POLITICS AND ECONOMICS
Rudd takes a battering from voters - Kevin Rudd's approval rating has plunged by a massive 14 points in three weeks and the Coalition is now level-pegging with Labor in two-party terms, in an Age/Nielsen poll that will send shockwaves through the government - Melbourne Age
Rudd in freefall: voters lose faith - Support for Kevin Rudd has plunged to record lows and his proposed mining tax has failed to win popular backing, putting more pressure on the federal budget tomorrow to lift the government out of an entrenched election-year slump - Sydney Morning Herald
How a toxic elixir destroyed the prism of trust - Peter Hartcher in the Sydney Morning Herald writes on how Kevin Rudd appears to have committed a fundamental breach of faith with the voter.
John Singleton may go in to bat for Tony Abbott - John Singleton - the advertising legend who helped catapult Bob Hawke into The Lodge - is gearing up to take on Kevin Rudd by turning his talents to Tony Abbott's election campaign - The Australian
Rudd on the slide as election looms - Federal Labor is in danger of being swept out of power after just one term, as the electorate starts to take notice of the PM's failure to deliver on a range of promises - Tom Dusevic in The Australian
Would you vote for these political young guns? - Voters at this year's federal election will have the chance to elect Australia's youngest ever federal MPs, despite them never having cast a vote in a national poll - Sydney Daily Telegraph
Budget won't try to buy votes - Wayne Swan believes Labor has established a strong case for re-election, rejecting the need to use tomorrow's budget to reconnect with voters despite the government's dramatic slump in the opinion polls - The Australian
Mine bosses put nation under gun, says Wayne Swan - Wayne Swan has accused mining chiefs of holding a "gun to the head" of the national interest by opposing the new profits tax, saying threats and abuse will not alter the government's resolve - The Australian
Mine tax backfires, bosses accused of mischief - The federal government has blamed fear-mongering mining bosses for talking down the share prices of their own companies as a new poll finds the proposed tax on mining profits has failed to win majority voter support - Sydney Morning Herald
Sums add up to a boring Budget - Treasurer Wayne Swan will deliver on Tuesday a "tradesman's Budget" which by his own admission will be one of the most boring in decades - Sydney Daily Telegraph
Budget cut to bank interest tax - A tax cut on bank interest to as little as 18 per cent and simple ''one click'' tax returns are two reforms likely in tomorrow's federal budget, which is expected to return Australia to surplus two years earlier than previously projected - Melbourne Age
Jittery times for Rudd as bitter winter sets in early - The steep fall in Kevin Rudd's personal standing recorded by this Age/Nielsen poll, thus, could hardly have come at a worse time. He will have to look over his shoulder to check whether his troops - ministers and backbenchers - are sharpening their knives, while gearing up to fight an election when the voters have signalled their torrid love affair with him is over. And he has only himself to blame - Tony Wright in the Melbourne Age
She's back … Meagher returns as lobbyist for pubs - Less than two years after she quit state parliament, the former health minister Reba Meagher has returned as a lobbyist for the NSW branch of the Australian Hotels Association, one of the state's most powerful interest groups - Sydney Morning Herald
Disgraced MP faces allegations over super - The NSW opposition has accused the disgraced former MP Karyn Paluzzano of deliberately delaying her confession to the Independent Commission Against Corruption until she became eligible for a generous parliamentary pension - Sydney Morning Herald
Furore as schools asked to chip in for online portal - The state government has been accused of hiding cost blowouts in its $77 million virtual classroom program - to be launched today - by asking schools to help pay for its introduction - Melbourne Age
Rudd may be the blip in selling mining tax - Phillip Coorey writes in the Sydney Morning Herald that the Prime Minister is flailing in the polls, has a poor record in selling policies, and now faces a bitter election-year fight on two fronts - against a geed-up Coalition with nothing to lose, and a cashed-up minerals sector that claims it will lose everything.
Voters turn off as Kevin Rudd morphs from John Howard lite to Howard little - Glenn Milne in The Australian says Rudd is now in dangerous territory; the place where voters are beginning to doubt anything he says or promises.
Who is Kevin Rudd? No one really knows - Like Nixon, the PM's perceived opportunism may be his undoing - Ton Switzer in the Melbourne Age
Mining tax concoted in La-La Land - Judith Sloan writes in the Melbourne Age that while resources may seem like an immobile factor that can be taxed without affecting investment and production, resources companies have the choice about where to invest. And at this rate, Australia is looking very unattractive or, at the least, a lot less attractive than was the case.
Health and hospitals
Doctors and nurses lead revolution in Federal Budget - Every doctor's practice in the country will get its own nurse to help treat patients, make home visits, write prescriptions and co-ordinate follow-up care, under a medical revolution in tomorrow's federal Budget - Sydney Daily Telegraph
Huge hike in asylum funding - The Immigration Department will receive a multi-million-dollar funding boost in tomorrow's budget in an attempt to meet the rising cost of detaining asylum-seekers - The Australian
Barnett digs in over mining royalty plan - Premier Colin Barnett will forge ahead with plans to force iron ore miners to pay more for the resources they ship overseas despite confusion surrounding the impact of the Federal Government's proposed "super profits" mining tax - The West Australian
Climate scientists cross with Abbott for taking Christ's name in vain - Tony Abbott is under pressure to justify telling students it was considerably warmer when Jesus was alive after leading scientists said his claim was wrong - Sydney Morning Herald