Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Media wrap



Opinion polls

Kevin Rudd hits new low with voters: Newspoll – Kevin Rudd's personal approval is at its worst since he became opposition leader in December 2006, and the Coalition is in its best position on primary votes since John Howard was prime minister and Kim Beazley was Labor leader – The Australian


Jim Bacon's widow turns on David Bartlett – Tasmanian Premier David Bartlett has conceded he could lose his seat in Saturday's election, as the widow of his former mentor, Jim Bacon, backed a rival candidate. The latest opinion poll, published by The Sunday Examiner, suggests Labor would drop from its current three seats in Denison to just one (Tasmania's lower house has five electorates, each returning five MPs). The poll says that one Labor MP will be Scott Bacon, a 32-year-old economist whose father, the late Jim Bacon, was premier from 1998 to 2004 – The Australian

Labor campaign gets dirty – The State Government has resorted to a massive scare campaign in the last four days before the election. The party's latest advertising pamphlet alleges the Tasmanian Greens plan to legalise heroin. The Labor Party yesterday dispatched 40,000 of its "Extreme Greens" colour flyers across Tasmania, to be delivered by Labor volunteers into letterboxes – Hobart Mercury

Bartlett blitz rolls on – It was an upbeat Premier David Bartlett who embarked on the last week of his election blitz yesterday. By 9.30am he had already knocked off four events on his hectic schedule of 50 in five days – Hobart Mercury

Single joke and no deals – Liberal leader Will Hodgman remained happy to have a dig at his own kind yesterday. "What do you call 100 lawyers and/or politicians at the bottom of the ocean?" the former lawyer asked. "A good start." – Hobart Mercury

Push for new forestry rules – An eminent group of professionals have called for reform to the way the the forest industry is governed. The group includes more than 20 of the University of Tasmania's most senior professors and lecturers, a retired judge and Hobart's leading environmental lawyer – Hobart Mercury

Rift fears as scuffle mars Liberal leader's day – Former deputy leader Vickie Chapman has exposed the fragile nature of Liberal Party unity in South Australia by refusing to rule out a challenge to Isobel Redmond during the next term of government. Ms Chapman, a central figure in destabilising former leader Martin Hamilton-Smith, twice yesterday refused to give Ms Redmond complete support. Her position changed last night when she said Ms Redmond had her full support – The Australian

South Australian Liberal divisions are ammunition for Labor – Greg Kelton in the Adelaide Advertiser says Mike Rann and Labor have been trying to make the issue of internal divisions in the Liberal Party an election issue since the day he formally launched the campaign. Vickie Champan’s non-denial denials have just given Mike Rann and his attack dogs Kevin Foley and Patrick Conlon all the ammunition they need to bring up the big guns marked "divided Liberals".

Michelle Chantelois `grows' with honesty - In an interview streamed live on the AdelaideNow website, the former Parliament House waitress said she publicly aired the allegations because she did not want to see her husband Rick Phillips jailed for attacking the Premier, and had no regrets – The Australian

Health and hospitals

$630m prescription to end doctor crisis – Kevin Rudd will attempt to relieve doctor shortages outside cities by tying hundreds of new medical training positions to regional hospitals under a $632 million medical workforce plan – The Australian

NSW Premier Keneally sceptical of Rudd health plan - NSW Premier Kristina Keneally remains openly sceptical of Kevin Rudd's health reform blueprint, even as other leaders promise to negotiate constructively with the Prime Minister ahead of next month's COAG meeting – The Australian

Rudd hones razor to fund new doctors – Kevin has raised the stakes in the health wars by promising ''tough decisions'' in the budget in May to fund more than 6000 extra doctors and specialists at a cost of $632 million – Sydney Morning Herald

Fund raising

Liberal MP Michael Johnson defends 'unorthodox' fundraising practices – Federal Liberal MP Michael Johnson has admitted seeking and receiving commissions for introducing foreign and Australian business leaders. The embattled three-term politician last night defended the practice as "unorthodox, but legal", as his Queensland party bosses demanded he hand over more of his fundraising records before they decide whether to endorse him to contest the seat of Ryan – The Australian


Tony Abbott backs ALP welfare management bill – In a policy reversal by the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, the shadow cabinet decided yesterday to support the Rudd government's embrace of the principle of income management on a national basis. This means that Labor's changes to the Howard government's Northern Territory intervention that were facing certain defeat are now likely to be passed – The Australian

Foreign affairs

President is poised and Parliament on standby – The federal government has no idea when the US President, Barack Obama, will arrive, or whether a recall of parliament costing hundreds of thousands of dollars to hear him speak is yet a certainty – Sydney Morning Herald

Nations ponder terms for Pacific free trade – Six years after Australia entered its controversial free trade agreement with the United States, the Trade Minister, Simon Crean, said ''everything is on the table'' for a new agreement featuring the world's largest economy. Under President Barack Obama, the US has been pressing for increased trade liberalisation in Asia and yesterday negotiations started on a new regional agreement to include Australia, the US, New Zealand, Singapore, Chile, Brunei, Peru and VietnamSydney Morning Herald


Libs back Greens call for inquiry into 'big Australia' – Concern about rapid population growth is likely to become a potential election issue after the opposition indicated it would support a Greens proposal for an inquiry into the prospect of a bigger Australia – Sydney Morning Herald


US housing expert has some home truths – An adviser to the Obama administration has warned the Keneally government to exercise extreme caution before using proposed powers that would allow it to acquire private land and turn it over to property developers – Sydney Morning Herald

Lord mayor dilutes Barangaroo motion – The position of the lord mayor, Clover Moore, on the board of the Barangaroo Development Authority was under the spotlight at a council meeting last night after she succeeded in watering down a statement of protest by the council to the design for the site – Sydney Morning Herald

High-rise push to halt urban sprawl – Skyscrapers have been declared the answer to Melbourne's urban sprawl by two leading developers, with both revealing plans for more towers as the city struggles to cope with a surging population – Melbourne Age

The outer limits - As Premier John Brumby puts it, the challenge is to ensure Melbourne remains one of the most liveable cities in the world. Planning experts and politicians agree: it will be impossible to double the physical size of Melbourne to match - Melbourne is already the eighth largest city in the the world in geographical size – Melbourne Age

Rush for ex-army camp blocks – Demand for land in Brighton is driving a stampede for lots in the district's biggest housing development in 30 years – Hobart Mercury

Aboriginal affairs

Libs welcome furore over traditional land – Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's assertion that Aboriginal welcomes to country are tokenistic has fractured Parliament and angered indigenous people – Melbourne Age


Flood of boat people on way to Australia – Several hundred boat people are expected to arrive within days aboard two illegal vessels, triggering a mass transfer of refugees from Christmas Island to the mainland.  The likely influx will trigger a huge taxpayer-financed operation and be seized upon by the Opposition as Kevin Rudd's "Tampa" – Melbourne Herald Sun

Immigration minister to decide sheik's fate – Immigration Minister Chris Evans is considering whether to allow Iranian sheik Mansour Leghaei to stay in Australia, after receiving a formal plea to intervene in the cleric's case – The Australian


Up close and personal for PM - Rudd still has a personal problem with the voters and, at first blush, his taking the blame for mistakes and unveiling a new public hospital plan hasn't solved it writes Dennis Shanahan in The Australian

So much baggage just may not fly – Tony Abbott is carrying to the coming poll more weight than the allocated baggage allowance, as the electorate tunes in to his rollicking back story writes Tom Dusevic in The Australian

One move at a time, the strategy unfolds – Kevin Rudd: control freak or master tactician? As the Prime Minister unfolds his political strategy for health reform, what seemed strange 10 days ago is starting to look like a careful plan designed to box in the premiers – Matthew Franklin in The Australian

China won't boom forever – Michael Stutchbury gets on his soap box in The Australian to write that the big risk now is that, having escaped the global crisis, the Lucky Country thinks it's bulletproof and the rebound in our iron ore and coal export prices means there is no penalty for bad policy.

Wait 15 years before judging doctor success - Australia's medical workforce is about to enjoy the mother of all booms, and medical organisations were all smiles about it yesterday - at least publicly writes Adam Cresswell in The Australian. But it will be worth coming back in 15 years to see if it has all turned a bit ugly.

For PMs past and present, it's all in the delivery – Samantha Maiden in The Australian notes how in the midst of the painful shtick that passes for Kevin Rudd's people skills on the campaign trail, there's a moment when the Prime Minister says something genuine. Yesterday was one of those days, as he toured Queanbeyan Hospital near Canberra and made a beeline for the maternity ward, admitting to a first-time dad that he "never felt more useless" than at the births of his three children.

Dawkins preaches to the deluded against the divine – Melanie Phillips in The Australian says for someone who has made a career out of telling everyone how much more tolerant the world would be if only religion were obliterated from the human psyche, Dawkins manages to appear remarkably intolerant towards anyone who disagrees with him.

Memo to Tony and Kevin: no sex please, we're voters – Nikki Savva in The Australian says the question is whether Rudd is either too repressed or Abbott is too
out there.

Your ABC's growth strategy: take more of your money – Gerard Henderson in the Sydney Morning Herald writes that the ABC seems to have an abundance of funds. It has been able to fund its planned 24-hour news channel out of its existing budget along with several new digital radio stations.

The moral quandary of sterilising a child – George Williams in the Sydney Morning Herald explains how a recent Family Court decision permitting the sterilisation of an 11-year-old girl with a severe disability presents a legal and moral quandary.

Fielding goes to ground after being likened to a worm – Damien Murphy explains in the Sydney Morning Herald how Senator Steve Fielding went underground for the day.

Consumers must stop accepting second best – says Nick Stace, chief executive of Choice, in the Sydney Morning Herald

Dazzled by housing's magic rise – Tim Colebatch in the Melbourne Age argues that rising prices may be good for those of us who own homes - but far less than we assume. And they are not good for ''us'' as a society.

Broadband network will be $43bn white elephant – Malcolm Colless in The Australian says the present federal budget describes the Rudd government's $43 billion national broadband network as the single largest building infrastructure project in Australian history. He believes it could end up as one of Australia's biggest and costliest infrastructure debacles.



Abbott carbon plan 'unworkable' – Tony Abbott’s ''direct action'' climate strategy would reduce emissions by only half as much as the Coalition claims because it made over-optimistic assumptions about the amount of carbon that could be stored in soil, a study suggests – Sydney Morning Herald

ClimateWorks report to reignite debate over policy – Improving energy efficiency in buildings and appliances and growing trees on farms could help Australia cheaply cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, but a carbon price would be needed to meet a 25 per cent cut by the end of the decade. New research to be released today by the non-profit ClimateWorks estimates the cost of cutting Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by 25 per cent on 2000 levels by the end of the decade could be as little as $185 a household, or $1.8 billion – The Australian

Heat is on right across the continent – Every state and territory in Australia has warmed over the past 50 years, according to a new assessment of the state of the nation's temperature, rainfall, oceans and atmosphere. Based on observational data obtained by the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO, the State of The Climate report, released yesterday, is a snapshot of current conditions and projections – The Australian

Safety measures approved in 30 minutes – The Northern Territory government took just 30 minutes to approve changes to crucial safety measures at an offshore well just months before it leaked thousands of barrels of oil into the Timor Sea, an investigation has heard – Sydney Morning Herald

Galloping brumby numbers set poser for parks – The wild horse population in high country national parks has skyrocketed by 224 per cent in six years to nearly 7700, believed to be the highest number on record – Melbourne Age

Guns cocked as brumbies run wild – They were immortalised as a symbol of Australia's high country in The Man From Snowy River, but there are now so many brumbies that environmentalists are demanding another aerial cull – Melbourne Herald Sun



Support grows for raising compulsory superannuation to 12pc – Almost two-thirds of Australians support an increase in compulsory superannuation contributions to 12 per cent, even though only one-third reckon super funds are doing a good job with their existing 9 per cent contributions – The Australian

Law and order

Barrister, solicitor acted corruptly: ICAC – The corruption watchdog has recommended a Sydney barrister, a Wagga Wagga solicitor and three of their clients be referred to criminal prosecutors as a result of an investigation into local court corruption – Sydney Morning Herald

Horse racing

Party time for some as carnival launched - Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Michael Rodd started a diet in Rockhampton as NSW Premier Kristina Keneally encouraged Sydney to party for the next six weeks – Sydney Morning Herald
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