Saturday, 14 November 2009

Media wrap: Rudd's barbecue plan hits a snag is headline of the morning





Our newest Australians leave the boat - Twenty-two Sri Lankans on the Oceanic Viking disembarked yesterday and were transferred to a detention centre in Tanjung Pinang - Sydney Morning Herald

Rudd denies special deal on asylum - Australian officials halved the processing times offered to most of the 78 Sri Lankans on the Oceanic Viking during negotiations to convince them to come ashore - Melbourne Age

Deadlock broken as 22 go ashore - The deadlock aboard the Oceanic Viking was broken late yesterday when 22 Sri Lankan men left the Australian Customs vessel, amid warnings from Indonesia that they would be deported back to their home country if they were found not to be refugees - The Australian

No deals on asylum: Rudd - The Prime Minister said the offer made to those on board the Australian Customs vessel, 22 of whom agreed to go ashore last night, was in line with Australia's international obligations concerning the handling of asylum-seekers and subsequent resettlement of refugees - The Australian

Detainees shunted from school- Plans are under way to separate asylum-seeker children on Christmas Island from local children by teaching them at purpose-built classrooms away from the school grounds - The Australian

Turnbull 'safe haven' visa plan under fire - Opposition  Leader Malcolm Turnbull's plan to reinstate temporary visas for refugees has been condemned by lawyers, moderates in his own party, the Greens and the Government.- Melbourne Age

Kamahl - 'I was an illegal immigrant' - Entertainer Kamahl has admitted he started life in Australia as an illegal immigrant after overstaying his visa - with a little help from Rupert Murdoch - Adelaide Advertiser


Rudd's barbecue plan hits a snag- The Prime Minister has been left with smoke in his eyes over the withdrawal of a press release promising barbecues for Indian students, moments before yesterday's press conference in Delhi over criminal attacks in Australia. The release unveiled a new program - to be run by Rotary Australia - in which Indian students would be invited for barbecues with Australian families as a gesture of inclusion. Mr Rudd claims the barbecues were a Rotary idea, while the organisation says the plan came from Mr Rudd's office. And like Indian students, Rotary says barbecues are not an ideal welcoming gesture as most Indians are vegetarian - Melbourne Age

Why no students on dinner guest list- For a brief moment today Sydney time it seemed the Government had a new strategy to soften the controversy over attacks on Indians studying in Australia. It was a plan to use Rotary to invite students from the sub-continent to have dinner with Australian families to better get to know their hosts, and their hosts them. A press release under the joint sponsorship of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Education Minister Julia Gillard was drafted, and a few were even circulated to reporters travelling with Mr Rudd in India. But suddenly they were withdrawn - Sydney Daily Telegraph


Rudd gains softer in marginals - Kevin Rudd has gained ground in key marginal seats in his home state of Queensland, putting Labor in the frame to improve its position at the next election despite voter concern about the government's handling of asylum-seekers, emissions trading and telecommunications - The Australian

Economic matters 

PM sat on fence in cabinet book row- Kevin Rudd absented himself from the cabinet debate and decision about cheaper book imports and played no direct role in one of the tightest cabinet decisions of his government. Julia Gillard chaired the cabinet meeting. Cabinet was so closely divided that the Deputy Prime Minister said at the end of the discussion there was no clear view - The Australian


MPs can't escape party donors - NSW Treasurer Eric Roozendaal says politicians have little choice but to buy property from developers who have donated to political parties, so entrenched have donations become in Sydney. Mr Roozendaal said this after investigations by The Weekend Australian found he and federal minister Mark Arbib in 2003 had bought luxury beach-suburb townhouses from a prominent Sydney businessman who manages a company that has been a generous donor to the ALP.

Tripodi plan hits smaller retailers - The NSW ministers Joe Tripodi and Kristina Keneally plan to push through laws to give big developers and supermarkets free rein to open stores. Under the plan, no consideration would have to be given to the effects on small businesses or the proximity of other shops when decisions are made to approve large new stores - Sydney Morning Herald


Western train put back on track after massive government spending - The State Government will spend $1.3 billion building a new train line for 300,000 commuters as part of a massive public transport spend funded by the sale of assets - Sydney Daily Telegraph

Axed $1.3b south-west rail link revived- The Premier, Nathan Rees, plans to mark his first appearance as leader at the state Labor conference today by announcing that work will start next year on the $1.36 billion south-west rail link - Sydney Morning Herald

Industrial relations

Engineers strike will not stop flights: Qantas - Qantas  has moved to reassure passengers that an engineers strike would not ground flights and travellers could check departure times on mobile phones and its website.- Sydney Morning Herald

Jetstar threat to hire offshore - Qantas offshoot Jetstar has threatened to recruit cabin staff offshore if intervention by Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard in an overhaul of workplace awards leaves the low-cost carrier unable to compete against overseas airlines - The Australian

Political life

MLCs pass integrity Bill- Laws to establish an integrity commission have passed the Tasmanian Upper House. But major amendments mean they will have to return to the House of Assembly next week - Hobart Mercury

Aboriginal affairs

Aboriginals suffer as health money sits idle- Not one cent of the almost $20 million the Barnett Government committed this financial year to closing the gap in Aboriginal health has been spent - The West Australian

Freedom of information

Ban on school league tables illegal, minister told- The state Education Minister, Verity Firth, has warned that laws passed by the Opposition introducing $55,000 fines for newspapers which publish comparisons of school results are likely to end up in the High Court, after receiving legal advice the legislation may be unconstitutional - Sydney Morning Herald

Political sports

Sports review backs funding games we're actually good at - A suite of niche Olympic sports - including fencing, archery, wrestling and synchronised swimming - face the possible loss of government funding as part of a radical plan to forge a new era of global success. A Rudd Government review suggests putting a funding "emphasis" on a smaller group of sports. These include swimming, hockey, cricket and football codes - where Australia ranks among the world's best - Sydney Daily Telegraph

Bid for soccer world cup puts struggling NRL clubs at risk - Rugby league officials fear the Federal Government will introduce legislation to ban the State of Origin and other big matches for two months - threatening the future of several clubs - if Australia wins its $45 million bid to host the soccer World Cup in 2018 or 2022 - Sydney Morning Herald


Voter fury will hurt, says Labor - Tasmanian Premier David Bartlett has conceded he may have used up his chances to win over voters before the March state election. However, Mr Bartlett rejected suggestions he did not have the full support of his party after a demoralising poll result this week that put the Liberals clearly ahead of Mr Bartlett's Labor - Hobart Mercury

Nile stands nine in byelection 'abuse'The Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group) yesterday nominated nine candidates for the Bradfield byelection in a manoeuvre which is designed to boost its vote but was slammed by an electoral expert as an abuse of the system - Sydney Morning Herald

Oust Hayes and you'll lose Werriwa, union leaders warn LaborNSW union leaders have warned federal Labor that the party risks losing the safe seat of Werriwa if it ousts the sitting MP, Chris Hayes, amid a growing public backlash - Sydney Morning Herald


Latest Liberal game is to turn on Turnbull - Laurie Oakes in the Sydney Daily Telegraph says what thMinchinites did on the ABC to Malcolm Turnbull came close to political treachery.

Divide and conquer highway hell - Miranda Devine in the Sydney Morning Herald writes how the central idea of totalitarian democracies is the perfectibility of human nature on earth. Eventually, with the right "system" - and enough rules and penalties to steer puny citizens in the right direction - we will achieve a nirvana of social justice, equality, peace and harmony.

Marginal voters have eye on rates - Voters in the six Queensland marginal electorates polled by The Weekend Australian don't like what Kevin Rudd is doing with asylum-seekers or Telstra or the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, but they like what's happening with interest rates and that seems to be what counts, writes Lenore Taylor

Consumers will force books rethink - Bob Carr explains in The Australian that we should forget  the Australian writers. Don't credit the campaign of the so-called local publishers, most of whom are foreign-owned. Federal cabinet quailed at opening the Australian book market -- it was a line-ball decision -- because of a single printing plant in the marginal federal electorate of Bendigo.

It's not Rudd's strength but his weakness that matters - Paul Kelly writes in The Australian that there seems no end to paradoxes Rudd has wrought. His control over his government is driven by a compulsive, activist and driven personality yet Rudd has neither remade the Labor Party nor recast its policy or philosophy. Indeed, Rudd accommodates himself to the party as much as the party accommodates itself to Rudd.

Region a work in progress - Can any of you remember a protracted period when Indonesia, its actions and concerns and thus its relationship with Australia were not major issues? asks Peter Cosgrove in The Australian. In his opinion, it is far and away our most complex and important regional relationship.

Bad policy threatens good deficit - Kevin Rudd's fraying economic reform pretensions look more serious given the prospect of our biggest balance of payments deficit for at least half a century writes Michael Stutchbury in The Australian

Little point in postponing a greener economy - Mike Steketee in The Australian writes that stabilising greenhouse gases to limit global warming to 2C or slightly more requires global carbon dioxide emissions to peak within six years, according to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. What would they know? After all, the IPCC is informed only by 4000 or so internationally recognised scientific experts and they are part of a monstrous conspiracy to impose world government. But for those of us who have trouble believing that or even just think it is not worth taking the risk, the future suddenly seems very close.

Divorce would be suicide for Coalition - The temperature in the federal Coalition is at boiling point. It is a distinct possibility that the Liberal and National parties could go their separate ways, just as they did ahead of the ill-fated 1987 election campaign during the ill-conceived "Joh for PM" push. Whatever the disagreements among Liberals and Nationals, it would be absolute folly for the conservative side of politics if the Coalition were to disintegrate, and it would hurt the Liberal Party at least as much as it would the Nationals - Peter van Onselen in The Australian

A shape-shifter in the Lodge - Just when we think we're getting to know Kevin Rudd, he goes and changes again, writes Annabel Crabb in the Sydney Morning Herald


Deloitte survey shows gloom for wineries - The full extent of the wine sector's troubles has been revealed in a survey showing that more than half of Australia's wineries are making losses or inadequate return - Brisbane Courier Mail

Tax office says $680m Myer haul likey lost - The Australian Tax Office has admitted it has little hope of clawing back the $452 million Myer share sale proceeds sent offshore in the past week by global private equity company TPG. And despite hitting the Cayman Islands-based TPG parent company with an extra $226m penalty for being involved in an alleged tax avoidance scheme, the tax office is unlikely to be paid that money either without setting off on a worldwide legal chase - The Australian

Taxman put the Reserve on edge - In failing miserably to ring-fence the $1.58 billion profit that Texas Pacific Group generated from the Myer float, the Australian Taxation Office inadvertently triggered alarm at the Reserve Bank over the liquidity of the Australian payments system - The Australian


Sea levels threaten 250,000 homesAlmost 250,000 homes, now worth up to $63 billion, will be "at risk of inundation" by the end of the century, under "worst-case but plausible" predictions of rising sea levels. The study -- released ahead of the crucial Senate vote on Labor's emissions trading scheme -- modelled the effect of a 1.1m sea-level rise on cities and towns around Australia - The Australian

Climate change perfect storm threatens NSW coast, report warns - Climate change's version of the perfect storm would leave up to 62,000 NSW coastal homes devastated by flooding, a Federal Government investigation has warned - Sydney Daily Telegraph

Dykes may be vital in stemming Venice effect - Dykes, seawalls and other barriers may have to be built to save thousands of coastal properties, many of them in Sydney and Melbourne, according to a landmark study. - Sydney Morning Herald

$10bn worth of coastal homes at risk - Rising sea levels threaten to damage homes worth up to $10 billion along Victoria's coast, flood the St Kilda foreshore and put key industries at risk by 2100, landmark Government research warns - Melbourne Age

Defiant Minchin stands by his words - Liberal heavyweight Nick Minchin has brushed off attacks from Coalition colleagues after questioning the science behind climate change on prime-time television. A defiant opposition Senate leader yesterday returned from a parliamentary delegation visit to Taiwan and declared he stood by his comments earlier this week on ABC's Four Corners program on climate change, despite criticism from his own side over his "bloody unhelpful" and "uninformed" views - The Australian

Taxpayers to fund the Traveston sell back - Taxpayers are unlikely to recoup the $600 million the State Government spent on the Traveston dam project, according to property industry figure - Brisbane Courier Mail


Consumer affairs

Food labels designed to con parents - As part of the marketing spin companies use to spruik products, food is being portrayed as healthy, tricking consumers into believing what they are eating is good for them. The Parents Jury along with The Children's Hospital at Westmead paediatric dietician Susie Burrell have criticised companies for the misleading approach and want them to take responsibility - Sydney Daily Telegraph

Child care

Childcare operators notified of unhygienic conditions - Shocking conditions have been uncovered in Queensland childcare centres, including animal faeces in play areas, floors in danger of collapse, dangerous play equipment and loose wires - Brisbane Courier Mail

The drink

Wine to stay as low as $2 a bottle as industry cuts production - Wine lovers will enjoy record low prices for months to come as the industry struggles to cope with its biggest glut in two decades. A report released this week says the industry needs to reduce production by 20 per cent - Melbourne Herald Sun


Water restriction relief days away - A decision  to ease water restrictions is expected to be announced next week, bringing some relief for Adelaide's parched gardens - Adelaide Advertiser


Heatwave threat to power prices - SA consumers face steep electricity price rises as generators reap huge profits from "gigantic price spikes and gigantic demand" blamed on airconditioners - Adelkaide Advertiser
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