Saturday, December 01, 2012

Sat 1st Dec Todays News

Happy birthday and many happy returns Tiffany Lee-Shoy,Josephine SalernoDavid Vuong and Gary Ackling. Born on the same day, across the years. Remember, birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.

2004 Gävle goat




[edit]Holidays and observances

SLATER & GORDON... an insight into mob lawyer mentality .. from Larry Pickering

When Peter Gordon dragged Gillard in to explain the fraud it quickly became clear that she was not only complicit, she was a beneficiary. S&G were now terribly exposed.

A lawyer’s fi
rst instinct is to protect himself at all cost and he did exactly that by sacking Gillard and equity partner Bernard Murphy.

To prevent further sewage leaking he left his major client (the AWU) in the dark, thereby allowing perpetuation of the fraud.

Peter Gordon understood the serious legal ramifications of Gillard’s actions. He knew Gillard and Bruce Wilson would have certainly been charged if the AWU’s Ian Cambridge and Bob Kernohan had been made aware of the fraud.

We now know how the massive fraud was eventually discovered and the sewage pipes had burst into the Victorian Parliament.

Gordon saw the writing on the wall and departed to start his own law firm.

The evidence against S&G became increasingly compelling. Once the media finally discovered these 17 years’ accusations had substance, S&G closed the shutters to protect Gillard (now PM) and naturally itself.

S&G forgot that a former senior partner, Nick Styant-Browne, had a conscience (rare for a S&G Labor lawyer) he also, unbeknown to S&G, had a record of Gillard’s exit interview.

He publicly contradicted S&G’s interpretation as “stunningly incomplete”.

S&G shat themselves demanding Styant-Browne return his records. He refused.

But worse, now S&G needed an excuse not to hand over their own files. So they facetiously called for an investigation into the whole scandal and engaged another law firm, Arnold Bloch Leibler, and senior counsel Philip Crutchfield to conduct it.

Mmmm... why the hell use other lawyers when they themselves already had the information and were in a perfect position to change their own nappy?

“... a law firm’s communications with in-house counsel is not protected by attorney client privilege if the communication implicates or creates a conflict between the law firm’s duties to itself.”

You see, they knew all too well what was in their own nappy and they needed another law firm to claim “privileged information” on its client.

Its client is now Slater & Gordon.



Tim Blair – Saturday, December 01, 2012 (3:32pm)

Perhaps overstating things a little: 
If journalism is the first rough draft of history, then the Walkley Awards are its summit … 
Wow. Anyway, among this year’s history-toppers is Jenin massacre believer Peter Cave – and thiswas judged by Walkley folk to be the finest cartoon published anywhere in Australia during the past year.



Tim Blair – Saturday, December 01, 2012 (2:09pm)

Four wickets lost in 35 minutes; Australia currently 6/45 chasing South Africa’s 225.
UPDATE. 7/100. Michael Hussey gone for 12. Still 125 behind the rampaging Seth Efricans.
UPDATE II. First-gamer John Hastings has scored more than Ponting, Clarke and Cowan combined while Matthew Wade has doubled his career total of sixes. Australia 7/139.
UPDATE III. Curse of the update. Wade bowled for 68, Australia 8/140, 85 behind SA.
UPDATE IV. Mitchell Johnson swings for the fence. Bowled by accurate spinner Peterson for 7. Australia 9/163. Add Hussey to the collection of batsmen bettered by Hastings, now on 32.
UPDATE V. Brilliant Alviro Petersen catch removes Hastings. Australia all out for just 163.



Tim Blair – Saturday, December 01, 2012 (2:08pm)

A number of people on Twitter have forgotten lessons learned in the McAlpine case.


Can you trust anything Gillard says? The Socialist Forum case

Andrew BoltDECEMBER012012(9:29am)

Any journalist who has interviewed Julia Gillard about her past - the AWU slush fund scandal, for instance - should now know how deceitful or misleading her answers can be.

TONY JONES: Well look, seriously, Peter Costello has thrown this out. Let’s deal with it properly. What’s the Socialist Forum? Were you an organiser for it? And when did that happen, if you were?
JULIA GILLARD: Tony, it’s 2007 and I’m a 46-year-old woman. What Peter Costello is referring to is more than 20 years ago when I was in my 20s. I was a full-time university student and I had a part-time job for an organisation called Socialist Forum, which was a sort of debating society. It ultimately amalgamated with the Fabian society, which of course is a long-running ideas and debating group in Australian politics and indeed in British politics before Australian politics. I’ve worked in the cleric and administrative work.
TONY JONES: It wasn’t a front organisation for Communists?

JULIA GILLARD: Certainly not. .

Interviewer: So when did you cease being a member of the Socialist Forum?

Gillard: Well, many a long year ago, and obviously my most active involvement was when I was a university student more than 20 years ago.
In fact, Gillard was a senior member of this “debating society” into her late 30s, and was on its management committee.
Now Michael Smith has uncovered documents showing just how active Gillard was, and just how much a communist front the Socialist Forum was seen by Labor:
(In fact, the Socialist Forum was not a communist front, but had many members who’d broken from the Communist Party.)
As for just doing some “clerical” work as a “part-time job” when a “student”:
Yes, that’s another incorporated association she’s talking about. The one whose rules Gillard later ”cut and pasted” in helping to create the Australian Workers Union Workplace Reform Association - her then boyfriend’s notorious slush fund.
Again, the question is: can you trust a thing the Prime Minister says? 


No evidence against Gillard? Here it is

Andrew BoltDECEMBER012012(9:18am)

 The AWU scandal
Belatedly, here is the transcript of the press conference yesterday in which shadow Attorney-General George Brandis put the case against Julia Gillard on the AWU slush fund scandal, outlining apparent breaches of the law and making plain Gillard’s deceptions: 
BRANDIS:  There has been some debate this morning in the media about the claim made by the position that Julia Gillard broke the law in relation to the establishment and operation of the Australian Workers Union Workplace Reform Association. In order to get to the bottom of this affair, the Opposition, as you know, yesterday called for the establishment of a judicial inquiry. I think the terms of reference that we proposed for that judicial inquiry were released by the Opposition Leader’s office yesterday but for ease of reference for you I will give you give you a copy of them as well as a small bundle of documents I want to take you to.

Now, Parliament is a political forum and debates between journalists and politicians about the law are seldom very illuminating but let me explain to you the basis upon which or the principal basis upon which the Opposition says Julia Gillard broke the law. We say that she broke the law because the Australian Workers Union Workplace Reform Association was established as a sham to facilitate a fraud and by her participation in its establishment, Julia Gillard was a party to that crime. Now, it is against the law of every Australian State, including the law of Western Australia, to provide a materially false statement when a person is under a statutory obligation to provide information to an authority. That is the effect of section 170 of the Western Australian Criminal Code in the terms in which it was drawn at the time of these events in 1992.

It is also, of course, a crime to participate in a conspiracy to defraud –that is also a statutory offence under Western Australian criminal law. The key issue in this case, therefore, was the nature of Ms Gillard’s involvement as a solicitor then working for Slater & Gordon – as a partner indeed of Slater & Gordon – in the establishment of the Australian Workers Union Workplace Reform Association. And we know what her state of mind was from her exit interview with the partners of Slater & Gordon on 11 September 1995.


Writing Labor’s lines

Andrew BoltDECEMBER012012(8:43am)

Take Tuesday’s extraordinary rolling of the Prime Minister on the touchstone Middle East foreign-policy issue....  On their regular Radio National chat, The Age’s Michelle Grattan and the ABC’s Fran Kelly talked down the rebellion. It was “not a great look”, according to Grattan, but had left the government with a “better position” that wouldn’t trouble “ordinary voters”.

Kelly suggested the episode was “a good thing” and an example of “democracy at work"…
The best way to test bias is to imagine the mirror image: would the chat have been as soothing and calm if Tony Abbott had lost a core argument in his partyroom?…
But the main issue of the week was the Australian Workers Union corruption scandal… Strangely, however, many journalists have been incurious - bristling at the very mention of the story, and echoing Labor spin aimed at killing it off. Melbourne-based ABC broadcaster Jon Faine said last week he never thought much of it. “The emperor’s got no clothes as far as I’m concerned, and I’ve said so from the beginning; I pooh-poohed it."… 
Another ABC commentator, Jonathan Green, wrote this week that the story ought to be dropped: “An independent, thoughtful and self-confident media might pull the pin on the spiral ... “
A fortnight ago this column called out the mysterious, corporation-wide, ABC silence on this story. The following week, miraculously, the groupthink was reversed, the national broadcaster’s many arms all dared to cover the issue, and even revealed some important developments…
But to watch much of the coverage out of Canberra this week, most of this has been lost. We have seen simply daily jousting in a contest chosen by the opposition but framed by Labor spin…
How else to explain the relentless focus on the legitimate but transparent opposition tactic of having Julie Bishop rather than Abbott lead the attack?

Journalists, bizarrely, took seriously Labor’s attack on Bishop for meeting and speaking to confessed fraudster Ralph Blewitt, with nary a mention of Labor’s hypocrisy given the point of this controversy is Gillard’s close association with Blewitt across a number of years.


Hands up which politician wants a higher GST?

Andrew BoltDECEMBER012012(8:38am)

No chance of a debate this side of the election: 

The panel rejects calls for the formula for distributing the GST to be overhauled, saying the inadequacy of the tax was a more pressing issue.
The report, compiled by former NSW premier Nick Greiner, former Victorian premier John Brumby and Ferrier Hodgson managing partner Bruce Carter, says: “...The panel believes that, in the longer term, the national debate around matters such as the rate and the base of the GST, and public financing arrangements more generally, needs to be unfrozen.”

It says Australia raised less from its consumption tax than virtually any other advanced country.


Bolt Report tomorrow

Andrew BoltDECEMBER012012(8:35am)

For the last show of the year: Tony Abbott, Michael Costa and Peter Costello.  Summing up the AWU scandal, the year that was and what Abbott plans next.
We have also asked Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd, while Craig Emerson - who once protested he’d have to “storm the studio” - knows he has a standing invitation to come on.  Gillard may well be a no-show, having agreed to appear right after us on Meet The Press. I’ll have to try to give her something to talk about.
Tomorrow on Channel 10 at 10am and 4.30pm. 


How Labor created a new foreign policy

Andrew BoltDECEMBER012012(8:34am)

 Culture warsPolitics - federal
This is ominous for friends of Israel - and for those who do not want Australia divided by tribes and faiths: 
AFTER Julia Gillard had announced on Tuesday afternoon that Australia would abstain from a UN General Assembly vote on state observer status for the Palestinians, two things happened.

Our most important ally, the US, decided to make its “disappointment” clear to the Australian ambassador in Washington, Kim Beazley, and the Prime Minister’s “special emissary to the Jewish community”, Bruce Wolpe, was fingered as having an inordinate influence on Ms Gillard, who had intended to vote against the UN motion.
During the previous 48 hours Gillard had been defied by her cabinet, rolled by caucus, abandoned by key supporters in the NSW ALP Right, put her leadership on the line and was accused of giving too much access and influence to Melbourne Jewish business leaders through Wolpe, a Jew, a former Fairfax executive and US Democrat adviser, and her special business and Jewish affairs adviser.
It was no small matter for Gillard to defy advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the strongly held view of Foreign Minister Bob Carr, previous policy positions, lobbying from Bob Hawke and his foreign minister Gareth Evans, most of her backbench colleagues and the “demographically challenged” NSW Right, including her staunchest cabinet supporter from that faction, Water Minister Tony Burke…
The opposition to Gillard cut across factional boundaries and went beyond supporters of former prime minister Kevin Rudd. The success of the party in rolling the Prime Minister will have reverberations into the election year and has diminished her authority…
After Gillard insisted the cabinet had to agree to her minority position and demanded “cabinet solidarity”, there was a bemused and sullen response, with Carr ringing backbenchers to foment rebellion and government whip Joel Fitzgibbon defying the Prime Minister’s request to lock in the Right behind her.
Fitzgibbon yesterday said that if Australia had adopted the Prime Minister’s initial position it would have looked like Australia was acting as a puppet of the US.
Carr informed Gillard minutes before Tuesday’s Labor caucus meeting that she needed to change her position or face a humiliating defeat that would undermine her authority. Gillard conceded and backed a compromise of abstention.

In the face of Gillard’s initial demand for support, cabinet ministers began to complain there was no real explanation for the position, arguing the US was not overly exercised, many Labor seats were affected by Middle Eastern populations, Christian and Muslim, and there was a policy argument for sending Israel a message “as a friend”.
The word “Christian” seems to have been added only recently to the narrative, almost certainly for cover. I suspect the spin of Bob Carr.
The “demographically challenged” Tony Burke is the member for Watson:
Margin: 9.1 per cent.
Then there’s the seat of Reid, held by Labor’s John Murphy:
According to the 2006 census, 18.1% of the population of Reid are Muslim, a figure which represents the highest proportion in the country.
Margin: 2.7 per cent.
The 2006 census ranked the seats with the high proportions of Muslim voters
But with so many boats since and high birth rates, those proportions have changed. From theFinancial Review today:
Islamic voters are set to play a crucial role in a swag of key federal seats, withMuslims comprising more than 20 per cent of the total population in the western Sydney electorates of Blaxland and Watson.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ 2011 census showed that people who identified as Islamic constituted 23 per cent of voters in Blaxland and 20 per cent in Watson, seats held by Minister for Home Affairs Jason Clare and Environment Minister Tony Burke respectively.
Calwell, in Victoria, has 16 per cent Muslim voters, and is held by Labor. Reid’s Muslim vote is said to have dropped to 10 per cent, the same as Werriwa, held by Labor with a 6.8 per cent margin. Parramatta and Barton both have 9 per cent Muslim minorities, as does Wills in Melbourne.
Add that to this:

The seats that could fall include McMahon, held by Immigration Minister Chris Bowen, and Watson, held by Environment Minister Tony Burke.
Other seats include Parramatta, Barton, Reid, Werriwa, Fowler, Banks and Greenway, which, one source said, would be ‘’gone by 10 past six on election night’’.

A post-election warning note for NSW Labor was sounded by the Lebanese Muslim leadership at a mass rally at Lakemba mosque, celebrating the end of Ramadan. They threatened to run Muslim independents in appropriate seats because Labor had neglected them.
And - hey presto - we have a new foreign policy. 
Reader Justin:
Watson’s boundaries shifted further north & further west in the last distribution (prior to the 2010 election). That would account for quite a lot of the growth in the Muslim percentage in the electorate as areas like Earlwood and Kingsgrove have become part of Barton.


Costa backs inquiry into unions

Andrew BoltDECEMBER012012(8:32am)

Michael Costa will be on The Bolt Report tomorrow:

Mr Costa told The Weekend Australian yesterday he was in “total agreement” about the need for a high-level inquiry run by a serving or retired judge to investigate the management of unions, following a series of scandals.
“I believe that Julia Gillard should look at an inquiry into a range of allegations across the union movement,” Mr Costa said.
“There is a need to clear the air for trade union members over union administration generally, particularly after what we have seen in the HSU (Health Services Union).

“In fact I would go further and ask why union executives and management committees are not held to account in the same way as company executives. Unions collect money and ought to be regulated to the same extent.”


Gillard returns, shouting

Andrew BoltDECEMBER012012(7:18am)

Julia Gillard is now stronger than she has ever been. The real Julia is now discovered, and she is nasty but formidable.
Gillard no longer tries to counter the public perception of her as being snaky, sneaky, nasty and vicious. She has simply redefined these character flaws as leadership strengths.
The pitch: yes, she may be a b..., but wouldn’t you rather she was the b… on your side?
Everyone who aspires to public office has to be, at least in part, an intellectual thug. It’s not pretty, but the public’s view is straightforward - if you won’t fight for your own job, why should I believe that you’ll fight for mine…

It is a fundamental law of political campaigning that you should always be talking about whatever it is your opponent doesn’t want to mention....

Michael Heseltine was once asked for advice by someone thinking of becoming an MP. “Don’t do it,” he said, “if you’re only thinking of becoming one.” His point - you need to want it. How do you become First Minister of Scotland? Simple. Malcolm X was right: “By any means necessary.”
And so Gillard has gone all out on aggression ever since February, when she finally found her authentic voice in an Adelaide press conference in which she whacked Kevin Rudd - and journalists. That was the turning point: 
Gillard seems now persuaded that voters admire strength above likeability. And, to draw the contrast, she’s meanwhile focussed everything on trying to make the far more moral and warm Tony Abbott seem weak, sexist and “relentlessly negative”. Her staff even tried to fit him up as racist by whipping up a mini race riot on Australia Day but got caught red-handed.
Now Gillard does the smearing herself, out in the open: 
Abbott is now struggling to respond to Gillard’s screams of “sexism” “smear”, “slime” and “negative” - with the disengaged, especially women, drawn in by the yelling and, with no context to guide them, taking Gillard’s description of events at face value. Yes, Abbott must have been attacking her just for being a woman. Yes, he must not have evidence for his “smears”. When did we last have Prime Ministers who’d say with such certainty what was not true?
Gillard has also taken the Obama playbook to pitch to identity groups and the great masses of welfarists. The handouts - largely funded by borrowings and taxes now found to raise no revenue - have been extraordinary, from cash splashes to extra payments just for having children at school.
It’s brought her back from the dead. A Prime Minister who does not deserve to win and should be excoriated for her deceits, policy disasters and divisiveness is now back in the contest.
Paul Kelly puts the transformation well:
The real Julia is unleashed in her self-righteous fury and calculated aggression… Her arch opponent, Tony Abbott, is traduced as sexist, relentlessly negative and an agent of smear as the nation divides between those who applaud Julia and those appalled by her.

Gillard has summoned up all the hostility and prejudice directed towards her and thrown it back in the face of her accusers with added venom. At the dispatch box her vituperation assumes a shocking, sharper edge precisely because she is a woman…

Was it as recent as the 2010 campaign the public got confused between real and fake Julia?

Gillard has resolved the confusion by the projection of a deeply polarising though tenacious persona, using her sex to attack her opponent, having to endure the humiliation of her past choice of male partners put on public display and recruiting a series of causes from disability to school education to entrench a true believer-caring identity.

The biggest political story of 2012 is how Gillard turned weakness into strength. Facing a primary vote in the 28-30 per cent death zone, Gillard began to operate on the assumption she was strong, not weak. It was a psychological defiance of reality and became the year’s great drama. The upshot is that she intimidated Kevin Rudd, abused Abbott as a misogynist, patronisingly told business it had nothing to complain about, loaded the budget with unfunded true-believer Labor policies and accused virtually anybody who raises the AWU slush fund affair of “sleaze and smear”.

The trap in this psycho-political drama is overreach. Has Gillard gone too far? Has she overreached on each front?
Kelly also adds this, as an of course: 
All week Abbott outsourced the attack [on Gillard’s slush fund scandal] to his female deputy, Julie Bishop. This was essential - because Abbott is a man, it is too politically dangerous for him to lead the attack on Gillard’s past.

It is evidence of how Gillard uses sexism as both an accusation and a weapon. She screams “sexism” at Abbott, hoping to be excused as a woman the scrutiny and criticism any Prime Minister should face.
It also reveals the struggle Abbott has faced in dealing with Gillard, and his lack of confidence in his natural game. That Kelly can say it’s “essential” that a male politician not attack a female Prime Minister over her dodgy past shows how dangerously protected by sexism Gillard now is.

(Thanks to reader Dave.}

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