Friday, March 14, 2014

Liberal candidate for Elder, Carolyn Habib, labels State Election campaign material 'filthy and racist'

Her own surname is 'filthy and racist'?  She should change it in that case

LIBERAL candidate for the seat of Elder Carolyn Habib says campaign material authorised by the Labor Party is a "filthy and racist" attack on her surname.

The flyer cover has the words "can you trust Habib" set against what appears to be an old wall.

Ms Habib is a Marion city councillor, and the flyer says rates have increased since Ms Habib was elected to the council.

In an interview on ABC 891 radio this morning, Ms Habib said she thought the flyer was very offensive and un-Australian.

"I think it is a very thinly veiled racist attack against my surname," she said.  "It's a new low and a very, very filthy campaign in what has already been a dirty campaign over the past few weeks."

Ms Habib said she was born in Alice Springs, her father is from Lebanon and her mother is from Canada.

"For me I grew up in Alice Springs, I was born in Alice Springs and everyone who has met me knows how Australian I am," she said.

"I am really surprised this has come in and it's just such a low. We should be talking about things that are important to the community not feeding into a racist attack. So yeah, I am surprised somebody would stoop to this level to win the seat."


Union thug fined

UNION boss Joe McDonald has been fined $30,500 and banned from a Perth construction site for three years for bullying.

Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union WA branch assistant secretary Joe McDonald was found by the Federal Court this week to have threatened to have workers thrown off "every construction site you’re on in Perth" if they didn’t participate in a strike.

Mr McDonald was also found to have blocked access to the Mundaring Water Treatment Plant when a contractor tried to enter a site closed due to industrial action in March last year, and to have held an employee by the neck and raised his fist at them.

The site, managed by Brookfield Multiplex, was in the third day of a strike reportedly called for by CFMEU.

The Federal Court in Perth yesterday fined Mr McDonald $30,500 and slapped an additional $143,000 fine on the CFMEU.

The union was also reportedly ordered to pay $500,0000 in compensation for the water plant strike and action at Fiona Stanley Hospital.

Mr McDonald has been banned from entering a Brookfield Multiplex site for three years.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has been challenged to expel Mr McDonald from the Labor Party after he was fined.

Federal Employment Minister Eric Abetz has said the example of "appalling bullying and intimidation" warranted action by Mr Shorten.

"This issue is now a test of Bill Shorten’s leadership and a test of his political sincerity," Senator Abetz said.

"If Mr Shorten is really concerned about workplace bullying he must act now to have McDonald again expelled from the ALP.

"This is a fundamental leadership issues as to the type of people and conduct Mr Shorten embraces in the Labor Party."

In 2007, then opposition leader Kevin Rudd expelled Mr McDonald from the party after the WA Supreme Court released footage a tape showing the unionist abusing a company representative.

Mr Rudd said the unionist had also made "inappropriate and unacceptable" comments outside a Perth court about then PM John Howard.

When the unionist was asked if he had a word for Mr Howard, he replied: "John’s gone. You know that. I’ll be back."

That was the last straw for Mr Rudd, who said he had no time for Mr McDonald’s "thuggery".  Mr McDonald rejoined the party in April last year.

Senator Abetz said that Mr McDonald was again seen to have "contempt for the law".

Labor’s workplace relations spokesman, Brendan O’Connor, said the party should decide on Mr McDonald’s future membership, not Mr Shorten.

"It is not a dictatorship. The Labor Party is a democratic organisation and the party will decide the fate of any of its members," Mr O’Connor said.

"It should not be the case that leaders have a capacity to have an edict over what happens. I would not expect Tony Abbott to do anything comparable."


Shorten must clean the slate if Labor is to advance


BILL Shorten, Chris Bowen and Anthony Albanese have at least two things in common — they are all mates of mine and they are all wrong on industry policy.

I keep saying that Labor must present itself as a party undergoing reform. If ordinary punters are given the impression that Labor is stubbornly clinging to the policies that were rejected so comprehensively in the election held just six months ago, then Labor is doomed to see history repeat itself.

Standing at the factory gate throwing heaps of cash at failing businesses has never and will never work. If the problems that are causing a business to fail cannot be remedied by other means then the option of governments hurling money willy nilly in their direction will always fail to keep the doors open.

There may well be something admirable in the Opposition Leader painting himself as the defender of manufacturing jobs because once the boom has been lowered on those affected they face a very uncertain future.

There is, however, nothing admirable in hearing the claim made by Labor’s industry spokesman, Kim Carr. His claim that Toyota would have continued to manufacture cars in Australia had Labor stayed in power could have been almost humorous if it weren’t so tragic. To be so utterly ignorant of the problems of economies of scale, an overvalued dollar and overseas giants wanting to know that they could expect a profit at some stage in the relatively near future, is truly sad. Labor needs to be better than that.

The Opposition Leader took no action to get the good senator to pull his head in, so it is reasonable to assume he has the same view. Australia’s future will not be in trying to keep afloat heavy industries that cannot compete in a global environment. It is cruel to pretend to ordinary workers in these industries that there is a way to save their jobs.

The car industry may close down and then there is a clear role for traditional Labor values to guide Shorten and his team. While there may be no way of saving these jobs there must be a plan to retrain those affected. There needs to be a package of relocation allowances for those workers who can find work in other cities and those who may be directed to other cities. The victims of rationalisation could do with a good dose of Labor tradition.

The announcement that SPC Ardmona was signing a $70 million contract to provide fruit and juices to Woolworths made the whole idea of caving in to their request for government money look truly stupid. It is not Shorten or the opposition’s job to make the Prime Minister and the Treasurer look good. Sharman Stone did a great job defending her constituents but she looks pretty silly as well. It is simply not possible to believe that the company did not know about the likelihood of this deal being consummated at the very time it held out the begging bowl. The business of begging has been rendered disreputable by the behaviour of both SPC and Qantas.

I must congratulate the Qantas PR machine on the wonderful job they have done in getting Alan Joyce before the public and the relevant government ministers. Nonetheless, it must be frustrating for those same people to watch Joyce butcher every single opportunity. It is not their fault that the salesman is a joke and the message is a crock. To hear the Qantas chief executive do all that speaking without once acknowledging fault is just plain breathtaking. To have pursued strategies in Asia that have produced an ever widening black hole down which to pour hundreds of millions of much needed dollars is a disaster way beyond covering up. To throw more capacity on to the domestic market (already suffering from oversupply) in a vainglorious attempt to maintain 65 per cent market share and to not even attempt the merest hint of regret or sorrow for the folly is extraordinary.

Neither the government nor the opposition have shown any courage in this regard. While the Qantas board is chockers with the good old boys of Liberal big business, it is not too hard to understand why Abbott and Hockey have refrained from uttering any criticism. What then is Shorten’s excuse? As 5000 workers pay the penalty for board and managerial incompetence it is hard to find any sense of outrage in Shorten’s public offerings. If Shorten is to grow in the job he must grasp the odd nettle and make some tough stands. He should have risked the ire of the CFMEU and called for the return of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner. That is one union destined for the bad times as will anyone found to be clinging to it.

The Rudd and Gillard governments made plenty of mistakes. It falls on Shorten to have the courage to own up to those shortcomings. I haven’t met anyone outside of the parliamentary Labor Party who believes that Labor was spot on with its last four budgets. Every minute of the day Australians are discussing the size of our debt and the problems we will bequeath our children unless we live within our means. That Kevin Rudd made a huge blunder in scrapping John Howard’s policies on refugees is now accepted wisdom. The mining tax is little more than a sick joke raising a mere fraction of the pots of gold promised by Rudd and Gillard. To move forward Labor must clean the slate. When you concede what everyone already knows you are not really admitting all that much. Labor must regain economic and policy ascendancy if it is to begin the long march back to power.

Displays of courage and admissions of previous error should not be left to Shorten alone. On Richo and Jones on Sky News, Joe Hockey attempted to defend the maintenance of the promise Tony Abbott made on paid parental leave. Having made the bold speech about the end of the age of entitlement, Hockey had been on a roll. When he tried to defend this profligate policy as some major industrial relations breakthrough he sounded weak and that came during an otherwise strong and decisive performance. Why is it so hard for politicians to say they got something wrong? If you are cutting expenditure all over town how can you possibly justify new spending of billions of dollars on what at least in part is more middle-class welfare?

What is more disturbing is that the Prime Minister and his colleagues are desperately hoping that the Senate will come to their rescue and throw the paid parental scheme out with the garbage. The electorate would love to hear the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition confess to their failures and to bad policy and hear them undertake to do better from now on. I have always believed that when you want to persuade someone to your point of view a good way to start is to say something you know they can agree with. Like priests they will mostly believe in confession. It is not only good for the soul, it may also be good for the party vote as well.


World’s next shale boom taking shape

Top on the list of potential venues for the next shale boom are China, Russia and Argentina, but the world’s next shale revolution likely will be in Australia, which appears to be the most attractive place for companies to pursue tight oil and gas, according to a Lux Research analysis released recently.

While companies have eyed shale development in China, lured by the prospect of huge reserves and easy financing, Australia is said to have the know-how, experience and infrastructure to be a more attractive place to drill into shale plays.

It also beats out Argentina, which has expansive shale reserves, but has experienced political instability despite attractive government incentives, according to the Lux report, written by research associate Daniel Choi.

Australia also emerged as the third top investment destinations in 2014 after US and Brazil, according to a recent research report published by DNV GL, the leading technical advisor to the oil and gas industry.

“Australia does not have the seemingly bottomless development capital of China, or the powerful government incentives of Argentina,” the Lux report said. “However, Australia more than makes up for this by having the characteristics conducive to successful commercial production, which other front-runners like Argentina, China, U.K., and Poland lack.”

“This includes existing infrastructure, low population density in key shale plays, and citizens who welcome resource extraction through its long mining legacy,” the report said.

Massive projects being constructed in Australia to produce and export natural gas to Asia make the country more attractive for shale exploration.

Chevron is leading the development of two massive LNG projects in Australia, at a cost of around $81 billion. The projects will liquefy and ship natural gas to energy hungry Asian nations.

Certainly, investors are eyeing the massive projects going up in Australia to produce and export natural gas to Asia, where it will fetch high prices.

Shale boom in the United States

The massive glut in shale oil and gas resources has brought about drastic changes in the country, with calls now being made for restrictions on crude oil and liquefied natural gas to be lifted.


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