The Australian

says Steve Vizard has been preparing for life after corporate death, by
setting himself up with a consulting role in a media group The
Communicate Trust. Meanwhile hight-profile Australian Islamic
leader Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali has said fatwas forbidding Muslim women
from studying at university have been distributed in Sydney’s
south-western Muslim heartland and had been distributed at mosques and
prayer halls on pieces of paper. And Australian troops
could face an indefinite stay in Iraq and Afghanistan after John Howard
and George W Bush refused to give any timetable for withdrawal and
expectations the Japanese engineers will need protection in southern
Iraq until early 2007.

The Sydney Morning Herald
leads with the NSW Deputy Police Commissioner’s call to Sydney Muslims
to work with police to “keep Australia safe” and prevent a terrorist
attack he fears is virtually inevitable. The SMH also reports that older Australians
are entering their retirement years richer than ever and less likely to
need the full age pension according to research by the federal
Department of Family and Community Services.
And a molecular biologist at the CSIRO is facing excommunication from the Mormon Church
after writing a book challenging teachings from the Book of Mormon
which claims native American and Polynesians were descendants of
Israelite tribes who had migrated to the Americas centuries before

The Age
goes big with Kim Beazley’s call for the government to devise an early
exit strategy for the Aussie troops in the Iraq “quagmire” but avoided
outlining a specific timetable, like Mark Latham’s “troops out by
Christmas” blunder. Meanwhile after a 90-minute meeting with
George Bush at the White House yesterday, John Howard diverged from
Bush on the topic of China’s human rights record, saying Australia would put economic priorities first. And The Age also reveals that about 35 Victorian police officers are being investigated for corruption, the Office of Police Integrity has revealed.

The Herald Sun
splashes with Amy Gillett’s husband’s “heartbreaking” journey to bring
his wife’s body home from Germany, while two other cyclists remain in a
critical condition. Police killer Jason Roberts has been caught plotting an escape
from a maximum-security prison, the second time he had been linked to a
break-out scheme and has now been sent to a top-security management
unit of Barwon Prison. The Hun also reports that Schapelle Corby’s celebrity lawyer Hotman Paris Hutapea
has told the court Schapelle is not so stupid as to transport marijuana
in transparent plastic saying: “I believe Corby is not stupid, you can
see that because she can debate well… I talked to Corby, I think
she is one level below mine, a little bit but she is still smart.

The Daily Telegraph
leads with the German driver who is facing jail after crashed into the
Australian cycling squad, killing Amy Gillett and injuring five
others. But most of the front page is devoted to The Tele‘s favourite cover girl, Schapelle Corby,
flicking her long hair into place at her re-opened drugs trial, after a
large media scrum had shadowed her from the prison van to the cells.

The Courier-Mail
reveals Peter Beattie is “very concerned” that the $55 billion, 20-year
infrastructure plan for the state’s south-east corner could overheat the
economy, driving up costs and prices. The Advertiser
reports that Adelaide’s new Director of Public Prosecutions, Stephen
Pallaras, QC, was happy with his return to the bar table
yesterday. The West Australian
reports WA’s resources boom is set to continue with the news the BHP
Billiton will build a new mine in the Pilbara which is expected to
deliver an extra $450 million in royalties over 11 years. And the Northern Territory News
splashes with “NT X-FILES EXPOSED” after “secret government documents”
– declassified after 30 years – have revealed a mass of UFO sightings
across the Top End, “many of them unexplained.”

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey