Sunday, August 25, 2013


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is amused at the Leftist reaction to Abbott's boat-buying proposal.

More traitors to conservative voters

It was Oakeshott and Windsor last time. This time it is Palmer and Katter. Greens to get crucial Senate preferences from independent conservative candidates

Last week more than 40 parties lodged their Senate ''group voting tickets'' with the Australian Electoral Commission. Like native bird populations during a drought, these parties disappear in between elections only to magically appear at an election to funnel votes to the party lucky enough to benefit from back-room preference deals.

Now, if you would please tell me where your Senate above-the-line preferences go, I will be far more comfortable. But, be honest - you haven't a clue.

Senate ballot papers are more than a metre long in some states. A record number of voters are set to put their vote ''above the line'', and then they won't have preferences; other parties will determine them for them.

This is where the fun starts. Let's start with Clive Palmer. Clive has billions of dollars worth of coal assets and a nickel refinery near Townsville. It is perfectly logical then that he has preferenced the Greens; a party that wants to phase out coalmining and shut down Clive's nickel refinery.

Indeed, Clive's preferences are a wild ride. In Queensland, if you vote for Clive Palmer, your votes go to Family First, then to the Socialists, then to the Greens, Fishing and Lifestyle, Katter, the LNP, One Nation, Democrats and finally to the Australian Christians, presumably to ask forgiveness.

Who knew Clive had such a fondness for unreconstructed socialists? They are his second preference. He wants to be PM; perhaps he will be the Hugo Chavez of the South Seas. It is not just Queensland though. Clive is preferencing the Greens ahead of the major parties, and ahead of many minor parties, in all states. What a paradox? Clive's entry may protect the balance of power of the Greens, perhaps one billionaire the Greens will learn to love.

The Katter party, which ostensibly is opposed to everything Green, is preferencing the Greens ahead of the Liberals in the ACT, and ahead of Nick Xenophon in South Australia. Bob Katter may be instrumental in helping the Greens keep the balance of power by helping a Green senator to be elected in the ACT.

Bob has also done a deal with the Labor Party in Queensland. Bob represents a conservative electorate where more than 60 per cent of voters preferred the LNP to Labor at the last election. Bob has been preparing the ground. He needs Labor's preferences, and he needs the money of the trade unions. He has been voting accordingly.

This year Bob voted more with Labor in Parliament than with the Coalition. He supported right of union entry laws and the abolition of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, and opposed attempts to impose the same fines and penalties on union officials that are imposed on company directors who do the wrong thing. He failed to turn up to a vote of no confidence in the government.

Bob is now a member of the Green-Labor-Independent government, and Clive has lodged his application. The rainbow coalition continues through the back-room deals of preferences, against the interests of the people they represent.

Haven't we had enough of this? The past three years show what a disaster it can be when minor parties and independents run things. Minority government is an experiment that has failed, but it will continue in a different form if people go shopping in the Senate. And, the Senate ballot paper does look like a shopping list. People like to go shopping. They like fishing, so they vote for the fishing party. Their garden is green, and they like their garden, so they vote Green.

The problem is that once you number ''1'' above the line, what happens next remains a mystery to most. That vote for Clive Palmer may elect a Green and a vote for Bob Katter may elect Labor.

This is not democracy, it is the selection of a parliament by deals, not by votes.

Don Chipp once said the Senate was there to ''keep the bastards honest''. I think it is a little simpler this time; we just need to know which bastard their bastard is passing your vote to.


NSW Premier accused of racial slur for alluding to affirmative action

As in America, Leftists lean over backwards to give preference to blacks.  They haven't made a black lamebrain their Prime Minister yet, though.  A female lamebrain had to do

Barry O'Farrell has been called on to apologise for a perceived racial slur against the Labor frontbencher Linda Burney after he declared she hadn't achieved her career success on merit.

Ms Burney, the first Aborigine elected to the NSW parliament and a former national ALP president, served as minister for community services in the former Labor government and is deputy leader of the opposition.

During a heated exchange in question time on Tuesday over whether the current community services minister, Pru Goward, had misled parliament over caseworker numbers, Ms Burney said Ms Goward had "lost the confidence of every caseworker in this state".

The Premier responded that Ms Goward "has achieved every position in her life on merit", before turning to Ms Burney and declaring: "You can't say that."

The comment was met with laughter from the government backbench.

Opposition leader John Robertson said Mr O'Farrell to apologise for the comments "which have no place in Australia".

"Ms Burney is unequalled in merit and achievement," he said in a statement. "In addition to being the first indigenous person elected to the state's Parliament and first indigenous minister, Ms Burney is the chairperson of the Australian Rugby League Indigenous Council, has spoken at the United Nations on three separate occasions and is a former President of the Australian Labor Party."

"It would be inappropriate for any member of the community to make those sorts of comments, let alone the Premier of NSW".

Mr O'Farrell has a history of taunting Ms Burney in parliament. He once joked that she could play "hooker" in a rugby league team and accused her of "casting her spells".

At a media conference shortly after question time, Ms Burney said she had "come to expect those sorts of insults from Premier O'Farrell".

"It's not the first time he's made those sort of imputations about me and my capacity," she said.

"I have won every position I've ever had based on my capacity and my merit. The Premier continues to make a fool of himself when he says those sorts of things."

Asked if she believed the comment was racially motivated, Ms Burney said she "can't prove that. All I can say he's made imputations about my reputation, my capacity ... and he needs to be able to back those up."

Ms Burney, the member for Canterbury, is a former school teacher who holds an honorary doctorate in education from Charles Sturt University.

She has served on the boards of SBS, the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board and the NSW Board of Studies.

Mr O'Farrell's office has been approached for comment but has denied our request.


Privacy legilsation could have a `chilling effect' on freedom of speech

UNLESS the federal government abandons or radically changes its plans for a new way of suing for privacy, publishers and broadcasters face years of legal uncertainty that will have a "chilling effect" on free speech, media lawyers have warned.

"Privacy can be as wide as you want it to be," said Justin Quill of Kelly Hazell Quill.

"Even if this is never used, its mere existence will have a chilling effect and will lead to news editors taking out facts from stories for fear of being sued," he said.

His concerns are in line with those of media lawyer Nic Pullen of HWL Ebsworth, who was worried about uncertainty because the planned civil action "will hand everything over to the judges".

In 2008, the Australian Law Reform Commission recommended that the government should enact a privacy tort, but should not state clearly which areas of life would fall within its scope.

"Clear lines demarcating areas in which privacy can be enjoyed should not be drawn in advance," the commission's report said.

It recommended that the new cause of action should arise whenever there is a "reasonable expectation" of privacy and a serious invasion of privacy takes place that is considered highly offensive.

The commission favoured "leaving it open to the courts to determine when a reasonable expectation of privacy exists".

This "should not be limited to activities taking place in the home or in private places".

But the ALRC said it was in favour of what it described as "the narrower view" of the circumstances in which "a public act can be private". An example was when Britain's Mirror newspaper was found to have breached the privacy of model Naomi Campbell, who had drug problems, by publishing a picture of her on a street outside Narcotics Anonymous. The paper had to pay more than pound stg. 1 million in legal costs.

Mr Pullen said he was worried about the government's proposal because he believed it would be almost impossible to define "privacy" in a way that eliminated legal uncertainty. He said the government's priority should be to determine whether there were enough infringements to justify a new legal action. It should focus on trying to confine the definition of privacy to those areas considered appropriate, and only then should it turn to the question of defences.

Mr Pullen's concern comes soon after Privacy Minister Brendan O'Connor said the new civil action would contain a "public interest" defence for the media.

Mr Pullen and Mr Quill both dismissed the significance of the defence. Mr Pullen said the track record of the judiciary on free speech suggested that the defence was unlikely to be effective.


A top heavy public service

The Commonwealth public service is roughly the same size today as it was two decades ago. So why does the Coalition want to cut the public service by 12,000?

Is this just a drive to balance the books on the back of the public sector, as the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) would have you believe, or is the public sector bloated and in need of pruning?

Tony Abbott plans to cut 12,000 public servants by attrition rather than by sackings. But this is a simplistic approach to reducing the burden of the public sector.

The Commonwealth public service shed roughly a third of its workforce between 1993 and 1999.

Some of the job losses were the result of privatisation, while many were the result of a concerted effort by the Howard government to reduce the burden of the public sector.

It has since recovered to where it was in 1993, but with one important difference - the cost.

The public service costs a lot more today because its makeup has changed. There are far fewer entry-level employees and far more managerial level staff. In 1998, there were 7,323 entry-level public servants (APS1) accounting for 6.7% of the ongoing public service. In 2012, there were just 895 APS1 comprising 0.6% of the ongoing public service - a decline of 87%.

Further up the hierarchy, the number of executive level employees (EL1 and EL2) employees has ballooned since 1998. EL1 employees have increased by 250% and EL2 employees by 190%.

As former Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner observed in 2007, there are 'fewer people actually delivering services on the ground, and a lot more chiefs, a lot more fat cats, a lot more people at the top end earning very high salaries.'

If the Coalition wants to make a lasting impact on the cost of the public service, it needs to look at the composition of the service, and address the growing number of agencies and programs that necessitate greater government spending and more public servants.

Otherwise when the nation returns to surpluses and cost pressures fade, the public service will grow once again, and negate any savings made today.



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