Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Media wrap - Pretty pictures of a prince

The Owl is back from a few days fishing



4000 Diggers on war sick list – A decade of armed conflict has left Australian troops battle-scarred and traumatised, with almost 4000 personnel - the equivalent of the country's current overseas deployment - recording injuries and illnesses attributable to their time in East Timor, Afghanistan and IraqThe Australian

Industrial relations

Teachers face pay being docked over tests boycott – Public school teachers face sanctions and penalties, including docked pay, with a planned boycott of national literacy and numeracy tests likely to be deemed illegal under federal workplace laws – The Australian

Principal benefit in school league tables – A decision to boycott national literacy and numeracy tests was not supported by all school principals, with some yesterday backing the Rudd Government's decision to publish school performance data – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Ban on school testing `no solution' – A school principal explains how his school had used the NAPLAN results not only to identify students who were struggling in literacy and numeracy, and provide targeted assistance to them, but also to pick up those who could be selected for its accelerated learning programs – The Australian

Teachers united in league table boycott - Teachers have voted unanimously to boycott national literacy and numeracy tests in May, in a protest against the creation of school league tables – Sydney Morning Herald

Economic matters

Pressure mounts on PM Kevin Rudd's productivity target – The Rudd government faces increased pressure to slash industry assistance and lift the regulatory burden from business if it is to achieve its new target of 2 per cent productivity growth – The Australian

State bid to 'extort' premium for mining pact - The State Government has been accused of planning to extort up to $1 billion from mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto by forcing them to pay a one-off "premium" as a condition of approving key elements of their proposed $150 billion Pilbara iron-ore tie upThe West Australian


Treasurer sings pokies' praises after karaoke incident – South Australian Treasurer Kevin Foley has declared himself pro-poker machines as he yesterday laughed off footage posted on the internet of him singing The Gambler at a karaoke bar – The Australian

Tony Abbott derides Kevin Rudd's 'failures' – Kevin Rudd is a "ruthless" politician who went to the polls in 2007 promising anything and everything in order to be elected, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said yesterday – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Rudd slams Howard 'spree' – Kevin Rudd has accused his predecessor of undue largesse and exacerbating the financial strain on Australia as it deals with an ageing population – Melbourne Age

McMullan won't contest election in surprise move – One of Labor's longest-serving members of Parliament, Bob McMullan, has surprised his colleagues by declaring he will not contest the next election – Sydney Morning Herald

Labor luminary quits politics to tackle poverty – After a lifetime tackling the challenges of politics, Bob McMullan feels ready to grapple with the issues of world poverty – Melbourne Age

Political life

Pakula to inherit transport troubles – Former union heavyweight Martin Pakula will be charged with fixing Melbourne's troubled transport system when he becomes the state's new transport minister today – Melbourne Age

Law and order

Hoon drivers can expect tough new punishments – Hoon drivers could have their cars crushed or sold under hardline measures to be considered by the State Government – Melbourne Age


Criminals preying on Indians: Cosgrove – The former chief of the defence force, Peter Cosgrove, has linked Australian attacks on Indian students to the Cronulla riots, saying they were becoming a ''litany of criminality'' – Sydney Morning Herald

Confront racism, says Cosgrove – Former Defence Force chief Peter Cosgrove has urged Australians to confront the nation's dark pockets of racism, in a speech dealing frankly with violence against Indians and tensions with Muslims – Melbourne Age

Health and hospitals

AMA push for hospital funds shift - As the Federal Government debates the scale of reforms that will form the centrepiece of its pitch for a second term, doctors intensified their push for a federal funding takeover – Melbourne Age

Health ID cover-up for some exposes risks – The same people who claim a new national health identity system will be safe from fraud will be able to get fake ID to keep their own records secret. While every Australian will soon be assigned a 16-digit health ID number, politicians and other "well-known personalities" will be able to take advantage of false identities to stop their records falling into the wrong hands – Brisbane Courier Mail

Elderly patients 'stuck' in hospitals – More than 70 older patients are stuck in hospital as they have nowhere to go. This equates to up to seven wards full of people taking up beds – Adelaide Advertiser

Hospitals 'resort to virtual wards' – Victorian hospital staff are being run off their feet as they try to keep up with soaring demand, and hospitals are manipulating their data to make it look like they are performing better than they are, a junior doctor says – Melbourne Age


11 held as net closes on illegal workers – Eleven Chinese nationals were detained by Immigration officials after raids in Adelaide's northeastern suburbs targeting illegal construction workers – Adelaide Advertiser


Labor slams King George Square's design as 'not suitable' – It is the hottest issue on a slow summer's day in Brisbane - is the refurbished King George Square too stark and unsheltered? Too hot? Too glarey? Labor leader Shayne Sutton, gathering the TV cameras in the middle of the square in yesterday's late morning sun, said the place was "dangerously" hot – Brisbane Courier Mail


Final Metro rail line decision looming – Premier Kristina Keneally is starting to come clean on the apparently doomed Sydney Metro. After The Daily Telegraph revealed yesterday that the Metro executive had stalled the process of forced property acquisitions, Ms Keneally admitted the $5.3 billion project was in jeopardy.

Off again, on again, the CBD Metro is off again - well, nearly – In the clearest sign that the NSW Government will dump the $5.3 billion underground CBD Metro, the Premier revealed yesterday that she was yet to make a decision on the project – Sydney Morning Herald


Kevin Rudd's promises to veterans bogged down in reviews – Sean Parnell writes in The Australian that veterans and serving defence force members will be watching the Rudd government closely this year to ensure Labor's promise to care for injured and ill troops is reflected in policy and in practice.

Abbott honeymoon over before it began – Peter van Onselen writes in The Australian that the Newspoll published in The Australian yesterday included good and bad news for the Coalition. The good news is that the woefully low polling of the Malcolm Turnbull era has, at least temporarily, been put in the past. The bad news is that while Abbott's net satisfaction rating is positive at five, compared with Turnbull's last rating of minus 14, Abbott's start is worse than that of either Brendan Nelson in the first post-election Newspoll (17 net satisfaction) or Turnbull's first results as leader (25 net satisfaction).

Heated moments mar Monckton - To those with an open mind, Lord Christopher Monckton's fact-based questions about climate demand answers from our political leaders says Janet Albrechtsen in The Australian

Past time to cut ties with the monarchy – writes George Williams in the Sydney Morning Herald


Westpac turns off tapAustralia’s largest mortgage broker claims that Westpac has all but withdrawn from the home loan market after the bank closed a key part of its RAMS Home Loans subsidiary – Melbourne Herald Sun

Profit upgrades buoy confidence - Investor returns are heading from boiled lollies to chocolates as buoyant business conditions drive a host of profit upgrades, and the prospect of higher dividend payments – Sydney Morning Herald


Tony Abbott sinks forests on farms – Tony Abbott will rule out the use of prime agricultural land for carbon sinks when he announces a new policy on climate change in a move aimed at avoiding a damaging split with the Nationals – The Australian

Climate panel to probe error on glacial melting – The UN's panel of climate scientists said it would probe claims its doomsday prediction for the disappearance of Himalayan glaciers was wrong, as an expert said he had warned of the mistake – The Australian

'High priest of the sceptics' lured to tour – On the first day of the Copenhagan climate change conference last month, two semi-retired septuagenarian engineers sat down to lunch with their wives on a beautiful Noosa day and ended up inviting British lord Christopher Monckton on a speaking tour of Australia – The Australian

Climate for less migrants - greenhouse target fearsAustralia would find it easier to meet its climate change targets if it slashed the migrant intake, a report by a top university claimed – Sydney Daily Telegraph

148 gigalitres coming down Murray to SA's Lower Lakes – The parched and vanishing Lower Lakes will benefit from a welcome summer inflow of floodwaters from New South WalesAdelaide Advertiser




Child protection

Territory slammed over child deaths – The Northern Territory government has admitted failures within its child protection system set up the circumstances that led to the deaths of two children – The Australian


Handwriting is now the new endangered species – They can type on a mobile phone or computer keyboard at 40 words-per-minute, but handwriting is fast becoming a foreign language to today's youth – Adelaide Advertiser

Consumer affairs

Lawyers reject moves to curb overcharging – Moves to increase protection for consumers using legal services have been rejected by lawyers, who say they are unfair and would result in higher costs for clients – Sydney Morning Herald
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