George Brandis

It’s not just our politicians on the bludge

Politicians the world over just cannot help themselves helping themselves to our taxpayer cash, especially when it benefits them directly.

We have seen Paul Foster-Bell, Claudette Hauiti and now David Cunliffe trough it up on travel.

We see the two main parties working out better ways to avail themselves for?more entitlements.

Politicians, wherever they are from, become afflicted with entitleitis…they even use the same justifications.

The ”age of entitlement” is over, according to Treasurer Joe Hockey, but politicians continue to spend tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on flights to sporting events, study tours, recipe collections and children’s books – such as?Aliens in Underpants Save the World.

Department of Finance records show rising Liberal Party MP Jamie Briggs claimed almost $11,000 in entitlements over two years for travel to and from sporting events. For most of this period, November 2011 to November 2013, Mr Briggs was chairman of the Coalition’s government waste committee, established to highlight the mismanagement of taxpayer money.

His entitlement claims included:

? $2800 last November for him and a family member to travel between Adelaide and Melbourne, where they attended Derby Day in the Emirates marquee.

? $1600 last June to travel between Adelaide and Melbourne, where he attended an AFL game as a guest of BHP.

? $2300 in December 2012 to travel between Adelaide and Sydney, where he attended the Australian Open as a guest of Golf Australia.

Mr Briggs said: ”Each trip was undertaken within the entitlement rules and publicly declared as required. They included meetings with a range of people related to my work as a federal member of Parliament.”

Read more »

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 »

An important freedom

As the government in Australia moves to amend their draconian anti-free speech laws the howls of outrage from those which to keep the draconian laws in place is reaching weapons grade proportions.

The NZ Herald reports.

During last year’s election campaign, Tony Abbott pledged to change the law under which one of his staunchest supporters, the right-wing columnist Andrew Bolt, was convicted of racial discrimination for accusing nine fair-skinned prominent Australians of claiming to be Aborigines to secure jobs, awards and grants.

Now, under pressure from both sides of the political spectrum, Abbott may be ruing that promise to repeal or water down a piece of legislation that even his mentor and predecessor, John Howard, chose to leave intact.

Conservative Coalition MPs – backed by the right-wing Institute of Public Affairs and commentators including Bolt himself – want the Attorney-General, George Brandis, to scrap a section of the Racial Discrimination Act that makes it illegal to “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” a person on grounds of race.

However, ethnic community groups are horrified by that prospect, as are some Coalition politicians. The Liberal MP Ken Wyatt, the first indigenous member of the House of Representatives, has threatened to cross the floor, and Warren Mundine, who heads Abbott’s Indigenous Advisory Council, has warned him he is “heading down the wrong track”.

Bolt, meanwhile, is fuming over fresh claims of racism, aired by one of Australia’s most respected indigenous figures, Marcia Langton. Langton, who spoke out on the ABC TV discussion programme Q&A last week, subsequently apologised to the News Corp columnist for offending him, but added that “his obsessive writing about the colour of the skin of particular Aboriginal people is malicious and cowardly”. ?? Read more »

Gutsy decision to rein in Aussie Human Rights Commission

Judith Collins could learn from Australia’s Attorney-General George Brandis who has just set the cat amongst the pigeons with a new appointment to their Human Rights Commission.

Senator Brandis said Mr Wilson’s appointment would “restore balance to the Australian Human Rights Commission” which, he said had “become increasingly narrow and selective in its view of human rights” under Labor.

He praised Mr Wilson’s credentials for the role.

“He has published and broadcast widely on the topics of personal freedom, liberal democratic values and the rule of law. He was at the forefront in thwarting recent attempts to erode freedom of speech, freedom of the press and artistic freedom – rights and freedoms Australians have always held precious.” ? Read more »

Bludging arts wankers sticking their hands out

Have a read of this opinion piece from literary critic Peter Craven.

It really gives you some idea fo the entitlement?mentality?of bludging arts wankers.

There was a dinner at Jeanne Pratt’s Raheen mansion recently in honour of the Melba Foundation. Melba happens to produce the best classical CDs in the country and it also happens to have had its throat cut funding-wise by the Gillard government.

The dinner had a lot of donors present but it also had a number of distinguished artistic figures – Geoffrey Rush (the man who has won an Oscar, an Emmy and a Tony), Barry Tuckwell, arguably the world’s greatest horn player, and Bill Henson, the photographer who was already famous before politicians decided to add slander to the mix. But the reason some of us were there was to see George Brandis, because if the polls are to be believed we will have a Tony Abbott Coalition government in September and the man who will be not only attorney-general but arts minister is Senator Brandis.

Well, the good news – piquant news for people who honour a Whitlamite legacy with the arts – is that George Brandis showed signs of being a better arts minister than we have seen in the longest time.

It was a lustrous evening with quotations from Vladimir Ashkenazy singing Melba’s praises and a clip of Barry Humphries telling us its glories. Robert Richter, QC, a man with a highly developed sense of liberty, spoke with that painstaking forensic logic of his (that would make many of us choose him if we were accused of high crimes) about the injustice that had been done to Melba which was not about making money but about recording the work of great Australian artists. Then Maria Vandamme, the head of Melba, talked about the importance of what the foundation wanted to achieve.