Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Media wrap - Signs of a Liberal concession on hospitals

POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Public service

No, minister: what the mandarins really think - The government's most senior bureaucrats have complained they often have to ''manage'' illegal and inappropriate directions from their ministers. The top public servants told the Remuneration Tribunal they had to deliver government initiatives which had more to do with politics than the national interest and that they were invariably made scapegoats when their ministers made mistakes - Sydney Morning Herald

Immigration

Strong lure of a soft landing in Australia for asylum seekers - Global refugee groups have warned that the tide of asylum seekers is showing no signs of slowing, placing further pressure on Australia to receive boat people - Sydney Daily Telegraph 

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to do 'whatever it takes' to stop boat people - Another 70 boats carrying asylum-seekers are tipped to arrive before the federal election, expected later this year - Melbourne Herald Sun

Compassionate system a failure, says Coalition - The transfer of asylum seekers to the mainland is not driven by overflowing detention facilities on Christmas Island, the government has said. But the Opposition labelled the situation a revolving door, with people moved off the island in time for the next boat to arrive - Sydney Morning Herald

Health and hospitals

It boils down to money - Money will top the agenda at the second round of talks between Kevin Rudd and John Brumby on reforming the nation's health system - Melbourne Herald Sun

Abbott bends on health - Tony Abbott has made a surprise announcement that he may not oppose the Federal Government's controversial hospital funding plan - Melbourne Herald Sun

Abbott backs off for good of his health - Tony Abbott has moved to defuse health as an election issue by suggesting the Coalition will now support Kevin Rudd's healthcare reform plan - Sydney Morning Herald

Economic matters

Tony Abbott flays Kevin Rudd over lust for spending - Tony Abbott has accused Kevin Rudd of overstating the risk to Australia from last year's global financial crisis to conceal his instinctive lust for reckless spending - The Australian

Gillard advises jobless to look to the west - Go west, advised Julia Gillard, in a safety vest and steel-capped boots, at the construction site of Australia's largest resources project, about 20 minutes flying-time off the coast of the Pilbara - Sydney Morning Herald

Development

15-minute neighbourhood hubs may solve Queensland's growth problems - Premier Anna Bligh floated the idea of 15-minute suburbs, using New York City as an example where people embrace high-density living and sustainability by giving up their cars in exchange for public transport - Brisbane Courier Mail

Vice-capital Townsville: Radical plan to shift population growth from Queensland's south to north - Premier Anna Bligh has floated the idea at the growth management summit being held in Brisbane today and tomorrow at the State Library in Brisbane - Brisbane Courier Mail

Foreign affairs

Tension rise between Australia and China over Hu jailing - Brisbane Courier Mail

Leadership

SA Liberals elect Martin Hamilton-Smith as deputy leader - Just over a week after the Liberals almost snatched victory in the state election, a shock result in the party's deputy leadership ballot has set it up for four years of factional warfare - Adelaide Advertiser

Elections

Libs set to form government - Tasmania is set to get a Liberal minority government after the Hobart seat of Denison was won by about 300 votes - Hobart Mercury

All eyes on the last undecided seat as Tasmanian Liberals draw level with Labor - Labor Premier David Bartlett has promised to advise the Governor to ask Mr Hodgman to form a government if the two major parties are tied on 10 seats each.This is on the basis of the Liberals receiving more of the statewide vote than Labor.However, it is understood Mr Bartlett and state Labor are under pressure to rethink this stance - not only from some in the Tasmanian branch of the party but also from the Rudd government - The Australian

History wars return as election battleground - Call it the Recent Economic History Wars. In duelling speeches over the past two days Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott have tried to define the 2008-09 global economic crisis to suit their election campaigns - Sydney Morning Herald

Polls

Leader unbowed by slide in popularity with voters - Two polls in two days have shown Tony Abbott's approval rating starting to fall. The Essential poll, published on Monday, found the Opposition Leader's rating fell from 45 per cent to 33 per cent in a month. Newspoll, published in yesterday's The Australian showed a fall of three percentage points over a fortnight while his disapproval rose by 5 points - Sydney Morning Herald

Law and order

Tough bail laws to stay despite jail population - NSW Attorney-General, John Hatzistergos, has admitted that the state needs to act to reduce its soaring jail population, which topped 10,000 last year and continues to rise - Sydney Morning Herald

Political life

Butler gets drive back - Ross Butler described getting back behind the wheel of a taxi yesterday as like re-entering the "real world".  But the former MP dismisses the charge that in just a week, in common political parlance, he has gone from being a "rooster" to a "feather duster". - Hobart Mercury

Aboriginal affairs

Greenies 'damaging' Aborigines over Kimberley development - The Kimberley's peak indigenous body has attacked the "disgusting" tactics of green groups and out-of-town celebrities opposed to industrial development near Broome, accusing them of fundamental dishonesty and abusive, dirty politics - The Australian

Stimulus projects

Builders' fees identical in BER projects - The pricing structure of the federal government's education stimulus package allows NSW builders and project managers to charge identical fees and allowances, regardless of whether they are constructing a classroom, a library or a school hall - The Australian

The drink

Kristina Keneally won't back the emergency service 'wowsers'- Police officers said the State Government will have blood on its hands for alcohol-fuelled late-night attacks on emergency services workers after Premier Kristina Keneally described them as "wowsers" - Sydney Daily Telegraph

Opinions

Election's economic narrative reveals real Rudd - Kevin Rudd has unveiled an election-year story on the economy that casts him both as a true conservative pursuing economic stability and a reformer chasing a productivity revival. It will make Tony Abbott choke - Paul Kelly in The Australian

Hey tabloid voyeurs! You are a threat to justice - The media frenzy sparked by the allegations made by Sarah Monahan, the former Hey Dad! child actress, against her screen father Hughes a few weeks ago is the worst kind of Australian journalism. This is a textbook case of irresponsible media conduct that diminishes, rather than enhances, our democratic institutions - Janet Albrechtsen in The Australian 

Amateur hour in non-Labor parties - Scott Prasser writes in The Australian that the non-Labor parties are facing a crisis of talent, of attracting, keeping and training it both to fight Labor more effectively and to show the electorate they have the capacity to lead the very governments they covet. At present, they are not in the game.

None so blind as bloggers - Dennis Shanahan has a shot in The Australian at the way pro-Labor bloggers treat opinion poll results.

The greatest moral conundrum of our time … until the next one - Peter Costello in the Sydney Morning Herald on how emissions trading legislation has become less important than getting 30 per cent of the GST from the states so the government can rearrange financing in the hospital system. Can a momentous moral challenge fizzle out like this? Or are you beginning to suspect all the crisis was politically driven?

Rudd's new challenge: fix schools - says Ross Gittins in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Hard yakka on China - Katharine Murphy writes in the Melbourne Age that the Hu case highlights the difficult path Kevin Rudd has to tread with Beijing

Leaders's spin eliminates the negative - Abbott has acknowledged the reality - negativity on hospitals is a no-no. Voters care about the issue too much for that. He still, however, has to put out a policy of his own - Michelle Grattan in the Melbourne Age

BUSINESS

Call to back US ruling on gene patenting - A US ruling overturning a company's patents on gene mutations linked to an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer could have far-reaching implications in Australia - Sydney Morning Herald

ENVIRONMENT 

Fire ants 'a threat to southeast Queensland lifestyle' - Despite $215 million being poured into eradication programs nationally, fire ants have claimed territory in an arc from Logan City, between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, to near Grandchester, about 80km west of where the first outbreak was found at the Port of Brisbane in 2001 - Brisbane Courier Mail

LIFE

Doctors

Student doctors skipping anatomy lessons - Medical students at some universities are receiving minimal training in anatomy, undergoing as little as 56 hours in a five-year course - 10 times less than their counterparts at other institutions - The Australian

 

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Media wrap - Pollster says Labor and Rudd back with a healthy lead

POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

The polls

Kevin Rudd leaves Tony Abbott in wake in Newspoll - Kevin Rudd has leapt back into favour and Labor's vote has recovered the losses since last December on the back of a public vote of confidence in the Rudd government's economic management and a slump for Tony Abbott and the Liberals - The Australian

Voters see Labor in healthy light since Rudd announced hospitals plan - Labor has regained its dominance in the area of health policy after producing a plan to drastically alter funding for public hospitals and Kevin Rudd was seen to beat Tony Abbott in the leaders' debate last week on health.- The Australian

Elections

Richo urges Greens deal - Former Labor powerbroker Graham Richardson says David Bartlett would be "pretty silly" not to negotiate with the Greens - Hobart Mercury

Crowe chips in for Green mate - The annual return filed by the NSW Greens records Russell Crowe as having donated the impressive sum of $10,000 to its central coast branch in November - Sydney Morning Herald

Unionist with `Buckley's' pushes for Senate spot - Kevin Rudd's influence over ALP preselections is being challenged by a Left faction-backed unionist who is defying the Prime Minister's stance he has "Buckley's" chance of entering the Senate. Tasmanian Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union boss Kevin Harkins, accompanied by ALP state secretary John Dowling, yesterday announced his intention to persist with Senate preselection - The Australian

Immigration

100th asylum boat intercepts navy patrol - The 100th asylum boat to arrive since Kevin Rudd took office sailed directly to Christmas Island yesterday, arriving quietly at Flying Fish Cove before those aboard phoned authorities, requesting to be picked up - The Australian

Australia's refugee policy sunk by 100th boatload - Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has reached an unwelcome milestone after the 100th boat carrying asylum seekers arrived under his watch - Sydney Daily Telegraph

Government to pour millions into border protection as Rudd's 100th boat arrives - The Rudd Government will pour hundreds of millions of dollars more into border protection to deal with the flood of asylum seekers into Australia - Melbourne Herald Sun

Police hunt Chinese detainees who scaled the wall - The federal government yesterday threatened to impose stiff fines on Serco, the service provider that runs Villawood detention centre in Sydney's west, as NSW police and immigration officers launched a manhunt for three Chinese men who climbed over a fence at the centre at dawn yesterday - The Australian

WA needs more migrants: Gillard - Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard says WA needs more migrants amid claims hundreds of thousands of extra workers are necessary over the next decade to thwart a labour crisis - The West Australian

Economic matters

Abbott to hit ground running with speech on economic plans - Tony Abbott will put his ironman feats behind him and return to work today with a speech outlining the fundamentals that will drive Coalition economic policy - Sydney Morning Herald

Reserve Bank governor's wake-up call - He joked that he was ''Sydney's most boring person'' but the Reserve Bank governor, Glenn Stevens, took to breakfast TV like a pro yesterday to deliver two highly targeted messages: real estate investment is dangerous, and interest rates are going up - Sydney Morning Herald

Odds-on for rate hike as RBA governor airs fears over property bubble - Brisbane Courier Mail

Political lurks and perks 

Country MPs 'rorting' allowances - Kalgoorlie MP John Bowler has reignited the politicians' expenses debate, claiming that country MPs are paid to stay away from their electorates. Mr Bowler claimed he knew of MPs who deliberately spent more time in Perth than was required for parliamentary duties to collect the $245 a night allowance - The West Australian

Aboriginal affairs

Former top judge slams NT action - A former chief justice of the Family Court, Alastair Nicholson, QC, says Kevin Rudd is failing indigenous Australians by continuing the Northern Territory intervention and paying lip service to equality - Melbourne Age

Education

Evaluation of My School pushed aside, say critic - Confidential minutes reveal that state and federal education ministers agreed in 2008 to identify any adverse effects of reporting national school comparisons, but the decision was never implemented - Sydney Morning Herald

Public service

Top bureaucrats to get generous pay rises after salaries deemed inadequate - The public sector pay umpire said 19 Commonwealth departmental secretaries had the toughest jobs in the public service and their job security was low. The Remuneration Tribunal recommended a "reasonable" upfront rise and a longer-term rise "substantially above the current levels" - Melbourne Herald Sun

Stimulus programs

Rudd's home insulation scheme caves in - The Federal Government's suspended home insulation program is set to be scrapped amid new concerns the number of homes requiring remedial work could reach 250,000, soaking up all the money left in the scheme. The decision to end the suspended program would leave potentially thousands of homeowners who had ordered the insulation but were waiting to have it fitted, in the cold - Adelaide Advertiser

Health and hospitals

Health insurance restrictions hit patients with expensive bills - Hospital patients are facing shock bills of thousands of dollars because of restrictions and exclusions in health insurance policies - Melbourne Herald Sun

Opinions

Turnaround as Rudd steadies, Abbott falters -  writes Dennis Shanahan in The Australian

Tony Abbott is in this for the long run, but politics is a vicious cycle - Phillip Hudson in the Melbourne Herald Sun says winning an election will take even more stamina than a 14-hour ironman challenge or a nine-day bike ride. It's the ultimate endurance test.

Tony Abbott: separating myths from facts about the Liberal leader - Gerard Henderson has a go at it in the Sydney Morning Herald . He concludes that Abbott may, or may not, be a good prime minister - if he ever achieves his goal. But neither his physical exercise regime nor his religious beliefs should be held against him.

Caught in the cogs of the tax regime - Tim Colebatch in the Melbourne Age reminds that housing exists to provide shelter for families, not shelter from tax, and the law should be changed to reflect this.

We aim to save the Windsor, not to bomb it - writes developer Adi Halim in the Melbourne Age

Farce flags Canberra's limited influence in Beijing - Deniel Flitton writes in the Sydney Morning Herald that true guilt in this case lies with China's farcical legal system - secret hearings, prejudged allegations, suspicious confessions and a muddled verdict that leaves the world still wondering exactly what crime Stern Hu and his associates actually committed.

Abbott's plan shouldn't rot in closet - Nikki Savva writes in The Australian that it's going cheap. One slightly used comprehensive health policy. Well, maybe not so cheap, but still very good and still begging to be implemented. It's the one John Howard should have released in the 2007 election campaign, but didn't because Kevin Rudd spooked him, and it's the one Tony Abbott could have and should have used last week but didn't because he didn't want it to look as if Rudd had spooked him.

BUSINESS

Foreign Minister slams Chinese as Stern Hu gets 10-year jail sentence - A Shanghai court has revived allegations four Rio Tinto staff caused huge losses from China's steel industry, as it sentenced Stern Hu to 10 years' jail - Sydney Morning Herald

Bribes 'forced China to overpay for iron ore' - China claims its steel sector paid 1 billion yuan ($160.5 million) too much for iron ore last year because of bribery and industrial espionage by the four Rio Tinto executives handed "harsh" prison sentences last night - The Australian

Rio reviews its systems after Stern Hu sentenced - Rio Tinto has ordered a fresh independent review of its processes and controls following the hefty sentences handed out to executive Stern Hu and three of his colleagues yesterday. Rio last night insisted the illegal activities of the employees were conducted "wholly outside its systems" while admitting the evidence in court had showed beyond doubt the four employees had accepted bribes - The Australian

Clinic details claims of CSL 'secret conspiracy' - America's prestigious Mayo Clinic claims to have lost millions of dollars at the hands of an alleged blood-plasma cartel run by Australia's biggest healthcare company, CSL - Melbourne Age

LIFE

The fags

Bizarre claim that smoking is healthy - A director of the Victor Chang Foundation's board has written a long and detailed opinion piece promoting ''healthy smoking'' for The Jakarta Post, as the Indonesian government considers its first crackdown on cigarette advertising - Sydney Morning Herald

The drink

Closing time called on booze violence - Every NSW hotel would face a 1am lockout as part of a wave of alcohol crackdowns demanded by police, doctors and ambulance officers.  The frontline coalition is also calling for a ban on shots, cocktails and pre-mixed drinks with more than 5 per cent alcohol in all NSW licensed venues after 10pm.

Advice to G-G: get rid of insular wine collection - Quentin Bryce should sell Government House's vast stock of ''image'' wines and replace them with cheaper, food-friendly examples, a wine expert says. Alan Young, who assessed the Government House cellars for previous governor-general Major-General Michael Jeffery said he was unhappy that the collection of more than 3000 bottles was exclusively Australian and top-heavy with bottles designed to impress drinkers obsessed with labels - Melbourne Age

The law

Challenge in courts over DNA evidence - Hundreds of criminal convictions could be at risk because of a High Court challenge that seeks to prevent juries from convicting people based only on DNA evidence - The Australian

Consumer affairs

South Australia's power prices set to surge by $120 a year - Adelaide Advertiser

 

 

 

Monday, 29 March 2010

Media wrap - Tony Abbott the pin-up boy

POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Regional development

Senator Barnaby Joyce calls for tax rebate to lure people out west - New Opposition spokesman for regional development Barnaby Joyce has warned southeast Queensland is heading for an "urban nightmare" unless more people move to regional towns - Brisbane Courier Mail

Health and hospitals

Rudd turns up heat on Brumby - Kevin Rudd will increase the pressure on Premier John Brumby to accept the national hospital plan by highlighting today that it would mean Victoria had an extra $3.8 billion to invest in economic infrastructure over the rest of the decade - Melbourne Age

Patients' lives ebb in 'ramped' ambulances - Patients with potentially life-threatening conditions are waiting more than 30 minutes in ambulances before being admitted to emergency departments, new figures show - Brisbane Courier Mail

Immigration

Island exodus grows as PM's 100th boat looms - Plans to transfer asylum-seekers from Christmas Island to the mainland are being stepped up as the Rudd government prepares for the prospect of receiving its 100th unauthorised boat arrival since taking office - The Australian

Rudd's hard line on asylum rejects - The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, says his government makes no apology for deciding when to send rejected asylum seekers home while his Immigration Minister, Chris Evans, has expressed hope that the wave of boats might soon slow - Sydney Morning Herald

Economic matters

Federal Government mortgage boost is working, says Swan - A federal Government program to pump up to $16 billion into backing mortgages is paying off by pushing down home loan interest rates and keeping non-bank lenders in the market, Treasurer Wayne Swan says - Brisbane Courier Mail

Commonwealth Bank warns of four more rate rises - The CBA is forecasting that the Reserve Bank will increase the official interest rate at four of its remaining nine board meetings this year. This would push the official rate from 4 to 5 per cent. Based on the average SA mortgage of $242,500, mortgage-holders would pay an extra $151 per month, or a total of $1713 per month - Adelaide Advertiser

Elections

Teen pollie Wyatt Roy plays down his youth - Teen political sensation Wyatt Roy has set up house with his girlfriend in a bid to shake off attacks over his age as the 19-year-old launches his tilt at becoming Australia's youngest federal MP - Brisbane Courier Mail

Bright and Mitchell finally go to Labor in South Australian State election - Adelaide Advertiser

Bypass start stalls - As the state election starts to cool down, questions are being raised over whether the $30 million Kingston bypass has stalled - Hobart Mercury

Drugs

Keneally Government accused of advertising drugs to teenagers as "nose candy" - A postcard authorised by health officials targeting young people shows lines of cocaine and describes them as "nose candy" - Sydney Daily Telegraph

Local government

Spin doctors on rate rises - In a process deemed as "farcical", councils are spending up to $25,000 on "window dressing" rate rises on websites, glossy brochures and controlled meetings in five-star hotels where small numbers of people are fed and even paid before voting on a rate rise - Sydney Daily Telegraph

Political life

Ironman Tony Abbott finishes 14 hour triathlon in Port Macquarie - Sydney Daily Telegraph

The race of his life - and still beaten by Rudd - Just as Kevin Rudd beat him in debate last week, another Rudd rained on his parade. Jeff Rudd beat him across the Port Macquarie finish line by almost two hours. Was he a Labor plant? ''No, I didn't run for the government. I ran out of the goodness of my heart,'' he said. However, the other Rudd, a practised ironman with more than a decade of competition, not only shares the Prime Minister's surname but lives near his electorate. And at 54, Rudd gave Abbott, 52, a two-year start - Sydney Morning Herald

Bartlett vents his fury - Premier David Bartlett has launched a savage attack on political scientist Richard Herr, denying a jibe at the marital status of Greens leader Nick McKim - Hobart Mercury

Opinions

Something queer about Tony Abbott’s values - Malcolm Farr in the Sydney Daily Telegraph says robustly heterosexual Tony Abbott is close to becoming an unlikely item of gay admiration, given his striking figure in Lycra and togs displayed yesterday. 

Too much exercise is Abbott forming - Abbott loves exercise and is keen to show he is the antithesis of Rudd whom he considers a pasty bureaucrat. Rudd works out in a gym when he can but is otherwise renowned for working himself and his staff to death - Phil Coorey in the Sydney Morning Herald

For those of a certain age, health is everything - Glenn Milne looks in The Australian at the importance of health to an aging population.

Refugee trade puts security at stake - argues Piers Akerman in the Sydney Daily Telegraph

ENVIRONMENT

We must protect wallabies, wombats - Ken Henry - As a custodian of Australia's $1 trillion economy, Treasury Secretary Ken Henry is preoccupied with keeping the nation out of recession in uncertain global economic times - Sydney Daily Telegraph

World cool on Rudd's clean coal funding - Australian taxpayers are the only financial backers for Kevin Rudd's $100 million-a-year global clean coal initiative, as world leaders have failed to match their resounding endorsement of the idea at the G8 meeting last July with a single dollar - The Australian

Treasury boss Ken Henry's plea on climate - Treasury boss Ken Henry has railed against the disgraceful management of the nation's water resources. He also yesterday took aim at "free riders" who made it impossible to get agreement on global action to combat climate change - The Australian

MEDIA

Tablets will profit from doom of traditional media -Will this week's launch of the Apple iPad, to be followed by a full suite of competing imitators, be a game-changer for newspapers and magazines? Will it open a new world of internet-based video services to take our eyeballs away from free-to-air TV? I think there is a fair chance it will - Mark Day in The Australian

Stephen Conroy and US at odds on net filter - The Obama administration has questioned the Rudd government's plan to introduce an internet filter, saying it runs contrary to the US's foreign policy of encouraging an open internet to spread economic growth and global security - The Australian

LIFE

Cycling

Brisbane bikeways becoming danger zones as cyclists, pedestrians compete for space - Anger speed and near-death experiences are turning Brisbane's shared bike-pedestrian paths into danger zones. One woman is lucky to be alive after she was struck by a cyclist at Toowong earlier this year - Brisbane Courier Mail

Real estate

Home sales soar - The last big weekend for auctions in Melbourne before winter fell just short of the billion-dollar record of a few weeks ago - Melbourne Herald Sun

Housing shortfall likely to worsen - Official forecasts for the nation's housing shortage have worsened, with more than 100,000 prospective home buyers already locked out of the market by June 30 last year - The Australian

 

  

 

 

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Media wrap Abbott goes athletic

POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Elections

ALP tries to get a win from loss - Labor has tried to turn Kristina Keneally's TV-debate loss into a win, using Barry O'Farrell's verbal slip in the leaders' head-to-head contest in negative radio and TV ads. Soon after Friday's debate, ALP officials rushed the slip - in which Mr O'Farrell said he was going to win the next election - to an advertising agency to be turned into "attack" TV advertisements - Sydney Sunday Telegraph

Martin Hamilton-Smith blames Vickie Chapman for Liberals' SA State Election 2010 loss - Adelaide Sunday Mail

Taylor hoists banner - Glenorchy mayor Adriana Taylor has confirmed she will stand for the Upper House seat of Elwick - Sunday Tasmanian

O'Farrell 'hijacked' Obama's slogan - NSW Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell has been accused, for the second time in a week, of hijacking other people's ideas after launching the Coalition's tilt for power under a slogan used by Barack Obama - Sydney Sun Herald

Political life

Tony Abbott in 14hr torture test ironman triathlon- Sydney Sunday Telegraph

On the way to ironman, Abbott may come up short of power - Sydney Sun Herald

Rattled Rudd in fear, says Abbott - Kevin Rudd is ''rattled'' by the Coalition's resurgence and ''is in fear of his political life'', Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says - Sydney Sun Herald

Transport

Get ready to start sharing the noise - Tens of thousands of Sydneysiders face a dramatic concentration of air traffic over their homes through the greater use of pinpoint navigation technology - Sydney Sun Herald

Opinions

Abbott's plans for the nation can be read like a book- Tony Abbott's book Battlelines is looking increasingly like an election blueprint for the Coalition after the Opposition leader lifted his first firm policy, a paid maternity leave scheme, straight from its pages.Simon Kearney in the Sydney Sunday Telegraph

Labor erred, but will Libs be better? - Paul Howes in the Sydney Sunday Telegraph says that with the elevation of the popular and focused Kristina Keneally to the Premiership, the pressure is on O'Farrell to articulate his plan for the state, if he wins government. However, his current strategy seems to be to hide away, waiting for next March, only emerging infrequently to blame all the ills of the world on Labor. 

True warrior ready to depart arena - Paul Daley writes in the Sydney Sun Herald that  even those who disagree with his climate change scepticism admire outgoing senator Nick Minchin for sticking to his political guns. 

Patience could be a virtue for he who still covets crown - Michelle Grattan writes in the Sydney Sun Herald that Malcolm Turnbull is still agonising over whether to stay around, hoping to make a second coming. 

Rudd should cash in on the economy - Stephanie Peatling in the Sydney Sun Herald writes that rather than just focusing on healthcare, the PM would be wise to remind Australians he saved them from the worst effects of the GFC. 

Just. Say. No - Like the US Republicans, Tony Abbott seems to have adopted a policy of stonewalling everything writes Josh Gordon in the Melbourne Sunday Age.

LIFE

Religion

Radical Islamic elder preaching jihad in Perth's suburbs - A radical Islamic elder who praises the Taliban and preaches violent jihad to a band of keen followers is being investigated in Perth by WA and Federal police - Perth Sunday Times

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Media wrap - NSW has its own leader's debate

POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Debates

Polished Premier Kristina Keneally is over a barrel- In yesterday's televised debate, Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell - once dubbed the invisible man - captured the attention of voters with a mood for change - Sydney Daily Telegraph

Keneally concession puts spotlight on Libs- NSW Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell extracted a key concession from Premier Kristina Keneally on the costing of election promises yesterday, but may have damaged his political prospects in the process - The Australian

Political life

Tony Abbott's climate change denier to sell water message- Making Barnaby Joyce spokesman on water was a gift for federal Climate Change and Water Minister Penny Wong, because the outspoken Queensland Nationals senator backs giving more control to upstream irrigators and has disagreed with his own leader's policy of national control of the Murray-Darling Basin - Adelaide Advertiser

Rejected Turnbull unsure about future- Former opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull remains undecided about his political future after Tony Abbott this week refused to have him back on the Coalition front bench. Asked yesterday about standing again in his Sydney seat of Wentworth, Mr Turnbull said  "I am still considering my position." - The Australian

Abbott gets a dressing down- Abbott might be advised to tone down his extra-curricular shirt-off activity. Political chieftains want to run the country and to use taxpayers' money to do it, and voters want to be reassured their leaders LOOK as if they are in charge.Hawke's minders in 1983 taught their boss that lesson, and in taming the lair (at least in the sartorial department), created the makings of Labor's longest-serving prime minister - Tony Wright in the Melbourne Age

Stimulus projects

Parents revolt over BER work- Almost half the population of a tiny NSW town blockaded its school's gates yesterday to prevent builders and managing contractor Bovis Lend Lease from entering the site to perform works under the Rudd government's Building the Education Revolution program - The Australian

Barnaby Joyce unleashed on BER waste- Tony Abbott has ordered dumped Coalition finance spokesman Barnaby Joyce to "barnstorm" the nation, exposing rip-offs under the Rudd government's $16 billion school building program - The Australian

Events

Night-time Formula One Grand Prix bid for Sydney - An audacious plot to steal the Formula One Grand Prix and more than 100 million international fans from Melbourne is being hatched by the State Government.  Major Events Minister Ian Macdonald said yesterday: "There are a few hurdles we will need to overcome, but I am confident we can work through these challenges." - Sydney Daily Telegraph

Racism

Far-Right white supremacists planning anti-Islam march on state Parliament- Police are monitoring a group linked to far-Right white supremacists who are planning an anti-Islam march on state Parliament - Melbourne Herald Sun

Immigration

ASIO sinking under asylum-seeker workload- Authorities were last night preparing for another mass transfer of asylum-seekers from Christmas Island, as Australia's intelligence watchdog warned ASIO was struggling to cope with the deluge of security assessments on boatpeople - The Australian

Foreign affairs

Tony Abbott calls for restraint on Israel- Tony Abbott has called on the Rudd government not to expel an Israeli diplomat over allegations the Israeli secret service, Mossad, used forged Australian passports in the assassination of a Hamas terrorist in Dubai - The Australian

Elections

SA Electoral Commission wants to investigate claims that one family voted 159 times - The Electoral Commission wants an inquiry into claims a family fraudulently voted 159 times in last Saturday's state election. The commission says claims in an anonymous letter obtained by The Advertiser that the family stole the identities of other voters are feasible - Adelaide Advertiser

The one-two punch that crippled South Australia's Liberals- Liberals are blaming Vicki Chapman's refusal to rule out a challenge to Opposition Leader Isobel Redmond as the incident which which gave Labor the most heart - Adelaide Advertiser 

Queensland LNP battle over preselection of teenage candidate- Internal divisions over the federal Coalition's marginal seat campaign in the key battleground state of Queensland are set to erupt today when the Liberal National Party's state council meets to endorse a string of candidates, including teenager Wyatt Roy - The Australian

The big issues faced by NSW- Sydney Morning Herald writers give their opinion. 

Defence

New F/A-18F Super Hornet jets put us on war footing- The Australian

The punt

Mildura casino on the cards- Premier John Brumby has described plans for a casino in Mildura as a ''high-quality proposal'' as the developer behind the bid launches the big sell on Mildura residents and businesses - Melbourne Age

The drink

A corker of a vice-regal problem- Governor-General Quentin Bryce has an exquisite problem: a treasure trove of more than 3000 bottles of fine wine. Ms Bryce, who drinks only sparingly and whose husband Michael is a teetotaller, doesn't know what to do with the splendid cellars of expensive wines she inherited when she moved into Government House, Yarralumla, and Admiralty House, Sydney - Melbourne Age

Health and hospitals

McGorry TV ad to lobby leaders - If he didn't have politicians' ears already, Australian of the Year Patrick McGorry plans to get them this weekend with an advertisement due to run between political programs on national TV. In a stirring speech, the psychiatrist calls on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to ensure mental health reform is part of their plans to improve Australia's health system this election year - Melbourne Age

Opinions

Abbott march checked by a dose of realism- Paul Kelly writes in The Australian: The magnitude of the challenge Abbott faces was in stark relief: his removal of Barnaby Joyce as shadow finance minister conceded that populism is not enough; his refusal to reinstate Malcolm Turnbull to the front bench reveals the still fragile state of Liberal Party unity; his loss of the leaders' debate to Kevin Rudd highlights the imperative for viable Coalition policies, notably on health and hospitals; and the victory of the Rann government in South Australia reminds of incumbent Labor's ability to hold marginal seats against the swing.

Venom has no place in political discourse - Laurie Oakes in the Sydney Daily Telegraph contrasts the Australian and the American health debates

A good time will be had by haul- George Megalogenis in The Australian looks at federal-state taxing relationships.

Bull at the gate trips up- Peter van Onselen in The Australian criticises the judgment of Malcolm Turnbull in making public his desire to return to the Opposition front bench.

Battle of the minds- Shaun Carney in the Melbourne Age says Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott have more in common than it might seem. That's why the 2010 election contest is so intriguing.

More than just a wing and a prayer to high-flying plan- writes Peter Hartcher in the Sydney Morning Herald. Tony Abbott's suggestion that Rudd threw the health plan together in haste just to change the topic away from home insulation is quite wrong.

BUSINESS

Rio Tinto gets to grips with a new reality in China over Stern Hu & co- Terry McCrann waffles about the issues involved - The Australian

Plan for tax bond on small business - Thousands of small businesses could be forced to put up a security deposit for the tax office under Rudd government draft laws meant to target foreign taxpayers and the shonky operators of Australian phoenix companies - The Australian

 LIFE

Real estate

Chinese buyers underpin housing prices - Asian buyers are putting a fire under the country's housing markets, with capital-city sales -- particularly to Chinese buyers -- doubling in the past 12 months, according to a real estate group - The Australian

Negative gearing safe, says Swan- Wayne Swan has hosed down suggestions of a clamp on negative gearing, as the Rudd government seeks to lower expectations that tax reform will be a central plank of its election platform - The Australian

Mansions on move as property market heats up - The Australian

Home owners blitz the auction market- The rush to sell before Easter and the strong property market mean Sydney has a near-record number of auctions scheduled for today - Sydney Morning Herald

Median home price to hit $600,000 - The West Australian

Friday, 26 March 2010

Media wrap

POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Leadership

She's politically lite, but we love Kristina Keneally - Kristina Keneally is now officially the most popular political leader in the country with a personal standing greater than Kevin Rudd, and with more than two-thirds of voters claiming to like her -Sydney Daily Telegraph

Invisible man Barry O'Farrell loses to pretty Premier Kristina Keneally- The Sydney Daily Telegraph does a vox pop-Sydney Daily Telegraph

Tony Abbott won't change fitness regimen- Fitness fanatic Tony Abbott has defended his gruelling exercise regime amid calls for the Opposition Leader to take a breather from his action man routine - Brisbane ourier Mail

Political life

Turnbull's return to frontbench a step too far Tony Abbott- About 4.30pm yesterday, Tony Abbott knocked back Malcolm Turnbull's offer to return to the opposition frontbench as finance spokesman to replace the populist Barnaby Joyce .Having taken a brave and correct decision to replace Joyce, Abbott decided the recall of Turnbull was too great a risk - The Australian

Barnaby Joyce ousted for steady Andrew Robb in Coalition reshuffle- Tony Abbott has eliminated the risk of election-campaign economic gaffes from Barnaby Joyce, dumping the maverick Queenslander as opposition finance spokesman to bolster the Coalition's financial credentials and sharpen its attack on wasteful government spending - The Australian

Barnaby Joyce lashes out at colleagues after being dumped from finance - Outspoken but gaffe-prone Queensland Senator Barnaby Joyce has lashed out at colleagues for white-anting him after he was forced to give up his prized finance portfolio - Brisbane Courier Mail

Barnaby Joyce loses finance spokesman role in Tony Abbott reshuffle - Abbott has bowed to pressure from the Federal Government and from within his own ranks, demoting Barnaby Joyce from the high-profile job of finance spokesman - Melbourne Herald Sun 

Stimulus projects

Classrooms in for work no one wants- A primary school's $954,000 covered outdoor learning area has become the state's first education revolution construction project to be scrapped for its outrageous cost - Sydney Daily Telegraph

Privatisation

Fraser hits back over Ferguson's QR privatisation 'disaster' claims- The unprecedented rift between Queensland Treasurer Andrew Fraser and federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson over Queensland Rail deepened yesterday - Brisbane Courier Mail

Immigration

Fourth asylum-seeker boat intercepted in a week- The Federal Government is refusing to admit Christmas Island is being swamped after another asylum-seeker boat was intercepted yesterday - Melbourne Herald Sun

Economic matters

Labor razor gang to target adverts- Millions of dollars will be slashed from the government advertising budget under the first executive order signed by the new Rann Government - Adelaide Advertiser

Opinions

Ruthless response to reckless ramblings- Malcolm Farr in the Sydney Daily Telegraph writes that honest, plain speaking Barnaby had been too honest and plain speaking for Tony Abbott's liking.

Actions speak louder for indigenous future- Paul Toohey writes in the Sydney Daily Telegraph how the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples.It will not be operational until January 2011, more than three years after the Government committed to its formation. 

Labor's crowing over Barnaby may backfire- writes Dennis Shanahan in The Australian

Broadband needs big, fat open book - Henry Ergas writes in The Australian that the fact a deal can be struck between Telstra, the government and the National Broadband Network Company hardly means it is in the best interests of the community. And the direction in which the whole saga seems headed raises crucial issues of transparency and accountability. 

In dealing with Beijing, overambition tends to backfire - Obama and Rudd are having more trouble with China than Bush and Howard, says John Lee in The Australian

BUSINESS

Watchdog lays out issues for BHP-Rio on controversial iron ore tie-up- The competition watchdog will probe whether the controversial iron ore tie-up by BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto will allow the mining titans to withhold supply of the steelmaking ingredient and push up prices for Australian steel mills - Melbourne Herald Sun

LIFE

Child care

$125 a day to care for kid as childcare costs soar - Parents are paying an average $100 a day for toddler childcare in Sydney's CBD, with the soaring charges far outstripping the Federal Government's rebate.

Road safety

Parents lie for child's licence- Young drivers are being caught fraudulently claiming their parents were driving instead of them in a bid to avoid demerit points that could cost them their licence - Sydney Daily Telegraph

Population

10 million Queenslanders by 2050- Queensland could have a population of more than 10 million by the middle of the century, new Federal Government projections reveal. The Australian Bureau of Statistics projections also put Brisbane's population at more than 4.5 million by 2051 - Brisbane Courier Mail

'Stop them moving here' - Queensland residents want to cap population growth- Results from an exclusive Galaxy poll for The Courier-Mail suggest that 60 per cent of Queenslanders want the Government to take steps to limit the region's population growth explosion. A similar proportion say forecasts of six million southeast Queenslanders by 2050 would be too many.

Education

Private schools to test applicants before granting entry- Private schools across the country are considering pre-entry testing of children as young as five in literacy and numeracy, raising concerns it is designed to weed out and exclude potentially poor-performing students - Adelaide Advertiser