No more “sit-down” cash for Aborigines, says The Oz
today with Centrelink officers telling
indigenous people in remote communities that those who do not work will
lose their handouts. Until now, about 8,000 indigenous people have
been exempt from mutual obligation programs because they live in areas
where there is no locally accessible labour market program or education
and training facilities. But the Howard Government is dismantling this
system of
exemptions. And in a bird flu update, the paper reports that
Australians stranded in countries affected by
bird flu will be flown home on specially commissioned Qantas flights if
a global pandemic breaks out, under a deal being negotiated by the
Howard Government.

In theSMH,
it’s the tale of “goth suicides” – and a department that failed to
act. An inquest into the double ritual suicide of two young people,
both into the goth subculture, was told that a Department of
Community Services notification had been downgraded from the most
pressing, level 1, and the case had not been allocated. The girl, 15,
and man, 23, were found dead, hanging side by side
on October 18. They had marked their bodies and faces with markings
and symbols associated with the Wicca religion. Meanwhile, the NSW Government
faces a budget blow-out of $180 million a
year after it agreed to give teachers a wage increase of an average
4% a year, the first time teachers have won a pay rise
without a strike since 1968, says the paper.

With an online redesign, The Agereports
that the federal government will almost certainly have to delay
introducing its counter-terrorism laws, as state and territory
leaders demand more time to look over the controversial
measures – so the legislation might not be introduced to parliament on
Melbourne Cup Day after all. And “friends tell of Nguyen’s courage on
Death Row,” says the paper of condemned Melbourne
man Nguyen Tuong Van who’s on death row in Singapore’s Changi Prison after being stopped
in transit at Changi Airport in December 2002 carrying 396 grams of
heroin as he ran to catch a Qantas flight to Melbourne. On Friday, he lost his last avenue of appeal.

More toll woes for Sydney, says the Daily Tele, claiming that the city could
“become a fortress of toll roads designed to discourage cars in favour
of light rail and bicycles under radical plans being formulated by Lord
Mayor Clover Moore.” In her most revealing comments since becoming Lord Mayor, Moore
yesterday advocated a more intensive use of tolling, similar to the
systems in London and Singapore, where city roads are taxed to ease
congestion. Meanwhile, ever the masters of pun, the Herald Sun notes ”
PM rethinks kill Bill,” reporting that the shoot-to-kill clause could be dropped from new anti-terror laws. Prime
Minister John Howard yesterday said he was quite happy to change the
controversial ruling.

In Canberra, a leading property developer has warned that Civic could face an
oversupply of empty office space within three years, with vacancy rates
as high as 10%, as tenants move into newer buildings, reports The Canberra Times. Perth however is on the cusp of a billion-dollar apartment boom as West
Australians flock to high-rise, high-density living in the heart of the
city, says The West Australian. And victims of rogue surgeon Jayant Patel have
accused the State Government of penny-pinching and a lack of compassion
only a day after a $6.36 billion plan was unveiled to revive
Queensland’s health system, according to The Courier-Mail.

Tasmania is wondering whether two
naval vessels off the island’s southeast coast are responsible for a
series of tragic whale strandings this week. One hundred and thirty long-fin pilot whales have died since Tuesday
morning after beaching themselves at Marion Bay, near Copping, notes The Mercury. Adelaide’s Advertiseris
glowing at the news that Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe said last
night he could not wait to head to South Australia to shoot his new
movie December Boys next month. Meanwhile, police spying is on the rise up north, with NT News
reporting that Territory Police spent more than 80,000 hours secretly
spying on suspects last financial year, according to figures tabled in
Parliament.