THE FRONT PAGES

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POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Australia

Immigration

Labor all at sea on asylum promises – The 78 asylum seekers aboard the Australian Customs vessel the Ocean Viking were condemned to another three days at sea last night after the ship was redirected to the remote Indonesian port of Tanjung Pinang – Sydney Morning Herald

Chaos as Jakarta diverts asylum boat – The the issue erupted in Federal Parliament, where Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull was forced to distance himself from a claim by maverick Liberal Wilson Tuckey that there could be terrorists on boats that come to Australia – Melbourne Age

PM Kevin Rudd’s $50m Indonesian solution – Kevin Rudd’s boatpeople strategy will cost more than $50 million to process asylum-seekers on Indonesian soil as the political row surrounding the nation’s border security escalates – The Australian

Terrorists ‘hiding’ with boat people – The Opposition attack on the Government’s handling of boat people has been sidetracked by claims that terrorists are hiding among the asylum seekers – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Wilson Tuckey rocks boat on border protection debate – Liberal MP Wilson Tuckey has lit a match under the nation’s explosive border protection debate, claiming unlawful boats on their way to Australia could have terrorists on board – Brisbane Courier Mail

Kevin Rudd to ponder citizenship laws as Sheik Haron accused of harassing dead Digger families – The case is certain to raise debate over whether migrants guilty of hate crimes against the nation should be deported, even if they have citizenship, but Mr Rudd said he could not comment immediately – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Political football

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Bid to install Howard as rugby league boss given boot – A push to appoint John Howard to a senior position administering rugby league has been torpedoed by the federal Labor minister and South Sydney Rabbitohs diehard Anthony Albanese – Sydney Morning Herald

091023sydneyteleLiberal Party chases Hazem El Masri – Retired rugby league star Hazem El Masri is the first target of a Liberal Party secret six-member “2011 Committee” hoping to wrest government from the struggling ALP – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Economic matters

Golden age ‘will stretch to 2050’: Ken Henry – Treasury chief Ken Henry has outlined a golden age for the Australian economy lasting to 2050 and beyond, as rapid population growth and Asian demand for resources bring a sustained surge of global investment – The Australian

Unemployment

Statistics hiding 50,000 jobless – Government ”earn-or-learn” policies are masking growing youth unemployment, with new analysis showing that more than 50,000 young people will no longer be included in statistics – Sydney Morning Herald

Pensions

Pension grab to be blocked – The Treasurer, Wayne Swan, will confront his state counterparts today over their plans to plunder the recent increases granted to pensioners by lifting rents for public housing – Sydney Morning Herald

Elections

Election spending record a year late – The Health Services Union has disclosed that it spent $599,184 on political campaigning and donations in the 2007 election year, with a significant slice of these funds believed to have been used to back its former national secretary, Craig Thomson, for the NSW Central Coast seat of Dobell – Sydney Morning Herald

Barry O’Farrell stoking the Liberal fires – Say what you like about Barry O’Farrell. Many have and many will. But he has quietly achieved in Opposition what Nathan Rees has failed to do in Government. He has unified his parliamentary wing and the party organisation – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Labor Party to unveil SA State Election 2010 policy – Economic growth and more jobs will be Labor’s prime objectives if it wins the State election in March. The SA Labor Party’s election platform – including pledges on tax, water, health and crime – will be finalised this weekend – Adelaide Advertiser

Spin

WA Govt under fire over 430 ‘spin doctors’ – The Barnett-Grylls Government is employing 430 “spin doctors” despite the Liberal Party attacking the former Labor government’s “propaganda” machine when it had 391 people working in the same jobs two years ago – The West Australian

Public service

091023SMHOfficials’ behaviour ‘unethical‘ – In his annual report, Bruce Barbour accused various agencies of withholding information, cited cases of police officers lying to protect one another from disciplinary action, and detailed an incident where WorkCover failed to protect the public from asbestos exposure – Sydney Morning Herald

Agencies criticised over FOI requests – The NSW Ombudsman’s annual report has condemned a number of agencies, including the Board of Studies and the Roads and Traffic Authority, for their handling of freedom-of-information requests – Sydney Morning Herald

How busy is Tim Fischer, senators ask – Coalition senators have vigorously attacked the role being played by the former National Party leader Tim Fischer as ambassador to the Vatican, saying their one-time colleague could hardly find enough to keep himself occupied there – Sydney Morning Herald

Our sexist public service – Contrary to State Government claims that it is achieving equality for women in the public service, South Australia’s efforts are falling behind those of other states. A national report by the West Australian director of equal opportunity – which ranks that state worst – shows SA has slipped from third best in filling senior executive positions with women to fifth best from 2006 to 2008 – Adelaide Advertiser

Local government

Abolish councils, make drivers pay – The Association of Consulting Engineers Australia yesterday released a radical proposal to transform the way housing, transport and utilities are planned, funded and developed, which they say would make Sydney the world’s most liveable city within 40 years – Sydney Morning Herald

Corruption

Nigeria to act on RBA bribe claim – Nigeria’s National Assembly is to investigate the country’s former central bank governor over allegations he was bribed to award a contract to a company controlled by the Reserve Bank of Australia – Melbourne Age

Health

Canberra ‘too remote’ to run state health – State Health Minister Daniel Andrews has cast doubt on Canberra’s ability to run Victoria’s health services, signalling a new level of opposition to a proposed federal takeover. In a speech yesterday, he painted the capital’s health bureaucrats as remote and incapable of understanding the day-to-day needs of patients – Melbourne Age

Transport

Charge for road use, Rees urged – A leading think tank has urged the NSW Government to ration the use of Sydney’s roads by introducing congestion charges – Sydney Morning Herald

Swanston Street ‘fix’ down to four options – Melbourne City Council yesterday released four design options to fix the trouble-plagued spine of the city, one of which will be used to develop the new Swanston Street plan – Melbourne Age

Defence

Military opts for US chopper – In a classified submission sent to defence ministers John Faulkner and Greg Combet, the military chiefs have opted for the US Navy’s MH-60R Seahawk as the best choice for the Royal Australian Navy’s new rotary wing anti-submarine warfare platform – The Australian

Computers

Kevin Rudd’s computer commitment to schools falls short – Only 150,000 of the nearly one million computers Prime Minister Kevin Rudd promised to Australian secondary students have arrived on school desks – Brisbane Courier Mail

Opinions

Fake-wrestling rivals box one another’s ears – Annabel Crabb reports in the Sydney Morning Herald on the phoney toughness in the war of words over people smuggling

Australians all let us react, says the right – Richard Ackland in the Sydney Morning Herald laments the nastiness of the phoney moral panic about boat people.

Pokies cap won’t stop problem gamblers – David Costello in the Sydney Morning Herald

A leaky boat to Indonesia seems Rudd’s preferred solution – General talk of a regional ‘framework’ is all the Government offers writes Michelle Grattan in the Melbourne Age

Coalition misses boat – Dennis Shanahan in The Australian sees the debate on asylum-seekers having the potential to fundamentally change the politics of border security and give Labor the upper hand. By using tough talk, Rudd is playing the hard man on populist appeal and, while his ministers talk about treating asylum-seekers humanely and with dignity, he’s catching the Coalition in a cleft stick while trying to appeal to both ends of his own support base.

Elsewhere

Iran

Russia steps in to take Iran’s nuclear fuel – Melbourne Age

BUSINESS

Don’t sell the farm, says BHP chairman – BHP Billiton chairman Don Argus has dramatically escalated the foreign investment debate, saying Australia needs to form fresh policies to ensure local investors are not squeezed out of the country’s natural resources as China and India prepare for a phase of growth even greater than the previous boom – The Australian

ENVIRONMENT

What a difference four degrees makes: warming’s extra toll – The British weather bureau’s Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction has produced a map charting the different regional temperature increases across the globe, if average global temperatures rise by four degrees due to unchecked global warming. The map shows temperature increases will vary significantly across different regions of the world, but that on average land surfaces would be 5.5 degrees warmer as early as 2050 – Sydney Morning Herald

Population growth ‘damaging’ – Australia will struggle to deal with the environment challenges thrown up by its growing population, the Treasury Secretary, Ken Henry believes – Sydney Morning Herald

Emissions scheme compo limited – The Government’s emissions trading scheme is not a ”bottomless pit” of money, and Opposition amendments will have to be financially responsible, the Climate Change Minister, Penny Wong, warned yesterday – Sydney Morning Herald

Brumby in cash plea for polluters – The Rudd Government is considering giving extra compensation to Victoria’s high-polluting power stations after lobbying by the State Government, according to leaked documents – Melbourne Age

$47 million in rural drought help unveiled – Announcing the package during a flying visit to the Wimmera, Premier John Brumby said it showed the Government had stood by Victorian farmers throughout the extended drought – Melbourne Age

MEDIA

Ten spills red ink but expects upturn – Television broadcaster Ten Network says a sharp rebound is under way in the Australian economy. According to executive chairman Nick Falloon, “positive signs have increased” in recent weeks in advertising, and Ten was likely to return to profitability next year – The Australian

Two new free-to-air digital channels for television – Viewers will have two more free-to-air digital channels by the end of the year, with ABC TV last night announcing a launch date for ABC3 and the Seven Network expected to name its new channel this morning – Brisbane Curier Mail

LIFE

Universities

Uni dream fades for strapped students – Poor students and those from regional and remote areas are finding the dream of going to university more elusive than ever and entry to elite Sydney institutions virtually impossible – Sydney Morning Herald

Religion

Clergy unite over human rights charter – The nation’s most powerful church leaders have united in a bid to scuttle efforts to create a national charter of human rights, warning the Rudd government it could curtail religious freedoms and give judges the power to shape laws on issues such as abortion and gay marriage – The Australian

The drink and other drugs

No alcopop tax link to drug use – The SA State Government has denied claims that the illicit drug problem among young people is worsening – Adelaide Advertiser

Children as young as 10 treated for drug and alcohol abuse – Children as young as 10 are being treated for amphetamine, cannabis and alcohol abuse as the number of Australians needing detox escalates – Melbourne Herald Sun

Polo

James Packer’s £20m polo plan opens old wounds in the countryside – The village of Selham, with its tiny 11th-century church, pub and scattering of houses, is a world away from the yachts and casinos that James Packer, the billionaire Australian businessman, is used to. But the son of Kerry Packer, the late media tycoon, is facing a showdown with the residents after he choose the West Sussex village as the site for a £20 million polo centre – London Daily Telegraph

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