Implemented far too slowly, and with too few other measures, the Government’s reworked Nauru solution has unambiguously failed:
Six boats carrying 525 asylum seekers arrived in Australia over the weekend, amid protests among detainees on Nauru and Christmas Island.
When it’s finally at full capacity, Nauru will hold 1500 people. That’s just a third of those who’ve arrived since the Government announced Nauru would reopen:
More than 12,354 people have sought asylum this year, with 4491 arrivals since the government agreed to reopen Nauru for offshore processing in August.
Immigration Minister Chris Bowen last Tuesday:
Mr Bowen said he believed the government’s new policies were starting to have an impact…
One reason Nauru hasn’t worked since the Gillard Government announced its reopening nine weeks ago, on August 13:
Meanwhile, 38 Pakistani men were on Monday transferred to Nauru’s processing centre from Christmas Island. Their arrival takes the number of asylum seekers transferred to the island so far to 292...
In nine weeks, the Government has sent just 292 asylum seekers to Nauru. In that time, more than 4500 have made it to Australia. That means fewer than one in 15 boat people get sent to Nauru.
Only civil charges, at least for now:
FAIR Work Australia has laid charges against independent MP Craig Thomson, alleging he broke industrial laws and union rules in splurging hundreds of thousands dollars of union funds on prostitutes, spousal travel, and high living.
FWA spokeswoman Diana Lloyd confirmed to The Australian that civil charges were filed in the Federal Court this morning, and are due to be served on Mr Thomson.Ms Lloyd said FWA would be seeking “pecuniary penalties, as well as compensation” from Mr Thomson…
Victorian police are examining whether the alleged misspending of union funds by Mr Thomson constitutes fraud.
NSW police Strike Force Carnarvon is examining allegations raised by Ms Jackson and other union officials claiming Mr Thomson, and Mr Williamson, received secret commissions in the form of credit cards on the account of a graphic designer who had a $680,000 a year contract with the union, John Gilleland.
Mr Thomson, Mr Williamson, and Mr Gilleland strenuously deny the allegations.
No comments on guilt or innocence, please.
(Thanks to reader Margaret.)
Mr Thomson faces civil action over a range of offences. As well as the unauthorised use of union credit cards to pay for prostitutes, the claim covers cash advances totalling more than $102,337.45.
FWA is seeking to fine Mr Thomson for these alleged misdeamenours and others, and the repayment of the funds.
The statement of claim lists various escort services Fair Work Australia alleges Mr Thomson used, including Young Blondes, Melbourne’s Boardroom Escort Agency, and a brothel called Tiffany’s.
Koomurri is responsible for the employment of 80+ Indigenous tutors and performers spread across Australia and growing with core base groups in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne…
Interactive workshops are also available in Aboriginal culture, storytelling, Aboriginal art, didgeridoo technique, Song and dance, artefacts, boomerang throwing, bush survival skills, traditional fire making, indigenous face and body painting along with a host of interesting skill perhaps you never thought you could learn…
Each student has the opportunity for their face to be painted as an Aboriginal.
The publication of a photograph of university students at an official college function dressed up to look like “traditional” Aboriginal people, with their faces and limbs painted brown, has forced an internal investigation and rapid re-education program.
The eight female students from the co-educational Cromwell College within the University of Queensland were depicted in the photo - taken last Tuesday - with wild hair, holding sticks and wearing material fashioned into makeshift loincloths.The photo made its way on to online social networking sites and quickly raised the ire of a number of indigenous Australians from around the country…
The Diversity Council Australia said the incident showed a deep ignorance of Aboriginal culture and religion in Australian society.
(Thanks to reader James.)
Julia Gillard tried to destroy Tony Abbott by falsely accusing him of misogyny - and then screamed she was the true victim.
Now Opera Australia offers the perfect tribute with a reworking of Salome to cover our misogyny debate. In it, the Ur-Gillard destroys another innocent man - and again screams she’s the victim:
Opera Australia has reworked the bloody story of Salome and John the Baptist to explore how the character of Salome is victimised as a male plaything before resorting to violence.
(Thanks to reader Neil.)
A GANG of gatecrashers assaulted four people and smashed up nine cars at a social function in Balga last night.
Police say the thugs tried to force their way into the Balga Soccer and Social Club function on Princess Road about 8pm.About 100 people, consisting of club members and their families, were at the end of year presentation night celebrating a successful year for the soccer club when as many as 20 uninvited male gatecrashers tried to force their way into the venue.Dozens of children and women at the event had been left traumatised, club officials said this morning…
The gatecrashers of African descent arrived at the club and demanded entry but were refused.
Rasmussen has Romney ahead:
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Sunday shows Mitt Romney attracting support from 49% of voters nationwide, while President Obama earns the vote from 47%
IT’S the scandal the Prime Minister thought she’d finally killed in August. But now it’s back - and even worse.
For years Julia Gillard refused to discuss a slush fund she’d helped to register as a solicitor in the 1990s for her then boyfriend, Australian Workers Union official Bruce Wilson.
TWO battles could kill the presidency of Barack Obama - one with al-Qaida and the scarier with Hillary Clinton.
On September 11, a heavily armed Islamist militia linked to al-Qaida launched a co-ordinated attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, killing the US ambassador and three others.
Bizarrely, the White House for days insisted this attack with machine guns and mortars was just one more protest against an anti-Islamic clip on YouTube made by an Egyptian-born American.
Hillary Clinton’s State Department releases the transcript of a briefing on the Benghazi attack that makes Barack Obama seem a liar. Not entirely coincidentally. It describes what was unambiguously a terrorist attack, with no sign of any film protest.
Then comes this exchange with a reporter:
QUESTION: Hi, yes. You described several incidents you had with groups of men, armed men. What in all of these events that you’ve described led officials to believe for the first several days that this was prompted by protests against the video?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: That is a question that you would have to ask others. That was not our conclusion. I’m not saying that we had a conclusion, but we outlined what happened. The Ambassador walked guests out around 8:30 or so, there was no one on the street at approximately 9:40, then there was the noise and then we saw on the cameras the – a large number of armed men assaulting the compound.
In my column I suggest much will depend on how Hillary Clinton responds to Obama and Biden scapegoating her for Benghazi. Paul Mirengoff says Clinton’s husband is consider that response right now:
Former President Clinton...has been hands-down President Obama’s most effective advocate… So how is Obama awarding Clinton for his heavy lifting? By throwing Clinton’s wife under the Benghazi bus, it appears. On Friday, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that responsibility for the consulate in Libya fell on the State Department, not the White House. This followed Joe Biden’s claim during the Thursday debate that “we” (apparently meaning Biden and Obama) knew nothing about the Libya mission’s request to the State Department for extra security…
How is Bill Clinton taking this? According to author Ed Klein, he is not taking it lying down. Klein says that sources close to the Clinton are telling him that Bill Clinton has assembled an informal legal team to discuss how the Secretary of State should deal with the issue of being blamed for not preventing the Benghazi terrorist attack last month.
Greens leader Christine Milne claims she told Julia Gillard not to defend Peter Slipper:
Ms Milne suggested there were shades of hypocrisy to Ms Gillard’s passionate parliamentary attack on Mr Abbott because of the government’s defence of Mr Slipper who was found to have sent derogatory texts about female genitalia.
“I think the Prime Minister’s speech was powerful, I thought it was a good speech and if it hadn’t been in the context of the Slipper no confidence (motion) essentially it would have been seen differently,” Ms Milne said…
Samuel J has a question:
Greg Combet suddenly acts pure:
Federal minister Greg Combet says Australians want politicians to stop the name-calling and get on with the job of government…
‘… I think it’s important for us to get back onto the public policy issues that people are more interested in.’People outside politics would ‘prefer politicians to get off name-calling and get on with the business of government’, he said.
What, you mean name-calling like this lot, Minister - collected by Paul Sheehan from government MPs?
Tony Abbott is a hack. A dog. An aggressive, carping, bitter, mindless, deceptive, dodgy, mendacious, rancid, negative, nasty, muck-raking, untruthful, obstructionist, opportunistic, sexist, political Neanderthal. He is unfit for high office. He cannot control his temper. No trick is too low for him. No stunt is too wild. He is a bully. A thug. A snake oil salesman. A poster child for vile bully-boy values. He has repulsive double standards. He hates women. He stands for nothing. He has unhealthy obsessions. He is nuts.
Abbott behaves like Jack the Ripper.
He is Gina Rinehart’s butler.
He is Nancy Reagan without the astrology. He is a douchebag.
I’m quoting here, mostly from Hansard. These are not comments from media figures, or feral demonstrators, or dredged up from 10 or even 30 years ago. These are insults delivered this year, by federal Labor MPs, directed at one person, and orchestrated by Julia Gillard. The level of personal insult has been on an industrial scale.
And how long did Combet’s resolution to stop name-calling last? Ooh, about 30 seconds:
Asked whether he thought Mr Abbott was a misogynist, Mr Combet said: ‘He’s a very aggressive, arrogant sort of fellow and he likes to lead a lynch mob.’
Maybe he should reconsider. ABC Foreign Correspondent’s Eric Campbell makes light of Peter Slipper’s misogynist tweet, and invites followers to make Tony Abbott’s chief of staff the butt of yet more sexist sneering:
Squeamish about knives. ABC1’s Insiders yesterday:
MICHAEL Stutchbury: If you go back to Julia Gillard’s search for legitimacy, after they knifed Kevin Rudd, she knifes Rudd, they go to an election.
Barrie Cassidy: Well, hang on, hang on, you use that language, but in fact they sacked him. He was their leader and they sacked him.Stutchbury: Well, whatever, whatever, whatever, Rudd goes.
Barrie Cassidy, The Sydney Morning Herald, October 16, 2010:AMBUSH on night of long knives. Barrie Cassidy chronicles the rolling of a Prime Minister.The mood in Ripoll’s office was upbeat, with most MPs convinced that Gillard could change the policies that had dragged down Rudd. Ripoll told them: “Julia has much better numbers than Kevin.” The MPs also felt that in a few months “the night of the long knives” would be forgotten. As one of them said” “Julia will be PM and it will seem that it was always so. The dogs may bark, but the caravan moves on.”(This is an edited extract from The Party Thieves by Barrie Cassidy.)
The Daily Mail reports:
The figures, which have triggered debate among climate scientists, reveal that from the beginning of 1997 until August 2012, there was no discernible rise in aggregate global temperatures.This means that the ‘plateau’ or ‘pause’ in global warming has now lasted for about the same time as the previous period when temperatures rose, 1980 to 1996. Before that, temperatures had been stable or declining for about 40 years.
global temperature changesThe new data, compiled from more than 3,000 measuring points on land and sea, was issued quietly on the internet, without any media fanfare, and, until today, it has not been reported…Some climate scientists, such as Professor Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, last week dismissed the significance of the plateau, saying that 15 or 16 years is too short a period from which to draw conclusions.Others disagreed. Professor Judith Curry, who is the head of the climate science department at America’s prestigious Georgia Tech university, told The Mail on Sunday that it was clear that the computer models used to predict future warming were ‘deeply flawed’…
The regular data collected on global temperature is called Hadcrut 4, as it is jointly issued by the Met Office’s Hadley Centre and Prof Jones’s Climatic Research Unit.
No matter how much the climate disagrees, the theory must be right.
(Thanks to reader Neil and others.)
From the warmist Met office’s angry reply to the author, we can assume that if this halt in warming lasts only a couple of years more, even the Met will admit it’s significant, after all:
Q.1 “First, please confirm that they do indeed reveal no warming trend since 1997.”
The linear trend from August 1997 (in the middle of an exceptionally strong El Nino) to August 2012 (coming at the tail end of a double-dip La Nina) is about 0.03°C/decade, amounting to a temperature increase of 0.05°C over that period, but equally we could calculate the linear trend from 1999, during the subsequent La Nina, and show a more substantial warming.As we’ve stressed before, choosing a starting or end point on short-term scales can be very misleading. Climate change can only be detected from multi-decadal timescales due to the inherent variability in the climate system… The current period of reduced warming is not unprecedented and 15 year long periods are not unusual.
Q.2 “Second, tell me what this says about the models used by the IPCC and others which have predicted a rise of 0.2 degrees celsius per decade for the 21st century. I accept that there will always be periods when a rising gradient may be interrupted. But this flat period has now gone on for about the same time as the 1980 – 1996 warming.”
The models exhibit large variations in the rate of warming from year to year and over a decade, owing to climate variations such as ENSO, the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation and Pacific Decadal Oscillation. So in that sense, such a period is not unexpected. It is not uncommon in the simulations for these periods to last up to 15 years, but longer periods are unlikely.
(Via Eric Campbell.)
I suspect Julia Gillard last week made a catastrophic political mistake. She played the victim, which diminishes her. She vilified Abbott, which also diminishes her.
But, worse politically, by so stridently and unfairly attacking one man as the symbol of many, she also attacked those many. That diminishes her votes. Many men would have identified with Abbott as the unfairly maligned and hectored - berated by the Greer-type gender warrior. Indeed, it’s such a familiar trope that it’s reflected in commercials. Many working class men in particular would resent it. Many women of the Left may cheer, but many men from even Labor’s base would groan.
But the harangue was an insult in another deadly way as well. Despite what she now suggests, Gillard is not widely loathed because she is a woman. Indeed, some of her worst detractors - Alan Jones especially - once praised her, as I wrote a few months before she became Prime Mnister:
There was Jones, the 2GB host, fantasising - like a fast increasing number of voters - of a better Australia under the firm hand of the girl with the Great Australian Squawk.“We’ve got the wrong person running the country,” he protested, as Gillard, his guest, tried gamely not to grin.
What enraged Jones - and many others - since is Gillard’s disastrous performance and even more her deceits and betrayals, starting with her original sin: breaking her solemn promise not to impose a carbon tax.
To such critics Gillard is now saying they hate her not because she’s failed and cheated, but because she’s a woman. She has insulted their judgment and smeared their character. She has made millions of voters think she just doesn’t get it. Instead of admitting fault (as successful male politicians such as John Howard and especially Peter Beattie would have done), she screams at them and plays the martyr. That’s another familiar trope, by the way, of ancient provenance. And many, many men - and women, too - will despise Gillard for it.
A small aside: having so viciously damned Abbott as a hater of women - a most serious charge - Gillard has made it almost impossible to show the Leader of the Opposition the usual courtesies, even a hand-shake, without seeming a hypocrite.
Last week, I suspect, will prove to one among the most damaging yet of Gillard’s many bad weeks as Prime Minister. It may be significant that Ministers Penny Wong and Greg Combet, as well as Speaker Anna Burke, are now pulling back from Gillard’s attack on Abbottt, with Wong and Combet calling for an end to name-calling and the gender war.
Too late. Too, too late.
Julia Gillard has also, for a long time, been doing one thing and expecting a different standard from others. Is there a day that goes by when she fails to accuse Tony Abbott of being negative? She is allowed to be relentlessly negative about him, but we are not to see her as being negative. It is an old ruse.
She seeks to portray Abbott as sexist and misogynistic. These are offensive allegations. She gets away with it because she portrays herself as the defender of all women. In fact, she is simply seeking to denigrate her male opponent in a way that can only be done by a woman to a man. It is a clever tactic. Tell women you are their defender and he is the enemy.
Gillard is doing to Abbott precisely what sexist men to do women - she is using his gender (and in this case his religious views) to put him down.
...as a woman I’m embarrassed, insulted and angry that the stocks of women in power have been brought so low.
Playing the gender card is the pathetic last refuge of incompetents and everyone in the real world knows it. It offends the Australian notion of the fair go.
Sexism should always be unacceptable, we should always conduct ourselves in such a way as to make it clear that it is unacceptable.
Senior minister Penny Wong says there will not be a ‘’gender war’’ following the Prime Minister’s speech on sexism and has ruled out a rolling commentary on further examples that may occur.
Senator Wong praised the Prime Minister’s stand but said it did not require her or ‘’any other woman [to] speak out every single time we think we hear something that’s inappropriate’’.
Wayne Swan’s Budget just went from complete wipe-out to a sea of pain as mineral prices recover somewhat:
A RECOVERY in the iron ore price and signs that China’s economy may be stabilising are giving the Gillard government some respite as it brings together its midyear budget update…
“The weaker global outlook and recent decline in commodity prices will hit our budget revenues significantly,” the Treasurer said.However, the government remains confident that conditions have not weakened so far as to derail a return to budget surplus next year."…
China reported an improvement in trade over the weekend, including the biggest imports of iron ore in 20 months…
Australia’s single-most important commodity export, iron ore, had its best week in a month, rising 11 per cent to $US118 a tonne. At its low point in August, it was $US87 a tonne. Although analysts expect the market to remain volatile, the free-fall of a month ago, which would have undermined Australia’s budget calculations, has turned around.
AMANDA Todd, 15, is still being bullied online just days after she took her own life due to years of harassment.
In a sick twist, the vile attacks which led to her death have continued with Facebook memorial pages being defaced with cruel jibes and a topless photo of her being circulated online.
The horrible images began to litter the RIP Amanda Todd page, which has received hundreds of thousands of 'likes', including a picture of a bottle of bleach and the caption “it’s to die for”, referencing an earlier suicide attempt.
A month before her death, the Canadian teen outlined her three-year bullying ordeal in a silent YouTube video titled "My story: Struggling, bullying, suicide, self harm" using handwritten notes.
She described the agony she felt after a troll posted a topless photo of her online and sent it to her family, friends and classmates.
Amanda wrote in the video how the unidentified man pressured her into flashing her breasts on a webcam.
"In 7th grade, I would go with a friend on webcam to meet and talk to new people. Then I got called stunning, beautiful, perfect etc...then he wanted me to flash, so I did."
A year later she received a Facebook message with a screenshot of her naked breasts, demanding she expose herself further or he would release the picture.
The photo was then sent around her school, causing Amanda to sink into a deep depression, using alcohol and drugs to attempt to ease the pain. She documented her downward spiral, including her need to change schools twice, in the YouTube video in an effort to warn others of the risks of online bullying.
"I can never get that photo back," she wrote in the heartbreaking nine-minute video. (warning: graphic content)
"I have nobody. I need someone. My name is Amanda Todd."
Her calls for help went unanswered and on Wednesday she took her life at her home in British Columbia, just weeks before her 16th birthday. The topless photo had resurfaced at her new school and her bully had made it his Facebook profile picture.
"I think the video should be shared and used as an anti-bullying tool. That is what my daughter would have wanted."
For help with emotional difficulties, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or www.lifeline.org.au
For help with depression, contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36 or at www.beyondblue.org.au
The SANE Helpline is 1800 18 SANE (7263) or at www.sane.org
Note the role of drugs and alcohol - ed
SUSPENDED Labor MP Craig Thomson has accused Fair Work Australia of being "pressured" after charges were laid against the MP in the latest setback for the Gillard Government.
Just days after Speaker Peter Slipper resigned in disgrace, FWA's decision to file civil charges in the Federal Court is another blow to the Government's credibility.
It comes as NSW and Victorian police are close to finalising their own investigations into Mr Thomson - and are considering whether to lay criminal charges against the former Health Services Union boss.
The FWA, which spent three years investigating Mr Thomson's lavish spending as HSU national secretary from 2002 to 2007, said it will be seeking “pecuniary penalties, as well as compensation” from the embattled MP.
Mr Thomson is accused of misusing his union credit card for cash advances without receipts, while the FWA also found the MP had splurged hundreds of thousands of dollars on prostitutes, air travel and other personal spending without authorisation.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard, in late April, announced that Mr Thomson would step aside from the Labor Caucus and instead remain in parliament as an independent MP.
In a statement, the NSW MP said he had “always maintained my innocence in these matters and I continue to do so”.
"While I am disappointed, I am not surprised that Fair Work Australia has decided to go ahead with its claims,” he said.
"Clearly Fair Work Australia has felt pressured into responding this way given the political process which it is part of. Naturally I will vigorously defend these claims which are based on a totally discredited Fair Work Australia report."
Attorney-General Nicola Roxon was asked by ABC TV's 7.30 report if Mr Thomson's legal defence would be bankrolled by Labor to avoid a by-election, which was potentially on the cards if Mr Thomson lost the legal fight and could not afford restitution.
"No, I am not the person that's instructing in this," Ms Roxon said.
"But the prime minister and the Labor party have been very clear that there is no intention to provide legal or financial support to Mr Thomson, who now sits on the crossbenches."
Ms Roxon said it is now a matter for FWA and Mr Thomson's own defence.
Parliamentarians can retain their jobs if found guilty in civil proceedings but not if convicted of criminal matters.
But politicians cannot remain in parliament if bankrupted.
After being criticised over the length of its inquiry, FWA found 105 contraventions of civil penalty provisions, and another 76 contraventions of union rules, allegedly committed by Mr Thomson, national secretary Kathy Jackson, then national president Michael Williamson, an auditor, and the union itself.
FWA attributed the vast majority of the alleged civil penalty contraventions and rule breaches to Mr Thomson, and it is not immediately known whether charges will be laid against others.
DAREDEVIL Felix Baumgartner reached a top speed of 1342km/h, or 1.24 times the speed of sound, in a record-breaking freefall from the edge of space.
The speed, revealed at a press conference after the unprecedented leap from 39km up, was significantly higher than that given earlier by a spokeswoman, who had put his maximum speed as 1136km/h.
No one has ever reached that speed wearing only a high-tech suit.
The 43-year-old floated down to Earth on a red and white parachute canopy.
"When I was standing there on top of the world, you become so humble, you do not think about breaking records anymore, you do not think about gaining scientific data. The only thing you want is to come back alive,'' he said after the jump.
Baumgartner says that traveling faster than sound is "hard to describe because you don't feel it.''
With no reference points, "you don't know how fast you travel,'' he told reporters.
"Sometimes we have to get really high to see how small we are,'' he said.
Mission control erupted in cheers as Baumgartner made a near-perfect jump from a capsule hoisted aloft by a giant helium-filled balloon to an altitude of around 128,000 feet (39km).
"Sometimes you have (go) up really high to (realise) how small you are," Baumgartner said shortly before he jumped, watched in live footage beamed around the world.
"I think 20 tons have fallen from my shoulders. I prepared for this for seven years,'' he told German-language ServusTV in Austria in his first interview after the leap.
Live stream breaks YouTube record
More than eight million people watched the livestream of Baumgartner's jump on Red Bull's YouTube channel.
The video sharing site posted on its blog that as well as his other records Baumgartner's now held the record for "creating a livestream with the most concurrent views ever on YouTube".
Mashable reported the Austrian diver had already broken an online record before he even jumped with 7.1 million people watching in anticipation of the freefall dive.
The 'live' online feed of the jump was delayed by 20 seconds in case something happened to daredevil Baumgartner.
Talkback radio in Australia operates on just a seven second delay, which is enough time for producers to cut any caller who makes vulgar or defamatory comments.
It is unclear why the Stratos producers needed the full 20 seconds. One theory doing the rounds is that if Baumgartner got into trouble, it would have been difficult to tell if he was unconscious or just falling in an ungainly manner.
A few extra seconds would have proved handy in allowing the crew to analyse data from its 30 cameras on the ground, in the capsule and aboard a helicopter.
Fortunately, the mission was a great success so the delay proved to be nothing more than a sensible precaution.
Referring to a helmet problem that nearly forced him to abort the mission at the last minute, Baumgartner said: "Even on a day like this when you start so well, then there's a little glitch.
"And you think you'll have to abort -- what if you've prepared everything and it fails on a visor problem. But I finally decided to jump. And it was the right decision.''
He had taken more than two hours to get up to the jump altitude. Baumgartner had already broken one record, before he even leapt: the previous highest altitude for a manned balloon flight was 113,740 feet, set in 1961.
The Austrian had been due to jump from 120,000 feet, but the balloon went higher than expected, to 39 kilometers.
The Red Bull Stratos mission was the second attempt for the skydiver after an initial bid last week was aborted at the last minute due to winds.
The biggest risk Baumgartner faced was spinning out of control, which could exert G forces and make him lose consciousness. A controlled dive from the capsule was essential, putting him in a head-down position to increase speed.
More gruesomely, the skydiver's blood could have boiled if there were the slightest tear or crack in his pressurized spacesuit-like outfit, due to instant depressurisation at the extreme altitude.
Temperatures of minus 68 Celsius could also have had unpredictable consequences if his suit somehow failed.
The leap went off flawlessly though there was a minor problem as the capsule ascended: a heater failed on Baumgartner's helmet faceplate, meaning it was becoming fogged up when he exhaled.
After considering the options they decided to go ahead with the jump.
Baumgartner's 100-strong backup team includes retired US Air Force colonel Joe Kittinger, who had held one of the records he was trying to break: the highest freefall jump, which he made from 102,800 feet (31,333 metres) in 1960.
"Let the guardian angel take care of you," Kittinger told Baumgartner shortly before he leapt into the void.
The giant balloon - which holds 30 million cubic feet of helium - is needed to carry the Red Bull Stratos capsule to the stratosphere.
It is made of near transparent polyethylene strips even thinner than a dry cleaner bag, which are heat-sealed together. Very thin material is necessary to save weight.
The Austrian has been training for five years for the jump. He holds several previous records, notably with spectacular base jumps from the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur and the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The jump was a hit on social media, with Twitter, YouTube and Facebook going into overdrive.
Here's a look at how the world, through the Internet, watched the jump.
YOUTUBE: As Baumgartner ascended in the balloon, so did the number of viewers watching YouTube's live stream of the event.
Its popularity grew as the moment of the jump drew closer, as people kept sharing links with each other on Twitter and Facebook and websites embedded the stream.
Nearly 7.3 million viewers were watching as Baumgartner sat on the edge of the capsule, moments before the jump.
In the United States, the opportunity to watch the jump on TV was limited to the Discovery Channel, though more than 40 television networks in 50 total countries carried the live feed, organizers said. It was streamed by more than 130 digital outlets.
FACEBOOK: After Baumgartner landed, sponsor Red Bull posted a picture of the daredevil on his knees to Facebook.
In less than 40 minutes, the picture was shared more than 29,000 times and generated nearly 216,000 likes and more than 10,000 comments. Immediately after the jump, Red Bull solicited questions for Baumgartner through Facebook and Twitter, promising to answer three at a post-jump news conference.
TWITTER: During the jump and the moments after Baumgartner safely landed, half the worldwide trending topics on Twitter had something to do with the jump - pushing past tweets about Justin Bieber and seven National Football League games being played at the same time. Celebrities of all kinds weighed in, including athletes, actors and high-profile corporate executives.
``It's pretty amazing that I can watch, live on my computer, a man riding a balloon to the edge of space so he can jump out of it. #TheFuture,'' tweeted Wil Wheaton, who acted in the iconic science-fiction series Star Trek: The Next Generation.'
``Felix Baumgartner is a boss,'' tweeted Jozy Altidore, a soccer player for the U.S. men's national team.
REDDIT: Two threads related to the jump made the front page ofReddit.
Users quickly upvoted a request for Baumgartner to participate in an ``Ask Me Anything'' on the site, where users pepper someone on the site with questions about anything they want.
President Barack Obama held court as the subject of a similar thread in August.
Nearly 29,000 users weighed in on a separate thread about the jump itself, voting it up and down and robustly commenting.
Speaking before the launch, Baumgartner said he would be proud to be the first person to break the speed of sound in freefall.
"But really, I know that part of this entire experience will help make the next pressure suit safer for space tourists and aviators," the jumper pointed out.
The launch coincided with the 65th anniversary of American pilot Chuck Yeager breaking the speed of sound.
Austrian leaders were quick to congratulate Baumgartner .
"I warmly congratulate Felix Baumgartner on this great success, which was achieved with courage and perseverance and is finding worldwide attention,'' President Heinz Fischer reacted on his Facebook page almost immediately after Baumgartner had landed safely in New Mexico.
"Austria is proud of your accomplishment,'' he added.
Chancellor Werner Faymann also hailed the achievement in a statement.
"His jump from a height of around 39 kilometres was a fascinating event for millions of people worldwide,'' Faymann said.
"But I'm first and foremost happy everything went well.
"I congratulate Felix Baumgartner and his team for this impressive achievement. Together they went to the boundaries of human possibility and of physics.''
Mr Obeid's long time accountant, Sid Sassine has also said he will appear.
Gladesville accountant John Campo, and courier company owner Justin Kennedy Lewis, who both bought properties in the Bylong Valley are due to have lawyers at the hearing.
Other witnesses include prominent businessmen who are shareholders in Cascade Coal.
They include RAMS homeloans millionaire John Kinghorn and John McGuigan, Brian Flannery and John Atkinson.
An elusive investment banker, Gardner Brook, who owns a company which allegedly stood to make a $40 million profit from a coal licence, Mincorp Investments, is also due to appear.
The list of witnesses:
1. Ian Macdonald
2. Morris Iemma
3. Amanda Poole
4. Richard Poole
5. Justin Lewis
6. Eddie Obeid
7. Moses Obeid
8. John McGuigan
9. James William McGuigan
10. Anthony Richard Levi
11. Gary Boyd
12. Craig Munnings
13. John Campo
14. John Kinghorn
15. Dr Richard Sheldrake
16. Arlo Selby
17. Ivan Maras
18. Philip Suriano
19. Gardner Brook
20. Tony Hewson
21. Mr Chalabian
22. John Atkinson
23. Travers Duncan
24. Diane Joan Nielson
25. Anita Gylseth
26. Brian Boyd
27. Mark Morgan
28. Brian Flannery
29. Alan Fang
30. Mr Cubbin
31. Phillip Podzebenko
32. Sid Sassine
33. Gregory Skehan
34. Christopher Rumore
35. Felicity Claire Ford
36. Paul Obeid
37. Gerard Obeid
38. Sam Achie
39. Damien Obeid
40. Edward Obeid junior
41. John Gerathy
42. Neil Whittaker
A NSW teacher caught downloading child pornography was allowed to continue teaching for three years without departmental supervision, an Ombudsman reports says.
The matter only came to the attention of Ombudsman Bruce Barbour when similar allegations were made against the same male teacher in 2011.
Details of the incident are contained in the NSW Ombudsman's annual report for 2011-2012, which was tabled in the NSW Parliament today.
The NSW Department of Education and Communities (DEC) notified the Ombudsman in February 2011 that police were investigating claims a teacher had accessed and downloaded child pornography, the report states.
In its submission, DEC referred to an earlier investigation in 2008 that revealed the same teacher had paid for membership of child pornography websites and downloaded images, including those of girls under the age of 15.
Despite a police investigation, no charges were laid and the man escaped with a reprimand.
The teacher continued to work, but was transferred from a role involving one-to-one contact with children to a classroom teaching position.
DEC officials said they did not inform the Ombudsman of the initial incident because of "an oversight", the report says.
Following an Ombudsman investigation, it was revealed DEC had not placed any restrictions on the teacher's duties, even in relation to excursions and one-on-one contact with children.
His use of departmental computers was also not restricted or monitored because it would have cost too much money to do so, DEC said.
The teacher has since been sacked, the ABC reports.
After "significant concerns" were raised over its handling of the 2008 complaint, DEC is now reviewing its policy towards the use of departmental computers, the ombudsman said.
DEC has also changed its procedures to ensure that risk assessments are conducted after investigations into serious matters.
Comment is being sought from DEC.
NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson said he was concerned that children had been put at risk.
"Obviously more needs to be done to make sure those circumstances aren't allowed to continue," Mr Robertson told reporters in Sydney.
From Larry Pickering .. THOMSON NOT THE END OF LABOR
Bill Shorten decided, via legislation, to make it harder for union crooks to escape Scott free with millions in members’ funds.
The Opposition wanted penalties of hundreds of thousands of dollars imposed but ex-AWU National Secretary, Shorten wanted a mere $6,600.
Shorten got his way and of course it sailed through the Senate.
Where the hell the extra $600 came from is a mystery... maybe he thought it would attract GST.
Perhaps Shorten was confident Thomson could handle the $6,600 on his ear. You see the little man with the wandering appendage knew it could only be civil charges instigated by FWA. But did he allow for 37 of them?
Shorten is rightly concerned for Thomson’s potential bankruptcy, making him ineligible to sit in Parliament.
Whatever happens it will not affect Gillard’s numbers.
Shorten isn’t concerned for the looming police criminal charges, he can string that little problem out for another 2 years, well past Gillard’s tenure of hard Labor.
Early in the new year the Federal Court will find Thomson guilty of many “misdeeds” multiplied by $6,600 and he also will be ordered to repay the misappropriated amounts.
Of course Thomson will not be able to afford such a substantial amount and the ALP cannot be seen to be continuing to pay his legal fees as an “independent”.
So, how will the brothel creeper Thomson and the ALP get around this one?
Well, it's easy really, you see the very unions he stole from will be only too pleased to assist with (a’hem) a low interest “loan”.
Now, that becomes a double whammy for poor union members. But they are only union members, they will understand, won't they?
Crumbs, how 36 people in every 100 support this government is beyond me.
Journalist Clennell has a blind spot .. he, and the media, failed to report on the Hamidur Rahman issue, a school child who apparently died from school neglect - ed
At the same time as he advises the Premier and his office on political matters, Mr Textor is being paid by clients in his role as a government relations consultant.
From Larry Pickering .. POLITICS OF DIVISION IS UNAUSTRALIAN
Gillard lurches daily between crises that would have seen off a male PM 18 months ago but Aussies are a sympathetic lot, particularly when it comes to women.
The unprecedented attack on Abbott is well orchestrated and has a sinister purpose. It’s no secret that Gillard’s foreign recruit McTernan is behind this politics of divison. This grubby little tabloid muckraker has been stealing our historic model of fairness in political debate.
Most fair-minded Australians have judged this Gillard Government to be an unmitigated disaster. Those who believe otherwise are hardcore deniers pointlessly sugar-coating an assembly line of stools.
Sexism is anathema to misogyny. Sexism is a part of life and I hope it never changes. Misogyny is a misnomer and used in error by Gillard against her opponents. How can any Aussie bloke hate women? I have never met anyone who hates women.
If Gillard and her crew of feminist nasties wish to denounce sexism then they should lose their high heels, makeup kits and sexy underwear.
Gillard uses expensive perfume, lipstick and rouge, she bares her shaven legs in high heels, dyes her hair red, displays a cleavage and flirts with sweaty blokes. Is that not sexist?
If a bloke wears dull suits, covers his legs and chest, doesn’t pluck his eyebrows or constantly reapply lipstick from a portable compact, is he really the sexist species?
So, why lipstick? Well, the colour red in all species indicates sexual arousal. Is Gillard trying to indicate something else?
High heels and bare shaven legs are not meant to be sexy? Who is Gillard trying to kid?
A perfumed cleavage is not intended to attract the male eyeline? Bullshit, it’s not!
Gillard’s women overtly display their sexuality in varying degrees of effectiveness. Even Christine Milne tries very hard. To not “try” would invite derision from both sexes.
What is more sexy than a well rounded Norman Lindsay bottom, a fastidiously manicured front bottom and a pair of voluptuous breasts?
So what’s this sexist nonsense all about? “Show us ya tits!” doesn’t have the same ring as, “Show us ya hairy chest”.
These “deplorable” claims of sexism are no more than the highlighting of the delicious difference between male and female.
Gillard’s description of me as a “sexist, misogynistic nutjob” is probably half right. Sexist, yes absolutely! Misogynist, definitely not! Nutjob, could be.
Abbott, Gillard claims, said women may be less capable. Abbott is right, in a physical sense. There is no area of physical ability a woman can even get close to competing with a man.
The jury is still out regarding other abilities. There is no female Grand Master in art or chess. You would think they would excel in fields of coiffure, culinary, millinery and at least be competitive in design, architecture, philosophy, physics, even quiz shows. But no, and female forays into politics have been less than stellar. Could we be wired differently? Heaven forbid!
Last time I beheld a naked woman, I noticed two yummy bumps on her chest and inviting wide hips that permitted childbirth. Women proudly display their femaleness and even play the role to advantage. But one word about it from us red-blooded blokes and we are met with howls of sexism.
The sexist card that McTernan plays on behalf of the ALP will fail. It has already failed, the politics of division is not the Australian way.
We love our women and our women love us and that’s the way we want it to stay.
So, Mr McTernan, take your dull grey, unintelligent, ugly pock-marked head back to the UK and stick your miniscule dick where it might be welcome.
Ooops, is that sexist?
Art with a Chainsaw