La, la, la, la, la …

A sad feature of the Gillard slush fund affair is the extraordinary length the love media, the ABC and Fairfax, have gone to not to cover it. What they did cover was their eyes and ears whilst humming “La, la, la, la, la … “.
And when the prime minister did take questions on the matter it wasn’t from those with the questions prepared. She chose her battleground cleverly and let ill-prepared troops fight themselves to exhaustion. Smart.

The apologists loved it.

The Age

JULIA Gillard lashed out at ‘’misogynists and the nut jobs on the internet’’ and ‘’false and defamatory’’ reports in the Murdoch pressas she delivered a 50-minute blow-by-blow rebuttal of allegations that she behaved improperly during her time as an industrial lawyer.

As well, The Age found a tangent to go off on

WHEN Julia Gillard lashed out at the ‘’misogynist nut jobs on the internet’’ yesterday, she had in mind one man above all others, the famed former political cartoonist Larry Pickering.

Michelle Grattan found

 Her explanations were credible … This affair has been raked over sufficiently.

The chorus line at the ABC were singing from the same sheet, “Nothing to see here, folks, move along.”

But there is something to see here. Labor is owned and operated by the Unions for the Unions. The Thomson, Williamson scandal has shown that the internal affairs of Unions can be corrupt. The leader of the Labor party has had this to say

“It’s, it’s common practice, indeed every union has what it refers to as a re-election fund, slush fund, whatever, which is the funds that the leadership team, into which the leadership team puts money so that they can finance their next election campaign… “

and not “in the context of a casual and jovial conversation”, it was said in a formal interview with her seniors that concluded with her resignation from the law firm Slater and Gordon. Said after setting up a slush fund that was not used for its stated purpose or for a re-election campaign but as a means of diverting money extorted from building firms into the pockets of Union heavies.

So, refreshing to find a Fairfax piece having a better look at the Slush Puppy’s past deeds. But remember casual and jovial the conversation was not.

Muzzles ready …

Gemma Daley in the Fin Review reports …

Federal cabinet is set to approve and present to Parliament a tough public interest test for media ownership …

Labor MPs have been told to sell the idea of a media crackdown to their electorates over the next six weeks …

Labor MP Joel Fitzgibbon to say the Australian media was beginning to behave like that in the UK. “I think what we have seen over Craig Thomson is the first step down a Fleet Street style of journalism and clear evidence we need an independent regulator,” he said at the time.

Labor senator Doug Cameron cited the Slipper affair yesterday in his push for greater regulation of the media, particularly News Ltd.

“The conduct of News Ltd over a long period . . . is a threat to democracy in this country,”

The greater threat to democracy is over-regulation of the media. There is no constitutional right to free speech enshrined in the Australian Constitution, possibly because the founding father’s thought the necessity of free speech to a Westminster style democracy so obvious that it didn’t need to be stated. Much of the Fin Review article concerns the Thomson and Slipper affairs. Labor has been unable to sweep these matters under the carpet because a section of the media have not allowed them that luxury. Labor’s response – muzzle the press.

Grubby …

“To buy a story from a prostitute is cheque book journalism at its worst,”

“Who is going to take this seriously when they pay a prostitute money? It has absolutely no credibility.”

Said Mr Thomson.

A, B, C …

Mr. Thomson gave his explanation to parliament yesterday, today we have had the post mortems.

Mr. Oakeshott was glad to see him stand up. And I agree he did stand up and his performance was not the worst parliamentary speech I’ve heard. Standing up though is merely the equivalent of writing your name on the exam paper, it’s what you write on the answer pages that get you the marks. The Herald Sun, I thought, did a pretty good job of demolishing the content.

Mr. Thomson, himself, also gave us a clue. In the phone cloning claims he gave the example of criminals conversing by phone, the cops had a warrant to listen in to calls between phone A and phone B, only to discover that the call was billed to phone C. Problem is Craig your phone was phone A – the calls were billed to you.

 

QED …

I have just finished listening to Mr. Thomson’s address to the parliament.

It ran along fairly predictable lines. It began with an outline of how good his work and Labor government has been for Dobell noting among many, many other benefits some additional netball courts.

Then his attempts to tighten accountability at the HSU where he was a good guy. On to the bad people who he said were Ms. Jackson and Mr. Williamson. From there to the bad organisation being FWA and Mr. Nassios. Consolidation followed by linking other bad people with the Union (Ms. Jackson’s former husband) and with FWA (Ms. Jackson’s current partner). The report being unfair, wrong and unduly slow.

All expenditure was accounted for by union rules and electoral law. He was set up by others to make it look like he had enjoyed the services of prostitutes. Threats to do so by Mr. Bolano are on the record. Phones can be impersonated, you know, and identity theft is rife.

The media are all bastards except some that are good guys, but that certainly doesn’t include channel 7 spying on his pregnant wife (breaks down in tears at this point).

Thanks to supporters, reminder to all that he is innocent until proven guilty and that anyone who thinks otherwise is therefore guilty of crimes against him and his family.

Which leads inexorably to the grand conclusion, I kid you not, that Mr. Abbott is unfit to be a member of parliament. (I think he had help from Penny Wong on that bit). Followed by applause.

What dilemma … ?

Andrew Bolt brings us this from the Herald Sun …

LIBERAL MP Geoff Shaw’s taxpayer-funded parliamentary car and petrol cards were used on interstate delivery runs for his hardware supplies business over several months. Three whistleblowers connected to the Frankston MP’s hardware business have revealed the car, a Ford Territory, was used for Mr Shaw’s private commercial purposes in breach of parliamentary rules…

Photos obtained by the Sunday Herald Sun show the parliamentary car being loaded with Southern Cross Hardware supplies at the company’s headquarters in Carrum Downs in November.

Hansard records show that on November 8, 2011, while his taxpayer-funded car was being driven to Adelaide, Mr Shaw was in (the Victorian) Parliament where he spoke about government energy schemes and he invited the Tourism Minister, Louise Asher, to visit Frankston.

For a government with a one seat majority, a dilemma.

There is no dilemma. If this is found to be true then Mr. Shaw is unfit, he should be made to repay and resign. The alternative would prove that the Parliaments of Australia have learnt nothing from the Thomson affair.

And whilst assessing the collective intelligence of the Parliaments of Australia would have to be approached with caution it would be very sad if it were so low as to let this fester for the life of a government.

Gillard speaks true …

There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead,” said Julia.

And at the ACTU Congress she said …

I understand that Australians have been screamed at now by the Opposition for more than a year.

They’ve been told that they need to be very afraid, they’ve been screamed at relentlessly and we all know a good fear campaign when we see one. Press release.

I really didn’t see a fear campaign last year.

The opposition is having too easy a time to need a fear campaign. All it has to do is sit back and watch the Labor government stumble around with its knickers around its ankles, hanging onto easy targets like Thomson and Slipper as though they were life jackets, whilst lurching from crisis to crisis. It gets all the publicity it needs for nothing more than a Penny … “AbbottAbbottAbbott”. Pink batts, school halls, kangaroos and Holden cars …

Mr. Kelty didn’t buy it ..

“Real pressures on living standards, high unemployment; but we never, ever lost a sense of hope and trust that governments and unions would see it out and there would be a better future,” he said.

“Today, we have better economic conditions, but that hope and that trust has retreated.”

He said it is too easy to blame poor polling on the media and the Opposition.

“I’ve got to be frank: it’s too easy to blame the media, too easy to blame the playthings of politics.

“And there’s no purpose blaming the Opposition for doing what after all you would expect them to do, and that’s to beat you.”

Mr Kelty says Labor needs to tell the public the truth. ABC.

But good news towards the end of her speech, Julia finally does tell the truth …

This is a fantastic country. A fantastic country of hope, a fantastic country of opportunity. And as Prime Minister in these days where Australians are so frequently invited to be afraid, to be afraid of carbon pricing, to be afraid about managing their cost-of-living, to be afraid about their jobs, to be afraid about the future. As your Prime Minister, I will move the Australian people from these days of fear to days of hope.

Indeed you will, inexorably we move toward an election and days of hope.

Let’s shoot the whistleblower …

Whistles can be very distracting, they completely ruin the footy …

Kathy Jackson, was charged $40,882.16 by Toomey Pegg Lawyers between December and February to prepare her response to three minor findings against her in the draft report by Fair Work Australia.

When Fair Work Australia’s final report was released last week, two of the alleged breaches of the Registered Organisations Act against Ms Jackson had been dropped and she faced just one, concerning the failure to lodge a financial return in 2007 after she took over the union from the suspended MP, Craig Thomson.

Ms Jackson’s request for the union to pay her legal fees was rebuffed …

Ms Jackson said yesterday that she was ”very unhappy” about the decision, especially as the union had been picking up the legal fees of the suspended national president, Michael Williamson, and, until recently, the NSW ALP had footed the legal bill for Mr Thomson.

The Herald revealed yesterday that the low-paid members of the scandal-ridden union had so far paid about $150,000 to defend Mr Williamson, while Mr Thomson’s legal bills had reached $200,000.

SMH