Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Media wrap - Thank goodness for the sailing and the cricket!



POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Economic matters

Cut in stamp duty on new homes extended – Cuts to the stamp duty levied by the State Government on new homes have been extended after intensive lobbying by the building industry – Sydney Morning Herald

$50m more for new home relief – The NSW Labor government has been able to offer an extra $50 million in stamp-duty concessions to buyers of new homes, but only because the flatlining housing-construction sector has meant fewer takers than expected for existing duty relief – The Australian

State taxes hit growth and jobsSouth Australia has eclipsed NSW as the nation's highest-taxing jurisdiction for business. And state taxes are frustrating federal infrastructure plans and impeding job creation – The Australian

States urged to review tax – The states have been urged to undertake their own Henry-style reviews of their tax systems and act on the findings, rather than blame Canberra for their economic woes. A string of business groups, including the Urban Development Institute of Australia, the Tourism Transport Forum, the Insurance Council and the Business Coalition for Tax Reform, slammed state taxes in their submissions to Ken Henry – The Australian

Immigration

Jakarta puts Kevin Rudd on notice over asylum-seekersIndonesia has put Kevin Rudd on notice that the special treatment offered to the 78 Tamils aboard the Oceanic Viking must be extended to the 255 Sri Lankans moored off the port of MerakThe Australian

Elections

Libs promise ad controls - Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu has promised more stringent controls over political advertising under a Coalition government but stopped short of sharing the full detail of his plan – Melbourne Age

Political parties

Nile party in an unholy row after by-election – Fred Nile’s Christian Democratic Party is in crisis following a disastrous showing at the Bradfield by-election, which has led to its campaign director facing expulsion, the resignations of its lead candidate and a high-profile deputy president, and a barrage of criticism from mainstream church groups – Sydney Morning Herald

Industrial relations

Labor 'ignores' building watchdog – Building industry watchdog John Lloyd has accused the Rudd government of freezing him out, saying Labor has failed to consult him on key changes to the role, responsibilities and powers of his office – The Australian

Abortion

Premier Bligh rejects bid for Queensland abortion reform – A push by doctors and pro-choice activists to have abortion decriminalised in Queensland has been formally refused – The Australian

Freedom of information

More freedom of information requests refused under Rudd than under Howard – Kevin Rudd's government has refused more freedom of information requests in its first full financial year of power than John Howard's did in its last full financial year in office despite Labor's stated program to increase transparency of public information. The annual report of the Freedom of Information Act, which was quietly released just before Christmas, shows that 1530 requests, or 6.09 per cent, were refused in the 12 months to June 30 – The Australian

Protest

Dying for a chat with Kevin Rudd – As his health begins to fail, protesting farmer Peter Spencer swore yesterday he would die before giving in to a Federal Government decision to make his farm a carbon sink – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Opinions

Did they say that? Traps for the sages and soothsayers – Gerard Henderson in the Sydney Morning Herald looks back at the year.

Contempt detonates Aussie-Arabic future – Piers Akerman in the Sydney Daily Telegraph writes how, with uncanny timing, The Sydney Morning Herald has gone in to bat for Keysar Trad, long-time sidekick of Lakemba’s notorious Muslim cleric Sheik Taj Din al-Hilaly, as a Nigerian would-be suicide bomber was dragged from a US plane after unsuccessfully trying to blow it from the skies. This is not to suggest that Trad or al-Hilaly were aware of the plot to bring down Northwest Airlines Amsterdam-Detroit flight, but rather that SMH writer David Marr overlooks salient points in his attempt to demonise 2GB broadcaster Alan Jones, who last week lost a minor defamation suit Trad brought against him and the station – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Foreign aid gifts' misleading message really gets my goat – Daniel Flitton in the Melbourne Age says cute marketing of charity presents could do more harm than good.

Bannon's vision condemned to dreams – David Nason in The Australian looks back at how the vision of former Premier John Bannon to lure business to SA with favourable taxes has ended up with SA the highest taxing state.

CPRS handouts will cost the country dearly – writes Henry Ergas in The Australian

Untried and untested, but in with a chance – Malcolm Colless believes recent Newspoll research, showing voters are increasingly concerned their standard of living will decline, has handed new Liberal leader Tony Abbott the perfect opportunity to start rebuilding the opposition's economic management credentials – The Australian

More evidence CO2 not culprit - Michael Asten, a professorial fellow in the school of geosciences at Monash University, Melbourne, writes in The Australian that the Copenhagen climate change summit closed two weeks ago in confusion, disagreement and, for some, disillusionment. When the political process shows such a lack of unanimity, it is pertinent to ask whether the science behind the politics is as settled as some participants maintain.

ENVIRONMENT

Time to paint Melbourne white: Robert Doyle – Forget painting the town red - Lord Mayor Robert Doyle wants Melbourne's roofs painted white. Cr Doyle believes slathering the tops of inner-city buildings with a white coating will make them cooler and more energy efficient – Melbourne Herald Sun

LIFE

Security

Federal police to take over airports – The Australian Federal Police will take control of security at the nation's 11 busiest airports within three to five years under a plan to prevent understaffing at terminals and duplication of services by state and federal agencies – Sydney Morning Herald

Tough new airport check-in rules – Passengers heading to the US lined up at Sydney Airport yesterday ready for tough new checks, including mandatory physical pat downs and inspections of all hand luggage – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Drugs

$4m to track death by drugs - The Illicit Drug Reporting System operated by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of NSW has been given $747,000 over three years to collect data on street-level drug trends – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Child support

$1b in deadbeat parents debt - The child support debt has grown by 12.8 per cent despite a 20 per cent increase in child support agency staff and a $900 million funding boost to help the agency improve the system. The Government's finance watchdog, the Auditor-General, was highly critical of the Child Support Agency in a new report, which revealed almost 400,000 parents are not getting proper child support – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Development

City development - it's make or break time – Adelaide faces a "make or break" year and must deliver on major projects to revitalise the city centre, a leading architect warns – Adelaide Advertiser

Housing

Housing crisis tipped in new year as demand outstrips supply – A decade of unprecedented population growth in Queensland will leave a chronic shortfall of 50,000 houses by the middle of next year. The shortfall is likely to present the state with significant problems as demand continues to outstrip supply and first-home buyers risk being priced out of the market – Brisbane Courier Mail

Charity

Cancer foundation gives away just $5900 – Less than one cent in every dollar raised by an Adelaide charity has gone to its intended cause in its first two financial years, documents show. The Adelaide-based National Cancer Research Foundation last year picked up $387,864 in donations but gave just $4900 away, according to its audited profit and loss statements – Adelaide Advertiser

Transport

Plane safety compromised, says union – Safety inspections and repair work on large Australian passenger planes could be carried out by someone with less than one month's training under new air safety rules, aircraft engineers have warned – Sydney Morning Herald

Education

PM Kevin Rudd backs ANU's China centre – Kevin Rudd is throwing his weight - and up to $100 million of taxpayer funds over 10 years - behind the Australian National University's thrust to create the world's leading research centre on ChinaThe Australian
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