The
Australian

reports that Mark Latham’s diaries have hit the Labor Party
“like a truck,” turning voters off the ALP and dismantling hard-won
personal gains by Opposition Leader Kim Beazley. After two weeks of coverage of the diaries, the
ALP’s primary support has dropped five points, to the level it was at
immediately following Latham’s election defeat last year. The front page is also plastered with a grinning Kerry Stokes, with a report that the Seven Network owner took the
biggest gamble of his corporate career yesterday, as he began what could
be a month-long stint as a Federal Court witness by lifting the lid on
a private meeting at his Sydney home with fellow media mogul James
Packer. And Howard’s new anti-terror laws
continue to cause ripples, with the news that Australia’s 50,000 police
want the federal government to indemnify them against civil lawsuits
accusing officers
of “racial profiling” of Muslims.

The
Sydney Morning Herald
also leads with Beazley’s sinking fortunes in the polls, reporting that the frontbencher Julia Gillard
has emerged from the book’s fallout with a sharp lift in her leadership
prospects, according to a Herald Poll. The paper also runs with the story that convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby may have to wait another
month to learn if she can go free from a Bali jail after judges
wrote to Indonesia’s highest court to ask for more time to make up
their minds. And on the other side of the world, alleged terrorist David Hicks faces a race against time to avoid
a US military trial after the British government said it could take
up to a year for his late bid for British citizenship to be
processed.

In Victoria, The Age splashes its front page with a pic of the MCG’s
tired green as, less than 24 hours after Sydney’s AFL triumph, ground
staff at
the MCG began six hectic months of work to get it ready for the
Commonwealth Games in March. In Canberra, Michael Gordon says Kim Beazley can’t blame Mark Latham for his dismal approval
ratings in today’s AgePoll. The
fall began well before The Latham Diaries and the latest
deterioration is incremental. And the Bracks Government has sought legal advice over Canberra’s
plans to detain terror suspects for up to 14 days, amid concerns
that the proposal may not be legal in Australia.

PETROL PROFITS EXPOSED, screams The Daily Telegraph,
as the ACCC announced that oil company profit margins
driving up petrol prices will be published every day to let drivers
know who’s “emptying their wallets” and the PM warned
motorists that they’d probably never again pay less than $1 a
litre for
petrol. The paper also reports that the Pentagon has announced that
David Hicks will be tried on terrorism-related charges before a US military commission on November 18.

The Herald
Sun’s

front page leads with CASINO CON ROBS BANKS, reporting that the County
Court has heard that a casino high roller
tricked banks out of millions of dollars by getting hundreds of loans
using fake documents to feed his gambling habit and pay off loan sharks
at Crown casino. The front page features a photo of the “charming
surprise” that was Prince Andrew meeting Ivanhoe Grammar students during an international conference on tolerance yesterday.

Terror laws dominateThe
Advertiser
‘s
front page as it runs with the new laws to be debated by state and
federal leaders today, reporting that “words of hate” designed to
incite violence on
racial or religious grounds will be a federal offence leading to jail.
And the paper reveals David Hicks’s “get out of jail free card” – a photograph of David Hicks’s maternal
grandfather serving with British forces that confirms the ancestry the
accused terrorist hopes will win him his freedom. Further north, The Courier Mail leads with the report that conservative voters in Queensland won’t know
who they’re choosing as premier under a wait-and-see Coalition
arrangement announced yesterday. Unable to overcome issues of who should lead, the Nationals and
Liberals yesterday unveiled plans to stand a “Coalition of equal
partners” in a bid to capitalise on the waning popularity of the Labor
Premier, Peter Beattie.

The NT News
again leads with its killer croc story, reporting that police will
begin searching for a large crocodile which killed a mine worker on
Groote Eylandt.The West Australianreports thatPrincess Margaret Hospital has refused to reveal to the paper how many times it has
given children the wrong drugs, claiming it’s not in the public
interest to disclose the number of medical mistakes made at the
hospital. The
Mercury
reports that health workers have begun strike action in
Tasmanian hospitals and health and child-protection services
in a bid for better conditions.

Peter Fray

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