Thursday, July 15, 2010

Headlines Thursday 15th July 2010

=== Todays Toon ===
Sir Walter Edward Davidson KCMG (20 April 1859 – 15 September 1923) was a colonial Administrator and diplomat. He served periods as Governor of the Seychelles, Governor of Newfoundland and as Governor of New South Wales, in which he died in office
=== Bible Quote ===
“If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.”- John 15:10
=== Headlines ===
Terror Label Eyed for Muslim Charity Behind Gaza 'Aid' Ship
The State Department is investigating whether to designate the Turkish Muslim charity that operated a ship challenging the Gaza blockade as a foreign terrorist organization.

BP Begins Tests on New Well Cap
Top valve is shut in first steps toward seeing of new cap will stop flow from busted oil well in Gulf

Endangered Animal Stalling Border Security
Antelope-like creature in Arizona desert is making it tough for Homeland Security to crack down on illegals in hotbeds along border

White House Accused of Allowing Abortion $$
Anti-abortion groups claim millions of federal dollars are about to go into Pa. health care plan that would cover abortion, contrary to lawmakers' pledge to erect virtual wall between coverage and funds

For 16 months, former AFL player Robbie Neill and his fiancee believed they were the target of bounty hunters and so great was their fear that they agreed to have people killed.

Asylum seeker issue 'a killer'
IMMIGRATION Minister in damage control after admitting he's unable to control the asylum debate.

Melbourne Storm salary fraud 'is huge'
TEAM will struggle to keep star players amid revelation the salary cap investigation "will shock".

Mother ordered not to breastfeed son, 6
A BOY reveals during a custody battle that his mother encouraged him to suckle from her breasts.

Keating to Hawke: I carried you for years
BOB Hawke "missing" for years while in the top job to cope with depression, Paul Keating says.

Cameras zoom in on Gatto's shady world
MICK Gatto will star in a reality show that is being called a "real-life" version of The Sopranos.

Pains, trains and automobiles
A MAJOR transport project is expected to be announced in an attempt to save the Premier.

Arrest over attack on Irish backpacker
A FOURTH man has been arrested over the savage assault on Irish backpacker David Keohane as he walked home two years ago.
=== Journalists Corner ===
Courting Disaster?
Will the legal battle over Arizona's immigration law seriously compromise our nation's security? Answers when Sen. John McCain goes 'On the Record'!
===
Jobs for America: Summit 2010
From policies to generate employment, to the role of government in the private sector - Tom Donahue on how the Chamber of Commerce is taking action.
===
Critics Slam Obama's Oil Commission!
Why can't they get anything accomplished and what's causing all the chaos and confusion? Michelle Malkin tries to make sense of the mess!
===
On Fox News Insider
Kindergarten Sex Ed: Too Much, Too Soon?
Will Obama's Vacation Be "Time-Off" from Oil Spill?
Pawlenty on Projected Federal Deficit of $1.55 Trillion

Call your Senators to help end crimes against humanity in Burma.



The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in Burma, Tomas Quintana, released a groundbreaking report to the UN Human Rights Council calling for an investigation into Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes in Burma, after nearly a year of being bombarded by our demands. This is the first time an acting UN official has called for such strong action. The ball is rolling now and we must ensure that it does not slow down! 



Senators Feinstein (D-CA) and Gregg (R-NH) have sent a letter to their fellow Senators asking them to join them in sending a letter to Secretary Clinton to support UN action to investigate the Burmese regime's crimes against humanity.



Democratic governments such as the United Kingdom, Australia, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia already support the call for a UN-led Commission of Inquiry on Burma. Now, we need the United States government to get on board and be a strong voice supporting the establishment of an investigation into crimes against humanity in Burma.



Without the backing of the United States, the Special Rapporteur's call will go ignored! Tell your Senator that the U.S. must support a UN Commission of Inquiry into the regime's war crimes and crimes against humanity. Do not let this opportunity pass by!



With your help, this would be an important step in holding Burma's generals accountable for their crimes against humanity.

Please call Senators Lautenberg and Menendez to ask them to sign this important letter.
(More instructions below).



The Senators only have one week to sign the letter so please call now!



Burma's regime is attacking, killing, raping, and destroying the homes of ethnic minorities. Although these crimes have persisted for decades, the situation has received almost no international attention because the military regime keeps media and international observers away from the areas of attack. These crimes perpetuated by the military have gone on for too long. 
(Read more about crimes in Burma here.)

DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS:



1) Call your Senators using the information we have provided you in the box on the top right.



2) WHAT TO DO WHEN THE RECEPTIONIST ANSWERS

When a receptionist answers the phone, ask to speak to the foreign policy staffer by name.

• "Hi my name is [your name] from [name of your state], may I speak to [name of the foreign policy staffer]?" 



Tell the receptionist that you live in the Senator's state and that you want to speak to the staffer about the letter regarding crimes against humanity in the country of Burma that is being circulated by Senators Feinstein and Gregg. Be sure to be polite, and say something like:


• "I'm calling because I would like to ask [staff person's name] if Senator [Senator's name] will sign onto a dear colleague letter about crimes against humanity in the country of Burma that is being circulated by Senators Feinstein and Gregg."


3) WHAT THE RECEPTIONIST WILL SAY



At this point the receptionist will either:



A) Transfer you to the telephone of the staff member. If this happens see section "A" below. or

B) Transfer you to the voicemail of the staff member. If this happens see section "B" below. or

C) Say that the staff member is busy, and ask to take a message. If this happens see section "C" below.



4. WHAT TO DO ONCE YOU ARE TRANSFERRED / LEAVE A MESSAGE



A) IF YOU SPEAK DIRECTLY TO THE STAFFER



Thank them for speaking with you and tell them why YOU think they should sign the letter.



Tell them why you called. Here is a suggestion of what to say:



* "Hi my name is _______ I am from [your State]. I am very concerned about the human rights abuses and crimes against humanity that Burma's military dictatorship continues to commit against innocent civilians in Burma. I am calling because I would like to urge Senator __________ to sign the dear colleague letter regarding crimes against humanity in the country of Burma that is being circulated by Senators Feinstein and Gregg. The crimes against humanity in Burma should not continue with impunity."



* Give them some facts about Burma. "Burma's regime has destroyed over 3,500 villages in their campaign against ethnic minorities, their use of rape as a weapon of war has been well documented and so is their use of child soldiers."

*Your senator represents YOU and they want to know why YOU care. If you have traveled to refugee camps on the Thailand-Burma border, know Burmese people, grew up in Burma, or care about human rights, be sure to let the staff member know.



* You may also want to tell them that the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Burma, Thomas Quintana, the leading expert, urged the United Nations and its member countries to set up an investigation into crimes against humanity in Burma, known as a Commission of Inquiry. So far the United Kingdom, Australia, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia have all pedged their public support for establishing this investigation, but the US Government has yet to support the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry into crimes against humanity in Burma.



Offer to email them the letter; there is a good chance that the staffer may not have seen the letter yet. To do this, cut and paste the letter from this website: http://uscampaignforburma.org/coi-letter-clinton-2010-senate

Finally: Ask if your senator will sign the dear colleague letter.

It is likely that they will not give you an immediate answer because they need to ask your Senator. If that is the case, ask them politely when you will know about the final decision and how you can be informed.




To Sign on to the Letter:



Ask them to contact the following staffer, based on their party affiliation:
Democrats: Richard Harper in Senator Feinstein's (D-CA) office
Republicans: Brian Miller in Senator Gregg's (R-NH) office



Ask them when you can call back to follow-up.


B) IF YOU LEAVE A VOICEMAIL

Hi, my name is______, I am a constituent of Senator --------. I am very concerned about the human rights abuses and crimes against humanity that Burma's military regime commits against innocent civilians . I would like ask the Senator to sign on to a dear colleague letter calling for a UN investigation into crimes against humanity in Burma that is being circulated by Senators Feinstein and Gregg. As you may know, Burma's military regime has destroyed over 3,500 villages in their campaign against ethnic minorities, their use of rape as a weapon of war has been well documented and so is their use of child soldiers. I hope you take this action to help. 



Be sure to leave your phone number so they can follow-up.

C) IF YOU LEAVE A MESSAGE WITH THE RECEPTIONIST




Follow the instructions for the voice mail. Call back the next day to follow-up.

After you call, please send us a quick email at mikejen@uscampaignforburma.org and let us know how your call went!




All the instructions you need are right here. It often only takes a few persistent calls to bring this issue to your Senators' attention.



Thank you for taking action on Burma. We truly appreciate your commitment. 



=== Comments ===

Julia in Blunderland
by Julie Bishop
One of the defining features of Kevin Rudd’s prime ministership was the extent to which he was prepared to risk our international relations for domestic political gain.

Overall our foreign relations went backwards under Rudd.

Among the worst of Rudd’s diplomatic blunders during his troubled tenure as prime minister was his decision to leak a false version of a private conversation with the then president of the United States, George Bush. (more at the link) - You make excellent points, Julie. Clearly Gillard hesitated when she needed to seize the initiative. The fact is Gillard is compromised by her poor decision making of the past. She is seen as being a good communicator, but the reality is she believes her limited vision, and so she speaks with conviction of things she knows nothing about. She doesn't have Hawke's collegial skill, nor Keatings autistic vision and drive. She isn't a dope, she is a fool. - ed.
===
Michelle Obama Talks Politics
BY BILL O'REILLY
First up, no spin. I like the first lady. She was incredibly gracious to me when I met her a few months ago.
As you may know, the White House has kept Mrs. Obama away from politics. Her primary cause has been the problem of overweight children. But this week the first lady appeared at the NAACP convention in Kansas City.
Click here to watch "Talking Points"!
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA: When so many of our children still attend crumbling schools, and a black child is still far more likely to go to prison than a white child, I think the founders of this organization would agree that our work is not yet done. When stubborn inequality still persist in education and health, in income and wealth, I think those founders would urge us to increase our intensity, and to increase our discipline and our focus, and keep fighting for a better future for our children and our grandchildren.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Mrs. Obama is not wrong. There are still many minority young people attending bad schools and having trouble with the law. But how to solve that problem is the crux of the debate.
The president and the first lady believe that the federal government must right wrongs in this area. They want big money and resources to pour into poor neighborhoods, funding a variety of programs.
The problem is that strategy is not cost effective anymore. The great society entitlement program is going on 50 years, and still ghettos remain, social problems abound.
Conservative Americans largely reject the big government programs that have cost the taxpayer trillions of dollars in favor of self-reliance and local solutions. And "Talking Points" believes that the feds should step back and allow the folks to correct problems in their own neighborhoods. As they said in the 1960s, power to the people.
Let's take black crime for example. African-Americans make up 13 percent of the population, but according to the Justice Department, they comprise 39 percent of violent crime convictions. Thirty-six percent of all murders in America are committed by African-Americans, and 90 percent of black homicide victims are killed by other blacks.
Now, some African-Americans blame an oppressive white society for their problems, and a case could be made for that some years ago. But now the landscape has changed.
Another example, Mrs. Obama cites crumbling schools. But many Democrats oppose school vouchers that provide opportunity for black children to attend better schools on the government's dime.
Why do liberals oppose school vouchers? Because they are protecting the teachers' unions.
I believe Michelle Obama is a good woman who wants the best for all Americans. But she is a liberal thinker and so is her husband, the president, and these big government entitlements are not working anymore. We need more targeted solutions.
Personal responsibility, good parenting and discipline in neighborhoods and schools are the keys to an equal and just society.
I don't think the NAACP believes that at all, but it's the truth.
===
WARMIES EXAMINED
Tim Blair
From a press release on Australian Financial Review writer Mark Lawson’s new book, A Guide to Climate Change Lunacy:
Efforts to cut emissions are a waste of time and money. The economic case for cutting emissions relies on morals, not on economics, and the major proposed means of cutting emissions, carbon trading and wind energy, have never been shown to be effective. To top it all off, an enforceable international agreement with strict limits on emissions is nothing more than a green fantasy. If any of the dire temperature projections issued by the IPCC are to be taken seriously then mitigation – preparing for rising seas and higher temperatures – is the only solution. For their own reasons the government and the green movement has never shown any interest in that approach.
Lawson’s book will be launched next month by Professor Ian Plimer.

UPDATE. Removing a warmie’s libels cuts his talk by ten minutes.

(Via Garth Godsman)
===
ON THE RECORD
Tim Blair
More Twitter trouble, this time for the NSW Liberal leader:
In a tweet which Mr O’Farrell sent early this morning, which he appears to have been attempting to send as a private message to reporter Latika Bourke, who works in the Canberra press gallery, the Opposition Leader said: “Deeply off the record - I think the timetable and struggle to get candidates reflects internal poll - pre and post the Ranga.”
Doesn’t seem all that bad. Meanwhile, speculation increases about Kevin Rudd’s future. Perhaps 25 years from now he’ll be sending letters to Julia Gillard.

UPDATE. Headline trouble.
===
NO CONFIDENCE
Tim Blair
The Atlantic‘s Clive Crook – a believer in warmenism – reviews recent investigations:
I had hoped, not very confidently, that the various Climategate inquiries would be severe. This would have been a first step towards restoring confidence in the scientific consensus. But no, the reports make things worse. At best they are mealy-mouthed apologies; at worst they are patently incompetent and even wilfully wrong. The climate-science establishment, of which these inquiries have chosen to make themselves a part, seems entirely incapable of understanding, let alone repairing, the harm it has done to its own cause.

The Penn State inquiry exonerating Michael Mann – the paleoclimatologist who came up with “the hockey stick” – would be difficult to parody.
Speaking of Mann, he’s lately turned up in the letters pages to carry on about things and stuff.

(Via Marc Morano)
===
DO SOMETHING, HAMAS
Tim Blair
Israel is easing its blockade of the Gaza Strip and allowing food to pass through. Some people aren’t happy about it.
===
Rudd is gunning for Gillard
Andrew Bolt
Arthur Sinodinos says Kevin Rudd is stalking Julia Gillard:
Rudd is messing with Gillard’s mind… He is stalking both the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Stephen Smith. Rudd has made it clear he deserves and expects to get the foreign affairs portfolio after the election. It is his right as a former prime minister.

He is now in Washington, ostensibly attending the Australian American Leadership Dialogue of which he is a founding member. He has been busy lining up appointments with members of the Obama administration. The press has been briefed, allegedly by the American side, that Barack Obama rang him before talking to Gillard. He is running hard for Smith’s job.

Rudd’s future is already destabilising the government: witness the outburst in support of the ex-prime minister by the member for Flynn. More important, consider what could happen if Gillard wins the election.

Foreign minister Rudd would brook no interference in the portfolio from the Prime Minister or anyone else. Defence could also come more under his sway in the absence of a strong minister such as John Faulkner…

Rudd may well envisage a diarchy in which Gillard reigns supreme on the domestic front while Rudd is the external supremo. This is no Hillary Clinton falling into line behind Obama. More of a co-prime ministership…

Rudd fancies himself. He looks around the room and feels he is the smartest person in it. He consoles himself with the thought that Bill Clinton and Obama have said as much.

With a perspective such as that, imagine meetings of the cabinet’s security committee… Cabinet meetings could become very difficult if Rudd is present to second-guess the Prime Minister.
Once I would have thought that a frightening prospect. But after the past two weeks:
One argument in Rudd’s favour at present is the policy debacle surrounding the on-again, off-again regional processing centre in East Timor. Where were Smith and his department when this all-too-clever plot was hatched? Who was consulted about whom to contact in East Timor? Why was the suggestion only casually dropped into a congratulatory conversation between Gillard and the President of Indonesia, our most important near neighbour?
(Thanks to reader Max.)
===
Real workers sacked to protect Labor’s theoretical ones
Andrew Bolt
Fair Work Australia admits that Julia Gillard’s foolish reregulation of the workplace has cost students their part-time jobs. In hearing an appeal against her decision to raise the minimum daily engagement for casual employees from two hours to three, it found:
However it has become apparent that the change from two to three hours in some areas has led to less employment of school students after school because their availability to work during shop opening hours is often less than three hours. The impact on individuals in that situation is significant and has an impact on employment opportunities for youth in regional areas in particular. It also has an impact on the flexibilities available to employers and other employees.
So why not drop the minimum back to a sane two hours, or, even better, just let employers offer what hours suit both them and their workers? After all, the FWA agreed it’s a great idea to give children a taste of paid work:
I also acknowledge the strength of arguments that it is desirable to provide youth with employment opportunities.
But here’s the joke. The appeal was denied, and not because dropping Gillard’s new three-our limit was bad, but because it didn’t fit with her grand ideological plan:
The applicants need to establish much more than that the variation is desirable. Under the Act they need to establish that the variation is necessary to achieve the modern awards objective.
So what are Gillard’s grand “objectives”?
(1) FWA must ensure that modern awards, together with the National Employment Standards, provide a fair and relevant minimum safety net of terms and conditions, taking into account:
(a) relative living standards and the needs of the low paid; and
(b) the need to encourage collective bargaining; and
(c) the need to promote social inclusion through increased workforce participation; and
(d) the need to promote flexible modern work practices and the efficient and productive performance of work; and
(e) the principle of equal remuneration for work of equal or comparable value; and
(f) the likely impact of any exercise of modern award powers on business, including on productivity, employment costs and the regulatory burden; and
(g) the need to ensure a simple, easy to understand, stable and sustainable modern award system for Australia that avoids unnecessary overlap of modern awards; and
(h) the likely impact of any exercise of modern award powers on employment growth, inflation and the sustainability, performance and competitiveness of the national economy.
This is the modern awards objective.
(My bold.) And so once again, the Left sacrifices the individual and his freedom, preferring instead an on-paper plan to make us all live by its dream. Ironically, that theoretical plan to improve “social inclusion through increased workforce participation” requires in practice that students be denied “social inclusion through increased workforce participation”.

Reader Brett, a newsagent, steams:

It boils down to whether kids have jobs or no jobs and the union would rather that they do not.

The social environment for work now is such that I have mums working from 0830 through to 1530 when they would really like to leave and get their kids from school. That time also provides for the school kids to get here and work through to 1730 close. We cannot do that anymore. Mums are cheesed, we are cheesed and the kids are cheesed but the SDA are thrilled that they have maintained the ‘safety net’.

===
Smith’s endless conversations
Andrew Bolt
Foreign Minister Stephen Smith is having an awful lot of “conversations” he keeps mentioning without actually managing to anything at all - especially about boat people.

This time he almost beats his record of 17 conversations in a single interview.
===
Dissecting Swan’s $7.5 billion lie
Andrew Bolt
Michael Stutchbury says the fiddle that allowed Labor to lie about the cost of its mining backdown is too cute by half:
STRIKE me lucky: Wayne Swan’s belated confession of a $7.5 billion mining tax backdown would have destroyed his budget surplus promise - except that the mining boom is even bigger than he could have imagined two months ago…

When Julia Gillard announced the terms of the mining tax truce on July 2, the Treasurer claimed he had sacrificed only $1.5bn in revenue - from $12bn to $10.5bn over the first two years.

He confirmed yesterday that the tax truce actually cost $7.5bn - from $12bn to only $4.5bn… The $10.5bn figure (for the replacement tax) has been inflated by $6bn solely because of Treasury’s higher forecast for commodity prices.

There are at least three problems with all this.

First, it is too convenient to rely on a budget update only two months after the budget.

Second, the upward revisions to commodity prices jars with yesterday’s admission that the global economic outlook is “increasingly clouded by substantial downside risks” from the European debt crisis.

And third, Swan has broken his own commitment to bank all of any improved revenue outlook - such as from higher commodity prices - in getting the budget back into the black ASAP. So this leaves the budget still more hostage to the China boom - and the health of the mining companies.
Jennifer Hewett is just as sceptical:
No sooner does the government gut Ken Henry’s elegantly designed mining tax and most of the billions of dollars he insisted would flow from it than Treasury conveniently finds another $6 billion. Just like magic.

All it took was revising up the commodity prices that Treasury had assumed in the May budget.

Unfortunately, these estimates are as dodgy and unreliable as the earlier ones.

Treasury and the government can’t know what will happen to commodity prices over the next few years. Iron ore prices have been falling rather than rising since the May budget, for example, and the uncertainty over the sustainable pace of China’s expansion is increasing again.

Treasury is just as likely to be wrong now as it was then, particularly given it has done its own reputation for independent tax advice so much damage over the past few months.
UPDATE

The miners aren’t half as sure as Swan about the future:
Rio Tinto shares are moving higher in line with the rest of the mining sector, despite the company expressing concerns about the prospect of a double dip recession.

The company said its iron ore production fell 2% in the second quarter, and chief executive Tom Albanese added:
In recent weeks, fears about a possible double dip recession in OECD countries and a slight slowdown in Chinese growth have led to some weakening in sentiment. We believe this pattern of volatility in the global economy is set to continue.
(Thanks to reader Andy.)
===
Gillard cooling on August 21
Andrew Bolt
Julia Gillard’s honeymoon has ended, and a dash to the polls - with so much going wrong in her first three weeks - could seal the cynicism. So:

AN election is highly unlikely to be called this weekend after Julia Gillard’s first full election strategy meeting on Tuesday night.
The meeting looked at all the polling options from this weekend until December.

Despite frenzied media speculation and heavy betting with bookmakers targeting August 21, an election is most likely either the following Saturday or in mid-September, even perhaps as late as mid-October.
===
Coffee with Julia
Andrew Bolt

If you really are so gullible as to believe man-made warming is about to devastate the planet, then GetUp has given Julia Gillard no more than she’s invited - and probably a lot less.

(Thanks to reader Spin Baby Spin.)
===
It’s on again, as Keating monsters Hawke
Andrew Bolt
A former Labor Prime Minister is savaged by the deputy who deposed him - and, no, we’re not talking about Rudd and Gillard:
BOB Hawke went “missing” for four of his eight years as prime minister and had to be propped up by Paul Keating, the former treasurer argues.

Mr Keating puts this in a letter that is set to reignite Labor’s longest-running modern feud.

The depression that Mr Hawke admitted to in a new biography by his wife, Blanche d’Alpuget, stretched far beyond the 1984 election campaign, Keating writes in the letter to the former prime minister, obtained by The Australian.

“(Your) emotional and intellectual malaise lasted for years,” Keating writes. “All through the Tax Summit year of 1985; through to your lacklustre performance through the 1987 election, to the point when in 1988, four years later, (John) Dawkins had to front you, asking you to leave.

“It was only after that that you approached me, at your initiative, to enter into an agreement with me to succeed you following the 1990 election. An agreement you subsequently broke.”

The Keating letter was delivered by hand to Mr Hawke’s Sydney office on Monday - the day the book Hawke, The Prime Minister was launched by Julia Gillard.

Mr Keating composed the three-page missive after reading an extract of the biography in The Weekend Australian.

In that extract, d’Alpuget described the depression Mr Hawke succumbed to in 1984 when his daughter Rosslyn had been using heroin…

Of the many critical passages in the book, one jumped off the page at Mr Keating.

“With little formal education, his intellect led him to hobbies, one after another, all his life: car engines; budgerigars; the life of Winston Churchill; rock music and, as his taste matured, classical music and its visible sister, architecture,” d’Alpuget wrote.

Keating found this condescending. “The book is even stooping so low as to say that, because I had no university education, I was incapable of absorbing complex documents, and that I did not even read them,” Mr Keating told The Australian.

“The preposterousness of it is faint-making. How would anyone at the top of public life deal with 30-plus cabinet submissions a week plus hundreds of other issues, for one and a half decades, without a speedy comprehension of matters? This shows the depth to which Blanche d’Alpuget stoops in her misplaced attempts to uplift Bob.”
Half the problem is that we have here two giant egos trying to deal with the galling fact that neither on their own could properly govern without the other.

But imagine if the substance of Keating’s accusation is correct. Consider how it is that crippled or even inept Prime Ministers (think) can be propped up and successfully presented by Labor as highly competent leaders. Consider also that it was later said of Keating that he himself lost so much interest in the Prime Ministership he’d schemed for that he wouldn’t turn up to work for hours.

UPDATE

The full letter is even more bitter than the news report suggests. And among the knifings:

… you treated me shamefully ...

... grasping…

... Narcissus-like…

...self-serving…

Kevin Rudd had two months of bad polls and you were the first to say he should be replaced....

...how lucky you were to have me drive the government during your down years, leaving you with the credit for much of the success.

===
Boats, boats, boats while Gillard dithers
Andrew Bolt
As Julia Gillard once said of John Howard: “Another boat, another policy failure.”
A naval vessel has intercepted an asylum seeker boat in waters off Australia’s northwest coast.

HMAS Maryborough, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted the boat carrying 84 asylum seekers and three crew northwest of Browse Island this morning.
That was yesterday. Two days earlier:
Another boat carrying 71 asylum seekers and three crew members was found on Monday night off the Ashmore Islands, off the north west coast of Australia.
And one day before that:
Australian authorities have helped rescue a boat of asylum seekers off Australia’s northern coast… It is believed 37 passengers and two crew members were on board.
That’s another 192 asylum seekers in less than a week. Has Gillard decided yet on where she’ll one day build a detention centre to deter them?

No wonder, then:
IMMIGRATION Minister Chris Evans has reportedly admitted Labor has failed to control the immigration debate, saying it was “killing the government”.

In a highly embarrassing blunder for the usually cautious minister, Senator Evans apparently made the remarks at a conference in Sydney, apparently unaware that there were media present…

He was also reported to have cited his failure to control the debate as one of his greatest failures as minister.
How about his failure to stop the boats - and the drowning? Wasn’t that an even worse sin?

UPDATE

A letter in The Australian:
When it comes to boatpeople, it seems that everything old is Nauru again.

David Meredith, Singleton
(Thanks to reader Bill.)

UPDATE 2

I do think this attack will bite:
Tony Abbott yesterday renewed his attack on the Gillard government for courting East Timor as a site for a regional processing centre, when Australia had invested millions in building detention facilities in Nauru.

Campaigning in the vital western Sydney seat of Lindsay, where asylum-seekers are a hot button issue, the Opposition Leader again urged the Prime Minister to pick up the phone to the President of Nauru. ”If she was fair dinkum about offshore processing, she wouldn’t be talking to the East Timorese who don’t want a centre, she’d be talking to the Nauruans who do want a centre,” Mr Abbott said.
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