The Australian

leads with a story on the Australian Defence Force’s justice system,
but the majority of the front page is devoted to a large photo Douglas Wood
under the rather long headline, “God bless America. You don’t know how
pleased I am to see you, Aussie tells rescuers.” Meanwhile the Governor of NSW,
Marie Bashir, has been exempt from being called as a witness in a court
case after being awarded “special immunity” available to kings and
queens by the NSW Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

The Sydney Morning Herald
also highlights Wood’s larrikin side with the jovial headline, “Hi
honey I’m healthy when are you going to come get me? It’s been a long
six weeks.” The SMH also reports that new Australian research
suggests strong friendships in old age, outside the family group, may
help elderly people live longer. The paper also reveals that
three former circulation employees of Newsday, the Long Island newspaper, and Hoy, a Spanish language paper, were arrested on Wednesday in connection with schemes to inflate newspaper circulation. And the Big Pineapple “faces the chop” as residential developers prepare to snap up the 34-year-old Sunshine Coast tourist attraction.

The Daily Telegraph goes big on Wood with the headline “YOU’RE SAFE NOW MATE.” In other Tele news, the Deputy Police Commissioner Dave Madden
has declared he had done nothing wrong during the Bulldogs gang rape
inquiry and is consulting a QC to fight possible criminal
charges. And Schapelle Corby’s financial backer “Mad” Ron Bakir called
for a truce between Corby’s celebrity Jakarta lawyer Hotman Paris
Hutapea and the two Australian QCs amid concerns over the impact of
public bickering on her appeal.

The Age splashes with Wood under the headline: “Wood tells: my rescue.” Meanwhile Michelle Grattan
reports that another Liberal Senator, Judith Troeth, may cross the
floor in support of Petro Georgiou’s private member’s bills if the PM
cannot settle the detention policy issue. The paper also reports
that Mick Gatto
marked his first full day of freedom yesterday with a visit to the
Lonsdale Street chambers of his barrister, Robert Richter, QC, before
having lunch with friends at one of his old haunts in Lygon Street.

The Herald Sun leads with the Cambodian school siege, below a large photo of a smiling Douglas Wood.
The Hun also reports that the AFP is investigating a South Australian man
who has placed an advertisement on a website for guerillas and
mercenaries to break Schapelle Corby out of jail in Bali.

Still following the infamous Jayant Patel, The Courier-Mail
reports that his lawyers have told the Queensland Government the rogue
surgeon will not be coming back to face his accusers unless forced to
do so. In Adelaide an unforeseen legal hitch prompted the Kapunda
Road Royal Commission to be given a month-long extension says The Advertiser. The Mercury reports that a bill to define Aboriginality has been passed without change by Tasmania’s Legislative Council. The West
reveals a national drug survey has found that “WA is a state of
binge-drinking boozers,” with West Australians consumed alcohol more
regularly than people in any other state. And the day before the
state election the NT News leads with the story: “Dogs driving us barking mad.”

And Crikey’s letter of the day comes from the SMH:

I am so proud to be an Australian. I stood, all the cool
winter’s morning, in Martin Place, greeting my fellow Australians with
soft words of praise for our wonderful Prime Minister. Small groups
have been spontaneously forming, in the pools of sunlight.

Hand shakes hand, eye to eye we know what a wonderful world we live in.
Freedom, in our time. On the edges, stragglers who would like to join
and recall how they have spoken against our Prime Minister. We would
welcome them home.

Keith Russell, Mayfield West

And in important news from London, The Sun
reports that the Queen has “joined the hi-tech revolution and splashed
out on the world’s hottest gadget — an iPod.” According to the paper
the 79-year-old monarch “despatched a flunkey” to buy the mini digital
music player which has become all the rage.