Letter from Oz

In the past week the new Rudd-led Labor Federal Government has come in for some heavy criticism over its policy to introduce a fuel watch system under the auspices of the consumer prices commission.

Peter Gladwell

In the past week the new Rudd-led Labor Federal Government has come in for some heavy criticism over its policy to introduce a fuel watch system under the auspices of the consumer prices commission.

The Liberal/National coalition parties led by Dr Brendan Nelson has successfully campaigned against this fuel watch idea on the basis that any such scheme will force up the price of petrol and diesel making it more difficult for those struggling to maintain the family car and those small family trucking businesses trying to remain operational.

The opposition say the government's fuel watch will force those discounting petrol prices to adopt an in-line approach where they will be forced to charge higher prices for fear of prosecution.


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The opposition's attack on Kevin Rudd has been further enforced by cabinet papers leaked to the press indicating not all in the Federal Labor ranks support the Government on this policy.

There is little doubt these leaks have embarrassed Rudd and his party and the Federal Police have now been called in to investigate where these leaks occurred.

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The latest opinion polls reflect this has damaged the new government's credibility among voters.

The Victorian State Government last week introduced a 2am lockdown on Melbourne's city clubs in an attempt to curb alcohol-induced bad behaviour among the young patrons who frequent these establishments mainly at weekends.

This new law has been strongly supported by the Victorian Police who are often called to deal with drunken behaviour among teenage boys and girls spilling over into city streets at weekends.

The oppostion Liberal party, club owners and young people have opposed this crackdown and have voiced strong opinions about the lack of public transport available in the city during the early hours and therefore providing little alternative for them to attend other, safer, venues or to go home.

The State government have been accused of a knee-jerk reaction without considering the consequences and now some club owners have successfully appealed against the lockdown on the basis of insufficient time to implement these changes before the curfew begins this week.

Australian troops serving in southern Iraq are now heading home. This follows the new Government's electoral promise and their withdrawal has begun with the first arriving in Brisbane this week.

The defence minister has said their complete withdrawal could take a little time owing to the risks involved in removing equipment and also because their position will be filled by American soldiers.

The timing, closely followed by the US presidential elections, means there is fear of an escalation in violence against the U.S-led coalition forces still in Iraq.

News just in that a New South Wales Crime Commissioner has been arrested as being involved with a syndicate importing illegal drugs with a street value of $120 million into Australia.

According to news sources this arrest follows investigations being conducted in Thailand, Europe and Sydney and the former high-ranking Australian Federal Police Officer, now one of New South Wales senior ranked police commissioners, has been implicated in the investigation.

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