Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tue 27th Nov Todays news

Happy birthday and many happy returns David Duong,Sherry Ku and Suse Vien. Born on the same day across the years. Remember, birthdays are good for you. Those with the most live longest.

November 27
Jerusalem's Church, Berlin, in 1736



[edit]Holidays and observances


Gillard makes Blewitt look credible

Piers Akerman – Monday, November 26, 2012 (11:48pm)

JULIA Gillard has painted the AWU Reform Association slush fund fraud as a credibility contest between her and her former boyfriend’s old bagman Ralph Blewitt.
His word against mine, she asked the media, make your mind up!
That was a mistake.
She had just attempted to trash his name – if that were possible – with a character assassination of the type she has falsely claimed that someone working for the government ran against her before the 2007 election.
In fact, no-one from the Howard government did anything of the kind.
The incident goes to Gillard’s tactics though. Make a series of pre-emptive strikes in the hope that the media will concentrate on the smear rather than the substance.
Her press conference was the pre-emptive strike. She did not answer questions fully or she gave evasive responses unbefitting a Prime Minister.
Then she used her press conference performance as a shield against the lethal questions being lobbed at her by a really expert interrogator, the deputy Opposition leader, Julie Bishop.
In essence, Bishop zeroed in on a key document Gillard had prepared in August, 1991 as a a partner in Labor law firm Slater & Gordon’s industrial unit, to deal with a query her union boss boyfriend Bruce Wilson had about the appointment of a branch executive
The letter dealt in intricate detail with the niceties of the rules of the AWU. The same rules which would have made the slush fund Gillard admits setting up for Wilson and Blewitt illegal under the union’s provisions.
Gillard said she was acting on instructions from Wilson and Blewitt but as a lawyer her duty was to ensure that the advice she was giving them was accurate.
Her first stop should have been the rules of the AWU when she was asked to set up the AWU Reform Association.
Those rules clearly state that any funds are to be directed to the AWU Bank Accounts as per the AWU National Executive.
Financial decisions at branch level must be made by at least fifty per cent of the Branch Executive (bearing in mind that Gillard had been looking at the authority of Branch Executives in 1991 for Wilson) and it would have been obvious to anyone familiar with the AWU and acting for the union that Wilson and Blewitt did not make up 50 per cent of the Branch Executive.
Gillard did not answer Bishop’s question on the matter.
Similarly, she did not explain why she did not alert the AWU – Slater & Gordon’s client – that she had set up the slush fund without starting a file.
Gillard must explain why she did not include her work for her boyfriend, who she repeatedly said was an AWU executive, in the firm’s file of work for the AWU if she believed there was nothing wrong with acting for him?
A lot of her answers to the press were just too cute.
A lawyer who gives advice to a client about establishing an association usually describes the assignment as establishing an association. Not Gillard though. She was at pains to distance herself from the action though she corresponded with the industrial registrar about the establishment of the association and its bona fides.
Still, the bank corresponded with her – it must have been mistaken about her role, also.
And she could not recall whether $5000 had ever fetched up in her private bank account.
Even today, a thirty-something woman would probably remember if such a sum appeared in her account without explanation.
Blewitt appeared on the 7.30 Report and despite the usual haranguing from presenter Leigh Sales appeared confident and unshaken.
As one reader has said “I have met Ralph and there is no doubt he is a fraudster (but he is a straight shooter), but to take the word of the main fraudster (Wilson) as somehow our signal to let it all go is a nonsense.”
I have to agree. If Blewitt is a low life, what is Wilson, Gillard’s old lover, and the main fraud in this saga?
Blewitt has made a sworn statement to the police and will continue to assist them.
Gillard has fobbed off the press and then been less than open with the Australian people by telling our elected representatives that they will have to make do with her press statements if they want to know about the slush fund.
She is dudding us and she is making a mockery of the parliamentary process.
Given her carbon dioxide tax lie, her obfuscation about the funding for the NDIS and Gonsky, why would anyone be surprised?
But Labor voters, particularly union members, may want to know where the missing money went and they may want to find out why Gillard is being less than transparent about her role in the establishment of the slush fund.
Like Craig Thomson and the HSU, at the bottom of this story are thousands of workers who have been ripped off.
They aren’t being helped now by the Labor prime minister.
In fact, when it comes to credibility on this issue, Ralph Blewitt looks a great deal more trustworthy than Gillard - thanks for asking Julia.


Pressure on a PM under siege

Miranda Devine – Tuesday, November 27, 2012 (6:16pm)

A CONSTELLATION of competing emotions flitted across the Prime Minister’s face during her extraordinary press conference on Monday.
Was she frightened? Was she angry? Was she nervous? Was she defiant? Was she evasive? Was she irritated?
She seemed to be all of the above, all at once, and as she licked her lips and rearranged her face, she was a fascinating study of a woman barely holding it together under tremendous pressure.
In fact, if you turned down the sound on your TV or just let the words wash over you, the non-verbal information told a more interesting story, one that is off and running in the electorate: that our prime minister appears to be a person under siege.
Whatever is the upshot of the 17-year-old fraud allegations involving Gillard and Bruce Wilson, the married AWU official who was her then-boyfriend, and the legal advice she provided to him to incorporate an association, which she later described as a slush fund, the damage is done to Gillard’s reputation. No amount of spin doctoring will put it back together.
Whatever is the upshot of the various allegations of wrongdoing which Gillard repeatedly has denied, what this story does, fairly or unfairly, in the eyes of some, is to cement an adverse impression of Gillard’s character.
It is an impression that accords with a view of her character as someone who ousted her boss and took his job as prime minister, who vowed there would be “no carbon tax under the government I lead” before the last election and then signed a deal for one with the Greens and independents afterwards.
It is an impression that accords with a view of a leader who defended with “complete confidence” Dobell MP Craig Thomson last year over allegations of misuse of union money on prostitutes and his election campaign: “I think he is doing a fine job.”
It is an impression that accords with the spin emanating from her office, which includes a lie told to incite Aboriginal anger against Opposition Leader Tony Abbott resulting in a riot on Australia Day from which both Gillard and Abbott had to be rescued by police.
And it accords with a view of a character that would accuse others of engaging in the politics of smear while engaging in a most vicious smearing of a private citizen.
Gillard opened Monday’s press conference with a 500 word statement decrying “smear and sleaze” and then she tipped a bucket of the stuff on Ralph Blewitt, a former AWU official who had once been her friend. Blewitt, described as a one time union bagman, had been a “loyal lieutenant” to Wilson in the AWU, at a time when Wilson was being touted by his bosses as a future prime minister.
“So it’s going to come down to Mr Blewitt’s word against me,” said Gillard. “Let me remind you who Mr Blewitt is. Mr Blewitt is a man who has publicly said he was involved in fraud. Mr Blewitt is a man who has sought immunity from prosecution. Mr Blewitt admits to using the services of prostitutes in Asia. Mr Blewitt has published lewd and degrading comments and accompanying photographs of women on his Facebook page.
“Mr Blewitt, according to people who know him, has been described as a complete imbecile, an idiot, a stooge, a sexist pig, a liar, and his sister has said he’s a crook and rotten to the core. His word against mine, make your mind up. “
And minutes later: “You are talking about a contest here between me and Mr Blewitt, and you can work out who you believe: the person who is standing here, prime minister of Australia who has done nothing wrong, or the man who says he’s guilty of fraud and is looking for an immunity. Work it out. “
It was a ferocious character assassination and a turnaround from the position she took on the alleged use of prostitutes when defending Thomson.
There are a handful of people in the country who know all the ins and outs of the AWU story, including The Australian’s Hedley Thomas and policeman turned broadcaster Michael Smith, who lost his job at radio station 2UE after trying to air the allegations last year.
Smith, a forensic sleuth with a point to prove, has teamed up with Blewitt and a mysterious character named Harry Nowicki, a wealthy former personal injury lawyer and union adviser who is writing a history of the AWU.
Nowicki financed Blewitt’s trip from Malaysia to take his allegations to Victorian police about the role Gillard played in providing advice in the setting up in 1995 of the AWU Workplace Relations Association, the so-called slush fund from which Wilson allegedly siphoned hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Every day Smith updates his blog with fresh information and he says on Monday there were one million hits on the website.
Yesterday he posted two new interviews, one with Blewitt’s Muslim wife Ruby, in Malaysia, dismayed at the PM’s characterisation of her husband: “I am burning in my heart”. The other was an interview with a former miner, making sensational allegations involving Wilson and 25kg of explosives in the WA mining town of Kambalda.
The Prime Minister is probably right when she says the public is “sick of stories they don’t understand about events 17 to 20 years ago”. But that is because they formed their impression of her character long ago.
It’s not the media’s fault she is mired in this. Nor is it particularly the fault of the opposition, which has come late to the party and has contributed little fresh information. It’s certainly not the fault of “sexists” who can’t stand having a woman in charge, as Greens leader Christine Milne claimed yesterday.
No. In my view it is entirely the fault of Julia Gillard and colleagues who installed her and now are suffering buyers’ remorse.
Character is destiny.


A litany of failure

Miranda Devine – Tuesday, November 27, 2012 (6:04pm)

JOSH Frydenberg, the 41-year-old MP for the blue ribbon Melbourne seat of Kooyong, is one of the Liberal Party’s most impressive up and comers.

He has double honours degrees in law and economics from Monash University, a Master of International Relations from Oxford and a Master of Public Administration from Harvard. So he’s no slouch.
Pictured above, left, with his mate, Labor MP Ed Husic, he is courteous across the board.
But last night he turned his razor sharp mind to recording the government’s stuff-ups over the past five years.
Read it and weep.

Adjournment Debate: Five Years of Labor Failures
Josh Frydenberg MP
26 November 2011

It was John Kenneth Galbraith who once said ‘Nothing is so admirable in politics as a short memory.’
This may be all well and good for the politician who has committed the original sin but for the public who bear the brunt of that politician’s bad policy there is little forgiveness. And there is no worse government that what we have seen over the last five years, or 1,827 days, of the Rudd-Gillard government.
Let us recount just some of Labor’s greatest failures over the last five years. I am sure there are many to add but here it goes.
We have the carbon tax from a Prime Minister who said there would be no carbon tax under the government she led and a PM who promised a citizens assembly to generate a consensus and said she was from a party of ‘truth telling’.
The mining tax which was first announced with no industry consultation and then introduced with so much industry consultation it produced zero revenue.
The company tax cut which was never delivered and saw Labor members like the Minister for Small Business and the member for Deakin tell their constituents the day before the announcement saying the company tax would be delivered.
The Henry tax review report which sat in the Treasurer’s cupboard for six months before he released it, only to announce he was only going to accept one out of 138 recommendations—no surprise from a government that conducts itself by review, setting up more than 200 inquiries and reviews, the daddy of them all being the 2020 Summit.
Then there are the 2012-13 surplus that was a rolled-gold guarantee, then a commitment, then an objective, then a guiding principle, now an expectation that will never be delivered.
The four biggest budget deficits in Australia’s history.
A net debt of $147 billion with an interest bill of $20 million a day and a debt ceiling of $300 billion from a starting position of having $70 billion in the bank and a debt ceiling of only $75 billion.
An NBN which started at just over a $4 billion commitment, that had no cost-benefit analysis, the proposal for which was prepared by the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy on the back of an envelope, has now blown out to $50 billion and has more than 1,300 staff and only 7,000 customers.
A bungled Australia Network tender which led to a police investigation and the government being forced to make compensation payments.
There has been government waste on a grand scale, from the pink batts that led to hundreds of house fires to the overpriced school halls, the set top boxes that were cheaper at Gerry Harvey’s and the $70 million being spent on government advertising to sell a carbon tax no one wants.
The embarrassing, costly and public failures of the green loans, GroceryWatch, Fuel watch and clash for clunkers.
The bloating of the Public Service which has seen more than 20,000 new hires on Labor’s watch, and the abolition of anything and everything that Tony Abbott was responsible for when a minister in the Howard government from the successful Chronic Disease Dental Scheme, work for the dole, the private health insurance rebate and of course the Australian building and construction commission—not to mention the blank cheque that has been given to the unions, with amendments to fair work provisions, the stacking of the commission with political appointments and wilful blindness towards union militancy in the workplace.
There is the introduction of more than 20,000 new or amended regulations with only 104 repealed, strangling small business in a sea of red tape and burdensome regulation.
The failure to protect our borders with more than 30,000 unauthorised arrivals and 500 boats with hundreds of lives tragically lost at sea, riots in our detention centres and a budget blowout of more than $6 billion, not to mention the farce of the East Timor solution the Timorese government did not want and the Malaysia solution the High Court would not allow.
The dramatic and dangerous cuts to defence spending which has fallen to the lowest level since 1938.
And the misdirection of our aid spending that has seen Australian taxpayers funding a statue in New York that commemorates the end of slavery in the Caribbean.
We also have the farce of the live cattle export issue which cost millions of dollars and thousands of jobs.
The dumbing down of our foreign policy by our Prime Minister, who would rather be sitting with a class of schoolkids than representing the country meeting fellow world leaders abroad; an Asia Pacific Community that never got off the ground but only damaged our relationships in the region; the leaking of a private telephone conversation with President Bush over the G20; calling the Chinese ‘rat somethings’; and the bypassing of a trusted partner in Japan on Mr Rudd’s first visit overseas. The current Foreign Minister Senator Carr has also launched into Papua New Guinea, calling for sanctions against them. If that is what a rehearsed kabuki actor behaves like, then save us all.
The list goes on: the backflip and embarrassment over the supertrawler; the copying by the Leader of the House of lines from The American President in a speech to the Press Club; a Treasurer who pretends he is Bruce Springsteen and then goes on to call Republicans in the United States ‘cranks and crazies’ to support his political base; a Prime Minister who belittles our parliament with a trumped up and false charge of misogyny only to then back the then Speaker Peter Slipper after the substance of some repugnant text messages became public, not to mention the Attorney-General giving Mr Slipper privileged access to the judges car park; and there was the Australia Day riot that had its origins in a confected anti-Abbott manoeuvre.
The list goes on and on.
The faceless men in the Labor Party removed Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister—now the Australian people want to have their say so let them have their say in an election tomorrow.



Tim Blair – Tuesday, November 27, 2012 (6:20pm)

Julia Gillard changes her mind on a UN vote against the granting of observer status to Palestine: 
On Monday night the Prime Minister told her Cabinet colleagues she had made the decision that Australia would vote against the motion and expected Cabinet support …
But after Cabinet and before this morning’s ALP Caucus meeting of all ministers and backbenchers the Prime Minister succumbed to pressure, dropped her insistence on a vote against Palestine and agreed to Australia abstaining from the vote.
Many MPs, expecting Ms Gillard to maintain her staunch support for Israel and back a vote against the motion, were taken by surprise by the backflip. 
They haven’t been paying attention.



Tim Blair – Tuesday, November 27, 2012 (1:18pm)

Meet the Dibs
On Friday, Mustapha Dib, known by friends, family and police as ‘Fairy,’ received a 30-year minimum jail sentence for the Lakemba murder of pregnant Anita Vrzina, 20, and wounding her partner, Ahmed Banat, with intent to murder in November 2000.
It was the second person he killed before he was 18 …
Mustapha’s brother Mohammad Dib, 34, who has spent at least eight years in jail for car rebirthing and his role in trying to cover up his brother’s role in the Lee murder, told Fairfax Media they are a ‘’normal family despite a few murders and shit’’. 



Tim Blair – Tuesday, November 27, 2012 (1:12pm)

Heat-rich Africans lend a hand:

(Via Dan F.)



Tim Blair – Tuesday, November 27, 2012 (1:08pm)

Slightly worse than a recent transport incident in Melbourne, but destined to receive far less coverage: 
A Sydney cyclist who shoved the elderly mother of former rugby league player Joe Thomas has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Daniel Paul Wood, 31, of Mascot, appeared in the NSW District Court on Tuesday where he pleaded guilty to feloniously slaying 71-year-old Mary Touma on May 21, 2010.
The court has previously heard that Wood told a witness: “The bitch got in my way.” 
Cyclists hate it when that happens.



Tim Blair – Tuesday, November 27, 2012 (12:58pm)

Paris in 1914.



Tim Blair – Tuesday, November 27, 2012 (12:53pm)

David Thompson reviews a wonderful new publication: 
The New Inquiry has plenty to thrill the pretentious leftwing radical. And so one contributor tells us that she went to Casablanca to work on her “dissertation on Moroccan hip hop and neoliberalisation,” before mulling the inevitable question, “Is rap the battleground between Muslims?” 
There may be one or two others. Also from David, this spectacular Guardian piece about a musician who enjoys fancy nosh: 
As a lover of white truffles, a stereotypically upper class food, the rapper [Jay-Z] is bolstering a new kind of black identity. 
Seriously. Author Kieran Yates is thrilled by this historic breakthrough: 
Jay-Z has shelled out an eye-watering €15,000 on three kilos of white truffles on a recent holiday to Italy …
What Jay-Z is in effect saying is that the world of decadent foodstuffs is not off limits – not to him, or to hip-hop culture. Assumptions are slowly being challenged. 
“See, radical and profound,” writes Thompson. “One Guardian commenter helpfully distils the intellectual heft of this mighty opus: ‘BLACK MAN EATS TRUFFLES’.”



Tim Blair – Tuesday, November 27, 2012 (12:47pm)

That worked out well
Police are investigating a think tank set up by Gordon Brown to improve the behaviour of bankers over claims that one of its managers has embezzled a large sum of cash. 
(Via C.L.)



Tim Blair – Tuesday, November 27, 2012 (12:09pm)

Mark Latham – who once described me as “always looking down his nose at working class pastimes” – is making stuff up again.



Tim Blair – Tuesday, November 27, 2012 (11:34am)

The sad story of “a little round man” who is tormented by an evil steak-eater: “He has a friendly smile that fools you.”


AWU scandal - Bruce saves Bishop more than Gillard

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER272012(7:51pm)

 The AWU scandal
Julie Bishop failed today to present new information to give the AWU story life. Her failure, after so much promising, risked making the scandal seem stale and oversold.
Worse is that the Canberra pack swarmed over Bishop’s verbal slip, soon corrected, suggesting Gillard set up the slush fund for personal benefit for herself as well as boyfriend Bruce Wilson and Ralph Blewitt. The press pack, glad for an excuse, tried its best to make a corrected verbal slip into an intentional overreach and slander. Her 10 minute meeting on Friday with Ralph Blewitt was unwise, if only for letting Labor try to make it seem a Godwin Grech moment - ignoring the slight matter that if Bishop’s 10 minutes with Blewitt was terrible, then what should we conclude of Gillard’s four years of friendship with him, and the legal favors she did him?
But then came Bruce…
Bruce Wilson gave an interview to the ABC’s 7.30 to insist Gillard knew nothing of the operation of the slush fund and did nothing of the conveyancing of the Melbourne property bought with some of the money, other than witness the power of attorney from Blewitt. Wilson added he gave no money to Gillard for her renovations.
He also claimed he did not profit from the slush fund, but Blewitt may have. He had no idea where the money went or who sold the house.
But he says he can’t rule out dropping $5000 in Gillard’s account, and if former AWU officialWayne Hem said it happened “then perhaps it did”.
He would not commit to going to police with his story.
The money is one thing. The other was the scarred face, the twitching half-closed eye and the demeanour of a man much battered by life. This bloke was the Prime Minister’s boyfriend?
Wilson also said he and Blewitt had tried once before to register their slush fund but failed “because of some technicality”. So they took it to Gillard and “she did it”. Gillard herself has said she merely “gave legal advice” and “did not register” the slush fund.
Wilson said “the form didn’t look right” and Gillard told him, “I’d better fill it out”, and wrote in the slush fund’s name - the “Australian Workers Union - Workplace Reform Association”.
Sounds a pretty hands-on role. And Gillard has not denied having to reassure the WA Corporate Affairs Commission after it queried whether the association complied.
Reader Amortiser: 
I think you are a bit harsh in saying that no new material was put forward.

Bishop produced a copy of a cheque from the AWU Members Welfare Association No 1 account for $15,000 noted on the back to pay $5,000 cash and $10,000 in a bank cheque to J Spiridis a home renovator. The cheque was signed by Wilson.
Bishop was looking for a denial that the cheque for the renovator was for her home renovations. Gillard obliged. I would be betting that there will be more to be said about this particular cheque and how it was distributed.

Gillard has been told not to answer any questions in the parliament but they are coming so fast she can’t help herself. She will trip herself up if she hasn’t do so already. These questions are just the probing jabs at the moment. A good jab can be very harmful. There is much to go in this fight.


Too dangerous for visitors?

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER272012(5:22pm)

I don’t think enough Australians realise how violent our streets seem to the rest of the world:

Three recent attacks on foreign nationals in Australia have caused widespread outrage in South Korea, with media organisations questioning whether Australia was a safe place to visit.
A 33-year-old South Korean student had his little finger chopped off and left arm broken in a brutal attack by a group of teenagers in Melbourne in late September.
Another 33-year-old South Korean man was assaulted in Sydney by a group of four or five people in October.
And on Sunday, a 27-year-old South Korean was punched in the head by two men trying to steal his mobile phone in Brisbane, the Yonhap news agency reported.
In the Melbourne attack, the victim, who gave his name as Mr Chang, approached the South Korean consulate in Melbourne for assistance this month after being dissatisfied by the police inquiries.

Victoria Police is continuing its investigations after the South Korean government requested they conduct a “more thorough and fair investigation”, capture the perpetrators and compensate the victim. 


Flannery’s 100 per cent fantasy

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER272012(4:42pm)

Terry McCrann fact-checks Chief Climate Commissioner Tim Flannery’s latest prediction:
The latest effort from its so-called ‘chief climate commissioner’ really takes the cake with his absurd claim that Australia could be powered “almost entirely by renewable energy.”

Oh yeah. Renewable energy now provides about 10 per cent of our electricity. Sounds like we’ve got a running start? We’ve ‘only’ got to expand it tenfold?

Except what people like Flannery never tell you in all the headline flummery, is that the overwhelming majority of that comes from hydro power. And nobody’s building dams any more.

Yes, the body of his report does note that some 65 per cent of that 10 per cent comes from hydro. It’s arguably closer to 80 per cent in non-drought years.

That means barely 2 per cent of our total electricity comes from what the average person would think as ‘renewable’… Wind and solar…

That means even using his optimistic numbers for current wind and solar generation, we would have to increase our installations of wind and solar by at least forty times what they are today to get 100 per cent of our electricity from these two “plentiful” sources....

But that’s to produce today’s power. Flannery’s talking about some decades ahead, when our demands will probably have doubled. So make that a 160-fold increase in windmills…

Solar and wind could even be the cheapest sources of power for retail users by 2030, Flannery trumpeted. As carbon prices rise, he added.

Yes, the greatest half-truth of the climate propagandists. Make real power sources ridiculously, unnecessarily expensive and suddenly wind and solar become “cheap.”


Putting Abbott in the picture

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER272012(2:48pm)

A comedian tells some sexist and unsound jokes at a gathering of the Australian Hotels Association and that is reported, which is fair enough. So what illustration does some unsupervised leftoid mole in the AFR’s pictures department choose to illustrate the story? An old picture of Tony Abbott, who did not attend the event, wasn’t there, didn’t laugh at the gags and knew nothing about it. 
(Thanks to reader Gab.)


Is Christine Milne racist and sexist in defending Gillard?

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER272012(11:58am)

Christine Milne makes what sounds to me a racist and sexist defence of Julia Gillard:

Senator Milne said there was a “group of older, white men in Australia” who did not like the idea that at last women were coming into their own.

“They’ve never accepted the legitimacy of a woman as a prime minister and they are kicking back in every which way they can,” she told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.
First, most of the prosecution of this case in Parliament has been by Julie Bishop, a woman. Is Milne claiming Bishop is just the tool of white men?
Second, why the reference to “white” men? If we’re talking about criticism of Julia Gilalrd, I’ve also heard it from Aboriginal MP Ken Wyatt as well as Warren Mundine, Labor’s former national president, who quit the party in disgust.
Third, if we - whether male or female, black or white - cannot hold to account an incompetent and untrustworthy Prime Minister who happens to be a woman without being accused of sexism, it strikes me that the real sexists must be those trying to shield her with this abuse. They are demanding less scrutiny of - and accountability from - a woman. This is not just sexist, but dangerous.
And a qustion: how many of the “white males” criticising Gillard are actually admirers of Margaret Thatcher? I certainly am. So how does that fit with Milne’s sexism excuse?


Lack of cash does not explain the failure of indigenous policy

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER272012(11:31am)

Gold-plating the taps of indigenous communities in the jobless bush will achieve nothing. Helen Hughes and Mark Hughes on the astonishing spending on remote Aboriginal communities - and the terrible lack of results:
Every year, $100,000 of our taxes is spent for each remote indigenous Australian… But high spending has barely reduced extremes of dysfunction. On balance, it is perpetuating indigenous disadvantage…

The 2010 Indigenous Expenditure Report [shows that in] 2008-09 Australian governments spent $17 billion on indigenous persons accessing mainstream services and $5 billion on indigenous-only services. The report shows that every year this translates to an average of $40,000 for each indigenous Australian compared to $18,000 for each non-indigenous Australian. But these per capita figures conceal rather than reveal real indigenous expenditures. More than 60 per cent of indigenous Australians—some 330,000—work in major cities and regional towns side by side with other Australians. When they become unemployed, they find another job within a few weeks, like most other Australians… They pay taxes. Like other Australians each also only accesses $18,000 of government services per head, so that when indigenous expenditure is adjusted for them, the per capita figures change dramatically.
About 215,000 Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders are dependent on welfare. Most of these—about 140,000—also live in major cities and regional towns. Most have dropped out of, or never entered, the labour force, so they receive single parents’ and disability rather than unemployment social security payments. These welfare-dependent indigenous Australians live side by side with non-indigenous welfare-dependent Australians and mostly receive the same benefits and government services.
Most indigenous funding is for the 75,000 indigenous Australians in remote communities. When allocated across to these remote indigenous Australians, government expenditure is more than $100,000 per person per year—$400,000 per family of four. In three years, this amounts to more than $1 million per family. For such sums an indigenous family could pay rent in Toorak or Vaucluse and send its children to a posh private school…
Take two very remote Northern Territory schools with students from Year 1 to 12. They are twenty minutes drive apart. The indigenous school (more than 80 per cent Aboriginal students) receives $33,000 per student from the government. Only 6 per cent of its Year 5 students achieved national minimum reading standards. The non-indigenous school received $20,000 per student, yet 88 per cent of its Year 5 students met national minimum reading standards. These results are representative of these two schools’ reading, writing and maths results in all years…

The difference in performance is not due to indigenousness. Children from urban working indigenous families in mainstream schools have similar literacy and numeracy pass rates (90 per cent plus) to non-indigenous children… When $33,000 per student delivers a 94 per cent failure rate, lack of expenditure is not the cause. Despite additional funding, 150 indigenous schools have the lowest literacy and numeracy of Australia’s 9500 schools. Failure is due to separate “Aboriginal” curriculums and a lack of focus on classroom teaching. Instead of phonics to target weak English foundations and arithmetic drills to build basic numeracy, extra funding is spent on supernumeraries and special indigenous programs… Excessive funding is contributing to high failure rates.
(Thanks to reader John.)


Help! I’m stalked by a former Labor leader who is a fabricator

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER272012(9:08am)

I’ve mention before how former Labor leader Mark Latham in writing about me lately hasfabricated quotes and deceitfully twisted others to give them the opposite meaning. I consider this to be deeply dishonest, and it’s astonishing that Crikey, knowing the truth, has nevertheless published his rants. Is sliming me really so important to Crikey that it will publish even proven deceptions?
I’ve since let the rest of Latham’s rubbish drift by without comment, figuring his credit is so low no one will believe it anyway. Again, it says something about Crikey that it still publishes anything, no matter how farfetched and false, he chooses to write about me. “Quality journalism”, indeed.
But today Latham again - and in Crikey again - not only makes something up but says something so foul that I should correct the record:
[Bolt’s} coverage of the Slater & Gordon matter has shown him to be a right-wing media fanatic, specialising in wild allegations, conspiracy theories and the politics of smut (such as his constant demand for the media to investigate Julia Gillard’s relationship with Craig Emerson 10 years ago—whenever the Slater & Gordon smear is not going well for Bolt, he falls back on this smear).
Not once have I called on the media to investigate Gillard’s relationship with Emerson. Not once. I have noted that Gillard’s very personal attack on Abbott’s alleged attitude to women has invited similar scrutiny by The Australian about her own attitude to married women, as well as an obscure reference to Emerson by a Coalition frontbencher. I have also noted howWomen’s Weekly in its largely fawning profile of the Prime Minister relegated this potential embarrassment to just two sanitised paragraphs on the very last of the 13 pages.
That’s just observing media coverage and double standards. But to claim I have a “constant demand for the media to investigate Julia Gillard’s relationship with Craig Emerson 10 years ago” is utterly false. I do not demand this and never have. To claim the opposite suggests to me that Latham is a liar or delusional or a fool with severe comprehension problems. If I thought the relationship should be investigated I’d have done so myself. 
That Latham was nearly our Prime Minister is terrifying.
And again I should ask: is this the kind of journalism we should expect from a Financial Review columnist? What else does he write that’s false or fabricated?


AWU scandal - Why did Slater & Gordon ditch the AWU, and did Gillard know?

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER272012(8:27am)

 The AWU scandal
What did Bruce Wilson tell Slater & Gordon that forced it to drop both him and the AWU as its clients? Did he reveal his fraud? And how does this square with Julia Gillard’s latest excuse for not alerting the AWU or the police?
Slater & Gordon this morning explained (in the barest terms) why it ceased acting for the AWU:
This morning Slater & Gordon released a statement saying: “Slater & Gordon has consistently maintained, and still maintains, that at all times it has acted in accordance with its legal and ethical obligations in relation to all aspects of the AWU matter.”

It said it had obtained independent advice confirming that it: “was (and is) not permitted to divulge confidential and privileged information of one client to another client or any other party.”
The firm said it “acted for both a union and a union official (personally)” in the “AWU matter.”

“Slater & Gordon ceased acting for both clients after it became aware of this conflict situation.” 
Whatever Slater & Gordon learned about and from Wilson must have been serious, and almost certainly revealed something done that was against the interests of the AWU itself. That could, hypothetically, have involved the fraudulent use of AWU money via an entity which a Slater & Gordon partner had helped to create for Wilson. Hypothetically.
(Julia Gillard insists she did nothing wrong and knew nothing at the time of the frauds.)
Slater & Gordon reportedly ceased to act for the AWU in 1995, and the AWU did not learn about the slush fund Gillard helped to set up until alerted by the Commonwealth Bank in April 1996.
It is hard to believe that what Gillard’s fellow partners learned from and about Gillard’s boyfriend and client about matters in which Gillard had also been involved was not known to Gillard herself.
So how does what Slater & Gordon now say about dumping Wilson and the AWU fit with the excuse Gillard gave yesterday for not telling the AWU and police about the slush fund
As for me, obviously at the time these matters came to the attention of the [Slater & Gordon] partnership they came to my attention too. I did not have in front of me any evidence of criminality or wrong doing but there was a lot of rumour about what was happening in the Victorian branch of the AWU at that time.

In those circumstances I came to a personal decision about ending my relationship with Mr Wilson and I did so. Then of course the Slater & Gordon internal review went through and you see the outcome of that review.
I know that there’s been a lot of focus on what I should have reported to authorities at that time. Well you can’t report things you do not know. I did not know about transactions on the accounts of the AWU Workplace Relations Association. My role was as a legal adviser providing advice about the incorporation of that association....

In terms of any evidence available to Slater & Gordon about the misuse of the Workplace Reform Association, well as I understand it, the only thing that’s been waved around here is a cheque supposedly relating to the conveyancing file. Let’s once again be very clear here about what’s the truth as opposed to what is commonly reported. I was not the solicitor in charge of the conveyancing file..  And what the file shows in terms of the deposit for the property is it was a direct deposit from Blewitt.
So those documents were available to people at Slater & Gordon, but out of having those documents what is it that you say that they should have reported? ... 
Gillard says she did not know anything that needed reporting. Yet whatever Slater & Gordon discovered was so serious that it dropped the AWU as a client. What was it, did Gillard know it and should she have reported it?
Reader John:
When a potential conflict arises it is normal for a law firm to drop one of the parties, but not both.  Inevitably it would retain and continue to act for the longer established and more lucrative client and drop the minor client.  The fact that this did not happen and they dropped both speaks volumes for the liability exposure that they perceived when the truth about Gillard’s activities came out.
The full Slater & Gordon statement:


ABC audience won’t decide the election

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER272012(7:45am)

Many inner-city types - Labor, Greens and Liberal voters alike - are very sympathetic to asylum seekers and advocate same-sex marriage. Such views are not necessarily shared in the suburbs and regional centres of Australia. And this is Labor’s core problem ...

Take western Sydney, for example. The inner-city types who adopt the laudable approach of sympathising with asylum seekers mostly do not live among them. Many asylum seekers who become accepted as refugees live in western Sydney. Here they compete with less well-off Australians for access to public housing and preferred medical care and education facilities… This primarily explains the current haste to dismantle the policy which Labor took to the 2007 election…

Labor’s problems in western Sydney do not turn on the handling of asylum of seekers alone. Residents in this area are also experiencing rising energy costs - at least partly due to the carbon tax and the increased cost of green energy. There are problems of inadequate infrastructure and unemployment.

Then there is the other half of the Q&A obsession. Namely, same-sex marriage. Suburban and regional Australia is very much a socially conservative place…

Gillard and her colleagues may yet adopt policies to win back support in western Sydney. Spin alone will not do. Abbott appears to have greater appeal in suburban and regional Australia than he does in the cities. That’s why nationwide approval ratings do not matter much. It’s the suburbs and towns that matter.


As the ABC thinks, so must the world

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER272012(7:00am)

WHAT reaction has there been in Rome, in the Holy See, to the news that Australia will have a royal commission into abuse within, not just, but mostly the Catholic Church?

John McCarthy [former Labor lawyer and Australia’s new Ambassador to the Holy See]: There’s been no official reaction here at all.
Faine: Has it had any media coverage?
McCarthy: Not that I have seen—the idea that this is a major story in relation to the organs of the Holy See is simply not the case.
Faine: It’s been a major issue for the church around the world. Australia is I suppose the next cab off the rank.
McCarthy: I wouldn’t call it the next cab in the rank.
Faine: One of the things that fascinates those of us who are outside the church is how the church operates almost as a state within a state; how the church’s own legal procedures and protocols and rules seem to override what the rest of us are governed by in our daily lives.
McCarthy: That’s simply not so, speaking about the church in Australia or in most of its respects internationally. The church is no more, or less, in terms of an organisation, than a body such as the ABC.
Faine: We could talk about the internal culture and rules of the ABC, that would --
McCarthy: You certainly could --

Faine: Well we’ve certainly seen the BBC brought into some disrepute for the things that have been going on. There’s no suggestion that the ABC is in any way caught up in anything of the equivalent kind. 


AWU scandal - The case against Gillard so far

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER272012(5:38am)

 The AWU scandal
Ms Gillard’s confirmation that she was representing infamous union cronies Bruce Wilson and Ralph Blewitt - and not the union they supposedly represented - when she advised on the setting up of the now notorious AWU Workplace Reform Association raises a rash of fresh questions about the wisdom and appropriateness of her role.

And in refusing to deny that she wrote to WA authorities in mid-1992 vouching for the bona fides of the slush fund, Ms Gillard remains exposed to further accusations that her role was more substantial than admitted…
She said the role of the association - which she has branded a slush fund but which was incorporated as a body to promote workplace safety - was to promote the pair’s re-election in the union. ‘’Did I need to separately advise the AWU this was occurring? Of course I didn’t. The people I was dealing with were elected officials of the AWU,’’ she said.
That was not the view of her senior partners at Slater & Gordon, who came close to sacking her ..., and not the view of the AWU national leadership who sought a royal commission when the full magnitude of the scandal was exposed in early 1996.
Ms Gillard can expect further scrutiny over her part in establishing the association after refusing to deny in Parliament that she had been instrumental in securing approval for the incorporation of the association by writing to dispel concerns of WA Corporate Affairs Commission about its bona fides.
She said the correspondence referred to in an Age report in October had not been produced ‘’and so it’s a claim that has been made but no correspondence has been produced’’.

Ms Bishop has now flagged the opposition will pursue Ms Gillard not just on the allegation of breaching AWU rules in the setting up of the association, but also for allegedly breaching the WA Associations Incorporation Act and creating a false document.

“YOU can’t report things you don’t know,” the Prime Minister said yesterday, explaining why she never raised a red flag on the AWU Workplace Reform Association in the mid-1990s.
But there was plenty she did know at the time.
It is a matter of public record that Julia Gillard’s boyfriend and client, Bruce Wilson, was openly suspected of serious fraud from early August 1995.
His fraud involved his criminal use of a secret and unauthorised slush fund in Victoria, called the AWU Members Welfare Association No 1 account, which received large cheques from major companies. Wilson controlled the scam.
There was an immediate internal and then public furore after it first came to light in early August 1995.
The union quickly forced out Wilson. The union also called on the fraud squad to go hard with a criminal investigation…
The widespread public knowledge of Wilson’s fraud is backed by numerous union documents, sworn affidavits and even newspaper clippings from that actual period…
Why, then, did Ms Gillard not blow the whistle by telling the client - the AWU, which employed Mr Wilson - of the existence of a different Perth-based slush fund, the AWU Workplace Reform Association (which was set up using legal advice she provided in early 1992)?…
Her argument is that because she did not know about wrongdoing or criminality (at the time) in relation to the association, there was no reason for her to disclose to the AWU’s national leadership - including Bill Ludwig and Ian Cambridge - that she personally knew of another slush fund. But this slush fund carried the union’s name. It was controlled by the same criminal suspect the union had just got rid of. He was Ms Gillard’s boyfriend…
By not disclosing anything to the union, Ms Gillard and the firm gave the No 1 suspect, who had been her boyfriend and also a client for the previous four years, a major head-start.

In that time, Mr Wilson stole a further $150,000 ... 

Gillard yesterday seemed still in two minds, saying that when it came to establishing an association that bore the name of the AWU, her client was Wilson and his associate Ralph Blewitt as representatives of a team of union officials who would run together for re-election - not the AWU. But she also appeared to place weight on the fact she had kept the AWU informed, through Wilson and Blewitt…
On the one hand: “I was not incorporating this association on the instructions of the AWU.”

And then on the other: “ The two people I was dealing with were office-bearers of the AWU and therefore I think I’m entitled to say the AWU, people who were office-bearers of the AWU, knew about it.”
So Gillard both secretly helped two men set up a private slush fund, later used to rip off their union, but also claims the union knew of the slush fund from the start because those crooks were members of the union they planned to rip off.
That’s a hell of an argument.
(Gillard insists she had no knowledge of the ripoffs and there is no evidence to contradict her.)
She is paying a high price for the rough company she kept in the 1990s.

Ysaiah Ross is the author of Ethics in Law, a legal textbook in its fifth edition…
Gillard’s clearest mistake, Ross believes, was to give legal advice to her boyfriend, Bruce Wilson…
“Being in a relationship can interfere with the normal lawyer-client relationship. It can lead to the lawyer losing his or her objectivity, resulting in inaccurate advice and even a breach of duty to the court.”
When Gillard met Wilson, there was an additional complication. Gillard was already being paid to give advice to the AWU, an important client of Slater & Gordon. Was it ethical for her to also give advice to Wilson, given his role within the union, and the potential for conflict, without declaring that to the union? ...
The hardline view of Gillard is… by failing to keep the union informed of the private advice she was giving Wilson, failed in her duty to the AWU, her client.
“The bottom line is when you are acting for the AWU, the AWU is entitled to your complete loyalty, that you will act in their interests and not contrary to their interests,” says Tony Morris QC, a Brisbane-based commercial law expert experienced in legal misconduct cases. In Morris’s opinion: “It cannot be in the interests of her client to have its name attached to an organisation that she knows is being used as a slush fund. She was not only breaching her duties to her employer, she was breaching her duties to her client."…
For Morris, the most serious ethical charge against Gillard is that once she became aware of suspicions of fraud surrounding Wilson, and took them seriously enough to break off their relationship, she still didn’t tell the AWU national leadership about the Workplace Reform Association.

When pressed as to why she did not tell the AWU or authorities of the existence of the association after concerns about Wilson’s alleged fraud involving another slush fund were voiced publicly, the Prime Minister argued she had no evidence of any criminality or wrongdoing to report to the AWU or police.

But when asked in parliament earlier this month why she had not reported “the fraud” involving the AWU Workplace Reform Association, Gillard replied: “By the time the matters she (Bishop) refers to came to my attention they were already the subject of inquiry and investigation.”
It has never been clear what inquiry or investigation was being used as an explanation.

Yesterday Gillard referred to Liberal claims in the Victorian parliament about investigations into fraud by the National Crime Authority and Victorian police.
Julie Bishop, leading the Coalition’s attack, raised the prospect of more ‘’evidence’’, a letter allegedly by Julia Gillard to the West Australian commissioner for corporate affairs in which she vouched for the association, allaying the commissioner’s concerns and paving the way for the association’s incorporation.

If it was produced (or if it is referred to in detail in as-yet unreleased sections of the interview Ms Gillard gave before she left the law firm) that letter would take the Coalition much closer to proving a case.

And the Prime Minister seemed to be wary that more might be coming - saying only that it had never appeared, but not whether she had written it or knew about its contents. 


"Putin in 2009 outlined his strategy for economic success. Alas, poor Obama did the opposite but nevertheless was re-elected. Bye, bye Miss American Pie. The Communists have won in America with Obama but failed miserably in Russia with Zyuganov who only received
17% of the vote. Vladimir Putin was re-elected as President keeping the NWO order out of Russia while America continues to repeat the Soviet mistake.

After Obama was elected in his first term as president the then Prime Minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin gave a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January of 2009. Ignored by the West as usual, Putin gave insightful and helpful advice to help the world economy and saying the world should avoid the Soviet mistake.

Recently, Obama has been re-elected for a 2nd term by an illiterate society and he is ready to continue his lies of less taxes while he raises them. He gives speeches of peace and love in the world while he promotes wars as he did in Egypt, Libya and Syria. He plans his next war is with Iran as he fires or demotes his generals who get in the way."

~ Xavier Lerma >

Americans complaining of Obama's reelection is ott, imho. Obama is not the end of the world, despite what the Mayans predicted, I feel he is incompetent and good people will die from his mistakes and people will be poorer for it, but if the GOP were serious they would have voted for their guy. I think the GOP hope to prosper from another Obama term .. in that they won't be less popular. - ed
GILLARD PLOY BACKFIRES! from Larry Pickering

A Press conference announced with insufficient notice to allow her educated accusers to catch a plane to Canberra is a clever tactic but not clever enough to absolve the Prime Minister.

Those who know of Gillard’s background know of her guilt and now there are more of them.

Press: “Did you see him (Ralph Blewitt) sign this document (Power of Attorny)?

The question is a 
simple one really. Gillard signed the Power of Attorney in Melbourne. Wilson then flew to Perth with that document where Blewitt signed it. Did Gillard fly with Wilson to Perth to witness Blewitt’s signature? No, she did not, and she would have remembered if she had.

Even if she had flown to Perth, why was the PoA pre-signed?

Gillard’s response: “I can’t remember the colour of every jacket or tie etc etc ...”. Mmmm.

Press: “Why didn’t you alert the AWU to the fraud when it was discovered?”

Gillard’s response: “... I didn’t know the account had been misused.” Mmmm, really?

She had been asked for her resignation from her law firm. Why? Had she used the wrong cup in the lunch room? Of course she knew the account had been misused... she set it up in a way that it enabled its misuse.

Gillard (in response to a question):“I did not incorporate that Association.”

Gillard (in response to a later question): “...but put yourself in my shoes, incorporating that association. This did not strike me as an unusual transaction."

Gillard: “I have been defamed ... that I set up a bank account.”

No-one has ever said that she, “set up a bank account”. No-one has even suggested that. In fact we know she didn’t because Blewitt said HE did as soon as Gillard had acquired the fraudulent document allowing it, he went straight down to the Commonwealth Bank and opened the account.

The $5,000? Gillard cannot be held responsible for anyone depositing a sum of money into her account. “I can’t recall it”, she said. There might be a problem with her memory when, in today’s money, $15,000 suddenly appears in her account.

Memory loss is a common defence but not in itself an indictable offence. Ask Alan Bond.

Without driving a bus through each and every answer Gillard gave, the nub of her demonstrable culpability is simply this:

Gillard was working as an industrial lawyer in a dodgy Labor Law firm. It’s important to remember the title “industrial” because union operations were her specialty. Heart surgeons don’t operate on your brain.

She had two mates, Wilson and Blewitt. She was living with Wilson. She knew he was a crook because everyone else knew he was. His reputation in the West was monumental.

Wilson had this bright idea that he could open dodgy accounts under the AWU nomenclature. But to open these accounts he first needed a few things to happen.

He needed the WA Corporate Affairs Commission to accept the incorporation of an association. Why an “association”? Because associations are determined by law to be “non profit” and most importantly, “non taxable”. No tax means no way to track funds.

His girlfriend could do it for him without letting her law firm know. She did. Her first attempt at setting up this association was unsuccessful.

WA Corporate Affairs refused to incorporate it on the basis that it only had two people nominated (it needed five) and that there was no accompanying "Notice of Executive Resolution" from the AWU endorsing such an association.

[Even I know that. Any first-year law student would know that, otherwise a foreman from BHP could set up the same association under the name of BHP, open a bank account and start billing any of 100 other companies.]

Gillard, as a Slater & Gordon industrial lawyer, then had the audacity to write to WA Corporate Affairs attesting to this proposed association’s legitimacy.

They accepted her assurance of the AWU’s bona fides. The problem was that the AWU knew nothing about this, nor did Gillard’s law firm.

Gillard had a choice. Inform the AWU and her law firm and expose herself and her two mates to the fraud or keep it a secret so it can happen. Gillard of course chose the latter.

Once the association was set up then extorted monies poured in from the West. Gillard’s payment for this? Renovations to her house which she says she can’t deny. Remember, she couldn’t open a file to allow legitimate payment because the law firm would have discovered the fraud.

There are one thousand other avenues and cover-ups to this blight on Australia’s political history (I haven’t even mentioned Robert Rae, Chris Hayes and Stephen Conroy’s involvement for fear of complication) yet Gillard feels she has done nothing wrong.

Make no mistake, Gillard is as guilty as Wilson and Blewitt, she knows that and anyone who has thoroughly apprised themselves of the facts knows that.

Gillard publicly accused Blewitt of things I know to be untrue. I wonder what she will say about Wilson because Blewitt was the only one of the three never to benefit from the fraud.

The reason Gillard hates Blewitt is that he hounded her, as PM, for the severance pay he was, and still is, owed. Now, why would Mr Blewitt believe Julia Gillard was responsible for that?

Gillard’s office told Blewitt to, “fuck of or we will get the Commonwealth Police on to you.” They are no longer mates.

Gillard asks the nation who would they believe; “Me as PM of this great nation, or Blewitt?” Knowing both, that is not a difficult choice for me. Gillard and Wilson both used Blewitt in the most shameful way to achieve their ends.

In Gillard’s mind, as she says, “none of this is unusual”.

Where union/ALP fraud in concerned, maybe she is right. It is rampant.
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