The Australian
leads with the news that parliamentary terms could be increased to four years
and voters required to show proof of their identity at polling booths, under
sweeping electoral reforms the Howard Government is considering. And under the
headline Foreigners get shot at Games before Aussies,
the paper reports that Australians hoping to get work filming the Melbourne
Commonwealth Games have been overlooked in favour of imported camera crews from
China, New
Zealand and Britain.
The paper also reports that Osama bin Laden sought asylum in Britain
even as he was planning the September 11 attacks on the US.

Medical bills eating away at hip pocket, says the front page
of The Sydney Morning Herald
– with news that personal health bills have risen at more than twice
the rate
of inflation, with Australians paying an average of $796 a year on
medication
and treatment not covered by the Federal Government or health funds.
And in the lead up to Sunday’s NRL Grand Final, the paper looks at
passionate Wests Tigers fans – including brothers Justin and Daniel Hill, who have painted their 12-month-old home gold
and black and created a mini football field, complete with posts, on the front
lawn. And in international news, the Herald reports at least 85 people were killed and more than 110
wounded in central Iraq this morning when three car bombs exploded within minutes of each other in the
mainly Shi’ite central town of Balad.

Soaring petrol prices are about to hit the family food
budget, reports the Daily Telegraph,
with a litre of milk set to rise by 16c from Monday because of fuel costs. The
paper also reports that Customs officers have seized one of the largest
quantities of illegal weapons ever discovered in Australia after raiding five properties in Sydney’s south –
the haul including 449 knives and daggers, 267 replica firearms and 171 electric shock
devices, stun guns, 86 slingshots, 88 bags of slingshot ball-bearings, 75 sword
sticks and 10 blowdarts.

The Age runs with cricketer Shane Warne’s quest to win his wife back on its front page.
The king of spin returned home to Melbourne yesterday and has pleaded with the
platoon of television cameras camped outside his Brighton home to give him
space to rebuild his broken marriage. And on the political front, the paper reports that an
advertising blitz to sell the Howard Government’s controversial workplace
changes
– costing taxpayers up to $100 million – will proceed after the High Court
rejected a legal challenge to the campaign. The Age also looks at the typical Australian now living in Britain
– the professional. A far cry from the “Bazza McKenzie” and backpacker image of yesteryear.

The Herald Sun also leads with the petrol prices blowing out family budgets story, reporting that
Dairy Farmers has blamed soaring transport costs for raising its
prices. Prices for fruit and vegetables and take-away food are also rising along
with tradesmen’s charges. And a blacklist of Australia’s
worst welfare cheats has been released, as a crackdown by investigators saves
taxpayers $43 million a week in overpayments.

Lives broken, says the Advertiser‘s front page, with the report that long waiting lists and substandard conditions
in the state’s mental health system are being blamed for the suicides of three mental
health patients in the past month. Opposition health spokesman Dean Brown has
called for an independent inquiry into the deaths, saying “the alarm bells are
now screaming” in the mental health system.

A large part of the front page of the Courier-Mail is taken up by a plug for the paper’s new QWeekend magazine, a high-quality
publication, says the paper, that, starting tomorrow, will come free with print editions of The
Courier-Mail
, marking the biggest change to the newspaper since colour was
introduced to the front page 10 years ago. And then it’s on to health issues,
with a report that means-testing could be used to determine who is treated first at Queensland’s
public hospitals.


The
Canberra Times
leads with a report revealing that the safety of taser stun guns used by
ACT police is in serious doubt after documents obtained under Freedom of
Information showed their approval was based on biased and potentially flawed
research. While The West Australian leads with the unlikely story that one of the state’s most senior Anglican
clergymen has called for
looser liquor licensing laws and deregulated retail trading hours as ways of
enlivening Perth.

In Tassie, The Mercury‘s front page runs its interview with State Education Minister Paula
Wriedt, in which she staunchly defends Tasmania’s
controversial new Essential Learnings curriculum, blasting critics who suggested
it was not teaching the basics. And in the Northern
Territory News
,
it’s all about the wildlife, again, with the news that a 56-year-old man was
taken by a 5 metre crocodile right in front of his diving partner’s eyes yesterday,
in the second fatal croc attack in the Territory in days. Police have retrieved
the body of the man – believed to be a Territory-based professional diver – near
where he was taken, off a remote stretch of NT coastline.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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