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This week around the country
Politics Marine Environment
Pauline Hanson has announced plans to return to politics next year with the airing of some new opinions.

Ms Hanson said she was concerned Australians were at risk of TB and AIDS from "black South Africans" arriving with health issues.

Ms Hanson said she planned to run in next year's federal election at the urging of members of the public, but had not decided on whether she would run for the lower house or the Senate.

Vessels fishing illegally in Australian waters will be shot at if they resist apprehension, after the Federal Goverment approved new rules of engagement for the navy.

Defence Minister Brendan Nelson said it was important to show illegal fishermen that they would be met with a "very stong, disciplined Royal Australian Navy".

Previously navy patrols were only allowed to fire a warning shot over the bow of vessels resisting apprehension, now they can fire at the engine or rudder to disable it.

A sugar industry researcher has proposed a trial of a genetically modified (GM) cane variety in Queensland.

BSES said the trial would evaluate the medthods used to genetically transform the cane, as well as evaluating traits they had inserted into the sugar cane.

However a Gene Ethics representative said it was too early to trial the sugar cane out of the laboratory, because it included genes that cause antibiotic resistance in humans.

Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone has put a positive spin on the findings of ombudsman's reports into errors in the department's dealings with the mentally ill and children in detention.

Senator Vanstone said several wrongly detained people were seeking compensation from the Federal Goverment. She said she regretted the mistakes made, but despite the findings she was pleased they'd been dealt with.

Meanwhile in response to reports in The Australian that some ministers were moving to oust her from the Immigration role, Senator Vanstone said she was confident of keeping her job.

A 300kg saltwater crocodile has died while being relocated from the Katherine River.

NT Parks and Wildlife officers captured the male crocodile yesterday, its removal required for public safety reasons.

The area is regularly used for fishing and canoeing.

Population growth and urban expansion are putting increased pressure on the environment.

The third State of the Environment Report said increased government spending and community cooperation had not been enough. The report said Australians need to use less resources and do more recycling.

Coastal environments are under extra pressure, due to population growth and urban expansion.

Environmental data was insufficient to provide a comprehensive picture of the environment on a national scale, the report said.

PM John Howard has told Coalition MPs to confront the new Opposition leader's "challenge" on "substance". Mr Howard predicted the appointment of Kevin Rudd would give Labor a boost in the polls in coming months. He said the Government was seen as competent and better at managing the economy and national security than the Opposition. Treasurer Peter Costello said Mr Rudd was shallow in economic policy. The restocking of two abalone farms where a deadly abalone virus was found nearly a year ago has raised eyebrows in the WA. The virus led to industry losses of $40 million and the Western Abalone Divers Association said the cause had not yet been identified. The DPI said the abalone farms were free of the virus. A severe lack of rain and hot temperatures in November have intensified the drought, according to The National Climate Centre. A senior climatologist said the water supply situation was going to become more dire. He said there had not been a "good wet year" to replenish supplies since the 2002 drought. Meanwhile in NSW, more than 30 regional councils are implementing a $22 million project to repair leaking water pipes. This includes $7 million in Federal funding, in a bid to save thousands of megalitres of water lost each year.
The Labor Party has voted in Kevin Rudd as their leader. 10 votes made the difference, with a 49-39 result ousting Kim Beazley. Julia Gillard replaces Jenny Macklin as the deputy leader. After the result was declared, Mr Beazley said he would not be running for a position in the shadow ministry. The WA Department of Fisheries has been recognised for a program to rebuild pink snapper stocks in Shark Bay. Fisheries Minister Jon Ford said stocks had been at dangerously low levels 10 years ago. This is the second time the fisheries department has won the overall award at the Premier's Public Sector Management Awards. A NSW university is developing a new technology to make carbon emissions easier to capture. A University of Newcastle Associate Professor said the CO2 in the combustion stream coming out of a power plant was very dilute and their technology aimed at concentrating the CO2 by-product. The Newcastle Port Corporation jointly funds the program with the university.
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