=== Todays Toon ===Air Vice-Marshal Sir Philip Woolcott Game GCB, GCVO, GBE, KCMG, DSO (30 March 1876 – 4 February 1961) was a British Royal Air Force commander, who later served as Governor of New South Wales, Australia, and Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in London.
He was appointed Governor of New South Wales in 1930, serving until 1935. Along with the Premier Jack Lang and others, Game was a participant at the official opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge on 19 March 1932, where he made a speech.
His was the first case of an Australian government with the confidence of the lower house of parliament being dismissed by a Vice-Regal representative, the second case being when Governor-General Sir John Kerr dismissed Gough Whitlam's government on 11 November 1975.
=== Bible Quote ===“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.”- Colossians 2:9-10
=== Headlines ===
Julia Gillard is visiting the Governor-General this morning to call an August election.
Phone reception issues 'not just Apple'
JOBS admits "we're not perfect," offers a free case for iPhone 4 as Australian launch date revealed.
Gillard to call election showdown
PM faces a leadership referendum against a resurgent Coalition.
NSW, Queensland 'key to election result'
SEVEN marginal seats in Sydney "critical," with electorates in the city's west to "decide poll result".
'Millions demanded' from Mel for tapes
GIBSON'S ex-lover allegedly tried to extort over $11 million to keep rant recordings secret, reports say.
Aussies may be among hotel fire dead
TERRIFIED guests "jumped to their deaths" as a fire ripped through a hotel, killing at least 30.
AFP in mercy dash for death-row Rush
AUSTRALIAN federal police support Scott Rush's final appeal against his death sentence.
I'm not the meeting leak, says Rudd
KEVIN Rudd has denied he leaked information about alleged leadership deal with Julia Gillard.
TV journalist filmed naked sues hotel
HOTEL said to have given out TV reporter's room number before man filmed her through peephole.
PM silent on 'weekend' poll call
OPPOSITION attacks as Julia Gillard stays mum about claims she'll call the election tomorrow.
Rape monster jailed over teen's murder
A MAN who subjected four students to a "reign of sexual terror" has been jail for 28 years.
BP stops Gulf oil flow for first time
BIGGEST breakthrough in environmental disaster as BP halts oil gushing into the ocean.
Afghan allies are dodgy, say Diggers
AUSTRALIAN troops’ belief that their Afghan counterparts can’t be trusted is a “serious concern”.
Mining towns fuelling property market
EXPERTS predict industry towns will be the place to buy as tax truce sparks demand for homes.
Rudd's one-man show haunts Gillard
KEVIN Rudd's return to world stage upsets Labor as PM dodges more details of his knifing.
Man charged under Skye's Law
A MAN who sped down a footpath during a police pursuit on the Central Coast has been charged under the anti-evading legislation known as Skye's Law.
Cop injured in marathon thief chase
A POLICE officer fell down a hill, broke his hand and was punched during a marathon foot pursuit of a shoplifter on the NSW Central Coast
Train driver saves passengers from fire
DOZENS of passengers have been evacuated from a train in Sydney's Blue Mountains after a fire was detected onboard.
Public health campaigns 'stigmatise obese'
"SCARE" campaigns warning of health issues for overweight people do nothing to help them, research has found.
Was that my Porsche passing by?
THE owner of a stolen Porsche only learned his prized possession had been taken when he saw it on his way home from work.
NSW ACT (Wasn't all of Australia NSW, Once?)
Rockpool fighting for fine dining
ROCKPOOL is losing a staggering $5000 every week - and chef-owner Neil Perry admits some weeks the losses are even higher.
Drugged monster pays for rape hell
BRENDAN Dennison was sentenced to 28 years' jail over an horrific sex attack on four people in their apartment.
No evidence found of cover-up
THERE is no proof an investigation into David Campbell had been covered up, the PIC has said.
Train fire disrupts services
AN ENGINE fire in a commuter train last night forced the evacuation of several hundred passengers, blocking the main western line.
Lin family's house of horrors
A YEAR on since the horrific Lin family murders, neighbours want the "house of horrors" sold.
Unlawful arrest for bikie leader
COMANCHERO bikie boss Daux Hohepa Ngakuru beat police charges after a magistrate found he was unlawfully arrested.
Vicious attack on mum in own home
A MOTHER of two young children was viciously attacked and slashed with a screwdriver when an intruder entered her home.
Jailed for conning top bikie
BOXING promoter Tony Caradonna is finding out the hard way the perils of ripping off his best mate - Rebels bikie boss Alex Vella
Queensland (Ned Kelly wanted to come here, but he got lost)No mountain high enough
TEENS from all walks of life are enduring torturous training in the Gold Coast hinterland to earn the right to tackle the Kokoda Track, writes Ross Thompson
Airport shows flight paths
HOMEBUYERS now have a better way of working out flight paths over Brisbane at the aiport's new interactive centre.
Qld could be PM's first poll stop
JULIA Gillard is tipped to fire the starter's gun today on a late August election, which would make a visit to Queensland her first campaign stop.
Facebook fugitive flees jail
A HANDCUFFED prisoner who escaped from Townsville Hospital on Thursday night went on Facebook shortly after to send a message to a friend.
Car dealers clocking odometers
UNLICENSED car dealers are erasing millions of kilometres from the odometers of luxury vehicles to increase their resale value.
Abbott won't clarify 'fix' remark
TONY Abbott has refused to explain what he meant by saying he would "fix" a possible legal problem involving his former party colleague Michael Johnson.
Poisoned water raises farm fears
A KEY food-producing area faces the risk of contamination after the State Government ignored warnings of the dangers of a gas project.
Two hurt in rail stabbing incident
TWO patients required treatment for cuts after an incident that "involved a lot of people" at Geebung Railway Station, on Brisbane's north side.
Was that my Porsche passing by?
THE owner of a stolen Porsche only learned his prized possession had been taken when he saw it on the road as he drove home from work.
Death-row Rush launches appeal
AUSTRALIAN federal police are supporting Bali Nine drug mule Scott Rush's final appeal against his death sentence.
Victoria (Once proud home of Batman)Power price rise shock
POWER bills are going through the roof and the number of complaints flooding the Energy Ombudsman has skyrocketed.
Median price at $559,000
MELBOURNE'S median house price rose nearly $500 a day to hit a record high of $559,000 in the June quarter.
Safety not in numbers
VICTORIANS will vote in 37 federal electorates, but the crucial contests will be in just six key seats.
Time to turn on blather radar
BOTH prime ministerial aspirants will tell you this will be the most important election in Australia's history.
ATO could take on NRL
THE Australian Taxation Office is preparing to launch an investigation into all NRL clubs in the wake of the Storm scandal.
iPad not just a boy's toy
"I LOVE it, I really do." Cue longing gaze at the iPhone's oversized cousin.
Highpoint is on trend
HIGHPOINT is set to rival Chadstone as Melbourne's shopping mecca with a $300 million revamp planned for early next year.
Bad sports not on
JUNIOR footy stars have delivered their verdict on some of the AFL's toughest issues.
Cabbie charged after hit-run crash
A cab driver has been charged following a hit -run collision in Dandenong North that left another man with a broken arm and leg.
Northern Territory (a Forgotten State)NZ man charged over backpacker attack
A NEW Zealand man has been formally charged in a Sydney court over a brutal attack that left an Irish backpacker with brain damage
South Australia (Land of conviction, not convicts)Sling blamed for desal death
DANGEROUS construction methods usedto cut costs have been blamed for the death of a Vista man in an industrial accident at the desalination plant.
Heroes of Fromelles set for goodbye
LOUISE Loe stared at a photograph of the face of a young Australian soldier. Beside her, marked only by a body number, lay a man's skeletal remains.
Perfect siblings to save dying children
SOUTH Australian couples are travelling to Sydney for a controversial procedure to save their children's lives.
The soldier we did forget
HE lost his life in the line of duty, serving his country, but Lance Corporal Mason Edwards' family fears he is the forgotten soldier of the Afghanistan war.
Penalty load 'too much to bear'
5 RETAILERS say the new award wage rules will make seven-day trading unviable and stifle the retail sector.
Kids in the kitchen show good taste
CHEESECAKE, biscuits and scones were on the menu as kids took over the kitchen at Regency TAFE this week.
Boy, 12, warned to behave
A SENIOR judge has told a boy who sparked a high-speed police chase that it was "crunch time" and he needed to behave - or be jailed.
Program to stop teens courting trouble
A NEW program will take northern suburbs teens off the streets and put them on to the basketball court on Saturday nights.
State population target review
SOUTH Australia's population targets will be reviewed by the State Government to ensure growth is sustainable.
A tiny drop of hope
IT WAS the photograph that captured the drought - the cracked surface of a bone-dry Murray lagoon covered in hundreds of rotting fish.
Western Australia (Conservative Government and now home to a free and critical press)They just kept kicking me
61-YEAR-OLD truck driver brutally attacked by three people in a road rage incident.
Elder's death a wake-up call
DEATH of Aboriginal elder Mr Ward leads to improvements in prisoner transports.
Three heroin deaths in 24 hours
THREE people have died following suspected heroin overdoses in Perth during the past 24 hours.
Asian company offers $39m for Swan Taxis
A SINGAPOREAN company has offered nearly $39 million to buy the state’s largest taxi operator, Swan Taxis, which says it’s a good deal.
Rail guard inquiry after 'bashing'
FOUR transit security guards in Perth are under investigation after they were filmed pepper spraying a man and banging his face onto a station platform.
More rain, cold on the way
MORE rain has begun falling across Perth's southern suburbs as a weak cold front bears down on the coast.
'Secret' snake discovered in WA
ONE OF Australia's rarest and most venomous snakes has been found in WA - sparking calls for more research into the "secret" species.
Tasmania (she'll be apples)(No news today)
=== Journalists Corner ===
"Civil Rights and the Rights of Man"
Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for one race, the human race - So, why is race an issue again? A special hour with King's niece and much more.
Rep. Bachmann on the NAACP's Accusations
Taking aim at the Tea Party! Rep. Michele Bachmann reacts to the NAACP's racial remarks.
Robert Duvall Exclusive!
Robert Duvall speaks out on politics, policy & what the administration needs to do.
On Fox News InsiderThe Obamas, Interrupted: A Timeline of Vacations Gone Wrong
Tea Parties or NAACP: Who is playing the race card?
Border Governors' Conference: Who's In, Who's Out?
I wanted to give you a final heads up about tomorrow's art exhibition, "The Lady Of Burma" on July 17, 2010.
The exhibition will showcase the brilliant work of local artists and musicians honoring Aung San Suu Kyi. There will also be a special presentation by Alan Clemens, author, activist, satirist, former Buddhist monk, and co-author of "The Voice Of Hope" with Aung San Suu Kyi herself.
When: Saturday, July 17th 1:00pm to 6:00pm
Where: Community Gallery [30 E. 35th Street, Between Park and Madison Ave, NY 10016 - click here for map]
This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments and Burmese food will be served.
Full schedule below.
Click here for more information. The exhibition will be fantastic and one of a kind.
I hope you can make it.
[1:00 pm - 1:30 pm] - Registration & Refreshments…
[1:30 pm - 2:00 pm] - Opening Remarks and sharing experiences of Aung San Suu Kyi - Alan Clements (Author, Activist, Satirist, former Buddhist monk, and co-author of The Voice of Hope with Aung San Suu Kyi - www.worlddharma.com)
[2:00 pm - 2:15 pm] - Opening Remarks - Minky Worden (Media Director - Human Rights Watch - www.hrw.org/en/bios/Minky-Worden)
[2:15 pm - 3:00 pm] - Burmese Traditional/Classical Music - Chaw Ei Thein (http://chaweithein.blogspot.com/)
[3:00 pm - 4:00 pm] - Meet, Greet & Mingle…
[4:00 pm - 5:00 pm] - 63th Anniversary of Burma's Martyrs' Day Ceremony - IFBNC (International Foundation for Burma National Congress)
[5:30 pm - 6:00 pm] - Entertainment Feature Part I - Fürimmer Jetzt by Ye Taik and Irem Calikusu
Support 1991 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi and the struggle for freedom and democracy in Burma
=== Comments ===
Nixon ducks out of the office again
Only a couple of weeks before the Bushfires Royal Commission says just what it thinks of her dereliction of duty as head of the emergency response during Black Friday:
Embattled Christine Nixon has stepped down as head of bushfire reconstruction.
Ms Nixon, who had chaired Victoria’s Bushfire Recovery and Reconstruction Authority, told a gathering of community recovery committees her decision to step down on Saturday…
A spokeswoman for Ms Nixon says it is an entirely a coincidence that Ms Nixon announced her departure at the same time as Julia Gillard launched a federal election campaign…
She has been heavily criticised for her decision to go the pub with friends on Black Saturday when she was still the state’s police chief…
It’s widely expected the commission’s final report, due on July 31, will be critical of Ms Nixon and would have led to further calls for her to resign or be sacked.
Tony Abbott says the election is about getting a better government.
His initial themes, and he opens with an attack:
The only way to change for the better is to change the GovernmentHe says he’ll be about devolving power to schools and hospital boards. And cutting emissions (yeah, right).
Three weeks ago the Government had “lost its way”, and in the three weeks of Gillard it’s got even worse. Why trust Gillard “when even Kevin Rudd couldn’t”.
Who will be her Defence Minister? Finance Minister? Foreign Affairs Minister?
He doesn’t think a bad Government deserves a second chance. Moving forward to Gillard is about getting us not to look back on the wreckage of the past three years.
He’s offering a more competent Government, he says. And he’ll stop the boats, end the waste, fix the Budget.
And that’s it. Abbott has decided that the key issue, at least for now, is competent government, and colossal failure of the Rudd and Gillard Governments to offer it.
I think Gillard’s overuse of the “forward” word, and Abbott’s response will make the first days of the campaign, at least, exactly about what Gillard didn’t want - this Government’s competence. Sacking Rudd was Labor’s concession that the Government was indeed incompetent. Gillard’s bungles in here mere three weeks in the job have linked her to that incompetence.
Abbott rightly predicts the campaign with be “filthy”, although he’s talking about what he expects from Labor.
“We will be different and better than the current Government.”
Gillard’s “moving forward” slogan is “content free”.
The last three weeks has been a “transition from incompetence to incompetence”, and “by far the most chaotic and bungling three weeks of the Rudd-Gillard Government”.
I believe its already clear that Gillard’s “moving forward” slogan has proved to be a big mistake. It is too obviously spin, too obviously designed not to sell optimism but to disguise failure.
Gillard goes to the polls
Julia Gillard now has little option, given the fever, but to call the election today:
JULIA Gillard is due to arrive in Canberra shortly and will meet Governor-General Quentin Bryce at 10.30am to set a date for a federal election.But Tony Abbott robs her of her biggest scare-tactic - but at the cost of denying Australia needed workplace reform:
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott will move today to eliminate industrial relations as an election issue, putting a three-year moratorium on any changes to existing workplace laws. The move would remove one of the biggest threats to the coalition’s chances of election - the ghost of Work Choices....John Howard’s overreach on workplace reform in his last term not only cost the Liberals that election, but threatened this.
“An incoming coalition government will seek to make Labor’s individual flexibility agreements more flexible and seek to reduce the burdens on small business but we will do so within Labor’s existing legislation,” he will say.
“Labor’s Fair Work Act is far from perfect but it deserves a fair go.
“Yesterday the shadow cabinet backed my recommendation that an incoming coalition government would not seek to change the Fair Work Act at least for the three years of the next term of parliament.”
Meanwhile Dennis Shanahan agrees that the honeymoon is over for Gillard already, and suggests she has few options left but to go negative:
JULIA Gillard and the Labor Party want this election to be about Gillard and Tony Abbott… But, in the three weeks since Rudd was removed, Abbott has gone to ground and Labor’s performance on tax and the economy, asylum-seekers, health reforms, border protection and the once all-important issue of climate change has ranged from ragged to downright disastrous.UPDATE
Gillard has also been burdened with the departure of two senior ministers, Lindsay Tanner and John Faulkner, and the increasingly messy allegation of entering into a secret leadership pact and then welshing on it.
Australia’s first female Prime Minister has been calm in the face of adversity but appears to have had one of the shortest political honeymoons for a new leader in Australia’s history.
The public polling since has shown a rapid descent from euphoria and the same numbers men who moved against Rudd now say Labor has “a nose in front"… That they did what they did for such a result on the brink of an election campaign is evidence of Labor’s despair in the last few months of Rudd’s leadership....
But in acknowledging problems with handling asylum-seekers, which Immigration Minister Chris Evans admitted this week was “killing the government”, suburban overcrowding, cost of living pressures, drastically altering the mining tax and trying to reassure Greens supporters she would take action on climate change, Gillard has been left with little of the Rudd record to stand on at the election campaign.
Nor has she had time to establish an agenda in her own right: hence Labor’s reliance on a personality contest between Gillard and Abbott, a leader Labor has sought to paint for the past six months as backward looking, extreme, dangerous and a religious zealot who wants to reintroduce the Howard government’s Work Choices industrial laws.
Speaking of Gillard’s bungling:
THE Auditor-General is probing the Gillard government’s $2.4 billion school computers program… “The objective of this audit is to assess how effectively (the federal Education Department) implements and manages the Digital Education Revolution initiative, with particular focus on payment arrangements, monitoring and reporting on the fund, and on-costs,” the Australian National Audit Office stated in its latest work program, published yesterday.UPDATE 2
It’s August 21.
Gillard mentions “forward” 21 times in her speech and dozens more times in the Q&A afterwards. What she wants us to go forward from is unclear, but I suspect it’s Kevin Rudd. Much of the speech is an attack on Tony Abbott.
The Government seems unable now to run on its record, since it decided its Prime Minister for the last three years was so hopeless that he had to be sacked. Which leaves what?
Well, Gillard did want to boast about education (which was her portfolio), although she did not say a word about the $16 billion she splurged on her rort-ridden Building the Education Revolution. She mentioned many times the phrases “hard work” and “hard working”, which clearly is an attempt to sound conservative, but without attaching them to any specific policy.
She does commit the Government again to not spending a net dollar extra on election promises, and talks in general terms about the Government being strong on health.
But an overall vision? Completely missing. Gillard, almost literally, has nothing to say. No wonder she spent so much of her speech trying to make Abbott seem a monster from the “past”, looking “backwards”. Which brings us again - and again and again - to her “forward”.
It’s Gillard’s real message. Ignore the past three years. Wipe the slate clean. Judge Gillard not on what has been done by her as a minister, a Deputy Prime Minister and one of the “gang of four” the drove the Rudd Government.
Look forward instead, and judge her only on her words now, so crafted by polling. Judge her only on her spin. Please.
Wrong kind of immigrants steal $6.5 million
Julia Gillard says she wants a debate on “the right kind of migrants”. Here’s a sign that perhaps we’re letting in too many of the wrong:
Sri Lankan Tamils were largely behind credit card skimming crimes that had cost about 6000 West Australians more than $6.5 million from EFTPOS machines, Assistant Commissioner Nick Anticich said yesterday.Earlier there was this week, from a defence analyst Sergei DeSilva-Ranasinghe, after his interviews with Sri Lankan ministers:
And there are concerns that funds raised in such operations could be diverted to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, commonly known as the Tamil Tigers and listed by a number of countries as a terrorist organisation.
Speaking at the Australian Association of Crown Prosecutors conference, Mr Anticich identified skimming crimes involving EFTPOS and automatic teller machines and identity theft as emerging crimes committed by organised crime outfits…
“Of the 20 persons arrested for offences regarding this crime type in Australia, 19 are confirmed to be of Tamil origin.”
In Canada and Britain, members of the Sri Lankan community were compelled to participate in credit card skimming operations under threats of violence to family members who remained in the war-torn nation.
In those cases, funds gathered by the skimmers were diverted to the LTTE. There is no evidence to suggest that money obtained in credit card skimming operations in Australia has been diverted back to the LTTE or that those charged in the WA investigations are linked to the LTTE ...
Mr Anticich told delegates that skimming operations involving ATMs were predominantly committed by persons of Bulgarian and Romanian ethnicity. Such cases have been isolated in WA.
AS many as half of Sri Lankans seeking asylum in Australia are suspected of being former fighters, operatives or supporters of the Tamil Tigers.(Thanks to reader Shan.)
An Oakes falls on Gillard
Laurie Oakes seems as miffed as Kevin Rudd about the new Prime Minister’s betrayal:
Gillard wanted people to forget about how she came to be PM and focus on what she proposed to do in the role. Instead she goes into an election campaign today with the bitterness and duplicity she thought was covered up now on open display…UPDATE
Rudd can hardly be blamed if he feels angry at the moment. To justify the leadership change, Gillard and her senior ministers have trashed much of his legacy. They have also used him as a convenient scapegoat for everything that went wrong, as though none of them were part of the government when he was in charge…
Gillard will be hoping that firing the election starting gun will achieve what the Press Club appearance did not - by concentrating the minds of voters on the future.
That does not mean the Government is across the line. In fact, some shrewd judges in the party think they will still fall short.
Meanwhile Kevin Rudd digs the knife in a little deeper, while swearing it wasn’t him who leaked to Oakes:
KEVIN Rudd yesterday confirmed that he believed Julia Gillard last month reneged on an arrangement that would have saved his job as PM...While he did not elaborate, it has been widely reported he told the caucus he had believed he had reached an arrangement with Ms Gillard under which she would not challenge his leadership.
Mr Rudd’s statement said: “Like the Prime Minister, Mr Rudd has not made, nor will he make, any comment on private discussions. Appropriately, the only comment Mr Rudd made on these matters was in the context of the caucus meeting specifically convened on the issue of the leadership.”
Another of Gillard’s unintended consequences
More evidence that Julia Gillard’s reregulatiuon of the workforce will kill jobs:
RETAILERS say the new award wage rules will make seven-day trading unviable and stifle the retail sector.(Thanks to reader CA.)
The first tranche of penalty-rate increases were implemented this month as part of a five-year award modernisation process announced by the Federal Government in 2008.
From July 1, public holiday penalty rates increased by 10 per cent and Sunday hourly rates increased by 8 per cent.
Over the next five years, the penalty rate will almost double for Sunday shifts, and will increase from a 100 per cent loading to 150 per cent for public holidays.
John Caporaso, who owns continental food store Mercato, said the new rates would mean he would be unable to continue to trade seven days a week.
“It is definitely unviable for us to open all day Sunday and at all on public holidays,” he said.
“I just think it is too much of a slap in the face, and for public holidays to increase to 150 per cent is just crazy.”
Will Bligh in turn give up the official car and plane?
How presumptuous, to send nagging letters to voters to get them to use less of what you’re too incompetent or sanctimonious to provide:
(Thanks to reader Rod.)