Tanya Plibersek

The Aussies get it, does our government? What about the opposition?

Julie Bishop, Australia’s Foreign Minister, has returned from the US and a briefing about foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria…and she is rightfully concerned.

I wonder if our government is concerned as they should be, and I really wonder if the opposition parties, the Greens in particular actually understand the issue at all.

FOREIGN Minister Julie Bishop says she is ?even more troubled? by the threat of foreign fighters in the Middle East following briefings with US officials, as Tony Abbott said he was willing to consider expanding Australia?s military role in Iraq.

Australia is facing increasing pressure to upgrade its military commitment in Iraq after US President Barack Obama used his State of the Union address yesterday to strengthen the international effort to ?degrade and ultimately destroy? the terrorist threat posed by Islamic State.

Ms Bishop, who is attending high-level meetings in Washington, said the terrorist threat was spreading far beyond that posed by Islamic State.

?I?m even more troubled by the phenomena of foreign fighters because of the way that they are organised, because of the way they are metastasising, that we are seeing al-Qa?ida, al-Nusra, al-Qa?ida in the Arabian Peninsula, claiming to have taken part in attacks so it?s not just ISIL,? she said.

?The focus has been on ISIL but there are many other terrorist organisations upon whom our focus is warranted.? ?? Read more »

Labor leadership candidates racing for the centre ground

In stark contrast with the loons of NZ Labour who were racing to the far left in a bid to secure the leadership the Aussie contenders for Labor’s leadership are instead racing to secure the centre.

LABOR leadership candidate Bill Shorten on Wednesday declared himself a man of the centre, insisting he was best-placed to appeal to the broader public over left-wing rival Anthony Albanese.

But the bid to point out his rival’s hard left background came as Mr Albanese’s blitz continued at a Brisbane campaign event on Wednesday night – with the backing of former Labor MP and Right faction member Arch Bevis.

Another Right member and former Gillard backer Craig Emerson has also backed Mr Albanese as well as Greg Combet, Tanya Plibersek, Penny Wong and Doug Cameron.

Mr Shorten’s public endorsements have included former union boss Bill Kelty and former Labor ministers Richard Marles and Mark Dreyfus but right-wing unions are mobilising and it is understood more endorsements will be rolled out in coming days.? Read more »

Now that’s what you do when you win

Julie Bishop has wasted no time in wielding the axe and getting rid of Labor troughers. She certainly shows John Key how it should be done.

Former Victorian premier Steve Bracks has been sacked from his position as Australia’s consul-general in New York ? before he officially started in his new role ?? in a decision described as ”petty and vindictive” by Labor.

Fairfax Media understands that one of incoming foreign minister Julie Bishop’s first decisions in her new position was to sack Mr Bracks on Monday.

Mr Bracks concluded previous employment in preparation to take up his position, which was to start this month.

Julia Gillard is a big girl’s blouse

Julia Gillard and her supporters like Anne Summers are acting like big girl’s blouses:

I agree with Summers it is ”terrible” to call the Prime Minister a liar. However, when I asked her if she had expressed such a view when Howard was called a liar, she declined to answer the question. Summers also takes offence that, on occasions, Gillard is referred to as ”she” or ”her” and maintains that ”previous prime ministers were accorded the basic respect of being referred to by their last names”.

This is manifestly not so. Moreover, last Thursday Gillard used the words ”he” and ”he’s” in one sentence when referring to Abbott.

This is normal conversation.

It seems that Summers’s evident sensitivity has had an impact on Gillard. Last Tuesday, the Prime Minister complained that Abbott was ”now looking at his watch because, apparently, a woman has spoken for too long”. In the 1992 US presidential campaign, George H.W. Bush was criticised for looking at his watch when debating Bill Clinton. This is not a gender specific act. Nor is being told to shut up. Nor is being called a ”piece of work”. Last year I was called a ”piece of work” by the Sydney University academic Simon Chapman. It took me a full eight seconds to recover.

The problem with such over-readiness to take offence is that it can lead to setting impossible standards. Last Tuesday, Gillard stated Liberal parliamentary members who were present when Alan Jones made an offensive comment about her late father should have either left the room or walked up to Jones ”and said this was not acceptable”. Yet neither Wayne Swan nor Tanya Plibersek took either course of action last Wednesday when a comedian at a trade union function they attended made an indefensible reference to a senior female Coalition staffer.

A Labour Party where women don’t have to look ugly

JULIA GILLARD has hailed the promotion of three women in her ministry reshuffle as a sign that her government is in tune with the challenges facing working women

Nicola Roxon, a mother of one, has become the nation’s first female Attorney-General. She has been replaced as Health Minster by?Tanya Plibersek, a mother of three. The newest minister, Julie Collins, has three children. All the women are in their 40s.

”Nicola, Tanya and Julie understand from personal experience many of the challenges Australian women face as they seek to build a career whilst having a family,” said Ms Gillard, the nation’s first female prime minister.

No hard bitten class warriors or witches here. Labor women in Australia show that making an effort to look half decent isn’t career limiting and probably wins votes. Labour here need to get rid of the horrible old trots that are costing them votes and start selecting women who aren’t afraid to be feminine.

Mothers of New Babies have a place in parliament

And as ministers, in Australia at least. The new health minister,?Tanya Plibersek had a baby while a minister.

Following the?2010 federal election?where Labor retained government with the support of the?Australian Greens?and?independents, parliamentary numbers were finely balanced. Plibersek was granted a ‘pair’ by the Coalition so that her absence from the House of Representatives while on maternity leave did not affect the result of votes. She gave birth to a son on 1 October 2010.

The National Party need to work out how to stop all the oldies in selection telling women they should be home with their kids not running for parliament.