Sunday, 14 March 2010

Media wrap - Liberals take the lead in South Australia

POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Elections

Isobel Redmond leads Mike Rann in Galaxy pollSouth Australia is headed for a hung Parliament as an authoritative statewide opinion poll shows momentum building for the Liberal Party - but not enough for a straight-out victory. The poll of 800 people on Wednesday and Thursday found the Liberals well ahead of Labor on the primary vote, 42 per cent to 36 per cent. On a two-party preferred basis, the Liberals lead 51 per cent to 49 per cent, a swing of 7.8 per cent since the 2006 election – Adelaide Sunday Mail

Liberals' free school pledge - In a major policy announcement to be made today, and that the Sunday Tasmanian can reveal exclusively, state Liberal leader Will Hodgman will pledge to make public education free. Under the plan, the $12.5 million that is currently collected by the state's 166 primary and district schools will come from Tasmanian Treasury coffers rather than from parents. That will mean up to $200 on average per student put back into parents' pockets – Sunday Tasmanian

Last-ditch hit at 'Green peril' – Labor heavyweights staring at defeat at next Saturday's state election are fuelling fear about minority government. On the heels of an unprecedented warning from four former state leaders, Premier David Bartlett yesterday spoke of the perils of giving the Greens the balance of power – Sunday Tasmanian

Leadership

Rudd rubs it in – A day after publicly humiliating Premier Kristina Keneally, Kevin Rudd offered her Queensland counterpart a warm and jovial welcome, further highlighting the animosity between Canberra and the NSW Government – Sydney Sunday Telegraph

I'm no silvertail, insists Tony Abbott - my Mercedes is second hand – Tony Abbott, embedded in the North Shore up to the knot of his Riverview Old Boys tie, insists he has much in common with Westies - even though he drives a Merc – Sydney Sunday Telegraph

Health and hospitals

Patients' hospital horrors – Accidental death, permanent disabilities, broken bones and life-threatening infections - these are the real-life patient horror stories uncovered by researchers investigating mistakes made in Australian hospitals – Sydney Sunday Telegraph

Political life

Pollies in the no-God squad - There is one place where atheism is not yet a subject for polite conversation: politics. The Sun-Herald surveyed federal and shadow ministers to see who would own up to being non-believers. Only three of 30 federal ministers confessed: Health Minister Nicola Roxon, Defence Personnel Minister Greg Combet and Financial Services Minister Chris Bowen – Sydney Sun Herald

Queensland Minister Phil Reeves makes 25 speeches in a year – Bligh Government minister Phil Reeves has made the fewest speeches in State Parliament - and less than half dealt with his controversial child safety portfolio – Brisbane Sunday Mail

Security

Brisbane staff claim terror risk to pilots meals at airport – Security concerns over access to pilots' meals and lack of scrutiny of airport workers' bags have been raised by Brisbane Airport staff and a union – Brisbane Sunday Mail

Education

NT loses out over literacy funding – The  Northern Territory has been given less than 1 per cent of a national fund to raise literacy and numeracy at school. That's despite Australia-wide benchmark tests showing the NT had the worst reading, writing and mathematics standards in the country – Northern Territory News

Economic stimulus

Residents bypassed as schools take the fast track – An elite Sydney school had major building works approved by the state government under the building schools stimulus program despite overwhelming opposition to the plans – Sydney Sun Herald

Parental leave

It's back to work after childbirth – Women on low incomes are most likely to return to work shortly after the birth of a child because of financial concerns, research shows. Very high-income earners also go back quickly even though they are typically working in jobs with paid parental leave – Sydney Sun Herald

Opinions

Abbott is all at sea with maternity leave – Paul Howes in the Sydney Sunday Telegraph writes that the problem for Abbott is not just that he killed off his own argument about the "great big ETS tax" by proposing a great big maternity leave tax: it's that he now looks like he's cynically playing politics with women and babies. And this is a bloke who's trying to soften his image with women. It's almost enough to make you feel sorry for him – Sydney Sunday Telegraph

Why Labor looks to women to save face – South Australians will make political history should they elect Isobel Redmond their first woman premier next weekend. True, Australia has had four female premiers - Carmen Lawrence, Joan Kirner, Anna Bligh and Kristina Keneally - but none of them defeated a sitting premier to win their state’s top job and all of them were hack Labor politicians – Sydney Sunday Telegraph

All eyes south as states vote to put federal pollies in a spin - The elections in Tasmania and South Australia will be fought on local issues but will be closely watched by Canberra writes Michelle Grattan in the Sydney Sun Herald

Risk of throwing out baby with bathwater – Stephanie Peatling writes in the Sydney Sun Herald that the stance of the Greens and independents is jeopardising the introduction of any form of paid maternity leave by the government.

Abbott goes on an agenda bender - He may not get the credit come election time but the Opposition Leader is forcing the government's hand by setting the policy pace writes Paul Daley in the Sydney Sun Herald

Abbott Show needs less clowning, more action – In the Melbourne Sunday Age Josh Gordon sees a looming danger is that Tony Abbott becomes entrenched as Australia's critic in chief, with little hope of becoming its commander in chief.

ENVIRONMENT

Desal company 'spying' – The state government is allowing the private consortium behind Victoria's controversial desalination plant to gather ''intelligence'' about the activities of protesters and share that information with police, according to a previously secret part of the $3.5 billion deal – Melbourne Sunday Age

LIFE

The drink

Queensland considers .02 drink-driving limit to reduce tollQueensland will consider a new blood alcohol limit for motorists as low as .02 in a bid to cut the state's horrific road toll. A Drink Driving in Queensland discussion paper, to be released today, looks at the possibility of lowering the general alcohol limit from .05 – Brisbane Sunday Mail

Chief rejects drop in DUI limit to .02 – Chief  Minister Paul Henderson yesterday ruled out lowering the blood-alcohol limit for Territory motorists. Queensland is considering dropping the level to .02, which would allow drivers to have only one beer – Northern Territory News

Law and order

State's grim reality: homicide rate tops nation – Measuring violence is complicated, but by at least one measure, Victoria tops the nation for violence causing death - more people died by homicide in Victoria than in any other state last year – Melbourne Sunday Age
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