The Australian

leads with the Howard Government’s decision to defend its tough, new
anti-terrorist legislation from attacks by civil libertarians by citing
its obligations under the UN human rights convention to protect human
life. Steve Vizard
is back in the news with another secret share deal after he bought
$150,000 worth of Seven Network shares while was chairman of a
subsidiary of British-based Granada Media that was negotiating to buy
9.1% of Seven. And the Australian Electoral Commission
surprised the state and federal organisations of the Liberal and Labor
parties last week by asking both parties to produce hard evidence
that they are legitimate political groups with parliamentary
representatives, in a move one state Liberal director likened to a
“Yes, Minister episode.”

The Sydney Morning Herald
reveals that the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils will send
letters to 200 Muslim clerics and community leaders today calling on
them to condemn terrorist bombings and to acknowledge that some Muslims
have been involved in attacks such as September 11. The SMH also reports that Alexander Downer’s claim that Chinese defector Chen Yonglin
didn’t lodge a formal application for political asylum has been
contradicted by the NSW director of the Immigration Department, who
said he did receive a letter requesting political asylum from
Chen. And the NSW government has moved to rein in litigation-funding companies which are not policed in the same way as lawyers and could undermine national laws governing the profession.

The Age
leads with the PM’s surprise visit to Iraq which included talks with
Iraqi prime minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari and a trip to Camp Smitty in
the southern province of al-Muthanna to visit some of Australia’s
troops. Back home Peter Costello
has caused a stir by announcing he’s open to the idea of scrapping
unfair dismissal laws altogether. And Victoria’s cardboard king Richard Pratt,
has backed the cause of Tasmanian vegetable farmers driving to Canberra
to protest against cheap food imports, saying that Australia’s food
industry is at a crossroads.

The Herald Sun splashes the front page with Howard’s top-secret mission to visit Australian troops in Iraq. But a Hun investigation has found that Steve Vizard
bought shares in four more companies with links to Telstra, on top of
the trading in Sausage Software, Keycorp and Computershare that led to
Vizard facing Federal Court charges last week. Meanwhile the
Victorian government has decided to pay up to $400,000 in design changes
to accommodate a lone gum tree beside the Commonwealth Games pool in
Albert Park, to avoid the controversy that erupted when
three elms were cleared from the Albert Park site last year.

The Daily Telegraph also splashes with the PM’s secret trip to Iraq. The Tele also reveals that racing identity Gai Waterhouse
has claimed cocaine use had reached epidemic proportions in society, to
distance herself from a cocaine scandal that has rocked her stable. And
Liberal backbencher Malcolm Turnbull,
has donated $100,000 to his local surf club, the North Bondi Surf Life
Saving Club, to turn the club from a eyesore to a beachside landmark.

The Courier-Mail
reports that Peter Beattie will announce a radical redesign of state
Cabinet and government service delivery today, to fill the hole left by
Treasurer Terry Mackenroth’s sudden resignation. In Adelaide, The Advertiser
says that the state government is masking the total cost of
consultancies by shifting some spending into other areas not under
close public scrutiny, according to the Opposition. The Mercury
reveals that the state Liberal leader Rene Hidding has accused the
Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry of being too close to the
Labor government. The West
reports that the Gallop government is on course for a record $1 billion
budget surplus for the 2004-05 financial year after the official
figures for the month of May showed record revenue flows were
continuing. And the NT News
leads with the request by Chief Justice Brian Martin for both the
prosecution and defence in the upcoming trial of Bradley John Murdoch
to see the new Australian movie Wolf Creek to determine whether there was anything inflammatory in it that could affect Murdoch getting a fair trial.

Peter Fray

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