Australia

Monday nightCap

Too right George, now tell them to bugger off

George Brandis is standing up for freedom of speech in Australia despite the howls of outrage from the left who as well all know are only supporters of freedom of speech if it is speech they agree with.

George Brandis has compared himself to Voltaire and derided proponents of climate change action as “believers” who do not listen to opposing views and have reduced debate to a mediaeval and ignorant level.

In an interview with online magazine Spiked, the Attorney-General also declares he has no regret for saying Australians have the right to be bigots and accuses the left of advocating censorship to enforce a morality code on the nation.

It comes as former Australian of the year Professor Fiona Stanley said climate science had been denigrated through politicisation and denial, and issued a stinging attack on the federal government for the absence of a specific department to tackle global warming.

Senator Brandis, who is driving reforms to Australia’s racial discrimination act, describes the climate change debate as one of the “catalysing moments” in his views on freedom of speech.

While he says he believes in man-made climate change, the Queensland senator tells the magazine he is shocked by the “authoritarianism” with which some proponents of climate change exclude alternative viewpoints, singling out Labor’s Penny Wong as “Australia’s high priestess of political correctness”.

He said it was “deplorable” that “one side [has] the orthodoxy on its side and delegitimises the views of those who disagree, rather than engaging with them intellectually and showing them why they are wrong”.

As examples, he points to Senator Wong and former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who he accuses of arguing “the science is settled” to shut down political debate on climate change. Read more »

Just because he’s a Kiwi doesn’t give him ‘victim’ status. He was a terrorist!

A Kiwi has been killed in a drone strike against an al Qaeda terrorist training camp.

Naturally the terrorist hugging opposition politicians are all aghast and their pals in the media think this is just dreadful.

Isaac Davison reports:

A Kiwi killed in a drone strike in Yemen had attended a terrorist training camp and may have been a foot soldier for al-Qaeda.

The man, whose name and age have not been released, died after an incident on November 18. It is understood his identity had only been confirmed recently.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed the New Zealand-born man was believed to have died in a counter-terrorism operation.

However, they refused to be drawn on the specifics of that operation.  Read more »

Headline of the Week

From the Courier Mail in Queensland.

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The story itself is hilarious:

FORMER foreign minister Bob Carr was last night labeled “arrogant” and “foolish” for risking diplomatic ties after leaked extracts of his new diaries revealed him complaining about taxpayer-funded first and business class travel and questioning whether top US leaders had plastic surgery.  Read more »

Cunliffe continues to lie over capital gains tax

David Cunliffe just can’t help himself, again telling mis-truths over capital gains tax.

A Labour led government would impose a capital gains tax of 15% on realised gains from investment property. He says the family home would be exempt, Labour leader David Cunliffe told TVNZ’s Q+A programme this morning.

“I’m comfortable with that because speculators are driving this market, and to make matters worse, according to the BNZ and Real Estate Institute about 12% of speculative house buyers, all house buyers last year in Auckland came from non-resident foreigners.  Non-resident foreigners who have access to cheap finance are driving up the price of homes in New Zealand, so young Kiwis can’t get into their own homes.” Mr Cunliffe said.

When questioned on why a capital gains tax isn’t working in Australia, Mr Cunliffe said, “The problem would be worse if they didn’t have it.”  Read more »

Doors closed in Australia, no matter let’s try NZ

People smugglers are giving up on trying to get people into Australia now, the government of Tony Abbott has succeeded in stopping the boats.

The people smugglers though are not to be deterred and are now targeting NZ.

Michael Bachelard at The Guardian reports:

People smugglers in Indonesia are mounting their first credible attempt to ship asylum seekers on the hazardous voyage to New Zealand and circumvent the Abbott government’s Operation Sovereign Borders.

Four men – two from Bangladesh and two from Afghanistan – were caught last month by the Indonesian immigration department in Jayapura, West Papua, on their way to get a boat to New Zealand.

Their capture appears to have stalled, for the time being, a plot to send up to 100 people, but sources in West Java say people smugglers in the town of Cisarua are still advertising for places on a New Zealand-bound boat.

The smugglers are showing asylum seekers a grainy picture, obtained by Fairfax Media, of the boat they say they have bought for the venture, which is larger and sturdier looking than the typical fishing vessel and has covered cabins and navigational antennae.  Read more »

Unions whining in Aussie as Royal Commission get underway

Finally they have a government in Australia who has the courage to take on the unions rorting the system, and slowly push them a little closer to extinction.

If only the John Key government would push for the same thing here, just grab a copy of their terms of reference, adapt it for NZ, and get the show under way.

After all, the honest unions have nothing to worry about.   So, no problem is there?

A ROYAL commission into trade union governance, slush funds and corruption is nothing more than a witch-hunt and taxpayers will be better served if more money went to enforcing existing laws, unions say.

The royal commission into trade union governance started in Sydney on Wednesday, with commissioner Dyson Heydon saying the inquiry’s both broad and restrictive terms of reference will probe the facts behind a range of union practices.

Justice Heydon says the commission does not want to see unions abolished or curbed into insignificance.  Read more »

Flight MH370 and the Whaleoil connection

You wouldn’t think there was one, but look what the Internet spat up yesterday

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Read more »

Schapelle Corby admits to being a drug trafficker. That settles that then

Ah, the truth finds a way.

913511-dtstory-lawrence-corbySchapelle Corby had trafficked drugs into Bali three times before her arrest, and “acted crazy” to get her sentence cut, her former Australian cellmate Renae Lawrence claims.

Lawrence, one of the Bali Nine drug couriers, was secretly videoed making the allegations that were broadcast on Network Ten yesterday.

She said Corby, who was released from Bali’s Kerobokan jail on parole in February, was good at keeping her secrets, but “let one slip one night”.

“She said that she knew the marijuana was in the boogie bag, but the person who was supposed to be at the airport at the same time didn’t turn up,” Lawrence said.

“She told me and the other prisoner that she’d done it more than this time.

“She said she’d brought the drugs [into Bali] before three times.”

Lawrence also claimed Corby “acted crazy” to get her sentence cut.

Well, can’t say I blame her.  It saved her from life imprisonment, or worse.  You do what you have to do.  But the whole “innocence” routine was as fake as the rest of her.   Read more »

John Howard on parties, membership and ideology

John Howard was interviewed by The Australian in Australia and offers some interesting perspectives on political parties, membership and ideology.

“All political parties need reform,” Howard said in an interview with this columnist to mark the 40th anniversary of his election to parliament.

“The greatest problem that my party has, the greatest problem the Labor Party has, is that we no longer pursue with zeal the idea of expanding the membership.”

The problem has become ­particularly acute for Labor.

The party’s terrible result in the West Australian Senate ­election underscores the need for reform.

With its two lead candidates beholden to unions and each representing polar ideological ­extremes, it is not surprising Labor received a dismal 22 per cent of the vote.

Both Labour and National face similar issues here, though I suspect Labour’s issue is more pressing.

When Howard joined the Young Liberals as an 18 year old in the late 1950s, he said it was the “mission” of every member to ­recruit new members.

“We spend too much time arguing about what the existing membership does rather than throwing open the doors to new members.”

However, given the loss of members in both major parties, retaining new members has ­become a life or death matter. At Labor’s peak in the 1930s, it boasted a membership of more than 150,000. The Liberals had a membership of more than 150,000 in the 1950s.

Today, membership of both major parties has declined even though the population has expanded. Labor and the Liberals each have about 45,000 members nationally.

“People don’t join local sporting clubs, local churches, local service clubs and political parties the way they did 50 years ago,” Howard says.  Read more »