Kevin Rudd resigns as Foreign Minister


Bitter enemies

Our dysfunctional Labor government limps from crisis to disaster and back to crisis again, as Kevin Rudd finally pulls the plug and resigns. Julia Gillard is expected to call a leadership ballot on Monday:

THE Gillard government faces days of uncertainty until Kevin Rudd declares whether he will challenge Julia Gillard for the Labor leadership, go to the parliamentary backbench or even resign from his Brisbane seat and force a by-election.

As government sources last night revealed the Prime Minister would today call a special caucus meeting for a leadership ballot on Monday, NSW independent Tony Windsor warned it was “more than likely” a change of leader would trigger a return to the polls.

And Wayne Swan launched an extraordinary attack on Mr Rudd, saying that “for too long, Kevin Rudd has been putting his own self-interest ahead of the interests of the broader labour movement and the country as a whole, and that needs to stop”.

Mr Rudd’s dramatic 1am resignation in Washington yesterday threw the parliamentary Labor Party into even more confusion and bitter recrimination as supporters of Mr Rudd and Ms Gillard blamed each other for the damaging events. (source)

Time’s up. A new election is required. This government has no credibility and no future.

Gillard finished as Australian Prime Minister?


Finished?

The governing Labor party is in turmoil. Polling shows an election now would sweep Tony Abbott’s conservative Coalition into power in a landslide. Julia Gillard has lost the trust of the public, and her own MPs, after a string of high profile embarrassments.

Labor really has nowhere to go. Some are talking of a return of Kevin Rudd, who was unceremoniously stabbed in the back in the mid-2010. But there is no obvious alternative candidate. If they dump Gillard, there will need to be an election. Australia may still dodge the bullet of the carbon tax, due to come into force in the middle of the year.

JULIA Gillard faced a revolt last night by marginal seat MPs who publicly called for her to resign as Prime Minister.

For the first time, marginal seat MPs including Victoria’s Darren Cheeseman went public with a demand she quit to save the party.

“There’s no doubt about it: Julia Gillard can’t take the party forward. The community has made its mind up on her,” he told the Sunday Herald Sun.

“Certainly, it would be in the interests of the party for Julia to stand down and allow (the) Government to select a strong candidate.”

One of Ms Gillard’s senior ministers also urged her to “resign now”, as Cabinet erupted into open warfare over a leadership showdown.

“For the good of the party, for the good of the Government, she should stand down,” the senior minister, who declined to be named, said.

Some supporters predicted yesterday the Prime Minister might yet be forced to spill the leadership and fight, but this was ruled a high-risk strategy because it would expose Kevin Rudd’s support levels.

But the Gillard camp has not ruled out sacking Mr Rudd as the Foreign Affairs Minister.

The Gillard camp maintains she has more than 65 votes in the 103-person ALP caucus, but even her supporters concede a ballot is high-risk because it is likely to show that more than a third of MPs want her gone.

Her supporters say Mr Rudd has between 30 and 34 votes, while six are unknown.

A Labor powerbroker warned Mr Rudd was destroying the party, driving down the primary vote with relentless destabilisation.

“He’s taken ALP caucus hostage,” they said. 

“His message is, ‘I’ll shoot the Prime Minister if you don’t give me the job’.

But both sides believe Ms Gillard will not resign. (source)

And while Labor fiddles with its own internal wrangling, Australia burns – no direction, no focus, no plan for the future. Time for a grown-up government again.

Australian politics update


Parliament House, Canberra

Primarily for our international readers, I thought it might be useful to review the current political situation in Australia. Why? Because if the present government loses power, our famous (or should I say, infamous) carbon tax will go too.

In August 2010, the general election was so close that it came down to three independents holding the balance of power to determine which party formed government. In the end, the independents sided with Julia Gillard’s Labor party, with two of them, Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor, betraying their naturally conservative electorates.

Gillard signed a deal with the Greens, effectively buying their support with a promise to take urgent action on climate change. As a result, the carbon tax legislation was enacted and is due to come into force later this year.

Gillard also came to an arrangement with another independent MP, Andrew Wilkie, promising to introduce “pre-commitment” technology on the country’s many “pokies” or slot machines as they are known elsewhere.

However, in the past few months a number of events have occurred which have put Gillard’s minority government on even shakier ground.

Firstly, Labor MP Craig Thomson has been embroiled in a rather unsavoury saga involving allegations concerning the use of a union-funded credit card to procure the services of prostitutes. More of this later.

Secondly, Gillard welched on the pokie deal with Andrew Wilkie, who has withdrawn his support for the Gillard government. Gillard would never have been able to force the legislation through, since pokies are essential to the survival of many Labor-dominated workers clubs in the suburbs. Maybe Gillard forgot this obvious fact when she signed the agreement with Wilkie…

Thirdly, at the end of last year Gillard poached maverick Liberal MP Peter Slipper to take on the role of Speaker of the House of Representatives (a position formerly held by a Labor MP, Harry Jenkins). This added an extra vote to Gillard’s numbers. However, “Slippery Pete” (as he’s affectionately known in the media) has a few issues himself, having been accused of making excessive claims for travel expenses. See Andrew Bolt here for more on this subject.

As for Craig Thomson, allegations are flying that Labor has been involved in delaying the inquiry into Thomson’s actions in order to protect the tiny majority on which it operates. I predict this is going to blow up spectacularly in the next few weeks. Again, Bolt has more here.

Finally, many of you will have seen the appalling pictures of Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott being herded out of a restaurant in Canberra by security staff, after a demonstration by occupiers of the “Tent Embassy”, who are protesting for aboriginal rights (and have been for 40 years).

It transpires that one of Gillard’s own staff tipped off the embassy occupiers (indirectly) that Tony Abbott was in a particular restaurant, fanning the flames by claiming that Abbott said the embassy should be removed. What he actually said was that those at the embassy should “move on” from the 1970s mindset, given that so much has been done to improve the lives of aborigines since then.

Gillard (as always) pleads ignorance (she does however sack the staffer concerned), and the Labor spin machine grinds into action with its default response: blame Abbott. No apology, no remorse, just vicious attacks. Except this time it’s not working, and the few conservative journalists we have here are digging deeper and deeper into this sordid little episode.

So the upshot of this is that Gillard’s wafer thin majority may be compromised from a number of directions in the near future. If there were to be an election now, the Liberals (in coalition with the Nationals) would romp home. Currently the two party preferred lead is 54% to 46%, which is huge. Labor is so desperate that there is even talk of bringing back Kevin Rudd, who Gillard knifed in 2010 to steal the leadership!

Tony Abbott has vowed to repeal the carbon tax in government. There may still be hope for Australia.

Interesting times!

 

TONIGHT: 7 News to run exclusive on Gillard's climate policy


UPDATE: Brian Wilshire on 2GB last night said:

“I’m told that Channel 7 at 6.00 tomorrow night in their news will have an exposé of what the government… has done and shouldn’t have done regarding the illusion of global warming, what they sometimes like to call climate change. They are letting the cat out of the bag tomorrow night, so I am told. I don’t have the details but I will be watching in anticipation.”

[Download the podcast for iTunes here, and skip to 1 hr 5 min 30 secs.]

7 News have just confirmed that they will be running an exclusive on Julia Gillard’s climate policy:

Fingers crossed…

Be sure to tune in!

Gillard and Co to waste $100 million on CO2 tax advertising


Your taxpayer dollars

[Jaw hits floor in disbelief at the arrogance and shamelessness of this government]. That’s ONE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS – in other words, an awful lot of nurses, police and teachers:

A $100 million taxpayer funded advertising and information blitz will be waged to sell the government’s carbon tax, despite promises to slash waste in Tuesday’s mini-budget.

The money will go to creating what the opposition has described as a new propaganda unit in the Department of Climate Change and Energy and to fund lobby groups to help sell the tax to consumers.

The figures, contained in Tuesday’s crisis mini-budget, come on top of the $24 million spent this year by the government on advertising the merits of the tax, and following promises to cut back on government ad spending to help bring the budget back to surplus. (source)

Utterly disgusting.

Labor's great betrayal


[tube]ApCwoj35d3M[/tube]
So the carbon tax bills are expected to pass through the Lower House today [UPDATE: The Bills passed the lower house at around 9.30am AEST]. In a strange kind of way, I am glad, because it demonstrates to the electorate clearly what principles Labor stands for. None – apart from its own survival.

If any Labor MPs had shown even a trace of any backbone and stood up for the democratic rights of the Australian people by voting against the Bills, it may have lifted Labor’s support in the polls, and made people reconsider Labor’s principles and values. As it is, however, they act true to form, like a bunch of gutless lemmings, more concerned with keeping their own jobs than respecting the wishes of the electorate.

Julia Gillard’s pre-election promise not to introduce a carbon tax was swiftly forgotten when it became clear that the Greens’ support would have to be bought with a commitment to rapid action on climate change. And clearly, in the minds of Labor, buying support was more important than an explicit pre-election promise. Over the next few months, there was much talk of “consultation” with the public about the carbon tax, but in reality it was all a sham. All the inquiries and meetings were simply a pretence, because if they had genuinely listened to public opinion, they would have abandoned the tax.

And Labor have deluded themselves by believing that global action is just around the corner. Only blind Freddy (and Labor) think that – the evidence is clear that the chance of any global deal is retreating faster than an IPCC-fudged Himalayan glacier.

But nothing was going to stop Labor passing these bills and therefore, with the Green’s continuing support, staying in power.

Because that is all that matters to Labor – power. Forget the wishes of the Australian people or the “national interest” (funny isn’t it how Labor uses this term so frequently), what drives Labor is staying in power.

And as a final insult, demonstrating Labor’s contempt for the people it is supposed to represent, they hope that the electorate are stupid enough to “forget” this betrayal, and “get used” to the pointless carbon tax.

Well this voter will neither forget the betrayal, nor get used to the tax. It will be at the front of my mind when I enter the polling booth at the next election, and I hope it will be in yours as well.

Who will Julia alienate next?


"Pokies"

We’ve had the miners and resource workers with the MRRT, then the truckies with the “Convoy of No Consequence” comment (thanks A. Albanese), and, of course, those understandably concerned about the merits of a unilateral carbon tax (expressly ruled out before the election) being branded as fruitcakes and extremists.

As if that wasn’t enough, Gillard is now taking on real Labor heartland – the AFL and the NRL, who are opposing Gillard’s poker machine reform. But this isn’t as insignificant as it sounds. Andrew Wilkie, one of the independents currently providing a working majority for Labor, has threatened to withdraw support if the reforms are not passed into law.

So despite the fact that everyone is focussed on asylum seekers or climate change, it may be the lowly poker machine that brings down Labor:

THE Gillard government has a powerful new opponent of its poker machine reforms, with a cashed-up alliance of rival football codes to back the clubs industry’s campaign during grand final week.

In a move anti-gambling campaigners are labelling a disgrace, the AFL and NRL are planning to run television advertisements this week against mandatory pre-commitment technology for high-intensity pokies.

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou and individual club presidents are scheduled to meet tomorrow to map out campaign strategies. (source)

Lies and spin launch carbon tax bills


The eighteen carbon [dioxide] tax bills were introduced into Parliament yesterday. As usual, Julia Gillard couched the introduction in lies, misrepresentations and spin.

Let us not forget what Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan said in August 2010, days before the last general election:

[tube]KMVc0IbtyAQ[/tube]

But, desperate to stay in power after the narrowest of election victories, and having sold out to the Greens for their support, Gillard and Swan promptly executed a 180 degree about turn, betraying the electorate to appease Bob Brown and his band of eco-tards.

Here is Gillard’s introduction, from Hansard (PDF), with some comments included:

This House has been debating climate change for decades. Parliamentary debate of this issue predates this building itself. My predecessor as member for Lalor, Barry Jones, once said this about climate change, ‘If we are only prepared to plan five years, 10 years, 15 years or 20 years down the track all the dangers that are feared can be avoided.’

Those words were spoken 24 years ago next week.

We have now had decades of heated public argument and political opinion.

Alongside decades of enlightened scientific research and economic analysis. [But this government only listens to the research and analysis that fits its pre-conceived agenda]

After all those opinions have been expressed, most Australians now agree [FALSE – most Australian’s strongly DISAGREE]:

  • our climate is changing [TRUE – as it has for 4.5 billion years]
  • this is caused by carbon pollution [FALSE – the relative contributions of natural and anthropogenic drivers is completely unknown]
  • this has harmful effects on our environment and on the economy [UNKNOWN – the effects of a natural global cooling could be far, far worse]
  • and the government should act. [FALSE – nothing Australia does alone will make any difference to the climate]

And after all that analysis has been done, most economists and experts [that I have selectively chosen to listen to, that is] also now agree: The best way is to make polluters pay [Australia’s most productive industries suffer] by putting a price on carbon. [Gillard still continues to refer to the harmless trace gas carbon dioxide as “carbon”]

So that is the policy of the government I lead. [Ironic that she chooses the identical phraseology to that used in the video above – just to rub it in, perhaps?]

And that is the plan which is before the House now.

A plan for a carbon-pricing mechanism which means around 500 big polluters pay [most productive Australian industries suffer] for every tonne of carbon pollution they put into our atmosphere.

A plan to cut carbon pollution by at least 160 million tonnes a year in 2020. [Which in real terms is square-root of bugger all]

A plan for tax cuts, increased pensions and increased family payments. [If you want people to reduce their usage of fossil fuels, why are we compensating them? Is it because this is more about wealth redistribution than climate change?]

A plan for clean energy jobs and investment [Total nonsense – every manufactured “green” job costs real people REAL jobs]. A plan for a clean energy future for our country [people will use “clean energy” by themselves when it is competitive. Forcing them to do so simply skews the market and allows green industries to cream massive subsidies].

Today we move from words to deeds. This parliament is going to get this done. [We’ll see]

This government is riding roughshod over the electorate of Australia. It has no mandate to introduce this tax, and should rightly put the question to the people of Australia at an election. The opinion polls tell the story. Ordinary Australians have had enough of the lies and spin. We can only hope that one or two Labor MPs with a conscience (are there any??) will vote it down out of principle. But I think that is highly unlikely. Just a bunch of brainwashed lemmings that do as they are told.

Labor: political survival above national interest


"Ha ha! F*** you, Australia!"

Ironic that this story breaks on the one year anniversary of “There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead.” A more obvious sign that Labor and Gillard are more interested in clinging on to power than doing what is in the best interests of the country is difficult to imagine – a damning indictment of any political leader.

Why else would she refuse to reconsider the carbon [dioxide] tax in the face of serious international financial concerns, and the possibility of a GFC Mark II? There couldn’t be a worse time to introduce yet another tax – especially a tax on everything like this one (ignore the 400/500 biggest polluters nonsense – it’s all spin. Everyone will pay more for just about anything you care to mention). Even in sound economic times it would be suicidal, but with the US faltering and European countries lining up to default, it is beyond madness.

So why is she pressing on? Because she knows if she backs away from the toxic tax, the Greens support will evaporate (don’t forget, Labor bribed the Greens with a cowardly promise of urgent action on climate), and there will be an election – which Labor will lose catastrophically. So political survival takes precedence of the interests of the nation and the people whom she is supposed to represent. Disgraceful.

THE Gillard government has vowed to forge ahead with its carbon tax amid growing financial uncertainty, saying the “manageable” economic reform” will deliver certainty to Australian businesses.

While the worsening economic outlook has the government edging away from its 2012-13 return-to-surplus deadline, Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said the carbon tax would go ahead regardless.

“Yes we have had a period unfortunately of great uncertainty in international markets driven by debt concerns in Europe in particular,” he told ABC radio, as protesters gathered for a new anti-carbon tax rally outside Parliament House.

“However this is a reform to our economy that is necessary in the long term, it is a manageable economic reform, what’s more it will deliver certainty.” (source)

Maybe Greg will front up at the carbon dioxide tax demonstration in Canberra today to explain… Ha, not a chance. This government has abandoned the country.

Embarrassing: Gillard wanted direct action approach to climate


You won't be laughing...

In other words, Julia Gillard wanted to pursue a policy very similar to that presently advocated by, er, the Coalition. Oops.

It’s common knowledge that Gillard opposed the ETS being pushed by Kevin Rudd in 2009, and now it has been revealed that she encouraged alternatives to a carbon [dioxide] price, which can only realistically mean some kind of direct action policy.

It’s also common knowledge that the carbon dioxide price is the Greens’ policy, but even so, the revelation that she favoured an approach other than a carbon dioxide price is deeply embarrassing for Labor and Gillard, desperate to force through a carbon tax without a mandate and in the face of huge public opposition:

JULIA Gillard faces new pressure over her climate change convictions as Tony Abbott seized on a report revealing she previously pushed for a bipartisan approach that didn’t involve a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme.

Mr Abbott today questioned what Ms Gillard stood for, saying her post-election carbon tax plan had been dictated by the Greens.

“What that shows is that the Prime Minister’s attacks on our policy aren’t genuine,” Mr Abbott told ABC radio today.

“It demonstrates that the policy that the government is currently adopting is Bob Brown’s policy. Not Julia Gillard’s policy.”

The Australian Financial Review reports that Ms Gillard, as deputy prime minister, had encouraged the Rudd government’s “kitchen cabinet” to shelve plans for a carbon price in favour of other alternatives.

The revelation is extremely damaging for Ms Gillard, who with Treasurer Wayne Swan urged Kevin Rudd to dump his emissions trading scheme.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister today said the government did not comment on cabinet processes, but did not refute the story.

Mr Abbott said it now appeared Ms Gillard had backed the Coalition’s direct action policy.

“No-one can take her seriously,” he said.

“The nearest we get to ‘real Julia’ when it comes to climate change policy is the note that she gave to the inner cabinet just before she became prime minister herself where she said what the government should do is embrace the kind of policy the Coalition’s got.” (source)

Like Combet and the rest of her government, they have been blackmailed by the Greens to take urgent action on climate change, in direct opposition to Gillard’s previous position.

So when Gillard says “It’s the right thing to do”, she says that with a loaded gun to her head, wielded by Bob Brown and Christine Milne.

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