Wednesday, December 02, 2009


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG expresses high hopes for new conservative leader, Tony Abbott

Conservative politicians block climate deal in Senate

At last the Liberal party has a real conservative in charge

The Coalition has managed to block the the Government's plan to fight climate change. The senate eventually voted 41-33 to defeat the government's climate change scheme despite two key Liberal moderates, Judith Troeth and Sue Boyce, crossing the Senate floor.

Blocking the emissions trading scheme (ETS) - which would set a limit on carbon pollution, then allow companies to trade permits to pollute within that cap - has handed Kevin Rudd a trigger for an early election.

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong hit out at opposing senators before the final vote, saying changing Australia's economy is crucial to fighting climate change. "You do not tackle climate change unless you change your economy," Senator Wong told the senate. "You have to make polluters pay."

Mr Rudd has said publicly he has no interest in going to the polls early, but Labor insiders have said many Government number crunchers are open to the idea. A March election is touted as the most likely timing, if Mr Rudd decided to call a snap poll.

New Liberal leader Tony Abbott, led a revolt against Malcolm Turnbull over a deal done with the Government that would have seen the Opposition support the scheme. But in a secret ballot of Liberal MPs straight after the leadership spill, a majority voted to renege on that deal.

The scheme would make household items and bills more expensive, because polluters would pass on the cost of polluting to consumers. However the Government has promised most families will be no worse off. Mr Abbott has called the scheme a "$130 billion tax". "This great big new tax is not actually going to reduce our emissions, it's just going to make a whole lot of things more expensive," he said on Macquarie radio this morning. "I am confident ... this legislation will be defeated in the Senate today."

Mr Abbott said yesterday he was not frightened by the prospect of fighting an election against Mr Rudd on climate change. He has promised an alternative policy on climate change next year, arguing there is no need to rush a policy that important.

But the Government is already painting Mr Abbott's leadership as a relic of the Howard era, with no new ideas for the future. Mr Rudd and Climate Change Minister Penny Wong had set a deadline of last week for the climate deal to be passed, but offered it again to Mr Abbott after yesterday's spill. The deal negotiated with the Opposition gave billions of extra dollars for polluters in compensation for when the cap is introduced.

The Government wanted the deal passed in time for next week's UN climate conference in Copenhagen. It is supposed to secure a successor to the Kyoto climate treaty, although no-one thinks it will achieve anything binding. Senator Wong has said she will go the summit early to try to salvage something, but it will be harder without an ETS deal.

Meanwhile Liberal Party strategists are plotting a strategy of using the ETS to target the PM as failing to deliver on promises that he would ease financial stress on families. Sources told The Australian that party research showed battlers were angry that costs were rising on Mr Rudd's watch - and that he was proposing to add to the burden with the climate plan.

Mr Abbott said he would pursue Mr Rudd for driving up interest rates with profligate spending, pointing to yesterday's decision by the Reserve Bank to lift the official cash rate by 0.25 percentage points to 3.75 per cent. The Opposition Leader also foreshadowed industrial relations reform. While admitting the Howard government's Work Choices laws had gone too far, he said they had created two million jobs and that "a free and flexible economy" was vital.


New Liberal leader Tony Abbott says he would have 'removed' Oceanic Viking asylum seekers

FEDERAL Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has suggested he would have solved the stand-off aboard the Oceanic Viking by forcibly removing the asylum seekers. The 78 Tamils disembarked in Indonesia after more than a month aboard the vessel following a deal offered by Australian authorities which guaranteed their refugee claims would be fast-tracked.

But Mr Abbott said the group should have been removed. "If 70 people invaded the prime minister's office it wouldn't matter how good the cause was, they would be removed,'' he told Fairfax Radio. "Now, I think that the people who were on the Oceanic Viking should have been removed.''

Mr Abbott, in his first full day as opposition leader, made the comment while taking calls on talkback radio this morning. And like Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said in the lead up to the 2007 election, Mr Abbott has advocated a policy of turning the asylum seeker boats back so they do not reach Australian waters. The newly-elected opposition leader also flagged a return to temporary protection visas, a policy also supported by Malcolm Turnbull before he was dumped.

"We've got to above all else deny to unauthorised arrivals the great prize of permanent residency in Australia,'' he said. "And that means a new class of visas, akin to the temporary protection visas, it means offshore processing. "It means where you can, turning boats around and it means working closely with host countries to try to ensure that we don't get people setting off in these leaky boats." There have been 49 boats carrying asylum seekers intercepted in Australian waters this year.

Meanwhile, Mr Abbott is set to announce his frontbench team in the coming days after rolling Malcolm Turnbull in yesterday's leadership spill... The Opposition Leader said he would like Senator Barnaby Joyce, the Nationals leader in the Senate, to be a part of his frontbench team and was considering his options. "I'm in the process of thinking about that and obviously talking to Warren Truss, the leader of the Nats,'' Mr Abbott told 3AW Radio this morning. "Malcolm wanted him on the frontbench because he's the leader of the National Party in the Senate and the Nats leader in the Senate should be part of the frontbench.'' Mr Abbott described Senator Joyce as a very "effective, accomplished politician''. "I think the National Party are lucky to have him and I think the coalition is stronger thanks to Barnaby.''

Meanwhile, Christopher Pyne, manager of Opposition business in the Lower House, predicts the nation faces a March election, with today's ETS defeat set to prompt a double dissolution. "I think the election will be on March the 6th," Mr Pyne told ABC TV. "(The government) will be rushing off to the polls because that was what the ETS in my view was all about ... so they could bring it back (to Parliament) and it could be a double dissolution trigger."

Mr Pyne said he expected Mr Abbott to remain in the Liberal top job until then. "I think he will take the party to the election with gusto," he said. "We will certainly know the difference between Labor and Liberal on election day, which is a huge plus in politics."...

Mr Abbott said Mr Rudd was "worse than Whitlam" when it came to wasting public money. "We have to make the Government the issue," he said. "We have to ensure that people are thinking about Labor's broken promises - rising interest rates, wasted money in the education revolution program, the $43 billion broadband program which will never happen."

John Howard paid tribute to his understudy, describing Mr Abbott as "a person of high intelligence, great energy".


Arrogant head-teacher ignores grievous bullying at government school

It was only the glare of publicity that got some decency out of this lazy bureaucrat

BRAVE Tyler Fishlock had to flee his school after standing up to repeated attacks by a bully he cannot see. Tyler - who captured the hearts of Victorians after having both his eyes removed to save his life from cancer - has been beaten with a ruler and a xylophone stick, kicked and punched, pushed, and had scissors clicked dangerously in front of this face. He was also called "retard", "spastic" and "blind kid".

"I can't dodge it. I can't see him coming and I think 'Oh God, here comes the monster again'," said Tyler, 7. "I am terrified of him."

After the third serious attack last week, the bully was suspended for two days and Caroline Springs College hired a "bodyguard" teacher to protect other children.

Tyler's distraught mother Georgette Fishlock yesterday withdrew him from school after the principal refused to remove the troublemaker from Tyler's class. But after being contacted by the Herald Sun, the school reversed its decision and has promised to move the boy to another class from tomorrow.

Ms Fishlock said Tyler will now return to school, but he missed out on performing in The Lion Sleeps Tonight at his first school concert last night because he was too scared. "Up until this point he never felt any different to any other child," Ms Fishlock said. "He tends to tackle life head-on like he always has, but this has put a real dampener on his school year." Ms Fishlock said the bully picked on other kids too, "but I think he favors Tyler because he gets something out of scaring him".

In the worst attack, teachers told the Fishlocks how Tyler was jabbed with a ruler in the area where he has painful scar tissue on his torso from operations. In a separate incident, the boy's mother made him apologise for threatening Tyler with scissors.

Last Wednesday Tyler was hit with a xylophone stick before being kicked in the kneecaps until he was rescued, cowering in the corner of his music class. After that attack, Ms Fishlock threatened to withdraw Tyler from school for the rest of the year unless the bully was removed from his class.

When contacted by the Herald Sun, college director Patrick Waring said the Fishlocks had no right to demand the boy be removed. He soon called back to say an agreement had been reached and the boy would be moved. "Parents are in no position - it doesn't matter who they are - to tell us ... what they want done with other people's children," Mr Waring said. "These are six-year-olds who are having a bit of trouble getting on with each other. We are not talking about high-end bullying, it is just spasmodic bad behaviour." [He might change his tune if someone blinded him and pushed him around]


Australians have the biggest homes

This comparison isn't a guide to much. House prices vary much more in America than they do in Australia. A tangle of Greenie land-use restrictions in California make housing prices there something like three times higher than they are in Texas, for instance. And higher prices mean that most people must settle for smaller homes. Texas prices seem quite low by Australian standards, in fact

AUSTRALIANS have the world's largest houses, beating traditional champion the US, however the cost of renting is similarly expanding. Data commissioned by CommSec shows the Australian house has grown on average by 10 per cent in the past decade to a record high of 214sq m, three times the size of the average British house. But a second report from BIS Shrapnel has also forecast rents would continue to spiral with a rise of 5 per cent a year in Brisbane between 2010 and 2012 and similar levels in other capitals, the Courier-Mail reported. It was estimated landlords would pocket an extra $2 billion nationally during the period.

According to CommSec, while the houses are getting bigger, so too are the families with the number of people in each household rising from 2.51 to 2.56, the first such rise in at least 100 years. NSW has the biggest houses in Australia and by a large margin. The size of the average new house built in NSW in 2008-09 was 262.9sq m, followed by Queensland 253sq m.

"The increase in the size of the average family unit may mean that fewer new homes need to be built," CommSec's Craig James said. "It makes sense. Population is rising, as is the cost of housing and the cost of moving house, so we are making greater use of what we've got. "Children are living at home longer with parents and more people are opting for shared accommodation."

Had the number of persons per household remained unchanged, CommSec estimates that 166,000 extra homes would needed to have been built in the 2007-08 year. "If the size of the average household continues to rise, there will be reduced demand for new houses and apartments," Mr James said.

"It is questionable whether Aussie homes can, or indeed should, continue to grow. "Generation Y is already baulking at the cost of housing, choosing to stay at home longer with parents."

In Europe Denmark has the biggest homes (houses and flats), with an average floor area of 137sq m, followed by Greece (126sq m), and the Netherlands (115.5sq m). Homes in the UK are the smallest in Europe at 76sq m.

Weekend auction clearances showed no let-up in demand ahead of tomorrow's Reserve Bank meeting that could lift interest rates for the third month in a row.


That shirt & Tie!

The man definitely craves attention. And if I owed millions (which he does) I would certainly not be funding the hugely expensive ostentation described below. But my background is Presbyterian and his is Jewish so perhaps we are both right within our own perspectives. I doubt that ostentation is good PR in the long run, though. Presbyterians (mainly people of Scottish origin) do pretty well without it -- and also without attracting odium upon themselves. There is no anti-Presbyterianism that I have heard of. A low profile has its benefits

AUSTRALIA'S most expensive and extravagant wedding went off without a hitch last night - at a rumoured cost of more than $3 million. Blushing bride Brynne Gordon dripped in $500,000 worth of diamonds and dazzled in a tasteful, strapless, ivory gown of silk, satin and tulle, while her groom wore a tuxedo with a twist.

Guests were one as they described Brynne, at just 26, radiating pure and genuine joy to be marrying the man who swept her off her feet and brought her to Australia after a whirlwind courtship in the US.

Members of the wedding party arrived in Rolls Royces, at least one bearing "Brynne" numberplates. Television starlets, AFL stars, radio personalities and talkback hosts, media commentators and fashionistas swarmed into Crown's Palladium Ballroom to watch "Doc" Geoffrey Edelsten wed the vivacious young woman who has given him a new lease of life after a colourful career.

Guests were treated to a sumptuous, seven-course dinner. Molly Meldrum, Chris Judd, Pete Hellier, Dave Hughes, Pippa Black, Tiffany Hall, Jeanne Pratt and Tottie Goldsmith were among them. Former Collingwood legend Tom Hafey knew Dr Edelsten in Sydney and said he had found him to be shy.

Brynne's brothers Nick and Ryan said it was a wedding most women would only ever dream of. "It's hard to imagine just how big and amazing it is," said Ryan, 29. "I think it's probably every girl's dream to meet the man of her dreams and marry in like, a fairytale." Proud and protective of their older sister, Nick and Ryan were equally full of praise for their new brother-in-law. "He's fantastic to Brynne, he's great with our whole family and he treats her so well, we are really happy for both of them."


1 comment:

Paul said...

His perspective seems to be a vulgar, ostentatious "wedding" to a young strumpet (who looks more like a Trannie in that pic.) while his creditors can go jump. But then, thats the "Tribe" for you. Bernie Madoff would be proud.