Terror and industrial relations legislation made for another rowdy question time yesterday and the papers love it. The Australian
continues to ramp up its terror coverage, reporting that one of al-Qa’ida’s top operatives, Omar al-Farouq, has escaped from a
maximum-security air base in Afghanistan and is safely back with his
people. But the story is old, with al-Farouq having escaped back in
July and the information only just coming to light during a recent
court martial hearing.

Also, the paper reports that Malcolm Turnbull
and other Liberal MPs are unhappy with what they describe as John
Howard’s “archaic” sedition laws, which form part of the new terrorism
legislation, and have welcomed the government’s decision to announce a
review of the proposed laws. While former chairman of the Australian Wheat Board,
Clinton Condon, says it’s hard to believe that the current board didn’t
realise the payments being made to a transport company were being
funnelled onto Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi regime.

“Do not expect arrests yet, says PM,” leads The Age, as it reports that
the Prime Minister has said that just because the terrorism legislation
was rushed through parliament doesn’t mean that arrests are imminent. A
spokesperson for the AFP told The Age that there was no specific
threat, date or target that they were looking into, but that they were
involved in several terrorism investigations.

But news.com.au has another idea, reporting that arrests are most
definitely imminent. It’s hard to know who to believe. And another day at the races, another Lee Freedman triumph, with his
horse Serenade Rose tasking out yesterday’s Oaks at Flemington
yesterday. But on a more sour note, police arrested more than 50
people, mainly for drunkenness and underage drinking, as the public’s
behaviour at the Oaks deteriorated as the day went on. And Melbourne’s gangland murder scene was on show again yesterday as a
court convicted Keith George Faure and Evangelos Goussis of the
execution of Lewis Caine, but not before the judge threw out one of the
members of the jury for showing “friendliness” to one of the men.

More terrorism safeguards. That’s the word from the Sydney Morning
this morning as it reports that backbenchers have forced the
government to include more safeguards to protect people in preventative
detention, which meant the government was able to introduce its
legislation last night. Away from terror, the paper reports that, according to an international
study, more than one in five Australians are missing their prescribed
because the high out-of-pocket charges are forcing people
not to fill scripts or miss doses. And the father of one of the boys who bashed Rex Hunt in Byron Bay on
the weekend says that Rex got it wrong, claiming that it was Hunt’s
son that made the first violent move, and has called on Hunt for an

It’s heart-wrenching stuff over at the Herald Sun
today as their
front page screams “Sick kids’ food tax hard to swallow.” People are
outraged at the Bracks Government after it announced plans to introduce
a potential $1,560 a year fee to those being fed via tube, but the paper
doesn’t even report the Government’s rationale for the new fees. Oh, and
it was rowdy in parliament yesterday, with Labor Kim Beazley
accusing Health Minister Tony Abbott of attempting to “belt” legless
Labor MP
and Vietnam veteran Graham Edwards. He withdrew his
allegation, but parliament didn’t stop turning on the entertainment,
with seven Labor MPs and one Coalition MP thrown out of the chamber
during question time.

“Tunnel corruption bombshell,” splashes the Daily Telegraph, reporting
that secret cabinet documents that contained the government’s
“negotiating position” on Sydney’s Cross City Tunnel were leaked to
potential tollway operators before the contract had even been signed. And the Aussie dollar has crashed to 74 US cents, with the fall blamed
on weak retail sales and trade data over the last few months, partly
the result of higher petrol prices.

Both The Advertiser and the Courier-Mail lead with “Home grown terror
cells” a story that reports that ASIO uncovered plans to attack Melbourne
and Sydney targets last weekend, and it was probably this information
that led to the Prime Minister’s comments and rushed legislation
earlier this week.
Elsewhere around the country, The Mercury leads with the big story that
Tasmanian Premier Paul Lennon will allow an online gaming consortium
between Kerry Packer’s PBL and UK betting agency Betfair to run in the
state. No other state has allowed the company a licence to operate. And the Northern Territory News goes with man overboard, shark-infested
waters and prawns, as it reports that Customs rescued a man just
minutes before his prawn trawler sank into shark-infested waters off
Cape Grey in the Gulf of Carpentaria on Wednesday.