Thursday, 7 January 2010

Media wrap - A new pay plan for federal pollies


Health and hospitals

Patients will suffer as drug withdrawn – Terminally ill patients could be forced to suffer painful withdrawal symptoms after a drug was taken off the shelves so its manufacturer could redesign its packaging, a doctor said yesterday – Sydney Morning Herald

Nicole Roxon in flu vaccine dilemma – Only a quarter of the 21 million swine flu vaccination doses bought by the federal government have been administered as European health authorities offload surplus H1N1 vaccine because of flat demand – The Australian

Bligh gives flying doctor service a flying start in patient-transfer tender – The Royal Flying Doctor Service survived a competitive tender for a new patient transfer contract in Queensland only because the Bligh government significantly altered its requirements after bidding had closed – The Australian

Revolting blight on leading hospital – Covered in graffiti, these public toilets look like something from an old train station. They are, in fact, the public toilets in one of Adelaide's busiest hospitals – Adelaide Advertiser

Economic matters

House prices on the rise but new building approvals dipSydney’s housing market is losing steam after a stellar year. Building approval figures released yesterday show trend growth in new house approvals slipping below 4 per cent a month in November for the first time since March – Sydney Morning Herald

Rush for tax break drives car sales to a record high – A last-minute rush to take advantage of the Government's 50 per cent business investment tax break propelled new car sales to a record high in December, with a total of 88,700 vehicles being driven off lots – Sydney Morning Herald

Industrial relations

Fair Work rejects attempt to remove overtime pay – Fair Work Australia has rejected a pay deal for nurses at one of the nation's biggest aged-care operators, which sought to remove overtime payments if staff had volunteered to work the extra hours – Sydney Morning Herald

Political life

Federal MPs to receive thousands of dollars extra in pay under proposed salary changes – All federal MPs, including Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, would receive thousands of dollars in extra take-home pay and superannuation under sweeping salary changes. In the biggest shake-up for years, the Rudd Government is also preparing to wind back or scrap a suite of lucrative perks - including the $18,500 overseas study allowance – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Premier promotes Stewart – The Premier, Kristina Keneally, has rewarded Tony Stewart and Noreen Hay with promotions to parliamentary secretary positions, with a $26,108 a year pay rise, putting them on $203,000 a year – Sydney Morning Herald

Kim Beazley haunted by father's words - On the eve of his departure to Washington to become Australia's ambassador to the US, Mr Beazley will this week launch an audio version of his father's autobiography, The Memoirs of Kim E Beazley, Father of the House – The Australian

Political blackmail

Farmer Peter Spencer's hunger strike is about to break records as it enters 46th day – Peter Spencer's hunger strike is about to break records but those close to him fear his fight for farmers' land rights may soon cost him his life – Sydney Daily Telegraph


Priest David Cappo calls for rethink on housing the homeless – The man who helped to turn around the number of people sleeping on South Australian streets, when all the other states recorded increases, has called for Kevin Rudd to drastically revise his approach to homelessness – The Australian


Kosky 'missing over myki' – Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky has gone ''missing in action'', according to Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu, who yesterday demanded that both she and Premier John Brumby return to work to help fix problems with the myki system – Melbourne Age

Oh, myki, you've done it again – The distribution of myki cards was halted last night in the latest bungle to plague the introduction of the troubled smartcard – Melbourne Herald Sun

$1.3bn transport smartcard under fire – The executives who oversaw the establishment of Adelaide's electronic transport ticketing system say they have "watched with jaw- dropping incredulity" at the bungled introduction of Melbourne and Sydney's systems – The Australian

Aboriginal matters

Casino denies 'racist' ban of indigenous leader – One of the country's strongest emerging indigenous leaders, Bess Price, spent the early hours of New Year's Day in protective police custody in Alice Springs after being barred from entering Lasseters Casino. Ms Price, who is chairperson of the Northern Territory's Indigenous Affairs Advisory Council, said she was denied entry because of racist security staff. Lasseters management later strongly backed the decision of a female security officer to deny Ms Price entry on the grounds of intoxication and said they would fight any claims of racism or mistreatment – Northern Territory News


Feel-good sops from politicians are no help in healing a mother's heartbreak – Miranda Devine in the Sydney Morning Herald writes that whether or not the attacks on Garg and fellow Indians were racially motivated, the fact is they shouldn't be happening. Law and order is a fundamental right of civilised societies. But after a decade of policy dictated by leftist academic criminologists, who cling to the myth that crime is caused by poverty and social injustice, the most vulnerable people - such as Indian students working late at fast-food outlets - are paying the price, while ministers trumpet the lie that Victoria is the safest place in Australia.

Indian TV's unsound fury – Tim Colebatch writes in the Melbourne Age that the subcontinent's media have strange standards when it comes to murder.

Having streets filled with fear is a frightening way to live - Violent attacks are on the rise and our quality of life is suffering says Peter Hanlon in the Melbourne Age

Drug prohibition doesn't work - so what do we do next? – That’s the view of Chris Middendorp in the Melbourne Age who argues Australia needs to join the growing worldwide debate on new policies.

Rudd should never have tied carbon cuts to Copenhagen - Diplomacy aside, it's in Australia's interests to cut emissions as quickly as possible writes Richard Denniss in The Australian


Indian student numbers plummet – The number of Indians applying for visas to study in Australia has fallen by almost half, heightening fears for the nation's $17 billion international education industry – Sydney Morning Herald

Alcopops on Woolworths' shopping list – Woolworths  is rumoured to be looking at the country's biggest alcopops maker, Independent Liquor Group, as part of a plan to secure a supplier for its fast-growing private-label beer business and reduce its reliance on Foster's Group and Lion Nathan – Sydney Morning Herald

Administrators ponder Barnett's $4m advance - Emergency measures to help stricken Griffin Coal stay afloat hit a snag last night when administrators said they needed more time to consider the State Government's offer to pay $4 million in advance for coal supplies – The West Australian


Whaling war set to worsen after crash – Conflict in the Antarctic over whaling is set to escalate, despite calls for calm after a Japanese ship tore the bow off a protest vessel yesterday – Sydney Morning Herald

Sea Shepherd to weather the storm – For 12 hours yesterday, Sea Shepherd had the largest fleet ever to engage Japanese whalers in the 20-year history of Antarctic protests. Then it lost a boat – Melbourne Age

World Heritage push for reef – A pristine stretch of the West Australian coastline is being put forward as the country's 18th World Heritage site after a deal between state and federal governments was struck to protect the Ningaloo Coast – Sydney Morning Herald

Ruling seeks to protect Melbourne waterMelbourne’s water catchments should be protected from the spread of new housing if the city and nearby towns are to keep their excellent drinking supply, the state's planning tribunal says – Melbourne Age

Hear our pleas and show the Murray mercy – Struggling South Australian irrigators are willing to go without extra water if an emergency release to restore the health of the Murray River is delivered – Adelaide Advertiser


3D TV steals the show in electronics fair's vision of future – Touch-screen  tablet computers, 3D television and electronic book readers vied for supremacy with fur-covered polar bear-themed TV sets and flying iPhone-controlled toys as the world's biggest consumer electronics trade show got under way in Las Vegas, Nevada, yesterday – The Australian



Private school fees race ahead of inflation – Many Victorian private schools will raise their fees by more than four times the rate of inflation, with principals claiming that a boost to government teacher salaries has forced independent schools to play catch-up – Melbourne Age

Law and order

Police back Indian travel warning - Victorian police have backed assertions made in an Indian government travel warning to students about the dangers of increasing violent crime in Melbourne, putting them at odds with state and federal governments intent on promoting Australia as a safe place to travel and study – The Australian

Birnie 'witch must stay in jail' - Serial killer Catherine Birnie is incapable of being rehabilitated and should never be released from prison, a former police officer who played a key role in her arrest and conviction said yesterday – The West Australian

Road safety


Dog law a little short on logic – Big or small, short or tall, Mornington Peninsula's pooches are straining under rules restricting them to metre-long leads.  The shorter leash law is meant to force dog owners to keep their canines close beside them when out and about. But the council regulation has animal lovers howling about rigid rules that could pit man - especially a tall owner of a little dog - against his best mate – Melbourne Herald Sun


Consumer affairs

Toy lighters banned in SA – Suppliers of dangerous toy lighters could be hit with fines of up to $10,000 as South Australia becomes the nation's first state to permanently outlaw the gadgets. The products, mostly made in China, can take the shape of toy ducks, frogs, handbags and mobile phones and come complete with cute noises and sparkling lights – Adelaide Advertiser
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