Category Archives: Australia

Western Sydney Twitter debate. What a joke.

Did you watch the Penrith Twitter debate involving Kristina Keneally, Barry O’Farrell and Lee Rhiannon among others. Well you didn’t miss much.
It was meant to be a chance for the people of Penrith, in Sydney’s west, to ask questions of politicians in the lead up to upcoming by-election in Penrith.




I believe this is the first time a debate like this has been tried on twitter and I hope it is the last. What a waste of bandwidth.
It was confusing, disjointed, crowded, unorganised and without any form at all. Maybe this was the point of using this medium, to allow an uncensored and unmoderated open debate on issues concerning people. Well I don’t think this was achieved.
The reason I think this medium was chosen was perhaps a badly thought out attempt to connect with the people (surely not from NSW politicians) but I really think it was just a lazy way to do a bit of electioneering.

A word of advise to anyone considering doing this again don’t.
It doesn’t work and unless twitter comes up with a better tool for this type of discussion it won’t work. Stick to the good television debate or the bear pit of the NSW Parliament.

Did you watch the Penrith Twitter debate ?
Let us know what you thought. Leave a comment.

Keneally insults everyone and is running out of luck.

Poor Kristina Keneally doesn’t seem to be having much luck lately.
First David Campbell leaves the front bench to deal with personal issues after his secret gay life is exposed and then she looses two more Minsters in one day. What can go wrong next? I know lets just insult the whole of Australia by down playing Barry O’Farrell’s Kokoda trail achievement as something so easy even Miss Australia has done it. Nice work Kristina.

Kristina Keneally made the gibe at Barry O’Farrell saying “Well, so did Miss Australia – so congratulations, Barry.” after he had used his completion of the trail as proof of his personal strength in a media interview.

Clearly Kristina doesn’t fully understand the significance of the Kokoda Trail to Australia. By down playing Barry O’Farrell’s effort she has insulted not only all Australians but the soldiers that that made this trek out of necessity during World War II and people who have completed the Kokoda Trail since then. She has also insulted all Australian women by suggesting that if a women, and more particularly 2007 Miss Australia winner Caroline Pemberton, can complete the trail then I can’t be so hard.

I would suggest that perhaps Kristina needs to do the Kokoda Trail and even though she claims it is something she would like to do when her kids are older I would suggest that the sooner the better. Until then maybe a bit of research about the Kododa Trail and perhaps the broader subject of Australia history would be in order.

Perhaps some research of the people that Barry O’Farrell did the trail with wouldn’t have gone astray either as Caroline Pemberton is an experienced adventure racer and one of his other fellow participants was Liberal Upper House MP Charlie Lynn has completed the trail 59 times, so Barry O’Farrell was not among beginners by any means.

After the shock loss of two Ministers when Ian McDonald and Graham West resigned from their Ministries the Keneally Government was in a state of panic. Not only did it have to fill two more ministries but it will now have to go into damage control again over Ian McDonald’s alleged travel rorts.
The New South Wales Labor Government would seem to have quite a task ahead of them if they are going to have any success in the next state election in March 2011. Kristina Keneally certainly hasn’t made the task any easier and has perhaps shown how out of touch she is with the people who she claims to represent.
I certainly look forward to an interesting election campaign that seems to be developing in New South Wales. I am sure it will provide many interesting points for discussion.

Tony Abbott – Unbelievably Scripted.

The 7:30 Report’s Kerry O’Brien is turning out to have quite the knack for ruffling our leaders feathers. Last week he stirs Kevin Rudd and this week Tony Abbott admits that what he is saying isn’t the truth unless it’s scripted.
Not that this is news to anyone. We all know that little of what politicians tell us is the truth but I can not remember a time when one has admitted to it
Tony Abbott told Kerry O’Brien that “in the heat of the moment” he often went further with promises than he should and “the statements that need to be taken absolutely as gospel truth are those carefully prepared scripted remarks.”
So now we need to be sure whether Tony is making a scripted statement or a comment in the heat of the moment. This, I am sure will be a handy little out for Tony Abbott should he have any promises that he doesn’t want to keep should he win the fast approaching election.
Of course the Labor Party wasted no time using the comment to thier advantage posting a video on you tube showing the two sides of Tony Abbott. Phony Tony and Heat of the moment Tony. Who will be talking next? I guess only Tony Abbott will know.

Is Australia ready for a female P.M.?

A recent Newspoll survey has found that an increasing number of people would prefer Julia Gillard as the Labour Party leader over Kevin Rudd.
So could Australia be ready for a female Prime Minister? It shouldn’t really matter whether a person is male or female, black or white. It should only matter whether they are qualified to do the job, we all know that human nature won’t let this be so and there is this barrier that exists whether we like to admit or not.
Julia Gillard has already come out and said that she will not be challenging for the leadership and I would imagine that it wouldn’t be a good move before the next election. Perhaps she will wait until some time after the election. Perhaps if Labor loose, and this seems to be increasingly likely, the Julia will become leader. If they win, will Kevin Rudd give up the Prime Ministers job. I don’t think that will happen willingly.
So it looks likely Julia Gillard’s options will be to take up the Opposition Leaders position if they loose, or a leadership challenge if they win.
Whether she is actually able to do the job. Well I don’t know. I guess you can only know after she is given a chance.
Either way if Australia does get a female Prime Minister I hope is because they are the best for the job at the time and not just because they are a woman.

Cranky Kevin Appears on 7.30 Report.

The Prime Minister who seems to want to please everyone and is always so polite showed cranky side on ABC’s 7.30 Report last night.

In what was described as Latham like, Kevin Rudd snapped at Kerry O’Brien during an interview when Kerry Obrien challenged Kevin Rudd about his apparent back down from his proposed ETS legislation.

“Now it might be easy for you to sit in 7.30 Report-land and say that was easy to do. Let me tell you mate, it wasn’t.” was the sentence that has caused people to sit up and take notice of side of Kevin Rudd they haven’t seen before, though it could be the side that Airforce hostesses parlimentary staff and soldiers in Iraq have seen before.

ALP colleagues have defended the reaction as evidence of Kevin Rudd committed stance on the ETS policy but you can’t help but think that it was a clever “bloking up” of the somewhat “unblokey” (yeah my word, probably not real but I will lobby the Maquarie Dictionary) Kevin.

Kevin Rudd is a person that doesn’t seem to do anything by accident and is quite adept at the spin game and this performance just has me thinking “fair shake of the sauce bottle Kevin”.

Well maybe it the real Kevin creeping out under the pressure of an upcoming election or maybe it is the passionate Kevin. Who ever it is I would like to see more of him. It could make for some entertaining electioneering and it will keep those journalist on their toes wondering when he will explode before their very eyes.

Turnbull Concedes Rudd Is Not Involved But Attacks Anyway

Malcolm Turnbull has finally conceded attacks on Kevin Rudd cannot be sustained. This has not, however, stopped him from going on the attack.

Of course there was another lively session in Federal Parliament today with calls from both sides of the house for the relevant parties to resign. Despite Malcolm Turnbull’s concession that attacks on Kevin Rudd couldn’t continue in regard to the Utegate affair, he tried a different line of attack. Turnbull’s attacks on Kevin Rudd today centered on a Bennelong car dealer.

The car dealer approach Rudd “at a small business function” that he “attended with the member for Bennelong.”

So what is the point that the Leader of the Opposition is trying to make here. Surely Kevin Rudd is allowed to talk to people at functions he attends and if people ask questions of him surely they are entitled to answers. The purpose of this car dealer approaching Mr Rudd was to ask about the OzCar scheme and whether it was up and running. Surely this was reasonable and attacks of this nature can not be sustained either.

Is this just a tactic by Mr Turnbull to divert attention away from the fake email the he relied so heavily on?

The last week has shown that Malcolm Turnbull lacks the judgment to be the alternative Prime Minister. Not checking the validity of information before launching such a vicious attack and not knowing when move on are pretty basic skills required of any politician. Mr Turnbull needs to move aside as Leader of the Opposition or the Liberal Party needs remove to him to save themselves and get on with the business of opposition and leave these poorly founded attacks behind them.

Wayne Swan has tabled documents which show that he did not give preferential treatment to John Grant. So the subject should be closed.

There clearly has not been any corruption from Kevin Rudd or Wayne Swan and the opposition needs to stop flogging this dead horse. It clearly is not going anywhere.

There is important work to be done in Parliament. The politicians in Canberra need to get on with it and stop their petty bickering before Parliament breaks.

Utegate Email Is A Fake.

Investigation by AFP officers into the email at center of the OzCar affair have tracked its origin to a computer in the Treasury Department.

It has been revealed that the email originated from the Treasury Department and was sent to Treasury official Godwin Grech. Federal Police this morning raided Grech’s home. Grech was interviewed by Police with Police emerging from his home at about 1 pm with three hard cases.

Police have also established the email as a fake.

Police also want to interview a former staffer of Malcolm Turnbull, Paul Lindwall, who is also a former Treasury colleague of Godwin Grech.

A firm link to Malcolm Turnbull has does not seem to have been established at this stage and there are people from both sides of the political spectrum working at Treasury, but it does seem to be getting closer.

During a fiery session in Parliament today The Government focused much of its attack on the email issue with the Opposition calling it a diversion from the issue of Wayne Swan misleading Parliament. While this may be the case it could also be said that the Opposition trying to steer focus to Wayne Swan could be a diversion away from Malcolm Turnbull and the fake email.

With the Opposition still trying to attack Wayne Swan about providing assistance for Ipswich car dealer John Grant it also seems clear that he hasn’t received anything that he wasn’t entitled to. If this is what assistance from Wayne Swan gets you then I don’t think I will be going to him if I need help.

So what happens next?

As far as I see it Kevin Rudd seems pretty much clear, although there will be a bit of mud still to clean off.

Wayne Swan has some explaining to do and does not seem to be completely clear. It will be a tough week for him.

Malcolm Turnbull is also in for a tough week. Although he is not in any real trouble yet things seem to be hotting up and it is yet to be seen what his involvement in the email scandal is, if any at all.

Things are continuing Stay tuned.

Kevin Gives Malcolm An Ultimatum and Swanny Says He Is Not Going Anywhere.

Kevin Rudd has given Malcolm Turnbull and ultimatum to produce the email at the centre of the Oz Car scandal within 24 hours or resign.

Speaking outside a church in Canberra, Mr Rudd said “Mr Turnbull and the Liberals have been boasting for a long time now that they are in possession of this information. Well the time has come to produce this information to the parliament for authentication.

“If when parliament resumes in 24 hours, Mr Turnbull fails to produce this email, this email upon which his entire case against the Government is based, for authentication he has no alternative but to stand in the parliament, apologise, and to resign.”

The Opposition has been looking for a chink in the Labour armour and they obviously thought this was their best chance yet. Unfortunately for them the pivotal evidence that they claimed to have doesn’t seem to exist and they need to produce it now to justify their allegations.

Deputy Prime Minster Julia Gillard told ABC television “Mr Turnbull’s got a very big problem.

“It turns out that there is no such email so Mr Turnbull … has got a pretty big decision to make, he can either produce the email that he’s been carrying on about for days or he can tender his resignation.

“His credibility has been so shot that there will be no other alternative.”

Treasurer Wayne Swan has fended off calls for him to resign saying media reports that his position hangs in the balance and that he should resign over the OzCar affair are “ridiculous” and “absurd”.

Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull claims Mr Swan has misled parliament over claims that he did not assist car dealer John Grant. “If you look at the emails that are on the public record, what you can see is Mr Grant didn’t receive any assistance from OzCar or Ford Credit. He didn’t receive any assistance at all,” Mr Swan Said.

Certainly Mr Rudd seems to be in clear air at this stage but Mr Swan would seem to have a bit of work to do yet before he is in the clear. Email records tendered to a Senate inquiry on Friday into the OzCar program showed that Mr Swan was being kept in the loop regarding Mr Grant’s application for finance. Whether any undue influence was applied is yet to be seen.

Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey however has chosen not to speak on the affair today. He refused to comment on the email or who had seen it.

He did say that Wayne Swan would be hounded by the Opposition on the matter over the next few days. “Wayne Swan this morning dodged a few bullets. Over the next few days he will not be able to avoid answering questions, detailed questions, about his relationship with John Grant and exactly what he did to help John Grant,” Mr Hockey said.

“Over the next few days we will be asking a lot of questions of the Treasurer. We expect a lot of detailed answers.

Clearly it has become an issue to hot to handle except in the sanctuary of parliament.

Stay Tuned.

Could The Oz Car Scandal Mean The End For Kevin Rudd?

Could an attempt to help a mate mean the end for Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd?

Certainly if he is found to have used his position to help his car dealer friend, John Grant, get finance through the Governments Oz Car scheme it bring the end of his days as Australia’s Prime Mininster.

It has been claimed by the Opposition that Mr Rudd’s office had contacted Godwin Grech, the head of the Government’s $2 billion OZ Car scheme to help for Mr Grant.

Of course Mr Rudd denies this communication ever happened and has claimed that an email allegedly sent by his senior economic adviser Andrew Charlton to Mr Grech is an elaborate fraud. After an investigation by Mr Rudd’s office they have been unable to find any record of this email originating from his office.

Kevin Rudd has now called for an Auditor Generals enquiry into the affair.

If it is found that any influence did come from Mr Rudd’s office then he surely would have no other choice but to resign.
Mr Rudd has set a high standard of conduct for his Government colleagues and to fail to live up to this standard would surely be unforgivable.

If it is found that the email is a fraud then who knows who’s head will roll? If this is found to be a fraud then not only could there be the political fallout from such a scandal but also the possibility of criminal action as the Australian Federal Police have also started investigations into the affair.

Stay posted for updates on this. It could get very interesting.

Yes Sarah. This Was a Mistake!

How many of you take your kids to work? I sure there are some but not many. It is not something that normally happens. You are at work to do your job, not look after your children. I am sure there are some parents who have their kids visit work at some time to see where mum or dad work, and while most bosses probably don’t mind, I bet they would if it interrupted the operations of the workplace or broke long established workplace rules.

Well in the Australian Federal Parliament this week one parent thought she would give bringing her child to work a go.

Sarah Hanson-Young, a Greens Senator in the Australian Federal Parliament, bought her two year old daughter, Kora, into the Senate chamber during a division. A well known rule of the Senate is that no strangers are allowed in the chamber during divisions. Well no matter which way you want to put it, children are strangers in the senate and do not belong there at certain times. That is it. It is a rule of the workplace so why knowingly break it?

Of course the Senate President, Senator John Hogg, had no real choice but to instruct Senator Hanson Young to have her daughter removed from the chamber. This is a rule of this workplace and it is also a place where decisions are being made that affect all Australians. This is no place for children.

Senator Hanson-Young was not very happy with this action saying “The way this was handled was a mistake.” Well yes Sarah it was a mistake. You should not have taken your daughter to the chamber at this time. You know this, or at least you should.

There are plenty of other times that I am sure members of parliament can take their children on a little tour of their workplace. The Australian Parliament does not sit every day and one of these many non sitting days would be a great time to take Kora to have a look at where Mummy works. No one will be bothered. No rules will be broken. No one will get upset. Yes the ensuing hassle did upset the poor little girl who could reportedly be heard crying from the senate chamber during the division.

Greens Leader, Senator Bob Brown, said “I don’t know of any employer that’s going to say you can’t have five minutes with your child.” Yes you may be right Bob. There probably aren’t many who, if your family turned up to say hello would be happy for you to say a quick hello and then get back to work. I am also quite sure they would not be very happy if you bought them into an important meeting, or onto the factory floor or did anything else to disrupt the workplace or broke workplace rules.

Well this is exactly what happened in this situation. The workplace was disrupted and rules were broken.

NSW opposition spokeswoman Pru Goward, a former sex discrimination commissioner, told ABC radio that children in workplaces can be “very distracting”.

Yes that is right they can. That is why people don’t normally take their children to work.

Senator Brown said this morning that Kora had provided a “pleasant diversion” for those nearby after a hard week. Senator Brown, You are involved in important work here. Save your “diversions” for when the work is done, please.

There is also a childcare centre about 500 metres from the Senate Chamber. It is a very nice childcare centre and would have been a wholly better place to leave Kora whilst important work was taking place in the chamber.

Senator Hanson-Young was accused of using her daughter in a parliamentary stunt. Of course she denies this and I am willing to believe her as I would hate to think that any parent would use their child in such a pointless stunt.

The Senate is due to debate on this issue on Monday. This is a terrible waste of parliamentary time and hopefully commonsense will prevail and it will be made clear that children do not belong at work when work is supposed to be done.

Hopefully all members of parliament will make sure they are aware of the rules and do their best to abide by them so that no undue disruption occurs in the future.

And Sarah. I hope you have learnt from your “mistake” and this doesn’t happen again. After all you were elected to do your job as a Senator, not to amuse your sweet little girl during important meetings. You will also be able to avoid a repeat of the “most humilating moment of your life.”