An international story gets the front page run in The
Australian

today with news that North Korea is abandoning its nuclear
weapons program in exchange for energy aid, economic cooperation and
security assurances after six-nation talks in Beijing. And Australia
now stands “ready to support North Korea’s effort to return to the
international community,” according to a spokesman for Foreign Minister
Alexander Downer. But let’s not forget the Brownlows – a shot of last
year’s medallist Chris Judd alongside this year’s winner, fellow Eagle,
Ben Cousins, shares the front page. And if omens are anything to go by, it
looks good for the Eagles, as “the last club to win Brownlows in
consecutive years was Brisbane in their triple premiership streak.”

The SMH
also leads today with North Korea’s nukes – saying the nation’s
agreement to give up its weapons program “cools more than 50 years of
belligerence between North Korea and the United States, and could
remake the
security map of North-East Asia, on which the Australian economy
depends.” Below is a story on the latest gaffe by NSW Planning
Minister, Frank Sartor, and a sub has clearly had fun with this
headline: “Sartor: my white derriere needs whipping.”
Sartor has publicly apologised, saying he had “stuffed up” after he
told the Aboriginal Housing Company’s chairman, Mick Mundine on radio
to “bring his black arse” in to talk about a dispute over the
redevelopment of the Block in Redfern.

“DON’T BAN OUR BARRY,” screams The Daily Telegraph,
its lead story showing the paper’s AFL colours. The paper is leading
the way in calling for Sydney Swans captain Barry Hall to be cleared
over charges he punched – the paper calls it a “love tap” – St
Kilda’s Matt Maguire last friday, so he can play West Coast in
Saturday’s grand final. It’s the “biggest crisis the club has faced,”
according to the Tele.

It’s more North Korea over at The Age,
and the paper’s China correspondent Hamish McDonald explains that the
deal comes after North Korea dropped its demand that it be supplied
with
a light-water nuclear reactor, accepting the compromise that it will
discuss the subject later, “at an appropriate time.” And Michelle
Grattan and Misha Schubert report on the latest development in the
Latham media storm – “the union
movement has turned its guns” on the former Labor leader, with ACTU
secretary Greg Combet saying Latham should accept “some responsibility
for the situation working people and unions
find themselves in.”


The Advertiser’s
front page looks at South Australia’s mental
health crisis, with news that patients are being turned away from the state’s
biggest and best equipped hospital and transferred to their local hospital –
sometimes waiting days for treatment – in a policy criticised as “treatment by
postcode.”

Mental health issues also top news in The Canberra Times, with a new mental health precinct and psychiatric emergency centre on the
drawing board for Canberra Hospital
under a shake-up of services.

And it’s all medical in The Courier-Mail, too, with the paper’s front page reporting Premier Peter Beattie
has been drawn into Queensland’s
spiralling health crisis, with evidence he ordered a
high-level cover-up of potentially damning performance reports on the state’s
public hospitals. Also news is the rescue of English couple Gordon Pratley
and Louise Woodger, who drifted for six hours in waters off Townsville after
they surfaced from a scuba dive to find their boat had floated away.

And the NT News reports that a station worker is being hailed a hero after pulling an
unconscious driver away from his burning truck on a remote road.

Peter Fray

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