Susan Maree Crennan has become only the second woman in history to be appointed to the High Court, announces The Oz, which gives a run-down of her legal career to date. A protege of John Howard ally Solicitor-General
David Bennett QC, Crennan, ” a black-letter lawyer,” is replacing retiring moderate judge Michael McHugh on
the High Court. And the paper also leads with the story of how Mick Gooda, former chief executive of ATSIC, has warned that sensitivities over the issue of the Stolen
Generation are putting abused indigenous children in danger, preventing authorities from removing them from their families.

On to The Sydney Morning Herald, where news of Barry Hall’s narrow escape gets a big run. After days of anguish and a 64-minute hearing, says the paper,
Swans’ champion forward was cleared by the tribunal to take his
place in the grand final against West Coast on Saturday. Then there’s
the story of Tim Steel, the doctor who once agreed neurosurgery was
“the most fun you
can have with your pants on.” He’s expected to appear in court on a
drug charge today after a nightclub raid in Surfers Paradise on Monday
– “a far cry from his hard-earned place at the
side of Sydney’s perpetual party people,” notes the SMH.

With “I’M OFF TO THE GRAND FINAL,” the Daily Tele reports how Barry
Hall’s “beaming 1000 watt smile said it all.” Put simply, says the
paper, “justice prevailed.” The paper also reports how motorists “won a
yesterday when the Howard Government caved in to pressure not
to increase taxes on petrol – an increase of 0.6c a litre would have
helped fund research into cleaner fuels. But this money will now come from the Budget, according to the government.

“Big, bad and back,” says The Age:
Hall to play in grand final. The paper also provides an extra reason
why the Sydney Swans would love to get a premiership flag this weekend
– they’ve lost all three that they’ve won in the past. Also getting a
big run, the story of how under new anti-terrorism laws proposed by Victorian premier Steve Bracks, police will be given unprecedented powers to stop and
search suspects, seize goods and “covertly” search people’s homes.

“Bazza’s back on the boil,” announces the Herald Sun, also noting how
Swans skipper Barry Hall “beamed broadly after the nearest miss he’ll
ever have.” Meanwhile, Delta Goodrem’s grand final dreams are finally set to come true.
After cancelling a scheduled performance to sing the National Anthem at
the 2003 Grand Final because she was undergoing treatment for Hodgkin’s
disease, Goodrem is now expected to make her long-delayed appearance
before the AFL Grand Final crowd on Saturday.

In the Gold
Coast hinterland, a long-running glow-worm rights war has turned physical, reports The Courier-Mail. Meanwhile,
despite denials from Premier Peter Beattie and his deputy Anna Bligh,
there’s more evidence of a political cover-up of
sensitive hospital safety data, says the paper.
While the federal government has “hastily scrapped plans” to increase
petrol excise from next year, Treasurer Peter Costello has left open
the way for a much bigger
slug on diesel excise, says The Canberra Times. In Adelaide, there’s a family feud over Coopers shares, reports The Advertiser, with Adelaide socialite Mary Phyliss Henderson, who’s also a member of the
beer-brewing Cooper family, likely to sell more than $30 million
worth of the brewer’s shares if she wins a family feud over her aunt’s

In Tasmania, where unions have sought pay rises of up to 15% for 1,100
people including physiotherapists, pharmacists, child
protection workers and radiographers, strikes loom, with health
professionals and the State Government locked in a bitter stand-off,
according to The Mercury. The West Australian reports that the Gallop Government will allocate hundreds
of millions of dollars in extra spending for public hospitals as
it unveils a record $1.2 billion Budget surplus. And the NT News tells how a cyclist died in a “freak accident,” a motorist was killed and a
teenage driver is fighting for his life after three separate accidents
in a horror 24 hours on Darwin’s roads.