News That’s Fit To Punt – 27/Jun/2012

That Sinking Feeling

The business of asylum seekers has blown up again, and this has led to a bill passing in the lower house allowing Off-Shore processing.

Earlier, MPs voted against proposed Coalition amendments to the bill.
Its amendments were defeated 74 votes to 72, after independents Rob Oakeshott, Tony Windsor and Craig Thomson and Bob Katter and Greens MP Adam Bandt voted with the government.

Mr Oakeshott’s bill is aimed at bridging the government’s proposed changes to the Migration Act to allow offshore processing in Malaysia against opposition demands for humanitarian safeguards.

It has to be said that the Independents came through on this when it became a moral issue. I don’t know what possible good can be said of the 72 members of the Coalition who voted against it on the grounds that it wasn’t what they wanted. Especially when you consider what they wanted was for ALP policy to fail, which in all its scope includes more people dying for the benefit of the Coalition. Let’s get this straight. Michael Dreyfus and Greg Hunt got into some nasty argument about this division, but,

‘You’re left thinking that he sees political advantage in people dying. That’s the real disgrace of this,” he (Dreyfus) said.

Mr Dreyfus and Mr Hunt were sniping at each other across the dispatch table in Parliament and a witness said Mr Dreyfus suggested Mr Hunt may have been drinking.

Mr Hunt, a teetotaller, flared back at Mr Dreyfus. He was calmed down by the Western Australia Liberal MP Don Randall.

‘Greg was absolutely incensed,” said a witness.

”It looked like he wanted to smack him.”

Mr Dreyfus left the chamber on the advice of the Acting Speaker, Anna Burke.

Mr Hunt then gave a speech condemning Mr Dreyfus, calling it one of the most offensive statements made in the Parliament in 100 years.

What’s amazing about this exchange is that Greg Hunt, MP of Australia is incensed and furious because Michael Dreyfus suggested he had been drunk; not because his motive was impugned (as deservingly as it should be, given the circumstance). No, Greg Hunt Federal MP got angry because he was called a drunk when he was a teetotaller. Let me just remind everybody that the most famous teetotaller was Adolf Hitler. I say this because the moral outrage expressed by Greg Hunt is pathetic next to the actual human tragedy unfolding on the high seas.

Mr. Hunt, we the people of Australia don’t care whether you drink or not; your abstinence from alcohol does not add to our confidence in your judgment, any more than it adds to our confidence in Adolf Hitler’s judgment. On the contrary Mr. Hunt, your fury at Mr. Dreyfus reveals that you are a man with no sense of perspective, no grand vision, no understanding of how dire the situation is, and that you probably should not be in your position at all. There are real lives bobbing up and down in the sea and you’re worried that Michael Dreyfus called you a drunk under parliamentary privilege? I’m sorry if I don’t think you’re a responsible human being.

In any case, Tony Abbott is not going to shift because indeed, there is political advantage in these people dying. It’s a good thing to see that the Independents can see that something needed to be done. Clearly, they’re responsible people getting things done. The conservatives, are the “obstructionist capuchins” getting in the way. This should have been bipartisan from the start and it brings absolutely no honour to the men and women of the Liberal and National Parties. Today is that day we can see they have no shame. They will stoop to anything for power. I say, a pox and AIDS and whatever all else diseases can be named, upon both their houses.

Rinehart Gets Nuthin’

It seems unfair, I know. You own 19% of a company, surely you should get a seat on the board. Of course, not when you are outspoken and have stupid views and want to influence the public in such a manner as to distort facts and make them feel man-made climate change is not happening.

Fairfax rejected Gina Rinehart’s bid to get seats on the board.

The company has just released a statement saying that an agreement had not been reached “on terms acceptable to the company. I regret that agreement has not been reached for Mrs Rinehart to join the Fairfax Media board of directors,” Mr Corbett said.

“I hope that this might be possible in the future. However, key elements yet to be agreed include acceptance of the charter of editorial independence as it stands and the Fairfax board governance principles as agreed by all existing directors.”

And that is probably as it should be. I’m sure Gina Rinehart will cry foul, but really, she’s already the richest woman within 12 parsecs. She can go cry in her crystal glasses filled to the brim with Grange Hermitage. The Fairfax Board has done well.

Aging Population

This was brought up late last week and I had meant to link to it.

The first census data also reveals that Australians are getting older, with the median Australian now aged 37.3 years, a sharp rise from 32.4 years in 1991. The proportion over 65 has grown from 11.3 per cent in 1991 to 13.8 per cent in 2011.

That jump in average age is interesting. It’s hardly the time to be worrying about boat people. Our demographics are saying we should be welcoming everybody and anybody who wants to come here; unless of course we want to turn out like Japan.

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