Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Media wrap - And still they sit on the boat





Rudd's rhetoric gets blunter – Kevin Rudd has vowed there will be no backdown on asylum seeker policy as a new poll showed Australian attitudes towards immigration levels has not changed since the febrile days of 2001 and the MV Tampa – Sydney Morning Herald

Indonesian patience abundant, but not infinite - Indonesia's position that the matter must be resolved by Friday, and that the Tamils must be held in a detention centre, could scuttle a deal being worked out between Australia and the asylum seekers after more than two weeks of negotiations – Sydney Morning Herald

AFP questions Vanstone over alleged mafioso's visa – Australian Federal Police inquiring into a mafia donations-for-visa scandal have asked Australia's ambassador to Italy, Amanda Vanstone, to explain her decision to give a visa to an alleged crime figure – Sydney Morning Herald

Kevin Rudd shall not be moved on the boat people issue – Prime Minister Kevin Rudd remains unmoved by the plight of 78 Sri Lankan asylum seekers left in limbo on board an Australian ship for more than three weeks. Mr Rudd said yesterday all the protests in the world and threats of self-harm would not bring about change in the Federal Government's border protection policy – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Taxpayer bill for Oceanic Viking refugees is set to soar – The taxpayer bill for the 78 Sri Lankan asylum seekers is set to soar amid the growing expectation many will end up in Australia. As the Australian Customs vessel Oceanic Viking carrying the boat people bobs off Indonesia, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd ramped up his attacks against anyone threatening to enter AustraliaMelbourne Herald Sun

Economic matters

Subsidy rush lays foundations for a building boom – The scene is set for a home construction boom after a record number of Australians rushed to take advantage of the First Home Owners Boost in September before it was reduced from last month – Sydney Morning Herald

Labor losing war on bureaucratic waste as consultants' bill hits $450m – The Rudd government spent $454 million on consultants in 2008-09, an annual increase of 5.6 per cent during a time of supposed public sector austerity, as a new administration increasingly turned to outside experts for policy advice, market research and data – The Australian

Swan urged to ditch deficit – Well-connected global economist David Hale has warned that the Rudd government needs to eliminate its huge budget deficit much quicker than scheduled or risk a massive balance of payments deficit blowout – The Australian


Former Labor premiers show solidarity in supporting Rees - With the ALP facing obliteration at the polls in just 14 months, four former Labor premiers secretly met with Mr Rees yesterday to map out a recovery plan for NSW Labor. It was the first time Neville Wran, Barrie Unsworth, Bob Carr, Morris Iemma, and Nathan Rees - who together represent 26 years of Labor Government in NSW - had met as a group – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Political life

Anna Bligh to cap donations, ban lobbyist success fees – Political donations will be capped and government-owned corporations brought under the jurisdiction of Queensland's corruption watchdog under sweeping integrity reforms. Premier Anna Bligh will today unveil the first wave of measures to clean up the state's accountability, including an Australian-first ban on paying "success fees" to lobbyists – Brisbane Courier Mail

Censorship row over new printing entitlement rules – Kevin Rudd's word police have banned the Opposition from describing his Government as disgraceful, inept and reckless under new printing entitlement regulations – Brisbane Courier Mail

Law and order

Michael McGurk death tapes brought out into the open – An unprecedented special law will be introduced to the NSW Parliament today allowing the ICAC to listen to a secret tape recorded by murdered Sydney businessman Michael McGurk alleging corruption in the Government ranks – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Teenagers could be fined if they smoke - Under a plan proposed by the Australasian Association of Convenience Stores, which represents corner stores and petrol stations, children under 18 would be fined or given a court notice for smoking – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Aboriginal affairs


Last-resort scheme to fill state coffers – The NSW Government may collect a windfall of almost $40 million a year at the expense of home owners, who will be forced by law to buy an insurance product widely derided as worthless – Sydney Morning Herald


Pilger loath to hear the roar of dissent – Gerard Henderson in the Sydney Morning Herald gives the leftie John Pilger a serve.

'ASEAN way' just means standing by uselessly – Peter Hartcher in the Sydney Morning Herald writes that for 32 years, ASEAN nations have boasted of a special spirit of harmony. It was "the ASEAN way" of doing things. In truth, "the ASEAN way" is an Orwellian cover for inaction and ineffectiveness, for tolerating bad policy and worse politics.

God is good, but just be sure not to take Him too literally – Joe Hockey lets us know he is a Christian in a speech to the Sydney Institute parts of which are reprinted in the Sydney Morning Herald

Rudd's trip to India will be no holiday – Daniel Floitton writes in the Melbourne Age that Kevin Rudd himself is one of the biggest obstacles to stronger relations between Australia and India. Or rather, an impression of how Rudd looks at the world is.

As immigration loses its appeal, we must train more workers – Tim Colebath in the Melbourne Age looks into his economist’s crystal ball and concludes we will have to work harder to improve the pathways from school to training to work. We will have to find ways to attract people who have quit their professions or trades to resume them.

Howard's way still figures large in asylum-seeker policy - Donald R. Rothwell, professor of international law at the Australian National University college of law, gives a legal perspective to the plight of the asylum seekers on the Oceanic Viking – The Australian


Axa rejects $11b joint takeover - AMP and France's Axa SA were last night looking to revive talks with Axa Asia Pacific as the superannuation giant holds out for a sweetened offer after rejecting a joint $11 billion takeover bid, in a move that stands to dramatically reshape the nation's superannuation industry – Sydney Morning Herald


Gunns in secret talks with Greens leader to win mill support – Timber company Gunns -- desperate to lure investors to its proposed $2 billion pulp mill -- has begun secretly courting conservationists, holding talks with Greens leader Bob Brown and The Wilderness Society. The Australian has learned both Senator Brown and TWS representatives have in recent months met Gunns management as the company seeks to reduce community opposition to the mill.

Climate row hits boiling point – The Opposition spokesman on emissions trading, Ian Macfarlane, has attacked the National Party's attitude towards rural Australia as he jettisoned any hope of the junior Coalition partner playing any constructive role in emissions trading scheme negotiations – Sydney Morning Herald

Warriors at the coalface - As the greenhouse gas battle heads for the showdown in Copenhagen, Kate Willson reveals how the big energy players are positioning themselves – Sydney Morning Herald

Koala numbers in free fall – Koalas are rapidly vanishing from the Australian bush,and there may be as few as 43,000 left on the mainland, according to the biggest national survey of their populations attempted – Sydney Morning Herald


Conroy defends $1m bill for two communications forums – The federal Communications Department has splurged more than $1 million on two talkfests - for the new broadband network and for the switchover to digital television - amid suggestions that one conference will be a financial failure and the other will short-change regional viewers – Sydney Morning Herald


And death

Sharing graves mooted as cemeteries fill up – The dead could be dug up and reinterred with another corpse 50 years after death under a policy being considered by the State Government to address Sydney's shortage of cemetery space – Sydney Morning Herald

Animal welfare

Weasel words on poultry, pork labels – Misleading marketing and deliberately deceptive labels are being used by large producers to con consumers into thinking they are buying ethically produced food – Sydney Morning Herald

Ministers allow ritual slaughter – The religious ritual slaughter of conscious animals will be allowed to continue at some Australian abattoirs, after a decision by federal and state agriculture ministers – Melbourne Age

Aussie rules

Free kick leads to brawl with knives and axes – Rival supporters wielding axes and spears turned on each other during an Australian rules football game on Groote Eylandt off the coast of the Northern Territory. The trouble began when an umpire awarded a free kick. The decision upset an opposing player who threw the football at the player who had been awarded the free kick, police said. When another player became involved, the situation ''deteriorated into the large scale disturbance'', police said – Melbourne Age

The drink

Our drink problems 'worst in Australia' – Booze has killed and seriously injured more people in the Northern Territory per capita than in any other jurisdiction, according to a new report. The study by the National Drug Research Institute showed the Territory was unable to control its drinking problem – Northern Territory News


Students fail to meet job standards – Minimum literacy and numeracy standards in schools are set too low, and are substantially below the level of skills deemed necessary to enter the workforce. The Council of Australian Governments Reform Council says while 90 per cent of students nationally meet minimum standards set for schools, about half of all people of working age fail to meet the level governments consider necessary in the workforce – The Australian
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