Monday, 5 April 2010

Media wrap - The hospitals policy bluffing game continues

POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Health and hospitals

Rudd's threat to force poll on health - Kevin Rudd is preparing to apply the blowtorch to the states by threatening to make the crucial meeting with premiers sit for several days to achieve agreement on his health and hospitals reform plan. However, should one or more of the states hold out at the meeting, which is only two weeks away, Mr Rudd is considering recalling Federal Parliament immediately to pass legislation necessary to establish a referendum on the issue - Sydney Morning Herald

Labor 'hiding' real ambulance figures - The state government is hiding the true number of ambulances being diverted from hospitals because of overflowing emergency departments and a lack of beds, opposition health spokesman David Davis says - Melbourne Age

Nurses call for cap on aged-care numbers - Nurses are calling for a limit on the number of residents they look after in aged-care homes amid claims one nurse can be left to care for up to 80 people - Melbourne Age

Immigration

Iraqi asylum seekers on hunger strike 'to death' - About 10 Iraqi detainees were pledging yesterday to maintain a hunger strike until death, in the latest eruption from distressed asylum seekers at the Christmas Island detention facilities. The incident comes a day after a larger group of more than 20 asylum seekers pledged a hunger strike, and a violent incident in which sources said a man punched and kicked a security guard - Sydney Morning Herald

People-smuggling laws harsh on poor fishermen - Federal authorities are routinely charging impoverished Indonesian crewmen who steer boats to Australia for people smugglers with offences that carry mandatory jail terms of up to 20 years. In what lawyers say is an injustice, more than 150 crewmen face charges that carry penalties as harsh as for murder - Sydney Morning Herald

TV smashed as tensions rise on Christmas Island - An asylum-seeker on Christmas Island smashed a television and a window, and 10 Iraqis were last night refusing to end a protest and hunger strike as tensions rise in the overcrowded facility - The Australian

Asylum island runs out of beds - There are about 2040 beds in the Christmas Island detention centre and last night there were 2062 people in detention - Melbourne Sun Herald

Population

Lobby for developers wary of curb on population - Urban developers are warning the federal government against arbitrary caps on population after Tony Burke was named the country's first population minister - Sydney Morning Herald

Tony Burke to check push for growth - The nation's first population minister has backed Kevin Rudd's call for a "Big Australia", but says growth must be controlled in areas where the country has reached capacity - The Australian

Political life

Federal politicians share their busy schedules - Tony Abbott says he has time to run marathons. The Melbourne Herald Sun talks to other politicians about their busy schedules.

Leadership

Williams rejects Llies' in new Liberal showdown - Opposition frontbencher Mitch Williams has rejected as "scurrilous" and "a lie" claims he is a right-faction puppet before the second Liberal deputy leadership vote in just more than a week - Adelaide Advertiser

Elections

Nationals air new ad to beat the ballot - The Nationals, fighting a long-term erosion of their vote, have used the co-creator of C'mon Aussie C'mon to craft a new advertising campaign, launched in Victoria tonight - Melbourne Age

Nationals distance themselves from Libs in regional TV ad campaign - The Nationals have hit the federal election campaign trail early, with a television advertising campaign to begin tonight in three states targeting Labor and the Liberals under the slogan: "Think Local. Vote National" - The Australian

Polls

Kevin Rudd faces struggle in key states - A fall in Labor support in NSW and electoral volatility in Queensland during the first three months of Tony Abbott's Liberal leadership have ensured the home states of the Opposition Leader and Kevin Rudd will be vital battlegrounds in the coming election - The Australian

Censorship

ALP 'pledge' to ban R+ games - Australian Christian Lobby SA claims Labor has given a written promise to oppose introduction of an R18+ classification for violent and sexualised video games - Adelaide Advertiser

Put soft porn out of view: experts - More than 30 of Australia's leading child experts are calling for an unprecedented ban on the sale of adult magazines such as Playboy and Penthouse and other ''soft porn'' material from newsagents, milk bars, convenience stores, supermarkets and petrol stations - Melbourne Age

Austrade keeps advice secret - Australia's trade agency has refused to make public the advice it gave a Reserve Bank firm, under investigation for bribery, about a Malaysian agent sacked amid probity fears - Melbourne Age

Local government

Gone to pot: councils on brink of slashing services - Local government is suffering its worst financial crisis, with one in four NSW councils on the brink of being unable to pay for services they have an obligation to provide - Sydney Morning Herald

Opinions

Fix-it man Combet stuck on the lower rung - When Kevin Rudd appointed Greg Combet as the Minister Assisting the Minister for Climate Change last June it was supposed to be a secondary and temporary role writes Phillip Coorey in the Sydney Morning Herald

Face facts and adapt to warmer world - Chris Berg writes in the Sydney Morning Herald how any Australian cut in carbon dioxide emissions is worthless if not part of a global effort. And right now it looks like the chances of a global agreement on serious emissions cuts are effectively nil. You don't have to be a sceptic or alarmist to understand a policy that can't achieve its goal is a failure before it starts.

Labor mixes its messages over population debate - Dennis Atkins in the Brisbane Courier Mail writes how Kevin Rudd kicked the population debate along on October 22 last year when he told Kerry OBrien he made "no apology for believing in a big Australia". 

Water savings shown to be absurd mirage - Kenneth Davidson writes in the Melbourne Age that the Brumby government's irrigation upgrades won't come close to delivering.

Poll trends keep ALP worried about Abbott - says Dennis Shanahan i9n The Australian. Despite last week's Newspoll fightback from Kevin Rudd and the ALP, there are still disturbing trends for the Rudd government as a result of Tony Abbott's Liberal leadership revolution. 

'Big country' grows into a big problem - Gelnn Milne writing in The Australian was not taking any risks when he said Kevin Rudd's announcement on Easter Saturday that Tony Burke will be taking on the role of Population Minister within the government suggests two possibilities: that the Prime Minister has woken up to the fact he has a serious political problem in this area; or that he hasn't. 

Is Kevin Rudd rude or just totally focused on the top job? asks Malcolm Farr in the Sydney Daily Telegraph

BUSINESS

HSBC ready to go head to head with big four - The Australian arm of HSBC could open as many as 100 branches as the global bank seeks to squeeze the dominant big four domestic institutions from the top end of the market - Sydney Morning Herald

Super revamp is to rock industry - Financial advisers could be banned from taking commissions when selling investments and pensions, as part of sweeping reforms now close to finalisation under the Cooper Review of superannuation - The Australian

ENVIRONMENT

Shipping crackdown urged to protect reef from disaster - Tighter controls must be applied to ships passing through the Great Barrier Reef if it is to be protected from a sharp increase in marine traffic driven by the resources boom - Sydney Morning Herald

Wind farm approval blows town apart - Glen Innes residents find they are being forced to take sides - Sydney Morning Herald

Oil spilling from ship on Reef - Authorities are desperately trying to avoid a catastrophic maritime disaster off Queensland's central coast as stricken Chinese coal carrier Shen Neng 1 continues to spill oil into the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park after hitting Douglas Shoal on Saturday - Brisbane Courier Mail

Leaking ship's owners face $1m fine - The captain of a shipwrecked Chinese cargo ship spewing oil on to the Great Barrier Reef faces government legal action after straying into the off-limits marine reserve and ramming into a sandbar off Great Keppel Island - The Australian 

Ecology before profit in the Great Australian Bight - Conservationists have called for a halt to oil and gas exploration in the Great Australian Bight, saying greater protection and legislative reform is needed before potentially lucrative licences can be handed out - The Australian

MEDIA

ACP Magazines besieged as Logies war erupts - The commercial TV networks are at loggerheads with ACP Magazines over the handling of next month's TV Week Logie Awards -- a major entertainment event broadcast on Nine but controlled by the magazine - The Australian

LIFE

The drink

Allan Langer getting punted by XXXX - Allan Langer's drink-driving charge continues to take its toll, with the league legend sacked as an ambassador for Queensland's favourite beer, XXXX - Brisbane Courier Mail

The fags

A daily ritual up in smoke, unless you go round the corner - Leichardt's famed cafe culture is under threat when the proudly Italian area's council bans restaurant patrons from smoking at outdoor tables - Sydney Daily Telegraph

The mail

Urban mail hubs to replace home letterboxes - It's the death of the letterbox . . . door-to-door postal services on the nation's urban fringe face extinction as Australia Post prepares to roll out fully-automated community mail centres - Brisbane Sunday Mail

Real estate

Sherry plays it cool on foreign property buyers - The Rudd government has sought to hose down concerns that foreigners are buying up Australian homes and pricing locals out of the market, but has conceded it is investigating an emerging trend - The Australian

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