Thursday, 17 December 2009

Media wrap - Optimism about interest rates


Economic matters

Rate rises now on hold, says Reserve – The Reserve Bank has given the clearest sign yet it is preparing to ease up on future rate rises, saying that interest rates are now back to normal levels. In a speech yesterday, the deputy governor of the central bank said even though official rates remained low, unofficial increases by major banks meant borrowers were no longer enjoying the emergency lows – Sydney Morning Herald

Booming economy tipped for 2010 – Economists are forecasting a booming economy and soaring interest rates in 2010 - despite new figures showing growth slowed to just 0.2 per cent in the September quarter – Melbourne Age

Stimulus will still be needed next year: Swan – The Australian economy will remain reliant on government stimulus next year, the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, said following yesterday's national accounts report that showed growth of just 0.2 per cent in the September quarter – Sydney Morning Herald

Big banks put profits before people – Big banks used the global financial crisis to fleece their customers of more than $1.8 billion in the past year alone. The Daily Telegraph can reveal this figure after analysing new Reserve Bank research which compared banks' actual profits with what would have been earned had their margins been maintained at pre-GFC levels. The research shows that banks made an extra $850 million in the first half of 2008-09 and $960 million in the second half - a total of $1.81 billion – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Queensland falls back with the packQueensland has squandered its low-tax edge and become a public-sector spendthrift, putting at risk its long-term growth potential and ability to attract investment. As the nation emerges from the global financial crisis, The Australian has found there has been a realignment in the federal economic order.

Developers fly south from Queensland with cranes - While the strong movement of people into southeast Queensland that has fuelled the state's economic growth will continue, developers cite a lack of confidence in Queensland as one reason for looking south – The Australian

Economy slowing as exports slump – Falling business investment and exports have pushed the economy to its weakest growth since last December, with the Rudd government claiming its stimulus spending is all that is preventing a recession – The Australian

Health and hospitals

Why is our health service $65m in the red? - The Illawarra region's health service has blown its budget by more than $23 million, ending the last financial year almost $65 million in the red. And little of the massive spending went towards the upkeep of medical equipment, with maintenance spending less than half what it should be – Illawarra Mercury

Wollongong Hospital fails to perform - Emergency department patients are more likely to wait on an ambulance stretcher for treatment at Wollongong Hospital than at any other hospital in NSW, according to the most recent hospital performance data. The site fails to meet three out of five triage performance benchmarks and is among the worst for admitting patients within eight hours of their arrival – Illawarra Mercury

Exposed: attempts to silence Illawarra doctor - Details have emerged of attempts within the region's health service to punish and silence a doctor for speaking out about a failed piece of medical equipment. Within hours of publicly condemning the high-stakes breakdown of an outdated medical compressor at Shoalhaven Hospital, Dr Tony Fitzpatrick's comeuppance was being considered by the South Coast's top health bureaucrat, documents obtained under Freedom of Information show – Illawarra Mercury


Redmond cuts Rann's lead in South Australia by half 100 days out from poll – South Australian Labor's seemingly impenetrable lead in the polls has suffered a blow, with a resurgent Liberal opposition closing the gap less than 100 days before the state election. Amid the furore of Premier Mike Rann's alleged affair with a waitress, the Isobel Redmond-led opposition has halved Labor's two-party-preferred 12 percentage point lead – The Australian


Triumphant Alexander vows to take fight to McKew – The former tennis star John Alexander has won Liberal preselection for the seat of Bennelong, declaring he was a ''thoroughbred'' party member – Sydney Morning Herald


Outcry on internet censorship – The  Federal Government's proposal for an internet filter faces a barrage of criticism, including from both sides of politics and a former High Court judge – Melbourne Age


International deal to resettle 78 Tamils in several countriesAustralia is on the verge of clinching a deal with New Zealand, Canada, Norway and possibly the US to help resettle the 78 Tamil asylum-seekers rescued by the Australian Customs vessel the Oceanic Viking – The Australian


Davina Quirke denies $3.1billion 'conflict of interest – A woman who sits on the State Government's top planning body is a director of a company that is lobbying for $3.1 billion worth of major development projects – Adelaide Advertiser

Transport policy

Master blaster Keating says Badgerys is the only airport option – The former prime minister Paul Keating has blasted the Rudd Government's decision to scrap Badgerys Creek as the site for Sydney's second airport as ''a scandalous violation of responsible public policy''. Mr Keating, supported by the Hawke government transport minister Peter Morris, urged the decision be reversed because there was no other site for a second airport in metropolitan Sydney – Sydney Morning Herald

Flight reforms won't benefit NT – Federal Government airline industry reforms that were hoped to bring overseas budget flights back to Darwin have a sting in the tail – Northern Territory News

The monarchy

Victorian courts banish 'outdated' Queen – The Queen is slowly disappearing from Victoria's legal system. From New Year's Day, criminal prosecutions will be brought in the name of the Director of Public Prosecutions, rather than the Queen – Melbourne Age


St Kevin should get the hell out of it – Peter Fitzsimmons is not one to believe in miracles and writes in the Sydney Morning Herald that Kevin Rudd should move out of the canonisation of Marcy McKillop frame.

Yes, it's time for change - but we need more than a recall provision – Lee Rhiannon reminds NSW voters that the decision to introduce fixed term parliaments was seen in 1991 as a plus for democracy

Backflips on protesters and privacy leave us all in the dark – Paul Austin in the Melbourne Age says confusion still reigns over deals done on controversial projects in Victoria

Bound to come off the boil – writes Michael Stutchbury in The Australian who tells us worry about one soft GDP number.

Liberals take heart from poll swing – writes Michael Own in The Australian.  The Newspoll should please the South Australian Liberal opposition, which under the six-month leadership of Redmond has seemingly turned around a woeful performance in the dying days of the Martin Hamilton-Smith juggernaut.

Badgerys Creek was the right site then and is the right site now – say Paul Keating and Peter Morris writing in the Sydney Morning Herald

Spartacus leads grassroots revolt – Arthur Sinodinos in The Australian sees Tony Abbott as the Spartacus of Australian politics. No longer content to be slaves in Kevin Rudd's victory procession, the Liberal heartland has found its Spartacus and revolted. Most Liberals feel energised by the leadership change and dare to dream of winning the next election. So far the polls have not moved but that gives Abbott plenty of runway. It is unlikely that people have made up their minds about him.


Pull your weight, Westpac challenges its rivals – Westpac has challenged its major rivals to open up their lending books, claiming it has absorbed a greater cost burden by expanding credit through the financial crisis and remaining open for business – The Australian


Jet, ship tax to fund climate poor: Copenhagen deal – African  nations, led by Ethiopia and backed by France and Britain, have presented a plan to break the deadlock at the Copenhagen talks by raising billions of dollars to help poor countries cope with climate change through levies on international aviation and shipping and possibly even a controversial global financial tax – The Australian

Japan, we'll see you in court – Environment Minister Peter Garrett finally delivered an ultimatum to the Japanese - stop slaughtering our whales or Australia will take you to court – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Clean coal locked out of funding – The Australian government's project of trying to make coal less polluting by capturing and storing its carbon emissions has been dealt an expensive blow at the climate summit. The UN conference refused to include clean coal technology in its main program for channelling money to clean fuel projects, locking carbon capture and storage out of potentially billions of dollars of funding – The Australian

Penny Wong jeered, Hugo Chavez cheered – The Copenhagen climate summit was pretty much summed up in the high-level segment yesterday when Penny Wong’s speech was interrupted by whistles and chanting and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez got a standing ovation. The Australian climate change minister may not be the world’s greatest orator but she had some sensible things to say when she stood up on behalf of the so-called “umbrella group” of developed countries, including Australia, Canada, Japan, Norway, Iceland and UkraineThe Australian

Emissions poll a tax showdown: Abbott – An election fought over the Government's emissions trading scheme would be about tax, not the environment, Opposition leader Tony Abbott says – Melbourne Age


Austereo breached code with Kyle & Jackie O stunt: ACMA – Austereo Network's Sydney pop station 2DAY FM will be slapped with a new license condition to provide increased protection for children appearing on its program after a stunt on its Kyle & Jackie O Show went badly wrong – The Australian


Law and order

Christmas tree guarded 24/7 to stop vandals – It’s either a very sad indictment on our society or a bizarre waste of time and money - a security guard paid 24 hours a day to watch a Christmas tree – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Julian Moti victim's France option – The witness payment scandal that caused the collapse of the child-sex case against former Solomon Islands attorney-general Julian Moti has deepened, with the alleged victim seeking a taxpayer-funded resettlement in France if she is not allowed to stay in AustraliaThe Australian

Review urged for witness payments – Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor has demanded a review of Australian Federal Police policy regarding payments to witnesses, after sex charges against former Solomon Islands attorney-general Julian Moti were thrown out of court this week.

The arts

Barnaby Joyce blasts Parliament art -  Barnaby Joyce has turned art critic, saying sculptures at Canberra's Parliament House look like they were created by a couple of drunken men – Brisbane Courier Mail


CFA website crashes as temperatures soar across VictoriaVictoria’s bushfire warning system has failed its first serious test since Black Saturday. The website that relays vital alerts crashed as hot northerly winds pushed the temperature past 40C in parts of the state – Melbourne Herald Sun


Order of nuns says Mary MacKillop helped save formerly conjoined twins Trishna and Krishna – Intervention from Blessed Mary MacKillop, who is soon to be declared Australia's first saint, helped twins Trishna and Krishna survive their world-first separation, says an order of nuns – Melbourne Herald Sun

Child care

Nanny state holds appeal for Liberal heartland – Australia must overcome its ''ideological abhorrence'' to nannies if it is to fully utilise the nation's female talent, the Opposition's new childcare spokeswoman, Sharman Stone, said – Sydney Morning Herald
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