Friday, June 25, 2010

A saner PM, it seems

Some cautious applause for the new policies of the new PM (see below) -- but you can't win 'em all and the pledge to revive Warmist laws is dumb. As a minister she was good on rebuffing thug unions and held the line on education reform but she was also in charge of the distrous "BER" school spending

She has never married and has no children, though she does have a male hairdresser as a partner (!). The rough makeup below does not reflect very feminine priorites, it seems to me. I cannot help comparing her life with the close family life of Margaret Thatcher

Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott's days of friendly sparring on morning television are over as the Opposition gears up to attack her central role in the failed government programs that led to the demise of Kevin Rudd's leadership.

Australia's first female prime minister yesterday made immediate pledges to wind back the mining super-profits tax, review asylum seeker laws and continue campaigning on climate change.

She "absolutely" ruled out hanging on for the full term before going to the people, and said an election would definitely be held this year.

Her decision to halt the Government's $38 million advertising campaign promoting the mining tax has delivered a partial truce with the mining industry, which has also stopped its ads.

Ms Gillard declared she was "full of understanding" for voters who wanted tougher border protection to keep out asylum seekers, and said she would renew the pursuit of the Emissions Trading Scheme after the federal election.

However, the Opposition greeted the new Prime Minster with derision. Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said: "It's clear that if you want to change the policies you're going to have to change the Government. They've changed the salesman but they haven't changed the product."

With an election just months away - and hoping to blunt any political honeymoon for the new Prime Minister - Mr Abbott is hoping to target Ms Gillard's central role in the Building the Education Revolution scheme. He accused her of being principal author, along with Mr Rudd, of the "school hall rip-offs".

Senior Opposition figures said Ms Gillard would be attacked for her central role in government programs, including the insulation debacle and the flood of boat people during the past 12 months.

Yesterday, Ms Gillard admitted she was as much responsible for mistakes made by the Government as the man she toppled. "I take my fair share of responsibility for the Rudd Government's record, for our important achievements and for errors made," she said. "I know the Rudd Government did not do all it said it would do. And at times it went off track."

The new PM is expected to gain an immediate bounce in the poll as she was popular with voters even before ousting Mr Rudd from the top job.

Australia's new prime minister is also certain to boost the ALP vote with women...

Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott appeared in a segment on Channel 9's Today and were joked about as a Punch and Judy show.

With plenty of smiles, jokes and even a bit of flirting, the pair entertained morning television viewers in much the same way Mr Rudd and Joe Hockey did on Sunrise in the lead-up to the 2007 federal election.


The big ego that was Kevin Rudd

A classic Leftist. Comments below excerpted from Andrew Bolt

Blame the early loss of his father, or just his wiring, but Rudd has had a manic need to assert himself, as if to make up for a deep insecurity. He'd do whatever was needed to win authority over others, or just praise. He'd be whatever you wanted him to be.

And so he'd tell me one pleasing thing in private, but another populist thing in public. He'd hold press conferences outside his church to impress conservatives, but visit a strip club to impress an editor. He'd talk primly to voters, but abuse a stewardess.

To win the election, he promised to be a Howard-lite, crying: "This sort of reckless spending must stop." To win applause, he embarked on the greatest spending spree we've seen.

And he had to be The Man. As chief of staff to the Queensland premier, or as prime minister visiting an office, he'd show his place in the pecking order by putting his boots on the desk or table.

None of this need matter. But Rudd gave in to the same deep insecurities in trying to run a team of ministers. He had to decide everything, so delays were endless. Most ministers other than Treasurer Wayne Swan, Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner and Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard were cut out of the loop.

Rudd chose as his most intimate advisers, mostly people barely 30, eminently bully-able, and he ordered his MPs to visit homeless shelters and report back, as if they were children doing homework.

But when he tried his hectoring on the premiers over his health "reforms", he bought a brawl. And when he repeated the dose on our biggest mining chiefs, he bought a war he could not win.

Those insecurities killed him in the end. His fatal confrontation with Gillard was prompted in part by his refusal to believe she was as loyal as she professed. To check she was not plotting, he sent a 31-year-old aide to ring his MPs, and this last insult fuelled a bushfire.

Yet Rudd could have been saved, if voters had now not seen through him. For almost three years he has had stratospheric approval ratings. He was rated highly for trustworthiness and vision, and seemed to have a plan, and to be meticulous in implementing it.

His fall started when his grandiose schemes started to fail - and none more badly that his "free insulation" disaster.

How could this man who seemed so diligent bungle one thing after another? But the public smelled fraud only when Rudd was this year forced to drop one more overblown, oversold plan - the emissions trading scheme that he'd promised to tackle, "the great moral challenge of our time". Now it seemed to many that Rudd had tricked them. He was a fake.

Even yesterday, in his moving farewell speech, Rudd showed how much of his achievements were just cardboard scenery. He listed the targets he'd set for tackling homelessness and Aboriginal poverty - targets he wasn't actually meeting. He cited his apology to the "Stolen Generations" - people no one can find. He praised his signing of the Kyoto Accord - which led to what? He mentioned his health reform - which hasn't even been settled.

But in standing there crying, Rudd showed at last the wounded man he was. He was as humble as it would have suited him to have been from the start.


Julia Gillard 'miles ahead' of Kevin Rudd in polls

This was written just before the spill and helps explain it

LABOR party polling shows Julia Gillard is "miles ahead'' of Kevin Rudd as preferred leader. Senior ALP figures said Mr Rudd's rating amongst voters has plummeted as his deputy's standing continues to soar.

The internal polling has been done across the key marginal seats that Labor will need to hold in the next federal election. Sources within the party said things are looking "catastrophic'' for the Prime Minister.

"Julia's numbers continue to be miles ahead of Kevin's,'' a Labor source said. "Voters are turning off Kevin in a very personal way, not just on the issues.''

Mr Rudd is said to have fallen dramatically in the net approval ratings, something which caused an outbreak of concern within his party.

A Galaxy Poll published last month showed that Ms Gillard was rapidly closing the gap between herself and Mr Rudd as preferred Labor leader. The research showed that dissatisfaction with the Prime Minister had reached a new high of 51 per cent, while just five percentage points separated him from Ms Gillard as preferred leader of the party (45-40).

"Julia's (internal) figures are stratospheric,'' the source said. "Kevin has been continually going down but for Julia it has been the complete opposite.''


More Victoria police corruption

Coverup of police lies by the very body that is supposed to enforce integrity

A REGIONAL policeman has battled for more than two years to bring a complaint against the Office of Police Integrity. The policeman has been given no proper explanation as to why his allegations against the police watchdog will not be investigated further.

Despite the Victorian Ombudsman describing as "inadequate" the OPI's recording of interviews, the police union says three oversight agencies have failed to resolve the complaint. In its submission to the Proust review, which this month recommended an overhaul of the state's anti-corruption regime, the police association used the case to illustrate the procedural failings and lack of oversight of the OPI.

Sergeant Carl Bolton of Colac was the subject of an OPI investigation in 2006, after allegedly assaulting a man he arrested for public drunkenness. He was acquitted of assault by Melbourne magistrate Maurice Gurvich in 2008, and the Director of Police Integrity was ordered to pay costs.

Sergeant Bolton, who remains a Colac police officer, has subsequently fought to have the conduct of the OPI officers who investigated him scrutinised. He has alleged, in documents seen by The Australian, that OPI investigators acted inappropriately and potentially criminally by failing to disclose important evidence to his defence team.

A spokesman for the OPI yesterday said Sergeant Bolton's allegations, as detailed in his letter to the Victorian Ombudsman, "have no substance whatsoever".

On September 20, 2006, four OPI officers arrived in Colac, setting up a base in the local CFA fire house, to interview witnesses. They were responding to a complaint by a Colac local, who when arrested by Sergeant Bolton and his partner earlier that year, had given his name as Humphrey Bear and his address as Mars.

When the matter went to court in 2008, the OPI senior investigator in the case, Holly Buckle, gave sworn evidence the witness interviews were not tape recorded. After hearing three witnesses give evidence under oath that they believed their interviews were taped, Ms Buckle took to the witness box two days later and said: "There's a very strong possibility our interview was recorded." Under cross-examination Ms Buckle denied she gave evidence she knew was a "blatant untruth" and told the court she believed no recording was made.

After his acquittal, Sergeant Bolton wrote to the Special Investigations Monitor, the body charged with oversight of the OPI whose effectiveness was recently questioned by senior bureaucrat Elizabeth Proust in her review.

In the letter, dated June 20, 2008, Sergeant Bolton accused the OPI officers of "conspir(ing) with one another to destroy critical evidence". He requested the SIM investigate whether OPI officers had committed perjury, misconduct or had attempted to pervert the course of justice. The then SIM head, David Jones, responded to Sergeant Bolton saying his office did not have the authority to investigate the complaint and it would be passed to the Ombudsman.

In November 2008, Deputy Ombudsman John Taylor wrote to Sergeant Bolton informing him his office had discovered four digital recordings of witness interviews, including two interviews with the complainant -- the material Sergeant Bolton's defence counsel sought under subpoena. Mr Taylor said: "While I consider the OPI's processes at the time were inadequate, I am also of the view that OPI officers acted responsibly and did nothing contrary to the policies in place at the time." But the Deputy Ombudsman said his office could not provide legal advice or conduct criminal proceedings.

A spokesman for the OPI said the digital recordings were filed in a directory that was archived after another OPI employee moved to another department. Ms Buckle is believed not to have been present at the interviews that were later found to have been recorded.

It is understood that Sergeant Bolton, who has not spoken to The Australian, was not satisfied with this explanation and wrote to then chief commissioner Christine Nixon to request an investigation into his allegations that the OPI officers had acted criminally.

A spokesperson for Victoria Police yesterday confirmed that independent legal advice was sought about the matter. "The return advice indicated there is no basis for concluding that the OPI investigators have committed any criminal offences. Accordingly, there is no proposal to have the matter investigated by the Ethical Standards Department, they said.

Police association secretary Greg Davies, whose union funded Sergeant Bolton's defence, said the case highlighted the lack of oversight of the police watchdog. "Sergeant Bolton's concerns should have had a mechanism to be dealt with fairly and taken to their logical conclusion, rather than him receiving a short letter that had a 'Just go away boy' tone to it," Mr Davies said. "The Ombudsman's office is an entirely inappropriate body to deal with complaints about the OPI, and the SIM is basically a toothless tiger."


1 comment:

Paul said...

Just maybe the Greens could be the biggest losers from the Gillard ascension.