Saturday, 6 March 2010

Media wrap - The hospital debate dominates again


Health and hospitals

'Voters know I'm right' – State and federal politicians who try to obstruct the government's health reform plan are defying the wishes of the public for a better hospital system and will pay the price, the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, says – Sydney Morning Herald

PM blasts Victoria on hospitals – Kevin Rudd has lashed out at the Victorian government for resisting his hospital package, declaring it is ''deluded'' if it thinks the state system doesn't need improving – Melbourne Age

States would carry blame for axing services – Kevin Rudd's health reform blueprint would leave the states to handle the politically vexed question of whether to close or restrict access to unsustainable services – The Australian

Nats seize on fears of hospital closures – State fears that commonwealth health reforms will put more pressure on regional and remote services, or force their closure, have provided the conservatives with another means of destabilising Labor governments – The Australian

NSW demands no hospital closures - NSW may refuse to sign up to the federal health reforms until Prime Minister Kevin Rudd guarantees no small hospitals will be forced to close – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Health reform to expose dud doctors – Rogue surgeons and problem doctors would be uncovered at hospitals faster under the Federal Government's hospitals reform plan – Brisbane Courier Mail

Law and order

Judge who criticised Labor refused court job – The career of a judge who criticised NSW Labor's dealings with donor developers is hanging in the balance after the government knocked back a request from the state's Chief Justice for him to work in the Supreme Court's short-staffed equity division. The Attorney-General, John Hatzistergos, is refusing to explain why Justice David Lloyd's commission was rejected. But the opposition says it appears to be political payback against a public servant who held the government to account – Sydney Morning Herald


Bounty for returning expats – The Liberals have promised cash lures of up to $5000 to snatch young Tasmanians back from interstate – Hobart Mercury

Tassie, depleted one day, bootyful the next – The Tasmanian Liberal opposition has come up with a new way to tempt its expats to quit the mainland and move back across Bass Strait - bribe them with cold, hard cash. Individuals would be paid $2500 and couples $5000 to move to Tasmania if they meet criteria on age and qualifications – Melbourne Age

GP using water issue in push for Greens, claims Bartlett – Premier David Bartlett has launched an extraordinary attack on a country GP who raised concerns about toxins in her town's water supply, accusing her of being in league with the Greens – The Australian

Premier Rann's wife, Sasha, rejects claims – Sasha Carruozzo trusts and believes her husband, and says it is time for people to "get over" their obsession with Premier Mike Rann's relationship with Michelle Chantelois – Adelaide Advertiser

Marginal seat to haunt loserThe Australian looks at the  marginal South Australian seat of Light.

Swinging voters the key, but Premier looks safeThe Australian on the SA election.

It's a race to the poll, and does anyone care? – Tony Wright in the Melbourne Age asks what if they called  an election and nobody cared? As Adelaide parties its way from summer into autumn, South Australian Premier Mike Rann and his Labor colleagues, suddenly facing a significant challenge from a renewed Liberal opposition, are haunted by this very question.

Mining wants $650m boost – Expansion of the state's mining sector will be stalled and the economy prevented reaching "top gear" unless the next government invests $650 million for new infrastructure, industry leaders say. South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy chief executive Jason Kuchel said Labor and the Liberals were "missing the main game" – Adelaide Advertiser

Labor accuses Libs of 'dirty deal' – Labor has accused the Liberals in South Australia of breaking federal electoral laws to keep secret from voters a group of developers they claim may be "bankrolling" the party's key infrastructure election promise – The Australian

Redmond takes aim at Nationals leader – A further split has emerged between the Liberals and the Nationals in South Australia, casting doubt upon any alliance in the event of a hung parliament after the state election. Opposition Leader Isobel Redmond yesterday slammed Nationals leader and Rann government minister Karlene Maywald for sending out election material spruiking her party credentials – The Australian

Coalition looking to Telstra for poll boost – The Coalition is confident of an electoral boost from furious Telstra shareholders who believe the Rudd government is trashing the company's share price – The Australian

Belinda Neal's fate hangs in the balance – Embattled MP Belinda Neal is expected to find out this afternoon whether her 16-year parliamentary career is over. Many within the ALP believe it is – Sydney Daily Telegraph


Defiant PM stares down dissenters – Kevin Rudd has vowed he will not change his leadership style or government decision-making processes in a pointed rebuke to critics within his own caucus who fear his centralised approach is driving Labor's slide in opinion polls and risking its re-election prospects – The Australian

Abbott's credibility gap – Tony Abbott has a credibility gap with Coalition supporters. One in five prefers Kevin Rudd as prime minister – George Megalogenis in The Australian

Will the real Kevin Rudd please stand up? – Michelle Grattan in the Melbourne Age profiles the Prime Minister


Secret plan for Christmas Island expansion – The Rudd government has commissioned a secret land audit on Christmas Island as it prepares for a detainee population predicted to reach 5000 within four years – The Australian

Economic matters

Beware the big boom - Australia entered 2009 bracing for an economic tsunami that never arrived. It has entered 2010 riding an irresistible wave of Chinese demand for our mining exports – Michael Stutchbury in The Australian

WA Premier angered by being 'done over' by the commonwealth – The West Australian government has signalled a growing isolationist approach, with Premier Colin Barnett saying he feels "almost under siege from Canberra" over its revenue grab – The Australian


Bespoke power goes a long way - Adelaide, finds Tony Wright writing in the Melbourne Age,  turns presumption about connections and political class divisions on its head. Indeed, about all you need to know about Adelaide is to be found in one of the city's more idiosyncratic businesses. It's a lobbying outfit called Bespoke Approach. To say its directors are well connected is to understate the case. It's the breadth and diversity of those connections that catches the imagination.

Foreign affairs

PM set on suing over whaling – The federal government risks a major diplomatic dispute by taking Japan to the International Court of Justice over whaling, Japanese officials have warned. But Kevin Rudd, aware of mounting Japanese antagonism, repeated his threat yesterday – The Australian

PM unhappy with Israeli silence on passports – The Australian government is far from satisfied with the response so far from Israel on the alleged use of Australian passports by a Mossad death squad – Sydney Morning Herald

Political life

MPs to vote on Justin Madden's role – Justin Madden is facing his second parliamentary vote of no confidence in less than a year. If he loses next week's vote, the Planning Minister and former Carlton premiership player will have suffered the ignominy of being the first person in 100 years to have twice lost such a vote – Melbourne Herald Sun


Schools find way to bend the rules – The state government has overruled local councils and approved contentious building projects at private schools under the Rudd government's stimulus program – Sydney Morning Herald


Curriculum could break budget – Constable - Implementing the new national curriculum in WA schools risks blowing out the State's education budget, Education Minister Liz Constable has warned – The West Australian

Green schemes

Green loans 'debacle' puts homes, assessors in dark – Greg Combet has been dubbed Kevin Rudd's fix-it man as he cleans up the home insulation mess. But his senior minister, Penny Wong, is also struggling to mop up a separate, formerly Peter Garrett-run program that has gone terribly wrong – Sydney Morning Herald

Insulation chaos - this family's life left in the ashes – An insulation company accused of causing one of the almost 100 house fires reported nationally during the Federal Government's botched environmental scheme has been fined $10,000 – Sydney Daily Telegraph


No need to hasten spending cuts in growing economy – Ross Gittins in the Melbourne Age writes that the stimulus spending is withdrawing of its own accord without any need to hasten it.

The right remedy? – Shaun Carney writes in the Melbourne Age that the throwaway assessment that has taken root this week that, because Victoria does better than the worst states, it is the model for the rest of the country is nonsense.

The minister responsible ... – For Glen Patmore in the Melbourne Age the sanction for breaching ministerial responsibility is political pressure. The kind and degree of pressure to call ministers to account remains uncertain because it depends on the outcome of political contestation. Ultimately it is a matter of judgment: one for the politicians and then the voters.

Rudd is bent on doing it his way – Kevin Rudd seems set on becoming the Frank Sinatra of Australian politics. He's going to do it all his way and he's prepared to fight anyone: cabinet colleagues, premiers, bureaucrats and even the Japanese government to do it "my way" – The Australian

Urgent, risky and complex, just like going into hospital – Paul Kelly in The Australian argues that Kevin Rudd and Nicola Roxon have swung the election year decisively to Labor's terrain of health and hospitals with a reform blueprint that is risky, complex and a huge change in power within Australia's system of government.

Prelude to more blame – Peter van Onselen in The Australian writes that even if the Prime Minister can convince the states to support his health reform package, he is unlikely to convince the federal opposition to allow it to pass through the Senate. More likely the states will block the package (or enough of it to neuter it), forcing Rudd to act on his threat to call a referendum on the issue. It is hard to see the referendum succeeding. That would be the end of the matter.

Nuclear debate won't go away – Nuclear power is the issue that won't go away in Australia's climate change policy debate writes Keith Orchison in The Australian

Bureaucrat-in-chief may have bitten off more than he can chew – Christian Kerr in The Australian finds an expert who says Kevin Rudd, despite his background, has "no gut feel for the difficulties of program management. He wants to project this can-do image but he doesn't connect very well with the big picture he is trying to paint." She is afraid this is a recipe for policy failure, and political loss of face.

Rudd's cosmetic surgery – Adam Cresswell says the new health plan is a medium-term reform that will bring no immediately discernible benefits for patients, and so far the general reaction to the scheme has been cautiously positive, albeit with important caveats – The Australian

Rights bill is still a threat - The sensible wing of the Labor Party here looks as though it has killed off any explicit enacting of a statutory bill of rights. But the Brennan committee foreshadowed a back-up strategy that the lawyers' wing of the Labor Party just might try - James Allan, Garrick professor of law at the University of Queensland, in The Australian

It's time for the old grey mayor – Miranda Devine in the Sydney Morning Herald reports that the consensus at a planning forum held on Wednesday was that Sydney is doomed without drastic action: federal government intervention to create a powerful metropolitan government to govern all of Greater Sydney.

Labor hopes for political tsunami of health support – writes Peter Hartcher in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Savaged by a mincing poodle with his finger on the mouse – Mike Carlton in the Sydney Morning Herald has a few words about Liberal MP Christopher Pyne.

Is there a good politician in the entire bunch? – Laurie Oakes in the Sydney Daily Telegraph previews an award for integrity in federal politics.


One year on, stocks notch a $470bn rebound – The Australian sharemarket toasted the first anniversary of its low point during the global financial crisis with a modest gain yesterday, closing out a stunning recovery that has restored $470 billion to the value of stocks – The Australian


Opposition seeks fast forward on renewable energy – The federal opposition will push the government to bring forward changes to its 20 per cent renewable-energy target by six months to quickly drive investment in clean energy – Melbourne Age

Henry calls for a greener Treasury – Treasury boss Ken Henry has taken a swipe at his own department's commitment to the environment, saying Treasury officials, among others, have failed to give proper weight to the importance of retaining Australia's unique biodiversity – Melbourne Age

Timber jobs axed - 'we're road kill on the way to extinction' – The Gulpa Sawmill in Deniliquin is set to close for good after the State Government announced this week it would protect more than 100,000ha of Riverina red gum forests from logging – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Plan to log 500-year-old trees - The WA Government is embroiled in a new logging controversy with the revelation that a Dardanup forest containing 500-year-old jarrah trees will be logged and part of the timber burnt for charcoal – The West Australian


Conroy endorses ABC expansion plans – Stephen Conroy is courting controversy with Australia's fractious media moguls by offering a glowing endorsement of the ABC and its managing director Mark Scott – Melbourne Age


The sexes

Hulls in gentlemanly retreat from men-only clubs battle – Attorney-General Rob Hulls has given up his campaign to force Melbourne's elite men-only clubs to throw open their doors to women members. In the face of stiff opposition from the so-called gentlemen's retreats, as well as key business figures and even a Labor-dominated parliamentary committee, Mr Hulls today will raise the white flag – Melbourne Age

Court gave teen the right to change gender from boy to girl – The Family Court has permitted a teenage boy to have hormone treatment to become a girl – Sydney Morning Herald

Aboriginal arts

Fight over indigenous foundation – A dispute has erupted over control of the Yothu Yindi Foundation, a non-profit Aboriginal corporation that runs Garma, Australia's leading cultural exchange festival. Aboriginal leader Galarrwuy Yunupingu narrowly defeated his brother Mandawuy Yunupingu in a bitterly contested vote for chairmanship of the foundation, which also runs projects in Arnhem Land to promote health and wellbeing among Yolngu people – Melbourne Age

Child welfare

State care shuffling puts children at risk – Some of the state's most vulnerable children are missing out on welfare services as child protection workers are moved from one regional area to another to fill staffing gaps – Melbourne Age


Author with HIV refused China visa – The prizewinning author Robert Dessaix, who was to be part of an Australian delegation of authors and publishers to China next week, has been refused a visa because he is HIV-positive – Sydney Morning Herald


Row over barbecue as primary school opts to offer halal sausages – A row over sausages has a school community sizzling amid competing claims of bigotry and animal cruelty. What was supposed to be a welcome-back barbecue for students at Coburg West Primary School has turned into a debate over the Islamic halal method of preparing meat – Melbourne Herald Sun
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