Monday, 8 February 2010

Media wrap - Changes to Immigration visa system


Economic matters

Bank support scheme to end – Australia will axe the wholesale bank guarantee offered to assist lenders during the worst of the global financial crisis, in another sign of the resilience and recovery of the national economy – The Australian

Banks warned of rate 'wrath' – The nation's banks have been warned they will face the ''wrath of the Australian government'' if they push up mortgage rates in the face of a decision announced yesterday to stop guaranteeing their overseas borrowings –Melbourne Age

OECD calls for tighter monetary and fiscal policy – The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development saysAustralia's quick policy response to the global financial crisis helped the economy to weather the storm. Now it says both budget and interest rate policy need to be tightened further to manage the economy's recovery – The Australian


Abbott leads poll revival – Tony Abbott's ascension to leadership has boosted the Coalition vote, and backing for the government's emissions trading scheme has taken a knock, in an Age/Nielsen poll showing people are confused on the climate change alternatives. Labor has fallen by 2 points on a two-party basis, but retains a solid 54-46 per cent lead, while support for its trading scheme is down by 10 points since late November – Melbourne Age

Climate policy backlash takes shine off Rudd – Support for Kevin Rudd and his flagship policy, the emissions trading scheme, has fallen sharply following the failure of the Copenhagen climate change conference and Tony Abbott's ascension to the opposition leadership – Sydney Morning Herald

Voters back means test, but support is lukewarm – Labor’s alternative election trigger, a means test on the 30 per cent private health insurance rebate, has more backers than opponents but falls well short of majority support in the electorate, the latest Herald/Nielsen poll shows – Sydney Morning Herald


Rann's speech outrages Macedonians – Premier Mike Rann has sparked an international diplomatic furore by accusing Macedoniaof stealing Greek culture and its leader, Gjorge Ivanov, of "stirring up trouble in the most dangerous way" – Adelaide Advertiser

$30m war chest out of Labor's reach – Queensland Labor's $30 million election war chest has been declared off-limits to Kevin Rudd for the looming federal campaign – The Australian

Union gifts complicate funding cap – Major reform of political financing is expected to be discussed by federal cabinet this week, including caps on individual donations and limits on campaign expenditure in exchange for greater taxpayer funding of political campaigns – The Australian

Political life

Don't dump religious right, Abbott tells warring NSW Libs – Tony Abbott has warned the Liberal Party it could lose the next state election if it does not preselect the man known as the leader of the party's religious right, David Clarke – Sydney Morning Herald

Premier Kristina Keneally stays in touch ... footy - The NSW Premier showed a clean pair of heels as she scored a try for the All Stars Celebrities in a curtain-raiser at Redfern Oval yesterday –Sydney Daily Telegraph

Speed laws defied – Lead -footed MPs are thumbing their nose at holiday road safety pleas by speeding and running red lights more often during the summer break – Melbourne Herald Sun

Joyce 'could be another Black Jack' – Tony Abbott thinks his finance spokesman, Barnaby Joyce, could become another ''Black Jack'' McEwen, the Country Party leader who wielded enormous power in the 1950s and '60s – Melbourne Age


States push back against national hospital takeover – The federal government appears increasingly unlikely to seek a mandate to take over public hospitals, as a revamp of community health and GP services instead moves to the centre of the national health reform agenda – Sydney Morning Herald


Call to stop compulsory income quarantining – The government's plan to roll out compulsory income management across Australiafor long-term welfare recipients, including sole parents and young people, is based on flimsy and contradictory evidence from theNorthern Territory intervention and should be stopped, the nation's peak welfare organisation says – Sydney Morning Herald


Controversial My School index to be reviewed – The controversial system used to measure the social disadvantage level of school communities used on the federal government's My School website is under review, less than two weeks after the site's launch –Sydney Morning Herald

My School website a 'crock', says top educator – The principal ofVictoria's top-performing government school has slammed the Federal Government's My School website, describing it as a ''crock'' – Melbourne Age


Crackdown on skilled migrants – About 20,000 people will have their visa applications cancelled as the Rudd government launches a crackdown in the skilled migration program. In a move likely to inflame political sensitivities over the treatment of Indian students, the government is expected to deny migrants any opportunity of achieving ''back door'' permanent residency through the skilled migration scheme – Melbourne Age

Australia rejects 20,000 migrants – The government will dump 20,000 applications from would-be migrants in a crackdown on low-skilled entrants. In changes aimed at making skilled migration more responsive to Australia's needs, the government will tighten the list of target occupations and focus instead on healthcare, engineering and mining – Sydney Morning Herald

Migration shake-up for WA mining boom - WA will be able to handpick permanent migrants to service the booming resources sector and other areas of critical need under a massive overhaul of the skilled migration program to be unveiled today – The West Australian

English test for migration revamp – Foreign doctors, nurses and school teachers who speak good English and have jobs already organised will be Australia's top priority migrants under a major overhaul of immigration policy. The changes, to be unveiled by Immigration Minister Chris Evans today, are expected to target professionals with university degrees who are sponsored by employers and discourage self-nominating migrants such as cooks, hairdressers and accountants – Sydney Daily Telegraph

New party wants population debate - The entrepreneur Dick Smith has backed plans to form a political party as aiming to limit population growth ''a good idea'' because it might finally force the government and the opposition to publicly discuss an issue they refused to touch.

Industrial relations

Union push for big pay rises – Unions are set to launch the most aggressive minimum wages push for many years, with an expected claim of more than $30 a week. The wages push is in response to last year's shock decision by the Howard-era Fair Pay Commission to freeze the wages of up to 1.3 million workers at the height of the financial crisis – Melbourne Age


Keneally to announce redrawn metro plan – A western Metro would be built within five years and light rail would be built in the CBD, according to the transport blueprint that Kristina Keneally will release this month, government sources say. But it will not be called a blueprint, as the former premier Nathan Rees had envisaged. It will be known as the land use and transport plan and will be substantially redrawn from the document that was leaked by government sources after Mr Rees's demise last December –Sydney Morning Herald


Battalion marches in with a welcome boost – South Australia's battling automotive industry will be given a long-awaited shot in the arm by the creation of the new Edinburgh military super base. Defence analysts predict opportunities for retraining and reskilling among automotive workers to service a new fleet of armoured personnel carriers and infantry vehicles – Adelaide Advertiser


Abbott's flailing fists sting Rudd like a bee – Tony Abbott’s first big punch was aimed at Kevin Rudd's climate change policy, and it has hit hard. By proposing an alternative to Rudd's emissions trading system, Abbott has applied the first serious pressure to the policy. Public support crumpled immediately – Sydney Morning Herald

NSW key to federal Labor's worries – Tony Wrright in theMelbourne Age writes that despite the Abbott Coalition clawing back support, the Government would appear to remain in a relatively comfortable position if a national election were to be held now. But that doesn't take into account NSW, which has more federal seats than any other state.

Rudd missed opportunity to dump failed emissions scheme – Kenneth Davidson thinks cap and trade emission plans are fundamentally flawed – Melbourne Age

Strange time to pull banking safety net – says Jenniffer Hewett inThe Australian

Resentment simmers as party races to the right – Glenn Milne inThe Australian writes that while all is good on the outside, deep within the Liberal party room some tensions have arisen over what elements of the Right see as attempts by others to recast themselves in Abbott's image in order to maximise their chances of enhancement in a party that has shifted ground ideologically.

Loose lips could sink Coalition ship – Steve Loosely in The Australian describes Barnaby Joyce, the opposition's spokesman on finance, as an immensely personable individual who is widely and justifiably liked but is the wrong person to occupy the Coalition's finance shadow ministry, as his early errors already suggest.

Malcolm Turnbull must cross the floor, and it's not about principle- Because he ramped up his rhetoric about the need to pass the ETS when he thought doing so would be politically advantageous, Malcolm Turnbull will look a fool if he backs down now – Peter van Onselen in The Australian


Clive Palmer targets $3bn listing of Resourcehouse – Queenslandbillionaire Clive Palmer was yesterday in Hong Kong putting the final touches on the $3 billion float of his private company Resourcehouse, just a day after announcing he had pulled off the country's largest coal export deal – Brisbane Courier Mail

Not enough water to turn into wine – South Australia has lost its long-held position as the nation's largest wine-producing state for the first time since early last century. Drought, lack of irrigation water and the closure of several large wineries have made their mark on the industry – Adelaide Advertiser


Climate-change showdown – Parliament is shaping up for a climate-change showdown this week as Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull go head-to-head on emissions trading – MelbourneHerald Sun

Greens feel ETS squeeze – Social justice groups are pressuring the Greens to abandon their opposition to the government's emissions trading scheme, arguing continued rejection of the contentious bill could set back climate change policy in Australia for years –Melbourne Age

Feral camels clear in Penny Wong's carbon count - Scientists have found camels to be the third-highest carbon-emitting animal per head on the planet, behind only cattle and buffalo. Culling the one million feral camels that currently roam the outback would be equivalent to taking 300,000 cars off the road in terms of the reduction to the country's greenhouse gases. But Climate Change Minister Penny Wong told The Australian there was little point doing anything about Australia's feral camels as only the CO2 of the domesticated variety is counted under the Kyoto Protocol –The Australian

Top End food bowl ruled out by Rudd government taskforce –Northern Australia will never become an important food bowl to replace the drought-stricken Murray-Darling, despite massive irrigation plans and a billion litres of rain a year, a Rudd government taskforce has concluded – The Australian

Call to throw the book at Yellow and White pages - Although the internet has rendered them obsolete to many, over 20 million of the white and yellow tomes are delivered to houses and businesses each year. About 2 million go into recycling bins, said a study by CoreData last year. The study also found that 58 per cent of people would stop having the Yellow Pages delivered if given the choice –Sydney Morning Herald


$240m 'gift' for TV networks – Christmas has come early toAustralia's commercial television channels in the form of a $240 million gift from Communications Minister Steven Conroy. This year he will give the networks a 33 per cent rebate on their annual licence fees of $287 million and next year a 50 per cent rebate –Melbourne Age

Net-gen forces state-sanctioned double standard – Mark Day inThe Australian points out that South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson’s backflip on legislation requiring the name and address of people posting election matter on the internet clearly demonstrates we have entered an era of officially recognised double standards – The Australian

Speculation grows on Seven's push into 4G - the market should be able to form a clearer view about the Seven Network executive chairman's ambitions in the telecommunications sector when eldest son Ryan gives the keynote address at a broadband conference in Sydney this week – The Australian


Law and order

Asian crime gangs cross the ethnic line – Organised Asian crime syndicates have abandoned historic triad gang structures and reached out across ethnic lines to supply Australia's multi-billion dollar drug trade – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Barnett to motor trade: stop hooning - Premier Colin Barnett has warned the car industry to take responsibility for its employees and management of its vehicles following two high-profile seizures of cars under anti-hoon laws. His comments came after a car dealer looks set to lose a demonstration Mini Cooper S allegedly driven at 170km/h on a test drive and a doctor's $200,000 Lamborghini was seized after it was allegedly driven at high speed by a mechanic – The West Australian


Aged couple protests against young tenants – A Territory magistrate has ordered the Anti-Discrimination Commission to investigate a complaint that Territory Housing discriminated against an elderly couple by letting young and single people move into their unit complex – Northern Territory News

Skate boarding

Friendship and respect: skate parks are not so scary - Graham Bradley, an associate professor of psychology at GriffithUniversity, discovered when he studied skate parks. ''[They] don't deserve the negative press,'' he said. ''We found them to be harmonious, co-operative, safe and pleasant places. There was little aggression or bullying. It's where some boys learn their social skills - sharing, turn-taking, respecting property." – Sydney Morning Herald


Bullying confessions made by half of city's secondary students – Half of Sydney's high school students admit to being bullies, but one-third of bullying victims don't tell anyone about it, new research shows – Sydney Morning Herald
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