Monday, 1 March 2010

Media wrap - The Prime Ministerial mea culpa


Political life

Rudd mea culpas have shot party in foot, say ministers – The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has alarmed colleagues with what some believe is excessive criticism of the government's performance as he seeks to lift it out of its slump – Sydney Morning Herald

PM Kevin Rudd whacks lyrical on how he's let us down – The Federal Government has "not been up to the mark" and deserves the "pounding" it has been copping. No that wasn't Opposition Leader Tony Abbott speaking yesterday, it was Prime Minister Kevin Rudd – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Whistleblower worker under investigation – The staff member of the government backbencher Karyn Paluzzano who kicked off a corruption investigation following allegations that pay forms were filed incorrectly is himself under investigation over several employment-related issues – Sydney Morning Herald

I need to lift my game: Rudd – Kevin Rudd has gambled on raising his political fortunes with an extraordinary statement of contrition, declaring the government deserves a ''whacking'' and he needs to lift his game in delivering its reform agenda – Melbourne Age

Health and hospitals

Kevin Rudd scales back health expectations – Kevin Rudd will avoid big bang healthcare reform as he scales back expectations of the government's agenda and accepts blame for rising voter disappointment at the backlog of 2007 election promises yet to be delivered – The Australian

The law

Attorney-General's office 'virtually' powerless due to outsourcing  -A damning review of the Attorney-General's Department warned in January last year that its legal capacity had been "substantially diminished" by the decision to commercialise and outsource government legal work– The Australian


Buy our stock to keep us afloat: insulators – One of Australia's biggest insulation companies has pressed the federal government for a bailout of the industry and recommended $100,000 performance bonds from manufacturers as a first move towards tougher regulation – The Australian

Rescue package offers little comfort – Steve Young's insulation company, based in Kevin Rudd's Brisbane electorate of Griffith, was forced to sack 100 workers after the federal government's botched insulation rebate was axed a fortnight ago. The Rudd government has promised a $41 million rescue package for workers and companies such as Mr Young's, but that is providing little comfort for the businessman who fears his operation won't survive until June, when a revamped rebate is due to be launched – The Australian


Jobs pledge swamped by 10pc polling swing to Libs – Labor’s official re-election campaign launch has been overshadowed by an opinion poll showing a 10 per cent swing to the Liberals in a key Labor-held marginal seat. Mike Rann's promise yesterday to create an extra 100,000 jobs over six years if re-elected on March 20 failed to divert attention from the poll in Adelaide's Sunday Mail that showed a dramatic swing to the Liberals in the northeastern metropolitan seat of Morialta – The Australian

'Man of inaction' frustrates electorate - It is no great surprise - especially given the 12 per cent swing to the Liberals at last month's by-election in Labor heartland - that the latest Newspoll shows the Brumby government has lost ground on its primary vote. Even more concerning for the ALP is the decrease in Brumby's personal satisfaction ratings – The Australian

Kevin Rudd acts to end the Labor brawling – State Labor governments have been banned from holding annual party conferences unless they are approved by the Prime Minister, to prevent a repeat of the bloody NSW brawls during a federal election campaign. The move was passed by Labor's national executive amid fears the 2008 and 2009 NSW conferences that ultimately brought down premiers Morris Iemma and Nathan Rees would be replicated in the PM's home state of QueenslandSydney Daily Telegraph

Poll rattles Labor MPs – Labor MPs, rattled by a poll showing a swing of around 10 per cent in a key marginal seat, were putting on a brave face yesterday claiming they always knew the election would be tight – Adelaide Advertiser

Backing in doubt for former premier's plan to limit election funding – One of the changes proposed by the former premier Nathan Rees - public funding of elections - is hanging in the balance, with doubts that it will win full government support – Sydney Morning Herald

Foreign affairs

Australia abandons Israel in UN voteAustralia has softened its traditionally staunch support for Israel in the United Nations but denied it was linked to tensions over the country's apparent use of forged Australian passports in an assassination in DubaiSydney Morning Herald


Housing scheme for disabled adults in doubt as minister backs down – Eighteen months ago two women sat in a Gladesville kitchen and pleaded with Paul Lynch to approve a housing scheme for their disabled adult children. What happened next is in dispute. They say the Minister for Disability Services reached forward with his finger and drew his signature in the air. After six years of lobbying, his gesture was the closest their cluster housing scheme had come to approval. The minister denies it ever took place – Sydney Morning Herald

ousingHouThe sexes

Academic takes offence at PM's slight on degree – A Sydney academic has maintained she was deeply offended when Kevin Rudd told her her PhD was an excuse commonly used by young women "to avoid starting a family". The Prime Minister yesterday invoked what could be described as the "Scores strip-club excuse" when he claimed to have "no recollection" of making the comment to 26-year-old Nina Funnell at a function in January – The Australian

Economic matters

Most economists agree - we're in for a rate rise – Eleven of 16 economists surveyed believe the nation is heading for a rate rise tomorrow. This comes as new statistics reveal about 80 per cent of mortgages went up by more than the official interest rate rise following the last Reserve Bank of Australia decision, gouging about $47 a month extra from homeowners – Adelaide Advertiser

Why it costs $400 just for a tradie to turn up – Plumbers and electricians are charging up to $200 an hour and call-out rates have jumped almost 20 per cent in a year as the Rudd Government's stimulus package creates a boom for tradespeople – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Defence ordered to cut $20 billion over next decade – Everything from toilet paper and air travel to subsidised meals and fine wines has been targeted by cost-cutters handing Defence a $20 billion "haircut" over the next decade. The razor gang has told Defence staff to cut at least one flight in five from travel schedules to save millions on airfares and top brass have been relieved of butlers, chauffeur-driven limousines and first-class air travel – Adelaide Advertiser

WA asked for grant cuts: Swan - The Rudd Government will press on with changes to the Commonwealth Grants Commission that will cost WA taxpayers $223 million, arguing that is what the Barnett Government wants – The West Australian

Debt-laden consumers desperate for financial aid - Financial counsellors say they are struggling with a big increase in requests for help from debt-laden consumers, who face financial ruin as interest rates rise and financiers become more aggressive about recovering their funds – Sydney Morning Herald

Law and order

Fine feral sport fans – Feral mums and dads who threaten officials at sports matches face fines of up to $2000. Under a zero-tolerance blitz on players and fans developed by the State Government and Victoria's peak sporting bodies, a range of hefty fines will be imposed across all codes – Melbourne Herald Sun


Julia Gillard opens learning debate – Parents will today have the chance to give their verdict on what children will learn in the classroom from kindergarten to year 10. Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard is throwing open for debate the national curriculum that is due to be phased in next year – Melbourne Herald Sun


Rudd's humble pie leaves a bad taste – Phillip Coorey in the Sydney Morning Herald writes that Rudd's extraordinary bout of self-flagellation over the past week, which peaked during yesterday's interview on ABC's Insiders, is an exercise in seeking forgiveness and a platform from which to relaunch a back-to-basics campaign.

Kevin Rudd's mea culpa carries risks – writes Dennis Shanahan in The Australian

Seeing through a poor performance - The key question about Kevin Rudd’s “mea culpa” strategy is can he carry it off? This is a government that has become so associated with the notion of spin the danger for Rudd is that voters will simply see this as a another cynical instalment of the same strategy: Kevin Beattie at work – Glenn Milne in The Australian

The boom will be bigger, longer and better than most imagine – says Mark Rider in The Australian.

A humble philosophy is worth more than a fair shake of the sauce – David Burchell in The Australian looked at Kevin Rudd on the 7.30 report and saw from a space behind Rudd's eyes, an obscure anxiety growing: a recognition that somehow his routine vocabulary was no longer adequate to the occasion, and that his usual repertoire of ceremonial responses had exhausted its efficacy. And still, awfully, no new healing words presented themselves: the store of invention was dry.

Struggling PM’s political health needs an overhaul - There is no doubt the Prime Minister and his crew are under increasing pressure from the Abbott Opposition, which is skilfully and remorselessly inflicting maximum pain on a range of matters related to Labor’s ability to make promises and keep them with any competency. There have been modest but telling opinion poll movements favouring Abbott, but it is not yet clear what the message is from voters, strategists on both sides acknowledge – Malcolm Farr in the Sydney Daily Telegraph

Roundtable has become lazy susan – Lenore Taylor in the Sydney Morning Herald writes that federal Labor, already rattled by Tony Abbott's early success, is increasingly nervous that NSW voters will wield their baseball bats against it later this year in their impatience to vent their anger against state Labor in March 2011.

It is time for Israel's friends to condemn its acts of terrorism – says Amin Saikal, professor of political science and director of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies (the Middle East and Central Asia) at the Australian National University, in the Sydney Morning Herald

PM bares himself for a flogging, and may get it - Kevin Rudd has donned the hair-shirt in a tack that will leave many of his colleagues wondering exactly where his head is at – Michelle Grattan in the Melbourne Age


Clyne defends NAB's strategy from worried investors and analysts – National Australia Bank chief executive Cameron Clyne has defended the bank's growth strategy in response to mounting concern that the bank is struggling to keep pace with its major rivals – The Australian

Woolies pours hope into home-brand wine trend – Woolworths boss Michael Luscombe has some ominous news for the nation's distressed wine industry: count on supermarket private-label wines capturing a greater slice of the market as shoppers fall in line with overseas trends and warm to home-brand offerings – Melbourne Age


Cyclone climate link rejected – Research by hurricane scientists may force the UN climate panel to retract its claims that greenhouse gas emissions have caused an increase in the number of tropical storms – The Australian

A divided picture of the sunburnt country – A summer of extremes ended last night, in which the nation's west had its hottest and driest season on record and the east recorded its wettest summer in nearly three decades – The Australian


ABC’s role as niche provider needs to be redefined - says Mark Day in The Australian. It is time we had a full debate about the role of the ABC. It was established in a vastly different media landscape as a taxpayer-funded entity designed to, in part, fill in the market niches not served by the commercial sector. Now, thanks to pay-TV and the digital revolution, those niches are hotly contested.

Kerry Stokes flags pay-TV push – Kerry Stokes has thrown his weight behind Australia's pay-TV sector saying the model is not broken and he would be prepared to "double" his bet in the industry "if we got the chance". Mr Stokes, 69, says he remains "genuinely excited" about Seven's portfolio of free-to-air television, magazine and newspaper assets, and also says "great mastheads" have a future in the digital world – The Australian


Real estate

Record weekend as buyers battle it out at auctionsMelbourne’s property market set a record of more than $1 billion in total sales last week on the back of a searing-hot auction market – Melbourne Age

Road safety

P-plate cheaters logging up the lies – An alarming number of learner drivers are falsifying log books because of the "impossible" 120 hours required to reach their driving test, it has been found – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Young over-represented in crashes – Drivers aged 18 to 20 were dramatically over-represented in fatal road accidents last year, accounting for 12 per cent of deaths on Victoria's roads, but making up only 4 per cent of motorists – Melbourne Age


Mullet jab is unkindest cut of all – A cheeky seafood ad campaign has sparked a battle of the bogans between Sydney and AdelaideSydney Daily Telegraph


Bullying out of control in Australian schools – Half of Australian school students have bullied another student, while 70 per cent say that bullying is a moderate to extremely serious problem in their school. – Brisbane Courier Mail


Child porn runs rampant on net – The "cowboy world" of online child pornography will run rampant until an international treaty is enforced, one of Australia's leading child safety advocates says – Brisbane Courier Mail


Obesity costs Australian taxpayers dearly – Overweight and obese Australians cost taxpayers a whopping $56.6 billion annually, according to research – Melbourne Herald Sun
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