Footnote …

Mr Slipper, believe it or not, is still drawing a salary at the taxpayers’ expense.

Yesterday he made a valedictory address although he wasn’t promising not to stand again for the seat of Fisher. He used parliamentary privilege to accuse the opposition of plotting against him. According to the Australian …

Mr Slipper said former attorney-general Nicola Roxon had mentioned the possibility of an “Ashbygate” royal commission.

“I have spoken to other senior ministers in the government, I do understand that matter is under active consideration …

It’s not hard to imagine Ms Roxon embarking on such a venture, it would be well inside the very elastic envelope of her judgement. Nor is it unusual for someone facing criminal charges to say “Hey, investigate someone else”.

Pathetic man, a footnote to history.

Just remember, wearing someone elses slippers can lead to a nasty case of tinia.

 

Gillard’s greatest sin …

James Allan, Garrick Professor of Law, University of Queensland is on sabbatical at the University of San Diego School of Law and writes …

I tried a little experiment here at my sabbatical university in California. I asked a few members of the law school (from across the political spectrum) to guess which country in the world wanted to: stop speech that offended, insulted or humiliated some people; that for other matters applying to more potential people, just humiliated them; that reversed the onus of proving when this had happened so that the self-proclaimed victim could basically just sit back and force the accused to prove he hadn’t done this (good luck on that); that makes defendants pay their own legal bills, even if they end up winning, and more.

I got guesses ranging from various South American countries through African ones, and on to Singapore and godawful authoritarian countries in Asia and elsewhere. Not a single one of them guessed Australia. It presumably never entered their heads.

When I told them they couldn’t believe it.

As I said, it’s embarrassing being an Australian right now. And what we all need, all of us regardless of our other political views on other issues, is to fight this awful government proposal tooth and nail.

Sure, there’s been a partial backdown. But it’s only partial. And sure, Ms Roxon is now gone. But even what remains is an egregious attack on free speech. Mr. Abbott and the Coalition need to do more than just oppose this bill. They need to promise they will go to a double dissolution election if necessary to rid us of an outrageous mess.

And that cannot be all. For there already exists s.18C of the Racial Discrimination Act and all of that needs to go too, however much certain lobby groups that matter to the Coalition might be opposed to its repeal. This is about a key matter of principle. Mr. Abbott and Mr. Brandis, seeing where complacency on free speech has led us, need to be firm and make it clear that the whole proposed and existing edifice must go.

If anyone complains that that’s an extremist position, you can tell him or her that in California there would still be much more scope for people to speak their minds than in an Australia purged of these odious Nicola Roxon proposals and purged of s.18C. Even then you would be more constrained in what you can say in Australia than anywhere in the US.

The entire article can be read <HERE>.

Julia gets her Roxoff …

It’s now a race against time for Nicola … what sort of dent can she make in our freedom of speech with so little time left to do it.

Julia tells us that she knew of Nicola’s plan to depart a year ago. It must have been shortly after telling Julia the news that she was promoted to Attorney General, makes sense.

And farewell Senator Chris Evans, with three years of his term unserved (yet another Parole Board error?). Famous for dismantling the Pacific solution and boasting …

“The Rudd government pledged to dismantle the Pacific Solution. It has been done and there is no intention to return to that shameful period.”

He will be replaced in the portfolio for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs, Science and Research by Chris Bowen, fresh from his half arsed attempt to return us to “that shameful period.”

But some good news for the government … the celebrity minister for pink batts announces that the computer hand-out has been ‘’delivered on time and within budget’’. The importance of this project can be judged by his own words just 12 months ago …

“If the Opposition had their way, thousands of kids would miss out on new technology and the computers they do have would never be replaced or upgraded,” Mr Garrett said.

“In contrast, the Australian Government believes every kid in every school should have the best possible education … “

Can’t understand why they’ve scrapped it really.

 

And a happy new year …

Back in town.

I would like to say cool and refreshed, but can admit to being back in town.

I wish all of you a happy new year except Bashar Asad, if you’re reading … you’re not included.

I haven’t been in touch, so I have a bit of catching up to do. I’m pleased to see that America failed to disappear over the fiscal cliff. And they go on shooting each other, everything normal there.

Julia is charging from hot spot to hot spot saying things to improve her profile. Reminiscent of Anna Bligh, whatever happened to Anna Bligh?

In fact the prime minister’s special vehicle has been charging around a little too quick at times and has run up a few speeding fines. Her office is refusing to say who was at the wheel. Tim Blair is running a cheeky little poll as to who it might be. Pop over and join in – just click <HERE>.

The nice Mr Slipper has been summonsed to appear at the Canberra magistrate’s court, something to do with taxi vouchers. I expect Nicola or Julia will mussel up on his behalf.

Interesting year in store …

Theatre of the absurd …

Back in the old country …

The council worker is suing bosses after accusing colleagues of making racist comments – including constantly greeting him with ‘G’day, sport’.

Mr Stephens, 48, is a community warden who has lived in Britain for 26 years.

He said he was on a ‘cocktail of anti-depressants’ because of the constant abuse which he claims will ‘eventually kill him’.

He added that he asked fellow wardens to stop making Australian jokes, but they continued.

They regularly greet him by saying ‘G’day, sport’ and ‘Is your girlfriend called Sheila?’.

Other phrases include ‘throw another shrimp on the barbie’ and jokes about kangaroos.

Stupid Australian …

The Daily Mail reports that the row started after New Zealander Chelsea O’Reilly called the police following a fight between her neighbour Petra Mills and her husband in Macclesfield, England.Ms O’Reilly said: “She called me a stupid, fat Australian …

Judge Brian Donohue …

“The word Australian was used. It was racially aggravated and the main reason it was used was in hostility,” he said.

She was fined 110 pounds ($168) for racially aggravated public disorder, 50 pounds to be awarded to Ms O’Reilly and 500 pounds to cover all court costs.

Stupid poms …

We couldn’t be that stupid could we? However, Nicola’s on the case …

For the first time ever, discrimination on the basis of “political opinions” will be unlawful. 

Further, the bill defines discrimination to be any “conduct that offends, insults or intimidates” another person (see Section 19 here). That means that expressing an opinion that offends someone else’s political opinions is now grounds for discrimination if it occurs in certain contexts, such as in the workplace.

Stupid Australians.

But the stupid Kiwi can have the penultimate word …

Miss O’Reilly, 21, who has dual British and New Zealand nationality, told magistrates: ‘She knew I was from New Zealand. She was trying to be offensive. I was really insulted.’

Insulted to be called an Australian, as an Australian I find that very insulting … where do I collect the compo?


 

Nicci Rox …

THE nation’s chief law maker Nicola Roxon is totally satisfied the prime minister did not act improperly over the setting up of a union slush fund.

Julia Gillard has consistently denied she did anything wrong or personally benefited from setting up the Australian Workers Union Workplace Reform Association for her then partner Bruce Wilson while working as a lawyer in the 1990s.

Ms Gillard has conceded the association was a slush fund that Wilson and other union officials used to fund their re-election campaign.

She told West Australian authorities the purpose of the association was for training and workplace safety.

Federal Attorney-General Nicola Roxon says allegations against Ms Gillard are unwarranted.

“I’m totally satisfied that Julia had not done anything improper or anything unlawful and in fact no actual allegation of impropriety is being made against her,” Ms Roxon told ABC radio.

I wonder how much comfort that gives our Julia given the company it puts her in …

Ms Roxon was asked whether Mr Thomson should be suspended from the ALP until the matter is resolved.

“It’s an option in theory, and maybe as things develop,” she said.

“But we haven’t had actually any content. There’s been all this swirling allegation [but] no one actually is aware of what is being alleged in detail.”

And she was vigorously defending Mr Slipper after having every opportunity to read the emails that ensured he had no prospect of a defense …

On Tuesday night, it emerged during a Senate estimates hearing that the Attorney-General was briefed on June 9 about the hundreds of dubious or distasteful text messages sent by Slipper to his staffer James Ashby.

Four days later, on June 13, Roxon instructed the Solicitor-General to seek to have Ashby’s case struck out. She also gave instructions to seek a waiver for the government to be allowed to use the texts to have Ashby sacked.

Also on June 13, in a further attempt to shut down the case, the government offered to pay damages to Ashby to settle his sexual harassment claim.

Two days later, despite her knowledge of the scale and nature of the texts sent by Slipper, the Attorney-General held a press conference and said this: ”The Commonwealth strongly believes that this process has been one which is really for an ulterior purpose … the Commonwealth has obtained a vast amount of material … It will be clearly shown … that there were in fact clear intentions to harm Mr Slipper and to bring his reputation into disrepute and to assist his political opponents and that was the purpose for the bringing of this claim.”

The political mischief in this case has never been in doubt. What was misleading about the Attorney-General’s statement was that the ”vast amount of material” was not merely vexatious. It buttressed a sexual harassment claim. It was also political dynamite.

Roxon also said something that was untrue: ”We aren’t bringing a strike-out application; Mr Slipper is.”

The shadow attorney-general, Senator George Brandis, told me yesterday: ”These texts, on any view, contain dozens of instances of predatory sexual conduct. So the Attorney-General’s claim that this was merely a vexatious case was extraordinary. Any person who read the texts would know instantly that Ashby had a case.

So, Ms Roxon, do you really believe it was entirely kosher to set up a slush fund? Do you believe Ms Gillard was present when Mr Blewitt signed the power of attorney that she witnessed? Did Mr Hem drop five grand in her bank account? Was her house renovated with proceeds of the slush fund? Do you think she may have withheld details of a swindle from her client the AWU? Do the missing documents cause you no concern?

Or is it the case that Julia is exactly as innocent as the other people you have recently defended?

Cane toads …

Ms. Gillard has threatened the states with a big stick. The response of West Australian Energy Minister Peter Collier …

 ”They can carry on with their political blackmail all they like … She has the credibility of a cane toad”.

I have never heard such vilification … of cane toads. But Professor Bunyip has occasionally been unkind to yabbies. I hope thes people have permission from Nicola Roxon.