Australia/New Zealand (News/Activism)

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  • Winning is bringing all your men home alive (according to a Victoria Cross recipient)

    02/25/2012 3:28:07 PM PST · by naturalman1975 · 21 replies
    Herald Sun ^ | 25th February 2012 | Ian McPhedran
    AUSTRALIA'S latest Victoria Cross winner, Ben Roberts-Smith, and his four comrades were outgunned and outnumbered by four to one when they went after a Taliban chief last year. The special-forces patrol flew into the village of Tizak in northern Kandahar to kill the chief. What it didn't know, due to an intelligence failure, was that 10 other Taliban commanders and their bodyguards were also there. A simple mission became a 13-hour fight to the death. ..... The well-inked man mountain, who stands almost 200cm tall with the buff body of a centre-half forward, has revealed he and his four...
  • Victoria Cross winner Ben Roberts-Smith: A doting dad, deadly warrior

    02/25/2012 2:44:41 AM PST · by naturalman1975 · 11 replies
    The Daily Telegraph ^ | 24th February 2012
    AT work, Australia's latest Victoria Cross winner Ben Roberts-Smith is a lethal warrior, an elite, super fit and highly skilled killing machine. ..... Speaking to Channel 7's Sunday Night program, the SAS corporal confirmed for the first time he and his four special forces comrades were victims of an intelligence failure, outgunned and outnumbered four to one when they went after an Afghan Taliban insurgent chief on June 11, 2010, a mission that led him to being awarded his VC medal. The tattooed man-mountain, almost 2m tall with the body of a rugby forward, said he and his comrades on...
  • Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton returns to court for fourth Azaria inquest ("the dingo's got my baby")

    02/23/2012 5:04:32 PM PST · by naturalman1975 · 11 replies ^ | 24th February 2012
    LINDY Chamberlain-Creighton and her ex-husband Michael Chamberlain have entered the Darwin Magistrates Court where the fourth inquest into the death of their daughter Azaria will get under way. On a warm cloudy day neither parent spoke to the waiting media as they walked into the courthouse. Coroner Elizabeth Morris is to conduct the fourth inquest into the death of nine-week-old Azaria, who disappeared from her parents' tent at Uluru (Ayers Rock) in August 1980. Mrs Chamberlain-Creighton has sought the latest inquest in a bid to have the cause of death of Azaria changed from "unknown" to reflect that a dingo...
  • Australian woman turns tables on Nigerian scammers

    02/23/2012 12:25:09 PM PST · by Kartographer · 13 replies
    Yahoo News ^ | 2/23/12 | Eric Pfeiffer
    Her "job" was to provide access to an Australian bank account opened in her name where the Nigerians could then transfer money they had received from a phony car sales website. Cochrane-Ramsey was told she could keep eight percent of the transfers. But, then she decided to steal from the thieves themselves. According to the Courier-Mail, she received two payments, totaling $33,350, but spent most of it on herself
  • Police confess legal shortcut a threat to thousands of criminal cases

    02/22/2012 3:38:29 PM PST · by naturalman1975 · 9 replies
    Herald Sun ^ | 23rd February 2012 | Keith Moor
    THREE-QUARTERS of Victoria Police officers have confessed to illegally preparing affidavits used to get search and other warrants. An investigation by the force has identified almost 3000 pending criminal cases in Magistrates' courts which could be affected by the affidavit bungle and faulty affidavits will also be an issue in 299 upcoming Supreme and County Court cases. Hundreds of convicted criminals are also likely to try to get their convictions overturned by arguing evidence obtained from dodgy affidavits was wrongly used against them. "There are certainly cases we will be losing and there are others where we will lose some...
  • Independents warn all bets are off if Kevin Rudd wins in 2012

    02/22/2012 12:00:59 PM PST · by naturalman1975 · 3 replies · 1+ views
    Herald Sun ^ | 23rd February 2012 | Steve Lewis
    VOTERS could be heading to the polls for an early election if Kevin Rudd becomes prime minister again with the Independent MPs warning they would have to reconsider their deal with Labor. Tony Windsor - whose support, along with Rob Oakeshott's, delivered power to Labor - last night insisted "all bets are off" if Julia Gillard was ousted in a leadership contest. "If there is a change, there is no agreement. If there is a change, there can't be an assumption that the current arrangements will hold," the NSW cross-bench MP said. He warned a change in leadership was only...
  • Nine Network cameraman hit by PM's convoy (Australian PM having a bad day)

    02/22/2012 11:57:42 AM PST · by naturalman1975 · 5 replies
    Daily Telegraph ^ | 23rd February 2012
    A TELEVISION cameraman was struck by a car in Julia Gillard's convoy as they drove to a retirement village in Adelaide to visit her parents last night. A Nine Network cameraman suffered injuries to his right leg when the second vehicle in the convoy, driven by officers from the Australian Federal Police, hit him about 9pm. Ms Gillard was inside the first vehicle as it left the Commonwealth Bank building on King William St, Adelaide, after a series of meetings during the day, and was en route to the Pasadena retirement village.
  • (Julia) Gillard will call leadership ballot on Monday

    02/22/2012 2:15:46 AM PST · by naturalman1975 · 7 replies · 1+ views ^ | 22nd February 2012 | Malcolm Farr
    JULIA Gillard will call a leadership ballot for Monday following the dramatic resignation of Kevin Rudd. The Prime Minister will announce the ballot tomorrow, just as Kevin Rudd flies out of Washington. Ms Gillard says Mr Rudd did not contact her before he resigned as foreign affairs minister. His letter of resignation arrived late this afternoon, just as he was holding his Washington press conference.
  • RUDD QUITS: I can't serve without Gillard's support' (Australia's Foreign Minister resigns)

    02/21/2012 11:01:48 PM PST · by naturalman1975 · 6 replies ^ | 22nd February 2012 | Malcolm Farr
    KEVIN Rudd has resigned as foreign minister. Mr Rudd called an extraordinary media conference in Washington DC just after 1am local time, just hours after Cabinet minister Greg Combet declared "enough is enough" today as he and other top supporters of Julia Gillard called for an end to the ongoing leadership speculation. The frustration within the ministry has made it more likely the Prime Minister will act when Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, who is currently in Washington, returns to Australia on Sunday morning.
  • $200m refit to give fighter jets growl (Australia)

    02/21/2012 8:01:31 PM PST · by sukhoi-30mki · 6 replies · 2+ views
    The Advertiser, Australia ^ | February 22, 2012 | Ian McPhedran
    $200m refit to give fighter jets growl THE Federal Government will spend more than $200 million to transform six air force fighter jets into hi-tech electronic warfare planes. The RAAF purchased 24 Boeing Super Hornet fighters under a $6 billion deal with the US Navy to fill the gap between the retirement of the F-111 fighter bomber and the expected delivery of the first batch of 14 Joint Strike Fighter stealth jets later this decade. Defence Minister Stephen Smith will announce the decision to upgrade the jet fighters early next month to EA-18G models known as "Growlers" to plug an...
  • US offers Australia nuclear subs: report

    02/21/2012 7:53:07 PM PST · by sukhoi-30mki · 17 replies · 2+ views
    US offers Australia nuclear subs: report The United States has signalled that it is willing to lease or sell a nuclear-powered submarine to Australia, as the local Defence Department searches for a replacement for its Collins class vessels, according to The Australian Financial Review. US Ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey Bleich, told the newspaper Washington viewed Australia’s submarine program as crucial to security in the Asia-Pacific region. While Defence Minister Stephen Smith has previously ruled out the purchase of a nuclear sub, Coalition leader Tony Abbott would be expected to consider the option if he becomes prime minister, the AFR said....
  • Julia Gillard or Kevin Rudd must call election

    02/20/2012 6:29:34 PM PST · by naturalman1975 · 16 replies
    Herald Sun ^ | 21st February 2012 | Herald Sun
    HOW much longer must Australians wait for the Labor party to bring an end to the disunity that has destroyed it as a government, is the burning question. The repeated assurances from Prime Minister Julia Gillard that she is supported strongly by her colleagues and she is getting on with her job, just as former prime minister Kevin Rudd is getting on with his job are to treat the nation with contempt. Neither Ms Gillard nor Mr Rudd is prepared to challenge the other while the ugly power struggle that has so dominated the Government is now obvious to all....
  • Darwin, 1942: Remembering Australia's 'Pearl Harbor'

    02/19/2012 1:55:11 PM PST · by the scotsman · 9 replies
    BBC News ^ | 19th February 2012 | Duncan Kennedy
    'It's 70 years since Japanese bombers swooped on Darwin, in northern Australia, sinking Allied ships in the harbour and killing hundreds of people. For years the attack was rarely mentioned, but now the story is finally being told. If 7 December 1941 is "a date that will live in infamy" for the United States, then 19 February 1942 is surely one that will join it in the annals of shame for Australia. That was the day, just 10 weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, when the same carrier-based Japanese force turned its attention to the small northern town of...
  • USS Peary memorial marks enduring military ties (70th anniversary of first attack on Australia)

    02/18/2012 3:31:52 PM PST · by naturalman1975 · 12 replies
    Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) ^ | 14th February 2012 | Carolyn Herbert
    Northern Territory Chief Minister Paul Henderson says a commemorative plaque to be placed in Darwin Harbour acknowledges the ongoing military ties between Australia and the United States. The plaque will be lowered to the seabed near the wreck of the USS Peary. It is in memory of more than 90 US servicemen killed on the ship during the first wave of Japanese bombing of Darwin on February 19, 1942. Mr Henderson says, 70 years on, links between the Top End and the US remain strong. "The plaque is a commemoration and a testament to the enduring friendship between the people...
  • Print Email Facebook Twitter More Bombing of Darwin: 70 years on

    02/17/2012 5:25:52 PM PST · by naturalman1975 · 4 replies
    On February 19, 1942, shortly before 10:00am, Japanese forces launched air raids on Darwin, the first on Australian soil. More than 260 enemy planes, including land-based bombers and planes flying off aircraft carriers in the Timor Sea, attacked US and Australian shipping, the town's harbour, military and civil aerodromes and the local hospital. The attacks, which came in two waves, were part of Japan's efforts to damage Australia's morale, hinder Darwin's use as a military base, and ultimately secure neighbouring Timor. At least 243 people were killed in the attack, and up to 400 people were injured. Twenty military aircraft...
  • British tourist bitten 'down under' by deadly Aussie snake while answering call of nature

    02/16/2012 2:27:39 AM PST · by naturalman1975 · 27 replies ^ | 16th February 2012
    A BRITISH tourist is lucky to be alive after a painful and embarrassing encounter with one of the deadliest snakes in Australia, while answering the call of nature outside. As Jackson Scott crouched in the dark at a remote Tasmanian farm, a highly venomous tiger snake bit his testicle, The Sun reported today. "I went into the garden at four in the morning after a night in the pub to save flushing the toilet, because water is precious in the outback," said Jackson, 29, from Glasgow in Scotland. "Just as I finished ... it bit me." In a panic, he...
  • WALKOUT: Nationals storm out after leader ejected (Australian conservative party leaves Parliament)

    02/15/2012 9:42:01 PM PST · by naturalman1975 · 17 replies ^ | 16th February 2012 | Malcolm Farr
    ALL 11 National Party MPs today stormed out of the House of Representatives in protest against the ejection of party leader Warren Truss. It was the most obvious sign of growing Opposition resentment towards Speaker Peter Slipper, a Liberal who turned independent to get the job with Labor backing. “There are two laws in here,” said one walk-out MP in a comment aimed at Speaker Slipper. The Nationals’ backbenchers walked out first and were soon followed by the party’s two remaining frontbenchers, Luke Hartsuyker and John Cobb. Mr Slipper had thrown out fellow Queenslander Mr Truss for an hour over...
  • Islamic Society accuses ASIO of harassment

    02/15/2012 9:42:43 AM PST · by bayouranger · 11 replies ^ | 15FEB12 | Tony Nicholls
    The Islamic Society of Victoria is preparing to take legal action against ASIO for what it says is constant harassment and bullying. Members of the Preston Mosque in Melbourne's north claim intelligence operatives are approaching worshippers on a daily basis, offering them jobs and demanding personal information. The secretary of the Islamic Society of Victoria, Baha Yehia, believes sermons are being monitored and he wants the harassment to stop. "We will go to Canberra if we have to. We will go to Canberra and we will complain directly to the Prime Minister," he said. The Islamic group has sought the...
  • Does your national leader lie? (on Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard)

    02/14/2012 1:33:44 PM PST · by naturalman1975 · 2 replies
    Herald Sun (Melbourne) ^ | 15th February 2012 | Andrew Bolt
    THE question we now face: Is the Prime Minister of Australia a liar? Her Four Corners disaster on Monday night is part of a pattern. Julia Gillard deceives and, I suspect, lies. And what's killing her is that she does it so badly. Here are my seven deadliest examples. The first: Just a "part-time" typist The Socialist Forum was a radical group that helped to bring former members of the Communist Party into the Labor Party. In 2007, asked about her involvement, Gillard said "many a long year ago" - mostly when "I was a university student" - she'd merely...
  • Push for one funding model for all schools (Australia - de facto school vouchers)

    02/14/2012 1:18:41 PM PST · by naturalman1975 · 3 replies
    The Australian ^ | 15th February 2012 | Justine Ferrari
    SCHOOLS will receive a standard payment per student across the public and private sectors under a proposal for the biggest shake-up of education funding since the Whitlam era. The overhaul, recommended by the Gonski review into school funding, will for the first time see funding based on the costs of educating students to an agreed standard. This standard payment, called a School Resource Standard, would then be supplemented by loading for indigenous students, those in remote communities or students with disabilities or special needs. The Australian understands the report, by an independent panel chaired by businessman David Gonski and to...
  • Pay for our trips home - the Islamic Women's Welfare Association

    02/14/2012 5:32:21 AM PST · by massmike · 7 replies ^ | 02/14/2012 | John Masanauskas
    NEW migrants should get taxpayer subsidies to visit overseas relatives, an Islamic group has told the Federal Government. The Islamic Women's Welfare Association also says Muslims prefer to live close to their own people and Australia should consider how to "facilitate the purchase of homes for new migrants". In a submission to a federal multicultural inquiry, the association has urged the Government to give tax deductions to newly arrived migrants so they can visit relatives in their homelands. "Migrants face a lot of sacrifices such as having to travel long distances to visit relatives, spending on communication costs, missing out...
  • Afghan soldier boasts of shooting Australians

    02/10/2012 5:00:17 PM PST · by BlackVeil · 2 replies · 1+ views
    A former member of the Afghan army who seriously wounded three Australian troops last year has boasted about the attack in a video posted online. Muhammed Rozi shot the diggers along with two Afghans at a patrol base in Uruzgan province in November. He opened fire on his mentors from a watchtower at the base, using an automatic weapon and grenade launcher to inflict maximum damage. It was the third attack by a Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier on Australian troops in 2011, and came 10 days after three Australians were killed and seven were wounded when another Afghan soldier...
  • Cover-up of Townsville mutiny: black GIs turned on officers

    02/10/2012 4:28:22 PM PST · by naturalman1975 · 61 replies
    The Australian ^ | 11th February 2012 | Jamie Walker
    BLACK US troops mutinied in Townsville in 1942 and turned machineguns on their officers, in a secret chapter of the war in the Pacific that has come to light through the papers of the late US president Lyndon B. Johnson. The scandal was hushed up for nearly 70 years after being described in a report given to and apparently kept by Johnson as "one of the biggest stories of the war which can't be written, shouldn't be written". The subject of rumour and speculation for decades in the north Queensland city, it has now emerged that the mutiny was probably...
  • Qantaslink's mercy dash to Moree provided food for the town

    02/09/2012 6:06:47 PM PST · by naturalman1975 · 4 replies ^ | 10th February 2012 | Helen Parker
    IT started with an unexpected phone call. Moree mayor Katrina Humphries said she received the call from a Qantaslink manager last week as her town was suffering from the worst floods to devastate the region in 36 years. The northern NSW town had suffered 10 days without sunshine – flooding more than 300 homes and causing serious damage to many others. Ms Humphries said Qantaslink called last Saturday to ask how they could help the flood victims. “I said flippantly, unless you can get a plane in here loaded fresh fruit for our kids, bread and milk, well there's not...
  • Kevin Rudd branded a coward as Julia Gillard gags her MPs

    02/09/2012 1:56:15 PM PST · by naturalman1975 · 1 replies
    Daily Telegraph (Sydney) ^ | 10th February 2012 | Simon Benson
    THE entire Labor cabinet has been banned from talking to editors of the nation's major newspapers as Prime Minister Julia Gillard moves to stamp out leadership speculation. Under the gagging order, ministers must seek permission from her office before any meeting or private talks. The extraordinary move came as Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd was yesterday accused of being a coward for failing to launch a formal challenge so the party could bury the issue once and for all. Victorian Labor MP Rob Mitchell, a foot soldier for cabinet minister Bill Shorten, accused Mr Rudd and his supporters of being too...
  • Military 'gun-shy' on discipline? QC asks ("civilianisation" of military gone too fast).

    02/09/2012 1:49:46 PM PST · by naturalman1975 ^ | 9th February 2012
    THE senior lawyer who investigated bad behaviour aboard HMAS Success has suggested that the "civilianisation" of Australia's military may have gone too far too quickly. Roger Gyles QC also has questioned whether concern for individual rights has made commanders "gun-shy" about acting to maintain discipline. Mr Gyles' concerns about the impact of concepts such as equity and diversity on the Australian Defence Force (ADF) are laid out in his third and final report on bad behaviour on the supply ship HMAS Success between March and May 2009, tabled in federal parliament today. ..... Mr Gyles' latest recommendations would be considered...
  • Aussies’ modest proposal: Sell us F-22s, mate

    02/09/2012 8:39:32 AM PST · by sukhoi-30mki · 17 replies · 1+ views
    DoD Buzz ^ | February 9th, 2012 | Philip Ewing
    Aussies’ modest proposal: Sell us F-22s, mate For F-35 proponents, every sunrise brings new reasons for unease about the future of the program. It regularly gets bad headlines in the U.S. The Brits now say they’ll wait until 2015 before committing to buy any more jets. And as we’ve talked about before, there are rumblings Down Under that suggest the Australians may be losing their patience. But proponents in the U.S. and Australia can take heart about one thing — these are the guys they’re up against: Some of the most vehement critics of Australia’s involvement in the Joint Strike...
  • Gunner fights to the end but not enough to be a hero

    02/08/2012 1:05:56 PM PST · by naturalman1975 · 15 replies
    Herald Sun ^ | 9th February 2012 | Ian McPhedran
    DESPITE withering enemy fire, helicopter door gunner Noel Shipp kept firing his machinegun as he hung outside his gunship all the way to the ground where it crashed, killing all on board. However, according to his commanding officer, retired Naval Commodore David Farthing, Navy Aircraftsman Shipp, 24, does not deserve a gallantry medal for his efforts in Vietnam in May 1969. Commodore Farthing yesterday told an inquiry into the unresolved recognition of 13 men, including Gallipoli medic John Simpson Kirkpatrick, for past acts of gallantry and valour, there was no question about Shipp's bravery. "By singling out an individual you...
  • Passengers face body scans before flights ( Australia )

    02/06/2012 6:54:03 PM PST · by george76 · 6 replies
    Herald Sun ^ | February 05, 2012 | Linda Silmalis
    PASSENGERS at airports across Australia will be forced to undergo full-body scans or be banned from flying under new laws to be introduced into Federal Parliament this week. In a radical $28 million security overhaul, the scanners will be installed at all international airports from July and follows trials at Sydney and Melbourne airports in August and September last year. The Government is touting the scanning technology as the most advanced available in the world, with the equipment able to detect both metallic and non-metallic items beneath clothing.
  • PM's failure in office is nobody's fault but her own

    02/06/2012 5:59:04 PM PST · by naturalman1975 · 1 replies
    The Australian ^ | 7th February 2012 | Niki Savva
    IT might seem like only yesterday, but Julia Gillard has been at or near the top of this government for four and a half years, first as deputy prime minister, then as Prime Minister. You would think that would be plenty of time to sort out personnel, procedures and processes to provide a competent, responsible administration, with a minimum number of stuff-ups involving a minimum number of people. You would think that people with a healthy respect for the institutions, the voters, for themselves and each other, would make sure the best possible practices were in place to be implemented...
  • Labor faces a choice between two agonies (Australia's Gillard government in its death throes)

    02/05/2012 4:01:23 PM PST · by naturalman1975 · 13 replies
    Herald Sun ^ | 6th February 2012 | Andrew Bolt
    LABOR is now a rabble in a panic in what seems to be Julia Gillard’s last weeks - maybe even days - as Prime Minister. It has finally woken up to its deadly choice. It can either have a leader loathed by voters, or one loathed by its MPs. It can stick with the incompetent and scandal-ridden Gillard, and suffer humiliating defeat. Or it can surrender to the popular Kevin Rudd, and risk tearing itself apart again under a self-obsessed power freak. Labor can dream of other options - Regional Australia Minister Simon Crean, Workplace Minister Bill Shorten or Defence...
  • 20 colleagues snub Prime Minister Julia Gillard's crisis meeting

    02/05/2012 12:22:48 PM PST · by naturalman1975 · 11 replies
    Herald Sun ^ | 6th February 2012 | Matt Johnston and Phillip Hudson
    A DEFIANT Julia Gillard has warned MPs to pull their heads in and show discipline in a plea for Labor to unite behind her. The Prime Minister told Labor MPs at a special meeting - which was missed by about 20 members - that internal splits would be a gift for the Opposition and would distract from the Government's messages. And at a barbecue for her troops at The Lodge last night, Ms Gillard pulled a surprise by bringing former prime minister Bob Hawke for a pep talk. Ms Gillard moved to assert her leadership and stare down those pushing...
  • Roma mother Jane Sheahan makes ultimate sacrifice for son in floods

    02/04/2012 2:54:27 PM PST · by naturalman1975 · 14 replies
    Sunday Mail (Brisbane) ^ | 5th February 2012 | Daryl Passmore
    BRAVE Roma mum Jane Sheahan made the ultimate sacrifice. As swirling floodwaters threatened to pull her and her seven-year-old son Darcy under, the mother of two and Blue Care nurse managed to hand him to safety before being sucked under the raging torrent that has engulfed much of central Queensland in recent days. "Save my boy" were the last words she said before she was swept away. Frantic onlookers tried to warn Mrs Sheahan not to drive through the rising water - at the intersection of Miscamble St and Northern Rd - at 12.45pm on Friday. At the time of...
  • Astonishing discovery of 'supergiant' crustaceans made off New Zealand

    02/03/2012 10:16:26 AM PST · by Scythian · 38 replies
    There are ordinary amphipods, known to be mostly tiny shrimp-like crustaceans that thrive in aquatic environments around the world, and now there are "supergiant" amphipods, which are 10 times larger and, frankly, quite freakish-looking (see video and photo). One shrimp will serve as an entire meal ... See video at news link ...
  • Hungry Jack's (Burger King) investigating restaurant claims it sells halal food

    02/01/2012 10:41:35 PM PST · by naturalman1975 · 11 replies ^ | 2nd February 2012 | Paige Mason
    A MELBOURNE Hungry Jack's restaurant owner is being grilled after claims he falsely advertised the chain was selling halal food. The franchise-owned store in Tullamarine is being investigated by the head office of Hungry Jack's for misleading customers after it was given the go-ahead to advertise its chicken and beef burgers from official halal food inspectors. The store, on Mickleham Rd, gained halal certification from the Islamic Coordinating Council of Victoria (ICCV) last month, the Hume Leader reports. ICCV administration manager Sidki Guzem said a halal food inspector visited the outlet, then made recommendations to the council to approve its...
  • Up to 350 feared missing in PNG ferry sinking

    02/01/2012 10:34:32 PM PST · by prisoner6 · 8 replies
    Herald Sun ^ | 2/2/2012 | NA
    Up to 350 feared missing in PNG ferry sinking UPDATE 4.15pm: PRIME Minister Julia Gillard says there is likely to be a very high death toll from a ferry sinking in Papua New Guinea. Rescue crews have rescued 28 people from the water after a ferry sank with as many as 350 on board along the east coast. A distress signal was sent from the MV Rabaul Queen at about 8.30am (AEDT) when travelling between Lae and the West New Britain town of Kimbe today, PNG's National Maritime Safety Authority said. "There has been a boat go down in PNG...
  • Illiberal rules that stifle free speech

    02/01/2012 12:01:47 PM PST · by naturalman1975 · 2 replies
    The Australian ^ | 1st February 2012 | Janet Albrechtsen
    ONE might imagine that free speech, or at least its broad parameters, had been settled some time ago. Say around the time of John Stuart Mill or Voltaire or maybe well before them, when Socrates told a jury at his trial in 399 BC that "if you offered to let me off this time on condition I am no longer to speak my mind, I should say 'Men of Athens, I shall obey the Gods rather than you."' As highly contestable, controversial topics of debate go, one might hope that freedom of expression was not one of them. Sure, we...
  • Troops may stay in Afghanistan for years - Stephen Smith

    01/31/2012 11:15:53 PM PST · by naturalman1975 ^ | 1st February 2012
    AUSTRALIAN special forces could remain fighting in Afghanistan for years after an official international troop withdrawal, Defence Minister Stephen Smith says. Speaking to reporters in Perth, Mr Smith said Australian special forces would likely remain behind in Afghanistan after the official withdrawal of about 1500 troops, which was on schedule for 2014 or earlier. "Any transition has to be conditions-based," Mr Smith said on Wednesday, before leaving for Brussels for an international defence ministers' meeting on Afghanistan this week. "Once the transition occurs - whether that's in 2014 or earlier - there will be a continuing need for some form...
  • Meet Victoria's best boss who gave his loyal staff a $15m bonus

    01/31/2012 2:57:47 PM PST · by naturalman1975 · 7 replies
    Herald Sun ^ | 1st February 2012 | Elissa Doherty
    A MELBOURNE boss has stunned his staff by giving them a staggering $15 million gift -- the ultimate pay-off for their hard work and loyalty. Workers at bus company Grenda couldn't believe their good fortune when surprise bonuses averaging $8500 were paid into their accounts - with some staff receiving as much as $30,000. Family-owned Grenda Corporation recently sold off its transit operations after 66 years and decided to pour a chunk of the profits into the remarkable thank-you gesture. Patriarch Ken Grenda, 79, and sons Geoff and Scott, have been dubbed Australia's most generous bosses after rewarding 1800 staff,...
  • Navy set to be more capable than ever (Australia)

    01/30/2012 10:31:17 PM PST · by sukhoi-30mki · 14 replies
    Australian Associated Press (AAP) ^ | Jan 31 2012 | Jan 31 2012
    Navy set to be more capable than ever 16:24 AEDT Tue Jan 31 2012 Max Blenkin, AAP Defence Correspondent New warships will give Australia's navy more capability than ever before, with some help from the US Marines, Defence Minister Stephen Smith says. Speaking at the navy's Sea Power Conference in Sydney, Mr Smith noted the navy was set to acquire two new landing helicopter dock (LHD) ships, their largest vessels ever, three advanced air warfare destroyers and 12 next generation submarines. As well, the navy's eight Anzac frigates were being upgraded with new radars and missile defences while 24 new...
  • Tony Abbott delivers speech on vision for Australia if elected Prime Minister

    01/30/2012 7:42:31 PM PST · by naturalman1975 · 26 replies ^ | 31st January 2012 | Alison McMeekin
    TONY Abbott has promised to spend a week every year in a remote indigenous community if he is elected prime minister. The Opposition Leader, delivering his first major speech of the year at Canberra's National Press Club, also pledged that the first thing he would do if elected is prepare legislation to repeal the carbon tax. Mr Abbott rejected notions the Liberal-National coalition had a hard heart, and said if he was elected into the top job he would spend a week each year in a remote indigenous community. "Because if these places are good enough to live in they...
  • Julia Gillard and Labor flatlining with voters: Newspoll

    01/30/2012 2:23:54 PM PST · by naturalman1975 · 4 replies
    The Australian ^ | 31st January 2012 | Dennis Shanahan
    SUPPORT for the Gillard government is flatlining, with Labor in its weakest position on record for the start of a new parliamentary year as Julia Gillard gives ground to Tony Abbott as preferred prime minister. Labor support among voters has not shifted during the summer break, with the party's primary vote on 30 per cent and the Coalition maintaining its clear election-winning lead going into the year on 45 per cent. Based on preference flows at the previous election, the Coalition's eight-point, two-party-preferred lead of 54 per cent to 46 per cent remained unchanged between the end of the parliamentary...
  • Murdered NC girl's father deported to Australia

    01/30/2012 1:05:59 PM PST · by ColdOne · 12 replies ^ | 1/30/12 | AP
    LENOIR, N.C. – The father of a 10-year-old disabled girl who was murdered by her stepmother in western North Carolina has been deported to his native Australia. Attorney Shell Pearce says his client, Adam Baker, was deported roughly two weeks ago by the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Pearce says Baker brought the remains of his daughter, Zahra, with him for burial in Australia. Adam Baker moved to North Carolina in 2008 after marrying a North Carolina woman he met online. Elisa Baker was convicted of second-degree murder last year in the death of Zahra, who
  • Andrew Wilkie likely to back no-confidence move against Government (Australia)

    01/29/2012 10:47:19 PM PST · by naturalman1975 · 4 replies ^ | 30th January 2012
    INDEPENDENT MP Andrew Wilkie says he would support an opposition motion which could enable to it to move a no-confidence motion against the federal government in parliament. Under parliamentary rules, the coalition would need to get an absolute majority - 76 votes out of 150 - to suspend standing orders before bringing a motion of no confidence in the government. Coalition figures are considering whether to move such a motion next week to censure the government over its handling of the Australia Day riot in Canberra, which has led to the resignation of a prime ministerial media staffer. Mr Wilkie,...
  • Chartis Insurance cancels insurance policies of 3000 Australian soldiers

    01/29/2012 7:01:31 PM PST · by naturalman1975 · 4 replies
    Daily Telegraph ^ | 30th January 2012 | Ian McPhedran
    A FOREIGN insurer has left taxpayers with a $2.1 million bill after cancelling the private death and disability insurance policies of 3000 soldiers, including many serving in Afghanistan. US-owned company Chartis Insurance received a discretionary grant of $2.1 million from Defence last year so that the policies could be honoured until August this year, documents show. The grant was based on deployed force numbers and the number of Chartis policyholders in the ADF. The company said that as a result of a smaller than expected insurance pool and high cancellation and payout rates it would have to cancel two of...
  • Qantas passengers evacuated via forklift at Mount Isa

    01/29/2012 5:41:46 PM PST · by naturalman1975 · 15 replies ^ | 30th January 2012 | Kate Scheider
    PASSENGERS on a Qantas jet have been evacuated using a cage and forklift after an emergency landing at a tiny rural airport. The Boeing 767 carrying more than 160 passengers was flying from Darwin to Brisbane when the crew smelt fumes. The plane made the forced landing at the remote mining town of Mount Isa and had to use the forklift because there were no stairs that would fit.
  • Protesters' violence a blight on Australia

    01/28/2012 2:29:45 PM PST · by naturalman1975 · 8 replies
    Sunday Herald Sun ^ | 29th January 2012 | Miranda Devine
    Prime Minister Julia Gillard is protected by her bodyguard at the protest. FRANTIC scenes of the Prime Minister being rescued helter skelter by riot police from a baying crowd are a blight on Australia. Carted like a mannequin under the arm of her bodyguard, losing a shoe, Julia Gillard's predicament on Australia Day led news bulletins around the world. Now we know it was Gillard's own media adviser who sparked the violent protest at The Lobby restaurant in Canberra. But Friday night's press release announcing the resignation of Tony Hodges, 28, left too much unanswered. Did the PM's office fan...
  • Julia Gillard staffer forced to quit over protest (leaked information to aboriginal activists)

    01/27/2012 12:31:23 AM PST · by naturalman1975 · 6 replies ^ | 27th January 2012 | Matt Johnston, Aleks Devic
    A SENIOR media adviser within the Prime Minister's staff has been forced to resign after tipping off protesters about Tony Abbott's whereabouts yesterday. Tony Hodges, who has been on Julia Gillard’s staff since July 2009, admitted making a phone call alerting a person to the Opposition Leader's location. That person then contacted people at the tent embassy, sparking ugly scenes that have gone around the world. The revelation is a major embarrassment for the PM, who this morning denied any knowledge her staff were involved. In a statement tonight, a spokesperson for Ms Gillard said: "...a member of the Prime...
  • AFP bodyguards Ready to take bullet for Julia Gillard

    01/26/2012 3:12:12 PM PST · by naturalman1975 · 5 replies
    Daily Telegraph (Sydney) ^ | 27th January 2012 | Simon Benson and Ian McPhedran
    "THREAT" is not the word the Prime Minister's close personal protection detail wants to hear coming over their earpieces. That single word is enough to trigger the protocol that results in the leader's immediate evacuation from a clear and present danger. It is a lockdown procedure that Julia Gillard's personal security team from the Australian Federal Police are rarely forced to initiate - but that is what happened when she and Tony Abbott were stormed by protesters yesterday. Security sources revealed there are no colourful codewords used when the prime minister comes under attack. It's not Hollywood. "Our saying...
  • Aboriginal activists attack Gillard, Abbott on Australia Day (attack on Australian Prime Minister)

    01/26/2012 5:48:39 AM PST · by naturalman1975 · 12 replies · 1+ views
    Herald Sun ^ | 27th January 2012 | Matt Johnston
    JULIA Gillard has hit out at Aboriginal activists who caused an ugly Australia Day clash and forced police to rescue her and Tony Abbott from an awards ceremony. A senior Aboriginal leader also slammed the protesters for "disrespect and aggression", saying it had no place in the debate about indigenous affairs. In extraordinary scenes yesterday a visibly frightened Prime Minister was swept off her feet by security and lost a shoe as she was bundled into a car and whisked away from a ceremony at a Canberra restaurant for national emergency medal winners. Opposition Leader Tony Abbott was also pushed...