Monday, October 08, 2012

Mon 8th Oct Todays News

Happy birthday and many happy returns Nicole Rohde andMichael Mvp Pham. Born on the same day, across the years. Remember, birthdays are good for you. The more you have the longer you live.

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Labor prays to sleaze fatigue for salvation

Piers Akerman – Monday, October 08, 2012 (4:57am)

JULIA Gillard may be the nation’s first female Prime Minister but she must also take credit for taking political debate to its lowest in the history of the federal government.
She is ultimately responsible for the behaviour of Attorney General Nicola Roxon who has the least gravitas of anyone who has held that post in living memory.
Roxon has scandalized the position with her unwarranted and prejudicial forays into commentary on cases before the courts, not to mention her unwarranted and injudicious assistance for disgraced Speaker Peter Slipper last week.
She has demonstrated she is first and foremost a politician.
That she holds the Attorney General position is secondary. She might as well have Agriculture or Housing for all the respect she has shown the law.
She is of course not the only Cabinet minister to lack authority.
Few of Gillard’s selections show the skills necessary to meet the challenges of office.
Even fewer have demonstrated from the handling of their portfolios that they possess the capability to survive in the world beyond politics.
Second-raters. Third-raters. Little wonder they pander to those who believe they are owed or are “entitled” to a torrent of never-ending government benefits.
Gillard’s personal character flaws are so well known that is unnecessary to repeat them.
The lies, the deceit, the lack of respect for conventional social values are all a matter of record.
Perhaps that’s why the sordid evidence being produced in the Slipper sexual harassment case is so unsurprising.
After all, the public has been told to hold fire on Craig Thomson, and the arrest of the former national president of the ALP, Michael Williamson, last week barely rated a raised eyebrow.
Little wonder Labor and its anti-social media allies wanted to distract the media with a beat-up over broadcaster Alan Jones.
Look over there, at 2GB, not over here at the ALP where another former office bearer is being charged.
And so it goes.
The public must be wary of sleaze fatigue. It is Labor’s sole hope.
These Labor politicians and Labor appointees must not be ignored, as they hope they will be if their relenting propaganda continues.
They hope the public will weary of their faces and the references to their party affiliation - not that your ABC keeps them before the public.
Had they been Liberal or National Party the ABC and the Fairfax media would have been slavering.
As it is, Labor has endeavoured to run a case against the Liberal Party and Opposition leader Tony Abbott through a tenuous association with Jones, who is not a Liberal Party member, has never been a Liberal Party office holder, and has not been charged with any crime.
Get the distinction?
Good. Roxon doesn’t and she’s meant to uphold the law.
Gillard doesn’t and she’s the Prime Minister.
Good thing the public is awake to these nasty frauds and charlatans. Don’t get weary, don’t get tired before the next election.
Labor is praying you will be too exhausted by the tales of misdeeds and crime to bother voting them out.
Fortunately if this strategy works as well as Labor’s other plans - it must fail dismally.

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Gender issue a distraction

Miranda Devine – Sunday, October 07, 2012 (6:00am)

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IT’S a sad comment on our political discourse that Margie Abbott, a dignified and private woman, has been compelled publicly to defend her husband of 24 years against the relentless lie that he has a peculiar inability to relate to women.
For someone uncomfortable in the public eye, the Opposition Leader’s wife did a sterling job of humanising her husband, in large part because she appeared natural, independent and un-phony.
“Don’t ever try and tell me that my husband of 24 years and the father of three daughters is on some anti-women crusade. It is simply not true,” the childcare manager told a business lunch in Penrith on Friday as part of a 24-hour media blitz.
She pointed out that Tony Abbott has loving, respectful relationships with a number of strong women in his life, from his mother and three sisters to his wife and three daughters.
“We are ordinary people in an extraordinary situation ... raising children, paying a mortgage, balancing work and family, caring for older relatives,” she said.
But the carping criticism immediately began that her media appearances were simply “proof” that Abbott really did have a woman problem. Gotcha.
This recurring theme is a good insight into the gender double standards that operate in Australian political life at the moment.
Whole books have been written about Abbott’s supposed inability to connect with women. The Labor Party’s re-election strategy is centred around it and media seeking female audiences obsess over it.
Yet Julia Gillard has the exact same problem in reverse. If you read the polls the way Abbott’s numbers are being read, the prime minister has a serious man issue.
Men just don’t get her. She doesn’t get men. Supposedly.
In poll after poll on who would make the better prime minister, Tony Abbott wins hands down with men.
On satisfaction with the job he is doing, again, men favour Abbott over Gillard, by the same amount as women prefer Gillard.
In the latest Newspoll, measuring voter satisfaction with the leaders’ job performance from July to September, Abbott polls better with women, at 29 per cent, than Gillard does with men, at 27 per cent.
There have been times when Gillard has had a bigger problem with men than Abbott has with women, and vice versa, but for the most part the gender biases cancel each other out. Her deficit with men is balanced by his deficit with women.
In other words, these polls break down entirely along gender lines.
The prosaic truth is that slightly more women prefer Gillard and slightly more men prefer Abbott, which probably says more about the voters than it does about the leaders.
But it is only Abbott’s character that is called into question for failing to relate to the opposite sex.
Gillard is treated with kid gloves, perhaps for fear of somehow casting aspersions on her marital status. Female exceptionalism is becoming the norm.
In any case, the gender narrative is a meaningless diversion from the fact that, when it comes to voting intentions, both females and males continue overwhelmingly to favour the opposition which Abbott leads.
In the past three months of Newspoll, the Coalition had 48 per cent of men and 43 per cent of women while female-headed Labor had 31 per cent of men and 34 per cent of women. So, really, who has the woman problem? And the man problem. It’s a people problem.
“She has a problem all round,” says one senior Liberal party insider who pays close attention to the polls.
Internal polling of Abbott’s position where it counts, in outer urban marginal seats, is no different with women than with men.
In fact, in many marginal seats, such as those in western Sydney where voters used to be dubbed Howard’s battlers, women appreciate “blokey blokes” like Abbott so much they marry them.
Marginal seats are a different country to the inner-urban milieu of the chattering classes who dominate the public conversation.
“Two separate conversations are going on,” says the Liberal poll tracker. “A lot of the commentary that consumes the beltway crowd [political junkies] is lost on western Sydney where the community is worried about their jobs, their future, their cost of living.
“There is a section of the professional middle class who have some issues [with Abbott] but they’re not the target audience.”
These voters generally live in safe Liberal seats - the so-called doctors’ wives crowd - and typically vote Green or independent anyway.
Their world view is over-represented in the media, particularly on the ABC, on shows like Q&A, which conduct weekly hate-fests on Abbott.
The inordinate national attention paid to an insensitive remark made by Sydney radio host Alan Jones over the past week is an example of the weirdly irrelevant preoccupations of this class.
But it’s quite some feat that a party full of bovver boys like Anthony Albanese, Wayne Swan, Doug Cameron and Stephen “I’ll make you wear red underpants on your head” Conroy has managed to parade a gentler face simply because it has a leader who happens to be female.
devinemiranda@hotmail.com 

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HEIGHTY WHITEY

Tim Blair – Monday, October 08, 2012 (6:00pm)

The worst excuse ever offered for a lame Presidential debating performance:



Slate’s Brian Palmer claims Gore was merely joking, but that’s not how it seems from the video. Anyway, Obama has been higher than Denver many times previously. He’s absolutely acclimated to altitude, Al. Dan Spencer notes that Obama’s people are accusing a different lofty entity: 
It is peculiar to see the Obama campaign blaming John Kerry for Romney cleaning Obama’s debate clock, especially in light of the fact the President’s deputy campaign manager and sometimes spokesperson, Stephanie Cutter, was communications director for Kerry’s failed presidential campaign when it melted down in 2004. 
The second debate takes place on October 16 in Hempstead, New York. For the record, Hempstead – a name the President might enjoy – is only 15 metres above sea level.

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WARMING CAUSES WARBLING

Tim Blair – Monday, October 08, 2012 (3:51pm)

Britain’s latest climate change horror
Exotic birds like the hoopoe, fantailed warbler and great reed warbler may arrive in the future as temperatures rise further, according to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. 
Unlike the tragic sky poley, at least these warming-caused interlopers can maintain altitude. Enric Ruiz Geli blames architects
“Buildings and cities are the number one cause of global warming,” Geli told a packed room of delegates, which included architects from over 60 different countries. “We are the designers of buildings; we are the designers of cities; therefore we are the number one cause of global warming.” 
By that logic, then, architect and Doctor of Urbanism Elizabeth Farrelly is destroying our planet and should probably be confined. Despite her efforts, however, Sydney remains oddly cold.

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SETTLE IT ON THE TRACK

Tim Blair – Monday, October 08, 2012 (3:43pm)

Mercedes-Benz’s opportunistic foray into Australia’s culture wars comes at a fascinating time, with Mercedes next year joining the V8 Supercar series. Meanwhile, ex-academic and triple Bathurst attendee Imre Salusinszky catches up trackside with some former students:

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SAME WASTE, DIFFERENT PLACE

Tim Blair – Monday, October 08, 2012 (3:14pm)

Under the government’s arbitrary and pointless carbon tax, it matters less how much garbage you generate than where you put it
Thousands of tonnes of waste are being diverted from large and efficient landfill sites because of the Gillard government’s carbon tax, which is leading to more harmful emissions entering the atmosphere.
Landfill operators in Brisbane, Hobart and Adelaide say they are losing clients to smaller rivals who are exempt from the tax but have less efficient processing techniques.
Under the commonwealth’s carbon tax regime, landfills that generate more than 25,000 tonnes of carbon emissions a year are covered by the scheme, while those that generate less are not. 
One Adelaide-based landfill operator claims to have lost contracts worth $500,000 a year. This is saving the earth somehow.

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WHAT THE HELL IS THIS

Tim Blair – Monday, October 08, 2012 (2:57pm)

Ducks meet water for the first time:


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DECADE OF DISORGANISATION

Tim Blair – Monday, October 08, 2012 (2:50pm)

Bad news for a lazy lodger
South Australian Greens MP Tammy Franks has been found guilty of failing to lodge tax returns for 10 years, with a magistrate describing her as a “disorganised” person and an unimpressive witness.
The Adelaide Magistrates Court today rejected the argument put by the 43-year-old member of the state’s upper house that she was incapable of lodging tax returns from 2001 to 2010 by June last year due to the breakdown of her marriage.
Ms Franks originally pleaded guilty to 10 counts of failing to furnish taxation approved forms, but changed her plea in March.
She will be able to keep her seat in parliament, despite the convictions. 
Tammy is up for sentencing on Friday.
UPDATE. “How interesting,” comments Colonel of Truth, “that the ABC finds it necessary to give the political affiliation of one offending upper house MP but not another." Quite so:

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Essential Media: Labor 47 to 53

Andrew BoltOCTOBER082012(5:23pm)

No change in this week’s Essential Media poll: Labor 47 to the Coalition’s 53, 2PP.

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Another boat

Andrew BoltOCTOBER082012(12:30pm)


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Playing politics: Mercedes-Benz caught out exploiting the Jones fuss

Andrew BoltOCTOBER082012(11:36am)

How despicable is Mercedes-Benz?
Days before Alan Jones made his nasty crack at the Prime Minister’s father, Mercedes-Benz decided to cancel its advertising contract with Jones’ station:
Mumbrella has learned that the Mercedes Benz Sydney dealer group gave a month’s notice of ending their advertising arrangement, as per the terms of its contract with 2GB on September 19 – three days before Jones made his offensive comments
Jones on 2GB this morning said Mercedes-Benz actually made that decision even earlier - two weeks before his comment:
But after Jones’ made the remark for which he’s apologised, Mercedes-Benz gave the impression it had actually made that decision from high principle:
The car company’s corporate communications manager, David McCarthy, says Mercedes-Benz has demanded Jones return the black 2012 S-Class given to him as part of his sponsorship deal.
Advertisement

“We want the car back, the deal is cancelled, it is over,” Mr McCarthy told News Limited.

Mercedes-Benz has given Jones until October 31 to return the vehicle, Mr McCarthy said.
And:

Mercedes-Benz Australia spokesman David McCarthy said the decision to withdraw all advertising was “made with immediate effect due to the inappropriate remarks made by by Alan Jones"…
The message we want to send was that we don’t accept the comments made by Jones,” said Mr McCarthy. “This decision is for all our advertising as well as that of our dealer network.”
MACQUARIE Radio Network’s managing director Robert Loewenthal ... said the car was never provided to Mr Jones as part of any “sponsorship deal”. He said the car was given to the radio station and it was the radio station who provided it to Mr Jones.
Joy 94.9, when it talks politics, does so from a position on the far Left. McCarthy himself concedes:
No doubt McCarthy is exercising a professional judgment. But I would like to know to what extent that judgment could be clouded or influenced by his political views.
What Mercedes-Benz has done by its shameless posturing is to lend credence to an internet campaign to censor a man not so much for one tasteless comment made at a dinner (and apologised for) but for his anti-Labor political views. Labor and its allies want Jones neutered as a political force, it seems to me.
I don’t say that is McCarthy’s aim. But that is its effect.

For the Mercedes Benz company to question anybody’s morals represents the height of chutzpah.
In 1944, almost half of Daimler Benz’s 63,610 employees were civilian forced labourers, prisoners of war or Nazi concentration camp detainees. (Source: Thecompany itself)
I suggest Australians who value plain dealing and free speech boycott Mercedes-Benz. If you agree, please let them know of your stand.
UPDATE
Reader Drw: 
I agree. I am in a position to buy a Mercedes. Recently, my wife got a BMW. I will never consider buying a Merc now. Honesty in all things MB. If you can dissemble about this, how can I trust a thing you say about your product?
Reader TdeF:
You make a good point. There are wealthy suburbs of Melbourne where you will never see a German car. German manufacturers have worked hard to rid themselves of their terrible war time image and in one stupid move dabbling in extreme left politics, have done the company a real disservice. Why on earth their ‘communications manager’ would trash their conservative image for a GetUP agenda is not commercially understandable.
(UPDATE: My wife complained that an update in which I mentioned Mercedes-Benz recall notices was a bit mean, and I should not be tempted to descend to the company’s depths. So I’ve removed it.) 

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On 2GB

Andrew BoltOCTOBER082012(11:31am)

On with Steve Price from 8pm: listen live here.
Meanwhile, we keep chipping away at Insiders, despite its decade-long head start and media support:
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(Five-city figures only.)

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Column - The shame is the mother’s, not the court’s

Andrew BoltOCTOBER082012(8:29am)

THE scenes of police in Queensland last week dragging four screaming girls off to Italy were a disgrace.
But, wrong, they did not shame the Family Court, which ordered the sisters returned to where they’d lived with their Italian father.
They shamed instead their Australian mother, who could not have staged a drama more distressing to her children.

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Who’s stretching the truth now?

Andrew BoltOCTOBER082012(7:58am)

If the Sydney Morning Herald is so desperate to accuse Tony Abbott of exaggerating, it may do well not to exaggerate itself:
ONE hundred days after the government introduced a carbon price, power bill increases are the one visible impact.

The other dire predictions, from Senator Barnaby Joyce’s $100 roasts to the assertion by the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, that the South Australian steel town of Whyalla would be ‘’wiped off the map’’, are stubbornly refusing to come true.
For a start, it is false to say higher power bills is the “one visible impact”. Another “visible impact” is on jobs: 
AUSTRALIA’S two biggest coalminers yesterday shed 900 jobs from operations in Queensland and NSW, provoking industry warnings that the resources sector is not a “bottomless pit” to be plundered for taxes… BHP Billiton and Xstrata yesterday blamed the 900 job cuts on rising mining costs, the carbon tax, depressed commodity prices and the high Australian dollar.
This plant is currently only marginally profitable. The problem with Julia Gillard’s carbon tax is that it will badly damage the profitability of this plant, it will threaten its long term viability and obviously it will damage the job prospects of the nearly 4,000 people who are directly or indirectly dependent upon this plant.

As the Australian Workers Union rightly pointed out a week or so back, Whyalla will be wiped off the map by Julia Gillard’s carbon tax. 

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No need to speak to make the case against Obama



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Column - Labor shamed by politics of smear

Andrew BoltOCTOBER082012(7:45am)

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THERE is plenty to criticise Tony Abbott for without stooping to this astonishing new politics of smear.
For instance, I think the Opposition Leader’s parental leave scheme is recklessly generous, and his global warming policy will simply waste almost $1 billion a year.
Others may criticise Abbott for being, say, too slow to detail big spending cuts.
On such matters reasonable people can have a reasonable debate about what is best for the country.
But for a year we have seen a campaign of criticism of Abbott that is poisonously different.
It is the politics of smear.

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Let my people grow

Andrew BoltOCTOBER082012(7:29am)

Strong local leaders have worked hard to bring economic development to indigenous communities where welfare has turned residents into perpetual mendicants reliant on the state. Time and again, native title groups have spent years getting an agreement with a resource company over the line, negotiating income streams that might shift indigenous people from the margins to the centre of regional economic development in return for land access, only for a ragtag team of ‘wilderness’ campaigners to turn up with an entourage of disaffected Aboriginal protesters to stop development at the eleventh hour.

While the federal Labor government likes to feign shock at the more flaky antics of its coalition partner, Aboriginal people have known for years that the Greens are no good in bed. Their notions of economic development in remote Australia, which chiefly involve employing Aboriginal people as wilderness caretakers, are inspired by children’s books and anarchist tracts. As I’ve been saying for 20 years, this concept of wilderness is nothing but a new incarnation of terra nullius. With luck, the NT election represents a tipping point. The time of dismissing Aboriginal aspirations for economic development is over.
(Via Catallaxy Files.) 

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Fourth desal plant mothballed. Billions more wasted

Andrew BoltOCTOBER082012(7:18am)

Expensive desalination plants in Queensland, NSW and Victoria have all been mothballed without producing a drop of water. All were built in preference to much cheaper dams, in part because of green bans and in part because warming preachers claimed the rains would not return.
Add a fourth desalination plant:

Federal Labor initially provided $100m for a 50 gigalitre plant, then announced an extra $228m to double its size…
Under the original deal for extra funding, South Australia was to “reduce reliance” on the Murray by drawing less water from the river once the 100GL plant was fully operational, expected in December. The decision saw the cost blow out from $500m for the smaller option to $2.2bn, when pipe work was included, for the larger plant, with water bills for consumers trebling since 2008 to pay for it.
Five desal plants have been built in Australia. Only Perth’s is used.

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If Labor means what it says, Slipper must go

Andrew BoltOCTOBER082012(7:07am)

“The modern Liberal Party ... says anything goes, engages in personal abuse day in and day out, (and) is particularly strong in its abuse against women,” [Leader of the House Anthony] Albanese said.
In evidence before Justice Steven Rares in the Federal Court, counsel for James Ashby (Slipper’s accuser and former aide) read aloud text messages sent by Slipper to Ashby which had listeners stunned. 

Describing female genitalia, Slipper texted: “They look like mussel removed from its shell. Look at the bottle of mussel meat.”
Question: will Labor today call for Slipper to quit as Speaker? Or is it really as monstrously hypocritical as it seems? 

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Why did the AWU back a tax its members hate?

Andrew BoltOCTOBER082012(7:02am)

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THE Australian Workers Union admitted it “didn’t want the carbon tax” in a letter sent to its members the day after the scheme started, despite publicly endorsing it as long as not one job was lost.

The letter reveals that the AWU leadership - which has been among Julia Gillard’s strongest backers - faced considerable unrest from its membership over the introduction of the carbon tax.
The letter has emerged as The Australian can also reveal that Queensland Alumina Limited’s Gladstone refinery has warned its staff of imminent job cuts to help cope with “difficult market conditions due to a high exchange rate, higher costs of production, low metals prices and new taxes"…
The AWU letter, dated July 2 this year, the day after the government’s clean energy package began operating, was signed by Victorian branch secretary Cesar Melhem.
“We didn’t want the carbon tax, and we made that very well known,” Mr Melhem said. “When it became obvious it was going to happen whether we liked it or not, we lobbied hard and won special concessions for industries - including aluminium, steel, glass and cement - with the aim of protecting our members’ job security.”

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Swan demands credit for trouble

Andrew BoltOCTOBER082012(6:44am)



THE Reserve Bank’s decision to cut its official interest rate is not a cause for celebration.

The enthusiasm with which Wayne Swan rushed to not simply applaud the cut but to claim ownership of it served to announce only his utter, and utterly inane, unknowingness…
He thinks that the rate cut is the RBA’s way of sticking a gold star on his Treasurer’s exercise book. Well done, young Wayne! Well, has young Wayne noticed that lots of countries have even lower official interest rates. The US, Japan, Britain, Europe are all at or all but at zero.

Does our tyro Treasurer think they’ve out-gold-starred him?

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Labor wouldn’t do half this if the media sang its praises instead

Andrew BoltOCTOBER082012(6:31am)

This vindictive and censorious government plans even tougher laws to restrict free speech, increase government controls over media bosses and punish Labor critics:

Rather than adopt the Finkelstein inquiry’s recommendation for a super-regulator over the media, it is understood the government wants to enhance the authority of the Australian Press Council to monitor and enforce higher industry standards.
The government is considering requiring media companies to be members of the council and to abide by its standards of practice in return for gaining protection under, for example, shield laws that safeguard journalists from having to reveal their sources or information…
Under laws first adopted in the 80s, organisations can own two out of three media platforms servicing the one marketplace - print, radio and free-to-air TV - provided they also meet other market and audience share rules.
Pay TV - effectively Foxtel - will be added to the third category covering television. This will restrict a company from owning newspapers, radio and a free-to-air TV station or Foxtel in the same marketplace.
News Limited is in the process of lifting its stake in Foxtel from 25 per cent to 50 per cent through the takeover of James Packer’s Consolidated Media…
To determine applications for mergers and acquisitions of media companies, the government is looking to adopt a “public interest test” rather than a “fit and proper person test” in line with the Convergence Review’s recommendation. The test would consider the impact on competition and diversity and also the likely influence of media organisations as a result of a merger or acquisition.

The public interest test has been viewed by sections of the media industry as a direct response to the influence on Australian media of billionaire businesswoman Gina Rinehart and News Limited chairman Rupert Murdoch. Mrs Rinehart, who has been sharply criticised by the Treasurer, owns 14.9 per cent of Fairfax and 10 per cent of Network Ten.

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Labor torn over its smear campaign. Gillard’s verdict?

Andrew BoltOCTOBER082012(6:18am)

The good:
...former attorney-general Robert McClelland ...  told the Australian Christian Lobby conference he had found the personal vilification that had come into parliamentary and public debate ‘’more than unseemly. It is un-Australian.’’ He said people should play the ball and not the man, and lashed out at political advisers who encouraged this.
The less bad:
Foreign Minister Bob Carr said that ‘’any observations made by the Labor team about the threatening stance his policies represent to the status of women in Australia [have] obviously been made.
‘’But I think we move on ...”
The ugly:
Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said ‘’good on Margie Abbott - she obviously loves her husband’’, but made it clear she was not going to be deterred from attacking Mr Abbott over the women’s issue.

Mr Abbott was running for PM, not husband of the year or father of the year. ‘’It’s fair game for me, or any other senior minister … to hold him to account for his public behaviour and his public comments,’’ she told the ABC, saying he turned his back on her when she spoke in Parliament. ‘’We don’t like each other,’’ she said.

She described the Liberals’ tag of ‘’handbag hit squad’’ for the senior Labor women who have been attacking Mr Abbott as ‘’a bit of reverse sexism’’.
The question is for the Prime Minister. Will Julia Gillard order a halt to this campaign of personal destruction?
This fraught context can only go so far in explaining the endless distortions and smears that have become the daily language of the federal Treasurer, Wayne Swan…

Earlier this year I described Anthony Albanese, another member of cabinet and the leader of government business in the House, as someone who had made the gutter his permanent address… But Swan has found somewhere lower to dwell. He has found the sewer.

It was entirely predictable that of the 102 Labor members of Federal Parliament, the two who sought to exploit the death of John Gillard for political advantage were Albanese and Swan. The Member for Gutter and the Member for Sewer sought to attach blame to Abbott for a distasteful remark made by the broadcaster Alan Jones about John Gillard’s death. Abbott had encouraged the ugly tone, they said, with not a shred of irony…
These two have been alleging for months that Abbott has a personal problem with women, a scurrilous line that has no basis in fact and is overwhelmed by contrary evidence, starting with his wife and his three grown daughters who are proud of their father..

The nastiness coming from the top of the federal government reflects the hollow moral core of a government that operates as a front for the unions and depends on the support of the moral Frankenstein of Australian politics, Craig Thomson...

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Cyber sabotage to silence Jones is not a protest but a threat

Andrew BoltOCTOBER082012(5:57am)

It is one thing to try to shame companies out of advertising on Alan Jones’ show, but this is very different:
Jones’ employer, the Macquarie Radio Network, has taken the unprecedented step of indefinitely suspending all advertising on his 2GB breakfast show after a week of sustained pressure following his comments about the death of Julia Gillard’s father.

The show lost more than 70 sponsors and advertisers and the suspension will likely cost the network more than $80,000 a day in lost revenue. MRN executive chairman Russell Tate said ... the station’s clients had been inundated with correspondence from protesters. ‘’One client received 6000 emails in a day,’’ he said. ‘’It’s causing a significant interruption in our clients’ businesses, so we’ve called time-out.’’
 
Jones’ comment was cruel, but I’ve heard far worse from some of his critics on, say, the ABC. Right now, for instance, the ABC’s Hamster Wheel is doing a series of mock obituaries for conservatives still living, such as Rupert Murdoch. Imagine the Left’s outrage if Jones broadcast an obituary on Gillard.
What’s made Jones a target is not his cruelty but his politics. That’s why there’s a campaign not just to punish him but to drive him off air. It is way, way out of proportion to his sin.
What’s more, that campaign is not simply to protest to advertisers. Drowning their inboxes with emails is actually a form of cyber sabotage by a small and unrepresentative group of activists, not consumers. The kind of people who bombarded Mercedes-Benz, for instance, are about the least likely to ever buy its cars.
This is not a grass roots protest for nicer manners. It is a vindictive campaign of sabotage to censor an enemy of the Left. 
As a result of Woolworths’ decision, supermarket shopping has been politicised. By attempting to appease an intangible online community of indeterminate size, Woolworths has alienated a measurable chunk of middle Australians with spending power and known shopping preferences.

Labor too, for better or worse, appears to have written off the Jones community. Other prime ministers have felt obliged to court Jones’s listeners. Not so this government, which is not content with merely ignoring them, it has rubbed it in their faces.
The media, too, appears to have divorced itself from Jones and his audience. Journalists and editors once took great care not to become detached from the concerns of the man and woman in the street. Today, large sections of the population see the media as the enemy, and regard journalists as propagandists for the powerful against the weak. This will not greatly trouble the ABC, although it should, if it makes any pretence to be the national broadcaster.

For commercial media, however, the breakdown of trust is poison for which they continue to pay dearly.

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McClelland whacks Gillard advisers over smear campaign

Andrew BoltOCTOBER072012(6:36pm)

Former Attorney-General Robert McClelland has had enough of Labor’s smear campaign - and hints it’s the work of Scottish media adviser John McTernan: 

Mr McClelland addressed the national conference of the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) in Canberra today following Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s decision not to attend…
“It is un-Australian.”
Mr McClelland said people should “play the ball and not the man”.
“I might say to some of those (political) advisers who draft what they regard as very clever lines that it is entirely counterproductive and politically naive,” he said…

“You can always get a line by vilifying someone, abusing someone, attacking an organisation but at the end of the day you’re going to be judged on what you’ve achieved,” he said.
(Thanks to readers Peter and Jeff,) 

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James Ashby feared 'assassination' over claims against Peter Slipper



JAMES Ashby, the staffer who claims Peter Slipper sexually harassed him, feared he was under threat of "assassination" after making his lurid claims.
A 272-page compendium of text messages sent to and from Mr Slipper's staffer James Ashby who is suing him for sexual harassment reveals the Speaker bombarded him with text messages before and after he joined his office.

It also reveals Ashby telling a friend as he prepared for the media storm to erupt that his life was at risk.

"It's been a day from hell. I think it all came crashing down on me when the lawyers said they would like me to have 24 hour security with me to avoid death," Mr Ashby said.

"I broke down and had a bit of a teary moment with the journos today. The assassination remark hit a raw nerve."

The text messages are packed with sexual innuendo previously revealed in court including discussions of Ashby's sex life, whether he had taken a gay lover's "virtual hymen" and comparisons between female genitals and jars of shell less mussels.
Mr Slipper also brags about suspending Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella from Parliament on the day of the carbon tax vote in private texts claiming she "should have behaved herself."

Asked if Ms Mirabella was an "ignorant botch (sic)", a reference to the Liberal MP being a "bitch"", Mr Slipper replies: " Bright though she loses the plot!"

"Perhaps as you say "an ignorant botch," Mr Slipper concludes.

The Speaker also reveals he wept when "Her Majesty" the Queen spoke after meeting her in Australia and joked he would like to become "Earl Slipper of Queensland!"

"HM about to arrive," he texts to Mr Ashby on October 21, 2011.

"I cried when HM spoke. Am now a bubbling mess having met both HM and HRH," he writes in another.

"Sadly, not yet Earl Slipper of Queensland!!.

"Even got to kiss the PM," he writes.

The text messages were compiled by Mr Ashby's lawyers as a rebuttal of the idea that Mr Ashby, who is openly gay, was a political plant designed to tempt Mr Slipper, who is married. During one instance Mr Ashby tells his friend questions about his sex life are not appropriate.

Mr Ashby is also revealed to be in contact with other political figures including Queensland Energy Minister Mark McArdle.

The texts also reveal that Mr Ashby's legal team instructed spin doctor Anthony McClellan to demand Mr Ashby and another staffer cut off all contact with News Ltd journalist Steve Lewis after they were engaged as lawyers.

The Gillard government has suggested News Ltd and Mr Ashby conspired to damage Mr Slipper but the texts suggest Mr McClellan blocked Lewis' attempts to contact the pair again.
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Live online chat with Julia Gillard turns nasty



PRIME Minister Julia Gillard was today attacked by foul-mouthed critics who hijacked an online question and answer session to post abusive rants, including an offensive message about her recently deceased father.
The offensive comments arose during a live education discussion held this afternoon on the PM's official Facebook page.
Media adviser John McTernan said it was moderated by staff - however many abusive messages were incredibly still visible on the page up to four hours later, as were other offensive comments posted as far back as Friday.
''The Prime Minister's Facebook site is moderated, but when comments are posted you have to do it after the fact, and when there's a lot of comments it takes time to moderate them out,'' Mr McTernan said.
''We do take things off which are offensive. Anything that's offensive that's been posted on there will be moderated out, but we don't have the capacity - with Facebook you can't filter comments before they're posted, that's all.''
Gillard
Prime Minister Julia Gillard during the live chat today.
Mr McTernan would not say how many people moderated the PM's Facebook page, which has more than 135,000 fans, or if there were any official guidelines for the maximum amount of time offensive posts should remain visible.
Most of the offensive comments were too foul to be reported.
One commenter, registered as ''Matthew Van Den Bos'' of Perth, even made reference to Ms Gillard's recently deceased father John Gillard, writing: ''How's your dad?''
Other commenters called Ms Gillard ''the worst Prime Minister ever'', and made other vile remarks.
Ms Gillard drew even more abuse after the Q&A session when she posted a thank you note to those who had participated.
A Friday post by Ms Gillard's Facebook page asking for fans' memories of their favourite school teacher was also bombarded by trolls abusing the Prime Minister.
Some of the offensive comments appeared to have been removed from the page after inquiries by News Ltd.

CC asks "Wow - I've really cracked the big time - being called a troll by John McTernan in a news limited article. Wow! considering I was neither rude nor offensive, nor did I state anything untruthful, do I have case for being defamed?"
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Romney to deliver foreign policy speech amid big questions on Libya, global economy



Mitt Romney in a major speech Monday will call for a change of course in U.S. foreign policy -- saying the recent, deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya is part of a “profound upheaval” and that “hope is not a strategy.” 
The speech will mark one of Romney’s final opportunities before Election Day to show his potential as a world leader -- amid political turmoil in the Middle East. 
“The attacks on America last month should not be seen as random acts. They are expressions of a larger struggle that is playing out across the broader Middle East -- a region that is now in the midst of the most profound upheaval in a century,” Romney will say, according to speech experts provided by the Republican presidential nominee’s campaign. 
“I know the president hopes for a safer, freer, and a more prosperous Middle East allied with the United States. I share this hope,” Romney continues. “But hope is not a strategy. We cannot support our friends and defeat our enemies in the Middle East when our words are not backed up by deeds.” 
Romney’s success on foreign policy has thus far had mixed reviews. He has drawn widespread praise from conservatives and fellow Republicans for his full support of Israel’s quest to stop Iran from achieving nuclear capability.  
 However, critics argue Romney made some missteps during his overseas trip this summer. He questioned whether England had enough security in place for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. Then in Israel, he declared Jerusalem the capital of the Jewish state, which U.S. administrations have refused to accept for decades given Palestinian claims to the ancient city. 
More recently, Romney was highly critical of the Obama administration in the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Egypt and the ensuing Sept. 11 terror attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya, in which Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed. 
Romney has continued his criticism and calls for more information from the administration about the facts surrounding the attacks, saying as recently as Thursday the Libya incident was a “tragic failure.” 
Romney will deliver his speech Monday morning at the Virginia Military Institute, in Lexington, Va. The Romney campaign suggested last week that Romney will continue to tell Americans that if elected, he would make national defense a top priority and that he opposes the “devastating defense cuts” on which Obama has insisted. 
“He will offer a stark contrast between his vision for a strong foreign policy and the failed record of President Obama,” the campaign said. 
The speech also comes before the two remaining presidential debates that will focus in part on foreign policy. Obama has consistently outscored Romney in polls asking about national security leadership, but the administration is struggling to deal with the aftermath of the attack in Libya. 
After originally saying it was a “spontaneous” assault sparked by outrage over an anti-Islamic video trailer, the administration later acknowledged the assault was a pre-planned terror attack. 
“The attack on our consulate … was likely the work of the same forces that attacked our homeland on Sept. 11, 2001,” Romney is expected to say Monday. “This latest assault cannot be blamed on a reprehensible video insulting Islam, despite the administration’s attempts to convince us of that for so long.  … These attacks were the deliberate work of terrorists who use violence to impose their dark ideology on others.”
 The FBI is investigating and the State Department is conducting its own internal probe. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said, “No one wants to determine what happened that night in Benghazi more than the president and I do." 
But the Republican-led House Committee on Oversight and Government Affairs is going ahead with its own investigation. The committee hearings are scheduled to begin Wednesday. Fox News confirmed Saturday the committee has subpoenaed Utah Army National Guard Green Beret Lt. Col. Andy Wood, who led a 16-member Special Forces site security team responsible for protecting U.S. personnel at the consulate. 
In addition to offering a plan to deal with Libya and reported terrorists in that country, Romney also is expected to outline his specific plans to deal with problems in Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria and Israel. “I believe that if America does not lead, others will—others who do not share our interests and our values—and the world will grow darker, for our friends and for us,” he is expected to say.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Venezuela loses election

President Hugo Chavez put to rest any doubts about his masterful political touch in winning a third consecutive six-year term after a bitterly fought race against a youthful rival who has galvanized Venezuela's opposition.
The state governor who lost Sunday's presidential vote, Henrique Capriles, had accused the flamboyant incumbent of unfairly leveraging to his advantage Venezuela's oil wealth as well as his near total control of state institutions.
Capriles also narrowed Chavez's margin of victory to his smallest yet in a presidential contest. This time, the former army paratroop commander who led a failed 1992 coup won 54 percent of the vote against 45 percent for Capriles. In 2006, Chavez's margin of victory was 27 points.
Nevertheless, the populace endorsed once again Chavez's stated aim of converting Venezuela into a socialist state.
Capriles said in his concession speech that he rejects the idea of two Venezuelas divided by ideology and class.
"I will continue working to build one country," said the wiry, 40-year-old grandson of Holocaust survivors who unified and energized the opposition while barnstorming across the oil-exporting nation.
Capriles had vowed to seriously address violent crime that has spun out of control, streamline a patronage-bloated bureaucracy and end rampant corruption, but his promises proved inadequate against Chavez's charisma, well-oiled political machine and legacy of putting Venezuela's poor first with generous social welfare programs.
Nevertheless, Chavez only got 135,000 more votes this time around than he did six years ago, while the opposition boosted its tally by 1.85 million. Chavez appeared to acknowledge the opposition's growing clout.
"I extend from here my recognition of all who voted against us, recognition of their democratic weight," he told thousands of cheering supporters from the balcony of the Miraflores presidential palace.
Tensions were high Sunday night as announcement of the results were delayed.
Finally, fireworks exploded over downtown Caracas amid a cacophony of horn-honking by elated Chavez supporters waving flags and jumping for joy outside the presidential palace.
Chavez will now have a freer hand to push for an even bigger state role in the economy, as he pledged during the campaign, and to continue populist programs. He's also likely to further limit dissent and deepen friendships with U.S. rivals.
A Capriles victory would have brought a radical foreign policy shift including a halt to preferential oil deals with allies such as Cuba, along with a loosening of state economic controls and an increase in private investment.
President Raul Castro of Cuba, which could have been badly hurt by a Chavez loss, was among Latin American leaders sending warm congratulations to the former paratrooper on his victory after nearly 14 years in office.
"I can't describe the relief and happiness I feel right now," said Edgar Gonzalez, a 38-year-old construction worker.
He ran through crowds of Chavez supporters packing the streets around the presidential palace wearing a Venezuelan flag as a cape and yelling: "Oh, no! Chavez won't go!"
"The revolution will continue, thanks to God and the people of this great country," said Gonzalez.
Voter turnout was an impressive 81 percent, compared to 75 percent in 2006. Chavez paid close attention to his military-like get-out-the-vote organization at the grass roots, stressing its importance at campaign rallies. The opposition said he unfairly plowed millions in state funds into the effort.
Chavez spent heavily in the months before the vote, building public housing and bankrolling expanded social programs.
"I think he just cranked up the patronage machine and unleashed a spending orgy," said Michael Shifter, president of the Washington-based Inter-American Dialogue think tank.
But Shifter also didn't deny the affinity and gratefulness Venezuela's poor feel for Chavez. "Despite his illness, I still think he retains a strong emotional connection with a lot of Venezuelans that I think were not prepared to vote against him."
Chavez spoke little during the campaign about his fight with cancer, which since June 2011 has included surgery to remove tumors from his pelvic region as well as chemotherapy and radiation treatment. He has said his most recent tests showed no sign of illness.
Capriles told supporters not to feel defeated.
"We have planted many seeds across Venezuela and I know that these seeds are going to produce many trees," he told them at his campaign headquarters.
Despite winning a February primary that unified the opposition, Capriles was unable to sufficiently erode Chavez's firm base of loyal support.
One pro-Chavez voter, private bodyguard Carlos Julio Silva, said that whatever his faults, Chavez deserved to win for spreading the nation's oil wealth to the poor with free medical care, public housing and other government programs. The country has the world's largest proven oil reserves.
"There is corruption, there's plenty of bureaucracy, but the people have never had a leader who cared about this country," Silva said after voting for Chavez in the Caracas slum of Petare.
At many polling places, voters began lining up hours before polls opened at dawn, some snaking for blocks in the baking Caribbean sun. Some shaded themselves with umbrellas. Vendors grilled meat and some people drank beer.
Chavez's critics accused the president of inflaming divisions by labeling his opponents "fascists," `'Yankees" and "neo-Nazis," and it's likely hard for many of his opponents to stomach another six years of the loquacious and conflictive leader.
Some said before the vote that they'd consider leaving the country if Chavez won.
Gino Caso, an auto mechanic, said Chavez is power-hungry and out of touch with problems such as crime. He said his son had been robbed, as had neighboring shops.
"I don't know what planet he lives on," Caso said, gesturing with hands blackened with grease. "He wants to be like Fidel Castro -- end up with everything, take control of the country."

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More questions should have been asked on bank notes scandal: Glenn Stevens



RESERVE Bank governor Glenn Stevens says in hindsight the RBA should have applied greater scrutiny to two subsidiaries now embroiled in a foreign bribery scandal.
But Mr Stevens and former deputy governor Ric Battellino have strenuously denied they were derelict in their duties in their handling of corruption allegations against Note Printing Australia and Securency in relation to foreign banknote printing contracts.
More saliently, questions should have been asked about the reserve bank's support for global warming mythology - ed



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