Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tue 20th Nov Todays News


Happy birthday and many happy returns Daniel Nguyen. Remember, birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live
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José Antonio Primo de Rivera

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Births

[edit]Deaths

[edit]Holidays and observances


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ABC SKATING ON THIN ICE .. Larry Pickering

Dissemination of “news” by the ABC is reaching embarrassing proportions. It has always been Left and we have learnt to tolerate and allow for that. But the disgraceful imbalance of Old Aunty is lately getting close to brick-through-monitor stage.

It’s quite foolish really because it invites an incoming conservative Government to expunge existing management and replace it 
with one that will ensure more objective staff.

The ABC usurps a budget of $1.18 billion of taxpayers’ funds each year and therefore has a responsibility to cater for views other than its own.

It is a very unpopular network but that fact doesn’t seem to affect it one iota as its programmers happily adhere to a head-up-own-bum philosophy.

Its pro-Gillard stance is appallingly subjective. If Abbott had been accused of the corruption Gillard has, with the same documented evidence, is there any doubt the hated Abbott would be torn to shreds by eager ABC boffins? Nope.

The ABC is now the only medium refusing to acknowledge that Gillard was instrumental in massive fraud against AWU union members... apart from Brisbane’s Courier Mail of course, but that “paper” has only ever catered for illiterate readers of pictures with IQs between seven and ten.

“The Insiders”, Barrie Cassidy and his panel of misfits have clearly not even read the evidence regarding the AWU fraud. They don’t think missing files matter. They don’t think Gillard’s flat refusal to answer any question is remotely significant. Neither does that boofhead Latham or that rugby player, Fitzsumthin, who appears to have had too many knocks to the head.

They refer to it as a “Liberal plot” when every piece of information is being leaked by the ALP itself. One third of the ALP want Gillard gone.

When the Left wing newspaper The Age began to report on the prescient scandal it was the signal that it was “game on” but ABC ‘journos’ sat around the lunch table munching on their vegetarian salad rolls and sipping green tea while the shutters stayed drawn.

The ABC is playing favourites with our money. Much like the ethnic SBS. Publicly funded to the extent of $310 million, it has just donated (not bid for) $7 million in “rights” to its preferred ethnic game of soccer. Some of us don’t like soccer but we need to pay for it and we ain’t even been asked!

The interesting bit is this: Soccer clubs will now get hefty endorsements because of the greater TV rights that we paid for. So, will we get that $7 million back? Silly question.

Publicly funded broadcasters should not play for the one team. They should aspire to educative and informative programming including impartial, comprehensive coverage of current affairs .

Disinterested balance should be their ideal, not unpopular and costly personal preferences.

Anyway, the ABC had better get its act together or very soon someone will be doing it for them.

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Missing AWU scandal files “found”

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

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

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Finding the courage to repair a torn society

Miranda Devine – Tuesday, November 20, 2012 (5:58pm)

WHEN Julia Gillard paid tribute to Australia’s latest Victoria Cross recipient, she repeatedly used the word “modesty” to describe the 29-year-old soldier. - I was privileged to be part of a meeting of elite Anglican educational personages. Discussed at the meeting was a concept gaining currency "Cultural Assets." Such assets are important and bolster and support society, but gain little recognition by the vandals promoting catch phrases that eat at them. Humility is indeed something to be praised in our heroes. It is something sadly lacking in the wake of Gillard's hubris - editor

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WHAT DOES IT MEAN

Tim Blair – Tuesday, November 20, 2012 (12:38pm)

Why is an unemployed hairdresser always waving at us?

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UPDATE. Inexplicably, waving man has a taxpayer-funded assistant. What on earth does this person do?
UPDATE II. Ms Prime Minister, your lane is ready:

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(Pic from Peter P.)

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SPLITTERS

Tim Blair – Tuesday, November 20, 2012 (12:35pm)

Climate fracking at the UN: 
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will not be attending the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Doha, chairman Dr Rajendra K Pachauri has said.
“For the first time in the 18 years of COP, the IPCC will not be attending, because we have not been invited,” he told Gulf Times in Doha. 
(Via the GWPF)

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ABC TO COVER STORY

Tim Blair – Tuesday, November 20, 2012 (12:30pm)

hint from Jonathan Holmes, on coverage of a certain union matter: 
Well, there are plenty, apart from the Prime Minister, who think that The Australian’s devotion of pages of newsprint to each minor development in the saga smacks equally of a political agenda. One thing seems sure: the story is not going away. And my bet is that the ABC’s investigative programs can’t, and won’t, ignore it for much longer. 
Interesting. And here’s former union official Grace Collier, in last Friday’s Financial Review
If you have been covering your ears and turning your face away from the bewildering story that this scandal is, I have news. Ralph Blewitt, the man who is at the centre of the AWU slush fund matter, is poised to tell all he knows to police.
Through the foggy confusion, the tip of a very big iceberg has just come into view.
This confusing story will be worth paying attention to. Sit up, take notice and be bothered with the detail. We are going on a long roller-coaster ride. Be prepared to celebrate or commiserate.Soon things will get very bad or very good, depending on your bent. 
Blewitt is on his way
A key witness in the Australian Workers Union scandal will fly into Australia tomorrow prepared to tell all over an alleged “slush” fund used by Julia Gillard’s ex-boyfriend.
Ralph Blewitt, a former AWU Victorian secretary, confirmed he will travel from Malaysia to meet with his legal team in Melbourne before providing a statement to Victorian detectives. 
Stay tuned.

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SHARK SADNESS

Tim Blair – Tuesday, November 20, 2012 (12:26pm)

Great white weeping from some of our favourite climate crybabies.

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AMONG THE ACTIVISTS

Tim Blair – Tuesday, November 20, 2012 (12:05pm)

“If, like me, you’re actually sane, you may be ignorant to what a lot of the topics discussed by Tumblr Social Justice Activists (SJAs) are,” writes an amused observer of Social Justice Activist antics. “So consider this the SJA dictionary if you will.”
You’ll need it while enjoying all the social justice madness. Further tips: ”wtfsocialjustice is great at collating the best of social justice insanity, as is dumbthingssocialjusticeblogssay and tw-social-justice. Oh, and aboutmaleprivilege and casual-isms are a neverending source of hilarity, but they take themselves completely seriously ...”
(Via Evil Pundit)

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ASK JOE BIDEN FOR HELP

Tim Blair – Tuesday, November 20, 2012 (11:56am)

Four more years of Obamic brilliance
It is only two weeks since his re-election, and his second term remains two months away, but Barack Obama is already blundering again on the world stage, with the kind of gaffes that would have been plastered on the front page of The New York Times if they had been committed by George W. Bush when he was in the White House. Obama’s first term was littered with foreign policy gaffes, and there is every chance the second term will be more of the same.
On his trip to Asia this week, President Obama struggled to pronounce the name of Aung San Suu Kyi, the most prominent human rights activist in the world. 
Has the Smartest President ever been to Tanzania?
(Via Brat)

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The ABC is at war with Israel, too

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER202012(2:59pm)

Israel’s response to the rocket attacks from Hamas-controlled Gaza has prompted the ABC to present Palestinian propagandists who, once again, can make the most absurd and inflammatory claims virtually without fear of contradiction.
On Lateline last night, we heard from Rami Khouri, of the American University of Beirut, who made this uncontradicted claim:
The Arabs have given the Israelis a peace plan and accepted to live with a Israeli state as it is now, predominantly a Jewish majority Israeli state.
But here is what the leader of Hamas, which has fired more than 1500 rockets into Israel this year, actually says:
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, whose group runs the Gaza Strip, said the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) headed by Western-backed President Mahmoud Abbas had made a “historic mistake” by recognizing Israel.
“We said it five years ago and we say it now ... we will never, we will never, we will never recognize Israel,” Haniyeh told the gathering which some organizers said was attended by around 250,000 people.
Haniyeh had raised speculation last month about a change in Hamas’s charter, which calls for Israel’s destruction, by suggesting the group could accept a referendum on any peace treaty giving the Palestinians a state on land Israel captured in a 1967 war.
But he said such a truce would entail “no recognition of Israel and no concessions over any part of the land of Palestine.”
On 7.30 last night it was Palestinian lawyer and former peace negotiator Diana Buttu:
Under international law, Israel’s supposed to withdraw completely from the Gaza Strip, it’s supposed to give freedom to the Palestinians… Israel at this point in time cannot demand security from Palestinians. That’s not the role of Palestinians to provide Israel security; it’s the other way around… And what has to happen is for Israel to get - to face increasing international pressure in the form of boycotts, in the form of sanctions to make sure that it abides by international law. This has gone on far too long and we’re now seeing now three generations of Palestinians who have lived under Israel’s military rule.
Israel doesn’t demand Hamas provide Israel’s security - just that it stop firing rockets. (This point, at least, was made by presenter Leigh Sales.) Moreover, the people in Gaza do not live “under Israel’s military rule” but under that of Hamas since 2007.  Israel pulled out of Gaza completely in 2005.
On PM, presenter Mark Colvin portrayed the rocket fire as the retaliation for Israeli bombing rather than vice versa:
MARK COLVIN: Today has been the bloodiest day yet in the conflict in Gaza, with many women and children among the dead. There are no direct peace negotiations but Israel and Hamas have separately met Egyptian officials in Cairo for indirect truce talks. After six days of Israeli air strikes, and retaliatory rocket fire from Palestinian groups, there’s been no real let up.
A list of the more than 1500 rocket attacks from Gaza is here. On what basis does Colvin distinguish between the rocket attacks of the past week ("retaliatory") and the 800 or so before last week (which he does not mention)?
The World Today also had Diana Buttu, calling for more rocket attacks on Israel:
The reason that people are now firing back is because of the fact of the assassination and I think if anything, rather than people saying to Hamas that it’s time to stop, it’s actually quite the opposite.
Israel’s killing last week of a Hamas military commander was a response to the rocket attacks, not the trigger for them. This was not put to Buttu. Nor was she queried at all about her demand that rather than call on Hamas to stop firing rockets, “the opposite” should occur.
UPDATE
Barack Obama flew to Burma - or Myanmar, as he foolishly called it - leaving it to Egypt and Turkey to broker a ceasefire between Hamas-controlled Gaza and Israel: 
President Barack Obama said yesterday it would be “preferable” to avoid an Israeli ground invasion of Gaza but put the onus on Egypt and Turkey to get Hamas to halt cross-border rocket fire, saying Israel had a right to defend itself from attack.
Obama, weighing in with his first comments on the crisis, made clear he was firmly on the side of U.S. ally Israel against the Palestinian militant group, but he also seemed to appeal to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to allow more time for Middle East leaders to rein in Hamas. 
In Egypt’s most concerted effort to win more global public support for the Palestinians, advisers to Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi, a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood who has been an outspoken supporter of Hamas, invited foreign correspondents in Cairo to a background briefing at which a senior Egyptian official sought to blame Israel for the conflict while at the same time maintaining Egypt’s role as an intermediary pressing both sides for peace....
Speaking on condition of anonymity to avoid upsetting the talks with the Israelis, the Egyptian official argued that the West, which supports Israel’s right to defend itself against rocket attacks from Gaza, was essentially blaming the victim.
“It is so strange people are talking about the rights of self-defense,” he said. “The self-defense of whom? Of the occupied people? Of the besieged people? Of the hurt people? No, the self-defense of the most powerful state in the region and the self-defense of the occupying force of Gaza and Palestine. This is what some of the international community are talking about.”
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told the Eurasian Islamic Council conference in Istanbul that the Jewish state is systematically mass-killing Muslims.

“Those who associate Islam with terrorism close their eyes in the face of mass killing of Muslims, turn their heads from the massacre of children in Gaza,” Erdogan said, according to Reuters. “For this reason, I say that Israel is a terrorist state, and its acts are terrorist acts.”
Even so, Morsi may well get to stop the rocket attacks, since he’s not keen to spoil his big trip to Washington in a few weeks
Egypt is keen to strengthen its “strategic relations” with the US, and work is currently underway to prepare for the first official visit by President Mohamed Morsi to Washington, the Egyptian ambassador to the US, Mohamed Tawfik, told Ahram Online…
Cairo, according to its ambassador in Washington, is going to pursue the immediate processing of an economic aid package that the US promised in the first quarter of 2011.
“The transfer of an aid package of $450 million is a priority that we are currently working on...”
(Thanks to readers Tony, Jason and Peter.)

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How to get the ABC interested in Gillard’s scandal? Smear Bishop

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER202012(1:39pm)

Deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop asked the Prime Minister questions every day during Parliamentary sittings three weeks ago about work Julia Gillard did as a solicitor on the AWU slush fund - used by her then boyfriend to steal $400,000 (without her knowledge, she says):
Number of times Michelle Grattan of The Age rang Bishop for comment: 0
Number of times ABC reporters rang Bishop for comment: 0
On Sunday, Labor minister Brendan O’Connor suggested, without a shred of evidence, Julie Bishop had unspecified ”questions” to answer about perfectly uncontroversial and completely legal work she did as a solicitor on the CSR asbestosis case in which she took instructions from, among others, the then WA Labor Attorney-General.
Number of times Michelle Grattan of The Age rang Bishop for comment: 1
Number of times ABC journalists and producers rang Bishop for comment: 6
Conclusion. Well, bias obviously.
But now that the ABC and Grattan have conclusively demonstrated that past work done as a solicitor by a senior politician is indeed of public interest, can we respectfully suggest they turn their attention not to the legitimate work done by Bishop, but the questionable work done by Gillard? Even Media Watch, which once savaged reporters who’d asked questions about the scandal and lost their jobs for it, now grudgingly concedes the ABC might well have to show some interest soon:
One day, when the full details of the AWU scandal finally come out, an even more telling story must be told: how key media figures in the Canberra press gallery, the ABC and Fairfax ran dead on the story and, worse, in some cases may even have tried to stifle it. 
Just to clarify again for the benefit of the ABC and Grattan.  As a lawyer for the CSR, Julie Bishop:
- did not have an affair with a CSR board member,
- did not create a slush fund for her lover kept secret from the CSR board,
- did not create a file kept secret from her partners,
- did not prepare a slush fund with a deceptive name to make it seem it was for the benefit of CSR workers,
- did not fail to go to police when her lover used that fund to steal $400,000 meant to improve safety for CSR workers,
- did not help the lover (unwittingly, she insists) spend $100,000 of that stolen money to buy him a house,
- did not witness a power of attorney in her boyfriend’s favor that the donor claims was witnessed without him present and on a different date than the one stated.
- did not have anyone from CSR work on her renovations,
- did not have a builder she used turn up to CSR headquarters demanding payment, and
- did not get shown the door by her partners as a consequence of what she did.
This is in rather sharp distinction to what Julia Gillard did as a solicitor for the AWU and her boyfriend, would you not say? I know Gillard said she did nothing wrong, but I really think there’s enough here to argue that what she did do was unwise, plain stupid, unethical and possibly worse.

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Tree has roots. Greenies stunned

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER202012(1:14pm)

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It’s just a tree, for heaven’s sake - the ultimate renewable resource. But these are still tree-worshipping times and madness is on the hoof:
The council initially paid $120,000 to protect the tree seven years ago as part of an environmentally friendly showcase development called Tree Houses.
However, one of the property owners now wants to cut the tree down because its roots have interfered with her home’s foundations…
A Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne arborist, who did not want to be named, said Moreton Bay figs were renowned for their invasive root systems and for growing quite large.
Wait! Back up. The council has already spent $120,000 to save this one tree? And is now contemplating buying two houses as well?
So who thought it such a bright idea to build “an environmentally friendly showcase development called Tree Houses” right next to a tree famous for growing very big, with invasive roots and drain-clogging leaves?
Well, well, well… Here’s a 2004 press release from the Bracks Labor Government: 
Ms Delahunty said the Tree House project would see two houses built around a 114-year-old Moreton Bay Fig on a property at 138 Cranbourne Rd in Frankston.
“I placed a preservation order on the tree in July last year, when I was alerted to the possibility of it being bulldozed,” Ms Delahunty said.
“Now two homes will be built around this significant tree, proving that houses can be designed in harmony with the natural environment and to complement our natural assets.
“The steps taken to ensure the homes and the tree will successfully co-exist will be captured, and the information will be shared with local government, environment and community groups, as well as the building industry...”
Should the government now “share” the information that building two houses next to a Moreton Bay Fig is a damn fool idea? And that maybe the thing should have been chopped down and two more grown somewhere more convenient?
Perhaps the following partners in that project should all be made to “share” the green lessons they’ve learned: 
The $800,000 Tree House project is a partnership between Archicentre, Frankston City Council and Devine Homes.
Frankston MP Alistair Harkness – who urged Ms Delahunty to place a heritage protection order on the tree last year - said both homes will achieve a 5 Star energy rating. One will have an environmental focus while the other will be built as a Kidsafe house…
“The homes’ roofs have been designed to pipe water directly to the tree’s roots and wash leaves and fruit back to the tree when it rains,’’ he said. 
Profits from the sale of the two houses will go to Kidsafe for Child Accident Prevention programs and the Environment Fund of the Frankston City Council.
What “profits”? Should the Environment Fund of the Frankston City Council not be docked the costs instead?
(Thanks to reader Jeff.)

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Minding Tim as he minds Julia

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER202012(12:40pm)

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That’s odd. Janette Howard did not have a taxpayer-funded assistant as wife of the Prime Minister. But Tim Mathieson ... 
He has an assistant, who travelled with him yesterday to Cambodia where he is accompanying Ms Gillard while she attends the East Asia Summit, and he receives limited access to Comcars when he is on official business.
Ms Gillard’s register of interests shows Mr Mathieson has received tickets to cricket, a signed football jersey and other memorabilia and honorary membership of the Royal Canberra Golf Club since 2010.
Mr Mathieson is treated the same as every other spouse of a prime minister, Ms Gillard’s office said yesterday…
The spokeswoman said it had been a long-standing practice, under successive governments, for the spouse of the prime minister to receive support for their official duties.
“This support includes assistance from a member of the prime minister’s staff in connection with official duties, and Comcar services when attending official functions.”
Janette Howard did not have that staff member. Is Mathieson busier with public engagements than she was?
UPDATE
Despite what the spokeswoman said, it appears Mathieson gets more taxpayer-funded assistant than past wives of Prime Ministers:
JULIA Gillard’s long-term boyfriend, Tim Mathieson, was assigned a specialist adviser [last year] to assist with his duties as the partner of the Prime Minister.
A Senate estimates hearing was told late yesterday that an adviser was employed part-time by the Prime Minister’s office to help Mr Mathieson manage his schedule. The First Assistant Secretary within the Ministerial Support Unit of the Prime Minister’s department, Kim Terrell, said he had no knowledge of anybody serving previously in the role
Mr Terrell confirmed the adviser had accompanied Mr Mathieson several times to provide “on-the-road” support on domestic and international trips.
UPDATE
Tory Shepherd provides a startling example of missing the point in responding to this piece. The point missed: no wife of a Prime Minister would confess to doing so little work or being so subservient in their homely duties to their partner, and nor would critics of the Left forgive them if they did. Examples are given.

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Record ice around Antarctica

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER202012(12:31pm)

I am in a dispute with a free-speech regulator which fancies putting out a statement declaring this freezing essentially patchy, small and recent and proposes to find fault in me not quoting warmists who make irrelevant arguments: 
Ice around the South Pole has expanded to cover a record area, scientists revealed yesterday – a month after saying that the North Pole had lost an unprecedented amount of its ice.
Researchers say – rather confusingly – that both occurrences are down to the ‘complex and surprising’ effects of global warming.
The record Antarctic sea ice cover was revealed in satellite images from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado....
At the end of the southern winter in September, ice covered 7.51million square miles of sea – more than at any time since records began in 1979. For the last 30 years the amount of Antarctic sea ice has been increasing by 1 per cent each decade.
Sorry to sound cryptic in the introduction, but more will be said when I can. You need to know how sceptics face trial by process at the hands of the very agencies claiming to be all for free speech.
Well, free speech they agree with, at least.
(Thanks to reader Craig.)

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Your super, now a union weapon

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER202012(11:56am)

If super-funds are to become weapons used by unions in industrial disputes, perverting the basis on which members’ funds are invested, then the trustees could well face legal action and perhaps the rest of us should be released from the 12 per cent super guarantee levy that gives those union such muscle:
The unions, including the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union and the Electrical Trades Union, are demanding that Mr Bracks and Mr Atkin set out the corporate governance and ethical policies that govern the scheme’s investments.
Cbus, through its $2 billion property arm as well as specialist managers, invests in large building developments, some of which have appointed Grocon, with which the CFMEU is in a bitter legal dispute.
This privilege, identified by the IPA, will also have to go:
The role of some Australian superannuation industry funds as ‘default’ funds in Australia’s industry relations system constitutes government-granted special financial privileges. While customers can opt-out of industry funds defaulted by the industrial award system, few do so.

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Dowd: was Rice sent to lie for Obama?

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER202012(11:39am)

Even Maureen Dowd - Maureen Dowd! - is suggesting, albeit safely after the election, Susan Rice might have been the patsy sent out to lie for Obama about Benghazi, to dismiss an attack by an al-Qaeda affiliate as merely a movie protest gone wrong:
Ambitious to be secretary of state, Susan Rice wanted to prove she had the gravitas for the job and help out the White House. So the ambassador to the United Nations agreed to a National Security Council request to go on all five Sunday shows to talk about the attack on the American consulate in Libya…

Rice should have been wary of a White House staff with a tendency to gild the lily… Did administration officials foolishly assume that if affiliates of Al Qaeda were to blame, it would dilute the credit the president got for decimating Al Qaeda? Were aides overeager to keep Mitt Romney, who had stumbled after the Benghazi attack by accusing the president of appeasing Islamic extremists, on the defensive? ...
The president’s fierce defense of Rice had virile flare. But ... (his) argument that Rice “had nothing to do with Benghazi,” raises the question: Then why was she the point person?
(Via Instapundit.)

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AWU scandal - Files found, others missing

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER202012(9:02am)

 The AWU scandal
One set of files found, another missing:
Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop had urged police intervention unless Queensland court records relating to a bid in the mid-1990s to recover money from the disgraced former boyfriend of Prime Minister Julia Gillard and his associates were quickly found.
A Federal Court spokesman said an exhaustive search had discovered the missing Queensland files in the court’s Victorian registry in Melbourne on Monday.
But he confirmed that a box of records was still missing from the court’s NSW registry, including a crucial affidavit and documents assembled by AWU whistleblower and now Fair Work Australia commissioner Ian Cambridge. 
Former industrial lawyer Harry Nowicki said the NSW documents, which were missing when he visited Sydney in September, were believed to include the original copy of a Slater & Gordon conveyancing file for the 1993 purchase of a Fitzroy unit with more than $100,000 that was stolen from the AWU Workplace Reform Association.
The property was purchased by AWU official Bruce Wilson, Ms Gillard’s then boyfriend, in the name of union crony Ralph Blewitt, who had never seen the unit. Ms Gillard denies any wrongdoing.

Also missing, a Slater & Gordon file and documents with the Corporate Affairs Commission of WA.
UPDATE
More to be told soon:
Ralph Blewitt, a former AWU Victorian secretary, confirmed he will travel from Malaysia to meet with his legal team in Melbourne before providing a statement to Victorian detectives.His evidence will shed light on the scandal that involved up to $1 million in misappropriated union funds. He is also expected to outline the role played by Ms Gillard’s former boyfriend Bruce Wilson.
It seems Blewitt has a deal that will unseal: 
Mr Blewitt’s lawyer Bob Galbally last night said his client had reached “an arrangement and agreement with Victorian police for Mr Blewitt to make a statement”.
He wanted “police to investigate” all aspects of the scandal.
Mr Blewitt previously said he would co-operate if he was granted immunity from prosecution.
(Thanks to reader Peter.)

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Israel attacked on-line

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER202012(7:58am)

Anti-Semitism is such a natural fit with the couch-potato activism of the permanently aggrieved:
THE Israeli government has admitted it has become the victim of a cyber-warfare campaign, with millions of attempts to hack state websites since the start of its Gaza offensive.
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said the government was now waging war on ‘’a second front - of cyber attacks against Israel’’.
Mr Steinitz said Israel had ‘’deflected 44 million cyber attacks on government websites...’’
His remarks came a day after the online activist group Anonymous claimed to have downed dozens of websites of state agencies and a top bank in protest over the Jewish state’s air assault on Gaza… Anonymous claimed to have downed or erased the databases of nearly 700 Israeli private and public websites, including that of the Bank of Jerusalem.

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You, too?

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER202012(7:37am)


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This isn’t how a refugee program is meant to work

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER202012(7:18am)

Importing the fighting is not what I expected from our refugee program - or our soldiers:
NSW Police acting organised crime director Arthur Katsogiannis said about a dozen former soldiers who had served in Afghanistan were known to have joined the state’s outlaw motorcycle gangs, which have been recruiting heavily in recent years…
Police sources said the gangs were also targeting Afghan immigrants, who may have received paramilitary training during the ongoing conflict, to use as muscle, with a number of these men linked to recent public shootings in Sydney…
Sharif Amin, secretary of the Afghan Community Support Association of NSW, said he had heard of a small number of recent immigrants joining bikie gangs, but had no concrete evidence.

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Barack Obama with Burmese woman with funny name

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER202012(6:58am)

Just as well George Bush or Tony Abbott didn’t make these basic howlers, or we’d never hear the end of it:
During his stop in Burma earlier today, President Obama repeatedly mispronounced the name of Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel laureate and former political prisoner who has led the struggle for a free and democratic Burma.
From the Associated Press:
As Obama stood next to the world’s most recognized democracy icon, he mispronounced her name repeatedly.
Ever gracious, Suu Kyi did not correct her American guest for calling her Aung YAN Suu Kyi multiple times during his statement to reporters after their meeting.
Proper pronunciation for the Nobel laureate’s name is Ahng Sahn Soo Chee.
What’s more, Obama also botched the name of his official host, Burma’s reformist new president, Thein Sein. 
As the two addressed the media, Obama called his counterpart “President Sein,” an awkward, slightly affectionate reference that would make most Burmese cringe.
Note to presidential advisers: For future rounds of diplomacy, the president of Myanmar is President Thein Sein – on first and second reference.

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Roxon cools the wild hopes raised by Gillard

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER202012(6:55am)

I wish I could trust these belated reassurances as much as I trust the government to make rushed, ill-considered and wild promises:
Last Monday Julia Gillard told her cabinet colleagues she had decided on a royal commission [on sexual abuse of children] in response to newspaper reports of two state inquiries and numerous police investigations into child sexual abuse, largely within the Catholic Church.
The Prime Minister’s public announcement provided neither detail, limitations nor deadline, opening the way for victims to believe they would get to tell their stories on a national stage, have perpetrators prosecuted, and, encouraged by lawyers, receive financial compensation.
At her press conference last Monday after cabinet, which received no warning or submission, Gillard voiced genuine sorrow for victims but was unable to answer any question in any detail.
All organisations, not just the Catholic Church, would be included and individuals would have the prospect of “the maximum public airing of what happened to them” while the government would “take some advice” on compensation…
Yesterday Roxon ... [said] the inquiry will not look into sexual abuse within families, the object is to look at the responses of institutions to allegations; there will be no need to duplicate individual “stories” of abuse; the commission was not a substitute for police inquiries; there was no mention of compensation.
UPDATE
Oops. Nicola Roxon today tells the ABC she isn’t ruling out the royal commission having something to say on compensation. That should add to the incentive for denunciation.
UPDATE
WA Premier Colin Barnett is right to worry: 
The premier said he hoped the royal commission would achieve positive outcomes, “but I also fear for the negativity that could come out of it”.
The Labor Opposition’s disgraceful response shows how difficult it will be to speak the truth in this fervid witch-hunt, in which populists compete to be the most damning: 
Opposition child protection spokeswoman Sue Ellery called on the premier to apologise to victims of child abuse ...
“Most Western Australians would be appalled that the premier appears more concerned about protecting the perpetrators than providing a platform to investigate abuse claims,” she said.
UPDATE
Just what a Commonwealth commission into “institutional responses into instances and allegations of child sexual abuse’’ is expected to produce is, however, much harder to pin down. The government’s announcement is in that sense the latest example of politics as grand theatre.

It is popular with the audience. The show will go on for years, featuring villains galore. It will be cathartic for many victims – and for many institutions, including, most obviously, the Catholic Church in Australia. It will become a focal point for community anger without too many specific solutions.

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Witch-hunters set loose on employers

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER202012(6:14am)

This will be a disaster, especially for small business:
The changes, detailed in an exposure draft to be released today, are part of the Gillard government’s election promise to consolidate Australia’s discrimination laws from five acts down to one.
The major changes will streamline the complaints process and shift the burden of proof to the respondent to justify the conduct, once the complainant has established a prima facie case…
Commonwealth anti-discrimination law is currently contained in the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, Sex Discrimination Act 1984, Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and Age Discrimination Act 2004. A fifth, the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986, establishes the Australian Human Rights Commission and provides mechanisms for resolving complaints of unlawful discrimination…
Attorney-General Nicola Roxon conceded it would now be easier for individuals to seek redress when they had been discriminated against but said the ability of the Australian Human Rights Commission to dismiss complaints that lacked merit would give business and service providers “certainty” as well. 
The only certainty is that this will promote an even greater feeding frenzy in the complaint industry, with lawyers winning most.
Complaining will be easier and more likely to succeed, with a virtual presumption of guilt of employers. The Government airily claims the Australian Human Rights Commission will dismiss “unmeritorious” complaints, but that reassurance has no merit of its own.
Consider. 
- Business will realise any complaint against it will be much harder to defend successfully. The pressure will be on it to settle, usually with “go-away” money, to avoid having its reputation damaged, time wasted and legal expenses thrown away.
- After all, the AHRC will still be operating under legislation that effectively declares the employer guilty unless it can prove innocence - a sinister and disgraceful reversal of centuries of legal principle.
- The AHRC has in the past demonstrated a bias towards the complaints industry, and its a creation of it. Its “conciliation”, conducted under the threat of duress, are essentially conducted behind closed doors.
- Complainants risk no costs to complain to the AHRC. All gain, no pain.
- Decisions by the AHRC to dismiss complaints can be appealed in court, where once again the employer will be presumed guilty.
This is just one more disincentive to hiring people. Who wants the grief? Business groups should go to the barricades over this.
This is what you get in a country led by Prime Minister Slater & Gordon.
THE federal government’s plan to rewrite anti-discrimination law is like money in the bank for the undeserving.
These changes will make it much easier to extract “go away” money from employers by launching proceedings using a law that is rigged…
If enacted, the government’s plan would confront employers with the evil twin of the reversed onus of proof that is partly responsible for the increase in claims under the Fair Work Act.
Instead of fixing the Fair Work Act, the government has decided to hide its flaws by spreading the unfairness to discrimination law. The pretext is to “harmonise” two associated bodies of law. Some harmony. 
The ACT has 12 times more human rights officials bureaucrats per capita than NSW.  The ACT body receives 25 per cent more complaints than its equivalent in Queensland, which serves 12 times the population… 
There is some reason to suspect it is being gamed by the worthless: 
Of the 602 complaints the commission received last year, 46 came from the Alexander Maconochie Centre, an institution that in less enlightened jurisdictions would be known as a prison. Thanks in part to the commission’s intervention, detainees will soon be able to shoot up in safety with the introduction of a needle exchange [program].
Even the very worst cases it deals with suggest this is an organisation which could disappear overnight without any damage to peace and goodwill:
The case studies cited in the annual report, presumably the worst of the worst of the worst, give some idea at the shallow pool of suffering in which the commission paddles.
An 84-year-old woman got her fingers caught in the door of a community transport service vehicle, the report tells us. The driver had taken her to the emergency department for treatment, but without the intervention of the Health Commissioner she would not have known where to lodge an insurance claim.
The commission stepped in to advise a man who complained a hospital had been slow to X-ray his injured wrist; it helped a woman who wanted access to her mother’s health records from an aged-care facility; a supermarket chain was rapped over the knuckles because of a shortage of wheelchair-compatible shopping trolleys. The complainant was given $1500 in compensation and store managers were sent to disability awareness training.



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