The PM’s support is the lowest in years, splashes The Oz, with news that John Howard’s personal standing is at its
lowest level since before he turned back the Tampa four years ago, as
he staggers under the weight of industrial relations reform and
counter-terrorism laws. Public dissatisfaction with the Prime Minister has risen ten points in
the past three months.

Meanwhile, an SAS wife has mourned “two times too many,” says the paper,
which counts the human toll of Australia’s overseas armed involvement.
For the second time in 12 years, Naomi Nary is mourning the loss of a
military husband, after the death of one of the nation’s most
experienced SAS soldiers. Warrant Officer David Nary, who served on
some of the most dangerous
missions undertaken by Australia’s elite SAS, was killed in a freak
accident when he was hit by an army vehicle in Kuwait late on Sunday.

In the SMH, it’s the news of the arrest of 15 people in Sydney and Melbourne
early today. The raids appear to have targeted suspects alleged to be involved
in the potential terrorist threat involving the two cities that was
announced by the federal government last week and police say they’ve foiled a large scale terrorist attack. But

Melbourne lawyer
Rob Stary who represents eight people arrested in Melbourne
early today, says that while most of them had been charged with being members of a
banned organisation, none of his clients had yet been charged in
relation to the planning of any attack.

Fifteen people have been arrested in coordinated
anti-terrorism raids in Melbourne and Sydney overnight, reports The Age, running big with the story.
NSW police commissioner Ken Moroney said nine people had been
arrested in Melbourne and another six in Sydney. He said the suspects were in the final stages of planning a
terrorist attack on Australian soil. And in other, less serious news, “Achtung, baby!” says the paper
with the report that U2 plans to “crash Melbourne’s Commonwealth Games
party.” Apparently one of the world’s biggest music acts, Bono’s U2, is
expected to
play two shows at Telstra Dome next March in front of up to 80,000
fans on the same weekend as the Commonwealth Games closing
ceremony.

In Sydney, there’s more evidence undermining premier Morris Iemma, says the Daily Tele,
with news that he faces another tunnel controversy as a fresh report
reveals the collapsed
tunnel under a Lane Cove units block last week was meant to be located
65m away. As Mr Iemma fronts a jittery caucus, says the paper, he will
also be forced to explain
how the RTA approved changes to the tunnel route after the contract was
signed, putting it directly under the unit block. Meanwhile, the paper
has released a special noon edition, to bring readers the latest on the
terror raids in Melbourne and Sydney.

Meanwhile, Steve Vizard might not be the only one mired in a share trading scandal, says the Herald Sun. According to the paper, ten of Australia’s richest people swooped on shares in the same company
that brought down Steve Vizard – all before crucial information was
made public. The Herald Sun
says it has established the investors simultaneously snapped up shares in
Sausage Software as Telstra chiefs, including Mr Vizard, held top
secret talks about boosting its investment in the budding tech firm.

More hospital problems in Queensland, with The Courier-Mail reporting that fewer people are being admitted to Queensland’s
public hospitals but more of them are dying during their stay,
according to two new sets of figures released by the State Government
yesterday. The latest elective surgery waiting lists as of 1 October show more
people are waiting and fewer people are being admitted to public
hospitals.

In the ACT, attention is being turned to the the mounting road toll.
All ACT drivers and motorcycle riders would have to sit an on-road test
when renewing their licences under a radical proposal to curb the high
figure, says The Canberra Times.

The suggestion was put forward by the Australian Motorcycle Council in
a meeting with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau in Canberra
yesterday.

And Adelaide is preparing for a big visitor. Key sections of Adelaide will be virtually
locked down as part of a massive security operation to protect US
Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld later this month, says The Advertiser. The two-day visit will result in areas around the Hyatt Hotel and the
Town Hall being declared no-go zones amid fears of ugly anti-Iraq war
protests. It’s more Betfair in The Mercury, which notes that the
British-based betting exchange invited
at least three Tasmanian Upper House politicians to enjoy its corporate
hospitality at the Melbourne spring racing carnival. All three declined
the invitation and branded Betfair’s invitation as both “compromising”
and “highly inappropriate.”

“HOUSE PRICES STILL ON THE RISE,” leads the NT News.
Darwin continues to lead the way in Australia as the best place to
invest in property. And Perth is the only place keeping pace with the
Territory’s property price surge. The West picks up the theme, with news that Perth’s median house price has crashed through the $300,000 mark for
the first time as the State’s booming economy and an influx of
interstate migrants fuels soaring demand for residential property.