Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Media wrap - Rudd promises yet more talk and no action on hospitals


Health and hospitals

Further delays for health overhaul - The Federal Government's health deadline has been pushed back another few months. The Government now says it will not make a decision on the future of Australia's health system until the first half of next year – ABC News

COAG meeting puts off health reform decision until 2010 – Kevin Rudd has defended the slow progress he and state leaders are making in fixing the nation's crumbling hospital system – Brisbane Courier Mail

Queensland health shame as miscarriages ignored – Hospital horror stories in the Brisbane Courier Mail

PM finds extra cash for hospitals – Kevin Rudd has defended his lack of decision on a takeover of the public hospital system if it was not fixed by mid-2009, but has found more money for the country's ailing state-run system – Adelaide Advertiser

Patience wears thin on health reforms – Peak health groups have demanded Kevin Rudd stop talking and act on improving the nation's health system, flatly declaring he is taking too long to decide how to reform the troubled sector – The Australian

Hospitals accused of rorting Medicare – Two Melbourne hospitals have been accused of exploiting Medicare by shifting millions of dollars worth of patient scans and diagnostic tests on to the Commonwealth – Melbourne Age

Three-year wait to treat doctor, nurse shortages – Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has warned of looming ''stark'' shortages of doctors and nurses in Australia but has defended the three years it will take to produce a health reform plan – Melbourne Age

Environmental matters

Abbott fuelling sceptics: UN – The head of the world's top climate research body has compared Tony Abbott to former US president and climate sceptic George W. Bush and conceded the failure of Australia's cap and trade carbon bill has given momentum to climate naysayers worldwide – The Australian

Rudd pledges to repay ETS rise – Families will pay little or nothing for Labor's emissions trading scheme, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd pledged yesterday. Full or partial compensation for rising costs would be available for couples with children on an income up to $160,000, as well as for singles on $30,000 a year or less – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Someone has to pay, says Malcolm – Malcolm Turnbull's description of Tony Abbott's views on climate change as "bullshit" and his vow to cross the floor to vote with Labor on the emissions trading scheme have repulsed his former supporters – The Australian

Rumblings as Libs eye carbon action – The opposition plans to outline “practical policies” to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the lead-up to next year’s election, senior Liberals say, but there are rumblings in the ranks that some schemes will be unable to proceed without a carbon price – The Australian

Extreme weather 'a bigger threat than terrorism' – Climate change-induced water shortages, drought and bushfire are the biggest threats to Australian business and more research is needed to find a solution, according to a survey of business and political leaders. The survey, conducted by think tank Australian Davos Connection, found droughts and extreme weather caused by climate change were seen as greater economic threats than terrorism and regional instability – The Australian

Political life

Ian Macfarlane likely victim of Coalition reshuffle – Queensland MP Ian Macfarlane could be the biggest loser in Tony Abbott's new front bench, likely to reward Howard government ministers and by-election winners – Brisbane Courier Mail

Turnbull fumes, Minchin rises – Malcolm Turnbull says he will keep speaking out on climate change policy after calling into question Tony Abbott's integrity and describing the Opposition Leader's approach as ''bullshit''. The antagonism comes as Mr Abbott prepares to announce today that Nick Minchin, the Liberal powerbroker who brought down Mr Turnbull, will replace Ian Macfarlane as energy and resources spokesman in what is being considered the ultimate gesture against supporters of the emissions trading scheme – Sydney Morning Herald

Turnbull attacks Abbott, will cross floor on ETS – Malcolm Turnbull will cross the floor in February to vote for the Government's emissions trading legislation and is urging other Liberals to do the same if they ''have any sense'' – Melbourne Age

Leader promotes conservatives – Tony Abbott is promoting conservative MPs, including Howard government minister Bronwyn Bishop and Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce, to sharpen the Coalition's political attack on the Rudd government and reflect the conservative majority of his backbenchers – The Australian

Keneally promotes Sartor and Kelly – Tony Kelly and Ian Macdonald, punished a few weeks ago by Nathan Rees after he accused them of plotting against him, are set to be the big winners in Kristina Keneally's new cabinet to be announced today – Sydney Morning Herald

Brumby rethinks 'cash-for-chat' fundraisers – Premier John Brumby and his ministers will no longer offer exclusive private meetings with companies in return for donations to the ALP, as the party seeks to polish its image ahead of next year's state and federal elections – Melbourne Age


Liberals steer to the right on boats – The Coalition's dumped immigration spokeswoman, Sharman Stone, says she has been "done over by the Right" as Tony Abbott moves to harden the Coalition's stance on immigration – The Australian

China now biggest source of migrantsChina has become Australia's biggest source of migrants, for the first time eclipsing the traditional main points of origin, New Zealand and BritainSydney Morning Herald

Industrial relations

Unions at war over ACTU leadership – Nurses union chief Ged Kearney will succeed Sharan Burrow as ACTU president, but her ascension has been marred by fresh divisions among the union factions and an extraordinary outburst by right-wing union leader Paul Howes – The Australian

Public service

Public service pay to crack $500,000South Australia’s top public servants are about to crack the $500,000 salary bracket. Defence SA chief executive officer Andrew Fletcher appears to be the state's biggest earner, taking home a package in the bracket that pays $480,000 to $489,000 a year – Adelaide Advertiser

Health woes fail to hurt bosses' pay - NSW hospitals have gone over budget by almost $160 million in the past financial year - and still owe $70 million in unpaid accounts, the NSW Health annual report shows. But its top five bureaucrats have been paid almost $1.8 million between them, including a salary of more than $411,000 for the department's director-general, Debora Picone – Sydney Morning Herald

Challenge is for public servants to shrug off their instinct for secrecy – There are two main recommendations in this report on how government should adapt to the internet era and one obstacle threatens both of them: public service culture. Unless that culture changes, the report says, secrecy will remain the default position of government – Sydney Morning Herald

Foreign affairs

Balibo Five were 'deliberately killed' – The Balibo Five were deliberately killed during Indonesia's 1975 invasion of East Timor, according to a retired commando who was in the special forces squad that shot them. It is the first time a senior Indonesian has broken ranks with the official line that the five Australian-based journalists -- Greg Shackleton, Tony Stewart, Gary Cunningham, Brian Peters and Malcolm Rennie -- died accidentally in crossfire in the small town of BaliboThe Australian

Balibo Five executed, soldier admitsSydney Morning Herald


Turnbull ups the white-ante - Malcolm Turnbull has wasted no time in turning on new Liberal leader Tony Abbott. The man is a fool and a puppet in Turnbull's eyes, and Coalition policy on climate change is a shifting, barely-intelligible mess. He may no longer be leader, but it looks like Turnbull is still keen to run the debate Annabel Crabb at the ABC’s The Drum

Internal debate gets uglier – Michelle Grattan in the Melbourne Age says Malcolm Turnbull has declared a jihad on Tony Abbott over climate change, and it will be ugly – Sydney Morning Herald

It's Jock v Nerd at Canberra High - Australian politics, after several years of explosive rearrangement, has now offered us for the next election one of the most classic high-school contests of all time: The Jock versus The Nerd. – Annabel Crabb at the ABC’s The Drum

The rising tide of fear for a planet in peril - Professor Matthew England in the Sydney Daily Telegraph writes how extreme climatic events such as drought, flooding rains, severe bushfire seasons and heatwaves cost society dearly - and these are all expected to become more frequent as our climate changes. This is one reason why economists say acting now and reducing our greenhouse emissions makes better sense than delaying.

When all is lost, Labor gives the top job to a woman – Liberal MP and former Sex Discrimination Commissioner Pru Goward contemplates Labor’s history of turning to women when one of its governments is heading for electoral defeat.

Doomsayers drowning in a rising tide of deception – Piers Akerman in the Sydney Daily Telegraph writes how when it comes to the human effect on global warming, it is now apparent that there are politicians, including Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, and scientists, including those who apparently manipulated and falsified data at the University of East Anglias Climatic Research Unit, who are in denial about the forces which influence weather.

Climate hysteria just warming up – Terry McCrann in the Melbourne Herald Sun reckons Copenhagen is going to be two weeks of insane hysteria.

Breathing space on climate change – With Australia's ETS voted down and continuing impasse at the international level, three hard lessons are obvious in relation to climate change policy writes Les Coleman in The Australian

Sharp right turn reunites coalition on the road to salvation – Malcolm Colless in The Australian writes that had the Liberals accepted Malcolm Turnbull's compromise strategy on the ETS the legislation would have become theirs as much as the government's. They would have straitjacketed themselves in the run-up to next year's election trying to defend the indefensible against a widespread grassroots revolt in the Liberal Party: a perfect result for Labor.

Stop attacking the gender gap – Julia Gillard and her fellow travellers are primed to use Labor’s job market reregulation to impose intrusive new concepts of “gender equality” on employers and the economy – says Michael Stutchbury in The Australian

The clock is ticking on Rudd's promises of change – Adam Creswell writes that Kevin Rudd hasn't quite broken any promises -- yet -- by failing yesterday to give even a hint about the federal government's intentions for health reform – The Australian

Doomsday prophecies exposed as mere fantasies of the left – Gerard Henderson has a bit of fun at the expense of Malcolm Mackerras and takes aim at some social science academics who are employed to teach politics to fee-paying students at taxpayer-subsidised universities – Sydney Morning Herald


Families wine and dine out on market share reversal – In a dramatic reversal of fortunes, the great family wine companies have grabbed significant market share from two of the industry giants during one of the sector's worst downturns. Foster's Group's market share by value has dropped from 28.5 per cent in 2005 to 21.2 per cent, while Constellation Wines Australia has fallen from 22 per cent to 13.5 per cent – Brisbane Courier Mail

Westpac defends interest rate hike above RBA rise – Gail Kelly and her senior executives have strongly defended last week's shock, jumbo-sized rate hike by Westpac, arguing the lender is not the "Jetstar of banking" – The Australian

Westpac tries new twist on rate rise - As Westpac customers continue to reel over the bank's decision to raise home loan rates more than the rest of the banking sector, Gail Kelly was talking up the importance of customer service and the bank's commitment to relationships and reliability – Sydney Morning Herald

Future Fund to play key role in government's deal with telco – The Future Fund not only intends to vote its 10.9 per cent stake in Telstra at any shareholder meeting needed for the probable split, but it aims to keep to its word about ensuring a fair deal providing value to shareholders – The Australian


Emissions proposal is 'not enough' – Emissions cuts proposed by the world's leading countries fall far short of what is needed to prevent catastrophic global warming, as does a proposed $US10 billion ($10.9bn) a year financial package to help poor nations deal with the effects of climate change. The double warning from the world's top climate negotiators and researchers came as delegates from 192 countries gathered in the Danish capital yesterday for the first day of the much-anticipated Copenhagen summit – The Australian

Leaders defend climate science - A powerful defence of the science of climate change is being launched at the Copenhagen conference as the UN and world leaders push back on claims by climate sceptics and call for deeper cuts in greenhouse gases from wealthy nations – Sydney Morning Herald


Law and order

Mike Rann's alleged attacker at Adelaide Magistrates Court – Premier Mike Rann faces questioning under oath in court over his alleged relationship with former waitress Michelle Chantelois - but not until after next year's election.

Security recruit quality causes concern – Young police force hopefuls, who have not made the grade, are being recruited as security officers for "high-risk" facilities – Adelaide Advertiser


Cleanup curbs security industry – SA police have banned 386 crowd controllers, or bouncers, from working because of drugs/alcohol, firearms or violent offences, since new laws came into effect four years ago today – Adelaide Advertiser

The drink

Police presence to stop booze violence – As Sydney recovers from a weekend of violence, police are ramping up their efforts to stamp out alcohol-related crime with plans for a huge police presence at known hot-spots.


Tighter learner and provisional driver laws cut fatalities – Tougher laws for learner and provisional licence holders appear to have contributed to a decline in their involvement in fatal crashes – Brisbane Courier Mail

Child care

New childcare standards to improve quality – Childcare centres will be forced to employ more staff and better-trained carers under a national bid to give kids a better start in their early years. A major agreement signed by federal and state governments yesterday will also pave the way for a new ratings system allowing parents to compare childcare operations – Brisbane Courier Mail

Sexual abuse

Swim boss denies sexual abuse cover up – Swimming Australia boss Kevin Neil vowed there would be no cover-up over accusations of sexual abuse against late head coach Terry Buck and "inappropriate" behaviour by his successor Alan Thompson – Adelaide Advertiser

Urban planning

St Kilda triangle plan scrapped – St Kilda’s embattled $400 million triangle project is no more. Almost a decade since planning work commenced on the remake of the prized seaside site, Port Phillip Council has abandoned the project at a cost of $5 million – Melbourne Age

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