Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wed Apr 23rd Todays News

Words have power, and a tremendous speech by the former US President Theodore Roosevelt delivered on this day in 1910 is compelling. It is not the critic, but the man in the arena who decides the course of the event. The speech goes for thirty five pages, and defines the success of GOP Presidency through the years. Nixon referred to it as he ascended to the Presidency, and as the door closed on it. Mandela gave it to his Rugby Captain before that match. There is no power without responsibility. When Rudd tried reckless spending as a policy, he failed. He had had the money to achieve much. He failed because it takes more than money. The man in the arena does not have to be perfect, but they have to have character, competence, intelligence and diligence to achieve the standard. 

Five years later, and words lost a powerful friend with the passing of Rupert Brooke. He was a young poet who had achieved much in a very short time. He travelled with the fleet to Gallipolli, and died on the journey. He is buried in an olive field in Skyros, Greece. A year earlier he had written himself a deserving epitaph. 

V. The Soldier

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.
And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.
Rupert, on that final journey, was the man in the arena. His ghost has more wisdom, more life, grace compassion and understanding than President Obama's finest moment. Because, as Roosevelt observed, the man in the arena, not the critic, decides the course of the event. 

For twenty two years I have been responsibly addressing an issue, and I cannot carry on. I am petitioning the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott to remedy my distress. I leave it up to him if he chooses to address the issue. Regardless of your opinion of conservative government, the issue is pressing. Please sign my petition at https://www.change.org/en-AU/petitions/tony-abbott-remedy-the-persecution-of-dd-ball
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Hatches
Happy birthday and many happy returns Jaimee Pham. Born on the same date Charles II was crowned king of England, Ireland and McLand in 1661. I don't believe in accidents.
Matches
Despatches
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The world will never be ready for Rudd to run the UN

Miranda Devine – Tuesday, April 22, 2014 (8:40pm)

STRANGE to tell, but Kevin Rudd’s campaign to become the next UN Secretary-General is ­gathering steam, at least in his own head. First it was Bob Carr’s endorsement.

Icon Arrow Continue reading 'The world will never be ready for Rudd to run the UN'
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Aggressive dedication to doomsday

Miranda Devine – Tuesday, April 22, 2014 (8:39pm)

Here was Neil Ormerod, Professor of Theology at the Australian Catholic University no less, writing in the Fairfax letters pages: “Free speech for racist bigots, free speech for climate denialists. Where will it end? There is a value in free speech to promote reasoned discussion and deliberation. And then there is obdurate and at times wilful ignorance ...

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Loons and ratbags to run Labor

Miranda Devine – Tuesday, April 22, 2014 (8:37pm)

BILL Shorten was right about one thing yesterday. It wasn’t Tony Abbott who threw the Labor Party into opposition, it was the Australian people.

Icon Arrow Continue reading 'Loons and ratbags to run Labor'
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PANEL VAN

Tim Blair – Wednesday, April 23, 2014 (5:20pm)

Australian playwright and Guardian columnist Vanessa Badham joins the panel next week on the ABC’s Q & Aprogram. Let’s see what this young lady gets up to on Twitter …

Icon Arrow Continue reading 'PANEL VAN'
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REACHING OUT TO MODERN YOUTH

Tim Blair – Wednesday, April 23, 2014 (3:44pm)

An email chat yesterday with the editors of Sydney University’s student paper: 
Tim: Hi, editors.
I’m writing a story for the Daily Telegraph about Honi Soit’s current online survey. Please call me on 0466 --- ---.
Thank you,
Tim Blair
Editors: Hi, Tim.
Thanks for your message. If you could email us through any questions we’ll be sure to get back to you ASAP.
Kind regards,
Honi Eds.
Tim: Hi, eds. Thanks for getting back to me.
I understand that the list of 50 or so gender choices in the survey is from Facebook in the US. A few questions:
What sort of feedback have you received so far from survey respondents and other students? Are they supportive of the list?
Was there any debate about using the list? How/when was it first proposed?
Was there any concern that students might think the list wasn’t serious?
For that matter, was running the list an entirely serious idea?
Cheers,
Tim
Editors: Hi Tim,
We decided to provide non-binary gender options to make our survey as inclusive as possible for our readers. Most of our respondents have not commented, albeit for a small minority who did not immediately understand terms like “cis”. Several respondents have also privately expressed their appreciation for not prescribing gender-binary options.
We hope your slow news day picks up soon. We’ve heard the royals are in town and would imagine you’d be quite a fan.
Regards,
Honi Eds.
Tim: Much obliged, ladies and gentlemen. 
As it happens, the royals left Sydney yesterday for the Northern Territory. If only these youngsters paid as much attention to other events as they do to spotting whatever the minute difference is between trans men, trans* males, trans males and trans* men. 
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ENDLESS RESOURCE

Tim Blair – Wednesday, April 23, 2014 (2:06pm)

“All you ever do,” a friend once told me, “is find idiotic things leftists say and then make fun of them. It’s so lazy.”
He was right, obviously, but I felt the terminology could stand some refinement. “It’s called a business model,” I replied. “I’ve found a way to turn stupid into money.” Which was why I was so delighted with the March in March, and am delighted again with the forthcoming … 
March in May. This is it Adelaide! We are doing it again! 
This time the valiant marchers have helpfully listed their grievances in advance. At the top of their list: 
All of the above 
That’s at the top. Which means there is nothing above. Great start, marchies! The list continues: 
Social justice and human rights in relation to a number of key issues 
Good luck turning that into a chant. 
Transparency in Government actions and decisions 
Have these people ever tried to report on a Greens conference? Where the media is typically banned? 
The end of corporate interference in politics. 
I agree. Ban Graeme Wood
Respect the diversity of Australian families 
Seriously? Family diversity is marchworthy now? 
The exit of Rupert Murdoch 
To where? The UK? The US? Already done, babies. 
A NO CONFIDENCE VOTE in our current P.M. & Government 
Had your chance last September. 
The abolition of capitalism and the state 
Hmm. If we’re talking about the state of South Australia, I’m up for further discussion.
(Via Gregoryno6)
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SYMPATHY FOR KEVNI

Tim Blair – Wednesday, April 23, 2014 (3:26am)

Some of Kevin Rudd’s hissy fits were understandable. Imagine, for example, receiving a snippy email complaining about asylum seeker policies – from the very person who was the substantive author of those very policies: 
An extraordinary email sent by Ms Gillard to Mr Rudd at 9.49am on Monday, June 21, 2010, reveals she was deeply troubled about the government’s performance, even panicked, and expressed “a great deal of anxiety” over asylum-seeker policies. There had been a “loss of control of the borders” resulting in an influx of asylum-seekers that was driving voter support for the government to a new low, she warned the prime minister …
“To state the obvious – our primary is in the mid-30s; we can’t win an election with a primary like that and the issue of asylum-seekers is an enormous reason why our primary is at that low level,” Ms Gillard wrote in the email.
“It is an issue working on every level – loss of control of the borders feeding into a narrative of a government that is incompetent and out of control. As you know I have been raising this with a great deal of anxiety and I remain desperately concerned about lack of progress.” 
Two days later Gillard ended Rudd’s first term as Prime Minister. It would not have helped Rudd’s temper that in subsequent years PM Gillard oversaw even greater increases in asylum seeker arrivals and deaths. Why, it’s almost enough to make you pity the fellow.
UPDATE. Angry Kevni.
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A STEYN RETROSPECTIVE

Tim Blair – Wednesday, April 23, 2014 (2:01am)

Happy Earth Day, everybody!
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RAINBOW CONNECTION

Tim Blair – Wednesday, April 23, 2014 (1:54am)

As Miranda Devine observes, Labor’s real challenge isn’t severing ties with the unions. It’s severing ties with the Greens.

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Ian Plimer eats greens

Andrew Bolt April 23 2014 (4:08pm)

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Ian Plimer’s latest:
Greens may have started as genuine environmentalists. Much of the green movement has now morphed into an unelected extremist political pressure group accountable to no one. Greens create problems, many of which are concocted, and provide no solutions because of a lack of basic knowledge. This book examines green policies in the light of established knowledge and shows that they are unrealistic.
Policies by greens adopted by supine governments have resulted in rising costs, increased taxes, political instability, energy poverty, decreased longevity and environmental degradation and they don’t achieve their ideological aims. Wind, solar and biomass energy emit more carbon dioxide than they save and reduction of carbon dioxide emissions does nothing to change climate and only empties the pocket. No stainless steel teaspoon could be made using green “alternative energy”.
This book argues that unless the greens live sustainably in caves in the forest and use no trappings of the modern world, then they should be regarded as hypocrites and treated with the disdain they deserve.
Pre-order here.
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Academic claims: soldiers fired up by “invoking their shared ability to sexually degrade women”

Andrew Bolt April 23 2014 (9:39am)

Dr Lindy Edwards teaches at the Australian Defence Force Academy and claims:
There is a long tradition of firing up fighting men by invoking their shared ability to sexually degrade women. They tap into an ideal of male sexual power to create a cocktail of ego, aggression and sexual energy that they channel into battle.
Dr Edwards receives a letter:
I served with the RAAF in Vietnam while my father served with the RAAF in the Pacific in WWII.  Neither of us encountered the phenomenon you referenced.  ??Since leaving the RAAF I have further developed my interest in military history but, I cannot find any reference to your claim.  Consequently, I would be grateful if you would provide me with examples where commanders have fired up their men using the technique you described.
Sincerely,
H R Thomas 
Read on. Not surprisingly, Mr Thomas is not given examples of what Dr Edwards has claimed to observe. 
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The church of global warming

Andrew Bolt April 23 2014 (9:16am)

 I detect that Germans have had enough of paying insane power prices to pretend to do something about global warming. From Oliver Welke’s Heute Show on ZDF national TV.
(Thanks to reader handjive.) 
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Rudd says Gillard welshed on deal

Andrew Bolt April 23 2014 (9:03am)

A nest of vipers. Not new, but told by Rudd himself for the first time:
KEVIN Rudd says he offered to stand aside for Julia Gillard to become prime minister at the end of 2010 if the government was facing election defeat — but Ms Gillard welshed on the agreement just minutes after it was made…
Mr Rudd has spoken on the record about the pivotal meeting with Ms Gillard in the prime minister’s Parliament House office on the evening of June 23, 2010, witnessed by Labor elder John Faulkner.
Mr Rudd said the conditional offer of a leadership transition — without a vote of the Labor caucus — came after a long discussion about the performance of the government and its electoral prospects…
“We had a discussion about her concerns about the government’s direction — a large part of which was news to me,” Mr Rudd said. “I put to her the simple proposition that if by the time the election was due at the end of the year the government was not in a winning position then of course I would not wish to remain as leader.”
Ms Gillard “agreed with that approach” but then took a phone call outside Mr Rudd’s office and returned to say that she had now decided to challenge his position as Labor leader and prime minister…
“I said: ‘So you have just reneged on an agreement with me in front of a witness given only 10 minutes ago?’ To which she said, ‘Yes’...”
(Thanks to reader Peter of Bellevue Hill,) 
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Abbott moves on Liberal carpetbaggers

Andrew Bolt April 23 2014 (8:51am)

Good:


LIBERAL Party officials who try to privately influence government MPs as “strategic consultants’’ or “legal consultants” without identifying themselves as lobbyists face tough new regu­lations to limit influence-­peddling…
Party officials will be forced to declare they are lobbyists and will have to choose between party ­positions and trying to exert ­influence.
The principle of declaration and self-regulation that currently applies to professional lobbyists will be replaced by a decision from the secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, who will decide who is a lobbyist and enforce registration and regulation.
The definition of a lobbyist will be expanded to include those who have escaped so far by describing themselves as consultants. There is also likely to be an audit of all the business interests of Liberal Party officials to prevent informal lobbying...
Tony Abbott, who since coming to power in September has already imposed a ban on paid and unpaid party officials acting as lobbyists, remains deeply concerned about the continuing practice of Liberal officials and former MPs trying to covertly influence government decisions without the public declaration or regulations that apply to lobbyists. There is unease about the number of so-called “strategic consultants” or former MPs working for law firms or com­panies who do not declare they are lobbyists but still seek to raise business interests and affect ­decisions.
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Shorten fights unions when he should fight the greens

Andrew Bolt April 23 2014 (8:47am)

Bill Shorten wants to rid Labor of the unions when he should be ridding it of greens. Miranda Devine:
Delivering what was billed as a historic, reforming speech in Melbourne yesterday the Labor leader declared he was going to rid the party of union domination and open it up to the “grassroots"…
That sounds all noble and democratic but what it means in practice is handing the party over to the lunatic Green Left.
For all his talk about a new moral purpose, Shorten was just drawing from the old well of politically correct poison which has brought his party to its knees....
Shorten raised “the rancour over the recent Western Australian process (which) shows that in the future we need a method that provides a local voice.”
That “rancour” between Labor running mates Joe Bullock and Louise Pratt in Western Australia over Labor’s abysmal results in the latest re-run Senate election encapsulates Labor’s dilemma.
Bullock, who won Labor’s only Senate seat in WA, is a socially conservative member of the powerful shoppies union, which is headed by the outgoing right-wing faction leader and social conservative Joe De Bruyn.
Pratt, No. 2 on Labor’s Senate ticket, is an openly lesbian gay rights activist and Labor staffer, backed by the left-aligned United Voice union, who has been involved in Labor politics since her student days.
The pair are typical of the Labor Party’s increasingly schizophrenic nature.
UPDATE
Troy Bramston is scathing of Shorten’s speech:
The Opposition Leader called for a new platform chapter outlining Labor’s “values”, but the spectacularly outdated commitment to “socialism” will remain in the party’s constitution. Nor was there any mention of Labor’s need for new policies or to jettison those from the Rudd-Gillard years, such as the carbon and mining taxes…
It was suggested Shorten’s speech would offer “sweeping”, “significant” and “radical” reform not seen since Gough Whitlam’s time. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The biggest transformative reform Labor can make to empower its members and ditch the powerbroker ethos is to reduce the 50 per cent control unions have over the party’s state conferences.
Unions use their bloc votes to dominate policymaking, appoint party personnel and select candidates. That power remains undiminished.
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The rise of the new authoritarians

Andrew Bolt April 23 2014 (8:35am)

Neil Ormerod, Professor of Theology at the Australian Catholic University, demands an end to free speech:
Free speech for racist bigots, free speech for climate denialists. Where will it end?… There is a value in free speech to promote reasoned discussion and deliberation. And then there is obdurate and at times wilful ignorance ...
Fine, Professor. Then let’s also end the free speech of those who peddle obdurate and wilfully ignorant claims that the first woman was created from the rib of the first man.
Professor, do you understand how many people would deny your own right to speak under the standards you set for others?
(Via Miranda Devine.)
UPDATE
My bet is that the writer didn’t for a second consider the Aboriginal ancestry of the surfer he was actually praising, but such are the inflamed sensitivities today:
AN indigenous surfer is suing a Gold Coast magazine for $200,000 after it wrote an article saying he had an “apeish face”.
Coffs Harbour boardrider Otis Carey has filed a discrimination lawsuit against Burleigh publication Surfing Life for an article in its March edition.
“With his apeish face and cowering hair-curtains, I expect little more than Cro-Magnon grunts from his mouth,” surf writer Nathan Myers wrote.
“I am caught off guard by the clarity and eloquence of his speech.”
(Thanks to reader Jimp51.) 
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Who is the ABC’s Alberici of the right?

Andrew Bolt April 23 2014 (7:14am)

We all have our biases. The ABC simply refuses to admit its current affairs presenters have them, too, and those biases are uniformly to the Left.
Today’s example: Lateline presenter Emma Alberici. Here are questions from just one interview last night - of Maurice Newman, the prime minister’s chief business advisor:

EMMA ALBERICI: It’s no secret that you don’t agree that man-made CO2 is causing global warming. Given there is now consensus among 97 per cent or so of climate scientists across the world that the view - around the view that human activity is responsible for climate change, what would it take to convince you?
Bias check: The survey is nonsense, including among the 97 per cent even scientists who protest they are sceptics. Besides, science is never settled by a show of hands.
EMMA ALBERICI: I just want to take you up on that because it would appear that there is strong consensus, at least among - certainly when it comes to the IPCC, that is a group that has brought together under the auspices of the United Nations, the science around the world, it doesn’t actually do science itself, it just collates all the science and puts it forward. Now 195 countries contribute to that. Nineteen academies of science across the world, including I have to say the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, the CSIRO, NASA, the American Academy of Sciences, the British equivalent, the Canadian equivalent, some really reputable bodies around the world are now agreeing that it’s human activity that’s causing climate change. So I’m wondering, who is it that’s influencing you so that is so convincing you otherwise?
Bias check: Again, the argument by authority. Note also that Alberici says these bodies are “agreeing that it’s human activity that’s causing climate change”. That misstates the real argument. Many sceptics believe human activity is indeed likely to have a warming effect, but dispute the size of it, the danger of it, and the utility of efforts to “stop” it. And against Alberici’s appeal to count hands is the science, which shows no rise in surface temperatures for some 16 years, contrary to the predictions of the scientists she demands we believe.

EMMA ALBERICI (on Roy Spencer’s evidence that 95 per cent of climate models predicted more warming than we actually got):  He was at NASA. His colleagues at NASA disagree with him.
Bias check: They do? In fact, even the IPCC Alberici treats as the font of all wisdom last year admitted most climate models had indeed failed to predict the warming pause of at least the past 15 years:

There are, however, differences between simulated and observed trends over periods as short as 10 to 15 years… There may also be a contribution from forcing inadequacies and, in some models, an overestimate of the response to increasing greenhouse gas and other anthropogenic forcing (dominated by the effects of aerosols) ...
This pause - or halt - in warming was not predicted. Why even bother to try to deny it?
EMMA ALBERICI: But I’m just going on people with great reputations around the world, including our own Chief Scientist, Greg Hunt, the Environment Minister, Tony Abbott, the Prime Minister. I mean, around the world, there seems to be consensus that it is a man-made phenomena.
Bias check: Alberici, never a fan of Abbott, now elevates him to one of the “people with great reputations around the world” who argues that global warming “is a man-made phenomenon”. This is her most desperate use yet of argument by authority. And if Abbott actually privately believes man’s influence on global temperatures has been wildly overstated, will Alberici modify her own warming beliefs?
EMMA ALBERICI: That it’s a pause. I guess that’s what scientists say. It’s a pause. They look back 800,000 years as I understand it, so 17 years in the scheme of things isn’t an enormous amount of time.
Bias check: Is this the first time Alberici has conceded the sceptics are right, that there has in fact been no warming for perhaps 17 years? Then why is she so adamant that we listen to the “97 per cent of climate scientists” who a decade or more ago said we’d get warming instead?
Alberici is misleading when she suggests we consider the past 800,000 years. The IPCC has in fact claimed to detect a strong human signal in global warming only from the 1970s, and 17 years is indeed “an enormous amount of time” in the context of establishing the truth or falsity of global warming theory. Six years ago, NOAA in the State of the Climate 2008 report said the climate models would be falsified at a confidence level of 95% if the warming hiatus lasted 15 years - which it now has:
Near-zero and even negative trends are common for intervals of a decade or less in the simulations, due to the model’s internal climate variability. The simulations rule out (at the 95% level) zero trends for intervals of 15 yr or more, suggesting that an observed absence of warming of this duration is needed to create a discrepancy with the expected present-day warming rate.
The question really should be on Alberici: how many more years of non-warming would it take for you to admit the alarmists were wrong?
EMMA ALBERICI: I’ll only ask you one more questions on this because I do want to talk about other things, but both Marius Kloppers and his successor at BHP Billiton Andrew McKenzie agree that climate change is human induced. So what if those 97 per cent of climate scientists and all business people across the world, like the likes of Bill Gates and Richard Branson and the miners here in Australia, what if they’re right and you and the scientists you quote are not right. 
Bias alert: Kloppers, McKenzie and Branson are now climate scientists? Why doesn’t Alberici then cite me as well?  And has she considered why coal miners and users of aviation fuel have an interest in these witchhunting times to actually pose as global warming campaigners? For further insights, read The Emperor’s New Clothes.
EMMA ALBERICI: I’m sure there will be scientists lining up to give you that information but we’ll move on.
Bias alert: There are also scientists lining up to give Alberici information to counter her own beliefs. It is false to suggest the scientists line up on just one side of this argument.

EMMA ALBERICI: What do you see as the role for the Australia Network and is it, as Tony Abbott suggested previously, supposed to be a kind of cheer squad for the Australian Government?
Bias alert: Tony Abbott has never claimed the ABC’s Australia Network is “supposed to be a kind of cheer squad for the Australian Government”. That is a gross misrepresentation of his claim that the ABC generally seemed to have an instinctive hostility to Australian traditions and institutions, lacking a “basic affection for our home team”.  Alberici also overlooks the fact that the Australia Network is actually funded by government in a contract overseen by the Department of Foreign Affairs to project a positive image of Australia in Asia. As DFAT notes:
Australia’s federally-funded television service, the Australia Network television service, is an important platform for projecting a positive and accurate image of Australia. While the Australia Network maintains editorial independence, we welcome involvement and interaction by posts on content and possible story ideas. The current Australia Network contract with the ABC is managed by DFAT (PDB).
Alberici is entitled to her biases. But the ABC has a duty under its charter to balance them. Who is the ABC’s conservative Alberici? 
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Joe Hockey: this Budget will hurt. It’s that or it’s Greece

Andrew Bolt April 23 2014 (6:41pm)

Economy, Politics - federal

From Treasurer Joe Hockey’s tough and frank speech today at the Spectator briefing - a speech in which he suggests a surplus five years from now:
First, the scale of the problem:

For as long as deficits continue [without a change of policy], government debt will continue to rise, reaching $667 billion within a decade. It is an extraordinary number that will have a profound impact on the living standards of all Australians…
This year alone we will pay $12 billion in interest charges on our Government debt, about the same as we will spend on higher education.
By 2024, without action, our interest payments are projected to reach around $34 billion. This is larger than the projected spending on Aged Care of $26 billion.

One important cause:

The $40 billion we spend on income support through the Age Pension is much more than we spend on defence, or hospitals, or schools each year. It is our single biggest spending programme. Spending on the Age Pension already takes up 10 per cent of all Commonwealth spending…

On top of this, aged care is now the eighth largest category of spending. We spend more on aged care than we do on higher education or child care.  And the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme is the tenth largest category of spending. Nearly 80 per cent of the Scheme’s expenditure is attributable to concessional recipients…
And demand for the Age Pension will continue to increase as the population ages.  In Australia, between 2010 and 2050 the number of people aged 65 to 84 is expected to double, and the number of people 85 and older is expected to quadruple....
Between 2010 and 2050 the percentage of people of working age supporting those over the age of 65 in Australia will almost halve…

Despite spending billions of dollars in taxation benefits for superannuation, by 2050 the ratio of Australians receiving a full or part pension will still be around four out of five.
The case for change:
Budget repair will give us the option to support growth in the event of economic or financial turbulence abroad. The Global Financial Crisis may be over but we can be sure it will not be the last shock that Australia will need to negotiate.
Budget repair is also about ensuring that future generations do not pay for a standard of living for today’s generation that they themselves will never enjoy. Continued deficit and debt is borrowing from tomorrow to fund our lifestyle today.
We owe it to our children not to leave them with a mortgage that paid for our lifestyle. So if Australians ask themselves of the Budget in May, “what’s in it for me?” my response will be a better future.
Or else ... think Greece:
This intergenerational aspect to the budget repair challenge has an inescapable moral dimension.
This is seen most clearly in Southern Europe where the most significant victims of the deep recessions have been young people, with youth unemployment in Greece and Spain close to 60 per cent. It is a hard truth that in many developed countries past and current generations have squandered their childrens’ future.
We cannot allow our nation to fall into this trap.
The speech:

Icon Arrow Continue reading 'Joe Hockey: this Budget will hurt. It’s that or it’s Greece'
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And thus does the ABC legitimise the slide into barbarianism

Andrew Bolt April 23 2014 (5:51pm)

It seems Q&A once again goes out of its way to reward the potty mouth of a Greens-voting communist anarchist. (Yes, I know there’s a contradiction in terms there - several terms, in fact - but if this woman were rational she wouldn’t be any of the above.)
What is it with the Left and abuse? 
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There are different faiths, and so Theists are hard to pin down .. however, Atheists tend to be irrational/spiritual .. believing in luck, ghosts, chance and invisible forces .. open to the unexplained and closed to the present obvious.
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G’day,
I always knew he’d do this. This is nothing more than window dressing in my opinion. The ALP membership will not rise because of this, they have learnt nothing. It will be interesting to see what the hardcore Union Socialists will have to say about what appears to be a betrayal but up until now I have heard nothing but tongue in cheek praise from Union officials. That’s another indication in my mind that this is not reform but political strategy.
Godspeed
Zeg
Freelance Editorial Cartoonist.
0414293765
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=== Posts from last year ===
4 her, so she sees how I see her




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God's love .. ed
the best things in life are hideously expensive and I love them (anon)
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April 23Saint George's Day in various countries; Children's Day in Turkey
Hank Aaron
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“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” - Romans 1:20
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"Him hath God exalted."
Acts 5:31
Jesus, our Lord, once crucified, dead and buried, now sits upon the throne of glory. The highest place that heaven affords is his by undisputed right. It is sweet to remember that the exaltation of Christ in heaven is a representative exaltation. He is exalted at the Father's right hand, and though as Jehovah he had eminent glories, in which finite creatures cannot share, yet as the Mediator, the honours which Jesus wears in heaven are the heritage of all the saints. It is delightful to reflect how close is Christ's union with his people. We are actually one with him; we are members of his body; and his exaltation is our exaltation. He will give us to sit upon his throne, even as he has overcome, and is set down with his Father on his throne; he has a crown, and he gives us crowns too; he has a throne, but he is not content with having a throne to himself, on his right hand there must be his queen, arrayed in "gold of Ophir." He cannot be glorified without his bride. Look up, believer, to Jesus now; let the eye of your faith behold him with many crowns upon his head; and remember that you will one day be like him, when you shall see him as he is; you shall not be so great as he is, you shall not be so divine, but still you shall, in a measure, share the same honours, and enjoy the same happiness and the same dignity which he possesses. Be content to live unknown for a little while, and to walk your weary way through the fields of poverty, or up the hills of affliction; for by-and-by you shall reign with Christ, for he has "made us kings and priests unto God, and we shall reign forever and ever." Oh!, wonderful thought for the children of God! We have Christ for our glorious representative in heaven's courts now, and soon he will come and receive us to himself, to be with him there, to behold his glory, and to share his joy.

Evening

"Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night."
Psalm 91:5
What is this terror? It may be the cry of fire, or the noise of thieves, or fancied appearances, or the shriek of sudden sickness or death. We live in the world of death and sorrow, we may therefore look for ills as well in the night-watches as beneath the glare of the broiling sun. Nor should this alarm us, for be the terror what it may, the promise is that the believer shall not be afraid. Why should he? Let us put it more closely, why should we? God our Father is here, and will be here all through the lonely hours; he is an almighty Watcher, a sleepless Guardian, a faithful Friend. Nothing can happen without his direction, for even hell itself is under his control. Darkness is not dark to him. He has promised to be a wall of fire around his people--and who can break through such a barrier? Worldlings may well be afraid, for they have an angry God above them, a guilty conscience within them, and a yawning hell beneath them; but we who rest in Jesus are saved from all these through rich mercy. If we give way to foolish fear we shall dishonour our profession, and lead others to doubt the reality of godliness. We ought to be afraid of being afraid, lest we should vex the Holy Spirit by foolish distrust. Down, then, ye dismal forebodings and groundless apprehensions, God has not forgotten to be gracious, nor shut up his tender mercies; it may be night in the soul, but there need be no terror, for the God of love changes not. Children of light may walk in darkness, but they are not therefore cast away, nay, they are now enabled to prove their adoption by trusting in their heavenly Father as hypocrites cannot do.
"Though the night be dark and dreary,
Darkness cannot hide from thee;
Thou art he, who, never weary,
Watchest where thy people be."
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Tertullus 
[Tûrtŭl'lus] - derived from Tertius, and meaning, liar or impostor.
A Roman advocate employed by the Jewish authorities to prosecute Paul before Felix, the Roman Governor or Procurator (Acts 24:1, 2; 25:8).
The style of his rhetorical address or brief was common to Roman advocates. With his power of glib eloquence as well as knowledge of Roman laws, the orator Tertullus sought to impress the mind of the judge. With the trick of his class, he began with flattery of the judge. All of the flattering epithets of the hired orator, however, stand out in striking contrast with "the righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come," Paul later spoke about to the same ruler.
From flattery of the judge, Tertullus passed to invective against the defendant, charging him with crimes he never committed. Paul in his defense presented a marked difference between his own frank manliness and the advocate's servile flattery. Tertullus could not rouse the conscience of Felix as Paul did. "Felix trembled," as Paul pressed home the truth of the Gospel and sent for him "the oftener," we read. What a tragedy it was that Felix did not follow his Spirit-impressed conscience!
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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 14-15, Luke 17:1-19 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: 2 Samuel 14-15

Absalom Returns to Jerusalem
Joab son of Zeruiah knew that the king's heart longed for Absalom. 2 So Joab sent someone to Tekoa and had a wise woman brought from there. He said to her, "Pretend you are in mourning. Dress in mourning clothes, and don't use any cosmetic lotions. Act like a woman who has spent many days grieving for the dead. 3 Then go to the king and speak these words to him." And Joab put the words in her mouth.
4 When the woman from Tekoa went to the king, she fell with her face to the ground to pay him honor, and she said, "Help me, Your Majesty!"

Today's New Testament reading: Luke 17:1-19

Sin, Faith, Duty
1 Jesus said to his disciples: "Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. 2 It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. 3 So watch yourselves.
"If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 4 Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying 'I repent,' you must forgive them."
5 The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!"
6 He replied, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you....
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Knowing Him - An Easter Devotional

THE CRUCIFIXION

They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS. (Matthew 27:33-37)
Now came time for the clash between good and evil, heaven and hell. The crucifixion of Jesus is both the most horrific moment in human history and humanity’s only hope. That’s why we call the Friday before Easter Good Friday.
Jesus’ followers were still too weak to understand and so they scattered. The religious elite played out their plot; the political leaders passed the buck and in the end discarded Jesus for the sake of convenience. The crowds gawked. Two thieves hung on either side of a man whose crime was hard to comprehend. The placard above his head announcing with biting sarcasm “King of the Jews,” must have attracted some attention.
We know of seven things Jesus said from that cross including a pronouncement of forgiveness for soldiers, provision for the care of his mother, a plea for something to wet his parched mouth. But the last words on that last day of his natural human life were the most important: “It is finished!”
That was not a cry of resignation, not capitulation or surrender. It was the shout of victory that all that God-Father, Son, and Spirit-had planned for the restoration of sinful human beings was accomplished. Now there could be justification! Redemption! Reconciliation! All that needed to be done for the debt and scar of sin had been done. Now forgiveness was free. All that remained was for Jesus to step out from the shadow of death, which he would easily do after a couple of days. But first, disciples had time to search their hearts for how something good could be seen in something so bad, while the enemies of God disappeared into the darkness of their own duplicity.
Ponder This: How does the crucifixion of Jesus most powerfully impact you?
WHAT DO YOU THINK?

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About The Author - Mel Lawrenz serves as minister at large for Elmbrook Church and leads The Brook Network. Having been in pastoral ministry for thirty years, the last decade as senior pastor of Elmbrook, Mel seeks to help Christian leaders engage with each other. Mel is the author of eleven books, the most recent for church leaders, Whole Church: Leading from Fragmentation to Engagement.
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Today's Lent reading: John 21 (NIV)

View today's Lent reading on Bible Gateway
Jesus and the Miraculous Catch of Fish
Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 "I'm going out to fish," Simon Peter told them, and they said, "We'll go with you." So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
5 He called out to them, "Friends, haven't you any fish?"
"No," they answered.
6 He said, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some." When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish....
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Lent=Devotions-Header
Today is Good Friday, the day of Jesus' arrest, trial, and execution. The reading below describes his appearance before Pontius Pilate. For the complete Good Friday story, read John 18-19 on Bible Gateway.

Good Friday: 
John 18-19

Jesus Before Pilate
28 Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace, because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. 29So Pilate came out to them and asked, "What charges are you bringing against this man?"
30 "If he were not a criminal," they replied, "we would not have handed him over to you."
31 Pilate said, "Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law."
"But we have no right to execute anyone," they objected. 32This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die.
33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?"
34 "Is that your own idea," Jesus asked, "or did others talk to you about me?" 35 "Am I a Jew?" Pilate replied. "Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?"
36 Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place."
37 "You are a king, then!" said Pilate.
Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."
38 "What is truth?" retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, "I find no basis for a charge against him. 39 But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release 'the king of the Jews'?"
40 They shouted back, "No, not him! Give us Barabbas!" Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising....
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