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Federal politics

Submitted by Margo Kingston on October 14, 2007 - 11:13am.
Family First: The clash of economic liberalism and social conservatism
"This election will focus on the showdown between John Howard and Kevin Rudd. But there is another battle looming – the contest for the balance of power in the Senate between Family First and the Greens." Family First Senator Steve Fielding
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Submitted by Margo Kingston on October 12, 2007 - 12:16pm.
Howard goes walkabout on reconciliation
'I acknowledge that my own journey in arriving at this point has not been without sidetracks and dry gullies.  There have been low points when dialogue between me as Prime Minister and many Indigenous leaders dwindled almost to the point of non-existence.  I fully accept my share of the blame for that. On the night of the 1998 election I publicly committed myself to endeavouring to achieve Reconciliation by the year 2001.  In the end, that did not happen.' John Winston 'whatever it takes' Howard
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Submitted by Guest Contributor on October 12, 2007 - 8:47am.
Consensus and Dissent in Australia
Michael Kirby explores the interface of consensus and dissent in contemporary Australia In politics, securing consensus is often now essential because of the comparative decline in electoral support for the major political parties.
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Submitted by Margo Kingston on October 10, 2007 - 1:22pm.
Death politics
Hello. Here is the Australian Law Council's statement yesterday on the death penalty debate. The recent history of this issue is very interesting, as is its prominence now. I'll try to write something later. 
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Submitted by Peter Ellis on October 7, 2007 - 8:04am.
Peter Ellis on being a whistleblower
"Elections, Parliament, the media, freedom of speech - these can all bethought of just as tools to enable citizens to exerciseaccountability.  Accountability has two components.  First, a target oragent (such as an executive government) has to explain their actionsand the reasons behind them to seekers of accountability (such as thepublic).  Second, there needs to be power to impose sanctions whenthose actions and reasons are considered unsatisfactory.  In theabsence of either of these elements, there is no accountability and nodemocracy." Peter Ellis
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Submitted by Not Happy John 2007 on October 6, 2007 - 10:06am.
Still Not Happy John Canberra Launch
Margo Kingston and John Valder launch Still Not Happy John
Monday 8 October, 5:30pm, Manning Clarke House,
11 Tasmania Circuit, Forest. Be there!
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Submitted by Not Happy John 2007 on October 4, 2007 - 10:49pm.
Graeme Orr's Kirribilli opinion
"(The Australian Electoral Commission's) long-standing reluctance to seek judicial clarification of the law and its application was demonstrated in this Kirribilli House matter, when there was - at a minimum - conflicting legal opinion deserving of resolution by a court, and no judicial precedent to guide.    Until such court precedents are established – or at least a body of public legal opinion available – the funding and disclosure rules under the Act will remain open to more, rather than less, politicised debate." Graeme Orr  
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Submitted by Not Happy John 2007 on October 4, 2007 - 11:03am.
Not Happy John First Edition Endnotes
Endnotes from the first edition
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Submitted by Trevor Kerr on September 30, 2007 - 12:30pm.
A Moment of Silence
The whole of Australian society must give space and time for the many remnants of dispossessed, the constant streams of refugees, to express and retain the memories of their pasts. The succeeding generations are mostly made up of people ... who want to move on as swiftly as their minds and hands can carry them. But if we try to suppress or exclude the small, silent treasures borne in the hearts of their parents, we do so at the peril of our own entitlements to citizenship.
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Submitted by Guest Contributor on September 27, 2007 - 12:14pm.
Kim Beazley's valedictory speech
"For me this tour of duty is almost done. It is time to hang up these boots, but I am not yet ready to hand in my uniform. My passion to serve this nation burns stronger than before whatever opportunities might arise. I love this country and I believe in its future. I will look for new fields of endeavour and new battles to join in the years to come. There is so much ground for our nation to cover, some territory to win back and so much to do if Australia is to become the nation it can be." Kim Beazley.
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Submitted by Margo Kingston on September 24, 2007 - 1:28pm.
Christa Schwoebel on why she's Not Happy, John!
"I don’t feel like fluff anymore, I’ve become an activist again.  Joined a group.  Organise public events to really debate the issues.  I speak about the government's lies at every opportunity I get.  I even went to the APEC protests with a group of very respectable women.  I still throw my slippers and I speak out and I vote! We’ll vote the liar out." Christa Schwoebel
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Submitted by Chris Saliba on September 21, 2007 - 10:59am.
Citizenship as Trivial Pursuit
If we were to be really fair about the citizenship test, all citizens would be made to pass it before they were allowed to vote. As it stands, someone who’s lucky enough to be born in Australia is free to remain blissfully ignorant of how our parliament works, what happened at Gallipoli, and the importance of Donald Bradman to the national psyche.
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Submitted by Carmen Lawrence on September 19, 2007 - 11:29am.
Valedictory
We need a better balance between material goals and the quality of people’s lives. The economy is not all that matters ... we also need a strong intellectual and creative life. We need the time and capacity to enjoy family, friends and recreation. We need to ensure the protection of and enjoyment of our natural environment. We need active engagement of all community members in the development of that community and the enjoyment of our cultural life and heritage. We should remember too, as the unlikely George Soros has warned, that an open society can be threatened by excessive individualism.
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Submitted by Margo Kingston on September 16, 2007 - 4:14pm.
Family First gets in first on kids' costs
Hello. Family First is on the ball, and today leads the pack on new policies to ease the costs of bearing and raising children. If only FF would come to its senses and preference other minor parties before either of the majors, there would exciting times ahead in the Senate election. It's a no brainer, in my opinion - getting another minor over the line if their candidate doesn't get up in a State means minor parties - including Family First's Senator Steve Fielding, who is not up for re-election this time, is dealt into play. through jointly holding the balance of power.
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Submitted by Margo Kingston on September 9, 2007 - 11:39am.
APEC protests: LibLab presents our very own police state
The APEC thuggery results from a Labor and Liberal conspiracy to destroy our civil liberties and give police untrammelled power to serve political ends. I've been warning of this on Webdiary for many years. We saw with Haneef that now, police and/or government lawyers are prepared to lie under oath to the Courts to get their way. And the NSW Labor Government's disgrace started long before Iemma.Have a look at the start of the rot, under Bob Carr, in 2002, when Howard was revving up his 'terror' laws.
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Submitted by Margo Kingston on September 9, 2007 - 9:45am.
Is Howard a coward?
On August 3, Penguin's publisher Bob Sessions rang me with a shock request - could I update Not Happy, John! in three weeks? Huh? I said I could if my old Webdiary friend and collaborator Jack Robertson  agreed to come on board. He did, and the book goes to the printer this week. So, it's hardly in my personal interest for Howard to resign before the election. The book is a critique of his government, sure, but John Howard is the symbol of that government. And then there's the title! My guess is that he'll stay on. What's yours?
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Submitted by David Davis on September 8, 2007 - 10:30pm.
APEC protests: David's bad day
Later I saw another old lady asking police if she could go to David Jones.  They told her it would be always there and it would be best if she went home. Kindly old ladies being discouraged from David Jones?  That's not the Australia I grew up in!  I saw the reassuring sign that "it costs no more to shop at David Jones" but security guards blocked me from leaving via the Elizabeth Street doors.  How bizarre.
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Submitted by Richard Tonkin on September 8, 2007 - 9:26pm.
APEC protests: Richard's observer's report
Then it got really ugly. The police moved into the centre of the intersection and formed an outward moving circle, forcing the protesters to the curb.  I ended up trapped amidst protesters and media, shepherded into a corner with armed and mostly unidentifiable police (many police on the day had no ID badges, and I have footage).  Nowhere to move to, and cops in riot gear moving in behind them, and the chopper overhead, I was beginning to get scared.
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Submitted by PF Journey on September 8, 2007 - 1:49am.
Pandaring to the China: the mis-opportunity of APEC.
"In the 80s, my wife and I, together with our daughter, went to China to work. We particularly like Beijing. We like the atmosphere of Beijing, her people and her culture. Twenty years later, my little daughter has now married an Australian Chinese. My son is also now enrolled to study at the Fudan University in Shanghai. My youngest son, who is still in junior high school, usually he is rather naughty and does not like to do home work, but recently he has also started to learn the Chinese language." Rudd to Hu
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Submitted by Margo Kingston on September 7, 2007 - 6:52pm.
Carlos: Rats leaving a sinking ship?
7 August 2005 Margo update:  Janet Albrechtsen has joined Bolt -  see 'Pass baton to Costello'. Last weekend's Newspoll was a shocker for the government, and speculation is rife that next week Howard will either call an election or stand down. The Chaser proved that the emperor has no clothes - eerily reminiscent of the Bush visit to Canberra in 2003, when security waved what looked like a camera in without a security check and the AFP dressed civilians up to look like cops. Howard is about appearances, not reality.
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Submitted by Democratic Audit on September 5, 2007 - 11:31am.
Democratic Audit Update September 2007
The latest update from the Democratic Audit program at ANU on how our democracy is working, including 'Be honest, Minister!' Restoring faith in government in Australia
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Submitted by Stephen Smith on September 2, 2007 - 6:29pm.
We can build you - APEC and the rise of military urbanism
It seems incongruous that constant warnings about the terrorist threat should lead to APEC staging itself in the very place most likely to be a magnet for such acts. However, APEC has good reason for not meeting on some tropical island. Far from seeking to avoid the week long APEC chaos diary, the event seems to have a fetish with securing these set pieces. As I shall argue here, APEC serves the cause of military urbanism.
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Submitted by Margo Kingston on September 1, 2007 - 9:09pm.
High Court defends the right to vote
'In a landmark decision, handed down on 30 August 2007, the High Court has upheld the fundamental human right to vote, finding that the Howard Government had acted unlawfully and unconstitutionally in imposing a blanket ban denying prisoners the vote.' 
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Submitted by Margo Kingston on September 1, 2007 - 12:45pm.
Lib or Lab: Who will Gunns pulp this election?
Hello, and welcome to Spring! I'm finishing off my project this weekend before getting back to Webdiary, but just couldn't resist posting this transcript - an interview between Charles Wooley and the PM on the pulp mill. How tricky is this for our tricky PM?
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Submitted by Guest Contributor on August 23, 2007 - 7:56pm.
Andrews’ Character Test Not About Character
The Federal Court’s decision that the Australian Government can not cancel a person’s visa on the basis of an innocent association should be the end of the matter, according to the Law Council.
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Submitted by Guest Contributor on August 23, 2007 - 7:42pm.
Nuclear Power Station Plebiscites
The Government's priority is to tackle climate change without damaging Australian jobs and living standards. Nuclear power could make a significant contribution to this challenge.
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Submitted by Margo Kingston on August 14, 2007 - 9:01pm.
Susan Kiefel, High Court judge
Susan Kiefel's appointment as a High Court judge is great for Australia, and one decision of Ruddock I not only applaud, but do so with gusto. Maybe after all his terrible deeds over the last decade he wants to leave something special in place as his career nears its end. I'm reminded of Paul Keating's appointment of Michael Kirby to the High Court just before he lost office. I met Justice Kiefel in the early 1980's in Brisbane, when she was a junior barrister and I was an articled clerk briefing her on a case. She told me then that Tony Fitzgerald had personally mentored her when she worked as a secretary in his chambers, convincing her that she talented enough to finish year 12 and take the bar exam.
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Submitted by Guest Contributor on August 14, 2007 - 7:02pm.
The Rule of Law - Looking behind the Icon
'David Hicks aside, it must be said that Australian governments do generally observe the rule of law, in the sense that they are careful to ensure they are covered by appropriate legislation before deliberately taking an action that is disadvantageous to any particular individual. It may then fairly be said that Australia is a country governed in accordance with the rule of law. However, it does not necessarily follow that individual rights are well protected in Australia.': The Hon. Murray Wilcox, QC, former judge of the Federal Court of Australia
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Submitted by Margo Kingston on August 11, 2007 - 10:56pm.
Save Our Senate: Absolute power is bad for the Governments that enjoy it
"There is no great separation of powers between the legislature and the executive any more. Parliament no longer scrutinises government, conducts independent inquiry, nor legislates on its own terms. In the past Senators were not so tightly bound by their parties, especially in regard to oversight and accountability." The Clerk of the Senate Harry Evans
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Submitted by Margo Kingston on August 11, 2007 - 9:20pm.
And the winner is... Coming to your living room soon...
"Oz in 30 Seconds is GetUp's competition to broadcast political ads 'of the people, by the people, for the people'. Together, we have a unique opportunity to put our winning ad on air. We've worked with some of the best media buyers in the country to offer you a range of strategic advertising spots. They start at $35 and target some of the most marginal seats in the country including Braddon and Bass in Tasmania and the five marginal seats of South Australia."
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