The Sydney Morning Herald leads with the warning from health safety experts that injuries and deaths will
continue to mount in public hospitals because of federal and state governments’ failure to
introduce a national strategy to deal with medical error. And the paper reports that sex discrimination commissioner Pru Goward has rejected
rumours raised in The
Latham Diaries
­­ – released today
– that she had a sexual relationship with Prime Minister John Howard. And there’s
news on two world elections – New Zealand, where at last count, Labour had won 50 seats to the National Party’s 49, giving
it pole position to try to thrash out a new coalition minority government, and
Afghanistan,
where President Hamid Karzai’s future looks shaky as voters brave the
polls.

In the Daily Telegraph,
the laughing gas tragedy in Sydney’s west tops the news, in which an
apparent experiment involving inhaling nitrous oxide has left one
person dead and three (all in their 20s and 30s) critical. The Tele also leads with the
news that precocious joint venture NRL club Wests Tigers are now a serious chance to win next Saturday’s finals match after crushing Brisbane
34-6 yesterday.

Outraged by the attacks on their father in Mark Latham’s
explosive diaries, Opposition Leader Kim Beazley’s daughters Jessica and Hannah
issue a statement headed “A Line in the Sand,” says The Australian:
“Our father does not have dirt files on anyone and does not engage in
vicious vitriol,” it reads, “(he) is a quintessential Australian man… a man of
decency. A man of honour. A man of integrity.” Also in the Oz, news that the ACTU will as early as this week lodge a new pay claim in the Australian Industrial
Relations Commission on behalf of 1.6 million workers, in defiance
of the Howard Government’s plan to stop any further national wage cases.

And internationally, the paper reports that tensions over Tehran‘s nuclear agenda have heightened dramatically after Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad used a speech to the UN General Assembly to aggressively reassert
his nation’s right to fully engage in the nuclear fuel cycle.

The Age leads
with the news that almost 900 asylum seekers have tried to deliberately
harm themselves while in Australian immigration detention centres over
the past
three years, according to documents obtained under freedom of
information. Statistics show that 474 detainees were involved in
self-harm attempts at South Australia’s
Baxter detention centre,
149 at Villawood in Sydney and 24
at Melbourne’s Maribyrnong. And at
AFL’s Mecca,
the MCG,
Sydney and West Coast fans queue for tickets to the second Victoria-free grand final in a row.

The Advertiser leads with the news that sports facilities costing $500,000 will be built at South
Australia’s Baxter immigration detention centre, as
part of a major redevelopment prompted by the damning Palmer Inquiry. And in the Courier-Mail,
sensitive Cabinet documents have revealed that the state government’s
seven-year strategy to slash hospital waiting lists is failing, with up to $120
million a year needed to fix the problem. While Queensland’s Prostitution
Licensing Authority
says at least three-quarters of all prostitution in Queensland
is still illegal, despite the introduction of licensed brothels, because
clients don’t want to be seen entering brothels.

The Canberra
Times

reports on the Howard Government’s vow to hound the Labor Party over
the revelation that former leader Mark Latham might have
damaged the long-standing alliance with the US, with Deputy Prime
Minister Mark Vaile saying Latham’s poisonous memoirs had put a stake
in the ALP. The West Australian leads with the warning that motorists
can expect only a short respite from record high petrol prices despite falls in
the world price of crude oil, as WA truck drivers threaten to strike in protest of high taxes and fuel prices.

And in Tassie, the Mercury‘s front page leads with the state government’s response to Mark Latham’s stinging
accusation that the timber industry runs Tasmania, with Infrastructure
Energy and Resources Minister Bryan Green calling the attack “rubbish” and
accusing the former leader of falling asleep during a pre-election briefing on
Tasmanian forestry practices.

Peter Fray

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