Saturday, December 08, 2012

Sat 8th Dec Todays News


Border policy has more holes than a leaky boat

Piers Akerman – Saturday, December 08, 2012 (8:42pm)

THE Gillard government’s failed border protection program has passed the point of no return. It is irrevocably smashed. The arrival of a jet-load of illegal entrants, all people smugglers’ clients, flown from Darwin to Sydney last week was a powerful sign the Labor-Green-independent government had run up the white flag and capitulated to forces of the human traffickers.
Those illegal entrants, who were shuttled to Nauru, are shaking their heads. They are the losers in the people-smuggling lottery. They paid the same money as those flown south and released into the community, some even came on the same boats, but the winners were diverted into Australia, while the losers wound up on Nauru.
The winners were handed bridging visas - before they even went through the processing procedure - and the losers are sitting on a pretty barren rock wondering how they managed to miss out on a visa and a place in the Australian community.
Why, they are asking, are we not being treated in the same manner as those who sailed with us from Indonesia? Why, they are complaining, are those people walking around with bridging visas now and we are still waiting to be processed?
The issuance of the bridging visas is an admission of absolute policy failure following a series of backward steps that began with the unwinding of the Howard government’s successful border protection policy by gloating members of the Rudd-Gillard Labor government five years ago.
Not once has this government kept its word on border policy, and now, to no one’s surprise, nobody believes them. Not those who want to jump the queue and come here, not the people smugglers, and not the Australian people. More than a boat a day has delivered a human cargo now totalling more than 8300 people to Australia this financial year.
Last month, some 2450 people smugglers’ clients took advantage of this government’s failed border protection policy to enter.
To put that in some perspective, the government’s so-called Malaysian Solution was capped at 800 returnees - in return for Australia accepting 4000. More than as many unauthorised arrivals have landed since the end of June.
As Opposition immigration spokesman, Scott Morrison, has said, a jumbo jet-load of illegal entrants is indicative of a jumbo-sized problem.
“This has taken the concept of border policy failure to a whole new level,” he mused. “It is now completely out of control.”
In Morrison’s view, the total collapse of the border policy is largely due to the inability of the Gillard minority government to think more than one move at a time.
Last year, he warned that the government’s plan to release new arrivals into the community with work rights would increase the incentive, add sugar to the prize, and so it did. In response, the government removed the right to work, including even the ability to work for the dole, but it added additional sugar in the form of the bridging visas. “It’s visas first, questions later,” he said.
Just returned from inspecting Nauru, Morrison found more evidence of government failure in the siting of the camp, though he was very positive about the work being done by the agencies on the island, whose staff are living in tents just like those they are caring for. The government’s hasty decision to reopen Nauru means the permanent camp is to be built on a site with no direct access to water or power.
The government has also folded its hand before a High Court challenge from a group of Sri Lankans who faced being returned. Morrison said this was par for the course.
“Every time asylum lawyers lean on this government, they capitulate and fall over,” he says. “This has been their history and that’s why I think the people smugglers know this government is a complete soft touch.
“The send back policy the government has been pursuing for the past few weeks was a product of the pressure placed on them by the Opposition when the pirate boat was on its way to Australia.
“It was only then that this government sought to enact those powers that enable them to do exactly what they’ve been doing but I think it always had a use-by date on it because it wouldn’t be long before the asylum lawyers found their way around this and it was always an injunction waiting to happen.
“Our view has always been that we should be supporting the Sri Lankan government in their interception efforts closer to Sri Lanka first and foremost, and, secondly, where vessels actually do get past that interception activity in Sri Lanka, we should be stopping them before they get into our waters and arranging for their transfer back into Sri Lanka into safe conditions.”
Now the government has nowhere to go. That’s what repeated failure does, it removes the options. The government is acting like an opposition. After five years in office it can’t point to achievements, it can only make announcements about its aspirations. The ploy is working with the connivance of the Canberra press gallery which treats the government like the opposition and holds the opposition to account as if it were the government.
With more than 500 boats and more than 30,000 people arriving illegally by boat under Labor, compared with fewer than 300 during the last six years of the Howard government - more than a hundred-fold increase - how much more evidence do Australians need of this government’s complete destruction of border protection?
Another boat, another policy failure, Julia Gillard said in 2003. Is she still counting now?

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Swelling with pride

Miranda Devine – Saturday, December 08, 2012 (8:43pm)

PREGNANT women get used to being public property, with people you barely know placing a hand on your belly, offering advice, or passing comment on the size and shape of your bump.
“You’re looking well,” they say; “It must be a boy”. “Gosh, you’re huge,” they might say. “Are you having twins?”
“You’re very small. Are you really seven months?”
“You’re carrying low; You’re carrying high.”
The emotions of a pregnant mum are dragged hither and thither by all this public wisdom, and for Kate, the foetus focus will be a thousand times more intrusive.
Already one newspaper has employed a forensic artist to work up freaky likenesses of the baby. Maternity wardrobes have been mapped out and bets taken on names.
Public fascination with the royals will soar with the pregnancy, but 30-year-old Kate’s model behaviour as a princess bride means she can handle the scrutiny.
The problem, however, is that this baby isn’t just any celebrity in utero.
Girl or boy, it is the third heir to the throne of a monarchy that has been though the wringer in the last couple of decades.
By the time of the 1999 referendum in Australia, the monarchy’s popularity was at its lowest ebb. Princess Diana was dead after a long, ugly and public marriage breakdown, during which she accused Charles of conducting a long-term affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles.
But republicans lost the referendum because they were split between those who wanted to directly elect a president and those who did not.
Since then, public sentiment has moved towards the monarchy. A Roy Morgan Poll last year found 35 per cent of Australians support a republic, down from 54 per cent in 1999.
Even more distressing for republicans is that young people were the least interested. Ageing baby boomers are the last hold-out of republican sentiment.
Affection for the stoic 86-year-old Queen is seen by republicans as their greatest obstacle. Monarchists say it doesn’t matter who is on the throne, as it is a symbolic seat of power.
But public sentiment matters, and the best chance for a republic will be when the Queen’s less highly regarded son Charles takes the throne. While he has mellowed in recent years, Prince Charles, at 64, still retains a certain unattractive, peevish egocentricity tolerable in a prince but not becoming of a king.
It was a revelation to see how popular he and Camilla were when they visited Australia last month. Not a nasty word was said of the woman Diana blamed for ruining her marriage.
But everything is relative, and just because Camilla is no longer at risk of having her eyeballs clawed out in public doesn’t mean that she would be acceptable as queen.
It’s nice the couple are happy and the public has accepted their relationship.
But with a new heir on the way, Charles must face the consequences of his betrayal of Diana. Of course she was a difficult wife, bearing the psychic scars of a mother who abandoned her at age six.
But the realisation that the man she married at 19 had emotionally abandoned her for his mistress came as a terrible blow - a raw wound piled on scar tissue.
Diana’s life was one long cry for love and Charles, with all his insecurities, was exactly the wrong person to help.
He made his bed and now is happily lying in it, with Camilla, 65, the no-nonsense horsewoman who is the love of his life.
But he shouldn’t get to be king as well. He forfeited that right when he cheated with Camilla.
His marriage to Diana was a perfect storm of character flaws but out of it came two terrific sons, and like a lot of parents, Charles has been enhanced by the quality of his children. But the impending royal birth only highlights the fact that the throne has passed him by.
The baby will be “one heir too many” according to British royal historian Michael Thornton.
“If the Queen lives 10 more years, which she shows every sign of doing, Charles will come to the throne as an elderly man,” he wrote last week in the Daily Mail.
“This would be the last thing the monarchy needs if it is to maintain its relevance in a rapidly changing world.”
For the future success of the monarchy William should bypass his father and succeed the Queen, as his mother wished. He and Kate are mature and level-headed people who will safeguard the dignity of both the institution of marriage and the monarchy.
They have proven themselves adequate to the task and the worldwide joy over their baby will be the ultimate rehabilitation of the royal family’s image and ensure its stability for at least a generation. 

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Loathsome royal prank call results in tragedy

Miranda Devine – Saturday, December 08, 2012 (8:16am)

image
THE apparent suicide of a nurse who was the victim of the 2DAY-FM prank call about the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge is a shocking tragedy that has cast a pall over the joyous news of Kate’s first pregnancy.
It ought to serve as a final wakeup call to the giggling fools of Australian FM radio.
Pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles, DJ’s Mel Greig and Michael Christian last week phoned the King Edward VII Hospital in London where Kate was being treated for morning sickness.
Nurse Jacintha Saldanha, 46, who answered the phone because there was no receptionist on duty at 5.30am, sounded awestruck when she heard what she thought was the Queen’s voice enquiring about her granddaughter’s condition.
“Oh yes, just hold on ma’am”, she said, and put the call through to a duty nurse who revealed details of Kate’s condition, believing she was talking to the Queen.
It is obvious listening to the call that the nurses were trying very hard to do the right thing, even when the radio presenters started giggling.
Two days later, Saldhana, a well respected mother of two, who had been humiliated beyond belief, was found dead in nurses’ lodgings a few blocks from the hospital. No one knows what drives someone to suicide, if that was what it was.
But a prank call exploits the decency of people for cheap laughs. It plays on the worst elements of human nature, allowing the cynical and cruel to humiliate the gullible and naive. It is the sort of bullying ridicule known to drive people to suicide, corroding the bonds of friendship and compassion in society.
For someone in a caring profession like nursing to be so taken advantage of is a disgrace.
What makes it even worse is that the call was pre-recorded and vetted by lawyers before being put to air.
Even adolescents show more sensitivity and conscience than Southern Cross Austereo and 2Day FM.
The antics of their presenters are sanctioned and even mandated by station bosses. It isn’t as if they haven’t been warned. The Australian Communications and Media Authority has reprimanded the station twice for DJ Kyle Sandilands’ antics, when he pushed a 14-year -old girl to reveal that she had been raped and when he called a journalist a “fat slag” on air.
For a radio station to continue in this fashion shows a moral compass gone awry. And listeners and advertisers who encourage the viciousness share the blame.
UPDATE:
In hindsight, I have slightly softened the piece above to avoid targeting the two DJs, and emphasise that the opprobrium ought to be on the culture of ridicule promoted by their employers and lapped up by their listeners. It’s the Borat meme running rampant in our society, where good natured teasing has given way to full-scale ego attacks. Some people can take it and some are devastated, but no one likes it.
A reader offers a quote from the Jewish holy book the Talmud: “Whoever shames another in public is like one who sheds blood”. We all used to understand this.
If you or someone you know may be at risk of suicide contact Lifeline 13 11 14, beyondblue 1300 22 46 36, or Salvo Care Line 1300 36 36 22.

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Faces of meth

Miranda Devine – Friday, December 07, 2012 (1:50pm)

ANYONE contemplating experimenting with drugs ought to look at these photos first.
Published by the Daily Mail this week, they show the ravages of methamphetamine on the faces of addicts over a relatively short period of time.
These poor miserable wretches are barely recognisable in the end.
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BECOME A JUNIOR JONATHAN

Tim Blair – Saturday, December 08, 2012 (8:19pm)

Attention, leftoids! Your dream job beckons: 
The ABC is seeking an experienced and energetic Journalist with a strong interest in the Australian media industry and Contemporary Affairs with good contacts in the print, online and television media to work in the Sydney production Pool, assigned to Media Watch 2013. 
The successful Applicant will also be Familiar with Random Capitals. 
Contract Position for Approximately 12 Months 
Not a bad deal, considering the show only runs for nine months per year. 
The ABC is an equal opportunity employer. 
No, it isn’t. Climate sceptics, one imagines, need not apply.
(Via kk)

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ONE TOUGH CLOWN

Tim Blair – Saturday, December 08, 2012 (3:43pm)

Simon Benson explores the Julia Gillard paradox, whereby our Prime Minister is an enormously talented personal politician, easily able to smite opponents inside and outside of her party, and a completely useless practical politician, whose every policy results in ridiculous chaos. She’s a salad of sinister and circus act:

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I expect that picture of clown Julia to ask “why so serious?” and say “I want Batman dead” - ed
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PSY PSORRY

Tim Blair – Saturday, December 08, 2012 (3:27pm)

Korean pop star Psy will earn around $8 million this year, much of it from the US. He’s nowbacking away from his previous anti-US opinions
As a proud South Korean who was educated in the United States and lived there for a very significant part of my life, I understand the sacrifices American servicemen and women have made to protect freedom and democracy in my country and around the world. The song I featured on in question from eight years ago was part of a deeply emotional reaction to the war in Iraq and the killing of two Korean schoolgirls that was part of the overall antiwar sentimentshared by others around the world at that time.
While I’m grateful for the freedom to express one’s self, I’ve learned there are limits to what language is appropriate and I’m deeply sorry for how these lyrics could be interpreted. I will forever be sorry for any pain I have caused by those words …
While it’s important that we express our opinions, I deeply regret the inflammatory and inappropriate language I used to do so. 
Let’s take another look at Psy’s language
Kill those f***ing Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives/Kill those f***ing Yankees who ordered them to torture/Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law and fathers/Kill them all slowly and painfully. 
Yep. Just a little “inappropriate”. But not enough to deter a certain commander-in-chief
President Barack Obama will attend a charity concert where Psy is scheduled to perform … 

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PLAIN PACKAGING

Tim Blair – Saturday, December 08, 2012 (3:13pm)

The world’s least festive message for the festive season, from the Duchess of Dull:

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(Via the Bunyip)

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HEAR IT ROAR

Tim Blair – Saturday, December 08, 2012 (2:13pm)

Not sure about the car – conceptually it’s all over the place; why combine a drag look with all that road-racing DNA? – but the filmmaking is cool. And the engine almost makes up for the fact that every wheel on this thing, including steering, is wrong.

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RADIO SUICIDE

Tim Blair – Saturday, December 08, 2012 (11:45am)

This is abysmally sad
Three days after being duped by Australian radio presenters during a royal phone prank, a London nurse has been found dead after an apparent suicide.
Jacintha Saldanha, 46, a mother of two, was unable to be revived after being found unconscious at a nurses’ accommodation block near London’s exclusive King Edward VII Hospital at 9.35am (local time) on Friday. 
The presenters involved have been taken off air.
UPDATE. Further background
A St James’s Palace spokesman added that the palace had “at no point” complained about the hoax incident. “On the contrary, we offered our full and heartfelt support to the nurses involved and hospital staff at all times” …
It is understood that the hospital, which had described the hoax as deplorable, was not disciplining the nurses involved.
In a statement it said: “We can confirm the tragic death of a member of our nursing staff, Jacintha Saldanha. Jacintha has worked at the King Edward VII hospital for more than four years, She was an excellent nurse and well-respected and popular with all of her colleagues.
“We can confirm that Jacintha was recently the victim of a hoax call to the hospital. The hospital had been supporting her throughout this difficult time”. 
UPDATE II. Wendy Harmer, among many others in the Australian media, was initially impressed by the prank: “Those two kiddos are legends!” Harmer has now changed her mind
I admit, I hadn’t heard this particular call in its entirety. I should have before I commented. Lesson learned.
Now that I have, I hear that the call breaks the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) Commercial Radio code of practice …
It’s clear that the two DJs involved have broken the rules. 
Seems to miss the point slightly.
UPDATE III. London reaction.
UPDATE IV. At a press conference, Austereo CEO Rhys Holleran says that his station’s broadcast broke no laws, and offers sympathy to his presenters: 
These people aren’t machines. They’re human beings. 
Nobody better phone them, then.

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Worse than Rudd

Andrew BoltDECEMBER082012(6:50pm)

Under Gillard’s watch 24,024 people have arrived on 391 boats manned by 674 crew. That is three times the number of boats and four times the number of people arriving over the same period - 2 1/2 years - than under Rudd.

To achieve such a disaster requires an exceptional level of policy stupidity. And Immigration Minister Chris Bowen bears little responsibility, considering most of his ideas were knocked back.
Yet with the clownish pratfalls comes the menace.

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No comment

Andrew BoltDECEMBER082012(9:16am)

 Free speechThe politics of race
I AM satisfied that fair-skinned Aboriginal people (or some of them) were reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to have been offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated by the imputations conveyed by the newspaper articles. - Federal Court judge Mordecai Bromberg, in Eatock v Bolt (2011)
WHEN I first saw columnist Andrew Bolt’s now notorious articles identifying a number of “fair-skinned Aborigines” as recipients of grants, job opportunities and awards for no clear reason other than their questionable “race”, I was sitting at my desk in an Aboriginal-identified government position.
My first thought on reading the articles and viewing those pictures was: “Holy shit - he could be talking about me!”

In keeping with the finding of Justice Bromberg in the racial discrimination case brought against Bolt, I did indeed feel humiliated and intimidated by the implications of Bolt’s article: I felt hurt, shamed and vulnerable.

But rather than simply complain about how the article made me feel, I understood I could only resolve my discomfort through first examining why it made me feel that way.
I realised I felt vulnerable because there was no way I could defend my own position if it were to be challenged; it was indefensible that I should occupy an Aboriginal identified position when I knew that race-based preferential treatment was misguided and unjust policy. I felt shamed because my position was shameful, and my choices were shameful; I knew I was a party to something very wrong, yet I chose to continue because complying was easier than walking away from my chosen career. I felt hurt because the truth hurts, and my comforting rationalisations about myself and my place in the world were already painfully dissolving.
Read on. Kerryn’s full article is here.
(Thanks to reader elinjaa.)

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Picking on the Anglos

Andrew BoltDECEMBER082012(9:01am)

Anthropologist Dr Frank Salter notes the acceptable face of racism - vilifying Anglos.
(Thanks to reader Ralph.)

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Racist!: The despicable slurring of Flannery

Andrew BoltDECEMBER082012(8:50am)

Tim Flannery may be an alarmist and he may be wrong. But to call him a racist for holding an evidence-based opinion on the impact of Aboriginal settlement on the environment is a despicable slur:
ABORIGINAL academic Marcia Langton has accused former Australian of the year Tim Flannery of holding a racist belief that indigenous Australians are ‘’enemies of nature’’.

In her fourth Boyer lecture, an extract of which is published in today’s Saturday Age, Professor Langton attacked Professor Flannery - a distinguished scientist, explorer and conservationist - for comments in his recent Quarterly Essay, After the Future: Australia’s New Extinction Crisis, which she said suggested he believed land was not ‘’safe’’ if it was owned by Aboriginal people.

‘’Even under Labor governments with a strong green bent, national parks are not always safe. In 2010, the Queensland Bligh government began the process of degazetting a large part of Mungkan Kaanju National Park on Cape York Peninsula with a view to giving the land back to its traditional Aboriginal owners,’’ Professor Flannery wrote in the essay.

Professor Langton, the foundation chair of Australian indigenous studies at the University of Melbourne, suggested Professor Flannery had succumbed to the ‘’environmental campaign ideology that Australia’s first people are the enemies of nature’’…
‘’They are not wilderness areas. They are Aboriginal homelands, shaped over millennia by Aboriginal people. The presumption by conservationists that these areas need to be rescued from Aboriginal people - as made clear by Tim Flannery and in the Wild Rivers saga in Queensland - is a strange twist on the racist fiction of terra nullius overturned by the Mabo case,’’ Professor Langton argued.
This is not argument but name-calling.
(Thanks to reader drw.)

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Monckton rebukes, carbon credits go splat

Andrew BoltDECEMBER082012(7:56am)

 2GB podcastsGlobal warming - general
On last night’s 2GB show, we interviewed Lord Monckton about being kicked out of the Doha meeting on climate change after informing the summiteers the planet hadn’t warmed in 16 years.
Monckton writes about the incident here, and prescribes this handy antidote to hysteria:
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UPDATE
Reader Mike detects a cooling in the market for global warming snake oil:
The litany of low carbon prices, low sales of “indulgences” (carbon credits) suggests the financial world is very unconvinced that talks in Doha will achieve anything of note.  And they provide a counterpoise to the hysterical releases of reports of impending climate doom which have saturated Fairfax and ABC climate coverage during the Doha talks.  
Examples - and note how absurdly high the Gillard Government’s $23 a tonne carbon tax is compared to prices for carbon credits in Europe and New Zealand:
Markets
California CO2 permit demand one third as strong as previously thought
SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 6 (Reuters Point Carbon) – Demand for California CO2 permits at the state’s first auction last month only slightly outpaced what was offered, the program’s regulator said Thursday, far less than what many in the market originally believed.
http://www.pointcarbon.com/news/1.2089488
U.N. keeps alive CDM credit crunch plan
DOHA, Dec 6 (Reuters Point Carbon) – A plan to drastically curb the supply of carbon offset credits remains on the table going into the final day of two-week U.N. climate negotiations in Qatar.
http://www.pointcarbon.com/news/1.2089429
EU carbon gains 5.7 pct on utility buying, auction
LONDON, Dec 6 (Reuters Point Carbon) - European carbon prices rose as much as 5.7 percent on Thursday, shrugging off additional supply from an EU auction as utilities snapped up permits at near-record low prices, traders said.
http://www.pointcarbon.com/news/1.2089342
EU sells 5.3 mln third phase EUAs at 6.30 euros each
LONDON, Dec 6 (Retuers Point Carbon) - The EU sold 5.3 million carbon allowances from the third phase of its emissions trading scheme for 6.30 euros each on Thursday, German bourse EEX said.
http://www.pointcarbon.com/news/1.2089138
NZ carbon hits new lows on weak EU market
DOHA, Dec 6 (Reuters Point Carbon) – Spot permits in New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme fell 12 percent week-on-week to close Thursday at NZ$2.55, fresh record lows as European carbon prices crumbled.
http://www.pointcarbon.com/news/1.2088368
Corporate
Swedish energy fund pulls out of EU carbon market
LONDON, Dec 6 (Reuters Point Carbon) – A Swedish energy fund has stopped trading carbon after plunging CO2 allowance prices offset gains made in other markets, a fund manager at the company said on Thursday.
http://www.pointcarbon.com/news/1.2089202
ArcelorMittal pulls out of EU CCS competition
LONDON, Dec 6 (Reuters Point Carbon) – Steel giant ArcelorMittal has pulled out of the first phase of a landmark EU scheme to fund demonstration carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects, the company said Thursday, leaving just three projects in the running from an initial shortlist of eight.
http://www.pointcarbon.com/news/1.2088928

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Should we try it on McTernan himself or would that be uncivilised?

Andrew BoltDECEMBER082012(7:37am)

The politics of personal destruction has been imported into Australia, to be used by the Prime Minister on both Labor foes and Liberal: 
JULIA Gillard used her prime ministerial office to run a political “war room” in the lead-up to this year’s leadership spill and had sanctioned the carpet-bombing of rival Kevin Rudd by her senior ministers, according to new claims about the event…
The Monthly claimed that central to the strategy of publicly destroying Mr Rudd’s character was Ms Gillard’s communications director John McTernan, a former adviser to the Blair government in the UK. It cited a similar strategy that was used in the political battle between Mr Blair and his successor Gordon Brown.
UPDATE
Reader Michelle notes another familiar trick: 
That’s the same trick Gillard used for her trust/slush fund press conference. 
We now know that in those weeks Gillard was in negotiations with the organisers of the coup. She decided to use Hartcher and Coorey’s article as a vehicle to take umbrage with Rudd over any suggestion of disloyalty on her part and challenged him that same evening. Strange to relate, a significant portion of the Canberra press gallery reported on this sequence of events as though it were perfectly logical and Gillard had only acted under extreme provocation.

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Gillard opposes the power prices rises she wants

Andrew BoltDECEMBER082012(7:26am)


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Boycott academic bigots instead

Andrew BoltDECEMBER082012(7:20am)

In my opinion, a boycott of Israeli academics is racist and anti-intellectual and should not be tolerated in any Australian university: 
The dean of the university’s arts and social science faculty, Duncan Ivison, yesterday wrote to Jake Lynch spelling out that “he does not speak for the faculty on visiting scholars and cannot make decisions about who comes here”.
Associate Professor Lynch caused outrage after he rejected a bid for assistance by Hebrew University of Jerusalem academic Dan Avnon, credited with developing Israel’s only state program in civics written for Jewish and Arab students, on the basis of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.

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A quota of solace

Andrew BoltDECEMBER082012(7:06am)

This is the Anzac spirit:
The government, fearful that the official North Beach commemoration site will be overrun for the historic occasion, has proposed a ballot system under which the official ceremony will be limited to 8000 Australians, less than half the number that would otherwise be expected…
Paul Murphy, owner of tour operator Military History Tours, said he had 1800 people who had already booked to attend the 2015 ceremony before the government announced the ballot plan in September last year because of safety concerns about such large crowds within a confined space on North Beach…
“Since when did Australian bureaucrats get the right to tell who can go to a dawn service anywhere in the world?” Mr Murphy asked…
The plan is being backed by another tour operator, Gallipoli 2015, whose manager Marcus Falay said his company would support a rebel dawn ceremony at Gallipoli.
“I think the government has made a big stuff-up with these ballots,” Mr Falay said. “Australia is a free country...”
Well, it was, until relatively recently.

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Germans fear Muslims

Andrew BoltDECEMBER082012(7:06am)

Muslims in the West need to do serious work to demonstrate - not merely assert - that their faith is no threat:
Respondents to the poll were asked to choose which of 21 statements they were offered about Islam that most closely reflected their opinion. 83% of them think that Islam is associated with impairing women’s rights, 77% thought Islam was a literalist religion; 70% said Islam is associated with religious fanaticism and radicalism. A significant part of Germany’s population also believes that Islam is ready for violence (64%), hatred (60%), active missionary activity (56%), and striving for political influence (56%). Only 13% of respondents associate Islam with love for neighbours; 12% - with charity; 7% - with openness and tolerance…
The high level of mistrust in Islam is reflected in other questions. For example, in 2006, 55% of respondents answered yes to the question “Do you think that serious conflicts will appear between the Western Christian culture and the Arab Muslim culture in the future?” Today there are 44% people who think so. In 2006 and today a quarter of respondents believe that such serious conflicts exist even now.
To shout “racism” is not to explain but conceal. There is more racism, it appears, among the Muslim diaspora, to judge by a pronounced tendency to separatism and an unacceptably high threat of terrorism and violence against non-Muslim targets.
I do not doubt that with goodwill, frankness and proper public policies we can work through this in Australia, but it is foolish to deny a genuine problem - and one that may even be beyond repair, at least for generations, in some other nations.
(Thanks to reader Malcolm.) 

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Labor claims it could win in Queensland, but must work in NSW

Andrew BoltDECEMBER082012(6:48am)

Once again, as with all internal polls, we should wonder why it was released:
The meeting came as the Seven Network reported internal Labor Party research that showed the government’s primary vote had slipped back to 33 per cent and it faced a catastrophic result in western Sydney. The poll showed Labor would pick up two seats in Queensland, and possibly one each in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. But it would lose three in Tasmania and up to 10 in NSW.
To label a problem is to announce you are listening and prepared to change. Is Labor asking voters in NSW to watch for the response to come?
Or is Labor messing with the Coalition’s mind? The claim of perhaps picking up seats in Queensland, rather than lose almost every single one, seems extraordinary. Is Campbell Newman really so on the nose, or is Labor trying to build a narrative? If Queensland really has turned so dramatically, Labor has gained much hope.

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The end of a joke

Andrew BoltDECEMBER082012(6:43am)

The humiliation could have been foreseen, but the apparent consequences not: 
Jacintha Saldanha, 46, a mother of two, was unable to be revived after being found unconscious at a nurses’ accommodation block near London’s exclusive King Edward VII Hospital at 9.35am (local time) on Friday…
Hospital chief executive John Lofthouse, who earlier in the week described the hoax call as “foolish”, confirmed Ms Saldanha’s death…
“We can confirm that Jacintha was recently the victim of a hoax call to the hospital. The hospital had been supporting her throughout this very difficult time.”

Mrs Saldanha was staffing the hospital switchboard when she took a phone call from 2Day FM DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian…
The radio presenters pretended to be the Queen and Prince Charles, and asked to be put through to Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, who was in the hospital with a pregnancy-related illness. 
I don’t think that kind of joke will work for quite a while.
UPDATE
One nurse’s terrible humiliation was one DJ’s career opportunity:
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