Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Tue 5th Mar Todays News

Happy birthday and many happy returns Timothy Ly andRumble Pictures. Born on the same day (Across the years?). Tim's friendship is a great blessing for me. I was not listening to the Lord as I should. Tim pointed the way. By listening.

Gillard wins no votes in Western stunt

Piers Akerman – Tuesday, March 05, 2013 (3:44am)

JULIA Gillard’s visit to Western Sydney is backfiring.
Residents have scorned the stunt, photographers have zoomed in on her hotel’s sign Novote(l), and Opposition leader Tony Abbott says Sydney’s west is the Liberal Party’s “new heartland”.
It’s not an idle boast.
An automated Seven News/ReachTEL poll has found Western Sydney voters would prefer Abbott as Prime Minister over Gillard or her nemesis, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
The poll of 1615 voters found that 39.2 per cent of voters would choose Abbott, followed by Rudd at 26 per cent, Malcolm Turnbull at 22.1 per cent, and Gillard at just 13.2 per cent.
Rudd had a clear lead over Gillard of 74.5 per cent to 25.5 per cent - if voters are forced to choose between the two.
Gillard looks like an uneasy foreigner as she continues her safari into the deepest West and it didn’t help that her luggage was marked “Prime Minister’s overseas visit”.
Did someone mention how isolated Canberra is from the rest of the country?
Gillard has avoided the natives and focusing only on handpicked audiences at carefully staged events.
The Daily Telegraph’s Gemma Jones reports today that in the first two days of her choreographed western Sydney blitz, Gillard has only met with Labor supporters or people who have benefited from her government.
After rallying Labor faithful at Parramatta on Sunday, she visited the Western Sydney Wanderers players at training, a year after the government gave $8 million to develop football in western Sydney.
She then visited Ability Options, an employment assistance provider for people with disabilities in Seven Hills which is funded by the federal and state governments.
Angry residents from a nearby street, who face seeing their homes bulldozed because of a Blacktown Council proposal to acquire 360 properties for a park, were stunned to find the Prime Minister in the neighbourhood after they had asked to meet with her.
But they were blocked from speaking with her though Gillard promised to use her visit to “immerse myself, talk to people in the community, work out what’s on their mind as well as talk to them about the government’s programs and plans”.
Abbott, who has made more than 50 visits to the area, cruised through and delivered a few sharp retorts to Gillard’s patronising remarks about her Western Sydney sojourn before flying to Melbourne.
“Being from the west should never be viewed as being second-rate,” he said.
“No one has said that western Sydney is second-rate but Labor has treated western Sydney as second-rate by taking it for granted for so long.”
He also rejected Labor’s claims that families would be worse off under a Coalition government, saying he would cut government spending before taking money from families.
By nightfall, even Gillard’s hurriedly concocted highway funding plan was in tatters.
Not that she has the money anyway.
The hotel sign says it all.
This stunt may cost Labor votes, not win desperately needed hearts.

March 5St Piran's Day in Cornwall, United Kingdom; Lei Feng Day in China
Paul Okalik





[edit]Holidays and observances


Not a crumb from the PM’s table for locals

Miranda Devine – Tuesday, March 05, 2013 (7:04pm)

THE insider-outsider divide in politics is rarely so starkly defined as it has been by Prime Minister Julia Gillard moving her campaign roadshow, if not her government, to Rooty Hill RSL. 


Let them eat cake

Miranda Devine – Tuesday, March 05, 2013 (12:15pm)

Sky presenter Paul Murray captured the Prime Minister sneaking through the Rooty Hill RSL bistro Monday night for a closed door dinner in a private dining room with a group of women he said looked just like her and were wearing the same glasses.
He wasn’t far wrong.
The chosen few handpicked by Julia Gillard to feast on vegetarian tarte tatin and Alaskan King Crab in the RSL’s private Zest Wok n’ Grill dining room were mummy bloggers, many of whom hadpreviously dined with the PM at Kirribilli house in December, and none of whom appear to live anywhere near Rooty Hill.
They later posted photos and wrote blogs about their high time, sequestered away from the great unwashed of Rooty Hill in the bistro outside.
One such lucky out of town dinner guest was “Mrs Woog” of woogsworld ("Making the most out of the mundane” is her motto), who posted the photo above of the elegant table setting and this one, below, of the PM’s Roasted Chicken Supreme, Potato Gratin and Sun-dried Tomato Jus selection.
Another dinner guest was Eden Riley of edenland, an apparent prime ministerial doppelgänger who posted on twitter the photo at the top of this post of herself with the PM.
As for the locals outside? Let them eat cake.



Tim Blair – Tuesday, March 05, 2013 (4:14am)

I’m currently on leave, which explains why posts haven’t been so frequent of late and also why apromising newcomer has taken over Monday’s column.
Over the next few days I’ll be conducting a Julia-style listening tour of various crucial electoral regions throughout NSW, Victoria and Queensland. I have new glasses and absolutely no intention of listening to anybody. Infrequent posts will continue.


Flannery stokes fears even as temperatures refuse to rise

Andrew BoltMARCH052013(5:04pm)

Professor Tim Flannery yesterday implicitly admitted what Trade Minister Craig Emerson won’t - that the main temperature measures show no statistically significant warming of the world for some 16 years: 
LEIGH SALES: We know that, say, if you look back over the past 50 years there’s clear evidence of global warming… But there were figured released I think late last year that showed that there’d been a plateau for about the past 15 or so years…

But here is Flannery’s excuse: 
TIM FLANNERY: ... but there has been no plateau....  90 per cent of the heat that is trapped by the greenhouse gases goes into the ocean, and you look at the whole of the Earth, we’re seeing a very strong warming trend....

LEIGH SALES: The figures that were released last year I think that are the combined Meteorological Office in Britain figures with the East Anglia University, their climate unit, don’t they show that the pace of climate change has slowed in recent times? I’m not saying there’s no climate change, I’m just say that the pace has slowed.

TIM FLANNERY: Sure. Look, the figures you’re referring to are a four-year forecast the Met Bureau does and they revise that four-year forecast every year. Now last year they just revised it down a built. The warming trend was still there… The heat imbalance is still there. The heat has to go somewhere.
Uh, really, Tim? Here are the sea surface temperature figures for the past decade: 
... they should be useful for monitoring signs of ocean surface warming, which appears to have stalled since at least the early 2000’s.
Sadly, Sales did not ask Flannery, now flogging a disgracefully alarmist report on our “Angry Summer”, to account for his previous dud prediction that global warming would stop rivers from flooding and dams from filling.
The report by Flannery’s commission claims, largely on the basis of a single two-week heat wave:
Yet global temperatures have not risen for 16 years. What’s more, Professor Ole Humlum’s summary of world temperature data suggests Flannery’s Climate Commission in hyping Australia’s “Angry Summer” is engaged in the most outrageous cherry picking to fuel warming hysteria: 
General: On average, global air temperatures were near the 1998-2006 average, although with big regional differences…

The Southern Hemisphere was mainly at or below average 1998-2006 conditions. The only important exceptions to this is represented by southern Africa and Australia, which experienced temperatures above the 1998-2006 average. The Antarctic continent was near or slightly above the temperature average.

The global oceanic heat content has been rather stable since 2003/2004 
All this suggests that the heat wave in late January and early February was not climate but weather.
The Climate Commission deserves to be abolished immediately.
Notalotofpeopleknowthat exposes the outrageous cherry-picking by the Climate Commission to produce its “Angry Summer” report, with its claim that we have just had “our hottest summer”.
First, some context. In fact, the whole of 2012 was cooler than many previous years:
Meanwhile 2012 ranked only 39th warmest since 1910.
Second, individual states did not have their hottest summers at all:
Why did Flannery and his Climate Commission give none of this context? Why did they not note a three-year fall in warming in Australia, and focus instead on three weeks of weather?
Sack the Climate Commission.
(Thanks to readers Penny and Philip.)


Privatise the ABC if it cannot keep its bias under control

Andrew BoltMARCH052013(4:11pm)

This pro-Labor shock-jockery from the taxpayer-funded “impartial” ABC is utterly unacceptable:
That’s the introduction to a report on The World Today, ostensibly a current affairs show.
Channel 10’s Paul Bongiorno verbals Coalition spokesman Scott Morrison on ABC Breakfast this morning, and is not corrected by host Fran Kelly (from 3:28):
Of course we do know [Tony Abbott] stoutly defended [immigration spokesman] Scott Morrison, who thought that asylum seekers who are on bridging visas should be tagged the same way as sex offenders.
Morrison said or suggested no such thing. The closest anyone in the Opposition came to saying anything of the kind was Opposition frontbencher Eric Abetz - who actually rejected a suggestion, put to him by a journalist, that asylum seekers be put on a register like sex offenders. No mention of tagging at all.
Bongiorno has ascribed to Morrison a view not expressed by him or any other Liberal, and done so on the basis of a misquote of someone else. And Fran Kelly seemingly could not even spot the slander.
Another example, from last night’s Q&A
JULIE BISHOP: Tony, you mentioned that in the recent Italian elections there was a comedian who had stood for Parliament although he is not in the Parliament. Today I was at the Australian Indonesia dialogue here in Sydney and a comedian in Indonesia has been elected to the Parliament in Megawati’s party and so this, I think, is a trend happening around the world.

TONY JONES: You’ve got Cory Bernadi.


Latham doesn’t get free speech at all

Andrew BoltMARCH052013(3:55pm)

Mark Latham simply does not understand that being free to speak does not mean others must be obliged to listen.
Here’s some of his defence at having sneered that Coalition frontbencher Andrew Robb, who has recovered from depression, is “disturbed”:
And the mother of all hypocrisy: Australia’s self-appointed guardian of free speech, Andrew Bolt, said my article should have been censored and questioned whether the AFR should retain me as a commentator. This confirms one of the golden rules of Australian public life: when Bolt talks about free speech, it is free speech for himself, not others. His instincts are dictatorial, not libertarian.
Let me try to explain this to Latham in small, simple words.
I am not saying he should be dragged before the courts for his crude and cruel attack. He should not be brought before the Press Council or any Finkelstein-like Inquisition. The Government should pass no laws against him nor seek to punish his publisher with an inquiry into the “hate media”. Latham should be free to say whatever hateful thing he likes, and he likes plenty. I defend Mark Latham’s right to speak.
The Financial Review, on the other hand, should be equally free to publish who it likes and to not publish who it doesn’t. It should be perfectly free to publish vile abuse from a fundamentally unserious man with two chips on both shoulders. That’s its free choice. My advice, however, is that a paper that publishes swill soon becomes regarded as swill itself. It becomes tainted by association. And then, of course, its credibility may fall and sales may drop.
Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from criticism. Indeed, it is critical the two operate together, or else the totalitarians among us would scream even louder that the market has failed and Big Daddy must come in with a Press Police, or whatever Steve Conroy plans to call it.
So, no hypocrisy, Mark. I am merely wondering why the Financial Review puts its reputation in the hands of someone so abusive, And, in this case, so clueless. And, indeed, so hypocritical. Remember this contribution you once made to Parliament, on the death of Greg Wilton?
“Some of our media image is based on being tough and uncompromising. Some of our self-image as a group is based on a feeling of invincibility. But in the end we hurt, we suffer and we can be depressed just like anyone else. I truly hope that, as members gather here, if we can make one contribution and learn lessons from Greg’s passing, it will be to give stronger, more intense and more fruitful attention to this crisis in our society of depressive illness and suicide.”
But, please, abuse away. And know that when the regulators come for you, no one will be louder in your defence than I.
Anthony Dillon has a far more serious take on free speech - and on the mounting attacks waged by this government against speech that “offends”:
On the wall of an office I used to occupy was a sign that read: “Offence is never given. It is only ever taken. And when it is offered and graciously refused, any offence intended returns to the one who offered it.” As a part-Aboriginal Australian who has often been referred to as a “coconut” (brown on the outside but …), this advice has kept a smile in my face over the years. It has always been my intention that my fellow Australians (both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal) can keep the smiles on their faces and not be dependent on others for their happiness and emotional well-being. To make others responsible for your happiness and well-being is disempowering. And let’s not forget who the most disempowered group of people in Australia are.

For those who remain unconvinced that we do have a choice in how we respond to the actions of others, or feel it is just too hard, consider the experience and wisdom of Victor Frankl. He was a prisoner in the Nazi death camps who had the following insight based on his experiences:
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.

In the freedom-of-speech debate, let’s not be foolish and let being offended prevent necessary discussions from taking place. Silencing people will imprison us all. 


Sack Flannery

Andrew BoltMARCH052013(2:22pm)

John McLean dissects the latest alarmist claptrap from Tim Flannery’s Climate Commission, which preposterously claims that a two-week heat wave in Australia and heavy rain afterwards is evidence of global warming: 
As with most Climate Commission reports, it’s instructive to look at pertinent facts that were omitted.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s report ”Special Climate Statement 43 – extreme Heat in January 2013” describes the meteorological situation in detail, commencing with the rainfall being below average in southern Australia. Certain warmists seem reluctant to tell you that less rainfall means less surface moisture to evaporate and more heat energy available to heat the ground surface…
The climate statement goes on to describe multiples instances of winds drawing very warm air from central Australia onto south-western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales…
It then went on to say:
“Beginning on the 15th, a surface based low pressure system formed over central Queensland and began moving to the northwest in the ensuing days. At the middle levels of the atmosphere the monsoon trough began shifting south to meet the surface low. This caused the onset of the North Australian Monsoon on the 17th of January. This came about three weeks later than usual, but still within the standard deviation of the monsoon timing.”
In a nutshell, the heatwaves were caused by warm conditions in central Australia, a monsoon running late, and winds distributing the warm air. I wonder which part the Climate Commission believes is under the influence of human activity. And perhaps it could also explain why heatwaves have been irregular over the last 16 years, when average global temperatures have been flat, and why Australia’s recent heatwaves came at the end of the three coolest years of the last eleven?…
The Climate Commission’s report goes on to do some arm-waving over January bushfires, especially in New South Wales. Again the Bureau of Meteorology’s monthly weather review for NSW sets the record straight.
“The combination of very dry conditions during recent months as well as the severe January heatwave resulted in widespread bushfire activity across the state. Total Fire Bans were declared on eight days, with Catastrophic fire danger ratings observed for the first time since December 2009. In many cases these fires were ignited by dry lightning strikes, associated with surface troughs which failed to cause significant rain on the 8th and 12th/13th.”
It’s a pity that the report doesn’t tell us whether it was the hot, dry weather or the lightning strikes that were caused by human activity.
The Climate Commission goes on to talk about extreme rainfall and floods in Queensland and northern NSW. If nothing else you have to admire its chutzpah, given that, just a few years ago, the commission’s head, Tim Flannery, predicted such a dire reduction in rainfall that Anna Bligh’s Queensland was inspired to build a gold-plated desalination plant…

It’s not until page 8, when the readers have been well and truly pressured into conceding their role as despicable humans in all this climatic mischief, that they are told the fading ex-tropical cyclone Oswald was the major source of all that excess precipitation. Did you cause that tropical cyclone? I don’t think I did.
Tim Flannery and his Climate Commission should be sacked. Immediately.
(Thanks to reader Steve.)


Is this what less “gold-plating” looks like?

Andrew BoltMARCH052013(1:53pm)

PM:  I will have the Council of Australian Governments meeting at the end of this week, and I will be taking there a plan to make a difference; a plan to make sure that families pay $250 less per year for electricity than they would if we just let the current system run.

And it’s about addressing the real drivers of high power prices – the overinvestment, the so-called gold-plating of the network..

I think people can understand gold-plating really easily. What it means is there’s an overinvestment in the poles and wires, and under the current market design – the rules for electricity – there’s actually a perverse incentive for companies to keep investing, keep investing, keep investing – and passing all of those costs on to consumers. Indeed, there’s been around about $11 billion of investment for the peak loads on four days a year.
Now to Victoria, where 10,000 people who were affected by the deadly Black Saturday bushfires are taking the power company to court, alleging it didn’t do enough to make its powerlines safe.

One hundred and nineteen of the 173 people who died in the fires four years ago, were killed by the Kilmore East fire which destroyed more than 1200 homes…
SIMON LAUDER:  The Royal Commission into the Black Saturday bushfires found the Kilmore East blaze was sparked when a 43-year-old power line owned and operated by SP AusNet snapped, igniting the grass underneath.

The fire burned across 125,000 hectares, killing 119 people and destroying 1,242 homes. The commission found the line failure was partly caused by a component which hadn’t been fitted properly and the power kept coming through after the line failed.
Yes, Gillard was talking more about “over-investment” to guarantee power supply just when we need it most - on the hottest days. But she did also complain about not enough investment in “poles and wires”.
Time we had ti made clear what the consequences of this new drive would be, other than to draw attention away from the utterly pointless imposition of what’s effectively a 10 per cent carbon tax on power prices.
More people dying in heat waves, as the power failes? More sweltering in summer?  Still higher power costs on hotter days? More bushfires?


Helping the HSU mates

Andrew BoltMARCH052013(1:00pm)

I’d have thought the Health Services Union was the last union Gillard had to help:

The funding, redirected from other aged-care programs, will come with conditions that give three big unions - United Voice, the Australian Nurses Federation and the troubled Health Services Union - a new way to build membership and trigger wage claims…

Delayed by several months amid industry divisions, the Aged Care Workforce Compact will give money to most aged-care providers only if they sign up to enterprise bargaining agreements to set industrial conditions.
A grateful HSU sends yet more of its members’ money to Labor, according to the party’s declaration of donations last financial year:
I’m surprised there was any more members’ money left for Labor to feast on.
I am advised that an Age item I linked to earlier involving an alleged debt to an alleged prostitute is soon to be the subject of legal action against that paper. In the circumstances, and heaving heard more details of the case from one of the parties, I have removed that link.The Age may well have been very unfair to the poor bloke involved.
(Thanks to reader Brett.)


How the Greens used the ABC for a Dorothy Dixer

Andrew BoltMARCH052013(12:58pm)

How did the ABC’s Q&A manage to single out a question from a Greens candidate for the 2013 election out of all the questions submitted for a panel including Greens leader Christine Milne?
JAMES HARRISON: My question is to Julie Bishop. Your leader, Tony Abbott, has continually questioned the validity of credible scientists from around the world who present us with compelling evidence that climate change is happening and that the overwhelmingly likely cause is human pollution. Right now, Australia is experiencing more extreme weather events like bushfires, floods and cyclones. Right now, Australia is experiencing its hottest summer ever recorded. A price on carbon was introduced in Australia in July last year. Does your Party propose to abolish this effective legislation simply because it’s not your policy?
Your taxes, Greens propaganda.
(Thanks to reader stu. Note: it wasn’t the ABC who inserted in the clip the questioner’s political links.)
James Harrison tells Michael Smith he should have told Q&A he was a Greens candidate, but produces an email showing he did identify himself as a Greens party member.
Why didn’t Q&A identify him as such when putting his hostile question to Julie Bishop?
Reader sammi:
Tony Jones also did not correct or allow Julie Bishop to correct the woman who claimed her new teeth (and hair!?!) were due to Labor. This woman obviously is so poorly informed that she does not know that “The Medicare Chronic Disease Dental Scheme was introduced by the former coalition government. The current Leader of the Opposition was its effective architect, overseer and introducer. It provides up to $4,250 in Medicare dental benefits over two years for eligible patients with a chronic health condition. The (Labor) government has said it will replace this scheme with its own dental scheme but its proposal for adults does not begin until 1 July 2014.” Greg Hunt, Hansard, October 10, 2012

This woman also said she hated Tony Abbott - the very man who was responsible for the Chronic Disease Dental Scheme she got her teeth under. It is frightful that such poorly informed people are able to vote and even more frightening and disgusting that what she said on Q&A;was allowed to stand unchallenged.
The question
AUDIENCE MEMBER: I’m a single parent too. I have two autistic kids. Even these teeth come from Labor. I had cancer because of the stress of raising autistic kids under the Howard Government under Abbott as Health Minister. I’ve had such a difference to my life because of Labor. I’m better off because casual work and raised tax thresholds mean I actually can go to work but basically even this hair comes from Labor. It’s a Labor makeover and I loathe Abbott. I loathe him deeply.
Reader Michael notes Labor in December cancelled the program this Abbott-hater claims gave her her teeth.


Flannery denies what he actually said

Andrew BoltMARCH052013(12:16pm)

I didn’t see Tim Flannery being questioned by Karl Sefanovic on the Today show this morning, but many readers say he denied saying our dams would never again fill. [UPDATE: No, he didn’t, says another reader. See update below.]
Reader Carolyn:
Just listened to Flannery on the Today Show. He says he was misquoted and did not say the “dams will never fill”. He now states he said “MAY never fill”. Karl Stefanovic questioned him on it at the end of the segment and he “confirmed” he was misquoted! Such gall.

Reader Wildfly:

This morning on the channel 9 Today Show Flannery claimed he did not say that dams would not fill, despite his exact word being quoted to him.
Let’s check whether Flannery was indeed misquoted and whether he said the dams “may” not fill again.
Here is Tim Flannery on Landline in 2007:
PROFESSOR TIM FLANNERY: We’re already seeing the initial impacts and they include a decline in the winter rainfall zone across southern Australia, which is clearly an impact of climate change, but also a decrease in run-off. Although we’re getting say a 20 per cent decrease in rainfall in some areas of Australia, that’s translating to a 60 per cent decrease in the run-off into the dams and rivers. That’s because the soil is warmer because of global warming and the plants are under more stress and therefore using more moisture. Soeven the rain that falls isn’t actually going to fill our dams and our river systems, and that’s a real worry for the people in the bush. If that trend continues then I think we’re going to have serious problems, particularly for irrigation.
Flannery again in 2007:
Over the past 50 years southern Australia has lost about 20 per cent of its rainfall, and one cause is almost certainly global warming. Similar losses have been experienced in eastern Australia, and although the science is less certain it is probable that global warming is behind these losses too. But by far the most dangerous trend is the decline in the flow of Australian rivers: it has fallen by around 70 per cent in recent decades, so dams no longer fill even when it does rain 
Here is Flannery “clarifying” his comments last year - by confirming them:
As the soil warms up more of the rain that falls evaporates and less goes into the dams and the point that I was trying to make was that even the rain that was falling then previously that was able to fill the dams in future wouldn’t do that.
No, Flannery was not misquoted. He made a false prediction and should retract and apologise.
(if anyone can dig out a clip of Flannery on Today, I would be grateful.)
Reader Paul says the earlier readers I quoted misheard:
Karl was referring to Flannery’s comments in 2005 in regard to the Warragamba Dam…

[Flannery misled] Karl this morning, saying he used the words “at risk of...”
He didn’t use the word ‘risk’. Read below:
Climate Commissioner Tim Flannery in 2005:
“But since 1998 particularly, we’ve seen just drought, drought, drought, and particularly regions like Sydney and the Warragamba catchment – if you look at the Warragamba catchment figures, since ‘98, the water has been in virtual freefall, and they’ve got about two years of supply left, but something will need to change in order to see the catchment start accumulating water again…. So when the models start confirming what you’re observing on the ground, then there’s some fairly strong basis for believing that we’re understanding what’s causing these weather shifts and these rainfall declines, and they do seem to be of a permanent nature…” 
i don’t know if Flannery should be denying this, either. Apologising would be better.


Jeb Bush hints at 2016

Andrew BoltMARCH052013(11:42am)

Some say Jeb is the most talented of all the Bush clan - and, no, that is not a backhanded compliment:
Bush said he wouldn’t rule out a run in 2016, “but I won’t declare today either.”


Even Gillard’s xenophobia is fake

Andrew BoltMARCH052013(9:07am)

Labor is allowed to say what Liberals may not:
A defiant Julia Gillard has used her own life story to identify with the ­residents of western Sydney and vowed to make their job security her top priority, saying“foreigners’’ should go to the back of the queue.
Julia Gillard, The Australian online yesterday: 
WE inherited from the previous government a 457 temporary foreign worker visa program that was totally out of control.

Immigration Department statistics:
NUMBER of primary and secondary 457 visa grants in 2007-08: 110,570
Number of primary and secondary 457 visa grants in 2011-12: 125,070

Mr Abbott has accused the prime minister of demonising foreigners with a crackdown on the 457 temporary foreign worker visa program.
He said trying to turn people against them was the last thing Ms Gillard should be doing, especially in western Sydney.
People on 457 visas who have come to Australia “the right way” were the best possible migrants, the opposition leader said.
Ms Gillard hit back on Tuesday, saying Mr Abbott’s words rang hollow.

“This is the man, who in the run-up to 2010 campaign and almost every day since has been out in the community ... trying to raise fear,” she told Sky News, citing Mr Abbott’s use of terms such as “peaceful invasion” to describe a surge in arrivals of asylum seekers by boats.
The Prime Minister, who has presided over the biggest yearly increase in 457 visa approvals in the past 15 years, blamed the former Howard government for leaving a working visa system “riddled with rorts”.

She said people were complaining about missing out on jobs to foreign workers but was unable to provide examples of where this had occurred.
Ms Gillard’s media director John McTernan, a British citizen, is on a 457 category visa, while her deputy-chief of staff Tom Bentley was also born in the UK.

Top secret security clearances are normally only available to Australian citizens.

It’s understood the requirement was waived in Mr McTernan’s case.
Language, please:
Asked whether he was on a 457 visa, Mr McTernan, who was former British PM Tony Blair’s director of political operations, responded to ABC News Online: “Hardly f**king relevant”.

He later confirmed he was on a 457 visa, having originally been granted one under the former Howard government.
(Thanks to reader Gab.)


Baillieu confronts a complete balls-up of a cover-up

Andrew BoltMARCH052013(8:34am)

More tapes after yesterday’s revelations about Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu’s chief of staff, Tony Nutt, Liberal Party state director Damien Mantach and Deputy Premier Peter Ryan’s former adviser, Tristan Weston.
Those allegations: that Nutt had promised to find Weston work after Weston was forced to resign following an OPI report into the brawl between then police chief Simon Overland and his deputy Sir Ken Jones. Further, that Mantach authorised $22,500 to be paid to Weston.
PETER Ryan’s adviser, Tristan Weston, repeatedly told Sir Ken Jones he’d bring his minister into the loop as Sir Ken was being marched out of the Victoria Police Centre in May 2011.

In two telephone conversations - which were digitally recorded and have now been obtained by the Herald Sun - Mr Weston tells an angry and upset Sir Ken he will raise his concerns with Mr Ryan.
The pair also criticised then-chief commissioner Simon Overland, with Sir Ken saying: “He’ll get his day one day. Something will get him.”
Mr Weston replies: “It’s coming, it’s just a shame that it’s taken so long.”

The conversations give the first public insight into how Sir Ken - who has repeatedly refused to make any comments about his departure - was feeling as he was forced out the door by Mr Overland, who had accused his former deputy commissioner of leaking information.
1. How can the Premier’s office function with its most senior employee under investigation by the state’s anti-corruption body?

2. How could Premier Ted Baillieu not have known about the promises Mr Nutt was making to Mr Weston?
3. Does Mr Baillieu think the offers being made to Mr Weston by Mr Nutt of assistance in fi nding a job were appropriate?
4. Why was Mr Nutt not stood aside pending the IBAC inquiry?
5. Can the public have any confidence in the powers of IBAC to investigate, given Mr Nutt’s claims that the Government enforced “checks” on IBAC to ensure it did not ruin people’s reputations?
6. Did Peter Ryan lie to the public, the OPI or the Parliament over what he knew about Tristan Weston’s actions?
7. Was the $22,500 paid to Tristan Weston designed to buy his silence?
8. Were any taxpayer funds used to pay out Mr Weston’s contract, given Mr Nutt’s pledge to explore “some mechanisms” for him?
9. Why did Mr Nutt tell Mr Weston that if everything died down, Premier Ted Baillieu would offer Mr Weston’s friend Bill Tilley a return to the job of parliamentary secretary?

10. Why was the payment of $22,500 to Mr Weston kept secret from the Liberal Party’s administration committee?
It seems a massive cock-up based on massive jealousies and administrative dysfunctions within Victoria Police. The cover-up seems, once again, the worst of it.
A government that does so little has not much chance of moving the conversation along.


Who is this “we” that hates Abbott?

Andrew BoltMARCH052013(8:13am)

In his controversial Quarterly Essay in September, titled ‘’Political Animal’’, David Marr did not completely write off Abbott’s chances of winning the coming election. But he did begin his piece with the comment: “Australia doesn’t want Tony Abbott; we never have.” Some months later, when responding to comments on the essay, Marr wrote: “The numbers are going the wrong way for Abbott.”
Marr’s analysis overlooks Abbott’s 2010 success in forcing a first-term government to minority status. There is almost unanimity in opinion polls that the Abbott-led Coalition is likely to prevail in the election.
... it is mere hyperbole to suggest that all Australians do not want Abbott to be prime minister. Moreover, the numbers are heading in Abbott’s direction.

Hostility to Abbott is partly personal, partly political and based among inner-city intelligentsia in Sydney and Melbourne, quite a few of whom are Greens voters. It finds strongest expression at the ABC - which still does not have one conservative presenter, producer or editor on any of its prime products - and in the publications of Black Inc.


Gillard’s Potemkin West

Andrew BoltMARCH052013(7:54am)

IN the first two days of her stage-managed western Sydney blitz, Julia Gillard has only met with Labor supporters or people who have benefited from her government.

... the Prime Minister found only friendly turf again after rallying Labor faithful at Parramatta on Sunday.
Her day started with a visit to Western Sydney Wanderers players at training, a year after the government gave $8 million to develop football in western Sydney.
After blitzing morning TV and radio shows, Ms Gillard visited Ability Options, an employment assistance provider for people with disabilities in Seven Hills which is funded by the federal and state governments…

Ms Gillard’s clothes arrived at Rooty Hill RSL, where she is staying, marked “Prime Minister’s overseas visit”.
So what better place to hold her first press conference of the visit than on a traffic island next to the M7 Motorway…

The Prime Minister, travelling from Seven Hills to Eastern Creek in her Comcar, trailed a caravan of ministers, local MPs, political staffers, reporters, camera operators and boom mike operators, at least 90 per cent of whom were imported from the national capital.

The only real people within shouting distance were the poor folk in high visibility vests trying manfully to direct the cars disgorging out-of-towners.
Reader TdeF complains:
That was a terrible slur on the great Grigory Potemkin, one created by his political enemies. Grigory created the Ukraine and the Russian fleet expelling the remnants of the Golden Horde and securing the Caucuses. Catherine II only visited once. For Catherine, it was a Royal visit to a far flung realm and she had the same luggage tags and fawning entourage as Julia.
And so it is little wonder that some in the west were baffled by Julia Gillard’s attempt to woo them by assuring them they were not second-rate citizens - it had never occurred to them that they were.

It’s a bit like going up to a perfectly healthy person in the street and telling them that despite what others might say it’s not true that they have cancer. They’re not exactly going to find it reassuring.
And so, as I was wandering the endless floor of the RSL proper, a bloke in a hi-vis shirt at the bar called out my name.
“You see?” he says. “We in the west watch Q&A too.”

He then goes on to say that the paper hasn’t been doing enough to hold the Prime Minister to account. I tell him he is the first person I have ever met who thinks The Telegraph has been too soft on the Gillard government.
Hildebrand’s mate sounds like a blog reader: 
He’s as Strine and working-class as you could want. He should’ve been voting Labor since he was a twinkle in his daddy’s eye. Now it seems he wants them destroyed.

He says we should do a report card on the Prime Minister, starting with her pledges here during the last campaign and the string of broken promises since.

Then, with a wicked grin, he says he reckons Stephen Conroy has us by the balls.


Sydney’s shootings won’t be stopped by fighting gangs

Andrew BoltMARCH052013(7:51am)

Sure, fight gangs with a new federal anti-gangs task force, as now promised by the Gillard Government.
But I am less convinced that the task force will do much about a problem singled out by the Prime Minister in announcing her new task force:
Even though we have seen general reductions in gun crime, we have certainly seen increases in shootings in public places. Most particularly when we look at the New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, we see that over the past 15 years, shootings in public places have soared.

Former NSW detective Tim Priest is surely right to say many of these shootings have more to do with ethnic factors than with organised crime gangs:
I fail to see just how this initiative is actually going to stop random drive-by shootings that are not connected to gangs. There is evidence in Sydney thatsome of the shootings are more about culture and how some in our community deal with personal offence, rather than being gang related.
Turf wars between motorcycle gangs and other organised criminal groups are behind some of the incidents, say police. But they also warn that young men without gang links have begun arming themselves to resolve disputes with roots as petty as an argument between two women in a supermarket…

New South Wales police announced a new initiative to address gun crime, which the police commissioner, Andrew Scipione, described as the state’s “number one problem”. But news that it will be led by the force’s Middle Eastern organised crime squad sparked anger in the Muslim community…
Keysar Trad, spokesman for the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, said the squad’s new assignment implied the problem was confined to one ethnic group when incidents have been also lined to Serbian and Samoan organised crime, as well as gangs or individuals with no particular affiliations…
Nick Kaldas, the deputy police commissioner of New South Wales, told Fairfax Media: “We are seeing guns used to settle the most trivial matters. Small debts, arguments over women, domestic tensions, road rage and minor property disputes.”

One shooting incident took place following an argument about Syrian politics in a hairdressing salon; another after one man complimented another’s wife at a wedding.
A task force on the links between immigration and crime might be just as useful as a task force on gangs, if not more so. But, of course, that would be too rude… 
Yoni Bashan says Julia Gillard is simply setting up a small new task force to do what existing ones do already:

Second, even with new strike teams, the paltry 70 investigators promised by the PM’s office is a drop in the ocean. The NSW Middle Eastern organised crime squad has double that strength to focus on a single ethnic group and it still has its hands full.
How can 70 investigators, spread over every criminal gang nationwide (outlaw bikies alone comprise about 40 groups), achieve meaningful results?…
But most damning of all is that we already have a perfectly good implement to do this job. Instead of being a taskforce, though, it is known as a “fusion centre”.

Run by the Australian Crime Commission, it is based on the same concept and performs a virtually identical role… Funnily enough, it, too, has special “strike teams” ...


How to tame the anti-human rights commission

Andrew BoltMARCH052013(7:19am)

Nick Cater makes an optimistic prediction - that the disturbing attacks on free speech proposed by the Gillard Government, to the cheers of so many closet totalitarians of the Left, have instead provoked a mighty resistance: 
Incongruously, hidden in the middle of the list [of attributes the Government wanted to protect from offence and insult], is the protected right of political opinion, which caught the eye of the opinionated George Brandis when the Human Rights Commission’s new chairwoman, Gillian Triggs, turned up to help the Senate with its inquiries recently. Did it mean that the Human Rights Commission had woken up at last to the need to defend free speech?

Nope. Not a chance, as Triggs explained to senators: “We would like to make the point that not all political opinion is protected. The right is not absolute; it is subject to certain constraints.”
If you can hold that subversive thought in your head, no problem; indeed thinking has the full protection of the law. Try not to blurt it out, however, because Triggs warns that if public order or the maintenance of a civilised workplace is threatened “decision makers will have to put limits”.
Uh, oh. Decision makers, limits. Brandis picked her up: “Should the capacity to express unwelcome political opinions - unwelcome to their auditor - be constrained?”
“I believe it can be, and ought to be, constrained, where the behaviour ultimately becomes harassment - if you want to use that word,” replied the professor. “We may get it wrong; the courts may get it wrong. But I think the critical point is to accept that nobody is there objecting to the holding of the political view; the objection is to the effect of that political view or the manner in which it is delivered.”

There is a danger of speaking too soon, but the Bolt case, and Roxon’s doomed bill, sinking under the weight of its own absurdity, may well go down as the catalyst for a revolt that stopped the expansion of the human rightism in its tracks.
What business is any of this for some judge or tribunal member, anyway? What business is it for some government-appointment activist or bureaucrat to determine whose views are right and who should have expressed themselves in a better way?
Let all this be determined in the cacophanous market of free speech.
It should be a grand Liberal project to abolish human rights tribunals dedicated to denying a human right as basic as free speech.
I accept that Liberals are too frightened and too unprepared for such a cultural war, and plan a much smaller battle to simply “reform” the Australian Human Rights Commission by, say, appointing a Free Speech Commissioner or Freedom Commissioner.
Such an effort will fail, or, if successful initially, will eventually lead to even worse under a new and more punitive government. Inevitably a “free speech commissioner” will, as the AHRC is now, be more concerned to determine the limits of free speech than to expand them. The power of such commissioners will come from the same source that makes too many of the worst bureaucracies mighty in their own eyes: the power to say no.
So here is a compromise for a new Coalition government that will be short of money, anyway - a compromise that will let it dodge the argument until it feels more confident.
I note this in Cater’s piece: 
Autonomous extra-parliamentary bodies look cute when they’re little, but they tend to turn ugly when fully grown. The Human Rights Commission, as it is now known, had a budget of $27.5 million last year, and let’s not forget its little cousins: the Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW; the Anti-Discrimination Commission of Queensland; the Equal Opportunities Commission of Western Australia, the NT Anti-Discrimination Commission; the Office of the Anti-Discrimination Commission (Tasmania); the South Australia Equal Opportunity Commission; the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission; and the ACT Human Rights Commission...
That strikes me many human rights bodies too many. An Abbott Government could argue for some amalgamation - to devolve all functions of the federal human rights bodies to the states. No more Australian Human Rights Council. Sure, that leaves a small gap of checking our conformity with international covenants, but I think the Attorney-General’s department could handle that safely. Don’t you? And it’s not as if there isn’t an army of human rights lawyers and activist groups already doing the AHRC’s nagging for free.
So there. Scrap the AHRC. Devolve its functions to the state bodies, closer to the people. Save money. And make us more free.


Batman now lives in Bradford

Andrew BoltMARCH052013(12:29am)

A mystery was sparked when an anonymous man dressed in a full Batman costume handed in a suspected burglar to officers at Trafalgar House police station in Bradford…

The suspect is due to appear in court on March 8 charged with handling stolen goods and fraud-related offences.
Unfortunately, the mystery may soon be solved:
West Yorkshire police have now revealed they think the man dressed as Batman is a friend of the man who was turned in, and later arrested.


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Don’t let your natural abilities define or limit you. The Lord can go beyond all that and make you a champion for His glory! Just look at how David, a shepherd boy, conquered Goliath.

Published on Feb 28, 2013
How do you impact the people of the world for Jesus without being caught up in the things of this world? What's the Bible's definition of "worldliness" and how do you stay on top of it in your own life? Get the answers and more in this revelatory message by Joseph Prince. Eradicate false fears about becoming "defiled" by the world, and discover how believing you are the Father's beloved brings true holiness and liberates you from worldly lusts. Get a fresh revelation of the Father's lavish love today and be emboldened to reach out to a lost and dying world!

Get the full message at:
JosephPrince.com - http://bit.ly/13p2dbD

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God is so strong that there is nothing He can't do, and so loving that there is nothing He won’t do for us! Check out today's devotional. Be sure to click "like" to help spread the word! Thanks, all! http://bit.ly/YsgYVd
Let us praise the Lord, who is good, and whose faithful love endures forever (1Chr 16:34, NLT).

Published on May 23, 2012
Feel in need of protection, strength and steady support today? Then run to Jesus, your eternal and unfailing strong refuge! Joseph Prince expounds on the six cities of refuge in the Old Testament and shows you how they speak of Jesus as your safe haven. See how Jesus wants to protect you and provide you with the best, even when you're in a trouble of your own making. Find security and rest for your soul as you allow Jesus, your good shepherd, to gladly carry you on His shoulders and lift you up with His grace and power!

Get the full message at:
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Stop Wildlife Crime - It's Dead Serious.
"In 50 years of conservation, we have never seen wildlife crime on such a scale. Wildlife crime is now the most urgent threat to three of the world’s best-loved species—elephants, rhinos and tigers."

"At least one rhino is killed every day due to the mistaken belief that rhino horn can cure diseases. The main market is now in Vietnam where there is a newly emerged belief that rhino horn cures cancer. Rhino horn is also used in other traditional Asian medicine to treat a variety of ailments including fever and various blood disorders. It is also used by wealthy Asian as a cure for hangovers."

"Tens of thousands of elephants are killed every year for their ivory tusks. In 1989, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) banned the international trade in ivory. However, there are still some thriving but unregulated domestic ivory markets in a number of countries, which fuel an illegal international trade."

"Every part of the tiger—from whisker to tail—is traded in illegal wildlife markets. Poaching is the most immediate threat to wild tigers. In relentless demand, their parts are used for traditional medicine, folk remedies, and increasingly as a status symbol among wealthy Asians."

Information directly from WWFhttp://bit.ly/WH4SMk
© Martin Harvey / WWF-Canon





The government may now have resorted to union conscription for aged care workers, as it is reported that commonwealth funding for aged care providers would be tied to union based enterprise bargaining agreements.

This proposal amounts to a direct intervention in the private sector by the commonwealth to seek a favourable outcome for a vested interest – the union movement.

Unions represent only 13 percent of the private sector workforce, which is where most aged care is provided.

Aged care providers may have to conscript workers who are in unions in order to qualify for funds. This is even though the vast majority of workers choose not to be in unions.

The union that does cover many aged care workers, the Health Services Union, is mired in corruption. How will funding be handled so that aged care providers do not force their workers to be members of such a union until it is cleaned up?

The Fair Work Act prohibits most forms of discrimination against workers. The promised aged care funding is likely to discriminate against the many aged care workers who are not in unions.

This is an unprecedented move that has the potential to spill into other areas of government purchasing.

In fact the proposal is to use public funding to prop up incumbent unions in the aged care sector.

This is a reactionary proposal that should be dropped.


Summer Desert — with Daniel Frank Katz atStrawberry Fields.


PHOTO OF THE DAY: goes to Martin Rietze who took this INCREDIBLE lightning photo within the lava bombs on Sakura Island in Japan, recently. WOW!!!! You have got to be kidding me.

For more of Martin's incredible photos from this expedition, check out his website here:http://mrietze.com/web13/japan13.htm

Help us take it to the next level with Tornado Chasers, Season 2013 by pledging on our Kickstarter campaign.

We want to bring to you the most extreme, highest quality storm chasing reality series ever to hit TV or the internet, and we can't do it without your help.



Today on radio 2GB, Alan Jones interviewed ACCC Chairman Rod Simms, and he referred extensively to a submission that I made to the ACCC’s Grocery Inquiry back in 2008, detailing a case study of how the anti-competitive practice of Geographic Price Discrimination is used to eliminate low prices and protect the existing supermarket duopoly from competition.

I detailed how for a basket of 28 everyday fruit and vegetables, that Woolworths were charging between 51% and 402% higher prices at Greystanes than they were charging for the same items in Fairfield which is less than 4km away.

They slashed prices Fairfield to drive a smaller more efficient competitor from the market, and when this small competitor had been driven to ruin and closed down - they jacked the prices back up, resulting in less consumer choice and higher prices.

At the time I called on then Competition Minister, and member for the local area Mr. Chris Bowen to protect his constituents and all Australian consumers from falling victim to the evil of Geographic Price Discrimination, a practice that adds to inflationary pressures across the nation and resulted in Australia holding the shameful title of having the developed world’s highest rate of inflation.

Other than the farce of Grocerywatch Mr Bowen did nothing. No wonder that that latest polls are showing a 20% swing against Mr Bowen, and he looks like being voted out of parliament at the next election. He's had his chance and failed.

Following is a link to the interview between Jones & Simms


And following is a link to my submission to the ACCC


*Panstarrs over Lake Clifton*

March 3rd - I was setup north of Yallingup when cloud arrived around 5pm, threatening to kill the show. So I packed up and quickly drove north until I found a clearing. 

I reached Lake Clifton around 7pm and hiked out to the lake and was setup by 7.30. Around 7.35 I caught my first naked eye glimpse of the comet and followed it until it set behind cloud. Easy to see both the head and start of tail and a magnificent sight in binoculars.

This is a frame from a timelapse @ 200 mm, iso 6400, f/2.8, 2 sec, 7.55 pm. I was initially disappointed to see cloud near the horizon, but it actually worked out nicely in the timelapse, moving sideways while the comet drifted down.

Perth is cloudy tonight. I might sneak out later for a look if it clears. Can't help myself ;)

ps. I've stretched this a bit more than usual to bring out fainter details in the tail.


Whatever season you are in, whatever circumstances surround you, the Lord is able to give you peace, security, covering and protection. The psalmist describes this beautifully: “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty...He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge” (Ps 91:1, 4).

There is no safer place in the universe than under the protective shelter of your Savior’s wings. There is always refuge and comfort in the Lord. He is your unfailing peace, protection and supply!





that moment when you eat something in the presence of dogs ...
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Hi everyone! Here's the MichelleMalkin.com newsletter for March 4th. Enjoy!

From the Blog

Philadelphia Horror: The trial of baby-killing monster Kermit Gosnell

Jury selection begins today in the trial of Philadelphia late-term abortionist and accused serial infanticide Dr. Kermit Gosnell...

Good news: White House meme-generating department unscathed by sequestration

Friday, President Obama said he couldn’t solve sequestration by using a “Jedi mind meld"...

WaPo, CBS, CNN: In spite of what Obama said, Capitol janitors are not getting a sequester-induced pay cut

During President Obama’s “the sequester’s coming to devour your paycheck” news conference Friday morning, he made this claim...

More From the Right Side of the Web

Michelle's Book Corner

Be sure to check out Obama's Four Horsemen: The Disasters Unleashed by Obama's Reelection, the latest from David Harsanyi. Here's what Michelle had to say about it:
This is not a book for the faint-hearted. In chilling detail, David Harsanyi exposes the brutal and bloody dangers looming ahead during Obama'ssecond term. Harsanyi outlines how the Nanny State progressive-in-chief has enabled the four horsemen of debt, dependency, national decline, and the culture of death. Yes, it is apocalyptic. No, it is not irreversible. Conservatives must pray, pick themselves up, and pull together to turn our country back from Obama's highway to hell. America must heed Harsanyi's prophetic work!

Michelle's Top Tweets

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And ... Our Hate Tweet of the Day

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That's, um ... wow.

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