Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thu 21st Mar Todays News


Labor’s Black Knight moments

Piers Akerman – Thursday, March 21, 2013 (8:17pm)

SPEAKER Anna Burke succinctly nailed the Australian political situation when she declared it was becoming “Monty Pythonesque”. 

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Labor, Greens drowning in media wrangle

Piers Akerman – Thursday, March 21, 2013 (4:57am)

THE tide of lunacy and despair that is drowning the Gillard Government may reach a peak today.
Julia Gillard’s fight for her own political life is now hopelessly entangled with the government’s own draconian attempt to impose regulation on the media.
Communications minister Stephen Conroy’s push to ramrod the legislation through parliament by close of business today appears to be doomed.
Only Labor and the Greens, and perhaps the disgraced former Speaker Peter Slipper, seem still wedded to the idea, and many Labor MPs say they wish they were not locked into supporting the plan.
The Greens have turned on former member and candidate, Andrew Wilkie, attacking him as a weakling.
But the Tasmanian Independent has ruled out backing the Labor legislation and dismissed the personal insults leveled at him by Greens leader Christine Milne.
“These reforms are rushed and poorly constructed,” he said in a statement.
“Frankly this is a shambles of the government’s own making and no reasonable person could expect quality decisions to be made in these circumstances.”
The increasingly hysterical Milne said Wilkie must “step up” and show he would not “allow Rupert Murdoch to run the Parliament”.
“The question is has Andrew Wilkie got the backbone to stand up to the bullies?” she said.
The government needs the support of at least four crossbenchers to have its four remaining media bills clear the lower house.
So far, only Greens MP Adam Bandt and independent Peter Slipper have indicated they will support the government.
A third crossbencher, Tony Windsor, is expected to also back Labor.
But the government has failed to win the support of Wilkie, Rob Oakeshott, Bob Katter and Craig Thomson, whose opposition will be neutralised by the coalition’s determination not to accept the suspended Labor MP’s vote.
Katter has shown his ignorance, or perhaps political stupidity, by suggesting a compromise that would see the government-appointed Public Interest Media Advocate replaced with a three-man committee.
(Memo to Katter, it doesn’t matter if the government appoints one person or a dozen to the overseer’s role. Government oversight remains Government oversight and is just as repellant.)
The Coalition highlighted Gillard and her government’s lack of authority by calling on the government to recall Parliament for another week in order to allow proper scrutiny of the proposed media laws.
Manager of opposition business Christopher Pyne said Labor was in “shambles” and was so focused on internal leadership matters it was not allowing sufficient time to rake over the media legislation and 17 other bills currently before Parliament.
“Parliament should sit next week because we need to debate the media laws,” he said.
“The government is completely focused internally.”
Labor immediately rejected the call to return Parliament.
Leader of the House Anthony Albanese said MPs should not return next week, even if there was still uncertainty over the media bills.
“We have a sitting schedule and we will be sticking to it,” a spokesman for Albanese said.
Gillard attempted to negotiate with the key crossbenchers, failed, and handed the talks back to Conroy.
Labor MPs have been told to be prepared to sit late today over media reforms and not book early flights home.
Pyne has also hit out at Mr Windsor and other independent MPs who he said were keeping Julia Gillard’s government alive.
“They are presiding over this shambles, they are keeping the Labor party in office,” he said.
“Quite frankly this is no way to run a country and the independents are just as responsible for this as the government is.”
Labor MPs are floundering.
Those opposed to Gillard can’t muster the courage to tap her on the shoulder, Kevin Rudd insists he won’t challenge (his ego won’t permit him to accept the leadership unless it is offered to him).
There is talk of presenting a petition of one-third of Caucus members but MPs are reluctant to come out of the shadows.
Parliament rises for six weeks at close of business but whatever the outcome of Labor’s thrashing, the party and the Greens will be forever stained by their attempts to muzzle the media.

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SPILLARD

Tim Blair – Thursday, March 21, 2013 (1:05pm)

Simon Crean is calling on Julia Gillard to hold a vote on all leadership positions; says Kevin Rudd has no option but to run. When and if a vote is held, Crean says he’ll back the former PM. He also says he’ll resign if Gillard wins.
UPDATE. Grace Collier
Caucus going to drag Gillard out of office by her feet. Claw marks in the carpet. 
UPDATE II. Much of Crean’s press conference, still underway, echoes these points
Labor could do worse than re-examining a time when grownups were in charge. Three decades ago, Bob Hawke began a nine-year run as Prime Minister based around policies and processes that spoke directly to middle Australia. Outside of policies, Hawke’s style of government was generally straightforward and rational. Voters could easily relate not just to the government’s ideas, but to how those ideas were put in place.
Compare Hawke’s years to the mayhem of Labor first under Kevin Rudd and now Gillard. The policies (carbon tax, mining tax, house insulation, school halls) are bad enough, but these governments have also pitched their messages way outside of the mainstream. 
UPDATE III. Flashback to 2011: 
Ten weeks ago Paul Howes declared he would bet his house on Julia Gillard leading Labor to the next election.
Yesterday the boyish-looking boss of one of Australia’s most powerful unions was holding fast to that position. ‘’Absolutely’’, he would still stake his house on Ms Gillard, Mr Howes told the Herald. 
UPDATE IV. Gillard will hold a leadership vote at 4.30pm.
UPDATE V. This morning, prior to Crean’s leadership call: 
Mr Crean, who has been reported as having switched his loyalty to Mr Rudd, said Labor MPs should rally behind Ms Gillard.
“The party should unite behind her as the prime minister,” he said.
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said Ms Gillard had “overwhelming support” in caucus.
“There is not going to be a leadership spill,” he told reporters. 
What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.
UPDATE VI. Crean sacked by Gillard. Happy Harmony Day, Laboreenies!
UPDATE VII. Rudd ISN’T RUNNING.
UPDATE VIII. No vote required. Gillard remains as Prime Minister, Swan remains deputy. Stabilidy!

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THUS FAR AND NO FURTHER

Tim Blair – Thursday, March 21, 2013 (11:31am)

The Spectator‘s impressive response to Britain’s new journalism regulations:

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UPDATE. Regarding Australia’s proposed media regulations, the ABC now reports:

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Good.
UPDATE II. Further on Labor’s latest debacle: 
The Federal government will withdraw the remaining four media reform bills from parliament.
The move comes after a strong, often controversial campaign by The Daily Telegraph against the proposed changes that generated global media coverage and debate. 
Commence the weeping.

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THERE GOES THE SUN

Tim Blair – Thursday, March 21, 2013 (11:16am)

Formerly the world’s largest producer of solar panels, Suntech now hits the wall
Suntech bankrupt as top PV manufacturers lost over $2bn in 2012 
Solar is a money burner. But according to Tim Flannery
Solar gives you some independence. You are not beholden to a system that just puts the costs up every year; you’re in control of your own future that way. 
Tell it to the manufacturers, sun boy. 

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Bsottom line: Abbott wins big

Andrew BoltMARCH212013(8:04pm)

It couldn’t have worked out better for Tony Abbott.
Labor is still led by Julia Gillard, electoral poison.
Kevin Rudd, Labor’s only hope, has been badly wounded.
Both are still in the Labor party, guaranteeing further instability.
And Labor loses one of its few adults in the Ministry. Bye Bye Simon Crean.
Bye bye Labor.
Couldn’t have suited Abbott more.

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Rudd says he won’t stand. Gillard wins

Andrew BoltMARCH212013(4:19pm)

Kevin Rudd talks to the media on the way to the party meeting to discuss the leadership.
He says he was serious in vowing not to challenge Julia Gillard again.
He says no one has drafted him, and therefore “i will therefore adhere to my word.”
“I take my word seriously.”
Urges colleagues to “unite”.
This means the numbers were not there - or it means he’s preparing the ground should he be drafted, after all, and need to show his hands are clean.
Two of his votes were away - Bob Carr in the US and Dick Adams.
But if he emerges from the party meeting still a backbencher, all Labor has gained from today is more pain for zero gain.
Absolute farce.
UPDATE
Anthony Albanese on the way to the Caucus meeting:
Julia Gillard will remain as Prime Minister after this meeting.
The Coalition will be so relieved.
UPDATE
Gillard and Swan are the only nominations for the two leadership positions. Both therefore keep their jobs.
UPDATE
Joel Fitzgibbon offers to quit as chief whip if that helps unity.

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Incidentally, your press remains free

Andrew BoltMARCH212013(4:10pm)

In smaller headlines today, a story more profound than who will lead Labor to defeat: 
LABOR has killed off its controversial media reforms after failing to secure the numbers to rush them through parliament, raising questions over Julia Gillard’s handling of the policy at a delicate point in her leadership.
Yes, we dodged a bullet - state control over the private media.
But how shameful that it came down to just a single vote. How disgusting that the attempt was made with the support of so many journalists.
PS: the word “reform” in that story is a very bad use of the English language.

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And Crean is one of the more trustworthy in Labor

Andrew BoltMARCH212013(3:53pm)


Simon Crean in February last year:
Crean on Monday:
Crean this morning:
You stop the stalemate by getting people to pull back, understand it is in our interests to act in a more unified way… The party should unite behind her as the prime minister...
Crean this afternoon: 
If the prime minister does not agree to it (a spill), which I expect she won’t, then I urge members of caucus to petition in the appropriate way for the calling of such a meeting…
Who trusts any of them?

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Crean calls for spill

Andrew BoltMARCH212013(1:19pm)

The leadership showdown is on. Simon Crean is calling a leadership spill. He will stand for a leadership position, and calls on Kevin Rudd to break his word and challenge.
They cannot go on like this, he says.
It seems the Rudd/Crean fix is in.
UPDATE
No, there is no deal.
Crean says Rudd has another deputy in mind, but Crean is putting himself as deputy - presumably as a watchdog to see if Rudd really has changed.
Schemozzle.
Crean says Gillard is refusing to call a spill. MPs must petition her.
UPDATE
Gillard sacks Crean. Isn’t budging. Numbers seem tight.
UPDATE
This morning: 
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said Ms Gillard had “overwhelming support” in caucus.

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Labor hopelessly split. Crean in talks with Rudd

Andrew BoltMARCH212013(10:02am)

The Liberals couldn’t be happier about this stalemate
Rudd backer and former Labor powerbroker Graham Richardson claimed Mr Rudd had 49 votes, Ms Gillard 44 and that nine were undecided…
An analysis by The Australian Financial Review based on exhaustive canvassing of the caucus and number crunchers on both sides estimated Mr Rudd’s support at between 37 and 46 votes. A caucus majority is 52 votes.
UPDATE
Simon Benson reports a defection from the Gillard camp:
Sources in the Rudd camp confirmed a deal was being brokered which could see Mr Crean back Mr Rudd to take back the leadership and serve as deputy prime minister.
Another Gillard supporter lashes out:
A LABOR MP has called on chief government whip Joel Fitzgibbon to resign if the day ends without a successful leadership challenge against Julia Gillard.
Queensland backbencher Graham Perrett said this morning it was the job of the chief whip to ‘’have the Prime Minister’s back’’ and given his comments yesterday he and other Kevin Rudd supporters should ‘’resign or resign’’ come 5pm today.
‘’If he can’t be loyal to the Prime Minister he needs to resign,’’ Mr Perrett said.
Mr Fitzgibbon, a Kevin Rudd backer, yesterday gave an interview about the leadership speculation and said it would be ‘’silly” to suggest nothing was going on.

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And Torbay seemed so independent and nice…

Andrew BoltMARCH212013(9:29am)

When did politics in Australia look more tawdry?: 
Mr Torbay resigned from the NSW Parliament on Wednesday in dramatic circumstances after being forced to quit as the Nationals’ candidate for New England to take on independent MP Tony Windsor.
While the precise reason for Mr Torbay’s resignation from Parliament remains unclear, it is serious enough to have been referred by the Nationals to the Independent Commission Against Corruption.
It is understood the decision of the Nationals to remove Mr Torbay as their candidate is related to Labor funding of Mr Torbay’s campaigns against their candidates.
The Herald can reveal that one of the largest property developers in the Northern Tablelands, Phil Hanna, is a first cousin of Mr Obeid’s wife, Judy. 
The night before Eddie Obeid helped topple NSW Premier Nathan Rees in December 2009, the Labor powerbroker had a catch-up scheduled with one of his unofficial allies, Richard Torbay.
UPDATE
SENIOR Labor Party sources have confirmed it was disgraced former powerbroker Eddie Obeid who offered then-independent MP Richard Torbay the NSW speaker’s chair in 2007.
Labor figures came forward yesterday to suggest Mr Torbay was given the speakership in 2007 as a pay-off for voting with Labor.

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Gillard leads Labor not just to defeat but dishonor

Andrew BoltMARCH212013(8:59am)

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JULIA Gillard isn’t just leading Labor to defeat. She is stripping the party of honour, leaving it with a legacy of shame.
The next election is lost. What the Prime Minister is doing now in her fury and selfish desperation is making Labor unelectable at the following election as well. 

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So who doesn’t understand economics?

Andrew BoltMARCH212013(8:44am)


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Apologise for yourself

Andrew BoltMARCH212013(8:26am)

Politicians of both sides have become expert at sanctimoniously apologising for things done by anyone but themselves:
No sorry is as profound as that said by the perpetrator. Politicians now want the kudos that comes from saying sorry without the odium of confessing to error.
Too easy.

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My city is full enough, thanks

Andrew BoltMARCH212013(8:18am)

Do we really want or need growth this fast? The traffic is already now bad enough:
The 23 millionth person is more likely to be a migrant than a new baby, experts estimate.
Federal government figures show overseas arrivals account for more than half of Australia’s population growth, outstripping the natural increase from births since 2005. 

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British newspapers fight back, too

Andrew BoltMARCH212013(7:57am)

 Free speech
Downing Street and Labour were on Tuesday insisting that an increasingly rebellious newspaper industry will eventually sign up to the new system of press regulation backed by parliament on Monday, hinting that opinion polls and fiscal incentives will force the newspaper industry to realise the dangers of rejecting it.
But the newspaper groups appeared to be moving to boycott the new system, and with a split emerging between the publishers of the Sun and the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph, which could raise the prospect of the remaining newspaper groups, including the Financial Times, the Guardian and the Independent, being the only titles regulated by the new government-backed watchdog.
The Spectator’s Fraser Nelson and Ian Hislop of Private Eye have become the first magazine editors to decline to join the proposed press regulator. Local newspapers and magazines could also set up on their own, insiders have warned, while Scotland is also threatening a separate system.
There is dismay in cabinet circles at the way in which the deal appeared to have been sealed in a meeting between Cameron’s policy adviser, Oliver Letwin, the deputy prime minster, Nick Clegg, the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, and members of the pro-Leveson lobby group Hacked Off in Miliband’s office early on Monday morning.
What seems lost in the debate is that the ostensible excuse for new media controls - the phone hacking scandal and claims of police being bribed for information - involved conduct already illegal, with journalists already being prosecuted.
Whatever differences Tory prime minister David Cameron, his Liberal Democrat deputy Nick Clegg and Labour leader Ed Miliband might have had were ultimately less important than what they shared: an acceptance of the need to curb the press. The result was, as predicted on spiked last week, a case of ‘stitching up press freedom behind closed doors’, in a late-night meeting between Clegg, Miliband, Cameron’s lackeys and the Hacked Off crusaders which arrived at a messy compromise of a royal charter backed by statute.
Hume lists some of the lies deployed to sell the censorship: 
1) That not living in Zimbabe is something to celebrate
Tory supporters of the deal cheered after prime minister Cameron assured us, ‘Let me be clear: this is not by any stretch statutory regulation of the press’....
But the fact that we do not have a state-controlled media along the lines of Zimbabwe or North Korea does not mean that we have a free press. There are already scores of statutes impinging on press freedom in the UK, from our execrable libel laws to the 2010 Bribery Act that has helped create what one editor calls an ‘ice age’ of investigative journalism. Now the ‘independent’ new regulator, established by a royal charter backed by statute, will further extend state intervention in the affairs of the press, and cast an even longer official shadow over freedom of expression, with the power to rewrite the journalists’ code, order the press to publish front-page corrections, and impose million-pound fines… 
4) That Ed Miliband is a ‘hero’
On the other side of parliament, nerdy Labour leader Ed Miliband has been hailed as a ‘hero’ by his small band of groupies in the liberal media, for supposedly taking a brave stand against the press and the mighty Murdoch Empire in particular to fight for press regulation. In fact, like all the supposedly high-minded crusaders for press regulation, Miliband has been motivated by base political self-interest. Does anybody truly believe that the likes of Miliband and Labour MP Tom Watson, Gordon Brown’s former fixer, would have pursued their crusade so zealously if the Murdoch press had remained loyal to Brown’s New Labour government at the last General Election?
In claiming credit for the stitch-up of press freedom, Miliband has demonstrated that Labour and the rump of the left are now not only the most despicably illiberal and anti-free speech force in British politics, but are also proud of that badge of infamy. 
7) That press regulation is only about curbing Murdoch and Co 
Supporters of press regulation insisted again this week that their aim is not to limit free speech, but only to curb the excesses of the Big Media, as best represented by Rupert Murdoch’s empire. But whatever anybody thinks of Murdoch or his newspapers, attempts to curb the freedom of the press can only have serious consequences for us all.
As my book demonstrates, hatred of the ‘popular’ press and the ‘mass’ media has always been a thinly veiled code for expressing an elitist fear and loathing of the populace/masses who consume them. Limiting the freedom of the press is about limiting what the people are allowed to see, read, and even think. The ostensible target might be Big Media, but the real one is the Big Public.
And the current proposals for press regulation reach far beyond the big media monopolies, dragging any print or online publication that carries news or opinion into the regulators’ net. That means spiked, as well as the Sun. Freedom of expression remains indivisible, and we defend it for all or none at all…
10) That the press is too free and needs a tough new regulator at all 
This is the Big Lie, the major myth that has been at the heart of the entire discussion around the phone-hacking scandal and the Leveson Inquiry. Whatever their differences over procedures, all sides of politics – and many in the media – have effectively accepted that the British press has been too free to run wild and so must be reined in and tamed.
It would be far truer to say, however, that the press is already neither free nor open enough, even before a new regulator is imposed to chastise it further. There might be many problems with the British media. None of them is going to be solved by more regulations and restrictions on freedom that can only reinforce an atmosphere of conformism and create a more sanitised press.

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What Cyprus should tell our Left

Andrew BoltMARCH212013(7:30am)

THE Cyprus fiasco teaches a terrific - but often forgotten - lesson to every social planner of the Left.
That fiasco is the astonishing decision to steal up to 10 per cent from every bank deposit in Cyprus to help fund a bailout of that country’s banks.

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Switching off Gillard as she screams the house down

Andrew BoltMARCH212013(7:22am)

JUST like any other day or night, the big screen television in the Qantas business lounge in Melbourne was set on the Sky News channel a few weeks ago when the Prime Minister began her speech at the Rooty Hill rally.
After a couple of minutes, one female passenger decided she couldn’t take it any longer and asked staff to change the channel. When staff obliged, other passengers burst into spontaneous applause and cheered.
Absolutely trashing the brand:
Under her leadership the government has declared war on foreign workers, the media, miners, single parents, the rich, and business groups generally. Without producing any discernible benefit. 
And count Savva among the many journalists who believe Bob Carr lied in denying reports he’d given up on Gillard:
Who believes Carr when he says he has not discussed the leadership with his colleagues, or any of his intimates? Nobody. Who believes he had never expressed an opinion on how the government was travelling? Again, nobody.
Dennis Shanahan says even the crossbenchers and Greens seem to have stopped listening to Gillard, who couldn’t even get them to save her media changes - and her leadership: 
The attempt to ram through contentious media reforms in just over a week failed on many counts: the detailed policy was hatched without real consultation; cabinet discussion was a farce; the policy itself was deeply flawed; the politics smacked of pointless vengeance from a dying government; Gillard personally took up the fight and failed; and all the antagonism remains.
Coming after the quick-order policy and revenue failure of the mining tax and the xenophobic corruption of the temporary worker program, any collapse of the government’s media reforms accentuates and personalises Gillard’s failure of leadership.

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Did the Labor machine trick MPs into dumping Rudd?

Andrew BoltMARCH212013(7:11am)

CRITICAL internal Labor polling - taken on the eve of Kevin Rudd’s political assassination - revealed a rebound in popularity for the PM and suggested Labor could still have won an election in 2010 under his leadership.
But the polling was kept a secret from Mr Rudd, most senior ministers and the majority of the Labor caucus for fear it could have unravelled plans for the coup which was already well under way.
The secret polling contradicted the Labor Party research used at the time to convince Labor MPs to replace Mr Rudd…
The survey was conducted ... in the marginal South Australian seat of Kingston. The results had started to filter back to Labor officials on the night of the leadership coup.
They showed ...  that the swing against Labor was no-where near as dire as was being suggested to Labor MPs, with only a 0.5 per cent swing against the federal government in that marginal seat.
Labor’s national secretary at the time was Karl Bitar, now working for James Packer. He should be asked to comment.

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Katter wants journalists stopped from repeating his bigotry

Andrew BoltMARCH212013(6:43am)

 Free speech
Bob Katter ran the most vilely homophobic campaign ads at the Queensland state election. Now he now wants more state control over the right of journalists to express themselves - controls that would certainly punish journalists who expressed themselves as Katter has done.
But, with luck, even Katter’s “compromise” on the Gillard Government’s media muzzle - a massive and unelected state bureaucracy to impose what will inevitably be groupthink, enforced by punishment-by-process - will fail. 
Queensland MP Bob Katter said [a Public Interest Media Advocate] was “thoroughly repulsive” because it gave the government a role in overseeing the press, prompting him to suggest a panel of experts instead.
Publishers oppose the PIMA on the grounds that it would have broad discretion to reject the way the Australian Press Council rules on complaints, triggering “nuclear” penalties against publishers to remove privacy exemptions crucial to journalism.
While this would put greater distance between the government and the PIMA, it failed to gain support from other independents, with the Greens saying it was under consideration rather than confirmed. Mr Wilkie welcomed Mr Katter’s proposal but said it did not resolve enough of the wider problems in the bills to make them worth voting for. NSW independent Rob Oakeshott held to his position of not supporting any of the bills and former Labor MP Craig Thomson has said he would not support them either.
Greens MP Adam Bandt is expected to vote for the changes but The Australian understands Mr Windsor remained undecided late yesterday while former Liberal MP Peter Slipper would not indicate his position.
Labor has 71 of the 150 members in the lower house, including the Speaker, Anna Burke, whose vote comes into play only if there is a tie.
The government would need its 70 votes, as well as those of Mr Katter, Mr Slipper, Mr Windsor and Mr Bandt, to have any chance of legislating the reforms.
Again. where is the problem that all this is meant to fix?
What Katter seems unable to grasp is that apart from the many laws already restraining journalists, not least the oppressive ones on defamation, there is a control that managed to eventually force an apology even from Katter for his ad.
It is public opinion. The media is always in the dock of public opinion, which is the one supreme and legitimate arbiter. If the public hates what a newspaper does, that newspaper will eventually fail.
These media controls are proposed by people who distrust and fear the public and believe it should be guided by the political class.
No wonder these proposed controls are backed by the Left.
UPDATE
Yesterday opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull questioned the performance of Senator Conroy during question time, asking the Prime Minister whether she still had confidence in her minister.
“(The) Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy has presided over a $4.7 billion broadband tender that collapsed, a National Broadband Network that promised to pass 1.3 million premises by 30 June this year and is unlikely to reach even 15 per cent of that number, a compulsory internet filter that was abandoned, an Australia Network tender that was sabotaged and now a media regulation proposal that has crippled the government,” Mr Turnbull said.
UPDATE
ABC radio host Jon Faine, a state media employee, wonders this morning why we don’t force people to get a licence before they’re allowed to write:
It has always surprised me that anyone can practice journalism in Australia.
Bloody scary. I suggest we remove Jon’s licence until he agrees not to promote tyrannical ideas.
UPDATE
It was striking to see in the parliamentary committee this week Labor and Green politicians referring to particular columns or editorials they disagreed with. The context was meant to be an inquiry about the structural regulation of the media. Citing perfectly mainstream columns they simply didn’t like suggested media regulation would be influenced by these dislikes. Manifestly, this is a terrible way to arrive at government regulation. It is a naked example of politics intimidating a free and independent institution.
In Australia, most culture-forming activity is ultimately funded by the state. As well as the ABC there are the government-funded universities and the countless journals, blogs, publishing houses and the like that the ABC and the universities run. The commercial media are perhaps the only really independent, big culture-forming institutions wholly beyond the endless, hydraulic ideological pressure that comes from government funding.

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March is Trisomy Awareness Month
For our family this has become a time to celebrate the life of our daughter, Bella. Bella was born almost five years ago with Trisomy 18, a severe genetic condition that I believe makes every day with her a gift from God. Children with Trisomy 18 have an extra chromosome, are born underweight and suffer a number of health issues that lead in most cases to a shortened life. It is true that 90 percent of babies with Trisomy 18 die at or before birth, many by abortion. Only one in 10 that survive birth see their first birthday. Despite this painful reality, Bella has enriched our lives beyond measure, and she is a happy child surrounded by the love and comforts of her family. We've been truly blessed, but we do not take for granted the resources and access to medical support and pro-life disability groups we have had in caring for Bella. Read more about our story with Bella in my recent column.
Sincerely, 
santorum-signature

Rick Santorum 

CPAC Review
Last Friday was Patriot Voices Day at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) just outside of Washington. 
Our day kicked off with my speech to CPAC, followed by a luncheon where I had a chance to visit with and answer questions from those attending.  We had a packed evening reception, where many of our young conservative participants joined the festivities.  It was wonderful to see many familiar faces and meet so many new folks at our events.  My thanks to all of those who took part in this year's events and all of our volunteers who made them happen!
While the conference was certainly motivating, it was a still a somber time for me, as the evening before I was scheduled to speak, my nephew Billy, only 27 years young, passed away after battling a difficult illness.  I rewrote my speech a few hours before to honor Billy's life and reflect on this tragedy.  I hope you'll take a few minutes to watch my speech.  
Help Us Grow
If you've been wondering what you can do to help Patriot Voices grow, I encourage you to consider hosting an "Our Sacred Honor" party! It's easy to do and will help us connect with conservatives in your community. Just click here to sign up and a staff member will be in touch to help guide you through the process.  I hope to see your name added to our party list soon!
March for Marriage
If you are in Washington, DC on Tuesday, March 26, I encourage you to join the National Organization of Marriage and many other pro-family organizations to show your support for protecting traditional marriage.  The march coincides with the Supreme Court hearing arguments over the constitutionality of Proposition 8, which was an initiative approved by the people of California in 2008 to protect marriage.  To learn more about the March, visitwww.marriagemarch.org. 
What is your American Dream?
Last week, Patriot Voices launched the American Dream Challenge. If you haven't already done so, please tell us what your American Dream is and what you are doing to make it happen?   We at Patriot Voices are committed to starting a candid conversation about what you see as your American dream and what can be done to make it happen. Each of us has our own idea about what it is to attain the American dream, and we want to share those ideas as part of this discussion.  
What we're watching
We are keeping an eye on the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, which President Obama has signaled he will likely support and submit to the Senate for consideration as early as this week.   This is yet another example of the White House's willingness to cede power to the United Nations - allowing them to have oversight on a matter that would restrict our 2nd Amendment rights.  We'll keep watching this issue and keep you informed when it's time to call your Senators to say No to this treaty. In the meantime, we encourage you to sign Patriot Voices' "Defend the 2nd Amendment" petition.
From the Archives: March for Life
In January, Karen and I joined hundreds of thousands of Americans for the March for Life on the Mall in Washington.  It was a wonderful testament to the commitment that people - young and old - have when it comes to the sanctity of life.  We compiled this video from the day, and I wanted to share it with you.

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Hi everyone! Here's the MichelleMalkin.com newsletter for March 20th. Enjoy!

From the Blog

Penny Pritzker: A Chicago fat cat for Commerce Secretary?

Will President Obama really nominate billionaire Chicago gal pal Penny Pritzker to head his Commerce Department?

Heh: Dianne Feinstein’s ‘assault weapons’ ban stopped by… Harry Reid

At some point before too long Senate Dems will have a pow-wow and figure out how to blame the Republicans for this...

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Alcatraz Island

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Events

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[edit]Deaths

[edit]Holidays and observances


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www.pinkfloyd.com #DarkSide40

Design : Storm Thorgerson (Storm Studios)
(c) Pink Floyd(1987) Ltd/Pink Floyd Music Ltd.
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Today's events in Canberra continue the chaos and division Australians have come to expect from Labor.

Australians deserve a government that is focused on the national interest, not on its own survival.

Only the Coalition has the positive plans and experienced, united team to restore the stability and certainty Australia needs. http://lbr.al/02kc
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Another image from Arizona. 
I call this one Thunder Road.
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Hosting Harmony Day #OneParramatta with the lovely @kristyknowsbest #harmonyday #ABC #kitchenninja #parramatta @alltognow
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Yesterday my government started construction on the new clinical building at Campbelltown Hospital & opened a 24-hour medical helipad & a new 235 space carpark. This is one of the State’s fastest-growing regions & we are ensuring local families have access to a world class hospital. For more info go here: arry http://ow.ly/jgByY
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Comet McNaught viewed over the Pacific in 2007. By Sebastian Deiries
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Jesus can restore to you in abundance what you have lost! Check out today's devotional. Be sure to click "like" to help spread the word! Thanks, all! http://bit.ly/ZI0cnR
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Living under condemnation because of past failures can lead to all kinds of health and behavioral issues. But the good news is that the cross of Jesus has forever freed us from the condemnation of sin! Hear about how perfect Jesus' work is in removing all our sins in this liberating video excerpt!
http://josephprince.com/
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In the midst of your problem, praise God for His constant goodness toward you, and see His promises come to pass for you.
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Is there something that you have done in your past that you are still beating yourself over for? Beloved, God’s grace is greater than any mistake you have ever made. His unmerited favor is always on your side because of what Jesus did on the cross for you.

Your mistake need not rob you of the beautiful future that God has for you. No matter what has happened, expect good things to happen to you! Continue to ask God for big things and reach out to the blessed destiny He has for you today! http://josephprince.com/
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Dear friends, 

It has come to our attention, that there are people using fake Joseph Prince Facebook accounts to private message individuals to ask for their personal details or to raise money for their own causes, such as orphanages. Please be aware that officially we do NOT endorse any of these fraudulent organizations and we advise you not to support any of these causes. We also do NOT use Facebook to raise any funds for other organizations. This is the only official Joseph Prince page on Facebook and we do NOT send private messages to individuals. Thank you for exercising wisdom and care in this matter. 
Do like and share this post so that more people will be aware.

Blessings, Team JP

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