Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Media wrap - TV chiefs bribed says Abbott


POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Grubby politics

TV networks 'bribed', says Abbott – Tony Abbott has stirred emotions by describing a decision to cut licence fees for free-to-air television stations by $240 million as a bribe for favourable election-year coverage – Sydney Morning Herald

Six men who stopped Bligh being torn apart - Anthony Albanese, Mark Abib, Bill Shorten, Mark Butler, Mike Williamson and Bill Ludwig -  four federal MPs, party powerbroker and president form Labor's national executive committee which is trying to stop a Queensland union push for a special conference on asset sales.

Economic matters

The worst of the rate rises is behind us, says Reserve - Board members no longer ''regard the outlook as requiring an increase at every meeting'', the minutes say. They believe rate rises so far have given them ''a degree of flexibility'' for future decisions – Sydney Morning Herald

Polls

Coalition making inroads in all areas – The Coalition has recaptured popular leadership on the economy from the Rudd government, which seems to have lost political gains made on economic management during the global financial crisis as the fear of recession in Australia passes and unemployment peaks – The Australian

Elections

Rudd scraps early election option – Labor has all but ruled out an early election, with Kevin Rudd's political strategy aimed squarely at no poll for at least six months. And the Prime Minister has also given an explicit promise that structural reform of the health system, which he promised in the 2007 election campaign, will be in place before the election – The Australian

Net losses strip away PM's advantage – While the Labor Party continues to enjoy a comfortable election-winning lead over the Coalition, Kevin Rudd is no longer the electoral asset to the government that he once was. In fact, the trend lines suggest the net satisfaction rating for the Prime Minister and Tony Abbott may soon cross over, as dissatisfaction with Rudd has moved into the 40s – The Australian

Abbott leading race but Labor confident – Coalition strategists believe Tony Abbott has stolen one of Kevin Rudd's best 2007 political tactics by successfully painting him as a boring windbag. Senior Liberals yesterday likened the Opposition Leader's tactics to those of the Prime Minister when he was opposition leader in 2007 and tagged John Howard as an out-of-touch fuddy duddy – The Australian

New ferries by 2014 – A re-elected Labor government would replace the Spirit of Tasmania ferries by 2014.  The election announcement in Devonport yesterday was a rerun of TT-Line chairman Dennis Rogers' statements to a Government Business Enterprise hearing in December – Hobart Mercury

Libs look at Bruny ferry – The Liberals may look at a ferry service to run alongside the current service during peak times on Bruny Island.  Liberal leader Will Hodgman yesterday jumped on board a proposal to fix up access to Bruny Island, pledging $8 million to upgrade Ferry Rd at KetteringHobart Mercury

Forestry hub saved – The financially troubled Geeveston Forest and Heritage Centre appears to have been saved.  The Labor and Liberal parties have both made pledges to secure the future of the centre – Hobart Mercury

Bikies plan to ride on polling booths – Bikies will target polling booths at the state election with a Poker Run aimed at pressuring Premier Mike Rann and his Government. The "Run Rann Out" Gypsy Jokers event will leave the main street of Gawler at noon on March 20 and will stop at key polling booths – Adelaide Advertiser

Rann sweetens electorate with power, water handouts – The State Government is promising up to $98 a year extra to help elderly and low-income earners cope with rising utility bills - its $60 million first salvo in the election campaign – Adelaide Advertiser

Campbell Newman says no to entering state politics – Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman has publicly confirmed his decision to seek re-election to City Hall in 2012. Despite weekend polls suggesting Cr Newman would be a stellar state candidate for the Liberal National Party, he has again dismissed speculation of a move to George StreetBrisbane Courier Mail

Political life

Belinda Neal caught in hip surgery help row – Federal MP Belinda Neal was last night embroiled in a new political row as the bitter pre-selection for her marginal seat of Robertson erupted into a war of words over alleged favours for a senior branch member – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Racism

'Darwin is a s***hole'Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner says he will move to shut down any racist internet site if a complaint is made. A site called "Darwin is a s***hole" has a picture of an Aboriginal man lying face down on the ground and is captioned "old matey pataty had to(sic) much unleaded petrol by the looks of it" – Northern Territory News

Health and hospitals

Patients have no choice - a health number ID for us all – You are going to get a unique 16-digit health ID number on July 1 - whether you want one or not. This is a despite a Rudd Government promise the new "e-health" system would be on an opt-in basis – Sydney Daily Telegraph

You can opt not to have a tax file number but a spokeswoman for Health Minister Nicola Roxon yesterday confirmed you will not be able to opt out of the new health identity system.

Health war of words - Tasmanian Health Minister Lara Giddings has launched a ferocious attack on a Liberal plan to tackle elective surgery waiting lists.  The Liberals have promised to spend $10 million so operations can be performed in private hospitals – Hobart Mercury

Lobbying

ALP critic faces legal action over 'deception' – A dispute in Canberra over who really represents the retail industry – Sydney Morning Herald

Protester may face charges in Japan – Anti-whaling activist Pete Bethune may be headed for Japan as the first person to be tried there for an Antarctic protest. Japanese Fisheries Minister Hirotaka Akamatsu vowed yesterday to get tough with Mr Bethune, who boarded the whaling fleet security ship Shonan Maru No. 2 to claim redress for sinking his Sea Shepherd ship Ady Gil – Melbourne Age

Political life

British ultra-right party woos Hanson – The leader of the British National Party has offered Pauline Hanson a lifeline in Britain, saying she would not be regarded as an ''immigrant sponger'' - and if she wished to play a political role in her new home she would be ''very welcome'' – Melbourne Age

Bill of rights

Bill of rights looks dead in the water – A proposal for Australia to adopt a human rights act appears to have hit the fence after widespread opposition within the federal cabinet – Sydney Morning Herald

Industrial relations

Abbott pledges fair IR deal – The federal Coalition is expected to exempt small businesses with fewer than 20 employees from unfair dismissal laws and reduce penalty rates for some weekend workers, but has jettisoned the more hardline aspects of Work Choices to try to neutralise an aggressive campaign by the Rudd government and unions prior to the federal election – The Australian

Miners savage IR laws – Miners have savaged Kevin Rudd's new workplace relations laws, arguing that increased militancy from some unions seeking to expand their coverage and unrealistic pay claims by maritime unions are vindicating their concerns about right of entry and "good faith" bargaining provisions – The Australian

Teachers union bid to cut pay – The NSW Teachers' Federation tried to cut the $100,000 pay packets awarded to the state's highest performing teachers because their appointment set a "dangerous precedent". The federation, which opposed the landmark performance pay deal, applied to the Industrial Relations Commission to cut the "super teachers" pay – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Education

Legal threat over league tables for schools – A private company is compiling crude school league tables based on data from the My School website and selling them to parents online – Melbourne Age

Aboriginal affairs

Tribal beating 'abhorrent' - Child Protection Minister Robyn McSweeney said yesterday that plans by a Pilbara Aboriginal community to exact tribal punishment on four girls were as abhorrent to most Australians as female circumcision. She said she would do everything she could to ensure the girls did not receive bush beatings that family members say will cause injuries so serious they will need hospital treatment – The West Australian

Opinions

The city is choking thanks to our idea of transport nirvana – Ross Gittins in the Sydney Morning Herald says it's not just a dream incapable of being realised, it's one that's made our present transport problems worse rather than better and offers no answer to the looming worsening of those problems.

Rudd's apology risks leaving a sorry legacy – Kate Conroy revisits the Kevin Rudd Aboriginal apology – Melbourne Age

The streets of Conroy are paved with gold – Peter Costello in the Sydney Morning Herald takes aim at the way Stephen Conroy is setting up his national broadband scheme.

Gillard prepares to launch scare campaign – Julia Gillard accuses Tony Abbott of spin when the Opposition Leader declares that John Howard's Work Choices regime is dead. But it is Gillard who is manipulating the available facts as she prepares to unleash a rolled-gold scare campaign on industrial relations – Ewin Hannan in The Australian

Protest poll flags rush to Coalition - Rudd government just lost its comfort zone, its ability to argue that everything will be fine because of its success in avoiding recession and that its lower polling is just Tony Abbott's media honeymoon – Dennis Shanahan in The Australian

Kev the chameleon keeps on changing his colours – For Janet Albrechtsen in The Australian the more we see of the PM, the less we know and like him.

PM under pressure on the wrongs of human rights – Paul Kelly in The Australian believes the Prime Minister will likely fall into a trap if he tries to woo both sides on this issue

Activist Left's global agenda - Until classical liberals become familiar with their new battlegrounds, nanny-state paternalism will be directed by political UN bodies in Geneva and supported by libertarian paternalism foot soldiers in Australia alleges Tim Wilson, director of the IP (intellectual property) and Free Trade Unit at the Institute of Public Affairs, in The Australian

Tell us truth on violence – Andrew Bolt writes in the Melbourne Herald Sun that the violence in Victoria is one scandal. The other scandal is that the Brumby Government and its police minions refuse to let us know how bad it's got.

What kind of union wants a pay cut for its members? asks Bruce McDougall in the Sydney Daily Telegraph. The ink was barely dry on the announcement of $100,000 salaries before the NSW Teachers Federation stepped in to lodge a notice of dispute with the Industrial Relations Commission. Incredibly, the union wants to shave the best part of $10,000 off the pay the Commonwealth and NSW Governments have decided Highly Accomplished Teachers are worth.

BUSINESS

Westpac's profiteering on customers with mortgages enriched the bank's investors by $4.3 million – Customer pain equalled shareholder gain yesterday as Westpac's profiteering on home loans enriched the bank's investors by $4.3 billion – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Westpac on track for record half-year - A rapid decline in bad debts is set to propel the expanded Westpac group to a record half-year profit of about $2.7 billion, which will help close the earnings gap that had begun to open up with its main rival, the Commonwealth Bank – Sydney Morning Herald

Customers furious as Westpac hikes mortgage rates and reports record cash profits – Westpac may be on track to become Australia's most profitable bank, but its reputation has taken a beating from its customers. Research published on Tuesday reveals some customers described the bank as "pirates" in December for increasing rates by more than the Reserve Bank rise – Melbourne Herald Sun

Colonial winds up mortgage fund – One of the nation's biggest mortgage funds, the frozen $850 million Colonial First State Mortgage Income Fund, will be terminated because it is unable to make interest payments to thousands of investors – The Australian

MEDIA

British car show Top Gear makes its Channel 9 debut – When Channel 9 paid out a cool $19 million for a two-year deal for Top Gear, it was a no-brainer. On Tuesday night, it was time for Nine to start reaping the rewards, with the first episode of Top Gear's 14th season, as well as a Winter Olympics special – Melbourne Herald Sun

LIFE

Law and order

Perving policeman cops to bottom scrutiny – The police officer who used a CCTV camera to perve on a female has owned up. Police Commissioner John McRoberts yesterday said the officer had come forward and was helping police with their internal investigation – Northern Territory News

Continuous patrols urged to cut rural road toll – Police should continuously patrol high-risk roads to help cut the road toll, Family First MP Robert Brokenshire says. He is pushing for a year-long trial of 24/7 patrols in areas where road accidents frequently occur, after data released under Freedom of Information laws revealed speed cameras are not focused on roads where the most fatal accidents happen – Adelaide Advertiser

Eating out

'Scores on doors' system to name and shame dodgy eateries – Consumers will be able to see at a glance how safe their favourite restaurant is under a new "scores on doors" system that will rate all eateries. High-end restaurants through to bakeries and the local greasy spoon could be forced to display a food hygiene and safety rating under plans being developed by the state's councils – Brisbane Courier Mail
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