The Daily Telegraph
the NSW Budget on its front page with three words: BEG, BORROW, STEAL,
and its state political reporter Simon Benson starts his story with
this: “The Carr Government has begged the forgiveness of voters by
scrapping unpopular land tax changes and giving a long-overdue boost to
crumbling transport, health and education services.”

The Sydney Morning Herald
leads its Budget coverage with the changes to land tax providing a
windfall for 400,000 voters. “This is the budget of a Government that’s
lost its way and lost its nerve,” says Ross Gittins.
“It puts the Carr Government’s miserable survival in office ahead of
its duty to manage the state’s financial affairs properly.” And
switching to federal politics, Louise Dodson
reports that John Howard has reacted furiously to renegade backbenchers
who want to overturn the Government’s detention policy.

The Age
leads with the five Coalition MPs who oppose the Government’s hardline
stance on asylum seekers, while a large photo of a high plains
cattleman accompanies a story on Steve Bracks’s decision to end 170
years of cattle grazing in Victoria’s Alpine National Park, after decades of scientific evidence showed cattle caused damage.

The Australian
leads with the news that none of Schapelle Corby’s three judges has
ever found a defendant innocent. Meanwhile new CSIRO study of 135
industries has found that rice is one of the nation’s most costly
industry, “financially, socially and environmentally,” with a 1kg bag
of rice taking 21,000 litres of water to produce.

The Herald Sun
splashes with the news that doctors are secretly selling confidential
medical records to a pharmaceutical promotions company. And serial fine
defaulters in Victoria could have their wages docked, their wheels
clamped and be forced off the road in in an effort to recover $700
million in unpaid fines.

The Courier-Mail
reports that the number of deaths now linked to Bundaberg Hospital’s Dr
Patel has risen to at least 87, following a claim he ended the life of
a woman to free up a hospital bed – without determining if she was
brain dead. On Budget eve in WA, The West Australian reports that the Gallop Government is expected to deliver land tax relief, while in South Australia The Advertiser
says law and order will be a key element of of the Rann Government’s
State Budget. And the Territory’s CLP has announced a new “Name and
Shame” policy which will see young Territorians guilty of vandalism
wearing bright orange T-shirts bearing the “Name and Shame,” reports
the Northern Territory News.

This week’s Bulletin
profiles rising Labor figure and Australian Workers’ Union national
secretary Bill Shorten (subscriber only), noting that it is Shorten’s
ability to make friends across the political divide – with big
business, Liberal stalwarts and his father-in-law, former Liberal MP
and multi-millionaire businessman Julian Beale – which makes him “an
unorthodox, curious Labor figure”.

And the NY Times
(subscription) reports that despite the technological improvements in
golf, average scores have changed little with players still struggling
to get the ball in the hole.