Friday, 9 April 2010

Media wrap - Victoria plays hard to get on hospitals

POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Health and hospitals
Hospitals takeover on critical list - Victoria is threatening to derail Kevin Rudd's $50 billion hospitals reform plan, releasing its own blueprint in a direct challenge to the Prime Minister's bid for a national agreement of premiers on health in a fortnight - The Australian

Rural hospitals short-changed - Just $1 million of the Federal Government's $3.2 billion Health and Hospitals fund will go to rural South Australia - Adelaide Advertiser

Brumby's rival plan for health - John Brumby has all but dashed Kevin Rudd's hopes of winning agreement on his health reform plan at the Council of Australian Governments meeting later this month - Melbourne Age

Economic matters

Two-speed economy creates a puzzling picture - The pace of job creation has eased back in the first quarter of this year, leaving annual employment growth at a solid 2.1 per cent and hours worked up 1.5 per cent on a year ago. The jobless rate has stabilised at about 5.3 per cent - The Australian

Anna Bligh faces huge task to meet election pledge to create 100,000 jobs - Premier Anna Bligh is racing against time to honour her key promise to create 100,000 jobs before the next election. With two years to go, just a fifth of the jobs have been delivered - Brisbane Courier Mail

Budgets

Kevin Rudd raids future funds - The federal government's nation-building health and education funds are being swiftly depleted, with only 40 per cent of the initial $11.5 billion in endowments retained after their first year of operation - The Australian

Elections

Governor Peter Underwood returns Tasmanian Labor to power - Labor has hung on to government in Tasmania after the state's governor dramatically intervened to end a constitutional stand-off, but a furious Liberal leader last night declared it an "illegitimate" administration - The Australian

Bartlett hangs on to power -  A press release from the Governor Peter Underwood's office this afternoon confirmed that Mr Bartlett had been commissioned to form a new minority government - Hobart Mercury

ALP close to power deal with Greens in Tasmania - Labor Premier, David Bartlett, has grasped minority government in Tasmania, ditching election rhetoric and holding out for a deal with the Greens - Sydney Morning Herald

Stimulus schemes

Insulation scheme linked to fatal fire - A house fire in central NSW that killed a man and a child started in a home that had insulation fitted under the Rudd government's botched $2.45 billion program - The Australian

School gets just what it didn't need - An Adelaide Hills primary school is being forced to use part of its federal Building the Education Revolution money to pay for new bushfire fighting water tanks despite having already received a state government grant for water tanks that are currently being installed -  The Australian

Overpriced jobs were assessed as value for money - Every school building under construction in NSW as part of the $16.2 billion schools stimulus program was approved as "value for money" before building began, including one controversial covered outdoor learning area priced as high as $954,000 - The Australian

Political life

Hockey stays home holding the baby - Liberal were surprised Hockey broke his leave to put out a statement on Turnbull but didn't put out a statement on another interest rate rise - The Australian

Patrick Conlon rejects Left's change of direction - Transport Minister and party powerbroker Patrick Conlon has shocked the Labor Party by quitting his Left faction, fuelling speculation he could quit politics at the next election - Adelaide Advertiser

Law and order

Cowdery backs changes to bail laws - Lawyers, prison staff and the state's top prosecutor have combined to call for changes to the state's tough bail laws, which they say are undermining democratic tenets such as the presumption of innocence and the separation of powers - Sydney Morning Herald

Immigration

Boat people trade 'out of control' - People smuggling is ''totally out of control'', with thousands of asylum seekers jostling to get to Australia, according to the senior representative of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Indonesia, Manuel Jordao - Sydney Morning Herald

Employment

Skills shortage to cripple nation building - The resources boom has begun to derail Kevin Rudd's policy agenda, with mining companies poaching skilled workers vital to the delivery of his national broadband network and transition to greater use of clean energy - The Australian

Transport

Rough passage for Garrett plan - Environment Minister Peter Garrett's call for a tracking system to monitor ships out of Gladstone port would require international approval, along with any moves to put pilots on all ships leaving Australian ports - The Australian

Development

Plans for property hubs near train stations have gone off the rails - A key strategy to squeeze more residents into southeast Queensland suburbs through high-density developments around public transport hubs has flopped - Brisbane Courier Mail

Sport

Olympic victory as elite get the gold - Australia's sporting elite will receive a funding boost of up to $120 million to lift their medal-winning performance at the 2012 Olympic Games and beyond - Sydney Daily Telegraph

Opinions

Self interest rules in Premier's plan - Who you think has the better health plan, Kevin Rudd or John Brumby, depends entirely on what you think the plan should attempt to achieve. If the answer is a hospital system better able to cope with soaring demand, go with Rudd. On the other hand, if you think the most pressing issue is the need to shore up Victorian state Labor's re-election chances, the answer would have to be Brumby - Adam Cresswell in The Australian

Leader exposes the flaws in Rudd's revolution - Dennis Shanahan in The Australian says John Brumby has thrown out the most serious challenge to Kevin Rudd's $50 billion health and hospital takeover because the Victorian Premier has queried the plan's basic political and policy foundations. 

More people in an ailing infrastructure won't make a big country -  key to quality of life for Australian families and communities during the coming four decades is not a population of 36 million, as Kevin Rudd advocates, but carefully managed sustainable growth. A random declaration of bigness is no substitute for a planned vision of a sustainable Australia writes Greg Hunt in The Australian.

Think there's a problem? Rest easy, we've got a minister for it - writes Jessica Irvine in the Sydney Morning Herald


We're not racist - we just look that way - Tanveer Ahmed writes in the Sydney Morning Herald: Given my Indian-looking appearance, when I travel overseas I am often asked whether I experience racism in Australia. My answer is: very occasionally and at a low level.

Leaks pour forth from the Wiki well of information - Richard Ackland tells the story of Wikileaks in the Sydney Morning Herald.

July next year is our date with destiny for Afghan pullout - Daniel Flitton reminds readers of the Melbourne Age that Australian troops will follow US forces out of the conflict zone in mid-2011.


A case of anything-you-can-do …  - Paul Austin writes in the Melbourne Age that John Brumby doesn't like Kevin Rudd's national health reform plan, so the Premier has come up with what he says is a better one.
The PM won't like the impertinence, but he may find it hard to knock holes in Victoria's impressive 32-page blueprint.

Abbott ignorant on boat arrivals - writes Julian Burnside in the Melbourne Age

People problem inflated- Politicians and the public are in danger of misplaced panic over population, argues Michelle Grattan in the Melbourne Age

BUSINESS

RBA's billion-dollar-plus gift to the banks -The Reserve Bank of Australia this week gifted Australia's banks at least $315 million extra annual pre-tax profit. They did the same thing last month and, no doubt, will be doing it again in June or July - Michael Pascoe in the Sydney Morning Herald


LIFE

Real estate

Property bubble spurs spending - Surging property prices appear to be driving a spending spree with home owners taking out bigger mortgages to help fund the purchase of big-ticket items, from new cars to holidays - Sydney Morning Herald

Obesity

Obesity is now more deadly than smoking - Obesity has overtaken smoking as the leading cause of premature death and illness in Australia, as experts say the federal government is woefully unprepared for a tsunami of weight-related health problems - Sydney Morning Herald

Consumer affairs

Winery sold sultanas as chardonnay -A former winery boss has been found guilty of passing off sultana grapes as the more prized chardonnay variety - Adelaide Advertiser

Powerless Labor turns out the lights across NSW - No one should underestimate how hard expected power price hikes will hit struggling families and the elderly. Newspapers like The Daily Telegraph, talk-back radio and MPs' offices have been inundated with stories of how power prices will hurt. Stories like single parents choosing between heating the home and feeding the family and pensioners having to cut back on groceries.
These are the stories you expect from less developed countries, not from a modern, prosperous country like Australia.
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