Sunday, March 18, 2007

Santo panto

So the pantomime involving Santo Santoro, Minister for Ageing, has concluded, with Santo exiting stage right.

I mentioned the issue a couple of posts ago, when JWH was upholding ministerial standards with his ususal response: 'He has my full support. He did nothing wrong.'

Less than a week ago, Our Great & Fearless Leader: "...has refused to sack Ageing Minister Santo Santoro over his apparent breach of ministerial guidelines on share ownership.

The Prime Minister said in Tokyo today that Senator Santoro’s breach, revealed in The Australian today, was inadvertent and did not result in personal profit.


Well, it's now revealed that in addition to that little inconsequential inadvertent forgetfulness, Mr Santoro also was 'negligent' in the reporting of 72 investments.

Oops.

It also turns out that bragging he'd donated the $6,000 profit on the original CBio shares to charity was another inadvertent slip of the memory.

...it was in fact a non-profit political lobby group that promoted pro-family, anti-abortion policies. The president of the group, Family Council of Queensland's Alan Baker, is the same man who offered him the financial advice to purchase the CBio shares.

Not surprisingly, JWH has now quickly decided to abandon Santo and act the wronged, righteous victim. He smells the political wind.

In another breathtaking piece of hypocrisy, Our G&FL said: There is no excuse for somebody not complying with the rules.

Yes folks, Mr Howard says: There is no excuse for somebody not complying with the rules.

"Believe me, I'm a politician."

The Australian has the story here.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Waste of time, waste of our money.

There's a story in Murdoch's tabloid rag about a racist attack in Campbelltown.

"A white supremacist gang is believed to be responsible for a brutal attack on students and teachers at a Campbelltown high school yesterday" it tells us.

Towards the end of the report these paragraphs caught my eye.





They raise a few questions in my mind.


If the gangs were clearly identified as long ago as 2003, why and how are they still operating? What have the police been doing?


If Taskforce Var was set up as long ago as 2002 to tackle gangs in schools, how and why do we continue to have attacks by intruders? And, for God's sake at a rate of more than one a day!

And last but not least, how much of our tax dollars went into these operations, which have obviously been an abject, total failure?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Standards? What standards?

Another in a seemingly endless supply of examples of the fall in standards led by JWH.

We're back with 'Ministerial Standards' - a misnomer if ever there was one. It's been well-documented that the standards have been watered down to fit the action each time a minister failed to comply with them.

Ministers must make a full declaration of share ownership - but of course if they 'inadvertantly forget' some that they own and fail to declare them, well, that's OK. Can't be helped. We all make mistakes.

Howard backs Santoro amid new ethics controversy
Matthew Franklin
March 13, 2007

JOHN Howard has refused to sack Ageing Minister Santo Santoro over his apparent breach of ministerial guidelines on share ownership.


The Prime Minister said in Tokyo today that Senator Santoro’s breach, revealed in The Australian today, was inadvertent and did not result in personal profit.

Senator Santoro told The Australian last night that he had forgotten to list shares he owned in unlisted biotechnology company CBio on his pecuniary interests register when he became a minister early in 2006.


The report is in The Australian, here





Monday, March 12, 2007

Breathtaking hypocrisy

John Howard lives in another world doesn't he.

Today's Sydney Morning Herald story about the latest opinion polls have Our Great & Fearless Leader at his hypocritical best:

"I can't ignore the fact that we've had quite a series of bad polls over the past few months and I ask myself why is it that the polls are so bad for the government at present?" Mr Howard said.

"I think one of the reasons is that the Labor Party has successfully created the impression that it doesn't matter who is in government, the economy will continue to grow."

The government would continue to attack Labor over the economy, industrial relations and personal accountability, he said.

"We'll be focusing on those things but we'll continue to hold the Labor Party and individuals in the Labor Party to account."


Breathtaking.

Attacking the opposition on IR and personal accountability - and this from John Howard, with his record!

I'm simply speechless.

As for "...the Labor Party has successfully created the impression that it doesn't matter who is in government, the economy will continue to grow.", well, it's more than an impression, it's largely true. It would take an almost unbelievably incompetent government and bureaucracy to foul up during a world-wide boom period.

When the world economy is bad, that's what causes Australia's woes..."It's all beyond our control." When the world economy is good it has no effect on Australia, our good times are all down to the PM!

JWH insists that he is totally responsible for the good times we've been going through. The facts show a totally different picture. His 'success' has been that was in the right place at the right time. Pure luck, nothing more.

It's universallly acknowledged that the boom started two years before Howard came to power. In other words, he jumped on the bandwagon started by Hawke & Keating.

His tenure coincided with a world boom, world-wide record low interest rates, with previously unseen amounts of money sloshing around looking for a home, with the incredible rise of China and India, and the development boom in the Arabian Gulf, that have sent prices rocketing.

In fact Australian interest rates have been consistently higher than other OECD countries. We have not attracted investment from the trillions looking for somewhere to go, they are going elsewhere. We are missing out on the demand for what we can dig out of the ground. Add to that the fact that we have a bad balance of payments account and the PM's claims are shown to be very hollow.

A Reuters report today highlights how we're missing out on the China boom. The last two paragraphs are particularly telling:

Australia faces commodity setback
Reuters

Sydney: It's long been accepted wisdom in Australia that a new golden age for commodity exports is just around the corner given the rise of China right on its doorstep.

Yet, new research by economists at UBS suggests the optimism may be misplaced.

"It was such an attractive, intuitive idea that the rise of China would inevitably lead to a surge in demand for our commodities," said Adam Carr, a senior econ-omist at UBS. "All we had to do was invest more to work out the supply kinks and Australia would enjoy an export bonanza."

"Well, it's been five years now and there's still no sign of the promised land," he argued. "And when you delve into the data the evidence suggests the consensus has been wrong all along."
If he's right, it will be a sore disappointment for policymakers who are counting on growth in export volumes to take over from domestic demand in driving the economy.

Just last week, Malcolm Edey, head of the Reserve Bank of Australia's (RBA) economics department, painted a rosy outlook for global commodity demand, led by the economic boom in China which, he estimated, could last for several decades yet.

"What we can say with confidence is that the world is experiencing a very large increase in resources demand which is likely to go on for some time," said Edey.

The high level of global commodity prices has certainly been a boon to Australia's terms of trade - what it gets for its exports compared to what it pays for imports. Those terms have climbed more than 30 per cent in the past three years to hit highs not seen in half a century, delivering a windfall to incomes, company profits and tax revenues.

Yet, while prices have risen, the actual volume of exports has lagged far behind, so trade has been a drag on economic growth for almost all the past five years as imports have risen much faster.


Most worrying of all, I'm not sure that it's just politics, I think Mr Howard actually believes what he's saying.

Australia's future

How many times are we told that Australia's future is safe in the hands of our wonderful youth?

The trouble is, there are too many like this pair of mindless morons.

Duck killed, pigs hurt in attack

08Mar07

A DUCK was killed and two pigs were attacked with a shovel on Monday after two students broke into Brisbane Water Secondary College.

The pair, both aged 14, of Umina Beach and Ettalong Beach, climbed barbed wire fences to carry out the attack.

It is understood the students gained access to the college's animal enclosures sometime between 5.40pm and 7.15pm.

Once inside, the students allegedly killed a large white duck by stomping on its head.

They then used a shovel to attack a large Berkshire pig being groomed for this year's Royal Easter Show in Sydney.

It was expected to be put down this week if vets confirmed the animal had suffered a broken hip or left hind leg.

Another pig suffered eye injuries and cuts to its body.

Nesting ducks were chased and tormented in the raid with one being thrown into the pig enclosure.

Middle school Parents and Citizens president Bruce Graf said it was disturbing anyone would attack defenseless creatures.

"It's very disheartening because the students put so much time and effort into looking after the animals,'' he said.

Brisbane Water crime manager Chief-Insp Darren Bennett confirmed two young people had been identified in relation to an incident at the school.

He said they would be spoken to and allegations of animal cruelty would be dealt with under the Young Offenders Act.


Central Coast Express Advocate

Spoken too and dealt with under the Young Offenders Act? They need to be taken to with a shovel and have their heads stomped on.

Today it's defenceless animals, tomorrow defenceless people. Get these criminals off our streets now and punish them severely enough for them to be too terrified to continue their evil ways.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Why we love pollies.

Australian minister quits over row

Reuters

Sydney: Attacks by Australia's conservative government against its resurgent opposition over links to a corrupt state leader were turned on their head yesterday when a Cabinet minister quit amid the growing scandal.

In a blow to Prime Minister John Howard as he faces an election later this year, Human Services Minister Senator Ian Campbell quit Howard's Cabinet after it was revealed he met "corrupt" former Labor politician Brian Burke last year.

Attacks


Howard's government has ratcheted up attacks on new centre-left opposition Labor leader Kevin Rudd in the past week over three meetings he had with Burke in 2005 before he became Labor leader.

Treasurer Peter Costello launched volleys of criticism in parliament against Rudd for meeting a man he said was a convicted criminal and corrupt influence peddler. Costello said anyone who dealt with Burke was "morally and politically compromised".

Another senior government member, Tony Abbott, likened dealing with Burke to "supping with the devil".

Howard described Campbell's meeting as an error of judgment, even though it was within his portfolio duties as the then environment minister.

So we can now be confident that Howard will instruct his underlings to withdraw their remarks and replace them with accusations of errors of judgement?

Or are we to believe what we're told - when doing the same thing, the guvmint only has innocuous lapses of judgement while the opposition is morally and politically compromised by supping with the devil.