Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Rudd's Australia

Rudd's Australia, originally uploaded by ddbsweasel.

Andrew Bolt pens several articles bagging the Conservatives. He accuses the leadership of whingeing and cringeing. This is really unfair, if you classify Bolt as a conservative, but Bolt is a social conservative and a former ALP scriptwriter. His views are seen through the prism of social ideology. He is clearly embarrassed by the panderings of the ALP to special interests, but it hasn't changed his advocacy.

Meanwhile, as interest rates set to skyrocket on the back of pro inflationary government policy, the press remain committed to their ALP support and proclaim all posts a winner, no matter how dire.


Anonymous said...

Reserve Bank warns of double interest rate rise
By Clinton Porteous and Kerrie Sinclair
CONSUMERS have been warned there will be no escaping an interest rate hike next month - and it could be a double whammy.

Explosive documents released yesterday showed the Reserve Bank Board almost went for the shock treatment earlier this month as it battles to control inflation.

Leading economists said yesterday there was a big chance the central bank would push up rates by half of a percentage point next month – double the usual increase. This would ramp up monthly repayments on a $300,000 home loan by $100.

It will also lift standard variable rates on home loans to almost 10 per cent and add to the misery of many homebuyers.

The Reserve Bank normally raises rates by only a quarter of a percentage point but this tradition could be overturned next month.

"Not only does this shore up the case for a hike in March, but it suggests a more aggressive move might be needed," Macquarie Bank's Brian Redican said.

There were more danger signs yesterday when the Reserve's assistant governor Malcolm Edey warned inflation would almost hit 4 per cent in the next quarter.

The last time the Reserve Bank ordered a half a percentage point rise was eight years ago. If rates do rise by the bigger amount it will take take the cash rate to 7.5 per cent – the highest level since 1995.

Interest rates have jumped 11 times in the past six years, plunging Australian families into mortgage stress.

Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan told Parliament that the Rudd Government was working with the Reserve Bank and remained "committed to putting downward pressure on inflation and downward pressure on interest rates".

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd again tried to shift the blame, saying his Government inherited an economy with underlying inflation running at a 16-year high.

But Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson maintained the economy was in "first-rate shape" when the Coalition lost office late last year.

Under new independence rules, the Reserve Bank for the first time yesterday released the official minutes of its February 5 board meeting.

The document showed the board was very close to raising rates earlier this month by half of a percentage point.

The minutes said "there was a case for the board to send a stronger signal of its intention to act as necessary to reduce inflation".

In the end the bank decided on a smaller increase, although it warned it would continue to review the policy.

The Reserve Bank will meet again on March 4.

Anonymous said...

Political donor crackdown 'will hurt Libs'
By Steve Lewis
LIBERAL leadership hopeful Malcolm Turnbull has accused Labor of trying to subvert democracy, warning that new political donation laws will make it "almost impossible" to turf out the Australian Labor Party.

Amid widespread fears within Coalition ranks over Labor's fundraising ability, the shadow treasurer has backed a ban on all corporate – and union – contributions.

Former Liberal president Shane Stone, who is reviewing the party's fundraising efforts, also sounded the alarm bells.

The Coalition parties had to get "smarter" to be competitive against a rampant Labor Party, which outspent the conservatives at the election by millions of dollars.

"We have to step up to the plate and face the reality," Mr Stone said.

"It's going to be more difficult in opposition."

Senior Liberal and Nationals figures believe they will struggle to remain financially competitive against a Labor machine in office across the country.

Legislation will be debated in Parliament this week to remove the tax deductibility on political donations.

Labor's Special Minister of State John Faulkner also wants to accelerate a crackdown on donations by cutting back the threshold on disclosure of donations from $10,500 – to about $1500.

The Labor reforms overturn a series of changes introduced by the Howard government once it gained Senate control.

Mr Turnbull said political fundraising already was "very heavily tipped in Labor's direction".

"What they are seeking to do is further tilt it. This will make it almost impossible to get them out of office," he said.

Under the Turnbull model, only individuals would be able to make political donations, with the disclosure threshold set at a moderate level.

"That way you have a system where both the political fundraising and activism is all done by individuals," he said.

He said the plan to remove the tax deductibility for political donations was "simply designed to disadvantage the Liberal Party".

"The question is: what price democracy?" he said.

But Mr Faulkner denied he was setting out to cripple the Coalition parties.

"From my perspective there is no partisan imperative. The critical thing is to strengthen the health of democracy," he said.

Anonymous said...

Castro hailed as heroic risk taker
THE Soviet Union's last foreign minister, Eduard Shevardnadze, overnight hailed former communist ally Fidel Castro as a wise and heroic risk taker.

"He is the cleverest and wisest man. He likes to take risks and he is a hero," Mr Shevardnadze, who collaborated closely with Castro in the last years of the Cold War, said.

"I have met him several times, especially when I was taking part in (UN) assembly work, when I was returning (to Moscow) I always stopped off in Cuba," he said.

Castro, who built a communist state on the doorstep of the United States, said overnight that he will not return to lead Cuba, retiring as president 49 years after he seized power in a revolution.

Mr Shevardnadze, who as foreign minister from 1985 to 1990 served as a close adviser to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, said the United States should change its approach to Cuba.

"Cuba doesn't have problems with the world, the main problem is the US's attitude to Cuba, and the US should take the initiative and change its attitude to Cuba," he said.

"I don't see big changes in Cuba's policy. Cuba already has its place on the map, it enjoys big support from South America, it has resolved its main problems," Mr Shevardnadze said.

Castro, an 81-year-old bearded revolutionary with a penchant for cigars, has not appeared in public for more than a year after emergency intestinal surgery forced him to hand over power to his brother Raul on July 31, 2006.

"His health condition improved a little bit but he resigned, and this is an indication that he is big man and he will probably leave power to someone whom he trusts - I think it will be his brother," said Mr Shevardnadze, who later went on to rule the Caucasus nation of Georgia for eight years until 2003.

Mr Shevardnadze was one of the fathers of perestroika, which Castro fiercely opposed and which ultimately led to the fall of the Soviet Union, Cuba's main big-power ally.

Anonymous said...

MP gave mate job despite corruption probe
By Simon Benson
A CLOSE friend of NSW Government minister Joe Tripodi who is facing corruption allegations before the ICAC was given a $200,000 a year job in the minister's department just four weeks ago, despite a cloud hanging over his character for the past 18 months.

Joe Scimone, a senior NSW ALP official, is facing allegations that last year he paid $30,000 to conmen posing as ICAC officers offering to destroy evidence against him.

A delegate to the ALP National Conference in April last year, Mr Scimone was appointed to a senior public service job managing property within NSW Maritime on January 14 this year.

He is believed to have been under investigation for more than a year. Mr Tripodi yesterday admitted that Mr Scimone, who narrowly missed out on being selected as the federal Labor candidate for Cunningham in 2002, was a friend whom he had known for a long time.

He denied he knew of the allegations against Mr Scimone when he was appointed as an executive director of NSW Maritime's property division.

"I've known him a long time, we see each other socially," Mr Tripodi told The Daily Telegraph.

"(But) the first I heard about this was yesterday. It's all news to me."

The former Wollongong Council officer has been linked, during an ICAC hearing into the Council, to property developers who were allegedly having affairs with the Council's town planner Beth Morgan while she was assessing their projects for approval.

Mr Scimone allegedly bought a unit from one developer Bulent (Glen) Tabak.

"Mr Scimone's conduct requires scrutiny in respect to his relationship with developers," ICAC Commissioner Jerrold Cripps said.

The revelations came yesterday, the second day of an ICAC inquiry into Wollongong Council.

Breaking down in the witness box, Ms Morgan was forced to reveal more tawdry details about her offer of $50,000 to the same conmen Mr Scimone had allegedly paid.

A tearful Ms Morgan told the inquiry the conmen had originally sought $100,000 but came back with a second offer, a discounted $50,000 fee, on the condition she had sex with one of them.

She said she agreed to the payment of the money, but there was "no way" she would have agreed to carry out the second part of the deal.

As Ms Morgan faced a grilling in the ICAC hearing room, Mr Tripodi said he had no involvement in the appointment of Mr Scimone to a senior position in his department.

"I am not involved in the recruitment practices of (NSW) Maritime," he said.

He said he had met Mr Scimone through the ALP and they had known each other for 20 years.

Asked what action, if any, would be taken against Mr Scimone, Mr Tripodi replied: "It is an operational matter for NSW Maritime, if there were adverse findings."

NSW Maritime yesterday refused to comment.

"NSW Maritime will await the outcome of the ICAC hearing," a spokesperson said.

Mr Scimone refused to talk to The Daily Telegraph when contacted in his Kent St office yesterday.

"I'm in a meeting," he said, before hanging up the phone.

Mr Scimone was at Wollongong Council for 23 years before retiring last year. His 2007 salary package was said to be worth more than $329,000.

It was reported that Mr Scimone resigned from the council after a harassment complaint was made against him by former staffer Vicki Curran.

He claimed his resignation was not connected to the complaint.

Anonymous said...

Column - Whingeing and cringeing
Andrew Bolt
BRENDAN Nelson’s Liberals are a rabble, still saying sorry for the last election instead of fighting the next.

Proof of that was Monday’s Four Corners report on how the Howard government fell apart, thanks to John Howard’s hubris, Peter Costello’s complaining, and the party’s timidity.

There was nothing new in this story, and nothing for the Liberals to gain by helping the ABC to rehash it.

Yet up bobbed senior Liberals—Costello, Alexander Downer, Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey, Nick Minchin, Andrew Robb and Christopher Pyne—to give the ABC plenty of footage for this advertisement of their party’s resentments, weaknesses and deceits.

I ask those Liberals who showed their sores: what in this show was likely to help you win in 2010?

But how rudderless the party is, unmanned by an election defeat that was as predictable as the sun rising.

The Howard Government achieved much, but had been in power too long and was tired. It had to change leaders but did not. Defeat inevitably followed.

Yet from the wails of the survivors you’d think they’d been scourged by the Seven Plagues for all kinds of sins.

Now they’ve forgotten what they believe in. Three months ago they were against a sorry to the “stolen generations”, now they are for. Three months ago they were against the Kyoto treaty, now they are for. Three days ago they’d die in a ditch for Australian Workplace Agreements, now they’ve agreed to scrap them.

Giving in on economic policy? What next? Sorry for being Liberal? Sorry for leaving Labor with a roaring economy?

This is way too much cringing.

Yes, the latest poll shows the Liberals trailing Labor by 57 per cent to 43, after preferences—more than the gap at the election—but several polls last year had them doing worse.

It’s surprising the Liberals aren’t suffering more, since they have more going against them. Count it up: an election defeat, a media hailing Kevin Rudd as the Messiah, a loss of senior talent, and serious dithering. Then there’s Nelson being Mr Sorry For Everything.

Yet there’s plenty the Liberals can build on—above all, their record as economic managers. A record that cannot be so stupidly surrendered.

And their first task is plain: to show up Treasurer Wayne Swan as woefully undergunned. Swan cannot last, and Labor will bleed until he’s moved.

Then Rudd must be exposed as a spinner, who sets dazzling targets on the never-never, without having a plan to deliver even a first instalment.

All that’s missing from the Liberals is confidence. How rare in the party is that easy bluster of shadow Treasury spokesman Malcolm Turnbull, who did not appear on Four Corners talking about yesterday. But there’s a man too keen on tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Column - A question of leniency
Andrew Bolt
ATTORNEY-GENERAL Rob Hulls has now hired as many activist judges as he could possibly want. And Ashley Wayne Brooks might feel as grateful as his victim is dismayed.

Brooks’ great-grandmother Barbara Durea, 75, was sleeping in her Housing Ministry flat in Traralgon last year when he broke in, drunk and looking for more booze money.

But the 19-year-old didn’t just steal $60 from Durea’s purse. He also bashed her so badly that he dislocated her jaw, broke her nose and bruised her body. So hurt was she that she spent 12 days in an induced coma.

I’d say from this that Brooks was reasonably strong. But Judge David Parsons of the County Court thought being too young and skinny might cause problems for him in an adult jail.

Besides, Brooks had a disadvantaged past and his chances of rehabilitation were, said the judge, reasonably good. So he was given just a two-year youth justice centre order.

You may think this unusually lenient punishment for such a savage and unprovoked attack on an elderly woman. Durea certainly does.

But you weren’t in court, so didn’t hear the details of this boy’s “violent and troubled life”, as the judge put it.

Even so, there are some other details you might find relevant.

First, Brooks is Aboriginal.

Second, in making Parsons a judge in 2006, Hulls praised him for his “extensive ties with the community through his work as a director of the Stolen Generation Board, the Melbourne Community Foundation and the Koorie Heritage Trust”.

It is not unusual for Hulls to make judges of fashionably activist lawyers. His many such appointments include three former presidents of Liberty Victoria, and one of its senior officials.

In pointing this out I do not say Parsons did anything but uphold the law as he found it. Yet as another Hulls judicial appointee and former activist, Marcia Neave, has said: “(J)udges are required to be neutral, independent and impartial, but their perceptions of what is fair and just are inevitably shaped by their life experiences, gender, race and . . . other influences.”

From that it’s fair to ask if Parsons’ leniency to an Aboriginal defendant may have been influenced by his past as an activist in an emotional Aboriginal cause. Certainly, Durea might not be convinced that justice was done to her.

Anonymous said...

Dissent erased
Andrew Bolt
Eureka Street, the Jesuit magazine, cleanses its pages of dissent against Chairman Rudd:


On Thursday, Eureka Street published a commentary by Scott Stephens on the Parliamentary Apology to Stolen Generations. The article has been withdrawn. It argued that the Prime Minister’s motivation was self-serving, and his action empty rhetoric. Eureka Street, the Australian Jesuits and Jesuit Communications do not necessarily support the views expressed in our published articles. The publishers specifically disagree with the substance of this article. We apologise to those who were hurt or offended by allegations contained in it.

Eureka Street claims to be a magazine offering ”a distinctly Australian forum for conversation”. What conversation?

The cleansing of conservatives continues.

(Thanks to reader Tom08.)


Correction -Stephens is no conservative, but simply a man of the Left who sees through Rudd:
From the unprecedented “welcome to country” that marked the commencement of Parliament on Tuesday, to Rudd’s delivery of the “historic” apology, and his subsequent interaction with a number of invited guests – the whole ordeal reeked of kitsch, empty ceremony and pretence....

Throughout the coverage of the apology, I couldn’t shake the sense that the indigenous Australians included in the televised spectacle – whether invited guests in Parliament House or the dozens of emotion-filled faces from around the country – were little more than props.

Their role was to express and register the emotional content of the event.

But the apology was not intended for them. The true recipients of the apology were those white Australians who watched and wanted to be made to feel as if they had taken part in something good....

The reason that Kevin Rudd had to reiterate that this apology “does not attribute guilt to the current generation of Australian people” is not because we don’t believe we are complicit in the misery of indigenous Australians, but because we know that we are and don’t want to have to admit as much…

Kevin Rudd knew that if either of these measures – accepting our guilt and providing compensation – were adopted in the apology, the groundswell of popular support would evaporate.

Perhaps this is the final proof that the apology was little more than a spectacle for white Australians and a vanity exercise for a fledging Prime Minister who needs people to love him.

I’ve made precisely the same arguments. But I differ with Stephens on whether the “stolen generations” in fact occured, and whether capitalism and freedom are really a curse.

Anonymous said...

Be glad Dick Smith is no magistrate
Andrew Bolt
Who you gonna trust on al Qaeda trainee David Hicks?

Dick Smith:

I believe he is basically a decent Australian like his father, and I don’t believe he’s ever been a supporter of terrorism.

Or Federal Court Magistrate Warren Donald:

Donald said he remained convinced Hicks was still a risk of being involved in terrorist activity.

And whose judgement got the most airplay?


DAVID Hicks’s handwritten “jihad diary” gives new insight into the sophisticated terrorism training he underwent, exploding claims that he was an innocent abroad.

The confessed terrorism supporter used a school exercise book - complete with boy’s-own images of fighter aircraft - to write up the detailed instruction he received in weapon use, explosives and military tactics from Islamic extremists in Pakistan.

After describing how ”to kill a VIP”, Hicks noted that guerilla war involved “sacrifice for Allah”. He sketched the mechanism of the telescopic sight of a sniper’s rifle and the circuitry of deadly rocket-launched warheads… At one point, he wrote: “To kill a vip (sic) we must penetrate 5 security circles then defend ourselves. The security is nearly the same all over the world.”

Anonymous said...

Rudd’s little helpers
Andrew Bolt
We were told Kevin Rudd’s ideas forum would gather 1000 of the “best and brightest” to map out the country’s future. Now we learn that at least 10 will not be the best and brightest but the pre-approved youngest:
The Federal Government has announced it will hold a version of its 2020 summit for young Australians.

One hundred people under the age of 24 will discuss the same issues and 10 will be chosen to represent those views at the main summit a week later.

What a farce. Add them to these, and you get an exercise not in the gathering of opinion, but the manipulation of it.

Will the chosen bright-eyes at least entertain us with a chorus of Tomorrow Belongs to Me?

Anonymous said...

Liberals give in again
Andrew Bolt
A party that no longer understands its own principles or even its own mind:

The Federal Coalition has backflipped on industrial relations, announcing it will support the Government’s move to scrap Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs).

The Coalition had said that WorkChoices was dead, but it would fight to keep AWAs in place.

But deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop says the Opposition party room meeting has today decided it will no longer push to keep AWAs, and instead will support Labor’s plan for individual contracts.

Good heavens. And this from the crowd that last year mocked Kevin Rudd for “me-tooism”.

Well, I guess the Liberals might end up being less hated, but will instead be more despised. At least the hated can keep their self-respect.


A nice line from Kevin Rudd in Parliament today:

As of today, Tuesday, I think WorkChoices is off again, I think it’s gone again, but I’m not altogether clear, and I’d like some clarification from those opposite, because we’ve had flip, flop and flap when it comes to the whole question of WorkChoices and the future of AWAs… I gather we’re up to the flap stage.

Anonymous said...

Can’t spell “tree”, but can plant them
Andrew Bolt
Chairman Mao’s China:

Around 18 million young Chinese people were sent to the countryside between 1966 and 1976 as part of the Cultural Revolution.

Chairman Rudd’s Australia:

STUDENTS would plant trees during school hours to combat climate change under a plan being advocated by Australia’s chief scientist. Jim Peacock wants to conscript an army of “Carbon Kids”, arguing tree planting would “enrich a national curriculum”.

Anonymous said...

Uncleansed dissenter detected
Andrew Bolt
Gerard Henderson has a word with the cleansers - Faine, Manne, Rundle, Cameron and others of their glasses-slinging ilk:

the very popularity of Rudd Labor is reason why debate should be encouraged and not suppressed...


A reader desperate for reconciliation thinks Jon Faine’s “cleansing” of conservatives is far too kind:

What a pack of snivelling, thoughtless, soulless, mongrel, judgemental, stingy, black hearted, dodgy, mongrel dogs you right wing apparatchicks are. You should be put up against a wall and speared!

“Black” is used as a form of abuse, suggesting someone here is not denouncing but projecting.


The re-education of Australia by Chairman Rudd continues. Employees of the Australian Tax Office have been emailed the leader’s speech for their moral improvement.