Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Media wrap - Media buys Labor talk of hospital improvements


POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Economic matters

Interest rate rises in Labor hands – The head of the Reserve Bank has held out the prospect of continuing low interest rates, as long as Labor sticks to its pledge to restrain spending – Sydney Morning Herald

Super hopes turn sour for retiring boomers - Despite the sharemarket recovery last year, the average balanced super fund has returned only 5.51 per cent a year in the past decade, or about 2.2 per cent above inflation – Sydney Morning Herald

Rates to fight housing booms – Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens has flagged that the Reserve could raise interest rates in future to stop rising house prices developing into a boom and bust that would damage the economy – Melbourne Age

Fine balance between rates and spending: RBA – Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens says there is a trade-off between interest rates and budget spending, with a faster return to budget surplus allowing interest rates to be kept lower for longer – The Australian

Elections

Bartlett rules roost – Pressure from the Tasmanian Premier's department has resulted in Hawthorn withdrawing its support for a community event organised by a Liberal candidate – Hobart Mercury

Health and hospitals

Hospital bed situation critical across NSW - NSW hospitals would need thousands more beds if a bold national plan to slash waiting times in emergency departments is to succeed – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Sweeping health reforms would cut Victorian hospital emergency waiting times by half – Waiting times for patients at Victorian hospital emergency wards would be slashed by half to four hours as part of sweeping health reforms. Victoria is already testing a four-hour target for emergency departments in three Melbourne hospitals – Melbourne Herald Sun

SA leads new push to halve waiting times - Premier Mike Rann, who faces a tough election fight on March 20, is leading the push for a national four-hour target. Most state governments aim to have patients admitted to a bed within eight hours of being identified as needing one. SA Health, however, has set a target of four hours for 90 per cent of patients – Adelaide Advertiser

Spin

Coalition says RTA wasting money – The Roads and Traffic Authority spent $1.4 million last year on communications staff for its traffic management centre. In the same year the road toll rose by almost a quarter, from 374 to 461. The opposition has accused the government of ''fiddling while Rome burns'', with the acting opposition leader, Andrew Stoner, saying the government's Traffic Management Centre seemed more preoccupied with ''spin'' than managing the state's roads – Sydney Morning Herald

Defence

Digger uniforms made in China – Australian soldiers will be sent to war wearing uniforms with camouflage material made in China under a new round of Defence cost cutting – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Jobs for the boys

Kevin Rudd backs Mike Kaiser job – Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has defended the appointment of Labor identity Mike Kaiser to a $450,000 government job, saying his administration had hired several former Liberal MPs – Brisbane Courier Mail

You're hired: plum jobs with no hard questions – The former Labor MP Mike Kaiser was far from being the only senior staff member of the national broadband network hired without the position being advertised or a candidate shortlist compiled, it has emerged – Sydney Morning Herald


Political life

Political pressure has Gerry weeping – Independent  politician Gerry Wood has broken down in tears as the pressure of being the Territory parliament's balance of power started to take its toll. Mr Wood has given notice that he will never support a CLP piece of legislation – Northern Territory News

Call to sack Joyce over debt comments – The government has called for the dismissal of Barnaby Joyce from the opposition frontbench after the shadow finance minister cast doubt on whether Australia could repay its debt – Sydney Morning Herald

Hockey, ALP turn on Joyce over debt claim – Opposition finance spokesman Barnaby Joyce has been contradicted by shadow treasurer Joe Hockey and denounced by the government for claiming Australia is getting to a point where it can't repay its debt – Melbourne Age

Security

Federal government announces $200 million boost to aviation security – The Federal Government has announced it will spend $200 million over four years to boost security at Australian airports – Brisbane Courier Mail

Airport x-rays hide naked truth – The wait will be longer at airport queues next year after full-body scanners are installed at Melbourne and other major airports in a $200 million security upgrade.  But travellers may not have to worry about anyone seeing them naked, with federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese saying the Government was looking at using cutting-edge "stick figure" technology – Melbourne Herald Sun

Passengers threatened with delays, body scans – Airport delays and further impositions on privacy will result from a $200-million package of security measures brought about as a result of the attempt to blow up a plane above the United States on Christmas Day – Sydney Morning Herald

Racism

Baillieu faces onslaught for remarks on violence – Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu has branded Victorian ''mums and dads'' racist with his inflammatory comments calling assaults on Indian students a ''racial problem'', according to the state government. In a co-ordinated attack, government ministers accused Mr Baillieu of cynically manipulating race issues to make cheap political points – Melbourne Age

Aboriginal affairs

Police union 'racist' row grows - The furore over "racist" comments by the WA Police Union president has escalated, with the State Opposition calling on the Government to reject Russell Armstrong's claims that Aboriginal people were failing to tackle a culture of drunken violence – The West Australian

Local government

Council merger process watered down - Local Government Minister John Castrilli has significantly watered down a key aspect of the Government's local government merger plans, today announcing that councils will be free to pull out of the merger process at any stage – The West Australilan

Industrial relations

Premier takes hard line as TAFE teachers go on strike tomorrow – The Premier, Kristina Keneally, has told TAFE teachers not to strike tomorrow, saying they are acting illegally and she is not prepared to negotiate with them further – Sydney Morning Herald

Award changes could ground young mothers – Flight attendants fear being forced to leave the airline industry in droves because changes brought in under the Rudd government's award overhaul would make it "impossible' for female workers to reconcile their work and family commitments – The Australian

Opinions

Gagging cops threatens the safety of the community – Lisa Davies writes in the Sydney Daily Telegraph how police are too scared to talk to reporters and the general public is simply kept in the dark about crime.

Guv, give up activism - Governor David de Kretser must give up his political activism ... or resign says Andrew Biolt in the Melbourne Herald Sun

Mealy-mouthed pollies see voters as a bunch of suckers - Let me confess, writes Ross Gittins in the Sydney Morning Herald,  I have a low opinion of most voters. They're far too easily conned. And it's clear from their behaviour that, whatever they say, the pollies actually share that low opinion.

Question time, but PM's sense of gravity is stuck in top gear – David Marr in the Sydney Morning Herald finds there is an odd disjunct in Rudd between tone and subject. He is grave so often. The engine is running but there aren't many gears.

How teens took Rudd to the cleaners in question time – Erik Jensen in the Sydney Morning Herald reviews the Prime Ministerial performance on Q&A

Whichever way the wind blows, rear covered – Tony Wright in the Melbourne Age answers the question: Ever wonder why Kevin Rudd appointed Peter Costello to the Future Fund, Tim Fischer to the Vatican and Brendan Nelson to Brussels? It was, to use a Labor Party vulgarity, pre-emptive arse-covering for times like these.

Is an emissions trading scheme going the way of the republic? - An ETS is all about the future, very complex and hard to sell politically writes Shaun Carney in the Melbourne Age

Focus on the human factor - Parents and politicians want to know why young Indians in Melbourne are at risk writes Sujatha Singh, India's high commissioner to Australia, in the Melbourne Age

Labor at crossroads in test of Rudd's character – The transformation of climate change politics has left the Rudd government struggling: the domestic consensus is shattered, global co-operation is in retreat and Kevin Rudd faces a decisive test of his political courage – Paul Kelly in The Australian

Menace in mad march of the thought police - Basic liberties integral to Western liberal democracies are under threat. That is why you may not have heard about the trial of Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who is being prosecuted under hate laws in The Netherlands for his opinions about Islam. Agree or disagree with Wilders, this is the thundering march of the thought police. And don't for a moment imagine that Australia is immune from this menace to democracy – Janet Albrechtsen in The Australian

Aged-care help is close to home - Martin Laverty. the CEO of Catholic Health Australia, writes in The Australian hopes that the Prime Minister keeps his word and asks the Productivity Commission to provide an aged care plan for the next 20 years.

Tetchy PM fails to satisfy young audience – The performance of Kevin Rudd on Monday night's ABC TV program Q&A was nothing short of embarrassing. Listening to him spend 55 minutes struggling to answer questions from an audience aged between 16 and 25 must have left viewers with the distinct impression he is more than a little tetchy about his record of achievements (or lack thereof) – Peter van Onselen in The Australian

BUSINESS

Clive Palmer dismisses doubts over $60bn China coal deal - There was doubt cast over the deal, described at the weekend as a ''$US60 billion'' contract, after the supposed buyer of the coal told the Hong Kong Stock Exchange it had signed nothing. And Mr Palmer, who is trying to drum up support for a public listing in Hong Kong of his company Resourcehouse, was forced to admit that the $US60 billion ($A69 billion) figure was only an estimate – Brisbane Courier Mail

China denies Clive Palmer's coal deal – One of China's biggest government-owned companies yesterday repudiated mining billionaire Clive Palmer for overstating what he said was Australia's biggest export "contract" to supply coal to China from a new Queensland mine – The Australian

Pair in it together as winners or losers - When Palmer, the biggest donor to conservative politics in Australia, sat side by side with Anna Bligh on Saturday, it suited both the domestic political interests of the Queensland Labor Premier as well as the financial interests of Palmer to talk up the Chinese coal deal. But they made two mistakes that have the potential to upset the third party: their Chinese business partners. Business deals, especially with China, require certainty and commitment, not the sort of spin that is the trademark of Australian politics – The Australian

Not enough passengers, you don't fly, says airline - Jetstar has told its prospective passengers they can't rely on being able to fly on the date their flight is booked – Northern Territory News

ENVIRONMENT

Roof caves in on Garrett's green house plan – The government's Green Loans scheme will be subjected to an external audit after months of allegations of mismanagement and favourable treatment. And in a double blow for the Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, who ordered the audit, he has suspended rebates for foil batts under the government's $2.45 billion insulation program – Sydney Morning Herald

Report blasts Abbott climate plan – The Coalition's climate change policy would cost taxpayers more than twice as much as the government's emissions trading scheme, an analysis has found. A report by carbon market analysts at Bloomberg New Energy Finance said the government's scheme would cost the budget $1.5 billion over the first four years - less than the $3.4 billion of the emissions reduction fund proposed by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott – Melbourne Age

MEDIA

Kevin Rudd's $250m lifts TV profits – The $250 million handout from the Rudd government to Australia's television oligarchy will flow almost directly to the profits of the networks' owners because there are no conditions that it be used for local content – The Australian

Election year a prime time for TV - This week the free-to-air networks got their belated Christmas present: rebates worth more than $250 million over the next two years and the promise to review the licence scheme after that. "We were successful in getting what I think was a reasonable outcome," former Queensland Premier and TV industry lobbyist Wayne Goss told The Australian yesterday.

LIFE

Working women

Just stay in the kitchen, ladies - job aid for women was better in the fifties - A new study that examined barriers to women entering the work force found they had more help from the Federal Government's job-seeking services in the 1950s – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Fishing

Small fish across NSW not to scale – Tens of thousands of undersized fish may have been illegally kept by anglers because the measuring stickers provided by the State Government can be inaccurate – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Law and order

Former cop Adam Purcell facing jail for talking to media - The former detective superintendent pleaded guilty to "misconduct in public office" after he was caught on phone taps telling journalists and a state MP about a serial sex offender, then lying about it to his superior officers – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Sunshine Coast police in alleged drinks rorts – Police on the Sunshine Coast are consuming seized liquor, accepting free drinks and using their identification to avoid cover charges at nightclubs while off duty, the Crime and Misconduct Commission has been told – Brisbane Courier Mail

Former top cop Noel Ashby claims Office of Police Integrity tapped telephone, destroyed documents – Acquitted ormer top cop Noel Ashby claimed the police watchdog illegally tapped his telephone and destroyed potentially embarrassing documents. He accused the Office of Police Integrity of shredding a sensitive file for political reasons because it detailed his involvement with Labor MP Martin Foley, who was chief of staff to Police Minister Bob Cameron at the time – Melbourne Herald Sun

Failed perjury case 'shows need for an ICAC' – Pressure is mounting on the Brumby government to replace its powerful police watchdog with a broader anti-corruption authority after an embarrassing legal blunder resulted in the collapse of a perjury prosecution against former police assistant commissioner Noel Ashby – The Australian

One out of every three court appearances related to ignorant and reckless driving - Ignorant and reckless drivers are clogging the state's courts, with one in three people listed to appear in the Adelaide Magistrates Court yesterday charged with flouting the road rules – Adelaide Advertiser

Consumer affairs

Homeowners face $200 bill for insulation safety checks – Thousands of Queensland homeowners may have to fork out at least $200 to ensure their potentially "live" homes won't kill them after taking part in the Rudd Government's ceiling insulation scheme –Brisbane Courier Mail

Allergies

Scientists close in on easing peanut allergies – Allergic reactions to peanuts could one day be as mild as hayfever, say Deakin University researchers who have established that peanut proteins form ''super allergens'' – Melbourne Age
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