Friday, 12 March 2010

Media wrap - Bank bashing by the bank


POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Economic matters

Kevin Rudd stimulus drove up interest rates – The rapid jobs growth of the past five months has come to a halt, with new figures showing it was driven more by the government's stimulus programs than by underlying strength in the economy, as the Reserve Bank believed – The Australian

Ken Henry tax review to get an airing as PM Kevin Rudd caves in – Kevin Rudd has succumbed to heavy pressure from colleagues to release the Henry review into tax reform before this year's election. And the report could be made public before the May budget, with the Prime Minister agreeing to leave Wayne Swan to determine the timing – The Australian

Pass the buck: voters call for companies to pay bigger share – Tony Abbott might be facing derision from business lobbies over his proposed tax increase, but the public appears to be less wary - three-quarters of Australians believe companies should pay a greater proportion of tax – Sydney Morning Herald

RBA shines light on rates gouging – The Reserve Bank has suggested the major banks may be profiteering from their recent round of interest rate increases, arguing moves on lending rates over the past two years have been outpacing funding costs – Sydney Morning Herald


Elections

Bright a marginal seat that may halt the Liberal's advance – The  Liberals' bold election bid is set to be halted in the key marginal seat of Bright, where Labor's Chloe Fox is maintaining a solid hold on the electorate – Adelaide Advertiser

Bob Brown challenges Mike Rann to support national corruption watchdog – Greens Leader Bob Brown has dropped a depth charge in the state election campaign with a challenge to Mike Rann to immediately embrace a proposed new national crime and corruption watchdog – Adelaide Advertiser

Tony Abbott told to `get out of the road' – Kevin Rudd has demanded Tony Abbott "get out of the road" of his government's legislative program, accusing the opposition of being obstructionist in the Senate. But as the Prime Minister mauled the Opposition Leader's "negative, blocking, opposing strategy", Mr Abbott said he would not block the government's proposed $260 million paid parental leave scheme – The Australian

Parental leave

Abbott won't block rival maternity leave plan – The Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, has indicated he will not die in a ditch over paid parental leave, saying any system is better than nothing – Sydney Morning Herald

Stimulus projects

Greg Combat has `no idea' on dodgy installers – Kevin Rudd's hand-picked fix-it man for the botched $2.45 billion home insulation scheme, Greg Combet, has admitted it was so poorly administered he has no idea how many of the 10,000 companies that delivered the insulation were dodgy – The Australian

Snap survey - there's waste and rip-offs in school buildings – More than half of the state's schools are unhappy with their new halls, libraries or classrooms built under the Federal Government's $14 billion education revolution – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Rudd pledges no batts blowout – The multimillion-dollar cost of fixing the bungled home insulation program will be met by drawing unspent money from the scheme that could otherwise have been used to insulate more homes, the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, says – Sydney Morning Herald

PM questioned over insulation role - The opposition has targeted the Prime Minister's role in designing the failed insulation program, asking if he or his department requested safety standards be diminished – Melbourne Age

Parliamentary life

Sleeping Slipper in camera – Samantha Maiden recounts some stories of the adventures of Gold Coast MP Peter Slipper who some say, tut, tut, took a photo in the House of Representatives.

Liberal National Party in storm over boozing MPs claim – Four Liberal Nationals MPs have been accused of staging an extended drinking session this week as Parliament debated crucial property legislation – Brisbane Courier Mail

Four of Premier John Brumby's family employed in taxpayer-financed jobs – The State Government employs four members of Premier John Brumby's family in taxpayer-financed jobs. Mr Brumby's daughter, a nephew and two sisters-in-law work as electoral officers and inside his office and that of Deputy Premier Rob Hulls – Brisbane Courier Mail

Crapuccino stirs storm in a teacup - As veteran Canberra political correspondent Laurie Oakes recorded the transaction for his television viewers on Wednesday evening, deadpan: ''The President and his first lady gave Mr Rudd and Therese Rein some rare luwak coffee. It's made from beans that have passed through the digestive system of a monkey-like creature called a civet cat. A new treat at the Lodge: crapuccino!'' – Melbourne Age

Comrades do it by the book – It must be a rare occasion for Malcolm Fraser to be called "comrade", that evocative epithet of the old left. But who else would apply it other than his erstwhile political foe Gough Whitlam? – Sydney Morning Herald

Foreign affairs

Jakarta's smuggle law years away – Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's promise to introduce laws punishing people-smuggling with five-year jail terms was largely for political effect and could be years from being passed, it was claimed yesterday – The Australian

Development

Private land to be seized for housing – The state government is rushing to prepare laws to create a development authority with sweeping powers to compulsorily acquire and rezone privately owned land for resale to developers – Sydney Morning Herald

Transport

Political football: Hawks put the boot into myki - The Hawthorn Football Club, presided over by the former Liberal premier, is taking a dig at myki - the state Labor government's biggest embarrassment – Melbourne Age

Aboriginal affairs

Remote housing initiative at crisis point – The future of the nation's biggest remote housing project is hanging in the balance at Groote Eylandt, where the Rudd government is considering sacking the building consortium carrying out housing works – The Australian

The death penalty

Death penalty officially abolished in Australia – The death penalty has been abolished forever in Australia after Federal Parliament yesterday passed laws ensuring it could never be reinstated – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Scientology

Scientology inquiry blocked in Senate – Labor and the coalition have been accused of walking away from claims of abuse in the Church of Scientology, by blocking an investigation into tax-free religious groups. Independent senator Nick Xenophon today failed to win sufficient support for an inquiry into whether church groups should be subjected to a public benefit test, like that in the UKAdelaide Advertiser

Opinions

Inflation dangers in labour strength – Michael Stutchbury in The Australian worries that the job market's strength continues to flash warning signs for interest rates and Labor's stimulus spending.

Labor locks in on negative message – The Rudd government's latest mantra about "Senate obstructionism" isn't setting the scene for a frustrated government to call a double-dissolution trigger election. It isn't even about passing government legislation or avoiding amendments to government bills. It's political rhetoric, hypocritical and empty cant, aimed at damaging Tony Abbott and continuing attempts to reinforce negative and hostile images of the Liberal leader – Dennis Shanahan in The Australian

The battle for the Left - Nick Dyrenfurth writes in The Australian that with its recession-proofing credentials, Rudd Labor should be re-elected with a slightly increased majority. Yet there is a sleeper battle in progress, vital to the next parliament's composition and possibly the very meaning of "the Left", to wit: Labor v Greens.

Labor must negotiate with Liberals and Greens - Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, the Greens spokesperson on the status of women, says what the Greens want for parental leave is a fair, viable and effective response to one of the most urgent policy questions facing Australia. To deliver this, the government's scheme must be amended. Eighteen weeks is not enough; the scheme must have six months' leave plus superannuation.

Bid for female voters drives Abbott to take a punt – Dennis Shanahan in The Australian says it would appear that Abbott is being told that he has a chance - just a chance, and a slim one at that - of winning the next election and he's moving rapidly from a phase of consolidating the Liberal base to trying to get back voters lost at the 2007 election.

Hold the front page, spies faked a passport – The complaints levelled against Israel by European countries and Australia, regarding the alleged misuse of passports by Mossad in the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, ring hollow and smack of blatant hypocrisy - Alan Dershowitz in The Australian

Kennett endorses a dam fine plan for our thirsty city – Andrew Bolt in the Melbourne Herald Sun looks at Melbourne’s future water needs

To stop this hogwash, pull trigger – Jessica Irvine in the Sydney Morning Herald reckons the public has grown weary of endless debate. We are subjected to protracted debates about critical policy issues. We think we've arrived at a conclusion and then the opposition blocks it and we're supposed to run the entire debate again.

Have a stickybeak at the Crow-eaters – says Richard Ackland in the Sydney Morning Herald. If Mike Rann government is re-elected on Saturday week, juries will be permitted to hear details of defendants' prior criminal behaviour. ''It's about making sure that juries have all the facts before them,'' he says. If that's so, he might get cracking on a few other reforms, such as abolition of the right to silence and scrapping the presumption of innocence - features of the law that clog-up the fact-seeking mechanism.

Political spin undermines democracy – Sushi Das in the Melbourne Age argues that the public cannot have an intelligent debate about the activities of government or cast a vote based on a sound assessment of anything if it is ill-informed. Political spin undermines democracy – Melbourne Age

Cricket world takes gender equity back a century or two - Dr Kate Seear, a research associate at the Centre for Women's Studies and Gender Research at Monash University, writes in the Melbourne Age that any suggestion Michael Clarke is unfit to be captain because he is, in essence, ''a bit of a girl'' should be absolutely resisted. It is a narrow, anachronistic and wholly outdated stereotype, one that diminishes Clarke, his fellow cricketers, and men and women everywhere. Clarke has shown considerable leadership. He is just the man for the job.

BUSINESS

Brazil's Vale pushing for 90pc increase in iron ore prices – The world's top iron ore producer, Brazil's Vale, is reportedly seeking a 90 per cent increase in prices and trying to shift from annual to quarterly contracts. Reports from Japan said steelmakers there were opposed to prices of more than $US100 a tonne but were likely to accept prices above the record of about $US80 agreed in 2008 – The Australian

ENVIRONMENT

UN panel to review climate body – The UN has launched an independent review of its peak climate change body in the wake of damaging controversies, including a series of incorrect claims in its landmark 2007 report and doubts about the scientific rigour the panel applied to reach its conclusions – The Australian

Fears floodwaters will not reach SA – Up to 500 billion litres of floodwater flowing from Queensland is likely to be diverted to bone-dry, empty lakes in NSW before any water is sent downstream to South AustraliaAdelaide Advertiser

Growing pains - Fear raised in Tasmania about toxic tree plantations spreads to Victoria – Melbourne Age

MEDIA

Advertisers wary of digital TV's bite - Commercial free-to-air TV networks are calling on advertisers to cut them some slack over figures that appear to confirm fears that audiences of their primary channels are being cannibalised by new digital channels – Melbourne Age

LIFE

Art

Canberra's all for the love of art - Visitors to Canberra to see Masterpieces From Paris, Australia's most popular ever art exhibition, are going to extraordinary lengths - even sleeping in their cars – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Sport

League celebrates independence day as independent commission wins ARL backing – A new season will begin tonight. A new dawn arrived yesterday. After a period of tense and sometimes fractious negotiations, the Australian Rugby League has thrown its support behind the game being run by an independent commission – The Australian

Minister goes in to bat for Clarke – The Test cricket vice-captain, Michael Clarke, has won some influential support for his decision to leave the team on tour in New Zealand and rush home to his fiancee, Lara Bingle. The federal Sport Minister, Kate Ellis, called the recent public fuss surrounding the glamour couple ''really unfortunate'' and backed Clarke's decision to take personal leave from the tour, suggesting he did the ''responsible thing'' – Sydney Morning Herald

Radiation

Navy warship zapped by friendly fire – Up to 60 sailors aboard the Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Sirius have been exposed to radiation after another warship accidentally locked its powerful air warning radar on to the navy tanker off the NSW coast – The Australian

Parking

Consumer watchdog eyes airport parking fees - Sky-high airport parking fees are taking drivers for a ride – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Airport 'exploiting' public on parking fees - Australian airports appear to be exploiting customers on car parking fees, and Melbourne is among the worst offenders, according to a report from the competition watchdog – Melbourne Age

Law and order

Sex crimes and assaults on the increase in southeast Queensland suburbs - Police figures never before available show spikes in violent crime across the region – Brisbane Courier Mail

Baby boomers

Seniors return fire over David Gibson's selfish baby boomer gibe - of the first skirmishes in the "intergenerational wars" flared seniors fired back at claims baby boomers expect younger Australians to fund their retirement. The seniors' lobby group for the over-55s, National Seniors, has long warned of the danger of intergenerational hostilities breaking out as a record number of seniors reach retirement years. Gympie MP David Gibson used a forum on the Sunshine Coast on Wednesday night to attack baby boomers whom he said had an unrealistic view of retirement – Brisbane Courier Mail

Education

Push to extend education benchmark tests to reception – Students should be tested nationally on basic reading and writing skills from as young as five, an education expert says. Head of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, Dr Peter Hill said he was "quite keen" to investigate extending the national literacy and numeracy test (NAPLAN) to reception students – Adelaide Advertiser

Airports

ACCC slams price gouging at Sydney Airport – For the fourth year in a row Sydney Airport has been rated the country's worst large airport, charging the highest average prices per passenger, a report from the competition watchdog reveals – Sydney Morning Herald

Real estate

Record number of homes for sale takes gloss off auction pricesSydney’s auction market has lost some sheen. It seems the enthusiastic early-bird vendors got the buyers, but as the market moves into its pre-Easter rush it is becoming more difficult. The slight decline in the market comes under the weight of a record 2860 houses and units listed for March auction – Sydney Morning Herald

Sunscreens

Sunscreens could damage your health, researcher warns - A study by Amanda Barnard, of the CSIRO, found the nanoparticles that provided the best transparency and sun protection also had the highest risk of producing free radicals – Sydney Morning Herald

Exercise

Public transport users vote with feet - Public transport users get a daily average of 41 minutes physical exercise, compared with an average of eight minutes for those who only drive, according to an analysis of Victorian travel data – Melbourne Age

Immigration

Tully farm raids target illegal workers – Police and immigration officials have swooped on banana farms south of Cairns, targeting alleged illegal workers believed to linked to a dodgy employment contractor – Cairns Post
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