Could an Australian body be involved in the Iraqi oil-for-food scandal? John Howard has ordered an independent inquiry
into the Australian involvement in the Iraqi oil-for-food scandal as
fresh allegations emerged yesterday that AWB (formerly Australian Wheat Board) officials played an
intimate role in setting up the sham Jordanian trucking company used to
funnel millions of dollars in bribes to Saddam Hussein, reports The Australian.

Meanwhile, Brad Cooper has lost the luxury penthouse, the Ferrari, the easy access to wads of cash – and now his freedom, says the paper. Last night the 46-year-old former business
associate of failed insurance company HIH joined former mate Rodney
Adler and HIH chief Ray Williams behind bars while awaiting sentencing
for bribery and deception.
A jury of seven women and five men took just three days to find
him guilty of 13 charges of bribery and faking a series of letters and
invoices in an amateurish attempt to squeeze $11 million from the
insurer in its dying, cash-strapped days. And in the lead up to the Melbourne Cup, The Oz sees Japanese stayer Eye Popper as a potential rival to favourite, Makybe Diva.

Sydneysiders may be forced to buy privately produced water even
when the city’s dams are full, under one plan for the new
desalination plant, writes the SMH. The State Government, which is still feeling the heat from the
costs of the privately built and run Cross City Tunnel, has not yet
decided whether the unpopular plant at Kurnell should be built with
public or private funds.

Residents in the NSW Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, were woken
by a tremor measuring 2.9 on the Richter scale today, reports the SMH. The paper’s Craig Young also takes a punt: If the all clear is given for Makybe Diva to run, surely the
great mare will win. The reasoning is simple: Makybe Diva is a
champion. The firmness of the Flemington track is the worry but
connections have made it clear she will not be tortured on ground
without give in it.

The Australian Parliament yesterday made an unprecedented
bipartisan appeal to the Singaporean Government to save Melbourne
man Nguyen Tuong Van, who’s facing the the death penalty for drug trafficking, from the gallows, reports The Age. The sole voice of dissent came from maverick Liberal MP Wilson
Tuckey, who warned that Australian drug mules would become
treasured commodities in the international drug trade if Nguyen were spared.

“DIVA SET TO RACE,” says The Age with the news – finally – that Melbourne Cup favourite Makybe Diva is a confirmed starter
in today’s $5 million race after trainer Lee Freedman received a
positive report on the Flemington track. A full field of 24 horses will face the starter. The Flemington
track is rated dead with the weather fine and an expected maximum
temperature of 31.

“GUN RAMPAGE IN SYDNEY CAFE,” leads the Daily Telegraphwith
the report that a gunman sprayed a bustling kebab cafe with bullets
last night, killing one man and injuring up to four others. Customers
dived behind tables as the balaclava-clad thug opened fire,
hitting two men inside the cafe and a third on a bench outside. The
attack occurred at 9.30pm at The Babylon Cafe on Ware St, Fairfield,
while at least 20 people were dining.

And there’s more violence in the Herald Sun,
where “THE HUNTS BECOME HUNTED IN BYRON BAY.” Football and media
identity Rex Hunt has vowed to use the courts to get even after he and
his son Matthew were
bashed by a gang of 15 teenage thugs in a brutal anti-tourist attack in
the popular holiday spot on the NSW north coast. The gang told them
visitors were
not welcome, then attacked the pair in
front of Hunt’s wife, Lynne, and Matthew’s girlfriend, Jodie Petrusov.

Changes are afoot at the CSIRO, reports the Canberra Times, with the news that the peak science organisation will cut funds for
crop and livestock research, exit medical drug discovery programs and
scale back renewable energy research, according to an internal report
leaked yesterday to the paper.

The 10-page document flags a major refocus of CSIRO research, claiming
tough decisions must be made “on where to invest finite research
resources.”

Thousands of triple 0 calls to police are
unanswered each year in Queensland, leads the Courier-Mail, because of an outdated
communications system that cannot keep up with demand. About another 20,000 triple 0 calls are diverted to emergency operators
in communication centres outside of the caller’s area or placed in a
queue at peak times, according to police sources.

“NO ROOM AT THE SHELTER,” says The Mercury,
with reports that a Hobart shelter is turning away more than 70 men
each month as a homeless epidemic worsens. Many applicants were
mentally ill and would be forced to sleep on the
streets, said Gary Bennett, manager of men’s accommodation Bethlehem
House.

In The Advertiser, it’s more on the Australian Wheat Board involvement in Iraq.
HOWARD ORDERS: EXPLAIN PAYOUT
TO SADDAM, says the paper with news that AWB will be forced by the government to explain what it knew about the
the $290 million in kickbacks it paid to Saddam Hussein under the
corrupted United Nations Oil-for-Food Program.

Meanwhile, there are fresh concerns about more delays on the troublesome Perth to
Mandurah railway amid revelations that the project’s tunnel is just
3.5m long after a week of digging. This is despite expectations that the $10 million tunnelling machine
would bore about 4m a day during the first few weeks, says The West. And on Melbourne Cup day, a

NT couple chase cup glory, says The NT News. The first Tuesday in November is always known as Cup day when even
non-punters have a little wager and workplaces become glued to
television sets.
But today in the Territory it has even greater significance as two
Katherine schoolteachers share a moment they will remember for the rest
of their lives.