=== Todays Toon ===Sir Arthur Roden Cutler VC, AK, KCMG, KCVO, CBE (24 May 1916 – 22 February 2002) was an Australian diplomat, the longest serving Governor of New South Wales and a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry "in the face of the enemy" that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth armed forces.
=== Bible Quote ===“The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.”- Psalm 119:130
=== Headlines ===Senate Confirms Elena Kagan as Newest Supreme Court Justice
Kagan confirmed in a 63-37 vote to become 112th Supreme Court justice and the fourth woman ever to serve on the high court.
Feds Bust Alleged Terror-Funding Ring
Federal authorities unseal charges against 14 people — including two Americans — accused of supporting or fundraising for Qaeda-linked group Al Shabab
Pentagon to WikiLeaks: Return Unseen Docs
Pentagon tells whistle-blower website WikiLeaks to 'do the right thing' and hand over 15,000 unpublished documents on the war in Afghanistan
County Sorry It Soured On Girl's Juice Stand
Oregon county officials apologize after health inspectors tell 7-year-old girl she can't run a lemonade stand without a $120 temporary restaurant license
Breaking NewsDollar up on weak US data
THE dollar opened higher after the release of more disappointing US data ahead of important US jobs figures.
'Drug bottles found' in Anna Nicole's room
DRUG bottles, a duffel bag full of cash and Anna Nicole Smith's sobbing boyfriend, were found in the Florida hotel room where the Playboy model died of an overdose three years ago, a police detective testified today.
China banks to test for property bubble
CHINA'S banking regulator has ordered lenders to stress-test their real estate loans measure the impact of a 50 per cent fall in property prices.
Surprise rise in US new dole claims
NEW claims for US jobless benefits rose unexpectedly last week to the highest level since April, underscoring concerns about the economic recovery.
Missing pregnant teen found dead
POLICE have discovered the body of a missing pregnant teenager in a California landfill.
Warm weather spurs locusts
BIOSECURITY Queensland is forming a taskforce to combat spur-throated locusts threatening central Queensland's cropping areas.
Coles and Woolies to expand booze range
COLES and Woolworths have registered a string of fancy liquour labels and consumers won't know they're drinking house brands.
Sonray 'rot' started at top, lawyers say
SLATER & Gordon say the books of collapsed broker Sonray are a "debacle" as they call for investors to join a class action suit.
Labor plan to boost auto industry
A RE-ELECTED Labor Government has dreams of a re-energised automotive sector, where electric and lightweight cars rule.
Man's body found in bushland
QUEENSLAND police are investigating the suspicious death of a 48-year-old man in the north-western city of Mt Isa
NSW/ACTEx-priest cleared of sex charges
A 77-YEAR-old former Catholic priest accused of molesting boys 50 years ago was cleared on six indecent assault charges by a jury.
Moorings crunch on crowded Harbour
ALMOST 1200 boaties are on the waiting list to secure a prized Sydney Harbour mooring but the list is about to get even bigger.
Trapped kangaroos culled in west
KANGAROOS trapped in a sewage treatment plant after their habitat was destroyed have been culled as there was no food.
Labor MP loses her licence DUI
FORMER state minister Cherie Burton has lost her licence for DUI in the latest scandal for the Keneally Government.
Delay in HIV acrobat case
THE case of an HIV-positive acrobat accused of spreading the virus by having unprotected sex with two women is facing further delays.
It's raining men - in the country
IN the driest parts of the state it's raining men but there's a North Shore drought, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows.
Katrina's death still a mystery
THE family of Katrina Ploy will today face the devastating possibility that the mystery of their daughter's death will never be solved.
All a-twitter in the 'burbs
TWO Sydney suburbs have confounded experts by being listed in the city's five top Twitter hotspots.
Viva, Viva Star City
LAS Vegas designers will transform Star City into a "world class" entertainment venue in a $860m revamp of the gaming venue.
Receipt row led to shooting spree
IT began with a request by a Bunnings Warehouse worker to see a receipt for some tools. It ended with bullets fired and four arrested.
QueenslandAFL grand final for Gabba?
A DISPUTE between the AFL and Cricket Victoria over the use of the MCG could deliver the Gabba its first AFL grand final next year.
Man's body found in bush
QUEENSLAND police are investigating the suspicious death of a 48-year-old man in the north-western city of Mt Isa.
Boyfriend faces Bianca kill charge
A MAN has been charged with the murder of young mum Bianca Girven who was found strangled at a Brisbane lovers' lane in March.
Baby choking but no ambulance
FOR six terrifying minutes young mum Lisa Brown held her choking baby, waiting for an ambulance to arrive – but it never came.
Mobile app fights driver fatigue
A QUEENSLAND invention that gauges driver fatigue will soon be available as a mobile phone application and at touch-screen kiosks.
LNP gagged on critical political ads
ANNA Bligh has stripped the Opposition of its ability to criticise the Government in taxpayer-funded advertising.
No jail for surfer's attacker
A MAN who admitted to bashing Gold Coast surf star Dean Morrison has avoided jail after his solicitor argued he should not be punished for "the crimes of Coolangatta".
Mental patients go on rampage
MENTAL patients kicked down security doors, threatened to kill staff and trapped nurses in a room during a wild rampage at Ipswich Hospital.
Bikeway rape victim compo insult
A VICTIM of Brisbane's bikeway rapist will receive less in compensation than the reward given to two men who wrote down the offender's registration number.
Fireman gets his finger back
THE fireman run over by a fully laden cane train has undergone two bouts of surgery, one of which re-attached his index finger.
VictoriaWoman saves dog from burning home
A WOMAN has been taken to hospital after running back into a burning house to save her dog.
School scheme blows budget
VICTORIAN taxpayers are stumping up the cash needed to complete school projects under the Building the Education Revolution program.
Twitter gets off the track
A SENIOR transport bureaucrat is under fire for wasting time sending inconsequential passenger tweets to fellow transport heavyweights.
Plug in, drive away
SILENCE accompanied the i-MiEV when it arrived in Melbourne on Thursday.
Staff frightened of six-year-old
DANIEL Sollars was just six years old when management at a childcare centre said he was frightening staff and had to go.
Appeal to save rescuer
A FISHERMAN faces ruin after his boat was wrecked during his vain attempt to save a drowning man.
Soft sentence cheapens a stolen life
THE partner of a man mowed down by a serial drunk believe his life has been devalued by the way the legal system dealt with his death.
Allergies linked to junk food
LINKS between the rise of junk food and high-fat diets to the explosion in allergies adds a vital piece to the jigsaw puzzle.
Metro plans TV screens for our trains
METRO plans to put TV screens in Melbourne trains, but commuters say it should concentrate on running the network on time.
Vets brassed off
HEROES of the battle of Long Tan, who fought for decades for recognition, have been snubbed by army top brass.
Northern TerritoryNothing New
South AustraliaIs Barnaby cut out for it?
SOUTH Australia has ramped up calls to coax reluctant Coalition water spokesman Barnaby Joyce to visit the Lower Lakes and debate the state of the Murray.
$10m damage to Coles Myer stock
SMOKE has caused between $10 million and $15 million damage to stock at a Coles Myer distribution centre in Adelaide's northern suburbs.
Rann's Portland vision not a reality
THE State Government has a lot to learn about city transport and planning, writes urban devel9opment expert Kevin O'Leary.
Taking fight up to bikies
THE Crime Gangs Taskforce has an additional 10 police officers, following a drive-by shooting this week at the Andrews Farm home of a Hells Angels member.
Revive home buyer grants
FEDERAL political parties should commit to a renewed boost of the first-home buyer grant to ensure the property market remains strong.
80s rockers are making waves again
A MERE two months after being in doubt of returning to Adelaide, the Soundwave Festival will be back next year with its biggest line-up to date.
New youth centre repalces 'hellhole'
CONSTRUCTION of a new Youth Training Centre at Cavan is scheduled to start before the end of the year.
Cross over Whitmore Square plan
BATTLE-weary Sturt St residents and traders are worried it will be deja vu, as work starts on a pedestrian crossing at Whitmore Square.
Business leaders back tram loop
CITY business heavyweights have backed Lord Mayor Michael Harbison’s calls for a western tram loop.
Cabbie bashers caught on taxi camera
TWO thugs who bashed and robbed a taxi driver at Prospect have been caught on camera.
Western AustraliaPerth train officers plan strike
PERTH train officers to go on strike tomorrow morning, giving commuters a ‘free ride’ across Perth's train network.
Iron ore truck erupts in flames
A 100 tonne iron ore truck powered by liquid natural gas (LNG) and diesel fuel has erupted in fire in Geraldton.
Safe ending to plane drama
A LIGHT plane with four people onboard has made an emergency landing in Port Hedland after experiencing landing gear problems.
'Rape' cop must get job back
WESTERN Australia's police commissioner says he is legally bound to reinstate a sacked officer who had a rape conviction quashed.
$17,000 in pearl jewellery stolen
THIEVES have allegedly stolen more than $17,000 worth of jewellery from Shark Bay's Blue Lagoon Pearl shop.
Two charged over imported drugs
POLICE have charged two men who used empty alcohol bottles to import a drug used to manufacture methylamphetamine.
Duck survives 'inhumane' attack
AUTHORITIES are appealing for information to identify the person responsible for a cruel arrow attack on a wild duck near Mandurah.
Two men die in Pinjarra head-on
TWO men are dead after a truck and car collided early today on South Western Highway near Pinjarra, 87km south of Perth.
Barnett cuts payroll tax by $100m
COLIN Barnett has delivered on a promise to help small- to medium-sized businesses get over the global financial crisis.
TasmaniaTassie's huge wallaby cull 'devastating'
MORE than one million wallabies and pademelons were killed in one year in Tasmania to protect farms and forests.
===Journalists Corner ===Guest: Newt Gingrich
Newt says, "I think we have to recognize that our risks are growing greater not smaller". National Security - is America at a crisis point? Newt Gingrich sits down with Hannity.
'The O'Reilly Factor'
Food Fight? As Michelle Obama crusades against child obesity, so why do some have a problem with it? Plus, Obama outlines health care on the Internet, but will the site work to simplify the system? Glenn Beck weighs in.
'On the Record'
Hot issues have cooled the president's poll numbers ... how bad could it get and what's next for team Obama? Karl Rove goes 'On the Record'.
On Fox News InsiderWhy is the ADL Against the Ground Zero Mosque?
Pelosi Calls House Back to Work Next Week for $26 Billion Funding Bill
VIDEO: Carjacked Car Drives Over Police Cruiser
=== Comments ===ACLU Now Actively Aiding Al Qaeda
BY BILL O'REILLY
This is an amazing story that you most likely will see nowhere else but "The Factor."
As you may know, President Obama and CIA chief Leon Panetta have wreaked havoc in the ranks of Al Qaeda by using predator drone missiles to attack terrorists all over the world. The strategy has been very effective and has decimated the Al Qaeda leadership. Obama and Panetta are patriots for their actions.
But the far left opposes using the drone attacks, and now the ACLU has filed a backdoor lawsuit to try to stop the campaign.
Please follow me closely here.
Anwar al-Awlaki has been designated a global terrorist by the U.S. government. That means he is a prime target.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEON PANETTA, CIA DIRECTOR: Awlaki is a terrorist. And, yes, he's a U.S. citizen, but he is first and foremost a terrorist, and we're going to treat him like a terrorist. We don't have an assassination list. But I can tell you this: We have a terrorist list and he's on it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Enter the ACLU, which has applied to represent Awlaki in any court proceedings that might occur. That application has not been acted upon by the U.S. government.
So the ACLU is suing in federal court, saying the terrorist and others like him are being denied due process because they are attacked by U.S. authorities without warning.
In other words, the ACLU wants designated terrorists to be given rights before any action is taken against them.
If the ACLU succeeds, that would limit predator drone targets. It's simply unbelievable.
The ACLU has always been a far-left outfit, but is now actively aiding terrorists, actively helping Al Qaeda thugs who kill people all over the world.
The ACLU and other far-left groups simply will not acknowledge there is a war going on. They see terrorism as criminal activity, not a military battle.
If the ACLU had its way, President Obama and CIA chief Panetta would not be allowed to launch predator attacks.
SO I ASK YOU: How many Americans do you believe support the ACLU's actions? Five percent? Maybe 10? But you don't hear a word in the media about the ACLU's subversive activities, even when they are trying to help the Al Qaeda leadership.
In a free society, there is nothing we can do. The ACLU has a right to exist, but I have a right to expose it. That organization is putting every single American in danger. It's disgraceful.
Ghostly Rudd out to haunt the party
LIKE a ghoul rising from a grave, former prime minister Kevin Rudd has left his sick bed to offer support to the current Prime Minister, Julia Gillard - the woman chosen by the Labor Party’s shadowy manipulators to replace him. - We haven't been told why the ALP dumped Rudd. We weren't even told that the ALP were going to dump Rudd. This has hurt the ALP supporters who have been taken for granted as the worst government in Australian history continues from its successful '07 campaign. The supporters are suffering, and the message that holds them together is not getting out. And the truth is that maybe nothing unifies them. Maybe it is the case that the only thing holding the ALP together is power and naked greed. No individual is in charge, but some back room spiders are spinning their webs against each other. The unprincipled and disciplined Greens are capitalizing on all this. The supporters don't know what to have pride in. They don't know what their achievements are. They have invested their pride, and they have been told they have lost their entire investment with nothing to show for it .. and it hurts. The ALP have said some nasty things about the conservatives over the years, little of it true and most of it contradictory. But from the top down, the conservatives stand for things, and they are united, albeit not uniform in their beliefs, in their vision of a prosperous Australia. No wonder the media spinners are saying the campaign is boring. There is nothing to get excited about for the ALP. - ed.
Columnist Miranda Devine is returning to The Daily Telegraph after several years at the SMH.
FEEL THE LOVE
The Itchy and Scratchy Show continues:
Julia Gillard has still yet to talk directly to Kevin Rudd about him joining her campaign, saying they have been communicating by text message.Can’t run a campaign, can’t run the country.
Ms Gillard dodged a question on whether she would make appearances with Mr Rudd on the trail, indicating she would address the issue with the former prime minister when they caught up in person.Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, you two. At the current rate of progress, catching up in person will occur sometime in 2014.
HE CANNOT BE SILENT
The SMH’s Katharine Murphy reviews Kevin Rudd’s return to the national stage:
If you missed it, essentially maestro’s message was this.For a mere local MP previously scorned by his own party, Rudd sure cranked up the Prime Ministerial image:
The campaign is bloody hopeless.
Not their fault, it just lacks a critical element.
Don’t worry Real Julia, or Fake Julia, or whomever the hell you are. I, Kevin, will Save You.
(Mind you I can’t even name you, I’m so bloody angry. The best I can manage is a curt “Prime Minister Gillard.” It used to be Julia, when I used to pretend I liked you, and you pretended to like me. But there it is.)
He’s much happier now than he was when Gillard knifed him. And he brings a powerful message:
Previewing his campaign pitch, Mr Rudd vowed ‘’I can’t be silent’’ …Then he left without taking any questions from the media. Paul Kelly:
This is the decisive event in the campaign. It will either make or break Gillard’s election hopes. There are two scenarios: Gillard and Rudd together overwhelm Abbott, or the voters reject this sham, saying: “If Labor cannot win without Rudd, then why is Gillard the leader?”Meanwhile, Tony Abbott presents a secret weapon of his own.
UPDATE. Abbott in 1979. (Via Greg F.)
RACISM CAUSES THEFT
The racism card wins again:
An Indonesian student who blamed racism for his thefts of $115,000 of electrical goods, cameras and software from Officeworks and Harvey Norman escaped jail today …Presumably those complaints about his eBay activities were racist, too. Setiabudi received a two-year sentence, suspended for three years.
The judge said Setiabudi , 27, was “full of hate’’ for Officeworks because he was the only ethnic Chinese Indonesian working the Elizabeth St store, and claimed he was always given work in the storeroom rather than dealing with customers.
Setiabudi, of Glen Waverley, became a prolific eBay trader with his ill-gotten gains and when police went to his home to investigate complaints about his online selling they discovered 1092 stolen items.
MODERN ISN’T ALWAYS BETTER
Gravity, momentum and inertia may be deployed, but this new Roadrunner cartoon – although technically brilliant – still lacks something. Timing, maybe. And charm. Speaking of physics, here’s an analysis of Mark Webber’s recent F1 flight.
TAKE THAT, EXTREME CAPITALISM
An unregulated business is shut down by concerned authorities.
Sense of proportion
The Age headline:
With American lingo, we’ve imported toxic US cultureThe toxic example:
Often the difference is subtle. Sandpit becomes sandbox, and blackboard, chalkboard.
And it worked
Reader Andy rates this the best TV ad the Liberals have ever run.
If he’s Latham, it should be a must-watch
I’ve been scathing of Mark Latham as a political leader and as a betrayer of confidences. But I’ve never doubted his ability to express himself compellingly - or to speak his mind:
Former Labor leader Mark Latham is working with the Nine Network’s 60 Minutes in the lead-up to the federal election campaign.I just hope he doesn’t try to be a journalist. I hope that in talking to Brown he is as fearless and paint-strippingly direct as he’s been as a commentator.
Mr Latham appeared in Canberra today and interviewed Australian Greens leader Bob Brown before observing a press conference with a TV crew in tow.
Labor: the lost leads the lost
So let’s sum up: the leader whose government lost its way is now rescuing the successor whose campaign has lost its way.
And together they’ll what, exactly?
Katherine Murphy decodes Kevin Rudd’s decision to call a prime-time press conference to announce he won’t be hogging the limelight:
If you missed it, essentially maestro’s message was this.This, without a doubt, is the funniest election campaign I’ve ever seen.
The campaign is bloody hopeless.
Not their fault, it just lacks a critical element.
Paul Kelly warns:
Rudd as saviour will demand a high price: a senior ministry with his eye on the prime ministership again.UPDATE 3
This makes two former Prime Ministers who are giving Gillard grief:
John Howard joined the Liberal election campaign forcefully last night, condemning the leadership of the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and paying tribute to the ‘’family team’’ of his protege Tony Abbott.I think Howard nails the defining trouble for Labor in this third week:
Mr Howard told a Chinese community fund-raising dinner in the seat of Bradfield: ‘’Nothing quite offends me more than her casual approach to attendance at meetings of the national security committee of cabinet.’’ He said the senior ministers of his cabinet had regarded the committee as ‘’a rare privilege, not [a] discretionary pursuit’’.
Mr Howard then zeroed in on what he said was the ‘’confounding’’ issue of the election campaign - Labor had gotten rid of the man who had done the ‘’brilliant’’ job the ALP was now touting as its track record - and told the audience the Liberals could win this election.
Mr Howard said he had watched Ms Gillard in the few weeks she had been in office and said she had failed to fix the boat people issue, the mining tax and respond to climate change. ‘’She has been a total failure and in my view an even bigger failure than her predecessor,’’ he said.
Mr Howard also took a swipe at Ms Gillard’s election campaign tactics this week, saying: ‘’Real people don’t need to say that they’re real.’’ By contrast, Mr Abbott was an ‘’authentic believer’’.Which is why this footage last night of Gillard, famously and loudly an atheist, announcing cash for a canonisation ceremony for Mary MacKillop looked rather like spin:
But if he’d said “f… off” to the magistrate….
It’s time the politicians made clear to magistrates and judges that rather than surrender to “community standards” they should actually set some:
A QUEENSLAND magistrate has ruled that it is acceptable for people to tell police officers to “f--- off”.Really? If police were so immune to those words, they wouldn’t keep trying to charge ferals for using them. It seems to me that it would be healthier for our courts to uphold the police view of what’s offensive than that of the morons offending them.
Magistrate Peter Smid yesterday threw out the court case against Mundingburra man Bardon Kaitira, 28, who swore at a female officer outside the Consortium night club on December 20, last year at 2.40am, The Townsville Bulletin reports.
Constable Belinda Young gave evidence that Mr Kaitira used the swear word twice towards her after a group of officers patrolling Flinders St East poured out his girlfriend’s drink.
“The defendant said ‘f--- off’ and starting walking away and I asked: ‘What did you say?’,” she said.
“He said ‘f--- off” again...”
Magistrate Smid said he was not satisfied Mr Kaitira committed an offence and police could be liable for his legal bills.
“The defendant spoke normally, he had his hands in his pockets and walked away,” Magistrate Smid said.
“It’s not the most polite way of speaking but those who walk the beat would be quite immune to the words.”
(Thanks to many Queensland readers.)
Gillard’s rip-off buildings come at twice the price
It is such a damn insult, to have so many billions of Julia Gillard’s “Building the Education Revolution” money ripped off like this by incompetent governments and rapacious builders:
Previously confidential figures showed state schools paid more than double the price of their Catholic counterparts for new halls and exorbitant fees to managing contractors…UPDATE
According to the figures, provided as part of a government submission to a state parliamentary inquiry into the $16.2 billion scheme, the (Brumby) government expects to pay an average of $4842 per square metre for 390sq m halls delivered under the scheme, and $5575/sq m for 160sq m buildings…
By contrast, the Catholic Church is delivering school halls to its schools for an average of $2221/sq m.
The Victorian data provides average cost breakdowns for each of the 17 template designs built in more than 1200 state primary schools as part of the BER stimulus program… Analysis of the data shows that in some projects more than 25 per cent of the total budget is soaked up by project management, design and unspecified fees. This is despite all projects being built according to government template designs…
Hoddles Creek Primary School principal John McKelvie, who has fought a long battle with state education bureaucrats to get a toilet block built and an administration building refurbished, said he could not believe the average cost of $843,300 cited for his school’s project.
“For that price I should be getting solid gold taps and toilets,” Mr McKelvie said.
The Victorian government has previously claimed fees to program managers - the major construction companies handling the roll-out - are capped at 4 per cent.
Even Gillard’s hand-picked troubleshooter, working to Gillard’s own terms of reference, can’t deny the waste:
THE taskforce which examined Labor’s troubled schools building stimulus program has confirmed hundreds of cases of waste and mismanagement.And that’s before it’s finished many other reviews:
Confirming “very valid” concerns with the scheme, the interim report by Building the Education Revolution taskforce chairman Brad Orgill is also particularly critical of the NSW government for waste and mismanagement…
Overall the taskforce received complaints about 254 schools, comprising about 2.7 per cent of all schools involved in the program…
“From our investigations to date, the majority of complaints raise very valid concerns, particularly about value for money and the approach to school level involvement in decision-making,” Mr Orgill writes in the report.
The taskforce will finish another 17 cost reviews and will undertake at least another 33 reviews by September 30.
Go for it, children
Just the kind of cultural signal that is likely to lead to the opposite of the declared intention:
Students as young as 12 would get free condoms at high schools in a radical plan to reduce teenage pregnancies. Family Planning Victoria wants condoms made available for years 10-12 - and to younger students in special circumstances.
Yet another race-based brawl in Melbourne, this time Islanders vs Skips:
TWO adults may face charges over a wild after-school brawl involving gangs of youths and up to 100 onlookers.I’m not sure multiculturalism is working out precisely as intended.
Police were forced to use capsicum spray to fight off two boys, 13 and 17, and a 24-year-old woman…
The fallout follows the wild violence in a shopping centre carpark in Craigieburn about 3.15pm that scared residents of Hothlyn Drive said was like a riot…
Insp Mario Fiorentino, from Melton police, said quick thinking by police from Craigieburn, Broadmeadows and Sunbury prevented the violence from escalating… But he warned youths that police “won’t put up” with gangs taking over the streets.
Not as moderate as he sounds
WALEED Aly is the model of a moderate Muslim, and well rewarded for it.
The Wesley College graduate and lawyer became well known as the articulate, guitar-playing spokesman of the Islamic Council of Victoria.
He made a more reassuring apologist for Islam than, say, former Mufti of Australia Taj al-Din al-Hilali did with all his accented talk of martyrs and jihad.
Monash University made him a lecturer in its Global Terrorism Research Centre, while the Leftist media made him its pin-up, with his columns run by the Guardian, Australian, Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. His first book was showered with praise, and the ABC’s Q&A asked both him and his convert wife to present the face of Islam it preferred.
But this week Aly turned up for his spot as a co-host of the Conversation Hour of ABC 774 presenter Jon Faine, who said he’d earlier interviewed Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born author and former Dutch MP who is now a critic of Islam, warning it’s a violently rejectionist faith akin to “fascism” and incompatible with a liberal democracy.
And, as Faine told Aly, “she says people who are ‘moderate’ Muslims like yourself are part of the problem because you take the rough edges off something that is fundamentally flawed”.
That may be true or very unfair. But Aly’s response was disturbing.
Why were the Black Saturday guilty not named?
THE Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission’s final report last weekend is the whitewash nobody even noticed.
For a whitewash, that’s as good as you can get.
But for a report meant to explain why so many Victorians died on Black Saturday - 173 of us - it is unforgivable.
Yes, a few of the lesser guilty were sort-of held to account.
Victoria Police chief commissioner Christine Nixon was tut-tutted for having knocked off at 6pm on that dreadful day, choosing to go to the pub rather than stay at her post to co-ordinate the emergency response to a fire she knew was killing people.
The former CFA chief fire officer, Russell Rees, and the Department of Sustainability and Environment’s chief fire officer, Ewan Waller, were also smacked for their passive leadership.
But what difference would it have made had all three had fought like lions? More people may have been warned, perhaps, and a handful more lives saved.
But Kinglake would still have been destroyed. Marysville razed. Other towns burned, and the people in them.
You see, the most fatal blunders had already been made, long before the fires. And those responsible for them, mostly politicians, have not even been named in this report, nor their motives exposed.
Why not? Why didn’t the commission name the guilty who ignored decades of warnings to use more fire to clear our forests of fuel?
Why didn’t it expose the mad new belief that seems to have convinced them that “saving” nature was more important than protecting lives?
Why did Rudd ignore the advice and buy a problem?
Tony Burke, a nice bloke, unfortunately fumbles the spin:
Tony Burke has let slip the government has long held advice showing the practice of turning back asylum seekers does not work, undermining his own party’s determination to do so with the Oceanic Viking refugees.
Mr Burke, the Minister for Sustainable Population, referred to the advice when trying to discredit the opposition’s plan to turn back boats at a debate hosted by the National Press Club. According to Mr Burke, intelligence received by Labor upon taking office in 2007 said: ‘’If you try to turn a boat back, no country will take them.’’
The advice was supplied by the Australian Defence Force’s Northern Command and would have been known to the Howard government, he said.
Pressed on why the former prime minister, Kevin Rudd, would then have ignored such advice to send 78 asylum seekers back to Indonesia last year, Mr Burke said he was not privy to the rationale. ‘’I was not in the room. I was not part of that decision-making process,’’ he said.
Such advice is significant because had the Rudd government followed it, an embarrassing diplomatic stalemate could have been avoided.
Pyne won’t save Gillard
Labor might not be able to count on Julia Gillard’s old home state delivering the couple of seats that could save them, after all:
LIBERAL frontbencher Christopher Pyne has consolidated his hold on the ultra-marginal federal seat of Sturt, all but killing off Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s hopes that South Australia could offset expected Labor losses in Queensland and New South Wales…(Thanks to reader Spin Baby, Spin.)
These are the key findings of an exclusive Advertiser poll of 575 Sturt electors conducted on the evening of Wednesday, August 4. The statistically weighted, randomised telephone poll showed that pro-Labor sentiment identified in previous SA polls and thought to be associated with a “home-town-girl” effect for Ms Gillard, has waned as the election has progressed…
On a two-party-preferred basis, Mr Pyne would end up with 55 per cent of the vote compared to Labor’s 45 per cent if an election were held now. He currently holds Sturt by a wafer thin margin of less than one per cent...
If bigger is better, why are the smaller richer?
Former Labor Minister Barry Cohen:
In my 75 years on this planet I have seen Australia’s population quadruple… The time has come, however, to have a Bex, a cuppa tea and a good lie-down before we continue doubling our population ad nauseam…
The most absurd claim made by the “big is better” brigade is that more people guarantees greater prosperity. Really? They might care to explain why the two countries with the highest gross national income per capita are Luxemburg ($37,499) and Switzerland ($36,987), with populations of 500,000 and 7.7 million respectively. Right behind them are Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Austria, Israel and Finland, all of which have populations of fewer than 10 million.
At the other end of the spectrum is China with 1.339 billion and India with 1.184 billion
MPs threaten to change Abbott’s baby scheme if they get in
I’m not surprised that some Coalition MPs oppose such a ludicriously generous scheme that so privileges richer women who won’t look after their own child - but I am a little surprised that these MPs say so now, just two weeks from the election:
SEVERAL Coalition MPs say they will fight to water down Tony Abbott’s generous paid parental leave scheme if they win government. The MPs, including one Liberal frontbencher, believe the scheme is excessive and discriminates against stay-at-home mothers.It’s not a government’s role to massively sponsor forms of parenting that are most unfair on baby and of least comfort to other taxpayers, wanting future citizens to be well brought up and socialised.
Nationals MP Darren Chester told The Australian his support for the scheme would be contingent on it being altered to offer stay-at-home mothers extra assistance…
Under the Opposition Leader’s scheme, a stay-at-home parent would receive the mother’s full salary, capped at $150,000, for six months, meaning a maximum payment of $75,000.
Labor faces it’s own One Nation - and it’s green
No, not extraordinary. Just calling it as it is:
A SENIOR Nationals senator has launched an extraordinary attack on the Australian Greens
Ron Boswell warned ... that parties of the Right had “faced their extremists” in the form of One Nation and other hard-rightists and denied them preferences.
“But today Labor embraces the extremists of the Left,” Senator Boswell said. “They risk the parliament becoming hostage to extremist demands.
“Beware then, for he who feeds the tiger gets eaten last.”
The great divider
Black voters will stick by the first black President - and another hand-outs Democrat - not matter what. Whites and Latinos, though, are less tribal, but are now suffering buyers’ remorse.
The effect is that the US is more racially divided than it was when Barack Obama was elected as the great healer. And it wasn’t really that united even then.