Compiled for Reuters by Media Monitors. Reuters has not
verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW (www.afr.com)
The New South Wales (NSW) Government faces challenges in
creating a competitive bidding process for electricity
privatisation reforms that could raise up to A$8 billion. There
has been growing concern in the industry that any sale would be
a "two-horse race" between AGL Energy (AGL.AX) and Origin
Energy (ORG.AX), and growing scepticism about a fallback option
to float a combined company. NSW Minister for Finance and
Infrastructure Joe Tripodi has defended the float, saying that
assets are "attractive with strategic market positions." Page
Business confidence and the trading environment declined in
September by four points to 14, a National Australia Bank
survey found. The measure of business conditions was down by
one point to three points. By comparison, private sector
activity has risen since the Reserve Bank of Australia lifted
interest rates by 0.25 percentage points. The survey's
profitability index dropped by seven points to four points a
common trend after interest rate rises, says TD Securities
senior strategist Annette Beacher. Page 3.
West Australia's (WA) Labor Party has blocked a
controversial move from the state's Premier, Colin Barnett, to
extend weeknight trading hours to 8pm. Treasurer Troy Buswell
has criticised the Labor Party as "flat earthers" and
"Luddities," but not fellow Nationals who refused to vote in
favour of the push. Mr Barnett has responded to the rejection
by calling WA a "laughing stock" that would remain in the "dark
ages." Opposition Leader Eric Ripper said yesterday that Labor
would support a 7pm closing time. Page 3.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has written to members of the
Association of South-East Asian Nations, and other world
leaders, to support an Australian-sponsored conference on the
Asia Pacific Community initiative. The proposed event would be
in Sydney during December. Mr Rudd and former diplomat Richard
Woolcott will address the East Asia Summit in Thailand on
reforming regional architecture, before visiting the November
Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum annual summit, where
they will argue their case. Page 5.
THE AUSTRALIAN (www.theaustralian.news.com.au)
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has had no choice but to expand
the Christmas Island immigration detention centre in order to
avoid moving asylum-seekers to the mainland. Since entering
office, Labor has dismantled the Pacific Solution of offshore
processing, and replaced it with a risk-based approach to
mandatory detention. A Lowy Institute poll shows that 76
percent of Australians are concerned about unauthorised
asylum-seekers. Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull accuses Mr
Rudd of losing "control of our borders." Page 1.
Federal Human Services Minister Chris Bowen has announced
plans to boost incentives for low income earners in order to
encourage superannuation investment. At a Super Ratings
conference in Melbourne, Mr Bowen called for a national debate
on lifting compulsory employer super contribution, which the
Henry tax review recommended to create "adequate" retire
incomes. However, former Treasurer Peter Costello says that
Labor should avoid "tinkering with the system" because the
sector needs stability. Page 2.
A technique called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
(ECMO) could save more swine flu patients whose lungs have been
severely damaged by the deadly virus. According to a Melbourne
study, the death rate of patients recently treated with EMCO,
which is often used for heart failure or heart-lung transplant
patients, was 21 percent much less than the usual death rate
of up to 48 percent for EMCO-treated acute respiratory disease
patients. The findings were published online by the Journal of
the American Medical Association. Page 3.
Royal Hospital of Brisbane and Women's Hospital Addiction
Psychology Director Mark Daglish has warned Australian drinkers
to beware of brain damage. Mr Daglish says that excessive
alcohol consumption can bring damage and memory loss linked to
vitamin B1 deficiency. Regular "heavy" drinking or daily
drinking can increase the chance of serious brain damage.
"[Magnetic resonance imaging] pictures
show a shrunken brain
with extra fluid about it that we generally nickname the picked
walnut," Mr Daglish says. Page 3.
THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD (www.smh.com.au)
Key Chinese Adviser Jiang Kejun, who leads a climate change
modelling team affiliated with China's National Development and
Reform Commission, says the communist-ruled country recognises
that it can be a clean energy leader. Mr Jiang told Federal
Climate Change Minister Penny Wong that it would not be hard
for Australia to create a positive signal with "ambitious"
targets, even though the country uses a "lot of coal." Ms Wong
will meet with China's Reform Commission vice-chairman Xie
Zhenhua tomorrow. Page 1.
Administrative charges are higher than the Federal
Government had first declared for its A$14.7 billion school
building program. According to documents the Opposition
obtained, West Pymble Primary School costs include a 5.5
percent management fee of A$259,042, while Annangrove Public
School has a management fee of A$29,864, with an extra A$18,045
coordination fee. The New South Wales (NSW) Department of
Education and Training, and the NSW Education director-general
have defended the costs. Page 1.
Driver Penelope Woodbridge was driving under the influence
of alcohol, when she collided with an on-coming car in Sydney's
northern suburbs, a District Court trial has found. Ms
Woodbridge initially refused to be breath-tested after a
collision left Maher Haddad seriously injured, and killed his
wife, Evette. However, a sample taken later revealed that Ms
Woodbridge's blood alcohol level was up to 0.332 during the
crash. Defence barrister Eugene Wasilenia says the defendant
was in a "dissociative state" before the crash. Page 2.
Former Premier Bob Carr has denounced the New South Wales
Labor Government for cutting club poker machine taxes, calling
it a "waste of public money" that has only made clubs more
"lavish." Mr Carr says there was no reason for the following
Premier, Morris Iemma, to abandon plans to increase the taxes.
"One member of the Labor caucus was in and out of the
headquarters of ClubsNSW so often that in my view
he may have
warranted an ICAC [Independent Commission Against Corruption]
inquiry," Mr Carr said. Page 2.
THE AGE (www.theage.com.au)
The Victorian Government is believed to be considering a
proposal to allow for the export of 12 million tonnes of brown
coal a year to Indian power stations. Government documents are
thought to concede that the export of brown coal, which emits
far more greenhouse gases when burned to generate power than
most alternative fuels, could cause a community backlash. The
proposal would see fuel company Exergen dry the coal before
export, with Exergen also exploring technology to reduce the
fuel's emissions. Page 1.
The Reserve Bank of Australia has been called upon to
explain a number of multi-million dollar payments to off-shore
tax havens by its bank-note firm, Securency. The request came
from the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido
Sanusi, after revelations that more than A$10 million has been
paid to middlemen hired to help Securency win banknote deals in
African countries. "I think the [the Reserve Bank] should
explain. I think that corruption is a two-way street: there are
those who give and those who take," Mr Sanusi said. Page 1.
A member of Melbourne's Stonnington City Council who ran an
anti-violence campaign prior to his appointment to the council
around a year ago, was arrested, handcuffed and
capsicum-sprayed by police on Saturday night. Cr Nicholls'
Facebook site says "Council must work in partnership with the
State Government and police to both deter violent and
anti-social behaviour locally and do our bit to solve the
broader problems." Cr Nicholls has not commented on the
incident. Page 3.
Federal judges have received their second pay rise in a
month after the Remuneration Tribunal awarded a 1.5 percent
increase yesterday and indicated it is likely to award three
further 1.5 percent increases over the next two years. The
increase comes after a separate 3 percent increase last month.
The tribunal said its decision was based on consideration of
the judge's increased workload and legal complexity. However,
the tribunal rejected a claim that Federal judges are paid too
little relative to High Court judges. Page 5. --