Friday, March 15, 2013

Fri 15th Mar Todays News


Happy birthday and many happy returns Steve Barbuto, old friend. Born the day after Pi's birthday. Although you have forgotten many of them, the blessing of each birthday grows. o that the more you have, the longer you live. Your backstabbing friends taught me that. Be where in the Ides of March.
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4 Her, so she will see how I see her
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HIDDEN IMAM

Tim Blair – Friday, March 15, 2013 (6:54pm)

The imam of Makkah, whoever he is, cancels his local appearance: 
An event billed as Australia’s largest ever Islamic peace conference is set to begin at Melbourne Showgrounds, but the mystery imam billed as the star attraction will not be there.
The Australian Islamic Peace Conference, which goes until Sunday, promises interfaith dialogues, musical performances and more than 20 local and international speakers, some of whom will appear over the internet.
However, organisers now say key speaker, the “Imam of Makkah”, will not attend for “personal reasons”. 
Maybe the imam of Macca’s could take his place. Or perhaps Mark Steyn could visit to tell the story of 70-year-old Lars Hedegaard: 
The other day in Copenhagen, he answered his doorbell and found a man in his early twenties who appeared to be “a typical Muslim immigrant” pointing a gun at him. He fired from a yard away, and, amazingly, missed. The bullet whistled past Lars’s ear, and the septuagenarian scholar then slugged his assailant. The man fired again, but the gun jammed, and, after some further tussling, the would-be assassin escaped. He has yet to be found.
The attempted murder of an “Islamophobe” is part of the scene in today’s Europe. Among those targeted have been such obvious “right-wing extremists” as secular feminist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, gay hedonist Pim Fortuyn, and coke-snorting anti-monarchist Theo van Gogh. While I was in Copenhagen paying a visit to Lars’s Danish Free Press Society, a young Chechen jihadist opposed to all this outrageous Islamophobia prematurely detonated while assembling his bomb in his hotel room, and we all had a good laugh. But sometimes, as on Lars’s doorstep, the jihad wannabe is less incompetent and gets a little closer. 
It was a one-man peace conference, after a fashion. Steyn continues: 
As I said, Lars is 70. But I would rather have him fighting my corner than the young, self-neutered eunuch-men of a cowed media, watching the lights go out on free speech and slipping easily and painlessly into the accomplices of thuggery. 
“The young, self-neutered eunuch-men of a cowed media.” Perfect.

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SCROTAL RECALL

Tim Blair – Friday, March 15, 2013 (6:49pm)

Reader Waxing Gibberish asks: “Why didn’t Tim Flannery warn us about this?” 
Large kangaroo scrotums are in short supply for a souvenir-making taxidermist after the continuing rain drove kangaroos beyond the range of shooters. 
Good question. But at least Flannery warned us about the impending poley extinction
Polar bears will be extinct within 25 years as global warming shrinks the ice cover they depend on for feeding and giving birth, says a renowned Australian scientist.
The Arctic ice cap is shrinking by eight per cent a year and polar bears are already showing signs of severe stress, says Tim Flannery …
“Polar bears are going to go with the ice cap. They’re not going to actually last that long,” Flannery told a news conference Friday. 
That was seven years ago. Poleys are doing fine.

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KEVNI CONTEMPLATES

Tim Blair – Friday, March 15, 2013 (6:44pm)



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COMMUTE AGAINST CAMBODIA

Tim Blair – Friday, March 15, 2013 (6:42pm)

Tim “Tickets” Mathieson gets on his bike. Well, not his bike: 
He plans to ride in a pack of about 50 bikers from Kirribilli House, the Prime Minister’s residence in Sydney, to The Lodge in Canberra via Wollongong, Kangaroo Valley and the Hume Highway, astride a brand new machine on loan from BMW. 
It’s for charity, which is good, although Tim’s brief trek seems to be slightly over-sold: 
The event, on Sunday, April 14, is being dubbed the ‘’First Bloke’s Ride Against Slavery’’. 
Hey, if he doesn’t enjoy life on the couch, he can always leave. Stand by for further metre-by-metre coverage: 
Fairfax will accompany Mr Mathieson on his Sydney-Canberra ride next month. 
From one borrowed residence to another borrowed residence on a borrowed bike.

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NERD INDICTED

Tim Blair – Friday, March 15, 2013 (6:37pm)

Someone might be going away
The deputy social media editor for Reuters has been indicted by the US Justice Department for allegedly conspiring with members of the hacktivist movement Anonymous. 
According to the Guardian: “Keys has worked at Reuters just over a year. He has a widespread following on Twitter among journalists.” 

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PREPARE YOUR DONKEYS

Tim Blair – Friday, March 15, 2013 (4:15pm)

Until we have information to the contrary, we’ll just have to accept that the Manchester is, indeed, the best donkey pump in the world:

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(Via the fascinating and addictive Old Engineering. Behold the “one computer you can take with you.")

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KEEPERS OF THE STONE

Tim Blair – Friday, March 15, 2013 (4:13pm)

David Thompson takes up the Stone of Grievance and once again examines the agonies of the Left.

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SPANKING REQUIRED

Tim Blair – Friday, March 15, 2013 (2:18pm)

“It’s a pity Peter Roebuck isn’t around any more,” emails a mate. “He’d know how to deal with cricketers who don’t do their homework.”
Indeed. Our horror tour of India resumes shortly, with Australia batting first in Mohali.
UPDATE. Australia 0/67 - the best opening stand by either team for this tour.

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STAND UP AND SAY THE RIGHT THING

Tim Blair – Friday, March 15, 2013 (12:33pm)

Shrieking greenist Clive Hamilton discusses threats to freedom of speech – in 2007: 
I think there’s a huge role in history for courageous individuals who stand up at the right time and say the right thing. A lot of the doubts and worries that others are having suddenly crystallize and people shift …
There are powerful political forces exerting influence in various ways, and that has meant that people realize the consequences of resisting or speaking out are much more serious, potentially. It only takes one or two people to be made examples of – everybody gets the message pretty quickly ...
I suppose, even with McCarthyism, what we’re experiencing now in Australia doesn’t get close to that. There are certainly some similarities, but in terms of the intensity of it, the U.S. in the 1950s was a very scary place for any sort of independent thinking. The fact is that in Australia alternative opinion still can be expressed, although often at some cost to the critic.
Some of the laws restricting free speech that have been introduced recently go too far and represent a significant threat to our civil liberty. 
Via Tony Thomas, who asks: “Clive, you’re a good man, a brave man. Now go tell all this to Stephen Conroy!
UPDATE. Finally, a valid reason for greater press control: zombies!
UPDATE II. Conroy fans get active.
UPDATE III. Time for another Australian media inquiry
Four journalists have been arrested on suspicion of phone hacking at the Mirror group in the UK, Scotland Yard says.
Three men, aged 40, 49 and 46, and a 47-year-old woman were arrested at separate addresses in south London at 6am on Thursday morning. 
Let’s hear some hard questions.

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LURV MEDIA

Tim Blair – Friday, March 15, 2013 (3:56am)

striking Prime Ministerial image from Fairfax photographer Alex Ellinghausen.
UPDATE. Julia has a new Twitter photo:

image

The Fairfax one is better.
UPDATE II. The chap in Fairfax’s shot is ACTU boss Dave Oliver, who might be given toexaggeration
DAVE OLIVER: You know I’ve seen some pretty crook things when I was on the tools in respect to the way that workers were treated. I’ve seen you know workmates killed on the job and that’s why I was passionate about health and safety rights. It really didn’t take much consideration for me to think to continue that role, instead of representing a couple of hundred workers in one lift company, is to take that now to represent thousands of workers across a state branch in the one union, I was very pleased to take on that role.
RICHARD AEDY: You mentioned you’ve seen people killed. What happened?
DAVE OLIVER: Well, working in the lift shafts to install elevators, we had scaffold up the lift shafts and so the way that we would move from one floor to the next, it was customary to climb on the outside of the scaffold. And one particular day one of my workmates was climbing on the outside of the scaffold and lost his footing and fell five floors to his death ...
RICHARD AEDY: I can see that that would have a profound effect to actually see that happen.
DAVE OLIVER: Absolutely. I wasn’t present on the actual job where it occurred. I was the company delegate at the time and quickly got involved and we’ve now got internal ladders inside scaffolds which no longer require workers to climb up and down on the outside. 

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Gillard abandons child

Andrew BoltMARCH152013(3:54pm)

image
When I pointed out this transparent and ridiculous spin, I received an angry text of complaint. But now I see Gillard has misplaced her child in her latest Twitter incarnation. How careless of her:
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Say it again, Clive

Andrew BoltMARCH152013(3:42pm)

 Free speech
Former Greens candidate Professor Clive Hamilton, now a member of the Climate Change Authority, attacks the federal government’s sinister attempt to stifle our free speech:
A vibrant democracy must embrace variety of opinion and encourage active engagement of institutions that are comprised of and are accountable to the people themselves. Without that engagement and participation of citizens democracy is dead. Around the world people are struggling to free themselves from authoritarian rule and develop democratic systems of government that rest on the authority of the people themselves. In Australia our own fear and complacency are allowing these same institutions to be ground down.
…When democratic institutions are eroded, authoritarianism is not far behind. In light of this, it is time to reassert the role of dissent and to praise the contribution to democracy made by those who speak out, engage in debate and criticize the powerful, no matter how uncomfortable it may make the government of the day. Dissenters should not be silenced or pilloried; as defenders of Australian democracy they deserve our gratitude.
One small problem. That excerpt from Hamilton’s Silencing Dissent attacked non-existent threats to free speech from the Howard Government.
Clive Hamilton is a stout defender of the media and of political dissent. Any moment now, he will spring to the defence of press freedom against Senator Conroy’s proposed media licensing regime.
UPDATE
Tim Wilson shows Hamilton how it’s done by a man of principle:


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Gillard should apologise to Smith

Andrew BoltMARCH152013(10:36am)

THE federal opposition has moved to refer comments by Julia Gillard on the AWU affair to the parliament’s powerful privileges committee to test their truthfulness.
In a stormy question time last November that focused on the matter, the opposition raised allegations made by former Fairfax radio host Michael Smith.
“Who is Michael Smith?” the Prime Minister demanded rhetorically four times before answering. “He is the man who was sacked for wanting to defame me, basing that defamation on an affidavit drawn up by John Pasquarelli of One Nation fame.”
Smith later made an application to the privileges committee for a right of reply, which was upheld.
Committee chair and former attorney-general Nicola Roxon yesterday presented his response to the parliament.
“It is untrue that I was sacked,” it read. “I resigned from Fairfax Media (Radio 2UE). It also is false that I wanted to defame the Prime Minister. Finally, I have never read an affidavit drawn up by John Pasquarelli.
“Speaking to The Australian later, Smith called on the Prime Minister to apologise. “The house has got two versions of events,” he said.
(Thanks to reader Peter.)

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He’s not the Indigenous Chief Minister

Andrew BoltMARCH152013(10:28am)

The new Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, Adam Giles, acted very poorly by knifing Terry Mills while his predecessor was overseas.
But much of what he’s said since is great. How about this
LEIGH SALES: You’re the first Indigenous head of government in Australian history. How do you intend to use that status?
ADAM GILES: I won’t… I am not an Indigenous chief minister.
SARA EVERINGHAM: Chief Minister, what does it mean to you to be the first Indigenous Australian to lead a state or territory government?
ADAM GILES: Well, I don’t take anything out of that in terms of my position. I’ve always been a person who’s undertaken my role based on my merits and my skill set. I’ll continue to do that.
Now I understand that it’s an important day for many people around Australia to see someone who has Indigenous heritage to be elected to this position and I don’t take anything away from that.
But fundamentally I’m a person who believes in the reconciliation process and that opportunities should be provided to all, whether it’s men or women or Aboriginal, non-Aboriginal or otherwise.
But when people get to those positions and they have those opportunities, they should be able to be credited with doing the work themselves and not reflected upon as an Indigenous chief minister.
SARA EVERINGHAM: Do you feel an extra sense of responsibility to make a difference in the area of Indigenous affairs given your heritage?
ADAM GILES: My heritage is I’m Australian. I do have a passion for Indigenous affairs from a policy perspective and I’ve always fought for that. But I have passions in many other areas as well. But in Indigenous affairs, it is one of the biggest challenges in the territory. People live in poverty and misery.
SARA EVERINGHAM: You’ve decided not to include an Indigenous advancement portfolio in your Cabinet. Why doesn’t the territory need an Indigenous affairs minister?
ADAM GILES: I think it’s important at the Australian level but in the Northern Territory 30 per cent of our population is Indigenous and a lot of the services that as a Government we offer goes towards Indigenous Territorians.
I’m going to lead the Government that will have ministers be accountable for delivery of services for all Territorians…
I’m not saying that they don’t but I want them to have an increased focus to delivering to all Territorians, not just pigeon-holing key Indigenous issues to one Aboriginal affairs minister.
Bravo.
UPDATE
Reader ET from the NT: 
Come on Andrew, get it right.Terry Mills was NOT knifed in the back. While in Japan he was told by phone (obviously by a supporter) that he had lost the confidence and support of the majority of his fellow members in Parliament. After considering his position he then stepped aside.
Adam Giles as our new CM will be excellent. He has already reversed decisions (unfortunately implemented by Mills and were wildly disliked) that shows he has an empathy for all Territorians. Added to that his new team seems to fit their portfolios like a snug fitting glove.
(Thanks to reader Peter.)

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One year before Iran crosses Obama’s “red line”

Andrew BoltMARCH152013(9:58am)

So what will he actually do about it? 
Iran is about a year away from developing a nuclear weapon and the United States remains committed to doing everything in its power to prevent that from happening, President Barack Obama said in an exclusive interview aired Thursday on Israeli TV…

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Gillard’s old boss has 457 workers, too

Andrew BoltMARCH152013(9:48am)

Peter Gordon, whose former law firm Slater & Gordon employed Julia Gillard as a solicitor, tells the ABC he has three workers in his businesses on 457 visas.
They have skills he can’t find in Australia, he says.
Will Gillard, whose own media head is on a 457 visa, attack her former boss?

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How dare the Climate Commission complain at being caught out

Andrew BoltMARCH152013(9:33am)

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Writing at The Conversation, a widely-read commentary site in Australia, Ryan Crompton and John McAneney of Macquarie University provide an update on their database of normalized insured disaster losses for Australia
The occasion for their update is a recent report by the Australian Climate Commission… The report—The Angry Summer—provides a tabulation of various weather records ... during the remarkable summer that has just ended. The report makes a number of very strong claims, including this one: 
Australia’s Angry Summer shows that climate change is already adversely affecting Australians. The significant impacts of extreme weather on people, property, communities and the environment highlight the serious consequences of failing to adequately address climate change.
As experts on damage to property caused by extreme events Crompton and McAneney subsequently wrote their piece at The Conversation to put one metric of impacts experienced in Australia this past summer into a bit of historical perspective. They explain by explicitly referring to the claim made by the Climate Commission...: 
The report refers to, amongst other things, how the significant impacts of extreme weather on property highlights the serious consequences of failing to adequately address climate change.
So has property damage during 2012-2013 been higher than normal?
The answer, in terms of insured losses from weather-related disasters, is no.
You can see the losses for 2012/2013 in the figure at the top of this post (note: the data is June-May, so the data for the current year will still need several months for a full year)… Crompton and McAneney conclude: 
The long-term average annual normalised insured loss from weather-related disasters is around $1.1 billion. To date, insured losses during the 2012-13 financial year from bushfires in Tasmania and Coonabarabran and flooding in Queensland and New South Wales currently total almost $1 billion. This loss is certainly not “angry”.
...Upon publication of the piece at The Conversation, the Australian Climate Commission issued a rambling and vicious press release attacking Crompton and McAneney. Apparently, the sin they committed was not in being wrong in their scientific claims, but in daring to offer a critique of the Commission in the first place.
The Commission press release states: 
Today in the Conversation Ryan Crompton and John McAneney badly misrepresent the Climate Commission’s recent report, The Angry Summer.
...the article is “opportunistic and unbecoming of a research institution”.
Crompton and McAneney assert ... that the Commission wrongly used insurance losses in the Angry Summer report.
Badly misrepresent? At no point do Crompton and McAneney ever “assert that the Commission wrongly used insurance losses in the Angry Summer report.” Sorry, but this is a bald-faced lie from the Commission. Crompton and McAneney accurately state that the report refers to the “significant impacts of extreme weather on property” during the “angry summer.” ...
The Commission press release ... explains that in the “Angry Summer” report when they said impacts to property they were actually referring to unspecified and unquantified impacts to property other than those related to economic costs. Please.
I repeat: sack the Climate Commission now. We deserve science, not spin.
(Thanks to reader Don.)

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Shock. The Pope is a Catholic

Andrew BoltMARCH152013(9:15am)

He is right, of course, and what he warns of would be a tragedy - one welcomed by the Left media:
Addressing the cardinals who elected him as Latin America’s first pope, the 76-year-old Argentinian said the church could “end up a compassionate NGO”, using an Italian word that can also mean “pitiful”.
“I would like all of us after these days of grace to have the courage to walk in the presence of the Lord,” Francis said, amid the splendour of the Sistine Chapel.
He warned the cardinals against “the worldliness of the Devil”.

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Would fans of Conroy’s muzzle be so happy if I were in charge?

Andrew BoltMARCH152013(9:09am)

 Free speech
The Australian puts the argument about the Gillard Government’s planned new media commissar in a way that must finally shock the Left into realising what’s at stake:

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Not only women get judged on appearance

Andrew BoltMARCH152013(8:42am)

But they’ve also judged her on what she wears and how she looks when she’s wearing it. 
First, the shadow treasurer got overruled by his colleague and families spokesman Kevin Andrews on the issue of the baby bonus. It can’t be easy losing a fight to a man who looks like he uses a ruler to part his hair…
The final humiliation came on Thursday when Hockey was kicked out of question time for bellowing interjections during the Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury’s answer to a question about GST spoils.
A cruel joke was made about carving up the GST ‘’pie’’ (the kind only a politician would find funny), a reference to Hockey’s former girth.

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Labor peddles lies to win the xenophobe vote

Andrew BoltMARCH152013(7:52am)

The Gillard Government and the unions are simply lying about temporary 457 visas for skilled foreign workers - lying for cheap political advantage.
THE debate over 457 visas has reached the bottom of the barrel.
During the past week we have heard a chorus of comments from the federal government and the ACTU claiming rorting by unscrupulous businesses and suggestions that the treatment of some 457 visa holders is “tantamount to slavery"…
Much has been made of the purported growth of 457 visa holders in a slowing economy. In this economic climate the number of applications from employers should have fallen, not risen. In fact that is exactly what has happened. To quote the Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s report released this week, “the number of subclass 457 primary visa applications continues to decline in January 2013, having now declined for five consecutive months"…
Further, there is no slavery or bonded labour. It is extremely easy for the visa holder to change employers on shore and stay in Australia working for a new sponsor…
... no evidence supports the claim of systemic abuse… 
JULIA GILLARD: It’s just not acceptable that information technology jobs, the quintessential jobs of the future, the very opportunities being created by the digital economy, precisely where the big picture is for our kids, that such an area as this should be such a big area for imported skills.
CHRIS UHLMANN: But experts in both migration and computing have told 7.30 there is an information technology skills shortage.
MAUREEN HORDER, CEO, MIGRATION INSTITUTE OF AUST.: That’s one of the growth areas, technology, so it’s not surprising that we would be looking to broaden the skill base in Australia in that particular sector.
CHRIS UHLMANN: Since 2003, the number of jobs in information and communications technology has grown by 100,000 ... but from 2003 to 2010, the number of domestic ICT students halved from 9,093 to 4,293… Demand for particular skills is so acute in some areas that it takes 247 days to fill a job....
JULIA GILLARD: Fact: temporary overseas work is growing much faster than employment is growing. Temporary overseas worker numbers are up 20 per cent compared with the same time last year. Employment growth in the same period is around one per cent. That in itself is evidence of a problem....
CHRIS UHLMANN: That fact doesn’t bear scrutiny, according to demographer and Government advisor Peter McDonald. The retirement of baby boomers replaced by fewer younger workers means Australia starts each year a 140,000 workers short.
PETER MCDONALD, MINISTERIAL ADVISORY COUNCIL ON SKILLED MIGRATION: If the labour force grows by one per cent, as the Prime Minister says, that’s about 120,000. So we take the 120,000 growth, 140,000 we have to make up, combined 260,000 new workers that we have to get into the labour force. And 457s make up about 40,000 of that.
CHRIS UHLMANN: And Peter McDonald was deeply disturbed by one other statement in the Prime Minister’s speech.
JULIA GILLARD: Most striking of all is the widespread use of temporary skilled labour in hospitals and health.
PETER MCDONALD: Yeah, I think it really undermines the system. There is - the Prime Minister’s talked about health workers, for example, in I think quite a nasty way. That the health workers that she’s - highly skilled health workers, many of them working in regional areas, the only doctor for miles, the only pharmacist for miles, and she’s telling them that, you know, they’re - they’ve got - they’ve been given the priority whereas Australians have to clean the toilets, or work cleaning the hospitals, etc. I think that’s pretty nasty stuff.
It is despicable for this Government to invent problems that don’t exist and trash a policy that’s in the national interest simply to peddle xenophobia it hope will win it some cheap votes.
How utterly unprincipled. Is this why Labor MPs joined their party?
UPDATE
More deceit from this most deceitful government. Peter Martin writes:
Julia Gillard grabbed it as a gift from heaven.
‘’Today we can say, since this government came to office, we created 926,000 jobs,’’ she told Parliament. ‘’We have seen an increase in the number of jobs of 71,500 in the last month. For the information of the House, this is the largest monthly increase in jobs since July 2000...’’
Except that it wasn’t true. The Bureau of Statistics had confirmed earlier in the day that the figures it published for February showing the unusual jump in employment of 71,500 overstated the increase, most likely by a factor of two…
Each month the bureau surveys about 29,000 homes. One-eighth of the group, about 3600 homes, leave the survey each month and a new 3600 are ‘’rotated’’ in…
The houses rotated in in February were extremely different to the houses rotated out. So different that the bureau believes the rotation itself was responsible for half of the reported 71,500 surge in employment, the ‘’best monthly job creation result in 13 years’’.
Bureau staff explained this to government officials in a briefing on Wednesday morning…
[The Bureau] would prefer people to look at its estimate of what it calls the trend. This shows employment climbed at a sedate pace of 11,600 in February, much less than 71,500, and just enough to keep pace with population.
UPDATE
Corporate Australia has declared that the Gillard government’s past fortnight of new regulations on media, temporary foreign workers, coal seam gas and industrial relations has junked the policy reform approach and will hurt the economy.
Signalling growing alarm over Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s attempt to shore up her leadership with a burst of policy activism, Business Council of Australia president Tony Shepherd said Labor’s latest policy announcements would place heavy-handed impositions on business and the community without consultation or consideration of the costs…

Mr Shepherd said he feared that proper process had not been followed “because it would expose the lack of a clearly identified problem and the magnitude of the economic damage these proposals are likely to have’’.
“The proposals we have seen in recent weeks, and the manner of their introduction, are unfitting of a dynamic modern economy equipped to attract investment and compete and thrive in an increasingly challenging world,’’ he said.

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Even the Coalition promotes the New Racism

Andrew BoltMARCH152013(7:39am)

This is tokenism, divisive and a sop to the New Racism. It is disappointing to see this coming from the Coalition:
TONY Abbott will today promise an incoming Coalition government will put forward for consultation, within 12 months of winning office, a draft constitutional amendment recognising Aboriginal people.
This is false:
Mr Abbott will argue a government that neglects symbolic change is unlikely to succeed at practical change because it will be seen to lack the respect that’s essential for success.
“Practical and symbolic reconciliation are opposite sides of the same coin so the next Coalition government will pursue both.”
It works exactly the other way around. Over-reach with dangerous symbolism is likely to make Australians wary about even practical programs of help, which then seem Trojan horses for more radical agendas.

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Record boats

Andrew BoltMARCH152013(6:42am)

 Boat people policyFree speech
And still the Press Council orders journalists not to refer to this as “illegal immigration” - illegal immigration inspired by this government’s reckless dismantling of our tough border laws:
Almost 1900 people have arrived in the first 73 days of this year, compared with 1209 for the same period last year, which ultimately saw a record of more than 17,200 people arriving in Australia by boat to claim asylum.
So far this year, 36 boats have arrived in Australian waters, compared with 16 during the same period last year.
Remember three years ago?
Many of the Left were impressed by this airy dismissal.
Take Prime Minister Julia Gillard: “Mr Burnside is very, very right. This is a point well made.”
No, it wasn’t. Those who came simply encouraged more to come, exactly as predicted. Now we have boat people arrivals at a rate to fill the MCG not every 20 years but every five. And that’s without adding any family reunions.

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No appeal to Labor’s media commissar

Andrew BoltMARCH152013(6:33am)

From the Labor authoritarians prattling about introducing more “fairness” by cracking down on free speech: 
Bills introduced into parliament yesterday revealed the Public Interest Media Advocate would have broad powers to punish publishers if it decided that they no longer complied with undefined “community standards” or changing circumstances. There would be no appeal to the courts on the merits of the advocate’s decision to remove a publisher’s exemption from privacy laws, severely curbing its ability to report on matters of public interest.

In a reversal of the onus of proof, companies wanting to expand or merge with others would have to prove to the advocate their plans did not lead to a “substantial lessening of diversity”, without a right of appeal on the merits of the case.
Do Labor Ministers actually understand what they are doing?
UPDATE
Excellently put by The Australian
The News Media (Self-regulation) Bill 2013 may well be the most deceptively named legislation put before this or any other parliament. It is also possibly the most surreal. The very notion that a government needs to regulate to ensure an industry self-regulates would be too far fetched for the scriptwriters of Yes Minister.
The extent of the Communications Minister’s ambition to control the contents of this and other newspapers is now becoming clear, as are Stephen Conroy’s reasons for rushing his legislation through parliament so fast it will hardly touch the sides. If Senator Conroy prevails - and he has already told us it is his way or the highway - his hand-picked Public Interest Media Advocate will be up and running in time for the September 14 election with extraordinary powers to determine what is, or what is not, in the “public interest”.
The ministers’s notion of what is in the public interest, and the general public’s notion, will no doubt differ. We doubt, for instance, that the senator would see Hedley Thomas’s continued investigation into the Prime Minister’s personal and professional relationship with a disgraced former union boss as being in the public interest. The public, on the other hand, probably does.
Which way would the Public Interest Media Advocate jump on this thorny question?…
The Conroy media laws, however, have raised Australian politics to a farcical new level. It is as if the election has been given up as lost and revenge and retribution is now the principle aim of public policy.
Would this legislation pass the smell test in the US, with a Bill of Rights which declares as its very first point:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Why is this Government doing just that? Where is the Left, so noisy about freedom for itself?
UPDATE
Former Labor adviser Cassandra Wilkinson notes that the Left again is betraying principle for advantage, acquiescing in attempts to silence conservatives: 
The arts community and the youth media outlets may not like the Telegraph or The Courier-Mail or Sky News but it’s disappointing they appear to have accepted the government’s line that the anti-censorship campaign is merely a defence of tabloid self interest. In one way it is, but this is the least of the ways in which the proposals matter…
When the Minister says The Daily Telegraph’s front page is an overreaction to the specific proposals he is correct. But the Telegraph is reacting not just to the detail of today’s proposal but to every future oppression whose way may be paved by us underreacting to today’s assault.
Overreacting to press censorship is the duty of every freedom-loving person.
UPDATE
Conroy’s legislation is so egregious and so harmful that the Coalition should have all of its members going into the Chamber and voting a resounding NO. If Thomson happens to move over to the left side of the Speaker, so be it. That is preserving the status quo.
Which, after all, is the lesser evil? Supporting an outrageous attack on the national interest and an ourageous attack on personal liberty, or standing on the left hand side of the Speaker near Craig Thomson?
UPDATE
The jamming of Radio Australia - extending to the BBC World Service and the US Voice of America - is said to be the first time China has set out to disrupt English-language services in the region.

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The Government’s dumb excuses for limiting free speech

Andrew BoltMARCH152013(12:33am)

Reader Richard says the Gillard Government is forced to find ludicrous excuses for breaching our most fundamental rights with its bill to cut press freedom. As he says:
These points relate to: (a) criminal offences created by one of the Bills; and (b) the Statements of Compatibility with Human Rights, which are included in each Bill’s explanatory statement (EM). I include here excerpts from each Statement (text within quotes is taken verbatim from the EM) but you will need to read the full (usually 2-3 pages) Statements to get their full Orwellian flavour. I have resisted the temptation to add my own glosses to them.
Here is how the Government excuses its Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (News Media Diversity) Bill 2013, as noted by Richard: 
The Bill, inter alia, requires that “changes of control of significant news media voices will require approval by a Public Interest Media Advocate (PIMA) applying a new public interest test”.
The Bill creates 13 new criminal offences (albeit all punishable by fine only). But note also that clause 78ML provides that each offence is a “strict liability offence”, ie, that the prosecution does not need to prove any intention on the part of the accused in order to establish guilt. (Strict liability offences are normally created for, eg, traffic matters.)
Conclusion to the Statement of Compability in the EM: “This Bill is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011. To the extent that the measures may limit the rights of natural persons to exercise freedom of expression, by precluding a person from being in a position to control a registered news media voice or listed news media voice, the measures are reasonable and proportionate to the goal of promoting diversity of media control in order to promote access to diverse sources of news and information.”
Here are the Government’s excuses for the News Media (Self-regulation) Bill 2013 andNews Media (Self-regulation) (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2013, also as explained by Richard: 
The Bills’ joint EM states (inter alia):
“Right to freedom of association ... The Self-regulation Bill establishes a scheme that encourages specified news media organisations to become members of a declared news media self-regulation body. However, membership of the news media self-regulation body remains voluntary under the scheme. Accordingly, the Self-regulation Bill does not limit the right to freedom of association.”
“Right to freedom of expression ... The measures contained in the Self-regulation Bill will promote news media organisations’ respect for the privacy of individuals through effective and transparent self-regulation which includes mechanisms to achieve compliance with appropriate standards of practice and opportunities for individuals to have concerns addressed. The Self-regulation Bill is therefore consistent with Article 19 of the ICCPR and will balance the rights of the news media to publish, and the rights of individuals in relation to privacy and reputation.”
“Right to take part in public affairs ... It may be arguable that the application of the Privacy Act provisions to news media organisations that do not join a news media self-regulation body (or to those organisations that were suspended or expelled from a news media self-regulation body), could potentially be construed as a ‘restraint’ on the free press to comment on public issues and to inform public opinion, such that the Self-regulation Bill engages Article 25 of the ICCPR. The Privacy Act provisions merely set transparent, reasonable and generally applied and accepted standards in relation to the handling of personal information.”
“Conclusion: The Self-regulation Bill is compatible with human rights and freedoms because it will promote the balance between freedom of the press and the rights of individuals.” 
And here are the excuses for its Public Interest Media Advocate Bill 2013
Conclusion to the Statement of Compability in the EM: “The Bill is compatible with human rights for two reasons. First, it upholds the right to freedom of opinion or expression and promotes this right. Secondly, to the extent that the Bill may limit human rights with regard to privacy, those limitations are reasonable, necessary and proportionate to ensure the Public Interest Media Advocate can execute its intended powers and functions.” 
And for its Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Convergence Review and Other Measures) Bill 2013
Conclusion to the Statement of Compability in the EM: “The Bill is compatible with human rights as it advances the interests of Indigenous people in Australia and it ensures the equal enjoyment by Indigenous people of certain human rights and fundamental freedoms. The Bill also promotes diversity of television services in Australia using the most commonly available technology.”
The first sentence in this Conclusion is apparently based on one provision in a 23-page Bill. Clause 16 (which amends the SBS Act) requires that at least one Director of the SBS is an “Indigenous person” (as defined by clause 15).
This is the Newspeak Orwell warned of. The language of liars.
I can’t believe a court committed to the principles of free speech, a free press and free association couldn’t tear this stuff to shreds.

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Kneecapper released

Andrew BoltMARCH152013(12:25am)

More evidence of our immigration policies at work, bringing in more than falafels and festas.
UPDATE
They brought in Eddie Obeid, too, now a noted diarist with some explaining to do.
Is there a theme to his diary entries? 
Property developer Rocco Triulcio is shown to meet Mr Obeid regularly… Obeid’s diaries reveal frequent meetings with the half owner of the marina, Michael Dalah. The other half is owned by the Obeids’ family friend, real estate agent Joseph Georges… Mr Dunn, who features regularly in Mr Obeid’s diary, is the former chief executive of NSW Maritime… ‘’Joe/Kym Lennox’’ is another diary entry. In August 2009 ports and waterways minister Joe Tripodi announced that Joe Elias’ $2 company All Occasion Cruises had won the tender… Other diary entries show Mr Obeid meeting with Tony Imad

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Goldfinger checks into Crown

Andrew BoltMARCH152013(12:22am)

We James Bond fans know Ocean’s 11 is the wrong cultural reference:
A foreign high roller who was staying at Crown has been implicated in the rip-off, in which the venue’s security cameras were used to spy for him.
A staff member has also been entangled in the colossal Ocean’s 11-style rort.

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Why did the Coalition not back Hockey and Gillard?

Andrew BoltMARCH152013(12:08am)

This is depressing:
Labor turmoil also helped the Coalition avoid sustained attention to internal rifts after it emerged that shadow treasurer Joe Hockey had been over-ruled in his attempt to save money by backing government changes to the baby bonus for second and subsequent children.
Is Hockey really the only Coalition frontbencher who realises the Age of Entitlement needs winding back, and that a first-term Coalition Government will need a mandate to do so?
An odd and ineffectual compromise:

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The Comet and San Francisco — in San Francisco, CA.
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Only 20 milk chocolate egglets? We're gonna need about 3x that many, Easter Bunny!
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I hate it
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Houstache
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The guys and girls talking through the show rundown just before we got suited up! #team9lives #eventcinemas #gijoepremiere #eventgeorgest #sydney
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Two years ago, IDF Naval forces intercepted a cargo vessel, the Victoria. On board, they discovered a range of weapons destined for Hamas in Gaza. Til today we are working constantly to protect Israel by keeping weapons out of the hands of those who seek to destroy our home. http://www.idfblog.com/2013/03/15/two-years-on-the-victoria-weapon-smuggling-interception/
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Martin's Beach. 

This place has been controversial to say the least. I was harassed here for "trespassing" on a beach that was illegally privatized. Nice huh?

The surfrider legal team is now going after the owner of this place and I hope they win. I've posted the story of exactly what's going on in the comments section below.

In this picture, I am about to go up to my hips in the swelling surge of the stormy Pacific ocean.
www.sfgate.comThe historically good vibe was ruined, however, when the landowner blocked the only road, provoking an ugly battle that could turn the picturesque enclave into a test case for public coastal access in California. The money man behind the deal has not been revealed, but the plaintiffs have said, and...
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The IPA's Tim Wilson condemns communications minister Stephen Conroy for his outrageous attack on free speech and the media on The Nation on Sky News Thursday 14 March 2013.
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It's a trap
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You may feel that God is slow in coming to your rescue or meeting that need you have. But God’s timing is perfect, and He is always right on time!
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Chocolate covered strawberry shots. Vanilla vodka, Godiva liquor, and some chocolate syrup for a delicious shot in an edible glass.
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'Share' nature's music
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Pure doggy joy
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Another shot of the comet with the full windmill.
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20 Dangerously Powerful Bible Prayers

Here are 20 powerful prayers that these
believers in the Bible prayed...and when they did God's power showed up!

READ MORE ► http://r.beliefnet.com/rprayer2ILJO
— with Marvin PumarenAutumn BurrellFrunk LukyRichard SpringaelCamelia PlumeyGuben MacaseroAriel Britni TailleurDarlyn S. Dorado,Michael H. BiglerTeresa Joyce Henley and Bob Starr.
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On streets of NYC talking to Erin Burnett of CNN about Pope Francis. The Bible Series — with Erin Burnett in New York, NY.
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G.I. JOE Australian Premiere, 9Lives Ninjas takeover... MISSION COMPLETE! @jtrick3r @jimmyjamesyo @black_joe92 @kadhim86 photo by @thoradox
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DISQUIET IN THE HOUSE OF ILL REPUTE

Parliament is hyperventilating with rumour. The Libs are promoting mischief, Rudd’s phone is ringing hot, Labor pollies are calling it all “bullshit” and this week Shorten has gone AWOL for “personal reasons”. The word now is it’s all over for Swan.

Is that sufficient evidence to suggest an imminent rolling of Gillard?

Not really, but it IS evidence of a government in crisis.

This type of furious scenario has always preceded a tap on the shoulder for someone important.

Gillard will not go quietly. She and her con-man mate will need to be dragged kicking and screaming from The Lodge.

But she is in serious oxygen debt and has to spend what strength she has left on an assault on the jobless figures.

Current polling suggested to McTernan that his princess had lost her Labor base, so off to the West in a comical attempt to regain it.

Next, an assault on 457 visas for the unions’ benefit. After all she is only there at the behest of the unions and she needs them now more than ever.

This assault is profoundly stupid, even for Gillard. Apparently it makes sense to restrict skilled workers needed to rebuild our economy while tens of thousands of unskilled illegals are “invited” here to partake of our social benefits! Crumbs!

Skilled workers should be the very substructure of our immigration program and illegal immigrants should be sent home... and that’s on a cost effective basis alone. The social cost comes later.

Next, her new employment figures. They are a nonsense and as believable as her global warming crap.

Employment figures are virtually immeasurable and there are as many ways to read them as are jobs remaining.

The real unemployment figure is closer to 14 per cent.

The ABS states in February employment rose by 71,000. That figure is misleading because that increase was mostly due to an increase in part-timers.

The ABS report states, “The increase in employment was due to increased part-time employment, up 53,700 people to 3,510,800 and increased full-time employment, up 17,800 to 8,117,400. The increase in total employment was driven by an increase in male part-time employment, and female full-time and part-time employment. The number of people unemployed (unemployed) increased by 400 in February to 660,000... the latest estimate of total seasonally adjusted labour force underutilisation was 12.5 per cent in February.”

So the number of people employed actually fell in February? How’s that for Gillard spin Abbott, didn’t you check it?

Gillard checked it but she and her Departments will spin the figures in any way that suits.

Well over half the population are too old to work, too young, incapacitated, unable to find work or have simply given up trying.

Almost half the remainder have settled for part-time work.

Even Gillard has recently promoted part-time work in the Public Service because when a full-time worker is replaced by two part-timers it’s a 100 per cent increase in employment for the same amount of hours worked. It’s a con!

Figures show that’s exactly what is happening in a suffering private sector... but of course with different objectives.

Gillard is busy entertaining her Labor feminists and haranguing her adoring faithful at the ACTU.

Her recent doting attention to the AWU Annual Conference appeared a simulated gang-bang on yippee beans.

Now there are a few certainties:

Her attack on Section 457 visas will remain, that’s the undertaking she gave to the unions. She will persist with her disdainful attacks on Abbott. She will continue to tell fibs. The rumours will continue and nothing, absolutely nothing, will happen until next Thursday... if at all.

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Jesus has become for you wisdom from God! Check out today's devotional. Be sure to click "like" to help spread the word! Thanks, all! http://bit.ly/XW4ib4
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Beloved, when you build your life and ministry on the sure foundation of Christ, you can be sure to walk in greater effectiveness and anointing as a leader and channel of blessing in your home, workplace and church!

Click below to watch a short clip of this empowering message. Be sure to click 'Like' and share this with your friends! Amen! http://bit.ly/Xxc0Lt
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Beloved, even in the darkest moments of your life, God is still supplying you His grace. He has not abandoned you and left you to your own devices. No, He is still there with you, caring for you, watching over you and working things out for your good.

So rest in God’s love for you and let Him sort things out for you. His mercies that are new every morning (Lam 3:23, NLT) will see you through your darkest nights!
http://josephprince.com/
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Hi everyone! Here's the MichelleMalkin.com newsletter for March 14th. Enjoy!

From the Blog

Joe Biden heading to Vatican to witness installation of Pope Francis, say something stupid

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John McCloskey

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