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IndyWatch Aussie Politics Feed was generated at Australian News IndyWatch.
What Nationals MP for Page Kevin Hogan did not tell the Grafton Chamber of Commerce's February breakfast meeting when he was asked about foreign ownership of land and overseas workers North Coast Voices
JON FAINE: Over the weekend there was a big Liberal Party powwow and they had to decide who was going to replace a retiring Senator. At the next federal election, Michael Ronaldson will stand down as a Senator on the number one spot on the ticket for Victoria and his place will be taken by a man who has helped us out and filled in on The Wrap from time to time. Hailing from the breeding school of Liberal politicians, the IPA – the Institute of Public Affairs – deputy executive director James Paterson leapfrogs his boss John Roskam to the number one spot on the Senate ticket for the Liberal Party. James, good morning to you.
JAMES PATERSON: Good morning Jon, pleasure to be with you.
JON FAINE: What’s wrong with Johnny Roskam? There he is, he’s been your boss, he’s Tim Wilson’s boss, so many IPA people going into politics and he’s still there at the IPA.
JAMES PATERSON: Jon, as you know, John Roskam is one of the great intellectuals in Australian public life today.
JON FAINE: Sorry, say that again.
JAMES PATERSON: John Roskam is one of the great public intellectuals in public life in Australia today, and he has an enormous contribution to make to intellectual life or political life if he chooses.
JON FAINE: A public intellectual? I’ve heard him called many things, but that’s the first time I’ve heard that one.
JAMES PATERSON: Well Jon, what else do you call someone who runs Australia’s biggest think tank, who publishes a weekly column, who has written books and chapters in books, and who delivers lectures and guest speeches? That is the very definition of a public intellectual. In America they review their public intellectuals, and I think we should do the same in Australia because we don’t have as many.
JON FAINE: Congratulations to you, is where I sh...
Ross Hannaford, widely regarded as one of Australia's finest rock guitarists, has died after a battle with cancer. He was 65. read now...
Late last year I visited Guinea-Bissau in West Africa to investigate the country’s role as a key drug smuggling hub between South America and Europe. I published a number of stories about it including in Foreign Policy.
Leading French website Ulyces is committed to translating investigative stories from across the world and bringing back the tradition of financially supported journalism. They’ve translated my Foreign Policy story (with more to come) and I’m happy that French speakers can now read my work around the globe. Here’s a taste (more here):
Nous nous trouvons à Bissau, capitale de la Guinée-Bissau. Les quartiers généraux de la police judiciaire, l’agence du gouvernement chargée de mener la guerre contre les drogues dans le pays, sont situés dans une rue poussiéreuse, au beau milieu de cette capitale d’Afrique de l’Ouest étonnamment silencieuse. À l’intérieur se trouve l’unique laboratoire d’analyse des drogues du pays, un ajout récent dû à l’augmentation du financement de l’Union européenne, qui vise à endiguer le flot de narcotiques qui traversent en permanence les frontières du petit État africain.
The blame attributed to Peta Credlin for the downfall of former PM Tony Abbott is yet another sign of the deep sexism running through our society. read now...
I still recall my amazement when Peter Costello chose Nikki Savva as his media advisor. She was the ideological twin sister of Michelle Grattan, Michelle at The Age, and Nikki at the Herald Sun. Media advisor was, I suppose, different from actual policy but nonetheless, she was every inch a know-nothing leftist. It is why I have never paid attention to a single thing she writes and am always surprised to see her as a supposed spokesperson for the right side of the political divide. Everything she has written about Abbott might as well have been written by the ALP media team. And now she has written a book about Abbott’s years as PM and the role that Peta Credlin played, without bothering to talk to either! This is how Credlin has replied to Nikki this morning: Niki Savva’s Road to Ruin: politics is now unsourced gossip.
I always thought a dignified silence was the best way to deal with Niki Savva’s attacks. They were personal, invariably founded on unsourced gossip and rarely made any attempt at balance.
I have always just got on with the job. I felt my 16 years of service to four Howard cabinet ministers and time in opposition, including as deputy chief of staff to Malcolm Turnbull, said more about my record than any bile from Savva but she was never interested in the facts.
Then, like now, she hasn’t ever wanted to speak with me — including in preparation for her book. Her colleagues in the Canberra press gallery would often ask me what I had done to warrant her attacks. People were often taken aback when I responded that I barely knew her.
It is one of the golden rules of journalistic ethics to provide a right of reply to anyone you’re going to criticise. In the end, journalists are supposed to weigh up the contributions and seek their own tr...
First Britain denied any role in the US policy of rendition and
torture. Then it said there may have been some inadvertent
mistakes. Then it held an inquiry to "draw a line" under the
allegations, only to have it collapse due to an utter lack of
credibility. And no wonder. Because while they were doing that,
suppressing key evidence:
Key documents that could shed light on allegations of UK collusion in torture and rendition are being suppressed by the British government. The newly uncovered files include confidential exchanges between former PM Tony Blair and former president George Bush about treatment of detainees at Guantanamo. Possibly most significant are five other documents, communications between the former UK foreign secretary, Jack Straw, and former US secretary of state, Colin Powell, expressing interest and concern about the welfare and legal status of UK detainees at Guantanamo.
While the documents may relate to casual expressions of care for the welfare of UK citizens, former detainees have alleged that British officials have either been present at, or submitted questions for, “extreme” interrogation by US officials. The US government has been required to make public a large number of files which relate to British involvement in the treatment of prisoners in the years following the 9/11 bombings.
Litigation continues across multiple US departments over the possible release of mainly intelligence-derived documentation. But 12 documents found in the US State Department’s search, not derived from intelligence, were also withheld. These relate to interventions by British politicians and officials over the treatment of detainees and interrogation techniques. In court papers, the State Department reported: “After reviewing the d...
The pond notes that Michaelia Cash disgraced herself last night
Today the government
introduced legislation to establish the Kermadec Ocean
Sanctuary, banning mining and fishing in the entire EEZ around
the Kermadec Islands. Its a good move, and one that fulfils the
promise to protect the area that it
made last year. At the same time, it highlights the
government's glaring refusal to do anything else to protect our
The government is currently consulting on a new Marine Protected Areas Act, which will update our marine protection legislation and replace it with a coherent whole. Its a generally good move, but there's a hole: these marine protected areas will only exist within the territorial sea, the 12-mile strip of water around the coast. The government considered including the EEZ, but decided last June to exclude it, allegedly under pressure from the drilling industry. Their current spin-line is that its all too difficult to protect areas within the EEZ. And yet, right now, they're pushing a law which does just that. Which suggests that the problem isn't that its too hard, but that National simply doesn't want to do it.
The purpose of the Marine Protected Areas Act would be to ensure a representative network of protected areas. But a network which does not include our deep oceans, or only protects our sub-tropical ones, cannot possibly be considered "representative". One ocean sanctuary is not enough - we need the law to protect a greater range of our oceans, to ensure a...
While curbing negative gearing may ease house prices in the short term, in time suburbs will be revitalised by putting people back into empty houses. read now...
As usual, it would be remiss of the pond not to admire the
Caterists parading in their finery this Tuesday ...
There are few enough pleasures left in life, and this surely is a special treat, at least for those fascinated by the banality of weevils...
One of the reasons people flee shithole countries like Iran is
because they are gay and face persecution. If they make it New
Zealand, we recognise them as refugees and resettle them. If OTOH
they go to Australia, the government sends them to Nauru -
where they face further persecution and abuse:
Two gay refugees who fell in love at the Nauru detention camp say they are virtually prisoners in their home: holed up in fear for their lives after being bashed and verbally abused in a nation where homosexuality is illegal.
As Sydney prepares for Saturday night's Mardi Gras parade - an event that showcases Australia as a global model of acceptance of gay and lesbian people - the federal government is refusing to rescue the two young Iranian men it sent to a country where they could be jailed for their sexual orientation, according to lawyers.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has so far refused to help the refugees, who say they have been repeatedly beaten, had rocks thrown at them and been called "human rubbish". His department says refugees at Nauru can accept resettlement in Cambodia.
The current economic and political climate is depressing. I am too depressed to write, so all that is left to do is read. So this morning I read (former Treasury Secretary) John Stone in the AFR.
I commend all to read too.
Last year, a popular campaign by unions targeting employers
forced the government to act on zero-hours contracts. But
rather than outlaw them, they did what they usually do: tried to
spin their way out of the problem while doing nothing. That
strategy fell apart for them last week, when their support partners
withdrew support. But the government needed to pass the law,
Labour has forced amendments to ensure that zero-hours contracts
Changes will be debated in Parliament today – but a deal done between National and Labour is expected to see most parties, unions and employers happy with the changes.
A Labour amendment will mean that people will only be told they have to be available for work if they are given set hours.
Previously, that "availability clause" would be in their contract even if no set hours were provided.
Mr Lees-Galloway told ONE News: "This switches this bill around from something that entrenches zero hour contracts to a bill that will eliminate zero hour contracts."
Last year, in an effort to meet its artificial and arbitrary
budget surplus target, National removed the $1,000 KiwiSaver
kickstart payment. At the time, Prime Minister John Key
said that the removal "will not make a blind bit of difference
to the number of people who join KiwiSaver".
He was wrong:
The number of people signing up to KiwiSaver has slowed significantly since the removal of the $1000 kick-start, bucking a statement from Prime Minister John Key that the change would "not make a blind bit of difference to the number of people who join."
Analysis by the Herald shows the average number of people signing up to KiwiSaver per month was 15,029 in the year to June 2015 and 16,976 in the year to June 2014.
But since finance minister Bill English scrapped the kick-start incentive in last year's May Budget sign-ups have fallen to an average of 8996 per month with the lowest sign-up level, in October, below 8000.
The change has also made a dent in the number of children in KiwiSaver with nearly 10,000 fewer under-18s now in the scheme.
Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten both turned up at the Sydney Mardi Gras apparently to promote equality — yet they both continue to treat refugees as inferior beings. read now...
The front page said it all, really ...
The 2010 election, and the parliamentary term that followed it,
is seen as a freaky time in Australian politics. Minor scandals
(e.g. Gillard's bathroom, Thomson's pants, Slipper's diary, Kelly's
solvency) assumed seismic importance. Neither Labor nor the
Coalition held a majority in their own right. Neither of them, nor
the press gallery, were comfortable with this situation becoming
the new normal. But it did for a while, and it will again.
As temperatures rise with climate change, the Earth’s natural capital will change too − but there may be few winners, even among the wealthy. read now...
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