Thursday, March 14, 2013

Another pseudo Aborigine

He may be a perfectly fine fellow as far as I know but just look at the picture and tell me if he is an Aborigine

ADAM Giles is the new Chief Minister and Dave Tollner is his deputy after the pair ousted Terry Mills from the top job while he was on a trade visit to Japan.

Mr Giles, who becomes the first indigenous leader of a government in Australia's history, said he was approached by colleagues who begged him to take the job yesterday.

"Late this morning I was approached by a number of my colleagues and asked if I would take on the role of being Chief Minister of the Northern Territory," he said.

"I accepted that role from the majority of my colleagues.  "It feels great to stand here as the Chief Minister elect. I am truly humbled."

Mr Giles said taking the reigns of the CLP Government was a "significant challenge" and he would focus on communicating their policies to the public.

"I think there is a great message to sell by the Country Liberal party and I look forward to selling that message," he said.

Mr Giles then thanked Mr Mills for his political contributions and said he still regarded his former boss as a "friend".  "I wish him all the best and I look forward to him continuing his role in Parliament in the NT," Mr Giles said.

It is understood Mr Giles has already selected his Cabinet which will be announced this afternoon.  The NT News understands Lia Finocchiaro will return to the back bench.

The bush electorate - that includes Alison Anderson, Bess Price, Francis Xavier and Larisa Lee - were instrumental in securing Mr Giles' leadership.

Just last Wednesday they refused to support his first bid for the top job but it is understood they were won over and supported Mr Giles in a vote yesterday.

Ms Price was spotted dining with Mr Giles and Mr Tollner at Il Piatto restaurant in Darwin on Tuesday night and enjoying lunch with the new bosses and Indigenous Advancement Minister Anderson yesterday.

Ms Anderson was outspoken in her criticism of Mr Giles' first bid to become the boss, calling him a "little boy" and "spoilt brat" who should have been happy to accept Mr Mills' offer to become his deputy chief minister.

The coup has been the fourth attempt on Mr Mills' leadership after John Elferink aborted an attempt last month when he realised he did not have the numbers.

Mr Tollner also mounted a failed leadership bid when the CLP were in opposition in 2010.

For the extended coverage of the leadership coup including analysis of the event get a copy of today's print edition of the NT News.


Some people are easily offended

An attempt to be helpful offends

Liberal Eleni Evangel's win over John Hyde in the seat of Perth in the weekend's state election came as a surprise to some but for one constituent, it was Ms Evangel's campaign material that provided the biggest shock.

Ms Evangel won the seat from Mr Hyde who had held it since 2001 but she did not win any support from Perth woman, Kerry Jacobs.

Mrs Jacobs received a campaign letter written entirely in Chinese from Ms Evangel in the lead-up to the election.

Mrs Jacobs' maiden name is Chong (she was married last year). Her parents are Malaysian and speak Mandarin but she was born in Perth and has lived here all her life.

"I was really offended," she said.  "I can understand it's generally an Asian sounding name but other than that, I have no idea how she [Evangel] came to the conclusion that I must speak Chinese."

Mrs Jacobs assumed the mistake was made because the Liberals must have had an old copy of the electoral roll, with her maiden name on it and someone made an assumption based purely on that.

She said she initially had no idea what the letter said as she could not even tell if the language was Mandarin - all she knew was that it was Chinese.

"My parents have been here since the 70s and my dad has never received anything like this," she said.

Mrs Jacobs said she was bothered by an assumption she was from a certain background based on her last name or appearance.

Although a Vietnamese neighbour who received a letter in Vietnamese did not appear to be offended about his letter when he spoke to Mrs Jacobs about it, he agreed his correspondence must also have been tailored to his surname.

"She [Ms Evangel] may have been told that because this is a culturally diverse area, it would work to her advantage," Mrs. Jacobs said.

But she pointed out that she would prefer to see Ms Evangel out at Chinese New Year celebrations and taking part in cultural events rather than sending letters in different languages based on assumptions.

Ms Evangel said letters were sent out in Chinese, Vietnamese and Serbian languages.

"Community leaders recommended doing this as there are some people in the area who aren't so fluent in English," she said.

Ms Evangel said members of culturally diverse community groups identified people with names they thought were from certain backgrounds from the electoral roll and would therefore speak certain languages.

However she said most of the foreign language letters were sent out with an accompanying version in English.

"There was a hiccup in the office and one set of letters was sent out without the English translation," Ms Evangel said.

"It's a shame because it was a bit of a slip-up during the hectic lead up to the election."

Ms Evangel said she received a small handful of complaint letters about the matter but many more "thank yous."

She said she had meant well by sending the letters in different languages.

"I'm of Greek background, my mum's been here 50 years, she can communicate in English, but there's no way she'd be able to read something like that [a letter in English]. We read it and explain it to her," Mrs Evangel said.

Those who did not receive the English version of the letter were sent it about a week after the first letters were sent out, Ms Evangel said.

Ms Evangel did not say whether any further material that she sent out to constituents would be done in a similar fashion.

"For now I'm concentrating in getting setup, which will take a couple of weeks, there is so much to do," she said.


Church leader vows to fight mosque decision

The head of the Catch the Fire Ministries has vowed to appeal against a decision to approve a mosque next to the Christian church he plans to build in Melbourne's south-eastern suburbs.

In an eight to one vote, the Casey City Council approved the mosque for an industrial area in Doveton.  About 2,000 people signed petitions opposing the mosque.

Pastor Daniel Nalliah, who is also the founder of the Rise Up Australia Party, says the decision marks a sad day for Australia.

"This is not the end of the application. We will taking this application to High Court or Supreme Court," he said.  "We have consulted our legal team and we will be talking later."

A racial vilification charge was brought against Pastor Nalliah by the Islamic Council of Victoria. It was overturned on appeal in 2006.

Sherene Hassan, from the Afghan Islamic Centre, says Pastor Nalliah is an aspiring politician, just trying to make a political point.

"We were actually well into the planning process before we found out that we were going to be next door to Pastor Nalliah," she said.  "I think there was a few members of the community that had some concerns based on fear.  "I think people should practise their Christian teachings of love thy neighbour."


Need to cut government fat before we all pay the price

THERE was an important lesson to come out of the government's announcement that there will be no surplus this year. We learned that, despite a strong economy and the serious political consequences of breaking another promise, governments are seemingly incapable of breaking their addiction to increasing spending.

 Egged on by sections of the public and the media, spending across all tiers of government has grown at more than 4 per cent a year for the past 40 years, outstripping GDP growth despite some of the strongest economic conditions this country has seen.

Governments have been spending in bad times, as then prime minister Kevin Rudd said in 2008, to "underpin positive economic growth in the Australian economy", and governments have been spending in good times, such as the expansion of middle class welfare under the Howard government and the efforts of Julia Gillard to "spread the benefits of the boom."

Government spending creates a growing constituency with a vested interest in voting for even greater largesse. The Centre for Independent Studies estimates that in the 2010 election nearly half of all voters relied on the government for the majority of their income.

In some parts of the country the story may be worse: University of Tasmania professor Jonathan West calculates that only a third to a quarter of Tasmanians earn their income independently of government. Unsurprisingly, Tasmania receives large subsidies from the rest of the country and the unemployment rate is nearly 3 per cent higher than the national average. Few talk about how we are going to pay for all this. With rising healthcare costs, an ageing population, and lower economic growth, government spending is set to exceed 50 per cent of GDP by 2050. This will mean higher taxes, higher debts, and even slower growth.

The CIS has launched the TARGET30 campaign to halt these worrying trends and promote the benefits of smaller government. It aims to cut government spending to less than 30 per cent of GDP over 10 years. This is an achievable target that can be met by holding spending constant in per capita terms. This will put Australia in the best shape to meet our future challenges.

TARGET30 will focus on ways that essential services can be delivered while reducing waste before a crisis like the continuing meltdown in Europe hits here.

Australia needs a debate on the size of government. It is absurd to argue, as some have, that government's current revenue base is insufficient and we need higher taxes. Governments already rake in more than a third of everything Australia produces; failure by governments to meet their basic obligations (e.g. in defence and infrastructure) demonstrates incompetence, not underfunding.

There is no credence to the argument that there is no fat to be cut. Government spends about half a trillion dollars a year; some of this is necessary, but much of it is not. Simple steps can get the budget back into balance in the medium term.

First, the next government must audit all government programs to see which are really necessary, and which actually meet their goals. Obvious areas of inefficiencies, such as the $10 billion a year provided in industry assistance and the duplication of departments at commonwealth and state level, should be scrapped immediately.

We can spur improvements in health and public hospitals by encouraging competition, especially through the use of vouchers and increased use of private sources of health funding. Substantial benefits would also come from reducing middle-class welfare churn; a good first step would be abolishing the $4.5bn Family Tax Benefit Part B payment.

We should all be made aware of the true costs of government services, such as the level of subsidies provided under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and for public transport; and price signalling through user charges should be extended.

In addition, governments should focus on improving the performance of the public sector. The NSW Treasury predicted that its fiscal gap could be completely closed through increases in public sector workforce productivity of 0.5 per cent above the national average.

Australia is in a strong economic position, but we must cut government spending now to ensure future prosperity.


1 comment:

Paul said...

Catch The Fire are pretty mental as it is, but I hope both buildings go ahead, right next to each other. It'd be bad religion all round, but great television.