The knives are out, with Treasurer Peter Costello last night savaging Malcolm Turnbull’s bold tax reform agenda, reports The Australian.
In a “withering analysis” given in a private briefing to Liberal MPs at
the backbench committee on economic matters, Mr Costello claimed
Turnbull’s proposal to slash the top tax rate would cost up to $14
billion more than forecast by the Liberal backbencher. Overseas, the
paper notes how some residents in Muzaffarabad, capital of
Pakistani-controlled Kashmir waited for 24 hours
for help to arrive after the weekend earthquake that killed between
30,000 to 40,000 people across Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, at home, support for Beazley’s leadership is its lowest since 1996.

Church leaders have strongly attacked the Howard Government’s workplace
plans, with an “anxious” Peter Jensen, the Anglican Archbishop of
Sydney, saying changes that affected the sanctity of Sunday would risk
turning
workers into robots, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. And state governments, including NSW, are gearing up to fight
the federal government’s industrial relations changes in the High
Court. Meanwhile, Sydney is getting enough rain but it faces a water
shortage because of the way the city consumes and wastes water, an
analysis
by meteorologists has found.

The Age
details how, under the Federal Government’s new
workplace laws, employers and unions will face fines of up to $33,000
for creating private deals to protect workers from unfair dismissal.
Victoria’s regional fast rail project – already behind time and over
budget – has suffered another embarrassing setback, says the paper. Apparently the V/Locity trains built for the project are too noisy. But cricket is booming
after the recent Ashes series. Despite Australia losing the urn to
England, enrolments in the Have-A-Go program, developed by Cricket
Australia to introduce five-to-ten year-olds to the game, are up 25% on
last year.

“$105 MILLION TOLL OUTRAGE,” leads theDaily Telegraph, after learning that motorists are paying 50c extra for every trip to use the Cross City
Tunnel because of a hidden $105 million cash payment its owners gave
the State Government. In Melbourne’s Herald Sun,
it’s the story of how a gang of double-storey house burglars has stolen
millions of dollars in cash by raiding more than 140 affluent homes –
and how flight attendants, rejected by Virgin Blue for being too old, have won their anti-discrimination case against the airline.

In Queensland, a Crime and Misconduct Commission inquiry was
told yesterday how a “select group” of sitting Gold Coast
councillors secretly plotted to oust colleagues and replace them with
pro-business candidates, reports the Courier-Mail.
The inquiry, which opened yesterday, was also told that donors pumped
almost $870,000 into last year’s Gold Coast council election campaign,
with almost half provided by developers. More cafes will sprout around the shores of Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin, says the Canberra Times, with limited water-skiing also allowed, but conservationists are worried
about the environmental impact on the lake, particularly on the
Jerrabomberra wetlands.

“KERIN DARES FOES: Come and get me,” says the Adelaide Advertiser,
with embattled
Opposition Leader Rob Kerin, daring party dissidents to come and get
him with the words: “I will not blink. I will not step down.” In
Western Australia, a “new front opens in the industrial war,” says The West, with construction giant John Holland launching unprecedented legal action
against WA’s biggest building union, the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy
Union, and its top officials, for breaching an injunction outlawing
industrial action at its sites. And it’s a return to form for the NT News, which runs big with the latest croc story. At least five saltwater crocs were still at
large in Darwin’s rural region last night after a mass breakout from a
crocodile farm, says the paper.

Peter Fray

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