Monday, March 18, 2013

Mon 18th Mar Todays News

Happy birthday and many happy returns Jorge Rodas. Born the same day Neighbours was first broadcast in 1985, although a different year for you?

Press Freedom is no laughing matter

Piers Akerman – Monday, March 18, 2013 (5:19am)

It would not be news to readers of this site that this dysfunctional government’s ham-fisted attempts to muzzle the media anger me.
Unfortunately, I permitted that anger to show on the ABC’s Insiders program yesterday.
Flanked by two people who laughed at the notion that press freedom was threatened, and mocked by the show’s host, I raised my voice.
Perhaps I should not have.
I was angered by their naivete, by their apparent belief that freedom can be trifled with.
I believe freedom is an absolute.
You either have a free press or you do not.
The Gillard government, and one assumes, the snickering panelists and the host of the Insiders seem to think that it is possible to have a regulated free press.
Oxymoronic? The morons had all the oxygen the ABC could give them.
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy is a buffoon.
His arguments for reining in the media are specious, at best.
I think they are plain dishonest.
He bases his case on the two inquiries into the media in Australia.
Neither were valid.
The current Press Council is a censorious do-gooder body which leans to the Left under Julian Disney, a classic bleeding heart and former head of ACOSS, the social services umbrella group.
He has tried to dictate the language the media uses to describe people who pay illegal people smugglers to ferry them to Australia (after they destroy their passports).
But the Press Council is still a better body than any government-enforced regulator could possibly be.
I had to fly to Melbourne to appear on the Insiders.
The usual creche of wailing babies were on both the flight to and from the city.
I buried myself in Belomor, a recent novel by Nicolas Rothwell, a great Australian author.
At one point he describes the bombed city of Dresden when it was under the control of the East German Soviet-puppet state, and its citizens lived in fear of the Stasi.
I visited the Soviet bloc several times during the era Rothwell described so vividly. It was not hard to recall the fear that shrouded the population.
My point on the Insiders was that the Berlin Wall came down in November, 1989, and the world cheered for the freedom symbolised by that destruction.
Now, we are seeing an attempt to remove an essential freedom from Australia, a nation which I thought was a liberal democracy.
And people laugh at my fears, just as they laughed as the Soviets started to impose their will on millions, and Mao began his march and the Nazis began to recruit their followers.
I do not believe freedom is a laughing matter.
Finally, I wish to thank readers for the hundreds of messages of support I have received. Make sure the Labor Party and its Green and Independent supporters know of your wrath.



Tim Blair – Monday, March 18, 2013 (4:49pm)

Seven’s Kerry Stokes challenges the government’s proposed media regulation, and receives an utterly puzzling response from Labor’s Doug Cameron: 
In an often fiery testimony, Mr Stokes asked the senators what he had done to deserve such “draconian” measures.
“The simple question I ask is in our instance what have we done… to warrant such an intrusion into our company?” he said.
Labor Senator Doug Cameron replied: “Mr Stokes… I am sure you would understand the situation in the UK”. 
The ALP should change its name to BLP. Someone buy these clowns a map.
UPDATE. This is the situation in the UK.



Tim Blair – Monday, March 18, 2013 (4:30pm)

“Tim is expected to weaken …



Tim Blair – Monday, March 18, 2013 (12:38pm)

Interactive street theatre in Queensland:

The mime, who has since apologised, is now under investigation.



Tim Blair – Monday, March 18, 2013 (11:43am)

Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew in 1971, on media freedom: 
“My colleagues and I have the responsibility to neutralise their intentions. In such a situation, freedom of the press, freedom of the news media, must be subordinated to the overriding needs of the integrity of Singapore, and to the primacy of purpose of an elected government.” 
Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohamad in 1998: 
Following shake-ups at Malaysia’s two highest-circulation newspapers, Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad criticized the local media over the weekend for publishing “negative” and “baseless” reports.
Mr. Mahathir said negative reporting was “counterproductive to national development and the mental well-being of the people.” 
And Australia’s Julia Gillard in 2013: 
‘’I never expected people in the media to applaud any reform agenda because their agenda is looking at it through their eyes and what meets their needs rather than doing what I’ve got to do – stand back and say what meets the national interest.’’ 
Naturally, Gillard is wrong. Quite a number of journalists have applauded her so-called “reform agenda”, which tells you a great deal about Australian media and the belief held by many within it that the national interest is identical to Labor’s interests.
(Via Ganesh Sahathevan)
UPDATE. The SMH’s Paul Sheehan described Labor in 2004 as “an insular patronage machine dominated by vindictive mediocrities”
Conroy personifies this problem. He embodies it. His constant warring and plotting in the past year prompted the former ALP federal president Greg Sword to call him ‘mad’, and the federal Labor MP Bob Sercombe to call him a ‘dill’, among other insults from other Labor opponents.
When I encountered Conroy he still had his P-plates as a senator. He was only 34. He had been in Parliament less than a year. And he had not even been elected. He’d been appointed ... in 1996 to fill the vacancy left by the departure of senator Gareth Evans. Such is the manner in which Labor factional warriors can make their way ...
His reward was Senate preselection at the age of 33. Once in the Senate, Conroy could start knifing people under the protection of parliamentary privilege. He did not waste any time.
On September 12, 1996, barely four months after arriving in the Senate, Conroy used privilege to target a dissident faction in the NSW postal workers’ union ... accusing the two men who had exposed election corruption ... of being responsible for the fraud ...
Ugly. The judge had found precisely the opposite. Conroy had made his speech on the eve of a new union election. Within 24 hours, thousands of copies of his speech - in the authoritative format of Hansard - were distributed around mail centres under the heading, ‘The Cheat Team’.
[One of the men he named as a cheat] challenged Conroy to repeat his remarks outside Parliament.
Conroy and his leader would have been right at home in Singapore forty years ago.


Oakeshott says no

Andrew BoltMARCH182013(7:47pm)

Independent MP Rob Oakeshott on 7.30 tonight said he would vote against all six media bills proposed by Julia Gillard.  Any new proposals would, he said, need more time for discussion, and not the three days left before the Government’s deadline.
It is now almost certain they would be defeated if put to Parliament, and will be withdrawn. Gillard and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy have embarked on a stupid, damaging and dangerous course of action that has trashed Labor’s free speech credentials - and all for zero gain. This is a catastrophic political and policy bungle.
Unfortunately Oakeshott seems not averse to more state direction of the press. It is tragic that this is not universally seen as anathema.
The government needs the votes of five out of the seven crossbench MPs for the media bills, which it insists must pass the House of Representatives by Tuesday.
With debate due to begin Tuesday morning, it has no definite commitments of support, with all crossbench MPs raising concerns about aspects of the policy and the rushed timeframe they had been given to consider it.


O’Dwyer backs same-sex marriage

Andrew BoltMARCH182013(5:09pm)

I think she is profoundly wrong, not least by deciding something so vital on the basis of whatever is popular today, but I understand the difficulty of opposing same-sex marriage when you have family members who are gay:
Liberal MP Kelly O’Dwyer has declared her support for same sex marriageand predicted that the Coalition’s position on the issue will ‘’evolve in step with society’s views’’.
Speaking in Parliament on Monday, Ms O’Dwyer revealed members of her family were currently unable to marry.


From the party planning government control of newspapers

Andrew BoltMARCH182013(5:04pm)

Labor is breeding a whole new generation of totalitarians: 
In a move reminiscent of a totalitarian state, the Labor party controlled La Trobe University Student Union (LTSU) has broken ranks with almost every other student body in the country by refusing to affiliate the campus Liberal Club – denying it access to university and student resources
Sighting “a perceived element of homophobia and racism in the party” the Union Council chose to deny their fellow students access to Student Union funds, despite forcing them to pay the compulsory $263 Student Services and Amenity fee.
This claim was made despite the La Trobe University Liberal Club proposing a same sex marriage motion at the annual conference of the Australian Liberal Students Federation (ALSF) , which the La Trobe University Liberal Club is affiliated to.
(Thanks to reader Evan.)


Nielsen: curtains for Gillard with Labor 44 to 56

Andrew BoltMARCH182013(2:43pm)

 Politics - polls
The Nielsen poll confirms the Gillard Government is at catastrophic lows in what may turn out to be Gillard’s last week: 
The two-party-preferred split sits at 44 per cent for Labor and 56 per cent for the Coalition, which represents a 6 per cent swing to the Coalition from the 50/50 result in 2010… 
The one advantage that Labor once pinned all its hopes and strategy on is long gone:
The telephone survey of 1400 people, taken from Thursday, March 14, to Saturday, March 16, also showed Ms Gillard’s satisfaction rating continuing to drop and Mr Abbott’s continuing to improve with the Opposition Leader now preferred prime minister by 49 per cent of voters against Ms Gillard on 43 per cent - down 2 points. 
This is yet more evidence that last week’s incredibly flattering Newspoll result was yetanother false dawn.
But for how long did Labor MPs believe Gillard when with each bad poll she predicted the next would improve?
There have been 27 Nielsen polls since the 2010 election and this is the 27th showing the Coalition in front.
Julia Gillard has spent the past month campaigning energetically as she approaches the election. What difference has it made to Labor’s standing with the people? None, according to Monday’s Nielsen poll…
The Prime Minister conducted a live-in campaign tour of western Sydney, announced $1 billion for the WestConnex expressway, promised a brace of benefits for workers, pledged $1 billion for aged care staff, attacked foreign workers on 457 visas and championed ‘’Aussie jobs,’’ and presided over strong growth in the number of people in jobs.
The confidence is evident when she is asked about the prospect of someone ‘’tapping her on the shoulder’’…
‘’It just won’t happen...”
It’s there, too, when she is asked if she will take the initiative and stand down if the situation demands. The leadership decisions were made when she made the ‘’very tough’’ call to challenge Rudd in 2010, she says, and when Rudd’s subsequent challenge was emphatically rejected last year. ‘’I haven’t revisited it since and I won’t be revisiting it… If I haven’t flinched yet, why would I flinch now?’’
Gillard is no good, won’t change and won’t resign. Is there really no one in Labor to say that leaves the party with just one option?
Kevin Rudd has told those close to him that if the leadership transition cannot be effected this week, then he’s really not that interested in waiting any longer because Labor’s prospects were fast becoming a hopeless cause.

The Age
 on-line seems reluctant to tout what may well be fatal news for Gillard:
Andrew Fyfe: 
Essential Media has a narrower gap: Labor 46 to the Coalition 54


No, not our “hottest summer”

Andrew BoltMARCH182013(8:57am)

Our ”hottest ever summer”, the Bureau of Meteorology claimed. An ”Angry Summer”, insisted the Climate Commission.
How many Australians know that “records” could vary with other methods of estimating average temperatures? Or that other data sets managed by other climate experts might not agree? Can anyone spot an investigative journalist? Did anyone ask the BOM if there are other ways to calculate “the average temperature of the country”? Did anyone enquire as to whether they had looked at satellite data as well?


Journalists cheering for their muzzle

Andrew BoltMARCH182013(8:30am)

 Free speech
image image
IT’S shocking enough the Gillard Government tries to muzzle journalists. Worse is that journalists cheer it on.
Even ministers privately believe what seems obvious: media laws proposed by the Government are revenge on its critics, especially News Ltd newspapers like this one.
Hear it from Fairfax’s Peter Hartcher, who’s spoken to more ministers than’ll speak to me.
Reports Hartcher: “Labor’s leaders wanted to punish enemies - the Murdoch empire - ... as they head for the exit, runs the theory held by some senior ministers.”
Asked for examples of media sins that need taming, Communications Minister Steve Conroy gave the ABC just two - both involving journalists criticising the Government.
Of course, the proper reaction to a government using state power thus should be horror. How dare it act like some tinpot tyranny, telling us what we may read or write? 
But check the reaction when Sydney’s Daily Telegraph made that point in a brilliant front page lampooning Conroy, picturing him alongside Stalin, Mao, and Mugabe.
This was legitimate mocking of an astonishingly arrogant politician planning to appoint a government commissar to monitor media standards and strip legal protections from journalists who refuse to recognise its authority.
Yet some senior journalists treated it as exactly the reporting Conroy’s law was not only meant to stamp out, but perhaps should.
Take Leigh Sales, the ABC’s 7.30 presenter, who attacked News’ editorial director, Campbell Reid.


About that little “training mine” …

Andrew BoltMARCH182013(8:23am)

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet’s support for a mine being flogged by an old union comrade may become quite embarrassing quite soon.
Combet has said he did not know his former union comrade had a personal interest in the mine.


Name the journalists who cheered for the muzzle

Andrew BoltMARCH182013(7:28am)

 Free speech
Take down their names, the journalists who failed to defend a free press from a government which sought to control it.
Never forget: 
And this, perhaps, will be the defining moment of this betrayal of the free press and free speech: 
BARRIE Cassidy: Well the media story certainly did break through. . . . Is there a bit of hysteria in all this?
Malcolm Farr: I’m still left with the question why they did it?
Cassidy: (passionately) Well, how about this for an answer. Because they believe in it . . .

Karen Middleton:
 And also the question being asked is why is it being done now?
Cassidy: (more passion) But that’s the process . . . The debate is never about the issue, it’s about the process.
Piers Akerman: Let’s go to the issue, Barry. Now you and I are old enough . . to remember that in 1989 the Berlin Wall came down . . .
Farr: (chuckling)
Cassidy: . . . Where are you going with this?
Middleton: Sounds like the Stalin link again.
Akerman: One of the things . . . that the Soviet Union and . . . every despotic government has done is attack the freedom of the press
Middleton: Piers Akerman, the human headline. Here we go (snickering).
Cassidy: (Laughs)
Akerman: I can’t believe I’m sitting here on a program with three journalists and you think that freedom of the press is a laughing matter . . .
Middleton: Give us a chance, Piers . . .
Piers: A chance? Well, go on, laugh now and I’ll finish . . .
Barry: (smirks) Can we go back to Malcolm. Do you think there has been some hysterical reaction to this? (giggles)
Cassidy: (serious) In what way is this such a monumental attack on freedom of speech?
Akerman: . . . Because once, as you said when you were talking to the laughing minister over there, you have a government appointed authority, who has oversight . . . then that regulator becomes answerable to the government . . .
Cassidy: Did the proprietors have this coming? Because of their attitude . . . ?
Piers explains why he got so angry, which he regrets - wrongly, in my opinion. As he says:
I do not believe freedom is a laughing matter.
At least the Institute of Public Affairs is fighting for the free press so many journalists - and, worryingly, journalism academics - seem happy to sell out. Join up and fight for your freedoms.


Giles, not Abbott, shows us our “reconciled” future

Andrew BoltMARCH182013(7:19am)

Tony Abbott and another conservative leader last week gave us different visions of “reconciliation”.  Spot which should be our future.
Adam Giles, a man with some Aboriginal ancestors, last week became the new Chief Minister of the Northern Territory.
Told by one ABC interviewer he was “the first Indigenous head of government in Australian history”, he protested.
“I am not an Indigenous chief minister… I’ve always been a person who’s undertaken my role based on my merits....”
To another ABC reporter determined to pigeon-hole him by “race”, Giles was equally adamant.
“My heritage is I’m Australian.”
Giles is not a representative of a “race”. He is one of a wider “us”, undivided.
Then there was Abbott, the Opposition Leader.
On Friday, Abbott gave a passionate speech explaining what he’d do as Prime Minister to lift Aboriginal communities out of poverty – an issue he’s grappled with for years as a politician and volunteer.
Many of Abbott’s practical policies are sound, not least promising a crackdown on chronic truancy among Aboriginal children,
But his great symbolic gesture, promising recognition of Aborigines in the Constitution, is a mistake – a sop to the elite’s New Racism which increasingly divides us and threatens to park Aborigines in a cultural ghetto.
“An acknowledgement of Aboriginal people as the first Australians would complete our Constitution rather than change it,” declared Abbott.
“Done well, such an amendment could be a unifying and liberating moment....
“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.”
Abbott is wrong on two counts.
Our best future lies in treating each other as individuals, bound together as Australians.
It is not this silly division under law between “Aborigines” – in almost every case people also with European ancestry – and the rest. 
Already we are too divided, with other “races” also demanding separate treatment, from official recognition of shariah law to grants to preserve “their” languages in their new home.
But Abbott is wrong also to think Constitutional recognition of Aborigines would unify us behind his practical policies.
In fact, it would undermine public support. It would make Abbott’s noble crusade seem a Trojan horse for policies not to unite but divide.
No, on this point Giles, not Abbott, best symbolises our future – a nation not of tribes but individuals, joined by allegiance to a country we share as equals.


Earth Hour is back. This time turn off your fridge

Andrew BoltMARCH182013(6:58am)

Bjorn Lomborg on the mindless insanity of Earth Hour on Saturday, when global warmists will turn off their lights for just one hour:
Notice that you have not been asked to switch off anything really inconvenient, such as your heating or air-conditioning, television, computer, mobile phone, or any of the myriad technologies that depend on affordable, plentiful energy and make modern life possible.
But if they did that, these romantics might realise electricity is an essential and not a luxury.  On the other hand, they might actually cut emissions by more than nothing: 
...even if everyone in the world cut all residential lighting, and this translated entirely into CO2 reduction, it would be the equivalent of China pausing its CO2 emissions for less than four minutes. In fact, Earth Hour will cause emissions to increase.
As Britain’s National Grid operators have found, a small decline in electricity consumption does not translate into less energy being pumped into the grid, and therefore will not reduce emissions. Moreover, during Earth Hour any significant drop in electricity demand will entail a reduction in CO2 emissions during the hour, but it will be offset by the surge from firing up coal or gas stations to restore electricity supplies afterwards.
And the cosy candles that many participants will light, which seem so natural and environmentally friendly, are still fossil fuels and almost 100 times less efficient than incandescent light bulbs. Using one candle for each switched-off bulb cancels out even the theoretical CO2 reduction; using two candles means that you emit more CO2.
Which makes these Earth Hour volunteers planet-destroyers: 


Carbon tax cost workers jobs. So where is Howes?

Andrew BoltMARCH182013(6:38am)

Paul Howes issued this ultimatum two years ago:
Australian Workers Union national secretary Paul Howes has warned the Government that ”if one job is gone, our support [for the carbon tax] is gone”.
The Australian Securities & Investments Commission reports there were 10,632 company collapses for the 12 months to March 1 - ... more than 12 per cent higher than during the global financial crisis.
While the high Australian dollar is seen as the main factor behind manufacturing closures, experts say the carbon tax is adding to increasing cost burdens for many firms struggling to stay afloat.
Peter Macks, principal of Adelaide-based insolvency firm Macks Advisory, said the carbon tax was “quite debilitating” for a number of hotel operators who he said had been “struggling for a long time"…
Todd Gammel, a partner with HLB Mann Judd, likened the carbon tax to pulling a leg out from underneath a chair…
His firm was brought into help rescue Grain Products Australia…
Around half of the firm’s 68 employees will lose their jobs and GPA’s former managing director Rob Lowndes said the carbon tax and other environmental levies had added “significant” costs, of around $500,000 a year…
Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief economist Greg Evans said: “Rapidly escalating energy prices caused by the carbon tax and other green programs are taking their toll on many Australian businesses.
“In energy reliant industries it is already showing up in job losses...”
Another victim of sluggish trading conditions is Penrice Soda… Guy Roberts, the company’s CEO, says up to 70 jobs will be lost… Penrice Soda had negotiated a deal with the Government to reduce its carbon tax bill from $8 million a year to $1 million but Mr Roberts said that was “still effectively the straw that broke the camel’s back”. 
Many were members of Howes’ AWU.
So how now Mr Howes?
(Thanks to reader CA,)


If 457 visas are more rorted, blame boat people

Andrew BoltMARCH182013(6:24am)

 Boat people policy
Prime Minister Julia Gillard says further changes to the 457 visa scheme will get the “out of control” system back on track… 
[The Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s] own data shows that if supervision of 457 visas has been inadequate that has happened entirely on Gillard’s watch. Under the Howard government, more than 40 per cent of 457 visa sponsors and 10 per cent of sites were monitored; under Gillard, that proportion has declined every year, collapsing to 8 per cent of sponsors and 4 per cent of sites.
Nor are the reasons for the decline a mystery. DIAC has faced a huge cost blowout in dealing with illegal boat arrivals: annual expenditure on asylum-seekers, which was a few million dollars in 2007-08, increased to $100 million in 2008-09, $300m the year after that and $900m last year; it will exceed $1.1 billion this financial year. With DIAC under pressure to find savings, its enforcement efforts have suffered, with the number of sponsors warned of possible 457 visa infringements declining by two-thirds. There is consequently a direct link between the government’s claims about 457 visas and the train wreck that is its asylum-seeker policy.


Let’s be honest about the Left’s sell-out of free speech

Andrew BoltMARCH182013(5:28am)

 Free speech
A little sub-editing of the headline to make clearer the implicit and unexamined prejudice of the Left in this debate, even if not perhaps - being generous - of Murphy herself
There is a lot of static suggesting only wicked News Ltd is against more government control over the media (and therefore it must be good). In fact:
“We can’t see the purpose of further regulation of news publications,” Fairfax Media CEO Greg Hywood said.
Ten Network CEO Hamish McLennan was concerned the inquiry was being rushed and SevenWest Media chief executive Don Voelte said the government was seeking to neuter a free press.
MEDIA tycoon Kerry Stokes will make a surprise appearance today at a hearing into Stephen Conroy’s media reforms to denounce the bills and argue passionately in favour of a free press without government oversight.
As for those foolish journalists braying with laughter when evil Murdoch journalists liken the Government’s planned media controls with those of authoritarian states, perhaps they might hear it from Don Voelte, managing director and chief executive officer of Seven West Media
I made my career in business and management. And for three decades before I made Australia my home for the past nine years, I travelled to a lot of different places, developing and building businesses. Venezuela, Nigeria, Kazakhstan - you name it. And what I’m seeing right now is a country I know and love, this country, trundle down the path I saw in those countries: no freedom of press…
This is not invoking a scare campaign.... The government’s draconian attempt to control the press stands us apart from any other democratic society…
Newspapers that do not bow to the dictates of a government appointed “advocate” would effectively be put out of business. This is censorship at its worse. It is not the way democracy works. The people - our viewers, our readers - are the ones who always decide what they wish to read or watch and then make their own decisions…
In Conroy’s Australia, truth will be what the government man says it is. And this great country will no longer be a democracy. I fear for Australia, the country I have grown to love. 
Another “hysteric”, by the measure of the Leftist journalists who cry for their muzzle:
ANDREW Wilkie says the government has failed to make a case for its “shoddy” media reforms, which he fears could lead to censorship and prevent exposure of serious government wrongdoing.
The fundamental point is this: what business is it of government to make newspapers more “fair”?
The only news outlets that need such government oversight are the ABC and SBS, given their state funding - and the government has failed completely to ensure fairness there. What we have instead is state-funded cheerleaders of the Left.
The Daily Telegraph says Communications Minister Stephen Conroy told several factual inaccuracies yesterday in selling the case for more government control of the media:
But most sinister of all was that Senator Conroy was also caught out trying to claim that the Public Interest Media Advocate - which he himself would appoint - would have “zero role” in setting “a single standard” of the supposedly “self-regulating” body his appointed advocate will declare. This is simply not true.
The legislation states in declaring a body, the ministerially-appointed advocate “must” have regard to “the extent to which standards formulated under the body corporate’s news media self-regulation scheme deal with the following: privacy; fairness; accuracy; other matters relating to the professional conduct of journalism (and) the extent to which those standards reflect community standards”.
In other words, the government-appointed advocate will decide what community standards are and must only declare a regulatory body that meets them. This is what the minister tries to tell the public is “zero role”.
My theory is that the current imbroglio has risen out of the oldest of human emotions - revenge....
In the run-up to the 2007 election, Kevin Rudd and his senior caucus cohorts were desperate for the endorsement of News Limited publications… And it worked. They got the endorsement of most, but not all, of News Limited’s editors, along with a majority of the rest…
When [The Australian], particularly, began to dig deep and fully scrutinise policy initiatives such as the pink batts debacle or the wasteful elements of the schools building program, Rudd and his senior ministers felt they had been betrayed.
... its paranoia about the press grew to the point where it could not see beyond punishment and revenge.


Stacking the tribunal works for boat people

Andrew BoltMARCH182013(4:14am)

Either the Department is too incompetent or the courts too lenient. Can we get this sorted before the courts become completely clogged up?
In deciding where fault lies, let’s revisit a story from 2010 about appointments of members to the Refugee Review Tribunal: 
Neither member dared to let me identify them, but both confirmed what former RRT member Peter Katsambanis told me this month - that RRT members have been told not to reject too many appeals against Immigration Department decisions to send asylum seekers home.
The members say five RRT colleagues reapplying for their jobs were recently grilled by the selection panel about their low rate of accepting claims of asylum seekers (known as the “set aside” rate).
One was allegedly told: “We expect to see an improvement.”
Both members, like Katsambanis, say the four-man panel which decides on RRT appointments includes a refugee activist with a conflict of interest.
John Gibson is also president of the Refugee Council of Australia and works as a lawyer for asylum seekers who are turned down by the RRT.
Members tell me it is grossly inappropriate for them to have their careers decided in part by an activist with a pro-asylum seeker agenda, but the Refugee Council of Australia insists that Gibson is a “man of integrity”.  [Note: Gibson has since died.]


Media Watch Dog bites

Andrew BoltMARCH172013(8:45pm)

Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch Dog reviews the ABC’s Canberra Confidential (ouch), ABC group-think (ouch) and a couple of the Left’s sillier media figures (double ouch).


Actually praise for Gina, not the slander reported

Andrew BoltMARCH172013(8:23pm)

What The Age reports: 
What reader Ashley says:
Rachel Griffiths did not reference andrew bolt at the quills as widely reported. She was referencing Andrew [Jaspan’s] comments that women might not be tough enough to hold editor positions in Australian newsrooms. The Gina Rinehart take Andrew to lunch and eat him was not a fat joke but a comment on how that would be like a lion taking a mouse to lunch.
I don’t know what really happened. I loathe and detest groupthink gathering where journalists congratulate each other. I haven’t been to such awards nights for many, many years, and do not believe journalists should solicit the approval of the peers, rather than their audiences.
Incidentally, best columnist/blogger award went to the ABC’s Barrie Cassidy.


How wrong the warmists’ forecasts are

Andrew BoltMARCH172013(7:13pm)

 Global warming - dud predictions
David Rose of the Daily Mail:
Steadily climbing orange and red bands on the graph show the computer predictions of world temperatures used by the official United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The estimates – given with 75 per cent and 95 per cent certainty – suggest only a five per cent chance of the real temperature falling outside both bands.

But when the latest official global temperature figures from the Met Office are placed over the predictions, they show how wrong the estimates have been, to the point of falling out of the ‘95 per cent’ band completely.
In 1977 we were warned of the ‘next ice age’, now we are warned that the planet is getting dangerously hot
Varying fears: In 1977 we were warned of the ‘next ice age’, now we are warned that the planet is getting dangerously hot
The graph shows in incontrovertible detail how the speed of global warming has been massively overestimated. Yet those forecasts have had a ruinous impact on the bills we pay, from heating to car fuel to huge sums paid by councils to reduce carbon emissions.
(Thanks to reader Barry and others.) 


Susan Rose




British Government Abandons Climate Change Education For Children Under The Age Of 14

WHY? - Larry Pickering

While many Aussies are more concerned that our Test batsmen couldn’t hit the water if they fell out of a boat, the remainder are stunned at what our Government is actually proposing.

Control of the Press is first cab off the rank when a totalitarian regime wrests power from its people. 

Those of us who actually care are walking around shocked that this Government is embarking on yet another suicide mission.

There is one lone international voice in support of Gillard’s Press “reforms”... Fiji’s military ruler Frank Bainimarama.

The leader of this Military junta said, “We are flattered Australia has followed us and proposed a crackdown on Press freedom.”

Yet Gillard herself was highly critical of the Fijian military regime when she said, "... all steps need to be taken to restore democracy to Fiji". Mmmm.

Forget the rhetoric, if Gillard wants a Government-appointed “advocate" overseeing the Press Council, you simply need to ask, “Why?”

The tiresome bleatings of Albanese, Conroy and others, wholly supported by Gillard, mean nothing when the question, “Why?” is asked.

Why, if the Government doesn’t wish to have control of the media, does it want a self-appointed “advocate”? Why?

Is this “advocate” meant to be merely making cups of tea for Press Council members?

He (or more likely she) will have the power to render the Press Council toothless and a puppet of the Government via its appointed “advocate”.

Let’s see now, who would make an excellent “advocate”? Bob Brown? Paul Howes? Maybe Tim Mathieson or Quentin Bryce?

Why does this Government lust after such insidious power? The answer in a nutshell is a hatred of News Ltd.

The ALP conveniently forgets that in 2007 The Australian, Daily Telegraph and Courier-Mail all advocated a vote for Rudd, only the Herald Sun and the Advertiser supported the coalition.

But now the nation has witnessed the diabolical disaster that is this Government, it should stick with it out of loyalty? Crumbs!

Historically all newspapers have endorsed political Parties prior to an election. That opinion is confined to an Editorial but it does waft over into news as journalists are not immune to the thesis of their boss.

But Murdoch newspaper Editors have often taken opposing views which leads one to believe there never was a blanket instruction.

I have never known of one in my years with Murdoch even when he supported Whitlam.

Regardless, the biggest question of all is why would any Government pick a fight to the death with the Press six months out from a general election?

Surely it must be the impetuosity of a deranged Administration with a screw loose!

Then again, this is the Gillard Government.



No one said protecting Israel from dusk till dawn was going to be an easy mission. Our soldiers are on the borders 24/7 doing what's right, not what's easy. 
LIKE to show respect.


Mother of Cake!

4 her, so she can see how I see her

The artist Louis McCubbin, was born on 18 March 1890.

The son of artist Frederick McCubbin, Louis Frederick McCubbin studied at the National Gallery School from 1906 until 1911. Influenced by the Heidelberg school of Australian impressionism, of which his father was a leading figure, Louis was largely a landscape artist who worked in an impressionistic style. Above all, Louis was an innovative arts administrator and it was in this role that he made his greatest contribution to the Australian art world.

Louis McCubbin had a long association with the Australian War Memorial. As an official war artist he produced over 200 works encompassing impressions of the battle grounds, buildings, landscape and troop activities on the Western Front. From 1918 - 1930 he was involved in the creation of the First World War dioramas, now treasures of the National Collection. In an advisory capacity as a member of the Memorial's Art Committee, McCubbin supported the appointment of war artists and the development of the art collection throughout the Second World War. Among the artists whose appointments he supported were Ivor Hele, Donald Friend, Stella Bowen, and Murray Griffin. He was also a member of the Commonwealth Art Advisory Board from 1945 until his death in 1952.

In May 1916 McCubbin enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) and served with the 14th Battalion in France from November 1917 as a stretcher bearer with the 10th Field Ambulance. He undertook a camouflage course in 1918 and worked as Officer-in-Charge of Camouflage for the 3rd Division, AIF, before being appointed an official war artist with the Australian War Records Section (AWRS).

In November 1918 McCubbin joined the newly formed modelling section of the AWRS in London. Under the leadership of Wallace Anderson, the section was tasked by Charles Bean to create dioramas for the new Australian War Museum. McCubbin was appointed over fellow artists Will Longstaff and George Benson due to his vision for integrating paintings with the dioramas. The modelling section spent 14 months based in Villers Bretonneaux visiting scenes of battles across the Somme. They made visual records including sketches, models and photographs to reference during the production of dioramas. With their fieldwork in France considered a success, the section also travelled to Egypt, Palestine and Gallipoli gathering more visual records for dioramas before returning to Australian in 1920. Between 1920 and 1930 McCubbin was employed by the Australian War Memorial to paint the backgrounds to the dioramas. He also produced numerous watercolour preparatory sketches and two series of paintings to complement the dioramas.

McCubbin was re-employed by the Memorial from 1935-1936 to undertake commissions for large paintings. These include Peronne, Heavy artillery advancing through the town, 1918, and Going in through Sailly-le-Sec, 1918, both depicting war damage on the Western Front. From 1936 until 1950, McCubbin was Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia and received an OBE for his services to art in 1947.

The image shows Louis McCubbin's watercolour called Romani/. See more information about the work


The Planet is COOLING. 
(as the trace amount of nontoxic plant food in the atmosphere continues to increase, Global Temperature has not increased with it).

"Trying to figure out how any RATIONAL person cant see the downward trend the last 3 years"

Joe Bastardi

Source: Dr Ryan Maue, weatherBELL


IFNM Daily Music Video - March 17, 2013
The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem – The Nightingale & Johnson’s Motor Car

"North Tower, Golden Gate Bridge" - San Francisco, California
March 13, 2013 (yeah 3/13/13)

Watching the sun come up on my morning walk. It was fun to run into lots of other people this particular morning... I wonder who I will see tomorrow.

This is a 3+ minute exposure. When I am out shooting, I have no problem, doing something different - it doesn't matter who is watching :)



The original 'Iron Lady' Golda Meir became Israel's 1st female Prime Minister on March 17, 1969. We salute her memory and the impact she has made on Israel's history. 

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!


Boss Hoss for those on wheelchair !! 
More Details ►► ◄◄


I'd say the Creator has a special fondness for little birds (even ordinary ones like sparrows)...

Looking for an investment that offers positive income and tax effective measures?

Enquire within... Stock won't last!


My friends going to those areas .. be well. Achieve your mission. May the Lord bless you and smile on the work

An all new episode of THE BIBLE starts now on HISTORY. Click “LIKE” if you are watching, and tell us below which stories from the Bible you’re excited to see come alive tonight.



We are thrilled to announce that Agnetha will be releasing her brand new album ‘A’ on May 13. Head over to for all the details, including the video for the first single ‘When You Really Loved Someone’. You can pre-order the album from iTunes and get the single as an instant download here:
Facebook: Agnetha Official

Out: Tebowing and Eastwooding: In: The Palin Liberty Pose! ==>
If you’re feeling anxious or disappointed about something in your life, I want to encourage you to reframe your thoughts to focus on the goodness of God. 

Meditate on Psalm 23:6, where the Hebrew translation literally says, “Surely goodness and mercy shall hunt me down all the days of my life!” See God’s goodness and mercy aggressively hunting you down and overtaking you every day, every moment and everywhere until there’s simply no way for you to escape being blessed!

Check out today’s devotional to discover why God sees you covered in the beautiful robes of His own righteousness (Isa 61:10), with no flaw, spot or imperfection.
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!

March 18Clean Monday (Eastern Christianity, 2013); Flag Day in Aruba(1976)
Bust of Alexander Severus





[edit]Holidays and observances

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