Friday, 30 April 2010

Media wrap - The tax spin begins



Treasurer's tax system overhaul may benefit businesses - Australia's biggest companies will receive a tax break while the paperwork burden for small business will be slashed in a historic overhaul of the tax system - Adelaide Advertiser

Miners' fury at double tax burden - Mining companies have warned that their profits are facing a multi-billion-dollar hit from the introduction of a resource rent tax, as West Australian Premier Colin Barnett accused the industry of naivety if it assumed he would ease the tax burden by abolishing state-based royalties - The Australian
Economic matters

Victoria's budget will confirm slow recovery from crisis - The first state budget to be delivered this year will confirm a slow recovery from the global financial crisis, with Victoria losing $3.8 billion in expected revenue between 2008 and 2012 - The Australian


Tony Abbott sets population target of 29 million people - Tony Abbott has fired a new shot in the population debate, declaring the nation should aim for a long-term target of 29 million people - Melbourne Herald Sun

Abbott cracks down on population growth - Tony Abbott has vowed to keep population growth in Australia to below 30 million by 2050 and will more than halve the current immigration rate to achieve it - Sydney Daily Telegraph

Nick Xenophon claims importing Chinese food compromises Australia's security - Independent senator Nick Xenophon has launched an extraordinary attack on Chinese food imports and claims Australia's national security is compromised by its dependency on the Asian superpower - Adelaide Advertiser

Industrial relations

South Australian teachers told to lift test bans or risk sanctions - The South Australian Industrial Relations Commission has warned teachers to lift the ban on national literacy and numeracy testing or risk a formal sanction - Adelaide Advertiser

Political lurks and perks

MPs travel on world's tax dollars - Globetrotting MPs have turned to other nations' governments and community groups to fund their travels. In the past year, 12 state MPs and even two ministers went to Europe, Asia and the Middle East courtesy of governments from Greece to China. Community groups also chipped in to fund the travel, the latest disclosures by parliamentarians have revealed - Sydney Daily Telegraph

Electoral reform

Rudd shelves another promise and stalls on electoral reforms - Kevin Rudd appears to have shelved action on another policy promise -- reform of the electoral system, including possible caps on political donations and election spending by political parties - The Australian

Public service

Superannuation lost in Health payroll fiasco - Underpaid Queensland Health staff have also been robbed of their superannuation. Some staff have not had their superannuation paid since the bungled payroll system was launched almost seven weeks ago - Brisbane Courier Mail


Poor political skills doomed Rudd's climate policy -  writes Dennis Shanahan in The Australian

Plain packaging ploy likely to go up in smoke - Turning public debate from the failed emissions trading scheme to universally despised tobacco emissions is a media masterstroke from Kevin Rudd, but the cost could leave a singe in taxpayers' pockets - The Australian

Tiny environmental assessment laws need beefing up, says EPA - The Northern Territory's environmental assessment laws are a tiny document just five pages long, a public forum has heard - Northern Territory News


The drink

South Australia introduces new liquor licensing laws - New liquor licencing laws making it easier for venue operators to refuse alcohol to patrons who are drunk come into affect on Monday - Adelaide Advertiser

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Media wrap - Cigarettes: First the packaging then the taxing


The fags

Cigarettes to come in plain pack - Cigarette packs will be stripped of company logos, colours and brand imagery from January 2012 in a bid to slash the nation's smoking rate to 10 per cent - Sydney Daily Telegraph

Plainly, cigarette packets get the stub - Cigarettes will be sold in plain packages from January 2012 as Kevin Rudd introduces the world's most draconian anti-smoking laws, in a move likely to spark a legal challenge from multinational tobacco companies - The Australian

Health and hospitals

Former ally David Penington savages Kevin Rudd's 'status quo' health reforms - David Penington, a senior fellow at Melbourne's Grattan Institute who initially backed the deal Kevin Rudd struck with the states, said yesterday he was "appalled at the lack of any agreement on governance that differs from the status quo", and had little faith any real change would be forthcoming from the reforms - The Australian

Economic matters

Your bills soar as Prime Minister Kevin Rudd fails to keep costs down - The soaring cost of petrol, child care, housing, electricity and health is proof Kevin Rudd is failing to deliver on his election pledge to tackle the cost of living for working families - Melbourne Herald Sun

Rising inflation keeps heat on interest rates despite European unrest - Economists said a stronger-than-expected March quarter inflation report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics made a third successive rate hike for the year increasingly likely - Melbourne Herald Sun

Treasurer spins on to jobs focus - Wayne Swan has appealed to voters to look beyond Labor's broken promises and policy backflips and deliver it a second term in office on the basis of its protection of jobs during the global recession - The Australian


The Greens won't beat us on ETS, Labor insists - Labor Party figures do not believe Kevin Rudd's shelving of the emissions trading scheme will drive Labor voters to the Greens and cost the government seats. In fact, Labor strategists are preparing to target the Greens for failing to help Labor get its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme through the Senate - The Australian

League star to tackle Libs - The rugby league star David Boyle will today be made Labor's candidate for the southern NSW federal electorate of Gilmore - Sydney Morning Herald
Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union pulls Labor bankroll - Federal Labor could lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in union donations, with construction unionists threatening not to financially support the ALP at this year's election in protest at Kevin Rudd's retention of the coercive powers of the building industry watchdog - The Australian

Emissions trading

Power station plans put on hold by ETS freeze - Up to $2 billion of investment in new power stations will be put on hold as a result of Kevin Rudd's decision to delay his emissions trading scheme, as major power generators are unable to close financing of projects because of uncertainty about climate policies - The Australian

Rudd's ETS flip-flop sparks climate chaos - The Rudd government has conceded its emissions trading scheme could be delayed beyond the 2013 election, and that the politically inspired decision to leave the country in policy limbo for at least three years will make it much more expensive for Australia to meet greenhouse gas reduction targets - Sydney Morning Herald


Rudd retreats on web filter legislation - Kevin Rudd has put another election promise on the backburner with his controversial internet filtering legislation set to be shelved until after the next election - The Australian

Public service

Office of Hot Air costs you $90m - Taxpayers will fork out $90 million a year to keep more than 400 public servants employed within the federal Climate Change Department - despite most now having nothing to do until 2013 - Melbourne Herald Sun

Political life

Anna Bligh goes first-class in trip to North America - Queensland may have lost its treasured credit rating and is selling off prized assets but it's first-class luxury for Premier Anna Bligh - Brisbane Courier Mail


Aspiring Australian political party wants two child per family limit - Australian governments should encourage a two-child limit for families and slash immigration to halt population growth, a new aspiring political party says. The Stop Population Growth Now party formed this week to put pressure on state and federal governments to slow population growth to zero in a bid to protect the environment - Adelaide Advertiser


The incredible shrinking man - The electorate may well be grateful common sense has prevailed but, in abandoning his policies, Mr Rudd has reduced his political stature - Editorial in the Melbourne Herald Sun

Brumby must end violence - There's an obvious question to ask the Premier as he spins, sells and smiles, but it's one he dodges. It is simply this: what took you so long? For years there have been tearful public demands that law and order be taken more seriously and clear warnings that people did not feel safe. So, Premier, why didn't you act? - Neil Mitchell in the Melbourne Herald Sun

Prices not right, Mr Rudd - Rudd isn't there when bad news is announced. But you know something? He popped up at a Sydney hospital yesterday to announce 18 new beds - the first of 1300 promised to the states. Does that mean Labor wants an election on health - the top concern for working families? You betcha - Phillip Hudson in the Melbourne Herald Sun

Rudd promised the world but has delivered nothing - writes Piers Akerman in the Sydney Daily Telegraph

Government without a cause, attacking its friends - Gary Johns, writing in The Australian, sees a government without purpose roams the stage with nothing to show and looks to pick a fight or blame others, in this case state governments for allegedly choking the hospitals.

A damaging and inglorious end  - Kevin Rudd's colleagues are holding him, not Tony Abbott, responsible for the government's failure on climate change and the damaging depiction of him as a gutless and cowardly leader devoid of conviction - Dennis Shanahan in The Australian

Big house hosts killer game of pass the buck - Samantha Maiden suggests in The Australian that perhaps the ETS is emerging as Australia's political serial killer: first Brendan Nelson, then Malcolm Turnbull, and now Kevin Rudd's credibility

Greatest moral challenge turns out to be Rudd's dearest folly - says Miranda Devine in the Sydney Morning Herald



South Australian officials 'hiding' flu vaccination statistics - Authorities refuse to reveal how many South Australian children have had adverse reactions to the seasonal flu vaccination, which is suspected to have caused high fevers and convulsions in up to 300 children nationally - Adelaide Advertiser

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Media wrap -More power for the spies


Emissions trading

Rudd in ETS backflip - Kevin Rudd has dramatically shifted his position on climate change, declaring Australia will decide the future of its proposed emissions trading scheme when it sees what other countries do. In another big backdown, the government has put the scheme off until 2013 at the earliest - saying it remains committed to it but leaving its timing and detail vague - Melbourne Age

MPs fear Kevin Rudd losing control - Concerns are growing within the federal government that Kevin Rudd is losing control of the political agenda after a series of policy reversals capped off by the dumping of Labor's key climate change policy. The Prime Minister's decision to delay the ETS will save billions in the May 11 federal budget, while the NSW government immediately said consumers would no longer face the massive electricity price rises - up to 46 per cent - that had been predicted - The Australian

A tale of two senates: bad for the planet - Lenore Taylor in the Sydney Morning Herald explains how the Rudd government is rushing new energy efficiency policies to try to prove it can meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets despite delaying the start of any emissions trading scheme for at least three years.

Kevin Rudd delays Emissions Trading Scheme, costing us millions - The Rudd Government's aborted emissions trading scheme has cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars without cooling the planet in the slightest - Melbourne Herald Sun

Health and hospitals

A tale of two senates: good for Rudd’s health strategy - Phillip Coorey in the Sydney Morning Herald says that for the third time, the government will attempt to have the Senate pass legislation to means test the 30 per cent private health insurance rebate despite giving up on the emissions trading scheme because of similar Senate obstinacy.


Secret plan to boost spying - Defence intelligence officers would get increased powers to tap phones within Australia, and ASIO officers would be allowed to carry weapons, under controversial proposals contained in a secret review of the nation's intelligence services. The review also proposes that officers of Australia's overseas spy agency, ASIS, be given increased powers to carry weapons, and to engage in ''paramilitary'' activities abroad, intelligence sources have told The Melbourne Age.

Political life

Buswell faces probe into affair - Troy Buswell, dumped as treasurer for spending taxpayers' money on his affair with Greens MP Adele Carles, may face legal action over the misuse of ministerial cars and his government credit card - The West Australian

Carles defends Buswell's hotel claim - Adele Carles says former treasurer Troy Buswell did nothing wrong in claiming for an Albany hotel room they shared during their affair, for which they and their families were paying "a heavy price" - The West Australian

Libs back Buswell for poll return - Senior WA Liberals yesterday backed former treasurer Troy Buswell to retain preselection for his seat of Vasse amid speculation the party would completely remove the stain of the fallen MP at the next election - The West Australian

Anna Bligh leaves government woes behind to jet off to North America - Brisbane Courier Mail


Labor backed Windsor sham - A scheme to pervert the planning process for the Windsor Hotel redevelopment was not the work of a rogue media adviser - as claimed by the Brumby government - but part of a high-level Labor strategy - Melbourne Age


People smuggling proposals blasted - A modern-day Oskar Schindler would be jailed for up 10 years under the Rudd government's proposed crackdown on people smuggling, lawyers say. In largely unscrutinised changes, backed by the opposition, the government is introducing new criminal charges for supporting people smugglers, even unwittingly - Melbourne Age

Economic matters

Tax take at a long-time low - Total tax revenue of federal, state and local governments fell for the first time since the last recession, slumping from $348.3 billion to $338.9 billion. Most of the fall was in company tax and stamp duties on property sales. But for most taxpayers, the biggest saving was in income tax - Melbourne Age

Abbott's razor plan to pay off our debts - A Tony Abbott government would slash spending by $10 billion in its first term to help pay off the mounting national debt racked up by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. And the first program to go will be the $43 billion National Broadband Network - Sydney Daily Telegraph

Freedom of information

Veil over public servants' advice - Senior public servants are being allowed to keep their opinions secret, arguing that the advice and opinions of department heads and ministers should not be made public when there are conflicting ideas. A State Government policy issued to FoI officers attempts to argue it is not in the public interest for the public to know what the public servants think - Adelaide Advertiser


Rudd's dangerous climate retreat - Paul Kelly in The Australian writes that as retreats go, they come no bigger than Kevin Rudd's delaying of his once cherished emissions trading scheme - one of the most spectacular backdowns by a prime minister in decades.

Too much, too fast leads to chaos - says Dennis Shanahan in The Australian. Rudd government appears to be spiralling into political and policy chaos, as Kevin Rudd carries out a slash-and-burn campaign ahead of the budget. While the Prime Minister believes he's working to a plan to "clear the decks" for the day after the budget so he can sail clearly into an election campaign, others fear too much is being crammed into too short a time and the government appears out of control.

Rudd lost in policy maze - Shaun Carney in the Melbourne Age writesw that Rudd recently told his backbenchers he would do everything humanly possible to help them hold on to their seats or die trying. Looking at the scrap heap of policies and decisions that grows ever bigger as Rudd prepares for the election, we can see that he meant it. Whatever he needs to do, he'll do it, apparently without shame or regret.

Mining boom riches nullified by Labor's spending bender - Bigger than the gold rush, writes Peter Costello in the Melbourne Age, but taxpayers have little to show for it.

Time for a royal commission to clean up rugby league - If either the federal or a state government was concerned enough about the effect of such cheating on the fate of one of Australia's most popular and lucrative sports, it could establish an inquiry into breaches of the cap and the wisdom of having one in the first place - Tim Dick in the Sydney Morning Herald

The greatest challenge of our time now in the freezer - The ETS, in short, has fallen off the Rudd-Swan agenda for the remainder of this term of parliament, and who knows when it might be revived? writes Tony Wright in the Melbourne Age



NRL head 'refused' salary cap meeting - National Rugby League chief executive David Gallop refused an offer from former Melbourne Storm boss Brian Waldron last month to discuss possible salary breaches at the club. Waldron approached rugby league's top administrator after hearing that Gallop had told senior league figures that Waldron was in ''serious trouble'' over questionable salary cap deals at the Storm - Melbourne Age

Melbourne team not the only cheats, say chiefs - Sydney Morning Herald


Toddlers in hospital after flu injection - Health officials have confirmed for the first time that children in Victoria were treated at hospitals after having convulsions following their seasonal flu jabs this year - Melbourne Age

Flu vaccine toll may be higher - Concerns have been raised that many more WA children may have suffered bad reactions to the flu vaccine but have not been included in official figures because they were not taken to hospital - The West Australian

GP blamed by Health Minister for failing to warn parents about flu vaccine - Queensland Health has blamed a suburban GP for its own failure to warn parents that the seasonal flu vaccine was potentially dangerous - Brisbane Courier Mail
Real estate

Housing shortfall doubles in year - Australia's housing shortage is worsening with the gap between supply and demand almost doubling in 12 months and expected to widen - Melbourne Age

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Media wrap - Victorian Labor tries a primary for a pre-selection


Economic matters

Rates tipped to top 8 per cent - Interest rates will be pushed above "normal" in the next year, a key forecaster has predicted, but the WA economy will accelerate and deliver more jobs and higher wages to a strongly growing population - The West Australian


Plunge in work-for-dole cases - The work-for-the-dole program has been slashed by half in the past five years, sparking accusations the Rudd government has gone soft on dole recipients by allowing them to avoid mutual obligation - The Australian

Political life

Buswell facing the axe - The axe was poised to fall on hapless Treasurer Troy Buswell last night after he admitted misusing public money during his affair with Fremantle Greens MP Adele Carles. The West Australian understands that an exasperated Premier Colin Barnett will sack Mr Buswell when the two men meet this morning, with Mr Barnett expected to take over the Treasury portfolio just three weeks before the State Budget is handed down - The West Australian

Affair dates show vote 'not swayed' - Adele Carles has revealed key dates of her affair with Treasurer Troy Buswell in an attempt to quash speculation that it affected the way she voted - The West Australian


Labor on the mat in NSW and Victoria - Labor is in trouble in the two most populous states, with the latest Newspoll showing the Coalition has overtaken Labor's primary vote in Victoria for the first time in two years, while Kristina Keneally's popularity in NSW has failed to deliver her government any bounce - The Australian

US-style voting trial 'a shot in the arm' - More than 170 people turned out to vote in Labor's first foray into US-style primaries in a result that ALP state secretary Nick Reece says is ''a shot in the arm'' for the party. Labor supporters voted to choose the candidate in the outer-east seat of Kilsyth for November's state election - Melbourne Age

Furious WA Premier Colin Barnett to axe straying Treasurer Troy Buswell - The Australian

Lurks and perks

Pressure intensifies on Rudd to axe generous retirement perks on ex-MPs - Special Minister of State Joe Ludwig is considering curbing or scrapping the Gold Pass as part of an overhaul of MPs' entitlements. But former and current MPs are trying to keep the perk that has seen taxpayers spend $10 million over the past decade for about 25,000 free flights - Melbourne Herald Sun


State paid to discredit transport criticism - A private consultant was paid thousands of dollars by Victoria's Department of Transport to devise a strategy to discredit one of the state's most vocal transport critics. Invoices obtained by the state opposition show that accountant Paul Zabakly charged the Government $5500 for his work helping Department of Transport bureaucrats discredit RMIT academic Paul Mees - Melbourne Age


Short, spectacular career in tatters - Troy Buswell's political career lies in tatters, alongside his marriage, writes Robert Taylor in The West Australian

Barnett will sacrifice more if he doesn't sack Buswell - argues Peter van Onselen in The Australian. In addition to the many examples of bawdy and immoral behaviour Buswell has engaged in, it has now been revealed he misused his ministerial entitlements when conducting an affair with Greens MP Adele Carles. If the WA Treasurer hasn't crossed the line that makes continuing in public life untenable, short of breaking the law, no one ever will.

Rudd shame on childcare - You might not care about child care. But we should all care that our Government can't even be bothered to lie convincingly to us any more - sdays Susie O'Brien in the Melbourne Herald Sun

Looking too close to home - Daniel Flitton writes in the Melbourne Age that the decision not to go to Washington for the nuclear disarmament talks leaves Rudd open to the charge his government excels at setting off policy firecrackers by way of a momentary distraction, and when people go hunting for the substance, not much is left to find.

Stick to your guns, Malcolm, the party doesn't need you - writes Gerard Henderson in the Sydney Morning Herald. Turnbull has had an impact on Australian politics – in both government and opposition. He made his own decision to resign and he would be well advised to stick by his initial judgment.

Bad Newspoll confirms O'Farrell is the issue - according to Malcolm Colless in The Australian. The problem for the NSW Opposition Leader is that there is no sharp edge to his campaign strategy.

Canberra tries to pluck mining states' golden goose - Michel Stutchbury in The Australian says the political economy of Kevin Rudd's hospitals deal, Ken Henry's tax review and the West Australian mining boom is conflating into a great Australian struggle over fiscal federalism.

Rudd revenge on ALP agenda - Kevin Rudd has made mistakes as Prime Minister but, in terms of his security of tenure, none has been greater than his failure at critical times to show solidarity with his Labor colleagues, writes Nikki Savva in The Australian

Fee shakedown a super win - The Rudd government has gone beyond recommendations contained in last year's landmark Ripoll review of the financial planning industry, with independent advisers set to be caught out by a crackdown on commission-based payments - Melbourne Age


Rudd urged to act on Japan - The Coalition and Greens are demanding the Rudd government take its long-threatened legal action over whaling against Japan, now that Tokyo has rejected a peace deal - Melbourne Age

Emissions put on back burner - The emissions trading scheme has been shelved indefinitely by the Rudd government with a long-awaited Senate vote on the scheme not expected until after the next election, senior government sources say - Melbourne Age



Reactions to flu shots baffle health experts - Why 55 toddlers in Western Australia had convulsions and a child in Brisbane died after having influenza jabs has so far baffled health authorities but they hope to have some answers by next week - Melbourne Age

Queensland health officials withheld flu death details - Queensland Health officials claimed they were unaware of any deaths related to the seasonal flu vaccine, despite launching an investigation two weeks ago into the death of a two-year-old who was immunised the day before - The Australian

What doctor didn't order - Doctors are failing to diagnose children with deadly diseases and are unnecessarily giving others powerful antibiotics, putting lives at risk, a study says - Sydney Morning Herald


Melbourne set to overtake as biggest metropolis - A 10-YEAR fall in the percentage of migrants settling in NSW and the lowest rate of economic growth of all mainland states has Melbourne on track to overtake Sydney as Australia's biggest city, a report predicts - Sydney Morning Herald


I'm ready to tell everything - The former Melbourne Storm chief executive Brian Waldron has hit back at News Limited and the NRL for their involvement in the club's salary cap rorts, rejecting their depiction of him as the sole architect of the scheme - Sydney Morning Herald

Ex Storm chief Brian Waldron calls for an inquiry - Disgraced former Storm boss Brian Waldron emerged from four days in hiding last night to repeat his claims from last week that salary cap rorting was rife in the NRL - Sydney Daily Telegraph
The punt

Bets are off over interest rates - The Reserve Bank will next meet to vote on interest rates a week from today, but don't expect to be able to make a wager on the outcome. Centrebet won't accept your money because ASIC has stopped it - Melbourne Age

Monday, 26 April 2010

Media wrap - the voters are grumpy and governments are on the nose


Economic matters

Swan resists IMF, Obama on bank tax - Wayne Swan has voiced the Rudd government's opposition to a proposed global tax on banks to pay for the costs of shutting down failed financial institutions - The Australian

No quick fixes in Henry tax review: Swan - The Henry review into the tax system was likely to help frame federal budgets over the course of a decade and would be offering no quick fix, according to the federal Treasurer, Wayne Swan - Sydney Morning Herald

Henry Review may make tax returns easier - The Henry Review into taxation might make it easier for people to file their tax returns, Treasurer Wayne Swan has hinted - Melbourne Age

Kevin Rudd's mean green sting - Pensioners who fix solar panels to their home and sell excess electricity back to the power company will have any credit or rebate counted as income and their pension payments cut - Melbourne Herald Sun

Pain in CPI surprise - Economists say while an interest rate rise next week is far from a done deal, the chances will increase if official Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, released on Wednesday, reveal underlying inflation rose 0.8 per cent or more in the March quarter. The market is expecting underlying inflation to post a 0.6 per cent quarterly gain, translating to 2.9 per cent through the year - Melbourne Herald Sun


Camera-shy rudd is exposed by Libs - Glenn Milne writes in The Australian that the Liberal machine has taken the irrevocable decision to make Kevin Rudd's character an issue. There will now be two lines of attack: competence and cowardice.

Blow to factions in Labor Canberra preselection - The preselection victory of economist Andrew Leigh and PR consultant Gai Brodtmann is being hailed as a blow to the factions. Barring a serious upset in Canberra, a Labor-loving city that has not elected a single Liberal in the House of Representatives in 15 years, the pair are odds-on to enter parliament - The Australian

Jobs not voters' main worry - Voters are grumpy as the Australian economy leads the world out of the global financial crisis, with concerns about bullying, street violence, the health system and rising cost-of-living pressures replacing previous fears about job security. Governments at all levels are on the nose as the public returns to the gripes it held in 2007 at the top of the last boom, according to the latest Mind and Mood survey conducted for the Ipsos Mackay Report - The Australian

Brumby's blueprint to battle for the bush - Premier John Brumby is set to unveil a multimillion-dollar plan that will give regional councils more power to cope with population growth and throw a lifeline to small rural towns, in an election-year bid to reassert Labor's credentials in the bush - Melbourne Age

CLP's NT housing plan 'to cost $1b' - The Country Liberals first home buyer policy is expected to cost the taxpayer more than $1 billion in the first term if it takes government - Northern Territory News


Dogs now welcome to join cafe society - The NSW Government has introduced amendments to laws governing food safety and companion animals so that dog owners and cafe proprietors do not risk fines or being named and shamed by the Food Authority - Sydney Morning Herald


Hawke, Fraser tapped for 2015 centenary - A commission to be headed by former prime ministers Bob Hawke and Malcolm Fraser will decide the most appropriate way to commemorate the Anzac Day centenary in 2015, Kevin Rudd said yesterday - The Australian

Political life

Sniffer's affair with Greens MP puts career as Treasurer in doubt - West Australian Treasurer Troy Buswell remained silent yesterday as his future hung in the balance after Greens MP Adele Carles admitted to having an affair with the infamous Liberal minister - The Australian

Strange bedfellows: Greens MP reveals affair with chair-sniffing Lib - Sydney Morning Herald

Buswell affair casts doubt on Greens - WA Treasurer Troy Buswell was in hiding last night and his former lover, Greens MP Adele Carles, was forced to defend her voting record as the fallout from their affair rocked State politics - The West Australian
Consumer affairs

Tough rules for finance advisers - Financial advisers are to be banned from taking commissions on products they sell, as the Rudd government moves to protect consumers in the wake of a series of high-profile corporate collapses - The Australian

Financial advisers' super slice to get axe - Financial planners will have to earn their keep openly from their customers as part of sweeping changes that will outlaw kickbacks and commissions and revolutionise superannuation from 2012 - Melbourne Age


A precious commodity called unity goes West - Phillip Coorey writes in the Sydney Morning Herald about the curious relationships between Liberals and Nationals.

Rudd fluffed a chance at real health reform - Integrating hospitals with primary care would be truly revolutionary acording to Ken Davidson in the Melbourne Age

Let's chase the truth - Alan Howe writes in the Melbourne Herald Sun that the reason he wants a corruption inquiry is because for years, as Opposition Leader, John Brumby kept insisting on one. It was a compelling argument, it convinced him and he supported the case.

For more control, stop thinking it's possible - Life is partly skill and partly luck. Chance plays a substantial and irreducible role in our fate. Thus the first step towards wisdom is to disabuse ourselves of the illusion of control, to accept that much of our fate is beyond our control. The second step is to assess our chances of success or failure in a realistic way - Ross Gittins in the Sydney Morning Herald


Eden feels the heat over wood-fired power plant - Eden, on the state's south coast, is set to be the first Australian town to be powered by a wood-fired electricity plant, despite concerns that burning trees could generate more greenhouse gas emissions than burning coal - Sydney Morning Herald


ABC radio bid to emulate the Beeb - The ABC is exploring the possibility of rebranding and altering its radio programming around the country, even making Triple J more commercial, to mimic the success of BBC pop cultural powerhouse Radio 1 - The Australian

Crikey's comment on Williams' murder indefensible - Mark Day in The Australian gives Crikey a serve for its coverage of a Melbourne Herald Sun story about Carl Williams.

Rudd's bid to bury interview `delusional' - Politicians have always tried to rewrite history. Now Kevin Rudd and his ministers are trying to stop it being recorded at all. On Wednesday morning the Prime Minister spoke about his health plans with Neil Mitchell on Melbourne's 3AW. No transcript appeared on the PM's website. None was even issued to the press gallery - The Australian


Real estate

Anzac Day weekend auctions best since 2007 - Auction numbers dipped during the Anzac Day weekend but attendance and bidding were still very strong, as the market heats up for May - Melbourne Age

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Media wrap - A chaperone for the doctor



Families lost out in Budget - Working families will not get further tax relief or family payment increases in this year's Budget because most are almost $4000 better off under Labor, the Rudd Government says - Melbourne Sunday Herald Sun

Alcohol industry at war over threat to our cheap wine - High-end winemakers are at loggerheads with bulk wine producers over how to respond to the release next week of the Henry tax review that will recommend Australia move to a volumetric tax on wine - Sydney Sun Herald


Private school fees set to jump under Gillard review - Education Minister Julia Gillard has pledged that private schools will not lose funding, in terms of dollars per student, when a new model is introduced in 2013. But principals fear funding could be effectively ''frozen'', with no new money to cover inflation and soaring education costs - Melbourne Sunday Age


Libs will take on Nats for Riverina seat - Long-serving Riverina MP Kay Hull will retire this year but her seat will be contested by both Coalition parties - Sydney Sun Herald

Turnbull may stay to fight - The Liberal push to convince the former leader to stay on in the seat of Wentworth has intensified in the past few days with internal polling from both sides of politics showing Mr Turnbull is the Liberals' best chance of retaining the marginal seat - Sydney Sunday Telegraph

Bazza unveils his dirty dozen - The Liberal Party has finalised its preselections in the dozen marginal seats it must win from the ALP to take power at next year's election - and has chosen candidates who are similar to the Labor incumbents - Sydney Sunday Telegraph

Public service

Lucas's blast to bureaucrats over Queensland Health payroll debacle broadcast to The Sunday Mail - In a conversation the public was never meant to hear, Deputy Premier Paul Lucas, the Health Minister, admits the Bligh Government "f----- it up" over the continuing saga of doctors, nurses and other Health Department staff not being paid for weeks.

Political life

Greens MP Adele Carles confesses to secret affair with Troy Buswell - Greens MP Adele Carles has confessed to a secret affair with Treasurer Troy Buswell. Ms Carles, 41, married with three children, chose to go public, telling The Sunday Times the intimate relationship, lasting several months, ended only recently.


ETS now a sitting target as bills pile up in Parliament - Michelle Grattan in the Sydney Sun Herald looks at a parliamentary timetable where there is so much to do before an election yet so little time

What's really behind Brumby's stoush with Rudd - Josh Gordon in the Melbourne Sunday Age says Victoria's key complaint is that the states are shouldering a large chunk of Australia's service delivery, with responsibility for schools, health care, infrastructure, police and emergency services, among other things. Yet the states have limited power to raise revenue, and since the 1970s have become increasingly dependent on the Commonwealth.

How PM was saved by a perfect Storm - Piers Akerman in the Sydney Sunday Telegraph writes that Hectares of space were devoted to the death of the pathological criminal and the salary cap scandal enabling Rudd to claim he had reformed the nation’s health system and dispose of a slew of his further failed policy initiatives and broken promises.


Sacking case turns spotlight on Murdoch sanctum - At 10.30am on Tuesday the Supreme Court begins hearing an unfair dismissal case, brought against News Ltd, a company headed by Rupert Murdoch. At issue is an alleged ''shit sandwich'' delivered with the sacking of a senior editor - Melbourne Sunday Age



Job woes hold teens in school - Tougher rules on youth support payments and high unemployment have led to the largest ever number of young people staying in school or training after year 10 - Melbourne Sunday Age

The sexes

Male doctors to get chaperones after sexual misconduct claims - Male doctors would be forced to use chaperones when they examined women, if proposed new rules were introduced. The policy was being considered by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, which said tougher rules were inevitable to stem the soaring number of sexual misconduct allegations and lawsuits - Brisbane Sunday Mail

Consumer affairs

Watchdog's bid to end fuel cycle - The Federal Government is considering new competition laws which would halt the weekly petrol price cycle, ending the traditional weekend price rise and discount days. A secret report by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission recommends banning oil companies from swapping prices using an information system called Informed Sources - Adelaide Sunday Mail

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Media wrap - Peter Garrett finds a defender in The Australian



Miners face billions in new taxes - Australian mining companies face a massive new tax of at least $5 billion a year as the federal government plans to stack a resources rent tax on top of the $7bn miners pay in state royalties - The Australian

Henry tax review released on May 2 - The government has finally bowed to pressure to release the long-awaited Henry Tax Review -- already dubbed by the opposition a Trojan horse hiding big tax shocks. The report -- and Canberra's response to its recommendations -- will emerge on Sunday, May 2, giving the government just over a week to clear the air before the budget on May 11 - The Australian

Tax review could spare tax returns - The Federal government will finally release the long-awaited Henry review of the taxation system tomorrow week, nine days before the federal budget. The centrepiece of the government's response will be reforms to spare ordinary Australians the hassle of filing annual tax returns - Melbourne Age

New curbs on foreign home buyers - Complaints about foreigners driving up Australian house prices have forced the Rudd government to reinstate a rule it scrapped in 2008 requiring temporary residents to sell their houses when they leave the country - The Australian

Health and hospitals

Anatomy of the Rudd health deal - Peter Hartcher retells the COAG story in detail - Sydney Morning Herald

Local government

Councils call to exclude ministerial staff - Ministerial staffers could be banned from becoming local councillors under proposed changes to legislation. The resolution was adopted by the state's 68 councils at yesterday's Local Government Association general meeting - Adelaide Advertiser

Foreign affairs

Coalition to boost Afghan role - A Coalition government would increase Australia's troop commitment in Afghanistan and take over allied military leadership in the Oruzgun province from the Dutch - The Australian

Abbott pledges more troops for Afghanistan, spy planes for north - Sydney Morning Herald

Tony Abbott pledges budget lift for defence - Melbourne Herald Sun

PM wants robust dialogue with China - Kevin Rudd has defended his government's right to be blunt with China, even if the bouts of plain-speaking cause controversy - Melbourne Age

Disorder not enough for asylum - Immigration Minister Chris Evans has indicated the Rudd government is poised to issue further rejections for Afghan and Sri Lankan asylum-seekers who arrived before the government's April 9 suspension of claims from the two countries. "I think the important point to make is that because a country is subject to civil disorder and great difficulty doesn't mean that everyone from that country is a refugee," he said yesterday during a visit to Christmas Island - The Australian


Something rotten in the state of Victoria? The Melbourne Age looks at the case for a Royal Comission or some other form of inquiry into the Victorian criminal justice system

Broken promises

Union broadside aimed at Combet - Australian Workers Union boss Paul Howes has slammed Greg Combet over the scrapping of the government's home insulation scheme, accusing him of reneging on private assurances and betraying his background as a former ACTU secretary - Melbourne Age


A cowardly way to lead - Laurie Oakes in the Melbourne Herald Sun says when his policies go belly-up, the Prime Minister leaves his colleagues to deal with the tough issues.

Bring out your dead - From the human rights act to pink batts, it was a week of burying bodies before they caused too much of a stink writes Katharine Murphy in the Melbourne Age

Back to practical tasks - This week Kevin Rudd put the stamp of practical reform on his government by affirming health and hospitals as his priority and dismissing the totemic symbolism of a human rights act for Australia - Paul Kelly in The Australian

Prepare for some bumps in the recovery ride - writes Michael Stutchbury in The Australian

Garrett the fall guy in Rudd's roofing fiasco -  claims Peter Van Onselen in The Australian. The Prime Minister and his Assisting Minister for Government Service Delivery, Mark Arbib are the two people who should be hauled over the coals for their (mis)handling of the botched home roof insulation scheme.


It's not over: Rudd vows to fight for emissions scheme - Climate change is still on the agenda, write Phillip Coorey and Peter Hartcher in the Sydney Morning Herald. Kevin Rudd says the great moral challenge posed by climate change is undiminished and he will keep trying to implement an emissions trading scheme if Labor is re-elected.



Flu jab fears grow as toddlers hospitalised - Clinical tests were never carried out on the latest seasonal flu vaccine - a first-time combination of seasonal flu with the feared swine flu H1N1 - that has left a baby girl fighting for her life in a Perth hospital and sparked fits, fevers and vomiting in up to 60 toddlers across the country - The Australian


Small classes a `costly mistake' - The head of the Productivity Commission has attacked the emphasis on reducing class sizes in schools as "the most costly mistake" in education policy in recent years, stealing scarce resources from investment in teaching - The Australian

Too-hot topics out of ethics - The NSW state government made a last-minute decision to remove a hypothetical scenario involving designer babies from secular ethics classes being trialled in public schools as an alternative to scripture classes - Sydney Morning Herald

Real estate

Who's driving up our house prices? - Melbourne real estate agents say a third of properties sold in the leafy eastern suburbs is to foreign nationals taking advantage of relaxed investment laws - Melbourne Age

Consumer affairs

Energy drink swoop - A national investigation into energy-charged booze promotion will be considered at a meeting of Australia's consumer affairs ministers next week - Melbourne Herald Sun

Friday, 23 April 2010

Media wrap - Now it's time for broken promises


Broken promises

Broken childcare, insulation promises humiliate PM - The Rudd government has broken a key election promise on childcare, and abandoned its commitment to revive its disastrous home insulation scheme, in a day of humiliating backdowns - Melbourne Age

Insulation, childcare pledges axed as poll looms - Sydney Morning Herald

Pork barrels

Audit finds roads scheme slush fund - The former Howard government's $400 million roads funding scheme could be seen as a political slush fund, according to a scathing audit report that shows projects in Coalition-held electorates had a much greater chance of being funded - Melbourne Age


Treasurer accused of misleading Parliament over Lotteries sale - NSW Treasurer, Eric Roozendaal, has been accused of misleading Parliament after he told the Legislative Council: ''No complaint has been made by any of the unsuccessful bidders about the Lotteries sale process'' - Sydney Morning Herald

Child care

Vacancies? Show me, says mother - Prue Warrilow, national convenor of Australian Community Children's Services, which represents not-for-profit childcare centres, said the data used to justify the decision was superficial - it did not specify the days or hours of availability, nor for what aged children - Melbourne Age

Political life

Wentworth is 'Hamlet with no prince' - The preselection process for the federal Sydney eastern suburbs seat of Wentworth is in effect on hold while Malcolm Turnbull considers requests to reverse his decision to retire at the election this year - Sydney Morning Herald

Economic matters

Australia 8th-richest: IMF - Australia has vaulted back into the top 10 of the developed world's rich list, the International Monetary Fund estimates, because it survived the global financial crisis while others went under - Melbourne Age

Health and hospitals

Rudd's prescription for Tassie - Prime Minister Kevin Rudd spent yesterday in Tasmania promoting the benefits of his $5 billion national health plan - Hobart Mercury


Coalition dole reform push boosted by 'disengaged' youth - Nerly 40,000 young Australians aged between 15 and 17 are neither at school nor at work, bolstering the Coalition's push for reform of the welfare system - The Australian


PM on the run from policy failures - Dennis Shanahan points out in The Australian that a clear-cut image of providing help and an expectation of a longer-term revival of a government subsidy plan to boost an industry brought to its knees yesterday became an empty stunt with the expectations completely unfulfilled.

Spoils to the patient party - Michelle Grattan in the Melbourne Age argues Tony Abbott is best advised to turn his attention to matters other than health.

A charter of rights is divisive? The vast majority think not - Frank Brennan in the Melbourne Age argues that the refusal to frame a human rights act ignores the will of the people.

Insulation bungle a case study in bad management - writes Mark Davis in the Melbourne Age

Accepting the reality of healhcare costs - Malcolm Farr in the Sydney Daily Telegraph wraps up the COAG health decisions

The pot takes on the kettle - Ted Baillieu berates Labor's secrecy and cries cash-for-access, so why the determined coyness over Liberal fund-raisers? - Paul Austin in the Melbourne Age


BHP boss 'concerned' - BHP Billiton chief executive Marius Kloppers has sent a memo to all staff expressing ''great concern'' at the Cambodian ''tea money'' scandal and reminding them that working with integrity is ''critical to our success'' - Melbourne Age


Greens to push $40bn fast-rail link to Sydney - Today, Greens Leader Bob Brown will launch a campaign at Southern Cross Station for a major concept study into a high-speed rail link between Australia's two biggest cities, which his office has costed at $40 billion - Melbourne Age

Wilderness Society hit as leaders lose battle - Leaders of the strife-torn Wilderness Society are digging in, despite losing in court yesterday to internal opponents who want their resignations - Melbourne Age


Real estate

First home owners' charge into market drives loan stress  - A combination of bigger loans and rising interest rates is likely to make first home owners vulnerable to mortgage stress - Melbourne Age


Melbourne Storm stripped of everything - The biggest scandal in Australian sporting history is threatening to wipe out Melbourne Storm, rugby league's most successful team of the past decade, after it emerged the club had won two titles while massively cheating on salary cap rules - Melbourne Age

The drink

Clubs are getting tough on drunks - Clubs are slapping bans ranging from a decade to life on booze-fuelled troublemakers and forcing new members to do a hard-hitting course on safe drinking as they try to tackle alcohol-related violence - Sydney Daily Telegraph
Suburban footballers will get SMS messages warning them to drink safely - Tens of thousands of suburban footballers will get weekly text messages from the State Government telling them to drink responsibly after games. Taxpayers will fork out $180,000 so that an SMS can be sent to 57,000 footballers, who are signed up to receive updated ladders via text message. It is part of the Championship Moves campaign and the Brumby Government's controversial "respect agenda" - Melbourne Herald Sun

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Media wrap - A Hospitals "victory" analysed


Health and hospitals

Confident PM sets the stage for election - Kevin Rudd has used political bribery and brute force to wrest from the states a new Commonwealth power over hospitals - Sydney Morning Herald

Barnett defies Rudd on health deal - WA Premier Colin Barnett is standing in the way of Kevin Rudd's landmark health reforms, refusing to surrender a third of WA's GST revenue despite the Prime Minister increasing Federal inducements to $5.4 billion - The West Australian

Health a done deal even without WA: Rudd - Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett is backing away from his initial view that a health deal struck between the Commonwealth and the Labor states and territories could fall over without his support - The West Australian

Kevin Rudd's historic health reform deal finalised after negotiations with Premiers - Adelaide Advertiser

Rudd's health revolution - The federal government will cut a separate GST revenue deal with every state and territory other than Western Australia, if necessary, to secure its health and hospitals reform package after the mining state held out against signing a deal yesterday - Sydney Morning Herald

Life support for PM's health plan - NSW will get hundreds of additional hospital beds and guaranteed provision of treatment under a national deal which Premier Kristina Keneally helped broker yesterday - Sydney Daily Telegraph

States to run PM Kevin Rudd's health cure - The Australian

Hold-out Colin Barnett leader won't relent - Western Australia's Premier Colin Barnett has stared down challenges from Kevin Rudd and other state and territory leaders, vowing he will not change his mind and hand over one-third of his GST to the commonwealth for health spending - The Australian

It's a 'deal', except not everyone agreed - Rather than being a done deal, the multi-billion-dollar health and hospital reforms are a work in progress and not quite what the Prime Minister envisaged before the last election - The Australian
Premier in backdown on health - Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has clinched a multibillion-dollar deal to make Canberra the major funder of Australia's hospitals - after Premier John Brumby capitulated over the GST - Melbourne Age

Tassie seals health reforms - Tasmania was the first state to sign up to landmark Federal Government health reforms. The reforms will see the Commonwealth take over the lion's share of hospital funding - Hobart Mercury

Economic matters

RBA flags plan to take rates higher - The Reserve Bank board isn't done with us yet. The minutes of the board's April meeting, at which it pushed up its cash rate for a fifth successive time, show its members believed the rate would ''probably need to rise further'', and quickly - Melbourne Age


Green back as Thorp promoted - Lin Thorp has been hand-picked by David Bartlett to take over the key education portfolio. Greens leader Nick McKim will be given the new portfolio of alternative transport, among other responsibilities - Hobart Mercury

Booth wary of 'corrupt' Labor - Fellow Greens MP Kim Booth yesterday voiced his dissent at the prospect of Mr McKim and Ms O'Connor being ministers in a Labor-Greens government, after his key role "unearthing corruption" in Labor ranks - Hobart Mercury

Tasmanian Greens to take first cabinet seat - Greens Party members will be sworn in to their first portfolios in any Australian cabinet today, despite deep misgivings in both their party and the Tasmanian Labor minority government - Melbourne Age

Economic stimulus

Price fix claims dog Building the Education Revolution builders - The consumer watchdog is prosecuting three builders that have been handed a $58 million slice of taxpayer-funded Building the Education Revolution work, accusing them of "price-fixing and misleading or deceptive conduct" in tendering for other earlier government construction projects - The Australian


Abbott 'proposes dole ban for under 30s' - Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has proposed banning the dole for young people in a bid to fill the massive skills shortages in the resources sector - The West Australian

No more dole, Tony Abbott warns the under-30s - The Australian


Health deal came down to compromise - for everyone - concludes Phillip Hudson in the Melbourne Herald Sun

PM'S scramble to brink of a health victory - Paul Kelly writes in The Australian that Kevin Rudd is five out of six steps towards the historic agreement he needs with the premiers on his election package on health, but he will be forced into more concessions to deliver the resources giant of Western Australia - The Australian

Turnbull, do a Dame Nellie Melba in Wentworth - Janet Albrechtsen in The Australian says that despite his critics wanting to relegate Malcolm Turnbull to the dustpan of political history, the member for Wentworth may wish to consider the Dame Nellie Melba option. Party powerbrokers should hope he does remain in federal politics. Indeed, rather than dumping on Turnbull for his past mistakes, Liberals ought to be asking him to stay.

Real estate

First-home buyers set to join the fray again - The real estate surge that began on Sydney's fringe with first-home buyer acquisitions in 2008 and last year has waned, but BIS Shrapnel expects the first-timer numbers will start to recover in the second half of this year - Sydney Morning Herald

Law and order

In a gang started by Chopper's Christmas sausages - The man charged with killing Carl Williams at Barwon Prison on Monday is an enforcer for a gang whose members have terrorised fellow prisoners since the mid-1970s. The present incarnation of the gang is known as Prisoners of War. Many of its members have the letters ''P.O.W.'' tattooed on their knuckles or arms - Melbourne Age

Office of Police Integrity will oversee probe into Carl Williams' death - Melbourne Herald Sun

Williams dragged to his cell, lay dying for 20 minutes - Gangland killer Carl Williams was left for dead for more than 20 minutes after he was attacked in the day room of the Acacia unit of Barwon Prison despite the assault being captured on several security cameras. The Office of Police Integrity will now join the investigation following allegations that corrupt police or former police are implicated in the murder - Melbourne Age

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Media Wrap - And now for a hospitals plebiscite?



Labor whacked on boatpeople in Newspoll - There has been a huge swing to the Tony Abbott-led Coalition on who is best to handle the issue of asylum-seekers arriving in Australia, with the Liberals holding almost a two-to-one advantage over the Rudd government. Based on preference flows at the last election, Labor leads the Coalition with an election-winning two-party-preferred vote of 54 to 46 per cent - The Australian

Asylum policy scuttles Labor - Tony Abbott has clawed back Labor's lead over the Coalition, stealing a march on border protection while the government has been marking time on the issue of health reform - The Australian

ALP continues to lead Coalition according to latest Newspoll - Melbourne Herald Sun

Health and hospitals

Rudd plans appeal to Australia over health - The Federal Government will hold a plebiscite - a national opinion poll - to win a mandate for its changes to hospital funding if the states reject his proposals today - Sydney Daily Telegraph

Showdown over GST 'will be like OK Corral' - The survival of Kevin Rudd's health and hospitals reform plan hinges on either the states or the Commonwealth backing down today after another $1.5 billion in sweeteners the Prime Minister offered failed to shift entrenched opposition to surrendering 30 per cent of GST revenue - Sydney Morning Herald

Funding pledges hit $20bn over the next 10 years - The price tag on the Rudd government's proposed health reforms has risen to almost $20 billion over the next 10 years, although it believes it can mostly recoup this with savings - The Australian

Premiers pay the price for full pockets . . . PowerPoint - Samantha Maiden in The Australian tries to make sense of a day of talks where she actually has no idea what went on.

Hard to see how the pool will work - Adam Creswell in The Australian looks at the proposal by Premiers for funds pooling and concludes that as a dumb idea it is right up there.

PM Kevin Rudd's $1.2bn fails to buy premiers - The governments of Victoria, Western Australia and NSW last night remained firmly opposed to handing over their GST revenues, and were instead agitating for the establishment of a joint funding pool to run the public hospitals - The Australian

Barnett digs in over GST - Colin Barnett says he will not be moved in his refusal to surrender GST revenue for Kevin Rudd's health reforms despite the Prime Minister dangling another $1.2 billion before the premiers yesterday to entice them to sign - The West Australian

Mutual suspicion is the real problem - The premiers say they don't want Kevin Rudd to take 30 per cent of GST because they suspect it will be the first of many federal raids on their coveted revenue source.
Kevin Rudd offers extra $1.2 billion to break deadlock over hospital plan - Kevin Rudd's great cash temptation to premiers has gone into overdrive, adding another $1.2 billion to break the deadlock over his hospital funding plan - Melbourne Herald Sun

Political life

No fix in Queensland Health payroll debacle - Anna Bligh has ditched her trade trip to Latin America as the health payroll scandal deepens - Brisbane Courier Mail

Economic matters

Treasurer denies NSW economy blues - The State Government has challenged a private sector survey showing the NSW economy is the worst performing in the nation, saying official data show it is leading the recovery - Sydney Daily Telegraph

Industrial relations

Teachers may be forced to run tests - The WA Education Department began legal action late yesterday to stop State schoolteachers boycotting national reading, writing and maths tests which students are meant to sit next month - The West Australian

Gillard to teachers: drop strike plan - Julia Gillard has ramped up pressure on teachers to abandon planned action to disrupt national literacy and numeracy testing, as NSW and Queensland took action in industrial courts to block the national strike = The Australian

Public service

Queensland Health's Mr Fixit battles for answers over payroll shambles - The man, introduced as a "highly regarded public servant" by Health Minister Paul Lucas, battled to provide even basic details of progress to fix the failed system.  Michael Walsh was asked four times for his assessment of this week's pay cycle, but each time side-stepped the questions. It will be cold comfort for the Government, as the health scandal goes from bad to worse - Brisbane Courier Mail

Paul Lucas denies being warned over Queensland Health payroll problems - Deputy Premier Paul Lucas was warned nine months ago that Queensland Health's payroll system would be a disaster, but has claimed he only saw the damning memo last week - Brisbane Courier Mail


Things failing to fall Rudd's way on issues - Dennis Shanahan in The Australian sees Kevin Rudd running two main political campaigns: the first the overwhelmingly positive attempt to reform public health and the second the totally negative message of "being tough" on illegal boat arrivals. Neither seems to be working too dramatically in his favour, indeed, the first appears curiously neutral and the second is indisputably a failure.

States shouldn't sell out for pennies from Kevin - The leaders' struggle with each other seems as much concerned with politics as policy and is certainly not driven by the need to focus on a patient-centred healthcare system writes John Dwyer,  emeritus professor of medicine at the University of NSW and founding president of the Australian Healthcare Reform Alliance, in The Australian

Gillard's stimulus program is past its use-by date - argues Michael Stutchbury in The Australian

Government faces some awkward questions - Paul Austin in the Melbourne Age writes that there are numerous awkward questions for the government and its prison authorities after the murder in prison of Carl Williams, questions that can be expected to linger through to polling day in November.

Either way, Rudd cannot lose out - Peter Hartcher in the Sydney Morning Herald says Kevin Rudd is ready to launch the process to call for a referendum on the issue. The referendum bills to be put to the Parliament have already been drafted, according to informed members of the government. Either way, Rudd will have something to take to this year's election but an agreed reform plan is a lot more persuasive than a contested referendum.

Significant change still eludes PM - Gerard Henderson in the Sydney Morning Herald


Crime ring link to insider trading - Police and corporate regulators have raided homes and businesses to smash a crime syndicate that launders money through the sharemarket after getting inside tips from leading investment banks - Sydney Morning Herald

NAB thwarted on Axa takeover bid by regulator - AMP is ready to pounce on Axa Asia Pacific with a fresh takeover offer after the competition watchdog last night torpedoed National Australia Bank's $14 billion bid - The Australian

Miners fear secrets stolen by Chinese cyber-spies - The internal communications of Australia's major iron ore producers have been aggressively targeted by cyber attacks that many senior executives and members of the Rudd government suspect originate in China - The Australian


Melbourne radio dials move to the right - Birth of a new talk station in Melbounre - Melbourne Age



Melbourne residents says buskers are number one pet hate noise - Melbourne Herald Sun


Financial literacy 'must be introduced to schools' - Financial literacy should be introduced as a compulsory high school subject to prevent young homeowners building up dangerous levels of debt, the head of Aussie Home Loans says - Adelaide Advertiser

Real estate

Perth land dearest in nation - Perth has overtaken Sydney as the most expensive city in the country to buy blocks of land, with a single square metre of "prime earth" now costing an average of $521. Despite the price rise, the housing industry expects the number of sales to increase this year - The West Australian

Penthouse sales hit bargain basement - Sales of prestige penthouses have slowed to a trickle across Sydney, with the one on top of the Ritz at Cremorne Point back on the market - and the mortgagee hoping for a $15 million sale - Sydney Morning Herald

Median prices up in Sydney - but not as much as in Melbourne - The median price of a Sydney house rose 13.4 per cent to $641,000 in the year to March, below the 17.7 per cent increase in Melbourne, according to the Residex property research group - Sydney Morning Herald


Travel claims hazy as insurers declare eruption act of God - About 20,000 Australians, whose travel plans have been thrown into chaos by the Iceland volcanic eruption, face confusion over their travel insurance - Sydney Morning Herald