Friday, 19 March 2010

Media wrap - The pollster gives a verdict on Tasmania and Labor won't like it

POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Elections

Tide turns against Labor states with close elections in Tasmania and South Australia – Tasmanians are poised to elect a hung parliament tomorrow, ending 12 years of Labor majority rule and providing critical momentum to the Coalition months before a federal election – The Australian

Labor Party lying in scare campaign on schools, Greens say – Labor in Tasmania has hit voters in key electorates with a fresh round of personalised messages just days from the state election, telling parents who send their children to Catholic or independent schools that their "child's education is at risk" if they vote for the Greens – The Australian

Apple Isle hangs in balance - The election is on a knife edge, as today's Newspoll confirms, with a hung parliament the likeliest outcome. The five-week campaign has seen few surprises and few breakthroughs for any party – The Australian

Nick keeps neck in front – Labor’s last-ditch attempt to avoid minority government appears to have failed. Instead it has only cemented Greens Leader Nick McKim as the state's most popular political leader, according to the last poll before tomorrow's election – Hobart Mercury

Bartlett in praise for Greens – The Greens' election campaign has been heaped with accolades – by Premier David Bartlett. He told the Mercury in an exclusive interview that the Greens' five-week election campaign has been much better and slicker than Labor's – Hobart Mercury

`Tamed idealist' after PM's seat – A 31-yer-old economist who once accused John Howard of running the highest-taxing government in Australian history will be handed the job of taking on Kevin Rudd in the Prime Minister's ultra-safe Brisbane seat of Griffith – The Australian

Liberal MP Andrew Laming spruiks benefits of internet scam techniques - Federal Liberal MP Andrew Laming told a parliamentary seminar discussing the "Twitter election" that politicians could use the social networking site Facebook as a powerful tool to phish phone numbers. His comments on Wednesday came at the same time police were warning federal politicians that criminals were using Facebook to harvest personal details of teenagers and set up fake credit card accounts – Brisbane Courier Mail

Shaky independent seat offers Labor a buffer – Labor is threatening to win the key marginal southern seat of Mitchell, which would give it a vital electoral buffer against the strong statewide swing to the Liberals. A new Advertiser poll shows that the sitting MP, independent Kris Hanna, has a real fight on his hands to stave off the ALP candidate, Alan Sibbons, despite an 8.7 per cent swing against Labor based on the 2006 election results – Adelaide Advertiser

SA Liberals admit Royal Adelaide Hospital costings 'have been spin' – report – Labor is poised to launch a savage onslaught today on the Liberals over hospital costings on the eve of the state election – Adelaide Advertiser

Health and hospitals

Stoush in chamber sets stage for health debate – Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott will square off in a nationally televised health debate next week after their simmering political rivalry exploded into a torrid confrontation on the issue in parliament yesterday – The Australian

Abbott dare gets Rudd talking – The main parties were in furious preparation last night after Kevin Rudd accepted a challenge from Tony Abbott and called a leaders' debate for next Tuesday. Labor heavyweights were conceding that Mr Abbott would be adjudged the winner of next week's debate, as opposition leaders usually are, but Labor would benefit ultimately because it would be fought on its core strength, health – Sydney Morning Herald

Rudd, Abbott clash on health as TV debate is set – Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott will go head-to-head in a televised debate next week, as an election-year fight intensifies over hospital reform – Melbourne Age

Hospitals in city's west fear Rudd's changes – Struggling western Sydney hospitals, already among the most cash-strapped in the state, could stand to lose about $130 million in funding under the Prime Minister's hospital reform plan, NSW Health Department analysis suggests – Sydney Morning Herald

Hospitals caught out on data, says doctor – Victorians should expect the performances reported by most hospitals to drop this year as a result of a crackdown on data rorting, a Melbourne doctor says – Melbourne Age

Stimulus projects

Mauling for Lib as Gillard stands firm – Julia Gillard has strongly defended her $16.2 billion school building program, rejecting cost overruns as isolated and insisting the scheme is being rolled out as it was intended – The Australian

School hall can't fit them all, despite costing $2 million – A school hall that cost $2 million to build but does not even accommodate all the students has highlighted the mess the Federal Government's $16 billion education revolution building program has become – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Builders' school profits hit $130m – A handful of the nation's major construction companies will share in profits of more than $130 million in NSW alone under the federal government's school building stimulus scheme – The Australian

School building revolution 'being rorted' - While the project's managing contractor, the Reed Group, is overseeing the $954,269 contract to build the COLA at Hastings Public School in Port Macquarie, Robert Gribble, who has more than 30 years' experience in building commercial sheds including COLAs,, reckons he could do the same job for a tick over $123,000 – The Australian

Stimulus-driven inflation hits arts centre hopes – For Emerald Secondary College principal Wayne Burgess, the Rudd government's school stimulus has been an ill wind that has blown his school community no good – The Australian

State rejects library project claims – The construction firm responsible for the $900,000 library erected at NSW's Berridale Public School under the Rudd government's school infrastructure program has maintained that no builder could have completed the project more cheaply without compromising its scope and quality – The Australian

Foreign affairs

Kevin Rudd is living in a dream world - building an imaginary empire nobody wants – Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's obsession to reshape the Asia-Pacific has cost $1.25 million - despite lukewarm interest from key players – Sydney Daily Telegraph


Political life

Kevin Rudd names Alex Somlyay as man who snapped sleeping Peter Slipper - Rudd has publicly named Liberal MP Alex Somlyay as the chief suspect in the mysterious case of the political paparazzo who photographed a Liberal MP sleeping in parliament. But Mr Somlyay, the opposition whip and colleague of the snoozing Peter Slipper last night denied he was the phantom photographer as the Speaker launched an investigation into the affair by the powerful privileges committee – The Australian

Malcolm Fraser's memoir is all mouth - but no trousers – Malcolm Fraser in Memphis revisited – Sydney Daily Telegraph

MPs face ban on mobiles in Parliament after unflattering snap - MPs could be banned from using mobile phones in Federal Parliament after a Queensland MP vented about a colleague snapping him in an unflattering position – Brisbane Courier Mail

Law and order

Racism claims put spotlight on OPI-police ties – A legal framework to prevent cosy relationships and career swaps between top members of Victoria's Office of Police Integrity and the organisation it is responsible for investigating, Victoria Police, is urgently needed, according to the author of a report on police racism – The Australian

Industrial relations

Retailers urge wage rise delay – The nation's major retailers have called for wage rises for low-paid workers to be limited to $10 a week, with the increase to be delayed by three months because of "considerable costs" associated with Labor's award revamp – The Australian

Education

Single plan in primary school funding – Primary school principals across the country are asking for a single national model of school funding allocated according to the need of each student regardless of whether he or she is in the private or public sector. The principals from government, Catholic and independent schools have called for the new funding model to replace the existing system, which is ''failing students'' – Sydney Morning Herald

Defence

Report blasts hole in government's plan to acquire new subs – Australia pays vastly more than other countries for defence equipment, a study has found. The results of the study, conducted in the US by McKinsey consultants, raise further concerns about how the federal government intends to acquire a fleet of 12 submarines to replace the trouble-prone Collins-class submarines – Sydney Morning Herald

Religion

Senate rejects inquiry on Scientology – South Australian independent senator Nick Xenophon will keep pressing for an inquiry into the Church of Scientology, despite the major political parties joining to defeat his second attempt to refer allegations of abuse to a Senate committee – Melbourne Age

Development

National Trust set for hotel battle – The National Trust is preparing an appeal against the state government's decision to approve the controversial Windsor Hotel redevelopment, which was attacked as sacrificing heritage for money – Melbourne Age

State to fast-track housing on industrial sites – Old industrial sites will be fast-tracked for rezoning under planning changes proposed by the state government, raising fears that councils will be sidelined in decision-making over new housing developments – Melbourne Age

Kevin Rudd target of public housing rage – Voodoo pins were stuck into an effigy of Kevin Rudd yesterday to express the depth of community anger at proposed public housing at Trinity Park.
State Opposition Leader John-Paul Langbroek offered his support to those passionately protesting against a 19-unit block planned for Bluewater Harbour estate, which protesters say is set to offer tenants "little more than sweaty cages" in a building that does not fit into the neighbourhood or meet town planning guidelines – Cairns Post

Boom comes to LNG towns Roma and Chinchilla – The Queensland Government will spend almost $24 million on transport and education upgrades in the Surat Basin region to help cater for the resources boom – Brisbane Courier Mail

Child protection

NT child protection in crisis: Minister – The Territory's child protection is in crisis, the minister responsible for the system admitted yesterday. A new report into child protection intake processes yesterday revealed there were 1190 matters not investigated within the required time frame last year – Northern Territory News

Transport

Treasurer Andrew Fraser defends toll hikes for Gateway Bridge, Logan Motorway – Motorists will be squeezed for an extra $27 million annually in increased tolls on the Gateway Bridge and Logan Motorway – Brisbane Courier Mail

Opinions

Deadlock spells dead end for decade-long run – Matthew Denholm in The Australian writes that Labor will be manning the shredders after seeing this Newspoll. Barring a late, wild swing back to the party that has held government for 12 years, the end is nigh for Team Bartlett.

Then Gillard entered the killing zone – Samantha Maiden in The Australian writes that Tony Abbott had a stunned-monkey look on his face when Labor sprang a parliamentary ambush on him yesterday. Suspending the traditional 2pm question time shortly after MPs arrived, manager of government business Anthony Albanese demanded Abbott get to his feet and explain his health policy. But the egg ended up all over Labor's face as the Opposition Leader rose to the challenge, hurling abuse at Kevin Rudd.

Spooked government gets down and dirty – Dennis Shanahan in The Australian says Labor MPs fear they are about to witness the fulfilment of their own prophetic nightmare of the personal failure of Rudd much sooner than they expected. It's the internal version of the public's concerns about failing to meet high expectations.

Ushered in, whisked out and promptly forgotten - When the Prime Minister or indeed any senior spokesperson stands up and recites the set of words, there are many who believe this is genuine respect for our indigenous cultures, says Wesley Aird in The Australian. Perhaps a better indicator of respect for indigenous cultures would be to look closely at the achievements, or lack thereof, of government agencies.

Don't condemn patients to park bench or prison – Who cares about acute psychiatric beds? Nobody apparently. That is, nobody does until they need one argues Vaughan J. Carr, a professor in the school of psychiatry at the University of NSWThe Australian

Go on, it's all right to bash banks – Jessica Irvine in the Sydney Morning Herald writes that it is to be hoped the market will work its magic and the Aussies of this world will re-emerge as a competitive force. The banks' net interest margins will not keep rising as fast, if at all. But bank-bashing as a national pastime is rivalled only by cricket and beer-drinking. And this is an election year - one that will probably coincide with interest rate rises every couple of months. Should competition fail to emerge soon enough, there will inevitably be pressure on the government to be seen to be doing something.

The crime factory is one place where full employment is not ideal – Richard Ackland in the Sydney Morning Herald writes of the Crime and Justice Reform Committee - a gathering of academics, lawyers and retired judges who think something is decidedly screwy with the way NSW bangs up so many people in prison at such vast expense and with such little public benefit - in fact, with a considerable amount of public detriment.

Gillard waits in the wings - In the short term - which means before the election - the leadership talk is nothing but a diverting sideshow. Rudd is solidly in his job writes Michelle Grattan in the Melbourne Age

Madden's legacy is Windsor's wonder or woe – Paul Austin in the Melbourne Age says for better or worse, expect the new Windsor to become the most visible legacy of the Justin Madden era in the evolution of Melbourne.

Tell truth on ethnic crime – Andrew Bolt in the Melbourne Herald Sun gives an example of how the police would rather let a potential rapist escape than trust you with his description.

BUSINESS

All-clear for nukes deal with Russia – The federal government has cleared the way to sell Australian uranium to Russia - rejecting fears that the nuclear material could find its way into atomic weapons – Melbourne Age

ENVIRONMENT

Wong blames NSW for energy price hikes – Federal Climate Change Minister Penny Wong yesterday disclaimed any responsibility for massive electricity price hikes in NSW, laying the blame squarely at the feet of her state Labor colleagues for their lack of planning and investment in the sector – The Australian

Life in the shadow of coal central – The massive expansion of the mining industry in the Upper Hunter Valley is making people sick, say concerned residents who have campaigned for a decade for the government to establish independent air-quality monitoring and to conduct a proper health study – Sydney Morning Herald

City's hottest 100 - record run of warm daysMelbourne’s temperature has topped 20 degrees for the past 100 days straight, the longest stretch of its type in more than 150 years of measurement. Yesterday's maximum of 31 degrees continued a run of 20-plus degree days that began on December 9 last year – Melbourne Age

Hale dumps on Canberra's plan – A politician yesterday defied his own party by speaking out against the Federal Government's plan to build a nuclear waste dump in the NT. Damian Hale was the only Member of the House of Representatives in Canberra to oppose legislation that will pave the way for the dump by overriding a Territory Government law forbidding nuclear waste from being transported through the NT – Northern Territory News

MEDIA

Rookie takes the fight to Foxtel - The soon-to-launch pay TV operator Fetch TV has emerged as a mystery bidder for the television rights for the AFL and is talking to free-to-air TV networks about collaborating with them to shut out Foxtel – Sydney Morning Herald

LIFE

Superannuation

Cash the safe but sorry option – Nervous superannuation investors who panicked at the bottom of the market crash and moved savings into safe cash options would have lost dearly in overall performance as their funds missed a remarkable 20 per cent recovery in the past year – The Australian

Population

Big cities can reach 10m population: Ken Henry – Treasury secretary Ken Henry has suggested that Sydney or Melbourne could sustainably expand to 10 million people if governments corrected the national failure of infrastructure planning exposed by the global financial crisis – The Australian

Racism

Victorian police investigate race claims – The director of Victoria's Office of Police Integrity has revealed Victorian police are conducting a "major investigation" into racist attitudes in the force as a result of information provided by the OPI – The Australian

Police face charges on race claims – Charges are expected to be laid against serving Victoria Police officers once a major investigation into racism in the force is complete – Melbourne Age

Employment

Bankers bounce back in a patchy recovery - Bankers, accountants and lawyers have been leading the recovery in the jobs market while shop assistants and truck drivers who resign are not being replaced. Detailed employment figures released yesterday show that the economic recovery is gathering strength, but some major sectors are still contracting – The Australian

Health and welfare the new retail in jobs – We are apidly transforming ourselves from a nation of shopkeepers to a nation of health workers and aged carers – Melbourne Age

Tourism

Famous 'friends' lure travellers – Tourism Australia is banking on a host of prominent people to spruik the country to potential tourists with up to 80 video vignettes being uploaded onto the internet – Sydney Morning Herald

Bouncers

Bouncers laying into pub, club patrons – More than 10 per cent of assaults in pubs and clubs are committed by bouncers - the very people employed to protect patrons. A study of assaults in NSW licensed premises found doormen and other staff were responsible for 12 per cent of all recorded bashings – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Sexting

'Sexting' kids to face child sex charges – Children engaged in "sexting" could be charged with child sex offences under tough laws set to pass federal Parliament. But the Attorney-General will have discretion whether people under 18 are charged with child sex offences for sending sexually-explicit material via their mobile phone – Adelaide Advertiser

Real estate

Housing 'falling badly' behind demand - Perth faces a crippling housing shortage that will leave it tens of thousands of homes short of demand, driving up prices beyond many people, a study has found – The West Australian
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