The Australian
leads with Liberal sniping over Peter Costello’s claim to the top job, with some cabinet members questioning whether Costello can continue to be the “heir apparent” if his supporters continue with their “petulant behaviour.” Meanwhile senior Labor Party figures have launched a ferocious pre-emptive strike against Mark Latham, ridiculing him as a modern-day Billy Hughes for turning against the party he once led.

The Sydney Morning Herald goes big with the unions’ battle plan for this week’s industrial relations action, which is scrapping old-style industrial warfare in an attempt to avoid alienating “Howard’s battlers.” And the three pregnancies of Keli Lane – the mother of missing nine-year-old Tegan Lane – may have gone unnoticed by her parents, friends and boyfriend, but her water polo team mates were more observant and suspected she was pregnant. The SMH also reports that Schapelle’s Corby’s re-hired Jakarta lawyer, Hotman Paris Hutapea, has admitted to journalists that “as a lawyer I am not clean, I have to confess that… but for this case I am temporarily clean.”

The Age reveals that a committee of federal MPs is set to examine the controversial issue of whether Australia should introduce nuclear power when parliament resumes in August. Caroline Wilson reports that every club in the AFL will be forced to recruit a Sydney teenager next year to boost the game in Australia’s biggest city, which has produced just three players over the past six years. And freed Australian hostage Douglas Wood has revealed he left more than $2 million worth of contracts “on the table” in Baghdad, but said he would not be returning to Iraq to finish them.

The Herald Sun splashes with “DOC SHOCK,” a story on the Soviet-trained Dr Vinod Kumar who is accused of preying on female patients in Victoria, which exposes serious flaws in Australia’s screening of overseas-trained doctors. And the Hun also reports that major Melbourne crime figure, Domenico Italiano, 50, who was the grandson of Victoria’s first mafia godfather, has died only hours after being freed from jail.

The Daily Telegraph splashes with yet another senior police officer at the centre of a corruption investigation, throwing the entire NSW Police succession plan into disarray. And following Mrs Crikey’s advice to Simone Warne yesterday, The Tele has found some legal advice of its own to help Mrs Warne gain access to her husband’s millions and future earnings.

The West reports that Perth socialite Rose Porteous is being sued by Melbourne law firm Slater & Gordon over $14 million in unpaid fees dating back to her bitter legal feud with Gina Rinehart over the estate of Lang Hancock. The Courier-Mail reveals that Premier Peter Beattie will not be bringing Di Fingleton back to the job of chief magistrate, as her previous term wasn’t “very illustrious” and a return would destabilise the magistracy. The Advertiser reports that the Australian Democrats are so poor they might be forced to sell their national headquarters in Adelaide to raise enough money to fight the South Australian election next March. And the Northern Territory News reveals that more than 22,000 people didn’t vote at the Territory election – about 20% of enrolled voters – with remote seats showing the biggest non-voter numbers.

Our letter of the day comes from the SMH:

Till death – or one too many affairs – us do part
Must be something in the air down at St Kilda Cricket Club. Shane Warne and 1930s Test spinner Chuck Fleetwood-Smith, another great “pants man”, both played for that club. In a salutary warning to Warne, Fleetwood-Smith ended up on the streets of Melbourne, living rough. Chuck, a left-hand wrist spinner, made the record books in 1938 at The Oval taking 1-298 from 87 overs, when England made 7-903 (dec.) in its big win. He was married more than once, and one of his wives apparently rescued him by giving him somewhere to live, just before he died. Shane Warne, take note.

Rex Condon Ashwood (Vic)

And The New York Times reports on a Pew Research Centre poll that finds overwhelming dissatisfaction with news organisations, with a rising number of people saying that news media were “too critical of America.” The survey found Republicans largely expressed the view that the press was excessively critical of the US, while Democrats were more satisfied with the news media, with about a quarter of Democrats finding news organisations to be too critical.

Peter Fray

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