Thursday, October 03, 2013

Clive Palmer's United Party wins WA Senate spot, Greens devastated

CLIVE Palmer has knocked off a Greens senator to nab a third Senate spot in Western Australia.  The Palmer United Party's candidate Zhenya Wang secured a seat in the upper house after preferences were formally distributed today.  He beat current serving Greens Senator Scott Ludlam to secure the spot.

Mr Palmer's party took the fifth spot in WA, ahead of Labor's Louise Pratt who nabbed the last spot.

Senator Pratt, who had looked like losing her place, said: "The closeness of the result has only strengthened my resolve to help put Labor on track to win the next election."

Senator Ludlam suggested he would call for a recount in the WA results.  "Thanks to everyone who went through this wait with us. checking for recount possibility; meantime your support means a lot," he posted on his Twitter account.

Greens Leader Christine Milne said her colleague was "a terrific senator".

The Greens confirmed they have requested a recount and Senator Milne said WA stood to lose an intelligent and passionate environmental and social justice advocate if the current Senate result stands.

The Coalition's Arthur Sinodinos has held on to his Senate seat, taking the last spot in NSW.

The AEC this morning formalised preferences for the Senate spots in NSW and QLD with former foreign minister Bob Carr also keeping his position.

But it is unclear if Senator Carr will stick around with speculation he will abdicate for either Deb O'Neill or Mike Kelly - who both lost their lower house seats on September 7.

The Liberal Democratic Party's David Leyonhjelm secured the number 5 NSW spot ahead of Senator Sinodinos, in what he himself admits was a fluke because voters associated him with the Liberal party of Tony Abbott.

Senator Sinodinos was widely thought to have been promoted to cabinet in Mr Abbott's government but speculation over whether he would keep his spot saw him overlooked.

In Queensland, as widely anticipated, Clive Palmer's star candidate Glenn Lazarus secured the number 5 Senate position.

Former chief of staff for the National's Barnaby Joyce, Matthew Canavan, took out the last spot.

Mr Palmer said he was on holidays when contacted by News Corp Australia today and said he had "no comment" on his success in the upper house.

Tony Abbott will now face a tedious task of having to negotiate with a slew of minor parties who now have secured spots in the Senate.

Victoria's results were yesterday formerly published by the AEC, with "Kangaroo poo" candidate Ricky Muir confirmed in the number 6 spot.  Mr Muir was a candidate for the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party and footage emerged last month of him throwing around what appeared to be Kangaroo poo with his family and laughing.

In South Australia, which was also declared yesterday, Bob Day from the Family First party was elected into the fifth Senate spot.  Nick Xenophon also returned as a Senator for the state along with the Greens Sarah Hanson-Young who was seen as under siege.


Fairfax axes jobs, shuts magazines

FAIRFAX Media has announced more job cuts and magazine closures amid what it calls "challenged" times for the print media.

Forty-five jobs will be axed and Fairfax's glossy monthly inserts, the(sydney)magazine and the(melbourne)magazine, are to close.

As mooted in The Australian's Media Diary yesterday, Allen Williams, the managing director of Fairfax's Australian publishing, has outlined in an email to staff the further “work being done to transform the Australian Publishing Media (APM) division”.

Of the 45 jobs to go, 25 staff are in the business media division, while the axing of a further 20 jobs across the news media and life media divisions is being blamed on “current revenue challenges”.

The major move is the merging of business teams across Fairfax Media titles - a move that has already caused angst given the different “cultures” of the reporting teams at Fairfax's daily metros and the Australian Financial Review.

The first major example of this was seen yesterday as the Sydney Morning Herald splashed with a story that was also on the front page of the AFR, written by the AFR's Joe Aston.

The integration of business staff across titles accounts for 25 of the redundancies.

Mr Williams said the company had already been consulting “extensively” with business media staff about producing new “efficiencies” in that division.

The closure of the two high-profile monthly insert magazines, the(sydney)magazine and the(melbourne)magazine, finishing with the November 2013 issues, is a surprise given they have attracted lucrative advertising.

But the magazines have thinned and Mr Williams noted in his email: “It's no secret to anyone in the media business that magazines have been an increasingly challenged platform. The sydney/melbourne titles have been great magazines, but it makes commercial sense to make these changes.”

Mr Williams said while the magazine closures would impact 10 employees, these staff would not necessarily be made redundant, with the company to explore “redeployment” opportunities.

Mr Williams said the AFR's quarterly Capital magazine would now become a “run of book quarterly newspaper section”.

He said the company was consulting the journalism union, the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance about the cuts.

But he appeared to foreshadow more moves ahead. “We anticipate being in a position to communicate our decision about the next steps by October 14,” he said.


Hawke sets example- dumps political correctness

FORMER Prime Minister Bob Hawke broke up the audience when he cracked a politically incorrect joke at a luncheon commemorating the thirtieth anniversary of Australia II’s historic America’s Cup win Thursday.

That, serendipitously, the crowd was gathered just hours after an American boat sailed by Australian skipper James Spithill, from Sydney’s Pittwater, and manned by predominantly by Australians, had defeated a Kiwi yacht in the latest America’s Cup series, doubtless added to the overall success of the Sydney event.

Hawke, wearing a replica of the eye-hammering Australia jacket he had worn at the Royal Perth Yacht Club’s celebrations in 1983 when he famously declared that “any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up today is a bum” let her rip with a story that would have had the prudes in today’s ALP wincing with feigned offence.

A Frenchman an Englishman and an Australian were slogging their way across the Andes, he said. “It’s about 45 bloody degrees,” he began, after describing how the trio had traversed an scorched alpine desert, “they look down. There’s this most beautiful, pristine lagoon. They go scrambling down ... and dive in ... The natives come and grab ‘em. Take ‘em to the chief. The chief says (and here Hawke slipped into broken English): ‘You have broken the sacred law. This our most sacred site. For this you die. When we kill you we take off skin. Out of skin make canoe. Put canoe on lake. Permanent reminder to all peoples. Never infringe on our most sacred site.’”

Naturally, the chief offers them a last request, and Hawke assumed a Pepe Le Pew accent and an upper class English drawl in which the Frenchman and Englishman asked for knives with which they killed themselves rather than die slowly and painfully.

“Then they go to the Aussie,” Hawke continued. “He says, ‘I want a fork.’ He proceeds to stab himself all over.

“‘There goes your f . . king canoe!’”

Former PM Bob Hawke declares ‘any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up today is a bum’ after Australia won the America’s Cup thirty years ago. Courtesy: Channel Nine
The former prime minister brought the house down but the various commissions appointed to defend the rights and protect Australians from offence, from the Press Council to the Anti-Discrimination bodies could no doubt list the tedious rules he had broken.

He had mocked Africans (though what an African chief was doing near an Andean lake is a mystery), he had ridiculed the French and the British and he had sworn in a public place.

Yet no-one present seemed to think he was a silly old bugger.

Hawke reminded the guests of the enormous boost in national pride the capture of the elusive America’s Cup had triggered, and the shared glow that he had basked in even though Labor had been returned just six months earlier with the greatest number of seats (75) since John Curtin’s 1943 election.

Nothing lifted the nation as much as wresting the Cup after 132 years of US domination, and as Hawke said, most Australians were keener on cricket and various codes of football than sailing.

Hawke’s anecdotes (not the one about the canoe) pointedly reminded the guests what Australia has lost to political correctness over the past thirty years.

The nightmarish web of regulation imposed by the recent Rudd-Gillard-Rudd Labor governments and the attempts to muzzle the media and silence critics with harsh recourse to the “thought” courts, let alone the threats of recrimination made to business figures stifled debate.

Attacking from the Left, the taxpayer-funded ABC, the largest media organisation in Australia, has largely stifled conservative voices and permitted fringe activist groups to assume grossly overblown profiles totally at odds with their minuscule memberships.

The Labor Party itself, which has been captured by extremist activists and branch-stacking factional bosses, is only now making a half-hearted attempt to undergo some long overdue reform and pay lip-service to its shrunken rank-and-file membership.

The robust figures of Hawke’s day, people like former shearer Mick Young for example, have been replaced by pallid backroom assassins who work the numbers like stilettos.

Had any figure from the other side of politics told the same joke as Hawke it would have made front page news and whoever told it would have been publicly castigated with furious demands for apology being made by various self-declared guardians of public morality as well as those who are now paid to protect Australians from themselves.

And that’s before anyone had mentioned his use of the F-word, or the “F” bomb, as some writers described it.

The larrikin spirit, embodied in Hawke and the inspiration for such Aussie classics as Crocodile Dundee, doesn’t burn as brightly today as it did thirty years ago.

To his credit, Hawke insisted his remarks were non-partisan, and they were.

But the killjoys in the modern Labor Party are very political, and I suspect Hawke knows it and is concerned about the effect their political correctness is having on the spirit of the land he loves.


How animal extremists and officious bureaucrats devastated a family business

Animal activists, with the help of gullible reporters, help to destroy a family business - and those depending on it - with dodgy allegations.  The ABC’s Landline explains:

    PIP COURTNEY, PRESENTER: In November 2011, allegations of animal cruelty were levelled at an abattoir in regional Victoria…

    Authorities quickly shut down the abattoir, sending a ripple effect through the local community, leading to job losses and business closures. But the most serious charges were dropped before the matter ever went to court, raising questions about the tactics of the animal right groups, Animals Australia, and the behaviour of the Victorian Government body responsible for the prosecution, PrimeSafe…

    COLIN GILES, ABATTOIR OWNER:… We’ve been through two years of hell.

    Monday November 21, 2011, dawned like most at LE Giles & Sons Abattoir.

    The abattoir, small by modern standards, processed cattle, sheep, goats and pigs. On that day, it was killing pigs and 60 of them quietly awaited slaughter in the holding pen. Mid-morning a visitor arrived. She gave her name as Kate and was led up to the killing floor.

    JAMES RODEWELL, FORMER ABATTOIR SUPERVISOR: On the way up I had a discussion with her and asked her what she was doing and she said, ‘I’m just taking a few photos for a university project I’m doing.’…

    COLIN GILES: She came in under the guise of being a photography student.

    BRUCE GILES, FORMER ABBATTOIR WORKER: She lied who her proper name and everything. And we had let schools in before.... So we’ve never, ever been shy of showing the place off…

    TIM LEE: This time the Giles family’s open approach to the public proved disastrous. Kate was in fact Sarah Lynch, a well-known animal rights activist… [As] the last few pens of 60 pigs were stunned electronically prior to slaughter, she got the footage she was seeking… Sarah Lynch raced the footage back to Melbourne to Animals Australia, which contacted PrimeSafe… Animals Australia claimed to have evidence of widespread cruelty at Giles Abattoir.

    PrimeSafe then contacted LE Giles & Sons and ordered an immediate halt to all work…

    TIM LEE: Colin Giles alleges they were told by PrimeSafe that unless they complied they faced the possibility of jail… For Terry and Sandra McPhee the closure spelt catastrophe. At Neerim South in the Eastern Ranges they’d built a fledgling, but thriving, enterprise raising prime quality meat goats. ..

    SANDRA MCPHEE: Devastating....  It was coming up to Christmas and we had a lot of Christmas orders ready to go, but we had no abattoir to slaughter the animals for us…

    TIM LEE: The abattoir’s closure had an immediate impact on stock markets the length of Gippsland and beyond… It took a terrible toll on Ray Giles.

    MORRIS GILES: He withdrew into himself. We had trouble getting him out of the house. He just was… just was traumatic, absolutely traumatic to see what it’s done to him. You know he’s, at the moment he’s at the Warringal Hospital undergoing therapy. We don’t know whether he will ever be the man he was.

    Dad had a stroke Christmas Eve, Christmas Day…

    TIM LEE: By now Colin Giles, quality assurance manager James Rodwell and three of the abattoir slaughtermen had been charged with a number of offences under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act…

    In September 2012 the three slaughtermen pleaded guilty to charges that they failed to ensure pigs did not endure: ‘unreasonable pain and suffering’, during slaughter. The judge found that any cruelty was not deliberate and noted the: ‘significant penalties’, the trio had already endured, including the loss of their jobs.

    All three escaped conviction and were each given a twelve-month good behaviour bond.

    NEVILLE GILPIN, FORMER SLAUGHTERMAN: It come down to a financial thing, where my solicitor said it could cost me a fair bit of money to fight this charge and not having a job and a daughter to put through uni I just took the easy way out, yes.

    TIM LEE: However, Colin Giles and James Rodwell were determined to have their day in court.

    But that day never came. The case was due to be heard here at the Morwell Magistrates’ Court on Monday, April 15. But on the Friday the Giles family was told all charges against them had been dropped because the DPI’s lawyers believed there was little chance of a successful prosecution…

    TIM LEE: Funding their legal defence had cost the Giles family more than $150,000 ... and it was pitted against the bottomless resources of the State Solicitor’s Office acting for the Department of Primary Industries.The cost of justice appeared prohibitive, so the family reluctantly accepted the legal truce. But the sudden abandonment of such a high-profile case has only fuelled speculation of gross injustice…

    Sarah Lynch took footage of one pig which escaped from the killing pen and got onto the abattoir floor.

    COLIN GILES: There was four or five blokes along here with knives and pouches and things on, and they’d left a sledgehammer up against the hide puller because they were doing a job and it had jammed or something, and the blokes just grabbed it and - which it says in the regs that, you know, in those sort of circumstances, as a safety thing, blunt trauma can be used… There was no cruelty in it. And that was the first charge that the DPI dropped, was the blunt trauma one…

    TIM LEE: Neville Gilpin alleges that Sarah Lynch caused that pig to escape. He claimed she’d stressed them by being far too close… Animals Australia is unwilling to discuss the case.


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