THIS MORNING’S FRONT PAGES

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POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Australia

Political corruption

Inquiry chief Tony Fitzgerald QC says Joh-era lessons forgottenThe Australian

Corruption fighter sees sordid history being repeated – Tony Koch of The Australian chats with the former corruption commissioner.

Political donations

Inquiry into meetings with politicians – the widespread practice of paying for face time with politicians will be investigated by Queensland’s anti-corruption body – Sydney Morning Herald

Bligh set to probe Queensland’s political donorsThe Australian

Lobbying

Labor insider’s shelf company paid $1m – Queensland head of former deputy premier Jim Elder’s powerful lobbying outfit collected a secret $1 million success fee, supposedly for helping shift $100m worth of superannuation funds to a company chaired by former treasurer Keith De Lacy – The Australian

Economic matters

Rate rise looming, warns top banker – dollar soared and financial markets began pricing in interest rate rises after the Reserve Bank governor declared that he will soon have to push up rates and that he might do so without waiting for unemployment to stop climbing – Sydney Morning Herald

Stevens hints on rates, warns on housing – The RBA governor warns it will be “disturbing” if money pumped into the property market lifts prices without enough new homes being built – Melbourne Herald Sun

Health system

High cost of health reform puts insurance rebate under scrutinySydney Morning Herald

Hospitals to divide and conquer waiting lists – Elective surgery patients will be directed to specialist surgical units outside their local area under a statewide reorganisation that could reap NSW bonus payments from the Federal Government – Sydney Morning Herald

Medibank will remain public: ALPSydney Morning Herald

Doctors challenge Rudd prescription for change – doctors challenged the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, and federal Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, yesterday to detail how they would implement sweeping health system reforms without pulling money out of public hospitals – Sydney Morning Herald

Brumby to wait and see on health plan – Melbourne Age

Political life

Mad monk bags a model for book launch – Sarah Murdoch launched Tony Abbott’s book Battlelines at the Wharf Restaurant yesterday. More obvious choices for the role, John Howard and Malcolm Turnbull, cheered from the sidelines over lunch at Lucio’s later – Sydney Morning Herald

Battlelines drawn early for Mr People Skills – Annabel Crabb goes to a book launch for the Sydney Morning Herald and finds Tony Abbott’s celibacy adviser

Blokes tipping the scales of Labor’s Right – As the factions gear up for this week’s ALP national conference, a tussle is under way inside the Right over who to elect to the party’s powerful national executive – Sydney Morning Herald

Theophanous call to clarify probe – Victoria Police have refused to clarify whether Labor MP Theo Theophanous is being investigated for interfering with witnesses after rape allegations against him were thrown out by a Melbourne magistrate last week – Melbourne Age

Union rivalry turns violent in office stairwell – One of Victoria’s most powerful unions is in chaos after a fight broke out yesterday between two of its leaders – Melbourne Age

State and Commonwealth ministers re-announce projects – State and Commonwealth ministers have used the Federal Government’s Community Cabinet in Adelaide to announce and re-announce a series of projects – Adelaide Advertiser

Public service

Public service looks offshore to recruit senior bureaucrats – The Federal Government has hired an international recruitment firm to drag in employees for top positions in several departments, including Prime Minister and Cabinet, Treasury and Finance – Sydney Morning Herald

Race relations

Indian media in overdrive on ‘racism’ Melbourne Age reports Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has been lambasted on one of India’s most popular television channels amid more reports about violence against Indians in Australia.

My attacker was Indian, says victim of ‘racist’ assaultThe Australian

Education

University of Melbourne axes 220 jobs to cut lossesThe Australian

College collapse puts visas at risk – Hundreds of international students at a Sydney vocational college that went into administration on Monday night have expressed their anger at “dodgy” education providers and claimed the lack of industry regulation was damaging Australia’s reputation overseas – The Australian

Terrorism

MCG bomb plotter pleads guilty – A Melbourne man, Shane Kent, has pleaded guilty in the Victorian Supreme Court to being a member of a terrorist organisation and being involved in preparing a terrorist act – Sydney Morning Herald

Security checks at ports not up to scratch – Melbourne Age

Aboriginal affairs

NT rule ‘hinges on homes plan’ – The survival of the Northern Territory Labor government depends on the progress of a $700million housing program, NT Indigenous Affairs Minister Alison Anderson has warned in an extraordinary challenge to the chief minister – The Australian

Bring in ‘black cards’ Cairns Post reports that Aboriginal leaders are split on calls for the introduction of a black card requiring all government and non government workers to undertake cultural courses before working in remote communities.

‘Black card’ cultural courses for workers at Aboriginal communities – Brisbane Courier Mail

Opinions

PM solving the wrong problem – Paul Kelly in The Australian says Kevin Rudd’s recovery plan of a decade of public-sector led nation building suggests he will not use the recession to reform.

Rudd’s stab at the pain barrier – Ross Gittins in the Sydney Morning Herald is not yet convinced we we on the cusp of achieving the big improvements in health care most of us have long believed necessary. For him, Kevin Rudd has established a record of over-promising and under-delivering.

Pursuing the churches over human rights is contradictory – Peter Costello in the Melbourne Age (and the SMH) fears a proposed charter may be used to curtail religious freedom.

Fitzgerald watchdog defanged by Beattie – writes Tony Koch in The Australian

Education debacle to cost us badly – Luke Slattery in The Australian writes that by By failing to act decisively to protect the welfare and interests of overseas students, federal and state education authorities have allowed a debacle in the vocational training sector to tarnish the entire university system.

The hate that dare not speak its name – Janet Albrechtsen wants someone to kindly lock up the language police for crimes against the English language – The Australian

Elsewhere

Opinions

Foreign media prod Italians awake – Paolo Totaro in the Sydney Morning Herald explains it is not the Italian media but the front pages and editorials of the main newspapers of the rest of Europe, America and even Australia that have reignited the debate in Italy about Berlusconi’s media and political hegemony.

BUSINESS

Guarantee’s time is up: RBA – Australia’s banks are under mounting pressure from the Reserve Bank to wean themselves off a government guarantee that has given them one of the cheapest funding sources in the world – Melbourne Age

India hungry for our coking coal assetsThe Australian

NAB breaks ranks on fees – National Australia Bank will court favour with the federal government and 700,000 of its customers today by announcing the removal of highly unpopular dishonour fees on overdrawn savings and transaction accounts – The Australian

NAB leads way on cutting account costs – Sydney Daily Telegraph

ENVIRONMENT

US, China push issue of climate change – The chief US climate negotiator, Todd Stern, has given his most bullish prediction yet of a successful outcome at the forthcoming Copenhagen meeting, saying China is equally keen to achieve a new climate treaty – Sydney Morning Herald

Coal exemption would cost $10 billion – Exempting the coal industry from the emissions trading scheme would cost the scheme $10 billion in revenue over 10 years and force the Federal Government to either cut compensation to households and other sectors or take money from the budget, Government experts say – Sydney Morning Herald

Australia one of worst animal destroyersSydney Morning Herald

MEDIA

Chaser’s Chas bows out with Botox – The Chaser’s Chas Licciardello is going all out for the comedy group’s last TV episode tomorrow, with a cosmetic makeover including more than 30 Botox injections. Licciardello has had 34 Botox injections, eight Restylane lip injections, teeth whitening, four coats of spray tan, hair and eyebrow bleaching, and leg and chest waxing. But only on one side of his body – Melbourne Age

LIFE

Animals

Tuck into Skippy, he’s off the menu in Russia – We could soon be urged to eat roo for Australia, as the kangaroo meat industry looks for a lifeline after its export market collapsed – Sydney Morning Herald

Wool industry abandons mulesing deadlineSydney Morning Herald

Road safety

School zone signs to be replaced – NRMA says as many as 20,000 of the NSW’s 22,000 school zone signs may not reach the Australian standard for visibility after a study in the St George area revealed fewer than one in 10 signs met the criteria – Sydney Morning Herald

Weather

State faces ‘worst-ever’ fire seasonMelbourne Age

Daylight saving

Summer is too long, NSW farners saySydney Daily Telegraph

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