Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Headlines Wednesday 14th July 2010

=== Todays Toon ===
MY SORRY BOOK
With the election call at any moment now .... .... PM Gillard's support base is still quite strong and she is still a force for opposition leader, Tony Abbott, to contend with. Although she has a popular appeal to the less politically engaged punters, it wouldn't be too big a stretch that say that her media honeymoon is on the wane, considering recent events. With the incalculable and inconclusive deal done with the mining magnates on the super profits tax and her so-called answer to the disastrous Rudd border security policy, now dubbed the "Dili Solution" set to be the failure and back flip that it started out as, the shine on this clever politician is fading fast. - ZEG
"The True end of satire is the amendment of vices by correction & he, who writes honestly is no more enemy to the offender, than the physician to the patient, when he prescribes harsh remedies to an inveterate disease" -- John Dryden
=== Bible Quote ===
“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”- Philippians 2:9-11
=== Headlines ===
NAACP Set to Vote on Resolution Calling Tea Party 'Racist'
Nation's leading civil rights group is poised to decide on a resolution to condemn the Tea Party movement as racist, despite claims from Tea Partiers that the measure is just a political ploy.

'Perfect Citizen' the Ultimate Spying Tool
NSA's new cyber-security program Perfect Citizen will monitor nuclear power plants and the electric power grid to safeguard against cyber-assaults, but could it be used for spying on every citizen in the U.S.?

Sex Search Nation? Call it Pornistan
It may be referred to as the 'Land of the Pure,' but Pakistan, which has banned content on at least 17 websites, is the world's leader in online searches for pornographic material

Guantanamo Bay Becomes Playground
They may spend their days behind bars, but Gitmo detainees are playing Playstation3, chatting on Skype, taking 'life skills' classes and even becoming fans of the 'Twilight' series

She couldn't even look fiance Fadi Ibrahim in the face at court - and now Shayda Bastani is behind bars after failing to raise $1.1m bail on a conspiracy to murder charge.

Nauru solution opens up for PM
ISLAND nation re-emerges as a serious option for Gillard's asylum-seeker processing facility.

'We had a bond, I was the love of his life'
SECRET lover of multi-millionaire Herman Rockefeller tells of 27-year affair with "soul mate".

'Mutilated' women slam insulting payouts
COMPENSATION rejected by victims of doctor facing charges for wounding and sexual assault.

Artist sparks anger with death camp dance
MELBOURNE Jew says video of I will Survive dance at Auschwitz is a tribute to Holocaust survivor dad.

Slim pickings for Tamara in divorce saga
DIVORCE won't be lucrative for soon-to-be ex-Mrs Sandilands with most assets in Kyle's name.

Australia's great foreign aid rip off
OUR $4 billion foreign aid program is plagued by fraud with 134 active investigations into possible corruption taking place.

Reeves compo deal an insult, say women
WOMEN allegedly mutilated by former doctor Graeme Reeves say $12,000 compensation offer "insulting".

ALP Hack gets $250,000-plus Department of Transport job
THE former chief of staff to ex-minister David Campbell has been appointed deputy director-general of the Department of Transport on a $250,000-plus salary. The appointment of Ryan Park to the senior public service position has been criticised by the Opposition which said the Labor Government appeared to be giving "Labor hacks" public service jobs ahead of an election loss. Park's appointment follows yesterday's claims from former NSW Maritime chief executive Chris Oxenbould that former ports minister Joe Tripodi had asked Mr Oxenbould to set up a position and then recommended two Labor staffers for the role. One former staffer, Patrick Low, eventually won the $200,000 a year job - general manager (policy) - after it was advertised. Mr Park has been a long-term member of the Labor Party who even voted as a delegate at the state conference in 2008.

Interpol alert still out for Celebrity Child Rapist
GLOBAL police agency Interpol warned that a wanted alert still hangs over filmmaker Roman Polanski, despite Switzerland's rejection of a US call to extradite him on sex charges. The United States, which is behind this red notice, has to request that it be withdrawn" before the alert over Polanski can be lifted, an Interpol spokesman said. He said no such request had yet been received from the United States. A red notice is an alert sent to police in Interpol's 188 member countries to request their help in arresting and extraditing a suspect, but does not constitute a formal international arrest warrant. Polanski, 76, had been under house arrest pending the US demand for him to be sent to California to answer charges of unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl in 1977. But on Monday Swiss Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf announced Polanski would not be extradited and could walk free.
=== Journalists Corner ===
Club Fed?
They play Wii and watch the movie 'Twilight' -- So, why are Gitmo prisoners living the good life? We investigate!
===
'Hannity'
Sex Ed for five-year-olds? One school says it's age appropriate. Outraged parents say it's crossing the line! The debate is on.
===
'On the Record With Greta'
How do we realistically solve immigration while restoring trust in our people? Dr. Richard Land reveals his moral solution!
===
On Fox News Insider
Can the IRS Handle Their New Job?
2012 Election: Newt for President?
Cheryl Burke on 'Fox and Friends'

=== Comments ===
Economic Disaster on the Horizon
BY BILL O'REILLY
A few months ago, President Obama appointed a commission to examine America's debt, now standing at more than $13 trillion. The president appointed Erskine Bowles, a former top adviser to Bill Clinton, to co-chair the commission. And now Mr. Bowles is delivering his verdict.
Click here to watch "Talking Points"!
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERSKINE BOWLES, DEBT COMMISSION CO-CHAIR: What's clear to me from just glancing at it is that if we don't restore some fiscal sanity around here as a nation, we are going to go broke. I know that's not a word people like to use, but it happens to be true. We face the most predictable, economic crisis in history. And if we stay on automatic pilot, the debt we are accumulating will be like a cancer. It will definitely destroy this country from within.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Wow. What an amazing statement and one that should trouble every American.
Again, the president appointed Mr. Bowles, a Democrat, to investigate the nation's debt, and he says disaster lies ahead.
Now, how will Mr. Obama react? Will he stop the enormous spending? Will he cut back on entitlements? Will he re-evaluate Obamacare? If I had to bet, I'd say no. The president will not do any of those things. Of course, I could be wrong.
But this is not just about Mr. Obama. It's about liberalism. What Erskine Bowles is really saying is that America can no longer afford liberal policies. The country simply does not have enough money to pay the bills of hundreds of millions of Americans.
Right now, Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security, health subsidies, welfare payments, unemployment benefits and a variety of other social spending programs are bankrupting the country.
And so, the most liberal president in the nation's history, Barack Obama, is faced with a very painful reality: Income redistribution and entitlements may very well lead to the country to economic collapse.
"Talking Points" suspects liberal Democrats have tried to tax their way out of the mess. Beginning in 2011, taxes on almost everything will rise, but this might throw the economy back into recession. If American consumers spend less because they're paying more to the government, that will obviously harm the economy. And even if that doesn't happen, the money raised by increased taxes will not cover what Mr. Obama wants to spend.
So clearly this is a "Barack and a hard place" situation, and it's not just Mr. Obama's fault. President Bush spent an incredible amount of money in his eight years in office.
But the buck, so to speak, stops now with Mr. Obama. Will he change course, or will we all go down?
===
PLANS MADE
Tim Blair
People need to “plan for adapting to a shifting climate”, writes the CSIRO’s Bruce Mapstone, whose organisation notes an increase in “very hot days” and many millimetres of sea-level rise.

Very well. My adaptation plans are as follows:

• In the case of very hot days, I will turn on the air conditioner.

• Should the sea begin to encroach on the ground floor, I will relocate to the second and third floors.

That’s about it. Other ideas are welcome, but I think most dangers are already covered.
===
FLIGHT ALIGHT
Tim Blair
Bob Hawke fires up a cigar while airborne during the 1983 election campaign:
Note the typewriter – and cigarette packets. We’ve lost some freedoms as technological liberty increases. Two of the Labor staffers pictured, by the way, subsequently joined the Consumers Heath Forum.

(Much thanks to Darmo)
===
GREAT MORAL CLOTHING OF OUR GENERATION
Tim Blair
The current major political issue in Australia – involving more than $200 million in federal funds – is school uniforms. Seriously.
===
COLD FEET
Tim Blair
Al Gore’s enormous feet receive a friendly California welcome. As usual, however, Gore brings the cold.
===
GEORGE STEINBRENNER
Tim Blair
New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner has died in Florida.

===
Swan admits: his figures out by $7.5 billion. And it’s gone to the miners
Andrew Bolt
Treasurer Wayne Swan is battling through a hostile press conference as his spin catches up with him.

He wanted to boast about revised Budget estimates claiming the surplus by 2013 will be not $1 billion but three times as much.

Trouble is, can we trust Treasury’s calculations any more? Swan has also had to admit that the “super profits” tax would not have raised the $12 billion in its first two years but billions more.

In fact, he admits, the Government gave up not $1.5 billion over two years in its peace deal with the miners, but $7.5 billion. It lied and lied again.

No wonder one of the questions Swan got was whether he’d still be Treasurer after the election. Another was to explain why Rudd had been ditched but he promoted.

(Post edited and corrected.)

UPDATE

No, I had it right the first time - and it’s even worse:
Mr Swan also said under the higher commodity price forecasts, the old RSPT could have raised about $24 billion.
Which means Treasury was out by 100 per cent. And the concessions it’s given the miners are worth, in effect, $13.5 billion.

Wow.
===
French MPs vote overwhelmingly against the burqa
Andrew Bolt

I suspect and fear a clash is coming as French MPs attempt to preserve the character of their country:
FRANCE’S lower house of parliament has voted overwhelmingly to ban the wearing of face-covering veils in public spaces...
On the eve of Bastille Day, when France celebrates the birth of what was to become a staunchly secular republic, the 577-seat National Assembly lower house voted by 335 votes to one for a total ban.

The bill will now go to the Senate in September, but opponents of the total ban say if it was overturned by the judges of the Constitutional Council, France’s highest legal body, it would hand a victory to the fundamentalists…

The bill defines public space very broadly, including not just government buildings and public transport, but all streets, markets and thoroughfares, private businesses and entertainment venues…

Similar laws are pending in Belgium, Spain and some Italian municipalities, but the ban is particularly sensitive in France, whose rundown city suburbs are home to Europe’s biggest Muslim minority.
(Thanks to reader AM.)
===
Guantanamo inmate complains: home is worse
Andrew Bolt
Remember how poor old David Hicks was portrayed as the victim of unbelievable cruelty at a hellish prison at Guantanamo Bay, even though he came out fatter than he was going in?
As (The Age) said in its Monday editorial: “(The US’s) treatment of detainees has caused it to forfeit the right it once claimed to moral superiority in its battle against those who threaten democracy.” ...

Take the story spread by his lawyers, Major Michael Mori and Stephen Kenny, that Hicks was so traumatised he was losing weight. Or, as another Hicks lawyer, David McLeod, put it just last January: ”His eyes are sunken and his cheeks are sallow. He looks like an old man.”

Imagine the astonishment of reporters, then, when Hicks turned up to his hearings just weeks later looking fat, healthy and tanned, and cracking jokes.
Turns out that Guantanamo is actually so pleasant that some of the terrorist suspects there refuse to leave:
Barack Obama campaigned on a pledge to close the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. Since then, he seems to have backed off; maybe he has listened to the Gitmo prisoners who don’t want to leave:
The Obama administration would quickly send home six Algerians held at the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but for one problem: The men don’t want to go. Given the choice between repatriation and incarceration, the men choose Gitmo, according to their lawyers.

The detainees fear that they might be tortured or killed if they return to Algeria. Which is to say, actually tortured, something that has never happened at Gitmo, notwithstanding the global hyperventilation of the last seven or eight years.

Administration officials point out that despite this history, the United States, under the Bush and Obama administrations, has already sent 10 Algerian detainees home from Guantanamo Bay, and that none has been persecuted.
But that isn’t enough to persuade these detainees to leave Cuba:
The administration has been preparing to repatriate one of the six Algerians. But lawyers for Aziz Abdul Naji, 35, who has been held at Guantanamo for more than eight years, said he is “adamantly opposed to going back.”

“It would be outrageous and inhumane to take him against his will,” said Doris Tennant, one of his lawyers.
Inhumane to lock them up, inhumane to let them go. The US really can’t win with these guys, can it?

(Thanks to reader Geoff.)
===
Why Labor keeps spending us into trouble
Andrew Bolt

Janet Albrechtsen diagnoses the common conceit that explains so many of Labor’s disasters - from the pink batts fiasco to the Green Loans blowout:

Even a cursory look at the Green Loans scheme, just the latest Labor debacle, suggests a consistent message. Labor in the 21st century is committed to a deluded philosophy where a big spending government believes it can spend our money better than we can…

The Green Loans program, with an initial budget of $300 million, later cut to $175m, promised government-funded energy assessments in 300,000 homes and up to 75,000 interest-free loans of up to $10,000 so households could reduce the environmental impact of their homes. Sounds too good to be true. And it was.

Predictably, and understandably, shonks and sharks sniffed the easy money. And three independent reports reveal a litany of government and bureaucratic failings. For example, an independent external review by Patricia Faulkner, a former head of the Victorian Department of Human Services, with support from KPMG, found: 96 per cent of procurements reviewed were done without open competition, evidence of contract splitting to avoid authorisation by senior management, repeated breaches of the Financial Management Act and Regulations, non-compliance with Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines, unaddressed conflicts of interest, lack of documentation, poor contract management, lack of commercial terms (advance payments were often made), huge cost escalations (an original contract for $49,588 skyrocketed to $462,000, while another for $770,000 ended up costing $3.4m), weak budget controls, delays in implementing an audit process and the absence of a quality assurance program.

In short, no one cared too much about how money was spent, how much money was spent and what quality of services it was spent on…

Gillard, who has the historical hallmarks of being another grand designer yet wants to be known as the great pragmatist, ought to check whether the myriad failings of the Green Loans scheme are explained by first principles.

Freidman, who wrote the introduction to Hayek’s book, best described the four ways we spend money: “You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you’re doing, and you try to get the most for your money. Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I’m not so careful about the content of the present, but I’m very careful about the cost. Then, I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. And if I spend somebody else’s money on myself, then I’m sure going to have a good lunch! Finally, I can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else’s money on somebody else, I’m not concerned about how much it is, and I’m not concerned about what I get. And that’s government.”

And that’s the Green Loans scheme. And the insulation program. And the national roll-out of new school halls.

===
Dance, and damn them
Andrew Bolt

I can’t share the outrage:
AN AUSTRALIAN artist has defended posting a YouTube video of her family singing and dancing to the tune of I Will Survive at the Auschwitz death camp.

Melbourne artist Jane Korman - who is Jewish - filmed her Holocaust survivor father and her three children dancing outside the infamous camp in Poland.

As many as 1.1 million people were murdered there by the Nazis in World War II.

The video also shows the family dancing at a Polish synagogue, the German concentration camp at Dachau, the Czech concentration camp at Theresienstadt and at a Polish memorial to the victims of the Nazi ghetto.

The video ends with Korman’s emotional 89-year-old father Adolk describing his return to Poland with his three grandchildren as “a really historic moment"…

Ms Korman told London’s The Daily Mail the video was a “celebration of life and survival”....

“He [her father] is saying, ‘we’re dancing, we should be dancing, we’re celebrating our survival and the generations after me. We are affirming our existence’.”
I did immediately think there was some lack of respect here for those who did not survive. To dance where there had been so much death…

But watching the video, I felt incredibly stirred. What a shout of joyous defiance to those who wanted this man dead. He did survive ... and he’s dancing, damn them. - like that wonderful movie "Vite E Belle" aka "Life is Beautiful" there was argument about the portrayal, but the story has to be told. - ed.
===
Why save an animal just begging for extinction?
Andrew Bolt
I DON’T want to sound blasphemous, but do we really care if the golden sun moth becomes extinct?

Shouldn’t we just harden up about this whole “endangered” racket?

Maybe we’d actually be better off without this damn bug - this orange bellied parrot of the insect world - that’s now crippling developments from Sydney to Melbourne.

Oh, and spare me your huffing about biodiversity, sustainability and my children’s children’s children.

You see, I’ve seen the dodo.

In a cupboard in a monastery on a hill above Prague, he was, and looking rather startled. So would you, if you’d just learned you were to be stuffed and mounted as the last of your kind.

To be frank, I wasn’t impressed. It was as ugly as sin, with the body of a turkey, the neck of a duck and the head of a vulture.

Here was indisputable proof that the universe was not created by an all-knowing God. Whatever made the dodo got the proportions so screwed up, with a monster beak but midget wings, that the bird couldn’t fly, and survived only as long on Mauritius as it took dogs, pigs, cats, rats and monkeys to find their way to its island and its eggs.

Nor was it of the slightest use to us. Its feathers were dull grey and its meat tough and nasty. It was so brainless besides that the Portuguese gave it their word for fool - duodo. Its Latin name says it all: Didus ineptus.

In fact, looking at the goofy thing, I felt serenely confident that there was not the slightest gap left in my life by its passing, just as I have no reason at all to regret never being able to see a herd of tyrannosaurus rex in my front garden.

Rather the reverse. The dodo’s extinction has been a gift to the language, giving us the pithy phrase “as dead as a dodo” as well as a good-natured word to describe the brainless.

Here’s an animal of more use to us dead than alive, which brings me to our golden sun moth, and our peculiar new habit of losing all ability to reason once someone screams “endangered”.
===
On choosing Julia’s “right kind of migrant”
Andrew Bolt
MY excuse for this column is Julia Gillard. She’s the one who says we need to bring in “the right kind of migrants”.

More importantly, our new Prime Minister says she wants us to talk frankly at last about boat people - and, I presume - other immigrants.

“I’d like to sweep away any sense that people should close down any debate, including this debate, through a sense of self-censorship or political correctness,” she declared.

I hope she means it, because here are some facts of the kind that normally invite screams of “racist” and an inquisition from our shut-your-face human rights tribunals.

They are the kind of facts that also have so many voters so steamed up about just a few thousand boat people - or, to put it another way, about thousands of people who barge in, having destroyed their identity documents, and expect us to believe they’ll be model citizens.
BRITISH police this month revealed that most men charged in London for gun crime, robberies and street crime are black, even though blacks make up just 12 per cent of Londoners.

BRITAIN’S Centre for Social Cohesion this month said two-thirds of 124 Islamist terrorists convicted there since 1999 were of British nationality, and almost half were of Pakistani, Bangladeshi or Indian heritage.

A THIRD of the gang members in Canada’s prisons have African ancestry, although just 2.5 per cent of the population are African Canadians.

SWEDES with a Middle Eastern nationality are 6.6 times more likely than Swedish citizens to be in prison. For Africans it’s 10.9 times.
Now to Australia ...
THE 20 people convicted here for terrorism offences are all Muslim.

AUSTRALIANS born in Tonga and Samoa are about five times more likely than the rest of us to be jailed.

AUSTRALIANS born in Romania, Vietnam, Sudan and Lebanon have jail rates much higher than the average (and Chinese and Indians much lower).
So, yes, let’s talk about bringing in “the right kind of migrants”.

Before I do, let me make the standard disclaimers.
===
Burnside a doctor’s wife
Andrew Bolt
I always suspected he was irrational:

HUMAN rights lawyer Julian Burnside, QC, has thrown his weight behind the Greens to gain the balance of power in the Senate, accusing Labor and the Coalition of being driven by polls rather than principles.
===
Claim: Sweet Australia gives sanctuary to a defeated terrorist army
Andrew Bolt
Remember Kevin Rudd’s confected fury - largely backed by the usual media suspects - at Wilson Tuckey’s suggestion that one in a 100 boat people might be a terrorist?
I think these are deeply divisive, disgusting remarks and they do not belong in any mainstream political party. (Opposition Leader Malcolm) Turnbull should show some leadership and withdraw his support for Mr Tuckey’s preselection as a Liberal candidate for the next election.
Can we have some apologies, please, from those who were so irresponsibly blind to our national interests and so reckless with our national security?
AS many as half of Sri Lankans seeking asylum in Australia are suspected of being former fighters, operatives or supporters of the Tamil Tigers.

The Tigers have been designated a terrorist organisation in many countries but not in Australia.

Sri Lankan officials estimate that between 25 and 50 per cent of Tamils fleeing to Australia have connections to the defeated Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Defence analyst Sergei DeSilva-Ranasinghe said that during a recent visit to Sri Lanka, two government ministers and several other officials, including Catholic Church staff with deep ties in the Tamil community, told him 25 per cent was at the lower end of their estimates.

“The people I spoke to constantly said 50 per cent,” he told The Australian.

Mr DeSilva-Ranasinghe says former Tamil Tiger members are attracted to Australia because the LTTE remains legal here, unlike in the US, Canada, Britain and 27 EU member countries, where it is proscribed as a terrorist organisation.
UPDATE

Another suspected terrorist:
INDONESIAN authorities believe they have captured a senior Afghan al-Qa’ida-linked figure posing as an asylum-seeker trying to reach Australia.

The man, Mohammad Isa, was seized in North Sumatra in April with 10 other illegal immigrants from Afghanistan, and has since been held in the Australian-built Tanjung Pinang immigration detention centre, on Bintan island, near Singapore. He is said to be a medical doctor who speaks eight languages.

The revelation follows information from the head of Indonesia’s international crimes unit, Saud Usman Nasution, that Australian Federal Police were helping the Indonesians to compile a database to cross-check asylum-seeker and terrorist connections.
(Thanks to reader ML.)
===
Stumbling Gillard’s honeymoon is over
Andrew Bolt
It’s not just conservative me who thinks Julia Gillard has completely botched her honeymoon, presenting herself as every bit as opportunistic, spin-mad and incompetent as Rudd.

Ross Gittins:
Excuse me, but what’s the tearing hurry? We’ve had a new Prime Minister for five minutes, but we’re being rushed off to an election before we can get her measure. Why? Is there a fear, if the election were delayed until October, the gloss would have worn off and we’d see Julia Gillard in a less hopeful and flattering light?..

I’m not impressed by what we’ve seen of the Gillard government so far. We’ve seen the triumph of political expediency over good government. From her first day she’s left little doubt three running political sores - the mining tax, resentment of boat people and the vacuum left by Labor’s abandonment of its emissions trading scheme - needed to be staunched quick smart if the government’s re-election were to be secured.

But what hasty, amateurish patch-up jobs we’ve seen. Wayne Swan has fudged up figures purporting to show the revenue cost of the deal done with the three biggest mining companies was minor… Then we had the fearful muddle over the Timor solution the Timorese hadn’t agreed to, and now we’re getting the climate change policy you have when you don’t have a climate change policy.

The trouble with all this is it’s terribly reminiscent of Kevin Rudd.
Malcolm Farr:
The key factor which could force Julia Gillard to further put off an election is the growing disquiet among voters about the motive behind her elevation to the job of Prime Minister. To a significant number of voters, it looks like a snow job.

The damaging sentiment is that she was made Prime Minister simply to win the election, not to lead the nation. This view has it that Gillard has only one task, and that is to keep Labor in power.

On Tuesday she made clear she had “governing to do’’, a sign that this disquiet has become an element of Labor Party polling.
UPDATE

Gillard’s announcment yesterday of a rebate (two years from now) for school uniform expenses won’t do much to tackle the perceptions that she’s trying to spin her way out of trouble. What a bizarrely trivial and obviously focus-group tested promise for her first spending announcment as PM.

Like her Adelaide speech praising hard work, she seems to be borrowing from the playbook of Mark Latham, whose big promise was to get parents to read to their children.

The Australian is rightly scathing:
Ms Gillard’s uniform rebate is hardly what we were expecting from a government that promised “root and branch” tax reform.
Kudelka brilliantly skewers Gillard’s school uniform promise:
===
Swan should explain his great fiddle
Andrew Bolt
Malcolm Turnbull tells Labor to come clean with its costings and stop lying about its mining tax deal:
Why won’t Wayne Swan and Julia Gillard tell the truth about how much revenue they gave up to the big resources companies to stop their campaign against the proposed “super profits” mining tax?…

When first announced on May 2, the Treasury forecast it would raise $12 billion in its first two years.... Two months and one ex-prime minister later, the modified tax was strikingly less onerous. The tax rate was slashed from 40 to 22.5 per cent, and only on profits over $50 million where return on capital exceeded about 13 per cent (rather than to all returns exceeding a little less than 6 per cent). It only applied to iron ore and coal (onshore oil and gas were folded into the existing petroleum resources rent tax). The number of companies paying it fell from 2500 to 320.

Yet Treasury’s estimate of revenue for the same two years was $10.5 billion, only $1.5 billion lower. It barely seemed possible…

Swan refused to tell us the Treasury’s assumptions about prices and volumes underpinning the estimates, nor have we been told what revisions have been made to support the estimates.

We can only assume this magic pudding was made possible by assuming some or all of: a lower exchange rate, higher prices and higher volumes. Yet the spot price for iron ore has dropped a third since April, and coking and thermal coal have fallen too, although not by as much. We know major new sources of iron ore will come on stream, and we are closer to the top of its price cycle than to the bottom.
===
Will Gillard have the guts to admit she was wrong on Nauru?
Andrew Bolt
What a joke. The last formal obstacle to Julia Gillard choosing Nauru could be removed with a mere stroke of a pen on a meaningless document. All that will stop her doing what’s plainly sensible is the shame of having to admit Labor was hopelessly, irresponsibly wrong to so demonise John Howard’s Pacific Solution:
NAURU has sought legal advice on signing the UN convention on refugees, potentially dropping a hurdle to being considered as an asylum processing hub.
As the Gillard government prepares to send officials to East Timor to discuss its suitability as a site, President Marcus Stephen said a detention centre, built as part of the Howard government’s Pacific Solution, was being temporarily used as a high school and as a government warehouse.

“Basically, the infrastructure is still in place,” Mr Stephen said.

“Most of the services are in place - we’re talking about services which even local people didn’t have access to like satellite phones, you’ve got televisions.”

The Nauru leader’s comments coincided with the interception of another boat by Border Protection Command last night. Initial indications suggested there were 71 passengers and three crew on board…

Mr Stephen said today that signing up to the convention was a possibility.

“We’re not a signatory to the UN convention on refugees but that is something we can also look at it if it is very critical. I don’t see that as a big hurdle. My government would be happy to look at the UN Convention,” he told 4BC.
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