Jim Wallace, as former head of the SAS, was on Channel Seven's 'Sunrise' program at 7.10 am this morning re the sad loss of a soldier killed in Afghanistan.

-   the program video


Forget three amigos, let's go back to polls

Dennis Shanahan   - The Australian
It's getting to the stage where Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott and the nation would actually be better off if we just went back to the polls.   The early promise of stability for a minority government is dissipating as the independents threaten to force a new election, refuse to guarantee a bloc vote for either side and declare diametrically opposed positions on key policies that have split the Coalition and paralysed Labor.   Using spurious logic, obscure language and blackmail, three MPs accidentally thrust into the balance of power are claiming a "new paradigm" in politics where none exists as justification for unprecedented treatment and control. More than 90 per cent of Australians voted for Labor, the Coalition or the Greens -- the old-paradigm parties.   This isn't just horse-trading over amendments on a piece of legislation; this is demanding an erratic ransom for government and an ongoing part in that government.

Key MPs name price for power

Matthew Franklin  - The Australian
Tony Abbott has rejected demands from three independent MPs who will anoint the next government by refusing to submit his policies to the Treasury.  And the independents have warned they will send Australians back to the polls unless Julia Gillard and the Opposition Leader negotiate with them "in good faith" over wide-ranging demands for political and parliamentary reform.  Tony Windsor, Bob Katter and Rob Oakeshott have demanded the major parties offer iron-clad commitments, possibly backed by legislation, to serve a full three-year term as a precondition to their support.   Mr Katter last night said Mr Abbott's refusal to submit the policies prompted the question: "What's Tony got to hide."   But Mr Katter told the ABC's Lateline that Mr Abbott was right to be wary of Treasury secretary Ken Henry's "prejudices". "This is the bloke that brought you the mining tax; I wouldn't be very impressed with his abilities at all."

Lobby groups in New South Wales react against gay adoption rights bill

Christopher Brocklebank   - Pink News
Lobby groups in the Australian state of New South Wales are reportedly coming out against the country's upcoming parliamentary debate and conscience vote on the rights of same-sex couples to adopt children.  Clover Moore, an Independent Member for Sydney, introduced the Adoption Amendment (Same-Sex Couples) Bill in June, which seeks to remove current discrimination against gay couples in adoption law.  However, Matt Akersten, writing for samesame.com said: "The bad news is that the lobby groups reacting against the equality measure are making waves, while our community is silent."

Police left authorities in dark about convicted pedophiles and sex offenders

Julie-Anne Davies  -  The Australian
Chuildren have been abused by convicted pedophiles after Victoria Police failed to act on warnings that they were potentially at risk.   In an unprecedented breakdown in fundamental child protection practice, nearly 700 children in Victoria have come into regular contact with or been living with 376 registered sex offenders, an investigation by The Australian has revealed.   It is understood Victoria Police was aware scores of vulnerable children were exposed to hundreds of known sex offenders but failed in its mandatory obligations on reporting of child abuse to notify child protection authorities.

Support Abbott, voters demand

Benson and Sue Dunlevy - The Daily Telegraph
The three independents holding the future of the next federal government in their hands have been sent a clear message from their own constituents - back Tony Abbott and the Coalition.   An exclusive Galaxy Poll commissioned by The Daily Telegraph revealed most voters in the seats of Kennedy, Lyne and New England want their independent local members to support a Coalition minority government.   But almost half the voters were prepared to support a fresh election to resolve the deadlock if needed.   As Bob Katter, Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor met late yesterday with both Mr Abbott and Julia Gillard to deliver their list of seven key issues on forming government, their electorates issued their own set of demands.

Best-case scenario gives the Coalition 74 seats

Tim Colebatch  - SMH
Liberal candidate Sarah Henderson has clawed back half her deficit in the closely fought seat of Corangamite, raising the Coalition's hopes that it could finish with more seats than Labor - and win the independents' support.  Further counting in the seats in doubt yesterday was mostly good for the Coalition and bad for Labor. Corangamite became closer, Dunkley and Boothby safer for their Liberal MPs.   The counts changed constantly, going backwards as sometimes more votes were removed than added. But last night, only two seats had candidates with majorities of less than 0.5 per cent: Hasluck, where the Liberals lead narrowly, and Corangamite.

Teens toy with death online

Louisa Hearn - SMH
It's dangerous, sometimes deadly and is played almost exclusively by children and young teens.   It's called the choking game and YouTube has served up a new twist to what the experts warn is literally dicing with death.   Armed with smartphones, groups of young people take it in turn to cut off one another's air supply and then post the results to the internet.   The attraction is the so-called high caused when the brain is starved of oxygen, but the body count around the world is rising.

Pokie reform could be resurrected

Jacob Saulwick - SMH
Poker machine reform will be given a second wind in Federal Parliament. The likely fourth independent in the House of Representatives is planning to meet the anti-pokie senator, Nick Xenophon, tomorrow.   Andrew Wilkie, all but assured of claiming the Tasmanian electorate of Denison from Labor, sought the meeting after indicating to Senator Xenophon he would home in on poker machine gambling should he take his spot in Parliament.   Mr Wilkie supports the Productivity Commission's proposal of a $1 bet limit on poker machines, an idea the Government has mothballed.

Put Greens last: builders

David Rood  - The Age
Labor and the Liberals should tell voters to put the Greens last in the state election as the party threatens Victoria's economic future, according to the state's key building body.   Brian Welch, Victorian executive director of the Master Builders Association, said the Greens' policies would drive up housing prices by opposing the urban-growth boundary and major building projects. ''It would be useful for the Victorian public if the parties, Liberal and Labor, declared that they would put their preferences to Greens as last,'' he said.   ''That would mean if you are voting for a party that is going to deliver X, they would have to live up to their mandate.''