Thursday, 6 May 2010

Media wrap - Well fancy that - miners are opposing a new tax on miners

POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Taxation

Rio Tinto shelves billions in projects - Mining giant Rio Tinto has shelved plans to spend $11 billion expanding its massive iron ore operations in Western Australia because of the wave of uncertainty sparked by the Rudd government's proposed tax on super profits - The Australian

Bare knuckles out as Kevin Rudd faces miners - When Kevin Rudd journeyed to Perth to meet half a dozen West Australian businessmen, he had no idea it would turn into a confrontation with 30 of the nation's most powerful executives, starting with boxing gloves and ending with a bare-knuckle brawl - The Australian

Miners vow long fight to resist super profit tax - Resources stocks bounced back yesterday as tension escalated between mining companies and the Government over a super tax - Adelaide Advertiser

Miners step up for fight with Labor - The mining industry is considering a major campaign against Labor's tax on ''super-profits'' in the lead-up to the federal election, after Prime Minister Kevin Rudd yesterday rejected pleas for a review of the proposal - Melbourne Age

Abbott readies for election fight on mining tax - Tony Abbott is expected to put the Prime Minister's resource super profits tax at the centre of the opposition's election agenda today by announcing officially that the Coalition will oppose the $10 billion-a-year tax - Sydney Morning Herald

Law and order

New Attorney-General challenges judges - The state's new Attorney-General has warned judges they are not immune from criticism, putting them on notice that he will not "throw a blanket of silence" over public debate - Adelaide Advertiser

Leadership

Desertions a huge blow to LNP leader John-Paul Langbroek - John-Paul Langbroek's grip on the Liberal Nationals leadership has been dealt a massive blow by the defection of two MPs, as the party desperately attempted to paint their desertion as a welcome relief - Brisbane Courier Mail

LNP fallout not about to reach Canberra - The overwhelming message from federal Liberal and National MPs in Queensland is that their state colleagues should keep their problems to themselves and not let them infect the election campaign later this year - Brisbane Courier Mail

Political life

Labor MP Karyn Paluzzano's ICAC startling confession - For three months, State Labor MP Karyn Paluzzano denied that she had misled Parliament. But after three days of intense scrutiny from a corruption watchdog, the Member for Penrith has finally made admissions that could spell the end of her political career - Sydney Daily Telegraph

Labor MP admits signing false pay forms - A state Labor MP at the centre of corruption allegations admitted she had deliberately misled Parliament and had signed false and misleading staff payment forms - Sydney Morning Herald

Stimulus projects

Auditor rocks basis of BER stimulus boast - An official audit has cast doubt over Kevin Rudd's claim to have saved Australia from recession by building school halls, revealing the majority of his $16.2 billion schools stimulus budget has not yet been spent - The Australian

Audit takes Gillard to task on schools program - An audit of the Rudd government's primary school building program has highlighted construction delays, inflexible bureaucracy and inadequate monitoring arrangements for the $14 billion scheme - Sydney Morning Herald

Julia Gillard wrongfooted on costing of BER program - The federal government was aware from the inception of the BER that it was underfunded, with the $12.4 billion initially allocated representing only 90 per cent of the money required to build a school hall or library in every primary school - The Australian

Economic matters

State leads housing boom, confidence up - The housing cavalry is riding to the rescue of Victoria. March saw another month of near-record housing approvals in the state, as the federal government's stimulus and soaring buyer confidence have ignited a new housing boom - Melbourne Age

Elections

Treasurer puts hand on heart: no poll war chest - Victorian Treasurer John Lenders has pledged ''hand on heart'' that the state government will not use its $4.4 billion of forecast budget surpluses as a war chest to fund new spending in the coming election campaign - Melbourne Age

Brumby's copybook plan to win - The Premier will play his election strategy as a man for all seasonings - a pinch of Howard, a soupcon of Rudd - Paul Austin in the Melbourne Age

Education

Class war as high schools raided - NSW Department of Education officers have swarmed on scores of schools without warning to remove boxes of NAPLAN tests, which may delay the exams for students - Sydney Morning Herald

Pharmaceutical benefits

Rudd eyes $2bn saving on PBS medicines - Fresh cuts to the price of prescribed medicines are expected to generate $2 billion in savings to the government and about $300 million in savings to customers over four years - Melbourne Age

Opinions

This tax won't win any respect - writes Henry Ergas in The Australian. The truth is that the new tax could be more efficient than relying on royalties. But royalties are not likely to go away any time soon. And adding the two could make matters worse.

Julia's Teflon wearing a bit thin - The Rudd government's star parliamentary performer, most-nominated successor to Kevin Rudd and so far untouchable cabinet member, has developed a political problem just when the government least needed its political pin-up girl to be tied down in a fiasco of her own - Dennis Shanahan in The Australian

Bureaucrats catch the bully bug from anti-test teachers - claims Miranda Devine in the Sydney Morning Herald. She finds a small company that claims it is being driven out of business by bullying bureaucrats

No need to lead from the front on ETS action - Greg Sheridan in The Australian says Kevin Rudd was right to ditch, or at least postpone for a lengthy period, the emissions trading scheme. Meanwhile Tony Abbott has made an important and strangely unreported speech, setting out his policy on immigration, which is almost as important, strategically, as the Prime Minister's position on the ETS.

Rudd hits flat note with unfinished symphony - Tony Makin in The Australian declares the Henry review is a first-class public policy document and a riveting read for those interested in Australia's fiscal future.

Principals' keenness for buildings wasn't such a surprise after all - Phillip Coorey of the Sydney Morning Herald finds the evidence in an Auditor General's report.

Just a flesh wound as government takes a hit - It was expected to be pretty bad, but the government has got out of jail over its school building program in the Auditor-General's report - Michelle Grattan in the Melbourne Age

BUSINESS

Westpac customers are Australia's unhappiest, Herald Sun survey finds - Melbourne Herald Sun

Customers unhappy with Westpac - The unhappiest account-holders in the nation bank with Westpac, a newspaper survey has found - Adelaide Advertiser

New tax may turn off gas - Origin Energy yesterday became the first resource industry major to name a big project potentially threatened by the Federal Government's proposed "resources super profits tax", as chaos among resource stocks continued in early trading on the share-market - Brisbane Courier Mail

Super hit by resources sell-off - The government's proposed super-profits tax on the mining industry has slashed the retirement savings of investors by up to $6 billion in just three days, undermining its parallel push into increased superannuation contributions - The Australian

Hope for boost to network roll-out - The federal government is hoping today's release of a long-awaited study on the national broadband network will give the project momentum and quell critics who say it risks being a waste of government funds - Melbourne Age

ENVIRONMENT

We're in the top 10 of worst polluters - Australia Australia has earned the dubious honour of being in the top 10 countries with the worst environmental impact on the planet, according to a major international study of more than 200 nations - Sydney Morning Herald

LIFE

Health

We'd rather die before paying for ambulances - One in five people would hesitate to call an ambulance if they were having a heart attack because of the high cost, a study has found - Sydney Daily Telegraph
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