Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wed 10th Oct Todays News

Happy birthday and many happy returns Timothy Ling,Kimmy Do and Sarina Jane Kowalin. Born on the same day, across the years. Remember, birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.


Gillard loses Slipper, Labor still stinks

Piers Akerman – Tuesday, October 09, 2012 (11:30pm)

JULIA Gillard and her dysfunctional minority government embraced Peter Slipper, the most grotesque figure to sit in the Speaker’s chair in the history of the Australian federation, when he took office last November.
Yesterday, she demonstrated her lack of principles as she led the fight against Opposition leader Tony Abbott’s no confidence motion.
She trashed the Parliament and showed utter contempt for the standards of decency most Australians aspire to.
She defended the indefensible.
Slipper, who had been revealed through a string of text messages to be a low life, resigned his position less than four hours later.
He had shown himself to be the sort of low life that mature men walk away from in a pub. The sort of low life who makes embarrassingly sleazy jokes about women’s genitalia in the hope of making a big fellow of himself.
A real misogynist. But Gillard defended him passionately.
She didn’t want to know about her handpicked man and she attempted to deflect the debate with a spurious attack on Abbott using Labor’s laboured claims that he has some mythical problem with women.
Slipper was to show that he knew, even if Gillard didn’t, when a line had been crossed.
That is the same line Gillard claimed to have recognized when notorious credit card user Craig Thomson was sent to the cross benches long after he had offered to place himself in exile.
If our first female Prime Minister was not offended by Slipper’s remarks and if she didn’t feel he is unfit to hold parliament to the highest standard, it provides a truly frightening insight into her own lack of character and judgement.
She can never again complain about parliamentary behaviour having endorsed this low life as Speaker yesterday.
His position was untenable. She wanted him to stay.
The argument that he had a matter before the courts and the separation of powers should be observed was complete nonsense.
Parliament elects the Speaker. It can vote to dump the Speaker – and it should have because it had good cause to.
Slipper had transgressed the bounds of decency that every MP is sworn to uphold but yesterday, only the Coalition recognised those bounds.
Gillard tied herself to Slipper. He may once have sat on the Opposition benches but she reclaimed him yesterday right up until he quit.
The deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop made the obvious point when she asked: “How can women sit in this chamber with Peter Slipper presiding, knowing his attitudes, knowing what he thinks?”
“Yes, how can they, you Labor women MPs? And don’t you Labor women outside Parliament have any gumption either? You should be telling your representatives that this is simply not acceptable.”
Where were the Labor women, those women so anxious to parade their moral vanity, to nod smugly behind the front bench during Question Time, so quick to admonish the Coalition, so swift to shriek at the Coalition women when they make a point, when Slipper’s texts were published?
Slipper will now remain a monument to the totally debased state of Labor-Green-Independent MPs’ politics.
Anna Burke, who the Opposition nominated for the Speaker’s job a year ago finally has the position.
She has struggled as acting Speaker, but at least she will get the perks now, even if she has inherited a crumbling role lacking in authority.
She will be given a fair hearing in her arena, as Slipper will in his.
But as fragrant as her Speakership may be now, the stench from Canberra is choking the nation.
Gillard and her colleagues, men and women, are totally responsible.
What else did we expect after her defence of Craig Thomson?
In fighting to keep Slipper as Speaker, she showed she puts power before all else.
Australia is the loser. Parliament has been wilfully debauched.


PM hoist with her own petard

Miranda Devine – Wednesday, October 10, 2012 (5:58am)

THE entire rotten edifice the government has created to smear Tony Abbott as a vile sexist misogynist came crashing down yesterday in Question Time.
After weeks of taking high umbrage at imagined instances of misogyny emanating from the muscular Opposition leader, yesterday the Prime Minister and her sanctimonious sycophants, such as Tony Windsor, voted to protect an actual proven misogynist.
Peter “mussels” Slipper, whose unsavoury attitude towards women is revealed in a series of crude text messages allegedly sent to his former staffer James Ashby and tendered as evidence in the Federal Court, survived an Opposition motion to have him removed as Speaker by one vote.
Slipper apologised for likening women’s genitals to shellfish, and independents Windsor, Rob Oakeshott, Craig Thomson, and Adam Bandt, joined with the government to support him against Abbott’s no confidence motion.
But then the disgraced Speaker declared no confidence in himself and resigned.
He may have agreed with Abbott’s contention that he was no longer a fit and proper person to uphold the dignity of Parliament.
Abbott also said Slipper’s description of Sophie Mirabella as an “ignorant botch” showed he was not impartial enough to be Speaker.
Earlier in the day Slipper had been content for the PM to defend him against charges of misogyny.
Being hoist with her own petard had energised the Prime Minister to deliver her most passionate speech.
“I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man [Abbott]. I will not… not now, not ever,” she told parliament.
“If he wants to see what misogyny looks like… he needs a mirror.”
And then ensued a long laundry list of Abbott’s “repulsive double standards when it comes to misogyny and sexism” and how offended she has been by him.
“Misogyny and sexism - that’s all we have heard from him.”
The confected outrage will be applauded by the social media activists who have piled on the Get Alan Jones bandwagon all week, but will mystify most Australians.
This is what our childish parliament has descended to – a competition for who is the vilest misogynist. 



Tim Blair – Wednesday, October 10, 2012 (9:37am)

Julia Gillard’s cynical theatrics have thrilled dimwitted supporters, but Peter Hartcher isn’t so easily impressed: 
Julia Gillard confronted a stark choice yesterday - the political defence of her parliamentary numbers, or the defence of the principle of respect for women.
She chose to defend her numbers …
The moment Gillard rose to defend Slipper and keep him in office, she chose to defend the indefensible, to excuse the inexcusable. The government had spent a month vilifying Tony Abbott for having “a problem with women”. But when one of the bulwarks of the government was exposed as having a problem with women, it was suddenly acceptable. 
Quite so. And, of course, it can all be traced back to one all-powerful individual, as Tanya Plibersekpoints out: 
I think it is right that Mr Slipper has taken responsibility. He’s apologised for the language and he’s tendered his resignation and it shows two things. It shows that he has respect for the institution of the Parliament and it shows that he knows that the language that he has used is wrong and should not have been used. And I think it raises the question about the role that Tony Abbott’s playing. 
Readers are invited to enhance selected historical statements with that final sentence.



Tim Blair – Tuesday, October 09, 2012 (8:29pm)

Peter Slipper resigns as Speaker. This turn of events was apparently caused by Tony Abbott’s sexism.


The prime peddler of hatred and bile

Andrew BoltOCTOBER102012(2:35pm)

The dictionary defines misogyny as “hatred of women”. It is an ugly word, an ugly accusation and an ugly fact of life. It is now the word that has driven Australian politics to its lowest point in decades. Yesterday, the mask fell away, the curtain dropped, the real driver of the politics of personal abuse was revealed.

After sending out two attack dogs, Gutter and Sewer, to do the dirty work, after hiding behind two political zombies, Insufferable and Unspeakable, to stay in power, after using the Minister for Innuendo and the Compromise-General to play the gender card, the mask has finally dropped away to reveal the driver of the politics of hate in Australia.
The mask fell at exactly 2.42pm in the House of Representatives. Looking on were the member for Gutter, Anthony Albanese, the member for Sewer, Wayne Swan, the Minister for Innuendo, Tanya Plibersek, and the Compromise-General, Nicola Roxon, and the independents who will do anything to avoid facing their electorates, Mr Insufferable, Robert Oakeshott, and his fellow regional zombie, Mr Unspeakable, Tony Windsor. 
Someone had to set Gutter and Sewer loose. Someone directed Innuendo and Compromise to play the gender card. Someone paid the bill for Insufferable and Unspeakable. Someone’s authority still rests on the vote of Craig Thomson. And someone had to approve making Peter Slipper the Speaker despite his being manifestly disrespected by either side of the house, a low point of political opportunism. 

At 2.42 pm on Tuesday that someone rose to speak. The mask fell away. Julia Gillard came out snarling.


Why does Labor follow a leader so disastrous?

Andrew BoltOCTOBER102012(9:41am)

Once again, Julia Gillard’s judgement has proved catastrophic.
So desperate to cling to power by boosting its numbers in the House of Representatives by one extra vote, the Gillard government appointed a man who should never have been Speaker. And then when Slipper’s reputation was completely ruined by revelations of his outrageously lewd texts to staffer James Ashby, the Julia Gillard could immediately have taken the high ground, condemned Slipper’s vulgar behaviour and demanded he resign.

That didn’t happen. It was left to Slipper to do one right thing by the office of Speaker. He resigned. And the Prime Minister is left looking like a goose. She will now struggle to be taken seriously about the very serious issue of misogyny. Double standards don’t get much worse than this.
JULIA GILLARD confronted a stark choice yesterday - the political defence of her parliamentary numbers, or the defence of the principle of respect for women.

She chose to defend her numbers. She chose power over principle. It was the wrong choice. It was an unprincipled decision and turned out not to be pragmatic either. The Prime Minister gained nothing and lost a great deal…

The moment Gillard rose to defend Slipper and keep him in office, she chose to defend the indefensible, to excuse the inexcusable.
I do understand the arguments of those who argued against me...
The really troubling implication of this showdown is that Gillard will now mispresent any criticims of her peformance and the performance of her government as examples of sexism and misogyny.  She will play this card, even if it is the lowest trick in the book, constantly portraying herself as a helpless victim.  A sad day for feminism.

Come off, Julia.  I say just suck it up.

IS it possible for a political party and a prime minister to have more egg on their collective faces than Labor and Julia Gillard do right now? Having fought to the last man (and woman) to defend his right to remain Speaker of the House of Representatives, Peter Slipper himself resigned last night… It was a sight to behold watching the conga-line of female Labor MPs vote to retain Slipper as Speaker after so many of them have condemned Abbott for causing offence to women.

Rather than taking the initiative and leaving Slipper to fall on his sword, Labor went to full-blooded battle and tried to make political gains in its obsessive war on the Liberal leader.

When it was obvious to everyone that the new trove of degrading sexual texts unearthed in court meant Slipper’s career was over and that Labor should take the lead in his removal to justify its high moral stance on sexism and denigration of women, the Prime Minister dug in.
The moral of the Slipper saga goes back to its beginning. The government wooed Slipper in a highly cynical exercise to improve its numbers. Not only was he a Liberal ‘’rat’’, but he was a ‘’rat’’ with a bad reputation.

The government thought it a great coup, but all it got was a huge load of trouble.

THE entire rotten edifice the government has created to smear Tony Abbott as a vile sexist misogynist came crashing down yesterday in Question Time.

After weeks of taking high umbrage at imagined instances of misogyny emanating from the muscular Opposition leader, yesterday the Prime Minister and her sanctimonious sycophants, such as Tony Windsor, voted to protect an actual proven misogynist.
Warning. Many people are circulating a tweet allegedly from Julia Gillard’s Twitter account:
The grubby & hypocritical attacks by the Liberal Party on Speaker Peter Slipper MP, a man of distinction, has forced his resignation. TeamJG

This account is fake. Gillard did not send this tweet.


So obvious in hindsight to journalists who read it wrong

Andrew BoltOCTOBER102012(8:54am)

Federal Parliament is still ‘’hung’’ but it is considerably safer for Julia Gillard’s government… All gain for Gillard, at one level. But at a big cost, at another. Labor has done a deal with someone from the other side; it has a tawdry feel about it.
The moral of the Slipper saga goes back to its beginning. The government wooed Slipper in a highly cynical exercise to improve its numbers. Not only was he a Liberal ‘’rat’’, but he was a ‘’rat’’ with a bad reputation.

The government thought it a great coup, but all it got was a huge load of trouble.


Gillard’s disaster - and how the media once praised it

Andrew BoltOCTOBER102012(8:03am)

Julia Gillard’s humiliation yesterday was yet more proof of her catastrophically bad judgement - and of the Canberra’s press gallery’s failure to hold her to account.
It should have been clear to all at the time that her deal last year to make Peter Slipper the Speaker was not just dirty but dangerous.
As I wrote back then: 

A very good and fair speaker in Harry Jenkins has been replaced by a man of very dubious reputation who has also betrayed his electorate’s wishes. It looks like a grubby deal with a grubby man to help a grubby government cling to power…

All this will make Gillard seem even less principled and less trustworthy.
I also asked:
And repeated:
And said:
Slipper’s expenses did indeed return to haunt him, but what triggered his resignation were the extremely crude texts he sent in what seems his chaotically undisciplined private life. 
But what did other commentators say at the time about a deal that has now exploded in Gillard’s face?
Laurie Oakes (Channel 9): 
Michael Gordon (The Age):
The coup that delivered the speakership to the disaffected Peter Slipper has transformed this contest, giving Gillard a two-seat buffer and dramatically increasing the odds that the Parliament will run full term.

Bernard Keane (Crikey):

In a ruthless display of political tactics, Labor has seized on the white-anting of Queensland Liberal MP Peter Slipper and elevated the former deputy speaker to the speakership after the shock resignation of incumbent Harry Jenkins.... It appears that the LNP — which has been wracked by internal divisions and leaking — will now inflict a heavy price on the federal parliamentary Coalition for its undermining of Slipper… (It) also takes some pressure off any Labor MPs considering resigning their seats prior to the next election....

The opposition appears to have again been outsmarted by Labor over the speakership as it was in September last year. This time around, however, much of the fault must lie with the LNP, which appears to have reaped the reward of undermining one of its own during a hung parliament.

Labor’s end-of-year momentum just picked up considerable speed.
Phil Coorey and Lenore Taylor (Sydney Morning Herald):: 

As the curtain closes on 2011, Labor is in a far worse position in the polls than it was at the beginning. But along with a precious extra number it now has, and the passage of most of its contentious reforms done, it finishes with something it has lacked all year - hope.
Annabel Crabb (ABC): 
Some vast pieces of legislation tucked away. Confusion to her enemies. The Prime Minister’s year has ended with the audacity of hope
Remember the way the gallery called this when you read the post-mortems today.  Let’s see if they yet again give Gillard a pass for her judgement.

MARK Simkin, ABC Evening News, November 24 last year:

LABOR’S stunning move (making Peter Slipper Speaker) is not without risk. But insiders are calling it a game-changer.

Laura Tingle, The Australian Financial Review, November 26 last year: 
LABOR has locked in the time it needs to have a chance of winning the next election. And in the meantime ... those who come to the government’s door will have to come ready to deal with ... a government which, instead of being perceived as facing certain death when it does finally go to the polls, is seen as one which might have some chance of being returned and, as a result, having to be dealt with for some years in to the future. It is a huge psychological high on which the government ends the toughest of parliamentary years.
Geoff Kitney, AFR, November 26 last year: 
THE Gillard cabinet will have new confidence and new energy ... A key reason for Gillard’s weak standing with voters is the perception that her government is weak and that the parliament is out of control. She now has the chance to solidify her authority by showing that her grip on power and on policy has tightened.
Canberra Times editorial, November 26 last year: 
THE biggest loser is Opposition Leader Tony Abbott ... (Ms Gillard’s) authority has been enhanced, as has her margin of safety.


Labor’s excuse: the AbbottAbbottAbbott

Andrew BoltOCTOBER102012(7:53am)

Now that Peter Slipper has resigned do you think it was wrong for the Prime Minister to defend him so vociferously in the House today?

Do you think members of public would have been happy to see this man remain a Speaker, second to the Prime Minister, the highest office in the House of Representatives?

Do you regret Julia Gillard’s decision to install Peter Slipper in the Speaker’s chair in the first place for what were purely political purposes?
How can the electorate now ever respect Julia Gillard’s judgment again after this?
Today in the Parliament, Minister, the country’s first female Prime Minister and her female ministers were there defending the indefensible. Many women in this country would no doubt be feeling pretty outraged about that?

It’s hard to escape the impression, Minister, that within the Labor Party, keeping your jobs is more important than protecting the integrity of the Parliament. 
The crucial parts of Plibersek’s replies:
... it raises the question about the role that Tony Abbott’s playing… the Leader of the Opposition hasn’t distanced himself from the use of this type of language… why won’t the Leader of the Opposition take similar responsibility ...  When Tony Abbott wrote a letter ...When Tony Abbott wrote a letter… when Tony Abbott attended Mr Slipper’s wedding ... We don’t see the Leader of the Opposition ... We’ve got a Leader of the Opposition ... you could very equally ask why the Leader of the Opposition ...  Tony Abbott and his front bench ... a further effort of Tony Abbott to smash the place up… If Tony Abbott becomes the leader of this country we’ll have one of the most aggressively negative politicians in Australian history ...Tony Abbott would be a disaster as prime minister… Tony Abbott hasn’t wanted to get on with business.... He’s wanted to smash the place up from the day that he became Opposition Leader… it’s actually going to take Tony Abbott to stop trying to blow the place up every day.
We’ve noticed this phenomenon before:
This is bizarre.
(Thanks to reader Jeff.)
Paul Henry is actually a very good interviewer. Trade Minister Craig Emerson is left exposed trying to defend the indefensible with pure fictions and the AbbottAbbottAbbott. Watch here.


Beware who’s spinning the anti-Jones campaign

Andrew BoltOCTOBER102012(7:37am)

More on the story we broke yesterday - more to suggest you’ve been gamed:

Established after embattled 2GB breakfast host Jones said that “women are destroying the joint”, it is co-run by failed former Labor Party candidate Victoria Brookman.
With more than 16,000 “likes”, the Facebook campaign has been instrumental in galvanising public support against Jones and the Macquarie Radio Network in the wake of the radio host’s comments about the Prime Minister’s father.

But despite the Labor links of Ms McManus, 40, secretary of the white-collar Australian Services Union’s NSW branch, and aspiring MP Ms Brookman, who ran against Brendan Nelson in the federal seat of Bradfield in 2007, those behind the campaign have denied any official connection to the ALP or politics.
Then there’s Mercedes-Benz, which noisily claimed to have cancelled advertising in protest at that wicked Alan Jones - advertising it now concedes was largely cancelled before his controversial comment:
The carmaker released a carefully-worded statement in which it said the decision to cancel its substantial sponsorship was commercial - not political…

“Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific cancelled its corporate sponsorship contract with 2GB on 1st October 2012 giving 28 days’ notice,” the company said.

“Separately there was an advertising contract with 2GB and our NSW dealers. We now understand that this contract was cancelled on or about 19 September 2012 giving 28 days’ notice.”


End this politics of personal destruction

Andrew BoltOCTOBER102012(7:34am)

Former Labor adviser Cassandra Wilkinson is right. Can we now talk about policy?:
Left politicians have insisted on waging a character war against Tony Abbott that can only lead to greater scrutiny of their own behaviour…

The attack on Abbott has made the past fair game and the Peter Slipper case appears likely to ensure that private remarks and behaviour are fair game. If Slipper’s crime is to disparage the vagina in a private conversation then I look forward to this principle being applied consistently. I look forward to all members being asked if they have smoked marijuana, been unfaithful to their spouses or used unacceptable similes to describe the genitals of either sex…
In the end the character test has never answered the questions that matter. When will the Pacific Highway be finished? What are we going to do about the escalating rates of children going into foster care? Why we are paying 18 per cent and rising of healthcare costs out of our pockets in a country with “free” healthcare?
In the end, moral outrage is the cheapest of cheap campaign tactics. At least in budget dollars. The real cost is the displacement of serious policy debates that remain urgent and unresolved…

While the moral crusaders claim to be raising the standard of debate, their crowding out of real issues achieves the opposite.


Taliban shoots its enemy: a girl going to school

Andrew BoltOCTOBER102012(7:15am)

If you were in any doubt the Taliban truly represents the forces of darkness:

Many in Pakistan reacted with shock and revulsion to the shooting on Tuesday of 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai, who was flown to intensive care in the northwestern city of Peshawar where doctors are struggling to save her life…
Malala won international recognition for highlighting Taliban atrocities in Swat with a blog for the BBC three years ago, when the Islamist militants led by radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah burned girls’ schools and terrorised the valley…
Initially, an officer told AFP Malala was shot as she was getting on the bus, then later that a gunman had flagged down the vehicle some distance away.
“One of them, who had a small beard, went inside and asked the children which was Malala,” Shah told AFP…
Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told AFP the Islamist group carried out the attack after repeatedly warning Malala to stop speaking out against them.

“She is a Western-minded girl. She always speaks against us. We will target anyone who speaks against the Taliban,” he said by telephone from an undisclosed location.


Windsor voted to save a man he wanted gone. Blame Abbott

Andrew BoltOCTOBER102012(7:09am)

“Independent” Tony Windsor yesterday demonstrated how partisan he really is. He voted against an Opposition motion to remove Peter Slipper even after (he claims) telling Slipper he should resign: 
Guess he just didn’t want Tony Abbott to have a win.


Romney now ahead in key states

Andrew BoltOCTOBER102012(6:37am)

Barack Obama is in deep trouble, according to a Rasmussen poll of the swing states:
The full Swing State tracking update offers ,,, a combined view of the results from 11 key states won by President Obama in 2008 and thought to be competitive in 2012. The states collectively hold 146 Electoral College votes and include Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin…

In the 11 swing states, Mitt Romney earns 49% support to Obama’s 47%. ... This is the first time Romney has led the daily Swing State Survey since September 19…

In 2008, Obama won these states by a combined margin of 53% to 46%, virtually identical to his national margin.
Why is Obama in trouble? Maybe because when times get tough - record deficits, huge numbers of unemployed, American ambassador murdered - he’s the kind of guy who decides to stick up for a 2m yellow multi-millionaire in one of the most embarrassingly childish campaign ads ever screened:


Wong’s green jobs blowing in the wind

Andrew BoltOCTOBER102012(6:25am)

It’s great to be here at Kilburn and having just been taken around this site to see the sorts of opportunities that investment in renewable energy brings to South Australia and to the country.... This Government is absolutely committed to renewable energy ... That’s why we’ve got through the Senate the renewable energy legislation to increase by four times the amount of wind power, solar power, geothermal, wave, tidal and whatever other forms of renewable energy…We’re very excited also about the employment potential and today what I saw was people doing welding, painting – a whole range of the traditional trades, but doing it for a renewable energy project. Which just shows that when we talk about green skills or clean energy jobs, it is about the jobs that we used to do but applying them to much cleaner technology for the benefit of the climate, but also for our economy and for our community.
One of Australia’s largest heavy engineering companies has gone into voluntary administration, closing three plants with the loss of more than 150 jobs in Queensland and South Australia.


Even The Age is now onto Gillard’s AWU scandal. The lid is blown off

Andrew BoltOCTOBER102012(5:48am)

The significance of these reports is not in what they reveal, because they contain very little you haven’t already read here. What is significant is that these reports now appear in The Age, which for so long has run dead on this scandal:

The documents also confirm that Ms Gillard intensely managed legal work on the 1993 transaction - without advising her senior partners at law firm Slater & Gordon of the involvement of boyfriend Bruce Wilson.

The house was nominally purchased by Australian Workers Union official Ralph Blewitt, a protege of Mr Wilson, a former West Australian and later Victorian state secretary of the union.
IN LATE August, Julia Gillard delivered one of the finer performances of her political career. After weeks of damaging media coverage and increasingly vitriolic internet commentary about her connections with a decades-old trade union fraud scandal, the Prime Minister resolved to tackle the critics head on.

At a Parliament House news conference, called ostensibly to discuss asylum seekers, Gillard dragged the proverbial dead cat into the centre of the room.
A silly mistake in that morning’s Australian newspaper (it wrongly reported that she had been involved in establishing a union trust fund in 1992) led News Ltd to give her a formal apology and the toe-hold she needed to climb up and over the critics.
Brazenly conflating the mistake (it was a non-profit association she helped incorporate, not a trust fund) with a ‘’smear campaign’’ driven by ‘’misogynists and nut jobs’’ on the internet, Gillard declared: ‘’I have decided to come to this press conference today because this matter has got to the stage where we are starting to see recycled, false and defamatory allegations which I have dealt with in the past.’…

The journalistic elite was impressed… But that day ought to be revisited for what should have been asked but wasn’t, for what wasn’t answered but should have been and for what remains unresolved.
Well, if the “journalistic elite” was impressed - and some Age journalists sure were - they surely do not deserve to be called the “elite”. In fact, so craven was the performance of some that some Fairfax and ABC reporters blamed only themselves when caught repeating Gillard’s wilfully incorrect claims
What Gillard didn’t do was properly answer many new questions about her conduct in the early 1990s that were raised a few days earlier when The Australian published a partial transcript of a meeting in September 1995 between Gillard and senior partners of Slater & Gordon, a meeting that precipitated her departure from the law firm.

That meeting had been called after the firm became aware for the first time that the Australian Workers Union Workplace Reform Association, an association incorporated with the advice of Ms Gillard, had been corrupted by her then boyfriend, Bruce Wilson - a senior AWU official - to steal, it was later discovered, hundreds of thousands of dollars of union funds.
The firm was also disturbed about aspects of conveyancing work done by Gillard in 1993 for the purchase of a unit in Fitzroy… What the senior partners did not know then, but discovered the following year, was that more than $100,000 towards the purchase of the property had been siphoned from the AWU Workplace Reform Association…
At that meeting Gillard confirmed she had not followed established procedures to open a formal file on the work done to incorporate the Workplace Reform Association… Gillard told [partners] Shaw and Styant-Browne that her unofficial file of paperwork relating to the Workplace Reform Association was no longer available as it had been passed on to someone outside the firm.
Immediately after that meeting, Gillard took leave and in her absence staff found the file in her office.
Gillard [later told the firm’s partners] the association was a ‘’slush fund’’ designed to gather money for union election campaigning.

But the application for the association’s incorporation in 1992 and the rules drafted under Gillard’s advice make no reference to campaign funding and declare the organisation’s objectives to be the promotion of workplace safety and training.
Two reporters - Glenn Milne and Michael Smith - last year lost their jobs trying to report this scandal. Smith was driven out by Fairfax from 2UE in part for asking “unauthorised questions” of the Prime Minister.
Now Fairfax is finally, belatedly, taking this matter seriously. Interesting.


Skulls from Aztec sacrificial ritual discovered

Archaeologists have unearthed gruesome evidence of brutal Aztec rituals by uncovering 50 skulls and over 250 jaw bones at the Templo Mayor in Tenochtitlan (modern Mexico City).
Found at one sacrificial stone below a ceremonial platform called the "cuauhxicalco," the human remains date back more than 500 years and represent the largest number of skulls ever found in one offering.
Used in rituals associated with the worship of Mictlantecuhtli, god of death, the skulls were unearthed in different locations: 45 appeared to have just been dumped on top of the stone, while the remaining five were buried under it.
Each of the five skulls had holes on both sides, suggesting they belonged to a tzompantli. This was a skull rack on which the crania of sacrificed people were hung and displayed near temples or at other locations.
"Some of the 45 skulls found on the sacrificial stone were manipulated with the intention of preparing skull-masks that were never finished," archaeologist Raul Barrera of Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) said.
According to the archaeologist, the skulls belonged to women and men between 20 and 35 years old. Some could have been dug up from other sites and reburied.
Looking like a gray headstone, the 18-inch-high, 14 to 17-inch-long and 3-inch-thick sacrificial rock revealed new ways that the Aztecs used skulls in their rituals.
Indeed, sacrificial stones were rarely associated with decapitation.
"Usually people were killed on those stones by cutting open the chest and pulling out the heart," Barrera said.


Benghazi-Gate – time for the White House to say what they know

Nearly every administration falls into the same trap:  A policy misfires.  The White House acts to protect the president from the political fallout, especially in an election year.  They throw a lot of dust up in the air, so it’s not clear what happened.  When the dust settles, the White House says it’s not their fault. They cast blame elsewhere, and usually try pointing the finger at some mid-level bureaucrat.

But in the end, it never works.  Because eventually the career civil servants crawl out from the woodwork and turn into whistleblowers. They talk to Capitol Hill staffers or reporters, anonymously at first, and then publicly.  Slowly but surely, the real story drips out. And in the end, it is often worse for the White House than if they had come clean in the first place.

That’s where we are now with the Libyan assassinations, or "Benghazi-Gate" as some have tagged it.  It turns out that Ambassador Stevens had warned the administration that he was an Al Qaeda target. His security detail made repeated warnings that the situation was deteriorating in Eastern Libya. But someone back in Washington didn’t take it seriously. He or they, decided not only to deny the request for additional security for the ambassador and our Consulate, but also to reduce the existing minimal security detail.

So now we have it.  Despite requests, security was denied.  As a result, four Americans died. And soon we are likely to discover that somebody lied. Blame the movie, blame the intelligence community, blame the security folks. One former Reagan adviser says, it is  criminal negligence.

The question today is the same question that has been asked time and again about these White House scandals. 
I was in the White House during Watergate, and the Pentagon during Iran-Contra. Nothing has changed in one regard. Failed policies, scandals and cover-ups all follow a predictable path. "What did they know, and when did they know it?  Who knew about it?  Who made the decisions that ultimately resulted in attacks on US soil, and assassinations of Americans?  And how high up did this go?  
My advice to the White House?  It's better for everyone -- the American people as well as the Obama administration --  if they answer those questions now.  
Kathleen Troia "K.T." McFarland is a Fox News National Security Analyst and host of's "DefCon 3." She is a Distinguished Adviser to the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and served in national security posts in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations. She wrote Secretary of Defense Weinberger’s November 1984 "Principles of War Speech" which laid out the Weinberger Doctrine. Be sure to watch "K.T." every Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET on's "DefCon3"-- already one of the Web's most watched national security programs.


Liberals make stink about new Pew poll

Something isn’t just rotten in Denmark. Try Washington, D.C., where liberal are going insane reacting to the latest Pew poll results that show Romney kicking election butt by 49-45.

The Daily Beast’s Andrew Sullivan freaked out about the math and the “12 point swing” that sent Romney from down by 8 points to up by 4. Sullivan asked: “Did Obama Just Throw The Entire Election Away?” That rant earned it front-page coverage on Drudge with the headline: “SULLIVAN: SOS OBAMA.”

For a guy trying to boost his team, his comments were harsh. “Look: I'm trying to rally some morale, but I've never seen a candidate this late in the game, so far ahead, just throw in the towel in the way Obama did last week,” he explained.

Nate Silver, who writes The New York Times’ FiveThirtyEight blog, tried to calm lefty nerves via Twitter. “According to Twitter, Barack Obama went from a huge favorite at 1 PM to a huge underdog at 4 PM. Get a grip, people,” he wrote. Silver still claimed that Romney’s chances went from 21.6 percent to 24.4 percent, or what the blogger called “a huge data point for Romney.” But he undercut that by saying the GOP candidate’s “polling today was pretty mediocre without it.”

In fact, Silver concluded everything was still fine in liberal land and that though Romney’s chances had “nearly doubled,” twice nothing was still nothing. “But were it not for the Pew poll, our forecast would have been unchanged from Monday, with Mr. Romney’s chances holding at 21.6 percent.”

Soros-supported lefty site Alternet, did its part to downplay the poll results with a piece headlined: “10 Things You Should Know About the Post-Debate Polls.” All ten reasons could be summed up in one word: disbelieve! “But it's not wise to read too much into the polls immediately after a significant development like Romney's winning performance in the first debate,” argued Joshua Holland.
Dan Gainor is the Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. He writes frequently about media for Fox News Opinion. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.


The truth about the Ryan-Biden debate

The vice presidential debate gives Paul Ryan a unique opportunity to explain Mitt Romney’s economic programs and ideas in front of a massive national audience. We will see Paul Ryan at his best. And that is very, very good.

He is not just a vice presidential candidate. He is the author and intellectual founder of the modern Republican agenda. There can be no more profound and articulate a spokesman to defend and elaborate the Romney agenda to America.

It is rare that the ideological and substantive creator of a public policy agenda gets to weigh in during a national public debate. Usually, intellects of his scope and force are relegated to ghost writing and speech preparation. But now the originator of these ideas is the candidate himself. His ideas have shaped the entire Republican agenda and his programs for reform have energized its ranks. Now the author, himself, will be called upon to define and defend his programs and his ideas.
For his part, Joe Biden is a party hack called upon to defend an agenda which he did not design and of which he likely only partially approves. Beyond the challenges he has in public speaking, Biden is not in Ryan’s league when it comes to understanding issues and grasping the problems America faces. The difference between a genius and a hack will be evident in Thursday’s debate.

Commentators and pundits have been fast to ask why Obama did so poorly in the first debate. But they aren’t asking the real question: What is the impact of Romney being so good?

The reason Romney did so well is that his positions are in line with those of the American people. By making the election about big things like the size of government, the level of spending and the need for government regulation, Romney — and now Ryan — can showcase differences between the tickets that work decisively to the advantage of the Republican ticket. And there is nobody better qualified or equipped to define and discuss these differences than Paul Ryan.

By focusing on policy — as he always does — Ryan can craft a national consensus that he and Romney are right and that Obama and Biden are wrong. Without focusing on personalities, likeability, or charisma, Ryan can make Americans understand the alternatives and the stakes in this election. The good he can do to the ticket is enormous. He can cement Romney’s victory in the first debate and make permanent the bond Romney established with the American people.
Dick Morris is a Fox News contributor and author. He is the author of the forthcoming book, "Here Come the Black Helicopters: UN Global Governance and the Loss of Freedom." His latest book is "Screwed! How Foreign Countries Are Ripping America Off and Plundering Our Economy-and How Our Leaders Help Them Do It." Visit his and follow him on Twitter@dickmorris.


At least two-year wait for Australians with bad teeth after Government axes program

ALMOST 450,000 chronically ill Australians will have to wait up to two years to see a dentist after the government won parliamentary approval to axe the $1 billion a year Medicare Chronic Disease Dental Scheme.
Patients who have been receiving up to $4,250 of dental care every two years will now have to rely on public dental schemes run by the states that provide as little as $34.46 a year worth of treatment for each eligible patient.
Waiting lists for public dental care in the state-run public dental clinics are already 400,000 strong but these lists will double to over 950,000 when the Medicare scheme closes on December 1.
More than 12,000 people signed a petition objecting to the closure of the scheme.
And Opposition Health spokesman Peter Dutton has accused Health Minister Tanya Plibersek of attacking ''the most vulnerable'' people in society.
The government plans to replace the scheme with a Medicare dental plan that provides children with $1000 of dental care every two years.
Ms Plibersek allocated $345 million over the next three years in the May budget to clear the waiting lists at state-run public dental clinics but only 80,000 extra patients will be treated this financial year, 180,000 in 2013-14 and 140,000 in 2014-15.
Melbourne grandparents Adriana and Joe Rapisarda who have been using the Medicare scheme say they have been told they face a two-year wait at their public dental clinic for the gum cleaning and crowns they need.
Mrs Rapisarda, who survives on the age pension, has the auto-immune disease lupus which causes the body's immune system to attack healthy tissues and causes, among other problems, gum disease.
Medicare has been paying for her three-monthly gum cleaning treatments, fillings and crowns to stop her dental disease affecting her heart but that ends next month when the scheme stops.
Her 76-year-old husband Joe, who has diabetes and is recovering from a stroke and a heart attack, also needs gum treatment and crown and bridge work because his gums are collapsing.
The Rapisardas' local MP Alan Trudge has accused the Labor Government of stooping ''to a new low by cutting services to pensioners such as Mr and Mrs Rapisarda who have chronic disease''.
The government will provide a further $1.3 billion from July 2014 to increase the capacity of public dental services, he said.


Hobbit treasure to become legal tender in New Zealand

NEW ZEALAND will release commemorative Hobbit coins worth thousands of dollars ahead of next month's premiere of director Peter Jackson's latest Tolkien epic.
The coins featuring characters such as Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf the wizard will be legal tender in the country, New Zealand Post said, although their face value will be only a fraction of the cost collectors will be expected to pay.
The most expensive, made from one 28.3 grams of pure gold, will set Tolkien enthusiasts back $A2,955 but has a face value of just NZ$10, while the cheapest is a NZ$1 coin retailing for $A24.
Hobbit coins
A golden set of three NZ$10 coins bearing images of Gandalf, Thorin Oakenshield and Bilbo Baggins from the upcoming new Hobbit film trilogy. Picture: AFP
The coins go on sale from November 1 and New Zealand Post said it expected strong international interest in the build up to the premiere of the first of the three Hobbit movies in Wellington on November 28.
Jackson, who was responsible for the Oscar-winning adaptation of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, announced earlier this year that he would make three films from The Hobbit book, rather than two as originally planned.
Hobbit coins
Coins bearing images of Bilbo Baggins from the upcoming new Hobbit film trilogy. Picture: AFP
British actor Martin Freeman, from the UK version of The Office, takes on the central role of Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug.
Other big names appearing include Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen, Barry Humphries, Stephen Fry, and Billy Connolly.
Hobbit coins
Coins bearing images of characters from the upcoming new Hobbit film trilogy. Picture: AFP
New Zealand enjoyed a huge tourism boom after the original trilogy and is hoping to repeat the success with the Hobbit movies, launching a campaign branding the country '100% Middle Earth' to coincide with the premiere.

Hobbit coins
Coins bearing images of characters from the upcoming new Hobbit film trilogy. Picture: AFP


UK TV presenter Jimmy Savile raped and sexually assaulted up to 30 young girls police state

ONE of the UK's best-known and most respected TV personalities sexually assaulted up to 30 girls in a scandal that may implicate some of Britain's leading celebrities.
Police Commander Peter Spindler, of London's Scotland Yard, said today that the late TV host Jimmy Savile was being investigated over eight criminal allegations, including two of rape and six of indecent assault, primarily against girls aged 13 to 16, before his death last year.
He said the force believes it will "come up with between 20 to 25 victims'' from a 40-year period.
Savile targeted boys as well as girls, mainly aged between 13 and 16, the Daily Mail newspaper reported.
The list of victims has grown daily. None of the women stepping forward to claim they were raped or molested as schoolgirls by Savile has asked for anything in return for telling their story.
Jimmy Savile
The late UK TV presenter Jimmy Savile allegedly raped and sexually assaulted 30 girls. (Photo by R. Poplowski/Fox Photos/Getty Images)
The picture they paint is of a "classic" child abuser, targeting vulnerable youngsters at schools, hospitals and children's homes, including Jersey's notorious Haut de la Garenne.
He plied them with treats - under the noses of teachers, doctors and BBC managers - and took them for rides in his Rolls-Royce and to the BBC to watch his shows being recorded.
Savile sexually abused them in his car, his BBC dressing room, on hospital wards and in the bedrooms of girls at Duncroft boarding school in Surrey.
The Daily Mail revealed last Saturday how a former beauty queen named Sandra claims she was raped by a BBC employee who was an "accomplice" of Jimmy Savile.
Jimmy Savile
British showbiz legend Jimmy Savile with one of his trademark cigars. Picture: Getty Images
"The facts speak for themselves. Savile's predilection appears to be for girls between 13 and 16," Mr Spindler said.
Savile may be dead but Scotland Yard state that they will pursue individuals still alive who conspired with Savile or participated in sexual abuse.
“That’s one of our main objectives, to see if anyone who is alive has committed any offences,” he said.
Celebrities likely to be questioned include convicted paedophiles and pop singer Gary Glitter, who is alleged to have a raped a girl, 13, in Saville's dressing room at the BBC, and music impresarioJonathan King as well as other former colleagues at BBC Radio 1 and BBC TV.
Gary Glitter
Convicted paedophile Gary Glitter is alleged to have a raped a girl, 13, in Jimmy Saville's dressing room at the BBC.
Comedian Freddie Starr, now 69, has already been forced to angrily deny that he groped a 14-year-old girl after appearing on a Savile show and stating that he had never abused underage girls. 
“That’s one of our main objectives, to see if anyone who is alive has committed any offences.”
Jonathan King
Pop mogul Jonathan King, who worked alongsi8de Jimmy Savile at the BBC, was jailed for molesting schoolboys.
Detectives will also probe claims that Savile, a tireless charity worker who raised fortunes for Stoke Mandeville Hospital and the Leeds Royal Infirmary, was free to roam government hospital wards attacking young patients, and allowed to prey on teenage pupils at state schools.
Incredibly, five separate police forces investigated Savile while he was still alive yet none of them ever brought charges.
"Our job is to deal with living offenders and to safeguard society today," Mr Spindler said.
"For those who have been brave enough to speak out, we are looking to see if we can identify anyone who could be subject to criminal investigation.
"The victims are looking for an acknowledgement and recognition that what happened to them is in fact true, and they will get that from our analysis of information provided.
"We are not going to investigate anyone who is still alive unless we get some evidence and that will come from witness testimony."


AP forced to clarify photo of Mitt Romney bending over in front of schoolgirl

Romney and girl
This photo of Mitt Romney posing with schoolchildren at Fairfield Elementary School, in Fairfield, Virginia, forced AP to send around a caption clarification. AP Photo/ Evan Vucci Source: AP

IT was a news photo that, as one US news site quipped, was "ripe for captioning."
A photo of US Presidential candidate Mitt Romney bending over, while a seemingly astonished schoolgirl stands behind him, mouth agape, Fox News reports.
The photograph, posted Tuesday (AEDT) by The Associated Press for all to see, has since surged across the Internet.
The candidate riding a wave of confidence from last week's debate performance was suddenly made, pardon, the butt of jokes.
So was it a cheap shot?
"It's unbelievable," he wrote. "It honestly looks like a little girl is gaping at Romney from behind."
Romney and girl
This wider frame gives an idea of what's really going on as Mitt Romney poses for photographs with students of Fairfield Elementary School after stopping at their school to greet them. AP Photo/ Evan Vucci
A closer look appears to show the girl looking at something else to the right of Romney. The caption, though, did not initially make clear what it is she's staring at. The caption said: "Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney poses for photographs with students of Fairfield Elementary School, Monday, Oct. 8, 2012, in Fairfield, Va."
The Associated Press has now come out with a statement on the photo controversy:
"The Associated Press on Monday took and distributed six photos of Gov. Romney’s visit to an elementary school in Fairfield, Va., to its member news organizations and customers.
"One image showed Mr. Romney as he was crouching down to pose for a photo with the schoolchildren. It received a caption addition on Tuesday to better explain what was happening. The caption addition was as follows:
CLARIFIES THAT STUDENT IS REACTING BECAUSE MITT ROMNEY WILL BE POSING FOR A PHOTO DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF HER AND HER CLASSMATES - Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney poses for photographs with students of Fairfield Elementary School, Monday, Oct. 8, 2012, in Fairfield, Va. A student, right, reacts as she realizes Romney will crouch down directly in front of her and her classmates for the group photo. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)"
The photo fail comes just after a picture of Hilary Clinton looking down Christina Aguilera's cleavage also went viral.
Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton honours Christina Aguilera in Washington DC for her hunger relief work. Picture: AFP


Sydney restaurant scraps lips urinals

lip urinals
The red lip urinals by Dutch artist Meike van Schijnde at Ananas Bar and Brasserie in The Rocks, Sydney.Source: AAP
A SYDNEY restaurant is removing urinals shaped like women's mouths and has apologised for causing offence.
The two urinals, in the shape of bright red, wide-open lips, were installed in the French restaurant Ananas in Sydney's Rocks area.

The restaurant said the urinals were "a commonly used European design piece from female Dutch artist Meike van Schijnde" but would be removed.

"We sincerely apologise if they have caused offence. They are being removed today," a spokeswoman said in a statement to AAP.

A spokeswoman for the interior design company that selected the items for the restaurant described them as "playful".

Feminist publisher Anne Summers said interior design was not an excuse for misogyny.

"Misogyny is very widespread, and this is just an example of misogyny," she told AAP.

"The concept is pretty challenging and confronting.

"They're asking men to put their d**ks in these mouths as urinals."

It's not the first time designer urinals have caused controversy.

In 2006 four urinals shaped like women's lips designed by Austrian artist Rudolf Scheffel were taken away from public toilets near the National Opera in Vienna after protests from women's groups.

Final chilling moments as Brazilian student Roberto Curti dies on the street

ROBERTO Laudisio Curti believed police were "bad people" and he would be dead before the end of the year after taking a mind-altering drug, a coroner heard this morning.
Psychiatrist Jonathan Phillips told an inquest into the Brazilian student's death that the 21-year-old appeared to have entered a "psychotic state" by the early hours of March 18.

Mr Curti had been acting "increasingly strange" after sharing a tab of LSD with two friends while out celebrating St Patrick's day.

He later jumped the counter at a city convenience store and stole two packets of biscuits before police confronted him and chased him through the CBD.

Dr Phillips said the student's statements to the convenience-store attendant - that he was a "messenger from God" and about "the world ending" - suggested he had "left the realm of normality".

Mr Curti initially told the staff member to call police - then changed his mind and said they were "bad people", the inquest heard.

The 21-year-old also claimed he had to "die at the end of the year (but) no-one believed him".

Dr Phillips described Mr Curti's paranoid state as his "own private hell" he couldn't escape from.

"He was a man, at that stage, who was not making balanced judgements ... he was not aggressive, in terms of threatening anyone, but he was just abnormal," he said.

"(He) moved further into a psychotic state ... he was paranoid, grandiose and preoccupied with his own strange world."

Mr Curti, who had no history of mental illness, died shortly after 6am - minutes after police repeatedly tasered and capsicum sprayed him as he ran through the city streets.

Dr Phillips said the officers chasing Mr Curti would have been "further incitement" given the 21-year-old's advanced state of fear and he was particularly vulnerable to any mental or physical stress.

"From my reading of the effects of taser, it is a major psychological stressor ... it is a major physiological stressor," he said.

"It is a frightening experience and that would add to the problem, as would capsicum spray."

"A person who is in an excited state of delirium is very vulnerable."
A recently released video clip shows the harrowing last moments of Mr Curti's life, captured on dramatic video from the Taser which brings him crashing to the ground after a chase through city streets.
A single shot to the back downs the Brazilian student, who had earlier been celebrating St Patrick's Day with friends, as he flees as many as half a dozen chasing police.

He is then tasered a second time while officers hold him on the ground, where the 21-year-old is subjected to more stuns with the weapon and bursts of capsicum spray.
A short time later he is rolled on to his back with foam coming from the mouth - not breathing and never to regain consciousness.
Five Taser probes were stuck in Mr Curti's skin and officers tried to use the weapon on him 14 times, although several of the strikes were ineffective, an inquest into his death heard.

Yesterday the officer who fired the first Taser told a coroner he felt justified in using the weapon because he thought he would be hurt if he tried to tackle the young man.
Senior Constable Eric Lim said he didn't know how close other police were when he felled Mr Curti with his Taser early on March 18.
"He already had size on me ... no doubt I would've been no match for (him)," he said.
Roberto Laudisio Curti
Roberto Laudisio Curti captured on CCTV inside the store before his confrontation with police.
Constable Lim, who weighed 55kg, said several officers quickly tried to secure Mr Curti but at one stage he appeared to almost "buck" and "shake" them off.
"That's when I started to use my Taser again," he said.
His weapon automatically recorded the incident, during which police repeatedly used "drive stuns", where the Taser is applied directly to the victim before Mr Curti finally lay still.
Police tried to taser Curti 14 times, an inquest heard today. Picture: Steve Harris
Mr Curti's family said the footage was "incredibly distressing" but they wanted it shown for the public to see how "Beto" was treated in his final moments.
Constable Lim said the shirtless, sweating man earlier broke free from three officers who confronted him after he was identified as the culprit in an earlier robbery.
Mr Curti, who had shared a tab of LSD with some friends, stole two packets of biscuits from a King St convenience store after telling the shop assistant he was a "messenger from God".


NSW police and detectives re-enact a fatal taser incident on Pitt St in they city where Roberto Laudisio Curti died after being shot by a t...
Witnesses told the inquest Mr Curti was screaming "like a wild animal" as he tried to escape from the officers.
The inquest continues today.

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