The Australian leads with a front page photo of Sheik Abdul Salam Mohammed Zoud “calling for
victory to the Iraqi mujaheddin” under the headline, “Cities under terror
alert
.” Terrorists are moving closer to an attack on Sydney and Melbourne, says the paper,
forcing the Howard Government to rush through an emergency law to make it
easier for police to arrest suspects. The stakes are too high for this to be a government stunt, says Oz columnist Dennis Shanahan. “(But)
if the cynics … are right and the ‘terror threat’ was a smokescreen
for the IR laws, Howard’s career will be mortally wounded. This would be a monstrous
abuse of power and public faith.”

And on the worsening AWB saga, the paper reports that Othman Al-Absi, managing director of the Jordanian trucking company that
funnelled more than $290 from the nation’s monopoly wheat exporter to Saddam’s
regime, told The Australian yesterday
that AWB agreed to pay the fees because “the Iraqi government told them to pay
it.”

The Sydney Morning
Herald
has a front page aerial shot
of the damage done to a Sydney
apartment block after the $1.1 billion Lane Cove Tunnel caved in
beneath it,
causing the three-storey building’s partial collapse and the city’s
worst traffic jam in years. NSW Premier Morris Iemma has ordered an
inquiry into the
collapse, says the paper,
and promised evacuees would receive fair compensation.

And on John Howard’s new, “specific” intelligence
indicating a “potential terrorist threat,” the SMHreports that security agencies are poised to swoop on alleged terrorist cells
throughout the country once Parliament passes an amendment to the
anti-terrorism laws today. Meanwhile, the Labor Party has piped up with concerns that the prime minister may have warned off
would-be terrorists and compromised investigations by issuing yesterday’s
terror warning.

And as the ACTU and
various Labor premiers threaten to take the Federal Government to the High
Court to challenge its sweeping overhaul of IR laws, the government remains
unfazed, says the paper, claiming the premiers have legal opinions endorsing the Commonwealth’s
constitutional power.

The Daily Telegraph‘s
front page also carries a large picture of the teetering Sydney
apartment block as a huge terror headline declaring “Direct terror
threat.” The paper reports
that Howard, asked on the John Laws radio show today whether it was
true intelligence pointed to a threat from within Australia,
replied: “Let me put it this way, the
concerns we have are not totally related to matters distant from
Australia.”

“Day of drama as terror threat overshadows IR’s stormy debut,”
says The Age
front page,
with a report that while Howard says the anti-terror laws changes
required great urgency, he refused to say whether these would
trigger immediate arrests. But
the need to rush these changes through will be tested almost
immediately,
says Michelle Grattan in the paper. If authorities don’t take actions
and make arrests at once, says Grattan, “the alteration presumably
could have waited at least until Monday, when
the Senate was due back.”

And on the IR changes, the paper reports that companies could slash wages by retrenching their workforce and rehiring
staff under “Greenfield” deals – forcing workers onto individual contracts in
the process – as part of John Howard’s $500 million industrial relations revolution.

The Herald Sun has
more pictures of horses on its front cover, with today marking Oaks Day on the
Melbourne Spring Carnival calendar. In other not-terror news, the paper reports that a Melbourne man who killed a
burglar using the intruder’s own samurai sword is unlikely to be charged, with
police yesterday saying he had acted in self-defence.

It’s more IR and terror at The Courier-Mail, where the Labor MPs expelled
from parliament are being tagged the “Labor XI.” The paper reports that the
government’s planned IR shake-up triggered a “day of fury” in Federal
Parliament
while it offers a hazy report on the latest terror threats, saying that “while
the threat is believed to be genuine, the group’s exact targets are not known.” In other news, there’s cricket, with a front-page picture of West Indies captain Shivnarine Chanderpaul lolling on the
Gabba with Australian captain Ricky Ponting on the eve of the first Test.

“On alert,” says The Advertiser on the unnamed terror
threat, while the paper’s other front page story reports that the South Australian Labor Party’s health problems have finally hit home,
the messy handling of the Health portfolio due to the recent illness
of Minister Lea Stevens causing a dramatic drop in the party’s latest poll
showing.

Beneath yet another terror headline, the West Australian leads with the news that the port of Fremantle’s inner harbour could soon be
placed on the national heritage list in a move that Fremantle Ports and the
State Government say will threaten the port’s viability.

And on the IR changes, The
Canberra Times
reports that the Howard Government’s unveiling of its IR legislation was greeted
with an uproar in Parliament yesterday. Opposition Leader Kim Beazley said the
sweeping changes were a major threat to freedoms
and living standards and could remove award conditions “at the stroke of a pen”
and allow ministers to intervene in any formal workplace settlements.

Meanwhile, the big news in Tassie is that Premier Paul
Lennon is due to give the go-ahead to license online betting agency Betfair,
reports The Mercury.
Lennon is also expected to reveal a $1.5 million increase in the prizemoney
offered during the local Inter Dominion racing series as a flow-on from the
Betfair deal. And the Northern Territory News leads with “Sex education
outrage,” – an explicit sex education booklet produced by the Department of
Education, Employment and Training for 16-year-olds, containing detailed
information on condom use, illegal drugs, s*xually transmitted diseases and
mast*rbation, is being distributed to students aged 10 and 11 at a
Territory primary school.