Terror squads for airports, is the front page headline in The
with news that special police commanders will be given unprecedented powers to
combat terrorism and organised crime at airports, while extra police, more
surveillance cameras and tougher criminal checks will also be introduced as
part of a $200 million program. Also making the front page are the results from The Oz’s
latest “exclusive” Newspoll, showing that Peter Beattie‘s popularity with Queensland
voters is in freefall thanks to the hospitals crisis and
last month’s double by-election loss of formerly safe seats. And if you’re sick
of the Latham Diaries, here’s
something to look forward to – the John Howard diaries, which the
Australian reports will be published “one day.”

The Sydney Morning Herald also leads with the airport security fiasco, sparked by British security expert Sir John Wheeler’s disturbing
assessment that: “bluntly put, in
the everyday workings of airports, no-one is taking overall charge of policing
and security.” Also in the Herald, a warning from the World Health Organisation
that a catastrophic bird flu pandemic could be a reality, while Australia agrees to fund the purchase of 10,000
doses of antiviral drugs to help fight what Indonesia has admitted is an
epidemic, after a five-year-old girl died and nine more patients were
quarantined. And in breaking news from the US,
the SMH reports that Bush has ordered a state of emergency in Texas and Louisiana
as Hurricane Rita looms.

Sydney is full, says the Daily
front page, the paper reporting that the city’s urban sprawl has reached
bursting point, according to the state’s Sustainability Commissioner. The Tele
also looks at the death of six-year-old Rose Villanueva-Austin, which provoked a political
slanging match yesterday after allegations surfaced that up to 200 warnings to
the Department of Community Services went unheeded.

The Age
also leads with the airport security fiasco, and speaks to the
author of the report, Sir John Wheeler,
about how to make Australia
safer. And who will sing the all important national anthem
at the AFL Grand Final in Melbourne this Saturday? The
paper reports that it will be Delta Goodrem – if she gets back from the US
in time. And while the AFL is thrilled about
this, musical theatre stalwart Silvie Paladino is not – she claims the AFL
locked her in for the job a month ago.

It’s more on the state of Australia’s
airport security at The Courier-Mail, leading with the alarming headline:
Airlines an open door for terror.”
Meanwhile, there’s a “furore” over the appointment of Julie Kinross as Queensland’s
Commissioner for Fair Trading. It seems Ms Kinross lost her job as assistant
commissioner of the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission after a botched
investigation into hospital deaths – and QLD Opposition Leader Lawrence
Springborg has described her latest appointment as “totally unacceptable.”

“DUMB DUMB DUMB: Stupidity of our drivers,” screams The
front page. The alarm
is due to the latest research findings that more than one in ten South
Australian drivers don’t take extra care in the wet and dismiss the dangers of
tailgating, while one in five don’t believe being distracted while driving is
dangerous. And in other SA news, Deputy Premier Kevin Foley has attacked Mobil, calling on the “ruthless, multinational, greedy oil company” to show its hand
on the future of the Port Stanvac refinery site.

The Herald Sun splashes with the headline: “Drugs kingpin
guilty.” David Steven McCulloch, the prime suspect in the St
Kilda Rd drug squad break-in has been found guilty
of trafficking and faces up to 25 years jail when he’s sentenced next month. The paper also leads with the “AFL anthem fiasco,” reporting that Australia’s
darling, Delta Goodrem, “may give up her dream of singing the Grand Final
national anthem after an AFL bungle threw
the pre-match showstopper into disarray.”

From the Northern Territory News comes the horrific story of a woman “mauled to death by two large dogs on her
own veranda” – police are investigating, but say the death does not appear
suspicious. Meanwhile, seven fishing vessels have been detained in Australian waters after four were caught off the coast of Arnhem Land and three northwest of
Broome, carrying 8.5 tonnes of reef fish and 5kg of shark fin.

The West Australian also reports on the seven
Indonesian fishing boats “raiding Australia’s
northern coastal waters” – one of the vessels caught off Broome was destroyed
because it was unseaworthy, while the other boats are headed to Broome and
Darwin, expected to arrive in the next couple of days. And in Tasmania,
Premier Paul Lennon is in a “new Butler
storm” over the Latham Diaries, reports The Mercury,
which screams “Premier denies sacking for royal wedding boozing.” And
while Mr Lennon denied the allegation in Parliament yesterday, he
to deny he had spoken to Mr Latham about Mr Butler, the paper reports.

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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