History Never Repeats

They say history never repeats, but I tend to get the distinct impression that we are stepping back in time, as Kylie Minogue would say.

We saw Liberal Senator Mary Jo Fisher again bring up her Time Warp episode, as she resigned from parliament after being found guilty in a South Australian court. She has faced assult charges. and multiple charges of shoplifting.

Tony Abbott must have had a flashback to his infamous interview with Kerry O’Brien, the 7 30 Report. The one on which he admitted that only carefully scripted comments of his could be taken as gospel truth. Well, he seemed to have yet another one of those moments on 7 30 this week with Leigh Sales. Tony Abbott looked like someone not fit for a job on the back bench as he once again showed us just how liberal he is with the truth.

Speaking of being liberal with the truth, Queensland LNP Premier Campbell Newman seemed to be caught telling porkies. Newman, the man who told us that Labor lost the election for being dishonest with Queenslanders was caught serving the state a massive bullshit sandwich, and asking all to take a bite.

Campbell Newman still plays with these

So much so that the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Tony Burke, felt it was necessary to write an open letter to the Premier in an effort to block the deluge of bullshit that consistently was pouring out of his mouth.

Queenslands Real Premier

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The Gambler

During the campaign for the NSW State election in March 2010, I often referred to Barry O’Farrell as the Steven Bradbury of politics. My reasons for giving Barry this dubious honor, is because Barry chose to use what is known as the “small target” approach to campaigning. This basically means sitting back with your mouth shut and waiting for your opposition to fall over.

Barry chose to do this because he figured that Labor was so down in the polls in NSW, he didn’t need to win, he thought he could just stay down and let them lose. After all Labor had been in power for so long people wanted a change, if Barry had made his intentions known it would have only cost him votes, not gained any. Seeing the aftermath of his win at the polls, I can understand why he kept his cards tight to his chest.

I have found myself wondering lately if Tony Abbott wishes he had chosen the same option.

The polls have been consistently bad for Labor for at least a year now. There is no escaping that fact. Another fact, and one that is often ignored in the main stream media, is that in the same polls, Gillard and Abbott are quite level in the preferred Prime Minister polling numbers, often with Gillard leading Abbott.

Many times I have heard debates over why the preferred PM numbers are so close, but the answer is really quite simple in my mind. People don’t trust Tony Abbott. The famous “In your guts, you know he’s nuts” theory.

I know many friends, family, and other acquaintances who are Liberal voters of old. It seems however, many of them have doubts when it comes to Tony Abbott, many view him as bordering on extreme. Many have commented that they simply don’t trust him.

A trustworthy face?

I believe that the Liberal spin doctors are aware of this, and this is why the Coalition have been so keen to paint Julia Gillard as a liar, and not to be trusted. It seems, to date, they have been getting away with it as well.

In Australia, I don’t believe the vast majority of the population put 100% faith in everything a politician tells us. I believe that most of us expect a bit of political spin, and therefore accept it, to a certain point.

What I don’t think people like to see in a potential Prime Minister, however, is someone who is willing to take huge risks to score cheap points.

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She’s A Lady

There are many people I have a great deal of respect for, but only a select few that I can say I truly admire.

Amongst those few is Kristina Keneally.

On Saturday, I was dismayed to find an email in my inbox from Kristina announcing that she was leaving NSW Parliament. I’m sure every ALP member who received the email was just as shocked as I was.

Kristina Keneally is a woman of immense courage, and strong principles. She is the type of person who see’s what needs to be done, and does it, no matter what the cost to her own standing. As an electorate, Hefron could have had no finer for a member, as a Party, we were honored to have her as a leader, and as a state, we were privileged to have her as Premier.

Kristina took over the leadership of NSW Labor, and became the 42nd Premier of New South Wales when the Labor Party was at its lowest. It was the most poisoned of chalices, but it was one she accepted readily despite the hard work she knew was to come.

Kristina, although born in Las Vegas, grew up in Ohio. A gifted soccer player, she clearly learnt valuable lessons in those days about working as part of a team, because she held NSW Labor together at what was arguably the toughest times the party had ever seen.

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The First Cut Is The Deepest

You won’t hear me saying this very often, so take note. I wanted to send big congratulations to Barry O’Farrell, and his team of apprentice ministers.

Barry and his government, need to be recognised for their great achievement. It has taken them only 2 short years to achieve what it took the Labor Party 13 years to achieve., The achievement, 2 budget deficits. One for each year we have been forced to put up with the government of broken promises and political spin beyond belief.

That’s right, Barry’s promised surplus has turned into a whopping big deficit, and it seems that no matter what the Coalition sell off, and no matter how many people they sack, they are still unable to balance the books.

Barry’s broken promises are legend now in NSW, it has been hard to keep up with them all, however below is a link to 100 of them after Barry’s first year in the Premiers role.

100 Broken Barry O’Farrell Promises

You would think that 100 broken promises and lies in a year would be enough, that is more than 1 every 4 days. But Barry has to keep pace with his first year it seems, below are some of his latest lies that he has sold to the people of NSW.

“We will need more public servants, not less.” – Fate of our State debate, February 24 2011

“I can’t envision a situation where we would have more [speed cameras].” – ABC News, 7 April 2011.

“There will not be a decision to turn our national parks into hunting reserves.” – Sydney Morning Herald, 13 April 2011

”We have absolutely no plans to privatise either the generators or the poles and wires.” Lithgow Mercury, 28 January 2011

“We have no intention of doing deals with the minor parties.” – Sydney Morning Herald, 13 April 2011

I wonder when the National Party will wake up and smell the coffee and abandon their coalition with this extremist right-wing party. A party that seem to have stolen the Liberal Party branding from back when the Liberal’s had a sense of decency.

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Hangman Jury

I was thinking today how lucky we are to live in a country like Australia.

Australia is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but there are some things we can always rely on, well nearly always. The presumption of innocence until proven guilty for example, and, at the end of the process of determining guilt or innocence, a punishment is only handed down upon guilt being found beyond reasonable doubt.

Some of you may have seen my posts last week on the serious questions that remain unanswered relating to the HSU saga, if not, here are links to part one, and part two. It is fair to say that I have received all types of correspondence, as has Independent Australia, since publishing these posts. However, it is interesting to note, not one person has disputed any of the findings.

I did, however, want to take the opportunity to clear up a couple of misconceptions, and clarify a couple of points.

Firstly, I did approach some main stream media before doing the story myself. I am not going to name media outlets, however I will say in their defense that one of the major issues was time. My source had work commitments and it was unlikely that a story, that in part relied on access to that informant, was going to be put together for broadcast or publication before Craig Thomson’s speech on Monday. In addition to that, the person in question was not entirely comfortable fronting the media, given their situation.

There are however, those who have said that due to the story not coming from a mainstream media source it is therefore unreliable. That is only a matter of opinion, in fact, those who followed the links in the story would notice they led to official documents, as well as mainstream media sources. So my posts are only as reliable as their sources….

There are those who say that bloggers, and publications like Independent Australia, do not have the accountability of those in the mainstream media, and do not have as much to risk. To this argument, I would say “What utter crap”. The notion of somebody taking on a journalist, or columnist that has the backing of News Ltd, or Fairfax and their legal team, and their millions of dollars, quicker than they would run the risk of taking on me, with a pocketful of change, or Independent Australia, in a defamation suit is, quite frankly, an insult to the intelligence.

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Comin’ Under Fire

In what can be described as an “action packed” lead up to the long awaited speech to be given in parliament on Monday by embattled MP Craig Thomson, today came the confirmation of a “knockout blow”

Some of you may have read my report on the tangled web surrounding the Health Services Union HSU, Fair Work Australia, and the Coalition that was published here on Wednesday, it is fair to say more information is coming to light.

The big news is that Michael Lawler, the Vice President of Fair Work Australia, has today been distanced from these issues.

I contacted Fair Work Australia today after anonymous sources informed me that he had been stood down. Initially I spoke to Michael’s PA, who informed me she knew nothing, only that he was not in the office all day.

I again contacted FWA as rumors persisted. late this afternoon I was contacted by FWA’s Communications Manager, Judy Hughes who informed me that Michael was on “Long Leave”. Not Long Service Leave, Sick Leave, or Holidays, “Long Leave”.

She would not expand on this, citing “privacy reasons”, however based on my earlier conversations with both her and Michael’s PA, I was left with the impression that this decision had been taken rather suddenly. I was also left wondering who actually made the decision, as when I asked Judy if Michael had chosen to go on leave, I was told that Judy”did not have that information”.

Reasons for his “Long Leave” are, as yet, unclear — however questions are being raised as to whether it is connected with the HSU investigation in which his partner Kathy Jackson was the Union “whistleblower”. Questions have been raised about Lawler’s relationship with Tony Abbott, and how this may have had an influence on any investigations taking place in FWA which involved Craig Thomson.

The Fair Work Australia investigations findings were also dealt a heavy blow yesterday when the Australian Electoral Commission AEC, found that the vast majority of Union funds used in Craig Thomson’s election campaign had been appropriately disclosed. This has taken the sting out of the tail of both the FWA Investigation, and the Coalitions accusations and calls for Thomson’s vote to be considered “tainted”.

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I Think I Smell A Rat

Slippery does not begin to describe the goings on in relation to some of the antics of our Federal politicians of late, however, many may be surprised at which side of politics I am referring to.

The James Ashby and Peter Slipper sexual harassment saga looks dodgier by the minute… even Barnaby Joyce thinks so…

Many of the allegations by Ashby seem to centre around events in a hotel, which begs the question, “What was he doing in a hotel room with someone who was allegedly sexually harassing him?” That does seem a wee bit odd/stupid/leading/entrapping to me.

Then we have The Liberals and their ever-changing stories… Mal Brough, he knew nothing of it and didn’t meet with Ashby… Turns out he met with Ashby, offered advice, suggested legal action… in short, in it up to his neck. When you consider that Brough is the guy looking to be preselected in Slippers seat for the Liberals, it is odd that the words “Conflict Of Interest” didn’t occur to him… or maybe they did.

Mal Brough learns to back pedal

Then there is Christopher Pyne… similar story, he had “No specific knowledge”, and didn’t really have anything to do with Ashby. As it turns out, they met several times in the month prior to Ashby’s legal claims, and went out drinking together. Then Mr Pyne told us he didn’t request Mr Ashby’s mobile phone number, as he would have no need for it, and anybody suggesting otherwise was speculating. Lo and behold, shortly afterwards an email was leaked to the press from Christopher Pyne to Mr Slippers office requesting Mr Ashby’s details. Hmmm

Christopher Pyne has ‘no specific knowledge” of misleading the press just the day before

Christopher Pyne could have saved himself the trouble, and asked Julie Bishop for his details, as Mr Ashby was already in contact with her office. Turns out though, Julie Bishop was unaware, or had forgotten all this, even misread his emails apparently. I think the words Julie was looking for but misplaced were “No Specific Knowledge”….

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Try Not To Breathe

Bernie Banton spent his last few agonizing breaths fighting for their rights, this week the NSW Coalition kicked them and their families in the guts. Damn hard too.

They are the workers suffering and dying from the effects of asbestos, which leads to some particularly nasty and painful conditions.

Those who are unlucky enough to have this condition have a long, undignified, and agonizing death to look forward to. Their families will have to deal with watching their loved ones suffer excruciating pain with each breath, and know that there is nothing that can be done for them. This truly is a disease you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemy, it is beyond horrific.

The company who gave us this deadly product was James Hardie, and the government at the time of the legal battles for compensation was the Howard Liberal Government.

As I mentioned, Bernie Banton was the man James Hardie hadn’t counted on. Bernie spent what were his final years fighting those whom he saw as the bastards who refused to help those suffering. Those bastards were the Directors of James Hardie, and Tony Abbott, who was then Health Minister. Tony Abbott did not want sufferers to have access to medication that was subsidised, and James Hardie didn’t want to be held liable for the serious problems that they had caused.

In a true David and Goliath battle, Bernie won on both counts, gaining compensation guarantees and access to subsidised medication.

The Face Of Courage, Bernie Banton

Then, like a war criminal fleeing for Switzerland, James Hardie moved its headquarters overseas in a bid to avoid the compensation payments, under the Coalitions watch.

Here in NSW, victims of this awful condition have received yet another awful blow, at the hands of a heartless Coalition government.

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Divine Intervention

We all love being told what to do, don’t we?

Same sex couples love being told they are not normal and can’t marry. Asylum seekers love being told they are human scum by a vile opposition leader and his motley crew. Climate scientists love to be told they are tin foil hat wearing freaks, especially by those with no idea like Barnaby Joyce and Alan Jones. And us, well, we like to be told we are stupid for thinking things like this are important….

Well, maybe not…

Imagine being told then what you can and can’t spend your money on. I’m not talking about illegal things like drugs or guns, I’m talking about your groceries, and what you spend when you go out.

When The Coalition, under John Howard, initiated The Northern Territory National Emergency Response, better known as The Interventon, it caused outrage, both here in Australia, and abroad.

I am not going to go into the first intervention, as to be honest, I am not an expert, and there is plenty of material online about it for those interested.

I do not pretend to understand the first thing about the issues facing Indigenous Australians, so I won’t delve into that area. All I really know is that too many have delved into it before knowing little more than I do, and made a mess of it.

What I do want to talk about, is the “Stronger Futures” legislation that is due to be passed through the Senate soon. Many are referring to this as The Intervention Part 2….

What the “Stronger Futures” policy is about is income management. Government approval on how your money is spent.

Here is a brief rundown on how it all works….

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I am without a doubt a political geek, no sense in denying it…

My favourite shows are Q&A, 7 30, 4 Corners, Media Watch, and Lateline. If I want fiction and comedy, I’ll watch “In The Thick Of It”…. like I said, political geek…

Monday nights are my big night, all 5 of these shows are on. I can just stretch out on the couch with some trackie daks on, and make myself comfy.

What I like about Q&A is that no matter which way you lean politically, the guests are usually good, and each get a fair hearing, even obnoxious ones like Mirabella, Brandis and O’Dwyer.

What has dismayed me this season, is the number of musical guests that play a song at the end of the show. Has the channel 10 board of directors suddenly taken over the ABC?

This week we had Kate Miller-Heidke. Yeah she has a good voice but so what? She seemed to know nothing or little about the issues being discussed, nor did she seem to have any interest in any of them. The most meaningful thing she said all night was when asked about the panels discussion on banks and mortgage rates she mumbled, “I just tuned out for a little while but…”. Great stuff, interesting perpective…

Clearly she was only there to advertise her latest album on a channel that doesn’t allow advertising.

I am reasonably sure most people watch Q&A for the discussion and to see panellists who want to be involved with the audience and the discussion. The time allocated to her could have been given to more discussion, and her seat could have been given to someone who may have actually given a toss….

I have yet to meet someone who says they are looking forward to seeing what performance is at the end of Q&A. Do you know why? Nobody cares about the performances….

If people want to see performances there must be about a million crappy shows like The Voice, Australian Idol, Australia Lacks Talent, etc to choose from…

This is not the first time this has happened either, there have been a few performances this year.

What is coming next? Are we going to see Tony booted out and the show hosted by Rove, or Kyle Sandilands?

Please understand, I am not having a shot at any of the performers, or their talent. Q&A is true reality television, and I’m just trying to vote the performers off….

I hope the producers of Q&A hear my plea, and I hope they hear it before Young Talent Time includes political discussion between songs.