Monday, 7 December 2009

Media wrap - Better news on the jobs front


Health and hospitals

Health reform top of COAG agenda - Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and state premiers will meet in Brisbane this morning to work through options for national health reform - including a possible federal takeover of public hospitals – ABC News

Health red tape under scrutiny – The Prime Minister will target doctors' claims of bloated health bureaucracies when he meets premiers today to begin talks on health reform – Melbourne Age

Environmental matters

Rudd shuns Abbott's climate debate challenge - Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has dismissed a challenge for a series of public debates over climate change, saying the Federal Opposition needs to have a policy first – ABC News

Kevin Rudd calls off early dash to Copenhagen – Kevin Rudd has shelved plans for an early dash to Copenhagen after US President Barack Obama said he was not going until the late stages of the climate change conference, in the hope of closing a deal – The Australian

$50b bill for Abbott carbon plan – The shadow treasurer, Joe Hockey, has estimated the cost of Tony Abbott's climate change policy at over $50 billion. In a tense confidential exchange in shadow cabinet two weeks ago, before Mr Abbott seized the Liberal leadership, Mr Hockey challenged his colleague's position on climate change – Sydney Morning Herald

Premier urged to axe Rees's red gum national park – Pressure is mounting on Kristina Keneally to reverse Nathan Rees's last-minute decision to create a massive national park along the Murray River to protect threatened river red gum forests. The timber industry, supported by the Opposition and elements within the Labor Party, want her to reverse Mr Rees's pledge, which they say will cost hundreds of logging jobs – Sydney Morning Herald

Slim hopes remain for treaty – Climate Change Minister Penny Wong has expressed optimism an effective deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions is possible as the Copenhagen climate conference starts today, despite acknowledging that an unprecedented treaty covering all major emitters was never a realistic goal for this year – Melbourne Age

Economic matters

Walkouts over Westpac rate rises – Westpac has been hit by further resignations from its Community Consultative Council after it raised its mortgage rate by almost double the Reserve Bank's recent rate rise - just one day after a round-table discussion about financial hardship. Meanwhile, the head of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Graeme Samuel, told the ABC he was not sure he would allow Westpac to take over St George if the application came before him again – Sydney Morning Herald

Jobs crisis fades as full-time ads surge – A surprise surge in full-time job advertisements is raising hopes that the worst of the employment crisis is over. The official job numbers are to be published on Thursday, but the index compiled by the Olivier recruitment group shows advertisements for full-time positions up 5.9 per cent last month, substantially more than the 4.6 per cent increase in ads for part-time positions – Sydney Morning Herald


Abbott gamble pays off for Libs – Liberal Party support has bounced back and Tony Abbott has cut into Kevin Rudd's lead as preferred prime minister within a week of the newly elected Leader of the Opposition spectacularly reversing the Liberals' stand on climate change and rejecting Labor's ETS. The government still has an overwhelming two-party-preferred vote of 56 to 44 per cent, but Mr Abbott has improved on Mr Turnbull's last position as preferred prime minister and won strong endorsement among Liberal voters.


Labor voters turn to Abbott's Liberals in by-elections – A surprise swing to the Liberals from middle- and lower-income Labor voters gave Tony Abbott a resounding vote of confidence in weekend by-elections – The Australian

Weekend poll results give Abbott a running start – Michelle Grattan writes in the Melbourne Age that the Liberals had set themselves up for poor results in the weekend by-elections, with infighting, the execution of Malcolm Turnbull and the slaying of the emissions trading scheme. Yet on the latest figures they've got a primary vote swing in Higgins, and two-party swings in both seats. Admittedly they didn't have Labor opponents, but these results are still remarkable – Melbourne Age

Higgins' new MP warms to hot topic of climate change – Were it not for climate change, the Higgins byelection might have been a few weeks of localised sound and fury, signifying nothing of national importance. As it is, its key message is that the public does not understand the Rudd Government's emissions trading plan, successful Liberal Party candidate Kelly O'Dwyer said yesterday – Melbourne Age

Climate feels fine, says O'Dwyer – Peter Costello's successor glowed in electoral success yesterday, while insisting she hadn't shifted with the political breeze in the climate change debate – Melbourne Herald Sun

Budgie smugglers and Bob Hawke may help sell Mad Monk - Advertising and marketing experts agree that despite coming to the role with the not insignificant baggage of having been the party's headkicking hardman for more than a decade, Abbott has qualities that will be a marketer's dream – The Australian

Nats MP won't budge for Barnaby Joyce – The man who holds a key to Barnaby Joyce's hopes to switch houses in parliament has rejected the high-profile Nationals senator's assertion that he should move to become a frontbencher. Former Queensland National Party president Bruce Scott's seat of Maranoa is the best fit for Senator Joyce, but the veteran MP says the rank-and-file doesn't like "parachute" candidates and questions why frontbenchers and ministers can't be in the Senate – The Australian

Union to hold Govt to Tas Tomorrow promises - Tasmania's Education Union has decided it will not campaign against the State Government in the lead-up to the March election – ABC News


Role reversal as Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott line up – Tony Abbott wears a hard hat while Kevin Rudd speaks from outside church – The Australian

Coonan quits the Libs' frontbench – Frontbencher Helen Coonan has stepped down from the frontbench, likely clearing the way for the high-profile Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce to get her shadow finance job. The Opposition breathed a sigh of relief at the unexpectedly good weekend byelection results, which make a March election on climate change even less likely than it appeared last week – Melbourne Age

New faces on Abbott front bench – Tony Abbott will have at least four new faces on his frontbench when he announces the make-up of his shadow cabinet early this week – Adelaide Advertiser

Outside church, media's prayers are not answered – Kristina Keneally flaunted her Catholic credentials for the cameras outside her local church but insisted that while her faith informed her social justice agenda, her religious views were irrelevant to her role as Premier – Sydney Morning Herald

NSW Cabinet reshuffle will be 'minimalist' – The Premier, Kristina Keneally, is set to promote two close allies of Eddie Obeid in her reshuffle this week, giving Phil Costa the planning portfolio and bringing Ian Macdonald back in his old portfolios of primary industries and state development. But there are grave doubts over whether another key plotter in the demise of the former premier Nathan Rees - John Della Bosca - will be reinstated to cabinet – Sydney Morning Herald

No job for John Della Bosca in Kristina Keneally's Cabinet – John Della Bosca's short-lived hopes of reviving his ministerial career have ended with Premier Kristina Keneally resisting pressure to offer him a place in her new Cabinet expected to be announced today – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Political life

Barnaby Joyce to go head to head with Lindsay Tanner - maverick Queensland senator will be expected to toe the line in his new frontbench role – The Australian


AFP union attacks Afghanistan role for Australian police – The Australian Federal Police Association has criticised a commitment by Kevin Rudd to send extra police to Afghanistan in lieu of fighting troops, saying Australia's top cops risk morphing into a quasi military force. Association chief executive Jim Torr questioned the government's motives in committing the extra officers, saying it appeared to be designed to avoid political embarrassment – The Australian


Ex-judge to head crime watchdog – A retired judge who made his name in the historic Mabo indigenous land rights case is set to take the hot seat at Queensland's public sector watchdog, the Crime and Misconduct Commission. The Australian understands former Supreme Court judge Martin Moynihan heads the list of candidates to succeed outgoing CMC chairman Robert Needham – The Australian

Flaws found in code for lobbyists – The commissioner of the Independent Commission Against Corruption, Justice David Ipp, has written to Kristina Keneally to point out weaknesses in a draft code of conduct for lobbyists she drew up while she was planning minister – Sydney Morning Herald

The Labor Party

Federal Labor could intervene in NSW party – Labor’s most senior official, the national secretary, Karl Bitar, sent shockwaves through the party yesterday by refusing to rule out federal intervention in the NSW branch following last week's shock dumping of Nathan Rees. Asked if the ALP's national executive would muscle in to stabilise the volatile situation in NSW, Mr Bitar told the Herald: ''While it is not on the agenda at the moment I do not necessarily rule it out for the future.'' – Sydney Morning Herald


Probe into Scientology rejected – A Senate inquiry into Scientology will not go ahead after the Rudd Government told the church it believed the Tax Office and police were the most appropriate authorities to investigate any complaints – Melbourne Age

Aboriginal affairs

Libs pledge cash for reconciliationVictoria’s main Aboriginal reconciliation group will have its public funding restored and be able to resume work if the Coalition wins next year's state election – Melbourne Age

Political lurks and perks

Litany of foul-ups mars VIP flights – The elite RAAF jets used by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and other VIPs have suffered a string of mid-air emergencies, catering bungles and mechanical mishaps, secret documents reveal – Sydney Daily Telegraph


Voters switching back to Coalition – Dennis Shanahan in The Australian says the Liberal Party's biggest gambles in decades - electing Tony Abbott as Leader of the Opposition and rejecting Labor's ETS in the Senate - appear to have paid their first dividends, and in exactly the way the Liberal Party had hoped they would.

A sign that Libs have got it right – is found by Glenn Milne in The Australian

Tony Abbott must seize the moment, if he can -  writes David Burchell in The Australian

Copenhagen backlash hits a government in denial – Paul Sheehan in the Sydney Morning Herald writes that the political ground has shifted in the past six months. It is now the Rudd Government that appears to be in a state of denial.

Clowns creating a circus for Rudd - Kevin Rudd's decision not to speak to Kristina Keneally until late on Saturday afternoon - and then only because the newspapers were inquiring as to why no call had been made - was deliberate. It was an expression of the Prime Minister's disgust with the NSW Government, a sentiment now rife throughout federal political ranks – Phillip Coorey in the Sydney Morning Herald

Even sex sells when Labor plays cheap and nasty – Peter Hartcher in the Sydney Morning Herald looks at why Labor did not stand in Saturday’s two federal by-elections

The Liberals' broad church threatens to become a chasm – Lindy Edwards in the Melbourne Age argues that the Liberals might be able to paper over their differences on climate change, but there is a deeper split that will be harder to overcome.


$90bn natural gas deal with Japan – Chevron has won a coup for its Wheatstone liquified natural gas development, signing up Tokyo Electric Power to a $90 billion supply agreement that will also see the utility take an equity stake in the project – The Australian

Dubai Holding is in debt throes – Fears are growing among Western banks that Dubai Holding, the personal investment vehicle of the emirate's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, will be the next state-owned Dubai company to default – The Australian

BHP and Rio's Pilbara joint venture finally signed off - BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto will focus their energies on appeasing competition regulators across several jurisdictions, after signing a binding agreement for an historic $US116 billion ($125bn) iron ore merger at the weekend – The Australian


British to review data on weather after scandal - The British Meteorological Office is to undertake a three-year reanalysis of its temperature data and has asked 188 nations - including Australia - for permission to release raw weather data in the wake of the climate-change email scandal. The decision comes in the wake of the theft - and publication on the internet - of thousands of emails and text files from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East AngliaSydney Morning Herald


Murdoch and Google chief not all at odds – Mark Day in The Australian finds it a surprise to see Murdoch and Google chief Eric Schmidt singing from the same songbook. In the past week both have delivered set-piece assessments of the way ahead for news organisations. Much of what they say is parallel. The area where they do not fully agree relates to who gets to clip the tickets as consumers embrace myriad sources of news and information.

TV stars on cruelty charges for eating rat - Two stars of a British celebrity reality TV show filmed in the Australian bush have been charged with animal cruelty by New South Wales police – ABC News

US homeland security detains then deports Aussie journalist – A left-wing journalist based in Sydney has been arrested and handcuffed in Los Angeles airport, accused of terrorism, and put on a plane back to Australia. Luis Almario, a Colombian-Australian, said US agents accused him of being in charge of international propaganda for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, which is known as FARC and classified as a terrorist organisation – The Australian

Loose lips no longer sink ships at the new, more opinionated ABC – When the Australian Broadcasting Corporation launched its political analysis program Insiders in 2001 the public broadcaster's own staff were forbidden from being panelists. How times have changed. That ABC is barely recognisable now. Today's ABC boasts a burgeoning commentariat, many of whom are salaried staff – The Australian

Royals plan paparazzi crackdown - The Queen has authorised a crackdown on the paparazzi after growing increasingly angry at intrusions into the private lives of the royal family – Sydney Morning Herald

History is made: papers' single call – In an unprecedented initiative, 56 major newspapers in 45 countries are today publishing a shared editorial calling on politicians and negotiators gathering in Copenhagen to strike an ambitious deal on combating climate change – Melbourne Age


Law and order

Australia-Israel forum protest turns ugly - Three protesters have been evicted from a Melbourne hotel after storming the doors to gain entry to a major meeting of Jewish leaders – ABC News

Passions raised at Israel protestMelbourne Herald Sun

Criminal checks on 300 carers – Child protection authorities have been forced to make criminal record checks on 300 people who have children in their care, after they were unable to verify whether checks had already been done. An audit by The Department of Human Services of 5700 foster carers and kinship carers found it was ''unclear'' whether mandatory police checks had been conducted in 300 cases – Melbourne Age

The drink and the drugs

Drug and alcohol abuse behind more kids being put in care – A growing number of children are being removed from their families and put into state care because of drug and alcohol abuse among parents – Adelaide Advertiser

Sexual abuse

Olympic swim sex abuse scandal – An medallist has blown the lid on what he calls "child sex abuse cover-up" at the highest levels of Australian swimming which spanned 12 Olympic Games. The former Australian swim team captain has spoken out in frustration after a police strike force set up to investigate allegations against the late coach Terry Buck was wound up in mysterious circumstances – Sydney Daily Telegraph


The great convenience shop rip-off – The cost of convenience fluctuates wildly across Sydney - the price of bread and milk commonly varying by more than 30 per cent – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Selfish Queenslanders

Queensland residents want to cap population growth - Results from an exclusive Galaxy poll for The Courier-Mail suggest that 60 per cent of Queenslanders want the Government to take steps to limit the region's population growth explosion. A similar proportion say forecasts of six million southeast Queenslanders by 2050 would be too many – Brisbane Courier Mail


AFL fuming over soccer World Cup demands – Football warfare has broken out over Australia's bid to host the soccer World Cup, with fears the MCG could be declared an "AFL-free zone" for an entire home-and-away season – Melbourne Herald Sun

Real estate

Buyers eager to secure homes before Christmas – Homebuyers are shrugging off the pain of interest rate rises in a race to secure houses before Christmas. But the sting of further interest rate increases next year is expected to take the heat out of Melbourne's recent rampaging property prices – Melbourne Herald Sun

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