The UN oil-for-food scandal hits home as The Australian
leads with the news that the Australian Wheat Board was one of the 3000
companies to move about $US200 million into Saddam Hussein’s coffers.
The UN report, released early this morning, showed the money had been
funnelled through a transport firm, but concluded the Australian
directors didn’t know the money was propping up the Iraqi regime. And
after a “marathon meeting” between the states yesterday, John Howard’s
controversial terror laws are looking like being passed early next week
after the PM backed down
on his proposal to include shoot-to-kill provisions in the legislation.
While one the members of the PM’s National Indigenous Council has
proposed that Aboriginals should be forced to look for a real job if they’ve spent five years on the work-for the-dole scheme.

The Age
tugs at the heart-strings and reports that after extensive negotiations
and attempted bargaining from the Australian government, convicted drug
trafficker and Melbourne man Nguyen Tuong Van will almost certainly be
hung in Singapore. Foreign Minister Alexander downer says he is not
optimistic that any last minute appeals can stop the imminent
execution. And one of Australia’s best conmen, Martin George Seeley,
who claimed he acted on behalf of Ted Turner, Kerry Packer and Rupert
Murdoch, has been thrown in the clink for more than two years after
squeezing more than $28 million out of hotels, car dealerships and
property developers over an 11-year period. A train driver shortage in
Melbourne could threaten transport for the 2006 Commonwealth Games,
with a government report showing that the city’s training facilities
were not able to cope with the demand for new drivers.

And The Sydney Morning Herald
splashes terror all over its front page, reporting that the NSW
Attorney-General Bob Debus has come to blows with NSW Premier Morris
Iemma over the safeguards in the terrorism legislation and the lack of
debate around it. Federal Health Minister Tony Abbot has
come out and said he won’t be one of the one million Australians
considered essential service personnel, admitting he had “no
irreplaceable technical knowledge nor indispensable role in treating
the sick,” so he would not get treatment.

The Herald Sun has the important story that Melbourne’s “Crazy” John
Ilhan – founder of Crazy Johns mobile phone company – wants to build a
166 apartment tower in the shape of a mobile phone,
so he can make Melbourne stand out. And outspoken Liberal MP Wilson
Tuckey has come out and said Nguyen Tuong Van, on death row in
Singapore, should hang for his role in smuggling drugs around the world.

Sydney’s most read paper The Daily Telegraph splashes that RTA chief Paul Forward has been sacked
by NSW Roads Minister Joe Tripodi after he accused Forward of hiding
documents revealing secret plans to increase tolls on the controversial
Cross City Tunnel. While the Prime Minister was caught out
when he turned up to the Pacific Island Forum wearing a casual polo
shirt and was greeted with a bunch of very formal and business-like
fellow Pacific leaders. He was forced to change into a more appropriate
shirt and tie.

The Canberra Times
reports that police plan a huge crack – no pun intended – down on drugs
and drug dealers over the summer party and festival season, after seizing $80,000 worth of illicit drugs in the last two days. The Courier-Mail
reports that Queenslanders face the prospect of a long, hot and dark
summer as electricity retailers warn that they are nowhere near full
capacity and will probably struggle providing all the power the summer
months may need. The Advertiser
runs with the story of South Australia’s ailing Health Minister, Lea
Stevens, who is claiming that she will be back soon, as the pressure
grows about who’s actually running and looking after South Australia’s
health system. The Mercury
reports that new state Labor MP Terry Martin has announced that he has
Parkinsons Disease, the fourth member of Tasmanian Labor Government to
be diagnosed with the illness in less than two years. The territory’s
fascination with crocs is on display again as the Northern Territory News
reports that a Darwin property developer has canvassed plans to build a
“huge croc” two-storey aquarium in the middle of the CBD.