Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wed 14th Nov Todays News

Happy birthday and many happy returns Tarn HoJessie LamJason TankJohnny To and Leyna Ngo. Born on the same day across the years. Remember, birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
Today is Wednesday, November 14, the 319th day of 2012. There are 47 days left in the year. *gulp* On this day in 1832, the world's first tram, a horse-drawn vehicle named "John Mason", goes into operation in New York City.
Today's Birthdays: Claude Monet, French artist (1840-1926); Leo Baekeland, Belgian-born chemist and founder of plastics industry (1863-1944); Arthur Hoey Davis (Steele Rudd), Australian author (1868-1935); Jawaharlal Nehru, Indian statesman (1889-1964); Harold Larwood, English cricketer (1904-1996); Joseph McCarthy, US senator and anti-communist crusader (1908-1957); Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former United Nations secretary-general (1922-); Bart Cummings, Australian horse trainer (1927-); Ellis Marsalis, US jazz musician (1934-); Freddie Garrity, British pop singer (1936-2006); Prince Charles (1948-); Condoleezza Rice, former US Secretary of State (1954-); John Anderson, former Australian politician (1956-); Nic Dalton, US rock musician (1964-); Adam Gilchrist, former Australian cricketer (1971-); Martin Pike, former AFL player (1972-); Lara Giddings, Tasmanian premier, (1972-); Travis Barker, American musician, of Blink-182 (1975-).
From Larry Pickering

Despite defenders of the indefensible such as the gauche ABC and that embarrassing obnoxious oaf, Mark Latham, the mainstream media has decided Gillard’s involvement in union corruption will not go away. It needs confronting.

Fairfax, formerly in denial, has also decided it had better address the issue or be left behind.

The latest information detailed in today’s Austr
alian is not critical evidence in itself. Former AWU “employee” and informant, Wayne Lem, apparently was asked by Bruce Wilson to deposit $5,000 cash into a bank account Wilson allegedly said was Gillard’s.

Only the bank could determine if it was Gillard’s account and without the account number, nigh impossible to locate.

Even if Gillard admits it was her account and that she knew of the deposit, so what? Culpability can hardly be defined by someone else depositing “unsolicited” funds in your account.

At best is it hearsay evidence in that Lem claims Wilson had said (or had written down) that it was Gillard’s account. Gillard can reasonably claim she can’t recall. But it is yet another crack in her fragile defence of ignorance.

What is slowly emerging is that Gillard has been lying, again.

She claimed that in 1995 she did not alert authorities of the massive fraud because “it was already under the attention of authorities”, it was not!

It wasn’t until the following year that authorities were even notified. It was concealed from Gillard’s “private” client, the AWU’s Ralph Blewitt. Slater & Gordon also concealed the fraud from its “formal” client the AWU.

Slater & Gordon has recently contradicted Gillard’s claim that she was not responsible for the conveyancing of the Fitzroy house purchased with stolen funds. S & G claims she was indeed responsible for the conveyancing.

Gillard says she acted “off file” for Blewitt. Again this cannot be correct because, when other unionists became aware of the fraud they began disclosing it in election pamphlets.

Blewitt (actually Wilson under Power of Attorney) instructed Gillard to issue a writ on those unionists, effectively shutting down the information.

Blewitt said it worked, “...we risked the whole thing being exposed but fortunately they couldn’t afford to defend the writ”.

If Gillard was representing Blewitt, (Wilson) how was it possible for her to act “off file” when applying for a Supreme Court writ?

It obviously was “on file” and is that the file that is now missing? If so then S & G have been complicit, and we know they were.

Gillard’s next problem is the Power of Attorney. That wasn’t drawn up until after the sale of the Fitzroy house. Gillard witnessed Blewitt’s signature while he was 4,000 kilometres away in Perth and yet to sign the document. Gillard then backdated the Power of Attorney. The illegalities keep mounting.

It has been reported to Pickering Post by more than one unionist that Gillard was living with Wilson while her house was being renovated. They said, “when we lobbed for a coffee around 10am she was always there running around in her blue dressing gown. Everyone knew she was camped with Wilson.”

Gillard’s claim that she knew nothing of the fraud now has more holes than a crumpet.

The most devastating is her and Wilson’s visit to Boulder, WA where, as a Slater & Gordon partner, she allegedly convinced AWU workers to transfer their funeral fund to a Northbridge account.

The fund, reported to be almost $1million, eventually disappeared.
It is known that two holiday homes were bought with those funds. The homes were subsequently sold and the money again disappeared.

This is another matter Gillard has not yet been questioned on.

What is clear is that Gillard used her position as a partner of Slater & Gordon. She relied on the bona fides of S & G in order to continue the fraud.

The fact that the “slush fund” was an “association” meant it attracted no tax so laundering the funds was easy... from Town Mode to casinos.

Again Gillard used her position at S & G to convince a doubtful WA Corporate Affairs that this “association” was to be used in a legitimate way, i.e. for unionists’ contributions toward elections.

Is it possible, after all that transpired, that Gillard did not know what this dodgy “association” was used for?

Her client, the AWU itself, knew nothing about this “association”.
Gillard kept it quiet even after she was sprung and so too did S & G. When the fraud was finally exposed the AWU sacked S & G and S & G was obliged to sack Gillard.

If Gillard had initially owned up and expressed contrition for what she had done. The “young and naive” claim may have worked... it may not now be an issue.

But to continually to refuse to confront these critical issues only fans the flames and increases the doubts.

The obvious conclusion is that she cannot seriously address these issues without one of two things becoming apparent:

Either she is extremely stupid or she is as guilty as hell.

Either way she has no business being our Prime Minister.


Gillard’s past gets murkier

Piers Akerman – Wednesday, November 14, 2012 (5:53am)

A former trade union member and employee of the AWU has revealed he was instructed to deposit about $5000 cash in June 1996 into Julia Gillard’s bank account by her then boyfriend Bruce Wilson.
The revelation in The Australian newspaper is supported by a contemporaneous entry in a confidential diary kept by then AWU joint national secretary, Ian Cambridge, now a Fair Work Australia commissioner.
The Australian has seen and verified the authenticity of the 1994-96 diary, which recounts hitherto unknown numerous events and conversations during the AWU fraud scandal.
Cambridge has told the newspaper said the diary “included contemporaneous records of conversations with individuals about various matters, some of which were not within my direct knowledge and which I was unable to verify”.
He said his position as a member of a quasi-judicial tribunal made it inappropriate “to now offer any public comment about these issues”.
According to the riveting story, Wayne Hem has signed a statutory declaration in which he says he deposited the money after being given Gillard’s account details along with a wad of $100 and $50 notes by Wilson, then an official in the AWU’s Victorian branch.
Gillard, then a salaried partner at law firm Slater & Gordon, was Wilson’s girlfriend and solicitor at the time.
Hem’s newly signed declaration attests to the approximate $5000 cash deposit he made to Gillard’s account as well as other cheques he was separately instructed to deposit into Wilson’s other secret slush fund, the AWU Members Welfare Association (No 1) Account.
The Australian independently verified from internal Commonwealth Bank documents in 1995 that Hem was signatory for deposits of a number of cheques totalling more than $100,000 into that slush fund account.
Gillard had provided legal advice in 1992 that helped Wilson and his union ally, Ralph Blewitt, set up a slush fund - the AWU Workplace Reform Association - which the two men used in the ensuing years to issue bogus invoices and fraudulently receive hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Gillard, who has at all times strenuously insisted that she did not do anything wrong and was unaware of the workings of the association, yesterday declined to answer questions from The Australian.
The Age newspaper also published lengthy accounts of Gillard’s association with Wilson, the AWA Reform Association and the purchase of a property in Melbourne in Blewitt’s name.
Some of the material relating to the conveyancing associated with that property came from documents lodged by her former law firm Slater & Gordon with the Australian Press Council.
A spokesman for Slater & Gordon issued a statement yesterday in which it said that “reporting today by Mr Baker is misleading” but a search of the newspaper’s website indicated the newspaper appeared to have ignored it.
The Australian’s extensive interview with Hem is well worth reading.
Don’t be distracted by Gillard’s announcement of a Royal Commission which has no commissioner and no terms of reference and indeed, which may run for two or three terms of government, when it eventually gets underway.
While it is hoped that whoever runs the commission (and it may need a number of commissioners) achieves something, don’t hold your breath.
The Gillard government’s record of success is underwhelming.
Focus on realities.
A failed boat policy, a destructive economic policy, and the introduction of relentlessly negative and extremely personal US-style politics.
The distractions may multiply but so, too, do the unanswered questions about Gillard’s past.



Tim Blair – Wednesday, November 14, 2012 (12:49pm)

Secret fearmongers exposed
Just when you thought the BBC had no more scandals, Guido Fawkes has revealed what the Beeb tried very hard to cover up: the 28 mysterious individuals who have been informing its climate change reporting policy. As a state-funded broadcaster, the BBC has a duty to provide balance. It rejected this on its environmental coverage after taking advice from people in a now-infamous 2006 seminar from people whose identity the BBC was keen to keep secret …
It’s a veritable who’s who of the green lobby. 
Among the group, who convinced the BBC that “the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus”, are folk from Greenpeace, the Church of England (shame!), Stop Climate Chaos and Television for the Environment. (Via the GWPF.) And in other BBC developments
A former BBC presenter has been charged with sexually abusing children, although it was not related to the ongoing Jimmy Savile investigations, British police say. 
The charges are denied.
UPDATE. The BBC covers the BBC
Events on screen made the head spin. A BBC anchor crossed to a BBC reporter standing outside the BBC, interviewing a BBC colleague about the BBC. Cut to a video package about the BBC, recorded earlier by a second BBC reporter. Then back to the first BBC reporter, to interview a third BBC reporter. First BBC reporter: “Is this just naval-gazing by the BBC?”
And so on, endlessly – each BBC reporter passing the baton of horror to the next. It felt like the world’s most miserable relay race, except there was only one team, and all of them were the losers.
Still, you couldn’t fault them for diligence. If the BBC had devoted as many reporters to the paedophile scandal as it’s devoting to the BBC scandal, there wouldn’t be a BBC scandal. 



Tim Blair – Wednesday, November 14, 2012 (12:44pm)

West Indian cricket legends slam Twenty20
Sir Viv Richards and fast bowling greats Michael Holding and Joel Garner say the proliferation of international and domestic franchise T20 tournaments is “killing the game” and blamed cricket’s ruling body …
“I have been on committees at ICC level, and West Indies Cricket Board level, and my problem with most of those committees is that you don’t have enough people with balls on them,” Holding said.
“There are too many people happy to toe the line to make sure their positions are comfortable on these committees and boards, and ride the wave, instead of saying, ‘No, this ain’t right, let me find some other people who have influence on this committee who can also say this ain’t right and change the direction.’
“You don’t have enough of that in world cricket. I have absolutely nothing good to say about Twenty20 cricket.” 
Read on. Of all former players, Holding might be the most astute commentator on cricket politics.



Tim Blair – Wednesday, November 14, 2012 (11:39am)

Academic Simon Chapman suggests a tobacco user’s license
“All smokers would be required to obtain a smart swipecard license to transact any purchase form a licensed tobacco retailer,” he proposes. “There could be three grades of license: one to 10 cigarettes per day, 11-20 and 21-50. The more cigarettes a licensee opted for, the higher the fee.”
He proposes “for the sake of illustration” that the fee be set at $100 to $200 per year … 



Tim Blair – Wednesday, November 14, 2012 (10:13am)

Another solar failure
A consortium led by French nuclear group Areva has ditched a A$1.2 billion concentrated solar thermal project after the federal government pulled critical funding.
The Solar Dawn consortium, which includes developer Wind Prospect, has been plagued with problems since winning $464 million in federal funding through the Solar Flagship program to develop a 250-MW solar thermal plant in Queensland’s outback.
Without a supply agreement in place, it failed to meet a 30 June financing deadline, prompting Queensland’s government to withdraw A$75 million in state funding. In July, federal energy minister Martin Ferguson referred it to the newly formed Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Arena) for consideration …
Despite today’s setback for Solar Dawn, solar thermal proponents say the government’s Energy White Paper calls for 16 percent of total electricity demand to be sourced from solar thermal by 2050, which would make Australia a global leader. 
Why not build something that actually works, like a nuclear plant? Otherwise, we should follow America’s lead and leave things to the free market
The U.S. is likely to surpass Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer as early as 2020.
In its annual world energy outlook, the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) says the global energy map “is being redrawn by the resurgence in oil and gas production in the United States …”
The key to this U.S. energy boom has been technological innovation and risk-taking funded by private capital. Specifically, the private oil and gas industry pioneered the use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) to tap unconventional deposits such as shale that once were technologically out of reach. It also wouldn’t have happened if the industry wasn’t able to drill on private land, free from federal regulation. 
(Via Dan F.)



Tim Blair – Wednesday, November 14, 2012 (9:48am)

Prime Minister Julia Gillard
“Over the past few weeks we’ve seen revelations in the newspapers which really go to the question of cover-up, of other adults not doing what they should have done to come to assist,” she said. 
But enough about Gillard’s previous legal career. She’s got an important royal commission to run.
UPDATE. Mark Latham has returned to haircut mode.


Not every victim remembers right

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER142012(7:21pm)

A very timely warning in this increasingly hysterical time. The man who accused Kevin Clash, the voice of Elmo, of sexual abuse of a child has now recanted his accusation.
How long before Clash’s reputation recovers?


2GB, November 14

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER142012(7:19pm)

With Steve Price from 8pm. Listen live here.
Last night: more discussion on the royal commission into sexual abuse of children. Listen here.


Newman loses second minister

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER142012(7:08pm)

Very sloppy stuff. There had better not be a third: 
The Housing and Public Works Minister fell on his sword today amid allegations he had misled parliament over the extent of contact he had with his lobbyist son, Jonathan, and that he had tried to hide his weekly work as a doctor.
Premier Campbell Newman yesterday refused to discipline Dr Flegg, but the minister today told parliament there had been a number of “administrative failures” in his office and he would take responsibility for them…
The allegations were originally levelled yesterday by his sacked media adviser Graeme Hallett, who told the media that Dr Flegg was unfit to be a minister.
Mr Hallett released details of emails with Dr Flegg’s office, which he said showed the minister had deliberately misled parliament when he declared only two contacts on the lobbyist register with Jonathan Flegg.


Slipper denies

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER142012(6:05pm)

Glad that’s sorted: 
FORMER federal speaker Peter Slipper has denied allegations he was thrown out of Sydney bar for being drunk.
Mr Slipper said he would consider legal action against broadcaster Ray Hadley over the allegations, aired on Sydney radio 2GB this morning.
The MP denied he was at The Oxford Hotel, in Darlinghurst, last night and said he was not thrown out of the establishment, which is popular with the gay community.
“No. Certainly not. What you suggest is completely untrue and defamatory,” Mr Slipper told The Australian.
“This is a bizarre suggestion, untrue and defamatory.”
Hadley read from a Facebook post by Stuart Cairns, purporting to be a manager at The Oxford Hotel, which said “just threw out a putrid Peter Slipper from my main bar”.
(No comments.)


AWU scandal: why won’t Gillard just say it didn’t happen?

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER142012(5:55pm)

 The AWU scandal
Still no denial from the Prime Minister of claims by an AWU member that he dropped $5000 in cash into her bank account on behalf of her then boyfriend, Bruce Wilson:
Asked today if she remembered receiving the cash, Ms Gillard blasted the reporting of the matter and said she had done nothing wrong.
“This matter has been trawled over for the best part of 20 years, and at the end of it being trawled over for the best part of 20 years there is not one finding of wrongdoing by me,” she said.
“And there’s a reason for that - I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Ms Gillard dismissed the reports as a “smear”.
“This is smear pure and simple and I’m not going to dignify it by becoming involved in it,” she said.
Asked if she remembered getting the $5,000 from Mr Wilson, Ms Gillard said: “I’ve just dealt with the nature of these smears.”
Asked if “unsubstantiated” meant “untrue” and there had not been a cash deposit, Ms Gillard repeated that there was no allegation of wrongdoing against her…
It is not known where Mr Wilson got the funds and there is no evidence, nor is it suggested, that Ms Gillard asked for the payment or knew of its origins.
No denial, no direct answers, nothing but bluster, aggro and diversions:
JOURNALIST: The claim in The Australian that you received $5000 in your bank account, is that true?

PM: I have read today’s Australian and having read today’s Australian closely, there is not one substantiated allegation in today’s Australian. It does not contain one allegation of wrongdoing by me.

The Australian newspaper has spent months and months and months in so-called investigative journalism looking at this matter. And after all of those months and months and months of looking, there is not one substantiated allegation of wrongdoing by me.

This matter has been trawled over for the best part of 20 years and at the end of it being trawled over for the best part of 20 years, there is not one finding of wrongdoing by me. And there is a reason for that, I didn’t do anything wrong.

This kind of smear that we are seeing in today’s Australian, no allegation of wrongdoing by me, but the stories being published today, this is smear pure and simple and I’m not going to dignify it by becoming involved in it.

JOURNALIST: Do you remember getting the $5000 from Bruce Wilson?

PM: I have just dealt with the nature of these smears.

JOURNALIST: But Prime Minister, does unsubstantiated mean untrue? That there was no cash deposit? 

PM: There is no allegation in today’s Australian of any wrongdoing by me. This is smear, pure and simple. And let’s look at the week that we’ve just been through.

On Monday I announced that we would have a royal commission into child abuse in institutions in Australia. Yesterday I was in Perth meeting with Secretary of State Clinton and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, talking about our national security in our region, working with our ally the United States of America.

Here I am today in Brisbane, in the federal electorate of Petrie, looking at progress on a major infrastructure project and looking forward to Community Cabinet tonight. And during these three days, what’s the Opposition been doing? Well everyday they’ve been out further pursuing these smears.

Every day they have been engaged in smear. Even though Tony Abbott as Leader of the Opposition has said that he’s not going to engage in endless personal smears, even though he said that he’s going to get on with the things that matter.

Well, I say to the Leader of the Opposition with this smear day after day, is this really getting on with the things that matter?

I’m here pursuing my vision for Australia’s future, and the Liberal Party can throw anything they like at me and I will still be standing here pursuing that vision for the future.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, the AWU officials at the time weren’t concerned about any Liberal or Labor links to this, they were just concerned about what they saw as an unusual payment. Do they have reason to still have those concerns?

PM: If you’ve got a substantiated allegation to put to me then put it, otherwise don’t engage in this smear. There is no allegation in today’s-

JOURNALIST: There is no allegation.

PM: No, precisely. Smear. 


How Latham defended Gillard by defaming her and fabricating a claim

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER142012(5:00pm)

Help! I’m being stalked by a former Labor leader who jumps to disastrously wrong conclusions and makes false claims:
From: mark l [ xxxx
Sent: Tue 11/13/2012 11:56 PM
To: Bolt, Andrew
Subject: only 94 to go

False Allegations by Andrew Bolt on his Blog, Number Six

Gillard is focusing on Tony Abbott’s character as a “diversion from waste, bungling, division, deceit and allegedly corruption.” 13 November 2012

This is a favourite Bolt technique in smearing the Prime Minister: raising the corruption allegation in the context of another issue (in this case, Abbott’s character).  Based on the facts, he cannot support a charge of corruption against Gillard on the AWU matter, so he just leaves it hanging for his readers to absorb.  Courage is not part of Bolt’s character.  He specialises in the politics of smear.

Take for example, his comments on Radio 2GB on Monday, when Bolt said he was far more convinced of the need for a Royal Commission into the AWU matter than the need for a Royal Commission into Child Sex Abuse in Australia – a bizarre and disturbing set of priorities.  This is one of the striking features of the Brucers: in their fanaticism about Gillard they are out of touch with public sentiment on issues like child sex abuse, preferring to obsessively think and talk about party politics.  On 2GB Bolt was even analysing the child abuse Royal Commission through the prism of political tactics and polling increases for Gillard.  Sadly, this is what Australian conservatism has become – a morally empty group of political fanatics. 
Dear Mark,
You are batting 0 from 4. My comment on “alleged corruption” is a reference to the Health Services Union scandal. I’m shocked your mind turned immediately to Gillard. I think you should apologise.
Your claim that I “said [I] was far more convinced of the need for a Royal Commission into the AWU matter than the need for a Royal Commission into Child Sex Abuse in Australia” is utterly false. I do not believe it and did not say it. In fact, I made clear I believed the very opposite.
You seem to have conflated two things I said.  First, I said several times it was even more important for a royal commission to also help investigate and stop child abuse today - most prevelant now in Aboriginal communities - than to simply investigate abuses in the distant past by people now dead, jailed or very old. 
Then, the very last thing I said on a show otherwise devoted to supporting and discussing the royal commission was this final news tip for the week ahead:
The one inquiry you won’t get, and I’m not disparaging this one [the child abuse inquiry], this one we should have on balance. The one inquiry we won’t have but perhaps we should to clear the air, is into the AWU slush fund which over the next two weeks is about to get very, very messy for Julia Gillard.
Listen to the 2GB program you refer to here. Nowhere did I say what you claim.
I am astonished by your fabrications, misrepresentations, deceptive (mis)quoting and wild assumptions. Is this the standard of truthfulness we should expect from an Australian Financial Review columnist?


How Latham twisted two quotes to defend Gillard

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER142012(9:44am)

Help! I’m being stalked by a former Labor leader with severe comprehension deficit disorder!
Since Mark Latham’s wild call yesterday, I have received this message: 
From: mark l [mailto:xxxx]
Sent: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 11:31 PM
To: Bolt, Andrew
Subject: A package deal, numbers 4 and 5.
False Allegations by Andrew Bolt on his Blog, Number Four
Gillard was “in charge of the conveyancing.” 13 November 2012
False Allegations by Andrew Bolt on his Blog, Number Five
Gillard “had in fact a direct role in the conveyancing.” 13 November 2012
Bolt loves to repeat his false allegations, so let’s take these two together.  The Weekend AFR examined this issue in detail, working its way through the conveyancing documents.  Bolt even mentioned this investigation on his blog (but not, of course, its findings – he’s not that intellectually honest). 
Laura Tingle and Mark Skulley concluded that Gillard was not in charge of the conveyancing (Olive Brosnahan was) and the cheque paid for the Melbourne property in question was deposited in the Slater and Gordon account at the CBA in Perth, meaning that someone who wasn’t even responsible for the conveyancing in the Melbourne office (ie Gillard) was highly unlikely to have seen the cheque.  The journalists established that Gillard, far from working on the conveyancing, was working in a different part of the firm.  She was in the industrial division, while Brosnahan looked after the matter in the commercial division. 
Again, based on non-Brucer evidence, Bolt is wrong.  His credibility on this issue is as strong as the anti-Obama Birther movement in the US – his ideological inspiration for the AWU smear campaign against Gillard. 
Abuse aside, Latham’s accusation rests on two quotes which he has deceptively edited. The first is a particularly egregious piece of trickery, as I pointed out to him:
From: Bolt, Andrew
Sent: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 09:39 AM
To: ‘xxxx>
Subject: Re: A package deal, numbers 4 and 5. 
You have deceitully misquoted me. The full quote is: ”Gillard says she did not know her boyfriend’s frauds, did not profit from them, was not in charge of the conveyancing file”.
I am reporting a denial, and you edit the quote to pretend I am making an allegation I have repeatedly rejected. This is most dishonest.
Andrew Bolt
Herald Sun
I should add that Latham also edited the second quote deceptively to turn what was a factual report of a claim by Slater & Gordon into an allegation by me. Here is what Latham writes:
False Allegations by Andrew Bolt on his Blog, Number Five
Gillard “had in fact a direct role in the conveyancing.” 13 November 2012
But here is the full quote from my post, in which Stater & Gordon is also quoted confirming “Ms Gillard acted directly for Mr Blewitt in relation to a conveyancing matter”:
On the AFR findings on the conveyancing, I actually linked to that very story Latham claims I wouldn’t report. Even more to the point, I reported the same conclusions in August that theAFR belatedly reports in November, and which Latham now suggests I am deceitfully hiding:
As it turns out, Slater & Gordon has since revealed Gillard “acted directly” in the conveyancing. I was too generous to Gillard, perhaps, rather than the reverse.
Mark Latham’s reporting on this scandal cannot be trusted, in my opinion. His manipulation of a simple quote to give it an opposite meaning of that clearly intended shocks me.
Is this manipulation of evidence what we should expect from an Australian Financial Reviewcolumnist?
Mr Baker ...  wrote: 
“But Slater & Gordon managing director Andrew Grech has confirmed Ms Gillard ‘’acted directly’’ in the conveyancing work on the property purchase. The confirmation came in documents lodged with the Australian Press Council in support of a complaint against Fairfax newspapers and this journalist over reporting of the firm’s role in the Australian Workers Union ‘’slush fund’’ scandal.’
The reporting today by Mr Baker is misleading. The facts of Ms Gillard’s role in the conveyancing matter are already on the public record. As reported recently in other media outlets, other practitioners within the firm were responsible for the conduct of the conveyancing file. 
I’m not sure that’s a contradiction of what Baker said, or what Slater & Gordon itself earlier said:
The only documentary evidence Slater & Gordon was in possession of was thatMs Gillard acted directly for Mr Blewitt in relation to a conveyancing matter, a union dispute and a defamation matter ....
So the Slater & Gordon account is that Gillard “acted directly for Mr Blewitt in relation to a conveyancing matter” but was not “responsible for the conduct of the conveyancing file”.
Glad we got that sorted out. 


AWU scandal - $5000 put in Gillard’s account, claims whistleblower

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER142012(7:00am)

 The AWU scandal
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has said she did not know of or benefit from her then boyfriend’s scams. Today: 
A UNION employee who was concerned about wrongdoing told the national head of the Australian Workers Union in June 1996 that he deposited about $5000 cash into Julia Gillard’s bank account at the request of her then boyfriend Bruce Wilson.
The disclosure by Wayne Hem forms part of a contemporaneous and confidential 150-plus-page diary that was kept by the then AWU joint national secretary, Ian Cambridge, now a Fair Work Australia commissioner…
In a statutory declaration signed in Melbourne on Sunday and in lengthy interviews with The Australian over the past fortnight, Mr Hem declared he had deposited the money after being given the account details of Ms Gillard along with a wad of $100 and $50 notes by Mr Wilson, an official in the AWU’s Victorian branch.
Ms Gillard, then a salaried partner at law firm Slater & Gordon, was Mr Wilson’s girlfriend and solicitor at the time.
Ms Gillard had provided legal advice in 1992 that helped Mr Wilson and his union ally, Ralph Blewitt, set up a slush fund - the AWU Workplace Reform Association - which the two men used in the ensuing years to issue bogus invoices and fraudulently receive hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Not a direct denial:
The Prime Minister issued a short statement through spokesman Sean Kelly.
“As The Australian is well aware, the Prime Minister has made clear on numerous occasions that she was not involved in any wrongdoing,” Mr Kelly said.
“I also note that despite repeatedly being asked to do so, The Australian has been unable to substantiate any allegations of wrongdoing.”
But it is vital to highlight what the Hem entry does not say - and what Hem does not say now.
He does not say Gillard ever wanted her union boss boyfriend to ask Hem to put about $5000 into her account in mid 1995.
Nor does Hem say that she knew she was receiving a financial benefit. There is no evidence of that and there could be several innocent explanations for the payment. We do know, however, that Hem was concerned about dishonesty by Wilson and this prompted him to blow the whistle.
The disclosure by Hem to Cambridge [in 1996 about the deposit] came eight months after concerns were first raised publicly by a Liberal minister, Phil Gude, in Victoria’s parliament, about Gillard allegedly getting a benefit in relation to the renovation of her house. Gude wanted a probe into what he was told at the time. He has insisted union officials had been to see him with evidence that Gillard was a beneficiary of union money.
Gude told the Victorian parliament in October 1995 that Gillard had been forced to leave her law firm; that she was directly linked to the misappropriation of union funds; that she had benefited from renovations to her own house; and that she had to pay money back to the AWU so that she and Wilson could “cover their tracks”.
Gude made his claims a short time after Gillard’s confidential tape-recorded interview on September 11, 1995, with Peter Gordon - and her abrupt departure from the firm. Its partners had lost trust and confidence in her.
Gillard told The Australian immediately after she was accused in the Victorian parliament in 1995: “Every allegation raised about me is absolutely untrue; there is not a shred of truth in any of it.”
BANK documents show the man who claims he was told to pay about $5000 into Julia Gillard’s bank account was entrusted to deposit more than $100,000 in cheques into an Australian Workers Union secret slush fund.
Wayne Hem, 58, told The Australian in interviews and in a statutory declaration that he was given the cheques in mid-1995 and told to put them into “a bank account for something I recall as the AWU Welfare Fund”.
He said that Ms Gillard’s then boyfriend Bruce Wilson, the corrupt branch head of the AWU, handed him the cheques on several occasions and told him to go to the Commonwealth Bank to make the deposits…
In a September 1996 affidavit filed in the Industrial Relations Court, the AWU’s national head Mr Cambridge named the Victorian Welfare slush fund account as one “used to hold and/or launder union funds, as a step in the conversion of those funds to unauthorised, invalid, irregular and possibly illegal uses”.
Mr Cambridge stated in his affidavit that the account was unknown to other union officials, and involved payments totalling $234,000.


Wolfe and the re-tribalising of America

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER142012(6:44am)

 The politics of raceYour favorite books, poems and music - and mine
Enjoying Tom Wolfe’s latest, Back to Blood - a book of these times, of that election, and too dangerous to write in Australia Salem:
But Jesus Christ, what was some White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, some last lost soul of a dying genus, doing editing the Miami Herald with a name like Edward T Topping IV? He had taken on the job without a clue. ...
Oh, they, the Loop Syndicate corporate research department, tried to brief him. They tried. But somehow all the things they tried to tell him about the situation in Miami wafted across his brain’s Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas… and dissipated like a morning mist. Was Miami the only city in the world where more than one half of all citizens were recent immigrants, meaning within the past 50 years? … Hmmmh … Who would have guessed? Did one segment of them, the Cubans, control the city politically – Cuban mayor, Cuban department heads, Cuban cops, Cuban cops, and more Cuban cops, 60 per cent of the force Cubans plus 10 per cent other Latins, 18 per cent American blacks, and only 12 per cent Anglos? And didn’t the general population break down pretty much the same way? … Hmmmh … interesting, I’m sure … whatever “Anglos” are. And were the Cubans and other Latins so dominant that the Herald had to create an entirely separate Spanish edition, El Nuevo Herald, with its own Cuban staff or else risk becoming irrelevant? … Hmmmmh… He guessed he already knew that, sort of. And did the American blacks resent the Cuban cops, who might as well have dropped from the sky, they had materialised so suddenly, for the sole purpose of pushing black people around? … Hmmmh… imagine that ...
But the purpose of this briefing, they tried to tell Ed in a subtle way, was not to identify all these tensions and abrasions as potential sources of news in Immigration City. Oh, no. The purpose was to encourage Ed and his staff to “make allowances” and stress Diversity, which was good, even rather noble, and not divisiveness, which we could all do without. The purpose was to indicate to Ed he should be careful not to antagonise any of these factions… He should “maintain an even keel” during this period in which the Syndicate would be going all out to “cyberise” the Herald and El Nuevo Herald, free them from the gnarled old grip of print and turn them into sleek 21st-century online publications. The subtext was: In the meantime, if the mutts start growling, snarling, and disembowelling one another with their teeth – celebrate the Diversity of it all and make sure the teeth get whitened.
That was three years ago…
Balzac’s was packed. The babble of the place had already risen to the maximum we’re-out-at-a-smart-restaurant-and-isn’t-it-great level… but Mac insisted on recounting the whole thing loudly, loud enough for all six of their friends to hear it, she was so enraged. Ed’s eyes were darting frantically this way and that. Those could be Cubans there at the next table. God knows they’ve got the money! Oh, yes! There! And the waiters? Look like Latinos, too… bound to be Latinos… He’s not listening to Mac’s rant any longer. A phrase pops into his head from out of nowhere. “Everybody… all of them… it’s back to blood! Religion is dying… but everybody still has to believe in something. It would be intolerable – you couldn’t stand it … to finally have to say to yourself, ‘Why keep pretending? I’m nothing but a random atom inside a supercollider known as the universe.’ But believing in by definition means blindly, irrationally, doesn’t it. So, my people, that leaves only our blood, the bloodlines that course through our very bodies, to unite us. ‘La Raza!’ as the Puerto Ricans cry out. ‘The Race!’ cries the whole world. All people, all people everywhere, have but one last thing on their minds – Back to blood!” All people, everywhere, you have no choice but – Back to blood!”
For years analysts have held that democratic elections are key to spurring economic development in Africa and therefore ought to receive greater U.S. support. But the African democracy consensus is beginning to crack, and even Kofi Annan is skeptical. A new report by the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), with Annan as chairman, tells us that elections often provide “a false veneer of legitimacy” for autocratic incumbents.
The report finds that elections often exacerbate underlying tribal, ethnic and religious tensions rather than guide polities into a bright, secular future. 
A new German public opinion survey shows an uptick in “right-wing extremist” attitudes, especially in the East and especially among the young. Up to 15 percent express Xenophobia, anti-Semitism and longing for a right-wing authoritarian ruler (dare we say Leader?). 
ABORIGINAL custodians have thrown their support behind Canberra academic Don Aitkin, who has been accused of contravening the Racial Discrimination Act for suggesting indigenous elder Shane Mortimer “looks about as Aboriginal as I do”.
Wally Bell, who chairs the Buru Ngunawal Aboriginal Corporation, officially recognised as a Representative Aboriginal Organisation by the ACT government, has criticised Mr Mortimer’s frequent performance of the welcome to country ritual…
Professor Aitkin did not name Mr Mortimer in his blog post but referred to a ceremony at which Mr Mortimer had officiated, saying: “He looks about as Aboriginal as I do, and his constant references to his ‘ancestors’ makes me scratch my head.”
Mr Mortimer has launched a damages case in the Federal Magistrates Court, alleging Professor Aitkin contravened section 18C of the RDA, the same section conservative columnist Andrew Bolt was found guilty of contravening earlier this year.
Mr Bell told The Australian that his Ngunawal group supported Professor Aitkin’s right to free speech. “We agree with Professor Don Aitkin’s observation that Mr Mortimer is as Aboriginal as him,” Mr Bell said.
“Mr Mortimer is not recognised or accepted by the Ngunawal traditional custodians as being an Aboriginal and cannot speak on any cultural or heritage matters, and this means conducting welcome to country.”
Welcome to country ceremonies are not a traditional part of Aboriginal culture. The first was performed in 1976 when Perth-based Middar Aboriginal Theatre founders Ernie Dingo and Richard Walley agreed to perform a welcome for a visiting group of Pacific Island dancers who believed it would be culturally wrong to perform without a welcome from traditional owners…
“I don’t have to justify to anyone who I am,” Mr Mortimer said. “To call me a white man is just completely and utterly wrong because I have my Aboriginal background and I’m very proud of it.”


Totalitarians don’t tell jokes

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER142012(6:04am)

Janet Albrechtsen: 
Without humour, civility cannot flourish. The tendency to label every joke or passing comment we consider to be in poor taste as something more, something sexist, misogynist, or racist is a sign of a New Puritanism taking hold…
Declaring a joke or a comment in poor taste is one thing. Confecting outrage for an ulterior motive is altogether another thing, which is what the New Puritans do when they selectively find offence and discrimination.
Their purpose is entirely predictable: to censor words that challenge their beliefs.
Examples are given.


A second general wounded in the Zipper Wars

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER142012(5:56am)

The Taliban hasn’t had this much success in bumping off top US generals:
The woman, Jill Kelley, is a key figure in the scandal that brought down the former general and CIA chief David Petraeus, who resigned after admitting to an affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell.
The stunning new development raises doubts about the future of General Allen, who is commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, at a time when US and Australian forces prepare for their eventual withdrawal from the war-torn country…
The Pentagon says the FBI has uncovered up to 30,000 pages of correspondence between General Allen and Ms Kelley.
30,000 pages?  Did the general actually have time left between all that reading and writing for running a war?
In the US military, adultery is considered a crime and would probably warrant dismissal if proven. General Allen insists he has done nothing wrong.
Ms Kelley’s name became public two days ago after she was revealed as the family friend of Mr Petraeus, and his wife, Holly, who complained to a friend in the FBI last July that she was receiving threatening emails from an anonymous sender warning her to stay away from Mr Petraeus.
It was revealed at the weekend that Ms Broadwell, a former military officer and the biographer of Mr Petraeus, sent the emails to Ms Kelley because she considered her a competitor for the affections of the now ex-CIA director.
This is becoming high farce. It’s particularly damaging when the mission in Afghanistan is presented so strongly as a moral one.

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