Australian government officials have known for at least five years that
Saddam Hussein was corrupting the ‘oil-for-food’ program, reportsThe Australian.
An AWB senior exec told the Cole inquiry that he discussed Saddam’s
demands for cash with a DFAT official in March 2001, directly
contradicting the government’s claims that it was unaware of the
corruption until last October.

The SMH
leads with the news
that Thomas Towle, the driver responsible for the deaths of six teenagers in
Mildura on Sunday, has appeared in court at least eight times since
1992 for driving while disqualified, and may have had his four-year-old
son sitting
on his lap at the time of the crash.
And the skeleton of a man,
the second in a week, has been found in his home in Sydney, sparking
criticism of the support networks available for the elderly in NSW.

And tributes for the young
victims of the Victorian road tragedy continue to flow in, reports The Daily Telegraph.

Shocking allegations of rape and abuse in nursing
homes has led to calls for mandatory reporting of abuse of aged care residents, reportsThe Age. And Ian Thorpe
has been struck down by illness, throwing his Commonwealth Games
preparation, and his sponsorship engagements, into disarray.

The Herald Sun
leads with the Mildura accident before reporting
the bizarre tale of a cross-dressing bank-robber, who roller bladed
into a suburban branch of the NAB yesterday, armed with a pistol and
demanding cash. The bandit wore a “striking white dress with a floral
pattern” but was clearly a man, witnesses said.

The Courier-Mail
also leads with the Mildura accident, and
follows with a report on a postgrad student who left Queensland’s University of
Technology in frustration after a marking fiasco in which one lecturer told him
to produce “more smarter writing” and another questioned the use of the terms
Yin and Yang, believing they were surnames.

The ANU has secured $770,000 in federal funding to study bird-flu, reportsTheCanberra Times.

The SA State Government can look forward to some extra pocket-money
– a tax windfall of $314 million over the next four years, according to
The Advertiser.

And The Mercury reports that Gunns Limited have threatened to take their business (and their pulp mill) elsewhere in the event of a hung government.

Supporters of a deregulated potato market are planning to march on
State Parliament next week demanding that the Potato Marketing
Corporation be abolished, says The West Australian. This is serious business.

The Northern Territory risks losing hundreds of dollars in funding from
the Federal Government if Victoria and New South Wales have their way,
reports the NT News.

Peter Fray

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