Saturday, 19 December 2009

Media wrap - Tony Abbott recommends Bible study to a nation that has many believers


Climate Deal Announced, but Falls Short of Expectations - Leaders here concluded a climate change deal on Friday that the Obama administration called “meaningful” but that falls short of even the modest expectations for the summit meeting here – New York Times at 9.13am eastern Australian time.

'Meaningful' deal reached at Copenhagen climate summit - Key states have reached what they call a "meaningful agreement" at the Copenhagen climate summit. BBC News 9.12am



$3bn hole in defence strategy – Kevin Rudd's ambitious defence plans may never be delivered, as a looming multi-billion-dollar budget shortfall is likely to force a major review of planned equipment for the army, navy and air force – The Australian


Minister eyes NT teacher standards – New Education Minister Chris Burns says teaching standards must be raised in the Territory. He said the NT Government would strive to improve recruitment, retention and appraisal – Northern Territory News

Bible studies

All kids must read the Bible, federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says – Bible classes should be compulsory so children have a fundamental understanding of Christianity on leaving school, federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says.

Self assessment

Anna Bligh gives herself a B rating for 2009 – Anna Bligh has followed in the footsteps of US President Barack Obama and insisted her Government deserves a B grade for its efforts in 2009 – Brisbane Courier Mail

Economic matters

Victoria goes from basket case to star performer – Victoria  has leapt ahead of all the non-resource states, as well as Queensland, as the former rust-belt state reaps the rewards of more than 15 years' of economic reform. The state is taking advantage of its sputtering northern neighbours in attracting new business investment and population and housing growth – The Australian


Lobbyist Davina Quirke quits Development Policy Advisory Committee – Lobbyist and Burnside councillor Davina Quirke has quit a top planning body just days after The Advertiser revealed a potential conflict of interest – Adelaide Advertiser

Keating attacked for 'fairy tale' view of past – The National Trust has lashed out at Paul Keating over his ''fairytale'' vision to remove the shipyard and wharves from one of the harbour's last working islands – Sydney Morning Herald

Political life

Budgies, bastardry and Nathan Rees – Fresh from becoming road kill in the bear pit of State Parliament, former premier Nathan Rees plans to spend his free time photographing wildlife. In an interview on his regular train ride from Wentworthville to work, a relaxed Mr Rees spoke about his last day as premier and his future plans – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Regrets, I've had a few - In his first interview since being dumped as premier, Nathan Rees tells the Sydney Morning Herald’s Andrew Clennell of the conditions he set to serve in the Keneally cabinet.

Public service

'Offensive' bonuses to stay – Senior executives of the authority that manages Victoria's public sector superannuation will keep their big pay bonuses, despite a Government inquiry finding they should never have received them – Melbourne Age

Industrial relations

Julia Gillard resists call to enter pay dispute – Julia Gillard is facing growing calls for the Rudd government to intervene to stop industrial action by the maritime union that is disrupting the multi-billion-dollar offshore oil and gas sector – The Australian

No free mail over Christmas – Tens of thousands of unstamped Christmas cards and letters will not be delivered until next year and many could be destroyed in defiance of union promises of free post – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Federal police

Code aims to avoid repeat of Bali Nine twist of fate – The Rudd Government has issued guidelines to the Australian Federal Police on co-operating with countries that have the death penalty, including a stipulation that senior officers consider a suspect's age, nationality and whether capital punishment is likely – Sydney Morning Herald


Asylum seekers depart for Canada - The first of a group of asylum seekers who refused to go ashore in Indonesia from the Australian vessel, the Oceanic Viking, are expected to depart for asylum in Canada tomorrow – Sydney Morning Herald

Viking Tamils given special treatment, Indonesian and Canadian officials say – Kevin Rudd's claim that the 78 Tamils rescued by the Oceanic Viking received no special treatment was in tatters yesterday after officials in Canada and Indonesia described the arrangements made for the refugees as extraordinary – The Australian


Must we pay for parties? – Laurie Oakes in the Melbourne Herald Sun writes that there’s an idea afoot that could see taxpayers forking out up to $500 million to political parties every three years. That, at least, is the view of federal Labor MP Michael Danby, and he chose the week before Christmas to issue a warning to caucus colleagues about it.

Holiday largesse - Expecting the Canberra crowd to go quiet over the summer break? Forget it, they're just getting warmed up writes Katharine Murphy in the Melbourne Age

Why 2010 won't be such a good year – Daniel Flitton in the Melbourne Age takes a somewhat gloomy view of the year ahead believing that cross currents of global politics are swirling in a decidedly negative direction.

Enough porkies, it's time for a few home truths – Peter Hartcher has decided Australia is a bloody miracle. If you had set out to design a successful, free, peaceful, prosperous, tolerant, modern society, you would not have started with Australia's beginnings – Sydney Morning Herald

Reality bites defence dream – Patrick Walters in The Australian says that eight months after being launched with great fanfare Kevin Rudd's defence white paper is in deep trouble.

Joyce may backfire – Peter van Onselen in The Australian writes that mavericks are not messiahs. If they are promoted beyond their competence, which usually involves any promotion at all, their rants go from being the words of a political outsider to party policy-making on the run.

Power behind the throne – Julia Gillard is defying the pattern of politics: a Labor Deputy Prime Minister with numbers, influence and policy clout who has achieved such executive dominance without control of the Treasury ministry is the verdict of Paul Kelly in The Australian


AXA'S balancing act - ANZ has raised the stakes in the battle for AXA Asia Pacific, yesterday leaving the door open for a possible move on the wealth management company just days after National Australia Bank swooped with an effective offer of $13.3 billion. At the same time, spurned suitor AMP is believed to have insisted to investors yesterday that the battle for AXA Asia Pacific is still alive, arguing that its joint offer of cash and shares with France's AXA SA continues to deliver a better deal – Melbourne Age

Foster's wine profit turns to water – Efforts by the chief executive of Foster's, Ian Johnston, to turn around the group's struggling wine division have been stung by recessionary conditions in the US, a rising Australian dollar and a shift by many drinkers across the world to cheaper, low-margin wine labels – Sydney Morning Herald


Scientists crying wolf over coral - A senior marine researcher has accused Australian scientists of "crying wolf" over the threat of climate change to the Great Barrier Reef , exposing deep division over its vulnerability - The Australian

Reef at risk of hot-spot bleaching within months – Scientists warn the Great Barrier Reef faces a "double whammy" threat of coral bleaching this summer after record high temperatures. Latest satellite imagery from the US shows a dire outlook for the Reef – Brisbane Courier Mail


Crackdown on television smut – Television networks will be forced to justify nudity, sex scenes and dirty jokes under a crackdown by the Australian TV watchdog next year. The new rules were sparked by outrage over Big Brother's explicit sexual content and treatment of its contestants during its eight-year run – Melbourne Herald Sun

Television rules bend to help digital spin-offs – The new spin-off channels of the commercial television networks will not have to show any G-rated material in the child-friendly 6am-10am timeslot from next year – Melbourne Age

Defamation win for News Corp champions truth – Lawyers and publishers have hailed yesterday's verdict in the Captain Dragan defamation trial as a major victory for the media which "sends a very strong message to potential litigants" – The Australian

Captain Dragan Vasiljkovic 'committed torture and rape' – The Rudd government has been urged to prosecute Dragan Vasiljkovic - the notorious "Captain Dragan" - on Australian soil if he cannot be extradited to Croatia after the NSW Supreme Court yesterday found the former Serbian paramilitary commander had committed the war crimes of torture and rape, and had admitted to a massacre – The Australian

War criminal fails in defamation case – The Supreme Court is satisfied he committed the war crime of torture, participated in organised rape and admitted committing a massacre during the Balkans war. But Daniel Snedden is free in the community despite attempts by the Croatian Government to extradite him for prosecution. Also known as Dragan Vasiljkovic or Captain Dragan, he is accused of war crimes while commanding a Serb paramilitary unit in Croatia in the early 1990s and sued for defamation after The Australian reported in 2005 on his alleged conduct during the conflict – Sydney Morning Herald


The drink

Liquor probe on Collingwood Magpies Football Club – Collingwood’s right to own and operate pubs and pokies is under threat after a series of alleged breaches at its trendy bayside hotel – Melbourne Herald Sun

Consumer affairs

How you're screwed on fuel – Fuel giants are exchanging information to coordinate price hikes in the weekly petrol price cycle, the competition watchdog says – Adelaide Advertiser

Petrol pricing secrets revealed - The secrets of petrol pricing have been revealed by the consumer watchdog in a major investigation that could help motorists save hundreds of dollars a year – Melbourne Herald Sun

Caltex, Mobil, BP lead rises – Petrol retailers Caltex, Mobil and BP are often the first to lift unleaded fuel prices each week, a report by the nation's consumer watchdog shows – Melbourne Age

Retail rewards schemes take more than they give – Those loyalty cards in your wallet might be costing more than you think and giving away more personal information that you may want. One study shows they are more likely to provide retailers with personal information about their customer than to deliver bargains – Brisbane Courier Mail

Real estate

Victorian home prices overstated – Average house prices have been overstated by up to 18 per cent by the real estate industry, official statistics show. In September the average house price quoted by the Real Estate Institute of Victoria was $67,000 higher than the official figure, based on preliminary valuer-general data obtained by the Melbourne Herald Sun.

What $525,000 can buy you in Melbourne – A Melbourne  house costs at least $100,000 more than it did a year ago. The population boom and housing shortage pushed the median price to $525,000 in October, compared with $415,000 last October. The median is the middle value when all sale prices are listed from lowest to highest – Melbourne Age

Brisbane's prestige market returns with 260 deals - Unit sales are leading an improvement in turnover within Brisbane's property market, with 260 deals in the three months ending November. It compares with 174 the previous quarter – Brisbane Courier Mail

'Tis season for bounce in waterfront market - An RP Data researcher, Tim Lawless, said sales had risen the week before Christmas in seven of the past 10 years – Sydney Morning Herald

Law and order

Law trims our hedge warfare – Some creep out to the garden in the dead of night armed with clippers. Others prefer poisons, while a small number have gone crazy with the shears and had police called on them. These are some tactics in "hedge warfare", a source of discord growing in the suburbs at 1.5m a year. Disputes over "spite hedges" left untrimmed to block the sun, views and light from nearby houses have become so common the NSW Government has been forced to intervene – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Animal welfare

Army base begins massive cull – Thousands of kangaroos will be slaughtered in a cull at Puckapunyal Army base in a move that has outraged animal welfare campaigners – Melbourne Herald Sun


Gloom to boom as tourism industry regains shineQueensland’s battered $15.5 billion tourism industry has turned a corner, with "no vacancy" signs lit up from the Gold Coast to Cairns. After nearly two years of economic doldrums, families are shrugging off their worries to spend money on a holiday – Brisbane Courier Mail


Roman Catholic church to recognise miracles – Mary MacKillop is set to be named Australia's first Roman Catholic saint today, with speculation the church is about to make the announcement – Brisbane Courier Mail

Big day for town still devoted to Mother Mary – Every day, a Penola woman under Mary MacKillop's spell picks flowers from her garden and arranges them beneath a church shrine. It's a measure of the quiet devotion in this tiny South Australian wine town to a woman who died a century ago with a legacy that could today lead to her becoming a saint – Melbourne Age

God is still tops but angels rate well – Most Australians believe in God or a similar universal spirit, but a majority also believe in miracles, heaven, life after death and angels. The surprising findings from an Age Nielsen poll show Australia is a credulous nation, willing to mix and match religious faith with belief in other phenomena – Melbourne Age
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