Sunday, June 19, 2011

News items and comments

NBN chief takes broad approach to truth

Piers Akerman – Sunday, June 19, 11 (08:17 am)

NBN Co chief executive Michael Quigley has made a number of major contradictions or errors over his knowledge of corrupt activities engaged in by his previous employer, Alcatel.

While Quigley and the NBN chief financial officer Jean-Pascal Beaufret, who also came from Alcatel (now Alacatel-Lucent) have never been accused of direct participation or involvement in the Alcatel illegalities, almost every statement Quigley has made about Acatel’s involvement in corruption has turned out to be exaggerated or incorrect when compared with official court records and proceedings.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has claimed that sections of the media are running a smear campaign against the man he chose to run the much-criticised NBN Co but it is now apparent that Senator Conroy appointed Quigley without informing himself of the dimension of the Alcatel corruption scandal or Quigley’s role in that organisation.

According to the US Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange commission, Acatel allegedly violated the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act between 2001 and 2006 by paying millions of dollars in bribes to foreign officials in more than a dozen countries to win deals.

The Act prevents US firms from using bribery in foreign markets. It applies to US companies and foreign companies (such as Alcatel) which raise money or borrow in the US. Hundreds of companies and a far smaller number of individuals have been charged, most since 1998.

Corruption by Alcatel was initially exposed in the Costa Rican press in 2004 and investigated by local authorities.

Quigley was President of Alcatel Americas (including Latin America) from March 2001 to December 2002, President of Alcatel North America from January 2003 to April 2005, and Alcatel’s President and Chief Operating Officer (or effective number two) from April 2005 to late 2006, when the merger with Lucent occurred. He left Alcatel-Lucent in August 2007. Quigley became NBN Co’s CEO in July 2009.

Beaufret joined Alcatel as Deputy Chief Financial Officer in late 1999 and became Chief Financial Officer in 2002.

He left in November 2007. Beaufret became NBN Co’s CFO in September 2009.

In 2004 and 2006 Acatel itself conducted an investigation into bribery and other malpractice in its operations, finding little.

Both the US authorities and Alcatel later agreed the investigation was: ``limited and inadequate co-operation for a substantial period of time’’.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has accused Alcatel of ``many years of stalling mechanisms,’’ and the US Department of Justice claims Alcatel continued to utilize bribery and other illegal actions in its business through this period. The company has not disputed these claims.

The stalling ended in late 2006 when Alcatel merged with the US firm Lucent to form Alcatel-Lucent.

More importantly, Christian Sapsizian, Alcatel’s Latin America deputy head (and one of only two individuals charged in the matter) began cooperating with prosecutors, providing the US authorities with hundreds of documents pointing to bribery and corruption in at least 20 countries. These documents had not been uncovered by the internal investigation.

The documents suggested Alcatel’s behaviour in Costa Rica was part of an organised business model where tens of millions of dollars were paid to corrupt officials through sham ``consultants’’ employed by Alcatel and supposedly `vetted’ by Alcatel Standard, a subsidiary based in Switzerland.

In return for the bribes, Alcatel was awarded contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars and received inside information about rival bidders.

In December 2010, Alcatel-Lucent agreed to pay $US137 million to settle the SEC and DOJ allegations which The Wall Street Journal described as one of the biggest foreign corruption cases in history.

A so-called deferred prosecution agreement, agreed to and signed off by US authorities and Alcatel-Lucent, details agreed facts including corruption in 15 countries including Ecuador, Nicaragua, Honduras and Nigeria.

In Senate estimates on Thursday night, Quigley denied suggestions of an endemic culture of bribery and lax controls at Alcatel-Lucent saying: ``I understood we had strict guidelines on ethics and business practices.’’
``We had some very tight controls but some fraudulent activity took place.’’

He repeatedly vouched for Beaufret’s ``integrity and competence’’.

He was not concerned any similar activities would happen at NBN Co: ``I have a lot of faith that the people employed in this company are honest, hardworking individuals. I don’t expect to have to sit on everyone’s shoulders.’’

He expressed ``responsibility and regret’’ for Alcatel’s illegal conduct.

He admitted illegal activity continued for two years after the Costa Rica matter, but refused to take direct responsibility, saying all of Alcatel’s management committee were ``incredibly disappointed’’ at what happened.

(The management committee comprised the eight most senior executives of Alcatel. Four of them, including Quigley and Beaufret, left between mid-2007 and early 2008, after the merger with Lucent was finalised.)

On December 31, NBN Co issued a statement which said: ``the actions of a number of individual Alcatel Lucent employees detailed in the SEC’s statement fell outside the accountability and jurisdiction of both Mr Quigley and Mr Beaufret.’’

Quigley agreed on January 6, saying: ``I was looking after North America. They weren’t interested in us.’’

But on May 13 he said: ``I have today been advised by Alcatel Lucent that, contrary to previous advice, Costa Rica was among the many countries and territories in North, Central and South America that were part of my wide-ranging portfolio of responsibilities in the period March 2001 to January 2003, including operations involving approximately 15,000 staff.’’

Further, he admitted on June 16 that he also had responsibility for Honduras.

He also appears confused about who initiated the investigation, saying on May: ``The investigation was in fact initiated by Alcatel reporting to the authorities that there was a suspicion that two individuals, one in Costa Rica and one in France, had committed an illegal act.’’

Alcatel’s 2009 US corporate filing makes it clear the inquiry started elsewhere: ``Beginning in early October 2004, Alcatel-Lucent learned that investigations had been launched in Costa Rica by the Costa Rican prosecutors and the National Congress, regarding payments alleged to have been made by consultants on behalf of Alcatel CIT...’’
In an article in The Australian on May 5, Quigley wrote: ``When the company became aware of this illegal activity it notified the relevant authorities, including the SEC.’’

On May 17, he admitted to the Joint Committee on the NBN that this statement was false.

He also said in his May 5 article that: ``What is instructive is how the company responded. As soon as the executive committee became aware of these events it publicly launched an inquiry and took immediate steps to inform and co-operate fully with all authorities.’’

But the Department of Justice press release of December 27, 2010 says: ``The charging documents and penalty reflect, among other things, that there was limited and inadequate cooperation by the company for a substantial period of time, but that after the merger, Alcatel-Lucent substantially improved its cooperation with the department’s investigation.’’

Again, Quigley said in The Australian on May 5 that: ``I did not raise the investigation of Alcatel-Lucent during my recruitment to NBN Co because it was resolved to the satisfaction of the SEC and Department of Justice well before NBN Co even existed.’’

(Former prime minuster Rudd and Conroy announced formation of NBN Co on 7 April 2009. Quigley was appointed CEO of NBN Co on 25 July 2009.)

But Alcatel filed a report with the SEC in March 2009, stating: ``Neither the DOJ, the SEC nor the French authorities have informed us what action, if any, they will take against us and our subsidiaries.’’ In regard to the alleged acts in Costa Rica it states: ``We intend to defend these actions vigorously and deny any liability or wrongdoing with respect to these claims.’’

In March 2010, Alcatel filed a report with the SEC stating that in-principle agreement by the SEC and DOJ to a plea deal was not obtained until December 2009.

As late as December 2010 the SEC stated: ``unless restrained and enjoined, Alcatel is reasonably likely to continue to engage in the acts and practices set forth in this complaint (of corruption) and in acts and practices of similar purport and object’’.

The facts as offered by both Senator Conroy and Quigley are clearly at odds with the official record.

More questions need to be asked about Conroy’s rush to appoint Quigley and Quigley’s selection of his former deputy as chief financial officer of the NBN Co.

ALP cannot be trusted to manage programs, big or small. Any appointment by them cannot be assumed to be independent.

DD Ball of Carramar/Sydney (Reply)
Sun 19 Jun 11 (10:22am)

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A land in the remaking

Miranda Devine – Sunday, June 19, 11 (08:01 am)

AS she strode on stage in a shiny Thurley jacket to the rousing tune of I Am Woman, the Prime Minister was a study in chutzpah on Wednesday night.

With every opinion poll plummetting and every policy crashing around her, somehow she managed to wow the black tie audience of journalists, politicians and lobbyists gathered in Canberra for the press gallery’s event of the year, the Midwinter Ball.

You can’t get a more “Inside the Beltway” crowd, and after a few drinks and a salmon gravlax under their belts, Julia Gillard’s self-parody went down a treat.

Self-deprecating yet self-assured, she joked that the Cate Blanchett carbon campaign, “could not have gone any better.” She mocked her own peculiar accent, offering Kath and Kim style elocution lessons. “Look at moy. Look at moy.”

And she wound up to great applause saying: “Sometimes the things that amuse us are stronger than the things that divide us.”

A year since stealing Kevin Rudd’s job and after what can only be described as an annus horribilis for Labor, the consensus in the Great Hall of Parliament House that night, and in airport lounges the next morning was that the Prime Minister had “nailed it”.

It wasn’t that she said anything meaningful – far from it - but that she was warm and funny and had pitched her words perfectly to the genial mood of the room.

It was a triumph of tone over substance. Even a heated confrontation between Labor Senator Steve Hutchins and Treasurer Wayne Swan, with liberal use of the F-word, couldn’t dampen the mood.

But a good speech to “insiders” is no guarantee of success.

While the prime minister is feted inside the narrow confines of the Great Hall on midwinter ball night, she is an object of derision and concern where it counts, in voterland.

Her personal approval rating has plummetted to 30 percent in last week’s Newspoll and Labor’s primary vote has fallen to an unprecedented low of 27 percent, according to yesterday’s Nielsen poll. Gillard is tied for the first time with the Left’s bete noir Tony Abbott as preferred Prime Minister and Rudd is outpolling her two to one.

A picture tells a thousand words - and the photos last week of the PM and Rudd stalking wordlessly down the corridors of Parliament House with tight tense faces, tells you the poison from her coup a year ago festers. Whether or not the screaming match behind closed doors rumoured to have ensued was a “fabrication”, as Rudd has said, no one in Australia believes the relationship is healthy, or in the nation’s best interests.

And yet Gillard is buoyant, drawing strength from the approval of the insider class, but also from the knowledge that this dysfunctional knife-edge parliament actually works to her personal benefit.

Even if her colleagues were to wobble in the face of shocking polls and knee-jerk policy, and move against her, even if Rudd really were plotting a comeback, her friendship circle of Rob Oakeshott, Tony Windsor, Andrew Wilkie and the Greens would never allow her to be deposed. Their deal is with her, not Labor, and that gives her all the power.

Unlike Rudd, she has a buffer against the faceless men – the independents protect her.

The hung parliament last year’s election dead heat delivered her could not be better designed for her strengths – her feminine warmth, disarming charm, and hardnosed ability to negotiate which made her a gun lawyer for Slater and Gordon.

Windsor as much as said so last week, justifying his decision to help Labor form government, despite owing his seat to a conservative electorate, by saying that Abbott would have been “terribly uncomfortable” negotiating with the independents. In other words Abbott would not have allowed the government to be held to ransom, and would have called an election in which Windsor would lose his seat. No wonder Windsor’s not a fan.

Gillard agrees the current parliament is tailor-made for her. “They’re circumstances that not only I can work with but in some ways they work for me. They work with the style I want to bring to this job.”

In a revealing interview with Tom Dusevic in the Weekend Australian magazine yesterday to mark her first anniversary in the job, she said she wants to, “remake how we experience what it is to be Australian”.

It is a terrifying thought, peppered through with an arrogance at odds with her aw shucks persona. By remaking the experience, changing our lifestyle, re-educating our thoughts, you remake Australia.

The carbon tax is the main instrument for remaking the economy. Windsor and Oakeshott might have taken issue with the government’s attempt to ram through a $12million spendathon to advertise a policy that doesn’t yet exist. But, despite their feigned indecision, Gillard knows the deliberations of the multi-party climate change committee are just a formality, and that the carbon tax she ruled out before the election will get the rubber stamp.

Labor’s advisers, inside and outside the media, think the government is tanking in the polls because it hasn’t sold its policies well enough or communicated its message effectively.

It’s not that the carbon tax is a dog that the electorate doesn’t want and didn’t vote for. It’s just that the government hasn’t employed enough spin merchants. No idea is so bad that it can’t be “sold” to the electorate - and that is how you “remake how we experience what it is to be Australian”. With spin.

Gillard’s assumption that Australia wants remaking, that there is something wrong that needs changing is the opposite of Howard’s “relaxed and comfortable” patriotism.

The “opportunity society” that helped drive the nation’s prosperity for a decade is not good enough. The small businesses and enterprising individuals who thrived in the Howard era have been found wanting. If they go to the wall, who cares? There will be compensation and new jobs, protected jobs, union jobs, government-sponsored jobs.

The cattle producers are the quintessential representatives of the old paradigm. When the government stopped their live export business overnight because of a TV program alleging inhumane practices in Indonesian abattoirs, the last word on the cattlemen’s lips was compensation, because compensation implies a loss and they were focussed on fixing the problem and getting on with business.

It was the media and the government which introduced the c-word, as if it were a panacea. They failed to understand that the sorts of people who go to the harsh north of this country and manage to create a thriving industry from scratch are not the sorts of people to go on welfare. They are the self-reliant, resourceful entrepreneurs who made this country what it is, but they are now an endangered species.

The government is taking over. It wants to use the carbon tax and the takings from the mineral boom to remake the country to its own prescription.

“This window in our history means we can reshape how we distribute opportunity in our society,” said Gillard.

Wealth redistribution, pure and simple. A year on, there’s no secret what Gillard stands for. It’s just no one can believe it.

She doesn’t stand for social justice or criminal justice, as her treatment of the Hamidur Rahman issue shows. She told Channel 7 Sunrise she would answer their questions about ALP IR policy in ‘07 and I was invited to ask a question. I was told youtube was acceptable. She didn’t answer it. So I made thisvideo. In the past, minders of Gillard have attempted to address the video but they have since deleted their responses.
The issue of Hamidur Rahman’s death, and the subsequent cover up is a serious issue, but not an IR issue. The way of covering up the death is an IR issue, with a government employee hounded out of office and black listed from work without avenue of appeal. It wouldn’t have happened under workchoices, but it did happen under ALP legislation. And continues to this day.

DD Ball of Carramar/Sydney (Reply)
Sun 19 Jun 11 (10:17am)
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Quotation of the Day…

by DON BOUDREAUX on JUNE 18, 2011

in OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY,TAXES

… from George Harrison’s Beatles’s song Taxman:

Let me tell you how it will be;
There’s one for you, nineteen for me.
‘Cause I’m the taxman,
Yeah, I’m the taxman.

Should five per cent appear too small,
Be thankful I don’t take it all.
‘Cause I’m the taxman,
Yeah, I’m the taxman.

(if you drive a car, car;) – I’ll tax the street;
(if you try to sit, sit;) – I’ll tax your seat;
(if you get too cold, cold;) – I’ll tax the heat;
(if you take a walk, walk;) – I’ll tax your feet.

Happy 69th birthday today, btw, to Paul McCartney.

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Quotation of the Day…

by DON BOUDREAUX on JUNE 17, 2011

in CIVIL SOCIETY,CRIME

… is from page 237 of (now GMU Law Dean) Daniel D. Polsby, “Regulation of Foods and Drugs and Libertarian Ideals: Perspectives of a Fellow-Traveler,”Social Philosophy & Policy (1998), Vol. 15:

The “externalities” case for regulating marijuana and hallucinogenics such as LSD, as near as I can make out, seems to involve the claim that they are, in effect, a solvent of republican virtue – that a self-governing nation cannot be a nation of pot- or acid-heads. Though there is surely a great deal of truth in this claim, such harms are far too marginal, and the embedded concept of public good far too general and unbounded, to support any serious regulatory effort beyond keeping the ingestion of these drugs out of public places; certainly the potential harms associated with these drugs do not justify their management by criminal law. Republican democracy beats out its competition only if one does not insist on brutal coercions aimed at ensuring that everyone will be mentally competent to participate.

David Daniel Ball June 18, 2011 at 6:51 am

As a high school teacher in a melting pot community my two cents follow. I acknowledge I may be wrong. I have had students who have died from drugs. Not because they were illegal, but because they were available. My state government experimented with harm minimization. So my students didn’t have to die from the effects of the drugs .. Help was available. It isn’t a perfect argument. Some of my students have died from alcohol too. Some committed suicide. It isn’t that I am a lousy teacher. It is about standards.
I am a wowser. I understand in 50′s US people warned (possibly hysterically) of the number of single parent families in African American families. Those numbers, if you look them up. They exploded. Interestingly, the wider US has similar numbers now as African Americans then. And legalized drugs are related. And I am aware I haven’t presented the link.

REPLY

37tdp June 18, 2011 at 5:15 pm

What is your point, exactly?

REPLY

38David Daniel Ball June 19, 2011 at 12:52 am

Harm minimisation does not work as a policy. “The war on drugs” viz Zero Tolerance is the best, most compassionate way of dealing with the drug situation. It isn’t nice. There are casualties. But it is the best way. Let us say we can legalise drugs and restrict them to adults. Let us say we can get the government (or private industry) to produce the stuff for those who can afford it. Do you honestly believe that fewer people will die? That somehow there will be less crime as former drug lords realise they can’t make their money from exploiting people? Can you point to anywhere in space and time where that has happened? Yet I can point to places where Zero Tolerance has been applied and it works. Maybe the problem is not that the war on drugs has failed, but that too many people internationally profit from it.

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A-DAY PAR-TAY

Tim Blair – Sunday, June 19, 11 (04:08 am)

Does champagne go with popcorn? It’s time to find out:

Furious Labor MPs and factional figures are calling on Julia Gillard to sack her Foreign Affairs Minister, Kevin Rudd, whom they have described as a self-indulgent ‘‘bully’’ who has contributed to a disastrous poll for the government.

A figure close to the coup that installed Ms Gillard as Prime Minister attacked Mr Rudd yesterday for giving a series of media interviews in the week leading to the anniversary of his dumping as Labor leader.

“This is just extraordinary. He has been trash-talking the Prime Minister to anyone who will listen for months and months, and now we have on the front page of a national newspaper Kevin saying, ‘Who me? I have learnt my lesson, promise, your honour.’

“This is just the festival of Kevin’s misery ... The guy is a bully.”

Oh, lighten up, Laborites. KevFest 2011 is just beginning:

Kevin Rudd has dubbed the first anniversary of his removal as prime minister “Assassination Day”, and is planning to hold a big party to mark the occasion.

The outspoken ex-PM has enraged Cabinet colleagues with a media blitz on the anniversary of his knifing, prompting demands for the Prime Minister’s Office to gag him … senior ministers were despondent, lashing Mr Rudd as “dysfunctional”.

Dysfunctional like a fox. And adding another delicious layer of fun:

Independent Rob Oakeshott also issued a warning to the Labor Party not to move on Ms Gillard’s leadership, declaring it could prompt him to pull the pin on the Government.

“From my perspective if the Labor Party organisation wants to mess with Julia Gillard, the Labor Party organisation is messing with people such as myself,” Mr Oakeshott told The Sunday Mail.

It’s just beautiful. Beautiful in its ugliness.

UPDATE. Morris Iemma, the former member for Lakemba, could be moving to Canberra.

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JUST ADD WATER

Tim Blair – Sunday, June 19, 11 (03:11 am)

The University of Colorado’s Sea Level Research Group gives rising ocean levels a little assist:

Steve Nerem, the director of the widely relied-upon research center, told FoxNews.com that his groupadded the 0.3 millimeters per year to the actual sea level measurements because land masses, still rebounding from the ice age, are rising and increasing the amount of water that oceans can hold.

“We have to account for the fact that the ocean basins are actually getting slightly bigger ... water volume is expanding,” he said, a phenomenon they call glacial isostatic adjustment.

Richard Glover’s terrible threat to us deniers – “how about they are forced to buy property on low-lying islands” – grows more frightening by the day.

(Via Larry T., who emails: “They screw with everything.")

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381 DAYS UNTIL LABOR’S REMAKING THE AUSTRALIAN EXPERIENCE TAX

Tim Blair – Sunday, June 19, 11 (02:43 am)

Miranda Devine notes Julia Gillard’s weirdest comment yet:

She said she wants to “remake how we experience what it is to be Australian”.

It is a terrifying thought, peppered through with an arrogance at odds with her “aw shucks” persona. By remaking the experience, changing our lifestyle, re-educating our thoughts, you remake Australia. The carbon tax is the main instrument for remaking the economy.

Prepare to have your experience remade, regional meat workers:

A Wodonga export abattoir says the Gillard government’s carbon tax could cost it up to $2 million a year, threatening jobs and its international competitiveness.

Wodonga abattoir processes 1.2 million goats, sheep and lambs for the international market each year.

It also butchers 40,000 cattle that are primarily used at McDonald’s and Burger King outlets in the US.

The Wodonga abattoir joins an ever-longer list of carbon dioxide tax doubters, minimisers and refusers, includingBega Cheese, Coca-Cola Amatil, Metcash, former ACTU president and Labor MP Jennie George, International Power, Port Macquarie Taxis, the dairy industry, TRUenergy, Leighton Holdings, Sunbather Pool Technologies, the Master Builders Association, the Herald Sun, the Housing Industry Association, Clive Palmer, the WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy, the Queensland Resources Council, Mt Isa mayor John Molony, Queensland Labor premier Anna Bligh (conditionally), Western Australian MP Tony Crook, cement maker Adelaide Brighton, power company Macquarie Generation, Ford factory workers, Kerry Stokes, Stephen Lowy, the Minerals Council of Australia, Western Australian energy supplier New Synergy, the citizens of Illawarra, Hafda’s Butchery, Labor senator Doug Cameron’s working people, Rio Tinto, Alcoa, dairy farmers, barley growers, insurance companies, local councils, state governments, CFOs, food and grocery producers, miners, union members, Gerry Harvey, G&S Engineering, Sam Gadaleta, BHP, Queensland Labor members, the Noosa Chamber of Commerce, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, the Northern Territory parliament, Santos, the Australian Taxi Industry Association, Alumina Limited, an industrial group representing Amcor, Bluescope Steel, Boral, CSR, Sucrogen, Sugar Australia, Rheem, Vicpole and Dexion, Incitec, the Taxi Council of Queensland, the Australian Agricultural Company, the Australian Coal Association, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, the Federation of Automotive Product Manufacturers and Penrith’s Sun Masamune sake brewery.

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WE WILL NEVER TRUST LESBIANS AGAIN

Tim Blair – Sunday, June 19, 11 (02:06 am)

“Last week was a great week for lesbians coming out of the closet,” writes Mark Steyn. “Coming out, that is, as middle-aged heterosexual men.” Read on.

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Give us the cash, or we won’t shoot

Andrew Bolt – Sunday, June 19, 11 (12:30 pm)

The UN-backed war that Kevin Rudd lobbied so hard for has turned into a shambles - and a grab for cash:

Rebels waging a drawn-out war to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi have run out of money, their oil chief said on Saturday, and he accused the West of failing to keep its promises of urgent financial aid.

His comments came as cracks were appearing in the NATO alliance over its 3-month bombing campaign against Gaddafi, with some allies showing mission fatigue and the United States accusing some European allies of failing to pull their weight.

The rebels have made several gains in the past few weeks, but remain far from seizing their ultimate prize—Gaddafi’s powerbase of Tripoli and its hinterland—despite air support from the world’s most powerful military alliance.

“We are running out of everything. It’s a complete failure. Either they (Western nations) don’t understand or they don’t care. Nothing has materialized yet. And I really mean nothing,” rebel oil chief Ali Tarhouni said in an interview with Reuters.

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If the Left means it, Gillard may have to quit

Andrew Bolt – Sunday, June 19, 11 (12:28 pm)

If this deal falls over....

Politicians from federal Labor’s left will not support Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s Malaysia asylum seeker deal unless it’s endorsed by the United Nations.

The UN refugee agency has criticised the controversial deal that will see 800 asylum seekers who arrive by boat in Australia transferred to Malaysia for processing…

Labor senator Doug Cameron says the party’s left faction won’t back the policy unless it’s endorsed by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

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Every one of Gillard’s green jobs costs $1 million

Andrew Bolt – Sunday, June 19, 11 (05:55 am)

Julia Gillard announces her future is green - but it means spending more than $500 million of taxpayers’ money on a private project to create just 500 jobs - and overpriced electricity:

REGIONAL Queensland will be home to one of the biggest solar-gas power plants in the world under a $1.2 billion investment that will create hundreds of jobs.

The Solar Dawn project will use new Australian-pioneered technology and transform Chinchilla and the western downs into the nation’s mixed-energy capital.

Building a case to support renewable energy and her carbon pollution tax, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the abundant Queensland sun could help power the region and keep the environment clean.

“We will protect Australian jobs at the same time as we create new ones,” she said…

. Ms Gillard announced $464 million for the project while Premier Anna Bligh chipped in $75 million...
It will create up to 300 new jobs, indirectly support up to 1000 jobs and will abate about 500,000 tonnes of emissions a year.

This is mad. That’s $1 million in subsidies for every green job. While means ripping taxes off more productive private sector businesses, killing real jobs.

(Thanks to reder Garry.)

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Liberals get ready for Rudd

Andrew Bolt – Sunday, June 19, 11 (05:50 am)

The Liberals are already preparing for the return of Kevin Rudd, who scares them more than Julia Gillard - if he’s dropped in as leader close enough to the polls to avoid having the chance to make all his old mistakes.

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Gillard or Rudd or Shorten or Combet or Smith or Bowen or Crean .. or Iemma?

Andrew Bolt – Sunday, June 19, 11 (05:33 am)

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Gillard wants to make you a different Australian

Andrew Bolt – Sunday, June 19, 11 (05:30 am)

John Howard was happy to let Australians be “relaxed and comfortable”. Miranda Devine is scared that Julia Gillard isn’t:

In a revealing interview with Tom Dusevic in the Weekend Australian magazine yesterday to mark her first anniversary in the job, she said she wants to “remake how we experience what it is to be Australian”.
It is a terrifying thought, peppered through with an arrogance at odds with her “aw shucks” persona. By remaking the experience, changing our lifestyle, re-educating our thoughts, you remake Australia. The carbon tax is the main instrument for remaking the economy.

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Labor MPs: Rudd a bully, brat, spoilt and needing the sack

Andrew Bolt – Sunday, June 19, 11 (05:17 am)

Kevin Rudd’s re-selection campaign is enraging his Labor colleagues, who aren’t impressed by his announcements that he’s learned to listen:

But former staff lashed out at Mr Rudd’s media mea culpa, describing his behaviour as out of control.

“A prime minister shouldn’t need to be told to stop being an arsehole to everybody,” one former staffer said…

Senior ministers said they felt powerless to respond to Mr Rudd’s media posturing.

“It was dysfunctional. He was dysfunctional as PM,” one minister said. “But because we don’t want to antagonise him we can’t respond."…

Mr Rudd’s Cabinet colleagues are despairing and despondent.

Out of control, spoilt and a brat were just some of the words they used to describe him.

Those were the MPs that talked to the Sunday Telegraph. The ones talking to the Sun Herald were even stronger:

FURIOUS Labor MPs and factional figures are calling on Julia Gillard to sack her Foreign Affairs Minister, Kevin Rudd, whom they have described as a self-indulgent ‘‘bully’’ who has contributed to a disastrous poll for the government.

A figure close to the coup that installed Ms Gillard as Prime Minister attacked Mr Rudd yesterday for giving a series of media interviews in the week leading to the anniversary of his dumping as Labor leader.

“This is just extraordinary. He has been trash-talking the Prime Minister to anyone who will listen for months and months, and now we have on the front page of a national newspaper Kevin saying, ‘Who me? I have learnt my lesson, promise, your honour.’

“This is just the festival of Kevin’s misery ... The guy is a bully.”

An MP who has long been hostile to Mr Rudd said: ‘‘If ever there was a time to sack him it is now....”

Tearing themselves apart.

And it won’t stop. Rudd’s only hope of being Prime Minister again is to get the public’s vote. That means doing just what he’s doing, not shutting up.

UPDATE

Sure enough:

KEVIN Rudd will mark the first anniversary of what he calls his “assassination day” with a lavish shindig at his $2 million mansion.

Details of the bizarre party emerged as Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s office reportedly gagged the former PM from talking to the media after a week dominating the headlines....The PM’s woes continued yesterday when Mr Rudd received a rock-star reception at the Queensland Labor conference and the latest Nielsen poll revealed 60 per cent of voters would now prefer to see him in The Lodge.

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Mine, all mine

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, June 18, 11 (02:56 pm)

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She doesn't stand for social justice or criminal justice, as her treatment of the Hamidur Rahman issue shows.
As she strode on stage in a shiny Thurley jacket to the rousing tune of I Am Woman, the Prime Minister was a study in chutzpah on Wednesday night.
  • You like this.
    • David Daniel Ball
      She doesn't stand for social justice or criminal justice, as her treatment of the Hamidur Rahman issue shows. She told Channel 7 Sunrise she would answer their questions about ALP IR policy in '07 and I was invited to ask a question. I was told youtube was acceptable. She didn't answer it. So I made http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmkHZrhmjjc video. In the past, minders of Gillard have attempted to address the video but they have since deleted their responses.
      The issue of Hamidur Rahman's death, and the subsequent cover up is a serious issue, but not an IR issue. The way of covering up the death is an IR issue, with a government employee hounded out of office and black listed from work without avenue of appeal. It wouldn't have happened under workchoices, but it did happen under ALP legislation. And continues to this day.
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Make computers which read writing and the problem would be fixed
COMPUTERS are killing students' handwriting skills, with some schools scrambling to correct their illegible scribble ahead of HSC exams.
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ALP promised it would be safe and wouldn't be used on food chain
A SYDNEY Water commissioned study which tested biosolids - the controversial human-waste fertiliser - found "sustained high levels" of the bacteria E. coli and salmonella six to 12 months after the sl...
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Does anyone know who she is?
FORMER former Labor MP Belinda Neal - famously asked to undergo anger management - is now looking to study psychiatry.
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She isn't competent
LORD Mayor Clover Moore's climate change extravaganza to Brazil cost Sydney ratepayers a staggering $76,000 - 10 times more than the travel bill of her Melbourne counterpart.
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The ridiculous laws prevent us from buying things that are available.
ONE in two people illegally download music, movies and TV shows from the internet, costin

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It is only waste if they don't do anything, like the ALP. These committees seem quite busy right now.
PREMIER Barry O'Farrell has dished out thousands of dollars in extra cash to a record number of MPs after creating new committees for them to sit on.
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Those bureaucrats work very hard to protect the ALP from allegations of corruption
THE man hand-picked by Barry O'Farrell to guide government policy for western Sydney has declared the state's "fat cat bureaucrats" are overpaid and "do stuff all".
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The wheels of justice are slow. Sadly this appears to encourage recidivism.
THUGS, thieves, drug dealers and dangerous drivers are being caught in record numbers by police only to walk free from justice without serving any jail time.
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What does Obama offer terrorists that he can't merely take from Israel? Oh, that's right ..
www.foxnews.com
Afghan President Hamid Karzai says his government and the United States are negotiating with Taliban fighters to bring peace to the country.
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Hey Gillard, how about a five for one trade?
www.news.com.au
ARMY tanks have entered a village bordering Turkey, where 10,000 Syrians have sought refuge, an activist said, as Washington warned Damascus over its "continued brutality" against protesters.
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Thank you, science ..
www.news.com.au
SCIENTISTS have got to the root of grey hair - paving the way for locks that retain the lustre of youth.

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A wonderful story and as I read it I feel hope and joy.
www.foxnews.com
The character Atticus Finch, in To Kill a Mockingbird as played by Gregory Peck, is the perfect father. For years I measured myself against him.

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