Both major Fairfax papers lead with the intrepid Paul McGeough’s
exclusive story that the asylum seeking Bakhtiyari family, who were
deported from Australia at the end of last year, were from war-torn
Afghanistan and not from Pakistan, as the Australian Government had
claimed to help their case for deportation. The Herald also
reports that a 55-year-old Aboriginal elder’s
short jail sentence will be reviewed after he bashed and raped a 14-
year-old child he was promised in marriage under traditional law. And
as petrol prices
become the new social talking point, the ACCC has decided to put oil
companies’ profit margins online and update them regularly so that
punters can monitor whether they’re being ripped off or not.

Latham doesn’t even make it onto the front page of The Age
today, with the announcement that state and territory governments have
agreed to powers that will see terror suspects detained without charge
for up to 2 weeks, and Howard’s agreement to phase them out in 10
years, dominating the front page. Latham gets a bum rap and is
relegated to page two, with the paper reporting on last night’s Melbourne University lecture, in which
Latham continued to rage against the political machine and told the
young and idealistic not to get into organized politics if they ever
wanted to make a difference. And a proposal to
get Victorian Year 12 students to only read one book as part of their
final year English studies has been abandoned after heated community
debate and opposition from parents caused a back down.

No terror laws, Latham or Bakhtiyari on the front of The Australian.
Instead, they lead with Howard’s plan to scale back his media reforms
package and scrap allowing free-to-air to deliver multiple channels,
and plans for a fourth commercial television license. The Australian also breaks the story that ASIO estimate that there are
up to 800 Muslim extremists living in Australia that could be planning
something like the recent London bombings.

Front page of the Herald Sun
has the News Limited exclusive of ASIO warning of 800 extremists living
among us, but has a more interesting story that the Australian Tax
Office will crack down on sports stars who dodge tax after a reported
boom in sporting salaries. And Bob Hawke’s proposal to turn Australia into a nuclear waste dump
could earn the country hundreds of millions of dollars a year, after
the plan was labelled “visionary” by Health Minister Tony Abbott.

“Pity our drug babies,” laments The Daily Telegraph as they beat up the
increasing ‘trend’ by Sydney junkies to take their babies with them
when they score some heroin, and show just how damaging it is when
heroin and babies mix.

Today’s Courier-Mail
reports that the Bali Nine, who were arrested for
drug smuggling in Indonesia, face grim odds as claims come out that they
had been secretly photographed a week before they were arrested.
More allegations of foreign doctor malpractice in Queensland, as The
reports that a Russian born doctor has come under fire
after for botching a surgical procedure that contributed a patient’s
death. “Sex trips” is one way to sell papers, as The Mercury reports that
Tasmanian healthcare workers are taking intellectually disabled men to
brothels to arrange sex services for them. And the NT News doesn’t disappoint with their headline screaming “Kids
smoking cane toads.” The headline says it all, but they say that
territory kids as young as 12 are licking, and even drying out the
skins, of cane toads and smoking them to get high.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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