Friday, 19 February 2010

Media wrap - early election speculation revived

POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Elections

Labor digs in for early election – Climate change has slid down the order of election priorities with the government to dedicate next week in Parliament to gaining a double dissolution trigger on health. Parliament resumes next week and the government has made its top Senate priority debate on the bill to means test the 30 per cent private health insurance rebate – Sydney Morning Herald



Labor letters lather – A furore has erupted over letters mailed to every Tasmanian home this week by the Labor Party that at first glance appear to be sent by the independent Electoral Commission – Hobart Mercury

Sparks fly in debateTasmania’s three political leaders faced off in Hobart last night, each arguing that their own political party offered the most to small business – Hobart Mercury

Analysis: Water Minister's future is on a knife edge – Chaffey is one of 10 seats the Liberals need to win to get back into government and the party has been campaigning hard since 2006 to return it to the fold. On this poll, the March 20 election represents their best chance of winning back the drought-stricken seat where everything revolves around water – Adelaide Advertiser

Liberals pledge on unsafe stations – At least 100 new security cameras will be installed at bus, train and tram stations if the Liberals win government in next month's state election. Opposition transport spokesman David Ridgway yesterday announced a $2 million, four-year CCTV camera installation pledge for stations in the city and suburban areas, such as Glenelg – Adelaide Advertiser

Emissions trading

Emissions vote delayed - Rudd government will delay pushing ahead with its emissions trading scheme, prompting an accusation by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott that it is planning one of the ''all-time great political backflips'' – Melbourne Age

Health and hospitals



Health insurance premiums tipped to rise by an estimated 6-7 per cent this year – Health premiums are tipped to rise by an estimated 6-7 per cent this year, or up to $195 for a family. Health Minister Nicola Roxon said customers shouldn't expect good news when she reveals the 2010 private health insurance premium rises next week – Melbourne Herald Sun


Defence

Army tendering blunder comes under fire - A multi-million dollar tender for essential battleground equipment has been cancelled after allegations that the army's tender process was tainted by bias – Sydney Morning Herald

Lobbying

Abbott policy switch 'after Murdoch chat' – The government has accused Tony Abbott of changing the Coalition's stance on a contentious media issue after having a private tete-a-tete with News Limited chief Rupert Murdoch – Melbourne Age

Immigration

Asylum seekers 'knew of fire plan' – Many of the asylum seekers aboard a boat that exploded near Ashmore Reef, killing five people, were aware of a plan to set it alight, the Northern Territory Coroner said yesterday – Melbourne Age

Child care

Double drop-off falls by wayside – Kevin Rudd's 2007 election vow to parents to "end the double-drop-off" by building 260 childcare centres at schools is in tatters, with only three completed after two years in office. The government has conceded that no more than 38 centres will be completed by the end of this year and it cannot say yet when the remaining 222 will be ready – The Australian

Industrial relations

Bosses rapped for valid sacking – The nation's industrial umpire has ruled that a long-term employee who was legitimately sacked for repeated safety breaches must be reinstated and paid compensation because of his poor education and poor job prospects – The Australian

Abbott policy `exploits' youth – Prominent union leader Joe de Bruyn has declared Tony Abbott's plan to scrap minimum shift requirements for young workers as "worse than Work Choices", and urged the Fair Work Ombudsman to seek back pay for teenagers who lost their jobs at a Victorian hardware store over the issue of working hours – The Australian

Awards revamp good for jobs: Qantas boss – Qantas has rejected claims the Rudd government's overhaul of industrial awards will cause female flight attendants to give up their jobs, saying nothing has changed in its agreements and all staff are made aware of the conditions before they join – The Australian

Foreign aid

Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce queries whether aid money hits targets - Barnaby Joyce has seized on revelations that aid workers in the Pacific are being paid more than Kevin Rudd, asking whether aid money was "going to the people who really need it, or to the leeches who suck off it" – The Australian

Opinions

Walking on a wire stretched between stimulus and debt – Jessic Irvine in the Sydney Morning Herald notes that forecasting economists have not covered themselves in glory recently. Every major bank economist in Australia got it wrong when they tipped the Reserve Bank would raise interest rates again this month.

The quick once-over that is supposed to keep us free - Reports of the death of a proposed bill or charter of rights may, as Mark Twain said of his own demise, be ''an exaggeration'' – Richard Ackland in the Sydney Morning Herald

Premier must lift the curse of the cars – Gail Broadbent in the Sydney Morning Herald says that as a nation we urgently need to prioritise investment in the public transport, cycling and walking networks of our cities. We need governments to look ahead 10 and 20 years and help us make the transition away from oil dependency, with all its hidden costs, towards a sustainable transport future.

Can Abbott control IR monster? - Abbott is relying on reassuring people via a ''no disadvantage test'' that will be at the core of the policy. WorkChoices initially scrapped this; by the time Howard brought a version back a few months before the election, it was all too late. The fate of Abbott's policy will hang on how successful he is at reassurance – Michelle Grattan in the Melbourne Age

Indiana Swan and the Chamber of Doom – Dennis Shanahan in The Australian writes how the Treasurer faces the looming spectre of the Henry tax review

Free-to-airs play the same old song – The $250 million that the Rudd government is handing over to the free-to-air television networks has nothing to do with maintaining levels of locally made productions writes Malcolm Colless in The Australian

Minister shows her unhealthy obsession - says David Uren in The Australian. Nicola Roxon shouldn't loathe private-sector health providers.



Crisis not all about money – Cabinet minister Kon Vatskalis has admitted the Territory's child protection system is in crisis. You have to admit you have a problem before you can begin to solve it. But the truth is that the NT child protection services have probably always been in crisis – Northern Territory News editorial

Fuel burns will save us – Only now is this royal commission getting close to the true scandal behind the devastating Black Saturday fires. It's this: why did this Labor Government ignore so many warnings that it was burning too little of our forests? – Andrew Bolt in the Melbourne Herald Sun

The electoral cycle favours Rudd – argues Michael Sexton in The Australian

BUSINESS

Target, Kmart buoy resilient Wesfarmers – Wesfarmers has pulled off one of the big surprises of the earnings season to date, revealing that Target and Kmart had recorded double-digit earnings leaps in the first half to drive the conglomerate's profit well ahead of estimates – Sydney Morning Herald

Leaders in a `turf war' over oil and gas approvals in the west – A turf war has erupted over Australia's multi-billion-dollar oil and gas sector, with Western Australia using its constitutional powers to resist plans by the Rudd government to snatch control of the state's approval rights for lucrative new projects – The Australian

ENVIRONMENT

UN top climate change boss quits post – Yvo de Boer, the top UN climate change official, announced last night that he was resigning after a tumultuous four years in the job, marked by the failure to convince governments to agree on a post-Kyoto deal and revelations of a series of blunders in the UN's 2007 report on climate change – The Australian

Penny Wong signals doom for iconic beachesAustralia’s most iconic beaches, including Bondi, Bells and those on the Sunshine Coast, could erode away or recede by hundreds of metres over the coming century, according to Climate Change Minister Penny Wong. But locals aren't so sure – The Australian

Minister slams critics of UN climate panel – Federal Climate Change Minister Penny Wong has launched a strong defence of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, accusing its detractors of "peddling misinformation" despite the doubts cast on some of the panel's claims – The Australian

Solar panel fitters cite safety - Australian solar panel industry is highly regulated and unlike the insulation industry doesn't attract cowboy installers, says electrician Michael Brewitt – The Australian

MEDIA

New laws enforce rules on local TV content – The Rudd government's media policy-on-the-run continues as it flags moves to introduce new laws forcing TV networks to hand back their $250 million-plus tax windfall if they don't produce enough Australian TV shows – The Australian

LIFE

Violence

Local-born more at risk of assault – People born overseas are less likely to be assaulted than those born in Australia, according to new Australian Bureau of Statistics data – Melbourne Age

Bookmaking

Bookie cuts his losses ... and runs - Australia’s biggest bookmaker, Con Kafataris, is abandoning the Sydney betting ring with the on-course wagering market in free fall and the future of other bagmen in doubt – Sydney Morning Herald

Travel

Australians warned to avoid Bangkok amid coup nervousness – Australians have been urged to stay away from the Thai capital, Bangkok, as political tensions rise ahead of a court ruling that could see $2 billion in assets confiscated from former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra – The Australian
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