Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Media wrap - The election battle of the environment plans


Economic matters

RBA lets banks do the lifting on interest rates – Home buyers and business people resigned to a fourth interest rate hike in five months have been spared by the Reserve Bank, which decided yesterday that the big banks had already pushed up rates enough with their extra mortgage increases – The Australian

No interest rate rise this month, but more will come – Home owners will enjoy a reprieve from higher mortgage costs for at least another month, but the Reserve Bank has left little doubt it will raise interest rates later in the year, even as an election draws closer – Sydney Morning Herald

Divided board plays waiting game - In December, the board was energetically divided on whether to raise interest rates, but eventually said yes. Then yesterday, with the arguments again ''finely balanced'', it said no – Melbourne Age


Abbott and Rudd launch into election-year duel – Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott set the tone for a tough election year full of fire and brimstone, as they launched into each other yesterday in their first parliamentary question time as direct opponents – The Australian

Let me say, we've done a lot: Rudd faces voter disdain – Kevin Rudd has admitted that he needs to communicate more effectively with the electorate, in an acknowledgement that the Government has failed to tell people what it has done so far. The Prime Minister, renowned for his sometimes impenetrable language, made the pledge yesterday after a poll showed the gap between the Government and Coalition had closed considerably – Sydney Morning Herald

SA attorney-general backs down on political blogging – South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson late last night backed down on online media censorship laws. After stoking a fight with the media less than two months from a state election, Mr Atkinson said the laws stripping anonymity from media blogs would be repealed after the March 20 poll – The Australian

Attorney-General Michael Atkinson vows to repeal election internet censorship law amid reader furore – Attorney-General Michael Atkinson has made a "humiliating" backdown and announced he will retrospectively repeal his law censoring internet comment on the state election – Adelaide Advertiser

Michael Atkinson, meet Aaron Fornarino. He lives near your office and yes, he does exist – Michael Atkinson, meet Aaron Fornarino - the man you say does not exist – Adelaide Advertiser

Libs' religious right leader could lose his seat – David Clarke, long seen as the most powerful person in the NSW Liberal Party, is at serious risk of losing his seat in a preselection challenge that senior sources say is backed by the party president, Nick Campbell. The chief executive of the Civil Contractors Federation, David Elliott, is expected to nominate in the next 24 hours to take on Mr Clarke for his seat in what the Liberal Party calls the ''north-west metropolitan province'' – Sydney Morning Herald

Labor targets Baillieu as campaign gets personal – Labor has launched a personal attack on Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu, accusing him of profiting from the sale of a western suburbs public school under the Kennett government – Melbourne Age

Happy to help, says Libs' angel of mercy – The billionaire Queensland mining entrepreneur who channelled $840,000 to the conservative side of politics last financial year says his donations helped salvage the Liberal Party from financial demise – Sydney Morning Herald


As bad news bites, Rudd gets drum on Gillard's popularity – If Newspoll is the drug of choice for the nation's politicians, Kevin Rudd was dealing with a double dose of unsolicited advice yesterday, including a rogue poll on his deputy, Julia Gillard – The Australian

Political life

Secret payments to Labor MP listed in Liu files – Private records of a Chinese-Australian businesswoman close to the former defence minister Joel Fitzgibbon say he received substantial payments as part of a campaign to cultivate him as an agent of political and business influence – Sydney Morning Herald

Cruising before a bruising: Abbott pumped up for title fight – Andrew Marr in the Sydney Morning Herald reviews the first day of the parliamentary year and concludes it wasn't even a warm-up round. It was more the nude standoff where the contenders appear at the weigh-in, faces a few inches apart, taunting one another but not landing a glove. The blood will come.

Parliament a shout-fest – Kevin Rudd, who might not eat home-brand bread but knows what it costs, started his day sharing his love for Barack Obama but ended up in a shout-fest in Parliament over climate change plans – Brisbane Courier Mail


Supporter of Queensland spill for leadership dumped – The man who seconded a motion to dump the deputy leader of Queensland's Liberal National Party in a failed partyroom coup has been stripped of his role, signalling further trouble for the conservatives – The Australian

Health and hospitals

Death blamed on surgery delays – An obstetrician who cared for a woman who bled to death after giving birth six years ago says he did not perform a potentially life-saving hysterectomy because her anaesthetist refused to participate – Melbourne Age

Joyce refuses to rule out backing means test – The opposition's finance spokesman, Barnaby Joyce, is keeping open the option of backing a means test on health insurance rebates, a step he acknowledges would break what has been an ''article of faith'' for the conservative side of politics – Sydney Morning Herald


Christmas Island strain worsens – Almost 100 people are due to fly out of Christmas Island today as the Immigration Department juggles beds and tents at the increasingly crowded detention centre to accommodate another boatload of 171 asylum seekers – Melbourne Age

Foreign relations

Rudd joy as US confirms Obama visit – The Obama family will bring a touch of glamour to Australia's election year with a visit in the second half of March, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the US-Australian alliance – Melbourne Age

Australian battle for Barack Obama is on - With yesterday's announcement that the world's most powerful man and his family is visiting Australia next month, every Australian town from Bourke to Birdsville is throwing open its arms to the US President – Sydney Daily Telegraph


Bligh knew before poll – Anna  Bligh has admitted she was handed an asset sale blueprint five months before the state election but insisted she did not make a decision until after the poll – Brisbane Courier Mail


Swearing, bragging but no corruption - Nine sections of the long-awaited tape were finally played at the Independent Commission against Corruption yesterday. But that was more than the commission had planned, much to the irritation of Commissioner David Ipp, who asked: ''How much more of this must we endure?'' – Sydney Morning Herald

Industrial relations

Union leader claims `dinosaur' employers out of touch – Maritime union leader Paddy Crumlin has declared massive pay rises won by offshore oil and gas workers were secured without productivity trade-offs, describing employers critical of the deal as "dinosaurs" with an outdated view of workplace relations – The Australian


F-35s in strife as project chief sacked – The massive Joint Strike Fighter project is in serious trouble only two months after the Australian government committed itself to buying the yet-to-be-completed F-35 warplane – The Australian

More turbulence in fighter jet program – The troubled Joint Strike Fighter project - upon which Australia is relying for its next generation of attack aircraft - has struck further chaos, with the US government sacking the general in charge and withholding hundreds of million of dollars in payments from the project's prime contractor – Melbourne Age


Opposition scare campaign on ETS – Tony Abbott's climate change political campaign is based on cost and Kevin Rudd's is built on belief. The Leader of the Opposition has turned Coalition policy on its head and is going to run a scare campaign on rising costs for energy and food. The Prime Minister, who concedes he's got to do a better job of selling the government's position, is going back to basics and will campaign on "belief " in the dangers of man-made climate change – The Australian

Reintroduce labour flexibility to increase productivity – is the view of Peter van Onselen writing in The Australian

Carry on with this revolution, Julia – Janet Albrechtsen in The Australian describes how Julia Gillard is a creature of the Left and she is staring down the anti-reform agenda of the teachers’ union with aplomb.

President's visit is gold for PM – Barack Obama could not possibly do Kevin Rudd a bigger favour than visit him in an election year – Greg Sheridan in The Australian

LNP's leaders put on notice – Andrew Fraser writes in The Australian that the worst thing that Queensland's Liberal National Party can do after yesterday's failed leadership coup is to sit back and say everything's fine.

Leader needs to be careful that the fig leaf doesn't blow away – Peter Hartcher in the Sydney Morning Herald says Tony Abbott produced a climate change policy to give him some green colouring, but it's designed to cover his policy nakedness rather than decisively cut Australian greenhouse gas emissions.

Coalition paints itself into a corner – Tony Abbott’s climate policy is little more than a shield designed to protect Australia's coal, aluminium and cement industries from change writes Tony Cubby in the Sydney Morning Herald

How we got the RBA wrong – Michael Pascoe does his mea culpa about the Reserve Bank and interest rates.

In a pickle, and it's not because of ageing – Peter Costello in the Sydney Morning Herald draws attention to how Australia's budget position will be better than expected at the middle of the century because of ''the more gradual pace of ageing than previously projected''.

Grey expectations not nearly as alarming as climate change – Ross Gittins writes that politicians keep putting out reports intended to exaggerate the effect of ageing on the budget and the economy, but they keep making changes that advantage the aged at the expense of the working generation – Sydney Morning Herald

Ranking by NAPLAN results rates a fail -  writes Dr John Collier, the headmaster of St Andrew's Cathedral School, and chairman of the NSW/ACT (Independent Sector) Academic Committee.

Slow down Kevin, it's policy time – Shaun Carney writes in the Melbourne Age that a late-term slump reflects the Prime Minister's failure to communicate Labor's priorities on big issues in the electorate – Melbourne Age

A pause, but rates will go higher – Terry McCrann says  the RBA still wants to increase official interest rates by anywhere between 50 and 100 basis points - a half to 1 per cent – Melbourne Herald Sun

Liberals' 'direct action' policy is suspect - Having come to the job opposing the Rudd Government's emissions trading scheme but needing a saleable alternative, Tony Abbott has adopted a politically palatable if not environmentally dubious climate change policy – Andrew Probyn in The West Australian


Interest rates truce rewrites betting – Investors have scaled back their bets on further interest rate rises this year after the Reserve Bank's surprise decision to keep rates on hold rattled money markets – Melbourne Age

State's $36bn business investment boost – Business investment in South Australia has jumped nearly 90 per cent in the past year putting the state behind only booming Western Australia for investment and construction – Adelaide Advertiser


Staking a climate claim – Tony Abbott has based his climate credentials on a $1 billion annual fund that would give farmers and industry incentives to cut emissions, along with a large-scale tree planting in Australian cities and a boost for solar energy – Melbourne Age

Tony Abbott's cut-through climate plan – Tony Abbott has promised to attack climate change with a $3.2 billion plan that does not cap carbon emissions but instead proposes direct action such as planting trees – The Australian

Millions of trees to sway Australian voters – Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is facing his strongest challenge since the 2007 election after Tony Abbott produced a climate change policy backed by a united Liberal Party – Sydney Daily Telegraph

$2bn grants scheme at the heart of Abbott plan – At the heart of Tony Abbott's alternative climate policy is a $2.5 billion greenhouse grants scheme that would allow a Coalition government to choose which emissions reductions it wanted to "buy" from electricity generators, industry or farmers – The Australian

Polluters win a free ride in Coalition climate plan – The cost of cutting carbon pollution would be borne by taxpayers under a Coalition plan to pay incentives to farmers and businesses that make cuts voluntarily – Sydney Morning Herald

Report undercuts Kevin Rudd's Great Barrier Reef wipeout – Kevin Rudd’s insistence that the Great Barrier Reef could be "destroyed beyond recognition" by global warming grates with new science suggesting it will again escape temperature-related coral bleaching – The Australian

Pole-sitter farmer Peter Spencer in tears over massive support for his cause – It was the day the country came to Canberra, with almost 2000 farmers joining hunger striker Peter Spencer to march on Parliament House demanding compensation for losing their property rights – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Pain of Green Loans exposed – The Green Loans debacle is widening after it was revealed the Federal Government predicted up to 200,000 homeowners would take up the loans and only 1000 have done so – Brisbane Courier Mail

Why we need fewer koalas – Koalas are overpopulating the Adelaide Hills and may have to be relocated or sterilised, as has been the case on Kangaroo Island. Environment and Heritage Department officials have warned there is a "looming issue of overpopulation in the Adelaide Hills", in advice made public yesterday by the Australian Koala Foundation, which disputes the findings – Adelaide Advertiser



Shared parenting law brings little change – The shared parenting law introduced by the Howard government has resulted in more children spending time with both parents after divorce, but the numbers who do so are minuscule and most children still spend the majority of time with their mothers – The Australian

Law and order

Public inquiry tipped into claims of police corruption – The biggest corruption scandal since the Fitzgerald inquiry, involving claims of police involvement in major drug trafficking on the Gold Coast, is set to rock the Queensland Police Service – Brisbane Courier Mail

Net closes on Hogan over tax charges – The Australian Crime Commission is in the final stages of preparations to lay criminal charges of tax evasion against the actor Paul Hogan, film producer John Cornell and their accountant over the proceeds of the Crocodile Dundee films and other work – Sydney Morning Herald

Fines for alcohol cheats at events - Patrons who are caught smuggling alcohol into Perth's main sporting stadiums will face hefty fines under tough new liquor laws to be introduced to State Parliament this year – The West Australian


Unis take heart in enrolment numbers – Universities ppear set to weather the storm of bad international publicity over attacks on Indian students. The latest data on student visa applications suggest vocational colleges will bear the brunt of the damage to Australia's reputation as an education destination – Sydney Morning Herald

NT schools dunces of the class, say CLP – Almost all government schools in the Northern Territory's urban areas are performing below the national average, new figures show. And in many cases their results are "substantially below" results from schools around the country – Northern Territory News


Judge rules that Herald Sun may not reveal identity of child rapist – Victorians can't know the identity of a child rapist who disappeared for nearly two days, a judge ruled. Judge Sue Pullen found it wasn't in the public interest that the man's name or photo be published by the Herald Sun, though she allowed publication of both last week when the man was on the run – Melbourne Herald Sun

Consumer affairs

Electricity meters rake in millions – Tens of millions of dollars in extra GST will be raked in as Victorians grapple with soaring bills to pay for electricity smart meters.  Customers are being stung with annual supply charge increases of up to $150 a year to pay for the technology's statewide roll-out – Melbourne Sun Herald
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