Sunday, 27 December 2009

Media wrap - A boat race and cricket fill a news vacuum


Political lurks and perks

Jetsetting MPs' Tour de Farce - Dictator Robert Mugabe is "forward-thinking", the Islamist paramilitary organisation Hezbollah is "not radical" and chickens in Thailand are scrawny. These are among the startling findings of $4.9 million in taxpayer-funded political study tours. Federal MPs spent the record sum in just six months of globetrotting to June 30 this year, visiting 31 countries to "investigate" everything from the global financial crisis to Mekong River hill tribes and upmarket boutiques in MilanSydney Sunday Telegraph

Economic matters

Debt level enters danger zone - Reserve Bank figures show personal debt now equates to 100.4 per cent of Australia's annual GDP, one of the highest ratios in the developed world – Brisbane Sunday Mail

Women urged to learn male trades – Women hold the key to unlocking WA's next mining boom. Training Minister Peter Collier said women would be guided into male-dominated trades - including construction - as part of a new strategy – Perth Sunday Times

The only way is up for cost of living in the new year – Electricity, gas, water and public transport costs will all increase in 2010, while the average grocery shop will make a bigger dent in the family budget – Sydney Sun Herald

$245m pokies shortfall on cards – The Victorian Government is facing a budget black hole of at least a quarter of a billion dollars because it is unlikely to sell all the poker machines it has available, according to a gaming industry expert – Melbourne Sunday Age


Secret heritage protection list – Up to 431 properties in Adelaide's CBD - including the Crazy Horse in Hindley St - have been placed on a secret list that recommends local heritage protection. The list has been prepared by Adelaide City Council, which is pushing for a 50 per cent increase in the number of heritage-listed properties in the CBD to prevent developers from knocking down ageing buildings of interest – Adelaide Sunday Mail


Riddle of Rudd's incredible popularity – Piers Akerman in the Sydney Sunday Telegraph ponders how one of the year's intriguing mysteries remains the source of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's popularity when there is no evidentiary reason for the continuing level of public support he enjoys.

Ms Redmond must really have them rattled – Lainie Anderson in the Adelaide Sunday Mail questions why the SA Labor Party has started dropping the title Leader of the Opposition and now refers to the Liberal Party Leader as Mrs Redmond

Australia looms large - The economy has much better prospects than it did a year ago writes Jan McCallum in the Melbourne Sunday Age

All bets are off in an election year – Paul Daley in the Melbourne Sunday Age has a go at being humorous with some predictions about the next political year.


Foreign students pay public schools $40m – Overseas students are paying more than $40 million in tuition fees each year to attend public schools in NSW – Sydney Sunday Telegraph

Flood of cheap wine sours local industry – Australian wine producers are finding it hard to swallow the glut of cheap reds and whites, many retailing for as little as $1.99 a bottle, flooding the market – Melbourne Sunday Age


Radio Australia to cull sport news – The ABC's international broadcaster, Radio Australia, is terminating its sports bulletins following a sexual harassment dispute involving the department's manager and its only dedicated sports reporter alleges a story in the Melbourne Sunday Age written by a former ABC radio reporter who resigned earlier this year after a dispute with ABC management.


The drink

Booze ban bottles up New Year spirit – New Year's Eve is expected to be the soberest on record, with councils across the State banning alcohol from parks and harbourside beaches – Sydney Sunday Telegraph

Days of duty-free booze may be over – Australian travellers will be the unwitting losers under a radical proposal to abolish duty-free alcohol. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended the sale of duty-free wines and spirits be banned – Sydney Sunday Telegraph

Law and order

Smile for the $1m camera – A lone red-light camera has collected more than $1 million in fines for the NSW Government, snaring a record 50 drivers every week – Sydney Sunday Telegraph

Figures show big jump in prison assaults – A spike in the number of assaults in prisons has prompted fears of a major incident in the state's overcrowded jails this summer – Perth Sunday Times

Shot three times in front of family – Police were rushing a Taser stun gun to a Central Coast home when officers gunned down a knife-wielding man in front of his family on Christmas Day. Ian Cowie, who had a mental illness, died in Gosford Hospital after being shot three times by police inside his Lisarow home – Sydney Sun Herald


Centre to tame violent Preps – Children as young as four who are too violent to teach will be sent to Queensland's first behaviour school for Prep students. The trial centre will open in January and comes as primary teachers complain of being hit, kicked and sworn at. Experts say the epidemic of broken families and substance abuse in the home is fuelling the anger and volatile behaviour in young children – Brisbane Sunday Mail

Teachers paid to quit school – Hundreds of bored, stressed or unhappy teachers have jumped at the chance to apply for a payout to leave their jobs, despite applications for the new exit option being open for less than a month – Melbourne Sunday Age


Patient records accessible - New guidelines, released by the National Health and Medical Research Council last week in response to changes in the Privacy Act, allow doctors to inform relatives of their genetic predisposition to an inherited disorder. The guidelines have been developed to cover situations where family members may have had a falling out and no longer communicate – Brisbane Sunday Mail


Overseas adoptions halted – Desperate families seeking to adopt children from overseas have been dealt a blow after the Attorney-General's Department halted Australia's largest international adoption program. Frustrated adoption groups claim steps taken by the Rudd Government to free up adoption processes have instead buried it under another layer of red tape – Sydney Sun Herald

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