leads with the news that workplace relations minister Kevin Andrews is facing a revolt from his own department, with staff claiming they were coerced into signing non-union individual employment contracts. Meanwhile spending on legal advice by the federal government has increased by at least 23% – or $138 million – in five years, of which $216 million went to private lawyers doing government work, says a National Audit Office report. And as the ALP heads into the winter parliamentary break, Kim Beazley‘s personal standing has dropped to its lowest point since his re-election as leader of the opposition, reports The Oz.
The Sydney Morning Herald follows yesterday’s lead with the “remarkably frank reaction,” that the most senior public servant in the Senate, Harry Evans, likens John Howard’s power to that of a king. Also on the front page is the news that Australia’s longest-held immigration prisoner, Peter Qasim, has been offered a bridging visa by the government. And anti-whaling nations have won strategic ground in critical opening votes at the International Whaling Commission after beating Japan’s attempt to slash the meeting agenda by a single vote.
The Daily Telegraph continues with its HSC “cheat sheet” story, revealing that the results of 261 former Sydney students will be reviewed with the Board of Studies cancelling the HSCs of any found to have falsified work. The Tele also reveals that veteran Labor Senator Nick Bolkus – who will retire after 24 years in Parliament with a handsome payout in just nine days’ time – has breached Senate rules by failing to reveal his involvement as a director of a company part-owned by the Chinese government.
The Age reports that Victoria’s second biggest network of hospitals is in crisis after investigations uncovered more than $15 million in unauthorised spending on mental health services. Two of the AFL’s most powerful clubs are considering DNA testing young recruits to test their likely height, strength, speed and stamina in a move that has been criticised by the AFL Players’ Association. And The Age reports that the Ten Network is believed to have paid at least $250,000 – and possibly as much as $400,000 – for the rights to an exclusive interview with Douglas Wood.
The Herald Sun splashes with the schoolyard bullies who have cost taxpayers almost $1.5 million in compensation over the past two years for injuries sustained at school, on the sports field, and on excursions and camps. And Crown Casino has been fined $10,000 for wrongly diverting $2.2 million from one of the world’s biggest gamblers to fellow Chinese punters, who promptly lost the lot.
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The Courier-Mail leads with the revelations that Dr Death didn’t wash his hands between patients and believed that doctors didn’t have germs. The Mercury reports that forestry giant Gunns Ltd wants to increase in the size of its proposed Tamar Valley pulp-mill site from 100ha to 650ha. The West Australian says a report from ABARE has dismissed some forecasts that China’s surging growth and demand for raw materials would spur commodity prices to stay much higher for longer, ending the boom-bust cycle of the past 40 years. The NT News reports that storm chasers will descend on Darwin this wet season for a worldwide research project into thunderstorms.
And the Mainichi Daily News has published the Nagasaki reports of American journalist George Weller for the first time. Weller was the first foreign reporter to enter Nagasaki following the US atomic attack in 1945, but censors refused to let Weller’s reports through at the time.