Monday, August 29, 2011

News Items and comments

LABOR’S PATTERN

Tim Blair – Monday, August 29, 11 (01:20 pm)

Elite sport is all about patterns. Gifted athletes are able to detect trends and themes in their opponents, which is why so many competitors who are brilliant in their first year at the top level are so often cut down in subsequent years.

Rivals quickly work them out. Like poker players, athletes often display “tells” that are easily read if you’re sufficiently talented.

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TRIED TWICE, WORKED ONCE

Tim Blair – Monday, August 29, 11 (01:18 pm)

More than 25 years after Germany’s psychotically brave Stefan Bellof was killed at Spa attempting an Eau Rouge pass, Australian Mark Webber tries the very same move at the very same corner – and makes it stick.

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UNIONS GONE WILD

Tim Blair – Monday, August 29, 11 (01:14 pm)

Ex-union official Grace Collier:

The misappropriation and theft of union members’ funds are sadly routine occurrences in parts of the union movement. Even Fair Work Australia seems to find it hard to get energised on the matter. Although it has been investigating the Thomson allegations, which he vehemently denies, for two years, no outcome has been achieved. This failure to provide timely answers to union members about what happened to such large sums of money suggests they should not be the body responsible for policing the financial conduct of unions.

Annually, well over $1.3 billion of members’ money is given to Australian unions. The spending of that money is left entirely to the discretion of a small group of union secretaries who operate in alargely unregulated financial setting.

How perfectly ironic. And today we discover that Craig Thomson’s union received hundreds of thousands of dollars in NSW state government funding at the same time it donated hundreds of thousands to the Labor Party:

In the past two years, WorkCover has given the union more than $300,000 in grants.

In May, WorkCover gave the HSU $175,861 for “education and training programs” associated with Julia Gillard’s occupational health and safety law changes.

In 2009-10, a WorkCover spokeswoman confirmed, $138,320 was given to the union for “an education and training program to address bullying and harassment issues within health services”.

In 2002-03, the year Mr Thomson’s alleged rorting of union funds began, the HSU – then known as the Health and Research Employees Association – received a $100,000 grant. In 2009-10, the HSU donated $146,502 to NSW Labor and it has given Labor more than $700,000 over the past decade.

Paul Sheehan:

The lurid scandal surrounding Craig Thomson has shone a searchlight back onto the corrupt and self-serving culture within the union movement. That Gillard, Windsor, Oakeshott, the Labor Party, the union machine and even Fair Work Australia, through its inertia, have all served to protect Thomson will merely underline this government’s illegitimacy in the mind of the electorate which, if given a chance, would throw them all out of office.

A brief musical interlude. This prehistoric union tune features the line: “The sight of my card makes me some kind of superman.” Moving on, Labor now faces a union revolt:

The federal government has come under unprecedented attack from one of its biggest union allies over the failure to bail out hundreds of family businesses owed more than $7 million from collapsed Building the Education Revolution (BER) projects.

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union has turned on the government, claiming it has refused to press BER head contractor Bovis Lend Lease to help victims who lost their life savings when builders went broke while working on BER projects.

The government isn’t pressing anyone right now. Except for alleged Adelaide shoplifters.

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HIGH ROTATION

Tim Blair – Monday, August 29, 11 (05:49 am)

Not all soccer injuries are faked.

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CRAIG’S LIST

Tim Blair – Monday, August 29, 11 (05:44 am)

Glenn Milne reports:

On September 7 at the Wyong Christian School at 2pm there will be the opening of a new hall built with funds from Gillard’s time overseeing the Building the Education Revolution. Thomson is scheduled to attend as the local member. My gut instinct is that both he and the Prime Minister will be otherwise engaged.

Perhaps Thomson will appear at the Prime Minister’s Emily’s List oration six days later, to thank her for all the support. It would be the right thing to do.

UPDATE:

The Australian published today an opinion piece by Glenn Milne which includes assertions about the conduct of the Prime Minister.

The Australian acknowledges these assertions are untrue. The Australian also acknowledges no attempt was made by anyone employed by, or associated with, The Australian to contact the Prime Minister in relation to this matter.

The Australian unreservedly apologises to the Prime Minister and to its readers for the publication of these claims.

The untrue assertions are not connected to the above extract.

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SOYLENT GREEN IS CRACKERS

Tim Blair – Monday, August 29, 11 (05:26 am)

Finally, Soylent Green hits the shelves. And it’s in a pretty box:

“We worked to create a collectible box that looks just the way Soylent Green would have been packaged,” says Parallax president David Garth, “and the box design recreates the utopian propaganda of an evil mega-corporation with the feelings of despair and hunger depicted in the movie.”

image

This is the first time that Soylent Green has been officially manufactured under license.

In other food news:

A local news reporter from Washington, D.C. ended up getting covered in what is probably the remnants of raw sewage as he delivered live hurricane reports from Ocean City, Md …

“It doesn’t taste great,” he said.

The reporter’s name is Tucker.

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RUDD RULES

Tim Blair – Monday, August 29, 11 (05:05 am)

By nature a loner, this situation might suit him:

Kevin Rudd would be Labor’s sole MP in Queensland if an election was held today, according to a new opinion poll.

A year after Julia Gillard formed minority government, her support has crashed to a record low in the Sunshine State. In the worst result ever recorded in a Galaxy poll for The Courier-Mail, Labor was backed by just 23 per cent of the state’s voters last week.

Remember all the dumb leftoid gloating just four years ago when Queensland was home to the nation’s foremost office-holding Liberal? The power of incumbency isn’t what it once was. More good news:

There is also a growing fear in Queensland electorates about the role of the Greens in the Parliament.

Almost two-thirds of voters – and 41 per cent of Labor voters – say the Greens have too much influence on the Government.

Oh, and Kev still dominates Julia:

Mr Rudd continues to outpoll Ms Gillard as preferred Labor leader in Queensland, securing 62 per cent support compared to only 18 per cent for the Prime Minister.

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WAKING UP TO FRAN

Tim Blair – Monday, August 29, 11 (04:42 am)

Professor Bunyip inspects – at cautious distance – a gathering of media-minded intellectuals. Speaking of such blinky, darkness-dwelling creatures, here’s the media diet of UTS journalism professor Wendy Bacon:

ABC’s PM, ABC’s Four Corners, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, ABC’s Radio National Breakfast, The Australian Financial Review, Media Watch, Crikey, New Matilda, ABC’s Foreign Correspondent, Quentin Dempster’s Stateline, Background Briefing (Radio National), Radio National’s The Health Report, Hindsight, The Science Show, SBS’s Dateline, The Week. I wake up to ‘Fran’, otherwise called the Radio National Breakfast Show, AM. The Law Report, The Health Report, other ABC morning shows, smh.com.au, The Guardian, al-Jazeera, Four Corners, Media Watch, Q & A, Lateline, Foreign Correspondent and Stateline with Quentin Dempster, PM, The Australian Financial Review, Laura Tingle and Brian Toohey, Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald (or The Age if I am in Melbourne), The Sun-Herald, Ross Gittins and Paddy Manning.

Readers are invited to list the body parts they would tolerate being removed, or the length of jail terms they would endure, rather than submit every week to Wendy’s gruesome press consumption.

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EMBATTLER EMBEDDED

Tim Blair – Monday, August 29, 11 (04:25 am)

No sideways move for Thomson the Embattled:

Cabinet minister Anthony Albanese has rejected suggestions the Labor Party could ask its embattled backbencher Craig Thomson to quit the party and sit on the crossbench.

‘’Certainly not,’’ Mr Albanese said when questioned about a suggestion from former ALP powerbroker Graham Richardson. ‘’It’s a matter for Mr Thomson what he does,’’ Mr Albanese told the Ten network.

Apparently so, which might be why Labor is in this situation. Still, at least Albanese is answering questions. It was a different story last week:

On the most serious day yet of the Thomson story the government shut down questions, not because of Abbott’s theatrics, but primarily because it didn’t want to have to spend an hour and a half looking shifty. That’s the truth of it.

Then, to compound the misjudgment, some fretted privately about the ‘’bad look’’ of preventing scrutiny. Wrong again. It was bad in substance.

Let’s hear what the queenmaker has to say:

Independent MP and queen-maker Andrew Wilkie has declared the Gillard Government to be “clearly in a deep hole right now”.

But as pressure mounts on Labor over the Craig Thomson prostitute scandal, Mr Wilkie has urged Australians to give the Government “a go”.

He said it was the desire of the independents for the Gillard Government to hold power for another two years.

“I think (the Government) just needs to grind on,” he told the ABC this morning.

Anti-pokie activist Wilkie actually sounds like a pokie addict:

“If it gets two more years – and that’s the desire of the relevant crossbenchers – I think it can turn it around.”

Just keep pumping in those coins. Your luck is bound to change sooner or later. Grind on, Julia!

Mr Wilkie denied that his controversial decision to back Ms Gillard following the hung parliament outcome in the 2010 election had impacted his popularity in his electorate.

What popularity is Wilkie the doomclown talking about?

“I get a lot of negative feedback around the country – emails and hate mail – (but) I get almost none in my own electorate,” he said.

If they didn’t vote for Wilkie in the first place, why would they bother writing to him now?

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Help design the EconStories t-shirts

by RUSS ROBERTS on AUGUST 29, 2011

in HAYEK

Go here and let us know which of the designs, if any, you’d be interested in if you could buy them.

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Still 44 to 56

Andrew Bolt – Monday, August 29, 11 (03:29 pm)

The surprisingly good news for Labor is that after the week that’s been, it hasn’t dropped in the Essential Media poll. The bad news is that it’s still on 44 to 56.

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It’s not the wrapping, but what’s inside

Andrew Bolt – Monday, August 29, 11 (03:27 pm)

Professor Sinclair Davidson is right: the problem isn’t Labor’s sales pitch, but what it’s selling.

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Your questions answered

Andrew Bolt – Monday, August 29, 11 (03:16 pm)

Professor Bob Carter answers the questions the Government won’t. As in:

- is warming actually bad for us?
- are we sure we actually caused it?
- is it worth trying to “stop” it?
- what difference to the temperature will the Government’s carbon dioxide tax make?

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Almost every feature was unknown to me

Andrew Bolt – Monday, August 29, 11 (02:38 pm)

image

It sounds better than what I remember:

54 Barns St, Warramboo, SA 5650

$220,000

This three bedroom home is the original headmasters residence in Warramboo. The kitchen has 2 fan forced ovens installed, an island bench, walk in pantry and server to lounge. Other features - lounge with reverse cycle airconditioner, slow combustion heater; office/sleepout; new floating floors in lounge, passages and back room; ceiling fans; carport & pergola over pavers; colourbond roof; walk ramp to back door; garage; garden watering system; insulation; rain water tanks.

These things weren’t there when I was a boy, and some had not even been invented:

2 fan forced ovens, an island bench, walk in pantry, server to lounge, reverse cycle airconditioner, slow combustion heater; floating floors; ceiling fans; carport & pergola over pavers; colourbond roof; walk ramp to back door; garden watering system; insulation.

How our lives have changed.

(Thanks to reader Ross.)

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Squeaky wheel gets greased

Andrew Bolt – Monday, August 29, 11 (02:25 pm)

Miranda Devine on being not quite so multicultural:

WITH little fanfare last week Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced her new Multicultural Council. But a curious feature of an advisory body that is supposed to be a “socially inclusive” representation of multi-ethnic Australia was the fact that at least five of its 10 members are Muslims, and not one member has a Chinese or Indian background.

This glaring oversight is despite the fact that China was Australia’s largest source of migrants in 2010-11, comprising 17.5 percent of the total intake. And Indians made up 12.9 percent of migrants. There are no representatives from the indigenous community, either.

The 10 members of the council are: Rauf Soulio (chairman), a South Australian judge active in the Albanian community; Gail Ker, a board member of the Ethnic Communities Council in Queensland; Dr Hass Dellal, Executive director of the Australian Multicultural Foundation; Samina Yasmeen, Director of the Centre for Muslim States and Societies and Professor of Political Science at the University of Western Australia; Talal Yassine, a lawyer and director of the Whitlam Institute; Yassmin Abdel-Magied, a mechanical engineering student at the University of Queensland; Dr Tanveer Ahmed, a psychiatrist, author and newspaper columnist; Dr Tim Soutphommasane, a research fellow at Monash University’s National Centre for Australian Studies, Peter Wertheim, executive director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, and Carmel Guerra, chief executive officer of the Centre for Multicultural Youth.

New council members said they had been told not to speak to the media. But others in the multicultural community expressed surprise at the heavy Islamic presence, while pointing out the Muslim members could not be said to be monocultural, being drawn from such diverse ethnic backgrounds as Lebanese, Sudanese, Bangladeshi and Turkish.

(Thanks to reader Tim.)

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Gibbons quits

Andrew Bolt – Monday, August 29, 11 (02:22 pm)

I suspect he’ll be the first of a number of Labor MPs:

Bendigo Federal MP Steve Gibbons has announced he will not seek Labor’s next federal pre-selection for the Bendigo Federal Electorate and will retire at the next Federal Election due some time in 2013.

(Thanks to reader David.)

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Gillard’s tax will make us happier

Andrew Bolt – Monday, August 29, 11 (01:21 pm)

Do people still believe this stuff?

If we don’t start tackling climate change, Australians will be increasingly depressed, anxious or stressed.... and more prone to substance abuse, a new report says.

The report, A Climate of Suffering: The Real Cost of Living with Inaction on Climate Change, draws on the work of mental health experts, community practitioners and survivors of natural disasters.

It argues that in the wake of extreme weather, such as cyclones and droughts, there is an increase in depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress and substance abuse.

Up to one in five people were likely to suffer emotional injury, stress and despair....

The report, commissioned by The Climate Institute and launched at the Brain and Mind Institute by Professor Ian Hickie on Monday, argues that if we don’t start reversing pollution levels, extreme weather events are likely to increase in frequency and or intensity.

One fact isn’t included in this study: by how much will depression levels by cut by Julia Gillard’s carbon dioxide tax?

(Thanks to readers Glenn, John, Tim, Todd and others.)

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What a terrible leader Abbott is, not to trust the untrustworthy

Andrew Bolt – Monday, August 29, 11 (01:05 pm)

These unnamed Coalition MPs should indeed be worried about the way they’re led, with the Coalition ahead by only, er, 56 to 44:

Tony Abbott has little trust for his front bench and is paranoid about being double-crossed, according to a number of senior members of his team who have expressed a growing unease over the Opposition Leader’s style.
Some shadow ministers as well as numerous backbenchers have told The Canberra Times that Mr Abbott is nervous about many of those around him and that he is making too many unilateral decisions.

But the Opposition Leader denies the allegations, his office saying yesterday that the claims were ‘’self-evidently false’’.

The comments follow a week of ruthless parliamentary pursuit of embattled Labor MP Craig Thomson that has raised some concern within Coalition ranks.

And how silly of Abbott to be “paranoid about being double-crossed” by senior members of his team who tell a hostile journalist he’s “paranoid about being double-crossed”.

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Pushing back against the bigots

Andrew Bolt – Monday, August 29, 11 (06:49 am)

Bigots in Brisbane met some unexpected resistance on the weekend outside a chocolate shop they’ve singled out as a threat to world peace:

The aim of the protesters, made up of the Socialist Alternative and the Justice for Palestine groups, was to highlight the support of Max Brenner’s parent company, the Strauss Group, for the Israeli military and its sale of provisions to it…

The counter-protesters, made up of students, Israeli community members and politicians, screamed at their opponents: “Go home, Nazis!”

Logan City councillor Hajnal Black was repeatedly restrained by police as she pushed through the barricade line yelling: ”We don’t want Nazis in this country!”..

The Queensland Liberal National Party senator, Ron Boswell, said Max Brenner was a popular and “legitimate business” that should not be targeted in this way. “I think it’s absolutely outrageous,” he said. “I don’t mind if people don’t want to buy Max Brenner chocolates, but there shouldn’t be pickets and intimidation and rallies to stop people.

“I think people that are trying to hit it with a boycott and picketing it, particularly a Jewish business, reminds me of some of the things that happened in the early 1930s.”

I’ve had two threats of legal action for saying exactly that. Say it yourself while we still can.

UPDATE

Danielle Keys was there.

(Thanks to reader CA.)

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Labor promises fight with Greens, but only when it’s too late

Andrew Bolt – Monday, August 29, 11 (06:43 am)

So Labor’s plan is to keep a deal with the Greens to smash the economy with a carbon dioxide tax, but make noises about how it doesn’t like these radicals really.

Good luck with that:

LABOR plans to attack the Greens from the Right in a bid to win back environmentalists alienated by the minor party’s support for left-wing social causes and its perceived antipathy for development.

Environment Minister Tony Burke has foreshadowed an appeal to the political mainstream on environmental issues, championing a Bob Hawke-style agenda to protect iconic sites without adopting an anti-industrialisation stance that opposes job creation.

“I’m always wary of characterising any views for someone,” Mr Burke said in an interview with The Australian yesterday. “But certainly there are levels of development that we would regard as . . . positive that would be anathema to the Greens.

“If your objective is a straight anti-industrialisation objective, then my way of doing things doesn’t help you.”

(Thanks to reader CA.)

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But, but, but … after all the US did to help them

Andrew Bolt – Monday, August 29, 11 (06:32 am)

A hint that the new Libyan regime might not be as pro-Western as its NATO allies hoped:

THE Libyan rebel government will not deport the man convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

The US has asked the Libyan transitional government to hold Abdel-Baset al-Megrahi fully accountable for the bombing of Pan Am flight 103, which killed 270 people.

But the transitional government Justice Minister Mohammed al-Alagi told journalists in Tripoli that the request by American senators had “no meaning” because al-Megrahi had already been tried and convicted.

“We will not hand over any Libyan citizen. It was Gaddafi who handed over Libyan citizens,” he said, referring to the government’s decision to turn al-Megrahi over to a Scottish court for trial.

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Get a life

Andrew Bolt – Monday, August 29, 11 (06:08 am)

imageimage

This is madness, Two white men declare a black man their hero and are denounced as racists:

QANTAS apologised yesterday for a publicity stunt on Twitter that backfired. The airline had awarded free tickets to the Bledisloe Cup on Saturday night to two Brisbane men who ‘’blacked up’’ to impersonate their favourite rugby player.

The airline removed a photo running on its Twitter page yesterday of the two men dressed - and with painted faces - to look like Wallabies rugby star Radike Samo. Qantas awarded the $378 platinum tickets to the two men last week.

To win, competitors had to tell Qantas via Twitter how they intended to show their support for the Wallabies at the match. Charles Butler, from his twitter account pek-anan, promised to ‘’dress as Radike Samo. Complete with Afro Wig, Aus rugby kit and facepaint’’.



For this, he won the free tickets. He and another man later got Samo to pose in a photograph with them in their wigs, with their faces painted black....

A stream of Twitter posts called the photo racist. The airline immediately took down the photo, and sent a series of apologetic tweets to people who said it was racist.

UPDATE

Note the differing reactions of a professional in the grievance industry and the actual subject of the alleged “racism”:

The chairman of the NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC), Stephen Ryan, said he was stunned Qantas had encouraged the men.

‘’It is simply unbelievable that they wouldn’t have known such a stunt could backfire,’’ Mr Ryan said in a statement today.

‘’It’s hard to believe that a company that has used Aboriginal iconography to try and improve its image didn’t know that this could easily be construed as racist.’’

But Samo said he had gladly posed for pictures with the pair and didn’t understand ‘’what the fuss is all about’’.

‘’These guys were actually paying me a tribute. It was a bit of fun and I think it’s great that they regarded me as their favourite Wallaby,’’ he said.

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What’s Williamson so scared of?

Andrew Bolt – Monday, August 29, 11 (05:44 am)

Kathy Jackson’s illness seems to have developed into laryingitis:

Ms Jackson yesterday pulled out of a planned appearance on Network Ten’s The Bolt Report, hosted by News Limited columnist Andrew Bolt, despite confirming her attendance the night before.

“(I) received a call at 6am the next morning from Ms Jackson, who said she was physically ill, and couldn’t appear on the program,” Bolt said.

Sources within and close to the union have alleged HSU national president Michael Williamson have been putting pressure on Ms Jackson to stop her from talking to the media and he had issued a “gag order”.

A member of the HSU national executive said Ms Jackson had, in a private conversation late last week, said she had been vigorously pressured by Mr Williamson to cease talking to the media about Mr Thomson. Ms Jackson did not return calls yesterday.

Mr Williamson yesterday denied any allegations that he had issued a gag order or pressured Ms Jackson to stay away from the media. “That is completely untrue,” he said.

On my show yesterday, I did note that Jackson might have been particularly nervous about one question I was planning to ask about Williamson.

UPDATE

Glenn Milne adds a detail about Gillard and her then conman lover that the lawyers once cut out:

On Sunday November 11, 2007, just days before the November 24 election I interviewed Gillard, then deputy leader of the opposition…

The interview concerned the embezzlement of union funds—not disputed—and later the subject of a court conviction by a former boyfriend of Gillard, Bruce Wilson. I had researched the piece for months. It was the most heavily lawyered article I have ever been involved in writing. The story said that as a solicitor acting on instructions, she set up an association later used by her lover to defraud the AWU. But she has strenuously denied ever knowing what the association’s bank accounts were used for.

Gillard, then in her early 30s, was a lawyer with Melbourne-based Labor firm Slater & Gordon. At the time of the fraud she acted for the AWU. She met Wilson, then the West Australian AWU secretary, while representing the union in the Industrial Relations Commission. Wilson later moved to Melbourne to become Victorian secretary of the union.

“These matters happened between 12 and 15 years ago,” Gillard told me. “I was young and naive. I was in a relationship, which I ended, and obviously it was all very distressing. I am by no means the first person to find out that someone close turns out to be different to what you had believed them to be. It’s an ordinary human error.

“I was obviously hurt, when I was later falsely accused publicly of wrongdoing. I didn’t do anything wrong and to have false allegations in the media was distressing.”

What the lawyers would not allow to be reported was the fact that Gillard shared a home in Fitzroy bought by Wilson using the embezzled funds. There is or was no suggestion Gillard knew about the origin of the money.

(I am not sure that Gillard did share a home with Wilson. My own understanding is that she maintained her own house.)

UPDATE

Grace Collier, ex-union official and industrial relations consultant:

Annually, well over $1.3 billion of members’ money is given to Australian unions. The spending of that money is left entirely to the discretion of a small group of union secretaries who operate in a largely unregulated financial setting…

Thieving the money of union members is unfortunately a routine occurrence in some quarters of the labour movement. Money is habitually spent on meals, travel, alcohol, strip clubs and other forms of entertainment that most members would consider inappropriate.

Some union office gatherings have even been held in strip clubs, but mostly it is after conferences that the secretary gets a bunch of his favourite officials together and heads off for a big night financed by union funds. Anyone who wants to see union officials behaving badly and misappropriating funds simply needs to hang around the close of the ALP annual conference and follow the hard-core drinkers to the after party…

I have seen a union official driven around in the limousine of a boss, plied with privilege and gifts just to keep a workforce of only 15 people on the job. Imagine what it is like to have the absolute power to click your fingers and pull 5000 people off a job and cost a company $20 million a day. Imagine what that power could bring you.

Sadly, for union members, scandals hardly ever come to light.

(UPDATE: LINK FIXED.)

UPDATE

Reader Pira says Bill Leak is a national treasure:

image

UPDATE

Milne’s story is removed from the Australian’s website and an apology is printed:

THE AUSTRALIAN published today an opinion piece by Glenn Milne which includes assertions about the conduct of the Prime Minister. The Australian acknowledges these assertions are untrue. The Australian also acknowledges no attempt was made by anyone employed by, or associated with, The Australian to contact the Prime Minister in relation to this matter.The Australian unreservedly apologises to the Prime Minister and to its readers for the publication of these claims

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Are unions fighting for our economy or themselves?

Andrew Bolt – Monday, August 29, 11 (05:33 am)

Do we spend to save struggling manufacturers (where the unions are strong) or just retool to support other sectors that are booming (where the unions are weaker)?

THE nation’s most senior unionist has lashed Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens’s call for the Gillard government to review its industrial relations laws, rebuking the central bank as “misinformed and out of touch with working Australians and the real economy”.

ACTU president Ged Kearney has also attacked the composition of the Reserve Bank board as being too narrowly focused on business and said Mr Stevens’s comments on Friday revealed the bank had become “captive to the top end of town”.

Her attack underlines growing frustration within the union movement at job losses in the non-resources sector, which is being squeezed by high interest rates and a soaring dollar driven by the mining boom and have put Labor’s industry base under pressure.

But former Australian Building and Construction Commission head John Lloyd slammed the ACTU as being “out of touch” for its criticism of Mr Stevens.

“Improved productivity is essential to ensuring increases in wages in the future are sustainable,” he told The Australian yesterday.

“Also, it is important to guarantee job security in the future for Australian workers.”

If unions really want more workers in jobs, here’s a tip:

LABOR’S Fair Work laws are holding back productivity reform, and the former head of the construction industry watchdog says the reintroduction of individual contracts is the answer…

Mr Lloyd called for greater flexibility in penalty rates for industries such as hospitality and retail that employed large numbers of young people, casuals and entry-level workers, saying this would boost overall employment.

If a union’s agenda was more jobs, not just more members, it would back Lloyd.

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Every Queensland Labor MP left would vote for Rudd

Andrew Bolt – Monday, August 29, 11 (05:28 am)

Kevin Rudd’s odds of grabbing back his old job have just got a lot better, but only because there will be no one else to do it:

KEVIN Rudd would be Labor’s sole MP in Queensland if an election was held today, according to a new opinion poll.

A year after Julia Gillard formed minority government, her support has crashed to a record low in the Sunshine State. In the worst result ever recorded in a Galaxy poll for The Courier-Mail, Labor was backed by just 23 per cent of the state’s voters last week.

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What happens when a tree falls in a forest and just misses a journalist?

Andrew Bolt – Monday, August 29, 11 (05:20 am)

Toby Harnden on the latest disaster porn:

For the television reporter, clad in his red cagoule emblazoned with the CNN logo, it was a dramatic on-air moment, broadcasting live from Long Island, New York during a hurricane that also threatened Manhattan.

“We are in, right, now…the right eye wall, no doubt about that…there you see the surf,” he said breathlessly. “That tells a story right there.”

Stumbling and apparently buffeted by ferocious gusts, he took shelter next to a building. “This is our protection from the wind,” he explained. “It’s been truly remarkable to watch the power of the ocean here.”

The surf may have told a story but so too did the sight behind the reporter of people chatting and ambling along the sea front and just goofing around. There was a man in a t-shirt, a woman waving her arms and then walking backwards. Then someone on a bicycle glided past.

Across the screen, the “Breaking News: Irene Batters Long Island” caption was replaced by stern advice from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): “Stay inside, stay safe.”

The images summed up Hurricane Irene – the media and the United States federal government trying to live up to their own doom-laden warnings and predictions while a sizeable number of ordinary Americans just carried on as normal and even made gentle fun of all the fuss....

Then came the press conferences from the politicians, with Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey that his evacuation of the Jersey Shore was “a pre-emptive measure that I am confident saved lives” and there could still be damage worth “tens of billions” of dollars…

The truth is that the dire warning beforehand suited both politicians and journalists… Irene became a huge story because it was where the media lived.

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Their union exploits them, it doesn't represent them.
www.news.com.au
NURSES at Victorian hospitals are gagged from speaking out against violence perpetrated against them at work and fear management, an inquiry has heard.
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ALP wouldn't act on a safety issue
www.news.com.au
THE Queensland government was warned two years ago of a serious flaw in three rescue helicopters grounded last week, the opposition claims.
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I agree with police .. close it down. Who wants to be beaten up while bouncers eliminate evidence?
www.news.com.au
IVY nightclub, one of the Sydneys most prestigious night spots has been closed down by police for the next three days.
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I must go shopping!!
www.news.com.au
CHOCOHOLICS will be licking their lips thanks to a new study showing their favourite food could have even more health benefits than previously thought.
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The good man highlights what many miss
Julia Gillard has lost all authority within the broader Labor movement THE real import of the alleged brothel creeping scandal surrounding Craig Thomson has been missed. And it is this: key factions and unions within the Labor movement are now openly indifferent to the fate of either Julia Gillard or the federal...
about an hour ago · · ·
    • David Daniel Ball
      I heard there was three levels of giving. An apparently arbitrary but compelling argument followed. First level was Charity, giving what you have because someone wanted it. Second level was sacrifice, giving what you needed because someone wanted it. Thirdly is covenantal, giving what God wants. What I gave for Hamidur Rahman was not what I needed, neither was it what I had. I think God wanted me to do it. I will not benefit from it. But I hope it fixes a problem.
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Another of Obama's friends has a bad reputation.
www.news.com.au
FIVE women who were part of Muammar Gaddafi's elite team of female bodyguards have reportedly claimed they were raped by the deposed Libyan leader.
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Liked on www.youtube.com
Amazing Concept iPhone 5. This CG iPhone 5 has advanced iPhone features such as a sleeker iPhone design, a laser keyboard & holographic display all rolled into this iPhone 5 video. The computer generated Concept iPhone 5 features is an exponen...

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What would she have done if she wasn't a friend?
www.news.com.au
A MELBOURNE woman has been convicted of murder after strangling a friend, removing her jewellery and dumping the bruised body in a car park.
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Go to bed now or I will count to three ..
www.news.com.au
PARENTS lack the skills to discipline their children and many don't know what to do beyond smacking, one of the state's leading childhood experts says.
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psycho killer might have to be restrained
www.news.com.au
A PSYCHIATRIC patient who fatally stabbed two fellow inmates at a secure Melbourne hospital will be returned to the same hospital in a month.
6 hours ago · · ·
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An accident. A tragedy. Some will look to heaven and ask where is God? I thank him for being with me in my time of need, as I am sure he is with them.
www.news.com.au
THE mother of schoolgirl Jacinda Twigg, who is to be buried today, had died in hospital.

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@WreeMr Yes she did, although that may not have been the proximate cause.
Source: www.youtube.com
She died from drugs. She never knew God. I was saved by God. I have friends and I will find friends who will die from drugs. She was such a talent. She will be missed. "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" is a song written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King ...

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The economy is so bad that, I got a predeclined credit card in the mail.

CEO's are now playing miniature golf.
Mobile & BP laid off 25 Politicians.
Angelina Jolie adopted a child from America.
A picture is now only worth 200 words..
They renamed Wall Street " Walmart Street "

Finally, I called the Suicide Hotline. I got a call center in Pakistan and when I told them I was suicidal, they got all excited, and asked if I could drive a truck".
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A TV show becomes a defense for embezzlement?
SEEN the gorgeous hookers in Underbelly: Razor?

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Zangari's trip seems frivolous, but that is expected of ALP
IT is only five months into the new NSW government but already MPs are jet-setting to Canada, Ukraine and London on "study trips", at a cost to taxpayers of $38,000.


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Only a mystery right now ..
JUST days ago Tanilla Warwick-Deaves was an "always smiling" toddler who loved pushing toy prams and dressing up as a princess.
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Gillard and Clare leave destruction in their wake
THE federal government has come under unprecedented attack from one of its biggest union allies over the failure to bail out hundreds of family businesses owed more than $7 million from collapsed Buil...
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Those poor members who get no say in how the ALP spends their money.
EMBATTLED MP Craig Thomson's old Health Services Union, in disarray over corruption allegations, has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in state government funding at the same time it has donat...
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Not as glamorous as the Hustle, when you consider the victims
THEY pay cash for their custom-built, triple-axle caravans towed by BMW four-wheel drives.

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Irene fears overstated
BARELY a hurricane, Irene is now a tropical storm that pummeled New York with howling wind and rain after killing 11 and cutting power to millions.
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Journalists cannot find any policy to criticize in new NSW government.
THEY swept to power with a massive reform agenda, polished during 16 years in opposition and three years as "government-in-waiting".
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Gaddafi offers another cease fire
www.news.com.au
CHARRED skeletons of some 50 people have been found in a makeshift prison next to a Libyan military base abandoned by elite troops loyal to Muammar Gaddafi in southern Tripoli.
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I could do the same for less
www.news.com.au
HURRICANE Irene has made 2011 a record year for weather-related disasters in the United States, a US government study has concluded.
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UK Labor released the terrorist for a reason. I doubt it benefited UK peoples.
www.news.com.au
THE Libyan rebel government will not deport the man convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

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Shocking, suggesting civil rights was a sham to allow a few to exploit the world for greed.
Former Vice President Al Gore is comparing the struggle to win over climate change skeptics to the fight against racism.
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Glenn Milne's retracted article in The Australian- 29/08/11: "PM A Lost Cause For Warring Unions"

by John Howard on Monday, 29 August 2011 at 12:01

Julia Gillard has lost all authority within the broader Labor movement

THE real import of the alleged brothel creeping scandal surrounding Craig Thomson has been missed. And it is this: key factions and unions within the Labor movement are now openly indifferent to the fate of either Julia Gillard or the federal government. They simply don’t care any more.

Gillard has now lost all authority within the broader Labor movement. By their actions in the Thomson saga they have signalled a judgment that she cannot win the next election. Settling internal scores and power struggles is therefore now more important than whatever happens to a lameduck PM who can’t haul her primary voting numbers out of the pathetically fatal mid 20s.

The Mafia-style dirt-covered shovel — code for digging your own grave — dumped on Friday at 3.30am on the doorstop of Kathy Jackson, the union official who had the courage to refer Thomson’s activities to the police, may as well have been delivered to the Lodge. For Gillard it is now that bad. She is simply regarded as collateral damage and large sections in the Labor movement are uninterested about whether she’s terminally wounded or not as they go about their internal bloodletting. It is about to get worse as elements of the Australian Workers’ Union seek to settle up with Thomson’s accusers by demonstrating that Gillard herself was implicated, albeit unknowingly, in a major union fraud of her own before she entered parliament.

On Friday, Michael Smith of 2UE contacted me to check the veracity of material in a statutory declaration drawn up by Bob Kernohan, the former president of the AWU, and dealing with the relationship between Gillard and Bruce Wilson, which I outline below.

On Saturday, Herald Sun and Daily Telegraph columnist Andrew Bolt wrote on his blog: ‘‘On Monday, I’m tipping, a witness with a statutory declaration will come forward and implicate Julia Gillard directly in another scandal involving the misuse of union funds. Gillard herself is not accused of any misbehaviour at all. I do not make that claim, and do not hold that belief. But her judgment — and that of at least one of her ministers — will come under severe question. She will seem compromised. It could be the last straw for Gillard’s leadership.’’

Big call. But I do have a good deal of knowledge regarding Bolt’s claims. On Sunday November 11, 2007, just days before the November 24 election I interviewed Gillard, then deputy leader of the opposition, in my capacity as political editor for News Limited’s Sunday newspapers. The interview concerned the embezzlement of union funds — not disputed — and later the subject of a court conviction by a former boyfriend of Gillard, Bruce Wilson. I had researched the piece for months. It was the most heavily lawyered article I have ever been involved in writing. The story said that as a solicitor acting on instructions, she set up an association later used by her lover to defraud the AWU. But she has strenuously denied ever knowing what the association’s bank accounts were used for.

Gillard, then in her early 30s, was a lawyer with Melbournebased Labor firm Slater & Gordon. At the time of the fraud she acted for the AWU. She met Wilson, then the West Australian AWU secretary, while representing the union in the Industrial Relations Commission. Wilson later moved to Melbourne to become Victorian secretary of the union.

‘‘These matters happened between 12 and 15 years ago,’’ Gillard told me. ‘‘I was young and naive. I was in a relationship, which I ended, and obviously it was all very distressing. I am by no means the first person to find out that someone close turns out to be different to what you had believed them to be. It’s an ordinary human error.

‘‘I was obviously hurt, when I was later falsely accused publicly of wrongdoing. I didn’t do anything wrong and to have false allegations in the media was distressing.’’

What the lawyers would not allow to be reported was the fact that Gillard shared a home in Fitzroy bought by Wilson using the embezzled funds. There is or was no suggestion Gillard knew about the origin of the money. We now await the issue to which Bolt refers.

If it comes, and if it is powerful as Bolt suggests, it will be further evidence that the Victorian Right represented by the AWU is involved in a life and death struggle with the Right as represented by the Hospital Services Union. Thomson was a senior official of the HSU for 20 years before entering parliament via the seat of Dobell.

The HSU split several years ago into two factions. Thomson was supported by Jeff Jackson, Kathy Jackson’s former husband. This so-called old guard was the support base for Victorian right-wing power boss, David Feeney. Feeney is now looking for a parliamentary seat because Gillard’s abysmal numbers have made his third Senate spot vulnerable.

A defeat for the old guard by way of a successful prosecution of Thomson by police, would leave Feeney powerless and without a base or a seat.

Jackson himself has been accused of using union money on escorts with enemies of the Victorian HSU boss releasing bank statements showing payments to the same Sydney brothel where federal MP Thomson’s credit card was allegedly used. Jackson has denied the claims. Ultimately at issue here could be the succession to Gillard, and I’ll explain why.

When Kathy Jackson called in the wallopers, the stakes were high. Because a federal defeat for Thomson and his allies would enhance the power base of Victoria’s two other factional king makers, Bill Shorten and Stephen Conroy who are both aligned with the new guard in the HSU. And we all know what Shorten’s ultimate ambition is.

What a tangled web we weave especially when you consider Thomson is married to Zoe Arnold, a former Transport Workers Union official and adviser to former NSW Health Minister Reba Meagher. Alex Williamson, daughter of HSU national president Mike Williamson, is an adviser to Gillard. And, of course, as mentioned, Kathy Jackson, who blew the whistle on Thomson, was married to former Victorian state HSU secretary Jeff Jackson.

Truly the NSW Disease has arrived in Canberra.

Meanwhile amid all this interbred internecine manoeuvring Gillard attempts to adopt the high ground, attacking shadow attorney-general George Brandis for intervening in the course of justice. On Thursday morning Gillard attacked Brandis for speaking to NSW Police Minister Michael Gallacher at a time when the allegations against Thomson were being assessed by NSW Police. Unfortunately she got her facts wrong because the NSW police only announced they were conducting an assessment four days after Brandis spoke to Gallacher and in fact only got Brandis’s dossier three days after he spoke to Gallacher.

A small point but one that indicates the pressure is beginning to show on Gillard as she desperately searches for points of deflection. During the same press conference she also vainly tried to defend Thomson’s decision not to make a statement to the parliament on the facts. We all know why; if he lies he’s finished as an MP and Gillard is washed up as Prime Minister. Gillard and Thomson are shackled together just as surely as two First Fleet convicts.

Oh, and here’s a small postscript on which to end. On September 7 at the Wyong Christian School at 2pm there will be the opening of a new hall built with funds from Gillard’s time overseeing the Building the Education Revolution. Thomson is scheduled to attend as the local member. My gut instinct is that both he and the Prime Minister will be otherwise engaged.

David Daniel Ball
I am glad Milne wrote it. I am sorry he retracted it. I don't see the harm in it, it all seems to be public knowledge. I don't think it goes far enough in some of its assertions. The government has crumbled, but it will be a time before we see what that means. It will mean bad decisions are made daily and hard decisions are shelved. In those terms it is business as usual. My own issue of fighting for justice for Hamidur Rahman touches on these people elliptically. What we are seeing is the internal workings of the ALP as it has functioned since the Razor Gang days. The only really surprising thing is that we are seeing it. And it should be disturbing for those who are aware that union dues account for over a $billion each year and union secretaries are not bound to tight fiscal rules of expenditure.

David Daniel Ball
I heard there was three levels of giving. An apparently arbitrary but compelling argument followed. First level was Charity, giving what you have because someone wanted it. Second level was sacrifice, giving what you needed because someone wanted it. Thirdly is covenantal, giving what God wants. What I gave for Hamidur Rahman was not what I needed, neither was it what I had. I think God wanted me to do it. I will not benefit from it. But I hope it fixes a problem.
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At last we know the connection between Gillard's Fair Work IR legislation and her ascension to PM. Australians would not have known it When Gillard tried to stare Reith down over the late '90s wharf disputes. Neither would they have known when the scare campaign was run against Workchoices by the Unions and Gillard. Nor when Rudd was knifed by Gillard. Unions, with over a $billion each year of dues and with management fees from Superannuation are connected with organised crime. Unions can spend their money how the leadership chooses. It has nothing to do with membership needs.
blogs.news.com.au
Andrew writes for Melbourne's Herald Sun, Sydney's Daily Telegraph and Adelaide's Advertiser. He runs Australia's most-read political blog, is on MTR 1377 mornings. He’ll host Channel 10’s The Bolt Report each Sunday at 10am
David Daniel Ball Multicultural like Union leadership? Where every race and creed among the corrupt is represented.

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