Happy birthday and many happy returns Dean Koenig, Bill Giang and Lucidel Resto. Born on the same day, across the years. Remember, birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
Labor says it will use Barack Obama’s tactics to destroy Tony Abbott. Campaign and polling guru Mark Textor on what Labor will try, how Abbott should respond and whether he can survive. Don’t miss it.
Plus blog readers’ favorite Amanda Vanstone and Richard Dennis of the Australia Institute.
Topics: the green dream popped? Treasury debauched? The faked “war on women” and plenty more.
On Channel 10 tomorrow, 10am and 4.30pm.
On 2GB last night with Steve Price and guests Jim Wallace and Terry McCrann. On Greg Combet’s bulls---, on government promises and lying to Christians, on the dropping of the Internet filter, on my change of mind, on the “fiscal cliff”, on t advice to Richie Benaud and more. Listen here.
Quite a healthy move:
BILLIONAIRE Clive Palmer has been suspended from the Liberal National Party after a damaging split emerged between the mining magnate and the party.The suspension, effective immediately, follows an extraordinary spray yesterday in which he attacked the LNP Government’s leadership and demanded Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney and Treasurer Tim Nicholls be removed.Mr Palmer condemned his suspension as “undemocratic”, saying he was given no written notification or chance to respond to the suspension.
The Australian Financial Review on the AWU scandal that’s slowing dragging down the Prime Minister:
Julia Gillard had reason to be feeling good when federal Parliament rose last week. The polls were continuing to improve for the Prime Minister and the ALP. The release of the Asian Century white paper finally gave a structure to the government’s agenda for the next election. Ms Gillard held the ascendancy in Parliament over Tony Abbott, who was facing his own pressures and demons.But all was not well. Not only was the government in conflict with its cross benches about the budget, but the controversy over Gillard’s role in a 17-year-old union corruption scandal had been revived.After a marathon press conference on August 23, the Prime Minister declared done and dealt with the saga of her role as a lawyer at Slater & Gordon in the establishment of a fund in 1992 by her then boyfriend, Australian Workers Union official Bruce Wilson, which Gillard believed to be for the purpose of his re-election but was subsequently alleged to have been used to corruptly siphon off $400,000.She would deal with any questions journalists had about the matter at that press conference, she declared on the day, but after that the matter would be closed.Unfortunately for Gillard, new material has emerged, the opposition has got it all, and there is a deep concern within the government that she remains both vulnerable to a renewed focus on the issue and dangerously resistant to discussing it with her colleagues.
The AFR’s review of the case against Gillard does not suggest a smoking gun. Yet. But the circumstantial case is growing compelling, and more may yet be revealed. Soon.
Chris Kenny says a gun-shy Opposition was going to sit this one out until Gillard got very personal with her infamous misogyny speech:
Suddenly it didn’t make sense to take the high road by avoiding personal scrutiny of Gillard when, in return, she indulged in vitriolic character assassination....Two days later Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop asked in parliament if, once Gillard became aware of Wilson’s fraudulent use of the slush fund she had helped to establish, she informed the appropriate authorities. The Prime Minister said: “… I remind the Deputy Leader of the Opposition that, in relation to these matters, there were police investigations that did ensue.”That, of course, did not answer the question.Bishop asked a similar question this month, and Gillard replied: “By the time the matters she refers to came to my attention they were already the subject of inquiry and investigation.”Gillard’s non-answers are problematic. On one hand she has ducked the issue by saying inquiries were under way, on the other she said in Laos this week that she could not report to authorities “things I did not know”.Importantly, however, Gillard clearly knew of the existence of the slush fund that she had helped to establish. On the evidence so far, it seems neither Gillard nor her firm alerted their client (AWU) or the police to this slush fund’s existence in 1995.Bishop will continue to probe, focusing on precisely when Gillard became aware of the fraudulent use of the slush fund, and why she didn’t report what she knew about the slush fund to the AWU or the police.
So oppositions will ask anything. I believe the Prime Minister has responded effectively to these questions so far. I believe the Prime Minister’s account of this period goes directly to the questions which have been asked.I believe she has provided a strong set of statements in the press conference that she gave some weeks ago on this subject, and responded directly to the questions which were put to her.
Is Rudd thinking other questions may arise, do arise, should arise?
The Government is blamed, and the children, too:
THE mother of a teenager killed in a triple fatality claims the Victorian Department of Human Services abandoned her family weeks ago, and is to blame for the tragedy.Christine Kite, mother of 14-year-old Yasmein Irfan, who died in the crash, said the department walked away from her family three weeks ago.“I always think she’s going to come back home,” a grieving Ms Kite told Channel Seven News.“It’s a nightmare. I want teenagers to learn from this.”
A small hint at where some real responsibility lies:
TERRI Leticq was a Goony kid, one of a mob of children who would spend most afternoons hanging around the Goonawarra shops on the road into Sunbury. She was pretty and sweet. And never stood much of a chance.When Terri was still in primary school, her father was stabbed to death in a Melbourne boarding house. He was living there because he kept breaking into local shops to feed his smack habit.Not long after, her mother died, also of heroin. Terri died this week when the stolen Toyota she was driving at high speed skidded off the road and ploughed into a concrete barrier.Six kids were in the car. Three of them died. Yasmein Irfan, 14, was Terri’s best friend. Brandon Johnson was only 12.All the kids were known to Victoria’s Department of Human Services, all part of the same anti-social network.
David Karoly, whose paper claiming unprecedented warming in Australasia had to be withdrawn, tells the ABC - in a story on climate change and bushfires - that Mildura residents have never been so hot and dry:
ABC Watch checks the data from the BOM website based on stations 76077 (the post office) and 76031 (the nearby airport). Note: there does not appear to be a continuously monitored site.
Drier? From BOM:
Mean Rainfall station 76077 1889-1949: 266.6mmMean Rainfall station 76031 1946-2011: 293.1mmHotter? From BOMMean Max temp station 76077 1889-1949: 24.6 degrees CMean Max temp station 76031 1946-2011: 23.8 degrees CMean Min temp station 76077 1889-1949: 10.4 degrees CMean Min temp station 76031 1946-2011: 10.3 degrees C
The economy is still growing reasonably well. The trouble is the Government has simply blown money it doesn’t have, plunging us into debt during a boom and leaving nothing to save us from a downturn:
THE cancellation of resource projects is clouding Australia’s growth prospects,leading the Reserve Bank to forecast that the run of GDP growth at 3 per cent or more will come to an end next year...
The bank’s forecast that growth will not rise above 2.75 per cent in 2014, dipping as low as 2.5 per cent in the first half of the year, appears more subdued than Treasury’s outlook, and highlights the difficulty the government will confront in returning its budget to surplus.
The Government tipped only last month that growth would be 3 per cent, already down 0.25 per cent from the May Budget..
TAXPAYER grants to childcare workers will be more than tripled and rolled out nationally under a bold plan to offer employees up to $3500 to receive formal qualifications that meet tough new quality standards.The new standards are designed to transform centres into learning, rather than babysitting, environments but have been criticised by the opposition and some parts of the childcare sector for being too expensive and ultimately costing parents through increased fees.
I thought at first it was the Benghazi affair that claimed a CIA scalp, but it’s actually more serious, it seems:
Central Intelligence Agency Director David Petraeus has resigned, citing an extra-marital affair, NBC News reported.“Yesterday afternoon, I went to the White House and asked the President to be allowed, for personal reasons, to resign from my position,” Petraeus said in his resignation letter. “After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair. Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours.”
The office fling is now one of the most dangerous of workplace accidents:
So what’s an authorised “close personal relationship”, and who hands out the authorisation? Are they on standby on Friday nights?
The defence budget has been looted to pay for handouts. No wonder our allies are worried:
THE newly re-elected Obama administration has signalled it is unhappy with the Gillard government’s cuts to Australia’s defence spending and will take it up at a top-level meeting next week...In the May budget, the government cut Australia’s defence spending as a share of GDP to its smallest level since 1938…Asked about the spending cut, Dr [Kurt] Campbell, the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said: “I know this is one of the topics we are going to be addressing at the Ausmin in Perth next week.“I’ve signalled that it is important. We count on Australia in so many ways. This is one of the topics that we’re going to be engaging closely on.”
Climate Change Minister Greg Combet on Tony Abbott:
You want to hear real bulls--- on global warming? Then hear it from someone who isn’t Tony Abbott:
”We’ve got parts of our country, some of our great icons like the Barrier Reef, that are really at risk from climate change. “”… looking at tidal power. What a great source of renewable energy for our country. What a great source of jobs for the future.””We’ll see agricultural land in the Murray Darling Basin no longer able to be used for agriculture.”
You are sick of bulls---, Greg? Then tell your own leader to can it.
SYDNEY’S scandals of the week have centred on St Johns College, the sandstone Catholic residential hall at the University of Sydney. Tales of drunkenness, vandalism, bizarre initiation ceremonies and an oafish, menacing sexism have filled the media.St Johns, these reports and talkback have suggested, has combined the debauchery of National Lampoon’s Animal House with the blind privilege of Evelyn Waugh’s Decline and Fall to create a uniquely noxious culture. And few have omitted to mention that its best known product is Tony Abbott.The episode has left Liberals worried - and suspicious.They have seen successful personal campaigns waged against the leaders of the conservative parties in Britain and the US, campaigns that have often been begun and driven by activist opponents in social media and that have spilt over into the mainstream.
It is less about the conventional measures of performance - things achieved, promises kept, mistakes made, money wasted, jobs created or lost - but affinity. The like button.
In the age of Facebook and Twitter, this means the smear has never been been so powerful, the tribal so rampant. And, of course, the trivial so king.
It started with the worm on TV debates, instant “feelings” of the audience. Absolutely against any normal reasoning for arguments of an issue.The FB and tweeter has just amplified the process. We are supposed to solve every problem with our feelings. Not even arguably, the biggest user of Facebook is females. Who targeted the female vote in the US elections? Obama, his appearance on “The View” was calculated and successful.
Here’s a note of caution for President Obama and the Democrats: “Begin with the facts: A 51-48 percent victory is not a mandate.” Surprisingly enough, the source of this warning is E.J. Dionne, the Washington Post’s perennial liberal triumphalist.It gets less surprising when you realize he wrote that in 2004: “Two nearly equal sides are engaged today, as they were on Tuesday, in a long-term struggle to make inroads into the other’s patch. . . . On Wednesday [George W.] Bush told those who voted against him: ‘I will do all I can do to deserve your trust.’ Mr. President, I truly hope you realize how much work you have to do.”You won’t be surprised to learn that Dionne is taking the opposite tack today: “Now Obama will have the strongest argument a politician can offer. Repeatedly, he asked the voters to settle Washington’s squabbles in his favor. On Tuesday, they did. And so a president who took office four years ago on a wave of emotion may now have behind him something more valuable and durable: a majority that thought hard about his stewardship and decided to let him finish the job he had begun.”