HSU hunts Craig Thomson
CRAIG Thomson faces a fresh legal nightmare with the Health Services Union warning it is "coming after him" to repay union cash.
Fair Work Australia is still expected to lay civil claims against Mr Thomson shortly in the Federal Court, with the HSU warning it will pursue all legal options available if any charges against him are upheld.
But the Labor MP turned independent has brushed off the chances of the HSU succeeding, telling The Sunday Telegraph the HSU had "never asked, written or emailed me any requests to pay anything".
HSU president Chris Brown said as soon as FWA announces the civil charges against Mr Thomson the HSU will immediately lodge an application to reclaim the cash. That claim would be finalised if or when Mr Thomson was found by the Federal Court to have acted improperly.
If the Federal Court upholds allegations Mr Thomson misused his credit card, Mr Brown warned the union would seek to recover the cash.
"We are going after him," Mr Brown said. "The reality is if he is found guilty over misuse of members' funds we will be pursuing him for that money. We will look to all available means open to us to pursue the recovery of that money."
FWA has claimed that up to $500,000 of union funds was spent on campaigning in Mr Thomson's seat of Dobell, fine dining, entertainment and prostitutes. Victorian police are continuing their own investigations into Mr Thomson and the HSU.
While Mr Thomson has consistently denied allegations he used union cash to hire prostitutes for sex, he does not deny he withdrew $100,000 in union cash, arguing the money was accounted for with receipts.
The federal MP insisted that the HSU had paid him money when he left the union.
"The HSU after their internal investigation paid me my entitlements and settled legal action I commenced against them," Mr Thomson said.
"They paid me a substantial amount and have entered a binding legal deed. The HSU have ... never asked, written or emailed me any requests to pay anything.
"Since then there has been the AEC report clearing me and the KPMG report discrediting the FWA report. So I would be surprised. I think the many millions identified in the Temby report may be more fruitful."
Mr Brown said: "He hasn't been cleared by the AEC, he's not off the hook with FWA. All that stuff is the usual spin."
The PM's dad died of shame: Alan Jones under fire after cruel and offensive attack on Gillard
ALAN Jones has publicly apologised for saying the Prime Minister's father had died of "shame" because of the political "lies" she told.
The 2GB breakfast show host has been condemned by politicians from all sides for the remarks made at a dinner for Young Liberals.
Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd described the comments as "the lowest of the low" while Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said this afternoon that Jones was completely out of line.
However, a spokesman for Ms Gillard said the Prime Minister did not intend to comment on the remarks or Jones's apology.
Jones said John Gillard's death was the fault of his proud child.
He went on to suggest Ms Gillard's tears of grief, for a man she publicly said she "will miss for the rest of my life", were what sparked a sudden leap in political polling for her.
Mr Gillard, a former psychiatric nurse, died in Adelaide on September 8, age 83.
The remarks occurred during Mr Jones' 50-minute speech at the annual $100-per-head Sydney University Liberal Club President's Dinner, on the top floor of Sydney's Waterfront restaurant in The Rocks last Saturday.
Gasps of surprise
After referring to Ms Gillard's track record with telling the truth to voters over issues including the carbon tax, Mr Jones said her father's death was caused by the Prime Minister herself.
"The old man recently died a few weeks ago of shame," Mr Jones told a group of party members and MPs, including Alex Hawke, Ray Williams and Sussan Ley.
"To think that he had a daughter who told lies every time she stood for parliament.
"Every person in the caucus of the Labor Party knows that Julia Gillard is a liar."
Some members of the audience gasped with surprise.
The radio star went on to say Ms Gillard had enjoyed a recent spike in polls sparked by her tears. He also said she was being given an easy ride by the "brainwashed" Liberal Party who had backed down because she was a woman.
Organisers of the dinner were not aware a journalist from The Sunday Telegraph, who had purchased a ticket, was present.
Jones said this morning he had got it wrong and described his comments as unacceptable. "There are days when you just have to concede and man up and say you got it wrong," he told reporters in Sydney.
"In this instance, these are remarks which I shouldn't have repeated. To repeat them was wrong, to even offer any impression that I might seek to diminish the grief a daughter would feel for her father, independently of who that daughter might be, is unacceptable."
Comments "out of context"
The Sydney University Liberal Club has apologised for Jones's comments but said they were taken out of context.
"We apologise for recent comments. Although out of context and not our own, they've caused offence and distracted from the national debate," it said on Twitter.
The ABC reported that the day after the dinner, the club described Jones's speech as "brilliant". "It's no wonder he's the nation's most influential broadcaster!" it said in a post that has since been deleted.
While paying tribute to her father in parliament on September 19, Ms Gillard spoke of the rough and tumble of politics and how that affected the family.
She said her father "felt more deeply than me, in many ways, some of the personal attacks that we face in the business of politics, but I was always able to reassure him that he had raised a daughter with sufficient strength not to let that get her down".
Jones made several mentions about why Mr Abbott should be Australia's next PM.
"His overweening weakness is his humility. You will never ever hear this bloke argue his ability, his virtue, or indeed his competence," he said.
"He is a man of incomparable integrity and conviction."
The broadcaster said it was vital every member of Mr Abbott's party united behind their leader in the lead-up to the election. Mr Jones said some members of the Labor caucus were scared of the Liberal leader and others thought he was sexist.
"Disgusting and insensitive"
Mr Rudd took to Twitter to condemn Jones's attack on the Prime Minister. "Abbott must dismiss Jones from Liberal Party now & ban him from future Liberal events," he wrote.
Senior Liberal Malcolm Turnbull also blasted Jones on the social networking site. "Alan Jones' comments about the late John Gillard were cruel and offensive," he wrote. "He should apologise to the PM and her family."
Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said Jones's comments were "disgusting and insensitive in the extreme".
"They are offensive to the prime minister, her family, and many others in the community including myself," he said.
Mr Combet said the radio personality should apologise sincerely and comprehensively.
"His comments are unacceptable by the standards of decency that should apply in our society," he said.
Mr Abbott said in a brief statement this afternoon that "Alan's remarks regarding the PM were completely out of line. It's good that he's recognised this and apologised for them."
Earlier in the day Foreign Minister Bob Carr said Mr Abbott owed Ms Gillard an apology.
"I've heard indecent things in politics but never something as thoroughly indecent as this," Senator Carr told Network Ten earlier this morning.
"It is vital that Tony Abbott apologise for that utterance made at a Liberal Party meeting and do it today. Tony Abbott ought to make it clear that those people are denounced by him as well."
"No need to pick apart speech"
The event was staged by Sydney University Liberal Club president and aspiring MP Alex Dore. Mr Jones has endorsed his political endeavours.
Yesterday, Mr Dore said Mr Jones had not made the comments about Ms Gillard's father. Later, informed there was a recording of the speech, his position changed.
"It was a very long speech and I did not hear it. I have always found Alan to be respectful," Mr Dore said.
He said there was "no need" to "pick apart Alan's speech. All you are doing is reducing it to a very small thing which distracts from the issues facing Australia".
Mr Williams would not be drawn on Mr Jones' remarks.
"I will just let this one go through to the keeper, the room was a bit a noisy at the time, I can't remember him saying it," he said.
Fellow MPs Mr Hawke and Ms Ley could not be reached.
During the five-hour event, three spoof songs were sung by Young Liberals member Simon Berger, Woolworths' government realtions manager.
Freedom of speech gets a hearing as street preachers challenge law
A LANDMARK High Court hearing which could enshrine freedom of speech in the Australian Constitution will be heard on Tuesday.
Thanks to Adelaide's controversial street preachers, the challenge could see free speech recognised as a Constitutional right - comparable to the US First Amendment - and trigger a rewriting of state and council laws that were drafted to stop people being able to "preach", "canvass" or "harangue".
Tuesday's hearing in Canberra has such widespread ramifications that South Australia's Attorney-General has been joined in the matter by the Attorneys-General for the Commonwealth, NSW, Victoria, Queensland and WA.
The Human Rights Law Centre has sided with the Adelaide street preachers Caleb and Samuel Corneloup.
High Court Chief Justice Robert French has made it clear the hearing will be about legal principles rather than religion, telling the preachers: "It will not really be anything to do with, as you would appreciate, the merits of your preaching".
At present there is no guarantee of freedom of speech written into the Constitution.
If the court decides in favour of the preachers it may opt for a narrow interpretation limiting such freedom to political speech - but the justices could use the case as a vehicle for a much broader and more significant decision regarding rights relating to freedom of communication.
The case was triggered by anger at the aggressive style of preaching in public spaces such as Rundle Mall.
Attempts to silence the preachers under Adelaide City Council bylaws, saw the preachers appeal to the full bench of the Supreme Court which in August 2011 ruled certain bylaws were invalid to the extent they prevented free political communication.
The State Government appealed to the High Court, with a spokesman for Attorney-General John Rau saying the appeal concerns the ability of the City Council to regulate its streets.
"It constrains the legislative and executive power necessary to maintain the system of responsible and representative government required by the Constitution," he said.
While the hearing is likely to take an hour, a decision could take months.
SA Law Society president Ralph Bonig said the decision had considerable implications.
"The legal community will be interested in the outcome given its potential for the concept of freedom of speech to be implied in the Constitution," he said.
Lawyer Peter Campbell of Kelly and Co. said the case had the potential to drastically alter the legal landscape.
"A number of legal restrictions and permit regimes may be invalid and unenforceable," he said.
The message seems to have gone out - come on over, Nauru is already full, and even Christmas Island now can’t take any more after the last few days of arrivals:
A boat carrying 146 asylum seekers has been intercepted in Australian waters…An initial count suggests there were 146 passengers and three crew on board.For “operational and safety reasons” 134 people are to be transferred to Darwin for initial security, health and identity checks.The remaining 15 people are to be transferred to Christmas Island.
(Thanks to reader Gab.)
The Gillard Government’s game of pretend: let’s spend money we pretend we have, and make pretend cuts to a Budget we pretend isn’t sinking like a stone.
Former Future Fund chairman David Murray warns we’re going down the road of Greece and Spain - spending borrowed money on entitlements.
Alexander Downer and Belinda Neal on selling out our values to the United Nations - or not - and on the shameful comments of Alan Jones.
Kevin Rudd gets ambushed by a tweet, and why can’t poor Anna Burke get Peter Slipper’s perks?
The repeat on Channel 10 at 4.30pm.
In further news, Mark Steyn;
...on Sept. 14, fewer than two dozen inbred, illiterate goatherds pulled off the biggest single destruction of U.S. airpower since the Tet Offensive in 1968, breaking into Camp Bastion (an unfortunate choice of name) in Afghanistan, killing Lieutenant-Colonel Christopher Raible, and blowing up a squadron’s worth of Harriers.And, even though it was the third international humiliation for the United States in as many days, it didn’t even make the papers.Because the court eunuchs at the media are too busy drooling over Obama’s appearance as what he calls “eye candy” on the couch between Barbara and Whoopi.
Green power means red ink, and Greece is now just too broke:
Greece, aiming to stave off a fresh energy crisis, plans to support its main electricity market operator through a temporary tax on renewable power producers and by extending an emergency loan, a senior official said on Friday…
The electricity system came close to collapse in June when market operator LAGHE was overwhelmed by subsidies it pays to green power producers as part of efforts to bolster solar energy.
(Via Watts Up WithThat.)
Administration again urges contractors not to warn of layoffs, despite defense cuts
The Obama administration has doubled down on its plea to defense contractors not to warn employees about possible layoffs due to looming budget cuts -- going so far as to offer to cover legal fees in compensation challenges.
The move drew a stern rebuke Friday from South Dakota Republican Sen. John Thune, since federal law requires employers to give notice if mass layoffs are likely.
"For the second time, the Obama administration has now encouraged government contractors to ignore the WARN Act and hold off on warning employees about possible layoffs due to the looming sequestration cuts,” Thune, lead author of the Sequestration Transparency Act, said Friday.
The offer to pay the legal fees was included in a memorandum issued by the administration Friday that also restated the Labor Department's position from July that contractors should not issue written notices to employees because of the "uncertainty" over the across-the-board cuts to the defense budget and other federal spending that will occur Jan. 2 unless Congress reaches a new deal.
The notices are required under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act and generally require employers with more than 100 employees to provide 60-day notices of "mass layoffs if they are reasonably foreseeable."
The projected $500 billion in Pentagon cuts under the so-called sequestration will occur because Congress failed to agree on a deficit-reduction plan this summer.
The guidance issued by the Labor Department this summer stated "it is neither necessary nor appropriate" for federal contractors to issue the warnings.
The memorandum states the federal government would cover employee compensation under the WARN Act – "irrespective of the outcome" as long as the contractor follows the Labor Department guidelines.
Still, defense contractor Lockheed Martin -- which might have to lay off employees should the cuts kick in -- is still considering whether to send out the notices, according to The Hill newspaper.
Rep. John Kline, chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, suggested last week that the Labor Department is trying to conceal the full impact of the cuts.
"The Labor Department is trying to hide the consequences of sequestration from workers," Kline, R-Minn., said in a letter to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.
The letter was the second in two months by Republican committee leaders in which they asked for an update and more detailed information about the obligations federal contractors have in giving the advanced notice.
On Friday, Republican Sens. John McCain, Ariz.; Lindsey Graham, S.C.; and Kelly Ayotte, N.H., issued a similar statement, saying in part, "The president should insist that companies act in accordance with the clearly stated law and move forward with the layoff notices."
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/09/29/admin-to-pay-legal-fees-for-contractors-that-dont-issue-sequestration-warnings/#ixzz27w8vdmd8
MSNBC caught in another big video gaffe
Published September 29, 2012
Working for MSNBC has gone to Joe Scarborough’s head, or at least his ears. The Joe of “Morning Joe, broadcast on the “Lean Forward” network, was caught in the latest TV video scandal because he won’t listen.
During his Wednesday broadcast, Scarborough again mocked GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, this time for how he handled an Ohio appearance with vice presidential running mate Paul Ryan. The show played a clip of Romney taking the mike and saying Ryan is “quite a guy.” The crowd was then shown chanting as the words “Ryan!” popped up on the screen to indicate that’s what they were saying.
Romney then instructed the crowd to chant “Romney/Ryan.” The camera flashed back to the “Morning Joe” set where Scarborough put head in hands and said "Oh, sweet Jesus.” That reaction made the front page of Huffington Post and, as things do when spurred on by HuffPo, it went viral.
Only that isn’t what happened at all – shocking, I know. Rather than have an incident that made Romney look bad, this one made him look good. In the process, it was the latest black mark on the far-left network and another example of how out of touch MSNBC’s token “conservative” host truly is.
Buzzfeed described it by saying “the subtitle in the clip misrepresented what actually took place.” The original New York Times report said the same: “As the crowd began chanting ‘Romney! Romney!’ he cut them off. ‘Wait a second,’ Mr. Romney said, instructing the audience to cheer for ‘Romney-Ryan! Romney-Ryan!’ They did.” Buzzfeed gave credit to The Blaze and Breitbart News for noting the discrepancies.
Several different Internet sites have called Scarborough on the bogus criticism. Even HuffPo has said the initial report is wrong. “UPDATE: A reporter who attended the event contacted The Huffington Post to say that the crowd was chanting Romney's name, not Ryan's, and that Romney added his running mate's name to the chant, not the other way around,” the story now begins.
When MSNBC loses respect from Huffington Post, that’s the greatest fail imaginable. It’s like Castro’s Cuba being chastised by the old Soviet Union.
Conservative sites from Twitchy.com to Newsbusters were having a field day with Scarborough. The “Morning Joe” host is already viewed by many on the right as a RINO (Republican in Name Only) in the mold of "conservative" newspaper columnists Kathleen Parker and David Brooks, who make their career bashing conservatives. Conservatives again had good reason to mock him.
Twitchy was one of those leading the charge, saying that “MSNBC ran a clip that tried to paint a false narrative.” But Scarborough wouldn’t give up. On Twitter he made a series of statements standing by his original comments. Because, of course, Joe is never wrong.
“The fake controversy over the Ryan chants is a joke. Romney said ‘What a guy!"’ The crowd chanted ‘Ryan!’ and then Mitt jokes ‘Romney/Ryan!’” he wrote, in the face of all evidence.
Scarborough vowed to “have the tape linked this weekend” and told viewers “you watch and be the judge.” As of this writing it was not featured prominently on either the MSNBC site or his own personal site. “We will also play the CSPAN tape on Monday. Going to be fun,” he promised.
This is far from the first time MSNBC has been caught playing games with video. Back in June, Andrea Mitchell ran a piece of Romney speaking about shopping at Wawa which was edited to make him look foolish. In another incident, MSNBC misrepresented a Herman Cain video where he quoted Ben Franklin. Again the goal was to make him look foolish.
MSNBC comes by its bogus video skills like a misbehaving child of a bad parent. Parent NBC, in this case, famously doctored Trayvon Martin 911 call audio to falsely depict George Zimmerman as racist. They later apologized and staffers were fired, but long after the damage had been done.
Perhaps “Morning Joe” needs a bigger jolt of caffeine in the morning before it does its obligatory attack on conservatives, Republicans and anyone else Joe’s lefty paymasters oppose.
Dan Gainor is the Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.
Dan Gainor is the Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. He writes frequently about media for Fox News Opinion. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/09/29/msnbc-caught-in-another-big-video-gaffe/#ixzz27w9GUe5u