Saturday, 6 February 2010

Media wrap - Plenty of public servants to run it but no ETS


Foreign affairs

Israeli forced to cancel lecture tour over Gaza row – A trip to Melbourne by the chair of the New Israel Foundation, Naomi Chazan, has been postponed because of a controversy about the fund's alleged role in helping the Goldstone inquiry into the Gaza war – The Australian

Economic matters

World bankers meet in Sydney as recovery fears intensify – The world's top central bankers began arriving in Australia for high-level talks as renewed fears about the strength of the global economic recovery gripped world share markets. Representatives from 24 central banks and monetary authorities, including the US Federal Reserve and European Central Bank, landed in Sydney to meet tomorrow at an undisclosed location – Melbourne Herald Sun

Superannuation cut just 'fine-tuning': Kevin Rudd – Kevin Rudd has insisted his unpopular move to cut the cap on concessional superannuation contributions for people over 50 from $100,000 to $50,000 was just "fine-tuning" of the system – The Australian

Australians back on financial track – Australia’s individual wealth rose by an average of more than $10,000 in the last three months of 2009, data from the Reserve Bank revealed on the same day as the share market took its worst plunge in nine months – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Industrial relations

RBA warns on wage claims as markets face fresh uncertainty- The Reserve Bank has warned of a wages blowout and higher inflation if the resources sector grows faster than expected, as it upgraded its economic forecasts and said unemployment had peaked – The Australian

Town has no pity for fly-in 'whingers' - Karratha residents have never much liked the highly paid fly-in fly-out resources industry workersbut will grudgingly acknowledge that the planeloads of workers arriving daily from Perth and elsewhere are desperately needed to sustain the Pilbara's miraculous resources industry – The Australian

Woolies takes on Fair Work ruling – In a significant test case of the Fair Work laws, Woolworths - backed by the federal government and employer groups - is seeking to overturn a recent decision that found that enterprise agreements must include a clause that allows disputes to be settled by arbitration by a third party – Melbourne Age

Work laws promise comes up short – Kevin Rudd has backed away from a commitment that workers would not lose out under Labor. "I said I can't provide that guarantee and I don't," Mr Rudd said. But he told Parliament in 2008: "No working family in this country will be worse off as a consequence of the industrial relations laws that we have advanced here in Parliament." – Melbourne Herald Sun


Lobbyists find back door to power - Australia and unions are exploiting gaps in the new lobbying rules during a period where dozens of important - and lucrative - economic reviews are under way. Big accounting and legal firms are emerging as some of the biggest players on the professional lobby circuit, using former political heavyweights to access the corridors of Parliament on behalf of their clients, free of scrutiny – Sydney Morning Herald

Best way to buy friends - The stakes are high and businesses are prepared to pull out all the stops to get their way with the big political parties, write Eric Johnston and Adele Ferguson in the Sydney Morning Herald

Political life

It's Titan vs Tintin in the fitness stakes - who's fitter, Rudd or Abbott? - Hidden beneath the PM's fleshy exterior is a fitness enthusiast bursting to come out. While "Super Freak" Mr Abbott, who turns 53 this year, two months after Mr Rudd, makes a very public show of his fitness, the PM sneaks out of the Lodge for dead-of-night power walks and gym visits – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Anna Bligh backs Terry Mackenroth over A1GP – Anna Bligh has praised Terry Mackenroth's management skills and insisted the State Government would hire him again, despite the A1GP fiasco. Ms Bligh said it had been important that a successor to Indy be signed quickly but it was now obvious the deal to sign up the European-based racing group had been botched – Brisbane Courier Mail


Libs pledge new focus on heritage – A future Liberal government will look at ways it can dissuade owners from neglecting heritage properties and would review penalties they may be subject to. The pledge is among the Liberal heritage policy commitments being made today by the shadow minister for environment and conservation, Michelle Lensink – Adelaide Advertiser


Diggers home from battle but war not over - This Government, like the previous, has kept a choking leash on all information from Iraq and Afghanistan. Defence drip-feeds abbreviated information on Australians wounded or killed in conflict and has less to say on the mentally damaged. Meanwhile, just like Vietnam, a new battalion of lost souls is bunkered down in suburban homes, haunted by images of carnage that will not quit – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Rival choppers fight for navy deal – Competition is intensifying between the two main contenders for the $3.5 billion navy combat chopper contract, a deal made urgent by the 2008 decision to junk the troubled Seasprite program – The Australian


Pressure builds to use NT detention centre – Pressure is mounting to house asylum seekers in Darwin's under-used detention centre. The Berrimah complex, which cost about $2 million to build, had 43 inmates yesterday - all fishermen caught illegally working in Australian waters – Northern Territory News

Freedom of information

Action urged on FOI flaws – Loopholes  in the Rudd government's new freedom of information laws should be tightened and the onus of proof for appeals reversed to prevent officials from restricting access to sensitive documents, say lawyers and media representatives – The Australian


Shane Warne the peacemaker – Shane Warne has given the State Government the thumbs-up for its attempts to rebuild Victoria's battered reputation in India. A private meeting with Premier John Brumby was to discuss plans for an advertising campaign headed by Warne to promote Victoria and counter the hysteria in the Indian media about racist violence in Melbourne – Melbourne Herald Sun


Pressure on Keneally for a decision on metro – The Keneally government is in a stand-off with the Balmain Tigers Leagues Club over the fate of the controversial proposed metro line to Rozelle – Sydney Morning Herald

Aboriginal affairs

Belief builds in Aboriginal schoolkids - The head of the Stronger Smarter Institute at the Queensland Institute of Technology, Chris Sarra, has established a network of "learning communities" across the nation to spread a culture of high expectations for indigenous students.


ETS costs remain a mystery to Labor - Lulled into a sense of false security through Coalition support for an ETS last year and a largely sympathetic media, Kevin Rudd and his ministers have found themselves ill-equipped and under-prepared to answer basic questions people want answered, whether they are climate change believers or sceptics – Dennis Shanahan in The Australian

Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott sweat on the verdict from business – Jennifer Hewett in The Australian says Business Council president Graham Bradley will be dancing around some tricky questions on big-business attitudes to climate change policy when he gives his first major speech next Thursday. It reflects the increasing division and confusion in the broader business community about how to respond to the opposition assault on the government's emissions trading scheme with a "direct action plan".

Government finds climate changed – According to the rhetoric from our political leaders the choice for voters is between a "great big new tax" and a "climate change con job" writes Peter van Onselen in The Australian.  That's Kevin Rudd's Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme v Tony Abbott's Emissions Reduction Fund.

Net censorship campaign backfiresSouth Australia's history of spectacular clashes between politicians, the judiciary and the media found a new chapter this week when a mess of eggs ended up on the face of the Attorney-General, forcing a humiliating backflip over internet censorship – Chris Kenny in The Australian

Draconian law doesn't serve the people's interest – Luke Walladge writes in The Australian that the outcome from the WA Liberal government's radical law-and-order legal changes has been disastrous.

Media cools on global warming - Climate-change sceptics are being vindicated by scientific scandals that are no longer being ignored says Christopher Pearson in The Australian

Abbott can fight but he needs a solid corner man – Peter Hartcher in the Sydney Morning Herald  writes that the point of Barnaby Joyce’s outing at the National Press Club had been to begin telling a story of the irresponsibility of the Rudd government's spending. He wanted to sound an alarm at the size of the federal government's debt. And there is enough factual raw material to make a case. But instead of putting pressure on the government, he put his own party under pressure and made himself a subject of ridicule.

Climate alarmists out in the cold – Miranda Devine believes that as the wheels keep falling off the climate alarmist bandwagon, it's suddenly become fashionable to be a sceptic – Sydney Morning Herald

Raising the blah - The My School website fails the test, writes John Marsden in the Melbourne Age

Walking the line – Shaun Carney writes in the Melbourne Age that a number of senior members of the government left Canberra yesterday after the first week of Parliament feeling that they had a much better idea of Abbott's measure. Their assessment of the Liberal leader is that, for all his thoughtfulness and genuine low-key charm, he also possesses a belligerent side that does not require much effort from his opponents to bring into full view.

Punters like Abbott, but he's no salesman – writes Laurie Oakes in the Sydney Daily Telegraph. The truth is that the opening week of parliament this election year left both leaders feeling reasonably pleased with themselves - but it also gave their followers some cause for concern.


Rio's $40bn plan to sell the farm to the Chinese – Rio Tinto was prepared to sell the Chinese resources giant Chinalco a 19.9 per cent stake in its iron ore operations and as much as 45 per cent of the rest of the business under a mammoth $40 billion alliance pursued in 2008. Although the plan was ultimately scrapped and later revisited in a scaled-down version, documents seen by The Weekend Australian reveal the desperate lengths to which Rio was prepared to go to ease its crippling debt problems and avoid being taken over by arch-rival BHP Billiton – The Australian


No ETS but 150 staff on the job - The Rudd Government set up an authority to run its emissions trading system more than seven months ago, before Parliament had a chance to consider the scheme. More than 150 public servants now work in the growing organisation, whose role is to ''implement and administer'' a scheme the Senate has twice rejected and which might never exist – Canberra Times

Australia 2050 is a future we can't afford - Economic modelling produced for the Sydney Morning Herald by PricewaterhouseCoopers shows the task of building the new roads, houses, schools, supermarkets and recreation facilities needed by 2050 for a population of 36 million will be so great that the nation's current pool of savings will struggle to cover it, even with the help of foreign capital. As a consequence Australians will have to make major lifestyle changes.

Green scheme sunk by rorts and bungling - Barely six months since it launched, the $175 million Green Loans program has become the latest of the federal government's green schemes to descend into farce, hot on the heels of the solar panel rebates and insulation batts – Melbourne Age

Cool reception on climate costs triggers broadside on Tony Abbott's efforts – Late last week Penny Wong's department and her office went into overdrive assessing the Coalition's climate change policy and disseminating it to the media. The Climate Change Minister herself was calling around to offer her views on what the shadow cabinet was deciding – The Australian

Greens offer interim carbon deal – The Greens are cautiously optimistic that the climate change plan they are negotiating with the government could be a circuit breaker able to win support from Labor and the Coalition in the Senate – The Australian

Australia out of step on emissions trading schemeAustralia is looking increasingly isolated in the global community as Kevin Rudd presses on with his government's emissions trading scheme – The Australian

Sceptic rubbishes computer modelling on climate change – Climatologists were downplaying the uncertainty of the long-term computer models used to predict climate change, a leading sceptic said yesterday, as repercussions spread from the mistaken IPCC claim that the Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035 – The Australian

Fears standard of aged care in nursing homes will drop - Catholic Health Australia head Martin Laverty has warned that services for pensioners in nursing homes could be squeezed without the right compensation package – The Australian


ABC `empire' takes fire from Fairfax – Fairfax Media chief executive Brian McCarthy has accused the ABC of empire building and says its plans to build new regional broadband hubs will threaten the future of commercial media in rural and regional areas – The Australian

Warnings on cold-call register – Identity frauds are getting ready to pounce on the million-plus households whose numbers are about to fall off the Do Not Call Register this year, a consumer group has warned. A Senate committee has also heard concerns that ordinary phone calls from one business to another could be caught up in new legislation designed to protect companies from telemarketing – Melbourne Age


Law and order

Perjury case on brink of collapse – A perjury case against former police assistant commissioner Noel Ashby is set to collapse next week in a blow that puts in doubt the future of Victoria's major anti-corruption body – Melbourne Age

Top cop perjury case ruled unlawful – The credibility of Victoria Police's corruption watchdog has been dealt a blow after an embarrassing legal technicality pushed a perjury case against former assistant police commissioner Noel Ashby to the brink of collapse – The Australian

Gold Coast's club scene lures a sordid mix - The Brisbane Courier-Mail has lifted the lid on a major Crime and Misconduct Commission probe into allegedly cosy links between police and the clubs, including a possible involvement in drug dealing.

CMC asked to probe alleged police brutality in Cape York - The Crime and Misconduct Commission have been asked to investigate alleged police misconduct and brutality in Cape York after the damning court judgment. The family of Patrick Darren Gibson, 36, of Hope Vale, yesterday said the ruling by a District Court judge, upholding a magistrate's finding of excessive force, was "a win for the little man" – Brisbane Courier Mail

The drink

Lifetime pub ban on louts – Drunken louts face the potential of life bans at all of Hobart's pubs and clubs if they are caught doing the wrong thing – Hobart Mercury

Child protection

Children shifted to violent families: Bath report – Aboriginal children in care are routinely being placed with relatives in remote communities where they are exposed to sexual abuse and alcohol-fuelled violence, a wide-ranging report on child protection - kept hidden by the Northern Territory government - has revealed. – The Australian

Real estate

Arise Marrickville, the new Paddington – Domain’s hot spots for 2010 are in and two experts have named the inner west suburb of Marrickville as among the best buys – Sydney Morning Herald

Schools website leads parents to change address – League tables will influence parents to buy homes in suburbs with top-ranking schools, university researchers and real estate agents predict – Sydney Morning Herald

Air safety

Air watchdog linked to crash pilot – The nation's air safety watchdog has been employing a company owned by a consultant who is in business with, and has worked for, the former chief pilot of the airline involved in Australia's worst civilian air crash in 40 years – The Australian
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