Friday, 22 January 2010

Media wrap - Cricket tragic Howard after new political post at ICC


POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Elections

Hello to a campaign of dirty tricks – Fake Facebook entries, websites featuring Adolf Hitler "RANNting" and a bingo game of Attorney-General Michael Atkinson are signs of what shapes as the most vicious election campaign in state history – Adelaide Advertiser

Labor's confidence slipping – The Tasmanian Labor Party has conceded it may not win majority government at the March 20 state election.  ALP state secretary John Dowling made the admission yesterday, less than two months before an election shaping up as one of the toughest battles for power in decades – Hobart Mercury

Anger about party sign-up – A Tasmanian political party has found itself embroiled in controversy less than a month after its inception.  Several people have contacted the Mercury saying they had unwittingly joined the Ethics and Sustainability Party late last year – Hobart Mercury

Rudd in campaign mode on WA trip - Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was in unofficial campaign mode yesterday after arriving in Perth for a series of appearances, including touring a primary school in the marginal Liberal seat of StirlingThe West Australian

Political life

Turnbull silent on NSW tilt at Debnam's seat – The former federal Opposition leader, Malcolm Turnbull, has refused to rule out transferring to state politics after being dumped recently as the Liberals' national leader, fuelling speculation he is angling to become NSW premier – Sydney Morning Herald

Greens threat to Lord's Prayer - The Greens want the Lord's Prayer scrapped in the State Upper House as part of one of the biggest shake-ups of rules and procedures for the Legislative Council – The West Australian

Immigration

Outrage over anti-immigration leaflet – Anti-immigration leaflets posted in letterboxes in the inner-west have outraged ethnic community leaders and a senior Federal Government official. The leaflets read: ''600,000 immigrants arrived in the last 4 years. That's more than Tasmania. More than Aborigines. More than Newcastle. More than we need.'' – Sydney Morning Herald

Economic matters

Henry counts on tax increase – The Secretary to the Treasury, Ken Henry, has dashed expectations his review of the tax system will pave the way for lower tax, declaring that over time Australians will have to pay more – Sydney Morning Herald and the Melbourne Age

Tax breaks for older workers – Australians face tax hikes as a result of the Henry tax review, but older workers could be offered lower marginal tax rates to stay in their jobs as the nation grapples with the demographic time bomb of an ageing population – The Australian

Nurses, charity staff set to lose tax perks – Some of Australia's lowest-paid workers could be stripped of salary perks worth up to $30,000 as part of a massive tax overhaul. In a big challenge to the charity sector, the Henry tax review will recommend the clawback of fringe benefits tax concessions used by 60,000 organisations – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Opposition divided on car and textile subsidies – Opposition industry spokeswoman Sophie Mirabella has rejected a suggestion by shadow treasurer Joe Hockey that cutbacks to subsidies for the car and textile industries should be seriously considered to find budget savings – Melbourne Age

Plastic off leash as confidence returns – Shoppers have let their credit and charge cards off the leash in a sign of confidence in the strength of the economy, putting $20 billion on plastic in November, the most in two years. Consumers spent $20.004bn on credit and charge cards in November, up from $19.189bn in October, Reserve Bank of Australia figures show – The Australian

End in sight for bank guarantees – The Queensland government has raised $4 billion from a bond issue without using the commonwealth government's guarantee, strengthening the case for the government to unwind its wholesale guarantees – The Australian

RBA's focus is on the battle with inflation – Inflation in Australia was likely to rise, driven by a resources boom that would increase skilled labour and housing shortages, Reserve Bank of Australia board member Graham Kraehe said yesterday. The remarks are a clear signal that policymakers remain worried about a bubble forming in the national housing and labour markets, and that three interest-rate rises at the end of last year have done little to allay those concerns – The Australian

Health and hospitals

PM to open cancer unit with no patients – Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will officially open the long-awaited oncology unit today. But it still won't start treating any patients until March. Mr Rudd landed in Darwin last night to conduct the next leg of his national health tour – Northern Territory News

Ombudsmen

Minister won't give up child protection report – The Territory Ombudsman has launched an inquiry into child protection amid claims she was stonewalled by the Minister. Carolyn Richards says her move has been sparked by Child Protection Minister Kon Vatskalis not handing over a vital report into Family and Children's Services (FACS) – Northern Territory News

Transport

Safety warnings on metro deleted – Some of the world's top engineers have warned RailCorp that the construction of the CBD Metro would cause a serious risk to CityRail operations in the centre of Sydney - but their warnings were dropped from RailCorp's official response to the controversial metro – Sydney Morning Herald

Minister in, W-class trams out – In his first act as Public Transport Minister, Martin Pakula has confirmed the Government will retire Melbourne's W-class tram fleet from commuter service – Melbourne Age

At 100, grand old station in line for arts refit - Victoria's new Public Transport Minister, Martin Pakula, said the Government was considering a proposal from the Centre for Adult Education ''for an arts and cultural hub with exhibition, classroom and studio space'' for the building – Melbourne Age

Lobbying

Party goodies land DSTO in hot water – An investigation is under way into how multinational weapons makers sponsored a children's Christmas Party hosted by one of Australia's most secretive military research bodies – Adelaide Advertiser

Opinions

Youth sold a message in a bottle - Geoff Munro, policy manager at the Australian Drug Foundation, writes in the Melbourne Age that if the Government is serious about respect, it should realise that alcohol sponsorship of the Big Day Out is not appropriate. Such advertising disrespects the law that prohibits people under 18 from buying alcohol; it abuses the alcohol industry code which states that young people are not the proper targets for alcohol promotions; and it promotes to the young the idea that drinking alcohol is essential to having a good time.

Look to history for lesson on legal fees – Richard Ackland notes in the Sydney Morning Herald that a group of big wigs from the lawyer trade unions has come out in opposition to a reform floated within the Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department that proposes lawyers face disciplinary action for overcharging.

Let's not be too precious about using our national symbols - Emblems can be a handy marketing prop, a means of identifying one's heritage - and a cause of impassioned debate, write Richard White and Melissa Harper in the Sydney Morning Herald

Rivers of gold are diverted into wrong hands - Ernest Hunter, a psychiatrist working in remote indigenous communities in Cape York, Queensland, gives his first-hand account of how much of aboriginal welfare payments is diverted from those who need it most – The Australian

By any measure, a fairer performance indicator - Geoff Masters, chief executive of the Australian Council for Educational Research, writes in The Australian argues that simple lists of student results by school are likely to be of much less interest when parents are able to access extensive information about individual schools and their resources and to make more sophisticated comparisons of schools in similar circumstances.

Interim carbon price preferable to time-wasting political stunt – Greens Senator Ctine Milne in The Australian looks to a suggestion made by Ross Garnaut a year ago to break the Senate deadlock over emissions trading proposals. She argues we should pass an interim measure that, for two years, would use the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme reporting architecture with a fixed $20 carbon price.

BUSINESS

Beijing tightens reins on growth surgeChina’s economic growth surged to 10.7 per cent in the last quarter of last year and 8.7 per cent for the year, justifying government efforts to rein in bank lending to prevent asset bubbles – The Australian

China's economy headed for bubble – Fears that China's booming economy will overheat continue to mount after the Asian powerhouse cast off the shackles of the global recession and returned to double-digit economic growth – Brisbane Courier Mail

ENVIRONMENT

Tony Abbott's water policy leaky, says Penny Wong – Water Minister Penny Wong has declared Tony Abbott's threat to hold a referendum for federal control of the Murray-Darling Basin to be hollow, as it would be defeated by the larger states – The Australian

MEDIA


ABC friends fear quality drop in 24-hour TV – The ABC has announced plans for a 24-hour digital news channel amid criticism from some competitors and supporters that funding for the new venture will come at the expense of existing services – The Australian

Channel 10 rings in changes for Sunday night shake-up – Channel 10 has fired the first salvo in the 2010 ratings war by unveiling a shock new Sunday night line-up – Melbourne Herald Sun

LIFE

Cricket

Pie-chucker Howard up for plum job – After describing himself for years as a ''cricket tragic'' - and exposing himself to be a tragic cricketer - John Howard is in the running for the post-prime ministerial job he probably always wanted: running international cricket – Melbourne Age

ICC arena no place for this inexpert right-arm slow – Peter Roebuck in the Sydney Morning Herald writes that ricket Australia's decision to nominate John Howard as its candidate for the top job at the International Cricket Council is as pitiful as it is disrespectful.

Law and order

Hi-tech speeding crackdown already lowering toll – New technology designed to catch speeding motorists has been credited for the encouraging start to this year's road toll in QueenslandBrisbane Courier Mail

It's a tax on stupidity and plenty are going to pay it – Rhys Haynes in the Sydney Daily Telegraph writes how watching vehicles triggering a red light and speed camera for four hours can teach you a lot about humanity. First and foremost, that Sydney drivers are all very quick to mouth off about the Government raising revenue from these cameras, but ultimately they only have themselves to blame.

Funny money leads investigators down the path of crime – The number of suspicious money transfers has almost doubled in the past four years – Sydney Morning Herald

Defence

Row over 'biblical' weapons in Afghanistan – Australian special forces soldiers are using gunsights with biblical references etched on to them as they fight the Taliban insurgency in AfghanistanThe Australian

Fighting season over but work goes on in Afghanistan – A report on Australian troops in Afghanistan in the Sydney Daily Telegraph

The drink

Addiction campaigners condemn Big Day Out alcohol sponsorship – Health experts have called for the Big Day Out music festival to drop its sponsorship deals with major alcohol companies or lift the admission age from 15 to 18 – Sydney Morning Herald

Rule change hope for Tote – The Tote Hotel in Collingwood will be saved if the Government changes legislation to link high-risk liquor licence fees with alcohol sales, says potential new proprietor Jon Perring – Melbourne Age

Night clubs

Brisbane to get nation's first video-game nightclub – Australia’s first video-game nightclub will open in Brisbane next month in a trend gaming experts say could go national – Brisbane Courier Mail

Privacy

Police commission criticised over leaks – A hearing by the Police Integrity Commission in which a police officer spoke of two colleagues as having ''an ego the size of Texas'' has been criticised for publishing details of people's private phone conversations – Sydney Morning Herald

Travel

Fare go: long-haul costs rise – Travellers flying home to Australia from Britain in economy class have to pay air passenger duty of £55 ($98), and it will rise to £85 from November. For those in premium economy, business or first class the duty will be doubled – Melbourne Age

Education

Queensland may join nation in early start to high school – Year 7 would be moved into high school for the first time in Queensland state schools under a radical proposal being considered by the State Government – Brisbane Courier Mail

Consumer affairs

Burger chain defies code – A major fast food chain has made a mockery of self-regulated advertising for the industry after it continued to advertise a kids meal with a toy despite a ruling by the Advertising Standards Board against doing so, health experts say – Melbourne Age

Royalty

William lauds 'spirit of Australia in its purest form' - In his Australia Day address, delivered to a packed audience in Government House's gold-leafed ballroom, Prince William spoke of his bushfire tour, saying he had witnessed the ''spirit of Australia in its purest form'' – Melbourne Age


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