Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Privatising the public service



Public service

Public service 'up for auction' - The Premier is planning a public service revolution which will see Government services across the board farmed out to the private sector and not-for-profit organisations in a bid to slash costs and rein in expenses. Facing an uphill battle to deliver Colin Barnett's promise of continued surplus Budgets, Treasurer Troy Buswell is now armed with the first report of the high-powered economic audit review, believed to recommend a massive auction of Government services – The West Australian


Key NSW unions out to roll Nathan Rees – Premier Nathan Rees has lost the support of key NSW unions in a new indication that his leadership may be terminal. Labor Party bosses are being pressured by at least four union heads to act against Mr Rees.- Sydney Daily Telegraph

Sorting pretenders from contenders – A form guide style look at the potential successors to Nathan Rees as NSW Premier – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Labor wants a wonder woman – Carmel Tebbutt is being presented by some Labor powerbrokers as the solution to its rock-bottom status in NSW in the way that former premiers Carmen Lawrence and Joan Kirner lifted the party's stocks in Western Australia and Victoria. – Sydney Morning Herald

SA Premier moves to end rumours – Labor’s ack of a succession plan if Premier Mike Rann ever quits has been thrust into the political spotlight by Kevin Foley's attempt to soften his bully-boy image.- Adelaide Advertiser
Opinion polls

Coalition pulls back Labor in latest Newspoll – Primary vote support for the Rudd government has collapsed by seven percentage points in the past fortnight amid increasing political tension surrounding a surge in asylum-seeker arrivals. The Coalition has drawn level with Labor at 41 per cent, although the government maintains a lead of 52 per cent to 48 per cent in two-party preferred terms, according to a Newspoll – The Australian

Interest rates

Business leaders beg RBA to show restraint – A chorus 0f business leaders, led by Aussie chairman John Symond, has pleaded with the Reserve Bank to take baby steps in its push to raise interest rates away from "emergency levels". – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Economic experts predict a stream of interest rate rises - Economic experts are predicting a stream of rate increases in coming months and consumer confidence looks like taking a hit in the lead-up to Christmas as a result. – Melbourne Herald Sun

Economic  matters

Government to sell assets despite good economic forecast – Queensland Treasurer Andrew Fraser said the Government's asset sales plan would go ahead despite an improving economy and a strong profit outlook for Queensland Rail. – Brisbane Courier Mail

The economy fights back – Consumer confidence and the reluctance of bosses to lose skilled labour have combined with billions of Government stimulus dollars to help Australia become the only advanced economy to outrun the international recession.- Adelaide Advertiser

Treasury turns optimistic in revised forecasts – Treasury has released a dramatically improved economic outlook for Australia, with GDP expected to grow faster and sooner, unemployment to climb by a fraction of what was feared and government debt to peak way below what was forecast in May – Melbourne Age


Crisis talks called over 'Indonesian solution' – Senior officials have been scrambled from Canberra to a secret Jakarta meeting today in a bid to save Kevin Rudd's crisis-hit "Indonesian solution", as Foreign Ministry officials decried what they said was the lack of an adequate "Australian solution" to the boatpeople problem – The Australian

Twelve Sri Lankans lost in asylum sea tragedy – A dozen Sri Lankan asylum-seekers are feared dead after their vessel capsized in heavy seas as they sailed direct from Sri Lanka, apparently in an attempt to avoid the Rudd government's "Indonesian solution" – The Australian

Rescue too late for boat people as seas kill 12 – Twelve people believed drowned when a suspected refugee boat sank 2700km off the Australian mainland died within sight of boats sent to save them, it was feared last night. -  Sydney Daily Telegraph


Left, Right, Left: factions march into battle to put bums on seats – A game of musical chairs could see the seatless Labor frontbencher, Laurie Ferguson, parachuted into Mark Latham's old constituency of Werriwa – Sydney Morning Herald

Clive Palmer's heir Michael eyes federal seat – Clive Palmer's 18 year old son is considering a tilt at federal politics after abandoning a bid to run for the LNP in the resource-rich seat of Flynn at the next election. – Brisbane Courier Mail

Political fund raising

$10,000 to sit next to Brumby – Premier John Brumby is under mounting pressure over companies giving cash to the ALP while seeking access to Victoria's coal reserves, with the revelation that the main sponsor of a party fundraiser last week was a high-profile coal entrepreneur – Melbourne Age


Health costs balloon on eve of reform talks – The Federal Government, already struggling to prune the cost of health, faces a $4.8 billion blow-out in the sector over the next four years. The surge in expected costs, not forecast in the budget six months ago, comes a month before the Government begins in earnest to negotiate with the states on the biggest health reforms in 25 years, which are likely to entail new spending pressures on the Commonwealth – Sydney Morning Herald

Numbers just don't add up – Tim Colebatch in the Melbourne Age ponders a puzzle in the Government's budget update. On one hand, it lifts the growth forecast for this year by 2 percentage points, which you'd think would reduce the deficit. Yet no. Somehow they end up with a worse deficit than they started with.

For Kevin's sake: a potshot at our wizard PM – Annabel Crabb in the Sydney Morning Herald describes how satirists have struck gold by portraying the PM as Harry Potter and his staff as 12-year-olds with BlackBerrys

Doing it with his eyes closed: Swan the modest – Peter Hartcher writes how while  Paul Keating was reminding Australians of why they disliked him so much, Wayne Swan demonstrated yesterday he is modelling himself as the anti-Keating. Where Keating was boastful, Swan resisted the urge to brag about Australia's glowing outlook. He modestly invited all Australians to share in the credit for the country's economic rebound – Sydney Morning Herald

Big is beautiful in a land that thrives on foreign affairs – Gerard Henderson writes in the Sydney Morning Herald that clearly immigration has worked for Australia and concludes that Kevin Rudd's decision to declare himself in favour of a big Australia is a political risk, but it's a belief worth proclaiming.

With foes like these, who needs friends – Piers Akerman in the Sydney Daily Telegraph reviews Kevin Rudd’s Coalition appointees to government positions.

Federal Government's price cap on first home buyer's grant hurts desperate home-seekers – Terry McCrann in the Sydney Daily Telegraph gives his verdict “government guilty” on the first home buyer’s grant.

New opposition focus pays off – Lenore Taylor in The Australian writes that for two weeks Kevin Rudd has been in the headlines as he tries to explain how he can be both unapologetically tough and unapologetically caring on the asylum issue at the same time. Voters, being smart, appear to have found all the unapologies pretty unconvincing.


Seven losses total $1.9b – Seven Media Group has slashed more than $1.5 billion from the value of its television network, pushing it to a $1.9 billion loss in annual accounts released yesterday. In making the write-downs, the alliance between Kerry Stokes' Seven Network and private equity firm KKR has plunged to ''negative equity'' of $1.7 billion, as Seven's liabilities outstrip its assets by $1.7 billion – Melbourne Age

Myer gets stage fright – Myer floated into a storm yesterday, with the stock pounded to a first day close more than 8 per cent below its issue price – Melbourne Herald Sun


Nuclear dump sites 'all in the Territory' – The Federal Government has been sitting on a report on the decision to build a nuclear waste dump in the Territory for the past nine months – Northern Territory News


Doubts on web speed benefits – The productivity benefits of high-speed internet access may be a myth, according to a New Zealand study that undermines part of the Australian Government's justification for its $43 billion national broadband network – Melbourne Age


The punt

Crown casino reduces blackjack payout for $5 to $10 on its public gaming floor – Small punters are being treated like mugs by Crown casino, gaming experts say. Crown has reduced the blackjack payout on $5 to $10 tables on the public gaming floor. But the payout odds remain the same in the high-roller rooms. Experts say the move will pour millions of dollars a year into the casino's coffers at the expense of battling punters – Melbourne Herald Sun


Overseas students' alarming abortion rates – One in three abortions at the Women's and Children's Hospital is performed on international students, University of Adelaide research has found. – Adelaide Advertiser


Suspicion grows on dried tomatoes – Health authorities have a new lead in their investigation of a Victorian outbreak of hepatitis A, thought to be linked to contaminated semi-dried tomatoes. They have renewed their warning for people to avoid eating semi-dried tomatoes unless they have been been thoroughly cooked – Melbourne Age

Animal welfare

Princess presses PM over slaughter - The Princess of Jordan has called on the Prime Minister to reject exemptions for slaughtering animals without stunning for cultural reasons, saying it is not necessary according to Muslim faith. The sister of King Abdullah II of Jordan, Princess Alia bin al-Hussein wrote to Kevin Rudd this week saying "contrary to some claims, killing without stunning is not necessary under Islamic principles" – The West Australian
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