PETER Costello nearly died laughing when he heard Julia Gillard lecturing the G20 about her government’s superior economic prowess, and urging them to, “Take note of the Australian way”. “It’s in spite of her, not because of her” that Australia’s economy is still in good shape, says the former Liberal Treasurer who delivered ten budget surpluses and left Labor with $21 billion in the bank and no net debt.
What’s kept Australia going through the financial crisis is all the policies she opposed - paying off government debt, the GST, the Future Fund, deregulation of the labour market.”“The Prime Minister is a socialist at home and free marketeer in Mexico,” jokes Costello. “She crosses the International Date Line and has a cathartic experience.” Gillard’s championing of labour market flexibility was what Costello found most “hilarious” in her G20 pronouncements at Mexico’s Los Cabos. “She, of course, is the person who introduced Fair Work Australia, the whole essence of which was to reduce flexibility… How she could lecture anyone on that is weird.
more than 50 percent of the average 18 percent price rise over the next year is due to the carbon tax (49 percent) and, marginally (2 percent), to other questionable green schemes. Integral energy is particularly vulnerable, with 80 percent of its 12 percent price rise due to the carbon tax.
THE case of the recanting prostitute on Today Tonight last night is just a tawdry sideshow to the Health Services Union affair. But whether the woman is lying now or when she signed an affidavit for Channel Nine’s A Current Affair, claiming the embattled Dobell MP paid her for sex, is immaterial. The Fair Work Australia report is what counts, and that shows $500,000 of HSU members’ money was allegedly misused by Thomson on prosititutes, fine dining, high living, and election expenses when he was the union’s boss. Whether it was this woman or some other prostitute paid with HSU members’ money is just a tacky detail. The credit cards say enough.
Yes we should trust the organisation Miranda told us not to trust last year
November, ‘11: “The hidden grenade in the Fair Work Act, he says, is the “good faith” bargaining provision, which gives unions a veto over what goes on in the workplace. “In effect it is forced bargaining and forced agreements. It gives companies a whole series of rights to force companies into negotiation.” If, for example, a company such as Baiada says it is happy paying award wages to its workers and does not want an enterprise bargaining agreement then that triggers intervention by Fair Work Australia. “The outcome is it becomes compulsory to have an EBA”. Even with declining membership, unions are flush with cash for fights. Phillips points out that 1.8 million members paying $600 or $700 a year is more than a billion dollars a year income, plus the cash cow of industry superfunds, and regular government handouts. Under Labor, unions are richly rewarded. Their lawyers become judges and members of tribunals. Their leaders become politicians and members of Cabinet. The stench from the Health Services Union scandal hangs over Parliament House, but the conga line of union apparatchiks filing into Canberra continues. This is Labor’s disease.”
Update: Peter Wicks in Independent Australia today: “What a grubby chapter, that served merely to further tarnish Craig Thomson’s tattered reputation. It should be noted that the Opposition put forward a censure motion over this ACA story when it first emerged. Now it seems Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne have gone to ground, as this entire affair begins to blow up in their faces. Godwin Grech, anyone? Maybe it is just as well she didn’t have sex with Thomson, as the evidence would suggest it was a freebie. Looking at the credit card receipt that was shown as evidence, we see that it is the Bank Copy of the receipt — that is, the copy that the bank should have received. This means that, unless Fairfax got the slip from the bank somehow, the bank never received the slip — and without that no payment would have been taken from an account. Only in “Jacksonville” are banks known for their telepathic powers of perception.
I think that the out there right wing bias which is at times very destructive needs balancing.” Balanced out of existence, if he had his way. Brown has a plan, which began with the Finkelstein media inquiry which he was instrumental in calling. He believes there is a need for an “arms length media watchdog… to enforce ethics” and he congratulated himself several times because he had “stood up” to the media and was “not frightened”. It’s a pity there was no Michael Gove there to set him straight. The British Education Secetary, appearing at the British press inquiry, last week told Lord Justice Leveson: “I’m sure that there are cases where journalists and others will behave in ways which are deplorable. The question remains, however: what is the most effective means of ensuring that individuals do not behave in a deplorable fashion? It’s often the case that individuals reach for regulation in order to deal with failures of character or morality, and sometimes that regulation is right and appropriate, but some of us believe that before the case for regulation is made, the case for liberty needs to be asserted as well.
How did “at least six experienced people smugglers”, who came to Australia by boat, win refugee status? How are they able to ply their trade from our shores? These are the individuals described by refugee activists as the Oskar Schindlers of Asia. Four Corners traced the tragic voyage of 97 people believed lost at sea en route to Australia and showed the callous lies of the people smugglers as they fooled relatives into thinking their loved ones were safe while continuing to collect money for the ill-fated trip. The deaths of those poor people and hundreds of others are a direct result of this government’s failed, incompetent, naive and dishonest handling of border protection. It will be a nightmare for the next Coalition government to put right.
Coalition MP Mal Washer, a GP, spotted the danger signs early. He checked on Thomson’s welfare and then issued a warning on ABC TV that continued pressure could be deadly. Tony Abbott backed off as a result, telling Parliament ‘’at a human level, I have a great deal of sympathy for the member for Dobell’, and shifting the complaint to Julia Gillard for keeping him in the hot seat. But the government’s narrative was set in stone, and trickled on into the weekend columns of amenable journalists, that brutal Abbott’s “blood lust” for power was hounding a sick man to self-harm. Chief Whip Joel Fitzgibbon fleshed it out, talking about colleague Greg Wilton’s suicide 12 years ago, a despicable tactic for so many reasons not worth canvassing. Anthony Albanese followed suit, looking like a cat expecting a saucer of milk. But Abbott had foiled them again. More nuanced and thoughtful a personality than his enemies ever allow, to their detriment alone, Abbott knew, as the public does, that Thomson has gone beyond censure.
TONY Windsor’s hot seat will be even hotter tomorrow, after Craig Thomson makes his statement to Parliament justifying himself. Then it should be the turn of the independents to justify their support for Thomson.
Is Abbott going to have to justify his “support” of convicted assaulter Mary Jo Fisher and accused assaulter Bill Heffernan? Is Chris Pyne going to be made to release his phone records so we can find out if he has engineered a sexual harassment claim? Is Abbott going to be asked why he claims the carbon price is a tax when it isn’t one, or why he claims the carbon price is the world’s biggest carbon tax when it won’t be, or why he can attack a government policy for being a “big new tax” while having a paid parental leave scheme which is actually a big new tax? These questions are based on fact, the allegations against Craig Thomson are weak at best, from an organisation with ties to the Opposition Leader. Whether an opposition will get a free ride to the lodge with no scrutiny on its policies or members is more of a concern than whether one member of the house misused money of a union he worked for years ago. But I guess that’s the point, why actually prove to the Australian people that you’re suitable for government when you can just overblow scandals until you win by default?
9/5/12: “How do Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott justify their vote of confidence in Craig Thomson yesterday? For that is the message they sent by voting with the government against the Opposition motion to suspend Thomson for 14 days. Their assistance allowed Thomson to escape parliamentary censure in the wake of the damning Fair Work Australia report alleging financial mismanagement and rorting at the Health Services Union. The report alleges Thomson spent $500,000 of HSU members’ money on prostitutes, ATM cash withdrawals, fine dining and election expenses in his central coast seat of Dobell
15/5/12: “CRAIG Thomson has been cleared of almost all allegations of dodgy election funding following an investigation by the Australian Electoral Commission. But there will still be demands for him to use his address to Parliament next week to explain why his old union, the Health Services Union, spent a significant sum on his political ambitions. The AEC today reported that just over $88,000 in money from the Health Services Union, where Mr Thomson had been national secretary, had been used to support his 2007 bid for the seat of Dobell on the NSW central coast as an ALP candidate. However, most of the amount - totalling about $71,300 - were either below the threshold for compulsory declaration, or had been declared by the HSU.”
“Who is Michael Lawler? For starters, according to reliable sources, Michael Lawler is friends with a man named Tony Abbott. Apparently, the two of them socialise regularly. Conveniently, Tony Abbott is also the leader of the political party making so much ground out of the claims Michael’s partner is making. Michael Lawler works for an organisation called Fair Work Australia, where he is a Vice-President on a salary of $400,000 a year. The only person higher than him at that organisation is Iain Ross, who just replaced Geoffrey Giudice – the one who Tony Abbott and Lawler’s partner Kathy Jackson were attacking daily – as President of Fair Work Australia. On the 11th of October 2002, according to the FWA annual report, Michael Lawler was appointed Vice President of Fair Work Australia — although back then it was called the Australian Industrial Relations Commission. Previously, Lawler was a barrister who made his mark representing employers in employment disputes. The man who appointed him to the AIRC was none other than Tony Abbott — who at the time was Employment and Workplace Relations Minister under John Howard’s Coalition Government.”