Saturday, 12 December 2009

Media wrap - New plan to increase superannuation contributions?


Economic matters

Rudd's super plan - WA's mining boom is to be used by the Rudd Government to significantly increase Australians' superannuation nest eggs under a plan being hatched by Federal Cabinet. The West Australian understands the Prime Minister and his senior colleagues intend gradually lifting workers' 9 per cent superannuation guarantee to 12 per cent over coming years, beginning as early as next year. But to do it, the Government will need unprecedented cooperation from unions and businesses to trade-off wage rises with incremental increases to the super guarantee, as part of a modern-day "Accord" last seen under the Keating government – The West Australian


Christmas Island 'bursting' - Christmas Island is at a tipping point, with a rush of asylum seekers placing extreme pressure on detention facilities and basic infrastructure such as roads and sewerage treatment facilities. Immigration authorities yesterday scrambled to erect five tents as an "interim measure" at one of the island's detention camps in a desperate bid to expand the holding capacity – The West Australian

Anger on a crowded Christmas Island – Christmas Island's two immigration detention facilities are almost full to capacity, with 1448 asylum-seekers waiting for their refugee claims to be processed – The Australian

Health and hospitals

Hospitals' grave mistakes – More than 50 ''catastrophic'' mistakes were made in Victorian hospitals in the past year, including 21 operations on the wrong body part or even on the wrong patient – Melbourne Age

Political life

Hound dog Abbott searches for the scent of Rudd blood – Tony Wright of the Melbourne Age goes on the road with the new Opposition Leader

Town of Beaufort changed Tony Abbott's view on climate changeThe Australian reports on the meeting which changed Tony Abbott’s mind

Rudd push for nuclear arms control – Before Copenhagen and global warming it is Tokyo and arms control for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

Kristina Keneally believes God is a girl – Kristina Keneally believes God is a girl. The Catholic feminist, who once wanted to be a priest, made the conclusion in her 1995 masters thesis at Dayton University. Then aged 27, Keneally devoted her 64-page paper to the role of women in Christianity, proposing that theology should cast God as a woman as well as the male Jesus – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Tears and fears: a day in the life of the Premier – Kristina Keneally is crying. The death of a 41-year-old National Parks ranger and father of two, Aaron Harber, after a fire-fighting helicopter crashed, has moved her to tears for the second time in two days. The day before, the Premier had broken down at a news conference. Now the Herald is asking Ms Keneally about her emotional display and she is crying again – Sydney Morning Herald

Clipped: the elocution of an American import – The Sydney Morning Herald examines man accent.

MPs' hefty pay rise angers battling workers – Anna Bligh has ignored her own public sector wages policy to hand out post-Christmas pay rises to the state's 89 members of parliament. The 3.1 per cent pay increase for all politicians, announced yesterday, will take the base salary of backbenchers from $126,560 to $130,540 a year – Brisbane Courier Mail

Barnaby Joyce told to toe the line – Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has told Barnaby Joyce to toe the line after the new frontbencher came under fire for suggesting the US and Queensland could go broke – Brisbane Courier Mail

Tony Abbott puts rein on Barnaby Joyce – As Senator Joyce remained unapologetic yesterday over his shoot-from-the-lip comments, the government accused him of spreading right-wing conspiracy theories and being a leading advocate of "wacko economics". And the Chinese ambassador to Australia rejected his concerns about investment from state-owned companies. The Australian

Rebellious Joyce slapped back into line – Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey has slapped down new Opposition finance spokesman Barnaby Joyce over his comments on debt and banking. Mr Hockey said the senator was wrong to claim Australian states and the US Government might default on debts, and that his comments on banks and Chinese investment were not policy – Melbourne Age

Parliamentary terms

Keneally adds support for debate on recall elections – The Premier has supported a debate on ''recall'' elections in NSW after the Sydney Morning Herald called for constitutional change to allow them to take place.

Fixed-term MPs support review of election rule – The former MPs who forced NSW to adopt a fixed term of government 18 years ago have conceded that their measures could be reviewed as both sides of government agreed to review the election rule – Sydney Morning Herald


Tony Abbott works to keep Bill Heffernan in Senate - NSW senator Bill Heffernan is expected to retain his preselection today, courtesy of Tony Abbott, but will slide down the Liberal ticket, reflecting a weakening of his position within the party – The Australian

Aboriginal affairs

Travellers outraged by Uluru climb ban – Australian travellers are outraged at plans to ban tourists from climbing Uluru, fearing it will have a serious impact on tourism, a new survey shows – Northern Territory News


Liberal dose of alliens leading us to insanity – Laurier Oakes in the Sydney Daily Telegraph matches political personalities to prominent alien influences

In Gore's opinion, Climategate was only an inconvenient hiccup – Andrew Bolt in the Melbourne Herald Sun  

From media tart to a force to be reckoned with – Peter Hartcher in the Sydney Morning Herald thinks Barnaby Joyce finished second to Kevin Rudd as the most influential politician of the year

And they all drank banana smoothies sadly ever after – Mike Carlton in the Sydney Morning Herald has a word or two for Gail Kelly of Westpac

What to expect from Henry review – Ross Gittins makes some predictions in the Sydney Morning Herald

The Government no one deserves – Richard Glover in the Sydney Morning Herald on the Keneally team

'Armageddon' threat doesn't rate – Tim Colebatch in the Melbourne Age gives the view of the ratings experts on the American and Queensland credit risks

Ms Gillard: your $22m study is a no-brainer – Ebru Yaman in the Melbourne Age writes that the national snapshot of very young children's cognitive and developmental skills revealed in research released this week shows that almost one-quarter of children aged five are "developmentally vulnerable". Behind this gentle euphemism is the cold fact that there are untold scores of Australian children who begin school socially aggressive, emotionally unsteady and developmentally compromised.

Sceptics find comfort in cost of change – writes Dennis Altman in the Melbourne Age. Opinion is valued ahead of evidence in the debate on global warming.

Barnaby Joyce voices a far Right platform – Barnaby Joyce's views about limiting foreign investment, the possibility of the US defaulting on its loans and the fraud behind climate change are an echo of the platform of one of Australia's most extreme right-wing groups, the Citizens Electoral Council writes Andrew Fraser in The Australian

How two decades of economic reform consensus disappeared – Michael Stutchbury in The Australian

About as bad as it's likely to get – in the opinion polls for Tony Abbott reckons Peter van Onselen in The Australian

Minister making giant strides in tough foreign assignment – Greg Sheridan gives an assessment of Stephen Smith’s efforts in The Australian


Ratings calamity for Westpac's Gail Kelly – Gail Kelly was heralded as our saviour, a pin-up heroine for the sisterhood, a friendly face amid the murky world of banking. Here was a platinum-haired hard-working supermum who appeared to be altogether grounded, normal and trustworthy - despite the rarefied air she breathed at the top of the corporate ladder. But that mantle, thrust on her by a public tired of bland bank CEOs and their empty promises, has seemingly crumbled, fallen apart after a fortnight of disastrous decision making at her Westpac Bank – Sydney Daily Telegraph

The Kelly backlash - Forbes rated her more powerful than the Queen. This week she was shredded on talkback radio. Eric Johnston and Julian Lee report in the Sydney Morning Herald on Gail Kelly's big stumble.

Top banana slips up as brand Kelly shaken – It is a cliche in marketing circles that it can take years to build a brand but weeks, days or even minutes to destroy it. In Westpac's case, it has taken a little under 10 working days to push it to the brink – Melbourne Age

Women forced to muscle in - Left to their own devices, companies have not appointed female board members. Now they may have to, writes Ruth Williams in the Sydney Morning Herald


China rejects draft climate deal – China has accused the developed world of retreating from its undertakings to cut greenhouse gas emissions, rejected a proposal at the Copenhagen conference to reduce financial help to China and described the draft deal Kevin Rudd worked on as creating "a lot of problems" – The Australian

China fights for its right to developChina is fighting back on climate change at Copenhagen. It's fighting for its own national interest; it's fighting against backsliding developed countries; it's fighting for the developing nations; and, most importantly, it is fighting for the "right to develop” – Dennis Shanahan in The Australian

Climate talks teetering – The Copenhagen climate conference was teetering on the brink of failure last night after the United Nations released a draft proposal that made no mention of creating a new binding treaty to cover the three most important players in reducing greenhouse gas emissions: the US, China and India – Melbourne Age

Two big guns steal the show – Lenore Taylor in The Australian writes that the first week in Denmark points to a mistrustful relationship between the US and China

Blueprint lays path to climate deal – The first official draft blueprint for a deal at the UN climate talks in Copenhagen sets targets of limiting global warming to 1.5C or 2.0C. The lower temperature is embraced by small island states and many African nations badly threatened by climate change – The Australian

Strange climate of neglect - Pacific island nations are under threat from a great deal more than global warming - there is a danger that by concentrating so much energy and expectation on yet another external deus ex machina, a remote industrialised world at once blamed for all wrongs and for their salvation, the islands will wind up drowning in their own tears – Rowan Callick in The Australian

Our energy intensity 'factored in' – Australia’s energy-intensive economy had been factored in to the range of greenhouse gas reduction targets the Rudd government has put on the table in Copenhagen, Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said – The Australian

PM hits back on talks team – Kevin Rudd has blamed the states for the size of the delegation joining him at the Copenhagen climate change conference, but has been accused by the opposition of "dishonesty with the facts" – The Australian

Emissions trading go-ahead – The Rudd Government is pressing ahead full steam with its planned emissions trading scheme by moving to engage experts to run complex auctions of millions of carbon emissions permits every year – Melbourne Age

First locally made hybrid car launched – The first locally built petrol-electric hybrid has rolled off the production line at Toyota's Victorian manufacturing plant, to be greeted by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd – Adelaide Advertiser

PM threat of whaling legal action – Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has threatened international legal action after the new Japanese Government declared there would be no change to its stance on whaling – Melbourne Age

Rann gets tough on emissions – Premier Mike Rann heads to Copenhagen today intent on pushing states and regions to set their own targets for emissions reduction and renewable energy – Adelaide Advertiser

''We're not ready for cyclone''Darwin’s cyclone building code has slipped back to pre-Cyclone Tracy levels, leaving the city unprepared to face a direct hit from a maximum Category 5 cyclone. The claims, by Darwin-based researchers Mike Nicholls and Garry Cook, were published last month in the internationally respected journal of the American Meteorological Society – Northern Territory News

True cost of desal plant concealed – Millions of dollars worth of land has been excluded from the official price tag on Victoria's desalination plant, with a series of peppercorn rents hiding the full cost of the project. The private consortium entrusted with building and operating the Bass Coast plant has been given a 32-year lease on a massive strip of coastal land for the sum of $1 – Melbourne Age



Law and order

The monster and his medical problem - jailed rapist wants erection problem help - are paying to fix the penile erection problems of a jailed rapist who once ran with Ivan Milat's gang. The decision by the State Government's Justice Health Department has sparked outrage among victims – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Doing time in God's jail – Prisoner advocates are urging South Australia to pioneer the introduction of a Christian "faith-based" prison unit to stop the "revolving door" of repeat offenders. The Prison Fellowship and former Liberal Government Corrections Minister Robert Brokenshire say there is "nothing to lose" by introducing a faith-based unit similar to a successful program in New ZealandAdelaide Advertiser

Voters back stop-and-search - WA voters have given a big thumbs up to the Barnett Government's proposed stop-and-search laws, with 67 per cent of people surveyed in the latest Westpoll supporting the legislation – The West Australian

Overland denies deal shift – Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Simon Overland has changed his position for the second time in 24 hours over whether he will release details of controversial police deals to pass on personal information about protesters – Melbourne Age

Tasmanian police chief demands desk back after High Court ruling – Tasmania’s suspended police commissioner Jack Johnston wants a prompt decision on his return to work after the High Court yesterday finally ended the criminal prosecution against him – The Australian

Real estate

The big squeeze - Sydney has no choice but to make its homes smaller to accommodate a population boom – Sydney Morning Herald

Auction record hints at strong start to yearSydney’s buoyant property market refuses to tire, with vendors achieving the strongest December auction clearance rate on record – Sydney Morning Herald

Slow pace of building blamed on tardy rezoning – Developers say figures they have obtained from the Department of Planning prove that the State Government never intended to rezone enough land in Sydney to meet its official targets for new housing construction – Sydney Morning Herald

House sales set for $1bn record – Soaring house prices and a last-minute surge of listings are expected to push total sales towards $1 billion this weekend and top the most lucrative string of sales on record – Melbourne Age

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