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Posts Tagged ‘Julia Gillard’

Would a reporter consider starting a comment on any other Government portfolio – or any other Minister – this way?

JULIA Gillard is one of only two education ministers in the nation without children, and she is the only one speaking out for parents.

Perhaps Greg Sheridan should have done the same in his column today:

Joel Fitzgibbon has never flown a fighter jet, but he is standing by our Top Guns.

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Three more pieces of dung from the News.com.au stable to add to Milne’s disgusting smear piece (by which I mean today’s one, not the earlier efforts such as Strippergate):

  1. Irony ahoy! On the same day that he publishes the smear on Gillard, the Poison Dwarf claims that Labor is about to “get personal” with Howard. Except that, in this case, getting personal means pointing out his public announcement that he will retire.
  2. Andrew Bolt helps to turn Milne’s piece into a claim that Labor is launching a smear campaign against Howard, and somehow manages to draw solace that perhaps this suggests all the polls are wrong.
  3. A separate News Limited article from Milne’s piece reports Gillard’s denial of any wrongdoing. It also manages to take her comments that “I was young and naive. I was in a relationship which I ended and obviously it was all very distressing.” and attach them to a melodramatic headline (“Julia Gillard: Conman broke my heart”) and a lead-in to the quotes that says “JULIA Gillard has revealed she fell in love with a former union official and fraudster who broke her heart and threatened to destroy her political career.” A nice job of overdramatisation and of playing on gender stereotypes.

The silly season really is getting underway now.

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It seems that Glenn Milne is running dirt for Team Howard again. The latest smear campaign regards a “former lover” of Julia Gillard (and a union secretary to boot!) who apparently exploited his role in the AWU to fraudulently obtain a considerable amount of money from construction bosses. His story has everything:

  • “standover tactics”, to remind the reader that union bosses will use their power to rob employers;
  • the failure to reclaim the money due to “factional disputes”, to remind the reader that a Cabinet made up of 70% union officials won’t show the solidarity of spirit evident in Team Howard’s crew of cowardly lickspittles; and
  • the fact that the person responsible for the wrongdoing was “Gillard’s ex” and that some of the misappropriated funds apparently were used in the purchase of a property that was handled by her law firm, to remind the reader that Julia Gillard is an evil thief (and don’t forget, Kevin Rudd is gay, too!)

Oh, it also has a retraction:

Early editions of the Sunday Telegraph contained an allegation that Ms Gillard had incorporated funds used by Mr Wilson.

The Sunday Telegraph acknowledges that this allegation is entirely untrue. This error was made by The Sunday Telegraph.

Those two paragraphs at the bottom of the online story (and perhaps in later print editions?) should make up for the headline, the false allegations, and the tenuous link between an individual committing wrongdoing and both the union movement and the Labor Party. Keep up the good work, Mr Dwarf – you’re bound to be rewarded by your masters (assuming they win re-election).

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Big Gun vs Red Julia

The IR czars are holding their National Press Club debate today – 12:30pm EDST on ABC (no indication in my TV guide of Nine/worm coverage). I’ll be in a cave, during that time, so I’ll have to catch up on it later.

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The good news: Joe Hockey and Julia Gillard are having a debate.

The bad news: It’s on Sunrise this morning. Based on last week’s Turnbull vs Garrett match-up, it won’t exactly break new ground or provide real debate, but it’s (hopefully) better than nothing.

UPDATE: Joe promised to resign as a Minister if there are any substantial changes to WorkChoices. I guess it’s easier to make a promise like that if you don’t think you’ll end up in Government and you’re busy enough trying to hold onto your seat, but he’s putting a lot of faith in his Captain.

UPDATE #2: Sunrise has a page up about the debate now, although no sign of a transcript yet. Elsewhere, Tim Dunlop points out that, according to Joe himself, the fairness test was not a change to the fundamentals of WorkChoices, which tells us how much today’s promise is worth.

UPDATE #3: The above Sunrise link now has the transcript.

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Two political segments with Red Kerry tonight:

The round-up of the campaign travels of the major parties was more of the same. Good to see Gillard make an appearance. Tip is up to his usual tricks, but I think Rudd needs to at least adjust the “here comes the negative” message a bit – the counter-ad was quite good, but repetitiveness is Rudd’s biggest liability in some ways. Howard certainly still looks grumpy, though – the “grow up” message seemed close to a tantrum.

I thought Bob Brown was really solid tonight. Kerry seemed to want him to say that he and the Greens would be obstructionist, extremist roadblocks in the Senate, but Bob put across a clear and coherent position. Given that Rudd’s “economic conservatism” and hands-on approach to controlling the party message moves them so far into the centre, combined with the growing role of climate change in the public debate, it seems to me that there’s an opportunity for the Greens to win over some centre-Left voters. It’s also great to see a third-party candidate getting a fair shake at exposure early in the campaign. And I now want Kevin to say no to the debate – let’s have some genuine disagreement across the policy spectrum.

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Now that the mid-year economic review data has been released, Labor has an up-to-date price tag of the taxpayer-funded propaganda campaigns. Julia Gillard has jumped on the WorkChoices advertising figures ($121 million in total; $66 million since the fairness test):

“$4 million a week each week of this financial year to try and convince Australians who know WorkChoices is bad that it’s good for them,” she said.

“Well they’re not going to be convinced and they’ll be thinking to themselves, what difference could that money have made to my local hospital or my local school?”

Naturally, Big Gun Joe has trotted out the standard talking points in response:

“Kevin Rudd and the union bosses who control over 70 per cent of his frontbench have spent millions of dollars on a massive scare campaign designed to confuse and misinform working families,” he said.

“Therefore we make no apologies for properly informing working Australians about the protections that exist under the workplace relations system.”

I thought Kevin Rudd only spent millions of dollars on beach-houses? Joe not only fails to distinguish between unions funding advertising as opposed to Labor funding it, but he also fails to recognise that he has been spending taxpayers’ money to achieve his political ends. Furthermore, it was that “scare campaign” that prompted the Government to introduce the fairness test – because the facts of the original system were so scary that they had to try to make it seem more palatable. Why, the Big Gun himself admitted that the original system was wrong. So, even if we accept for the moment that the fairness test has fixed things, doesn’t the responsibility for the $66 million of follow-up advertising lie with the Government who got the laws wrong in the first place?

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Rudd and Gillard made a start on bringing WorkChoices into the campaign. It’s been overshadowed by the tax cuts, but was a decent start. However, if I may answer one of Kevin Rudd’s questions (perhaps not in the same way JWH would):

“What is to stop Mr Howard in the future from enforcing WorkChoices on nurses, on police, on emergency service personnel such as ambulance workers and fire fighters, what’s to stop Mr Howard from doing it?” he said.

A Senate without a majority.

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Shrek not think good

Joe Hockey doesn’t like the results of a new study on WorkChoices. His criticisms?

But Federal Workplace Relations Minister Joe Hockey says the data was compiled before the introduction of the fairness test in May.

He has also questioned the credibility of the study:

“This is the 12th academic report commissioned by State Labor Governments,” he said.

“In this case, [a report] commissioned from an ex-union official who happens to be an academic, that claims on the basis of flawed data that somehow, overwhelmingly, all Australians are worse off.”

Hey, at least these researchers can find results that fit with their alleged biases – as opposed to internal Liberal Party polling. And I like the way the data is flawed because it was based on flawed legislation. Fortunately, the fairness test has saved the universe – or at least, has meant that new data won’t be available in time to analyse before the election.

Joe has also been up to his old tricks regarding Julia Gillard. And he scored some brown-nose points with the boss by comparing Howard to Bradman. Bravo.

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Is this a turning point?

Well, Labor’s IR policy has some detail to it now. Matt Price thinks it will “do no harm” with the voters. But I’m going to join the chorus of disappointment in the left-leaning blogosphere (e.g., An Onymous Lefty; Larvatus Prodeo; The Road to Surfdom) about the final product that Labor has come up with.

Reinstating protections against unfair dismissal (with a generous probationary timeframe for employers) is a good thing (despite Honest John’s complaint that they are “dreaded” and will push up unemployment). Not bringing those on more than $100,000 under the award protections is perfectly reasonable to me, and the ten requirements to go with that are fine. Letting existing AWAs run their course, I can understand. But the part that I am genuinely disturbed by as a Labor policy platform is the complete abandonment of rights and protections for union activity and industrial action. A party that was built on assuring the rights of workers has simply stepped out of the way and is saying that all of the restrictions placed on unions and workers by the Howard Government, the most effective anti-union and anti-employee government Australia has seen, can stand.

Apart from the fact that I have very quickly taken a dislike to the substance of the policy, I don’t see its political value either. I can only think that Rudd is attempting to cater to business concerns and neutralize the “Rudd is for unions” rhetoric. And I guess he figures that preferences will come to Labor from the left no matter how much he is rubbing up against Howard on his right. But I just don’t see him bringing in votes from the business side of things, even with this shift. People who have concerns about Labor’s IR stance are either going to come across because they are fed up with Howard, or they are going to stay there for fear that the union goon squad from that ad are going to show up and trash their flower shop.

At some point, a party has a responsibility to stand true to its core principles. In this case, Labor has not done it. And at the very least, that has me thinking that my vote may be going elsewhere – sure, it will probably end up going back to them on preferences, but a lower than expected primary vote might be something of a message. And although my intention was always to support minor parties in the Senate, and Senator Andrew Bartlett uses Labor’s announcement to articulate the case for why everyone should do the same.

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