Sunday, November 28, 2004
Monday, November 22, 2004
The Ando Zone: Episode 10
No charges will be laid in relation to claims Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson attempted to bribe an independent MP, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) said today.
Ando wins. Coincidentally this is the first time News Ltd has run this story as a header (wow, didn't see that one coming).
Apparently the evidence "does not sustain a charge." Bah. So either Ando has been innocent all along (which I really can't believe), or he covered his tracks too well. I suppose we'll never really know for sure.
The Ando Zone: Episode 9
So you think the Nationals couldn't possibly be fool enough to blunder into a bit of ham-fisted jiggery-pokery to regain a prize bush seat they'd held for 80 years until the stolid Mr Independent came along and took it from them two elections ago? Don't be so wet. Do you really think Tony Windsor, after 13 years of a political career in a country town sustained only by local trust and confidence in his honesty and integrity and not by party political clout or organisation, would throw it away on a wild story with no basis whatever? Think about it. And think about the real issue here: the National Party itself and its gradual slide into political oblivion.
...Says Alan Ramsey, in an opinion piece inside the SMH, which is seriously lacking in commas.
This Ando saga has more twists than an M Night Shyamalan movie. Granted, his movies usually have only one big twist, but anyway, you get my point.
Maguire did his statement on Friday, and came out saying that no, Ando and friends never asked him to offer Windsor a bribe to quit politics. Yes, there was a meeting with Ando, says Maguire, but it was over funding for a National Equine and Livestock Centre. WebDiary talks about it more.
The Nationals immediately started calling for Windsor to resign, and Ando/Howard are demanding an apology. Before the investigation has even finished.
Latho wants the police to finish their investigation before anyone goes calling for anyone to resign, and also mentioned that Ando was apparently against funding the Livestock Centre, but was all for funding once Windsor was off the board.
And now the Greens are looking for cross-bench support for a parliamentary inquiry for investigations of impropriety with regards to the funding of the centre. But will they get one, considering the state of the Senate now?
The latest news now, appearing in the Herald Sun:
THE Australian Federal Police are believed to be sitting on explosive testimony backing claims that independent MP Tony Windsor was offered a bribe to vacate his parliamentary seat.
This just gets more and more interesting!
"It's a predictable pattern. Pulling all the ministers out now, to squash the little ant.That seems to me that they are taking it very very seriously. If this was a minor skirmish between Windsor and Anderson, having a bit of a biff over the sidelines, the PM would say let the boys have their go."- Tony Windsor, on the calls for him to resign
The story continues...
Sunday, November 21, 2004
Okay, I shall write about the night in excruciatingly boring detail, as is the case when I go out somewhere.
We open on me scamming a lift to the station from my brother. I get there, buy a ticket ($9.80), then sit down at Blaxland Station and wait for the train to arrive. A girl comes up to me and says hi. I ignore her. She says hi again. I look up, and she looks very familiar.
"Do you know who I am?"
"Yes! I thought I knew you!"
Alex was my next-door neighbour for most of high school. She was a great person, but ended up going the drug-fucked teen route. Which sucked. She's an absolute stunner now. Anyway, quick chat and then the train arrived (7:11, more or less on time). And then it occurred to me that I had absolutely no idea where The Clock actually was. I'd looked it up on the net before I left, but had wandered off before the page loaded. I sent an SMS to Jess, but got no reply because she's an evil demon-lady spawned from hell who hates me. That and Vodafone were jerking her around. But mainly the first thing.
Anyway, grabbed a seat away from screaming kids, and sort of dozed in and out of consciousness for most of the trip. Ticket inspector appeared around Emu Plains; Darp rang soon after that with directions to get to the Clock. I noticed it had started raining, then fell asleep.
At around 8:40, the train pulled into Central. I was starving. And also needed to take a monster slash. Found the toilet, drained my lizard, then went on over to HJ's for some quality* food. Whopper value meal. Ate 3/4, felt like spewing, forced myself to eat the rest.
And then it was off to find Devonshire St! The main area outside Hungry Jack's had a map of Central, and I found Devonshire off to the side; if I followed Eddy Ave then Elizabeth St. Out I went, into the pouring rain, and started walking in what I hoped was the right direction. A few minutes later I was unsure, so I asked a few people who either just shook their heads and ran off, or said they didn't know. Finally a CityRail guy pointed me the right way, and within a few minutes I was trekking up Devonshire St in the pissing rain. This took a while, and I was starting to worry that I'd missed the intersection for Crown St, but kept on walking. And then I arrived on it! Took a left and at long last found the Clock down the street a few hundred metres.
By now I was drenched. I went into the hotel and wandered around. Couldn't remember if Darp said everyone was upstairs or downstairs. I didn't want to appear completely lost so I took a quick stroll around, and found nobody. I SMSed Darp again, then my stomach wanted to evict some HJ's. Walked off to the upstairs dunnies, and proceeded to drop a fat one. Darp rang whilst I was preoccupied with this task. Apparently we were all downstairs near the entrance, meaning I'd walked right past everyone when I went in. Oops.
In I go to the crowd, looking somewhat petrified/lost. Darp spotted me, did the big intro to everyone, then we all got started with some mutual sucking-up. Quite a lot of it actually. Met Jess, Flashman, Fulmination Dave, Weezil, and Agent Fare Evader. Chatty chatty chat chat, then I started getting nervous, freaked out, and sat outside for a while.
I'm just really bad at the whole pub socialising thing. It just isn't something I'm totally comfortable with. Apologies if I came across as rude to anyone or anything like that, it's just that I suck.
Anyway, I went back in, wandered around packing my dacks, then a thought occurred to me that chewing gum would solve all my problems. I don't know why. It just appeared in my head. I headed out to go and find a convenience store, but Suki stopped me to say hi first. We stood outside and talked a bit.
She is awesome. Reminds me of an aunty of mine, in both looks and personality. Anyway, we talked for a bit and she said many nice things about me, then went back inside while I started my Quest For Spearmint Extra.
Basically it involved walking in a straight line for about a kilometre, buying gum, then walking back. Mission accomplished! I started chewing and felt amazingly confident. Then I went back in the Clock and felt just as nervous as before, but with a fresh minty (no, not twat) taste in my mouth.
"Well, that was a complete waste of time, you utter pussy," said a voice in my head.
"I concur, old chap," said another.
"Why not just grow some fucking testicles and talk to people? They know each other about as well as you do," said voice number one.
"Fine, if it'll make you shut the hell up," said me, in my head. This is making me sound like a crazy person, isn't it?
Wandered around a bit more, and said goodbye to Jess, as she was leaving. Then I ended up talking to Darp, Flashman, Pissed Guy In Green Shirt Whose Name I Can't Remember, and some chick whose name I didn't manage to catch at all. It was very noisy.
Following that, I went over to Suki and checked out her camera, which was quite cool. Met... TimT and another guy called Tim (gah, sorry, can't remember your address), who was proudly holding a printout of his blog traffic. And we were all suitably impressed. Oh God, we're pathetic.
I then got carried away watching the boxing, these two guys staggering around trying to punch each other out. Just wondering who'd collapse first. But neither did while I was watching! Amazing.
Wandered over and said hi to... THE FLUTE! He is so cool. Would've liked to have talked to him more, without doof blaring over the top of his voice. Ahh well, next time!
It was starting to get close to midnight at around this time, and I really had to get going, before my stagecoach turned into a pumpkin (last train out of Sydney's almost gone - at 12:11 (on my line anyway)). Darp & Co were also walking back to Central, so I went along with them. That made a party of Darp, Flashman, Fulmination Dave, Agent Fare Evader, a girl who I later learned was called Giselle (that your girlfriend, Darp? Quite the looker!), and yours truly. We went back the same way I came, but with the difference of light drizzle instead of bastard rain.
I didn't say much on the way back; it was more interesting listening to everyone else speak. Eventually we reached the stairs at Central and parted ways. I picked a corridor at random and hoped it lead to the magical Platform 4... and wound up there! Woo! Bought a lemon/lime/orange 600mL Deep Spring, got on the train, sculled it, then went back to a half-asleep state.
At around 1:40, the train pulled into Blaxland, in pissing down rain. Due to me being too paranoid about leaving my car at the station, I was looking forward to a nice wet half hour walk home. But my parents, on their way home from a party of their own, called and offered a lift. I love them.
Got home, had a shower, wrote a heap of keywords to help me remember what happened last night, and crashed, only to wake up at 8 and go to fucking work. Ugh.
Now I shall sleep for what is hopefully a ridiculously long amount of time. Tomorrow can be Ando Day. I'm declaring it a national holiday. But as it's a Sunday, you can all have Monday off.
* this is debatable.
Friday, November 19, 2004
Thursday, November 18, 2004
The Ando Zone: Episode 8
You know, it was just the other week I felt disappointed that I didn't get to use this graphic enough, as Ando didn't appear in the news nearly as much as I'd like him to. But now I'm having an Ando overload! Everywhere I look, I can't not see the Great One making a goose of himself! Maybe Sky News Active could devote a screen to Ando, like what they did with Howard and Latham during the election.
I would like to go on the record as saying I believe Windsor. Whilst tracking Ando the last few months it has become apparent to me that he really would be stupid enough to try and set something like this up. I also feel that Windsor doesn't have anything to gain by saying this, he only wants to do the right thing, otherwise he would've flat-out named Ando during the election.
The Road To Surfdom has an interesting analysis of Ando's statement in regards to the allegations.
The attention is now turning to Greg Maguire, the local Tamworth hotel owner who was sent to Windsor to ask him to stand down. Maguire agreed with Windsor that it was an absurd proposition, but just said that he was only the messenger (Windsor has given him his support (and at News Ltd too)). He is due to give his statement tomorrow, so this'll all get even crazier. Which side will he take? Has either side bought him off? Will a gigantic muckraking campaign kick off?
The mayor of Tamworth reckons this entire thing has been blown out of proportion, and that Maguire just said to Windsor that he was crap and should take a job overseas.
Windsor's campaign secretary, Helen Tickle has given a statement to the police, but won't discuss it with anyone.
I will change my predictions of a Bolt/Akerman puff-piece on Ando to a Bolt/Akerman character assasination on Windsor/Maguire based on what HackWatch said. It is much more their MO.
WebDiary is keeping track of everything going on in Question Time and elsewhere, and makes for an interesting read. Labor have been giving Ando a hammering over it.
The Age and News Ltd have further analysis on everything.
" ... I can simply say to you ... I fully support John Anderson, I believe him, he's a very honest person. I retain full confidence in John Anderson, and I haven't met a more honest, faithful person in public life. That's my view of the man. And I've certainly always found Senator Macdonald, the other person involved, to be very straight forward and honest."
But how much is the testimonial of a repeatedly proven liar worth?
Sell Me Out
God I wish I had more time to rant about stuff. But anyway, in case you missed it, the FTA went through today. It comes into effect on January the 1st.
Canberra estimates the free trade agreement will boost the Australian economy by billions of dollars a year and create up to 30,000 jobs.
That's right, now it'll be even easier to become a Maccas employee!
Some changes to copyright law were added at the last minute to allow easier buttfucking by record companies and whatnot. So, as Howard says, today is an historic day in Australia's history. A "once in a generation" opportunity to link itself to the US economy (you know, like what Botswana and Guatemala have done). You know, the one Bush has driven into the ground. I can imagine how it'll be seen in 20 years time.
Thursday the 18th of November, 2004: The day the government sold off something bigger than Telstra - the country.
The Ando Zone: Episode 7
The shit hath hitteth the faneth, as that guy from Ten Things I Hate About You would say.
A while ago I wrote that all news about Tony Windsor had dried up after September the 28th. You may remember our beloved Ando called Windsor a "coward" for going to the police over these bribery allegations, and also that he basically admitted to doing it.
"Who in the National Party, apart from me in consultation with the PM and foreign minister, could have offered somebody a diplomatic posting? It could only have been me."- Ando
Wow! And it looks like it was too! If Windsor just wanted to take Ando down, why not name names before the election was over?
The Daily Telegraph is incorrectly reporting that Windsor named the Nationals during the campaign.
Mr Windsor, who holds the electorate of New England with a huge majority, rocked the election campaign with allegations that the offer was made on behalf of the National Party.
At the time, he said an intermediary of the party had promised him a diplomatic post in exchange for him giving up the seat he has held since 2001.
If I remember right, Windsor refused to name any names or parties unless the police asked him to (and didn't give any names during the campaign at all), although everyone speculated it was the Nats.
Here's what Windsor said tonight (this is his full parliament speech):
Windsor's Parliament Speech
"Mr Speaker, the House would be aware that the Australian Federal Police have referred an alleged breach of the Commonwealth Electoral Act to the DPP for determination relating to an inducement offered to me not to stand for re-election at the election just held.
"The House would also know that the prime minister has called on me to name the names of those people involved in the attempt to bribe me.
"I would like to place on record, Mr Speaker, an account of a meeting that took place on the 19th of May 2004 at 10.30am at the office of Tamworth businessman, Mr Greg Maguire, in the Powerhouse Motorcycle Museum.
"The meeting was attended by Mr Maguire, Mr Stephen Hall, my campaign co-chairman, Miss Helen Tickle, my campaign secretary, and myself.
"I have had many meetings with Mr Maguire in the past relating to the development of the Australian Equine and Livestock Centre and Mr Maguire has also assisted with advice during previous election campaigns.
"It was assumed that the meeting was to be about the upcoming election and progress that Mr Maguire had made in relation to the equine centre concept on planning which was being developed for federal funding.
"Prior to that issue being raised, Mr Maguire indicated that he had spent four to five hours the night before in the company of the Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson and the National party Senator Sandy Macdonald and a black haired woman whose name he did not recall.
"Mr Anderson asked Mr Maguire to meet with me and give me some messages.
"Mr Maguire made a number of points regarding the previous night's meeting.
"John Anderson was paranoid about me and the demise of the Nationals and the rise of independents.
"Mr Anderson asked Mr Maguire to meet with me and give me some messages which Mr Maguire was then doing.
"Mr Anderson said that if I tried to get any credit from the funding from the Australian Equine and Livestock Centre that the funding would not take place.
"Mr Anderson was also concerned about my continued association with the Australian Equine and Livestock Centre, given my political position.
"Mr Anderson and Senator Macdonald asked Mr Maguire what it would take to get me not stand for re-election and indicated that there could be another career for me outside politics such as a diplomatic post or trade appointment if I didn't stand for the seat of New England.
"Senator Macdonald said: `offer him whatever it takes, we can deliver'.
"One of them also said, and I quote, `the government makes about 500 political appointments, it can be done'.
"Senator Macdonald also said: `Windsor has a pension, why does he want to hang around anyway, apparently referring to my 10 years in the state parliament.
"My response to Mr Maguire was: `Greg', and I know Greg Maguire quite well, `Greg, you should know, I'm - and there was an expletive put in here - I'm offended by that and you should know full well that I would not consider any such appointment'.
"Mr Maguire replied: `I know mate, I've just been asked to deliver the message'.
"My response was: `I cannot understand these guys and the lengths they will go to to get rid of me and to think that I would even consider such an offer'.
"I apologised to Miss Tickle for my swearing.
"My further comment to Mr Maguire was: `I believe - and I still do believe this - I believe this is an act of stupidity and desperation to regain the seat, tell Anderson and Macdonald I'm not interested'.
"Mr Maguire responded: `I still want you to get in touch with Anderson; Anderson is saying you won't talk to him' to which I agreed.
"And the conversation took place in this very spot a couple of weeks later.
"I believe that Mr Maguire was acting only as a messenger for John Anderson and Sandy Macdonald.
"The matter became public knowledge as result of discussions I had with Tony Vermeer from the Sunday Telegraph relating to my role in a hung parliament.
"The matter was subsequently mentioned in an article by this journalist in the Sunday Telegraph 19 September, 2004.
"I would like to point out, Mr Speaker, Mr Maguire is a very well regarded businessman in Tamworth, has been the prime mover in promoting the concept of the Australian Equine and Livestock Centre and I congratulate him on his success."
...And then he was out of time to speak. Ando made his response in the form of a parliamentary statement:
"I completely repudiate the member for New England's allegations of improper inducements offered indirectly by Senator Macdonald and me earlier this year.
"I'd make the first point that there was no meeting on the 18th of May - I was in Queensland, Bundaberg, on the evening of the 18th.
"I have on three or four occasions met Mr Maguire. In total, I doubt that I've spent four or five hours with him. But I want to make it very plain that at those meetings neither I, nor the one in which Senator Macdonald was present, gave him any indication or authorisation to suggest to the member for New England ... that he might be offered some inducement in return for not running for the seat of New England.
"I cannot know what representations Mr Maguire might have made at the meeting that apparently took place on the 19th of May.
"But I can know that he had no authority whatsoever - implied, nuanced or whatever - from me or from Senator Macdonald to stand aside in return for some inducement.
"I understand that the police have interviewed a number of people in regard to this matter. They have not interviewed the member of my staff who was in attendance at the meeting that Senator Macdonald and I had with Mr Maguire. They have not interviewed Senator Macdonald and they have not interviewed me.
"But the matter is of course for them to take forward if they believe that there is a case that has to be answered by anyone.
"My position is quite simple on this one. I repudiate completely the claims. I do not engage in corrupt behaviour. So far as I am aware, at all times I have maintained what I believe to be both the law and the spirit of the law in relation to Australia's electoral matters.
"I think that matters. I think it's important. I think people who know me know that I think those things are important.
"And I said during the campaign that I would not do it, I haven't done it, and I would certainly not authorise anyone else to make those sorts of offers on my part.
"I said that during the campaign, I repeat it now. That is, so far as I am concerned, all that I intend saying on the matter."
WebDiary adds this interesting little bit:
Late tonight Mr Anderson produced his itinerary and flight details covering the 18th of May, 2004, when Mr Windsor alleged Mr McGuire met him. They confirmed that he was in Bundaberg, Queensland on the 18th, before flying to Gunnedah that night. It appears Mr Anderson met with Mr McGuire on May 15, 2004.
Now I'll post a comment by someone who will remain anonymous unless they want me to tag their name on it (you know who you are):
Mark my words, Anderson is in shit. He's denied it, naturally, but the facts are stacking, Ando. Tick tock. I'll be VERY surprised if a by-election in Gwydir isn't announced before the end of the year.
But this also holds other connotations. See, if there's a by-election Anderson will more than likely lose his seat. Gwydir will probably fall to Labor.
But more critically is Macdonald. A COALITION SENATOR.
For those who came in late, the Coalition holds the senate with an absolute majority of thirty-nine. Labor has twenty-eight, the Greens and the Democrats four each and Family First has one.
But if a Coalition senator is forcebly removed, if he isn't replaced with another Coalition member, then the Coalition will lose their absolute majority. They'll simply hold half of it. Let's assume Labor wins, now holding twenty-nine seats. The Greens and the Dems will back up Labor, bringing it up to thirty-seven.
Leaving just one to hold the balance of power.
And if this causes enough outrage, there could be a double dissolusion, probably less than a YEAR after the Federal election.
The Nationals will be punished for bribing an MP. They will lose seats. Some they hold by a mere thread, and the smallest jostle will send them falling into Labor's safe hands.
Ever the optimist, but that's one hell of an interesting thought. I highly doubt we'd get a double-dissolution, but the Nats losing a Senate seat? That's a very real possibility.
Latho has gotten stuck into Ando also.
For more stuff (although all the stories are highly similar due to the shortage of source material):
- Windsor says Anderson behind 'bribe bid' (SMH)
- MP accuses Anderson of offering bribe (The Age)
- Windsor names Anderson over 'bribe' (ABC)
- Anderson named over bribe (News Ltd)
- Anderson 'orchestrated' bribe bid (The Age)
- Andrew Bolt (or the currently invisible Piers Akerman) will write a suckup article (if the Herald Sun don't omit the news altogether) on how awesome Ando is and try to make it sound like bribes are good.
- This'll blow over in a month and Ando will get away with it, and still be deputy PM.
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
I'm sure you will have heard that the federal minister for Education, Science and Training has announced a review into the teaching of reading in Australian schools.
He has made statements about 'phonics' and 'holistic' methods of teaching. He has been critical of teachers and of teacher training.
Dr Nelson's statements seem to indicate that there is one right way to teach and that his inquiry will identify this. There are different approaches to the teaching of reading. In very simple terms, one approach teaches children to analyse sounds and decode words. This is called a 'phonics' approach. The 'holistic' approach emphasises the use of contextual cues and other information to derive meaning from printed material.
There are some academics who hold quite extreme views. At one end of the spectrum there are academics who argues that the only way to teach anyone to read is to break the language down into component sounds and teach students to 'decode' new words.
At the other end of the spectrum is a 'naturalistic' approach, where the proponents argue that students learn by 'absorbing' the ability to read if the environment is rich in words.
Another version of this question asks, "should we identify what bad readers can't do and fix it, or should we identify what good readers do and teach all children those skills?"
The debate about which is more effective has been going on for all of my teaching career. The debate tends to be between academics in universities. You rarely find teachers debating which one of the two methods is best. In fact, there is very clear evidence that both methods work for some children. There is no evidence that either method works for all children.
Teachers use whatever information they can get hold of, work out what their students need and use whatever methods will work.
Our teachers all use a combination of methods. The NSW syllabus incorporates aspects of both approaches. None of our students have failed to meet the National Benchmarks referred to by Dr Nelson.
I fear that Dr Nelson's agenda has little to do with children learning to read. I wonder if he will select a panel of 'experts' to conduct his inquiry who will find that there is only one way to teach. I wonder if only public schools will be examined.
Dr Nelson might need to know more about the teaching of reading. I doubt that he needs an inquiry, that will cost millions of dollars, to get the information. There is no shortage of excellent books and journals that can provide the information. All he has to do is read a few.
I'd rather see the money spent on providing resources for our most disadvantaged students. We don't need a political inquiry. We need government commitment to public education.
That's been pasted from a local primary school newsletter.
Monday, November 15, 2004
When you join the ALP, are you meant to get a letter or something saying "yes, you are now in the ALP"? I signed up after the election, they've hit up my Visa card (about three weeks ago), and I got a letter the other day inviting me out for a meet & greet, but haven't gotten anything saying "you're in," or when meetings are or anything.
WebDiary is being updated again at last. There's a tonne of new stuff there now.
You know when you have an idea for something to write, then get home and find out someone beat you to it? Sucks, hey.
How come Piers Akerman's bilefest has disappeared from the Daily Telegraph's site? He on holidays or what?
Now for briefness.
- Banks want the Libs to change laws so they can merge.
- David Hawker is the new Speaker for the House of Reps. Fair and balanced? News Ltd seem to think so. At least he's better than Bronwyn Bishop.
- Labor are opposed to selling off Telstra. Wow, who would've guessed? The ACCC and Telstra are also fighting yet again, this time over Telstra's abuse of their monopoly. And the Libs are unsure what to do over splitting Telstra up into wholesale and retail units, to stop monopoly abuse.
Cabinet are going to discuss abortion. Ugh. Get the fuck over it already.
"It appears that there is a group within the Liberal Party that is prepared to go beyond the conventional bounds of this kind of debate, beyond conscience votes and putting a personal view and seeking to impose their views on the coalition as its official policy."- Caucus spokeswoman quoting Latho
Rock on. The ALP is saying keep religion and politics the fuck away from each other.
Now I must sleep and stuff.
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Again With The Baby Killing + Other Stuff
Abbott Found To Be Talking Out Of Arse Once Again
...Well, at least it beats the silent treatment.
There are no reliable figures on the number of abortions being performed in Australia, the Federal Health Minister has conceded.
Tony Abbott has previously raised concerns about what he calls an "abortion epidemic", saying 100,000 pregnancies are being terminated a year.
Well done. Just... Oh, I don't know what to say to that. I want to be a politician so I can make up stories and statistics too.
Howard has stepped in and said there'd be no government-sponsored change to abortion laws. Which basically means there probably will be.
He [Howard] said it was always possible for an MP to bring forward a private member's bill, and if that happened the Coalition parties would allow a free vote.
Mr Howard said he rejected the "absurd proposition" of any trade-off between the Government toughening its attitude to abortion and Coalition MPs' support for other legislation, such as Telstra's sale.
He said if people wanted to bring forward a private member's bill, they would have to assess the views of people within the parties in Parliament.
"It's not an easy issue," he said. "I would encourage those who hold strong views on both sides of it to recognise the strength of feeling of those who support in its entirety the present arrangements - that it is ultimately a matter for a woman to decide.
"Equally I ask those who hold that view to respect the fact that people on the other side of the argument believe that they are dealing with issues relating to the termination of a life and that those views are held with equal strength".
The Prime Minister has sought to cool divisions in Coalition ranks over abortion, ruling out a Government change to the law - but saying he will not block a bid by individual MPs to introduce tougher legislation.
John Howard took the middle line yesterday amid speculation that some Liberal and National MPs could introduce a private members' bill, possibly seeking tighter laws on late-term abortions in the ACT and Northern Territory as a means of pressuring the states to change their laws.
That's the SMH, with more or less the same story as The Age. They're also running an interesting story on Australia's first abortion clinic.
In Other News, Grass Is Green
"Blue or white collar, tradesperson or professional, the most important factor was whether they had a mortgage," he [ALP National Secretary, Tim Gartrell] said. "Of the 15 seats with the highest proportion of mortgages, 11 had a higher than average swing against Labor. The sentiment was best summed up by a woman in a swinging voter focus group in the middle of the campaign, who said 'I like what Mark Latham and Labor are on about, I really want a change, but I'm scared about interest rates'.
He said a second, equally potent, perception which worked against Labor was Mr Latham's relative inexperience. Many swinging voters figured they could wait three years for John Howard to go and for Peter Costello to take over as Prime Minister, before voting for a more seasoned Latham.
OH WOW. IT TOOK A MONTH TO FIGURE THAT OUT (also here but broader)?!
United States Of Australia
Howard really seems hell-bent on emulating Bush/America at every turn...
- Blind patriotism (all schools must be flying the Australian flag or we'll won't give you funding!)
- Pandering to insane right-wing religious groups (Family First)
- Tax cuts for higher income earners (last budget)
- Fear campaigns during election time (Interest rates!)
- Erosion of privacy laws (incoming anti-terrorism bills)
- Making with the wars (Iraq)
- Buying your way into Uni (incoming changes to uni laws for $100,000+ full fee-paying degrees)
- Killing off healthcare (...but... safety net!)
- Bailing on Kyoto
...And now trying to garner an international reputation of being a nation of idiots.
Universities of the future may no longer conduct research after a push by the Federal Government to establish teaching-only tertiary institutions.
The federal Education Minister, Brendan Nelson, yesterday told the vice-chancellors of the nation's 38 publicly funded universities that he wanted to amend the national protocols under which universities were established to make it easier for a diverse range of universities to exist - a move that might mean no research would be conducted at new universities, especially those in rural and regional areas.
The change is also expected to pave the way for more private universities.
It's good to see we're looking to the future.
"To be a university you must undertake research - that is the distinguishing feature."- Carolyn Allport, President of the National Tertiary Education Union
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
There's two main things in my life I get obsessively passionate about. One is politics, the other is web browser technology. Don't ask. Anyway, Firefox 1.0 has just been released. Welcome to the dawn of a new Internet!
More Abortion Ramblings + Some Other Stuff
At the time of writing this, at least 14,272 ordinary people have been killed in Iraq either directly by or as a result of this ridiculous invasion. Fourteen thousand, two hundred and seventy two. That's about ten Blaxland High Schools full. These are people at home with their families. People out on their way to work. Kids at school. Hospital patients.
And why? Was it because there was no way it'd be possible for them to lead a decent life?
Oh, it was because the leader of a country on the other side of the planet didn't like the leader of their country. That makes it perfectly alright then.
Fourteen thousand, two hundred and seventy two. Dead. People who were etching out lives. They're dead. Possibly blown so heavily to pieces that there isn't enough to bury. I'm sure children laying to rest the decapitated heads and a few other body parts of their parents are entirely grateful for America bringing "democracy" to their country (and obviously it would totally reduce any acts of revenge in the future).
Killing 14,272 people to get to 1 is a worthwhile investment if you're a backwards right-winger.
Abortion, however... Totally wrong! Kill entire families in the name of "freedom" if you must, but terminating an unborn foetus incapable of conscious thought?! That's just unthinkable! You murderer!
The Howard government's continued attempts to send us into the past seem to have succeded once again. Didn't the whole abortion debate die out in the late 80s? Yet here we are. Other Liberal initiatives:
- Rewrite textbooks showing the world is flat, and that the sun rotates around the Earth.
- Introduce slavery.
- Deport people for shoplifting.
- Removal of women's rights.
- Ban the sale of penicillin and any medication developed via scientific research instead of superstition.
- Dismantle all aeroplanes and cars, and bring back leaky wooden boats and horses as the primary modes of transport.
- Undo Federation (which they'd probably do too, their shortsightedness making them unable to realise this would see them out of jobs).
- All legal disputes settled via duels.
- Bring back asbestos manufacturing plants!
- Possibly ditch this whole democracy idea and go to a fuedal or oldschool monarchial society.
As much as I'd like to draw hand-paintings on cave walls and choose a spouse by clubbing her over the head, in the real world, time progresses forwards. Seconds increment. Clocks do not move in an anti-clockwise direction. So stop acting like they do.
Okay. Where to start with actual news stories? Umm. SA Family First Fucker, Andrew Evans wants women to look at ultrasound images before going through with an abortion. Because you know, obviously, having an abortion is a decision that people take as lightly as which pair of undies they're going to wear for the day. Good on you Andrew! Those silly females that can't think of themselves should be encouraged to grow their foetuses, even if they have no way of supporting them once they're born! Why should they even be making the decision?! They should be in the kitchen making your dinner!
Another FF fucker, this time Steve Fielding believes abortions should happen if the mother's life is at risk. Right. So he supports killing babies only some of the time. You know, just a few here and there. Seriously, I love how conservatives can block out the logical connections in their ideas. "I don't support abortion... but I do!" "Kiling people is wrong... But not if it's a war!" "I've personally got nothing against gays... but they should burn in hell for eternity!"
Peter Costello wants a "respectful debate," and also says abortion is a state issue and has nothing to do with federal parliament. Which explains this:
Liberal MPs are understood to be working on two private members' bills for when parliament resumes next week.
One would restrict access to late-term abortions in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory, where the commonwealth has jurisdiction, while the second would require women seeking a termination to obtain counselling independent of the abortion clinic.
Peter Beattie (premier of QLD) reckons the Libs have started this whole argument as a way of repaying Fuckwits First for their preference deal. Sounds a bit too conspiracy theory, but who knows?
The Telegraph has some more on the whole thing, including Labor's response.
Would cutting funding or banning it stop it from happening? Or would it just encourage partners to look it up on the Internet and try to do a DIY job (I'm just imagining a lifestyle show segment on it now), thereby endangering the mother's life as well?
Does the morning-after pill count in abortion figures too? Coz technically you're still killing the baby.
I'd like to point you at Zoe's post on her blog, as she's better qualified to rant about it than me (she actually has a uterus, etc).
The World Is A Safer Place
If that's the case, why is Downer going on about with terrorists with nukes? Bombing the shit out of stuff and reducing people's rights obviously is having a positive effect.
We Respect The Australian People, We Trust The Australian People...
Terrorism has put federal parliament's long-cherished tradition of an open house under threat.
Retiring House of Representatives speaker Neil Andrew today indicated it was only a matter of time before security glass petitions were used to separate the public gallery from the chamber.
Ugh. That's just disgusting.
Literacy In Schools
Minister Eyes Literacy Inquiry:
A national inquiry into the teaching of reading in primary schools is being considered by the Federal Government amid growing concerns that too many students are barely literate.
Education Minister Brendan Nelson told The Age he was considering holding the review after 26 of Australia's leading literacy researchers wrote to him warning that children were failing to learn to read, because the main teaching method in schools, the whole language approach, was ineffective for many and had no scientific credibility.
Hmm. Because continued education cutbacks wouldn't have this effect, would it?
I'd like to quote Charlotte, a friend of mine, who is 16 and sitting for her School Certificate at the moment, as she basically has an angle I never thought of:
the recent outburst in the lack of reading skills in schools i am going to blame partly on the lack of teachers, or as we know it, the world wide teacher shortage. because, if you think about it, very rarely, when at a young age, through junior school, and primary and such, when classes are larger, you dont get very much teacher assistance because they are always helping someone else. so, the problem you had that wasnt attended to, grows, and develops into being a large problem, and you are labelled with having a learning disability. when, if you got help with that one problem, you wouldnt be in that situation. but, that is just my opinion, and probably not right.
What's the bet that the findings are similar to the Vinson Report (summarised here), and the government completely ignores them (hi Carr!)?
Interest rates rises are still on hold.
"This is a pure fight of good against evil."
Because the world really is as simple as an episode of He-Man.
Monday, November 08, 2004
Things That Annoy Me
Square brackets are mine.
Having been a Labourer for the past seventeen years [in 17 years you haven't realised how they spell the party name?] I finally [you took your time] realised what a pathetic load of Left nonsense this web site has become [it's always been a "pathetic load of Left nonsense" since it started, it never "became" it]. After finally realising that the Unions were a load of crap [how so?] and finally realising that Unions NSW will still fork out massive ammounts of money to a certain political Party alligned and directly linked with the unions [well what the hell did you expect?], despite having a ridiculous name change. I have come to an understanding [must've stretched the brain] that the webmaster of this web site has been using god knows what [I'm straightedge and always have been] and following a stupid crowd of people [yes, I blindly follow everything they do] who are in essence cult [unlike Hillsong (*cough Costello cough*) or Assemblies Of God] followers of tree huggin idiots [but you stayed an ALP member for 17 years?] , I decided to make a difference, and difference I did make [must be a massive difference if you have to resort to comment spam]! I created mayorlatham.com that is http://www.mayorlatham.com [that was mayorlatham.com if you didn't catch it the first time], and why did I do this [because you're an idiot?]? mainly because I was sick and tired of arrogant [arrogant? A word usually used in conjunction with "Liberal"] slants towards the coalition [you do know what "completely biased" means, right?] and mainly due to the fact, that under paul keating I suffered big time [so why not make an anti-Keating site?], and in the present day I continue to sugger [I was going to do the spelling and grammar rant but it isn't worth it] under a bastardous government known as the NSW Government [run by... Bob Carr! Explains why you'd bag out someone that isn't him then!] in what looks to be the worst state government I have ever seen [if you actually read this site you'd note I continually bag out Carr as much as anyone], so I continued on with my campaign [against... Bob Carr? Oh wait...]! NO STUFF IT [there's a massive logical gap here]! Im going to seek out revenge against a man who worked with Bob Carr [and if you'd researched you'd know Latham can't fucking stand him] and punish at the federal level [because it was a federal matter, after all] for Mark Latham and the Carr Government's inactions in the Orange Grove saga [yes, you stick it to them, whilst Howard sneaks up behind you with an giant iron dildo]. Which in my case claimed the life of my wife who committed suicide after losing her JOB [if this is even true (I can't find any mention of it), there must've been something seriously psychologically wrong with her to kill herself over losing her job. Why didn't you notice? I'm sure she's happy knowing you're using her memory to pimp a website too]! So fucking wake up you loonies! I have had enough of this web site [so that explains your recurring visits then], and as you tried to ruin my web site [the one that you'd illegally registered as you were too chicken to put your name to (plus it wasn't even me that got it deregistered - although I fully support them)?], Ill do everything I can to get yours taken down [I'm sure the Blogger admins will be very responsive]!
That looks messy, doesn't it? Oh well.
So there you go! You've got an entire post devoted to your bullshit. Lucky you. Now go away before Downer approves a pre-emptive nuclear strike from JI.
Sunday, November 07, 2004
The left half of the blogosphere has been living in harmony with the right half of the blogsophere for yonks. I mean, there's the occasional fight or trolling comment, but in general there's some respect for each side. I can't say I like any of them, but yes, there is respect there.
So what has happened now? Tim Blair, Mike Jericho, The Currency Lad, Evil Pundit and others have been around forever and there hasn't been a gigantic inter-blog war going on there, so what's the difference now?
I think it's that the aforementioned four bloggers would at least attempt a rational debate about something, whereas Mrs Ed and Co would stick their fingers in their ears, scream la la la, then go nuts yelling about some half-thought out opinion.
And why the writers of a certain blog (that isn't worth linking to) are just total flame-bait to the entire left half - they fit basically every stereotype the left has about the right.
- Completely devoid of imagination and empathy? Check.
- Unable to see anything from a different point of view? Check.
- Can't work thoughts out to every possible outcome? Check.
- Never worked a day in their life? Check.
- Lives off mummy and daddy? Check.
- Private schoolgirl cliché? Check.
- Total hypocrite? Check.
- Conflicting ideals? Check.
- Double standards? Check.
- Outlandishly expensive hobbies? Check.
- Willingness to kick below the belt? Check.
- Not above cheating? Check.
- Inability to logically argue a point? Check.
- Completely sheltered world view? Check.
- Unwilling to get hands dirty/fight own fights? Check.
They're just so easy (and apparently in more ways than one). Unfortunately it's morons like this that sell newspapers, so I'm guessing their Internet prescence will get bigger and bigger, if only from the amount of lefties visiting their blog to laugh at it.
Weezil, Jess and David Tiley have more in-depth roundups on this whole thing.
Good! That's over with. Now I can leave you all with the US Air Force's calls for funding to research psychic teleportation, instead of you know, spending money on education, healthcare, whatever.
Okay, who wants to do the 'bah leftie elitist etc etc' complaint?
EDIT: The original can be found here.
Friday, November 05, 2004
Ignorance Reigns Supreme
I know if somebody was constantly out to ruin my life, I'd get rid of them the first chance I had. But I'm not everyone. Maybe they get off on it. Who knows?
So Bush has gotten in once again, this time thanks to terrorists hiding under the bed. The biggest danger to your freedom, America, isn't from terrorists, but from the moron you've re-elected. Fucking idiots.
But I'm generalising! Almost half didn't vote for him, pretty much in the states without a reputation for inbreeding.
Oh well. I doubt continuing on this course will be sustainable for much longer - go too far either way on the political spectrum and society will start to collapse.
What does America have to look forward to (stuff in square brackets inserted by me)?
He pledged to keep up the fight against terrorism [by continuing to wage war on other countries], press for stable democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan [which, less face it, will take a hell of a lot longer than four years], simplify the tax code [uh huh], allow younger workers to invest some of their Social Security withholdings in the stock market [because gambling your superannuation is a brilliant idea (this one is my favourite out of all of these)], raise accountability standards in public schools [only accountability standards, not actual standards in general] and "uphold our deepest values and family and faith [ie. go nuts with religion]."
Other items include reforms to the nation's intelligence community [reductions in privacy laws?], halving the record $US413 billion ($A547 billion) deficit [because he's done a good job so far], expanding health care coverage [without mention on affordability], a constitutional ban on gay marriage [you know, because everyone is an equal in America] and moving "this goodhearted [and empty-headed] nation toward a culture of life [by lowering the quality of it]."
Howard gave Bush a ring and made with the phone sex.
"This is a wonderful personal victory for a person who I like and who I believe has given strong and resolute leadership to his country and through the position he occupies to the anti-terrorist cause and the cause of freedom around the world."- Everyone's favourite ball of hate with eyebrows
Yes, great. More people have died in Bush's reponses to terrorist acts than the actual terrorist acts themselves. So of course the world is safer! So safe that it looks like terrorism is becoming a growth industry (similar story here) in Australia!
Gimme The Cash!
The US government has hit their debt ceiling of $7.384 trillion dollars. So they're planning to do what any responsible government would do - borrow more, and increase their debt ceiling to $8.074 trillion. That's $8,074,000,000,000.
The Herald Sun says the Liberals are worried about effects of the US economy starting to flow down to here, but doesn't really quote anyone directly saying that.
Who Is Tony Abbott?
First, I'd like to give an extremely brief biography on Tony Abbott, so you can understand how he became the cockrag he is today. Then I'll rant about abortions.
Abbott's grandfather (Henry) promised God that if his boat didn't get torpedoed (it was 1939) whist travelling between Newcastle and Whyalla, he'd become a Catholic. So this is where the crazy religiousness in Tony Abbott first originated (incidentally, I was raised Catholic too, but gave it up).
Tony Abbott was born in London on the 4th of November, 1957 (which is incidentally his birthday right now, making him 46), to two Australian parents. They eventually moved back to Australia in 1960, first staying in Bronte with his mum's parents, then moving to Chatswood.
Abbott's dad constanty told Tony how clever and talented he was, and sometimes often superior to others around him. He originally went to Highfield Kindergarten, then to the Holy Family Convent. In Year 3, he ended up at the St Aloysius College, and once copped a whipping from a priest for holding another boy's hand.
When he was 13, Abbott got into the St Ignatius College, which is one of the most expensive in the state. During this time, many of the students at the school perceived him as arrogant smartarse.
In 1971 the Abbotts moved to a two-storey house in Killara. In 1973 Tony met Father Emmet Costello (he worked at the school), who got him heavily interested in politics.
In 1976, Abbott started Economics at Sydney Uni. Whilst in his first year at Uni, he lived in St John's, which was an on-campus Catholic college. At the end of the year, he got on the SRC.
In 1977, he and a friend went to Monash Uni for the annual Australian Union of Students conference, and basically got into a huge fight there (and from what I've read, I seriously don't blame him).
And also in his second year of Uni, Abbott knocked up a chick whom he'd known since primary school, but his family had never heard of. Condoms? Sin!
So what's the best thing to do, seeing as though they'd since split up and neither wanted the baby? Abort the foetus? Or let it grow, get born, then throw it out to get adopted, in the hope that someone else would clean up their mistake?
So now somebody out there, around about 26, is roaming around, unknowingly containing the DNA of a twat. Poor them.
Jeez this is going on isn't it? Okay, Abbott scored a scholarship to Oxford Uni, arsed about in India, started boxing whilst at Uni, arsed about in Africa (amazing how he can afford all this without ever having a job, isn't it?), then came home and decided to become a priest.
So off he went to St Patrick's, training to be a priest whilst doing some dick-dipping on the side (interesting that someone so morally righteous gets to make with so much shagging, isn't it?). He quit in 1987, after a few years of it.
FOR FUCKS SAKE TONY, YOU'RE 29 NOW AND HAVEN'T HAD A PROPER JOB (insert me bitching about Abbott criticising Latham (who, after his dad died, worked to support his family at the age of 21) about "only holding one proper job" prior to becoming a politician).
Following that, Abbott met Howard, wound up in the Liberal party, and is now the Minister for Health. Should someone as overtly religious as him be in control of such a portfolio? I for one, think hell no. Why not put him in a field where religion plays no part? Environment or Transport or something?
And abortion is the main reason I think Abbott should be kept the fuck away from Health.
A few days ago, the Catholic Church demanded an inquiry into abortions in Australia, citing it was at epidemic levels (a quarter, which does seem quite high).
Christopher Pyne, Parliamentary Secretary for Health, as well as Abbott, have been crapping on about it this past week. Pyne saying they should never be done after 21 weeks, Abbott alternating between ranting and total silence (can't say I'm comfortable with Abbott going completely silent when asked what his department is looking at doing - gives me feelings that they're drawing up potentially unpopular legislation). And then Latham stepped in and told them to shut the fuck up.
"You've got to respect the right of women to make a choice and you've got to respect the fact that they get expert medical advice from their doctors. It's not for politicians to get in the middle of doctors' consultation rooms in circumstances where people have got to make a judgement about their own future. I would much rather respect women and doctors and medical advice then go on the advice of a politician like Christopher Pyne."- Latho
However, for all this talk, nothing looks to be changed in the near future. But I don't doubt something'll happen along the line. Family First are getting in on the action too.
I read somewhere that there was a grand total of nine late-term abortions in NSW last year. I can't remember where though. So obviously it's a gigantic problem.
Despite letters being passed around the Liberal party to shut the hell up, Abbott is continuing talking about it.
Note that neither Tony Abbott or Christopher Pyne have vaginas.
"A woman's body is her own fucking business."- Jay, Dogma
And in unrelated news, doctor's are planning to charge more. Abbott's shocked and appalled. Wow, arsehat, I remember everyone saying they'd do this regardless of your Medicare-rebate-for-GPs bullshit back during the election.
Reluctant Allison Ready To Lead Dems:
A reluctant Lyn Allison says the Australian Democrats must return to their core values if the party is to survive the next three years.
Senator Allison, who is set to take over from Andrew Bartlett as the party's leader, denied the Democrats were in political dire straits but conceded it faced a major battle to remain relevant.
And she has opened the door to closer ties between the party and the Australian Greens.
I liked Bartlett, if only from reading his blog. Ahh well. He had this to say about Bush...
To keep things in perspective about the relevant importance of things, the voters of the USA also decided on their President around the same time. This is way more important and WAY more depressing an outcome. I wouldn't want to overstate the positives of John Kerry, but George Bush has clearly shown himself to be dangerous and divisive. This is not a good thing at the best of times, but when you're in charge of a nation that is by far the most militarily powerful in history, surround yourself with key advisors and Ministers who have ideologies and records that favour increased Govt power and military expansion and reduced human rights AND your own record already shows a clear willingness to deceive on major issues and appalling diplomatic and military judgement, then it's hard to see this result as anything other than a disaster.
A sad and distressing day.
Thursday, November 04, 2004
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Can't say I'm shocked or anything. After our elections, I've been pessimistic about things, and it looks like I haven't been proved wrong yet (although I'd much like to be).
All I want to know is how much worse things have to get before they start to get better. Surely the world can't keep sliding downhill forever?
So say hi to another four years of Howard and Bush. Or fly a plane into something. Either way.
Can anyone imagine what the world will be like in four years? It's not that far away, but it's so blurry.