Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Media wrap - Liberals improve in Newspoll

POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Polls

Tony Abbott keeps pulling back Labor's lead: Newspoll - Abbott's opposition to the Rudd government's emissions trading scheme appears to have lifted the Coalition to its best position since the 2007 election loss, and Kevin Rudd's personal support is at its lowest since he became Prime Minister – The Australian

Baillieu bounds into contention – Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu has surged into contention for November's state election, with a new poll showing the Coalition gaining dramatically on John Brumby's government – Melbourne Age

Elections

Banks boost election war chests – The four major banks showered money on the major political parties as they benefited from the Rudd government's retail and wholesale funding guarantees during the global financial crisis – The Australian

Labor gags internet debateSouth Australia has become one of the few states in the world to censor the internet. The new law, which came into force on January 6, requires internet bloggers, and anyone making a comment on next month's state election, to publish their real name and postcode when commenting on the poll – Adelaide Advertiser

$2.7m political donations 'secret' – The identities of people and organisations who donated millions of dollars to the major political parties are missing from disclosure statements released to the public. The South Australian Labor and Liberal machines each received about $2.2 million from big business, party fundraising arms and other donors last financial year – Adelaide Advertiser

Coalition strikes gold with mining magnate – The vociferously anti-socialist but pro-Chinese Queensland mining magnate Clive Palmer bankrolled the conservative side of politics handsomely after the demise of the Howard government crimped Liberal Party fund-raising efforts – Sydney Morning Herald

Labor could lose, warns Rudd - Kevin Rudd has warned Labor MPs the Government could "certainly" lose the election later this year despite its commanding lead in the polls and the Opposition having its fourth leader in two years – The West Australian

Economic matters

Reserve Bank of Australia likely to life rates again at Tuesday's board meeting – Families face yet another rates rise - and three of the big banks are keeping customers guessing over how much they will pass on – Melbourne Herald Sun

Tax breaks flagged for older workers – Australians would need to work longer and smarter and governments would no longer be able to spend big in boom times if budgetary pressures caused by an ageing population were to be met without big tax rises, the Treasurer said yesterday – Sydney Morning Herald

Aged to hit budget hard by 2050, report warns – Health spending will double as a share of GDP and the chunk of the budget set aside for health, pensions and aged care will hit 50 per cent by 2050, the federal government's Intergenerational Report has warned – Melbourne Age

Fourth interest rate rise lined upMelbourne Herald Sun

Wayne Swan down on growth for its own sake – Wayne Swan has attempted to counter public concern about population growth "for its own sake", promising to protect national living standards and environmental sustainability – The Australian

Foreign affairs

US President Barack Obama to visit Australia – Barack Obama will visit Australia in March. The White House announced early today that the US President would add Australia to his trip to Indonesia and the Pacific island of Guam. Melbourne Age

Arabs to block Canberra's UN push – Kevin Rudd's bid for a UN Security Council seat has been dealt a severe blow after a warning from the Arab League that it is less likely to succeed because of Australia's support for IsraelThe Australian

Arabs play hard to get on Australia's UN bid – Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's ambition to win a United Nations Security Council seat for Australia could turn on its attitude to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, an influential Arab diplomat has warned – Melbourne Age

Industrial relations

Union forces $50,000 pay hike – Shipping company Total Marine Services has caved in to union threats of further strike action and agreed to wage and allowance increases of up to $50,000 over three years for workers servicing the lucrative oil and gas industry – The Australian

Development

McGurk triggers war of words at hearing – It was the sensational tape recording all of Sydney was dying to hear that was supposed to bring down a government. But yesterday, rather than toppling the powers that be, a dispute over the tape made by the murdered standover man Michael McGurk brought the long-awaited corruption inquiry to an unanticipated halt before lunch time – Sydney Morning Herald

Inquiry finds no evidence of corruption – A five month investigation has found no evidence to support serious allegations of corruption against public officials, ministers, MPs, or council officials - many involving property developer Ron Medich – Sydney Morning Herald

Immigration

Illegal boat's shock arrival – Almost 200 asylum-seekers caught Department of Immigration and Citizenship officials by surprise yesterday when they motored into Christmas Island's Flying Fish Cove – The Australian

Opinions

Labor's election to lose - and they could do it – writes Paul Austin in the Melbourne Age.  The message from this poll is clear: after a decade of Labor dominance, this year's state election is shaping as a contest.

Virginity plea electorally painless for Tony Abbott – Tony Abbott's fatherly advice for teenage girls not to give their virginity away "lightly" has cost him some support among women voters after a week of concerted attacks from government ministers and feminists – Dennis Shanahan in The Australian

Abbott changes the political climate – Dennis Shanahan in The Australian believes Abbott has changed the atmosphere of the politics of climate change.

Time to throw away the calendar – says Tony Wright in the Melbourne Age. We've been hearing a lot about 2050 and we're going to hear a lot more about it. Much easier than spending time figuring out how to fix stuff now. And it sounds so grand. Wonderful, too, for scaring the pants off everyone without a calculator.

Future shock as the PM looks for fresh mantra – Peter Hartcher in the Sydney Morning Herald argues that PM Rudd Rudd needs a new future. He's found it in an unlikely place. A dense 164-page document from the Treasury, the intergenerational report, is Rudd's new licence for presenting himself as the leader for the future.

As rewards go, the gold pass puts politicians on cloud nine – It’s difficult to imagine anything quite like the gold pass writes Phillip Hudson in the Melbourne Herald Sun. In an era when nobody is guaranteed a job for life, it gives some ex-MPs free travel perks until they die. And even then, it can be transferred to a spouse.

Our lesson for teachers – Alan Howe in the Melbourne Herald Sun says teachers reckon publishing performance figures will stigmatise some of them and their schools. Well, we don't want dodgy teachers stigmatised, we want them sacked. This could end in tears: teachers' tears.

12 months later, did the stimulus cash splurge work? - One year ago this week, the Federal Treasurer staked $42 billion on a gamble that a flush of cash would save our economy. Russell Emmerson in the Adelaide Advertiser examines the stimulus package's impact.

Australia's 'racist' tag is myth heavily hyped – Gerard Henderson writers in the Sydney Morning Herald that there are two pragmatic tests to ascertain the real level of racism in a country. Namely, the level of ethnic-motivated crime and the amount of inter-marriage between ethnic groups. Australia has a low level of ethnic crime and a high level of inter-marriages between all races, including indigenous people.

Change will only come if leaders can agree - There has not been a referendum to change the constitution since 1999, making the early 2000s the first decade since 1901 without a poll. This lack of action has a high cost, especially when it comes to our broken federal system – George Williams in the Sydney Morning Herald

Report fails to make the grade - Treasury's 2010 Intergenerational Report released yesterday spells out the problems created by our success in the most important area of all: staying alive. Australians are living much longer than they used to. In future, they will live much longer still, thanks to skilled health care. By 2050, 90 will be the new 80. Many of us will live to be 100 – Tim Colebatch in the Melbourne Age

Populate and we will perish – Barry Cohen in The Australian welcomes the beginning of a debate about population policy in Australia.

Reshuffle the way to save face on Copenhagen - writes Malcolm Colless in The Australian. While he is not the sort of person to readily concede he has made an error of judgment, Rudd nevertheless must be coming to the realisation that he needs to take the heat out of this global warming issue before the Labor Party goes into election campaign mode.

BUSINESS

Qantas on cloud nine with Frequent Flyer – Qantas expects its Frequent Flyer unit to make a record profit this year and chief executive Alan Joyce is optimistic the airline will soon be able to raise fares on international routes – The Australian

ENVIRONMENT

Climate sceptic clouds the weather issue - Bold claims are stock-in-trade for Lord Monckton, a hereditary peer and one-time adviser to former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher who swung through Melbourne yesterday as part of a two-week national speaking tour – Melbourne Age

ETS the only option, says Treasury on climate change – The Intergenerational Report has panned Tony Abbott's proposed direct action approach to climate change, saying a market-based mechanism such as the federal government's emissions trading scheme is the only way to go – Sydney Morning Herald

Storm brewing over climate-change clash – Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott are set to lock horns on how Australia should tackle climate change - the issue that gave Mr Abbott the Opposition leadership - when they face off for the first time in Parliament today – Melbourne Age

LIFE

The drink

'It is no good waiting for someone to die before making decisions' – Pakistan’s Sports Minister Aijaz Hussain Jakhrani has urged Cricket Australia to set up barriers at grounds and ban alcohol following the tackle by a spectator on Khalid Latif in Perth on Sunday night – Sydney Morning Herald

I would have walked over tackle: Ponting – In the wake of the pitch invasion at the WACA Ground on Sunday night in which a spectator crash-tackled Khalid Latif, Australian captain Ricky Ponting said he would have led a walk-off if he had been in the shoes of Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi – Melbourne Age


Real estate

House prices surge ahead of rate rises – House prices finished the year with a bang, posting the strongest quarterly growth in more than half a decade, in spite of dwindling government grants – Sydney Morning Herald

Families face rate rise pain – More than 26,000 households could be placed under severe mortgage stress if the Reserve Bank, as expected, lifts official interest rates by another 0.25 per cent today – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Education

$350 million shake-up of Queensland high schools - A "green paper" on education reforms to be released this morning will ask parents, school communities and stakeholders to comment on the plan to move Year 7 into high school by 2014 – Brisbane Courier Mail

A bridge too far for Govt at croc-infested billabong – A promised bridge that would save kids from wading through croc-infested waters to get to school has not been started – Northern Territory News

Schools break rules – A number of Territory public schools are flouting government policy by implying parents have to pay school fees – Northern Territory News

Road safety

Mobile phone use fines triple – The number of Tasmanian drivers illegally using their mobile phones while driving has skyrocketed – Hobart Mercury
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