THIS MORNING’S FRONT PAGES

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POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Australia

Property development

Richardson refuses to name official mentioned in mystery McGurk tapeSydney Morning Herald

Lifestyles of the rich and infamous – The assassination of such a low-life character as Michael McGurk in such a high-life suburb as Cremorne was always going to focus attention on the city’s different tribes, but now Sydney and the State Labor Government have become a free-fire zone mixing unfounded gossip and claims of graft and corruption – Sydney Morning Herald

Scotland Yard called in over McGurk execution – A British millionaire has been given police protection in England amid fears for his life as Scotland Yard has become involved in investigating the execution of Sydney businessman Michael McGurk – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Corruption

Gordon Nuttall’s betrayer gets plum project – The Labor-connected businessman who allegedly bribed jailed former Queensland minister Gordon Nuttall to win government work has just been awarded a $430,000 contract by the Bligh government to upgrade Cairns prison – The Australian

Queensland mum and dads into the sewer with ALP mates – The company at the centre of the new corruption charges against Gordon Nuttall has a mix of strong Labor links and mum and dad investors – The Australian

Political lurks and perks

MPs pay for misusing perks – The Rudd Government has taken the axe to the generous printing entitlements of politicians and given notice of broader reforms by commissioning a six-month review of all other perks, including travel allowances. The announcement coincided with the publication yesterday of a report by the federal Auditor-General that found the printing allowance was widely misused – Sydney Morning Herald

Rorting MPs to lose their perksThe Australian

Education

Private schools’ cash boost – Victoria’s wealthiest private schools are set to receive massive increases in federal funding, with some to get more than 20 per cent extra over four years despite enrolments rising only marginally by comparison – Melbourne Age

Gambling

Auditor to assess gambling watchdog’s clout – Auditors have been called in to assess the role of Victoria’s gambling watchdog in the lead-up to an overhaul of pokies licences and amid criticism that it lacks any real independence or power – Melbourne Age

Lobbyists

Lobbyists dump jobs to pocket state cash – Several Labor-linked lobbyists have decided to quit their roles as professional middle men to remain on the State Government’s payroll – Brisbane Courier Mail

Senate inquiry

ACCC spent $5m on fees for doomed grocery site – Criticisms of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s management of Grocery Watch, and its reincarnation as the independently run Grocery Choice, have been made in a submission to a Senate inquiry into the events leading up to the Federal Government’s sudden decision to scrap the project, five days before its remodelled version was to be launched by the consumer group Choice on July 1 – Sydney Morning Herald

Political life

Win back Bennelong: Costello’s advice to Howard’s right-hand man – The Sydney Morning Herald uses the news pages to plug Peter Costello’s weekly column further inside.

Law and order

Revealed: terrorist threat on our docks – Convicted criminals who pose a terrorist or organised crime risk are free to work on Australia’s ports due to gaping holes in the nation’s maritime security, according to a report commissioned by the Federal Government – Sydney Morning Herald

Immigration

Liberal senator crosses the floor on refugee bill – A lone Liberal senator, Judith Troeth, crossed the floor of Federal Parliament to scrap the debts only Australia imposed on people owed protection. But the retiring senator’s move captured the sentiment of more within her party but whose political ambitions stopped them from following her – Sydney Morning Herald

Visa bungle forced top US surgeon Frank Trost outBrisbane Courier Mail

Privatisation

NSW Lotteries a sure thing – The NSW Government has broken the legislative drought on its privatisation moves with the Opposition giving it the green light to sell the rights to run NSW Lotteries for the next 40 years for a potential jackpot price of up to $600 million – Sydney Morning Herald

State lotteries may go offshore under new deal – Overses bids will be considered when the $600 million sale of NSW Lotteries proceeds early next year, the State Government conceded yesterday – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Nathan Rees privatises NSW state lotteriesThe Australian

Whistleblowers

Protect whistleblower, unions urge – The head of the union representing thousands of airport workers has called for the federal government to ensure that whistleblower Allan Kessing is not prosecuted a second time for leaking a report on airport security – The Australian

Economic matters

PM defends stimulus: danger of a double dipSydney Morning Herald

Currency, shares pushed to new highs – Investors are backing Australia as the world’s standout economy, pushing shares and the dollar to new highs while business confidence has soared to its best level since 2003 – The Australian

Battle over stimulus spree as economy soars – A flood of good economic news, including a six-year high in business confidence, a surging sharemarket and the continued march of the Australian dollar, has intensified pressure on Kevin Rudd to scale back economic stimulus spending – The Australian

Queensland tipped to lead the way in economic recovery Brisbane Courier Mail

Parents want to refuse Sydney school grant – A group of parents is considering boycotting the Rudd government’s school building program and sending back its $2.5 million grant in protest at being forced to knock down a building of four classrooms to build a new block of four classrooms – The Australian

Schools stimulus wasted on feesAdelaide Advertiser

Chemical plant Huntsman hit hard by recession – Australia may have avoided a “technical recession” in the mind of the Treasurer, but 325 sullen faces at a Brooklyn chemical plant paint a much harsher reality – Melbourne Herald Sun

Opinions

Once more with Fielding, a spellbinding display – Annabel Crabb in the Sydney Morning Herald picks on the day’s easy target

Steve Fielding’s disability – Christian Kerr shows no mercy in The Australian

Steven Fielding’s learning secret is no shame – Neil Mitchell in the Melbourne Herald Sun reckons it says something of the blood sport that is Australian politics that the Family First senator became a target for sniggering and sniping after he stumbled through a speech in which he sounded half drunk, and then conducted a door-stop interview in which he confused the words “fiscal” and “physical”.

Memo to future MPs: don’t leave your run too late – Peter Costello writing in the Sydney Morning Herald has some not so subtle digs at Liberal Party associates.

090909smhgittinsNo such thing as a free market – Ross Gittins tells us in the Sydney Morning Herald. They need to operate within a government-imposed framework and be diligently regulated to ensure rules are obeyed.

Why the PM stands by his man – Peter Van Onselen in The Australian looks at evidence in Ruddspeak of his economics adviser Andrew Charlton but concludes that the era of conviction politicians might be over.

Rudd aims spear at Liberals’ heart – Paul Kelly in The Australian says in his his latest fashioning of a political narrative Kevin Rudd has located his government in the Hawke-Keating reform tradition and seeks to de-legitimise the Howard era from any claim on Australia’s economic and social success.

Labor’s way of silencing debt dissent – is described by Janet Albrechtsen in The Australian

Elsewhere

Afghanistan

Watchdog orders Afghan recount – Afghanistan’s independent election watchdog ordered a nationwide audit and recount of the August presidential poll last night after confirming what most already suspected – the country’s democratic elections were subject to widespread fraud – The Australian

Opinions

Karzai’s victory has stench of fraud – writes William Maley in The Australian

ENVIRONMENT

Victorian State Government could ban watering gardens as water runs outMelbourne Herald Sun

MEDIA

Kyle Sandilands offends again stating Magda Szubanksi could be skinny if in concentration campSydney Daily Telegraph

LIFE

Love in the noughties

Unprotected sex blamed as rate of infection rises – latest part of Sydney Morning Herald survey

The drink

Ivy, Star City on violent venue list – Justin Hemmes’s mega-club, the Ivy, and Star City will have to enforce 2am lockouts and will need to serve alcohol in plastic glasses from midnight after being identified as two of the most violent clubs in the state – Sydney Morning Herald

Grog runners use kids to hide booze – Grog runners are using children to hide alcohol they are trying to smuggle into liquor-free remote NT communities – Northern Territory News

Women have highest blood alcohol readingsSydney Daily Telegraph

The punt

Betting auditor queries tanking – The AFL’s annual tanking debate was taken to a new level yesterday with the revelation the Victorian government’s sports betting authority has sent two letters seeking assurances from the league to safeguard the integrity of the code – The Australian

Help call as rural pokies take hold – An increase in poker-machine spending in SA rural areas has sparked calls for more help services in the country – Adelaide Advertiser

Home delivery

090909ntnewspizza4-year-old ‘held ransom’ for pizzaNorthern Territory News

Clubs

Last drinks feared for ailing city clubs – Sydney’s inner-city licensed clubs are at risk of extinction, with more than a dozen forced to close and those that remain having to sell the farm to avoid going under. The impact of increased competition, the indoor smoking ban and the changing tastes of inner-city workers have led to the number of clubs there halving since 1999, and the attrition rate shows no signs of slowing – Sydney Morning Herald

Equal opportunity

Defence scientists to work out suitable jobs for women – The Government has called in its scientific big guns to think about what front-line jobs women should be doing in the armed forces – Sydney Morning Herald

Push for women on defence front line – Women should be able to serve in all frontline combat units of the Australian Defence Force, including the SAS and commando units, under a controversial plan that could avert a looming recruitment crisis – The Australian

Fatigue

Doctors, nurses fighting fatigue Adelaide Advertiser