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Archives for April 2011

The Power of Words

Down And Out In Centrelink And NewStart

The first welfare rort I ever perpetrated took place inside a Job Network provider’s office.

CentrelinkLike all cheating, it started with a small lie, so small that it seemed churlish to resist. I acquiesced as my “case worker” entered three hours on the claim form, even though I’d only been there around an hour. My scrawled initials of consent didn’t seem as serious as a proper signature.

The justification was simple enough. It helped speed the process. There was mutual benefit in claiming the maximum time allowed for the process of putting in place a job agreement. After all, I wasn’t worth much to the provider. They didn’t get paid much for dealing with me. It would be better for both of us if I had some kind of disability or could be classified as long term unemployed.

I was something of an oddity at this establishment. “We don’t get people like you,” I was told. Professional people don’t use the Job Network. I went to work in a collar and tie. I had a stable employment history. I knew what to put in a curriculum vitae. I didn’t need training in how to write a job application. I had my own internet connection and computer at home so I didn’t need to use the facilities they provided. I was already familiar with the list of employment websites they gave me. [Read more…]

British Prime Minister David Cameron Announces Immigration Cut

The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has delivered a keynote speech on immigration.

This is the full text of Cameron’s speech.

A year ago, we were in the middle of a general election campaign. And there was one message I heard loud and clear on the doorstep: we want things to be different. People said they wanted a government that didn’t just do what was good for the headline or good for their party but good for the long term and good for our country. That’s what we’re engaged in.

Clearly, cutting public spending isn’t popular, but it’s right to bring sense to our public finances. People said they wanted a government that actually trusted them to use their own common sense. That’s the kind of government we want to be – giving neighbourhoods and individuals a whole range of new powers … scrapping so much of the bureaucracy that drove us mad.

People said they were sick of seeing those who did the right thing get punished and the wrong thing rewarded. Again, that’s what we’re acting on. In welfare we’re ending the system that took money from hard-working taxpayers and gave it to people who refused to work. These are the differences we are trying to make – listening to people, doing the hard and necessary work of changing our country for the better. [Read more…]

Sydney Institute Speech: Gillard Warns of Tight Budget

The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, says Australia is entering a period of “record fiscal consolidation”, and has warned of a tight budget next month.

Julia Gillard addresses The Sydney Institute


Addressing The Sydney Institute, Gillard said “the time for government to step back is in this Budget.” She said the government “will be making hard decisions in this Budget to prevent greater pain in the long term.” [Read more…]

Combet: Tackling Climate Change Is In The National Interest

This is the text of Climate Change Minister Greg Combet’s speech to the National Press Club.

Tackling climate change is in the national interest

Today I will explain the steps the Government is taking to tackle climate change by putting a price on carbon pollution.

The foundation of any such policy is the climate science.

The evidence of atmospheric warming is very strong, and the potential for dangerous climate impacts is high. The scientific advice is that carbon pollution is the cause.

Globally, 2010 was the warmest year on record, with 2001 to 2010 the warmest decade. 2010 is the 34th consecutive year with global temperatures above the 20th-century average.

In Australia, each decade since the 1940s has been warmer than the preceding decade. With rising temperatures we can expect to see more extreme weather events, including more frequent and intense droughts, floods and bushfires.

The environmental consequences translate readily into economic costs – as well as potential negative impacts on water security, coastal development, infrastructure, agriculture, and health. [Read more…]

Defence Minister Announces Review Of ADF Treatment Of Women

The Defence Minister, Stephen Smith, has announced that Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick will lead “an examination of the treatment of women at the Australian Defence Force Academy.”

The review will include an examination of “unhealthy drinking cultures”, the impact of social media, and a “cultural stocktake” that will look at the ADF’s codes of conduct and behaviours.

The review was announced by Smith at a press conference this afternoon. He was accompanied by the Chief of the Defence Force, Angus Houston. [Read more…]

Prime Minister, It’s Time To Sack Kevin Rudd

Julia Gillard should sack Kevin Rudd.

Kevin RuddShe should have done it around 10.30pm on Monday night when his breach of the Cabinet principle of collective responsibility was being digested by the Q&A audience.

Of course, not only has Gillard not sacked Rudd, she hasn’t even shown any sign of slapping him down.

Asked about Rudd’s comments last Monday, government ministers have been at pains to say that they don’t want to rake over “history”. Gillard said she would leave discussion and analysis of the matter to “the historians”.

But it’s not history – not yet. The matters in question are as relevant now as they were exactly a year ago. As they were then, a carbon price and an emissions trading scheme are front and centre of today’s political debate. The Gillard government’s fate hinges on its handling of these issues. [Read more…]

Kevin Rudd on QandA

Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd appeared on the ABC’s QandA tonight and commented on the politics surrounding his government’s decision last year to postpone introduction of the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Rudd said he made an “error of judgement” in pushing out the start date to 2013. He said others in the party wanted to abandon the ETS altogether, whilst others wanted to proceed straight ahead, even though the government lacked the numbers to pass the legislation in the Senate. [Read more…]

Barack Obama Launches 2012 Re-Election Campaign

President Barack Obama has officially announced his bid for re-election in 2012.

The announcement came via this video posted on YouTube.

The election will take place on November 6, 2012. Obama’s term runs until January 20, 2013.

[Read more…]

So Much For Parliament In Queensland

There is something contemptuous and demeaning about what is happening to the institution of Parliament in Queensland.

NewmanLiberal National Party (LNP) MPs have unanimously endorsed Campbell Newman as their leader at a partyroom meeting this morning.

Newman resigned as Lord Mayor of Brisbane yesterday, following his endorsement as the LNP candidate for Ashgrove.

One year out from the scheduled election, a private citizen is presenting himself as the Leader of the Opposition.

For the first time in living memory, the principle that political leaders are drawn from the elected members of parliament has been turned on its head.

So what was going through the minds of the 34 LNP members of parliament this morning? How many of them felt the humiliation, indignity and powerlessness they had just demonstrated to the world? [Read more…]