Monday, March 26, 2012

Is this Gillard's biggest gaffe yet?

ANZAC day is close to the heart of most Australians. It is the day we remember our many fine young men who died in war. It is often described as Australia's most sacred day. Criticizing it will both discredit the critic and lead to emphasized support for the commemorations. Gillard should have rejected this mealy-mouthed bureaucratic garbage immediately. As it is, it is now associated with her government. She's brainless and so are her ministers

THE Federal Government has been warned that celebrating the centenary of Anzac Day could provoke division in multicultural Australia - and that there are "risks" in honouring our fallen soldiers.

The centenary is a "double-edged sword" and a "potential area of divisiveness" because of multiculturalism, a taxpayer-funded report from 2010 finds.

Bureaucrats spent almost $370,000 for focus-group testing and a research paper used by the Government to guide commemoration plans, which listed multiculturalism under "risks and issues" to avoid "unexpected negative complications".

Diggers groups slammed the report, saying Australians supported the April 2015 centenary celebrations, which are expected to stop the nation, and include travelling exhibitions and special remembrance services.

The report also says organisers should avoid references to current military action because it is "unpopular with young people".

The paper states: "Commemorating our military history in a multicultural society is something of a double-edged sword.

"While the 100th anniversaries are thought to provide some opportunity for creating a greater sense of unity, it is also recognised as a potential area of divisiveness."

More research into the impact of Anzac Day commemorations on recently arrived migrants was suggested.

But the report acknowledged that making the centenary events "overly political correct" would not be well received generally or by military personnel.

Commemorations should be "culturally sensitive and inclusive", the paper said.

It said events to mark the centenary and wars which had claimed the lives of more than 100,000 Australians should not be "unrelentingly gloomy". Any commemoration "needs to allow a positive end, make it uplifting after being reflective".

"Commemoration fatigue" was identified in focus groups if events spanned a planned four years - the same amount of time Australians spent fighting in hellish conditions at places including Gallipoli and the Western Front during World War I.

The paper has been panned by the RSL, which maintains Australia's enthusiasm for the day remains as strong as ever.

RSL national president Ken Doolan, a member of the Anzac Day National Commission and the Anzac Centenary advisory board, said Anzac Day held a "central place in Australia". "The Australian people have said overwhelmingly that they want the centenary celebrated," he said.

Victorian RSL president David McLachlan said the commemoration had the full support of Australia's Turkish communities and the Turkish Government. There were no multicultural issues with the planned event, Mr McLachlan said.

Ray Brown, of the Injured Service Persons Association, was horrified by the spending. "We've always seemed to get it right, we have never offended anybody. "We seem to be able to acknowledge war is not a nice thing and that people on both sides lose out - and we have never had to spend $300,000 combined, let alone in one year," he said.

The cost is on top of more than $103,000 on focus groups to discuss "branding concepts" for the centenary in 2015.

A spokesman for Veterans Affairs Minister Warren Snowdon said the research paper was to "gain an understanding of the views, perceptions, knowledge and aspirations of the Australian people in relation to Anzac commemoration and the impending centenary".


Anna Bligh resigns from politics despite previously saying she would serve full term

Broken promises are the Labor way

VOTERS punished her for breaking a promise not to sell assets, now Anna Bligh has ditched another pre-election pledge and bowed out of politics altogether.

The overthrown premier was yesterday stoic as she announced her resignation from both the Labor leadership and her long-time seat of South Brisbane.

Ms Bligh had repeatedly insisted throughout the five-week campaign that she would serve out a full term if re-elected but yesterday said it was time to "close the book" on public life after leading Queensland Labor to such a "devastating loss".

"I apologise today to the people of South Brisbane for any inconvenience and difficulty that my decision will cause them," she said.

"The size of the loss, the loudness and clarity of the message sent by the people of Queensland is unmistakable and, in fairness to Queenslanders, I don't believe I should ignore it. I simply don't believe that Labor can develop an effective Opposition, or rebuild from this point and from this defeat, if it has me as part of its public face and in its ranks."

Ms Bligh said she took full responsibility for her decisions as premier, including the deeply unpopular privatisation of state assets announced weeks after winning the 2009 election.


The Queensland result shows Julia is finished

The Federal ALP could lose on the Qld. vote alone

LABOR hit the panic button yesterday as the size of the Queensland election catastrophe and its obvious implications for the Gillard government struck home.

Anna Bligh quit parliament after Labor was all but wiped out as voters linked Ms Bligh's broken promise on asset sales to Prime Minister Julia Gillard's on the carbon tax.

The rout echoed Labor's thumping in 1974 when the party was reduced to 11 MPs when Joh Bjelke-Petersen went to an election as the Whitlam government struggled.

With only enough MPs to fill a small van after Saturday night, it appears Labor will even fell short of the 10 seats needed for official party status.

New Premier Campbell Newman's LNP is expected to secure as many as 78 of the 89 seats in parliament.

Ms Gillard flew out to Korea for a nuclear security summit with US President Barack Obama without commenting on the result.

The rout of NSW Labor last year was dismissed as isolated to state issues and due to a scandal-plagued government but former Labor premiers and party figures lined up yesterday to warn Ms Gillard of the federal consequences of the Queensland humiliation.

One federal Labor MP said: "There's no doubt we are in a lot of trouble."

The MP said the Gillard government was fighting the same issues which destroyed the Bligh administration, including cost of living impacts from the carbon price and Ms Gillard's broken promise over the tax. The party feared there was no prospect of a "circuit breaker" to turn around federal Labor's fortunes. Another MP dismissed the result, saying the Queensland election was fought only on state issues.

If the Queensland result was replicated federally all eight Labor MPs from the state would be wiped out, including Kevin Rudd, Treasurer Wayne Swan and Trade Minister Craig Emerson.

Former Queensland premier Peter Beattie said Labor could not be an effective opposition with seven MPs, which could fall to six if Ms Bligh's now marginal South Brisbane seat is lost in a by-election.

"The guts got kicked out of the Labor party rank and file yesterday," Mr Beattie told the ABC's Insiders program.

"Federally the party at a national executive level has got to have a very careful look at what we do here. We have to rebuild or the Labor Party can lose the next federal election in Queensland alone."

He said the "Labor Party is in crisis," and added: "Julia needs to buy a house here. We have to sell what the Labor party has done or we will face a similar wipeout."

Former ALP powerbroker Graham Richardson predicted Ms Gillard would face a loss similar to Ms Bligh's defeat next year. "I can't see how she wins. She must lose and she will lose badly," he said.

"All that yesterday did was re-emphasise how difficult it is for her. What Anna Bligh did is exactly what Julia Gillard is currently doing and that is this whole line of we will stay the course, things will turn around.

"Staying the course is utterly useless and unless and until federal Labor decide to do something radical, something different, something big, they're not going to be listened to and they will head to a Bligh-like defeat."


Germaine Greer, the anti-feminist

Aging leads to many transformations

Peter FitzSimons

As to Germaine Greer, TFF noted recently her extraordinary personal attacks at the Perth Writers Festival on Julie Bishop and Gina Rinehart - the latter for her "bloated form" - which amazed me, given that as the world's most iconic living feminist, I would have thought everything she stood for was against attacking other women for the way they look.

And yet, on Tuesday night's Q&A on ABC1 she was at it again, offering the Prime Minister gratuitous advice on what she should wear. (Can anyone ever remember Greer passing comment on gear worn by the likes of Whitlam, Fraser, Hawke, Keating or Rudd? Me neither.)

But then, she followed up with the outrageous, and hurtful, "Face it, Julia, you've got a big arse!" Staggering. It's like hearing Barack Obama call a black man a "nigger", or Nelson Mandela say apartheid really was not so bad.

And the strangest thing? Not that it matters at all, but there is no truth in it (not that it matters if there was truth in it). I acknowledge this is a bit delicate - and for once I won't respond to emails on it, because such discussion would be tacky - but I happened to be on the podium, sitting right behind the PM on Wednesday morning as she made her tribute speech to Nancy Wake in the Great Hall of Parliament House, and couldn't help but notice that Greer is simply wrong. There. I've said it. So shoot me.


Catholic schools to educate more non-Catholics

THE Catholic Church will spend more than $1 billion over the next 20 years buying land and building classrooms across NSW to expand its network of schools.

The Sydney Catholic Education Office intends to offer more places to non-Catholic families who have become increasingly dissatisfied with the performance of public schools.

A budget of $50 million every year for the next 20 years has been allocated to opening new schools and expanding the grounds of established schools across the inner west, south-west and eastern suburbs.

Taxpayers will fund some of the new schools, with all Catholic schools eligible to apply for federal government building grants.

Dr Dan White, executive director for the Sydney archdiocese schools, said more than 2000 prospective students were turned away from schools in 2012 simply because there was no room for them.

Bigger grounds were needed at most schools to accommodate extra classrooms for growing student numbers, Dr White said.

Cardinal George Pell described the proposed expansion of the Catholic education system as a healthy outcome for the Church and said much of the demand came from non-Catholic families.

"It is a healthy outcome for us. The demand for places in Catholic schools is high. They are happy communities, in literacy and numeracy they are almost invariably above the national average," he said. "I think the biggest compliment is the number of non-Catholics who would like their children to attend a Catholic school.

"We hope the Catholic school system will reinforce the faith and good work of the students. It certainly does make them socially aware, keen to contribute to society and strengthen their faith also."

Principals across Sydney Catholic schools have been directed to look for vacant land or houses for sale close to their schools. "Catholic education in Sydney is going through an unprecedented period of growth," Dr White said. "Our enrolments have grown by over 1000 children every year for the past three years.

He said many parents were taking their children out of public schools because they believed Catholic schools provided a better quality education.

"We find parents are looking for a school that has a spiritual base to it and provides a real values-for-life framework for their children," he said.


1 comment:

Paul said...

Its not a gaffe, its part of the "divide and rule" strategy that you see in most Western countries, pitting the people against each other, all the while keeping the focus off the rulers and their corruption and treason. Multiculturalism, Gay marriage, welfare, environmental activism etc, you know it yourself...all issues that promote anger and division, and all to remain forever unresolved. Keeps us watching each other with suspicion, never coming together, never seeing who our real enemies are. Gillard only has to see out this term, then she can go with the rewards her Masters give her for implementing their agenda. Poor old Clive Palmer, in a clumsy way too close to the truth for his own safety maybe (hence the backpedaling now?).