Criticised: Prince Charles to open Commonwealth Games

Jai-Martinkovits

Jai Martinkovits responds to comments about Prince Charles representing the Queen at the Delhi Commonwealth Games.

Prince Charles is to represent his mother, opening the 2010 Commonwealth Games. There has been criticism of this move, describing it as:

“Very odd when the 'Head of the Commonwealth' position is not a hereditary position relating to the Monarchy. Charles is not the Head of the Commonwealth in waiting.”

How is this of any relevance?

Although it is inconceivable that the position would be held by anyone other than the Monarch, they fail to recognise is that Prince Charles is not representing his mother simply because he is her heir apparent.

The Queen is perfectly within her rights to appoint anyone she likes as her representative. She would obviously appoint someone appropriate.

This is not the first time the Queen has appointed someone to represent her at an opening ceremony. One such example is her appoint of the Duke of Edinburgh as her representative to the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne.

Jai is Spokesman for Young Australians for Constitutional Monarchy. Jai’s personal website is being launched by Senator Cory Bernardi on 22 October 2010 at NSW Parliament House. For more information on attending the launch click here

Conservatives should support legalizing drugs – latimes.com

For decades, the U.S. debate over drug legalization has pitted conservatives on one side against libertarians and some liberals on the other. A few conservatives have publicly opposed the drug war (e.g., National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr.), but most conservatives either endorse it or sidestep the issue.

Yet vigorous opposition to the drug war should be a no-brainer for conservatives. Legalization would not only promote specific policy objectives that are near and dear to conservative hearts, it is also consistent with core principles that conservatives endorse in other contexts.

via www.latimes.com

Click through to read the rest…

(Posted by TVA)

Time for an Appointed Speaker

Andrew-LewisThe debate about reforming the role of the speaker needs to move beyond 'pairs', writes Andrew Lewis.

If you thought a pair was a piece of fruit that was a not-so-distant relative of the apple, then you haven't been keeping an eye (or ear) on what has been happening in Australian Federal Politics recently.

A hung parliament, the result of Australia not really deciding on August 21, leads to all sorts of issues, not the least of which is the common practice of the Speaker of the House being taken from the government ranks, leaving them with one less vote on the floor than they normally would have, except when there is a tie when the Speaker can cast a deliberative vote to break the tie.

Now, I'm not calling on Harry Jenkins to use that vote to ensure a premiership for St Kilda. But the razor thin majority the Gillard Government has in the House of Representatives is effectively halved when Jenkins gets up in his high chair and starts presiding over parliamentary proceedings.

This means that any planned government travel during sitting days, illness, parental leave or unexplained absence at an inconvenient time could leave the government without the required numbers to pass legislation, regardless of the whims of Messrs Bandt, Wilkie, Oakeshott and Windsor.

Government ministers need, on occasion, to travel overseas to meet important people, and that opportunity may not always present itself during a week where parliament is not sitting. If Tony Abbott insists on playing hardball with parliamentary numbers, this may render the House of Representatives largely unworkable from a government standpoint until the minister returns to the House.

Which begs the question: why does the Speaker still need to be a member of the House?

It has been mentioned during the process to attract the support of the independents previously mentioned that taking the role of the Speaker would render the member unable to represent their constituents through Adjournment Debates, Matters of Public Importance, Member's Statements, and debates on individual pieces of legislation. To summarise, the Speaker cannot make any statements in the House except to rule on the conduct of the House and its members.

Despite the pay rise and additional staff, this makes the Speaker's job a less attractive one. You also need to be ever present in Parliament House in case of a division, and you need to be an expert on all the Standing Orders and Sessional Orders of the House.

Surely, this is a job that could be given to an appointed public servant, above party politics, expert on parliamentary procedure and practice, who would administer the rules of the House, without having a say on the composition of those rules, which would remain the responsibility of the lawmakers themselves.

In this country, governments appoint judges whose role is to interpret and administer law, but not to write law. The Speaker of the House would be a legal expert on the government payroll but administratively independent, part of the Department of the Parliament.

The person would also not be an elected member of a political party, and would therefore be above accusations of bias and partiality in their rulings in the House, which has often been a problem with governments usually enjoying more favour from the Speaker's chair than oppositions.

This would leave all 150 members of the House of Representatives free to represent their constituencies equally, and would also reflect the totality of the will of the people expressed at the most recent general election. This could also be applied to the Senate, although the reasons relating to representation, as Senators do not represent small constituencies but large states, are not as compelling.

Surely it is time that Australia leads the way, as it did with the secret ballot and the extension of the vote to women, in this important area of parliamentary practice, and made the Speaker of the House an appointed official, rather than an elected politician. 

Andrew is a Melbourne writer, and writes on politics and sport. He is a featured writer on the AFL site www.bigfooty.com, and also has his own blog, which can be found here.

Happy Meal Heroin

A new low from the vile freedom-hating, fun-destroying, nanny state paternalist Grinchs hell-bent on sucking every bit of joy and happiness out of our lives, who, in their quest for Big Brother to ban everything that provides even the slightest bit of enjoyment, have decided that hamburgers are identical to heroin. 
 
These people are stark raving mad. But even worse, policy makers are actually listening to these morally repulsive, ethically-deficient and intellectually-challenged crackpots.

(H/T Dick Puddlecoate)

(Posted by TVA)

Senator Doug Cameron on the Tea Parties

If yesterday's Hansard is any guide, Senator Cameron really isn't a fan of the Tea Parties, or Grover:

It could get even worse for America due to th emergence of the Tea Party movement, whose leaders are now advising the coalition in this country. The Tea Party, or at least those who seek to lead it, is made up of dangerous right-wing radicals whose leaders have deep roots in American fascism. It is a movement dedicated to disabling the democratic state and replacing itwith an undemocratic corporate plutocracy. Mr. Grover Norquist, a leader of the Tea Party movement—or at least a senior advisor to them—and President of Americans for Tax Reform, a front group for the wealthy elite in the US, has come here arguing that we should seek exemption from paying taxes. He was in Canberra on Monday for meetings with members ofthe Liberal Party. If Mr Norquist’s interview with Leigh Sales on Lateline the other evening is anything to go by, we can expect the coalition to take on board advice to cut income and capital gains taxes for the super rich, privatise Australia Post and a host of other government services, and dismantle Australia’s superannuation system and turn it over to the merchant bankers and stockbrokers, placing at risk the retirement savings of working people. And that would just be the start for a Tea Party type coalition in this country. Here in Australia, while we face challenges of our own, we do not need an antipodean tea party to help us along.

Ahh, if only we really could expect the Coalition to adopt such policies!

(Posted by TVA)

NOTICE

THE ANARCHIST COUNCIL would like to remind all members that proper procedures must be followed in calling local meetings, even when they are so-called emergency meetings. The bylaws of the Council specifically mandate that meetings must be advertised in the usual channels both three days in advance of the meeting and twenty-four hours before the meeting is held. These rules have been handed down to us from the founders of our organization, and we will not hear any arguments that some supposed exigency is more important than the bylaws that have sustained us for more than a century. Sloppy and uncoordinated work like that does not advance the cause of Anarchy. Appropriate action will be taken against any local chapter presidents who violate these bylaws, and repeat offenders will be removed and a new president imposed by the Supreme Executive.

via drboli.wordpress.com

(Posted by TVA)

Slash top tax rate for growth, says Forbes

STEVE Forbes has called on Australia to cut its top income tax rate to as low as 17 per cent.

The chairman and chief executive of the eponymous Forbes business publication empire said Australia's top income-tax rate of 47 per cent was "much too high".

"I have always advocated that Australia should adopt a flat tax," he said in an interview.

"Or at least cut your top tax rate, which is way too high."

Mr Forbes said it was important people in an economy focused on being productive rather than dealing with a "complex tax code".

He also called for a re-introduction of the gold standard in the US and the US Federal Reserve Board to maintain the value of gold at about $US1000 an ounce.

Mr Forbes blamed Ben Bernanke for devaluing the US dollar with the Federal Reserve chairman's easy money policy.

"The US should go back on a gold standard," he said.

Mr Forbes said it was important that Australia also kept up its investment in infrastructure.

He said he proposed a flat tax rate in the US of about 17 per cent.

He said other countries that had flat tax rates ranged between 10 per cent to 24 per cent.

"It's better than the 47 per cent that you have now," he said.

via www.theaustralian.com.au

(Posted by TVA)

Why have the Social Democrats monopolised State Government over recent years?

Matthew-KellyMatt Kelly analyses why the centre-right has not been able to fully connect with the wider voting public.

Education and health issues would appear to be the reason that slick union-backed marketing campaigns headed by mouthy Marxist apologists have convinced electors that they are better off with the high taxing 'consensus' policy choices of the ALP rather than the alternative.

But honestly, where has the centre-right gone wrong in selling the message that it has a better approach based on competency and integrity? Take NSW as an example: the last time NSW had a centre right government the youngest voter was born in 1978. That voter is now 32 and has on average 2.3 children. Why don't they wish to see an alternative government?

The answer it seems, is that they are not inspired. Barry O'Farrell is competency personified but what can he offer that particular 32 year-old that the Labor machine hasn't thought of already? O'Farrell's action plan cites economic growth as the number one goal – a great motherhood statement we all want that but here's the catch – you already are number one! It wouldn't matter if you had the likes of Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott at the helm, NSW is the Premier State and, for the foreseeable future, will outstrip Victoria as the diversified powerhouse of the Australian economy.

So what are O'Farrell's second and third priorities to bring our 32 year-old centre-right friend on board? Quality services and renovated infrastructure. Bullseye! Localised ability to formulate policies that will promote quality services have fallen into desuetude in direct proportion to the increase in a world class economic foundation that we see at the federal level. A fair and equitable taxation system, a fair and equitable welfare system, defence spending at about the right level, infrastructure spending similarly so, industrial relations – pretty good, international relations – all good. So what we see is the Howard-era reforms having left our 32 year-old voter happy as a pig in mud when it comes to these meta-policy issues but dazed and confused, and living in the debris of sour jokes, when looking at their local neighbourhood.

O'Farrell's fourth priority, restoring accountability to government and giving people a real say on issues that affect their lives is laudable but we must ask, is it perceived as sophistic rhetoric by the electorate? Centre-right politicians have been losing government time-after-time because the message is hollow. It is not hard for committed conservatives/libertarians to believe O'Farrell will do this but what of the broad spectrum of electors of NSW?

So why have the Social Democrats, the guilty Socialists, won the debate these past years?

They have won because intelligent, committed conservatives and libertarians have failed to articulate an alternative message that incorporates the fundamental requirements of good hospitals and schools for all, and have failed to articulate commitment to giving our kids a better chance at life. Despite innumerable failures by the Social Democrats, extrapolation of the reason that we need to ensure that our representatives do not embarrass us or show us up to be fools incarnate has not cut through the lowest common denominator media culture. Holding this culture to account has to be high on the agenda of the centre-right parties' executives.

Ultimately, what is wanted at the state level of government – arguably the level of government most worth fighting for – is the ability to deliver quality services and infrastructure. Centre-right candidates, with their variegated life experiences and commitment to personal freedom and liberty, have the unique ability to choose good civil administrators to run the programs that will provide quality services. They also have the ability to tap the public purse and credibly seek the backing of the polity when big ticket items, and hard decisions, need to be made. Selling both these qualities should not be hard. The vagaries of economic growth do not cut it with 32-year-olds happy with a revitalised federal sphere of government, and the blessings of the mining boom, and unaccustomed to seeking accountability from entrenched political elites.

Social Democrats, the guilty Socialists, will be defeated when they are taken on in the contentious areas that we can most make a difference in: services and infrastructure. Rusted-on Labor voters will walk a mile from their traditional representatives if they trust the centre-right candidate to deliver results in these areas.

The elegant solution to the problem of interminable and ordinary Labor administrations at the state level is that parties that deliver these results also have the ability to offer economic growth and accountability in addition to these core competencies to an increasingly desperate electorate. What is certain is that the unconscionable machinations that underlie Social Democratic politics will conspire to ensure that their representatives and their administrations are never able to deliver all of these blessings in the same political cycle.

Matt Kelly is a member of the Tasmanian Liberal Party who has a distinctly libertarian political philosophy. Matt is a businessman focussed on the property and transport sectors and holds the degree of Master of Arts from the University of South Australia. Matt is currently undertaking an MBA at Murdoch University and, appropriately for a resident of Hobart, enjoys the antediluvian past-time of Real Tennis.

Tyranny | The Agitator

I don’t trot that word out lightly. But Jesus.

Here’s Glenn Greenwald:

In response to the lawsuit filed by Anwar Awlaki’s father asking a court to enjoin the President from assassinating his son, a U.S. citizen, without any due process, the administration late last night, according to The Washington Post, filed a brief asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit without hearing the merits of the claims.  That’s not surprising:  both the Bush and Obama administrations have repeatedly insisted that their secret conduct is legal but nonetheless urge courts not to even rule on its legality.  But what’s most notable here is that one of the arguments the Obama DOJ raises to demand dismissal of this lawsuit is “state secrets”:  in other words, not only does the President have the right to sentence Americans to death with no due process or charges of any kind, but his decisions as to who will be killed and why he wants them dead are “state secrets,” and thus no court may adjudicate their legality.

There are no mitigating factors, here. Obama is arguing the executive has the power to execute American citizens without a trial, without even so much as an airing of the charges against them, and that it can do so in complete secrecy, with no oversight from any court, and that the families of the executed have no legal recourse.

via www.theagitator.com

(Posted by TVA)