Labor is embarking on one of its biggest industrial
relations campaigns in decades, with the strongest level of public support on
record, reports The Australian. After months of a trade union advertising
campaign against the Howard Government’s workplace reforms, Labor’s stocks on
the issue have surged by five points to 50%.


The Federal Government appears set to abandon its proposal to ban compulsory
student unionism from next year in the face of unbending opposition from key
Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce, reports The Age. Education Minister Brendan
Nelson has conceded he may have to postpone the controversial changes because
the legislation may not be passed in time for the 2006 academic year.

And as the Bali 9 trials get underway in Denpasar,
the contrast between the first two defendants – Michael Czugaj and Myuran
Sukumaran – was palpable. They looked like the babe and the beast, report
Mark Forbes and Ian Munro.

Taxpayers may be forced to compensate the operators of the Cross City Tunnel
if improvements to Sydney’s ailing public transport network drive traffic away
from the tunnel, reports The SMH. A confidential document
shows conditions for the tunnel, which is under a 30-year contract, could
penalise the Government for public transport being too good. And The Daily
Telegraph
leads with “CARL EXPRESSWAY”: former roads
minister Carl Scully was yesterday blamed by his own party for the Cross City
Tunnel shambles as it emerged that motorists face another toll – this time for
congestion.

“OUR PRIDE” is the
Herald Sun’s full page splash on the 12 Victorians who have been awarded the Pride
of Australia medal. And counter-terrorism
authorities have drawn up plans to defend Australia against terrorists spreading avian influenza. The
National Counter Terrorism Committee has included the use of bird flu strain
H5N1 as a weapon in possible terrorism attack scenarios.

For a few brief
seconds yesterday – and in the arms of his mother – Brisbane man Michael William Czugaj looked more like a
scared pimply teenager from the suburbs than an international drug courier facing
a potential death penalty, reports The Courier-Mail. And the Gold Coast
City Council
appeared to have broken the Local Government Act by giving a major
developer a $14,000 rates discount, the Crime and Misconduct Commission inquiry
was told yesterday.

The Adelaide Advertiser
splashes with the news that frontbencher Martin Hamilton-Smith has become the
first Liberal to break ranks by challenging embattled Opposition Leader, Rob Kerin, to a
leadership vote on Friday.

In Tasmania, the State Government appears to be in chaos
over its Betfair proposals, reports The Mercury. Reports have surfaced that a
senior Cabinet member fears an explosion in problem gambling in the state if a
new betting agency wins a licence there. And the family of missing backpacker Peter
Falconio flew into Darwin yesterday in preparation for the trial of their son’s alleged
killer, reports The NT News. Falconio’s younger brother Nick said he and his
parents were “apprehensive” about being in the Territory.

Peter Fray

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