Thursday, 19 November 2009

Media wrap - Prohibition for youths: Calls to increase legal drinking age




Detainees' plea: what about us?Indonesia and Australian officials worked through the day yesterday transferring the 56 Sri Lankan asylum-seekers still on board the Oceanic Viking to the Tanjung Pinang detention centre – The Australian

Last asylum seekers leave Oceanic Viking for processing – All remaining Sri Lankan asylum seekers disembarked the Oceanic Viking yesterday as Kevin Rudd was forced to deny they were enticed off with a special deal for processing four times quicker than usual – Brisbane Courier Mail

Rudd again denies boat dealThe Australian

PM refuses to say who prepared refugee plan – Kevin Rudd is refusing to say who on his staff attended key committee meetings at which a deal preferential to the 78 asylum-seekers aboard the Oceanic Viking was hammered out – The Australian

Rudd pledged refugee housing, Liberals say – The Federal Opposition yesterday accused the Rudd Government of guaranteeing public housing to asylum seekers as part of a deal to get them off the Oceanic Viking – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Jobs for the boys

New post is worth $450,000 for Mike Kaiser – Mike Kaiser will pocket $450,000 a year to work for the National Broadband Network - almost double his salary as Anna Bligh's chief of staff and more than the Prime Minister earns. The Rudd Government revealed the deal yesterday as it admitted it was privy to Mr Kaiser's appointment before it was announced last Friday – Brisbane Courier Mail

Political life

Over to Will, says warhorse – Liberal political stalwart Michael Hodgman is set to quit politics today. Mr Hodgman, 71, today will announce his retirement in the Tasmanian Parliament on its last day of sitting before next year's state election – Hobart Mercury


Federal named as backer – Federal Hotels was last night named as the major bankroller of the Tasmanians for a Better Future lobby group. The claim, by Green Leader Nick McKim, was angrily denied by the tourism and gaming giant. Mr McKim used parliamentary privilege to allege that Federal put up more than half of the $100,000 spent by the group which campaigned heavily during the 2006 election on the issue of "stable majority government". It was widely seen as a pro-Labor front group whose backers have never been revealed – Hobart Mercury

Health system

Doctors sick of failure to fix ailing hospitals – Doctors are appalled by what they say is a complete failure to implement vital reforms in public hospitals recommended a year ago, according to a survey released exclusively to the Herald. It comes as an independent audit of the reforms released by the state Health Minister said hospitals were finding it increasingly difficult to provide quality patient care – Sydney Morning Herald

South Australian Liberals want to rebuild Royal Adelaide Hospital - The Opposition has unveiled its final option for the RAH site - choosing a rebuilding proposal which it says will save taxpayers about $1 billion. The Government, which describes the Liberal plan as a "patch-up job", is proposing a $1.7 billion, brand-new hospital on the site of the old railyards at the western end of North Terrace – Adelaide Advertiser

Industrial relations

Coalition blocks new IR system - NSW has agreed to transfer 500,000 private sector employees into the federal workplace system from January, after striking a deal with the Rudd government to join a national industrial relations system. All states except Western Australia have now signed up to a national system, but NSW will retain control of its public sector and the local government sector – The Australian


Report labels Anna Bligh's asset sale plan as foolish – A major economic analysis of the State Government's $15 billion asset sale claims the plan has no credibility, could cost millions and is based on poor economic advice and manipulated Treasury figures – Brisbane Courier Mail

Political life

Victorian MP Fran Bailey snoozes through Edinburgh NATO assembly – The deadly war in Afghanistan was all a bit of a yawn for Victorian MP Fran Bailey as she enjoyed one last free trip on the taxpayer – Melbourne Herald Sun


PM worry on Scientology – Kevin Rudd has voiced concerns about the Church of Scientology after it was branded a criminal organisation in Parliament – Melbourne Herald Sun

Former Scientologists allege abuse, intimidation - Letters tabled by independent senator Nick Xenophon reveal claims of vulnerable people preyed on by a coercive and ruthless organisation that punished and shamed dissenters by physical incarceration, withholding food or intimidation – Melbourne Age

Pressure mounts for Scientology inquiry – The inner workings of the Church of Scientology may face a public examination after the independent senator Nick Xenophon used parliamentary privilege to level a series of accusations against the controversial religion – Sydney Morning Herald

Police take up Scientology complaints – Kevin Rudd raised concerns about the Church of Scientology yesterday, as NSW police began investigating complaints from seven former Scientologists – The Australian

Aged care

Aged care operators threaten PM – Aged care providers have threatened to turn on Kevin Rudd with a marginal seats campaign before next year's federal election, unless he commits to a $500 million increase in funding – The Australian


Another delay for Nathan Rees' rail projectSydney’s $5.3 billion CBD Metro that Premier Nathan Rees has hung his premiership on is under a cloud, with the state's top transport bureaucrat unable to say if it will go ahead – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Civil liberties

Myki tracking device warningVictoria’s new myki smartcard will function as an unofficial tracking device, a civil liberties group has warned – Melbourne Age


Corporate law's the disaster – Terry McCrann in the Melbourne Herald Sun writes that the failure of ASIC's case against One.Tel founder Jodee Rich is a monumental, utterly unqualified catastrophe. It's most obviously a catastrophe for ASIC, our corporate cop.

Dragnet will prove justifiable force – Neil Mitchell in the Melbourne Herald Sun writes that as the politicians waffle about winning the battle against the violence and vomit: Victoria's top policeman believes alcohol abuse and the crime that flows from it is a $1.7 billion problem, a bigger issue than illegal drugs. That is why today something unprecedented is unfolding. It's called Operation Unite and it's designed to send a message as much to politicians and the public as it is to thugs and hoons.

Bounded plains to share – Shaun Carney in the Melbourne Age says the Prime Minister is dodging, and alternating waffle with terseness, when it comes to his personal responsibility for the deal offered to Tamil asylum seekers in Indonesia, and he has been marked down by many commentators.

Employers' grand scheme a nice idea, but who foots the bill? - VECCI's wish list of major projects ignores the politics of paying writes Paul Austin in the Melbourne Age

This cruelty to sheep is economically unsound - Eid al-Adha, or the Festival of Sacrifice, is to celebrated soon, and again Australian sheep have been sent en masse to the Middle East for slaughter. The live export industry is becoming increasingly irrelevant yet the Australian Government continues to bow to the live export lobby at the expense of animal suffering alleges Heather Neil in the Melbourne Age

A sick ASIC should be put out of its misery – Ian Verrender in the Sydney Morning Herald reckons the time has come to bite the bullet. Disband the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and start all over again.  

Regulator tripped up by the cracks in its case – Elizabeth Knight writes in the Sydney Morning Herald that the talk around financial circles yesterday was about how ASIC would be able to live down the embarrassment of such a comprehensive loss at the hands of Justice Robert Austin.

Knights of the Rudd Table say they're not tilting at windmills - Kevin Rudd and his Army of Believers rode forth in formation, as is now their routine in question time, writes Annabel  Crabb in the Sydney Morning Herald, finding and smiting Climate Unbelievers on the Opposition benches.

A land of easy gains and loads of losers – Peter Martin asks in the Peter Martin asks in the Sydney Morning Herald how could our leaders have made changes designed to ''better target and strengthen the application of capital gains tax'' without seeing they would later allow companies associated with the misleadingly named Texas Pacific Group to make a billion or so dollars free of capital gains tax from the sale of Myer because they were registered not in somewhere like Texas but in the tax havens of Luxembourg and the Cayman Islands? In his explanatory memorandum in 2006 the then assistant treasurer, Peter Dutton, said the cost to revenue was ''expected to be $65 million per annum''. His estimate was out, just a touch

Less sports cash a national tragedy – The AOC’s John Coates writes in The Australian that the will to win is part of the collective Australian psyche, The Australian editorialised yesterday. I couldn't agree more. It has been demonstrated time and again since the mid-19th century that Australians do not strive for mediocrity. They want to win. So why would we even consider changing our direction when our Olympians and Paralympians enjoy the overwhelming support of most Australians, who take enormous pride in their feats when they are competing on the world stage?

Questions remain as saga ends – says John Durie in The Australian but the fact that ASIC failed to prove its case against Rich and fellow director Mark Silberman doesn't mean the failed telco was run by a choir of angels.


Watchdog loses on One.TelAustralia’s corporate watchdog has suffered a humiliating setback after a judge threw out its long-running case against Jodee Rich over the billion-dollar collapse of his telecommunications company One.Tel – Melbourne Age

One.Tel liquidator warns over action – The man responsible for pursuing James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch, among others, for a cancelled $132 million cash injection into the failed telco One.Tel says legal action is likely to be under way within weeks = The Australian

One.Tel chase a $35m flop – The corporate regulator has suffered a crushing defeat and been left with a $35 million legal bill after its pursuit of One.Tel founder Jodee Rich and former finance director Mark Silbermann was yesterday thrown out of court – The Australian

Judge notes lapses by witnesses in One.Tel case – The conduct of some of the biggest names in the Australian media and business landscape was put under the microscope during the One.Tel case – The Australian

Packer, Murdoch cited as Rich wins One.Tel case – The withdrawal of financial support for the telephone company One.Tel by companies run by the Packer and Murdoch families ''may well have'' ensured its collapse, the NSW Supreme Court has found – Sydney Morning Herald

ASIC chased wrong men – Justice Robert Austin has delivered a stinging rebuke to the corporate regulator for almost every step of its long, expensive case alleging breach of directors duties against One.Tel's managing director, Jodee Rich, and finance director, Mark Silbermann – Sydney Morning Herald

Packer 'must live with his conscience' – The One.Tel founder and managing director Jodee Rich has used his win against the regulator to question James Packer's credibility and to point the finger at unnamed people for a ''dirty tricks'' campaign. Speaking after the ruling by Justice Robert Austin, Mr Rich said he had been upset by one of Mr Packer's memory lapses during his evidence in November and December 2005, when he referred to a dividend payment from One.Tel – Sydney Morning Herald

From the beginning but not yet at the end – A potted history of One Tel – Sydney Morning Herald

Howard pressured me on case: Rich – Jodee Rich has accused the former prime minister John Howard of using his brother, Stan, to pressure him to admit defeat and settle the case the corporate regulator brought against him – Sydney Morning Herald

Stakes rise for Packer as casinos fail to cash in on small-time players – James Packer’s Macau joint venture has failed to attract enough small-time gamblers to its Altira casino, with the amount bet by those players down 40 per cent in the three months to the end of September, compared with a year ago. The mass-market gamblers played $US56.4 million ($60.7 million) at Altira in July, August and September, compared with $US91.2 million for the corresponding period last year – Sydney Morning Herald


Modified Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) likely – A climate change deal between the Rudd Government and the Opposition is just days away in what will be the biggest shakeup to the economy since the GST – Brisbane Courier Mail

Hundreds expected to die from heat - yet again – Health authorities should be doing more to prevent heat-related illnesses and deaths as vulnerable people, particularly the elderly, struggle to adapt to the changing conditions, emergency doctors say – Melbourne Age


Times are a'-charging for web browsers – Newspaper publishers have given the first indication of how they plan to charge people for reading news online with one of the world's best-known newspapers, The Times of London, to offer an ''all-you-can-eat'' package to readers. By the northern hemisphere spring, web users will have access to the newspaper's website as part of their general subscription fee or pay a fee to download as many stories as they like during a 24-hour period, the editor of The Times revealed – Sydney Morning Herald


The drink

Call to raise drinking age to 19 – Leading mental health advocate Ian Hickie has called for the Prime Minister to push for the drinking age to be raised to 19 to break the connection between school leaving and drinking. The call comes as school leavers prepare for the annual binge-drinking ritual of schoolies, which Professor Hickie has criticised as ''ludicrous'' and ''a very dangerous activity'' – Melbourne Age

Police chiefs say we've had enough of booze violence – Police chiefs across the nation will join forces today to declare war on out-of-control drunken violence – Brisbane Courier Mail

Victoria to spearhead biggest police crackdown ever seen in nationwide blitz on drunken violence - The 48-hour campaign to make our streets safe will see up to 800 police - including members of the dog squad, air wing and mounted police, and detectives from crime squads - deployed on the nights of December 11 and 12 – Melbourne Herald Sun

Zero tolerance on booze crimeAdelaide Advertiser

Push to lift legal drinking age to 19 - The legal drinking age should be lifted to 19 to stop dangerous binge drinking as part of end-of-school celebrations, a leading mental health advocate said yesterday – The West Australian

Schoolies use website to pass on booze-buyings tips - Teenagers have been using a national schoolies website to trade tips on how to hide and buy alcohol during leavers' week. Posting comments on threads such as "alcohol smuggling" on , WA teens are trying to find ways around police searches and bans on alcohol in accommodation

Man accused of attacking Ron Barassi to be sentenced within weeks - The VFL legend told the Herald Sun that he was concerned that almost a year on, no charges had been laid. "It would just be awful if nothing happened to these people, they need to be put before the courts and dealt with," Barassi said. "You can't just be going out and belting people in the street." – Melbourne Herald Sun

Cruises to defy schoolie order – Cruise ship operators say they are prepared to defy a Human Rights Commission ruling preventing them from banning schoolies from their vessels over binge-drinking concerns – The Australian

The drugs

Dose of reality in revelations of jail drug use - Corrections policies should reflect the fact that drug abuse is rife – Sydney Morning Herald


Dodgy colleges may face spot fines – Victorian education authorities would get the power to randomly search private colleges and issue on-the-spot fines against dodgy operators, under a State Government proposal designed to safeguard the international student market – Melbourne Age

Queensland's Year 2 students fail reading benchmarks – Parents are being blamed for a quarter of Queensland's Year 2 students falling short of Department of Education's reading benchmarks – Brisbane Courier Mail

Schools a hotbed of racism: study – More than two-thirds of young people are the victims of racism at school, with first-generation migrant women in years 11 and 12 most at risk – Sydney Morning Herald

Baby clothes

Boycott call on tot shop – Raunchy baby rompers emblazoned with "I'm a tits man", "I'm bringing sexy back" and "Milk today, beer tomorrow" are still on sale three months after retailer Cotton On promised to withdraw them – Melbourne Herald Sun

Law and order

Five years on, Doomadgee death investigators facing discipline – Senior officers who investigated the 2004 death in custody of Palm Island man Mulrunji Doomadgee are expected to face disciplinary action following a damning Crime and Misconduct Commission report that accuses Queensland police of "protecting their own" – The Australian


Crean slams 'narrow view of sport' – A senior federal cabinet minister has rejected a key recommendation of the controversial Crawford review of sport - that Australia should abandon its ambition to remain in the top five nations at the Olympic Games - The Australian

Consumer affairs

Report slams Grocery Choice website - A Senate economics references committee yesterday delivered its findings on the website project, which was much lauded by the Government until it was scrapped in June. It said the website was poorly designed and doomed to fail because of time pressures. The damning report recommended the consumer watchdog be investigated for its handling of the tender process for the website, while also saying the Government should get moving on an industry-run website as promised in the wake of Grocery Choice's demise – Adelaide Advertiser

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