Friday, 12 February 2010

Media wrap - Garrett still in the gun and Barnaby attracts attention



POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Economic matters

Business losing faith in Rudd – Big business has openly criticised the Rudd government, questioning its approach to tax reform and infrastructure policy and urging a rethink of the controversial economic stimulus package – The Australian

More jobs available but fewer hours being worked – The jobless rate appears to be heading back below 5 per cent. However, Treasury believes the economy has spare capacity and does not expect the booming jobs market to lead to skills shortages or a wages breakout – The Australian

Barnaby Joyce maintains the rage on debt – Barnaby Joyce has pursued his case that the government's debt burden is unsustainable, during a showdown between the Coalition finance spokesman and Treasury secretary Ken Henry in the Senate economics committee – The Australian

Victoria leads new jobs boom – The federal government's stimulus spending has been credited with a surge in jobs that has pushed Australia's unemployment rate down to 5.3 per cent, as the head of the Treasury has declared the financial crisis ''behind us'' – Melbourne Age


Ministerial responsibility

Garrett admits to insulation warnings – Peter Garrett has admitted he was warned repeatedly by government and industry bodies that flaws in his roof insulation program risked causing fatalities as the opposition demanded Kevin Rudd sack him for "maladministration" that led to deaths – The Australian


Besieged Garrett deflects blame - Federal bureaucrats embarked on the $2.7 billion home insulation program believing up to 100,000 homes would suffer shoddy workmanship, Treasurer Troy Buswell said yesterday – The West Australian

Garrett left out to dry by ACTU – Peter Garrett is under attack from unions and the Opposition, forcing Kevin Rudd to defend his embattled Environment Minister's handling of an insulation roll-out linked to four deaths – Melbourne Age


Political life

ICAC questions staff member over claims MP rorted payroll – The NSW corruption watchdog has interviewed a former staff member over allegations that a Labor MP, Karyn Paluzzano, used public money to fund her re-election campaign – Sydney Morning Herald

After talking the talk, Turnbull walks the walk on ETS - Turnbull felt he had no choice but to vote with Labor in support of the emissions trading scheme that cost him his leadership of the Liberal Party – Melbourne Age

Stephen Conroy was scrutineer for Mike Kaiser – Broadband Minister Stephen Conroy's claims not to be a close friend of Mike Kaiser, the man he recommended for a plum $450,000 role, have taken a blow after revelations he flew to Queensland to scrutinise for the former MP when he was elected to the Queensland Parliament – Brisbane Courier Mail

Elections

Poll backlash fears spark Baillieu blitz – Labor has launched a late assault on Liberal leader Ted Baillieu as it braces for an anti-government swing in tomorrow's Altona byelection – Melbourne Age

Battle of fibros vs silvertails at the next election – The choice for Australia is now clear: it is Nambour High or Riverview College. Old boys from one of the two schools will be running the nation's economy after the next election because of an unprecedented education coincidence – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Political 'lies' muddy water rescue – Sorting the truth from political lies was the slippery proposition put to a packed auditorium at last night's Big Water Debate on the UniSA City West campus – Adelaide Advertiser

Political staffers face ban by wary councils – Councils are trying to divorce themselves from State Government policy agendas by banning certain public servants from being elected into local government. An LGA meeting in April will decide on the plan, which has been put in place in Victoria, to ban from election public servants working in ministerial offices, ministerial staff and electorate office staff – Adelaide Advertiser

Poll to be called today – Premier David Bartlett will fire the starting gun on the state election today, and start one of the most bitterly fought campaigns in Tasmanian history – Hobart Mercury

Bartlett doubts teacher strike – Premier David Bartlett has played down talk of a teachers' strike in the lead-up to the state election on March 20 – Hobart Mercury

Blast for 'dishonest' rivals – Tasmanian Greens leader Nick McKim launched into a pre-election political tirade yesterday. He accused Premier David Bartlett and Liberal leader Will Hodgman of being dishonest – Hobart Mercury

Defence

Navy sex claims inquiry `biased' - In a statement to Senate estimates yesterday, Defence Minister John Faulkner expressed disappointment that a fresh inquiry was required into allegations that a group of male sailors onboard HMAS Success ran a competition dubbed The Ledger in which bets were placed to have sex with female crew – The Australian

Veteran charges army over spin – A senior Australian army media adviser who served in Afghanistan and Iraq has revealed that a culture of excessive spin and unnecessary secrecy stopped important information reaching the public – Sydney Morning Herald

Head of state

Queen takes on Bryce in right royal title fight – Following  the triumphant tour of Australia by its potential future king, Prince William, the Queen has reasserted her claim on the title "head of state" of Australia by using it in the announcement of her address to the UN in July – The Australian

Transport

Public demands improved transport - One of the most extensive surveys of commuter needs finds the public is desperate for improved train, bus, light rail and ferry services - and even drivers, who rarely use mass transit, strongly favour better public transport – Sydney Morning Herald

MyZone train tickets 'need fixing' - Keneally Government's new MyZone ticketing system will need to be changed before its April launch because it remains in breach of the independent regulator's maximum prices - Sydney Daily Telegraph

Foreign affairs

Drop Anwar charges, Australian MPs tell Malaysia – More than 50 Australian members of parliament, including frontbenchers from both sides of politics, have signed a letter demanding that the Malaysian judiciary drop charges of sodomy against former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim – The Australian

Aboriginal affairs

Welfare measures set to hit one in 10 across NT – One in 10 Territorians will have their income quarantined within six months, the Prime Minister has revealed. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd yesterday gave his second report to parliament on closing the gap since the apology to the Stolen Generation – Northern Territory News

Opinions

Be like the Kiwis, says Abbott - but they can't fly – Peter Hartcher in the Sydney Morning Herald writes that Tony Abbott is trying to restrain Barnaby Joyce from blurting nonsense, but who will restrain Tony Abbott? The opposition leader has shown that he can't tell a kiwi from a kangaroo, a plus from a minus, wreckage from recovery.

The stimulus outlay must be reassessed – The big end of town backed the Rudd government over its handling of the global crisis. But the message from new Business Council of Australia president Graham Bradley is that the crisis is over and Labor’s policies for recovery are not up to scratch – Michael Stutchbury in The Australian

PM left alone and exposed as BCA backs away from ETS – Dennis Shanahan in The Australian says the Rudd government has lost the last fig leaf on an emissions trading scheme that starts ahead of the rest of the world: "business certainty".

We don't have to dance to Keynesian tune - Spending decisions made in the present are central to our future economic wellbeing writes Tony Makin, a  professor of economics at Griffith University, in The Australian

A walk across the divide, with no insulation – David Marr in the Sydney Morning Herald comments on Malcolm Turnbull crossing the floor. Don't believe for a moment the high-minded statements of the last couple of weeks about Coalition tolerance of individual conscience. This was a crime. It provoked neither cheers nor boos in the chamber because the drama, as they say on the money markets, was already factored in.

The law is as efficient as you'd imagine – Richard Ackland gives some terrifying examples of what the NSW Chief Jutice Jim Spigelman might call the ''efficient operation of our legal system''.

We need to use this crisis to do more for overseas students – Michael Spence writes in the Sydney Morning Herald that the recent alarming headlines again in India depicting Australia as a hotbed of racism and crime should be a wake-up call.

Unexpected greenie steers city's future - The mayor is using his political smarts as a unifying force writes Jason Dowling in the Melbourne Age

Rudd's carbon plan gives certainty to affected industries – Paul Howes in the Melbourne Age says the Opposition Leader's regulatory response leaves plenty of doubt.

Holes open in Labor's advantage - At a fundamental level, the government is strong, but a series of debacles has changed the dynamics – Michelle Grattan in the Melbourne Age

Commercial TV stations programmed to win – Work this out. this out. Here is the Rudd Government, which will run us into an estimated $153 billion of debt by 2013-14, and out of the blue this week announces that commercial television networks will have their TV licensing fees cut – Sydney Daily Telegraph

BUSINESS

Telstra profit on hold as people abandon landlines – The rot plaguing Telstra's fixed-line telephony business has spread to other parts of the empire, crunching first-half profits and forcing chief executive David Thodey to cut forecasts for the third time under his watch – The Australian

Sol Trujillo was worse than he looked - As Telstra runs increasingly hard to stand still in the shifting communications jungle, Michael Pascoe in the Sydney Morning Herald finds it's fun to reminisce about the good old days of wild optimism, massive executive pay packets and more bulldust than you'll find in the Roma saleyards.

Clubs hit jackpot with tax breaks on pokies income – Clubs are getting an unfair tax advantage on their pokies income, the Productivity Commission has concluded. In a report on the not-for-profit sector released yesterday, the commission criticised tax concessions on gaming income for clubs, saying they delivered a "considerable benefit" to clubs not available to hotels and other operators – Brisbane Courier Mail

Rio still marches to China beat – Mining giant Rio Tinto beat the China drum again with a bullish outlook for 2010 on the back of a full-year profit that exceeded expectations – Melbourne Herald Sun

ENVIRONMENT

Labor lines up illegal timber law – The federal government is considering making it a criminal offence to import timber that has been illegally harvested overseas – Melbourne Age

MEDIA

Flagship funds to float Aunty's 24-hour news - ABC managing director Mark Scott has conceded that resources for the public broadcaster's upcoming 24-hour news channel will come at the expense of more money for existing flagship programs such as Four Corners and The 7.30 Report – The Australian

Foxtel earnings and direct subscribers up despite slowdown – Foxtel  chief executive Kim Williams says the local pay-TV industry can still generate solid subscription growth, after posting interim results marked by improved earnings but slackening interest from new customers – The Australian
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