Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wed 20th Feb Todays News


Greens demonstrate award-winning stupidity

Piers Akerman – Wednesday, February 20, 2013 (4:47am)

GREENS Leader Christine Milne showed what an absolute flake she is yesterday when she told the National Press Club she had ended the Greens alliance with the ALP.
She has not.
As she herself admitted, the Greens would not cause instability and would still honour its agreement to permit the failed Labor-Green-Independent government to run full term.
Senator Milne said she would not allow Labor’s failure to honour the “spirit of the agreement” to advance the interests of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.
“We will not walk away from the undertaking we gave not only to the prime minister but to the people of Australia,” she said.
“And that was to deliver confidence and supply until the parliament rises for the election.
“We will see this parliament through to its full term.
“The Greens will not add to the instability that Labor creates every day for itself.”
So, there you have it.
Only a Green would be so stupid as to claim to have ended an alliance and in the next breath pledge to keep supporting the government that was formed by that very alliance.
Of course, the ALP didn’t ever need to sign an agreement with the Greens as the sole Green MP in the Lower House, Adam Bandt, always said he would support Labor (probably because there was no other party of the Left he could attach himself to).
Labor did not need any formal agreement with the Greens, it already had the pixies in its union-stuffed pocket.
All the same, Milne paid Prime Minister Julia Gillard the courtesy of calling her to say that she was going to tell the press the alliance was over.
Of all the weird calls Gillard has received this would have been one of the weirdest.
“Hello, Julia, this is Christine, you know, the leader of the Greens, the party which is always saying you don’t give away enough money even though we have been given more than $10 billion to establish an environmental fund that will do nothing, and you gave us the carbon dioxide tax after telling the public you would never introduce such a tax?
“Does that help you?”
Gillard would have been wondering what was to come.
Then Milne would have told her that the alliance was over – but the Greens would still deliver confidence and supply.
That is, the Greens would still back the government.
Gillard would have wished all her enemies would be so kind.
Milne blamed Labor for choosing the miners over the environment with its mining tax.
But the disastrous mining tax was not meant to be a failure, it just ended up that way because it was constructed by Gillard and Treasurer Wayne Swan, two hopeless incompetents, who were comprehensively outsmarted by the three big mining companies they were working with.
In the crazed Green logic however, the government sided with mining giants Rio, BHP and Xstrata.
“By choosing those big miners, the Labor Government is making it clear to all that it no longer has the courage and the will to work with the Greens on a shared agenda in the national interest,” Milne said.
“Labor by its actions has walked away from its agreement with the Greens and into the arms of the big miners,” she said.
“Let’s call a spade a spade - by choosing the big miners the Labor government is no longer honouring our agreement to work together and make transparent government. Labor has effectively ended its agreement with the Greens. Well so be it.”
Let’s just call stupid stupid. By voting Green, an individual self identifies as a fool.
The Greens and Labor could never be amicable during an election campaign as both compete for votes at the idiot end of the political spectrum.
Yesterday’s announcement only highlights the futility of courting the mentally deficient.

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Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

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Events

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This dark cloud sheds no light

Miranda Devine – Tuesday, February 19, 2013 (7:09pm)

IT’S not fair to accuse the nation’s five most powerful sport bosses of having “plastic spines” because they fronted up to the government’s Organised Crime and Drugs in Sports press conference.
This is how 2GB’s Alan Jones characterised them and he is not alone, judging from the response of irate fans to the Australian Crime Commission report.
Unfortunately, the seriousness of the report has been overshadowed by the circus that was made of its announcement.
But you can’t blame the five sports heads: rugby league’s Dave Smith, AFL’s Andrew Demetriou, rugby’s Bill Pulver, soccer’s David Gallop and cricket’s James Sutherland.
The die had been cast by the time they lined up behind Justice Minister Jason Clare and Sports Minister Kate Lundy that Thursday morning, February 7, in the “Blue Room” of Parliament House, down the corridor from the Prime Minister’s office.
If one had refused to go, it would have looked as if his sport had something to hide.
Ever since they had been briefed by the ACC, the five men had been in limbo, unable to tell even their most trusted lieutenants the details of what was coming. Yet, as one put it this week: “I knew it would explode (and) the timing was bloody awful, with players preparing for the season.”
Three of the five men received personal confidential briefings from ACC chief executive John Lawler in a secure room at ACC headquarters in Canberra, during which they had to surrender their mobile phones and were not allowed to touch the report. One describes a surreal experience: “I was sitting on my own with the ACC and ASADA and a roomful of government officials being told of the existence of organised crime and match-fixing.”
“It was a very formal serious briefing, when you’re sat in front of the Crime Commission,” said another.
“But it was quite general.”
No names were mentioned. So serious were the allegations, he said, that “anyone who had the briefing wouldn’t have questioned it”.
Despite the furore, he doesn’t regret having turned up at the press conference, although “you could have done it more smoothly”.
“Everyone was in the same boat,” he said. “Absolutely, we would go to the press conference and treat it seriously. When you sit there and hear that report the implications are very serious.”
But he can understand the irate reaction from fans and “the frustration that’s been caused by the way it’s been handled. It’s not the darkest day in sport ... The real danger is we lose sight of the underlying issues”.
The press call “wasn’t a great environment for any of us to be in,” said one sport executive. Another was more blunt: “We all honestly thought this was going to be an announcement from the ACC. Then it became an announcement of the federal government at which John Lawler got to speak.”
The press conference opened with Justice Minister Clare, the ambitious MP for Paul Keating’s old western Sydney seat of Blaxland, at the microphone, leaving no one in any doubt about who was running the show: “Today I am releasing the findings of a 12-month investigation of the ACC into drugs in Australian sport and links to organised crime. The findings are shocking and they will disgust Australian sports fans.”
Lundy was up next: “Ladies and gentleman, today is about the integrity of sport in Australia. The Gillard government is committed to upholding the integrity of sport in Australia and we have acted. decisively, to protect the integrity of sport.”
For more than 10 minutes the two ministers held the stage, with dramatic statements that could have been scripted by Hollywood, before Lawler or anyone else got a word in. To anyone in the Blue Room that morning there was no doubt that everyone else was just a “bit player in the Clare and Lundy show”.
It was the unequivocal presentation from the two ministers which turned the press conference into a circus.
It was a mistake holding the event at Parliament House, with two ministers, in the current toxic atmosphere of federal politics so soon after the Prime Minister announced the election. It was probably a mistake having the heads of all the sports lined up as props.
If the report had been released in the usual way, without the fanfare, its contents might have been treated with more respect.
As one of the heads said, time will tell if the allegations of organised crime and match fixing come to something: “But if that comment isn’t true (then) it’s a different agenda, and it wasn’t a bona fide process.”
The final insult came from Bill Shorten, who blamed the media for beating up the story. He’s looking the wrong way.
Jason Clare didn't campaign in his seat last election .. he was with Gillard. He has been protected from now from the terrible fighting going on within the ALP, probably grooming him for leadership. But he has failed in all of his responsibilities. He failed as Education Secretary with BER. He failed in procurements for military with his purchases getting soldiers killed. He failed in Home Office on Boat People issue. He has failed with this stunt. And he failed to represent his constituent over the issue of Hamidur Rahman. - ed
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THEY CAME TO TALK

Tim Blair – Wednesday, February 20, 2013 (3:44pm)

Fairfax’s Daily Life section – a kind of Labor Ladies Auxiliary – is holding a little chick-chat session
To celebrate our first birthday we are giving 10 readers the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sit down with Prime Minister Julia Gillard before the highly anticipated September 14 election. 
It is “highly anticipated”, but probably not by by the Prime Minister. 
Prime Minister Julia Gillard will be joined by a selection of other high profile women from Daily Life’s list of Influential Female Voices for the exclusive lunch to discuss the issues they are most passionate about in the lead up to the election …
Want to win a seat at the table and have the ear of Australia’s most influential woman? Then you need to tell us in 25 words or less what question you would most like to ask the Prime Minister. 
Tell ‘em here.
(Via reader Puzzled)

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HE’S BOTH

Tim Blair – Wednesday, February 20, 2013 (3:30pm)

Carbon tax denier Paul Howes faces legal difficulties
AWU leader Paul Howes has lost a bid to have a larger jury hear his stepfather’s defamation case against him, after his lawyer voiced concerns jurors might regard the union boss and Labor luminary as a “whinger or a sook”. 
I have no idea how people could ever form that opinion.

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REVERSION ANTICIPATED

Tim Blair – Wednesday, February 20, 2013 (1:29pm)

Julia Gillard seems pleased by the Greens’ split with Labor: 
“At the end of the day, the Greens party is fundamentally a party of protest rather than a party of government,” she told reporters in Adelaide on Wednesday.
“The Greens party is fundamentally a party that would prefer to complain about things than get solutions.” 
They got a carbon tax out of you, Ms Gillard. And if the Greens are so useless – and they are – why’d you sign an agreement with them in the first place? 
Ms Gillard said Senator Milne had phoned her before the National Press Club address on Tuesday to inform her of the decision.
“I did always anticipate that they would revert to type and they’ve done so,” Ms Gillard said. 
So you signed the agreement knowing that it would be broken. Genius. But what are the consequences in relation to stabilidy
“There are no consequences in relation to stability,” Ms Gillard said. 
Phew. What a relief.
UPDATE. Christine Milne talks about the carbon tax in 2011: 
It was the Greens who put this on the table after the election. It’s part of our agreement with the Prime Minister. 
Labor now disputes that version of events: 
Industry and Innovation Minister Greg Combet, who was a guest speaker at the conference, said Labor came up with key environmental policies, such as the carbon tax, without input from the Greens anyway. 
Someone isn’t telling the truth.

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THEME EMERGES

Tim Blair – Wednesday, February 20, 2013 (1:05pm)

Death everywhere at the Sydney Morning Herald:

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COLDSKI

Tim Blair – Wednesday, February 20, 2013 (11:47am)

The coldest inhabited place on earth is in Russia. Or in any room simultaneously occupied byJulia Gillard and Kevin Rudd.
(Via Dan F.)

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FLORIDA MAN TO THE RESCUE

Tim Blair – Wednesday, February 20, 2013 (2:47am)

This is genius.

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The Age slaps false labels on the “Right”, none on the Left

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY202013(11:26am)

More creative - and selective - use of labels, this time from The Age:
FAR-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders has called the Prophet Muhammad a murderer and used Anzac soldiers as an example of the courage needed to speak out against Islam at a speech to Melbourne supporters.

Tight security surrounded Mr Wilders’ hour-long speech to members of the ultra-conservative local group the Q Society of Australia...
In fact, Wilders is not far-Right, I discussed this very point with him on Monday. He’ll own up to being culturally conservative, but his policy platforms aren’t standard far-Right fare. He is a strong supporter of Israel, small government and free speech (reports that he wants the Koran banned are false). He has kept his distance from true far-Right parties such as France’s National Front.
But now note the other half of The Age’s game with labels:
Protest organiser Feiyi Zhang said: “we’re here to show we will not stand for Wilders’ racism and Islamophobia”.
If Wilders is to be labelled far-Right, why isn’t this protest organiser equally labelled far-Left? After all, that label, at least, would be accurate.
UPDATE
Protest organiser Feiyi Zhang ... said his speech could incite violence against Muslims...
Doesn’t she mean violence from Muslims - and from her radical Left?
Audience members had to go through a metal detector, bag searches and identity checks.
Watch the video above. The protesters’ use of physical force and intimidation to stop others from simply listening to whom they like is shameful and betrays the totalitarian instinct of the far-Left. But what is more bizarre is that Leftists claiming to defend Muslims from vilification are, by using this force, only making Islam seem even more threatening.
UPDATE
Reader Jenstar:
I really wanted to go last night to hear Geert Wilders but my husband was interstate on business and was very anxious about me attending unaccompanied due to the threats of violence. I am really upset that I didn’t go and ashamed that in this democratic country people are not free to attend a talk such as this without fear and intimidation. How has this happened in my country.
Reader MattR:
Goodness me, a man wants to get through the crowd, gets pushed and shoved over repeatedly and you can clearly hear and see one of them shout “STOP BEING VIOLENT” (00:57). My jaw honestly dropped, how stupid are these people? Using violence whilst condemning violence? Hypocrite is an understatement. Wilders speaks for those of us who are sick to death of PC thugs telling us what we can and can’t say. 
UPDATE
For those too frightened by the thuggery and threats to hear Wilders’ speak, here is what he said last night.
Read and decide for yourself. Do not let bullies dictate what you may and may not hear.
An excerpt: 

I am an elected politician from one of the oldest democracies in the world. I am the leader of the Party for Freedom, the largest Dutch opposition party. We have almost 1 million voters in a country that is known for its tolerance. I am not a fringe figure; I am not far-right either. Political opponents brought me to court, accusing me of hate speech and discrimination. But the court in Amsterdam after an ordeal that lasted 2 years cleared me of all charges.
Earlier, I have spoken in the premises of the United States Congress, the British House of Lords, the Danish Parliament and other government premises. I participated in conferences in the U.S. and Canada, Germany, Italy, and elsewhere, with people none of which belong to the far-right.
For the past 9 years I have been living under round the clock police protection. Wherever I go, plainclothes policemen go with me. I live in a government safe house, bulletproof and safer than the National Bank. I wish I had their money. Earlier my wife and I have even lived in army barracks and prison cells just to be safe from assassins.
Why do I need this protection? I am not a president or king, I am a simple parliamentarian.
I have been marked for death. I was placed under police protection in November 2004 when the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was slaughtered in broad daylight because he had criticized Islam. A few hours later, the police found a letter written by van Gogh’s assassin threatening to kill me and my colleague Ayaan Hirsi Ali as well. We, too, had been critical of Islam, especially through our work in parliament.
Ayaan has since left for America, but I continue to candidly express my views about Islam in the Dutch Parliament and in the public debate around the world.
But it is not I who am important here. What is at stake is the defense of our freedom.
Only two weeks ago, a good friend of mine, Lars Hedegaard, a journalist from Denmark, survived an assassination attempt. A foreigner tried to shoot him through the head. Why? For the simple reason that Lars is critical of Islam.

Europe has become a dangerous place for those who criticize Islam.
Not only Europe now. Shame on the Australian protesters, most non-Muslims of the far Left, who by their actions have helped prove Wilders right.

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Liking both: Tony, Malcolm and Cate

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY202013(9:23am)

Janette Albrechtsen on learning something new about Tony Abbott and one of the Insiderspanelists with whom I got on best:
I learned two things last week about two men I thought I knew well enough. One - a distinguished military man, only recently awarded an Order of Australia, an alpha male, a sportsman, a former journalist, an accomplished writer, a once brute political operative for both sides, a deep thinker with a cheeky wit - is now a woman. Malcolm McGregor is now Cate McGregor.

McGregor is also the author of a magnificent new book An Indian Summer of Cricket. Whereas Malcolm wrote the book, Cate attended the book’s launch. As McGregor writes towards the end, “By the time this book is launched I expect to be living permanently as a woman"…
A few days ago, McGregor told me over the phone she is now able to say: “this is my authentic life”.
The other man I learned something important about is Tony Abbott. The Opposition Leader has known McGregor as Malcolm for more than 30 years. Both deeply inquisitive about people and ideas, Abbott and McGregor have shared many raucous conversations over a curry in Canberra.

How did Abbott respond when Malcolm became Cate? With compassion and humility about human frailty. With gentle humour and stalwart friendship, too. Catholic teachings against transgender had no bearing on Abbott’s concern and support for McGregor. The Opposition Leader segued seamlessly from offering up his usual vigorous handshake to a mate to greeting his old friend with a hug and a peck on the cheek.
Doesn’t fit the caricature painted by Labor and its allies. But sure fits the man I know.
UPDATE
Abbott reviews McGregor’s book. The final paragraphs:
Eventually, the struggle to preserve what’s worthy while everything else changes envelopes McGregor himself. While India’s tour disintegrated, McGregor was coming apart too. As he writes in the last chapter, back in 1985, he’d been diagnosed as transgendered but had resolved, in his own words, to “man up” and get on with life. Last summer, the strain of trying to be what, deep down, he was not became too much. Between the end of the series and finishing the book, faced with total personal collapse or a leap into the unknown, Malcolm has become Cate. Those who knew him will be shocked, McGregor writes, but not offended, she hopes.

Throughout the book, McGregor has wrestled with the impact of change on identity. Is the 20 over game the real thing, for instance? After some struggle, this instinctive traditionalist tentatively and at times reluctantly concludes that, yes, it is because enough of test cricket’s concentration, struggle and artistry have survived the translation. How much harder must it have been to deal with his own inner angst and to have concluded that change wasn’t just unavoidable but desirable? All who have ever been on the precipice of changing their lives could benefit from another book from McGregor focussing on this, the biggest change imaginable.
How do institutions based on obedience to authority, respect for tradition, and loyalty to comrades even survive, let alone flourish, in a world that’s much more attuned to individual autonomy and authenticity? How do we encourage people to be selfless when we won’t even let them be hard on themselves? These doubts, I suspect, stem from lack of sufficient faith in the power of our ideals and in our capacity to adapt. McGregor’s life might actually be answering questions that the book merely poses.
With barely a blink, the army has accommodated his personal changes. After all, McGregor’s professionalism and patriotism has not changed one bit, though much else has. Field Marshall Slim once remarked that moral courage is a higher and rarer virtue than physical bravery. Army chief General David Morrison’s launch of this book is a fitting salute to courage. How’s that for an institution that is so often supposed to be out-of-touch.
To order the book, go here.

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Liberals find their voice - and will defend yours

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY202013(8:57am)

THE Australian Human Rights Commission is slated for far-reaching changes in its culture, priorities and operational methods under a Coalition government, with opposition legal affairs spokesman George Brandis determined to transform the debate about human rights in Australia…

Brandis believes the Left’s once commanding ascendancy over the human rights domain is now eroding because of overreach and a popular backlash.
At Senate estimates last week and in an interview with The Australian this week, Brandis defined his line of attack: he believes the commission does not honour its statutory charter and pursues a highly selective and ideological agenda that is unacceptable to a Coalition government.
He told the president of the AHRC, Gillian Triggs: “It is as if your agency is not really a human rights commission at all but an anti-discrimination commission.
“I am looking for the programs that you run to promote freedom, liberty, freedom of expression, freedom of association… What steps, what outlays from your budget, what staff deployments, what public education programs and what other activities have you had to promote, to evangelise, the message to the Australian people that freedom of speech and expression is a very, very important right in our democracy which ought to be jealously defended? ...

“You are meant to be the agency that advocates for freedom, just as you are meant to be the agency that advocates for egalitarian rights as well.”
But as Kelly suggests, the Human Rights Commission has shown virtually no interest in defending free speech: 
As an independent body the commission, in fact, spends much of its time evangelising for its anti-discrimination causes, notably in relation to race, sex and indigenous affairs. The idea that it would evangelise for the fundamental rights outlined by Brandis and critical for Australia’s political culture is improbable. Indeed, an examination of the commission’s annual report and its strategic plan demonstrate it has no such conception of its role.
Ron Merkel QC - Winner

For 40 years, Ron Merkel has devoted himself to access to justice for people who are marginalised and disadvantaged, having a long and outstanding commitment to the promotion and advancement of human rights as a legal practitioner…

Ron has recently appeared in a range of significant and high profile cases including, this year, Eatock v Bolt where he appeared as lead counsel for nine Aboriginal people who successfully claimed that Andrew Bolt and the Herald and Weekly Times had published articles in breach of the Racial Discrimination Act.
A Human Rights Medal to a man who led a successful attack on our right to free speech. Absolutely astonishing. You’d laugh if it wasn’t illegal.
Back to Brandis: 
Brandis believes the commission fails in its responsibility to the wider Australian community… His plan is to elevate a Liberal Party conception of human rights, founded in individual freedom…

As a liberal moderate, Brandis has long believed that “the greatest single intellectual blunder by the Right since World War II was to cede the human rights agenda to the Left"…

Brandis and Abbott have a close relationship and their transforming human rights reform is empowered by a popular conclusion. They believe the 2011 Andrew Bolt court case was a turning point because ordinary Australians saw a judge telling people what they were allowed to say about politics. 

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Police hunt for AWU files

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY202013(8:50am)

 The AWU scandal
The police investigation into the AWU scandal is not just serious but broadening in its scope:
FEDERAL Court officials have been told by Victorian detectives investigating the AWU “slush fund” scandal that they intend to execute a search warrant at the court’s registry to retrieve a legal file concerning Julia Gillard’s allegedly corrupt former boyfriend, union official Bruce Wilson.

The file is regarded by police and legal figures, including former Australian Workers Union national secretary Ian Cambridge, now a commissioner for Fair Work Australia, as significant because it is believed to include several affidavits and evidence of allegedly corrupt payments by building companies to Mr Wilson.
In a letter to Victoria Police’s Major Fraud and Extortion Squad earlier this month, Federal Court official Robert Thomsett described the file’s documents and subpoena material about building companies Thiess, John Holland Construction and others. These firms allegedly paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to Mr Wilson, a former AWU state secretary who has denied any wrongdoing.

A large part of the alleged fraud was carried out through the AWU Workplace Reform Association, which was set up in the 1990s after legal advice from Ms Gillard in her role as a lawyer at Slater & Gordon. Ms Gillard, who later described the association as a “slush fund” for the re-election of union officials, has vehemently denied wrongdoing, saying she knew nothing of the operations of the association.
But a second file, believed to be more significant, has gone walkies:
The Federal Court’s Mr Thomsett has advised police that despite repeated searches since late last year the second file is still missing. A senior source said the missing file had held a sworn statement made in 1996 by an AWU staffer, Wayne Hem, who has told The Australian he was instructed by Mr Wilson to put $5000 into Ms Gillard’s personal bank account in 1995. Mr Wilson did not deny the claim and said Mr Hem was an honest man who was probably correct. Ms Gillard said she had no recollection of getting the money.

The circumstances surrounding the file’s disappearance are part of the ongoing investigation into the alleged fraud by Victoria Police, which has sent several detectives to Sydney this week to speak to witnesses and gather further evidence.

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Kloppers quits

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY202013(8:35am)

Marius Kloppers announces he is retiring as chief executive of BHP Billiton.
UPDATE
Kloppers’ most unfortunate public policy announcement, from 2010:
BHP Billiton chief executive Marius Kloppers said the government should consider a range of initiatives, including a carbon tax and individual levies, to lower energy consumption.
Repudiated by his chairman a year later:
BHP Billiton chairman Jacques Nasser has turned up the pressure on Julia Gillard to abandon plans for a carbon tax, calling for a “go-slow” approach to tackling climate change and warning that the rest of the world is unlikely to follow Australia’s lead.

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Meet Maxwell Swan, the guru Treasurer

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY202013(8:08am)

Julia Gillard on Monday:
Addressing the Australian Workers Union national conference last night, Ms Gillard praised her “good friend” Mr Swan, who had returned from a meeting of G20 finance ministers in Russia. 

“In that room, when they looked for leadership, they looked to Wayne Swan, a man honoured as the world’s best treasurer,” she said. 
Boris the reader:
Intrigued by the sudden rise of Wayne Swan into the global leadership elite whilst he was in Moscow, I decided to do a quick search of Russian internet sources, in order to confirm that Australia finally grew a global leader.

Suffice to say, that Gillard exaggerated again. Russian official sites are all about Russian contribution to the G20 agenda, which is fair since they are in charge this year.

The only mentioning of Swan I found in the Russian Business newspaper site that contained the following pearls:
(1) Swan was called Maxwell Swan (hardly a sign that this influential leader was so impressive that they could remember his first name):
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(2) Swan suggested that Moscow was the most beautiful city and the Kremlin was the most beautiful building (being born and raised in Moscow I have a real issue with the first part of this statement, but to each his own); and
(3) Finally, he suggested that the real task was not the managed transer of power from West to East, but harmonisation of development between developed and developing countries. Russia was half way between East and West, and at this point developed world had high unemployment and developing world - poverty. 

I can’t see any grand thoughts here, I must say regretfully.

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Does Howes still back the tax that just cost his members their jobs?

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY202013(7:15am)

Paul Howes issued this ultimatum two years ago:
Australian Workers Union national secretary Paul Howes has warned the Government that ”if one job is gone, our support [for the carbon tax] is gone”.
PACKAGING giant Amcor will cut about 300 jobs at three manufacturing sites in Victoria and Queensland…

“The continued strength of the Australian dollar, significantly increasing cost pressures, including in areas such as energy costs, have made it impossible for these sites to remain competitive,” [managing director of Amcor Australasia Nigel Garrard ] said in a statement today… 

The acting Queensland branch secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union, Ben Swan, said 160 workers were expected to be made redundant at the Petrie mill...
Workers at the Petrie mill were told closure was caused not only by high energy costs and the high Australian dollar, but the carbon tax. A worker writes: 
The carbon tax was partially to blame as it made the business unviable in the future. This year our carbon tax bill will be $400,000 [after] a 95 per cent discount due to the first year of implementation.

This would rise to $5 million over the next few years. The mill is running at a loss due to the high dollar, however when the dollar drops to around 95 cents it would be profitable again. So the carbon tax is the one item which stops the prospect of the business being viable…
David Berry from Amcor head office addressed the workers and that is what he quoted…

The AWU, which is the major union on site, was on television the same night we were losing our job. Spruiking how they supported Gillard and the Government.
I asked Amcor to confirm the figures and Berry’s comments, but it would only say that the Government’s assistance to cope with the carbon tax “declines over time”. When I wrote back to say I assumed from this non-committal answer that Amcor was trying to keep out of a public debate on the tax, but that my figures were correct, I was told “Amcor will not deny it”.
Today, a hint from the AWU itself that many of its own members oppose the carbon tax backed by the AWU leadership propping up Gillard:
Australian Workers Union Victorian state secretary Cesar Melhem ... said members felt Ms Gillard had a closer affinity to their experiences in the workplace than Mr Rudd…

‘’Now some members or some people might talk a bit about the carbon tax fiasco or something like that but overall they have a real distinction between her and even Kevin Rudd or Tony Abbott,’’ he told Fairfax Media on the sidelines of the AWU’s national conference on the Gold Coast.
But bottom line: AWU boss Paul Howes said he’d oppose the carbon tax if it cost a single job. The carbon tax has now helped cost the jobs of more than 100 of his own members.
Will he now live up to his promise - and his duty to his members - an oppose this pointless and destructive tax? 

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Another unfunded promise

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY202013(7:06am)

A desperate, dishonest government - playing more games with the national finances - gets called out by a bureaucracy now leaking against it:
THE Gillard government’s innovation and jobs package was launched this week despite warnings from the Industry Department and the Tax Office that the $1 billion saving at the heart of the policy might never eventuate

It was funded by the axing of accelerated research and development tax breaks for about 20 mining, financial services and retail companies with turnovers above $20 billion, a move forecast to raise $1 billion over four years.

But late last year, in cabinet-in-confidence advice, Industry Minister Greg Combet’s department argued vehemently against that plan, which had the strong backing of Treasury.

In advice canvassed with other departments and a government taskforce advising on the policy, the Industry Department warned that Treasury’s $1 billion option would encourage the big companies to find ways to rearrange their financial relationships with related overseas entities and buyers in order to reduce their Australian turnover to below the $20 billion threshold.

UPDATE
The financial incompetence is typical, as is the hypocrisy:

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Ambitious Shorten to decide Gillard’s fate

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY202013(6:58am)

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Panic drives the Labor mob towards Kevin Rudd, with only Bill Shorten’s AWU faction stopping a leadership change:
BILL Shorten is being urged to break the government’s leadership impasse as Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan face mounting pressure to reveal how they can salvage Labor from its dire position.

Labor MPs are increasing pressure on the Workplace Relations Minister and key factional powerbroker to act “in the best interests of the party” at a time when all polling suggests Labor faces annihilation at the election.
With the supporters of Kevin Rudd making it clear he is not preparing a leadership challenge in next month’s parliamentary sitting and could “wait until June” before deciding whether he would come back as leader, despondent Labor MPs are increasingly desperate for a political “circuit-breaker” to revive the party’s fortunes.

Key Labor MPs say the “external momentum has changed” towards Mr Rudd as MPs realise they would lose their seats based on current polling, prompting calls for Mr Shorten to take action.
The comments came as the Arts Minister, Simon Crean, warned his colleagues not to see ‘’the revolving door of leadership’’ as the key to their salvation ahead of the September 14 election.
Claims of loyalty from Shorten, a general of the AWU faction propping up Gillard: 
I know from my conversations with plenty of people we’re united in terms of supporting Julia Gillard as leader… I’m not even contemplating any debate about our internal line-up. I support ... Julia Gillard.
“We just took our biggest single wager on Rudd to be PM at the next election since we commenced betting on this market last June,” Sportingbet CEO Michael Sullivan said. “He’s been backed from $2.40 into $1.70.”
Mark Baker begs Gillard go:


The only tricks Labor can take, it seems, are those allegedly procured by Mr Thomson on his union-funded credit card.
Nice line, and Baker is surely right in making this point, which I touched upon on 2GB last night:
In the midst of this turmoil, the Prime Minister and her Treasurer are spending quality time at the Australian Workers Union national conference on the Gold Coast, cuddling up with national secretary Paul Howes and doing high-fives with union elder statesman Bill Ludwig. Of course it was Howes - along with his predecessor as AWU boss, Workplace Minister Bill Shorten - who played a central role replacing Rudd with Gillard and whose inordinate influence over the internal processes of the ALP is pivotal to her remaining in the job.

One might have thought Gillard would be wiser to keep her distance from anything involving the initials AWU as the Victorian police fraud squad continues its intensive investigation into the hundreds of thousands of dollars stolen from an AWU slush fund she helped to incorporate as a young lawyer by her former boyfriend and AWU official Bruce Wilson, once the golden-haired protege of Bill Ludwig. 
UPDATE
The Australian warns against Kevin Rudd, author of some of Gillard’s worst troubles:
Whatever the Prime Minister’s unforced errors in the past 32 months, Ms Gillard inherited the in-tray from hell. If Mr Rudd were to emerge from cryogenic storage, where he improbably claims to be residing, it would be impossible to disown the legacy he left her. Mr Rudd could eat humble pie for breakfast, lunch and dinner from now until the election and still not wipe the plate clean, since his fingerprints are on the policies that created most of the present government’s misfortunes.

His contribution to protecting our borders was to roll back a solution that worked and replace it with a policy vacuum, outsourcing migration approval to people-smugglers…

Mr Rudd can distance himself from the latest excruciating episodes of the mining tax soap opera, but voters will not forget that entire fiscal farce was conceived on his watch…

Mr Rudd will struggle to win credit for the half-baked hospital reforms he left sitting on Ms Gillard’s plate like a badly cooked piece of chicken...

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Milne proves Gillard sold her soul for nothing

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY202013(12:11am)

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Christine Milne yesterday proved Julia Gillard sold her soul to the Greens for nothing in the most catastrophic decision of her political career.
The Greens leader proved Gillard could have become Prime Minister in 2010 without signing the deal with the Greens that destroyed her credibility and wrecked Labor’s chances at the next election.

“Labor has effectively ended its agreement with the Greens,” Senator Milne told the audience.
“Well so be it. But we will not allow Labor’s failure to uphold the spirit of our agreement to advance the interests of Tony Abbott.

“We will not walk away from the undertakings we gave not only to the Prime Minister, but to the people of Australia, and that was to deliver confidence and supply until the Parliament rises for the election.”
Nothing more clearly proves what seemed clear - at least to me - from the day Gillard signed the wedding register with Brown: she could have had the Greens support for nothing. Milne has now proved there was no way on earth the Greens would have ever supported the Coalition instead.
But in an astonishing misjudgment of her power and the Greens’ weakness, Gillard in 2010 bought what she could have got free - and in doing so blew every bit of credibility she had left, plus billions of taxpayers’ dollars.
To buy off the Greens, Gillard agreed to a carbon tax, breaking her pre-election promise that “there will be no carbon tax under a government I lead” 
She gave the Greens access to Treasury briefings and weekly meetings with herself when Parliament was sitting. And as a sweetener, she added a $10 billion “clean energy” fund - wasting $10 billion she now desperately needs.
The voters’ trust in her has never recovered. Labor itself was weakened, made to look like a Greens’ puppet. And the money she wasted…
And now Milne confirms it was all for nothing.
UPDATE
Paul Kelly:
If Labor thinks this political divorce yesterday is such a great idea, then why didn’t it instigate the separation some time ago?

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Too hot for them?

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY202013(12:10am)

 Global warming - general
It’s like thousands of Craig Emersons, who just cannot be told - not even by their chattering teeth:

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A marvellous time to sell hope

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY202013(12:03am)

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Jim Ball has some advice for the Coalition:
The way I see it, the people need something clean, crisp, uplifting and inspirational after six years of the ongoing rolling chaos, shambles and dishonesty of Gillard and Rudd…

Obviously Labor are going to go all out with a campaign of negativity against Tony Abbott and The Coalition and it would seem to me the best way to fight it (as well as the negative stuff) is with an overarching campaign of unbridled optimism, enthusiasm and sunny uplands in an endeavour to counter and neutralise it. It’s all about making people feel good and optimistic about their lives.
I know what Jim means. Last year it sometimes seemed too obvious a ploy when Tony Abbott brought his daughters out on the campaign trail. This week I saw this picture of Abbott with daughter Bridget, and instinctively felt: at last, a bit of no-dramas normality.  Nice people, nice place, no screaming and abusing and threatening. Just normal. It felt so strange ... and so welcome:
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So I think Jim is onto something. Here is another of his suggestions, inspired by the success of Ronald Reagan’s justly famous ad:
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Bung in your own suggestions.
UPDATE
Context is everything. This poster worked well for Gough Whitlam, tapping into a popular sentiment: 
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But reader Elizabeth, in reworking the same poster for Gillard, taps into a popular sentiment that would produce a dramatically different result: 
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Slipper’s charges

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY202013(12:02am)

Michael Smith has the charges against former Speaker Peter Slipper, who says he is innocent.
One excerpt:
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Complete charge sheet here.

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10 Ways to be Mindful with your Children Again

I am reminded of the last time I saw my grandmother. Nanna had been physically fit all her life. She was one of NSW top outdoor bowls players into her 90's. But her last two years were hard on her. She lost the ability to care for herself and was placed by her children in a nursing home. She had loved playing cards (Canasta, German Whist, Bridge) but she had developed a cataract, and when a laser was used to remove it the laser reacted adversely blinding one eye. She wouldn't allow a procedure on the other eye. She was in an upstairs ward in a small room without a tv or phone. When she entered there, she was accompanied with my Uncle's second wife. Ellie hadn't been around long. Nanna was asked to name her children and grand children and great grandchildren. She did, but when she got to the end, she kept going, sending my aunt into a panic. Ellie wouldn't have known of the step family from fifty years earlier. I used to visit her every week for the previous decade, but it was a four hour journey on public transport from my Liverpool home to her abode down the Princess Hwy past the UNSW. It was closer to her children, but they didn't visit often. My mother did. Mother got Nanna to give her my address and phone number. I felt under siege as a result and stopped answering my phone. But I knew the end was near, and after about four months, called her. My Dad was there, visiting from Melbourne. I arranged to meet with her that evening. She greeted me from her bed. She was in enormous pain from lying down too much. She tried not to show her discomfort. I sang "When Irish Eyes are Smiling" and she tried to join in. She apologised for betraying me to my mother but she hadn't known what else to do .. my mother can be very manipulative. It wasn't long, maybe just short of an hour. I promised to return again soon. Downstairs, I asked a nurse if anything could be done for her pain. He didn't think there was anything. She died that evening. I guess she had wrapped up everything she needed to do. The nurse was at the funeral. I thanked him for helping her. He said he hadn't euthanaised her. He was worried I would think he had. I'm certain he hadn't. Sheer will power had kept her going. - ed
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Aprille Lim
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Today I hosted Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Environment and Heritage, Greg Hunt, in the electorate at Lime Kiln Bay.
We discussed the Coalition's plan to clean up the Georges River. David Coleman
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A god made from teddy bears
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We're thrilled to be announced as the principal partner of TEDxSydney 2013, the annual event of 'ideas worth spreading' which this year focuses on food and sustainability. Read more:http://bit.ly/154nDsR
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Wilders is wrong. He points to Islamic peoples and claims that he has personal testimony showing how Islamic communities ruined his neighbourhood. From an Australian perspective, he is wrong to point to the Islamic peoples because Australia has dealt in the past with others who were similarly anti social. The reason of the immigration failure in Europe is bad government and bad policing. Socialists are good at tax and spend, but bad at community organising. This should not be a point of pride with corrupt Islamic leadership .. they failed too. - ed
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I am reminded of when Howard was pushing his tough gun legislation through parliament. My students had heard the media arguments against the responsible action and so I gave them a hypothetical .. under what circumstance is it good to have a firearm to defend yourself at home? Best case scenario is that it isn't needed or used. Then it goes downhill. The gun is used but no one is harmed. The thief is killed and the homeowner faces murder charges. The thief is wounded and sues the homeowner .. Even assuming Oscar is telling the truth, he is too dumb to be free. - ed
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Officially hanging in Cabramatta...for a while.. #dailytelegraph #vietnamese #community #town #billboard #asiandude #represent #lol #ninja - Andy Minh Trieu
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What a brilliant proposal which could lift the standards of Australian and Asia Pacific universities. Impediments for the students are obvious .. living, working and language. An oppositional media would make appalling claims the first time a student dies from an accident. But it is a cure for accusations of Australian racism. - ed
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Have you thought about volunteering while you're at Uni? Its a great way to broaden your experience and give back to the community (and doesn't look bad on your CV either!) More info:http://bit.ly/W2j1TH
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Jordan's Stars In Stereo tour starts this week! Here is a fun one of Robin and Jordan in Vegas.
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In March ... a bright comet ... maybe. Comet PANSTARRS details here: http://bit.ly/UdDHHf
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Smallest Cat Mr Peebles may look like a kitten, but he is actually 2-year-old. The tiny cat got its size
from a genetic defect that stunts growth. At just 6.1-inch (15.5 cm)
high and 19.2-inch (49 cm) long, he currently holds certification
from The Guinness Book of World
Records as the world’s smallest cat.
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...Federal election is not far away now.

This girl said she recognised me from the Vegetarian Party but I'd never met herbivore.
 — atForbidden Fruits.
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Hi everyone! Here's the MichelleMalkin.com newsletter for February 19th. Enjoy!

From the Blog

Colorado morons want to leave women defenseless: 'Vomiting or urinating' better than carrying a gun

Two items for you that will make your blood boil, especially the womenfolk out there...

Obama administration to push for 10 year project to create human brain map, put America back to work folding it

Prediction: At some point this initiative will end several years and billions of dollars later with Joe Biden admitting he got the brain they studied from somebody named “Abbie Normal”...

White House press corps ‘frustrated’ by lack of Obama access

Over the weekend, President Obama went Garbo on the White House press corps(e), and the press corps(e) is not thrilled about the unprecedented transparency...

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