Monday, November 19, 2012

Mon 19th Nov Todays News


Happy birthday and many happy returns Andrew Mo andNguyet Le. Born on the same day, across the years. Remember, birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
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Births

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[edit]Holidays and observances


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Missing AWU scandal files “found”

Piers Akerman – Monday, November 19, 2012 (5:02pm)

CRITICAL FILES relating to the growing AWU scandal and Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s former boyfriend Bruce Wilson which had disappeared from the federal archive in Queensland have been found.
The files, which relate to attempts by the AWU to recover money paid to Wilson and his union associate Ralph Blewitt, have been recovered in Melbourne.
The files contain the claims made by former AWU boss and ALP power broker Bill Ludwig to the Industrial Registrar for the recovery of the money paid to the dodgy union officials.
On Saturday, The Weekend Australian revealed that the files lodged with the Industrial Relations Court’s Queensland registry in 1995 by the former AWU national president had been lost in the past nine months.
This afternoon, deputy Opposition leader Julie Bishop called on the federal court to protect all files relating to the AWU and the AWU Reform Association which Gillard has said she set up as a slush fund for her former boyfriend.
“The federal court must conduct an immediate audit of all files relating to these matters and give them official protection to prevent any possible destruction of material that may be called on as evidence in future,” Bishop told me.
Files are still missing in WA and NSW.
Among the files missing in NSW is the original affidavit made by former AWU official Ian Cambridge, a respected member of the industrial community, and the original conveyancing documents for a Melbourne property bought by Wilson in Blewitt’s name at an auction which Gillard attended.
Gillard arranged for Labor law firm Slater & Gordon, where she was a partner, to provide a portion of the money for the mortgage on the property.
She also waived the firm’s fee for work done by the firm on the conveyancing for Blewitt.
The Australian revealed last month that the file held by the State Records Office in Perth on the AWU Workplace Reform Association was empty.
It should contain key documents from 1992, when the association was registered by the West Australian government.
Slater & Gordon also has disclosed that it cannot find its file on the association.
The Federal Court documents were filed by Mr Ludwig in a bid to recover the large redundancies paid to Wilson and other AWU officials—including his bagman Blewitt and their friend Bill Telikostoglou, whom Gillard called “Bill the Greek”.
According to retired lawyer and union historian Harry Nowicki, the files contain affidavits from key players and the details of the meetings in which the AWU became aware of fraudulent activity.
These include the national executive meeting of August 16, 1995, which voted to pay large redundancy cheques of AWU members’ money.
The WA Premier, Colin Barnett said on Sunday he would seek an explanation from the State Records Office about the missing file of public documents relating to the union slush fund when he received a formal complaint. That was being prepared today.
Paperwork for the creation of the association set up by Gillard and allegedly used by her former boyfriend to plunder funds, was filed with the WA Commissioner for Corporate Affairs in 1992, and should be contained in the missing State Records Office file.
There is no evidence Ms Gillard knew about the alleged frauds and she has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. In August she said she provided legal advice to set up the slush fund but knew nothing about its workings until 1995.
Federal Housing Minister Brendan O’Connor told the ABC’s Insiders program on Sunday people were “sick of the smear” in relation to Ms Gillard’s role in the AWU saga and attempted to smear Bishop by referring to her work for CSR on asbestos cases.
That attempt backfired however as Bishop actually ran two test cases for the industrial giant openly and transparently and rather than delaying the asbestos-related claims, ensured the speedy payment of hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation to asbestos victims when the cases were concluded. 

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Labor tries to smear Bishop without answering the real questions

Piers Akerman – Monday, November 19, 2012 (4:04am)

DISTRACTION ALERT! DISTRACTION ALERT!
Prime Minister Julia Gillard is heading off – again – for another photo opportunity with US President Barack Obama.
Forget for the moment that Obama has his own mushrooming problems with his administration’s account of its handling of the deadly attack on the US embassy in Benghazi, Libya, which saw four Americans including the local Ambassor, murdered by terrorists.
Concentrate on the very real credibility problem that has arisen for Gillard over her involvement with the former union boss Bruce Wilson, for whom she set up what she has described as a slush fund when she was a partner at Labor law firm Slater & Gordon.
Remember that at the time she set up the AWU Reform Association for Wilson, the AWU was a client of the law firm and that the so-called Reform Association actually had nothing to do with the AWU.
Get the picture?
Gillard has insisted she did nothing wrong but there are outstanding questions which she has never answered about the work she did for Wilson and what she knew about his fraudulent use of the funds that were paid into the slush fund.
Now the Labor Party is attempting to shift the focus onto the deputy Opposition leader Julie Bishop with claims that she “has some questions to answer” about her work as a lawyer.
Frontbencher Brendan O’Connor told the ABC’s Insider program yesterday Bishop should come clean about her own past as a lawyer, particularly when she acted for building products company CSR Ltd as it fought claims by former workers exposed to deadly asbestos fibres from its mine at Wittenoom, in Western Australia.
“Clearly there have been some matters arising out of her role as a lawyer at CSR where she used, allegedly, procedural tactics to deny victims of asbestosis their day in court,” he said.
“Now she wants to go around spending her entire time not involving herself in foreign affairs, as she is supposed to as shadow minister, but instead seek to smear the government and the Prime Minister with unsubstantiated allegations, and I think there are some questions that she should be answering as well.”
Bishop, who acted for CSR in the 1980s under her then married name Julie Gillon, told The Australian she was simply doing her job as a lawyer for CSR and denied any wrongdoing.
Last week she pledged to continue to press Gillard in parliament over the AWU issue, saying she still has questions to answer.
The Prime Minister has repeatedly and emphatically denied wrongdoing in relation to a union “slush fund” she helped set up for her former boyfriend and union official Bruce Wilson when she was a salaried partner at law firm Slater & Gordon. The fund was later used to defraud hundreds of thousands of dollars from the AWU. Gillard says she had no knowledge of the operations of the fund.
There is no evidence that she received union money, or that anyone other than Gillard paid for the renovations to her Abbotsford home in Melbourne’s inner-east in the mid-1990s.
Gillard last week failed to respond to detailed questions about $5000 allegedly paid into her bank account on the instruction of Wilson in mid 1995. She accused The Australian of a smear campaign and of “being unable to substantiate any allegations of wrongdoing”.
There are a number of problems with the smear campaign the Labor campaign is trying to mount against Bishop.
The first is that she there are transcripts of the cases she worked on and therefore a record.
The files relating to all of Gillard’s work on the slush fund have gone missing.
Second is that there were never any allegations that Bishop may have had a conflict or have acted improperly.
That is not the case with Gillard.
Further, Bishop is open to questions and Gillard is not.
Make up your own mind, but better still, why does not the Prime Minister just answer the questions that are being asked by all major news organisations except the ABC?
Launching another smear campaign is not going to make this issue disappear.

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TWITS HIT

Tim Blair – Monday, November 19, 2012 (5:07pm)

Leftists typically ruin everything they get their hands on, from education and public broadcasting to art and Eastern Europe. 
The latest victim is poor little Twitter, an ingeniously simple online publishing platform that ought be the perfect place for normal people to express themselves in posts of 140 characters or fewer. Naturally, leftists in Australia and elsewhere have turned it into a witless sewer of defamatory slurs.
A beautiful reckoning now looms, however. 

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RAAACIST

Tim Blair – Monday, November 19, 2012 (3:34pm)

US actor Rainn Wilson
Dear Australians - your vowels sound like a drunk translation robot left old cassette tapes of itself speaking in the hot sun. 

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CLIMATE SCRABBLE

Tim Blair – Monday, November 19, 2012 (3:23pm)

It used to simply be called “weather”, which for a few hundred years was all we needed as a base term to describe whatever was happening outside.

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GLOBAL POORING

Tim Blair – Monday, November 19, 2012 (3:08pm)

The World Bank warns: 
“A 4°C [warmer] world is likely to be one in which communities, cities and countries would experience severe disruptions, damage, and dislocation, with many of these risks spread unequally,” the report says.
“It is likely that the poor will suffer most …” 
They should get better jobs, then. And World Bank president Jim Yong Kim should quit his
Kim, a physician and former president of Dartmouth College who was tapped for the World Bank by US President Barack Obama, said that 97 per cent of scientists agreed that human activity was causing climate change.
“As someone who has lived in the world of science for a long time, 97 per cent is unheard-of consensus,” he said. 
It’s also a complete crock.
(Via Rob R.)

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CRASHNOST

Tim Blair – Monday, November 19, 2012 (1:46pm)

The best of Russian driving:



UPDATE. Driving aside, Russians do seem a calm bunch: 
Do not cross Aishat Maksudova. The Russian grandmother was tending to her livestock when a wolf attacked her village of Novo Biryuzyak, Dagestan. So she cooly axed it in the head. 

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Labor stalled at a terrible 47 to 53

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER192012(3:27pm)

The lead is buried in the story, which is run small on page 1 - unlike the screaming coverage of polls worse for the Opposition. But the message of today’s Age Nielsen poll is that even Labor’s most ferocious broadside against Abbott, backed by a media pack attack over the past two months and now an anti-Catholic witch-hunt, still cannot put it in touching distance of the Coalition: 
Labor’s national primary vote is steady on 34 per cent, while the Coalition’s vote has risen by 2 points to 45 per cent, and the Greens are up one to 12 per cent.
And remember the recent talk about the Opposition being “out of puff” on the carbon tax? 
image
These latest results could mark a turning in the prevailing narrative.
They will steady the Coalition’s nerves, and should restore what’s seemed a small lapse in the confidence of Tony Abbott, who cannot afford to look uncertain or inauthentic in attempts to seem less “aggressive”. With the AWU scandal becoming more compelling and the economy more urgent, we might now see Labor spinning getting less traction and the plainly preposterous attempts to verbal Abbott look simply desperate.
I mean by that the disgraceful attempts by people who know better to paint Abbott, of all people, as somehow insensitive to Aboriginal causes or clumsy by quoting this against him with the words in bold critically omitted:
I am very proud that the first indigenous member of the House of Representatives is Ken Wyatt who entered the parliament for the Liberal National Party for our Coalition…

I think it would be terrific if, as well as having an urban Aboriginal in our parliament, we had an Aboriginal person from central Australia, an authentic representative of the ancient cultures of central Australia in the parliament.
Much of the recent Abbott-baiting has been a transparent attempt to deflect criticism of what Gillard has actually done by whipping up indignation of what Abbott has merely said - or merely seemed to have said. It is to elevate seeming to the same moral and practical import are actual doing.
Hopefully we can now go back to be adults and critiquing a Government on its performance, and an Opposition on the alternative policies it offers.

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AWU scandal - How to divert the ABC and Age’s attention

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER192012(10:03am)

 The AWU scandal
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How easily can Labor spin Fairfax and ABC journalists, giving them an excuse to keep ignoring the AWU slush fund scandal?
Observe. 
Fran Kelly and Michelle Grattan this morning discussed the AWU scandal on ABC Radio Breakfast. Yes!
But the topic?  What Julie Bishop did as a lawyer for CSR in the asbestos case.
Grattan also writes a piece on Bishop - and not on Gillard - in The Age:
THE government has gone on the front foot against what it describes as the ‘’smearing’’ of Julia Gillard, with a counter-smear against Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop.
It questions the behaviour of Ms Bishop - who has recently carried the opposition attack over Ms Gillard’s involvement in the AWU affair - from when she was a solicitor acting for CSR in asbestos cases.
Good heavens.
Ladies, here’s a tip. As a lawyer for the CSR, Julie Bishop: 
- did not have an affair with a CSR board member,
- did not create a slush fund for her lover kept secret from the CSR board,
- did not create a file kept secret from her partners,
- did not prepare a slush fund with a deceptive name to make it seem it was for the benefit of CSR workers,
- did not fail to go to police when her lover used that fund to steal $400,000 meant to improve safety for CSR workers,
- did not help the lover (unwittingly) spend $100,000 of that stolen money to buy him a house,
- did not witness a power of attorney in her boyfriend’s favor that the donor claims was witnessed without him present and on a different date than the one stated.
- did not have anyone from CSR work on her renovations,
- did not have a builder she used turn up to CSR headquarters demanding payment, and
- did not get shown the door by her partners as a consequence of what she did.
Bishop did not do one of these things, which makes the analogy with Gillard’s work for lover Bruce Wilson not just preposterous but an insult to the intelligence of two political analysts to even discuss in preference to the real scandal staring them in the face.
(Gillard claims she did no wrong, did not know of her boyfriend’s scams and did not benefit from them. She says she did not know money for her boyfriend’s house came from the slush fund.)
UPDATE
Another way to quash the story is to pull strings and make life so dangerous and uncomfortable for media outlets that journalists asking questions get silenced.
Last year Fairfax forced out broadcaster Michael Smith after he asked “unauthorised questions” of the Prime Minister, and commentator Glenn Milne was dumped by Insiders and lost his column in The Australian (writing just one since) after the Prime Minister screamed at the then head of News Ltd about a trivial mistake in one piece on the scandal.
Now Gillard tries it again: 
TENSIONS between the media and Julia Gillard over her involvement in the AWU slush fund scandal are rumoured to have escalated with a complaint from the PM to Fairfax Media chief executive Greg Hywood over reporting of the matter by The Age’s editor-at-large Mark Baker.
Diary spoke with both Hywood and Baker about the claim of a complaint with very diplomatic responses. Hywood told Diary he could not possibly confirm or deny any conversation with the PM or her office, while Baker said simply: “I can’t talk about that.” 
Of course, another way to deal with the reporting is simply to answer the questions.

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Spending more than earning

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER192012(9:40am)

The problem with paying for long-term handouts based on earnings from short-term booms is that one day it will end very ugly
Australia is likely to fall off a “growth cliff” when the resources investment boom ends in the next few years because the economy is not becoming more productive, says Michael Chaney, chairman of National Australia Bank and Woodside Petroleum.
Economic growth was likely to slow to less than 2.5 per cent after 2015 because of burdens on business, including overlapping state and federal environmental regulations, and Labor’s industrial relations system, which made the workplace less ­flexible, along with other problems, he told The Australian Financial Review.
Mr Chaney’s warning is particularly significant because Woodside will soon make a decision on whether to build the $40 billion Browse gas project at James Price Point in ­Western Australia.
“Every major project under evaluation, including Browse, has to confront this issue,” he said.
And no Government surplus is being built up to save us from any correction.

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Another 195 boat people within 24 hours

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER192012(9:33am)

 Boat people policy
I was under the impression the boats had slowed this past week. Clearly not: 
TWO boats carrying 195 asylum seekers have been intercepted off Christmas Island.
The first boat, which was located on Friday night, was carrying 59 passengers and two crew.
The second boat, carrying 136 passengers and two crew, was intercepted on Saturday morning.All passengers have been transferred to Christmas Island where they will undergo security, health and identity checks.
(Thanks to reader Gab.)

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Column - Israel has no option, and Carr should say so

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER192012(9:11am)

The clashes in Israel just became so simple that only one question seems left. Will the war be small or big?
This year more than 600 rockets have been fired into Israel from the Palestinian enclave of Gaza, run by the Hamas terrorist group.
In past days those rockets have reached even the outskirts of tiny Israel’s two biggest cities, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Suddenly all the intricate haggling over boundaries, settlements and who-came-first is beside the point.
If terrorists in Timor started lobbing missiles into Melbourne and Sydney, almost every Australian would agree the time for negotiating was over and the time for bombing begun.
Israel is no different. It’s now bombed missile targets and Hamas centres in Gaza. Now up to 75,000 reservists are being called up for the land invasion of Gaza that is almost inevitable unless Hamas and the Islamic Jihad terrorists in its territory stop firing the
rockets now sending millions of Israelis scurrying for shelter. No state can let its people be terrorised like this.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard seems to understand this well. Foreign Minister Bob Carr not.
Gillard has unequivocally condemned Hamas, calling its rocket attacks “utterly unacceptable” and demanding it “cease these immediately”.
“Australia supports Israel’s right to defend itself against these indiscriminate attacks.”
But Carr, who for months said little publicly against Hamas rocket attacks until Israel hit back, now calls only on “both sides to exercise restraint”. Which suggests Carr just wants Israel to put up even with missile attacks on its biggest cities, since “restraint” is not a Hamas trait.
Talk about unreal.
If Carr is to usefully urge restraint on anyone, let it be on Egypt, now under the rule of the Hamas-friendly Muslim Brotherhood.
President Mohamed Morsi has now ordered his prime minister to visit Gaza to show solidarity, which threatens to up the stakes dramatically. At the other end of Israel is the terrorist territory of Lebanon’s Hezbollah, fed more missiles by Iran, which itself is pushing ahead with a nuclear weapons program.
Will the war be small or big? 

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Solidarity forever

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER192012(9:09am)

The victim of a pack smear by the BBC and tweeters of the Left walks into a restaurant...
Lord McAlpine was greeted with applause when he arrived for lunch at The Wolseley this week in a warm expression of support from fellow diners after he was wrongly linked to child abuse claims.
The manager of the famous restaurant on Piccadilly even said he “would not dream” of charging him for his meal …
Toxic tweeter and warmist hysteric George Monbiot, however, can’t even walk into theGuardian offices any more without feeling a very cold wind - whistling right through his wallet. More at the link.
UPDATE
Should we also have an inquiry into the ABC here, just as the Gillard Government ordered an inquiry into News Ltd on the basis of what a British paper did?
The scandal centres on BBC TV’s flagship current affairs programme, Newsnight.
On 2 November, Newsnight aired a report about sexual abuse in children’s homes in North Wales in the 1980s, which was apparently relentless, sadistic and carried out by a “pedophile ring” that included a high-ranking Tory politician…
There was soon a feeding frenzy on the internet, and before long Lord McAlpine, Treasurer of the Conservative Party under Margaret Thatcher, had been named ...
But it wasn’t true. It was fantasy…
In a profound irony, the list of people responsible for the Newsnight debacle reads like a roll-call of Leveson cheerleaders…
The Newsnight report was made by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.... The BIJ is intimately bound up with the Leveson inquiry ... Indeed, one of the BIJ’s trustees, Sir David Bell, is a senior adviser to the inquiry....
In short, the BIJ, producer of perhaps the most fact-free, scurrilous and sensationalist reports in British journalism this year, is overseen and backed by the very people who want the tabloids punished by Leveson for being fact-free, scurrilous and sensationalist.

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Column - Tim trapped on the sofa by sexism at the Lodge

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER192012(9:04am)

 Culture warsThe new morality
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IF THERE was a plan behind Tim Mathieson’s big media splash last week, it was surely to advertise The Lodge as free of sexism.
You know, sexism of that awful kind that just oozes out of that AbbottAbbottAbbott.
As the Herald Sun profile declared, with a front-page picture of the First Bloke cuddling a dog: “There’s no misogyny at play inthe home of Australia’s badass PM.”
No sexism at The Lodge? On the contrary: no female partner of a prime minister would ever get away with the lounging lifestyle described by the unemployed hairdresser from Shepparton.

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Why have the Greens not damned the terrorists of Gaza?

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER192012(9:00am)

This year alone, at least 1500 rockets have now been fired on Israel from Gaza, with about 12,000 fired in the past 12 years…
In response to this incessant terror, last week Israel began Operation Pillar of Defence, starting with the elimination of Ahmed Jabari, one of the leaders of Hamas. Jabari was an arch-terrorist directly responsible for planning, orchestrating and personally ordering countless terrorist bombings, rocket attacks and suicide operations, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of innocent Israelis.
But here is why I’m angry.
I’m angry that the world notices only when Israel undertakes its most basic sovereign right to defend its citizens. Can you imagine if even one rocket were fired on Washington, London, Moscow or Sydney? ...
I’m angry that there are those who continue to call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against the Jewish State, such as those in the Greens Party, but are silent in the face of Palestinian terror.

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Rudd backers fear Gillard’s cuts to defence

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER192012(8:57am)

Kevin Rudd and his backers are right to be furious the Gillard Government has slashed our ability to defend ourselves, needing quick cash for giveaways:
FORMER defence minister Joel Fitzgibbon has called for an increase in Defence spending to 2 per cent of GDP even as the Gillard government embarks on a round of spending cuts that have caused widespread dismay in the military…
Arguing that the possibility of state-on-state conflict “is with us still and sadly, always will be”, Mr Fitzgibbon says Australia’s first defence policy priority should be “to maintain our capacity to defend our continent without the assistance of others”.
“This may be taken as folly to some but on that question, I make the point: well spent, 2 per cent of GDP gives us huge deterrence capacity, particularly if we maintain a strong submarine capability and remain at the forefront on cyber capability. That’s why the 2009 Defence White Paper gave these platforms particular prominence.”
Spending 2 per cent of GDP on Defence would be a huge rise from the current level of 1.56 per cent…
There has been speculation that unhappiness over the cuts to the Defence budget were among the reasons for defence secretary Duncan Lewis’s departure for a diplomatic post in Europe.
The US is also deeply worried by Gillard’s gutting of defence spending.

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Labor looks green, but trees look dead

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER192012(8:52am)

 Politics - deceits and stuff upsThe green movement
Another dud green scheme from Labor - all seeming and no doing, with taxpayers again losing millions:
ONE of the nation’s largest tree planting schemes has become an expensive failure with the majority of the 2.5 million trees planted under the River Murray Forest project now dead because of poor planning, drought and a ban on watering.
Former premier Mike Rann allocated $5.7 million to the scheme in a bid to woo the Greens before the 2007 South Australian election…
At the 2007 program launch the former premier also pushed the eco benefits of the plantings, saying the natives, once established, would absorb 12,800 tonnes of carbon dioxide, equal to taking 35,000 cars off the road. 

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Rudd’s backers furious at Gillard’s gutting of defence

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER192012(8:52am)

Kevin Rudd and his backers are right to be furious the Gillard Government has slashed our ability to defend ourselves, needing quick cash for giveaways:
FORMER defence minister Joel Fitzgibbon has called for an increase in Defence spending to 2 per cent of GDP even as the Gillard government embarks on a round of spending cuts that have caused widespread dismay in the military…
Arguing that the possibility of state-on-state conflict “is with us still and sadly, always will be”, Mr Fitzgibbon says Australia’s first defence policy priority should be “to maintain our capacity to defend our continent without the assistance of others”.
“This may be taken as folly to some but on that question, I make the point: well spent, 2 per cent of GDP gives us huge deterrence capacity, particularly if we maintain a strong submarine capability and remain at the forefront on cyber capability. That’s why the 2009 Defence White Paper gave these platforms particular prominence.”
Spending 2 per cent of GDP on Defence would be a huge rise from the current level of 1.56 per cent…
There has been speculation that unhappiness over the cuts to the Defence budget were among the reasons for defence secretary Duncan Lewis’s departure for a diplomatic post in Europe.
The US is also deeply worried by Gillard’s gutting of defence spending, and has said so privately and publicly. 

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We should be free to criticise Gillard are roughly as any male

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER192012(7:16am)

Ann Althouse could actually be talking about defenders of Julia Gillard rather than Susan Rice: 
Women serving in positions of power are subject to the same criticisms as men, and efforts to defend them that are premised on the idea that women deserve special protection, solicitude, or respect or that deploy metaphors from the realm of domestic violence are perversely implying that women do not belong in power. It is absolutely disgusting to defend Susan Rice this way. If we were required to moderate our criticism of women in power, we would need to oppose having women in power in order to preserve our freedom ...
The suggestion — even implicit — that there is a requirement like this is offensive and retrograde. 
(Via Instapundit.)

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AWU scandal - fourth file goes missing from court archives

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER192012(6:53am)

 The AWU scandal
A fourth set of crucial documents on the AWU slush fund scandals has also gone missing - and also from court archives:
... former industrial lawyer Harry Nowicki has told The Age a box of records is also missing from the New South Wales Federal Court registry, including a crucial affidavit and supporting documents assembled by AWU whistleblower and now Fair Work Australia commissioner Ian Cambridge.
Mr Nowicki said the NSW documents, which could not be located by court staff when he visited Sydney in September, were also believed to include the original copy of a Slater & Gordon conveyancing file for the 1993 purchase of a Fitzroy unit with more than $100,000 stolen from the AWU Workplace Reform Association. 
The property was purchased by AWU official Bruce Wilson, Ms Gillard’s then boyfriend, in the name of union crony Ralph Blewitt, who had never seen the unit. Ms Gillard has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
Extraordinary. What are the odds that so many files innocently vanish?
Slater & Gordon confirmed last month it could not locate an unofficial file prepared by Ms Gillard when she was a partner at the firm in the early 1990s and advised on the incorporation of the Workplace Reform Association.
It was later confirmed that a file in the West Australian state archives relating to the incorporation was empty…
Federal Court officials confirmed on Friday that key documents filed with the Queensland Industrial Court registry in 1995 by former AWU national president Bill Ludwig could not be found.
As Julie Bishop explained yesterday, a box for the Federal Court files in Queensland was found, but was empty. And a police investigation may be needed into what seems a cover-up:

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Add compensation, and this could become Australia’s Salem

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER192012(6:46am)

This already looks like turning into a sprawling monster, where much is alleged and little proven:
A FLOOD of new sexual-abuse claims against Australian religious institutions has emerged in the six days since Julia Gillard launched a royal commission, but concerns are growing that it risks becoming “unwieldy”, as law firms begin advertising for victims wanting compensation.
Victim advocacy group Broken Rites said it had received an unprecedented number of new claims and Bravehearts said there had been an 82 per cent spike in telephone calls since last Monday.
Adults Surviving Child Abuse president Cathy Kezelman said the group had received a 400 per cent spike in calls.
I also fear it will be like the “stolen generations” inquiry and the royal commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody - where a heightened atmosphere of moral fervor will lead many to embroider their victim narratives and seek witches for what ails them.
Great wrong was done to many children, and they deserve justice. Great wrong was done by the Catholic church, and also by people in other institutions. But the answer to these crimes is not the justice of the pointed finger.
UPDATE
Reader Mother G:
Andrew, this comes from the heart as I spent time in a “childrens home”. I fear, unless properly balanced, this Royal Commission is going to be a witch hunt with more money paid to the legal eagles than anyone else. I said my piece in 2004 at the Senate Inquiry and will not go down that road again. I did my healing after. There is an absolute need for child abuse to be stopped but this seems by some (ABC) to be a hunt againt religion, particularly the Catholic church. I am not a catholic and know it was not the only church involved. The worst abuses I know of were in state institutions.
UPDATE
But don’t blame the lawyers. They are simply reacting to the fact that this royal commission is rapidly taking on many of the characteristics of a cargo cult: compensation dollars are expected to fall from the heavens while wrongdoers are expected to be punished…
By positioning themselves on compensation, lawyers are pointing to just one more issue that should have been resolved before deciding to proceed with this royal commission.
UPDATE
Greg Craven, vice chancellor of the Australian Catholic University:
THERE are some ideas so bad they need to be killed quickly. Not just to protect those affected by them, but those pushing them.
Breaking the seal of the Catholic confessional is such an albatross. Pursue it, and Australia will carry a human rights cross through a constitutional minefield. The appeal is obvious. Why should a criminal priest unburden himself to his brethren without fear of disclosure?
The obvious fact that criminal clergy do not go to confession, and would not receive absolution unless they agreed to turn themselves in, is ignored. And if the seal is withdrawn, so will be the disclosures. But beyond this are immense constitutional and human rights problems.
First Section 116 of the Constitution bans the commonwealth from prohibiting the “free exercise of religion”. Few outside the Catholic Church understand confession. The sacrament is central to being a Catholic. Catholics must confess, and priests must hear their confession in absolute secrecy. The priest acts as the ear of God. In other words, a priest cannot be a priest and a Catholic cannot be a Catholic without the sealed confessional.
UPDATE
Was the royal commission the product of compassion and thought - or of politics? The Australian:
GRABBING headlines with ill-formed, populist proposals that are scant on detail is a habit the Gillard government finds hard to break. Think of the East Timor and Malaysian solutions, unfunded promises on the national disability insurance scheme and Gonski school reforms and now the royal commission into institutional child abuse.


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