Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Media wrap - Bringing back some golden oldies


Political teams

Blast from Libs' past – Tony Abbott has dusted off three of John Howard's most controversial ministers in a back-to-the-future reshuffle that rewards key plotters against Malcolm Turnbull – Melbourne Herald Sun

Lib old guard returns - Tony Abbott has promoted the plotters behind Malcolm Turnbull's downfall and put the Opposition on a war footing with the Government on climate change, industrial relations and border protection – The West Australian

Leader courts the revived and the survived - Despite the attention on the return of Bronwyn Bishop and Philip Ruddock, the show stopper is Barnaby Joyce's arrival. The Nationals Senate leader, determined to get value for ceding his freedom, nominated his job and it is a big one – Melbourne Age

The shadow personalities emerge – Barnaby Joyce promises to keep promoting his unorthodox economic polices but accepts that ultimately he will be bound by shadow cabinet solidarity – Sydney Morning Herald

Kristina Keneally's P-plate politicians – If they were drivers on the state's roads, 16 of the 23 ministers in the new NSW Cabinet would be on their L and P-plates and considered inexperienced and crash prone – Sydney Daily Telegraph

We will be stable, promises Premier of her new cabinet – As each of her 22 ministers stood up to be sworn in yesterday, including the plotters who helped her into the job, Kristina Keneally smiled like the cat that got the canary. Later she told a news conference ''this is a team that will build on trust and build on stability'' – Sydney Morjing Herald


Results point to climate poll challenge – The double-edged swings in the by-elections for Higgins and Bradfield will force the main parties to rethink their plans for any federal election based around the issue of climate change – The Australian

Plea to ease tax squeeze – A key South Australian business group is demanding a review of state taxes, including cuts to payroll tax, and the abolition of up to 3200 public sector jobs. The Motor Trade Association's election wish list also recommends the introduction of toll roads and a motor sports park, including a drag-racing strip to get hoon drivers off the road. And it suggests a tax on older, less environmentally friendly cars to hasten the move towards green motoring – Adelaide Advertiser

Environmental matters

Pressure on PM to triple emissions cuts as nations force his hand – The world's biggest climate change conference has opened in Copenhagen with Kevin Rudd under immediate pressure to triple Australia's unconditional emissions-reductions target – The Australian

Global warming has stopped, says Tony Abbott – Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has gone one step further from being a climate change sceptic and has questioned if the world is warming – Brisbane Courier Mail

Economic matters

Growth takes a hit over exports – Economists scrambled to slash their September quarter growth forecasts yesterday after the release of the latest current account figures.  A surprise fall in the amount of money flowing into the nation's coffers from the sale of iron ore, coal and agricultural exports was made worse by a growing appetite for imported goods in the three months to the end of September – Melbourne Herald Sun

Business profits soar in slump – In the middle of the worst global slump since the Great Depression, the profits of Australian business soared to record highs in 2008-09 - while wages fell to near-record lows – Melbourne Age

Businesses most optimistic since May 2002 - The National Australia Bank monthly business survey and the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, released yesterday, list SA as the most optimistic state in the country. Another survey, from Newport Consulting, shows nine out of 10 companies expect to grow over the next year – Adelaide Advertiser

Reserve governor warns of more mortgage rises – Economists have forecast an upswing that will add more than $300 to the monthly cost of a mortgage as the Reserve Bank governor has spoken of the need for still higher ''spreads'' between what banks pay for funds and what they charge for loans – Sydney Morning Herald

Home rates 'to hit 8.5%'Melbourne Age

Industrial relations

IR fight back on centre stage – Labor’s unfair-dismissal laws have been blamed for part of the rise in unemployment in the latest sign that the Coalition will take a far more aggressive stance on industrial relations to the next election – Melbourne Age


Bligh rolls in share float to appease opposition to asset sales – One of the biggest public floats in Australian history will hit the market next year under ambitious State Government plans to sell parts of Queensland Rail to mum and dad investors – Brisbane Courier Mail

Bligh sweetens asset sell-off – Premier Anna Bligh has moved to appease union and public anger over Queensland's $15 billion privatisation program, offering key state assets to the market on long-term leases instead of outright sale – The Australian

Industry slams Anna Bligh's sale of QR's coal business – The  coal industry has slammed the State Government's overhaul of Queensland Rail as a short-term bid to raise revenue that will lead to reduced competition and cost taxpayers more – Brisbane Courier Mail

Local government

Brisbane City Council finds $700m cost savings – Efficiency experts have found Brisbane City Council potential savings of $700 million through to 2026 – Brisbane Courier Mail


Government scheme to 'buy' pension favoured – A Federal Government scheme requiring retirees with modest superannuation nest eggs to ''buy'' a pension would be the most efficient way of ensuring self-funded retirees do not run out of money in their old age, according to research for the Henry tax review – Melbourne Age

Community cabinet

Rudd heaps praise but doesn't deliver – Prime Minister Minister Kevin Rudd acknowledged Townsville's status as the capital of northern Australia but gave little if any new commitments to furthering that future in a speech to an historic community cabinet meeting in the city last night.


Nature will decide Earth's future - Professor Bob Carter in the Sydney Daily Telegraph explains how climate, it seems, changes ceaselessly: sometimes cooling, sometimes warming, oft-times for reasons we do not fully understand.

Turning up the heat on debate – Andrew Bolt in the Melbourne Sun Herald looks for some inconsistencies in comments b \y environmentalist Tim Flannery

Old warhorses return - As the commander in chief of a depleted force, Tony Abbott has brought ancient warhorses and battleaxes out of retirement to bring old-school combat against the ascendant Rudd army – Andrew Probyn in The West Australian

The bruiser goes after the battlers – Peter Hartcher in the Sydney Morning Herald reckons  has crafted a team in his own image - populist, angry and spoiling for a fight. He has rejected the counsel of the Liberal Party's founder, Robert Menzies, that ''the duty of an opposition is to oppose selectively''. Instead, he has commissioned his shadow cabinet to hit the Rudd Government hard on as many fronts as possible, to give the Government ''the fright of its life''.

A five-letter word for banks' rush to fatten profitability – Ross Gittins in the Sydney Morning Herald applies the greedy word to banks

Health reform being held hostage by its masters - Surely there is something wrong with the way political candidates are chosen if both parties have managed to find only one doctor to hold statewide political office writes Tanveer Ahmed in the Sydney Morning Herald

Lord giveth to the right - and takes away moderates – Misha Schubert in the Melbourne Age writes how Tony Abbott yesterday presented several of his appointments in pairs. The elevation of the right's Cory Bernardi, a protege of the faction's spiritual leader Nick Minchin and now apprentice to Abbott as parliamentary secretary to the leader, was twinned with that of the left's rising star Simon Birmingham. Similarly coupled was the concurrent leap into the outer ministry of conservative warrior Concetta Fierravanti-Wells and moderate Marise Payne. But the pairings were a decoy. The real story: six moderates out of shadow cabinet, replaced by five from the right. The inner sanctum has been transformed.

Old hands on deck as Abbott turns to right – Michelle Grattan in the Melbourne Age says Tony Abbott has rewarded his right-wing base and given three faces from the Howard era a new start as he sharpened the ideological contest with the Government on climate change and industrial relations.

Rudd an astute manager of the US alliance – says Paul Kelly in The Australian. Kevin Rudd has matured as an astute manager of the US alliance in the contemporary Australian tradition: witness that President Barack Obama is lifting US troop levels to Afghanistan by 30,000 and Rudd contributes not a single extra Australian soldier.

Premier’s reforms to boost efficiency – Michael Stutchbury in The Australian argues that the rest of Australia has a big stake in Anna Bligh’s bid to do a mini-Jeff Kennett by getting government out of owning and running commercial coal freight businesses, ports, toll roads and timber plantations.

Inconsistency rules in leaders' ETS views – It is hard to know which of our political leaders is more inconsistent with their rhetoric on emissions trading and climate change says Peter van Onselen in The Australian

Rudd left with little room to move as reality looms of deeper cuts – If Copenhagen succeeds, Australia will be cutting its emissions by a lot more than the minimum offer it has made of 5 per cent. Cuts of 15 per cent are much more likely writes Lenore Taylor in The Australian

Choices bring their own baggage – Dennis Shanahan in The Australian says Tony Abbott has given return tickets to Kevin Andrews, Bronwyn Bishop, Andrew Robb and Philip Ruddock as part of a Liberal return to the Howard years, regardless of their baggage. It's a bold and confronting move by the new Liberal leader, who's prepared to put up with questions about "kerosene baths" for Bishop, Work Choices for Andrews, "children behind barbed wire" for Ruddock and ETS denial for Robb.

Climate claims fail science test – Michael Asten, a professorial fellow in the school of geosciences at Monash University, writes in The Australian that it is certain that the global political debate on managing carbon emissions and climate change will continue well beyond the Copenhagen summit. It is to be hoped that the scientific debate is also permitted to continue. Results released this year suggest that the degree of scientific certainty falls short of that desirable before we set binding targets and dollar values on carbon emissions.

Conservative shift likely to spook the electorate – David Hetherington in The Australian writes of of the seminal fault line in Australian politics: not Right v Left, not business v union, but progressive v conservative and it runs directly under the Liberal Party, cleaving it into two implacably opposed camps.


Westpac goes bananas with email on rationale behind rate rise – In the world according to Westpac, mortgages are much like banana smoothies, and the cost of borrowing money is like the cost of bananas. All of this will be news to the hundreds of thousands of Westpac customers who received an email on Monday night from the bank's retail chief explaining its supercharged interest rates – Sydney Morning Herald

Westpac boss Gail Kelly says customers 'too focused' on their variable mortgage rate - Speaking to big-time investors, bank analysts and the media at a briefing in Sydney, Mrs Kelly said: "There is too much focus on one product and one rate, which is the standard variable rate on home lending." – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Woolies heads for duel over pubs and pokies – Woolworths aims to expand its dominance as the leading pubs and poker machine operator in Australia by locking horns with the gambling group Tabcorp in a duel for control of the listed pub operator National Leisure & Gaming – Sydney Morning Herald


Emails irrelevant: White House – The White House has dismissed as "silly" the notion that global warming science had been compromised by emails exposing a row between top climate scientists – The Australian

Leaked agreement throws Copenhagen into crisis - The Copenhagen climate talks has been rocked by the leak of a draft final agreement which weakens the role of the United Nations in climate change negotiations and abandons the Kyoto Protocol – ABC News

Last decade set to be warmest on record - The World Meteorological Organisation says 2009 is set to be the fifth warmest year since records began in 1850. The WMO, which released its annual climate statement in Copenhagen overnight, also says the first decade of the 21st century is likely to be the warmest on record – ABC News

Pressure on China and the US to better offers - The stand-off between the big players at the United Nations climate conference is deepening, with European leaders calling on the US and China to improve their offers significantly before leaders arrive next week for the climax of the summit – Sydney Morning Herald

China forges new emissions axis with India – A chasm has widened between the countries most crucial to a new climate treaty, China and the US, over whether the developing superpower will accept international scrutiny of its greenhouse gas emissions – Melbourne Age

Cuts of up to 25% still possible: Wong – The Climate Change Minister, Penny Wong, left Sydney bound for the Copenhagen summit yesterday, saying it was still possible that Australia could take on deep greenhouse gas cuts of 25 per cent by 2020, but she ruled out anything more ambitious than that – Sydney Morning Herald

Japan threatens Australian humpbacksJapan is holding to a threat to add Australian humpbacks to its Antarctic whaling quota as talks that could decide their fate appear to shift from an end to the global hunts towards ''managing'' them – Melbourne Age


New Idea ordered to reveal Bec Hewitt article source – New Idea's publisher has been ordered by a judge to give up its sources for an article that falsely claimed former soapie starlet Bec Hewitt had another man in her life, a former fitness trainer identified as "Minder Mark" – The Australian


The drink

Barnesy joins booze abuse battle – Jimmy Barnes was the wild man of Australian rock and NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione was a young officer when their paths first crossed almost 30 years ago. The pair finally met officially at the Telstra 500 event last weekend where Mr Scipione enlisted the former poster man for alcohol excess to sing a very different tune for Operation Unite, a national two-day blitz against drunken violence this weekend – Sydney Daily Telegraph

1667 caught drink-driving – One in five South Australians caught drink-driving last financial year was a repeat offender, police figures reveal – Adelaide Advertiser


Sexist society is deeply ingrained: academic – Gender discrimination runs from infancy to old age, says a leading academic who warns society is still far from fair – Adelaide Advertiser

Foster care

FACS at breaking point: former boss – The former head of Family and Children's Services has blamed a "strained system" for failures by case workers in the years leading up to the death of a 12-year-old girl in foster care – Northern Territory News


Underground sensors for Perth - A high-tech system that can automatically detect parking "overstays" and is credited with a 57 per cent increase in revenue from parking fines in Cottesloe is set to be rolled out throughout the City of PerthThe West Australian

Self help

Fatal psychosis 'had origins' in self-help course – When she signed up for a self-development course, Rebekah Lawrence hoped it would help her find happiness. Instead, it triggered a psychotic state in which she leapt naked to her death from her office window – Sydney Morning Herald


Young people pick least safe cars – Young drivers are choosing the least safe cars, often with deadly consequences, new research from Monash University has found – Melbourne Age

Law and order

DNA blunder an injustice: Brumby - A DNA blunder that led to a Melbourne man being wrongly convicted and jailed for rape was an injustice, according to Premier John Brumby – Melbourne Age

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