“Hanging will be noticed,” says the front page headline of The Australian,
the paper reporting that John Howard has warned the Singaporean Government that
the execution of convicted drug-trafficker Nguyen Tuong Van would “not go
unnoticed in Australia” and that there was a deep conviction that the death
penalty should not be imposed in this “desperately sad case.”

Also on the front page, accused war criminal Charles Zentai.
The 84-year-old, pictured astride his electric scooter, will claim he is too
sick to face extradition to Hungary,
in a final attempt to avoid facing trial for the 1944 murder of Jewish teenager
Peter Balazs. But Zentai appeared fit in July, says the paper, when he was
photographed striding out of court and dragging two large bins out of his Perth

The Australian
also looks at the “astounding” comments made by Amanda Vanstone ridiculing federal airline security measures and questioning increased spending
on national security, that have Labor frontbenchers calling for an apology and
the Immigration Minister’s resignation. In a wide-ranging speech to Adelaide
Rotarians, Senator Vanstone said that “to be tactful about these things, a lot of what we do
is to make people feel better as opposed to actually achieve an outcome.”

On Michelle Leslie, the 24-year-old Australian released from jail in Bali on the weekend having already served three months
for possession of ecstasy, The Australianreports that she has stopped off in Singapore on her way home to complete unfinished
business with the mysterious Mia – the daughter of a prominent Indonesian who
was allegedly the source of the two pink pills found in Leslie’s handbag. The Sydney Morning Herald focuses on the underwear model’s other activities during her first full day of
freedom in Singapore, reporting that Leslie promptly dumped the Muslim
headscarf for a tank top, tight jeans and designer sunglasses, bought stilettos
and is now set to sell “the truth” about her ordeal.

And a church-based employment organisation will tell a
parliamentary inquiry today that government changes to welfare will create a
new underclass of working poor reliant on charities, family and friends to
supplement low wages, says the SMH. “This is an agenda that passes the buck on poverty and inequality,” the St
Vincent de Paul Society will say. “It does nothing to really enable people to
participate in work, education or the community. It does not offer dignity. It
takes away hope.”

“Don’t let her make a cent,” says The Daily Telegraph‘s front page, taking a similar line to the SMH on Michelle Leslie.
The drug offender is heading home to “a storm of outrage after ditching her
Muslim garb for a skimpy top while trying to sell her story to the highest
bidder,” says the paper. Drug experts and family values campaigners have urged
a ban on the model making hundreds of thousands of dollars from her ordeal.

The Age also focuses on Leslie’s “many guises,” reporting
that the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils has called her claims to be Muslim a stunt. And on a local level, the paper reports that the controversial Port Phillip Bay channel deepening will not start – if
it starts at all – until after next year’s state election. Angering business
and unions, the Bracks Government has confirmed it will take at least another
12 months to finish the $580 million project’s supplementary environmental
effects statement. Meanwhile, the Herald
eschews Michelle Leslie for a Christmas-themed front page story,
reporting that Premier Steve Bracks has officially encouraged every Victorian school and
kindergarten not to ban their Christmas celebrations.

The Canberra Times
leads with news that the ACT government will sign an agreement today that it hopes will open
the door to Canberra businesses in China – “the world’s most populous country,”
don’t you know. Christmas has come early to Adelaide,
too, it seems, with Santa gracing The
‘s front page. But the lead story is on more sombre matters: “why
you can’t find a doctor.” The full extent of the escalating GP shortage crisis
is revealed in figures the Federal Government has refused to release to the
public this year, says the paper.
The latest SA figures from 2003-04 show eight of the state’s 14 divisions of
general practice have worsened in terms of patient-to-GP ratio compared to the
previous year.

“Fewer finish school,” says the Courier-Mail, with a report that Queensland’s
Year 12 completion rates have fallen for the second consecutive year, according to figures contained in Education Queensland’s
annual report. Meanwhile, a brawl is brewing in Tasmania’s Labor Party over a Hobart
TV personality tipped to announce her candidacy this week for the coming state
election, reportsThe Mercury – with TV personality
Wendy Kennedy confirming her interest in standing for Lyons.

It’s all pretty
grim in the Northern Territory News,
with reports that doctors are fighting to save the life of a 51-year-old NT man
after he was hit by a car on Saturday night, while a 23-year-old man was stabbed to death in a town camp at Alice Springs on the weekend.

The West Australian‘s
front page has a picture of Kylie Minogue, with the news that the singer’s Showgirl tour could be rescheduled to the end of next year.
The announcement from the Frontier Touring Company raises hopes that Minogue
will recover fully from breast cancer, diagnosed on the eve of the Australian
leg of the worldwide tour last May.