts – Kristina Keneally’s Government has been accused of using the misery of drought stricken farmers for media stunts. Acting Opposition and National Party leader Andrew Stoner has slammed the Government’s use of the drought for publicity as a “sick joke.” -  Sydney Daily Telegraph

McEnroe clarifies remarks – Tennis legend John McEnroe says he was trying to call Premier Mike Rann ``Ranny'' at a press conference yesterday. The fiery star told a crowd at Town Hall last night he wanted to call the Premier ``Ranny'' because it was American cyclist Lance Armstrong's preferred nickname for the state leader. However, at an earlier press conference McEnroe appeared to say ``thank you Ranndy'' after the Premier introduced him – Adelaide Advertiser

Political lurks and perks

Howard left wine to rot, PM's cellar `boring as hell' – Kevin Rudd's wine cellar is as "boring as hell" and groaning with some sneaky Kiwi white wines and pinot grigio, a drop that like the Prime Minister is "bland, boring but inexplicably popular" – The Australian

Transport

Here we (don't) go again: trains wilt in the heat - A year after the last meltdown - and a year after Premier John Brumby promised the system would be fixed by this summer - it was deja vu for thousands of commuters yesterday. By 10pm, 140 services had been cancelled, many of them in the afternoon-evening peak period – Melbourne Age

Tram times no better despite new operator – Millions of dollars may have been spent by the State Government re-tendering Melbourne's tram system, but that does not mean it runs any better. The first results for Keolis, the French operator that took over running Yarra Trams in December, show virtually the same level of lateness as the old operator – Melbourne Age

NSW on track for another train disaster, new figures show - It's been revealed a staggering 688 red signals were "passed at danger" in the past 18 months, resulting in 10 derailments and two collisions. And Railcorp has been forced to admit the solution to avoiding a major tragedy won't be fully operational until 2020 - 17 years after the Waterfall disaster killed seven people – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Industrial relations

Get talking to end oil rig dispute, says Gillard – Julia Gillard has dismissed calls to intervene in industrial disputes at Western Australia's multibillion-dollar oil and gas rigs, which employer groups argue threaten to undermine the booming industry – Sydney Morning Herald

Immigration

Temporary skilled migration halved - Temporary skilled workers migrating to Australia have halved since this time a year ago, after more stringent workplace laws came into force. Immigration figures released yesterday show applications for category-457 visas plummeted 49 per cent in the five months to November, after the laws required employers to pay equal wages and lift conditions for foreign workers – Melbourne Age

ASIO rejects four Viking Tamils – Four of the Tamil asylum-seekers rescued by the Oceanic Viking and offered a special deal by the Rudd government will be refused visas after ASIO determined them a threat to national security – The Australian

Rush to add beds for asylum seekers - Immigration officials have scrambled to set up more detention accommodation on Christmas Island in a last-minute effort to avoid being over capacity – The West Australian

Political blackmail

Friends will act before hunger-strike farmer goes too far - Supporters of the NSW farmer Peter Spencer, who has been on a hunger strike for 50 days over land-clearing laws that he claims have made his property unsustainable, have indicated they will end his protest rather than see him take his own life – Sydney Morning Herald

Food is on hunger-strike farmer Peter Spencer's mind – Hunger striker Peter Spencer does not want to tell you how he feels - only what he wants to eat – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Foreign affairs

Canberra hosts Indian media to rebuild image – Canberra will host a fresh delegation of Indian media from today -- including a reporter from the Indian tabloid newspaper that ran a cartoon depicting a Victorian policeman as a Ku Klux Klan member -- as Australia battles mounting outrage in India over attacks on its citizens here – The Australian

Australia will 'tell all' in bid to help Rush: Crean – The Government would tell Indonesian authorities all the circumstances that led to the arrest of the youngest Bali nine drug mule, Scott Rush, who is facing execution, acting Foreign Minister Simon Crean indicated yesterday – Melbourne Age

Power struggle strands Jetstar execs – Jetstar’s stranded Australian executives are the victims of a power struggle between moderates and hardliners within the Vietnamese Government – Brisbane Courier Mail

Opinions

Commitments coming home to roost – David Uren in The Australian says the budget problem the government faces is unstoppable escalation of costs in so many areas of its spending. Health, defence and pension costs cannot easily be reined in.

Japan should apologise for the past to promote peace – Bob Wurth writes in the Sydney Morning Herald that Australia has deliberately chosen not to seek an apology from Japan for the sinking of the brightly lit and clearly marked hospital ship, in which 268 non-combatants died. That choice is doing Japan a disservice.

Abbott shows the way after a grubby deal – Tony Koch in The Australian explains how the Queensland government before last year's election entered into an agreement with the Wilderness Society that ensured Labor would secure Greens preferences. That agreement entailed the Bligh government continuing the duplicity of the Beattie government in declaring rivers in remote parts of the state as "wild rivers" needing "protection". Last year, it was the turn of Cape York. The shabby deal was struck and the legislation delivered. When challenged by Cape York traditional owners, the Bligh government trumpeted loudly that it had "consulted widely".

What right to develop their land? Opposition Senator George Brandis in The Australian on how a gazettal by the Queensland Government prohibit any meaningful economic development of some 19,000sq km of supposedly Aboriginal land.

Better late than never: watchdog gets its day in court - says John Durie in The Australian of the Opes Prime prosecutions.

Little room to change tack on matters of national security – Gerard Henderson writes in the Sydney Morning Herald that the move from conservative to social democratic government in the US and Australia has seen more continuity than differentiation in foreign policy and national security.

Councils’ behaviour is ripe for scrutiny – writes Piers Akerman in the Sydney Daily Telegraph

Sea Shepherd lacks moral high ground on the high seas – argues Paul Syvret in the Brisbane Courier Mail

BUSINESS

Watchdog ASIC unveils charges against Opes Prime executives – Corporate regulator ASIC yesterday unveiled criminal charges against the three senior executives of collapsed margin lender Opes Prime, almost two years after the broking house's demise – The Australian

Keeping tight focus on failure - The Opes Prime charges are at the criminal level, which if they are defended may come in front of a jury. The burden of proof that ASIC faces is "beyond reasonable doubt", rather than the less onerous "on the balance of probabilities" for civil actions. Note that ASIC is keeping the focus tight: on the paperwork for a loan the three men allegedly tried to get shortly before the company collapsed on March 27, 2008.

Plea for action on wine glut – Leading wine industry figure John Casella has thrown his weight behind calls for thousands of hectares of vineyards to be ripped out to resolve the crisis facing the sector – Melbourne Age

ENVIRONMENT

Abbott rejects whaling legal bid - Tony Abbott says a Coalition government would not take international legal action against Japanese whaling - despite environment spokesman Greg Hunt urging the Rudd Government to do so immediately – Melbourne Age

Tony Abbott won't go to war over whales - Tony Abbott has declared Australia's relationship with Japan is too important to risk over whaling. Mr Abbott yesterday said it was not Coalition policy to take Japan to the International Court to stop its annual whale hunt in the Southern Ocean – Brisbane Courier Mail

State, Canberra at odds on water priority – Victoria’s Goulburn and Murray districts have been identified as ''high priority'' regions for returning water to the environment, just weeks before the north-south pipeline takes water away from those areas to Melbourne – Melbourne Age

Whaling protest planned – Hundreds of anti-whaling protesters are expected to turn out for a rally in Hobart this Saturday – Hobart Mercury

LIFE

Motoring

End of the road nears for Falcon – The days of producing a home-grown Falcon for the Australian market are over, says Ford's world president and chief executive, Alan Mulally – Melbourne Age

The fags

No butts, smokos banned for health workers – A ban on federal Health Department employees taking ''smoko'' breaks has been criticised as a ''heavy-handed'' decree that could be difficult to enforce legally – Melbourne Age

Privacy

Vinnies 'misused' donor data – The  St Vincent de Paul Society has been accused of breaching public trust and aspects of the Privacy Act after entering into an agreement that allowed one of the world's largest data companies to gather information through a Christmas mail-out from the charity – Sydney Morning Herald

Education

Brethren schools get $70m in funding – The Rudd government is handing more than $70 million to schools run by the Exclusive Brethren, a religious sect Kevin Rudd described as an "extremist cult" that breaks up families – The Australian

Bushfires

Koperberg critical of fire warnings – The use of the catastrophic rating to describe bushfires has been criticised by a former fire chief, who says the warning could cause unnecessary panic. Former NSW fire commissioner Phil Koperberg, now a state MP, said the word catastrophic appeared to forecast a disastrous outcome rather than define a level of risk – The Australian


Back-up plan to beat glitches on CFA website – The CFA website has suffered more glitches as fire-danger ratings and temperatures soared to catastrophic levels – Melbourne Herald Sun

CFS left unprepared – Country Fire Service volunteers have revealed that most brigades are inadequately prepared to cover the growing number of emergencies they face – Adelaide Advertiser

The drink

Police ban 'quiet drink' on Australia Day - Families enjoying a "quiet drink" at beaches and parks across Perth on Australia Day will be targeted the same as drunken louts, according to WA Police – The West Australian

The drugs

Free drugs guide offer to children – Thousands of copies of a government brochure controversially suggesting drug users should find an illegal substance that "suits them" are freely available to children – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Female violence

Girl fight videos posted on internet amid violence surge – A massive spike in violent attacks by young Queensland girls has been blamed on internet "fight sites" where videos of the attacks are posted. Authorities say a 44 per cent jump in assaults is being driven by the growing popularity of "girl fight sites" – Sydney Daily Telegraph


Consumer affairs

Food safety fear is under wraps – Supermarkets, greengrocers and butchers have been accused of selling fresh meat and vegetables in potentially harmful wrapping. Consumer watchdog Choice says polyvinyl chloride (PVC) film, or cling wrap, commonly used to package fresh produce, should be avoided – Melbourne Herald Sun

The arts

Broadside as gallery chief quits – Art Gallery of SA director Christopher Menz has refused to renew his contract in protest at inadequate State Government funding. He says the institution's activities are being crippled – Adelaide Advertiser

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