THE FRONT PAGES

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POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Australia

Elections

Dig dirt, Turnbull office urges – Malcolm Turnbull’s office has been been advising Coalition press secretaries to demonise special interest groups and attack public servants as fat cats. A leaked email from the Opposition Leader’s office, obtained yesterday by The Australian, also urged press secretaries to feed the perception that politicians were like pigs with their “snouts in the trough” – The Australian

New boundaries make things tougher for Coalition – The final boundaries for next year’s election mean the embattled Coalition has to win several more seats than under the old boundaries, although there has been little change in the swing it needs – Melbourne Age

Immigration

UN puts Rudd policies in spotlight – Kevin Rudd’s mmigration policies are set to come under scrutiny from the United Nations and a leading international human rights group in a move that could affect the Government’s quest to improve Australia’s global standing – Sydney Morning Herald

Law and order

ACC rapped over file on ex-minister – Australia’s elite crime-fighting agency should reform its handling of top secret information, according to an inquiry into the creation and leaking of a file that documented the personal habits and views of a cabinet minister – Melbourne Age

Education

School heads to get more control – State education departments should hand control of school finances and the power to hire teachers to principals and school boards, reversing a century of bureaucratic stranglehold over the running of schools. A federal government report, released to The Australian, argues that the starting point in school governance should devolve decision-making to the school level, allowing principals to respond to the individual needs of the students and their communities – The Australian

School textbook ‘fuels anti- Semitism’ – The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies has asked for the immediate withdrawal of a book that schools use as an HSC text, which it says contains anti-Semitic slurs – Sydney Morning Herald

Principals demand smaller class sizes – NSW primary school principals will press the State Government to reduce class sizes for students in years three to six, following the successful reduction in those for the earlier grades – Sydney Morning Herald

Industrial relations

Qantas hits TWU for strike compo – The nation’s workplace watchdog has joined with Qantas in a bid to have significant financial penalties imposed on a major union and its senior officials for authorising industrial action over security concerns at four capital city airports – The Australian

Development

Police investigate ‘bribe’ linked to asbestos – Victoria Police has been formally asked to investigate allegations of bribery and corruption at the Mercy Hospital site in East Melbourne after a secret recording implicated a prominent developer in a $57,000 ”bribe” offer – Melbourne Age

Infrastructure

Labor claims credit for Howard work – Nerly three-quarters of projects claimed by the Rudd government as evidence of its delivery of major new infrastructure were conceived by John Howard – The Australian

Apologies

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to apologise to Forgotten Australians who grew up in brutal institutionsSydney Daily Telegraph

Political lurks and perks

MPs pay soars but Senate sitting days to be cut – MPs’ pay has soared more than $40,000 in a decade but the Senate is set to sit for just 50 days next year – Melbourne Herald Sun

Security

Accused terrorist allegedly thanked Allah for Victoria’s Black Saturday bushfires – The shocking claim was revealed in court documents as four men were sent for trial accused of plotting a suicide mission to kill soldiers at an Australian army base – Melbourne Herald Sun

Opinions

Let’s see some real differences in policy direction – writes Malcolm Colless in The Australian as the opposition will face a long spell in the wilderness until it works out what it stands for

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd shelters behind asylum mantra – Dennis Atkins in the Brisbane Courier Mail says trust, conviction and credibility are gold for leaders, which is why Kevin Rudd keeps refusing to apologise for his asylum seeker policies.

Powerbrokers choke growth of our cities – Michael Stutchbury writes in The Australian that Australia’s infrastructure bottlenecks already are destabilising the national economy through rising house prices. This disturbing development risks pushing up interest rates higher in the short term while raising seriouslonger-term doubts about how our cities will accommodate the projected 60 per cent increase in the nation’s population over the next four decades.

We failed the GFC test – says Tim COlebatch in the Melbourne Age because a policy of adding more and more debt is foolhardy.

PM makes no apologies for being unapologetic – Annabel Crabb in the Sydney Morning Herald notes that Kevin Rudd has become increasingly, even defiantly unrepentant.

Wielding the whip on asylum seekers: both sides have done it – Gerard Henderson in the Sydney Morning Herald writes that the task facing Kevin Rudd over asylum seekers is not an easy one. Yet Rudd Labor has demonstrated its ability to run a consistent political line. The Liberal Party, under Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership, has had much more difficulty in presenting a coherent case.

Elsewhere

US health care

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Insurers poised to reap benefits from healthcare overhaul – The specifics of the healthcare legislation are still being hashed out on Capitol Hill, and key details will evolve in the days ahead. Even so, there is broad agreement that the final plan will, for the first time, require Americans to buy health coverage, with taxpayer subsidies for millions who cannot afford it. For the health insurance industry, that means millions of new paying customers – Los Angeles Times

BUSINESS

Macquarie takes big hit in Europe – The value of Macquarie Group’s billions of dollars worth of holdings in debt-laden infrastructure funds faces renewed pressure following the sale of a stake in one of its flagship European funds at a discount of nearly 15 per cent to a valuation made just months ago – Sydney Morning Herald

TAC in $2m contract furore – The Transport Accident Commission awarded a $2 million contract to a consulting firm associated with one of its directors without a tender process, prompting conflict-of-interest claims – Melbourne Age

Westpac group executive Peter Hanlon admits shutting down bank branches was wrong Sydney Daily Telegraph

Investors rush Myer float in $1bn grab for stakeThe Australian

ENVIRONMENT

$2bn threat from rising oceans – More than 80,000 coastal buildings in Victoria are at risk and large parts of Western Port are likely to be swamped as climate change triggers rising seas, floods and erosion, a report to Federal Parliament has warned – Melbourne Age

Make evacuation plans – Urgent action to cope with the impact of rising sea levels needs to start now, including improving evacuation routes for coastal communities during extreme storms and flooding. As well, a sweeping federal parliamentary report calls for an overhaul of the building code to make homes more resilient and for the legal liability for future property losses to be sorted out – Sydney Morning Herald

Queensland coastline has perilous future under climate changeBrisbane Courier Mail

Beachfront blitz to curb development – A Federal parliamentary report has flagged new powers that would allow Canberra to block what it sees as inappropriate beachfront developments – The Australian

Industry anger at bluefin tuna cut – The Rudd government has welcomed a decision to drastically slash Australia’s lucrative southern bluefin tuna catch, despite criticism from the fishing industry that it unfairly penalises local efforts to boost fish stocks while letting Japanese overfishing off the hook – The Australian

MEDIA

WSJ editor lowers boom on Google’s news ‘promiscuity’ – Wall Street Journal managing editor Robert Thomson has again opened fire on Google, accusing the internet giant of promoting online news reading “promiscuity” – The Australian

LIFE

The punt

Punters are tipped to splurge a record $1.67 billion on the four-day Flemington racing carnivalMelbourne Herald Sun

A tale of two cities

Cut speed to let our cyclists live – Speed limits on some arterial roads should be reduced to 50km/h and all residential areas should be 40km/h, Bicycle SA says – Adelaide Advertiser

Bus driver should be trained in self-defence after vicious assault by cyclist – Sydney Daily Telegraph also is running a poll asking readers: Who annoys you more cyclists or bus drivers?

Real estate

Strong auction clearances give Reserve Bank further reason to lift official interest rateThe Australian reports that strong weekend for property auctions has intensified pressure on the Reserve Bank to increase interest rates.

Fats

Carr spitting chips over the use of ‘killer’ trans fats – Former NSW Premier Bob Carr has declared war on killer cooking fat, and the former premier has his sights on fish and chip shops and charcoal chicken stores. He wants local councils to make take away shops promise not to use trans fats for deep or shallow frying when preparing food in order to get development consent – Sydney Morning Herald

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