Friday, June 01, 2012

Leftists just can't think ahead  -- or is it just that they rely on conservatives to have better manners than they do?

An obvious riposte to the poster below would be; "I'm Julia Gillard and I'm threatened by marriage and children". (Prime Minister Gillard has never married, has no children and is in a relationship of  some sort with a male hairdresser!)

OPPOSITION Leader Tony Abbott has described posters that depict him as racist, homophobic and sexist as tacky and not funny.

The posters, snapped inside the Sydney electorate office of Health Minister Tanya Plibersek, carry the slogans: "I'm threatened by boats and gays. Gays on boats are my worst nightmare" and also "Note to Ladies: Make me a sandwich".

Mr Abbott told the Nine Network today: "It's tacky, it's not funny and Tanya Plibersek should be better than that and the Labor Party should lift its game."

Ms Plibersek's office yesterday refused to be drawn on the question of an apology, but later tweeted: "Have instituted formal satire ban in the office".

In a prepared statement she said: "It is satire, I have asked the staff member to take it down."

However, Liberal party deputy leader Julie Bishop said she was so outraged by the posters she raised the issue during Question Time yesterday after noticing the pictures on her iPad.

Ms Bishop said she found the posters highly offensive, as did the Opposition Leader, who's own sister is in a same-sex relationship.

"It is offensive and she (Ms Plibersek) should apologise," Ms Bishop said.

Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey also weighed into the furore, adding the news of the posters capped an awful week for politicians and that all MPs have to do better.

"It's been an awful week for the profession of politics and we just have to get on with the job," he told the Seven Network.

Mr Hockey said Mr Abbott was being pragmatic about the posters.   "He's offended but he just gets on with it," Mr Hockey said. "We've just got to get on with the job."

The posters, which were photographed inside the Sydney electorate office of Labor MP Tanya Plibersek, caught the attention of a 2GB listener who forwarded the photos onto talkback radio host Ben Fordham and immediately sparked outrage.

On his Sydney Live show yesterday, Fordham asked how Ms Plibersek would feel if the shoe was on the other foot and "nasty posters" of Julia Gillard were on display in a Liberal MP's office.


Qld government hospitals, doctors facing grave claims

Another accusation of lax regulators

A QUEENSLAND MP has gone to the state's crime and corruption watchdog with grave allegations of medical misconduct involving four hospitals and seven doctors.

Independent MP Peter Wellington yesterday took the allegations to the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC), and also raised them with Health Minister Lawrence Springborg.

He told AAP the allegations include medical incompetence, unapproved research on patients, the illegal dispensing and over-prescription of drugs, sexual misconduct and Medicare fraud.

There are also allegations of corruption and concealment of wrongdoing by hospital management.

The Sunshine Coast MP said complainants - including concerned doctors, nurses, patients and their relatives - contacted him after state and federal regulatory bodies failed to act.

He says they are extremely angry and frustrated by the inaction and want a proper investigation.

Mr Wellington met CMC chairman Ross Martin yesterday and handed over documents to support the allegations.

He said Mr Martin had promised the CMC would assess whether an official investigation was warranted.

"I believe there is sufficient evidence to warrant a total review of state and federal statutory authorities set up to investigate medical malpractice," Mr Wellington said.

"The reason they want me to raise this in parliament is to apply the blow torch so these authorities know they can't treat the complainants in the way they have."

Mr Wellington said the allegations involved hospitals and doctors across the state.

He said he would not be naming them when he spoke about the allegations in parliament today.

He said he and the health minister - who discussed the claims yesterday - had agreed to await the outcome of the CMC's inquiries.


Jobs bonanza in new brown coal rush

If Greenies hate coal, they REALLY hate brown coal (lignite) -- but it is very close to the surface so just has to be dredged up  -- making it very cheap.  It has been powering Victoria for  decades.  It is also now the major source of power for Germany

 A PLAN to export Victoria's brown coal will deliver 3300 jobs and more than $11 billion in new revenue as the state plots its own mining boom.

Internal government documents seen by the Herald Sun reveal the enormous scale of the proposed project and how advanced negotiations are.

The Baillieu Government has been in secret talks with a consortium from India, Japan and Australia for more than a year about granting access to the state's huge deposits of brown coal, papers show.

That project alone would generate $11 billion in state revenue and create 3000 jobs on its construction and another 300 on-going jobs through its operation.

And the Herald Sun understands that windfall could be the tip of the iceberg, as other overseas groups are interested in similar-scale schemes.

Documents detail how a consortium led by Australian company Exergen, backed by India's biggest business group, Tata, and Japan's third-largest trader, Itochu, is in talks with the Government over one plan.

Tata Power executives met state Energy Minister Michael O'Brien and federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson in October, claiming the coal project could deliver $11 billion in royalties to Victoria's economy in the next 40 years.

Exergen has told the Government it has spent $20 million developing technology that can reduce the moisture content of brown coal from 65 per cent to 25 per cent, making it suitable for export.

Under the first stage of its Victorian project the consortium plans to spend $50 million building a full-scale commercial demonstration plant, to be operational within three years of it receiving an allocation.

Exergen is also collaborating with the CSIRO to develop the use of its treated brown coal, and claims three direct injection coal engines would be able to replace a third of the electricity generated at Hazelwood, but with vastly lower emissions.

Exergen chief executive officer Trevor Bourne told the Herald Sun his group wanted access to a billion tonnes of Victoria's brown coal, with full confidence it could make the project commercially and environmentally sound.

"We are going to invest $100 million in proving this - we are confident enough to spend that money," he said.

"We are a committed company that think we can have an impact reducing carbon dioxide and unlocking the value in the Latrobe Valley."


Biased critics can't regulate

by Keith Windschuttle

THE recommendation by Ray Finkelstein that the Gillard government establish a news media regulatory body is not only the most serious assault yet proposed on press freedom in this country.

It would elevate to a position of power the one group of people most jealous of and hostile towards the news media: academics in media studies and journalism.

Finkelstein proposes a News Media Council chaired by a retired judge or eminent lawyer, with 20 part-time members. He says the council should both be, and be seen to be independent from government. On the critical question of who gets to appoint the chair and the members, without the government of the day stacking it with supporters, he proposes a committee of three academics appointed by the Australian Vice-Chancellors Committee, the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Commonwealth Solicitor-General.

This recommendation is a bad joke. It is virtually impossible to find three academics who are not firmly committed to the Left. For the past 25 years, appointments in media studies at almost all Australian universities have been captured by the Left. Consequently, the academic literature is essentially a political critique designed to show the news media is at fault whenever it fails to support the Left's own jaundiced view of the world. If academics from this field ever gained the positions Finkelstein envisages, they would ensure his council was composed of people exactly like themselves.

One of the major flaws of Finkelstein's report is that he bases his case for media regulation on an uncritical acceptance of a number of case studies written by media academics. He should have been more sceptical. Let me offer two examples which I believe show the shoddy quality of academic research that now passes muster in university media studies. The authors are Robert Manne, professor of politics at La Trobe University, and David McKnight, associate professor of journalism at the University of NSW. In both cases, their targets for analysis are the The Australian. Both academics were sought out by the Finkelstein inquiry, which wrote to them asking for input. Manne gave oral evidence at the inquiry's Melbourne hearings and McKnight made a written submission.

In his recent Quarterly Essay, Bad News, Manne presented The Australian's coverage of my book The Fabrication of Aboriginal History as his first proof that News Limited had become a dangerous case of power without responsibility. "Because of the decision taken by The Australian to host the Windschuttle debate, the character of the nation was subtly but significantly changed." McKnight takes a similar line. In his new book Rupert Murdoch: An Investigation of Political Power, McKnight says The Australian initiated the nation's "culture wars" by launching "a public onslaught" on the story of the "Stolen Generations" and by its promotion of The Fabrication of Aboriginal History. McKnight says The Australian put my book on the national political agenda "with a sympathetic profile of its author, several news stories and eager support from its conservative columnists and contributors. Unsurprisingly, The Australian was Windschuttle's outlet of choice for responding to his critics."

In both these cases, the authors' content analysis is substandard and deceptive. It is true that in the course of this debate I wrote several articles in The Australian in response to my critics. But here is a list of other publications which also accepted my opinion pieces: The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Australian Financial Review, Herald Sun, Courier-Mail, Adelaide Advertiser, Hobart's The Mercury and West Australian. Despite McKnight's assertion that The Australian carried "a sympathetic profile" about me, I can't find one fitting that description in my files. However, there were two profiles in Fairfax's SMH and The Age, one by Andrew Stevenson and one by Jane Cadzow.

ABC radio and television also gave me good coverage. Tony Jones on Lateline hosted two separate debates about my work, one with Henry Reynolds, the other with Stuart Macintyre. I went on Phillip Adams's Late Night Live and was interviewed by Michael Duffy on Counterpoint. To my delight, I also scored the hour-long morning interview on ABC Classic FM where, as well as talking about my work with Jana Wendt, I got to choose and introduce five favourite pieces of classical music. When I debated Henry Reynolds at the National Press Club, the ABC televised the entire proceedings of one hour.

In other words, rather than some right-wing conspiracy by The Australian to engage in a culture war to change the national character, the media coverage of my writings on Aborigines, in which I accused Australian historians of exaggeration, invention and corruption, was a response to a newsworthy story that virtually all major Australian media outlets took seriously. Academics such as Manne and McKnight, who use selective quotation and calculated omission in order to spin this into some dark plot to manipulate public opinion, cannot be trusted to tell the truth.

Yet Finkelstein has constructed his proposed media regulation regime on the faith that the academic colleagues of these two authors are honest brokers. Sadly, it is not so. In fact, if it came to a contest between the reliability of media academics and the journalists who produce our newspapers and news broadcasts, the latter would win by the length of the straight.

Finkelstein recommends that publishers who distribute more than 3000 copies of print per issue, or news internet sites with a minimum of 15,000 hits per year, would be subject to the dictates of his News Media Council. Quadrant falls well within this range.

If Finkelstein's oppressive scheme is implemented, we would feel compelled to defend the long tradition of press freedom by engaging in civil disobedience. While I am editor, Quadrant would not recognise the News Media Council's authority, observe its restrictions, or obey its instructions, whatever the price. We hope other publishers take a similar stand.


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