East Timor solution in deep freeze

The PM's diary: Julia Gillard is in Perth visiting a bushfire-affected area in Kelmscott. Community cabinet begins with one-on-one meetings of ministers and citizens between 5pm and 6pm. From 6pm to 6.45pm there is a reception and then from 6.45pm to 7.30pm Ms Gillard will address the event.

Tony Abbott is in Brisbane today and will remain in South East Queensland until the weekend. He will visit Kangaroo Bus Lines in Morayfield with federal MP Wyatt Roy this morning.

Beefing up the team: Wayne Swan’s message manager Matthew Coghlan is back in town and back with the Treasurer. Coghlan will work with fellow press secs Fergus Maguire and Adam “Collo” Collins. It’s worth noting the three man media team is second only to Julia Gillard and comes as the government faces pressure over its carbon tax, the resources tax and as a crucial budget hoves into view. On a walk through the press gallery yesterday, Coghlan showed all the signs of a man at peace with the world after six months in Europe and India. The federal budget will put paid to that.

At the Press Club: Liberal Immigration spokesman Scott Morrison is speaking at the National Press Club today on the topic "Population challenges for the Liberal 3.0 generation''.

In the House: The standing committee on regional Australia will meet today to examine the impact of the Murray-Darling basin plan, while a Senate select committee will examine the proposed minerals resource rent tax.

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Ricky Ponting's resignation as captain of the Australian cricket team - the 'journey of a lifetime' - has put his picture on the front of the Australian, the Herald Sun, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Age and the Advertiser. The Daily Telegraph has a picture of his successor, Michael Clarke. The Courier Mail has a picture of 12-year-old Dylan McRaeand the tractor he used to save his family during the Queensland floods.

The Australian leads with a report there is no hope for the Prime Minister's East Timor solution. The paper also reports political concerns about blackouts in NSW and Queensland, as well as problems with the regulation of Australia's electricity markets, have allowed power companies to price gouge (more from Sid Maher)

The Financial Review leads with a report that Wayne Swan has cornered the Coalition over tax cuts.

The Age leads with a report that two Australian commandos facing charges of manslaughter and dangerous conduct in Afghanistan could be convicted on evidence provided by some of their fellow soldiers.

The Herald Sun leads with a report that shoppers will get cheap milk for at least six months after Coles said savage price cuts would continue. The paper also reports that people face an average electricity price rise of $200-$250 a year directly as a result of a carbon tax, according to Ross Garnaut.

The Courier Mail leads its political coverage with news power prices will soar. (more from Steven Scott)

John Garnaut writes an Australian blogger is the latest to vanish without trace. Is there no limit?

NSW election wash-up: Barry O'Farrell has appointed himself Minister for Western Sydney to look after "Barry's Battlers'' (Gemma Jones reports)

Paul Keating delivered a memorable spray at NSW Labor last night, saying the ''rot set in'' when Eric Roozendaal became state secretary in 1999, followed by Mark Arbib andKarl Bitar. Former party President Bernie Riordan subscribed to ''the ETU obscurantist neanderthal view'' of the world, Labor strategist Bruce Hawker spouted "sicko populism'' and of Labor's likely next leader in NSW, John Robertson, he said: "I'll see fly-by-nighters like him out, well and truly.'' (report)

Graham Richardson disagrees with the former Prime Minister.

Ratings agencies have hosed down claims by NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell that he has inherited a $4.3 billion budget "black hole" from Labor. (Imre Salusinszky and Annabel Hepworth report)

Plugging the gap: spy agencies moved to plug a major national security hole in the Federal Parliament after it was discovered computers of several Cabinet ministers had been hacked - including Prime Minister Julia Gillard's. (Simon Benson reports)

The lockdown comes as an Audit Office report reveals 10 per cent of passwords used in Prime Minister Julia Gillard's department can easily be broken in an hour by hackers using "brute force" (Pete Veness reports)

Mega-spray: Anti-pokies campaigner, independent MP Andrew Wilkie has attacked the pokies lobby, saying Clubs Australia ''misled'' the Australian community. (more fromRichard Willingham)

Wedged: Wayne Swan yesterday rejected a Greens demand that he dump a planned one percentage point cut in corporate tax, saying governments could not spread opportunity without aiding economic growth. (more from Matthew Franklin and Chip Le Grand)Michelle Grattan writes everyone's a winner in this fight.

Trial: Is Andrew Bolt a racist, or a tireless campaigner against racism? ''I don't believe in racial division, between black, white or anything else,'' Bolt told the court soon after entering the witness box for the first time yesterday (more from Karl Quinn)

Appointed: Wayne Swan has not re-appointed two critics to the RBA board. (more fromDavid Uren)

Review: Michael Gordon reports the Immigration Department has agreed to establish an independent review of the provision of mental health services in detention centres after the fifth suicide by an asylum seeker in seven months, amid calls for a radical overhaul of the entire system.

Op-eds: Malcolm Farr writes that Malcolm Turnbull has become the seventh beatle.

Simon Benson writes when the NSW Labor machine embarked on its political killing spree in 2008 it also dug its own grave and perhaps that of its federal colleagues.

Peter Costello writes so passes the most incompetent government in living memory.

Paul Kelly writes the essential factor in NSW Labor's debacle is that the party's leadership, structure and culture has failed the task of governing a contemporary society long distant from the world of the 1890s when Labor was called into existence.

Alan Mitchell writes Barry O’Farrell plays a smart political game, but the people of NSW need something more

Jessica Irvine asks does the Australian dollar's meteoric rise to a post-float record of $US1.03 this week make you feel uneasy? The gut reaction of many people to a rise in the dollar is a combination of pride and fear.

Have a tip? Email Capital Circle - massolaj@theaustralian.com.au

source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/

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