Monday, 22 March 2010

Media wrap - The pundits pontificate on the meaning of the weekend elections

POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Elections

Rudd faces anti-Labor headwinds – Labor’s  loss in Tasmania and its drubbing in South Australia, suffering large swings in both states, are being seen as the end of the ALP's decade of national dominance and a warning to Kevin Rudd to concentrate on policy – The Australian

Voters see past spin, Liberals claim – The pounding of Labor Governments in two state elections marked a voter rebellion against the style and "spin" of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. That was the spin put on the results in South Australia and Tasmania yesterday by senior federal Liberals including Opposition Leader Tony Abbott – Sydney Daily Telegraph


Secrets of the unlikely victory – Peter van Onselen in The Australian passes on some views from his election night television panellist colleague Bruce Hawker

Libs back from the dead and in with a chance – Glenn Milne in The Australian looks at the weekend’s results and finds two encouraging federal election messages for the Liberals - momentum and mathematics

Federal lessons for both sides in poll turnarounds – Dennis Shanahan says the state results may not be directly linked to Kevin Rudd, but they are a warning – The Australian

For anti-Labor voters, the feeling is personal – Phillip Coorey in the Sydney Morning Herald says the swing against Labor in South Australia was not so much a backlash against the government but more a sign of discontent with its most unpopular and longest-serving members - the Premier, Mike Rann included. Tasmania was a pretty clear example of a tired and long-serving government being shown the door as best as the dysfunctional Hare-Clark electoral system can do.

Liberals ready to share power – Liberal leader Will Hodgman, expected to become premier in a hung parliament, has left open the option of giving the Greens a cabinet post under a power-sharing arrangement – The Australian

Never say never in a hung parliament – It’s funny the difference a hung parliament can make. Until yesterday, Liberal leader Will Hodgman insisted his party had a cast-iron "no deals with the Greens" stance – The Australian

Libs to Greens: let's make a dealTasmania’s Liberals have left open a deal with the Greens as the state's future government remains in doubt. The Labor and Liberal parties yesterday paused to take stock before a likely 10-10-5 split in the House of Assembly following Saturday's state election. The Liberal leader, Will Hodgman, moderated his claim on election night to be the next premier. Preferences are yet to decide two seats – Sydney Morning Herald

Hubris reigns as battered Rann scrapes home - The weekend election has seen a significant backlash in the Labor heartland in South Australia. Rann has almost certainly bagged this election by a whisker because of slick tactics and guerilla warfare in the marginal seats — and because much of the tactics by the Liberals were amateurish - not because he has any kind of mandate – Melbourne Age

Redmond keeps the faith despite errors – Isobel Redmond yesterday stood by colleagues Steven Griffiths and Vickie Chapman, the frontbenchers whose crucial mistakes in the last week may have cost her the election – The Australian

Jay Weatherill in challenge to Mike Rann status quo – Factional warfare has erupted in South Australian Labor, with Left Environment Minister Jay Weatherill challenging Treasurer and Right faction powerbroker Kevin Foley as deputy leader – The Australian


Liberal Leader Isobel Redmond still refuses to concede it's over – Liberal Leader Isobel Redmond is holding out hope postal votes will deliver the Liberals key seats - and hand her the reins as the state's first female Premier – Adelaide Advertiser

Two true believers turned the tide - Two backbenchers clinging to marginal seats at opposite ends of Adelaide have become Labor heroes, handing Premier Mike Rann a shot at four more years in power – Adelaide Advertiser

Liberals win the vote, lose the election – Isobel Redmond has joined a list that includes John Olsen, Rob Kerin and Kim Beazley, of opposition leaders who won the popular vote but lost the election – Adelaide Advertiser

Liberals hail the fabulous four – They have been called the giant-killers of the Liberal Party, the fresh faces set to ignite the shadow ministry. Rachel Sanderson, Tim Whetstone, Steven Marshall and John Gardner will be given plenty of time to settle in before they are thrust on to the front bench, Opposition Leader Isobel Redmond says – Adelaide Advertiser

Jostling begins for new Cabinet line-up – Three ministerial slots are now up for grabs, in a new Labor line-up to be formed once Premier Mike Rann is confident enough to formally claim victory in Saturday's election. Education Minister Jane Lomax-Smith lost her seat of Adelaide in the biggest election shock of the past three elections, while Water Security Minister Karlene Maywald also lost her Riverland seat of Chaffey. Jockeying for position in the new Cabinet became even more intense yesterday, when Attorney-General Michael Atkinson announced he would not stand again – Adelaide Advertiser


Recycled MPs fail to inspire – The decision to use recycled Liberal candidates has backfired and appears to have cost the party two key seats that could have handed them Government. The Liberal Party put its faith in two second-time candidates - Trish Draper in Newland and Joe Scalzi in Hartley - but failed to gain Newland and appears set to fail in Hartley – Adelaide Advertiser

Wilkie daring to dream of success – Maverick independent Andrew Wilkie was yesterday daring to dream about sharing the balance of power in parliament – Hobart Mercury


Health and hospitals

Rudd's health reform plan boosted by poll results – Kevin chances of having the states accept his health reform plan have been bolstered by Mike Rann's expected narrow victory in South Australia and the prospect of a hung parliament in Tasmania. But he has delayed the meeting by more than a week until the victors are officially declared, particularly in TasmaniaSydney Morning Herald

Sufficient staffing urged – NSW nurses are this week expected to back a campaign for big pay rises and better staff-to-patient ratios - expensive measures likely to pose a fresh challenge to the Rudd Government's health funding reforms – Sydney Morning Herald

Security fears may delay e-health patient identifier reforms until after election – A centrepiece of the Rudd government's health reforms - the electronic patient identifier system - is at risk of delay until after the election amid concerns over security and privacy – Sydney Morning Herald

Rudd's health plan still on track – Kevin Rudd's quest to secure a hospitals reform deal appears still on track after Labor's South Australian victory and a promise from the Tasmania Liberal leader to be constructive on health if he forms a minority government – Melbourne Age

The debate

Policy or panache - both sides claim key to debate victory – The great health debate was still 48 hours away but already the government and opposition were at odds about what would win the debate.

Safety warning: debate fireworks could explode in somebody's face - Rudd has taken a gamble in giving his foe equal status, especially when said foe is superior on his feet. Opinion is divided on what Rudd has done – Phillip Coorey in the Sydney Morning Herald

Foreign affairs

Revealed: life inside Stern Hu's cell – Stern Hu and his three Chinese colleagues have spent most of the past nine months sitting upright or sleeping on a communal board, wearing orange DayGlo uniforms, in the Shanghai Detention Centre in Pudong – Sydney Morning Herald

Chinese security kept Rio boss under surveillance – Rio Tinto’s chief executive, Tom Albanese, was given a chilly reception from China's state security apparatus when he slipped into Shanghai following the arrest of his China iron ore sales chief, Stern Hu – Sydney Morning Herald

Canberra 'gave up too easily' on trial – An expert on Chinese law has asked why Australia is ''giving up so quickly'' on transparency questions surrounding the trial, starting today, of Rio Tinto's chief iron ore salesman in China, Stern Hu – Sydney Morning Herald

Stimulus projects

Red-tape costs top school handouts – The Rudd government's Education Revolution has been dubbed the Administrative Revolution by a senior Catholic education official, after it was claimed independent schools in NSW were given $8 million to evaluate programs worth just $3m – The Australian

Waste watch

Row on junket costs for Department of Planning – Planning executives have slugged taxpayers $5400 for "morning tea and lunch boxes" at a one-day leaders' forum.  In the past financial year, more than $105,000 was spent on Department of Planning and Community Development's executives' retreats, conferences and culture and leadership programs – Melbourne Herald Sun

Telecommunications

Telstra blocks sale of houses – Thousands of new houses will be delayed from coming onto the market, and will cost up to $3000 more, because of a sudden decision by Telstra to stop installing copper phone lines, large developers warn. Telstra has told developers it has immediately ceased installing copper phone connections in greenfields developments due to a federal government requirement for fibre optic cable in new housing from July 1 – Sydney Morning Herald

Phone tap reveals bugs in plan to save koalas – The former fashion designer Prue Acton, who is campaigning to save a koala colony from logging in a south-east forest, has discovered a bugging device in her phone. The MP3 recorder was found by chance three weeks ago – Sydney Morning Herald

Economic matters

Prosperity on rise as economy shows signs of recovery – Australians are enjoying record economic prosperity with the average person 4 per cent better off in the December quarter than the previous year, a report says. The National Performance Gauge, published today by CommSec, also shows those who own shares and property increased their wealth by 8 per cent last year and 40 per cent over the past decade – Sydney Morning Herald

Budget gets stimulus windfall – New official figures show government spending running about $5 billion below forecasts, raising the prospect it has been unable to spend stimulus money as fast as it had planned. The Finance Department update has the government spending $192.1 billion in the seven months to January, rather than the forecast $197.4 billion, a shortfall of $5.3 billion – Sydney Morning Herald

Power

$100bn needed to keep power on, government warns – The Rudd government has warned of brown-outs and national power shortages akin to the water crisis if $100 billion is not spent on generators in the next 10 years, guaranteeing steep rises in electricity bills – The Australian

Industrial relations

$150m desal pay bonanza – The developer of Victoria's controversial desalination plant will pay workers as much as $150 million above industry standards in its bid to meet the deadline for water to flow from the plant by 2011 – Melbourne Age

Watchdog targets union scouts – The nation's workplace watchdog has launched an investigation into the conduct of a private company engaged by unions to recruit thousands of new members in workplaces, including schools – The Australian

Development

Libs to try again on advisers for Windsor grilling – John Brumby's chief media minders will be subpoenaed to appear before a hostile parliamentary committee as the Coalition seeks to link the Premier's office to the Hotel Windsor redevelopment "scandal" – Melbourne Age

Aboriginal affairs

Aboriginal group seeks $100m native title deal - A native title deal being negotiated with a Pilbara Aboriginal group has the potential to funnel up to $100 million a year to fewer than 200 people – The West Australian

Opinions

NSW should look south of the border for the way forward – Jeff Kennett writes in the Sydney Morning Herald that fixing NSW's economy is the management challenge of our time.

We've nothing to gain from US trade deal – Why, asks Kenneth Davidson in the Melbourne Age, is the Rudd government entering into new free trade negotiations with the Obama administration? Australia has nothing to gain except a further erosion of our sovereignty and Barack Obama lacks authority from Congress to undertake a binding agreement.

Paying nurses to play doctor will make system sick - Under the legislation passed by the Senate last week, nurse practitioners will for the first time be allowed to bill the Medical Benefits Scheme for treating patients with minor illnesses and prescribe certain medications on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. These changes are not only an egregious waste of health dollars. They will also encourage nurses not to work where they are most needed: in public hospitals, feeding, washing and medicating the sickest patients in the nation – Jeremy Sammut in The Australian

MEDIA

Rudd Roasts Conroy Over The National Broadband Report – Kevin Rudd is believed to have told Communications Minister Stephen Conroy to come up with a strategy within two weeks to take the heat out of the political crisis building up around the government's $43 billion national broadband project. Canberra sources said the directive followed a "difficult" meeting between Rudd and Conroy after the Prime Minister was shown a copy of the controversial $25 million implementation study into the development of the national broadband network – The Australian

ENVIRONMENT

Switch to gas-fired power reduces summer emissions - A report by The Climate Group released yesterday found that emissions from energy use in the state were down 5.7 per cent on the previous summer, a saving of more than 1.5 million tonnes and the equivalent of taking about 360,000 cars off the road for a year. The main reason for the decrease was a greater use of gas-generated electricity following the commissioning of two new gas power plants in Uranquity and Tallawarra. Gas, while still a fossil fuel, emits fewer harmful pollutants than burning coal – Sydney Morning Herald

Southern states rejoice over share of record floodwaters – Evidence is mounting that floods gushing through northern Australia are among the biggest on record, and downstream states such as Victoria are rapidly raising expectations about the amount of water they will receive from them – Melbourne Age

LIFE

Diet

Cereal offenders agree to cut salt – Leading bread and cereal manufacturers have agreed to reduce the sodium content of their products in response to rising concern about Australians' high salt intake and heart disease – Sydney Morning Herald

Asthma

Asthma linked to particles in air pollution – As many as one in 25 children admitted to hospital for asthma may be there as a direct result of inhaled particles from air pollution, government scientists have found in the most detailed Australian research to date on how air quality affects lung health – Sydney Morning Herald

Parenting

Our dads better than yours: Aussies lead world in parenting - Compared to fathers in Italy or France, Australian dads are domestic paragons, a new study shows. Even compared to fathers in Denmark, where the government supports their involvement in childcare, Australian dads hold their own – Sydney Morning Herald

Law and order

Suspended sentences rise in Victoria – A record number of serious criminals were freed with "slap on the wrist" sentences last year.  Sex offenders, armed robbers, thugs and drug traffickers were among those given fully suspended prison terms, which involve no jail time. Four years ago, the State Government promised those sentences would be abolished – Melbourne Herald Sun
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