Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the Minister for Innovation Kim Carr today welcomed the launch of the Australian-made Holden Cruze at the company’s Elizabeth Plant in South Australia.The Gillard Government is very proud to have supported the production of this low emission car through a $149 million investment from the Government’s New Car Plan for a Greener Future.
Let us look at the Holden Ltd Enterprise Agreement. It was made with six unions… Between 1997 and 2010 the company gave pay increases of 63.33 per cent, a median increase of 4.87 per cent a year, hardly appropriate for a struggling business relying on government support… Yet the agreement prohibits the company from increasing, decreasing or rearranging the workforce without union approval… Holden cannot choose the labour hire company; they can only use a business selected by the unions.
The federal government has announced $275 million to keep Holden in Australia, as Manufacturing Minister Greg Combet warned that without government support, the car manufacturer would likely shut down in Australia.Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the investment - shared by the South Australian and Victorian governments -today in a bid to keep the car manufacturer in the country until at least 2022.
Cruze sales were down some 40.0 per cent to just 1875 units – the small car’s worst month since September 2009, 18 months before local production commenced – while the small-car segment overall rose 3.3 per cent.
HOLDEN has announced it will axe 170 manufacturing jobs at its factory in Elizabeth South Australia because of record-low sales of the Commodore and softening demand for its Cruze small car.
With all those subsidies, these cars should be free.
Chris Bowen four weeks ago:
Will be sent in a matter of weeks - or months? AAP’s report today suggests significant delays:
Australia is giving $8 million in aid to PNG’s Manus Island, where it is planning to build an asylum seeker detention centre.The Australian high commissioner to Papua New Guinea, Ian Kemish, says the aid, already committed before the asylum centre was planned, will pay for medical scholarships and equipment, and for schools to be built on the small collection of islands that make up Manus province.The aid is coming amid ongoing uncertainty over landowner concerns about the deal, as well as the threat of legal action to halt the opening of the facility…The high commissioner’s statement said a joint assessment mission made up of development experts from AusAid and PNG’s Department of National Planning is scheduled to visit Manus next week to conduct a needs assessment.
(Thanks to reader John.)
Chris Murphy seems to me to be a classic Leftist apparatchik - licensed by the imagined wickedness of their enemies to be even crueler.
In this case it is not just his nastiness that strikes me. After all, so many of his tweets are equally mean. There is also here the strong suggestion of racism - a patronising and demeaning suggestion that all Aborigines must think alike, and those who dissent from the tribalist pieties must have been put up to it by some racist white, and are too stupid, of course, to know it. It is using Anderson’s race to discredit or at least stifle her argument.
Here is Anderson’s article on the black welfarism that has beggared so many bush communities.
And here is Murphy, gently taken to task by James Jeffrey of The Australian:
Note, of course, how Murphy simply dismisses the argument put by Anderson as racist without any attempt to counter it with logic and evidence. This is argument by abuse.
(Thanks to reader Gab.)
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott was asked today to explain his vision. Off the cuff, he gavean excellent response, eschewing the Grand Plan of Big Government for a plan that allows the blossoming of the dreams of others:
My vision is for a people who are freer, prouder and more prosperous. And the end of government is to try to bring that about.That’s why lower taxes, smaller government and greater freedom is the liberal part of my soul.Respect for families and values that have stood the test of time is the conservative part of my soul.And running a very practical, can-this-be-achieved ruler over everything is the pragmatic part of my soul.The Coalition, at its best, will always be an enlightened blend of liberalism, conservatism and pragmatism.
On with Steve Price from 8pm. Listen live here.
Last night’s show: listen here.
I’m told we get 2 million downloads a month, apart from our live audience. Where are you all listening from?
A top month of page impressions for the blog: 3,115,547 in August from 362,000 unique browsers.
We had a dip when the comments weren’t being moderated but have bounced back strongly. I suspect interest in the AWU scandal has helped.
Thank you for your support. No readers, no blog.
Questions for Gillard, the union scandals, Slipper’s new perk and more. With Michael Kroger, Bruce Hawker and the Opposition Leader in the Senate, Eric Abetz.
On Channel 10 at 10am and 4.30pm.
The site for the 2GB podcasts is being switched. I’ll have the new link soon.
Thanks for your interest. Podcasts of my session with Steve Price scored 2 million downloads last month.
Meet the man Julia Gillard claimed seemed just the genuine investor who would buy her boyfriend a new home, and for whom she did free legal work kept hidden from her partners:
FIRST blush, Ralph Blewitt’s CV sings: Vietnam veteran, union state secretary, man of means with a home in Perth and an investment property in the heart of fashionable Fitzroy.
Julia Gillard certainly had no reason to doubt his credentials back in the early 1990s when she was a partner at Slater & Gordon and the Australian Workers Union was her client - or at least not that she has ever admitted.
When the West Australian branch of the union needed what was officially described as an association to further the noble interests of workplace reform, safety and training - but what she knew all along was to be a slush fund - it was Blewitt’s name on the paperwork and Gillard’s deft legal touch that got it through the registration hoops.
She was more than happy, when word came that Blewitt wanted to buy an investment property in Melbourne, to help find the right place, to do a freebie on the conveyancing, to sort out finance through her law firm’s loan facility and, for good measure, to turn up at the auction with her boyfriend to make sure everything went to plan for the absentee landlord.
When a few disgruntled union rivals started agitating against Blewitt and published some unflattering pamphlets, it was Gillard’s legal colleagues who pounced with a defamation writ that stopped them in their tracks.
Asked at a media conference in August whether, in her many dealings with him over several years, she had ever had reason to find Ralph Blewitt to be a ‘’shonky’’ character, the Prime Minister replied: ‘’That’s a question that no one could answer. Did I have any reason to believe that Mr Blewitt was involved in the kind of conduct that has subsequently come to light? No, I did not.’’
The ‘’kind of conduct’’ alluded to by Ms Gillard was, in fact, one of the biggest union rorts in Australian history, a scam in which her then boyfriend and senior AWU official Bruce Wilson, in collusion with Blewitt, set up a bogus union reform association from which more than $400,000 in corporate contributions was stolen, including more than $100,000 that went towards the purchase of a residential property in Fitzroy.
Gillard, whose legal advice was central in establishing the association and buying the unit, insists she knew nothing about the corruption of the AWU Workplace Reform Association until it was exposed in August 1995, after which she ditched her boyfriend and left her job at Slater & Gordon under a cloud of acrimony.
Gillard says she was ‘’deceived’’ by Wilson during their four-year relationship. By extension, she was also deceived by Blewitt, and that deception lasted almost as long and was maintained through the many and complex dealings on legal matters in which he ostensibly was her key client.
Read on and learn how young and naive Gillard must have been as a partner at Slater & Gordon to think Blewitt a kosher investor.
Talk about buried. The Sydney Morning Herald this morning does not have this story on itshome page. To find it, you find have to click on “National Times” and then on “More Political News”.
Do they want people not to read this or something?
Sinclair Davidson has the transcript of the questioning of Gillard in Parliament yesterday. The key passages:
Ms JULIE BISHOP (Curtin—Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (14:41): My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer to her claim on 23 August that she had no involvement with the AWU workplace reform fund after she helped set it up in early 1992. I refer the Prime Minister to the power of attorney, which I have a copy of, that caries the Prime Minister’s signature as a witness on 4 February 1993 from Mr Ralph Blewett to Mr Bruce Wilson. Mr Blewett has stated publicly that he did not sign the power of attorney on that date and nor did he sign it in your presence. Did the Prime Minister witness this document in the presence of Mr Blewett and on the date nominated?…Ms JULIE BISHOP: I refer to her claim on 23 August that she had no involvement in the AWU fund after setting it up in early 1992. I refer to this article by Hedley Thomas, which states that the Prime Minister and Bernard Murphy were advising Ralph Blewitt in a defamation action. The article said:Mr Blewitt said the defamation action was vital to silence dissenters because if they had succeeded in ousting him the slush fund … would have been exposed …Does the Prime Minister agree that this was the purpose of the action?…Ms JULIE BISHOP: I have a supplementary question for the Prime Minister..: Given the Prime Minister’s involvement in the power of attorney in early 1993 and in the defamation case in late 1993, how can the Prime Minister continue to claim, as she did to journalists at her press conference on 23 August, that her involvement in the AWU fund ceased in early 1992?
To all this, Gillard has offered but one answer of any substance whatever:
Ms GILLARD (Lalor—Prime Minister) (14:59): I continue to stand by what I said at that press conference. What I said at that press conference was the truth.
Could the second half of that statement be construed as misleading Parliament?
On Radio National Breakfast this morning, Fran Kelly and guests Michelle Grattan and Paul Bongiorno discuss the Abbott, Abbott and Abbott - how his carbon tax attack is running out of steam, the polls are against him and the Climate Change Minister told jokes about him. Fran finally wraps up by noting they hadn’t got around to discussing Julia Gillard’s apparent dropping of her promise to return the Budget to surplus - which I suggest actually would have more relevance to the lives of taxpayers than anything discussed to that point. Not a single word is said of the AWU scandal that featured so heavily in Question Time yesterday.
The ABC’s Lateline last night has an item on Greg Combet mocking Tony Abbott but not a word on Julie Bishop asking Julia Gillard to explain her (allegedly unwitting) involvement in an association using stolen money. Sneering at Abbott is of higher priority than holding the Prime Minister to account.
An anthology of the questions Julia Gillard refused this week to answer:
(Via reader Stu.)
We must get out of the lazy, dishonest habit of screaming “racist” at whites who speak the uncomfortable truths Alison Anderson now addresses:
ONE of the nation’s most senior indigenous politicians yesterday rebuked those of her people who rely on welfare, saying they need to grow up and stop resorting to the “dangerous conversation of endless complaint”.Northern Territory Indigenous Advancement Minister Alison Anderson told the Territory’s Legislative Assembly that she “despaired at the reluctance” of some of her brethren to take available jobs.“I look at the men of Yirrkala and ask why they will not drive the 20km to Nhulunbuy to earn excellent money in the mine and the processing plant there,” she said in her first major speech since taking the cabinet role.“It is the kind of question the rest of Australia has been asking for years, as it tries to connect the dots, tries to understand why a long-running mining boom can exist literally next door to a culture of entitlement and welfare dependency.”She criticised those who expected the government to “do everything for them”, saying the world was looking on and “wondering if we are children”. Ms Anderson said that in her travels to remote communities she would be arguing “with adults who refuse to grow up”.“In the rest of Australia, people pick up the rubbish in their yards. They fix their own blocked toilets,” Ms Anderson said.
Anderson, if white, would run the risk of being taken to court under the Racial Discrimination Act for these comments.
But describing symptoms is one thing. Even harder to prescribe the cure, which in my opinion involves closing the welfare ghettos of many bush communities and moving more children out of the most dysfunctional, to give them an education that is their only hope of independence. Of course, this will involve ending the romanticisation of Aboriginal culture and ending the myth of the “stolen generation” - the claim that up to 100,000 children were “stolen” from their families by racist officials simply because they were Aboriginal.
Dare we still say such things? Is it still legal?
Liberal MP Alan Tudge was Noel Pearson’s deputy director in Cape York and helped establish a corporate secondment program into remote indigenous communities. He alerts me to this conclusion he drew:
Our policy governing remote communities for the last forty years has been based on Indigenous exceptionalism. This has probably not been intentional, but it has been implicit in our actions. There has been an assumption that remote Indigenous people are fundamentally different from others. We have assumed that they can prosper in a welfare economy when no other people on earth have done so. We have assumed that they can develop new business models in locations when few others have been successful. We have assumed that their culture can survive even if their society is breaking down around them.
It is time we abandoned this exceptionalism and accepted that Indigenous Australians are just like everybody else. No group of people can prosper unless they are engaged in the real economy.
Julia Gillard once confessed the Australian Workers Union Workplace Reform Association she helped to register was in fact a “slush fund” for the re-election of her boyfriend and like-minded officials. (She says she didn’t know her boyfriend then used it to rip off bosses and workers.)
But industrial relations consultant Grace Collier in the Financial Review says it’s a very odd “slush fund”:
A proper fund is communal, fully owned by all the workers in the union branch, for a defined purpose and publicly administrated as a matter of internal union business.The association the Prime Minister helped set up was not a re-election fund. The AWU Workplace Reform Association was secret. Other than the Prime Minister, only two men, both union secretaries of different branches, knew of its existence. Just under $900,000 passed through the fund in the few years it existed. This is an astonishing amount of money, especially for the times.The main contributor to the fund were companies. Police suspect the payments were secret commissions, perhaps the companies thought they were paying for industrial peace on a job site.Other than Ms Gillard, there are two others that know the extent of the Prime Minister’s hand in this. One of these two has said via the media that he is ready to testify about the Prime Minister’s involvement, in exchange for immunity. The authorities have ignored him.Only if he follows correct procedure and properly presents himself to the police and makes a statement will the matter become serious. The other man will be then forced to either deny the allegations or cut a deal and tell what he knows about Ms Gillard’s involvement.
Julia Gillard can forgive misogynists, after all, as long as they give her their vote:
PETER Slipper can keep his passport current after being nominated by the government for the prestigious parliamentary foreign affairs committee.Robert McClelland, who was dumped from the ministry earlier this year, agreed to stand aside and join the privileges committee to make way for Mr Slipper.Government Whip Joel Fitzgibbon nominated Mr Slipper yesterday after the former speaker, who resigned last month after obscene texts in which he likened female genitalia to mussels, were made public…MPs on the foreign affairs committee can expect to travel in delegations overseas.
This couldn’t have hurt Slipper’s chances:
FORMER speaker Peter Slipper has launched a scathing attack on his one-time Coalition colleagues, Tony Abbott and deputy leader Julie Bishop, over their opposition to the government’s wheat deregulation bill…‘’It’s all about naked politics. This is all about preserving the flawed and fatal and terminal leadership of the Leader of the Opposition,’’ he said.
(Thanks to reader the Great Waisuli.)
Pardon? Immigration Minister Chris Bowen says he decided this week that 26 Sri Lankans who turned up by boat this week didn’t make credible claims for asylum so he’s sent them back already.
The ABC says his department claims “they didn’t make credible or legitimate claims to asylum” and “made no reference to Australia being obliged under the UN convention for refugees to consider their claims”. Sounds a bit like the dictation test under the White Australia policy.
Amazing. What happened to Labor’s long insistence on juducial review and limits to ministerial discretion? Bowen must be desperate.
So turning back boat people can be done, after all. And twice in one week.
More on the Government’s dramatic change of tack:
The crackdown on refusing to even process asylum seekers and return them to their place of origin - if they fail to make a proper claim for assessment - is the first use of what are considered broad, but rarely used, powers under federal laws. While 14 Sri Lankans were returned at the weekend using similar provisions, the primary reason for their return was to face possible charges of piracy after they allegedly hijacked a fishing vessel to seek passage to Australia.But Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has now approved the use of stricter assessment of whether asylum seekers claims actually trigger Australia’s international obligations, following a spike in arrivals from Sri Lanka.
“As with the particular case of those people returned to Sri Lanka last week, there are powers available to the government to return people where they do not engage Australia’s international obligations and, when appropriate, we certainly intend to use them,” Mr Bowen said.
The virtual turn-back policy gives effect to the demands by the Coalition but does not risk lives at sea by simply turning boats back. Instead, people would be returned by plane in cases where their claims were not deemed credible.
The last paragraph is mere face-saving spin.
The price of Labor’s anti-dams faith is passed on to Melburnians:
THE average Melbourne household can expect their water bill to jump by a massive $290 next financial year to pay for the problem-plagued desalination plant....Those prices are based on the assumption that no desal water is ordered...
That’s right. That’s $290 more for each household for just the desal plant. If you want water, that’s extra.
Dennis Shanahan says chances are there will be no early election:
The reality now is that there will not be an election before Christmas unless Julia Gillard cancels her scheduled trip to Laos on Sunday morning, diverts from the airport to Yarralumla and nominates December 8 for a House of Representatives-only election.
Nor is the option of a March 2013 house-only election a real probability. Elections are always an option but as never before during this term of the minority Labor government has it appeared more certain that the election for the House of Representatives and half the Senate will be held between August and December next year.It is also most likely that Gillard and Abbott will be the leaders who contest that election.
Given all of this relative certainty, Abbott needs to jettison his over-zealous pursuit of an “early election” and prepare for what is essentially a six or seven-month election campaign that will effectively begin in January next year.
Shanahan is right - Abbott now must become more the prime minister in waiting. More gravitas. But dropping the attack on the carbon tax - a symbol of Labor deceit and needless cost-of-living pressure - would be a mistake:
Abbott’s anti-carbon tax campaign has worked in regaining the Coalition base support, it has damaged Gillard’s credibility and concentrated on the public’s top-of-mind issues - cost of living and power prices. Gillard and Greg Combet, as climate change champion, have highlighted household compensation for power bills and concentrated on Abbott’s “relentless negativity”, “scare campaign” and “mendacious claims” as they pressure him to drop the carbon tax campaign as “flogging a dead horse”.
Of course, Abbott won’t and can’t stop his carbon tax campaign because it would be suicidal for his credibility and a shift from a genuine area of public concern. There is clear evidence that Abbott’s aggressive campaign against the carbon tax has cost him personal support. His daily media appearance in a fluoro vest or hard hat is losing its appeal and appropriateness as the Opposition Leader needs to become more authoritative and considered.
Already this week it is clear Abbott is starting to introduce changes to his style, the way he uses his colleagues and the emphasis on the Coalition’s attack.
Julie Bishop as Liberal deputy - and a woman - has been taking greater weight in the increasingly bitter and desperate parliamentary fight with Gillard, and Joe Hockey (wisely sans fluoro vest) has started to appear beside Abbott and engage Wayne Swan more on the economy.
THE son of the ALP kingpin Eddie Obeid told a car dealer and close friend that he needed to secure a top-of-the-line Honda CRV for the former NSW treasurer Eric Roozendaal because he ‘’had done a few favours for dad’’, a corruption inquiry has heard.The Independent Commission Against Corruption was also told that Obeid Corporation paid $10,800 towards the $44,000 purchase, which had the effect of giving Mr Roozendaal a sweetheart deal on the car.‘’It does seem plain,’’ counsel assisting the inquiry, Geoffrey Watson, SC, said, ‘’that Mr Roozendaal received a kind of gift from Moses Obeid, yet Mr Roozendaal appears not to have recorded the gift on the parliamentary register.‘’Mr Obeid and his family are very active businessmen, involved in a number of different enterprises, many of which could benefit from different types of decisions that a minister might make.’’Thursday marked the opening of a five-month inquiry into some of the most senior cabinet ministers in the former state government. It will focus not only on allegations concerning Mr Roozendaal’s purchase in 2007 but also accusations that coal licences worth millions of dollars were issued corruptly.
Roosendaal insists he did nothing wrong.