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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

… from two hours of handing out how to vote cards in Kingscote (Mayo, SA).

Two things of interest.

1. Someone who thought I was offering her a Labor card said ‘Not without Kevin.’

I wasn’t sure the knifing of Kevin Rudd really would make a difference to the election. It has.

2. The number of people who specifically asked for Family First cards.

I know the candidate for Family First in Mayo. He is a great guy. Honest, intelligent, compassionate, hard working.

He won’t get in.

But the fact that so many people asked for Family First cards makes me wonder whether Bob Day has a chance of taking Sarah Hanson-Young’s senate seat.

That would certainly be a cause for rejoicing in my household.

Finally, the following from the Sydney Morning Herald:

Labor has denied employing dirty campaign tactics in the marginal electorate of Lindsay where candidate David Bradbury is at risk of losing his seat.

Labor campaigners are distributing how to vote cards dressed as Liberals, wearing recplica T-shirts to booth workers campaigning for Liberal candidate Fiona Scott.

The light blue T-shirts are unmarked with Labor branding and are precisely the same shade as their liberal counterpart.

A Labor campaign leaftlet is also styled to look like Greens election material. It is authorised by the ALP but contains no party logo.

Why would anyone vote for these people?

If the Tamil asylum seekers thought they were going to have an easier run in Canada than in Australia, they may be in for an unpleasant surprise.

A poll of 1500 Canadians reported in the Toronto Sun turned up this result:

Asked which statement best described their own opinion on what should be done with the ship, which may include members of the banned Tamil Tiger terrorist group, 60% agreed with the statement: “They should be turned away – the boat should be escorted back to Sri Lanka by the Canadian Navy.”

Just 17% agreed with the statement: “They should be accepted into Canada as political refugees.”

The boat won’t be turned around, though, no matter what most Canadians think:

Martin Collacott was Canada’s highest-ranking diplomat in Sri Lanka during the period when the civil war launched by the Tamil Tigers started in the early 1980s. Collacott says we can’t just turn the boat back.

“We need to follow the process that takes the ones that are legitimate refugees and return the others,” said Collacott.

How many are legitimate refugees is up for debate said Collacott, who noted that the ship, the MV Sun Sea, didn’t come directly from Sri Lanka, but from Thailand where the passengers were safe from any possible persecution from the Sri Lankan government.

If they were all safe from any possible persecution, on what basis can any of them be legitimate refugees?

All right, so I may be embarrassed tomorrow, but here goes.

In primary votes, the Liberals are way ahead. But with preference deals counted, most polls show them at 48% and Labor at 52%.

Tim Blair has all the bases covered, but suggests the most likely outcome is a three to eight seat victory for Labor.

If the polls are right, the overall swing may not be enough to give the Liberals a clear victory.

But the polls may not be right.

Julia has shot herself in the foot over the last couple days with her incessant bleating about how rotten Tony Abbott is, and how Work Choices would be back on Monday if the Liberals win. She looks tired, brittle, and untrustworthy.

I suspect the swing will be slightly stronger than the polls suggest.

But the overall swing is less important than the extent of movement in particular marginals.

Labor will lose seats in New South Wales and Queensland. They seem to be hoping to pick up two in South Australia. Julia is an Adelaide girl.

I doubt this will happen. The Rann government is not as popular as it was, and however Julia may try to distance herself from unpopular state governments, Labor is Labor.

The Greens will not win their seat in Melbourne.

The Liberals will win by two seats.

This may make effective government difficult. But Tony Abbott has shown over the last months that he can command loyalty and draw disparate party elements together. He will be a good Prime Minister.

In the Senate? The Greens will not get the vote they hope for. But the pixies in the garden parties may still hold the balance of power.

Incidentally, and in case you were wondering, I am not a member of the Liberal Party. The only political party I have ever belonged to was the Socialist Workers’ Party. That was at university.

My views have changed since then!

According to the ABC:

In the final hours of the 2010 election campaign, both parties have ramped up the negative rhetoric as they scramble to win over voters in what is tipped to be the closest election since 1961. …

Despite the colour and stunts of the last few days both leaders have turned to personal attacks to sway any undecided voters.

Reading that, you might be lead to believe that both leaders had turned to negativity and personal attacks.

Let’s see. The story reports Julia as unrepentant over her attacks on Mr Abbott, and saying:

“There’s a real risk Mr Abbott will become prime minister. And I think it is fair when Australians go and vote that they contemplate the risk of the return of WorkChoices.”

If you say so, Julia.

So what details does the ABC have to report on Mr Abbott’s personal attacks and negativity?

Well, someone ran past him in a pair of Speedos.

Right. What else?

He drank a shandy, whereas last night Julia drank a stout.

So obviously he’s not a real bloke at all. Thanks for that. Anything else?

Yes, he talked about policies.

Policies?

Yes, he talked about reducing taxes and spending, and better border control.

Did he? What a bastard. Did he mention Julia at all? Say anything nasty about her?

No. But he was still ramping up the rhetoric in a negative and personal way. By talking about policies.

So, no. No personal remarks or negative attacks from Mr Abbott.

This kind of nonsense is what passes for reporting on ‘your ABC.’

4. Impartiality
Principles: The ABC has a statutory duty to ensure that the gathering and presentation of news and information is impartial according to the recognised standards of objective journalism. Impartial, accurate and fair coverage of news and information equips audiences to make up their own minds.

I guess they’re planning on starting that after the election.

No, Julia Gillard being strident and negative is not news. What is news is that an ABC correspondent says she is.

Even Julia seems to be admitting that she is now running a wholly negative campaign. She has to, you know, because things are tough.

John Styles at Australian Conservative nails the Labor strategy:

  • Lies: simply assert something about your opponent’s policies, or costings, without any basis in fact
  • Fake polling: Release “secret internal polling” in an effort to drive the media agenda
  • “Friday dumps”: Untrue “news” stories dropped into marginal seats on the day before the poll
  • Endless negativity: Claim you’re being positive but all you do is attack your opponent
  • Scare campaigns: Make up things about your opponent and his policies
  • Personal attacks: Relentlessly repeat that your opponent is a “risk”

This may work with some of the people, some of the time (hmm.. that sounds familiar).

But my suspicion is that people have had enough, and this latest bout of ranting about how horrible Tony Abbott is, and he will bring back Work Choices, and reduce the number of doctors, and ruin the environment, and goodness knows what other dreadful things he is planning because you can’t trust a word he says, will backfire.

Julia really does look and sound strident and negative and desperate. Maybe she’s beginning to wonder if people have realised she is the one who can’t be trusted, who is too big a risk.

A few people I have spoken to over the last couple of weeks, people who are otherwise intelligent as far as I can tell, have told me they intend to vote for the Greens in the Senate.

When asked why, they usually respond by saying they think the Greens will do a better job of protecting the environment.

So I ask if they can tell me about any specific Greens policies.

‘No. Well, they’re in favour of the environment.’

‘OK. How do their specific policies differ from those of the Labor or Liberal parties?’

No answer.

The Greens win votes by making sure people don’t know about their policies. There’s just a general fluffy, let’s be nice to green things and furry things feel about them.

But there is nothing green or pleasantly furry about the Greens.

Just consider two Greens policies, one which will impact on everyone, and one which will impact on a few in real need.

First, the Greens have made it clear that if Labor depends on them, even occasionally, to get legislation through the Senate, the price of their co-operation will be a carbon tax.

A Carbon tax will have no positive effect on the environment.

Human activity has had a miniscule impact on the level of CO2 in the atmosphere – from about 3 particles per 10,000 to about 4 particles per 10,000.  And that is assuming we are to blame for all of that small increase over the last 100 years. But we don’t know. It really is just an assumption. CO2 levels change all the time. They have been much higher in the past, and sometimes lower.

Higher is good. During the Carboniferous period, when most modern trees evolved, temperatures were about the same as they are now. CO2 levels were three times higher than now. At current levels, trees and other green things are Carbon deprived. For plants, surviving at current levels of CO2 is like our surviving on Oxygen depleted air. Less CO2 means less green, not more.

More CO2 means better crops, and more resilience in forests and wetlands.

So a carbon tax is bad for the environment. It is also bad for industry, because it is a tax on energy, which means it is a tax on transport, manufacture, travel, power generation, etc, etc, etc.

Everything will be more expensive, for no point whatever.

This is what voting for the Greens means.

A second Greens policy is the closure of the Lucas Heights reactor.

I have mentioned this to a few people, and the response is always something like: ‘Well that’s OK. Good. We don’t need any nuclear reactors in Australia anyway.’ 

Actually we do. They are a cheap, clean, sustainable form of energy production that will reduce our dependence on coal and imported fuels. But that is not the immediate point.

The Lucas Heights reactor produces the isotopes required for nuclear medicine. Radiotherapy. Diagnosing and treating cancer.

1.5 million doses of nuclear medicine (radiotherapy) are administered in Australia every year.

If the Greens have their way on this, cancer patients in Australia will die because a basic modern form of treatment will not be available to them.

Know what you are voting for.

This is honestly one of the funniest things I have ever seen:

There was a time when, even though left leaning, The Age stood for clear reporting, and the best of liberal values, in the sense of being fair and open.

That has not been the case for many years.

The Age has become more and more rigidly dogmatic, biased in its ‘factual’ reporting of political matters, and resistant to the expression of alternative (conservative) views in its opinion pages.

So it is no surprise to see that in the last quarter, its circulation has fallen by 4.5%.

Other print dailies are also experiencing declines. Some of that decline is because of the growing use of internet news sources. Newspapers are expensive, and hard work by comparison.

But why is The Age suffering more than most?

I can only answer for myself. I used to buy it reasonably regularly. But I no longer do, for the same reason I now very rarely watch the ABC.

It is not that there are views expressed there I disagree with. I usually read the appalling Monthly, and the just as appalling Eureka Street. I want to know what people who see things differently from me are thinking, and I often learn from them. Those journals are often wrong, but they are generally honest.

It is rather that both The Age and the ABC claim to be news organisations, and claim to be balanced. They are neither. Both use creative editing to frame news stories to match their political agendas in ways that mislead or distort.

I don’t like that. I don’t like being lied to.

Two things need to happen to return the ABC and The Age to respectability, and to higher circulation, viewing, and reading figures.

First, there needs to be a real commitment to honest factual reporting.

This might include, for example, noting the claims of Julia Gillard’s minders that she was speaking ‘off the cuff’ at her campaign launch, and her own implication that this was so, and then reporting that this was not so, and questioning why Julia and her minders might wish to deceive the media and the public about this.

No, it’s not going to happen.

The second is that there needs to be room in both The Age and the ABC for expression of alternate views. The one-sided badgering of Liberal party politicians on the ABC, and the stacking of panels and audiences, is so common that an exception would be newsworthy. The Age has not one conservative columnist, and conservative opinions on the letters pages are so scarce as to be invisible.

This policy of exclusion doesn’t win votes, readers, watchers even amongst left wingers.

Most Labor voters I know are fair-minded people, and happy to hear and consider views other than their own. Being wrong doesn’t make them stupid.

So dear Age editors, if you need a conservative commentator, and you do, I am willing to consider offers.

Based on comments by Engineer and Mick Davis on Andrew Bolt’s blog.

Labor’s Report Card

20/20 SummitFAIL

Millions of dollars of your money wasted. No ideas from summit implemented.

Aboriginal HousingFAIL

$300 million of your money spent, no houses built.

Grocery WatchFAIL

Millions of dollars of your money wasted, no outcome.

Fuel WatchFAIL

Millions of dollars of your money wasted, no outcome.

Private Health RebateFAIL

Core election promise broken, more taxpayers funds wasted.

Federal Takeover of Health ServicesFAIL

Core election promise broken, millions in taxpayer funds wasted, no result.

Super ClinicsFAIL

31 promised in 2007, 2 built at $6 million each (twice the estimated cost if built by private practitioners). More of your money wasted.

Mining TaxFAIL

First ‘back of the envelope’ plan would have sabotaged Australia’s key industries. Gillard’s revision unworkable. Budget figures including income from this tax now short billions of dollars.

‘Free’ Home Insulation – FAIL

$2.5 billion of your money wasted, 4 deaths, 200 house fires, another $1 billion to fix.

Solar Panel SchemeFAIL

Blow-out of $850 million on untested technology. Scheme scrapped, rebates discontinued, workers unemployed.

Foreign Relations – FAIL

Former positive relationships with Indonesia, East Timor, China, Israel, now confused or strained.

Green LoansFAIL

Program dumped after $175 million blow-out. No measureable outcomes. Auditors/inspectors unemployed.

Building the Education RevolutionFAIL

$18 billion of your money spent – $1000 from every Australian. No local consultation. Schools that needed gyms got libraries, schools that needed libraries got halls. Wholesale rorting, sub-standard buildings. Up to $8 billion wasted.

School ComputersFAIL

One billion dollars of your money blew out to $2.2 billion. Less than one third of promised computers delivered.

National Broadband NetworkFAIL

A $5 billion policy blows out to $43 billion. $6000 cost to every household in Australia, assuming costs do not double – which some experts claim they will. Virtually no services delivered. No advantage over existing cable or HFC technology.

Budget Control FAIL

$22 billion surplus turned into $58 billion deficit which tax payers will need to repay. Nearly $9000 per year per Australian household.

Debt FAIL

$40 billion left in the bank by the Liberals turned into $100 billion Labor debt in just three years. Labor’s spending spree continues to increase debt at 100 million dollars per day, rising to 120 million per day next year.

Border SecurityFAIL

Illegal arrivals 3 boats a year under Liberals, now approaching 3 boats per week. At least 170 aslylum seeker deaths at sea, plus nearly 300 missing and unaccounted for. Plan for a new detention centre in East Timor not even discussed with East Timorese government before being announced.

Climate PolicyFAIL

‘Great moral issue of our time.’ ‘Delay is denial.’ Action – NIL. No current policy. Hundreds of climate bureaucrats employed by Penny Wong with your money, doing nothing.

Would the Liberals have done any better?

Past action and results are the best predictor of future action and results.

The Liberals were elected in 1996.

Labor had left a debt of $96 billion. This was repaid.

When Labor was kicked out, unemployment was in double digits. Under the Liberals unemployment was reduced to its lowest in 30 years.

When Labor left, inflation was in double digits. Under the Liberals inflation was reduced to 3%.

Under the Liberals, interest rates were reduced to their lowest in 30 years.

The Liberals created the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority to ensure bank security and reduce loan defaults, and avoided a US type economic crisis.

The Liberals invested $67 billion into a future fund, and ran consistent surplus budgets leaving Labor a $22 billion dollar surplus when they took over in 2007.

Labor debt – tax payer money borrowed and spent, which tax payers will need to repay – now stands at $100 billion – $5000 for every Australian.

On past experience – Yes. The Liberals will do better.

Naughty Wendy Francis. Doesn’t she know that expressing opinions contrary to those approved by the Federation of Angry Gays is not permitted?

Wendy is a Queensland senate candidate for the Family First Party.

She, or someone on her staff, tweeted that allowing the adoption of children by homosexual couples was equivalent to legalising child abuse.

She was not suggesting that children brought up in such relationships are more likely to suffer violence, neglect or sexual abuse.

Such an argument could be made, and perhaps should be considered, given the relative instability of homosexual relationships, the high rates of domestic violence, and the disproportionate amount of child sexual abuse committed by male homosexuals. But that is not what she was saying.

What she was saying is that research suggests that children do best when raised in a stable family headed by a male and a female. There are obviously times when that is not possible, when parents must do their best alone.

But for the state to put children into situations which are known to be less than optimal is not responsible. In matters of adoption, the children’s needs come first. Children are not fashion accessories, and having children is not a right.

The Courier-Mail reported that Wendy had ‘apologised unreservedly’ for the comment.

No she didn’t. She said she would have put the matter differently, and apologised if anyone was upset over the language used. But she continues to insist that allowing homosexual partners to adopt children is to make those children guinea pigs in an extraordinary social experiment that cannot be justified.

It is possible to argue that sufficient evidence exists now to be able to claim that children raised by homosexual couples show the same sexual, intellectual and physical development as other children. That is not that case – the research purportedly demonstrating this does not meet basic standards in terms of sample sizes, statistical analysis or reporting, and in almost every case was conducted by gay advocates.

Catholic Education’s Review Of Research On Homosexual Parenting, Adoption, And Foster Parenting is worth reading for some solid background on this issue, and comparison of outcomes for children raised by homosexual couples with children raised by male/female married parent families and other family types.

And the other apology? That was the absurd apology by Channel Nine CEO David Gyngell for Mark Latham’s questioning of PM Julia Gillard.

The PM was never in any danger (except of being embarrassed). Political journalists used to believe it was part of their job to ambush politicians with difficult questions.

So what the heck has happened to our media organisations when the CEO of a major TV network feels the need to apologise over a perfectly reasonable (if irrelevant to most voters) question?

This is Shaznaz Bibi. A muslim women who was not sufficiently docile.

Shaznaz Bibi, Muslim Woman

An isolated incident? There are more photos in an article called Terrorism that’s Personal.

Since 1994, a Pakistani activist who founded the Progressive Women’s Association to help such women “has documented 7,800 cases of women who were deliberately burned, scalded or subjected to acid attacks, just in the Islamabad area. In only 2 percent of those cases was anyone convicted.”

The article makes the point that terrorism is not a distant political movement. It is real murder, mutilation, and horror for millions of men and women.

Today also brought news of a couple stoned to death in Afghanistan.

It is all very well to say that these events are not representative of Islam, which is a religion of peace, yada yada yada.

But religions are a reflection of those who founded them. Jesus was gentle, forgiving, truthful, giving, respectful in all his relationships.

Mohammed was a serial murderer and rapist, a torturer who had sex with a nine year old girl when he was fifty-four.

These comments from a Muslim website are typical of the veneration given to him by Muslims:

… we look to divine guidance in order to define for us good manners and character, exemplified by the Prophet, as God said:

“Surely, you (O Muhammad) are upon a high standard of moral character.” (Quran 68:4)

God also said:

“Indeed in the Messenger of God you have a beautiful example of conduct to follow…” (Quran 33:21)

Aisha, the wife of the noble Prophet, was asked about his character.  She replied:

“His character was that of the Quran.” (Saheeh Muslim, Abu Dawud)

The Koran authorises violence against women, Mohammed exemplified violence against women, including the rape of women captured in war.

So how is disfigurement, rape and murder contrary to the ‘real teaching of Islam?’

If the Quran and the example of Mohammed are not the real teaching of Islam, what is?

And if this violence is wrong, a defaming of Islam, where are the protests and outrage from real Muslims at this misrepresentation of Islam, on a scale anything like the vengeful wrath expressed over the cartoons of Mohammed a few years ago?

I ended my post featuring Morgan Freeman with the suggestion: ‘if you don’t think race should make a difference, stop acting like race makes a difference.’

So I was interested to read in Qantas’ in flight magazine about how jolly well some of those indigenous football players are doing.

Qantas even has a program to help them along, poor dears. Because, you know, of the extra help they need.

The whole tenor of the article was ‘Oh. you’re black, and you’re good at something. Gosh. Well done!’

This is a perfect example of Ayaan Hirsi Ali calls ‘the racism of low expectations.’

It is promoted by race relations commissioners, social workers and the media. It is applied to Australia’s indigenous peoples and to non-white immigrants.

It is insidious, insulting and destructive.

I asked three random people (well it’s about as scientific as those polls in the Courier-Mail) some simple questions.

Do you believe the world is getting warmer as a result of human action? Two said yes, one no.

To the two who said yes: ‘What are we doing that is causing the world to get warmer?’

They both answered that we are making too much carbon dioxide, and this is trapping sunlight.

Next question: ‘If you had a box containg 10,000 air particles, how many of them would be carbon dioxide?’

One answer: Half?

The other answer: About 3,000?

My response. ‘Three.’

‘What, three thousand?’

‘Nope, three.’

‘You mean 300?’

Nope, three.’

‘That can’t be right.’

“Go and check it out.’

‘No that can’t be right.’

Ahh, the joyful bliss of ignorance.

Except that, in this case, and often, ignorance does not promote bliss, but uneccessary panic.

There is vastly more water vapour in the air than CO2, and water vapour is a more effective retainer of heat.

The minimal effect of that tiny amount of CO2 is simply swamped by other factors including water vapor.

The even more minimal additional amount of CO2 resulting from human activity causes so little change that it cannot even be measured.

Despite this, everywhere is getting hotter faster than everywhere else, and Mars is getting hotter fastest of all. And it’s all our fault. Except Mars.

Gol darn those irresponsible truck driving martians!

Of course, scientists keep saying we should stop panicking about climate because we can’t do anything about it anyway, and get on with solving real problems, but I still think those martians need to be taught a lesson.

Wow, that George Christensen is anti everything. Well of course he would be, he’s a liberal party candidate.

At least, that’s the impression you might get from this article in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Some of the comments quoted really are obnoxious. Only one of them is actually attributed to Christensen. The rest were in a magazine he edited.

All date from 1998, when he was a university student.

Sorry, when? 1998. Twelve years ago. Christensen was a teenager at the time.

There are a few things to note here. Firstly this was twelve years ago. Christensen was a teenager.

Secondly, some of the opinons expressed by Christensen as a teenager are simply sensible.

Is it really extreme, anti-gay, or anti-women to suggest there is something wrong with using tax-payer funds to pay for a sex change operation for a bloke who thinks he’d like to be a lesbian?

Thirdly, this was twelve years ago, and Christensen was a teenager at the time.

Fourthly, even the most extreme views expressed in the magazine edited by Christensen are no match for the personal attacks, obscenity and sheer nastiness exhibited on an ongoing basis by such left-wing luminaries as Marieke Hardy and Catherine Deveny, without so much as a disapproving murmur from the mainstream media.

Finally, if what you thought at university can safely be held to be what you think now, we are really in trouble with Ms Gillard, who is therefore still a ‘revolutionary leftist’ (her own words), committed to undermining capitalist society.

I feel much more confident that Christensen does not now hold the juvenile views he did twelve years ago than that Ms Gillard does not hold the radical views she did.

Christensen has acknowledged that some of what he said was inappropriate. He says those remarks were made in jest, or to generate discussion. They are not representative of his views now. And he has apologised unreservedly. 

Julia is still to tell the truth about the extent of her involvement in communist groups.

I know who I’d trust first.

How do caring, intelligent people stop the race problem?

Race commissioners, equality commissars, etc, only have jobs as long as they keep finding racists under the bed, so they have a vested interest in keeping on finding them, and making the problem sound as bad as it can be made to sound.

There may be another way.

This Morgan Freeman talking about ‘Black History Month:’

via Brutally Honest

The moral of the story is, if you don’t think race should make a difference, stop acting like race makes a difference.