Monday, February 04, 2008

Keating the Leftist scumbag

("Scumbag" is a term often used by Keating about others -- another good example of Leftist "projection")

When former dictator Suharto of Indonesia and reformist economist-journalist Paddy McGuinness of Balmain died last week, a prominent Australian referred to one as a liar and a fraud with a corrupt mind that suited "his miserable purpose at the time". The other he referred to as a shy and retiring personal friend who "devoted himself entirely to the development of social conditions".

No matter how bizarre it may appear, it was entirely in character for former prime minister Paul Keating to express such a negative opinion of McGuinness, who had dared to criticise him, and such favourable views of Suharto, a man with the blood of hundreds of thousands of people on his hands and with a well-earned reputation, shared by his acquisitive children, for corruption on a vast scale.

Keating had enjoyed a very close relationship with the dictator, having made many visits to Indonesia (but none to leading regional powers such as India) as prime minister, often accompanied by private sector mates wanting to do business there.

In his fulsome eulogy in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald at the weekend, Keating said he "was honoured to know" Suharto, whom he credited with turning Indonesia into "a model of harmony, cohesion and progress", without managing to make any mention in his couple of thousand words about Indonesia's colonialist oppression in West Papua, conflict in Aceh, environmental destruction for profit or Suharto's use of mass murder to silence discordant notes.

So despite the growing concerns in Australia about Suharto's regime, Keating told parliament that the election of the New Order government had been the most positive factor in the region for many years. He made the incredible statement that "the Indonesian government's response to the Dili killings (in East Timor) had been a credible one" and rather than challenging Indonesia's sovereignty over East Timor, he limited Australia's response to seeking to "assist where we could in measures for the welfare of the people", while doing no more diplomatically than smacking Suharto's hand with a feather by pointing out that "the unhappy situation in East Timor detracts from Indonesia's otherwise impressive achievements". Disgraceful and unacceptable would have been more appropriate words than "unhappy".

The great majority of Australians shed no tears for the dictator who had converted the former Dutch colony into a brutal colonial oppressor, and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd did not attend Suharto's funeral, leaving it to acting Foreign Minister Robert McClelland to represent Australia; Keating represented himself, with his presence at the funeral underlining his government's failure to take a moral stance on the occupation of East Timor: a situation corrected by the Howard administration.

But if the authoritarian Suharto attracted the former prime minister's approbation, Keating's habitual proclivity for abuse was directed at the anti-authoritarian McGuinness, who has been eulogised by a collection of intellects that make Keating (and his more moderately critical old mate from the thuggish NSW Labor Right, Bob Carr) the oddest of odd men out.

In contrast to the (politically astute) pomp and military ceremony of Suharto's funeral, the send-off for Padraic Pearse McGuinness was simple and attracted an impressive gathering of mourners, including former governor-general Bill Hayden, former prime minister John Howard, former Reserve Bank governor Ian Macfarlane, former Treasury secretary John Stone, former ministers and other politicians, ABC and Stock Exchange chairman Maurice Newman, poets Les Murray and Geoffrey Lehmann, film producer Margaret Fink, leading journalists and many readers of Quadrant under Paddy's 10-year editorship. But for all the eulogistic speeches and columns of the last week that have raised Paddy the atheist to near deity, McGuinness would, as his daughter Parnell said, have been even more delighted at having aroused such a "childish" response from Keating.

As former Quadrant editor Peter Coleman said, McGuinness had praised many of Keating's economic policies, particularly as treasurer, but strongly criticised him as prime minister, writing in 1998: "It was when Keating started to think that he knew what he was doing that he made his worst mistakes and listened to the most foolish advice, as witness the mess he made of economic management in his time as prime minister." And, Coleman adds, McGuinness "ridiculed his self-aggrandisement, his vulgarity, his passion for money, wealth and property, turning his back on his Bankstown roots".

Paddy had already expressed his pleasure at joining, back in 1989, the long list of those of us who have received foul-mouthed abuse from Keating and proposed the creation of the Keating Scumbags Society, with Howard (who was addressed as such in parliament) as chairman.

Keating's reputation as a great parliamentary performer depended far more on his vitriol than substance. Generally without being inhibited by parliamentary rules and granted licence by compliant Labor speakers, his contribution to popular discourse was to introduce such descriptions of his opponents as frauds, cheats, pigs, clowns, boxheads, criminal intellects, corporate crooks, hobos, harlots, loopy crims, stupid foul-mouthed grubs, dogs returning to their vomit and piece of criminal garbage, as well as the ever-popular scumbag and sleazebag. Over in the Senate we were "unrepresentative swill"; presumably the House of Reps was representative swill.


Rudd's plan to ease mortgage pain

This sounds very reasonable and very conservative. When did you last hear a Leftist planning a budget SURPLUS? Mostly they pine to spend MORE than they take in, not less

A five-point plan to battle inflation and a "very big" budget surplus will help ease the stress of struggling home-loan borrowers, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says. Hundreds of thousands of Australians are bracing for more mortgage pain as they await a Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) decision tomorrow on official interest rates.

Mr Rudd says the RBA has complete control of interest rates, but the Government is doing the best it can to battle inflation. "I've done that by announcing our five-point plan for dealing with it (inflation) including exercising restraint by producing a very big budget surplus this coming budget,'' Mr Rudd told Fairfax Radio Network. "I believe there is a strong economic case for budget belt-tightening by the national government if we want to do our bit in budget policy to make the job of the Reserve Bank easier over the course of 2008 to keep interest rates as low as possible.'' "Mortgage stress is huge," he said. "I understand fully how acute these problems are.''

Forecasts show a record number of Australians will face difficulty in paying their mortgages this year. An estimated 750,000 homeowners will suffer mortgage stress during 2008, research by JP Morgan and Fujitsu Consulting found. Up to 300,000 of those may default on their home loans and risk having their homes repossessed.

But Mr Rudd would not concede that Australians could expect a very tough budget in May. "I don't want to be excessively dramatic, we're still working our way through it ... but we take our job very seriously in producing a responsible budget.''


More in the never-ending saga of negligence from a government child welfare organization

A bungle that resulted in two women's confidential files ending up in the wrong hands has sparked yet another investigation into DOCS. Private files with names, addresses and phone number as well as medical and psychiatric reports and an entire case history were mixed up and sent to the wrong community services clients. DOCS is already facing a special commission of inquiry following a string of child deaths - and Premier Morris Iemma was recently forced to launch a similar inquiry into the entire health system.

Yesterday the collapse in government services continued, with Mr Iemma apologising to a hospital patient left in her own urine and Health Minister Reba Meagher left to explain a leaked memo that warned of an impending disaster at morgues.

The latest DOCS debacle began when Kylie, a community services client from the North Coast, was sent the case history of another woman. "If they can make a mistake like this, what kind of other mistakes could they be making regarding children?" the young mother, whose own file was also sent to the wrong address, said. "It is a complete breach of privacy. I know absolutely everything about this woman - psychological issues, why her child was removed. And my most intimate details are out there for anyone to read."

Community Services Minister Kevin Greene has ordered embattled DOCS director-general Neil Shepherd to investigate the mix-up. "I am disappointed that sensitive DOCS files have been handled in such a careless manner," he said. A DOCS spokeswoman has "apologised unreservedly" for the error: "It appears as though court documents prepared by the department were accidentally posted to the wrong address."

Mr Iemma was forced to apologise to the family of 82-year-old Elsa Facenda, who found the grandmother soaked in urine and lying on towels. He stopped short of turning the current inquiry into the health system into a royal commission. "Occasionally the system can break down. It doesn't bring the system into disrepute," he said. Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell said it was unacceptable a hospital could run out of basic resources such as incontinence pads.

In another blow for the Government, a leaked memo from Sydney West Area Health Service revealed the state's key morgues were inadequate and predicted a "backlog of cases". A spokeswoman for Ms Meagher said a worldwide shortage of forensic pathologists and the age of the facilities "puts pressure on the service from time to time".


South Australia aims to lure Britons

STOP whingeing, Poms. As the British economy falters, Australia is launching its most aggressive campaign yet to attract a new generation of immigrants from Britain. A recruitment drive by the state government of South Australia starts tomorrow with newspaper advertisements attacking life in Britain, with slogans such as "Sod London house prices" and "Screw working in Staines, hello Adelaide".

Fifty years after 1m Britons were lured down under with the 10 pound assisted-passage scheme, skilled tradespeople and professionals are once again being targeted. This time there will be no cheap flights or tickets for ocean liners but the promise that young people can buy a four-bedroom detached house on the beach with space for a swimming pool and "barbie" for as little as 200,000 pounds. In 2006 more than 200,000 Britons left the country to live abroad, and South Australia wants to snap up another 5,000 a year. Professionals in demand include chefs, butchers, physiotherapists, dentists and dermatologists. There is no upper age limit, but a points system based on job and parental status will in effect bar anyone over 45.

The slogans are the work of Bill Muirhead, a founder partner in the M & C Saatchi advertising firm, who has been appointed agent-general of South Australia. Muirhead, who was born in Adelaide, said: "It might appear we are being rude but a lot of things in Britain aren't good. You don't want to go to hospital in case you die of illness. It's fertile ground. We went for Staines because it sounds nasty too. I don't suppose the mayor of Staines is going to be too happy but it could easily have been Slough or Croydon."

South Australia is four times the size of Britain but has an ageing population of just 1.5m. David Travers, the state's migration expert at Australia House in London, said: "It's not like the old 10 pound-a-pom days but we are very hungry for people as a resource. Australian states don't just compete against each other at cricket. We fight to get skills."

Chris Finch, a landscape gardener from Bracknell, Berkshire, who plans to emigrate to Adelaide with his wife Teenachk in June, said: "We think we can provide our future children with a better life."

Mike Rann, South Australia's premier, who was born in Sidcup, southeast London, and is the architect of the migration scheme,said: "If someone has a vision for what they want to do, it's much easier to do it here than in Britain. I'm the grandson of a dustman." But Andrew Hirst, mayor of Spelthorne, the Surrey borough that includes Staines, said: "It's a great shame the Australians have to pick on Staines. It's an attractive riverside town with a lot more going for it than their weak beer. We have full employment and are close to both London and Windsor."


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