Tuesday Zedlines, 26th October

The Menzies School of Health Research have asked the Northern Territory government to reinstate bans on alcohol purchases, following a 61 per cent increase in alcohol related hospital admissions.

The ban, which was in place from 96 to 2006, prohibited those on benefits from buying takeaway alcohol on the same day as receiving welfare payments.

After lifting the ban, hospital admissions increased until 2008, when the Northern Territory government instituted new alcohol management plans. The NT government says this shows the alcohol ban isn’t needed.

A report published today has found national immigration numbers will fall by roughly 60 000 over the next few years.

The lack of migrant labour increases the chances national banks will raise interest rates in the future.

The report also blamed demands for a decreased population growth as putting strain on the workforce.

Brisbane Treasurer Andrew Fraser has denied the Queensland economy is in trouble.

The Opposition have claimed the government’s current level of debt, which is roughly 65 billion dollars, is too much to be recovered.

However Mr Fraser has pointed to a recent study by Commsec indicating economic growth as a positive outcome.

Queensland Attorney-General Cameron Dick has rejected claims new sentencing laws provide incentives for police not to pursue minor offences.

The report claims police facing contempt of court charges for not providing enough evidence are dissuaded from following criminal charges.

Attorney-General Dick has denied the claims, noting the Queensland Police Union of Employees prepared a submission on possible reforms.

The New South Wales government has introduced a trial requiring taxi passengers to pay an up-front fare.

The move, aimed at reducing fare disputes, has been praised by the taxi driver community as simplifying problems with unsatisfied customers.

New South Wales Minister for Transport and Roads John Robertson said if the trial were successful, it would be implemented throughout the state.

Greens MP Adam Bant has called for a survey of the Australian public on the possibility of a same-sex marriage bill.

Though both the ALP and LNP officially oppose same sex marriage, there is growing support from the Greens and Independents for legislation.

Independent Senator Nick Xenophon has said the issue needs to be debated.

Deliberations continue in the trial of former Queensland Minister Gordon Nuttall after failing to reach a decision yesterday.

Mr Nuttall has denied 10 charges of corruption and five charges of perjury. He has also been accused of receiving over 150 000 dollars in bribes for government contracts.

It is not know when the trial, which has already gone for two weeks, will conclude.

The Capricorn Conservation Council have warned government regulations imposed on two liquefied natural gas companies might not be enough.

The ALP recently approved proposals by the Santos and BG Group for mining projects in Gladstone.

A spokesman for the CCC said the long-term effects of the mines may outweigh their short-term benefits.

Controversy has arisen over the official name of Fraser Island.

Indigenous residents have requested the island, which is named after Eliza Fraser, who was shipwrecked there in 1836, be renamed k’gari, which means paradise.

Debate surrounds the extent to which Mrs Fraser was attacked by native tribes following her shipwrecking, although claims her husband was speared to death have been disproven.


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