Friday, November 16, 2012

Fri 16th Nov Todays News

Happy birthday and many happy returns Anya GuanDavid Hoang and Daniel Nguyen. Born on the same day, across the years. Remember, birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.


Louis Riel





[edit]Holidays and observances


Piers Akerman

Thursday, November 15, 2012 (7:33pm)

JULIA Gillard’s calling of a royal commission into child sex abuse risks appearing as nothing but a diverting thought bubble unless she addresses the outstanding concerns she has raised. 
Without a commissioner, terms of reference, budget or timeframe, it looks as ill-thought as almost every other Labor policy blurted out on the run.
Of very great concern is the possibility that the commission’s scrutiny would be confined to an examination of churches and institutions and the ominous omission of the widespread cases of abuse within ordinary families.
This is not to ignore the importance of inquiring into institutional bodies, but the bulk of abuse occurs in homes.
It is also critical to ensure that the terms of reference ensure no group of Australians is protected by political ring-fencing. To fail to shine the spotlight on child sex abuse in every community would be to enshrine politically correct social engineering.
NT Country Liberal MP Bess Nungarrayi Price, a Warlpiri woman, was blunt in her assessment: “A lot of abuse happens out here. It needs to be addressed. Aborigines are Australians citizens, they can’t be ignored or excluded.”
Nor should small groups within the broader population of Muslim Australians, some of whom are only now confronting pockets of cultural abuse such as female genital mutilation - which must be covered by any commission into child sex abuse - be excluded.
Even MPs have been known to perpetrate child sex crimes.
In NSW, former Labor minister Milton Orkopoulos was jailed for a minimum nine years and three months by a Newcastle court in May, 2008, after being convicted of 28 child sex and drugs charges.
Judge Ralph Coolahan spent more than an hour detailing the former Aboriginal affairs minister’s crimes, which took place between 1995 and 2006 and involved the grooming of three young boys with drugs and alcohol in exchange for sex.
Judge Coolahan said Orkopoulos used his position of authority and power to win the trust of his victims and introduced one to heroin, an act which the judge described as “a very serious offence”.
“His conduct was premeditated, predatory and manipulative with far-reaching impacts,” the judge said.
Just two weeks ago the whistleblower Gillian Sneddon, who had worked in Orkopoulos’s Swansea electoral office, resolved a suit for outstanding damages of $438,613 against Orkopoulos and her employer, the speaker of the NSW Legislative Assembly, but lost her case against the state of NSW and was ordered to pay its legal costs, believed to be up to $175,000.
Up in the Territory, friends and enemies of the late Labor senator Bob Collins are still talking about his death in September, 2007, three days before he was due to appear in court on child sex offences, and less than three weeks before facing child pornography charges.
Collins, in hindsight a sort of NT Jimmy Savile figure, never did get to defend his reputation, nor did his accusers get their day in court, though they received compensation.
The child sex charges Collins faced dated back to the 1970s and involved four boys. On his death, The Australian newspaper reported that one of his accusers had detailed evidence against Collins to a friend more than a decade earlier.
A witness who was to give evidence at the trial corroborated the claims and said he had been approached by the Aboriginal complainant from the community of Maningrida, east of Darwin, in 1995 with disturbing allegations.
“The (male) complainant and friends were invited around to Collins’ house in Darwin from Kormilda College,” the witness said.
“Collins would give them drugs and alcohol and encourage them to perform sex acts.”
On Collins’ death, the witness was contacted by the prosecution and told his services were no longer required.
“The cops told me when they interviewed me (in 2004) that they had been trying to get him for 30 years. So it’s been a longstanding issue,” the witness said.
The commission might ask to see the police file on the Collins case.
Down in Tasmania last November, former Labor MP Terry Martin, who ended his parliamentary career as an independent, was convicted of creating child pornography and having sex with a 12-year-old girl. He received a wholly suspended 10-month jail sentence after evidence was heard that he suffered from Parkinson’s disease and may have been affected by his medication.
Child pornography is also a major issue in today’s connected society. When former ABC Collectors program host Andy Muirhead was charged with accessing child porn in 2010, and the ABC removed the show’s website from the internet along with references to Muirhead, his lawyer Greg Barns compared its actions with those of the KGB.
The Tasmanian Supreme Court last month confirmed a total 10-month sentence for Muirhead for possessing 12,433 still and video images, some of which involved sadism or humiliation.
Not to forget that Queensland’s inquiry encompassing the Heiner child rape case is now getting under way, with witnesses including former Labor premier Wayne Goss and former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd to be called.
As The Daily Telegraph reported, Ireland, with a population about a fifth the size of Australia’s has had four inquiries into child abuse running over a decade and costing tens of millions.
To establish the facts surrounding child abuse here, every corner of our society must be open to examination.
If not, this royal commission announcement will rapidly be seen as just another stunt.



Tim Blair – Friday, November 16, 2012 (4:28pm)

The Indian cricket board has banned various photographic agencies from covering the First Test between India and England. Here’s the UK Telegraph‘s solution.



Tim Blair – Friday, November 16, 2012 (12:58pm)

Al Gore leads a panel of climate chatterboxes, featuring various local alarmists: 
“The emphasis of the Australian panel will be dirty weather in Australia, increases in temperature and hot extremes in Australia and their impacts on increasing the frequency of extreme fire weather, and impacts on the Great Barrier Reef and other natural systems,” David Karoly, a professor of meteorology at the University of Melbourne, said. 
That’s Nobel Prize winner David Karoly, by the way. 
“Australia is one of the biggest contributors to the causes of dirty weather, as it has the highest per person emissions of greenhouse gases among all developed countries,” he said. 
That doesn’t make any sense. The climate has no way of knowing about per-person emissions; if itdoes respond to human-caused greenhouse gases, it can only do so according to the overall amount rather than any population-based carbon dioxide output. Unless, of course, Gaia really does have a brain and is somehow wise to per-capita calculations.



Tim Blair – Friday, November 16, 2012 (12:55pm)

Churchy peaceniks wring their hands
International aid agency Act for Peace is alarmed at the escalation of violence in and around Gaza following the death of a senior Hamas figure … 
Please. He was a terrorist, you multi-denominational pansies. 
Act for Peace’s Misha Coleman has been working on projects in Gaza for the past three years, responding to the escalating humanitarian situation caused by the Israeli blockade.
“The residents of Gaza are living in jail-like conditions and die waiting for access to medical treatment that is only available on the other side of the wall. They suffer daily from the effects of the Israeli blockade …” 
Really? Not so long ago, Hamas itself was promoting Gaza as “safe, clean and green”; a veritable Riviera, in fact. One claim must be wrong. Fairfax now identifies a new threat to Middle Eastern serenity – the IDF’s Twitter account
In fewer than 140 characters, Israel opened an aggressive new social media front in a long war, sparking fears of an escalation of conflict in the Middle East … 
Read on.
UPDATE. Currently trending – Hamas bumper stickers
If you can read this you are within the blast radius

My Other Car Is a Crater
Honk if your horn is not currently connected to a detonator
Baby with a bomb in his diaper on board
If this van’s tick-tockin’, don’t come a knockin’
My child was briefly an honor student at Kill Yourself Elementary

Incoming Objects Are Closer Than They Appear 



Tim Blair – Friday, November 16, 2012 (12:54pm)

The ABC’s Jonathan Green asks: 
Could it be that sections of the political class – our politicians, press and eager hangers on – have become so convinced by partisan distortion, exaggeration and outright fiction that they might eventually lose touch with objective reality? They might come to believe their own propaganda dressed up as punditry? 



Tim Blair – Friday, November 16, 2012 (12:50pm)

Multicultural perspectives on a current news topic: 
“From a Pashtun point of view, Petraeus should be shot by relatives from his mistress’s family,’’ the Taliban official explained.
“From a sharia point of view, he should be stoned to death.’’ 
Choices aside, General Petraeus is soon to testify on the September 11 attack in Benghazi.



Tim Blair – Friday, November 16, 2012 (12:47pm)

Don’t worry. They won’t win this war on old cars because, let’s face it, they’re French. 



Tim Blair – Friday, November 16, 2012 (10:18am)

The reckoning begins: 
Lord McAlpine, the former Tory party treasurer wrongly accused of being a child abuser following a botched Newsnight report, yesterday agreed a £185,000 compensation settlement with the BBC – funded by licence-payers.
Lawyers for the Tory peer warned Twitter users ‘we know who you are’ and urged them to come forward voluntarily or face being pursued through the courts.
His action is intended to stop so-called ‘trial by Twitter’ and, if successful, could radically change the way the internet is policed and make those using social networks more directly accountable for defamatory comments. 
Twitter folk might be a little anxious: 
Lord McAlpine’s lawyer Andrew Reid said those suspected of defaming the peer would receive a letter before action was taken telling them they had 48 hours to respond …
Mr Reid said: ‘Let it be a lesson to everybody that trial by Twitter or trial by the internet is a very nasty way of hurting people unnecessarily and it will cost people a lot of money …’
Guardian columnist George Monbiot has offered ‘an abject apology’ for identifying the former Thatcher aide online. 
Writes Monbiot: 
I have done a few stupid things in my life, but nothing as stupid as this. The tweets I sent which hinted – as I assumed to be the case – that Lord McAlpine was the person the child abuse victim Steve Messham was talking about were so idiotic that, looking back on them today, I cannot believe that I wrote them.
But I did, and they are unforgiveable. I helped to stoke an atmosphere of febrile innuendo around an innocent man, and I am desperately sorry for the harm I have done him. 
Says lawyer Reid
“Twitter is not just a closed coffee shop among friends. It goes out to hundreds of thousands of people and you must take responsibility for it.
“It is not a place where you can gossip and say things with impunity, and we are about to demonstrate that.” 


Catholics damned for what is a great ABC joke

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER162012(9:13pm)

A leading Sydney barrister and senior counsel at the trouble-plagued St John’s College has sparked outrage after mocking the Aboriginal community at an official dinner at the University of Sydney. Jeffrey Phillips, SC, stood in the college’s 150-year-old Great Hall and, in front of more than 250 staff, students and guests, paid tribute to the “traditional custodians of this place” whom he identified as being the “Benedictines who came from the great English nation”.

The comment was made in the presence of several indigenous students, one of whom has lodged a formal complaint and, according to senior staff, remains “deeply traumatised”. Mark Spinks, a respected member of Sydney’s Aboriginal community and chairman of the Aboriginal men’s group Babana, said: “How disgusting, how disgraceful, how disrespectful are those comments. I am outraged and I am disturbed. For that to have been said at the university, in a room full of students, I am almost speechless.” The sociologist Eva Cox said: “It’s totally unacceptable but what he’s saying is acceptable, or has been deemed acceptable within the culture of the college. It’s just an indication of how deep the rot goes.”
In this most esteemed forum of the Australian media, I would like to begin by acknowledging the traditional owners: the Murdoch people of the Delaware incorporation.
(Plenty more where that came from - Gerard Henderson’s always informative Media Watch Dog.)


2GB, November 16

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER162012(5:00pm)

 2GB podcasts
With Steve Price from 8pm. Listen live here.
Last night: Tim Mathieson not working. The child sex inquiry. Hot places to visit. Tony Abbott’s best response to seeming too “negative” - don’t deny, but redefine and above all stay natural. And more. Listen here.


The Bolt Report on Sunday

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER162012(4:13pm)

On Sunday:
Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop, Peter Reith and Cassandra Wilkinson.
On the the royal commission into sexual abuse of children, the AWU scandal, Gillard’s appeal to business and more. Plus: should Tim Mathieson get a job?
We’ve also invited (yet again) Trade Minister Craig Emerson, who once complained he might have to ”storm the studio” to get on. We’ve also invited Martin Ferguson and, of course, Julia Gillard, who has a standing invitation. Hoping to get a yes from at least one.
On Channel 10 at 10am and 4.30pm.


Israel has no choice. Gaza is a national threat

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER162012(3:03pm)

Israel cannot tolerate having rockets fired into the outskirts of its second biggest city from an enclave controlled by a terrorist organisation:

From the 7th floor of our hotel, we saw a barrage of intercept missiles fired into the southern skies to take down several long range rockets launched from Gaza into 800,000 strong civilian population.
Air raid sirens could be heard across the city for the first time since the 1991Gulf War, as the country braced for full scale conflict with the self appointed Palestinian leaders Hamas, who have warned they would unleash hell on Israel in response to the assassination of its military leader by Israeli defence forces Wednesday.

One rocket managed to evade country’s Iron Dome defence system and landed in the southern suburbs of Tel Aviv.
And, as always with such conflicts, Palestinians try to game the media with fake victims to feed the victim narrative:
Never mind the dead Israelis. Fairfax is more concerned with aggressive tweeting by the Israeli military.


Is the carbon tax great? Just ask the banker at your table

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER162012(2:01pm)

What a curious way for Julia Gillard to sell a tax - even to businessmen - which we were originally told was needed simply to save the world from disastrous overheating:
Hmm. That explains why so many bankers are global warming preachers, too. Think of those billions! Those tickets to clip! That share of the dosh! 
Labor winds down yet another of its green schemes that have cost so much to do no good at all: 

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet has announced the government will phase out its solar credits scheme from January 1, six months ahead of schedule.

He said the high uptake of solar was driving up electricity costs for homes and businesses.
The carbon tax is also driving up electricity costs. Why not scrap that, too? What’s the difference?


Gillard pinches even the words from the Obama campaign

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER162012(1:44pm)

We already know Labor plans to borrow the Obama campaigns tactic of appealing to minority groups while smearing the opposition’s leader as a woman-hating tool of the rich.
The Labor Party plans to borrow strategy and campaigning techniques from Barack Obama’s election campaign to convince key groups, including women, to reject Liberal leader Tony Abbott.
Already other parts of the Obama campaign are being borrowed, including bits of speeches. .
Here’s Bill Clinton nominating Obama at the Democratic convention:
I want to nominate a man cool on the outside but burning for America on the inside.
Here’s Julia Gillard last night nominating herself to the Business Council of Australia:
But because we face unprecedented opportunity – because I burn with ambition for our nation’s future.


Gillard backs Israel, Carr hedges

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER162012(12:47pm)

What Prime Minister Julia Gillard says today about Israel’s reponse to the 800 rockets fired on it this year from Hamas-controlled Gaza:
“The Government condemns the repeated rocket and mortar attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip and calls on Hamas to cease these immediately,’’ the PM said.

Australia supports Israel’s right to defend itself against these indiscriminate attacks. Such attacks on Israel’s civilian population are utterly unacceptable.

“Further escalations in rocket attacks from Gaza, such as those seen overnight, will not serve the interests of the Palestinian people or their cause for self-determination and statehood.’’
“All we can do is urge both sides to exercise restraint,” he told Sky News.

Senator Carr called on Hamas to cease its rocket attacks on Israel’s south but also called on Israel to ensure its response was proportionate.

“But rather than attacks and responses, let’s set that aside and have mutual restraint and have both sides – Palestinians and Israelis – commit to resuming negotiations to get that two-state solution.”
There seems a strong diffrerence of opinion between Gillard and Carr over Israel, and it’s Gillard who is in the right. 


Don’t wait for Obama to match Gillard’s carbon tax

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER162012(12:46pm)

President Barack Obama said he plans to work with Congress in his second term to curb human-aggravated climate change, but not at the expense of the US economy…

Without specifying what actions he would take, Obama said he would speak in the coming months and years to get bipartisan support for tackling the problem of rising global temperatures…
“I think the American people right now have been so focused, and will continue to be focused, on our economy and jobs and growth that ... if the message is somehow, we’re going to ignore jobs and growth simply to address climate change, I don’t think anybody’s gonna go for that,” he said. “I won’t go for that."…
The issue of climate change was largely absent from the presidential campaign, where Obama talked about an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy that includes fossil fuels such as coal, petroleum and natural gas - big emitters of greenhouse gases - in addition to renewables like solar and wind power…

So-called cap-and-trade legislation meant to limit US carbon dioxide emissions died on Capitol Hill in 2010 and has not been re-introduced.


Disclaimer: a “part-Aborigine” said this. I wouldn’t dare

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER162012(10:20am)

 Free speechThe politics of race
I said such things myself once but was denounced in court as having the views of a Nazi and had my articles ruled unlawful. But Anthony Dillon is an academic who identifies as part-Aboriginal so might get away with it:
Further, some of the Aboriginal people I know from remote parts of Australia have a very different definition of what it means to be Aboriginal from that of their city cousins. Whose definition should we accept? Second, when deciding who is Aboriginal, you are by default deciding who is non-Aboriginal. As such, it is surely illogical to deny “other Australians” any role in these determinations.

It is strange that if someone has seven Caucasian great-grandparents and one Aboriginal great-grandparent, they are able to identify as Aboriginal.That is their right, but could this be considered racist, or even a form of ancestral genocide against non-Aboriginal people because it is denying a person’s non-Aboriginal ancestry?
The usual argument that gets trotted out whenever reference is made to a person’s appearance of “fair skin” is that “being Aboriginal is not related to skin colour”. I agree being Aboriginal is not about skin colour, but it should be about having substantial Aboriginal ancestry, and one’s appearance is often a reasonable indicator of one’s Aboriginal ancestry. People have a right to identify however they like, but they should not be surprised or “offended” when they are questioned.
This is especially important given that self-identification is a key factor determining how Aboriginal disadvantage is addressed through the allocation of public spending.


One more reason to think politics today is a circus

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER162012(9:03am)

Leave aside any deception. How can a politician be so stupid as to think this would not come to light?

Liberal Caulfield MP David Southwick’s CV claimed he was an RMIT Adjunct Professor and a Monash University marketing diploma graduate.

But both universities say he never held such titles and launched internal investigations into the matter.


If Margie Abbott were as idle as Tim Mathieson, how the Left would jeer

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER162012(8:37am)

THE Gillard government spin has reached a new level, and it is insulting stuff. First, the government called in a magazine to interview the female ministers only, where they were asked questions about their sex drive amongst other things. Terrific. Now, the first bloke Tim Mathieson has been trotted out for an interview and he sounds like the old-fashioned wife. If there was a male prime minister with his wife like this, there would be screams of outrage. Tim gets up in the morning, does the Prime Minister’s hair and then sits on the couch watching TV. He regularly pours her bath when she gets home and brings her a cup of tea in the morning. Imagine if Tony Abbott’s wife said that was how their relationship worked. He’d be portrayed as the old-fashioned sexist with the mousy little wife. 

MR Mathieson ... hosted a lunch for World Diabetes Day at The Lodge. The food ... included one of the Prime Minister’s favourite dishes - Caesar salad. A spelling glitch in the menu, however, described the salad as being “full of victims and a good source of slow release for protein”.

We don’t have to imagine what the Left would say if a Liberal leader’s wife did (they claim) almost as little as a Labor leader’s male partner:

“She is useless in terms of how little she really gives the community,” Mrs Whitlam is quoted as saying.
“She doesn’t even go to the old people’s homes that Howard visits… If you’ve got a wife, your wife should be there, too.
“You have certain obligations to make the most of the position, to accept invitations, to support charitable causes, to let yourself be known to the people of Australia…
“What on earth does she do with her time?’’ she says in the biography, by Susan Mitchell.
Mrs Howard declined to comment on the criticism.

But her recent engagements include a fundraiser for a youth charity last Friday, a private lunch in support of cancer research organisation Centenary Institute on Monday, and a dinner hosted by the National Breast Cancer Foundation on Tuesday.


What would the BBC say if these men were Murdoch’s instead?

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER162012(8:32am)

Stephen Glover last year noted the BBC’s frantically hostile coverage of Rupert Murdoch - matched here by the ABC and Fairfax, and leading to the disastrous push for tougher media restrictions:

BBC coverage ... has been unremittingly hostile to Mr Murdoch and his newspapers over the past couple of weeks....  Anyone with a grouse against Rupert Murdoch is invited to dilate without any requirement to produce evidence. A Panorama ‘special’ about him on BBC1 on Monday evening was a straightforward hatchet job in which ‘victims’ of the News of the World (some of them men whom you would not necessarily invite home to meet your mother) queued up to denigrate him and his newspapers. Barely a word was said in his favour…
My point is that the BBC has not treated Rupert Murdoch fairly. It has conjured up a rampant monster…

As an institution, the BBC loathes Murdoch because he has brilliantly built BSkyB into a formidable programming rival… And, of course, many Left-leaning BBC journalists (which means most of them) regard him as an anti-Christ for being Right-wing, unashamedly pro-American, and a free marketeer.
Boris Johnson in May also noted the ferocious, self-congratulatory and self-serving BBC coverage of Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World scandal:
... the prevailing view of Beeb newsrooms is, with honourable exceptions, statist, corporatist, defeatist, anti-business, Europhile and, above all, overwhelmingly biased to the Left.

Of course they are: the whole lot of them are funded by the taxpayer… In all its lavish coverage of Murdoch, hacking and BSkyB, the BBC never properly explains the reasons why other media organisations – including the BBC – want to shaft a free-market competitor…

The non-Murdoch media have their guns trained on Murdoch, while the Beeb continues to destroy the business case of its private sector rivals with taxpayer-funded websites and electronic media of all kinds.
But now BBC reporters must confront this horrible thought: is in fact the BBC the biggest repository of evil?

Lee Travis was held at his home in Bedfordshire on Thursday morning by detectives from Operation Yewtree, the investigation into allegations of sexual abuse by Jimmy Savile and others.

He is the fourth person to be arrested after the former popstar Gary Glitter, whose real name is Paul Gadd, the comedian Freddie Starr, and the former BBC producer Wilfred De’Ath.


AWU scandal - How the AWU tried to hide Wilson’s frauds

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER162012(8:20am)

 The AWU scandal
SENIOR union figures effectively covered up a fraud scandal revolving around the AWU and Bruce Wilson, then Julia Gillard’s boyfriend and legal client, according to the diaries of the union’s then national leader.

In a September 15, 1995, diary entry, Australian Workers Union head Ian Cambridge described the concealment to a union official as “a bit like the Watergate scandal ...”.
His diary described how the cover-up was helped by a majority vote by the union’s national executive to pay large redundancy cheques of AWU members’ money to three men - Mr Wilson, his bagman Ralph Blewitt and their friend, Bill “the Greek” Telikostoglou - despite fresh and compelling evidence of their involvement in serious fraud.

Law firm Slater & Gordon was involved in negotiating more than $100,000 in redundancy for the men. Ms Gillard worked at Slater & Gordon and acted for the AWU prior to her departure in September 1995 after she admitted helping to set up a “slush fund” for Mr Wilson. There is no evidence Ms Gillard had any knowledge of the redundancy payments. The Prime Minister has repeatedly and vehemently denied any wrongdoing, saying she knew nothing of the operations of the fund, which were used by Mr Wilson and Mr Blewitt to misappropriate union funds.
DUMPED attorney-general Robert McClelland has vouched for the integrity of Fair Work commissioner Ian Cambridge, who kept a detailed diary of his investigations into alleged union fraud in the 1990s involving the former boyfriend of Julia Gillard…
“He (Cambridge) was one of the most competent and decent trade union officials that I have had the honour of working for. He was incredibly thorough and diligent in everything he did,” Mr McClelland told The Australian yesterday.
Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop is suspicious about the disappearance of crucial documents:
Ms Bishop yesterday questioned why a number of files relating to the establishment of the union slush fund known as the AWU Workplace Reform Association had disappeared....

“This raises concerns about . . . the deliberate destruction of evidentiary documents.”

In a period of just 48 hours ... Gillard’s position had changed from opposition to a royal commission to walking out of the cabinet room and announcing an inquiry into “institutional responses to instances and allegations of child abuse in Australia"…

Yet the tale of the second calls for a royal commission - into misappropriation and misuse of union funds and questionable practices that may have put workers’ health and safety at risk - is one of slow prevarication where policy outcomes do not suit Labor’s political agenda.

Calls for royal commissions - from union leaders mostly - into the alleged misuse of Health Services Union funds and alleged fraudulent misappropriation of more than $600,000 from an Australian Workers Union slush fund have fallen on deaf ears.

The alleged institutional union protection from officials “averting their eyes”, lack of police investigations, members and officials’ outrage, overlong Fair Work Australia investigations and missing documents have not attracted swift - or any - decision on an inquiry.
Which lawyer helped to set up this other fund for Julia Gillard’s then boyfriend? And are such funds too easily turned into an opportunity for something much like blackmail - extorting money for the benefit of union leaders in exchange for industrial peace? 

The corporate payments were reportedly made between December 1994 and July 1995…

The account dates to around the time of a separate fund, the AWU Workplace Reform Association, that has garnered much attention of late. That fund had been set up by AWU official Bruce Wilson, who at the time was dating Prime Minister Julia Gillard while she was working at the law firm Slater & Gordon. 

In the 1990s, the aura around Bruce Wilson of the Australian Workers Union was such that he was touted as a future prime minister. Our Prime Minister made a decision to begin a relationship with him. Partners of law firms don’t recommend having relationships with people who work in their clients’ businesses. It is not considered appropriate to put yourself in a potentially compromising position. The worst can happen, and for our Prime Minister it did. ..

Gillard ... won praise for an hour-long press conference in which she left us with the impression that to set up a trust fund was a grave offence whereas to set up a slush fund was OK.

Our Prime Minister has no more time for the AWU scandal; she has a country to run.

But ... Ralph Blewitt, the man who is at the centre of the AWU slush fund matter, is poised to tell all he knows to police… This confusing story will be worth paying attention to. Sit up, take notice and be bothered with the detail… Soon things will get very bad or very good, depending on your bent.


Labor making it hard for business to earn what Labor spends

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER162012(8:07am)

Business once was in Labor’s pocket. Now it’s hard to find a senior business leader with a good word for this Government: 
MORE company closures, increased offshoring and fewer local jobs will be the inevitable result of the Gillard government’s pro-union approach, according to a savage critique of Labor’s workplace policy record by the traditionally moderate Australian Industry Group… 

Aside from increasing union power in more than 120 areas through the Fair Work Act, [AI Group chief executive Innes Willox] says, the pro-union changes include: the watering down of the building watchdog; more generous taxpayer-funded redundancy payments; pay rises of up to 45 per cent for social and community sector workers; and a road transport tribunal with strong powers to impose new pay rates.

Mr Willox also cites increased union entry rights in the textile sector, tougher cabotage arrangements put in place for foreign-flagged ships and new laws that will force state governments to pay contractors the same as public servants. “The traffic over the past two years has been all one way and it has gone in the wrong direction,” Mr Willox says.
This plea fits in which what I’ve argued is a potent manifesto for a resurgent Kevin Rudd - should he get the chance to replace this bitterly divisive Prime Minister:
BUSINESS Council of Australia president Tony Shepherd has urged a more conciliatory and inclusive approach to dealings between business and governments, urging each side not to see the other as “combatants”.

In a speech to the annual dinner for the premier business lobby group, attended by 500 business leaders and politicians, including Julia Gillard, Mr Shepherd called for an “inclusive, positive” vision for Australia.
Gillard concedes the antipathy from business - which John Howard says is well earned:
Prime Minister Julia Gillard asked leaders of the business community last night to put aside their dislike of her government and give it credit for its AAA credit rating, investments in education and skills, and the Asian Century white paper…

Former Liberal Party prime minister John Howard told The Australian Financial Review that the government was “tone deaf to the legitimate concerns of the business community” and called for changes to the industrial relations system.


Greeks declare war on Germany

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER162012(7:56am)

The European Union was created to defuse tensions in Europe and make conflict less likely:

The protesters also tried to kick and punch Wolfgang Hoelscher-Obermaier on the sidelines of a conference on Greek-German trade initiatives ...  as loudspeakers erected by protest organisers blared a Nazi military marching song…
Other members of the German delegation were pelted with eggs by the group that numbered around 300 people, according to police…
The incident came a day after German deputy labour minister Hans-Joachim Fuchtel said three Greek municipal staff members were required to complete tasks accomplished by a single German…

German officials have ... accused Greece of dragging its feet on reforms and wasting precious time bought by EU-IMF loans, to which Berlin is a major contributor.


Better to hear confessions in secret than none by dobbing

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER162012(6:50am)

The anti-confessional argument rests on an assumption that the confessions [to child sex abuse] are taking place. Even if that’s true there’s no reason to assume they will keep coming.

When people confess, they do so with a guarantee of confidentiality. Do we really think people will continue to confess if we take that guarantee away? And if the confessions stop, does that really help at all? The confessional seal means the priest cannot reveal the identity of the paedophile. But he can encourage the paedophile to turn himself in to the authorities or get psychiatric treatment. He could recommend the paedophile resign his position. He can even warn a third party that a particular child is at risk of abuse, provided he doesn’t say from whom.

Sure, that’s not as satisfying as taking a sledgehammer to the abuser. But it’s better than nothing. I’d rather the confession take place confidentially than not at all.

Our discussion on 2GB in this very point is here. 


Has anything Flannery predicted come true?

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER162012(12:00am)

Leading environmentalist Professor Tim Flannery has warned that Australia is now entering long-term climate change, which could cause longer and more frequent droughts.

Previous assessments of global drought have relied on the Palmer Drought Severity Index, which only accounts for temperature, and does not consider sunlight, humidity or wind. These assessments have falsely indicated that global drought will increase as the planet warms.
The paper’s authors show that when these additional factors are included, worldwide drought has actual changed very little since 1950.

Paper co-author Michael Roderick from the Australian National University saidglobal warming does not necessarily lead to more droughts.

(WASHINGTON)—Congressman Allen West (R-FL) released this statement today regarding the Hamas attacks on Israel”

“For the first time in some 20 years, enemy rockets and missiles have fallen near the Israeli city of Tel Aviv. The government of Israel has noted that, since the beginning of 2012, more than 768 rockets have been fired into Israel from Gaza, and over 12,000 in the past 12 years. Israel
, like any nation, has the right to defend itself against such vicious attacks. There is no justification for the violence that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing against the people of Israel. I strongly condemn the actions of a known radical Islamic terrorist organization, Hamas.

Hamas claims to have the best interests of the Palestinian people at heart, yet it continues to engage in violence that does nothing but set back the Palestinian cause. Attacking Israel on a near daily basis does nothing to help Palestinians in Gaza, nor to move the Palestinian people any closer to achieving self-determination and independence. My greater concern is the alliance between the Muslim Brotherhood-controlled government of Egypt and Hamas. Egypt possesses a modern military force and if under the control of radical Islamists, namely Salafists and the Muslim Brotherhood, could pose a serious threat to Israel from the Sinai desert. Further exacerbating this situation are the unaccounted for shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles that escaped from Libya.

From the north, we must recognize the potential threat from Hasan Nasrallah and Hezbollah with their medium- and long-range rockets and missiles. Since the 11thanniversary of 9-11 United States Embassy and Consulate attacks, we have seen a growing threat in the Middle East. This threat, the common radical Islamic enemy of Israel and America, now feels emboldened from a foreign policy of appeasement, the so-called pivot from the Middle East, and a posture of “provocative weakness.” Indeed the enemies of Israel paid attention to actions, not words or phone calls, and since President Obama decided not to visit our best ally, they associated that with a green light.

Our best response at this time would be a demonstration of naval strength, such as to move an Amphibious Ready Group (ARG)/Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) into theater to provide a show of force in support of Israel. We also should have additional missile defense systems alerted for deployment.

Now is a time when Israel, the world, and their enemies must know, by action, that the United States of America will never abandon the State of Israel and that never again, truly means never again.
Bad policy is always tempting. There must be a feeling of liberation administrators might feel at implementing such a policy. A feeling almost as good as the satisfaction a student feels at being up to date or ahead. In denying a challenge,
we deny the reward. Homework is a real problem for some families. They might not have room at home for study. It might mess up a routine of chaos. Then there are families where homework plays a role, where parents interact with their child in a new setting and meet challenges successfully. But where homework is a problem, it is rarely (I believe never) the root problem. Banning it won't solve the problem struggling families have, but will cause issues for families that successfully incorporate it.
Learning isn't linear, although logic has a consecutive nature. It is tempting to turn to mastery and basic algorithm feeling that if a technique is transmitted the rest will follow. That is just frustrating for the majority of children. Children like routine and activity, but that doesn't mean any child likes to be routinely whipped. Providing multiple cues which make new material accessible to a student is a challenge to any teacher and it takes experience before some become comfortable. Consider the example of the best Victorian Educators .. they insisted good teachers let students 'discover' their answers. That is counter to the Mastery school.

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