The Australian

goes big with the news that Australian girls as young as 14 have been
flown overseas to marry older men in an attempt by their families
to protect them from promiscuity and Western influences at home.
Meanwhile Peter Costello has warned the Nationals that the extreme
conditions they have placed on the full sale of Telstra could lead to higher interest rates.

The Sydney Morning Herald
leads with the release of “sensational emails” from US prosecutors
which describe the US military court that David Hicks faces as “unobjective”
and “wrong,” claiming that there was a predetermined policy to find
them guilty. The SMH also reports that Rupert Murdoch’s marriage to Wendi Deng, and the ensuing issues of inheritance, could have contributed to Lachlan’s split with News Corp,
in addition to concerns that Rupert was undercutting his work.
Then there was the entertaining account of “what not to do” at a media conference when fledgling NSW premier Morris Iemma staged his third presser in windy, uncomfortable Farrer Place.

The Age
leads with the ACNielsen AgePoll which found that Kim Beazley’s
approval rating is at its lowest ever, with former NSW premier Bob Carr
beating him as preferred federal Labor leader. A former police
officer from China’s “notorious” and “secretive” 610 office has been
granted a protection visa by the Australian government after he
revealed documents showing China’s “near-paranoid” global surveillance and counter-measure activity directed at 14 “evil cults,” including Falun Gong and most Christian groups.

The Daily Telegraph
splashes with the dramatic headline: “CHILD KIDNAP ALERT,” following
police fears that up to six child snatchers could be at large on
Sydney’s streets. Meanwhile The Tele says at least three former state MPs have “double-dipped” on lavish government pension entitlements by adding a second federal pension to their already generous NSW state parliamentary package. The Tele also reports that Morris Iemma and Carl Scully are now the best of mates after they fronted up to the media yesterday.

The Herald Sun‘s
front page says it’s “A DISGRACE” that people using a needle program
based next door to a Richmond primary school are injecting drugs within
sight of children and dumping the needles just metres from where they
play. And Melbourne poker champ
Joe Hachem flew home in economy class yesterday, determined not to
waste his fortune, and say he plans to appeal to the US to return the
$3 million it took from his $10 million in winnings.

The Courier-Mail
says a group of senior doctors at Bundaberg Hospital allegedly
conspired to hide a patient from lethal surgeon Jayant Patel, but
stopped short of actually reporting him to management. The Advertiser
reports that businessman Robert de Crespigny, who has been accused of
environmental vandalism, maintained that a 35 megalitre dam to be
built on his Fleurieu Peninsula farm was part of a plan to help protect
the local environment. The West
says Leightons, the main contractor building the Mandurah rail line,
took the extraordinary step of asking both the state and federal
governments to intervene in the strike-plagued project as more than 200
workers downed tools for the third time in less than a week. And
a remote Aboriginal community will get $10 million from the federal
government to help build 25 new houses, buy a troop carrier and trailer for
the community’s mobile playgroup and fund “culture camps” for young
people, including a three-day swimming workshop with former Olympian
Shane Gould, says the NT News.

Peter Fray

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