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Gillard is incredibly an unelected 'acting' PM and perceived a Labor Right puppet, until the electorate decides

Now that people have finally accepted that gender is and should be irrelevant in politics (at least in civilised societies like Australia) we can get down to the agenda and actions of Acting PM Gillard's new leadership team.

Sensibly new Acting PM Gillard is distinguishing herself from the unpopular agenda priorities and Rudd's unsuccessful arrogant autocratic style. Gillard's professed consultative style and modest tone signal a quick decisive break from Ruddism. Though still early days since Gillard Coup Date 24th June 2010, just four days ago; Gillard has been lightning quick to announce 'refocusing', 'new directions', 'new focal points', 'new initiatives' and 'shutting down some issues' [Digital Journal]...almost as if it has been planned for some time, perhaps?
What was Labor Right up to and for how long?

De-Rudding seems to be a fast way to work the pollsters to gain quick public relations wins, necessary for any new replacement PM. Rudd's major policy defeats most obviously have been his Mining Super Tax impost, his 'Howard-esk' rejection of asylum seekers and his backdown from his Emissions Trading Scheme. Rudd had many election promises and then he had his 2020 Summit with even more obligations.

The Rudd era is over, so what of all Rudd Labor's election promises?
Where is the electorate at now in its expectations of government?

Gillard has quickly withdrawn the government ads supporting the tax, but has not rejected the tax nor its 40% rate. On the ETS and asylum seekers Gillard remains silent so far.

But good leaders must first get their leadership team in order. Today that happened. Minimal reshuffle, steady as she goes and few changes which reflect internal promotions to senior capable people, sparked by the need to fill Gillard's previous role in the crucial Education portfolio. Simon Crean is a safe choice and if an election is in the air, no need to unsettle the team in the short term pre-election.

Now what about Gillard fulfilling Rudd's electoral promises? These comprise Labor's electoral moral contract and on such basis Labor has an electoral mandate. But if all the electoral promises have gone with Rudd, then Gillard has no electoral mandate.

Gillard's approach of 'coordinated media releases' sounds good for public communication of Government. Headlines need substance otherwise it won't be long before electoral cynicism emerges.

But Gillard's personal credibility is undermined by the fact that she has been Rudd's deputy and part of Rudd's 'gang of four' and so presumed by most to be complicit in Rudd's choice of government priorities, agenda and decision making, and at all times loyal and supportive. Gillard's credibility is also undermined by that fact she back-stabbed the elected leader through the factional influence of the Labor Right, which we know is backed by massive financial donations from unions, developers and big business.

Acting PM Gillard is not an elected representative of the people of Australia outside the safe Labor seat of Lalor in Melbourne's outer south-western suburbs; that is until she calls a general election. These days Lalor, encompassing outer urban centres of Melton, Altona, Werribee and Hoppers Crossing is in the grip of Melbourne's urban sprawl, with any 1970s 'green belt' notion bought out by housing property developers and their ilk.

So on what issues and promises did Rudd Labor win the last election and so comprise unfinished obligations to the Australian electorate? These are what Labor is accountable to the electorate to deliver, but when?

On 27th June, Gillard publicly rejected Rudd's 'Big Australia' quest by maximising population growth. So what has Gillard actually said?

"Australia should not hurtle down the track towards a big population," she told Fairfax. "I don't support the idea of a big Australia with arbitrary targets of, say, a 40 million-strong Australia or a 36 million-strong Australia. We need to stop, take a breath and develop policies for a sustainable Australia. I support a population that our environment, our water, our soil, our roads and freeways, our busses, our trains and our services can sustain."

But Ms Gillard says that does not mean putting a stop to immigration all together. "I don't want business to be held back because they couldn't find the right workers," she said. "That's why skilled migration is so important. But also I don't want areas of Australia with 25 per cent youth unemployment because there are no jobs."
[Gillard shuts door on 'big Australia', ABC 27-6-10.]

Is Gillard playing more politics and having a bet each way - sustainable immigration without denying businesses ready workers? But then what is the Education Revolution all about? Addressing Australia's 25% youth unemployment? Matching workplace skill demand with local vocational education for Australians?

But renaming Tony Burke from Minister for Population to Minister for Sustainable Population is hollow.

Meanwhile how much developer donations are flowing from members and sympathisers of the powerful Urban Taskforce Australia, which consistently lobbies on a national scale for a larger population for Australia. The disingenuous spin touted to government is that a larger population "increases the tax base to fund improvements to infrastructure and welfare services." Can Gillard see through this developer self-centred profit propaganda?

If Gillard is to be credible on curbing Australia's population growth without harming its economy, the tests for the Gillard Government are:

1. End the Baby Bonus

2. End the Subclass 457 – Business (Long Stay) Visa Scheme

3. Restrict all work visas to Employer Nomination Scheme Occupation List (ENSOL), which requires each applicant to be nominated by an Australian employer to fill a position in an occupation that appears in the ENSOL and for the applicant to demonstrate that they have the necessary skills (including conversational English skills).

4. Match vocational training of local Australians to industry demand cycles and focus on the under 25s, and lower-socio-economic groups including Australia's indigenous and rural communities. This would be a real education revolution for Australia.

Bring on a general election!

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Comments

While I do not necessarily agree with your opinion, I would like to comment that your blogs have been of tremendous use to me in both research for my own school work as well as building my overall understanding of contemporary Australian politics. Thank you for providing a well-structured, informative and unique insight.

Certainly resolving the mining super tax dispute is an important leadership priority for acting PM Gillard.

But important issues and those that are bold nation-wide reforms such as this tax reform, are not necesarily urgent. Yet Gillard chose political urgency over careful balanced policy design. An overnight resolution involving compromises on commodity type, tax rates, tax hurdles and timing was made in a backroom deal thrashed out by Gillard with three select mining companies last night - BHP, Rio Tinto and Xstrata, supposedly the heavies of the Mineral Council behind the effective anti-Labor advertising.

But what about negotiations with the key players - The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies, which represents 220 smaller miners, who were sidelined?
What about the rest of Australia's resources industry and the backdown on company tax relief from 25% to just 29% which will affect all Australian industry, not just resources?

Gillard's rush to look good quick has meant a railroading of proper industry consultation. Instead we have just witnessed a classic Labor Right political manoeuver to neutralise the debate - 'divide and conquer.

Labor has announced a breakthrough decision on the mining tax to get it off the hook with the electorate, make Gillard look like a brilliant negotiator and set a favourable leadership image for election, while the resources industry is now divided because of a few powerful unrepresentative heavyweights who made concessions and deals with Labor.

Is this a sample of Gillard's style to come? More about image than substance?
Compare the similarity of this dogged non-consultative style of Gillard's railroading of the education industry with her MySchool and NAPLAN reforms....

Is this Gillard simplism - ye olde 'one-size-fits-all' dumbing down policy impost?

This woman will unravel very quickly. Seriously out of her depth. This is a mid-life actress who has worked the numbers thus far, but the demands of the union heavies who engineered her promotion will bring her down - if Australian voters don't beat them to it.

A well-informed, unforgiving public may not be as enamored with Miss Gillard's record as Messrs Shorten, Howes, Feney, Adams, Ferguson and the rest might like to think.

Big mistake. Big.

SHE HAS GOT TO GO!!!!!

AUSTRALIA CANNOT AFFORD THE INCOMPETENT LABOR RITES RUNNING THIS COUNTRY!

AND WATCH THE SPOT THE NEXT ONE THEY "PUT UP" AS THEIR LEADER WILL BE AND EX UNION HACK.

IT IS TIME THAT AUSTRALIANS TAKE A GOOD HARD LOOK AT WHERE COUNTRIES END UP WHEN THEY HAVE A BUNCH OF SOCIALIST RUNNING THE SHOW.

CASE IN POINT USA, FRANCE, ENGLAND(THEY LEFT IT TO LONG AND THOSE POOR TORRIES STAND NO CHANCE OF FIXING UP THE MESS OF THOSE INCOMPETENT LEFT-WINGER , EG. LABOR PARTY)

Editorial comment: Firstly, it would be appreciated if comments were not made ALL IN UPPER CASE.

Secondly, I think commentators should state clearly what the are in favour of and not just what they are against. I think readers would justifiably suspect that this commentator would have preferred the Liberal and National Parties (LNP) to have won the last federal election rather than the Labor Party. The statement in which the commentator reveals his/her likely political sympathies is '(THEY LEFT IT TO (sic) LONG AND THOSE POOR TORRIES (sic) STAND NO CHANCE OF FIXING UP THE MESS OF THOSE INCOMPETENT LEFT-WINGER, EG. LABOR PARTY)'. For all our misgivings about Julia Gillard and her Labor Government, I personally think, although it is not the candobetter consensus, that the Australian public were better served by Labor, rather than the LNP coalition being able to form Government after the election. The public was served better still by so many votes going to parties other than the two major parties and the Parliament being a hung Parliament. As a result, whoever it was who formed government could not have been so contemptuous of the widespread community views in opposition to policies enacted by both Labor and LNP governments in recent decades.

Whilst many justifiably distrust anyone who wears the label of 'Socialist' or 'left-winger', true socialism (as opposed to what so many who proclaim themsleves to be 'Socialists' would impose upon us) is about achieving justice and equality for all and is a far more laudable goal than that of parties which openly favour the so-called 'free market'. If anything, we should be critical of Labor for having abandoned its past commitment to Socialism and its embrace of 'free market' policies.

Australian politics are in doldrums - no leadership, no national planning, no strategic investment, no way out of institutional problems with public services - health, housing, employment, public transport, education, policing, prisons, you name it!

The Federal election showed no winners, only compromise of dragging together the best of a worst bunch.

Our first female prime minister regrettably is the product of factional cronyism followed by billion dollar seducements with independent MPs - a high speed broadband concept.

Gillard is another Labor puppet, so of course she has got to go!

So long as deals and financing of political parties be it by unions, or big business, or wealthy individuals, Australian politics is corrupt and failing its democratic principles. This applies equally to Labor, Liberals, Nationals and the Greens. They're all bad.

Australians are experiencing the political doldrums. This has created a political vacuum in which anything could emerge.

When I read SHOUTED comments such as those from the semi-literate ignoramus TTHOM above, I despair at the stupidity behind them and treasure sane, restrained responses such as those from James.

There is a huge amount of political ignorance in this country. I sometimes strike up a conversation with total strangers just to gain clues into their political awareness, and so often I get a "Huh? I just don't care, mate!"

I despair that such morons have the vote. In my opinion, they shouldn't.

I think we can say the human race is doomed..

Three men who viciously attacked a protected leopard seal by throwing rocks at it and dragging it down a beach were undone by placing their photos on Facebook.

Michael William Mathews, 23, Harley David McKenzie, 20, and Phillip Ray Horrell, 24, appeared before Judge Jane Farish in the Invercargill District Court yesterday charged with taking a leopard seal and injuring it on or about October 27.

The attack, which happened near Rowellan Burn, at Te Waewae Bay, and carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail or a $250,000 fine, was detailed by Department of Conservation principal compliance officer Alan Christie.

Mr Christie told the court the three men, all shearers of Tuatapere, were driving past the beach when they spotted the seal and stopped to get a closer look.

Horrell filmed the seal while the two others forcefully threw rocks the size of fists at it to try to antagonise it into chasing them, he said.

Rocks struck the seal multiple times, including at least twice in the head, and the seal appeared to lose consciousness at one stage, he said.

After stopping the filming Horrell and McKenzie then dragged the injured seal down the beach, before pictures were taken of two of the men posing beside it with wide smiles and thumbs up, he said.

The photos were placed in a file titled "Good Times" by Horrell and then uploaded to Facebook, which attracted DOC's attention, Mr Christie said.

Horrell's lawyer Bill Dawkins said Horrell did not participate in the actions as much as the other men and could be heard at the time telling them to stop.

However, Judge Farish said Horrell was more worried about his personal safety than harming the seal and during the video he could be heard laughing and saying "It's f-ed already" and "It's really f-ed now".

Horrell was getting "his kicks loading it on to his Facebook page" and the actions of all three men were appalling and barbaric, Judge Farish said. "The animal was clearly distressed.

"You didn't show any humanity to the animal on that afternoon.

"It was a barbaric act."

Matthews' lawyer Richard Smith told the court Matthews said it was "the dumbest thing I have ever done and really regret it".

Horrell was fined $5000 and Matthews was find $7000.

McKenzie, who has a previous conviction for animal cruelty, was remanded to November 12 for sentence.

Judge Farish said if the leopard seal had died then she would have had no qualms with sending all three men to jail.

Its because these Morons have only three things in their rats maze of a brain....and they are..

Footy, low alchohol crap beer, Holden cars.....75% of the population of Australia is my guess. Oh and they believe
everything our caring Government tells them..

Acclaimed author Tim Winton has taken aim at the management of the Swan River, saying Perth's greatest gift is being treated like a sewer.

In a piece written for _The West Australian _, Winton described the health of the Swan and its adjoining wetlands as a scandal, claiming if it were a financial institution or a football team, its board and CEO would be "dragged from their tower on the Terrace" and sacked.

Yesterday Winton, author of the prizewinning 1992 novel Cloudstreet, visited a favourite fishing spot in Mosman Park that he said was polluted so badly at times that litter was piled waist deep.

"The Swan River has given me a lot in my 50 years, and Cloudstreet is one of those things. I guess I feel obliged to repay the debt and speak up on its behalf," he said. "It's painful to think of the river my grandchildren will inherit."

He will no longer eat anything caught in the river and said there was no political will to restore it to a tolerable level of health.

"There are no sleek, commercial lobbyists cajoling cabinet ministers on behalf of the Swan. The tide of money and influence seems to flow the other way," he said.

His opinions were backed by WWF WA director Paul Gamblin.

"Eighty per cent of wetlands have been lost on the Swan Coastal plain and there is a chasm between the scientific evidence and the reaction," Mr Gamblin said.

Swan River Trust chairman Jim Freemantle agreed with much of what Winton said, but said he had not addressed the trust's work.

"There is nothing new there in what he said. All river systems across the world are under basically the same sorts of threats - population increase, nutrients, toxic contaminants from generations past, the use of soluble fertiliser.

"We are not sitting there fiddling while Rome burns," he said.

Winton hopes his words will put the river's health back on the agenda. "People talk about how much they love the river - it's probably time to show it."

It amazes me how people who go to work and have children ever manage to properly inform themselves of contemporary politics in Australia to the point where they can be any sort of match to those who politically machinate and manoeuvre full time and professionally. I believe it is a full time job keeping up with all their tricks. Presumably one goes into public life to do good but alas they seem to lose sight of what that ever might have been. Suddenly I guess there are new imperatives and like the subjects in Milgram's experiment, they are obedient to the perceived authority. These problems were highlighted in the past few days with the planning issue in Victoria where a member of the Greens in the Upper House appeared to deliberately avoid a vote in the house on a planning amendment which has far reaching effects. The politics associated with population growth in Victoria , Australia is never ending with innocuous sounding perhaps (to some) titles such as "Housing Capacity Study" Sounds reasonable perhaps to some but to me it heralds life in all areas under this scrutiny (and isn't that everywhere ?) relentlessly going downhill.