A policeman pins a man to the ground as another
points a gun at a man out of shot under the headline “Gangs launch
revenge raids” in the latest Sydney riots coverage to hit the front
page of The Oz. The paper reports that Sydney exploded into a second night of race
warfare as tensions between rival ethnic gangs escalated into a series
of late-night revenge attacks on white Australian males across the
south and west of the city.

Shots were fired as groups of young men from western Sydney picked
fights in and near Cronulla. “Brace yourself, it’ll be eye for an eye,” reads another headline, as one of the victims of the Cronulla race
violence told the paper that retaliatory attacks were inevitable but revealed an
“Aussie” helped rescue him as he was being punched and kicked by a
rabid mob.

And as he prepared to fly to Malaysia for today’s inaugural East Asia
Summit, where the riots are front-page news, the PM was forced to deny his stand on homegrown terrorists was partly to
blame for the unrest. John Howard condemned Sydney’s race riots as
“sickening” and rejected claims they exposed a racist underbelly.

The SMH reports that Lebanese Muslim leader Keysar Trad and Maroubra’s surfer gang,
the Bra Boys, are attempting to broker a peace deal between rival
groups following the race riots. Mr Trad said the Bra Boys were one of the most multicultural
groups of surfers in Australia and showed people from all
backgrounds could enjoy the beach.

“An angry ride into the dark side of mateship,” reads another headline.
Barry Humphries once defined being Australian as “hating people
from anywhere else,” writes Damien Murphy. It’s perhaps a “good
starting point” for what
happened at Cronulla on Sunday. Sydney has long been “Australia’s most divided city.”

And in news further afield, the British High Court is expected to grant Guantanamo Bay
detainee David Hicks British citizenship tonight in a decision that
is set to complicate the case for the PM and
his two close allies in the war on terrorism: Bush and Blair.

“Night of retribution” thunders The Daily Telegraph.
“Rocks were hurled, blood
was shed and young men armed with bats and iron bars laid siege to
Cronulla.” The paper chronicles the night of violence, reporting that
the first flashpoint was Lakemba, where a small group of Caucasian men
began vandalising cars near the mosque. A crowd of about 500 local men
quickly gathered, some of them turning on the interlopers while others
threw missiles at police. Although intent on destruction, dozens of the
intruders were arrested
as they ran into a massive police net strung across Cronulla,
Brighton-le-Sands and Maroubra.

White nationalist groups involved in the Cronulla riots have
predicted further racial violence, reports The Age, naming the Melbourne suburbs of
Heidelberg, Preston, Reservoir and Springvale as potential “hot
spots.” The Patriotic Youth League, whose members handed out “Aussies
Fighting Back” pamphlets at Cronulla, said it had been inundated
with callers wanting to riot in Melbourne.

“A little contemplation on the beach,” reads another headline, the day after it happened some of Sunday’s combatants returned – but in smaller
numbers, to hold court
along the Cronulla foreshore, reports the paper. They “revelled in a temporary new world they had created in which
it was suddenly OK to say the previously unsayable.”

The Herald Sun
bucks the trend and steers clear of the Cronulla riots for the front
page, instead splashing with photos of Aussie swim stars enduring
“terror tactics” in a military style boot camp to “toughen them
up” for the Commonwealth Games. The paper displays photos of swimmers
lining up in a “mock execution” with instructor Nathan Schrag selecting
Sri Lankan Arun Karunaratne as “the victim.” An imitation 9mm pistol
was pointed at the head of swimmer while an “enemy” trainer pulled the
trigger of a starting gun – the “victim” then slumped to the ground.

But The Courier Mail considers Cronulla to be front page news, and runs a story on the police taskforce tracing new text messages
inciting more race riots, as two officers described how they saved
young men from being murdered by a hysterical mob.
Sergeant Craig Campbell said he had no doubt that “two young men
cowering inside a train at Cronulla railway station on Sunday would
have been killed if he had not held off the lynch mob with his baton.”

The Advertiser’s front page corners the cover up on ready-to-eat meats, reporting that Conroy Smallgoods was told last Friday to start
withholding its ready-to-eat meats, but the public was only told
yesterday of a possible link to the deadly listeria outbreak. Conroy managing director Pat Conroy revealed that his
company “had discussions (with the Health Department) late Friday to
withhold products.” The State Government only issued the product recall at 4pm
yesterday after tests confirmed that the deadly listeria bacteria was
found on equipment at the Adelaide firm’s factory.

Public transport news dominates the headlines in Tassie, with The Mercury reporting that, in a
last-gasp bid to save the state’s rail system, the Federal Government
has offered Tasmania a $78 million rescue package. The proposal would
see the Howard Government pay for the immediate
upgrading and modernising of the track, with the State Government
adding $40 million over 10 years for track maintenance.

WA motorists have been ripped off by the five major petrol retailers
which bumped up price margins by as much as 100% in the months
leading up to Christmas, says Consumer Protection Commissioner Patrick
Walker, according to The West Australian. Walker said there were clear rises in wholesale and retail margins by BP, Caltex and Gull for unleaded petrol in Perth.

“Teacher, students in porn row,” is the headline dominating TheNT News‘ front page today, with the paper reporting that three Year Seven students have been suspended
from a Territory Catholic school after allegedly accessing pornographic
material
on a teacher’s computer.

Peter Fray

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