Looking bad for Rolf

Rolf Harris charged with indecent assault and making indecent images of a child

Rolf Harris has made no public comment following revelations British police have charged him with nine counts of indecent assault and four counts of making indecent images of a child.

Six of the indecent assault charges relate to the alleged assault of a girl aged between 15 and 16 in the years 1980 and 1981, while the other three relate to the alleged assault of a 14-year-old girl in 1986.

Read more: Via ABC News

No good news for Labor

Ian Macdonald to face latest ICAC corruption findings

The Independent Commission Against Corruption heard in its public hearings that when Mr Macdonald was resources minister he "gifted" the licence in the Hunter Valley to former union official John Maitland without a competitive tender and against departmental advice.

Read more: Via ABC News

Sportsbet pays out early on Coalition to win 2013 Election

That’s it! Sorry Sky News, apologies to the ABC, don’t bother news.com.au. We’re calling it first.

Sportsbet has declared the federal election a one-horse race and we’re paying out all bets on the Coalition nine days before Australia goes to the polls.

We’re so confident of a landslide Coalition victory for Tony Abbott and his team, we’ve paid out more than $1.5 million in bets to our members – a first in Australian federal election history.

Following last night’s third and final debate between the two leaders, the Coalition is at Black Caviar-like odds ($1.03) to claim government. The only difference being But at least with Black Caviar there was a chance the jockey could have fallen off!

via www.sportsbet.com.au

Take a “laugh” break #2

A list of actual announcements that London Tube train drivers have made to their passengers…

1) 'Ladies and Gentlemen, I do apologize for the delay to your service. I know you're all dying to get home, unless, of course, you happen to be married to my ex-wife, in which case you'll want to cross over to the Westbound and go in the opposite direction.'

2) 'Your delay this evening is caused by the line controller suffering from E & B syndrome: not knowing his elbow from his backside. I'll let you know any further information as soon as I'm given any.'

3) 'Do you want the good news first or the bad news? The good news is that last Friday was my birthday and I hit the town and had a great time. The bad news is that there is a points failure somewhere between Mile End and East Ham, which means we probably won't reach our destination.'

4) 'Ladies and gentlemen, we apologize for the delay, but there is a security alert at Victoria station and we are therefore stuck here for the foreseeable future, so let's take our minds off it and pass some time together. All together now…. 'Ten green bottles, hanging on a wall…..'.'

5) 'We are now travelling through Baker Street … As you can see, Baker Street is closed. It would have been nice if they had actually told me, so I could tell you earlier, but no, they don't think about things like that'.

6) 'Beggars are operating on this train. Please do NOT encourage these professional beggars. If you have any spare change, please give it to a registered charity. Failing that, give it to me.'

7) During an extremely hot rush hour on the Central Line, the driver announced in a West Indian drawl: 'Step right this way for the sauna, ladies and gentleman… unfortunately, towels are not provided.'

8) 'Let the passengers off the train FIRST!' (Pause ) 'Oh go on then, stuff yourselves in like sardines, see if I care – I'm going home….'

9) 'Please allow the doors to close. Try not to confuse this with 'Please hold the doors open.' The two are distinct and separate instructions.'

10) 'Please note that the beeping noise coming from the doors means that the doors are about to close. It does not mean throw yourself or your bags into the doors.'

11) 'We can't move off because some idiot has their hand stuck in the door.'

12) 'To the gentleman wearing the long grey coat trying to get on the second carriage — what part of 'stand clear of the doors' don't you understand?'

13) 'Please move all baggage away from the doors.' (Pause..) 'Please move ALL belongings away from the doors.' (Pause…) 'This is a personal message to the man in the brown suit wearing glasses at the rear of the train: Put the pie down, Four-eyes, and move your bloody golf clubs away from the door before I come down there and shove them up your  @rse sideways!’

14) 'May I remind all passengers that there is strictly no smoking allowed on any part of the Underground. However, if you are smoking a joint, it's only fair that you pass it round the rest of the carriage.'

The Big Picture – The Rudd Vision


Lars Gershenson, inside the campaign

In the dying days of the election campaign and, according to the polls the final days of the Rudd Government, our globe-trotting “big picture” PM has raised the possibility that he may attend the G20 summit in Russia on September 5 and 6.

Amazingly – well, perhaps he thinks boldly and courageously – Rudd said, “I said at the outset that our intention is that Australia would be represented by the Foreign Minister but I will continue to be in consultation with global leaders on this question.”

He solemnly vowed to keep in “close contact” with US President Obama and British PM Cameron on the matter of unfolding events in war-torn Syria. I bet they are both tremendously grateful.

We can all imagine Obama and Cameron on the phone to Rudd, tears streaming down their faces, imploring him to come to Russia to contribute his wise counsel to the gathering. Well, if you can’t imagine that, I’m sure Rudd can. Perhaps it hasn’t occurred to him that US and British diplomats here are sending home regular reports of how the election campaign is going.

The possibility of The Leader being out of the country for the two days before the 7 September election must have provoked some very mixed emotions at ALP Election HQ – honestly, they wouldn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Developing his “big picture” strategy, Rudd – trying to sound more in sorrow than in anger – has questioned if Abbott could handle international events.

“I sometimes question, I really do question, having known Mr Abbott for a long, long time, whether he has the temperament for that sort of thing. You’ve got to sit back, think calmly, reflect and then work through what the best decision is. And temperament and experience are quite important,” he said.

We’ve seen lots and lots of examples of Rudd’s quiet, sober and considered reflection on major international issues.

When he was PM the first time and attending the Copenhagen Climate Change conference, he was asked if a deal was possible. He famously raged, “Depends if those rat-f**cking Chinese want to rat-f**ck us.” Remember climate change was for Kev the greatest moral challenge of our era until he decided it wasn’t.

In June 2008, he gave a grand “big picture” address to a domestic audience outlining his vision to redraw the regional diplomatic and strategic arrangements in our region through the establishment of his so-called “Asia – Pacific Community” which would include the US, Japan, China, Indonesia and others including us of course under his inspired and inspirational leadership.

The trouble is nobody in those countries knew one single thing about it – and neither did our very own Foreign Affairs Department. The Indonesian Government for one wasted no time dismissing it out of hand.

His grasp of international diplomacy, tact, discretion and simple old-fashioned politeness was shown by the disclosure that he referred to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, as “spanky banky”. 

The list could go on.

However, there is a domestic “big picture” agenda also. Lucky us!

There is the plan to relocate Sydney’s Garden Island Naval Base north to Brisbane or other Queensland ports. Just when this might happen is unclear but a relocation cost of at least $6 billion has been bandied about at a time when the Navy is struggling to meet its obligations.

Vice-Admiral Crane, Navy Chief from 2008 – 2011, has flatly dismissed this Rudd thought bubble masquerading as policy. “I certainly would not be supporting a decision that said ‘let’s relocate the fleet base to another place and spend an exorbitant amount of money to do so’. It just doesn’t make any sense,” he said.

The Australian Defence Association laughed at the whole idea calling it “strategic lunacy.”

But the biggest, grandest, boldest and most visionary idea our far-sighted PM has had in recent days is the undertaking that a high-speed railway will be built between Sydney and Melbourne. The anticipated completion date is 2035 but I bet Kev would be unselfishly prepared to stay on as PM for another 22 years just to cut the ribbon. Nobody has really the slightest clue how much this will cost and, sadly and predictably for all government capital works, even the initial estimate is usually a fraction of the final cost. Just think about the National Broadband Network.

In what must come very close to being the understatement of the campaign, Transport Minister Albanese, coyly admitted, “We haven’t tried to suggest that this can be done tomorrow or next week.”

I wonder if the good people of western Sydney and in other vulnerable ALP electorates are now thinking about switching their votes back to Kev’s team – after all, it is possible that the G20 summit, the shifting of the naval base and the high speed Sydney to Melbourne train must be the three single topics of conversation at the Rooty Hill RSL.

I’m sure they are; well, Kev seems to think they are.






Chaos v consistency: A tale of two campaigns

WHEN you board the VIP RAAF 737 carrying Opposition Leader Tony Abbott around the country this election campaign, it’s like stepping back in time to an era when plane travel was still glamorous. There are huge blue leather seats, wood panelling, a carpeted hush and hors d’oeuvres before takeoff.

But best of all are the charming RAAF flight attendants. They whip out crisp white tablecloths to serve delicious chicken caesar wraps with Petaluma Riesling, and bustle around efficiently all flight.

Read more: Via Miranda Devine blog

Who’s to blame? Listen carefully . . .

Suddenly, when the spotlight turns to Kevin Rudd, it's a crime against journalism to question a politician's character.

On Monday the ABC held an orgy of hatred against newspapers owned – like this one – by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. ABC Melbourne radio, ABC 24 and the ABC's Q&A all interviewed Tom Watson, a British Labour MP flown here by activists to attack Murdoch.

Read more: Via heraldsun.com.au

A country run by Twits – er,Twitter

People's forum: Tony Abbott edges Kevin Rudd on Twitter sentiment

Despite being known as the social media PM, Mr Rudd was unable to knock Mr Abbott off his game and deliver a win among those online.

Twitter conversation about both candidates sparkled with positivity from their respective online supporters during the forum's opening but the naysayers made their presence felt before long, sending sentiment scores for both into negative territory within the first five minutes.

Read more: Via heraldsun.com.au

Hanson poses a real threat to Sinodinos cabinet hopes

Arthur Sinodinos is on the verge of being the federal finance minister if the Coalition wins the election. But a bizarre set of preference swaps could see him defeated first by Pauline Hanson.

Senate preference tickets lodged with the Australian Electoral Commission show that virtually every small right-of-centre party is directing preferences to the One Nation leader ahead of Senator Sinodinos – who sits third on the Coalition ticket.

Read more: Via SMH