POLITICS AND ECONOMICS
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.
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
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
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