Friday, 26 February 2010

Media wrap - Richard Ackland gives an example of ASIO and secrecy



I'm to blame for the lot in bungled insulation scheme, Kevin Rudd declares – Kevin Rudd has expressed disappointment at his own performance over the bungled home insulation scheme, admitting he should have asked more questions about the program's implementation - The Australian

Rudd 'disappointed' in himself for insulation problems – Kevin Rudd says he is disappointed in himself for not paying closer attention to the rollout of the government's bungled home insulation program.  Mr Rudd is also standing by embattled Environment Minister Peter Garrett, saying problems associated with the scheme were largely due to the failure of the compliance system that had been put in place – Brisbane Courier Mail

MPs told to face voters over insulation bungle – Kevin Rudd admitted he should have asked more questions before implementing the scrapped insulation scheme as he ordered all MPs and senators to fan out across their electorates to confront community concern caused by the bungled program – Sydney Morning Herald

I failed on insulation program, Rudd admits – Kevin Rudd has admitted he should have asked more questions about the insulation program that has engulfed the government in crisis. In a major mea culpa, he said last night the program had ''failed the people's expectations of the government, and failed the high standards I've set for myself and the government'' – Melbourne Age

Foreign affairs

Australians caught in hit on HamasAustralia yesterday warned Israel its standing as a friend would be jeopardised if it were found to have condoned the suspected theft of three Australian citizens' identities by its Mossad spy agency to carry out a political assassination – The Australian

Smith reassures holders of old-style passports – Foreign Minister Stephen Smith has moved to reassure Australians travelling on older passports that there is no need to replace their travel documents for newer versions that include biometric data – The Australian

'Mossad' hit snares Australians - All 12 Britons, six Irish, four French, one German - and now three Australians - named by Dubai are victims of identity theft. Many are migrants to Israel. Media have tracked down some. They were dumbfounded their passports were used by people whose photographs told of different identities – Sydney Morning Herald

Israel challenged over forgeriesAustralia has taken the rare step of publicly reprimanding Israel over the forging of three Australian passports used in an apparent assassination by Israeli spies in DubaiSydney Morning Herald

This is what we thought diplomat was up to, says official – The apparent use of Australian passports in a Mossad execution in Dubai came as little surprise to Australian security officials, who advised on the expulsion in 2004 of an Israeli diplomat, Amir Lati, amid suggestions he was involved in passport fraud – Sydney Morning Herald


Staff of Victorian Planning Minister Justin Madden suggested faking community consultation – Brumby government spin doctors have been caught out with plans to engage in contrived public consultations, setting up photo-opportunities to boost ministers' local profile and leaking stories to the media – Melbourne Herald Sun

Heat on Madden over Windsor Hotel sham – Planning Minister Justin Madden has been rocked by a leaked document revealing a plan by his office to run a sham public consultation process over the future of the historic Windsor Hotel – Melbourne Age

Professional affairs

Politicians to set the standards for lawyers – The federal government has set a collision course with lawyers and the judiciary, announcing that a new board setting standards for the legal profession around Australia will have a majority of government appointees and will include a consumer advocate for the first time – Sydney Morning Herald

Medicos fight to keep 'doctor' to themselves – Doctors are slugging it out with chiropractors and podiatrists over exclusive use of the titles ''doctor'' and ''surgeon'' in a dispute triggered by a national scheme meant to unify the caring professions – Sydney Morning Herald

Political life

Soccer mum Susan Templeman is Labor's weapon in the west - Susan Templeman will become the second working mum from NSW likely to be chosen to run for Federal Parliament, with the party expected today to drop its plans to install its own candidate for the Blue Mountains seat of Macquarie and let local branch members fight it out – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Barry O'Farrell is a sexist, says Clover Moore – Lord Mayor Clover Moore has attacked Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell, branding him "sexist and misogynistic" towards Premier Kristina Keneally in Parliament – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Senator lobbied for NSW powerbroker in factional feud – The outspoken South Australian Liberal senator Cory Bernardi has angered some of his colleagues by playing an active role in saving the preselection of the NSW powerbroker David Clarke – Sydney Morning Herald

Nile looks to Palin potential - The gun-toting, moose stew-fancying former governor of Alaska and Republican vice-presidential hopeful Sarah Palin may be visiting our shores this year. Fresh from charging $US100,000 to deliver the keynote address at the inaugural National Tea Party Convention in the US earlier this month, Palin is considering an invitation to spruik from our very own Christian Democratic Party to visit before the federal election – Sydney Morning Herald

Theophanous goes out with a nuclear bangAustralia should debate going nuclear and Victoria should be prepared to host nuclear power stations, former state energy minister Theo Theophanous said yesterday. In a dramatic final speech to Parliament, the retiring Labor heavyweight called on Kevin Rudd to lead a national debate on nuclear power – Melbourne Age

Economic matters

Two-speed economy on cards – Mining companies are planning a massive boost to their investment over the next year, but the rest of the economy still has its expansion plans on ice because of the global downturn – The Australian

Males earn a better pay rise - Male wages rose by 6.4 per cent last year but women gained a pay rise of just under 5 per cent. It means the gap between the full-time wage of men and women now stands at $11,913 a year, according to the Bureau of Statistics – Melbourne Herald Sun

Health and hospitals

Shot in the arm for NSW health with more beds, more money – Three thousand new hospital beds, a crackdown on obesity and money for private hospitals to treat public patients will be part of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's health system overhaul. The Federal Government is expected to give the states funding to build new stand-alone elective surgery hospitals – Sydney Daily Telegraph

South Australian Parole Board chief warns of releasing dangerous mentally-ill people – Parole Board chair Frances Nelson, QC, says it is inevitable that disaster will strike again as dangerous mentally ill people are released into the community. Her comments follow revelations that more than 40 people died - many of them committing suicide - soon after leaving the health system – Adelaide Advertiser


Candidate blasts Sturges – The  State Government has been rocked by a bitter feud between two of its candidates in Denison.  And it is all over who is the more true-blue Labor.
New candidate Madeleine Ogilvie is furious Infrastructure Minister Graeme Sturges has told voters in Hobart's northern suburbs she is "not really Labor" – Hobart Mercury

Dirty tricks switch alert – The Government and the Liberal Opposition have not ruled out running dirt campaigns to counter the popularity of the Tasmanian Greens – Hobart Mercury

Brumby ambushed on school newsletter – Political material featuring a photograph of the Premier and talking up the government's efforts to ''listen'' to community concerns has been sent to parents via a school newsletter - despite John Brumby denying Labor would do so – Melbourne Age



Theft burned a strong supporter – Greg Sheridan in The Australian argues Israel has every right to wage war against those who wage war against it but Israel certainly does not have the right to misuse the passports of innocent Australians in the process.

PM taking a risk by grabbing centre stage – Dennis Shanahan in The Australian believes Kevin Rudd has taken a big risk in taking over the evolving crisis that is the $2.45 billion roofing insulation scheme.

Betrayed PM should not be taken for granted by Israel – Kevin Rudd has been such a strong supporter of Israel that a former chairman of the World Jewish Congress, Isi Leibler, last year described him as ''a Christian Zionist - he understands and has some sympathy for us''. And this only intensified his sense of betrayal – Peter Hartcher in the Sydney Morning Herald

It was a week for bodgie batts, busy bees and bogong moths - Since the Prime Minister decided personally to shoulder ''full responsibility'' for the bungled home insulation program, his assiduous attention to detail has known no bounds. It reached the surreal point yesterday where he was giving out his phone number on Melbourne radio so home owners could call to complain about dodgy batts in their roofs – Amanda Devine in the Sydney Morning Herald

Secrecy is a denial of our rights – Richard Ackland in the Sydney Morning Herald gives an example of how it is virtually impossible to make any headway against the entrenched secrecy of ASIO. You cannot have suspicions confirmed or properly denied. None of this is a surprise but it has returned to the frontal lobes as a result of the government's counter-terrorism white paper and the beefed-up role for the agency in the fight against people smugglers.

Voters set bar too high for politicians - Despite the emphasis placed on being ''real'', should a politician actually divert from the script and display an inkling of genuine personality, they are pounced upon quicker than a hungry kid in a Minties hunt writes Judith Ireland in the Sydney Morning Herald

Local jihad the big fear – Andrew Bolt in the Melbourne Herald Sun writes that what we needed was to hear what the Government planned to do about it. And the answers in its new White Paper on counter-terrorism? Virtually zilch. Not even a word on whether it would be wise to cut immigration from Muslim nations, now running at about 28,000 a year. Nor was there anything about ending the mad multiculturalism that rewards most those who integrate least.

Rudd rides in to save the day - Kevin Rudd is sending his caucus into the community as an army of atonement, with the message that the government is in the problem-solving business – ichelle Grattan in the Melbourne Age

This is not the way to treat a steadfast friend – Daniel Flitton Spies, lies and murder: Australia's relationship with Israel has been dragged into the mud, with the potential that this scandal could get a great deal worse. An ugly episode, indeed. No diplomatic niceties softened the message from Foreign Minister Stephen Smith yesterday - if Israeli officials have tampered with Australian passports, ''Australia would not regard that as the act of a friend'' – Melbourne Age

The truth about an ex-PM's great mistake – Malcolm Fraser should not try to rewrite political history writes John Kerr’s former official secretary David Smith in The Australian

Gillard's schools site should be used to help close the gap – Andrew Penfold writes in The Australian that Julia Gillard's recent launch of the My School website marks a truly historic watershed in education reform. It is now timely to look at how this powerful tool can be extended to help address our greatest educational challenge: the Third World outcomes in indigenous education, the most critical element of the national policy objective of Closing the Gap – The Australian


Stalemate for BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto – Relations between the West Australian government and BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto have broken down over the miners' proposed Pilbara iron ore alliance, with Premier Colin Barnett accusing the companies of ignoring the state's demands – The Australian


Energy target latest green policy to falter – The Rudd Government will announce changes to its renewable energy target - another environmental policy failing because of maladministration – Sydney Morning Herald

Bid to quell water fearsSt Helens residents have been sent letters by the state's health chief to try to quell fears the drinking water is unsafe.  Panic buying of bottled water continued yesterday in the wake of the release of research that suggested the local George River might be contaminated with toxins from eucalypt plantations – Hobart Mercury


Web woes: Premier's turn to apologise – The Premier, Kristina Keneally, was forced to apologise to Parliament yesterday over the cyber-hack affair as it emerged that an original report given to the government, on which it made its cyber-crime claims, contained no allegations of criminal behaviour. Ms Keneally apologised in question time that her Transport Minister, David Campbell, had misled Parliament on Tuesday by accusing Herald journalists of being cyber criminals after they accessed the government's transport blueprint on a website – Sydney Morning Herald

Plug pulled on online transport forum after security failure – An online forum for Sydneysiders to comment on the transport blueprint has been closed after a security failure that allowed access to secret government documents before their official release – Sydney Morning Herald

School acts on Facebook bullies as anger grows over Morcombe page – Twenty students from Springwood State High School have been suspended over a Facebook page featuring posts that bullied a member of staff – Brisbane Courier Mail

Idea of online ombudsman considered: PM - Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says he will look into the idea of appointing an online ombudsman after Facebook tribute pages were defaced with pornography – The West Australian

Conroy's website removes references to filter – The minister in charge of the Government's web censorship plan has been caught out censoring his own website. It was revealed today a script within the minister's homepage deliberately removes references to internet filtering from the list – Melbourne Herald Sun

46,000 sign EB Games R18+ rating petition – A national petition in support of an R18+ rating for video games has gathered over 46,000 signatures in just three weeks. The petition, promoted by retailer EB Games in its stores and online, is aimed at influencing the nation's attorneys-general to change the law - and in particular South Australia's Michael Atkinson, who has been prominent in his opposition to an R18+ rating – Adelaide Advertiser



'Black armband' history dumped – The new national history curriculum steps away from the divisive "black armband" approach to teaching Australia's past, setting out a course of study that allows students to look at the nation's story from the indigenous and non-indigenous perspective – The Australian

Politics 'hampers students' – The education of young Tasmanians is being harmed by political interference and meddling bureaucrats, senior educators say. Launching their new book yesterday, University of Tasmania Dean of Education emeritus professor Bill Mulford and former school principal Bill Edmunds slammed the State Government for sticking its nose into education. And they criticised education goals set out by bureaucrats, saying they were so narrow that schools and society faced a values crisis – Hobart Mercury

The drink

Road safety

Tougher penalties urged to cut South Australian road toll – Higher penalties, not lower speed limits, are the best way to minimise deaths, most South Australian motorists believe. Nearly three quarters of more than 2500 respondents to the RAA's most recent member survey said increased enforcement, along with driver training and education, were vital to reducing the road toll – Adelaide Advertiser


Police alert over child `sexting' – South Australian children, some still in primary school, are becoming the new producers and distributors of child pornography, police have warned. SA Police say the "sexting" trend is becoming worse as more children are given access to technology – Adelaide Advertiser
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