Wednesday, 4 November 2009

The Reserve Bank's favourite wins




Economic matters

RBA turns up heat on stimulus – The Reserve Bank has presented a much more confident view of the economic recovery than the government to justify its latest interest rate rise, increasing political pressure on the government to wind back its stimulus package – The Australian
Say goodbye to second car, private schools as rate increases bite – The Reserve Bank's campaign of rate increases will have major lifestyle consequences for families, putting second cars or private education beyond reach for many. Homeowners are being urged to brace for as many as eight more rate rises after the RBA yesterday jacked up the official rate by 0.25 percentage points for the second month in a row – Sydney Daily Telegraph
Resource tax threat could cost the state billionsQueensland would lose control over billions of dollars in mining royalties under a proposed federal resources tax. Treasury boss Ken Henry will recommend the scrapping of state-based royalties as part of his long-awaited review of Australia's tax system, due next month – Brisbane Courier Mail
Miners, states face big tax hitAustralia’s mining sector faces a massive tax hike under an ambitious plan by Treasury boss Ken Henry to impose a new federal resources tax – Melbourne Herald Sun
Banks on move – Banks moved swiftly to raise variable home loan rates in line with the Reserve Bank's 0.25 per cent increase in the cash rate yesterday, but Westpac tried to upstage its rivals by promising not to boost the cost of small business credit – Melbourne Herald Sun
ANZ shift on plan to stick with RBA - ANZ Bank has warned it could lift variable mortgage rates outside Reserve Bank monetary policy, after joining the other three major banks yesterday in quickly passing on the expected 25-basis-point hike in the cash rate – The Australian


Desperate search for 11 boat people to be called off – Maritime authorities are today expected to make the heartbreaking decision to end the search for 11 men, believed to be asylum seekers, lost when their boat sank in the Indian Ocean on Sunday night – Sydney Daily Telegraph
Detainees 'beaten in squalid camps' - Asylum seekers are being beaten and denied clean water, proper food and medical care in Indonesian detention centres funded by Australian taxpayers, it has been claimed – The West Australian
Indonesian authorities beat asylum seekers: report – Asylum seekers in Indonesia are routinely beaten and denied clean water and medical care in detention centres paid for in part by Australian taxpayers, says a report handed today to the Government – Sydney Morning Herald
Coalition increases border policy attack – The Coalition has attacked Kevin Rudd's border protection regime from the Left and Right, with West Australian Premier Colin Barnett demanding Australia take 78 Sri Lankans in Indonesia and Tony Abbott linking the Prime Minister to the loss at sea of 12 asylum-seekers – The Australian
Boatpeople seek talks on future – Asylum-seekers on a boat moored at the Indonesian port of Merak say they urgently want to speak to the UN refugee agency to discuss prospects of resettlement in AustraliaThe Australian
Survivors go to Christmas Island – The 27 survivors from a refugee boat which sank 350 nautical miles off the Cocos Islands are being taken to the Australian territory of Christmas Island for processing. Little hope remains for 11 other people still missing – Sydney Morning Herald

Political life

Alexander Downer for Lord Mayor – Former foreign affairs minister Alexander Downer has been approached to become Adelaide's next Lord Mayor and will consider launching an attempt for the office – Adelaide Advertiser
Shoe-thrower attacks John Howard - Last Friday Mr Howard was about to address students at England's Cambridge University when a lone heckler, an Australian student, started berating him. The man took off a shoe and threw it at Mr Howard – Sydney Daily Telegraph


Della Bosca's private polling for another shot at being Premier – John Della Bosca has spent more than $20,000 from his own pocket to commission private polling as part of a revived campaign to challenge Premier Nathan Rees for the job – Sydney Daily Telegraph


Werriwa MP digs in against his own faction – The federal Labor MP Chris Hayes has dug in his heels and told factional bosses he has no intention of shifting from his south-western suburbs seat of Werriwa to make way for Laurie Ferguson – Sydney Morning Herald


Bungling over redundancies leaves hospital short of beds – Sick children are spending days stuck in the emergency department of a Sydney hospital because of a bungled plan to lay off hundreds of health-care workers – Sydney Morning Herald

Opinion polls

PM Kevin Rudd to stick to his guns as numbers give Liberals hope – Key Liberals say Labor's collapse in support in the latest Newspoll proves Kevin Rudd's handling of border security has exposed him as a failure who wants to be all things to all people – The Australian
Liberals jockey for poll position – Peter van Onselen in The Australian thinks it appropriate that on Melbourne Cup day, Newspoll confirmed that the one-horse race of federal politics has again become a two-horse race. The Coalition's two-party vote surged to 48 per cent, making the conservatives competitive.

Open government

Pollies exploiting secret loophole – The SA State Ombudsman wants to stamp out a loophole which allows politicians to keep secret any document which even relates to a matter discussed in Cabinet – Adelaide Advertiser

Foreign policy

Australia's High Commissioner to Fiji ordered to leave the countryAustralia’s High Commissioner to Fiji was given 24 hours to leave the island last night in the latest deterioration of relations between the two countries – Melbourne Herald Sun
Fiji expels high commissionerFiji’s strongman, Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama, has expelled Australian high commissioner James Batley and his New Zealand counterpart in the latest diplomatic standoff. Commodore Bainimarama said Mr Batley and New Zealand's envoy Todd Cleaver would be given 24 hours to leave the country and that he would recall Fiji's top diplomats in Australia and New ZealandThe Australian
Angry Fiji expels high commissionersSydney Morning Herald
New China era as MPs visit TibetChina and Australia will usher in a new era of political co-operation, after the communist superpower agreed to let a group of MPs visit Tibet for the first time since 1991 – Adelaide Advertiser.


Can Adelaide design future subs fleet? - Acting Defence Minister Greg Combet says an independent study, by the U.S. RAND Corporation, will "inform project strategy options" – Adelaide Advertiser


Union boss warns on Barnett privatisation push - Public service union boss Toni Walkington warned yesterday that the Barnett Government's plan to privatise government services would result in the private sector picking up profitable areas while leaving the State to deal with intractable problems – The West Australian


Reserve opts for easy does it – Malcolm Maiden in the Melbourne Age sees the decision not to boost the cash rate by a half a percentage point combines with some carefully calibrated words from the Reserve Bank to ease concerns that it is putting the brakes on too quickly. And the language in the rate rise announcement is as comfortable as it has been since the global crisis peaked a year ago.
Closing the sea route the only way to stem refugee tide – writes Peter Costello in the Melbourne Age. The Rudd Government has learnt what the Howard government learnt: the volume of the traffic is in direct proportion to the chances of successful entry.
Coming clean – Andrew Morton in the Melbourne Age looks at carbon capture and storage, the strategy most clearly associated with the ''clean coal'' tag.
The new boy on the block – How well do Australians understand Kevin Rudd? Asks Shaun Carney in the Melbourne Age. Not very well. Rudd is the least familiar and, in terms of time spent in the public gaze, the least experienced prime minister of the postwar period.
More interest rate pain ahead, warns Terry McCrann in the Melbourne Herald Sun
Kevin Rudd's $7b UN wrangle – Andrew Bolt in the Melbourne Herald Sun asks the question: is Rudd really going to approve a draft treaty that could force Australia to hand over an astonishing $7 billion a year to a new and unelected global authority? And is Rudd really going to approve a draft treaty which also gives that unelected authority the power to fine us billions of dollars more if it doesn't like our green policies?
Next year's poll agenda unfolds – Paul Kelly in The Australian writes of the inevitable policy and political struggle that is going to shape the next long stage of Rudd's government. This is the battle between a disciplined recovery strategy and the vast political expectations unleashed by Labor that span health, climate change, households and defence.


The Lisbon Treaty

Czech court rules EU Lisbon Treaty is legal - The Czech Republic's Constitutional Court has ruled that the EU's Lisbon Treaty is legal, clearing the final hurdle to it becoming law throughout the 27-nation bloc – London Daily Telegraph


Telstra drops controversial bill-paying fee - Telstra has dumped its controversial $2.20 administration fee for people paying their bills over the counter or by mail less than two months after it was introduced – Melbourne Age

Gold climbs to record as India buys IMF bullion - Gold jumped to a record after India’s central bank bought 200 metric tons of the metal from the International Monetary Fund, heightening speculation that there may be more official purchases. Gold futures for December delivery rose to a record $US1087 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange’s Comex unit and traded at $US1084.20, up $US30.20, or 2.9 per cent. A close at that price would be the biggest gain for a most-active contract since March 19Melbourne Age


Fears oil has hit NT coast – There were fears last night that oil from a leaking rig in the Timor Sea had washed up on a Territory beach. It came as the company in charge of the West Atlas rig said it had plugged the leak and extinguished a fire that has been blazing since Sunday – Northern Territory News
Timor Sea oil leak stopped at last – The fireball engulfing the West Atlas drill rig has been extinguished and the oil and gas leak fuelling the blaze finally stopped, more than 10 weeks after the environmental crisis in the Timor Sea began – The Australian
Crossin clueless on NT nuke dump – Territory Senator Trish Crossin says she does not know if the nuclear waste dump site would be chosen before the next election – Northern Territory News
Bribie Island or Marcoola; desalination site kept secret – The Bligh Government is sitting on a high-level report identifying the location of the second-wave of desalination plants planned for Queensland – Brisbane Courier Mail
Plastic bag use 30% higher than retailers say – Sydney Morning Herald
Victoria’s clean-coal gambleVictoria will rely on fossil fuel for energy for decades, with leaked documents revealing the Brumby Government is set to take a multibillion-dollar gamble on ''clean coal'' Melbourne Age


Seven and Nine on 'time bombs'Australia’s two largest television businesses are sitting on debt time bombs, accruing unpaid interest bills of hundreds of millions of dollars that threaten the exit plans of their private-equity owners – Melbourne Age



Primary schools across the state set to go bilingual – NSW children in their first years of primary school will be required to learn and use an Asian language in the state's first bilingual classes – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Road rules

Traffic signals make most of us see red - not green – Easing up on road regulations by allowing left turns at red lights could be the first step towards a more civilised - and green – society – Brisbane Courier Mail

Parking meters

Residential areas to be hit with parking metersFree street parking in Brisbane's inner suburbs could soon become a thing of the past under a City Hall plan to triple the number of metered parking spaces – Brisbane Courier Mail

The drink

Russia Tries, Once Again, to Rein in Vodka Habit - The Kremlin has already vanquished one vice this year, casino gambling, which it all but banned in July. But drinking — vodka in particular — is another thing entirely. It is a mainstay of Russian life, both a beloved social lubricant and a ready means for escaping everyday hardship. Now Russia’s president, Dmitri A. Medvedev, has declared that the government must do something about the country’s status as a world leader in alcohol consumption - New York Times


Qantas pilots forgot to lower wheels – Qantas has stood down two pilots after a Boeing 767 landing in Sydney came within 700ft of the ground before the flight crew realised they had not lowered the plane's undercarriage – The Australian
Jetstar scare link to fatal Air France crash – A Jetstar plane may have suffered the same malfunction last week that brought down an Air France jet in the Atlantic in June, killing all 228 on board. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority are probing the similarities between both incidents – Brisbane Courier Mail
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