$12,500 bonus for young jobless
YOUNG unemployed people who are prepared to move to find work and who then stay in that job for two years could be paid up to $12,500.  The payment would come under a radical Coalition plan to slash the nation's long-term unemployment rate.   Tony Abbott will today promise relocation allowances for the long-term unemployed of between $3000 and $6000 if they move to take up a job.

Yes, he will: Tony Abbott meets Julia Gillard's challenge on debate
TONY Abbott has taken up Julia Gillard's challenge for a debate on the economy.  Mr Abbott has agreed to go head to head with the Prime Minister before Saturday's election.  Just hours after Ms Gillard used the Labor campaign launch to reinforce the government's economic credentials - and to attack the Opposition Leader as "the real risk for debt and deficit" - Mr Abbott signalled he would agree to a half-hour debate with the Prime Minister on the ABC.  The Liberal leader said it was "important to flush her out on the subject" as the election campaign was now approaching "the business end".

Don't look back: PM's plea
JULIA GILLARD has sought to inspire voters by portraying Labor as the party of the future while painting Tony Abbott as a naysayer who would drag the nation backwards.  Launching Labor's campaign in Brisbane yesterday, Ms Gillard illustrated her pitch with a policy promising live consultations with doctors over high-speed internet connections. She said election day was ''fast upon us'' and urged the nation not to choose Mr Abbott's negativity.   ''We are better than that, we are so much better than that,'' she said. ''I'm asking you when you vote on Saturday to say, as you cast your vote, 'Yes, we will, yes, we will move forward with confidence and optimism'.''

Greens' high tax ambitions
WHEN the new Senate sits after the election it is almost certain that the Australian Greens will control the balance of power.  Yet the party's economic agenda has barely been examined.   The Greens' support for higher personal income tax, higher company tax, death duties and a suite of other new or increased taxes has gone unremarked, along with their pandering to some of the hardest of hard-left trade unions.  The Greens' more outlandish social policies - free gender reassignment surgery for those born with an "intersex condition" and support for trials of state-supplied heroin on prescription - have received widespread coverage. They provide the perfect fodder for shock jocks and the tabloids.

Couple stoned to death for adultery
A man and woman have been stoned to death in northern Afghanistan after being accused by the Taliban of having a love affair, a witness and an official said.   The 23-year-old woman and 28-year-old man were killed because "they had an affair", said Mohammad Ayob, the governor of Imam Sahib district in Kunduz province.   "Two people were stoned to death by Taliban in Mullah Quli village late yesterday," he said. The village is under the control of the Taliban.

Greens side with Coalition on internet filtering policy
Labor's hopes of getting its internet filter plan through federal parliament look destined to fail, with the Australian Greens calling for a PC-based approach.  Earlier this month the Coalition announced it would scrap plans for a mandatory internet filter if it won the August 21 election. Even if it didn't win, it said it would not vote in favour of the plan.   Greens communications spokesman Senator Scott Ludlam on Monday released the party's cyber safety policy, opposing Labor's mandatory internet service provider (ISP) level filter.

Hung parliament would be a pain in the neck for everyone
On Sunday, the Gary Morgan poll predicted the election would end in a hung parliament. The previous Wednesday it forecast a comfortable Labor victory. Pollsters are in the business of making predictions. Commentators, on the other hand, are well advised to avoid soothsaying.   This time around, even those who analyse the polls seem confused.  The available evidence indicates Labor is ahead overall but the Coalition is doing well in marginal seats in the outer suburban and regional areas of NSW and Queensland. Labor appears to be strong in Victoria and the Coalition in Western Australia.

Party tells Mills he is not their leader
FACELESS power brokers within the Country Liberals have told Terry Mills he is not the leader of the party.   A war has erupted between the party's parliamentary wing and the Country Liberals' management committee over the continued endorsement of Leo Abbott as candidate for Lingiari despite revelations he breached a domestic violence order.  Management committee member Steve Brown said on Alice Springs radio station 8HA yesterday that Mr Mills was "not the leader" of the Country Liberals.

Christians, Jews meet over boycott
JEWISH and Christian leaders have met in Sydney to heal the wounds caused by a call last month for Australians to boycott Israeli goods made in the occupied Palestinian territories.  The National Council of Churches in Australia called for Australians to consider the boycott at the request of Middle Eastern churches, but the Jewish community was outraged.   The president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Robert Goot, wrote to the council saying the resolution was a ''most unpleasant surprise … we feel that we have been badly let down by people we have long thought of as our friends''.

Opposition parties find common ground on voluntary filters
THE Coalition and the Greens are united in their support for optional internet filters being made available to households, creating a sharp contrast with Labor's commitment to a mandatory filter put in place by internet service providers.   Both parties are hoping to capitalise on unrest about Labor's filter plan, which has been attacked for creating a platform for internet censorship and potentially slowing internet speeds, though both criticisms have been rejected by the government.   A long internal battle was fought in the Coalition over the mandatory filter.

Welfare crackdown 'targets vulnerable'
THE founder of Youth off the Streets, Father Chris Riley, says he is ''devastated'' by an election welfare crackdown by Labor and the Coalition, and Labor's move to suspend welfare for missed appointments will lead to increased crime.   Father Riley said the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has a copy of Mean Streets, Kind Heart, the book about his life's work with homeless youth, in her new office.  ''I was hoping that Julia would have a heart,'' he said yesterday. ''To beat up the ones who can't stand up for themselves is really concerning.''  Listening to Ms Gillard talk at yesterday's campaign launch about the need for ''the unemployed to step up'' to meet their obligations, after the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, said ''there is no such thing as a free lunch'', Father Riley said both parties had returned to outdated concepts of blaming the victim. He said it was ''an old psychological trick, which really doesn't work''.