Your problem: Jakarta – The 78 asylum seekers moored off the Riau Islands are Australia’s problem, a senior Indonesian official said yesterday, insisting its policy of not forcing them to disembark reflected the human rights values that Australia is always urging the country to embrace – Melbourne Age

Kids destined for detention: Jakarta – Senior Indonesian officials have rejected outright a claim by Kevin Rudd that women and children asylum-seekers aboard the Oceanic Viking could be accommodated in regular housing, rather than behind razor wire in an Australian-funded detention centre – The Australian

Caucus united on refugees – Despite increasing political tension surrounding the Oceanic Viking standoff, Kevin Rudd’s caucus has been remarkably united on the Prime Minister’s handling of the issue – The Australian

Refugees Howard rejected are back – Refugee status has been granted to boatpeople who made return voyages to Australia after they were paid by the Howard government in 2002 to abandon their claims for asylum and voluntarily return home during the Tampa crisis – The Australian

Budgetary matters

Labor failing its own standards says Productivity Commission – The Rudd government has failed its own test for assessing major infrastructure projects, according to a new Productivity Commission analysis. The nation’s key economic advisory body says the government has not “universally applied” its own promise to subject all major infrastructure spending to detailed and transparent cost-benefit analysis – The Australian

Political life

Speaker Jack Snelling threatens to quit State Parliament – Speaker Jack Snelling stunned Parliament when he threatened to resign yesterday because of MPs’ poor behaviour – Adelaide Advertiser

‘Assault victim’ MP Jodie Campbell quits politics – Tasmanian federal Labor MP Jodie Campbell has announced she is quitting politics, on the day a domestic violence case against her partner returns to court. She says she won’t recontest the marginal seat at next year’s federal election, avoiding a by-election. A preselection process will select her replacement – Melbourne Age


Secret plot to sack the Premier – In a sign that the NSW Labor Party is determined on self-destruction, moves to dump Premier Nathan Rees have resurfaced. It is believed Mr Rees’ caucus allies Joe Tripodi and Eddie Obeid are softening their support for him and a plan has been hatched to oust the Premier after the state conference on November 14 – Sydney Daily Telegraph

The Coalition

Barnaby Joyce hits out at Lib Bill Heffernan on Cubbie Station – The failure of Australia’s biggest cotton grower has fuelled Coalition squabbling, after Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce blamed the Liberals for Cubbie Station’s collapse – The Australian

091030sydneytelePolitical lurks and perks

Premier Nathan Rees’ pay rise means he is paid more than Prime Minister Kevin Rudd – The decision by Mr Rees to lift a freeze and allow a 3 per cent pay rise brings total pay hikes for NSW MPs to almost 10 per cent since 2007. As of today, Mr Rees will receive a salary of $351,300, which includes a $39,950 electoral allowance and an expense account of $56,797 – Sydney Daily Telegraph


NSW set for action on ‘junk’ insurance – The NSW Government is ready to take over the privately run mandatory home building insurance scheme, in an attempt to avert a crisis in the industry – Sydney Morning Herald


PM’s boat policy drifts rudderless – Dennis Shanahan in The Australian describes how everything is highly centralised, indeed almost personalised, into the Prime Minister’s office. Rudd is a hands-on micro-manager who wants to tightly control the policy and politics in every situation.

Brazen panel reveals truths – Michael Stutchbury in The Australian writes how it’s telling that laying out an orthodox response to the global crisis can so easily be read as a heretical critique of how the Rudd government’s economic policies won’t revive Australia’s productivity performance. The commission’s annual report is impertinent enough to suggest that “increasing flexibility” in labour markets has become even more important in helping the economy exit the global crisis.

Pacific solution better for detainees – Peter van Onselen in The Australian says no one in their right mind would want to be locked up in Indonesia.

Cronyism on the sly – Henry Ergas writes in The Australian how it has become standard practice for Australian governments – and this holds true for the commonwealth’s Infrastructure Australia – to hide from the public the detailed information that would allow any assessment to be made of large infrastructure contracts.

Rudd’s asylum seeker policy all at sea with no port in sight – Michelle Grattan writes in the Melbourne Age how Kevin Rudd prides himself on his grasp of foreign relations, but he is encountering some of his toughest challenges in that area. First it was with China; now with Indonesia.

Sometimes it’s wiser to let sleeping logs die – writes Annabel Crabb in the Sydney Morning Herald as Julie Gillard stands by her men.


Economic matters

US exits recession – The US economy expanded in the third quarter for the first time in more than a year as the government’s stimulus boosted consumer spending, but a weak labour market was expected to keep the recovery subdued – The Australian

Asian growth to fall again: IMF – The International Monetary Fund has warned that Asia’s rapid recovery will not be sustained, as signs of continuing weakness in the US housing market generated sharp falls on world markets – The Australian


Clergy: Jail gays, don’t hang them – Homosexuals should not be killed but instead imprisoned for life, Ugandan religious leaders have suggested. Making their input in the Anti-homosexuality Bill 2009 yesterday, the clergy said the clause on death as a penalty for homosexuality be scrapped – Kampala Daily Monitor


Aussie banks ‘don’t need fixing’, says ANZ’s Smith – ANZ Bank is pushing back strongly against the rising tide of global regulation, with its outspoken chief executive Mike Smith cautioning the local prudential regulator against “fixing something that’s not broken” – The Australian

BHP banks on global rebound – BHP Billiton does not expect to benefit from a bounce-back in world demand for commodities until mid-2010, but is confident China’s continuing growth will benefit its long-term strategy – Melbourne Age


Liberals lose faith in action on carbon – Liberal Party frontbenchers have begun to dump their support for carbon emissions trading after receiving party research showing voters are increasingly skittish about putting a price on carbon – The Australian


Time names the big five – What do Robert Menzies, Germaine Greer, Victor Chang, Eddie Mabo and Tim Flannery have in common? They have been selected by Time as representative of each of the five decades in Australasia since the magazine was first printed in the region, in Melbourne, in 1959 – The Australian


091030smhboonieThe drink

Foster’s regrets binge-drinking Boonie figurine – A senior Foster’s executive has admitted the beer company was wrong to create the David Boon figurine, because it glorified binge drinking – Melbourne Age

Brumby struggles for control of licensing – The Brumby Government is scrambling to reclaim control of liquor licensing after admitting that state planning authorities had acted in conflict with its policies and that more all-night clubs could open soon – Melbourne Age

At least two more venues have pending applications for 5am closing times – More late-night drinking dens may be on their way to Melbourne. At least two venues have pending applications to allow 5am closing times. They are the latest in a series of revelations about loopholes in the State Government’s tough stance on liquor licensing – Melbourne Herald Sun

Aussies cant hold our booze – Rob Moore asks in the Melbourne Age: What happens if you open a number of very large licensed venues, give them extended trading hours, watch them aggressively promote alcohol products on-site and then pay little respect to the guidelines and practice of responsible serving of alcohol? You get the recipe for alcohol-fuelled violence as we are seeing in Melbourne.

The fags

Queensland government bans smoking in cars carrying children – Queensland has banned smoking in cars carrying children under the age of 16. Deputy Premier and Health Minister Paul Lucas said the new laws would start from January next year and apply on all public roads – Brisbane Courier Mail

The punt

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



Architecture award winners – In 2009, a record 800-plus projects vied for Australian Institute of Architects state and territory architecture awards, with 144 rewarded. Of these, 32 projects and practices have been awarded 2009 National Architecture awards or commendations – Melbourne Age

Law and order

RBA’s new ‘bribe’ storm – The Reserve Bank of Australia’s banknote firm paid multi-million-dollar commissions to a senior Vietnamese official in an apparent breach of federal bribery laws that carry a 10-year jail sentence. Anh Ngoc Luong received more than $5 million in so-called ”commission” payments from RBA firm Securency – Melbourne Age

Indian police probe English language test scam – Top executives of a company contracted by Australia’s largest recruiter of international students are being investigated for fraud in India – Melbourne Age

Cops to crack down on Alice thugs – Police in Alice Springs have launched a campaign to get wayward youth of the streets – and protect tourists – following a spate of unprovoked bashings in the town – Northern Territory News



Scientists spout new theories about teapot-dribble mysterySydney Morning Herald with illustration from arXiv, the online science journal

Road safety

Kill your limits, not the speed, groups say – With new figures out yesterday showing the state’s road toll is well up on this time last year, NRMA Motoring & Services and the lobby group National Motorists Association Australia have argued that speed can save lives. They say speed restrictions that keep motorists driving on rural roads for long periods may increase the likelihood of an accident occurring as this pushes up levels of fatigue, boredom and frustration – Sydney Morning Herald

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