In anticipation of the start of today’s Asia-Pacific climate change conference in Sydney, The Oz
previews plans to slash greenhouse gas emissions in the
aluminium industry and pour hundreds of millions of dollars into a new
industry-controlled clean-coal fund. Meanwhile, the Nationals are
warming to the idea of a national ID card. Nationals Senate leader Ron
Boswell, a fierce
opponent of the Australia Card proposal 20 years ago, said yesterday
that times had changed and an ID card should be reconsidered, reports
the paper.

And Ric Birch, designer of the opening and closing ceremonies for the
2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and creative director of the Winter Games
in Turin didn’t put himself up for this year’s Commonwealth Games,
reveals The Oz. He
was apparently unhappy with the contract tender process, likening it to
asking Steven Spielberg to audition before an anonymous
committee for the task of directing a movie.

In further Commonwealth
Games news, it seems like all of Melbourne is getting in on the action,
with The Agereporting
that some of Melbourne’s most expensive private schools are now
official Commonwealth Games venues, after organisers moved to
ensure suitable training facilities were available for
athletes. It will be a nice little boost to the schools’ coffers. In
the ACT, it’s the parents who’ll be injecting funds into private
(non-government) schools. They will be slugged as much as $885 in additional
school fees for 2006, a rise that exceeds growth in the official
inflation of education costs. In dollar terms, parents of pupils
at Canberra Girls Grammar will be hardest hit, incurring rises of $885
for Year 11 and 12 students as fees rise by 6.5% to $13,630 a
year, reportsThe Canberra Times.

More school news at the Daily Tele – must be that time of year – where it’s claimed that schools will be urged to
enter into money-making schemes such as providing childcare services or
hiring out facilities to private organisations in a plan aimed at
generating new revenue. The NSW Treasury plan applies to new public schools, which would be
built and operated with the assistance of the private sector.

The Age reports how Australia and Indonesia are poised to sign a landmark security
treaty this year that will pave the way for a new era of close
relations. And at the core of the treaty is a commitment from Australia never
again to intervene in Indonesia’s internal affairs or undermine its
territorial integrity – an abiding concern in Jakarta in the
wake of East Timor’s liberation.

“Howard’s choice chose not to run,” reveals the SMH today,
with NSW shadow attorney-general Andrew Tink last year deciding not to
pick up where John Brogden left off, despite being the top pick of the
country’s top man, Prime Minister John Howard. Instead, Peter Debnam
took up the mantle. And while Howard’s spokesman David Luff did not deny that the
Minister approached Tink, he says that’s “all ancient history …
Debnam is doing a fantastic job and the Prime Minister fully
supports him.”

Meanwhile, a Princess Di hoax is runner-up in ASIC’s
annual Pie in the Sky Awards, recognising outrageous financial
schemes that are too good to be true, says the SMH. So if you get an email telling you that Princess Di left you $3 million, don’t believe it for a second.

And in other misunderstandings, Qantas chairman Margaret Jackson was suspected of being a
terrorist and frisked during a visit to the US last year. The airport
security guard who checked her was reluctant to believe that a woman
could be the head of an airline. Mrs Jackson said yesterday her
briefcase was searched after she went through a security check at Los
Angeles airport. Among her documents were detailed plans of new
aircraft, including cross-section diagrams showing seat layouts. “The
guy said `Why have you got all of this?’,” she told the Herald Sun. “And I said, `I’m the chairman of an airline. I’m the chairman of
Qantas’. And this black guy, who was, like, eight foot tall, said, `But
you’re a woman’.”

In Queensland, the future of nursing homes and
ongoing patient care is under threat from a massive shortage of aged
care nurses. In fact, the problem is so bad says The Courier-Mail, that a $7.6 million aged care facility built nine
months ago at Yeppoon in central Queensland has been unable to find
enough nurses to open its doors.

“Lennon, Betfair and the luxury suite…” headlines The Mercurywith
the news that Tasmanian Premier Paul Lennon enjoyed thousands
of dollars’ worth of free hospitality at the Packer family’s Crown
Casino just days before handing a $700 million internet gambling
licence to James Packer. Mr Lennon was given a free upgrade to a
luxurious six-star suite at
Melbourne’s Crown Casino during the Spring Racing Carnival, where he
enjoyed complimentary French champagne, a private butler and free
drinks and food in a VIP lounge.

“Death at 150km/h” runs The Advertiser
today with the state grieving for rider Andy Caldecott. The 41-year-old
was killed during the notoriously dangerous Dakar Rally after hitting a
bump at an estimated 150km/h, flying over the handlebars and breaking
his neck.
In Western Australia, the State Government has demanded that John Howard intervene urgently
in the escalating illegal fishing crisis, amid revelations that it’s
costing WA taxpayers $24,000 a day to keep Indonesian fishermen in the
State’s prisons. There were 96 Indonesian fishermen in four jails from Albany to Broome
yesterday, with 76 of those jailed in the past week, each costing $250
a day to keep locked up, says The West.

And “PM’s brother facing jail,” in the NT News
which says that Stan Howard will be prosecuted for chopping down dozens
of endangered trees. Howard, who owns two adjoining properties in
Bowral in the NSW
Southern Highlands, faces a jail term or a hefty fine if found guilty
of knowingly cutting down the threatened species.