Friday, December 24, 2010


I expect that I will do some blogging on Christmas day but not sure how much

The Leftist NSW government tries to escape scrutiny by closing down parliament: Fails

THESE are the four men who upheld democracy yesterday, defying Labor's attempt to gag their inquiry into the shambolic power sell-off. Even as Treasurer Eric Roozendaal finally admitted Parliament was closed early simply to scuttle their work, chairman Fred Nile, Liberal Greg Pearce, Green David Shoebridge and National Trevor Khan stood up to the Government's intimidation to begin proceedings.

The three Labor members, Luke Foley, Greg Donnelly and Kayee Griffin, boycotted the meeting as Premier Kristina Keneally tried to pass off the early proroguing of Parliament as normal procedure.

"Any scrutiny should not be done by a politically motivated committee," Mr Roozendaal said. "Some of the present members of the committee have already said publicly and in Hansard they object to the transaction process. "It has been prorogued early, it has been prorogued later [before past elections] but at the end of the day we have got to work in the interests of the people of NSW." [The interests of the people of NSW are served by secrecy? Typical Leftist thinking]

Mr Roozendaal wants the Auditor-General, who would not report until after the coming election, to examine the sale. He declined to say if he had advised the Premier to go to the Governor on Tuesday to have Parliament closed. Mr Roozendaal had unsuccessfully tried to convince Mr Nile that day to scrap the inquiry. Both he and Ms Keneally claimed an inquiry would be inappropriate until the power sale is finalised.

Mr Shoebridge said Ms Keneally had miscalculated when she had prorogued Parliament in a bid to halt the inquiry. He criticised the premier for claiming the inquiry would be illegal and witnesses, who will include eight board members who resigned last week, would not be covered by parliamentary privilege. "This entire process has blown up in the face of the Premier and the ALP Government, they're trying to avoid scrutiny," he said.

"The approach of the Premier and the Attorney-General suggesting the people who appear before this committee may be subject to defamation, may be subject to legal actions, couldn't be anything other than attempting to scare off witnesses so the whole story doesn't come out."

Mr Nile said he wanted to get to the truth and added: "I am very sorry the three Labor members, I assume on instruction from the Government, did not attend the meeting."


Anna Bligh opens door to nuclear power

ANNA Bligh has backed calls for the Labor Party to review its policy on nuclear power. The Queensland Premier has warned that renewable sources cannot meet the surging demand for baseload electricity. Ms Bligh and ALP national president said development of the only other viable alternative energy, hydro-electricity, had been hamstrung by resistance to new dams.

Ms Bligh said pointedly that "parts of the environment movement" had shifted on the nuclear option, and now supported it as an abatement measure for climate change.

Ms Bligh's comments to The Australian reflect an important shift on nuclear power among Labor leaders, who now cite cost and perception issues rather than philosophical considerations as the impediment to introducing nuclear energy. She joins senior Labor figures including federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson, right-wing Australian Workers Union leader Paul Howes, former NSW premier Bob Carr and Labor senators Steve Hutchins and Mark Bishop in supporting a review of the ALP's long-standing ban on nuclear power, most likely at the party's national conference next December

The conference is already set to become a political battleground over gay marriage.

In an interview with The Australian, Ms Bligh said the national conference was "where these debates should happen. We shouldn't be frightened of them."

The office of NSW Premier Kristina Keneally said yesterday she was "open to a public debate" on nuclear energy. "As the Prime Minister has indicated previously, the Labor Party has had a longstanding policy of opposition to nuclear power," Ms Keneally's spokesperson said. "National conference has always been the place to debate changes to our national party policy. "Any change to Labor's long-stated policy against nuclear power would have to consider a range of issues, including safety and cost."

The senior Labor Premier, Mike Rann, is heavily invested in expanding uranium mining in South Australia but his spokesman said he would not comment on whether nuclear power should be on the agenda at the national conference, which has been brought forward from 2012.

The Australian understands Labor's NSW division has decided to bring its state conference forward from its usual date in October to July, partly to frame its position on nuclear power. A NSW Labor source said the move was to allow issues such as nuclear power and gay marriage to be thrashed out in advance of the national conference.

By bringing the national conference forward, Labor is trying to avoid having internal policy brawling drag into the election year of 2013.

Ms Bligh said the nation was entering "an environment where people are questioning coal-fired power". With a carbon tax back on the agenda, and Julia Gillard nominating 2011 as a year of decision and delivery on climate change, among other issues, Ms Bligh said it was "perfectly understandable" for nuclear power to be in the frame.

The Prime Minister, however, has played down the push within Labor ranks for a nuclear review.

The government's chief scientist, Penny Sackett, said this month that nuclear power should be considered as part of a suite of options aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Her comments came as a report by the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering found that nuclear, combined-cycle gas turbine and wind power would provide the cheapest low-carbon electricity, and were the most worthy of investment.

Ms Bligh said energy was "one of the big policy challenges for the nation" and a carbon tax "will be part of that". "We have . . . set ourselves renewable energy targets that almost by definition are going to be more expensive than our traditional forms of energy, and there's going to be a limit to the public appetite for that . . . So what are the alternatives?" the Queensland Premier said. "And . . . people are, you know, increasingly loath to consider hydro-electric power because they don't want dams."

Ms Bligh said other renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, could not produce sufficient baseload power. "I think it is perfectly understandable why nuclear comes on to the agenda . . . as people are genuinely looking for what is a cleaner alternative," she told The Australian. "And I think it is quite interesting that's now coming as much from some parts -- not all, but some parts -- of the environmental movement, as it is from other parts of the energy sector. "As we move towards a carbon tax, then that price differential might well start to play out differently."

However, Ms Bligh cautioned that any discussion about nuclear power for Australia remained theoretical, and not just because the cost was "prohibitive". "I don't know of any suburb that would want it," she said.

"I think there are still very genuinely held concerns about safety, and in an environment . . . where we have other alternatives then I think the prospect of one (a nuclear power plant) in an Australian context in the near future is very slim."

Ms Bligh affirmed that she had no plans to relax Queensland's ban on uranium mining, even though it is now allowed in South Australia and Western Australia, as well as the Northern Territory.

Although Queensland allows uranium exploration, Ms Bligh said she would not take up the mining issue during the term of the current parliament. "It's not something on my agenda for the next election . . . it's the sort of thing, frankly, I don't have any intention of revisiting."


Australia's charming Muslims again

THREE worshippers from inner-city mosques were confirmed as Melbourne's second Islamic terrorism cell when a Supreme Court jury convicted them of conspiring to plan a terrorist attack. Two other men, including one who warned that an attack in Australia would be "a catastrophe", were found not guilty.

Their target was the Holsworthy army barracks in Sydney's south-west. Their aim was to enter the barracks armed with military weapons and kill 500 personnel before they were killed or ran out of ammunition.

But there was no evidence that the three found guilty - Wissam Mahmoud Fattal, 34, Saney Edow Aweys, 27, of Carlton, and Nayef El Sayed, 26, of Glenroy - had weapons when they were arrested on August 4 last year.

Federal police monitored their conversations in Somali, Arabic and English for almost a year as they sought a fatwa, or religious ruling, on the permissibility under Islam of launching an attack on the military in Australia. A Somali sheikh suggested it would do more harm than good for Australian Muslims.

The convictions end a 15-week trial and come after the jury of eight men and four women deliberated for more than 47 hours.

The verdicts drew no immediate reaction from the men. But Fattal, who appeared to be praying before the verdicts were delivered, called out to the jurors as they were dismissed: "I respect you. Islam is a true religion. Thank you very much."

The two found not guilty were Abdirahman Ahmed, 26, of Preston, and Yacqub Khayre, 23, of Meadow Heights. Both were embraced by the three guilty men before they left the dock.

When asked about the convictions of his co-accused, Mr Ahmed said: "It's unfortunate but this is God's will. I just want to tell them to be patient. They'll get out one day." He planned to spend the rest of the day at home. "See my daughters. Been a long time."

The federal Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, said the investigation into the group, code-named Operation Neath, was an example of state and federal police and intelligence agencies co-operating.

The court heard that the group's motivation was anger at the earlier, and what they regarded as wrongful, jailing of a group of seven Muslim men on terrorism charges. Those convictions resulted in sentences ranging from four years' jail to 15 years' jail. The men convicted yesterday were also angry at the deployment of Australian military personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Fattal, Aweys and El Sayed will be sentenced next year. A pre-sentencing mention hearing is set for January 24.


Would-be Australians to be sent home to New Guinea

EMERGENCY accommodation was being organised last night for 119 protesters after they made a risky journey in dinghies from Papua New Guinea to the Torres Strait.

Immigration officials are expected to deport the group of PNG nationals today after they were intercepted in Australian waters on Wednesday. The group, which included some children, arrived on 11 boats, all of which have now been confiscated by the Department of Immigration.

The protesters are being housed on Horn Island in a Customs detention centre, with the children accommodated in hotels on the island.

The people belong to an organisation called Papua Australia Plaintiff United Affiliates. They want Australia to recognise that Papuans were not given a choice to remain Australians when PNG gained independence in 1975. They claimed twice as many people could join them within days, although the Department of Immigration vowed to return any more PNG nationals who entered Australia illegally to their homeland.

The Courier-Mail has learned that Immigration and Customs officials had been monitoring the group for days and were aware that they would set out in the dinghies for the hazardous six-hour journey to Australia.

It is understood an advance party left earlier to ensure the journey would be safe for the rest of the group.

Immigration spokesman Sandi Logan labelled the action by the group, which has been demanding Australian citizenship for a decade, as pointless. "Frankly, this is a waste of a lot of people's time – Customs on the water, Queensland police on the water," Mr Logan told ABC Radio. "Immigration officials have much better things to be doing than dealing with this sort of prank that this group is trying on," he said.

A Department of Immigration spokesman yesterday confirmed that nine PNG nationals were intercepted late on Wednesday near Cape York. They were refused entry and detained. "A second group of up to 110 people was intercepted at Warrior Reef and is currently being escorted to Horn Island," the spokesman said.

"The Australian Government's message to these people is clear – they have shown blatant disregard for our laws by trying to enter the country despite being told on numerous occasions the correct procedures to follow when applying for citizenship and we will be resolving this situation expeditiously. "An application for citizenship by a person who does not have lawful authority to enter and remain in Australia poses no barrier to us returning them home."

The protesters would have their boats confiscated while Immigration officials conduct an assessment of their claims. They would then be returned to PNG at the first available opportunity, the Immigration spokesman said.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

These people have the most legitimate claim to Australian citizenship that I have seen in a long time. Australia owes New Guinea far more than they have ever been compensated. Why are they being deported ad hoc when other boat arrivals are not?
Why are the boat people that we accept not deported on the same basis for the same reason? They are not asylum seekers only country seekers. Even the UN supports sending them home.
Is Labour so desperate for supporters of their socialist agenda that they will take anyone who will support their agenda but not those whose much needed help protected us from Japanese invasion and helped save our country?
Julia Gillard does not see asylum seekers on Christmas Islands but future Labour voters thanks to the social justice (wealth redistribution) given to queue jumpers in the Indian Ocean.