In the latest scandal to hit the privatised Job Network
scheme ­­– Australia’s biggest employment agency – an investigation has seen
the Salvation Army’s Employment Plus repay $9 million in taxpayer-funded grants
designed to assist the unemployed, reportsThe
Australian
today.

The saddest federal electorate is in the heart of well-to-do
Sydney
,
while the happiest voters live in one of the nation’s poorest rural
electorates, Queensland’s Wide Bay – so says the first electorate-based
national index of wellbeing, compiled by Deakin University, says the paper.

Meanwhile, Victoria
has cracked the prize of Australia’s
happiest state, reportsThe Age.

And don’t mention global warming, that’s the tip from senior
scientist and internationally recognised expert on climate change Graeme
Pearman, who told The Age there was increasing pressure in Australia on researchers whose work or
professional opinions were not in line with the Federal Government’s ideology.
A charge Environment Minister Ian Campbell has since denied.

“D-Day for Bali 9,” says The
Sydney Morning Herald
, reporting that all nine of the young Australians
arrested last April on heroin smuggling charges are due to learn their verdicts
and sentences over the next three days, starting with 28-year-old Renae
Lawrence today, who is expected to get 20 years.

In other news, the skeleton of a man has been discovered on
a bed in a Sydney housing
commission apartment, believed to be that of a 62-year-old man who died some
six months ago, says the SMH.

In NSW, gamblers are now flushing $4.8 billion a year down
the drain on poker machines, saysThe Daily Telegraph. But it’s not all
bad: Russell Crowe made it to Homebush yesterday to help pal Peter Holmes a
Court launch their $3m bid for rugby league team South Sydney.

“Open door jail,”
says the Herald Sun‘s front page, the
paper reporting that a brutal young granny-killer has been allowed to leave a youth jail at
least 85 times. Meanwhile, fire fighters were battling to control blazes near the Victorian towns of Beechworth and Yea, last
night.

Just when you though Halliburton was America’s problem,
drilling company Halliburton Australia has allegedly paid imported Indonesian
workers as little as $40 a day to dig ditches in the South Australian desert,
reportsThe Advertiser.

The Courier-Mail reports Queensland Premier Peter Beattie’s in a little bit of strife after he
was caught on camera slagging off his Deputy Premier, Anna Bligh, to
NSW leader Morris Iemma last Friday. Beattie was caught mouthing off to Iemma about
Bligh, saying: “She’s Deputy Premier and Treasurer and every other piece of s – -t I didn’t want.”

Cheap airfares and friendly locals will likely lead to Singapore
becoming the new “home away from home” for many Territorians, reports
the Northern Territory News.

“Bigger fines for rich drivers,” leads this morning’s Mercury,
which reports how richer drivers may be forced to pay more for their
speeding and traffic fines than those who are less affluent. The Greens
have called for a government investigation to see whether the proposal
is feasible.

“Kids, 13, hooked on flood of speed,” reports today’s West Australian.
A flood of cheap amphetamines has caused a huge drug problem in the
state, and has seen an influx of affected people streaming into mental
health clinics and hospitals.

Peter Fray

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