Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Media Wrap - And now for a hospitals plebiscite?

POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Polls

Labor whacked on boatpeople in Newspoll - There has been a huge swing to the Tony Abbott-led Coalition on who is best to handle the issue of asylum-seekers arriving in Australia, with the Liberals holding almost a two-to-one advantage over the Rudd government. Based on preference flows at the last election, Labor leads the Coalition with an election-winning two-party-preferred vote of 54 to 46 per cent - The Australian

Asylum policy scuttles Labor - Tony Abbott has clawed back Labor's lead over the Coalition, stealing a march on border protection while the government has been marking time on the issue of health reform - The Australian

ALP continues to lead Coalition according to latest Newspoll - Melbourne Herald Sun


Health and hospitals

Rudd plans appeal to Australia over health - The Federal Government will hold a plebiscite - a national opinion poll - to win a mandate for its changes to hospital funding if the states reject his proposals today - Sydney Daily Telegraph

Showdown over GST 'will be like OK Corral' - The survival of Kevin Rudd's health and hospitals reform plan hinges on either the states or the Commonwealth backing down today after another $1.5 billion in sweeteners the Prime Minister offered failed to shift entrenched opposition to surrendering 30 per cent of GST revenue - Sydney Morning Herald

Funding pledges hit $20bn over the next 10 years - The price tag on the Rudd government's proposed health reforms has risen to almost $20 billion over the next 10 years, although it believes it can mostly recoup this with savings - The Australian

Premiers pay the price for full pockets . . . PowerPoint - Samantha Maiden in The Australian tries to make sense of a day of talks where she actually has no idea what went on.

Hard to see how the pool will work - Adam Creswell in The Australian looks at the proposal by Premiers for funds pooling and concludes that as a dumb idea it is right up there.

PM Kevin Rudd's $1.2bn fails to buy premiers - The governments of Victoria, Western Australia and NSW last night remained firmly opposed to handing over their GST revenues, and were instead agitating for the establishment of a joint funding pool to run the public hospitals - The Australian

Barnett digs in over GST - Colin Barnett says he will not be moved in his refusal to surrender GST revenue for Kevin Rudd's health reforms despite the Prime Minister dangling another $1.2 billion before the premiers yesterday to entice them to sign - The West Australian

Mutual suspicion is the real problem - The premiers say they don't want Kevin Rudd to take 30 per cent of GST because they suspect it will be the first of many federal raids on their coveted revenue source.
Kevin Rudd offers extra $1.2 billion to break deadlock over hospital plan - Kevin Rudd's great cash temptation to premiers has gone into overdrive, adding another $1.2 billion to break the deadlock over his hospital funding plan - Melbourne Herald Sun

Political life

No fix in Queensland Health payroll debacle - Anna Bligh has ditched her trade trip to Latin America as the health payroll scandal deepens - Brisbane Courier Mail


Economic matters

Treasurer denies NSW economy blues - The State Government has challenged a private sector survey showing the NSW economy is the worst performing in the nation, saying official data show it is leading the recovery - Sydney Daily Telegraph


Industrial relations

Teachers may be forced to run tests - The WA Education Department began legal action late yesterday to stop State schoolteachers boycotting national reading, writing and maths tests which students are meant to sit next month - The West Australian

Gillard to teachers: drop strike plan - Julia Gillard has ramped up pressure on teachers to abandon planned action to disrupt national literacy and numeracy testing, as NSW and Queensland took action in industrial courts to block the national strike = The Australian


Public service

Queensland Health's Mr Fixit battles for answers over payroll shambles - The man, introduced as a "highly regarded public servant" by Health Minister Paul Lucas, battled to provide even basic details of progress to fix the failed system.  Michael Walsh was asked four times for his assessment of this week's pay cycle, but each time side-stepped the questions. It will be cold comfort for the Government, as the health scandal goes from bad to worse - Brisbane Courier Mail

Paul Lucas denies being warned over Queensland Health payroll problems - Deputy Premier Paul Lucas was warned nine months ago that Queensland Health's payroll system would be a disaster, but has claimed he only saw the damning memo last week - Brisbane Courier Mail


Opinions

Things failing to fall Rudd's way on issues - Dennis Shanahan in The Australian sees Kevin Rudd running two main political campaigns: the first the overwhelmingly positive attempt to reform public health and the second the totally negative message of "being tough" on illegal boat arrivals. Neither seems to be working too dramatically in his favour, indeed, the first appears curiously neutral and the second is indisputably a failure.

States shouldn't sell out for pennies from Kevin - The leaders' struggle with each other seems as much concerned with politics as policy and is certainly not driven by the need to focus on a patient-centred healthcare system writes John Dwyer,  emeritus professor of medicine at the University of NSW and founding president of the Australian Healthcare Reform Alliance, in The Australian

Gillard's stimulus program is past its use-by date - argues Michael Stutchbury in The Australian

Government faces some awkward questions - Paul Austin in the Melbourne Age writes that there are numerous awkward questions for the government and its prison authorities after the murder in prison of Carl Williams, questions that can be expected to linger through to polling day in November.

Either way, Rudd cannot lose out - Peter Hartcher in the Sydney Morning Herald says Kevin Rudd is ready to launch the process to call for a referendum on the issue. The referendum bills to be put to the Parliament have already been drafted, according to informed members of the government. Either way, Rudd will have something to take to this year's election but an agreed reform plan is a lot more persuasive than a contested referendum.

Significant change still eludes PM - Gerard Henderson in the Sydney Morning Herald

BUSINESS

Crime ring link to insider trading - Police and corporate regulators have raided homes and businesses to smash a crime syndicate that launders money through the sharemarket after getting inside tips from leading investment banks - Sydney Morning Herald

NAB thwarted on Axa takeover bid by regulator - AMP is ready to pounce on Axa Asia Pacific with a fresh takeover offer after the competition watchdog last night torpedoed National Australia Bank's $14 billion bid - The Australian

Miners fear secrets stolen by Chinese cyber-spies - The internal communications of Australia's major iron ore producers have been aggressively targeted by cyber attacks that many senior executives and members of the Rudd government suspect originate in China - The Australian

MEDIA

Melbourne radio dials move to the right - Birth of a new talk station in Melbounre - Melbourne Age

LIFE

Buskers

Melbourne residents says buskers are number one pet hate noise - Melbourne Herald Sun

Education

Financial literacy 'must be introduced to schools' - Financial literacy should be introduced as a compulsory high school subject to prevent young homeowners building up dangerous levels of debt, the head of Aussie Home Loans says - Adelaide Advertiser

Real estate

Perth land dearest in nation - Perth has overtaken Sydney as the most expensive city in the country to buy blocks of land, with a single square metre of "prime earth" now costing an average of $521. Despite the price rise, the housing industry expects the number of sales to increase this year - The West Australian

Penthouse sales hit bargain basement - Sales of prestige penthouses have slowed to a trickle across Sydney, with the one on top of the Ritz at Cremorne Point back on the market - and the mortgagee hoping for a $15 million sale - Sydney Morning Herald

Median prices up in Sydney - but not as much as in Melbourne - The median price of a Sydney house rose 13.4 per cent to $641,000 in the year to March, below the 17.7 per cent increase in Melbourne, according to the Residex property research group - Sydney Morning Herald

Insurance

Travel claims hazy as insurers declare eruption act of God - About 20,000 Australians, whose travel plans have been thrown into chaos by the Iceland volcanic eruption, face confusion over their travel insurance - Sydney Morning Herald
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