Friday, June 28, 2013

The blue tie men

Julia was more prophetic than she knew

My magic power is still working

I don't actually have any magic power but it sometimes seems as if I do.  If I think something in politics should or will happen, very often it does, sooner or later.  A case in point is the resurrection of Rudd.  On 23rd., I said on this blog that the ALP would have to bring him back  -- despite that idea being widely pooh-poohed at the time.

And when I did hear of that prophecy coming true I immediately knew that there was a way for Rudd to win the next election.  He should abolish the carbon tax and the mining tax and seek a bipartisan agreement on "asylum seekers".  All three changes would cost him very little but would take Abbott's chief weapons away.

I didn't actually think he would do all that.  He is too Leftist.  But the latest news reports do point to the mining tax going and a revamp of the carbon tax and a possible shift in a conservative direction on the boat people.

So my magic power was pretty good.  Rudd and his allies are  looking at exactly the policies that I prophesied.  Why do I have that magic power?  I guess its just that I have a realistic grasp of the forces at work in politics.  The ALP couldn't ignore Gillard's poll numbers and Rudd would have to want to use a new start to disarm Abbott if possible.

ALP to ride on pennies from Kevin as PM Rudd set to offer election sweeteners to voters

KEVIN Rudd could offer a range of sweeteners - including dumping the carbon tax - in a last-ditch attempt to snatch victory from the Coalition.

Mr Rudd has refused to commit to the saving and spending measures in Labor's Budget announced just last month, leaving him open to re-write the party's playbook as the election nears.

The restored PM will push to dump the carbon tax and go straight to an emissions trading scheme in a bid to unshackle the Government from the politically toxic policy.

After failing to announce any new policies on his first day back in the top job, Mr Rudd is under pressure from within Labor to overhaul funding for schools and hospitals, replace the carbon tax with an ETS and dump the mining tax.

Mr Rudd was last night locked in talks with his key backers as he came under increasing pressure to present a clean break from the era of his predecessor Julia Gillard.

He is expected to announce a new ministerial line-up as early as today after losing more than a third of the Cabinet in his political comeback.

The Courier-Mail understands that the carbon tax, which is due to rise to $24.50 next week, will top the agenda when the new prime minister convenes his first Cabinet meeting on Monday.

However, in a signal that he would conduct a consensus government, Mr Rudd has indicated to colleagues that no changes would be made without approval of the Cabinet.

Axing the current fixed price and going straight to a market-based floating price could see the cost drop to as little as $6 a tonne. It was estimated that the move could cost several billion dollars in revenue.

With Parliament not due to return before an election, Mr Rudd is likely to announce it as an election policy.

Ms Gillard's deadline for Campbell Newman and other hold-out premiers to sign up to Labor's national school funding plan is likely to be extended beyond Sunday.

Mr Rudd faces calls to take a tougher approach to asylum seekers to counter the Opposition's attacks that he sparked the recent increase in boat arrivals by watering down border protection laws when he was last in charge.


Kevin Rudd urged to his fix boats mistake after being sworn in

KEVIN Rudd has told colleagues he will not "lurch to the Left" on asylum-seekers, with caucus members publicly urging him to toughen Labor's policy or risk seeing his government consigned to the "dustbin of political history".

As Mr Rudd used his first day in office to recast his leadership, swearing off the "old politics" of division and conflict, Labor MPs' warned the resurrected Prime Minister that his efforts would count for nothing if he failed to tackle the "illegal immigrant problem".

Labor senator Glenn Sterle told The Australian Mr Rudd had assured him in the wake of Wednesday's leadership ballot that he would not soften Labor's stance on the issue, which has helped destroy Labor's standing in western Sydney.

In a clear reference to Mr Rudd's 2010 warning to the party not to "lurch to the Right" on asylum-seekers, made at the time of his removal as prime minster, Senator Sterle said Mr Rudd promised not to "lurch to the Left" either. "Kevin said to me (after the ballot), he will not be taking a lurch to the Left," Mr Sterle told The Australian yesterday. "He understands that it is a major issue in Western Australia and in western Sydney."

Senator Sterle's comments are part of a wider hardening of rhetoric on the asylum issue within the Labor Party, spearheaded by Foreign Minister Bob Carr, who said after Ms Gillard's ousting that the refugee system was broken, with economic migrants, not refugees, now flooding Australia's shores.

Senator Carr said the asylum problem had changed "under our noses", with genuine refugee supplanted by opportunists. "They're not people fleeing persecution," Senator Carr told the ABC's Lateline program. "They're coming from majority religious or ethnic groups in the countries they're fleeing. They're coming as economic migrants."

In Mr Rudd's first term as prime minister, Labor unwound many of the Howard-era measures that had helped stem the flow of floats. Since he was elected in late 2007, more than 44,000 asylum-seekers have arrived in Australia in more than 740 boats. With the arrival of three more boats yesterday, more than 12,807 asylum-seekers have arrived this year alone.

Mr Rudd's targeting of the carbon tax has been on his agenda since he challenged for the leadership in February last year and indicated he would review the fixed-price period.

The clean energy package Ms Gillard negotiated with the Greens and the regional independents is designed to transition to a floating price, linked to the European emissions trading scheme, on July 1, 2015. The fixed price will increase to $24.15 for each tonne of carbon from Monday.

Mr Rudd's office last night confirmed he would be discussing the "implementation of the carbon price when cabinet meets next week".

But the issue of asylum-seeker arrivals remains the most contentious and politically damaging for the new Rudd government.

Senator Sterle said that in his home state of Western Australia, Labor's handling of the asylum issue had resulted in a "steady decline" in support for the party.

And, in a view shared by the Department of Foreign Affairs and border security agencies, Senator Carr blamed the high success rate for refugee claims in Australia for contributing to the problem. "We've reached the view that as a result of court and tribunal decisions, it's coming up wrong. We need a tougher, more hard-edged assessment," he said.

Senator Bishop said Senator Carr's assessment was representative of a wider view within the Labor caucus, which has become increasingly spooked by the electoral backlash facing the party over its handling of the issue. Senator Sterle said if the party could not find a solution to the issue "we'll be confined to the political dustbin of history".


Convicted rapist, drug dealers and a killer knowingly hired by Queensland Health

A RAPIST, a convicted killer and several drug dealers and fraudsters are among almost 200 people with criminal convictions knowingly hired by Queensland Health who still work there, a Right to Information investigation has found.

Despite a crackdown on criminal checks in the wake of the "fake" Tahitian prince, Joel Morehu-Barlow, in the past year, 34 Queensland Health employees have faced further convictions and, of those, 11 remain employed.

They include several nurses and operational staff found guilty of drug-related charges, theft, wilful damage and assault.

Of those who lost their job since January 1, 2012, two were charged with murder and one with sexual assault, while another three were convicted of armed robbery, sexual assault and unlawful wounding.

A spreadsheet of Criminal History Advisory Panel decisions obtained by The Courier-Mail under Right to Information laws, show decision-makers appointed a drug dealer to work in aged care in 2009 because, although the "conviction was serious, this occurred more than 25 years ago (and) there have been no convictions since then".

The length of time since the offence was given as the reason why Queensland Health gave the green-light for an armed robber to be hired in 2009, also in aged care, despite being sentenced to six years imprisonment (but only serving two) in 1983.

However, it was only three years after the conviction that Queensland Health hired another drug dealer as an "operational support officer" in the Torres Strait in 2010. The applicant was convicted and fined in the Magistrates Court in 2007 for supplying and possessing dangerous drugs and forgery.

In another case, a student "social worker" was also given a job in 2011 after being jailed for 18 months in 2005 for supplying a prohibited drug because they had a "consistent employment history" and were "undertaking tertiary studies".

Other Queensland Health documents show crimes occurring on the job, including one nurse who faced court on 16 charges after allegedly withdrawing money from ATMs with debit cards stolen from patients, while another continued to pocket cab vouchers for several years before being caught.

Many more Queensland Health staff faced charges in the past year after allegedly committing fraud, stalking a co-worker, stealing drugs such as morphine or pethidine, accessing child pornography or were found in possession of methamphetamine.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg acknowledged three employees who were hired despite particularly serious convictions, one of rape in 1998, one of robbery in 1999 and one of unlawful killing in 1997, were still employed.

"Less than 200 employees sought and were approved for Queensland Health employment with a criminal conviction," Mr Springborg said.

"That's just a quarter of a per cent of Queensland Health staff."

Mr Springborg said background criminal history checks had tightened since Morehu-Barlow was caught siphoning off more than $16 million of taxpayers' money while working at Queensland Health.

"Queensland Health has protocols that require background criminal history checks ... these were expanded to include checks of the criminal record in New Zealand in July 2012," Mr Springborg said.

"Administrative arrangements for 'grants', such as those exploited by Joel Barlow, have been reviewed by the former Auditor-General, Glenn Poole. The majority of these have been redesignated as service agreements, and their accounting obligations tightened."


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tanya Pilbersek's husband served time for drug dealing