Archive for October, 2007

Rock on!

Couldn’t have happened to a nicer Mad Monk – make sure you watch the ‘Tony Abbott caught swearing at Nicola Roxon’ video if you missed 7.5. More coverage here and here.

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Here’s one for the books

A media article dedicated to discussing the nature of political polling. To some extent it ends up being two pollsters comparing the size of their penises, but it’s still interesting to see some discussion of margins of error and acknowledgement that not every “movement” in the polls is meaningful.

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Good Grief

They’re at it again – or, in the case of Shanahan and the Editor-at-Large, they’re still at it. Both are continuing to tell their readers about Labor’s backflip on international greenhouse gas emission targets. Paul Kelly at least has the decency to point out some of Howard’s flaws and mistakes in this area. But Dennis Shanahan is all about Labor’s faulty policy and the “me too” charge that arises from Rudd having to modify Garrett’s original statement. No mention in either column of the renewable energy targets Rudd set yesterday. They have just carried yesterday’s story through to a second day of Labor criticism for the hell of it.

Meanwhile, Janet Albrechtsen finds a new menace lurking in the Labor Party – “lady lawyers” who will want to contaminate the justice system for the years (or decades) to come by appointing activist judges. What has anyone in federal Labor said or done to suggest this is a key priority? Nothing. What might this “activist judiciary” do? Focus on things like human rights. But the pinnacle of Janet’s argument is when she points to the upcoming retirement of Justice Michael Kirby as an opportunity to create an activist judiciary – the same Justice Kirby Janet has targeted in earlier columns for his own “activism”. So Labor might get to swap one progressive judge for another? That should make a huge difference.

It seems that the GG has taken it upon itself to ensure that we know all of Labor’s faults – both real and imagined.

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Tim Dunlop finds the perfect headline.

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In his own words:

“As a Christian, I do not agree with the idea of homosexuality. That’s the reality. I can’t put it any other way,” Mr Curtis told The Sunday Age yesterday.

“I certainly could never change my views that homosexuality is a perversion, because it is a perversion.”

Buuuuut …:

Mr Curtis said he was not worried about offending anyone, and stressed that he was happy to represent homosexuals in Parliament. “I’d offer myself as a genuine grassroots candidate who would be delighted to represent them and who would have no favouritism or negative approach to any individual based on their lifestyle. I would love to represent them, I would love to represent anybody,” he said.

So, he’s not exactly a “conviction politician” in the model of John Howard then? Jeremy condemns this type of claim to broad representation, and rightly so. It is absurd for a politician to claim that he can “represent” the views and needs of a group of people he regards as perverted. I can only think that he means that he will push for the introduction of Government-funded education about the “gay lifestyle”, to discourage young people and try to encourage homosexuals to quit.

The robustness of this man’s knowledge and reasoning skills can be seen in his position on evolution as science:

He said that, if elected, he would be urging the Liberal Party to introduce intelligent design to state school science classes. Intelligent design is an assertion that certain features of the universe and living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, and not by natural selection.

“I would be very much in favour of intelligent design being taught in public schools,” Mr Curtis said. “Just as the theory of evolution is taught as well — in my view regrettably taught in science classes, because I think it’s a theory and not a science.”

So, teach intelligent design in science classes, but remove evolution because it’s a “theory”. Apparently, where the predominant philosophies of science regard theory as being central to the acquisition of knowledge about the world, Curtis thinks theory has no role in science. Is there anything about which this man actually has accurate knowledge?

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Treasurers’ debate liveblog

Swan wins the toss and will kick off. Costello to run with the wind.

Swan opening: Australia needs a plan. Ours is about investing in our people. We’ll follow strict rules for fiscal restraint. You can’t fix jack without a strong economy. Prosperity has come from reforms and helped by the mining boom. We have a unique opportunity that we can’t afford to miss. This golden opportunity is being squandered – inaction in hospitals, schools and infrastructure. Capacity constraints driving inflation and interest rate rises. Skills crisis – RBA has warned us. The solution is to invest in education and training – Team Howard has let this slip for 11 long years. Revolution!

If we’re not going to make this investment now, when the bloody hell will we?

Road, rail, ports, broadband.

Industrial relations – fair and balanced; enterprise bargaining at the core; wage outcomes linked to productivity gains, containing inflation.

Team Howard don’t understand what it’s like for ordinary Australians.

I’ve argued the case for putting more incentive into the tax system – three times here at the NPC (this should help to defuse the “Labor has opposed everything” argument from Tip).

Climate change – we’ll tackle it. Team Howard has shown colossal neglect and ignorance.

Costello opening: Australia is great; we can be better. We can look after those who are outside the workforce (viva la welfare state!) Play our part on climate change without harming Australians. Three Rs! Technical skills! World-class universities! Invest in hospitals and cure diseases! (Psst: you might have got started on all of that in the last 11 years)
The next 40 years will be something special (intergenerational changing). We need to keep the economy strong.

When we came into government, everything sucked – interest rates, unemployment, budget deficit. Boy, we’ve done well. Paid off the debt; unlocked this money to spend on services.

I have a dream! Wait, no – I have a plan!

My dream plan has percentages in it!

Policy announcements – technical training (apprenticeships are up), helping small business – $168m in small businesses for training vouchers.

Let’s get the job done. (more…)

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The GG are going all out to discredit Peter Garrett and tag Kevin Rudd for another backflip relating to Labor’s position on Kyoto. Says the Editor-at-Large:

Welcome to Labor’s climate change policy chaos. While John Howard can be attacked for not ratifying Kyoto, he does more importantly have a post-2012 policy that is sensible and his minister, Malcolm Turnbull, does know what it is.

Except, of course, that Turnbull apparently doesn’t agree with the pre-2012 policy. Kelly also writes off Kyoto as a failure (if so, which is questionable to say the least, the US and Australia have helped to make that so), asserts that Australia is leading an “umbrella group” of industrialised nations (leading toward “aspirational targets”, and leading from the rear), and suggests that Garrett’s position threw away any coherent negotiating position, but that Rudd’s reframed position is a “me too” of Howard on climate change.

Shanahan (with Patricia Karvelas) gets into the act as well:

China’s President Hu Jintao and US President George W. Bush both agreed to the Sydney declaration on greenhouse gas emissions. Mr Garrett’s concession on not seeking binding targets on developing countries would allow China to back away from the Sydney declaration and avoid binding targets from the UN process on climate change beginning in Bali in December.

Except that the Sydney declaration did not commit anyone to binding targets anyway.

Labor certainly hasn’t been handling climate change well and Garrett is not putting in a flawless performance, but the GG’s assertion that Team Howard has a coherent and world-leading position that will inevitably bring us toward binding emission targets for all is nonsense. If you’re going to smack a party for internal contradictions and flawed policy positions, have the decency to apply the same approach to all parties.

There’s more discussion on this going on at Larvatus Prodeo, where the consensus appears to be that this is, and should be treated as, a minor issue rather than a major gaffe.

Meanwhile, Mark Vaile has made his own contribution of climate change skepticism, demonstrating just what leadership the Coalition can be expected to provide on this issue.

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A sordid little soap opera is going on between Glenn Greenwald, the personal spokesman for General David Petraeus and (possibly) a skilled computer hacker who has managed to create perfect forgeries of US military e-mails. The latest installment of the saga begins here and then continues here. The uniformly stunning intellect of the Rightist blogosphere in investigatified journamalism is also on display here.

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Public sector managers


The federal Department of Employment and Workplace Relations today faces the prospect of being fined by a court for breaching federal industrial law.

Justice Catherine Branson found the department issued prohibited advice leading to Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) members being refused leave on the day of an anti-WorkChoices Rally.

She was critical of public sector managers who were obliged to be impartial.

CPSU secretary Stephen Jones hopes to see the Workplace Relations Department penalised.

“When the employer is the Government and the very agency which is responsible for upholding and managing the Workplace Relations Act that is doubly inappropriate,” he said.

Bloody activist judges, imposing the requirements of the law on Joe Hockey’s department.

UPDATE: It’s a $30,000 fine for the Government, to be paid to the CPSU.

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Debate reminder

Smirk vs Trade Union Member.

12:30pm (EDST) on ABC.

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