Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Media wrap - Another court rebuke for Australia's federal police

Federal police

Moti case thrown out as judge slams AFP over witness payments - pursuit of former Solomon Islands attorney-general Julian Moti on child sex charges, which soured diplomatic relations between Canberra and the Pacific, has ended with a court slamming the Australian Federal Police's handling of the controversial case as an "affront to the public conscience" – The Australian

Police stuff-up ends sex trial - Brisbane Supreme Court Justice Debbie Mullins yesterday upheld Mr Moti's application to stay the proceedings against him, ruling ''the prosecution of these charges against [him] constitutes an abuse of process'' – Melbourne Age

Economic matters

Pause likely for interest rate rises – The Reserve Bank has hinted at a possible interest rates pause in February, as minutes of its December meeting reveal that its latest decision to raise rates was touch-and-go – Melbourne Age

Housing boom spreads – The housing recovery has finally gone national. Housing starts soared almost 10 per cent in the September quarter, as federal and state stimulus measures encouraged growth – Melbourne Age

RBA: banks covering more than costs – The Reserve Bank appears to have suggested that major banks recouped more than just the increase in funding costs when some raised mortgage rates by more than this month's rise in official cash rates – Melbourne Age

ABS figures to show hot and cold economyAustralia is at risk of becoming a hot and cold economy in 2010 - with some areas overheating, while others remain frozen in recession. This morning, the Bureau of Statistics will release new national accounts, revealing its first estimate of growth for the September quarter. From what it has already told us, the markets expect the figure will defy logic by showing the economy's growth slowed – Melbourne Age


Daring speech invokes Churchill - Today Abbott will deliver a speech boldly declaring that in the past fortnight, the Liberal Party has shifted from being a government-in-exile unsure of its role to being a fair dinkum opposition determined to hold the government to account. “We have remembered that the job of an opposition is to scrutinise the government, not to agree with it. The first rule of politics is that oppositions don't win elections; government's lose them." – The Australian

Rudd's ETS a 'transfer of wealth' – Tony Abbott will today accuse Kevin Rudd of attempting to use his proposed emissions trading system to disguise an old-fashioned Labor-style attempt to redistribute wealth to the poor. The new Opposition Leader will virtually dare the Prime Minister to call an early election on climate change, vowing: "Bring it on. We will be ready for you." – The Australian

Liberal leader Isobel Redmond secretly tasered – Liberal leader Isobel Redmond has been shot with a Taser during a secretive meeting at party headquarters and rated the pain as "nine-and-a-half out of 10" – Adelaide Advertiser

Health and hospitals

Hospital errors claim 90 victims - Ninety patients died or were seriously harmed by mistakes in WA hospitals last financial year - double the number of cases reported two years earlier – The West Australian


Principals seek to hire and fire – School principals are calling for the power to hire and fire teachers and manage their schools if they are to be held accountable for student results with the publication of national performance reports next month – The Australian

Anger at cost of fast-track teaching plan – The Rudd Government is spending almost $22 million to parachute high-flying university graduates into some of the nation's toughest schools, sparking anger among teachers who claim the plan will do little to lift education standards – Melbourne Age


78 Sri Lankans rescued from Oceanic Viking granted refugee status – All of the 78 Sri Lankan asylum-seekers rescued by the Customs ship Oceanic Viking have been found to be refugees, increasing the pressure on the Rudd government to find a home for the Tamils – The Australian

Christmas Island to get $50m packageChristmas Island’s residents will receive a $50 million boost to the island's infrastructure as the Rudd Government seeks to placate the permanent population for the burden of its offshore detention program – Sydney Morning Herald

Nuclear matters

Uranium exports to India on cardsAustralia could drop its ban on uranium sales to India after an international expert panel called for a fresh approach to restricting the world's nuclear arsenal. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has launched the panel's final report in Tokyo as part of a renewed effort to bolster global nuclear controls amid fears over Iran's nuclear ambitions and atomic tests by North KoreaMelbourne Age

Industrial relations

Walk-out to disrupt mail – Thousands of postal workers will go on strike today and tomorrow in what looms as the largest nationwide walkout in more than a decade – Melbourne Age

Airline strike to cause travel chaos – The Christmas plans of international travellers have been thrown into disarray after British Airways staff voted to go on strike – Melbourne Age


Tight contest for Liberals in Bennelong pre-selection – Seasoned Liberal Party number crunchers say tonight's preselection contest for John Howard's old seat of Bennelong is too close to call. The former tennis player John Alexander is a frontrunner, along with a local business executive, Mark Chan. Two other candidates, the businessman Steve Foley and a financial services director, Melanie Matthewson, are not considered to have much chance – Sydney Morning Herald

Political lurks and perks

Censorship claims force printing backdown – The Government has bowed to pressure from disgruntled Opposition and minor party MPs and will relax the guidelines governing the content of the taxpayer-funded printed material they send to voters – Sydney Morning Herald

MPs get back in trough – Federal MPs will be able to spend millions of taxpayer dollars attacking their political rivals after a Federal Government backflip.  Faced with a backbench rebellion, the Government has overturned laws that even prevented MPs telling voters they were using recycled paper – Melbourne Herald Sun

Public service

RailCorp expands fat cat junkets – Railcorp has jacked up the number of its senior executives by more than 10 per cent and flown them on a record 23 overseas junkets this year - while slashing rail station staff. And CEO Rob Mason got an $84,000 pay rise and is now on $489,000 - more than the head of the Premier's Department – Sydney Daily Telegraph


Airport security across Australia will be relaxed – Knitting needles, nail clippers and tweezers will be allowed on board flights as Australia relaxes its September 11 terror laws. The changes could also mean passengers might soon be trusted to eat their airline food with metal cutlery for the first time since 2001 – Sydney Daily Telegraph


Start clearing for buildings: developers' call to Canberra – The Federal Government should immediately begin planning to sell the 1700 hectares of land it bought for a second Sydney airport in the city's west, developer groups say. With plans for the Badgerys Creek airport to be formally scrapped with the release of the Government's aviation white paper today, property interests called for the quick sale of the land to provide sites for employment and residential needs – Sydney Morning Herald


Chinese investment a manageable minefield – Since the Rudd government came to office it has approved Chinese investment in Australia worth $39 billion covering more than 110 individual proposals, signalling an investment and economic partnership with China that poses new national challenges writes Paul Kelly in The Australian

Hairy-chested candour will win Tony Abbott hearts – writes Janet Albrechtsen in The Australian.  Tony Abbott has something that is rare in the hermetically sealed, carefully controlled politico-bubble of Canberra. It's called authenticity. And Janet Albrechtsen is betting women kind of like that.

Big spending, poor results – Stephen Kirchner in he Australian argues against big government.

Greens' preaching lost on the ordinary people of Higgins – Peter Costello in the Melbourne Age says voters will stop listening if they detect a whiff of a superiority complex.

A woman should be indigenous social affairs commissioner – Louise Taylor writes in the Melbourne Age that the appointment of former ATSIC chief executive Mick Gooda as the new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner later today is a Government backhander to Aboriginal women and sadly, a predictable affirmation of the status quo.

Crying poor? Count your rooms and houses, and think again – says Ross Gittins in the Sydney Morning Herald


Institutions demand a vote on AMP bid for Axa – The board of Axa Asia Pacific Holdings faces increasing pressure from major shareholders to support the $12.8 billion takeover offer from rival AMP, as directors meet today to consider the revised bid – The Australian

Company values may be burnt by an ETS – The amended emissions trading scheme put forward by the Government threatens to wipe off about 3 per cent of the value of Australia's top 200 companies, according to research to be released today – Melbourne Age


Uneasy truce between wealthy and poor nationsIndia has labelled Australia an ''ayatollah'' because of its strong advocacy at the UN climate talks of a one-track approach that will eventually force all countries to be bound by a single treaty – Melbourne Age

Bungling leaves us out in the cold – Peter Wilson’s Copenhagen diary in The Australian details some UN inefficiency.

Kevin Rudd in greenhouse emissions accountability push – Kevin Rudd will arrive at fractured climate change talks in Copenhagen tonight and argue for rules that allow polluters to grow but force all countries to be held accountable for their greenhouse gas emissions – Brisbane Courier Mail

Green power feasible – The Australian Academy of Science will next month the academy call on the government to give priority support to geothermal and solar thermal energy to make them major national energy sources, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – The Australian

Gore ices over the polar truth - Former US vice-president Al Gore was inconvenienced by truth yesterday – The Australian

CPRS to add a third to power bills, which will cost $1000 more over three years - The NSW regulator yesterday issued a draft ruling allowing the state's three electricity companies to raise their charges over the next three years, and it is the first such ruling where the cost of a CPRS can be exactly determined – The Australian

Power bills could send people 'into poverty' – Some customers could be paying almost $900 more for a year's electricity by 2013, as the impact of the Federal Government's proposal to cut carbon emissions is felt in the household budget for the first time, with one group warning the increases ''will send many households into poverty'' – Sydney Morning Herald

Separate agreements may be the only solution for rich and poor nations alike – Environment ministers in Copenhagen are battling to achieve agreement on a fall-back option of two separate climate change agreements -- an extension of the Kyoto Protocol and a separate deal bringing in the US and the developing world – The Australian


ISP Filter To Block Worst Net Nasties - New legislative amendments to be introduced to the Broadcasting Services Act when parliament resumes next year could see all internet service providers block refused classification-rated material hosted on overseas servers – The Australian

Big Brother laws to be brought in for web –  The Federal Government will block selected online sites after trials found filtering was accurate and would not slow down the internet. - Melbourne Age



Airport curfew a passion for PM – A 10-year obsession that Kevin Rudd as a backbencher backed with his own money could well become national policy -- a curfew on Brisbane airport – The Australian

Brisbane Airport curfew inquiry delayed – Kevin Rudd has shelved until 2012 a promised investigation of a curfew at Brisbane Airport - the issue that made him as a federal politician. Despite promising to keep up the fight against aircraft noise in his Brisbane electorate from the Lodge in Canberra, the Prime Minister has put off the inquiry until what would be well into his second term – Brisbane Courier Mail

Airport ditched for jobs growth - An aviation white paper to be published today by the Rudd Government will rule out once and for all using the Badgerys Creek site in western Sydney for a second airport but will commission a taskforce to conduct another inquiry into finding an alternative site – Sydney Morning Herald

Badgerys boom as second airport axed – The site once touted as the location of Sydney's second airport is about to be opened for development after being locked up for a quarter of a century – Sydney Daily Telegraph


Stronger power line fire-safety strategies urged – Deaths in bushfires that were caused by power lines showed a huge failure to regulate electricity companies, the Bushfires Royal Commission has heard – Melbourne Age

Emergency code confusion – A bushfire safe haven in the Hills was locked down on a high fire danger day while residents in our worst firetrap remain confused over where they are meant to flee – Adelaide Advertiser


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