Saturday, 7 November 2009

Media wrap - Boat people: the talk goes on



Deadline looms for negotiators on board Viking - Australian negotiators have only one more week to persuade 78 Sri Lankans aboard the Oceanic Viking to step onto Indonesian soil and accept a deal that will see them resettled in Australia or another country – Sydney Morning Herald
Death boat survivors detained – Traumatised survivors of a boat that capsized on the way to Australia last weekend were detained on Christmas Island yesterday. The 27 Sri Lankan asylum seekers arrived aboard the LNG Pioneer, a tanker from the Bahamas, after the men's own boat sank last Sunday, killing 12 – Melbourne Age
Tamil spokesman 'Alex' a smuggler, says Sri Lankan government – Alex, the well-spoken leader of a boatload of asylum-seekers held in Indonesia on their way to Australia, is a known people-smuggler previously deported from Canada, according to the Sri Lankan government – The Australian

Economic matters
Turnbull warns of tax grab – Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull has distanced himself from the Henry tax review, warning that it could give the Federal Government the means to increase taxes to pay for its $67 billion of stimulus spending – Melbourne Age
New boom 'could last for years', says a bullish RBA – Australia is rapidly emerging from the downturn into an economic boom the Reserve Bank believes could last for years, powered by the resource industry and rapid population growth – The Australian

Liberal Party
Hitler video linked to battle for control of Liberal right - for Malcolm Turnbull and the NSW upper house Liberal MP David Clarke have denied disseminating a scathing YouTube attack on the federal Liberal backbencher Alex Hawke, despite an email chain that appears to link them to the clip – Sydney Morning Herald

Critics run Della Bosca off rails – A former friend and a former lover lined up to derail John Della Bosca's campaign for the premiership yesterday. Former premier Bob Carr called on him to ''end this campaign of destabilisation'' while his former mistress Kate Neill went on television to say she would ''hate my state to have a premier like that'' – Sydney Morning Herald

Foreign affairs
Exposed: the man controlling Stern Hu's fate – John Garnaut reports from Beijing that Stern Hu was accustomed to dealing with Chinese officials whose power far exceeded the titles on their business cards, as he worked his way through the fat bureaucracies competing for control of the nation's $350 billion steel industry. But Hu probably never came across anyone quite like Wu Zhiming, who is due to decide his fate within 10 days – Sydney Morning Herald

Failed college passed recent audit – The private college that collapsed leaving almost 3000 students in limbo this week, passed a State Government audit into its financial viability just two months ago – Melbourne Age

Time has come for Rudd to face the big test – Peter Hartcher in the Sydney Morning Herald writes that the hard part is upon the Rudd Government: to rebuild the budget, to rebuild a surplus, and not to piss away the national future on populist spending to get re-elected.
In your ears until they bleed, the calm, methodical Rudd – Annabel Crabb writes in the Sydney Morning Herald of the phase we're in at the moment, prime ministerially. Having experimented with tub-thumping and name-calling, the Ruddbot has entered a calm, methodical period, during which he calmly, methodically dials the direct line of every radio announcer he has ever met and invites himself on air to talk - with a certain methodical air of calm - about his plan to deal with the 78 Sri Lankans aboard the Oceanic Viking, a plan that takes considerable minutes to outline if you are the calm and methodical type, but for the slapdash and reckless can quite reasonably be summarised using just seven letters and one apostrophe: "We'll see."
To play king of the middle ground – Miranda Devine in the Sydney Morning Herald rather bitterly contrasts the reception given to Kevin Rudd with his boat people policies with the anger directed at John Howard over his.
Look at jobless to measure recession - From a low of 3.9 per cent early last year, the unemployment rate has risen to 5.7 per cent at present and is now forecast to reach a peak of 6.75 in June next year. To that you have to add a surge in underemployment and a rise in the number of ''discouraged job-seekers'' (as indicated by a decline in the participation rate). That doesn't qualify as a recession? Who are you, Ebenezer Scrooge? Asks Ross Gittins in the Sydney Morning Herald
Out of the loop – Shaun Carney in the Melbourne Age writes that the chairman of the Productivity Commission has taken some hits since the election of the Rudd Government two years ago. Although the commission keeps itself in work, it's not the central economic advisory body it was in the Howard era.
Refugee crisis calls for new approach - Successful co-operation with Indonesia requires a massive boost in UNHCR resources so that asylum cases can be processed swiftly and must ensure that there are resettlement places for those found to be refugees. The bulk of those refugees will have to come to Australia, but even if we increase our humanitarian program by 50 per cent it will still be smaller than it was in the early 1980s. If resettlement places are not available, then interception in Indonesia is pointless since those assessed as refugees will still engage smugglers to attempt the crossing to Australia – Peter Mares in the Melbourne Age
Bottlenecks choking recovery – Michael Stutchbury in The Australian writes that the return of infrastructure bottlenecks is threatening to push up inflation and interest rates, and so choke off the Reserve Bank's forecasts of a quick recovery from the global crisis. Rather than being at our export ports, however, the new bottlenecks are gripping first in our big cities in the form of rising home prices and rents, as a rapidly growing population competes for a limited supply of new housing.
Challenge of prosperity – Paul Kelly believes the demands of post-stimulus politics now press upon the Rudd government as it confronts an election year with a daunting agenda that spans tax reform, productivity redemption, a fiscal "black hole" and huge structural changes driven by the sustained China boom – The Australian
Spending curbs will create an election campaign conundrum – writes Lenore Taylor in The Australian. Normally political strategists make a big calendar and slot in a spending announcement for pretty much every day, each framed around a policy theme. This time both sides have promised extreme spending restraint.
PM's strategy risks a backlash – The Prime Minister’s shrill tone and personal attacks on Coalition opponents of an ETS risk backfiring, angering the Nationals and the anti-ETS Liberals and making it harder, not easier, for Mr Turnbull's political strategy to prevail in the Coalition partyroom – Lenore Taylor in The Australian
Held hostage by the rush to be tough – Mike Steketee in The Australian writes that, having lost control of events, Kevin Rudd would look not only indecisive but weak if he now gave in to the demands of the 78 Sri Lankan boat people
Lonely Rudd under siege – Laurie Oakes found himself this week shouting at the radio - "For God's sake, answer the bloody question!" I suspect there were many such cries of frustration in households around the nation. Kevin Rudd was being interviewed - one of the 14 or so radio and TV appearances in his much-publicised media blitz on the asylum seeker issue. And he had nothing to tell us. No answers. Just platitudes, slogans and spin – Sydney Daily Telegraph


Economic matters
Unemployment rate jumps to 10.2 percent; highest since 1983 - More than one in 10 members of the American workforce were unable to get a job in October, the Labor Department said Friday, the first time in nearly three decades that the unemployment rate has soared into double digits. President Obama said his economic advisers were considering additional public spending to create jobs, which a growing economy continues to shed. Obama said new "investment" in road and bridge construction, renovations to make buildings more energy efficient, export support for manufacturers, and other ideas are now under consideration. – Washington Post


ATO targets banks' swap deals – A complex and highly secretive $US125 million ($137m) deal by National Australia Bank, codenamed Project Turtle, is one of a series of transactions by local banks at the centre of a crackdown by the Australian Taxation Office.


Climate war gets personal for Rudd – Kevin Rudd has launched a blistering attack on climate change sceptics and deniers in Australia and abroad, accusing them of a systematic campaign to sabotage global talks in Copenhagen and of being contemptuous towards the interests of the world's children – Sydney Morning Herald
Rudd dares Turnbull on ETS – Kevin Rudd has savaged climate change sceptics as part of a dangerous global push risking the future of the planet through ill-informed prejudice and refusal to accept the scientific evidence of global warming – The Australian
High hopes for geothermal amid funds push - Two geothermal projects in outback South Australia will share in $153 million of federal funds to set up demonstration plants – Melbourne Age

Meridian wind farm rejectedNew Zealand State power company Meridian Energy is looking at its options to fight an Environment Court rejection of its huge $2 billion wind farm in Central Otago. The majority decision from the Environment Court concluded that the wind farm of up to 176 giant turbines was too large for the special landscape values of the Lammermoor RangeThe Christchurch Weekend Press
Science is in on climate change sea-level rise: 1.7mm – Sea levels on Australia's eastern seaboard are rising at less than a third of the rate that the NSW government is predicting as it overhauls the state's planning laws and bans thousands of landowners from developing coastal sites – The Australian


Rudd too sensitive for own good: Murdoch – News Corporation chairman and chief executive Rupert Murdoch has described Kevin Rudd as too sensitive to criticism while pouring scorn on the Prime Minister's belief that Australia can play an outsized role in shaping events internationally – The Australian

PM Kevin Rudd delusional on G20, says Rupert Murdoch – Terry Crann interviews Rupert Murdoch for the Melbourne Herald Sun

Oprah leaving? Report says yes, history says maybe - The latest frenzy over whether Life as We Know It is at risk erupted Thursday with an online report by Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood site. Winfrey's people had to issue a statement to the effect that nothing has been decided until Winfrey herself says so – Chicago Tribune


Give it a rest: too much exercise a worry in the long run – Forget the morning jog and go back to sleep: exercise may be bad for you. Blame it on the free radicals, volatile little molecules in the body which are unleashed by exercise and have been implicated in a range of illnesses, from cardiovascular disease and cancer to accelerated ageing – Sydney Morning Herald

Dollar driving overseas travel – Australians are leaving the country as never before. The soaring Aussie dollar and low international air fares pushed the number of Australians taking holidays overseas above 600,000 in September. The number leaving in the past year has hit a record 6 million – Melbourne Age

Real estate
Late-bidding ban to face first testVictoria’s new laws to prevent so-called late bidding at real estate auctions will be subject to a test case with a leading Melbourne agency accused of misconduct – Melbourne Age

The punt
Sport betting crackdown - AFL players could soon be asked to allow access to their phone records under a plan to respond to an unprecedented expansion of sports gambling, which one administrator describes as a bigger threat to professional sport than doping. Leading administrators from football, racing and cricket - sports that attract most betting - are working together on plans to minimise the risks of gambling-related corruption – Melbourne Age


Government to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into fund for James Hardie asbestos victim – Hundreds of millions of dollars will be poured into the near-empty fund for James Hardie asbestos victims after a deal between the Federal and NSW governments – Melbourne Herald Sun

The drink
Alcopops still flow despite tax rise – Alcopop sales have returned to double-digit growth, despite last year's 70 per cent tax hike, amid signs the overall market for alcohol is growing, industry research obtained by The Weekend Australian shows.

Figures show drink's true threat to drivers – The ability to keep your car in its lane could be impaired by a blood alcohol content as low as .0018. Reaction times on the road could slow with a BAC as low as .02. And vision can be affected by a BAC of .03. It's sobering figures like this that have sparked a renewed debate about lowering the state's legal drink-drive limit – Brisbane Courier Mail
Paying for their sins appeals to a public fed up with violence - The chief of the Police and Community Youth Clubs NSW has struck a chord in the public with his suggestion that an "abuser-pays" system be directed at the drunken louts who cause mayhem and chew up the time and resources of paramedics, police and hospital staff – Brisbane Courier Mail

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