The Australian

says the ACTU has declared the Howard Government’s proposal for
employees to cash out two weeks annual leave each year to be
unacceptable, claiming that workers may be forced to permanently reduce
their holiday entitlements. The Oz also reveals that the Dr Death inquiry
is in crisis after commissioner Tony Morris QC attempted to strike a
deal to avoid a court bid to shut down the $4 million inquiry,
prompting lawyers for Bundaberg Base Hospital’s district manager to
attempt to force Morris to stand aside.

The Sydney Morning Herald
leads with business leaders encouraging the government to launch a
campaign to counter the ACTU’s $8 million media blitz attacking the
planned industrial relations reforms. Meanwhile the Democrats could still be important in the Senate balance, says the SMH.
The Democrats’ support of Government’s IR reforms means that the plan
could pass even if some Coalition senators voted against it. The SMH also
reveals the story of how a house party for well-heeled,
fashion-conscious ladies turned into a nightmare for the hostess when a
private investigator for French luxury goods brand Louis Vuitton found out about the “glamour garage sale.”

The Age‘s
front page is dominated by the “damning” findings in the Rau affair
after the Palmer Report found that the Department of Immigration failed
to provide proper care for Cornelia Rau, “who was simply a person who
desperately needed help.” The Age also reports that the ALP has sold its Canberra “rent rort” property – Centenary House
– for up to $35 million. The building’s official owner, John Curtin
House Ltd, will receive the sale money, but the ALP is expected to
pocket several million dollars after taxes and loan repayments, says The Age.
And as the cost of petrol continues to rise, sales of large sedans and
big four-wheel-drives are declining as buyers opt for smaller, more economic cars, say figures from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

The Herald Sun splashes with Schapelle Corby’s plea to John Howard under the headline “HELP FREE ME.” The Hun also reports that Rene Rivkin’s ex-wife Gayle Rivkin
has attacked the civil legal action launched against Melbourne
businessman Steve Vizard, saying it was “a totally different law for
one person, different one for another.”

The Daily Telegraph
goes big with the “FOOD FIGHT” at the G8 summit after deals on trade
faltered, bending to the whims of Europe’s and US’s affluent farmers.
And The Tele says John Howard
will decide today if he needs to end his mid-year holiday – and his day
at the Ashes – to rescue the government’s industrial relations package
following poor ratings in recent opinion polls.

The Courier-Mail
says the state government will refuse to fund a legal challenge to the
health inquiry by two Queensland Health officials at the centre of the
scandal. Seven years of dry and unusual weather patterns means
Tasmanians may be hit with power blackouts later this year with the
state’s main hydroelectricity dams below 23% capacity, says The Mercury. The West Australian
says taxpayers are losing out on thousands of dollars because the
police leave vehicles seized under asset confiscation laws in a police
compound for several years before being sold at marked-down prices or
fixed and returned to their owners. And in the Northern Territory a
magistrate has taken into account the “beliefs and cultural values”
about sorcery and death when sentencing a man for offences which
occurred following the death of his son by black magic, say the NT News.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey