Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thu 29th Nov Todays News

Happy birthday and many happy returns Jason Queue. Born on the same day Atari released Pong, one of the first video games to achieve widespread popularity in both the arcade and home console markets. Remember, birthdays are good for you, the more you have the longer you live.

Pong screenshot




[edit]Holidays and observances

And one thing we should be promoting is the unifying concept of cultural assets .. lefties have minorities .. we have cultural assets. Assets we need to protect as well as grow. - ed

Wanted: a Winston Churchill for the culture war

The story sounds just too idiotic and outrageous to be true. A Rotherham couple, by all accounts exemplary foster parents for nearly seven years, took on two children and a baby in an emergency placement.

AWU Gillard scandal. Finally, someone in the media actually READS sections 5,8 and 43 and Schedule 1 of the Associations Incorporation Act 1987. *Smashes head on desk*

<The Coalition has called for Julia Gillard to resign over the AWU affa
ir, but the PM insists she has done nothing wrong. Picture: Gary Ramage Source: The Australian
MUCH of the media has missed the point about the latest developments in the AWU slush fund affair.
It really does not matter that we now know Julia Gillard had no role in establishing a bank account in the name of the AWU Workplace Reform Association.

Close followers of the issue have always accepted the Prime Minister's assurances that she had no involvement in the workings of the association beyond advice on its incorporation.

The key issue is whether the Prime Minister, who denies all wrongdoing, misled the authorities in Western Australia about the true purpose of that association when she was a lawyer at Slater & Gordon in the 1990s.

Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten, a former national secretary of the Australian Workers Union, has described the association as “inappropriate” and “unauthorised”.

...On Monday, Ms Gillard said at a press conference that she did not need to tell the AWU about the association because “the two people I was dealing with were office-bearers of the AWU”.

Today, we learn that Ms Gillard argued in a letter to the WA Corporate Affairs Commissioner that the association “ought not to be construed as a trade union”.

Was it a union association or not?

The significance of this issue is profound: it is unlawful under the WA Associations Incorporation Act for an association to be named in a way that is likely to mislead as to the object or purpose.

This affair therefore has reached the point where the facts that have come to light raise raise the question of whether an unlawful act has occurred.

The material that has been unearthed by The Australian's national chief correspondent Hedley Thomas shows that the association was tangled in a web of real and false purposes.

It is now known that the Prime Minister argued to the WA authorities, who initially ruled the association ineligible for incorporation, that the association was not a trade union. Acting on instructions from her then client and boyfriend, AWU boss Bruce Wilson, she drew up a constitution and rules that emphasised its purpose was the promotion of workplace safety.

Yet it is known that Ms Gillard later told her partners at Slater & Gordon that the purpose of the association was to provide a re-election “slush fund” for a select group of union officials. She argues that its purpose was to support the re-election of officials who would work for workplace safety.

It is also known that there was another purpose: money raised by the association from companies was diverted and used by Wilson for purposes that included buying a house in Melbourne.

It is not suggested the Prime Minister knew about the third of these “purposes” - the diversion of money by Mr Wilson.

The key point is whether she knew that the real purpose of the association was not workplace safety.>

GILLARD FIGHTS TO THE BITTER END... but no way out now .. Larry Pickering

Julia Gillard, with the assistance of the Speaker, will use her best vitriol in a vain attempt to defend herself in this the last Parliamentary sitting.

However, there are two serious points both she and the Opposition have forgotten.

1. When asked why she didn’t inform the AWU of the fraud, thereby allowing it to continue, sh
e said it was already under investigation. It wasn’t, not until the following year, and only then because it was fortuitously discovered.

2. When asked why she didn’t send a copy of the required AWU Executive Resolution with her application to the WA Commission for Corporate Affairs she said she was already under the instructions of officials of the AWU. [Actually, there was no Executive Resolution because the AWU weren’t aware of any application.]

But in her subsequent letter of appeal to the Commission (after they had initially rejected the application because it it “sounded” like a union) Gillard said it was NOT a union. Using the name and bona fides of Slater & Gordon, she convinced the Commission to allow the illegal incorporation.

So, which way does Gillard want it?

“I was already acting for the AWU via Bruce Wilson and therefore I didn’t need to inform the AWU Executive” of the potential fraud or,

“It ought NOT be construed as a union” in order to convince the Commission to incorporate the slush fund?

It seems these two points cannot be easily explained. Neither the media nor the Opposition have broached this most serious case of misleading the Press and the Parliament.

Gillard’s position is now untenable simply because it is patently clear that she has lied and she has committed a crime.

She thought it was safe to lie because she believed the file with that letter she sent to the Commission had “disappeared”. She had no idea that Styant-Browne had a copy of her exit interview.

Also, why did Slater & Gordon find the matter so serious as to call Gillard in for an interview and subsequently dismiss her?

Gillard cannot now claim the matter is “just smear!” More damning evidence from the Victoria Police will emerge over Xmas and will keep dribbling out until her guilt becomes overwhelming.

The ALP can stem the effect of further crushing evidence and rid themselves of her now or keep her and suffer further electoral damage.

Caucus is already jumpy and felt confident enough to roll her on the Palestinian question because Islamic dominated seats out west were already at risk.

Sky journalists are now desperately trying to shore up Gillard’s defence but it won’t work. They simply don’t understand the gravity of Gillard’s actions.

To continue to suggest she did nothing illegal is a breach of their journalistic responsibilities.

Her suspension of standing orders was a neat trick to force Abbott to replace Bishop at the dispatch box. Surprisingly he was cognisant of the material.

The evidence is now out there for all to see and no amount of Press gallery protection will be sufficient to save her.

The ALP has been rushing through legislation that an incoming government will need to deal with, including Pokie Machine Legislation.

This legislation, confined to Canberra only, is merely a blatant excuse to give the ALP-owned Canberra Clubs $40 million, which of course will find its way back to ALP election coffers.

Quite simply, our Prime Minister is an effusive crook.

Those who still believe otherwise are in denial.


Ducking and diving, but PM’s goose is cooked

Piers Akerman – Thursday, November 29, 2012 (6:22pm)

JULIA Gillard has just one response to allegations of impropriety - evasion. 


Today’s sitting of Parliament may be worst ever

Piers Akerman – Thursday, November 29, 2012 (1:05am)

BRING it on.
Today’s Question Time will be the last for the year.
Expect fireworks. The Coalition’s deputy Leader Julie Bishop has pressed the attack in the House on Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s association with the dopey duo of union fraudsters, former boyfriend, Bruce Wilson, and his sidekick, Ralph Blewitt.
In the Senate, Liberal Senator George Brandis has suggested Gillard broke the law when she was working as a partner at the Labor law firm Slater & Gordon in the early 1990s and assisting Wilson and Blewitt establish the Australian Workers Union (AWU) Workplace Reform Association which she has called a slush fund.
Gillard has consistently said she believed the association’s funds would be used for legitimate purposes.
Her former boyfriend and former AWU official Wilson denies benefiting from the slush fund.
In the Senate, Brandis said it was clear Gillard knew the association’s funds would not be used for their stated purpose, which was for the advancement of workers’ rights.
Instead, he stated she knew the funds would be used for Wilson and Blewitt’s “private purposes”.
“There is no doubt - no doubt whatsoever - that at the time she was involved in setting up the slush fund, Ms Gillard knew what its purpose was,” he told the Senate.
“Indeed, the choice of an incorporated association as the entity to hold the funds for union election purposes was Ms Gillard’s brainchild.
“It is already clear, that from (the association’s) inception, Ms Julia Gillard’s involvement in this matter has been characterised by concealment, deception, professional misconduct, and it would appear several breaches of the criminal law.”
Brandis has upped the ante after a furious week in which Bishop relentlessly pursued Gillard and Gillard, just as determinedly refused to give answers claiming she had been answered all questions at two “marathon” press conferences.
Gillard has attempted to deflect the questions, with the assistance of a compliant media pack, by quizzing Bishop about possible contacts she had with Blewitt last week.
Gillard has tried to make a spurious link between Bishop and One Nation on the grounds that the man who typed one former union boss’s affidavit once worked for Pauline Hanson.
Only True Believers and Labor’s media cheer squad would buy the prime ministerial spin on that one.
Speaker Anna Burke was barely in control and permitted Gillard to shriek and declaim without addressing the substance of the questions she was being asked.
Parliament reached an historic low, not helped by some disgusting tweets from Labor backbencher Steve Gibbons which were not only septic in their content but also misogynistic in the extreme.
“Libs are led by a gutless douchebag and a narcissistic bimbo who aren’t fit to be MPs let alone PM and Deputy. Both should be sacked,” he tweeted.
He later issued an apology to those who might have been offended.
This is the level of Labor debate.
Tune in today for the next instalment and be prepared for the worst.



Tim Blair – Thursday, November 29, 2012 (4:54pm)

Forced to apologise earlier this week for Twitter slurs, Labor MP Steve Gibbons is at it again:

(Via Jules)
UPDATE. Gibbons and fellow Victorian Labor MP Rob Mitchell think that a valediction might be something to do with salad:




Tim Blair – Thursday, November 29, 2012 (3:21pm)

Beneath the headline “Jewish community embroiled in new child sex charges”, the Age reports
A new child sex scandal has hit Melbourne’s Jewish community, with a man to stand trial next year on 27 charges of sexual intercourse with a child under 16, sexual penetration of a child under 16 and indecent acts.
The name of the man, the organisation and the victims have been suppressed, but Fairfax Media understands the charges involve a Jewish sports club.
It is understood the accused is not Jewish … 
This may be another example of the Age‘s traditional sensitivity on Jewish matters. Or perhaps the paper’s holiday team is once again running the show.
UPDATE. Consider how that Age headline will look if it emerges – as seems possible – that only thevictim is Jewish.



Tim Blair – Thursday, November 29, 2012 (3:06pm)

Nearly five years after a front-page piece in the Sydney Morning Herald called for him to be fired as Australian captain, Ricky Ponting leaves Test cricket on his own terms
Ponting is set to announce this afternoon that he will step aside following his 168th Test, at the WACA starting tomorrow.
The former Test skipper has often spoken of his desire to return to England next year for the Ashes but is understood to have reconsidered after failing in both innings in Adelaide.
Ponting will hold a press conference at the WACA to announce his decision.
The Tasmanian has compiled an astonishing record, scoring 13,366 Test runs at an average of 52.21. 
Here’s Ponting’s first Test innings, in 1995.



Tim Blair – Thursday, November 29, 2012 (11:58am)

AFL clothing news from Australia’s killing capital: 
In a bid to encourage a team philosophy at the club, Adelaide’s new jumper is titled “Murder of Crows”, borrowing the bird’s unique collective noun. 
Beats “Barrel of Bodies”. The club is currently dealing with one or two minor issues
Adelaide Football Club will plead guilty to all charges at the AFL Commission.
The Advertiser understands the Crows will plead guilty to nine charges relating to alleged salary cap rorting and draft tampering involving Kurt Tippett tomorrow 
Meanwhile, the Age – which previously campaigned against AFL chicken abuse – is nowdemanding that Dane Swan be sacked: 
Swan is not the only player at Collingwood who has been a law unto himself during his end-of-season break but he has been a dreadful influence for some time …
The club has asked Swan whether he has been using drugs and he has denied it. St Kilda has unofficially confronted Sam Fisher with the same question in recent days and he denied it also. So did Ben Cousins for two years at West Coast.


Even if Swan is telling the truth about drugs his cavalier behaviour has helped create a culture which is not healthy …
What Collingwood does know is that Swan is one of its best players who does not want to be a leader. They know he turned up at training a month before the finals disoriented after a heavy night out. They know there have been plenty more heavy nights out over the past six weeks. Very heavy nights. 
Some actual evidence might be handy here before a player’s career is ended. As for “heavy nights” – during the off-season, by the way – has reporter Caroline Wilson ever met any of her Agecolleagues, or indeed any other journalists? Please …
UPDATE. Further Adelaide-based sports shenanigans are alleged.



Tim Blair – Thursday, November 29, 2012 (11:20am)

The ABC’s Q & A is based on the BBC’s Question Time. As this parody suggests, it’s based very closely on that show, right down to the presence of token veil-wearers and comedians “who want to be taken seriously”:

(Via Delingpole)



Tim Blair – Thursday, November 29, 2012 (10:51am)

Earlier this week: 
In the immediate aftermath of Julia Gillard’s press conference performance today, online bookmaker has seen a surge of money for the Coalition to win the 2013 federal election.
As a result, the Coalition has firmed from $1.35 into $1.30, while Labor has eased from $2.90 out to $3.20. 
And still the Prime Minister’s puzzling evasions continue, with just one day remaining for Parliament this year.
UPDATE. The Prime Minister takes on the hate media.
UPDATE II. Place your bets.


There Gibbons goes again

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER292012(7:57pm)

Charming man, Labor’s Steve Gibbons. Really sorry for being so rude.


AWU scandal - Abbott flays Gillard as “shonky lawyer”

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER292012(3:34pm)

The bottom lines from today:
- Julia Gillard refused to agree or to disagree with Tony Abbott’s call for a juducial inquiry into the AWU scandal, and the more than $1 million still believed to have gone missing.
- Gillard failed to confirm or deny in Parliament whether bag man Ralph Blewitt was actually with her when she signed as witness a transfer of his power of attorney to her boyfriend.
- Gillard continued to deny she’d registered the slush fund, although now accepting she’d written to the WA Corporate Affairs Commission assuring it it wasn’t a trade union body and being shown a document with her handwriting filling in the name of the entity.
- Abbott accused Gillard in Parliament of having been a “dodgy lawyer” and “unstrustworthy prime minister”. He said she had acted as a solicitor in a way that was “unethical” and “possibly unlawful” in registering a slush fund for deceptive purposes, providing false information to the WA Corporate Affairs Commission, assuring the commission the slush fund was properly constituted when it had two rather than the required five members, and not warning authorities of her boyfriend’s frauds when made aware of them, thus allowing them to continue.
- Gillard repeatedly insisted Abbott had accused her of committing a crime without being able to back it up. She said telling the WA Corporate Affairs Commission the slush fund was “not a union” was a plain statement of fact.  She said it was false to say she knew it was rightly registered (although she did not explain why it was). She said he had not proved she had prior knowledge of the frauds (and she is right, although she did know the association was a slush fund rather than one dedicated just to workplace reform).
- To Abbott’s arguments Gillard replied with insults, bluster and you-cannot-knows.
- Abbott in Parliament did not go quite as far as he did on TV in claiming Gillard may have personally broken the law. On TV he said of this morning revelations: “It demonstrates that she misled the West Australian Corporate Affairs Commission and that is a very serious matter… That would appear to be in breach of the law.” But the difference in emphasis seems quite minor - a spin point for Gillard than anything of substance.
I thought Abbott’s speech to parliament was strong and delivered soberly, without overreach. It finished with a good line: “This is not about gender. This is about character, and she has failed the character test.” It marked an important new tone in Abbott, who was first time in a couple of months able to criticise the Prime Minister severely, and with a pre-emptive attack on her gender-victim excuse, that enabled him to sound authentic, tough but no bully.
I thought Abbott did not conclusively prove Gillard broke the law, but did make a strong case she acted unethically and that the slush fund was improperly and deceptively registered. On that point, Gillard passed the blame to Blewitt for signing the registration, and the WA Corporate Affairs Commission for accepting it. I don’t buy that.
Much of Gillard’s attack on Abbott relied on a very stale trick - albeit one that worked well in her August press conference when she pretended The Australian had made such a horrible defamatory error (rather than a small, irrelevant one) that demanded she break her silence.
This time she claimed Abbott relied on a horrible, defamatory report in The Age (when in fact he relied on Gillard’s now-released 1995 “exit interview” with her Slater & Gordon partners, and possibly the accurate summation of the case in The Australian today). Here’s the key part of Gillard’s letter of complaint to The Age, which includes complaining that it referred to the “slush fund” - as she once called it - as a “fund” rather than association.  
The corrected Age report reads no better for Gillard:

A newly released document confirms that Ms Gillard wrote to the WA Corporate Affairs Commission stating the fund, the Australian Workplace Reform Association, was not a trade union organisation. Her assertion came in mid-1992, after the commission initially rejected the association’s incorporation because ‘’it might be a trade union and therefore ineligible’’. The document also confirms that Ms Gillard, then a salaried partner with Slater and Gordon, drafted the rules for the association - without opening a formal file, without consulting the senior partners and without taking advice from expert lawyers within the firm. 
Gillard gave enough of the victim narrative - she’s facing “smears” - and sounded strong enough to hearten the true believers. But how dodgy and mendacious she seems…


2GB, November 29

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER292012(10:34am)

 2GB podcasts
With Steve Price from 8pm. Listen live here.
Last night: the slush fund scandal latest. Plus a recipe for mussel soup, James Bond’s refreshing new take on gays, Shirley Bassey and politics. Listen here. 


AWU scandal - The answer was “yes”, so why did Gillard refuse to say it?

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER292012(10:13am)

 The AWU scandal
We today know - from documentary evidence - Julia Gillard indeed wrote to the WA Commissioner for Corporate Affairs to assure it her boyfriend’s slush fund was a legitimate non-profit association.
So why did she repeatedly refuse to admit the truth in Parliament this week? A simple “yes” would have sufficed.
Ms JULIE BISHOP (Curtin—Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (14:51): My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer to the Prime Minister’s answer to my last question. Didn’t the Western Australian Commissioner for Corporate Affairs in fact raise concerns about this proposed association prior to its incorporation? Will the Prime Minister confirm that, as a partner of Slater & Gordon, she wrote to the commissioner in 1992 vouching that the association complied with the legal requirements of the Associations Incorporation Act, even though she knew it did not?…

Ms GILLARD (Lalor—Prime Minister) (14:52): ...The claim that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has now made is a claim that appeared in the Age. I think the name of the journalist who made that claim is Mark Baker. The correspondence he refers to has never been produced, so the claim has been made but no correspondence has ever been produced.
What I can say to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is what I have said in answer to her earlier questions. I provided legal advice about the incorporation of the association. Then, of course, the association is only incorporated if the relevant authority, the registrar, is satisfied that the normal legislative needs and details have been satisfied. Clearly, the registrar must have been so satisfied, or they would not have incorporated the association. If the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has formed the view—
Mr Pyne: Madam Speaker, I raise a point of order. The Prime Minister has said that no letter has been produced, but she was asked whether she confirmed if it was true or not, and she must know that from her own knowledge.
The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. The Prime Minister has the call.

Ms GILLARD: Thank you very much, Speaker. I was just indicating that it is clear what my role was. I provided legal advice. It is also clear what the registrar’s role was. It is the registrar that makes the judgement about whether or not the relevant legislation has been complied with. If the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has formed the view that this association ought not to have been incorporated, then that is a matter she should take up with the registrar in Western Australia—although, given that we are talking about the best part of 20 years ago, I think it is highly unlikely that we are talking about the same individual. But that is a matter for the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to pursue in Western Australia with the registrar.
Julie Bishop: My question is to the Prime Minister. I remind the Prime Minister that I have asked her three times today to rule out that she wrote to the Commissioner for Corporate Affairs vouching for the bona fides of the AWU Workplace Reform Association, and she is yet to do so. I will give her another opportunity. Did she write to the WA Commissioner for Corporate Affairs vouching for the bona fides of the AWU Workplace Reform Association—yes or no?

Mr Albanese: Speaker, on a point of order, in the Deputy Leader of the Opposition’s own words, this is the same question. The Prime Minister has answered these questions. She has answered them for almost two decades.
The SPEAKER: The Leader of the House will resume his seat.
Mr Pyne: On the point of order, Madam Speaker, as I am sure you are aware, the standing order is that a question fully answered cannot be renewed. This question has clearly not been answered—a point happily made by the Leader of the House in trying to suggest that it has been answered, when clearly it has not. And why hasn’t it been answered, Prime Minister?
The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. The Prime Minister has the call.
Ms GILLARD (Lalor—Prime Minister) (15:15): We are at the stage where, if they are not getting their questions out of the Michael Smith blog then they are basing them on newspaper reports from a number of weeks ago. Once again, we are in a situation where the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is asserting things she has got no sources for, except she read them somewhere… There is no amount of overacting that makes this line of questioning any more credible. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition, having shredded her credibility yesterday, is now going through the files of old newspaper clippings.
Honourable members interjecting—

Ms GILLARD: It is truly pathetic—and the bellowing does not help. At some point the Leader of the Opposition has to say what he stands for in these matters. Does he back the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in yesterday for her dishonest statements or not? This sleaze and smear out of Michael Smith blogs—how pathetic is it? All over to you.
Now that the evidence being cited comes out of her own mouth from a recorded interview in 1995, will the Prime Minister finally admit she guaranteed the bona fides of her boyfriend’s slush fund? And apologise for trying to deceive? 


Faine names ABC’s lone conservative - who quit months ago

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER292012(9:57am)

Challenged on ABC 774 this morning to name a single conservative host of a mainstream ABC current affairs program, host Jon Faine names Michael Duffy as host of Counterpoint. 
First problem, Counterpoint appears only on the low-rating Radio National, at 4pm on Mondays. It is not a mainstream current affairs program.
Second problem - from June 22:
THE ABC’S most conservative commentator Michael Duffy today announced his resignation from the broadcaster to take up an advisory role with the NSW state government.
Let’s try again: can Faine name a single conservative who hosts a mainstream ABC current affairs show? If there is not a single one to balance hosts of the Left such as Faine, Tony Jones, Phillip Adams, Leigh Sales, Barrie Cassidy et al, why not? 


Labor again sells us out for Muslim votes in western Sydney

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER292012(8:14am)

Julia Gillard has the right instincts, but now lacks the authority within her own party - and so we’re distancing ourselves from the US and Israel, and the values they represent:
JOHN Howard has branded Julia Gillard’s backdown over her push to vote no for UN observer status for Palestine as an “embarrassment” as the issue reignited internal criticisms within the government about the Prime Minister’s judgment and leadership style.

The former prime minister made a rare re-entry into contemporary politics to describe the cabinet backlash and caucus revolt as “a very bad sign when you get rolled on something like that"…
Mr Howard said: “I just think it is pathetic for a country to abstain on something like this.

“We are meant to be striking a confident new pose and the first thing we do is abstain. I can’t find any other word than pathetic. I don’t think I would have so misunderstood my cabinet or was unable to convince them. I never had anything like this, especially on foreign policy.”

The Gillard government was pushed to the brink over the Prime Minister’s insistence that Australia vote against Palestine’s bid to upgrade its status at the UN. Just minutes before the caucus meeting, Foreign Minister Bob Carr stood in Gillard’s office and told her, eyeball to eyeball, to change her mind or she faced a humiliating defeat.
He pleaded with her to back an abstention on the UN General Assembly motion to recognise Palestine as a non-member state observer.
In the end, Gillard relented and a crisis was averted, but only narrowly…
Several ministers and backbenchers ... were seized by the dramatic change in the caucus on the Israel-Palestine issue, with several factors that have been slowly building within Labor—Israel’s settlement policy, increasing violence by settlers against Palestinians and a right-wing Israeli prime minister who backed Mitt Romney over Barack Obama.

It’s because Israel’s conservative leader didn’t back Barack Obama that Israel must now pay? My God, how vindictively and pathetically partisan Labor has become.
But here is Labor’s shame:
And, critically, there is the growing Muslim and Christian make-up of several key western Sydney Labor seats, which have exposed MPs to different points of view on the Middle East.

Some sections of the party suggest Victorian Labor is too close to the Israel lobby and does not fully understand the underlying changes in Sydney’s outer suburbs. 
Would Australians in 1970 have backed a deal to take in many Middle Eastern refugees and migrants had they been told up front that this would require changing our foreign policy to throw Israel under a bus, move away from the US, and back a move in the UN that suited the long-term plans of the pro-terrorist Hamas?
Labor has shamed itself. Good on Gillard for fighting against this self-serving betrayal of our allies and our values. Pity, though, her weakness.
[Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali] verbally attacked women, endorsed suicide bombings in Lebanon and declared that Jews were plotting world domination…

Chris Hurford, immigration minister in the Hawke Labor government, tried in 1986 to have him deported after Hilali had overstayed a tourist visa in 1982 and settled in Sydney…
But Hilali had two powerful Labor supporters on his side - Paul Keating and Leo McLeay… They were under pressure from the growing local Muslim community in their neighbouring western Sydney seats of Blaxland and Grayndler…
Hurford and other players close to the action ...  believe that Hilali was ultimately granted permanent residency by the Labor government in 1990 - in a decision made by Keating himself as acting prime minister while Bob Hawke was away - because the decision could help Labor in federal and state politics…
Tony Harris, then deputy head of the Immigration Department, ... says he and then Immigration head Bill McKinnon believed that Labor had good reasons for giving Hilali residency.
“We surmised that Hilali came from that part of Sydney which was important to several Labor electorates, state and federal, that included Keating’s electorate,” Harris said…
According to McKinnon’s son, The Weekend Australian’s freedom of information editor Michael McKinnon, his father’s position cost him his job…

“My father paid with his job for putting national interest before the political interests of the ALP.”
Ambassador Yuval Rotem says the issue is not about recognising the right to Palestinian statehood but about getting Palestinian leaders to recognise the right of Israel to exist.
Swedish firefighters in Malmo also take into account the feelings of new arrivals to announce a new policy - taking sick leave unless they get more police protection when attending fires in immigrant areas:
(Thanks to reader Mark.)


But back to the bottom line: is the NBN really worth it?

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER292012(8:00am)

THE National Broadband Network is a complicated issue. But that is no excuse for superficial, misleading or unbalanced reporting of it.

Yet on Tuesday ABC1’s Lateline ran a segment about the NBN ahead of a discussion between Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and methat was all the above. Lateline entirely missed the key question about broadband infrastructure: are the vast costs and long waits associated with running fibre to the premises of 93 per cent of Australians justified by the speeds it delivers?
In this light, the questions the ABC should have explored are threefold.
First, what are the time and cost differences between Labor’s FTTP NBN and the Coalition’s fibre to the node that pushes fibre to the street? In North America and Europe the cost and time to build FTTN is about one-third to one-quarter of building FTTP. This information is easily obtained from telecommunications firms that actually build these networks if Australian executives are camera shy out of concern not to offend Conroy. The ABC has never stirred itself to investigate this issue.
Second, what speeds do FTTP and FTTN deliver?In Britain, BT is using FTTN and delivering up to 80 megabits per second.
Likewise, AT&T has passed 30 million US households, using FTTN to offer voice, broadband and pay-TV with four concurrent HDTV streams. It wouldn’t be hard for the ABC to find that out.

Third, what speeds are required to deliver applications consumers want to use and are prepared to pay for? If FTTN meets most customer demands now and in the foreseeable future, the savings in cost and time make it a better approach in established areas. (Of course fibre should be deployed in new developments.)
A damning contrast:
For all the ABC’s claims about what people will miss out on under the Coalition, there was no acknowledgment of a key weakness of FTTP - lengthy lead times. Labor has been in office for five years, yet only 8613 premises are connected to the NBN fibre.

In contrast, the FTTN network Labor promised in April 2007 was scheduled to be finished by 2013.


Column - Stalked by Mark Latham

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER292012(7:59am)

 Politics - federal
HELP! I’m being stalked by a former Labor leader with a bizarre truth disorder.
Double help… I live in a country where such a stalker almost became prime minister.
I should have known better about Mark Latham.
In fact, I once did. As I wrote: “I may have worked twice for the Labor Party but I was astonished to find a man as crude and brutal as Mark Latham being taken seriously as a politician.”

He himself boasted “I’m a hater”, and as Opposition leader proved it, abusing the Liberals as “suckholes”, prime minister John Howard as an “a---hole” and columnist Janet Albrechtsen as a “skanky ho”, proving Prime Minister Julia Gillard is merely continuing a Labor tradition of abuse and division.

It ended badly, of course.

Devastated after losing the 2004 election, Latham huffed out of Parliament and wrote diaries that seemed to smear half his Labor colleagues and betray the confidences of the rest. It was a vicious get-even.
But then he reinvented himself as a columnist, writing for the Financial Review as well as The Spectator until storming out of that, too.

He also yells on Sky. 
Because he wrote pungently, I praised his writing style and invited him on The Bolt Report. We shared lunch three times.

Here’s how Latham described our almost-friendship in the Financial Review:


AWU scandal - Gillard’s anger can’t hide the truth

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER292012(7:39am)

 The AWU scandal
Even if, as Gillard says, she did nothing wrong when she was a partner in law firm Slater & Gordon, what happened then was not trivial and nor is it now inconsequential, no matter how hard she and her supporters try to make it so…

Gillard’s frustration is palpable, her fury barely disguised in the face of these attacks on her honesty and her character. You could see it in parliament and at her press conference…
It suits Gillard to present the campaign against her as some vast right-wing conspiracy; however, she knows only too well the roots of this story lie deeply embedded in the Labor movement…
At Monday’s press conference she was defiant and belligerent, complaining about the recycling and re-recycling of old fabrications, daring journalists to choose between her and self-confessed fraudster Ralph Blewitt, without once saying he was present when she signed his power of attorney.
She seized on the contribution of one of the crooners, that band of sympathetic male journalists, to thank him and echo his question by asking: “what is the big deal?” Try this: she was the instrument used by her then boyfriend, AWU official Bruce Wilson, to help set up the instrument that enabled the defrauding of hundreds of thousands of dollars that today remains missing…

For some people hundreds of thousands of dollars isn’t a big deal. For others it is.
Despite all her bluster, fury and scorn, Gillard is now faced with incontrovertible evidence she did indeed vouch for her boyfriend’s slush fund to corporate affairs officials.
Police are currently investigating another issue Gillard has failed to deny and simply raged over: whether she witnessed Blewitt’s power of attorney with him present.
She is also unable to deny claims by her former boyfriend’s assistant that she received $5000 cash from Wilson.
Fraud squad detectives have contacted at least two people, including retired Greek-born builder Kon Spyridis, who said he spoke with police on Monday in relation to payments he’d received from the AWU in the mid-1990s.

Police have also contacted former Slater & Gordon employee Olive Brosnahan, who in 1993 did the conveyancing on the Melbourne property at the centre of the affair…
Mr Spyridis told News Limited that police had quizzed him over work he had done for the AWU in the mid-1990s. In August, the retired builder broke a 17-year silence to clear Prime Minister Julia Gillard of allegations that funds from the AWU “slush” had helped to pay for renovations on her Melbourne home.
Yesterday, Mr Spyridis denied he had ever approached former AWUVictorian State Secretary Bob Smith seeking payment for unpaid work.

“I don’t remember Bob Smith,” he said. 
I wonder how well Smith remembers Spyridis, though.
This story still has long to go. Those who let themselves be persuaded not by evidence by her fury that Gillard was telling the truth might now care to reassess.
Gillard’s confected fury helps keep journalists in line:

Labor cheer squad? Fairfax senior writer Stephanie Peatling tweets on November 22: 

EEK. Glad I’m not the reporter who rolled their eyes at the PM during a press conference and then got called out on it.

The Australian is rightly scathing of reporters so willingly persuaded by anger, stunts, spinand smear rather than evidence:

Meanwhile, as Hedley Thomas reports this morning, there are more unanswered questions. From the evidence presented in today’s front-page story, it appears the PM has been less than forthcoming about her full role in the incorporation of an association later used as a slush fund. These questions will not go away, no matter how many decoys are set running in the press gallery. Thomas, and others who have worked diligently on this case, know that a story cannot be built on hearsay. Investigative journalism, unlike cartoon politics, does not rely on caricature and slapstick. Properly done, it eventually teases out the truth. Establishing the truth, as we have said before, is the first and only duty of the reporter.


Can Newman’s MPs be serious, please?

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER292012(7:04am)

Campbell Newman may have won too big. He is certainly doing the right things to get Queensland back in shape, but some of his MPs clearly have too little to do that’s constructive:

After a second day of public attacks aimed at each other, LNP MPs last night agreed at a special party room meeting that disgruntled Yeerongpilly member Carl Judge was “no longer welcome”.

“There was a whole range of behaviour we found unacceptable,” Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said…
He said the party would ask state president Bruce McIver to consider disendorsement.

But days after revealing he was considering becoming an Independent, Mr Judge last night said he was committed to the LNP and would await the party’s final call on his future…

Last night’s meeting came after Gaven MP Alex Douglas was dumped as chairman of the Legal Affairs Committee after he had earlier indicated he would sue Leader of Government Business Ray Stevens…

The public spats, which follow veteran MP Ray Hopper’s defection to Katter’s Australian Party on Sunday, have compounded the perception that the Government is consumed with internal frictions.


AWU scandal - Gillard exposed. She did vouch for her boyfriend’s slush fund

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER292012(6:44am)

Four times in Parliament yesterday the Prime Minister refused to say whether she’d assured corporate affairs officials her boyfriend’s slush fund was actually a genuine association. Now we know why - and we know her claims to have simply given legal advice on the registration were false:

The revelation, contained in a document released today after 17 years, comes after days of stonewalling by the Prime Minister, including in parliament, on the question of whether she had personally vouched for the Australian Workers Union Workplace Reform Association.
The document, a record of interview between Ms Gillard and her law firm, Slater & Gordon, in September 1995, reveals the association was initially regarded as ineligible because of its “trade union” status.
Ms Gillard overcame the obstacle by writing to the Commissioner for Corporate Affairs in Western Australia in 1992 and arguing that the decision to bar it should be reversed.
Ms Gillard also wrote the association’s rules, which emphasised worker safety but made no mention of its true purpose of funding the elections of union officials.

The document reveals she “cut and pasted” some of the rules from her earlier personal work incorporating the controversial Socialist Forum, which she helped found at Melbourne University in the 1980s.
Oh, really? That exposes another piece of deceit from the Prime Minister, who once pretended she’d just done a little typing as a student for what in fact was a front for former Communist Party members which she helped to lead when she was a lawyer:
Gillard: I was a full-time university student and I had a part-time job for an organisation called Socialist Forum, which was a sort of debating society . . . I did clerical and administrative work . . .
Really, yet in 1995, in her mid-30s and as a partner in a law firm, she admitted to her partners:
I had just in my own personal precedent file a set of rules for Socialist Forum, which is an incorporated association in which I’m personally involved. And I’ve just kept them hanging around as something I cut and paste from for drafting purposes.
But back to Gillard’s more recent deceits over the the AWU slush funds - including yesterday trying to give the impression that claims she’d guaranteed the bona fides of boyfriend’s slush fund were just media rumors: 
In parliament this week, Ms Gillard has refused to answer repeated questioning from Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop on whether she wrote to the West Australian authority to vouch for “the bona fides of the AWU Workplace Reform Association”.

On Monday, she told parliament: “The claim that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has now made is a claim that appeared in The Age . . . The correspondence she refers to has never been produced, so the claim has been made but no correspondence has ever been produced."…

Later she added: “Once again, we are in a situation where the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is asserting things she has got no sources for, except she read them somewhere.” 
I wouldn’t trust a thing this Prime Minister said unless she provided documentary proof. In this case the proof is against her, in a transcript released by a former partner:
The evidence that she did write to the West Australian body is contained in a section of transcript from the September 11, 1995, tape-recorded interview with Ms Gillard during an internal probe led by Slater & Gordon’s then senior partner Peter Gordon.

Some of the transcript was provided to The Australian in August.

The latest section of transcript is being released now by the firm’s former equity partner, Nick Styant-Browne, after Mr Wilson’s interview on the ABC’s 7.30 meant his legal confidentiality as a former client of the firm was waived. 
In Parliament this week Gillard repeatedly suggested the WA Corporate Affairs Commission was satisfied with the registration of the slush fund. That seems to be false, too:

In the section of transcript from the 1995 Slater & Gordon interview that was released, [partner Peter] Gordon ...  referred to Ms Gillard’s letter to the government authority and he stated that, “it appears from the file to be the letter arguing that it ought to be not construed as a trade union - did you have anything personally to do with that incorporated association afterwards?”
Ms Gillard: “No, I did not.”

It was unlawful under the Associations Incorporation Act for an association to be named in a way “likely to mislead the public as to the object or purpose”.
That letter suggests corporate affairs officials themselves were misled by the title and articles of association drawn up by Gillard into thinking the slush find was a trade union entity - which to my mind seemed the whole purpose and the key to the success of Wilson’s frauds (which Gillard said she knew nothing about.)
The association issued invoices in its official-sounding name and received money for work that did not exist.

Neither Ms Gillard nor the firm of Slater & Gordon told their client, the AWU, about the existence of the association carrying the union’s name, resulting in further fraud and the draining of accounts amid police investigations into separate fraud allegations involving Mr Wilson.

Ms Gillard had not opened a file at the firm for her legal work for Mr Wilson on the association. Her legal partners were unaware of its existence until August 1995, when Mr Wilson’s separate Victorian slush fund was exposed and police were called in by the AWU’s national leaders to launch a fraud investigation. 
PRIME Minister Julia Gillard enabled the incorporation of a union slush fund from which her boyfriend later stole hundreds of thousands of dollars by formally denying to authorities that it was a trade union organisation…

The revelations contradict Ms Gillard’s claims at media conferences and in Parliament that she played a limited role in the formation of the association, from which her then boyfriend Bruce Wilson and his crony, Ralph Blewitt, later misappropriated more than $400,000…

‘’It demonstrates Prime Minister made false representations to the Western Australian Corporate Affairs Commission,’’ Mr Abbott said on Sky News this morning.

‘’This is obviously a very serious matter for a lawyer, for a law partner, to make false representations that would appear to be in breach of the law’’…

[Gillard] told [Slater & Gordon partners in 1995] it was a slush fund for union election campaigning but the incorporation application form - filled out in her own hand - described its purpose as ‘’development of changes to work to achieve safe workplaces’’.
Gillard’s latest defence? Another case of no memory: 
The Australian asked Ms Gillard’s office yesterday whether she had anything to add to her previous statements about her role. A spokesman replied last night that Ms Gillard “has no recollection of receiving or sending the claimed correspondence in this matter”.

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