Saturday, 21 November 2009

Media wrap -



Abbott sparks Liberal leadership speculation – Speculation is rife that Liberal frontbencher Tony Abbott has begun repositioning to succeed Malcolm Turnbull as the rift over climate change threatens to consume the embattled Opposition Leader. Mr Turnbull faces a crucial test as negotiations edge towards a compromise deal with the Government which many Liberals already have pledged to reject – Adelaide Advertiser

Turnbull threatens to dump rebels – Malcolm Turnbull will enforce a rule to sack from the frontbench anyone who dissents from party policy as he hits back at a renewed assault on his leadership caused by the emissions trading scheme. Should he survive the week, his supporters are urging him to reshuffle his frontbench next month and reward those who have stood by him – Sydney Morning Herald

Turnbull takes aim at Abbott – Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull has taken aim at Liberal frontbencher Tony Abbott's flip-flopping on emissions trading, as the row sparked fresh leadership speculation. ''Tony has expressed a number of views, each of which is at odds with the view he expressed before,'' Mr Turnbull said, after Mr Abbott, who previously said the legislation should be passed, argued at shadow cabinet that it should be opposed – Melbourne Age

Saving his own neck - For the first time in his premiership, Nathan Rees this week looked like a leader. But were voters listening? Andrew Clennell investigates in the Sydney Morning Herald


No evidence of government corruption in Michael McGurk inquiry – A NSW Parliamentary inquiry has failed to uncover any evidence of government corruption or links to the murder of Sydney businessman Michael McGurk. It made sweeping recommendations to the reform of political donations in NSW and rules governing contact between political lobbyists and government officials – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Cundall refuses to be silenced – Peter Cundall has vowed to continue the fight against the Gunns pulp mill, despite his arrest on Thursday. He was one of 57 people arrested for demonstrating on the steps of Parliament House. An angry Mr Cundall said he would fight the charge of failing to comply with the direction of a police officer. He was also annoyed about "harsh" police bail conditions which ban him from visiting Hobart until the case goes to court in February – Hobart Mercury

Economic matters

Public shuns government's home saver accounts – The Federal Government forecast $4 billion would be deposited in First Home Saver accounts by 2012, but the scheme has had a very slow start with just $41 million deposited after its first nine months, according to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority – Sydney Morning Herald

Scientists nudge, wink at tax reform - CSIRO scientists have urged the Treasury Secretary, Ken Henry, to use the insights of ''nudge theory'' - the idea that governments should (gently) push citizens into making better personal decisions - when redesigning the nation's tax and welfare system – Sydney Morning Herald

Political life

Woman linked to Rann assault says 'there was sex involved' – The woman named as a key figure in the alleged assault on Premier Mike Rann says she has to "come clean" because she is "tired of the lies". Michelle Chantelois, the estranged wife of Burnside businessman Richard Phillips, will reveal details of her relationship with Mr Rann on Channel Seven's Sunday Night program – Adelaide Advertiser

Author Mem Fox's husband, Malcolm Fox, on teen sex charges – The father of up-and-coming State Labor MP Chloe Fox has been charged with sex offences against a teenage boy which date back to the 1980s. Malcolm Arthur Fox, 64, of Brighton, yesterday pleaded not guilty in the Adelaide Magistrates Court to 10 counts of un- lawful sexual intercourse by a guardian or teacher. He is the husband of 40 years of renowned author Mem Fox, who has written numerous children's books including the best-selling classic, Possum Magic – Adelaide Advertiser

Barnett's 'sidelined' chief of staff set to quit - Speculation is rife that Deidre Willmott, the woman who stepped aside to allow Colin Barnett to become Premier, then scored the key job as his chief of staff, is set to quit just 15 months into a four-year term. And in another major shake-up, the head of the Government Media Office, Paul Plowman, is expected to leave as part of an extensive overhaul of the GMO – The West Australian


Liberals identify water as key Rann weakness - Parliament has only three sitting days remaining before the Christmas break and it will not return until after the March election. The Opposition is running out of time to land a killer blow on the Labor Government but, it must be said, over the past week the Government has appeared to be on the back, rather than the front, foot. It appeared to be reacting to the Liberals on water restrictions, on Tasers, looking uncomfortable on both occasions – Adelaide Advertiser

Obscene anti-Muslim emails put Nile on the defensive – Abusive emails written by the son of the campaign manager of the Christian Democratic Party containing anti-Muslim and homophobic comments have embarrassed the party's president, the Reverend Fred Nile, only two weeks before the December 5 Bradfield byelection, in which the party will field nine candidates – Sydney Morning Herald

Political web traps Bartlett - David Bartlett has been caught out putting political advertising on his taxpayer-funded website. A video on featuring Labor candidates in Bothwell was removed yesterday, only after the Mercury contacted the Government media unit – Hobart Mercury


Rudd has little to fear from polls - Six weeks ago, on the weekend of September 30-October 1, before anyone had heard of the Oceanic Viking, Newspoll put Rudd’s satisfaction rating at 67 per cent and his dissatisfaction rating at 24 per cent. In the three Newspolls that followed, Rudd shed a little more skin each time. By last weekend, the score was 56 per cent to 34 per cent. In other words, his net rating - the gap between those who like and loathe him - had almost halved from plus 43 per cent to plus 22 per cent. Scary stuff until you consider the unpublished splits for Labor and Coalition voters. Rudd’s net rating among Labor voters has barely moved. It was plus 84 per cent six weeks ago, now it is plus 81 per cent. All the loathing has been on the Coalition side. His net rating among those who were already voting Liberal or National was minus 13 per cent six weeks ago; now it is minus 38 per cent – The Australian


Don't dump your boat people on usIndonesia has declared it won't be a dumping ground for refugees bound for Australia, as another group of asylum seekers was intercepted. With the four-week stand-off over the 78 Sri Lankans on board Australian Customs ship Oceanic Viking at an end, Indonesia's foreign affairs minister said there was no deal with Australia on refugees – Melbourne Herald Sun

Share asylum burden, Indonesians plead – Indonesia has begun negotiating a new arrangement to handle asylum seekers with the Rudd Government as the country's foreign affairs minister called on Australia to ''share the burden'' of immigrants streaming through the archipelago – Sydney Morning Herald

Labor MP slates Rudd's asylum solution - Labor MP Julia Irwin has slammed her party's handling of the Oceanic Viking affair, saying Kevin Rudd's "Indonesia solution" is worse than John Howard's Pacific version – The Australian

Gun laws

National plan to outlaw fake guns – New national gun laws will outlaw imitation firearms unless shooters hold a special licence to own them. The move follows a series of attacks using replica a guns – Sydney Daily Telegraph


Police raids in RBA probe – Federal police have raided the homes of executives from a Reserve Bank of Australia company as part of an international bribery investigation – Melbourne Age

Health and hospitals

State looks to 'buy' surgery – The State Government is considering buying more surgery from private hospitals in an attempt to make up for critical problems in the public health system. But doctors have criticised the plan as short-sighted, saying it should not be adopted as a substitute for investing in public hospitals – Melbourne Age

Public service

Pull up your socks, bureaucrats told – Kevin Rudd has called on the Australian Public Service to improve its service delivery, policy development and recruitment planning after Australia's bureaucrats were found to lag their international colleagues in key performance areas. Releasing a KPMG report that compared nine public services, the Prime Minister said the APS needed to become "more strategic and forward-looking, more outward-looking and more citizen-centred". "To quote the report, the APS has 'some way to go if it is to realise its ambition to be best in the world'," Mr Rudd said – The Australian


Liberal malcontents blooming in the heat – Laurie Oakes in the Sydney Daily Telegraph writes that how Tony Abbott has joined the Minchinites, arguing in Shadow Cabinet that the Coalition should block emissions trading legislation in the Senate even if negotiations with the Government produce a compromise deal. "Who's going to win the fight - Minchin or Malcolm Turnbull?" That was the question members of the parliamentary press gallery were asking each other yesterday. The answer is unclear. What is clear, though, is that if Minchin wins, the Liberal Party loses. Even if Turnbull prevails, Minchin has done massive damage to the party.

Getting close to an editor, Rudd risks paper cuts – Peter Hartcher in the Sydney Morning Herald looks at strains in the friendship between the Prime Minister and the editor of The Australian.

Sorry, I have a nagging doubt – Annabel Crabb in the Sydney Morning Herald considers the different reactions to an apology this week to whites and a previous one to blacks.

The burden of being Rudd - Two years in, Labor is delivering on many of its election promises, yet there is little affection for the PM. Even on his own side he is respected but not revered, writes Shaun Carney in the Melbourne Age

Dogged crusader - Senator Nick Xenophon wants an inquiry into the Church of Scientology and, based on his record, he just may get it says Katharine Murphy in the Melbourne Age

High Australian dollar product of our fortunate economic state – Ross Gittins in the Melbourne Age argues that while it would be nice to blame our uncomfortably high dollar on wicked speculation - implying there is something our Government could or should do to stop it - don't kid yourself. Our high exchange rate is simply a mixed blessing produced by the fortunate position we find ourselves in.

Turnbull locks in wriggle room – Malcolm Turnbull is hanging tough with the government and his own party writes Jennifer Hewett in The Australian. He still wants a deal on the emissions trading scheme and remains confident he can get it through the party room next week. But he is leaving himself the wriggle room necessary to remain leader of a divided party.

Policy divide has only one outcome – Dennis Shanahan in The Australian says the Liberal Party stands on an unprecedented fault line over the ETS. It is a divide that threatens to split the Liberals into permanently warring camps and leave Malcolm Turnbull's leadership untenable.


Botched tax raid will only cost us foreign investment – The Australian Tax Office's dramatic swoop on the TPG Myer account 10 days ago is almost comical in the scale of its ineptitude. The account had a grand total of $45 left -- not even enough for a pair of shoes in a Myer throwout sale. But the much greater fiasco is still playing out. It lies in the ATO's clumsy trampling on the very complicated principles and tax policy involved, including internationally accepted rules and treaties on tax liability – The Australian

Revenge of the dude - ASIC has egg on its face, James and Lachlan are filthy, but the One.Tel saga may not be over for Jodee Rich, writes Elisabeth Sexton in the Sydney Morning Herald


Climate change negotiations hit stumbling block – Climate change negotiations between the Rudd Government and the Opposition have hit a stumbling block just days before an agreement was to be taken to the Coalition party room. But problems at the negotiating table are being dwarfed by the groundswell of climate-change sceptics and growing speculation that Malcolm Turnbull's leadership could be challenged by Liberal frontbencher Tony Abbott – Brisbane Courier Mail

Malcolm Turnbull confident of ETS deal – Anti-emissions trading scheme forces within the Coalition are ramping up their demands in a bid to make it impossible for the Liberal Party to back a climate change deal with the government, as the issue reignites speculation over the leadership of Malcolm Turnbull. But the Liberal leader believes that he can win party support for an emissions trading deal if the Rudd government makes enough concessions for him to be able to recommend it – The Australian


Google to challenge Microsoft and Apple – Google’s new operating system, which is designed to bypass computer hard drives and work via the internet, got its first public preview on Thursday – Sydney Morning Herald

Australian content waived for new TV – Commercial television's digital multi-channels will not need to show a minute of Australian content after Communications Minister Stephen Conroy declared rules requiring main channels to show local material would not apply – Melbourne Age

Lane calls it quits on ABC to join rival – Football’s radio merry-go-round continued last night when Tim Lane, one of Australia's most respected sporting broadcasters, quit the ABC after more than 30 years, to join 3AW – Melbourne Age


Law and order

Motorist hit with beer can runs over attacker – A motorist who had his jaw broken when a full beer can was hurled at him turned his four-wheel-drive around and drove it straight at the culprits in a suburban Territory street. The man's utility mounted the kerb and ploughed through the group. One man - believed to be responsible for throwing the can - was seriously injured as the car slammed into him and pushed him under the wheels. But the irate driver did not stop and sped off from the scene – Northern Territory News

Security cars tail school buses - WA school buses have become so lawless that security cars are tailing them to keep order. Transperth has stepped up school bus security in recent weeks as part of State Government measures to increase safety on public transport. Patrol cars are shadowing school buses from 20 selected schools across the metropolitan area to deter violence and vandalism – The West Australian

The drink

It's 'war' on drink-drivers – Police set up random breath-testing stations throughout Darwin, Palmerston and the rural area last night as part of a national war on drunk drivers – Northern Territory News

Booze bus blitz blocks escape from city – The city went into lockdown last night as police booze buses formed a ring of steel around exit points in an operation aimed at snaring drunken or drug-affected revellers trying to drive home. In a complicated logistical exercise, over the next 20 days Victoria Police, as part of a national campaign, will target those driving while affected by alcohol or drugs – Melbourne Age

Last call for boozy pub pranks – An alpine pub that encouraged patrons to skoll shots off a ski and promoted a drinking game called "Jagerbomb Dominoes" has been ordered to stop after one of its customers was taken to hospital from drinking too much. The Snowy Valley Resort in Jindabyne is one of six pubs that have been forced to cut promotions this year because they encouraged binge drinking - while countless more have done so voluntarily at the request of licensing inspectors – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Boozy mums risk babies – Mums who drink heavily during early pregnancy are more likely to have babies with anxiety or depression – Melbourne Herald Sun


Southeast water restrictions to stay in new strategySunshine Coast residents have been told to end their splash-happy days and join the rest of southeast Queensland in saving water. Residents of the southeast will shoulder much of the burden of guaranteeing the region's future water supplies after the Bligh Government revealed it wanted to put off building new dams or desalination plants for at least 12 years – Brisbane Courier Mail


State school asbestos assessment reveals 80,000 risky sites – The massive scale of asbestos risk in Queensland schools has been revealed for the first time with almost 80,000 confirmed and presumed sites – Brisbane Courier Mail


Thousands of young women had abortions in Victoria last year – More than 3350 young women had abortions in Victoria last year - at the alarming rate of nine each day. The shocking number of unwanted pregnancies included 209 abortions performed on girls under 16, several without their parents' knowledge. At least two 12-year-olds had terminations – Melbourne Herald Sun

Lurks and perks

Queensland judges spend $400,000 on European conference – A group of Queensland judges has spent almost $400,000 attending a controversial Australian-run legal conference held 20,000km away in Europe. Twenty of the 62 Supreme and District Court judges fled the state during the mid-winter break to attend the Australian Bar Association conference in France and the UK in the northern summer – Brisbane Courier Mail

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