Friday, 29 January 2010

Media wrap - Schools dominate the news pages



POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Education

Focus falls on big-fee schools as parents get reality check – Some elite private schools charging tens of thousands of dollars a year in fees scored lower on the national literacy and numeracy tests than neighbouring public schools – The Australian

Keneally attacks 'crazy' gag on newspapers – In every  other state, newspapers can publish information about the relative performance of schools using data now freely available on the Federal Government's My School website. But in NSW, newspapers can be fined $55,000 for publishing these results thanks to a law that the Premier, Kristina Keneally, says is ''crazy'' and ''nonsensical'' – Sydney Morning Herald

Top schools lagging on reading, writing tests – Some of of Victoria's most prestigious schools are underperforming on national reading and writing tests when compared with similar schools, according to the Federal Government's controversial My School website – Melbourne Age

Millions clamour for My School reportsThe Illawarra Mercury today lists the Illawarra's 120 schools by social advantage - the key methodology used to compare like schools. About two-thirds of the Illawarra's schools are classified as being in the advantaged category. These include Austinmer and Mount Keira public schools, and Kiama and Bulli high schools. Bellambi Public School and Corrimal High School are in the one third of so-called disadvantaged schools.




Next step will reveal finances – The financial resources of every school in Australia will be on public display in the next version of Education Minister Julia Gillard's My School website, due later this year – Melbourne Age

Good or bad? Sceptical parents give website a B- - Parents were divided yesterday about the usefulness of the controversial My School website – Melbourne Age

How the pollies' old schools fare on My School website – Education Minister Julia Gillard's old school, Unley High School in Adelaide, is performing well, with Year 9 results in writing, spelling, grammar and numeracy above the national average. However, the public high school -- which Climate Change Minister Penny Wong also attended -- is lagging behind other "statistically similar" schools, including Geelong Grammar School's Corio campus in Victoria – The Australian


My School website comparisons don't add upDargo Primary School is less a school than an abandoned building. Last year it had one student. This year it has none. Yet according to My School, it is statistically similar to privately operated Camberwell Grammar, with 12,055 enrolments in Melbourne's inner east – Sydney Daily Telegraph


Exodus from public to private slows down – The movement of students from government schools to private ones appears to be slowing. While independent and Catholic schools continue to show steady growth, data released yesterday show their share of the rise in enrolments has dropped substantially on the previous year's figures – Sydney Morning Herald

Health and hospitals

A poor state of health: NSW hospitals the worst in the country – Public hospitals in NSW are the worst performing in the country when it comes to causing death and serious injuries to patients – Sydney Morning Herald

GP on attack over 'false security' of bowel tests – Australia’s  $103 million bowel cancer screening program has lulled people into a false sense of security about the disease and should be overhauled, the former president of the Australian Medical Association Kerryn Phelps says – Sydney Morning Herald

Second wave of swine flu feared – A second wave of swine flu may hit Australia as soon as next month, a top infectious diseases expert warns – Adelaide Advertiser

Tassie's shame of surgery wait – One in 10 Tasmanians on elective surgery lists waited more than a year for their operations. That is more than triple the national average delay – Hobart Mercury

Economic matters

RBA to go it alone in lifting interest rates – The Reserve Bank next week is likely to become one of the only major central banks to begin 2010 by raising interest rates, after decisions by the US and the New Zealand to keep key rates on hold while the global economic recovery remains fragile – The Australian

Elections

SA Treasurer Kevin Foley to announce land tax changes – Treasurer Kevin Foley has fired the first salvo in the state election campaign with more than $528 million in spending promises, including long-awaited land tax cuts – Adelaide Advertiser

Tony Abbott plotting ETS downfall – Smokers could be slugged with higher prices to help fund an alternative Coalition climate change policy and building owners could be given tax breaks to "go green" as part of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's greenhouse-busting plan – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Immigration

Rudd cools on a 'big Australia' – Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's enthusiasm for a ''big Australia'' of 35 million people appears to have cooled somewhat – Melbourne Age

Political life

Lawrence Springborg should go: rebel MP Aidan McLindon – Maverick Liberal National MP Aidan McLindon has called on Lawrence Springborg to reconsider his position in the leadership team of the party – Brisbane Courier Mail

Industrial relations

Unions probed over 'no ticket, no start' claims – Three of the nation's most militant unions are under investigation for alleged breaches of the federal workplace laws, including that they tried to impose a "no ticket, no start" rule on projects in Western Australia – The Australian

Unions won't pay strikers' fines - Woodside is suing the construction union for allegedly organising industrial action on the Pluto project, as the union revealed it will not pay fines for the striking workers – The West Australian

Censorship

Pre-teens target of raunchy website – A game in which pre-teen girls become raunchy virtual characters wearing lingerie, taking the Pill and buying Third World orphans has horrified children's groups – Adelaide Advertiser

Opinions

War post mortem checking for blood on the hands of lawyers – Richard Ackland in the Sydney Morning Herald writes how the Chilcot inquiry in London comes as a handy reminder, if we needed one, that beside all the nifty mission statements in which the law wraps itself, there's another overriding one: he who pays the piper plays the tune.

My School criticism fails test - The battle over the My School website launched yesterday is, among everything else, a struggle between the Government and what has been a core Labor constituency: teachers writes Michelle Grattan in the Melbourne Age

My School increases transparency and opens way for debate – Katharine Murphy writes in the Melbourne Age how it was a wobbly start but Julia Gillard has delivered for parents who want more information about their schools.

Gillard's education 'mouse that roared' – This was the day the education mouse roared, the day the great silent majority finally made themselves heard. While vested interest groups including teacher unions went on air and anywhere else they could find an audience yesterday to rant about the evils of "league tables", the opposite took place in the real world writes Bruce McDougall in the Sydney Daily Telegraph

Parents are hungry for information on schools – Ebru Yaman in The Australian says comparisons are odious, goes the saying; but when it comes to schools in Australia they are downright political and ugly.

Violence taints bravery in an explosive situation – It is often said military people are ordinary people doing extraordinary things. It is surely true. But sometimes they can look just plain ordinary writes Paul Toohey in the Sydney Daily Telegraph

The game has changed and so should the PM – writes Dennis Shanahan in The Australia. Kevin Rudd's emissions trading scheme is dead but he can't let it go. Politically he should shift ground to alternative action on climate change, blame Tony Abbott for the failure of a scheme previously favoured by Liberal leaders, and use the global failure to agree on a concerted plan as a reprieve before the election.

Hats off to market forces – We do need to lift our productivity levels, which are about 85 per cent of those in the US, some 5 to 10 percentage points short of where they could reasonably be, writes Henry Ergas in The Australian.  But if the government is serious about closing that gap, it should focus on allowing markets to work, not distort them at every turn.

Opposition leader Tony Abbott vilified for being a dad – writes Andrew Bolt in the Melbourne Herald Sun

BUSINESS

ASIC's arsenal gets a boost – The corporate watchdog will be handed greater powers to investigate claims of insider trading, including the ability to intercept telephone calls, in a bid to crack down on the difficult-to-prosecute crime – The Australian

BHP to spend $US1.93b on further Pilbara expansion - Mining giant BHP Billiton says it has approved a $US1.93 billion expansion of its Pilbara iron ore business, to lift production capacity to 240 million tonnes per annum in 2013 – The West Australian

ENVIRONMENT

The sassy aftertaste of the new Eau de Kurnell: chlorine – It was the $1.9 billion blind taste, with water straight out of the Kurnell desalination plant on trial, compared with tap water and bottled water bought at a sandwich shop just up the road. And no one was more surprised with the outcome than the wine consultant, wine taster and wine reviewer Peter Bourne, who did the blind tasting for the Sydney Morning Herald.

Environmental red tape saving dangerous trees – Environmental red tape is stopping dangerous roadside trees being removed for motorists' safety, the Local Government Association states – Adelaide Advertiser

MEDIA

New page in publishing turns on Apple's offering – The use of e-book readers is in its infancy in Australia but Apple's iPad will be the harbinger of a change in the way Australians read books, says the nation's largest independent publisher – The Australian

Give us a sporting chance – Sports fans are growing increasingly frustrated at the way 'live' sports are being delayed, cut or simply not shown at all – Adelaide Advertiser

LIFE

Child care

Day-care centres fail on hygiene and safety - in five family day-care centres nationally fail hygiene and safety quality standards, a report has found. Child-care fees in the cities have meanwhile continued to soar, hitting a median of $300 a week in NSW for long day-care centres, up $11, and $266 for family day-care, a rise of $12 from 2008 – Sydney Morning Herald

Children 'at risk' in shared parenting – The practice of splitting child custody equally between divorced parents is being questioned after a major study found one in five parents in the arrangement believed it was not working – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Call to end shared custody: Chisholm report – A report commissioned by the Rudd government recommends major changes to the controversial shared parenting law introduced by former prime minister John Howard, saying it has put women and children at risk – The Australian



Dads the winners under shared parenting: lawyers – A majority of family court lawyers believe shared parenting laws introduced by the Howard government in 2006 favour fathers over mothers and parents over children – The Australian

Law and order

Sea Shepherd crew call for attempted murder charges – The battle-weary crew of the Sea Shepherd vessel Steve Irwin docked in Fremantle Harbour yesterday declaring their intentions to push for attempted murder charges against the Japanese whalers who, they say, sliced their boat Ady Gil in two – Sydney Morning Herald

Fewer state police on beat – Victoria Police has a smaller proportion of officers on the beat of any state or territory, new data has revealed – Melbourne Age

Queensland police deliver more for lessQueensland spends less per person on its police service than anywhere else in Australia but still manages to have more operational officers on duty than the national average – Brisbane Courier Mail


Fellow Indians held over murder of Ranjodh Singh – An Indian man was still alive when his alleged assailants set his face and body alight and left him to die by the side of a road in the NSW town of Griffith, in a murder senior police have described as "horrific". The Australian

Victoria's top court slowest and most expensive in the countryVictoria has the slowest and most expensive justice system in the nation, with accused criminals in the state's highest court waiting longer than any other in the nation to have their cases finalised – The Australian

Art

Guidelines prompt artists to take cover – Some artists are feeling the pressure to avoid contentious subjects, writes Joyce Morgan in the Sydney Morning Herald

Consumer affairs

Supermarkets are slashing prices to win new business – Supermarkets are set to launch a price war in a boon for shoppers – Melbourne Herald Sun

Copyright

Artist puts stop to 'disrespectful' Google using flag – The Territory man who designed the Aboriginal flag says he stopped online behemoth Google from using it because they were "disrespectful" in the way they approached him – Northern Territory News

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