The Australian
leads with the news that motorists could unwittingly fill their cars with
ethanol-blended petrol under Howard Government plans to relax strict labelling
conditions on biofuels.

The push to secretly mix up to 5% ethanol with
normal petrol would be extended to all types of fuel, including the high-octane
blends used by top-range vehicles, says the paper.

And Governor-General Michael Jeffery has made a carefully worded but implicit criticism of US
strategy and tactics in Iraq, says The Oz, after the Vietnam Vet last night urged US-led coalition
forces to study classic counter-insurgency tactics used in Vietnam
and the Malayan emergency to win the war. As for Hurricane Rita, never in its recorded history has the US
seen a one-two punch as powerful as this, says the paper: two massive hurricanes in the space
of three weeks, with Rita strengthening into a category-five
480km-wide monster storm yesterday and headed towards the Texas

Howard puts ethanol tiger in your tank, screams The Sydney
Morning Herald
‘s front page, also leading with the blended petrol story. Meanwhile,
hundreds of angry truckdrivers are blocking major highways across Australia,
protesting against rising fuel prices and poor wages and working conditions. The
paper also reports that the veracity of the whistleblower nurses from Camden and Campbelltown
hospitals – whose allegations ended the careers of several senior health
officials and sparked investigations into political corruption, cover-ups and
record tampering – has been found wanting.

The Daily Telegraph leads with the grim news that the mother and stepfather of Sydney girl Rose
Austin-Villanueva who died at her home on the weekend have been charged with
the six-year-old’s murder, after toxicology tests found methadone in the dead girl’s
system. The paper’s front page also has a red and white theme, with news that the
Sydney Swans yesterday became official favourites for the AFL
Grand Final while St George Illawarra were backed to trounce the Wests Tigers
in the NRL final.

With no Melbourne representatives in the AFL
Grand Final, The Age turns its attention to the ground where it all happens, with the front page headline, All roads lead to the MCG,
which reports that the Sydney team line-up remains unchanged for the final, while West
Coast sweats on the fitness of key forward, Phil Matera. There’s also a follow-up
to yesterday’s anthem fiasco story, with the good news that our Delta will be
singing – not the anthem, that will be left to
stage performer Silvie Paladino as the AFL
originally intended – I Am Australian at the MCG tomorrow.

The Herald Sun
jumps on the Sydney Swans bandwagon, with a front page picture of the
former Melbourne club’s finals team and a story reflecting on its
journey north from South Melbourne that began in 1982. The paper also
reflects the anger of Melbourne’s drivers – already struggling with
the soaring cost of petrol – in response to the
state government’s decision to slap an $800 tax on three-quarters of
car parking spaces.

Mothers offered cash for babies, says the Courier-Mail‘s front page, with news that a baby-buying racket targeting Ipswich
Hospital is offering $1,500 to
mothers willing to give up their children. And the issue of child safety tops
the news in Queensland, too,
after a 14 year-old girl set herself alight in a Child Safety Department office
in Townsville yesterday. And there’s more scandal for Australian cricket’s
King of Spin, with a British woman claiming she had a five-hour sex romp with
Shane Warne the night before he was dismissed for a golden duck in the crucial fourth Ashes

The Canberra Times reports that the fall-out from a scathing auditor-general’s report into the ACT
courts has intensified, with the Capital Territory’s chief minister Jon Stanhope lambasting
magistrates and judges for, among other things, speaking out against the
government. The paper also reports that Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce has
drawn widespread scorn from colleagues for advancing the idea that senators be
allowed to cast their parliamentary votes from their homes.

The Advertiser has Mitsubishi’s new car – the 380 – on its front cover, with news it has
passed its first public test with flying colours after Adelaide
drivers yesterday were given the chance to test the car due for release next
month. The paper also reports that rumblings in South
Australia’s Liberal Party over its poor performance in the polls are growing, with members calling for
Opposition Leader Rob Kerin to take on a more attacking role. And in big news
for one of the State’s iconic businesses, multinational brewer Lion Nathan was
yesterday banned from bidding for more than $30 million of Coopers Brewery shares, contained in a family estate, unless approved by the courts.

The West Australian looks at the state’s second most senior policeman, Tim Atherton, who it reports
will reap a payout of about $280,000 despite his decision to resign rather than
face disciplinary proceedings. In Tassie, The Mercury reports that ABC Hobart has admitted to canning an interview with former
Tasmanian governor Richard Butler in Copenhagen at the time of last year’s Danish
royal wedding, but only because it was boring. And it’s all about crocs, for a
change, in the Northern Territory
with a bushman telling of his frightening ordeal, stranded on a remote
stretch of coastline inhabited by a 6m crocodile.

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Peter Fray
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