Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Media wrap: High Court rules drinkers responsible for their own intoxication





Electoral spending, political donations face tighter rulesQueensland voters will be spared electoral advertising blitzes in the biggest overhaul of the state's political funding rules in decades. Extravagant electoral spending is set to be reined in and much tighter controls introduced over how political parties receive donations. The Bligh Government will also consider a cap on all campaign expenditure, restrictions on "parallel campaigns" by third parties such as unions and a significant increase in public funding for political parties – Brisbane Courier Mail

Parties focus on Light electorate – Gawler has seen its third Cabinet meeting in the past six years - an indication of just how important retaining the semi-rural seat is for the Labor Government. On Monday, Premier Mike Rann and Transport Minister Patrick Conlon held a press conference to announce moves to significantly upgrade the railway line to Gawler and other ministers made a series of public appearances in the area – Adelaide Advertiser

Political life

Behind the facade of Kevin Rudd - fact that the Prime Minister swears a lot has become common knowledge after various news reports such as his outburst towards a RAAF flight attendant. But the pattern of behaviour is nothing new to many in the media who have known Kevin Rudd over the years. And that's the side of the Prime Minister so at odds with his image in the public – The Australian

Politicians face tougher scrutiny, online forums – An upper house will not be restored in Queensland but the state's political leaders face tougher scrutiny of their actions in public office under wide-ranging integrity reforms. From next year, ministers, MPs and public servants will have to publicly declare any gift they receive worth more than $150 and there will be more stringent requirements to ensure politicians' pecuniary interests are properly declared – Brisbane Courier Mail

Law and order

Nathan Rees escapes caucus revolt over Michael McGurk death tapes – Premier Nathan Rees narrowly escaped a humiliating defeat in his own caucus yesterday over his plans to allow the ICAC to use the McGurk tapes as part of a corruption investigation – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Blame falls on drinkers in High Court judgment - High Court has dramatically shifted the responsibility for drunken actions on to the individual, ruling that the nation's publicans have no general duty of care to protect patrons from the consequences of getting drunk – The Australian

Publican cleared of drink-drive death responsibility – A publican spoke of his relief last night after a landmark decision in the nation's highest court finally cleared him of blame over a drunk motorcyclist's death. The High Court yesterday upheld the appeal of the Tandara Motor Inn at Triabunna, on Tasmania's east coast, over the death of Shane Scott in 2002. The court found drinkers, not the publicans who served them, were responsible for the consequences of their own intoxication – Adelaide Advertiser


Deadline set on asylum ship Oceanic Viking – The standoff with Sri Lankan asylum seekers on board an Australian Customs vessel off Indonesia could come to head on Friday – Brisbane Courier Mail

Philippines solution to Sri Lankan asylum-seeker crisis – The Rudd government is exploring plans to sail the Customs vessel Oceanic Viking to a detention centre in The Philippines or to Christmas Island as hopes fade for a deal to end the three-week standoff – The Australian

Ban Tamil Tigers, Sri Lanka urges – Officials in Sri Lanka are urging Australia to ban the militant group the Tamil Tigers and strike a clear distinction between genuine refugees and economic opportunists – The Australian

Brother speaks up for 'Alex' – The Toronto-based older brother of Sri Lankan asylum-seeker Sanjeev "Alex" Kuhendrarajah has dismissed as "bogus" claims by the government in Colombo that both men are involved in people-smuggling – The Australian

NZ snubs Rudd on asylum seekersNew Zealand has rejected an approach from the Rudd Government to take any of the 78 asylum seekers refusing to leave a customs ship moored off IndonesiaSydney Morning Herald

Baillieu weighs in on Vanstone visa case – State Opposition leader Ted Baillieu would refer the cash-for-visa scandal involving former Howard government immigration minister Amanda Vanstone and three sitting federal Liberal politicians to the anti-corruption commission he has promised to establish if elected premier next year – Melbourne Age


Rudd's $940m bill for consultants' advice – The Rudd government has awarded $940 million in new consultancy contracts for policy advice, research and audits since winning office two years ago. The cost of the high-priced consultants' work is equivalent to the wages and salaries bill of the 1000-strong federal Treasury for almost 12 years. Labor has increasingly turned to private sector advisers, academics and experts to flesh out its policy agenda – The Australian


Gillard urges parents to confront schools – Education Minister Julia Gillard is pushing her "Education Revolution", urging parents to confront their child's school and demand improvements if standards slip. Announcing a controversial new website that allows parents and funding bodies to compare school performance on reading, writing and arithmetic across the country, Ms Gillard, who is also Acting Prime Minister, said the information would give parents not only greater choice, but the evidence they need to insist on improvements – Adelaide Advertiser

Schools' report cards unveiled – Julia Gillard has lifted the veil on the long-awaited school report cards that will reveal unprecedented levels of information about every school in the nation. The Deputy Prime Minister showed off the controversial report cards - which will be published on a website called My School - to 150 principals, in Canberra to discuss the Government's education agenda – Melbourne Age

Economic matters

Interest rate hike to follow jobs rate rise – Analysts say a December interest rate hike is now a ''live'' possibility after data showing businesses more confident than at any time since 2002 and keener to hire workers than before the global financial crisis – Melbourne Age


Report exposes army's deep flaws – Every so often a government agency presents a public report that is startling in its frankness. Last week defence boss Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston released such a document, by retired Vice-Admiral Chris Ritchie, into the death in Afghanistan of Lieutenant Michael Fussell – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Local Government

State a law unto itself on city planning – A ‘sardine city' is emerging in Townsville as the State Government builds public housing that blatantly contravenes council's city plan. Overcrowding, a lack of car parks, building too close to neighbours and the front boundary are among the regulations that have been disregarded in at least four proposed developments – Townsville Bulletin

Councils want to charge tourists for visits to the Blue Mountains - A tourist tax is proposed for the Blue Mountains, alongside a raft of money-raising plans, including asking travellers to donate to council coffers as well as rolling out more parking meters in popular tourist destinations – Sydney Daily Telegraph


Cabinet to back status quo on books – Authors, book publishers and unions are expected to secure a win over the big book retailing chains in their campaign to maintain restrictions on imports of cheaper foreign-published books – Sydney Morning Herald


64 SA jobs to go as National Foods plans factory closure – The loss of 64 jobs and the end of juice production at National Foods' Riverland factory has struck at the heart of a region reliant on its citrus industry. The factory in Berri will close by next June, after the company ruled it unviable – Adelaide Advertiser

More factory closures on the wayAustralia’s manufacturing sector faces further heavy job losses and factory closures similar to Bridgestone Tyres, a leading Rudd Government adviser has warned. Two of the country's most powerful union leaders have also called on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to do more to protect a struggling sector that has shed 77,000 jobs in the last year – Adelaide Advertiser

Industrial relations

Airport staff bag Jetstar over luggage – Unions are threatening to impose bans on the loading and unloading of bags on Jetstar flights throughout the Oceania region unless the Qantas subsidiary addresses concerns over alleged security lapses at Sydney airport – The Australian


Oh, what a lovely recession … for comfortable old folks – Ross Gittins in the Sydney Morning Herald warns the young that politicians run the economy for the benefit of the old not for them. That's because the middle-aged and old are a bigger and more demanding group of voters. The less interest young people take in politics, the more they're likely to be screwed.

On the road to oblivion – Paul Kelly writes in The Australian that there is a growing nexus in climate change politics: as prospects recede for a treaty to limit greenhouse gas emissions, conservative Australia sinks into deeper ideological divisions over mitigation policy.

How much will political integrity cost our state? – Steven Wardill in the Brisbane Courier Mail writes how Queenslanders are now facing the crucial question of what price they are willing to pay for political integrity.

We demand all the facts – Andrew Bolt in the Melbourne Herald Sun describes how much of the media in Australia seemed reluctant to point out that the psychiatrist who shot 13 soldiers at Fort Hood was a Muslim. The desire to turn this massacre into another example of the evil of America's wars and meanness to Muslims was overwhelming.

At last I've been singled out by the PM – Andrew Bolt in the Melbourne Herald Sun on finally making it – being one of four Australians Kevin Rudd says have joined a global cabal plotting to stop him from saving you.

Barry Brook - Follow Britain's lead on nuclear power – Professor Barry Brook writes in the Adelaide Advertiser that whether you are primarily concerned about climate change, or energy security, the British Government's choice to build 10 new large nuclear power stations by 2025 should come as welcome news. Nuclear power is the only proven electricity generation technology that can simultaneously meet reliable baseload demand, anywhere, and yet emit no carbon dioxide when operating.

Greenpeace outlines its alternative to nuclear energy – Steve Campbell of Greenpeace argues in the Adelaide Advertiser that nuclear power has no future in Australia. This is not ideology, this is common sense for the environment and the economy.

Smell of appeasement surrounds asylum-seeker deal – Amanda Hodge in The Australian  writes that the Australian government came to Sri Lanka this week bearing gifts in the hope of winning co-operation in its bid to reduce asylum-seeker numbers. One was material: $11 million towards de-mining the former northern conflict zone and resettling about 250,000 civilians still held behind razor wire in internally displaced people (IDP) camps. The other was less tangible: rhetoric that pandered to the Sri Lankan view that most asylum-seekers are Tamil Tigers seeking to reinvigorate the separatist struggle from distant shores. Both bore the whiff of appeasement.

The unreasoning fearmongers - Janet Albrechtsen argues in The Australian that the Left’s penchant for emotion blinds them to the success of an immigration compact that’s accepted by both sides of politics.



Bilfinger Berger Australia to list on the Australian Securities Exchange – The company that built Brisbane's Story Bridge, the Sydney Opera House and Queensland's famous Hornibrook Highway, looks set to list on the Australian Securities Exchange with a $1.5 billion-plus float – Brisbane Courier Mail

Industry chiefs warn wine glut will double – The Australian wine industry has a surplus of 100 million cases a year, which is expected to double within two years. In a major new report, the four key industry organisations have called on growers to solve the sector's problems themselves, rather than think it can trade its way out or rely on government intervention – Adelaide Advertiser

Global oil supply 'far worse than admitted' – The world is much closer to running out of oil than official estimates admit, says a whistleblower at the International Energy Agency who claims it has been deliberately underplaying a looming shortage for fear of triggering panic buying – Melbourne Age


Traveston Dam protesters to fight on as decision looms - Peter Garrett, who has already rejected three significant projects planned for Queensland in as many months, will today fly to Brisbane and confront a political problem three years in the making. Waiting anxiously for the decision will be Carolyn Kreutz and fellow protesters from from the Save The Mary Valley Co-ordinating Group – Brisbane Courier Mail

Lib's climate turmoil – A bitter emissions trading catfight has broken out in the Coalition in the latest embarrassment for Malcolm Turnbull – Melbourne Herald Sun

Row over sceptics hits climate ETS talks – An escalating political row over the views of outspoken Coalition climate change sceptics is threatening ongoing negotiations between the government and opposition over Labor's emissions trading legislation – The Australian


Fairfax board grilled over pay, governance – Fairfax Media was forced to declare a poll for shareholders to consider its remuneration report for a second year running as it faced the prospect of a protest vote over a $4.1 million golden parachute paid to former chief executive David Kirk. Corporate governance was another common concern of shareholders at yesterday's annual meeting, at which Fairfax's outgoing chairman, Ron Walker, and long-serving director Julia King were surprise no-shows – The Australian

Broadband blackspots to get wireless service - An initiative launched yesterday by the Federal Government utilising wireless technology should ease problems in internet blackspots – Adelaide Advertiser


Shark patrols

Government backflips over shark air patrol - The State Government yesterday announced a trial of aerial surveillance, despite last year dismissing warnings of worrying high shark numbers seen by a privately-funded air patrol – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Weather forecasts

Earlier alert system for severe weatherQueensland towns will get an early warning of severe weather and natural disasters via emails and SMS from a world-first monitoring system. Townsville City Council was the first in Australia to adopt the Early Warning Network (EWN), an opt-in service that sends alerts 30 minutes ahead of severe weather by a variety of electronic channels, including email, SMS and landline phones – Brisbane Courier Mail


Vaughan Johnson hits out at overseas-born taxi drivers – An Opposition MP has criticised overseas-born taxi drivers and questioned whether some illegally share the same licence because they "all look the same". Speaking in State Parliament, LNP MP Vaughan Johnson lashed out at taxi drivers who did not know their way around Brisbane – Brisbane Courier Mail

The drink

Authorities banning drink promoters who spruik free alcohol – The blowtorch has been turned on dodgy drink promoters who spruik free drinks for women and events such as "no undie Sunday". Twenty promotions have been banned this year, including one at Hastings' Kings Creek Hotel offering women free drinks, and a promotion at Cho Gao, at Melbourne Central, offering free champagne for women – Melbourne Herald Sun

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