Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thu 22nd Nov Todays News

Happy birthday and many happy returns Alexander Meluskey and Sunny Sivieng. Born on the same day, across the years. Remember, birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.

November 22Alphabet Day in Albania (1908); Thanksgiving in the United States (2012)
Orange Revolution protesters in Kiev




[edit]Holidays and observances

International Music Day


Abuse inquiry ignores the kids most at risk

Piers Akerman – Thursday, November 22, 2012 (5:52pm)

THE royal commission announced by the Prime Minister 11 days ago will do nothing for the majority of victims or those most vulnerable to child abuse - poor and Aboriginal children. 


OFFICIAL: Gillard’s boat people policy fails

Piers Akerman – Thursday, November 22, 2012 (4:05am)

ITS OFFICIAL: The Gillard government’s border protection policy has failed.
Arrive in Australia illegally by boat and be given a bridging visa and an effective welfare payment of around $440 a fortnight and a home in the community for as long as it takes for asylum claims to be processed.
At least the Coalition and Greens MPs were able to defeat Labor’s legislation which would have meant asylum seekers already in the community would have their bridging visas automatically renewed.
Labor has thrown in the towel.
Having laid siege to the Howard government’s successful border protection policy five years ago, and stripped it of any relevance, Labor has tacitly admitted that it has given up.
Yesterday it also announced the reopening of Pontville detention centre in Tasmania and a 300 bed expansion of Melbourne’s Immigration transit centre as it sent the first 19 men, women and children to Manus Island and flew 100 home to Sri Lanka on an RAAF jet.
Meanwhile, at least seven more people smuggler boats arrived since the weekend.
The Gillard government’s so-called Pacific Solution has been overwhelmed.
Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has conceded that Nauru and Manus can’t accommodate all the asylum-seekers intercepted since it was announced on August 13.
The government’s new “no-advantage” principle will now have to be applied to the overflow of unauthorised arrivals brought to Australia.
The principle requires asylum-seekers to wait for a refugee visa for as long as they would have if they had waited offshore to be settled through official channels.
About 7000 asylum-seekers have arrived since the new Pacific Solution was announced.
Opposition leader Tony Abbott said: “This government just doesn’t have its heart in it.”
“And for this government to say, oh look at the (19) that have gone to Manus when you’ve got 2000-plus coming every month demonstrates that they just don’t get it.”
Abbott said people who came to Australia could not expect “to be treated like they are staying in a four or five star hotel”.
“The people who have come illegally to this country need to know that they are breaking our laws and that they are, if I may say so, taking unfair advantage of our decency as a people,” he Abbott said.
“It is illegal to come to Australia without papers, without proper documentation, without adhering to the normal requirements that we expect of people coming to this country.”
The destruction of border protection can be fairly and squarely laid at the feet of the ALP and the Greens with the support of the flaccid Independents.
Limp and weak, they have undermined the border security of the nation and shown contempt for the wishes of the majority of Australians.



Tim Blair – Thursday, November 22, 2012 (5:29pm)

A press release from the ABC: 
In an exclusive television interview, Leigh Sales speaks to Nick Styant-Browne, a former equity partner at Slater and Gordon who also worked with Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
In a ground-breaking interview, he reveals new details and documents regarding Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s involvement with the establishment of a union slush fund.
7.30 airs tonight on ABC1. 
Let’s see.



Tim Blair – Thursday, November 22, 2012 (1:15pm)

Al Gore reveals
We call it dirty weather because dirty energy creates dirty weather. 
Genius. Next, Al might tell us where Dirty Dancing comes from.
UPDATE. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change isn’t going to Doha for the UN’s Climate Change Crapfest, and neither is Greg Combet. But it looks as though Al Gore is on his way, and his celebrated effect is already kicking in
The world’s climate has cooled during 2011 and 2012, temperature data from Britain’s Met Office reveals — just before this year’s talks on cutting global greenhouse gas emissions. 
Inconvenient, you might say.



Tim Blair – Thursday, November 22, 2012 (1:11pm)

This explains the accent
The incidence of traumatic brain injuries in New Zealand is at “epidemic proportions”, according to an Auckland scientist who found someone suffers such an incident every 15 minutes. 
Poor bloke. But there may be reason to question this analysis: 
The study, published in international medical journal The Lancet, estimates more than 36,000 new traumatic brain injuries occur in New Zealand each year. 
Lancet maths alert! Maybe they just counted all the hits landed on Shane Cameron last night.



Tim Blair – Thursday, November 22, 2012 (11:17am)

If we Australians can establish the belief that we are a distinct race and therefore subject to racism, the world will be our big, fat guilty oyster. 
And now it’s happening.
UPDATE. In other racial developments, James Taranto observes Democrat James Clyburn’s concern over accusations that UN Ambassador Susan Rice is incompetent
“These are code words,” Clyburn said, adding that “these kinds of terms that those of us – especially those of us who were born and raised in the South – we’ve been hearing these little words and phrases all of our lives and we get insulted by them.” 
As Taranto asks: “‘Incompetent’ is a code word for ‘black’?” If so, this allows for massive historical rewriting:
• Bill Clinton was the first incompetent President.
• “Say it loud, I’m incompetent and I’m proud.”
• Competent Men Can’t Jump.
• “Elvis brought incompetent music to a much wider audience.”
• “George Bush doesn’t care about incompetent people.”
• Once you go incompetent you never go back.



Tim Blair – Thursday, November 22, 2012 (3:16am)

“Hi Tim,” emails Anthony R. “Just wondering if you’d seen the latest appearance of the Clown of Doom.”


Beware, Ms Prime Minister. A genuine Doom Clown always foretells defeat.



Tim Blair – Thursday, November 22, 2012 (2:42am)

The Age reports: 
Legal experts have challenged Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s assertion it is ‘’illegal’’ for asylum seekers to arrive by boat in Australia.
Mr Abbott toughened his rhetoric against asylum seekers on Wednesday, saying more than 2000 are ‘’coming illegally to this country’’ every month without papers …
Quizzed by reporters in Perth on the illegality claims, Mr Abbott stood firm. 
Key phrase: “Quizzed by reporters.” But they weren’t so quizzy back in 2009, when Kevin Rudd was a rhetoric toughener: 
“First of all the Australian government makes no apologies whatsoever for deploying the most hardline measures necessary to deal with problems of illegal immigration into Australia,” Mr Rudd told ABC Radio today. 
Nor was there much quizziness in 2010
Labor has belatedly tacked towards the Coalition – lurched to the right, in the terms Kevin Rudd used in his late-night pre-resignation press conference – by seeking an offshore processing centre. Gillard also described the asylum-seekers as illegal immigrants, denounced the people-smugglers as evil and made plain her desire to stop the boats. 
And didn’t that work out well. Illegal immigration minister Chris Bowen now introduces policies thatLabor once opposed
The Australian Greens, refugee advocates and rights groups say the government has effectively resurrected the Howard government’s much-maligned Temporary Protection Visas. 
It’s all too much for one sensitive leftist
I am crying in the gym about Temporary Protection Visas. Please tell me it’s not true, not again.
There, there. Don’t let it ruin your spin class.


AWU scandal - Lawyer questions Gillard’s word

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER222012(8:01pm)

More evidence damning of Julia Gillard’s credibility:

A 1993 bank letter confirms that Ms Gillard - then a salaried partner with law firm Slater & Gordon - received an insurance certificate of currency, which was required for approval of a $150,000 mortgage provided by the firm’s loan department.
But Ms Gillard denied knowledge of the mortgage when challenged by the firm’s managing partners in late 1995, after they first discovered her involvement in the work.
“I don’t, I don’t think I knew that at the time,” she told senior partner Peter Gordon, according to new details of the interview obtained by The Age.

A West Australian fraud squad investigation in 1996 found the rest of the purchase money - more than $100,000 - had been siphoned from a union association by Bruce Wilson, Ms Gillard’s then boyfriend and a senior Australian Workers Union official.
The particular passage: 
Peter Gordon: “Were you aware at any time that the balance of the funds to make up the capital was to be provided by contributory mortgage of which Jonathan Rothfield (a Slater & Gordon partner) was trustee?”

Julia Gillard: “I don’t, I don’t think I knew that at the time, where the source of funds was. It’s subsequently been raised with me that that was done through the Slater & Gordon mortgage register but I didn’t have any recollection of that.”

The additional transcript material has been released by Nick Styant-Browne, another former equity partner in the firm, after he was contacted by The Age with questions about the mortgage.
More denials: 
A spokesman for Ms Gillard told The Age she stood by her statements in the interview with Mr Gordon and had no recollection of seeing the bank correspondence.

A Commonwealth Bank letter sent to Ms Gillard on March 22, 1993, shows she was involved in the property’s insurance, a prerequisite for the mortgage.
Addressed “Attention: Julia Gillard” and headed “Certificate of Currency”, the letter from the bank’s insurance department confirms the Kerr Street unit had been insured in the name of Ralph E. Blewitt.

“In accordance with your request, we advise the building/s are insured for $200,000 with the Commonwealth Bank Insurance Scheme and the policy is renewed until 18th March 1994,” it says.
Hmm. Rather conclusive, I’d have thought. Even more so:
On the same day the letter was sent, a handwritten note in the file headed “Bruce Wilson” refers to the certificate of currency from the Commonwealth Bank and adds: “Ralph spoke to Julia Gillard”.

The 400-page conveyancing file also shows that Ms Gillard waived professional fees on the conveyancing and loan work, sought and received a detailed briefing on penalty interest provisions for the mortgage and forwarded a cheque from Mr Blewitt for costs associated with the purchase. 
More denials and insults from Gillard’s office at the link.
Styant-Browne also went on the ABC’s 7.30 and repeated all this. It’s not dramatic, but no one listening would have doubted Styant-Browne’s integrity, seriousness, attention to detail and doubt of Gillard’s integrity.
Shadow Attorney-General George Brandis on 2GB tonight said the significance is that Gillard has now been shown to have known from almost the start about the nature of the transaction - the purchase of a house for her boyfriend in the name of Blewitt - and was “up to her neck” in it. Gillard, however, denies wrong doing.
Ben Fordham interviews Ralph Blewitt on 2GB. Blewitt refuses to comment on Gillard’s renovations. He explains his motivations. He has a ring of authenticity. Listen here.


2GB, November 22

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER222012(5:53pm)

With Steve Price from 8pm. Listen live here.
Last night’s show: the slush fund scandal and other stuff. Listen here.


ABC presenter makes hash of defending Gillard

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER222012(11:45am)

Melbourne ABC host Jon Faine was vehement today in defence of the Prime Minister, yet has not based his faith on facts. Let’s check his editorial:
…it’s to do with the slush fund that she was helping to establish for people who were acting as a group within the AWU at the time.
Fudge. Well, less than a group, Jon. It essentially operated just for Bruce Wilson and, to some extent, for his bagman, Ralph Blewett. And it was set up for their benefit as individuals, not AWU officials. 
Well, at that stage, I do remember laughing out loud on air and saying since when should a client not act for someone because they might be breaking the law?
Red herring. No one to my knowledge has ever suggested Gillard should not have taken as a client someone who “might be breaking the law”.
Then Julia Gillard was criticised for not dobbing in her clients when it became apparent that they might have broken the law.  Well, since when does a lawyer dob in their own clients to the police when someone is making a complaint about them? It’s alleged that she should herself have gone to the police, which is preposterous and would’ve been an unethical act, if not a breach of duty to her client and a breach of confidentiality.
Gross oversimplication. Misleading. Porbably false. Gillard actually had two clients here - her boyfriend, Wilson., and the AWU itself, which was her firm’s primary client. When she found out Wilson’s slush fund had fraudently taken funds ostensibly paid to what donors believed was the AWU for workplace safety for its members, she had a duty to at the very least notify the AWU. She did not.  She arguably could have also notifed police of the frauds when told about them without breaching anything told her her in confidence by Wilson, since they were brought to her attention not by Wilson himself but others. On this point, here is the opinion of former High Court judge Michael Kirby
Question from audience: Look, there are plenty of people in the legal profession that seem to have moral compass deficit disorder. If a lawyer naively helps a friend to set up a slush fund, and then subsequently finds that the friend has used it to misappropriate half a million dollars, is there a legal or moral obligation for the lawyer to report that to the police, the knowledge of that matter?
Kirby: It sounds as though it’s getting a little bit close to a real live problem and I know it could be presented as hypothetical, but I sort of have got very, very strong antennae and I can sniff out a real live problem pretty well. (Audience laughter). And I’ve gone out of the business of giving legal advice, but generally speaking, in our sort of society, if a person is aware of a serious crime and doesn’t report it to the police, that is what we call misprision of a felony; if there is a felony, you have to report it, it is a citizen’s duty. Now that law might have been modified in Victoria and other states, you’d have to look that up, but that’s the way the law generally operates.”
Here is High Court justice William Deane in Baker v Campbell, 1983:
Deane: Moreover, if the (doctrine of legal professional) privilege were confined to disclosure in judicial (or quasi-judicial) proceedings, it is difficult to explain why, logically, the lawyer who fails voluntarily to disclose the wrongdoing of his client to the appropriate administrative officer does not, in the absence of some particular justification, stand guilty of the offence of misprision of felony.
Meagher: Bankes LJ at page 526 when considering an allegation that the accountant had breached an implied term of confidentiality, said:
“ ... There may no doubt be cases to which the rule laid down by the learned judge may be applied, as for instance confidential communications to a professional adviser as to the proposed commission of a crime, or as to the proposed commission of a civil wrong upon an individual.  A contract to keep such a communication secret may well be considered an illegal contract, and the duty to the public to disclose the criminal or illegal intention may properly be held to override the private duty to respect and protect the client’s confidence.”..
Wood VC put it in vivid phrase: ‘There is no confidence as to the disclosure of iniquity.’
In Weld-Blundell v Stephens Bankes LJ rather suggested that the exception was limited to the proposed or contemplated commission of as crime or civil wrong; but I should have thought that was too limited.  The exception should extend to crimes frauds and misdeeds, both those actually committed as well as those in contemplation, provided always - and this is essential - that the disclosure is justified in the public interest.  The reason is because no private obligations can dispense with that universal one which lies on every member of the society to discover every design which may be formed, contrary to the laws of the society, to destroy the public welfare…
The disclosure must, I should think, be to one who has a proper interest to receive the information.  Thus it would be proper to disclose a crime to the police…
The existence of the exception to the privilege was firmly established in Australia following the obiter dictum in Varawa v Howard Smith & Co (1910) 10 CLR 382. At page 385 Griffith CJ said:
“The rule was laid down very distinctly by Lord Halsbury LC in Bullivant v The Attorney General for Victoria:
‘I think the broad propositions may be very simply stated:  for the perfect administration of justice, and for the protection of confidence which exists between a solicitor and his client, it has been established as a principle of public policy that those confidential communications shall not be subject to production.  But to that, of course, this limitation has been put, and justly put, that no Court can be called upon to protect communications which are in themselves parts of a criminal or unlawful proceeding.’
The rule is very well illustrated in the case of R. v Cox & Railton in which the communication stated and put in evidence was a communication made by a solicitor to his client for the purpose of enabling him to carry out an unlawful enterprise.” 
This says nothing about the duty to report; but once the privilege is removed, the shield vanishes and the ordinary duty cast on all citizens to report a threatened crime applies to the lawyer as well.
Moreover, Gillard, in explaining why she did not contact authorities about the frauds did not cite client confidentiality as an excuse. The reason she gave was that inquiries were already under way when she found out. There is reason to doubt the factual basis for this claim.
It’s alleged that at one stage she was party to a fraud, which has been met with stern letters from Julia Gillard’s lawyers, and you might notice a prominent apology published in The Age today, saying whoops, we might have gone too far.
False. Straw man. There was no such apology and no such admission by The Age. The item referred to is here. Check for yourself. Faine also oversimplifies in referring to allegations that Gillard “was party to a fraud” and then claiming this was false. In fact, the allegation has consistently been that Gillard created a slush fund used by her boyfriend to commit fraud, and that she insists she had no idea those frauds were intended or committed.
Then it was alleged that there were files that are missing and those files it seems now are turning up in the registrars of the Federal Court and elsewhere. Then it was alleged that files were missing at Slater and Gordon and it was pointed out that files get destroyed after seven or eight or so years because it’s actually just impossible to keep them all and on and on and on the allegations go.
Misleading. In fact, four files were alleged to have gone missing - two in the Federal Court, one in Slater & Gordon and one in the WA Corporate Affairs Commission. Only one of the files, in the Federal Court, has since been located. Slater & Gordon is unable to confirm what Faine implies - that it’s own missing file was destroyed as a matter of routine after seven or eight years. Indeed, it claims not to be sure the file even existed, although Gillard is recorded being questioned about it in a taped record of interview with her partners in 1995.
Today as you’ve already heard on AM, one of the key witnesses in inverted commas to all of this has arrived back in Australia. His name is Ralph Blewitt...
Smear. Blewitt is indeed a key witness, without inverted commas. Correspondence demonstrates he was one of the two people for whom Gillard helped to create the slush fund, and placed the notification of it in the press. Gillard also claims to have witnessed his donation of power of attorney to Wilson to buy a house in his name.
However, on arrival [Blewett has] already said that he knows nothing about events in Victoria, but he may be able to shed some insight into what was alleged to have gone on eighteen years ago in Western Australia. Of course Victoria Police don’t investigate things that happen in West Australia. The West Australia Police do, but that’s for Mr Blewitt, his lawyers and the Victoria Police to sort out between them.
Red herring. Misleading. The complaint Victoria Police are investigating relates to the power of attorney Gillard says she witnessed as a solicitor in Victoria, donated by Blewitt in favor of her boyfriend, Wilson. Blewitt alleges Gillard was not present when he made it out in Perth, and the document was backdated. Blewett claims it was misused by Wilson to purchase a property in Victoria in his name, using stolen funds. Blewett is also expected to discuss renovations to Julia Gillard’s Abbottsford house. All this is well within the scope of Victoria Police to investigate. Blewett’s reference to not knowing about events in Victoria refers to the creation and operation of a second slush fund created in Victoria by Wilson. Faine should know all this.
How could Faine be so sure Gillard has no questions to answer if he himself does not understand what’s been alleged or demonstrated?
It seems to me that Faine instinctively wants to clear Gillard without even knowing what the case against her is.
(Note: Gillard says she did not know of Wilson’s frauds and did not benefit from them. She did not know the house was brought with stolen funds. She says paid for all her own renovations.)
Michael Smith rang Faine for a right of reply, but was not given one.


How dare you not notice his colour

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER222012(10:04am)

It’s so confusing. I was told I’d broken the law last year by making assumptions about ancestry based in part on appearance. Yet now I’m told it’s offensive not to do this:
Jack Charles ...  was involved in setting up Australia’s first indigenous theatre group, Nindethana, at The Pram Factory in Melbourne in 1971… And then there is the colour of his skin. 

Yet that is not enough for the federal government’s arts funding body, the Australia Council, which has demanded Mr Charles prove his Aboriginality before it will consider his application for a grant to write a book.

But Mr Charles said he should not have to prove what is blindingly obvious.
I hope he sues them for racial discrimination.  Time we got a laugh from laws that have done so much damage to free speech, reason, humanism and the principle of judging each other as individuals.


Looking after the unions

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER222012(10:03am)

Labor makes it even more dangerous for employers to sack workers who happen to be union officials: 

The “industrial history” of a worker is among a series of attributes that will be further protected from discrimination under proposed changes announced this week by Attorney-General Nicola Roxon. The government’s exposure draft acknowledges the inclusion of the protected attributes are among the “most significant changes from existing commonwealth anti-discrimination law”.

Business groups, including the Australian Industry Group and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said yesterday they were concerned that workers were being given a third way of pursuing a legal remedy for alleged discrimination based on union activity.
The mounting attacks on our freedom to speak are positively sinister.
Simon Breheny of the IPA notes an extraordinary overreach by the Gillard Government in its proposed discrimination laws: 
For the first time ever, discrimination on the basis of “political opinions” will be unlawful. You can see the expanded list of grounds for discrimination in Section 17 of the bill here.

Further, the bill defines discrimination to be any “conduct that offends, insults or intimidates” another person (see Section 19 here). That means that expressing an opinion that offends someone else’s political opinions is now grounds for discrimination if it occurs in certain contexts, such as in the workplace.
This is a potentially extremely serious curtailment of freedom of speech.
It is easily foreseeable that as a result of these proposed laws, individuals or their employers will be taken to court simply because they expressed a political opinion in the workplace that someone else does not like. Clearly, this is an extraordinary limitation on free speech. It’s also likely to lead to a much more litigious environment in the workplace, as aggrieved employees are encouraged to take legal action to resolve their disagreements…

The Andrew Bolt case under Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act showed how ‘offend, insult, humiliate and intimidate’ on the basis of racial or ethnic characteristics can be used to silence free expression. These draft laws censor the expression of political opinion while working.


If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears…

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER222012(9:25am)

The Marngrook football show on ABC2 is to be axed. This is a panel show run by Aboriginal people discussing and celebrating Australian rules football.
So essentially a racist or at least race-based program, then.
I have grandchildren who are not allowed to watch the Channel 9 version; they are encouraged to watch Marngrook. It is a great moment in our troubled history when Aboriginal people are teaching whitey how to behave!
Hirst likes this racial division. I don’t. Each to their own, I guess.
There has been a long argument over whether Aboriginal football contributed to Australian rules. I think there may have been an influence, evident in the high mark and the quick open play.
I trust Hirst is more rigorous in his pursuit of evidence when writing his histories.
The presenters of Marngrook are Aboriginal and have a particular interest in Aboriginal players, present and past. It has a recognisable Aboriginal tone - the presenters call each other brother or bro ...
“Bro” is not a “recognisable Aboriginal tone” but an imported African American ghetto tone.
The standard fare of the show concerns the game, the teams, the players and of course predictions. When teams are listed, Aboriginal names are discreetly highlighted but not otherwise talked about.

This tribalism is healthy? We should have “race"-based programs where each “race” highlights and celebrates their own “bro” but not their “non-bro”?
The show began on community station Channel 31, migrated to the ABC and now the ABC, citing its cost (which must be minuscule), has chosen to ditch it.
So it existed perfectly well without the ABC having to spend taxpayers’ money on it? Excellent. Then we can save money while still having it exist for those that like this kind of thing, right?
If the ABC takes seriously its obligations to indigenous people, it would do anything rather than kill this show.
It has obligations to indigenous people? Ones that trump its obligations to us all, of whatever race?  Such as obligations to tax-payers and the general viewer?
The ABC and the government should adopt this fundamental principle: where there is Aboriginal initiative, nurture it. Billions have been spent on Aboriginal programs that have not worked. It may be time to spend only on projects that work.
This worked? As in was watched? Why are viewer numbers not mentioned anywhere?  We’re told by the ABC they were less than half the average of other ABC2 shows, whatever that works out to.
Marngrook is a different case. It is run by Aboriginal people who are far from remote communities...
So they aren’t the Aborigines in most poverty and in most need of help and inspiration?

Don’t talk about ratings or cost; when something like this emerges, treasure it.
Don’t worry if it isn’t watched? Costs a bomb? Takes up air time from other programs that taxpayers might value more?
If cost doesn’t matter to Hirst, perhaps he should reach very deep into his own pocket and fund the show himself.


Column - Giving the Greens a rocket

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER222012(8:58am)

 The green movement
Could Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon and the rest of her insanely anti-Israel party explain those hundreds of rockets being fired at Israel from Gaza?
You see, Rhiannon even this week was still claiming Gaza was ``the world’s biggest outdoor prison and . . . has been under blockade for quite some time’’.
Blockaded by Israel, that is, which Rhiannon wants to boycott ``as a way to promoting Palestinian human rights’’.
And it’s blockaded so wickedly that Greens leader Christine Milne on Tuesday tabled a motion in the Senate demanding the government get ``Israel to lift the blockade of Gaza’’.
(Has Hamas, the Islamist terrorist group which seized power in Gaza five years ago, learned the lesson from this? That the quickest way to get the Greens to spruik your cause is to shoot lots of rockets at Jews?)
But, about that blockade, Senators. From where came the nearly 2000 rockets fired from Gaza into Israel since January, including some powerful enough to hit Jerusalem and Tel Aviv?
The answer? Many from Iran. Some blockade, which lets such weaponry get smuggled in. Perhaps that blockade isn’t as strict as Rhiannon claims—certainly not along Gaza’s border with Egypt, now controlled by the Hamas-friendly Muslim Brotherhood.
Next question: If Gaza is the ``world’s biggest outdoor prison’’, strangled by a blockade so severe that Palestinians are left, as activists such as Professor Juan Cole like to claim, desperately short of food and medicine, why would Hamas be smuggling in rockets instead?
Strange priorities, especially when rockets are not weapons of self-defence but of offence. Of terror. Which, of course, is the stock in trade of Hamas, pledged to Israel’s destruction.
Next question about that blockade you oppose, Senators Rhiannon and Milne: Can you now understand why Israel, while allowing in food, medicine and other goods, does try to stop imports to Gaza of weapons and material to build them? Why it’s so suspicious of what Hamas would do if left free to bring in whatever it wants?
If Israel did not restrict dangerous imports to Gaza, would there now be more rockets or fewer? More dying or less?
Senators, doesn’t seeing Hamas fire off so many rockets make you at least consider how much mayhem would be unleashed if you really did manage to lift what blockade there still is?
Last question: If Hamas put as much effort into developing Gaza as it does into smuggling rockets, wouldn’t its people be safer, richer and more trusted by its neighbours?
Would a Hamas that created jobs rather than rockets be more likely to persuade Israel it wanted peace, and not Israel’s destruction?
Look at those rockets, Senators, and ask yourselves how smart it was to only now demand peace—only now that Israel has finally responded to many months of rockets fired at its civilians.
Ask yourselves if you’ve become a dupe of terrorists rather than a voice for ``human rights’’.
And if anyone thinks I’m being too hard on these allegedly well-meaning women, consider this morally bankrupt line from Milne’s Senate motion, the Greens’ final shame: The Greens have asked ``that the Senate note the disproportionate Israeli response in Gaza and that the parties to the conflict are not equivalent as Israel is the world’s fifth largest military power and Palestine has a weakened and constricted economy and is subject to restrictions on freedom of movement and goods in breach of international law’’.
What is grotesque about that paragraph is not what perhaps seems most obvious—that the Greens characterise this month’s fighting as between the ``military power’’ Israel and defenceless ``Palestine’’—when in fact Israel is finally defending itself after months of rocket attacks from Hamas terrorists.
No, most repulsive is that the Greens believe Israel’s self-defence is ``disproportionate’’—as in not enough Jews have died for Israel to now drop so many bombs on Hamas targets.
So excuse me if I ask Rhiannon and Milne one more question, after all: How many Jews must die before you let them defend themselves?
Some—including many in Hamas—think even six million wasn’t enough.
What’s your figure, ladies?
Will the Greens consider a few more injured Jews as sufficient to make Israel’s response “proportionate”, or is this still not enough? And has it anything criticism to make of Hamas for endorsing terrorist attacks aimed specifically at civilian targets? 
A bomb exploded on a bus in central Tel Aviv on Wednesday, wounding 15 people in what Israeli officials said was a terrorist attack that could complicate efforts to secure a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip… 

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri hailed the explosion.

“Hamas blesses the attack in Tel Aviv and sees it as a natural response to the Israeli Gaza,” he told Reuters.
John Lyons notes that “disproportionate” is exactly what Hamas is banking on, considering the more dead the better:


Don’t you dare call them Australian

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER222012(8:45am)

 Free speech
Being called Australian is abuse in Britain:

Ms Mills said she did yell at Ms O’Reilly [above] but that “it had nothing to do with racism”.
“I did not use the word Australian. I used to live with an Australian person. She was very nice,” Ms Mills said.
Judge Brian Donohue however saw things differently.

“The word Australian was used. It was racially aggravated and the main reason it was used was in hostility,” he said.
Please spare us such absurd laws in Australia.
Oops. Too late.
Stupid Australians.
Double oops. 


Column - The Labor ministers who knew about this slush fund

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER222012(8:40am)

 The AWU scandal
AUSTRALIA’S top law officer has kindly cleared the Prime Minister of any crookedness in helping create a “slush fund” used to steal workers’ money.
As Attorney-General Nicola Roxon put it: “I’m totally satisfied that Julia (Gillard) had not done anything improper or anything unlawful.”
And being young and naive, I am totally satisfied with the say-so of Roxon - who, like half a dozen government figures, was involved in this scandal in the 1990s and possibly knows more than she’s letting on.
Hmm. Labor sure has a tiny gene pool when so many ministers and faction bosses have personal involvement in the fallout of a scandal that started with what we’re told was totally proper legal work by a solicitor and partner of Slater & Gordon, as Gillard then was.
Some might say such a tight clique breeds a culture of cover-up, but surely that sells the Attorney-General short?
After all, Roxon is famous for her impartiality ever since she even-handedly helped sleazy Speaker Peter Slipper to slime a staffer who’d accused this upstanding abuser of expenses of being a sexual harasser as well.
Now Roxon is showing that even-handedness by clearing Gillard of doing anything woofy when she helped her then boyfriend, Australian Workers Union boss Bruce Wilson, create a personal “slush fund”.
It was an incorporated association they called the Australian Workers Union Workplace Reform Association, but it wasn’t actually the union’s and wasn’t just for workplace reform. It was essentially Wilson’s and it was for him.
Roxon professes to be totally satisfied Gillard acted properly even when she failed to go to the police on learning Wilson actually used the fund to steal $400,000, some of which he spent on buying himself a house - again it seems with Gillard’s help. (Gillard says she didn’t know the money was stolen.)
And the $5000 of Wilson’s cash reportedly dropped into Gillard’s account? Also no problem, says Roxon.
Attorneys-general don’t lightly clear people of impropriety, so I’m sure Roxon undertook extensive investigations before clearing the Prime Minister.
But what investigations exactly?
I’m sure her inquiry wouldn’t have been hard. Roxon could have started simply by consulting her own diary.


AWU scandal - Nobbling Baker

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER222012(8:24am)

 The AWU scandal
More evidence the Press Council should get the hell out of the way of public debates. It should not be possible that information revealed in a complaint to the Press Council is prevented from being used by the reporter to defend himself from a public sliming or to expose what seems a serious contradiction in a story being spun by a Prime Minister in a matter of great public interest: 
On 13 November The Age published two articles. The first was headlined ‘Firm contradicts Gillard’s claim’.

The opening paragraph stated: ‘Law firm Slater & Gordon has contradicted Julia Gillard’s claim that she was not in charge of legal work for the purchase in 1993 of a Fitzroy property later found to have been bought with stolen union money.’ 
Further paragraphs stated: ‘Slater & Gordon managing director Andrew Grech has confirmed Ms Gillard ”acted directly‘’ in the conveyancing work on the property purchase’. “The only documentary evidence Slater & Gordon was in possession of was that Ms Gillard acted directly for Mr Blewitt in relation to a conveyancing matter, a union dispute and a defamation matter,’’ he said.’ ...
The quote from Mr Grech was taken from a complaint laid with the Australian Press Council. The Age accepts that the statement should have been kept confidential, under Press Council rules, and has apologised for that breach. It is repeating the statement only because of the demands made to apologise for the story.
Slater & Gordon now says that its statement did not mean that Ms Gillard had ‘’direct responsibility for the conduct of the Blewitt conveyancing matter’’.

The Age has asked Slater & Gordon to clarify what ‘’acted directly for Mr Blewitt in relation to a conveyancing matter’’ means. The law firm has not answered this question but The Age accepts that its statement may not contradict the Prime Minister’s denial that she was in charge of the conveyancing file.
Once again, do you get the impression that people are playing games with words? The issue surely who wasn’t formally “in charge of the conveyancing file” but whether Gillard did work on the conveyancing that, arguably, should have had her asking questions about the source of the funds.
That is the issue. It seems to me Baker’s story infuriated the Prime Minister’s office because it destroyed the spin intended to obscure this point. The use of the Press Council and private approaches to the CEO of Fairfax to pull Baker into line are, in my opinion, sinister.  Debates should be settled by argument, not string-pulling and the cops. And they should be settled out in the open.
Among other things, we need a very sceptical inquiry into the use of the Press Council to quash debate and punish by process the journalists who challenge the prevailing Left line on political and social issues.
On that last point, I am prevented by the same Press Council rule cited by The Age from discussing a far more egregious example of the Press Council pushing an ideological agenda. More when I can. 


Caught between two scares

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER222012(8:06am)

Every global warmist should agree, but now the Left must pay for whipping up hysteria over nuclear with the same reckless disregard for truth with which they’re now whipping up hysteria about global warming:

The NSW public accounts committee report on the Economics of Energy Generation said government should avoid state subsidy schemes and not seek to pick energy winners.

But it found there were limits to existing renewable technologies such as wind and solar without a breakthrough in energy storage technologies, which should receive government research funding.


AWU scandal - Shorten concedes slush fund “unauthorised and inappropriate”

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER222012(7:55am)

 The AWU scandal
Bill Shorten somehow claims Julia Gillard did nothing wrong in helping to create an “unauthorised and inappropriate” slush fund used to rip off cash meant for union members:

Mr Shorten, a former national secretary of the AWU, was asked about the fund on Wednesday.
“That account was unauthorised by the union and it was an inappropriate account ... as far as I can tell,” he told ABC television…

“In terms of the prime minister’s explanations - I’m satisfied with them.”
Some very complicated sophistry going on there.
One thing to bear in mind. Gillard heped to create the “Australian Workers Union Workplace Reform Association” for her then boyfriend, Bruce Wilson, knowing the association wasn’t actually for the union itself and while having the union as her firm’s principal client. Nor was the fund’s business “workplace reform”. And Shorten, the union’s former leader, says she did “nothing wrong”?
“Nothing wrong” seems a big call, given what Shorten conceded last night after Wilson’s former bagman Ralph Blewitt returned to Australia, promising to reveal information about Wilson’s frauds in exchange for immunity:
TONY JONES: Blewitt says that one of the reasons he’s prepared to speak out now is that he’s recently learnt that the former AWU Victorian president Bob Kernohan got a “bloody belting by union thugs”, is how he puts it, when he tried to make information about this fraud to the union public. Now I understand Bob Kernohan’s friend of yours. Did he ever speak to you about this?

BILL SHORTEN: ... I just hadn’t heard he’d been assault on the basis of matters to do with Blewitt and some of his cronies. So, no, I don’t know. But in terms of Mr Kernohan himself, yeah, we were friends…
TONY JONES: Bob Kernohan said in an interview that he did speak to you about this fraud issue. And you told him, “Bob, think about the future, think about your career.” Is that true?
BILL SHORTEN: No, that’s not my recollection at all.
TONY JONES: When you actually took over at the AWU, did you actually look into all of this? ...
BILL SHORTEN: Oh, I know that my predecessors in the position had done everything they thought they could to chase out these people. They reported it to the police…
TONY JONES: Now, let’s just quickly go through a few things. What is a union slush fund exactly?
BILL SHORTEN: Oh, well, I’m not going to go fishing on general questions.
TONY JONES: That’s a very specific question, actually. That is ...
BILL SHORTEN: Well, sorry, but let’s - Tony ...
TONY JONES: We know that as a lawyer Julia Gillard admitted she helped Bruce Wilson set one up, so I’m asking: what is it? What is one?
BILL SHORTEN: Oh, well, that account was unauthorised by the union and it was an inappropriate account, that account, as far as I can tell. So that was out of bounds...
TONY JONES:  Was it inappropriate for Julia Gillard as a young lawyer to set up what you believe was an inappropriate fund?
BILL SHORTEN: Well when that account came to light, what I do know is that the union took action. I know that the union leadership of the day reported this to the police. In terms of the Prime Minister’s explanations, I’m satisfied with them.
TONY JONES: Mark Latham recently wrote that it was legal to set up re-election slush funds in this matter. Is he right and would it be legal today for a union to do that?
BILL SHORTEN: ... You cannot use members’ money for purposes other than what the members have paid their union dues for. What we also know is that you can’t have related party transactions...
TONY JONES:  If the AWU were to set up a slush fund, effectively a re-election fund today which called itself a fund for training and workplace safety, would that be legal?

BILL SHORTEN: Well you can’t use members’ money to engage in the re-election of officials. That would not be appropriate. In terms of people donating some of their wages for a re-election fund, that’s understandable. But you cannot ever use members’ money for purposes other than the advancement of the industrial interests of the members.
This grilling of Shorten occurred on the ABC’s Lateline last night, hours after Ralph Blewitt was interviewed on 7.30. The last major bastion of Gillard’s media defences has fallen. The story is no longer the obsession, as she put it in August, of merely “the misogynists and the nut jobs on the internet”. After years of suppression, intimidation, evasion, deceit, spin and wilful media uninterest, the scandal yesterday became a legitimate topic for political coverage even in the eyes of the ABC. This is disastrous for Gillard. And Shorten yesterday got a taste of how others in Labor now risk becoming collateral damage.


The greatest and deadliest policy disaster in peacetime

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER222012(7:52am)

The cost of Labor dismantling the Howard Government’s border laws, under which boat arrivals were slashed to an average of just three a year: 
- up to $5 billion
- up to 1000 boat people drowned.
- 30,000 boat people arrivals
- 400 boat people stuck on Nauru and Manus, with nearly 2000 to be sent there.
- thousands of boat people now to be left in Australia on minimal welfare payments and banned from working.
Yet number of Labor MPs sacked for this catastrophic mistake: 
In fact, the ”substantive author” of Labor’s 2008 changes is now the Prime Minister.

Government delay, opposition intransigence, political priority over policy and criminal greed have all contributed to the collapse of what was Australia’s only viable deterrent policy on asylum-seekers…
When the Labor cabinet rejected the proposals for offshore processing that Immigration Minister Chris Bowen put to it more than a year ago to avoid political embarrassment over implementing Howard-era policies, it condemned Australia and asylum-seekers to a downward spiral of policy and personal tragedy.

The implementation of offshore processing and a “no-advantage test” was too little, too late in August. Yesterday’s announcement was an admission of failure and a series of half measures to deal with a national crisis with no clear solution.
Working beautifully:

The PNG government on Tuesday flew two police riot squads to the island, to be on hand once the asylum-seekers started arriving.

The landowners are angry that they have not been offered any primary contracts for the newly reopened centre, which previously held asylum-seekers under the Howard government’s Pacific Solution from 2001 to 2004.
Michelle Grattan doesn’t make the final logical step:

Instead, it has been an excruciating crawl back to the Coalition days. Each change cuts into the souls of some in the ALP who used to denounce the Liberals’ approach so vociferously. But the government is long past the stage of agonising. 
Actually, it would have been far better had Labor not destroyed the Howard policies in the first place. And we should ask who made that disastrous call (to the cheering of The Age) and what price they should pay for such catastrophically bad judgment. 


Policing Abbott’s language

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER222012(6:37am)

Tim Blair notes journalists getting quizzy:
Legal experts have challenged Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s assertion it is ‘’illegal’’ for asylum seekers to arrive by boat in Australia.

Mr Abbott toughened his rhetoric against asylum seekers on Wednesday, saying more than 2000 are ‘’coming illegally to this country’’ every month without papers …

Check the link. Not so quizzy, though, when the same phrase is used by Kevin Rudd or Julia Gillard.
The last time Abbott used the phrase “illegal immigrants” he was badgered by Leigh Sales on7.30 and failed to defend it. I hope he now uses it with more authority, knowing he’s entitled to do so.


Ballarat’s gallery of climate horrors

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER222012(12:05am)

Australia is getting hotter and climate change has arrived. There is more on the way, but how much of an increase will depend on us. How do we cope with such heat? Massive air conditioner use threatens peak electrical supply while the electricity used to power them comes mainly from coal. Greenhouse gases are produced to cope with the symptoms of existing greenhouse gases – we are kelpies chasing our tails on a hot day.

Renewable energy, better house design and a reduction in the atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases will all be needed if we are going to beat the heat…

How can we keep cool without making demands on energy supplies? How do we know whether our individual actions make a difference?
Thomas notes these are questions the gallery staff don’t ask themselves::
It was a fairly hot day outside but cool inside the gallery. Reason: It is air-conditioned. 
Join Thomas for a tour of the gallery to see how shamelessly the warmists preach fear at passing children.
There’s a word for the kind of artists that have now desecrated this gallery. 


Last night on the ABC, Bill Shorten lied. Not only his body language, but documented evidence, confirms he lied and he is not very good at it.

He claims he, “wasn’t working for the AWU” when the Gillard/Wilson scandal broke. That’s lie number one. He was. At that time he was paid as an AWU organiser.

He claims he didn’t know about this scam. Lie number
two. He was instrumental in trying to cover it up.

Shorten was living with Nicola Roxon at the time. She was working at Maurice Blackburn lawyers. Shorten was completing his articles at the same office. Let’s assume there was no pillow talk regarding something as momentously illegal as this. Unlikely I know, but let’s assume that for the sake of the dear Ms Roxon.

Gillard claimed she did not report the fraud to the police because it was "already under investigation". Not true. After the fraud was discovered it wasn't until the following year that it was reported to the police.

Gillard also claims she did not open a file on the matter. Not true. She herself says a file was somewhere in her office but became “mislaid”.

Gillard was instrumental in filing a defamation writ in the Supreme Court effectively gagging those in the union who were trying to disclose the fraudulent activities. It is impossible to file a Supreme Court writ without a file having been opened.

Where is this file? Okay, stay with me here... Gillard was sacked from Slater & Gordon at the same time as the complicit Bernard Murphy was paid out as an equity partner.

Gillard never worked in law again. Gillard’s file disappeared at the same time Murphy moved to Maurice Blackburn. Now, I can’t confirm this but I have been told by a senior ex-Maurice Blackburn lawyer that Murphy gave the file to Roxon for safe keeping.

We are unlikely to ever see that file as it almost certainly was destroyed by Roxon when the temperature recently became dangerously hot.

The two people who assisted Gillard at the time were well rewarded by Gillard as PM. The complicit Murphy was promoted to the Federal Court Bench and the unqualified Roxon to the highest law office in the land as GG. Make of that what you will.

In response to recent questioning, Gillard stated categorically that when she discovered the fraud, “...I immediately broke off my relationship Bruce Wilson.” That is another lie.

When Gillard was sacked from Slater & Gordon, she and Wilson went on a holiday. They had in the past frequented a resort in Lorne and another favourite getaway was the Healesville Hotel. They had often invited other couples to go with them. This time just the two of them went to the Healesville Hotel for a week.

Of course we have no idea what they talked about but Gillard told a close friend they needed time to figure out what the hell they were going to do. Apparently they both agreed on a course of action.

Gillard disappeared for the six months that is still missing from her resume. Wilson went back to his wife and two boys in Perth.

Both had their stories right and fortuitously the fraud was covered up by the very union they stole from and the very law firm she worked for.

They were as safe as their money-laundered houses (lots of them) and no-one would have been the wiser, except...

Except that one of these two people decided they wanted to be Prime Minister.


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