The drink

PM urges harder line on pub, club hours – Kevin Rudd says he wants state governments to limit opening hours of pubs and clubs, saying it is time to take “a harder line” against venues being able to sell alcohol until 7am. In a tirade yesterday against street violence, the Prime Minister, who has no responsibility for liquor licensing laws, also said family breakdown and the internet were creating a period of “social transition”, which young people needed assistance to properly handle – The Australian

Rudd ponders causes of violence – The pace of family life, driving young people to spend more time with their friends, could be behind an increase in alcohol-related violence, Kevin Rudd said yesterday –Melbourne Age

Elections and campaigning

Bad signs for schools building program – The Federal Government’s attempts to win electoral kudos for its schools building program have hit an embarrassing snag. More than 5000 signs outside schools spruiking the program will have to have stickers attached to ensure they comply with electoral law – Melbourne Age

School funding signs are ads: Australian Electoral Commission – The Australian Electoral Commission has embarrassed Kevin Rudd by ruling that more than 8000 signs being erected outside publicly funded school building projects are political advertisements – The Australian

ALP rifle range deal becomes a target – The residents of Hill Top need no reminding of the “bullets for votes” deal that has flourished under the NSW Labor government. It is there, in the picturesque Southern Highlands, that a government often reliant on the support of the Shooters Party to pass legislation has agreed to build a giant new $5 million shooting complex – The Australian

NSW paralysed as Shooters Party deal collapses – NSW is today a state in paralysis. The Rees Government is being held to ransom by two men who got just 0.61 per cent of the vote – The Shooters Party’s Robert Brown and Roy Smith – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Lawrence Springborg tutored by love doctor Jackie Furey – A love doctor was hired to teach former opposition leader Lawrence Springborg how to speak eloquently only months before he uttered his ill-fated “de-necessary” comment before the last election. The Bligh Government yesterday revealed in State Parliament the Liberal National Party last year hired Sydney-based psychotherapist Jackie Furey, the founder of self-help firm Bedrooms to Boardrooms – Brisbane Courier Mail

Economic matters

Tanner decries ‘chronic weaknesses’ in economy – A senior Rudd Government minister has expressed concern at ”chronic weaknesses” in the Australian economy, singling out a ”very large” current account deficit as an entrenched problem that needs tackling – Melbourne Age

Age cuts to family benefits on cards – Parents could start to lose family benefits as their children reach school age under reforms flagged by the Treasury Secretary, Ken Henry. He also canvassed partly replacing payments to disadvantaged families with an increase in the direct provision of services, such as childcare and parenting programs – Melbourne Age

Growth puts trade balance into redThe Australian

Call for stimulus exit strategy – Australia is proposing to the G20 an exit strategy for countries to withdraw from their large-scale economic stimulus as the international economy improves – Melbourne Age

Foreign affairs

Australia, Japan in nuclear rift – The split has emerged in talks at the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, a panel of experts put together by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd last year and jointly sponsored by Tokyo to chart ways to rid the world of nuclear arms. At issue is the ”first use” nuclear posture, under which nations such as the US declare the circumstances in which they would unleash a nuclear strike – Melbourne Age

Relations with China bungled: WA Premier – Amid simmering diplomatic tensions, Colin Barnett said governments had let relations with China sour by allowing its state-owned companies to make speculative mining deals and hostile takeovers. Instead, he said, China should have been courted as a long-term partner and invited to take modest stakes in some of the country’s top assets – Sydney Morning Herald

John Howard ministers took no advice before joining Iraq war – The Howard government actively discouraged official advice on whether Australia should commit to the Iraq war and was given no such advice, senior public servants who ran the departments of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Foreign Affairs and Defence have revealed – The Australian

Australians investigated over Kabul ‘deviancy’ – Several Australians are among a group of foreign security guards at the US embassy in Afghanistan who are being investigated over drunken and deviant parties – Melbourne Age

Industrial relations

PM backtracks on new award wage cuts – Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has turned the task of modernising industrial awards into an issue of intestinal fortitude, saying that at least his Government had the stomach to tackle what was a ”difficult, complex, arduous process” – Sydney Morning Herald

Unions accused of standover tactics on businessAdelaide Advertiser


Immigration plan brings Australia’s needs to the fore – officials are preparing a 50-year migration plan to ensure that intakes consider a range of long-term issues – Sydney Morning Herald

The public service

Cultural change and cuts to mark new bureaucracy – The public service is about to undergo a major overhaul with calls for cultural change and renewal, along with implications that the days of expansion are over and austerity will begin – Sydney Morning Herald

Top cop Andrew Scipione in serious trouble – NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione has been ordered to face the Industrial Relations Commission next week to explain why he should not be prosecuted after attacking the court for forcing him to take back officers sacked for misconduct – Sydney Daily Telegraph


Abortion case stirs calls for law overhaulSydney Morning Herald

Abortion decriminalisation ‘must wait’ – Anna Bligh has admitted being frustrated with her inability to decriminalise abortion but she won’t risk legislation that could be amended to make it harder for women to access terminations – Brisbane Courier Mail


090904agegrattanPaving the way to new prosperity – Two global meetings will place the PM at the forefront of discussions on the best economic strategy after recession writes Michelle Grattan in the Melbourne Age

Disarmament: words don’t match actions – Daniel Flitton in the Melbourne Age says Australia’s reliance on the US weakens its push to get rid of nuclear weapons.

An affair gone wrong exposes the changing politics of girth – Julie Szego explains how this throwaway line – ”Little do people know I’m losing weight to impress a young, skinny thing.” – was deemed worthy of headlines and made it into the top paragraphs of news stories, despite tough competition from other, more sordid details. Della Bosca’s body makeover became something of a metaphor for his duplicity and betrayal of trust – Melbourne Age

Cause to regret the whole affair – Richard Ackland in the Sydney Morning Herald writes how the Daily Telegraph seemed quite pleased with its handiwork, yesterday describing how the former minister cut a ”forlorn figure on the Government backbench”. What the paper may have done in its excitement is to add one more nail to the coffin of the ”Australia’s Right to Know” campaign.

Cooking up reasons for spending fiasco – Dennis Shanahan in The Australian tries to be humorous.

Shooters Party has just one issue – Rhett Watson explains in the Sydney Daily Telegraph how the Shooters Party is unashamedly a one-issue party – it has no interest in running the state of NSW and even less in delving into policy not directly related to the interests of its members. Its aim has been to relax gun laws, an issue that often left the State Government accused of doing exactly that to keep the Shooters on-side.


Economic matters

090904independenteconomicmatters1Keep spending – Darling warns G20 against complacency – In a stark message aimed at Germany and France, which want the G20 leading nations to discuss “exit strategies” from measures to stimulate their economies, Mr Darling insisted that governments must carry on spending to ensure the global economy returns to sustainable growth next year – The Independent

Leaders support Swan on stimulus – G-20 finance ministers meeting this weekend will back Wayne Swan’s claim that it is too soon to consider withdrawing economic stimulus measures, urging that the wind-back of emergency economic measures should be co-ordinated globally once economic recovery has become more firmly based – The Australian


Japan’s new PM talks up US relations – Japan’s incoming prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama, has vowed that relations with Washington will remain at the centre of the nation’s foreign policy, following his first talks with US President Barack Obama – Melbourne Age

United States

090904latimesObama’s big gamble on healthcare debate – Until now, Obama has avoided laying out a blueprint for healthcare, confining himself to statements of broad goals and leaving the particulars to Congress. White House officials said Wednesday that this strategy had helped keep the legislative wheels turning and avoid stalemate. But it also has left many of Obama’s supporters confused about where he stands and has given conservative critics a chance to seize control of the debate – Los Angeles Times


090904fintimesmyung-bakruddThe G20 can lead the way to balanced growthLee Myung-bak, president of South Korea, and Kevin Rudd, prime minister of Australia say developing a flexible framework for co-ordinated macroeconomic policy will be a central challenge for the G20 Financial Times of London


BHP’s good oil – When BHP Billiton’s Mike Yeager presents at next week’s Barclays investor conference in New York next week analysts and fund managers are likely to pay even more attention in the wake of BP’s discovery of a new giant deepwater oilfield in the Gulf of Mexico – Business Spectator

Storm made secret CBA deal – A secret deal between Commonwealth Bank and Storm Financial has been revealed as a factor behind $3 billion in investor losses – Melbourne Age

Storm Financial boss Emmanuel Cassimatis provides no answersBrisbane Courier Mail

Coles joins rush into selling general insurance The Australian


Carbon scandal snares Australian – An Australian company has been swept up in a $100 million carbon trading scandal in Papua New Guinea that threatens to undermine efforts by Climate Change Minister Penny Wong to win support at UN climate talks for a global carbon trading scheme that would include forests in countries such as PNG and Indonesia – Melbourne Age

How the White House Garden grows – The White House has released a more than seven minute-long Web video about the development of the White House kitchen garden and the role of students from Bancroft Elementary School in farming it. “Part of the message is that if the president of the United States can sit down with his family and have dinner, hopefully more families will find time to do the same thing,” said first lady Michelle Obama in the video, which she narrated with White House chef Sam Kass – Washington Post

Call by Nick Xenophon to freeze Murray River water licencesThe Australian



Hate-speech law violates Charter rights, tribunal rules – The development could give more ammunition to those who complain that the Canadian Human Rights Commission, which refers cases to the tribunal, is engaging in censorship by attempting to restrict what people say on the Internet – Toronto Globe & Mail

Stars’ salaries slashed at Channel Nine – Kerri-Anne Kennerley will be the first of Channel 9’s stars to front the network’s razor gang as it tries to claw back $20 million – Sydney Daily Telegraph



090904chicagosuntimescatholicsChurch plea: Come back : $1.3m Ad Blitz | Dioceses seek to draw ‘lapsed’ Catholics to mass – Calling all “lapsed” Catholics: There are plenty of empty pews waiting for you. That’s the message Roman Catholic leaders in Chicago, Rockford and Joliet plan to hit the airwaves with in a $1.3 million end-of-the-year TV ad blitz aimed at bringing the fallen away back to the flock Chicago Sun Times


Freeways no magic time-saving bullet – Billions of dollars spent building freeways across Melbourne since 1995 have failed to deliver the spectacular time savings promised to justify their construction, a study to be published today shows – Melbourne Age


HIV-positive and they don’t know it – One in five gay men who are HIV-positive is unaware they have the infection, research suggests – Melbourne Age

Law and order

Slain developer feared ‘hit’ – A shooting in Cremorne leads the way in the Sydney Morning Herald

Tasers face ban after findings they can kill – The controversial Taser stun guns may be scrapped in Queensland after a review warned that the weapons could kill and could not be modified to prevent a repeat of the death of a man this year when he was shot 28 times with the 50,000-volt device – The Australian

Judge bans campaign against child abuse in Wangaratta – Police have removed flyers promoting White Balloon Day from the windows of pubs, shops, offices and cafes in Wangaratta – Melbourne Herald Sun

Intellectual property

Uni loses case on inventions – A landmark ruling that individual academics, and not their universities, own intellectual property over their inventions has been upheld by the full bench of the Federal Court – The Australian

Swine flu

Vaccine indemnity guarantee ends fightSydney Morning Herald