Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Tue 5th Jan Todays News


Labor media fans race to the bottom

Piers Akerman – Tuesday, February 05, 2013 (2:58am)

The self-proclaimed media pundits are jostling for relevance at the start of a busy year.
There will be plenty of slips in the race to the bottom but early leaders in the idiot stakes are without doubt coming from the Fairfax stable, noted for its string of deluded hacks.
The performances of a trio including Michelle Grattan and Tim Colebatch (writing as a tandem team) and Mike Carlton were standouts in a weekend given to prime ministerial hyper-bowl.
“It’s only a minor stretch to see the Gillard glasses - there is also a swish prescription pair for sunwear - as another part of her pitch as a leader taking control, doing things her way, looking herself,” the dazzling duo opined.
“They were put on show the day she threw away convention and gave us a firm election date, more than 200 days ahead of time.”
:‘"Look at me,’ those glasses said. ‘I’m the ranga who dares.’”
(I am not making this up, I hastily add for those who do not buy the Fairfax fantasy sheets.)
.
“She’s the traveller caught in a fierce storm (much of it her own making, her critics would say) but she now has a compass at least.”
That a pair of glasses would dazzle some Fairfax political commentators should be no surprise.
The same people have shown an unhealthy obsession with Opposition leader Tony Abbott’s regulation life savers’ swim wear and fall about whenever he dons his volunteer fire fighter’s uniform orange.
But Gillard’s new eyewear is straight out of central casting via focus group testing.
A distinguished eye surgeon told me that the new glasses were designed to mask Gillard’s heavy eyelids and give her the appearance or sense of a presbyopic school headmistress/grandparent and convey a knowledge/security/comfort/safety to the most primitive part of the brain stem.
That is, they were designed to create an image totally at odds with the Australian experience of her leadership and the nation’s knowledge of her character.
Very clever marketing, were it not for the fact that the glasses have enabled many Australians to see Gillard for what she really is more clearly than ever.
The third member of the Fairfax team vying for the stupid award is Mike Carlton who wrote: “It’s true she has removed the uncertainty, and that is a good thing.”
“My hunch, for this week anyway, is that Gillard has clawed back some popularity since her famous misogyny tirade and the pushing of such bedrock Labor ideals as the national disability insurance scheme. Well, maybe not popularity but respect, perhaps.”
First, it is plain that the lengthy election campaign which Gillard launched last Wednesday has added no certainty to anything, including the careers of members of her own team, several of whom jumped ship as soon as decently possible after small matters like the arrest of Craig Thomson were dealt with.
As for Carlton’s Saturday hunch, Monday’s polls blew it out of the water.
As The Australian reported yesterday, Labour support has slumped back to levels seen at the end of last year and Tony Abbott has surged against Julia Gillard as the nation’s preferred prime minister after the start of the record-breaking seven-month election campaign was marked by chaos and confusion in government ranks.
“As Labor MPs returned to Canberra last night for the first sittings of the parliamentary year - and as senior ministers publicly expressed support for the Prime Minister and her tactics - the latest Newspoll, conducted exclusively for The Australian at the weekend, puts the Coalition in a clear, election-winning position.”
That the poll was taken after Gillard’s appearance at the National Press Club and as news of the resignations of former Ministers Nicola Roxon and Chris Evans was percolating through the news media is significant.
Gillard’s performance before the media was all for nought. So was her teary-eyed press conference.
Labor is in disarray, its media backers are being swept along in the Labor lunacy.
Please send all further examples of media stupidity to this site so they, too, can be entered in the judging to be held on the Saturday of the election or as soon as possible thereafter.

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February 5Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan begins (2013);Constitution Day in Mexico (1917)
Obelisk commemorating the discovery of the Welcome Stranger nugget

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Events

[edit]Births

[edit]Deaths

[edit]Holidays and observances


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‘Best show in town’ as punters wonder where the cash went

Miranda Devine – Tuesday, February 05, 2013 (8:37pm)

EDDIE Obeid’s still got it. Striding into the Palace Chinese restaurant during a break from his second day of grilling in the ICAC witness box, the 69-year-old ex-politician was a commanding figure. 

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Rudd’s way back made smoother

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY052013(4:55pm)

Old enemies of Kevin Rudd are reaching out or stepping aside.
Nicola Roxon - then Attorney-General - in February:
Roxon now won’t serve in Gillard’s ministry either:
Prime Minister Julia Gillard this weekend officially confirmed that Nicola Roxon has handed in her notice and resigned her post as Federal Attorney-General.
Regional Australia Minister Simon Crean in February wanted Rudd gone: 
[Rudd] is not playing as part of the team… He’s clearly been disloyal internally. I know he’s been talking to other people… I think what’s got to happen is the Prime Minister has to have a discussion with him. The conversation should be if he can’t be part of the team he should exit the team.
Crean now wants Rudd’s return:
I think he is an asset and we should use him but it has to be a disciplined asset… And again, that’s a judgement not just for us to make, it has to be for Kevin to make. And I think if that combination of discipline plus the asset can be agreed upon it would be a fantastic boost to our fortunes and I would certainly advocate it.
Transport Minister Anthony Albanese always was a Rudd supporter, so this is not a surprise - but it is not very helpful to Gillard either:
In case you were wondering how popular Rudd was with voters, the former Prime Minister hasjust posted more pictures.
JULIA Gillard is moving into a new phase of blaming her colleagues - especially, but not only, Kevin Rudd - for the dire position of her government.
UPDATE
Mark Kenny hears the same figures being bandied about as I do:
Estimates put [Rudd’s] backing as high as 45 votes out of 102 caucus members, although Ms Gillard’s supporters say it is lower… He received only 31 votes to Ms Gillard’s 71 in the count last February.
KEVIN Rudd has scoffed at reports he is within striking distance of toppling Julia Gillard for the federal Labor leadership.
“Give us a break, give us a break,” he told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday when asked whether his backers were counting the numbers…
“I supported the prime minister ... that remains my position,” he said.
“Everyone should take a long, cold shower.”
UPDATE
With Labor tearing itself apart, no wonder the Coalition played it cool in Question Time today. Why interrupt the enemy when they are making a mistake?
UPDATE
Essential Media poll: Labor 46, Coalition 54. 

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Obeid names two federal ministers - and one ex - as his guests. UPDATE: Conroy, too.

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY052013(4:49pm)

FORMER minister Ian Macdonald stayed at the Obeid family’s luxury ski chalet for free, with the man once dubbed ‘Sir Lunch a lot’ also having his meals covered by Eddie Obeid’s sons, a corruption inquiry has heard.
And Mr Obeid also listed federal employment minister Bill Shorten, former state minister Carl Scully, state opposition leader John Robertson and former senator Mark Arbib as guests at the chalet.
The revelation Mr Macdonald stayed at the Perisher retreat, and had his meals paid for, came in the final questions for the former Labor powerbroker…
Mr Shorten has denied attending the property.
Tourism Minister Tony Burke is also named - and Kate McClymont has a good question: 
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Just staying at Obeid’s chalet is, of course, no evidence of anything improper. Among other things, Obeid has not been found guilty of anything.
But it’s interesting that Obeid decided to drop in a few embarrassing names. And his evidence makes even clearer that we are not talking merely about allegations involving one isolated Labor minister in Obeid, but about a culture and a network in which he was central.
UPDATE
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy volunteers that he was an Obeid guest, too.
UPDATE
A very belated declaration of a valuable gift to a man who was in the NSW Legislative Council in 2004 and in Federal Parliament in 2006:
“On both occasions I stayed with my family.
“On neither occasion was any member of the Obeid family present.”
Why was this not declared at the time?
Or this:
Senator Conroy, who became a minister in 2007, was not named in the ICAC hearing on Tuesday.
But the minister for broadband later confirmed he too had stayed there, when no member of the Obeid family was present.
“Given media interest in this matter, I wish to declare one stay for two days at this apartment in either 2005 or 2006,” he said in a statement.
Mr Arbib, who is now a lobbyist for James Packer’s Crown Limited, said he had spent a weekend at Mr Obeid’s lodge in 2005 when he was the general secretary of NSW Labor.

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Maybe the climate of opinion should change in McArdle’s favor

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY052013(4:00pm)

I’ve developed a sudden, inexplicable liking for Craig Thomson’s lawyer:
(Thanks to reader Victoria 3220.)
UPDATE
Labor will be so delighted to see Craig Thomson giving video-taped interviews about his arrest and the police conspiracy against him. Wonderful publicity for the party at this sunny time in its fortunes.
Then there are the other interviews he’s giving today, just in case anyone still hasn’t heard of the case:
FORMER Labor federal MP Craig Thomson maintains Victorian police deliberately set out to make a spectacle of his arrest on fraud charges…
‘’The NSW police were misled by the Victorian police,’’ Mr Thomson told ABC Radio today.
‘’The truth of the matter is they could have sent a summons to my solicitor and we would have been there tomorrow in Melbourne just the same.
‘’(It) was deliberately designed to create a spectacle. That’s what they went out to achieve. It was unnecessary and hurtful and humiliating.’’

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Cross Crossin crosses PM

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY052013(2:14pm)

Prime Minister Julia Gillard last week: 
I will advise the Governor-General to dissolve the House of Representatives and to issue writs on Monday, 12th August for an election for the House and half the Senate to be held on Saturday, 14th September. I do so not to start the nation’s longest election campaign. Quite the opposite.
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Senator Trish Crossin, sacked by Gillard for not being Aboriginal, messes with her script.
ALP Senator John Faulkner has been labelled a “hypocrite” and a “contemptible charlatan” by members of Australian Young Labor in a draft motion to the organisation’s annual conference.

The widely respected Senator Faulkner has been campaigning for greater integrity within the party, against the backdrop of the corruption inquiry into former ministers Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald.
But in a draft motion to the Canberra conference, Senator Faulkner was accused of being a “whiner” for complaining about party processes…
The motion read, in part: “Australian Young Labor recognises that Senator John Faulkner is a hypocrite, an ineffective member of the Federal Parliament and a contemptible charlatan. We recognise that as cabinet secretary he oversaw the largest decline in the cabinet process in history.”

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A tax on prudence

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY052013(11:23am)

Former Treasurer Peter Costello is far from the only expert warning the Gillard Government against looting super funds to replace the cash it’s blown: 
The federal government’s treatment of superannuation has come under criticism from former federal treasurer Peter Costello, who said Labor risks “killing” superannuation groups with compliance and complexity costs that he said will result from Labor’s move to unwind his reforms of the sector, according to The Australian Financial Review.
Mr Costello’s overhaul of super in 2006/07 saw the introduction of tax breaks on super payouts for middle and high-income earners.
Those tax breaks have come under review by Labor in its bid to strengthen the federal budget. But Mr Costello said his reforms should be sustainable within the broader federal budget.
Among the reforms being considered by Labor are measures to pare back generous tax concessions on super, including taxing super withdrawals for individuals with account balances exceeding $800,000 to $1 million, the AFR reported.
Any changes to the system would be “completely capricious and unfair to people who have been contributing over longer periods,” Mr Costello said, according to the AFR.
“The Treasury’s view [in 2006/07] was ‘absolutely sustainable’ and [it] gave advice to that effect. It may not be sustainable if you waste billions of dollars on pink batts and building school halls, but outside of that it is thoroughly sustainable.”

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Let’s see who collects

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY052013(11:19am)

Who among those propping up this government do you trust?
Sportsbet confirmed that it had become suspicious when a high volume of small bets began to flood in on for a September election date last Wednesday morning, for no apparent reason. Only a handful of people were said to be in the loop on Ms Gillard’s plan, including several ministers, some staff, the independents and the Greens.
Whoever rang Sportsbet didn’t bother ringing ministers such as Bill Shorten first to tell them the election was on. Money before mateship.

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Where’s the ABC’s Alan Jones to balance Jon Faine?

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY052013(9:28am)

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The ABC’s Media Watch, having demonised 2GB’s Alan Jones for years, now likens him to ... the ABC’s own Jon Faine.
Last week the ABC upheld 17 complaints against Faine, host of the ABC’s morning show:
Complainants said that interviews with Mark Baker, Editor-at-Large at The Age and Michael Smith, former 2UE talkback host, lacked balance, were conducted aggressively, and that the presenter demonstrated bias.
Media Watch last night quoted Smith, the 2UE broadcaster sacked after asking the Prime Minister “unauthorised questions” about the AWU scandal:
“Michael Smith: He hectored me, had a go, good on him. I mean, it’s up to, you know, he can do that if he wants, but he can’t do it on the ABC.
... go and work for 2GB, mate, if you want to be an opinionated chap, expressing your opinions. You can’t do it while we pay you.
Media Watch host Jonathan Holmes: 
It’s certainly true that hectoring interviews are commonplace on Sydney’s 2GB.
You may remember breakfast host Alan Jones interviewing climate scientist Professor David Karoly back in 2011 about the evidence for human-induced global warming… I had a go at Jones about that interview. “Part interrogation, part harangue”, I called it.
Now let’s sample Jon Faine interviewing Michael Smith last November about the evidence that Julia Gillard might have been guilty of wrongdoing when she was a partner at Slater and Gordon in the early1990s.
Her then boyfriend, Bruce Wilson, was an official of the AWU, one of the firm’s biggest clients.
“Michael Smith: It’s improper to have a relationship of that character while you’re working for a client that’s paying the bills, the AWU..
Jon Faine: Who says it’s improper? Where’s the rule that says you have to disclose who your boyfriend is when you’re a lawyer?
Michael Smith: The Law Institute…
Jon Faine: ...No, it doesn’t…
Michael Smith:...has a view about that, about ethical conduct…
Jon Faine: ...There’s no, there’s no rule saying you have to tell your employers who your boyfriend is – that’s rubbish…
Michael Smith: ...Let’s let’s look at what it-Well, when it’s your client…
Jon Faine: ...That’s rubbish…
Michael Smith: ...Let’s look at what happened then, Jon, as a result of that…
Jon Faine: ...Let’s move on. What else are you worried about?...
Michael Smith was worried about plenty else, but Jon Faine simply wasn’t listening… As Smith told Crikey last week…
“ “He didn’t have me on to hear what I had to say; he had me on to act as a lightning rod to his own commentary...”
Precisely so.
Now, that interviewing style may be acceptable to 2GB’s management. But not to the ABC’s… In my view, Faine’s interview with Smith wasn’t fair, and it certainly wasn’t open-minded. Like the ABC, I think the complainants had a point.
The ABC, being publicly funded, has a duty to be impartial. It is a duty regularly breached by the likes of Faine. Hear him, for instance, on global warming, the “stolen generations”, the rich, our “oligarchs”, Rupert Murdoch, News Ltd and so many other defining issues of the Left.
But is the answer really to bland out Faine? Is it even possible for Faine, Tony Jones, Fran Kelly, Phillip Adams, Barrie Cassidy, Leigh Sales and the many rest to suppress their political or ideological opinions, judgements and assumptions? Could they really act as if nothing they say or ask is informed by their world views?
If we really must have a publicly-funded broadcaster, its balance is surely better achieved not by censoring Faine but by hiring conservatives (or even Right-wingers) to balance out the Leftists and Greens now overwhelmingly represented on the ABC roster.
As Holmes suggests, Faine is as opinionated as Jones - and it shows. So where’s the ABC’s Jones to balance him?
UPDATE
Or put it this way: where is the ABC’s Alan Jones to balance Emma Alberici

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Let the sunshine in on this scandal

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY052013(9:15am)

 The AWU scandal
JULIA Gillard’s office is blocking the release under Freedom of Information laws of a raft of documents generated by key staff and other taxpayer-funded officials last year in relation to the Australian Workers Union fraud scandal.
The documents include internal briefing papers, media-management strategies and correspondence with media executives and journalists. All of the material sought is directly related to the Prime Minister’s handling of the controversy that dogged her in the second half of last year…
The staff research and advice also helped inform two media conferences, in August and November last year, in which Ms Gillard made statements and responded to questions about her role in providing legal advice to help her then client and boyfriend, Bruce Wilson, set up a union slush fund.
Ms Gillard has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and said she had no knowledge of the workings of the AWU’s Workplace Reform Association.
The Prime Minister’s director of cabinet, Mathew Jose, has determined that no relevant documents sought under FOI would be made available to The Australian…
The [Australian’s] request sought documents about any advice on questions about any offences that may have been committed in the incorporation and use of the AWU Workplace Reform Association, or whether there have been any defamations of persons including the Prime Minister.
Ms Gillard has said she had been repeatedly defamed by suggestions she set up a slush fund, insisting that her role was limited to providing legal advice on the incorporation of the association.
Meanwhile, Michael Smith corrects this paragraph from an article in the Australian Financial Review by Mark Skulley and Laura Tingle:
Victoria Police’s fraud squad now has detectives working on a complaint made by former Sydney radio broadcaster Michael Smith, which dealt with financial dealings involving Ms Gillard’s former boyfriend, ex-AWU Victorian state secretary Bruce Wilson.
Actually, Smith’s complaint relates not to Wilson but to Gillard herself and a power of attorney she claims to have witnessed.
(Gillard insists she did nothing wrong.)

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Excuse blown. No, Thomson’s arrest was not “unforeseen”

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY052013(8:45am)

 Politics - deceits and stuff ups
Julia Gillard’s loyalists insist the only “chaos” last week was caused by the totally unforeseen:
The only element of genuine “chaos” last week, say Gillard loyalists, was the unforeseen arrest of Craig Thomson.
I think [announcing the September 14 election date] would have been clever had it not been for the intervention of the unexpected, the Craig Thomson arrest… What you do is you come into the New Year, the first major speech the Prime Minister makes at the Press Club is to announce the election date. A date which was not unexpected by anyone who follows this . . . the logic then of a reshuffle immediately after that . . . would have made perfectly logical sense if it hadn’t been for the chaos that was created by the Craig Thomson thing.
Mark Davis, The Sydney Morning Herald, April 8, 2009: 
THE federal Labor MP and former union boss Craig Thomson faces allegations his union credit cards were used to pay for escort services and to withdraw more than $100,000 in cash, as well as bankroll his election campaign for the . . . seat of Dobell.
Ean Higgins, The Weekend Australian, February 25, 2012: 
NSW police are closing in on alleged corruption involving Labor MP Craig Thomson and Health Services Union boss Michael Williamson, raiding the premises of graphic designer John Gilleland, who is claimed to have secretly provided the pair with credit cards…
Ean Higgins, The Australian, October 5, 2012: 
VICTORIAN police are continuing (an) investigation against former HSU official and now independent MP Craig Thomson over allegations that after he left the NSW branch in 2002 to take up the role of HSU national secretary in Melbourne, he used his union credit card to rort more than $100,000 of union funds to spend on prostitutes, high living, and airfares for his then wife Krista… 
Ean Higgins, The Australian, October 24, 2012: 
NSW police executed a search warrant on behalf of Victorian police at Mr Thomson’s home at Bateau Bay on the NSW central coast.
Ean Higgins, The Australian, October 25, 2012: 
AS a convoy of police from two states raided Craig Thomson’s house yesterday, seizing a large quantity of documents and electronic equipment, the former Labor MP brushed aside the dramatic turn in the fraud and corruption investigation as “routine”.
Ean Higgins, The Australian, November 21, 2012: 
VICTORIAN fraud squad detectives will soon “wrap up” their investigation into allegations Craig Thomson rorted members’ funds as HSU national secretary, raising the possibility the MP could be charged by Christmas.
On Monday, two days before Gillard’s election announcement, former policeman and broadcaster Michael Smith dropped this broad hint on his well-read blog:
You would be aware [Craig Thomson’s] home was raided by police on 24 October last year…
He was invited by police to drop by for a chat to put his side of the story.  He has declined to co-operate.  Steve Lewis pointed out that, “Mr Thomson has declined to be interviewed by both the NSW and Victoria Police, who are expected to wrap-up their case against him by Christmas”.  Well it’s back to work now, post Australia Day. 
It’s hard to imagine that anything more remains to be done.  He’s had every chance to put his case.  All the conceivable evidence has been amassed.  He has declined to be interviewed.  I would have thought [Thomson’s] conduct, as set out in Terry Nassios’s report provides compelling grounds for police to [act].  Right about now would be good.
(Thomson insists on his innocence.)
On Wednesday, the day Gillard announced the election date, reporter Steve Lewis was writing this report for the next day’s paper, using information I’d heard whispered, too:
LABOR’S election campaign could suffer an early setback in the key battleground of NSW, with heightened speculation that Victorian police will shortly lay charges against suspended ALP MP Craig Thomson.
If Gillard and her allies really think Thomson’s arrest was “unforeseen” they are in serious denial - or dangerously uninformed.
Of course, they could just be spinning....

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First show the policy will work. Then tell us the cost

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY052013(7:39am)

Former Labor adviser Cassandra Wilkinson is rightly sick of political promises being reduced to dollars and not results: 
For instance, the Coalition has committed to throwing out the defence white paper and replacing the current $36 billion navy submarine program with a $4bn air force drones program and, possibly, a nuclear fleet. The question of price is not inconsequential but the first-order issue is to determine the most effective defence of Australia. A sound defence is cheap at twice the price, a derelict defence expensive at half.
In the realm of education, debate has been framed around a “will she, won’t he” paradigm on funding the Gonski report recommendations.
This discussion has quickly become about money rather than teaching methodologies, structural reform or the fact that on the watch of the last three federal governments and under state governments of all political stripes, funding per capita has gone up while standards have stubbornly refused to rise, and on some measures have slightly but definitely slipped down.
Money is not the answer to this conundrum. Robust, evidence-based debate of policy is. For instance, there is still intense disagreement over the teaching of reading. Backing the wrong method will merely fail. Backing the wrong method with unlimited cash will fail a generation.

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Gillard demonstrates “stability” by complaining of treachery

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY052013(6:53am)

Two very strange things about this latest scene from the Leader’s bunker:
A furious Julia Gillard yesterday turned on her own MPs for leaking, accusing them of destroying the government from within in remarks later described by several as “bizarre” …
Ms Gillard told her MPs that journalists had complained to her that when they returned from leave they had messages waiting from MPs offering “negative assessments”.
First, if the Prime Minister strategy with last week’s election announcement was to project“stability” and “certainty”, why follow it up with bound-to-be-leaked accusations of white-anting against her own MPs?
But second, did Gillard really say journalists were “complaining” about having Labor MPs tell them how bad she was? Are indeed some journalists “complaining”?
If so, it seems either that Gillard has a bizarre notion of the proper relationship between journalists and her government - or that some reporters do.
Maybe it’s the same sense of entitlement that led her to this complaint to caucus yesterday:
There was even a frustrated and exasperated observation during the defence of parachuting sportswoman Nova Peris into the Senate that it had “even” taken Gillard “10 years to get here”.
Ghastly, how Labor didn’t instantly give Gillard a seat the moment she expressed interest. Gillard was first elected in 1998. How could Labor have failed to see the obvious talent in her a decade earlier - when she was just 27, an organiser of the far-Left Socialist Forum and a solicitor so shaky that seven years later she was effectively edged out of Slater & Gordon for registering a dodgy slush fund for her then conman boyfriend without informing her partners. Her work for that boyfriend is now subject to a police investigation (although Gillard insists she did nothing wrong).
How could Labor not have instantly seen young Gillard’s worth? 
UPDATE
More “stability”:
Retiring Senate leader Chris Evans also called for unity, warning the caucus that the worst damage was inflicted by the ”enemy within”.
UPDATE
Political suicide is a skill, like everything else; Julia Gillard seems intent on raising it to an art.
Yet it would be a mistake to write Gillard off. There is in her that streak of granite, along with a remarkable combination of scorn, repartee and courage.
Ergas says Gillard’s latest stunt - naming an election date in September - is an attempt to shift responsibility from the government:
Gillard’s gambit is as objectionable as it is ill-conceived.
Although she flatly denies being in election mode, her whole strategy is to shift the focus on to the opposition, as would happen in a campaign, without imposing on her own government any of the constraints the caretaker conventions require…
Those conventions serve to reduce, for the period of the campaign, the enormous asymmetry between government and opposition that characterises the Westminster system.
That system gives the government, embodied in the cabinet, undisputed control over, and sole access to, the executive, in return for the government taking full responsibility for the executive’s actions.
The consequence is that it is the government, and the government alone, that has the data and other resources required to develop and implement policy.

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Easy to run out of our cash at this rate

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY052013(12:04am)

I missed this announcement last month. But when I hear Julia Gillard say she needs yet more taxpayers’ money, I should remember this:
The first train line in Sydney to be paid for and built under the Rudd and Gillard governments opened on Monday, $700 million over budget and three years after it was promised to be finished…
The final cost was about $1 billion. When Mr Albanese announced the start of construction in February 2009, he put a figure of $309 million on the project and a completion date of early 2010.
(Thanks to reader David.)

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Brough slips into Slipper’s building

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY052013(12:01am)

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There could be tense scenes in the car park when the candidate in the office on the left bumps into the politician in the office on the right.
(Thanks to reader Bruce.)

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I KNOW WHEN I’M BEAT

Tim Blair – Tuesday, February 05, 2013 (2:27pm)

A column review leads to a brief email exchange with reader Michael: 
Hey Blair,
Obama might suck at bowling and throwing out the first pitch but you neglect to mention he is a pretty handy basketball player. But then again, why would you include that detail when the purpose of your article was to clearly denigrate the man. You’re a joke of a journalist and a joke of a man.
Cheers,
Michael L
 
Conversation ensues: 
Tim: Basketball isn’t a sport.
Michael: Your mum’s not a sport but people play her all day.
Tim: You have bested me, sir. 

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REFORM YOURSELF, FATSO McCARBONDOLLAR

Tim Blair – Tuesday, February 05, 2013 (2:24pm)

“We need reforms,” says oil money mega-millionaire Al Gore, “both in democracy and capitalism.”

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SKY HARVESTING BIRD-CHURNERS

Tim Blair – Tuesday, February 05, 2013 (2:21pm)

Environmentalist Clive Hambler considers the dangers of alternative energy: 
Wind farms are devastating populations of rare birds and bats across the world, driving some to the point of extinction. Most environmentalists just don’t want to know. Because they’re so desperate to believe in renewable energy, they’re in a state of denial. But the evidence suggests that, this century at least, renewables pose a far greater threat to wildlife than climate change.
I’m a lecturer in biological and human sciences at Oxford university. I trained as a zoologist, I’ve worked as an environmental consultant — conducting impact assessments on projects like the Folkestone-to-London rail link — and I now teach ecology and conservation. Though I started out neutral on renewable energy, I’ve since seen the havoc wreaked on wildlife by wind power, hydro power, biofuels and tidal barrages. 
There’s also the small matter of cost
Residents on estate with super-insulated ‘homes of the future’ featuring rainwater harvesters and solar panels hit with electricity bills double the national average …
Residents at the eco-friendly complex were promised cheaper electricity bills 
“Eco” is modern shorthand for “expensive”.
(Via Waxing Gibberish)

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PRONOUN TROUBLE

Tim Blair – Tuesday, February 05, 2013 (2:15pm)

The LA Times corrects an item on transgender prostitutes: 
An earlier online version of this article contained a typographical error inserted during initial editing of the text, referring to Cassidy Vickers as “heshe.” It has been corrected here and in the final print version. 
In other typo developments, Media Watch host Jonathan Holmes is currently at war with paranoid lefties who believe that there is a Juliar conspiracy at the ABC.
(Via Allan J.)

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LEAKY LEAKERS WHO LEAK

Tim Blair – Tuesday, February 05, 2013 (4:01am)

The ABC’s Leigh Sales asks work/life balance advocate Nicola Roxon about Labor leakage: 
LEIGH SALES: Did the Prime Minister tell the caucus today that some of other own MPs are leaking against her and that that could destroy the Government?
NICOLA ROXON: No, I think the point that the Prime Minister was making was not about her, it was about the Government and the Labor cause. It’s our first caucus meeting back in the new parliamentary year and she was simply giving people an appropriate reminder and a bit of a pep talk of course that if we don’t all pull together and work for the Labor cause, instead of maybe gossiping or possibly leaking to the media, that we’ll actually damage ourselves. So it’s a pretty - you know, a pretty unsurprising thing for a prime minister to say at the start of a parliamentary year.
LEIGH SALES: Well, I think it’s very surprising. Why would a prime minister need to give a pep talk like that if there weren’t people within your own ranks white-anting her and her leadership and your government? 
Good question, but Sales missed an obvious follow-up: the Prime Minister’s admonition to the caucus about leaking was immediately leaked.

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Trust nobody, Julia

And the leaking continues
A furious Julia Gillard yesterday turned on her own MPs for leaking, accusing them of destroying the government from within in remarks later described by several as “bizarre” …
One MP said they were gobsmacked the PM had suggested that it wasn’t just one or two MPs that had been backgrounding against the government. “She suggested we were lining up to undermine the government,” the MP said.
“I don’t understand it. It only reinforces the view that her leadership is vulnerable.” 
And it is, mostly from Tony Abbott. This leak is noteworthy: 
Ms Gillard told her MPs that journalists had complained to her that when they returned from leave they had messages waiting from MPs offering “negative assessments”. 
Interesting. Speaking of negative assessments
The [latest Newspoll] revealed that support for Labor’s handling of the economy has crashed from 34 per cent to 28 per cent, the equal lowest level since Kevin Rudd won the election in 2007.
On the other hand, support for the Coalition’s economic management has risen to 50 per cent, up from 46 per cent a year ago.
Last year Labor led the Coalition on the issue of handling jobs – 42 per cent to 38 per cent – but after the survey conducted over the weekend, the tables have turned with Labor now on 37 per cent to the Coalition’s 41 per cent. 
Latest Sportsbet prices: Coalition $1.17, Labor $4.75.

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WE ARE TOAST

Tim Blair – Tuesday, February 05, 2013 (2:19am)

Let’s assume, for the sake of fun, that Labor loses the September 14 election. This isn’t altogether good news, because what will follow is an orgy of Labor self-analysis about where the party has gone wrong, the need for restoration of Labor “values” and general hopeless indulgence.
We had a preview of this on the weekend, when departing Attorney-General Nicola Roxon and ex-Minister for Higher Education Chris Evans joined Prime Minister Julia Gillard for a mawkish, near-tearful assessment of their years together. It was like the final episode of a long-running sitcom, complete with laugh-worthy one-liners. “I believe we can win the next election,” said Roxon, whose expressed faith is slightly diminished by the fact that she’s running flat out towards the exit door.

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GABBIN’ ABOUT GUNS …

Tim Blair – Tuesday, February 05, 2013 (2:02am)


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CAN’T BOWL, CAN’T THROW, CAN’T SHOOT

Tim Blair – Tuesday, February 05, 2013 (1:58am)

Some racial stereotypes are positive. All black guys are naturally athletic, for example.
US president Barack Obama has made it his life’s work to demolish this particular concept.

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DIRTY TALK

Tim Blair – Tuesday, February 05, 2013 (1:42am)

Independent Commission Against Corruption hearings stifle discussion down Bylong Valley way: 
The store in the beautiful valley, a couple of hours drive northwest of Sydney, was full at lunch time on Monday with drillers from coal companies, farmers and grey nomads passing through.
And everybody who comes in wants to speak about the ICAC inquiry.
But co-owner of the store Jodie Nancarrow has declared the topic out of bounds.
“We made the shop neutral territory because we don’t want people feuding or punching each other out, that sort of caper,” she told AAP.
“If you want to talk about coal mining, do it at home.” 
Quite so. There’s a time and a place, people.

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The Old City of Jerusalem has a charm all of its own. Up on the walls you enter a different world. We offer a brief look. Why not join us and see for yourself?

http://www.israelvideonetwork.com/a-place-like-no-other-the-walls-of-jerusalem
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"Look Dad, I did it, I actually caught the sun!"
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Final ICAC witness for the day Alan Fang via an interpreter has dropped Obeid and MacDonald into it. MacDonald introduced him to Eddie and Eddie introduced him to his sons who took him out to the farm.
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Are you aware that the federal Labor Party are borrowing 3 billion dollars per week, on YOUR behalf. All to be paid back at interest.

$3 billion = $3,000 million = $3,000,000,000

PER WEEK. AT INTEREST.

And this doesn't count state government debt and your own personal debt.

And yet we still give away 500 million for Islamic Schools in Indonesia, 320 million for gender equity in the Cook Islands and God knows how many more billions in foreign aid to other countries.

It seems to me this is being done on purpose, to weaken this country. Gillard is not stupid. She is a cunning communist who wants this country dead and buried, so the UN can rule us all.
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Spent this morning at Ourimbah Station meeting commuters. The message from commuters was loud and clear they want a stable and reliable Government that will provide effective representation for the Central Coast.
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Good afternoon from the Israeli legislature
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GILLARD & RUDD’S GIFT TO OUR CHILDREN (please share) Craig Kelly

When Labor took over from the previous Coalition Government in 2007, they inherited $40 billion in the bank and a budget in surplus. They’ve blown the lot. 

But that's just a start. They have trashed the place, forcing Australia to borrowed $200 billion ($200,000,000,000.00) to fund with their reckless, wasteful & politically motivated spending.

The majority of this money (86%) has been borrowed from foreigners.

Now, to pay back Labor’s debt, over 20 years, (including the interest payments), it will cost Australian taxpayers $267.5 million a week, every week, for the next 20 years (and that's providing interest rates stay low).

To put that in perspective, remember the outcry when Cubbie Station, the largest privately owned irrigation property in the southern hemisphere (240,000 acres in total) was sold to the Chinese for $247 million ?

Well thanks to Labor’s reckless and wasteful spending, Australia will have to give away to foreigners the equivalent of one Cubbie Station every single week of the year, for the next 20 years.

Annually, (again assuming interest rates stay low) the cost to Australian taxpayers will be at least $14 billion every single year, for the next 20 years, to pay off Labor’s debt and get us back into the position we were in 2007.

Children yet to be born could be paying off this Labor Governments debt.

And just image what we could have otherwise done with that $14 billion each year for the next 20 years ??

Sadly, that's the cost Australia will pay for just 4 years of Labor under Gillard/Rudd - and they will continue to add to this debt by billions before the election, making the burden upon our children even greater.

Australia simply can't afford another 3 more years of Labor waste.

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THE CAPTAIN'S PICK 
(from a contributor so cannot attest to accuracy)
"Nova Peris"
*was not a member of the ALP
*has lived in Canberra for 15 years
*previously stated that she would like to get into politics in the NT (hoping someone would ask her) but both major parties ignored her
*did not know who the father of her first daughter was
*married the bloke who drew the short straw
*was known as greased lightning, but not for her sporting prowess
*was evicted by Cathy Freeman for trashing the house she had generously loaned her
*was picked up drunk in Darwin mall, having a punch-up with her then husband
*didn't turn up for a celebrity race the next day as she had a black eye.
*was very unsportsmanlike towards team mates in the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games
*posed for a nude calendar
*sponsors Telstra and Novotel withdrew their sponsorships
*took fellow hockey team members on a fishing trip to Bathurst Island (Charters, exclusive lodge accommodation) and charged it to the NT Government
*great expectations of living off the public purse.

Should fit into Julia's team pretty well.

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Tonight- ABC- 9:30. In L.A.- I go to a fancy agency meeting and get told what I can and can't talk about afterwards- so the doco team and I have a slight disagreement when we next meet up.
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Time to wrap up the first day of QT with some pics from the day. Starting with new Greens candidate and former GetUp campaigner Simon Sheik revealing his thoughts on the sub prime's new look.
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Amla No. 1 batsman, Kallis No. 1 allrounder, Steyn No. 1 bowler - South Africans on top of the world in the latest ICC rankings. http://es.pn/VG04Wx
The number 1 batsman in the world didn't score more double and triple centuries in a year than Bradman in any year .. another did - ed
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OMG Chris. I can't believe how badly you wiped the floor with David Bradbury last week on Lateline.
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Opening of Butler College (Feb. 5th, '13)
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What Gore got was a Letterman who, while respectful, was obviously irritated beyond the bounds of partisanship, and emboldened enough by the safety in numbers and margins of election victories to accuse a progressive icon like Gore of blatant hypocrisy and subsequent damage to the brand.

Even though he laced his scolding with humor — at one point exposing the fact that Gore didn’t even know what the words “Al-Jazeera” meant — it was a stunning departure for those who follow Letterman.

For disciples of Gore, his reaction was truly an embarrassment, or should have been. It was basically no reaction at all, except to wriggle out of tough questions as quickly as possible and return, unrepentant, to his book-promoting talking points.

http://dailycaller.com/2013/02/04/al-gores-disastrous-book-tour-a-breath-of-fresh-air/?print=1

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We welcome leading business figure and University of Sydney alumna Belinda Hutchinson, who has been appointed our 18th Chancellor - read more: http://bit.ly/11MbTI3
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4 TMN
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"If it is to be, it has to be me" Geoffrey Garland misquoting "If it is to be, it is up to me." Quite telling really, of the mind of that self centred bastard
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I first heard about things like that from a beginning primary school teacher. Children don't naturally do this, they are taught it from home .. maybe what they see on tv .. I prefer children to play children's games .. not copy adult ones .. but what pathetic adult is so immature in front of kids? - ed
Pre-schoolers allegedly engaged in sex acts===

What will Week 5 bring for our six hopefuls? Watch a sneak peek http://bit.ly/Vm72zK and hit LIKE if you're watching Next Stop HollywoodTONIGHT, 9.30pm.
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A chunk of stone bearing dinosaur footprints has been carefully lifted from the grounds of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.http://oak.ctx.ly/r/271c
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Be anxious for nothing. Turn all your worries and cares into prayers today (Phil 4:6).
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Punxsutawney Phil didn't see his shadow on Saturday, Groundhog Day, which, as legend has it, means an early spring. But, how did Phil become such a prestigious prognosticator?http://oak.ctx.ly/r/26og
Science has become imprecise - ed
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Household tips that will make your life easierhttp://blogs.babycenter.com/life_and_home/hot-pins-5-secret-household-tips/
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CIAO MICHELLE

''Diversity matters because we need many voices - as many as possible commenting on politics and interpreting politics and I think what we're seeing at the moment is too much concentration of voices, frankly”, Michelle Grattan rued as she departed Fairfax yesterday.

Yes Michelle, you are entitled to be frustrated. The bias has been blatant and I understand you cannot in all conscience make a right hand turn toward the centre. It’s who you are and your admission is to be respected.

The exhilarating lurch to the Left with Gillard has come to an ignominious end as it did with Whitlam.

The cyclical dreams of a socialist Mecca are hopelessly lost in reality as Fairfax journalists still cling to a deeply flawed image of their Amazonian Prime Minister.

Michelle Grattan has realised the folly and moved, quite predictably, to the ANU to stoke fire in the bellies of the next wave of student idealists.

The rarefied air of Canberra inevitably sucks the objectivity from long-term correspondents.

It’s a shame, because most are good people who want change for the better but changing things is not their role. Analysis is.

The old guard of the Press gallery is starting to disintegrate. A new wave of unindoctrinated cadets is ready and eager to rightfully hold a likely over-represented Abbott Government to account, as it should be.

In a way I hope the Left remains attracted to the media, it holds to account the worst of Conservative excesses.

But it should not be blind to the excesses of its own heroes because government itself inevitably corrupts all political colours.

It is up to us to critically assess every government and we must never allow governments to silence us.

Others will soon follow you Michelle.

I wish you well.

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Robin and I were so touched by the Sandy Hook choir performance Sunday night. Let’s not forget these courageous kids and what they’ve been through.

Such a good reminder that our support is still needed. Sandy Hook Promisehttp://sandyhookpromise.org/
 
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READ MORE: http://www.capitalismisfreedom.com/life/inconvenient-truth-more-polar-bears-are-alive-today-40-years-ago 
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Carpark Etiquette:
As tomorrow is the busiest morning of the year, a timely reminder to please park legally at all times. 
1. Park only in the marked bays at school, on Woodcock or Knoke. 
2. Don't park in the drop off zone.
3. Don't park on the grass.
4. Don't park beside red kerbs. 
5. Don't park in the bus loop.
6. Remember to keep to 40kms in the school zone.
7. Remember that when the crossing flags are up, you must stop for pedestrians.
8. Be alert ie watch for kids esp younger siblings who have no road sense as yet.
9. No smoking or pets on school grounds inc the car park.
10. Thank you for taking the time to read this post. We take the safety of students seriously and hope that you understand the need to keep the carpark and surrounds clear for the pedestrian traffic.

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On Saturday 18 May 2013 the Hergé and Tintin flea market will be held right next door to the Hergé Museum, at the Martin V Primary School in Louvain-la-Neuve, from 11 am to 5 pm.
All kinds of objects (books, toys, original artwork, publications, posters, figurines, games, documents, etc.) related to the work of Hergé, will be on display and available to buy!
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I was enjoying a few prawns last night, then had a dreadful thought:

I wondered whether Macquarie dictionary should rename them "Gillards" -

.... all the meat is in the arse...& the head is full of shit.
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IMAG0101
Hi everyone! Here's the MichelleMalkin.com newsletter for February 4th. Enjoy!

From the Blog

Kneel before Zod! GOP control freak Karl Rove launches new effort to snuff out Tea Party

This is war...

Department of Energy promised most energy efficient Super Bowl ever

Not long before the power outage at the Superdome that delayed the game for over 30 minutes, the Department of Energy took a moment to remind everybody that they were about to witness the greenest, most energy efficient Super Bowl in history...

Star of ‘Bullet to the Head’: We need new national gun control legislation

Is there still enough room on the gun control bandwagon for Rambo?

More From the Right Side of the Web

Michelle's Top Tweets

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And ... Our Hate Tweet of the Day

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Darling indeed.
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