Thursday, 11 March 2010

Media wrap - Indonesian President gets favourable reviews


Foreign affairs

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to jail people-smugglers for five years – People-smugglers caught in Indonesia will face five years' jail under tough anti-trafficking measures unveiled yesterday during a historic speech to federal parliament by visiting President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono – The Australian

Yudhoyono's plea for better ties – Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has made a historic pitch for better relations with Australia, promising action on people smuggling and calling for an end to negative cultural stereotypes from both sides – Melbourne Age

Let's be friends and equals, says SBY – Honoured before the Australian Parliament, Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono yesterday confronted the obsolete stereotypes that darken the future of Australian-Indonesian ties. Yudhoyono came as a symbol of democracy. He got the balance right between realism and optimism. And he spoke with a frankness only possible as a friend – Paul Kelly in The Australian

Australians warned of Bangkok strife – Australians have been warned about travelling to Bangkok this weekend, as fears grow that massive anti-government protests, which organisers claim could bring up to a million people on to the streets of the Thai capital, will turn violent – Melbourne Age

A 'fair dinkum' deal on terrorism from SBY – A promise from Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for a "relentless" fight against terrorism and the jailing of people smugglers marked a significant advance in relations with Australia yesterday – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Kevin Rudd asks Indonesian President to show Bali Nine, Schapelle Corby compassion – Kevin Rudd appealed directly to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on behalf of Schapelle Corby and the Bali Nine drug traffickers, urging compassion for the jailed Australians – Brisbane Courier Mail

Ballad-belter leader sings a different tune – Charming, funny, but making some sharp political points, SBY is a political showman. The karaoke-loving former general who belted out love ballads during his election campaigns, does a lovely line in self-deprecation – The Australian

Time for new spirit of trust – Indonesians and Australians need to drop their negative stereotypes of each other if the relationship between the two nations is to advance and become resilient, the Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, says – Sydney Morning Herald

Yudhoyono calls for changeIndonesia’s President has broken out of the polite ceremonials of a state visit to Australia to tell us bluntly the central problem with the relationship writes Peter Hartcher in the Sydney Morning Herald

Balibo 5 widow moved by gesture – The widow of slain Australian journalist Greg Shackleton has expressed her gratitude - and shock - after Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono extended his personal sympathies to the families of the Balibo five – Melbourne Age

Economic matters

Housing market shows signs of cooling – Frequent rate rises and the end of the first home owners' boost appear to have broken the back of the NSW housing market with new figures showing lending in January fell to its lowest point in more than 10 years – Sydney Morning Herald

Australian economy to suffer pressure from inflation and housing, says RBA – A senior Reserve Bank official has warned that Australia's economy will suffer growing pains and be vulnerable to a housing shortage and rising inflation.

Government backs down on controversial land valuations system – The Bligh Government has caved in to demands from the property sector and will overhaul its land valuation system. From next year, commercial, industrial and residential land will be valued according to "site valuations'' which take into account the land's current market value if it was vacant. Valuations will not take into account the value of leases on that land – Brisbane Courier Mail

Reserve warns on resource boom risk – The Reserve Bank is worried that the economy is in danger of returning to the conditions of 2007, with the resources boom generating shortages of skilled labour while rents and house prices spiral – The Australian

Economic stimulus

Greg Combet's $50m foil clean-up bill – Taxpayers will foot the $50 million bill to strip foil insulation from up to 50,000 houses or install electrical safety switches to help correct faults in the federal government's bungled $2.45 billion home insulation scheme – The Australian

Foil to be pulled from 50,000 homes – Foil insulation will be torn from up to 50,000 homes under a plan by Greg Combet to fix the insulation rebate mess left by Peter Garrett. And 150,000 safety checks will be done in homes with ceiling batts – Adelaide Advertister

Emissions figures don't stack up: professor – The Rudd government ramped up the environmental benefits of its botched $2.45 billion home insulation scheme by grossly overstating the cuts in greenhouse gas emissions that could be achieved by households, expert independent analysis says – The Australian

$100m to fix botched insulation program – Taxpayers will pay up to $100 million to remove foil insulation or install electrical safety switches in 50,000 homes, in further changes to remedy problems caused by the government's suspended insulation scheme – Melbourne Age

Health and hospitals

Brumby plan aims to boost health staffAustralia would get almost 200,000 new doctors, dentists and nurses over the next 10 years under an overhaul of the national health system being pushed by Premier John Brumby – Melbourne Age

Bed shortages bring danger - children at risk in hospitals – Adult patients are sleeping alongside children in overstretched hospitals despite doctors condemning the practice. By allowing adults in the same wards as children, administrators and NSW Health are defying their own protocols as well as recommendations made last year by Commissioner Peter Garling – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Salary rorts scandal costs 60 health jobs - The salary packaging fraud scandal that has engulfed WA's public health system over the past 16 months has claimed the jobs of 60 employees - including 23 doctors and 18 nurses - working across the metropolitan area – The West Australian


Neediest schools miss out to elites – Elite  private schools have received crisis literacy and numeracy funding at the expense of some of the poorest-performing schools in the nation – The Australian

Paternity leave

Rudd faces Senate strife on maternity leave – Kevin Rudd will face a Senate ambush aimed at sweetening his 18-week paid maternity leave scheme as Tony Abbott's $2.7 billion six-month-leave policy wins support from the Greens, and a sympathetic hearing from the two independents – The Australian

Abbott's parent tax as costly as carbon for big polluters – Large corporations could pay as much under Tony Abbott's parental leave plan as they would in the early years of the government's emissions trading scheme, which the Coalition voted down saying it was a ''great big new tax'' that would cascade through the economy – Sydney Morning Herald


Vote for Dr Paul Collier 'will help those in need' - Dr Paul Collier was a big-hearted and tireless advocate for all disabled South Australians whose influence will continue despite his death. The name of the Dignity 4 Disabled Upper House candidate who died on Tuesday night will remain on election ballot papers. His friends and families are urging South Australians to vote for him so they can carry on his work – Adelaide Advertiser

Rick Phillips speaks on Mike Rann, Michelle Chantelois – Michelle Chantelois' estranged husband has appeared at a pre-election debate and declared his campaign to "expose" Premier Mike Rann will end on March 20 – Adelaide Advertiser

A five-minister barrage wheeled out for Abbott – The government launched a shock-and-awe attack against Tony Abbott yesterday, only to fall victim to the Senate minnows who resent Kevin Rudd's high-handed attitude toward them – Melbourne Age

Think, revive and thrive: a state vision – The Opposition Leader, Barry O'Farrell, has pledged to put economic growth at the centre of a Coalition government plan to get NSW moving again – Sydney Morning Herald

Workers crash Greens' launch – Forestry workers have crashed the Greens' official campaign launch.  Greens leader Nick McKim used yesterday's address to an adoring party faithful to detail new policies, including a gross feed-in tariff for renewable energy, which he said could save households up to $400 a year on their electricity bills – Hobart Mercury

Lib's campaign ad blunder – Liberal candidate Tony Mulder has embarrassingly been told by Tasmania Police to withdraw advertisements. The ads focus heavily on his past career as a police commander – Hobart Mercury


Melbourne's trains: from bad to worse – Premier John Brumby has hit out at Melbourne's new suburban train operator, Metro, saying it must lift its game after one of the worst months in years for late-running services – Melbourne Age

Private bus companies slammed for poor service – Private bus companies with exclusive contracts to run services in Sydney's suburbs may face penalties for poor performance after the NSW Auditor-General slammed the inadequate and irregular services for passengers – Sydney Morning Herald

Aboriginal affairs

Call to shift Brighton bypass – The Tasmanian Aboriginal community appears set to bring a complete halt to the Brighton bypass project. The discovery that artefacts discovered along the proposed route of the road are twice as old as previously thought has spurred Tasmanian historians to say the find will require a re-evaluation of how and when Australia was settled – Hobart Mercury

Road safety

P-platers face ban on driving powerful cars - P-platers would be banned from driving powerful cars under a State Government proposal which road safety experts have been commissioned to investigate – The West Australian


Millions blown on dud arms – More than $1.2 billion worth of munitions are in an ''other than serviceable'' state, and the Defence Department is wasting tens of millions of dollars on payments to a French arms company, the national auditor says – Sydney Morning Herald

Local government

Councils wallow in debt as forced amalgamations force rates hikes – Rates are soaring as Queensland councils struggle with rising debts two years after controversial amalgamations were pushed through by the State Government. Merged councils have been forced to hike rates by up to 20 per cent because promised savings and cost efficiencies from forced amalgamations have failed to eventuate – Brisbane Courier Mail


Women's housing project 'lunacy' – A long-standing row in Sunshine is threatening to boil over again after a controversial social housing development was approved by the Planning Minister in December – Melbourne Age

Madden censured second time – Planning Minister Justin Madden yesterday became the first minister in a century to be censured twice by Parliament, after a no-confidence motion against him was carried, 19 votes to 18 – Melbourne Age

NT planning supremo throws in the towel – A senior public servant dogged by controversy is to quit after less than three years in the job – Northern Territory News

Auditor-General scathing of Perth Arena project - Political pressure led to a rushed process to build the Perth Arena that has so far cost taxpayers up to $140 million in avoidable costs, according to key bureaucrats at the centre of the project and Auditor-General Colin Murphy – The West Australian


Senate obstruction on baby leave? Hype and poppycock – concludes Misha Schubert in the Melbourne Age. In truth, the Senate not only wants a scheme - it wants a better one than Labor is offering.

Turning our backs on an Aussie in trouble – Piers Akerman in the Sydney Daily Telegraph Australian businessman Peter Gray has now been effectively held without trial in Mauritius for nearly five years. Incredibly, the most substantial effort the Australian Government has performed on his behalf has been to withdraw his passport.

Whoever wins, Labor loses as Brumby, Rudd swap swipes – Paul Austin in the Melbourne Age writes that health is Labor's home ground, and the Rudd and Brumby governments are both facing elections this year, so their decision to go to war over the future of Australia's hospitals is not just bizarre, it's dangerous.

Feel-good show lacked depth – This has been a very good visit by Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Australia is lucky to have such a good friend in Jakarta writes Greg Sheridan in The Australian

King Kong health plan threatens the PM – Health and hospitals policy is Kevin Rudd's King Kong and it could cause him as much damage as Kong did to the Empire State Building. This is a half-pregnant set of proposals, so expect ongoing changes in the health system's structure and funding – Arthur Sinodinos in The Australian

Only a carbon tax and nuclear power can save usAustralia will suffer if fossil fuel use continues unabated. Climate extremes will increase. Poleward expansion of the subtropics will make Australia often hotter and drier, with stronger droughts and hotter fires, as the jet stream retreats southward – James Hansen in The Australian

Doctor in the house, but Abbott still has both eyes on the jugular – Damien Murphy in the Sydney Morning Herald looks at the day in Canberra.


Debate on Telstra split to proceed – An attempt by the Opposition to halt Senate discussions on legislation designed to cleave Telstra in two has failed after a motion to suspend debate was voted down in the Senate today – The Australian


Climate balance urged at ABC – The chairman of the ABC, Maurice Newman, has told about 250 leading journalists, program-makers and managers at the ABC that the media had displayed "group-think" on the issue of climate change in a speech that led to a feisty exchange with senior journalists and forced managing director Mark Scott to try to smooth the waters – The Australian

ABC chairman warms to the climate sceptics – The chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Maurice Newman, has waded into the global warming debate again, telling some of his most senior staff that they had succumbed to ''groupthink'' in their reporting of climate change – Melbourne Age

Video game violence stand-off – Family and Christian groups have drawn on evidence they claim shows links between violent video games and increased violence among players as part of a broader debate over whether the games should be legally sold in AustraliaMelbourne Age

Burglars, pedophiles could exploit Facebook GPS location move – Facebook  is set to publish the exact GPS location of users in a move experts say will be exploited by burglars and pedophiles. The social networking giant will reportedly announce the feature next month at its yearly developer conference "F8" – Brisbane Courier Mail

Underbelly back in court – A pre-emptive legal strike against the producers of TV's latest Underbelly series returned to court yesterday, as a judge prepared to make a ruling – Melbourne Herald Sun


Real estate

Investors fear housing bubble will pop - For the investors in the nation's banks - particularly the Commonwealth Bank and Westpac, which are the most exposed to the housing market - the prospect of a correction in prices is nerve-racking. Home owners no doubt welcome rising property values, but overheated markets bring about other dangers. The biggest is that asset bubbles face a real risk of popping, as seen in the US and British housing markets, which can also lead to pain for overextended owners – Sydney Morning Herald

House-price surge warning – The Reserve Bank has warned of even higher house prices as figures show that interest rate rises and the end of the first home owners boost appear to have slowed lending in Victoria to its lowest in five years – Melbourne Age


Bullied teenager gets $290,000 in settlement – The state government has been forced to pay almost $300,000 in compensation to a teenage girl who endured months of bullying at a country high school, culminating in one of her classmates threatening to bring a gun to school to shoot her – Melbourne Age

School principal investigated over claims that he 'bullied teachers' – A primary school principal in Brisbane's southeast is under investigation for bullying, after Education Queensland appointed him despite him being shifted from two other schools following similar complaints – Brisbane Courier Mail


Berwick Lodge primary school bans knives in classes like woodwork – A school has banned the use of knives in classes like woodwork as new figures reveal that two knife-related incidents a week are being reported in the government school system. Berwick Lodge primary school has taken the drastic action after an 11-year-old boy threatened students with a box cutter last week – Melbourne Herald Sun

Law and order

Prisoners installed Foxtel during rehab scheme – Convicted criminals still serving jail terms have installed pay television in people's homes, attended horse racing meetings and visited Crown Casino under a Victorian government prisoner rehabilitation scheme – Melbourne Age
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